Monday, March 30, 2009

Campaign: Notes, and Moving Along

Okay. I apologize for making a lot of hay about players and methods on Friday. I don't mean to imply that I intend to stop running, or to leave this campaign in the lurch at this time. I said when I started this that I would give it at least three months, and it hasn't been that yet. I feel I have a responsibility to you fellows, and I intend to live up to that responsibility; to help you along, get your characters on track and to make this enjoyable for everyone.

I don't say that people have been playing in a way that has impugned me. I find myself baffled from time to time, and yes, it would be easier if goals were clearer. But I can understand that there is a lot of information, a lot of baffling characterizations and apparent purposelessness in my descriptions and that the methodology of the blog can compromise interaction among the players. You fellows have been tremendously committed in coming here and giving it your best shot and I want you to know that I'm not blind to it. I sincerely appreciate it.

Let me suggest that if things really seem that out of phase with you, that you go ahead and ask me outright what the hell is my motivation. Get out a d20 and tell me that you've made your intelligence check and maybe then I can give you the information that you need. The problem must be communication.

Regarding the campaign, then.

Anshelm and Tiberius will both arrive back at the Pig tavern independently. Matters in the square have reached something of an impasse. The armed guard has begun pushing people (insistently but not threatening) off the streets. Tiberius attempts to have a message sent to the Merchant's Hall and is denied. Further attempts to take action will clearly have to happen surreptitiously, as the guard have become quite wary. The sky is beginning to show signs of a storm coming, and somehow this seems linked into the general mood of the city.

Delfig and Kazimir,

At this point it is well that you're dealing with a Christian cleric, who in the face of your confession forgives you at once. "My son," he will say, "You must make an act of contrition. This gold you received you must pass over to your church father, in recognition that it was a gain from those who would do evil, and not from good work that you might have done.

"As regards this Triskoon. He might very well be the master of this creature here on the table. I spoke that it would have served another--clearly you have discovered one of the doppelgangers that plot to destroy the city. They are evil creatures, who will invent whatever reason they can to destroy man.

"The story given to you was a lie, to trick you into giving your blood willingly. You are right in your guess. The blood is needed to raise Reekhova. It must come from a bard and it cannot be taken by force if the dweomercraft is to be successful. This is an old legend, but perhaps not one that is known outside the circle of some clerics.

"I cannot say now what we must do to make it right. Someone must be told--but it is perhaps too late." The cleric will go to the doorway. "See? A storm rises. It is a sign."

Emmanuel will ask: "Who? Who must be told?"

The cleric thinks. "There is only one who might listen. You must tell the paladin Hornung. But to do so would first require entering the town."


Kazimir said...

Kazimir shakes his head and looks at Delfig. "This is what happens when I leave you alone a moment, hey?" He barks out a short laugh. "Whatever you're in, I s'pose I'm in it with you, lad. It's sure to beat harassing Jews and sleeping in hay, I'll wager."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I bow my head and nod, accepting the task of contrition given. I glance sorrowfully at Kazimir as if to apologize for having to give up the most amount of loot we've made in awhile... and I then open my pouch and spill out all 100 gold at the feet of the Friar.

"It is blood money, evil and tainted. I will not have any part of it."

Delfig pauses - "You speak of an old legend... what is this legend? You said you had not heard of Reekhova, but you've heard of a legend concerning the blood?"

"This Triskoon might have a lair at a small hamlet not far from here. It is where I encountered the 'skulks' and Triskoon. Perhaps this Hornung would be interested in that."

"My friend..." pointing to Kazimir, "...has said that the gates of Dachau are closed and the guards do not allow anyone to enter. We will either have to enter by stealth or perhaps by your good offices, Friar. Would a pass by you, given to us to allow us to enter on authority of the Church, be enough? If so, we can make the attempt. If that does not work, we'll have to gain entrance perhaps by some sewer, or gap in the wall, or some other means to allow us to get into the city unseen. Do you have any thoughts on that?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"And do you think this silversmith, Herr Meyer, he might be a doppelganger or in league with this evil plan?"

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Anshelm and Tiberius exchange stories about what just happened to each.

"I am now not sure it was wise to doubt your insistence on honoring our obligations to Mizer. No choices in this conflict seem to be easy, but I am made uneasy by Karl's speech."

Scratching himself absently, Anshelm says, "What can we do? Mizer is unreachable at present, and asking questions might raise suspicions."

Tiberius said...

When denied entrance by the guards at the Merchant Hall, Tiberius tells the guards that he and Anshelm works for Herr Mizer, and that they must speak with the gentleman immediately, as they have information regarding the recent murders that is for Herr Mizer's ears only.

