Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Veteran of the Time War (Troika Background)

Read this article at BernieTheFlumph,com!

Troika! is a weird and wonderful science-fantasy RPG from Daniel Sells based on the classic Fighting Fantasy rpgs from the UK. It's intended as a love-letter to Planescape but with a dedication to never explain anything abut the setting in the official books.

"Backgrounds" are an essential part of the character creation process, as they determine the skills and abilities your character starts with (but not what they end with). There's broad collection of strange backgrounds in the book, and the Troika fanbase has had a lot of fun creating and sharing their own.

I've been killing time by putting together my own backgrounds. It's pretty easy and very fun. When I get enough written up, I'll probably put them into a simple zine. Until then, here's the Veteran of the Time War.

Veteran of the Time Wars

Proud, ancient Chronotopia was the most advanced civilization in the multiverse. Its noble chrononauts were dedicated to the observation and preservation of the timeline, never interfering with history except when they felt like it. Then the Null Collective came from the Darkness Between with a hunger to devour all of time and space. The Time War raged across a thousand multiverses, creating and destroying infinite realities over the course of a hundred lifetimes.

Now the Time War has ended. The Null Collective was erased, but Chronotopia was reduced to a ruined cinder floating in dead space. You are the only survivor. Now you’re in Troika with nothing but your trusty cosmic multi-tool and the smoking wreckage of your Impossibility Engine. Is this strange city some fragment of a forgotten realty broken off from an aborted universe? What is its connection to the Time War? No one seems to know.

  • Many layers of vintage clothing (counts as light armor)
  • Unreasonably long scarf
  • Cosmic multi-tool (+2 on all tinkering rolls, except screwdriving, which is -2)
  • Irreparably ruined Impossibility Engine.

Advanced Skills
  • 2 Mathmology
  • 3 Universal Trivia
  • 2 Tinkering
  • 4 Verbosity
  • 2 Awareness
  • 1 Running

Thanks to your people’s advanced evolution and connection to the Time Matrix, your body has remarkable regenerative abilities. If you die, permanently reduce your Luck score by 1 and give your character sheet to the GM. They will change three Advanced Skills on your sheet (retaining their current score) and give it back to you. At the end of the scene, you wake up with a new face and full Stamina. Describe your character’s new appearance and personality.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Millennium Tortoises

Read this article at BernieTheFlumph.com!

The seaside village of Siltmere is famous for two things. One is the high-quality paper products made from native silt-reeds. The other is the millennium tortoises.

Millennium tortoises are large terrapins with kindly eyes and long white beards. The tortoises are given free rein in Siltmere, allowed to roam wherever they wish. Injuring a tortoise is a
grievous crime, punishable by an overnight stay in the eel pits. At any given time, 50-100 millennium tortoises can be found wandering the flowered and sandy streets of Siltmere.

Residents of Siltmere use exotic inks to write poetry on the shells of living millennium tortoises, believing that it brings good luck. This has also become a popular tourist activity. The tortoises don’t seem to mind.

Millennium Tortoise (DCC stats)

AC: 16; HD: 3d6 (10hp)
Init: -2; Action Die: 1d20; Attacks: bite, +3 melee (1 damage)
Saves: Ref +0, Fort +3, Will +6
Move: 10'; Alignment: L

  • A character that takes at least 30 minutes to write poetry on the shell of a millennium tortoise gains 1d4 Luck. A character can only benefit from this blessing once in their life.
  • Millennium tortoises are beloved by the gods. A character loses 1 Luck each time they attack a millennium tortoise, whether they hit or not. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Blade of the Black Pyramid & Left Hand of Abaddon

Read this article on BernieTheFlumph.com!

Within the libraries, vaults, and trophy rooms of Goatheart Castle, Prospero the sorcerer hoards many artifacts of singular magic and alien provenance. One of his most prized possessions is a large chunk of ancient amber the size of large man’s torso. Suspended within the milky orange stone the scaly red hand of a demon clutches a black sword of unknown metal. These are the Blade of the Black Pyramid and the Left Hand of Abaddon.

Blade of the Black Pyramid

The Blade of the Black Pyramid (also known as Khaturial-Xuuth, Sword of the Bleak and Inevitable Overlords, or the Gateway to Suffering) is a short-bladed sword with a downward curve, similar to a Greek kopis. It is made from a single piece of matte black metal, etched with adamic script that reads “By your soul are legions made.”

The Blade is a small weapon that normally inflicts 1d6 damage. In the hands of a chaotic character, the sword does 1d8 damage. Against lawful targets, the sword does 1d10 damage. Chaotic characters add their Charisma modifier to their attack rolls with the Black Blade, in addition to their Strength modifier. A chaotic spellcaster can also place one spell (of any level) into the sword to store for later use. You can cast spell from the Blade, even if you aren’t a spellcaster. 

If you try to use the Blade, and you aren’t chaotic, you must make a saving throw vs death or take 3d6 damage (half damage on a successful save). If this damage kills you, you are burned to ash and your soul is destroyed. 

If you are chaotic, you can handle the sword safely, but the hilt brands your hand with adamic script that praises the dark glories of the Bleak and Inevitable Overlords.

If you are so branded by the Blade (whether you still possess the sword or not) you will dream of the Black Pyramid every 1d4 weeks. Under a red sky, black stars weep tar across a desert of teeth while the Black Pyramid rises from a forest of alien bones. Reality bleeds where the pyramid’s point tears lose the scab of reality. The voices of the Bleak and Inevitable Overlords ooze like an infected wound, dripping poison in your ear. “You. Are. The. Gate.”

Then you wake up. Make a save vs polymorph. If you fail, an astral parasite attaches itself to your aura. Over the next 4d6 weeks, this invisible and etheric plasmoid will feed on your soul and grow. Your Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma modifiers instantly drop by 2 each. Your Strength modifier increases by 2. You must eat three times as much food during this period, but you do not dream of the Black Pyramid. A Dispel Evil spell has a 50% chance of removing the astral parasite. 

At the end of the 4d6 weeks, at a time the GM determines to be the least convenient for you, you vomit a fully formed demon out of your mouth. This process takes 1d6 rounds, during which time you are wracked with pain and cannot take any actions. This violent oral expulsion inflicts 1d4 damage upon you for each level you possess. Your Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and strength modifier instantly return to normal. 

Roll up the demon’s stats as if created by the Summon spell, with Hit Die equal to your level (minimum 1). It is unbound, but is not immediately hostile to you. Your companions and bystanders are a different matter. The demon will wreak havoc for 1 round per HD and then disappear in a cloud of opium and brimstone. If the demon is not slain before it returns to Hell (and you are not dead), you gain 100xp for each point of damage you suffered while vomiting it up. 

