Monday, December 29, 2008

A quick recap of LL sessions

I'm a bad blogger, there's certainly little room to argue on that front. Heh, let's just clear the air then, I'm in no way near as prolific as Scott over at 'World of Thool', James over at 'Grognardia' and no where near as creative. That's unfortunate I suppose, but I will say that I have just as much passion as my esteemed peers. And therein lies the reason that I maintain my feeble scribblings upon this e-medium.

Picking up where we left off; this entry will be a little less florid and a bit more pedantic for posterity's sake and to make up for my lack of sufficient in-game notes.

Safara and Ember soon discerned the nature of the odd finger bone, it seemed to point to danger! After a bit of poking around through dark corridors and peering into the deeper darkness of archways and side tunnels the heroes heard the 'tink, tink, tink' of metal on stone.

A stealthy approach allowed them to sneak up on a group of strange red-capped miners accompanied by some kind of ferocious wolf-like beast. The fight was bloody and a few casualties were accrued. Sir Pelinor took was taken down by the wolf and one of the henchmen was slain as well. The party was forced into a limping retreat but not before taking a surviving red cap prisoner.

On the way out one of the henchmen encountered a green slime that dropped on her face from above. She was disfigured horribly but survived.

Once on the surface, the party healed up as much as possible, grabbed a few more henchmen and descended again, this time in the hopes that they could recover some of Sir Pelinor's remains in order to properly bury him.

The descent back to the mining area was without incident and as soon as they arrived another nasty little fight erupted with the remaining red cap, his wolf and the party. Eventually the party won out with few casualties and were exploring the ancient wine cellar when the muttering of voices and stomp of boots echoed down the tunnel to announce new comers.

A small detachment of goblins, carrying more rusted and dented mining implements shows up and yet another fight is joined. This one though turns out for the worst, one of the little blighters rushes forwards and plants his pick in Halister's eye. The mage goes down in a heap...dead as a doornail. The party quickly starts tossing what remains of the wooden shelves into the hall way as a barrier while the goblins scramble for their weapons.

As the goblins attempted to rush the quick barricade, a flask of oil and torches were tossed and the whole thing turned into a conflagration. The goblins squealed and ran back. Safara took down the leader with a well placed magic missile and soon the tide had turned. In the end, 5 goblin corpses littered the hallway.

A map was found and on it was some writing in Fae that indicated that digging for the "key" was to commence at the spot indicated on the map. Someone named Melchert had signed the message written on the map.

Again the party gathered up their fallen dead, including what was left of the wolf gnawed remains of Sir Pelinor, and made their way towards the surface and sunlight. There they buried Sir Pelinor and questioned the captive red cap about the map. He told them that Melchert was their master and a friend of Ylfrit, their queen. Melchert was searching for a key that opened the black door, beyond which he claimed lay secrets worthy of the Unseelie Queen. But what those secrets are, Melchert hasn't said.

The red cap is let loose with the promise that he'll never return to this area on pain of death. He disappears into the woods. The remaining henchmen get together and come to Safara and Ember for better pay. It's just too dangerous they claim...too many of them have fallen and only 3 of the original 6 remain. The two leaders agree and it's also agreed that they'll go back to Botkinburg, as they're quickly running low on food and torches.

One day is taken for Safara to hunt, in an attempt to supplement their remaining rations. She comes upon a boar and slays it from the safety of a tree. But unfortunately the noise attracts a strange hoofed beast from the woods (Ilfaren) who thinks that meat on the hoof is pretty tempting. Safara desperately casts charm and then convinces the beast that the pig has been poisoned. He looks at her, nods and then walks back into the woods...

Later during the trip a pygmy rhino emerges from the woods and violently reacts to the screaming of the henchmen as it tromps into camp, by spearing yet another henchman on it's horn. The others climb trees in order to escape the angry beast. Two henchmen left...

Finally the troll bridge is spotted through the trees and the dead boar is bartered for passage. On to Botkinburg.

When they finally set foot on those fields we know...(a little Lord Dunsany there) they meet a halfling decked out for adventure on his way into the woods! This is rare indeed...but this little guy, a retired adventurer from days gone by, claims that an aged priest has come into the village and is in need of aid. He's dying and has spent his life tracking down religious relics that were stolen from his order's temple long ago. He's found many of them but there are a few remaining..and he thinks that there's one out in the woods with the required knowledge to find them: The Hermit.

Well he's invited the adventurers to join him when he returns in 4 or so days...They've agreed.

