Monday, December 14, 2009

Ticket to Ride Europe

Well, one of my coworkers bought Ticket to Ride Europe this weekend, so it looks like we will be playing that on Friday instead of my USA edition.

And, another ordered the USA edition from Amazon, so it seems to be quite popular. Maybe Days of Wonder should give me a kickback or something?

Friday, December 11, 2009


With the holidays approaching, there will be less time for a regular gaming schedule. I think that goes for everyone, not just me.

But, there is time to spend with family and friends, which is nice.

Having time home from work means more leisure time too! I think I'll get in some more time playing DDO (check out my my.ddo blog too), and hopefully a few board games and card games (cribbage is a family favorite).

I'll also be able to take care of my fish more. My three spot gouramis are a little bigger, but are still on the small side. The white clouds are about the same size, but my harlequin rasboras and gold barbs are quite large now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


So today I tried to get Muckbane with my Drow. It took way too many times, but I finally got it!

1st, did it three times on normal, all the way through. No Muck.

Then I tried it on Hard. No Muck, died running around doing optionals.

Then I did it on Solo. All the way through, No Muck.

Back to Hard. Got Muck, but no Muckbane. Recalled out. Then again, and again. So, on my third Muck, got a Muckbane.

On the plus side, I did get lots of xp for the 3x normals, 1x solo, and several optionals throughout. And the festival coins, too!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ticket to Ride

It turned out that we had a full group of people (five) last Wednesday to play Ticket to Ride at work. We didn't quite get a full game in as we ran out of time, so we had to call it a little early.

I brought it in again today at someone's request, and we played in the main break room. There seemed to be quite an interest in the game and a few people watched for a while. And I'll be bringing it again next week.

Overall it's quite a fun game! We might switch to Settlers of Catan if people grow tired of it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Public Safety Video

Well, I can't take credit for it, but I can post it on my blog.

Thanks BJB!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Board Games

Last Sunday we played Settlers of Catan. Quite a good game...It's fun with 4 players. Haven't broken out the 5-6 player expansion yet, but hope to soon.

I took Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride to work during this short week. We played Ticket to Ride on Monday and Tuesday, and will probably play that again today, depending on how many people want to play.

It's a nice change of pace to play a board game during my lunch break at work.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Dijishy

November 13th, 2009

Having recovered from the tomb of horrors and finding a credible report of the location of the lost tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali, the group of adventurers traveled toward Dijishy, first by boat and then overland through the Elos desert.

On the way, they encountered a lone traveler, presumably a merchant, riding a pony. Unfortunately, he was attacked by flying, fiery beings.

His pony was attacked and knocked unconscious, and he was killed shortly after. But Aldoran used his bow to draw one of the two of them away, and it began approaching the group at full speed. It was killed quickly, and the other one was dispatched by Kascannia, who used her frost rapier and fighting ability to good effect.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drow, iPod Touch and My.DDO

Apparently I can't post as my Drow character, who also doesn't appear correctly either. Too bad!

I also wished I could use WordPress on my iPod Touch to post to my blog here, but alas, I can't turn on XML-RPC, which is apparently required.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ack! Comments...and comment.

Okay, I have to figure out how to get notified about comments because I had 5 comments that I didn't even know I had to approve.

Second, Tolero's post had me thinking of a great game I was in where the GM had a map, and these great cardboard tiles with spiderwebs on them. When I approached one, she flipped it over and it said "Spider #2" to which I responded "I guess the other corners have spiders one, three and four?"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blind invites?

Okay, I'm new to DDO, and haven't played an MMO seriously since EverQuest. Maybe I'm missing something, but what's up with blind invites? If my LFG flag isn't on, and you didn't give me a tell, why would you invite me to your group? Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Next Week

Haven't gamed much lately, except for computer gaming.

This Sunday, Settler's of Catan! We've got the 5-6 player expansion too, so that the 5 of us can play.

A week from today, should be playing Kalamar.

Xfire Profile & Blog

My blog is at

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Game ending

Well, I think one of my groups is pretty much done with the current roleplaying campaign. We may pick it up again later, but that isn't likely.

So adieu to Darwin, Jelena, Ember and Raizix.

The other game is just picking back up with DnD 3.5 in Kalamar, so I'm still running a DnD 3.5 Kalamar game, just with a different group...seems that is what we keep going back to. It'll be once a month on the 2nd Friday of each month.

In other gaming for me I recently finished disk 3 of Final Fantasy IX. That means I'm on the last disc, which is essentially wrap-up and a string on boss battles. I'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So, I won't go into it much here because talking about video games isn't anywhere near as fun as playing them, but I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons Online, ever since it went Free to Play (f2p).

I've added my xfire account information to the blog here, so you can just how much I have been playing it.

It's also on the right hand side.

Anyways, it's good considering that it does capture some of that PnP feel, and with less time available now to game face to face, this is a somewhat good alternative, especially since I mostly play with members of my PnP group anyways.

Friday, October 16, 2009

HackMaster Basic has ended, DnD 3.5 has resumed

Well, I said I would try to get character sheets posted of the HackMaster Basic game we ran. So without any additional preamble, here they are:
And last week, on Friday, October 9th, we resumed our Kalamar DnD 3.5 game. It has been more than a year, which I found surprising. We had a little bit of an introduction back into the game, with our last game ending in the Tomb of Horrors.

Aldoran reached Geanavue safely, and spoke with the head of the House of Solace. He urged the immediate destruction of the skull, in an attempt to free the trapped souls of Chamele and Kascannia. By placing the portable hole in a bag of holding, both the items and their contents should be destroyed, with the by-product of opening a gate to the astral plane.

They protected against the gate opening by casting a dimensional anchor spell in the room before attempting to place the portable hole in the bag of holding. When this occurred, the skull was destroyed, and the souls of Kascannia and Chamele were allowed travel into the outer planes.

Aldoran sacrificed some of the magical weapons and artifacts found in to the tomb of horrors in order to true resurrect both Kasca and Chamele. After a couple of days, Vorian also reached Geanavue.

In the meantime, Kascannia and Chamele saw two female fire giants enter the city, apparently part of an envoy from the fire giants. Also, Vorian, Cassandra and Aldoran saw a human ranger leaving Shyff as they arrived. His large lizard-like companion almost attacked Aldoran's dire wolf, but were controlled by their respective humanoid companions.

After re-situating themselves in Geanavue, the party plans to travel towards the lost tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali, somewhere north of the city of Dijishy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The end of HackMaster?

Friday, September 18th, 2009

We finished our previous HackMaster Basic game last week.

It went very well for the adventurers. Even though two kobolds went after the Mage, she countered with another scorch spell, killing the. The other continued the fight, but the mage's thick robes protected her.

The dwarven fighter eventually regained his feet, and helped the human thief dispatch the kobold leader. The Mage finished off the last kobold, holding her quarterstaff across his neck until he died of asphyxiation.

Well after the kobolds were dispatched, the cleric recovered from the original blow he received early in the fight. They gathered up the lead and glass jars they had been commissioned to find, and took the other items the kobolds had gathered as well.

Afterwards, they decided to investigate the cabin on the other side of the lake. En route, a kobold trap was sprung, dumping two hungry and annoyed snakes from an apple tree.

The thief killed one immediately, and the cleric knocked the other one senseless. They then continued on to the cabin, and found an elderly woman knitting on the porch.

She invited them in to stay the night and tended to their wounds, talking about her late husband, the daughter that visits once a month, and gossiped about the goings on in the area.

The adventurers left in the morning, and returned to the village of Vew. The villagers rejoiced that the kobolds had been dispatched, and Bellipar that his lead had been recovered. Unfortunately, the reward money was not with him, and they would have to accompany him to Frandor's Keep.

With that, our brief foray into HackMaster Basic is finished. Once Frandor's Keep is available, I'll buy it and review it.

One of our players now has scheduled time off on the second Friday of each month, so we will be gaming then, instead of our previous schedule of once every three weeks. Also, because of less game time, we will be returning to the Kalamar DnD 3.5 game exclusively for our Friday night group.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

With great power...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The group wakes up, having camped outside the house of Joseep the woodcarver. Having protected him from werewolves while he was suffering from belladonna poisoning, he was grateful for their assistance and wished them good luck on their travels.

Travelling during the day was uneventful. There were a few additional farms farther north of Joseep, including some cattle farms, but this eventually opened up into the Skarna plains. Some sparse woods were spotted here and there and Jelena and Raizix were able to get track some game.

That evening, however, proved to be more eventful. Raizix, during his watch heard a buzzing noise and alerted his companions at once. A swarm of 13 stirges quickly flew into the torch light.

Most that approached Raizix were killed straight away, but two landed on Jelena and one was dangerously close. Darwin dispatched them with bolts of magical energy, and Raizix cut in twain the remaining airborne stirge.

After returning to sleep, and then waking the next morning and breaking camp brought another surprise. A dozen riders on horseback were approaching their position, with weapons drawn and a menacing appearance. Raizix responded first by firing an arrow from his new longbow, and Jelena followed likewise. The range was not easily overcome however, and they both missed their targets.

Darwin didn't have a similar problem, and downed five riders and their horses with a fireball. All the horses were apparently dead, and all but one of the men was either killed outright or unconscious.

Reacting quickly, the remaining riders split up, moving left and right, with only the apparent leader of the group riding straight for them. Two of the riders slowed their horses and turned around to aid their fallen comrades.

Ember slowed the leader by causing the very grass to grab the ankles of his horse, slowing and eventually stopping it.

