Monday, September 30, 2013

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 32

I am writing while on the road back towards the city that was invaded by goblins.  We camp where there is also a homeless man, filled with too much firewater.  I gave some food and he came alive with fairytales of places we just came from.  His mind had already left his hollow body.  Sleep was easy this night.  Onri and I had the same watch.  Kulr and Fizzleboom have the second watch, and Brute and Trevor have the last. When Kulr is up, he works out, and it took a while for me to fall asleep into a rhythm of the noises he makes. Before we left Broderick’s house, I wanted to go back to that secret room, to look at the books.  When at the room, I could not remember how to enter. I tried to have the gnome, Fizzle Boom, go with me into the room, because Trevor wanted to sample the house wines.  Even though the room was calling out to me, I put aside the urge to enter, as Fizzelboom did not seem to appreciate the contents.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 31

The next entry in Katherine's journal continues her story:

Entry 31
If I could curse!  I am so upset with myself. Calm down so I can write.  It is morning and I don’t have much time.  Of all the ones that found out, it had to be him. He is so not like Keith.  Keith was a sorcerer, not some half mage.  And oh how Keith would have like to see the secret library I discovered.  There were books to read, and study. If only he were here now.  It seems that I was sleep walking and through some witchcraft was led to this room.  The amazing said he was following me - makes me wonder why he was following another man - or at least he thought he was following a man, or did he know – it does not matter now.  The Amazing followed me into this room, and broke the charm I was under.  This was a second time he broke the charm – just coincidence.  Or is he secretly looking after me?  But any way, he now knows of my secret.  I knew it would be difficult to keep it going.  He stated that he would be discrete and not tell.  It seems that if the amazing could make money selling my secret, he would.  Oh, how he reminds me of my father.  To finish this entry on a better note, I must tell the others soon.  Kulr is just a gentle giant, I must write of how kind he was with the children.  He carried them on his shoulders.  He would make a fine father some day.  And Brute seems good and honorable.  These two are not like anyone I have met so far.  The other half mage, Bang Fizzleout, I have not figured out yet.  Time for no more interruptions, I must sleep.  Let me find a blanketand put it over the mirror.  Was it calling out to me…

Evocative Place: Salar De Uyuni

Okay, so I was cruising around on Google Earth (because I've always loved maps and Google Earth is awesome) and I noticed a huge white patch in the Andes in South America.  I assumed it was a large area of snow-capped mountains but I zoomed in anyways.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is the world's largest salt lake, the Salar De Uyuni.  And not only is it a massive salt lake of over 10,000 km2 (4,000 mi2) but it has a massive dormant volcano, Cerro Tunupa, looming over it on the north edge.  How cool is that?  In addition there are "islands" of rock outcroppings rising above the flat "sea" of salt.  The locals mine the salt to sell and flocks of flamingos migrate there for the winter breeding season.

This is obviously a cool location.

But I'd already made up a location like that for my last game.  I called it the Salt Sorrow.  Two hundred years before the current game time the entire region north of the players' home town was a vast expanse of marsh forest laced with rivers and lakes.  It was ruled by a dynasty of black (water element) dragons.  But a curse laid by the human pharaoh-vizier to the dragons turned it all to desert and salt flats.  There was an oasis in the middle where a tribe of ogres lived, making money charging a toll for access to the water to travelers and salt miners.  In a remote section of it were the remains of a massive palace of the black dragons with much inside to discover.

Now having read up on Salar de Uyuni I'd update the entire area with more cool elements, such as a layer of briny water below the top crust.  I'd swap the migrating flamingos for something more fantastic, like giant dragonflies.  Every year during the winter massive monsoon rains dump enough rain to form large brine pools into which hatch hibernating shrimps.  The dragonflies come to feast and breed, attracting in turn predators which seek to feed on them and their freshly-laid egg masses.  But the dragonflies defend their eggs, savagely attacking any intruders.