1d4 weeks later you dream of the Black Pyramid again.

Left Hand of Abaddon

This is the red and scaly left hand of a demon, along with half the forearm. It smells of vinegar and has glossy black nails and golden rings which cannot be removed. You can chop off your own hand and replace it with this. It will instantly stick to the stump, like Manglor but better.

Once so bonded, you can use the Left Hand of Abaddon to safely pick up items with curses triggered by alignment (like the Blade of the Black Pyramid) regardless of what your alignment might actually be. 

The Hand also lets you access several powers. Activating a power causes you 1d6 Charisma damage each time. The GM should roll and this damage in secret, so you never know how close you are to 0. How NPCs react to you should give you some clue, though. 
This Charisma damage can only be healed by killing humans. You regain 1d3 CHA point per human you kill (you must strike the deathblow) regardless of level or Hit Dice. The GM also keeps this total secret, but they will tell you when you’re back to your normal score. 

If using the Hand’s powers brings you to 0 Charisma, your soul is sent to Hell and your body is immediately transformed into the new body of Abaddon (a Pit Fiend). Abbadon will be happy to be returned to the mortal world. In his infernal mercy, he has a 4-in-6 chance of letting any of your present companions leave without a fight. Then he’ll get down to some important demon work. 

Powers of the Hand (each use costs 1d6 Charisma)
  • Blast a fan of flames 20’ long in a 90’ arc, doing 1d6 damage per Charisma point lost. Targets can save vs Breath for half. 
  • Cast Charm Person. Target has a penalty to their save equal to the Charisma lost. 
  • Your next attack has +1 to hit and damage for each point of Charisma lost. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

30 to 50 Feral Hogs (for DCC)

A Swarm of 30-50 Feral Hogs

Init: +1; AC: 10; HD: 10d8 (40hp)
Act: 4d20; MV: 30’; AL: C
Attack: Hog-Gobble +6 melee (1d8)
Saves: Fort: +6; Ref: +2; Wil: +5

Swarm: A mass of 30-50 feral hogs covers a 30’x30’ area and acts as one large creature. The swarm can move through and occupy the same space as other creatures without penalty. Creatures caught up within the swarm move at half speed. Each action die allows the swarm to attack every creature caught within the swarm’s area (make one roll and compare it to each individual’s AC).

Wee wee wee...: As the swarm takes damage, individual hogs die and its effectiveness is reduced. For every 10 points of damage the swarm suffers, it loses 1 Action Die.
  • 31-40hp = 4d10
  • 21-30hp = 3d10
  • 11-20hp = 2d20
  • 0-10hp = 1d20

Child Eater: A child reduced to 0hp by a feral hog attack is immediately devoured. The swarm is invigorated, regaining 1d6hp. Additionally, on the next round, all the swarm’s Action Dice are increased to d24s.

2nd Amendment Solutions: As everyone knows, a swarm of 30-50 feral hogs is especially susceptible to gunfire. The swarm takes double damage from firearms. For the sake of your children, I can only pray your campaign has guns.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Gencon 2019 Recap

Read this article at BernieTheFlumph.com!

We got home from Gencon last night. Today is my recovery day, where I rest and recoop from the travel and convention hangover. For the past three years, I’ve gone to Gencon with my wife and kid as our family vacation. This year we shared an AirBnB with my Leopard Women co-author Leighton Connor and his family. It was a pleasant experience, and much more enjoyable than the cheap hotels we normally use. In brief, this was my best Gencon ever, with a lot of personal, professional, and emotional high-points. I feel somewhat guilty saying this, because for some of the other Hex Games folks, this was the worst Gencon ever.

For the past 5 years I've had emergency car problems the day before (or the day of) Gencon. This year we finally seemed to break the curse, as we had no car issues. I fear our bad luck may have bounced onto some friends, though. At 3am Saturday, the Extended Stay caught on fire, displacing over 200 people. Two of our Hex Games people both had rooms there. No one was hurt, but they ended up convention-homeless and wound up leaving early. Now the hotel and Expedia are dicking them over on refunds. It’s a pretty crappy turn of events.

But as I said, for me Gencon went pretty good. I’m going to go over the highs and lows with a series of bullet-points, because I’m still tired and don’t feel like writing actual prose. It's gonna sound name-droppy as hell, but seriously, these people all made my Gencon great.

The Recap...
The Connors and the Burnetts shared an AirBnB in town and used Lyft to go back and forth to the con. This turned out to be pretty cost effective and gave us all a lot of freedom of movement. A successful experiment I will use again!

I ran Hobomancers vs Dracula on Thursday with a group of repeat Hobomancer players. It went well. I’ve run Hobomancer games every Gencon for the last six years or so, and I think this might be my last one for a bit. I’ve just run out of ideas for it.

On Saturday I ran two sessions of Apocalypse Truckers using QAGS. I ran this once before at Archon, and these sessions both went nice and smooth with a lot of weird grindhouse action with truckers, Hot Wheels, and skin-eating alien demon mutants.

Aside from running, I got to play in three scheduled games this year—a Phantasmagoria DCC game run by Chance Phillips, Sword of the Jungle Deep (DCC) by Ian Smalls, a DCC Lankhmar game run by Michael Curtis. All great fun.

My cousin Kerwin and my wife Ivy
as Capn's Hammer and Marvel
My wife and our kid are both cosplayers. They both spend most of the con running with their cosplay friends. We didn’t see our (adult-aged) kid for most of the con. My wife got a lot of compliments on her Captain Marvel outfit. I also thought her Yennifer was pretty cool.

I spent Thursday and Friday evenings at the Embassy Suites lobby hanging out with the DCC/DIY crowd. The DCC crowd are just simply the best. Friendly, supportive, and fun. Bob and Jen Brinkman, Dieter Zimmerman, Brendan LaSalle, and other people I’m sure I’m forgetting (apologies!).

On Thursday at the Embasy, I got to play in a pick-up game of Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, run by Mike Evans, with a table full of Ennie winners and noms. It was a great game. Mike is a very active and engaging GM, as well as being one of the friendliest guys you could hope to meet. Back his Kickstarter!

On Friday night I ran a Leopard Women of Venus funnel at the embassy for Justin Ryan Issac (the man with three first names!), Eric Bloat, and Leighton. This was the first-ever session of LWoV for DCC, and I’m happy to say it looks like a winner!

Throughout the week, I was very happy to have a several chances to hang out with Lloyd Gyan and Jim Ryan, internet friends that I only ever get to see at Gencon. I wish we had more time. I hope they come back next year.