One of the rider, not wearing armor and clad in bright clothes shouts out over the din of battle and charging horses, "you'll pay for that, wizard!" and methodically shoots his longbow and Darwin, narrowly missing with each shot.

Two of the riders that were now in the lead were obviously not human in their appearance as they did not wear helmets. The group could make out orc like features in the face, and were reminded of the half-orcs that attacked them recently in Zoa that were in the wizard Daresh's employ.

Using arrow and spell, one of the half-orcs was killed at a distance, but the other made it to Raizix from the south-west only to be deterred in his attack by Deekin who commanded the warrior to flee, and in his haste to depart opened himself to a fatal attack.

At about the same time, a human approached the group from the south- east and announced, "Surrender yourselves and face the charges of crimes committed in Zoa!" with no response, he charged toward Jelena but his horse pulled up short before he could slash at her with his blade.

Darwin seeing that the riders who had turned back were approaching again, targeted the wounded but conscious man and his benefactor who had brought him up on his horse. This second fireball blast was lethal to him, but the other rider remained lucid and landed on the ground, not far from his now dead companion and horse.

The brightly clad man then shouts again, "Wait! We surrender!" He backs up his actions by throwing down his bow, and the remaining men do the same, save one.

"I'm not paying you to surrender! Attack them!" Realizing the futility and precariousness of the situation he was in, the rider turns his horse around and rides back south.

Raizix pulls the nearby rider from his horse and pulls up Darwin behind him onto it. Ember takes the mercenary towards the remaining group. The leader shouts out again, "the one on horseback isn't my man! Permission to tend to and aid my fallen comrades-in-arms?"

"Granted!" shouts out Raizix, spurring his new mount toward the remaining rider.

Darwin, not intending to wait, says, "slow the horse." Raizix complies, and shortly thereafter Darwin intones the words again to cause a small bead of fire to race towards the rider and erupt in a fiery explosion. The horse falls dead on the ground, and the rider quickly stands and continues running.

He eventually slows, choosing to face his opponents directly. Darwin casts another spell, causing the man to stop, unmoving.

Raizix disarms him, and then pins him on the ground. While atop of him, Darwin intones once again, and upon touching Raizix, causes him to grow to much larger proportions.

The man starts to move in a short time, and twists his head around to get a better look at both Raizix and Darwin. Spying Darwin out o the corner of his eye, he growls and attempts to break free of Raizix's grasp. Raizix begins punching him in the face, until he falls unconscious. He then ties him up, and he drags him back to the waiting combined groups.

"Who are you and why did you attack us?" asked Raizix of the unarmed and unarmored man.

"I am Treon and these are my men. We are from the mercenary guild of Zoa. We were hired by Xeff, the half-Orc over there to track you down and bring you to justice."

"What crimes did he allege we commit?" asked Raizix.

"He said that you freed several prisoners and left several guards dead in your wake."

"That couldn't be farther from the truth. Have you heard of the wizard Daresh?"

"Indeed I have, but I fail to see..."

"We have been attempting to stop Daresh and her quest for power. Even now she is amassing an army here in Skarna to attack Zoa and perhaps attempt to take the entire region. Xeff must have been one of her minions."

"Do you have any proof of this?"

"No, I don't, and I don't need to explain myself to one such as you. Gold is the only reason you need."

"That's not true. Me and my men aren't evil. We choose our contracts. We don't relish fighting or killing," Treon says, looking at Darwin. "So, are we your prisoners?"

"No, you may return to Zoa, but we will take the horses. What will you say when you get back?"

"Keep the horses. Xeff paid for them. When I return I will tell three widows that their husbands died under my command, and for that I am grievously sorry."

"If someone asks, we were headed east," says Raizix, handing the man a bag with 50 gold coins inside.

"If someone asks, I'll tell them to burn in the nine hells. We don't take kindly to being deceived. Farewell and good luck."

With that, Treon takes his men aside, and they make shallow graves for the three dead men and the horses. They then leave on foot, not once looking back.

The group then waits for the human to wake, intending to question him. He eventually awakes, and finds himself tied to a tree, and a hood over his head.

"Who sent you?" starts Raizix.

"Daresh, as if you didn't know."

"Where is she?"

"It doesn't matter. You can't stop her."

Raizix hits him on the side of the head with his armored fist. "I said, where is she?"

"Castle Triumph, to the far north, in Natfal."

"Now, do you look forward to death's sweet release?"

"Daresh will punish failure, even after death. No, death is no release."

"Very well," and Raizix nods to Ember, who draws her dagger against his neck, killing him almost instantly.

They begin to mount up, and Deekin joins Raizix on his horse. "Raizix? Deekin is concerned...Darwin is becoming scary. Deekin thinks it is the coin."

"Perhaps. But he's our only chance against Daresh."

"Just make sure the price isn't too high," warns Alafarus, the intelligent short sword hanging on Raizix's belt.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

HackMaster Basic - What's your threshold of pain?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two weeks prior to actually sitting down and playing HackMaster Basic we finished making two characters. One was a human cleric of the Guardian by the name of Gentle Geronimo. The other was an elven mage by the name of Bella.

The adventure, White Palette, Ivory Horns (available free from Kenzer & Company's website) was a good introduction to the game in my opinion. The game did get to a slow start, however, as the thief, cleric, and Mage didn't trust the painter and his description of the attack on the caravan. "who attacked it? Where? When?" While good questions for the would be journalist, an expectation that one person would hand a quest on a platter was a bit strange.

Opposed skill checks seemed to take some getting used to, as you add your percentile roll to your skill, instead of the regular roll under style my players are used to.

Combat works really well with the count up system, but as cautioned, means you have to pay attention...nobody is going to tell you when it's your 'turn' like in most other roleplaying games.

We didn't finish the last combat due to time constraints, but it wasn't looking too good for some people. The cleric, suffering from a frail physique, was thrashing in pain shortly after combat began. Even the dwarf was laid low due to pain, but not to the same degree as the cleric. The thief has awesome potential with backstabbing ability and the mage, while seemingly not powerful was able to deal large amounts of damage by avoiding to-hit rolls and ignoring damage reduction.

Overall, I like the system so far, though I might make a cheat sheet for 1, 19, and 20 on attack and defense.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Towards Haanex and Beyond

July 26, 2009

The group, after making their own coin of power, realize that being in or near a house with several bodies isn't a good idea. And if they didn't...

"Deekin thinks we should go. Bodies and the watch don't mix," says Deekin in his usual manner.

The group slinks away through alleys and side streets and make their way to the docks, knowing that their ship the Hyperion and Captain Wein would be waiting for them. They set sail and head toward Haanex, where their adventure began.

Shortly after leaving Zoa on the Hyperion, they find themselves sailing close to shore due to the winds making waves out on the bay too choppy. Ember and Jelena, the wood elf sisters, see a wagon that appears to have some trouble. Jelena describes what she sees, an everyone agrees to go investigate. They row to shore on a dingy, setting ashore a distance away.

"Let's not be caught unawares...everyone ready in case there's trouble? Good," says Raizix.

The group approaches cautiously, and see three bodies on the ground near the wagon that they couldn't see from the bay. One, wearing a robe and hat has a pool of blood underneath him, and two armored men share a similar fate. One of he armored men has spikes sticking through their helmet.

Then from the sky they see what attacked the wagon. Two manticores come flying down out of the sky, and fling a dozen spikes between the two of them at the group. Darwin, unprotected by armor and having minimal dodging ability is almost downed by the first volley. He responds ferociously, tapping into his new-found power and unleashes a fireball directly in the path of the lead manticore. Jelena shoots two arrows in quick succession, and then drops to the ground, looking for cover, along with Raizix and Ember.

Darwin soon joins them, but not by his choice. Another volley of spikes comes at him. A few hit home, and he falls to te ground, unconscious. Ember and Deekin rush to his aid, and Raizix takes a forward position, readying himself for the creatures should they fly close enough or land.

Darwin is quickly revived by Deekin's healing spells and conjures another aerial explosion. This one proves lethal to the lead manticore, which plummets to the ground. The other manticore lands, and approaches Raizix threateningly.

Raizix is ready for this, and charges with wild abandon, dealing a mighty blow. It appears that the manticore may fly off, but obviously angered at the death of it's companion and showing more than animal intelligence and emotion, it begins attacking Raizix.

Raizix, however, is up to the task and defends himself well. He counters, and between his sword blows and Jelena's arrows, it is quickly dispatched.

With the creatures dead, the group looks at the humans on the ground.
Inside the wagon, they see a more gruesome sight. A man and a women are inside, half mangled and half eaten, apparently by the manticores.

They check the bodies for any signs of identification, which is lacking, and take the several valuable gemstones from the robed figures pouch.

It doesn't take long for the group to recover on the ship, and they find themsleves sleeping at night. Raizix, sleeping in a cabin with Deekin is awoken by a screech and sudden pain on his chest. He awakes to find an almost ethereal creature hovering over him. He is buffeted again by wings, claws and teeth. Deekin awakes and begins screaming in terror and alarm.

The cries awaken Jelena, Ember, and Darwin, who begin running toward Raizix quarters.

Raizix, who had been sleeping unarmored but with his sword nearby, grabs it and begins cutting into the creature. Even though injured greatly, he hacks into it, killing it just in time for the others to witness it's destruction.

Deekin points out a note pinned to the creature, which he picks up and reads aloud.

"'Give up. You cannot hope to fight my growing power.'"

