First thing is first: If you are one of the four people playing in my ToKiTiMo campaign, you should not read this post. It contains information from this past Saturday’s game, as well as information which may be used in future sessions. I believe at least two of the players in that game do check this blog occasionally, and reading this post will ruin some of the game’s upcoming surprises. Fortunately for me, I don’t play with any child-minded buffoons who would actually cheat at a tabletop RPG, so I can rely on the honor system for this kinda thing.
Moving on; I recently got around to doing what most other GMs did back in the 90s: I started preparing my game notes on a computer rather than by hand. It was a difficult decision. I’ve always loved the tactile feeling of a pencil scratching across paper. Plus, since I don’t own a printer, it saved me a trip to Office Max and a few dollars on prints. The downside, though, is that it can be difficult to make changes. Sometimes mistakes can force you to scrap an entire page and need to re-write it. And with the way I grip pencils, my hand tends to cramp up after a few minutes, which limited the progress I could make in a given evening.
Plus I type about four times as fast as I can write on paper, so there’s that.
Anyway, now that my games are neither trapped on sheets of paper, nor written in indecipherable chicken-scratch, it occurs to me that I can easily share them. The question is: should I share them? Is this something people would be interested in reading? I certainly have fun writing it, but whether anyone else is interested in them is something of a mystery to me. I think I would like to read other GM’s game notes. I could certainly learn a thing or two from GMs who are better than I. And, hell, if somebody wants, there’s no reason they couldn’t just run my adventure for their own group. That last part might just be my ego talking, but I like to pretend that people find my small contributions to gaming helpful.
So here’s the deal: below is act 1 of the third adventure in my ToKiTiMo campaign. Or, if you’d rather, you can download all three acts of the adventure as a PDF file. If you read it, leave a comment. Let me know if you enjoyed it, and if you’d like me to continue posting my adventures. And if you’d rather I not do this again, speak up! I can take criticism, and if nobody tells me they hate this, I’m going to keep doing it.
ACT 1: Journey to Overton
Part 1: Mahudar Kosopske’s Tower
When the previous adventure ended, the players had just returned from the goblin village with the special tree branch the gnomish wizard would need in order to ward the town of Honon against fire. He allowed them to stay the night, and to drink from his curative fountain to restore their health. The game will begin the following morning.
In the morning, Mahudar is eager to begin his journey to Honon. He ushers the players out of his tower. As he locks the tower, he asks the players if they have any pressing engagements. Assuming they say no, he asks them if they would like to do some work for him. If they agree, read the following text.
“There is an artifact–a small golden orb–which I would like you to retrieve. It’s an item of great importance to the gnomish peoples, but is hidden deep within an underground keep which is warded against our entry. Despite my best efforts, I was never able to dispel them. You lot seem to be trustworthy folk, and as humans the wards would have no effect on you. If you would retrieve this artifact for me, I would reward you handsomely.”
- He intends to pay each party member 200 gold for their trouble, and will allow them to keep or sell anything they find. If the players Haggle, Mahudar offers only moderate resistance. We still want to encourage haggling. He will go no higher than 400 gold pieces.
- If the players do not mention it themselves, Mahudar offers them 4 days rations, which he pulls from his bag of holding. In the future, rations should be up to the players, but I haven’t been strict about ration tracking in the past, so they should not be punished for not thinking of it this time.
- Since Mahudar used “teleport” in the last game, they may ask for one. He has not prepared it that day, and he must begin his travels to Honon immediately, so unless they wish to accompany him that far, he cannot help them. If they press, he will require payment for the spell (8,000 gold).
When the players ask how to get there, read the following text.
“You will first need to travel to Overton. Two miles south of my tower is the river Bynt. Follow its northern bank through the forest. Overton is built where the Bynt meets the mighty River Yosregal. Your journey should take no more than four days time if you don’t stray. In Overton you can rest and resupply. Once you are ready, seek out the man known as Geary Therman, and ask him to direct you to Ursnol, a gnomish settlement a few days travel from Overton. In Ursnol, you will have no trouble finding a guide to lead you the rest of the way to the dungeon entrance. After that, you will be on your own.”
