Saturday, December 31, 2011

4th edition session wrap up

As promised I thought I'd slap up a session report of the new group's first session.
Pat, our DM, pitched the setting to me as "Deadwood meets Forgotten Realms". I was hooked - his idea was a lawless, frontier setting where we'd ride into the middle of a town gripped by lawlessness and chaos.
If anyone has seen the top notch HBO tv show Deadwood, they know what I'm talking about.
My pc (a half orc ranger by the name of Mordoc Blackwood) has been dispatched to the town to investigate the slaying of its wizard-ruler.

One of our players ended up pulling out at the last second so i ended up playing the Ardent (Therus) as well.
Here's the in-character report I did up to send to the group:

To Baron Haarkon Magnuson,

Milord, this being a true account of my time up to date in the city of
Hillsfar since you dispatched me to investigate the apparent murder of
Forgive my rough soldier’s hand and my poor grasp of words but I
thought it best that I tell you what has occurred so far.
My trek across the wilds of Cormanthor was relatively quiet – apart
from clearing out a small nest of bandits two days out of Hillsfar –
and upon reaching the city I found it in a state of chaos.
The wizard Maalthiir had ruled the city with an iron hand for several
hundred years and I expected Hillsfar to be in some sort of trouble.
From a peddler on the road I discovered the wizard was reputed to be
quiet mad – routinely executing those who displeased him and keeping
the citizens in line with threats and fear.
But the sight that I discovered was overwhelming: the city gates lay
open, garbage had not been cleaned up in weeks and the first thing
that greeted me was the sounds of a city guard nosily fornicating
with a slattern on the rampant.
I chanced across two other men at the city gates – a half elf by the
name of Therus and Elros, an elf – both had also come to the city
investigating the mysterious death.
It was about this time that the lusty guard finished up and hurled his
woman off the wall. She was dead of course, and as we entered we
found things continued from bad to worse.
Milord, you tasked me with finding a particular captain of the guard,
and by Kord I doubt any of us thought it was a task of such magnitude
when I first set out.
The city had seemingly descended into total anarchy – garbage clogged
the street and everywhere people staggered about seemingly drunk,
starving or even too stupid to realise their plight.
No guards stood watch – and no one attempted to break up the
occasional brawl or drunken argument that sprung up.
As we entered we spotted a man of some importance – clad in heavy
plate and flanked by several companions, all obviously guards – he
disappeared into a small tavern and left the others outside.
Each of them seemed in a state of half dress and half drunkenness – all
wielded weapons that were unclean and uncared for a none possessed a
full uniform.
I must confess, milord, I failed to reign my anger in when the group
of ruffians – I hesitate to call them soldiers – accosted us, jeering
at us for being non-human.
Initially we tried to push our way to the tavern door but were
repeatedly stopped, until one even fired a crossbow at us.
At that point, Kord forgive me, I snapped – headbutting the largest of
the thugs and drawing my blade. What followed was a farce. The guards
were drunk and ill-trained and didn’t stand a chance.
Therus came immediately to my aid, rushing the group with his halberd
cackling wildly while Elros flanked the crossbowman.
It’s best, milord if I describe my companions – Elros seems a quite
sort and, as I’m about to describe a sorcerer of some power.
The half elf on the other hand seems… rather mad. There was certainly
an otherworldy aspect to him and he seems more than a simple sellsword
although I do not yet know what he is.
He also seems to thrive on sowing chaos and is possible unhinged.
While Elros bewildered our enemies with a series of icy blasts I
attacked with the flat of my sword in order not to kill the idiots.
Therus on the other hand decided it was ok to hack away.
It was quickly over – a battered with the hilt of my blade and then
some threats saw our foes off.
Inside things weren’t much better. In every corner patrons were
fighting or fornicating while the guard captain sat, unheeding, at the
He was an odd one – immaculately clean and precise with a slightly
otherworldly feeling about him and spoke of strange things. He seemed
uncaring of the chaos, telling us every human should live as he saw
fit and squeeze as much as they could from their short lives.
He told us that Maalthiir has frequented an up market brothel two
weeks ago and then disappeared.
After settling in he agreed to take us to the bawdy house and left us
there. Inside we discovered the brothel was a classy affair and we
were soon accosted by the host – an older but still beautiful woman
called Maria – and the house’s girls.
It was Elros who pointed out that many of the girls were non-humans,
including halflings and half elves.
For the price of a platinum coin we discovered the wizard Maalthiir
was a regular and had seen a new girl (a girl who had started that
very day) and then promptly disappeared. We checked the room, which
seemed harmless enough – until the creature struck.
From no where a giant metal snake appeared and bit me, taking a decent
chunk from my shoulder. Bloodied I staggered back while my companions
attacked – Therus charging in with his longarm while Elros dived
across the room – hurling eldritch fire as he bounced off the huge,
canopied bed.
Now armed with both of my blades I waded in, hacking repeatedly at the
construct – I struck it repeatedly, while Therus poked it.
Despite its size the beast eventually succumbed to our attacks – I
dispatched it with a double slash that took its giant, hooded head
Almost immediately we were again set upon – this time by two small
clay creatures. We turned them into dust in a matter of seconds and
again searched the room.
Inside a large, locked chest (which I was forced to break open with my
sword after our repeated attempts to lockpick) we found a dried scarab
Taking this mysterious object we again descended down to speak with
the girls. Milord, I’d rather this next part did not go any further.
I bedded the owner of the house several times that night in an effort
to extract further information about this mystery.
I discovered that Maalthiir was a regular but the girl he had last
seen had since disappeared. She stayed in the brothel less than a day
and saw several high ranking members of the city guard, before
servicing the wizard. My charms also got me a chance to see the
establishment’s books – revealing the names of the guards the missing
woman had seen.
Much later we reconvened with the guard captain and discovered that
all of these guards had gone missing.
Sensing a growing mystery I offered him my services as a guard captain
and my companions as my lieutenants to restore order to the city, one
quarter at a time.
Therus spent much of the afternoon speaking with locals and among
other things came across some strange carvings on the city walls – odd
and disturbing runes seemingly scratched by a madman.
So we found ourselves operating from a new, large guard house in the
merchants’ quarter – I dispatched Elros to the docks where he returned
with several men of questionable character.
Being as I had dismissed the remaining city guards, fearing their incompetence.
That night, as we finished the repairs to the converted house we were attacked.
Four men – one a huge giant – all clad in matching loin cloths stood
outside chanting and wailing. They repeatedly ordered us to “give her
back”. All were heavily armed.
I immediately took the fight to them – diving out of the house’s
window, I dispatched one of the cultists with a double slash and moved
into the fray.
Therus on the other hand found himself battered as the giant fighter
kicked in the front door and hacked him down with his giant pair of
Elros meanwhile followed my example and sprung out of the window –
spitting spells at the attackers.
The battle was a near thing – we discovered on of the cultists was a
wizard and repeatedly called lighting down to strike my companions. I
was badly hurt killing him and the other cultists before falling on
the giant from behind.
Therus was hurt even worse but still managed to put up a plucky defence
Milord, we are now recovering from our wounds and have begun
patrolling the nearby streets.
I plan to recruit and train more guards who will be loyally solely to
us in an effort to clean up this town.
We will continue to investigate this growing mystery – I fear the
cultists, the unsettling graffiti and the missing ruler are all

