Friday, June 2, 2017

The Lizard's Jaws ~ Round 3

The giant decides to attack Enrico, rolling a natural 20.

That is very, very bad with giant lizards.  The old monster manual gave a special ability to these, saying that if a lizard hit with a 20, it caused double-damage.  Since a 20 causes double damage anyway, I used to say that it caused four times damage . . . but that is when I was still using the monster manual's damage of 1-8 for a giant lizard's bite.

Since, I'd decided that was too low for large creatures and increased it to 2-12.  The last time I had a giant lizard attack a party, I did not roll a natural 20.  In fact, I haven't rolled a natural 20 with giant lizards for more than a decade, and I did not expect to do it today.  But . . .

I'm going to rule that it adds 1d6 to the normal attack and that this is then doubled.  I haven't rolled the damage yet, but I expect it to hurt.

The lizard causes ~ oh damn, you're very lucky.  I roll a 6 on 3d6; doubled, that is 12.  Lucky, lucky you.  Enrico is stunned.

Additionally, the creature causes incidental damage half the time to any creature within one hex.  Kismet gets off lucky, but Enrico suffers 2 damage from being struck by the creature's body.

The creature then retreats back six hexes, moving between the damaged pillar bases.

The players may now take their move.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Lizard Rushes In ~ Round 2

With the map showing the players' last moves, the lizard turns and rushes, but fails to win initiative. Kismet and the others can reach it as it sweeps past the fighter and monk.

Following the party's last move, the position is now this:

Contemplating the Party ~ Round 1

The creature skips across the road and keeps under the trees on the right side of the road, four hexes from Enrico and Sofia.  It has six legs.  It's huge tongue, about three feet long, snickers in and out of its mouth as it contemplates the party.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Where Is It?

Following the party's move, the position of everyone is as follows:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Some Unusual Things

The party finds the path turns to the left of Cauldron Mountain and ends in a river bed and gravel field, with interspersed plants and trees growing throughout.  Sofia sees something odd just eighty feet ahead and moves to investigate it: she sees the bases of three pillars, with no pillars atop them, dating perhaps from the Greek or Roman periods.  They are placed across the bottom of the stream bed.

As she sees these, nine hexes behind her (a fairly safe distance, regarding giving yourself away), are Kismet and Enrico.  They have just heard a very large sound in the direction of 0315, ahead and to the left, but immediately there is no evidence of anything there; whatever it was, it was big.  They are not surprised, however (Kismet rolled a 5).

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Stranger

Sofia comes within five hexes of an orc who is working in a clearing about fifteen feet across, a wide place in the trail as it were.  As near as she can tell, she has not been discovered.  The orc is humming to itself, a curiously familiar tune that Sofia cannot put her finger on.  Apparently, the orc has just killed an antelope, which it is in the process of freeing of its entrails.  The orc has its back to Sofia.

It is dressed in the manner of an Oriental; instead of a yalma, he is wearing a heavy shirt, baggy pants and a four-inch wide beaded belt around his waist.  He has removed his jacket, which appears to be embroidered silk.  He is also wearing heavy leather boots, which must weigh at least three pounds each by the look of them.

He's a fairly large fellow; you would guess he to be about six-foot-six or thereabouts, weighing at least 300 lbs.  You don't know enough about orcs to guess his age, but he is certainly no older than a mature male.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Into the Bolat Range

It is still the 20th; the day is still cool, the sky clear and there is no sign of rain.  You set out for the southern Bolat Range, which you can distantly see.  Coming at it from the north, you will be approaching the cuestas from their gently sloped backs, so that you cannot see the cliffs (these would look out over the sea).

For most of the afternoon, you will follow a clean, trimmed pathway created by the loggers, until that gives out about three miles south of the carter's post.  The path continues, but now it has begun to grow over, as the loggers have not worked this part of the forest this season, and perhaps most of the last.  The forest closes around you and you feel the slope as you begin to climb perhaps a hundred feet an hour.

Night comes as this second pathway quits, so you make camp near a bare karst outcropping surrounded by trees, which provides good shelter.  The journey so far has been easy, but you can see from the forest that the next day will not be.  Standing on the top of the nearby rocks, you can see the ridge to the south, a line of three humps extending from the northeast to the southwest (or, to put it another way, the nearest hump is on your left and it grows farther away towards your right).  The nearest ridge, you would guess, is about 1,500 feet above you and three to four miles away.

Looking the other way, towards the northwest, you see the cliff of a cuesta that is at least five miles from you.  The cliff is broken by a bowl in the middle of it, so that you begin to think of it as "Cauldron Mountain."  You have no idea what it's real name is.

The next day (the 21st of May is a Sunday), you pick the easiest looking direction through the forest, on the argument that if something intelligent is living out here, it must make its own tracks and trails, as it must emerge from the subterranean occasionally to make hunting trips for extra food.  Kismet leads with his machete and you cross through some light thickets and into a series of rocky meadows, separated by further thickets that you must hack through.  You are moving generally in a south-south east direction, towards the middle hump on the ridge to the south.  You find yourself climbing about 300 feet in the first hour.

Now, at this point, I roll a die to see what you might discover, and roll the unlikeliest chance possible.  Weird.  On a hunch, Kismet chooses to lead the party up a nearby defile, a stone path between banks that might have been gouged out by a glacier ten thousand years ago.  This leads you onto a ledge that overlooks the valley between the back of the cuestas and Cauldron Mountain, about 300 feet over the swoop of the land below.  And here you find a shrine.

