Friday, June 14, 2024

Four Against Darkness #3

This is the third episode in the story of a party of adventures who took up the fight against darkness in search of fame and fortune within the deep and evil dungeons. 

It was played using the Four Against Darkness, (4AD), a solitaire dungeon-delving game written by Andrea Sfiligoi from Ganesha Games

SPOILER ALERT: This adventure was based on the Caves of the Kobold Slave-Masters. Read no further if you are planning on playing that book!

The party consisted of Sir Dancealot the warrior, Father Braun the cleric, Little Tam the rogue and Salubran the wizard. 

The party were resting, recuperating and restocking with supplies in the town of Trumpton when, while drinking in the Gnoll’s Head tavern, they started hearing rumours of the kobold slave-masters. 

The kobold slave-masters are a plague upon the lands, capturing goblins and other creatures. Recently, they have even captured Elvyn, an old, much-loved adventurer who started to police their area, wanting to put wrongs to right. However, in a new development, an escaped goblin has revealed the location where the kobolds keep Elvyn. 

The Trumpton town council has hired the party to rescue Elvyn, offering a reward of 100 gold coins for the safe return of Elvyn before nightfall. It would be a bonus if it could be discovered why the kobolds are acting so aggressively of late. 

The party journeyed to the revealed location, entered the cave, where they found a flight of stone stairs descending into the darkness of the kobolds’ lair. It was worrying that an unnatural sense of dread permeated the air.  

The party descended with Little Tam and Sir Dancealot in the lead followed by Father Braun and Salubran. 

The party turned left and went into the first chamber. There they found a goblin chained to a wall. After a quick conversation, with Rikka the goblin, the party decided to free him. The chains were weak and rusted, so this was easily achieved. Rikka was in a sorry state because of the evil kobolds, so the party bandaged Rikka's wounds. He offered to join and help the party if he was rewarded with 20 gold coins per adventure, a deal which the party accepted. Salubran lent Rikka a dagger with which to defend himself.

The party then went to the chamber opposite. The chamber contained a pool of water. Rikka who was extremely thirsty after being chained up decided to take a drink, the other party abstained. Luckily for Rikka, the pool contained nothing other than pure fresh water.

The party continued into the dungeon still with Little Tam and Sir Dancealot in the lead, now with Rikka in the centre where he should be safe, and bringing up the rear were Father Braun and Salubran. 

They came to a pair of doors, one on the right wall of the passage and one on the left. The party chose the left door and entered. When the opened the door, they saw that the room contained a chest, presumably full of the kobold's treasure. 

As they entered the room, Little Tam was attacked by a magically-animated noose. It descended from the ceiling and tightened around her neck. But Little Tam is a rogue, and a devil with a knife; she whipped out her knife and cut the rope before it could strangle her.

The chest was found to contain 50 gold coins which the party appropriated..

The party then explored the room opposite which was a library, although rather worrying as the party didn't believe that kobolds could actually read, There were two tables filled with dusty old books, tomes and scrolls.

The party decided to search and told Rikka to do so. However Goblins don't really understand such things and Rikka didn't find anything of interest except a small scorpion which he crushed without problem with the pommel of his dagger.

Father Braun pushed Rikka to one side and performed a proper search, he uncovered a Scroll of Lightning Bolt and a document containing a clue. 

The party proceeded down a corridor and into a chamber where they came face to face with a ferocious Ogre. Before the Ogre could react, Sir Dancealot attacked explosively with his two-handed sword severely wounding the Ogre. Father Braun swung with his mace but missed completely. Little Tam sneaked round the side of the Ogre and struck the Ogre in its back with her short sword and killed the Ogre.

Around the Ogre's neck hung a gold pendant. Little Tam cut it loose with her knife and examined it carefully as only a rogue can, deciding it was nothing special but melted down would be worth 80 gold coins.

The party continued on through a short narrow corridor. The corridor was filled with spider webs. Fearing venomous arachnids, it was unanimously decided to leave well alone and not to start searching.

