TSM Update: Tunnel of Love


… our heroes (Tovlakov and Tia, anyway) explored the mysterious, previously hidden,  basement of the Taledo Transport shipping house.  The basement contained a series of now empty boxes, all bearing the mysterious symbol that we now associate with Count Segur.  And a tunnel heading north.  There was also a knot of rats fleeing the approaching heroes, as well as one dog-sized rat with red eyes.

T&T headed north, and after creeping along for a few hours, and discovering latent tracks of a heavy wagon previously pushed along the passage, they found that the tunnel met up with a much larger, smoother subterranean avenue heading generally east-west.  The uniformity of this larger tunnel led the heroes to believe that it had been bored by an ankheg.  The fact that there was wagon tread leading up to the ankheg tunnel and reappearing on the far side, but no such tracks of a wagon in the larger, smoother passage, seemed to indicate that the ankheg tunnel was newer than the last use of the wagon.

Eventually, after growing generally more damp, the passage from the Taledo shipping house led to a stairway that let out into a closet with a concealed door inside the Taledo office and residence.  T&T managed to slip out, unnoticed.

The entire group of heroes met up an their new hideout, an abandoned structure that Tia seemed to recall was some sort of ill-fated, low-reputation business from her youth.  The party members hid a number of the mithril ingot here.  There was a general planning session then, due to the extremely late hour, the heroes retreated to the Watchtower.

The following morning, Dain and Tovlakov headed to the House of Gond and met up with Pearl.  They convinced her that there might be memories, perhaps involving prominent individuals that she had lost due to the involvement of the satyr Lytus and that it might be important to regain.  She eventually committed to taking the memory restorative tea herself.

Dain had previously drawn a card from the Deck of Many Wondrous Things. He drew the Star card, and as a result became more wise.

Tovlakov confirmed, while Garl was sleeping, that his boots were muddied and covered with recent ash.

As the session began to wrap up, the heroes plotting what to do next, with Lord Segur presumably returning to town on the morning, an oddly-rapt rat, redolent with rare rationality, realizing the role-players recognition, fled, following the facility’s fragments to freedom.  Tia attempted an arrow assault and attained anticlimax.

There seemed to be some concern that the rat might be a servant of Ruddiger.

TSM Update: How long has this been going on?


… Tia and Tovlakov made their way, without incident, to gather more flowers for Pearl to use in preparing the memory restoration elixir.  They both eventually drank it, and relived some uncomfortable memories.

Dain spent some time talking to Marg about Count Segur’s schedule.  According to his typical practice, Segur should be in town in less than 48 hours.

The party visited the Oakstrong Brewery.  Hugo has brewed an oaked brown ale as a celebration of the life of his lost brother.

The party identified most of the items that the Mephit “Mike” had put in their goody bag: arrows of Troll and Wyvern Slaying, a Potion of Heroism and a Deck of Many Things, whatever that is.  There are still a few items (a potion, an oil, a few crystal spheres and books) yet to be identified.

There was a particular jay that the party felt was spying on them.  Tia felled it with a single arrow.

There was a late night fire at the Taledo dock, and it was fully burnt to the ground.  Amongst the ashes, the party found an intact shipping container, marked with a familiar, vaguely triangular symbol.  Having retrieved it, the party found it contained six ingots of what they believe to be mithril.

There is a basement space at Taledo’s, apparently still intact.

Tia is considering pulling one of the cards from the Deck.

It’s the militia versus the mithril conspiracy.

Isn’t it?

TSM Update: Let the Memory live again


… our heroes escaped from the War Wizards Tower, with the help of a mephit named Mike.  He offered a nice gift bag as consolation.

We learned a bit more about Lord Segur. Apparently he’s been around more than you realized.

Walter, supposedly, was encouraged to give himself in.  His regret at acceding, at least, was not long-lived.