By Sunday I was thoroughly exhausted and tired. So much so that I sadly had to forgo my Sunday evening game. There was simply no way I was going to survive until 7pm and still drive safely home. It’s too bad, too, because it was a Mothership game and I badly wanted to play.

I actually didn’t spend a lot of time in the Dealer’s Room. As expected, Goodman Games got the most of my money, and I bought some original art from Brad McDevitt, including the original Bathory piece from Draugr & Draculas. In addition to a couple of modules, I also now have a new DCC shirt, hat, and numchucks. I also had some nice conversations with Peter Mullen and Joseph Goodman. Have I mentioned how much I like the DCC crowd? (Is this what it’s like to be in a cult?)

The picture to the right of our Gencon stash is going to make that previous statement look like a lie, but I swear to you most of that pile comes from my wife because women are always shopping, am I right fellas? *tugs at imaginary tie*

I don’t have a clever way to fit hum into a bullet point, but it was nice to sit and talk with Andy Davis for a while, too. Hi Andy!

Jarret Crader and I kept running into each other when I was in the middle of a game session or running to meet my Lyft. Sorry we didn’t get to chat more, Jarret!

Saturday night, The Hex Games crew and families left the downtown area to go have our “Staff Dinner” away from the press and scramble of the convention. It was nice to sit and relax for an hour or two at the steakhouse.

Leigthon and I passed out several dozen copies of our preview zine for Leopard Women, which got some very excited responses. That’s awesome! We have a limited number left, and I’ll figure out how to get rid of them relatively soon. Keep your eyes peeled.

I am very pleased that people are excited about LWoV, and I am very happy that people are still enjoying Sanctum of the Snail. I was walking on air for a lot of the week, and it was a great way to burn away the imposter syndrome. I’m fully charged, creatively, and I’m eager to continue my current projects and start up some new ones later.

I’m sorry if I forgot to mention anyone I met! My brain is still full of mush!

I’m sure I have a ton of email to go through, that I can’t possibly imagine getting to until tomorrow.

My next convention should be Acadecon in Dayton in November. Those three months are going to go by quick if I’m not careful. I’m also re-dedicated to finally make it to Garycon next year, but we’ll still have to see how that goes.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Ashes of Angels: Sessions 11, 12, 13 (We Change Systems!)

Between getting Draugr& Draculas finished and fulfilled, getting Leopard Women of Venus ready for public announcement, preparing for Gencon, getting Patreon underway and getting the new website set up, I haven’t had a chance to keep up on my session reports like I should have. We’ve had three sessions of Ashes of Angels since my last report, and there’s big some significant changes in both system and atmosphere. I’m going to touch on that and the hit the highlights of the last three sessions. After that we should be all caught up!

The big change is that we switched systems from Lamentations of the Flame Princess to Dungeon Crawl Classics. I ran LoftFP with a lot of house rules—some I made myself, others I stole from Cavegirl, 10-Foot Polemic, and Jeff’sGameblog. After 9 sessions I stepped back and looked at all the house rules I had added:
  • Rules to let characters survive at 0HP.
  • Rules to let fighters do cool fighter things.
  • Rules to remove spells-per-day restrictions on wizard and clerics, with magical backlash for failures.
  • Luck mechanics.
It occurred to me, all the rules I was adding were a subconscious effort to make LwoV more like
DCC, all while DCC was sitting right there on my shelf looking right at me. I also realized that what I really like about LotFP isn’t so much the system itself (although I do like it) but the adventures that go along with it. I think Scenic Dunnsmouth and Blood in the Chocolate will work just fine with DCC.

So we made the switch. We converted the PCs to DCC characters and continued the 17th Century campaign with no major changes in the narrative. My players have mostly enjoyed the switch. Non-fighters now actually hit in combat occasionally. Spellcasters feel like powerful (or at least useful) wizards. I even found a homebrew DCC adaptation of the Alice.

The tone of the campaign has also changed, but that was a more gradual change, and I’ve mentioned it before. I originally intended this game to be a bleak exploration of apocalyptic Europe with death and despair everywhere. I’m just not wired that way, and the campaign has slowly morphed into a Roger Corman-esque costume dramedy with goopy monsters and comical peasants. I wanted A Field in England and I got The Raven. Honestly I’m happy there.

So here’s what’s been going on:

Our “Heroes”
Belinda: Serpentblood 2 (re-skinned Elf), Midwife
Mortimer: Alice 2, librarian
Garritt: Warrior 2, soldier
Jacob: Cleric 2, cultist of Balor
Medline: Thief 2, grave robber

Ana Fischer: Witchy henchwoman, devotee of Lucifer, Wizard 1
Ekans and Arbok: Belinda’s doggos

The PCs decide that they need to take care of the Demon of Hegendorf before the witch hunters arrive. Of course, the witch hunters show up at the Abbey the very next morning, just in time for breakfast.

Meyer is a member of Der Hexenhammer, a powerful inter-faith coalition of witch hunters that the PCs have run afoul of in the past. Meyer is fire-scarred with a mad look in his eye. He’s armed with a blunderbuss and several fire-bombs. He has six men with him and two dogs. (Warrior 4, 6x 0-level men-at-arms, 2x 2HD dogs)

The PCs convince Meyer that they too have run afoul of witches and demons, and are eager to help the witch hunters. Jacob’s “Crazy old man to crazy old man” talk with Meyer helps seal the deal.
After breakfast the party heads out with Meyer’s crew for the 5-hour trip to Hegendorf. Before they leave, Mortimer sneaks into Meyer’s wagon and sabotages all his guns.

Half-way to Hegendorf, the PCs launch their surprise attack. Several of Meyer’s goons go down in the first round. When the goons fight back, several of their guns blow up in their faces. Jacob uses Word of Command on Meyer, telling him to “run!” The witch hunter spends the next several rounds running away from the conflict. Blades and bullets cut down the rest of Meyer’s crew.

Meyer finally breaks free of the Command, just in time for Belinda to hit him with Charm Person. The party easily convinces the charmed Meyer that his crew were really in league with Satan, and he’s lucky they were there to save his life. They take the charmed with hunter with them to go find the demon.

The party makes camp about an hour outside of Hegendorf, deep in the woods. Their plan is to lure the demon out then ambush it. Garritt makes some scouting rolls and finds a good kill-spot with several trees and boulders for cover. Belinda uses herself for bait. Madeline helps disguise her as a young girl, while Belinda makes some witchcraft rolls to mix up some demon-attracting poultices.

They wait, and around midnight they hear the weird theramin-sound of the demon’s wailing, and spot the eerie green witch-light of its glowing crystalline body.

