For The Complex Temple the only slight change we made, was having each player place one column, for a total of 6 column.
The Menagerie scenario was created around he idea of an ancient wizard who had assembled a collection of exotic animals from across the globe and kept them caged in an underground lair, where they were protected in some sort of suspended animation for the last 1000 years. They had now been revived for some reason or another, and were breaking free from their enclosures and making their way to the surface where they were wandering about freely. Each player placed 3 animals to start. Then, there were two buildings designated the menagerie headquarters where 1-3 animals would spawn from each turn. The animals were worth Experience Points if you killed them (on a sliding scale based on your level: more XP the lower your level, less XP the higher you were) Also, if you searched the body after killing the animal, you could roll a d20 with a result of 15-20 resulting in your having found some part of the animal that was valuable (horn, heart, pelt, etc) and would act as a treasure. At the end of the game you could roll for this treasure on the treasure table and receive what ever Gold Coin result you got but not any other part of the treasure roll (no magic items, scrolls, potions, or grimoires.) You also got the standard 50 XP for recovering a treasure.
We also each placed one normal treasure.
For a report on the previous game, see: Game 8
For the report on the next game, see Game 10
For the tale of how Sister Zandkara came to join Kodak's warband, see: The Templar's Tale
|A look at the table at the start. Kodak and his band entered in the middle on the left, just on the far side of the viaduct.|
Kodak paused amidst the ruins, and divided his party into three groups. With him he took the new Templar, Sister Zandkara, Danlin the Marksman, and Weiss the Archer . Kodak assigned to his Apprentice, Leighlyndana: Edel the Archer, Bash the Man-at-Arms, and the Treasure Hunter Mellily Ising That left the Treasure Hunter Connisyn Marcus, the Thieves Linesse and Cadwalleter, and Odullorf the new War Hound to act under their own initiative. The Illusionist took a moment to cast the spell Illusionary Soldier; and before their eyes, a figure materialized before them wearing the gear of a Thief.
|A shot of the warband before they entered the ruins. L to R; Kodak, Leighlyndana, Danlin, Sister Zandkara, Cadwalleter, Melilly Ising, Bash, Connisyn Marcus, Linesse, Edel, Illusionary Soldier, Weiss, Odullorf.|
Weiss, had climbed some steps leading to an elevated hut, where she though she had heard some sounds, and sure enough when she got level with the door, she could see a large gorilla inside. She drew her bow, but her footing wasn't good on the crumbling stairway, and her shot went wide. It did however alert the beast to her presence, and it charged out of the hut at her, and she braced herself and drew her dagger. She swung bravely at the gorilla, but the beast clubbed her aside the head, and she dropped to the steps unconscious.
Meanwhile, Leighlyndana, Kodak's apprentice, moved forward where she saw a large snake coiled up in another hut. She attempted a Mind Control spell, but she had never done one on a reptile before, and she did not do it correctly. The Apprentice was repaid for her failure with a sharp stab of pain in her head. (-2 health for a casting roll miss greater than 10). She called out to Edel, who stood nearby; and the Archer ran forward with his bow, stopped, drew the string, and let fly an arrow which hit the snake squarely between the eyes. It died instantly.
Over on Kodak's left, Sister Zandkara the Templar, Connisyn Marcus the Treasure Hunter, and Danlin the Marksman moved off to the left to investigate a tall tower that seemed to be one of the sources of the strange animals. They did not get far when a Rhinoceros charged from behind a ruin towards the Treasure Hunter, stopping just in front of her, it snorted and pawed the ground. Zandkara moved up to help, but the beast charged at her instead. Before the Templar knew what was happening the beast rammed into her and knocked her to the ground, where the world spun and slowly went black. The new War-hound, Odullorf ran towards the rampaging beast to attack it as well.
|The Rhino charges Connisyn, but Zandkara the Templar and Odullorf the War-hound rush to help.|
Kodak tried to Mind Control the gorilla but failed to correctly execute the spell once again. So the Illusionist advanced to make contact with the gorilla and keep it from following his wounded Apprentice. The gorilla leaped at the Illusionist and pounded on him with both hairy fists before Kodak could properly defend himself (-10 Health). Kodak dropped to one knee with his breath knocked out of him, but rolled with Elven agility to stand again and face the creature.
|Leigh rushes to engage the gorilla, before it can go after Kodak.|
|Kodak kills the gorilla, as many of his warband rushes to help. Edel on the right can be seen carrying off the venom sacs from the dead snake.|
|Leigh's ill-considered Teleport to the gangway. Almost out of view in the distance, near the table edge near the center, Vogel the Druid's Apprentice tries to hit her with a Bone Dart.|
Kodak waited for as long as he could; but with no sign of Leigh's return, and the shadows growing longer, with a lump in his throat, he gave the word to head back to the Inn.