I have dispatched this letter on a caravan heading your way and hope
to hear soon.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm baaaaack, baby!

"I'm back,"
Erus grunted, shifting his shield onto his shoulder and started down the hill. The village before him was almost alien - it had doubled in size and now spread across both banks of the river since he had last clapped eyes on it.
The old growth forest that he had so loved as a child had been cut back and replaced with new buildings of wood and stone.
It had been 15 years since he had joined the roving band of adventurer's and left the village - 15 years of battle and treasure. Despair and joy. Laughter and misery.
In 15 years he had slain hordes of enemies. Collected a king's ransom in gold. And lost it. He'd bedded hundreds of beauties. And held dozens of friends as their lifeblood spilled onto the ground.
And now he was home.
Head held high, hand on sword he marched through the town, looking for a familiar face. The house he had grown up in was gone, replaced by a new one. His father's smithy was now a stable.
Finally he reached it - the inn he had so loved as a young villager. No longer did the black cat sign swing from it's lintel. Now a pair of tankards hung there.
"Oi! who the hell are you?!"

That's right.. Gobbo's back. I know it's been almost a year in between posts but this blog has often been in my thoughts and many was the time that i thought "I really need to get back to blogging".
But life... as it always does got in the way.
In the past year we've moved cities, I've changed jobs, got a pretty major promotion, my wife's grandmother died and my mother suffered a heart attack.
As all this happened, a few ugly occurrences seemed to be taking place among the online OSRIC bloggers and the whole environment didn't feel all that friendly.
so it's been a pretty rough trot that was pretty much devoid of roleplaying.

But I'm back - and oddly enough it took D&D 4th edition to drag me back, kicking and screaming.
About six months ago I ended up playing 4th edition with a couple of fellas i met online - I was looking for a game (any game!) and they were also in the same position of having just moved to Sydney.
We hit it off, we had a ball and then the game folded - certain players couldn't be bothered anymore, the DM had some personal shit to deal with... same old story.
The good news is that the core group of those players have kicked off another campaign - another 4th edition.
Now... I'm willing to admit 4th edition is not exactly blowing me away but i am enjoying gaming and I'm finding I'm actually enjoying the mechanics of 4th.
Best of all, I'm playing rather than DM'ing: we've got a first time DM who appreciates my support (we'll bounce ideas off each other and sling emails back and forth all week leading up to a game) and a group of mainly younger guys who are first time players.
Yep - not only am I the old man of the group but I'm the only one has ever played 1st and 2nd edition.
While this goes a long way to making me feel old it also means my pc (a half orc ranger) has developed into a mentor-like character rather than an out and out leader type, which is great.

So you can expect the following from Gobbo in the coming days and weeks: session reports, 4th to old school conversions and vice versa (I said i was enjoying 4th not that I'd given up on old school gaming), my thoughts on the new edition.... and general geek stuff.
And I'm sure I can get some BoL in here as well.

So - friends, Romans, Gobbo lovers, gather around.

Now, if only i can get these kids to understand what a THACO is...