And take this photo (from Wikimedia Commons) of salt piles there.  Imagine that they are 150-200 feet across and equally high and each is riddled with caves, tunnels, and burrows.  One might even be fitted with windows and doors as a place to live (or dungeon to explore).  Or imagine that they are a mile across and high and each one home to a separate clan of lizard people or weird salt mining dwarves, each feuding with the others.

( Luca Galuzzi -

Now a location needs encounters.  I don't usually make up "proper" encounter tables with percentages for things because I don't want the party to get trashed by something inappropriate.  Instead I make up an encounter list and select from it as seems best.

Salt Lake Creature Encounter List
Achaierai [CR 5]; only found within 1 mile of shore; lay their eggs in the shallow brine layer under the salt crust, very aggressive in defense of egg sites
Ankheg [CR 3]
Basilisk, Salthide [CR 5]; white shiny scales; CR 28 to spot against the white salt lake background
Bat Swarm [CR 2]; night only
Camels [CR 1]; migrating across
Caryatid Columns [CR 3]; wandering from the damaged dragon palace
Earth (salt) Elemental, medium (CR 3]
Giant Centipede [CR 1/2]
Gnolls [CR 1]; hunting party with hyenas or slaver party
Lizardfolk, Saltscale [CR 1]; hunting party or holy warriors looking for captive to sacrifice
Ogre [CR 3]; patrol, will try to charge toll else attack
Purple Worm [CR 12]
Salt Mephits [CR 3]
Salt Wights [CR 3]; night only
Saltman [CR 3]; as a Sandman, but made of salt rather than sand
Skeleton [CR 1/3]
White Pudding [CR 6]; CR 30 to spot the white puddings against the white salt background
Will-o'-wisp (night only) [CR 6]
Wraiths [CR 5]; night only
Zombie [CR 1/2]; died from lack of water, thirsting for the blood of the living

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 30

The journal entries of Katherine the cleric/sorcerer continue (guest postings written by Kirk who is playing Katherine):

Entry 30
Much has again happened on this last day and night. I knew that the human half mage, the “Amazing Trevor,” was trouble. I challenged his self proclaimed leadership and then backed down, thinking patience would be a better tactic. On our trip to take the boy to the city, Adan, the first day we meet a merchant selling questionable items. Later that day we found about 19 children and they were refugees – they told us about goblins and orcs attacking the town to the north. I felt for them. (How difficult is it to keep this disguise going with this group. I am constantly swept by emotions. Back to the story…) I was torn between escorting the refugees, or to go after five more children who might be captive or worse? We decided to take the children to a temple in Adan, then to return to get the others. When we arrived there, a priest stated that parish members would provide homes for them. I gave 1/2 gp for each child, for the Temple to entrust, to help with their needs. I encouraged the amazing Trevor half mage to give some coin, too. But no. Oh, how he reminds me of what my father became.

With the refugees cared for, we next fulfilled our obligation to make sure the bastard son was returned to his master’s house. A mute servant was at the house and offered for us to stay the night. The council must have locked the house, in the absence of the council member. We must return to determine what has happened here. I felt that we should leave at once to help the five that remained. But again, I came at odds with the “amazing.” We decided to stay the night.

Let me describe the room I was to stay in. Finally a private room for myself, was large and spacious, definitely a room for a woman, but an elderly woman. It has many fancy things that I might have enjoyed, if I hadn't run away. It reminds me of my childhood days. Just one thing that is strange in this room - the mirror. I must examine it better.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 29

Readers of this blog know that I am writing up our Castles & Crusades campaign from the particular perspective of my character, The Amazing Trevor.  Poor Trevor is becoming quite smitten with the young cleric/mage with the party, the lovely Katherine.  Unbeknownst to him she has been keeping a journal since departing the monastery and the 29th entry coincides with the start of Trevor's reminiscences...