It is a single block of stone in the shape of a font, weighing in the neighborhood of four tons.  It is two feet by four feet, and four feet high, with smooth, masoned edges and a basin in its center that is about five inches deep.  On either side of the basin are two gargoyle-like shapes, each about 12 inches high, looking down into the basin as though willing water to appear.

The basin has water in it, about a gallon.  This cannot be rainwater, for you're quite sure that it hasn't rained in this country for many days.  Moreover, there is a bundle of wildflowers on a small shelf above the basin, bound with twisted grass, that must have been collected that morning.  The wildflowers are the same as you've been seeing, mostly dandelions and crocuses.

I'll let you decide what you make of that.  There is no evidence of a trail leading immediately from this location, but you are surrounded by an area of bare rock, about a hundred yards wide.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Climbing into the Karamio Hills

Come the morning of the 20th, the party begins along the road west of Kefe, circling the bay in a couple of hours until ~ with a little directions ~ reaching the cart tracks on the left side of the road that will take them up into the South Karamio Hills.  It is a fine, cool day for hiking, with a light rain that lasts until you enter the forest and begin to a gentle climb.  It quits soon after.

The hills, you will find, have a sharp drop of fifty or sixty feet on the south side, with a long gentle slope on the north, what is called a "cuesta."  Marciana leads the camel(s) behind the party, remarking on the ease of the route, as a cart rack ~ grassy, with ruts ~ leads the way.

She has explained that she has heard the rumors, but doubts if there are any real "cities" to be found.  There are many caves in the Yaila Mountains, the term for all the mountains of south Crimea, but only those in the highest ranges are unexplored.  These hills where you're travelling now have been tramped over for centuries, so you are unlikely to find anything.

You look about at the thick forest, full of thickets, and find it difficult to believe that there can't be places that might not have remained hidden, even after all this time.  The land looks overgrown, with high grass growing into dry thorn bushes, from which emerge tall mastic trees, fat oaks, tangled ash trees and 125 foot pine trees.

Marciana tells that she hasn't spent much time in the bush here, much more on the plains in the last two years that she has been in Crimea; she's been on this road only once before.  The thing to worry is the large Crimean lizards; they're fifteen feet long and are known to emerge from the bushes to attack travellers.  She is not too worried, however, as this road gets a lot of travellers ~ and that is true, the ruts show a lot of use.

In fact, along about noon, as you've climbed to a point where you can see the Black Sea in the distance, you begin to meet carts loaded with wood rolling down out of the forest, one about ever ten minutes or so.  This holds you up quite a bit, as Marciana has to move the camel(s) off the road, keeping them calm and then moving forward again.  As such, moving against this stream, it takes about two hours before you reach a tiny settlement called Aknar, where the road ends.

Aknar is little more than a carter's post, with stables for donkeys and mules, granaries for feed grain, huge dumps of logs being brought out of the forest and at least a dozen saw pits ~ that you can see ~ that are right now in steady use.  About fifty men can be seen working hard to shave and straighten the logs, some to cut them into beams or lumber, others loading the logs onto carts and some wrestling with the animals to get them into position to be loaded.  When a cart is loaded, it begins to descend down the road on its way to Kefe.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Stories About the Crimean Mountains

After shopping in Kefe for the rest of the 19th, I'll need the party to make some provisions for spending the night in the market town.  Sofia can let the new camel handler make provisions for herself and show up for the first day of the month starting tomorrow, the 20th, before you leave.  The camel can then be left in the stable of the camel seller and she can arrive there with the dawn, with yourselves, to pack the camel with whatever things you'll want.  That will manage Sofia's knowledge deficit decently ~ and you can pay the handler next on the 20th of June.

Let's see, she needs a name.  We'll make her Polish, a rational choice for a Catholic in the area, heralding from Lwow, by the name of Marciana Wojik, 22 years old, 5'9, 154 lbs., stats withheld for the moment, not combat trained and without experience for the present.  Marciana is anxious to get out of Tartary, where you are presently, and out of the Ottoman Empire generally.  She has had many dealings with half-orcs and they get along.  She knows the way to Or-Kapi, where the Crimean Peninsula connects to the Dneiper country to the north, thus getting you on your way to the north shore.  She's a little unclear as to your motives for moving through the forest as you plan, but her's is not to question why.

Gawddamn, I just found this page!  And that led to me searching for the Principality of Feodoro, getting me here.  Mangup-Kale is way to the west, at the other end of the range, but of course we can find our own cave-city, can't we?

Let's suppose you hear about these cave cities from the common room stories that go around the inn, how they were cleaned out in the late 15th century by the Ottomans, at least as far as anyone knows.  There are tales that some of the inhabitants of these cities took to retreating completely underground, that they are now white-skinned humanoids that do not see the sun but who still have untold riches collected from the days when Tartar emperors ruled the Crimea, perhaps even objects left to them by the Mongols.  There might be anything in the depths of unknown tunnels up in those hills!

Anyway, I will leave you with this to mull over, while I go find a name for the two 7 hexes that you wanted to visit.  I stumbled across the cave cities looking for a gazatteer of the mountains.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Here are the bare bones of a map surrounding Kefe, in the Crimea:

The Captain will let you off the boat on the 19th of May.  You'll have to pay full price up to that number of days; so I know you paid half price for three.  Please make that up and then the remaining two days to get to Kefe.

