Saturday, 24 January 2015

27 Thaumont 1000 AC - Finding the dragon guard

Knowing that there were probably guards through the door to his left, Broneslav moved across the octagonal room to the doors opposite him. He pushed them open carefully. A short corridor lay before him, opening into an octagonal room with alcoves on three of the walls. Iron bars blocked the way into the alcoves. These gates were locked and had words carved above them: KESINI to his right and KESANA above the other two. A large gong hung on the wall opposite the corridor. He wondered what the words and the gong might mean. Broneslav had no means of opening the gates, barring finding a key or breaking them if he could. This gave him an idea. He tried the keys he had found in the Rahib's library and soon had all three gates open. The alcoves were obviously empty, so he had no further need to enter or search them, but at least he knew that the keys he had were for the gates and doors in the temple.

Returning to the corridor, he tried the door to the north because the dragon guard and the gold were supposed to be in that direction. It swung open and he found himself in a plain room with no decoration or furniture. A single reptilian creature stood in the centre of the room. Warily Broneslav raised his sword and shield. The creature did not move but merely looked at him.

"Umm, hello," he said, "Are you the dragon guard Rahasia's father told me about?"
As opening lines went, there were better, but Broneslav was not a character in a story after all.

"I am Ular-Taman," the creature hissed, "I serve Elyas and I guard his treasure. So, yes, I may well be the dragon guard."
"Uh, great. I was told that you knew what I needed to do to defeat the evil that was behind the Rahib."
"Indeed, I have lived through the time since Elyas fought the three witches and perished. I have endured my duty for his sake and I shall help you, for I see that you seek to crush this evil too. I guard the way to Elyas' tower, although I fear that the Rahib has found another. The evil is the witches. You must destroy them. You will need the ring that I guard and the pendant that goes with it."

The creature told the story of how Elyas had fought three witches. The witches had cast a spell to crush Elyas' tower under a mountain, but the wizard had managed to trap them in his tower even as it was encased in the mountain. He died doing so, but their evil was contained. Ular-Taman directed Broneslav to a loose stone in the centre of the room, where he found a ring with a black jade stone set in it.

"You will need to find the pendant too, but I do not know where that is."
"So, if I am to destroy these witches, how do I find them?"
"There is a door hidden in the north wall of this room. It leads to the treasure room. There is a hidden door in the north wall of the treasure room. It leads to a tunnel that will take you to Elyas' tower."

Now I wondered if Broneslav would remember the pendant in the upper level and make the connection with the ring. Time to consult the oracle. The answer came back 'Yes, but'. The complication was that a fact was actually incorrect that Broneslav thought he knew. So, what mistaken assumption had he made? I shall address that somewhere along the way, I think. First, Broneslav was more interested in the treasure.

Broneslav listened carefully to Ular-Taman's tale and assured the creature that he would do all he could to control or destroy the evil.

"I believe I know where the pendant is, but first I shall check the secret ways that you mention. He headed through the secret door that Ular-Taman had shown him and was soon standing in the treasure room. The first thing he grabbed was a well-crafted sword that lay in its scabbard on a pile of gold coins. It was better balanced than his own, and the blade seemed to hold a sharper edge. Broneslav quickly strapped it on, before gathering up as much of the treasure as he could. He also found a Potion of Healing which he recognised because his family was wealthy enough to buy them from wizards when occasion demanded. He swallowed the glowing blue liquid and some of his wounds began to heal (+1 HP). It was not enough. Broneslav decided that he needed to rest and recover before he went further. He did not have time to rest until fully healed, but it had already been a long day, and he needed to rest anyway. Ular-Taman agreed to guard Broneslav as he slept, so he made up his bed on the guard's floor and slept (+1 HP).

