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DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:15 am
by JediOre
Herein begins the third and final adventure me and my pals played through on our annual October GameFest (this year it was a 2-day celebration).

Keep in mind that spoilers are thick beyond this point.

Also, I game using Troll Lord's Castles & Crusades rule set, with some house ruling.

The Players:

Nightwing's 5th level ranger, Greyson. Greyson uses the matched and magical set of blades: Whisker the rapier and Fenis the dagger. He also carries the Lens of Detection.

Ragnar1965's 4th level lady Cleric/Wizard, Madriel. Madriel carries the fabled Eye of the Night, a magical gem given to her to protect by the druid Thistle of Fairweather.

and JediWife's 5th level elven maiden archer who uses Lord Tulwar's cold iron sword and a mighty composite bow carved from the bone of a dragon in combat.

For those interested in this characters previous explotes with the DCC line, here is the link to their last adventure: ... =62&t=7114

They have become heroes in Blessings-Be. Next post will be them heading north.

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:58 pm
by JediOre
Okay, so here begins were we picked up Saturday morning, way back on October 30, 2010.

They party members are all celebrities in Blessings-Be. During the feast and celebration, they are approached by a representative of the Company of the Barrens. I explain to the players that this fellow tells the party about a small trading post, Ambroshea Trades, and how the Company of the Barrens are needing trustworthy individuals to aid them "investigate the late return of traders and their furs from Fort Assinaboine."

Both Ragnar1965 and Nightwing quiz me about the money being offered and after a few moments they realize that this representative can give them no real specifics. I tell them that the fact they have freed Blessings-Be from a terrible evil has persuaded him to offer them the opportunity. I tell them that the Company of the Barrens would most likely be very happy to reimburse them nicely.

So off they go, heading north to Ambroshea Trades to solve a mystery. On the way, they aid several groups of sheep-herders from something that both terrified them at night and would eat one or two sheep every week. It turned out to be a fun-loving silver dragon youth who was having a blast freaking out the peasants and truly enjoyed the sweat taste of sheep when he could sneak away from his parents.

After many days, the party arrived at Ambroshea Trades. There they met with Velka Snur, a dwarven partner in the Company of the Barrens. He, in turn, takes the party to the Great Hall and introduced them to Darston Isles, the Chief Factor in The Company of the Barrens. Isles explained that for the past six months the fur trade in the north has been "disrupted by the internecine warfare of the Elthen Heldenu Danne and the Tanen Tulwe Danne." He went on,

"Now things have gotten completely out of hand and we have reported no returns from Fort Assinaboine: worse the company partner and his crew did not come south for the summer rendezvous. I fear they are stuck at their post or worse. I would like to hire you to travel on foot to Fort Assinaboine to find out what has happened, secure the furs, and to take direction from our wintering partner, Will'o Fraser as to what can be done to improve the situation."

With that on the table, we go back and forth with their questions until they are satisfied with the deal. They understand the PCs are to travel to Fort Assinaboine, which is next door to the native village of Longwinter and make contact with Fraser. I explain the tribes of the Danne as similar to Indian tribes. I tell them the Tanen Tulwe tribe "have been afflicted with some sort of sickness that has caused them not to trade at any of our fur trade posts this year." One of the players were very interested in these tribes. I think it was JediWife since she has Indian blood in her. I also tell them that according to Isles, the Tanen Tulwe Danne blame the fur traders for the sickness and have began to worship Anguta, the "Cold Spirit," out of desperation. Anguta is a dark and evil god and Isles fears no good will come of this.

When we got down to the money aspect, Ragnar1965 always comes to the fore. His slogan is "we are a cash kind of party" and he enjoys the haggle of a very good wage. Amazingly, when Isles offered 250gp to find out what is going one and to secure the fort and the furs, a bonus of 1000gp, Ragnar1965 did not decide to haggle. Isles also added and additional 1000gp if they party can put a stop to these wars.

After that was done, Isles turns the party back to the dwarf Velka Snur to get them properly outfitted. Boy did it gall them when I made them pay for their cold weather gear! :lol: They argued that they were working for The Company of the Barrens, so why should they have to pay the Company for gear to complete the task. I told them the dwarf said, we are a cash kind of company and don't give out hand outs.

And so they set out with a map showing them to travel along the Ambroshea River to the Heart of the Danne River and then north to the village of Longwinter.

More to come.

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:49 am
by JediOre
While heading toward Fort Assinaboine the party had a run in with the natives.

