FalsKrag Session 4 – No toll for you!

We were short one player for this session, which was a pity because the group got a lot done over a very interesting evening. There was some enterprising ideas to deal with both the pit in the well and the toll gate. The toll gate became two combats (before and after breaching the doorway) with the second being drawn out – both in the number of rounds it lasted and the large area fought over – against fifteen small humanoids (including two spell-casters) armed with light crossbows, daggers, darts and some alchemical weapons. They also started seriously looking around the next level and got into a fair number of undead. There’s also the suggestion that other people died here recently.

I’ve prepared a heap of rumours (and possible interactions) for the players to hear/encounter when they return to town. Mostly, I’ve forgotten to actually hand them out in sessions. The encounter with Nargan is a ‘rumour’ that I actually drew after the session. It particularly suits that town visit because they had stuff they wanted to sell to an alchemist. I’ve put rumour cards aside now, to remind me for the next time we game.


(14th Goodmonth. Under FalsHold.)

The group decides to leave the dungeon. Lanliss talks about breaking the bricked up doorways at the toll gate, and ways to get past the pit in the well tunnels. At the toll gate they are charged 30 silver and a special. Seldrel offers a glowing candle! The price to enter seems to increase slowly, and the exit price is double the entry. Back at Falsford, Seldrel sights a large shrine to Aedrie Faenya (Elven goddess of air, avians and weather) and gets a priestess to cast remove curse on him. Lanliss and the dwarves go in search of a good carpenter and blacksmith. They order two longer than standard collapsible planks and discuss some portable barriers that can block the arrow slits in the side “doors” at the toll gate, and a long, wide plank on posts to block the gap above the pipe. They arrange to collect them the next morning. Hardaz buys a few miners picks. They restock on minor items and find an inn to stay at.

15th – They collect their orders and head out to Falshold. There is no sign of goblins and they move to the well. With Lanliss and the dwarves in the lead, they assemble a plank and drop it across the pit location. An eye ray has no effect, and they move in as fast as is possible – striking against the tiny humanoids with the heavy crossbow. Two dire rats attack from a side passage, and more humanoids with spears from the other side. The narrow space makes attacking and defending difficult, but thankfully the tiny rat-people do minor damage with their spears and go down with a single blow. Six of the creatures are killed and others appear to have fled along tunnels that Merxif later determines to exit near the southern wall of the hold . The crossbow and some copper coins are recovered. There is no sign of the beholder-kin. After some minor healing they all proceed down to the keep basement. Here more dire rats attack, but Seldrel’s magic puts all three to sleep.

Party enters from the west, at base of image. Central chamber occupied by the fey.

They assemble the main frame and open the secret door. An alarm sounds as they approach and the iron plate begins to slide aside. They place barriers over the side arrow slits as a voice calls out an entry fee of 20 silver. Surprised sounds begin to be heard as they block the gap over the pipe. Both dwarves begin to hack at the bricked up doorway to one side, while the others hold the barriers in place. After a minute, Seldrel hears chanting and a swarm of cockroaches begins to enter the room around the barriers and from out of cracks in the stone. Weapons seem to have no effect and Hardaz becomes momentarily nauseous. They all begin to retreat back along the hall to the secret door, swinging flaming torches. Bacon throws his last 2 necklace globes and the fireballs seriously damage the swarm. All retreat up the stairs to the entry hall. The swarm doesn’t follow, and they take time to heal. On return the swarm is gone. They replace the barrier and break a large enough hole in the north side to enter. The group steadily invades the chamber, taking crossbow fire from the small blue fey. A sleep spell is resisted by the party, but a colour spray knocks out Lanliss. Minor wounds are taken from the defenders, as they are steadily brought down. Only one fey is able to escape through a narrow tunnel. The cluster of small rooms are looted. Treasure includes coins (lots of silver), gems, many potions and scrolls, and a complete alchemist lab. The group takes time to break the bricks around the pipe to allow an easier way through. Merxip traces the escape tunnel and emerges near the SE tower. Collecting all the loot, they again return to Falsford.

Small, blue and ugly…

In town, a young man, Nargan, approaches. He says that his uncle is an alchemist and can brew remedies that may be useful to adventurers exploring Falshold. They meet with Rodar who buys the alchemists gear they have returned with. He promises them a discount on any purchases if they return.

16th – Return to the hold. Six dire rats are feeding on the bodies at the toll gate. All are killed and the group proceeds down the stairs and around the sigil on the floor. This time they head west along a long passage. The first room to the side has a table, some chairs and animated skeletons. They move in and fight, recalling what weapons were most effective last time. A hollow behind one wall is detected by Lanliss, but he can’t find how to open it. Breaking the wall reveals a pouch of coins and gems. The next room has two zombies. As Lanliss and the dwarves move in to attack, two ghouls rush out from a further room. Seldrel, still back in the main passage hears a creaking noise and sees their torches dim. He hears a voice say “Hello… have you seen da bloomun. Oh, sorry…”. The torches are restored to their normal radiance and the ghouls destroyed. The two rooms contain torn clothing, blood spatters and part of a humanoid that has obviously been eaten. Masterwork chainmail, some weapons and a wand are recovered.



FalsKrag Session 3 – The narrow well.

