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Author Topic: Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands  (Read 5633 times)

jgants

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Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2017, 08:06:05 AM »
*** Session 03 - Scene 5 (of 5) ***

In the aftermath, Mulroney and Skulric are both badly wounded. Mulroney suggests they get back to the safety of Beartooth.

Deadly Snow suggests they first examine the room where Clotrol was. Inside appears to be the old priest’s quarters of the temple, where the lieutenant had made his personal chambers. A locked door sections off part of the chamber into another room.

Mulroney checks over the bodies and finds a key on the lieutenant but little else. He gives the key to Deadly Snow, who uses it to open the locked door.

The door opens to reveal an old altar area to Rurga. A holy font of some type sits in the center of the room. The font itself is long dry and only filled with dust, but the base is covered with runes. Deadly Snow quickly copies down the runes in her notes.

Surrounding the font are several crates of stolen goods taken by the goblins along with a large chest. Clearly the goblins were using the room to store their ill-gotten gains.

Mulroney steps over to the font. He moves his hands over it and speaks gibberish. When he’s done, he tells Skulric the font is magical and can heal them. He suggests the dust inside can heal them, though is confused there is no water in the font and no mechanism to fill it (it never occurs to the witch to pour his own water into the font).

Deadly Snow examines the chest and does not locate any traps on it. Opening the chest, she discovers it is filled with gold coins.

Looking at the gold, Mulroney estimates there is approximately 500 gold inside. Skulric is excited, as there is also 2000 gold worth of trade goods in the room they can take back. He suggests they use the escaped prisoners to haul everything back to Beartooth.

Before Skulric can say anything else, Mulroney and Shoes blast him in the back with energy bolts. He falls to the ground, dead. Deadly Snow is surprised at the dishonorable kill, but Mulroney says this way they’ll get a much larger share of the treasure, and they need money more than they need honor.

Leaving the rest of Rodemus to be explored later, Mulroney and Deadly Snow gather up the slaves, find Tickles and the others, and make their way back towards Beartooth. Along the way, Snow ruminates on Mulroney’s treachery and knows she’ll need to keep an eye on him…
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Recently Ended: Palladium Fantasy - Warlords of the Wastelands: A fantasy campaign beginning in the Baalgor Wastelands, where characters emerge from the oppressive kingdom of the giants. Read about it here.

jgants

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Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2017, 08:27:59 AM »
*** Session 03 - Session Notes ***

The write-up for this session seems short because most of the time was spent on either combat or planning for the combat.

I began by giving the PCs a drawing of the ruins that laid out everything they knew about the ruins (with question marks for areas they hadn't been yet). They looked over that and talked for about 25 minutes before anything really happened in the game.

It didn't help that the Tickles player couldn't make it that night, leaving us with only two PCs. One challenge of fantasy games is trying to scale them appropriately when there are less than the usual number of players. I was prepared to cut down the number of goblins and hobgoblins in the keep, but since they really wanted to use Skulric to assist them I kept it the same and it all worked out.

While Palladium's combat system isn't as slow as, say, D&D 3rd or 4th editions, it can be a bit to keep track of round to round with the variable number of attacks everyone has, the various types of modifiers, the three or more different ways you have to track damage (armor SDC, personal SDC, hp - and that's hoping there's no ISP or PPE to track), and then having to remember conditions like blinded / afraid / etc. on top of it can make for a lot of use of messy scratch paper. Worse is me trying to keep track of a NPC on the party's side, so I was often rolling for two as it were. In retrospect, I wish I would have given a paper with Skulric's stats on it to one of the PCs so they could do double-duty instead.

A few other random notes from the session:
* As I mentioned before, the overall shape of the ruins and its location is taken pretty much from across my parking lot at work. Oddly, even when I pointed it out to the Mulroney player he didn't recognize it or know which building I was talking about, despite us driving by it nearly every day for lunch.

* In the session, I'm not sure we actually had Deadly Snow light a torch. As I mentioned before, in the heat of the game torches (and literacy) are often forgotten.

* Deadly Snow was attacked by a crawler zombie taken from Dead Reign. Part of including the whole "zombie plague" plot was so I could use some of the Dead Reign material. More to come on that in future sessions.

* Since Lymox was a hired hand, there was always the possibility he would surrender quickly or be bribed away from the goblins. My players, however, rarely think to attempt to parlay with potential enemies.

* The scene where Deadly Snow kills Lymox by water-boarding him and Mulroney fails to revive him with CPR made for great dark humor in the session. The players often like to inject dark humor into the game by doing terrible things.

* The Deadly Snow player was the first to point out that Mulroney's "burn the door down" theory had some problems.

* The Mulroney player was hilariously annoyed at Deadly Snow and Skulric leaving him to fight the most powerful goblin on his own.

* I'm not sure what Mulroney was originally going for with his fake divination about the font for Skulric. He was right, though, it was a healing font. The hilarious thing (which I pointed out in the notes), is that it never occurred to him to simply pour his own water from his waterskin into the font (instead, he was looking around for "a button").

* One thing Palladium has never given great guidelines on is treasure. Pretty much every other fantasy game in existence gives you an idea of what a typical treasure amount found on or near a monster should be, but Palladium has never really done that to my knowledge (and their own sample adventures vary incredibly wildly). So, I had to wing it with the 2,500 gold worth of treasure they found.

* Since several sections of Rodemus never got explored, and the lost treasure of the Rodem family was not found, its a safe bet the PCs will be back there at some point. But there are other plots waiting for them as well.

Just a note - it could be late July by the time we have another session because of vacation schedule conflicts.
Now Prepping: One-shot adventures for Coriolis, RuneQuest (classic), Numenera, 7th Sea 2nd edition, and Adventures in Middle-Earth.

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jgants

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Session 04: Dirty Secrets of the Scarlet Alliance
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2017, 02:22:11 PM »
*** Session 04 - Cast of Characters ***

Yukiko Amagi (aka The Deadly Snow): An aberrant young human girl trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator.

And introducing...

