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Posts Tagged ‘Experience Log’

1. The Hunter’s Close
Feinting they lance the foetid moathouse boil,
and move our crew in orderly retreat
To await in rows putrid evil’s roil
slaking ‘fore long their shar’d vengeance replete.
Braced fresh their arms receiv’d the row
of black guards mail’d and veteran true
unfaz’d, answering with disciplin’d bow
in steel rains concert’d that foulest hue.
Wise to martial wisdom Olo did splash
flaming murder, enlivening shadows
‘cross the warrens walls of fell figures gnash’d
in pain and dashing back down sooted burrow.
There glimps’d Farthammer his strategy’s fruits –
three guards running, four dash’d in armor’d suits.

2. Crossing the Foul
mesmer’d not by reverse feint travers’d our
heroes that horrid dungeons sodded roof
in croaking passage of Celene’s glower.
Wise to the hold they counter’d bugbears proof
by entrance rear, missing holes murdering
in manner’d charge, but strong bolts descried
Olo’s pride to enter first; his piercing
the tumbled breach did fuel bugbears reprise.
Yet the blackguards fumbled their swords to reach,
and half orcs full armed for Hextor’s play
dashed buckets of cursed blood to preach
their righteous cause and turn the fray.
And so in breaking wide the villain’s home
did Farthammer strip this reserve to bone.

3. Taking Lareth
Pursued now by hunters close and
countered ‘fore by Dain Saint Cuthbert’s maid
Lareth, dark beauty and demoness’ brand
failed to stand, leaving his men betrayed.
Traveled he not far ‘yond moathouse door
when turning he faced his hunter and cried
“Lolth, deliver me!” Staff raised to ward
his wicked queen replied, so Lareth died.
Unleash’d from black armor’s tenacious shell
his soul flew forth to mark in Dryder’s form
his lord hunter, and by that cursed yell
did strike Ramses down in manifold swarm.
And tho’ Lord Cyril’s crew did moathouse close
he lies, Farthammer, hunted in webb’d repose.

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Tall tales, whiskey and blood doth Mazy’s spray!  When clear’d espy those drinking at third place; home to Robert Footswift, Bob’s own table.  ‘Twixt tankards do spread crimes and plans most foul; those caught bragging catch the cutpurse’s pick.  Worse Bob himself may flay standing liars and cheats caught dressing the table in brass; dress your tales plain ‘fore jousting this drake sooth.

What’s this?  Air flogg’d with notes a Dyvers ways?  By what foul messenger wafts these stories?  Above mine tankard’s rim espy the agent I, not four feet and two say this bard.  Halfling ho and living proof say you of Bob’s largesse?  Sit now friend now, drink and tell tales.

Not dat I’m a riverboat kind a guy, per say. . . But any prolonged expozur to an environment dat could be odiferously mistaken for one a doze industrial half-orc self-flatulation colon cleaners, is just not my shotglass of vodka. . .

And speaking of Halfling pints of vodka. . . So Ize finally get my keester outta Drivers, (Yondalla & Brandobaris care for da souls of all doze Danderfluffs dat could not join me, due to da unjust persecution of dem by da governing establishment legal authorities of de aforementioned municipality) floatin downriver to dat fu*kin sh*thole of Nulb, and den finally, Verbabonc. I’m outta immediate risk to my corporeal self, and on dry land, and find my own little slice o Mt. Celestia : Maisy’s Tavern. . .

A finer emporium of overindulgence, commerce, comarderie, and well-armed, pious super-models (love ya, steelcheeks!) deze eyes have not seen downriver of de aforementioned metropolis I called home. Badabing, badaboom, next ting you know, we got da biggest bastards in de place, boozing (drinking contests) and grab-assin’ (arm-wrestling) for da underserved wagerin’ public. Leavin yours truly to fill da needs of dis market segment wit my new-found pal, a thick, blessedly quiet mountain dwarf, carryin’ a cleaver twice his size, at my back. You Gnomepunter, you round little bastard, you are all good in my book!

Of course, respects must always be paid, and our success draws de attentions of da boss. But dis f*ckin guy, he’s got eyes, he can see de economic potential, you know, even if I gotta lay it out for ‘im. So after respects are paid, we parlay our audience wit de boss into an deal to git doze two thirsty freakin half-orcs, de big bi-colored bastard, Agnor, and his Max Headroom lookin sidekick, Gracchus, in all his sartorial Technicolor, an entry in dis local tagteam, peasant wrestling ting dey got goin at de local festival. I am already countin all doze riverfolk waitin to put their coin down!

