Thursday 26 November 2020

Belswick 26: getting married

Last session in Belswick, our heroes escaped the collapsing lair of Xiximanter the Serpent Lich, hired a bunch of dwarves to turn it into a quarry for dressed stone and take care of their affairs in the villages of Crossroads, Culfield and Witmarrow, and blast to kill themself out of existence experimenting with Xixi's horrible fungal cloning chamber. This session, it's wedding time as Lomin the rogue's alter ego Olga gets married to Lord Kerjules the Hedgehog!


Last session Morti the Artificer blew himself up and Tilbord the Cleric/Bard/Warlock/Abomination actually retired as an abbot and teacher of the new Open Book orphanage in Crossroads!

This session we see these players' new characters: wild and fey Pyrrha, wearing a sun dress, wolf-pelt cloak and conjuring arcane fire and flint weapons; and vulture-faced Ungulu the Cleric of the always understanding, always friendly Order of St Kurelda of the Light - the Inquisition. They have ties to both Lord Kerjules and Mother Iranelle of the order of light, which is enough to get them forced on the party! Ungulu brings with him a fellow Acolyte of the Light, one Harald who took his vow of silence so serious he cut out his own tongue.


Guy the wizard wasn't present for last session's haven turns, so we handle those now. He has regained control of his magic as something clicks in his mind and his graps of psionics fades...for now. He spends time recovering from this childhood-affliction grown stronger and exchanges letters with fellow student Ylaine de Nantres in Arrayne, who has spotted Guy's sister Josephine. But didn't Guy talk to her on the Isles of the Dead back at the beginning of the campaign??

Catching up with his mentor Fergus, Guy presents the spellbook of Xiximanter, which contains one very dangerous, very heretical spell banned by the Church of the Authority: Plane Shift. Both understand what they have in hand: a one-way ticket to they pyre. After coded correspondence with their August Lodge of Augurs and Diviners, Guy's remaining college debt of about 45000 gp is erased, he gains a nominal 4000 gp reward for the spellbook, and a position as Ardent Seer and Adept of the Lodge worth 30 gp/month!

We zap back to the end of last session, when Shams, Guy, Lomin and Tilbord each got woken up by the shattered ghost of Brent the Cloned Bandit! It's a bit of a struggle, but they manage to defeat the ghost wearing nothing but nightshirt and hastily scrounged weaponry. The last of this guy, hopefully?


It's time to get married! Lomin has been playing the role of long-deceased Lady Olga of Culfield, who was a close friend and didn't have heirs or relatives who could inherit. Now Olga will marry Lord Kerjules of neighbouring Crossroads to cement the region against coming war with southern Arrayne.

We run through a couple of scenes during the wedding:

Tourney! Mostly good-natured archery, jousting and melee, until spurned inheritor Sir Drake Selbern steps up in his crude plate armor to insult the living daylights out of old, decrepid Lady Olga. This needs a champion to settle the guy once and for all. Eyes turns to Shams the Dwarf, but who steps up but newly introduced Pyrha wearing nothing more than a sun dress? It seems like an unfair battle, and it is - the barbarian girl absolutely demolishes Selbern as he hacks into her with his sword.

Wedding ceremony! The Crossroads church is packed as Bishop Urael - Lomin's brother - seals the two nobles in holy matrimony. Interestingly enough, both Olga and Lomin are seen in the church, a gift of the bishop. Afterwards, it's time to pay up: Urael wants the party to make sure Mother Iranelle of the Inquisition isn't present at the wedding dinner. After typical PC-debate, the group settles on tried and tested poison.

Reception and gift-giving, during which Lomin buys four potions of purgatives from Annabelle the potion maker, intimidating her with his knowledge of her link to the former goblin infestation in Xiximanter's tomb. Inquisitor Ungulu amuses himself intimidating a dozing guard at a cart - and discovers a hidden magic sigil below the wares. Before he can interrogate the guard, the guy disappears in a cloud of purple mist. Meanwhile the other characters each try to slip the old nun a dose. One attempt goes awry but two others via invisibility and sneaky disguise succeed, and soon the White Robe is waddle-running to an outhouse, not to return for the night...

Finally, a wonderful evening feast where the whole party is invited. Urael has one last gift to bestow: a dinner with the memories of the departed, to wish well and feel connected. It's a strange thing to see Olga dining with her dead husband Malcer, to see the shades of Brent the bandit and Vedric von Vermis the wizard harrassing Tilbord in a corner, for always-glib Lomin to have a tearful heart-to-heart with his murdered fiancee Valanthe, and for Guy to speak to his dead sister ("do not mistake the medium for the message").

Then a group of servers walks in from opposing doors and denounces these heretical proceedings in the name of unknown Zulin. Strange angelic creatures covered in wings and eyes start to swirl around their leader, before Guy dispels the cloud and Ungulu lobs a cleansing fireball into the mass - but not before one of the group shoots Lord Kerjules in the heart with a poisoned bolt. The hedgehogling goes down, frothing at the mouth - and that's where we'll continue next session!

Sunday 8 November 2020

Belswick 25: killing PCs during downtime

Last session in Belswick, the players vanquished Xiximanter the Lich and finally cleared the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. Hoorah! Now they deal with the aftermath in a length downtime session, which ends with a double botch and sudden PC death. I already ran part of this haven turn for two players in a mini session for 2 players; this time, we pick up with almost the entire group - our wizard couldn't make it.

IN CROSSROADS AND BEYOND, war with Arrayne is in full swing. Soldiers pass through, taxes are raised and whispers talk of dangerous spies from the southern kingdom. Crossroads fares well: the town has grown since winter with new shops and inhabitants who are turning the town into a supply point for the war.

