Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young man in his late teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round table whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword wielding freaking Excalibur carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A man with movie star looks and a voice that belongs on the radio. Slowly coming to grips with the fact that he isn’t exactly human, but a “Lupus Dei” – “Wolf of God” – otherwise known as a Benandanti. He’s still cheery and always trying to make others happy, but has become a shrewd student of human behavior, which he uses for the benefit of the rest of his team. Lorenzo’s recently joined the Boston Fire Department as a volunteer as a means to get access to places he normally shouldn’t be able to go as well as medical gear and information that might not be available to the public. He’s become a master of spear fighting and like the rest of his brothers is a highly capable combatant.

Tagline: “You can take me to the gates of Hell, but I won’t back down and I won’t be turned around.”

Amos M. Humiston (20): The Linguist and Librarian. He is the brains to the rest of the group’s brawn; but by the same token, he’s slow and cautious compared to the other Orphans, preferring not to charge forwards until he has the answers that he’s looking for. Those same answers that he more than happily provides the rest of the group when they turns to him about the more esoteric aspects that they’re working with and against. Recently Amos has nearly completed his double Masters in Library & Information Science Archives and History and has also managed to get a rather special job lined up. He has also learned from others that he hold the potential to be a Sorceror which if unlocked would be able to enhance his already considerable talent with ritualistic magic.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he is tall, strong, and solidly good-looking, but deeply scarred from much combat. He’s missing his lower leg, which he lost fighting zombies. It is capped by a carbon fiber prosthetic that doesn’t seem to interfere much with his activities. A quiet and hard-working man, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He was cursed to carry a magical sword for a while, and gave into its Wrath before it was parted from him magically. He’s since given it up, in exchange for unknown burdens.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

To the Firehouse

The group heads back to the firehouse with Amos screaming across the sky wondering why he thought it was a good idea to ride the Manticore back to the firehouse. The boys finally get some rest and wake up to the smell of food but not enough for the manticore to share. Moving immediately towards collating the information that has accumulated. Blood on the map has managed to wander around the map showing where vampires have congregated. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign S1E9: Pulling Strings”

This post is for errata reports for Lost Hall of Tyr. I’ll post an ever-expanding table of what the suggested change is, the potential correction, and other notes.

Page From This To This Notes
1 target and 2d20 target-and-2d20 hypenation should match “target-and-3d6” format
1 target-and- 3d6 target-and-3d6 remove extra space between hyphen and 3d6
1 Open Game Licence v 1.0a Open Game Licence v 1.0a All bold for the formal title of OGL and SRD
1 Swords and Wizardy Complete Rules, Swords and Wizardry Complete Rules remove comma at end to keep format like all others
1 5.1 5.1 5.1 is part of the SRD title, bold it
1 Dungeon Grappling (small caps) Dungeon Grappling this is maybe the only place where titles aren’t in small caps; bold regular text only
1 Matthew J. Finch Matthew J. Finch. Period after Finch in both cases it appears
2 Ferth (FERTH) FERÐ (ferð) We use the funky th thing Ð for other places, let’s do it here, too
3 Unbookmarked Use TOC as basis for bookmarks; add bookmarks in PDF for all tables and box-text PDF has great hyperlinks and TOC, but no bookmarks
3 The Ridge Path, Dread River, Goblin Valley, The Domstollinn The Ridge Path, Dread River, Goblin Valley, The Domstollinn Bold section titles, as they’re higher level than chapter heads but lower than topic heads
5 Find/Replace 5e in bold regular with . . . 5e in small caps Keep all book and edition titles consistently formatted in Bold/Italic/Small Caps
5 The product introduces the “control” damage type. Each monster in the scenario is detailed in its Bestiary, complete with stats for grappling attacks (and the equivalent of a hit point maximum for grappling) that will be instantly familiar to even novice players of the game in any edition.
Grapple by making a normal hit roll (adding your bonus if you are proficient in Athletics, the 5e grappling skill), and if you exceed the Grapple DC— think of it as ‘Armor Class for grappling’—you roll damage, based on the hit die for your class and your Strength modifier. The more control damage you accrue, the more restrained the foe.
Grapple by making a normal hit roll (adding your bonus if you are proficient in Athletics, the 5e grappling skill), and if you exceed the Grapple DC— think of it as ‘Armor Class for grappling’—you roll damage, based on the hit die for your class and your Strength modifier. Dungeon Grappling introduces the “control” damage type. The more control damage you accrue, the more restrained the foe.
Each monster in Lost Hall of Tyr is detailed in its Bestiary, complete with stats for grappling attacks (and the equivalent of a hit point maximum for grappling) that will be instantly familiar to even novice players of the game in any edition.
I suspect that the phrasing in the book currently was edited beyond recognition; it really makes no sense as it reads. The rephrase is all the same sentences in a different order. Flows better, I think.
5 conttrol control typo
6 Incapacitated means incapacitated Incapacitated means incapacitated italics for emphasis
6 web web all spell names should be in italics unless they’re in titles
6 space – endash – space emdash This is fixed in all other chapters but the preface, which I rewrote. This is my GURPS training showing, as SJG doesn’t really use emdashes.
6 Dragon Heresy and Dragon Heresy RPG format in bold/italics/Small Caps book titles
7 Lost Hall of Tyr format in bold/italics/Small Caps book titles
7 modified ability score modified ability score. missing period
7 space – endash – space emdash This is fixed in all other chapters but the preface, which I rewrote. This is my GURPS training showing, as SJG doesn’t really use emdashes.
8 see Alternate Settings see Alternate Settings italics to emphasize that it’s a box title/topic header
9 freeman freemen
9 , and axes, they left , and axes, the hobgoblins left clarity
9 Without warning, ice exploded Without warning, winter exploded ice gets repeated in the next sentence, so tweaked
10 Elunad, a High Lady of Elunad, High Lady of too many “a” in this paragraph
11 Moving the tower and hall . . . Let’s make this a 4th bullet? It could stay the same; if we change it, I’d move the “Moving the tower” sentence between what are currently the 2nd and 3rd bullets, since the 2nd one is terrain, the dungeon is sorta terrain, and then we talk about gods
11 There is also a great deal of both rumor and fact . . . The Hall . .. , A mystical . . ., and There were several pathways are all bullet points, and should get the shield treatment This may break layout, and so we can forget it if needed
14 monsters and other things with hyperlinks bold them? I’ve seen this in OSR modules, where you might see: the hall is guarded by four kobolds, who are sleepy” or something like that. It might be useful to indicate, as we do with hyperlinks, that there’s more information in the back of the book. We can use underlines as well.
15 See Wilderness Survival for See Wilderness Survival for italicize the reference
15 the following table the Alternate Travel Plans table the table is no longer following in the layout!
16 Sploosh Sploosh italicize the reference
16 1d8-1×10 (1d8-1)x10 parens around 1d8-1
16 x10 ×10 use multiplication symbol for this, not “x”; occurs a few times on this page
17 jump, feather fall, levitiation, etc spell names should be in italics if they’re not in titles
19 Rewards. REWARDS. Rewards is actually a run-in caps title
19 awakened tree awakened tree (or another emphasis) as with line 29, some call-out of monsters that appear in the bestiary seems right to me here
19 greater invisibility greater invisibility spells in italics
21 hob and hobgoblin hob and hobgoblin monsters indicated by emphasis
21 inflicting control damage an athletics test control damage is “legacy code” and doesn’t apply anymore
21 a t wizard suffers a wizard suffers extraneous bold t
21 100′ per round (a mile every five minutes) 100′ per combat round (a mile every five minutes). differentiate between combat rounds and nebulous rounds in next section
21 dire wolves dire wolves monsters indicated by emphasis
24 x10 ×10 a careful execution of find/replace will catch this one too
25 see Alternatives, below see Alternatives, below italicize the reference
25 node stage I changed the lingo to be less esoteric in a rewrite
25 Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 bold them? secondary run-in title?
26 runes are mentioned show the actual runes in graphics, so players/GM can visualize? This might be a layout challenge, but if we could fit the blue runestones with the actual runes in them here, I think it would be cool.