Suddenly the demon is among them, appearing right beside the tree where Garritt was hiding! The fight is on! The PCs pelt the demon with arrows and bullets, but have trouble getting through its crystalline hide. One of Meyer’s fire bombs goes wide and light a tree on fire. Garritt uses his Mighty Deed of Arms (yay DCC!) to crack the demon’s armor, making it easier for his companions to land blows.

At last the demon is slain! Belinda takes one of its claws as trophies and proof of its destruction. The rest of the body melts into a puddle go radioactive sludge that sprouts deformed fungus in the tarry mud. “Let us all kneel and give thanks to the Lord!” shouts Meyer in triumph. The witch hunter kneels and prays his thanks, and the party uses this opportunity to hit him with two backstab attacks, one critical hit, and two normal attacks—just mercilessly beating him to death. It’s just goddam brutal.

The party makes their way into Hegendorf, where they tell the remaining villages of how they slew the demon, and how poor Meyer the witch hunter died a heroic death. “But the demon devoured his body, so don’t bother going to look for it.” The PCs are lauded as heroes, and there is much celebrating.

Eventually the party returns to the Abbey of St. Agnes and their loot cache in the hidden cellar. They are stunned to discover that a trio of Molemen have dug up into their hiding spot from the Veins of the Earth. The subterranean diggers are going through their loot! The party doesn’t stand for this, and the Molemen are brutally slain. (“Poor little guys were having a dungeon adventure and wandered into a treasure cache. Then they failed their wandering monster check and you guys showed up. TPK for those poor Molemanic adventurers.”)

With their stash-space compromised, the party decides to pack up and head south towards Berlin, where they can take care of some “city business.” They take a few days to recover, then pack up their wagon with their money, the Lucifer Mirror, the Baleful Spear, and other treasures.

It’s three days to Berlin. On the second day they are accosted by bandits and a fight ensues. Ana calls out to Lucifer to protect her (casting Invoke Patron, currently using Sezrekan as a stand in for Satan), and she is instantly teleported away.

The fight is brutal, but short, and the bandits are soon defeated. Mortimer is pretty badly battered, but the rest of the party comes out of it okay. Belinda sacrifices the surviving bandit to the Lucifer Mirror and finds out that Ana is somewhere in Berlin. Jacob heals Mortimer's wounds, and the party resumes their journey.

After another day of travel, the party bribes their way through the gates of Berlin. The city is currently occupied by Swedish forces, and has suffered greatly from the War. One-third of the city has been destroyed and half the populace is dead or gone.

Belinda uses some of Ana’s spare clothing to give her scent to Arbok, and sets the dog loose to go find the missing witch. After a short while, the party is reunited with their henchwoman, and they all go off in search of lodgings.

While Ana’s been slumming about Berlin the past couple of days, an attractive young man gave her a handbill for a puppet show called “The Court of Chaos.” Ana is excited about going, and the rest of the party is interested in attending as well.

Midnight finds the party in a deserted part of town, entering an old abandoned opera house. A garish puppet theater has been erected on the stage, and the party are the only people in attendance. As the strange shadow puppets begin their act, the building shakes, hellish light shines through the cracks in the walls, and the party experiences a sinking feeling of vertigo. The walls of the theater fly apart and the party finds themselves on an obsidian island in a sea of blood surrounded by misshapen demon giants. They have entered The Court of Chaos!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Leopard Women of Venus coming to DCC!

In 2011, Leighton Connor and I wrote Leopard Women of Venus for QAGS, the Quick Ass Game System. LWoV was a weird, psychotronic sci-fi setting based on the works of obscure Golden Age cartoonist Fletcher Hanks. Leighton and I were very proud of LWoV, and the book sold as well as any QAGS book.

Fast forward to last year, Leighton and I are driving home from Archon in St. Louis, discussing Dungeon Crawl Classics and Leopard Women. We suddenly come to the realization that the crazy-weird world of Leopard Women of Venus would be a perfect setting for DCC!

We’ve been quietly working on the DCC version of LWoV for several months, figuring out what we want to change (there’s a lot), what we want to add (there’s a whole lot), and how to set up the Kickstarter. And while the Kickstarter won’t go up until sometime after Gencon, we’re at least ready to announce the project!

Leopard Woman of Venus is a feverish sci-fi setting for Dungeon Crawl Classics set on the savage and surreal planet Venus. The titular Leopard Women are genetically-modified super-soldiers in service to the sinister Science Robots, fighting to maintain order on the nightmarish jungle world.

Things the book will include:
  • A history of Venus, its colonization, and conflicts between the four human factions.
  • 100 Venusian 0-level occupations
  • The Leopard Woman class, along with their powers and Flying Saurian mounts.
  • New patrons like Stardust the Super Wizard and Fantomah the Jungle Goddess
  • New equipment and weapons.
  • Monsters and other spawn of the freakish Bio-Ray Zone.
  • The secrets of Webra the Spider Queen and the Hideous Spider Priests.
  • Zero-level funnel and 1st level adventures.
  • And more!

We hope to launch the Kickstarter shortly after Gencon. Right now we’re reaching out to artists and editors. We want to put a lot of new art in this thing, and we want to pay them all fairly. I also want to make sure our editors get paid for their work.

For Gencon, we put together a little preview zine that we’ll be passing out. The 24 page booklet will have a sneak-peek at the Leopard Woman class, the occupation tables, some monsters, and a quick primer on the setting. We’ll have 100 copies to give away at Gencon, so track me or Leighton down! After Gencon, I’ll have a PDF of the zine up on Drivethru.

This is exciting, gang! Keep watching the blog here or follow me and Leighton on Twitter (@bernitheflumph and @johnnyampersand) for more news!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Draugr & Draculas now on Drivethru RPG!

It’s been a busy couple of months here down in the Flumphworks. A lot of projects coming through and/or being launched. I’m at least two sessions behind on my campaign updates. At the very least. But like I said, projects are wrapping up and coming out. For instance…

Draugr & Draculas is now available on DriveThru RPG!

Dr&Dr is my 64-page OSR zine that includes…
  • Information on Draugr
  • The Draugr Karl class
  • The Pagan’s Well dungeon
  • Satanic Pacts
  • Information on vampires
  • Count Dracula, his castle, and his minions
  • The Vampire Hunter class
  • Elizabeth Bathory and her Blood Magic
  • New spells and magic items

I have very, very few print copies left for sale, but I have more on order. I have a Gumroad store I’m setting up where you’ll be able to get them soon (or, y’know, contact me directly).

Next up… Leopard Women!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

My New Patreon (and thoughts thereon)

I recently took the plunge and started my own Patreon! You can find that page HERE!