Character
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 5/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Human (Traladaran)
XPs: 858

Traits:
Torenescu Family Member 1
Hunter 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1

Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village
Quest: Rescue Sylva, Merisa and Hasan
Quest: Undo the greater evil under Kota-Hutan Temple

Roll of Honour
Alki (Level 2 Elven warrior brutally slain while helpless by the Rahib)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

27 Thaumont 1000 AC - The search for the dragon guard

Broneslav turned to the door opposite him. It was an ordinary-looking door. He pushed it open angrily. This room mirrored the one he had just left. The walls were covered in paper with maps of the village and drawings of Merisa, Sylva and Rahasia. A quick perusal of the paperwork showed that the Rahib had been planning things for some time. No time for reading. Now is the time for action. Broneslav stalked to the double doors at the end of the corridor and slammed them open. The room beyond had a thick, red carpet and a large bed with a matching red cover. As Broneslav took in the room, two black panthers leapt from the bed and sprinted silently towards him. Broneslav moved eagerly towards them, his anger driving him forward. As one panther sprang towards him, he cut with his sword gashing its side. He then ducked under the leaping panther and rolled aside avoiding one claw but being cut by the other (1 DAM).

Rolling to his feet, Broneslav struck the floor near a panther as it attacked him once more, this time catching his arm with its teeth (1 DAM). The other panther clawed him in the leg once more (1 DAM). The blood inspired the panthers to a frenzy of attacks (2 DAM) and Broneslav was hard-put to defend himself. As the panthers paused briefly, he thrust his sword from behind his shield, skewering a panther just as it was about to attack him again (4 DAM). It collapsed in a limp and bloody pile. Its mate whimpered and backed off in the face of this demonstration of Broneslav's power (failed morale check), then it sprinted round him for the still-open door. Unfortunately there was nowhere further to run. The doors in the corridor were shut and the panther was cornered at the end. Broneslav stalked after it and sought to end the threat it might pose once its nerve recovered. He missed and suffered a clawing to the leg as it slipped by him to seek refuge in the room once more. Broneslav unslung his bow and put an arrow into the panther as it cowered in the room (3 DAM). The panther turned, a beast at bay. It leapt towards him and savaged his shoulder with its teeth (1 DAM). Broneslav leapt away and drew his sword once more, dropping his bow in the process. He rolled through the door and slammed it shut behind him. He could hear the panther scratching at the door. It was nearly fatally injured, but Broneslav was bleeding from many wounds too. He needed time to rest but he could not leave the panther as it was. He felt bad about attacking it as it ran away, but there was nowhere for it to go where it would not remain a threat. He paused to bandage his wounds (+2 HP) and to prepare himself to enter the room again. With his sword in one hand, and his shield in the other he opened to door and was almost bowled over by the panther leaping swiftly through it towards him. He slashed wildly at the creature and cut a gaping hole in its chest that finished it off (1 DAM). Breathing heavily, he took time to rest once more before exploring the room. He found nothing of use or interest here.
Although bloodied and hurting, Broneslav decided to continue to explore. His mission was one of urgency and he could not pause unless absolutely forced to by his injuries.

Character
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 3/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Human (Traladaran)
XPs: 558

Traits:
Torenescu Family Member 1
Hunter 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1

Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village
Quest: Rescue Sylva, Merisa and Hasan
Quest: Undo the greater evil under Kota-Hutan Temple

Roll of Honour
Alki (Level 2 Elven warrior brutally slain while helpless by the Rahib)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

27 Thaumont 1000 AC - The Rahib

The trapdoor was heavy but Broneslav still lifted it easily. He and Alki followed a narrow winding stair down to a metal door. He tried its handle but it would not open. His strength was not equal to forcing the door either, so they two heroes had to backtrack to the other room and try an alternative route. The narrow stairs to the metal door gave no clue about which direction to take, so they must just try to scout the way, hopefully without encountering any Siswa. Would Hasan know which way to go? Broneslav doubted it, and he thought that any cells would be guarded. So, time to toss a coin. It came up dragons. He would try the door to his left as he entered the octagonal room.

