30th May 2020
Saturday night at home in front of the laptop and logged into Skype. It can only mean it's time for the conclusion of Matakishi's 'In Darkest Warrens' game.
Location: Hollyleaf Inn, Darkholme.
Thanks to his quick witted actions, Randulf had acquired a sack-full of 'garden gnomes' to sell
When in Darkholme; the place to sell things was The Dirt Market. We headed down to the market and spoke with the market's manager.
He told us that "We were in luck!". A market stall had just been vacated and was now available: It seems that Pendolin came by this very morning, packed up all of his stock and hastily left. A little later a 'red-man' who stank awfully came looking for Pendolin, his features were hidden by a wide brimmed hat, although the other sellers noted the red-man had glowing eyes.
Red skin, glowing eyes. This had us... concerned.
Regardless of this, Randulf agreed to the manager's terms - a 10% cut of any profit and took over the stall.
Little time passed before a red-man in a wide brimmed hat came a-visiting! We detected a strong smell of sulphur about him as he drew closer. He looked at the stall and looked at Randulf. He then gave a grunt and wandered off. Although a moment later he appeared to change his mind and turned back to the stall.
"Where is Pendolin? And who are you?" He asked, before adding. "Are you related to him?".
Our response was. "And who are you?".
"Tell Pendolin he has one day. Then he and all his relatives - including you, are forfeit." said the red-man. With one clawed finger he scratched a glowing rune or glyph into the table.
This chafed Randulf who had only just acquired this market stall! As the red-man went to depart, Randulf lunged out and grabbed the red-man's arm from behind.
The red-man grabbed Randulf's hand and threw him over his shoulder so that Randulf thumped down face up on the ground in front of him.
Before leaving, the red-man then leant down and inscribed the same glyph on Randulf's forehead!
When the red-man was gone, Urham cast an identify spell on the glyph and learnt it was demonic in nature and was also some sort of timer.
It seemed important that we warned Pendolin about this oncoming problem, but no one knew where he had gone. His home was some two days travel from Darkholme.
Following a discussion, it is decided that we should seek professional advice, in other words speak with Petunia Rootlocks.
Leaving the stall under the diligent, watchful eyes of the market guards, we headed for
Our conversation with Petunia upon our arrival was fairly brief. Petunia scrutinised the glyph, she then explained that it was a 'glyph of bargaining'! The bargain requires an innocent soul to be paid before the time expires - which was in about nineteen hours.
Petunia also explained that it seemed this bargain was struck at 'The Blood Pit'.
The only thing we had learnt about The Blood Pit is; 'Adding your blood to the pit acts like a wishing well, apparently'.
So off to The Blood pit we went.
Arriving at The Blood Pit, we found it to be a peculiar place.
The Blood Pit was described as a 'wishing well' and that's what it looked like. Well, except for the layers of dried and caked blood coated all over the well's rim.
There was also a nauseatingly disgusting odour emanating from it. Reluctantly, we peered into pit and it was indeed filled with a dark, viscous liquid, blood.
Finally we noticed that there were quite a few tramps loitering around the pit?
Soon after our arrival, a man came shambling up to The Blood Pit. He stretched an arm over the it and opened a vein! A fair amount of blood dripped into pit until suddenly his arms were filled with sacks of gold!
As he departed, he flipped a generous number of coins to the tramps and beggars, so that's why they were here.
A few minutes after the man's departure, a demonic thing came crawling out of The Blood Pit! It's scales were slick with dripping blood and it stalked off in the same direction as the man.
We were quite taken aback and before we could formulate any response we heard chilling screams coming from that direction.
Soon the demon came slinking back. In one clawed hand is held a small and pulsating organ of some kind. We could hear a wailing cry coming from the object as the demon clambered back down into The Blood Pit and sunk back down.
Well, we didn't learn much about the glyph of bargaining here. We did however get a very good idea of what was going to happen in less than nineteen hours time!
Help is what we needed. We considered our options and one of those was 'The Broken Kirk'.
Apparently it was 'Once a grand church, now a barely rebuilt
ruin. The last Priests of the Seven Tongues have a base here'.
Although we knew nothing of these priests, they might have some knowledge or skill that could be used against our infernal enemy.
The Broken Kirk was indeed as described. These were the shattered remains of massive and elaborate structure from times past.
In amongst these ruins an effort had been made to build a new church, but it was less than spectacular.
Living amongst these ruins were a band of priests and acolytes. We were introduced to their leader 'Archpriest Gergun Spittlewood'.
Once Gergun had heard the tale of our predicament, he was eager to help and committed his men and himself to our cause.
Gergun has some sort of magical aptitude, he blessed Randulf's sword, which grew in power and began to glow piously.
We gave Gergun one of our garden gnomes in exchange for another blessing on Randulf's shield, but the blessing failed. It was not to be.
Gergun said that they would begin to sing and dance until the appointed time and were looking forward to the coming battle against the forces of darkness.
Despite their positive attitude, we could not help but notice that they were a little shambolic. It did little to raise our hopes
Leaving Gergun and his men to their singing and dancing, we travelled back to the Fiddler's Quarrel in Darkholme looking for more allies.
The barkeep did not look happy to see us, but we ignored him and headed down into the basement. Looking around, it seemed a little different down here. The rat-men were in the process of packing all their gear up and the tunnel to The Cursed Monastery had been barricaded. We also noticed a pile of corpses in a corner!
The rat-men explained that the barkeep had sent a band of mercenaries down here to 'deal with them', but things hadn't worked out so well for the mercenaries. The rat-men also told us that they had eaten one hundred coins worth of food and drink from the basement and it was time to leave and find some adventure!
This seemed like an auspicious moment to us and we asked the rat-men to join our cause. Their only demand was that they received a fair share of whatever loot we found. We agreed and they finished packing up their kit and came with us.
Roland, Roderick, Roger and Rory joined our company.
Our next port of call was 'The Garrison', all we knew about The Garrison was that it was commanded by 'Moon Sirencall'. A garrison should be a good place to recruit people for a battle.
Moon was a sturdy, reliable looking halfling. Unfortunately, she could not provide us with any help. She explained that the vast majority of her guards were corrupt and could not be trusted in a vital situation. Particularly one that involved some sort of demon!
Moon suggested that if we were looking for fighters to try the dwarfs from 'Dredgeside Docks' or the smugglers at Fiddler's Quarrel. - So that's goes on behind the door in Fiddler's Quarrel.
It did not seem likely to us that we would be likely to be able to recruit either of these to groups to our cause.
Instead we decided to look for Pendolin, no doubt he would need help. But where to look, the only clue we had led us to a village two days out of Darkholme. There was less than a day until the bargain expired, it was not viable to go to the village.
Petunia was a wizard and she could help us, or so our reasoning went.
Upon returning to The Spire, Petunia cast a scry spell. It turned out that Pendolin was a lot closer than we had been led to believe, close to Darkholme in fact. There was something blocking the scry spell and Petunia could not an exact fix on the location, only that it was someplace 'in the dark'?
Petunia said that she could teleport us close by, if that's what we wanted. It was what we wanted, so Petunia cast a teleportation circle spell and off to this 'mysterious place' we went.
Urham cast a light spell. We were in an chamber somewhere and in one corner was Pendolin Washer! He was sitting there in a protective magic circle made of his lucky charms and looked quite surprised to see us.
Personally I did not rate that his magic circle would provide much in the way of protection.
We explained to Pendolin that we knew about the red-man and that we intended to battle him along with the priests of Seven Tongues. Next we asked Pendolin where we were and he told us we were at The Broken Kirk - that was convenient!
There was six hours to go, we went and joined the others and prepared to battle. We would confront the red-man and the rat-men would hide in the darkness and attack from range.
The acolytes were also prepared.
I noticed that there was a difference between acolytes of the Seven Tongues and the cultists of Conrad the Crazed.
Cultists wielded wicked curved daggers.
Acolytes wielded wicked curved holy daggers! Much better!
During the wait we concocted a cunning plan to deal with the demon. Uusing Urham's remaining bottles of goblin moonshine to give the red-man a surprise. Archpriest Gergun agreed to help us with this.
Exactly on time, the red-man appeared from the darkness.
From behind his protective circle, Pendolin shouted. "I'm glad you're here. I've brought four innocent souls for you.". And he pointed at us! So much for Pendolin.
The red-man asked us if we were willing to be part of the bargain, we replied by saying definitely not.
Urham gave Gergun a glass of moonshine. Gergun would share this drink with the red-men as a gesture of success. Gergun took a sip before handing it over and said. "I like this.". Before finishing the entire glass. So much for Gergun.
Urham interceded and gave a bottle of the moonshine to the red-man. The red-man drank all of it and said that he like it very much and would 'spare' Urham.
Now that the pleasantries were dispensed with, the battle ensued.
Egbert struck the red-man with a hold spell and attacked.
Randulf charged and attacked.
Urham cast smite and attacked.
From range, the Rat-men attacked.
The acolytes charged in and mobbed the red-man, then attacked.
We all attacked!
In the following moments, the red-man shrugged off the hold spell and began attacking the acolytes.
The mobbing acolytes had made it hard for anyone to get in an attack.
Randulf had to pull acolytes off in order to get at the red-man.
Meanwhile the red-man deflected Egbert's smite spell.
I was forced to take flight to attack.
The rat-men just attacked anyway.
In the next few moments, we managed to defeat the red-man, who fell to the ground in a spectacular supernatural explosion. Victory!
The din of battle faded away and suddenly we heard a hideous scream behind us.
The red-man, clearly now in perfect health was standing over the crumpled form of Pendolin. In one clawed hand he held a pulsating and wailing soul...
Poor Pendolin, neither his charms nor his luck were ever any good.
"That was a fun battle." Said the red-man. "Now I must be off to The Halfmoon Forest to get more moonshine!".
"I think I'll join you." Added Archpriest Gergun.
The pair of them headed off to The Halfmoon Forest together...
We thought it best not to comment.
With the curse lifted, we were at a loss for what to do next.
Logic - or at least our version of logic dictated that we go somewhere new. And that new place was 'The Seven Fingers'
Described as: 'Seven standing stones on the outskirts of the town'. I looked forward to seeing this monument.
We arrived at The Seven Fingers without incident. I must admit that I was slightly disappointed to find only six standing stones.
A cursory examination revealed that one of the stones had been removed.
I searched for tracks and found a great number them as well as indications of some sort of sled being utilised.
The evidence indicated that the missing stone had been toppled on to a sled and dragged away by a great many individuals.
Detect magic was cast on the tracks and there was definitely some traces of magic to the them?
The tracks led to 'The Boneyard' and we followed.
The Boneyard was described as 'A gravesite where hundreds were buried
after the Night War'.
There was what looked like a freshly constructed earth mound here. Atop the mound was the missing standing stone. Littered around the stone were a number of fresh bodies. That had clearly been ritually sacrificed in some way in the service of an unholy rite.
Further examination revealed much of the ground around this mound had been heavily disturbed in some way. There were a large number of confusing footprints here.
It was at about this time that we realised how quiet The Boneyard was, there were no animals here nor twittering birdsong. It was devoid of living things.
Nefarious unholy rituals have a tendency to occur during the hours of night. We decided to hide and wait until sunset. The Boneyard was a flat region that pretty much lacked vegetation, so we hid a little way from the mound and waited.
