Sunday 21 February 2021

Belswick 28 - junior mercenaries

Last time in Belswick, the players fought off assassins at the wedding of lord Haine Kerjules the Hedgehog and Olga the Widow - not succeeding in saving either of them (although in Olga's case, she'd been dead for a few years already). Now under the control of Haine's son Silas, fiefs Crossroads and Culfield are preparing to join the war of wider Belswick against southern Arrayne.

update: now with loot / gifts



  • Guy Montfaulc, diviner wizard and occasional haver of psionic blackouts (player sadly not present this session)
  • Shams Metalgrog, dwarf and arcane knight looking for reasons to stay on the surface and not join her race's Downward Crusade
  • Lomin Mor, elf rogue, disgraced former noble and longtime impersonator of the Lady Olga of Culfield after she passed away, to avoid a useless nephew inheriting the fief (leaves the group at least temporarily this session)
  • Barak Sapat-Gromesh, holy warrior of the ...god? saint? Gromesh, and scout for Tyaak's Free Lances of the Rock (new character of Lomin's player)
  • Pyrrha 'little red', wild girl of the small remnant of people that still follow the old ways. Big rages, summons flint weapons from the ground and flings dangerous magic around when "playing with people"
  • Ungulu the Vulture, birdling cleric of the Order of Light and member of the Inquisition. Very interested in heresy perpetrated by the new religious order of "Zulin" in Arrayne


Young hedgehogling Silas is a different ruler than his father, and the PCs find themselves out of favor. The old Kerjules' house wizard Guy is summarily dismissed after failing to save his lord, Lomin Mor no longer has his lady's ear (and wig, and dress), and it seems no-one has any more ties to Crossroads.

After the old lord and lady's funeral, they decide to head south to follow up on an invitation from Tyaak the eagle, a noble son setting up his own mercenary band to fight in the war against Arrayne.

Before leaving, some last affairs to take care of. 

  • Shams gets their former party member Abbott Tilbord to draw them a map of all the Du'van tombs in the area, and write a separate scroll with all the information the group has gathered on the old snake people. 
  • Lomin says farewell to the group, telling them that he has personal affairs to take care of in Arrayne. He then talks to Bishop Urael - his brother - and asks him to go back to Arrayne together. Urael agrees, but will need to make a detour to the north first. Lomin then has the sword of assassin St. Etienne de Cours identified by Guy: it's a magic sword that bites extra hard when facing werewolves. Lomin - actually Azrael d'Arendil - gives the sword to Shams, and gifts Guy with a scroll of the Knock spell.
  • Pyrrha puts her request to Silaw Kerjules: she was sent to inherit the estate of her brother Mike, which has reverted back to Silas after Mike's death. Silas will consider the request, if Pyrrha will spy on her companions and try to determine if they were connected to his father's death.

The trip is fairly quick and uneventful:

  • in barony Walden, one meeting with a bog hag just east of Crossroads, who trades Ungulu one happy memory for a secret of a person he can name. He describes his summoning spirits of the damned to lay waste to assassins at the wedding, and she's surprised to discover that he actually considers that a happy memory! In return...well, Ungulu just walks off and says he'll be in touch.
  • in barony Corsewall, one ambush by three giant spiders that quickly get turned into meat for dinner; Ungulu and Pyrrha whip out spices and pans and turn the ghastly things into a proper meal.
  • in barony Nether Stowey, one encounter with celebrating monks of the Circle of Thorns, celebrating nature's bounty with all kinds of meals. Pyrrha gives them a bit of the spider meat and they bless her with one use of Inspiration.
  • in barony Ballumbie, one encounter with a trio of bog mummies bearing the holy symbol of the Order of St Vivione the healer; they appear to warn people away from a plague that has vanished over 80 years ago. The group easily outpace them.
  • in barony Ballumbie, one charge by an enormous boar bearing an even bigger Half-Orc - the group get ready to roll initiative, when we introduce Lomin's new character: Barak Sarpat-Gromesh, a scout of Tyaak's and a holy warrior of Gromesh. Ungulu immediately wants to know - he is talking about the Authority, yes? But of course

Barak takes the group up to the Eagle's Eyrie: a steep climb of stairs and slopes going up maybe a kilometer from the valley below to a rock outcrop bearing five tall towers. You can take the place by force, if you can fly or have a lot of people to spare for the inevitable bombardment on the stairs.

