Friday, March 3, 2017

Ancient Dread: The Loch Chess Monster


Moving on to the next room past the next set of double doors. Inside the walls are marble and decorated w/ arms and armor. One side in white metal , the other black.

There are two lances, two long swords, two miters (hats), two breast plates, and two short swords on each side. There is a single crown on the white side.

Strongbow chooses a white short sword. Ivory grip, silver, and white steel for the haft.
Rod chooses the white crown. White gold inlaid w/ pearls, mother of pearl, and diamonds.
Echo begins to choose a white lance but the dwarven spirit inside her compels her to choose a black one, obsidian lance, onyx haft, and blackened bronze. It's weight is nearly more than she can bare.

A checkered board is laid out in front of us. It appears to be floating on water, easily jumped onto. It contains numerous statues, one side white, one side black. We match up our chosen items with those on the board. The black king has the white pearl glowing brightly on his crown. Our third item.

Strongbow leaps to reach an equivalent spot and falls throughthe board onto the water. He pulls himself up onto the board and takes his place along w/ Rod and Echo. A silence befalls the room.
Rod calls to one of the white pieces to move and it responds. The game begins. Pieces swiftly fall through the board as they are taken. Eventually a quandry comes up. Echo is moved involuntarily into a position to take Strongbow. A pawn takes her. She falls through and manages to swim to the shore. We check the king and it falls through the board into the depths below.

Rod and Strongbow feel a loyalty to the Dwarven empire. Echo attempts to have her water wisps retrieve the statue but they are devoured by a sea monster. Rod summons a Shadow Beast to delve and retrieve the statue. After a time, we realize it wasn't coming back up. A combined effort between the two mystical creatures wears down the beast and they manage to drag the statue to shore. Strongbow manages to pry it out of the crown. The geas goes away.

Now we have to obtain the crown. The last door leads to a bridge, unstable looking, a 50 foot span of river to a small island. On the other side is some sort of Dwarven crafts table. Echo ties a rope to a point and walks across, securing it on the other side. On the table is a crown of a meteoric metal. Intricately carved. It seems to have its own presence. It has three spaces for the jewels. What order is the question. We decide that power and loyalty feed into Dominion. Loyalty is on the right hand and power on the left.

Echo calls on the skills of Grim Ax to place the gems. On the table is a case for the crown. We place it in the box and latch it. Echo feels its pull. We return to the Ashman. He is ecstatic and burns through the wall of corpses. Beyond the wall is a tunnel leading to our final destination. The Ashman warns us that his opponent is a Baalrog that is raising an army and will do everything he can to stop us. No more puzzles, just blood and ashes.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ancient Dread: Roll the Bones or Greed is Good for You.


Following intuition, we avoid the North door and move on to the Easterly one. A strange sight befalls us. It is reminiscent of a great hall but is in ruins.

 A small gravel pit is in the center of the room w/ another obelisk. No gem tops this one. A great stone table is on the North side, carved in many Dwarven designs. On the other side, a skeletal dwarf w/ glowing, hateful eyes stands behind a half-moon bar, the back stocked w/ many fine. In the center of the back wall is a chained dwarf corpse, glowing w/ power from its chest. On the obelisk is an inscription which, surprisingly, we are all able to read. It makes itself legible.
To all great leaders, must ye show fealty. Give in not to pride, avarice, or debauchery. Only through these shall ye know truth.
Hung on the obelisk is a large sword, similar to a lochaber axe but with a shorter haft and longerblade , and a battle axe. There are many gouges and divets taken out of the obelisk. The dwarven bartender, as if reading our thoughts, tells us that they have dwarven mead and wine. Echo and Rod suggest that the bar is debauchery, the obelisk pride, and the table avarice. On the table is a very worn but lovingly crafted wooden box. 4” x 8”. There are no outside decorations. Echo volunteers to open the box. Inside is a pair of felt lined wooden cups and numerous bone dice.

Strongbow goes up to the bartender, sits and asks for a glass of his finest wine. The Dwarf asks if I am ready for this challenge and to accept fealty. He places a goblet of fine dwarven crystal in front of the elf and pours a glass of wine. It smells enticing, even for a dwarven vintage. It has an honey and oakey smell to it. Strongbow takes a taste. The bartender states that the challenge is fealty to the Dwarven lords. He continues drinking for a bit then declares he’s done. The bartender states “Your fealty is accepted”. A beam of yellow light shoots from the corpse on the wall and strikes Strongbow in the chest. Completely against his constitution, he feels slightly compelled to follow the dwarven lords. Echo bellys up to the bar and starts drinking heavily. Four drinks later and she is on the floor.

The Dwarf rejects her.

Rod moves up to the obelisk. The bartender follows. “Trial by stone?” Yes, replies Rod and takes the sword. The Dwarf takes the axe. Rod swings and takes a chip out of the obelisk. The dwarf strikes but the axe loses a piece. They continue the duel. After several more strikes, Rod breaks the stone in half. A beam of yellow light strikes her in the chest. She feels inclined towards the dwarves. Stone crumbles down into the gravel and a new one builds up. Strongbow moves up and draws Melina and strikes the stone against the protestations of the dwarf. As a piece comes off the stone, a burst of energy hits Strongbow in the chest, knocking him back several feet. The dwarf looks crossly at him. “You have failed”.

The dwarf walks over to the table and takes out the bone dice. Echo, managing not to waver, sits. The dwarf states that she must make a wager. She places the groups treasure bag, easily worth 200k gold, on the table. The dwarf pauses. Out of seemingly nowhere, he pulls out a beautiful gem and a bag of coins. He pushes the bag forward. “My first bet”. We place several magic items on the table. The dwarf matches w/ several other magic items.

Echo places the pink gem, the entire focus of our quest, onto the table. The Dwarf is befuddled. He glowers at us, filled w/ undying hate. “You have made an enemy this day”. The bones are rolled.
The dwarf rolls a 3.
Echo rolls a 7.

Unimaginable knowledge along w/ our riches are ours.

The wall spectre disappears. We collect the second gem.

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