The sun crawled across the sky and sunk in the west as bright day gave way to inky night.
From our position, we saw the earth around the mound churn and and seethe. Then groups of skeleton emerged and clambered from the ground and even a sled appeared.
They numbered around two hundred in total, the majority of the skeletons took the sled and headed for The Seven Fingers. But group of about a dozen skeletons headed out in a different direction.
It is obvious that they were going in search of victims for their ritual. We gave chase and intercepted them before they reached any village or settlement.
Urham cast fireball on the band of skeletons and they were obliterated!
Returning to our hiding spot, we had to wait a while for the other skeletons to return with another standing stone and to begin raising it.
After this, they seemed to be standing around waiting, no doubt expecting the other skeletons to return with sacrifices.
After a further length of time, another group of a dozen skeletons detached itself from the main mob and headed after the first small group.
The mob of skeletons appeared to be acting in a coordinated and intelligent manner. We could not see if they had a leader or were being directed.
Regardless of this, we had to follow the second group and eliminate it. Which we did with another judicious use of the fireball spell.
Our attention was drawn to the shattered remains of the previous group. The broken fragments were somehow slowly moving and rolling together! Given enough time, no doubt this would result in their eventual reconstruction. A well placed dispel magic spell put an end to that though!
Once again we returned to our hiding spot to see the skeletons waiting. After another length of time we saw another figure appear, this time on the mound.
Wreathed in weird, flickering green flames, adorned with a ornately decorated robe and with a skull for a head. There was no question what this was; a lich!
We watched as the lich ordered a third band of a dozen skeletons off - this time in a different direction.
We moved to intercept the third group, if things continued like this, we would whittle down the numbers quite well.
As we reached the third band, Egbert cast fireball on them, but the spell was deflected back at us!
Fortunately for us, with an exemplary display of quick wits Urham cast a counterspell and the fireball was dissipated.
It was now that the lich appeared in a flash of green light and attacked.
Randulf and I were subjected to a hold spell and rooted to the spot.
Luckily Randulf was freed by a dispel magic spell and charged in.
In true barbarian form, Randulf grabbed the lich's skull head and ripped it off! The lich's body was still staggering around looking for its head and the skull blasted Randulf with eye-beams!
Meanwhile, the skeletons mobbed the other party members. Urham and Egbert blasted them with smite spells and the rat-men joined the melee.
The skull was struggling in Randulf's grip, but he managed to land a mighty roundhouse kick on the lich's body, which turned out out to empty robes which fluttered to the ground?
The melee with the skeletons continued and I was repeatedly struck in my paralysed state. Eventually they were all destroyed.
We were now faced with a dilemma. We had the lich's skull with us, but we knew it could not be permanently destroyed. We had to destroy the lich's 'soul-jar' to destroy the lich. This would be tricky whilst carrying around a maniacal skull! We needed to get rid of the skull.
After a quick discussion, we had a plan.
Egbert cast a teleportation circle that took us the The Blood Pit and we dropped the skull into the well.
It might be have been my imagination, but I thought I heard a long drawn out swear word reverberating out of the pit before it was cut off by a loud plop noise!
Then Urham cast another teleportation circle that took us to The Boneyard.
A streak of light in the eastern sky revealed nearly dawn was nearly upon us and the skeletons were returning themselves to their earthy resting places.
We had no time to spare and searched the mound. At the top we found a trapdoor.
Behind the trapdoor were a set of steps, we followed them and they spiralled down a long way and ended in a constructed room.
In the centre stood a sarcophagus and to one side a pedestal with a book.
Rushing to the sarcophagus, we opened it and found a headless body within; the lich's body. Sensibly and as would be expected; we set fire to it.
Egbert examined the book. It was called 'The Hand of Gollus: The Fallen God'. It was a treatise on assembling the seven fingers into the hand of Gollus and using blood sacrifices to resurrect him.
It turned out that Gollus had seven fingers on one hand. Who knew, useful when making rude and inappropriate gestures I guess.
I was unconvinced that we had neutralised the lich and we searched the chamber for signs of anything else.
There was something strange about the sarcophagus, something underneath it?
Flexing bulging, oiled muscles, Randulf stepped forward to move the sarcophagus - and failed.
It was left to scrawny Egbert to move it.
Once moved, another trapdoor was revealed. There were more steps that led down to small room. Within was a glowing jar!
We rushed to destroy it.
It was then that a bloody and grinning flying skull swooped down the steps. The lich had returned and it was moving to attack!
Final blows were landed on the soul-jar and it was shattered. The skull was equally shattered before it could attack.
With the threat of the lich now removed, the two standing stones could be moved back to their original location unhurriedly.
There was also the question of; 'what should be done with the book?'. Ultimately, we decided to take it to Petunia at The Spire.
Petunia paid us handsomely for it.
Now that there were no pressing matters, we discussed how we were going to deal with the golden giant chicken eggs we had left at The Cursed Monastery. Our greatest concern was unsuccessfully casting charm creature spells.
Petunia informed us that casting a spell via a wand was always accurate, Petunia then told us that she could provide us with a wand of charm creature, but of course it would come at a cost.
Petunia wanted a 'griffin's skull'! We tried to haggle with her and even offered her another garden gnome, but her mind was made up. A griffin's skull is what she wanted.
Where to acquire a griffin's skull?
There was only one place we could think of: The eponymous 'Skull Hill'. Described as 'A hill of varied skulls to the north of the city'. It seemed the place to go.
Leaving Darkholme we came across a hill and on that hill was another hill... A hill of skulls!
There was an incalculable number of skulls of all kinds here, finding a griffin skull would take an eternity.
But that's why we have mages! Urham cast identify and located a griffin skull. It was nestled almost at the bottom of the skull hill with possibly thousands of other skulls piled on top of it.
It would take a lot of muscle to pull if free of the other skulls.
Once more, flexing bulging, oiled muscles, Randulf stepped forward to remove the skull - and failed.
Once more, it was left to scrawny Egbert to retrieve the skull.
A few moments after getting the skull, we heard a strange rumbling, toppling noise coming from Skull Hill.
The whole hill was beginning to tremble and shake. A few skulls tumbled and bounced down the slope and then a few more and then the slope buckled and collapsed in on itself and the avalanche began!
Urham and I both flew above the avalanche, taking rat-men with us and Randulf bounded out of the way effortlessly. Unfortunately, whilst still gripping the griffin skull, Egbert was caught up by the avalanche of skulls and badly battered as he swept down the hill.
Luckily, as Egbert slid past, Randulf managed to pluck him out of the flow of skulls.
From my vantage point, I could see that the avalanche was crashing down towards a small village at the base of the hill. Who knew the weight the avalanche carried, it might destroy the village.
A house on the outskirts of the village was closest to the hill and would be the first hit. Quick as I could I flew down, dropped down the rat-men on the roof and instructed the occupants to climb on to the roof, but they refused.
Just because there was a rat-man on the roof!
Egbert managed to cast a teleportation circle spell and got the villagers to safety before the avalanche hit.
There was an almighty roar when the avalanche struck the house. Fortuitously, the skulls were scattered and dispersed when they hit the house, taking the energy out of the avalanche. The few skulls that rolled into the village proper did no damage.
Unfortunately, the first house was more or less flattened and only a few bricks remained standing. Urham gave the occupants a generous amount of coin to pay for the rebuilding.
Looking around, aftermath of the avalanche had left thousands upon thousands of skulls scattered down the hill, throughout the village and across the landscape.
It was a mess, no doubt about it.
Let's just say that Urham's unseen servant would have its work cut out for it!
Upon our return to The Spire, Petunia took the griffin skull and gave us a wand with a charm creature spell embedded within.
Sixteen days passed.
It was time for the giant golden chicken eggs to hatch, so we returned to The Cursed Monastery and went into the chapel's bell tower.
There we found the giant eggs, still safe beneath the still slumbering owlbear. Realising that it would be impossible to charm the chicks with them beneath the owlbear, we moved them from out of the nest and into another chamber.
After waiting patiently for a while, the eggs began to show signs of hatching. We left only Urham and Egbert in the chamber. When the eggs did finally hatch and the giant chicks emerged, one each 'imprinted' on Urham and Egbert.
Urham got the hen.
Egbert got the cock.
When we took them into the courtyard and under the sky, the giant cock began to chirp loudly and distinctly.
We heard distant thunder.
Looking into the now darkening sky, we could see clouds rushing to gather above us, beginning to blot out the sun. The thunder continued, it was closer now and stranger too, almost like rumbling words being spoken?
This was not a good sign. It was decided that we should teleport somewhere safe and far away. Milo's tower was safe and far away.
Egbert's teleportation circle took all of us there, even the owlbear.
Milo was somewhat surprised to see us, but remained unflustered. We told Milo of our predicament and he explained that he could not help us and this was our problem to solve.
Milo continued that a battle against the giant would be a mighty challenge, perhaps beyond us. We might have to try and negotiate with the giant.
But we would need to negotiate from a position of strength.
We considered our position and devised a plan. After all this, the owlbear was still sleeping. We asked Milo to wake it so we could cast charm creature on it. When we had control of the owlbear, we had Milo put us aboard a magic carpet and teleport us back to The Cursed Monastery.
The sky was thick with clouds and the silhouetted outline of the giant castle could just about be discerned.
From the flying carpet, we could see that the giant was beginning to materialise above the town.
Randulf mounted the owlbear and they leapt off the magic carpet and flew towards the giant.
As the giant finished materialising, Randulf pulled the gorgon head from out of its sack and held it before the giant.
Randulf almost felt the head tremble as it worked its cursed magic.
We could all see the giant now as it transformed from flesh to stone. It broke up into a thousand pieces and fell to earth in a massive rockfall.
The giant was defeated!
The realisation dawned on us that they cloud castle was now empty - save for the giant chicken.
It was our castle now.
The skies became calmer now that the giant was vanquished, the storm clouds evaporated into nothingness and the thunder faded into memory.
Clear blue was the sky and glorious was the sunlight which blazed warmly upon us as we flew towards the castle.
The castle which hung in the sky and sat on a foundation of purest white cotton clouds. It's tall spires gleamed brilliantly as every window and tile reflected the shining sun and pennants danced in the breeze.
As we landed in the cobbled courtyard, we knew our days of adventure and hardship were behind us.
We had come a long way from first wandering into little Boburn and heading off to rescue Brenda the cow, but a new bright path beckoned us - that of our new home. A place where we would be comfortable and secure - and wealthy too, thanks the giant chicken that laid golden eggs!
Along with our friends and companions; Brenda the prize winning cow, Glenda the horse and Roland, Roderick, Roger and Rory. It was here that we spent the rest of our days.
Urham, Egbert the Undecided, Randulf Rawhide and I, Cosmo Naught.
'In Darkest Warrens' turned out to be a fun and unobtrusive system. It proved an excellent choice when we were learning to play our first ever sessions over video chat. Light and flexible, we easily picked it up as we are all experienced role players.
I'd like thank Matakishi for creating and running these adventures. As well as rolling with some of our more... interesting ideas.
I'd like to thank Michaela, Mark and Kevin for their fine companionship.