I must appear and travel as a man. I have heard of other women doing this – it should not be too bad – soon this will be over and I can go back. The curse will be lifted. This disguise will help me be less reckless with emotions.  I had to wander far away. And that is what I did.  

Entry 29
I am at an inn. Although, not from charity, but from a well done deed. First, much has happened since I last wrote and I must be brief, for I don't have much time and the ink must dry, before I leave. I must make a note that I will write of my journeys that led me here later. But first, the story at this inn, and the travels I will make in this morning…

Shortly after I arrived, I saw a noble enter. Protected by his guards he felt secure. The noble reminded me a little of my father, after mother died - caring for his wealth more than anything else. A juggler worked the bystanders, tossing flame, I could tell they were not real – half mage illusions. Then two tall brutish thugs entered. I thought they might give trouble. And then a human half mage also of note entered. Just when things got comfortable again, a loud rumbling and crashing happened and a beast of comparable size made its own doorway to the inn, through a wall.

This beast was a rare sight, even stranger that it made its way into town so boldly where it must surely be traveling to its death. Witchcraft is what I expected first. The beast charged for this noble, easily pushing the guards away. I felt for the guards and others that got injured. I called upon the deity that has stuck with me through my troubles, and asked for aide to the injured. Then I again called upon the deity, to guide and reveal to me what caused this. A sack, bent with witchcraft, around this beast’s neck controlled him. I called out to the brutes that were in melee, but all seemed preoccupied. It was up to me. Keeping my disguise well, I grabbed the sack from his neck. Then I blacked out. I came to my senses, disguise still in tack, with one of the brutes on my back. I struggled hard to keep the disguise going, but all were much more focused on the sack, that lay on the ground in front of me. The noble called out to the half mage and was grateful we had stopped the monster. The contents of the bag - definitely witchcraft.

Seeing that the fight was over, the noble went on to explain how he was a member of the city council of Adan, and that he had a mistress, who was a witch. He went on to explain that he had a son with the witch. And that he burned the witch. I'm definitely on the side of the witch with this one – greedy noble that killed his mistress. The noble should not have had a child out of wedlock, but to burn the child’s mother alive! Just more examples of abusive men - first he is unfaithful, then he manipulated us into us helping him. But that is not the end. Soon the townspeople are bewitched, and are bent at destroying him. This time it seems the bastard son is doing the controlling. We retreated to the mill, where we can defend a narrow bridge. In our defense of the bridge, we happened to find out that once the people fell into the water, the charm was broken. But, the witch got her revenge. An apparition appeared, and this forced the noble back into the water wheel, where he got caught in the wheel. The wheel took him up and over the other side, where he was crushed. It was awful. We could not leave the boy alone and orphaned. The half mage suggested that we escort the boy back to his city.  A word about these travelers: Brute is a tall and strong fellow - not to cross paths. Then there is Kulr, an even bigger fellow – he is half man, too. The juggler I mentioned earlier, his name is Boom Fizzleout, and is a gnome half mage. He seemed harmless, but enjoys playing tricks on others. There is another nameless man, he appears when needed, then pops out again, always catching fish. And last: the “Amazing Trevor”, or whatever – the other half mage that has done much talking to the noble. Must let ink dry.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Modern Ammo Rules for Old School Hack (draft)

Okay, so those of you who have read enough of my posts know that I am a big fan of the Old School Hack rules by Kirin Robinson.  Those rules are for an awesomized version of early D&D.  The rules skip over boring stuff like keeping track of ammo because elegant simplification is at the heart of the design.  But the core concepts in Old School Hack can be adapted to any genre.  I've been playing around with some ideas, including modern and sci-fi applications.  In modern or future genres you're going to have a lot of firearms, including heavier stuff like grenades, rocket launchers, and heavy machineguns.  With modern weapons you're going to decide how to handle ammo.