The door opened easily onto a short corridor with doors at the end and on either side. Broneslav listened at all the doors and heard nothing. The double doors at the end were probably important, so he decided to scout the two to the side first. Better to clear the way as he went, he thought. He pushed the door open quickly and stepped into the room on his left. It was full of shelves covered in books and scrolls. A desk occupied the centre of the room and standing at it, scrabbling among the paperwork for something was the dark figure that Broneslav has seen before.

"It's the Rahib!" yelled Alki.

Broneslav lunged forward at the dark-robed figure. His sword sliced through the Rahib's arm nearly cutting it cleanly off (4 Dam). Blood spurted everywhere. (Blimey, a 20 to hit followed by maximum damage. That was most fortunate!) The Rahib howled with rage and raised his other arm to point at Alki and Broneslav. He shouted out a prayer to his unholy god. Suddenly Bronslav could no longer move and Alki was frozen beside him (Both characters failed to save versus the Hold Person spell). The Rahib grinned slyly.

"I have frozen your bodies but not your minds. Now, I shall kill you both. You, warrior, will have to watch your friend die, before watching your own doom approach. Then I shall leave your bodies as a warning to others who might try to stop me."

He lifted his mace and swung hard at Alki's skull, crushing it before Broneslav could do anything. Then he approached Broneslav and raised the mace once more. Broneslav mentally urged his body to move. All too slowly it responded as his anger at his new friend's death drove his will to beat that of the Rahib. Then suddenly he was moving at full speed once more as the mace fell not on his head but on his shoulder. (Broneslav would have been dead but I used Defy Death to escape the effects of the spell. I consulted the oracle first. It told me that Broneslav would not be able to move before Alki was dead. Broneslav took 1 Dam from the Defy Death)

His sword swung in a massive backhand blow. The Rahib was too surprised even to respond. He had thought that Broneslav would be dead seconds ago. Then the Rahib's headless body was falling to the floor, lifeless.

Broneslav checked Alki, but there was nothing he could do. Then he bound his own wound and checked the room. The books were all histories related to the temple, as far as he could tell. They were bulky and of little value to him. The Rahib's armour and mace were good quality though. Broneslav took them with him and a set of keys that he found among the paperwork on the desk. He could always ditch the armour and mace if he found better and lighter treasure. Now he had to find the Elf maids Sylva and Merisa and rescue Hasan. He should probably look into this dragon guard still too. He turned to leave the room. He now owed Alki a debt of honour to finish what they had started. He was determined to see that debt paid.

Character
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 8/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Human (Traladaran)
XPs: 408

Traits:
Torenescu Family Member 1
Hunter 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1

Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village
Quest: Rescue Sylva, Merisa and Hasan
Quest: Undo the greater evil under Kota-Hutan Temple

Roll of Honour
Alki (Level 2 Elven warrior brutally slain while helpless by the Rahib)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Imperial Assault Group - Laserburn / Imperial Commander

Back in the mists of time somewhere around the mid-eighties I bought the figures for an Imperial Assault Group as outlined in the Laserburn supplement Forces of the Imperium. I also bought an Imperial Black Guard platoon. The Black Guard got painted, naturally, because they were the elite troops, but only part of the Assault Group got painted. Cut to twenty years later and I finished off the Assault Group. Then a couple of years ago or so (time is somewhat nebulous and illusory, as is my memory of it, so the exact time frame is not clear to me without looking it all up), I fettled the Assault Group a bit. I also decided to give them some transport and bought a bunch of GZG High Tech Grav Armoured Carrier Sleds  plus a few other bits and pieces in the GZG Christmas sale. Then, in 2014 I fettled the Assault Group again, giving them shiny new bases and a quick dip to bring out the detail some more. The transport, however, languished on my painting desk for months. Half of it was painted, but the rest remained part-painted right up until Christmas. In a bid to maintain the tattered shreds of sanity that remained after working at my wife's shop through December, I resorted to finishing these off. The last parts were painted on New Year's Eve and they are now ready to take to the field.