23rd May 2020
It's a Saturday evening in front of my laptop in my living room. This can only mean that it's time for another session of Matakishi's 'In Darkest Warrens' game.
Finally, following sidetrack after sidetrack; we had at last arrived at Darkholme.
Our arrival was not what you would consider a low key affair.
Spontaneously materialising within a blazing teleportation circle in the centre of a bustling market square and accompanied by a demon admittedly caused some people to flee. There was however; not a riot - despite our appearance.
So all in all, a restrained response.
Now that we were in Darkholme, we needed to find some gainful employment.
No doubt the caravan that had been advertising vacancies for guards had long since departed. We were at a loss as to what to next.
After asking some questions, It turned out that the market we were in was named 'The Dirt Market'. The market could only take place here when the ground is muddy!
It was traditional. Backward, but traditional.
The market was open for business. Thus the ground was indeed muddy. Luckily it was raining. On closer inspection, it was only raining on The Dirt Market, the rest of Darkholme was dry? Apparently town council had gone to great lengths to ensure that conditions would always be acceptable for The Dirt Market.
Backward, but traditional.
After asking some questions in The Dirt Market about drinking establishments, we had been given two recommendations. 'Fiddler's Quarrel' and 'Hollyleaf Inn'
Fiddler's Quarrel had been described as: 'A shabby tavern where ruffians go to
drown their sorrows and fight each other.'
Randulf considered this a most agreeable description, so Fiddler's Quarry is was!
Fiddler's Quarry was indeed shabby, as well as loud and bawdy, with shady looking clientèle throughout.
We sat and ordered drinks, noticing guards on both sides of a back door. Even with the din of the tavern, we could hear voices above it all from beyond that door.
Perhaps it was some sort of private function: The noise and the bustle meant curiosity got the better of us and we tried to gain entry, but the guards rebuffed us.
Our inquiries about the back room were met with tight lipped silence.
We briefly considered muscling our way in, but in the end; it wasn't worth our effort.
Returning to the bar, we chatted with the barkeep. He was having a bad luck with the rats in his basement. Who had ever heard of such a thing?
The barkeep agreed to pay us a hundred gold to deal with the rat problem. Randulf was keen to investigate, he had not stretched his mighty thews in a while.
Descending into the basement we noticed it was quite dark with something that looked like a fire light casting deep shadows across the entire basement? Investigating further we discovered it was actually a camp fire!
Sitting around this camp fire were three rat-men and they appeared to be cooking food!
We spoke with the rat-men and they explained that the barkeep had agreed to pay them one hundred gold pieces if they came down into the basement and dealt with the rat problem here.
This was starting to sound familiar...
The rat-m/en continued explaining that once they had completed the task, the barkeep refused to pay. Stating that, 'They had done the job too quickly.'.
So the rat-men had decided to stay in the basement and live here until they had eaten one hundred gold pieces worth of food and drink from the barrels here.
Looking around, the basement was filled with barrels of exotic foods and drinks.
We could not see any rats here, so we asked the rat-men and they said there were none, they also pointed out a secret door to us!
The secret door led to a tunnel, which we followed until it reached an elevator that only went up.
Riding the elevator took us up and into some sort of deserted brewery. It was filled with long abandoned and rusted brewing apparatus. The barrels were empty of beer and full of cobwebs.
We exited the brewery into what appeared to be the courtyard of a monastery, also deserted.
The courtyard was covered in bones, both animal and human. A quick investigation revealed signs that a very large creature had been moving amongst the bones, perhaps a bear?
There was a cloister that ringed the ghoulish courtyard and led to a chapel.
Upon entering, we found the chapel floor covered in a number of giant feathers? There was little else of interest here, so we made for the bell tower.
The way up was blocked by a giant nest! Casting a fly spell, Urham flew up the outside of the bell tower and entered from there.
In the giant nest Urham found a strange dormant creature, part bear... and part owl?
A bearowl?... No an owlbear!
The owlbear was hibernating and Urham had left it undisturbed.
We considered our next move. It was likely the owlbear was responsible for the demise of the victims in the courtyard. But it was now hibernating and was currently a threat no one. Attacking it felt like an unnecessary risk, so we left it be.
The rest of the monastery was unremarkable and we returned to the Fiddler's Quarrel and the barkeep.
We explained to the barkeep that there were no rats in the basement. He claimed that when he had said 'rat problem', it was the rat-men he was talking about. He didn't want to pay them because they had done their job too quickly and he had wanted us to 'deal' with them, following that of course, he then refused to pay us too!
Then we asked the barkeep what he knew about the monastery. It was known as 'The Cursed Monastery' and was home to a dragon. Interesting!
During this conversation, talk turned to some place called 'The Spire'. which was apparently home to a 'elf-wizard'.
Next, we asked about boarding for the night and the barkeep informed us that Fiddler's Quarrel was full.
The only choice now was Hollyleaf Inn, hopefully it would have some rooms free.
Hollyleaf Inn was much more upmarket; it was clean and it was civil. Most importantly, it had rooms available and an extensive menu too boot.
I ordered 'Wenna's Mushroom Surprise' and 'Scone Of The Day'.
Urham meanwhile, ordered some 'Moonshine'. As she was drinking it, the barkeep explained that it was distilled by the 'Biletongue Goblins' of 'Halfmoon Forest'.
I asked Urham, "So, you've just eaten goblin food? Right?". Urham's expression said everything that needed saying in the conversation about this particular subject.
Sleep beckoned and we retired to our rooms for the night. There was no peaceful slumber or respite for me though.
I woke in the middle of the night and stared at the ladder in my room. I didn't remember there being any ladder in my room? The ladder went up through the ceiling and into what I surmised was the attic. I went to the ladder and looked up, it continued through the attic and up out of the building?
I woke the others and showed them the ladder. We had no idea where it might lead, but we decided to collect our gear and go wherever it led.
Well, we would go once Urham had also collected some extra moonshine for the journey.
Climbing the ladder took us out of the Hollyleaf Inn and up into the night sky. Up through the clouds and eventually on to the clouds.
Our ascent ended with us standing on a landscape composed entirely of cloud, in the distance we could see a castle also standing on cloud. There was nothing else on the horizon, so we made for the castle.
It was a strange journey, eerily quiet with a clear night sky above and bright clouds beneath our feet!
After a while, we realised that it was no ordinary castle that we were approaching. It was a giant castle.
The giant castle had a giant drawbridge which was raised. There was no way we could lower it. Instead we used a mixture of fly spells and rope to get past it.
We were now in the courtyard, the buildings and castle walls towered above us unbelievably. There was light shining out of the highest windows of the keep.
From the courtyard we managed to sneak into a building and it turned out it was the dining hall. We were forced to hide when we heard and felt booming footsteps approach. A giant came into the room, he sat down and had something to eat before getting up and leaving.
Once the giant had left, we came out of hiding and began to quietly explore the castle. Our exploration led to the kitchen and pantry. Other than massive foodstuffs, there was nothing of interest in these rooms.
Next we came across a bedroom, the snoring was immense, it seemed to vibrate the very air!
Looking around, at the foot of the bed was a sleeping giant chicken. We knew what this might mean and cautiously investigated the chicken.
There were indeed giant golden chicken eggs here! We had to have one! There was a problem though, none of us were particularly good at thievery. We did not want to risk waking the giant. Who among us was going to steal the egg?
In the end, our solution was for Urham to cast unseen servant and use it to get an egg. It was successful, so we tried for a second egg, that too was a success.
We decided against going for a third egg and thought it a good time to leave. We crossed the cloudy landscape to return to the ladder and back to the Hollyleaf Inn. It was a bit tricky navigating the ladder with a pair of giant eggs, but we managed it.
It was now very late and the night was taking its toll on us, we all returned to our rooms for some well deserved sleep.
Morning came and warm sunlight blazed through gaps in the curtains. I lay there shielding my eyes, contemplating last night's vivid dream and then came to the conclusion: No more 'Wenna's Mushroom Surprise' before bed, who knows what's in the mushroom or what the surprise is!
I sat up and looked at the two giant golden chicken's eggs in my room!
I immediately went and spoke to the others and told them about the giant golden eggs. They looked at me blankly!
I dragged them to my room and pointed the eggs. The blank stares continued.
Even though only I remembered the events of last night, we could all agree that the eggs were at least real.
Next we had to decide what to do with them, the general consensus was that we should try to hatch them. It would require a very large bird to do this. There was one choice...
Before our journey back to the Cursed Monastery, Urham went and got some more moonshine for the trip. Then we were off.
Back at the bell tower, the owlbear was still hibernating.
Even though these were giant eggs, I managed to place them beneath the sleeping creature without disturbing it. In twenty one days, the eggs would hatch and we would need to be here, to manage the chicks and the owlbear.
Regardless of this: when the owlbear woke from its slumber, it would be in for quite the surprise!
Safely back at the Hollyleaf Inn, we looked on with a mixture of bemusement and trepidation as Urham guzzled down more moonshine like it was going out of fashion.
We knew that things could not remain this way: We knew it required another trip to the Goblin Market to get a cure, but we did not know what price we might have to pay.
There was a discussion and we agreed on an alternate approach. We had heard that there was a wizard of sorts at The Spire. Perhaps they could help us?
The Spire was a rickety and unstable looking place. At the base there was a bell pull, so we rung it.
It was answered by an elven woman who leads us to a waiting room.
We are the introduced to the elven wizard who is known as 'Petunia Rootlocks'.
We discussed Urham's situation with Petunia and a deal was struck. Petunia would provide us with the cure for Urham and we would provide Petunia with a 'manticore tail'.
Wait.... a manticore tail?
Petunia went on to explain that 'luckily' for us, a manticore could be found in the Halfmoon Forest.
Petunia then told us to wait while she went to the Goblin Market to get the cure. Half and hour later Petunia returned with the cure and gave it to Urham. Petunia also taught Urham a cure poison spell, which would no doubt prove useful in the coming battle.
Upon arrival at Halfmoon Forest, I searched for manticore tracks. These led us to its lair, we had been cautiously approaching and could see that it was entirely distracted by the hapless dead goblin it was feasting on.
Urham cast invisibility on Randulf and I used my Bow of invisibility. This allowed us to approach and ambush the manticore.
After our opening attacks wounded it, the manticore took to the air and out Randulf's reach. It proceeded to pepper the area with poisonous barb attacks and then fled out of the clearing. Luckily I could still pursue and attack with my bow. Urham and Randulf also gave chase on foot, Urham cast a hold person spell on it and it crashed to the ground.
Randulf charged in as the manticore shook off the effects of Urham's spell. The two of them exchanged mighty blows, but the manticore still stood, as did Randulf who had not succumbed to the manticore's poison, both of them were in a bad way Though.
Before their battle could draw to a bloody conclusion, Urham cast smite on the manticore and killed it.
We took the tail and any other parts of the creature that might prove useful or valuable.
Returning to The Spire, we handed the tail over to Petunia, she was also happy to buy the other parts of the manticore we had bought with us.
Our deal was complete.
But perhaps there was a new deal to be struck with Petunia.
We knew that when the giant eggs hatched there would probably be an issue with the the owlbear or the giant chicks or both. Perhaps Petunia could help with this? We asked Petunia if she knew of any spells that could be used with animals such as these.
Petunia agreed to help us, but of course we had to help her in return, so we agreed.