THE PARTY STARTS OUT in the lab of Xiximanter the Lich in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. As the roof starts to crumble and collapse, Tilly races to rescue as many artifacts and books as he can. Helped by Shams, he saves a few books, but heavy rocks knock the talking alchemy set containing parts of Xiximanter's soul out of his hands. Choosing wisdom over valor, the pair exit the collapsing lab. The rest of the tomb seems stable enough.

INVESTIGATING THEIR HAUL, the party puts the following on the table as Tilly manages to wrench their secrets out of the ether with identify spells:

  • Ring of Spell Storing, 5 levels max, requires attunement, 2500 gp
  • Bag of Holding, weighs 2 inventory slots and can contain 20, 1200 gp
  • Potions of Healing: 2x greater (100 gp each, 4d4+4) and 1x superior (500 gp, 8d4+8)
  • Xiximanter's Alchemist's Stone: one use as level 14 Transmutor (heal & cure of inflictions, revive, give youth), 2000 gp
  • 3 Tuning Forks for the rare and discouraged cleric spell Plane Shift (wizards don't get this spell, or any other of level 7 or higher; those simply don't exist), total value 750 gp

Xiximanter's Spellbook in Du'van, worth 3250 for the spells alone and at least double that to the right collector - Order of the Scroll, Order of Light or Lodge of Augurs & Diviners:

  1. detect magic, shield, thunderwave
  2. acid arrow, detect thoughts, invisibility
  3. counterspell, dispel magic
  4. dimension door, polymorph
  5. cloudkill, scrying
  6. contingency, programmed illusion
  7. plane shift

LOMIN the Elf Rogue talks to lord Haine Kerjules about the lord's upcoming wedding to Olga of Culfield - Lomin's alter ego. Lomin confesses he has been playing Olga's role since she died 2-3 winters ago. Kerjules is distraught - if this comes out, his name is ruined! Without asking for huge bribes or favours, Lomin suggests that "Olga" can pass away soon after the wedding, making sure that the secret is safe.

There is a sickness in fief Culfield. Animals and serfs are winded and lightheaded - bad air from Witmarrow swamp? Manuel the steward, haggard and pale, gives Lomin a letter "for the priest". He explains he doesn't know what's inside or who gave it to him. He explains he was assaulted on Candle Night and given this missive for Tilbord. Lomin promises to take the letter to Tilly, as Manuel is working day and night to pay the war taxes and keep the estate running.

Lomin's brother Urael, roving bishop in the order of the scroll, visits Lomin with a proposal. Not only is Urael looking into Azrael--sorry, Lomin's claim that he was framed for murder by their own brother, he can help make the wedding go smoother. Urael is willing to use magic to make it seem that Lomin and Olga are both present at the wedding. No price is discussed.

SHAMS THE DWARF ELDRITCH KNIGHT gets her armor and shield repaired, is inducted into the Marble Library of the dwarves by her aunt Tole, and visits potionmaker Annabelle to stock up on healing potions. Weirdly enough, the potionmaker doesn't seem to recognize Shams or remember her being rescued from the bandits in the Serpent Tomb. (For that matter, where did that Annabelle go?)

TILLY THE BARD/CLERIC/WARLOCK is busy starting up his orphanage in fief Crossroads. He is happy to get help from the nun Moira the mouseling of the Order of the Scroll. Tilly's mentor Father Eustace has been having trouble taking care of the Sleeping Priest Hieronymus in the northern woods. Luckily, Mother Iranelle of the Order of St Kurelda is passing through to lend an hand. Always fun to talk with the inquisition when you're an arch-heretic!

Iranelle's titanic bodyguard is one of the dreaded Scarlet Guard of the Archbishop Hector himself. Its armor reminds Tilly of a deviant design powered by stolen souls he once saw, but when he tries to investigate, the guard cruelly grasps Tillys hand and shoves him back, hand on the hilt of his enormous greatsword.

MORTI THE GNOME ARTIFICER is busy investigating the resurrective sarcophagus left in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. He wants to turn it into a walking tank with parts scavenged from his clockwork rhinoceros Uni. It turns out that there are control gems missing. "Crucial control rods missing", hiss the Du'van serpent folk runes; "continue anyway?"

By happy accident, Lomin has found a couple of the gems "in the dirt" and is willing to sell them to Morti. Together with the wizard Fergus the Augur - Guy's mentor, now happy that his tower can finally be built with stones from the Tomb - Morti manages to create enough copies of the control gem to repair the sarcophagus.

Gems in hand, the gnome returns to the Tomb of the Serpent Kings to finish his new invention. The dwarves quarrying there are eager to get the gnome and his foolish contraption out of the way! Which side of the crystals goes where though? Messing around, Morti rolls poorly and gets zapped with arcane energy. As he flips the gems around, I ask him for one last Arcana check - with advantage, because he's been very careful so far.

Morti's first Arcana roll is a 1. Red light begins to glow inside the sarcophagus, quickly shifting up via orange, yellow and green to blue-ish purple. From behind him, Morti's almost-intelligent Green Book of Inventation mutters "oh no, and this one was showing such promise..." Luckily, advantage means you get to roll twice and keep the higher!

Morti rolls...a second 1. The jagged light from the sarcophagus quickly dopplers beyond violet straight into a blinding flash of octarin...and as the light fades, the entire room is empty.

Morti's player had told me he was interested in trying out a new character. We weren't quite ready yet to make the switch, but a double botch like that with an ancient arcane device has to be rewarded somehow! Goodbye Morti, I would have loved to see more of you. And maybe we will? After all, they didn't find a body...