In the next room, the party was confronted by a pulsating sphere of glowing red energy. The party looked reluctantly on, as Salubran the wizard, pushing his comrades aside, moved forward to inspect it.

The wizard touched the sphere with the index fingers of both his hands and two clues were revealed to him.

The next room was an armoury guarded by 6 kobold minions. The party set about the kobolds with Sir Dancelot, Father Braun and Rikka all killing kobolds. By the time Little Tam got into the fight, there were hardly any kobold left, so she managed to sneak behind and attacked withd eadly effect finishing off the final opponent.

The room was full of weapons. Many of these were of a small size which fitted Rikka perfectly. So Rikka was equipped with a hand-axe, leather armour, a shield and a short bow.

The party continued in what had now become their standard marching-order with Little Tam and Sir Dancealot in the lead, Rikka in the centre where he should be safe, and bringing up the rear were Father Braun and Salubran. 

In the next room, the party encountered a Troll. He was a greedy weapon collector, and was caught unawares while he is polishing a sword.

Knowing that Trolls regenerate, and that the best way to stop that was fire, Salubran the wizard started the combat by launching a fireball at the troll. Every member of the party attacked, Little Tam missed with her attack, but the remaining party members - even Rikka - wounded the Troll and he died.

Except for Rikka who had just equipped himself, each party member picked a very good quality weapon from the troll's collection. Unfortunately none were magic.

The party decided that Salubran needed more protection than Rikka, as Rikka now had armour and a shield; so Salubran and Rikka swapped places in the marching order.

The party continued to advance through the dungeon, but found their way blocked by a fast-flowing subterranean river. The river was crossed by a rickety run-down wooden bridge covered in mysterious runic writings. On the other side of the river the party could see two imposing portals.

Salubran the wizard tried to decipher the mysterious runic writings, He was pretty sure that the strange shapes on the bridge were some sort of defensive runes. They could have been a trap or an alarm, and he knew no way to disenchant them, so he declared that it was probably better not to walk on the bridge.

Using Little Tam's rope, the party roped themselves together and decided to wade across the fast-flowing river. The current was extremely strong and both Little Tam and Salubran lost their footing and were bashed against the stone side wounding them both. 

Once across, the party took out two sets of bandages and bound both Little Tam and Salubran's wounds.

The party decided to see what awaited behind the right-hand portal.

Sir Dancealot kicked open the portal and the party rushed in.

Elvyn, the old adventurer, was in this room chained to the far wall. Eight kobold slave-masters were tormenting him with their whips.

When the party entered, the kobolds turned to them and demand a ransom of 200 gold coins in order to free Elvyn. 

To pay the ransom, the party handed over the Fool's Gold that they had found in the Chaos Lord's treasure horde in a previous dungeon. Fool's Gold is magical (but fake) gold pieces; no matter what sum the seller asks, the gold will always appear enough to satisfy their greed.

Having rescued Elvyn, the old adventurer, the party left the dungeon without trying the one remaining door. The retraced their step back to the cave entrance and thence to the town of Trumpton.

Back in Trumpton the party received their promised reward of 100 gold coins. They immediately sold the Ogre's pendant for another 80 gold, and together with the 50 gold they found in the chest gave them 230 gold of which they gave Rikka 20 gold coins as a reward for joining the party.

The party also used 20 gold coin to replace the bandages used during the adventure. 

Elvyn was aware that although he was free, the kobold slave masters were not yet defeated. Unlike Rikka, the old adventurer Elvyn was too weak to embark on another adventure, but offers to lend his magic sword Ailisia to Sir Dancealot for the next adventure.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Rangers of Shadow Deep - Tor Varden, The Lower Level

The fourth scenario from Rangers of Shadow Deep Standard Edition. Played with Martin's hand-drawn 20mm figures and pop-up terrain. 