Petunia told us that we must travel to 'Death Valley' and discover what was killing people.
The only thing we had heard about Death Valley was: 'Probably a misnomer. A picnic area popular with courting couples'.
Petunia went on to elaborate:
People have been dying of the most ridiculous causes.
Being stung to death by bees
Falling down a hole and disappearing.
Or simply dropping dead!
The final thing Petunia told us was that this only seems to affect 'single' people and 'couples' are unaffected.
Death Valley was just outside of Darkholme and seemed a pleasant little spot. A shallow babbling stream winded its gentle way through the valley and we could see various picnicking couples enjoying themselves.
Nice enough, but we were on our guard. We spotted a single man and as we did so, he fell over!
We sprinted over and found he was already dead? An examination of his body revealed that he had bled to death after pricking himself on a rose!
We began looking for a potential cause when Urham tripped over on a root and broke her neck.
Acting instantly, Egbert cast a heal spell on Urham and even though she didn't immediately regain consciousness, the spell saved her life.
Death Valley it turns out, could be deadly place. We beat a hasty retreat!
Returning to Darkholme, we went looking for sellers of lucky charms and luck potions. We found one such seller; 'Pendolin Washer'. It was rumoured that he was cursed to vanish during any full moon.
Considering Pendolin's current predicament, I questioned the value of the items he was selling.
So anyway, once these pieces of luck based paraphernalia had been bought, it was back to Death Valley and a deadly mystery to solve!
Upon our return, Death Valley seemed it's typical idyllic and tranquil self.
Whilst watching the valley, I spotted an unusual looking plant and investigated. I managed to snap my hand back before I was stung by a strange looking centipede of sorts.
Egbert had heard some weird giggling coming from a nearby bush, he immediately hurled a smite spell at it.
Searching within the bush revealed a dead pixie wearing a strange red hat. With further investigation we discovered that it was not a normal red hat, it was caked in blood! The pixie's hat had been dipped in blood.
It was a redcap!
Now that we knew what we were looking for, I found the redcap's tracks and followed.
The tracks led us to an copse. Amongst the trees were a large grouping of toadstools.
The toadstools all had little doors on them.
We set these toadstools on fire and a dozen redcaps angrily emerged.
We issued them an ultimatum: "Leave the valley, go far away and never return!".
One of the redcaps wore a top hat instead of a grisly cap and was clearly their leader, he stepped forward and ordered the redcaps to attack.
Quick as a flash, Randulf pulled the gorgon's head out if it's sack and pointed it at the redcaps.
Immediately, ten of them turned to stone and the remaining two were dispatched before they could turn their lethal spells on us.
"These." said Randulf happily as he scooped the petrified redcaps into a sack. "Will fetch a good price as garden gnomes at the market!".
Back at The Spire, Petunia was pleased at the outcome.
Randulf gifted Petunia with one of his gnomes, but Petunia insisted on paying for it.
Finally Petunia taught the mages the charm creature spell.
We were ready for the hatching of the giant golden chicken eggs!
16th May 2020
Saturday evening is here and I'm in my living room, staring at my laptop again. Distance gaming over Skype continues with the next part of Matakishi's 'In Darkest Warrens' game.
Location: The Clock Tower.
After exiting the clock tower, we saw a a band of gold and roe light across the eastern horizon, twilight had given way to dawn and daylight was finally spreading across the valley.
The Temple of Conrad was some six or seven miles away, the sun would have well and truly risen by the time we arrived.
The journey took us up some hills and to the edge of the valley.
When we arrived, we saw a structure of some sort ahead and positioned on the hill above us and somewhat out of site. A large set of stone steps led upwards and towards the top.
From our position we could see several individuals on a landing above. They were wearing voluminous robes and likely looked to be followers, priests or cultists of Conrad.
No doubt amongst the folds of those robes were hidden 'wicked' daggers!
We could see that they were agitated or nervous and were heatedly discussing something or other.
One of the mages cast an invisibility spell on me and I clandestinely climbed the stairs.
Now that I was closer, I could hear their words. They were worriedly discussing how the twilight had ended, what had happened to the protective barrier and what to do next? They were also talking about a ritual.
Then I was at the top of the stairs, I could see that the landing was actually a courtyard of sorts.
At the far end there was a temple. The facade was as might be expected for a temple. The rear however, had been carved into the very side of the hill. The massive doors into the temple were both open, I quietly moved across the courtyard and into the temple.
The temple was surprisingly empty of people.
There was a carpet that led to the altar ahead and beyond to a door in the fall wall.
Both sides of the temple were decorated with massive ceiling to floor drapes that depicted a series of bloody murders and violence.
Observing these drapes, I saw some of them occasionally flutter, the two closest to the main doors. Perhaps there is a breeze from some sort of passageway behind them?
Cautiously I investigated these two drapes. Looking behind them I saw... several robed individuals stand stationary, gripping 'wicked curved' daggers. I knew it! Wicked curved daggers can only mean one thing... cultists!
They must have been guards of some sort. An interesting view from their position they must have!
I went to the altar, it was a grisly affair, the entire area was smeared with blood and was clearly the site of gruesome sacrifices, human sacrifices from the looks of it.
Following the carpet, I reached door at the rear of the temple. Opening it slightly, I peered beyond and saw a corridor, there were numerous doors along either side. It all looked a bit mundane quite frankly and not the kind of place a lich might be found. I decided against exploring any further alone.
There were no other obvious exits from the temple, so I thought it best to return to my companions.
Crossing the courtyard and still invisible, I went past the cultists. They had laid their paraphernalia out across the courtyard, had congregated into a circle and were beginning to chant. A ritual was already under way, I hurried back.
With the situation explained to my friends. There was no time to lose, we had to disrupt the ritual. Charging up the steps we reached the landing. The cultists closest to us had their backs to us and were unaware of our approach. The cultists on the other side of the circle however, were facing us and we were spotted. They immediately grabbed their wicked curved daggers and ran at us screaming. Cultists!
Randulf in his usual manner, charged right back at them. In the ensuing melee, several cultists grappled Randulf to the ground and mobbed Egbert and Urham. I used my flying shield to keep them at a distance.
As all of this was occurring, a second band of cultist reinforcements came running out of the temple towards us; screaming and waving their wicked curved daggers as they did so.
We fought hard, turned the tide of the battle and dealt with both the cultists and the reinforcements as well.
The courtyard was quiet now that we had put a stop to their ritual. There was only the temple to explore.
Upon entering we dispatched the guards hidden behind the drapes.
Our search of the temple found that next to the altar was a black hole in the floor, also caked in blood. It appeared that the gory remains of the sacrifices were casually dumped down here. Not a place we wanted to look!
We went through the door at the back of the temple. The rooms along the corridor here were a variety of sleeping quarters, other functional rooms and nothing else.
Returning to temple, we searched it further and revealed that the altar could move. Pushing it to one side revealed a staircase descending into the darkness.
During out descent, we noted that the walls and ceiling of the passageway were roughly excavated. The stairs were worn and uneven.
The stairs took us down into a rectangular room, as roughly hewn as the passageway.
Our eyes were immediately drawn to the six life-sized statues in the room. Four of the statues stood in the room, the remaining two were propped up against a wall. All six were incredibly detailed creations that fully captured the looks of shock and fear on their subjects' faces...
Seeing life-sized incredibly detailed statues instantly put us on edge, we knew something foul was somewhere down here.
There were three exits from here, east, west and north. We carefully peeked through the doors to see what lay beyond each one.
On the other side of the east door we saw a corridor filled with animated - although stationary skeletons.
Next; on the other side of the west door was another corridor, it was filled with... zombies. It looked like Conrad had definitely been busy!
Meanwhile, the northern door led to an empty corridor.
Our deliberation was brief, the northern way it was.
The northern way took us into an octagonal room, another roughly hewn room.
Previously, we had received a note about an 'octagonal' room, this included a hint about a secret room.
Unfortunately, we found more life-sized statues in this room, including two statues that looked in the process of trying to shut the northern door. Some of the statues here were broken.
Talking of doors, like the previous room, this had three, in the east, west and north walls.
The eastern door led to a corridor full of zombies. We could see the corridor turned north beyond the zombies.
The western door led to a corridor full of skeletons.
The statues were carefully moved from the northern door, so as to not damage them, then we looked through the door. The corridor continued north, but up ahead, we saw another corridor branching off to the west. The corridor continues north before turning east.
Neither the east or west exit was an option, so we ended up very, very cautiously moving through the northern corridor.
We paused when we reached the branching western corridor, at the end was a door. There was a noise from the other side, so we immediately retreated to the octagonal room.
We were sure that there was a gorgon or cockatrice beyond that door.
Egbert cast a summon familiar spell and a rat came running up to him. Egbert commanded the rat to go north, then west to the door and investigate. Egbert would be 'connected' and be aware of whatever the rat sensed.
The rat went north, then west. As it closed in on the door, Egbert's connection abruptly ended! This was not good.
There was a quick confab and we came up with a plan. One of the mages would cast invisibility on either Randulf or I, then we would sneak forward with a sack. And when we encountered whatever the creature was, we would throw the sack over it's head and then the others would steam in and attack it.
It was decided that I would become invisible, since Randulf could hit hard very quickly.
After becoming invisible, I went into the north corridor. Then I saw it coming out of other corridor, half snake and half woman - with waving snakes for hair. Medusa
I tried sneaking forward, but scuffed the fool. She immediately to face me and stared directly at me, or should I say through me and I was unaffected by her terrible gaze.
The others deliberately made some noise from behind the door and she made her way towards it. I flattened myself against the wall. As she passed, I pounced, threw the sack over her head and frantically shouted for the others.
Randulf leapt forward and stuck her with all his strength. It was enough and his mighty blow decapitated her, spilling her burning blood all over the floor. Meanwhile I was left with a head in a sack!
Now that the gorgon was dead, we headed down the corridor that she had emerged from. Just before the door there was a statue of a rat, it was Egbert's little familiar!
Egbert tried casting a dispel magic spell on the statue... and it worked! His familiar was reverted to normal.
Beyond the door, there was some sort of boudoir. There was a bureau, with a mirror, jewellery and make up.
In the north wall was a door with an ornate lock, obviously locked. We tried casting a reversed lock spell on the door, but stronger magic than ours protected it.
Returning to the corridor, we followed it as it turned to the east.
This led to a square room with an exit to the south.
We scouted through the door and it led back to the zombies that we had seen from the octagonal room.
The rhyme that talked about an octagonal room also talked about a square room with a secret door.
Duly, we searched the room and success! We had found a secret door.
The secret door led to a library. The library was a gutted ruin. Everything in the room had been wrecked or burnt to ash. There were clear signs that a violent battle had occurred here.
Amongst the blackened debris there was a desk of sorts. Searching it revealed a large key!
We returned to the boudoir and they key fitted, the door was opened.
After going through the door, we stood at the top of a set of stairs that continued downwards.
There was quite a change.
No longer were the rooms and corridors roughly hewn and excavated. Now they were smooth, even and well made.
Before we had a chance to consider our next action; a booming, disembodied voice spoke out. It threatened and mocked us.
Undeterred, we set off down the stairs. Which of course were trapped!
The steps folded down and became a smooth sloped surface. As we slid down, we saw that the bottom of the steps had opened up into some sort of pit.
