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<![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - nijineko's world by nijineko]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/1336-nijineko-s-world Pen and Paper Games hosts a very powerful, but easy to seach and join database of players and game masters in the United States and Canada. Our forums are also a great place to find the most recent news, product releases, tips, and rpg discussion. en Mon, 29 Aug 2016 02:03:04 GMT vBulletin 60 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/pnpg_style/misc/rss.jpg <![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - nijineko's world by nijineko]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/1336-nijineko-s-world Rule of Yes http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1906-Rule-of-Yes Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:08:56 GMT In my various campaign rules postings, I have listed my preferences as a GM. However, I would like it explicitly stated that I believe in the Rule of... In my various campaign rules postings, I have listed my preferences as a GM. However, I would like it explicitly stated that I believe in the Rule of Yes: if it is not forbidden or defined, it's allowable; and even if it is forbidden and/or defined, we can discuss a workaround... - and am willing to discusses and make exceptions to my preferences and even the game rules on a case-by-case basis. I like working with my players, and enabling them to accomplish their goals for their characters. ]]> nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1906-Rule-of-Yes <![CDATA[My Favorite D&D Characters]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1888-My-Favorite-D-amp-D-Characters Mon, 08 Sep 2014 20:10:42 GMT
Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
hmmmm, i would have to say that my current "favorites", which to me means the ones i'd currently play first if given my choice of any of my wide array of favorite characters, are either Meo of Golden Valley, or Path of Ursailia and Prii the Twice-Forsaken.

Meo is a druidicly-trained lad who through streneous application of himself, learned how to shapechange without becoming a druid or learning any magic at all, arcane or divine. (and legally to boot!) He and his mentor had many philosophical discussions about the nature of power and freedom and responsibility... many of their disagreements boiled down to a variant of, "why should i subject myself to another power, and take up the druidic oaths-even to one as grand and glorious as nature obviously is-when i have the power to be free within myself?"

He still favors his druidic training, even to this day, and is even widely known as a healer, shapeshifter, and druid, despite his choices in life. He even managed to maintain friendly relations with the druidic circles of his mentor's association after his mentor passed on. He is actually a native to the Golden Valley region, although few know that he was the misshapen warped and half-melted looking child that they cast out for his physical differences and uncanny appearence.

He has an uneasy relationship with the villagers, tolerated because of his long association with the druid, he still gets pleasure from freaking them out about his in-depth knowledge of them and their doings. A minor revenge that he can't seem to bring himself to stop taking. After all, who suspects the dog that steals sausage from the floor in the tavern, or the cat lounging on the haystack, or the bird nesting in the tree?





Path of Ursailia and Prii the Twice-Forsaken travel together, and are pretty much a two-for-one arrangement. Path hails from a lost and almost completely forgotten legendary city of yore. And the grey elven community who built and maintain and live there, likes to keep it that way. Grey elves are noted for being reclusive and exclusive even for elves, barely tolerating other elves, let alone the lesser races of mortals. Of course, not all are like that, but unfortunately, his particular grove of elves is extremely so.

Unfortunately for him, because his great-grandfather commited the heinious and unforgivable faux pau of not only siring a child on a grugach-practically worse than siring a half-elf, at least the lesser mortals play at civilization, unlike grugach-but then keeping the child and finally marrying the grugach-wife!! His grandfather lives with the grugach, never spoken of in polite society, and his father, the spitting image of his great-grandfather, returned to proper society to redeem his family's honor. Alas and woe, his child (Path) bore the stigma his heritage... in all ways but one, a proper looking grey elf: violet eyes like a gem of the rarest amethyst, well formed, comely, straight, strong and tall, long and shining golden waves of hair... and with a tell-tale ravenlock that betrays his heritage. In shame, his father changed his name-abandoning his family name-and became a reclusive researcher and scholar.

Growing up alone and socially ostracized, even by those who would take pity on the poor (effective) orphan child, lest his socail stigma attach to them as well; Path rapidly learned to be quick and self-sufficent. He also learned to avoid the torments of all the other children, few as they were. His dream was to become an Arcane Archer, the highest and most honorable of the various castes in his world. These elite warriors defend the city walls and stand in glorious review before the entire city come the times of festivals. (Not that anything has gotten close enough to the city for it to need defending in hundreds of years....)

To his dismay and turmoil, he was completely unable to learn magic the way it was taught. The wizardly training simply did not take with him, and of course, there is only one proper way to learn or practice magic in a rigid grey elf society. The teasing and subtle torment only became worse as his fellow aged became proficient with magic and used it to further torment him while not revealing themselves. The ceremony of graduation where all were called upon to show their skills and be judged for what caste they would enter was an exercise in sheer torture and humilation. At first, cautiously praised for his skill in bow, he was then called upon to dislpay his magical abilities. A mean-minded fellow graduate used a minor cantrip to pull away his hair restraint revealling his ravenlock. Pubilically derided before all, he was finally judged a failure, and commanded to enter the Outliers Caste-the lowest and least honorable of all Castes. In his public disgrace, he vowed that he would never utter another word, unless it was to successfully cast a spell, qualifying him for the High Archer Caste.

There as an Outlier he learned the ways of the forest, and the ways of nature, honing his skills in keeping any from ever finding the city, and trading with the privledged few who were aware that elves lived somewhere in these mountains, even if they knew not who or what they were. The Outliers, he discovered, are the ones who do the actual grunt work of sullying their swords in the flesh and blood of the lesser races who incroach upon the mountain stronghold. In this fashion, he finally met with his grandfather, as the "primative" grugach were the majority of the source of the trade the city needs. His grandfather began training him in the physical arts of the High Archers, having been one himself. The unique calligraphy pens that teach the hand the shape of the bow being among one of the secrets of the High Archers, Path also became an accomplished calligrapher and scribe. His grandfather kindly did not discuss magic with him.

While he kept his vow of silence, through writing and listening he learned much more of the world, and different ways of seeing and thinking about things, eventually taking up posts to the outmost regions of their territories, watching the other races, and learning. His grandfather became well pleased with him, and a sorce of comfort and solace in his life, where before he had had none. Still he stubbornly held to his vow. He received from his grandfather, and ancient knife, long used by elves to carve wondorous bows, said to contain much magic for any who were skilled in the arts of the boyer.

Path focused on honing his skills as an archer. He became a master boyer, and a master archer. Eventually he took up the least desired position in the Outliers Caste. He actively interacted with the other races, often far from home, seeking new arrangements of trade needed by the city. He used the opportunity and studied anywhere and with anyone who could increase his skill and knowledge of the bow. He adventures now, seeking any way to increase his skill. He claims to be the second best archer in all the world. When he is asked whom is the best, he writes in beautiful script this reply: I don't know, I have yet to find one. But, I can always hope.



Prii's story began long before Path was born. She was a warrior in the great wars that tore apart the various nations, completely erasing many, centuries ago. The love of her life was an elf with whom a torrid and passionate relationship was born among the ashes of war. She was utterly faithful to him and longed for the fleeting times they were able to share together. She was devastated when he cut off their relationship, claiming that she was infringing on his freedom, and that life was too long to be tied down to one person, no matter how passionate. A bit of her heart died that day. She threw herself into the war effort, streching her powers to the limit, taking insane chances, frankly hoping to die.

Yet the fateful day came when once again they met, and the passion had not died any, if anything, it was stronger than ever before. She railed against her self, but could not overcome that she had given her heart, and herself to him completely. Once again the romance between them was such that the bards sought to follow them, on the chance that they would meet. Even on the battlefield, they would call to one another of their love, inspiring each other and those around them.

Until the day that she found him in the arms of another, unfaithful to the last. In rage, she vented all the emotions of her spurned heart at him, and left for the battle. There she would not fight near him, but turned away and sought to breach the enemies lines headlong. And in that fateful battle, she broke through the enemy lines, and won a brief respite for her beleagered land, and found that he had died in battle that day. Desperately and bitterly regreting her harsh words being the last he had heard from her, and despite his unfaithfulness, she sought one to catch his spirit before it passed too far beyond and to bring it back.

His spirit did return... if only long enough to tell her that there were too many grand adventures in the afterlife to be bound down to just one woman. Weeping and utterly desolate, she fled. The tide of the war inexorably turned against her people, and she found herself one of a very few survivors fleeing for their very lives. Long she wandered the lands in disguise, unable to end her life-not only was such against her beliefs, but she could not stand the possibility of meeting him again in some afterlife-she sought out any other means that could meet her beliefs, and yet provide relief. She took the name Twice-Forsaken during this time. The ominous sound of it tended to ward off the casually curious.

