Monday, April 1, 2019

Killer Rabbit Figures based on Medieval Manuscript Margin Art

      A friend and I split a pledge from the recent Killer Rabbits Kickstarter from Skull and Crown, which launched a range of rabbit miniatures based on the margin art of medieval manuscripts.    It arrived earlier this month, and I've been working on them the last two weeks to get them cleared off the painting desk before the Reaper Bones 4  Kickstarter arrives.

     Here are my results; done to a tabletop quality.  I'm really pleased with how these little guys turned out; and eventually when these guys are available on the manufacturer's website,  I hope to flesh out a full cavalry unit of snail mounted rabbits!

     Here is an example of the original medieval artwork inspiration for snail and lion rabbits. I tried to copy the original shield design for the snail rider.

Monday, March 18, 2019

In the HAWKs Room Saturday at Cold Wars

     This past weekend was HMGS East's Cold Wars Miniatures Gaming Convention in Lancaster PA.  I arrived Friday morning, and had a great couple of days gaming, and running a well-received War of the Roses game on Saturday using the under-development Feudal Patrol rules.   Below are some shots of a bunch of the games that were run in the HAWKs club room on Saturday.

     Thanks to all the great gamers who came out to play in the club's games!

The War of the Roses game I ran,"Feeding the Roses", using the underdevelopment Feudal Patrol rules.

Close-up of my War of the Roses table.

Dave Wood's  version of "The Saxons at Wagram: 1809", using Fate of Battle rules.

Kevin Fischer's "Heavy Gears Everywhere" game, using HeavyGear Blitz rules.

Bill Acheson's "Hill 315" game, using Combat Patrol rules.

Dave Wood's "Look, Sarge, We Are Invading Russia" game, using Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII rules

Buck Surdu's Operation Platinfuchs game, using Combat Patrol rules.

Harry Kogelschatz's "Samurai and Pirate Showdown" game, using Blood and Swash rules.

Geoff Graff's perennially popular kids Lego game, Plastic Pirates Produce Problems, using Plastic Pirates rules.

Zeb Cook's "Motti Breakout: A Russo-Finnish War game" using Combat Patrol rules.

Don Hogge's "The Germans Roll East" game, using Battleground: WWII rules.

Buck Surdu's "Tales of the gold Monkey" game, using GASLIGHT rules.

In the HAWKs Room Friday at Cold Wars

      This past weekend was HMGS East's Cold Wars Miniatures Gaming Convention in Lancaster PA.  I arrived Friday morning, and had a great couple of days gaming, and running a well-received War of the Roses game on Saturday using the under-development Feudal Patrol rules.   Below are some shots of a bunch of the games that were run in the HAWKs club room on Friday.
Greg Priebe's post apocalyptic game "Wasteland 101" using This is Not a Test rules.

Japanese cavalry on the advance in California, Duncan Adams' "Sayonara Gringo" game using Combat Patrol rules.

Zeb Cook's "High Himalayas" pulp adventure game using Astounding Tales rules 

Don Hogge's "Winter Along the Mohawk" game using Muskets and Tomahawks rules.

Dave Wood's "First Battle of the Boer War" game using the Combat Patrol: British Colonial Variant rules.

Union and Confederate forces face-off in Eric Schlegel's "Fury in the West" Battle of Shiloh" game using A Union So Tested rules.
Kurt Schlegel's "The Saxons at Wagram: 1809" game, using SAF Napoleonics rules.

Bill Molyneaux's "Battle of Hampton Roads: March 8-9 1862" game, using Beer and Pretzels Ironclads rules. 

Geoff Graff's "Jutland 15" game, using General Quarters 2 rules.

Buck Surdu's "A Hot Time in a Very Cold Place" game, featuring Finns vs Russians during the Winter War of 1939, and using Combat Patrol rules.

Don Hogge's "Battle in the Alps: Italy Moves West" game, using Battleground WWII rules

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ghost Archipelago '19, Game 3: Isle of Dragons

      This past Saturday we played the third game of our 2019 Ghost Archipelago Campaign.  We had 8 of our 9 regular players in attendance; which meant we had 4 Central Treasures in play, spaced evenly down the center of the 9'x3' table.
     We did a dragon attack scenario of our own devising, based on a Frostgrave game we did a couple years ago (Frostgrave Game 6.16),  where picking up treasures had a chance to activate a dragon which will fly in over the city, with random entrance and exit points determined by dice roll.  We changed it this time to having a chance for the dragon to enter every turn based on a roll each turn of 12+.  The dragon would fly in a straight path along this line and attack the first figure it reaches that falls within 3" of its flight path.  We used the stats for the Giant Worm from the Frostgrave rule book, increasing the Move and the Armor slightly, and assigned a 20 experience point reward for killing one of the dragons.   Each dragon would stay on the table until it ate somebody and satisfied its hunger, then it would fly off at the end of the next creature phase; or until it was itself killed.
    Since we had also incorporated a second scenario in the original Frostgrave game we were taking the Dragon scenario from, we decided to do it with this game too.  So, beside the Dragons, we also did a version of the treasure system from Cigar Box Battles' "The Diabolist's Scheme", replacing all the treasure tokens with a corpse marker.  Then, when the corpse marker is first touched, the player rolls a d20 with the results being: 1-5 nothing, it's just a dead body; 6-10 it's a Skeleton that attacks the figure; 11-15 it's a Swamp Zombie, 15-18 a Ghoul, and 19-20 a Spirit Warrior.   Once the player has killed the undead guarding the treasure, it reverted into its normal treasure form, and the player could pick it up and haul it away.  They also would then make a regular wandering monster roll when they picked up the actual treasure.
View of the whole table with my start zone indicated.
    I did okay with my set-up zone this time, drawing chip #4, and deciding to pick a spot with a known opponent, already seated opposite me; rather than pick one opposite a zone that hadn't been claimed yet.  Treasure wise, I was happy with the opportunities in front of my zone; especially with the newly acquired Divining Rods I had found last time.
      The opponent I seated myself across from was Barl of the Library, and his Storm Warden, Lorria.  To my immediate left was the Heritor, Ragnam Eichenherz; and his Beast Warden, Bengel; and to my immediate right was the Gnome Heritor, Gnomeo, and his Beast Warden, Juliet.  That put Safar the Seafarer, and his Storm Warden, Willow of the Water, to my front left; and Cassilda Blackmane, and her Earth Warden, Quartz, to my front right.