What Happened Before

The team had tracked down a whole mess of stuff in order to sort out who was perpetrating all the badness over the last three days. We figured out that someone was likely using Babel Stones to help naturally force the Mist to help provide cover for the supernatural activities and even the mundane ones. We tried to take the fight to the enemy, but Kamali fell down a well or something and broke stuff. We healed him up, but discovered we were adjacent to the Labyrinth, the extra-dimensional space that The Conclave uses to test their members and also keep Bad Guys in jail. We meet the Lady of the Lake . . . or one of them, anyway . . . and trade in some of our problems for others. Including giving up the cursed sword to a lady with long experience in caring for magic swords. And Amos gave up his slingshot. He’s still long in the face about.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young man in his late teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round table whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword wielding freaking Excalibur carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A man with movie star looks and a voice that belongs on the radio. Slowly coming to grips with the fact that he isn’t exactly human, but a “Lupus Dei” – “Wolf of God” – otherwise known as a Benandanti. He’s still cheery and always trying to make others happy, but has become a shrewd student of human behavior, which he uses for the benefit of the rest of his team. Lorenzo’s recently joined the Boston Fire Department as a volunteer as a means to get access to places he normally shouldn’t be able to go as well as medical gear and information that might not be available to the public. He’s become a master of spear fighting and like the rest of his brothers is a highly capable combatant.

Tagline: “You can take me to the gates of Hell, but I won’t back down and I won’t be turned around.”

Amos M. Humiston (20): The Linguist and Librarian. He is the brains to the rest of the group’s brawn; but by the same token, he’s slow and cautious compared to the other Orphans, preferring not to charge forwards until he has the answers that he’s looking for. Those same answers that he more than happily provides the rest of the group when they turns to him about the more esoteric aspects that they’re working with and against. Recently Amos has nearly completed his double Masters in Library & Information Science Archives and History and has also managed to get a rather special job lined up. He has also learned from others that he hold the potential to be a Sorceror which if unlocked would be able to enhance his already considerable talent with ritualistic magic.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he is tall, strong, and solidly good-looking, but deeply scarred from much combat. He’s missing his lower leg, which he lost fighting zombies. It is capped by a carbon fiber prosthetic that doesn’t seem to interfere much with his activities. A quiet and hard-working man, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He was cursed to carry a magical sword for a while, and gave into its Wrath before it was parted from him magically. He’s since given it up, in exchange for unknown burdens.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Hey . . . Where Do These Stairs Go?

Dates: Starting Date: May-4-2000 (2030 hours) ends on May-5-2000 (0030 hours)

After we gaze at the Lady of the Lake’s departing . . . back . . . a set of stairs opens up and we follow them down into a very large cavern that seems to be made of natural-ish crystal formations. There are random objects here and there. Ancient stuff, mostly weapons and jewelry, armor and other wearables. We look around and get the feeling we shouldn’t be there.

We added another player today. Rob, playing Devin Broadhurst. We realize that he’s actually been there our entire lives. But our memory of him goes away as soon as we stop looking at him. Apparently we’re all either Dory or Fifty First Dates, Ceteri version.

Kamali calls out for Vivien, the “good” Lady of the Lake. She comes around the corner and her eyes are wide. “You shouldn’t be down here – you need to leave before she comes.”

Yeah, that’s the sister we want to avoid. Time to Bomb Squad this locale (“if you see me running, you want to be ahead of me). We beat feet out of there. Vivien follows us up the stairs . . . and a wooden old-style chest is, well, following her along. Bobbing and floating. She walks over to us, chest in tow, and Devin asks “what’s with the chest?”

It opens, and Devin peeks in. Swords, and all sorts of things. She reaches in, pulls out a sword, and hands it over to Gabe. And then she hands me a shield, made of all white metal, with a red cross decorated on it. It bears an uncanny resemblance to blood. “Ma’am, the last time I handled a weapon coated in blood, it didn’t end well for me.” “This is the shield of Josephus – the Shield of Evalach.

She pulls out the sword from the scabbard, and the blade is also white. “What’s it made out of ?” says Devin. “Faith,” says the Lady. “How do you make a material object out of faith?”

“With faith. This is Arondight, the sword of Lancelot du Lac.”

Kamali says “Devin, if you keep interrogating the nice lady with the weapons I’m gonna roundhouse-slap you to the face.”

She pulls out another sword, and dubs Kamali a knight with it. And hands it to Kamali. He looks at it . . . one side says “Take me up; the other says Throw me away.”

Oh. My. It’s Excalibur.  Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign: S1E8 – A Simple Wooden Cup”

What Happened Before

The team had just rifled through an occult shop, put the very angry ghost owner to rest, and “requisitioned” a bunch of blood for an unauthorized project. The group had chased after the source of blood that was being fed to vampires. The mission was to put the blood equivalent of a dye pack in the vamp food, so that we can use it to trace and then destroy the vampire threat. The occult shop visit was to get a better version of the tracking spell. The game ended before the ritual was completed.

