Friday, June 24, 2022

The Matchmakers - Dungeon Magazine 7

Here we have a twisted plot by a rich merchant to gain even more wealth and to ruin two other merchant families by setting them at each other's throats in open conflict. With some work, it definitely fits into a Ptolus campaign.

The party would encounter the scoundrel in the story being vastly outnumbered by gang members (it doesn't say, but he likely hired them himself), and in a fight for his life down a side ally, probably near or on Tavern Row. The well-off young man is injured (he has to make it look convincing) and needs help. Assuming the player characters come to his aid, the gang will quickly find themselves outmatched and run off. 

The beneficiary of their rescue effort offers to reward them with drinks and dinner at a fine restaurant where after a little time he mentions an offer to hire their help with a friend's problem. His friend is also a merchant and is in love with the daughter of another well heeled merchant. The daughter loves him back and wishes for them to be together, but her family won't hear of it, instead planning to marry her off to someone she despises. The wedding is due in a couple of days.

The job then is to kidnap the girl before she can be married off and bring her to a specific park to wed his friend. You can figure out which park in the city to use or even make one up. He makes a generous offer of money, bolstered with the offer to get them whatever supplies, documents, uniforms, or other items they may need for their plan. If asked, you can have him explain he'll more than make his money back from a lifetime of business deals with his friend.

If accepted, he provides the PCs with the target's physical description and her typical schedule at home (he has inside contacts), and that she frequently goes shopping in South Market at upscale shops in the afternoons.

She is not aware of the plan and if asked who sent them, tell her the boyfriend's name so that she'll remain calm. The party is to bring her to the park an hour before midnight of the day she was to be wed.

If played right this will all sound to be on the up and up. There are other possible hitches in this story. Her cousin happens to be in town at the right time and place to be kidnaped in her stead. The details in the adventure explain how this occurrence throws a monkey-wrench into the plan, possibly exposing some deception afoot.

Of course the scoundrel has planned to murder the young lady and frame his "friend" for the deed. 

The districts most likely used here include the Guildsman District, South Market, and Midtown. The thought was to use The Mane as the park, but it is the home of most of the city's Litorian population leaving a bunch of witnesses.  Something closer to the Guildsman District would serve better. 

As this is a heist operation, listening to the players plan how their characters will do it should be enjoyable for the DM.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Modifying and Re-skinning a Monster in 5th Edition D&D (Bone Devil to Xenomorph)

Let's play around a bit with making a monster using the framework of one that already exists in the Monster Manual. For this one we'll go from a devil to a sci-fi horror.

We'll use the CR9 Bone Devil as our base for the creature. You can find it on page 71 of the 5e Monster Manual if you want to reference the critter while reading the conversion.

Our goal is to transform the base creature into a Xenomorph from the Alien/Aliens movie franchise. It's a surprisingly easy conversion.

Working our way down the stat block:

Alien Xenomorph

Large monstrosity (xenomorph), neutral (scary, but they seem to just be doing their natural thing)

Armor Class and Hit Points can remain the same.

Speed is good at 40' on the ground. Remove the flight speed. Our alien doesn't fly. Add a Climbing speed of 20' since these beasties can climb well, but not too fast.

Ability Scores can be left alone unless you want to fiddle with them. We know the xenomorph isn't just a dumb brute, just an overconfident one, with some cunning and a very intimidating presence and not prone to fear.

Saving Throws need to swap from a mental set to physical set. Since the Bone Devil has a +4 Proficiency Bonus that makes the saves STR +8, DEX +7, and CON +8.

Skills change to Stealth +7 and Acrobatics +7.

Damage Resistances remain the same with one exception, silvered weapons should be taken away.

Damage Immunities is a quick swap. Remove fire and replace it with acid.

Condition Immunities add fear.

Senses remain the same.

Languages can be whatever you want, perhaps sticking with Infernal. Drop telepathy.

Challenge Rating should be reduced to 8 (3,900 xp) since our scary xenomorph is actually less dangerous than the Bone Devil. You might decide to keep it CR9 if you believe adding Acid Blood and Degrade Weapon makes up the difference.

Remove Devil's Sight and Magic Resistance.

Acid Blood: When struck by slashing or piercing weapons in melee combat, the Xenomorph's blood does 2d4 acid splash damage to the attacking creature. The creature makes a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw taking half damage on a success.

Degrade Weapon: Any non-magical weapon that causes slashing or piercing damage to the Xenomorph corrodes. After dealing damage, the weapon takes a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to damage rolls. If its penalty drops to -5, the weapon is destroyed. Non-magical ammunition is destroyed after dealing damage.


Multiattack. The alien makes three attacks, one with claw, one with bite, and one with tail spike.

Claw. Melee weapon attack +8 to hit, one target. Hit: 1d8+4 slashing damage. Remove the 10' reach.

Bite. (Add this one in to represent the iconic bite of the alien). Melee weapon attack +7 to hit (using dex), one target. Hit: 1d4+3 piercing damage and the target must succeed on a DC14 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Tail Spike. Melee weapon attack +8 to hit, one target. Hit: 2d8+4 piercing damage and the target must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity  saving throw or be knocked prone. (Take away the poison and replace with knocking the target prone to better fit the creature).

And there you have it, one very nasty sci-fi monster ready to terrorize your PCs and their players.

I bought a box of Xenomorph miniatures just to use this modified/re-skinned creature in my campaign. That encounter is still a long way off, but will undoubtedly have the players on edge since they're much more familiar with the alien than the bone devil. (Ptolus, Banewarrens, Osyluth Pods, for those that know).

Monday, June 20, 2022

Happy 11th Birthday to the blog.

I'm amazed this blog even exists after giving up on it for the last three years. Returning to my campaign after Covid had derailed it, was the motivation to dive back in and start writing posts again. Here's hoping the blog continues to thrive, and here's wishing everyone good gaming in the years ahead.

Happy 11th Birthday The Dice Are A Lie

Friday, June 17, 2022

Nightshade - Dungeon Magazine 7

Nightshade is a brief adventure in issue 7 of Dungeon Magazine. The scenario is so brief that it could be completed in a session or less, and will fit neatly alongside other activities a party might get up to in a Ptolus campaign.

It begins as what seems like a simple fetch quest when a well dressed individual asks the PCs to run an errand for him. He should likely approach someone that appears trustworthy such as a cleric, or if the party has made a name for themselves, anyone in the group might work. He indicates that he needs medicine picked up from a wizard/alchemist to aid a friend of his, and that he has an important meeting to attend that is keeping him from the errand. He offers to pay for their time.

This fellow has a secret that his enemies know and are going to try to interfere with the delivery of the "medicine". They've hired some muscle to handle that for them.

If the party agrees to the simple task they'll find the wizard's abode in the North Market down a side alley. Wizards can be anywhere in the city, though the well known places for them include Vock Row and Dweomer Street. I like how the location is described in the adventure so North Market it will be.

