Running Puzzles

Puzzles are understandably controversial as tools in roleplaying games. Some people love puzzles, some people hate them. The more relevant dilemma is the extent to which puzzles are a staple of dungeon design and fantasy settings, while at the same time presenting a challenge for the players’ abilities rather than for their characters’ abilities. How do we reconcile the desire to implement meaningful puzzles with the desire to have in-game challenges be to the characters as much as to the players. Continue reading

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Biweekly Monster-Earth Squid

These bark-skinned, squid-like creatures are not true squids. They breath air and recoil from the touch of water. While they can swim through the earth above a walking pace, predators near the surface make it dangerous for them to spend too much time there. Instead, they spend most of their time sleeping or dormant in strong stone tunnels they can create by swimming while activating a magical earth compressing aura. They shape these tunnels down deep, at the edge of the water table, preferring areas near rivers where the water table is stable across seasons. Continue reading

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A Blight on the Woods

On Monday, November 11th, a pair of adventurers respond to a call from the Nekolyns to look into a growing blight on the woods. They are:

  • Lonir (MaC): Level 3 Elf Thief.
  • Verdis the Prickly (HuS): Level 4 Human Fighter.

They are told that Branch President Daniel in Kite has more information, so packing 5 days of food each they make their way to Kite to see what he has to say. He fills them in that the blight is about 15 miles up the East Confluence tributary near the east bank. The Nekolyns cut it back once, were driven off a second time, and the third time the party never returned. They have been securing the blighted area, but soon it will reach the river and may spread more quickly.

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The Vale

With my weekly play reports coming out of the Haven setting, where the players are headquartered in the Vale, it seems like it’s about time I explained what the Vale is.

The Vale was settled (at least most recently) by humans, elves, dwarves, and even a few halflings coming through a one-way portal from the temple in Enoch. When the portal appeared late in the winter, it was clear to the first presidency and quorum of the twelve that they were meant to seek volunteers to settle the other side. Continue reading

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Biweekly Item-Embalmer’s Knife

An embalmer’s knife is usually found near the severed hand of the dedicated embalmer that used it last. Once the knife is picked up, it cannot be put down until without severing the hand except by powerful dispelling or divine intervention. Though not a well made knife for combat (small penalty), it sucks the moisture from any flesh cut (additional damage).

The knife was created originally as a tool for preserving bodies of dead rulers, as well as a symbol of dedication on the part of the embalmers who sacrifice their hand in performing this last service to their ruler.

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The True Source

The 28th of October, three fast friends among the Citadel House adventurers agree to finally finish what they began September 16th. The party is:

  • Frank (PaT): Level 2 Dwarf Brawler
  • Lonir (MaC): Level 3 Elf Thief
  • Verdis the Prickly (HuS): Level 4 Human Fighter

With the weather looking fine, they set out to Confluence with 15 pounds of mortar to supplement the 50 pounds they left in the woods to pursue the kobold scout. In Confluence, they speak to District President Paul and convince him to give them an encharged staff that will allow one person for a minute to see the contaminants even through some amount of stone. After a quick lunch, they proceed up river at a brisk pace for Frank.
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Biweekly Monster-Predator Ash

These trees look just like an ash tree, though bones of their prey near the roots might betray their true nature. Predator Ash wander only when in search of prey when their current location begins to prove less bountiful. They move slowly (1 or 2 mph), and only at night. During the day, they will stand still waiting for prey. They strike by lashing down with branches that strike like swords when they feel prey near their roots.

While migrating, the tree is more conspicuous, as it has not laid its roots deep into the ground yet. As time goes on, the ground they have disturbed returns to its natural state and the tree is harder to recognize as anything other than a normal tree surrounded with bones. Predator Ash also gain in perceptive ability the longer they occupy an area.

 

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Vale Observation Outpost

ValeOverlook (2)

The Dragon Empire became aware of the presence of the settlers in the Vale. They had been warned by their ancestors of the arrogance and power of the elves, and there were elves among these new settlers. Though their mission objective was ostensibly to observe the settlement and remain unseen, the kobolds and white dragon assigned to the mission had been taught from youth to hate the elves. It would not be long before observation turned to intervention. Continue reading

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The Faded One

We left the underdark party 19 days into their dedicated journey to Emberlung in search of the crystals Brimahil has become aware of in the underdark. On October 19th, with the song of the unseen choir in the creeping sun cavern still audible behind them, they continue on, soon coming upon a cavern shaped much like a creeping sun cavern, but with no biome within. Instead, massive spider webs partially block entry and they immediately grow cautious.
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Biweekly Item-The Thief’s Curse

12 April 357

Ever since we left the Tomb of Nardula we’ve been harried at every turn. Wild animals and even some feral undead have attacked at least twice a day for a week. We’ve even suffered some wounds. Could the runes threatening a curse on those who rob the tomb be sincere?

17 April 357

We finally reached a town with a magical appraiser who could look over our loot. He identified an innocuous amulet as the cause for our continuing harassment. Apparently it can only be gotten rid of in a transaction between two aware and willing individuals. We sold some of our haul to pay what he requires to take it off our hands. Hopefully he’s still open to the deal in the morning. Continue reading

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