Chronicles of Nentir Vale

Nordrim - On a way to Winterhaven
Every adventure has it's beginning

This is first of reports, describing a new RPG project. With Google+ Hangouts technology we have began a sandbox game. First with simple game system, later I’ll switch to AD&D 2E perhaps. For now we played along the Swords&Wizardry rules with random stats, hit points, ordinary Armor Class, xp for killing monsters and looted gold. Guys quiickly picked-up mechanics, roleplayed very, very well. Less rule encourages more creativity, perhaps there is something in OSR nostalgia.
Session was held on January, 20th, 2012

I have presented a backcloth of history, some rumors and set players free to decide. They heroes were: a fighting-man Bedwyn and cleric Alvin. They chose to sell liquors priest brewed in nearby city of Winterhaven. After equipping themselves party moved on on nice, sunny, winter day. First leg of journey went relatively smooth, only at evening it became obvious they forgot to take a tent. Guys decided to turn to Misthaven, a small village surrounded with an ill-omened aura. Next day around a noon the heard cries from along a path and discovered two monster, resembling crossbreed of dog and human looting a cart. Cries went from a merchant, that lied in snow with broken leg. Bedwyn engaged gnolls with an arrows but missed. Seeing them charging, he climbed a tree. Alvin was unsure if he wanted to fight gnolls or run away. Next round Bodwyn killed first gnoll while second reached tree. Alvin was still idle. Third round began with mishap. Bedwyn rolled “1”, his quiver toppled and arrows fell down, He had oly three of them. Despite this, on fourth round, he rolled critical hit and almost slain gonoll. Alvin attacked but missed. Still, one round later gnoll was dead.

Heroes treated merchant’s broken leg and led him do Mistwatch. They slept night in stables and learned that haunted baron is looking for snakeroot, a herb of strong calming effect, that grows on marshes here poisonous snakes hatch. They wanted to counterfeit it but decided selling liquos in Winterhaven is more important. Journey (uneventful by dice decree) took them one day. Finally they reached city just before sunset, slept night at inn and next day conducted trade. Just as the were to journey back Google decided it is time to end and disconnected us.

Behind DM’s screen
What can I say? I like the rules, their simplicity was nice comparing monster-rules of D&D 3.x / Pathfinder. It reminds me AD&D’s glory days. I borrowed system of rolling for random encounters from second edition (DMG p.101). Everything was rolled with dice. What I need is to create random happenings table so monsters are not only random encounter. while I have something like this for a city, I must prepare table for Wilderness.

Google+ Hangouts is a great tool, especially mode with add-ons. It let’s me play and run games, with people that are too busy to attend regular sessions or live to far away.

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Nordrim - Mysteries of Mistwatch
Back in Mistwach, in darkness and under ghostly fire

Group lineup had changed as one of players, portraying Alvin, had to withdraw as his machine had had blown of. Fortunately another of my friend joined in, creating fighting-man and journeyman, traveling Nentir Vale, Awer. Awer is son of petty noble, who is last in line to succession, so had chosen to forge his own path to glory. To his ears came gossips of village far in the north, even further than Timbervale, that was either abandoned by inhabitants or raided.

Three heroes set on the way. Their journey was peaceful and quit, sun was shining and soon the arrived in cursed Mistwatch. Heroes booked night in stables and went down to sleep. But in the night Bedwyn awoken and found himself spectator of strange and eerie show. Blue and ghostly flames raged across town, especially it’s ruined parts. Bedwyn woke Awer up and two of them observed. Soon they realized that they see scenes from city’s past. Ghostly figures tried to control fire, fight it and soon was defeated by blows of wind. Pair of heroes went after a particularly outstanding pair. Wealthy merchant and his female companion ran away into woods, carrying a chest of interesting size. Soon both of fighter dived into woods. By sheer of luck they heard that someone or something was approaching.

Awer and Bedwyn hid in bushes. Soon out of darkness and hedges shapes emerged. First one, armed with huge battleaxe, resembled a minotaur! Fortunately for those two, it was raiding band of hobgoblin, who chose to pillage one of Mistwatch’s houses. There four of them and last in line, an archer, was suspicious, like he was able to smell heroes. When band passed by them, heroes began to wonder, what should they do? Fight or flee? Try to sneak around hobgoblins and warn villagers? There was no time for being subtly. When hobgoblins emerged on open ground, heroes attacked them with bow and crossbow.

Combats in Swords&Wizardry tend to be short and brutal. First level characters have just enough hit points to withstand one blow. Second is fatal at most of the times.

While three of hobgoblins turned around and ran toward heroes, an archer exchanged missiles with heroes. Both sides missed horribly. Than hobgoblin had hit Bedwy, wounding him severely. Next round,(when hobgoblin trio was almost upon heroes) he was shot down. Lucky initiative roll gave heroes a chance to fire one more time, before melee begun. The killed one of hobgoblins and clashed with two remaining. Bedwyn was cut down and Awer had to fend of two raiders. He killed one and fought with leader, finally killing him. It was exciting moment, as the kept missing each other, while having 1 and 2 hp remaining.

For next few days heroes regained their strength and health. They were called local heroes. Villagers began t be more open and told them some gossips about their lord and his cursed son. Also, the recollected some facts about great fire and nightly apparition. when it was visible again, Awer and Bedwyn once more went after wealthy trader and his companion. the witnessed pair hiding chest, than saw how she cuts man’s throat only to be killed by something invisible. Heroes dig up rotten chest and inside found some money and [i]potion of giant’s strength[/i].

