Anyone running CZ:UW?

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Xaltotun
Mist Elf
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:00 am

Post by Xaltotun »

Onward, hacknslashing adventurers

Having turned a potential threat into potential allies, the group was feeling good, as they gathered their gear. Two mules were gone with Arborus, and along them a large chunk of their rations, but they had the third mule and some food still with them. With most of the group under the curse of the Old Castle Track, that was one route they could not take. But they werent keen on travelling next to the Track either. If they encountered monsters, they could not cross the track to flee to the other side, because of the curse. So they settled on a third option: travelling on the hills south of the Old Castle Track! Being on higher elevation, they figured that they could spot any encroaching parties easier.

[DM note: I totally didnt expect that.]

So, they travel slowly on the hills, showing me on the Players Map where they go, while Im turning the map to the Dungeon Masters side, checking whether they hit any Wilderness Districts.

[DM note: it was not a very good design decision to print those maps on different sides of the same paper its rather inconvenient, really.]

After having travelled some time on the hills, they turned northward, back to the woods, to make some kind of a short cut before climbing to the hills again. What made this quite random decision interesting was that this route would take them straight to the Old Blackjack Oak, an ancient tree inhabited by a ravenous harpy!

Xaltotun
Mist Elf
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:00 am

Post by Xaltotun »

Im coming, my love!!

The adventurers spotted a great old tree in the woods, towering over the rest. Blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) is an American species, so my players had no idea what it would look like (it does not even appear to have a Finnish name). I had done some research and thus could describe it looking like a classic enchanted oak, with a thick trunk and undulating, serpentine branches. The group got interested and approached it. Then, the harpy of the oak appeared in a nearby tree, sticking its beautiful head out of the foliage. The group got closer and tried to communicate with it. When they were close enough, its face turned from beautiful to beastly, and it begun singing its captivating song of death.

Seven adventurers, seven saving throws against spells. This could end up really badly, with individual success probabilities being in the range of 15-35% for these guys. And what do we got? Out of seven, six make it. Only Borg Jrgen fails, and hears the song as the most wonderful music hes ever heard. To the others, it sounds like horrible noise. Then the monster took to its wings, and started to fly towards its nest, the blackjack oak, all the while singing. The other adventurers watched in amazement, as Borg Jrgen ran after it, arms outstretched, yelling, you guessed, Im coming, my love!!. That was followed by very badly sung interpretations of popular love ballads

One charmed, six saved, I couldnt believe it. Ambiorix and Chandresh had to tackle poor Borg and take him down. Borgs a strong guy, so it wasnt easy, but he had no chance against the two, especially Chandresh, whose martial arts training makes him an expert in these kinds of things.

[DM note: for wrestling and grappling, I use the unarmed combat rules in Mentzers Companion Rules (the green box). They are light, efficient and easy to remember by heart. Chandresh gets a free +5 bonus to wrestling due to his monk training.]

Borg was down, Ambiorix sitting on him, but he would not stay silent. From the top of his lungs, he screamed the most embarrassing and amusing things. He went on about how Ambiorix and Chandresh were just jealous, and how it was so wrong to deny him the first True Love of his life. Ambiorix felt bad about his best buddy embarrassing himself like that, so he put a stop to it by stuffing Borgs mouth full of hay and tying his hands behind his back. At the same time, he was certainly amused, saying things like Man, were gonna remember each and every thing that youve said, and were gonna make sure that youll remember them too!

With Borg taken down, our heroes had time to think about what to do next. Fearing that the blackjack oak might be filled with more woman-bird hybrids, they decided to move out. But the harpy would not have it. Frustrated with the ineffectiveness of its song, and the restraining of Borg, it took to its wings and tried to get one of the adventurers with its claws. But they were prepared. The thieves, Samuel and Uda, were the best archers, and they had their bows ready. Also Gronaldo, the magic-using halfling, saw that now was the time to act. He murmured the words of arcane magic, and a bolt of magic energy blast forth from his mouth, on an unerring helical trajectory towards the man-eating abomination. It hit the harpy to its belly, while both of the arrows of the thieves pierced its chest. In a burst of feathers and blood, the beasts life was instantly forfeit. What was left of its mortal coil plummeted unceremoniously to the ground. The fight was over almost before it began.