The Patreon will focus on creating and posting gameable content, mostly in the form of monsters, spells, magic items, and maps, with some world-building stuff as well. System-wise it will probably be about 50% BX/OSR, 30% Dungeon Crawl Classics, and 20% system-agnostic. At least that’s what I have planned for now. The future will tell how the numbers actually shake out.

I was reluctant to join Patreon for a while, because I’m philosophically against putting the blogosphere behind a paywall, especially with the death of G-Plus. But friends I trust and who have better business and creative senses than me convinced me that it would be good for “my brand” as well as motivating me to write more and different things. I can’t argue with that.

So how to balance these conflicts? Here’s my plan for now. The Patreon is mostly going to be for developing stuff for zines and other publications. The game stuff I publish there will mostly be content that I wouldn’t post on the blog in the first place. It’s the “business” stuff.

The blog here will remain mostly unchanged. It’s where my actual-plays will be. It’s where the world-building stuff my current home game will be. Its where the not-for-publication stuff I’d be posting “for free” anyway will remain. Stuff form the Patreon may wind up tricking onto the blog, too, once an acceptable amount of time has passed.

That’s the plan, anyway!

So if you’re inclined, please float over Patreon and check me out. While you're at it, go ahead and scope out some of my friends, too!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Ashes of Angels Sessions 9 and 10, plus Mid-Campaign Assessment

I’m a bit behind on my session reports, and the last two sessions have been kind of light on plot, so I’m going to try and keep things to bullet points. After that, I’m going to mull over some thoughts on where the campaign is, where it’s going, and how well the system is working for us.

Our Heroes
Belinda Kage: Serpentblood 2, Midwife
Madeline: Specialist 3, Grave-robber
Mortimer: Alice 3, Librarian
Gerrit Liddstadt of Worms: Fighter 2, Soldier
Jacob: Cleric 2, cultist of Balor

Ana Fischer: Witchy henchwoman
Ekans and Arbok: Belinda’s doggos
Svetlana: Innkeeper's least-horrible daughter

Session 9
  • The party returns to Kotstadt and prepares to return to Pagan’s Well to dig out the collapsed tunnel.
  • They hire two laborers, the brothers Kolin and Rolf who claim to have “dug the finest latrines from here to Berlin!”
  • J’s new character, Jacob, joins the group. He’s a secret cleric of Balor—and old man in a rough brown robe and an eye patch. He hides his holy symbol in his empty socket. Dreams have lead him to Pagan’s Well.
  • Back in the Well, the party discovers a large bloody handprint on a wall. It wasn’t there before. Madeline feels like there’s something watching them in the dark and mist. The diggers are spooked, but a big pile of coins convinces them to stay.
  • They clear the tunnel and discover a round stone door carved with one-eyed skulls. The door rolls away easily.
  • Beyond the door is a burial chamber. Seven partially-mummified corpses with rusted armor and weapons and shiny gold torcs. One corpse clutches a large and sinister-looking spear.
  • Belinda grabs the spear, and of course the pagan corpses (draugr) rise up and attack.
  • The fight goes very badly. Jacob’s leg is badly injured, and Rolf dies. Kolin's morale breaks and he runs away, disappearing into the misty tunnels of the Well. The party isn’t landing any hits. It’s time to retreat. Jacob flings his lantern, lighting one of the draugr ablaze.
  • The party retreats from the crypt. The round door is harder to close than it is to open, but they manage to seal the tomb once more.
  • Back at Kotstadt, the clearly-injured party faces a lot of questions as to what happened. The diggers' father is very distraught and wants to know what happened to his sons. The party lies, and tells the villagers that they were looking for treasure in a (fictional) cave, when the roof collapsed, crushing the brothers.
  • The villagers (who are, remember, all very stupid) believe the party, but the diggers’ father insists that they go and dig out his son’s body. That’s when Kolin stumbles back into town, raving about monsters, the walking dead, his murdered bother, and the party’s witchcraft.
  • The party explains that Kolin has clearly gone mad with grief from his brothers’ death. Again, the villagers believe them, but there’s still a bunch of unrest. Father Hrothgar, the burly-but-friendly village priest mollifies the situation. “These are troubled times, and misfortune can break a man’s mind. Let’s all go to bed. In the morning we will take our visiting friends and a dozen stout men to go retrieve Rolf's body from this cave and ensure a proper Christian burial.” The rest of the villagers approve of this idea.
  • The party decides to skip town in the middle of the night before the villagers discover their lies. On the way out, they run into the innkeeper’s least-horrible daughter, Svetlana, who is obsessed with Belinda. They agree to take the girl away with them.
  • The party plots a circuitous route back to the Abbey of St. Agnes so they can retrieve the Lucifer mirror.
  • On the road, they come upon the village of Grossbeck, which has seemingly been abandoned.
    There are no people or animals to be seen, the homes are still intact, but most of the furniture and possessions are missing. A large black monastery lurks on the hill above the town, with an ancient cemetery at its base.  Hooded figures can be seen at a distance, entering the monastery doors. (I stole this entire set-piece from The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart.)
  • The party finds an abandoned inn to spend the night in. Around midnight, they hear the monastery bell toll thirteen.
  • In the morning, the party decides to explore the cemetery, hoping to find a passage to the Ghoul Market.
  • Inside an old crypt, they discover a secret passage beneath a statue of St. Drogo (patron saint of the ugly and deformed, true fact.
  • The underground passage splits in two. One passage continues towards the monastery. The other bears the white-ankh mark of the Ghoul Market! The decides to continue towards the monastery for now, hoping the monks there might have knowledge of the Market.
  • They encounter and easily defeat a giant albino spider. Jacob fails to harvest any venom from its fangs.
  • The passage terminates at a secret door that leads to the basement hallways of the monastery.
  • Session ends.

