Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest Post: From the Journal of Sandy the Dwarf

The first guest post here at the Clash of Spear on Shield. This is from +Daniel McEntee  who plays the Dwarven Fighter, Sandy, in Ephemera.

**********

So's I hung back for a day. I had plenty of their guff, and 'cept for the fact that their magic is real, ida gone another way. But them star stones, well they're a sight to see. And supposedly ther'ins more of em – 7 or 8 – so I had to catch up tonight.

Them magisters, well they're a houghty up 'n up full of themselves, but they keep me from hav'n to take the wurst of it. One poor fool called John the Rotund is a volunteer, but two others are charmies: a goblin – Tub (like a container of butter, definitely mush between then pointy green ears), and new to me one of the dwarve's dark kin goin' by the strangest name yet – Bob.

So's I find 'em hunkered down in some ole kitchen, complainin' agin bout how they runt outta spells and jokin' about ground poundin' and some other sort a poundin'. Seems they found an ole bunkroom within a few skels. Spindly things all dried up. So I rouse the group up and head for the door. Can't believe the cowardice. Pull out a couple iron bits holdin' another door to th' north and lead the way in.

Sure enough, them mages got nothin' but hidin' in the back. So's I say just chuck stuff that burns at 'em and I go to work tryin' out this new axe with a purty sharp edge and seein' about getting the timing down with my bastage sword. A couple misses on my part and I get whomped once, heh – jest a tickle.  John and me toe the line with Bob an' Tub. One o' the mages throws all his oil at a pair, crisps one and lights the other (they wuz nothin but walkin' tindling wood). John takes one skel, Bob gets a shot in an' I finish 'em off. Okay room – one of the rooms long gone inhabitants (one of the skels?) left a nice silver chain an' locket with an inscription (May Balus bless you my dearest brother) an' a picture of some scrawny human lass (them humans yre so naked an' hopeless without a good dwarven beard).

Nothin' more there, we head on into one of the best rooms yet. All around, lookin' like painted murals, is a good view of the trees outside the dungeon's entrance – 'cept there's Satyrs and Satyresses (that's what the mages called 'em) including one guy that must be the group's elder or some sorta God. Centered in the room is a carven crystal skylight looking like a sun and shinin' down on a pedestal. I gets an idea and grabs our star stone, puts in on the pedestal and everything gets all shimmery.  Boy'o that light was nice an warm 'n comfy. I look over at the elder sat' and give him a thanks an' a wave, and sure 'nuf, I'm pretty sure he winked at me outta the picture.

Now the mage, the real snotty one called Conner, gets in his head to check a hunch and pulls out a dagger. Gettin' his meanin' I offer to give Bob a Dwarven head butt'n greetin', but noooo, Connert "asks" Bob to cut himself, an' only a tiny bit. Bob does (lapdog) and heals up in that light. So'kay we're off again.

Round a corner we come to another room, fight over door openin' procedures (yes human sized doors might allow for higher shootin' traps, but if ye were to trap a door, it'd be dumb not to take the trespasser in the low center). Anywho, we go in to a little bedroom with a wardrobe and chest. I open the wardrobe first – lookin for a secret back or floor – and sure enough, one of the ROBES attacks me. Nice of them to tell me about this thing after it's almost got me. I shrug it off, cut it in half, and go help with the chest (who ever heard of a linen golem?). A key under the matress unlocks the chest and I open it. We find a silver statuette, some gold, and, paydirt, the next starstone. Purty.

Yay – time to celebrate. Into the next room to fight some more skels. Again I lead (you know why right – dwarves would rather be in front than starin' at a human ass). John fights valiantly (yes I'm exaggerating, but he was half dead to start carrying all that weight of his) but not successfully – down he goes – after a good shot on a first skel he'd drawn too much attention. So – more practice time for me next time! A lot of smart mouthin' from one mage, and Bob and I finish off the last three skels. I've taken another shot, but I wrap it up. Turns out we're in some kinda library. Egbert, in a characteristic fit of passion, looks at his torchbearer who is lamenting the loss of his friend, and says "Don't worry there's more where he came from." Poor dudes – yes, he does not care about you.

So we find a hidden panel with a scroll of protection from magic 10' in the skel's library, and an attached laboratory with a potion bottle – looks like healin'. That first one was good after the first fight. Since I'm up front, the "meat shield" gets first dibs on the best drinks, an' well it help'd remove a big ole skel splinter.

We're about to camp out an I suggest we head back for some more sun rays (healed me up). The pillows look a bit used, but despite the jokes about stains, this is a pretty cool room. I like this Satyr dude. He's a better companion than the arrogant mules I've got for a party. At least they're sincere.

