Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Frostgrave Campaign '17, Game 8: The Lair of the Ghoul King & Queen

    This past Saturday we got together for the 8th game of our 2017 Frostgrave Campaign.  We once again continued to make our way through the "Thaw of the Lich Lord" supplement book, and this month we did the Lair of the Ghoul King scenario.
(To read an account of last months game, see: The District of Longreach. )
     We only had 5 of our 9 regular players, so we modified the scenario to make it The Lair of the Ghoul King and Queen, adding a second throne.   We also multiplied the trapdoors per player (2), times our 5 players, so we placed 10 trapdoors . And, given there were 5 of us, we placed the two treasures on opposite sides of each throne (2 treasures x 2 thrones), and then placed the other 11 treasures normally.    Each player was assigned two Ghouls to place during the game as per the scenario instructions. Also, since there were so few of us, we decided to determine initiative the normal way: with dice rolls, rather than our usual numbered poker chip method.
     Unfortunately, since I can't roll dice to save my life, I got last choice of starting location and Quail entered on the back end of nowhere, with what looked like very little prospects in the way of treasure.  It was, however, a corner spot, so she wouldn't be surrounded on three sides. Across from her was Gru the Soothsayer, and to the right of her entry location was Bemis the other Sigilist.
A view of the table before the game.  Quails entry zone can be seen in the far back left corner.  
          The weeks since the last expedition into Frostgrave had been stressful ones for the Sigilist Quailelyn.   Her Apprentice, Bailisette, seemed little improved since the near-fatal magical Grenade attack and resultant scarring she suffered during their expedition two months ago; where they had fought against Bemis the Sigilist's warband in the Library.  And, since the humiliating defeat Bailey had suffered in last month's foray, during an ill-advised attack on one of Bemis' Treasure Hunters; it seemed to the Maga Librarian that on some days her Apprentice was even mentally worse than she had been last month.  Bailey had gone from being quiet, withdraw, and perpetually distracting herself with busy work in the weeks after the initial attack, to, in  the past few weeks, being angry and argumentative all the time. And the rest of the warband were becoming unsettled by it all.
       She had asked Sir Cardidil, the Knight, to give Bailey some sword fighting lessons, in hopes that getting the young woman outside and active, doing something proactive, might help.  And it seemed to help a bit, because when Bailey was out there clashing blades with the knight,  the Sigilist saw glimpses of the bright soul and mind she had brought with her from the University to be her Apprentice almost a year ago now.  She also saw a raging anger and fierce fire in the young woman's eyes as she wielded the weapon with a ferocity unlike the Apprentice's thin, reserved, appearance would bely.  But whenever Bailey was not out on the training field, the anger and argumentativeness flared anew, and it was spreading to other members of the group.
     Quail thought they all needed a good distraction, so one evening she discussed with Sir Cardidil the persistent rumors they had all been hearing about a large magical treasure horde located in the chambers beneath an old monastery, and the decision was reached to go and check it out the next day.  The Maga Librarian consulted her Magical Atlas of Felstad that night before bed, and having located the monastery she was able to locate where there was a cache of hidden grimoires within it's underground chambers. (Quail casts Reveal Secret pre-game.)
The Ghoul King, on his throne, awaits his victims guests.
      The next morning Quail tried to interest Bailey in preparing potions for their trip, but the Apprentice simply stormed out of the great hall when she heard that the Sigilist had chosen to brew Explosive Cocktails for the trip.  To Quail it seemed a sound choice given the rise in undead sightings they had been seeing in the city. (Quail successfully casts Brew Potion pre-game. Bailey fails to cast Brew Potion pre-game.)  Later, as the group gathered outside their tower base, Quail handed the potion vial to Bailey, and said "Take this.  I have no more room in my pockets and pouches." (Quail was at 5 item limit.)  Without a word, frowning, Bailisette reached out her hand and snatched the vial. The Apprentice's arm then froze for a moment in mid movement, and the young woman slowly raised the hand grasping the vial to her face, and unflexed her fingers.  Bailey stared at the clear red liquid frothing in its glass container as it rested on her palm, her eyes fixed upon it.  Quail thought for just a second she saw Bailey's eyes glint the same red as the liquid; then, before the Sigilist could consider this strange sight, as quickly as the Apprentice had snatched the vial, the young woman closed her hand around the smooth glass and shoved the vial deep into one of her pockets... a slight unseen smile coming over the Apprentice's scarred face.
     Once the band was in the city, it didn't take them long to find the ruins of the old monastery complex.  Quail looked around for a few minutes to get her bearings, and then located the steps they needed to get down into the underground chambers.  As the group descended the staircase, the Sigilist was surprised to find a solid looking iron-braced oaken door swung open at the bottom.  There was very little wooden structures left intact in the city after a 1000 years beneath the snow and ice, and to find a solid door like this was rather unusual, but Quail dismissed it as another of the strange sights one sees in this ancient city.
     The group entered the inky dark chambers, and a few of them removed torches from their packs and lit them.   They stood in a long T-shaped foyer, and Quail was organizing them into commands, when the door they had just come through suddenly swung shut of its own accord with a loud bang.  Everyone suddenly went quiet; and in the still air they heard bolts sliding within the door, firmly locking it in place.  Clol the Barbarian crossed to the door, and pulled with all his might and it didn't budge.  He raised his magic Club of Battering and swung mightily at the oaken beams, and the impact nearly broke his wrists, as the club bounced ineffectually off the the hardened wood. Quail step forward and put a hand to the door and studied it in her torchlight.  She could see now that is was no thousand year old portal, but a new one designed to trap them.  As if to confirm the Wizard's  thoughts a deep gravely voice echoed off the walls around them, "Welcome to my Lair.  I am the Ghoul King!  You are now my prisoners! Prepare to die."
     "Well, we'll see about that." the Maga Librarian said to no one in particular in her most authoritative voice, as if challenging one of the many students who had tried to test her mettle at the university; much to their dismay.  Quail continued to the group around her, "The way I see it; the only way out of this is to push ahead," and she motioned everyone forward.
Quail and her group prepare to delve into the Ghoul King's Lair.
          They had not gone far when Quail sensed a Draining Word spell against Telekinesis go into effect.  "Bemis is here as well," she thought to herself.  The Sigilist knew she would need all her wits to get them safely out of the current situation, so she began to chant the spell of Awareness.  Her mind reached out to unlock her ability to sense future outcomes, but then her mind suddenly began to fold back in on itself, and she had to force her thoughts to re-open her link to special insight. Quail's brain seared with pain and she felt dizzy.  The chamber spun and she slumped up against a nearby wall to keep her balance, but the Sigilist had made the link to an awareness of possible futures. (Failed to cast spell, so pushed for 6 HP) "Bailey!" she called out.  
     The Apprentice, who was off to the left, where she had just located the Reveal Secret treasure, let out a huff of frustration, and rolled her eyes.  She turned and stomped towards the Sigilist.  "Can you cast, Heal?" Quail asked weakly as her Apprentice approached. Without replying, Bailey, put her hand out and pressed it against the side of Quail's head.  She mumbled the words for casting Heal under her breath, and her half-hearted attempt was met with a sharp pain behind her own eyes. (Failed to cast by 6 points, took 1 HP damage.)  Her gasp of pain caused Quail to look up at her. "Are you alright?",  the wizard asked; but the young woman didn't reply, and merely rubbed her own forehead to relieve the sting.
     Suddenly there was a creak of wood in the darkness above them, and a Ghoul dropped down onto the floor from above. (The Gru player put one of his two scenario Ghouls in the middle of my group.) The creature looked slowly around with dull eyes, and then launched himself at Cirvid the Warhound. 
The party's opening advance towards the throne room.  The first Ghoul has dropped from the ceiling and set upon Cirvid the Warhound.
     Quickly, Quail put her own hand on her forehead and chanted the words of the Heal spell.  She immediately felt the burn behind her eyes lessen and her equilibrium returned.  The Sigilist strode further down the rubble filled hallway, determine to locate a means to get out of this trap.  She turned to Bailey, and said "Come on!".  The Apprentice followed and pushed right past her, plunging deeper into the darkness.   Luc Demic, with his crossbow at the ready; and Sallisee, with her bow in one hand and a torch in the other, had also moved on ahead to scout a path with their keen eyes.   In the distance, behind a crumbled wall, the Marksman and Ranger could see a large stone structure with a large ornate chair upon it.  Then off to their left, they heard the clash of metal on metal, and could see the light from other torches.  In the glow they could see the large yellow heads of Gru the Soothsayer's strange minions bobbing up and down, as some of them fought a large armored Ghoul with a crown.  They realized immediately that it must be the Ghoul King himself. In a matter of minutes, the yellow creatures had overwhelmed the Ghoul King and brought him down.
    Meanwhile, Cirvid had his teeth sunk into the arm of the Ghoul that had dropped from the ceiling, and shook vigorously.  Sir Cardidil the Knight ran up to aid the dog, and with one slice of his sword, empowered by the Knight's Ring of Life, the Ghoul was struck down.    He had little time to rest on his laurels though; for behind him he heard a creak of wood, and as the Knight turned he saw a trap door in the floor open and a Ghoul climbed quickly out from some unseen room below and charged at him.
     And to make matters worse, another Ghoul dropped from a hiding spot in the ceiling and landed right between Bailey and Innis Flin the Treasure Hunter.  Innis shouted at the Ghoul and attempted to distract him from moving towards the Apprentice.  It worked and the Ghoul lumbered towards him.
The party presses further towards the throne room and runs into Gru's warband. Another Ghoul has dropped from the ceiling and a third has climbed out of the trapdoor.
     While Quail, Bailey, and their group advanced towards the Ghoul King's throne,  the Treasure Hunters, Dorchesman and Kinny, accompanied by the Barbarian, Clol had taken a path to the left through a different series of crumbling underground rooms, unnoticed by any enemy.  Dorchesman was quick to locate and secure a treasure, while Kinny spotted another a little further on, and moved towards it.  Clol tired to stay equidistant between the two in case either needed help.  What he didn't notice was the trapdoor on the floor nearby, and before he realized it, a Ghoul had jumped out of it and was upon him.  It carried a bone club and swung it hard against the Barbarian, who instinctually raised his left arm to block it.  The club made contact and Clol could feel a sharp pain shoot up through his elbow. He, in turn swung his mighty Cub of Battering around and caught the enemy cleanly in his torso.  Though hurt, the undead creature shook it off and came at him again. Clol could not believe his eyes, for as they battled, another Ghoul climbed up out of the trapdoor and was immediately upon him as well.
Clol takes on two Ghouls as Dorchesman guards his treasure behind a wall on the left, and Kinny secures another chest that sits in a far corner of the room
     Back over with Quail's part of the group,  they had little time to think after the death of the Ghoul King, as Gru's minions now noticed them as well.  A crossbow bolt sliced the air, and hit poor Cirvid who, with a yelp,  toppled over onto the stone floor, motionless.  Quickly, Quail cast Fog, and called to Bailey to do the same.  Two walls of mist appeared, blocking them from the view of the  Soothsayers shooters.   Sally and Luc pressed forward to a low ruined wall near the throne, where they saw Bemis's hound trotting forward out of the darkness.  Sally set her torch down and quickly took a bow shot, but missed.  Luc fired his crossbow, and hit; the dog dropped to the floor.  They also noticed a treasure sitting behind the throne, and called to Barc, the Man at Arms,  to come retrieve it.
     Quail worried about the continued  appearance of more Ghouls, and saw what she had to do.   Since everyone around her was either busy with their own life or death struggle or out of view, the Maga Librarian realized it was up to her be the one to take care of the trapdoor.  She cast another wall of Fog to replace one that suddenly dissipated, continuing to block Gru's view of her warband, and then ran to the trapdoor and stood upon it; as there didn't seem to be any way to lock it.
     The Sigilist called to her Apprentice, as she tried to think of some way to block the door other than with her body.  She used Telekinesis to move a piece of rubble toward her, but realized one stone was not going to hold the door, and it would take to long for her to make a heavy mound of crumbled stones, even with Bailey's help.   Bailey came and stood by her, arms folded and back turned.  Then, suddenly,  the Apprentice walked away into the darkened chamber behind them.  Quail could see a torchlight in the distance, but wasn't sure who it belonged to, and why Bailisette suddenly left her to head towards it.  She called to Bailey, but the Apprentice just ignored her.
Quail moves on to the trapdoor as Innis and Sir Cardidl tangle with the two remaining Ghouls. 
     Back in the throne room, Sally had mounted the throne to look for some kind of mechanism to release the door they had come through.  She found a promising bank of five levers, and grabbed one and began pulling on it.  It took all her strength, but she was slowly able to fully move it.  She heard a clang echo somewhere in the distance, and realized she better pull all of them to be sure. (First lever opened a door near Gru's area of operations.)
       In the far chamber where Clol battled the two Ghouls, the Barbarian was hard pressed.  He was badly wounded, but had managed to kill the first Ghoul, and luckily for Quail's soldier, the second Ghoul was fighting from a position on top of the trapdoor, so no more of his fellows could climb out.  Kinny and Dorchesman had both retrieved their treasure chests, but were a bit at a loss as to where to go with them.  They weren't sure if they should drop them to help the Barbarian, or try to make their way to some safe spot...but where was it safe?   They didn't have to puzzle for long, as Clol, and his Club of Battering soon took care of the lone Ghoul survivor, and the big Barbarian quickly moved to stand upon the trapdoor.  The three of them had a hasty discussion and decided to stay put, until they heard if an exit had been located.  For Clol's part, he certainly did not seem inclined to want to step off the trapdoor at the moment.
Sally climbs up on the throne to find the levers that operate the doors, as Barc recovers the treasure behind the throne, and Luc stands at the ready to provide covering fire.
    Back near the throne room, Quail called desperately to Sir Cardidil, "She's run off!", and pointed in the direction Baliey had gone.   The Knight dispatched the Ghoul  he was fighting with a final blow, and ran over to the Sigilist.  Sir C. grabbed the torch from the wizard, and ran in that direction the Apprentice had gone.  He didn't go far before he spotted her.
    Bailey's eye had been caught by torchlight she had seen in the distance; and she could have sworn, silhouetted for a moment in the flame she had seen a familiarly shaped cone hat bobbing around behind a low wall.  Sure enough, as she approached she could see the top of the tall purple hat that Bemis' apprentice, Agarn, wore.    The flame from the boy's torch flashed red in her eyes, and her anger burned.  It seemed only logical to her that one cruel deed deserved another in return.  "Let his apprentice live with the scars forever!", she thought.  Without thinking her hand went to the deadly vial in her pocket and her cold fingers coiled around it.  She now ran towards the wall, and as she neared it, she pulled the vial out and hurled it with all her might.  Bailey watched the glass cylinder turn end over end as it glided through the air and it hit the far lip of the wall near where she could see the pointed hat.  Instantly the cylinder exploded in a ball of red flame, and a loud boom echoed back and forth between the walls of  the low chambers.
   The burst of red flame was blinding in the darkness, and Bailey came to a stop as she was momentarily sightless.  She strained to see the wall through the red flashing in her eyes, but the blast had blown out the torch. There was nothing before her, only darkness and silence, and dancing red spots in her eyes.  Something snapped in her mind, and tears welled up in her eyes. She gasped, "What have I done!"  Falling to her knees, the young woman sobbed, repeating over and over, "What have I done...what have I done.."  She was so overwhelmed with weeks of pent-up emotion, that she didn't even hear the tell tail sound of creaking wood in the ceiling, and was unaware of the Ghoul that dropped down almost directly in front of her.
Bailey hurls the Explosive Cocktail at Agarn and the Treasure Hunter.
      Quail, still standing on the trap door,  could now see a little of the scene as the Knight with her torch neared where the Apprentice stood.  The Sigilist saw the Ghoul drop from above, and quickly grabbed a quill from her pouch and rubbed it between her hands, frantically chanting the spell of Furious Quill.   Like an arrow, the feather shot from her hands and proceeded to dance around the monster's head, distracting it.  Sir C, dropped the torch to the ground and ran at the undead horror with his sword raised.  One mighty swing of his blade, and the distracted Ghoul was cut in two.  Bailey, oblivious, sat slumped on the cold stone floor and still sobbed, shaking her head, as waves of regret and sadness swept over her.  "I've killed him...I've killed him...I know I have...What has become of me...What have I done..."
   Sir Cardidil, leaned over and helped the young woman to her feet, she was so overcome with emotion, the aged knight wasn't quite sure what to do; but his first instinct was safety; so after retrieving the torch he dropped, he forced the Apprentice back away from the immediate area of danger.
        By this time, Innis had killed the Ghoul that had dropped near him earlier, and he now ran back to find Quail.  When the Sigilist saw him, she called, "The Grimoire by the door we came in; get it!", and the Treasure Hunter nodded and let the Siglist know that Sally was working on an exit for them.  He then ran back the way they had come in to retrieve the book.
As a Ghoul drops from the ceiling in front of Bailey, Quail hits the creature with a Furious Quill and Sir Cardidil rushes to the Apprentice's aid. 
     Sally still stood upon the throne, and she heaved at a second lever.  Again she heard a distant clang, but had no idea if it was the door they had come in or not, so she continued on to a third one. (The second lever opened a door near Knabe's area of operation, and the third opened the one Gru had entered through.)
   While she slowly and methodically worked her way down the row of levers, Barc had retrieved the chest by the throne, and was heading back the way they had come in, and Luc had moved forward to make sure no new threats appeared from the far side of the throne room.  Suddenly, a trapdoor opened in the chamber on the far side of the crumbled wall where Luc stood, and a Ghoul emerged and lumbered towards him.    The poor Marksman then could not believe his eyes as two more dropped from hidden doors in the ceiling. (Gru and Bemis decided it was a good time to use up their remaining player controlled Ghouls).  Luc fought bravely, and killed one of the monsters, but he was no match for all of them, and they quickly overpowered him.
      Sally eventually pulled the correct lever, and the door they had come in swung open. (But not during the course of game play)  Slowly the exhausted and battered group made their way out and into the overcast gloom of the city.  Everyone was too tired to talk much on the trip home.  Sir Cardidil passed Bailey over to Quail, and the wizard held her tight under one arm as they walked, like a mother bird.  The young Apprentice still cried quiet tears on the trip back to the tower, and kept her eyes lowered towards the road before them; except for one point where she turned her head upwards and looking squarely at the Maga Librarian and said simply, "I'm sorry."
Luc is overrun by Ghouls
           Back at the tower they were able to take stock of all they had retrieved from the Ghoul King's Lair.  They had luckily managed to come away with four treasures.  There were two Grimoires: Wizard Eye and Explosive Rune; as well as a Book of Rangifer, and a Belt of Animal Repellence.  There had been a  good deal of gold too; 320 Gold Coins; and Quail figured if she sold the Book of Rangifer to the university, that would bring in another 150 in gold coins.    They had gotten off well injury-wise also.  Cirvid had been badly wounded, but a 10 GC salve would mend him up nice and quick.  And Luc had somehow managed to survive the Ghoul attack relatively unharmed.
     Later that night Quail sat in her room and considered the day.  It had been a trap they had walked into, pure and simple.   She would be more careful in the future following wild rumors.  However, it did mean that they were a threat to someone, or something, but who?   Then her mind turned to young Bailisette.   Her Apprentice seemed, at last,  to truly be on the mend now.  The Sigilist wasn't sure what exactly happened in the chamber where her Apprentice had run to, (she had only bits and pieces of the story from Bailey and Sir Carididil,) but whatever it was, the emotional surge that had overtaken the young woman had seem to clear away a lot of the demons that had haunted her.    Quail knew she would have to find out the full story later, and that there was still a way to go before the old Bailey was back; but she was content for now that the anger seemed to be gone.  And, if the wizard was not mistaken, as they all took their evening meal, there had even been the briefest of happy smiles pass over the girl's face as she sat quietly and listened to the others joke and laugh about their exploits during the day's adventures.
The after-game shot.
Game Epilogue 
    It certainly was an interesting game!  I'll give the author credit, each scenario in this book has offered it's own unique challenges to overcome; which have been fun to tackle.   In this one the darkness and all the walls meant that there was very little the Spell Casters could do, as there were seldom targets to be seen.  Also, the Warbands, to a large extent, had only the briefest of contact. This was mitigated by the continually appearing Ghouls, and wandering monsters (Though, luckily, no wandering monsters ever entered in Quail's area.) The trapdoors became particularly problematic, as more folks started standing on them, the chances of the Ghouls popping out of the ones by me jumped significantly; so I had no choice but to stand on them myself.
     We made one error in set up, as we originally set the table for 6 players, then when we found out we were only going to have 5, we reset things so instead of 3 thrones and kings/queens we had only two.  In doing this, we didn't pay attention to the new spacing of the thrones (we were eager to start playing!), and it turned out that from two of the starting zones, (Gru's and Basil the Enchanter's) the thrones could be easily seen and brought under missile fire in turn 1.   This meant, in both cases, that the battles for the throne rooms were rather one sided.  Luckily for me, Gru was content to kill the King, gather the amulet, and the closet throne treasure, and move on, rather than stay and fight for the remaining treasure and levers.
     Quail had a good outing with 9 spells cast, 3 levers pulled, 7 Ghouls killed, and 4 treasure recovered; for 390 Experience Points.  Also, 470 Gold.  And, another trip where no one died.  I'm not sure how long this luck will last.
   I was also happy to resolve the Bailey story arc.  Yes, I pushed the issue a bit, as I don't know if I would have run Bailey over towards Agarn by herself like that if it wasn't for the narrative.  But, to be fair, Bemis' Apprentice and a Treasure Hunter  that was with him, with a treasure, were over a move away from any help from their own side, so were rather juicy targets...