On into town they venture, and their they find that autumnal festival is in full swing and that most of the village has gathered at the "Tree" for a day long celebration with free food and beer. They arrange for rooms at the Bent Hook, clean up and plan to join the festivities after returning Halister's body to his family north of town.

A short ride brings them to a shallow gulch wherein lies the Halister family tower...apparently the family has been in the business of wizardry for quite some time. As the two approach a low growl comes from a shadowy copse of bushes near the door. They stop and attempt to control their mounts as they call out to the tower.

The window shutter is flung open and a wizened old woman appears...the news is conveyed and soon a very upset mother and father, thin like sticks and dressed in tattered robes, emerge to collect the remains of their son. They thank Ember and Safara and when offered what is owed to Hallister they scoff and say "What need have we of money?!?" and shuffle off.

This is where we end it for now. Stay tuned... they'll be joining the festivities and options will become known.

NOTE: I've come to the conclusion that old school is fun but the girls are heavily invested in their characters...death upsets them. And losing a character is not what they'd enjoy. So...I've decided to muck with the magic system a bit. In a past Castles and Crusades game we used Al Krombach's spell point system and it worked out well. It is a little high powered for this type of game but it certainly affords the girls a bit of a cushion. I might tone it down as we continue on though...we'll see how it works out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Ever sit down to a movie or television show...or even a book, and after you've delved into it a bit you find out it's not at all what you initially thought? Most of those surprises aren't all that welcome. Most are utter shite.

Last night though was an exception. Our Tuesday night 4E group met with the understanding that we'd be starting up a new group of characters. If you've been following at all you'd be well aware that the previous band of dastardly do-gooders had bit the proverbial bullet in a knock down drag out fight with some...wait for it, ghouls! "Ah" you say to yourself, there's the undead reference.

But you'd be mistaken. Back to the point, we sat down around the table last night and started introducing our characters to one another. As you might imagine we started in a tavern; Staid but nearly necessary in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Around the table we went, first the dragon born paladin, then the eladrin ranger, then me... Oops, nope.

That's right when our DM Wes, piped up and said, "The front doors crash open and a man stumbles in holding his hands to a gaping wound on his neck. Screaming at the top of his lungs, 'You've got to help me'." The doors swing shut, and then Boom! back open again. Another human comes hurtling towards the wounded citizen, knocks him to the ground and starts munching. Uh oh!

This is accompanied with screams and madness from out in the streets. What's happening? Bet you guessed by now. Yeah, zombie apocalypse. Soon we're absolutely over run w/ the rutters. They're everywhere; Coming in through the windows, the doors, everywhere. We're surrounded and are forced to make a stand.

We end up doing pretty well. Laying the initial wave of flesh eating monsters low is quickly accomplished. But that's just the beginning. Our paladin crawls out on the roof after our fight in order to recon the situation. The light of dusk reveals that the entire city seems to be over run. They walk the streets now like stately Sunday strollers...unless they see live bait, then they double time it like a drunken sailor on speed. It's pretty grotesque.

Well it's obvious, we can't stay here long. The whole party gathers on the roof to survey the damage and plan how we're going to get out of this mess alive. Not too far off lies the temple to the Raven Queen, it's burning. Drats! To the east of us lies another large church and it looks like there's a bit of resistance going on there. That's our target we decide. And about this time, more screaming erupts from down below in the bar.

Looking down through the chimney reveals that a few of those "dead" bodies have stood back up and are briskly chasing their meals around. The paladin acts in accordance with his creed and leaps down to save the innocent, while the rest of us stand up there scratching our asses and mumbling about getting the hell to safety. It doesn't take long and the paladin's in a bit of a spot.

Our warlord leaps down to aid him and get the three survivors out of there. They're successful but not before the paladin takes a nasty wound to his arm. (more on that later) With their emergence back on the roof it's decided that we'll use the eladrin's teleport ability and go from rooftop to rooftop and see if we can't possibly make sanctuary at that large church.

We're pretty careful as a group and we seem to work well together. Not everyone agrees all the time, which is natural in a large group (6), but we act in concert for the better of the whole. Not a bad way to get things done. Eventually we make our goal and are standing on a roof top across from a boarded up church.

The eladrin sends an arrow wrapped with a message through the stained glass window facing us. Soon a face appears in the hole and waves. We signal back and send another shaft with a rope attached. It gets tied down and off we go. Soon we're standing in the church with about 40 - 50 survivors.

