Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wine Cellars of Marqest Update

Hear ye, hear ye! 

Let it be known that the newly chartered "Brothers GriMMM" adventurers group have blazed new paths and opened up the Beach Cave! They have traveled farther and deeper into the bowels of Marqest than any other group. The Viking warrior and his half-brother Sword-Slinger twins have thrown two of the biggest parties Marqest has seen in some time.
However, "The Glorious Bastards" still hold the record for most property damage and loss of life incurred in a single venture to this point!
It should also be noted that the "Red Arrow and her Quiver" are rumored to have actually penetrated the impenetrable Wizard's Tower, with the aid of a certain Sinewy Barbarian.
Be this true or not, take note for things are happening here in Marqest!
The ghost of the Duke dares one and all to brave his halls, prove your worth and gain your eternal fame or damnation!

Wine Cellars of Duke Marqest: Beach Party part 2!

After a short break from part 1 we continued playing:

Celebrating the success of their first foray into the Marqest dungeons, the newly chartered Brothers GriMMM set about making plans for the follow up expedition.

Wasting no time the party take on some new hirelings and a mercenary wizard. Shiro & Kuro are excited to add the Spell-caster to the group because his pointy hat and robe obviously mark him as powerful!
Dromore the old pack bearer is still employed by the party and they have grown to really like the silent fella.

New Hires:
Sorlof - mercenary Wizard of the first circle.
Rothsus - torch boy, wields Bentil's goblinoid bestiary.
Nuadeen - Elf archer, has a black cat.
Bryvay - Man-at-arms, crossbow & dagger, brother of
Bargrim - Master Torch bearer, sack of torches.

Gunnar and the Sword Twins feel comfortable with a party 10 strong. After consulting the map they made of their last expedition they set off for the Beach cave once again. They timed the entry this time to happen just after the giant crabs went out to the ocean for a morning hunt. They quickly descended to the second level and went back to the cave lair of the Ghoul-woman. Passing through that chamber they locate a pile of bones from previous victims, but no treasure. A set of natural stone steps descending to a third level are found and the group goes deeper!

Halfway down the natural steps the group hear shuffling footfalls coming from below and are surprised to see 3 zombies ascending the steps. One of whom is their prior henchman Uts!!! Rothsus the torch-boy says his book has no entries for undead and steps back so Fieneil can move up to fight. The young warrior fumbles his attack and slips down the steps directly into the arms of the hungry dead suffering terrible wounds to his legs from bites!! As Gunnar holds back the zombie advance, Kuro rushes forward and slices & dices the undead diners with exquisite sword-play!
Uts returns!
Though Fieneil clings to life by a thread, Gunnar fears he may slip over to undeath and puts his loyal henchman out of misery. His gear is stripped and the party continues its descent to the third level.
Reaching the bottom of the steps the party advances along a natural tunnel. It should be noted that Bargrim the Master torch-bearer is able to provide expert lighting for the group even from his position at the rear of the party. A sudden tremor shakes the ground and rock and sand fall from the ceiling, the group panics and runs forward as the tremors worsen!!!

Coughing and battered by falling debris, most of the party emerge from the tunnel into a well constructed chamber with two exits, stairs descending again to a lower level or a small single file wide tunnel to the southwest. Gunnar decides the stairs offer better options if they need to fight and the hand-made construction means they must be close to the actual dungeons. It is also at this time the group realizes that both Sorlof the wizard and Rothsus the torch-boy are missing! A quick search back they way they came finds the two were brained by rocks during the tremor. A bag of scrolls and the bestiary are recovered from the bodies.
pondering descent to level 4
Descending to the 4th level by Gunnar's reckoning, the party emerge in a large chamber already lit by guttering torches. A large archway opens to more stairs going down, and a single iron-bound oak door stands opposite the landing from which the party emerge. Gunnar notes that both portals show signs of heavy use and structural damage. "It's almost as if something too large forced its way through here multiple times." mutters the seasoned fighter.
"I think we should check this level out. The torches mean someone is already here." states Shiro.
Gunnar agrees and forces the dungeon door open to reveal a long hallway, lined with three doorways on the right-hand side. The furthest two are open arches but the closest is another iron bound door. the party move to and open the door and enter a short hall leading to a large square room with one exit opposite the way they came in. Too late the party smell the gas as members begin to fall into a drugged slumber!!! Only Gunnar is able to resist the gas and he awaits the inevitable arrival of those that have trapped him and his companions.