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendancies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
Now Prepping: One-shot adventures for Coriolis, RuneQuest (classic), Numenera, 7th Sea 2nd edition, and Adventures in Middle-Earth.

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jgants

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Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2017, 02:22:56 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 1 (of 9) ***

Nardig had been a mercenary from his youth, always looking for a new way to earn gold. It had never mattered to him who got in the way, even his fellow hobgoblins – something that resulted in him being the black sheep of the family.

Since escaping from the giants in Gurthasi Tor years ago, he'd made his way from community to community in the underground, picking up work where he could. He never liked to stay in one place too long, for he would inevitably get the urge to steal or even murder his companions when it was to his advantage.

In recent days, Nardig had been operating out of Threshold where he hooked up with a small band of thieves he met at the Shady Dragon Inn. There was the jokingly named Celeste the Swift, who was neither swift of mind nor foot; Fenris the Filch, a tall, lanky, and shabby-looking tomb robber; Jake Jumpwater, a sharp-witted fellow who would just as quickly turn on the group as Nardig, something the hobgoblin is keeping a close eye on; and Lenore the Beautiful, a former slave and gem-cutter.

The current mission of the little band has them heading into some caverns near town, where an evil wizard named Bargle is rumored to have been hiding out (with his treasure). Much to Nardig and Jake's pleasure, the group has not managed to find Bargle in the caverns but has cleared them out quite easily and have come upon the locked door they believe contains his treasure horde.

Filch listens carefully at the door then uses a key he found earlier. Much to everyone's surprise, as soon as he unlocks it the door bursts open and the chamber they are in fills with flesh-eating plague zombies.

The area is too crowded to make a getaway, so Nardig leaps into battle with his long sword and shield. A zombie responds by biting him in the shoulder. He attempts to fight it off, but the zombie bites in further.

Shoving the zombie back, Nardig gets in a solid hit with his sword but the creature still comes at him. It bites him again on the arm.

His wounds leaving him slow in reacting, Nardig misses with his sword. He is unable to block the creature as it bites him yet again.

Too wounded to adequately attack, Nardig continues to get bit by the creature. He misses with a counter attack but at least blocks the creature from another bite with his shield.

Maneuvering around, Nardig slices into the zombie again; it slows the creature down and he blocks another attempt to bite. After waiting for an opening, Nardig lunges in and finishes the zombie off by skewering it through the skull.

As he finishes off the creature, the mercenary looks around to see the others have likewise ended the battle. Fenris lies on the floor, dead; but Nardig has no compassion for the man, he was an idealistic fool who Nardig would have had to eventually kill anyway.

Of the other three, only Jake is wounded but he is worse off than Nardig. He lies on the ground, bleeding heavily. Celeste and Lenore argue over what to do about him and Nardig, as Celeste claims anyone bitten by a plague zombie will contract the plague and become a zombie themselves.

Nardig doesn't like the way the women are looking at the two of them. He tells the women to be quiet and worry about that later and focus on finding the treasure.

Sitting in the back of the chamber where the zombies came from, they see a large treasure chest. It appears to have a strange mark on it – some kind of spiral-like symbol.

Wary of magical protections, he points towards the chest with his sword and commands Lenore to open it. Easily bullied from her time as a slave, Lenore opens the chest. As she does so, she falls to the ground writhing in pain then quickly dies.

Nardig can see there is around 500 gold and 200 silver inside. He tells Celeste to grab the gold, but the woman isn't that dumb and tells the hobgoblin and the thief they are on their own. She then runs off, out of the caverns.

Jake figures it is worth the risk to split the gold. He moves in and takes the gold. As he takes it out, Nardig stabs him through the back, killing him. He then grabs all the gold for himself.

With all the gold and silver for himself, Nardig decides to head to the next settlement over, a town called Beartooth. He sees there is some celebration in progress at the local inn; he decides to join it.
Now Prepping: One-shot adventures for Coriolis, RuneQuest (classic), Numenera, 7th Sea 2nd edition, and Adventures in Middle-Earth.

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jgants

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Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2017, 02:24:11 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 2 (of 9) ***

After returning from Rodemus, Tickles, Deadly Snow, and Mulroney were treated like heroes. Caleshomo insists on throwing a celebration in their honor as the "Heroes of Rodemus" after giving them their reward money. Tickles begs off, having some business to take care of at the thieves' guild, but the other two decide to attend for appearances sake (after they spend a little time getting healing, repairing their armor, and refilling their supplies).

Most of the town shows up to the celebration. Even Jongores, the local kobold guilder, attends with his guard. He comes over to talk to Mulroney and Deadly Snow.

Jongores greets the two and says they did an impressive job. Mulroney doesn't speak right away, but quickly remembers Deadly Snow tries to remain mute so he figures he better do the talking. He tells Jongores it was quite a task, but he was able to save everyone (including his teammates).

The guilder explains he needs to leave for some business, but promises a dinner invitation in the near future. Jongores tells Mulroney he has some business to discuss that he believes would be mutually beneficial. Mulroney says they'd be happy to join him, speaking for the two of them and tousling the young assassin's hair.

Taybury, the dwarven captain of the guard standing nearby, scoffs at the conversation. He grumbles that he and his men could have gotten the hostages out and there was no need for hired sellswords. Mulroney verbally spars with the man, calling him "Teabagger" and saying it was good he and his men were guarding the town against no one while they were out saving people. He tells the dwarf his work is certainly appreciated.

A short distance away, Nardig has been paying attention – the man and the girl appear to be some sort of mercenaries. Clearly, they just made some sort of major score and could be in demand for more work in town. The hobgoblin decides he should head over and get to know them better.

Nardig cleans himself up slightly and grabs his drink to head over and introduce himself. Mulroney gives him a disgusted look at first, but then greets him loudly with a smile.

After cheerily insulting Nardig's appearance (for he is ugly even for a hobgoblin), Mulroney introduces himself and Deadly Snow (calling her "Little Snowball" as he rustles her hair again). Deadly Snow mentally calculates how close the man is coming to losing his hand as Nardig and Mulroney continue to talk.