For Bemis' report on the game, see: Who Closed the Door?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reaper's Bones 4 Kickstarter Launches!

Reaper's Bones 4 Kickstarter launched yesterday, and a lot of Stretch Goals have already been smashed!  Be sure to check it out and pledge early and pledge often!
Direct link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1513061270/reaper-miniatures-bones-4-mr-bones-epic-adventure

Here's the Core Set as of 8:20AM EST Today.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Frostgrave Campaign '17, Game 7: The District of Longreach

     This past Saturday we got together for the 7th game of our 2017 Frostgrave Campaign, just two weeks after our previous session.  While last time we returned to the Core Rulebook for our scenario, doing The Library; this month we returned to the Thaw of the Lich Lord supplement with the 6th scenario, The House of Longreach.   
 (To read the account of last month's game, see: The Library.)
     Because we had 8 of our regular players for this session, we had to modify the scenario a bit, renaming it The District of Longreach.  So instead of one legendary mansion, we declared it to be Frostgrave's lost Banking District.  With magic portals that helped customers move from location to location around the district and the secure treasure vaults located a mile beneath the city.  With 8 players, we multiplied all the scenario requirements times 4; so there were 4 vaults and 24 portals. Also, 8 Frost Wraiths (2 in each vault),  4 Zombie Trolls, and 16 Death Cultists.
        Other than the adjustment of the number of treasure rooms, portals and monsters for the scenario, we played it basically as written.  Anyone who passed through a portal rolled randomly using the chart in the scenario for effects.  For the treasure rooms result, we simply numbered them 17, 18, 19, 20; with those rolls sending you to that particular treasure room.  For theDeath Cultists and their Zombie Troll escorts, we had the four groups of them enter one group from the center of each table edge.
    We placed the portals, and then the remaining non-treasure-room treasures, then chose our starting spots.  I luckily drew the chance to pick the first selection spot, and Quail, my Sigilist, was able to get a corner entry location. Gru the Soothsayer was on Quails' right, but the lucky location of the ruined viaduct  between our two stating zones, meant that she saw no sight of him or his yellow minions; all of whom kept to their side for the length of the game.  Diagonally across from the Sigilist's band was the Summoner Challara (The wizard formally know as Chaffron, aka Saffron), and directly across was Missy the Necromancer and her band of warriors from across time and space.

An overall view of the table.  Quail's entry zone is marked in red in the lower right. 