Now, you could just take the Hollywood approach and ignore ammo.  In Hollywood movies nobody runs out of ammo until the plot calls for it.  With this approach the DM could call for an ammo check at critical moments.  The ammo check (or ammo save) would be a simple attribute check, modified by any appropriate talents, probably using Awareness or Cunning.  Characters can get their ammo back by finding or buying more or by spending some APs, maybe 1 AP for weapons which don't fire full auto or a couple grenades, 2 APs for automatic fire weapons, and 3 APs for heavy weapons like rocket launchers or flamethrowers.  This approach makes for good dramatic play but is a bit arbitrary and relies on having a DM with good dramatic instincts.

Another approach is to turn low attack rolls into ammo checks.  Each time the player rolls the d10s for a modern weapons attack:
- if one die comes up with a 1, then the weapon needs to be reloaded, taking one turn
- if both dice come up with 1s, then the character is Low on Ammo; as long as the character does not fire two turns in a row they can keep on going (the lower rate of fire representing them conserving ammo); but whenever the character fires two turns in a row when Low on Ammo then any subsequent 1 on a die means they are out of ammo for that weapon type.

I was also thinking that ammo can be represented by "loads".  Each player normally starts the game with one free weapon; that weapon comes with one free "load" of ammo.  When a player is Low on Ammo or completely out they can use up one "load" to clear that condition.  Or they can spend APs costing as above.  Loads can also be purchased or found.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hooray! My Heraldric Molding Project is Done!

Okay, so I've been working on this project to paint up many, many feet of crown molding with cool medieval heraldric shields.  There were hundreds and hundreds of shields, each requiring a painted base pattern and then ornamentation using paint, sharpie markers, and decals.  This afternoon I sprayed on the final sealing finish.  The painting is now finally (OMG finally) complete.  Now I just have to rent a nailgun somewhere and put it up without damaging it.  I am a bit worried that it might not reach all the way around the room now.  I had to remove some ends due to rough cuts or cuts which went through a shield.  I also had to get rid of a couple ends which suffered water damage from some flooding in the basement.  But I'm already thinking of adding in some sort of focal point feature, like a larger single shield, which would serve to fill in where the gap is.

But anyway, here's a look at some of the final product drying outside in Saturday's very nice weather:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

R.I.P. Donald Featherstone, A Founding Father of Modern Wargaming.

I've seen postings on a couple other blogs that Donald Featherstone, one of the founders of modern wargaming, died recently.  I've been out of wargaming for many years now but it's where I got my start.  I still have the very first lead miniatures I ever bought down in the basement.  At first it was playing with plastic figures by Airfix, then I discovered the metal minis almost by accident in a store in New York.  Soon I came across his book War Games.

This work was really an eye-opener for me because I'd never considered that you could "play army" with rules.  Plus, wargaming introduced the idea of simulation of reality such as turns representing a certain amount of time and a ground scale.  Soon afterwards I started reading the Conan books and Lord of the Rings which led to me using my medieval and ancient miniatures as fantasy armies.

But War Games also introduced me to the idea that you could make up your own terrain, your own miniatures, playing aids, and your own rules.  The chapter on ancients miniatures even used flat zinnfiguren instead of normal three-dimensional figures.  So cool.  No longer would I be stuck playing whatever the mainstream played.  And those valuable early learning experiences have stuck with me today.

Thank you, Mr. Featherstone.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chronicles of the Amazing Trevor: Chapter Four

Yes, we have another session of DM Kaiser's Castles & Crusades campaign under our belts now and I thought that perhaps I should give the write-up series a proper name.  I realized that post titles like "Castles & Crusades: Chapter Four" probably give the impression that it is a mini-review of just that chapter of the game or something.  So from here on they will be called Chronicles of the Amazing Trevor; I may even go back and re-title the earlier ones for clarity.  But let's rejoin our illusionist extraordinaire as he continues his tale of weird and wonder...