Session 10
  • There are several doorways in the torch-lit hallway. To the left, the hallways slopes downwards and out of sight. To the right are several doors, which they choose to investigate. One leads to a privy with a dead monk at the bottom of the cesspool. Another leads to a laundry room. One leads to stairs going upwards. And another leads to a pantry full of rotten and worm-ridden foodstuff.
  • They go back down the other way. A short flight of stairs leads to an iron-barred cell with casks and chests visible. Two robed and cowled figures hold antique longswords and guard the door.
  • The party lusts for that treasure, so they attack! The faces of the “monks” are revealed to be
    rotten and gray with clay-like flesh and moldy beards, like something out of a Spanish-Italian horror movie!
  • The monsters are tough! One claws Garrit, and his muscles freeze up, paralyzing him. The undead monk continues its onslaught and chews Garrit’s shoulder down to the bone. Belinda’s Shield spell protects Madeline, who puts her pickaxe through the monk’s head. Blades and bullets finally put down the other monk.
  • In the treasure vault, the party finds a chest full of 1000 silver thalers, a gold chalice, a couple vials of holy water, and a glass reliquary that seems to hold the blood of St. Drogo. The party packs up and leaves, declining to explore the rest of the monastery.
  • Spending the night in the abandoned inn again, the party hears someone (or something) lurking outside in the darkness. In the morning they find six sets of sandaled footprints. They decide to leave the abandoned town.
  • The part cuts cross-country to make their way through a small neck of forest before they make it to the Abbey of St. Agnes.
  • Making camp in the forest, they are approached by a group of eight orphans, refugees from a village to the south. Belinda and Ana determine which of the orphans are first-born (for later use). The party will take the children to the Abbey with them, hoping the nuns will take care of them.
  • On the way to the abbey, the party is attacked by a large bear. Garrit is struck down, but is not killed. After a desperate fight, the PCs manage to put the beast down.
  • They arrive at the abbey the next day. The place is on lock-down. Sister Catherine guards the door with a large musket. Garrit is taken to the infirmary.
  • Things haven’t been good in Hegendrof since the PC’s left. Old Man Hagan’s house burnt down, and a demon haunts the city, killing people and livestock. The witchfinders have been called in and are expected in the next few days.
  • The party goes to the shed they rented from the nuns, where they stashed the Lucifer mirror, to consolidate their loot and ask Lucifer some questions. They take the Nihal, the brattiest of the firstborn orphans with them.
  • Belinda casually shanks Nihal and asks Lucifer where they can find a Writ of Protection to let them safely enter the Ghoul Market. Lucifer tells them they can get one from Baron von Winter, representative of Dracula, in the Black Forest. The party has their new travel destination!
  • The party drags Nihal's body to the woods so they can blame his death on the roving demon. They go to report the boy’s abduction to the nuns.
  • The nuns are horrified. Doughty sister Catherine (fighter 1) grabs her musket and insists the PCs help her find the body.
  • Of course, they run into the demon itself while out in the woods. The demon looks like a giant protein crystal atop five scaly legs. It glows with an alien light. Sister Catherine opens fire and the PCs run away. They hear the sounds of combat, but don’t look back.
  • Mortimer the Alice voices his Exasperation, and the PCs find the grown-over door to an old abandoned root cellar from a long-destroyed building. They hide there for several minutes until they are certain the demon is gone.
  • When the PCs return to the abbey, Sister Catherine is there, badly wounded, but alive. She said she was able to drive away the demon with a vial of holy water she always keeps on her. The nuns are grateful that the witch hunters are only a few days away.
  • Party performs charity work around the abbey. Mortimer gets adopted by a three-legged, wall-eyed sheep. Mensch, the insane eunuch from the Pale Lady adventure, decides Madeline is his new best friend. ("Can he hold a sword? Then he's in!")
  • The PCs move Lucifer and the rest of their loot to the hidden root cellar, figuring it will be a more secure location.
  • Session ends.

Treasure from Both Sessions

  • Ancient war spear with a bone shaft wrapped in man-skin and a head of meteoric iron. 
  • 1000sp
  • Gold chalice worth 500sp
  • 3 vials of holy water in silver vials
  • Blood of St, Drogo
  • Miscellaneous mundane goods salvaged from abandoned Grossbeck

Mid-Campaign Assessment
I’ve played in a number of sandbox games, and I’ve greatly enjoyed them. This is the first time I’ve run a pure sandbox game, and honestly, I’m not sure my home group is the right match for the style. They aren’t bored, and everyone seems to have a good time, but the party wanders a lot and leaves a lot of half-finished jobs and fractionally-explored sites.
I think a lot of this comes from the horror setting. We had similar pseudo-problems with the Silent Legions game. My players are smart and genre savvy, with good survival instincts. But there’s a fine line between “playing smart” and “missing all the cool stuff.” The party has fought a lot of humans and animals, but not a lot of monsters (Pale Lady notwithstanding). I put some fun, goopy monsters in the Pagan’s Well and the Black Monastery, but the PCs bugged out before they encountered them.
I have laid down a bunch of plot hooks and breadcrumbs for about six different modules. I’ve been trying to rely on my players’ own curiosity, and trying to avoid the whole quest-giver “hey I got a job for you” thing. I may need to rethink that. No railroads, but maybe some road maps.
Let’s talk systems. This game started as Lamentations of the Flame Princess game with a bunch of house rules. I’ve added even more house rules as the game has progressed, mostly to make the PCs more adaptable and survivable. At this point, it doesn’t really resemble LotFP, but rather a mulligan stew of various B/X based games. From what I’ve seen the DIY/OSR scene, this isn’t unusual.
I like lethal games. I pitched this campaign as a lethal game. But I think some of my players might be getting frustrated. Maybe not so much with the lethality, but with how ineffective they are in combat. I know old-style combat is supposed to be swingy, but that draugr fight in Pagan’s Well took five rounds before anyone scored a hit (the draugr only had AC like leather armor and 2HD). After a point, swingy becomes tedious. I’m already taking on some rules to address this. I’ll post those later.
This all sounds negative, but I’m still really enjoying the game, and my players are still having a good time. I really enjoy playing all the terrible villager NPCs. We’ve just been in kind of a slump the past couple of sessions. If they stick to the plan to go visit Baron von Winter, that gives them a solid goal. He can definitely give them the old “If you want this from me, I need you to do me this favor” thing, which will lend some much-needed structure to the game.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Crovoborge

This guy will show up in my game the next time my players travel to the Ghoul Market

The Crovoborge guards one of the several tunnels that lead to the Ghoul Market. He is a man-sized, but short, with a head like the skull of a crow. He wears black-lacquered scale mail and a plumed helm and carries a halberd that flickers with purple witch-light. The Crovoborge does not talk, but the two scarab beetles that live in his skull speak for him. Tom lives in his left eye socket and has a voice like Eddie Deezen. Danny lives in his right eye socket and has a voice like Clancy Brown. Both carry their own tiny little halberds.
  • AC: 16 (mail); HD: 5 (26hp); Morale: 10; Movement: 120’, AL: N
  • Flickering Halberd: +5 (1d10 damage, plus take 1d6 each round until a save vs. magic is made. Wound drips small purple snails.)
  • Tom the beetle can see invisible creatures.
  • Danny the beetle can cast Magic Missile (as a 3rd level MU), 3 times a day.
The Crovoborge demands 25 thalers from any person who wishes to pass by his gate. He collects these coins in a battered tin pot and sends half of them every month to his mistress in Hamburg.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Troika Backgrounds (Hobomancer, Sneaky Snake, Moleman, Prodigal Vampire)

Daniel Sell's Troika! is really something special. I love the crazy, loosely-detailed setting that mish-mashes all sorts of psychedelic science-fantasy world-hopping weirdness. The whole thing encourages you to create your own new backgrounds for characters. So that's what I did!