One important note: the ritual to restore Myriam to life took a high toll on the team. In game-mechanical terms, each took a several-hundred-point haircut in the overall ability level. The core of each character is the same, but restoring life to the dead and leading such a strong spirit as Myriam back to the world of the living forced the team to pay a mental, spiritual, and physical price for her return. No one is the same as they were.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young man in his late teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round table whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A man with movie star looks and a voice that belongs on the radio. Slowly coming to grips with the fact that he isn’t exactly human, but a “Lupus Dei” – “Wolf of God” – otherwise known as a Benandanti. He’s still cheery and always trying to make others happy, but has become a shrewd student of human behavior, which he uses for the benefit of the rest of his team. Lorenzo’s recently joined the Boston Fire Department as a volunteer as a means to get access to places he normally shouldn’t be able to go as well as medical gear and information that might not be available to the public. He’s become a master of spear fighting and like the rest of his brothers is a highly capable combatant.

Tagline: “You can take me to the gates of Hell, but I won’t back down and I won’t be turned around.”

Amos M. Humiston (20): The Linguist and Librarian. He is the brains to the rest of the group’s brawn; but by the same token, he’s slow and cautious compared to the other Orphans, preferring not to charge forwards until he has the answers that he’s looking for. Those same answers that he more than happily provides the rest of the group when they turns to him about the more esoteric aspects that they’re working with and against. Recently Amos has nearly completed his double Masters in Library & Information Science Archives and History and has also managed to get a rather special job lined up. He has also learned from others that he hold the potential to be a Sorceror which if unlocked would be able to enhance his already considerable talent with ritualistic magic.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he is tall, strong, and solidly good-looking, but deeply scarred from much combat. He’s missing his lower leg, which he lost fighting zombies. It is capped by a carbon fiber prosthetic that doesn’t seem to interfere much with his activities. A quiet and hard-working man, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He was cursed to carry a magical sword for a while, and gave into its Wrath before it was parted from him magically. He’s since given it up, in exchange for unknown burdens.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Make it a Blood Light

The team, having retrieved the proper references, was digging into the spell to turn the blood into a tracking spell. The team returned to the firehouse to investigate the grimoire in peace. The spell is complex with many parts. We figure using the spell there are 300-1,000 vampires that might be reached by the spell. A roll against Path of the Undead at -16 is called for. Rituals usually go for “the nearest target,” but this is a Mass Seek spell. It’s way more complicated, and the blood we’ve “spiked” as a tracer makes it possible at all.

There are many physical components to the spell, and many of the team are still injured from the last session. We do have about 20 vampire teeth on Kamali’s necklace, which helps. We’re going to have to burn some serious fatigue/HP – we elect Fatigue, and toss in a lot. We need to make an Occult! roll to tap into another source of power, but the donations and skills push the net roll up to Path+3, so we kick butt. He makes the roll by 2, and the spell goes off as intended, we think. Even so, that just means the targets have to only beat their own resistance by 2 . . . so Kamali spends his Drama Card to boost the roll – it’s a great card, so we wind up with a margin of 8, which is much more difficult.

We’re pretty much wiped after that.

We send Lorenzo back with the blood to mix it in with the general supply. We check on Desiree (upstairs) and Carl senior (unconscious). We then chill out for a bit, and take stock of things we need to check out.

  • We have pixies looking for rumors and vampires
  • Running down any missing persons reports
  • Gabe goes on patrol to ensure that the team stayed safe during recovery
  • Heading to Elysium to check for rumors
  • Talk to Elias Muldoon – the criminal that told us
  • A creepy guy in the park (Vitala) whom we can ask three questions, no more, no less, and mysterious stuff if we dork it up
  • It’s only been three days since things blew up and Myriam got killed and all sort of bad. It’s basically 6pm on Day 3.

At this point I had to take a conference call from thailand; I missed a bit.

The group decided to go visit Edgar Creel, the homeless guy we spoke with a while ago that Amos thought might have been a vampire. Well, he’s wandering around in the daylight, so either he’s Blade or probably not a vamp. They also went through Desiree’s purse for a banking slip to see if the Conclave did banking at the same places that got hit. We were looking to do some forensic accounting to try and figure out which accounts got hit, and why. So follow the blood and bodies, and follow the loot and robbery victims, and that gives Gabe an idea.

Something blew up – that means explosives and that means someone bought or made them. We also have pieces of the truck, which will have residue on them.

Amos goes into high gear, and tries to get the information on what was used: det-cord, nitroglycerin, and gasoline. We deduce they made the explosive (nitroglycerin can be homemade) at the garage we went to visit. So we have another thing to track – the physical components of the attack. Det-cord has to be bought. Guns (used to attack us) are not exactly plentiful in Boston.

The map of trucks Amos can put together was 10 sites, 11 for Myriam. The remaining 8 violent sites were violent attacks, contract killings, and other violent nastiness. We wonder if there are trucks waiting to explode somewhere. We also find out that one of the contract killings was accomplished by Norse trolls – with swords. Another was killed by a kelpie; very dangerous this close to the harbor.

The kelpie vicitim was Janos Valentine, a prominent alchemist in the city. The troll victim (trolls, really, 3-5 against one guy) was Jesse Cusumano, a retired hunter. The alchemist liked to sell potions to the rich; he was very rich himself. Ooo – life extension and stuff. We need his client list.

The remaining six locations for the trucks were the bank robberies, the Conclave, and the conclave’s military police force, the Custos.

We also remind ourselves that with all of this coordination, across so many fronts, that there’s not nearly enough evidence. Gabe speculates that someone has set up just enough supernatural activity to cause the mist to react, which provides a level of obfuscation that would be extremely difficult to achieve through mundane coordination, but happens in a “self-organized” way when the strings are plucked in the right way. Some creatures can do this deliberately.

Babel stones can confuse communication, magical or otherwise. They act as active jammers; they can be detected. They theoretically could be used in a ritual that would only interfere with certain types of communications. That requires them to be on a ley line; Amos has a map of such from C-Team. Amos determines that there must be one location in a certain place. It’s rumored to be very haunted.

Take the Fight to the Enemy

We decide that we have an opportunity to get inside Team Bad’s OODA loop if we can put a magical wiretap on this stuff. The opportunity to get proactive is too tempting to pass up. We drive for an hour, and then have to hike . . . oh, crap. Merlin/Kamali takes 6 points of damage to his foot from a natural 18 Hiking roll crit fail. He turns his ankle when he falls into a cellar, buried in the rubble of Dogtown.

So we biff our chance to be proactive because of a bad die roll. Sigh. Frustrating.

Lorenzo does first aid; he’s not able to put pressure on the bone at all.

Gabe kneels down; he prays devoutly for some time. With a rustle of wings and the flap of a trench-coat, Gabe’s hands glow brightly, and the injury is completely healed. Completely. Kamali lurches around, and finds a piece of the cellar he’s in, and he just knows that there’s a panel in the wall, and a secret one. The door doesn’t open, the stone opens like in some Harry Potter-esque tesselation stuff, and there’s a stairway down. The flashlight immediately burns out when we turn it on the stairs.