Kefe is surrounded by a dry deciduous forest, with a tiny productive plain that includes Kefe and another market town, Soldaia, which is the blank group of hexes to the west of Kefe.  I will create these soon.  Above Kefe is a high range of hills and semi-mountains, 1600-2500 feet in height, very poor in food production but hugely productive in woods, iron ore and building stone.  The darkest brown hexes are unoccupied hinterland; the rest should be somewhat clear to you if you are reading the Worlds from Scratch posts.

The hexes adjacent to Krym are not forest, but steppe (very productive plain, as this country has been occupied for millennia and well-developed).  Beyond Krym it remains largely occupied by farms, farms and more farms.

There are little villages in the 3 and 4-type hexes; and these I shall add also.  I thought I should at least get the bare bones of the environment up for you so you can think for a bit.  Look for me to be improving the content in the next few hours (though I am going out for a brief walk).

Kefe itself is a strong Greek and Tatar population, very commercial in outlook, dedicated to collecting all those hammers up in the hills and processing them out through the port.  That should be enough information to get the party started.


At 3pm in the afternoon on the 19th of May, the weather is cool, with a good, moderate breeze blowing steadily out of the west, the very same wind that brought you a hundred miles in just 16 hours.  The sky is clear and blue, perfect conditions for comfortably doing work.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On to Crimea

It is raining the evening of the 4th when you climb aboard the boat, but it clears up as you depart on the 5th. By the morning of the 6th you’re fighting against a NE wind and tacking steadily but slowly against it. It is spitting rain. This gets easier as the wind declines through the day, but it is still pushing against you.

The wind improves for you through the 7th, with a low gentle breeze blowing you eastward ~ but then this dies away. Eventaully the Captain, to get some wind at all, begins to cut back again towards the northwest, and the 7th is almost completely wasted.

Once again, you’re tacking against the wind on the 9th, but four days you’ve been travelling and you’re still just 80 miles from Igneada. It has been slow going. Through the afternoon of the 9th you find yourself skirting the coast of Dobruja, as the Captain now hopes to catch a bit of current that will take him north along the rim of the Black Sea. The wind for three days has blown consistently from the northeast, in the least valuable way possible. Things do not get better until late on the 10th.

At last, on the 11th, the sails are full, the skies are clear (it has been scattered rain for a week now) and you make good time. There’s a good strong rain in the evening and the wind changes to the south on the 12th, but you’re described as 40 miles from the Crimea’s southwest coast now so you’re feeling better about progress.

You see the Crimea on the 13th, but the wind turns against you, pushing the ship into the coast. There’s rain and it is unpleasant, but the captain decides at this point to seek a harbor and wait for a better wind. Late on the 14th, you find yourself looking at the coast town of Yalta, on the Crimea. At that point, I’ll let the party decide its next move. You owe the captain 10 g.p. each and 40 g.p for Coraggio.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


It is Monday, April 24, as you reach Komar Limani.  The brothers will see their cousin and be happy that Enrico, Sofia and Kismet are willing to wait.  The players can crash during the afternoon, eat six lbs. of food each throughout the day and get back to a rested schedule.  This doesn't heal any hit points, but it does at least bring your sleeping around.

The brothers have to reach Igneada by the 5th of May.  It is a distance of about a hundred miles.  The brothers are willing to wait an extra day in Komar Limani if the party feels a desire to rest a day and at least gain a few hit points.

I would like to simply move the party along to Igneada.  I have no plans to take any hit points away from you and my rolls for five days of journey turn up no random encounters [some potential obstacles must remain in place].

Giving time for the roughness of the terrain and the short inconveniences of the Adrianopolis road between that town and Kallipolis, where the party would not be seen, you will arrive in Igneada on the 30th of April.  It is a cool day, with a gentle breeze and a clear sky.  Igneada is a very small village of about 20 buildings, one of which is a run-down little coffee house where the tables are outside on a veranda under a sloping roof.  It overlooks the Black Sea.  There's no ship in the very little harbor, little more than an indent of the sea, but the brothers assure you that one will be there on the 5th.

You have gotten to know the brothers very well ~ and with time, they have come to know your story now.  Their story is simple; they were born from a father who went off to sea to fight the Venetians in the late 1630s, who drowned there.  They were raised by their mother, aunt and grandfather, and they have always wished that they could go to sea like their father.  They have journeyed twice as crew for short stints - once to Chios and once to Thessalonika.  Signing permanently on board with a ship is their biggest dream.

They are Greco-Ionian in descent, with a healthy regard for the power of the Ottoman aristocracy but without the willingness to join the army.  It killed their father and they don't wish to die likewise.  They'd much rather be in business, find some way to gain a little plunder and perhaps own their own ships someday ~ one for each of them.

You can rest in Igneada until the ship arrives.  That is supposed to be in three to five days.  Is there any other information I can give until that time?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Young Men

It becomes evident to Enrico very quickly that these two men were not a threat to his horse.  They found the animal on the beach and were interested, but presumed that whoever left the horse here was bound to come back quickly.  They have, in fact, been looking after the horse without being asked, as a matter of course.

Their names are Anticles and Pericles.  They're brothers.  They're on their way to a small town in Thrace, Igneada, where they are to become part of a ship's crew.  They were recruited in Canakkale a week ago and told to head to that point.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Climbing to the Top of the Chimney Passage

Kismet, naturally, begins to climb up the vertical passage, being cautious about the wooden rungs, as they clearly feel weakened with dampness and perhaps rot.  He grips and steps upon the corners of the rungs, warning the others as he goes, though of course they begin to sense this as well.