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

(I'm with Tiberius!)

Alexis said...


Emmanuel will take the the sight of the gold fairly well, but Igen and Heinke will goggle at it. Jan will direct them to pick up the coins (wondering why they couldn’t be kept in the pouch), and will accept your penance graciously.

Jan: “The legend tells of how the thing is done, but not of what will come through the gate. I cannot guess what the creature might be, I have no knowledge of such things. My father superior in Crecy would know better than I…but then they have reason to know. I do not.

“No doubt Triskoon has slipped into the town, probably as a guard or someone familiar. We could not get in so easily. At any rate, Hornung would be inside the town. I do not know by what means you might enter the town. I know of no sewers or open doors; only doors fixed in the walls which cannot be opened from the outside. The river, I am told, is full of wards. Still, you must try. I cannot give you the authority of the church, as I have no such authority—I am only a small friar, barely associated with the church. I attend only to the poor. But I can offer you this:”

He holds out a gold crucifix, worth perhaps as much as the coin you just gave him. It is of an odd shape. “I once did Hornung a favor. Perhaps he will remember this cross.”

(OCC: regarding the river Asper. It will flow through the wall, in a space about ten feet wide. Wards, just to remind you, are magical glyphs which cause 2 hp damage per level of the casting wizard, which will “go off” if you come within a certain distance of them).

Alexis said...

Anshelm and Tiberius,

I would recommend that if you wish to reach Mizer that you do so at his house. He won’t be there, but they would be able to advance your message as they would be known to the guild hall.

(OCC: I don’t tell you this to railroad you; only to suggest how things might be done in a medieval setting. You need not take this route).

To anticipate you, Helmunt does not know the location of Johann’s house, but he can contact a local guide who can take you there for three silver pieces (it would normally be one, but the streets are somewhat more dangerous at the moment).

Kazimir said...

Kazimir furrows his brow and looks at the captive skulk. He will motion Delfig and the good Friar off to the side and say "Perhaps this captive skulk could be used to set off the wards, hey? It would serve him right, and we'll be able to sneak into town with nary a scratch to show for it."

Tiberius said...

Tiberius thanks Helmunt and pays the local guide three silver pieces when he arrives. Once at Mizer's residence, he will ask that a message be taken to Herr Mizer as soon as possible regarding the recent murders. If the merchant wishes to hear more, Tiberius and Anshelm will be waiting at the Pig if he wishes to summon them to him.

Alexis said...

Jan will answer Kazimir: "How would you compel it (the skulk) to do that?"

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Anshelm accompanies Tiberius.

Kazimir said...

Kazimir replies to Jan, "The river runs between the wards, yes? We simply tie the thing to a crude raft and let it go between the wards. Delfig and I can follow in a raft of our own. Once the wards go off on the skulk, we raft into the city."

Kazimir thinks a moment, then says "Do bards have any charms or spells they can use to cloud the mind?)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Delfig shakes his head at Kazimir's question. "My friend, it's not a bad idea, but I would not willingly go anywhere with that evil thing."

"No, I may have to simply climb the wall in a favorable place and slip into the city. I will then see if I can find a door or place to allow you to come in, or fix a rope (if either of us have one) and allow you to climb over. I believe we have to act quickly and that we must do something direct."

"I would also suggest a more direct approach to attempt first. We will use this and present it to the guards. We can declare that we have been summoned by Hornung and rely on his reputation that the guards will at least inquire to him, and using this cross, perhaps gain us an audience."

"What say you, Kazimir?"

Alexis said...

(OCC: Kazimir--the problem with the idea suggests that the wall above the river is unmanned, and would not have any individuals on it that would be armed with crossbows--and that the raft would not be simply seized upon drifting into the river. After all, individuals would rowboats from above the river wouldn't be allowed into the city either).

Kazimir said...

"You've a point, friend. If we try your plan and it fails, the guards simply turn us away. We try my plan and it fails, and we get blasted to bits by the wards, or we get caught sneaking in and it's off to jail or worse. I'll give it a go."

Alexis said...

Tiberius and Anshelm,

The difficulty is in getting to Mizer's residence. The guide will explain that he knows of it, but that a direct path necessarily leads past the square. Just prior, it was necessary for you and Anshelm to each come around the back side of the cathedral to get into the Pig. Now the front lane has several soldiers, and seem to be turning people back who are wishing to leave their houses. "We will have to go out the back door, through the stable and up onto the roof tops of the foreign quarter to reach a place where we can cross to the merchant's quarter. And then, if we can get across that street, we will still have to hide ourselves as we move along. Do you still wish to go?"