But you know, de boss has always got a play, and Bobbay ain’t no exception: Bugbears. The fattest, smelliest, freaks a nature you’d never want to see without your armor. And de goddamn assface twins are strippin down and runnin at em like their nympho-freakin-maniac maiden beer brewers from St Cuthbert! Fortunately, de boys made a good show of tings, generating enough interest for yours truly to diversify our stakeholder portfolio so dat when dey finished on da wrong side, after one helluva shot, we still manages to reap some nominal fiduciary benefits. And de boss definitely liked the draw of havin doze boys on his dancecard, so de assface twins martial acumen and showmanship allowed me to secure a regular dividend, at least until we could figure out our next move.

Den I remembered mention of some upcoming jousting and chivalraic type endeavor dat Steelcheeks was all geared up about, we, yet again, awaken de Boss to de economic potential and our fair maiden’s desire to battle wit de big boys, and Bobbay has gotta a guy. We so see dis guy, grease a few palms and Dain Bramage de la Croix is in! Nows all weez gotta do is find Bobbay’s fat cats and make a little coin. In high society, like everywhere else, it’s all about who you know, and dis time we got Rufus makin de intros, and making sure everyone is comfortable enough to part with some of their not-so-hard earned coin. Deez f**kin guys, talk about a bunch of clueless, gold laden, inbred aristocracy! They woulda bet the world was freakin flat if I wanted ‘em to, but I laid it out, nice n pretty for ‘em, connected de dots, and they laid out a big bag a stones on our smokin’, lethal, steel-clad underdog.

Hats off to Steelcheeks, loved the effort, excuse my little fib, but I couldn’t break yer focus (or challenge that everlovin’ moral code, Ms. Paladin) and tell you which way the money was really bettin. . . And bless ya, you worked it, laid it all out, and da sisters at Cuthbert’s woulda been proud! But nobody ever became de best by not losin’ a few along the way, and we did manage to parlay it into a nice lil’ payday for our crew…

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Tall tales, legends and blood doth Mazy’s spray!  When clear’d espy those drinking at third place; home to Robert Footswift, Bob’s own table.  ‘Twixt tankards do spread crimes and plans most foul; those caught bragging catch the cutpurse’s pick.  Worse Bob himself may flay standing liars and cheats caught dressing the table in brass; dress your tales plain ‘fore jousting this drake sooth.

Well to hear yet ill to see stands one; a mixed orc, muscles rippled as the richest Jortmils.  Speak he of wrestling, and in plain meter, the Brawls do foul Verbobonc’s west march – fields yonder reach of Velverdyva spray.  These on Brewfeasts eve do teem with burgmeists ‘scaping the ardous prep’ coming soon close; refugees to roll’d chance and magics play who’d sooner quit their arms than one gold fist.    There do desp’rate delvers ply meanest trades turn’d cowards ‘way from ‘ventures’ fatal call, seeking compense for fancy brawling?  Cowards!  But hark, for this pigsnout does throw sweet words!

Tribesmen! Gather round now by the fire and listen to the tale of our long-ago kinsman, Golias Gracchus, a son of Kord, child of the endless warfare between men and orcs, bound by half-blooded destiny to seek his fortune mongst the soft men of the South. Listen well to his first adventure, for adventure came to him as it does to all who stand true in the boots of the Brawling God.

Having taken his pay from the sniveling merchant whose caravan Gracchus had guarded, he found himself alone in the hot, dry, godsforsaken town of Verbobonc. It was festival time, so he donned his brightest skins and sought as he had sought in vain before the elixir of our people, the clear bright vodka, to moisten his throat. Asking, receiving slantwise answer, he found his way to a grisly tavern, Mazy’s, thronged with men and dwarves and halflings of dubious repute. He was not there long before he smelled the presence of a brother in bane, another half-orc, with whom he fell into colloquy. This creature stood even a few fingers higher than Gracchus, no stripling, but more than that bore the mark of evil parentage on his very skin: two faces he had, one fair, one dark; and two skins, one smooth, one hairy; and his very tongue was split down the middle like that of the snake. Yet this man, Agnar by name, spoke Gracchus fair, and revealed himself to be like our kinsman in more than blood: he also was a holy warrior, but not for Kord, that mighty mauler and chainbreaker, but for Asgard’s twisted child. Yet something of the Brawler’s spirit was in him, for he matched our Gracchus bout for bout in arm-wrestling, and then when Bob the Landlord brought forth the barrel of vodka, they matched each other drink for drink till neither could hold any longer the spirits that were in him. And then they fell to mighty mirth and much bumping of fists and chests, and called one another brother.