Yet the rungs hold as Kismet climbs through the twisting chimney, until above, some twenty feet or so above him, he can see something that looks like a rattan-work covering.  There is a dim light showing through the rattan branches.  He cannot hear any sound or sense any movement.  After some natural whispering with his friends, he will eventually move up until he can see that it is nothing more than a covering over the chimney, not hooked by hinges in anyway.  The light seems to correspond to daylight.

All continues to be quiet.  What do you do?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pudding Herding ~ Round 5

The position after the pudding has attacked.  Kismet and Sofia may take action.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Shifting to the Left ~ Round 4

While the damage seems negligible, there is evidence of a part of the mass expanding in an explosion of purple-and-red pus where Enrico hit the creature, before this is pulled back into the mass's body.

It attacks both Enrico and Kismet, missing both characters but striking Enrico's armor.  I will need a d20 rolled from Enrico.

The creature also seems to be recoiling from the flames, squeezing towards 0404.

Showing the Party's moves from last round.

Here is the party's position following their move, but before Enrico was hit:

As well, here is the experience from the combat thus far.  Please, I'm not perfect, I could have missed damage somewhere.  Please correct me if you see an error:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

As It Blocks the Ladder ~ Round 3

The creature has already attacked, so it is the player's move.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It Isn't Harmless ~ Round 2

There's no question that the fire affected the creature, but it is not helpless.  It has just stunned Sofia from two hexes away, even as it hugs the wall near the books.

Sofia, I will need a d20 from you, as the front of your robe (or whatever you are wearing on your upper body) is attacked.

Enrico and Kismet both have torches lit and can act as they will.  Here is the present position of the party:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Evaluating a Broken Room

As you contemplate your options, the mass remains in place, gently undulating.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Climbing Higher

The drifting tunnel continues upwards for an uncomfortable distance and after about five minutes you're tired from the climb.  As the torch begins to breathe it's last, giving about three minutes warning, you come across a place in the tunnel that seems to have been shifted by an earthquake (which are fairly common in the area) ages ago.  The difference is perhaps six inches, with the tunnel above you simply shifted to the left and some stones in the walls and ceilings broken.

It seems to be stable, however; the dust on the floor suggests the shift happened at least years ago.  However, more recent, something has emerged from the rift and crawled upwards along the tunnel, leaving a trail of grease behind it about three feet wide.

Here is an image of the room, after Sofia's discovery:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Climbing into the Subterranean Hill

I neglected to mention that the wererat gives you its torch.  This torch should be good for another 14 minutes or so.

Leaving the wererat behind (and I think we can all agree we know that's what it was), the party climbs a flight of stairs, which leads to a short hall, a half flight of stairs, a landing and another flight of stairs.  You would be higher than the village now, so you would guess that you're under the hill.  The wererat is covering your rear, so you have no reason to worry about guards chasing you.  As well, given the sound of your own footsteps, you feel sure you'd hear them.

The torch has about 11 minutes remaining, or about 55 rounds.

At the top of the last stair, you find yourself at the end of a sloping hallway, one that climbs about thirty degrees upwards, like a mine drift.  You see in the torchlight, about twenty feet ahead, a wolf spider ~ apparently minding its own business.  The spread of its legs are as wide as the hall, about six feet.  It is looking down at you.

I'm going to charge you 1 round on the torch every twenty words.  You didn't leave your lantern on the horse, did you?

Passageways Below Pazarli

The three of you leap down into the hole, to find that the rubble has made a mound below.  You bang your hands and knees on some timbers and stone rubble, but experience no damage.  The rat's torch reveals a masonry tunnel that has been made a very long time ago, the floor of which is about 15 feet below the surface.

If you're with the rat, you're running now, along the tunnel.  "This will take us under the nearest hill, towards the east.  From there you'll be able to climb up a series of tunnels and stairs until you find an exit in the forest.  Once you do, go north along the ridge, until you reach the sea; you'll see a beach there.  I will do my best to send your horse there.  The soldiers will probably seize the horse for a time, but when they search for you my rats will cause the horse to flee; they'll herd the horse towards that beach.  It should be there by sunrise."

You take a series of left and right turns, passing other tunnels, for about fifteen rounds, before reaching a flight of stairs up.  "I must go back for my friends," says the rat.  "Just keep climbing.  Don't take any steps that go down.  You may get lost, but so long as you climb you'll find your way out."

Friday, March 10, 2017


If you're all still with me, let's take stock.

Sofia, now that I have the monk fields and studies up, could you please pick a field and a study in that field.  I think I've given sufficient detail for you to be able to make a reasoned, educated choice.

Enrico, are you willing to trust this giant rat with your horse and follow him, as he's asked?

The same follows for Kismet and Sofia.  Are you willing to trust the rat?

For the moment, I can't think of any other critical issues.  We can sort this out and then move on from here.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rats ~ Round 5

Things are happening.  The guard in 0413 makes his morale check and doesn't flee.  However, a rat skitters across the courtyard and engages him.

This guard is profoundly focused, however, and manages to ignore the rats in order to attack Sofia.  He manages to roll a natural 20; his second d20 roll is a ten, so that he causes double damage.  With his scimitar he causes 12 points, stunning Sofia and knocking her back into 0314.