Nardig explains he is a sword for hire himself, and offers his services to them. Mulroney says the group could use someone who can handle themselves in a fight and Nardig explains about his various skills in battle.

While they talk, some commotion breaks out near the entrance. Lucina, the local troll arbitrator, enters. Mulroney knows the woman is feared as the agent of the giant's justice, but he isn't overly impressed by her despite her training as a knight.

The three see Lucina talking to someone in the front. The man then points their direction and Lucina heads over. She asks which of them is the leader of their band.

Mulroney speaks up, saying he is in charge. She tells him he doesn't look like much. He says she doesn't either but everyone knows better. Since it is both a compliment and an insult, the troll lets the matter drop.

She stares at the unassuming middle-aged man, the little girl, and the hobgoblin intently. Her eyes narrow as she asks to clarify that the three of them were able to defeat an entire force of goblins and hobgoblins.

Mulroney doesn't bother to correct her mistaking Nardig for Tickles as the third member of the group. Instead, he claims it was his superior mind for tactics that allowed them to be victorious. She simply says, "interesting…"

Lucina goes on to say perhaps she should follow up with the pilgrims to make sure she has the full story. Mulroney, overly confident the hostages won't talk about his use of magic, says that could be quite useful.

Wondering if the man is foolhardy or just stupid, Lucina tries to make it more obvious she wants a bribe. She tells him she might drop the whole investigation if she had something else to focus on, such as 30 gold.

Mulroney points to the mirror behind the bar and tells her to focus on the ugly mug in there. Lucina tells him to take care, as he would not do well to make an enemy of her. She threatens to send him back to the slavers in Gurthasi Tor.

His ego overflowing, Mulroney continues to exchange barbs. Worried the wizard is going to quickly lead to the premature end of their adventuring campaign with his short-sighted megalomania, Deadly Snow quickly throws out 30 gold to the troll. Nardig does the same and gives her Mulroney's share as well; he may be a greedy killer, but even he knows better than to openly antagonize an agent of the giants.

Lucina takes up the gold, telling Mulroney his companions are smarter than he is. He tells her lots of folks think that. She smiles evilly at him, saying they will meet again, then leaves.
Now Prepping: One-shot adventures for Coriolis, RuneQuest (classic), Numenera, 7th Sea 2nd edition, and Adventures in Middle-Earth.

Recently Ended: Palladium Fantasy - Warlords of the Wastelands: A fantasy campaign beginning in the Baalgor Wastelands, where characters emerge from the oppressive kingdom of the giants. Read about it here.

jgants

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Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2017, 02:25:28 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 3 (of 9) ***

Watching Lucina leave, Mulroney spots someone else he knows across the room. It is Vera-Ellen Firefly, Otis' sister (nicknamed "Baby" for her coquettish behavior). Of course, Mulroney knows she is really a sultry and completely insane killer who always murders her consorts.

Baby tries to catch his eye, but Mulroney doesn't want that kind of trouble. Instead, he spins a tale to Nardig to try and get him to go talk to her. Nardig notes he doesn't usually go with human women but Mulroney convinces him they should go over and say hello.

Deadly Snow walks off to find a game of chance or contest of some type she can engage in. She spots a knife-throwing contest. As she does, a rough-looking drunk knocks into her. He blames her for nearly spilling his drink and insists she buy him another.

Snow orders a drink then smashes into the man's head. He falls over unconscious. Taybury and his men come over immediately, asking what the meaning of it is.

Deadly Snow says the man passed out. Another drunk nearby backs up her story, so Taybury has his men haul the unconscious man off, though he gives her the eye as he leaves.

The other drunk appears to be an indigent man from the streets who snuck in for free drinks as part of the celebration. He says something about how people need to better keep their wits about them when they drink at night and says something about it being bad enough "that little one-eyed bastard is out there."

Deadly Snow decides to get the man a drink and some food to try and get more information out of him about the "one-eyed bastard". Unfortunately, he drinks the drink very quickly and his speech becomes even more slurred and harder to follow.

He continues on about the "little gooney thing" with the "big claws" who keeps stealing all his stuff. He then passes out next to his bowl of soup.

Across the room, Baby chides Mulroney for finally coming over as she's been trying to get his attention forever. He says he is a man in high demand, but she doesn't understand how he can keep himself away from her.

Trying to avoid her flirtations, he introduces Nardig. She tells him they should go off someplace private. When he begs off a romantic entanglement, she tells him to get over himself; she's there to deliver him a message from her uncle.

Baby complains about having to come all this way to deliver the message, saying she got stuck with it because Otis refused to get off his lazy ass and Tiny disturbs people too much.

Mulroney tells her to give him the message now, but she insists on at least heading to a remote corner of the inn. He agrees but makes sure Nardig knows where he is headed; the hobgoblin discreetly keeps an eye on them in case there is any trouble. For his part, Mulroney has Shoes ready a befuddle spell just in case.

When they are at least relatively private, Baby explains her uncle wants him to know he's secured a deal for 500 gold a clown head. Mulroney asks her what she knows about the clowns. She is annoyed by the suggestion she knows anything, saying the whole thing is a waste of time and she couldn't care less about clown business.

Continuing on, Baby says he'll need to go to the community of Zarzote and talk to Otto, the head of the local clown guild, in order to get the deal finalized. Mulroney wants the money up front, but Baby calls him stupid and tells him he has to bring the heads if he wants the gold.

Baby tells Mulroney he's cute but not very smart. He tells her he certainly doesn't have the intellect she possesses. He asks for more details, but she tells him that's all she bothered to remember. The young woman asks why he cares about clowns anyway. Mulroney says he doesn't, but it is a favor for her uncle.

She then suggests to Mulroney they go off and have some fun. He tries to get her interested in Nardig, but she says she doesn't go for hobgoblins.