Inside the castle:

  • Tyaak welcomes the party - he actually knows all of them: Shams and Guy met him in the mildly heretical Devil's Ring tournament half a year ago, and young Pyrrha (about 16) and devout Ungulu participated, what, 10 years back?

  • Tyaak explains that his mercenary troup, the Eagle Lances of the Rock, will undertake fast raids behind enemy lines rather than slogging it out with the Arraynians.

  • The Eagle Lances have had a couple of setbacks: surprisingly well-coordinated tactics without flags or horns in a confrontation outside Lissecourt to the south, and a band of negotiators with the mountain giants getting eaten while negotiating a back passage into Arrayne.

  • The PCs decide to join the Eagle Lances, stipulating that they do have other obligations. As long as those don't collide, they'll work for Tyaak to the best of their ability. Barak will join them as scout on their first mission: arrange safe passage for the Eagle Lances of the Rock from the ice giants of the southern Snake Mountains!

  • Pay: 4 gp / week, plus 25% of all ransoms and loot that the party acquires during their adventures. Ungulu waves this pay for an as of yet unspecified future favor.



  • Pyrrha: Inspiration (advantage on one d20 roll) for celebrating the feast of nature with monks of the Circle of Thorns
  • Guy: scroll with the Knock spell
  • Shams: +1 longsword, +2d8 damage to werewolves, belonged to Ser Etienne de Cours

Friday 5 February 2021

Belswick 27 - wedding crashers

Last time in Belswick, my players worked their way through a wedding between two local nobles (one being their patron, the other an alter ego of one of the PCs). After getting a leading member of the Inquisition out of the way with a good dose of purgatives, their way is clear to a relaxed wedding dinner...until a band of assassins crashes the party and shoots their patron in the chest. Wartime is a bitch and all those nobles together were a juicy target. It's a party! 

This 'red wedding' session was very much inspired by Yames Young's If you Love your World, Set it Free - sometimes, you need to shake up the comfortable little world your players have built (and that you loved to build for them). War was already visible as backdrop a couple of sessions; now it's come to their doors and cost them a patron. I'm very curious to see how they'll respond.



  • Guy the wizard - human diviner of the Lodge of Augurs, player absent due to real life. Missed you man.
  • Lomin Mor the rogue - elf sneakthief and secretly a big softie with a heart of gold. Which he probably stole somewhere.
  • Pyrrha the barbarilock - young human girl raised by...well, we'll get into that at some point, but for now this tiny redhead is raging and throwing warlock spells.
  • Shams Metalgrog - dwarf fighter noble from the Deepward Crusades, not-so-quietly looking for a good way to stay in the surface lands.
  • Ungulu the inquisitor - vultureling cleric of the Authority and the Order of Light. Which means fire. Which means godawful murder spells and a more intimidating demeanor than the fucking warlock. Love it.


Ungulu, Cleric of the Authority


Great session! Even waiting for my turn there was never a dull moment. Great job by the DM.

Highlights: Lomin ending up in the thick of the fight sacrificing his healing potions to NPCs? Where's the real Lomin?? (Then after the fight he starts looting. Aaannd he's back)
Shams - how often can you miss people with a greatsword?
Pyrrha - using your decapitated enemy like a pillow to sleep off the post-rage exhaustion? Genius.
Ungulu, to guard: "No authority, you say? I AM THE AUTHORITY."
DM: good job playing all the different NPCs, exciting combat, fun interactions and everything that happened was connected.