At long last her quest brought her to the attention of a most unusual dragon... and upon earning his trust, found her answer in the ancient repository of the dragons wisdome and store of knowledge. Through a difficult and complicated ritual involving very careful timing and the acquisition and usage of very specific powers, she successfully abandonded her body-transforming, hiding, and protecting it-and learned how to inhabit the metal of blades.

The blade she chose and still inhabits is a certain blade which does in fact enhance the skills of a boyer. A blade originally owned by none other than her twice-loved, and by whom she was twice forsaken. She has hibernated the centuries away, subconsciously maintaining the powers which preserve her, briefly awakening now and again-mistaken for an intelligent magic dagger-an error of perception that she appathetically doesn't care enough about to correct.

One day she was woken by an outburst of pain and tragic loss, sufficently like her own to stir her curiosity, to awaken and stir, and join in the tribulations of her mute grey-elf holder, curiously with a most-un-grey-elf-like ravenlock, his pain as deep and turbulent as her own, if different; and the party with which he silently strives to overcome a tomb filled with horrors. Left without even corpses to bury or remove from the tomb, they press on determined to make the sacrifices of their companions meaningful.
]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1888-My-Favorite-D-amp-D-Characters
Traps for sale, new traps for old.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1772-Traps-for-sale-new-traps-for-old Tue, 09 Oct 2012 05:06:04 GMT A cat like me sees a lot of things sitting in odd corners. Few sentients pay attention to cats, unless we are making noise, or are trying to... A cat like me sees a lot of things sitting in odd corners. Few sentients pay attention to cats, unless we are making noise, or are trying to communicate on the move. Over the years, I have collected a number of interesting odds and ends. I once tried giving away a bunch of them, but it turned out that the operation of the various and sundry proved so complex, that it did not work out well for the poor recipient.

So I thought I would give some of them away one at a time. Drop me a line, my contact methods are listed in my profile. Give me an old tired trap, and I will give you an improved variant or a brand spanking new one in return.

Any takers? ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1772-Traps-for-sale-new-traps-for-old
Character Generation.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1638-Character-Generation Fri, 22 Jul 2011 06:29:57 GMT Unless specified otherwise on a per campaign basis, character generation uses the following method (please see further requirements at the end of... Unless specified otherwise on a per campaign basis, character generation uses the following method (please see further requirements at the end of this post):

4d6, drop lowest die, generate column of six stats.

Repeat twice more, generating two more columns.

No switching numbers between columns.

Pick best column.

Assign numbers from chosen column to stats as you see fit.

Apply racial / template / etc., adjustments.



Stat generation must be performed in one of the following methods:

Via live chat with me where I can witness the virtual die rolls in real time.

In person.

I roll them for you.

Posting the rolls on an approved online medium such as a forum (currently, only the penandpapergames forum is approved) that prevents editing or alteration of rolls. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/1638-Character-Generation
Unearthed Arcana and fun variant rules.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/608-Unearthed-Arcana-and-fun-variant-rules Sat, 01 Aug 2009 22:36:49 GMT For general clarification, here is a list of things that are generally allowed, individual campaigns may vary...: *Chapter one*: all. ... For general clarification, here is a list of things that are generally allowed, individual campaigns may vary...:


Chapter one: all.


Chapter two: all but the prestige versions of bard, paladin, and ranger; the gestalt characters (unless and until i run a gestalt campaign, that is), and the generic characters.


Chapter three: character traits, flaws, and spelltouched feats.


Chapter four: action points.

(possible additional options may be used depending on the specific campaign: armor as damage reduction, injury, vitality and wound points, reserve points, massive damage thresholds and results, death and dying, facing and movement, combat facing.)


Chapter five: item familiars.

(possible additional options my be used depending on the specific campaign: summon monster variants, metamagic components, spontaneous metamagic, spell points, recharge magic, legendary weapons, incantations.)


Chapter six: contacts, reputation, honor.

(possible additional options my be used depending on the specific campaign: taint, sanity, test-based prerequisites. )


DMG variants:

(these are possible additional options my be used depending on the specific campaign: all)


Sidebars: urban tracking, skill knowledge, additional favored class, combat awareness.

(possible additional options my be used depending on the specific campaign: all remaining sidebars with the exception of the cthulhu specific type stuff-i'm not into it. ^^) ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/608-Unearthed-Arcana-and-fun-variant-rules
class, prestige, race, and ecl http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/483-class-prestige-race-and-ecl Fri, 26 Jun 2009 20:00:29 GMT classes, prestige, and races from allowed materials are all acceptable. when selecting a race that has an ecl, it must total less than the level... classes, prestige, and races from allowed materials are all acceptable. when selecting a race that has an ecl, it must total less than the level limit for the campaign in question, whatever that may be. picking a race that does not have an ecl or racial class equivalent might fall under the 'i want to pick...' post, and will certainly require close work with me to come up with the ecl. if the final ecl calculation (using the rules and suggestions in savage species) is under the level limit for that particular campaign, then it will be permitted. with regards to ecl, keep in mind the buy-off rules from the unearthed arcana.

on a personal note, taken from experience, playing an high-ecl race with only one character level when everyone else has nearly maxed out a prestige or two is not as fun as it sounds at first. the stat boosts and special abilities are not typically on a par with character level abilities. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/483-class-prestige-race-and-ecl
i want to pick (insert exotic and rare choice from obscure sourcebook here)... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/482-i-want-to-pick-(insert-exotic-and-rare-choice-from-obscure-sourcebook-here) Fri, 26 Jun 2009 19:30:47 GMT if you pick something rare, exotic, strange, unusual, specific to a region, organization, individual, or time, and especially at odds with the rest... if you pick something rare, exotic, strange, unusual, specific to a region, organization, individual, or time, and especially at odds with the rest of your choices and background, there will be a "payment" for said choice.

said "payment" is that you will be required to write a more extensive background than normal detailing some of the who, what, where, how, and why it came to pass that you were there, then, and somehow managed to get access to said pick.

those who do not wish to, or feel untalented in that regard are welcome to brainstorm with me until we come up with interesting things, or to pick something else. Gifting me something off of my "Bribe the DM" list is acceptable, even encouraged.

two or three sentences to the effect of having your family/relatives/people/clan/tribe/whatever/etc murdered/killed/etc by something/someone/etc, and you raised by animals/monsters/gods/etc and just happened to somehow find/inherited/stumbled upon/have granted/take a little side trip/etc said pick are not acceptable.

on the other hand, a page or so to the above effect, especially if you mix it up with some new and interesting and unexpected twists, are welcome.

a final note, i am overall a bright and cheerful guy, not really given to detailed anatomical gore, unremittingly excessive unavoidable tragedies, nor tales of involved personal pathos the size of the wheel of time series. just something to keep in mind. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/482-i-want-to-pick-(insert-exotic-and-rare-choice-from-obscure-sourcebook-here)
magic items http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/481-magic-items Fri, 26 Jun 2009 19:16:10 GMT items which can be purchased from materials on the allowed list are all permitted. creating custom items will cost full market value (unless you... items which can be purchased from materials on the allowed list are all permitted.

creating custom items will cost full market value (unless you have the appropriate feats), and also come out of your xp, regardless of class, causing you to start at a lower level than what you otherwise might be entitled to. (this uses some of the rules from the web enhancement for the phb2, which permit someone other than the caster/creator to provide the xp under certain circumstances.) first level characters are not able to create custom items. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/481-magic-items
Starting wealth http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/480-Starting-wealth Fri, 26 Jun 2009 19:08:52 GMT when starting a first level character take the maximum possible result of the starting wealth roll for your class for first level characters. ... when starting a first level character take the maximum possible result of the starting wealth roll for your class for first level characters.

when starting a character higher than first, i use the table 5-1 in the 3.5 dmg, p.137. not the npc one. select the appropriate line.

characters starting epic use the appropriate table on p.209 of the 3.5 dmg. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/480-Starting-wealth
<![CDATA["Bribe the DM" (limited)]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/479-quot-Bribe-the-DM-quot-(limited) Fri, 26 Jun 2009 18:50:21 GMT this dm accepts "bribes" to consider materials and content that are not on the allowed and not on the disallowed lists. this usually means a third party publication, or an exception to some campaign specific rule, or an optional rule not currently in use in a given campaign.

if you wish to use third party published material, you must buy, and successfully deliver, a copy legal for me to own. no filesharing pdfs and the like. this means receipts and records of purchase that i can independently confirm with the seller, should it ever be necessary.

i will then review the material for inclusion and placement on the allowed list. a good example of such material is stuff by monte cook.

asking for an exception to some rule will be granted upon receipt of something from one of my wishlists. considering that my wishlists are predominately expensive rpg books, computer software and hardware, or gift cards sufficient to cover said costs, most people do not consider it worth while.

asking for material on the disallowed list to be allowed for use will not be considered, so please do not request that.