"Must be from Daresh. She must have meant for me to die," says Raizix. Everyone else nods their heads in agreement.

After that, it doesn't take long for the ship to reach Haanex. The town doesn't look much different from the last time they were there, except blue smoke is billowing from a tower in the center of town, which the group knows to be the home of Veoden the wizard and their original employer.

They enter the tower, and find the source of smoke is a scrying spell being cast by the wizard. Within a nearby mirror, the image suddenly shifts and lunges northward, settling on a castle. Inside the castle, they glimpse an image of Daresh, before the scrying spell is distrupted and ended prematurely.

Veoden congratulates the group on creating their own coin of power, but warns of it's corrupting influence. He wishes them luck and sends them on their way.

Heading northward toward the castle they glimpsed in Veoden's scrying, they soon reach a small, well kept hut. It's sunset, but no smoke rises from the chimney. Several weeds grow outside, which Ember recognizes as belladonna. Jelena recognizes wolf tracks, but doesn't think much of them.

"Perhaps we can take shelter here for the night. Let's see if anyone is home," says Raizix, as he knocks on the door.

There is no response. Jelena listens closely, and hears a slight moan of pain come from inside the hut. "I think someone is in there, and they sound hurt."

They decide to investigate. The door is locked and apparently barred, but they eventually get in. Inside, they see several carved wooden figures around the hut, and a back room that has a hanging cloth instead of a door. They hear another moan from behind the curtain.

"Be careful," warns Ember. "Belladonna is supposed to be a cure for lycanthropy. There might be a werewolf in there, or someone who will soon become one."

Jelena pulls back the curtain, and sees an old man lying in a bed, unconscious. There are more carvings in here as well, more intricate and detailed than in the other room. She looks closer, and checks his skin and body. She finds claw marks across his belly, and feels a fever.

"This man was scratched by a wolf, and took some belladonna, probably as a precaution. It's poisonous, but he'll live."

The man's eyes open suddenly. "Get out! They'll find you here, just like they got me. Werewolves...," he trails off. "Been after me for weeks. They attack at night...left...left... board..."

"Left board!" he screams before collapsing again.

Ember looks around the hut, and finds a loose floor board to the left of the fire place. She finds several thousand coins inside, and also a silver hammer.

Just then the howls of wolves can be heard in the distance. The howls are heard again shortly after, much closer this time. "He's in no shape to protect himself. We have to keep him safe," says Raizix, and everyone else agrees.

They close the door and bar it shut again as best they can. They take up defensive positions inside, preparing for the worst. It doesn't take long for a pack of wolves to come to the door. Unable to open the door or shatter it on their own, they stop their assault.

Just when they thought it was over, two humanoids with wolfish faces and bodies bust through the door and window, but everyone was ready for it. Deekin casts a spell, immobilizing one, while Raizix steps up to prevent them from making any headway into the hut. Jelena attacks with her bow, while Darwin and Ember cast spells amidst the battle. It doesn't take long for the werewolves go fall, and the surviving wolves retreat off into the surrounding land.

Curious as to where the werewolves came from, the group follows their tracks, while Ember remains behind to care for the man in the hut and protect him should the wolves return.

The path of the werewolves eventually leads to a dilapidated farmhouse. In the nearby stable they find two malnourished draft horses, and in the house they find a couple dozen silver coins.

They keep the coins, but give the horses to the man to help pay for repairs to his hut and get himself re-situated.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An unexpected addition

July 5, 2009

"I will come with you to help keep Halaan and the books safe, but I won't do anything that endangers Halaan," says Geolain the wizard.

"Of course. We appreciate your help," says Raizix.

The plan that Raizix, Jelena, Darwin and Ember had come up with was quite simple. Take the books to Seargent Soolie, get Halaan safe, and then take the books back by force.

Upon leaving the city of Zoa, Geolain uses a ring of invisibility to make himself invisible. "If they see me, they will suspect something immediately," he explains.

The group reaches the point they meet with Seargent Sollie the day before, and don't see anything unexpected.

Seargent Sollie is waiting with Halaan, and also with several others, most armed with bows and crossbows. He shouts out, "You, with the books! Bring them to me, alone!"

Raizix walks toward Sollie, with books in tow. He hands the bag with the books over, which Sollie opens. Apparently satisfied, he nods towards one of his men who is holding Halaan, who escorts him toward Raizix. Raizix takes him by the arm and begins losening his bindings.

"Once we get to everyone else, drop," he whispers to Halaan. Halaan nods and continues walking. A few seconds later, everyone springs to action. Jelena draws an arrow from her quiver and shoots at the nearest bowman in the trees.

All the others return a volley, while the one she shot at tumbles down from the tree, unconscious. Darwin and Geolain both unleash magical energies, with Geolain conjuring a lightning bolt aimed at the watch seargent and Darwin exploding a ball of fire on those closest to him.

It doesn't take long for all of the seargents men to be killed or left for dead, and Halaan is eager to get back to his forge and the unfinished coin. "Do you have the devil's blood?"

"Indeed we do, Halaan, indeed we do." They all return to Zoa, with Geolain taking the books of magic back with him to his tower.

Halaan gets right to work, but not minutes after he begins, there is a knock at the door. Raizix opens the door, sees half a dozen men with weapons, and quickly closes the door again, leaning against it.
"Help!" he yells, as the door opens slightly and then slams back closed again.

Jelena runs up and tries to hold the door as well, while Darwin and Ember assist Halaan.

The door is them busted off of it's hinges as the men outside force it open with a portable ram. Jelena steps back, and shoots one of the men, who quickly falls to the ground. Darwin causes bolts of pure magical force to slam into several of them, also knocking them to the ground, unconscious.

While they are fighting inside the building, Raizix and his kobold companion Deekin are facing more formidable opponents outside.

Two half-orcs with hide armor and double axes, two humans with chainmail and longswords, and two humans with banded mail and swords begin flanking the enterance to Halaan's forge.

Then, two crossbow bolts fly by Raizix's narrowly missing him. Deekin casts a spell, and the lead man is held immobalized. Raizix charges at him wildly, cutting deeply into his neck, causing him to fall. He continues his swing, and gives grevious wounds to the two other humans nearby.

Jelena and Ember quickly dispatch the other three on the ground, and Jelena uses her superior bowmanship to get at the crossbow snipers on the nearby rooftops.

Darwin, the only one still inside the building when Halaan finishes making the coin by using one of the unconscious men on the ground as a sacrafice, takes the finished alchemical item and feels a sudden surge of power, with new arcane pathways opening in his mind.

He steps outside, and sees everyone else outside, and also hears the city watch approaching. "Deekin thinks we should go now. City watch and dead bodies don't mix, methinks."

Raizix glances around and sees that the leader of the latest attackers had a strange glove and intracately crafted short sword. He grabs them before leaving, and their is an audible voice that says, "Ah yes. You will do."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Darkness is Rising no more

July 5th, 2009

Last weekend, the group finished up the second module of the Kingdoms of Kalamar Coin Trilogy, Rising Darkness, by Kenzer and Company.

I thought to mark the occasion that I would let one of the players post the story from his character's point of view. Daniel/Raizix has agreed, so the next post will be from him.

We'll be starting Coin's End on the 26th, and will be finishing up making HackMaster Basic characters and playing the free adventure released for it, "White Palette, Ivory Horns," from on the 31st.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Importing old posts

I'm going to be importing (copying and pasting) some of my journals from into this blog as I know not everyone who reads this blog has access to the journals. So, over the next couple of days(weeks, months?) there will be some back dated posts.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hackmaster Basic character creation

July 3rd, 2009

On Friday, instead of our normal game of Palladium Fantasy or RIFTS,
which we were playing since we finished the Tomb of Horrors in our
ongoing Kingdoms of Kalamar DnD 3.5e game, we started making
characters in HackMaster Basic.

Some people might think that HackMaster isn't a serious game, or is
just an AD&D clone. While the previous edition of HackMaster was
perhaps not very serious, it was definately playable, though I never

The new edition is not constrained by Kenzer & Co.'s license with
Wizards of the Coast, and therefore doesn't need to be a parody or a
throwback. This means it's a brand new game, while keeping the
HackMaster name.

Reading through the book, it was still a very entertaining read, which
is more than I can say about splat book x from some other companies.

So, we got down to making characters, which went pretty smoothly.
Everyone choose to keep the stats in the order they rolled them in
order to get the extra building points, and to make a more natural

It turned out well, as we got a human cleric of the guardian, an elven
mage, a dwarven fighter, and a human rogue. The most notable thing
about the four characters is that the dwarven fighter has looks and
charisma of three, which meant his honor took a huge hit. He also has
a quick-temper flaw, which will be interesting.

Otherwise, all the classes were represented, though we don't have a
halfling. Since skills and talents haven't been bought yet, this might
change, as I think halfling rogues probably cost fewer points than
human rogues.

Once characters are finished, I'll prbably put up scans of the
character sheets.

I'll be running this in the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting, as it's what
I know the best, and is the official setting for HackMaster anyways.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hostages and Books

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

The group reached the city of Xaarum with no further issues. They decide that the most important thing is to find the home of the wizard Milead, who supposedly used devils to guard his home.

The five adventurers enter the city and see that it is not as well off as Zoa. The limestone walls are cracked and pitted, and the forest is in places growing right up to them.

They enter the first inn that they see, to both gather information and to celebrate their victory against the orcs and bugbear.

