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 Post subject: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:42 pm 
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Posts: 61
First off, I wanted to create a thread that both would track my groups new CWR campaign but also show the DM side as far as prep and storylines before each session. I am the kind of DM that likes to prep as much as possible so I’m ready for the curve balls that I know the players will throw. Maybe this thread will give more insight into what was behind the things in the campaign and the design setup prior to each session and then the results of each session. I figured it would be fun for everyone to see the prep work before the action each week. Our first session is this Sunday so I thought tonight would be a good night to start this.

I have been DMing D&D for about 20 years and know the ins and outs pretty well. Our campaign is running under the 3.5 edition with the rule changes from Monte Cooks Books of Experimental Might I&II. Since we were using these changes, to keep balance I house ruled that only the basic core books would be involved. (The DMG,MM,PHP,PHPII) When I decided to run this great DCC, I first took the setting of The Kingdom of Morrain and made it the campaign setting instead of just CWR because I’m sure there will be interludes thrown in.
Thus the design work started, I wanted to flesh out as much for the players as possible so I created a website for new players to get the info from. The website is located here:

http://www.kingdomofmorrain.zapto.org

Now that the campaign was set I had to have lively characters to go with a great story. In the next post I will show how I took the Pre-Gens from the pages of CWR and turned them into both up and coming heroes as well as having unique backstories that fit the campaign.

The assumption was that the Lord of Cillamar has put out a yearly call for adventurers to plunder the depths of CWR for the last 5 years (We will go into this a little later) but that was basically the only hook I had as to why the players were coming to Cillamar from far reaches of the planet. This is where I began designing the back stories for the Pre-Gens.

Next up character story building…..

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:00 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 61
Design Diary
Character: Sir Torsten Trueblade (Pre-Gen)
Class: Paladin
Race: Human
Backstory and notes:

(First off I wanted to create a Paladin that was not along the traditional lines. Someone that was driven and had a cause. )

Both of his parents died in the great war that is going on North of Morrain, leaving Torsten to fend for himself like many of the other refugees that are now in Cillamar. He was considered a disgrace by his parents when he was young. Always getting into trouble and had problems with city guards and locals constantly. Since their death however Torsten has took up the Paladins code hoping one day to become a member of The Argent Dawn (A special group of Paladins under Morrains king that serves him and the kingdom with diligence.) He is the middle child in a small family, he has 2 brothers who now pretend that he isn't even alive, if possible. Their whereabouts at the current time is unknown since being driven into the Kingdom of Morrain. Luckily, though, the character also has earned the respect of the Argent Dawn for saving one of their own and they provided him with some food and equipment. He was also knighted by the king. Thus earning him his "Sir" title. Even if it was just a gesture of thanks.

(I wanted to give him his Sir name but not have it mean what is typical for a paladin. Kinda like a token gesture. I also wanted him to be kind of a loner so I gave him a family that disagreed with his earlier choices and not one but two missing brothers would give plenty of room to parlay this into interludes away from CWR or even have them involved in CWR, not sure how I was going to use the twist but I wanted one there.)

Torsten saved a traveling Argent Dawn from certain death. Since then, the Argent Dawn has appeared several times to help the character make difficult decisions. While not a mentor, the figure has certainly spurred the character on in his search for adventure. Recently the Argent Dawn has appeared and told Torsten to head for Cillamar and answer the call for adventurers to delve into "Castle Whiterock". Convincing him that this was an important step toward becoming an Argent Dawn. Becoming one with the group is now Torstens only goal and whatever is up there in that castle stands between him and what he seeks.

(Ok had to give him the mission. But even in this I had a subplot. The group of Paladins that Lady Chauntessa spurred towards CWR 31 years earlier, to slay Benthos had a key plot in this choice since the Argent Dawn that is helping Torsten had a brother that was in this group of Paladins that disappeared in CWR. While surely not sending Torsten toward CRW just for personal reasons the Argent Dawn could not help but wonder what happened to his brother although he has not revealed this to Torsten yet.)

He has been asked by this Agent Dawn to "set right what is wrong". There are evils and inhumanities going on in that place that must be stopped at all cost.

Torsten has found his task.... he now rides toward Cillamar.....

(And therefore we had our first pre-gen riding toward Cillamar….)

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 61
Design Diary:
Character: Euphrosyne (Pre-Gen)
Class: Wizard
Race: Elf
Backstory and notes:

(With one loner on the way to CWR I wanted to keep the trend going, so where was I going to pull a elf wizard from that was going to make him intriguing and fit the group profile that was forming in my head. )

Both of his parents died (This seemed to be a running trend in my head) after he reached maturity. He idolized his father but disliked his mother because of her fear of magic and the arcane, while his father dabbled in and accepted magic as part of nature. He is an only child. His family is an old, established one and he has never lived anywhere else as far as anyone can remember except among his own kind deep within the Sylvan Woods. (Sylvan Elf) Well, truthfully, the family was never liked by any of the old elven families and they were merely accepted. Now that his parents are gone he has felt alone and no longer at home in the Sylvan Woods. He has made a few enemies while learning the magic ways that his father taught him. He has a small group (about five people) who consider him an enemy who use(s) divine magic against him. You see Euphrosyne was never supposed to learn magic. The elders choose who gets to learn and he wasn't among them. Another reason that his family was shunned by the rest of the clan. Luckily, though, he also has a single important friend (One on the Elders Council) who can help him do scholarly research into ancient lore when needed. As for companions, he has no important companions and no friends outside his secret one on the council.

(The ultimate loner, shunned by his very people, I certainly wanted to exploit this at some point thus I was a little vague about the 5 people. I only told the player to think of Harry Potter and how some of the kids in slitherin picked on him. I said I guess none of the other reindeer wanted you to join in on any of the reindeer games.)

He witnessed a terrible magical accident (The reason for his parents deaths). This taught him respect for arcane and divine powers. He is extra careful when using any of his magic and refuses to use it for mundane purposes.