Baby offers him a kiss, but he declines even after she explains Otis says she's the best. He then acts like he'll tip her for the information, but pretends to be out of coins. She doesn't care then quickly leaves when she spots a new target for her affections.
Now Prepping: One-shot adventures for Coriolis, RuneQuest (classic), Numenera, 7th Sea 2nd edition, and Adventures in Middle-Earth.

Recently Ended: Palladium Fantasy - Warlords of the Wastelands: A fantasy campaign beginning in the Baalgor Wastelands, where characters emerge from the oppressive kingdom of the giants. Read about it here.

jgants

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Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2017, 02:26:21 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 4 (of 9) ***

As Nardig watches the exchange, a scarred man sitting nearby offers him a drink and tells him his name is Theosius. He asks Nardig if he's looking for work, saying the hobgoblin looks brave and he's in need of strong people for some work.

Nardig tries to make sure his drink isn't poisoned first (though he can't be sure) then has a drink. He says he'd be interested in what opportunities the man had in mind. Theosius says he doesn't have anything at the moment, but needs trustworthy men from time to time for some minor duties. He does say he has something coming up soon and can leave word at the inn when the time is right. Nardig agrees.

Mulroney starts heading over to Nardig to see who he's talking to, but his robes are grabbed by a decrepit looking old woman as he passes by. She starts ranting to him about demons in her house and needing his help.

The woman continues on, saying she can hear the demons talking at night below her floor. Mulroney asks how much she can pay. She says she has no money but begs for his help.
Mulroney recognizes woman as Thanta, and old widow who lives next to the Drunken Cyclops. Given the connection to the wine store, and the cryptic message from Enilefil, he wonders if he should look into it after all.

The witch heads over to Deadly Snow just as she wins the knife-throwing contest and clears 20 gold. He congratulates the girl then tells her they have a small job to do as a "lovely old lady" needs some help. He says they can take along Nardig as well.

After collecting Nardig, he tells Thanta to lead them back to her home. She blesses them all, but as they go to leave they see there is a large crowd forming outside along with some commotion.

When they exit, they can see a large force of savage-looking barbarians led by some sort of high priestess. The priestess appears to be arguing with Taybury, Mathias, and Caleshomo about something.

Mulroney sends Shoes over to get a closer look at what is going on. From the cat listening in, Mulroney gets that the priestess is named Zaladane, and she is looking for her sister, Lorna. The witch can tell things are getting more complicated with his potential mission.

As she argues with the others, it is clear Zaladane blames Mathias for her sister's appearance. According to the priestess, the shop owner made advances towards the girl in the past but was rebuffed as the young woman wanted nothing to do with him. Mathias is incensed at the allegation and vigorously denies any wrongdoing; he says he has no idea where Lorna went.

Mulroney can tell the argument is going poorly for the man, particularly with the dangerous group of barbarians backing the priestess up. Caleshomo and Taybury are busy trying to keep the peace, with the dwarf insisting his men can investigate but Zaladane doesn't appear to trust him.

The witch tries to move everyone away quickly, wanting to avoid becoming entangled in the affair. But it is too late and Caleshomo spots him as they try to move away. He calls out to Mulroney and beckons him over. He tells the others to go along to Thanta's and he will meet them shortly.

Resigning himself to the situation, Mulroney heads over to talk with Caleshomo. Caleshomo explains to Zaladane that Mulroney and his men are the "Heroes of Rodemus" who recently saved a group of pilgrims captured by goblins. He offers that Mulroney could assist in finding the truth out about Lorna as an independent investigator.

Zaladane isn't so sure, as Mulroney does not appear to be a very powerful man. He tells the woman he can certainly help, and offers that he is a friend of her sisters and a "hero of the realm", though says she can certainly continue to look on her own instead given all the success she's had so far.

Considering Mulroney's comments, Zaladane laughs saying she appreciates his boldness. She decides she will allow him to investigate, but gives him 48 hours to find what happened to Lorna or else she will have her warriors raze the town to the ground.

Mulroney says the time is reasonable but offers that burning the town to the ground "for the actions of one sick man" is a bit much, indicating Mathias. Zaladane says she is acting on the will of the god of her people – Garrak, the Petrified Man.

The witch offers he is not familiar with her god. She explains he was a powerful warlock of earth who transformed himself into a being of living stone. Her and her people, who she calls the Sun People, have worshipped him for ages.

Zaladane goes on to say Garrak has granted her many powers, such as the ability to communicate with her mind. She claims to have been in contact on a regular basis with Lorna, until contact was abruptly cut off a week or so ago. Mulroney tries to get more details about their last conversation but Zaladane isn't able to give anything helpful to the investigation other than something about Lorna looking for some kind of herbs (and repeats her allegations against Mathias).

Mulroney is intrigued by the mention of herbs but isn't sure what it means. He tries interrogating Mathias to see what kind of herbs Lorna was looking for, but the man doesn't appear to know what they are talking about. Mulroney says he finds that suspicious as Lorna was his apprentice so he should have been keeping a better eye on the girl. Mathias counters she wasn't a slave so he didn't keep that close of a watch on her activities.

The witch then tells Taybury he should hold the man under arrest as he seems very suspicious. Taybury grumpily agrees to keep the peace, but tells Mulroney he needs to find the girl.

He then tells Zaladane to keep him informed if she comes up with any new helpful information. She agrees to do so, but again reminds him he has 48 hours. Mulroney tries to get a "small operating expense" of 50 gold from her to aid in the investigation, but she just looks at him with scorn.

Mulroney gives Taybury a look, but the dwarf scoffs at the request as well. To keep the peace, Caleshomo agrees to cover the expenses and hands over the gold. Taybury then takes off Mathias while Zaladane and her men settle in the streets to wait.
Now Prepping: One-shot adventures for Coriolis, RuneQuest (classic), Numenera, 7th Sea 2nd edition, and Adventures in Middle-Earth.