Imperial troopers scream into combat from orbit:
The High Tech Grav APC in the front rank is the command vehicle and carries a five trooper command squad. I figured that these guys were less likely to deploy rapidly from their transport. The front grav sled carries the support squad, while each rank of five grav sleds carries one attack group (platoon). The grav sleds are open so that the troopers can deploy rapidly using their jet packs.

The Assault Group with the command squad assembled for inspection
Just the vehicles

I did buy the figures for a full Imperial Combat Scout Platoon sometime in the nineties. I have since sold their Partizan Scout Cars. Instead of building a full Scout Platoon, I plan to paint only a few squads and sell the rest of the figures, because it just makes more sense to have a squad or two of Scouts supporting the Assault Group, instead of deploying whole platoons of Scouts as my battle force. If 2015 goes to plan, then completing the Scout squads will be my goal, as will painting the tanks I bought to support the Assault Group. Let's see how much I get distracted, eh.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

27 Thaumont 1000 AC - Chasing the Rahib

Stairs led down from the trapdoor. The staircase was only narrow so Broneslav led the way. Ten feet down the staircase turned to the left. Broneslav paused and listened. He poked his head around the corner carefully. Nothing. Down another short flight of steps and he was standing in an octagonal room with faded and peeling paintings of peaceful forest and mountain scenes. Wooden doors led from the centre of the wall ahead of him and to either side. So, three options. He paused to think, moved to the left door, listened. Nothing. He did the same at each of the other doors but to no avail. Suddenly Alki gasped. Broneslav turned. A spectre had appeared in the middle of the room. It stood unthreatingly and began to speak.

"By the Rahib's hand
Was I here felled
And long awaited
You to come

Rahasia's pain
I have dearly felt
But you have come
To free her

Hasan is in the dungeon south
My gold is toward the north
An ally in the dragon guard
Waits before the gold

The Rahib is but a pawn
A darker evil lies below
The dragon guard knows the story
And guards the way below"

The ghost disappeared as silently and quickly as it had arrived, leaving Broneslav to mull over its words. It sounded like Rahasia's love was through the door opposite the stairs. It would be a good thing to rescue him now, but then he was probably safe enough, if still alive. They would not kill him now if they had not done so before. So, that left the gold to the north and the Dragon Guard ally. Gold and an ally would both be useful but there was no northern way out, so it would be a choice between going left or right. Perhaps that other trapdoor led to the northern chamber. That might be worth investigating.

Broneslav discussed the options with Alki and they agreed to try the other trapdoor. If that did not obviously lead to the dragon guard then they would return here and try one of the other doors. They scooted quickly up the stairs and were soon poised to open the other trapdoor. Broneslav grasped the hidden handle and pulled ...

Character
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 8/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Human (Traladaran)
XPs: 358

Traits:
Torenescu Family Member 1
Hunter 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1

Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village

Ally
Alki (HD 2, AC 4, Att 1, DAM 1d8, Skill Bonus +2)

Saturday, 27 December 2014

27 Thaumont 1000 AC - Through the magic door

Broneslav and Alki stepped into the left-hand corridor at the crossroads in the upper temple, following the directions the Siswa claimed to have used. Twenty feet down the corridor a solid wall appeared behind them. Ahead, the corridor stretched a long way. To his left was a short corridor ending in a stone wall. To his right, another corridor stretched out. He could make out doors on either side of this corridor. He would check those later. First he wanted to follow the Siswa's directions to see where they led. This would mean heading straight up to the first set of doors.

Pausing at the doors, Broneslav listened carefully. The doors were heavy-looking, large wooden doors, so he did not expect to hear much through them, and his expectations were not disappointed.

"Watch my back, Alki."