The name of the inn is the Dwarf's Load Inn, and the barkeeper asks what he can do for them. "Two ales, one for your, uh, small friend, then? Here you go...that'll be six copper."

Raizix puts a silver piece on the bar. "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't take this" says the barkeeper. "Xaarum has it's own coinage. You'll have to find a money changer. I'll put the ale on your tab, Master..."

"Raizix, and these are my companions, Darwin, Jelena, Ember, and Deekin."

"Oh, very nice. So, what brings you to Xaarum, since you are obviously new here."

"Well, to be honest, we are looking for the mage Milead."

The barkeeps face changes. "I didn't take you for that sort...I wouldn't get involved with him. He worships some dark, forgotten god they say. Let's not talk about that."

The group goes to the money changers and gets a couple dozen gold coins changed, and get twenty-two Xaarum coins in return. As they do that, Deekin returns. "Deekin found something! Milead has three devils that guard his house. And his house is right over there." Deekin points across the river to the older side of Xaarum at a large house in a clearing.

"Good job, Deekin. Let's go now, maybe we can get back to Zoa quickly."

It doesn't take long for them to travel across the river and to Milead's manor. It looks to easily be the largest house in the city. Raizix pulls on the bell rope, and is shortly greeted by an old, thin man with black livery. "Yes?"

"We are here to see the Wizard Milead about a matter of great importance."

"Your name, good...sir?"


The man in livery waits, looking at the four others in the group. "I'm Deekin, cleric of the shimmering one!"

The others give their names reluctantly. The liveried man closes the gate and returns to the house. He returns moments later and says, "The master is too busy to see you. Good day."


"No, but I will relay the information to the master." He leaves once again, returning after a slightly longer wait. "As I said before, the master is too busy to see you."

Raizix pulls Darwin back, and Deekin follows them. "Is there something you can do, make him more friendly, or something?"

"No, I cannot. My gift doesn't work that way."

"Deekin can!" Deekin exclaims. When everyone stares at him, he begins again at a whisper, "Deekin can. It won't be long and he might be angry and it might not work, bit Deekin will try."

Deekin says with authority, "approach," and the man walks toward him quickly. Everyone else runs through the open doorway, gaining entrance to the house.

"Master, the hooligans are in the house! They have weapons and a magic user!"

The group searches through the house, to find a man in robes beside an empty fireplace, standing. Just as Raizix enters the doorway, a monstously huge viper appears between him and the man.

"Leave now. You have bothered me and my chamberlain enough."

The group have a heated conversation with Milead, telling him of the wizard Daresh and the coin of power grafted to her skin, and their attempts at creating another one to fight back against her.

"So, we need the blood of a devil," finishes Raizix.

"Then you have come for naught, and as I told you, wasted all of our time. Leave, before I summon the watch to remove you by force."

The group leaves dejected. But it doesn't take long for them to decide to get what they need anyways.

"Looks like we need a place to keep our stuff if we are going to be fighting devils in the city," says Darwin. They return to the Dwarf's Load Inn and get two rooms to put equipment in, and begin to look around the city for any other information about Milead.

It doesn't take them long to confirm that something supernatural guards the house at night. They also find something unexpected.

There is a bard, singing on a street corner who chants while playing out "What do you get when you cross a half-orc and a pig?
Nothing, there's just some things you can't get a pig to do."

While he did get a few laughs from those nearby, the half-orc across the street obviously took offense. "What did you say?" he says. while quickly approaching the bard, then snatching the lute from his hands and grabbing his shirt collar.

Raizix and Darwin also begin approaching the burly half-Orc and pudgy human bard. "I'm going to give you two seconds to give me a good reason why I shouldn't shove this..."

"No, no, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry," sobs the bard, almost incoherently.

"See, he's obviously sorry and we wouldn't want any trouble, would we?" says Raizix while putting hand to hilt. The half-orc backs up and away, and grunts.

"Your lucky, myoozishuhn. They won't always be here, and next time I see you, I'll tune you up real good," says the half-orc as he walks away.

"Good sir, would you like a job?" says Raizix to the bard.

"Why, um, yes. Yes I would. Thank you, and thank you for rescuing me from that ruffian. No sense of humor..."says the bard, apparently trying to be jovial but still trembling.

"Very good! We'll need your abilities at the Lord Milead's Manorhouse tonight at midnight. If you could meet us there? And here's a deposit for your trouble, " says Raizix as he hands the bard ten gold. "Your name, good sir?"

"Gonaathan the bard."

"Ah, excellent. I'm Raizix. We'll see you then."

The group then goes there separate ways, selling some of their equipment and purchasing necessary items while trade is still going on. They meet back at the Dwarf's Load Inn, and see a female dwarf performing music on stage in front of a large crowd. They go to their rooms and retire early, knowing that they will be up later and may need to leave the city.

Near midnight, they go to the manor house and a few minutes later, Gonaathan arrives. "I, uh, don't see much happening here, or a stage. Who did you want me to perform for?"

"Well, see, we needed your services to simply use this knife to stab one of Milead's guards."

"One of Milead's guards? But he doesn't have guards, he has...oh, oh no. You'll have to give me a bit more than you already did if you want me to do that. And I ain't fighting nothing. I'll stab it, if you hold it, or kill it or something. One hundred gold. No less."

"Very well. You'll get it when you do it."

After their discussion, Jelana approaches the gates of the manor, and contemplates hoping the fence. However, she had already gotten something attention that appears about thirty feet away from her. It appears like a ephemeral lion, glowing slightly, and going invisible in the torch light. She draws her bow, and shoots.

The arrow lodges into the form, which growls ferociously, and runs toward the fence. It jumps, and almost clears it in a single bound, but just misses the top and begins pulling itself up and over, far more intelligent than a simple animal.

"Get ready for it, I'll be guarding all of you, so don't worry about getting hurt," says Raizix over his shoulder to everyone, but mainly to Gonaathan. He runs forward, ready to engage the creature once it drops from the fence"

Jelena takes aim again, waiting for it to land. Darwin and Ember begin casting spells in preparation, and Deekin casts a spell on Raizix, who appears much stronger.

The creatures lands, and charges towards Jelena. Raizix smashes into it with his sword, and it turns it's attention toward him. Jelena shoots her bow as it is turning, and gets it in the side of the eye, doing some obvious damage. It begins trying to claw in to Raizix, but his armor protects him for the most part.

It doesn't take long for them to kill the thing, while Gonaathan stands transfixed in horror. "Now here we go, Gonaathan. Just take this longsword and cut it, anywhere you like. You just need to draw blood," says Raizix.

"I, um, uh....," stutters Gonaathan.

"Come on man, stick it, before I stick you!" shouts Raizix.

Gonaathan grabs the sword from Raizix and slashes at the devil on the ground, and quickly walks away and begins to vomit on the ground. Raizix grabs a glass vial from his pocket and collects the blood dripping from the wound.

He then walks over to Gonaathan, holding the vial and a knife in one hand, and a pouch of gold in the other. "Here's the hundred gold you asked for. You earned it."

Just after Gonaathan takes the bag, Raizix grabs Gonaathan's hand with his now free hand and nicks it with the dagger, allowing some of the blood to drip into the dagger with the devil's blood. It begins to bubble and smoke slightly, and he puts a stopper on it. "Yes, you definitely earned it."

"Your crazy, all of you," exclaims Gonaathan as he runs away, with gold in hand.

As the group gathers their things, they leave quickly, and come across a guard patrol. "Halt. Identify yourselves," says one of the guardsman.

"My name is Raizix, and these are my companions Ember, Jelena, Darwin, and Deekin. We were playing cards, when we heard a disturbance near that manor house. thought we would investigate. Adventurers and all, you know."

"Best leave that sort of thing to the watch. Get on back inside, and be safe."

"Will do." And the group returns to the inn and goes to sleep. Early in the morning, they pack their belonging and leave the city, fearing possible retribution from Milead.

Luckily, after three days in travel back to Zoa, they aren't accosted by Milead or by anything else for that matter. When they return to Halaan's forge to deliver the devil's blood, however, they see a sign on the door.

By issue of the
This land has been seized by the
City pending trial for the seditious
acts performed by the occupant

Just as they finish reading the sign, they hear footfalls behind them, and then see a dozen men, some with crossbows, aiming at five of them. "Come with us."

"Where are you taking us?"

"To see Sargeant Sooloe, of the watch," says the lead thug.

"Well, okay," says Raizix, thinking that he could possibly survive a crossbow bolt due to his armor, but Darwin would probably not fare as well, and wouldn't want to be responsible for the elf's death. The dozen men escort them from the forge, towards the city gates, and back north towards Xaarum. About half an hour outside the city, they meet four more people.

"Good, you brought them. I am Sergeant Sooloe," says one of the men, wearing chainmail and a longsword on his belt.

"If your a sergeant of the city watch, then why are we meeting you out here and not back in the city?" asks Raizix.

"Let's just say that I'm representing a different interested party today. Your friends of Halaan. If you want him back, you'll have to return some books that were taken from me that I believe to be in wizard Geolain's possession. Of course, we know you know both Halaan and Geolain, so don't pretend otherwise."

"There just casual acquaintances, really," quips Darwin. He sombers when he gets scowls from both Raizix and Sooloe.

The group reluctantly agrees to get the books in return for Halaan's release, but not before seeing that Halaan is alive. Sooloe agrees, and has Darwin bound, gagged and blindfolded and escorted by one of his men to see Halaan. Darwin returns, and when ungagged, says, "Halaan is alive, and is about five minutes away."