From the journal of Sandy, dwarven bucketeer and noble buckethead.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ephemera Mausoleum

I have erected a virtual monument to PCs and NPCs who have perished in Ephemera. It's best viewed with your computer's sound on. You can click on the tab above or just click here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ephemera Session 5: Light, Loss and the Star of the Maiden

Cast of Characters

Conner, Magic-User ( +Tim Shorts )
Egbert, Magic-User ( +Rob Conley  )
Sandy, Dwarven Fighter ( +Daniel McEntee  )
John the Rotund, NPC Hireling Fighter (KIA)
Alfred, NPC Torchbearer
Tub, NPC Charmed Frost-Goblin Guard
Bob, NPC Charmed Swarthy Dwarf

After exploring the refectory in the abandoned Temple of Balus at the end of the last session, the party returns to the room they had spiked shut previously and take down the four skeletons they had seen there.

Moving on, they enter a Prayer Hall, containing murals of satyrs and satyresses, dancing in the woods. One older, larger satyr seems to preside over the frolic. In the center of the ceiling, some 50' up, is a skylight carved in the shape of the sun, through which daylight filters down in a 10' diameter column. In the center of the column of light is a pedestal on which nothing sits.

Sandy reaches his hand into the light and finds that it feels "healthy and wholesome" and senses there is something magical about it. When he casts a glance at the older satyr in the mural, he could swear its eyes twinkle.

Curious about the light, Conner asks Bob, the swarthy dwarf (charmed NPC), to give himself a minor cut on the hand and then extend his hand into the light. Some grumbling, coaxing, and a reaction roll later, and Bob complies. The tiny wound heals immediately.

Continuing onward, the party enter what was, apparently, the high priest's chamber, and therein are attacked by another Phantom Cloak. Sandy reacts very quickly to this one and dispatches it before it can do any harm. A search of the room yields several objects of interest including a silver statue in the form of the sun atop columns of light extending downward, and small box with a brass plaque labeled "The Star of the Maiden." The box contains a brilliant pink gem, similar to the one previously discovered on the Frost Demon's Island, which bore the legend "Star of the Courtier."

Pleased with this discovery the party move on to the next room which turns out to be a library. Another four skeletons are encountered, and though they are destroyed, it is not without loss. Egbert's hireling fighter, John the Rotund is slain by the undead fiends.

However, the party discover a secret compartment in the wall, in which they find a Scroll of Protection from Magic (10' radius).

The party advance into the next room, an alchemical laboratory, where they find a potion in a bottle with a sun symbol on it, whose color and consistency resembles that of a Potion of Cure Light Wounds they had found earlier.

In a bid to revive the deceased John the Rotund, the party return him to the Prayer Hall. They lay his body within the column of light, hoping it will bring him back. The light seems to form a sparkling aura around him, as if magic were at play that was trying to work, but nothing happens.

And with that, we ended the session.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun BS Session on Google Hangouts

+Tim Shorts ran a cool BS session over on Google hangouts last night. I stopped in on it a bit, and it was nice to finally be able to attach faces and voices to blog-writers I've been reading for years. I don't know how many people finally showed up, but it seemed to be standing room only (with a limit of 10 people at a time), and hard to get in at times. Which was good, since that meant people were really interested. And participants inside were cool about dropping out from time to time to give others a chance to get in (though I don't know if everyone who wanted to get in actually got to do so in the end). All in all an excellent event. Thanks to Tim for organizing it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ephemera Session #4: Phantom Cloaks, Bones, and Sulphur

After taking down Ellis, the man-eating dwarf minotaur, the Cindarrin rest up for a couple of days in Alden village, allowing their stalwart hireling fighter, John the Rotund, to heal up.

Conversing with the new village leader, Lana, the heroes learn of three possible leads that might get them more information about the prophecy and gem – "The Star of the Courtier" – which they acquired on the Frost Demon's Island.

1. They might head to the woods to the southeast, where there is a statue Lana once saw inscribed with the name "Millenia" deep in kobold territory.

2. They might head west to the tower of an old sage of whom Lana's grandmother sometimes spoke.

3 They might head north to the village of Tarn, which, according to Wanderers Lana has spoken to, is a somewhat larger village where the Cindarrin could possibly find individuals who know something of the prophecy and the Star.

The party decided to adopt the latter course of action. After four days' marching, the heroes approach the village which, from a hilltop, they can see off toward the north horizon as they make camp for the night.

In the pre-dawn darkness, they hear footsteps running toward them from the direction of the village. A figure approaches out of the shadows sprinting hard, and Darius casts a charm spell on the runner before the latter knows what hits him.

Between Darius' high charisma and his spell-casting, 
he could charm the pants off even the surliest villain.