His companion nodded and turned to look up and down the corridor.
A poorly masked image of the temple level as seen by Broneslav. I also noticed that there are issues with some of the floor levels for me to fix before he searches the rest of this level.
Broneslav eased one of the two doors open as gently as he could. The hinges creaked alarmingly, so he just threw it wide open and stepped into the room, sword ready. It was a large octagonal temple and lit by oil lamps instead of the torches that lined the walls of the corridors. The roof was some thirty feet above his head and a large compass rose was carved into the floor. He saw large double doors in the wall opposite him, and in the one to his right. To his left was a raised platform with a statue on it that was twice the height of a man. It depicted a strong man with a long beard. As his eyes took in this sight, Broneslav spotted a black-robed person behind the statue. Suddenly there was a flash of smoke and flame. When Broneslav's eyes had cleared again, the person had gone.

Hearing the commotion, Alki came in, and announced that it must have been the Rahib, when Broneslav told him what had happened. The intrepid pair moved to the platform to see if there were any clues where the Rahib had gone.

"Hey, look," Broneslav hissed, "There's a trapdoor hidden here, and that bit behind the statue looks like another one." (Yay for successful search  checks! I made them average, because this is meant to be a low level dungeon and Broneslav passed both thanks to good dice)
"The Rahib was standing here in front of the statue when he disappeared, so I think we should try this trapdoor first. We should probably try to check this whole area out first, but I think we can clear the place more easily if we stop the Rahib first. So, let's see if we can catch him."

He reached for the trapdoor and heaved it upwards ...

Character
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 8/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Human (Traladaran)
XPs: 358

Traits:
Torenescu Family Member 1
Hunter 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1

Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village

Ally
Alki (HD 2, AC 4, Att 1, DAM 1d8, Skill Bonus +2)

Saturday, 20 December 2014

27 Thaumont 1000 AC - Siswa, bandits and a treasure

Broneslav went first.

"Watch my back, Alki. I'm trusting you here and Rahasia won't be pleased if we fail."
"Don't worry. I'm right with you, and I hope we can do better than my previous attempt."

Broneslav looked around the corner of the wall carefully and peered up the corridor. It was another dusty stone corridor filled with cobwebs and nothing shiny to attract a newly-Sheared Traladaran. After passing several alcoves he stopped short of a junction in the corridor (7). Ahead was a long corridor which flickered with light. Two shadowy figures could be seen at its far end. To the right was another corridor, again with two shadowy figures at its end. To the left was a corridor with a curtained doorway. Broneslav decided to check the curtained doorway before moving up the corridors to deal with the guards at the end of them.

The two heroes stealthily approached the curtain (8). Low muttering and a scraping noise could be heard from beyond the curtain. Broneslav gently lifted part of it and looked in. He could see part of a long room. Moving silently to the other side of the doorway he peeked from behind the curtain at that side. A small group of robed figures were now visible. They were sharpening curved daggers of a type popular in Ylaruam. Broneslav stepped away from the curtain and motioned to Alki to move back.

"There's five of them," he whispered, "With surprise I think we can take them."
"If they are Siswa, we must capture them alive," Alki whispered back.

Broneslav was not happy, but he agreed. The two allies lined up on either side of the curtained entrance. Broneslav nodded to Alki and leapt into the room with Alki close behind. He swiped with his shield and slammed one enemy to the floor, while knocking a second out with the return swing. A boot to the groin disabled a third, who staggered into a fourth whom Broneslav punched in the face with his sword hilt. The last of the enemy had gathered his wits by this time and fended off Alki's attack, before stepping inside his sword and stabbing him in the belly (1 DAM). Broneslav stepped in and ended it with a savage blow to the back of the head that left the Siswa in an undignified heap on the floor.

Broneslav and Alki quickly tied their unconscious foes up, before tending to Alki's wound. Then he turned his attention to two sacks with a black panther design on them. They contained gold which Broneslav quickly loaded into his pack. No point letting it go to waste or be used by the forces of evil after all!