When he says that, all the crossbows turn toward him, and Sooloe begins to draw his sword. "That was foolish, very foolish of you, elf," begins Sooloe. "What is to say that he has not already been moved, or that you went in a, how do you say it, circular direction? You do not truly know where he is. Or perhaps you try to find him, and die trying, or he dies in you trying. Will you risk that, eh?"

"No, we won't," says Raizix. And he then turns to leave. "We'll have to books for you tomorrow, at noon."

The group then leaves, contemplating their next move.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Off to find a Coward and a Devil

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Resuming the Kalamar Coin Trilogy, the group continues to find the ingredients to make their own coin of power, in order to fight back against Daresh and her own coin.

Two ingredients have been found already: a diamond touches by death and the breath of a dragon. The last ingredient is the blood of a devil spilled by a coward.

Halaan, the alchemist that is helping the group make the coin details the gathering of the last rare ingredient. The group wonders if any of their group qualifies as a coward.

"Deekin is not a coward, no sir," says Deekin. "I served the great dragon, which was fraught with peril! Deekin cleans dragon teeth. Only almost got eaten twice. Now, Deekin is brave adventurer!"

So the group goes to Geolain's hoping he has tracked down where to find a devil. The trip across town is uneventful but drenching, as the rain that came last night has continued on during the day, and people are avoided the streets.

Geolain says that there might indeed be a devil nearby, in the town of Xaarum. The group asks Geolain about the specific 'coward' requirement as well.

"Would the coward have to actually strike the devil to get his blood, or would something else work?" asks Raizix, while looking at Darwin.

"I am hypothesizing here, but I would say that if the required ingredient is blood spilled by a coward, then the coward need not land the killing blow. The devil could be killed prior to the blood-letting, or restrained in some way."

The group then sets out, deciding to save their coin and travel on foot rather than purchasing horses. The rain lets up just outside of Zoa, and the traveling is easy.

However, on the second day of their travel, they are suddenly ambushed by a group of orcs. The orcs swing out of the trees, riding logs designed to knock travelers into the muddy river below. This tactic works to some degree, sending Raizix into the river below. He begins to sink into the soft mud of the river bottom due to his weight and that of his plate mail.

As he struggles in the river, Darwin begins casting spells at the orcs, Ember throws daggers, and Jelena begins shooting arrows. Several orcs fall, but more spring from the trees.

As they are busy fighting the orcs on the west side of the river, Raizix realizes the predicament he is in when he hears a shout from the east side. He sees a bugbear wielding a wand, and then the mud surrounding him at the river begins to harden. He struggles and manages to extract himself before it solidifies, but barely keeps his footing on the now slippery rock on the riverbed.

In the fighting above, Ember and Darwin are holding off the orcs, and Jelena slips and falls into the river herself. She shots a well placed arrow into the bugbear, and he colapses in a heap. Raizix had just reached the east riverbank, when he sees a crocodile in the water coming towards Jelena. It snaps at her, but he wades into the water and quickly smashes it in the head with his greatsword, knocking it unconscious.

Ember and Darwin finish up the remaining orcs, and unable to communicate with one they kept alive for interrogating, leave him for dead.

Note: This was a somewhat short session, and I'm looking forward to the group entering a new city. They seem familiar with Zoa, and introducing a new city can be a fun experience.

The next game is tomorrow, so this is posted up just in time!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The plan

Friday, May 21st, 2009 - Part 2

After the Icarus exploded, the group goes back to ground level. Custer gets on the radio, trying to locate the mercenary he rescued and find out where he is.

“I’m at the site, looking for the boss,” Custer lands and begins walking around, using his optical imaging systems in his SAMAS to scan the rubble. Emergency personnel and equipment begins to arrive, and shortly a search and rescue operation is underway. “Dammit, this stuff isn’t supposed to happen! There were people in here, all types of people. Who’d want to blow up a building like that?”

“What’ll happen if the boss is dead?” asks Custer.

“Well, we’ll find the money and the company information in his safebox. You’ll get paid, don’t worry.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it. I don’t need it. You guy’s ‘ill need it more than me.”

“Well, I’ll let you know once we get things sorted here. If you can help, great.”

Maxwell and Veras are looking through the rubble too, trying to find any survivors, but as it gets later, Veras says they should be on their way to make the rendezvous.

They reach Riverfront Park Center early, in time to check things out. It appears what once was a park near the beach has become a bit of a shanty town. Some almost permanent buildings are interspersed amongst wooden buildings, where several people have taken up residence.

The group see two people leaning against one of the more permanent structures. One stands up and faces the other, and they turn away slightly from the three. They appear to exchange money for a small bag. “Hmm, not so different from Chi-town. Drugs are everywhere,” says Veras.

One of the guys walks away, and the other seems too absorbed in his new purchase to mind anyone or anything.

About half an hour later, a woman wearing a long coat walks by, flanked by two men wearing casual clothes but not appearing casual at all. “Follow me,” she says, just after passing the group, without making eye contact with them at all. Veras shrugs, and follows the three of them, and Maxwell and Custer follow suit.

They approach the building with the druggie, who stands up, looks suddenly sober, and opens a concealed door for the woman. The three walk in, and the doorman winks at Veras and says, “After you.”

Once everyone is inside, he closes the door and takes a seat. The other two men have already seated themselves as well. The room appears to be far more technologically advanced inside then it’s meager outward appearance would suggest. There is a large screen on one wall, several chairs facing it, and a lift going to what is presumably a basement level.

“Thank you for coming, take a seat anywhere you’d like.” Custer moves to the corner of the room, staying in his SAMAS, which crowds the corner. Maxell and Veras take chairs next to each other.

“You might be wondering why we’ve asked you all here. We represent various…interested parties in the city. They are concerned about a growing problem that you might have seen already,” she begins

“There is a severe water shortage in the city. People are literally dying of thirst. The DB’s are faring a little bit better, but not by much. The mayor claimed that he didn’t know why there was a water shortage or rather that he wasn’t withholding water. It’s too late to ask him now, as he died just a few hours ago when the civil government building was destroyed, as I’m sure you know.

“It’s possible that less forgiving groups have already targeted him for the water problem. Word on the street was there was five million out there for his assassination.

“There is a desalinization plant not far from here,” and on the screen appear aerial photographs of an area west of the city, “and we want you to investigate. Find out what is happening to the water supply, and fix it if you can. You’ve come highly recommended for what you do, and we’re prepared to pay you in kind.”

“So, I assume we can’t just walk in, right?” asks Maxwell.

“That’s right. There are bottweilers and borgs at the very least. There is a laser security system to detect intrusion as well. What was once supposed to protect the water supply will hamper our investigation, but won’t make it impossible.”

Everyone seems to make up their mind, and all nod in agreement.

“We’ll need a place to repair our equipment and get new supplies,” adds Maxwell, as if an afterthough.

“Don’t worry, we’ll have anything you’ll need.”

Paper Models

Paper Models 008
Originally uploaded by MelkiorWhiteblade
Well, I've been spending quite a bit of time during my lunch breaks working on paper models. These posted here are from Fat Dragon Games Deluxe Dungeon set, and so far, I think it's been worth it.

I've got several more pieces to make to have a complete set, but for now, I've got two rooms, and if I rearrange the pieces, I could have a few more I think.

They haven't seen actual play yet, but I'll find a use for them soon, perhaps for HackMaster Basic.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chapter 3: The First Lapping of the Waves

As the darkness fades from her eyes, Terra stifling a moan, she lowering her hands from her now bleeding face. Her gloves bloody as she stared down at them, not feeling the pain, she only felt her sense of impending doom returning.

"Are you quite alright, Ms. Terra?" The wizened old instructor had somehow come up behind Terra after the plate had hit her, having deactivated the circle of protection surrounding her. "Ms. Terra?"

"Oh...uh... y-yes, I am alright, Master Quarkis. It seems I missed one of the plates," Terra replied, still shocked.

"Oh yes, the plates. Ms. Terra, put your hands down now," Quarkis brings his own hands to her face. Like Terra's hands had when focusing her power, Quarkis' hands begin to glow, if more brightly, and with a steady greenish hue rather than her erratic crimson one. The cuts on her face are quickly healed, leaving no traces. Even the blood coating her fades and vanishes.

"Now, lets see that arm. Your floating disk seemed to hit that particularly hard," Quarkis mumbled to himself as he pulls off her glove, feeling along her wrist with his still glowing hands. "Well, no bones seem to be broken."

Looking up at Terra, he saw her eyes full of tears. "What is the matter? There should be no more pain."

Biting back a sob, Terra replied, "Have I failed my test, Master Quarkis?"

"No, Ms. Terra. I am actually quite impressed. You might be very surprised at how many students injure themselves in these demonstrations. Why, I myself... I suppose that is a story for another time, of course. But still, few students of your level are able to actually control elemental flame as you are without a pact with a fire spirit. It seems very likely that you will be asked to join the guild. Now you must excuse me though, the other judges have moved on to the final student, and I cannot miss his demonstration."

As Master Quarkis slowly hobbled over to the waiting judges, Terra sat on the ground. Both stunned and relieved, she almost could not believe that this whole day hadn't been a dream.

"Come on, Terra," Sertorii says as he walked over to her. "We wouldn't want to miss Vettessos' display. He has been working on it in the library for months now. Even Master Quarkis seems curious about what he will do."