The Scenario

After the encounter at the bridge, you and your companions were able to slip past a couple of other gnoll patrols and reach Tor Varden. There were no guards posted outside, and very little indication of anyone inside. Then a muffled scream came from somewhere in the tower. It was a sign both good and ill. There is at least one man alive in Tor Varden, but you might already be too late to save him. You will need to move fast.

Our band of heroes consisted of two Rangers and their Companions: 

Ranger Alan De Paladin with his companions Bill Bagskott the Archer and McGregor the Dwarf.

Ranger Rogon Gosh Shadowstalker with his companions Geoffrey the Archer and Bill & Bull the Warhounds. 

The party had found keys at the Gnoll camp guarding the river crossing, they had recognised them as the keys to Tor Varden, so they knew that entrance to the tower should be easy.

In the room behind the first door, the Gnolls had constructed a torture room. Two badly beaten prisoners were shackled to the wall opposite the doorway. In the centre of the room was another prisoner and a Gnoll Sergeant. Two other Gnoll Fighters are in the room.

Alan De Paladin, Bill Bagskott and McGregor rushed into the room, attacking and killing the nearest gnoll fighter.

The Gnoll Sergeant and the remaining Gnoll Fighter charged at the heroes. Alan De Paladin was badly wounded.

Ranger Shadowstalker now rushed in with his companions Geoffrey the Archer and Bill & Bull the Warhounds to support the of Alan De Paladin. Both the Gnoll Sergeant  and the Gnoll Fighter were killed.

The party discovered the watchtower’s dog, licking its wounds in a corner. This encouraged Bill & Bull and increased their determination, courage, and ability to resist magic spells.

Shadowstalker, with Bill & Bull at his heels, rushed over to the centre prisoner and untied him. He joined the heroes as a man-at-arms. The two prisoners chained to the wall are too badly wounded to help the party, who planned to come back and help them later.

Geoffrey the Archer examined the far door, while Shadowstalker cast a healing spell on the badly wounded Alan De Paladin.

Behind the next door was a Storage Room. This room was filled with boxes, crates, bags, and barrels. 

The heroes prepared to enter.

With Shadowstalker and Bill & Bull in the lead, they charged the nearest Gnoll Fighter.

As the fight continues, the Gnolls in the room closed in on the heroes.

From behind cover, Geoffrey the Archer took a pot shot at a Gnoll Fighter but without killing him.

The first Gnoll Fighter died as the fight continued.

Bill Bagskott and McGregor killed the Gnoll fighter nearest the door, while at the same time the other heroes finished of the rest of the Gnolls.

When the fight was over, the party searched for clues and treasure; they found a Philtre of Fairy Dust containing one dose and bottle of the kingdom’s famous Golden Beer renowned for its healing properties. 

The heroes then readied themselves in front of the third door.

Behind that door was the Shaman’s Workshop. Whatever this room once was, it has been completely transformed into a horrific workshop. The room contained some scattered furniture, all of it covered in animal parts. In the centre of the room stood a table with an inanimate flesh golem lying on top of it. Next to the golem stood a Gnoll Shaman. Two Gnoll Fighters were between the table and the entrance door. 

Shadowstalker and Bill & Bull attacked and killed the nearest Gnoll.

The rest of the party moved up to help, and the Gnoll Shaman attacked.

The heroes quickly killed the last opposition so that the Shaman had no chance to animate the flesh golem.

The party rest to recover their health before deciding to continue up the tower.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Four Against Darkness #2

This is the second episode in the story of a party of adventures who took up the fight against darkness in search of fame and fortune within the deep and evil dungeons.

It was played using the Four Against Darkness, (4AD), a solitaire dungeon-delving game written by Andrea Sfiligoi from Ganesha Games.

The party were resting in the cave having looked after their wounds. The party consisted of Sir Dancealot the warrior, Father Braun the cleric, Little Tam the rogue and Salubran the wizard. Having recovered from their first delve into the dungeon, they wanted now to explore the remainder, in search of evil to defeat and more treasure.

