Campaign of the Month: May 2016

Mysteria

Three Steps to Heaven

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It was late at night in the large bedroom of the Witch’s Teat when the balcony doors suddenly came crashing in to the obvious surprise of Iwandornless Walderin (Iron Wall) as he stood there peering out into the darkness. Arcael wakened Balgor and immediately sent fiery blasts into two opponents, killing them instantly. The door burst open and more vargamors burst into the room wildly wielding axes. Truman Click stopped resting his gears and whirred into action as Goran positioned himself in prime “backstab postion” in the corner of the room.

The leader, Brother Borislav, a sword-wielding werewolf entered the room and engaged with the mighty minotaur but, before he could get in any good swings or lycanthropic bites, soon realised that the battle was not to be won, and fleed out the door. One injured prisoner was taken and the group learned that they had become part of the CHALLENGE OF THE FANG and were being pursued by the servants of The-would-be-King-of-the-Wolves.

Having gained nine doses of WARG SALVE, they ventured forth into the forest, looking for the Paths of Gamayun by which they would tread in order to reach, and possibly save, the young girl, Czerwonya Kohler from inevitable fate.

Three tests they overcame: The Test of Knowledge they passed through faith and worship of Lada, Queen of the Underwater Lawns, the Test of Resolve, they only just passed through the quick thinking reverence to the completion of OATHS, and the third test, involving a choice of three to which bartiman-greenbough cried: “All!” was completed at great physical cost to the brave fighter, Iron Wall, in his grappling with the disguised LESHY and at some cost to both Arcael and Goran succumbing to vicious wasp attacks.

The mistress of the Third Test, Stuthac the Ala became completely enraged but through the group’s passing of the test, was compelled to let them forward to “Grandma’s House” in THE BELLY OF THE BEAST.

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Strangers in the Night

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Magical healing is never so exciting as it is in The Old Margreve. While the forest siphons in the magical energy, it also lends its own transformative powers in the form of plant like protrusions from the bodies of all those healed. With twiggy features, Arcael and The Oooze looted the bugbear’s basement and climbed up the tower, killing two more bugbears and three nasty ogres. The bugbears were sliced vertically by Iwandornless Walderin (Iron Wall) and horizontally by the swinging scythe of Balgor and of the ogres, let us just say that Arcael burned one of them to a cinder, Goran inflicted double dagger death on another and the last succumbed to multiple attacks as he reached for his trusty javelins.

Bartiman Greenbough took the lead in the search for griffons, while Truman Click ministered intense healing to the mighty gearforged warrior who strode out in front, climbing ladders and entering every room with his Iron Wall defiantly resisting clockwork shutdown. Near the top of the tower, they found two griffon hatchlings and two cowardly bugbears hiding in a cupboard. In a master stroke of stuational comedy, the party took on the bugbears as serving carriers of the two chicks as they continued on through the forest to the Witch’s Teat Inn. On the way, a mysterious fog engulfed everyone and a lone steed carrying a dying rider reached them. Bartiman took the silver axe gripped tightly in the man’s hand, but when talking wolves entered the scene, demanding that the group leave their prey to them, the group did just that, and hoofed it on to the warm comforting light of the Inn.

With the hatchlings sold and the bugbears freed, the group spent some time relaxing in the bustling tavern. The minotaur played drinking games with the dwarf, Balderneck Gunnacksen, while the druid spoke with an old crone fortune teller, who told him:

“I see choice, catechism, and consequences. You’ll pass through places that were old before iron was born, and iron will avail you little there. Knoweledge of the old ways is better than sword or shield. I’ll say also this: Not all that’s devoured is dead and gone, and when offered a choice, the brave may earn a great reward by saying boldly, “All!”

Goran spent some time watching a strange group of long-fingered men, playing an even stranger game of cards, while most of the others hearkened to the tale of woe of one Hodel Kohler, who told how his daughter, Czerwonya, had been been caught up in the Challenge of The Fang , and age old mythic struggle between humans and wolves. With emotional sobs, he begged the party to help him save his daughter by taking the Paths of the Gamayun and rescuing her from the Would-be-King-of-the-Wolves, offering a FIREBIRD FEATHER as reward.

When Goran returned to the group with a description of how the tarocchi fortune telling cards bore likenesses of each and every member of their party, The Oooze decided it was time to rest for the night and hired a large communal room, resting while two sentries took vigil. Like hobbits in Bree, dreading Nazgul infiltration, they waited anxiously for a highly anticipated event.