Euphrosyne heard the call for adventuring types for the trip to Castle Whiterock and has headed for Cillamar as a tribute to his father. His father had always talked of going to explore the old castle. "What mysteries it must contain." his father would always tell him. Of course then mother would always talk him out of it or keep him from going. Now it is his turn to do what his father never could. To make his father proud, and to earn respect with his people by bringing back knowledge and new magics. To him this is the biggest quest one could expect and he intends on seeing it through to the end.

(Now came the fun part of tying it into CWR, lets just say that his parents may not be dead and it may have to do with the demi-hold in CWR., details are not in stone yet but I’m betting it will end up being some kind of teleportation mishap into the castle that got them trapped. Or at least their souls. Still stitching this one together.)

So we now had two of Pre-Gens done....

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 61
Design Diary:
Character: Danicia Elatine
Class: Rogue
Race: Half Elf
Backstory and notes:

(After two serious characters I needed a break and my group of pre-gens needed some comic relief. I thought this rogue was the perfect ticket. Mostly inspired by the picture of the rogue from the CWR book itself. )

This female is a real character; she wants nothing more than to enjoy life. She is a naturally playful and happy person, and not much gets her down for long. Her world is a fun place—she is not naive, but rather chooses to see the humor in things. Although more or less trustworthy, she isn't very industrious or dependable. In part, this is because she is flighty and easily distracted. Although not reckless, she is no coward and gets a thrill out of danger. She's very easygoing about things and comes across as genuinely warm, charming, and friendly, which happens often since she deeply enjoys personal interaction (which she does with a lot of laughing, flirting, physical touching, and eye contact). As much as she likes to talk and laugh with others, she is actually very closed about her internal world and background, and she always finds a slippery way to change that subject. Cultural norms don't play an important role for her, except that she enjoys breaking them—not because she enjoys chaos, but simply because she thinks most rules are uselessly restrictive. This is one reason why she frequently engages in pranks and practical jokes, to shake things up and "punish" people who are too serious.

(A real prankster, even I would love to play this character. It has a lot of roleplaying potential.)

She is a very erotic creature, largely because she finds flirting and sex to be fun. She can be brazen in her sexual expression, although she knows when to turn it off. Her advances tend to be crude, but that doesn't mean she isn't picky. She can also be true to one person...just not for very long, since she will eventually be distracted by someone new.

She also has no real interest in religion. She is completely tolerant of other beliefs, but has no patience for people who try to force their morality on her. In cases when religion plays a restrictive role, she will become highly irreverent and even downright offensive.

This rogue loves to talk about things that are fun and entertaining; she especially enjoys telling tales of her past exploits, which she tends to exaggerate into tall tales over time. She will also go out of her way to enjoy a local theatre show, musical performance, or party. She tends to chew on things, like straw or grass, and on occasion will partake of a special mushroom that induces an altered state of mind.
(Had to add in some good hallucinogenic drugs you know.)

Danicia heard the call for adventuring types for the trip to Castle Whiterock and has headed for Cillamar as kind of an escape, her constant pranks and jokes had grown tiresome in the human village where she has grown up and her mother had pushed her into doing something with her skills besides pestering folks and such. Her mother however was outraged when she told her she was going to Cillamar. Actually out of an act of rebellion more than wanting to really go for any beneficial purpose. So now shes hoping to learn a few more tricks and muster up her courage because she has never takien on any task of this magnitude in her life. But oh well serves momma right she guesses. Maybe she can find someone new to flirt with or some new fanciful mushrooms. Oh well here goes nothing as she boards the caravan heading north.

(And for once I had no sub plot, no reason behind her story, this one was just plain fun. I can’t wait till I see her in action.)

Thus we had 3 Pre-Gens on the way.

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 61
Design Diary:
Character: Cendrine Kinnet (Pre-Gen)
Class: Fighter
Race: Human
Backstory and notes:

(OK we had our comic relief, we had two serious characters so now I decided to try to get as close to traditional as I could for a red headed warrior princess. )

This Gung-Ho Warrior is driven by the desire to achieve, to become the greatest warrior around—many of her decisions will be influenced either on the opportunity to improve or to prove (to herself) her existing skills. She is an excitable gal and it doesn't take much to get her charged up. She thinks most things will turn out okay and she tries to see the best in people. She's trustworthy and puts in her fair share of the work. In battle she is daring and a bit reckless—the greater the challenge, the more excited she gets. She is personable, charming, and altruistic, although her sense of humor is crude. She likes to talk and is a pretty open book—she generally wants to discuss swordplay, stories about famous or mythological warriors, and her long-time interest in birds.

(Birds? Did I just write that? A big gung ho warrior gal with a weakness for little feathered friends…. Oh I had to keep going.)

Although she wants to be a great warrior, she isn't particularly creative and wants to fit into established cultural norms; she is uncomfortable with rebellious or irreverent types. She really likes men and has a strong sex drive; however, she is also modest and a bit shy around them. When she does approach a man, she tends to be romantic; she generally looks for straightforward relations and is intimidated by unusual requests and sexually forward men. She has a casual relationship with her family religious traditions, and will talk about her beliefs as long as she doesn't think anyone will be offended; she is tolerant of other beliefs and has no interest in converting others. People around her will notice that she tends to whistle when hiking or when otherwise calmly engaged with something; when not whistling, she sings softly to himself, often out of key.

(A Bird Quirk, and now she whistles and sings, I really wanted to now make her unique and give her lasting memory potential. You may not remember the barbarian that charges everything but the female fighter that whistled while she worked or watched birds. Now that you would remember.)

She refuses to eat birds and will become upset whenever anyone tries to kill one. This warrior likes to drink (which is when her crude humor really comes out), watch birds, and enjoys carving small things out of wood which she often gives away to friends or romantic interests.

(I thought of this while working up the Blood Hawk encounter in the Spire on level one. It should be very interesting to see how she is played out during that encounter.)