        Earlier in the morning the Sigilist Quailelyn, the Maga Librarian at her University's Library, and her Apprentice Bailisette,  could be found in the main hall of their tower base, preparing for the day.  Quail sat at the long dining table watching her Apprentice with quiet concern.  The young woman hadn't been the same since her near-fatal injury just a couple weeks before in the ruined underground library they had explored during that expedition. (See last months write-up.) Bailey still carried the two long scars on her face from the Grenade spell, though they were much less angry than they once were. But she also still had emotional scars inside, that were doing less well. Quail knew her Apprentice hadn't been sleeping much the past weeks, and was spending every minute busy in some task or another.   She ignored the rest of the group, and kept to her room for long periods.  The Sigilist wizard felt helpless as all attempts to offer help had been rebuffed.  She desperately hoped that time would heal her Apprentice's inner wounds.
      The two spell-casters had been up late the night before working with the new Celestial Telescope that Quail had purchased with some of the funds from their last foray into the frozen city.  So the Maga Librarian was especially surprised to find her Apprentice already hard at work in the kitchen when she had come down that morning.  "I have already studied the Magical Atlas of Felstad, Ma'am," Bailey said hesitantly, "and located a monument to a great warrior-wizard which has sealed within it a cache of his scrolls. It's actually located in that district where we were planning on going today.  The one with the hidden treasure vaults that Sir Cardidil had heard about in the tavern."  (Bailey successfully cast Reveal Secret after Quail fails her roll.)  The Apprentice pointed to two steaming kettles sitting on the long wooden table, and added "And I have just about finished both the Invisibility Potions that you said we would need today.  Mine is done, you just need to do the finishing incantations and add the final individual elements to yours.  (Bailey successfully cast Brew Potion)
    Quail sat at the table before the kettle,  and as she watched her Apprentice with great concern, she attempted to finish her potion.  "Thank you, Bailey!"  she said encouragingly. "You've done wonderfully."  The Sigilist could see the large dark circles under her Apprentice's eyes, and the white scars on her face still had a sheen on them that reflected the firelight.  Unfortunately, Quail's attention was too focused on her Apprentice, and the Maga Librarian accidentally added twice the amount of the last ingredient as she concluded the incantation.   The potion foamed up and turned black. (Quail fails to cast Brew Potion).  The wizard was horrified, and began to apologize to her Apprentice over and over.  Bailey simple dismissed the apologies as unnecessary, and with a somber demeanor, came over and grabbed the pot's handle with a thick rag and carried it to the nearest window to dump it. 
A look at the four treasure vaults about midway through the game. 
      Now, as they entered the outskirts of the city, Bailey tapped Quail on the shoulder and silently pointed to a statue of two battling figures that was just a little further in the distance.  "Scrolls, there." she said simply. The Sigilist took the opportunity to halt the group and divide everyone up into their respective commands.  With herself she took Sir Cardidil the Knight, Luc Demic the Marksman, and Clol the Barbarian.  To her Apprentice she assigned Kinny the Treasure Hunter, Sallisee the Ranger, and Barc the Man at Arms.  Innis Flynn and Dorchesman the two other Treasure Hunters, and Crivid the Warhound, were instructed to help where needed.  Quail outlined a quick plan; she and her group would search to the right, and Bailey would take hers and move to the left. As everyone began to head off, the Maga Librarian grabbed Barc by the forearm and whispered into his ear, "Watch after her, please." The grizzled Man-at-Arms looked at the wizard and, comprehending the order, nodded.
          Quail immediately attempted to cast Awareness,  but suddenly seeing distant figures appear across the way distracted her, and she stumbled on the final words of the spell.  (Casting attempt fails).  It was the Necromancer Missy's troops.  She had no love for Necromancy, and a particular dislike for Missy; who loved employing lots of crossbowmen and strange men armed with fire-spitting sticks that she had kidnapped from future times.
     The Sigilist's thoughts turned back to the matters at hand, and as she approached the statue of the two battling figures, she saw a part of the base had crumbled away, and inside was a chest; most likely the one Bailey had told her about.  Further ahead of her was a low, ruined, building , and to her right a section of the city's crumbling viaduct.  Quail was pretty sure she heard the maniacal chattering of the Soothsayer Gru's minions from that direction. Then, a green glow appeared in the sky, and the Maga Librarian looked up to see one of Bemis's Draining Word calling cards for Elemental Bolt light up the low clouds much further away in the ruins.
   On the left, Bailey advanced with her group.  The Apprentice noted one of the city's strange watchtowers a little way's off; and part of a large ruined doorway further to the left. "That must be one of the magic portals that were rumored to be in this part of the city," she thought to herself. And, further past the ruined doorway was a strange circle of small black obsidian pyramids; in which lay a promising looking chest.   Just as she was studying it, it lifted itself and began to float towards where Missy's Apprentice stood.  Bailey sighed deeply, in an effort to center and strengthen herself, then quickly she attempted to use her own Telekinesis spell on the chest.   It worked and the chest came floating back towards near where it had started
On the very first turn, despite being well hidden behind a statue,  Kinny is put out of action by a lucky Crossbowman belonging to our resident Necromancer.
       Kinny ran forward to a statue near the watchtower, and as she peaked around it to check on the progress of Missy's group, a crossbow bolt smacked into the statue's pedestal right above her head showering her in stone fragments.  "It pays to be short sometimes," she thought to herself as she tilted her head forward to dust the grit from her hair.  She would later regret that move, for a second bolt hissed through the air, and caught her right on the temple.  Luckily, at the angle it hit the halfling's head, it didn't penetrate her skull, but glanced off after cutting a deep divet in her scalp, knocking her out.  She toppled into the snow like a little tree.
     Meanwhile, Quail, Sir C., and Luc Demic had run over to the low ruin to check it out. They could see a pile of rubble near the center on which lay an old sword and shield.  The Sigilist could not perceive any magical qualities to it, but the Knight standing by her, could tell , even under the layer of dirt and grime, that it was made with such workmanship and skill that would be worth a small fortune once properly cleaned and restored.  As he jogged forward in his armor to retrieve it,  he immediately became aware of the Necromancer's Treasure Hunter entering the ruin from the other side.  Sir Cardidil drew his sword, and prepared to fight for the prize.
Quail and Luc Demic cover Sir Cardidil, as he runs forward to battle the enemy Treasure Hunter in the low ruin.  The Reveal Secret treasure can be seen on the pedestal of the statue in the lower left of the photo.  Quail's short lived fog wall is on the far side of the ruin, and Clol stands ready on the right, by the viaduct, in case any of Gru's minions should decide to wander over.
     Quail suddenly recalled the portents that she and Bailey had foreseen in the stars when they had used the Celestial Telescope the night before; and the wizard knew that what was happing now would be a critical moment in their excursion. She also knew she would have to ask fast, and she called over to Bailey, "Remember the stars!"  (Quail uses Celestial Telescope benefit, and I draw two chips from our initiative bag, getting a 1 and 7. I takes the 1 for first initiative this turn)  Quickly, the Sigilist recited the words of a Fog incantation, and a nice wall of billowy mist appeared on the far side of the ruin, just as a couple of Missy's Marksmen were moving up and preparing to fire in their direction. Quail then shouted over to Innis, as she knew they would need his help.
      Over on the other side of the engagement, Bailey heard Quail's reminder about the stars, and quickly recast Telekinesis again, before Missy's Apprentice could.  Succeeding, the chest rose up and flew over a wall and dropped behind, just out of view of the opposing spell caster.   Dorchesman ran over to get the chest, and Sally the Ranger went with him to offer support; in case any of the Necromancer's troops decided to pursue.  Cirvid galloped directly towards the enemy Apprentice in a hope to distract him for a turn or two.
The scene on the left of the field.  Bailey has used Telekinesis to move the contested chest to within Dorchesman's easy reach. 
      Dorchesman swung around the corner of the ruined wall with the portal, and grabbed the treasure.  Two of the Necromancer's men were pursuing, and Sally quickly fired a shot, but it went wild.  The dapper Treasure Hunter turned and began dragging the chest, only to be suddenly surprised by a strange figure materializing through the portal beside him.  The large Rat-man wizard, dressed in odd robes, looked as shocked at coming face to face with Dorchesman as the Treasure Hunter did in return. Luckily, Quail's man regained himself first, and with a mighty shove pushed the Rat-man back through the portal, and the odd spell-caster disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared.  Unfortunately, the encounter had slowed the Treasure Hunter down, and Missy's soldiers were gaining.  He called out to Bailey, "Magical Miss! A little help please!"  The Apprentice, frowning, extended her right arm, palm outward and towards Dorchesman, and quickly recited the Push spell.  Fueled with a bit of her own pent-up sadness and anger, the spell had amazing effects, and blasted the Treasure Hunter far away into the ruins, and out of reach of the enemy. (Bailey rolled a 19 on the +10 Push attack,  sending the Treasure Hunter clear off the edge of the table and a lot more!)
    Cirvid, meanwhile, had reached the enemy Apprentice, only to be immediately intercepted by a nearby marksman who slashed at the dog. The poor beast fell to the snow, bleeding from a large wound.
Master Splinter pops through the portal surprising Dorchesman,  and is just as surprised to find himself face-to-face with the Treasure Hunter.
     Back at the low ruin, more troops were heading towards the debris-filled building.  Quail watched in dismay as her beautiful Fog wall suddenly started to loose cohesion, and melt into strands of mist. (Rolled a 19 for my start-of-turn Fog Roll.)   Quickly, the Sigilist cast another; though she set this second one a bit further to her left, to help protect her Apprentice from the Necormancer's missile troops as well.
   By now, one of Missy's Knight's had entered the ruin as well, and the Necromancer herself approached too.  Clol had joined Sir Cardidl, and the Necromancer quickly shot a Bone Dart at him, hitting him in the arm. The big Barbarian winced at the fierce stinging pain, but continued to the aid of Sir C.   With his mighty Club of Battering the Barbarian joined the fray, and, despite his injury, the pair made quick work of the enemy Treasure Hunter.
The battle in the low ruin grows.  You can see the differing placement of Quail's new Fog wall.
     The enemy Knight and Missy suddenly found themselves facing Quail and four of her warband, all by themselves.  Their decision to stay and fight it out, or leave, suddenly became easier for them; as suddenly calls of "Troll!" and "Help!" rang out from their fellow soldiers over on their right.  For appearing through the ruins and mist lumbered a Zombie Troll and 4 Death Cultists.  Quail's entire party, watched wide-eyed, as the cultists and their big beast laid right in to some of the Necromancer's troops, including her Apprentice, who had been caught right in the path of these interlopers.
     Quail took advantage of this sudden lull in the action to try once more to cast Awareness, but her attempt again fell very short, making her aware of nothing more but a sharp pain at the back of her head.  (Failed by rolling a 4; took 1 point damage) She puzzled at what might be clouding her mind.  Innis took the opportunity to grab the finely crafted sword and shield from the ruins, while Sir Cardidil and Clol worked at pulling the bone sliver from the Barbarian's arm, and bandaging the wound.
     Over on the right, Bailey surveying the surrounding area, noticed the nearby watchtower might be a good place to search, and attempted to Teleport up to it. She messed up the spell, and felt her muscles all ache as a sudden jolt went through her body; like when you wake up suddenly with the sensation you're falling, only this was ten times worse from the failed Teleport spell. (Failed by rolling a 1; took 2 points of damage.)
Missy's Apprentice and a Marksman are overtaken by the newly arrived Zombie Troll and Death Cultists. 
     As the ache slowly left Bailisette's muscles, she was shocked to suddenly see one of Bemis' Dwarf Treasure Hunter's appear on the ruined upper wall of the tower.  (He used a Teleport potion.) The sight of one of the other Sigilist's soldiers brought up a well of anger as she flashbacked to the moments of fear and pain in the library.  Quail saw the sudden appearance of the Dwarf as well,  and quickly looked over to her Apprentice to see if she had noticed.  The wizard could see Bailey staring at the tower, and without looking, the young woman reached a hand under her robes to draw her sword.  The Sigilist called to her Apprentice, "Bailey, don't!", but got no answer, or even acknowledgement.   The Maga Librarian realized she couldn't reach the girl in time to stop her, and quickly decided on trying to at least try and help her. So Quail splayed the fingers of her right hand  towards the Dwarf, and recited the words of Blinding Light.  A bright glow appeared around the face of he enemy Treasure Hunter, and he flailed his arms at the sudden inability to see, then stumbled back off the wall and dropped out of sight.  Quail looked over and could see Bailey already saying the words of a Teleport spell.  And before the Sigilist could reprimand her Apprentice again, the young woman disappeared in a flash and re-materialized on the top floor of the tower. 
A vengeful Bailey battles Bemis' Treasure Hunter. in the lower floor of the watchtower. 
          Quail was shocked and dismayed at the blatant disobedience.   It was so unlike Bailisette to behave in such a reckless and disrespectful manner.  The Maga Librarian had had to deal with her share of unruly students, but for some reason, this defiance rattled her much more than anything she faced at the university.   She watched as her Apprentice, sword and dagger both drawn now,  jumped down into the ruined tower, and out of view.
    Quailelyn suddenly became aware of eyes watching her, and looked around to see several nearby members of her group all looking at her.  She wanted desperately to go after Bailey, but she knew she couldn't just leave everyone and go chasing after her Apprentice when they all were depending on her and her leadership.   So the Sigilist said a little prayer, and then began giving orders.  She instructed Barc to get the treasure from the warrior statue,  and Sally to keep an eye on the tower and make sure none of the Necromancer's troops got any ideas.
   The Sigilist then realized she had never had a chance to investigate the magical portals, so to Luc and Sir Cardidl, she said, "Come with me.  We're going to explore these magic doors that I've heard about."  They moved to stand in front of the portal in the low ruin, the two soldiers flanking the wizard.  Quail gave one last look over her shoulder towards the tower, then pulled the small vial of Invisibility potion that Bailey had brewed that morning, and drank it down.  She swung open the door of the portal and stepped through.  The wizard felt a tingling sensation all over her body, and the world around her spun into a swirl of colors. In a second the colors swirled again and began to reform into new surroundings.  Looking around herself in disbelief, the Sigilist was dismayed beyond words.  There she stood in the great hall of her own tower.  The two small kettles Bailey had used to make the potions earlier that day, sat in the center of the table, and the glowing embers of the fire crackling softly in the hearth was the only sound.  Quail took a deep sigh, as she was overcome with emotion.   Pulling a chair from the table, she sat wearily down; and putting her head in her hands, she cried.
Quail, Sir C., and Luc Demic prepare to pass through one of the magic portals.
     As everyone returned to the tower that evening, singly or in pairs, Quail slowly got the story of the rest of the day's events.   Sir Cardidil had been transported to some far corner of the district, where he had almost immediately come face to face with another of the Zombie Trolls.  The Knight had been somewhat disoriented by his trip through the portal, and before he could swing his sword, the beast had clubbed him over the head knocking him out cold.   Luc had found himself in one of the treasure rooms, where he had materialized right near Missy, who herself was fighting another unknown soldier. There was another wizard there dragging one of the chest across the room as well, and Luc decided it might just be best to leave unnoticed.
   Eventually, it came down to just Bailey who had not returned, and everyone could feel the tension in the room build as the minutes passed.  Then at last, the young woman came through the door, bruised and with a deep cut on her arm.  She avoided everyone's gaze, and sheepishly made her way to her room without a word.  It was only later that Quail learned that after a short fight with the Dwarf, the experienced fighter had bested the Apprentice in just a few swings and left her wounded and unconscious in a corner of the tower floor.
    The group was only able to recover three treasures.  The one Dorchesman brought back contained a Grimoire of Furious Quill , which Quail already knew; so that could be sold.  Also in the chest was 80 gold coins (Treasure table result 16).  The finely crafted sword and shield that Innis retrieved were like finding money, and it was Sir C's opinion that they could easily sell for 400 gold coins. (Treasure table result 3: D20 x 25GC, and I rolled 16); and the cache of scrolls that Barc brought back contained only two that hadn't been ruined by the elements: Illusionary Soldier and Push.  There was also 50 gold coins (Treasure table result 7).
Those who were left standing at the end, and their three treasures. 
     Quail suddenly found herself a very wealthy wizard. She would need to buy a 10GC healing salve for Cirvid who had been badly wounded; but luckily no one else had been seriously injured.  The Sigilist said a little prayer of thanks that her Apprentice had come back alive.  She was not pleased at all at her rash behavior, and was not sure how to help the inner demons that seemed to have overcome Bailey.  She could however help her protect herself; and thought it might not be a bad idea to get her a magic sword to help make up for the skills she lacked as a fighter.  In fact, Quail reasoned, it might not be a bad idea for herself to get one as well; as she was no skilled swordswoman either, and the city seemed to be getting more and more dangerous every day. 