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No Smoke on The Water

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When Alexei Splitleaf of Allain finds himself longing for some rare woodland art by the secretive MARGREVE artist, Woody Banks, he turns to his brave adventurers, Arcael and The Oooze, to take on the journey through the forest. Uniting with their old friend, Balgor, they take THE OLD NORTH ROAD, stopping at RIVENSKY BREWERY and OLD MIKHAIL’S INN on their way to the EYES OF THE FOREST INN, where Banks resides.

Near to the old ruined griffon tower, Bartiman Greenbough suggests a quick detour to taste the sweet waters of Griffon Pond. Indeed, they are just as sweet as he had always heard; however, the nearby bloodtree was not so sweet; an ambush of animated boughs immediately grabbing the druid, Balgor and Truman Click and throwing explosive SIPHORB FRUITS at Arcael and Iwandornless Walderin (Iron Wall), who had the good sense to hang back. Iron Wall ran in to attack but Goran expertly hiding behind the trunk of the great tree itself, managed to escape notice for some time before eventually succumbing to the angry embrace of the tree.

After a few rounds, with Truman Click (fourth most famous Gearforged Oracle in the world), inactive, Balgor unconsious and all the others severely wounded, Arcael made a plea to The Old Margreve by offering up the Key of Veles in return for his party’s life and The Old Margeve listened, magically consuming the precious magical item, while commanding the bloodtree to release its prey.

After drinking the sweet water, the ever vigilant druid Greenbough found the sack of a poor bugbear bandit, pocketed some stolen treasure, and followed a path of footsteps through the forest to the old ruined griffon tower itself. With some unusually loud “sneaking” the group entered the tower and came upon a group of bugbears in the basement. The last remaining bugbear pleaded for his life but found no mercy under the swinging scythe of Balgor. In the deathly silence, they collected their thoughts and prepared to investigate the rest of the tower.

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River Deep Mountain High

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With a sponsor, and a purpose, and a Type IV Bag of Holding, Arcael and The Oooze slipped gently down the River Argent, picking up a caravan in Clarasaya and joining them in a journey over the Rothenian Planes to Demon Mountain. Their mission (…and they chose to accept it)? Ruin the wine of Ulfer Frazo, stolen by the “Son of the Master” from honest merchant Korsav of Zobeck.

Chaos erupted at the gates of the Outer Donjon, with the confiscation of weapons and the sneaky hiding of such things by evil gnomes. Looking for the loyal kobold, Vyoda, the group set up tent and took a short sample of the goods on offer at the PAVILLIONS OF PERVERSITY, exposing the crudely stitched SPOCK ears of the supposed “elven” dancers with disastrous results on a certain gnomish proprietor, the angry mob ripping him to pieces as the adventurers made their exit.

Taking in some of the raucous tunes of evening, with much cacophany coming from the tower itself, the group rested till the next day before entering the lower donjon, looking for clues. While Truman Click stood in a queue, waiting to see THE SOLICITOR, Arcael, Goran, Bartiman Greenbough and Iwandornless Walderin (Iron Wall), scouted around for further clues, finding a giant minotaur quartermaster guarding the confiscated weapons and a Priest of Wotan, who seemed like he had something to hide.

Trouble erupted as the group walked into the kitchen to find a young serving wench being molested by a drunken wizard and his two thugs. Battle erupted and the wizard and one of his thugs paid the ultimate price, with the sole survivor getting a stern warning from Arcael. With much gratitude, Lyssa the kitchenmaid advised that the best place to find the kobold Vyoda would be in the Pavillions of Perversity, so back they went, avoiding gnomes and generally trying to stay out of trouble.

After avoiding a Vargoille Kissing Booth and refusing the Bemmean Tent of Horrors, the group slunk into the Zombie Massage Parlour and found their man. (Did I say man? I meant Kobold!)
Vyoda told them of the secret door into the cellar and the way to the hidden wine stores of Ulfer Frazo and the party lost no time in getting their weapons by bribing the quartermaster before being confronted by the secretly evil Priest of Chernovog in the chapel and having to despatch him before slipping underground.

In the cellars they disturbed an Otyugh Zombie and, on finding the corpses of Vyoda’s family, “awakened” a haunt in the form of a stinking cloud that enveloped them all as giant rot grubs attacked. Eventually they encountered the Schir demon, who seemed to want the life of Vyoda pretty badly and asked kindly for the party to get him….or die! The party offered some resistance and the Schir ran away to his hideout in the wine cellars.

