All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought, Session 8, Bounty Hunters

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought, Session 8, Bounty Hunters

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought / Session 8: Bounty Hunters

In which bounty hunters attack the Sigil 6 from the darkness.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider
  • The town is camped with the merchant caravan, to the east runs the Salt Road, to the north, somewhere in the forest, a portal bathes the dark horizon in blue light.

    The party was looking over magic items, deciding if anything was worth purchasing with the gold they grabbed from Castle Ravenloft. I asked everyone to make a Perception check before the oncoming ambush. Trundle, Dwarf Ranger and Kuru, Halfling Arcane Trickster, made their rolls. Trundle came from a dwarven holdfast that was under siege from Devils. I asked him how one could tell when Devils were about to attack – he said that you could always smell the sulfur coming from the stones. Kuru said that he often has a sixth sense before an ambush; I said that for some reason it reminded him of the law coming down on his crew after a heist.

  • The crossbow bolt hit one of Bugwump’s Firebolt Apprentices in the chest. Kuru and Jusko failed their saves and were unable to see for a round. Then Bugwump was hit with a crossbow bolt/lightning bolt that paralyzed him for a minute. It was a rough opening salvo. Things were looking grim.

  • Three things happened that turned the tide of the battle – Failed Soldier hit Bugwump with a Lesser Restoration and Helewynn Misty Stepped to the tree-line where Failed Soldier had noted the bolts were coming from. Helewynn lit up her firey blade, a beacon for the rest of the group. Trundle tracked down on the invisible Devil bounty hunter who had gone invisible.

  • Turned out it was an Orthon (bounty hunter to Archdukes of Hell), a Deathlock Mastermind (undead warlock) and Shadar Kai Shadow Dancer (stealthy elf with chains). The party turned the tide, killed the Deathlock and hunted down the Orthon; the Shadar Kair surrendered.

    Orthons usually will themselves to explode when they are close to death but Bugwump knew this with a 28 Arcana check and hit the Orthon with a psychic attack that left it reeling. Then Jusko beheaded it with his vorpal blade, leaving the Devil’s Brass Crossbow and Infernal Knife.

  • The surrendered Shadar Kai’s name is Halda of Gloomwrought, where she had been hired by the Devil. Turns out, the Red Court of Innistrad has a bounty out on Helewynn’s head. The dead apprentice’s family sought Bugwump’s guidance in how to deal with Halda. In the end she was given to the Squires’ custody to see if she could earn her keep on the roads to Gloomwrought.

    The fact that the merchant caravan’s guard captain is a vampire has not escaped the Sigil 6’s notice.

DM’s Notes: I tried using my Context, Cool Shit and Consequences note sheet and it was alright. I’ll post the sheet when I’ve used all of the material there. Honestly, what works for me when trying to come up with ideas is the ole, looking through the Monster Manual, or in this case, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

This week the Facebook Group question was:

The goat-head the zombie was holding told you all the eyes of Orcus are upon you and after defeating the latest zombie mob, you can feel this more than ever.

What has your character seen or felt that makes them think that Orcus is watching them with intense interest?

Kuru’s Player

Usually when you look out into the darkness and see the reflections from the eyes of animals in the darkness they shine back a bright white…when Orcus is using the creatures to spy on them, the reflected light is a blood red.

Jusko’s Player

You’re not supposed to be able to read in dreams. Scribbles, or blurred entries, or even books of blank paper betraying their gold bound leather clad covers are the rule. Jusko, a not-uneducated man, knows this and takes some comfort in it: No matter how dark his dreams descend he never again has to suffer the pages under the withering glare of House tutors. There is that, at least.

Until the f’ing Shadowfell.

Now, his boyhood tutors return – Dame Magda the Sword of Crones, and cataracted Uncle Aram the eyeless overseer of the lectern devils – grin too wide in maniacal glee when once-again young Jusko opens his primers and words appear for him to memorize and sing back in plainsong.