i feel comfortable offering this "bribe" option for three reasons:

one, no one has ever taken me up on it. i imagine that most people either do not have the money, or do not wish to spend the money on something so frivolous, and that can usually be achieved some other way within the rules i have already set forth.

two, i am already comfortable with parties consisting of individuals of disparate levels and abilities. it feels much more natural to me, and supports roleplaying in groups of those already inclined to it.

three, i have my own methods for dealing with potential abusers which do not involve simply taking away or neutralizing the thing(s) which they wanted. attempted abusers will find themselves enjoying a pyrrhic victory, if they will even be willing to call it a victory. while i have never had to break out the "big guns" due to the fact that no one has taken me up on the bribe offer, and subsequently attempted to abuse the bribe with multiple items for multiple exceptions... the "big guns" are there, well oiled and kept preserved.

likewise, bribes for things which will unbalance a campaign beyond what i can deal with will be turned down. ALL BRIBES SHOULD BE DISCUSSED WITH ME AHEAD OF TIME, SO THAT I HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW THE MATERIAL AT A BOOKSTORE, THAT I MIGHT GIVE INDICATION AS TO WHAT MY ANSWER IS-BEFORE YOU SPEND ANY MONEY!!! online materials will either have to have a special arrangement worked out, or since they are usually cheaper, just buy it for me... most requests will be approved, unless it steps on one of my few oddities. if you are seriously considering this and want to know what the oddities are, just ask. part of the pre-action discussion, and all.


so there it is, not that i really expect to ever have to use it. ^^ ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/479-quot-Bribe-the-DM-quot-(limited)
Allowed and disallowed materials http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/477-Allowed-and-disallowed-materials Fri, 26 Jun 2009 18:12:20 GMT Allowed materials consist of "100% official WotC material" to include dungeon and dragon magazine content as well as website materials related to 3.0 and 3.5 versions. Official material includes material deemed official by WotC from the recognized sites for old campaign settings. (Dark Sun, Planescape, Mystara, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, Birthright.)

The following WotC published books are exceptions: boed, bovd, eoe, ee, coe, cov, fc1 and fc2.

  • book of exalted deeds
  • book of vile darkness
  • exemplars of evil
  • elder evils
  • champions of evil
  • champions of valor
  • fiendish codex one
  • fiendish codex two
  • (under review) champions of valor


Material from the Dungeon and Dragon magazines, and from the website materials, related to disallowed books is also subject to being disallowed. Requests for case by case considerations for material from dungeon, dragon, or the website are accepted, but subject to approval from not only myself, but the entire gaming group affected.

Material from third party publications, regardless of quality, are not usually permitted, with rare exceptions. See "bribe the dm" for more details. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/477-Allowed-and-disallowed-materials
Character generation http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/476-Character-generation Fri, 26 Jun 2009 17:28:34 GMT i use the method of 3 columns of 6 rows of 4d6 drop the lowest. in order to do this, roll 4d6 six times. each time drop the lowest die of the four,... i use the method of 3 columns of 6 rows of 4d6 drop the lowest. in order to do this, roll 4d6 six times. each time drop the lowest die of the four, keeping the highest three. this will result in one column of six rolls, like so:

12
09
17
13
10
12

repeat this process two more times, resulting in three columns of six rolls, like so:

12 10 15
09 11 08
17 14 07
13 11 16
10 12 14
12 16 11

pick one column to be your stats. after, and only after the column has been picked, may you change the position of the rolls. this is the process for basic stat generation. stats will be generated within a penandpapergames forum thread, or via some sort of realtime meeting to roll the dice live, be that in person, or online.

feel free to comment any questions. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/476-Character-generation
chapter twenty-seven: mysterious ending, return beginning.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/127-chapter-twenty-seven-mysterious-ending-return-beginning Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:36:24 GMT Death was an experience I do not care to repeat. I have set the account down in it's fullness elsewhere. As this is my common book, certain to be had before many eyes, perhaps even before my death, it is not something that should be here for all to see. It was so close a duel. But he beat me by a sliver of time. I remember falling... falling into darkness. Sounds sliding away from me as I became aware of the sound of a great machine marking time beneath the threshold of awareness. As it stopped, I knew it was my heart. Returning to consciousness was a sliding rush into a suffocating heat, feeling the evaporation of the waters of that cold river from my skin as I was dragged back through the veil.

I am given to understand that Pik sought to strike my foe, but in his grief, actually missed. It was Gramblin who saved us all. His quick wit and suspicious nature discovered the proof we needed to prove our innocence. I shall never tease him again about his suspicions. The Loremaster will not trouble us again. Ever. However, we should also take our troubling presences from this tribe. We have shaken them rather badly. The King and the high-priest understand, but many of the tribe see only that we were involved somehow in the forbidden items removed from the tomb, and the death of the Loremaster. It would be wise to be elsewhere for a while. We shall return to my first-kin, and report the tale of our adventures. As sung by Arielle.

***

It is bemusing that I am now an adult. I who have outlived 5 generations of my first-kin. But my secret inner amusement is kept quiet, not to disrupt the solemnity of the occasion. Though I suspect that the officiating elder shared in the irony. The feasting nears it's end. The singing was splendid. There was even some of my second-kin in attendance. Soon we shall begin the return voyage home. It is more difficult to leave my home than ever before. I am now bound to my homelands more tightly than ever before. It's voice whispers in my soul. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/127-chapter-twenty-seven-mysterious-ending-return-beginning
chapter twenty-five: deadly errors compounded. http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/126-chapter-twenty-five-deadly-errors-compounded Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:31:45 GMT We made our way carefully to the place of burial. There we were able to find what my mother was looking for. Since we were bound to not disturb... We made our way carefully to the place of burial. There we were able to find what my mother was looking for. Since we were bound to not disturb anything, I memorized what I saw. We also found the skeleton of a woman, in fine garments. My mother. I wonder if what she found was worth her efforts. What were her desires for my destiny? How did I come to be the sole survivor, a helpless babe? It seems that finding the secrets of my past has simply revealed new secrets underneath.

As we were about to leave, it was noticed that some minor things laying about had disappeared. We knew that we had not done it, which left our two companions. Obviously, we suspected the Loremaster. Having done a through search of ourselves and our belongings, we determined that nothing has been secreted with us. We did not wish to challenge the two of them, not where there are no witnesses, save ourselves. Returning without them was also not an option available to us.

Instead we opted to return directly to the high-priest and requested a private audience with him. He seemed disturbed. Somehow he knew that something had gone wrong. We threw ourselves upon his mercy. The geas that he had placed upon us was undisturbed. There was no effort to resist the binding of truthfulness he used upon us. He also spoke with Hunral and the Loremaster. We felt disturbed that these efforts seemed inconclusive to him.

Once one of the missing items was discovered in our tent, which we had failed to search - a grave error upon my part, our situation was murkier than ever. It finally came down to a wizards duel between the Loremaster and myself. I should have insisted upon resting till the next day. If I had, perhaps the events which followed would have come about differently. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/126-chapter-twenty-five-deadly-errors-compounded
chapter twenty-four: the serpent in the oasis.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/125-chapter-twenty-four-the-serpent-in-the-oasis Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:29:22 GMT My heart was heavy when the high-priest came to us. His face was stern, austere. In a flash of inspiration, I beseeched him to permit me to address... My heart was heavy when the high-priest came to us. His face was stern, austere. In a flash of inspiration, I beseeched him to permit me to address the tribe before the verdict was given. To my relief, he acceded. Prepared with some minor magical oratory enhancement to aid me, which I felt safe in using, as it did not directly affect any of the tribal members I addressed, I stood and presented myself. I drew upon my memories of my early life with my first-kin, and guessed at customs that we would likely share. I must admit, thinking back upon it, that I did well. Very well. Suggesting that some of the tribe accompany us, to keep safe the items of historical importance and other things sacred to them, was a stoke of wisdom.

After a short recess to consider my words, our desire was granted, with conditions. One guard and the tribal Loremaster would accompany us to the king's resting place. Of course, we were not to disturb anything in the tomb. The guard assigned to us has become a friend over the last two days. But the Loremaster.... He looked surprised that we would be permitted to go. We sought to hide our surprise at the certain stranger who had spoken with us in the depths of the night.

I wonder if the high-priest knew of the serpent which dwells within his garden oasis. We were in great danger. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/125-chapter-twenty-four-the-serpent-in-the-oasis
chapter twenty-three: promises, promises.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/124-chapter-twenty-three-promises-promises Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:28:18 GMT The wind never ceases. It gentles from time to time, but is a constant presence. It looks over my shoulder as I write, it swirls around Arielle as... The wind never ceases. It gentles from time to time, but is a constant presence. It looks over my shoulder as I write, it swirls around Arielle as she stands watch, it enters and leaves my sleeping companions, and surely it hounds the footsteps of the stranger who sought to offer our heart's desire. My fasting gnaws at my middle, resolutely ignored. Doubts prey upon my mind. Yet within this sandstorm of half-seen movements, there is a core of certainty.