Recently Ended: Palladium Fantasy - Warlords of the Wastelands: A fantasy campaign beginning in the Baalgor Wastelands, where characters emerge from the oppressive kingdom of the giants. Read about it here.

jgants

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Actual Play - Palladium Fantasy: Warlords of the Wastelands
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2017, 02:27:33 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 5 (of 9) ***

The Great Mulroney rushes to catch up with his companions heading to Thanta's house. When they are alone enough, Shoes talks to him saying that this situation with Zaladane must be the situation their dark lord mentioned. Mulroney agrees, saying the key is to avoid the town getting burned down before they can get out of it.

Mulroney tells Shoes he has a plan. The familiar asks how he can help. The witch explains his plan – he'll have Shoes use a ventriloquism spell to mimic the voice of a demon once they are at the house and tell the old woman that Mathias killed Lorna and burned the body. He hopes that will be enough to end the situation.

Once he meets up with the others, the old woman takes them into her home. She shows them into her bedroom, a simple room with a bed and a large trunk against the far wall. Mulroney asks her about the trunk – she explains it was her hope chest but now contains her old linens and things.

Mulroney wants to check out the trunk for valuables, though tells the old woman they need to check it for demons. He motions to Deadly Snow, who checks the trunk but finds nothing other than the old woman's clothes and sheets.

Nardig wonders if there could be any secret entrances to the wine store next door. He searches around, and while moving the trunk discovers there is a hidden trap door underneath. He points it out to Mulroney.

The old woman is initially confused, but then recalls there was an old trap door to the basement she forgot about. She warns them not to go down there, for that is probably where the demons are.

Mulroney says they will need to go down to make sure the demons go away. He warns her of one demon in particular, Reedicus, who will haunt her until she does a task it commands her to do. He implores her to listen to the demon and follow any instructions to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Thanta is frightened by Mulroney's tale, but he tells her to trust him. He has her go over by Nardig and have him lift up the trap door.

When Nardig opens the door, Mulroney has Shoes give his message (using the creature's creepy demonic voice). Shoes tells the woman the voice belongs to Reedikus, and that he commands her to "carry the truth" about the disappearance of Lorna.

According to "Reedikus", Mathias raped and murdered Lorna then burned her body. The voice tells her to go reveal the information to the town authorities so the truth may be known, but not to reveal how she came across the information.

Frightened by the demonic voice, Thanta agrees to do as it says. She rushes out of the house, leaving Mulroney and the others alone. Once she is out of sight, they descend the ladder below the trap door.

The ladder leads down to an underground chamber. Looking around, there is nothing around and but one way out. They leave the chamber into a narrow tunnel passage, with Nardig taking the lead and Deadly Snow guarding the rear. Mulroney lights his lantern, but has Deadly Snow carry it so that it won't interfere with Nardig's nightvision.

After following the tunnel for a short distance, Nardig comes to a T-intersection. Although his underground sense of direction isn't good enough to tell for sure, he's pretty certain the way the tunnel curved that the passage to the right will take them back towards the wine shop so he leads them that way.

It doesn't take long before the tunnel curves around again to a Y-intersection. Unsure which way to go, Nardig elects to go to the right again.

After traveling a little further, the passage eventually leads to a large chamber. The chamber has a simple table and chairs inside, with black candles around the table and a faint smell of incense in the air.

Mulroney suggests they search the table. Looking around, Deadly Snow spots a hidden drawer in the bottom of the table. Opening it, she discovers six sticks of incense.

The witch looks the incense over, using his knowledge of demonic rituals. He can tell the incense is a special type of magic incense designed to drive away evil spirits. He also knows such sticks are worth 400 gold each, so he pockets them.

Deadly Snow wants some of the sticks, but Mulroney tries telling her they are the same incense he uses in his rituals. She considers breaking his thumbs, but decides to avoid doing so for now.

Nardig looks around and finds nothing else of interest except for another path leading out of the chamber and back towards the area where he presumes the wine store to be.

They decide to follow the narrow tunnel out, which eventually leads to another small chamber this time with a ladder. Nardig searches around for anything hidden but finds nothing.
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jgants

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« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2017, 02:28:30 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 6 (of 9) ***

Mulroney tells Nardig to head up the ladder and listen at the door. Hearing nothing, he slowly opens the trap door. It opens to a small, dark chamber with many robes hanging around.

He slowly climbs up. In front of him appears to be a sliver of vertical light in the middle of his vision. Pushing forward, he feels it is a set of wooden doors. After confirming he hears nothing, he opens the doors to the wardrobe containing the hidden passage and sees he is in Mathias' bedroom.

The hobgoblin relates the information down to the others, who decide to climb up and join him (with Shoes being carried on Mulroney's back). Nardig takes the opportunity to look around for any money hidden in the room, but finds nothing.

Leaving the bedroom, Nardig sees the back hall also leads to another, smaller room in the back with a simple bedroll. He searches around, and notices when he moves the bedroll he notices a hidden pouch is sewn into the back of it.

Nardig takes out his knife and cuts open the hidden pouch. Inside is a small collection of herbs. He shows them to Mulroney, but the witch has no idea what they are. He does, however, recall what Zaladane said about Lorna looking for herbs.

Mulroney then puts a plan into action – he takes some of the herbs and plants them in Mathias' bedroom underneath the mattress. For good measure, he cuts his hand slightly to smear some blood of them.

After planting the evidence, they decide to check out the front of the shop. There they find little except for the locked drawer where the gold is kept and the bottles of wine.

Mulroney signals to Deadly Snow to check out the drawer. Looking carefully, she can't be certain but there do not appear to be any traps. She then attempts to pick the lock, but is unable to do so and additionally is affected by the ward of burning agony that was placed on the cabinet.

As she writhes on the ground in pain, Mulroney tries to cover her mouth with his hand. She bites it. He tells her to be quiet to avoid alerting the town.

Once the pain passes, they decide what to do next. Nardig wants to steal some of the wine, but Mulroney stops him warning him they don't want anyone to know they were there because of his plan to frame Mathias but promises to buy him a fine bottle later.

