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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Erik Tenkars Swords & Wizardry Light

So I recently picked up another half dozen copies of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light. My players had the idea to just dedicate an entire book to a Character and I though that was great.

I now have 3 different Campaigns on the run and am gaming 3 night per week, yes per week. I didn't even game three times per week when I was in high school, so why so much gaming I am sure you are asking.

Well its all because of  Erik Tenkars Swords & Wizardry Continual Light. The absolute ease and simplicity of the game is wonderful and has had my creative juices flowing like crazy. Simply Sit-Role-Play.

The Campaigns I am currently running are The Conjunctions of Fates, Pathos, and Almost.
Each very different in feel and flavor from the others. Each set in completely different worlds and yet interconnected, with the actions and consequences in one Campaign having an effect on the others.

I have also been running 5e for a couple of years and have an on going long tern Campaign running but there is just something about S&W that gets my creative juices pumping. In fact my current 5e Home-brew Campaign started in Swords & Wizardry.

In an upcoming post I will share some of the play-tested classes I have created for play for those of you that have asked.

I am also proud to say that SWCL has also allowed me to introduce Table top RPG's to a wide range of people some of whom are now Dm'ing their own groups.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone I have introduced to gaming come into their own and start running their own games, its a great feeling.

Having a wife and kids has required me to change the way I run my games. I have always preferred to game around the table but I now find myself taking to the internet once the kids are in bed for most of my gaming. It has also allowed me to grow my skills as a storyteller since we run mainly theater of the mind with perhaps a map or picture of the location on display via roll20.

I still get to sit at an actual table once per week and look forward to it immensely each week.

So I wish to extend a great thank you to Erik Tenkar for this gem and for his website Tenkars Tavern.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

(COF) Session 5: The Orb of Continual Light (Part. 1)

Two regiments of the the Royal Infantry are dispatched from the city of South Warren to rendezvous with a stationed garrison at the far Western reaches of the lands , Fort Arneson. The party finds themselves a day behind schedule arriving late to the Fort where off in the distance behind the fort they notice a large pulsating column of light reaching up into the heavens. They are informed that the other regiment and the stationed garrison already left the morning before and that your cadre is to join up with them at a juncture in the road about a quarter of the way into the forest they will be entering. The party consists of Samsara (Human- Ranger), Biggs (Dwarven- Fighter) and Rant (Human- Infantry Mage)  still awaiting information on their reason for the journey ot he Fort they are told that the Deadwood's lying just beyond the Fort have recently been the center of very strange activity.

5 years ago the stationed garrison had set ablaze to the Deadwood's to root out a cluster of Barlogs, ferocious hulking beasts that had been terrorizing the local lands and whose dens were deep within the forest.

The forest fire aided by magical means put and end to the menace of the Barlogs and turned the lush green giant trees to obsidian black glass  in a matter of days. Also destroying a village that once belonged to a tribe of Elves.

Awaiting night fall the party in tasked with retrieving a package that is to be delivered at midnight. They are to meet the delivering party and receive the package and instructions on its use. They are told by the General Grall that under no circumstances are they to engage the deliverers in conversation nor make direct eye contact.

The party rests and at midnight are led outside the walls of the Fort let alone to the quiet of the night now nearly as bright as day, an effect of the pulsating column from the center of the forest. Rant becomes uneasy as the air seems to take electric charge, and ripples appear on the surfaces of the ponds that lay on wither side of the dirt path.Seconds later small hooded figures carrying a large chest emerge from the shallow ponds to stand upon the water. They walk to the road and line up in rows of two six of them in total. There they lay the large chest upon the road and in a whispered voice are told not to make direct contact with the light in the forest and to use the item provided within the chest to contain the light before locking it in the chest. Once contained the hooded figures would return to retrieve the chest. Collecting the large chest the party notices that it is made out of some type of black metal with ancient runes that seem to move and dance upon its surface, never still, causing goose flesh upon any observer. The hooded figures walk back out into the water and dissapear below its black surfaces.

With the chest in possession the party rests. Each suffering nightmares involving hooded creatures in the dark.