The Hobomancer and Sneaky Snake come from the (Ennie Award-winning!) Hobomancer RPG and Hobomancer Companion that I helped write for Hex Games. I've written about Molemen on this blog several times, but they're inspired (shamelessly lifted) from John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise. And as for the Prodigal Vampire... well, I just like vampires.

The Songlines span the entirety of the multiverse. The Hobomancers travel along this network of Creation energy, often on magical trains. Many of these trains find their way to Troika. As a hobo, you have forsaken your old name and taken up a life of travel and freedom. As a Hobomancer, you have been initiated into fraternity of wandering mystics and shamans, dedicated to protecting The Song.

  • Bindle (+2 carrying capacity, damage as a staff).
  • Banjo, fiddle, or harmonica.
  • Bottle of hooch, cheap but potent.
Advanced Skills
  • 3 Secret Signs: Hobomancer
  • 2 Panhandling
  • 3 Train Hopping
  • 1 Folk Music
  • 2 Trainwhispering (Lets you communicate with trains of all sorts)
  • 1 Bindle Fighting
  • 2 Second Sight
  • 1 Spell: Mulligan Stew
  • 1 Spell: It’s Right Here in My Bindle!
  • 1 Spell: Random
When rolling into town, you can find temporary employment if you make a successful Luck roll.

New Spells
Mulligan Stew (2)
By mixing together a bunch of normally inedible items (shoestrings, empty cans, a rock, whatever you can find) into a pot of boiling water, you can create a tasty and nutritious stew. If successfully cast, the spell creates a number of provisions equal to your roll. The stew must be eaten within an hour or it turns into inedible slop.

It’s Right Here in my Bindle! (1)
Name a mundane, non-food, non-weapon item able to be held in one hand and worth less than a half a day’s wages. Make your spellcasting roll, and if you succeed, it’s right there in your bindle.

Sneaky Snake
Your ancestors ruled over vast, interdimensional empires, commanding mighty golden armies of armored dinosaurs to trample fledgling human tribes. But your kingdoms fell into decadence and complacency. Loinclothed, sword-swinging human heroes toppled your onyx pyramids, shattered your temples, and trod your high-priests into the ground. Ten-thousand years later, the descendants of the fallen Serpent Kings still lurk in the shadows, practicing the arts of deception and planning for the return of the Empire. The Sneaky Snakes are almost ready to rise up again, and have been for several dozen centuries.

  • Fancy robes.
  • Disguise kit.
  • Ornate, wavy-bladed dagger.
  • Fangs, with atrophied venom glands (damage as modest beast).
Advanced Skills
  • 3 Disguise
  • 3 Parseltongue (Lets you speak to snakes and other reptiles)
  • 1 Stealth
  • 2 Poisons
  • 2 Spell: Illusion
  • 1 Spell: Assassin’s Dagger
  • 1 Spell: Random
  • 1 Spell: Random

You are a native of subterranean realms. You have large teeth, tiny black eyes, and hairless pink skin covered with a thin layer of luminescent mucus. Despite your hideous appearance, you come from a sophisticated culture that values industry and learnedness. Your ideas of natural rights and representative democracy are alien to most other cultures.

  • Powdered wig.
  • Frock coat.
  • Stack of pamphlets and handbills.
  • Fencing saber (damage as sword).
Advanced Skills
  • 3 Rhetoric
  • 2 Natural Philosophy
  • 2 Political Theory
  • 2 Comparative Religion
  • 2 Mathmology
  • 3 Spelunking
  • 2 Sword fighting
Once per day, you can produce a wad of luminescent mucus that sheds light like a lantern. This light lasts a number of hours equal to your skill and can be stuck to any solid surface.

Prodigal Vampire
When the Sunshine Collective conquered the world of Chornabos, the vampire nobles that ruled the Black Cities were forced to flee in exile. Many of these displaced vampires settled in Troika. Now you’re trying to maintain your dignity and rebuild the network of influence and prestige that you once enjoyed.

  • Fine clothing, several decades out of fashion.
  • Sword-umbrella.
  • Fancy jewelry, worth 2d6x10 silver pence.
  • Bat wings (fly as fast as a man can run).
  • Retractable fangs (damage as modest beast).
Advanced Skills
  • 3 Etiquette
  • 2 Bite Fighting
  • 2 Flight
  • 1 Stealth
  • 1 Spell: Amity
  • 1 Spell: Fear
  • 1 Spell: Befuddle
You cannot eat normal provisions. When you make a successful bite attack, you can choose to immediately slurp up some of your target’s blood (assuming they have blood). This doesn’t cause any extra damage, but you gain the benefits of consuming a provision (regain 1d6 Stamina). You can only feed like this three times per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

You automatically fail any Luck rolls while you are exposed to direct sunlight. While in the smoky city of Troika, beneath the Hump-Backed Sky, this is rarely a problem, but keep your umbrella handy.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Burn the Witch-Hunter! [Ashes of Angels, Session 8]

This was a relatively short session that mostly revolved around trying to cure Mortimer’s illness. He was only one failed saving throw away from death, and the players were getting pretty frantic. Julius’ player wasn’t with us this session, so we didn’t get to introduce his new character.

Our Heroes
  • Belinda Kage: Serpentblood 1, Midwife
  • Madeline: Specialist 3, Grave-robber
  • Mortimer: Alice 3, Librarian
  • Gerrit Liddstadt of Worms: Fighter 1, Soldier
  • Ana Fischer: Witchy henchwoman
  • Ekans and Arbok: Belinda’s doggos

After returning from Pagan’s Well, the party wakes up the next morning in their rooms at the Happy Woodsman. Madeline, Mortimer—the three characters who has splashed around in the filthy black water at the bottom of the warchief’s well—were all required to make posion saves. Only Mortimer failed. The unfortunate librarian woke up oozing black tarry discharge from every pore and orifice, plastering his bedsheets (also, CON and CHA damage).  

Belinda and Gerrit tried to convince Svetlana (the innkeeper’s least-horrible daughter, who is also obsessed with Belinda) to keep their friend’s illness a secret. But villagers are going to gossip, and soon the entire town new that one of the visiting adventurers was sick. Rumors of plague begin to spread. Kerney the innkeeper considers tossing the party out of the inn but is mollified when the party gives him a good pile of silver, more than enough to buy out all the rooms in the inn and pay for new linnens to boot.