Luckily, between Urham and Egbert both casting fly spells and my shield of flying, we managed to avoid the deadly drop.
Continuing on, we came across a door.
There had been inscribed on the door a large letter 'C', however at some point, someone had scratched the letter out.
The 'C; must have stood for 'Conrad', or perhaps 'Crazed'? You can never tell with a lich.
We went through the door. On the other side we found some sort of machine that rattled and wheezed loudly. It was covered in all manner of dial and switches. Beyond the machine was a curtain that partitioned the other side of the room. We also saw the man operating it the machine.
He was weird looking, wore a crown and cackled, he turned to us as we entered and mocked us. It was the same voice that had earlier also mocked us; it was Conrad The Crazed.
Reacting quickly, Urham, Randulf and Egbert charged in and set about Conrad with all their most powerful attacks, none of which had any effect.
Conrad them blasted us with spells.
Realising there was little to no chance of having any impact on Conrad, I needed to change tactics. So instead; I ran across the room and flung open the curtain.
Beyond the curtain was some sort of small and strange shrine. At its centre was a large green crystal, perhaps the size of a head. Cables ran from the shrine to the machine.
I was perplexed. But Randulf remembered that crystals are associated with lichs? It was then that we remembered something Milo had said: Lichs remove their souls and place them into crystals such as these. So long as the crystal is undamaged, the lich cannot be killed.
Randulf disengaged from Conrad, ran to the crystal and struck it a mighty blow, a thick and visible ran through the crystal. It was broken.
The rest of us poured the attacks on Conrad and he was finally defeated.
We returned to the upper complex, over the course of a day, we restored all the gorgon's victims that we were able to.
As we exited the temple, we left the 'Hand Of Brule' at the entrance to the underground area to ensure that no undead could get out.
Then we returned to Sister Devotia and explain where and why we had left the Hand Of Brule.
Finally, Milo appeared and invited us to his tower. He told us to go into his 'junk room' and take a couple of items as a reward.
Once this was done, Milo asked us where we wanted to go. We had made several attempt to reach Darkholme, but have been sidetracked every time. Milo instructed Percival to teleport us to Darkholme.
We arrived in the middle of a bustling market square amongst a great commotion, no doubt caused by the result of Percival's teleportion ability. There were a lot of people staring at us.
Well... at least we had finally arrived at Darkholme.
9th May 2020
It's Saturday evening and I'm in my living room, staring at my laptop. It's time for my 2nd RPG session of the day.
Tonight, Matakishi will be continuing his 'In Darkest Warrens' game.
Location: A tavern in a village.
We had acquired the sword 'Blight', now it was time to confront 'Conrad The Crazed'.
Percival teleported us into a valley, he explained that he could not take us any further. Something was blocking his teleportation ability?
We appeared to be on a vantage point at one end of a valley. The sky was dim and grey, the gloom of twilight had fallen across the landscape.
In the centre of the valley we could see a bright light. There were no other lights anywhere else.
Setting off, we decided to head for the bright light, since it would take us through at least one of the villages scattered across the valley.
Nothing interrupted us as we made our way onwards. Soon enough we entered a village. It seemed entirely empty.
Exploring a little, we came across some villagers scrambling about. When they saw us, they immediately turned and fled, however we managed to convince some of them not to flee and speak with us.
The villagers explained that during the twilight, they are hunted by 'The Dark Horseman', a rider in black armour.
The Black Horseman decapitates anyone he finds and his demonic servants take the remains away. They also warned us that The Dark Horseman had some sort of 'cold breathe' around him.
The villagers also told us that somehow the valley was caught in perpetual twilight and they were at constant risk from the horseman. They would sneak around, quietly scavenging food when they can, never lingering in one place too long and avoiding open spaces.
Next, we asked them about the light in the valley. The villagers explained that this was 'The Temple of Brule' who is the god of protection.
The villagers then sneaked off.
It was decided that we should head towards The Temple of Brule, using a slower but safer route.
On the way there, we encountered some more villagers, we heard making a noise as they were breaking into a barn.
Before we had the chance to react we saw a rider in black armour decorated with a bat insignia; The Dark Horseman. He charged and waded into the villagers and began hacking them down. We also noticed a horde of bat creatures circling above, when a villager was cut down, they would swoop down and take the body away.
Randulf and I raced towards The Dark Horseman. I loosed some arrows at him, but they flew straight through him! As we drew closer, The Dark Horseman started to become somewhat transparent or insubstantial. Randulf closed and his blows also simply passed through the horseman.
The Dark Horseman turned and faced us, we were both struck by what could only be described as a 'wave of cold'.
Whilst The Dark Horseman attacked Randulf, the mages assaulted him with spells, this too proved fruitless.
For a little longer we traded blows with The Dark Horseman, still to no effect, Then, abruptly he turned and rode off.
We thought it the wiser not to pursue, given that we had no way to actually fight him.
Our journey to The Temple of Brule continued without further incident.
The we arrived the lights of the temple were a sharp contrast and a welcome relief from the bleak twilight that shrouded the valley.
A woman came forward and introduced herself as 'Sister Devotia The Pious'.
As we were talking, we noticed a statue in the temple that was missing a hand. Devotia told us it was a statue of Brule.
Then we showed Devotia the stone hand that we had found in the Scarbrough crypt and she confirmed that it was indeed the stone hand of Brule.
We offered it to Devotia, but she refused it and told us to keep it. It was a powerful weapon and could be used to drive away the undead.
Devotia did ask to hold the hand though and when she did, she recited a rhyme for us, stating it might prove useful.
The rhyme made reference to sleeping and time.
After this, we rested for the night. We awoke in the morning still troubled by our injuries, the blows struck by The Dark Horseman were not healing.
We spoke with Devotia and she told us we could find Conrad at his 'temple', but that he was protected by some sort of 'barrier of cold'. This may have had something to do with The Dark Horseman.
Devotia also told of a tower, which was where the bat creatures nested when they weren't following The Dark Horseman around.
We had two choices: Head for Conrad or head for the tower. What Devotia had told us of the barrier of cold concerned us considering our previous encounter. So we chose to go to the tower instead.
We arrived at the tower without any mishap. The tower was not in fact simply a tower, it was a clock tower. It had four clock faces, all set at differing times; 5, 7 , 11 & 3. o'clock.
I also noticed that the four clock faces were perfectly aligned with the four cardinal points of a compass.
Below the roof of the clock tower on every side is an arched entrance and close to the each arch, a pole - no doubt used by the bat creatures to facilitate their entry and exit from the tower.
We could see that the clock tower was several storeys high and their was no ground level entrance.
Using our assorted magic items and spells, we flew up to the arched entrances and peered inside.
Above us, the interior of the clock tower rose up to the rafters. The roosting spot for the bat creatures.
We decided it was best to avoid the roosts.
The mechanisms behind the clock faces were also in this room, we were unable to move the hands though.
There was also a bell here and ropes leading downwards through the floor
Other than that, there was a ladder that also went down.
Climbing down the ladder led to a large open room.
In the centre of this room was a four by four empty square grid.
There are stairs that continue on downwards.
Going down the stairs, we found ourselves in another room. This room contained ancient statues, crude and worn. There were sixteen of them, it did not escape our notice that the grid upstairs contained sixteen empty spaces.
There was also some writing on the floor: It referred to the 'Bane' family, five of them to be precise. Belvedere, Caractacus, Alan, Dorian and Evan.
The stairs continued on downwards and so did we!
We surmised that we were now on what would be the ground floor.
On all four walls were mechanisms that not only displayed the time that was on the four clocks, but also the means to change them.
And yet, the stairs still descended.
This led to final room, another square room, the basement. The room was featureless save for the east wall, which was entirely constructed of marble.
There was an iron door in the centre of the marble wall and three locking mechanisms of great size sealed the door shut.
Above the door was a plaque: The Vault of the Banes, our time will come.
This was Bane family crypt.
So after some time, a little calculation and much experimentation, we discovered eventually that moving the hour hands on the different clock faces to specific times would free specific members of the Bane family from the crypt beyond the iron door.
After some more time, we also discovered that positioning certain statues on certain spots on the grid would unseal the three locks on the iron door.
With the iron door unlocked, we went through.
It seemed that we had freed Evan Bane who attacked us. A battle ensued and Evan was defeated.
It transpired that we had also released Alan Bane. Who, in his black armour with bat-insignia we recognised as The Dark Horseman. We managed to vanquish Alan Bane too.
Now that The Dark Horseman had been dealt with, he could no longer provide a barrier of cold for Conrad.
No were certain that he had been assembling an army of undead at his temple from Alan's victims. But no matter, it was time to move on Conrad.
2nd May 2020
Saturday evening is here and I'm in the sitting room, looking a Skype screen again.
This means it's time for Matakishi's 'In Darkest Warrens' game again.
Location: On the road to Darkholme.
Now with Brenda the prize-winning cow in tow, along with our horse - that I insisted we named 'Glenda'. our journey to Darkholme continued.
We had stopped for the night in a tavern and taken a convenient corner spot in the bar when the unexpected occurred.
A disc of white light appeared on the floor close to us and began to expand. As the light on the floor grew, it pushed any object it touched away, creating a clear area. The disc continued expanding until was at a diameter of twelve foot, then the light rose up to the ceiling.
Within the twelve foot wide column of light, we could see the silhouetted outline of two figures, one of them seemed very large.
The light then vanished and standing before us were Milo and Percival the demon.
The reaction from the tavern's other patrons was both predictable and instantaneous; they all fled the tavern screaming. We though, were not so easily perturbed.
Milo acquired a shandy, a warm pasty and sat himself down at our table while Percival looked on.
Milo explained that he needed us to complete a task for him.
But before he told us what he needed, he told us a tale.
A hundred years ago, Conrad the wizard, known as 'Conrad The Crazed' had begun a war with an individual called 'Oubilette The Forgotten' over an artefact called 'The Citrine Orb'. This war was prolonged and damaging.
Eventually, the knight 'Sir Scarbrough' was tasked with ending this conflict. He dealt with the situation by slaying Conrad The Crazed.
The matter was closed, or so it seemed.
Conrad The Crazed had become a lich and was raising an army and plans to use it to invade the world.
Milo was going to a meeting and since we had so many of his items, that we should resolve the threat.
Milo then explained that the only way to kill Conrad now, was to use the sword that killed him before.
We had to acquire Sir Scarbrough's sword 'Blight' and use it to dispatch Conrad. Milo supplied us with a map of the Scarbrough's family crypt, amusingly called 'The Crypt Of The Depraved'! The map showed the location of Blight within the crypt.
With that, Milo departed. He had left Percival with us, the demon could teleport us wherever we needed to go.
Since everyone here had fled in terror, we had Percival teleport us to the outskirts of an entirely different town, where no one would see him. Then we went shopping, since we knew that at some point or another we found be facing the undead, we bought some supplies, including garlic, salt, holy water and silvered weapons.
We were ready, or so we thought.
After Percival had teleported us, we found ourselves on the outskirts of the Scarbrough manor.
It was windy and raining, night was beginning to fall. In the failing light, we could see Scarbrough house, overgrown, decrepit and fallen into disrepair.