Cendrine heard the call for adventuring types for the trip to Castle Whiterock and has headed for Cillamar to prove herself a great warrior once and for all. She is very excited to get the chance to leave her small village and travel way to the frozen north where all the great legends, stories and warriors are made. Plus who wouldn't want to go where all the mythical creatures live. Especially the great birds and winged ones. This is perfect she often thinks to herself and she is not be the least bit afraid of what is ahead.

And now 4 Pre-Gens are on the way…..

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 61
Design Diary:
Character: Sheliak (Pre-Gen)
Class: Ranger
Race: Half Orc
Backstory and notes:

(OK I now had two serious main characters with plot hooks galore, some comic relief with the rogue and a pretty traditional fighter gal with a few quirks. All four had their own good reasons for being there, so I came to Sheliak. I wanted to take him from a different perspective and add a twist to the robin hood esq ranger mentality. After all Sheliak is a half orc and I wanted to look at the character through the half orc blood line and what it might make him like in our story. )

This Half Orc Ranger is none too pleasant. His core motivation in life is the acquisition of wealth, perhaps because he is a generally anxious person and the idea of having wealth is comforting. In all, he is an even-tempered fellow with a bleak and cynical view of the world. He is not too trustworthy and will exploit people and situations if profit is available (although he doesn't necessarily gain pleasure from such exploitation; it is usually just a means to an end). When he sees an opportunity for gain he will jump right into it without too much thought, although he is the opposite when danger arises—in battle he will tend to seek cover and fight only when confident that he will have the upper hand.

(I wrote the above strictly from the orc perspective, I figured the orc blood had to drive him in some direction other than the typical ranger persona.)

He is generally adaptable to changing situations and doesn't hold allegiances or promises too tightly. He is self-absorbed, greedy, and suspicious of others and has a cold bearing—he is quickly defensive and critical. Socially, he tends to keep to himself and is evasive or deceitful about personal information. When he does talk, it is usually about money or complaining about something; when he thinks there is potential gain, he will engage in hamfisted flattery. Although he often resents people who are socially or financially successful, he is too anxious to act openly outside the boundaries of acceptable behavior; his transgressions are covert.

( Now given his alignment is not evil or chaotic, he is a true neutral alignment being able to lean in both directions, having both inner ambitions but trying to appear within the norm for society.)

His sense of humor is dry, subtle, and under-the-radar. He has a healthy libido and can be flirtatious and seductive when he feels confident; however, his lack of sincerity tends to put women off. When he does get lucky, his hidden atypicality comes out and he enjoys unusual and kinky experiences. This is not limited to sex—he frequently seeks out strange and countercultural groups and situations, as long as his anonymity and safety is assured.

(Again the seedy orc side shines brightly in this character, seeking out strange and weird practices and groups that do not play to the norms of human civilization.)

Sheliak heard the call for adventuring types for the trip to Castle Whiterock and has headed for Cillamar to see if he can turn some profit. He missed the call last year and had been salivating for a year to get his chance to get some gold and acquire some wealth. He believes with his nack for survivalism and a few human shields in front of him then he can surely get what he has always desired.

(A self-centered out for himself greedy little ranger. Now that should add some spice to the character and the story.)

5 Pre-Gens done and 1 to go…. Oh what to do with the cleric……

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 61
Design Diary:
Character: Darsus (Pre-Gen)
Class: Cleric
Race: Human
Backstory and notes:

(OK for the last Pre-Gen we have our Cleric, now under the normal 3.5 rules a lot of players prefer not to play one but with the new healing disciplines in the Book of Might it changes things so his role is not to be the medic. I gave him a discipline of Divine Presence which allows for players to get healed just by touching him or even the hem of his garment, but are limited to the number of times a day they can do this. So he wasn’t going to have to walk around and burn spells to heal so that was going to free him up somewhat, but then I begin thinking having an ability like Divine Presence would have to take some strong devotion to work so I took his story from that perspective.)

Darsus is a man driven by the desire to help the world. He has seen much suffering and has a somewhat bleak view of the world, but he copes with this by doing everything he can to make things better. He is not easily perturbed and is highly controlled—he is very deliberate and focused. Likewise, he is averse to fighting and will only do so to protect life or for some obvious greater good. Even when an enemy is injured, he will be motivated to apply healing or help, as long as doing so would not be a danger. He is very open-minded and tolerant of others and, despite his sadness, is very empathic and caring towards nearly everyone. His social demeanor is courteous, modest, and generous; however, he is reluctant to talk about himself. He considers himself to be traditional and can be distressed by rebellious attitudes.

(I took the Divine healing ability and template it over everything he is about, even healing or caring for downed enemies in certain circumstances. Again a lot of role playing potential and I feel like I have built the next MYV reality show when these six get together. I like keeping a campaign fun and fresh and watch players bring out the best and worst in their characters. To see them overcome obstacles, not only in battle but with each other and over personal issues with each other. I think this helps bond a group together IF they can learn to respect each others views and morals on certain issues. These six characters are definitely not your run of the mill cookie cutter adventurers and it should play well in the campaign.)

He doesn't have much of a sense of humor, but neither is he a scold; he will smile politely at a joke. He has a low sexual drive usually, but even when interested he will act modestly. He believes in monogamy and disapproves of infidelity and promiscuousness. Although his spiritual path is inclusive and welcoming of others, he himself is a highly orthodox adherent. He will occasionally discuss his beliefs and is willing to attempt gentle conversions.

In casual conversation he will tend towards talking about other people, relationships, and current events. People around him will notice that he daydreams a good deal, suffers from insomnia on occasion, and has an annoying habit of grooming others. He loves to dance, but only when he thinks he is alone. Reading poety is also a favorite pastime, as is the game of darts, which he learned from his father.

(He should have some fun throwing darts in the Inn of The Slumbering Drake, insomnia could bonus checks when the party is camping, the grooming others…. Well lets just say that might be fun to watch played out overtime.)

