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Brett
Posted by the GM
Empire Above
Season 2 Begins
Iobyn Nomres, Bard of the Court of Stars
Paths form beneath trodden feet,
As step by step they stride,
By soil tracked from here to there,
By grass bent and pushed aside;
For change is beauty in time,
And nature's will be mollified.

Paths form beneath trodden feet,
As step by step they climb,
Over root and over stone,
Over depths and lands unknown;
For adventure is bravery in time,
And spirit's will be magnified.

Paths form beneath trodden feet,
As step by step they grow,
From where they once began,
From sea to sea they span;
For journey is steps in time
And creation's will be pacified.

Now far ahead the paths have gone,
And oft I wonder why,
Until the day's light begins to seep,
Until the restless need their sleep;
Still step by step I move my feet,
On the path to Hydra's Keep

Thanks to all of you who sent me your character sheets. I've been busy with work so sorry for the two week break, but I've managed to prepare and get some writing together for season 2. I feel adequately prepared to start Saturday, March 16th, and I hope your characters are ready.

Adventurers, prepare for the beginning of Season 2 of Empire Above!
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Epic × 2!
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Cody
Posted by the GM
Temple of Elemental Evil
Investigation
During the evening, Tundin has a dream that indicates his god is not happy with him and his actions during the fight with the ogre. When he awakens, he finds that he did not receive the cure light wounds spells he prayed for, as punishment for his transactions. Until he repents, he will not receive his requested spells.

Upon returning to Hommlet in the morning, the group looks to cash out on their loot. Before doing that, Tundin casts detect magic on everything and identifies Brandis' shield and the four arrows they found as being magical. Holding onto those items, nearly everything else is sold to the traders. The only things not sold is the ivory box holding five feet of spider silk and one of the kegs of brandy.

When first negotiating with the traders, the traders try to cheat the party by offering them silver pieces instead of gold pieces. However, after telling the traders they will think about it, Brandis offers to tap one of the kegs of brandy and allow the traders to partake in a little. After nearly emptying the keg through lunchtime, the traders are sufficiently sloshed that Brandis is able to renegotiate and get the offer changed to gold pieces. While the party still doesn't get the true market value for their items, at least they have enough money to do something with.

With their new-found wealth, the NPCs are paid off. Kobort and Turuko decide to abandon the group and find their fortune elsewhere. Furnok, however, decides to stay with the group, as it has been a rewarding experience.

With the remaining money, the party seeks out the local magic-user, Burne, to see if he can identify their magic items. Burne happens to have a scroll with the spell identify on it, so he offers to cast the spell for 200gp. The party accepts and Burne is able to determine that the shield and arrows have minimal dweomer<meta>suggesting they are +1 items</meta>.

While there, the party asks Burne if he knows anything about the cloaks with the flaming eyes. Burne informs the party that it is the symbol for members of the Temple of Elemental Evil; if the party found the cloaks and weapons, it is indicative that the Temple's members may be trying to reactivate the order.

Having spent nearly all their money, the group retires to the inn and forms a plan of action. Deciding that the town mayor needs to know, the group receives directions to the mayor's home and heads there. After having to bribe a gate guard to gain entry, the group is taken to the mayor's house.

While waiting for the butler to speak to the mayor, Dire finds a sterling silver pen holder in the foyer and it accidentally falls into his pocket. When asked what happened, Dire says he was cleaning up a mess left by Brandis, who hadn't even been near the table the holder was on. However, Brandis believes he still has crumbs from breakfast on his face and, when the butler returns, asks to use the washroom. While in the washroom, Brandis notices the potpourri bowl and commences to eat the potpourri.

The butler eventually leads the party to the mayor's library, where the party tells the mayor what they have found, especially the cloaks with the burning eyes. The mayor will send word to the Viscount of Verbronc, informing him of the party's findings but suspects more evidence of direct action by the Temple's order will be needed, thus requesting the party to continue investigating the ruins for more proof.

As payment for their investigation, the party requests free room and board, as well as stables for their horses. The mayor agrees to house the group in a guest house on his property. Additionally, the group requests assistance in their investigation, to which the mayor states he will have some members of the local militia accompany the group.

The party moves their items from the inn to the mayor's house; in the meantime, the militia captain is called for and finds two militia members who are immediately available to join the group. In addition, the party also hires a teamster and his cart, several bodyguards for the teamster, as well as three teenagers to help cut through the underbrush on the road to the moathouse. This will allow the group to take their horses and cart to the moathouse, rather than continuing on foot as in the past.