This particular wizard has a problem he can't control. He is cursed with massive mood swings. Negotiating with the wizard should be entertaining and at no time will he actually resort to violence except for self defense.

On the return trip the assassin, his competent fighter companion, and their 5 low powered goons (maybe some gang members, Pale Dogs perhaps) will attempt to get the party to turn over the potion.

It's pretty simple, but what makes it interesting is what the wider implications are in a setting like Ptolus.

This well dressed, somewhat foppish fellow is a ladies man of the love-them leave-them type and he has seduced the innocent daughter of a Noble House that would likely do horrible things to him if the secret got out. She of course is anxious to go public with their affair because she is smitten and believes they'll marry. He wants to prevent that without harming her so he commissioned a potion of amnesia.

As you can see, this scenario opens up plenty of opportunities to expand the story and involve the party in all sorts of intrigue where the nobility are concerned.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

It's Getting Muggy in Here.

Time for more shameless self promotion. The blog's Zazzle store has these mugs and some other things for sale. Follow this link to see what's available. If you like something order it. Thanks!*     <----- Link

Below are the designs on three other mugs. Pardon the duplication of images. The banner design mug image copied fine, but the rest came out, well, not as mugs.

There are cards with these images, you can send to folks for whatever reason or to invite them to a special game session. 

Also there are a banner pin and a banner magnet available.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Monsters Are Smarter Than You

There is a blog written by Keith Ammann, author of The Monsters Know What They're Doing, MOAR! Monsters Know What They're Doing, and Live to Tell the Tale that can be found at this address:  <----- Link

I have the first two books by Keith and recommend them to any DM. The information within is written based on 5th edition D&D, but the ideas can easily be applied to any edition when thinking about how to use adversaries in combat. 

The Monsters Know What They're Doing is focused on creatures and NPCs from the 5e Monster Manual. MOAR! Monsters Know What They're Doing deals more with creatures and NPCs from supplements like Volo's Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.

I do not yet own a copy of Live to Tell the Tail. That book is geared toward helping the players handle their characters more efficiently in combat and I expect it could prove useful when playing with a DM informed by the previous two tomes.

The books are not printed on fancy paper or heavily illustrated. They are thick works with large type (thank you Keith from all of us grognards with declining vision) and sturdy hard covers. The information within both Monsters books sticks mostly to conveying the thought provoking tactics and techniques a creature likely will apply in a fight against adventurers.

Monsters and NPCs should not cleave to the ideas offered slavishly, but should instead modify their tactics based on terrain and the situation. It can't hurt your story if foes are not at their optimal state for every circumstance, sometimes the environment and/or the timing is terrible for them. However, having the player characters face foes in their element will turn what players might expect to be a cake-walk into a memorable battle and might even force an occasional retreat!

Without a doubt these guides will give a DM the tools to make combat more interesting and exciting, and most of us would agree, that is a good thing.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Starting Another Campaign Group

After discussion with a couple of friends in other states, I have decided to run a remote campaign. 

On the rare occasion all groups play in a given week I will be busy with running two groups and playing in a third. That kind of conjunction will be fairly rare for all sorts of reasons. 

My Saturday group runs into reasons to cancel quite often. The latest hiatus has been brought on by COVID spreading among the players, more than half of which live under the same roof.

Our Thursday remote play Eberron group has a variable schedule adjusted for real life issues, but tends to be fairly regular.

The new group is still hashing out when to play, and deciding if we should start with just three of us or go ahead and extend invitations to others right away. Determining our play day and time will directly influence that decision.

There's also the consideration of using the Ptolus setting for the third group or just doing an ongoing dungeon crawl. I would like to do Ptolus and I have plenty of resources for it or Dungeon crawling.

Here's a picture of some old Master Maze from Dwarven Forge along with some of their newer LED pieces.

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Sickness is Upon Us - game session cancelled due to illness. UPDATE: It's COVID

My brother came down with a nasty sinus infection and since we play at his place the session had to be cancelled. We'll be back to playing eventually, but in the meantime I'll be posting other Ptolus related subjects which Ptolus DM's might find useful.

UPDATE: It's Covid. It's spreading among my play group. We won't be gaming for a while.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Thursday Knights

Another Eberron session in the books.

Picking up from last session, the party had walked out of a portal right into a fight with a bunch of Drow. One was a spell caster, two were heavily armored with nasty longswords, the other half-dozen were not as powerful, but no less threatening.

We managed to catch the closest one off guard and between a couple of us, took him down immediately. The remainder were almost the death of the party. 

The fight went pretty badly with a fireball cooking most of the party. The two armored goons with the special longswords were making hash of everyone they attacked and continued attacks from the spell caster nearly took down the entire party. At one point at least two, maybe three members were out of the fight, including the healers. 

It's a good thing we had healing potions.

Eventually we managed to eliminate the last of them and collected some treasure.

We got a magic flametongue longsword, gauntlets of ogre power that Ennark now wears, three suits of flametouched armor (one scale, two plate), a nice flametouch, non-magic longsword, a fancy whip, and a metal circlet inset with bloodstones. We also came away with a few sacks of some special, rare basalt typically only found on the elemental plane of fire, where we were.

We accomplished the mission of rescuing the grey dwarves and now we're rested and on our way back to our ship.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Prop Dusting - Wizards of the Coast Monster Cards

Another recent purchase for the game was all of the Monster Cards produced by Wizards of the Coast for D&D 5e.

These have already come in very handy. If you plan out the majority of your encounters in advance you can have the cards ready at the table and avoid having to flip through the large Monster Manual in front of you when trying to manage the game. For my own use, I have a Vault X 4 pocket binder to take the selected cards for the session to the table. I can have everything I need behind the DM screen and still have extra space which did not happen with the Monster Manual in the way.

For storage I went with the Forged Dice Co Curiosities Cache Monster Card & Spell Card Organizer Binder with Pages (Mimic Edition). At the time I bought them the Mimic Edition was on sale for $10 less than the plain unadorned cover version. I bought four of them. I'm still sorting and alphabetizing the cards into the binders, but this makes locating what you want easier without spilling a pile of cards. The binders come with two types of pockets, normal for the regular sized cards and a two pocket version for the larger cards.

The one drawback is the Epic Monster cards. These things are huge, which is necessary to hold all the relevant information, but it does make it a requirement to use a single page of the two pocket type to hold a single card. Did I mention the Epic cards are huge?

The cards and the Forged Dice Binders are costly, but not prohibitively so. For the ease and convenience they provide I feel the investment is worth it.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Campaign Diary - The Moon Cave

Location - The Moon Cave, 10 miles northeast of the town. Little Plains, a town halfway between Ptolus, Slune, and almost equidistant from Dorhinthas in the south of the empire.

Party in Play

Rae - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4.  One of the original members of the party that originated in the town of Little Plains. She is somewhat of a strategist and creative tactician always looking for an edge when the situation gets dicey.

