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Slumbering Tsar #9: Drain the Swamp!

In a missing chapter of our tale, the party entered the tower on top of the central fortress and fought an iron devil and a mechanical construct wearing a human’s skin but with an array of flensing blades in its chest. They also found a statue with an overwhelming magical aura… an artifact? (More on that later.) -GM

6th day of Sarenith, 4717 AR

There was another hideous mummy standing unnervingly still next to the entrance…

Destroying the iron devil and machine had taken a considerable amount of our strength. We were too tired to charge the central guard tower and vanquish the sinister creator of all these nonliving guards, but we weren’t tired enough to go back to the camp and rest. After some thought, we decided to explore a presumably less dangerous entrance to the city: the sunken, swampy northeast gate.

There were two immense towers guarding the oxidized gate. One seemed to be mostly intact, but the other had fallen halfway into the bog. It looked as if whatever made the area sink didn’t happen until after Tsar’s citizens made the place perfectly suited to a flat, dry climate. A pool of swampy water separated us from the northern tower, but luckily there was a functioning boat on the shore. It looked more like a weird triangle than a boat, but we knew it was a boat because it was labeled as such, in large capital letters.

As we boarded the small vessel, we noticed several lights hovering above the pool. I threw a rock at one of them to show the insignificant photons that they were no match for us. The light flew toward me and exploded. How rude. I would have given the remaining lights a lesson on etiquette if a bunch of hideous mud mummies hadn’t ambushed us.

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Slumbering Tsar #7: I Don’t Say Much, and Let My Gun Do My Talking for Me

Choosing the method of frontal assault, the party enters the bailey of the fortress at the center of the city’s walls. (-GM)

4th day of Sarenith, 4717 AR

They call me Neptune. And they also told me to chronicle our little expedition into Tsar. So I will.

After dealing with the mob of skeletons, leaving them dead (again), we realized that we were still in danger. In the middle of the large courtyard was a tower, and from the arrow slits came a continuous stream of arrows. Not many hit their targets (us), but it got annoying, and so I took a few shots at one. It stopped firing for about 30 seconds, then kept shooting. We quickly had Alucard’s roc fly us back up to the ramparts, saw a door to our left, and went inside.

We found ourselves in a barracks, with beds, an armory, and a kitchen. A careful search revealed some dust, and a few cobwebs. We took the time to heal, and discussed our plan of action. I remembered seeing a door above the side of the entrance gate leading into the central fortress, and we decided to go into that. I knew my lock-picking prowess could get us in, and Dio could get us out.

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Slumbering Tsar #6: The Midnight Message

The Church of Iomedae, intrigued by the possibility that some remnant of the paladins left behind in Tsar by the Army of Light might still survive thousands of years later, resigned itself to the fact that the previous adventurers they had sent had either died or otherwise succumbed to some great evil. The Church has sent a new party of more experienced heroes to investigate the ancient ruin of Orcus.

Their diviner, Dio, begins their story. (-GM)

4th day of Sarenith, 4717 AR

Malerix, the tar dragon

The first thing one might notice about The Camp was the smell. Not the pure, putrid odor of rot, but a more subtle, complex, dry smell that leaves you wondering. A smell that makes you nervous, a smell that makes you look over your shoulder or lock your door. The next thing one may notice is the inhabitants of this “town.” They peer through rotten curtains and cracks and doors. Their greedy, shining eyes peer out at you with a wicked desire, instilling a sense of wrongness, a sense that all is not as it seems in this pathetic excuse for a town. Finally, the last thing one may notice is the Usurer himself. His rat-like eyes glint out at you with a sheen of avarice. His thoughts are occupied with any situation that could result in the smallest bit of profit for himself. He concerns himself with nothing else, for in his mind there is nothing more important in life. Overall, one may conclude that The Camp is a sad, disgusting mockery of modern civilization. No one in their right mind would want to go within 50 miles of the place; it is simply that repulsive.

However, our group cannot be rightly called within their right mind. Our company is composed of a Paladin, Alucard, a wizard, Dio, a gunslinger, Neptune, and an Armored behemoth of a man, Nonek. We have come together united by our mutual goal of reaching the city of Tsar. We arrived together at the camp at mid-day, and were greeted by the Usurer. He peered at us through shrunken eyes. “Good day sirs, Welcome to my fine city. If you would like to purchase anything, you must exchange your gold for bits. The current rate of exchange is, lets say, five gold per bit.” He smiled as he crowed this to us, eyes alight with dreams of wealth.