I had promised the high-priest that we would give him an answer in the morning. Were I to agree to follow this mysterious stranger into the tomb of this king... we know not what we would find, nor how long we would be. Besides, without the agreement of the tribal elders and the king, we would be violating the guest-right we had received. We have partaken of the bread, salt, and water of this people. Were I to violate guest-right, I would be as surely exiled from my first-kin as I will be if I cannot complete my quest. A savage choice. And the fate of my future rests in the hands of this priest, king, and elders.

I am certain that I was right to turn away the offer of the stranger. His claims of knowledge of the outcome of the discussion rang false to my ear. His manner of appearance and departure bespoke a stealth ill-suited to an honest offer. I will not so ill treat the king and priest whom have guested us so well. No... despite the misgivings of some of my little family, this is the correct course. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/124-chapter-twenty-three-promises-promises
chapter twenty-two: too many secrets.... (or, dead women still tell tales!) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/123-chapter-twenty-two-too-many-secrets-(or-dead-women-still-tell-tales!) Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:27:32 GMT The following morning saw us heading for the rock outcroppings that form the windbreak that protects the oasis. I found it interesting that none of... The following morning saw us heading for the rock outcroppings that form the windbreak that protects the oasis. I found it interesting that none of the shelters have been erected near the cave opening. The inside is cooler than the outside, but as we penetrate deeper into the cavern, the air grows curiously warm. At the second turn, Pik stopped momentarily, and pointed to a hollow in the floor. Later I spoke with him and confirmed my suspicion. According to the lore of my first-kin, that is where I was found. I had to hurry to catch up to the others, as they had not noticed our pause, and had moved deeper into the cave.

It continues to grow hotter as we descend, and I questioned the high-priest about it. Apparently there is a source of great heat somewhere deep in the cave. They have never found it's source, as the heat grows too intense without magical protection. He stops suddenly at an intersection. One of the branches proves to be an alcove, and in the back of the alcove, lay the body of a woman. The body had been mummified by the intense heat and was in almost perfect condition. Everyone stood for moments of silence and wonder. Sabriel and I agreed to defer to the high-priest in seeking out the departed spirit. He besought the favor of his deity in prayer, and a few moments after he finished speaking, the eyes of the corpse opened. There was a glimmer of light in the eyes, as if seen from the end of a long dark tunnel. Then a dry voice rustled in a strange tounge. Curiously, it sounded much like elvish, but if so, it was a dialect I have never heard. I suppressed a shiver, of what I am not sure. Deep feelings were moving in the depths of my heart, unnamed leviathans stirring.

The high-preist said another brief prayer. I hastily read a prepared magic from a scroll enabling me to understand unknown languages. Then he turned to me and bade me to speak. I framed my questions carefully, mindful of Sabriel's coaching on this matter. The answers at first were disappointing. It quickly became apparent that she was not my mother.

However she was the personal servant of the Matriarch of the Clan or Tribe, although the word they used was House. Curious. One must wonder to what degree these magics will correctly infer cultural references and idiom. We discovered that a babe was left near the mouth of the cave. It was hoped that I would be the salvation of this House-Tribe. I was the last born of the Matriarch. I have encoded the names and directions and exact words spoken into the pages of this my journal. It is a hunch, but tinged with the weight of destiny. I feel a foreshadowing laying heavily upon me.

The last information we received shook the high-priest severely. A certain hidden place which he thought known only to his people was sought by my mother as well. And described in fair detail-sufficient to shock the high-preist into revealing that he knows the way to the place that she sought. It is a holy site to this people, as an ancient king who fell in battle is enshrined there. He is greatly disturbed that not only was it known, but specifically sought by my mother. I press the advantage of his unbalance, perhaps foolishly. But I must find out the secrets of my past! I cannot return to my first-kin without the answers I must have. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/123-chapter-twenty-two-too-many-secrets-(or-dead-women-still-tell-tales!)
<![CDATA[chapter twenty-one: an amulet of destiny's past....]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/122-chapter-twenty-one-an-amulet-of-destiny-s-past Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:26:07 GMT It has been an interesting experience teaching those who have so long been our teachers in the ways and customs of the strange lands in which Pik and... It has been an interesting experience teaching those who have so long been our teachers in the ways and customs of the strange lands in which Pik and I have wandered. Now that we are home in the desert, we have had to think carefully and explain things which to us, are first-nature. How to find water, how to conserve water, how to dress, how to shelter, and so forth. All new experiences for our clutch-family. We traveled in easy steps, helping accustom our new family to the rigors of desert travel.

At last we arrived near Deathhaunt. As we approached, we were surprised to discover fresh tracks in the sand, oblique to our path. Noting that the tracks used the lee of the dunes to hide approach with respect to the oasis, we decided to follow and see if we could ambush the ambushers. Alas, we found our prey when they rose suddenly from the sand and attacked us! A fierce fight followed. They recognized me for what I am, and sought to neutralize me by tackling me to the ground. A cunning strategy. Fortunately, Pik was swifter than all they. Gramblin was much put out at not being able to slay the giant. Pik could barely stand, so calamitous were his wounds from the giant. One Brownscale was left alive, and him we interrogated. We learned much of usefulness of the recent history between the barbarian tribe occupying the oasis and the Brownscales over the past couple of years.

We set the sole survivor free, after taking life-oath from him. We also took tokens of each of the slain, especially of the giant. The tokens served us well in securing guest-right. However, the king of the tribe of humans, for so they proved, "requested" that the one who slew the giant fight him in a friendly tournament of might. Squarely caught upon the horns of a dilemma, I felt! On one hand, of course they must test us to assure that the gifts we brought are not some trick, but were won in combat. But, on the other, if we defeat the king in combat, even mock combat-some will take it upon themselves to be offended on the king's behalf, even if he himself is gracious beyond reproach.

Pik, in one of his sometimes startling prescient insights, held back his full might from the onset, and managed to fight the king to a draw. It was only afterwards that we learned that while his might is not contested, there are others of his people whom are considered the king's champions, and fair better warriors than he, or so it is said. My brother's wisdom is without subtlety, but holds depths unrealized by many. Only a fool disregards Pik when he chooses to speak his mind.

Not only that, but he sees what many do not. I feel a bit the fool, and a bit of anger towards myself for missing such a matter of import. And I spoke directly with the high-priest directly, no less. Yet I did not see. During the evening meal, a veritable feast with excellent entertainment, Pik approached me and asked if I had seen it. At the ceremonies of guest-right previous he saw that the high-priest was wearing a medallion, and that medallion appeared to be identical to the one which I always wear, the one that I was found wearing, when but a babe! An astonishing revelation. We immediately sought out an audience with the high-priest, and were graciously granted a time of meeting towards the end of the festivities.

The conversation was long, and involved much exchange of history on both our parts. My hand shakes as I write even this small summery. The high-priest is a descendant of a fairly long line of high-priests, one of whom found this medallion upon the body of a woman. Which woman was found in one of the caves which is in the outcropping that form one of the outer walls of the oasis! We compared medallions, and indeed they were almost exactly the same. Some of the symbols on one part of my medallion are different, more complex, but the design and style is clearly identical. We were convinced beyond doubt when the high-priest recounts the tale of the discovery, and mentions that there were signs of a child or babe, but they never found the child.

The high-priest was clearly startled, and amazed to discover that I was that child. Desert life is harsh, and he is both unfamiliar with the Fair Folk, and unaccustomed to the thought of life lasting longer than a few decades. I was impatient, but could do no less than to answer his questions of curiosity as best as I was able-considering the import of what he has told me.

I felt it appropriate, as did Pik, that this story was closed with all participants present. And as strange a fate as has brought this to pass, this high priests life-thread has been tangled in mine. I invited him to accompany us in our efforts to find and, if fortunate, contact the departed spirit of this mysterious woman, possibly my mother. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/122-chapter-twenty-one-an-amulet-of-destiny-s-past
<![CDATA[chapter twenty: sidetreks.... (or, over an hundred and twenty years old, and i still can't drink, drive, or vote!)]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/121-chapter-twenty-sidetreks-(or-over-an-hundred-and-twenty-years-old-and-i-still-can-t-drink-drive-or-vote!) Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:24:59 GMT It is the dusk of Fireday, 7th month of the Year of the Emberhound. We travel in the cool of the dusk and dawn. As we leave my tribal homeland, I... It is the dusk of Fireday, 7th month of the Year of the Emberhound. We travel in the cool of the dusk and dawn. As we leave my tribal homeland, I reflect upon the events of the last month. We sent messages to the Duke, upraising him of the finishing events, and our suspicions and intentions. We retained the peculiar enchanted chain, and sent our information by secured courier.