When the group finally heads to the moathouse, they leave the cart with the teamster, bodyguards, and kids outside since the horses and cart won't be able to navigate the drawbridge. Heading inside, the group heads down the stairs they found and immediately proceed down the southern, columned corridor.

As soon as Brandis moves past the first column to investigate the first cell door they can see, he is attacked by two zombies. Tundin attempts to turn the zombies and succeeds. However, while fighting those zombies, two more come out of the first cell and join the fight. While fighting those zombies, two more come out of the next cell and also fight the party.

Realizing that their blades do little good against the zombies, the party retreats back up the stairs. Realizing that a different tactic needs to be employed, the group decides to fill a waterskin with oil and, in conjunction with a torch, squirt flaming oil on the zombies. Tundin and Brandis proceed with this plan and set two zombies on fire. Unfortunately, Brandis accidentally sets his feet on fire as well, nearly succumbing to the flames.

While they are burning the zombies, Dire attempts to sneak around the backside of the staircase but runs into a zombie, which knocks him unconscious. The two militamen rescue Dire and take him back upstairs.

Next, Tundin and Furnok decide to make Molotov cocktails and throw them at the zombies. They succeed in burning all the zombies and the group continues down the columned hall. Suspecting that the rest of the cells also contain zombies, the group spikes the remaining doors while keeping the zombies from attacking by holding their shields up to the door.

Once the cells are spiked, the group decides to try burning the zombies by gathering wood from upstairs and making a fire at the cell doors. Once the fires are lit, they continue their investigation with the room to the east.

This room turns out to be a torture chamber. Careful investigation reveals that some of the skeletons aren't very old and several of the items have been recently used.

Intending to continue their investigation, the group heads to the ogre's room, since Zhanna reveals that she knows about a secret door in there. When the door is opened, the secret staircase to the Black Room is revealed. While milling around deciding what to do, Zhanna happens to locate the mechanism to open a second secret door.

Investigation of the secret door reveals a stairway leading down. Though torch brackets are on the walls, the torches aren't currently lit, though there is evidence that they have been used recently.

Heading through the door, the group moves down the stairs. Furnok pokes his head around a corner and sees a shadow in the distance, highlighted by a torch behind it. Not knowing what it is, Zhanna is asked to see if she can identify it. With a quick look, she suspects it to be a bugbear that is moving towards them.

Running back up the stairs, the party plan an ambush for the bugbear on the stairs leading to the Black Room. Unfortunately, the bugbear never shows up. When the second secret door is reopened, the group finds that the bugbear had merely been placing new, lit torches in the brackets.

Tundin suspects that the bugbear may have been lighting the torches in anticipation of someone arriving to the dungeon or someone leaving. Deciding that they have enough evidence to provide the mayor, the party moves back upstairs. Luckily, they find the cart and the others are still there.

Spending an hour, they move the rest of the weapons from the two storage rooms into the cart and head back to the village. In the mayor's house, Dire is healed by the mayor's friend, a druid. The mayor tells the story of how the Temple was defeated in a great war and the druid inquires about the zombies.

Deciding that there must be an evil magician or someone in the rest of the dungeon, the party agrees to continue investigating the moathouse. Meanwhile, they donate the equipment they found and some fighting training to the militia.
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Skull & Shackles Session 6 (Long Overdue)
Synopsis
...

Experience
Goblins 16x CR1/3 2,160
Goblin commandos 4x CR2 2,400
Goblin captain CR5 1,600
Goblin alchemist CR4 1,200
Sahuagin 2x CR2 1,200
Sahuagin 1x CR3 800
Total 9,360


Significant Treasure
Deep platinum necklace

Notes
...

Session: Fragrant Harbor 06: Pirates Ahoy - Friday, Dec 21 2012 from 11:15 PM to 2:15 AM
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Cody
Posted by the GM
Temple of Elemental Evil
A Night in the Dungeon
After resting at the inn for a few weeks, the hardy band of adventurers decide to head back to the ruined moathouse. However, they feel a few more "helpers" are in order.

As they are finishing up a hardy breakfast of cheap beer, two men-of-the-world types come downstairs. Catching them before they leave the inn, the group persuades the two men to accompany them to the fort. Turuk and Kobort agree to come along for an equal share of the treasure that may be found.

Heading out shortly thereafter, the group arrives at the moathouse late in the morning. Remembering the issues they had before, they decide it best to scout the building before moving inside. Splitting up, Furnok and Dire plan on climbing the ruined sections of the walls and taking a peek inside while the rest go through the main gate.