In the morning they head out entering the forest  with the Lieutenant of the garrison and an additional six men. After a few hours you come upon the fork in the road and notice something is amiss. The party spots sings of a skirmish and heading out into the surrounding to investigate Samsara and Biggs come across a mound of torn up bodies piled upon one another about 50 feet of the path. You recognize the Royal insignia on what remains of the uniforms, the second regiment sent to Fort Arneson.

The party splits at the fork to look for survivors, six going right and six left and about an hour later meet up. Upon meeting up with no sign of survivors the party hears a deep howl like scream come from the forest and seconds later large hulking beasts erupt from the dense foliage their bat like heads atop muscular bodies covered in grey fur.
More emerge out of the tree tops running down tree trunks on all fours as their talons tear deep into the wood. A battle ensues as the Barlogs tear the Regiment to pieces by order of surprise. As the party recovers form the surprise of the attack they fight back valiantly managing to slay the Barlogs but losing seven of their brethren to the beasts. After the attack the party tend to their wounds preparing to make further into the forest and find the other regiment.....

Thursday, 24 May 2018

(COF) Session 4: We didn't see any children

Our party sets out for the monastery with their guide Red arriving midday to the ruins of burnt out and badly damaged buildings that once formed a small community around the monastery consisting of sleeping quarters and storage buildings.

It is here they find a hidden trap door in an old chimney and enter the unknown depths of the passageway leading deep underground.While descending in the dark Shadow found a hole in the wall and decided to stuff her collected eyeballs into it but not before a a rusty spear shot out of it tearing its way through her hand. While following underground passageways and coming across a stuck door the party smashes through to battle two ghouls splitting them in two and finding a key that spilled out with their guts. The key opens a treasure box they later found buried in the ground under the remains of some bones.

The party then enters a room covered in purple moss and permeated with the scent of sweet roses and fruit. Upon trying to open a door leading onward two of the party members fall asleep while the moss covered walls and ceiling come alive as blankets of moss drop from above to cover the party members. Shadow recasts quickly throwing the blanket of moss of herself while quickly getting to work cutting the and removing the moss from the others now immobile as a strange excretion eats through the armor of her party members. As she gets to work the moss eats through her blade upon contact like acid and she realizes she only has moments before her comrades are dissolved under the blankets of moss. Standing only 3 feet tall she is unable to move her comrades from danger and decides to light a torch burning the moss away.

Image result for giant spiders d&dAfter clearing the room Artigius and Blue come to and the party continues into the next series of rooms coming upon an ancient underground temple with an alter dedicated to the Goddess Muir. Loading up on Holy water issued forth from a flowing silver fountain the party retraces their tracks and chooses a new direction.

Continuing further down into the reaches of the earth the party comes across a very large cavern with stalactites and stalagmites issuing forth from the ground and ceiling like large sharpened teeth. Upon entry into the cavern multitudes of very large black creatures scatter out of view on the ceiling avoiding the light. The party makes out large cobwebs covering the entire cavern and a metal cage situated in the center of the cavern standing 7 feet high with metal bars set roughly two inches apart. The skeletal remains of someone trying to reach the safety of the cage lie at the cages outer door.

The party fires crossbow bolts into the darkness above and as a large spider falls from a direct hit the party makes a run for the cage as 60 or more spiders descend and pursue. Surrounded by a cavern full of very large spiders they find a trap door under the loose masonry floor of the cage and descend a ladder into a very tight tunnel that eventually leads to an open cave system containing multiple holes in the walls, some containing bones that have been gnawed on.

While the party decided to best be moving and quietly Shadow decides to rummage through the bones and throw some further into the one of the holes int he wall. Second later a high pitched squeal is heard by the party before the single squeal is picked up by a symphony of rat like squeals. Not knowing where Red is, Artigius and Blue run while 6 giant rats erupt from the holes attacking Shadow and clawing and tearing her apart before she has a chance to react. Luckily Red has caught up with the party and fights off the Rats before the others return and Artigius heals Shadow.

After continuing downwards into darkness the tunnel system opens up into a chamber with 20 small grey skinned hooded figures lining the chamber walls on either side in seated meditative postures. Upon closer inspection the seated figures appear to be statues of children acolytes sitting in meditation, disturbingly they have both their eyes and their mouths stitched shut. Artigius decides to apply Holy water to the forehead of one of the dust covered stone-like statues and as he does so it burns into the forehead as a large chunk of skin flakes away revealing the figures to be flesh and bone.