This game session included all six players which was good and was mostly spent on catching with up the players who’d missed sessions, game talk and non-game chatter. There was also buying and selling equipment, which takes a while when everyone discusses available funds, what they really want and what they can actually afford. Masterwork weapons for the two main combat characters used up most of their funds.

We use Paizo Gamemastery Critical and Fumble cards in combats. On a confirmed critical, you have the choice of: do the normal additional damage, take a critical card and apply its effects, or hold a critical card (and discard later to turn a fumble into a miss). Fumbles automatically draw a card. Most of my players will hold a critical card if they can, but don’t usually take a card for its effects. Fumbles are generally amusing, because they are typically minor penalties and the monsters fumble as often (or more so) than the PC’s do. This session was not typical. No-one on either side of the table confirmed a critical, but we had four fumbles (three players and one dire rat). The curse on Seldrel was a spell fumble, and the worst of all in the session since a -4 penalty to all rolls at 1st level is really tough and it requires a 3rd level Remove Curse to get rid of. Even so, the player who drew it was good-natured about it and willing to continue play.


(11th Goodmonth. FalsHold basement.)

The group decides to leave the Hold. After recovering the furniture from the secret room, at the toll gate they are asked for 18sp and a “special”. There is some discussion on what the fey consider special, and a glowing stone is offered and accepted. (A stone with a light spell on it). Their mule is missing. Outside the keep, Winter is able to find and follow some tracks towards the SE ruined tower where they locate a nervous mule. All gear (bit, bridle, saddle bags, are gone.) Three of the twiggy plant humanoids attack the group, but are quickly defeated. They load the mule with chairs and the desk and elect to head to Falsridge. On the way Lanliss starts to feel ill. Merxif believes he has filth fever from the bite of a rat the day before. It’s getting dark as they arrive at the larger town. They find an Inn and sell the mule to the inn-keeper to help cover costs.

12th – The party spends the day looking around town. They get a good price on the furniture, buy a wand of CLW from the Temple of Rao. By selling the jewellery and things of value obtained they are able to purchase a MW Dwarven war axe (Hardaz) and MW mighty composite longbow (Winter). They enjoy reasonable meals and stay another night at the inn. With Merxif’s aid, Lanliss overcomes his disease.

13th – The group leaves early, heading for Falsford to locate their friends. The days travel is uneventful and they are met at the gate of Falsford by Sharra. She leads them outside town and close to the lake where they have a camp. The six friends spent the first night at an inn in town, but with very little funds between them decided it was cheaper to make camp outside after buying basic gear and rations. Half of the group have the skills to scavenge food and the weather is good for camping. Usko has considered heading to his family’s home in the Yatils to the north, but the rest of them would have too great a distance to travel home. For now, they will stay near Falsford to see if they can get work escorting merchants. If nothing comes up within a few days they will travel to Falsridge. The larger town may offer more chance of employment, and they can leave messages at the gate for the group. The party offer them 10 gold each to buy tents and help if other costs arise.

14th – On the old road up to the mountain they are attacked by a solitary wolf. The gatehouse of the hold is empty and two of the group note movement to the south east. They approach the well as Seldrel recalls the tunnel off the main shaft. Suddenly a brownish sphere with a large eye and small waving stalks on top rises out of the well and looks towards Hardaz, who pelts off back towards the gatehouse. The orb drops back down the well and Seldrel comments that he thought beholders were meant to be much bigger than 8” across. By the time Hardaz has conquered his fear, the group has decided that the small beholder-kin isn’t too dangerous and they have rope secured at the top of the well. Bacon climbs down and into the side shaft. An eye ray strikes him for no effect. He misses with a crossbow shot and moves forward as the eyeball retreats. Lanliss climbs down and enters the tunnel. Bacon looks around a corner, noting that the tunnel narrows even more, and the sides look smooth and slippery. He also realises that the floor hides a pit trap. Lanliss ties another rope to Bacon who tries to get across the pit. In the limited space Bacon’s weight drops the pit lid and he falls, but is caught by Lanliss before hitting the spikes at the bottom. He is pulled up and hit by a crossbow bolt. In the darkness he can now see a crossroad of tunnels and a wider chamber with tiny two ratmen (about a foot tall) busy reloading a heavy crossbow. He shoots at them and misses. He realises that he can load and fire faster than the rat-men and by waving his cloak around the corner draws another shot and again fires back.

The tunnel forward (2’ wide, 3’ high) so restricts actions that Bacon can’t clear the pit. They elect to retreat, instead going down the main well shaft into a large spherical chamber with two feet of water. There is a rounded hole in one wall, bounded by a brass ring with some mysterious markings. Both Merxip and Seldrel are lowered to look at the ring. They determine only that it is magical. While Seldrel is being lifted out an eye ray misses him. They leave the well.

Back down in the hold basement, they defeat a dire rat and pay 15 silver for the toll. There are odd noises and in an adjacent room they sight and defeat two more giant ants. Unfortunately, the ants have not uncovered anything valuable as they have moved northwards through the rooms and sorted through rubble. The party heads down stairs. At the base of the stairs and the entrance to a large room is a magical sigil engraved in the floor. Seldrel recognises the symbol of Meyaheine, a good human demigoddess of protection and justice. All carefully step around it and search the room that is scattered with damaged equipment, chewed bones and body parts. Some gold coins are found amid what appears to be most of a medium humanoid who was torn apart at least a week ago. Iron-bound wooden doors are a change from the empty doorways of the levels above. Moving south along a passage to an empty chamber, both dwarves note a secret door. Lanliss believes its safe and pushes it open. A large room is scattered with pieces of bone and four animated human skeletons turn towards him. Most of group push into the chamber and quickly destroyed them. During the combat, Seldrel drastically miscasts a simple spell and inflicts himself with a curse of frustration. Lanliss suggests heading back to town to counter the curse.