[DM note: This moment was very exciting for me. What would they do now? One of the biggest treasure piles of the entire module lay there in the oak for the taking. But would they have the courage to go for it?]

At first, it seemed that they would not go to the oak! But luckily, there was Eela. The courageous little elf wanted to explore the birds nest, and made the convincing argument that if there were more bird-monsters about, they would surely have attacked the group by now. This made sense to them, also to Borg Jrgen, who was at his senses by now. He even found the situation humorous, criticizing his companions of speaking ill of his first ever real girlfriend. Ambiorix was glad that his friend was his old self again, and much back-slapping (and more wrestling) resulted.

Akrasia
Red Cap
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Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 7:00 am

Post by Akrasia »

Thanks for the updates, Xaltotun.
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Xaltotun
Mist Elf
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:00 am

Post by Xaltotun »

Thanks, Akrasia - it's nice to know that at least someone is reading these
There's lots more to come, I should just sit down on my lazy backside and type it.

Oh and by the way, I DM'd Castle Zagyg in an RPG Con nearby. It was a lot of fun, with highlights being:

-One PC willingly stepping in the Cursed Fog surrounding the Dark Chateau. Bye-bye Mr "+2 or more in all physical stats".

-A 1st level thief successfully pickpocketing powerful NPC's.

-A brutal, prolonged fight with the ogre in the cottage, the large group scoring NO HITS on the monster. Miraculously, no PC died, but with most of them in 1 hp range, they had to flee, leaving the unscathed ogre swinging his club victoriously in the air, flinging insults at them, the poor captured children crying miserably behind him.

-The three (teenaged) male PC's repeatedly tying the sole (teenaged) female PC on horseback with rope, every time the group had to cross the Old Castle Track, so that she would not run away in panic (she had succumbed to the curse while the others had not). It was funny because it was in fact perfectly innocent and a smart thing to do.

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Zudrak
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Post by Zudrak »

Xaltotun wrote:
Thanks, Akrasia - it's nice to know that at least someone is reading these

I am reading too, Xaltotun, but have not chimed in because it will be some time before I run this. Thanks for posting it. I enjoy CZ and GH campaign summaries/stories.
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AD&D, Amish Dungeons & Dragons.

"Galstaff, ye are in a cornfield, when a moustachioed man approaches. What say ye?"

"I shun him."

-----

"Knowledge, logic, reason, and common sense serve better than a dozen rule books."

-- E. Gary Gygax
Psalm 73:26

"Knowledge, logic, reason, and common sense serve better than a dozen rule books."

"Rules not understood should have appropriate questions directed to the publisher; disputes with the Dungeon Master are another matter entirely. THE REFEREE IS THE FINAL ARBITER OF ALL AFFAIRS OF HIS OR HER CAMPAIGN."
-- E. Gary Gygax

capitalbill
Hlobane Orc
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Post by capitalbill »

I've been reading them as well.
I've actually just started a CZ game up myself; although the first session was pretty much just a short adventure to introduce the C&C rules. The second session will see the players make their way down the Dunfalcon Pike from the thorp of Farmsly in the Barony of Redfort to the Free Town of Yggsburgh. They don't know it yet, but they've angered an advance scouting party of the Old Guard kobolds from the Castle who will be looking on getting some revenge.
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TheMetal1
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Post by TheMetal1 »

Zudrak wrote:
Xaltotun wrote:

Thanks, Akrasia - it's nice to know that at least someone is reading these

I am reading too, Xaltotun, but have not chimed in because it will be some time before I run this. Thanks for posting it. I enjoy CZ and GH campaign summaries/stories.

Yeah +1 on this Xaltotun. Keep these coming, its a good read and I'm getting some good feel for how it can be run when I finally get a group to it. Thanks.
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