Game Epilogue
     This proved to be a rather crazy game with the portals, and was very reminiscent of the The Keep scenario from the main rulebook that we did last year; with folks popping up all over the place.   Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) Quail and Co. never really got to try out the portals until almost the end of the game.  And when she did the results were pretty bad.  I know how dismayed I was when I rolled that 16, and sent her back to the tower; I can only imagine how upset she was.  
     In the final analysis, we all agreed that the treasure rooms were a hopeless cause.  No one got any of the treasures out of the rooms (required of the scenario to actually claim the treasure), and we all agreed that within the scope of the game there just wasn't time to defeat the 2 Frost Wraiths and all other visitors to the room to actually get one out.  I wonder if this result is much different in 2 player games, or was it brought on by us having four treasure rooms and 8 players?  Or is it just a universal problem in this scenario.  
     All in all it was a rather average showing for Quail, with only 3 treasures recovered and 9 spells cast.  She did get the 10+ experience for going through the portal too. Treasure recovery was a real problem across the table, as only two of every three treasures were actually on the table and not in the treasure rooms, which made the pickings slim across the board. Lucky for the Reveal Secret treasure or I only would have had two treasures recovered. 
For Bemis' account of the game, see: A Long Reach

To continue on to the next game report, see: The Lair of the Ghoul King and Queen

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dollar Tree Sand Mold Frostgrave Pyramid Mausoleum

   A couple weeks ago I posted an article about a Sci-Fi terrain piece I made from a sand mold that I purchased at the local Dollar Tree.   One of my readers, Marc, in the Comments section of that post, said that he was going to use the pyramid from the same "landmarks" mold series to make a Frostgrave mausoleum.  I thought that was a great idea, so picked one up myself to make my own mausoleum.
     I began by cutting a simple doorway piece from some scrap pink insulation foam, and scribed some doors and cut stones on it. I then used hot glue to glue it to one of the sides. I also glued a small decorative bits piece over the doors (Not shown in this photo)
     I pre-painted the doorway piece with black acrylic paint (so it wouldn't melt when sprayed), then sprayed the whole thing with black spray paint.
      I then did a couple layers of grey drybrushed on the pyramid, and then painted the piece over the doors as verdigris bronze.