Nardig grudgingly puts the bottles back, but drinks down the opened sample bottle on the counter (a fine vintage of snozberry wine). Mulroney chides him again and they all decide to leave by heading back down into the underground caverns.
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jgants

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« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2017, 03:10:19 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 7 (of 9) ***

Deciding to explore the rest of the caverns, they may their way back to the last intersection to try the other direction. It doesn't take long before it comes to a T-intersection again.

Heading to the right, the group doesn't get very far before they come to a dead end. Despite searching around and even knocking on the wall, they find nothing so decide to turn around and go back down in the other direction.

From the rear of the group at the dead end, Nardig notices one of the small sacks on his belt, with 40 of his gold coins, has gone missing. He looks around at his companions, wondering which of them stole from him.

He asks them who is stealing from him. Deadly Snow just gives him a look while Mulroney says he has no idea what he's talking about. He tells Nardig he must be drunk from the wine; Nardig is fairly sure only a guilty man would be so defensive about it.

Nardig pushes Mulroney up against the wall and starts patting him down. Mulroney has Shoes cast a fear spell on the hobgoblin.

The mercenary is overcome by the spell and makes a run for it back down the opposite direction from where they came. What really terrifies him is when he bumps into a short, one-eyed creature with large claws.

The creature seems as surprised as Nardig is. The hobgoblin quickly draws his sword. The creature lashes out with its claws, but Nardig easily parries it.

Nardig jabs but the creature moves out of the way. The creature lunges out with a claw, raking him across the face. The hobgoblin swings wildly, but it ducks out of the way.

Another claw cuts into Nardig as Mulroney and Deadly Snow hear the commotion. They start heading towards the noise to assist.

Meanwhile, Nardig finally manages to strike the creature with his sword. The creature doesn't like that and tries to bite Nardig, but backs off when the hobgoblin's sword moves to block.

Nardig follows up with another thrust, and the creature is not able to move out of the way in time. However, it is able to sustain the injury and continues to press the attack.

The creature slashes out again with its claws, striking home. Nardig starts to get nervous about getting seriously injured and begins stepping back.

With the others approaching, the creature begins backing away as well. It decides to make a run for it.

Mulroney has Shoes run ahead of the creature so it can get into position to cast a spell. Deadly Snow tries to tackle the creature from behind, but fails and falls to the ground.

From in front of the creature, Shoes blasts the monster with an energy bolt. It tries to dodge, but fails and the energy fries him. The body is so cooked, the eye explodes. From behind the creature, Deadly Snow is dirtied as the creature voids itself.
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jgants

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« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2017, 03:10:56 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 8 (of 9) ***

Mulroney looks over the dead creature. He can see it was a "Boogie Man". Deadly Snow surmises this must have been the creature the indigent man was talking about in the inn as she wipes herself off with a rag Mulroney hands her and tells her to keep.

Checking over the body, Nardig spots a small sack on the body; it's his bag with the 40 gold. Mulroney starts to hassle him about it, but Nardig pays Mulroney 20 of the gold to let the matter drop.

Nardig then looks around the area. He spots a large alcove with a refuse pile nearby that the boogie man was apparently running towards.

Find a large stick near the top of the pile, Nardig uses it to try and sift through the refuse. With the help of the others, they find the creature has largely stolen a bunch of litter and broken objects from the streets above but do come across a few pieces of jewelry. The hobgoblin puts them in his pouch to sell later.

Behind the large refuse pile, the group also discovers another ladder leading up. Nardig isn't sure where it might lead, so he decides to climb up to listen at the trap door.

As he gets near the top, Nardig discovers the creature trapped the ladder and some of the rungs are designed to break off. He plummets back to the ground, landing hard on some of the debris. The impact leaves him injured and he knows he'll need to get to a healer soon.

Mulroney doesn't want to emerge back from the old woman's house (as part of his plot), so he decides they should continue down the tunnel to see where it goes.

After a short while, the tunnel stops at a door. Nardig listens at the door but hears nothing. He also checks it over for traps, but it appears to be safe.

Because he is fairly injured, Nardig suggests someone else open the door and head through first. Deadly Snow opens it, discovering a circular chamber with another door on the opposite side.

The room itself is filled with several small wardrobes. Nardig opens one to discover a hook with a set of red robes and a black leather hood. He asks Mulroney about it, who explains he knows these are the clothes of the Scarlet Alliance, who wear them during their meetings to avoid revealing their identities to each other.

Mulroney considers taking a set of the clothes, but ultimately decides it would be too risky. He checks the other wardrobes but sees they are all the same, except for one which is empty. Given the doors in the chamber appear to only lock from the inside, the group surmises this room must be used to secretly change anonymously by the members before and after meetings.

Nardig listens at the door but hears nothing. He opens the door and sees the tunnel has a T-intersection, though Shoes scouts it out to discover the passage to the left leads back to the other T-intersection near where they originally entered.

Mulroney decides they should continue down the tunnel in the direction they haven't been yet. As they head down, Nardig spots some mystic symbols written on the wall. Unfortunately, no one in the group has the ability to read such symbols.

Just beyond the symbols is another Y-intersection. Mulroney devises the symbols must inform something about which way to go, but is cautious about any magical traps. He grabs some pebbles from the ground and tosses them out but nothing happens.

Still concerned, Mulroney heads back and grabs a set of robes and a hood and puts them on. He then steps past the symbols and takes the chamber to the left.

He goes down a short ways before spotting a larger chamber up ahead with some light source. He can also hear chanting. The witch heads back to inform his companions.
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jgants

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« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2017, 03:11:57 PM »
*** Session 04 - Scene 9 (of 9) ***

After some discussion, Mulroney convinces the others they should proceed in the direction of the chanting rather than attempting to go down the opposite passage.

First, the witch sends in his familiar to scout things out. Through the devil cat's eyes, he sees there is a man in the chamber wearing the hood and robes of the Scarlet Alliance. In front of him is a magic circle of some type, with a larger humanoid inside of it. The other humanoid has dark skin and is clearly some kind of demon but Mulroney isn't sure what type.