Adjacent to the house was the Scarbrough crypt, 'The Crypt OF The Depraved'. It was here that our quest took us... What could go wrong?
Upon arriving at the crypt, we were confronted by a set of double doors.
Above the doors a plaque read, 'Enter freely and of your own will'.
Any attempt to open them was not only a failure, but it actually inflicted harm on whoever was attempting to open the doors?
Eventually a spell was used to open the doors, but when some passed through, they took damage?
Further scrutiny revealed that a glyph of damaging had been scribed on the floor beneath the doors.
Beyond the doors, were stairs that led down into the darkness.
At the bottom of the stairs was another set of double doors, we went to open them and harm was inflicted on the person opening the door again! These doors also possessed a glyph of damaging.
We dealt with the doors and pressed on.
Beyond the doors was a chamber, utterly dark and ominously silent, our map said this sizeable room contained the tomb of 'Lord Edgar' and something called 'The Book of Lies'? Both of which were in a large alcove along the north wall.
The chamber contained four pillars, beyond them was the alcove with the sarcophagus and beyond that was a plinth containing a closed book.
Approaching the book and in the flickering of our torchlight, we could see it was titled 'The Book of Helpful Hints'.
Egbert opened the book and immediately the sarcophagus opened and Lord Edgar appeared. He attacked, but not in the way we expected! He stared intently at Egbert and mesmerised him, Egbert turned and attacked me!
During the ensuing battle, we managed to wrestle Egbert free of Edgar's influence and defeat him, he vanished in a puff of smoke.
During the battle, the sounds of encroaching wolves had been heard, most likely summoned by Lord Edgar. Egbert cunningly used a spell to lock a set of the double doors, keeping the wolves out.
We went to read the book again, but Lord Edgar appeared again! It turned out, he was some sort of vampire! A second battle ensued and we drove Lord Edgar away again. Quick as we could, we ran to his sarcophagus and threw it open. The dormant form of Lord Edgar was there - and we needed to stake him!
Unfortunately, stakes were an item we had not acquired during our shopping trip. One of the mages cast a hold spell on Lord Edgar after several tries, we managed to use a arrow shaft as a makeshift stake.
When staked through the heart, Lord Edgar gave a great screams and disintegrated into dust.
Searching the sarcophagus, we found a key.
Then we looked inside the book, it listed a series of hints.
- The pool of bile abhors the dark, burn it with fire to fulfil your desire.
- Pamela’s pets won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.
- Lady Elsbeth craves the light. Fear her embrace, not her bite.
- Ladies last!
It had not escaped our notice that the map labelled this book, The Book of Lies...
There was nothing else of importance here, so we headed towards the east exit. We found it was locked. Locked with four locks to be precise. Well, we had one key so far.
Our maps showed, that to the west was 'The Pool Of Bile'.
The Book Of Helpful Hints said: 'The pool of bile abhors the dark, burn it with fire to fulfil your desire'.
Cautiously, we headed west and entered the chamber, in the torchlight we saw a pool in the centre of room.
As we moved in, we saw the 'pool' had eyes. The eyes immediately closed and the pool immediately attacked with an 'acidic pseudopod'.
We were about to attack the pool with fire, when we paused for a second, the 'helpful hint said, 'Burn it with fire to fulfil your desire.'.
Was this good advice or bad? A helpful hint or a lie?
We had to put it to the test. The helpful hint said the pool would abhor the dark. So we decided to make it dark and see what happened.
After we extinguished our light, we were in total darkness, the creature still attacked and we were more vulnerable than before.
We lit our torch again and we saw that the creature eyes had been open and then it closed them again when the light appeared. It didn't abhor the dark, it preferred it!
This meant that the hints were lies!
After this, we pressed the battle and definitely did not use fire.
Our magical weapons and spells allowed us to destroy the creature, at the bottom of the pool was the second key.
Next, we turned south.
The map told us, 'Lady Elsbeth preferred to be buried standing.'.
The hint told us, 'Lady Elsbeth craves the light. Fear her embrace, not her bite.' going by our logic, this meant that she possibly feared the light and we should fear her bite more than her 'embrace'. This sounded like another vampire?
So we entered the chamber at the end of the southerly corridor.
It was smallish and square. In the centre of the room was some sort of square plate or tile, almost like a trapdoor. Each side of the plate had a lock on it.
Beyond the plate, on the southern wall was inscribed a poem of some sort.
- So now you know how all the folk on both sides of the weir,
- Lost lots of sheep and lots of sleep and lived in mortal fear,
- So drink the health of Scarbrough who kept the babes from harm,
- Saved cows and calves by making halves of that famous Scarbrough worm.
Some time was spend pondering what the meaning of it was. We had a suspicion that both sides of the weir might have been a reference to the conflict between Conrad and Oubilette?
We were quite unsure what the reference to Scarbrough worm was?
No doubt another key could be found beneath the plate, so we had no choice but to open it.
Urham cast Detect Magic and the plate and all four locks were protected by glyphs of harming!
Next Dispel Magic was cast on the plate, the glyphs vanished and with dazzling speed a snake sprang forth! A snake? I had expected a vampire, still we now knew what 'embrace' and 'bite' meant in context of a snake.
A Hold spell was cast on the snake - who must have been Lady Elsbeth and we attacked.
"Chop it in half!" Yelled Egbert, with reference to the line 'Saved cows and calves by making halves of that famous Scarbrough worm.' from the poem.
Randulf leapt forward and in typical barbarian manner, did just that and Lady Elsbeth was dispatched.
And so, the third key was found.
Our map showed that there was a further chamber to the north to explore and no doubt, the fourth and final key to find. The map stated, 'Little Pamela and her revolting collection.'.
The hint said, 'Pamela’s pets won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.'.
This might mean that we should attack Pamela's 'pets' upon first sight.
We wondered what these pets or collection might be? My money was on spiders, or rats. That would be par for the course for this crypt!
We marched north, back past the pool of bile and into the northern corridor until we reached a door.
This door was barred and bolted - on this side. Meant to keep whatever was on the other side from coming through?
We girded our loins and gripped our weapons; the door was opened.
There was only darkness ahead, and a set of stairs that led downwards.
Cautiously, we walked down until we reached a landing, a second set of stairs continued the downward journey. Pausing on the landing, we heard a child's laughter and a skittering sound, spiders perhaps?
Steeling ourselves, we continued.
We arrived at the bottom, the chamber here was awash with insects - not spiders, but close enough. They covered the floor and coated the walls and ceiling.
There was little time to spare, the insect swarm was moving in to attack us.
The insect were originating from within a coffin, coming out of the seams of the coffin.
Quickly we ran over to the coffin and flung it open.
Inside was the corpse of a giggling little girl with her mouth wide open. Insects were spraying forth in a constant stream.
We struck the corpse a blow and more insects streamed from the wound. Randulf decapitated her and even more insects streamed out of her gaping neck!
And all the time the ever-growing swarm was attacking us and we were in danger of being overwhelmed.
The mages used their Fly spells and I Used my Shield Of Flying to try to keep the swarm at bay.
We desperately needed a change of tactic. So the mages used their Heal spells to close the wounds on the corpse and lessen the flow of insects. Then they used a spell to close the coffin. Meanwhile I rummaged around the insect-filled coffin and found the final key!
With that we fled! The furthest parts of the swarm had already reached past the door at the top of the stairs. Nevertheless, we closed, barred and bolted it shut again. Luckily for us, the insects that had gotten further than the door did prove too troublesome.
And we had the fourth and final key. Onwards!
For the room beyond the east door, the maps said, 'Silas, Otto, Amelia and Adelinde.' and showed four sarcophagi.
The hint said, 'Ladies last.'. We surmised it must have meant 'ladies first'.
The four keys fit into the four locks on the door to the east and open it up.
On the other side is a large chamber that as expected contained four sarcophagi. On the maps, there is a secret door clearly marked out along the north wall, but we cannot find it no matter how much we look.
So back to the sarcophagi and avoiding the glyph of damage close by, we decided to open Adelinde's sarcophagus first.
As we did this, the other three sarcophagi opened and unimaginably loud screaming started coming from all of them.
Randulf savagely staked Adelinde through the heart. She disintegrated into vapour which flew into the north wall. Cracks appeared in that part of the wall. We knew what we had to do.
Meanwhile the screaming had grown in intensity, so much in fact that we took damage.
Next we staked Amelia and again her vapour-remains caused more cracks to appear in the north wall..
Then next, we staked Otto and finally Silas. When Silas had been dispatched, the cracks in the wall shattered and way north was revealed!
In all this time, their screaming had been damaging us. Our encounter with the insects earlier had left us all in a bad way and it nearly killed Egbert and I! It was a close call, but both of us survived.
By now we were all on our last legs when we cautiously approached the passageway.
The map showed a small room with a sarcophagus and said, 'The Sword Blight, and other curiosities.'.
There was no hint about the chamber.
We entered the room and searched it. We found:
- 'Blight', a magic sword that would give the wielder a bonus against Conrad. Swords were not Randulf's style, but he was the best sorted to use it, so we gave it to him.
- The hand of a statue that had been broken off?
- An extract torn out of a book.
We left the crypt and found Percival. He returned us to the first village we had started at this morning for some well deserved rest and to consider our next move.
25th April 2020
Saturday evening is here again and I'm in my living room, logging into Skype. This means that Matakishi is running 'In Darkest Warrens' again.
Location: Farmstead on the road, returning to Boburn.
We had been told by the farm woman that we had helped that we were now wanted outlaws in Boburn? This seemed incredulous to us, so we decided to return and sort matters out.
The journey back was uneventful and as we came into the hamlet of Boburn, we noticed that the outlying buildings looked a little neglected and.
The hamlet seemed unusually empty, so we investigated the closest farmhouse. Within, we found a strange sight. The residents were dressed in bright multicoloured clothes and flamboyant hats?
They were eating dishes of 'summer fruits', which is in itself unusual as summer fruits were currently out of season.
They offered us some fruit, but we refused.
But then, we noticed that they all seemed to be missing limbs! An arm here, a pair of legs there!
We asked why so many of them were missing limbs. "Food isn't cheap!" They replied!
We asked them who was selling them food at such a price? They said it was sold to them by 'little chaps'. We asked them to describe these little chaps and what they described were goblins.
They just didn't care about anything, not the state of their farm, or even the lack of limbs. All they did care about was getting more goblin-fruit
We were staggered at what had happened in the few days we had been away. But seemed that we had been gone for more than three weeks!
We went back into Boburn and looked around. It was the same everywhere as the farm was.
People were dressed colourfully with flamboyant hats and missing limbs.
We questioned of the people and we learned that the elder 'Vander' had put out a warrant on us, so we went and spoke with him.
We spoke with Vander and he told us that a trio of goblins came into Boburn claiming that they and not we had rescued Brenda the cow, the also claimed that we had stolen the cow from them. They bought the head of the ogre that we had killed as 'proof' that they were the rescuers.
No doubt this was the trio of goblins that we showed clemency when we rescued Brenda the cow.
We were shocked that Vander would believe these goblins and Vander insisted that 'Wise Old Woman Wenner' had backed the claim up.
So we set off to find Wenner who does not spend time in Boburn.
We exited via the north gate and on a post there, we saw the ogre's head. At this moment another ogre appeared behind us.