FalsKrag Session 2 – Under the Hold

This session was a lot of fun. We only had 4 of the six players but that’s never stopped us before. The players encountered creatures they have never seen before – which is always interesting. Low level characters often meet things they shouldn’t know about, but the players often have knowledge their characters wouldn’t. The group is starting to think about skills they want to develop as they go up levels, and have realised that some things they meet may be more powerful than they they would normally expect to encounter. The gargoyle in this session is a good example of this – they only did damage to it because of some quick thinking by the players and utilising their items and abilities. The session had a good range of fighting, thinking and planning in it.

The Gatehouse, FalsHold. (Click for larger image)

The party’s attention now turns to the main building with its corner towers. The lower floor looks quite solid, but little more than badly damaged walls seem to remain of the second story. They approach from the side, sighting arrow slits that face the open doorway into the structure. A barred window allows a glance into the dark and empty corner tower. Lanliss suggests going up the wall to the second level. The mule is tied to a boulder out of the way and a good throw by Bacon hooks a grapnel. He swings confidently up, and promptly has part of the wall break under his feet; he slips and falls. His second attempt is much better, and everyone else is aided to the top. This area is not wide and only eighty feet long. The afternoon sunshine shows some grass, broken walls, a few trees, piles of broken rock and a number of statues. The closest is a man in robes with his arms out slightly and around his neck hangs a red cord with what look like large silver dice. Lanliss carefully examines the statue and the floor around it, while Hardaz is concerned with how detailed the statue is. They concede that it seems to be safe, and not someone petrified. The statues are in different poses, of different stone, and in varied condition. Two are winged, most show damage and oddly, some have jewellery on or near them. They collect the silver dice necklace and claim a gold flagon. Lanliss gets nervous as they approach an elven statue with a jade headband. As a result, Hardaz backs away towards another “statue” that rasps “Leave them alone…” The gargoyle gores the dwarf. There is a panic as the group tries to reach positions to attack from and quickly realise that their weapons don’t even scratch the creatures stony hide. Seldrel coats his sword with an oil of Magic Weapon, which he passes to Hardaz. Winter casts Magic Fang on the monk and both dwarves move to strike – each getting a blow before the Gargoyle launches into the air. With only a limited time that their weapons will remain magical, the group elects to flee downstairs. Bacon watches as the Gargoyle lands high up on the side of the cliff above the building. They heal, then quickly make their way back up to loot the headband and pick up a few gems. Back in the tower, they explore the guard towers and entrance hall which shows signs of recent digging. Many of the chambers are small, with vacant doorways; all are empty and most have dust and cobwebs. Light cast on shields and stones illuminates the darkness and the further back into the building they go, the more they find the rooms are damaged and have suffered collapse. One hallway is not dusty, and shows signs of cleared cobwebs. It leads to a narrow flight of stairs down. They sight rats, the tracks of tiny vermin and more cobwebs. Three dire rats attack from rubble in one room, and Lanliss strikes down a spider the size of a dog in another. Its web-filled lair has the dry husk of a small humanoid that grants them with a few coins and a magical wand of Mage Armor.

Going back to get the mule, they realise that the sun is setting and decide to camp in one of the keep’s towers. Lanliss notes light in the gatehouse during the first watch, Bacon hears noise outside during the second, and there are yells, screams, then dirt and stones flung throw the windows. Everyone but the gnome wakes up. A few shapes fleeing toward the now dark gatehouse, and then southward are presumed to be goblins. Winter on the last watch of the night hears a wolf out in the courtyard. With cloud overhead and two new moons, she can see nothing outside and wakes Bacon, but even his darkvision can’t spot the creature. When all seems quiet again he goes back to sleep.

11th Goodmonth

Seldrel grumbles about his interrupted sleep, but luckily he hadn’t cast his main spells the day before. They head downstairs finding stone block walls, a few cobwebs overhead, but not the dust of unused chambers. A large room shows signs that furniture was once attached to the floor and walls in rows. They find a small pot full of green crystals. No one recognises them, and without alchemy skills, they pack it away unidentified. Six small square rooms all exit the main passage, with one still blocked by a magical iron door. Lanliss can’t unlock it, but as he explores the passage, he finds that someone has used magic to make a hole into the now empty vault through the wall of the adjacent room. He also realises that the end wall of the passage pivots and the passage extends into a small room. Two bricked up doorways are on either side of a brick wall with a narrow gap at the top and a roughly five foot square hole blocked by a metal plate. There is a loud chime as they approach, and then high-pitched voices yelling. After a while a creature calls out that “Dis is da toll.” The metal plate slides aside revealing a 5’ wide, twenty foot long iron pipe. “You pay an we let you in da pipe. Pay one siliver each, two for da dwarves and gnome – drop in hole in pipe. Den we open other gate.” The group decides to pay the 9 silver pieces requested, and tie up the mule here, which won’t fit in the pipe. Through holes in the brick walls and the pipe they get glimpses of small blue skinned humanoids.