Darsus heard the call for adventuring types for the trip to Castle Whiterock and has headed for Cillamar to see if he can be of healing assistance. Plus he thinks his services can be of greater use in the Kingdom of Morrain than in the big city he has grew up in with its over populated huge temples. Plus he had always dabbled in wanting to get into Diplomacy and with all the strife going on in Morrain he believes he can earn a good living there. Maybe even build a small temple and a following.

(I left this in as a small plot hook, if the players ended up getting wrapped up in Cillamars Political struggles at the moment, also with him being a cleric of a Chicoti (I believe I spelled that right) it has given him the Plant and Water Domains so he does get Entangle and Obscuring Mist as domain spells.)

Our 6 Pre-gens are done.

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:11 pm 
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Ok now the reasoning behind all the work on the pre-gens, I wanted the players to have to use them to start. I made them pick their characters simply from the back stories, which one they thought they could role play the best. They never saw one stat besides class and race beforehand. First and foremost I wanted this campaign to be a great story.

One of the players asked me what if one of them dies. I said that by the time that happens (hopefully) you will be able to pick from other characters that have been unlocked during the campaign. I hope to at least have them make it to the slave pits and free some so I can introduce a group of new characters to pick from in case one of the starting six bites it early.

That way it keeps new characters for having a reason to be with or close to the group. However I am not tying there hands there. If they want to make their own character from scratch they can once they bite it but they have to start 1 level below the party as a penalty for biting it. Kind of to discourage killing your character off because you want to make a new one.

Anyways the characters have been chosen and we play Sunday for session one.

Tomorrow I will post the way arrival to Cillamar is set to happen Sunday and what I did with the town and the NPC's once the characters arrived.... Wait till you see whats going to happen to them when they meet at the Inn......

Until tomorrow.......

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:16 pm 
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Ok now that I had the characters set, they will be arriving at Cillamar for the first time this Sunday so I wanted to play up Cillamar and give it some life so I have scripted alot of whats happening....

The Arrival.....

As you approach the main entrance to Cillamar, Kings Gate is flanked by a pair of high towers topped with ballistae and catapults. Kings Gate itself looks amply defended,with a stout oaken wall, reinforced with iron. Passing beneath the Kings Gate there is a pair of portcullis built to withstand the blows of frost giants and a series of murder holes.

As you await passage through the gates you notice a sign that says Kings Gate is opened one hour before sunrise and closes at dusk, opening only in emergency on the orders of the Ophfur Shadis, Captain of the Kings Gate Watch. You await in line with caravan trains of heavily laden pack animals and you can see more of the same entering and leaving the town.

You notice some nervous merchant lords leaving the town looking to hire a handful of caravan guards before embarking on the dangerous journey to Galaron (The capitol of Morrain). Similarly, bands of beggars gather around the gate, eager for tales of the wilderness, and offer arriving heroes their services as guides to the town.

As you approach the guards now to the front of the line, one ask you what you have to declare and explains that by order of the Patriarch, all merchants and adventurers entering town must pass through the Kings Gate, where their goods or treasure halls are examined and assigned a tax. Young members of the Lantern Watch then accompany agents of the merchants or adventurers to the taxing house (area L-1) where the duties and excises are paid. The smuggling of smaller, highly valuable items (such as gems or raw gold) into Cillamar is a lucrative, risky business, with punishment ranging from fines and incarceration, to mutilation and exile.

(PC's are assigned to wait and then assigned a guide with their assigned group. (the players will be assigned together) Bartholomew is the guide assigned to the party.)

(Once this happens they will be given a tour of the city via the back of a wagon. , they will then be given a campaign book I created that details all the key shops and places in Cillamar. While all this is taking place. The Lord of Cillamar is notified and whisked ahead of time to the Inn of The Slumbering Drake. Lady Chauntessa has placed the Lord in the private living area of the Inn to wait for the PC's, once the tour is over the wagon will drop the PC's at the Inn.)

(The PC's will notice a fine carriage parked just outfront of the inn with some guards in full plate and red sashes along with some elven archers and a few Lantern watch guards mingling in the area. They also notice a full plate guard along with an elven archer standing on both sides of the entrance to the inn.)

Next the entrance......

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:20 pm 
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This huge room is the heart and soul of the inn. It is dominated by a polished mahogany bar with matching barstools. A large stone fireplace adorns the east wall, complete with an oak mantle. Another, smaller fireplace is situated along the north wall, next to a swinging door leading to the busy kitchen. To the right of this door is a wide staircase that leads to the upper floor.

The taproom is cluttered with worn tables and chairs of varying sizes. In front of the entrance, four rectangular tables with battered benches occupy the floor. To the left is a grand table with plush, high backed chairs reserved for special guests. Along the west and south walls are booths adorned with small square tables and matching chairs. In the corners are larger booths with hex-shaped tables. These
booths have curtains that can be drawn to grant privacy, although they do little to muffle the noise.

There are three more unusual features in this room. Along the west wall is a circular target riddled with
holes. This dartboard sees constant use as patrons engage in contests. Second, next to the large fireplace on the east wall is a pile of fluffy pillows. Asleep on the pillows is what looks like a is a diminutive dragon, about the size of a large housecat She has light purple-red scales with a tan underbelly. Finally, to the right of the main entrance is a large padded wooden chair, sized for an ogre.

Sitting in the chair is an impressive, barrel-chested figure, standing seven and a half feet tall. He has a sloping forehead, greasy black hair, and a coarse, unshaven face. His arms ripple with muscles. He’d be a fearsome sight ... except that he lacks any teeth. He is holding a tuffed animal and looks as if to be eating candy from a pouch.

Behind the bar is a strikingly beautiful female standing about six feet tall with long, flowing silver-white hair. However, she appears to be in her early forties. She has high cheekbones and slender facial features. She doesn’t seem to be smiling and if she had a single imperfection, it would be the frown seemingly etched onto her countenance. She is wearing a fine silk gown and the smell of flowery perfumes drift your way.

In one of the corner booths with the curtain open is a tall, aging human with a flowing gray beard and unkempt graying hair. He wears a pointy cap, and stoops over his gnarled staff when ambling about. He looks every bit of 77 years old. He seems to have a severe case of the runny nose. Bottles of colored liquids and oils sits on the table before him, you notice a passing patron exchange some coin for one of the bottles.