Shield and sword at the ready, Gabe leads the way. We go down, and sense that we’ve gone down at least seven fights of stairs – nearly impossible. And there’s a dim glow down there. We keep on. As we get to the bottom, the cross Gabe wears around his neck bursts into brilliant light. He offers his thanks, both silently and audibly.

We arrive at a large door, 5-6 feet across, with hinges on both sides but no handle. There’s light coming under the door. We knock three times. Then after a pause, there are three hugely loud knocks, and the door swings inward from the left. We see a hallway with odd grey cobblestones. The hallway is 20-30 feet long. Gabe moves quickly down the hallway, and starts to go left; Amos actually sees symbols all over the wall, but no one else does. They’re in Enochian and other languages. Amos reads them . . . he can’t not. Blood comes out of his nose and eyes as he reads the Latin and other symbols. Gabe invokes Protection from Evil; nothing happens. We try and move him; he’s frozen in place. Kamali uses his Ten-Hut! skill and crits, trying to boost his will, and the next Will roll at +2 and he snaps out of it.

He says something, and we’re all blown backwards by a supernatural shock wave.

Amos just encountered, and learned, a logos. A word of power. (Power Word: Stun? Nah.) It’s burned into his soul, now.

Kamali wonders what this place looks like on the Astral plane . . . and as soon as he thinks of it, the door slams shut. We’re fairly sure we’re Inbetween. We’ve managed to stumble into the Labyrinth. The conclave’s prison and testing ground. The center of this prison is where they put their worst criminals. The conclave also uses it to test their would-be sorcerers. We’ve stumbled into their testing grounds.

So, the left-handed hallway just opens up into this area with grass, trees, and a lake. We try right. It opens up into a field with trees and a lake, the exact mirror of the other one. Alder, ash, birch, and a smooth-leaved elm. All the trees we’re seeing look like Briton. Kamali feels like we want to go right . . . so we go right. We smell apples. We also see something man-sized moving under the water, leisurely. A crown of blonde hair, and a woman walking, dressed in white. Her dress seems completely dry.

I think she’s the Lady of the Lake. THE lady, as in Excalibur. We’ll see.

Kamali greets her. She smiles. She’s still walking – on top of the water – towards us. Gabe kneels politely. The rest back away.

She picks up a leaf, the same one that was on the door, and hands it to Kamali. “I’m glad you chose me and not my sister.”

“Well, I had a feeling this was the good way. Where are we?”

“You’re in the heart of the labyrinth. Not the center, the heart.”

“How do we get out?”

A door appears.

“I feel like there’s something that we’re here to do. Is something going on here.”

She’s very concerned. The folks that help her maintain the labyrinth have been out of communication. They locked on to Kamali’s light.

We quickly explain why we’re here. She gives Amos a ring; it’s a ring of Dispel. It will break any enchantment. Gabe mutters about his sword. She notes it’s tightly bound to me, and also that I could give it to her. There were nine swords that were made. Three to Titania, three to Maeve, and three to the High King. I have one of Maeve’s. She could take it, but she’d have to give me something back to balance.

I’m tempted. 

The original Merlin bound them here – she’s Vivian, her (nastier) sister is Nimue.

The Ladies of the Lake. Hrm. They’re fairly well qualified to handle swords of all types, it would seem.

Gabe decides to pray. He remembers something from TS Elliot. The mythical excalibur had two phrases on it: One was “Take me up.” The other was “Throw me away.”

“I have taken up the sword of wrath, and used it well and poorly. It is time to return wrath, and return to diligence and devotion. I will accept any burden you choose to place upon me in exchange.”

“So be it.”

Kamali offers up his own sword; Lorenzo offers up his guitar.

Vivian looks at Amos, and gives his slingshot the side-eye. Gabe reminds Amos that there is a time to leave behind childish things.

He hands over the slingshot. She turns and walks back into the lake.

****************

We end there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Murphy’s Laws and Complications

When we last left off, we got a lot of information from the vampire that was interrogated. Myriam is unconscious but alive and set up with a drip. In the meantime, the boys went out hunting, the first safehouse was taken down flawlessly, but the second one had a lot of trouble and somehow everyone knew that they were coming, either that or they had gotten lucky. But the sheer amount of vampires overwhelmed the group, Timothy had held them off the best that he could taking down the entire warehouse with him in a fiery inferno. When they come back to check, there are just too many bodies to even try to identify his remains.

Slightly defeated, the boys return back to the firehouse.

Looking for direction, Kamali turns to Aldrick to question him.  Asking him for what is going on with the city, learning that someone had just disabled the largest werewolf pack in the city. It seems like there’s something out there pulling strings, taking down chess pieces from the board. Asking them if they know what a Vetala is. A spirit that jumps from corpse to corpse from outside of the dharmic cycle from Indian myths, though he tends to be a real ass, and this one in particular seems to really enjoy high class drinks and while they normally hang around graveyards, this guy seems to prefer hanging out at a skate park that Kamali seems to know about.

Aldrick hands the boys some asafetida, a powder that is meant to protect from spirits, and warns them not to ask any questions within range of the Vetala and to keep themselves straightforwards. Not willing to actually work with a spirit medium, Amos goes back to working on his murder boards on how to work with things. He confirms Kamali’s theory that there’s someone pulling the strings, but there’s also a hole in that there’s been a large amount of lower class disappearing and that there’s some links that bring them back to the unseelie fae.

Looking also for places that vampires may have breaking into clinics and ordering blood from butchers. After ruling out the restaurants that serve blood sausages, the boys also think about getting some food and maybe checking out a bar for information. At about halfway into the afternoon, the boys decide to actually head over there.

The place is packed with several various supernatural folks and it’s hard to get a table. There’s even a few sorcerors in full war gear and a man in a mullet staring at a thick red liquid in a glass with a stalk of celery. Gabe storms up and starts harassing the man asking if he’d like a steak causing a confrontation while the other boys throw out a couple orders for the local special of Death Wings before sitting down at the man’s table.

Ordering the man another Bloody Mary and got the death wings. Amos chomps down on the wings while the others choke on the wings and are in rather a large amount of pain while Gabe stands menacingly behind him with a glass of water. The man spills out the name Annie, one of the Murphys as the vampires start stuttering and trying to convince Kamali that there’s numerous things that don’t connect him to the island going poof. Kamali demands his wallet and takes the man’s cash and sneaking a glance at his driver’s license and seeing the name William Boone.

Instead Kamali starts demanding information and that the man volunteers at certain shelters and then Kamali instead started to push and verbally attack William under the pretense of doing the right thing. Cowed by Kamali and driven into a corner by Gabriel, William writes down an amount of addresses to crosscheck later and then lets on that a meeting will be happening later that night at Elysium before slinking out.