We had decided not to take the overland route. In the heat of summer, this would be most difficult for our companions. The journey by ship was mostly uneventful. Ship-sickness beset some of us, Gramblin and Sabriel most severely. I overcame it quickly-surprising myself. Nadem was deeply uncomfortable most of the time. Being surrounded by the element opposite his nature and inclination kept him on edge. Pik was mostly unaffected.

Once we made port and began our trek into the wilderness abutting our desert homeland, we successfully hunted numerous animals for gifts of food and for gifts of skins. It took a few days to find and catch up with our people. We were well received by our tribe. The many gifts we brought assured that. Pik and I were able to meet with many friends. Our stories were gladly heard, as was news of the surrounding lands we had passed through. Our companions found themselves celebrated and welcomed... especially after our announcement to adopt them as our clutch.

The ceremony was splendid. At last, I thought, I am about to be considered a full adult by my first-kin. Quick upon the heals of that satisfaction came the thought that it would be another century before I would be regarded as such by my second-kin. The differences between my short-lived first-kin, and long-lived second-kin yawn vast, at times. According to the ancient customs, a quest was layed upon me. It is not so often that such a thing is done these days. But in doing so, the elder has cunningly removed any remaining dissention concerning the legitimacy of my tribe-hood. Should I succeed in this endeavor, none will contest ever again. And it will become quite the story to be told around the clutch-fires.

The elders said that I have found my present, and are growing well into the future (and off-hand reference to my having outlived five, almost six, generations of tribal elders). I have been charged with discovering the secrets of my past. To that end, we have left the tribe, and headed into the desert to seek out the Deathhaunt Oasis. It is not taboo by our tribe, but there are others who impose a taboo on any who seek it. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/121-chapter-twenty-sidetreks-(or-over-an-hundred-and-twenty-years-old-and-i-still-can-t-drink-drive-or-vote!)
chapter nineteen: the best laid plans of owl and humanoids.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/120-chapter-nineteen-the-best-laid-plans-of-owl-and-humanoids Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:22:35 GMT In the Morning of Starday, 6th month of the Year of the Emberhound. It is an appropriate day to be writing of what has come to pass. So much has... In the Morning of Starday, 6th month of the Year of the Emberhound. It is an appropriate day to be writing of what has come to pass. So much has happened, and this is a day of reflection, reconnection with gods, nature, or ones inner-self; depending on personal beliefs. The wind is gentle, the camp sounds muted, the sun is warm, the stream's babble is a gentle counterpoint to the wind.

We entered the stronghold through the smokehole on the roof, as I wrote earlier. We had a plan to raid the treasure room, as a further demonstration of our prowess, with an eye towards demoralizing the giants sufficiently for negotiations to be able to take place. Second in priority was to capture the head giant, if possible. Those ideal plans rapidly took a turn for the worse. It is truly said that, "an engagement with the opponent alters all pre-formed strategies". We made it as far as the kitchen, and had dispatched the two guards by the stairs, when we were surprised by a roving guard of two more giants. After having dealt with them, we surprised two giants climbing up the stairs, and then another two at the bottom; who were busily piling boulders in front of the stairs. We had but entered the treasure room when we heard a large patrol approaching. I covered us with obscurement and we positioned ourselves for an attack, while hoping to escape sight unseen. A giantess used a wand which projected a disrupting magical influence. We would have succeed in our hopes for hiding, had not a cunning giant ordered her to use it again!

My obscurement was disrupted, and we were forced to attack. A fierce well-armored giant, a body guard perhaps, fell prey to Gramblin's fierce attacks, the rest fled. We pulled the body into the room and closed the treasure room door. We gathered up the treasure and hid it in a pit trap, after Nadem burned off the poison on the stakes, and most of the stakes as well. We were hoping to fight a defensive battle, but the giants fled from us as soon as they saw us. It seemed that they were keeping tabs on our position. We decided to try to retreat through the other passage and find a better position, rather than try to retrace our steps.

But, of course, we scouted out the situation first. Gramblin was covered by a vision-obscuring exercise of power, and we awaited his return. And waited. And waited. Finally, we decided to seek him out and help him, as we had begun to fear the worst. Arielle was especially particular about this, as she was sworn to his service first, and the rest of us, second. Alas, we were found by a strong force of giants, including one towering cloud giant, and a dire bear. Sabriel formed a barrier of blades, and this split the giant's forces into half. We moved to the attack, thinking that we could attack one group at a time. Nadem literally burst into flames, wreathed by a halo of flames, and frightened a fair number of the giants. Pik moved to attack a giant, who retreated to make room for some of the other giants to throw small boulders, and then the dire bear charged Pik and tackled him! The giantess used her wand again, disrupting the barrier. Now things were looking much for the worse. The separated giants waded into the combat, including the cloud giant.

I thrust my power into the bear, sapped it's strength, which in turn enabled Pik to break free and get over to Sabriel. Arielle managed to kill the bear, and hurt another giant, but the giantess apparently figured out that Arielle had magic in her singing, and rushed into her, knocking her flat. Suddenly the cloud giant roared in pain, and a grinning Gramblin appeared near his feet. Unfortunately, in his rage, he lashed out at everything nearby. Which was me. There was a momentary glimpse of his club, huge, dirty, all manner of jagged objects stuck into it, and then everything went white, then black. I was later told that I flew across the room like a child's rag doll, and knocked Sabriel over. At least she was able to promptly heal me. I think I would have been dead had it not been for that fortunate coincidence. Pik and Gramblin teamed up on the cloud giant, and despite some serious damage, they killed him quickly.

I regained consciousness in time to see Pik running along the wall, literally running on the wall, dancing and slicing with his blades the entire way. Amazing. Simply amazing. I have to wonder where he learned that trick. They don't have a lot of walls out in the desert back home. Sabriel was slinging spells, and paralyzed a number of giants, Nadem was hacking at the giants pinning Arielle, Pik helping. The giants were soon thinking of retreating, but we prevailed and conquered. All told there are only three giants left who were capable of putting up a serious fight. None of the remaining females seem inclinded to fight, and we would not willing harm the children. Arielle managed to enspell the males and they became most amenable to suggestion. We sent them off into the forest heading towards the wildlands, with the entire troop of females and children, and orders not to ever return. We also freed the remaining orcish slaves, and sent them off into the wilds as well, if in a different line of march, after warning them about the bugbears. With the stronghold now cleared, we searched the caverns beneath.

A band of formerly enslaved troglodytes were grateful to us for freeing them from their giantish overloards. After some discussion they offered us a single pick from a batch of unusual gems. In probing further, we discovered that these gems are sacred and considered holy artifacts. We treated the gem we have received with great respect, and decided to ask them to guard the gem that they have given us on our behalf, as they have up till now. This impressed them greatly and they tell us of some creatures which had been preying on them, which have stolen much of their non-sacred treasure. This would be ours if we can but rid them of those creatures. We also discovered that they owned these caverns, at least, before the giants did. The creatures were no trouble for us to dispatch, some giant reptiles of some sort, and some scavenging crawlers. They did, in fact, have some unusual treasures. We helped them reopen one of the original openings, and then blocked off the stairs with a stone seal. We impressed upon them that once we were gone that we could not be held accountable for the actions of others.

There was some news of ill report amidst all of the post-victory glory. We learned from the three giants we spared that a messenger was successfully dispatched to another fortress with descriptions of us, and that they were likely to be on the alert, watching and waiting for us. After some discussion we decided that it would be best to wait until some time has passed so as not to fall prey to a trap. Especially as the only means we have of getting to this stronghold was a mysterious artifact of unusual properties. It can apparently transport more than one person without harm to another location! Something which has not been heard of outside of the legends and tales of the ancient times. We were unsure of it and needed some time to study it, before assaying the venture.

