Chapter 53: In Which Our Hero, Armed Only With A Penknife And A Stoat, Defeats Three Frenchmen

…fear my stoat, you Froggy scalawags!

Delving In The Dungeon: Part 12 “…slowly, the door opens”

While the others watch at the door/barricade the door, Knute attempts to disbelieve the wall, assuming it to be an illusion.

No way, Jose, that wall is real. Figuring this out, Knute reaches out and pokes the wall with a finger. Instantly, he disappears from the room his fellow party members are in.

Periwinkle sees Knute vanish and almost yells “Holy Shit!”, but manages to remember that she needs to be quiet.

Amalia, peering through the tiny slit of the door, sees the opposite door slowly open up. Out of the other room step 7 Orcs. And not just any Orcs, no sir, these are Pig Faced Orcs! Larger and uglier than normal Orcs, their large tusks gleam in the dim light. Six of the seven are armed to the teeth with swords, axes and spiked clubs, but the seventh is armed only with an ornately carved staff.

Amalia whispers to her friends “Pig Faced Orcs…6 fighters, 1 shaman”

Duncan and Fergus each whisper many rude words. Periwinkle looks from the door to the enchanted wall. Decisions, decisions.

The Pig Faced Orcs chat for a minute about what to do next, then begin advancing towards the door. Amalia moves away from the door and whispers “They’re coming in here”.

Meanwhile, Knute finds himself inside a large, well lit room. It would appear to have once been some sort of meeting room, as there are many chairs set up around a large square table. A few feet away stands Erasmus, studying an old dusty tapestry.

“There ya are!”, says Knute, “Ya scared the hell outta me, disappearin’ like that!”

“Well”, Erasmus replies, “I certainly never meant to do it. You know, I think this tapestry depicts the coranation of King Bartholemew the Second, or “Bloody Bart” as he was known to his enermies. He was…hmmm, this is odd…”

Knute sighs and prepares to endure another of the wizards boring history lessons. He is just about to take a seat in one of the chairs when, near the rooms only door, he sees…

Ok…Party members in the soon to be Pig Faced Orc filled room, what do you do?
What does Knute see?
What does Erasmus notice as odd about the tapestry?

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The Chowder Gnomes Make Gumbo

…and it is dee-lay-cious, I garontee

Jumbled Up Stuff What Fell Outta Me Head This Mornin’

1: LJ entries not as frequent as I’d like, mostly due to the May Mystery Shopping death March.

2: Worked on my garden this past weekend. Planted 4 seedlings each of Sweet Basil and Thai Basil, 7 tomato seedlings (5 varieties), 3 chile pepper seedlings (3 verieties), 4 cantaloupe seedlings (1 variety, Ambrosia, my favorite) and 2 cucumbers (1 variety). Later this week, I’ll start me corn seeds, more beans and possibly my watermelon seeds. After that comes okra, more herbs, more veggies, flowers, etc, etc, etc.

3: Had a dream last night that I was waterboarding Dick Cheney, George Bush and several right wing talk show hosts. They were screaming and crying like little girls. Unfortunately, I woke up before we brought out the cattle prods.

4: We were supposed to see Star Trek on Monday, but the above mentioned Mystery Shopping Death March left us way too tired, so we shall try for this Friday night.

5: Our search for a new sister for Winker continues. There are some sweet looking young ladies on the Golden Gate Basset Rescue website and we will be inquiring about them soon.

6: I recently read a statement that the disease formerly known as swine flu, might possibly kill 8 million people, assuming it is really as bad as we have been lead to believe, which I think is assuming alot. Anyway, 8 million dead just won’t do. We need a flu that takes out a minimum of half a billion people worldwide in the first year. Twice that number would be better, especially if the death rate drops by half in the second year. Two billion dead in say, 3-4 years would be a great weight lifted from the shoulders of our planet, the ecosystem and homo sapiens in general. Unfortunately, I don’t see us getting that lucky from a mere disease.

7: Grace and I have gotten back into playing Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates and it is still great fun, only now there are even more puzzles and other neat stuff. Yarr!

8: I’m still searching for a better job, but so far I’ve found nothing. It’s tough out there, folks.

Gotta go wash dishes now. More blog-o-rama later.