As we start to fade to black, a last scene. Everyone is in their respective bed sleeping or trancing, as a raspy whisper curls into their ears. "You killed me! Not once, not twice, but thirty times!"

Standing at the foot of each bed, half transparent with hate-yellow eyes and bearing the wounds of all the executions his clones were put through, is Brent the Bandit, cloned and murdered and now back from the dead one last time to get his revenge!



  • Tilly thinking that knowledge is much more important than his life. Bit of a bother if you think about it.
  • Morti and Tilly are exactly the same. That gnome - by the Authority, if I find him I'll hit him until his eyes are straight again...
  • Good job by the dwarves setting up the trade house. Trade route already good for Witmarrow. But the war is showing the rotten parts of society.
  • Oh yeah, and a wedding - little culture shock there, I've never seen so much hubbub about a simple contract.


  • Morti surviving a fight with a lich to then disappear himself with an experiment. Seriously, double 1 on a roll with's a gift. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ญ
  • Tilly staying in the background during the lich fight only to risk his life to save a book as the ceiling caves in.
  • Shams is the only hero in the group, and her imp the only paladin ๐Ÿ˜‚ Thanks for saving me!
  • Lomin scrambling to get control of his shady business and ending up richer once again.
  • Big changes in Crossroads, interesting! And more big changes to come. Marriage. War. Bring it!


  • Hilarity ensues. And shenanigans.
  • Thank Shams for tagging along with Tilbรธrd, or else it would have been a double casualty today. Although of course there was also a succubus around to lend a manicured hand.
  • Morti surviving Xiximanter the lich to die as he sticks his fingers into the wall plug...
  • DM: you have advantage on this roll!
  • Morti: great, only I rolled double ones...
  • Lomin was in great form. Loved the little talks with Kerjules & Urael, but also with Morti & Baphomet / Annabelle.


  • Great session!
  • Morti's double 1 - nuff said
  • Tilly is going to retire.... No more soul training of deal making?
  • Lomin plays a real rogue
  • Shamms saves Tilly, well done!


Common recipes: 50 gp each
comprehension, false life, hate, healing 2d4+2, heroism, love, sovereign grease, ventriloquism

Uncommon recipes: 100 gp each
breathlessness, burrow, clairvoyance, darkvision, energy resistance (one element), fire breath, giant size, glibness, greater healing 4d4+4, hide from animals, hide from undead, levitation, magic weapon, purge poisons, shrink, speak with beasts, speak with birds, speak with crawling things, speak with fish, speak with plants, spider climb, tongues, transposition, water breathing

Rare recipes: 500 gp each
deep sleep, flight, gaseous form, haste, superior healing 8d4+8, invisibility, poison (DMG), sovereign glue, transformation: rat, transformation: salmon, water walk

Thursday 29 October 2020

Belswick interlude - One Question for Hell

"What the fuck happened to your family's armor and shield?"
"Black ooze. Don't ask."

In which my wife and I meet up with Tilly's player on a lazy Saturday to play their haven turns. This mini session of Belswick: heresy, devilish contracts, saying no to promotion, and sending the littlest paladin to Hell.

Last session in Belswick, the party made bone meal out of Xiximanter the lich, earning level 7 and two solid haven turns for all their trouble. This is how Tilly the cleric and Shams the eldritch knight spend that time:

TILLY convinces Baltoplat the Succubus (liberated from Xiximanter's tomb) to serve as his confidant and agent. Baltoplat will assume the guise of Moira the Mouseling nun of the Order of the Scroll and act as caretaker for Tilly's orphanage-cum-spy-school in Crossroads.

The price: one soul freely given for each year of service, or four souls captured through Tilly's infernal Soul Coin, or the contract is void and the devil is free to act as she please. The pair sign an infernal contract and tear it into two halves, each of which heals into the full text; Baltoplat hands one to Tilly and the other to a little notary imp in a monk's frock. If Tilly wants more services - like learning how to summon devils or binding imps, he will have to pay extra.

Then in a dark, dark rite, Tilly uses necrotic power to shear off his left hand, grafting on the Hand of the Betrayer instead. As a nice aside, this desecrates the old cemetary north of Crossroads, allowing entrance to his buddy Jacques Cousteau the Ghoul.

SHAMS returns to the neighbouring fief Witmarrow, where her Dwarf compatriots have built up a fortified trade house above an underground vault and barracks. From here they will trade advanced siegecraft and alchemy to Duchy Belswick in return for food and basic materials. Shams' aunt Tole arrives to stone shape-caulk any leaks in the cellar - and to tell Shams that she's done well, congrats, now accept a glitzy position as captain of a company on the Dwarves' Great Trek Down.

Shams, however, is very ready to turn her back on her race's mad dash into the depths: she wants to stay topside. Together with Tole she hatches a plan to be inducted into the loreseekers of Tole's Marble Library, which will give her an honourable way to stay in the sunlands. We run-skip past difficult discussions with Shams' family in the underground city of Holderhek and her oath of allegiance to the Marble Library.

On Tilly's behalf, Shams talks to the surface dwarf Doravik, a red-bearded miner from Copperstone contracted to get all the worked stone out of the Tomb of the Serpent Kings to build a wizard tower and other fortifications. Doravik is apprehensive at first when he sees the noble dwarf from the deep kingdoms, but warms up a bit after Tilly tells him that the knight actually likes it topside.