Part 2: Hex Crawl
The area between Mahudar Kosopske’s Tower and Overton has long been the domain of a tribe of Gnolls, known as The Spotted Bull tribe, which is led by a minotaur named Korakus. Recently, an evil Wizard named Dheef Gason moved into a nearby dungeon. He has been using unholy magics to merge captured Gnolls with his Ogre servants. He sets the twisted abominations free in the forest, and they have gathered into a loose society, directing their rage at anyone they find.
While winding through the hilly hexes, the river is at the bottom of steep hills on both sides. This makes it a great place for an ambush if combat is rolled. This first leg of the journey will work off one encounter table for the hills, forest, and plains hexes.
Remember to track the character’s food closely. Also track their movement (they should have 24 movement points if they do not attempt to acquire a mount.) Lastly, make sure Rosco (the ranger) rolls survival to avoid getting lost, in accordance with this table:
||clear, city, grasslands, trail*
Survival DC: 10
||forest, hills, desert, badlands
Survival DC: 15
||mountains, jungle, swamp
Survival DC: 20
Weather: Day 1 is Cloudy and Windy, Day 2 is Rainy and Windy, Day 3 is Rainy, Day 4 is Sunny, Day 5 is Sunny, Day 6 is Cloudy, Day 7 is Sunny
Time Tracking: This is the first game in which we will be tracking time. For simplicity’s sake, the adventure will start on the first day, of the first month, of the 3999th year of the common era. Day, Week, and Month names can be determined at a later date, but start keeping track now of how many days have passed.
Kobold Adventuring Party: In the first adventure, the players attacked a Kobold encampment. Despite being given an opportunity to negotiate, they attacked. 6 survivors, separated from their clan, have vowed vengeance on the party. They are stalking them. They will not attack the players outright, as they have not yet become powerful enough. However, they do attempt to lay deadly traps along the party’s suspected paths.
Undead: A lich named Erstic Von Kolt lives not to terribly far from here, though he is not along the projected hex path. Years ago, while he was still alive, he passed through this area and created a number of undead goblins. He’s long since forgotten about them, and they roam aimlessly now. If the players investigate the undead, they might discover a distinctive mark on all of their chests. Showing that mark to anyone in a leadership role will get the players some basic information on the lich.
Part 2 Subsection A: Random Encounters
Each day, roll twice. Once for the morning, once for the evening. Roll a third time for the evening, but only accept results which have mobility (such as monsters). All other results for the nighttime roll should be considered “Nothing of particular interest occurs.”
1-10: Nothing of particular interest occurs.
11-12: Interesting Location
13-19: Monster or Trap
20: Side Quest
|Interesting Locations1-5 Abandoned Hut.
6-11 Hermit’s Cave (Religious Sage)
12-14 Solitary wizard’s tower.
15-19 Dwarf living deep in the forest, operating a smithy with two gnomish apprentices
20 The Gnoll village
|Monsters or Traps
1-10 An impromptu trap set by the Kobolds which are stalking the characters. Re-roll if rolled at night.
11-12 One Gnoll (Bestiary 1, pg. 155)13-14 Two Gnolls (Bestiary 1, pg. 155)
15-16 One Ogrekin (Bestiary 2, pg. 204)
17-18 One Worg (Bestiary 1, pg 280)
19 Four Goblin Zombies (Bestiary 1, pg. 288, HP: 8, Speed: 20)
20 An Ogre (Bestiary 1, pg. 220)
1-5: Roll perception check (DC: 14) to notice some stone steps leading down into a dungeon. Dungeon is 5 floors deep. 1st floor is level 1 creatures, 2nd floor is level 2 creatures, and so forth. Dungeon should be randomly generated.
6-10: Players stumble across Feast at Ravenmore town. (Pathfinder Module)
11-20: Players encounter 10 goblin zombies. Zombies are branded with the mark of the local lich.
Monsters: When rolling a monster, use Trollsmyth’s purpose chart. 2d4 for bestial monsters, 1d10 for intelligent monsters:
2. Patrolling Territory
7. Fighting (Roll again to see which creatures it is fighting.)
1. 10ft deep pits. Perception DC: 16
2. Trip wires onto leaf-covered sharp sticks. Perception DC: 17, Attack +8, 1d6 damage.
3. Snare. Perception DC: 18. Failure causes characters to be pulled up 10ft off the ground.
4. Falling tree. Reflex save DC: 14 or be hit for 4d6 bludgeoning damage, and be trapped under the tree until you can be rescued.