Mayday From A Green Eyed Brunette

…damsel in distress

Delving In The Dungeon: Part 11 “…hey, check this out”

Before anyone can begin looting, Erasmus casts Detect Magic on the whole room. Oddly, while none of the boxes, bags or coffins seem to hold anything magical, the whole rear wall of the room seems to be infused with low level magic. He points this out to the rest of the group, then goes to examine the wall physically.

Knute, who is feeling very uneasy about those coffins (no doubt owing to several encounters with the undead during his early days as an adventurer), follows Erasmus. He has his weapon drawn and at the ready.

Amalia stands just outside the door, keeping a watchful eye on the passageway and the door where they heard the noises. Every so often, she glances in the room and gives helpful looting hints.

Duncan, Fergus and Periwinkle begin their looting activities. This is how it goes…

Duncan throws open the lid on the first coffin and finds it empty. Moving to the second coffin, he repeats the process and again finds nothing. Knute’s sigh of relief is audible even to Amalia out in the hallway.

Fergus starts opening boxes. Most of them contain old, mostly rotted clothes and blankets. A couple are empty.

Periwinkle looks through the sacks and finds that they hold rusty spoons, forks and other kitchen items. The pile of rags conceals nothing.

More than a bit disgusted with the total lack of loot so far, our Looters Three turn their attention to the wax sealed barrel. After a bit of discussion…and Erasmus’ assurance that the barrel contains nothing magical…they remove the lid.

The barrel is full of honey. Good honey, with a slight berry flavor, but just honey.

As Fergus, Duncan and Periwinkle start in to griping, two things happen.

Erasmus, muttering to himself, pokes the magical wall with his finger. He promptly disappears. Knute gives forth with a loud “What the…?”

The door to the “noisy room” starts to slowly open. Amalia quietly sounds the alarm to her friends, then steps into the room and closes the door to a mere slit, allowing her to see what comes out of the other room.

So, Brave Adventurers, what next?

Archie, The King Of The Downhill Kayak Racers

…he might have been even better if the kayak had been in some water

Fantasy Gaming Stuff

The first ongoing AD&D campaign I ever ran was The Maze Of Xask, a mostly above ground dungeon that was, as the name indicates, a maze created by the wizard Xask. The backstory was that Xask, in his nearly 400 years of being a great wizard, had amassed a huge amount of loot that he stashed in several buildings (and less obvisous places) on his estate. To make it hard for thieves to get at his stuff (as if several dozen enchantments, a shitload of mundane tricks & traps and many roaming creatures weren’t enough), Xask built a great 6 sided wall around the whole place and then set about creating the eponymous maze.

Sadly, just as the great wizard was finishing things up, he was betrayed and slain by his former apprentice, Shandar Khan. With his dying breath, Xask cursed the traitor and then managed to move his own life force into the maze. Shandar Khan escaped, but the curse (that he should always be betrayed just as victory was in his grasp) followed him to the end of his days.

Xask’s life force, now linked with the maze, caused it to disappear from the material world, seemingly forever. The reality was that keeping the maze on some other plane of existence was beyond Xask’s powers. Every 20 years or so, Xask would tire and the maze would reappear someplace in the world of the living. And that’s when things get interesting.

Since he would be stuck in the world for anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks, Xask made up a game to pass the time. He would, shortly before emerging back onto the material plane, send a telepathic message to a great many wizards and lesser magic users, telling them when and where the maze was going to appear. He would also tell them that the six gates into the maze would open only for groups of 4 people or less, and then only if they brought a magical item of some power with them. Only the first qualifying group at each gate would get in.

Once inside, each group would give up the magical item, then be allowed to explore and loot as much as they wanted…within a few simple rules.

1: You cannot leave by the same gate you entered.
2: Only one group can leave via a given gate. If three groups reach Gate 4 at the same time, first group through the gate escapes.
3: Wishes won’t work inside the maze.
4: Horses and pack animals cannot enter the maze.
5: You can take out whatever you can carry.
6: Xask will give one warning 3 hours before the maze vanishes again, then another at the 1 hour, 30 minute and 15 minute marks.
7: If you are not out of the maze when it vanishes, you are trapped for 20 years AND run a great risk of being transformed into…something else.
8: Don’t even think about flying, tunneling, teleporting, gating or otherwise leaving the maze. You walk (or run) in, you walk (or more likely, run like hell) out.

