Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Actual Play: Blue Rose AGE RPG

I had the opportunity to play Green Ronin's Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy a few months ago, as a player, mind you.

The group was made up with:

  • The Game Master (played by R)
  • Ajax, the Rhy-fox (played by me)
  • Tobin, a Rezean Expert (played by DA)
  • Nour, a Night Person Warrior (NPC)

This actually lead to a new Blue Rose AGE campaign that I'm currently in, as Ajax, with R and a bunch of new people.

But I'm ahead of myself.

Following are two sessions of Blue Rose AGE: The Mask of Ebban!

****** Spoilers ******

The following posts may have spoilers to the adventure presented in the Blue Rose AGE core rulebook. You are warned.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Orin's Second Post

Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from March 2013:

Wherein Orin speaks of his further adventures.
On the road again.
Before entering the Deep Forest, we decide to stop by the Laughing Unicorn tavern, a well fortified establishment popular among the travelers of Deep Forest road. We sit for a bit to eat, chatting with the barkeep, Omar the younger. Omar tells us that the coward, Curran the bandit chief, just won’t leave well enough alone and has been stringing up travelers along the road as some sort of revenge for the deaths of his crew. I was perfectly willing to let the scumbag go, but it looks like we must finish him off before anyone else gets hurt. I wonder if there is a bounty on him and his remaining crew?
As we finish our meal, I notice a group of dwarves at a secluded table towards the back. Not one to pass up an opportunity to drink with some countrymen, I make my way over. But as I approach, I get an unsettling feeling about this bunch and notice their rather unusual dress…these dwarves are not from around here… or anywhere else I am familiar with. I decide to change my course and make for the crapper, which was probably a good idea anyway.
On my way back, I overhear one of them mumbling “that’s him” in a dialect I haven’t heard before. This can’t be good. As soon as I get a distance away from them, they all make a break for the back door. This is definitely not good.
I ask Omar about the dwarves and it seems they had been staying at the inn for some time, doing a whole lot of nothing. As we head out, hoping to get in our cart and go, we are told that our cart is waiting for us at the front gate, wheel repaired. The cart was no where to be seen. We rushed out the gate to find no sign of the cart, but off to the side, we spot the 5 dwarves just standing there.
I stomped over to the one who seemed to be the leader of the gang and demanded to know what in all the hells was going on! Instead, they started questioning me about some events 25 years prior. It seems they were under the impression that I was involved in some mess involving a burned and looted caravan, and the abduction of 3 three babies! I insisted I had no bloody clue what they were yammering about…but then it hit me. Not only did I have no memory of these events, I could not remember anything from that time…not a single thing.
Once it was discovered I was not useful, they seemed to have had enough of our conversation and suddenly blinked out of existence right before my eyes. They must have been in haste, for one of them left behind something on the bench they had been sitting on… a finely crafted ancient pipe on top of a scrap of parchment. Upon examining the parchment, it read “the stone of remembering” written in an ancient dwarven hand. This just keeps getting better and better.
Back to the task at hand, we decided to use our precious flying potion in an attempt to catch up to the stolen cart. We were successful, discovering a young lad feverishly pushing the poor donkey as fast as it could go. I managed to board the cart and knocked the thief cold. When he came to, he explained that his girl had been taken by ogres and that he was in pursuit. Well, we couldn’t just abandon the kid, Martin, and his love, Frea, so we decided to proceed to where he presumed to ogres to be.
Sure enough, we found ogre tracks and followed them to a cave and who did we see just standing in front of the cave? Frea… seemingly unharmed and in no hurry to escape. There was also the alluring smell of freshly baked pie in the air! Could this trip get any more bizarre? The ogre’s themselves (brothers it seems) then emerged from the cave, clearly not comfortable with our presence. Quinn chose diplomacy over aggression and discovered that the ogres had taken the wench for her pies and meant her no harm whatsoever, but were also not willing to give up their prize. After much discussion, an agreement was reached that if regular payments of pie was provided, as well as some ale to wash them down, that they would not longer disturb the travelers of the Deep Forest Road. While it seemed absurd to me to reward these ogres for NOT menacing innocent travelers, everyone else involved seemed to think that this was a perfectly reasonable arrangement. Whatever. So the bargain was struck and we returned the happy couple to the Laughing Unicorn.
We decided to spend the night at the inn, choosing to stay in the same rooms as the dwarves, hoping to discover any clues they might have left behind. All I found was a small pouch of tobacco. Curious, I proceeded to try out my new found pipe. As the smoke entered my mouth, my consciousness was transported to what seemed like a cave, hearing several dwarvens speaking in an ancient dialect, which I could not understand. Throwing caution to the wind, I tried using some standard tobacco. Again, my mind was transported to another place, getting the feeling like I was trapped underground! Quinn cast a cantrip to discover if the pipes had magical properties and sure enough, both the pipe and the pouch of tobacco had a magical aura!
In the morning we proceeded to complete our quest to accompany Dunny to his home. As we left the tavern, I spotted one of the dwarves by the bench where we had encountered them previously, seemingly searching for something and then blinked out of sight. We proceed to Dunny’s home, where we bargained for a few potions as payment, 2 doses of Flame Arrow and 2 of Haste.
Upon leaving, we saw posted along the road a reward poster, claiming 500 gold for the head or capture of that bastard, Curran. It then occurred to me to check up on uncle Linder. Fortunately, all was well and the small community seemed to be thriving! I told him of the dwarves we had encountered and showed him the pipe. His reaction was that of alarm, telling us of a long lost tribe of outcast dwarves, known as the Charcoal Kings, thus named for their ability to transform themselves into coal dust and then transport themselves over great distances. He then dug up an old book describing the exact pipe and Linder warned me that the pipe was not to be taken lightly and that no good could come of its possession. He then suggested we check in with Sir Hoel of tradetown, who might have more insight about these Charcoal Kings.
We decided to spend the night at Linder manor and proceed out in the morning.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Orin's Post

Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from February 2013:

Wherein Orin speaks of his adventures in Sooton.
Murder. Nasty business, though I must admit my curiosity is peaked. Seems a local wine merchant, Crabbe, and his wife were hacked to death in their home… presumably at the hands of several men with swords. My curiosity went through the roof as we discovered that Crabbe was 1 of 3-5 apprentices under a Mr. Alden, whom had mysteriously died under very similar circumstances 15 years prior. Something stinks in Sooton and its not just the glowing fish.
But its the local boy’s problem now, being we had to head out of town, pulling muscle duty for Dunny, the halfling who had helped us identify the potions we had grabbed from the caves. As were about to head out, we were left with a crudely scrawled message saying what we believe was “Leave town or else” though it could also have said “Leaftown of Elves”…but that have made less sense. I was perfectly happy leaving the murder to the local guard until I saw that note. A deal’s a deal, so off we go, but it was a tough call.
On the road, we passed a group of horsemen flying past us toward Sooton, bearing the unmistakable goat crest of Cliffton. Looks like we got out of town just in time.
We also passed one of Jim’s former acquaintances, a bizarre women in the company of an unknown drunk. From the look she was giving Jim, there was no love lost between the two. I didn’t ask and I hope that is the last we see her, though I have a feeling we will not be so fortunate.
Speaking of ill fortune, just as we seemed to be making progress, Dunny’s cart lost a wheel, grinding the journey to an abrupt stop. It now became disturbingly apparent the danger we were all in, given the volatile nature of the cart’s contents. We (and by that I mean mostly me) managed to drag the cart off the road to an abandoned farm. As we attempted to make repairs, we were visited by some mysterious creatures, who kept their distance just on the edge of the Deep Woods. During the night, we had an encounter with a pack of wolves that may or may not have been the same creatures we heard before. We managed to fend them off, but by then, I had had about enough with this little venture.
This was way more then we had signed up for, so I expressed my displeasure to Dunny, who agreed to cough up a little extra coin to make up the difference. This may have strained relations with the odd little man, but what good is a potion if we get blown to bits before we get a chance to use it? Anyway… we are back on our way in the morning…lets hope the rest of our journey runs a little smoother, but somehow I think we are going to be earning every copper and then some before this deal is done. We did, after all, hear rumors of ogres causing problems in the Deep Woods, though to be honest, a face to face with a couple ogres sits a little easier than riding on that rickety old powder keg… Good Times.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Giles Corey

Elf seeking adventure!
Giles Corey (NPC)
Elf, Level 1, HP 20
Reputation +1 (Ashford Town)
STR 16 (+ 3)
DEX 8 (- 1)
MIND 16 (+ 3)
Initiative d20-1
Melee d20 + 5
Missile d20 +1
Magic d20 +5
AC 12 (Leather +2, Buckler +1, DEX -1)
Damage + 1
60’ Infravision
Detect Hidden Doors 1-2/d6
Physical 2
Subterfuge 1
Knowledge 2
Communication 1
Spells: POW 16
Level 1 (4)
Magic Missile (Cost 3)
Sleep (Cost 3, DC 14)
Cure Light Wounds (familiar spell, Cost 2)
True Strike (Cost 3)
Leather Armor
Dagger (1d4+4)
Longsword (1d8+4)
Trident (1d6+4)
Longbow (1d8+1)
40 arrows in quiver
Dungeoneering Equipment [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 4

Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from December 2012:

IN WHICH: A party of adventurers face a night attack and mysterious voices on the cliff-top, a merchant is encountered and a second descent into the cave leads to a monstrous encounter!