    I'm really happy how this turned out!   I had originally dismissed the Pyramid sand mold since I have a perfectly good desert-colored pyramid already.  I never thought of doing one for a colder climate (that is, grey stone), so thank Marc for his idea!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Frostgrave Campaign '17, Game 6: The Library

      This past Saturday we got together for the 6th game of our 2017 Frostgrave campaign.   Since the Thaw of the Lich Lord supplement book only has 10 scenarios, and we are planning a once-a-month campaign lasting 12 months, we knew from the start we would need to supplement with two other scenarios somewhere along the way.  So, we took this month's game to do one of these other scenarios, and after a little discussion landed on doing The Library scenario from the core rulebook again.  We had done The Library once before, as part of last year's campaign, but it had ended up being the last game of our campaign.  We had all regretted that decision last year, as this scenario is designed to reward the players with Grimoires; but since it was the last game of our campaign, any grimoires we won proved to be somewhat useless. So we thought if we did it earlier this year, we might actually be able to benefit from any spell books we recovered.
     (To read an account of last month's game, see: Storm of Undeath)
    Like last year, for the library itself we used almost all Dwarven Forge sets, with the addition of a beautiful Temple, built by David Brawley, as the central piece. We also had the first three random beasts to show up selected as classic geek Library creatures: a Wraith Librarian (Ghostbusters), and two swarms of Vashta Nerada (Dr Who).
     We also decided to try and interweave the scenario into the Thaw of the Lich Lord story line by incorporating elements from the Thaw of the Lich Lord's Battle on the River scenario.  So, at the start of the game we placed in the Library a Mage servant of the Lich Lord for every two players (So for us there were 5).  The Mages would be retrieving certain rare volumes from the library for their Master.  Like Battle on the River they would be trying to exit the table with their prizes.  If a player killed one of the Mages, they got 50 experience, and would roll randomly to recover from the dead Mage one of the five books from the Lich Lord special treasure table.
A view of the whole table.  Quail & Co.'s entry point is marked with the yellow rectangle on the lower right.
     This time, as well as all our regulars attending, we had a new player and his son attend to fill David's place (who moved away to New York), and another of the fellow's brought his daughter to play, so we ended up with a full house of 10 players!  Though things were a bit crowded around the table it made for one wild and crazy battle.
     Quail managed to secure a place at one of the corners of the Library to enter her warband, but was a bit concerned when Bemis the other Sigilist arrived to enter across from her, and Chaffarn the Summoner moved to a position on her right.  Diagonally across from Quail's position was the Enchanter, Basil.