Yes, very cool session. I get that the DM was a bit anxious to run it, but it was very good. Maybe you felt like you were endlessly flipping back and forth in the Monster Manual, but it really wasn't an issue. You had cool enemies on the board and a lot of interesting and impactful actions.
The assassin sticking with Kerjules again, and
The intrigue during and after the fight, delicious! There are big changes coming
Lomin turns out to have had a real relationship with Olga. Big softie indeed!
Shams out of armor seems completely out of her comfort zone. And also personally hit by this attack and eager for revenge.
Ungulu, sweet lord! Burn em, rip their chests open, judge them all.. let someone else sort em out
Pyrrha could wade in and do her thing - targets softened up by fireballs go down nice and fast 😌

Very curious to see what this will all lead to. Looking forward to next game!

Super cool session with lots of different aspects. Applause for the DM, because there were a lot of NPCs to keep track of 👏🏼
Great roleplaying by the players, lots of intense but quiet conversation.
Shams is very disappointed. Big failure with her sword. So all the accusations from around the village have wormed their way into her head. And losing the old Kerjules is a big let-down. Especially now Kerjules the younger seems to go the war mongering way of the White Rose followers. I hate revenge, so let's look up those people.
Shams is not feeling like hanging around Crossroads for much longer. Her original mission of setting up a trade route is complete, so she's free to go her own way.
After seeing them in action, Shams is a big fan of Urael and Ungulu. Clearly first impressions don't tell the whole story.
Let's see if we can stop this war. Step one, the White Rose's followers.
That is, if we're not going to hell first. Welcome back Ricky!

This new d20 (a holiday present from my wife) went on an absolute murder spree this session.


I'll admit, I wasn't feeling it before the game started. I'd just sprung an assassination attempt on a wedding party at the end of last session. Great cliff hanger, but it involved about 16 different NPCs, most with their own stat block. All represented by paper minis on a Dwarven Forge build, streamed over crappy was going to be a lot of work and I was really knackered from work.

Of course, then the webcam conked out completely. Fuck you, microsoft livecam. But on the plus side, it meant I had to run the entire combat theatre of the mind style. That sure got me going! Old school baby. Well, old school with camera photos over whatsapp. Next time I'll try and use the phone as a webcam with iVcam.



Long combat. Surprisingly cool to run; there were a lot of little roleplaying moments I could tuck in there. Sure, it ran to 2/3rds of the session, but it was fun!

Some highlights:

  • Shams dispelling the targeting beacon on Ungulu with a fist in his stomach. That sabre-wielder would have fucked him up. Of course karma means that she then hits absolutely no-one with her zweihander (summon weapon is key if you have to check your murdertools at the door) for the rest of the sorry!
  • Peter Walden, Hedgehogling noble, pulling the feet from under some thug on the banquet table, critting and breaking dude's neck
  • Peter's new wife Liselle trying to bodycheck her very spiky husband into another thug
  • Lomin Mor, Lomin EVERYTHING NOT NAILED DOWN IS MINE Mor, dancing past the entire mass of enemies to pour healing potion after expensive healing potion down his liege's throat
  • Lomin's older brother, bishop Urael, surreptitiously helping out in the fray with sagitta arcana spells (dog latin for Eldritch Blast, a very warlock and very heretical spell). Not that any of the party saw, but the players definitely took note :D
  • Pyrrha, new at this wedding shit and not impressed so far, ripping a flint greatsword out of the very earth and lopping off heads left and right. Biggest kill: Ser Etienne de Cours, a displaced knight whose family held holdings in Ozillac; an Arraynian barony before Belswick took it as recompense for the last war
  • Lightning bolts from an invisible mage (greater invisibility is murder) laying down scores of wedding guests
  • Ungulu, already a fairly creepy cleric, popping Spiritual Guardians. "Four white-robed spirits weeping blood rise from the earth and attend me. I go down everyone in the room: ignore, damnation, damnation, ignore...for now, damnation, damnation..."