I awoke the next morning with innumerable aches and bruises about my person from sleeping with nothing more than the old blanket between myself and the expansive crudeness which is Nature. Oh for a proper bed in a proper mansion with proper servants on call!  My companions appeared to have recovered well from the previous night's exertions involving a pack of ravenous wolves.  Uhmri, who was now apparently more than the simple fisherman he originally appeared as, took advantage of the deceased canines still strewn about the camp to acquire several decidedly unappetizing pelts.  Breakfast was decidedly unappetizing as well and I shall say no more about it.

As we continued on the road northwards it was becoming apparent that the gnome's disturbingly wide-eyed watchfulness at night was some sort of gnomish trick.  I was peeved at not being able to divine exactly the nature of the game, being a bit of an old hand at this sort of thing.  One night we put him on duty with Kull who enjoyed repeatedly poking him to see if he was really awake.  On another night I again had a dream involving lovely piles of fabled goblin gold.  But instead of featuring the gnome as before, this one included me seeing myself in a mirror in a decidedly fashionable ensemble--but the mirror itself was disturbingly familiar.

On our third day north, after having traversed mile and miles of nothing interesting whatsoever, something very interesting indeed suddenly occurred.  The cleric traveling with us, who was going in disguise as "Keith", quite unexpectedly chose to reveal her true identity as the lovely Katherine.  She took off her helmet and her delightful tresses tumbled down in all their glory, long and shiny with a lustre I still find hard to describe even now and..ahem...but I digress.  She told us of her past, how she had run away from home, had a troubled stay at a priory where she learned to read and write, met a young sorcerer called Keith (whose name she had borrowed), and eventually went out into the world.  Katherine explained that she was traveling as a man for safety on the road and as a means of penance.  The group was stunned, Uhmri and Kull particularly so.  Kull was particularly upset that Katherine had not been honest to him and got her to promise not to tell him any further untruths.

To my dismay Brute and Kull twigged to the fact that I'd known Katherine's identity for several days already but had not let on.  They suggested in their odd-fellow way that this was because I had taken a fancy to her and was hoping to keep her for myself in some fashion.  Naturally I was shocked they'd suggest any such thing--especially after all the care I had taken to conceal it from them.  Either they were cleverer than they looked or I was losing my touch--and both possibilities were equally unpalatable.  In addition, Kull made a point of stating that he would smash anyone bothering Katherine.  Clearly, finding an opportunity to share a bottle of vintage delight with my "K" in an intimate setting would now be even more of a challenge.

Luckily for me the party's attention was soon diverted by smoke rising over the trees ahead.  We investigated and, as we had feared, found the source to be the remains of a village.  The corpses of the inhabitants were scattered around their homes in a pitiable state.  Several had clearly been tortured.  Humans, dwarves, gnomes, formerly neighbors and now together forever in death.  A few stray dogs were there, taking advantage of the situation to gorge.  Mixed in with the villagers were a number of dead goblins, which confirmed that the little bastards were on the warpath again.  We determined to burn the bodies of the villagers and do whatever else we could.  They may have been just simple peasants but I would not countenance them simply lying out here to be torn at by animals.

While the others surveyed the village Brute and I went out to the edge of the woods to call out to any survivors in hiding and look for signs of escapees.  None came forth in answer to my calls but Brute found a trail with tracks of children leading away from the village.  And then began The Explanation.  The sun seemed to stand still in the sky as he went on and on about detail after detail of the wretched tracks.  It was the soil this and the moss that.  Soon I began to understand how an animal could chew it's own leg off to escape a hunter's snare.  I began to hope a band of goblins would come put me out of my misery, perhaps by distracting me with something less painful such as a hot poker in one eye.

Brute Explains Tracking to the Amazing Trevor  (Photo I found on the net; not mine)
Unbeknownst to us, the others were having a rather hot time of it.  Uhmri had wandered off by himself, apparently in search of a well-stocked trout stream to ply with rod and hook.  A group of goblins ambushed him with nasty pointly little spear-sticks.  He leaped out of the ring of attackers by using one of their heads as stepping stone and made a break for it.  Deftly he slid under a cart, the diminutive nasties in hot pursuit.  Stopping in front of a still-burning building he grabbed one goblin and tossed him through an open window.  They swarmed about him, stabbling like fiends, but he was able to seize another and heave it through the window as well.