Afterwards, the Table Pixies come out and Amos is more than happy to order them a large meal causing an ear piercing whistle that gathers more when Kamali pulls out a large bag of skittles. A single table pixie sits down and ask what the group wants and Kamali asks for them to keep an ear out for vampires and their plans. Agreeing to it, the pixies exchange numbers with Kamali and things spread out while Gabriel heads back to the firehouse to check on Myriam.

The group plans out what they can do, possibly by tracking down the blood itself by using a tracking spell for things. Pulling out blood, tainting it, and putting it back for the vampires to tag all of them.  Acting on that, they head to the Conclave safehouse for a basic ritual and ingredients and then stops by The Sleeping Dormouse to try to find a better grimoire on the shelves, slipping in through the back door where there’s no police tape.

Kamali detects the spirit of the slain owner and starts trying to help the spirit go to the other side as it grows mad and starts becoming a poltergeist. The others try to talk it down, eventually snapping out of it once Amos takes a chair to the abdomen. Telling them that they need to find something within the room and make sure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, forbidden to speak more about it due to an oath and to find his heir, his daughter Luana Conatser before begging to be exorcised.  Kamali and Amos help each other to help Rhys’s spirit over.

Once gone, they search for the objects revealing a single lockbox with an empty foam core about the size of a missing book and another lockbox, thousands of years old and full of shattered remains. A quick look through says that it’s the shattered remains of a philosopher stone, useful for making a new one. Worth millions of dollars to the right buyer and even more to an alchemist. Quickly shutting the lid on that, Amos turns his search for a useful grimoire for the tagging spell, finding a really useful one within the shelves and deciding against leaving an IOU for it. The session ends with a cooler full of blood packs and a grimoire full of power.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Interviewing a Vampire

Having last left off pulling away from the chop shop that housed a large amount of vampires and a summoned demon. With a staked vampire wrapped in duct tape and a shop tarp stuck in the trunk of Timothy’s car, the boys end up back at the firehouse where they find Desiree searching for them, collapsing barely moments after the boys’ return.

The boys start ragging on each other as Gabe looks over Desiree. Amos’s slingshot, Timothy’s attitude, Kamali’s leadership, Lorenzo being a werewolf. Carl tries to defuse the situation.  Amos finally just tells the boys to go interrogate the vampire back at the original safehouse as he goes off to deal with a phone call promising a favor or bookcases.

Catching onto what the boys were saying, the fire chief suggests that they instead take the subject down to an interview room with Timothy trying to see if he can how much a vampire can resist. The boys take turns intimidating and interrogating the vampire while Kamali tries to interpret what the vampire is able to spit out after everything that the deal.

The first question comes out, asking about the master vampire. Unknowing who actually was throwing out orders as he gets commands through cell phones. Instead the one that might know is the leader, the vampire that fled the chop shop out into the sunlight towards another safehouse. There’s been a large amount of safehouses, brought up through the past two years. Pressed further he points out three safehouses on an old map.

The one that managed to leave, his leader Osvaldo D. Aubuchon, was able to summon the demon as a powerful sorcerer.  A former Nazi and now vampire.

Exhausted, the vampire passes out from the cold-blooded torture and the boys discuss the best way to remove the body, finally deciding to ask the Fire Chief to help them. The body is blended into chunks and removed into the water off the pier.

It took a while, but Amos finally comes back from his escapade with someone else in tow. Agrivaine.  The boys comes back up the stairs chatting about how the interview with the vampire went as they spot Amos and Agrivaine.

Aldrick comes riding up towards the firehouse with a bundle in tow, staring at Aggie with a glare as though he’s asking how come he isn’t prepared already.  Kamali and Timothy get into a fight with Agrivaine but are interrupted by a bear’s roar that shakes the very pier that they stand on. A truce now set, the boys move into the first floor of the firehouse.

Ritual Myriam

The bear shifter explains the ritual that there needs to be a ritual, cast by Agrivaine and anchored by Gabriel and himself. A sacrifice is needed to be try to bring her along the road back. Aldrick shames the boys that are in the middle of an argument and tells them to prepare the ritual.

The world of death is different for everyone, but the main goal is to face death and prove that they should be worthy to bring her back. Different tasks and different people for everyone.

To make sure that the ritual succeeds, Amos hands over two ingredients to Agrivaine, one of the shambler hearts that he so recently acquired along with one of the baggies full of Ifrit ashes. Amos draws a smaller symbol and asks for the fire chief to recreate it in larger version in the room as he aids Agrivaine. The boys throw in more into the pot for sacrifice.

Aldrick, off to the side starts a small fire in a brazier and throws water on it to create steam. Telling the boys to think merely of Myriam, of how they raised them and how they were brought up by her. Beyond as Agrivaine calls out to someone to help him with the dance.

The spell cast, the fire bursts out and dies down as they’re pulled into another plane, Aldrick tells them that the beating of his drum is connected to their heartbeats and to follow the doors to her spirit and no matter what happens. . . and then he’s cut off.

The boys walk through a door leading to the BBQ three days ago at the park, everyone is there, Carl’s father, Carl, Myriam, and the girls waving towards them. Tempted to go to her, Amos is instead pulled back by Kamali and he silently follows the boys as they bypass them and walk towards the closed door of a bathroom. Kamali lays hand on the doorknob while back in reality, Agrivaine is brought back home.

Within the door, the boys and Agrivaine find themselves within a lavishly decorated bedroom along with a tall blonde man that seems to know Aggie. Telling him that he won’t be coming back from things. Kamali’s soul sight sees the blonde as a demon, festered with sin. The boys keep watch as Aggrivaine and the familiar man start discussing what is happening while Kamali starts picking a fight with the new man.

The next door appears to be within a dollhouse, shrinking themselves down and finding the door stuck. Timothy steps forwards and lockpicks the doorway, leading them to step into a garden with only an old man that calls himself Anubis, speaking to them about gardening and Agrivaine equates it to drug dealing as Anubis speaks with Kamali about past debts being owed. That they would have to go through the gate after talking, that one of them may die afterwards.

Turning to Amos, the old man gives him a frankincense tree and the long forgotten cat, Hobbes, pops out of his coat pocket and comes to speak with the old man before being handed back to Amos, trying to juggle the small tree and the kitten in his hands as the gate swings open, Kamali senses a lot of danger beyond and tries to pry past the games being played.