Jim Baggins, Quinn Quimby, Orin Copperhead and Giles Corey set up camp on the cliff-top and set watches, which Jim and Giles promptly sleep through – resulting in a close moment when eight undead skeletons attack the camp!
After a quick fight, the enemy is defeated and the party tracks the skeletons back to a one-way door that Orin guesses leads to the dungeon below.
At that point, the party notices the same voice coming from the birds and wild animals about the hill, all telling the party to flee before they are killed.
For three days, they wait for the water to recede from the cave openings so they look to the road and spot a merchant caravan traveling on it. Once off the hill, they find that the merchant is Mikan Roddin, a human merchant from Tradetown that has dealt with Orin in the past. They hail him and his caravan and talk for a bit – none of the guards are happy stopping so near to “The Haunted Hill” and little is gained in information about it but one of the ancient swords is sold for a good sum to Mikan.
Returning to the cliff-top, they see that the water has receded enough to spot the caves again and Jim speculated that this could be a defense mechanism for those who used the caves in centuries past – anyone on the hill causes the water to rise in a matter of hours, closing off the caves, while no one on the hill leaves the caves open.
Quickly, the party descends again into the cave, bypass the two pits on the stairs and encounter another set of the degenerate humans, this time an elite force in ancient armor and those strange eye-slit-less helmets. They defeat the subhumans and note that the armor is protected by the primitive fetishes. They discover that the statue again has been beheaded and their former prisoner is nailed to the wall, most likely as a punishment for failure to defend the last time the party was here.
Searching around for the statue’s head reveals it in the junk room and they recover it without taking too many wounds and replace it on the statue, where it again knits the stone together.
Proceeding down the last 20’ long side tunnel, they find themselves in a 20’ by 50’ room with a sarcophagus. Searching through the coffin, they find another valuable gem, a pair to the one they found before.
Finding a stone slab blocking their way, they moved it and followed the passage 20’ deeper into the dungeon, into a room 30’ by 40’, with two doors, one sealed and barred, the other opening into a short hallway with two doors, ending in a T. Looking in the two doors, they found some bare rooms but heard a beast coming from the T.
They quickly retreated to the larger room and an owl-bear burst upon them there. It was a long fight but they managed to bring the beast down, stabbing it to death as it’s roars echoed through the halls, waking who knows what other horrors that the brave adventurers will soon face.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Orin Copperhead

An Irritable Dwarf
Orin Copperhead, Dwarf
Level 2
Alignment – Light
Strength – 18 ( +4 )
Dexterity – 12 ( +1 )
Mind – 10 ( 0 )
AC 17
Hit Points – 27
Power Points - n/a
Initiative – d20 +1
Melee attack bonus +6
Missile attack bonus +2
Magic attack bonus +2
Fortitude + 7
Reflex + 1
Will + 0
Hometown – TradeTown
Languages – Common, Dwarf
Reputation – +2 in the town of Ashford (temp)
Physical +4
Subterfuge +2
Knowledge +2
Communication +2
Enhance Vision
- N/A
Chainmail and Gauntlets
Shield, Lt. Wooden
Dwarven Battle Axe (1d10)
Crossbow, Lt. (1d8)
Dagger (1d4)
Bugbear Longsword (1d8+1)
Dungeoneering Equipment
A miner by trade and heritage, Orin worked out of Tradetown, but given his budding talent with an ax, he was often chosen to accompany shipments to and from Ashford.
Orin Copperhead is a volcano of a dwarf in that he grumbles a lot, has head like a rock, and when his face starts turning red, its time to run.
One notable exception to his gruff demeanor is at the tavern. Get a few drinks in him and a rowdy pub song will not be far behind, often accompanied by his bullhorn flute. This gift for music is a well known family trait. Whether it be a lively tune pouring out of a tavern, a somber dirge sung at a funeral, or a classic ditty sung around a campfire anywhere in the Ashford Valley, chances are it was originally penned by a Copperhead.
His uncle, Linder, works a mine located within the northernmost part of the Deep Forest. Orin was recently reunited with Linder after the mythical stag, Yarkand, lead him and his party to the old dwarven manor his uncle had been renovating.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 3

Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from November 2012:

IN WHICH: A party of adventurers hear some rumors, make some interesting discoveries and explore a cave