Awer and Bedwyn decide to look for snakeroot but instead of herb they found a monster in marshes. It was ooze that attacked them when they approached to it’s lair. After two hits it became obvious that they have met difficult opponent. Heroes’ weapon began to melt and fall apart. The withdraw hastily and rained monster with hail of arrows and bolts. When it was dead, in it’s lair the had found a huge chunk of gold, digested and melted by monster. With such kingly treasure, heroes went home and we had finished session.

Behind DM’s screen
- I really like how Google+ Hangouts works. It gives me a chance t play with friends I used to play, but now, with many duties and burdens, I have no chance to meet in real life.

- Swords&Wizardry is nice little game, that is easily run without face-to-face contact. It reminds me AD&D and actually I wnet back to that system, toying with an idea of totally coming back (and abandoning rules-overgrown games).

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Nordrim - Refugees of North

Third session of our game. This time a new player had joined our company, and with his help we had met Gnorum, a dwarven adventurer, cook and former mercenary, clad in heave armour and armed with mighty warhammer.

Heroes left Mistwatch (spreading some gossips about hidden treasure and accepting bribes for guidelines how to find it) and took direction to Timbervale. Unfortunately main road was blocked by an avalanche that covered route between two hills, so heroes had to circle around it.

As they traveled through low hills, they spotted a group of people hiding in shallow cave, carved in the side of mound. Those people, mostly children, women and few men, were in visible stress. Three younger males challenged heroes in ready to fight stances and angered voices. Bloodshed was prevented by woman, who introduced herself as Sigrid.

She explained, that their house had been assaulted and burned by group of local people, who wanted to drive her family in name of Pelor. Heroes were surprised, especially brother Alvin, because Pelor is peaceful deity, that watches over order and safety. Sigrid confessed that she and her family are refugees from coastal region over the north mountains, called Shores in Flames. People of Nentir Vale and her kin had a long and bloody history between them. Pelorites wanted to kill or drive out newcomers, because of it.

Heroes agreed to help Sigrid’s family and scouted ahead. It turned out that longhouse was relatively undamaged, except for roof that collapsed. With Sigrid’s clan it was make-shift repaired by Bedwyn and Awer, Gnorum cooked meal and prepared tent for children. When repairs were made, Bedwyn set some traps, as he and others expected attackers will come back at night.

He wasn’t mistaken. When moon crept out in the sky, from a dark forest black figures came. Assailants expected little resistance, knowing that Sigrid’s husband is wounded and three young men will be weary and week. When they met with fully prepared family backed by bold adventurers, tide of battle quickly turned against them.

One of murderers were left alive. Awer recognized him as a glass-blower from Winterhaven. He begged and pladed to release him, tried to convince characters to help him kill “invaders”. Due to unfortunate accident (read strong blow in the head by courtesy of Gnorum) he died during interrogation.

Heroes spent next day helping with repairs. Thankful Sigrid offered them gift, a magical spear that her family was passing on through generations. It was made of hardwood and sharp tooth of sea serpent.

After the roof was repaired, party moved on. But the weather was bad and soon blizzard forced heroes to make a camp. It lasted two days, party’s supplies were shortened to critically low level, so heroes moved on. Wading through snow the lost their tracks and reached Winterhaven late with almost no food, cold and very, very tired.

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Nordrim - Surprising guests
Heroes discover their first dungeon along with it's unexpected inhabitants

Heavy winter has assaulted Timbervale and snow was as deep as dwarfs’ head. Heroes at first helped to cut pathways in snow, than decided to go hunting, as they feared long and harsh winter could mean starvation for villagers.

They set out north, hoping that along the way the will learn something about burned village. Before they had a chance to venture far in the mountains, they came upon a camp. It was protected from snow with cloth canopies but obviously deserted. What was more concerning, campfire was still hot although put out.

Camp was made of three wagons surrounding a huge rock. Inside there were trappings of quite big group of travelers left. What was more important, rock turned out to be an entrance to underground tunnel. Heroes prepared themselves and delved into deep.

It was decided, that Gnorum will take the lead. Soon he found portal, written in goblin script, hailing a mighty chief, that was buried inside. Beside it a lantern stood, an obvious sign, someone has gone recently this way. Perhaps it were people from camp.

After wounding through tunnels and disabling a pendulum trap (by stepping onto it), heroes entered a very large cavern. Inside of it they found a nest, prepared for winter by… the Lizardmen! Each and every one was in deep slumber, protected by cocoon, that was similar to nori algae. Gnorum even tasted it, but Bedwyn reminded it was made from creature’s sweat. While the lizardmen were asleep, it was clear the had not murdered settlers, that camped above.

Heroes crossed chamber and began to further exploring a cave complex. One way was blocked by huge block of unnatural cold ice. Aver tried to break it, but to no avail. Leaving it to later, party moved on and on the junction turned left. Corridor finally led them to chamber, where old treasures and fresh bodies were kept. Along with an goblin hero, a fiendish form of massive, undead troll.

Combat erupted. At first Bedwyn was leveled and Aver missed with his crossbow. While Gnorum was fighting troll off, he was heavily wounded in first round. Aver revived Bedwyn and those two fired bolts and arrows on troll. Than Aver switched from crossbow to sword and finally all three hreoes defeated beast.

After that glorious victory heroes withdraw upward, took horses and came back to Timbervale.

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