Arcael and the Oooze followed and used Korsav’s incantation to spoil all the wine, but they could not combat the slippery demon and had to run back out of the chambers with the demon harrying Iron Wall all the way to safety. A return to Zobeck and a recounting of the tale to a beaming Korsav earned the party a cool 250 GP and couple of magical gifts beside! They were on their way to being true masters of Mysteria!

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Sing me that old Demon Mountain Oooze
What I heard and saw in Zobeck

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It’s not every night that a minstrel loving scribe can leave The Wheatsheaf Tavern with a smile on his face but two weeks ago, that is exactly what I did after hearing the sweet melodic voices and winds of the new band started up by Arcael and his fellow renegade from Schmidt Happens, Mr Golden Fingers himself, Truman Click.

Arcael and The Oooze won over the audience with their folk punk trip hop repertoire that not only kept the feet tapping and kobold ears fluttering, but also kept Carla Siccone‘s beer pumps pumping as well. The rasping metallic voice of Iwandornless Walderin (Iron Wall) is unlike anything I have ever heard before but seems to complement Arcael’s dulcet tones perfectly; much in the same way as Bartiman Greenbough‘s carnyx harmonises pefectly with Truman Click’s sonorific flute playing. Add to this the gentle swaying dance of Goran that lifts the mood of the audience and gets them moving in time, and we have one of those great evenings to remember.

I will certainly be keeping an eye out for this band and hope it is a herald of great things to come in the thriving music world of Lower Zobeck.

Amon Duul Nederlande

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Ghosts

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Ghosts are gruesome, ghosts are grim!
Spare a thought for old Erik Kaple, killed by a workers’ revolt and pushed, alive and screaming, into the maws of his own flensing machine. No wonder the Night-Things were restless. But time passes. And now our heroes are trespassers in the ghost’s domain.

While Taurus wrestles with rat swarms and the invisible half-gnome form of Master Doldrum, Arcael, Brandon Kane and Old Ben Gone deal with the spirit that has kept things running in the old factory and been responsible for the deaths of innocent citizens of Zobeck. Up and down the stairs, runs the brave Northlander, Incendarius, keeping them all alive as they fight against DEATH itself. And on top of it all, Mephits! Fukking Mephits! In, out, breathing all about!

Doldrum screams: “You won’t take my treasure!” Arcael screams: “Your touch is cold!” The half-gnome dies, the rat swarms disperse, the mephits fukk on off out the roof. They’ve had enough of this place! But the ghost has nowhere to go! It is a fight to the end, but fighting a ghost, it’s all “hit and miss” and a lot more “miss” than “hit”, I can assure you.

In the end, Arcael takes the fatal touch of Kaple to his heart and slumps to the floor, leaving Old Ben, Incendarius and Brandon Kane to chip away at the fading spirit. Eventually, they overcome dreadful undeath, claim the magical weather vein and destroy the body of Kaple, thus destroying forerver its undead form.

Back at Wheatsheaf Lane, a cancellation offers an impromptu gig at the Wheatsheaf Tavern. All the treasure is spent in Raising Arcael from the Dead and there is not enough to restore the rat eaten remains of brave cavalier, Falathar.

Heads hang low, but not too low to see the smiling faces of the citizens of Lower Zobeck who are beginning to look at the new heroes with an extra twinkle in their eyes. Maybe there is something good to being a hero after all……

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Angel of Zobeck

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“Perception! It’s great when you’ve got it, but when you don’t, there’s always luck!” Those may have been Falathar’s thoughts as he took up rear guard position moving through the flooded basement of Kaple’s warehouse and into the tower. A dark and rusty place, the tower. Taurus looked up into the darkness past hideous grotesques and inhuman faces carved in stone and metal. Rusty chains hung from black and ochre platforms at the top of the tower. One of the chains moved, but Old Ben Gone moved quicker still, clanging his magic stinking teeth into the metal of an animated monstrosity, he held the thing at bay, keeping a monstrous metal maw from chomping his friend.

Brandon Kane climbed up to the top and peeped through a hatch to see what lay above the rusting metal platform at the top of the tower and was smacked in the face by the granite like hand of a gargoyle. Incendarius followed his friend up the stairs, Burning Hands at the ready, followed soon by Arcael with his Light and his haughty ways.