Upon arriving in Sooton, the adventurers Jim Baggins, Giles Corey, Orin Copperhead and Quinn Quimby delivered their errand (receiving 10 gp each for the trouble) and sold their captured bandit gear (for 150 gp).
They heard three rumors about town: A child had been attacked by a giant bat in Ashford town a few days ago; strange things were found floating down the Soot river; and bandits were a trouble along the High Bridge Road.
Since they were in Sooton, they decided to look into the strange things floating down the Soot river.
Seeking answers, they headed towards the riverside and looked for a tavern frequented by fishermen. They found The Hole (aka Fishin’ Hole), a tavern that catered to the fishermen of the town.
Entering the tavern, they failed to impress the locals in a rather spectacular way, leading them to quickly retreat. However, a local lad, named Ty, met them around the side of the tavern and was greatly impressed by their social gaffes.
Ty told them that they had found some odd fish and other items floating down the river and he showed them to the party. A 3.5 foot long fish, with no eyes and silvery-blue scales that glowed in the dark was hanging near the tavern, and Ty also showed them an odd-looking helmet, that would fit a weirdly-shaped human head, oval with a pointed conish top and no eye slits. Giles said that this was no elvish made helmet and Orin knew it wasn’t dwarf made.
The party decided to explore along the river and Ty offered his boat but they chose to stay on land and see if they could find where these strange things were coming from.
So they left Sooton and crossed the ford. Traveling up the Tradetown-Sooton road, they soon exhausted daylight and so set up camp at a well-used campsite. The night passed uneventfully except during Giles’ watch, they heard elvish singing – and a group of wood elves, glowing in the night with magical lights and lanterns, traveled past them but did not stop or talk nor seem inclined to do so.
Giles pointed out the watching elvish archers that were ready for any action the party made and guessed that the elves leaving this area was probably due to some danger than had recently come to the area.
The next morning, they climbed the hills off the road and came to the Soot river rapids, where they spotted several caves close to the water level. Down 100’ or more of cliffside, they made it to one of the caves and went in, descending deep into the Earth. They encountered a pit, which they won past easily but a second pit, hidden in the stairs, nearly claimed Orin and Quinn.
They found themselves in a 50′ × 50′ room with a fountain in the center and exits in the center of each wall and were attacked by degenerate humans with pale white skin, pale blond hair and wearing rough white tunics. These creatures wielded ancient swords and the party killed three of them and the remaining creature surrendered.
After binding the prisoner, they searched the room and examined the fountain. A statue missing a head stood in the center of a brackish pool. Orin searched the pool and found the statue’s head and reached in to remove it, barely escaping being attacked by some monster in the water. Leaping to the statue, Orin placed the head back on and the stone knit together. A magical process occurred, refreshing the water (killing the monster within) and cleaned the room – removing the blood and dead bodies.
The party continued exploring, taking a 20’ long side passage down to a 30’ by 50’ room, which turned out to be the degenerate humans’ barracks. There they found a valuable gem and avoided some cursed fetishes set up on an altar.
Another 20’ long side passage entered a similar 30’ by 50’ room but the room was unstable, dropping parts of the roof into the room. It seemed that the degenerate humans’ used this room for a trash room.
Before they could explore further, they heard the sound of running water coming down the stairs and Orin figured that a mechanism closed off the lower portion of the stairs so the fountain room would not flood. If they stayed, they’d be trapped for a while but if they risked leaving now, they might get out.
On the way out, Giles fell into the first pit but was saved by the climbing gear they used then Jim fell in the second pit and was wounded but saved by the party. On the last set of stairs up to the cave entrance, both Jim and Quinn slipped in the rushing water and Jim was badly wounded.
Soon they were at the cave entrance and the water, up to their thighs (and waist for the dwarf), threatened to push them down the stairs into a water grave. Climbing back up the 100’ plus cliff, they escaped!
Giles went around and healed the wounded as best he could and the party camped on the cliff top for the night because it was too far to get to town before nightfall.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Quinn Quimby

Veteran ex-soldier, son of a merchant, returning home to the valley
Quinn Quimby, Fighter
Level 2
Alignment: Light
Strength – 16 (+ 3)
Dexterity – 10 (-)
Mind – 15 (+ 2)
AC 16 (+ 5 chain, +1 shield)
Hit Points – 28
Power Points - n/a
Initiative – d20
Melee attack bonus + 6
Missile attack bonus + 3
Magic attack bonus 0
Fortitude + 6
Reflex + 0
Will + 2
Hometown -
Languages: Common, Dwarf, Romani
Reputation – +2 in the town of Ashford (temp)
Physical + 5
Subterfuge + 2
Knowledge + 2
Communication + 2
Chain mail
Battle Axe (1d8 + 4)
+ 1 Bugbear Longsword (1d8 + 2 + 4)
Short Sword (1d6 + 4)
Light Crossbow (1d8)
Whip (1d3 + 1)
Dagger (1d4 + 4)
Dungeoneering Equipment [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ]
Ammunition [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ]

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 2

Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from November 2012:

IN WHICH: A party of adventurers fight a bandit gang and resolve the fate of prisoners
What happened before: Four adventurers, Quinn the warrior, Jim Baggins the magic-user, Orin Copperhead the dwarf, and Giles Corey the elf, were tasked with delivering a valuable Bugbear longsword to the Lord of Sooton. While on the Deep Forest Road, they encountered Yarkand the Great Stag and followed him into the Deep Forest to a manor owned by Orin’s uncle Linder. Linder feared trouble was about to come down upon him and welcomed his kin and the other adventurers to his side, hoping that they could save his valuable gold mine and lands.