I explained to the players that Greyson the ranger had begun to notice they were being watched from across the frozen river. After being trailed and watched for several hours, Nightwing wanted his ranger to intercept one of these individuals. So I told him that at some point along their travels, across the river, they spotted yet another Danne warrior watching them, Nightwing had the ranger stride onto the frozen river in an attempt to contact these people. Several more of the natives appeared from the woods and aimed bows at Greyson. Nightwing, JediWife, and Ragnar1965 all huddled for a moment and decided that it was not worth getting into a direct battle with the natives, especially since they really had no idea how many of them their were, besides they hoped the may be able to unravel this war going on and felt they needed to remain "above the fray" if possible. Therefore, Nightwing had his ranger put out his hands in a show of peace and began to slowly back away, returning to his companions.

The rest of the trip lasted, in game terms, several more days, but I glossed it over with a few descriptions of the frigid weather and the quiet, constant watch that faded out about a day prior to arriving at Fort Assinaboine.

When they arrived at Fort Assinaboine I described the scene in Oppedisano's words as, "blood on the snow, the ringing sounds of battle and the sharp smells of death." The fort was a charred and burned out shell with only one standing building holding out against the raging Danne warriors who were completely focused upon slitting the throats of the wounded and breaking into the last hold out of the traders.

Beyond this carnage lie the Danne village of Longwinter, which seemed to Greyson to be deserted since no smoke rose from any of the pit houses.

The players had to now decide what their characters were going to do, intervene in the battle or let it play out and try to remain on friendly terms with the natives.

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Wed May 04, 2011 4:27 pm
by JediOre
After just a moment, the all agreed that the primary need was to protect the remnant of the Company of the Barrens. They sneak up on the attacking warriors and with a Sound Burst from Madriel, the party attacked. They were able to defeat the Danne warriors, but as my players were to find out, each battle in this module bit heavily into their hit points.

They rescued Will'o Fraser and his loyal group of natives. I had Fraser tell the party that he was not prepared for the suddenness or viciousness of the war between the Tanen Tulwe and the Elthen Heldenu tribes that has been wide-spread all winter. The "loyal natives" with Fraser are from the Elthen Heldenu tribe. The reason for this bitter feud was, according to the Elthen Heldenu, was that the Tanen Tulwe stole the Elthen Heldenu's totem, the Nasota-bettagh. The Nasota-bettagh is a fertility idol and it was brought to the village of Candata de Hhaiyye, or in the common tongue, Longwinter by the Tanen Tulwe leader Snowleopard. The natives state that the war cannot end until the vile Tanen Tulwe return the idol. Further, the Elthen Heldenu will not go into Longwinter as the village is accursed. They ask the PCs to examine the village closely and notice that no life beyond ragged dogs that wander about. No smoke or laughter or talk can be heard either day or night. They claim that the wicked spirit of Anguta, "the gatherer of the dead, the winter spirit, and the cold," now resides within Longwinter.

Fraser appeals to the PCs to go into the village and find the idol. Only by finding this idol will the war be stopped. He is firm about the fact that he is getting all the furs that remain and is high-tailing it back to Ambroshea Trades. There is nothing left of Fort Assinaboine to keep him here. He points to the north sky and tells the PCs that the weather is beginning to take on the appearance of a bad storm. Dark clouds were boiling over the northern mountains and flashes of lightening can be seen. He also speaks to the PCs and tells them that "the terrible wasting sickness that has been affecting the Tanen Tulwe." Fraser thinks that there must be a link between this sickness and their desire to steal the Elthen Heldenu's idol Nasota-bettagh. He has concluded that, in his opinion, this sickness must be coming from the river and has forbidden his men and allies from drinking it. He has noticed over the last several months, by keeping from drinking the water from the river and using melted snow, neither he or his men, nor any of the Elthen Heldenu allies had shown any signs of madness or wasting that are symptoms of this illness.

All three players take all this in and head their PCs right at the village of Longwinter.

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:05 pm
by JediOre
I explain the village of Longwinter is just across the frozen river across a rotten looking bridge. They opted to cross the river and leave the bridge alone.

Longwinter "appears to be ring upon ring of small mounds nestled amidst the trees and fields along the Hendata De Danne River. Towards the center of the village, four tall, intricately carved and finely painted poles can be seen towering over the pit houses." The village seemed to be empty of inhabited except for a dangerous wolf-dog pack. The players thought it would be wise to have two of their characters, Greyson and Maderiel, light and carry torches to keep the pack at bay. If they thought that wasn't working, they had JediWife's elf, Alura, have her bow at ready to fire an arrow. They did have several close calls with the wolf-dogs. I explained that Greyson figures that these animals were hungry and were both frightened and feral. All three PCs had numerous cuts from the previous battle. The blood on their clothes was also aiding in emboldening the beasts.

With the exception of a few nips from the wolf-dogs, the party became more and more puzzled by the fact that houses were all empty. Several of the houses had been burnt to boot. The smoking pit house disturbed them. Nightwing had his ranger carefully examine the pemmican and came to the conclusion it was human flesh. The natives had fallen into cannibalism! But where were they? They then came to the totem poles. I think by this point they had all become very suspicious and, if I may say so, a bit jumpy. Due to this, they were not surprised when the raven totems animated and flew towards the PCs. The fight was again intense and left Alura on the ground stunned.