The Report

     The Halfling Heritor, Barley Gimblehill, had never seen her big bear of a Warden so excited.  During a recent supply stop they had heard a rumor of an isle in the Archipelago where Dragons lived; and Tork, her Beast Warden, had been chomping at the bit ever since to go see them.  It was something of a lifelong dream of his to see a real Dragon, and Barley hardly felt she should be the one to deny him this chance.  The little Heritor was skeptical herself, as Dragons were a rarity to the point some thought they were merely fables and tall-tales.   But still, the thought of a new island to explore still made her happy, and to be honest she wouldn't mind seeing a real Dragon, if there were any, as well.  The Warden's excitement was bit contagious, so why not give the big Human what he wanted.  The fact that the rumors of the Isle had also come with tales of no one ever getting off the island alive, were easily forgotten in the excitement to see real Dragons.
     It was late in the day when they landed on the hot sandy beach of the island; so Barley told Tork straight out that they couldn't stay long.  Just a few hours to see a Dragon and then back to the ship.  No one wanted to get caught on one of the islands of the Archipelago for very long after sun set. 
     They headed inland for a short distance when they began to notice various idols dotting the landscape; all with frightening faces of one kind or another.    She could hear her Crew begin to exchange hushed whisper with each other; and Barley realized he scary totems were't doing the Crews' nerves any good.   It was time to take matters under control,  so the Heritor stopped the group and divided them up into smaller commands.   She also had Tork take out one of the Diving Rods they had found on their last expedition, and had him show her how it worked.   The big Warden held it carefully in his hand extending it outward and perpendicular with the ground, and closed his eyes as if sensing the jungle around them.  As Barley watched, she saw the rod slowly begin to vibrate and the Warden's arm moved as if being guided by the stick.  It gradually swung to the left where it stopped, and rod seemed to glow a bit.  Tork opened his eyes, and said "Something made with magic. That way", and gestured with the rod in his hand. Barley noticed the rod looked blackened now and was smoking slightly, the runes burned off it. Tork dropped it to the ground; it was nothing but a stick now.  (I use one of my Divining Rods to move a treasure [corpse marker for this scenario], located in a pond on my left, 3" inches closer; bringing it out of the water and onto the shore.)
Initial deployment.
     As they passed out of the jungle into a large clearing the first thing that came into view was a huge skeleton laying n the ground  They couldn't tell if it was from some sort of Dragon, or huge Saurian.  Even Tork, the Beast Warden was stumped.  To their right was a large wooden idol, it's fierce visage staring skyward; and to their left the jungle jutted out into a wide arm that narrowed at the end, and just past that a large pond.  Barley told Tork to take is group over towards the pond, and she had Crew-woman Sallie and Crewman Habby head towards the idol to check it out.  The rest of crew were to fan out and keep their eyes and ears open, while the Heritor took her Scout, Perkin, with her and they headed towards the huge mysterious skeleton.
    Before Tork headed it out with his group, he took the time to cast his Summon Animal spell, and in just a minute they heard a loud screaming in the jungle behind them.  Apparently, a Screamer Monkey had answered his call.   As he was casting, Sallie and Habby wandered towards the wooden Idol, where another scream was heard; this time from Habby who nearly tripped over a body laying beneath the fronds of a large fern.   Though the corpse had begun to decay,  they could see that it appeared to have been badly mauled by some creature.  The unfortunate fellow still grasped a finely carved staff in his one hand, and the two Halflings could see a bulging leather pouch tied to his belt.
     While the two Crew investigated their find, Barley and Perkin made their way to the skeleton of the huge beast lying to their front.  They approached the big skull, and cautiously peered into the ribcage where, among the shadow lines of the ribcage, they could see a human skeleton sprawled out on the ground, one arm wrapped a round a large chest (Central Treasure).   It was then that the pair heard voices in the distance, and looking out the far side of the ribcage they could see a Human Crew approaching from the far side of the clearing.
Barley and her Scout, Perkin, check out the huge Saurus skeleton (and the Central Treasure inside), while over by the wooden idol, (lower right corner) Sallie and Habby make a gruesome discovery in the brush.
     Nearby in a patch of dense brush, the Half-Halfling Archer, Jikam Wizzit, had spotted the interlopers too, as they picked their way through the fallen remains of a stone circle.  He noticed one tall black-haired man who was well dressed and seemed to be barking orders at the others; so the Archer carefully drew his arrow and let it fly.  The shaft sliced the air and struck the big man as his right arm was raised pointing, hitting in the joint below his shoulder armor and sinking deep into his upper chest.  (I roll 20! and do 10 HP damage)  The Heritor, Barl of the Library, for that's who it was, staggered backwards, grasping at his wound.
     Behind Jikam, and to his right, Crew-woman Ginsink ran past the patch of brush where the Archer stood, and came up short as she saw a leg sticking out from under a broad-leafed bush.  Pushing the leaves back, she discovered a dead body laying in the brush.  The Crew-woman noticed the man's well-laden pack, and reached out to take it.  (I roll 4 on the Corpse table, so no Undead), and ended up having to cut the straps to get it free from the rigid corpse. 
     As Ginny was recovering the dead man's pack,  Crewmen Corel and Link were approaching the pond.  In the distance, past the pond, they could see two more Crews battling among a large temple made of stange looking adjoined idols.  The  Humans seemed to take no notice of the two Halflings, so they continued on their way.  Like their fellow Crew had, however, as they approached the pond they stumbled upon the remains of an ill-fated adventurer.  In one hand he clutched a two-handed sword, and though the decomposing body showed the signs of time passing, the sword looked newly polished.  The pair of Halflings guessed this must be the magic item that Tork had sensed with his Divining Rod.
     Back by the wooden Idol, Habby attempted to liberate the decomposing body if it's staff and pouch, only to find it wasn't exactly completely dead. (I roll 13 on the Undead Table: Swamp Zombie)  The corpse was very much still alive, and a decomposing hand grabbed a firm hold of the staff before Habby could get a grip on it.
Jikam the Archer gets a lucky shot against the opposing Heritor, Barl of the Library.
     Back by the huge Saurus skeleton, Barley hesitated.  The chest the skeleton grasped looked very inviting, but the Humans were so close.  Turning to look back, she saw the Crewman, Fernando, approaching, and she beckoned to him.  He trotted forward, and she motioned silently to the chest.  Cautiously, the Crewman snuck forward between two tree-like ribs and reached out to grab the treasure box, keeping a wary watch on the Human crew.  As he pulled at the nearest handle of the chest, he became aware of the sound of clattering bones very close by, and turning to look back at the chest, was shocked to see the skeleton that had been holding it was now grasping firmly at the handle on the other end and was standing up!  (I roll a 7 on the Undead table: Skeleton.)  Instinctively, Fernando yelled, "Help!".  But Barley and Perkin were already there, having seen what was happening.  Perkin reached his fellow Halfling first and thrust with his sword, but the blade went harmlessly through the creature's ribs (Hit but did no damage).  Barley then arrived and a wide swing of her sword cut the Skeleton in two, severing it just above the hips.  It clattered to the ground merely a pile of bones now.
     The commotion however had alerted Barl the Heritor, and before the Halflings could react, an arrow from one of the Human Archers flew by, dangerously close to Barley's ear.   Tork seeing the Human's attention drawn to his shipmates within the giant ribcage, attempted to Envenom another of Jikam's arrows, but failed the spell in his haste.  Jikam couldn't wait any longer for the Warden to try again, and shot at the closest Human Crewman, dropping him.   A Human Crew-woman now charged into the huge ribcage brandishing her sword .   Fernando sliced at her, but she parried, and brought her blade back to slice the Halfling across the arm, making a deep gash (-6 HP).  Perkin leaped into help, stabbing while the Human was recovering from her thrust at Fernando, his sword slicing through her tunic, but somehow managing to miss her body completely. (I hit but do no damage.)  Barley took a swing too, but somehow the enemy Crew-woman swung her sword back to block and then the tip of the blade caught the little  Halfling Heritor across the ear, cheek and chin.  (-5 HP).  Barley tasted the blood in her mouth.