Approaching the toll gate

The pipe opened into a larger room with four exits, and as upstairs, no doors. Rubble was scattered around the room and a stirge flew out of a hole in one wall. It dived at Bacon who avoided it, and it was killed before it could try to attach itself to anyone else. There were tapping sounds from the south and the group headed that way – finding two adjacent rooms. One had a set of carved panels showing different creatures along one wall, the other had two giant ants sorting through rocks and debris. The ants were creating the noise as they lifted and dropped rocks. A third ant was observed to enter from another passage, pick up an object and head down the passage with it. Seldrel looked at the creature panels and they group debated attacking the ants. Once most of them had moved in behind the ants, the ants stopped sorting debris and combat commenced. The two original ants died quickly, while the third ant returned, attacked and was wounded. It fled back down the passage. Lanliss followed, stopping at side room with a larger soldier ant. Winter moved in to join him and was stung, but not poisoned. By the time it is killed, there is no sign of the other ant. A third chamber has objects sorted into piles – stones, old food, clothing scraps, silver coins and some gems. Merxif crawled into a narrow tunnel that led out from the room but after a considerable distance it started to divide and he quickly returned.

They all return to the room with the panels, and Lanliss locates a secret door next to the panels, but cannot open it. He does learn that the panels can be depressed and they spending considerable time working out what each of the creatures displayed are. They are arranged in alphabetical order – Bat, Chimera, Fire elemental, Gnoll, Minotaur, Pegasus, Rust monster(?), Satyr, Wolf. They try pressing a few combinations to no avail, while Seldrel looks over the notes they retrieved on Fals Hold. He suggests pressing F and S, and the door slides open. Behind is a small chamber with a magically lit lantern, two chairs and a small desk – all old and well carved. They find a few trinkets of minor value, five bottles of whiskey, and then stuck at the back of a drawer – a signet ring (with an ornate FS) and a loose parchment sheet. The writing on it mentions fighting goblins in the Kron Hills, and the tunnels under the Krag. They check that they can open and close the secret door and decide to take the chairs and desk with them when they leave. They also pry the lantern off the wall.

Heading north, they pass some rooms empty but for bits of rubble, sight stairs down ahead, and an odd swirling grey mist. The mist floats towards Lanliss, who retreats. It drifts out into the passage where the group is now lined up and it engulfs Merxif. He feels slightly weakened. It then strikes at Bacon who collapses to the floor. Seldrel blasts the mist with a Burning Hands spell, hardly doing any damage. Merxif forces his way forward and out of the mist. Weapon blows seem to sweep through it, having no effect. Merxif casts Magic Weapon on Lanliss’ sword. Lanliss swings at the mist, cutting it to shreds, which dissipate. Puzzled by what they have just fought, they are thankful to have found a way to defeat it. Bacon turns out to be asleep, and is easily woken, though he too feels weakened. Back where the mist was first seen lies the corpse of a small blue skinned humanoid. No-one knows what it is, but they are reminded of the creatures glimpsed at the toll-gate.

The next two chambers appear empty except for broken rock. As Lanliss enters the second, two long arms reach out, trying to grab him around the throat. The rest of the group moves up to assist. The choker is soon killed. The hole it had made above the doorway also contains coins, gems, jewellery, a scroll and a potion. The last two rooms near the stairs contain a 3-legged stool, and three Fire beetles eating moss. The beetles are quickly despatched and their glowing glands detached to use as light sources. The group discusses continuing onward, or leaving for Falsford. Both Bacon and Merxif feel their strength return.

FalsKrag Session 1 – The Crimson Oracle

Moonday, the 10th Goodmonth 576 CY.

Twelve people stand near a path to a cabin, looking annoyed, confused, angry or surprised. There is a main road to one side, and what sounds like a large river close by. Most people have drawn weapons, many are wounded. An elven woman points her bow at an armoured gnome and takes a step back. Everyone watches each other. Then the gnome raises a shiny disc on a silver chain. “Have any of you got one of these?”

After some discussion of what has recently happen, and introductions, they realise that they are all likely far away from where they began the day. A steep mountain rises behind woodland to the south and greater mountains can be seen in the far north. Lanliss moves to skirt the cabin and Merxif warns that the person who wants them dead is likely inside. As some of them move forward, the door opens. “Its about time someone got back here…” A older human male in a bright red cloak looks out through the door. His expression becomes one of horror. “You… you should be dead!” He steps back inside. There is a rush for the door by most of those present and a lightning bolt is fired back out. The mage casts a number of spells, inflicting many minor wounds and avoids being hit for some time. Eventually the numbers against him are his defeat. The group have decided not to kill him and Merxif makes sure his condition is stable while others tie him up. They search the cabin, recovering many papers, scrolls, some magical items from the mage, and six pouches with gold and gems. A page of a calendar has a cross on the 10th Goodmonth, and a circle around the phases of the moon on the 11th. (Both Celene and Luna are new on the night of the 11th.) A finely scribed parchment sheet is with the calendar. Seldrel recognises the writing as Suel, but cannot read it. Other papers are a recent history of Bissel and Veluna, notes on a ruin called Fals Hold, and two maps that they realise display south-western Veluna. One page mentions a magical crystal skull, another the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords. Usko, originally from the Yatils, believes they are in the region shown on the maps, and that the mountains to the north are the Yatils. Lanliss climbs on top of the cabin and sights a castle across the river to the north-east. They grab what they consider of interest or value and find that the mage is dead. Merxif examines him, but can’t explain why he died.