Furnok and Dire return, indicating that they didn't notice anything different inside from when they last left. There is no evidence of the bandits that scared the group away and no other creatures, besides scavengers, appear to have made the place home.

Before proceeding further into the ruins, the group wants to investigate the southwestern tower that has yet to be investigated. Peering through the arrow slits, several shiny objects can be seen on the ground inside. When the door is opened, the shining objects appear to be coins of some sort. While no creatures or traps can be seen, it is decided that Dire will go in first to ensure the room is clear. Upon reaching the position of the coins, a huge spider falls on Dire, knocking him to the ground and immediately being wrapped in silk.

Tundin and Brandis charge inside, attacking the spider, while Zhanna stays in the entryway and shoots her crossbow. Furnok, Kobort, and Turuk also stay near the door so as to avoid getting in the way.

Brandis barely misses in his attack, only shaving some hairs off the spider's leg. Tundin, on the other hand, lands a solid blow, shattering two of the creature's legs. Meanwhile, the huge spider is continuing to wrap Dire in silk, reaching his neck before being attacked.

Furnok, seeing that it is already damaged, charges in himself and, using a broken support beam has a step, launches himself into the air. He lands on the spiders back, burying his short sword into its thorax and killing it instantly. The spider's body lands on Dire but luckily doesn't crush him.

Dire is pulled out from under the body and has the webbing cut from him. Brandis is able to salvage several feet of the silk, with the intention of making a silk rope. The spider body is moved away and the coins on the ground are gathered. It isn't a lot but it is something; adequate enough for the effort expended in gaining it.

Moving into the fort, the remains of their last battle with the bandits are found, including a cut rope, a staff, and some other minor items. The group hesitantly enters the black room where the bandits hid out but find evidence that the bandits haven't returned.

Investigating the room, Furnok notices something in the rubble near the southeast corner. A half hour of digging reveals a large footlocker-style trunk. Inside, the group finds a good stash of goods: a crystal decanter and four goblets, two bolts of cloth, several bags of copper pieces, an inlaid wooden box with ivory handles, and four high-quality arrows.

The trunk is left in the room while the group heads further into the fortress. Noticing an alcove that had been bypassed before, Tundin uses his lantern to peek around the corner after hearing squeaking and rustling. He sees a number of giant rats in a storage area, climbing on the shelves and containers. At the end of the room there appears to be another doorway leading deeper into the fort.

While plans are being made on how to best deal with the rats, a suggestion is made to Kobort to attack the rats. He readily agrees and starts to head into the room while his friend Turuk tries to dissuade him. Kobort doesn't heed the warnings and charges in, scaring the rats.

The rats attack as Kobort starts swinging. Kobort's sword skills are much better than his intelligence and he easily defeats several rats immediately. The rats swarm over Kobort but fail to do much besides cling to his armour.

As Kobort kills rat after rat, one jumps on his shoulder from a shelf and manages to get its head underneath Kobort's helmet, biting him on the cheek. Kobort screams and throws off his helmet, dropping his sword in the process. The rat is torn free, along with a good portion of Kobort's cheek.

Tundin and Brandis, having observed the fight from the safety of the doorway, see the predicament Kobort is in. Brandis raises his shield and moves into the storeroom while Tundin moves to assist Kobort.

While this is happening, another rat reaches Kobort's face and latches onto his other cheek, biting off a large chunk. Kobort covers both his cheeks with his hands and alternates between screaming in pain and swearing at the rats. Brandis moves in and helps defend Kobort and Tundin while Tundin applies a cure light wounds spell.

A wild swing by Brandis at a rat on a shelf causes the sword to knock the shelf off the wall. The shelf swings down and hits Brandis on his head. His helmet absorbs most of the blow, leaving just a slight bruise.

The rest of the rats run off; though they know no fear, their survival instincts are strong. Kobort is healed to nearly full strength, so Tundin moves to assist Brandis. Applying a poultice and bandages, as well as some pain relievers, helps Brandis recover from his inadequate sword-smith skills.

The storeroom is investigated. Not much of value is found beyond a jug of olive oil and some desiccated spices. Brandis, constantly thinking of his stomach, skins the rats and plans to use the oil and spices for rat stew.

Meanwhile, the doorway at the other end of the storeroom opens onto a stairway leading down. It is decided that Dire and Brandis will head down the stairs to do a quick recon. Brandis lights his lantern and leads the way.


