Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Waterhawk Gains Two

Carlysle stood on the deck of the Waterhawk, unable to go to his quarters below until he was sure they were free of Stormhaven’s waters, still frothing with The Jailer’s anger.  Alternating his gaze from the waters behind the ship to those ahead, Carlysle’s hopes grew stronger as the ship pulled free of the sea’s tumult.  The cartographer tried not to look directly down, the bodies in the water too horrifying to gaze upon, however a strange glint near two floating forms caught his eye.
Two bodies afloat, face up in the water, were entangled by a large tentacle covered in suckers.  Across the two bodies, one of which was clearly a bald human, lay a golden amulet, which was the glint that had caught Carlysle’s eye.  It appeared the amulet was on a fine mithral chain although it could be a lesser metal.  To Carlysle’s amazement, the bodies began moving slightly and he realized the two men were alive.  Thinking quickly, Carlysle rushed across the deck soon finding a sailor much too close to the ship’s edge, he pushed the sailor overboard. 

The cartographer then cried out, “Man overboard!” until rescue protocols began.  With their ship slowing Carlyle then sought out the Captain to rescue the two tentacle wrapped victims, certain they or the amulet held some importance.

One hour later

A small row boat was lowered down the side of the Waterhawk, Captain Varbold’s best oarsmen making their way to the two bodies the “artist” said were alive.  As they skillfully guided their craft alongside the men, the sailors were surprised to see that Carlysle was correct.  One of the sailors reached down into the water grabbing a bald man, unconscious and wrapped in a severed tentacle.  Octopus? Squid? No matter, as the sailor cut away the tentacle he too noticed the amulet lying across the two men, the second of which was still entangled.  In the horizon’s setting sunlight, no glint of gold shined to entice the sailor.  Therefore thinking nothing of it, the sailor simply placed the amulet over the bald man’s head, laying the thick metal chain across his shoulders and pulling the waterlogged man aboard the boat.  The other crewmen worked to save the second man who turned out to be much older and wounded.

With both men cut free of the thick tentacles and pulled out of the water, the rescuers returned to the Waterhawk.   By the time they had maneuvered their craft alongside the ship the bald man had opened his eyes and choked out a request for water.  Taking several drinks he then simply said, “Hello I’m Carlo.”

Friday, September 15, 2017

Malta Session 5: 09/13/2017: Stand-up Philosopher and Arriving at Hagar Qim

We begin this weeks session as our characters return to the busy Paola docks where we observe that out of the 200 folks who arrived to Malta, only 80 are newcomers who assume our characters have been here all along and not having just arrived four days ago. Of the 80 individuals most of them are human, one could be an assimar (because of his over-sized bulging eyes); this individual has difficulty communicating but ended up at the Finnish church (which did not receive its expected high priest).
Omas sees what you did there. 
Looking out for Eye threats and symbols, we observe that many of the cloaks worn were traded via eye brokerages and thus display Eye symbolage, one individual stands out because of a third Eye tattoo on his forehead- Omas by name, a possible human or half-elf and dressed middle-eastern attire looking for Garamaldi. This man eventually meets with our employer and after he meets with Garamaldi he forgoes the usual intake customs and leaves with Garamaldi heading to the half-tower our characters are familiar with. It looked like Garamaldi was expecting Omas who arrived on a galleon named The Dolphin which last stop was Madagascar and was nowhere near full capacity.

A brief conversation with Garamaldi Lete mentions Osso and the progress made in our task whereby Garamaldi invites our characters to breakfast with him in the morning (5th day). The rest of the evening we stay in the afore enjoyed barracks from our first night in Malta.

Marco, spending quality time with Evagara and getting to know her, asks what her spell selection is like; she claims to know a couple of minor summonings, feather fall, endure elements, and most of the tricks known by many magicians.

On the morning of the 5th day we find Garamaldi with Omas enjoying a morning smoke with a third individual, a woman Pjazza of middle-eastern descent (Omas’ sister); however dressed more the Mediterranean fashion. She was artful and with stained fingers- like Garamaldi’s; alongside them was Omas wearing proudly an Eye symbol.

We ask to talk business with Garamaldi and eventually he leads us in and upstairs of the half-tower. Our characters inform him we brought back Osso to the church of Otherwhere, by which Garamaldi asks if we met Zalas there but politely listens to our comments of the church of Otherwhere being a church of questionable followers. During our meeting our characters learn that Garamaldi could eventually get an opportunity to speak against Osso as long as a ransom trade is not arranged with some of the ‘rocks.’