After a quick discussion, the party determined the marching order, with Sir Dancelot and Little Tam in the front and Salubran and Father Braun bring up the rear. They went down the stairs and turned to their right, to the branch of the dungeon that they had not yet explored.

The corridor turned left and ending in a door. The door was unlocked and the party rushed in. There they met a horde of 13 giant rats. These vermin were quickly dispatched by the party. A quick examination revealed that they had no treasure.

Emboldened by their easy victory over the giant rats, the party charged through the door on the opposite wall.

Through the door they saw 4 coffins. One coffin was open and there was a mummy climbing out. The party attacked immediately. Father Braun attacked first because of his disgust of all things undead. Salubran unleashed a fireball as he hoped the mummy was flammable. Sir Dancealot and Little Tam joined in the fight and the mummy was defeated.

Salubran was wounded and Little Tam helped him bind his wound with bandages.

Father Braun searched the open coffin and he discovered a Scroll containing a Fireball spell which he gave to the party's wizard, Salubran.

The party moved on to the right hand door. They opened it but the room was empty. The searched the room, and hidden on the floor under a thick layer of dust was a pentagram. They read the words surrounding the pentagram which gave them a clue.

The party could go no further in that direction, so they traced their way back through the coffin room to the other door.

The party opened the door and charged in, their weapons at the ready. They were met by a ferocious minotaur. His bull heritage showing, the minotaur charged the party head down. 

Salubran immediately tried to put the minotaur to sleep using a spell. But the minotaur's bull-like charge unnerved the wizard and the spell failed gloriously.

Sir Dancealot sprang to the front and confronted the minotaur with an explosion-like attack with his two-handed sword.

The minotaur fought back, but Sir Dancealot kept up the fight and yet again he performed an explosion-like attack with his two-handed sword so he killed the minotaur single-handedly.

The party searched the body of the dead minotaur, and they found a magic ring of teleportation in the minotaur's nose. Even this item was given to Salubran, who was the most vulnerable member of the party.

The party advanced through the minotaur's room towards the next door, behind which was the lair of an Orc Brute, the dungeon's Big Bad Evil Guy.

Armed with two heavy choppers, the Orc Brute's two attacks could be very dangerous. 

Having failed in his last attempt, Salubran stepped forward and cast his second and last sleep spell. This time he succeeded, the Orc Brute staggered backwards, but didn't make it to the bed, he collapsed onto his owlbear rug snoring loudly.

The party searched the room and in a chest by the door they found 100 pieces of gold.

Happy with their treasure, and leaving the Orc Brute sleeping deeply, the party decided it was time to leave. They made their way back to the entrance without meeting any wandering monsters. They climbed up the stairs and back into the cave above. 

Map of the dungeon

Once in the cave, they looked after their wounds and rested, recovering so as to be ready for another adventure. But while sleeping, they always had one party member on watch, keeping one eye on the trap door and the other on the cave entrance. 

The next morning, the torrential rain had stopped and the sun was shining bright. The party packed up their camp and continued their journey to the town of Trumpton.

In Trumpton, both Sir Dancealot and Father Braun visited the armourer to purchase some heavier armour and to get it fitted to their exact measurements. While waiting for the armourer to complete his work, Father Braun visited the temple where he bought two vials of Holy Water and some bandages to replace those used by Salubran.


Thursday, May 9, 2024

Four Against Darkness #1

This is the first episode in the story of a party of adventures who took up the fight against darkness in search of fame and fortune within the deep and evil dungeons.

It was played using the Four Against Darkness, (4AD), a solitaire dungeon-delving game written by Andrea Sfiligoi from Ganesha Games

Our story begins with a party of four inexperienced adventurers trudging woefully through the pouring rain in search of glory. The party consisted of Sir Dancealot the warrior, Father Braun the cleric, Little Tam the rogue and Salubran the wizard. Night was beginning to fall, the rain was turning into hail and Sir Dancealot was continuously moaning about what the wet weather was doing to his hairstyle. 