Sitting at a chair by the fireplace sits a red-headed attractive half-elf with green eyes and a freckled, tanned complexion. She wears a gaily colored pants-and-blouse combo, with high leather riding boots. She is playing some lively music on her teak lute which looks to be inlayed with gold runes. A bottle of half empty ale sits beside her.

By the dartboard stands a tall halfling (3’6”) and slender, wearing plain clothes. He has wavy brown hair and large blue eyes with pale skin. He talks quickly and often slurs his words. He seems to be playing an opponent at the dart game and seems to be rolling a coin through his fingers constantly.

Over at a side table is a nondescript human with a rugged appearance. The hair on his previously shaved head is growing back, and his face is unshaven and dirty. He bears a small scar over his left eye. He seems to be weary of something as he is constantly looking over his shoulder.

Lastly crossing the floor of the inn is a a 6’5” pallid human male with a strange gait. He looks terribly shriveled and has sunken facial features. He eyes you coldly as he moves to a far table away from the other patrons.


(At this point the PC's will be able to interact for a while, The Lady will explain that the Lord is here and we are awaiting his request to be seen. Once this happens the PC's will be lead by Lady Chauntessa to the private living area in the inn that she reserves for special quest.)

Next A Meeting with the Lord.....

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:23 pm 
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And now to tie everything together.....

A Meeting With A Lord

Two guards in full plate armor with red sashes stand at the door to this room as you approach they make room for your group to enter. As you enter this stately room you notice that it is divided into a living area and a sleeping area. The entire floor is newly refinished hardwood unlike the pine in the rest of the inn and there are strategically placed oval rugs near the sofas and bed. The living area is adorned with a pair of matching sofas and two small end tables. A table with chairs is pushed against the west wall. There is 4-6 stools in the center of the chamber. Hanging on the south wall is a large oil painting of a forest scene in spring, full of vibrant greens. Hanging on the east wall is a matching oil painting depicting the same forest scene but this time in autumn, displaying dazzling brown, orange, and yellow hues. Both paintings look of superb quality. A single guard in full platemail and a red sash and a Elven archer stand on either side of the table. Sitting on one sofa is a noble yet rough looking gentleman with a eye patch over his left eye. Sitting beside him is a rugged man dressed in a chain shirt with a shield with the crest of the town upon it. On the other sofa sits a frail bearded old man with a long beard and pointy cap. Lady Chauntessa takes a seat beside him. You notice a couple more guards moving around the bedroom area. You take a seat on the stools that were obviously provided for your benefit.

(The noble looking yet rough around the edges gentleman with a eye patch over his left eye rises.)

Patriarch Franz Mentzer Speaks :

“Welcome adventurers! Let me introduce myself and everyone here. I am Franz Mentzer, Lord of Cillamar and former adventurer just like yourselves. I spent much of my youth ranging across northern Morrain and much of the Northlands in the defense of the weak. Of corse in my older days now I spend most of my time dealing with the political struggles of a city such as Cillamar. “

(Pointing to a rugged man dressed in a chain shirt with a sheathed longsword, crossbow and quiver on his back along with a pole and lantern, his shield bears the crest of Cillamar.)

“This is my trusted Captain of the Lantern Watch and esteemed associate. Sir Ivanos . He oversees the towns lantern watch guards and keeps order in the town.”

(Looking over at one of the guards with red sash and dressed in full platemail.)

“These are part of my personal security detail. They are elite of the elite and are known as the Magn’gard.”

(Turning to one of the elven archers)

“And these my friends are esteemed members from the Anseur Forest High Elves on loan to us from the Elven Queen herself. They are known as the Anseur-lyth, a company of elven master archers serving at the pleasure of the fae Queen of the Anseur Forest.”

(A frail bearded man in a pointy hat clears his throat.)

“Ah yes least we not forget Or’dimisas of Kassantia, an expert in ancient esoteric tomes and devotee
of Delvyr. Our resident sage and owner of the Hall of Worms our vast library.”

(Or’dimisas gives the lord a stern look.)

“I mean he owns the Academy of Ars Ollamh. Forgive me my old friend. I did not mean to offend.”

(Now quickly turning to the lady of the Inn)

“And I believe you have met Lady Chauntessa (He reaches over and kisses her hand). The town has been truly blessed by her presence and astute magical capabilities since she reopened the old Inn.”

Lady Chauntessa Speaks:

“Enough with the introductions my lord, I have an Inn to run and we have a lot of information to cover.”

Patriarch Franz Mentzer Speaks :

“Very well my lady. Always to the point, and usually correct. It is my duty to welcome you to our yearly call for adventurers to plunder the depths of Castle Whiterock! Unfortunately it is not the best of times this year, I will go into all that in a few minutes. You see each year for the last five years we have sent adventurers like yourselves into Castle Whiterock to plunder its halls and dungeons. But to little success I might add. A few groups have come back with a few coins or trinkets over the years but refused to search the lower tunnels further, and then some have never returned at all. We are not to sure if they just lost their nerve or lost their heads to some fowl creature either at the old castle or en route to or from it or maybe they went to dance at Morro’s Ball. You see Morrain can be a very unforgiving place in the harsh of winter, especially during a Breakfrost! If you don’t keep your heads about you, and with summer now waning it will soon be winter and we are expecting a downright horrid Breakfrost this year! Well on to business then, I do tend to be long winded, it’s the diplomat in me I guess. Well I told you earlier that it was not the best of times this year, well let me let my Captain of The Lantern Watch fill you in. Umm captain?”