“Sorry to disappoint, scum, but we do not deal with weasels. Good riddance.” I proclaimed. He sneered at us and scurried away, knowing that he would not win this battle nor convince us otherwise.

We headed to the outskirts of town, content to waste the day and head to Tsar tomorrow. However, that night we heard an ominous noise which awoke the more perceptive members of the party. An odd creaking came from out of the gloom. “Who’s there?” The noble paladin bellowed, but to no response. Louder and louder the noise grew, until we could finally see a hunched figure in the distance. Pushing a cart and bundled in rags, the creature moved closer. Searching my mind, I remembered tales of strange figures coming out of the night and offering knowledge at a price. “Buy? Buy?” The mass of rags spoke, shuddering slowly and holding out a quivering hand. Upon his hand was a set of false teeth. We paid the man 50 gold for the object, and he spoke unto us this, “Sleep not in the city or to darkness awake. Not light to the eye but to the soul at stake.”

The next morning we headed out from The Camp and ventured towards the city. We knew of a large dragon that was said to vomit upon travelers before swallowing them whole. However, we believed that the vile beast would pose little threat to a group as adept as ourselves. Overall, when we did face the beast, the fight was anticlimactic. It flew away constantly, and just spat over and over. It died how it lived: Pathetic and alone.

Finally we arrived. The colossal structure loomed over us, intense and ancient. What lay within was unknown to all. The giant doors to the city seemed to lean over us, awing the party with their massive size. We entered through those doors, but not before some scouting was done. We discovered that there were groups of undead on the ramparts above and to our sides, and we decided that they needed to be dealt with. The bird took us up, and the battle began.

– Dio (Zack)

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Alucard, ifrit paladin 11
Dio, elven diviner 11
Neptune, undine techslinger 11
Nonek, human armor-master fighter 11

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Gaming During the Summer!

Join one of the tabletop groups that I’m organizing for the summer! Both are separate from the afterschool program.

Most are Pathfinder RPG or D&D campaigns where you adventure with the same group and embark on a grand quest! I personally gamemaster them, and so there is a fee.

One (or two) of the groups will be boardgaming get-togethers that are centered around the RPG board game Gloomhaven. Other games that could be played are Mage Knight, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and other games you want to bring!

There is an online application to sign up for one of these groups. If you are interested and/or have more questions, parents/guardians should contact me (Ronald) at guildgrandmaster AT gmail DOT com!

Princes of the Apocalypse (investigate elemental cults in the Forgotten Realms)

The party continues its investigations into the Sumber Hills, where brigands and strange cultists seem to have sinister designs that may threaten the humble town of Red Larch. Set in the iconic Forgotten Realms. (Uses 5th Edition D&D. Continues at Level 5, goes until Level 14.)

Rappan Athuk (challenging and deadly megadungeon)

rappan-athuk-miniRappan Athuk, also called the “Granddaddy of All Dungeons,” is in the spirit of old-school D&D, full of lethal traps and demons from hell that will force you to think smart and use your wits. Just as unforgiving as the dungeon is the wilderness surrounding it. Notoriously difficult, Rappan Athuk (and the massively powerful creature it serves) have never before been beaten by RPG players anywhere without cheating. If you succeed, you will most definitely get BRAGGING RIGHTS in the Guild! This campaign is more about thinking creatively, avoiding death, and trying to “beat” a very difficult adventure! (Uses Pathfinder RPG. Continues at Level 10, goes until Level 20+.)

Slumbering Tsar (challenging and deadly lost city/dungeon sandbox campaign)

SlumberingTsar_Banner-miniBy the makers of Rappan Athuk:

Something Stirs in the City of Evil… Over the distant northern hills, beyond The Camp, and past the Desolation stand the pitted walls of Tsar. A hundred armies have crushed themselves against this bulwark in futile attempts to breach the city. Even the combined might of the Heavens and Earth were unable to break through in the final battle of Tsar. So why was the city suddenly abandoned on the verge of victory, and what waits for those foolish enough to enter the Temple-City of Orcus? (Uses Pathfinder RPG. Goes from Level 11 to 20+.)