Next they examined the food cache pit house and found the numerous leather bags were not only empty, but "appear to have been chewed before they were discarded." Glances went about the table. The mystery deepened. While they looked about in this pit house, they began to hear disembodied whispers, almost gibbering and unhinged. Quickly, two incorporeal beings oozes out of the floor and begin enveloping both Greyson and Madriel. I begin to have the players making saving throws but not telling them why. I tell them that each of them fell the babbling seems to fill their ears and minds to the exclusion of everything else.

This was a dangerous and unnerving fight. Ragnar1965 failed Madriel's save and the cleric/magic-user fell into a slack-jawed stupor. Nightwing did not take this sitting down and had Greyson pull forth Whisker and Fenis and attacked with everything he had. JediWife puzzled for a moment and had Alura pull forth Lord Tulwar's cold iron sword and rushed to the aid of Ragnar1965's PC.

At the end of the battle, Alura found her weapons to have been ineffective (JediWife had Alura take Madriel's magic staff to attack with), Madriel had lost several points of wisdom, that they found out later was but temporary, and Greyson's player, Nightwing, had several excellent rolls in both attack and damage. He seems to be charmed with Whisker and Fenis!

Lastly, they headed to the Great Pit House, the center building that was beside the totem poles. It was here, they hoped, would be either the fertility idol of the Etthen Heldelu--the Nasota-bettagh, or answers as to what has happened to it.

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:50 pm
by JediOre
Within the great pit house the party encountered Snowleopard, the "powerful shaman of the Tanen Tulwe Danne" and her pet/companion Chagun'te, a wolverine.

Even nine months later I can recall the argument that came from Snowleopard calling down lightning upon the party when they were inside the great pit house. Ragnar1965 is somewhat of a stickler when it comes to rules, and in Castles & Crusades, Call Lightning cannot be cast indoors. Well, this module was written with 3.5 in mind and I did not think to comb the spells to check for consistences.

The long and short of this combat was I smacked them with a lightning bolt and got dirty looks and grumbles about not following the rules.

The fight was actually quit short with Greyson taking down the wolverine with Whisker and Fenis while Madriel and Alura killed the insane Snowleopard. By the way, spike growth is a great spell to keep melee combatants at bay, but Snowleopard's spell did not keep away the arrows and magic missiles!

Ragnar1965 was very interested in Snowleopard's spear, but I'll get to that in a moment.

What the party really focused on was the story pole carving the dead shaman had been working on. It had seven distinct images and, when read from left to right, told the story of how the village of Longwinter came to be in the horrible shape it was. Woman drew water from the river, and it was here the players figured that at least Snowleopard believed it was the Heart of the Danne River that was the source of the evil. The next scene had the young and old sick. The third image had warriors sneaking into a village and stealing away with a carved idol. The fourth has both tribes, the wolf and the raven, fighting one another along with the animals the venerate. The fifth image has a woman (they figured Snowleopard) going up stream and giving the idol to "a strange looking humanoid creature at the edge of a pool of water in front of a glacier." The next-to-last image has the healthy members of the village ill while the young and old are dead and being burned on pyres with their ashes being gathered into urns. The seventh, and last, scene carved on the pole "is one of pure madness; for it shows images of cannibalism in the village."

This gave the players food for thought. While the pondered on what to do, I had them all roll listen checks. The ranger heard the whimpering cries of the wolf/dog pack. They had their PCs rush to the door of the great pit house to see numerous villagers who should be dead creeping towards the door. Ragnar1965 begins rattling off various undead he knows in hopes he'll get some sort of reaction from me, for he knows, perhaps better than JediWife, and much better than Nightwing, just how bad a large group of undead can be. I told him these beings moved with an almost canine like grace and several licked their lips in, what seemed, anticipation. Grabbing up the loot they found in Snowleopard's home, they made a break for it. They got as far as the central clearing and it became obvious they were surrounded. At this point, Ragnar1965 decided to attempt to turn at least some of the beasts. He rolled a natural-20 and all these creatures took off as fast as they could into the snowy landscape.

The party did the same, only they were following the river northwards!

Snowleopard's wolf spear turned out to be an undead bane and had something very special. But that will have to be discussed in my next post.

Sorry this posts are appearing at the speed of slow, but it's the best I can do these days.

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:09 pm
by GnomeBoy
Love the scene of the undead gracefully stalking the PCs! :twisted:

And the lucky 20 must've lead to a collective sigh of relief from the players. :lol:

How do you remember things so far back? I've missed a session in my report, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to re-construct it from two-and-a-half weeks ago...