(Captain seeming distracted for a moment.)
(Clearing Throat)
Captain of the Lantern Watch Speaks:
“The local wizard’s apprentice, a human lass by the name of Lyssa, has been kidnapped! Her cat familiar returned a few days later, and after a local druid used a speak with animals spell, the familiar revealed that Lyssa is in the hands of a vile slaver band. She was taken to the ruins of Castle Whiterock, and the familiar senses she is still alive. We would like you to retrieve her if she is there.”
(Interrupting)



Patriarch Franz Mentzer Speaks :
“Least we not forget The Genth family (Ren, Carlia, and little Jath) has gone missing as well. They were farmers, who had a homestead not too far from the ruins of Castle Whiterock, and the tracks near their empty home looked to belong to reptile-folk, who commonly live underground. They to should be on the list, to look out for at the castle. They resided in the small druidic community of Fairweather, it’s a small settlement just at the base of the old volcano that the Castle sits atop, it’s the last civilization you will see before you ascend the mountain toward Whiterock.”
(Give the party time to react here.)
Lady Chauntessa Speaks:
“Well since we all seem to be handing out task for these brave souls, I have one to add to the mix. At least I’ll offer some monetary gain for them in my proposition. I will pay them 25 gp for each intact book they recover, plus a small finder’s fee for any ancient texts, scrolls, or information on the ruins. She seems to be searching for something specific, but doesn’t elaborate.”
(Interrupting)
Librarian sage Or’dimisas of Kassantia Speaks:
“Speaking of books, I am trying to gather material for a scholarly book on the Company of the Black Osprey, but I have a severe aversion to getting killed, so if you find anything related to this company of adventurers along your travels. Let me give you a brief history of the castle as I understand it.”
“Somewhere around 1,200 years ago, the original site of Castle Whiterock was settled by an order of monks called the Order of the Dawning Sun. Their monastery, called Clynnoise, consisted of the tower and adjoining living quarters, plus a small stone library set against the volcano’s caldera wall (which they later converted to a small keep). It is rumored that this order of monks, dedicated to the preservation of lore, erected a vast, hidden library called the Halls of Forgotten Lore in the natural caves under the site. This has never been proven but I suspect it does exist on the site somewhere.”

(Interupting)

Captain of the Lantern Watch Speaks:

“And a small group from that order of monks returned to the Castle only a year ago to setup a exploration dig of the old monastery. And now everyone is turning up missing. I say we take a squad of soldiers and……”

(Cutting Him Off And Raising The Temp Of His Voice)





Patriarch Franz Mentzer Speaks:

“and do what? My dear captain? Show em the short end? Kill a group of lore mongering monks. We have enough to worry about with all these war refugees as it is. The warrens is teething with criminals and the Thieves Guild is completely out of control. The Truemen are only making things worse with their constant rides through the refugee camps. Let these brave adventurers determine who or what this order of monks have or have not done. What say you adventurers have you heard of this order of monks before?”

(Give the party time to react here.)
Librarian sage Or’dimisas of Kassantia Speaks:
“Ok if I may finish with the history of the castle…. “
(Clears Throat)
“Thank you.”
“207 years after the order founded their monastery a huge tribe of orcs attacked Clynnoise and, through more luck than skill, managed to slay all of the monks. Most of the monastery was destroyed and the orcs constructed a crude permanent keep.”

“53 years later the gnomes from the surrounding foothills united and, with the aid of dwarven allies, manage to rout the orcs. The gnomes settle in the keep and worked in the caves below the keep founding what some believed to be the Clockwork Academy which was an Academy developed to the study of Golem craft and mastery some of which the world has never seen. At least that’s what the legend says. Anyway the legend goes on to say there is a book called the Codex Autonomica, a book which is said to hold all the secrets of golem-craft, the gnomes also started a small settlement near the castle named Stoneham. Which is said was the beginning of what we now know as Cillamar.”

“The gnomes held the castle for about 158 years, then the remnants of the orc tribe returned for revenge, bringing cloud giant allies and a flying castle. While orc footmen swarmed Stoneham, the cloud giants pelted the gnomish keep with boulders, overwhelming the gnomish defenders. The orcs resettled the site and, with their giant allies, rebuild the castle. In so doing, they used a white stone common to the architecture of cloud giants. “

“After about 120 years a powerful disease ran rampant through the orc tribe, killing them off one by one. During the next few decades the castle fell into disrepair as the surrounding lands was besieged by raids from Drow elves from deep within the earth.”

“Then 664 years ago a party of adventurers called the Company of the Black Osprey spent several years cleaning the dungeons of all dangerous creatures. They dub their new home “Castle Whiterock,” the name by which it is known today. The adventurers spent years and a fortune restoring the castle. It is said that some of them made their tombs their, but again another legend of the castle.”

“ 75 years past and the last surviving member of the Company of the Black Osprey, Lythe Abysstalker, disappeared, and the site fell into disuse.”

“Over 200 years passed, then a red dragon named Benthosruthsa”

(Lady Chauntessa shivers)

“laid waste to Cillamar and the surrounding region, returning about every 50 years over the next couple centuries. As you can see it still unsettles people to talk of the drake.”

“And then 88 years ago, after several centuries without a single dragon sighting, the town of Cillamar growed and prospered as trade routes were reopened in this region. Most of us now believe that old Benthos has moved on or was slain.”

“And just 38 years ago the Fellowship of the Humbled Hen, an adventuring company, entered Castle Whiterock to loot the dungeon. They had a falling out and gave up the effort after 1 year.”

(Interrupting)

Lady Chauntessa Speaks:

“I believe I’ll take over here now, and tell them the rest. Well now just 31 years ago The Paladins of the Order of the Sundered Scale, acting on information that I gave them, swore an oath to destroy Benthosruthsa. I believed him to still be alive within the mountain. They went into the depths of Whiterock and I have never heard from any of them again. I am telling you all Benthos is still alive. I just know it. I have dreams and visions. He must be destroyed.”

(Give the party time to react here.)
Lady Chauntessa Speaks:

“11 years ago I opened this Inn and made Cillamar my permanent home. I behested the Lord to begin the open calls for adventurers. He decided it would be best to make it a yearly event. To bring attention to Cillamar overtime. I am not a politician, neither do I care about political struggle. The things below Whiterock must be dealt with and swiftly or Cillamar will lay in waste again.”