Tense moments pass and soon Gunnar hears the locks open on the doors to the room. A group of goblinoids enter eager to reap the rewards of their trap, only to be set upon by the vengeful fighter! Gunnar eradicates the little creatures before they can raise any alarm, and he quickly sets about reviving his party. Groggy but no worse for wear the group decide to back track to the long hallway and head for the arches when the whole area echoes with the sounds of a monstrous growling! "Maybe we should just go back up!" says Kuro.

The party make for the long hall and Gunnar with Bargrim open the door and step out first. Emerging from the arch at the far end is what Gunnar recognizes as a Manticore! The fighter and monster react simultaneously: Tail spikes are thrown and Gunnar fumbles with his Magical trident!!! Bargrim panics causing Gunnar to hurl his trident into the party instead of the monster. The group watches in horror as two tail spikes impale and kill Bargrim, one spike slices Gunnar and the trident sticks into poor Dromore the pack-bearer!

As the magical trident rips itself out of Dromore and returns to Gunnars hand, the old man now lying in Shiro's arms looks up and says... "aww, screw you guys!" then dies.

Shiro, overcome with grief rushes to the hall in order to aid Gunnar who is now locked in combat with the voracious beast! Shiro in concert with his brother use their sword-throwing ability to sever the tail of the creature! Sorely wounded in its struggle with Gunnar the manticore retreats back the way it came. The party give chase and run the beast down in the chamber just the other side of the archway. The beast is slain, but the party realize that they have only killed a baby when the deep growling rumbles through the chambers again.

Sorely wounded after fighting the "baby" the group decides to beat a hasty retreat back up to level 3 when they find themselves face to face with the rest of the goblins looking for payback!

Seeing what the group have done the goblins parley with the adventurers and ask to team-up and kill the mother manticore that has been terrorizing this level since coming up from below to give birth. The Bros. GriMMM accept in return for healing and a treaty of non-interference from the goblins on any forthcoming trips through here in the future.
Gunnar lures the Manticore
A plan is made to attack the mother manticore by using a passage the creature blocked off. Gunnar is able to break through and sets in motion a running battle through the halls, Bryvay and half a dozen goblins are killed and the Bros. GriMMM in a titanic battle bring down the Manticore.

The Bros. GriMMM return to town with loads of treasure and only one surviving hireling. Carousing is done and Shiro wakes up covered in slime, while Kuro had unscrupulous liason but saved vs disease. Gunnar counts his gold and ponders the next expedition to Marqest.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Wine Cellars of Marqest: Beach Party!

Session Date: 07/01/2017

Nick - Gunnar son of Golvar & Fieniel (fighters 7 / 2)
Selina - Kuro & Shiro Sword Slinger brothers (lvl 1)
How they Know each other: 
Gunnar recently discovered the twins are his half brothers
Available Hirelings:  3              Status: hired all three
Marwin - M@A - human male, bald, hp: 4, N, mace & torch, kill orcs, fishing pole
Dromore - pack bearer - human male, old, hp: 2, N, dagger, oath of silence, vial of ?
Uts - M@A - human male, brn hair, hp: 3, N, sword & torch, woodsman

Gunnar is told by Golvar to travel to Marqest and aid his twin half-brothers in their quest to become adventurers. With his trusty henchman Fieneil in tow the warrior makes his way to the infamous Dungeon.
Kuro, Sword-Slinger
Upon arrival Gunnar confers with Kuro & Shiro and the trio decide to hire the Crier to seek hirelings for their first foray. Looking over local maps, Gunnar decides that they should make for the beach cave as no one has been there yet.
Shiro, Sword-Slinger
At dawn the group waits to interview hirelings. Pickings are slim and only three applicants show up. Two Men-at-arms and a single pack bearer who comes from a long line of bearers. All three are hired, a couple of Fast-packs are procured from the supplier and the group sets off on foot along the old shore road towards the ruins.
About a quarter mile from the cliffs, Shiro feels uneasy because of the rumors he has heard of man-eating goats. Just then Gunnar stops the party, "Look there's a goat in the road." exclaims the Warrior. "Oh, don't go near it they're dangerous!" cries Shiro.
"Ah, its just a goat, watch." grunts Gunnar as he slowly approaches it. The goat and Gunnar stare each other down, and the Warrior notices the goats mouth seems to be stained with a dark berry juice. Or is it blood? Keeping a wary on the little beast Gunnar draws forth some rope from his pack and makes a leash. Turning towards the party Gunnar pats the goat on the head smiles and says, "Now we have a pack goat, or at the least monster bait!" With a grin he turns and continues leading the group towards the cliffs so they can descend to the beach and reach the cave.