Meantime others were gathering, fated companions: Ollo Leathergirdle, sly and strong, for all that he rose only as high as Gracchus’ knee; Ramses the dwarven warrior and gnomes’ bane; and of a higher star, yet lusty for battle, Dane called Steelcheeks, the brave and brazen Brawling Maiden, though no Kord’s daughter she, but rather a paladin of St. Cuthbert (like unto Kord’s stodgy cousin). And it was not long before Ollo, hearing Gracchus boast of his prowess in wrestling, thought to use his wiles to enter the Assface Brothers (as he called them behind their backs, or rather behind their asses) in a wrestling match ‘gainst all comers to the Festival. And he did speak with Bob, and did endure some abuse and cross Bob’s palm with gold, but his aim was achieved. And the day came when Gracchus and Agnar, stripped to the waist, found themselves in the Arena. This was no trial-green, brothers, but a kind of sawdust alley, lined with chicken wire, with rough patrons of the noble sport on either side, cheering themselves hoarse and chomping the coarser bits of half-cooked meat as they took in the spectacle. And who do you suppose stood to fight these mighty men? Not men indeed, but a fearsome pair of bugbears came slouching forth to challenge the strangers. A midget in a mighty hat pledged them all to battle, tag-team style, and then cleared the course, and the first bugbear came swaddling out.

A bugbear is a fearsome opponent for any man: topping seven feet, with fangs and ragged nails—and these bugbears in particular were well-fed specimens of their kind, with great hairy iron bellies slopping out over their nether paws. Gracchus, never daunted, let out a yell, and hurled himself down the alley toward his grunting, slouching, indifferent-seeming opponent. At the last moment Gracchus leapt up to the right, grasped the wire with both hands, and swung the full mighty length and breadth of his body into the bugbear’s, seeking to topple his foe. It was a mighty move, but the bugbear was unbowed, and slapped at Gracchus with open hand, knocking him to the dirt. From below Gracchus then thought to use his legs, and jacknifed upward to catch the bugbear by the throat between the thews of his calves. The beast was staggered and began to gasp for air, but still a monstrous might was in his arms and he pummeled our Gracchus nigh-senseless. Our doughty half-orc twisted free and sprinted back to the line to tag Agnar, who had been breathing and gathering strength, and now that dauntless two-toned warrior strode out to meet the second bugbear, relieving his winded mate.

The battle proceeded apace: blow for blow exchanged Agnar with the bugbear, but Loki’s strength failed him and he fell to the dust. So returned Gracchus to the field, calling on Kord to revive his battlemate, and suffering more blows in the process, but he could not revive Agnar in the time and that pusillanimous pest of a midget referee called the fight for the bugbears. Still, there was no shame in honorably bringing battle when outmatched, and Agnar and Gracchus were glad to discover themselves hailed as heroes, and amply recompensed for their strains and bruises through the devices of Ollo the Oleaginous Angler, who always comes out of a wager on top.

More could I relate, but the the fire burns low—gather we again, tribesmen, soon, for more tales of Gracchus who never bent his knee, his brave companions, and the evil under the earth that they did then pursue.”

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Nine now there was to blaze the moathouse just, embolden’d by their new found fame they were! Tonguely and Zert, Rufus and Kai and Orr’n, Selaphora walking by and close, flank’d too by Luther brave head high and Moonleaf, returned by his good friends love. All these warden’d wide by a runners eye, Farthammer, of the wild coast guarded close by. Gain drawbridge, gain hall, and gain again stairs; saw there no sign of treachery foul they, in freshman bravery, to larder Lubash went! Beyond, beyond now down more stairs spill’d they, and doom made they rushing onward. Foolish!