This second ogre spoke to the head, calling him 'Edward' and telling him that they were going off to hunt goblins.
To our great surprise, the ogre head replied! - Calling the second ogre 'Bernard'. Bernard picked up Edward's head and together they went off to hunt goblins.
Goblin hunting was something we were planning to do, but we too shocked to think and ask the ogres anything.
Anyway, putting this event behind us, we moved on. Soon we spotted Wise Old Woman Wenner, she was close to the woods, picking mushrooms. She was the wise woman we had spoken to earlier and sold us 'mushroom' potions.
We approached Wenner and asked her if she knew anything about the situation in Boburn. She replied that she had. "Nothing to do with city folk.". and she provided us with a rhyme.
It was a pretty ominous rhyme. Wenner went on and said that she had seen three goblins riding the cow back to the village, "no doubt along a goblin-road." She explained.
We did not know what a goblin-road was? Wenner took us to a unusual looking stone. It was difficult to see, but some of us saw goblins 'emerge' from the stone and head in the direction of Boburn carrying filled sacks.
Wenner then tells us. "Goblin food is best forgotten.".
We return to Boburn, the goblin tracks led to the inn and we followed them.
The inn was empty and quiet - except for one individual.
He was a little man dressed in green, with a green hat and pointed shoes, we noticed that he had only three fingers on each hand. A pixie?
He introduced himself as 'Stink' a hunter of goblins. During the conversation, Stink explains that he was cursed by goblins to always smell. So he took the name Stink and became a hunter of goblins. He had actually killed the goblins who came to Boburn to sell their fruit to the villagers and hand their heads in a sack under the table!
We asked Stink what he knew about what the goblins were doing in Boburn? Stink explained that once the goblins have 'taken payment' for the fruit they've sold, they take the payment and sell it on the 'goblin-market.
As with the goblin-roads, we knew nothing about the goblin-market? Stink explained that he also knew very little and that we should speak with 'Milo The Archmage, Sunderer Of Crowns', he would know how to get to the goblin-market.
Milo's tower is far to the east and Stink agrees to help us get there via goblin-roads. We find a goblin-road stone and kick it.
The stone spouts a riddle, the answer to the riddle is what we must give the stone in order to access the road.
This we did and entered the goblin-road.
After an hour we emerged from the goblin-road on to a hillside. From our vantage point we saw a tower on a cliff side.
We went to the tower and after some time managed to speak with Milo, who somehow manages to magically emerge from his tower. We asked him about the goblin-market. Milo replied that it was a bad idea to go to the goblin-market and that he will not help us.
Milo explained that there was a map that showed the goblin-market in his tower. He challenged us to trying to get the map, he also explained that he would be gone for four hours and that is how long we had to gain it. With that he departed.
There was no easy way or doorway into the tower. Eventually, the mages used their magic to open a door in.
We explored the ground floor of the tower and found library. We explored the library and even through there was row upon of scrolls and books, we could read any of them, or even take them off the shelves. They were all protected by powerful magic.
We went upstairs to the first floor and found a laboratory.
We also found an inhabitant. For all intents and purposes, he looked a red-skinned, winged demon. He introduced himself as 'Percival' and said he was here to collect 'payment'?
We explained that we did not know what he was talking about. Percival went on to say that since we were here, one of us must be his payment.
We explained to him that this was not the case.
Percival did not agree with us and attacked.
Our battle was successful and we managed to drive Percival off, who vanished in a puff of smoke.
We searched the laboratory, but found no map.
We went up to the next floor; the observatory.
The floor was searched and again found no map. We even checked the telescope and examined what it was looking at. There was nothing useful there either.
We went back down to the library and them down again to what was a kitchen.
We tried to search the kitchen, but like the library above, it was protected by magic.
The stairs continued downwards, so we followed them.
We now found ourselves in some sort of storeroom. Like the laboratory, we found an inhabitant here. Grey skinned, with a scary, almost monsterous visage and grey wings, it was a gargoyle.
We spoke with the gargoyle and it was happy to chat with us and we when asked about the demon in laboratory, the gargoyle said it was actually just a janitor? However the gargoyle proved unwilling to help us, but it did let slip that all maps were kept in the library.
So to the library we returned. After some contemplation, we realised that we could actually use the magic to our advantage.
The magic would help us by providing us with what we needed. We asked the library for a map of the goblin-town and how to get there - and the library provided it!
Then we also took the opportunity to ask the library for scrolls and books on spells and to magic items and it complied!
We left the tower loaded with knowledge and equipment. As we left, we encountered Milo, he did not mind that we had taken some stuff from his tower. He congratulated us and wished us good luck.
Stink was sleeping when we found him. He was kicked awake and using the map, a goblin-road to the goblin-market is found and off we went.
Our journey to the goblin-market was uneventful, it was a busy place, bustling with people, shops and stalls. Luckily we had the map, otherwise it would have been impossible to know where to start.
Focussing our attention on the map was saw a shop call 'Things Best Forgotten'.
This drew our memories back to something that the wise-woman Wenner had previously said. "Goblin food is best forgotten.".
This could not be a coincidence. It also made sense; the villagers of Boburn were clearly addicted to the goblin-fruits. Something that made them forget the goblin-fruit might possibly also make them forget their addiction to it.
We decided to head to the shop. Unfortunately, to get there we had to pass through another shop called 'Makeup'.
It turns out in order to pass through, we would need to make up something?
Urham immediately understood what was needed and made up a story. "The moon is made of candy-floss." Said Urham.
The shop assistant then told us we would need to provide candy-floss in order to pass through his shop!
Once more we scrutinised the map of the goblin-market for anything that might aid us and we spotted a shop called 'Sweets', headed on over and bought some candy-floss.
Returning to Makeup, we handed over the candy-floss and could now get into Things Best Forgotten.
Inside Things Best Forgotten, we spoke with the shop owner who did have a cure for goblin-fruit addiction and gestured at a large jug filled with liquid. The shop owner then informed us that there was a heavy price to pay for it.
It would cost one of us a memory!
There was a discussion amongst us and Egbert agreed to pay the cost with his memory of a language he knew. Luckily it was a language he didn't use very much!
After the grim cost was paid, we left the goblin-market behind and took a goblin-road back to Boburn.
Things were starting to take a turn for the worse in Boburn. Stink had killed the goblins who had come to the hamlet to sell their fruit to the villagers. Thus the villagers had gone for sometime without eating the goblin-fruit. They had become agitated and fidgety, possibly on the verge of getting violent with one another.
Searching the hamlet we found Vanders and gave him some of the liquid from the jug, the cure worked! Vanders then gave the cure to a few people he could trust. Then they the cure to others.
Fairly soon, the entire population was cured of their addiction to the goblin-fruit.
As a reward, they gave use the prize cow Brenda!
11th April 2020
Saturday night has rolled around again and I'm in my living room. Tonight, Matakishi will be running the 2nd session of his 'In Darkest Warrens' game over Skype.
Location: On the road to Darkholme.
Whilst on the road to Darkholme, we were accosted by a very distressed looking farm woman who said. "Help, they've all been taken!".
We're not the kind to turn down someone in need, so we asked her elaborate.
She told us that that her three children - a son and two daughters who worked around the farm had been taken by gypsies. Some gypsy caravans passed by very recently. We agreed to help and the farm woman offers us a horse for payment.
Before we went off I checked for tracks, but my findings were indeterminate.
we followed at a pace the road, hoping the caravan would stick to it and that we could catch it. The road wound its way for a few hours before it took us into the dark woods.
As night began to fall we caught site of the flickering of a camp fire. We drew closer to the camp fire we saw that there were five gypsy caravans camped here close to a stream.
Four caravans were arranged around the camp fire, the last one was set further away. Currently, we could not see anyone sitting around the fire and everything looked quiet.
As we were watching and settling on what approach to use, we heard the howl of wolves in the distance.
Uncertain of what this meant, we decided that there was no time to waste and entered the camp site to investigate. As we moved closer to the camp fire, it did not appear to be generating the normal heat expected for a fire, something strange was happening here.
Before we had any chance to understand the situation, the fire bloomed brightly and became some sort of creature. It moved in to attack us.
The entire camp site appeared to be an illusion, but the fire creature was definitely real! As it positioned itself to attack, we retaliated.
Our mundane attacks were proving to be ineffective, however Egbert and Urham were having success with their spells, as was Ranulf who was using water from the stream to attack it.
Realising that my attacks would be a waste of time, I ran over to the remaining caravan. I was hoping that there would be a mage here who was controlling the fire creature and could call it off.
I knocked on the caravan door and there was no answer, even though I could clearly see bright light emanating from the windows.
In the meantime, my companions continued and eventually managed to defeat the fire creature.
There was nothing else to do now other than to enter the final caravan. When we opened the door, we were shocked to see that it opened into bright sunlight!
We knew we had to see this thing through, so we went through the door.
On the other side, bright sunlight was streaming through the trees, night had become day and we had no idea where we were.
We walked on and the trees thinned out. Open fields stretched out before us. We saw more woods, a village and a curious-looking fenced area off field with people in it?
The fenced off area was closest, so we decided to head there first.
When we arrived at the fenced area, things were even stranger!
Inside the fenced off area were children, they were sitting around doing nothing whilst slowly being covered in some sort of woollen thread which was dropping out of the sky?
Outside the fenced area were adults and they were clearly waiting around by some hand carts.
Finally - and most strangely, we saw some strange almost man-like wooden creatures that were walking about.
It appeared that they were guarding the area, as we approached they moved in aggressively and tried to fend us off, but he drove them away.
The children looked quite catatonic, so we chose to speak with the adults.
We noticed that they were sallow looking and also completely toothless, all of them!
We asked them what was going on?
They replied and told use that they wait here for the children to be completely 'cocooned' in the woollen thread, whereupon they put them into a cart and take them to 'The Moon Tower' in the village.
They also explained that the wooden creatures are known as 'peg-men'!
As we were talking to them, we spotted yet another strange thing. We saw what can only be described as as 'cloth-mouse' - something like a child's toy steal some wool from a child and run off!
We took the opportunity to examine one of these children and found that they too, were toothless!
The adults tell us some more about the area.
We are currently in 'The Windy Field'.
The Moon Tower is shrouded in darkness.
The other forest that we saw is known as 'The Forest of Lost Dreams'.
The smoke that we might see comes from 'The Factory'.
We asked the adults about the teeth and they told us that teeth are taken from everybody and sent to 'The Tooth Treasury'? Unsurprisingly, The Tooth Treasury was run by 'The Tooth Hag'.
They then told us that we can expect to lose our teeth soon too. We checked our teeth and they seemed looser than expected? Perhaps it was our imaginations or the power of suggestion?
Finally we asked them why they were here and they said that they had come to rescue children, but now they were just 'here'.
This did not sound very promising.
When a 'cocooned' child was loaded into a cart, we decided to follow the cart to the village and see what happened.
As expected, the cart was taken to The Moon Tower, the adults explain to us that 'The Nightmare Hag' and 'The Weavers' live there.
They also explained that 'The Stick Hag' is in charge over, whoever she is?
We arrived at The Moon Tower, it was a grim place, shrouded in perpetual shadow and approach to the tower was coated in 'canopy-like' layer thick webbing. Large, obscured and shadowy motionless shapes hung high in that webbing. We were pretty certain what they were....