Also, Pik and I discussed, and have found that we both felt alike in this thing. Surely a feeling which independently occured to the both of us, nearly simultaneously, is a sign. We shall propose it to Nadem and Gramblin and Sabriel. If they agree, it would provide something to do before we attempt the artifact and the fortress beyond. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/120-chapter-nineteen-the-best-laid-plans-of-owl-and-humanoids
chapter eighteen: up on the rooftop, the party pause.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/119-chapter-eighteen-up-on-the-rooftop-the-party-pause Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:21:11 GMT We are about to leave and attempt another foray. We have spent some time recovering from the nearly fatal trap we escaped. The dwarves have left,... We are about to leave and attempt another foray. We have spent some time recovering from the nearly fatal trap we escaped. The dwarves have left, buoyed by a feast summoned by Sabriel. They would only accept a small amount of gold, but named us dwarf-friends. We shall find a warm welcome in their clan halls, if ever we should go that way. Arielle returned in good time, and enjoyed the feast with the dwarves. We have prepared well this time, and shall not fall prey to previous errors. The doors are surely well guarded, and the tower alert. But this time we shall enter a way they guard not, nor think about. Ironically, it was the flue which gave me the idea. We shall enter through the roof, via the smoke hole in their great hall. ]]> nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/119-chapter-eighteen-up-on-the-rooftop-the-party-pause chapter seventeen: the cold hand of death.... (or, my familiar is a what?!?) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/118-chapter-seventeen-the-cold-hand-of-death-(or-my-familiar-is-a-what-!-) Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:15:37 GMT As I write this, my hand trembles. I glance about the camp, but my friends are mostly busy debating details of our next strike, the core ideas of... As I write this, my hand trembles. I glance about the camp, but my friends are mostly busy debating details of our next strike, the core ideas of which are settled. There is no one who will see the tremors. I had not thought to think of these traveling companions as friends, but what else can I call them now. None but a friend will forgive a mistake which threatens the lives of all. I did not warn the others when I saw the smoke, for smoke is what it was. If it were not for the dwarves' able help, we might not have made it out of that forge.

The smoke did not clear. Instead, it grew ever more thick. Finally we were forced out, and I was barely able to manage to enspell two more ropes to give us shelter as we worked out a response to our danger. Never had we been so poorly equipped to deal with a threat. After much discussion of our capabilities and options, the only way out seemed to be the flue for the forge. We discover that the entrance to the forge area had been blocked off with a pile of rock and dirt with a large amount of smoldering wood and broken furniture-the source of the smoke. The fire had all but gone out, due to a lack of fresh air. To our dismay, the flue proved to be too small to get far up it, and it did not seem to have any air flowing down it.

The leader of the dwarves, Ulap - I shudder to think what his opinion of us was, he was the only one of us with power over stone. With Sabriel away, there was none other with a strong connection to nature, or the divine. We had no other material or spell to accomplish the job, so we were forced to use the giant's blood for grease. He breathed through dampened layers of cloth and wearing only what equipment carry enchantments that might help, and a minimal modesty required, plus giant's blood. That nightmare journey is not one I ever care to repeat. The dreams are bad enough. Brave Ulap, shaped the natural flue into a wider, passable chute, complete with niches for hands and feet. He made it all the way up to the metal grating covering the top of the flue. Imagine our horror to discover that it had many boulders piled upon it!

There was enough air coming down the flue then to make the area immediately in front of it survivable. If we crawled, and covered our faces. But we were unable to think of any way of removing the pile of boulders on top of the flue grate. After much time, I was contacted by my frantically worried owl. Sabriel had returned early! Later we learned that she had felt a premonition and left Arielle to return to us on her own. After lengthy communication between myself and Mousehunter, we were able to convey through clever pantomime and scratchings in the dirt, our situation.

I am amazed at how much more like a person than an animal that Mousehunter has become. It seems that having the familial link between us has enabled him to poke around my mind, listening in on my thoughts, which in turn has altered his ways of thinking. (i informed him that his name was now Lord Mousehunter the Mighty, Ruler of the Night, Swift Silent Death from Above, and so forth, for his amazing acts of communication and insight; he informed me that it was about time I noticed, and that he was a she....) Amazing that all these years, and I never noticed. Serves me right for paying more attention to books than to her. I will look forward to getting to know her better, as a person.

Sabriel waited till the hours of the dawn, and then shrouded the guards in the tower with a silencing, followed swiftly with a barrier of blades to keep them pinned in the tower. Then she summoned some celestial allies, who agreed to move the majority of the boulders off of the grate. They would only stay a short time, but it was enough. We were waiting below and climbed as soon as Lord Mousehunter indicated that it was clear. Once we reached the top, I unleashed a blast of sound which pulverized the remaining rock and damaged the grating severely. I shaped my will into a sphere of pure force and launched it upwards. It ripped the grate and its collar clear from the surrounding rock, and also swept away much of the rock and dust. However, this exposed me directly to the morning sun. Agony! I closed my eyes against the burning and clambered out, and fell over onto my side, nearly at the feet of an investigating giant!

Sabriel had successfully led two giants off into chasing her, but apparently this one had decided to see if something was going to come out of the grate. Instinctively, I pull around myself the darkness and felt the thump of a club into the rock next to my head. I rolled away, eyes still smarting from the dawn's stabbing light. Gramblin launched himself from the grate and successfully struck the giant. How in the darkness he managed that, i'll never know. A deadly game of blindman's bluff followed. As they moved away, I rolled back out of the darkness, protecting my eyes as best I could. I saw Sabriel sending flight after flight of arrows into the giants she had lured away, who were now running back towards us. I closed my eyes and bent my will to shaping the power within me and lay it like a blanket of mist upon the ground. And shout some preparatory bluffs in Giantish.

The ground took on the appearance of a field of lava. This frightened the two heading towards us into stopping. I heard a ripping sound and Nadem cried out. (Apparently, Nadem's armor straps had caught on a projection left by the grating wreckage. He was freed by a hearty boost from the dwarf underneath him. Next I heard the giant's death cry, and fall. Gramblin had prevailed again. There were much frantic imprecations and muffled dwarven oaths, the giant had fallen upon the opening. I plunged into the darkness and helped Nadem pull the giant's body off. I then gathered up the remnants of my power and laid an enchantment of swiftness upon us all. We quickly climbed out and I led the dwarves away.

Nadem began casting bolts of flame at the giants. As I glanced around, I saw several more dead giants, and Pik and Sabriel flying about dodging boulders and generally keeping the giants from chasing us. Pik must have used his armor's magic to fly. I had nearly forgotten about it. We had that done, ages ago. In the end, we all made it away safely, and insured that we were not followed. I am chagrinned to think how close a call that was. If only I had not assumed that we were safe within our bubbles of otherwhere space. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/118-chapter-seventeen-the-cold-hand-of-death-(or-my-familiar-is-a-what-!-)
chapter sixteen: that fateful mistake.... (or, why my character is never, ever, EVER, allowed to stand watch again!!!) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/117-chapter-sixteen-that-fateful-mistake-(or-why-my-character-is-never-ever-EVER-allowed-to-stand-watch-again!!!) Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:14:08 GMT A fierce fight ensued in the main cavern-room in the lower level. We hid Sabriel and the other three with sight obscuring magic, and had them wait in... A fierce fight ensued in the main cavern-room in the lower level. We hid Sabriel and the other three with sight obscuring magic, and had them wait in the corners of turns of the main staircase. We hid ourselves likewise and rang the alarm gong we found with some of the guards loudly. Some appropriate shouting in Giantish and a clever illusion of combat down one of the hallways completed our trap.

As expected, some giants came rushing down the stairs and into our fell into our trap nicely. Then, some more unexpected giants came rushing down the stairs afterwards, in hindsight, after a cautious pause. Then some completely unexpected fire giants came out of one of the side passages! Now being surrounded, we fight our way through the giants in our "trap", and I hurriedly wrap ourselves in the obscuring magics again. We find it prudent to retreat. Well, to be honest, flee.

After some quick twists and turns in the rough hewn passages, we find ourselves in the forge area. Many dwarves are chained to the various parts of the forge rooms, working on armor and weapons. Some swift negotiation along the lines of, "mutual enemies make us allies and we can hide you and free you..." and we are helping the dwarves to cut themselves free. We hide them in the otherwhere bubble at the end of a rope and then ourselves as well. Just in time!

We had barely pulled in the rope after us, than the fire giants returned. It was rather entertaining, as well as educational, listening to the cursing of the two giants as they reluctantly take up the work that they were forcing the poor dwarves to do. We let them get in stride and then blind-sided them. Once they are taken care of, we give the dwarves most of our rations, and a good portion of water-they have been shorted rations for all too long. Unfortunately, the latest battle was heard, and we are forced to hold off reinforcements as we finish the battle and provender the dwarves.