Outside, just to add fun to this, the storm has gathered. There is no rain, but the metallic odor of a pre-storm is in the air, and sheet lightning is beginning to range through the clouds.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC: Alexis, your point about the river leads me to my question - what about the walls around Dachau? Would I know of any "weak points" or any possible spots that I might have a better than 50/50 chance of sneaking into? Anything rumored or spoken during the months prior to this?)


"Friar Jan, do you have any words of wisdom that might help us with the guards? Anyone in the church that I could use as names as well to help speed us to Hornung's attention? And your dealings with Hornung, can we tell him the full story?"

I look at the cross. You mentioned an odd shape. What is the shape of the cross?

Tiberius said...

(OOC: Sounds fun. Let's do this. If he hasn't already, Tiberius will cast Armor before going.)

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

Anshelm heaves a heavy sigh. "Were this matter of less import, I'd be content to wait here, but we must."

He turns an eye outside and watches the coming storm for a moment. "Miserable weather," he mutters, and gathers up his belongings.

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

(OOC: Despite Anshelm's mis-givings, yeah, this does sound like fun!)

Alexis said...


There wouldn’t be many weak points in the walls. Your best chance would be any place where a tower, usually rounded, met with a curtain wall, as this creates a “shadow” which can be climbed through with the least amount of detection. As a thief, any part of the wall would be comparatively easy to climb. Keep in mind that the walls are about 40’ high; which means that a climb failure and a fall would cause 3d6 damage.

A rope could then be dropped, enabling Kazimir to climb. Kazimir’s chances of climbing without a rope are 40%.

Getting off the wall again would depend upon your ability to move silently and hide in shadows, Kazimir’s luck (being able to do neither), the chance of the guards hearing and rolling a d6 for surprise or initiative.

The oddness of the shape of the cross is only that it is not your standard by-the-by carving. The Christ figure is rather well contrived.

Jan: "Hornung will know the cross. That is enough."

(OCC: A friar is someone who by definition would have none of the connections you suggest. He is a sort of "free-lancer" who works for the church but is not part of the church heirarchy. Similar to a typical adventurer cleric)

Alexis said...

Anshelm and Tiberius,

Today has not been a very free day. Let’s pick up your little journey with the beginning of tomorrow.

Anshelm Helbelinc said...

(OOC: I'm good with that. Trying to save multiple sales here at the moment, so I was just about to say I would be scarce the rest of the day.)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - Alexis, based on your last comment, we'll assume that we pick up with Kazimir and I setting out to approach the guards.

Here's my puzzler - I want to cast "friends" before talking to the guards. Logically, I have no chance in hell of doing this for an area of effect without causing problems with 30 guards; you've described bard casting with the glow and the playing. Although it is quick (1 segment) I'm thinking that's not a good idea. Ideally, what I'd like to do is approach the gate so that I could somehow find an isolated guard (they do have to take leaks sometime...) and cast friends and approach him to appeal for help. Time is of the essence, so if I can't find an isolated guard, we'll do the attempt without the help of the spell.

If we're turned away, then we're going over the wall and hope that luck is with us. )

"Please bless us in our endeavors, Friar - I fear that we are all in for a rough time."

Alexis said...

(OCC: Delfig: I was looking at the friends spell that I gave you and noticing that there's a misnomer. While the casting time is six seconds, the spell shouldn't be listed as lasting one round per level, but one minute per level. I don't know if this helps. The guards would be on the lookout for a spell, so you're quite right there.

With a high enough charisma, you might be able to awe some of the low-level guards into letting you through the gate, but its unlikely that the awe-power associated with the charisma would reach above 3rd level. That might be sufficient; I couldn't say.

You won't find an isolated guard. That's just a fact)

The father will be happy to bless you.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - that makes sense. I was more looking for additional "oomph" when we try to use the crucifix to convince the guards to let us through to talk to Hornung, or to send one of them to go fetch Hornung. We're still going to go ahead and try that route, given we might be able to convince a guard to at least approach Hornung with the crucifix (or a description of it) to get him to come to the gate, if possible. If not, we've wasted valuable time. But that's the most straightforward attempt to try first.)

"Thank you Friar Jan. I don't know if I'll succeed, but I will do all that I can to make this right."

I will pick up my sword and sheathe it, leave the shack, go fetch my crossbow, put it on my back and with Kazimir, go to the gate as quickly as we can.