The Grinder begins

The Grinder begins

Gnolls here made good their threats of red revenge. Sprung was theirs first feather’d traps did fly to home, as iron jaw clench’d to snap the party twain. First Kai leapt brave to glory’s side striking left now right to clear the trail of foe! Yet fail’d her friends to form the timely line, to melee her alone the Gnolls snared, scoring wounds grave past names of blue’d ancestry. Zert, to adventure fresh did come too soon, and fall gath’ring shares of shafte laurels. Oh the warped gnolls harp did sing timely! To that tune came Orrin running bravely, worried for his true friends health unproofed. Wounded, healing, wounded again was he. To this call’d Selaphora crying, trap’d! Trapped and sunder’d from good friends we! And gnollish blades rejoic’d the coming bane!

Those shut fast ‘hind iron wrought freedom quick. Belts, ropes leverag’d fast, arms arm’d in twisting, three men work’d the trick to breaking their own, and so rush’d dropped bars to save their friends. Rufus left, Luther right the fight they join’d, braving feather’d marshal flights in true form. Finally freed did Farthammer spring to flight, leasing back and quick those shafts Gnollish sprung and so flung back to gnolls a promis’d bane. Where Kai did fall to place did Luther rise. Where Orrin fell did Rufus hell extract. Moonleaf, stunn’d by ferocious fang’d foe, did extend Orrin’s first handed rescue, and reach’d Tonguely’s help yond the desp’rate fray. Out came Zert, out came Kai by druid’s kind hand, but lifeblood runneth quick, and following said trail did Kai now ‘tain her people’s grace.

Act Second releas’d, and ill received now our troupes fine play wore tired down. Yet here to dismay’d cries did foe reprise, and bring crashing down our bands hop’d triumph. For to said fray did they call the Bugbears, demons foul wrought in racked wombs equipp’d, birthed to the ancient wizards’ evil. Their bare members bared in strong retort for sport the ‘Bugs flung back the Gnolls retreat, forcing second guessing from our fair group. Too did Zert the newcome friend choose this time to show true color to his new found friends. Like dawn in hell he rose, unfetter’d, to run through elvin frame to hilt cold iron, spilling he to the killing floor Tonguely, and there the fair mage expired. This villian then fled through the bended gate, closing it with brook of mage’s dead frame.

Moonleaf, Unawares of dear friends passage, cognizant now of dangers fore and aft, tender work’d poor Tonguely through the iron bars to more the mend this breach with ally Kai. Alive perhaps, alive still for salvation! The whiles our remainder played rearguard cutting careless the Bugbear’s whisker stray’d to close the veteran pole of angry Luther Freecastle or flirted Rufus’ extended blade. Above sang hafts feather’d from angry harps pluck’d tiredly by fingers

A bloody retreat

A bloody retreat

Farthammer, join’d by Celaphora in dirge fearful. Yet onward Bugbears pushed the failing line. And to the ‘hind did Moonleaf find foe plus! Zert, returned, wounded, still eyed gleeful evil demise of our fairly wounded group, and so did suit to slay Moonleaf at once! Down, defenseless Moonleaf dodg’d the angry blow. Zert, foe determin’d did wind another when, wound ’round by sounds treacherous Farthammer’s arrow ultimate ended traitor’s play.

The endplay, o’er strange buzzing Bugbear’s noise did sound a fateful note to friends reduc’d. Arrow mark’d, lessen’d yet still they pressed, worse to show one wove past Luther’s pik’d front, and as hero scrambl’d to a bladed flank did near rend the lad in bloody twain! Luther! Freecastle! Hommlet’s paragon! Dim, dim the light now show’d the bands remain as Rufus, working brother’s memory, worked a weav’d steel violent front. Celaphora div’d first through bended bars, Farthammer to follow on bended knee and, to Rufus’ relief, turned the pike to strike the Bugbears cursed yellow hides.

Oh the sounds, the sighs the horrible cries did follow heroes wounded remainder. Lifeless walls read little to olven eyes, those that still in half measure could espy fresh corpses moving past their final sleep. Horrors fanged, horrors closing to strike!? Flee! Flee! And in cut time to drawbridge fly! There did bloody trunk’d party rest, no! Exhausted, chasten’d, hasten’d by foul memoirs they scream’d away from that cursed moathouse.

And now there were four.