To avoid releasing the demon from the binding and risk getting them all killed, Mulroney tells the others they should just wait and observe. Shoes continues to watch as the demon and the hooded man converse.

The hooded man refers to the demon by name, calling him Jalil (which means nothing to Mulroney). The echoes in the chamber and the creature's accent make it difficult to fully understand the conversation, but Jalil appears to serve some sort of master named Alknar.

Jalil says something to the man about Alknar wanting to get a sword from their enemy, someone the hooded man calls "The Hero of Black Eagle" and sending a servant to the hooded man to assist. Apparently, that servant previously served as a servant to the Hero of Black Eagle so may be of use.

As their conversation wraps up, a plan forms in Mulroney's mind. He has Nardig and Deadly Snow go hide inside the wardrobes opposite of the empty one so they can ambush the man when he goes back to remove his robes. The witch himself hides behind the door on the far end.

The man enters the room as everyone listens. He locks the door he comes in, but when he moves to lock the other door Mulroney steps in and blocks the way. The man asks, "Brother, what are you doing?" as Mulroney tries to hit him with an energy bolt. Reacting quickly, the man dodges out of the way.

Running back to the locked door, the man tries frantically to open it as Nardig and Deadly Snow burst out from their hiding spots. Before he can get out, Shoes blasts the man with a fire bolt. The hooded man collapses on to the ground.

Deadly Snow and Nardig move in quickly to pin the man to the ground. Mulroney tells the man to halt. The hooded man asks who Mulroney is and what he is doing there; he can tell Mulroney isn't really one of them.

Mulroney motions to the others, who rip off the man's hood. The witch recognizes the red-haired man as Akarios, the local wheelwright. Akarios asks what they are doing.

Masking his voice as best as he can, Mulroney tells the man to tell what he knows about Jalil or die. Akarios says he would rather die, but after Deadly Snow rips out a few of his fingernails he becomes more willing to talk.

Begging for the girl to stop, the man asks what Mulroney wants to know. Mulroney tells him to speak of the blade, the hero, Jalil, and Alknar.

Akarios explains the blade is a powerful magical sword the hero has. Apparently, the "Hero of Black Eagle" is a sorcerer from another land who has become a champion of the people in the distant community of Black Eagle. Jalil is a Jinn demon who serves some other sorcerer master in another plane, an enemy of the hero.

With little specific information to give, Akarios offers he did hear Jalil mention the hero's real name once. He has trouble remembering it, as it was some strange, foreign name. After a moment he recalls it; it was, "Sa'lid Dra'lah".
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jgants

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« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2017, 03:55:23 PM »
*** Session 04 - Session Notes ***

Well, here it is - the long-awaited new session notes from our session a week or so ago. After a long delay due to summer vacation schedules, we're finally back on track (with our next session coming up this Friday).

Despite my concerns about the long delay, the session went off without a hitch. We even added back in our Skype player as Nardig, the murderous hobgoblin assassin (a great concept that will work well with the group). The hardest thing about that was the arduous process of arranging character creation via email ahead of time so we wouldn't waste a whole session on it (I really like the Palladium system, but character creation is a chore).

Given we've had four very well running sessions in a row, I feel confident that removing the one player from the group was what was needed. Hopefully this coming session all four players will be able to make it at once and we can verify the mix still flows well.

As for the campaign itself, it's moving into high gear with lots of plotlines, increasingly using elements from my past campaigns. I'm not necessarily trying to create this campaign as a magnum opus of sorts, but I am looping in some of my favorite plots together to move the story forward. One of my players referred to it as potentially being my "Dark Tower" series; I'm just hoping it won't be more of a "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back".

Other misc notes about the session:

* I wanted to start the new PC off in media res to give him a chance to get some adventuring done before he encountered the others and as a quick way to remind him how the system works (he played in my famous Rifts North Chicago campaign, but that was many years ago).

* For Nardig's companions, I used the names / characters from the Shady Dragon Inn accessory for Basic Dungeons & Dragons to grab four thieves. I didn't bother to stat them out for the session as I was fairly sure most of them would end up dead and they were really there as window dressing and to give Nardig someone to interact with. Threshold comes from the city mentioned in the Expert set.

* Bargle is, of course, taken from the Metzner Basic Dungeons & Dragons set. The spiral symbol on the treasure chest was meant to imply he has a connection to the whole necromancer / zombie plague plot, but my intent isn't to suggest he himself is the necromancer (more on that later).

* I specifically set up the situation with the NPCs to see if Nardig would double-cross them or not. His actions were great.

* The whole "Heroes of Rodemus" thing is meant to be ironic - that three of the most evil men in town are treated like heroes (and thus roped into more nonsense). I used a similar bit of irony for a screenplay I once wrote about a serial killer who accidentally becomes a local celebrity even to the point of attracting his own serial killer (this was back in the late 90's before Jeff Lindsay's excellent "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" tread similar ground, though had that existed at the time it certainly would have influenced me).

* I purposely hit the PCs left and right with one potential plot thread after another at the celebration in the inn to keep them off balance and give them lots of options of what to do next. At least one or two of them ended up tying together in the session.

* Mulroney got dangerously close to pushing his luck with Lucina, hence my warning in the write-up. There are NPCs you can mess with, and ones you shouldn't unless you have a really good plan.

* Vera-Ellen Firefly, like the rest of her clan, comes from the Rob Zombie films House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devils Rejects. I did my best Sherri Moon Zombie impression when playing her. Mulroney was appropriately wary.

* The references to Otto and Zarzote refer to famous Ringling Brothers clown Otto Griebling and his final resting place of Sarasota, Florida.

* The joke where Baby refers to her brother as saying she's the best kisser is a play on the joke from the original Vacation movie where the cousin refers to her father.

* Theosius and his search for help is taken straight out of the Basic D&D module, The Veiled Society; a favorite module of mine I used for several other names (Thanta and Akarios), the old woman with demons in the basement plot hook, and the map for the underground area they later find.

* Zaladane, the Sun People, and Garrak the Petrified Man are taken from their respective Marvel Comics characters. If you are familiar with the characters you may get a better idea of who Lorna is based on and what may have happened to her.