A natural path down to the beach is found and the group descends and walks along the shore towards the cave. Kuro notices there seems to be a collection it items washed up along the shore. They decide to look about and see if anything interesting can be found in the sand. After a short search Gunnar finds four empty wine bottles and stows them in his magical bag.
As the group sets to enter the cave, a pair of giant sea crabs emerge from the surf and  attack. The crustaceans are faster than anticipated and one tears into Uts the man-at-arms killing him! Marwin is wounded as well as Kuro, but the crabs are slain. Uts is laid to rest in a shallow grave by the cliffside, and Gunnar decides to leave the goat tied to a bush outside the cave entrance. As the group enters they come across many molted crab shells. "Guess these things grow pretty fast." remarks Fieneil. Gunnar takes a moment to fashion makeshift armor for Marwin from the crab-shells, "That should help you if we run into more of them."
Just then from the shadows of the cave, a humanoid crab-man thing emerges. The party is surprised, but the creature shuffles past them out onto the beach and into the sea.
"That was weird," says Kuro. "It was like it didn't even see us." The group continues into the cave with Marwin holding a torch, and Shiro holding his lantern for light.
In the first cavern of the beach cave the party discovers 3 tunnels leading into darkness, in the center of the cavern is a large algae covered rock.  Shiro casts about with his lantern and sees that more giant crabs are watching them from the northern most exit, and a pair of crab-man things watch them from the southeastern exit. The eastern exit is dark and appears clear of creatures. At the same time Gunnar and Fieneil take a closer look at the rock. Gunnar catches a ripple in the algae like muscle under skin. He reacts by stabbing the rock with his trident! Shocked, Shiro calls out, "It could be harmless why not poke it rather then stab?"
Gunnar replies, "Too late it rippled!" The algae moves and growls rising up to reveal itself as some type of creature unlike anything the group has seen before! With a pair of massive arms it bashes Fieneil to the ground, and smacks Gunnar who returns the blow with another jab from his trident! The party realize quickly that only the magic of the trident seems to harm the monster so they let Gunnar finish it off. Moving to the eastern exit the party notes they are trailed by the Crab-creatures. A naturally formed set of stairs descending is found as well as another small tunnel. The group decides to descend and notice they are no longer shadowed.

The descent ends in a small cave littered with hundreds of rotting shredded rats. The light reveals a single exit from the chamber and a handful of living rats scuttle out that way. The group follows the live rats and come to a fork in the cave system. The rats run off to the left down a tunnel while the right tunnel is unused. Gunnar elects to go right and soon the group enters a natural cavern with a single exit.
Lady Ghoul
Suddenly a  ghoulish woman in tattered finery drops from the ceiling and with a surprise attack kills Marwin by slicing his head off with her razor tongue! Gunnar stabs her through the chest pinning her to the wall and tells the brothers to chop off her head. Shiro and Kuro move in but fall victim to her paralyzing grip and fast reflexes. Fieneil uses his poleaxe and splits her head open killing the she-beast.
The ghoul-woman is discovered to have a nice bounty of jewelry, a signet ring and a key upon her.
"I think we just killed the Dukes wife, again." remarks Shiro.
 The group decides to go back to town and rest in safety. Exiting the cave they discover that the goat is gone and the rope used to tie him has been chewed through, but more disturbing is the fact that the hastily buried body of Uts has also gone missing.

The party returns to the town and carousing happens:
Shiro & Kuro end up owing money, that Gunnar covers for them out of their shares from the next foray.
Fieniel - got vd, but paid to have it healed by a local Cleric.
They paid Dromore 5gp bonus, and returned the body of Marwin to his family for burial.
The twins do a flaming sword show and earn 20gp as well as drawing the attention of a mercenary Wizard who asks to join them on their next expedition.
Gunnar, Shiro, and Kuro decide to form an Adventuring Group and "The Brother's GriMMM" is officially charterd at the town hall.

End part 1

Wine Cellars of Marqest: A foray to the Wizard's Tower....

Session date: 3/2017
This session served as an introduction to Old School style play for a 5e only player and as Two Player session.