“5 years ago the challenge began, in 5 years we have sent 16 groups in there, out of the 16 no group has ever made it more than a few levels down before they either ran off scared or took what they found and left. If any of them did make it further down they are probably the ones that never returned. And this year so far you are the only group that has answered the call at all, I hope there are others in the coming days but for now you are all we have. The Lord refuses to send in a garrison of armed soldiers.”

Captain of the Lantern Watch Speaks:

“Fairytales and hodgepod the fact is simple, A year ago is when this supposed remnant of the order of the Dawning Sun Monks returned to Whiterock and ever since people have come up missing around that general area. It’s that simple, not a dragon or big bad orcs or giants or any of them old stories hold weight now. It’s the monks I tell you. Besides The Lord himself and his men slew the only dragon around here already. He even lost his sister to the thing and had to take her place as leader of Cillamar.”

(Slamming his fist down on the table.)

Patriarch Franz Mentzer Speaks:

“Enough of this.”

(Throws a bag of coins to each party member)

“These are special coins made from the rock of the castle itself. They will spend just like gold here in the common quarter. In most places at least. Buy whatever gear, pack animals or things you’ll need or think you need and set out first thing in the morning.”

“You will report your findings to Lady Chauntessa here at the inn. I would advise you to keep clear of the High Quarter, they don’t like the rough and rowdy types up there it would only upset the residents and nobles, and I would stay clear of the Warrens unless you want a knife in your back or to have your pockets picked. Besides those coins don’t hold any weight down there anyways.”

“I believe our meeting is adjourned, I have business with an embassy from the Elven Anseur-Woodlands to the west this evening and they do not like to be kept waiting.”

(He moves toward the door)

(Interputing again.)

Librarian sage Or’dimisas of Kassantia Speaks:

“One more thing.”

“The library is open for research and study daily for a charge of 100gp per day. We will do the research for you, you supply the gold. Up to four topics per day can be researched. Depending on the subjects we can not guarantee that we will get to all subjects in one day.”

“We also offer the following services:”















Academy of Ars Ollamh
Services


One Days Research For Up To 4 Subject Topics:
Up to four topics per day can be researched. Depending on the subjects we can not guarantee that we will get to all subjects in one day.
100 Gold Pieces.

Decipher/Decode/Translate Normal Documents Or Manuscripts With Different Languages Or Dialect:
50 Gold Pieces Per Book Or Manuscript.

Decipher/Decode/Translate Magical Or Devine Manuscripts:
50 Gold Pieces + 50 Gold Pieces Per Spell/Magic Level.
(50gp paid upfront, remainder to be paid after translation)

Transfer Spells From Scroll Or Spellbook To A Personal Spellbook:
100 Gold Pieces + 50 Gold Pieces Per Spell/Level Per Spell.
(This does not include deciphering the spell. See decipher above.)

Scribe Scrolls:
The base price of a scroll is its spell level × its caster level × 25 gp + supply any components needed.
(We do not supply components but we can help locate rare components for a reasonable fee.)

Identify Magical Item:
We can determine all magic properties of a single magic item, including how to activate those functions (if appropriate), and how many charges are left (if any).
100 Gold Pieces + 50 Gold Pieces Per Item/Level.
(50gp paid upfront, remainder to be paid after identification)

Identify Potions:
We can only identify potions we have information on.
25 Gold Pieces For Standard Common Potions.

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 61
and with that the Prep work is done..... now I will post how it all played out after Sundays session..... The script above is a guide for how things move along, it will be fun to see how the PC's change the script.

It should be very interesting..... to say the least....

Until then.....

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:56 am 
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Session 1: Sunday Feb. 6th
The Players: (See above for details)
Darsus – Human Cleric (1)
Sheliak – Half Orc Ranger (1)
Cendrine Kinnet – Human Fighter (1)
Danicia Elatine – Half Elf Rogue (1)
Euphrosyne – Elf Wizard (1)
Sir Torsten Trueblade - Human Paladin (1)

Let’s get started:

(Note the interaction in the town of Cillamar went as planned I will note some key points and then move to the action at Castle Whiterock.)

Darsus was pretty much quiet during the meeting with the Lord of Cillamar however he did order some pumpkin spice ale at the inn and tried to get the others to try some, Sheliak ordered up some food and drink and a hot bath. Cendrine spent some time talking to Brie, the bard at the Inn and played with Ixnay the psedo-dragon. Danicia played a game of darts with a Halfling at the Inn and walked away with 2 gp which she was really proud of. Euphrosyne handled talking to the potion vendor that was in the corner and Sir Torsten bounced around the room and talked to Lady Chauntessa .

When it was time to meet with the Lord (See script in post above) the adventurers had lots of questions about the dragon Benthos and why this order of monks was at the Castle. (At this point I think they had already determined that they were up to no good.) They were a little taken back that the town librarian charged so much for research. Euphrosyne wanted to know if it would be any cheaper if he did the research and was told that he could not pass the test to enter the library yet but maybe one day he would get the chance.

After the meeting the adventurers was given 100 special coins apiece that was made out of the same stone as Castle Whiterock to spend in the common quarter of the town for supplies. They went around and picked up what rumors and information the locals told them.
A particular interesting note was that none of them talked with the town drunk at the inn or the undertaker that was there, they seem to avoid them or think at least they were not important. (Maybe they will talk with the drunk later and I could use it as a plot hook for something else.)

So now everyone set out to spend their coin on supplies as fast as possible, everyone bought a mule and a saddle, some saddlebags and proceeded to load them with 2 weeks rations, ropes, digging tools, torches and anything else they thought might be needed up at the castle ruins. Usually this part of the game is quite boring to players but they jumped at the chance and was helping each other pick equipment and had a absolute blast for about an hour with this project. (One player even noted that they usually don’t have to fiddle with this stuff in her other campaign but enjoyed the detail of it all and it made them feel like they were really going somewhere and wasn’t sure when they would be back.)