They are mightily puzzled about our mysterious disappearance. Let them search, they will not find us! A sudden movement outside the portal catches my eye. Seems like fog... or smoke? Maybe gas of some kind. It cannot hurt us in here, and we can outlast them, I'm certain. I glance over at the others. All asleep. There is nothing to worry about, so I will not awaken them. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/117-chapter-sixteen-that-fateful-mistake-(or-why-my-character-is-never-ever-EVER-allowed-to-stand-watch-again!!!)
chapter fifteen: freedom rings silently.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/116-chapter-fifteen-freedom-rings-silently Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:12:34 GMT Sometime during the night of Waterday, 6th month of the Year of the Emberhound. I have been unable to write, so much has been happening. We waited... Sometime during the night of Waterday, 6th month of the Year of the Emberhound. I have been unable to write, so much has been happening. We waited til the guard had dwindled due to the search for us speading out through the fortress. Then we emerged and attacked. But perhaps we were too soon. It seemed that every time we finished off one group another group was just one room over. Finally the leader of the bugbear guards we had been fighting surrenders. After all of the giants in the area were slain. I think it was the killing of the stone giants which interrupted our hasty negotiations which did the trick. Nadem immolating himself and that disturbing mask of his didn't hurt our efforts to intimidate the more resistant underlings into submission. We manage to get them out with the understanding that they make themselves scarce for a week. Sabriel sweetens the deal with some gold, and that finished off the last of the resistance. Waiting in the courtyard, shielded with my powers of obscuring vision, Gramblin does a quick run-about. He finds that the giants are very alert, and a massive hill giant accompanied by a cloud giant lead the search parties-in groups of four. Furthermore, he found some prisoners! That can't be allowed. We plunge back into the stronghold, this time by the main stairs. We figure that they have caught on to our usage of the "secret" stairs.

The leader is much more canny than others of his kind. Even the main stairs were guarded. But as we travel silenced, the alarm gong that he was carrying becomes useless, and we swiftly remove their threat. We travelled directly to the prisoners area, and free them. Some required curing as they had apparently left their heads from captivity. We can't bring ourselves to free the orcs at this time. Too many bad experiences with orcs. I'm not going to leave them there. (The heavens forfend that my first or second kin read that... Pik understands, but absolutely does not agree with me. Despite that even he won't eat orc. After the successful conclusion of this foray, I will insure that they are released before we depart.) We manage to find a storeroom elsewhere with various equipment and foodstuffs. It would not be wise to hide where the orcs might reveal our location. As we cannot all fit in the pocket with the rope, we are forced to leave the rope hanging out, but well disguised with some other ropes in the storeroom. Using the smallest rope possible-well below the eye level of the average giant-will have to do. We kept a watch to insure our ability to rest.

Once we are able to talk with our liberated prisoners, we discover that one of them is a woman. An elfmaid of surpassing beauty, a singer to be exact. And like most of my second-kin, inclined towards affinity with arcane magics. For the first time since we began this expedition, i need to use the small magics that are necessary to make myself look like the others of my second-kin. The dead pale white of my skin, brightened to a more natural hue. The ruby eyes blurred to another color. The alabaster of my hair softened to more normal colors. I am somewhat amused at my almost instinctive desire to appear attractive to such a vision of grace and poise. But I cannot help it nonetheless. I just hope she has not yet mastered those magics of penetrating such minor deceptions. Perhaps it is due to being freed and restored to presence of mind, but even the humans have none of the reactions so common to their kind towards my first-kin, Pik. I am fortunate in that I am a curiosity, not a wholly different race. It would be much more difficult to disguise Pik effectively, for example.

One human is an engineer, the other a merchant. During the course of our conversations, an idea takes me. I take aside some of the others to discuss it, and they like the idea, each for their various reasons, but it is a good idea nonetheless. I won't share Pik's assessment with them. Not too many would understand that he meant, "breeding the herd for future culling and insuring the food supply" in the light in which it was meant. It is agreed and decided that we shall escort them back to the nearest town. Of course, that was never in question. But, we shall also supply them with sufficient monies to see them back from that town to their homes. We also supply them with clothing from our spares. They are so grateful that they pledge their services to us whenever we might have future need. Having a merchant ally will be most beneficial, especially in the way of contacts for when we need to purchase or sell unusual items. The elf maiden insists instead that she will accompany us, claiming life-right. The old custom... I had not thought to find one who would invoke it in this day and age, most charmingly antiquated. She binds herself to fealty to Gramblin, the one who freed her specifically. We cannot do but to accept, but we need her armed. We found her sword and spellbook among the bugbears abandoned possessions, but she is going to need armor and materials for her arcane abilities. Sabriel will escort them personally to the town while we continue to harry and weaken the giants here. Then she and Arielle will return to join us. A diversion should do the trick of getting the four of them out. But for now rest. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/116-chapter-fifteen-freedom-rings-silently
chapter fourteen: surprising entries.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/115-chapter-fourteen-surprising-entries Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:11:41 GMT We are almost as startled as the giant who steps through the door. But we recover faster. He will never recover again. Unfortunately, he was... We are almost as startled as the giant who steps through the door. But we recover faster. He will never recover again. Unfortunately, he was accompanied by another giant and some bugbears: guards, slaves? They are armed, so I guess the former. The second giant begins calling for help as loudly as he can. More giants, more bugbears and even some massive apes, all come pouring into the room beyond. I gather my energies and begin unleashing sphere after sphere of flame. I am forced to spare some energy for shielding myself after a near miss. Pik dances. They are grass before the scythe of his scimitars. The deadly beauty of his twisting and twirling form belies the carnage he leaves at almost every step. Gramblin and Nadem are slower, but the heavy blows are no less fearsome. Sabriel picks and chooses her targets, striking where it will do the most good. A wise priestess, she, but no stranger to combat. A skillful archer indeed. Sabriel cries out. Some of them are fleeing. We dispatch the remaining foes, but cannot prevent the retreat. The alarm is surely sounded. We decide to hide again and wait to see what happens. We swiftly climb the rope and pull it in behind us. More giants and bugbears enter the room. This time it is fire giants. How many clans are involved in this? In the back of my mind, I continue to worry. ]]> nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/115-chapter-fourteen-surprising-entries chapter thirteen: the illusion of life.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/114-chapter-thirteen-the-illusion-of-life Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:09:57 GMT Death is unpleasant. Near death is... nearly as unpleasant. And quite probably a good deal more painful. We quickly find a large room, but... Death is unpleasant. Near death is... nearly as unpleasant. And quite probably a good deal more painful. We quickly find a large room, but fortunately Gramblin was scouting ahead and discovered not only a secret door in the wall, but a trap in the entrance of the room. We decide to see what is worth trapping to protect it. He was able to disarm it safely. The room had a number of coffers on the far side, one of which was spilled over. All in all, a most suspicious setup if i've ever seen one. The whiff of some animal-like odor, and the occasional noise was hardly needed. I threw a copper at the pile of "treasure" and sure enough it was illusionary. To my dismay, the far wall also contained an illusion. The revealed archway was filled with manticores! Hungry manticores! We soon were dodging the flights of spines and fighting for our lives. The sharp stabbing pain followed by reddish darkness indicated that I had moved too slowly.

The next thing I recall was waking to Sabriel's healing ministrations. The psychic pain took much longer to fade. The body is slower to be convinced that it is healed, despite the finest of magical aid. The fire scorched and deeply cut bodies of the manticores indicated their eventual fate. Praise Nadem. Once we are all recovered, we explore beyond the archway. After Gramblin disables more traps in said arch. There is quite a lot of treasure, including some coins of an old make. Quite surprising actually. I wonder where the giants found them. Nobody makes electrum anymore. Speculating about that is sure to pester me for weeks now.

Considering the illusions, we think it worth the time to search this room more carefully. Our diligence, or rather, Gramblin's skill is rewarded. A secret catch releases a section of wall to swing open. There is a small corridor with another door at it's end. Scarcely do we enter and look around when it begins to open!! ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/114-chapter-thirteen-the-illusion-of-life
chapter twelve: the shortest route between two wolves.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/113-chapter-twelve-the-shortest-route-between-two-wolves Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:09:06 GMT In the Eve of Fireday, 6th Month of the Year of the Emberhound. That or the Morning of Waterday... when we are inside of these otherwhere bubbles, I... In the Eve of Fireday, 6th Month of the Year of the Emberhound. That or the Morning of Waterday... when we are inside of these otherwhere bubbles, I always lose track of time. Where did I leave off... oh, yes. Our plan with the wolves was successful. Mostly. Some stuffed themselves on the meat without falling victim to it's hidden magic. Those we were able to frighten off with the backup spell that Sabriel had prepared for that possibility. We dragged the bodies outside of the gate, along with the meat, and shut it. The rooms in the outer wall which Gramblin had been unable to explore due to the wolves, proved to be a barracks of some sort. To our disappointment, we now will have to penetrate the main stronghold, without having first reduced the fighting population of giants. The barracks were empty.