The fight in the huge ribcage begins as one of Barl's Crew runs in to challenge the treasure.
     Seeing his little friend was in trouble, Tork rushed forward saying his Water of Life spell as he went.  Quickly he realized running and casting were hard to do at the same time, and he felt the magic energy of the spell slipping.  He concentrated with all his might to regain the spell (Push for -7HP!) causing a searing pain to go through his brain.  The big Beast Warden stumbled and went down on both knees, but the spell worked.   Barley felt immediate relief from the exquisite pain on the side of her face.
     By now another of Barl's Crew had joined the fight.  The little Halfling Heritor felt her blood begin to heat up, and her temper grew.  The enemy Crew-woman swung at her directly now, but Barley ducked under the strike and thrust her sword up into her assailant's gut.  The Woman stumbled backwards and fell to the ground, unmoving. (I roll a 20!)  Calling on her birth gift, Barley now let out a fierce cry, and brought her sword round in a powerful Backswing against the newly arrived Human Crew, giving him a slice across both thighs, (-6 HP).  The man staggered backwards.
     Meanwhile, over by the pond, Corel and Habby had recovered the Magical 2-Handed Sword from the dead body (I roll a 4 on the Undead table, so just a dead body) and were making their way as best they could with the big weapon back towards safety.   Suddenly, an arrow whizzed by the pair from back behind the section of jungle that jutted out towards the pond.  Looking back over their shoulders, the two Crewman could see one of the Archers from the Heritor Ragnam Eichenherz' Crew had noticed them.  Likewise, the Screamer Money that  Tork had summoned when they first reached the clearing had noticed one of his own kind, another Screamer Monkey, lurking suspiciously in the arm of jungle that jutted out (Summoned by  Ragnam Eichenherz's Warden, no less.),  and moved to keep an eye on him.
     By now, Sallie and Habbie had killed the Samp Zombie back by the wooden idol.  The pair now started heading back to the rendezvous point with Habby shouldering the well-made Staff with the pouch of, what felt like, gold coins hanging from it.
Over  on the lower left, the Screamer Monkey's have a face-off, while some of Ragnam Eichenherz' crew begin to move towards the gap between the jungle and pond.  In the lower right Tork can be seen where he has run forward to attempt Water of Life on Barley in the ribcage, and just behind the small totem in the lower center Corel can be seen hauling away his treasure.
          As Tork, worked at standing his big frame back up, his head splitting in pain, he didn't notice one of Barl's Archers had snuck around to the tail end of the huge skeleton.  He did, however, notice the pain when the enemy's arrow struck him in the arm.  (-4 HP,  Current total -11 HP).  He looked up to see the source of the shot, but the Human had already ducked inside the ribcage, joining Barl himself who had also just entered the enclosed space.   Upon entering, the big Heritor came upon Perkin first, and swung the hammer side of his axe down at the Halfling with all his might (Crushing Blow).  Luckily  the Scout dodged the blow last minute, as the big head of the weapon only glanced against his skull, giving him a good crack (-7HP) but not crushing his head completely.  Fernando charged at the Crewman that Barley had wounded, and stabbed at him in the side; putting him permanently out of action.  Barley stood with her sword ready for the next attack, when her eye fell upon the treasure chest, just laying there by the bones of the defeated Skeleton.  She called to Perkin and Fernando, "I need you to hold them! I'll get you help!" Perkin, his head spinning from Barl's blow, couldn't even nod in reply, as he tried to stay standing and guard against Barl's next blow; dodging and weaving to confuse the big Human Heritor (Refuses combat on his activation).  Quickly, Barley grabbed one of the the chest handles, and began dragging it from the Saurian ribcage as best she could.  As the Halfling Heritor passed between two of the the tall ribs, she saw Sallie, not too far away, helping Habby with his treasure. Barley called to the Crew-woman, and leaving Habby to manage on his own, Sallie came running.
As the battle still rages in the ribcage, Barley grabs the treasure and runs.
      Tork pulled the shaft from his arm, and once more tired to stand.   Slowly and painfully he reached his full height, then paused as in the distance he heard an unfamiliar shriek in the sky,  Looking up, he spotted a dark, winged, shape in the in the distance.  A Dragon! Oh, how wondrous and graceful its flight was.  It circled a section of far jungle for just a minute, and then passed out of sight. He had seen a Dragon!  What he had not seen, however, was another one of Barl's Archer's still lurking in the ruins of the standing stone circle, nor the arrow that flew at him without him knowing. It hit him in the beefy leg, causing him to topple like a tree, his big head hitting the ground hard.  As the blackness overtook him, and he passed into unconsciousness, for just a moment he was on the back of the dragon, flying free among the clouds.
     Back in the huge ribcage another of Barl's Crewmen came up to join in the fray. While Perkin had his attention on the Human Heritor, the Crewman came up behind him and crowned him across the skull with the hilt of his sword.  The Halfling Scout blacked out and collapsed.  Crew-woman Sallie arrived jus in time to see him fall, and joined Fernando in facing the three Humans within the tree-like ribs.
Tork is taken down by one of Barl's Archers
     Back by the pond,  the Dwarven Heritor, Ragnam Eichenherz, was sending more of his troops through the gap between the pond and the jungle to chase down the two Halflings with the treasure.  One of the Dwarf's Archers, got a bead on Corel and dropped him as he jogged along with his load.  Link stopped to pick up the Magic Sword, and bravely continued on.   Ragnam's Screamer Monkey made a move, and Tork's Summoned Monkey attacked and brought him down.  Tork's Monkey then went to help plug the gap, but didn't last long against trained Crew.  Jikam also ran over to attempt to stem the tide of enemy Crew with his bow.
    Back within the ribcage, Barl's Archer quickly notched an arrow, and shot Fernando point blank.  Luckily for his short stature, the arrow only grazed his scalp, but sent him stumbling backwards where he fell against one of the massive ribs, and smacking his head, blacked out.  Barl made quick work of Sallie; using the hammer side of his axe again.  He delivered a massive blow to the side of her head; her jaw unhinged and the poor Halfling Crew-woman actually turned a full 360 degrees before dropping to the floor of the cavernous ribcage. The Humans now focused on Barley fleeing with the chest, and an arrow whizzed by her head.
   It was late now, and the shadows were getting long on the island as the sun was dropping low in the sky.  Barley continued on as best she could but the chest was slowing her down.  She heard the sharp twang of a bowstring behind her, and then there was a sudden pain in her back as an arrow found its mark.   She stumbled and fell into a patch of large ferns.  The Halfling Heritor was on fire with pain, but she used all her energy to lie perfectly still, and tried as best she could to curl herself around the chest,  burrowing down  to let the large fronds cover her.    She could hear Human voices approach, but they seemed to have lost her in the shadows.  Over in the direction of the pond, she heard the sound of a Dwarven Horn as Ragnam sounded the recall for his crew.  Patiently she waited for the Human voices to withdraw, then carefully, and painfully, made her way to the beach.
Over on the left, one of Ragnam's Archers has moved up, and shot Corel; and Tork has already fallen to Barl's Archer. In the gap, the Screamer Monkey has taken damage and is about to go down.  Jikam the Archer (red & grey shield) has come over to help, but it's up to Link now to get the treasure safely away.
     Later that evening aboard the Jolly Scallop,  Barley and her Warden Tork sat in their cabin feeling sore and achy.  One appeared more bandaged  than the other.    They had survived, and that was most important.  In fact the whole crew had made it back in relatively one piece; though Sallie had a broken jaw as well as a bad concussion and would need to rest for a month or so.
    At least the trip had been profitable, and Barley studied the day's rewards on her desk; while Tork just sat there, smiling inwardly to himself as he replayed  in his head over and over the image of the Dragon in flight he had seen on the island.   The chest that Barley had managed to retrieve (Central Treasure) had held 100 gold coins!  (Sadly, I only rolled 5 +2 for Central Treasure=7 on the Treasure Table.)  Habby had brought back a Superior Staff (+1 Dam) that was three times as tall as the little Crewman himself was! Slung on the staff he had also brought a purse with 30 gold coins. (16 on the Treasure Table) Link had brought the Magic 2-Handed Sword (+1 F) from the pond (13 on the Treasure Table), and the pack that Ginsink found had a bunch of useless dirty clothing and a small wood box with 30 gold coins (2 on the Treasure Table). 
The ending tally.