Sofia has a wound and will now bleed 1 point per round on the enemy's turn, until she binds her wound or is able to receive magical healing of some kind.

The rest of the guards do not move forward and attack; they've found themselves beset upon by rats, about a dozen of them, and the shouting in the lane has become a din.  There seems to be rats all around, but none of them are attacking the party.

Then, all of the sudden, Enrico's horse begins to freak out, rushing back and behind the tree in 0614/0714.  A section of the courtyard falls out and collapses, leaving a black hole ~ it is too dark, with eyes not adjusted, to see what has caused it within a single combat round, so the hole is all you can see.

I want to emphasize that the rats are NOT coming from the hole; they have appeared to be coming from everywhere.  No rats at all come from the hole.

The players can now make their move, excepting Sofia.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Pushed Back ~ Round 4

The guards stack up against Sofia and Kismet, two guards each, to overbear and force them back into the courtyard.

The fighter in 0511 gains +3 for overbearing and rolls a modified 21, shoving Sofia back into 0513.  This counts as the front fighter's move and attack, costing him 3 AP.  The attack causes no damage (he rolls a 1-3=0).

The fighter in 0509 (the leader who was the "big talker" the party hit earlier) steps into 0511 (2 AP), lends his weight to overbearing Sofia (1 AP) then attacks Enrico.

[It is arguable that his helping push Sofia should count as an attack, but I don't think this follows.  A military unit's formation must be able to push against an enemy and allow both lines to attack; this would mean the back line must be able to contribute both the force of weight AND an attack]

The leader rolls an 8 against Enrico, missing.

We then repeat this against Kismet.  Overbearing, 0411 rolls a 2 and Kismet holds his ground.

This forces the guard behind 0411, who advances into 0411 to help push, to expend his 4th AP to retreat again into 0410.  There he stays.  Are you fellows following this?  Trying to make it as clear as I can.

This leaves 0413 empty.  The guard that pushed Sofia has 2 AP left, so he moves into 0413.

Finally, the guard that starts in 0508 can advance to 0509, 0510 and 0511, then use his last 2 AP to get into 0512.  That's the end of his move.

The rest of the guards then pile into the alley.  The map is cut off at the point the players can reasonably view.

Player Turn

Before taking action, I need to explain that Sofia can feel a distinct vibration in the stones under her feet in 0513.  Something seems to be happening underfoot.  The other characters cannot feel anything, but the horse seems nervous.

The players can act.

Following their action, the situation appears like this (note the rats):

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Charged! ~ Round 3

Working through the charge rules I wrote, not wanting to make any mistakes.

The two front rushers pass their stunned companions and win initiative against Kismet and Enrico.  They pass through hexes 0412 and 0512.  This gives them both a +2 to hit and +2 to damage.  They don't "break" because they are facing only three combatants, who are not in formation.

The one attacking Kismet rolls a 14, hitting only AC 7.

The one on Enrico rolls a modified 21, hitting AC 0.  With a scimitar, the guard causes maximum damage, 8+2, or 10.  This will stun Enrico and whirl him into 0612.

The two guards coming up behind the charging pair now move into 0511 and 0411 (movement arrows not shown, because I don't want to clutter up the image, which looks a mess already.  These two attack Kismet and Enrico without charging.  Kismet is hit with an 18 and takes 3 damage.  I don't think that stuns (please confirm).  The other, on Enrico, misses with a 4.

This turns the combat over to the party.  Enrico's horse (forgetting the name), which I am ruling is not hitched to the tree (you were making plans to leave), will turn and kick at 0512.  I will let Enrico roll to hit:  both hooves, remember, damage 1-6.  Found Kismet's hit points, 15, so he isn't stunned and can attack.  Sofia can attack.

Following the player's move, the combat looks like this:

Accumulated x.p. so far:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Rushed ~ Round 2

Three of the guards throw spears at the party.  One of these, thrown at Kismet, is at medium range; then Kismet and Enrico each are targeted with short range throws.

Against Kismet, the modified rolls are 7 and 11.  Against Enrico, I roll a 2.  At the point when the spear is thrown, there are no guards in front of the thrower, so friendly fire doesn't occur.

The sabremen then rush up the alley towards you.  They can charge next round.  That means if you stay where you are, they can blast right through you.

The party can move now.

[don't worry about the small orange numbers; they're just there to help me keep track of who was hit]

Following the party's move, the map looks as follows:

For the present, I will skip showing the x.p.  The players have only caused damage, they haven't taken any.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Bring the Fight to Them ~ Round 1

The image on the left describes as much as the party can see at the moment.  The party has the initiative and can take first action as they wish.  Keep in mind the range on weapons with regards to daggers and axes.

You're +2 to hit anyone in a hex with two people in it.  The fellow who "arrested" you is in hex 0406 ~ and like Kismet, he has a +2 armor class as well.

In terms of armor, they are very lightly armored ~ a leather jerkin only, half of leather armor, giving them an AC of 9.

Do as you will.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pazarli Street, 3 AM

A depiction of the court, lane and street where the players find themselves in Pazarli:

Sofia didn't take a chance on putting her head around the corner to see what the guards look like, so I'm depicting them with orange patches.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

At Night in Pazarli

Date: 3am Sunday, April 23, 1651
Location: Ruined Village of Pazarli, Gelibolu Peninsula

Weather: a gentle breeze from the south and a clear sky. Pleasant, feels like 17 C (63 F).