The castle turns out to be Fals Keep, a small fortress with many Velunese troops that patrol the river road. They are taken to a half-elf wizard named Nassic, who is intrigued by their stories and tells them about where they have ended up, and what the surrounding land is like. He suggests they could travel to Mitrik if they have money to pay for magical means to return them home. They also speak with the Dwarf Cleric Stoll, and a soldier who speaks Suel translates their parchment. It sounds like a riddle or prophecy – three moons doom the seer, he falls on one – two rise anew… coins of fate, six strangers brought together by chance, revenge, fear, curiosity. Almost everyone has only their armour and a weapon with them, so they spend some of the gold found on general equipment and a mule with saddlebags. They also use the opportunity to rest and eat.

The group decide to head together to Falsford to seek lodging and think about the future. A few miles outside the town, a path leads to the southern mountain – FalsKrag. Half the group elects to head down the old road and look at the ruined castle, while the remainder head into Falsford. The castle still has mostly undamaged walls, but most of the towers appear to have collapsed. One, though broken rises high into the air. The party moves of the overgrown road, taking a side trail towards oddly regular trees and bushes. They soon realise they are entering a graveyard – the outer fence is covered by vines and bushes. Trails wind between long grass, holes and damaged grave stones. Near the northern side rises a huge block of stone, engraved with the name “Falshadren”. Seldrel notes a magical aura and searching the block reveals a iron door or gate in the side of the stone, hidden by an illusion that only a few of them can see through. Lanliss spends time attempting to pick the lock, but eventually decides that it is way beyond his current capabilities.

They head for the eastern gatehouse of the ruin and are fired upon! Arrows fly from slits in the second level, and three strike Hardaz, severely wounding him. Merxif hides in the long grass and creeps forward while Hardaz quaffs a potion of healing. Everyone else runs for the door or walls of the gatehouse. Eight goblins taunt or shoot at them through a hole in the floor as Bacon and Winter find positions to fire back. Both Merxif and Seldrel conjure a glimmering humanoid figure on the castle walls to disturb the goblins, and Bacon lobs one of his necklace globes through the hole. Most of the goblins are knocked unconscious. The last two attempt to flee but are brought down by Hardaz and Winter. The south-west tower has solid walls and a ceiling and appears to be used by goblins. There are signs that more goblins have recently vacated the chamber. Seldrel comments that what remains of the high tower walls show signs of old magic. Both the north-west and south-east towers are full of rubble. In a small grove of trees in the south, three stick-like humanoid plant creatures attack them. They are beaten without much difficulty and the recently dead body of an adventurer yields some coins and masterwork leather armour. A well in the courtyard is partly blocked by branches. Seldrel notes a hole in one wall of the deep shaft near the blockage. A fountain in the centre of the courtyard is brken and holds a pool of stagnant water. The north east tower is in mostly good condition and occupied by a ghoul. It is quickly destroyed and the group are excited to locate some platinum coins and a fine rapier. The second level of the tower has many bird nests and bacon declares the floor to be unsafe to walk on.

FalsKrag Session 0 – Beginnings

Adventure Diary for Session 0:

PC Name Race Class Origin
Lanliss High Elf Rogue Blackmoor
Bacon Hill Dwarf Monk County of Ulek
Hardaz Mnt Dwarf Fighter Cairn Hills
Merxif Rock Gnome Cleric Sterich
Seldrel High Elf Wizard Vesve Forest
Winter Wood Elf Hunter Gamboge Forest

It is Moonday, the 10th of Goodmonth in the Common Year 576. (High Summer) Six would-be adventurers head out of their village/town/city with friends. They plan to practice their skills, look for trouble and hope to find something interesting, but won’t be surprised if it’s another ordinary day.

On the outskirts of Mosshold, on Blackmoor Bay, Blackmoor. Lanliss goes out with his friends Vargas (Human Rogue) and Wat (Human Fighter). They have been warned that strangers have been asking about young elves. Most folk are quite suspicious of these southerners who don’t seem well equipped for the current conditions. As they approach the village edge a hawk dives out of the sky to attack. This is closely followed by an attack by three human thugs. Lanliss and Vargas are wounded, while Wat is knocked unconscious in the fight. Lanliss finds part of a note on one thug that mentions getting payment and claims an extremely good set of boots. Vargas picks up a silver medallion from another. He holds it up glancing at the back and there is a bright flash!