Wulfe - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4. Originally from a small town north of Ptolus near the Moonsilver Forest, he wandered westward to satisfy his curiosity about the frontier areas of the empire. Joining the group early in their adventuring career he has been a steadfast companion and effective in any dangerous situation. He wields Cheval, a Faery forged longsword known for occasional bursts of radiant energy.

Korved - Human. Cleric 4. An itinerant priest, he arrived in Little Plains hoping to come to grips with his recent experiences. He had joined the Gaen faith at a young age and over time found his thinking more in line with her masculine aspect Hannan. The non-violent and amicable split in the church was his signal to explore the world.

Sparky - Human. Fighter 4. She's a force to be reckoned with in a toe to toe fight. Recent life as a sword for hire had led to some less than respectable jobs and little in the way of pay. Joining an adventuring group seemed a wise choice.

Celestia - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 2. A bold and confident adventurer, she puts forward an unfearful countenance. A recent addition to the group Celestia is making herself at home as if she were there all along despite lacking the experience of the other members.

Jill - Human. Fighter 3. A sell sword by trade, she has recently been down on her luck and in need of work. Hired to deliver a bag of coins to this group she ended up joining as a means of escaping from the butt end of the empire. Capable with sword and bow Jill is a good fit for the team.

Jackalope - Human. Fighter 3. A stranger in Little Plains that arrived about the time the wolf attacks began. Staying at the Brown Dog, Jackalope approached the party after overhearing their intent to go north. Volunteering additional information about the wolf problem, the party agreed that an extra sword arm might be in order.

Having had the curse of lycanthropy lifted from both Elena and her son Deek, the party began discussing what to do about Klayn the werewolf and his remaining pack of wolves. The party considered splitting up with some going northeast and some remaining behind to stand guard, but that was quickly ruled out. The decision was made to go in force and to take Deek and Widow Penik along.

Two notes were left behind so that anyone coming out to check on them would know of their plans and to come rescue them should something go wrong.

The first note read "Headed NE to Moon Cave to eliminate the rest of the wolf pack. If we do not return by Earthday please take this envelope to Tabish at the Temple of Aldinach. Deek is with us."

Within the envelope was a bracelet worth 150 gold pieces and this additional note "Our party of 9 headed NE to the Moon Cave. If you are reading this, we may need your help. Please instruct the Silver Blades to 'capture, not kill'. Enclosed is a payment for your help."

Everything settled, they set out with their small army of skeletons in tow. Their five hour journey was calm and uninterrupted. 

Finding themselves outside the Moon Cave, by a fast flowing stream they made their way carefully along the bank and over a large fallen log across the water. It was now that they could see through the trees and vegetation the grand elven ruins and a tall glowing crystal monolith. The elves in the party realized they were entering a scared site.

Crashing to the ground, no longer animate, nine of the undead ceased to be anything other than disconnected bone fragments. Wulfe quickly returned across the log bridge and ordered the remainder to back away from the glade and await orders. He then cast Levitation on one and waded through the stream pulling it with him like a child might do with a balloon. It wouldn't be long before he re-entered the protected area and the tenth skeleton crashed to the ground.

Making their way through dense foliage and fallen columns, the party edged nearer the cave mouth from which the stream flowed. Korved took up a position that allowed him to see a short distance into the cave thanks to light emanating from a source within. 

Korved spoke up. "Klayn! We know you're in there. We've come to talk."

At first some growling of the wolves within the cave could be heard, and eventually Klayn himself replied. "Well, what are you here to talk about?"

"We can remove your curse", Korved explained, "We can give you your old life back."

Klayn paused. "What if I don't want my old life back? What then?"

The party were taking up vantage points closer to the entrance as the exchange continued.

"Come out and we'll talk about it peacefully."

"I'm not coming out there. You put your weapons down and come in here. Then we can talk peacefully."

"We're not putting down our weapons."

"Fine, then you put down that damned sword of yours."

Korved realized that not having spoken to Klayn the previous night it was not his voice that got him recognized as bearing the magic sword, so the werewolf must have line of sight to him. Korved changed the subject. "Alena Penik and her son Deek are here."

"Where's the rest of her family that we came for?"

This confused and worried Korved who had no knowledge of Widow Penik's other children. He wondered if there might be more werewolves to worry about. Turning to Alana, "Other family? Are they werewolves?"

Aggravated by what she saw as a stupid conclusion, Alena snapped at the cleric, "My daughters, Sroka and Clelia, and no, numbnuts."

While discussion continued Celestia grew bored with the inaction of her companions. Putting down her weapons she waded into the rushing water and entered the Moon Cave. "I'm coming in, unarmed." Secreted behind her back was a silver tipped arrow, and she was confident that she could use her magic to defend herself if confronted.

Flabbergasted, the group hesitated, fearing for their obviously deranged young elf friend. She continued inward, allowing herself to become aware of her surroundings. Two wolves were not far away, one behind the other tall crystal monolith inside, and another about 40 feet to her right.

"Who are you?" Klayn asked.

"I'm Celestia, I came to talk. My friends are a bunch of chickens. They are outside armed for a fight. I want to settle things without violence." The elf moved sideways to her left along a shelf of rocks, keeping her back to the cave wall. 

"That's an elf name. I've never met a crazy elf. Until today." Klayn moved to where he had a good view of the intruder. Taking up a longbow, he knocked a magic arrow and took aim, muttering "Pincushion."

The remainder of the team waded into the cave mouth intent on protecting their companion and taking the fight to the werewolf and his pack. The pack began growling loudly.

Klayn smiled as he loosed the enspelled arrow. Shattering on the stone beside Celestia's head, the arrow delivered its spell cargo. Hundreds of dimly glowing red needles covered Celestia, head to toe.

Terrain is a combination of Dwarven Forge, Paizo Flipmats, and a water tile made by a source in France whose name I have forgotten. Oh, and a big rock provided by my niece,

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Thursday Knights

Eberron continues.

After defeating the fire elemental the party regrouped and agreed to track down where it came from to try and prevent any more from coming out. We kind of ended up creating a situation where many more fire creatures could come through.

Following foot tracks deeper into the ruins we found a wall that had been dug through and beyond that a cavern room with an arch. Approaching the arch we determined it to be a portal. We found that fire activated the portal.

As a group we ventured through to the other side and found ourselves in a Drow controlled outpost in the elemental plane of fire. With some exploration and the quick slaying of some guards it was discovered that there were prisoners being held and forced to work in a mine beyond another portal.

We freed all of the prisoners that we were aware of and are heading back out. This is when we encountered a bunch of Drow waiting for us. They are between us and where we need to go, which is going to be very bad, for them.

Roll initiative - till next time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Prop Dusting - Wizards of the Coast Spell Cards

I recently acquired a bunch of the arcane and cleric spell cards produced by Wizards of the Coast for D&D 5e. Along with those I picked up a number of smaller 4 pocket page, side loading binders from Vault X, to use as spell books/prayer books for the players in my campaign.