We decide to take the shortest route of the two possible entries into the stronghold proper. I cloak us all with power spun to obscure us from the vision of others. I am getting quite good at it. Not nearly as easy as the molding of shadowstuff, but that has always come naturally to me. We enter and slip into the room closing the door behind us. Looking around, I decide that this room is less for quarters, than a room for planning. There is a large map drawn on a hide of the surrounding areas. What we find on the map is very alarming. Large areas have been marked and with a most un-giantish hand, in rather pretty calligraphic strokes, the words "not here" have been written. In giantish. Most strange. It outlines all of the neighboring duchies which have refused to help our duke. And in large letters, square upon our duke's realm are the words "here". Who is guiding these giants? Most certainly not a giant, if the writing is to be trusted, notwithstanding the reputation of the hill giant chief.

A most fortuitous discovery! Behind one hanging is a hidden door. We remove the map from it's frame, and bundle it tightly so that it will fit into Sabriel's enchanted bag. Behind the door is a landing with steps heading down into the darkness. And though I thought never to say it, bless the acquisitive gnome. Out of habit, he checks the pile of logs on the landing, and lo, we find some tubes underneath them, made of a thick hide. Inside one we delight in the instructions we find. Plans for the next raid! With these in hand, the duke will have proof enough to tip the scales with the other dukes, or perhaps even sufficient to send to the king. And the name it is signed with. Not like any Elvish name I've ever heard, yet, it still seems strangely familiar. A further mystery. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/113-chapter-twelve-the-shortest-route-between-two-wolves
chapter eleven: by the hairs of their chinny-chin-chin.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/112-chapter-eleven-by-the-hairs-of-their-chinny-chin-chin Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:08:30 GMT In the Afternoon of Fireday, 6th Month of the Year of the Emberhound. We have discussed our next move. Now that we have left the stronghold, they... In the Afternoon of Fireday, 6th Month of the Year of the Emberhound. We have discussed our next move. Now that we have left the stronghold, they will be vigilant. It is decided that we will use a very powerful sleeping magic upon the meat that we hope to obtain and circumvent the wolves without slaying them. Those of us with skill at hunting, such as Pik, are out securing the materials we will need. On the off chance that these are of the greater breeds of wolven-kind, we have a backup plan. We will open a gate, and attempt to magically frighten the rest off. Gramblin noticed that there is a courtyard of sorts inside the wall, it is here that the wolves stay when not out roaming the woods. There is a couple of rooms built into the outer wall of the courtyard, separate from the rest of the compound. We suspect that these might be the quarters of the leader of the giants. Surely the information we need is to be found there, if anywhere. I will need to gather more wolvesbane to ensure that the wolves continue to be unable to track us to our lairing spot. ]]> nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/112-chapter-eleven-by-the-hairs-of-their-chinny-chin-chin <![CDATA[chapter ten: nothing warms a delver's heart like a little vandalism....]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/111-chapter-ten-nothing-warms-a-delver-s-heart-like-a-little-vandalism Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:07:17 GMT There is a whole lower level which has been excavated! We pore over the features and listen attentively to the explanations which Gramblin has of his... There is a whole lower level which has been excavated! We pore over the features and listen attentively to the explanations which Gramblin has of his travels. Our worries about Gramblin's long departure were, of course unfounded. The existence of the lower level forced him to extend his searching. There is too much to explore in a single night. After much discussion, we decide to destroy the armory that Gramblin found, and then retreat. Better to tackle the underground level when we are fresh. After all there are much fewer exits from down there than there are up here....

The strike on the armory went well. It is frightening how much destruction that we can invoke when we concentrate and overlap our efforts. Nadem is gleefully streaming jets of fire from his hands with abandon-it is not often that he has an opportunity to freely burn something. I am loosing my power in focused bursts of sound. I'm sure my throat will be raw after this...

We finish off with a combined flaming inferno from Nadem, myself, and Sabriel all striking out simultaneously with what mastery of flame that we have. The resulting cataclysmic wave of heat sends us all reeling back, all except Nadem. He seem to revel in the heat. Seeing him stand there in the doorway, a dark silhouette against the ravening flames, brings on an atavistic shiver. But now Lord Mousehunter informs me that more feet are approaching, many many feet. We flee up the tower stairs, surprising a giant coming down. He barely has time to draw breath, when Gramblin strikes with his hook-hammer, Nadem with his greatsword, and Pik with his multiple scimitar. The giant falls over dead, his cry stillborn. Sabriel and I do not even have to break stride in climbing the stairs. Hurrying down the rope is probably the hardest part of this venture, I am not the most athletic of individuals.

In haste, I summon the remaining tatters of my power and draw over us a cloak of obscurement, though it is not strictly needed given the darkness of the deep of the night. I am not fond of being shot at, let alone when the objects being shot are small boulders, rather than arrows. Discretion and valor. We make it safely away and I lead the way back towards camp. Gramblin and Pik both have some facility for seeing in the dark, but neither can match my ability. I have always been proficient at seeing through all but magically created regions of darkness, and my vision pierces the dark much further than any other I know.

So now, I weary, and must enter the trance which passes for sleep among my second-kin. Sleep has never come easy for me. Despite my second-kin's assurances to the contrary, the same problems trouble me in the meditative state as well. All to frequently, full rest fails to find me. I find that I must drink a fortifying potion more often than not, simply to find a night's rest. Yet another puzzle in which I seem to defy the norm, will it or no. I fervently hope for the nights rest; facing the burning, blinding orb of the heavens after a poor night's passing, is almost more than I can bear. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/111-chapter-ten-nothing-warms-a-delver-s-heart-like-a-little-vandalism
chapter nine: scouting and counter-scouting.... http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/110-chapter-nine-scouting-and-counter-scouting Fri, 13 Feb 2009 06:06:23 GMT If it were not such a serious business we were about, the shock and panic displayed by the giants would be almost comical. We watch as the bodies are... If it were not such a serious business we were about, the shock and panic displayed by the giants would be almost comical. We watch as the bodies are carted away, and a search is commenced. Soon however, all thoughts of mirth fade away, as patrols in pairs begin to be seen; guards are stationed. These creatures are unexpectedly cunning, and quick to respond! In our experience, the lesser giant-kin tend towards brutality, and a disinterest in any but the most crude of social organizations. They barely cooperate with each other. These are acting more like trained armsmen, than typical giants. Gramblin in particular, is taking great pains in pointing out the atypical behaviors. We conference hurriedly and decide that we need to learn more.

Truth be told, we had not paid overly much attention to the claims of the duke that the giant raids had been highly organized and took only valuable and critical goods. We had thought that he was exaggerating his stories in order to hook us to his need, not realizing that we have our own reasons for attempting this foray. But now, we are witnessing it for ourselves. Something has affected these giants; we must learn what it is.

I draw forth a matrix rod, and send my power through it into a cloak upon Gramblin. The unique structure of the matrix will have the effect of lengthening the effects of my power beyond what i can accomplish for myself. The effect blooms out from him invisibly, as he fades to a transparent image of himself. We open the interface by touching the rope's end to it, and Gramblin drops nimbly down to the floor, disappearing completely from our view as he does so. I quickly pull the rope back in, and we settle down to wait nervously.

The minutes crawl past, in a slow spiky progression. The occasional giant patrol passes by. Finally, Gramblin returns, heralded by a coin sudden appearing on the floor directly below us. We descend the rope to meet with Gramblin and hear his report. Pik is watchfully listening, eying the exits. I am taken by a sudden fancy and wander over to the front doors. Pulling out a scroll I lay a hand upon the doors, and reading the arcane symbols to guide my power, I weave power about the two door panels, binding them together. I smirk as I write upon the wall next to the doors, 'you have been warned!' in the blocky giantish letters, large enough for even them to see. Suddenly Lord Mousehunter stirs upon my shoulder and hoots softly in my ear. She has heard the approach of footsteps!

I hurry to the others and warn them. Sabriel and Gramblin begin climbing the rope as Nadem and I set fire to the doors to the hallway. That should slow them down. Swiftly we climb into the otherwhere bubble, and draw the rope in after us. Not a moment too soon! From the sudden appearance of smoke, a large amount of water must have been thrown onto the doors, for they open as we are frantically pulling in the rope. An entire squad, fully eight well armed giants enter the room and carefully scrutinize everything. After seeing the message on the wall, one runs out of the room. One of them even tries the door, but much to our surprise, does not attempt any violence upon the unmoving door. Any other giant would have tried to force the stubborn door open. Then that giant also runs out of the room. Reporting? To whom? Who is guiding these giants so skillfully? This is becoming more and more ominous.

Turning from the window portal, I see that Gramblin has taken out some parchment and quill and is inking a sketch of what he has seen. We had best find someway of reducing the combat ability of these giants, and fast. Giant prowess at combat with someone who has an obvious grasp of tactics and strategy, and the ability to get giants to actually cooperate and fight intelligently, is a danger of, forgive me-but i can't resist, giant proportions. ]]>
nijineko http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/110-chapter-nine-scouting-and-counter-scouting