It is a young man named Sam – perhaps 16 or 17 years old – who is fleeing Tarn village. A certain "King Gor" has taken over the village with his dwarven minions. He and his henchmen killed the high priestess, Regina, defiled the shrine to Flora, and has been sending small parties of young people Sam's age north under escort of his swarthy dwarves.

Each time, the dwarves return several days after they depart, without the young folk who left with them. Each time, King Gor is frustrated and furious, and takes it out on the population of Tarn.

Sam was to depart with the next batch in the following couple of days and, rather than await his doom, he managed to escape in the night, running until the party stopped him.

The party ask Sam to take them north, around the town of Tarn to see where the dwarves are taking the young adults of the village. A day later, the Cindarrin wait hidden, and spy the dwarves marching a new group of four teenagers north across the plains. The Cindarrin let them pass, then follow their tracks through the tall grass.

On the third day following the dwarves and their captives, a rain begins to fall, and the heroes decide to pick up the pace and catch up with the dwarves before the trail is lost as the rain gets heavier and starts to flatten out the grass.

The rain and dusk mask the Cindarrin's approach from behind as the dwarves make camp. One sleep spell from Egbert and the foes are subdued. The prisoners are set free and sent into hiding. One dwarf is wakened and charmed. A quick lie explains the absence of the prisoners and convinces the dwarf – named Bob – that the Cindarrin were sent to him by King Gor because the other dwarves in his band were traitors. The sleeping "traitors" are quickly executed, and the party convince Bob to take them to the place he normally delivers the young people of Tarn.

Bob takes the party one more day's march north into a pine forest, and shows the group a temple where he has been bringing the prisoners. The party decide to explore.

Conner very cleverly discovers a hidden "light switch" in the entry hall to the temple which illuminates torches throughout the structure. After a battle with a phantom cloak that very nearly kills Conner (down to 1 hp), the group then discover a former dormitory inhabited by four skeletons. The skeletons are wearing not-so-old clothing that is very similar in style to that worn by Sam and the other young Tarnsters.

The Cindarrin quickly slam the door and spike it, and move on to explore another path.

Their exploration takes them through an old kitchen to a storage room, again with a band of skeletons similar to the first. Once more, the door is quickly re-shut. Conner however, did not fail to note that the old crates, boxes and barrels in the storage room were piled quite high. The party opens the door again, and this time John (the hireling), Tub (the charmed Goblin from the Frost Demon's Island), and Bob (the newly charmed dwarf), push over top-heavy piles of containers onto the skeletons, smashing them to bits.

Passing through the storage room, the party finally come to a room containing four pedestals in a line, each with a glass dome containing a pillow on which sits a different human(oid) bone fragment. Before touching anything, Darius scans the walls of the room and notes several small pipes set in the stonework. Getting closer to the pipes he notes the faint scent of oil and sulphur.

The party decide not to touch anything, and backtrack to the entry hall.

They opt to examine one more room nearby which turns out to be an old refectory, before returning to the room with the fours skeletons that they had previously spiked shut.

After the Cindarrin searched the refectory for anything of use or value we ended for the night.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Adventure Sound Bites

I haven't been noting sound bites in the sessions where I'm GM, for fear of slowing the game while taking down quotes. However the other Ubergoobers encouraged me to do it anyway last night as we ran our fourth Ephemera session, and jotting down the odd phrase here and there really didn't disrupt the game. So without further delay, here are last night's clips...

*****

Player A: I  am a mage.
Player B: We're all mages, ding-dong.

(There were three PCs in the party, all magic-users.)

*****

Player A: Quick, close the door again!
Player B: And which side of it do you want to be on when we do?

*****

"What did you do? Swallow a mouthful of Gygax?"

(One player was employing a rather large number of cumbersome, hard-to-understand words like "tangentially" and "crepuscule" and "antidisestablishmentarianism." Not those words, exactly, but you get the idea. The others thought he was channelling Gary.) 

*****

While Egbert is stroking himself, I'll tie up the dwarves.

(Nowhere near as dirty in reality as it sounds out of context.)

*****

You want the hut for free, but the previous owners were incontinent.

*****

I use the anatomically correct mini to point out where the dark dwarf touched me...

He touched my rod of lordly might.

*****

I get bitch-slapped by a linen golem, and you're  playing Santa Claus?!

*****


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chobham's Impenetrable Robe

Magic-Users only, +7 to AC. Hits by explosive blasts or by non-magic weapons do half damage. Additionally, the robe abrades any non-magical weapon that hits, with a 50% chance that the weapon in question will have a permanent -1 penalty. This penalty has the potential to stack with each successive hit on the robe.