Long story short, there's enough food for about a week, maybe a week and a half if they really ration. There's plenty of water though, as there's a well in the church proper. The clergy is as confused as we as to what's caused this odd outbreak. Oh, there's a star in the sky too...something we certainly noticed way back when we first emerged upon the roof of the tavern. The mage seemed to know something about a reference to some old story of the coming of a star and the end of the world. Great.

Well if it has happened before there has to be some way to turn it back. That wound on the paladin's arm is pretty nasty. Can't be healed with the normal means and even low level magical seems to be ineffective. There's got to be a way to heal it though, so now we've got a couple of quests ahead of us.

First: Get some food for the refugees in the church so that we can make our escape and head for the capital city for help. I'm not sure that they've faired much better but the attempt has to be made.

Second: Find some kind of cure for this disease that these nasty zombies carry. A library or a sage maybe? Not sure...but we have to try, otherwise the paladin's a goner.

By the end of the session I was a grinning fool. I love this kind of thing and personally I think 4e will work well with it. I'm not going to get into it here, but I think that 4e lends itself better to a strong story-type game, and not well to the looser aspects of a sandbox campaign. Anyway, I'm excited. This is going to be a hoot. Kudos to our DM for surprising us like that. Being old and jaded is more of a burden sometimes than it should be, and things like this make me feel young again.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Recap Labyrinth Lord Part 2

Excellent image from Steve Zieser. Go see his stuff!
Safara - female elf lvl 1
Ember - female 1/2 elf cleric lvl 1

As the day wears on the party marches resolutely through the forested hills of the Tangle Downs, questing for the Ruined Monastery, spoken of by the Duke's huntsman. Burnt, stunted and twisted trees demarcate the area that the group searches for, but after a solid half day's march nothing like this is to be seen.

Truth be told, I rolled and the party was slightly off course, instead of trending straight north, as the huntsman directed, they were heading slightly north north east. But as the group broke for lunch Safara decided to climb a tree and get her bearings. She noticed that the distant ridge was slightly further to the south than it ought to be. She was smart enough to course correct and eventually the party was back on track.

A couple of hours later and the vestiges of an old forest fire became evident, they had found their destination. The rocky knoll mentioned by the huntsman was indeed covered by stunted scrub oak and blood brier bushes, the air thick with malice and the rancid feel of death. Old, weather-worn stones, a rusted chain hanging slack between them, mark an old road that winds its way to the top.

Safara, Ember, Sir Pelinor and Halister decide that all but two of the henchmen should stay at the bottom of the hill and tend to the horses while the rest of the party climb to the top to search the sharded ruins for any clues or treasure. After an hour of searching, Ember comes across a partially concealed wooden doorway lying flat upon the old Monastery floor. They check it, ready torches, and throw it wide, revealing worn stone steps that descend into the black.

Safara takes the lead and slowly descends the stairs, her ten-foot pole carefully tapping the way. An archway leads into a large room with massive square pillars supporting a rent roof, an obvious crack lets in light and water. Which, mixed with the dark cool stone, proves the perfect breeding ground for molds, mildews and fungus, which cover most of the surfaces next to the puddle and one crumbling pillar.

Squeaking from the dark corners indicates that the party is not rats, large as dogs, come out squealing, scampering towards the intruders. Swords, staves and knives flash. One henchman goes down screaming as a couple of the hungry rodents leap upon his back and set to eating anything soft. Eventually, after a few nicks here and there, the rats fall to the victorious party.

After a thorough search the group finds a small, finely carved wooden statue and a silver candle holder. Each is secreted away in a backpack and the group decides that they shall continue.

Safara, again in the lead, taps the way south through a short hallway, into a circular room with a stone pool on the floor and a small diameter hole in the ceiling through which the outdoor sky could be seen. Possibly some sort of room in which to worship the sun, moon or stars? Hard to tell. Now though, the floor is covered in some kind of green fungus or slime.

Safara, ever the careful one, pokes the floor with her staff and the slime actually seems to stick and climb up the pole. She shakes it loose, turns and grabs a torch from one of the henchmen and tries to burn the stuff. The goo flinches back and Ember grabs a flask of oil to help speed the process. Soon the room is clear of the nasty menace.

A careful examination of the room (Safara says she's searching the bottom of the murky pool with her pole.) reveals a finely crafted silver globe. It is hinged, and once opened it disgorges a strange yellow stone.  After a bit more fiddling, it turns out that the "stone" is indeed the tip of a finger bone.