SHAMS AND TILLY catch up and discuss all the heretical things they've learned in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. Tilly warns the Dwarf that this knowledge is enough to get her on the pyre and into Hell which is why he's been keeping it to himself. The Dwarf, however, wants to know what she's in for with this party. Tilly teaches her the Du'van tongue and she learns the following about the Tomb of the Serpent Kings:

  • built by the long-dead Du'van (Serpent Folk) after they fucked up invading Heaven and killed the Creator. The top god is now an angel calling itself the Authority who set up the system of Hell and sin to keep souls from overrunning his meager excuse for a heavenly city. Many current-day devils and demons were hatched after the fall and think this is the natural state of affairs.
  • Du'van remnants set up a colony of 6 tombs in current-day Belswick. Here they tried to revive their race, creating the Elves as a fleshy placeholder to keep the Du'van souls from damnation. This is pretty unique lore; Tilly thinks the party may be the only ones to know.

TILLY asks Shams to talk to her imp familiar Ricky. The little guy was imprisoned by a Du'van wizard way before the Fall, and is not-so-quietly appalled by the concept of sin and punishment that Tilly keeps trying to explain. Tilly wants Ricky to sneak into Hell and get some information out.

SHAMS can actually ask Six Questions to Hell as thanks for freeing Ricky. It turns out basic stuff like "who is this Count Naberius devil" or "is our buddy Mike in Hell" is a freebie; for her first real question, Shams wishes to know what is behind the new war between Kingdoms Pembroke (in which Belswick) and Arrayne to the south. Tilly tacks on the following to get a quick who-is-who / whereabouts of the following:

  • Vorraak Soulbinder, a devil master of chains
    (thank god for Tilly's player's notes and memory; I'd totally forgotten about this one! Improv is nice, but you need to write it down or lose it...)
  • Count Naberius, tamer of beasts
  • Baltoplat the succubus
  • Mike the druid

Shams gets the little imp a backpack full of pocket bacon before he leaves. After she signs the correct form, Ricky turns the parchment into a burning portal and dives into Hell.

RIGHT BEFORE WE END THE GAME, we find Tilly asleep as he dreams of a white-lit room, details hazy but reminiscent of Xiximanter's laboratory. Snake bones rattle on the tiles as the Serpent Mage slithers up. "You're interesting, monkey. We should talk."

Sunday 25 October 2020

Belswick 24: PCs 1, Lich 0

How does a lich manage to die at the hands of five level 6 rubes? Careful roleplay and following Keith Amman's advice, that's how! In The Monsters Know What They're Doing, Keith sets out how to have a lich lay waste to adventurers in style - but also explains how a lich's arrogance can have it make critical mistakes.

Last time in Belswick, we left the players in the rooms of Xiximanter the Serpent Mage. Dude has been hanging out in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings, experimenting on ways to improve living creatures, cloning them and bringing them back to life. Something to do with the entire Serpent Folk empire dying off after raiding Heaven.

The PCs just want to clear this hole in the ground of any trouble, so they can turn it into a quarry for quality dressed stone. Needless to say, this will end badly.

Terrain: Dwarven Forge Dungeon of Doom and Hellscape (pedestal of pain). Mini: D&D's Sul Khatesh


TILLY - cleric and bard of the Authority, illegal scholar of the Du'van Serpent Folk, Warlock of the Radiant Maiden, buddy to Baltoplat the Succubus, wooer of the nyad in the Boswitch Bathhouse, and friend to ghouls everywhere.
SHAMS METALGROG - Dwarf fighter with minor arcane powers and a powerful drive to break away from her people and build a life under the sun.
GUY - wizard of the Augurs and Diviners and (after weird dreams in his youth) sometimes psion. Currently locked in psion mode and slinging around acid, nightmares and telekinetic punches like they're on sale.
LOMIN MOR - Elf acquirer of unsecured shiny, rogue and (when donning dress and wig) the rightful ruler of Fief Culfield and about to get married when he gets out of this dump.
MORTI FIZZLELOT - Gnomish artificer with an unhealthy appetite for experimenting with Things Better Left Alone. Currently turning Xiximanter's fungal cloning device into a walking sarcophagus-tank.


Xixi clearly hasn't spoken to people for centuries - let alone scatter-brained weirdos like these five. While some PCs try to bluff and negotiate, others try to rob the lich blind while he can see them. It all turns nasty when the party psion shows his powers, Xixi tries to stuff the psion and cleric (possessed of weird Du'van magic) into a holding pen, and instead takes Morti's rocket axe to the face.


  • Because Guy the psion wriggled his acid-covered fingers through a macguffin in Xixi's lab, there go the lich's lair actions.
  • Based on Keith Amman's post and earlier knowledge of just how much damage this party can dish out, I left Xiximanter his legendary actions and saving throws.
  • I wanted a reason for Xixi not to whip out his high level spells at the first time of trouble, so I specified that his lich state is flawed (rooted in backstory that I'm not sharing yet). He takes 2x spell level damage whenever he casts a spell. His arrogance reinforces that: he doesn't need high magic to wipe the floor with these guys!