"Knowing Vettessos, it won’t be anything noble or worthwhile. Every class that I have had with him proves that. Did you know that he was the student who turned Mistress Kinesha blue? It took the other professors a week to change her back to a normal color. Not to mention how many of his alchemy experiments manage to poison someone, never himself of course, or explode somehow. Did you know he was the one who melted the flesh off of Asinti’s hand with what was supposed to be a potion of night vision?"

Terra takes his offered hand as he helped her to her feet, and together they followed the judges to the last magical circle, exchanging more rumors of misdeeds. Vettessos, the short northerner, was still down on his knees with a large piece of chalk, putting the finishing touches on a magical circle of his own inside of the one placed by the instructors. As he continued drawing, Terra watched him closely.

Like her friend Kayla, Vettessos hailed from the wild lands on the northern border of the Eastern Territories. However, the two of them did not find comfort and friendship when each discovered where the other was from as Terra had expected. She soon learned that while Kayla was from the Kingdom of Grelz, Vettessos was from their very hostile neighbor, the Duchy of Bari. The two lands had been simmering with violence almost since humans had come to the region several centuries ago, and had fought in bloody open war only a generation ago. In fact, the renewed hostility between their kingdoms was the reason Kayla had left school. This fact did nothing to endear Terra to the pale haired little human she watched now.

She did not recognize the magical circle he is finishing, but that is no great surprise. The body of knowledge that modern magic encompasses made it nearly impossible for one person, even one as long lived as an elf, to learn it all. Even most who would be considered masters of the magical arts tend to focus on one small aspect of the craft, such as Master Quarkis with his healing.

Terra's reverie was broken when Vettessos' circle begins to glow with power. The young student moved to the center, kneeling in front of a large candle. With an indecipherable whispered word of power from him, the candle lights itself and his chanting began.

The words are much different than what Terra expected. In fact, she has never heard the language he is using. In the few required classes on the creation of magical circles of protection that Terra had attended, they had used the common eastern tongue. As the chanting became louder and more guttural, the flames of the candle burn more brightly.

The nagging feeling that she is missing something important tugged at Terra's mind, but she could not tell what it might be. It was almost as if there was something just beyond the range of her hearing that is calling out. The feeling grew more intense, the almost-sound rising and falling in rhythm with Vettessos' chants. Looking around, Terra saw looks of confusion on several of the other student's faces, as well as on a few of the instructors'.

Sertorii, whom Terra had almost forgotten was standing there, startled Terra when he whispered to her, "That doesn't look like a circle of protection to me. I might be wrong, but it’s forbidden by the Guild to learn any other type isn’t it?"

She half turned towards him, not taking her eyes off of the chanting boy. "Yes. Guild Master Rikkosk had that on the list of the forbidden arts. But Vettessos wouldn't be stupid enough to break the laws of the Guild right in front of the instructors. He would never be able to join if he.... Do you hear that?"

“Hear what?” Sertorii asked, who looked quite ill at ease.

“That voice-” A deep rumbling cut off the rest of Terra’s words, as the entire circumference of the circle burst into flames. The voice Terra had thought she heard now boomed clearly from the inflamed circle.

“A blood offering must be made, mortal,” the disembodied voice intoned.

The very sound of it drove a spike of pure terror through Terra. Her feet seemed to be stuck to the ground in horror as she continued to watch Vettessos, for now she recognized just what he had been doing as they all watched complacently.

“My offering is them, defiling one!” Vettessos nearly screamed as he pointed at the small crowd of professors and students gathered in front of him.

Through the rumbling, Terra heard the others around her. Most of the teachers seemed to be yelling at Vettessos, either ordering or begging him to stop this abomination. Sertorii stood by her side, as stunned as she was, when the demon that the young human had summoned began to tear its way into the world.

With an unearthly screech, the talons of the demon ripped through the air between Vettessos and the others. As the breach between the demon’s hellish dimension and her own world widened, Terra nearly fainted for the second time that day. At first Terra mistook what she was feeling as revulsion that one of her fellow students would bring such a thing into the world, but soon realized that it was the closeness of such a vile presence that caused the sickness she felt deep inside. Beside her, Sertorii fell to his hands and knees, gagging from the psychic stench of the thing that permeated the air.

As he retched beside her, Terra watched as the massive demon emerged fully into the world. Towering over the small Vetessos, it slowly turned towards the small crowd of teachers, taking a step towards them. Without thinking, Terra raised her hand towards the beast, again focusing her power into it. The fiery hues of magic began to coalesce, dancing around her slender fingers.

The flaming bolt that burst forth from her hand was of surprising strength. As she watched its speedy flight towards the demon Terra felt the first wave of intense pain hit her. By the time the ball of fire had hit the edge of the magical containment circle and dissipated harmlessly, she realized what a horrible mistake she had made. Not only had the reflexive use of her spell been useless, she had not even been properly prepared to use it. As she tore her now teary eyes away from the horrid creature to look at her hand, the one still glowing with her magic, she saw only the charred and flayed remains that seemed somehow connected to her arm.

It was then that the full intensity of the pain overcame her and brought Terra to her knees, screaming in pain. She looks back up as the demon begins pounding and tearing at the magical wall containing him. As her vision began to fade for the second time that day, Terra wondered if this time she would live long enough to wake up.

Hands grabbed at her, pulling her now almost limp body off of the ground. She could still hear the demon's terrifying roars of outrage as she drifted back into unconsciousness.

This is all I have right now. I think there is more to chapter 3, and I might have a print-out of chapter 4 which I'll try to get online soon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chapter 2: The Rising Tide Part 3

Terra ran down the dark hallway, dragging her satchel as she rubs her tired eyes, cursing under her breath. "Damn that cat! Why did he have to choose last night to get sick? At the very least he could have kept it to himself, and not done it on my bed. Maybe I should have strangled him and gotten it over with. He is such a..."

Already late as she emerged into the blindingly bright morning light of the practice field, she finds the remaining members of her class lined up on one side, listening to the wizened old instructor who spoke for the panel of judges behind him.

"Those of you here are the few who haves passed your written exams. You have proven yourselves able to memorize the tenants of the arcane. We like to pride ourselves on weeding out failures early, but of course, some of you manage to slip through the cracks."

His seemingly cataract-filled eyes peering out from underneath his bushy and unkempt eyebrows surveyed the students, stopping on each of their faces. As his gaze reached each one, they could feel the power behind those eyes, and although the day was warm, a shiver ran up Terra's spine.

"Now we will test if you can apply the knowledge that we have spent years pounding into your skulls. Knowledge is nothing without the power to use it, after all. First you will be run through a series of tests, to prove your mastery of cantrips and simple incantations. After that, for those of you who receive satisfactory marks, you will be asked to demonstrate a more powerful spell of your own design. Those with the most impressive displays will be considered for graduation. And the few who do may have the opportunity for a guild apprenticeship."

As soon as the instructor finished, dozens of servants came on to the field carrying large tables. These were set up in a large semicircle across half the field, with arcane objects and open tomes spread out on top of them, and for the next several hours, the few dozen students who had reached this point demonstrated the fruits of their studies.

Terra waited her turn at each of the tables with some trepidation, as some of those before her left the field in failure, having not been able to complete one of the demonstrations. After each table the crowd of students diminished, until, by the end, only nine students remained. These students were escorted, Terra among them, to the empty side of the field by the judges.

"Well," the same instructor begins, after clearing his throat, "I am proud of all of you that have made it this far. I only expected about half this number to make it to this point. Now we reach the final test. Take a few minutes to set up your demonstrations and prepare your minds in your assigned area."

Each student was led to a rather large circle that was seemingly painted onto the grass. Upon closer examination, Terra noticed a faint glow coming from the white boundaries of the shape, with much smaller lines leading towards the center. She recognized it from several of the tomes she had spent years studying from, but had never seen one until this moment. It was a circle of protection, meant to prevent any and all magical energies from penetrating the barrier.

Not something initiates into the world of magic generally encountered, the college seemed to have spared no expense to protect their students from accidents, Terra thinks to herself. Or rather, protect all of their students besides the one in the circle, of course. If by any chance something catastrophic did happen inside the circle, the student inside would bear the full brunt of it. Terra had heard the widespread apocryphal stories of such things happening during the final evaluations, as had every other student.

Terra, from her circle on the far corner, sat and watched the others rummage through their bags and books in preparation. After a couple minutes of relaxing and enjoying the warmth of the early spring sunlight and the smell of the grass, she stood, picking up her satchel. Taking from it several large plates, she carefully lined them up on the edge of her circle. She bent over them, examining the runic designs on them, turning them slightly, making sure they were aligned to her satisfaction before once again sitting on the grass and pulling on a pair of leather gloves.

The judges came to the first student, who had a small table of his own set up in his circle. Although she cannot see the exact demonstration, Terra knows it was something to do with alchemy, due to the large number of vials and beakers on the table. Apparently it pleased the judges, as her fellow student whooped for joy as they walked away from his table.

The next few tests passed much as the first, with small demonstrations of magical ability. The fifth student who was tested had something a bit more dramatic. This was the only other student that the introverted Terra recognized. A fellow elf like herself, although quite a bit older, she recalled his name as being something like Sertorii.

A column of water a dozen feet across gushed forth from the center of Sertorii's circle and reached a height of about thirty feet. Once at this height, the water stopped in place and begins pulsing. With each pulse, it changed shape slightly, coming closer and closer to the form of a person. Terra soon recognized it as an oversized replica of Sertorii himself. The giant form waved to the judges gathered below and at the nearby students before dissolving back into the ground. The applause from several of the judges surprised Terra until she notices that she is clapping as well at the impressive display of water magic.