And as if this wasn’t torment enough, the words themselves are nightmares:

I am Orcus, and I will rut with your ancient ghosts as you tread my lands with your insipid toed feet. Their minds break under my weight. Your dead will never know you again.

I am Orcus, and have laid my hand upon your organs, your get will be birthed with my mark forevermore. This is repayment for the foul droppings and excretions you leave dotted across my domain.

I am Orcus, and I will break the thundering drums you name as Hearts and Lungs and Blood. It is deafening and obscene to me, and I will put those instruments inside out. My domain shall be one of silence eternal, a law writ in your entrails for all to see.

I am Orcus, and your words to Soth are meaningless wind.

I am Orcus, and I know the sound the boy made when your knife opened his liver to the air.

I am Orcus, and your lifelong lies are poetry.

I am Orcus, and I see you clearly, like no lover nor mother ever has.

I am Orcus. And I am coming.

The books cannot be closed, and the Hajek boy cannot wake up. The Library grows, the threats double in number and putrescence, then triple, then factorial into time bowl-warped by the ineffable collapsing star that the thing Orcus orbits. It will not let Jusko awake, It will not let his sleep be restful, It can be heard laughing as thunder, Its fingers spread closer like shadows – formless, massless, but present and unavoidable, all is hopeless all is -*

Failed Soldier’s Player

Failed Soldier does not sleep. They have learned to lie still for several hours to help others feel a bit less creeped out…maybe. During the times of quiet reflection, they feel a probing, prodding, and tugging at their essence, as if something is trying to find a way in. Since the latest zombie horde encounter, this has become more pronounced. To try to learn more, Failed Soldier put all thought into that point of light or force or whatever it is that is their self. This returned a vision. Their essence a shiny orb, being gnawed on by a goats head. Watching over this with dispassion are a raven and the eyes of the angel who made Failed Soldiers current body.

Next Game: The portal to the north is in need of some exploring.

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Friday Night Daydreams

Friday Night Daydreams

Woke up and jotted down some gaming notes. Found monsters I like for the upcoming Shadowfell Exodus or as the Thursday Night Gamers are calling it, Shadowfell Oregon Trail. The process reminds me of looking at the Monster Manuals when I was 14, reverently reading each entry, daydreaming about how I’d use them in a game. I can still remember borrowing Rob’s copies of Monster Manuals 1 and 2 and his Fiend Folio; I remember that his Monster Manual 1 had no cover. Odd, I can see that coverless book so vividly.

Shadowfell Oregon Trail

I am digging Cawood Publishing‘s Monsters of the Underworld and will likely make use of Monsters of the City: Sins & Virtues when they eventually reach Gloomwrought. I am still very much a sucker for monster manuals and these are fun bits of world building and monster design.

Cawood Publishing books mentioned above, as they sit on my desk.

There’s an idea that needs marinating inspired by Blades in the Dark‘s Entanglement’s tables, starting out as 1d6 but adding d6’s, up to 3d6, as the Shadows grow long. The idea crystalized for me when I realized what I wanted the 18 result to be. Also, notes for things moving, sometimes randomly and other times at the whim of Fell Powers, out there in the Shadowfell on the map creating chaos. While I’m at it, I should probably think about my Context, Cool Shit and Consequences.

Map of the upcoming exodus to Gloomwrought
Spears Subject Divider

Mothership is a published adventure, so I am perusing and digesting that over again during this week off. Slowly moving to get a game going with my dad. I showed him the following and he said the first two spoke to him most. We’ll make a character this week, I hope.

I need to write something about GMing published adventures rather than running from personal notes. It really feels like a different muscle all-together. When it works it feels like running with support and having room to move and improvise within a well wrought structure. When it doesn’t work, for me, it feels like homework in junior high school.

Spears Subject Divider

I went to bed fairly early and woke up in the middle of the night. Now it is more Saturday morning than Friday evening but I’ve got ideas for the dragon-slaying D&D-houserules-turned-game project that has been on my mind since Jay mentioned that he had not ever encountered a dragon as a player at the gaming table. Those notes are dangerously close to being playtestable.