The squaking sound of chickens soon betrayed a more dangerous form of bird as two cockatrices attacked Taurus from the rear. Old Ben and Taurus had already demolished the swinging chain, and now, under the attack of the flying creatures, also heard the sound of irritating giggles. “Fukking Mephits!” thought Old Ben, but he had no time for such tomfoolery. Up, up, up he went, now invisible, thanks to the magic of Arcael, and into the top of the tower. A forge burned, and a black angel hung in the air, all metal and gloom. Ben tried and failed to bite it and it retaliated with a powerful wing swipe. Brandon Kane climbed up, again being hit by the Gargoyle that Old Ben hadn’t seen.

Down near the bottom of the stair, cockatrice pecked at the minotaur and a new enemy suddenly appeared. That dastardly Tarnish baddie, Mister Corpulent was firing a crossbow but failed to hit Taurus. Falathar took out his bow, but it was all too quick for him. The arrow caught in the string. Twang! Piercing his own neck in a miraculously impossible accident, he fell off the stair and into the stinking pool below.

Above, with Old Ben engaging the Rusty Angel, Brandon Kane and Incendarius turned to Grief, the Gargoyle, but the cowardly creature flew up through an ivy canopy and into the Zobeck night. Down below, there was the sound of much splashing and even more giggling. “Fukking Mephits again", and Corpulent reloading….and Falathar drowning. The great Arcael moved down the stairs to save the drowning cavalier. Arcael reached the pool, grabbing onto his friend among the deadly breath of Mephits. Taurus was back down in the pool delivering justice to Corpulent, when three rat swarms moved in to attack. Arcael had to move back, and even though Corpulent fell, there was nobody to save the Elfmarked Cavalier from the rats so Arcael moved back up the stair to help his friends against the Angel of Zobeck.

At the bottom of the stair, a bolt whizzed past Taurus’s ear. From the adjacent room, the half gnome, Master Doldrum now declared himself as enemy while distant Mephits giggled in the room next door. With Old Ben, Incendarius and Brandon Kane all knocking lumps out of the Angel of Rust and Metal, Arcael espied the time for a finishing blow and cast a Magic Missile into the eye of the creature, so that it shattered and fell. But horror of horror, in its place stood the ghostly image of Old Kaple himself. Screeching his dismay, the ghost flew toward Arcael, reaching out with its aging touch.

The battle continues next week.

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Downstairs at Erik's

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Erik Kaple had built up a successful and highly mechanised butchery before his death during the great Kaple Warehouse Workers Uprising. The place had been closed up for years but recent murderous goings-on of the “NIGHT –THINGS” led to the old TARNISH workhouse and SCHMIDT HAPPENS were the lead investigators.

Entry into the old building was forced, illegal and very noisy. Inside, the rooms seemed alive with the misguided spirit of the old days and for such a supposedly derelict building, things seemed strangely active. Mechanical hums and whirrs abounded and the old conveyor chain carrying meathooks seemed to be in operation as the minstrels entered the first large room.

On investigation of the moving chain, a NIGHT-THING hurriedly assembled itself and attack Old Ben Gone. Biting with his rancid mouth and grappling like a mad thing, he engaged himself in a struggle to avoid the slow moving meathooks while up above, three giggling and very irritating dust mephits attacked with their breath weapons. Taurus was having none of it, and in collaboration with magic users, Arcael and Incendarius, he attacked, only to scare the mephitis off. Falathar intervened with his huge elven curve blade and soon the workhouse chattel was a NIGHT-THING no more.

Before Brandon Kane could check their intended path, Taurus, now enlarged by Arcael, bashed down a wall and Old Ben moved into a room, immediately falling through a rotten floor into the room below. Once again, the mephits attacked, spewing their sickly dust into the face of the feral gnasher. Soon the rest of the party were jumping down into the floor below to join in the fray. One mephit was killed but the other two fled.

On either side of this room, underground rivers flowed – The Millrace and The Sough – both turning great wheels further down the flow. Further into the room, even more machinery loomed. Rows of huge gullet-like funnels lay under a floor full of heavy machinery. Once more, the party moved forward, and once more, the floor gave way, this time with three members succumbing to rotting wooden floors. Old Ben and Falathar were dextrous enough to save themselves but the heavy Taurus fell straight down into a dark leech filled pool.

With three giant leeches attacking their comrade, the fellowship of adventurous bards weighed in to help, still harried by mephits who were now attacking from above and protecting themselves from missile attack by the use of Windwalls. Into the deep, dark pool they jumped, killing the leeches, and finding a small passage to another room in the dark dank depths of the flooded factory dungeon floor.