PLAYER #1: Our seasoned veteran (Sal) was Cthoo the "Sinewy Barbarian" & his cohort "Sweet Lou" the Cleric of Cthulhu.

PLAYER #2: New player (Tahlia) rolled up her PC with 3d6 in order, chose Thief as Class and named her Quinn Cedar aka "Red Arrow".

The Dog-n-bone
Times had been tough lately in village Marqest. Cthoo had lost all his gold carousing and found himself and "Sweet" Lou in debt to the Innkeeper at the Dog-n-bone. Being the Bouncer wasn't too bad and Cthoo got to crack some unruly heads together every couple of nights or so. This night was different though, something about it made the sinewy Barbarian itch with anticipation. The crowd wasn't especially unruly or anything, and the chance of a flash fire was nothing to worry about for Lustmort was nowhere to be seen, then the front door swung open....

Art by Tahlia
 Life in the forest had become too complicated, well really it had become boring. The "Red Arrow" needed to become known beyond the county border. Everyone had been talking about the Marqest dungeons, and that this was the place to go where you either made it to the Big Time, or died horribly and forgotten in some dank corner of the underworld. Scanning the common room for some likely cohorts Arrow pretended not to notice the the strapping barbarian with the balding head waving vigorously in her direction, and why the hell is there a flaming green skeleton just standing off by itself in the corner of this place!? Moving quickly to a table, she ordered a mug of ale and turned her back on the obviously buffoonish lout and came face to face with ....
The recruiting Agent
Cthoo couldn't believe it, was it her? Quinn Cedar, his formerly betrothed from birth best friend ever!! The way she strode in to the place, the aura of confidence, the way she seemed to not notice him waving and locking eyes! Yes, it had to be...of all the taverns in all the lands; the "Red Arrow" had walked in to the Dog-n-bone. The fates had smiled on Cthoo, his indentured servitude was surely at an end this very night for she was now talking with the Agent. The barbarian knew what he needed to do.

The Agent slid onto the chair like a snake entering a rabbit burrow. "So I ah see you're new in town, and an accomplished adventurer by your gear. However my stalwart friend, no one goes to Castle Marqest without a proper Dungeon party, and that is what; for a modest fee; I can get for you."

Arrow pulled her hood a touch forward to properly shadow her eyes, "Keep talking." she said while thinking to herself. "He didn't see me, he didn't see me, please by all the GODS he didn't see me."

So for a mere five gold coins I can, by morning have at least six and no more than eight viable applicants all willing and able to join your expedition to the famed Cellars of Marqest. You can interview them, work out terms or turn them away at no additional cost to you. So ah, what do you say?

Cthoo saw the coin slip into the Agents hand. Yup, Cedar was doing it. She was going to be interviewing applicants for an expedition, an expedition that both he and "Sweet" Lou needed to be a part of. The trick was going to be getting close enough to win his way back into her graces. Well honestly, she should be apologizing to him, after all he was the one left standing alone on that spring day.... Cthoo began to form a plan.

 Quinn noticed that the barbarian had left the tavern, "He DIDN"T see me!" she sighed in relief. Moving about the room she attempted to get some local rumors and information from the patrons in the bar. After about an hour she began to realize that either nobody here had ever actually been to the damned place or they were messing with her. She decided to retire to her room and see who the Agent had lined up for her in the morning.

After breakfast Quinn sat in a corner booth as the recruiting agent presented her choices of hirelings. The archer had to admit she was impressed, a half dozen applicants was more than she thought a first time expedition leader would garner. "All right, whose first?" the young adventurer smiled and looked over her prospects.
Zagothoth "Cthoo" the Sinewy Barbarian.
In the middle of the interviews Cthoo forced his way into line incapaciting an applicant and convinced Quinn that they should team-up! It was only logical, he argued because he and Sweet-Lou had both survived a prior foray to the cellars and could impart valuable information. Quinn was finally overcome with Cthoo's use of "Glistening Gams" and agreed to let him co-captain the expedition. Together they looked over the applicants and decided on the following:

Passed over - Tooms, Man-at-arms, he was KO'ed by Cthoo.....
Turned away - Dar the Emerite. says he speaks with animals and his man-purse squeeked.
Turned away - Scar the Man-at-arms, Quinn had a bad vibe from him
Paid to not go - Mereza the girl-child torch bearer. Quinn paid her gold to NOT put her life in danger.
Otus, Man-at-arms with a vendetta against Orcs. Hand axe & dagger.
Halla, Tribal Amazon, necklace of teeth, fierce warrior. Spear & dagger.
Jon the Wanderer, Man-at-arms, scroll of cure wounds. Hand axe & dagger.