  • Xiximanter relying on 3 cantrips a month (for 15-20 damage each) in addition to low-level spells, before he gets needled enough to break out the big guns.
  • Morti dealing 40+ damage in 2 attacks through judicious use of sharpshooter feat and magical axe.
  • Xiximanter using Dominate Monster to turn that Gnome into a handy meat puppet to attack Shams.
  • Shams rushing forward with a great two-handed blow of her non...that doesn't even scratch the lich's skull. Shams switching to arcane spells (lich going WTF is this,
  • Guy smashing his psionics through Xiximanter's magical defenses like a hot knife through butter and getting Thunderwaved into a wall for his efforts - dropping to 0 hp with a beautiful concussion!
  • Xiximanter going for his stash of healing potions - only to discover that Lomin has swiped them!
  • Tilly the cleric inspiring and actually healing his allies! Shocked faces on the Skype call. Doppleganger! The end times are upon us!
  • Xixi catching Lomin and Morti in a beaut of a Cloudkill.
  • Lomin dropping his bow and igniting his Sun Blade to move toe to toe with the snake skeleton. Xixi's eye-flames growing WIDE with shock as he recognizes the ancient holy blade straight through Lomin's (expensive!) illusionary disguise for it, and burning Shield after Shield spell to avoid getting wasted by it. Then paralysing Lomin with a touch...only for a restored Guy taking him in a telekinetic grasp and crushing the lich's bones to dust.


Stealing a healing potion, making the lich cry because Guy wrecked years of work, Lomin actually charging in, killer axes, the Dwarf that burned the Lich with a cantrip.

Lomin trying to pick a lich's locker with the guy not 10 feet away ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Very cool combat with lots of nasty surprises!
Tilly didn't get the chance to cut a deal (no doubt he'll get another chance) but very useful with his hex curse.
Guy is scary just really really scary
Shams, just had to takea swipe at Morti for the command monster (serves him right ๐Ÿคฃ). Also well-placed healing potion.
Damn that command monster was bad! But on the plus side now he can read the Duvan instructions on his cloning machine ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Lomin being on brand and wonderfully cheeky.
Awesome Lich. Delightful quirks ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ
Morti is a bad-ass.
Guy is squishy.
Tilly, damn you and your love for the Du'van.
Breaking Ricky out of that binding circle was my best choice yet. Including the decision to stick with this group.

What a wonderful villain. Especially him pointing Guy and Tilly to the holding pen: "well go on, jump in". Legendary. I was slightly less of a fan of his combat skills...
Morti the axe maniac in in full effect. Too bad he was fighting us this time! (Something tells me it's very good that Lomin was hidden out of sight...)
Tilbรธrd just not having the chops to close this deal. Amazing!
Shams getting blocked by Morti pretty hard, but good for her for not getting roasted by that cantrip. Ricky was very active, even if invisible most of the time.
Guy was mainly very, very scary. But luckily on our side.
And Lomin? He was very happy with all the distractions you caused. And a bit richer, even if he had to use a dust pan to gather up that broken gem...
Oh, one final hilarious moment: DM informing the group that the lich has 1 hp left after Lomin's suicide strike with the sun blade. Then unleashing murderous counter which leaves Lomin at...1 hp with a little help from Tilbรธrd ๐Ÿ˜…

Deal was out the window when the entire party walked in with me ๐Ÿ˜…
Then again, walking up to that lich alone would have been... unpleasant ๐Ÿคจ

We could have had a flesh golem, IF the group didn't deal such a truckload of damage ๐Ÿคฃ
We would all have been murdered by that lich, IF the group didn't deal such a truckload of damage ๐Ÿ˜†
The lich was perfect - enough brakes on his powers and in-character bad decisions to give us a chance, but still very, very tense. We were close to a TPK ๐Ÿ˜…

Guy is a walking nuke. Morti a railgun. Lomin has a lightsaber and a sniper bow. Shams is a steel-plated Swiss army knife - good luck trying to pierce that armor, while she comes after you with sword, hammer, magic and healing potions.


After finally clearing the Tomb of the Serpent Kings, the party hits level 7!

  • Lomin snatched two focus crystals from two cobra statues projecting a wall of fire. One fell and shattered into 350gp worth of gem dust, the other is a fist-sized emerald worth 450 gp.
  • Guy snatched Xiximanter's spellbook and Lomin swiped a bunch of stuff from a locked chest. To be IDd next session: 3 potions, a heavy bag of chainmail, a platinum ring in an ivory box, a multi-colored stone in an amulet, and three tuning forks of milky-white crystal, red-flecked iron and ruby-encrusted brass.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Selling Dwarven Forge terrain: large tower

EDIT: sold all of these!

<shameless plug> If you've read some of my session logs, you'll have seen photos of cool 3D Dwarven Forge terrain. I'm selling off a bunch of those kits to make space in the hobby room. If you're in the EU, buying one of these sets saves you the massive shipping and tax hike you take via the Dwarven Forge store. 

Drop me a line in the comments or to oorlof at gmail if you're interested!


In almost new condition. Factory-painted packs, easy to touch up if the mood takes you. I ship internationally from the Netherlands and combine shipping. Payment via paypal. 

Price as below + shipping; we can definitely discuss a discount if you buy multiple packs. I figure about €10-30 for shipping costs within Europe, €30-70 to the US - can give more detail if you know your order and location.

  • 1x Watchtower set (+ additional set of crenellations), $320* 
  • 1x Alternate floors, $38 1x Big buttresses, $40* 
  • 1x Castle stairs pack, $62 
  • 1x Cube spacer pack, $48 
  • 1x Large ruined tower, $30 
  • 1x Large tower balcony & bridge base, $35 sold
  • 1x Large tower - palace, $90 sold
  • 1x Stone Bridge pack, $24

* lower price because some of the accessories went missing during a move: 

  • Big Buttresses: 4x Gargoyles
  • Large Watchtower: 2x Battlement Blade, 1x Arbalest, 1x Wooden Pole Stand, grappling hook


Alternate floors; for half-open towers you can look into from the side.

Big Buttresses

Cube spacers (2 inch blocks) with one magnetic side - useful to quickly build up height.