     Once more my speed earned me the central treasure, though I almost lost it this time.  I was very fortunate when the game ended, as both Barl and Ragnam were a die roll or two from denying me the Central Treasure and the Pond Treasure. Luckily, another crew at the far end of the table exited their last man before either treasure was lost.  By our house rules, the game ends immediately when any Crew has no more figures on the table, and whoever controls a treasure when that happens gets to keep it, even if they are in contact with an enemy.
     The Dragons proved to be less than eventful down our end of the table.  Two did land at the other end, and caused some consternation for the crews there.  Also, I was lucky in that of the 4 treasures I touched, only two were actually guarded by Undead.
     I don't know how long Barley's luck will hold.  But, I'm happy to report she already reached Level 5 this time, and gained a new ability:  Mystic Energy.   Tork is lagging behind at level 2.  He just isn't casting enough spells.
      I keep waiting to lose a Specialist to have an excuse to make a run back to a port to sell my growing collection of 2-handed weapons, but they all seem to be surviving; which I guess is a good thing. It seems wasteful to sail back just to sell stuff; though I'm sorely tempted.   Since, in reality I may not even go to port to replace a Specialist, as the Heritor Ragnam was operating with a Native Guide this game, which seemed mighty nice to have; but I hate to just fire a Specialist so I can hire a Guide for myself.  Decisions, decisions.
    Well, we now sadly, have a 7 week wait for our next game. :(   But that gives me plenty of time to debate my crew options...

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Ghost Archipelago '19, Game 2: Spider Island

     This past Saturday we played the second game of our 2019 Ghost Archipelago Campaign.  We had 7 of our 9 regular players in attendance, which meant we had 3 Central Treasures in play, spaced down the center of the 10'x3' table so as to be equidistant from all nearby start zones.
      We played a scenario called "Spider Island" that was designed by one of the guys in the group.  Besides the regular treasure on the table, each player placed 2 clutches of spider eggs (For a total of 14 in play (2 x 7 players =14).  These eggs, from various degrees of extra-large Tree Spiders, are considered a valuable commodity in magical circles, and for each one recovered the crew got 10 Experience Points and 15 Gold Coins.   We used a specialized Random Encounter table with the following results:  1-5: Roll on the regular Random Encounter table, 6-11: Tree Spider, 12-15: Large Tree Spider, 16-18: Huge Tree Spider, 19-20: Giant Tree Spider.  Besides there being a chance of treasure recovery generating an encounter as normal, recovering spider eggs also had the chance to generate an encounter.
       I wasn't very lucky with my set-up zone this time, drawing chip #6, and getting the second to last choice of location.  This got me a spot in the center of the table on the side of the table with 4 players. Treasure wise, though, I was happy with the opportunities in front of my zone.
     As I mentioned in my last write-up, I had gone against conventional wisdom in the stating of my Heritor, adding her free extra stat point to her Movement score, instead of the more usual Fight or Health choice  I hoped this, combined with her Wraithwalk Ability, would allow her to grab stuff quickly, and get back to safety quickly.   (As a note, we rolled for our Heritor abilities randomly at the end of final game of last year.  We rolled for 6 Abilities, and could discard our least favorite and choose which would be our primary.  I ended up with Backswing (primary), Wratihwalk, Spellshield, Leap, and Waterlung.)  In the last game my speed and Wraithwalk helped me snag the Central Treasure.  Now was my chance to see if it would work again, especially with an odd number of players where each Central Treasure had the potential to be challenged by three opposed Crews (Since there were 7 players, but only 3 Central Treasures)
A view of the table.
       Once all the entry zones were chosen, I found myself situated with the Heritor, Safar the Seafarer, and his Storm Warden, Willow of the Water to my diagonal front right. To my diagonal front left was  the Heritor Cassilda Blackmane, and her Earth Warden, Quartz.   On my direct right was the Gnome Heritor, Gnomeo, and his Beast Warden, Juliet; and on my direct left was the Heritor, Arkhan the Cruel, and his Beast Warden Tyril Tallguy. 