     Earlier in the morning, Baillisette the Apprentice had risen with the sun and come down to the tower's main dining hall, figuring she was the first to wake up.  She was surprised however to find her mistress Quailelyn already sitting at the long central table, with a small pile of books next to her, sipping her usual morning tea while reading a large leather bound volume.  Trying not to disturb the Maga Librarian while she read, Bailey crept as silently as possible over to the fireplace to find the kettle. Without looking up, the Sigilist said to her Apprentice, "Stir that please."
     The words startled Bailey in the quiet tower, and she almost dropped the kettle. But Quail's words did bring to her attention a small pot with a long wooden spoon sticking out of it, hanging above the embers.  There was a clear liquid of some sort bubbling in it, and Bailey's nose told her immediately it wasn't anything she'd want to eat.  The Apprentice was still in a bit of a sleepy stupor, but she was a quick student and it didn't take her but a moment to realize that her Mistress was most likely putting to use some of what she had learned in the Grimoire of Brew Potion that they had recovered from the old witch's temple during their last trip into the ruins.  Bailey knew that Quail had read the tome right away after hey got back as she was recovering from her injures, and had been practicing the magical recipes in it the last two weeks.
     As ordered, Bailey took the spoon and slowly started stirring, doing her best not to bruise the pot's contents.  Behind her, Quail, always the teacher, said simply, "Identify."
     The young woman leaned over the pot as she stirred and breathed in the sour fumes, letting her mind sift through the various odors she detected.  She then raised the spoon, and draining all but a little of its contents off, brought it towards her and gently blew on it to cool it.  She stuck the little finger of her other hand in the clear liquid and then put her finger to her tongue and tasted.  As her mouth sorted through the flavors, she dipped her little finger in the spoon again, and used the wet finger to trace a symbol on the back of the hand holding the spoon.  The Apprentice felt the slightly oily nature of the warm broth, and watched carefully to see how the liquid reacted to he skin and the rate of evaporation.   Finally she turned to Quail and ventured, "Elixer of the Chameleon?  And I think it's done."
     Quail looked up from her reading, and smiling at the Apprentice said, "Very Good, Bailey." The Sigilist wizard set her book down and added,  "I want to start teaching you how to make these potions in the coming weeks, so you can help me with them and make your own as well."     (Quail successfully casts Brew Potion pregame. Bailey fails to cast Brew Potion.)
The party enters the outer foyer and spots the Reveal Secret treasure by the door.
     As the Sigilist moved over to the fireplace to double check her Apprentice's analysis that the potion was finished, she said.  "I had the university send me a copy of a recently published volume that is the journal of an  Elf Illusionist named Kodak.  He spent some time in this city not too long ago.   I've been going over it most of the evening and this morning.  In one of the chapters near the end, he mentions an old underground Library that he and his group explored.   I think he has given enough information for us to be able to find it again.  He also mentions seeing a few things there that were of no interest to him, at the time but I think we might find valuable. I don't think it's that far so I want to head over there this morning.  Please Bottle this up," Quail pointed to the pot of potion, "and then wake the others and tell them to prepare for a trip to the city."  (Quail casts Reveal Secret pregame.)
      Just a couple hours later, and they were standing in the ruined city before a half collapsed stairway leading down into the frozen ground. They could tell it was once a well-made and beautifully decorated entryway. The wizards of old had great respect for their libraries, and Quail studied the carved designs on the crumbled stairwell a minute in appreciation.   They rest of the party peered into the black hole, no one seeming to want to be the first to step down into the unseen dark.  Finally Quail collected herself and set about assigning command groups.  She felt a building excitement at the prospect of exploring a new library.  Despite the dangers it might hold, her Sigilist instincts were powerful, and the slight smell of musty pages rising from the old entrance made her heart race a little.  She looked back, and could see a big ear-to-ear grin on Bailey's face as well.
     Slowly they made their way down the steps and emerged into a small foyer with a single long bookcase in it that had collapsed on one end.   Little remained on the shelves except some moldy books, and shredded pages. They turned into a short corridor on their left that immediately turned right again, and came up upon a large wooden door, shattered and hanging from one remaining hinge.  Before it lay a Grimoire chest that appeared to have been dropped by someone exiting the library in a hurry.  Quail pointed to it, and said to Bailey, "Remember that is there."
    They pushed past the wrecked door, and emerged into a large room containing several massive bookcases in various states of  decay, as well as some dilapidated tables and smashed chairs.  What had once been fine rugs, but were now ice encrusted, rotted and stained, were scattered here and there on the floor.  With a knowledgeable eye the Maga Librarian scanned the shelves. Not much was left that wasn't turned to rotted and decaying heaps of frosty pulp. She felt her excitement slowly turn to dismay as she scanned the destruction of so many precious books.  In the dim light Quail could see Bailey's eyes glistening with building tears.  The Sigilist couldn't help but view it all and not think of her own library back at the university, and it's well kept volumes and  orderly shelves.  The thought of such destruction ever coming to her beloved halls was more than she could bear; so she quickly shook herself from the dark road she was traveling, and turned to the reality of the matters at hand.
    Quailelyn closed her eyes and put a finger on each temple, then slowly started tracing letters with them on the side of her head as she precisely whispered another set of words, casting the spell of Awareness.  She felt the spell faltering as her mind tried to pierce through so many stone walls and earth, so the Maga Librarian concentrated with all her mental power, causing a burning sensation all over the inside of her head.  The pain was intense but still she pushed her mind.  (Pushed spell for 4 HP) Quail gasped, not only from the pain but also as she became aware in her mind that there were nine other wizards stalking the dark labyrinth of the library currently! Also she detected five darker entities in the library that were veiled in shadow.  One by one the Sigilist tried to identify the other wizards, and as she did she also got brief looks at what the possibility of their plans might be; Bemis, of course...and Charffarn...that will mean there might be demons...and over there is Basil.... One by one her mind became aware of the strings of intents that wove through the damp stone corridors.  While Quail did this Bailey tried a Draining Word spell for Bone Dart, but her cast was weak and the spell was not strong enough to penetrate the ceiling of the library and blast back upon her causing her to gasp as a sharp sting drilled down through the top of her head. (Failed roll by 12, took 2 Damage).  The young woman's exclamation snapped Quail out of her trance in time to detect someone else's Drain Word spell for Elemental Bolt go into effect high above them, probably Bemis she surmised.
First maneuvers upon entering.  Quail, Dorechesman, Luc and Sir C. have all entered the secret room, (bottom of the photo) while Bailey's command begins to search the main room.
     Quail now notice on the lefthand wall their was the remains of a magical fountain. In it's day it had hidden the secret entrance to another room, with it's illusionary water; but now that it was no longer enchanted and the empty basin gaped open revealing a low portal.   The Maga Librarian turned to Bailey and instructed her to take her group and search the room they were currently in, while she would take Sir Cardidil the Knight, Luc Demic the Marksman, and Dorchesman the Treasure Hunter with her. Suspecting there might be more than one valuable item in a room hidden by secret door, Quail also called to Kinny, the tiny Halfling Treasure Hunter, to follow after her as well.
     The Sigilist ducked down under the low doorway at the back of the fountain and emerged in a smaller room that had a couple more dilapidated bookcases and a low map table, still standing despite it having only three legs.  There was a chest upon the map table that Quail took note of, as her eyes adjusted to the low light.  She scanned the room, and saw a corridor going off to the right.  She took a moment to cast Heal upon herself as her head still hurt from having to push that last spell, then she bent down and called through the fountain, "Kinny, please get the chest on the map table just inside the door. As wizard stood back up, she could sense another Drain Word spell go into effect, this time for Telekinesis, cast by Bemis' Apprentice, Agarn.
    They pressed further into the room, and moved to a position at the head of the corridor that branched off to the right.  From this spot they saw a tapestry in the far corner, it's golden threads glittered in the torchlight.  Despite it being covered in dirty ice and the decomposed pages and spines of several books Quail could see it showed no sigh of age itself and was therefor probably magical.  She motioned to Dorchesman to go and retrieve it, as she and Sir Cardidil discussed the corridor ahead of them.  The Sigilist knew that Bemis' party was somewhere down that way.  Luc Demic, with his excellent Marksman's eyesight, said he could detect some movement down there in what appeared to be a room a couple dozen yards away, but nothing well enough to shoot at. Sir C, and Quail quickly came to the consensus: that they had already retrieved two treasures in this room alone, and they knew there was probably more in the room Bailey was searching, plus the one they came across as they entered; so there was no need at the moment to take foolhardy risks.  Quail tried to cast some Fog down the corridor to discourage anyone coming up  it, but was not clear in selecting a target spot for the spell to center upon in the dark hallway, and it formed little more than a drizzly mist which merely added a cold dampness to the already damp hall. Also some actually formed in the wizard's head causing a momentary brain freeze to come over her. (Failed by 6, took 1 Damage.)
     The trio waited for Dorchesman to chip the tapestry free of it's icy entrapment.  Once he got it free, he bundled it under his arm, and turned, giving them a thumbs up.  Quail tried once more to cast Fog, doing even more poorly this time. A light rain fell in the hallway, that turned to flurries.  The brain freeze came back to Quail twofold and she had to put a hand up to the wall a moment to steady herself.  (Failed with a roll of 1, taking 2 Damage)  Surprisingly, the flurry in the corridor spread outward into the room until a light snow fell all around them.  Quail was momentarily puzzled at this until she realized that is was just Chaffarn the Summonor up to his old tricks of using a Call Storm spell to foil any bow or crossbow shots.   As Dorchesman joined them, they turned to leave the room.  Quail could see Kinny had retrieved the chest off of the table at the front of the room, and had already departed.
Quail, Luc and Sir C. discuss what may lie down the long corridor, as Dorchesman moves off to the left to recover the tapestry in the corner.
     While Quail was off searching the hidden room, Bailey and her group had been busy in their room as well.  First thing, the Apprentice cast Heal on herself to remove the pain in her head from the failed Drain Word spell.  They saw a chest sitting in the middle of a rug in the center of the near part of the room.  Innis Flyn the Treasure Hunter moved to get it, but Bailey called to him to pass it by as she became aware of another chest in a far corner of the room.  She whistled to Cirvid the War Hound to go stand guard over it, while Innis moved towards it. Meanwhile she herself tried to cast Telekinesis upon it, but had trouble in the shadowy room finding the focus, and Agarn's  Drain Word on Telekinesis didn't help. She blinked away a sharp pain from the failed spell, like being struck by a willow branch between the eyes.  (Failed by 7, took 1 Damage.)
     Bailey was brought back from her pain by the sound of Cirvid growling loudly.  As the Apprentice looked up, a secret door in the far wall, partially obscured from view by a large bookcase,  swung open and another War Hound, this one belonging to Charffarn bounded through.  Then a bark to her left caught her attention and another hound, this one Bemis',  came leaping into the room through a partially collapsed door on the lefthand wall. It landed and bounded out of sight behind the book case at the far end where the secret door was,  At that point the light snow from Chaffarn's Call Storm spell,  began to fall in the room.