XP: Six Hundred and Sixty Six 🙂

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Sore did his runner’s sense vex him, and Rufus could not haul but one box more.  “Cease!” cried he, “Forgotten have we the bane gone hiding past oil and debris?  Did not you see the Gnoll, slathering hungry?  Did not you hear the Other, the tongue to excite the Runner’s hope of glory in Giant Class gore – to which” added he “addeth me one pip of damage true!?”

Such eloquence did stun his brethren to compliance.  Touched especially Orrin, by such true verse did rouse himself from exhaustion to join the Runner axe in hand.  Whack-Crack, Nick Nack the axes did cry!  What ho, oh no the Other espied in messages cruel and frightful!  Soon through they were the scary door to find barred the way again.  At this did line the volley; Celaphora, more rogue than ‘prentice wizardling, again to the bow and joined by Tonguely,  ‘prentice cum master true of the dart.

The weary anger of Orrin did quick the teen exhaustion of Rufus.  “Zounds!” cried the dwarf, lodging his helm to the blocking door, bringing it down upon him.  So then did finally Rufus see Lubash, ogre indeed and ready for he!  Wait?  Think not?  Retreat?  Never!  Charging, the toppled door his ramp did Rufus scale to strike!  Ready in fear did answer the ogre Lubash and swinging, did cast like dice the humbled runner ‘side.  Who next to maw of doom did throw but Luther’s own, singing he the poleaxe three in martial discord!  Rufus?  Lubash!  Luther? Lubash!  Bracing past the toppled door (to whit in honesty assay do I that Orrin, poor Earthling, did suffer still beneath) the runner hop’d to find flank.  Rufus?  LUBASH!  Out flank’d he by longer polearm tree did Rufus fall to foul ogre’s branch!

Zounds indeed!  Fallen brother, kin and runner, answer true of the Gnarley forest! Young party’s  prayer, he that wallowed not in well vers’d tactics of cowardice, but to his name did live in glory.  Rufus!  Wounded!  Desperate now the arrows fall in chorus of two and three, and from Tonguely the bloody darts counterposed, yet fought on still the ogre.  Madden’d in desperation did those long trees swing wild, and find our sole standing woodsmen his chance.  Long to branch in autumns eve doth swing the farmer’s handle, and in finish did lop the head from Lubash: portcullis foul of the dungeon yon.

xp: 195

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What treasure this? As Luther uncovered truths best buried his colleagues brought mystery to light! Beneath mounds of debris did the sweating crew find two doors, locked. Selaphora availed them of her dexterous cipher, but they would not yield. What mechanisms these..

Monsters! Alert! From darkness and silent door hinges did casually stroll hulking, growling gnolls, and hungry. Worn and rough their weapons, plain their anger, their hunger, the fell beasts immediately launched at Rufus rear guard. Lord Farthammer, always alert, fingers married to bowstring, let his betrothed snap to marry shaft to dogman’s throat! Others retreated before Rufus’ brawl, though not before launching their own raw hewn shafts to the runner’s pain. Growling, whining in the darkness were they. Enough mockery this! Rufus tossed a torch to light their bivouac; a storage room. Growling, shafts loosed in response did they retreat through a farther door, to the waiting arms of.. ? Not growling, but deep the strange reply to their crooning escape. The farther door shut, barred perhaps? That voice, like the bolt securing a slaughterhouse for giants; menacing deep and large. Cold fear did seep from the dark storage to infect the runner and crew. What manner of beast gave Gnolls succor?

Xp: 48

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Oh how the ruts, tree roots, ponds and reeds of that long walk too and from the moathouse did resign the band to their fate. And oh how the horrors at its end would send them realing, injured, dying to the healing domestic powers of the village. Still they strove to unveil the mysteries of moathouse, to lighten its darkest depths. Ooh but to leave such tortured secrets sleeping, the sweet reprise of ignorance! Imprisoned beneath the pile were those unaware of their previous demise. Men, slain yet walking, deceased yet gurgling still strange secrets of their death launched from wretched cells against our explorers. And here did Tonguely sample his demise; a brief tasting ended by the battlefield healing hands of Orrin. Fear’d, then embolden’d to the attack did Luther launch himself, and so bring the fell corpses to their final rest.

Wounded, afear’d was our band. Retreat did they up the stairs? Nay! In the stead of their fleeing fear did the ever more experienced veterans, rogues, prestigidators and acolytes of the band now turn to continue the delving!

XP 204

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