We explain what we learned to Garamaldi in detail which upsets Garamaldi. He asks if we plan to see this through? And admits this is more dangerous than anticipated and considers our pact upheld and would like to propose a new agreement.

Garamaldi proposes a second agreement with a speech that leads to the benefits of Eye and offers membership into the first rank of the Eye and the ability to purchase the second rank at a discount through him as a network sponsor. When we don’t immediately bite on his offer he asks about our healing resources and offers a CLW wand (25 charges) for the task at hand as well as an antitoxin, tanglefoot bag and potion of first or second level (handbook) potion at cost and as a bonus a wand of light (50 charges), and 4 scrolls of CMW. (first level Eye membership benefits.) All this in return for retrieving the journal. (A healer’s kit is supplied to Evagara from Garamaldi.)

Eventually Garamaldi  presents three rendering replacements for Lex, Jabari and Carlo; and has our badges ready- short of our enhancement choice, which will take a day each to complete: four of our characters chose Natural Armor, Carlo selects a resistance bonus to his saving throws. Carlo asks Garamaldi what he knows of the dwarf Maylox; his response was that they are ‘soulless’ slaves and tenaciously single minded.

After the morning business he invites Omas and Pjazza into the half-tower for steak breakfast. The breakfast is friendly and we are treated to some entertaining cantrips by Omas. We learn Pjazza (a teacher at the college) referred Omas, her brother, to the bard college as a ‘standup philosopher’. Jabari asks of their origin and they reply Panaji, which is out of reach of the dragons and a city-state of India.

Soon after our characters leave with a strong feeling that we impressed Garamaldi, and believe him to be a bard, and we departed as friends; it also becomes apparent to us that he trains certain skill focus feats. Carlo takes Garamaldi aside and intimidates him requesting the resistance bonus only, no tracking magic and wishes his business with Garamaldi and identification confidential. Garamaldi states the ID purpose is what it is but he understands his wishes for discretion.

Eventually we depart Paola with Evagara, who could lead us to the former slave dwarf, and head to Hagar Qim. She travels, not as our prisoner, but as a temporary companion before she ultimately leaves for Italy. By our estimation we should arrive to Hagar Qim shortly after nightfall. Evagara states there are trade roads, but that goes out of our way, so some of our travel will be over land; each has its own potential danger.

I've got him right where I want him!
A little over an hour into our travel our characters come upon a creek and an ogre drinking of the waters as well as a second ogre within twenty feet. Our characters set upon the ogres, kill them and retrieve two javelins, a satchel contain two ‘Egyptian’ gold bars worth 100 gp each as well a rough road map of Malta; two vials of CLW (drank by Lete immediately) as well as another identified by Evagara as a potion of darkvision.

After five hours we take a short break at ‘Tobacco Pond’ before we meet up with the trade road where some of us spot an ambush; soon the ambushers spring up and move up in a semicircle and begin to ask us questions. “Where are they? We want our people back.” We claim innocence and have not killed any people today.

Soon the situation calms down when a man (30ish) claims slavers have taken family and are suspicious of us. Evagara calls him out ‘Alex’ you know me and we are not what they suspect. Calmer heads prevail when Alex claims six of their most skilled men have recently gone missing: a carpenter, stonemason, cobbler, cooper, tailor, and their horticulturist. They believe visitors had scouted their group out and left during the night and in the morning this group of would be ambusers discovered their kin were missing.

Living as close to Hagar Qim Alex mentions an individual they do business with: Trix Savant; but would, if able, look for their missing folk with dock leaders. We learn of the names of the individuals missing much to these folk surprised pleasure; but they don’t end up troubling us and direct us to the ‘Tobacco’ Trade Road.

Most of the road is stone and littered with animal droppings; but eventually we will approach Hagar Qim and what was once a large stone temple complex that is being converted to the Egyptian god of knowledge. Here we see six ogres working with the stone; Lex, Marco and Carlo notice metallic torcs and headbands but Marco sees their Egyptian overseers manipulating the ogres.
Welcome to Hagar Qim
Guards are black leathered with gnoll faced masks armed with spears that search everyone enter Hagar Qim. We wait for about five hours to access the city and by the time we arrive many alchemical and magical lights have been set. However at the four hour mark our characters witness a wagon impounded and six human smugglers arrested; we are able to learn of contraband (black powder); Lex sees a leader casting a spell holding the smugglers in place.