Sir Dancealot - Father Braun - Little Tam - Salubran

Little Tam spotted a cave in the hillside and she pointed it out to her companions. After a very brief discussion, they decided to camp there for the night and to cook their meal sheltered from the downpour. They carefully inspected the cave before entering, to make sure it was not already occupied by a band of kobolds or a pair of owlbears. When they were sure it was unoccupied, the party entered and started a fire in the hope of drying their wet clothes. In the light of the burning fire, Father Braun noticed a trapdoor in the floor of the cave, hidden behind a pile of rocks.

Having dried and fed themselves, the party decided to explore the trapdoor. When Sir Dancelot lifted the trapdoor, he revealed a stone staircase disappearing down into the darkness. Salubran lit the party's lantern and they descended. The stairs were wide enough for the party to go two abreast. Deciding that they were more warry of traps than undead, Little Tam led with Sir Dancealot while Father Braun and Salubran brought up the rear. 

Once down the stairs, the party were in a corridor [3]which went straight ahead and branched both right and left.

The party continued straight ahead without changing their marching order. They came to a door to a room [46].

The room contained a large stone gargoyle statue positioned in front of a narrow corridor and was otherwise empty. The party advanced cautiously towards the gargoyle, but when nothing happened, Little Tan stretched forward and squeezed the gargoyle's nose. The gargoyle immediately came to life, surprising the party and attacking.

It was a hard fight for such an inexperienced party [lvl 4 boss] however the party fought bravely and defeated the gargoyle. When vanquished, the statue crumbled into dust revealing 70 gold coins which the party distributed among themselves. 

The party continued on, down the narrow corridor behind where the gargoyle had been positioned. They came to a second door opening into a room [25].

When they entered the room, they were faced by 6 vampire bats. Swinging his two-handed sword with explosive energy, Sir Dancealot quickly despatched these vermin without needing any help from the rest of the party.

Leaving the room with chopped up bats behind them, the party changed marching order with Father Braun moving to the front with Sir Dancelot. They came to a door behind which was a corridor [32] with two further doors. 

The corridor was empty except for a devil-faced shrine. As the party approached, an eerie glow emanated from the devil's eyes casting a curse on Father Brown. The cleric, being trained in such evil at the seminary knew that he need to prey for divine help to bless himself and remove the curse. This he did immediately.

Forgetting to search the empty room, the party went to the left door. 

They opened the door and entered the room [43]. Here they found 3 zombies which they fought.

The zombies were troublesome but the pious Father Braun finally finished off the last zombie using his trusted mace.

Unfortunately, the zombie room contained nothing else of interest as zombies have no treasure.

Still with Father Braun and Sir Dancelot at the front, the party moved past the zombie corpses and came to another door behind which was a room [31].

Entering the room they were confronted by a Chaos Lord in the shape of a winged devil. Not realising how dangerous a situation they were now in [lvl 6 boss], the party chose fight rather than discretion.  

The Chaos Lord's Evil Eye stared at the party, and yet again Father Braun was affected by its curse.

Everyone in the party was seriously hurt during the fight, and were it not for Father Braun's healing magic then the party would have been quickly wiped out.

As the party were more numerous than a single opponent, Little Tam managed to sneak in some telling hits on the Chaos Lord.

Salubran tried two sleep spells and a fireball but none of these succeeded against such a powerful enemy.

Although he had trained for fighting dragons, Sir Dancelot's long sword managed some lucky hits on the Chaos Lord.

Having finally defeated the Chaos Lord, the party searched the room finding seven gold coins and a horde of Fool's Gold. While searching, Sir Dancelot found a scrap of parchment containing a clue.

When the party opened the door, they found that it joined up with the entrance corridor. They decided to leave the dungeon as they were all wounded, their wizard had no spells left and their cleric could heal no more that day.

The party retired up the stairs and back into the cave. 

The map of the dungeon

Once in the cave, they looked after their wounds and rested, recovering so as to be ready for another adventure. But while sleeping, they always had one party member on watch, keeping one eye on the trap door and the other on the cave entrance.