The next couple of tests were nothing as spectacular as Sertorii’s hydromancy, with another alchemic mixture, and a classic spell of prestidigitation where a statue disappeared, only to reappear half way across that student’s circle.

Only two students remained to be tested now. Terra, and a quiet, light complexioned human boy from the northern wild lands waited for their judgments. Terra gave a mental sigh of relief when the judges walked towards her first. She dreaded this final test, but did not want to be the last one on the field to be judged. She knew she would crack under that kind of pressure. And if she failed after this much effort, after this many years of studying…

Shaking those dark thoughts from her head, she turned to face the judges and explained her magical demonstration. “For my demonstration of magical aptitude, I intend to show my mastery of a simple form of pyromancy, or fire magic. Having borrowed these disks,” she motioned to the meticulously placed plates on the grass, “which have been enchanted before hand with the power of flight, I will use fiery bolts of energy to destroy them in midair.”

With a theatrical flourish, she snatched one of the plates from the ground, and tosses it into the air, yelling out the word to activate its magical flight. “Akba!”

The plate soars into the sky, and began to dart around over the heads of those gathered below. As the disk reached the edge of the circle, it seemingly bounced off in invisible barrier with a small shower of blue sparks, only to fly in another random direction.

A smile came to Terra’s face as she watched for a moment, everything going just as it did when she rehearsed. Raising her right arm, she pointed at the flying plate, uttering the mystical phrase to release her power. The unintelligible words leave her lips, and a red aura surrounded her upraised glove. As she focuses her will, the aura forms into the form of a burning arrow and shoots towards the plate, shattering it into burning shards that tumbled to the ground several yards from her.

Terra, with growing confidence, raised two more of the plates into the air, sending them flying erratically around her circle. And with the same confidence, she sent out to more bolts of flame to shatter them both in turn. Light applause finally registers in her ears as she hazarded a look at the judges. Although nothing like the cheers for Sertorii's hydromancy, it still filled her heart with joy to know that her nightmares of failure weren't going to come true.

Raising up the last plate from the ground, she once again gestures towards it, gathering her mystic energies around her gloved hand. "Akba!" she said once again, sending her flaming arrow towards the plate. Unfortunately, the plate chose this time to bounce off of the magical barrier surrounding Terra's practice space. Her flame missed its target by a wide margin, dissipating into nothingness at the edge of the marked circle. The plate however, streaked back towards Terra, who only has time to raise her hands in front of her before the impact. With a shattering sound, the plate broke against Terra's right hand, sending sharp knives of pottery into her arms and face.

Darkness descended on Terra as she falls to the ground.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chapter 2: The Rising Tide Part 2

Horns blare as the procession of proud knights emerged from the keep, hooves trampling piles of fresh flowers thrown by the village's residents and the families of the horsemen. The first rays of the dawn sun making their freshly polished armor gleam. The bright personal banners of each knight fluttered in the breeze from his lance tip.

A day of gathering had been declared in Talsu, from the capitol, which shared the name of the small kingdom, to even the smallest of the outlying villages. In every one of them, the nobles of the king gathered with their peasant retainers, as the serfs, with their spring planting long over, came to see the spectacle.

Many of the elders in the crowd remembered the last time they had watched the warriors of the kingdom leave for war. A few of those watching still bore the wounds from what the Talsians came to call the War of the Hammer. Near the head of the line of the knights, a young Elf was relearning his history…

“The War of the Hammer was the largest war in these parts since the end of the Elf-Dwarf War millennia ago, young master,” Arcturus lectured, riding beside the boy. “The War of the Hammer, like the present little squabble, began with the Duchy of Bari. A land which, I hope you remember at least this much from your lessons, Melkior, is now just on the other side of the greatest power on this side of the Great River, the Kingdom of Grelz. Of course, at the time of the war, that narrow strip of Grelz land between our two realms was owned by the Bari. They lost that in the blood settlement at the end of the war."

"There was a minor trade dispute over tariffs on Bari riverboats that traveled past Grelz out to the Middle Sea. When the King sent a messenger demanding an increase of the tariffs, the Duke of Bari himself took up a warhammer, and brought it down right on the head of the messenger. Unbeknownst to the Duke, the messenger happened to be the second cousin of the King’s third son. Are you following all this, or staring at the pretty peasant girls in the crowd?”

When Melkior did not respond, as he was indeed eyeing the comely and festively dressed elven girls in the crowd, their hair done up in wreaths of flowers for the gathering, Arcturus’ gauntleted hand rapped the back of his helmet, making the boys ears ring. “Young master, pay attention!”

“Yes, Arcturus,” Melkior turned his head, looking at the Swordmaster, a distracted look fading from his face only slowly as he straitened his helm. The occasional darting of his eyes back towards the gathered throng ruined his look of contriteness. “Please, enlighten me more.”

The elder elf only half raised his hand before dropping it back to the reins of his horse, sighing. “The spilling of royal blood, or rather the smashing of a royal skull in this case, not to mention the breaking of an oath and the killing of a messenger, led to war… I suppose that is a better cause for war than most. Killing a messenger, and breaking the sacrosanct pact to safeguard them, is quite an offense against both men and gods. Soon, the surrounding kingdoms, including Talsu, joined in the war on the side of Grelz. Badly outnumbered, the army of Bari managed to hold out in their keeps for month after month, repelling every assault. That is, until the winter solstice. That is when the atrocity started.”

“You’ve already told me about that, Arcturus. And before you hit me, I both remember and understand the significance of what you told me. The wizards of Bari made a pact with demons. Demons that tore the armies of the other kingdoms apart and ravaged the land. It took five years for the last of them to be hunted down and killed, or at least banished back to their own realm. Unfortunately for the Bari, the demons were as dishonorable as the Duke of Bari himself, and at the first opportunity, devastated his army as well.”

“And what did that lead to, young master?” Arcturus prompted.

“The Treaty of the Hammer, in which the names of all the kingdoms involved in the war were inscribed, along with the consecrated oath never to call upon the denizens of the infernal realms, on the same warhammer which started the conflict. The hammer is on display in the hall of the King of Grelz, and is brought forth every solstice to reaffirm the pact. But I don’t see how that will be relevant now, as the Bari were at the last oath swearing. Casperian was there, and told me so. They wouldn’t dare break that oath. To do so would bring down the wrath not only of armies of mortals, but the gods as well.”

“Mortals have been known to do stupid things, young master. We need only look at what both we and the Dwarfs did in our wars to see evidence of what atrocities men can do,” Arcturus intoned, sending a chill up the spine of the boy. “This will be your first war, hopefully it will be over quickly. I do not see how the Bari can stand up to Grelz, with or without the added levies of troops we will add, along with the bowmen of Tricarico. That is what worries me. Even men blinded by glory and thoughts of revenge should be able to see that they cannot win this fight.”

“If they are so likely to fail, why do you look so worried?” The young warrior asked of his teacher, seeing his brow furrow.

“Because, boy,” Arcturus looked past the riders in front of them, towards the horizon, “I don't see how they can win, and yet they try anyway. Does that mean they see a way that all of us have missed?”

The gaiety and excitement of his first ride to war was lost to Melkior as he pondered this. He glanced up to the head of the line of knights, towards his cousin Casperian and the main advisers of the clan. Question after question flooded his mind. What had they missed? What did the Bari know? Would it make a difference, as outnumbered as they would be?

"Dont look so down, young Master. We will find out what will happen in the fullness of time. Your cousin won't steer us wrong. He is a good man." Arcturas said, patting Melkior on the shoulder. The procession of knights and their retainers passed through the village and towards the far off encampments of the main Talsian Army.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The problem with the Juice(r)

Friday, May 21st, 2009

The last thing that happened to the group is a building blew up in front of them, and Maxwell the CS Scout saw a juicer on top of the opposite building.

Custer had already flown away from the explosion, grabbing the mercenary next to him. Prior to the explosion, Veras had bolted away from the traveling group.

Maxwell gets on the radio right after he sees the figure on the building. “Juicer, opposite building rooftop!” Custer sets down the merc, and quickly flies up above the roof. When he gets there, he sees the juicer running from the rooftop edge towards the middle of the building, where a large sized jet pack is waiting.

“Juicer Icarus Flight System on the roof, I'm going to take it out.” Custer starts shooting his rail gun at the jet pack, but the juicer was closing quickly, so he fired a mini-missle at the rooftop, essentially vaporizing the roof, and causing the Icarus to drop through to the floor below.

Maxwell, continued to monitor the situation on the ground, while Veras rounded the corner of the block to get a better view of the situation. She starts pulls herself up to a fire escape on an apartment complex and begins climbing the stairs.

The juicer, seeing the explosion and the results, doesn't lose stride and jumps down into the hole at full speed. He quickly hides, and is out of view of Custer is his SAMAS suit. Just as Custer is about to get on the radio, he is blasted by the juicer's signature assassin rifle. He returns fire, and attempts to supress any further attacks, which is successful. The juicer attempts to dodge the laser shots, but is mostly unsuccessful, and loses ground trying to get to the Icarus. Just as he gets a lucky and jumps into the Icarus, he snags his foot and gets his head blasted away Custer.

“Victory to the proletariat, juicer down,” says Custer over the radio.

“Wait there, I'll be right up,” says Maxwell. He enters the building and begins climbing stairs. Inside, he sees that people have taken refuge inside, staying out of the sun. Most seem pale and have gaunt skin, but seem to mostly ignore Maxwell or give him a wide berth.