Yet more research reveals that it does not react identically to all members. It sits warm and snug in Embers palm, yet Safara feels ill at ease with it. Strange... It's use is not easily discerned and the party moves on, deeper into the labyrinth.

Here ends part 2. Next, a tussle with some ill-tempered Fae.

And finally, this is a pretty neat little questionnaire (culled from a gleemax forum post) to present to the new group before DMing, in order to get a little feedback on what they're expecting from a game:
  1. Role Playing --- Mix --- Roll Playing 
  2. High --- Mid --- Low Fantasy 
  3. High --- Mid --- Low Magic
  4. High --- Mid --- Low Power 
  5. Dark --- Average --- Light Tone and Mood 
  6. G --- PG --- R Rated descriptions and content 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cool stuff

Noisms over at Monsters and Manuals created this neat little random were-chart that I just idolize. You can see it here.

I had this idea that I am going to implement in my girl's Labyrinth Lord game. The Fae in and around the Tangle Downs are a rather rough bunch, in that there are certainly more of an ill intent than of the benign sort. They're an old race, one that was here before the Eld came, but they've never really done much to enforce their will upon others, which means that they're not as instantly obvious as say the old Eld slave races, like Orcs or Hobgoblins.

Saying that though, since humans have come upon the scene relatively recently, the Fae are becoming a wee bit more militant about their elbow room. In the past there was more of a balance, but now that their land is in jeopardy, the Unseelie court and Queen Ylfrit have tipped the scales in their favor.

Anyway, I've got this idea regarding all of the Fae's allies. I was going to utilize all the standards; Things like Ents, Red Caps, Spriggans, etc. But one of the things that I really latched on to was the idea that lycanthropes would be utilized as spies. I mean c'mon, the moon, the Unseelie Court and lycanthropes? It's like kittens and a ball of yarn. They just go together.


This is going to be short, but I thought I'd write down a few thoughts I had about last night's game.

I've been playing in a 4E game with some guys, cause, well frankly, because that's what's available. Anyway, our DM Wes, had set us on a mission to rescue some villagers from the Valley. They had been captured by some hobgoblins and taken into this old abandoned minotaur city. Well, we went after them. Duh.

Turns out that it's not REALLY the hobgoblins that are to blame for this, but rather it seems a crooked group of powerful mages have swiped them in order to use them as blackmail leverage to get us to do some dirty work for them. Some items had been heisted and they wanted them found with as little fuss as possible. We didn't really have much of a choice; Fight the mages, or work for them. Hmmm, option two seemed reasonable.

I'm playing a thief named Thoth Amon (heh...yeah, I love REH and the names he comes up with.), who's this Babylonian looking dude from the darker side of a port town. He's a rough customer who doesn't hold much faith in human nature, but he's willing to give most a chance at "redemption". The first thing that Thoth wants to do is run this mage (The Arcanis) through for forcing him into this situation. But he's convinced by his party members that this isn't a "prudent" course of action.

Well fast forward: There were a couple of quests that were levied upon us; The pay out was of course the villager's freedom. Hrmph... The first quest was completed without much adieu and 1/2 of the villagers were released.

It was the second quest that proved a bit more interesting, to say the least. I'm not going to go into a play by play, but simply put, we were tasked with finding the second set of these stolen artifacts (I'm having trouble believing that all of these things were stolen and spread out amongst all these different factions, but hey, I'm just the messenger right?) which were to be found with a group of gnolls taking refuge in an old abandoned temple to Baphomet.

Sounds kinda shaky to me. Turns out I wasn't too far off. We get through this portal that takes us to the temple and we emerge into this large room with 3 archways leading off of it. (including the one we were currently in.) 5 huge pillars, carved to look like minotaurs stood at random places in the room and in the far corner was a low, square well.

First thing, the paladin steps into the room and sets off these magic mouths, which deliver some type of message to the faithful. We ignore them and he proceeds to the well, looks down, and WHAM! A huge set of tentacles reaches up and nabs him. Boom! We're in a fight for our lives.

Add in a couple of ghouls hiding in the shadows and a few chokers scrambling in from overhead, and you've got a big ol passle of trouble with a capital "T". Can you see any kind of a theme in the above mentioned adversaries? They can all grab, immobilize and / or stun. This was a bit of an issue and turned out to be our undoing.