Nearby, Katherine noticed that something untoward was occurring.  She and Kull hurried over and ran into an ambush of their own.  However in this case the goblins took one look at the massive odd-fellow and screamed for their miserable little lives.  Two fled with Kull in pursuit, but two decided to attack the young cleric.  The two fleeing ones ducked into a chicken coop but Kull simply smashed through it bodily, sending bits of wood flying like a blizzard.  It was about this time that Brute and I noticed the clamor and rushed back.  I marveled at my relief in departing the quiet woods to rush headlong into certain violence.  Kull seized one of his prey by the head like an apple and killed it with a snap of the neck which could be heard clear across the village.  Katherine faced her two resolutely and bashed one of the little swine with her shield as he went for her throat.

Brute and I dashed through the village pell-mell, passing the hurrying Boomstock as we went.  We parted, with Brute heading for the louder melee and I for the lesser by sound of it.  Rounding a corner I came upon Uhmri, battling like a hero of old amidst the smoke and flames.  One goblin menaced him covered in soot like a chimney sweep, the other with an odd muddy footprint on its forehead.  The fisherman was covered in nasty-looking wounds, bright wet blood staining his tunic.  With no time to think I hefted my staff and laid about me like a mad hatter.

Nearby, Brute came upon Katherine and Kull.  A single cleave of his ax did for one of the little blighters.  A spray of blood from the cleaved one soiled the shield of the plucky young cleric.  Katherine swiftly felled the other with a masterful stroke.  Kull pursued his remaining victim relentlessly, plowing through hedge and fence.  Finally the unlucky vermin tripped and Kull stomped his head into the ground.  Wiping off his shoe he rejoined the company.

Uhmri and I battled relentlessly against the our two nasties, with all their ire still focused on him as they stabbed and thrust.  I marveled that something so bent and misshapen could be so agile, evading my carefully aimed blows time after time.  Clearly my staff was of far poorer quality than I had previously assumed--perhaps even a product of far-away Pongo.  Brute and Kull came up and dealt with the little buggers in typically decisive fashion.  Brute put an arrow into the back of one and Kull a brick into the head of the other.

We had just begun to relax, I starting to examine my staff for an inconspicuous Pongolean maker's mark, when yet another goblin leaped shrieking from the flaming cottage.  He grasped a flaming stake in both hands and thrust it towards Uhmri's heart.  Brute shot an arrow at it but missed.  The vicious attacker bored in on Uhmri like a bolt from a crossbow.  It was up to me to bring him down forthwith or the young fisherman would breathe his last this day.  Plucking a dart from my belt I aimed with great intention at the howling fiend.  My years of training came back to me as I hefted the familiar projectile in my hand.  It was only a few yards away, about the same distance as the bearded lady I used to throw knives at in my stage show.  The "bearded lady" the gods...what a hideous image flooded my mind then.  The badly bleached blond curls, the thick makeup troweled on like builder's mortar, the coarse hairs running from her nose down into the scraggly my momentary distress the dart went wide and disappeared into the fires beyond.  Brute swiftly put the goblin down with yet another well-placed arrow.  For a rough odd-fellow he seemed surprisingly well-trained to such a delicate instrument.  Boomtock the gnome then finally arrived, puffed for breath and unpleasantly sweaty.

We set about the solemn task of cremating the bodies of the villagers in a pyre.  Katherine said a few well-chosen words of prayer to send them on their way.  Leaving the horses to forage around the village, we took to the trail on foot.  The gnome soon protested about the amount of walking ahead of us.  Brute suggested asking Kull for a ride but the peculiar little chap was decidedly unenthusiastic about the idea.  The trail led on through wooded areas and occasionally past the charred remains of farmsteads.  At one point the tracks of several children and a young adult, probably the girl Merity we'd been told about, broke off and went west towards orc country.  We followed and came across a couple dead wolves, one of whom had been shot with an arrow.  Later there was a massive booming sound to the northeast.  It was like a massive peal of thunder and yet rather unlike one.