Turning in, keeping watch, treating Ibrahim as though he is still here, the party finds a good structure with a single entrance.  There is no door, all the doors have been broken, and the interiors full of broken furnishings and damaged goods.  Some of the buildings do have evidence of animals having lived there, even examples of spoor left behind.

The building you find has a single floor and it is recessed back from the main road in the village.  You find it is largely untouched and has two beds in good order and one that is less so.  You settle in, eat a little cold food and set up your watches.

Then, during Kismet's watch, he will hear the sound of what's probably leather armor outside, at least 50 feet away.  Kismet should be standing in the door so he can see the courtyard outside the residence, a courtyard surrounded by two other buildings with a narrow 8 foot wide lane leading from the road.  He can't quite see anything out there, but he can hear what must be a small number of men, and a sound like voices speaking (without being clear enough to be understood).  There's reason to think that if Kismet were to move down the narrow lane, nearer the road, he could tell what they were saying.

The building where you are has access to the roof, and that access includes a ladder down to the back yard of the building, a grove that will in turn give access to the outer edge of the village, if escape is intended.  You're not trapped.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Little Hamlet

Date: 9pm Saturday, April 22, 1651
Location: Gelibolu Peninsula, Strait of Dardanelles
Weather: a light breeze from the southwest and clouds drifting from the west. Feels like 13 C (55 F).

For three hours you make good headway, climbing up the hill east of Eceabat, down  and across a small valley, then up another hill and into yet another valley.  From the heights, you can see both the Dardanelles strait on the east and occasionally the Aegean Sea on the west.

The hills are well forested, though they have been maintained and cared for; as such, they are not what you would call wild.  You've seen shepherds, you've seen an isolated house in the distance, but it is only after reaching this second valley that you come upon a small hamlet.  The sun is quite gone, by now; it has fallen behind the hill you have just crossed over.  It is late dusk, enough to see but the light will be completely gone in a few minutes (the sun falls quickly at this latitude).

There are only about a dozen huts; there are goats and sheep drifting around the green grass by the well.  There is an old man who wishes you well as you appear and asks outright if you are bandits.

Friday, February 10, 2017

From Psara to Thrace

Date: 6pm Saturday, April 22, 1651
Location: Eceabat, Strait of Dardanelles
Weather: a light air, the wind hardly moving, with cool weather and a clear sky. Feels like 10 C (51 F).

The galley starts off towards Mytilene, to return the Vizier; you're informed that you'll be transferred to another ship when you reach that town.  This takes not long; the sea is even and the galley handles the journey smoothly, due to it's size.

It is noon on the 20th when you arrive at the city upon the isle of Lesbos.  The mainland of Anatolia is very close, just four miles away, big and impressive.  Mytilene proper is a fair-sized city, but not quite large enough for a Fochlucan college.  It has about 2000 buildings.

The wind turns, however, to the north, so that the journey north by ship would have to dare the Mytilene Strait beween Lesbos and the mainland potentially at night.  As such, you're put up by the Vizier, and fed to excess, so that you can take a smaller boat the morning of the 21st.  The Vizier finds a good roundship that can manage to take Enrico's horse in comfort.

At nine the morning of the 21st, the wind turns to the east and you start off down the passage.  The wind is not in your favor but a few hours, however, before you find yourself tacking against a north wind.  This proves most difficult and your journey is lengthened and lengthened until, at last, you round the cape and reach the town of Kumkale just before midnight.  There is no proper harbour, so the Captain explains he will put you off with the light.  You sail into Kumkale at about 6:30 am.  It is not a very large place, just 20 buildings near a very large Byzantine ruin, untended for about three hundred years.

Kumkale is on the end of a point and you find yourself wading, with Enrico's horse, through the shallow water to the beach.  The horse has had to swim about fifty yards between the ship and when it could begin to stride along the stony bottom.

You clean up, dry off, eat, enjoy the fact that you haven't had to pay for this last voyage either, then start off for Canakkale, which is about 12 miles to the northeast.  Canakkale is on the Dardanelles; the road is rough and untended.  The weather is dry and somewhat less warm than it has been in the Greek isles ~ note that it has been cool all day.

You reach the town of Canakkale ~ all of 200 buildings ~ at three in the afternoon.  Wanting to get across the strait, and it being cheapest here ~ only a silver piece per leg ~ you wait two hours for passage to Eceabat, on the other side.  Eceabat is just a little larger than Kumkale was, but it has a large dock, which is in a state of continuous loading and unloading.  A fair number of caravans (in Canakkale also) have pitched tents all around the small village, so that there are at least a thousand people wandering.

It is 6 pm, as I said.  There is no where to stay in Eceabat ~ and I need the party to tell me what they want to do from here, so I will stop now.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Reaching Psara

Throughout the night, the wind remains to the southwest and the Mariam begins to make fair progress.  Then, not long after the party rises, a light breeze begins to pick up from the south.  Soon the ship is moving along as a faster clip, until the southwest cape of the Island of Chios appears ahead.  After the noon hour passes, the weather continues to be pleasant but it verges on warm, as the wind from the south gives an unmistakable muggy, subtropical odor.  The ship runs with the wind through the early afternoon, until the Captain orders that you travel west to retain the advantage of reaching with the wind.  Chios quickly disappears off the starboard stern.