In the meantime, Veras has climbed to the roof of the building and is surveying the landscape. While she is doing that she gets another message:

“Good to see your alive. Meet at 0050 hours at Riverfront Park Center.”
A map appears along with the message, and shows the location roughly to the west.
“Bring your friends if you'd like.”

Custer begins inspecting the Icarus. It seemed badly damaged, and wouldn't have any specific information, so he begins looking at the juicer. His head was blown clean off by the laser, so his body was mostly intact. He had his laser rifle on him, but otherwise nothing else stood out. Maxwell gets up there fairly quickly, and helps Custer go through the equipment. They take everything of value, and then Maxell gets on the radio “Veras, why don't you get over here and take a look at this.”

Veras looks at the equipment, and makes a guess as to it's value. “I thing I might be able to find a buyer for something like this. Give me a second,” and she leaves the building.

Custer pulls out a portable music player, and pushes the play button on it out of curiosity.

“If everything goes as agreed upon, you'll get your five mil. Just remember, no survivors, and no witnesses. I don't want it traced back to you, or to me,” Custer hears from the small portable device. He pops out the disk, and begins examining it on his computer system. “I don't know where this came from, but it does kind of confirm he's our guy,” indicating the decapitated juicer.

Veras comes back with a guy in a black leather jacket and pants. 'Oh, I see what you mean...,” he trails off. “Well, this looks like juicer equipment to me. Not much demand in that, if you know what I mean. How much you want for it?”

“Two mil,” says Custer immediately, apparently pulling a number from nowhere but delivering it with authority and conviction.

“Two mil? I think half is more than fair. Look, it's got laser marks here, and here, and the generally scorching...”

“Okay, split the difference, one point five.”

“Well, the way I figure it, you can't fly this thing, or otherwise move it, or you would have done it and I wouldn't be here talking to you. What's to say I don't come back and take it when you leave?”

“It won't be here when you come back,” says Maxwell, hoisting his rifle.

“Right then, a mil, that's my final offer.”

“You got it on you?”

The man pulls out a card, about 2 inches by 3 inches, and a quarter inch think, solid black. “Yep.”

Maxwell takes the card and scans it with his computer. “1 million Bandito Arms credits,” his headset relays to him.

“Nice doing business with you,” he says, indicating to the others to make a quick exit. After descending two flights of stairs, they hear another explosion. “Damn juicers,” says Custer.

In other gaming news, I've pre-ordered HackMaster Basic. I'm actually quite excited, as it has a definite old school feel. Thought I've never played AD&D, I probably could have if I wasn't playing Palladium Fantasy instead. So, things that other gamers my age take for granted are in the game. Armor has damage reduction in addition to AC, weapons have speeds, and other awesomeness.

Also, we didn't game on Sunday so the next Kalamar game will be the 31st.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chapter 2: The Rising Tide Part 1

Passing through the camp of Lord Clynn disgusted Lyle in several ways. The most obvious and striking of these was the incredibly oppressive stench permeating the air. The odor of unwashed bodies, poorly dug latrines, and freshly slaughtered livestock, mixed with the faint taint of sickness emanating from several of the hastily erected tents. Blessedly, pulling the collar of his cloak up over his nose blocked most of the noxious smell, although there was nothing he could do for his poor horse, or the horses of his followers, as they rode down the weaving path to the command tent.

“It’s terrible to see soldiers wasted so, M’lord,” Nimbus remarked, looking around at the men, most in various states of undress, and few looking well fed. He gestured to one such example of a soldier, who was wearing half of a rusted suit of armor and passed out drunk in the muddy pathway, as they edged their horses by. “They should be drilling, or at least building a proper camp. We are only a half days ride from the ‘official’ border of the Empire, and in truth are well into enemy territory.”

“That we are. But it is not our concern at the moment. Our own scouts are patrolling the area well enough for the moment. And besides, I will not be counting on this rabble for much longer. As long as their lax behavior doesn’t infect our troops, we will ignore it. By the way, from the smell of it, plague will soon spread through their ranks. We must make sure that they do not infect us in this way as well. Remind me to have Doreen and Ophelia lead the prayer against sickness for the men when we return to our camp.”

“Yes, Lord,” Nimbus replied as they reach the large, opulent tent, if such a massive structure can be fully encompassed by the word “tent.” Nearly thirty feet in height, and easily three times that in width, it was the largest structure for two days ride in any direction. Its enormous size was only matched by the wildly varying hues of the materials from which it was constructed. From deep blues, to blazing crimsons, every shade of the rainbow seemed to have its place in the patchwork design.

With a practiced eye, Lyle recognized the fabric as the exorbitantly expensive silk that could only come from the Land of the South Winds. Every season when the winds are right, dozens of daring ships tried this dangerous passage along the coast of the Yin Sloth Jungles far to the south of most civilized kingdoms. Riches came to the crews of the few ships that do manage to return with a full load of the silks, having evaded pirates, disease, and the occasional attack by man-eating monsters. For Lord Clynn to have so much of it for such a wasteful purpose as this opulent monstrosity of a tent offended Lyle's sense of military discipline.

Tossing his reins to the waiting pageboy as they dismount, Lyle turned to his company of soldiers. “Wait here for me, men. We shan’t be long. A warning though, any man who shares a drink with the pack of mongrels in this camp will be left here. I will not have our discipline deteriorate to the level of these degenerate House Clynn dogs.”

With that, he turned and opened the entry flap to the tent, stepping inside, and is once again nearly overcome by the smell of the place. A stifling mixture of expensive spices and perfumes flood Lyle’s senses. The arrhythmic twinkling music of chimes and strumming of lyres emanate softly from behind the expensive curtains that serve as walls for the massive chamber, reminding Lyle of the ancient foreignness of the Empire to which he is now tied. The tent, although lit by glowing globes floating overhead, still brought visions of a dark, dank cave to his mind. And across this cave sat someone who fit the role of a particularly offensive cave-troll perfectly, Lord Clynn.

Ensconced in fine silks on his throne, the imbedded jewels of which would pay to mount a brigade of cavalry with fine steeds, sat the petulant lord. Grease ran down his chin from the lamb shank, which he was currently using to extravagantly gesture towards one of his nobles.

“Hwe-ku na gaush,” Lord Clynn proclaimed in the native tongue of the Empire. “Na-ke chqu bosh nada, na seech maga. Kush Clynn gaushee bosh te kalen, nok tuu verash.”

Nimbus’ hand lowers to his sword belt, but a gesture from Lyle stopped him. "Tell me what he said."

Nimbus leaned towards Lyle, angrily whispering a translation in his ear. “He says ‘It was an excellent slaughter, for barbarian mercenaries from the east anyway. Soon we will find an enemy worthy for our own House Clynn soldier’s to fight.’”

Chuckling under his breath, Lyle whispered back to Nimbus, “There is no need to be insulted, Nimbus. This one is not fit to judge his betters. And even my lowliest soldier is his better. Now let us make a good show of this. We will show this rabble why we are the beloved of the goddess of victory.”

With that, Lyle squared his shoulders, and strode forward confidently, almost disdainfully, not waiting for his presence to be announced. “Lord Clynn, you summoned me away from the campaign front. Why have you done this?”

The nobles who understood his eastern tongue bristled dangerously, while most, and Lord Clynn himself, waited for a translation from the half-naked slave standing beside the throne. His face turning red and twisting into a grimace of hate, the now furiously offended lord rose to his feet. “Ya veknu ka chqu noshee! Seech Clynn na poslin kedawa nok su! Ashin tor mak su nawa kegin mak tekal.”

Once again Nimbus quietly translated for Lyle through tightly clenched teeth, “He wishes to remind you that you are a guest soldier in his land by Imperial order, but that House Clynn is under no obligation to make sure you remain a live guest. He also suggests that you beg for your life, Lord.”

The laugh that escaped Lyle this time is no quiet chuckle, but a cold laugh. He bowed deeply to Lord Clynn and his entourage. "Pardon me, lords of House Clynn. Perhaps I have forgotten my place among such prestigious persons."

Lord Clynn's translator whispered into his ear as Lyle continues. "After all, I am merely a prince from a minor kingdom in a backwater part of the Eastern Territories. How could I know the proper etiquette to deal with such illustriousness? I freely admit I am not on the same level as my host here." This brought a smug grin to the face of the man Lyle will always think of as "the troll."

"After all, how could I be compared to one such as you? My family has not degenerated into incestuous, self-serving aristocrats, who allow their people to fall into such despair. My family does not spend its days in a drunken stupor, beating our servants to convince themselves how brave we are while a worthy opponent stands against us. Now, if you will excuse me, I have real business to attend to concerning the frontier. Goodbye, Lord Clynn. I know we will not meet again."

Without waiting for the translation to be complete, Lyle turned and walked back out the entrance of the tent. Nimbus waited a moment longer, bowing mockingly towards the nobles, and then hurries after his lord.

"Was that wise, M’lord?" Nimbus asked, as both men quickly mount their waiting horses.

"No, Nimbus it was not wise. But honestly, I could not help myself. It was worth it though, just to see his smug expression deflate. His kind is anathema to everything lordship should stand for."

Lyle looked back over his shoulder as they reach their escorts. "He will be seething in there for a few more moments before he starts calling for my head on a stake. Take it up to a trot, men. Once we reach the gates, we must run, no matter how much it may damage our pride."