The Report

     Barley Gimblehill, the Halfling and recently realized Heritor, sat on the deck of the Jolly Scallop and soaked in the sun while reveling in the simple fact that she, a simple tavern server just a few months ago, now found herself aboard a ship of the sea living a life of adventure.  Her eyes, and thoughts, turned to her new friend, and Warden, Tork; who stood at the front of the ship, a seagull sitting on his arm.  The Halfling girl wouldn't have believed it a few months ago, but now, seeing the large Human Warden apparently having an intense discussion with seabird simply amused her; and the Heritor pondered what in the world the two could be talking about. Fish?
     After a few more minutes of back-and-forth cawing and chuttering between seabird and man, the gull flew off.   Tork adjusting his sleeve where the bird had been perched, turned, and walked in his slow lumbering gait across the deck towards Barley.
     "Well? What was that all about?" she asked smiling, as the big man approached.  Without answering, the Warden folded his body slowly down into a cross-legged position seated next to the Heritor.  Tork was silent for a couple minutes, not answering; which didn't bother Barley, as she was familiar now with the gentle Human's quiet ways.  Finally, he spoke, as his eyes fixed on the wood deck beneath his feet.   "Bird say ships, Heritor ships,  are heading, " Tork looked up scanned the horizon, and pointed his whole hand about 30 degrees off the front prow of the ship, "...East.  For big island."
     Barley wrinkled her brow in thought.  What did they know that she didn't?  Should they go too, to check it out?  Could it be a source of clues to the Crystal Pool?  The Pool itself?  In a flash Barley jumped up.  "Come on Tork!  We won't be left out of this adventure.  Let's follow and see what's to be found."  And the little Heritor trotted away on her large Halfling feet to prepare and alert the ship's Captain and the Crew.
   Tork stood slowly. Bewildered by the small Halfling's speed.  We watched her make her way down the deck, and disappear inside the door in the quarterdeck. As if an after thought, he said to no one in particular as he stared at where the Heritor had passed through the door, "Danger.  Bird say Danger.  Big spiders.  I don't like spiders."  And he shrugged, and followed after the little Heritor.