When it’s our turn we are greeted and searched, it is obvious or characters offer no threat to the city’s governor. “We come from the seven churches to retrieve an item being stored here.” Our badges are looked and questioned by Inquisitor Derahedra Kala who respects and notes our honesty. 

We are granted entrance and warned away from the docks at night; we pass through the government district and head to the multilevel Iris Continental where we decide stay at mid-level for 5 gold. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

City of Hagar Qim-Malta

NG Large City Corruption +5; Crime +7; Economy +3; Law -2; Lore +1; Society -1 Danger +10

Qualities:  Colony, Trading Post, Limestone Quarry, 3 Vein Mine, Professionally maintained docks

Primary Religion:  Egyptian formerly the Earth Mother (Green)  Population: 14,778 (8,000 Human, 1,000 Halfling, 1,000 Elves, 1,000 Dwarves, 3,478 Other)
Temple Complex

Marketplace Base Value 10,000 gp; Purchase Limit 50,000 gp  Spellcasting: 6th

Government: Colonial  Currently ruled by Governor Pashard Kala
Gov Pashard Kala

Persons and Places of Note:
The Iris Continental
The Iris Continental: A Multi-story Inn located in the center of Hagar Qim, three blocks from and in clear view of the Governor’s Palace. 

Yverissy Kala High Priestess of Ptah, wife of Governor Pashard Kala, overseeing the conversion of the great limestone temple
Yverissy Kala 

Macahor humanoid, race debated, gladiator? Assassin? Underground resistance?

Unger  Troll Blooded half ogre owner of the western half of the docks

Davos half orc half drow owner of the eastern half of the docks

Briar Renatta  Halfling female merchant and Geography expert*
*Briar Renatta teaches the feat skill focus knowledge Geography via downtime rules.  This can be the one additional learned feat mentioned in home rules.

Everyone has a deal to make in Hagar Qim since the fall of the temple to the Egyptians.  One of the few cities that values coin, everything is for sale in a city suddenly bereft of morality.   Within the last two years besides the work on the temple, there has been several buildings constructed including a library dedicated to Ptah.

Italian City State of Perugia Agrippa Birthplace of Marco Andrezi

NG Large City Corruption +1; Crime +2; Economy +4; Law +3; Lore +1; Society -1 Danger +10

Qualities: Academic, Artists Colony, Legendary Market Place, Royal Accommodations, Trading Post

Primary Religion:  Roman    Population: 18,000 (15,000 Human, 1000 Halfling, 1000 Elves, 500 Dwarves, 500 Other)

Marketplace Base Value 16,000 gp; Purchase Limit 200,000 gp  Spellcasting: 8th
Minor Items: All, Medium Items: 4d4+10% Price, Major Items: 3d4 +10% Price

Government: Dynasty  Currently ruled by Prince Reynaldo Andrezi
Prince Reynaldo Andrezi

Persons of Note:

General Jiranda Hollis-Greymane Elf Castellan
General Jiranda Hollis-Greymane

High Priest Fallor Hollis Human Cleric of Mercury
High Priest Fallor Hollis

High Magister Dante Costellano

Guildmaster Guiseppi Renatta  Halfling Expert

The City State of Perugia Agrippa's claim to fame throughout the Mediterranean is its Fencing schools and disciplines, it is also the birthplace of a unique buckler.  The buckler listed below is also referred to as a Perugian shield.

Fencing Buckler   5Gp/ +1 Shield Bonus/ -1 Skill Check/ 5lbs

Unlike the standard buckler, the Fencing Buckler is held in the off hand and can be used for two weapon fighting and shield bash. It does 1d4 damage.
This Buckler is especially popular with the students of the Rapier and Buckler school of fencing.

A Visit to Selmunett Island

Wassier debarked from his private seacab, a small seacraft guided by a well paid Koalinth, working his way along the docks staring at the long stone walkway rising from his seaside perch.   Several other sea vessels were arriving this morning making movement through the docks  a crowded slow moving experience.  Wassier looked at the other arrivals and realized many would attempt to complete all of their business here before sundown.  Wassier’s business would keep him occupied all night.  Finally escaping the docks Wassier makes his through the archways into the city, the noise of life finally hitting him now that he had pierced the cities walls.  Daytime in this city was a strange festival of sights and sounds punctuated by yells of advertisement from guides and mercantile barkers.   Wassier was recognized as a local and therefore wasn’t pursued as vigorously as those deemed new arrivals. 