All at once and without making a sound the heads of the 40 children all turn in unison to focus on the group though none stand up. After applying more Holy water to the heads of others the horrifying children acolytes stand up and silently move towards the party surrounding them.
Artigius and Blue both Turn the undead away in separate directions and Artigius decides to start cleaving a path through the undead children by caving in their heads while Blue decapitates and cuts through the others leaving Shadow to follow on a carpet of bodies and walls that drip blood and bone.

Image result for pictures of large mushrooms d&d
Unlike the caverns above, the next cave is a wet live cave, with dozens of stalactites and stalagmites dotting the floor and ceiling. A stark sense of foreboding and cold air whisp through the cave from the far end and scattered on the floor are dozens of bones, animal and human. Hundreds of fungi are present throughout the room. These cover almost every flat surface, and range in size and color from inches high and brown to 25+ feet and vividly colored.
Near the center of the cave stand three 15 foot tall pinkish mushrooms........

Thursday, 17 May 2018

(COF) Session 3: Burning walls of fire and the God of Death

The party awakens to screams in the night and notice that Shadow in not amongst them.  Looking out the window of their second story room they see a stockade of oil barrels next to the Northern Gate and beyond the walls of the town something off in the darkness making its way towards the town under the cover of clouded night. As the clouds part from the full moon the party makes out an army of skeletal undead making its way across the barren lands towards the town. Just as things couldn't get any worse they take notice of a cloaked figure removing the security studs from the Northern gates and opening them outward. They quickly recognize the figure as Shadow before she appears to pass out sprawling on the ground in front of the now wide open gates.

The party carries Shadow to safety as the wizard Fargus summons the party to the ramparts above the Northern Wall. It is there while looking out upon the amassed skeletal army that they see a Dark Violet Flame appear off in the distance. The flame erupts from the tip of a staff revealing a hooded figure. As the figure raises the staff violet lightening strikes the flame from the skies above, fueling its growth.

Image result for violet wizards staffThe hooded figure slams the staff issuing the violet flame into the ground and a wave of violent energy issues forth tearing up the ground as it makes its way towards the walls of the town. As the wave ripples towards the town more skeletal creatures issue forth from the ground as the blast slams into the wooden walled barricade shattering and breaking the thick timbers. It is only through a wall of protection created by the wizard Fargus that the party and the towns defenders are spared.

More screams issue forth from the south of  town as four recently deceased bodies awaiting last rites and burial arise from the preparatory platforms behind the town temple and turn on the local inhabitants tearing away their flesh as they sink there teeth in.

After dispatching (detonating) the undead within the town the party turns their attention to dealing with the amassed undead army now nearly at the gates. The party carry two of the large barrels of oil up to the ramparts where Fargus ignites and casts the barrels out upon the front ranks of the advancing skeletal horde, setting them ablaze. After one more blast slams into the wall shattering timbers and weakening the defenses a weakening Fargus uses his remaining power to cast three large fireballs into the undead taking out more than three quarters of their numbers before succumbing to exhaustion and collapsing.

The party pour one of the last remaining barrels upon the dead, now amassed at the gates trying to get in and they go up in a blaze of flames along with the walls and the gate.

Seeing the violet flame appear yet again in the distance the hooded figure summons a large skeletal creature from the ground. As the six armed humanoid creature erupts from the ground and finds it feet it stands at full height well over 10  feet tall. It quickly drops down onto its many hands and carrying itself like an arachnid charges towards the now burning walls as a final blast from the hooded figure shatters the northern wall and gate to pieces, those upon its ramparts sent sprawling to be buried amongst burning timbers. It is here that Blue stands his ground instilling confidence into other to do so as well while Artiguis climbs to the roof of a nearby house with the local Cleric hoping to hide himself under cover.

While Blue fearlessly attacks with his flaming sword and Artigius launches himself from the roof for a devastating Ariel attack the large skeletal creature proceeds to tear the other defenders limbs from limb before meeting its end at the party's hand while Fargus is pulled from the rubble and carried off to safety.

While looting the bodies of the dead by the light of the burning town the last nearby barrel of oil explodes blasting Artiguis and Blue threw the side of a local home.