Initial Crew arrangement in their starting zone.
          I few hours later, Barley, Tork, and a small landing party stood on the sandy beach of the island.  As the Warden's seagull had reported, they had found a number of Heritors' ships en route to this island, and they tagged along just out of view of the rest.    The landing party made their way inland, and it didn't take long for them to notice the exceptional quantity, and size, of webs in the trees and woven across the paths.  Barley cast a questioning eye at Tork, who said simply "Spiders.  Big Spiders. Don't like Spiders."   The Halfling Heritor frowned, but they were here now; and unlike her Warden, she wasn't naturally afraid of spiders.  After all, how big could they be?  She had killed any number of them in the tavern storeroom.
     As they progressed, the party could begin to see ancient ruins, crumbling and vine covered, alongside the path in the jungle.  Then the towering top of what looked like an old temple came into view above the trees.  Barley halted the crew and assigned commands before they went any further.  She knew there were other Heritors about, so warned everyone to be cautious.    The little Halfling instructed Perkin, her Scout, as well as Lily, the Crossbow-woman, and Crewman Link Smitter to stick with her.  And she told the Half-Halfling Archer Billy Wizzit, as well as the Crewmen Corel Bink, and Fernando (who was new to this party; replacing the badly wounded Archer, Jikam Wizzit, Billy's brother.) to go with Tork.   Fernando was the only Halfling she had ever seen with a mustache!  Billy tormented him that he must have Human blood in his family tree somewhere.  But the mustachioed crewman insisted he was just an exceptional Halfling.   The Crew-folk, Ginsink Damum, and Habby Wilkersnit were left to their own initiative to help out where needed.
     As they continued through the web-draped jungle, the large temple came fully into view on their front left.  The party could see large webs crisscrossed between its decaying columns. Beside it sat a low structure that looked like some kind of ceremonial pool.   Directly to their front, Barley could see the remains of a high wall made from huge stone blocks.  If she leaned a little to the left, she could see that on the other side of the wall there appeared to be a large stone face...some deity perhaps... silky webbing covered it like a veil.   On their right was a large obelisk, its top long crumbled and gone.  The Halfling Heritor did a double take, as there at the base of the obelisk there appeared to be a large sword stuck  partway, directly into the stonework.  It's bright blade gleaming in the afternoon sun.
Barley, Perkin, and Lily run to the high wall with the effigy on the other side, and spot the sword (Central Treasure) in the nearby obelisk.  On their left, Link has started climbing the wall. 
     Barley turned to her crew.  She instructed Tork to take his party over to investigate the temple, and to check the ceremonial pool as they went. The Heritor then beckoned to her trio of followers and they headed at a run towards the near side of the high wall with the effigy.  Barley motioned to Link, "Climb up there," as she pointed up the wall, "and check out our surroundings.  Let me know if you see any other crews or any of the big spiders Tork mentioned."      Turning her attention back to the obelisk, just a couple dozen yards away, she noticed a large pond just past it, and beyond the pond: movement.  Looking closer the Halfling Heritor could make out members of a Human Crew approaching (Safar the Seafarer and his men.)  Just then Lily touched her arm, and directed her attention back and to their right; there, a group of Gnomes appeared from the jungle.  They immediately recognized the members of the Heritor Gnomeo's crew, having tangled with them only a month ago.
     Meanwhile, Tork had lead his group over to check the pool first.  Nearing the low wall around the edge, the big Warden and Fernando peered into the murky water that remained in the bottom of the structure.  It did not take them long before both noticed a small chest half sticking out of the green slime that covered the surface of the water.  The Archer, Billy Wizzit, jogged past the two, and took up a position in some thick brush between the pool and the temple; he thought he saw moment on the far side. Crewman Corel, trailing behind, was totally distracted by the immense temple, and wandered awe-struck in its direction.
      Fernando knew it was up to him to get the treasure, and looked around for Corel to help him.  Seeing the short, (even for a  Halfling), Crewman had already wandered off towards the temple, the mustachioed Halfling called to Habby instead, who was was just passing by along with Ginsink.  Crew-woman Ginsink continued on towards a clutch of spider eggs she had spotted in a nest by some strange purple plants not far past the pool; and Habby went to help Fernando with the chest.  While the two Halflings cautiously climbed the low wall around the murky water, Tork turned to the jungle behind them in the direction from which they had approached the area, and let out a strange, long, undulating, half-humming, yell. (Casts Summon Animal.)  In the distance, high in the sky, a Giant Wasp appeared and buzzed towards the Warden.
Over by the pool, a treasure is spotted in its murky waters, but Cassilda Blackmane's Crew is dangerously close...
      Back by the high wall, Barley eyed the sword, then glanced again at the two approaching enemy Crews.  She knew it was would be extremely risky, but it was now or never.  Then, before the Halfling Heritor could act, unexpected events unfolded before her eyes.  Across the way, the Human Heritor, Safar the Seafaraer, stepped forward towards the pond, seemingly oblivious to the Halflings by the wall He stood glaring at the crew of Gnomes defiantly.   Then, several Gnome Crew, armed with Bows and a Crossbow, rushed forward towards the pond; likewise, seemingly oblivious to the small group of Halflings by the wall. With a battle cry, the small Gnomish warriors unleashed a hail of missiles at the Humans across the way, striking Safar squarely in the chest.   To the shock of the Human crew, their leader collapsed to the ground. Cries of revenge bellowed from them.   Barley turned to Perkin, her Scout, "Now!" she shouted; and the two Halflings raced forward and climbed the obelisk.
       Behind Barley and Perkin, back on the high wall, Link had finally reached the top and was surprised to find a rather expensive looking 2-handed axe laying up there; partially covered in rotting vegetation, webs, and the bones of some small mammals and birds.   He could immediately tell it was finely crafted.  The Halfling sailor looked around a moment puzzled as to how it might have gotten up there, totally forgetting his assignment of scouting the area.  Link did take notice of Lily the Crossbow-woman, who had separated from Barley and Perkin, and was moving off to the edge of a long narrow strip of jungle to the Crewman's right to keep an eye on the Gnomes.
      Lily may have been trying to keep an eye on the Gnomes, but they quickly laid eyes on her, and a crossbow bolt, and then an arrow whizzed by her.  She tried to duck back a little further into the shadows of the jungle.
Barley and Perkin rush to the obelisk to get the sword, as Lily moves off to the corner of a patch of jungle to cover the Gnome Crew with her Crossbow.
          Back by the Pool, Tork saw the Giant Wasp approach in answer to his summons, and he reached out to it with his mind, forming a link with the animal.  "Go help my friends." he impressed into its thoughts.  The large insect bobbed up and down in the air for a moment in reply, and then buzzed off to help the Crew.  From it's high perch, it saw the Gnomes firing at Lily, and immediately sped towards the Gnome Crossbowman.
     Tork then called to Billy and attempted an Envenom spell on the arrow the Archer had notched in his bow, but he had not cleared the Wasp's thoughts fully from his mind, and he failed the casting attempt.   Nearby, in the pool, Fernando laid his hands on the slimy chest, and heaved it from the water.  Habby stood nearby to offer assistance if needed, and to generally keep an eye out for danger.
     Just past the pool, Ginsink had reached the clutch of eggs, and cut them loose from their webbed encasement and carefully stuffed them into her pack.  Glancing back, she caught sight of her fellow Crewman, Corel, who had now reached the temple and had begun to climb its tall foundation.
     Then, suddenly from around some impenetrable brush just past the far corner of the temple, the Heritor Cassilda Blackmane appeared, tall and imposing, her jet black hair falling around her shoulders. She noticed Billy the Archer in the brush by the pool, and reacted quickly; picking up a melon sized piece of crumbled masonry from the ruined temple and hurling it with force and agility at the Archer.  Before Billy Wizzit could react, the projectile hit him square in the temple sending him reeling backward, a large gash on his  head (Reduced to 1 HP)  The ground beneath him seemed to rock and the scenery spun.  He fought for consciousness and as he did he had the vague impression of a green feminine figure rushing towards him, and then a hot pain in his shoulder, and then the world went black and the Archer fell backwards into the grass.  Cassilda Blackmane's Pearl Diver stood there for a moment making sure the Archer did not get back up, wiping her sword blade on the leaves of a nearby bush.
In the pool, Fernando and Habby recover the treasure, as over on the left Cassilda's green Pearl Diver takes out Billy the Archer.  Near the upper right of the photo, Ginsink recovers a clutch of eggs.
          Back by jungle near the Gnome Crew, Lily watched in amazement as the Giant Wasp flew by and headed directly at the Gnome Crossbowman.  The Halfling shooter was unaware, that off to her left, the Gnome Heritor was drawing his own bow with the shaft pointed at her chest. Gnomeo aimed carefully, using his blood abilities to senes the wind and the track of the arrow, and compensating for any obstacles in between. Assured of the flight path of his shot (Uses Trick Shot ability.), the Gnome released his missile.   All Lily knew was a sudden sharp piercing pain in her chest, and a darkness that quickly overcame her. 
     While the Gnome Heritor had been aiming at Lily, the Gnome Archer had been ranging his arrow at Perkin the Scout, who was standing with Barley on the Obelisk.  While the Halfling Heritor was mostly obscured from view, the Gnome had a clear shot at the back of the Scout.  With a sharp twang of the string he released his arrow, and it struck Perkin in his right thigh. (-4 HP) He let out a gasp of pain.  Seeing the shaft in his leg, Barley knew she had to act quickly.  The little Heritor tugged with all her might at the blade in the stone base of the obelisk, and with burning in her blood, she managed to pull the steel blade free.  Jumping down awkwardly with the long weapon, she turned and offered a hand to Perkin to help the wounded Scout climb down as well.   They were mostly blocked from view now from the Gnomes and the Humans by the tall base of the obelisk, but Barley knew they were far from safe yet.
     The Gnomes weren't safe yet either with Tork's Giant Wasp in their ranks.  The huge insect tormented the Gnome Crossbowman (In contact, but refuses to fight), but a nearby Gnome Crewman had had enough, and charged the beast.  Quickly the Wasp struck, before the attacker knew what hit him; jabbing its large stinger into the unfortunate Gnome's chest. (I roll a 20 for it's attack!)  The Gnome Crewman dropped to the ground instantly dead.
    Over by the pool, Tork watched in shock as Billy was brought down.  He then noticed the injured Scout, Perkin, climbing down from the obelisk, and attempted to cast Water of Life on him, but was too distracted by the fallen Archer, and what's more, the strange green woman he could now see standing just on the other side of the brush were Billy had been standing.   The Warden puzzled over the strange sight of the green person standing there, and the had the realization that the girl must have been the one to hurt Billy.