With the Siswa still unconscious, Broneslav left Alki to guard them while he scouted the end of the corridor. He was worried that the sounds of the fight might have attracted attention from the guards he had seen. Sneaking back the junction (7), he noticed that there was now one guard along the corridor ahead of him. As he peered around the corner to his left, he spotted a guard poking his head around the end of the corridor. This seemed odd to him. Why would the guards be poking their heads around the corners like that? (Passed a difficult test to spot the guard's head. Good job that Broneslav is sharp-sighted! This may help him later.).

Broneslav backed away from the junction. In doing so, he noticed that the other guard directly ahead of him was also backing away from something. The guard seemed to be keeping pace with him too. He turned and jogged back to the room with the Siswa. Alki was still there and the Siswa were not awake yet, so Broneslav decided to investigate the other end of the corridor (9). To his right and ahead of him the corridors ended just twenty feet beyond the corridor. To his left the corridor continued back to the shrine containing the alter with the hole in it (6). As he paused at the junction, suddenly four armed men emerged from the dead-end corridor to his right.

Broneslav reacted immediately and without thinking. His sword ended the life of two of the men in one great sweeping arc. The remaining two attacked Broneslav but he easily fended off their blows with his shield. With time to think more he realised that these were not Siswa. He thrust with his sword, driving it through the body of one of the men. As he withdrew it, the body slumped to the floor, and he slammed the other man with his shield. The man was hurled back into the wall. Suddenly the man threw his sword and shield to the floor.

"I surrender! I see now you are no Siswa!" he yelled, backing away until he could move no further because his back was against the wall he had come through. (The man failed a morale roll in the face of a red-handed hero)

Broneslav quickly disarmed him and escorted him back to the room with the Siswa where he hoped to find out what was going on here. He learnt that the men were thieves who had sought treasure in the temple. They had entered, as Broneslav had, through the main entrance, but had found themselves lost after entering a long corridor. They had turned to look back and found that the corridor behind them was blocked by a solid wall, so they could not return. Investigating further, they had wandered around only to find that at various crossroads in the temple the corridors could only be traversed in one direction. Each time a wall appeared behind them as they moved through an area where the light in the temple shimmered slightly. The man who was called Teikus explained that all he wanted now was to escape the temple with some of the treasure he had gathered. Broneslav could keep the rest if he would only let him go. Broneslav agreed but made Teikus show him the shimmering light. As suspected, it was at the start of the long corridor (7). Moreover, when they looked down the corridor, they could see two figures in the distance, where previously there had been only one. Broneslav jumped up and down. One of the figures did the same. Yes, he was clearly looking at his own back from a great distance. Intriguing magic, he thought to himself.

He escorted Teikus to the entrance to the temple without mishap and watched the bandit leave. Then he returned to Alki before investigating the corridor near where he had encountered the bandits. Off the corridor to his left were a series of deep alcoves, while in the corridor, brown and dry flower petals had been strewn in front of the statues that occupied the alcoves. Investigating more closely, he found a golden pendant around the neck of one statue (10). Set in the pendant was a black jade stone of obviously great value, if only because of its size. Broneslav tried lifting it off the statue, but it would not move at all, no matter what he did to it.

When he returned to Alki, the Siswa were now coming to. Time to question them. From them, Broneslav learnt that they had a set pattern for entering the temple and that the shimmering light was in fact a magical door to a different part of the temple. Well, he would investigate that next by following their directions. But first he secured the Siswa so that they could not come after him. If he returned alive he would return them to the Kota-Hutan for justice. If he did not return alive, well, he would be beyond bothering about their fate.

Character
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 8/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Human (Traladaran)
XPs: 358

Traits:
Torenescu Family Member 1
Hunter 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1

Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village

Ally
Alki (HD 2, AC 4, Att 1, DAM 1d8, Skill Bonus +2)