* In my backstory, Mathias did, in fact, sexually harass his apprentice but his role (if any) in her disappearance is yet to be revealed.

* Zaladane gives them 48 hours because I wanted the mission to have a sense of urgency. Mulroney using that as an excuse to frame Mathias for her murder (when she may or may not be dead) was hilarious but could well cause some blowback.

* I particularly like how Mulroney keeps using the fake demon "Reedikus". I'm debating having the "real" Reedikus show up and be not to happy about his name used in vain.

* Originally I did not plan for there to be anything hidden in the table, but since they searched and made the skill roll, I thought it would make sense to have some incense there. And the purpose of warding off evil spirits will factor into other plots.

* The herbs are indeed a clue to Lorna's disappearance, but I liked that Mulroney mostly used them for his frame-job instead.

* It's meant to be ironic that Deadly Snow is hit with the same protective ward that killed Lenore earlier in the session.

* The Nardig player kept losing track of the fact the Mulroney player didn't want to leave any evidence they were in the wine shop, which was hilarious.

* The "snozberry wine" is a joke homage to the snozberries mention in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

* The boogie man stealing Nardig's money was a great way to introduce some conflict and put the characters on edge.

* Deadly Snow getting defiled in the course of the boogie man's death started as an OOC joke that I decided was too funny not to have happen.

* The ladder trap is somewhat inspired by one of the traps in one of the Grimtooth's books.

* When the group explored the wardrobe room, I mistakenly said they all contained robes and hoods and had to retcon that later. As with some other elements, the robes and hoods were inspired by The Veiled Society.

* The mystic symbol on the wall was a warning about going the other direction at the intersection; it really freaked the players out. It is too bad they don't have anyone knowledgeable of magic in the group as I tend to use a lot of mystic symbols in this setting.

* Jalil and Alknar are taken straight from my Al-Qadim Caliphate of Darkness campaign from a couple of years ago. Since I never got too far with that plot, I'm repurposing some of it here.

* Black Eagle is a reference to the Black Eagle Barony from the old D&D Companion set.

* Sa'lid Dra'lah is, of course, taken straight from the D&D 4e Shadows Over Fallcrest campaign. Careful readers may note this is the second reference to demons looking for a magic sword.
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jgants

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Session 05: Sunchipweed
« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2017, 09:05:44 AM »
*** Session 05 - Cast of Characters ***

The Great Mulroney: A miscreant changeling witch who believes he is human and masquerades as a prestidigitator. He sold his soul to the devil prince Glebecar and has a devil familiar named Shoes.

Yukiko Agami (The Deadly Snow): A ten-year-old aberrant human girl; a major psychic trained as a secret assassin. She considers Tickles to be her father after he raised her as an orphan.

Tickles: An anarchist coyle thief and minor psychic. He raised Yukiko from a little orphan girl into the assassin she is today so she could earn them money as a hardened killer.

Nardig: A miscreant hobgoblin mercenary exiled from his family for his evil deeds. He can control his tendencies for short periods of time to work with small groups, but will steal from them and turn on them with the slightest provocation.
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jgants

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« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2017, 09:06:37 AM »
*** Session 05 - Scene 1 (of 9) ***

Tickles made his way over to the thieves' guild while the others were at the Inn of the Red Bull. Materich wasn't there, but one of his lieutenants, a hobgoblin named Doyle, is there.

Doyle greets Tickles and they talk briefly about his excursion to Rodemus. Doyle expresses Materich's gratitude for taking care of the goblins at Rodemus. He mentions perhaps Tickles and his companions can take care of the Thieves of Harr-Ki at some point as well.

Tickles asks if the Harr-Ki thieves are still causing problems. Doyle says they are, and by extorting various businesses in the region they are getting gold the guild could be getting. Still, Doyle offers, they are probably too powerful to take on at the moment given their rumored associations with demons and the like.

Doyle does offer one of his men, an orc named Sirko, did hear some interesting news about the thieves. According to Sirko, there is a tale about the thieves making an enemy of a witch in the past; someone named Tr'di. Doyle hasn't been able to find out much more about Tr'di, except that she was said to have been killed by some group known as the Cult of Cegorach.

Apparently, the cult took a magical item off the witch – some sort of amulet. Doyle wonders if the Amulet of Tr'di could be the magical item Materich mentioned that could aid in their quest against the Thieves of Harr-Ki, but notes it is a moot point as no one seems to know who the Cult of Cegorach are or where they may be located if they still exist at all.

Changing the subject, Doyle tells Tickles that Materich wants to express his gratitude by only charging Tickles half of his normal cut from the raid on Rodemus. Tickles says it is very generous, but is less enthusiastic when Doyle points out that still comes to 500 gold.

Tickles claims he didn't collect that much from Rodemus as he was a part of the team. He tries to negotiate for less money, but Doyle says Materich won't like that. He reminds Tickles that Materich has the backing of Lucina and the giants, so he kind of has to give the goblin what he wants.

The coyle offers he could start looking into the cult. Doyle said perhaps that may help, then changes the conversation slightly by saying he would never charge Tickles that much himself. Tickles, suspicious, tries to feel the hobgoblin out.

Doyle then says that if any unfortunate accident or other event were to ever happen to Materich, he'd only charge Tickles and the others 10% of their cuts when he took over as the new master of the guild. Tickles says that would be even more generous of him. The hobgoblin says he understands better that everyone at the table needs to eat.

The guild lieutenant then says of course, he isn't in charge of the guild. Tickles agrees he is not. Doyle then asks, pointing out that it is apropos of nothing, how Tickles' ward is doing. He calls her a sweet child, but Doyle describes her as surely being an efficient killer by now. He tells Tickles he's sure he'll find some way to make use of her.

Doyle then returns to the question of the money for Materich. Tickles negotiates to pay half the money now and half later. He puts it aside for safe keeping until the goblin's return and wishes Tickles well, again referring to him as his close friend.
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