It is very early into use, but it appears to be a handy resource to have at the table. Instead of leafing through the Players Handbook to find their spell information, their individual known spells are conveniently at their fingertips. 

Also bought was the deck containing spells from Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Those spells will be trickled into play when discovered as scrolls or when sought from other spellcasters.

Some reviews on Amazon have noted that there may be some spells missing from the deck. I have not taken the time to sit down and go through to verify this for myself, but from a quick flip through the cards I believe that is a misunderstanding. I suspect that the "missing spells" are in other decks like the Ranger, and Warlock specific decks for example.

Though the cards are expensive when you need to buy multiples to have a deck for each spellcaster in your group (when you have a large group like I do), they could very well prove worthwhile. The binders are surprisingly affordable for as nice as they are and have plenty of space.

If the players were to buy their own decks it would relieve the DM of the cost, but this was my idea and we do have casualties resulting in changes to the classes of characters in play meaning it is more efficient for me to buy the decks and keep them available for the group. Fortunately I have a filing cabinet to store a bunch of gaming stuff like these cards.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Campaign Diary - My, What Big Teeth You Have

Location - Little Plains, a town halfway between Ptolus, Slune, and almost equidistant from Dorhinthas in the south of the empire.

Party in Play

Rae - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4.  One of the original members of the party that originated in the town of Little Plains. She is somewhat of a strategist and creative tactician always looking for an edge when the situation gets dicey.

Wulfe - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4. Originally from a small town north of Ptolus near the Moonsilver Forest, he wandered westward to satisfy his curiosity about the frontier areas of the empire. Joining the group early in their adventuring career he has been a steadfast companion and effective in any dangerous situation. He wields Cheval, a Faery forged longsword known for occasional bursts of radiant energy.

Korved - Human. Cleric 4. An itinerant priest, he arrived in Little Plains hoping to come to grips with his recent experiences. He had joined the Gaen faith at a young age and over time found his thinking more in line with her masculine aspect Hannan. The non-violent and amicable split in the church was his signal to explore the world.

Sparky - Human. Fighter 4. She's a force to be reckoned with in a toe to toe fight. Recent life as a sword for hire had led to some less than respectable jobs and little in the way of pay. Joining an adventuring group seemed a wise choice.

Celestia - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 2. A bold and confident adventurer, she puts forward an unfearful countenance. A recent addition to the group Celestia is making herself at home as if she were there all along despite lacking the experience of the other members.

Jill - Human. Fighter 3. A sell sword by trade, she has recently been down on her luck and in need of work. Hired to deliver a bag of coins to this group she ended up joining as a means of escaping from the butt end of the empire. Capable with sword and bow Jill is a good fit for the team.

Jackalope - Human. Fighter 3. A stranger in Little Plains that arrived about the time the wolf attacks began. Staying at the Brown Dog, Jackalope approached the party after overhearing their intent to go north. Volunteering additional information about the wolf problem, the party agreed that an extra sword arm might be in order.

It was past noon when the westward team noticed a pair of wolves stalking their movements from a line of trees and underbrush to the northeast. The wolves drew back into the trees and disappeared from view. Sparky, Korved, and Wulfe had hoped to arrive unnoticed so they could potentially outflank the wolf pack, but now they'd been spotted.

At around 8 in the evening they turned east and lead their army of bones to a mile north of the farm and turned south.

Meanwhile Jill and Jackalope conducted their business in town. First they visited the shop of Platt the silversmith and jeweler to see about having 10 arrows and three swords coated with silver before nightfall. After some discussion Platt agreed to drop everything and give it his best effort, making no promises. He asked them to return around 9 that evening to pick up what he had managed to complete.

Having arranged the silvering of weapons, they adjourned to the shop next door, that of Santhosh the apothecary to see about procuring some wolfsbane. Business was quick and they bought his whole supply.

The day was long and dull for Rae and Celestia as they kept watch for any sign of wolves. Nothing was stirring in the area around the farm.

By 10 that night everything was falling into place. The skeleton army had reached the northern edge of the farm field while Jill and Jackalope were on the road just south of the farm, not far from the barn. That's when the wolves rushed to the attack.

Under the leadership of two werewolves the 14 strong pack moved to attack the divided party. A line of wolves was moving to delay the undead re-enforcements, another rushed toward Jackalope and Jill on the road, and more charged a swordless Celestia by the front of the house. Snealing around the southwest corner of the house, attempting to get to Deek in the root cellar, the second werewolf and two of the wolves closed in on Rae.

Hearing growls and movement to the south, Wulfe and Korved cast light on stones and throw them into field. The light revealed the seriousness of the moment. 

Rae was lucky to detect the enemies attempting to creep up to her position and thinking quickly she cast web trapping them in place between a tree and the side of the house. This decision proved critical.

To the east, following behind the rapidly moving wolves was an upright humanoid figure covered in fur.. The figure rushed to the nearest light stone and threw it far to the southeast returning half of the field to darkness.

Wulfe managed to target the werewolf with Magic Missiles before it could blend back into the night. Meanwhile Korved rushed south into the middle of the farm field. This might have been foolish, but he was counting on a secret weapon to turn things against their enemy.

Nearly surrounded by 3 wolves, Celestia managed to free herself and rushed into the open door of the farmhouse with Rae on her heels. Rae slammed the door closed barely on time to keep the wolves at bay, growling and scratching the door.

Cut off by 4 wolves, Jackaplope and Jill found themselves in a desperate fight for their lives. They managed to slay one of their attackers and wound another, but they were being savaged horribly.

Skeletons rushed south engaging wolves. A battle rages between fangs and bones. Two skeletons fell first until the larger numbers of undead proved their worth. In all 4 of the wolves sent to delay them lay dead.

Korved and the werewolf came face to face in the center of the field. The sword Korved was wielding was far from ordinary, which the lycanthrope would soon discover to his dismay. The weapon was powerful, made to slay shape shifters, creatures with unfixed forms, violating the law of conformity of body. During their fight Korved landed two strong blows to the one claw strike from the surprised were-creature.

Struggling in the web, the two wolves managed to eventually break free, however the female werewolf remained restrained. From the opened southern facing window Celestia and Rae began raining Magic Missiles upon her. In agony and growing desperate, she began calling out. 

"Mamma's here Deek. Please come out Deek, it's momma." 

This turn of events left Rae confounded. This creature couldn't be Deek's mother, Widow Penik had been missing and presumed dead four years now.

Bleeding from multiple wounds and fearing for her life, Jackalope fought her way free, making it into the barn and slamming the door behind her. Jill remained standing alone against three ravening wolves.

With a great pained howl the were-beast facing Korved broke away toward the east, sending the remaining wolves scattering away into darkness, leaving the female behind.

Recasting web to keep this enigma of a werewolf restrained, Rae began a back and forth argument with the creature. Eventually the thing named herself as Elena Penik. She was indeed the missing widow, and Deek's mother.

The now converged party began discussing options. After a time Elena agreed to subject herself and Deek to waiting locked in the cellar for someone to come and cast Remove Curse on each of them.

