Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My dinner with Arnulf

The table was set so to speak with a dinner invitation from the young Lord of Red Towers, Erik Arnulf - youngest son of the Baron of the Westmarches.  It was delivered by a page who also instructed the party to please find some appropriate dress for the occasion.  Clothes were sought out, baths were had, and by the time of arrival the gang looked almost presentable enough for the table of a borderland military leader.  Kane was unable to attend as he had gone off in search of a hedge mage reputed to live in the nearby woods.

Other guests included the Captain of the Watch (the Lords right hand man apparently), the lord's personal abbot, and three dwarven merchants from the village of Baudoc Se (Bad Axe) which lies to the southeast.  The young Lord was a gracious host and although the table was not grandly set (he made mention that the silverware ordered in from Kingstown that spring had not arrived) the food was well prepared.  Dinner conversation revolved around the troubles of the plague to the north, the poor harvest and the exploits of the party in the recent weeks.  The Lord made mention that he was concerned that the exploits of a transient band of freebooters was a somewhat disrupting influence on his people and indicated that perhaps a more circumspect approach should be taken so not to incite farmers and common soldiers to leave their occupations and turn to adventuring.  Case in point that very afternoon had seen a hanging of three men whom had attempted to make their fortune through adventure - only to fall into petty banditry when they found themselves destitute.  The Lord also made mention of the need for reliable leaders to carve out holdings and manses in these dangerous south lands - for it was only through strength and order that the region could be maintained.  The dwarves agreed to this and conveyed their impressions on the state of the south road.  There was some implied friction between the young Lord and these merchants, the implication that outrageous prices were being charged for spirits and goods in these times of need sat heavy on the the table.  Also the abbot (a orthodox cleric with Ulgarite leanings) expressed his concern that Tim (a professed Ulgarite) had been seen in the company of the village priestess who in his opinion was uncomfortably lenient with church law and likely not an adherent to the teachings of Ulgar.

And so then Henril decided to channel Abbie Hoffman and spend the next morning trying to incite the townsfolk to revolt.  Much to the horror of his companions he began spending money like a boatload of sailors and actually handing out coins to people in the streets.  When the guards began to take notice he also attempted to hand them money and soon there were a great number of angry and confused soldiers fingering their crossbows and wondering exactly what they should be doing to keep the peace.  As the rest of the party returned with their supplies and gathered up Henril and headed out of the keep, a more devout gate-man leaned over to Brother Tim and suggested that they might not want to return to Red Towers any time soon.

On their way back to the monastery, they came across the badly mauled corpses and ruined wagons of the turnip farmers they had met before.  A careful study of the scene and they concluded that a manticore, possibly the very one they had run from in the cave depths, had killed these farmers.  With some trepidation they continued to the caves and made their way to the stairs leading up to the monastery.  They noticed that the barred doors to the Crypt was burst open and when they started to investigate the fallen bodies of the goblins and ferrits that they had killed some little while ago reanimated and attacked.  After a short battle they dispatched these zombies and made their way up into the monastery proper - examining the ruined courtyard and the empty hallways until they came across the chapel and the abbots office in behind.  There they found a series of scrolls outlining a history of the monastery and also a suit of plate armour with a gauntlet missing (substituted by a gauntlet from another suit of plate in fact).  They gathered up this armour and read some of the scrolls but as they left they wandered into an area where a un-restful spirit began to take shape and wildly throw objects around the room at them.  Soon they were fleeing from a hurricane of stone and broken furniture as they fled back though the abbots office (which got trashed) until Brother Tim finally managed to cast Turn Undead and drive the spirit back.  They fled back across the courtyard and with the knowledge they had gained form the scrolls found the old scriptorium and located the vault hidden behind it.  In that vault they discovered many ruined scrolls and books but also a ancient copy of the Trials of St.Ulthur and a treatise on hobgoblins.

Then they left to head back to the woods and decide what to do next.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Found in the ruined monastery

Brother Abelard's Treatise on the hobb

Now it be knowne to alle learned men that the goblyn wiffe will bear her young in the same manner as to the dwarfe and likewise they shall be served by their broode.  However it is to my minde knowne a wondere and fact gained from my studie and after much discourse with those beeste called puca which men name hobbs or hobbgoblyn.  Much tyme I have passed in discourse with both men who traded with the hobbgoblyn and even one tyme I spake myself with a verry olde hobb whom was a friend to the church and also considered wise.  This I have learned.
As the goblyn wiffe will beget a litter or broode as to her kind, so will that broode change in their manner and character as to her aliments and lodging.  If she doth dine on mutton or meat her broode will be strong and sauvage yet if she dine on weeds and grains they be meek.  Now a learned person might reasone thus surely should she dine on the fleshe of men her broode shall be terrible beests indeede for they will growe as fromme terrible deeds.  What a wondere thus to find that the broode of the goblyn fed of that fleshe is both vigorous and learned among it’s kinde.  It is knowne goblyns are wilde and sauvage however the hob being wilde too yet is industrious.  Where goblyn will think only to steale and break, the hob will trade when they cannot take.  Men say the hobbgoblyn is more dire than the goblyn as they fight with greater skill, yet more will fear a goblyn which is as a ferocious beest and they knowe no reasone.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Update to the update

So yea, there were some wee tiny errors in the last update and I fixed those and I also fixed the section in the poison rules where a penalty to your rolls based on how badly you missed your save was being applied.  I hadn't noticed that before, but I noticed it now, and since stat loss from poison effects would also cause a penalty to the roll I think that rule is redundant.  I also took away the secondary effect column from the poison table because what the heck was that about anyway.  SO if it all just sucks now please let me know.