Over the past several decades, many brave adventurers have entered the maze. Only about 1 in 10 ever make it out. Those that do are usually set for life, wealthwise. Of course, some have to spend much of their wealth on curse removals or limb regrowing or memory eradication, but they often have plenty left.

In my first series, the PC’s (who had just made second level) were hired by a wizard named Ool Mandragar to enter the Maze. Ool offered to split the take 25/75 with the group, plus he’d supply them with all of the equipment they would need and a suitable magic item to offer up to the maze. They agreed and the series started up. The sessions went like this.

Session 1: Primarily spent dealing with Ool and buying some equipment.
Session 2: Checking out what other groups would be trying to get into the maze. There were only 4, since Xask only gave a 24 hour warning.
Session 3: The mad dash to the maze and a pitched battle with three dwarves who wanted to go in the same gate. The PC’s barely won.
Sessions 4-10: The first 6 days of 7 are spent looting, fighting monsters, freeing a trapped Fairy Princess, healing up (lots of healing up) and running hither & yon.
Sessions 11-12: Trying to locate a gate out, finally finding one that was “only guarded by two iron golems”, escaping and splitting the loot with Ool (who, as it turned out, mostly wanted the Fairy Princess, since she was an old flame of his).

Once I had this series under my belt, I ran a few shorter (3-4 session) series for the group before we launched into the (estimated) 180+ session League Of Wizards series.

But that is another story.

The Rare And Beautiful Walking Asparagus Of Potawango Island

…if they see hollandaise sauce, they run

More Stuff, with sprinkles

1: Because of the aforementioned May Mystery Shop Death March and the added money it will bring in, Grace and I may just be able to pay our bills up to current, eliminating the “you’re behind on your bill by a month” phone calls. WHOOPEEE!!!!

2: We may also be adopting another dog in June. Poor Winker has been lonely and a bit clingy since Daisy died, so we are thinking a new sister will do her good. Grace is already scouting out Basset Rescues and animal shelters for likely candidates.

3: On another topic, it would seem that the good reviews for the new Star Trek film are driving some hardcore Trekkies crazy, mostly because they are determined to hate it (even tho they will all go see it and buy the Blue Ray Special Edition when it comes out). As with 99.99% of all Fannish whining, I find great amusement in their anguish.

4: HEY! All y’all who are playing characters in the Dungeon Delving thing, tell me what your character is doing! Don’t make me ask twice or I’ll send Vito and Jimmy the Goat around to pay you a visit.

5: Mothers Day is coming up this Sunday. If you’ve got a mom, tell her you love her.

More bloggage later.

The 100 Things That I Know About Women

…#3-#95: I’ll never really understand them

Delving In The Dungeon: Part 10 “…and then we opened the door”

After giving the quiet door a thorough checking over, Periwinkle slowly opens it while keeping the door between herself and the room.

Fergus and Duncan enter the room, weapons at the ready. They are followed by Knute and Erasmus, who also have weapons/spells ready. Amalia stays in the hallway as a lookout and Periwinkle enters the room once she knows it has no silent monsters lurking.

The room, in fact, seems to be some sort of storeroom. There are 9 small (2’x2’x2′ or smaller) boxes, 5 larger boxes (up to 4’x4’x4′), 2 very large boxes (one is 4′ wide, by 4’tall by 7′ long and the other is 5′ wide, 4′ deep and 9′ tall), a couple of rather poorly made coffins (1 closed, 1 open), 3 burlap sacks that are about half full and tied closed, a pile of old rags and clothing, a badly dented chamber pot and a large barrel that seems to be sealed tight with wax.

So, intrepid and greedy adventurers, what does your character do?

No quiz for this entry. You can tell me in a comment and be as detailed as you like. Feel free to talk it over with your character’s co-player.

Poultry In Motion

…bad Doc! Bad, bad Doc!

Stuff, served hot with a nice mug of porter

1: Most of the weekends, and some weekdays, in May are already filled with mystery shopping duties (in a hope to get caught up on bills), so I will not be able to do any gaming until Sunday the 24th.

2: I made some killer pork for tacos last night. It was the major yum.

3: The Dungeon Delve will resume tonight or tomorrow morning.

4: The month of May can go ahead and warm up any day now, so I can finish planting my garden.

5: Everyone here is healthy, despite my fast fading leg infection.

Gotta go to work now. More bloggage later.