Further talk elicited more information about their remaining foe. Klayne, as he was called, would return to the Moon Cave tonight, but would likely return at some point seeking to reclaim his mate and anyone else he could curse.

Once it was decided that the party would again split up, Wulfe hid the 26 remaining skeletons to hide in the barn. He realized that sometime during their northward march another skeleton had joined them, drawn by the Crystal of Calling.

Wulf maintained watch while the others rested until morning. Korved and Rae then took a treasure loaded chest into town, planning to speak with the two high ranking priestesses at the temples of Melann and Aldinach seeking Remove Curse.

Revealing the problem to the priestesses brought initial shock from Hart. She joined them when they approached Tabish at the temple of Aldinach. Tabish agreed to cure the afflicted mother and child of their moon sickness and was eager to get started. After a brief delay, the four of them journeyed to the farm.  

The two ranking clergy entered the cellar, unafraid of the cursed kin and after twenty minutes emerged along with the now cured family members.

Giving the remaining Remove Curse scroll to Korved, Tabish recommended the party not delay in finding the remaining beast to either cure him or kill him before he could spread the curse to anyone else.

Reluctant to go off chasing Klayne, the party hesitated, discussing their options.

Note: The Widow Penik storyline was the first adventure the group undertook in the campaign. This is the result after 4 years of in-game time.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Thursday Knights

Continuing the Eberron campaign. Our party set sail, stopping over at Three Barrel Cove and successfully sold 9 of our 10 barrels of good beer to the only tavern in town. The only problem we encountered during the short trip was a Sahuagin attack with 6 of the slimy fishfolk boarding the ship and only their spellcaster escaped. We then made our way to the planned destination anchoring offshore. 

Heading inland for three days we discovered some smoldering burned out buildings. Bypassing the torched buildings we forged ahead finding the ruins we were after not far beyond it. There were some burned corpses and tents at the site.

We briefly explored the area finding numerous tracks in and out of the caves close by. As it was nearing nightfall we found the remains of a building that still had most of its wall and camped within. 

Approaching dawn we were set upon by a fire elemental that left most of the party in rough shape requiring some healing.

That's where we left off this session.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Dungeon Magazine Archive

I just learned that this exists. It's been up for at least 4 years, probably longer. Here is the address:   <---- Link

I love Dungeon Magazine, especially the older issues and I genuinely wish I had been aware of it from the beginning. Now I have the opportunity to read the issues and seek out material to borrow for my own game. 

I will be going through the issues and posting articles about some adventures and how to use them in a Ptolus campaign.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Rival Adventuring Parties - The Silver Blades

I introduced the Silver Blades to my campaign as potential rivals when the player characters were barely second level (5 years ago at the time of this writing). 

The Blades had returned from a brief journey to a small ruin two days to the east of Little Plains where they uncovered some treasure. Talk around town about the group suggested there was much more loot to be had in that ruin and this stoked some interest among the PCs. The party didn't speak with the rival group to learn what transpired so they were acting only on rumors when they decided to find and explore the ruin for themselves.

Later in the game the Silver Blades geared up with wagons, hirelings, and supplies for a journey to an abandoned dwarven stronghold somewhere to the southwest. Their return months later was somewhat somber as they had lost half their number and a hireling, but they had also become very rich.

The player characters were somewhat jealous of the rival adventurers and annoyed by the stand-offish nature of Fertik and his companions.

On another occasion after returning with the corpse of a dead Grell in their wagon the party encountered Fertik in town and learned what it was they were hauling. That was the most Fertik had spoken to them.

While visiting the Silver Blades at their home, Daris the halfling member of the Blades proved illusive as he moved unseen from hiding place to hiding place, throwing his voice and cracking jokes during their conversation. Harak the human fighter only said that the wizard was busy and could not speak with the party.

When the party needed better armaments, the Blades lent the party three magic weapons which were later returned, and gave them 6 magical arrows and a couple of scrolls to keep.

Until the recent events in the campaign, the Silver Blades have left all of the town difficulties to the PCs to handle.

Below the Silver Blades are roughly described. Feel free to steal them for your game. If you are going to use them in an Old School system give them all equal experience points and determine their levels based on XP. Their levels can be whatever you want of course.

Fertik - Human. Wizard 10. - Very intelligent. Limits conversation to relevant information, not prone to make small talk. Willing to offer information on subjects that interest him. He wears dark robes and a black Cloak of Protection, and possesses a magical staff made of black wood, capped with mithril and moonstones. There are cryptic engraved runes spiraling the length of the staff. 

Harak - Human. Fighter 10. - Tall and broad shouldered. Barely says anything. To non-members of the Silver Blades he seems emotionless. He possesses magical scale mail armor of a dull blue metal. He wields a double headed magical battle-axe.

Daris - Halfling. Rogue 10. - A wise-cracking jovial individual. He can't resist ridiculous or ironic  comments and puns, especially when he can make them involving the words small, tiny, little, short, diminutive, etc, and have the joke be at the expense of taller people he is addressing. He possesses a Ring of Invisibility, and a pair of magical silver daggers.

Image of daggers.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Campaign Diary - Bad Moon Rising

Location - Little Plains, a town halfway between Ptolus, Slune, and almost equidistant from Dorhinthas in the south of the empire.

Party in Play

Rae - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4.  One of the original members of the party that originated in the town of Little Plains. She is somewhat of a strategist and creative tactician always looking for an edge when the situation gets dicey.

Wulfe - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 4. Originally from a small town north of Ptolus near the Moonsilver Forest, he wandered westward to satisfy his curiosity about the frontier areas of the empire. Joining the group early in their adventuring career he has been a steadfast companion and effective in any dangerous situation. He wields Cheval, a Faery forged longsword known for occasional bursts of radiant energy.

Korved - Human. Cleric 4. An itinerant priest, he arrived in Little Plains hoping to come to grips with his recent experiences. He had joined the Gaen faith at a young age and over time found his thinking more in line with her masculine aspect Hannan. The non-violent and amicable split in the church was his signal to explore the world.

Sparky - Human. Fighter 4. She's a force to be reckoned with in a toe to toe fight. Recent life as a sword for hire had led to some less than respectable jobs and little in the way of pay. Joining an adventuring group seemed a wise choice.

Celestia - Elf. Fighter 1/ Wizard 2. A bold and confident adventurer, she puts forward an unfearful countenance. A recent addition to the group Celestia is making herself at home as if she were there all along despite lacking the experience of the other members.

Jill - Human. Fighter 3. A sell sword by trade, she has recently been down on her luck and in need of work. Hired to deliver a bag of coins to this group she ended up joining as a means of escaping from the butt end of the empire. Capable with sword and bow Jill is a good fit for the team.

Jackalope - Human. Fighter 3. A stranger in Little Plains that arrived about the time the wolf attacks began. Staying at the Brown Dog, Jackalope approached the party after overhearing their intent to go north. Volunteering additional information about the wolf problem, the party agreed that an extra sword arm might be in order.