Board Gaming Group

Meet up with others to play board games — the gaming centers around the VERY EXCELLENT Gloomhaven RPG board game which comes out in August/September. But we might be done with the 10 scenarios in the public mini-campaign before the summer is out, so we can also try out other board games. Personally I’m thinking the focus will be on more tactical/strategic games. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (cooperative strategy card game), Mage Knight (complex RPG/deckbuilding hybrid), and Through the Ages: New Story of Civilization (civilization management and warring game) are games that would like to play. But people can propose and bring their own games and we can organize something around that, too.

-Grandmaster

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Campaign

 

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Slumbering Tsar #5: The Battle for King Kroma

There was much more to the isolated dwarven camp than the party anticipated. Vape Naesh tells the story. –GM

9th day of Gozran, 4716 AR

thane-fenris2

“Completion date? Ha! We’ll finish when we finish,” Thane Fenris said.

Dwarves are strong, noble, and proud to a fault. This band that we met proved no different from the rest.

“We search for the bones of our clan’s last true leader, King Kroma,” said Thane Fenris. “He perished here during the battle of Tsar.”

We agreed to protect them and stay with them for a while, as long as we got some share of any profits found. They of course agreed, glad to make battle brethren of people like ourselves. We asked them how long this might take, but they simply said, “Completion date? Ha! We’ll finish when we finish.”

Feeling that every day brought us closer to the Holy Vape, I explored their camp and prepared. We found a pile of bones from foes they had vanquished as well as graves for fallen comrades. However, while peering at the bones, creatures emerged from them. Ghouls of some sort, they died quickly to our combined might. The Dwarves were dumbfounded as to how they had gotten there, but night was approaching fast and we needed to prepare for a nightly assault. They said that they were attacked on some nights, and tonight might bring monsters from the gloom. The first wave surprised, skeletons in ranks and ranks, as far as I could see.

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Posted by on July 13, 2016 in Campaign, Slumbering Tsar

 

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Slumbering Tsar #4: Spicy Sadness

Things aren’t looking too hot for the newest jalapeno in the party, Spicy Salsa. After the party was betrayed by their orc guides promising “treasure waiting to be picked up” in the Desolation and lost Jatanga and Lorparin Grareak, the party returned to the Camp. –GM

8th day of Gozran, 4716 AR

the-camp

The Camp was not the ideal bed and breakfast, but it seemed to have a lot of problems that promised adventure.

I arrived to the Camp with little money and less excitement. The Camp was small, dirty, and hostile looking.  Not the ideal bed and breakfast, but it seemed to have a lot of problems that promised adventure.

Soon after I arrived, I found another person in search of an adventure: Nostog Honderfjom. We put up a sign together advertising our skill and interest to fight. I went to the local pub alongside my new companion to have a drink.  However he turned out to be the most annoying sentient being I had ever had the misfortune to meet. I left in search of less hormonal companionship and quickly found a group of adventurers who were in need of a few fighting arms, as their old ones had died off. Unfortunately, the pubescent Viking I mentioned earlier joined us.

The adventurers told me about their recent fight with the Furious Fourteen, and the casualties that had happened thus far. They told me of their goal: to find the holy vaporizer. I concluded that they were foolish and told them that I would help gladly in whatever task they performed, but that I am not going to sacrifice myself for a miniature smoke machine.

We proceeded to search the town further, which suited me perfectly since I had only just gotten there.  We found two people, a hag alchemist named Mama Grim, and a morbid hobgoblin cleric named Father Death. They were (if not a bit sinister) at least not hostile. Finding nothing of great importance, we walked west and found a mohrg that looked like it didn’t want to be there, but more importantly didn’t seem to want us to be there either. It was exhilarating to feel another creature crippling at my blow.

After, that we left the mohrg and continued on our journey.  We also met a few dwarves, which was uneventful. (They are excavating to find the bones of their great ancestor, King Kroma, who fell in the battle against Tsar. –GM) 

The talk was dull, the battles short and easy, the leaders childish and the quest pointless. I am generally disappointed in the adventure I have chosen to join.