With only a few days before trouble came down upon them, Jim, Quinn, Orin and Giles helped Linder set up defenses for his manor. The capped and sealed the well, then disguised it’s location. They also placed barrels full of stones on the manor roof to drop on attackers. And the mine was trapped and camouflaged.
But the bandits arrived before they could retreat into the manor. Curran and his “Local Boys,” along with some humanoid allies that included orcs, gnolls and bugbears, stepped from the forest edge. At their heels were a half-dozen prisoners from earlier raids. Curran smiled as his crew fired upon Jim and Linder, who quickly retreated into the manor. While Orin took up a defensive position in the mine, Quinn and Giles watched from the ruined chapel but quickly skirted the enemy and made it to the manor.
A pair of gnolls set up a small camp to the north of the manor while Curran’s main force set up camp near the chapel. When the manor defenders started firing into the bandits, Orin shot as well, giving up his position. A group of three orcs headed for the mine but were slain by the adventurers before they could successfully attack Orin.
As darkness fell, the bandits set up mantlets made from farmhouse doors captured during their raids and built large bonfires. They traded arrows with the manor defenders, to little affect on either side.
Quinn and Orin, supported by Jim and Giles, attacked the smaller camp, succeeding in slaying the two gnolls, while Linder watched the other bandits. The party retreated to the manor after throwing the gnolls’ mantlets into a bonfire and managed to escape the other bandits.
A bugbear and three bandits took over the gnolls camp and again, Orin and Quinn sallied forth from the manor to do battle, with Jim and Giles supporting, striking hard against the bugbear and bandits. Jim cast a grease spell onto the bandit camp and lit one of the bandits on fire. The fight was fierce but Orin and Quinn prevailed, though Quinn received a nasty wound.
Two more bugbears, hidden in the darkness, sprang forward and the fight continued back to the manor while the other bandits attempted to join in. Giles cast a sleep spell on the bandits and succeeded in enchanting two of them. By the end of the night, the party had killed 4 bandits, 2 gnolls, four orcs and two bugbears while taking little damage themselves. Giles healed Quinn and Jim’s wounds and the group prepared for morning.
In the night, an argument among the bandits lead them to turn upon themselves and the manor defenders heard the remaining two orcs be killed by the bandits. Towards dawn, another argument started and then silence. It wasn’t until morning that the truth was learned.
With only 4 bandits left in his crew and an unhappy bugbear, Curran had little choice but to retreat. He gave his prisoners to the bugbear for payment and fled the other way, with the remains of his “Local Boys.”
The party, concerned with the prisoners and their soon-to-be gruesome fate at the hands of a monster, pursued the bugbear and slayed it. Returning to the manor, they soon lost the trail of Curran and his crew. Gathering up the weapons, equipment and gold of the slain, they left Linder and the now freed prisoners together to form a new community around Linder’s manor. The dwarf would continue to mine the gold and the humans would build anew with Linder as their lord.
The adventurers continue on to Sooton and to further adventure, knowing that at some point, they would meet up with Curran again!

Treasure: 67 GP, 12 SP, 2 gnoll longbows, 2 gnoll longswords, 3 bugbear longbows, 2 bugbear longswords (1d8+1, claimed by Orin and Giles), 1 + 1 bugbear longsword (1d8+2, claimed by Quinn), 4 longswords, 4 shields, 4 shortbows, silk hanky, bottle of cheap wine, book of recipes, iron key, sticks of chalk, one she-loves-me-not daisy.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Character Profile Jim Baggins

An Occasionally Adequate Mage
Jim Baggins, Magic User
Level 2
Alignment – Light
Strength – 7 ( – 2 )
Dexterity – 6 ( – 2 )
Mind – 11 ( 0 )
AC 8 (- 2 DEX)
Hit Points: 19
Initiative: d20 – 2
Power Points: 17
Melee attack bonus: – 1
Missile attack bonus: – 1
Magic attack bonus: + 1
Fortitude – 2
Reflex – 2
Will + 3
Hometown -
Languages – Common
Reputation – +2 in the town of Ashford (temp)
Physical + 3
Subterfuge + 3
Knowledge + 6
Communication + 3
Magic Missile (2) - 1d4+1 damage: +1 missile per two levels above 1st (max 5)
Knock (3) - 
Grease (3) - Makes 10ft square or one objects slippery
Disguise Self (3) -
Arcane Graffiti
Ball of Smoke
Blue Light
Dagger (1d4 – 2)
Sling (1d4)
Whip (1d3 – 2)
Net (entangle)
Dungeoneering Equipment [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ]
Ammunition [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ] [_ ]