Whatever would they encounter next?

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Penny Lane...

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Ah Zobeck! City of dreams! With the clickety-click heels on cobbled stone, the raucous voices of citizens of Lower Zobeck and the endless drone of bagpipes coming from a practice room in number 10 WHEATSHEAF LANE, it is obvious that SCHMIDT HAPPENS are back at HOME!

Arcael, Incendarius, Brandon Kane, Taurus, Falathar and Old Ben Gone mingle with the likes of Carla Siccone, Ellese Callesh, Simon Taylor, Arius Heritage, Charles Cheddar, Gustav Reinke, Jorgen Hirkst, Pai, Tranmus the Tall and Sir Henry de la Zouche.

Cheese is ordered, friendships are cemented, deals are made, suspicions are raised, instruments are honed, shelves are dusted and futures are planned. Party money is counted and found wanting. “Oooh, it’s gonna be hard getting a Wand of Cure Light Wounds with this!”

The gig at The Wheatsheaf Tavern goes down pretty well, with Truman Click doing Ian Anderson proud and Arcael excelling with the voice of an angel. Both Mister Corpulent and Master Doldrum buy the group a round of drinks and Corpulent waves a proposition of some extra earning in the face of the group.

Rumours of the NIGHT-THINGS in THE TARNISH have been getting a bit lively of late, with several citizens being killed in the night, and Corpulent would like to know more. So would Doldrum, it seems, who also offers the team a similar case, claiming Corpulent is not to be trusted.

With two possible deals on the table, the group head out into the TARNISH night to discover an animated collection of metal things stalking the streets of Lower Zobeck. With the origins of a pendant identified at the MOON’S GRACE TEMPLE, all roads seem to lead to KAPLE’s WORKHOUSE, a derelict building and once fine factory belonging to a tyrant who supposedly died many years ago when his oppressed workers revolted.

Two “bashing” attempts at the front door of the place, quickly lead to a forced entry….

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Royal

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With Brandon Kane having successfully saved himself from falling twenty feet onto upturned poison bee stingers after unctiously triggering the trap, another human-like swarm formed on the other side, once again denying them permission to enter deeper into the Honey Queen’s hive. Taurus took Old Ben Gone and threw him like a dwarf over the pit. Decked out now in his newly donned anti swarm suit, the mad cheesemonger withstood the stings and poison of the bees and left the swarm for the party to destroy. A flaming brand waved by the madman did little damage and soon the unassailable bees were chasing the others down the corridor. A wild jump by Falathar was not so successful and he fell into the pit, immediately losing consciousness. Brandon Kane attempted to attack with his Starbright Brooch. Taurus did the same. Both failed and had their royal gifts destroyed.

In the end, attrition and the burning magic of Incendarius were what did it with the bees and the group cut their way through the root filled passages with some mighty waving of Taurus’s axe. The Queen’s chamber showed an entanglement of roots housing a sleeping beauty and incorporating a weird wooded bower fifteen feet in the air. SCHMIDT HAPPENS called out, and a Queen Bee appeared. Not convinced by their false diplomacy and their pleas, the fey-awakened magic-using queen rose onto her bower and prepared to defend herself.

Brandon Kane picked up the sleeping LYLA while Old Ben got onto the bower to challenge the queen. Mass magical entanglement ensued as the party tried to escape the lair with Old Ben falling victim to a Touch of Idiocy administered by the Queen. In the end, Arcael took up poll position with a DIVINELY INSPIRED second plea to the Queen.

“Honey for Jam!” he pleaded. (To be precise, Magical Honey for a Plus Two Ring of Protection) “…and freedom for the girl.” Now, this was not originally part of the Honey Queen’s plan, but somehow the persuasive sorcerer managed to convince her that it was the “RIGHT THING TO DO”, and she let the group leave.

The forest did not attack them on their return, where at the village of Lecova, the group realised the tragedy of young Lyla’s life. Travelling south on the LEYLINE running parallel with GRANDFATHER’S TEARS, the party came up against some dire weasels and discovered the LEYLINE to be locked to an Intensifying Effect (increasing MAX damage by 5 Caster Levels).

Arriving in Zobeck, it seemed work was to continue. In their absence, Von Schmidt’s top man, Sir Henry de la Zouche, had booked them another GIG AT THE WHEATSHEAF TAVERN…..

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