By then, there is a moderate breeze blowing, about 14 knots.  It is a firm, stiff wind, and the sails are full as the ship plows on through the Aegean.  With the evening, as the sun approaches the west horizon, the slight warmth of the day gives again to a generous pleasant evening.  At eight, an island appears ahead: Psara, with the mountain of Kimiseos rising on its right-hand side.

The Captain gives orders to heave to, to sail the Mariam nearer the island.  He gives as his reason the need to collect a passenger from the island.  As the sun sets, the ship has moved into the very edge of the harbor; there is a village you can see on the shore, where a few dim, distant lanterns hang upon the exterior of the houses.

Perhaps the party attempts to speak to the Captain, but he is taciturn and unwilling to speak.

It is Wednesday, the 19th of April.  It is pleasant but a moderate breeze continues to blow from the south.

Do remember to eat two pounds of food today each, and yesterday also.  The mess is not open to the party; you are eating your own food.

First Day Out

For this post, I want to experiment a little with my ship movement system, built last summer, collecting data from the wiki.  It is the sort of thing I wouldn't have time to do with an at-table system, but I feel that with a little practice and experimentation I can build an excel doc that will automate the travel.  In any case, you're not stuck waiting while I work out these calculations.

Come the next morning, on the 18th, the party finds themselves boarding the Mariam.  The Captain has noted that while the wind remains that of a light air, barely 4 knots.  Yet it is enough to partly fill his sails and begin towards Kallipolis.  The ship is not flying along; by noon on the 18th you've done little more than travel over the horizon, though you can still see the top of the island mountain that is Naxos.

By that time, the Mariam finds itself meeting a light breeze that can be felt on the skin, coming from the northwest, but as it is striking the ship's beam, your progress is not much better.  This continues throughout the day, so that by six in the evening you have not yet crossed a single hex.

At that point, the wind drops, but as it swings around to the southwest, you actually do much better with it.  The sails fill as the sun begins to sink in the west and the ship steadily scuds towards the north, making the best use of the wind.  As the sun sets, you're told that somewhere out there in the dark there are the islands of Icaria and Mikonos on either side.  As you ready for bed, you find the weather is very pleasant, as comfortable as can be, it is quiet aboard the ship and the sea is hardly moving.  The night is clear and full of stars, without any lights to dim them.

On your first day, you're quite surprised to find that the Captain is quite harsh to his crew; as they tack to find the wind, with very little wind to find, Tueni does not hesitate to physically abuse them, threaten them, even to where he grows red in the face as he shouts.  It might seem to be the part of a Captain, but there are signs everywhere that the crew is unhappy about it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In Hora

Date: 9pm Monday, April 17, 1651
Location: Hora, Island of Naxos
Weather: a light air, with the air so calm there is hardly any movement on the water, with no detectable breeze, yet not quite absolute calm.  The sky is clear and full of stars, the sun having set.  Feels like 17 C (63 F).

According to the diary in possession of the party, the Captain of the Petrel dropped the main party off in Amisos on March 26, promising to return on April 26 and to wait until the 14th of May.  Also according to the diary, the 14th of May is when the party returned to Amisos again.  That is 27 days off.

You have little trouble getting away from Koufonisia, having given your plans to Carlito and Tazio.  You receive a ride from Arkemis, the boy who boated you out to the island where you met the Psammodrons.  He takes you to Hora through the day of April the 17th, so that you arrive in the evening just as the sun is falling.  The wind was variable throughout the day and so it took nearly 12 hours to reach Hora.

You find here a captain who can take you to Syros, as was your wish; but you also find a captain able to take you to Kallipolis.  This is a city at the entrance of the Dardanelles Strait, and well on the way to Constantinople.  Traffic between the Dardanelles and Constantinople is near continuous, the journey across the Sea of Marmara there a brief one and among the most travelled courses in the world.

This Captain's name is Issam Tueni; he is Lebanese, from Tripoli.  He seems like a robust, friendly fellow, willing to pay for your drinks while you interview him, more than willing to make you a good berth on his 310 ton Brigantine, a big carrack, much larger than the Petrel.

The other ship's captain is a Greek schooner master, bound for Syros.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Discovery

Date: 6pm Friday, April 14, 1651
Location: Koufonisia
Weather: a gentle breeze from the southwest, with pleasant weather and light fluffy clouds in the sky. Feels like 18 C (64 F).

Having paid for the journey, the party arrives in Koufonisia in the early evening.  For the second day's journey from Hora, you have a little company on board ship, a fellow named Akydemos, who describes himself as half-Turkish, half-Greek, and on the whole the blessing of two parents who never did get along.  He is an itinerant boat-builder, bound for Koufonisia to seek a little work repairing fishing vessels, as he has been unable to find further work in Hora for some weeks now.  He has his tools with him and you find him good and friendly company.

In Koufonisia, once you dock, you send word and soon Tazio comes to meet you.  He tells you that the diggings are going quite well, that the portents he has seen the locals perform has encouraged the town to believe it will be a good year for farming and that he is pleased to be doing this sort of work. He's never had this sort of authority before and it is turning out that he quite likes it.

Unfortunately, it isn't long before you hear that the locals don't much like him.  He has an 8 charisma and he is wearing thin on the populace.  On several occasions he has lost his temper and he is most insulting of anyone who does not listen immediately to anything he says.

What with one thing or another, you conduct a little business, have your stuff moved off the boat and to your places of rest, field questions from the townspeople, hear about Tazio, get a little to eat and finally, before sunset around 7:51pm, you return to your sleeping places.