Friday, October 27, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Session 1

Ashford Valley Actual Play notes from November 2012:
IN WHICH: A party of adventurers traveling from Ashford town to Sooton on a delivery errand are waylaid, a dwarf is met and a trouble is discussed.
Orin Copperhead the dwarf, Jim Baggins the wizard, Quinn Quimby and Giles Corey the elf met a few weeks ago in Ashford town when they joined a search party looking for a lost girl. Their group was the one that found her safe and sound and gained some measure of reputation in the town (currently everyone has a +2 reputation in Ashford town except for Giles, the NPC elf, who has a +1). But reputations are fickle and only further deeds can cement these adventurers as heroes in the minds of the people.
Partly because of this reputation, they were hired to deliver a valuable bugbear longsword to Sooton. Bugbear longswords are considered masterwork weapons and usually can only be gained by killing a bugbear. This longsword, quite definitely a fine weapon, was manufactured by a mysterious Tradetown company called the Iron Bugbear Company (how they learned the method of creating these weapons and where in Tradetown the are located is the mystery).
Along the trip through the Deep Forest, they encountered Yarkand, a mythical stag that is beloved by the Valley. Yarkand, the Emperor of the Ashford Valley, the Lord of Forest, Farm and Field, met the adventurers near one of the mysterious Runestones along the road and led them through the forest (on a trail that appeared before Yarkand and disappeared behind them) to a near-abandoned manor. Then Yarkand walked into the forest and disappeared.
At the old manor, the party met Linder the Dwarf, a miner (and uncle to Orin) who found a vein of gold in the nearby mine. Linder was glad of the friendly company and invited them in to tell them his problem. A man had come earlier and gave Linder a bad feeling. He’s expecting trouble and that trouble came several days later with the appearance of a bandit gang (leading a half-dozen or so prisoners!).

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Actual Play: Heroes of the Ashford Valley Set-Up

The Ashford Valley is found in the mountains above the lowland realms. While other parts of the world have been wracked by wars and rumors of wars, the valley has maintained a stable society, even with the various humanoid tribes in the wilder parts of the vale, … until now.
Dark forces are gathering against the valesmen and the strength of the old ways will be tested. Will heroes step forward and join the Forces of Light? Or will the valley be forever consumed by Shadow? No longer is it possible for anyone to stand in the middle and simply watch – when open war comes, it will affect everyone. And nothing will be the same ever again.
I ran an online Roll20 sandbox campaign in 2012 - 2013, using the rules-light MicrOSR20 rules, set in a smallish vale called the Ashford Valley, a setting I developed for my Switching to Guns ’zine and my Asshat Paladins blog. The campaign was to have the player characters rise up and become the movers and shakers of the valley, thwarting evil and saving the good folks.
Mysterious runestones, a wild countryside, talking animals and strange beasts, a variety of humanoid tribes, ancient magics, four distinct towns, a strange elven wood and more character than you can shake a stick at, the Ashford Valley is large enough to explore and yet still have room for more.
It was a pretty good short campaign and I recently found the write-ups for some of the games. I'll post each session that I have, as well as several written by one of the players.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Actual Play: FATE High Road to China Session 5

High Road to China Session 5 Write-up

Played Friday, February 24th, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Fiona, a rich heiress (played by J, not present)
  • Faye, a reporter (played by R)
  • Angelo, a gambler (played by T)
  • Two Stampe SV.4 airplanes
  • François Lejeune, a rich playboy attempting to make Fiona his bride
  • Pierre Gaumont, Fiona's father
  • Louis Gaumont, Fiona's uncle
  • A Chinese warlord
  • Various troops

Fiona, Faye and Angelo spot Uncle Louis' men, François' men and the Chinese warlord's men near the castle. François brought two bi-planes and Uncle Louis brought one.

Fiona and Faye take off in their plane, moving toward's François' forces, hoping to take out their planes. Diving from the sky, Faye machine guns one of the planes before it can get off the ground but the other achieves the air and the dogfight is on!

Uncle Louis, thinking Angelo's plane has Fiona in it, makes a strike towards the airfield but Angelo takes off and circles high to engage Uncle Louis' airplane.

The Chinese warlord advances on the castle, under a heave barrage of gunfire, while François and Louis realize that capturing Pierre is the way to end this (with François ending up with Fiona as his bride and Louis with the company!)