– Spicy Salsa (Athos)

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Aeorbeck Wolfsbane – human cleric of Iomedae 8
Cuorok – human (kellid) beast-rider cavalier 6

Nostog Honderfjom – human (ulfen) armored-hulk barbarian 6
Ralph – goblin fighter 6

Spicy Salsa – human monk 6
Vape Naesh – elven wizard 5 / fighter 1 / eldritch knight 2

RIP:
Jatanga – human red mantis assassin 1 / swashbuckler 5
Lorparin Grareak – half-elven hunter 6

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Posted by on June 29, 2016 in Campaign, Slumbering Tsar

 

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Slumbering Tsar #3: Stuck

Our party sees more of the danger surrounding Tsar in this next chapter… –GM

7th day of Gozran, 4716 AR

dragon

A great black fluid flew out of its mouth, the sticky substance flew over our party, sticking them in place, hot tar…

Howling winds blew through the old town, or whatever they called it — this wasn’t much of a town for me. The sands blew in my face; I had to blink my eyes rapidly to get the small specks out. We had to leave in an hour or two, our spirits were downtrodden, the death of our comrade Jean-Viev weighed heavily on our morale.

The shifting sands lay ahead of us. Our new friend, Lucky Bjorc, or Lucky BJ. We continued along the path we took the previous adventure. Our horses were steady, their hairs fluttering in the wind, the scorching sun beating down upon our burnt skin. The Fallen’s axe beak had been petrified earlier, poor thing. I remember it like it was yesterday, as the basilisk glared at the bird, its eyes widening as it slowly turned into stone. Its small cry of agony still rings in my ears.

The dwarf Nuneas continued to ramble about how important his armor was even though he knew that his weapon doesn’t do anything. We were riding regularly, when suddenly we saw a dragon flying perpendicular to us. We decided to stop and wait. Its great jet-black wings cut through the air and its red-black eyes seemed to absorb the light around us. Mesmerized by its great black form, I couldn’t notice it flying towards us.

It was too late. I jumped off my horse and dove to the left. I looked over my shoulder and noticed Vape Naesh casting a spell. The dragon’s bellowing roar cut through the air, its great mouth opening, its shiny black scales bent the light around it. A great black fluid flew out of its mouth, the sticky substance flew over our party, sticking them in place, hot tar. I cast spells at the dragon that just flew off its armor. It all happened so fast. Lucky Bjorc was killed and swallowed whole, our useless tank, Nuneas or something, was knocked out. I began to dig my horse out. The sticky tar stuck to my hands as I struggled to rip it off its frail body. I succeeded and hopped on. I ran away, the dragon didn’t care to chase me; it knew it won. I rode like wind. I was worried. I hoped at least one person survived. The sand blew in my face as I rode towards the town.

I entered the shanty town we called home currently, and with downtrodden spirits walked to the bar. I opened the door to happily see Vape sitting on a stool. “Strong as the mountain! Good to see you friend!” We shook hands and continued on with mindless banter. About an hour later a few adventurers walked in, still fuzzy on what their names are but one was a red mantis assassin (Jatanga — GM). Still unclear on their motives. The other was Nothing, a useless frog-like creature that I hoped died. There was also a hunter, Lorparin Grareak, with his faithful little treant, and Ralph, a goblin archer.

We aimed to venture out again, but first our party wished to find and kill the Usurer. The assassin and I stayed back. It was against our morals, plus I sensed that he was something more. The fight was over in mere seconds; poor Vape, he was dominated. The useless Nothing stayed around to almost die, and we decided to leave it in charge of the inn. We hired some useless thugs, the “Furious Fourteen,” so we can have some help in the wasteland.

The next day, we were riding down the Chaos Rift northeast of the Crossroads with our hirelings. These strange birdlike creatures were circling above us and I asked what they were. They suggested we hide and so we did. The birds flew down towards us. The mercs hid under another rock and unleashed their hounds. They weren’t chasing the birds; they were headed for us. I prepared a magic circle against evil and we began to slay the hounds. Vape began casting exploding arrows and soon almost all the dogs were dead but we still had to deal with the mercs and the birdlike beings. Vape’s arrows saved the day and almost all the birds were killed. The mercs began to shout and fly towards us.

– Aeorbeck Wolfsbane (Nick)

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Aeorbeck Wolfsbane – human cleric of Iomedae 7
Jatanga – human red mantis assassin 1 / swashbuckler 5
Lorparin Grareak – half-elven hunter 6
Nothing- grippli rogue 7
Ralph – goblin fighter 6
Vape Naesh – elven wizard 5 / fighter 1 / eldritch knight 1

RIP:
The Fallen – aasimar antipaladin 5/Hellknight 2
Lucky Bjorc – orc bloodrager 3/brawler 3
Nuneas Runeshield – dwarven fighter 7
Rogar – dwarven ranger 7

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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Campaign, Slumbering Tsar

 

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