Part 2 Subsection B: Fixed Locations
This dungeon is represented by a dungeon icon in the center of the forest, one hex north of the river, and two hexes east of the large mountain. Parties entering this hex have a 10% chance to encounter this location.
Garok Torar is a collection of ruins in a large clearing. Made of blue-white stone, the ruins are heavily overgrown now, and no structure save one rises above the first floor–or even has a roof. In the center of the ruins, however, is a larger building. A stairway leads up to the large double-doored entrance–though the doors are long gone. Within appears to be some manner of courthouse, or other official building. In the large central room, an ornate staircase winds downwards.
The staircase leads to the first sub level of a 3-level dungeon. This is where the wizard Dheef Gason has taken up residence. His ogre minions can be commonly encountered throughout all of Garok Torar.
The tallest mountain in the region is located near the western edge of the forest, next to the clearing where Overton can be found. The mountain is heavily forested. It is a little known fact that this is where the roost of Kolgoth’Ronnomaktar The Red can be found.
This mega dungeon extends 6 levels above ground level, and 15 levels underground, ending in entrances tot he underdark. However, it is currently sealed up tight, and none know how to enter it. It can be found on the southern edge of the Overton fields. Locals know of it, but none have ever been within its walls.
Part 3: Overton
CN Large Town (Population: 3k; 98% Human, 2% Half Elf, 1 Gnoll) Government: Mayor
Overton is built at the joining of two rivers. The town subsists primarily as a fishing village, but also serves as the central hub for the many frontiersmen who live and work in the nearby forest. It also trades with the gnoll and elvish tribes which live there. The people are generally friendly and honest, but hard from a life in the wilderness. The town’s official patron deity is Obad-Hai, but the town’s population is not particularly devout.
Carpenter, Butcher, Blacksmith, Small temple (Obad-Hai), Brothel (“The Comely Castle”), Alchemist’s Shop (“The Crimson Elixer”), Stable (6 horses for sale, left by previous adventuring party who didn’t come back), General Store, river transport, tavern/Inn, leatherworker, tanner.
Town’s Total Purchasing: 4k gold
Geary Therman – The town’s mayor. A broad-shouldered huntsman with graying temples. Highly respected, always willing to do manual labor, and to help those in need, even outsiders. Tends to be anywhere he’s needed within the town. When the players ask for him, he’s on the docks talking to Ester Thomas about fur prices.
Hyerman Devon – Manager of the general store. One of the scrawniest men in Overton, but polite and willing to haggle. Sticker price is a few gold more than normal costs.
Old Berman – The high priest at the temple of Obad-Hai. Able to cast 4th level spells. Is not very friendly to those who do not follow his god. Will help for a hefty price, unless anyone offends him or his nature deity.
Melina Ayvon – Wizard in charge of the alchemist’s shop. Sells a variety of concoctions, and able to sell 2nd level spells for a fee. Acts more like a wheedling salesperson than a scholarly wizard. If the players seem capable, she might ask them if they want to find a rare herb for her
Anita Whyk – Half-elven Madam at the Comely Castle. Works as an information broker on the side. Advanced in age now, she still cuts a dashing figure, but does not work herself. She’s protective of the sex workers she employs. She’s a little distracted because one of her girls is missing. (Detective sidequest. she was taken by Gnolls. will be dead by day 7)
Ester Thomas – Ferry captain. A six-and-a-half foot tall woman with beefy arms and a bellowing laugh. She can be brutish and rude, but she’s much smarter than she lets on. She and her sailors are spending a week at rest in Overton whilst they wait for a delivery of animal furs to take south.
Bittereye – Geary Therman’s old hunting companion, a gnoll whose tribe is no more. He helps barter with the nearby gnoll tribes, and serves as an enforcer for the town guard when they need some extra muscle. Doesn’t want players help locating missing brothel girl.
When the players eventually seek out Geary Therman, he’s only too happy to direct them where they need to go. Read the following text:
“Well, easy way is ta cross th’ river here, and hoof it due west until you reach The Forest Queen–that’s a big hulkin’ statue of an elf lady. Can’t miss it. From her, ye can go north until ye reach th’ grasslands. Follow them nor-east. Iffun ye reach the forest’s edge, ye’ve gone too far.”
And that’s Act 1. If you’re interested enough that you’d like to read more, you can download the entire adventure. It’s 22 pages long if you include the three maps. And don’t forget to let me know if you would like for me to continue doing this!