François tries to sneak into the castle (Create Advantage: Sneak Attack -- failed but the Heroes now have that Aspect with 1 free Invoke) but is repulsed by the extensive mines laid around the castle.

Angelo attacks Louis' airplane but only gains the briefest of advantage over it (Boost: Flying out of the Sun).

The Chinese warlords troops gain a foothold near the castle (Aspect: Foothold near Castle 1 free invoke) but a counter attack by Pierre's forces wipe out several units, evening the odds.

Fiona takes a shot at François' remaining plane with her pistol (Webley Mk IV -- weapon: 1) and distracts the pilot (Boost: Causes the pilot to flinch) while Faye guns down François' men on the ground with the Lewis Gun, leaving only him among a halo of dead.

Angelo shoots down Uncle Louis' plane, causing it to burst into flames and crash near the castle. Louis, meanwhile, sneaks into the castle (Aspect: Sneak into Castle -- 1 free Invoke) and takes out one unit of Pierre's peasant soldiers. The Castle is breached!

The Chinese warlord advances and gains part of the Great Wall as a refuge (Aspect: Foothold on the Great Wall -- 1 free Invoke), as Pierre counterattacks.

Angelo flies around, trying to get into a better position to attack the Chinese warlord's soldiers but Fiona and Faye use their Bond of Friendship (Aspect, both invokes) to decimate his troops.

It's close-in fighting in the castle, when Fiona takes a lucky shot with her Webley against one of Uncle Louis' men, striking the dynamite and blowing up most of the attackers. Uncle Louis is captured by Pierre.

Angelo dive bombs the Chinese warlord, dropping a bunch of bombs on his command unit, killing them all, as François signals his remaining plane and escapes.


Faye interviews Uncle Louis and finishes her Magnum Opus, a book called "High Road to China: Adventures Across the Globe, from Athens to China, and Points in Between". Later that year, she earns the coveted Pulitzer Prize! She declares her love for Fiona.

Fiona returns to Athens, gets the documents from Lambert and assumes control of Gaumont Industrie de Paris and runs the company well, moving the company to Quebec before World War II and using the resources to fight the Nazis and rebuild France after the war. Fiona and Faye live happily together until their deaths in 1982, leaving several children, many grandchildren and scores of great grandchildren, as well as Gaumont Industrie de Quebec and the Pulitzer Prize award, as their legacy.

Angelo stays in China with Pierre, who passes away in 1937. Angelo kicks his gambling habit and takes up a new one -- politics! He represents China in the formation of the UN and remains great friends with Fiona and Faye.

François Lejeune cowardly flees that Chinese battlefield and disappears, never to be heard from again........

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Actual Play: FATE High Road to China Session 4

High Road to China Session Four Write-Up

Played Friday, February 10th, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Fiona, a rich heiress (played by J)
  • Faye, a reporter (played by R)
  • Angelo, a gambler (played by T)
  • Two Stampe SV.4 airplanes
  • François Lejeune, a rich playboy attempting to make Fiona his bride
  • Johnny S, one of François' crew
  • Billy Lane, yet another of François' crew
  • Jane Dupont, of the Delaware Duponts, François' Girl Friday, most deadly of them all, expert in explosives
  • Sammy King, still another of François' crew
  • Michael McAlister, British Master Mechanic
  • Heinrich "Monkeywrench", an explosive expert friend of Faye's
  • Pierre Gaumont, Fiona's missing father, owner of Gaumont Industrie de Paris
  • Louis Gaumont, Fiona's uncle, seeking to take over Gaumont Industrie de Paris
  • Pursuing thugs from Uncle Louis
  • Pursuing thugs from François Lejeune

Baghdad, a day later.

Angelo and Fiona watch as McAlister and his crew repair Angelo's plane at the Aerodrome. 

Meanwhile, Faye is returning to the Aerodrome after delivering her latest story. While riding in a taxi, she spots François Lejeune in Baghdad with his crew.

Hanging out of the window, Faye memorizes their faces (Aspect: Familiar with François Lejeune's entourage 1 free invoke). It turns out he's got Johnny S, Billy Lane, and the most deadly of them all, Jane Dupont (of the Delaware Duponts, expert in explosives) with him. She sees that they're heading toward the Hôtel Elysée.

As her taxi turns a sharp corner (and nearly tosses her out), she's spotted by Sammy King, another of François' men, but she doesn't see him.

Faye pulls up to the others, telling them that Lejeune is in town! Realizing that they need help, she jumps back into the cab to go to one of her contacts. 

Meanwhile, British Master Mechanic Michael McAlister and his crew are about an hour away from fixing Angelo's plane. Fiona bribes McAlister to rush the job at half the time.