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:17 pm
by JediOre
GnomeBoy wrote:How do you remember things so far back? I've missed a session in my report, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to re-construct it from two-and-a-half weeks ago...
The real question is why can't I remember my kid's birthdays, or my wife's, or my parent's. I can't remember names of co-workers I've worked with for ten years or folks I've worshiped with for years!

But I can recall stuff that has no real-world importance. :roll:

Honestly, gaming with my friends almost creates a movie in my head that sticks with me for a long time. Some of the stuff blurs over time, but much of it seems as if I read it in a paperback novel. Once we hit the ice caves, the fights all blur and I don't recall more than just bits and pieces as I'm sure you see once I get the next several posts up. Most frustrating of all is the fact that I have almost no memory of the final encounter; it was late by that point and I was half-asleep. :lol:

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:39 pm
by GnomeBoy
My Anniversary is etched inside of my wedding band.

Just sayin'... :mrgreen:

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:40 pm
by JediOre
GnomeBoy wrote:My Anniversary is etched inside of my wedding band.

Just sayin'... :mrgreen:
And mine is safely tucked in my wallet! :wink:

Re: DCC #43-The Curse of the Barrens, My C&C Game

Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:21 am
by JediOre
As they traveled north, Madriel, the bearer of Snowleopard’s Spear, fell into a trance and experienced a vision. She saw the unfolding of a Danne myth concerning the creation of the Hexas, the twelve evil Witches of the Eternal Flame, by the god Ocasta. Madriel than saw the death of the god Ocasta, his body burned, and the separating of his ashes into twelve “vessels made of clay.” Madriel saw one of the vessels containing the Ashes of Ocasta given to a Hexas who, in turn, carved ruins upon a stone which she than places the clay vessel. This Hexas is “pure malevolence and rage and she twists and contorts about the vessel.” After this vision, Madriel felt herself being rushed “towards a pile of stones, stacked in the shape of a person, called an inukshuk. The inukshuk is on the edge of the lake flowing out of the base of a glacier.” She then felt a deep, biting cold that chilled her to the bone and powerful hunger pains that lasted beyond her awaking from her trance.

I told Ragnar1965, that Madriel had just been visited by a vision from Torngasak, the Good Spirit. Ragnar1965 was puzzled why only his character experienced the vision, so I had him make a wisdom check on behalf of Madriel. He rolled well and I informed him that his cleric/magic-user concluded that it was Snowleopard’s Spear that must have been the channeling device. This pleased Rangar1965 a lot, and he has plans on further exploring this as time permits.

After some time the party arrives at the beginnings of the Danne River. The river’s headwaters come from a glacier which has produced a small lake. It is from this lake that the river begins its journey to the sea. At the edge of the lake is the inukshuk, the man image made of stones, which Madriel saw in her vision. The gang has their PCs explore about this lake without disturbing the quiet of the lake. They find an opening in the glacier which they elect to explore. They find a crazed bear-like beast that rips into them. After about two rounds of combat this un-natural monster died.

(As a side note, let me say that while no one encounter at the Glacial Lair of the Ingvildr gave the party too much difficulty, the constant battles really worn down the PCs hit points and drained Madriel of all her cleric spells and most of her wizard spells. It was fun watching them fight a war of attrition!)

With the exploration of this ice cave, the players concluded that they were going to have to get their PCs wet and venture into the icy lake. It was then that they grabbed onto the feeling of bone-chilling cold from Madriel’s vision. They reasoned this must represent one of them must wade out to the inukshuk and do “something.” Nightwing volunteers his ranger to get his feet wet. They send him out there and have Greyson do different things. The only thing I recall is they placed some item on the inukshuk as an offering of sorts. None of their ideas bore fruit. Madriel casts, or had already cast endure elements on the party and they all move into the lake to examine it. I told them that it is quite clear and, except for where the glacier has small waterfalls at the north end of the lake, it is also still. This gives the PCs a clear view of the lake’s bed in most places. Inevitably, they realize that the mystery must be at the base of the glacier and with some search find a tunnel in the ice, beneath the water at the base of the glacier.

After discussion, the three of them decide to have Madriel swim into the tunnel and explore. She is to keep hold of Snowleopard’s Spear while she explores. They tie a rope to her in the event she needs to be pulled out quickly. I tell Ragnar1965 that the ice tunnel dips down and everything takes on a pale blue cast as sunlight diffuses through the ice. The spell-caster soon breaks the surface of the water and came into a dimly lit ice cavern. Two small, man-like beings—creatures no more than a yard tall and seemingly fey—are setting at the water’s edge and are without clothing. Ragnar1965 has Madriel hold up her free hand in a gesture of friendship and both creatures magically flit upwards towards the ceiling and begin swinging slings. It seems they are not friendly (and Ragnar1965 only gives folks one chance to be peacable)!