"Sweet" Lou, Cleric of Kuhthool
So Quinn, Cthoo, and "Sweet Lou" along with their hirelings head out for the ruins of Marqest.
Cthoo steers Quinn away from the shattered remains of the Brother's Tower, saying the Glorious Bastards +4 were responsible for the Demon Portal that now hangs open in the air, and it was best avoided as too many deaths occurred there. However, the Wizard's Tower was ripe for plunder if they could just get inside. Quinn compromised and pointed out exploring the main keep may lead to a way into the tower. Cthoo agreed and the group headed across the courtyard towards the keep.

Then the goat appeared...some 20 yards away.

Cthoo instantly began battering at the keep doors to get inside. "It's just a goat." said Quinn.
Sweet Lou paced nervously, as the hirelings became anxious not really knowing why. "That's what we thought last time!" grunted Cthoo as he forced the door open enough for the party to squeeze through one at a time. "Go now! Quick as you can!" urged the Barbarian. Quinn looked back and the goat was much closer than before. "How did it move that fast?" thought the Archer, as Cthoo pushed her through the doorway. Inside the gloomy foyer the Barbarian pulled the door shut just as the goats muzzle tried to poke in after them! "Not this time bastard!" cried Cthoo as the door closed with a deep boom.

The group headed for the stairs that would lead them up to the second story balcony, upon finding them just around the corner and down the hall, it was Quinn who noticed something odd about the wall. A secret door was discovered and soon opened leading into a long disused passage covered in cobwebs. By Cthoo's reckoning, this passage seemed to run inside the battlement wall and should he hoped be a secret way into the Wizard Tower!!

The passage seemed to be a way for guards to quickly traverse the keep without being seen, as there were ladders that led up to hatches that opened on the battlements above. Checking one out Cthoo was proven correct and they were headed towards the Wizard Tower, hopefully the passage wouldn't be just a dead end. Cthoo was greatly pleased when the following sight greeted them at the end of the passage.
Glowing dimly with magical energies, the portal beckoned them towards it. "I knew it!" exclaimed Cthoo, "We will be the first. Truly this is a secret way into the tower. Are these not arcane runes upon the door itself?" The barbarian stepped closer.
"How do we open it?" whispered Quinn.

Cthoo and Jon attempt to open the door using a prybar and Jon gets nearly fried by magical lightning. The Barbarian gets frustrated and unleashes all his might physically upon the doorway and breaks it down much to the surprise of everyone!!!!

The party entered the room beyond the Wizard portal and ended up engaging in a running battle with a horde of guardians empowered by foul sorcery! The group was forced to retreat back into the passage and up onto the battlements. Halla the Amazon had her arm severed in a critical blow and died from blood loss, Jon was lost and ended up pitching off the battlements, but not before Sweet Lou could procure his scroll. Cthoo and Otus made a final rush against the guardians and Quinn thought for sure he was going to be killed.
Techno-sorcery powered guardians 
After listening to the sounds of fierce battle from below, it got strangely quiet. Quinn and Lou stood upon the battlement looking down into the tunnel for some sign of life. A loud "Frazzpow!" startled the pair, and that was followed by the sound of metal on metal. A few minutes later a very battered Cthoo climbed up from below. He related that Otus had been killed, and the doorway resealed by the Guardians. This was what Cthoo saw kill Otus.....
What killed Otus
The party limped back to town and caroused. Quinn ended up in jail after being recognized as a wanted criminal, and Sweet Lou has been polymorphed by a witch until Cthoo can bargain for his release.

Thanks to James V. west for the Sinewy Barbarian Class, without which Cthoo would not have been as COOL as he is!!! check out the link below:

Old School with an old friend!

My High school buddy and I were finally able to get together and play some D&D! I put my awesome new DM screen from Richard J. LeBlanc to use and he was joined by my daughter on a foray into the depths of the Duke's Wine Cellars!!

Prepare for the adventure write-up coming soon! Many poor hirelings were killed in terrible ways!

Special thanks go out to James V. West and his Sword-Slingers character class which made its first appearance in the game tonight. You can find out more about Sword Slingers here:


Here are Shiro & Kuro the twin Sword-Slinger brothers! art by my Daughter.