Near Jurnre, capital of the County of Ulek. Bacon Ironfist is accompanied by Baldor (Human Slayer) and Wes (½ Elf Fighter). Heading into the hills, an unusual creature flies out of a tree. Bacon takes it down with a crossbow bolt. They decide it is a blood-draining stirge. Thankfully there appear to be no more about. Approaching a cave, they sight a dead or dying figure. The male human appears to have collapsed on the way out of the cave. Another human retreats out of the cave followed by a bear. He yells a warning and fires an arrow, dropping the bear. He turns and begins to warn the group, then gets a clear look at Bacon. “You!” The man tries to throw a metallic globe at Bacon, but it misses, landing close to Wes and exploding. Wes is knocked unconscious, and a second bear charges out of the cave. It fatally claws the man. Bacon and Baldor struggled to kill the bear and are lightly wounded. Searching the bodies reveals a necklace with two more globes attached, and a silver amulet on a chain. Baldor states “this looks like you”, then reads something on the other side. There is a bright flash…

Outside Diamond Lake in the Cairn Hills. Hardaz Granite goes out with his friends Ardartha (Elf Warlock) and Wix (½ Elf Fighter). They make their way into the hills through a wooded area. Ardartha and Wix have heard rumours of Goblins in the area, and it is not long before they find a dead goblin. Further along is another dead goblin and the corpse of a human male. There is a loud noise ahead and the three make there way forward quietly. A clearing ahead has four goblin warriors calling out and laughing while an unmoving human is tied to a tree. Hardaz and Wix charge the goblins, while Ardatha stays back and blasts them. A previously unnoticed goblin steps out from near a tree and waves a wand, launching a bolt of lightning at Wix. The blast hits him squarely and he falls, dead. Fortunately the goblin shaman seems unable to make the wand function again and the fight goes rapidly downhill for the goblins. Hadaz retrieves the wand and Ardartha notes that the human tied to the tree had been blasted by lightning. She picks up a silver pendant. “I know this rune…” There is a bright flash.

West of Ironstead in the southern Vesve Forest. Seldrel goes out with his friends Usko (½ Orc Ranger) and Wyn (Human Fighter). The trainee Wizard is hoping to test his magical skills and they head out into the forest. They find body parts that have been chewed and are attacked by two dirty humanoids. When one paralyses Wyn they realise the creatures are ghouls. Usko is hurt while he and Seldrel fight one ghoul. The second focuses on the helpless Wyn and is nearly killed before the ghouls can be destroyed. They stabilise Wyn and Usko notices a silver disc. There’s a face on one side and something on the other… there is a bright flash!

On the edge of the Flinty Hills, in the eastern Gamboge Forest. Winter goes out with her friend Wen (½ Elf Fighter) and owl companion Summer. An old ruin nearby has a nice view from the hills. They glance around the ruin and sight some bones. A rusty sword, a ragged leather shirt and a flask and also found. Wen picks up something shiny and is attacked by two large spiders. Wen is bitten by both and poisoned. Winter and her pet kill the spiders and treat Wen who is barely conscious. Her friend has dropped the shiny item – a silver disc with Winters face engraved on one side. On the other is a rune which is familiar. There is a bright flash.

North of Steryn, in Sterich. Merxif goes out with his friends Sharra (Human Swashbuckler) and Wol (Human Fighter). They decide to explore a ridge nearby that has occasionally yielded artefacts from a town buried centuries ago. They hope to find something of value, but instead turn up a body. They decide the male human likely fell and was killed by shifting rock a few days ago. While they check for valuables, two scorpions emerge from holes in the rock. Wol is wounded. Sharra is clawed multiple times and falls unconscious. Merxif is able to avoid being hit and uses a healing burst to revive Sharra while Wol crushes the vermin. The friends locate a second body, this one with a large glistening arrow and a note with Merxif’s name, town, and country. It states an amulet can be used to locate him and he is to be killed by the 10th of Goodmonth, with the amulet used to return for payment. A shiny medal on a silver chain has Merxif’s face engraved on one side and a rune of fate (or destiny) on the other side. A bright flash momentarily blinds them all…

FalsKrag – Setting up a new Pathfinder Greyhawk Campaign.

The “first” session in my mega-dungeon Greyhawk campaign was primarily character creation. We had 5 of the 6 players free this day. While some people worked out fine detail, I started the introductory sequence for one of the players, then went to the next, and so on.

Campaign Date: 10th Goodmonth 576 CY. “Beginnings”

One player was chosen to begin with – we started with Lanliss, the Rogue. The player on one side of him picked a pre-generated 2nd level NPC from a group of ten, based on a summary of the character. (Name, race, class, align, HPs, AC, Saves, main weapon attack/damage and a brief list of class abilities.) Most of these were classes from the Advanced Class Guide or classes not frequently seen in our previous games. The next person around the table was handed a pre-generated 1st level fighter. Both NPC’s were considered friends of the PC. I then talked briefly about where they were in the Flanaess, and led them outside their hometown. In each case they ended up in some sort of combat encounter where (as the GM) I tried to badly wound or kill the 1st level NPC and hurt everyone else. The final part of each encounter had a NPC locating a chain with a silver disc – with the PC’s face on one side, and a rune on the other. The NPC read the rune and there was a bright flash.

Then I picked another player around the table, and NPC’s were chosen/handed out and we did the same again. Each final encounter gave slightly more information – like finding bodies of strangers, revealing that the PC’s face was on the disc, etc. The final PC encounter also found a note on one body stating specifically where the PC was to be found, that the disc would point in his direction, and that he needed to be killed by the 10th Goodmonth. Payment could be claimed by using the disc to return to “the Crimson Oracle”. We had time to run four of the players through the intro.