The battle in the main room begins as Cirvid moves to meet the Summon's War Hound as he enters through a secret door. Up behind the bookcase on the right of the room, Bemis' dog can be seen approaching as well.
    Chaffarn's dog lunged at Cirvid, and Bailey quickly tried to cast Blinding Light upon it, but in her rush she forgot a line of the spell and so nothing happened. The dog's leap caught Cirvid unprepared, and with a yelp he sprawled backwards across the floor. By this time Innis reached the dog fight, but so did the Summoner's Monk.  She squeezed through the secret door and lunged at Innis with her staff.  He was able to dodge the long pole, it's length making it tough to use properly in the tight space, and he returned with a strong upward thrust catching the Monk in the right side.  The Monk crumpled to the stone floor.  Innis had little time to revel in his triumph however, as Charffarn's dog leaped at him in revenge, catching him off guard and  throwing him backwards into the corner.  His teeth sank deeply into Innis' shoulder at the base of the neck.  (War Hound wins with a 21, reducing  Innis to just 2 HP.) Innis cursed and tried to make his eyes focus through the pain, and with all his remaining strength pushed the heavy dog off him.   Cirvid, having regained his footing, now leaped at the dog as it prepared to pounce again at Innis.  Catching the enemy beast in the side, the mighty War Hound knocked the dog over, and his teeth and claws dug deep into the enemy dog's hide.  There were a few moments of flashing teeth and guttural growls, then with a final yelp the other dog suddenly fell limply to the floor.  Clol, the Barbarian, had reached the fight by this time, and grabbing Cirvid's collar he pulled him from the dead dog's body.  
     Meanwhile, as the snow intensified from another of Chaffarn's Call Storm spells, Bemis' Hound retraced it's steps back around the bookcase and now headed towards Bailey and the Ranger, Sallisee.   Once more the Apprentice, being more careful this time,  cast Blinding Light.  The attempt was successful this time, and a bright glow appeared all around the dog's head.  It stopped a moment and shook itself whimpering. The poor dumb animal tried frantically to paw at it it's head to clear whatever it was annoying it so.   Sally ran up and with a might swing of her sword, laid the poor beast low, (Rolled a 20!) just as one of Bemis' Dwarven Treasure Hunters trotted into the room on short sturdy legs, and headed towards the Ranger.  
In the thick of it.  While part of the party have fended off the Summoner's troops, the rest try to face Bemis' soldiers.
     The Dwarf was quickly followed up by another of his kind, and then Bemis' Captain entered as well.  The storm intensified even further as Chaffarn cast Call Storm for a third time.  Wind whipped the flakes past the shelves, and a layer of fresh white was building up on everything.  The first Dwarf to enter the room was wearing an Eyes of Amoto amulet, the mate for which was worn by Bemis (who skulked just our of view in the hall). Staring into his amulet, the other Sigilist could clearly see through the swirling flakes where Bailey stood back on the far wall of the room.  He grabbed a piece of broken masonry off the floor and spoke the harsh words of a Grenade spell close to the stone as he slowly turned it in his hand. When he was done, he heaved it with all his strength.  The rock flew with magical precision down the hall, through a hole in the half collapsed door, and struck with a sharp report against the wall by Bailey's head. The young woman cried out in pain and surprise as there was a blinding flash and loud concussive explosion. Shattered stone splinters cut deep gashes in her face, and the force of the blast made her stagger backwards. (Bailey's HP reduced to 1) Almost falling, Quail's Apprentice fought to stay conscious and standing.  Her insides felt like she had been kicked all over her body by a hundred angry mules.  Bailey's nose bled and her ears rang, as she stumbled back to the shelter of the nearby bookcase.  She went down hard on her knees, and slumping up against the nearby wall tried to think clearly and recall the simple words of a Heal spell.  Blood was running down her face from the several deep cuts, and dripped from her nose and chin on to the fresh white snow on the floor around her. As the young woman tried to form the words of the spell carefully one by one,  a quiet alarm went off in her head.  Like all wizard students, she had heard the stories told late at night in the student dorms, of wizards so badly hurt they had misspoke the chant of a Heal spell in their pain and distress, ultimately killing themselves with their own words.   Quickly she stopped speaking, hoping beyond hope that she had not gone too far into the spell.  She shut her eyes, anticipating the final darkness; but it did not come.
         Across the room Sallisee had her own worries, and was not able to devote a thought to Bailey.  The Ranger's ears also rung from the confined blast.  Her sword clanged against that of the Dwarf's, and with them locked at the hilt, she lift one leg and kicked the enemy treasure hunter hard in the chest. He staggered backwards a few feet.   Cirvid lumbered over to assist, just in time to meet the rush of the second Dwarven Treasure Hunter. Despite his stature the second Dwarf was agile and out maneuvered the dog, side-stepping his attack and plunged his weapon into the dogs flank. Cirvid yelped, and fell over like a tree, laying on the snowy floor without moving.
     Having just taken out the dog, the second Dwarf now turned on Sally.  Luc Demic, who was first to enter the room from the secret side room, where he had been with Quail, raised his crossbow and aimed as he advanced across the snowy floor.  Planting his feet, the Marksman fired at the advancing enemy Captain, but rushed the shot in the blowing storm, and missed by a wide margin.   The Dwarf had his bloodlust up and went at the Ranger like he was possessed. With a quick stroke he knocked Sally's blade away, and on the return caught her thigh with a deep gash. She went down on one knee, blood flowing down her injured leg.  (Sally reduced to 3 HP)
At the height.  Bemis casts his Grenade.
    Quail had entered the room now, and not seeing her Apprentice anywhere ran to look behind the bookcase.  Horrified at what she saw, the wizard ran over to where Bailey slumped in the snow. The Apprentice's face and robes were covered in blood, and the Maga Librarian feared the worse.  She quickly knelt beside the young woman, and reaching around felt her neck for a pulse.  Reassured, she clasped the girl on the neck with the one hand and the far shoulder with the other, and with desperation quickly chanted the Heal spell.  One of Bailey's eyes, almost sealed with gooey blood, fluttered open.  She painfully raised one arm and with the sleeve of her robe wiped her face. Quail pulled a small cloth from one of her deep pockets and scooping up some fresh snow in it to dampen it, helped Bailey clean herself a little.  The spell had stopped the bleeding for the moment.  Then the Sigilist helped her Apprentice get back up on her feet.
    Maenwhile the battle raged, Innis had hobbled over to the treasure in the corner, and picking it up , began to drag it away.   Seeing him leaving with the treasure, the enemy Treasure Hunter that had been pushed out of combat with Sally, turned and ran towards Innis.   Bemis himself now entered the room, and seeing Luc standing there with his crossbow, quickly threw up a wall of Fog.  That didn't discourage Sir Cardidil, who raced as fast as his heavy armor wold allow towards the opposing Sigilist.
    Sally now sparred with the second Dwarf Treasure Hunter as Bemis' Captain charged at her to join the fray.  Knowing she couldn't stand much longer against two foes, Sallisee turned toward the new foe and made a desperate upswing with her weapon using all her remaining strength.  The sudden maneuver was enough to catch the Captain off guard, and before he could properly defend, the Ranger's blade had hit right under his arm and gone up under his armored chest piece. The thrust knocked him sideways where he spun and hit his head on the shelf of the nearby bookcase then fell to the ground old cold.  Unfortunately, it gave the enemy Treasure Hunter an opening and he took the opportunity to jab his sword into Sally's side.  The thrust knocked the Ranger  backwards, she stumbled, fell,  and lay there motionless on the snowy floor.
   Seeing Sally fall, Clol charged up to the Dwarf, but the little Treasure Hunter had his battle lust up, and another mighty thrust from his weapon fell the big Barbarian.   Sir Cardidil burst through the fog wall at that point and made a beeline toward Bemis.  Acting quickly Bemis spat out the words of a Transpose spell, and Sir C suddenly found himself, sword raised to strike, standing next to Innis as he dragged away the treasure.  Likewise,  Bemis' Treasure Hunter suddenly found himself face to face with own wizard, with his weapon raised and ready to strike.  
   The enemy wizard realized there was no point in pressing further, and an unspoken truce suddenly fell over the room.  Bemis and his followers began to withdraw.  The survivors of Quails party rushed to check on the fallen.
Near the end.  Sir Cardidil, on the left, charges towards Bemis' fog wall.
     Back at their tower base later that evening, the party gathered in the main dining hall.  There was a noticeable difference in those who had spent most of the time in the room behind the secret fountain or left early with treasure, and those who had been in the thick of the fighting in the main room.   So it fell upon Kinny, Barc, Luc, Sir C, Dorchesman, and Quail herself, to tend to the injured and weary that had taken part in the fierce battle in the main room.  Luckily, once again, only poor Cirvid had come away with a really Bad Wound.  Both Sally and Clol bounced back quickly after an application of a Healing spell from Quail.  Quail figured in the next day or two she could head into the village and get an inexpensive 10 GC healing salve for the loyal War Hound.
      The party now sat around in small groups here and there, drinking and talking in low voices about the day's events.  Quailelyn sat at the big main table, the treasure they had recovered that day laid out before her.  (The group recovered 5 treasures) There were three battered but salvageable grimoires (Elemental Hammer, Bind Demon, and Banish), as well as several small decorative objects of value (an ornate inkwell, statuette, and bejeweled paperweight) that could be turned into money  One of the chests was piled high with nothing but gold coins, and the tapestry they had found turned out to be a Banner of Courage.  All in all a very profitable trip.
     None of the bounty particularly interested the Maga Librarian at the moment though; for as she sat there with the wealth all spread our before her, and absentmindedly flipped through the pages of the Banish Grimoire, her attention was elsewhere.   Her gaze and thoughts were across the hall, as she looked at the back of her young Apprentice, who sat alone and silent before the warm glow of the large fireplace.  Bailey's knees were drawn up tightly to her chest, with her arms wrapped around them as she stared fixedly at the flickering light, lost in thought.  As Quail watched her, the young woman reached one hand up and gingerly touched the white scar along her right cheek, then moved to the one on running across her forehead.
     Quail reflected on the fact that, while a Heal spell (which she had had to perform 2 more times on Bailisette to get her feeling human again) was good at relieving pain and magically stitching together skin, or knitting broken bone, even healing the bruising of internal organs; it was next to useless on the mind and mental trauma.  Also, it did little to restore the constitution and the pure systemic drain that brutal injuries can inflict on a body.   The Sigilist fretted about what she had let happen to her Apprentice and whether she had been selfish and foolhardy to drag the poor girl away from the safety and security of the university's halls.  Her face, full of youthful beauty, would now carry the permanent scars of a magical attack.  A Heal spell could mend the skin, but it wouldn't erase the magical damage done to the cells that composed it; and Bailey would wear the scares for the rest of her life.
     Quail realized that slowly, over the months, it had all turned from being a grand adventure to suddenly being much more serious.  Once again she had felt the growing evil in the city on this expedition; and, beyond the other wizards who probed the library as she did, her Awareness spell had made her conscious of the presence of evil entities that had roamed the library's halls that day as well, with foul purpose.  She couldn't just leave now, as there was a growing feeling that something important was coming in the distance; and it was vital for her to be here to face it.