Jackalope had listened to the group last night before everyone called it a night. She decided the best time to approach them and ask to join up would be after they woke up, but before they settled in for breakfast. She had information that might prove helpful and another sword arm in events such as these is unlikely to be turned away. 

Rising early, Jackalope made her way to a small table in the cramped tavern room and waited. It wasn't long before the adventurers filed in, still sleepy and hungry. She introduced herself and began sharing what she knew. "I've been north three times so far. The wolfpack is large, maybe 20 strong, and some are larger than normal. They seem to be sending out pairs to scout during the day. If you're going there I would like to join you."

After some questioning it was revealed she had arrived around the time the wolf attacks started. This caught the attention of the more cautious members of the party, but was not enough to dissuade them from agreeing to take her along.

During breakfast they discussed a plan of approach. Wulfe, Sparky and Korved would head west out of town to gather the skeleton horde and head north avoiding notice to bring the horde to bear on the invading wolves. Meanwhile Rae would lead Jill, Celestia, and Jackalope directly up the north road to the farm. If only things were that easy.

Lorn met the farm bound party just outside of Little Plains. The farmer had married Sroka, Widow Penik's eldest daughter when the widow had wandered north a five years ago and not returned. It was presumed that she had died, a victim of wolves. All they found of her was part of her blue shawl amid some blood and many wolf tracks. Of the four party members taking the north road, only Rae was familiar to Lorn.

"You're back! I'm so glad to see you! Deek is missing, he hasn't been back here since the wolf attacks started. He usually comes home from your farm every evening, but, well, please find him." The conversation was a rapid back and forth with assurances that they would do everything that they could to see the 12 year old home safely. 

Along the way farmers could be seen bringing their livestock out into small corrals close to their barns. Everyone was afraid to let them out on larger fields for fear the wolves would prey on them as they had done, so often in the recent week. 

To the west Sparky, Korved and Wulfe weren't much surprised that there were now 27 undead present with three arriving just as they reached the two dozen from the night before. It was hoped that nobody would observe their small army of undead just 1500 yards from town. Korved despised that these things existed, and everyone worried about the questions they had no good way to explain without revealing the presence of the Crystal of Calling to potential bad actors. It was urgent to get these skeletons north as quickly as possible.

The Crystal of Calling was becoming even more of a problem when close to civilization. Graveyards were proving a ready source of corpses to animate and bring forth. Already existent undead proved even easier for the artifact to draw to its presence. So far the party had been lucky that they had only seen skeletons and zombies, unintelligent undead, as these would stop when close by and wait for commands. The situation might not be the same for higher forms of thinking undead. After-all they had taken it from intelligent ghasts and ghouls that were gathering their own army of abominations. What the crystal might do in a city full of graves had not yet occurred to them.

On approach to the farm Rae became more concerned at the sight of 4 wolf pelts nailed to the side of the barn. Close to the house the party encountered the Silver Blades who had come here three days earlier. Beyond them in the field was a smoldering burned area, two charred wolf bodies at the center.

"I don't suppose any of you thought to bring along coffee did you?" Daris the halfling Silver Blade piped up as the party approached. They had been awake for most of the past three days and were exhausted from their around the clock vigil and fighting off wolves. 

Rae had never really trusted the Silver Blades, though she had no real reason for the mistrust. Perhaps it was their penchant for dark clothing and having been distant on their return from the south. They had lost three of their party on that trip, maybe that explained the attitude, but something had not sat right in Rae's mind even in other encounters with them. 

Fertik leaned heavily on his staff, his eyes sunken and dark. The wizard was clearly very fatigued. "We're happy to see some relief." Gesturing over his shoulder at the burned area, "Sorry about your field."

Rae shrugged off the matter of the charred ground. "That's ok. Do you know where Deek is?"

Daris pointed to the root cellar doors. "Sorry about the lock, but we needed some place to keep him safe. Deek was bitten by a wolf three days ago. The wolf could have killed him, but instead ran off. We left rations and water for him. The doors are now sealed with a board through the handles. That should secure him for a short time."

"Do you think it was a werewolf?" Rae's concern was growing.

Fertik's shoulders slumped. "The way this pack is behaving, the possibility is real. We've seen similar things before and we chose not to take chances with the boy. You may need magic or silvered weapons if a werewolf is involved."

Harak shrugged. It was the first indication that the big warrior was even awake, standing there silent and unmoving. 

With that the Silver Blades excused themselves and headed to town. 

After a brief discussion it was decided that Jill and Jackalope would take Celestia's sword and head to town to try and have their swords coated with silver. Meanwhile Celestia and Rae would see what they could learn about Deek's condition and what he might need.

Knocking on the cellar doors Rae called down to Deek. "Are you ok down there?"

"My arm hurts and I'm hungry." came the reply. "When can I come up?"

A series of questions determined that his wound had healed completely, but his arm was still sore. He had also consumed all of the rations and water left for him and had resorted to eating all of the mice that resided in the root cellar.

With careful consideration Celestia removed the board holding the doors closed and Rae handed down a full waterskin with a promise of food later. Then they resealed the doors.

Wulfe, Sparky, and Korved had begun trekking north with their army of undead following. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

You Own How Many Player's Handbooks?!

Four. This could be the end of the post, but of course it's not the end.

When 5th edition D&D launched in 2014 I decided to pick up two copies of the Player's Handbook, two copies of the Monster Manual, and one copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide. This was initially because I took advantage of a huge sale at a friendly local game store concurrent with my pre-order of the 3 core books from an online retailer, and having a spare PHB at the table has benefits.

It has always been the case that rules, spells, and other information need to be looked up during play. I have never met a gamer yet that can actually memorize and spontaneously recall everything in the book despite one who claimed she had an eidetic memory.

When I began playing AD&D in 1981 at least half of the large group picked up their own copies of the Player's Handbook despite being a bunch of cash strapped teenagers, and we always had plenty on hand at the table (and we read them too). Over the years that has not always been the case. 

During the second edition years I stuck mainly to 1st edition rules until close to the end of 2e. Within my group I was the only person to pick up the 2nd edition PHB. I suppose that was a good thing because less than two years later the campaign switched to 3rd edition (pre-official launch, I had an advance copy because I worked at a distributor and had to drum up sales) and more of the players picked up their own copies.

When 3e revised into 3.5e, most of the owners of the 3e version upgraded to copies of 3.5e so there wasn't a shortage at most tables where I played the game.

I did in fact pick up the 4e books and honestly tried to play, but over time it became apparent that it wasn't working for my group so I only know of two of us that had the book. This was what lead to me having a rekindled enjoyment of Old School Rules.

About two years ago I decided to switch my campaign over from using the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rule set to 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons to take advantage of the update of Monte Cook's Ptolus. We would have been playing 5e in the run-up to receiving the revised Ptolus, but COVID had other ideas.