Faye finds her contact, explosive expert Heinrich "Monkeywrench" (no last name given). Heinrich is leaving town, looks like he's making a run for it. Something bad is going down.

Heinrich, in a rush, gives Faye a box with two Hales Cooper Pattern Bombs, bundle of dynamite with timer, a couple German "Potato Masher" grenades, 2-3 Russian Mosin-Nagan 91 rifle grenades, some sweating dynamite, knowing that when they meet again, Faye will pay him back.

Angelo has scrounged up some old British pistols, Webley Mk IV (considered Weapon: 1), originally issued in 1899, along with a Sam Browne Belt each. When Faye arrives back with the crate of explosives, they stow it in Angelo's plane.

That's when Faye notices Sammy King, who tips his hat at her and picks up a nearby payphone, to (presumably) call Lejeune!

Faye draws her Webley and tries to shoot the phone but is tackled by Fiona, who says "If you shoot him, we'll just have a gunfight!"

Angelo runs to his ready plane and jumps in, taking off down the runway. Faye runs to her and Fiona's plane, with her Webley still out.

Fiona, filled with rage, stalks up to Sammy and he calmly hands her the phone, saying "François would like to say hello!"

She shouts "I told you I need Daddy's permission first, creep!" and then hangs up. She removes her glove and slaps Sammy with it, saying "You were nearly shot just now. Tell François next time I'll let her do it! And stop following us, or I'll do it myself!"

Sammy gives Fiona a shit-eating grin.

She waves him off and gets into her plane, telling Faye "You can shoot him now." But it's too late as the backwash from the plane would spoil her pistol aim. Faye opens up with a burst from the Lewis Gun instead, and the bullets shoot between Sammy's legs.

They take off, trundling down the runway and are soon in the air, on their way to Arak.

Nearly to Arak, Fiona and Angelo spot a giant dust storm ahead. They decide to try to outrun the dust storm, and head south for Bandar Mahshahr on the Persian Gulf coast.

From there, there is a montage of the heroes flying straight through to China, making stops at Bandar Abbas, Karachi, New Delhi, Nagqu, Tibet, and finally ending up in Chongqing, China.

Over the course of the montage, Fiona drives the heroes on (Compel: Craves Control), Angelo gambles with Fiona each day to see who will win a race (Compel: Gambling Addiction) but Faye resists filing her stories with the newspapers (Rejects Compel: No one thinks I can win the Pulitzer).

Along the way, Faye makes connections (Aspect: Trail of Tears, Flight of Connections 1 free invoke), Angelo sniffs out where Fiona's father went (Aspect: Hot on the Trial 1 free aspect) and Fiona's drive puts them ahead of their enemies (Aspect: Leave them eating my Dust 1 free invoke). 

All told, together, they form a friendship (Aspect: Bond of Friendship 2 free invokes), with Fiona finally admitting to Faye "I've remembered you since before we left Athens, but I have a reputation. And I read all your articles, I always have. I remember the first one you did when we were in college, you always had it on the board above your bed."

Fiona also professes that her rivalry with Angelo has turned into a little more of a caring friendship, and while his charm wasn't quite attractive before, it has grown on her.

When they reach Chongqing, Fiona quickly finds out where her father went, using all her abilities (and several Fate points and Aspects). He's up north, fighting against a powerful warlord.

They quickly fly north to an old Castle on the Great Wall of China. Pierre Gaumont is surprised to see his daughter, especially flying a plane into a war zone. After hugging him, she slaps him with her glove, saying "Why are YOU here, out in a forsaken castle, doing god knows what, letting your company run into the ground!"

When she tells him what's going on, that Uncle Louis is trying to take over the company, and so is François Lejeune (he forbids her to marry that snake), he expresses astonishment, stating that Lambert has the papers that put Fiona in charge of the company.

Fiona says "I was never aware of any papers...I've been chased half-way across the globe by your brother's men and François and I'm gonna collapse, right after I kill Lambert!"

Then Fiona remembers Lambert chastising her for wasting her time partying and that he'd do something about it if she didn't. So he sent her on this harrowing journey, which, in the process, improved her character and made her ready to run her father's company! Lambert pushed Fiona to become a better person!

Meanwhile, Faye, collecting this information, finished her latest batch of dispatches to the newspapers and sent them off. Unbeknownst to her, they would become the hit of the publishing world and she would be nominated to win the Pulitzer!

Overlooking the castle grounds, Angelo set up a series of clever explosive traps to turn the tables on the attacking warlord's soldiers (Aspect: Angelo sets up minefield Extraordinaire around the Castle 2 free Invokes).

And then all hell broke loose when Uncle Louis arrived with his men, and François arrived with his!

Next time: The Grand Finale! Dogfights Extraordinaire above a Climactic Battle of Four Armies!