I got to run the intro sequence with one player (my wife) on a later day. (She’d been away when the rest of us got together.) This was good because I got her reactions to everything without her having player knowledge (that her character wouldn’t have) by watching others go through the intro. I also got her reaction to appearing somewhere different (teleport) and being partly surrounded by a bunch of other wounded people holding weapons and looking surprised, angry, etc. I’d almost expected her to simply start firing her bow, but (thankfully for the other PCs) she simply aimed at one and stepped back, waiting to see what they did.

Later, at our first proper game session with everyone, I ran the intro for the last player and went straight into the “your standing on a path, near a cabin and there’s X other people standing around with drawn weapons.” He thought quickly and reacted well… no-one attacked anybody else!

After each session I’m writing a diary to record what happened. Then I’ll post that on the blog and link the post to the FalsKrag Campaign page.

A New Year and new games

I spent New Year’s Eve playing a long game of Zombicide! After an early restart, we eventually started to get some of the equipment we needed to deal with abominations and managed to get everyone out alive. We had all the walkers on the board at the end and spent the last two turns just running away from them to the exit. I’m impressed with the replay possible with this game – its still getting regular use after three years.

Last week I finally wrote up the last session played in my 3.5 D&D campaign – about two years after we actually played. I’ve added the summary onto the adventure diary blog page. We haven’t officially retired that campaign, but it probably should be considered in that light. My players completed the adventure we’d been playing, but were talking about going beyond the text of the adventure – they hadn’t returned to town with their loot but were considering digging up collapsed tunnels. I wrote a bunch of notes of what they would find, but we never got back to playing.

One of my players started DMing a Pathfinder Campaign – in which we reached 18th level. He started another campaign and that’s alternated with a d20 Gamma World game that I started. GW is taking a break and just before Christmas 2018 we got together and created characters for my next campaign. I spent more time writing FalsKrag last year that painting figures, and I’m very happy to see the game get off to a good start.

So 2019 looks like it will be mostly my FalsKrag campaign (Greyhawk based Pathfinder) and alternating occasionally with my mates Golarion Pathfinder game. I added a new page to the blog to track what happens in my game.


Painting: I have 12 Reaper Bones kobolds that got started at the end of last year and still need a fair bit of work. This month, I’ve “built” a tree, completed a Stone Golem and nearly finished a Wookiee. I’ve got some tombstones too, that were done a while back, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned them here. There should be a painting post with these once I get a bit more work done.

I got 58 figures painted in 2018. Not as good as the 93 for 2017 but I wasn’t as painting focused. I’ve recently bought some Reaper figures – some bones, but also some metal figures that I really like. I really want to see them painted, so they should help get me going again.

A new project: Greyhawk, Pathfinder and HeroLab

Over the past week I’ve spent a few hours each day/evening on a new project. Since I started playing Dungeons & Dragons, the World of Greyhawk has been my setting of choice – originally it was the ONLY setting! I’ve got a considerable set of resources on my RPG bookshelf and a great assortment of files on my PC. There was a thread on the HeroLab (Pathfinder) Forum recently that had been dormant for three years – had anyone done anything in HeroLab for Pathfinder based on the world of Greyhawk? A new post grabbed my attention, and a new group on Facebook went from two to forty members in a few days.

I’d done a little bit of work adding some extra Greyhawk stuff into my 3.5 HeroLab files, and rather more for Pathfinder – since I use Greyhawk with Pathfinder, not their own world of Golarion. (Why spend extra money on a new world when I have a heap of stuff here already?) I was able to offer my work and merge it with the work the groups leader had put together. While we have a lot of Greyhawk enthusiasts and Pathfinder players/GMs, there seem to be very few who have done much work with the HL editor.

This is all for a game and setting I love, and stuff that I will use myself, so in itself that’s great. I also really enjoy researching and writing (I do it for writing RPG adventures, and story/novel writing), so add some data-entry and a little bit of coding – I could do this all day. The only way it would get better would be if I got paid for it! (If I got paid for it, I would do it all day!)

2016-02-19 HeroLab Editor

So what does our data-file have so far?

5 Human ethnicities (Baklunish, Flan, Oeridian, Olman, & Suel)

3 Elvish sub-races (High, Gray & Wood)

22 Greyhawk specific languages

110 Deities (mostly Human, but also Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Orc) with mostly detailed descriptions

I’m still filling out data for the Deity background/description, and then I need to finalise the Cleric Domains from 3.5 that don’t exist in Pathfinder. There’s been 2nd edition D&D/Greyhawk spells and magical items suggested, and Greyhawk Regional Feats… all work for the future.


I do have some figures ready for painting – a few of them were undercoated a year ago.  I might take a break from HL this weekend and do something more to them.

I’m also oh so tempted to insert a “railgun” as one Deities favored weapon, just to see if anyone notices!


UPDATE: (Apr 2018) My ‘RPG Resources” page has details on adding a Secondary URL to Hero Lab so that people can download the Greyhawk file through Hero Lab.

The setting now includes:

Player Races: High Elf, Gray Elf, Wood Elf
6 Human Ethnicities: Baklunish, Flan, Oeridian, Olman, Rhennee, Suloise

NPC Races: Valley Elf, Wild Elf
Creatures: Aspis (Cow, Drone, Larva), Beastman, Booka, Camprat, Crystalmist, Dire Raven, Giant Raven, Horgar, Hook Horror, Ingundi, Mist Wolf, Needleman, Norker, Slow Shadow (lesser, greater), Son of Kyuss, Soul Beckoner, Swordwraith (template), Tyrg, Vampire Cactus, Vampiric Mist, Xvart.