Wait, what about the third and fourth copies of the PHB? Knowing it would take some time for my large group to get familiar with the differences between the OSR system and the modern game, I decided having ready access to the books was a good idea. 

My goal was not just to make the rules available at the table, but to have them available to the players between sessions. Besides myself, all but 3 of my potentially 10 strong player group (if everyone played at once) live under the same roof. By making copies accessible the thought was that the players could get a jump on class, race, and system knowledge. I don't know if that is working, but suspect not. 

Regardless, they have adapted quickly to fifth edition and enjoy playing with the newer rules. The books see lots of activity during the game sessions as players are seeking info on what their characters can do, what their spells do, and how to beat the crap out of their opponents. 

One of the four copies stays at home along with a copy of the Monster Manual and DMs Guide, for my use preparing to DM sessions. I also play in a Roll 20 group and find it handy then as well.

I'm aware that Wizards of the Coast are planning a special relaunch of the game to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D&D. What has been said so far is that this will not be 6th edition, but more like a 5.5e. I will certainly be picking up one copy of the book to join in the celebration of my favorite hobby, but I have no interest in trying to convert everything again.

So there you have it, four copies of the 5e Player's Handbook.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Ptolus: City of Adventure Review (500th blog post)

Another of the rewards from the Ptolus update Kickstarter a couple years back is the book of new adventures titled Ptolus: City of Adventure. It contains three adventures within the setting, Doctrine of Ghul, The Runeblood Blessing, and Return of the Ebon Hand. All three have already been released in .pdf form to the backers. All three adventures are aimed at characters of level 5 or level 6, but can easily be modified to allow for other levels (easier upward I think).

Monte Cook Games recently announced the pending release of the softcover book through their online store. Anyone will be able to purchase the book, and backers will receive it for only the cost of shipping.

The first of the three scenarios, Doctrine of Ghul, is time sensitive with the characters racing against a potentially permanently lethal deadline. There is a lot to like in the adventure, but there are a few very dangerous points that can derail not just the story, but even the campaign. I may be running this one for my group, but it will require some re-engineering to avoid a disaster. Run out of time and any characters affected by the hook are just gone.

In the early .pdf version there are some discrepancies with the Challenge Rating of a few of the NPC antagonists. Pella should be a CR 6 instead of CR 5 based on the Mage character type in the NPC section of the Monster Manual. Pella also has an extra capability, but I cannot see pushing her CR to 7 because of it. The Formless Hunger might actually be over valued. I seems like it is pretty close to the capabilities of a Gelatinous Cube which is CR 2, but with a few peculiarities. Alberik Vormund is clearly about two CR below what he should be based on capabilities (8 instead of 10). Sadly these issues were not corrected for the print version.

The more egregious of the mistaken CR values occurs at a point where the NPC could easily TPK a party that are likely nearly out of resources and very low on hit points. Action economy aside, there are abilities available to the opponent that can partially shut down PC effectiveness and the firepower of the foe is great.

Doctrine takes place both in the city and in the dungeons and caverns below.

The second adventure, Runeblood Blessing is the real gem in the trio. I cannot give enough praise about how solidly this one has the feel of the setting. It is packed with sidelines that make use of the core elements to add flavor through the course of events. Several districts of the city become sites of activity as things progress and I find that exciting because the city deserves to be explored and experienced.

The core of the plot involves a pair of NPCs granting some advantages to everyday residents on up through delvers, and even members of the nobility. Of course with the gifts comes the cost. While fortunately this adventure doesn't have the race against the clock urgency of Doctrine of Ghul, it does still give a sense that things cannot be ignored for long.

Characters will need to do some investigating to sort things out, but the central focus and the various sidelines make the process fun. There's also a little twist for the purpose of aiming the PCs in the direction of the root issue, and to give them a chance to get involved in something positive.

I don't recall finding any CR problems with Runeblood Blessing like there were in Doctrine of Ghul and there's nothing in it that is likely to wreck your campaign. It is high on my list for possible inclusion in my game.

Third and definitely my least favorite of the adventures is Return of the Ebon Hand. It explores aspects of the setting faithfully, though it fell somewhat flat for me. 

The scenario takes characters into the dungeon below the city, but the hooks that get them there might be ignored without working in connections the players will feel inclined to pursue. The fix for this deficit is simple enough so you shouldn't write this one off. There is enough here to keep a dungeon focused party interested for some time, and the amount of available experience points will certainly keep level grinders invested.

Encounters within feel too tightly packed, but maybe the close proximity of everything is meant to evoke a sense of claustrophobia or to hearken back to some of the old dungeons from the early days of D&D.  

Everything about the dungeon and the inhabitants carries a weird and sometimes intentionally horrific vibe. Characters will definitely feel the need to put a stop to the machinations of at least one of the three factions they'll interact with. Also important is the fact that the Ptolus setting has a way to fix almost anything that might affect characters in a negative way.

Maybe Return of the Ebon hand is a better adventure than it feels to me. It is entirely possible my mood wasn't right when I chose to read it through. You should certainly give it a look to see if it would work in your campaign. I haven't had a chance to introduce the party to the Ebon Hand so using Return is not in consideration till well after that happens.

TM and © 2021 Monte Cook Games, LLC

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Thursday Knights

Eberron continues.

Being half-owners of the ship Unfettered, the party had to work out some logistics once it was decided where we were going for our next exploration.

We're head to some ruins to get more info about some grey dwarves in order to help a businessman we trade with. He'll be coming along on the trip.

In the process of finding the route to the ruins, our dwarf drank some of the nastiest stuff one could imagine and managed to keep it down, earning the party some gravitas among the bar patrons at the Leaky Dingy. We found the captain we sought and got the map drawn out by him.

Then it came down to arranging supplies and finding a sellable cargo. We settled on beer. The party went to the brewery and made a business arrangement to sell beer on a semi regular basis at a nearby dangerous port. 

It was a role-play session and we kept it short. The adventure starts next session.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Blog Monetization Update

It has been about seven years since I chose to allow advertisements to be shown on the blog. This was never expected to provide any real income and was merely an experiment to see how it would perform. 

I disallowed subjects like Politics, Religion, and Porn from running ads since the site is relatively open to all viewers with minor exceptions. I also don't agree with some of the advertisers that would have been pushing their ideals.

You may be asking (though likely not) "how did it do?" The short answer is so far, over seven years it has earned a whopping $8.88, enough for a big name coffee chain latte. 

So why keep monetizing the site? You never know when I might be craving an overly expensive yet sub-par coffee with weird names. That, and I am really curious about ways to generate more views worthy of earning a penny now and then. So far, the ads don't seem to be hurting anything.

There's always the possibility that one day this blog might even pay for a game book or set of dice. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Candlekeep Mysteries - In Ptolus?

 As it turns out there are a handful of adventures in Candlekeep Mysteries that might work in a Ptolus campaign. The general idea for CM is that each adventure has its roots in or about a book or books, perhaps tied together by the city library in Oldtown. With some surgery on the locations and a bit of stitching in connections with organizations, the scenarios within the book-of-books may fill gaps in your plans.