And there you will find on Kismet's bed, an open bundle of blanketing, in the middle of which is laying a broadsword.  Atop the broadsword, wrapped in a piece of twine, is a small scroll, about four inches long and a half-inch thick.  The broadsword does not look like a modern European weapon.  The lines, the shape, the bronze handle, the shaping and etching on the bronze handle, these things indicate that the weapon is very much made to look as though it were from Ancient Rome.  The blade seems very sound, however, though it has seen use, undoubtedly.  But certainly it does not look more than a thousand years old.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Enrico Alone Again ~ Round 5

I posted a map earlier, then realized Ibrahim must have been stunned by the 2 hit points Sofia had caused.  You must have had 8 hit points or less at that point, yes?  Please confirm your hit point total at this time.

I think this leaves only Enrico to act for that side.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sofia is Out of Daggers ~ Round 4

Following Sofia's move, both Enrico and Ibrahim are able to take action.  Note I have not changed Kismet's facing; stunned, he was not able to do so.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sparring ~ Round 3

Following Kismet and Sofia's move, here's the layout.  Ibrahim is stunned again, falling back to 1409.

Enrico can take a move.  Remember, there's a -1 AP penalty for leaving any hex adjacent to a combatant.

As Kismet is stunned, Sofia is the only one who can move.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sparring ~ Round 2

Ibrahim is stunned, but Enrico's armor blocked Sofia's dagger.  Enrico can take an action first.

Following Enrico's move (I presume he has 3 AP in his armor), Sofia and Kismet can go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sparring Redux ~ Round 1

Very well, from the beginning.

This time around Enrico and Ibrahim clearly have the initiative.  If those two could please take their FULL round, doing whatever they can with their AP.  Both have 5 AP.


After Enrico and Ibrahim's move, here is the map:

Sofia and Kismet, in your good time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


I'm removing the content from this post because, rather than act upon it, the result was to address difficulties in the campaign and sort out the participants.  This was meant to be part of the first combat round for a sparring combat, but it did not work out that way.

I'm leaving the comment thread untouched.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Rocky Field ~ Sparring 1

Ready to Rumble

The above is the clearest part of ground you could find.  It takes 3 AP to climb up on top of one of the large boulders; they're large enough that if you're hit and stunned, you must make a dex check or you will take 1 damage from falling off.

The smaller stones will not block movement, but if you stand in a hex with a small stone in it, your armor class is reduced by 2 points due to stumbling over the stone.

I need Sofia and Nine-toes to each roll a d6 for initiative.

The monks move.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What is This?

At the moment that Ibrahim stumbles across the description of the artifact in the Baskunchak as being Jewish, there is a distant shout and cry that compels the party's attention.

Philoctetes has been steadily climbing the slope away from the party, up to the church above you, and now the he has turned about and is shouting exuberantly from several hundred feet up.  He's too far away to be heard clearly, of course, but now he comes bounding down the slope.

Ibrahim may feel the need to read a bit more ~ it says in the diary that the Jewish Artifact is from the Khazar Dynasty, that ruled the area until the 11th century, when the Kaganate was broken by the Mongols.  The artifact is not named in the diary, however.  And that brings us to the last page, the text of which was described in the next post.

By then, Philoctetes has gotten close enough that he can be heard shouting, "It's there!  It's there!  I tell you it's there!  I've seen it!"

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ramona's Diary

As Ibrahim opens the book to the front page, he reads,

January 17, 1650
I write this in dedication to you, Mother, because upon your deathbed, you swore you would read every word I wrote down if I would attend to my letters as you fought to have me do so hard as a young girl.  All this time I have resisted doing so out of resentment, but as it looks like soon I will join you in whatever dark hell you've come to occupy, I shall begin writing to warn you of my arrival.
It appears that I have plundered my last English ship.  They are looking for my ship from the Canaries to Iceland, it is only a matter of time before they find me.  As I am bound to meet English ships around the Horn of Africa, and being that I am in no good stead with the Amacuro Pirates who know me in America, I shall try to slip past Gibraltar and make my last stand in the Mediterranean.  It will be warmer there.  I have sent word to Victor a month ago that I shall come to Leer, but received nothing back. 
 Ramona Salvador

It does indeed appear to be a diary.

There are two places in the book where the binding seems to be broken ~ and upon a quick glance, about two thirds of the book, the back part, lacks any writing at all.

On the last written page it reads,

It isn't here.  We've been lied to, and undone.  It is clear that this has all been part of some plot that has nothing to do with us ~ but it has damned us to hell just the same.

The first place where the binding seems to break, the one that is earlier in the book, reads,

January 7, 1651
Of all the coincidences, I have met two of the same fellows who were mixed up with Victor and that business in Leer.  They have asked to be taken to the Black Sea and I am ameniable ~ but I wonder at coincidences.  They have a mage with them now, some fellow named Lukas.  I do not trust him; he watches everything.
I wonder, too, about the one called Ahmet.  What does it mean that he has the same name as my first mate, who gave me up five years ago.  And what does it mean that his voice goes through me like a razor.

The second place where the binding is broken reads,

May 15th, 1651
They are back, and I find that he has brought the little bitch with him.  She stares at him with love in her eyes but I can see there is something less in his.  Well, I hope they will be happy together.  After not much longer I will be rid of the pair of them and be about a better business, I think.  I have been promised transport in Constantinople, so long as I perform some service.  The Gnomes have not yet let me know what that will be . . .