27 Greyhawk Languages

114 Deities: 7 Baklunish, 10 Flan, 21 Oeridian, 18 Suloise, 17 General, 8 Dwarven, 11 Elven, 6 Gnomish, 6 Halfling, 6 Humanoid, 5 Orcish.

24 Cleric Domains: Celerity, City, Cold, Competition, Courage, Creation, Destiny, Domination, Dream, Force, Greed, Hunger, Inquisition, Mind, Mysticism, Oracle, Pact, Pestilence, Purification, Sky, Summer, Summoner, Tyranny, Winter.

11 Spells from “Iuz the Evil”: Blackhand, Blood Gloat, Bonechain, Chain Madness, Claw Cloud, Death Touch, Lifebane, Stone Curse, Summon Varrangoin, Turnbane, Venomed Claws.

D&D Research and background – Oerth: Timezones in the Flanaess

My D&D campaigns are all set in the “World of Greyhawk” – in the land of the Flanaess, on the continent of Oerik, on the world of Oerth. Nearly all (if not every one) of the adventurers that I’ve written for D&D (and/or other RPG’s) has a detailed background or explanation of how things came to be before the player characters turn up. Some of this detail may be revealed during the adventure itself because of various events, or things found by the players. Some may be revealed after careful searching, or investigation. A lot of it will likely never be known by the players, and exists because I like reasons for things and I really enjoy writing this sort of stuff.

For example: one of my adventures has a partial diary that was handed to the players (eight pages on 3 x 6″ parchment paper), a family tree and details on the whole family. The players are trying to learn about events seventy years after the last of the family died, and stop a curse that began nearly 200 years ago. My players learned most of the background (since it was presented to them as part of the adventure) but weren’t able to bring an end to the curse.

I find that character background works the same way. Players enjoy choosing their class, race/species, sex, hair and eye colour. They are happy to make a few rolls on the tables presented to determine height, weight and origin/place of birth. For D&D I have tables that determine a few details about siblings and parents in addition to country of origin – and I might write a few lines of background for the character that the rolls inspire me to. The players themselves rarely develop a back-story or pay much attention to these sorts of things after character creation. How many players show interest in their characters going “home” or contacting relatives at any time in their adventuring life. (Did all the players determine/decide that they are an orphan!)

I’ve seen a number of starting adventures that give a reason for how and why the PC’s have met. Some do this better than meeting together in a tavern or sheltering under a tree or in a cave during a storm.

For quite a long time I’ve been writing a D&D adventure that provides a detailed reason for why a bunch of people of different races, born far apart, from varied countries and cultures, suddenly get together and form a group that stays together. As a part of this I’ve determined a whole bunch of random backgrounds by race, that players can choose from for a quick start on where they were born (town/city/country), as well as siblings, and parents mortality/occupation. The main part of this introductory adventure will start by dealing with individual characters in their home town, while the other players control NPC’s that represent friends or relatives. Once a certain event is resolved, we will change to the next player around the table… and so on. As a part of this I’ve been looking at detail such as what day, month and year this will start on. The phases of the moon became relevant and I decided it would be interesting to determine what time things would be happening for each player considering they will start at different places in the Flanaess.

I spent some time yesterday and today going over my maps, reading different resource material (primarily the “Glossography” from the 1983 Greyhawk set, and “Greyhawk” 1998 guides) and a little internet searching. I found that other people have asked questions, but no-one appears to have done the work to provide distinct answers, so I did the rest of the work myself.

The resources available already provide climate data, weather tables, phases of the two moons, and details of sunrise and sunset in the city of Greyhawk. They also locate the main area of the Flanaess in the northern hemisphere of the planet between 15 degrees and 60 degrees of latitude. Oerth is a sphere, with a given circumference of 25,200 miles. The region of the Flanaess covers approx 3,000 x 4,000 miles, depending on which maps you use. Since Oerth is only slightly larger than Earth, it makes sense to treat things in the same way. Dividing it into 24 time-zones where each zone covers 15 degrees leads to zones of 1,050 miles or 35 hexes each. (All of the large hex maps that I have of the Flanaess are 30 miles to a hex.)

This means that the Flanaess can be considered to span nearly five complete time zones. This puts Greyhawk City (GMT = Greyhawk Mean Time) in the central zone. Starting from the east edge of my Dungeon magazine map (WotC 2005) the zones become A to I1 (+2 hours), J1 to R2 (+1 hour), S2 to A4 (GMT), B4 to J5 (-1 Hour) and K5 to S6 (-2 Hours), although the western map edge is K6.

On this image – the black lines mark the time zones and the red dot is Greyhawk City.

The World of Greyhawk – Time Zones

The lines could be bumped to the sides in a few places (as in real life) so that countries fit into one zone, but (being as large as it is) the “Great Kingdom” spreads over two zones. If the first line on the east side of the map was placed closer to the edge of the Great Kingdom’s coast, then it would almost fit in one zone.

Here’s a second map with a more effective set of divisions, which produces six zones. It gets a bit confused in the west, where there are a lot of smaller countries:

Alternate Time Zones

There we go… and that’s certainly filled in a fair bit of time today that I could have been painting in! But now I have differences in time for the countries in the Greyhawk world. I wonder what will side-track me next…