     Meanwhile, Fernando and Habby were dragging the chest safely from the pool.  As the two Crewmen worked with the chest, Ginsink trotted by with her load of eggs and said, "See you back at the ship, boys!" as she made her way past them and headed on to the rendezvous point.   Not far away, on the high wall, Link dropped his find of the 2-handed axe off the top, and it landed with a thud in the grass.  He then climbed down and retrieved it, and joined Ginny, Fernando, and Habby on the path back to the landing boats.
Treasures in hand, the Crew makes for the rendezvous spot. Barley is against the high wall in the upper right of the photo...
     Back between the obelisk and the high wall with the effigy on it, Barley and Perkin made their way as best they could to safety; Barley trying to once again (see last months report) maneuver a heavy, sharp, weapon almost twice as tall as she was, and Perkin with his wounded leg.  The pair made slow progress, but at last reached the relative safety of the wall.  They were well aware that they were still with in easy reach of the Humans and Gnomes.   But for the time being, those two factions seemed content with slaughtering each other.
     Over by the Pool, Tork's curiosity and anger got the best of him, and he approached the green-skinned Pearl Diver. "Why you hurt him!?" he demanded, pointing at the fallen Billy. "You bad person!"  (I engage to keep her occupied, but being well aware of my starting Warden's +1 Fight, I declined combat.) For her part, Cassilda's Pearl Diver was rather threatened by this huge bear of a man coming at her yelling and gesturing; so, quickly she brandished her blade and took a swing at Tork. She missed, and Tork in reflexive response swung the blunt side of his axe at the side of her head.  It contacted the girl's skull like a hammer, and she staggered backwards, her jaw dislocated and her eyebrow gashed and bleeding (I roll a 20, and push her out of combat).  Tork said simply, "You go away now." And with that the Pearl Diver turned tail and ran.
    The Warden only watched the strange green girl flee for a moment, because there was a sudden stab of pain in his temple. The Wasp was mortally wounded, and the Beast Warden could sense it.  While Tork had been dealing with the Pearl Diver, four of the Gnomes (+8 combat bonus) had encircled the flying beast.  With so many targets to keep track of, the huge insect had faltered and fallen to a quick sword attack from behind.
      Then, suddenly, way back where the crew had first entered the temple area, there came a cry for help from Ginsink the Crew-woman, as she saw a pair of animated Skeleton warriors come into view.   The rest of the party looked in Ginny's direction and those who could, moved to act.  Perkin looked at Barley, "Will you be okay?" he asked the Heritor.
     "Yes.", she replied, "Go. Help her."  And, as the Scout moved off to help the Crew-woman, the Halfling Heritor pressed her back against the wall, and concentrating, felt as her body began to melt into the stone work. (I use Wraithwalk ability.)  In a minute she had passed through, and was safely on the other side; out of the reach of enemy missile weapons.   The stern face of the idol on the wall looked down at her as if disapproving.
...and passes through the wall using Wraithwalk, to avoid any enemy missiles.
     Like Perkin, Tork ran to help the Crew-woman as well.   Ginsink, however, was not one to wait to be saved, or back down from a fight.  She dropped her pack of eggs and ran headlong at the nearest Skeleton with her sword held high.  With one mighty blow she reduced her foe to a pile of bones.  The other skeleton charged at the oncoming Tork, and the Warden also dispatched his opponent with one mighty stroke of his axe.   Perkin reached the spot where Ginny had dropped her pack, and picking it up, he signaled to her he had it and then continued on to the landing boats; following behind Fernando and Link who were already well on their way to the boats themselves with their prizes.  (Link and Fernando exit table.)  Habby, assured that Fernando was well on his way to safety, had turned back to see if he could be any help elsewhere.
      While everything had been going on, Crewman Corel had slowly been scaling one of the temple columns to see what he could see from on top.  He had finally reached the flat stones of the architrave running across the top of the columns; and standing, noticed a small chest resting atop the point of the pediment.  He also noticed a pair of large hairy chitinous legs slowly rising from the opposite corner of the temple.  He stood in shock as more of the Huge Tree Spider came into view as it slowly crawled up the far side.  It was almost as big as one of their landing boats!    He could see its sparkling glassy eyes considering him.  Every instinct in the Crewman's little body told him to flee; but he knew that in all likelihood the beast could move faster than he could climb down the columns, and jumping down would be certain death.  Bravely he brandished his sword, and took slow hesitant steps towards the monster.  For its part, the Spider seemed hesitant as well.  Then, all of a sudden, it turned away and started heading back down the column it had crawled up!   Corel stood there a moment in disbelief.  Had he scared it off?  Whatever the reason the little Halfling knew this was his chance, and he rushed forward and grabbed the chest, then turned and moved as quick as he could, while dragging the heavy box back towards his corner of the temple; praying the Spider didn't change its mind.  (Unbeknownst to Corel, the Spider was actually controlled by the Warden, Tyrel Tallguy, to my left; and he had sent it to challenge the treasure.  But then another Huge Tree Spider had appeared in that player's area of operations, and he needed to call his controlled Spider back down to occupy/fight the newly arrived "wild" Spider.) 
Crewman Corel faces an 8-legged dilemma. 
     Seeing Crew-woman Ginsink nearby below, Corel called to her, and pointed to the treasure.  It would be a lot easier for him to drop the chest off the temple, and for her to  come pick it up.  Then Corel could safely climb down.  Nearby, Tork, watched Corel and Ginny coordinate their efforts, wondering if he could be of any help.   But then he noticed a couple dozen yards behind them a regular sized Tree Spider appear from the underbrush.  Even though he hated Spiders, the Warden tried to control the beast.  He worked at casting his Control Animal spell upon it, but his hesitation was obvious, and though he made contact with the Spider's mind, the Spider's Will was too great from him to control its thoughts. (Successfully cast spell, but Spider passed Will roll.)  Luckily the Tree Spider wandered off in a different direction of its own accord.
     By this time, Ginsink had reached the corner of the Temple, and Corel dropped the chest down.  Both she and Tork, watched the sturdy box as it fell and landed with a dull thud and the muffled clinking of what sounded like coins. Neither of them noticed the Soldier Crab that had darted from the shadows of the jungle only a dozen yards behind them.  Quickly, it scuttered towards Ginny, who was  bending over and picking up the heavy box. The beast's claws clacking together in anticipation of a fresh meal.  That sound, however, was enough to alert the Crew-woman.   She stood and turned, and let out a short cry of surprise as the crab was upon her with no time to draw her sword.  Tork, heard the cry, and looking up quickly assessed the situation.  With speed and determination he worked his Control Animal spell again, calling out to the consciousness of the Crab.    In an instant he was inside the beast's mind, but it resisted his call with a meal so close and tempting. Tork strained his mind, forcing his will upon the Crab (Pushed spell for -2 HP), and finally he was there in the creature's thoughts.  Ultimately, the big crustacean didn't have the Will to resist.   With the monster's claws snapping just inches from Ginny's throat, Tork took control, and called the animal off.  It hesitated a moment, but then lowered its claws and scuttled a step back.  Ginny let out a deep breath and wiped her brow with the back of her sleeve.  Looking at the big Beast Warden, she said, "That was close. Thank you, Tork."  The large Human smiled shyly and simply nodded; then sent the Soldier Crab scurrying off towards the other side of the temple where Arkhan the Cruel's Crew were.   Back over where they had first entered the temple area, Tork could see Barley in the distance move with her prize further into the jungle and safety. (Barley exits table.)
In the nick of time, Tork takes Control of the Soldier Crab, as its pincers move within inches of Crew-woman Ginsink.
         While Tork and Ginny were dealing with the treasure chest and the Soldier Crab, Crewman Habby had been doing a quick scout along the foundation of the temple looking for any ungathered Spider's Eggs. He saw some hidden up high on the temple's foundation, behind some brush close to where Billy the Archer still lay near the pool.  Climbing up he glanced around to make sure the coast was clear.  The Halfling's eyes almost popped out as over on the far side of the temple floor, he saw a Giant Tree Spider, perhaps a quarter of the size of the Jolly Scallop, battling with a Human.   He estimated he had more than enough time to pry the eggs loose from their webbing and make his escape, before the Spider or the Human won the fight, and possibly noticed him.  He was wrong.  Habby had just managed to free the eggs, and was putting them into his pack, when a shadow passed over him, and the Crewman looked up to see giant fangs dripping on him, and a hairy leg, thicker than he was, lowering to pin him.   He dodged, but the big leg still caught him on his side, knocking him back off the temple.  He fell backwards into the brush hitting his head on some fallen masonry, and blacked out.  Luckily for him, the spider lost sight of him in the bush's foliage, and moved off towards other prey.
       Ginny now had secured the chest, and she and Tork made their way towards the rendezvous.  But their ordeal was not over yet.  A Gnome Archer had crept through the jungle and brush, until he was just in range of the Halfling Crew-woman.  Notching an arrow, he let if fly, and his hit Ginny squarely in the back.  She cried out in pain and fell forward, and desperately tried to not pass out, as she crawled with her load towards safety. (1 HP left, and she exited the table).   Tork ran up to her, and seeing her wounded state, picked her and her chest of coins up, and rushed with her to the waiting boats.
The finally tally and toll. 
     Latter that evening, aboard the Jolly Scallop, Barley and Tork sat in her cabin and looked at the day's haul.  She pondered the oddity of why there seemed to only be two-handed weapons lost in the Archipelago; having found one her last adventure (Superior 2-Handed Weapon +1F), and finding two of them this time: a Magic 2-Handed Sword (+1 F), and a Superior 2-Handed Axe (+1 Dam).    As well as the weaponry, Fernando's chest from the pool had contained about a dozen intricately carved wooden sticks.  This had puzzled the Halfling Heritor at first, until Tork had correctly identified them as Divining Rods.  They should certainly help them find treasure in the future.  The box Corel and Ginny had recovered from atop the temple held 75 Gold Coins!  A nice sum, indeed.  All in all a good days work.
    But there had been a cost.  Three of the party had fallen in battle that day.  And while Habby had only been knocked out and would be Fine;  Lily was Badly Wounded from the Goblin Heritor's Trick Shot,  and would be out of action for weeks while she recovered.  Likewise, the blow the Archer Billy Wizzit had received to the head from Cassilda Blackmane's rock, had left him badly concussed (Badly Wounded), and he too would be unable to go ashore for a long time.
     On the good side though, Billy's Brother, Jikham, was almost fully recovered from his Bad Wound on their first outing, and would certainly be needed on their next adventure.  Barley pondered where that might be,  but for right now she was exhausted from the day's events, and knew bed was where she wanted to travel to at the moment.  Tork, too, was yawning in his big chair opposite her desk.  The pair said their goodnights, and the big Warden made his way from the Heritor's cabin and headed up to sleep, as he always did, upon the deck; close to the open sky and the rolling waves where the cry of the seabirds, and song of the whales were his lullaby.