We headed for the tower, but the webbing impeded our progress and nearly trapped us. We persevered and worked our way through it. Unfortunately, disturbing the webbing had the consequence of drawing the attention of the shadowy shapes above and several giant spiders walked their horrible spider-walk down the webbing to investigate.
A fight ensued and we managed to dispatch the spiders.
Meanwhile, the adults had dumped the cocooned children hear and were returning to the village.
Now that we were within 'the canopy', Egbert cast a 'fly' spell on Ranulf.ha
Ranulf soared to the top of the tower. There was a window there, Ranulf went to go into the tower when he a horrible, hideous hag - The Nightmare Hag. She had scissors for hands lunged forward to attack Ranulf.
Using his great strength, Ranulf grabbed the hag and flung her out of the tower. Instead of plummeting to the ground, the hag could and she swung around and attacked Ranulf again.
It turns out that when we are damaged by the hag, we lose memories!
I loosed a couple of arrows at the hag, they struck their mark, but there was clearly no effect on her.
Realising that we cannot harm the hag, I retreated out of the canopy. Meanwhile the hag swooped and attacked Egbert and Urham. Ranulf took the opportunity to fly into the tower and explored.
Inside he found thousands of children's toys! Scanning the area he spotted a toy from his childhood, Ranulf grabbed it and his lost memory returned!
Outside the tower, Egbert and Urham were having no luck against The Nightmare Hag, the three others retreated and joined me outside the canopy. Luckily, The Nightmare Hag did not pursue.
We were watching the tower from a distance when later, as the day began turning to night, we saw The Nightmare Hag fly off, leaving her tower.
We left too! We had seen a strange toy-like 'cloth-crow' flapping through the air and decided to follow.
The cloth-crow led us to The Forest of Lost Dreams. When we entered, it had become dark. As we walked through the forest we encountered a trap, also became aware that we were being watched by several sets of strange eyes!
The strange eyes belonged to three cloth-toys. We talk to them and it dawns on us that these three were the three missing children the farm woman had told us about! Somehow they had managed to escape in The Forest of Lost Dreams and become these toys.
They told use that they knew how to defeat the hags. We would need to carry 'lucky heather' when we fought them. They said that they could provide us with heather, but we would need to trade with them. They needed knives, scissors and tools. We gave them what we had, but they needed more.
We headed back to the village, it was late now and very quiet. We searched around for anything that might useful to trade and found a grappling hook and bedroll amongst other things
We returned to the forest and traded what we had acquired for lucky heather and spent the remainder of the night there.
Morning has come, we've got our lucky heather and it's time to deal with the hags!
We agreed that we should go and deal with the Tooth Hag first so we headed over to her cottage. The way is guarded by peg-men, but we managed to defeat them.
Next we saw something we hadn't seen before? Metal peg-men, known as stick-cutters! We fought them too and managed to defeat them.
After all this fighting we reached the Tooth Hag's cottage. It was a very disturbing sight. Everything was made of teeth, the walls, door, window frames - all teeth.
Ranulf rang the doorbell and the Tooth Hag answered! Ranulf attacked her! Now that we were wielding lucky heather, we defeated her.
We explored her cottage and find little of use or interest until we found the basement. Descending down, we found the basement wait deep in teeth!
Anyway, enough of the Tooth Hag, next we decided to return to the Nightmare Hag and see if our luck was better this time.
We went back to the gloomy Moon Tower and began cutting through the heavy webbing that surrounded it. The three remaining giant spiders came clambering down to attack us, but we dealt with them.
Next, we found the Nightmare Hag and dispatched her.
Only the Stick Hag remained.
We headed over to her house, it was larger than we expected as it incorporated a forge. The heat it generated was tremendous and we could feel it from far away.
Whilst looking on we could see that this is where stick-cutters were made.
Approaching the hag, we are surprised by her shocking visage, her body had the appearance of a bundle of sticks and her limbs the appearance of sharpened twigs.
We attacked the Stick Hag, unfortunately in the early rounds of combat, the hag resisted the spells of both mages and blasts us with magic of her own.
We were put on the back foot, but we managed to recover.
In a way that only Ranulf could manage, he wrestled her and threw her into the close by pond. This weakened her and allowed us to defeat her.
The final of the three hags had been vanquished.
We searched her house and freed some children from a cell, they were waiting her to be eaten!
We had managed to save most of the children and adults here, who recovered their memories from the Moon tower and teeth from the Tooth Hag's cottage.
Accompanied by the three children we had initially set out to save, we returned to the strange doorway that had led us to this place.
Luckily it was still there and returned us to the other woods by the stream.
It was less than a day's walk to the children's farm. When we arrived, the farm woman thanked us profusely and gave us a horse.
She also told us that in the time we had been away, we had been marked as outlaws and wanted for being con-men?
This was unexpected!
4th April 2020
Saturday is here and we're not at Matakishi's, the Covid-19 has claimed Saturday nights too as we are now all socially distancing.
This means it's time to play over Skype!
Since we're playing over Skype, Matakishi has decided to run something different, something simpler.
In Darkest Warrens
This is where 'In Darkest Warrens' comes in.
In Darkest Warrens a very light RPG, condensed into 2 pages or so.
PCs have 4 stats, each with an associated value. All tasks are assigned to one of these 4 stats. To succeed, all a player needs to do is roll equal to or above the value (So lower values are better.).
There are 5 professions, each profession grants a player a special ability that they can use once per combat
Magic is equally as simple and elegant. Magic users can cast each spell they know once per combat, but if they fail to cast it, they don't lose the spell and can try to cast it again (Until they succeed at it.).
I could write more, but it would probably end up longer than the actual rules.
Suffice to say that these rules are designed for quick 'pick-up-and-play' fun and not long term play.
So on with adventure and exploration!
Our brave band of heroes are:
Ranulf Rawhide; a barbarian, played by Kevin.
Egbert the Undecided; a mage, played by Mark.
Urham; a mage, played by Micheala.
Cosmo Naught; a ranger, played by 'Yours Truly'.
Our travels have taken away from home and we have found ourselves in the hamlet of 'Boburn', a quiet and simple looking settlement.
Upon entering the hamlet, we are approached by the elder who wants us to rescue the hamlet's prize cow, Brenda.
Brenda had been stolen by an ogre who has carried Brenda away to a fortress to the north, no more than a day's walk from Boburn.
We discussed our options and the elder offered a reward - a reward we did not refuse!
We set off on our way north, soon we encountered what seemed to be a wise woman selling 'mushroom healing potions'.
We asked her if she had seen Brenda the cow, but she knew nothing.
We then asked the wise woman if she knew anything about an ogre to the north. She replied that there is no ogre and we should be wary of the sound of the 'pitter-patter' of small feet.
This instantly made us think of two possibilities, goblins... or giant spiders!
Finally, the wise woman informed us that 'The Goblin King's strength comes from his crown'.
Our journey drew to a close when we spied the castle on the horizon. When we approached we saw that it was in a state of some disrepair. We also noticed a pair of small figures sitting hunched over a fire and eating.
We approached them and confirmed that they were goblins. Luckily it didn't look like they were eating beef! We asked them about Brenda, but they pleaded ignorance of the situation. - Suspicious?
We asked them what they knew about the fortress? They told us the fortress as occupied by 'Gurt the Goblin King', They could not, or would not supply us with more information. We left them be and did some searching of our own.
We searched the area around the front of the fortress, my aptitude with the wilderness revealed cow tracks heading through the main gates and into the fortress. We approached and listened at the wall. We could hear 'mooing' on the other side!
We decided against a frontal assault through the gates. Instead we scouted the perimeter and found a back way in. This was a much more agreeable.
We needed a way through the door, it was locked and we had no key. Ranulf stepped forward up, intent on barging the door down. No door could resist his brawny bulk.
But resist it did!
It was down to Egbert to show the party how a door is kicked in!
Now we were in, we had exploring to do. We went and investigated rear tower to the left. Success! We had found Brenda - and four goblins - and an enormous goblin wearing a crown.
Very quickly, a battle ensued and we set upon into the goblins. The goblin king seemed tougher than we expected, so remembering what we had been told, Urham grabbed his crown. The goblin king immediately crumpled to the ground, shrunk to normal goblin size and died. The crown had given him extra resilience that kept him going, now the crown was gone; so was the resilience.
Soon the battle was over and we were victorious. That was easy.
But alas, it was not to be. Brenda the prize cow would not fit through the doorway by which we had entered the fortress, we had to find another way out, probably through the main gates we had hoped to bypass.
We followed the corridor until it opened into a small hallway with four exits. We check the first door on the right.
This room is filled with bodies. Disturbingly, most of the bodies have had their heads crushed? Looking around we found a chest, we also notice there are no other doors out of here. But there's a big hole in the wall that probably leads into the adjoining room.
Cautiously we looked through hole, it did lead to an adjoining room and within this room we founda 'milk swilling ogre'!
Stepping back, we looted the chest and formulated a plan to attack the ogre.
Then we rushed the ogre. Our forethought and strategy were a success and we manage to defeat the ogre without issue.
We've explored two rooms so far and continue exploring, we checked the first door on the first and it led to the courtyard, we decided to avoid the courtyard for now.
So we go through the only door remaining, the door ahead - and it leads into another hall.
The door to the right leads into the goblin latrine! Ewww! To be avoided!
The door ahead is barricaded, to keep something inside the room from getting out. Our thoughts were drawn back to the wise woman's words about the pitter-patter of tiny feet and how it made us think of giant spiders.
We decided to also avoid this room and perhaps investigate it later.
That only leaves the courtyard.
The courtyard was mostly empty, there was a well here and on the far side a tower, the last area to explore.
We entered the courtyard and despatched the four goblins we found there. As we crossed the courtyard, we heard something strange. Singing was coming from the well, a woman's voice singing.
Ranulf climbed down the well and at the water level found a side passage that disappeared off into the darkness.
We had a choice now, whether to go into the well and wherever that may lead, or finish exploring the fortress.
We decided to finish exploring the fortress. Upon entering the tower came across a peculiar situation: A goblin fighting three massive rats!
We dispatched the rats and questioned the goblin. Unfortunately, he knew very little, so we let him go.
It was left to us to explore the tunnel from the well.
We descended and went along the tunnel. The singing was beautiful, but we could not make out the words.
The tunnel opened out into a circular room. Within was a small girl, surrounded by small dolls!
The girl turned to look at us as we entered the room, her eyes were entirely jet black and terrifying.
So terrifying that Urham and I fled the room!
The girl let out a scream and the dolls attack!
When Ranulf and Egbert attacked the dolls, their strange porcelain heads exploded and there was a myriad chorus of screaming voices!
After a few moments, I gritted my teeth and set my jaw and returned to the fight. We focussed our attacks on the 'devil-child' and slew it, this caused all the remaining dolls to explode!
We returned to the surface and found that Brenda had gone. Stolen by the goblin. Stupid, stupid goblin.
Luckily we managed to follow Brenda's tracks and retrieve her, the goblin and his two companions (From the campfire.) were trying to escape. We gave them a telling off and returned to Boburn.
We were given our reward and became guests of honour at a feast.
We are also told that we might find work at the town of Darkholme.
I play, I paint.