Game Epilogue
     The library game has been a tense one both times, and very different in feel to all the other scenarios.  In the tight confines, most of your spells become next to useless. as you seldom see other   figures or treasures except for those that are immediately in the same room with you.
     It was a banner day for treasure (recovering 5), but spell-wise it was a big disaster.  Not only was I severely hampered by what choices I had in the tight terrain, I also (as is typical) rolled atrociously; successfully casting only 7 spells in 8 turns of play, plus pregame.  And many of my failures came with HP loss.
     The 10 player game was an interesting experience.   Due to the limited sight lines in the Library, and the large spread of players, the game actually moved pretty quickly, as there were seldom times when sequential numbers were anywhere near each other causing players to have to wait extended amounts of time for their turn.   It was however loud and chaotic, and you had no sense of what was going on in other parts of the table.  Hopefully this overflow of players won't happen too often.
     Quail and Co. ended up with a boatload of money this time.  They got the d20 x 25 GC coin results on one of their treasure rolls (and rolled a 16 for the amount!), and along with the GC that came with the Grimoire rolls, and selling the Banner of Courage (which seems rather useless)  it was a nice haul.  So Sally got a new magic bow; and now Quail is debating a Celestial Telescope, or perhaps a Sarcophagus of Healing.   It might also be worth her time to peruse the Catalog of Grimiores and see if there are any spells she might benefit from purchasing outright.
   She'll need to decide fast, as the next expedition is already only two weeks away.
For Bemis' account of the battle, see: Into The Library

For the next game in the campaign, Game 7, see: The District of Longreach