At the bottom of the stairs, the lantern reveals a wall across the way and that a room appears to open up to the sides of the stairs, like the stairs are in the middle of a room. Dampness in the stairs in the past has lead to a collection of mold and slime on the ceiling, with a large patch of greenish algae clinging to the edge of the stair's archway.

Moving into the room, Brandis seems to disturb the slime, causing it to fall on Dire as he passes underneath. Dire notices that the slime appears to be acidic, eating its way through his armour relatively quickly.

Dire pulls off his armour and dumps it on the ground. The green slime continues to eat the leather material, growing in size at it absorbs the mass. The pair retreats back up the stairs, careful to keep to the sides away from the slime. Brandis offers Dire his cloak for a modicum of protection, primarily for modesty.

After reporting what occurred, Zhanna and Dire recognize the slime from stories in their childhood. Knowing that the slime can be defeated with fire, the party comes up with a plan to deal with the slime: Tundin will gather burnable material from the bandit's room and the discarded rope while Brandis will use a staff to make a torch, having soaked the rags in the olive oil.

Zhanna and Brandis move back down the stairs and see that only about half the slime fell from the archway. While Brandis wants to stick his staff-torch up to the slime and burn it off, Zhanna suggests just shooting a flaming bolt at it to ensure it doesn't fall on Brandis as he attempts to burn it.

Zhanna shoots the bolt and the green slime starts to burn. As it burns away, Zhanna shoots at the pile of slime that was recently Dire's leather armour. The pool of slime easily catches fire, leaving a greasy, discolored spot.

After spending a few minutes ensuring there is no more slime, the group cautiously moves down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, the group sees that, indeed, the stairs are essentially in the middle of a large room, opening near the southern end. From the looks of the room, it was once a general storeroom/armoury, with a variety of broken and unusable weapons and weapon racks visible, as well as a number of broken crates and boxes.

On the western wall is a large pile of garbage, apparently a conglomeration of most of the material that once filled the room. Thinking that something usable for Dire, either discarded armour or at least some sort of clothing, might be in the pile of trash, the group starts rummaging through it.

Suddenly, the top of the trash piles moves and starts to topple on the party as a number of giant rats jump from their nest and get ready to defend it. Not wanting to deal with rats again, Brandis decides to dump a quantity of oil on the garbage while Zhanna moves back to light a torch.

As Dire is climbing down from the trash pile, a giant rat leaps down and bites his butt, latching onto the cloak with its feet. Dire attempts to sit on the rat and squish it but it jumps off just before he hits the floor.

The rest of the rats are scrambling around, fending off the rest of the group. Brandis finishes dumping the oil on the pile just as Zhanna throws her lighted torch into the center of it. The oil catches fire and the trash pile is quickly engulfed in flames.

The rats run screaming from the conflagration, some of them on fire. The party drops to the ground to avoid succumbing to the smoke, which quickly fills the room and leaks up the stairs. After many minutes, the fire slowly dies down enough for the party members to see that the trash pile covered two doors on the wall behind it.

Once the smoke clears enough for the group to stand up, the doors are investigated. The locks on the doors are new and the doors appear to be well maintained. Dire attempts to pick one of the locks but fails. However, Furnock is able to open it; Dire does manage to open the other door, however.

Opening the door to the northern room, it is revealed to be an armoury. A large assortment of polearms are stacked around the room, as well crates of arrows and crossbow quarrels. Additionally, there are several containers of rations and a large pile of black cloaks. The cloaks have an eye surrounded by flames embroidered on them.

The other room is opened up, revealing an assortment of shields and leather armour. There are also several barrels of salted meat and two kegs of fine brandy.

The party debates the significance of these rooms. Are they related to the bandits upstairs or is there something else going on? What is the meaning of the flaming eye?

The party decides to rest up here, using the pile of cloaks to sleep on. Brandis makes a stew out of the rat meat, salted meat, and some of the rations that were found. Kobort dumped out a barrel and fills it up with a variety of weapons to take back to the village.

After resting for 8-9 hours, the group eats again and moves further into the dungeon. They ignore the columned corridor heading south and choose to investigate the northeastern door. They notice that the door opens silently and the hinges appear to have been oiled recently. Inside the room is a large amount of junk and trash, plus another door to the northeast.

Looking through the keyhole, they see that it is well lit by torches and it has a number of columns in it. To the north, a large pile of furs and cloth, possibly blankets, can barely be seen.

Dire sneaks in to investigate. Moving around the nearest column, he accidently bumps a low-hanging torch mount, knocking the torch off. The noise echoes through the room and noises from the northern end indicate that something was woken up.