Back at the Inn the mood was somber to say the least. Word of Melilly's death spread fast. Cadwalleter told the tale; and also related how the Illusionary Soldier had distracted another gorilla long enough for him to climb the nearby tower; but no sooner had he gotten to the top then the nearby Sigilist's Apprentice had Teleported the treasure off it again. He had become trapped on the tower's top as the Sigilist's and Elementalist's troops had battled each other and various animals right beneath him.
Zandkara had limped back not long after the others and sat alone in one corner of the great room, her head bowed in prayer, ashamed of her dismal showing the first time she had fought with this new troop. Likewise, Weiss had come back with a gash in her head and a self-made bandage upon it, and had made her way to the Inn's old counter where she poured herself a large mug of ale and sat at one of the other tables sipping slowly and tending to her bow, lost in thought.
It was a few nervous hour for Kodak later that Leighlyndana finally made her way back to the Inn. The girl was Badly Wounded and hardly conscious, as she was still feeling the effects of the fight with the gorilla as well as the loss of blood and muscle damage from the arrow and crossbow bolt that hit her. It had been a miracle at all that she had made it back, Kodak felt. and he and Bash carried her up to her room and laid her on her bed where Kodak began to tend to her wounds. "This will need a curing potion beyond my means", he thought to himself. (-100 GC to cure Badly Wounded).
Later that night, he stared out his room's open window at the stars, wondering what ill alignment had caused such a total breakdown of his and Leigh's magical ability. He and his Apprentice had failed to cast 5 spells; and not hard ones, but Mind Control which the pair had practiced until they could practically recite it in their sleeps. The only thing they could manage was simple Heal spells which any school-aged wizard could do. Between the Heal and Leigh's Teleportation, they had only cast five spells successfully. He would need to reflect.
Kodak was also deeply saddened by the death of Melilly Ising, the Treasure Hunter. He had sensed that she had lost respect and trust for him after the last trip into the ruins, and he had hoped that he would have been able to heal their relationship. Now that rift would never be resolved.
When Kodak came down the next morning, two paltry treasures still sat on the table where they had been set the night before. There was a Magic Dagger (+1 Damage) in the chest from the column, which he would give to Linesse, as well as 40 Gold Coins. He inspected the venom sacs, and figured he would be able to get 60 Gold Coins for those. A very unprofitable foray.
Once again he thought about whether he was cut out for this life. The ruins were becoming more dangerous, and more full of powerful enemies. But he knew there were wonders yet to be discovered, and the call of these possibilities kept him going. "I will think about leaving Frostgrave another day", he said to himself, and peered out one of the Inn's dusty windows as the sun rose into view.
Epilogue: This had to have been one of the worse cases of Cold Dice I have ever experienced. I rolled less than 10 on the dice more times than I could count. It also did not help that for the first time in a while, I was set up with players on each side of me as well as across the table from me, and not safely down at one end of the table with only an opponent on one side and across from me as I have been the past several times.
I mentioned early in the campaign that we as a group had decided to end the campaign when the level total for all the wizards reached 150; well, that time is approaching. Kodak is now at level 28, and is neck and neck with the Druid, Knabe, for highest level wizard (Actually, after Kodak's dismal outing this game, Knabe may well have passed him in levels). As a group we were over 100 total going into this game. However, with the end of the year approaching, we have decided to alter our plan, and now our goal is to make our December game our last, regardless of when we hit 150 (which very well might be the November game) . That way we will start fresh in the New Year with new wizards and warbands.
So, Kodak, may be deciding to retire sooner than he (or I) would like.
For Knabe the Druid's account of the battle see: Knabe's Knotes on Game 9