Within that door, they find the landscape of the lodge in the Yukon where the boys stumble upon a demon gnawing upon the body of Gabe. The beast starts forwards, drawing a large halberd from the snow and swinging against Lorenzo and Timothy in a cleaving blow that Lorenzo barely manages to dodge, the immense strength sends Timothy flying as Agrivaine’s staff appears in his hand by himself. In response, Lorenzo draws out his werewolf side.

Kamali, in his stead, he draws out his Astral Sword to begin while Amos pulls out his slingshot and Aggie’s attempt to turn it slides right off as Lorenzo’s clothing explodes outwards under the pressure of the fur.

The demon charges past the newly transformed werewolf and attacks Agrivaine, Kamali, and Timothy all at once. Timothy manages to get away while Kamali dives onto Aggie to protect him. Lorenzo, in a hulked out form, grapples the demon’s arm and wrests the halberd from his control as Kamali rolls forwards and slashes at the demon’s feet, managing to cripple it. Agrivaine, on the other hand, manages to recognize who might be controlling it.

Timothy tries to reconnect with the spirit daggers from old, summoning them to his hands and dropping the demonic dagger. Charging forwards, the spirit weapons tear through the demon’s DR, tearing out the heart from the ribcage. But it came with a price as the demon dagger comes back around and flies straight into his vitals.

Kamali grasp the demon’s halberd while Agrivaine, before the last gasp of the demon, casts bond of servitude on the demon’s spirit and sends it to annoy the blonde from before. Forced to deal with the dagger in Timothy’s back. Agrivaine’s hand bursts into white light and grasps the dagger, forcing himself into Timothy’s head.

Timothy and Agrivaine enter in and speak against the fallen angel inhabiting the dagger while the spirit of the stag appears alongside. Debates about contracts with Timothy freaking out, backing towards the stag. Agrivaine attempts to explain what he can do for Timothy in this situation, but he tries to deny what he does beyond doing trying to save people with his knives and in an aspect of inspiration, Agrivaine showed him the truth behind his actions.

Timothy’s mental torture begins as he suffers every wound he inflicted on an innocent person. Shown what could have been for them, could have been for all of them and himself.

He is given a single chance.

And he takes his path.

The dagger gets dragged away by a man in black as Timothy slowly wakes.

Lorenzo helps heal Timothy and they limp their way into the doorway of the lodge, leading into a bowling alley. The only exit leading out into darkness. A man tells the boys to sit down and tells the boys to do the same and starts asking why she deserves to come back and with Kamali’s outburst decides to ask Myriam if she wants to come back.

Confused about where she is before she comes back to herself and starts asking what happened to her and the boys since things started happening. She’d been dying for a long time, coming back and forth between the realms and with a decision, she says that she’d like to come back though Kamali tries to dissuade her.

But at the mention of Vampires, she focuses immediately and asks if it was the specific vampire, the possible sire of Landry. He that killed everyone’s parents. The day that things occurred was part of a planetary alignment, time for a perfect sacrifice. Asking to know about their parents, their siblings, and relatives.

Timothy’s role as a Son of Cain is revealed to the rest of the boys, that he shares that same lineage with Grendel and his Mother, that Aldrick doesn’t enjoy his kind as Death lets folks know more. That Myriam has a sidhe making her charms, protecting her against death.

“I want to come home.”

Holding onto her boys, that was the last thing she spoke to her boys before the boys took a drink from the glasses that death supplied to the boys. The bundle that Aldrick brought in glows with light and the sound of breathing can be heard. Aldrick speaks with Agrivaine while the boys argued with him, save Amos. Making sure that Aggie has his contact information in case he or Yanay needs anything. The sorcerer finally slinks away, taking Trisha with him.

Howdy! I’m back from possibly the worst travel itinerary I’ve had inflicted on me in my 17 years working at my company. From Thailand to Minneapolis, I sat in hotel rooms or airport layovers for 36 hours, while actually moving from place to place in cars and airplanes for perhaps 24 hours. I am pretty much a wastoid right now, but soldier on anyway.

In any case, we’re entering the last six days of the Kickstarter. I was greeted by three reviews or pieces of commentary on my return, and all paint a favorable picture of Lost Hall of Tyr. I’ll present them in the order I read them, and quote them in full where appropriate.

Actual Play Report

The best feedback is “I played the game and it worked for me.” That’s the summary of this report by Anders:

Lost Hall of Tyr” is Douglas Cole’s adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, made to showcase his Dungeon Grappling rules. It is set in Torengar, a country heavily inspired by the Old Norse and the goal is to regain lost books supposedly penned by one-handed Tyr, god of war, law and sacrifice.

I ran the adventure with seven 5th-level characters (which is probably more than it is recommended for) and it took about four hours to run. Cole has done a good job of capturing the flavor of Norse mythology and blending it with the Dungeons and Dragons feel. The adventure contains plenty of both fighting and non-fighting challenges. We had a lot of fun with the game, although I’m a little worried about how the final challenge would go with a less powerful party. You might have to adjust for that.

The adventure comes complete with a map of northwest Torengar and encounter maps for all the challenges that require them. It is excellent quality and I would recommend anyone interested in 5th edition to pick it up and play, and (obviously) to back the Kickstarter.”

I should note that his players didn’t engage with the grappling rules at all, which was good proof for me that in fact you can just run it straight. They went full hack-and-slash through the entire thing.

I will put in some advice about the final encounter, though, into the section on Alternatives for that fight. There are some things that aren’t entirely obvious about the big fight at the end that make it easier, and a few switches that can be thrown if the party is truly understrength.

Eric Diaz (Methods and Madness)

First impressions on +Douglas Cole’s Lost Hall of Tyr, based on the 52-page, yer unfinished, PDF:  

It seems like a very genuine exploration of Norse culture and conditions. It uses not only norse gods, it seems, but norse religion, with beliefs, rituals, folklore, etc.

It has detailed (and very reasonable) rules on cold, starvation, dehydration,e etc.  

The adventure itself if more focused on overland travel than the actual Hall. It is a very straightforward adventure, with branching paths, multiple ways to solve each encounter, and so on.  

The art I’ve seen so far is very good to – above average IMO. It also contains rules for Dungeon Grappling, Douglas’ last supplement – which I reviewed and enjoyed quite a lot. The PDF is $5 with this kickstart and I would DEFINITELY recommend getting it too.

If you want a realistic, norse-themed adventure, with support for overland travel, check this one out.

Justin Folkerts (Kickstarter Reviews)

Lost Hall of Tyr: a 5e Adventure

So this one, I’m conflicted about. not about the project – looks awesome. not what I would purchase because I don’t tend to get adventures unless they are HUGE and mega (wink wink).  

But, D&D has this dungeon masters Guild http://www.dmsguild.com/ which is EXACTLY suited for this sort of project, and a location that is desperate for high quality products like this one obviously appears to be.