     Wow, what a game! Four treasures, including one of the Central Treasures recovered!   Not sure how long this luck will last, but I am enjoying it while I have it.      So far my rush-the- Central-Treasure tactic is working, aided by my 7" move and my Wraithwalk ability.   Finding the Divining rods this time, won't help with the Central Treasure, but will hopefully help with nabbing more regular treasure. 
     I have to say, I think I was also greatly helped this game by the lucky happenstance of the Gnomes taking down the Heritor, Safar the Seafarer, on the first turn.  This caused the Human player to want instant revenge on them, and the Gnomes were forced to deal with them.  Both got heavily embroiled with each other, leaving my Crew, for the most part, to their own devices.
     I can't believe I found two more Magic/Superior 2-Handed Weapons, after finding the one last month!  Totally unusable with my Halfling Crew, and the Specialists I picked.    Why can't I find just a plain old magic sword! :)   The only bright side is that when I eventually make it back to port, they will be like money in the bank.  I've been waiting for a Specialist's death for sailing back to the mainland, but if I find many more unusable magic weapons, I may have to go back simply to cash in my loot.
     Luckily, we didn't seem to generate as many Spiders as we expected (Everyone's post-picking-up-treasure Random Encounter rolls were just too low to generate anything.)  But, I will say, the Spiders we did generate were all down the big end of the spectrum, including 2 of the Giant ones.  Luckily, none entered directly in my entry zone, and I only encountered few late in the game.  I did however seem to get the regular Random monsters, including the 2 Skeletons, and the Soldier Crab.    Having a Beast Warden really pays off in these cases.
     Another interesting thing about this game was that no Warden ever cast Cloud Cover.  It's the first time in forever that I can remember exploring in full sun.  And, as expected we all took archery hits because of it.
     It was a long hard fought game, going to 9 turns, and once again I kept track of my Initiative Chip draws:  T1- 3, T2- 6, T3- 5, T4- 1, T5- 1, T6- 3, T7- 3, T8- 5, T9- 2; for an average Initiative of 3.2 out of 7 possible Chips.  Not bad at all compared to last month's average of 5 out of 8 possible Chips, and nicely below the average draw in general.    Hopefully I can keep up this trend in the months ahead.
     I won't have to wait long, to test my luck again; as our next game is coming up on March 9th.