Large Balcony and Bridge Base; turns a tower wall into a balcony or into the connection point for a bridge

Large Tower - Palace pack: 2 full floors with large open windows and stairs

Large Tower - Palace pack put together

Castle Stairs, including square and rounded wall blocks

Large Ruined Tower - use these wall pieces (and rubble) to break a tidy tower apart after an earth elemental hits it, or place in a forest to show a tower once stood here. Pieces connect to each other magnetically.

Large Ruined Tower, put together (they fit perfectly into a round tower wall; I've left gaps here to show the individual pieces.)

Stone Bridge Pack. Works standalone to cross a river, or as a connector between side-by-side towers with balcony/bridge connectors.

Large Tower Accessories: siege gear, flags, stairs (more in the other pic) and a LED glowing arcane artifact as a quest objective.

Large Watchtower, assembled. Comes with two sets of Battlements, so you can make two towers for the price of one (add the Palace Pack to make them extra high and connect them through the Balconies & Stone Bridge!)


Sunday 4 October 2020

Lankhmar #2: thief! stop!

Session two in a second campaign to my main rural/medieval Belswick one. This one is a city campaign following the adventures of three people of the rogueish persuasion as they navigate the joys and perils of the great city of Lankhmar.

Lankhmar on the river Hlal, greatest city of Nehwon and home to uncountable secrets!



DCC Masks of Lankhmar, a two-part adventure by Dungeon Crawl Classics. I added material for my home game - will do a review after the group completes the module.


  • XALO, nosy and curious gnome warlock with trouble understanding the concept of ownership; read a weird book once and is able to cast spells - and take someone's dying breath to strengthen herself.
  • SIX BURDEN, half-drow rogue: a thin reed of an orphan who grew up in Lankhmar and knows every little shortcut through its mazy streets. Not a member of the Thieves' Guild, but surely that can only be a matter of time?
  • BUNTY, half-orc druid who wants nothing more than to start a bakery and learn how to make the wonderful sour and hard-crusted bread she once got from a passing merchant.


The trio convince Igris the Collector that they can prevent his beautiful new acquisition - a golden key - from being stolen by the Thieves' Guild; hatch a plan to stand watch during Igris' masqued ball; confront two thieves and their bodyguards from the Slayers' Guild; and are all horribly surprised when a third party takes the Golden Key from the supposedly impenetrable vault, leading to a wild chase across the city until their quarry mysteriously escapes from a walled-off alley. At least the characters manage to recover half of the Golden Key, which turns out to be hollow and contains a rolled up parchment inside...


Xalo hatching a wildly complex plan to break into a bakery for the party's breakfast; Six Burden just waiting for the inevitable chaos and walking out with a still-warm apple pie.

The entire party subverting the module's plan ("you all meet in a cellar while you are trying to rob Igris the Collector") because I just had to insert a starting scene showing where the group got the intel for this heist in the first place. "Why don't we offer Igris to stop the thieves that are going to rob him instead?" They turned a heist into a castle defence scenario just like that!

Six Burden and Bunty tag-teaming Igris over second breakfast. They not only negotiate a reward of 20gp each when they manage to successfully prevent the robbery, but also secure longer-term employment as Igris' retrievers of other historical curiosities. Privately-employed thieves, the Thieves' Guild will love that... 

Bunty and Xalo negotiating side deals: 

  • Bunty wants to talk with Igris' baker to see if that guy knows the origins of the sour bread Bunty craves (nope, but does know where it may come from: the bakers in either Kvarch Nar, Ool Hrusp or Sarheenmar, three of the Eight Cities across the Inner Sea.)
  • Xalo wants access to Igris' library to see if there's any exciting magic to be found there. Instead, she gets a travelogue with handy phrases and sights across the long caravan route from Igris' home city of Kiraay, all the way to Lankhmar, to keep her busy during the stake-out later in the day.

Xalo sneaking off to inspect the new construction that will add to Igris' mansion; an octagonal tower laced with magical wards and conduits, all leading to a ritual chamber at the very top. It's going to be interesting to get in there when the tower is operational!

The party joining the masqued ball as servants, checking out the high and mighty coming to rub elbows:

  • Igris the Collector, as be-turbaned vizier from his far city of Kiraay;
  • Lord Rannash, a severe-looking man in leathers, a cruel helmet and a riding whip;
  • Demoiselle Hisvin, the daughter of Hisvin the grain merchant; a platinum blonde wisp of a girl in sheer silks, silver chainlets and a rat's mask, and her dark-skinned, imperious servant woman in golden slave bands and a lion's mask;
  • ...and many important looking merchants, sages, minor nobles and ladies and gentlemen of the night to keep them all company.

Xalo hiding under the stairs into the cellar, where the vault is. Cunningly, she uses her prestidigitation magic to mark the soles of the kitchen staff with an arcane sigil, so that she can recognize them coming down the stairs.

Nice reconnaissance by Bunty and Six Burden, who sniff out the two thieves Issek and Tovlis separately entering the grounds disguised as a merchant and as part a delivery party.

A cellar fight that could have gone very badly for the group, split up as they are; until Tovlis goes down under Xalo's life-stealing blade. The Gnome briefly hazes out and runs her dagger across the fallen thief's neck, while the words LET IT FLOW echo in her mind. Apparently this is a regular thing for her. Gnomes, man...

Rail-thin Issek decides to go for gold rather than combat and jumps through the magical fire ward that Igris had inscribed around the vault; opening the vault door, he then gets knocked on the head by someone hiding inside the vault - and running off with the precious Golden Key in hand! Bunty is nearest and sees the new intruder leave a jade, seven-legged spider in the vault before running off.