It didn't take long. 5 PCs bit the dust in quick succession. We made a few tactical blunders, which in 4E can spell doom in a quick way. You really do have to be decent with tactics in this newest iteration of the game. Oh, and I forgot to mention, but we were short a "defender", or rather a fighter, and that my friend was probably the largest contributor to our demise.

So in the end, we got the ass end chewed out and wrapped the evening up rolling up new characters.

My take on this whole debacle? I LOVED it! Seriously. One of the largest complaints I've had regarding 4E is that there's a huge safety net, which sort of fuzzies the distinct edges of danger. And I don't like that. I want my game to be decidedly nasty. I want to know that there's a very real chance that I won't succeed and that if I do, I've done something above and beyond the norm. 

That was one of the huge differences between the earlier games and today's version: Back then there was absolutely no preconceived notion that you were going to make it. In fact it was quite the opposite. IF you made it you knew that it was because you were either VERY lucky or VERY cunning. Or both.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A recap of my LL game

Well, it's been a while since I've written...and that's not right. So, in lieu, I've decided to write a bit of a recap (and background) of the Labyrinth Lord game that I'm running for my daughters.

Background: Each of the girls rolled up stats using the 3d6 method but I allowed them to swap one stat for another. I know, I know, softy. But hey, they're my girls! My eldest wanted to really play an elf, and she rolled like you wouldn't believe. She had an 18 and nothing lower than a 10. I mean c'mon... Pretty amazing.

My youngest rolled high as well, just not quite as high as my eldest. She wanted to play an elf as well but when she heard about the cleric she wanted to play an elf cleric. Hmmmm OK, so how to navigate this? Turns out she just wants to "look" like an elf. She actually sort of looks like an elf in real life (small and thin w/ spritely features).

So what do you do for a wee little one who wants to "look" like an elf? Well, you make her the first 1/2 elf of course!

Safara: Elf level 1
Ember: 1/2 elf cleric of Freya level 1

I opted for a sandbox-type campaign and drew up my own map while borrowing freely from other sources. The "land" doesn't yet have a name but the campaign itself is called the Eastern Verge. Many of the names of areas, rivers, streams, hills, etc. come from other sources. Ben Robbins Western Marches was a great inspiration and I've culled items from Scott over atWilderlands OD&D as well as some wonderful ideas from James over at Grognardia. As you can imagine, it's a potpourri of inspiration.

The small border town that the characters have started out in is named Botkinburg, borrowed freely from Troll Lord's Castles and Crusades setting, which sits nestled comfortably on the western back of the Hreusen river, which itself constitutes the far eastern border of the "Kingdom". Like Ben's setting, all is wild and untrammeled beyond the town. Not many have ventured far into the wilds and no one in their right mind goes looking for trouble.

Generally, the land is in a temperate to tropic climatological zone with foliage and weather much like southern Florida. (minus the hurricanes) There are forested lands hills to the east that rise gently to a broken ridge, that juts out of the ground by up to as much as 100' in certain spots. Along this flows the Hruesen which bends around in a large arc. On top of this ridge lies a different zone, consisting of sparse trees, intense heat and flat expansive lands, much like a massive mesa.

To the north lies a large ancient forest, wherein reside all types of unknown creatures. (duh) And to the south lies swamps and eventually a fetid jungle, wherein lies a forgotten city and the entrance to the "mega dungeon". (I'm using the old JG Caverns of Thracia as my mega.)

Within one day's ride (and closer) lie many different types of features and encounters. I'm using the old JG Judges Ready Ref Sheets and Kellri's excellent Encounters pdf to flesh things out a bit, but beyond the random encounters and events are many set encounters. For instance, the "troll bridge" or more commonly known as the "toll bridge" (most have never actually visited the place) which of course has a resident troll acting as bridge guardian. But this troll is different; He's actually quite old, reasonable, and civilized.

There a very strong contingent of fey living amongst the wilds and therefore many places that are sacred to them as well. Toadstool rings, groves and hidden pools lie in abundance, but not in obvious places.

I've tried to set it up so that it promotes a sense of exploration and adventure. I've seeded it with ancient, dead cultures, mysterious races, malign guardians, forgotten cities and all sorts of oddities...hopefully each of them leads our intrepid adventurers onward, deeper into the wilderness.

Safara and Ember start at the Bent Hook, broke and looking for money. They've both heard that there is much adventure and of course loot to be found to the east, which in turn led them on their far trek here, to Botkinburg.