Dire hides behind the column, hoping that whatever it is doesn’t see him. The rest of the party closes the door and looks through the keyhole. They can see a large creature, his head nearly reaching the ceiling, moving through the room, looking for the cause of the noise.

The monster, an ogre, moves through the room towards the column Dire is hiding behind. Luckily, Dire is nimble enough to keep on the other side of the column from the ogre and is not seen. The ogre, deciding that there was nothing in the room (he didn’t notice the extinguished torch on the ground) moves towards the western door, the one the party is behind.

The party steps back from the door and all but Zhanna quickly don the black cloaks that were found. The ogre opens the door and is startled by the PCs. He raises his bardiche but hesitates upon seeing the cloaks. He says something to the party they party don’t understand.
The ogre again says something, growing impatient. Tundin points to the flaming eye emblem on his cloak but he ogre shrugs, not comprehending the gesture. Brandis attempts to bribe the ogre


The ogre eventually tires of waiting for the password and moves to attack the group. Tundis, being in front of it, bears the brunt of the attacks. The rest of the group surrounds the creature and attacks.

The ogre is knocked to his knees by mighty blows from Kobort. He raises his hands in supplication, but Tundis, believing an evil creature deserves no mercy, strikes the ogre upon his head and kills it.


With the ogre defeated, the body is looked over for anything useful but nothing is found. His bed is rummaged through but the vast majority of items are of no use. A footlocker is found under a small end-table. Inside are a number of worthless glass beads, brass candlesticks, and other trash. However, a number of coins are scattered inside, which the party gathers up.

Dire, looking through the bedding more closely, finds a small cloak. Though it is too small to fit most of the party, it just barely fits Zhanna. Though hesitant to put it on at first, she reluctantly agrees and immediately turns invisible. She decides to keep the cloak.

Moving to the southern door of the room, the PCs find that it is shut with a stout wooden bar. Dire is able to open the bar and cracks open the door. Some voices are heard inside but little can be seen. Opening the door further, an awful stench comes pouring out, smelling much like meat past its prime. Several voices are heard, crying out for mercy.

When the door is fully opened and lantern brought forth, the room is revealed to be a meat locker; the majority of the meat appears to be from demi-humans. Chained to the walls are two humans and one gnome. The gnome appears to have been badly beaten.

The humans cry out, expecting to be next on the menu. When the party states that they will rescue them, the humans are excited. They reveal that they are merchants who were traveling through the area as part of a caravan. The caravan was attacked and they were brought here to the ogre’s pantry. They promise large rewards if they are released and taken back to the village; they must reach Dyvers (home of their businesses) in order to secure the reward. The gnome is very hurt and not able to answer many questions, simply saying that he was to be next on the ogre’s snack list.

Dire attempts to pick the locks on chains but fails. Brandis asks if there is a key or something to open the locks. The merchants suspect the key may be located above the door on the door frame. Kobort picks up Dire and nearly shoves his head into the ceiling. Dire locates the key and quickly unlocks the captives.

While he is doing this, a loud knocking his heard coming from the junk room next door. A voice yells out, sounding much like the ogre’s voice. Quickly, the party makes a plan: Zhanna will lock the group inside the pantry and use her cloak to turn invisible. Dire will climb a pillar and hope he isn’t seen. Depending on what happens, they will either attack whatever is bashing its way into the room or leave it alone.

Just as the party is locked inside and Zhanna and Dire make their "escape", the outer door to the trash room is bashed in. A hoarse cry is heard as whatever it is finds the ogre’s body. Suddenly, a smaller ogre runs into the room, apparently looking for the killers.

Realizing that the killers would not be able to lock themselves in the meat locker from the inside, the small ogre rushes to the southeast corner of the room. It quickly opens a secret door and moves through, apparently thinking that the attackers might have found it and used it to escape. Though Dire was unable to see how the opening mechanism worked from his position, Zhanna was able to get close enough to see.

Once the ogre leaves, Zhanna and Dire release the rest of the party from the meat locker. A quick discussion is held as to whether to continue on in the search of the dungeon or to head back to the village. The merchants convince the group to return so everyone gathers up what they can and head back upstairs.

Being the middle of the night, and not relishing to walk back to the village in the dark, the group decides to bed down in the spider’s tower, after a thorough search to ensure there are no other surprises. In the morning, they will return to the village and divy up the loot they have found so far.
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Forte Guido

coming soon...
Session: Sulescu - Friday, Dec 28 2012 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
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Epic!