Ideally, and with synergy, a KS project like this would follow the below arc:  

  • Stage 1: kickstart the project to fund it, get it built to the quality standards you are looking for. this pays for the upfront costs of art and cartography and editing etc.  
  • stage 2: kickstarter funders get the opportunity to purchase a dead tree version or some other exclusive as a reward for funding this project  
  • Stage 3: once published and released to the funders, IMMEDIATELY put this project for sale on dms guild for general release. make it PDF only, or because dm’s guild it run by drivethru, have a POD option.  
  • stage 4: help grow the dm community via releasing top notch content.

Good luck to this project. its already funded and not heading into stretch goal territory. I know that many game companies started out this way. Frog God games, Kobold press, Goodman, etc, but honestly, I’d like to see the tools that already exist be used for both amateur and professional products to help raise all ships. just my $0.02

Commentary

Anders’ report (I know him from the GURPS boards) is of the most interest to prospective backers and players, because it answers concretely (if anecdotally) a few things:

  • It took four hours to play
  • It was playable in “hack and slash” mode
  • It played well enough that it didn’t engender a list of things that needed horrible fixin’
  • The scenario will prove challenging to overstrength parties, and I might need to rescope the bottom end of things a bit.

In truth, the GenCon experience was done with six or seven 4th level characters, and it wasn’t a cake-walk. I’ll probably recenter this one a bit.

Eric and Anders (who is Swedish, I believe) both said nice things about fidelity to Norse mythology, which makes me happy.

Justin brings up some questions about why not the DM’s guild that bear answering, and it can be summarized in two lines from this page.

The two in question are “publish my original campaign using 5th Edition rules,” and “print and sell my 5th Edition…product on my own.” Both of which are answered “no.”

I’m not sure if it’s always been there or was a clarification, but I used to think if you published on the DM’s Guild they had claim on your IP. This has been addressed formally:

Does Wizards own any unique IP that I create in my DMs Guild publications?

Wizards does not own any of the unique IP that you create in your publications. Wizards does own the IP that they contribute, plus the DMs Guild agreement will grant Wizards and other DMs Guild authors a license to use your IP. That said, if your work merits incorporation into canon, Wizards will contact you about purchasing your IP outright.

Ultimately, this adventure and the Dungeon Grappling product are part of a creative universe that encompasses my “Etera” Norse-inspired campaign world. I definitely want to print and sell it on my own, and should this Kickstarter suddenly sprint to the finish and get 375 print backers, getting a high-quality offset print run of this or future books is something I very much wish to do.

Anyway: the news is good, so spread the word!

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Curses and Their Removal

The group had planned to investigate the twelve engines that had been sent to some nefarious character, but as they’re deploying, the get a call from Carl. Gabe has come into the safe house, and blood from Gabe is flowing off of him into the sword he’s clutching in his hands, hugging it to him like a very violent steel teddy bear. He’s barely conscious, and operating on a near-feral level. Wounds and not-wound injuries are both draining into the very thirsty sword.

There are black veins coming from his hand. When Kamali tries to shake Gabe awake, there’s a response as if he’d love to bisect Kamali in half . . . but the sword is just too thirsty to let the blade move from the blood. The motion is suppressed – not by Gabe’s choice.

The team looks to cast the separation ritual to separate him from his sword. But . . . that’s going to take too long, they decide. Timothy of the fast knives just goes to lop off Gabe’s hand. The swords blurs in automatic response, and cuts one of Timothy’s favorite knives in half. Timothy blames Gabe for this. “Oh, Gabe is going to pay for that knife.”

Well, they decide, let’s to the curse removal ritual. They do the spell, and separate him from the sword, wrapping the blade in white silk. They think about brought about the sword’s transformation, and come up with it seemed to transform in the cave when Gabe rescued Dierdre.

Gabe comes around slowly. The first thing he hears is “You f**king owe me, brother” as he kicks the pieces of his bisected knife towards Gabe. Gabe, confused, pulls out his wallet, which Timothy relieve him of quickly. This somehow seems oddly correct to Gabe at the moment. He’s feeling hungry. And poor.

Timothy pointedly reminds me that I killed his good knife. And that no, he’s not going to loan me money for a Chicken Burrito. Anyway, the team is uncertain whether Gabe is at 100% and more of a liability than is worth taking to go after the engines. Kamali goes for some mental mojo – reading aura, holding hands . . . it’s a very tender moment.

Kamali sees Gabe slaughtering pale folks. He’s pretty sure they’re vampires. The way the sword gets you is by helping you go after things you hate; once the hooks are in, you start hating everything.

Kamali goes full psychobabble on Gabe. There’s an analogy to the Emperor and Luke and Darth Vader somewhere in there. We decide there might be a story in that, but why ruin a perfectly good villain by dwelling excessively on a backstory?

In any case, Kamali has SeekerSense, and he can use the blood to track; the blood and the engines are kind of the same directions.

The Firehouse Ghost (and they were monster hunters) says “you’re going to fight vampires with THAT?” looking at Kamali’s assault rifle and machete. He sighs, walks over to a wall, and pushes a panel. The wall opens. We see a fresco of the order of St Eustace. Hunters. Trappers. Firefighters. One of the few soldier-saints.

The door opens into another room which looks a lot like Myriam’s mysterious disappearing room from whence the sword came. Gabe gets a quick download on Myriam’s confusing and secret history. Another wizard with a secret history and questionable past filled with pursuits of power. Hmm.

Timothy suggests we talk to the “f**king ghost” about the best way to hunt vampires. The ghost takes a quick inventory of our current weaponry. He suggests shotguns if we can get them, high-caliber weaponry if we can’t. And spears. They would keep the vamp away with a spear. Then blast off important bits.

We get a quick download on vampires and their weaknesses

  • Hawthorne, greenheart wood, and silver stops them from regenerating
  • Holy attacks and fire will hurt them, as will sunlight
  • Immersion in natural water or sunlight is extremely dangerous to them
  • They will be uncomfortable around natural running water

Gabe stumbles across a whole drawer of ammunition that looks like silver and wood and garlic slugs for shotguns. We also are well supplied with silver knives.

A few things strike was weird: hard-cased shotguns shells with glyphs on them. Also some liquid-suspension rounds with garlic, water, wood chips, sliver. . . called “The Works.”

We spend a LONG time kitting up. Timothy is honking the horn with a “get this the f**k on with it” thing. Naturally, the spectral dog jumps into the car. Through the door. 

We head to the location. We decide “bring one alive; the rest? Toast.”

Lorenzo and Gabe are on point. Amos is taking care of the trees. “He don’t have no weapons, just a slingshot!”