After hiring a total of 6 henchmen and attracting a few followers; a wayward knight named SirPellinor and his companion, the mage Halister the Grey (I know, I know, hugely creative.), they set forth into the wilderness, heading south along the river Hruesen.

A few hours south of the town of Botkinburg the group comes upon the "Toll Bridge", which in point of fact appears more as ruins surrounding a very old stone bridge spanning a particularly narrow and deep point in the Hruesen. Deciding that this would be a good place to break for lunch, the group breaks out food and spreads out amongst the trees, but soon the strange "snap", "snap" of sticks breaking amongst the ruins distracts the group.

Safara and Ember approach the tumbled ruins of what appeared at one time to be a tower, from opposing directions. They come upon a giant crab dismembering the carcass of a deer amidst the giant stones. It detects them and comes scrambling up quickly, claws swinging wide, searching for fresh food. The henchmen scramble quickly away from the oversize horror as Sir Pellinor and Halister run to join their comrades.

The battle was a tight thing as the giant crab is quite a fearsome opponent. Initially the heroes have a very difficult time piercing the thick chitinous shell and the mighty claws present an even more deadly obstacle. It's a tight thing initially, but after a magic missile from Safara and a critical strike with her staff, the beast is brought to the ground.

Both Safara and Ember decided that since they were so close to the bridge in the first place that they'd check it out... And soon they figured out that it wasn't "Toll" bridge, but Troll bridge, as a grey-skinned beast emerged from  beneath and declared that a toll for crossing was due. This was either 1 goat per traveler, or something similar.

Ember came up with crab meat as an offering and bartered the crossing of the entire party out of the giant crustacean. Not that the group necessarily wanted to cross but hey...the opportunity presented itself and viola! cross the bridge the party went.

Once upon the opposite side they decide to investigate the other tower that guards this side of the ancient bridge. In a more intact state, this tower in fact has an occupant; a giant spider has spun her web and claimed this as her hunting grounds. But Safara is not a fool as she sees cobweb blowing in the breeze through the open archway, she strikes flame to a torch and tosses it through the opening, quickly catching webs alight and forcing the hideous occupant out through the smoking top.

The hairy beast quickly scuttles down the wall and drops directly on Ember, who screams, arms waving as she desperately attempts to dislodge the unwelcome guest. Safara draws her dagger and strikes the arachnid a telling blow as it tries to sink it's mandibles into Ember's no avail. Ember then quickly grabs a leg tossing the spider against the wall where she then brings her staff to bear squishing the nasty beast with one blow.

After the brief fight, Safar finds an ancient skeleton lying amidst the leaves and detritus in the bottom of the now scorched tower and next to it lies a mouldering and rotted leather pack wherein the find a small sack of silver and copper coins of unknown mint. They take these and continue their journey.

The group hiked for a little ways into the forested hills, trending generally northwards, destination unknown. As evening approaches the group searches for a spot to make camp. A rocky knoll presents a tenable location and the party members break out their gear and food after brushing down the horses.

During their evening meal, just as the sun is setting, a gruff voice calls out from the woods. "Ho the camp...Would you mind company for the sake of safety?" A grizzled man dressed in greens and brown leathers emerges from the edge of the woods at the foot of the hill, arms spread wide. He claims that he's one of the Duke's huntsmen and that the party has actually camped for the eve on the huntsman's traditional spot.

Safara and Ember confer, and agree that it would be fine if the huntsman joined. Turns out though that there's more than just one huntsman, as a group of six more emerge from the woods carrying their recent prey between them. There is no danger though, as the Duke's men seem, if not a bit rough around the edges, an honest group.

The head huntsman is questioned later that evening regarding the bridge troll and the immediate area. He tells the two that the troll is benign as long as the toll is paid..The immediate area though is far from benign. Safara and Ember ask if there are any areas close by that might yield some type of treasure, for that is what they are by profession; adventurers.

Scratching his head, the grizzled old huntsman says that this wood, the Tangle Downs, is plenty dangerous, but that the huntsmen steer clear of anything that's obviously not going to produce any game. One of those places is an old abandoned monastery to the north of here, not more than a half-day journey. It sits atop a stony knoll, surrounded by burnt and stunted trees. Just a series of tumbled stone blocks outlining the old abbey, there are rumors of things that roam at night, guarding unknown treasures from bygone days.

Perfect! This is the opportunity that the group is looking for, and with the coming of the sun they set off...

(For James M's Ruined Monastery)