Having set the town ablaze and successfully arranged for the women and elderly to tackle the fires our party decides that with exhaustion setting in it is time to sleep, retrieving the unconscious Shadow and dealing with her would have to wait.

After resting Shadow returns to the tavern with no recollection of what has happened or where she has been and for the first time her arrogant confidence is replaced by utter confusion and disorientation. She tells them of a dream she had where she was continuously cutting the throat and gouging out the eyes of a large very evil being over and over again while it only became more and more powerful with each death suffered at her hands. With each death the words LET ME IN escaped the evil beings lips its whispered voice seeping into the core of Shadows very being.

After filling their bellies and speaking with Fargus, the wizard informs them that Shadow now carries darkness in her heart and has been touched by a powerful evil. Fargus also admits to not knowing who the hooded figure from the attack was but tells of how tales from long ago made mention of a wizard so powerful that he sought to become immortal, cheating death and in doing so became the very God of Death itself. The tales also made mention of how his power was granted through the acquisition of a staff he had acquired through penetrating the depths of the realms of Necros; the land of the dead. The staff of Necros had one common feature in all the tales, it pulsed with the power of a violet flame ignited in the very bowels of death itself.

Fargus agrees to cure Shadow of the evil darkness now seeded in her heart but only if the party agrees to venture to a local monastery about 7 miles to the North to confirm if the monks remain unharmed or have suffered similar attacks as well. The Monks may also have information on current events since it seems the rumors that other villages on the borderlands have had their dead stolen and their children taken may now in fact be truth. The party is also to bring back valuable healing potions and herbs that the Monks make and keep in good supply so that they may be administered to the townsfolk.

With a new task best them our party rests up and prepares to journey forth.......

Friday, 11 May 2018

(COF) Session 2: Shitty Pants & Detonating Heads

After the Halfling Assassin Shadow scouts the bandit camp from the heights of a tree she makes her way back to the party to inform them of what she observed. The Elvin Cleric Artigius decides to use himself as bait and lure the bandits away from the camp while the others wait in ambush. After a botched ambush where the party had the upper hand the Cleric Artigius is impaled on the end of a bandits sword while Shadow watches as her intestines spill out of her yielding stomach while she catches the faint smell shit before being overtaken by darkness. Thankfully the Paladin Blue was able to slay the bandits and use his cache of healing potions to revive his comrades before they surrendered to death. Being so close to deaths door had changed the Cleri Artigiusc or perhaps brought out his true colors, for his Mace now hungered for the blood and bone of all those not willing to bow down to the Immortal God. After caving in the Bandit leaders head (detonating by Clerical standards) the halfling Shadow slapped the tied hostages around a bit before untying them while the party openly conversed about killing them.

After instilling fear into the hostages that they may become hostages once again or worse be killed the Cleric Artiguis, covered in blood from head to toe, attempts to convert the fearful hostages to becoming followers of the Immortal God.

Unable to escape and wanting nothing to do with the crazed, blood soaked Cleric the party decides to give a horse and rations to the hostages who turn out to be lovers on the run from their disapproving parents.

Having slain the bandits, taken their horses and goods and harassed some good innocent folk the party makes for Drakashaan arriving into the walled town as darkness falls. There the find and old man digging graves outside the walls of the town and are informed that two nights ago during the All Hallows celebrations Goblins attacked the town as the sun was going down, killing a dozen people and making off with all but two of the children.

The party finds out that the old man is Fargus the wizard the very same person that Boganathar tasked them with making contact with. He informs them that he has much to tell them and information that needs to be delivered to Boganathar but that matters shall be discussed in the morning for he had many bodies to bury.

After being insulted by Shadow and displaying a fraction of his powers to send Shadow into a realm of suffocating blackness, the party decides to lend aid to Fargus and help him bury the bodies before retiring at the local tavern. While deep sleep and wondrous dreams unfold for each party member horrifying screams rent the quiet night and the party is ripped from their glorious dreamt conquests to wakefulness forgetting for a moment where they are. As the waking world finds firm grip on the Cleric Artigius echoing whispers fade away like the voices of the dead in the wind.........