My artish hobby that began with getting the Affinity Art Suite for a birthday gift a few years ago means that sometimes I start making images for games or book-covers for books long before those games/books/vague ideas are ready for it. Speaking of which…

Dragonslayers twitter pic: DRAGONSLAYERS: There is a beast that embodies all that is wondrous and fell in humanity. It rules over your people, using its power to feed an unquenchable greed. Slay it.

Jay‘s going to hunt some dragon before 2022 is done.

How is your gaming going? What are you working on? What are you daydreaming about?

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

Books from Castle Ravenloft’s Library

Goomwrought / City of Midnight / Factions, Powers and Merchants / Observations & Reports from Servants

This tome was compiled by Strahd over the years, keeping track of Gloomwrought, through the reports of his messengers. This was the place he reckoned would be his first stop when he escaped from the Demi-Plane of Dread’s clutches.

Allows for 3 rerolls when seeking out lore or understanding people embroiled in power struggles on the streets of Gloomwrought or finding people or Powers in the City of Midnight. Describe how Strahd’s writings on his messengers’ reports explaianed this aspect of Gloomwrought.

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Conquering the Planes
a manual by
Arch-age Xrathburlg the Unsparing
Emperor of the Cosmos

This tome was written by the infamous Frog-kin Arch-Mage, concerning being a cross-planar conqueror.

Allows for 3 re-rolls when you are seeking out planar lore or understanding beings who are attempting to conquer the planes.

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Van Richten’s Guide to Hunting the Lich

This tome was written by the famous monster-hunter who has killed monsters in many domains of Ravenloft. This tome was procured by Strahd so that he could better do battle with Azalin Rex.

Allows for 3 re-rolls when you are seeking lore concerning liches, demi-liches, necromancers on the path to lich-dom or their catspaws and servants.

Human/Bat Skeleton Subject Divider

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

Spending the Ravenloft Fortune

Spending the Ravenloft Fortune

The Sigil 6: Outlands Expedition Team

I did not feel like going through the treasure in Castle Ravenloft and tallying it up after the Sigil Six killed Strahd. So, I wrote up the below houserule to use as the players make their way through the Demi-Plane of Dread’s mists, into the Shadowfell (random encounter tables are brewing) and eventually to Gloomwrought (tempted to write the factions up Blades in the Dark/Doskvol style) spending loot fresh out of Barovia. Inspired very much by Burning Wheel’s resources.

NOTE: Will I ever play a fantasy RPG and not take some inspiration from Burning Wheel? Probably not.

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When you spend money from the Ravenloft Fortune, tell the DM what you want to buy and in what marketplace you are trying to purchase this item. The DM will set a DC if it is possible to find such a thing in the marketplace. If not, the DM will let you know who the merchants say might have such an item or a map to a tomb where such an item could be found. If the item is common, the DM might just ask you to check off a gold coin or two (maybe three if it is really opulent) without a roll. When you roll, mark a gold piece off of the fortune below. You may add +1 for every gold piece you mark off of the fortune. If you succeed, you purchase the item without a problem. If you fail the roll, you either draw attention from a dangerous faction, purchase an item or service that has a complicated history attached to it or the merchant demands an exchange of services, wanting the skills that adventurers are known to possess. 1 Gold Coin = 1 month room & board in most cities for 6 adventurers.

I imagine we might clip the coins into halves and quarters if needed. We’ll see. If they ever take a dragon’s hoard, I’ll write something similar up but with a touch different flavor (and probably more slots to burn).

Sword and Key Subject Divider

Will this somehow link to my unfinished resources system or will that wait until I have Project Ampersand (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ANY NONSENSE THE nu-TSR fools are brewing) into some kind of playable format? Time will tell.

The wonderful picture of loot in the above image is from Feral Indie Studios, whose asset packs are well worth the money.

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