We head over to the site. Windows blacked out. We enter through a garage door, and there’s a one-armed vampire sleeping on the bar. Lorenzo runs up and stabs him with a spear for 9 impaling. Others, including Gabe, follow up with various nasty attacks to vital bits. Still – unliving, so not much additional damage. We pin him in place, but then the garage door starts to slam down, catchign Amos’ hand underneath. His hand is trapped under the garage door.

Timothy: “Amos. Stop f**king around. Lift the door.”

The spectral dog tries to run through the door . . . and bursts into blue flame, running away, yipping. Timothy makes a mental note to steal a piece of the door for later anti-dog operations.

Lorenzo passes, but Kamali decides to place the barrel of his shotgun against the guy’s head, and pull the trigger. The vampire has expired. It is now dead.

And then vampires drop or rise from freaking everywhere. Gabe gets hit on his left hand for 5 HP of injury; not crippled. Kamali gets his leg crippled.

Gabe invokes Smite. 2d6 burning damage to everyone within . . . hrm. Usually Range 4, but for some reason, Range 2; he steps into close combat and delivers 10 points of holy fire to three targets. They are not amused. They’re not dead or incapacitated, but they’re not amused.

We continue to fight; Timothy is struggling with the doors. Gabe gets grappled from behind. Kamali spends fatigue and other things to avoid being grappled. Gabe invokes Smite again, and my assailant bursts into flame. But hangs on, making my back really hot. Apparently it’s time to stop, drop, and roll.

We continue to fight. A vampire is attacked, dodges and drops, fast-draws a shotgun from under the counter, and acrobatically kips up. He tries to shoot Gabe, who goes full Neo and dodges. He sheds the grapple of the burning vampire limbs, and tries to stab the vampire 2 yards away. He crit fails and falls down. Oops.

Timothy goes through a window, and hurls a stake at the vampire’s face; the vamp grabs it out of the air. Seizing what is hopefully a moment of distraction, Kamali takes aim for the face of Vampy McGrabbypants.

We smell rotting flesh coming from map-south.

The vampire that caught the stake tries to pin Lorenzo to the floor with the wooden stake. An acrobatic dodge later, Lorenzo jumps down and dodges.

Kamali finally gets a chance to shoot a vamp in the face and hits.

Oh, and big nasty thing. Stitched from multple corpses. Amalgam of many parts. 9-10′ tall, putrid, SM +1. And fast. It comes running at Gabe. It slashes him for 12 damage, 10 absorbed by armor, and 3 injury get through. A toxic attack is shrugged off with enough margin that I might well be immune. Gabe strikes back: a hit for 9 cut and 1d flaming damage, which comes up a 1. This is an abbatoir demon; a body is built for it which the demon occupies. It’s weak to holy water.

Timothy moves around to the back of the thing; he makes a deal with the unholy knife to take the soul of the demon. The knife says “The pact . . . is sealed!” Kamali and Gabe can both hear this, somehow. He stabs it right in the chest, and it folds around the knife, dying.

So, net/net: dead demon. Several deep sleeping vamps. One captured vamp. We do a purification on the giant pentagram/summoning circle. There were wards set up against us. But we managed to clear the hall.

***

We end there. We head back to the firehouse. We meet Desire, who looks like she’s ready to collapse. Check that: she actually collapses. Oh, this is going to be one of those conversations later.

 

 

 

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Conflict at the Conclave

Last we left off, we are at the conclave headquarters as Gabriel has just stormed off, disgusted at not being able to see his long-term girlfriend.

Lorenzo helps treat people in the lobby of the Conclave while Timothy helps out by using his knife skills with surgical precision.

After aiding the folks in the conclave lobby, Timothy turns to diplomacy and speaks to the man that seems to be in charge of the whole operation, laying out what has occurred in the past couple hours, trying to distract the man from what has been happening the past couple hours.

Once the boys disarm themselves and Lorenzo helps the patients, the old man leads us to a conference room. The old man shows a quartz that glows and then shows a bird’s eye view of the city of Boston. Sickened by the view, Timothy asks for some water. The map starts glowing a bit as numerous red dots have started showing up.

Red dots match up with the bank robberies from yesterday, along with multiple others and several residences but Myriam’s house hasn’t shown up until Timothy gives the old man the news. The news isn’t quite new to the old man as he mentions that there have been multiple other car bombs have been going off all over the city.

Kamali lays down the situation with the homeless group and the abandoned house that had been infested with vampires. The old man agrees that it lines up with everything else that has been going on before debating how things are going with vampires. The old man insists that the local leadership of the vampire clans insists that they haven’t been moving at all. In fact the vampires that attacked us are revealed to have had their abilities long enough to be comfortable in their undeath, mature vampires and definitely not recently turned.

William Sims, the old man, tells that everything that occurred seemed to happen all at once and explains that the psionic blast from last night was the explosion from Murphy Island, the oldest family of Boston and have the resulting Custos powers within the city and within 100 miles.

William reveals that he isn’t even supposed to be in charge, instead he was just the head gardener and merely obtained the position through everyone else being lost. The main power structure having been at a meeting when the building was attacked and the emergency ritual took place and shifted dimensions, however now they can’t actually find the building. Kamali suggests that there was someone blocking the signal causing William to curse in realization.

The local vampire boss, Landry, has her hand in pretty much every sort of vice out there and has been questioned by the Conclave using a Truthsayer spell to ensure the entirety of her questioning to result in the truth.

The boys discuss the wisdom of going to visit a vampire master.

The conclave are members, not necessarily part of, and once she left after questioning. The group exchange numbers and are given a marble in return. The marble given is the same as those in the bag that Amos bought long ago in the Yukon. It’s requested that the Conclave look them over and it’s revealed that the bag of marbles are actually memory orbs. Amos is given a piece of paper with a ritual and the doorkeeper’s phone number.

Amos pulled out a doodad to pull a piece of the truck from his pocket to aid in a divination spell to try to figure out where the truck that blew up Myriam’s house came from. Amos draws tarot cards to divine where the truck came from, casting a ritual to divine from where the truck came, gaining a flash of insight that it came from a used car lot. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign – S1E3: Vampire Diary”

Did you Play Lost Hall at the Grappling Smackdown at GenCon?

I know a few folks – maybe one or two – who played what was called then “The Tower of Justice” or “Grappling Smackdown” with me in the IGDN booth at GenCon this year.

Friday and Saturday mornings, 10am start time. Each day was 7-8 people, some who’d signed up, some who didn’t.

As the book that will be now titled Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn is closing in on its basic funding goal, I want to give you folks playtest credit. And a free copy.

So: email me! You have my card from the event. You can also hit me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, or leave a comment to this post. Let me know which game you attended, what character you played, the name you wish to be credited with, and the most memorable thing that happened to you during the game.