Thursday, 3 May 2018

(Conjunction of Fates) Session 1: A questionable party

Our journey begins with our party (consisting of a Human Paladin, Elven Cleric and Halfling Assassin) in the city of Xarl, a city that lies in the far eastern reaches of the Kingdom of Valor.

The King of Valor is plagued with terrible nightmares of an amassing army of undead beyond Valors borderlands to the east, an area known as the Dragonsgrave. While the kingdom grows troubled by the growing rumors that graveyards across the eastern lands lay empty, their plots upturned, the bodies having seemingly vanished to the darkness of night. The King is concerned and seeks to know if there is truth to the rumors and his nightmares, and if so who leads this army. While the more worrying question is; what should happen if this army seeks the Orb of Continual Light ? for its's power is far to great for the hands of man, dead or alive.

Valors high wizard Boganathar has been tasked with investigating the rumors and the area beyond the borderlands to the east. But unknown to the King is that the wizard Boganathar has it on good authority that an ancient tower long ago abandoned in the Dragonsgrave may now be occupied once again. But who would dare, for the last inhabitant before his disappearance 60 years ago was the dark Wizard Nopius, Boganathars very own brother......

From the city of Xarl the party is dispatched by the High Wizard Bogananthar to the border town of Drakashaan to investigate rumors of empty graveyards and meet with his contact Fargus who has information on strange happenings in the area  known as Dragonsgrave and a message to be hand delivered to Boganathar.

After negotiating a payment of 200GP per person upon return with the message you are provided with horses, a map, and three healing potions each before striking out for the seven day journey to Drakashaan.

On the third day of travel the party arrived at a tavern in the town of Thale where the Paladin (Blue) grabbed an ale while the Assassin Shadow decided to pickpocket and deprive a young male widower of the only memory he held of his recently departed wife and daughter. A valuable silver amulet with pictures of his loved ones inscribed within. After a few drinks and accusations that the other patrons were thief's and had stolen his amulet, things became heated very quickly and the poor widower Jagger was beaten senseless by a mob of drunken gamblers who grew irritated with the accusations. 

The next morning after re-supplying and stealing provisions from the back room of the Tavern the party prepared to head out of town but not before the Cleric persuaded the assassin to return the amulet to Jagger where the party claimed to have found it in the stables. Having received Jaggers profound appreciation and being grateful for the returned amulet Jagger promises that if there is anything he can ever do to repay you that he is in your debt and that you will always have a place to stay should you return to the town of Thale.

With Thale a day behind and the last settlement indicated on the map before reaching Drakashaan you followed the map provided over increasingly mountainous terrain and decided to make camp for the night but were growing increasingly uneasy by the sounds of wolves howling in the distance with the calls seemingly getting closer.

While the Paladin (Blue) was on first watch during the night, three large Wolves suddenly charged the sleeping group from out of the cover of night. All but Blue were taken by surprise and sustained great injuries before dispatching the wolves and deciding to run, not wanting to stick around to see how many more wolves were in the area and afraid they would be drawn by smell blood. With Blue having saved the party they jumped onto their horses and speed away. With a pack of wolves in pursuit, the Halfling Assassin Shadow decides to stab her horse and jump onto the Paladins horse having left all her supplies on hers. Hoping her horse would draw the wolves away it did provide much needed distance as the wolves devoured the horse, its helpless screams piercing the night as the party raced away.

With the sun rising and while continuing to put as much distance between them and the wolves as possible the party catches a glimpse of light reflecting off of something metallic ahead in the dense forest and the assassin is sent in to investigate. Scaling a tree Shadow sees a band of bandits sitting around a morning fire sharpening their blades while just beyond the fire a man and a woman are gagged and bound to a tree. She returns to inform the others and a plan is hatched.......

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Old map of Ruathain

I was going through some old boxes of stuff and found this in an old note book. This is the original map I drew for a campaign world called Ganth where the Ruathain Mountains featured heavily. The mountain range stretching most of the land and being the equivalent of the Himalayas. In fact the Himalayas and my time spent hiking them were the inspiration for Ruathain as well as it's legends and mythology. Though world and map has now seen some changes it was cool to come across this little gem from years ago.

Erik Tenkars Swords & Wizardry Light

So I recently picked up another half dozen copies of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light. My players had the idea to just dedicate an en...