In the end, the party prevents most of the collected nobles from being killed. They don't save everyone though: Haine Kerjules, Hedgehogling lord of Crossroads, sighs his last. While the entire band of knights, thugs, clerics (and what was up with that "For the White Rose" and "In the Name of Zulin" shit anyway?) and rogues gets mowed down by the group, one lone assassin buries his swords in Kerjules' chest up to the hilt. And again, because there's Lomin with the healing potions, and again...and then a couple of lightning bolts cut across the room, finishing the old knight.

Busy map. Even busier to run this theatre of the mind because the webcam broke.


A pop in the air signifies the invisible mage has teleported away, and the chase is on through dark Crossroads. Guy leads the way with his diviner mentor Fergus, intuiting tracks and finding a bolted-shut shack with ritual chanting coming from inside. Pyrrha and Shams try but fail to knock down the door, and Ungulu gives it the last push with bright light focused into fire. Right before the enemy wizard can walk through a just-opened teleportation circle, the party's old cleric Tilbørd becomes visible behind him and whispers a word, stunning the mage. Ropes come out as the circle flickers and fails.



In the feast hall, old Lady Olga of Culfield lies down next to her new husband and says goodbye to him and to Lomin. Olga was formally still in mourning for her original husband Malcer. And frankly it's a bit of puzzler how she's here at all, because Olga has been dead for years; her old friend Lomin has been taking her place to keep an incompetent nephew from controlling the fief. Lomin's bishop brother Urael has somehow managed to bring the real Olga back for this one wedding day. Lomin says his goodbyes - again.



We skip a couple of days. Haine's son Silas, now lord of Crossroads and Culfield, takes charge. The mage-assassin is in his dungeon; new knights are being elevated and war taxes are raised even further than before. Old Haine's court wizard Guy and his mentor Fergus are dismissed as useless conjurers of tricks. The party, formerly friends at court, are looked at as failures by the new strongmen assembled by the young hedgehog. Worse, there's dark mutterings about Guy and Lomin's slight Arraynian accents...are they working for the enemy?

And in the middle of all that, Pyrrha and Ungulu stride up to the dungeon, scare the guard witless and have a fifteen minute talk with the captured wizard. We fade to black and they get the information that southern Arrayne, newly at war with Belswick, is behind the attack.

More information: Zulin is the god of a newly elevated sect within the Church; the True Authority, it is claimed. (Heresy!) Finally, the White Rose was the name of a young Arraynian lady knight in the last war with Arrayne.


As the PCs sit in the Crossroads inn, mourning and nursing wounded egos, they discuss where to go next. Suddenly, the flagstones begin to shake and smoke fills the air. A sinkhole opens up under the table and reddish-yellow light flares up. In the smoke, a shadow of what comes from below can be seen. Giant horns curving back over the skull, a tail snaking back and forth, clawed hands and bat wings flapping. The shadow grows. Cries of anguish sound from beneath. PCs cower behind furniture.

Up rises...Ricky the Imp, Shams' 1 foot high familiar whom she sent out to get One Answer from Hell (five remaining) a few sessions ago!

They really deserved a hope spot. Of course he had to open his mouth. Anguished: "you're all going to hell!"



  • some 300 gold worth of coins and gems in hidden pouches
  • the magic sword of Ser Etienne de Cours, not identified yet



All from the Monster Manual NPC section, with small changes:

  • Priest, leveled up to lvl 7 for a Stone Shape escape spell (not used)
  • 2x Acolyte, for spell support, blessings and minor healing
  • Knight, for buffing attack rolls
  • Veteran, bodyguard to the Knight and secondary anchor for the front line
  • 2x Thug, support fighters
  • Assassin, for taking down the noble targets
  • Spies, support assassins
  • Mage, with level 5 swapped out for Teleportation Circle and a level 4 for Evard's Black Tentacles (not used)