A little creative editing takes place below to show a way to plug these into your City By The Spire campaign. WARNING: SPOILERS

The Joy of Extradimensional Spaces - This one is simple and short. It can fill in as a brief 'this guy needs help for a friend' situation. A spell caster has disappeared, can the party figure out the problem. It presents a self contained spot that doesn't go running around the city. This might work somewhere in Oldtown, perhaps near Vok Row perhaps on Dweomer Street. Nothing special in this one, but it can likely be knocked out in a day of in-game time and one or two play sessions.

Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions - Some Uraqi in a new North Market book stall have been selling what they claim to be original rare tomes. Most are just very good copies, and some are problematic, hosting creatures that attack readers. Tracking down the sellers is not too difficult. Discovering their identity and objective follows easily as well. Then it's a matter of deciding what to do about the problem. This one might make for a good concurrent set of activities to pair with your main focus.

Book of the Raven - It's possible you could place the location in a couple of districts, perhaps the Warrens, but it isn't a good fit. Players could mistake the NPCs as having something to do with the Killraven Crime League, but that would be a short lived thought. The ending location could be the Shadow of Ptolus or maybe somewhere under the Necropolis. It screams high risk of a TPK in the ending location based on how it has to happen. Not to my tastes.

A Deep and Creeping Darkness - Focused on a mine, a small town, and some nasty little creeps. I'm uncertain about how it would match up with anything in the city. Again, not to my tastes.

Shemshime's Bedtime Rhyme - Sounds like an interesting idea and could fit just about anywhere other than the Docks or Warrens, A bit too railroad-like for me. If you don't do the exact right thing . . . seems like it might need some re-working. Maybe I just need to re-read it.

The Price of Beauty - Characters get transported to a secluded, forested locale. Maybe the Moonsilver forest, but could a coven of hags remain unnoticed there? Not sure this would be a good enough fit, but if you need a vacation to the outside then maybe you could use it.

Book of Cylinders - You might be able to relocate the action to deep below in the caverns. Change the Grippli out for Kuo Toa perhaps? It doesn't really have much in the way of appropriate Ptolus flavor and would require a lot of reworking.

Sarah of Yellowcrest Manor - Now this one has some fitting elements. A murder mystery starting in Oldtown or even the Nobles Quarter, some activity probably in the Guildsman District or maybe the South Market, and a short trip to a small hamlet southwest of the city to deal with the killer, his chaos cultist underlings and some summoned aberrations. Maybe the murderer and his victims have membership in House Abanar. One NPC is a former delver who might be useful as an information source about some area of the dungeons at a later time in your campaign.

Lure of Lurue - Involves transporting characters to a fey-like demiplane. Another hag antagonist. Wizards of the Coast seems obsessed with hags these last few years. I suppose it could be a break from the urban and dungeon environments. 

Candlekeep Dekonstruktion - If you want one of the towers of Dalengard to possibly launch into space then this is your adventure. Not my cup of tea, but maybe some DMs would enjoy wrecking the city infrastructure.

Zikran's Zephyrean Tome - Missing people including another missing Wizard. A seaside magic laboratory. Another extraplanar space, and cloud giants. Nothing sings to me as fitting into the Ptolus campaign setting except maybe the seaside location.

The Curious Tale of Wisteria Vale - A play that parallels things the characters are experiencing. A village east of the city (across the bay or southeast at the bottom of the bay). Another flipping demi-plane. Had it focused more on the play it might make for a scene or two at one of the theatre locations, but nope.

The Book of Inner Alchemy - Here's an adventure that will interest monk characters. With a fair amount of work you could shoehorn the locations into Ptolus and information could be gathered by contacting the Order of the Fist and their leader Wynn Rabinall in the Temple District. It is mostly an opportunity to bust knuckles against some seriously powerful monks. 

The Canopic Being - There happens to be an NPC with the last name of Sadaar. Could they be a member of House Sadar? I see an opportunity to involve a Noble House that might ingratiate them to the party and make their usual antagonistic role become a bit twisted from the norm. A rather unusual temple and a very odd tomb put this in and below the Temple District. The prospect of being taken control of by someone else and discovering that someone has done surgery on you without your knowledge might be a great motivation to do something NOW! This has plenty in it to have a Ptolusy feel.

The Scrivener's Tale - A book of mystical writing infects readers and others close to them with writing on their skin that is added to over the course of the adventure. This one has a clock running for accomplishing the cure. For information the characters have to look into an NPC former adventurer who could easily be a member of House Khatru. Another NPC of the same House (likely a lesser, but very ambitious member) drives some of the narrative, but the story given breaks from what House Khatru is like. Some detailed re-writing will be needed to refocus the plot kick-off. There is a trapped fey entity of power trying to get loose and using the characters as the tool to accomplish the release. A vested of the Galchut or a demon might be substituted for the fey. This could also get its start as a plot of House Vladaam to get the characters to do their bidding by getting the book into PC hands.

Alkazaar's Appendix - This one requires a rewrite, but contains some good elements. There's a powerful scroll which could be a Bane and of course reside within the Banewarrens. There's a dragon who might be a member of the Quaan that wants the scroll. There could be Celestials involved so perhaps the Malkuth can be worked into the scenario. There's a lich. There's a powerful golem that could be useful. This is very high level and with the rewrite it makes sense as a candidate for inclusion in Ptolus.

Xanthoria - Hmmm . . . a powerful lich creates a very virulent plague. Sounds familiar to me, something similar to Kagrisos the Ghost Lich who tried and failed to unleash a plague upon the city of Ptolus and was stopped by Abesh Runihan (the guy there's a statue of in Delver's Square). In my campaign there's a chance he could return way in the future based on the pace of the campaign sessions and levelling. Locations that could come into play include the caverns, and a mushroom forest (something I will definitely have in my game). 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Thursday Knights

All talk, no action.

We had a bunch of business for the characters to take care of upon return to port.

Now being half owners of a ship, the party needed to work out the details with the crew. Negotiations took place and an agreement reached for profit sharing from cargo and passenger trade as well as a portion of treasure acquired from adventuring. Then a charter was drawn up.

Each character had their own business to attend to when we got back. It basically came down to reporting to superiors or allies in town. It was interesting to hear each player's spin on the events of the last couple of sessions. It's going to be interesting seeing where things progress from where they currently stand.

One character's task was to spy on the missing wizard. Having not laid eyes on his assigned subject he could only report on what the agent of another House was doing in regard to finding said wizard.

The agent of the House that thought the wizard had been kidnapped reported that the wizard faked his kidnapping (we think that's what happened).

Ennark reported this to the temple high priest and made the comment that while unlikely, for all they knew the wizard could have been eaten by a hag.

The party then decided to take a portion of the treasure gained and give it to the ship's crew so they'd have seed money to buy cargo for trading once we determined where we're going next.