The rest of the villagers are fairly easy to talk down, because, again, they are all very stupid.

Gerrit and Belinda spend the rest of the day hunting for herbs in the woods (the parts they didn’t burn down) trying to mix a remedy for Mortimer and manage to put together a poultice that will give him a bonus to his next saving throw. (He needs to succeed at two saves in order to throw off the illness.)
Mortimer makes his save, and his condition doesn’t progress, although it doesn’t get any better. The party’s feeling pretty confident, and the villagers are less nervous.

Unfortunately, the next morning Mortimer fails his save (even with the bonus) and gets worse again. Mortimer is down to 3 CON and 2 CHA at this point, and things are getting dire. The party questions everyone they can in the village, trying to get information about any kind of healer folks might know.
On my list of rumors, I have an entry that there’s a folk healer in the marshes near Keil whose touch can cure the sick, so I decide to feed that to the players. Keil is only 8 hours south of Kodstadt, so the party (including Mortimer) decide to head to Keil with all due speed. Ana, still upset about losing her arm, stays behind. The witch tells Belinda that she’s realized that the Transylvanian Hunger spell can restore her arm, but it would probably require her to kill someone. Belinda tells her to behave while they are gone.

The ride cross-country to Keil is uneventful. About an hour outside of Kiel, they run into a man with a mule cart and pet bobcat. The man introduces himself as Simeon, a practitioner of the thaumaturgical arts on his way to visit and professional associate of his. He was ready to stop for the night in Kiel, but witch hunters are there right now, getting ready to string up some root-worker and a few other non-desirables. He decided it was safer to skip town while the getting was good.

The party rolls double-sixes on their reaction roll and convince the wizard to come with them. They all hate witch hunters and ask Simeon to come help run them out of town and save the accused. Simeon happily agrees, eager to show those self-righteous witch-burners what’s what.

The party stashes their horses and Simeon's wagon in an abandoned barn and creep towards the village. Belinda and Simeon keep their distance, while Mortimer and Madeline stealth towards the town square, where there seems to be something important going on. Simeon casts invisibility on Gerrit, and he slips into the village square as well.

A large crowd of filthy, sick, and hungry-looking villagers gathers around a large cross erected in the center of the village square. A large gallows platform, obviously of fresh construction, is art one end of the square. Four people stand upon it with nooses around their necks: Brother Timothy (the folk healer), Frau Shulz (the midwife), Sandra (a teenage girl), and Fletcher (the poison maker). Before them all, walking on a long roll of cloth to keep the mud off her boots, is Isadole Spence, the witch hunter. She is a severe-looking woman with a long skirt, high boots, a big hat, and a whip and pistol on her hips. She’s accompanied by four well-armed goons.

Isadole Spence, Witch Hunter (Specialist 5)
AC: 14 (Leather); HP:20; Morale: 10
Stealth 3, Sneak Attack 3, Search 5
Sword +2 (1d8)
Whip +2 (1d3, save or become entangled)
Pistol +2 (1d8)

AC: 13, HD: 1; Morale: 8
Sword +1 (1d8)
Musket +1 (1d8)

Isadole paces back and forth in front of the gallows, reading off the list of the condemned's crimes, quoting the gorier parts of scripture, and generally doing the whole witch-hunter thing. Madeline and Mortimer position themselves behind cover with their guns and crossbows, while Gerrit makes his way to the witch-hunter’s nearby wagon and finds her keg of gunpowder. Gerrit constructs a makeshift fuse and chucks the burning keg into the center of the crowd. It explodes, killing several villagers and causing the big cross to fall over, crushing a small child. The crowd panics!

Mortimer and Madeline open fire on the goons while the goons unload their muskets on Gerrit, thankfully missing. Simeon casts Summon and calls up a fungus demon. Sadly, he fails his control check, and the demon turns on him. (This spell will work properly at some point, I’m sure. As it is, Belinda has convinced herself to never use it.) Belinda cast Charm Person on Isadole the witch-hunter, who fails her save. Gerrit shoots dead on of the goons on the gallows.

With the guard dead, Madeline makes her way to the gallows platform and starts to free the condemned. Garrit engages one the goons, sword-vs-sword, while Mortimer’s crossbow bolt takes out another goon. Belinda makes her way through the panicked crowd calling for “help” until Isadole can see her. The charmed witch-hunter moves to her side. “Don’t worry, my dear, I won’t let any of these filthy peasants touch you!” Isadole says as she uses her whip to drive away the rabble.

Simeon's pet bobcat leaps into the fray to protect his master from the fungus demon. The large cat’s body ripple like water, and suddenly it becomes wolf-sized brain demon! Simeon's bobcat was a bound and shapeshifted demon this entire time! It’s a tense demon-on-demon fight, but Simeon and his familiar come out on top.

Garrit finished off the last goon while Madeline frees Brother Timothy the healer. The charmed Isadole is so distracted that she doesn’t notice Belinda placing her crossbow under the witch-hunter’s chin and pulling the trigger. The bolt shoots clean through her head, pinning her cool hat to a tree limb above.

The witch-hunters are defeated, and the villagers have scattered. The party leads the folk-healer out of town while Garrit loots the hunters’ wagon.

The grateful healer, a portly old man with a white smock and broad straw hat, introduces himself as Brother Timothy. He lives in a small cottage in the swamp, and his family has been providing medicines and physick services to Keil for generations. But sickness and famine hit the village recently, and as soon as the witch-hunters came to town, the villagers betrayed him, along with the midwife, some poor innocent girl, and the local poisoner. “Well, they might have been right about him. Still, how’s that for gratitude?”

Brother Timothy is more than happy to heal poor sick Mortimer. He rubs some moss on his chest and plants a few leeches on his face while chanting the Lord’s Prayer, and just like magic, Mortimer’s illness is cured! They ask Brother Timothy is he’d like to return with them to Kotstadt. Since the villagers betrayed him and Isadole and her goons burnt down his house, the folk healer thinks that finding a new home isn’t such a bad idea. The party says their goodbyes to Simeon and his familiar, and make their way back to Kotstadt with Brother Timothy and a chest-load of loot from the witch-hunters’ wagon.

When they get back to Kotsadt, Ana has a fresh new arm hidden under her cloak, and Gorst the huntsman hasn't been seen for a while. 

Treasure Gained
  • Gold crucifix (200sp)
  • 2 vials of holy water
  • 500sp in gold coins
  • Isadole Spence’s journal