A foot chase across Lankhmar, in which the young woman clutching the Golden Key leads the party through the masses in the Street of the Gods, crashes through a glass pane carried by two Glaziers' Guildsmen, takes to the rooftops, then down and into the opium-haze of the House of Red Lanterns, finally to run south to the Plaza of Dark Delights before our heroes corner her near Tanitha's Pets, where a feisty jaguar from Klesh is trying to escape.

Six Burden manages to sic the jaguar on their quarry and it tackles the girl into an alley. When the group runs up seconds later, the jaguar is sitting on half a Golden Key, looking surprised at a fading doorway in purplish smoke on the alley wall. On the floor, next to it, is another jade carving of a seven-legged spider, and a mocking note that says no-one is clever enough to catch the Jade Spider - especially not a blundering half-orc, half-elf and gnome.

Sunday 20 September 2020

Belswick 23: kill all the elves

Last session in Belswick, our band of luminaries got rid of the Brent-clones infesting the Tomb of the Serpent Kings, and killed the original Brent the bandit where he lay in the fungal cloning chamber

This game, they get a loredump, find a scroll that would cause the Church of the Authority to eradicate all the elves, vandalize a priceless world map, and deal with a bound succubus and a talking alchemist's apparatus.


Hilarious interaction in the party. Lomin on brand with an eye for loot and Tilbรธrd shaking his head about Lomin ruining the info on a priceless antique map.
The local potion maker trapped in this dungeon for a year and noone misses her. For shame.
If we keep on hitting necromancer / serpent folk tombs, people will start to talk.

Our Dwarf has been impressive with the smart use of her Imp ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Cool dungeon, lots of variation, great options for characters to shine. interesting fun hooks and most importantly: fun ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Morti is spoiled for choice! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ


YESSS, sending Ricky after Tilly was excellent! And a nosy Elf at the door ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿ‘
Morti missing some parts - ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€ all eyes immediately swivel to Lomin. ๐Ÿ˜‡ 'what?!'
An absent-minded talking pestle and mortar, a succubus who is a bit rusty in the seduction department, an easily distracted flesh golem...and a mofo-ing Lich! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿคค

Let me tell you, it's pretty hard to seduce someone with your wife sitting right next to you ๐Ÿ˜…
Nice highlights, thanks! Lich: too much? ๐Ÿ˜‡ ...I mean, I'll be happy to turn it into a beholder or a dragon...

Holy Authority protect us.....
One big highlight. I think I hit my role perfectly, and so did the rest of the group. Loved the tinkering Gnome and the dealmaking priest.
(Me: I think it's a succubus. Tilly: Great. Time to take confession.)
And of course the Frankenbeast. After all the effort we took to go around it, Tilly points it straight for us. Nice cliffhanger though ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‰


All the OSR blogs I read say to Jaquay the dungeon with multiple entries and exits - this one is very linear except for the twin stairs leading from the round library/lab spaces below to the square lair on top. It's just easier to plan when using Dwarven Forge - I don't have the material to make more extensive complexes :)


Morti the gnome Artificer is fooling around with the fungal cloning chamber (hey look, it's got all kinds of other options!) with the help of his Green Book of Inventation. He's seriously considering turning the dreadful thing into a cabin for a mech. It does seem to be missing some parts though, and full functionality will probably only be possible after those control gems are reinserted.

It is a this point that Lomin, while prying gems out of a wall, gives the performance of his life trying to convince Morti that no, he'd never take any gems that weren't his. Especially not from that funky fungus machine.

Player is pleading for a mishap table. Soon.

Meanwhile the party's two humans Tilly the cleric and Guy the wizard currently a psion investigate a bunch of scrolls and frescoes the bandits shoved into a corner. Working together, they discover that this entire complex was once a last outpost of the Du'van Serpent Folk that ruled the world before the Authority struck them down and turned their homeland into the haunted Nightlands. 

A great search check uncovers a list of the six Du'van lords and ladies that traveled far from the Nightlands to set up a colony here:

  • High General Cyris Maxiumus
  • High Mage Xiximanter
  • Dark Priest Umtak Ktharl
  • Mistress of Spirits Til Zheng
  • General Daevis Vek
  • Striking Shadow Idzara

Another scroll explains their goals. High Mage Xiximanter sited this specific complex to research ways of bringing the Du'van back to life. To keep their race's souls safe and out of the grasp of hell and heaven, he manufactured a new race to house the Du'van souls. Sketches make it abundantly clear: the scroll is talking about the elves. Enough information to start a crusade, if given to the wrong people.

Tilly's grin is positively ghoulish as he looks over to their elf buddy Lomin, who is busy prying gems out of a wall map that seems to depict the entire world. (Which is valuable information for rulers and traders alike!)

  • gems: green sphere big as your eye, 23 facets, 500 gp; two grape-sized gems worth 350 and 100 gp (because of chipping); three smaller gems worth 100 gp each 
  • scrolls: 250 gp for their age alone, much more to the right party 
  • world map: 3x2 yards, chiseled into the living stone - needs serious labour to get this out of the dungeon. A perfect copy would be worth upwards of 750 gp. Dito for the other wall map the party found in Umtak Ktharl's tomb.
  • fungal resurrection chamber: uses a programmable fungus to clone whoever is inside. Looks to have other options as well, such as "enhancing" subjects. Worth 5000 gp, weighs a ton and a half: 40 inventory slots


Shams the Dwarf is getting curious about the last hints of activity in the dungeon. She can hear something heavy stomping around to the north (the other party members have encountered a big snake-themed stone golem here), sporadic singing to the west, and beyond that bubbling sounds and rattling bones. Time to get the party moving.