So now loaded for bare they stayed one night at the inn in Cillamar and headed out the first thing the next morning. (After a hearty breakfast, Sheliak noted.) They traveled for the day and ended up at the base of the volcanic mountain in a small druidic community called Fairweather.

In Fairweather they decided they would stable their mules and supplies here and head up the mountain on foot. They tried to travel as light as possible and would come back down the mountain when it was either safe to bring their pack animals and gear or if they needed special tools or equipment from them. Cendrine also noted that they had heard that the Gwenth (I think that was the spelling) family had been abducted here and inquired about when and where it happened. They were told they had been missing for about a week and that the reptilian tracks led up the mountain.

It was late in the day and they decided to stay in Fairweather for the night. Fairweather did not have an Inn so they stayed in the barn with their animals. The next morning Cendrine inquired about the animals safety while they were gone and since there had been an abduction already if they were in any danger. The other party members agreed and explained that all the money they had was tied up in those animals. After a little reassurance from the druids they all paid 2gp for a weeks lodging for their animals.

Sheliak spent the next hour searching the base of the mountain for tracks (he was trying to pick up the trail of the reptilian folk) all he found was some sandaled foot tracks and a wagon rut here and there. He repeatedly tried in different locations but just found more of the same. They then assumed that it had been too long since the abduction to find the reptilian tracks but they were certain there was activity coming to and from the old castle.

So they headed up the path, noticing the top of the mountain encased in a cloud bank and that the weather was looking to only turn worse today, they quickened their step…..

More to come…….

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:48 am 
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Encounter 1: (Gatehouse) “I hear you bashing but you can't come in.”

Arriving at the top of the mountain visibility was limited due to the clouds but they could make out the lake and the castle, they saw the path leading down toward both and headed down. When the path came to a cave entrance they were undecided on what to do. Sheliak said he would scout the passage since he could see in the dark and report back. After going down about 100 feet he noticed an old rusted portcullis that was raised and down past it a strong wooden door. He went back to report to the rest of the group.

The group was then worried about the possibility of the rusty portcullis coming down after they past it, and Sheliak told them he thought it looked as if it was in disrepair and had not been used in some time. Euphrosyne lit a torch for the rest of the party and they all ventured inside to the doorway.

Danicia went up and listened to the door, checked it for traps and noticed the sliding plate in the middle of the door. She checked the door and found in locked but couldn’t pick it since there was no lock. (Must be barred from the other side they assumed)

Apparently here’s where things started to come apart. It seemed now that every player wanted to take their turn listening at the door. They all did and all heard nothing. They talked for a little bit on what to do. Darsus had mentioned knocking but was quickly ignored by the rest of the party. Danicia wanted to know if there was any other way in or around and I quickly informed her that this seemed to be the only way in the castle. They though ideas back and forth for a few more minutes and then…..

The half orc threw his shoulder into the door which made a lot of noise but it did not budge. Then Cendrine tried it and got the same result. By this time they had notified what was on the other side of their intentions. “What do you want and who are you?” came the voice from the other side of the door!

Then there was a parlay back and forth, the voice on the other side telling them they were the monks of the dawning sun and had the right to be here. Sir Torsten tried Diplomacy and Bluff to get in but after rolling low on both checks and having two people already try to break through the door the monks was skeptical and would not open the door. He offered coin, he told them they only wanted to look around the old castle but nothing was working.

Cendrine got tired of waiting, and then she swung her greatsword at the door all but completely destroying it and chipping her sword which she was pissed about. Now with the door heavily damaged she again threw her shoulder against it and this time went through it and failed her balance check and landed right in front of two monks that were waiting with readied actions and both swung down with their staves and both connected and did some heavy non-lethal damage to Cendrine (Which I told the player by whispering in her ear that she felt like they were pulling their blows some as not to cause any real damage.)

She notified the others that they were trying to capture her. Then guess what time it was.
Time to roll initiative ……

Sir Torsten reacted first and moved around to help Cendrine with one that was to her left and connected with a shot that did some good damage. Then Sheliak reacted with a bow shot to the other monk, then the wizard popped off an Eldritch Bolt to the same monk and when he did not drop they were worried. Next up came Cendrine who got to her feet and missed the monk that Sir Torsten was fighting with a shot from her greatsword. Darsus and the rogue could not do anything due to the fact that the wizard and ranger had the door blocked with their ranged attacks. Darsus thought about casting Bane which he had prepared but the rest of the group talked him into saving it for later. The monk missed Cendrine and the other one now charged the wizard who actually took a heavy blow and almost went down. The party noted that the monks hit hard for non-lethal damage (1d6+4)

On the following round Sir Torsten missed his mark and then Sheliak stepped in five foot and let another arrow fly at the one Cendrine was fighting but missed due to firing into melee and the arrow broke against the wall harmlessly. Danicia opted to stay back as it was to crowded now for a ranged attack. The wizard tried to hit with his staff and missed and was telling everyone how bad he was hurt. Darsus stepped up and smacked the monk in front of Euphrosyne with his mace and bloodied him badly. Both monks missed on their turn and the next round Cendrine sliced her monk into two pieces and then was hit with an arrow from the arrow slots above them and Sir Torsten who decided that they needed a captive walked up behind the other one and but whipped him in the back of the head with his sword handle and he went down unconscious. Danicia tried firing a bow shot at the downed monk but missed due to crowding and was given a stern talking to by the party for trying to kill a captive.

They decided not to chance the monk on the roof as he fled and decided to withdraw back down the tunnel to the outside to regroup and heal up. They tied up their captive and had Sir Torsten revive him with a healing touch. With that they intimidated the monk into spilling his guts about the slaver operation, gave them a total count for all the slavers and a quick layout of the area. So the party began to talk about what to do next since they knew since the bad guy that fled hadn’t comeback with reinforcements yet so they assumed some kind of ambush must await them. They needed a good plan and fast…..

To be continued….

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 Post subject: Re: CWR From Both Sides Of The DM Screen
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 2:41 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
Great to read your adventures so far! Keep 'em coming.

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