The elixir mixed up by Pearl for the Taledos worked great.  So Norm tried it.  And recalled a meeting between Segur and Eeger that had been wiped out by the satyr’s magical pipes.  Also, that the druid Ruddiger had magically halted the group after the battle with the Ankheg and torn a page from Norm’s notebook containing a particular symbol, drawn from a blackened and burnt book found at the site of the first murder ritual.

Eeger and Segur?  The Warden Marver?  Ruddiger the druid?

Also, what about Skank?  Garl Gleamsilver?

Who can be trusted?

TSM Update

Last week, our heroes ventured out to the SmokeWorks, with the intention of filling in some of the gaps in their memories from Longshanks.  Tia also hoped to see if they could do something with the ankheg armor plates.  Longshanks promised to get started on the ankheg bits, and provided some forgotten information, in particular as it related to the slain ratcatcher Wolfshead.  While visiting with Longshanks, a stir at the SmokeWorks arose.  An elven lumberjack had collapsed, exhausted, after having fled an attack by strange light-skinned, hooved creatures who, he believed, had murdered everyone in his logging camp.

The heroes decided to try to deal with these monsters, presumably kor.  Dain set out with one of Longshank’s ponies to fetch Norm.  Along the way, he ran into a group of wild, enormous wolves who pursued and at various times stood like a man an hurled a javelin at him and the elf who Dain hoped to bring to safety in Rankford Mitte.  One of Longshank’s horses was slain by the wolves, but Dain and the elf managed to escape.

Having fetched Norm, dropped off the elf and returned to SmokeWorks, the party set out where they understood the logging camp that the kor had attacked was located.  They made their way into the wood, along a logging trail, through an abandoned logging camp site, and came to the bloody ruins of the objective.  As we stopped, the kor had noticed the heroes and were preparing for battle.


The Forgotten Realms and 5e

It’s been a bit since I ran a D&D game.  I’ve been playing in games DM’ed by my friends (most recently we press-ganged the Other Paul into running Curse of Strahd).  I ran a brief attempt at an OSR game with 0-level PCs for 7 or 8 sessions, which was a lot of fun for me.  I put together a survey of our group to ask about game systems and how they rank them (D&D 5E was far and away the winner) and asked about several possible games I’d be willing to run.  The winner was a game set in the Forgotten Realms where they are members of a local militia.

I’ve been running games on and off in the Forgotten Realms since 1986.  Those first games were set in Sembia, as that was one of the areas that was, according to the original Realms boxed set, set aside for DMs to flesh out.  This time around, because I wanted to have a monarch as an (off-stage) central figure, I put our game in nearby Cormyr.  I’ve set so many games in Waterdeep, I felt it was time for a change.

I based my Forgotten Realms campaign on the Time of Troubles-era, though with my own loose interpretation.  While all of the ToT craziness is going on, it’s a distant rumor to the denizens of tiny Rankford, where the PCs are headquartered.  Rankford has its own troubles.

I really want the PCs to care about Rankford, about the town, the people and their responsibilities to both.

There are a few key things going on, and one general problem: the Lords Wood, within which is nestled Rankford is a dangerous place and growing more so.

5e feels more to me like the 2nd Edition that I began DMing the Forgotten Realms with.  I’ve always loved running low-level play, where even a short trip between town and the small farming commune to the east could be a perilous journey.  This setting, where the PCs are often split up into small groups, feels exactly the way I want it to.  5e is a great vehicle for that sort of old-school-ish feeling.

I’m intentionally using some throwback monsters: ankhegs, centaurs, (others I won’t mention yet).  In a way, this game is almost a continuation of the OSR game I ran recently.  More structured, more… “official“, but I’m still striving for that rules-light, story-first feeling.

Our current game: The Shining Mantle

We are currently playing AD&D 5E, in a modified Forgotten Realms Cormyr.  The PCs are members of the local militia in village called Rankford which is perched on the edge of the Lord’s Wood, in a time of growing darkness.  They are faced with the often difficult choices of watching after their little community and pursuing glory.  Every session is a test of their values and priorities.