In a long room turned into a grubby theater, Annabelle the deerling potion maker is manacled to the wall - for weeks now, she says; which must mean she's been down in the wonky time flow of the dungeon complex for over a year. So who is the Annabelle the potion maker the group have met in the village of Crossroads?

The group interrogate poor Annabelle and don't seem to trust her. She breaks down and explains she's been forced to dance for the bandits - and the goblins before them - for weeks now. Can they please free her from this totally innocuous rune-covered manacle around her ankle? Morti plays his Wisdom 4 to the hilt, and picks the lock. The manacle opens, sputters some last binding magic and Annabelle gives him a hug and a kiss...Lomin's player looks on with bated breath, but nothing untoward happens.

Tilly isn't very surprised when Annabelle asks to give confession before returning to Crossroads. She explains to the young priest all the things she was forced to do...until he calls her on her bullshit five minutes in. The deerling shrugs, drops an illusion to reveal a succubus called Baltoplat, and it's time to talk in earnest. Lomin glues himself to the door but can't make out the exact words; he does pick up surprise, confrontation and then the unmistakable sound of Tilly giving a spiel and making a deal.

Morti wanders off to tinker with the fungal cloning device some more. If he takes apart his mechanical "unicorn" (miniature rhinoceros), he should have enough gear to slap some crab legs on the damned thing and have it walk itself out of the dungeon...


"You don't seem troubled by dealing with a devil like myself, young priest."
"Lady, I have zero qualms about unleashing anyone or anything on the world. Let's do business."

It's about that point that Tilly asks Shams' invisible imp familiar Ricky to join the discussion. Damn that low stealth roll...

It turns out that the real Annabelle is a middling potion maker at best; she deals with someone in the dungeon who makes most of her brewings. Tilly suggests that Baltoplat take Annabelle's place in Crossroads, which she will agree to do until she's no longer interested. No formal soul-bargain is made; Baltoplat is happy to be released. (Counting his two browbeaten spined devils, there are now three devils in Tilly's employ. He's level six and has scared me to no end since the first session of play. ๐Ÿ’Ÿ)

Ricky having heard the discussion presents a complication. The little imp has been caught in a Du'van trap since way before the Du'van assaulted Heaven and murdered the Creator; he behaves more like an army scout than a tiny tempter, and he's let Tilly know before that he doesn't understand all this temptation business. Who needs mortal souls cluttering up the Fort Below when there's a war against the Outsiders to fight? Ricky would love to find out, but can't plane shift to hell on his own.

Tilly wouldn't be Tilly if he couldn't make a deal out of this. In return for Ricky keeping mum, he will persuade his master Shams to spend one of her Six Questions to Hell, allowing Ricky to plane shift there and do some recon on the side. The deal is off when Ricky decides any of this could harm Shams, though.


Confession and deals complete, the party heads for the last unknown in the dungeon: skeletal bone rattling and weird bubbling sounds. They uncover a mini-dungeon run by a sentient alchemist's apparatus. 

I finally get to put on the personality I've been looking forward to since session 1: a happily condescending and forgetful horcrux-type that greets any non-Du'van with a cheerful "Hello, bipeds! My, aren' you splendid-looking mammals. And an inheritor (elf) as well!"

The cheerfully condescending pestle and mortar at the heart of the contraption introduces itself as Xiximanter the Alchemist, a soul fragment split off by Xiximanter the Wizard to take care of mundane affairs in the dungeon. The alchemist has been happy to brew all kinds of potions for visitors in return for livestock and test subjects. (Explaining nicely why Annabelle the potionmaker often takes a pig along when she visits her herb garden near the dungeon entrance.)

Xiximanter chatters along and convinces Morti to become an apprentice. ("Who's your owner? Yourself, you say!? Wonderful, what a joke! Now make a note, we'll need to research a new kind of grammar to distinguish between myself and Xiximanter the wizard. That's just too much of a mouthful.")

The players chats a bit about how Xiximanter could still be alive. Ghoul, wraith, vampire? I just smile at the camera when they say "lich".

Entrance from the larger dungeon top left; then stairs down to the alchemy lab, library and meat locker.


Patient conversation with a 5000 gp alchemy lab shows the group that Xiximanter split his mind and soul into multiple parts to multitask more efficiently. The body and arcane soul are busy working on the cloning and resurrection of the Serpent Folk. Meanwhile the alchemical intellect and social skills are stuck in the alchemy lab - happily so, the Alchemist confesses: he's lukewarm about the whole resurrection thing anyway. Much cooler to invent new potions.

Behind the Alchemist's back, Shams, Guy and Lomin are exploring. They find a big staircase to a hall with green-glowing cobra statues and four seemingly lifeless bodies in large glass vats. The place turns out to be boobytrapped; as Ricky the imp flies in, four giant claws lift the cilinders and a wall of fire springs up at the end of the hall. The bodies flop to the floor - four mutations of Brent the bandit, bred for stealth, brute force and something else, it seems; they must've died when Tilly promoted Brent Prime to another plane of existence last session. 

The wall of fire is still active, though. Asked how to pass beyond it, the Alchemist says that Xiximanter the Wizard doesn't like company; the only way in is with an amulet around one of their servitors' necks. Sure enough, in a meatlocker behind the alchemy lab is a flesh golem with a beautiful amulet around its neck. Morti turns invisible to steal it, Tilly does a "behind you!" in Du'van as the golem grasps for the invisible thief - and off the golem is, to a stairway leading directly to Lomin, Shams and Guy. We'll pick up right there next session!

I don't know why the players want to bother a clone-happy lich, but I'll be happy to oblige once they get past the golem guard and wall of fire...