Darkness fell and we camped where we were.  The unfortunate Uhmri was the first victim of the attack in the night, taking an arrow to the chest as he stood watch.  It was a small party of orcs sniping from the bushes nearby.  Our two odd-fellows immediately charged in with their wicked axes.  Katherine and I cast spells of light to illuminate the battlefield, my spell on the tip of my staff and hers on the barely glimpsed helmet of one of the orcs.  As Kull and Brute engaged the orcs an arrow flew from the other side of the camp and pierced one of the savages.  Kull challenged the concealing woods, demanding if the shooter be friend or foe.  To our surprise the reply was "friend".  The orcs in their warpaint were quickly dispatched with the aid of our new ally.  Katherine called on the power of the Light to heal the ailing Uhmri once again.  For all the times that he was receiving her gentle touch I rather wondered if his clumsiness in battle was as genuine as it seemed.

The "friend" emerged from the shadows and was revealed in our magical lights to be a young girl, in her late teens perhaps.  She was dressed in rough furs and leathers like some feral foundling and her untidy blond hair looked as if she brushed it with a raccoon every morning.  The deep hue of her tan spoke of full days in the outdoors.  I observed her closely but was unable to ascertain beyond the grime whether it would be better to essay a gentlemanly kiss on the hand or simply toss her a raw haunch of mutton.

She introduced herself as Faylan and we presented ourselves in turn.  She seemed a bit nonplussed about the encounter until I stepped forward and intoned "I am the Amazing Trevor.  How do you do?"  She brightened a bit and replied "Now there's a name I can actually remember" in a not particularly charming rustic drawl.  After a brief exchange Faylan revealed that she had rescued the wayward children from the wolves and housed them in her cave.  I had a sudden mental image of her squatting before a small fire in a cave in her furs and leathers, a family of large bears snoring nearby.

She led us through the dark and likely still orc-infested wood to her cave.  Kull and Brute were unable to squeeze their massive selves through the small crevice and so remained outside on guard with Faylan.  The children were indeed all there around a small fire, as grimy and odiferous as one might expect under the circumstances.  There were no snoring bears, but one little halfling girl had a riding dog with her.  Outside I overheard Faylan express her relief that she could finally be rid of her unplanned houseguests and get back to avoiding people in general.  Inside, the young Merity took an uncomfortable fancy to me.  She was far too young for even a casual affair and besides which her current grievously unwashed state presented an insurmountable barrier to even the most ardent of Romeos.  And more importantly I was desirous not to send any confusing signals to the fair Katherine, who moved among the urchins like an angel amongst souls redeemed.

In the morning I endured some joshing from Brute and Kull about the inconvenient intentions of young Merity.  Kull was also amused by the halfling on her canine mount.  After seeing the hungry look on the pack of ankle-biters in the cave the previous evening I was surprised the scruffy mutt hadn't ended up marinated on a spit over the fire.  But then, we did still have several days' travel ahead of us.  Faylan bid us a very, very cheery goodbye indeed as we took to the trail once again and left her in peace.  Pushing on we were soon back at the village.  There we gathered the horses, loaded up the children on the wagon, and took the south road.  The weather was lovely, but then any day when one is headed back to civilization seems just a little bit brighter.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ponies for Pathfinder - Pledge Confirmed!

Okay, so the Ponies for Pathfinder kickstarter project is going into final production.  I confirmed my pledge and am eagerly awaiting my book in the mail!  I do want to say that the communication and backer interaction on this project has been excellent.  They've been great about keeping us up to date, offering opportunities to vote on things (including the new title), showing us art previews, etc.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what the final product looks like!