I updated it in place and so all the links should resolve now to the new file.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Beacon 5.2 update

This is a minor update with the changes I made to the Rogue sneak attack, some layout adjustments and some minor rules clarifications and prices for hats (The people I play with often want to buy hats).  It's not a big release and I didn't comb through it.  I also dropped the light crossbow because I didn't like having it as a light weapon (will all that implies rules wise) and there was no real need for two crossbows in the heavy weapon section.

This is basically state of the art Beacon until I get the document proofed by someone other than myself - that will either be a 6th draft or Beacon 1.0 - the good version.

Download Beacon 5.2.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Return to Hellmount Monastery

It was a short session but a fairly vigorous one.  After a brief rest to repair some armour, the gang headed back out to the old monastery hoping to discover more loot.  Along the way they met a small caravan of  farmers who had braved the roads with their meagre harvest, hoping to sell it at Red Towers.   Klyte, for that was indeed the name of Kane's mendicant retainer, made a point of stopping and asking the farmers some innocent questions about their hats and what sort of produce they had, an activity performed in such a way that the nervous farmers became quite terrified.  Who better than Henril to step in and explain to these nervous and ill equipped 'merchants' that the party was not a cruel and sadistic gang of bandits toying with them, but actually friendly adventurers who happened to want to purchase a hat and perhaps a turnip.  The situation was eventually sorted out, and the terrified farmers rapidly made their escape, no doubt vowing if they survive this enterprise never to leave their farms again.

Pressing onward, the party reached the hidden cave.  They were very wary as they were concerned about the manticore that had chased them out of the dungeon might still be lurking around.  On entering the cave they noticed that the mule body Henril had left as a distraction had been dragged off to the south, and on investigating they were attacked by two giant ferrets who had made their lair in the cave.  After dispatching the beasts, they noticed that  indeed these ferrets had been living well on the carcasses of many giant rats and the mule remains left in the wake of the adventurers.

They decided that instead of returning to the staircase downward, they would explore some of the passages to the north east, and soon stumbled out of the caverns and into a carved hallway - very clearly the lower levels of the monastery on the hill.  They found a barred door with a crude skull drawn on it in soot and not being the type to heed casual and probably meaningless graffiti they decided to go in there and look around.  The room they found themselves in was dusty and unused but contained many candles along the walls and a large font in the middle.   Tim identified it as a holy water font used for church purifying rituals and not 'Helvitca' as was surmised by Ann.  Further into the room they found a sarcophagus, and with no hesitation they chose to desecrate it and slide the lid off.  Inside there was a corpse with a dagger transfixing it's chest and Klyte immediately snatched the dagger up.  The corpse rose into a sitting position just in time for Henril to smash it to bits with his two handed sword.

The party then found a small sealed door and opened it.  It was full of bones and Henril decided that they should burn the bones.  He threw his oil into the room and lit it as the bones started to form into animated skeletons.  The fire caught but the skeletons started coming through the door and attacking.  It was a vicious fight as the skeletons pushed out of the room replacing those that the party dispatched.  Ann was struck by a particularly terrible blow and probably would have died had I not made an erroneous and offhand remark in a previous game about damage not carrying over.  Soon however between the players attacks (Klyte laying to with effect using his new seemingly magical dagger) and the increasing fire, the skeletons were dispatched.  The party carried on and came into another crypt - this one with detailed mosaics on the walls depicting the life of the saint - obviously the very man interred in yet another sarcophagus.  Showing an appalling disregard for the sanctity of the Lords Of Order they looted the holy man's coffin and struck the head off his corpse in case he decided to wake up.  They were very hurt and tired but decided to check out one more room to the south - and found it was an ossuary filled with the holy bones of the monks interred over the centuries.  They decided against burning all the holy bones in case there were 'books and stuff in there' and instead poked around until they were satisfied that there was nothing of material value or any danger.  Then Kane used a last cantrip to levitate the beam on the outside of the door marked with a skull so as to bar it and conceal their presence so that they could rest in this tomb.

After recovering somewhat they made ready to continue their explorations.  They had been very underwhelmed by the lack of swag a holy man was afforded in his grave - beholding his saintly bones not being reward enough apparently.   I blame video games.  To his credit Brother Tim did try to 'straighten up the mess' a bit - probably due to his many years of devout religious training.  They left the tomb and came across a room with a staircase going down deeper into the hill where they fought some goblin rat-catchers and their half-trained ferrets.  They ran into some goblin lookouts and managed to stop them from running off and warning the others - one attempting to run up a stairwell and one attempting to run west down a hallway.  They then went west and found the goblin guards and dispatched them - but not before a very large goblin came barrelling into room to see what all the commotion was.  They killed this boss goblin and traced his steps back to the room where he kept all the goblin loot.  Then they finally made their way up the stairs into the monastery and after fighting some more large goblins, they came upon a large open courtyard arboretum now overgrown and wild.  Then they decided that they were pretty banged up and needed to replenish themselves and their supplies so they left the monastery (without incident) and returned to Red Towers.

It was a short but sweet session, and lots of player bickering and one one-upmanship which is always fun.  I think most players managed to level up as well since they realized that the rules say that it's 1000xp multiplied by your current level - not the target level to level up.  There was some grumbling over this since I probably told them wrong and they likely had levelled up a little while ago - however that's one good reason I like to print out the rules - I can't remember everything. Also, as GM I'm never wrong - just less right at times.  So Henril hit level 4 I think and Kane gets second level spells.  I let him roll twice to get two new spells from the crazy old magic tutor he 'found' at Red Towers since it's not explicitly covered how mages gain spells when they level and it's probably something the GM will want to manage anyway.