Wassier needed to find The Hunter, he was certain that some of the recent arrivals would interest the Dwarf.  Dealing with that soulless devil always disturbed him but if he was right The Hunter would pay him his gold bar bounty.  To find the dwarf he would need to patronize Apep’s  Gloom in the Egyptian quarter, which meant that he first need to invest in certain protections, primarily an anti-toxin.  Pausing near a fish hut, Wassier got his bearings and thought about where he could find some of Captain Mokeif’s men.  They should have plenty of anti-toxin and might provide it at cost if he can convince them it’s connected to their job.   Deciding his course of action, Wassier ate some fish then let his sense of smell guide him to various opium suppliers, certain he would find the members of The Plague there. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Malta Session 4: 09/07/2017: The Thing in the Crypts, the Black Druid’s Wolves, and Return to Paola

Lete Cordasco
We begin this week’s session with Marco, Carlo and Lete moving out to bring the unconscious tiefling, Voximore’s body inside the farmhouse when Marco sees something amiss. Investigating he sees a bear trap had been set but no further evidence of passage in the rough terrain. Lete restrains the tiefling- hands, mouth and eyes while Lex descends to the lower level to investigate the ice room as a possible cell. Our characters bring in the bear trap so no one accidentally injures themselves setting it up along the crooked passage below to cover our backs.

Recovered are two master work daggers, a light cross bow and fifteen bolts-10 regular and 5 masterwork; master work thieves tools (Lex), a tanglefoot bag, a alchemist bag and a vial of acid; a potion of CLW (imbibed by Lex later after falling to wolves) and a pass without a trace potion; leather armor (Lete) and wand of sleep CL4 (15 charges); a platinum piece and two silver (later returned to Voximore); and eventually (when we leave for Paola ) we find a wand of unseen servant (49 charges).

Meanwhile, in the ice room  two coldstones radiate faint coolness and after checking for secret doors its decided the room looks near perfect for a impromptu cell. Lex does notice inconsistencies in the layout of the farmhouse basement eventually focusing his attention on the crypts where he believes a secret room might be found behind the caskets. Eventually Lex finds a casket worked into the wall and concealed with rough masonry.  

Above, Lete begins lookout watching through the slats of boarded up windows and the attic watching for besiegers, Jabari has the prisoners on lock down with his 'magical' crossbow and provides rations as well as a pot to piss in.

Marco Andrezi
Marco has questions for the tiefling Voximore, separating Osso and Evagara. Voximore states there was no deal yet and seems perturbed at his current situation; however, he is willing to overlook the recent events if he were to be set free. Voximore had word of a workbook (journal) of a magical process that was at stake. When asked about Zabbar Voximore states he’s the pirate king. Marco assures Voximore  we will let him go in due time and when we meet again it will be for the ‘first’ time. While Voximore says the deal seems fair, he was not alone and doesn’t want anything to happen to these other sailors that may try to rescue him.  

In the next room Jabari asks Voximore which church Osso would answer for his crimes- Voximore answered he didn't know but assumed it would be the seventh church.

Eventually Marco runs the same questions by Osso and wants information on the tiefling Voximore. Starting with the teiflings name and who he works for; Osso’s answers align with Voximore’s statements and testifies Zabbar is capable of granting ships and rules Sala rock.

**Sala Rock (Zabbar):  Locals call it Sala Rock but not in the presence of the Tiefling pirate king Zabbar. Sala Rock has a watchtower, dock, house and barn since it was claimed by the Pirate King.  He has re-christened the island with his own moniker, Zabbar Island.  The Pirate King has anywhere from ten to two dozen ships at his disposal and is famous among pirates due to the two Thri-Kreen guardians that serve him.  Zabbar himself refers to the two Thri-Kreen as "The Roman and The Greek" and frequently chuckles after saying it. 

Osso was attempting to trade the journal for a ship and admits his plans to show the masterwork badge to others should current deals fall through. Under pressure Osso says he paid a debt with Unger and Davos and hopes to buy back the funds to hire a crew. Jabari asks him where he would take this ship? Eventually the scoundrel Osso says ‘north’ where he has heard of countries not under the direct control of dragons. He has heard of the city Gibraltar where gemstones hold their value and he could hopefully own land. He had hoped to escape in the night to negotiate with Voximore at a neutral sight. When pressed as to how many people he told of the deal: Fessaj, the pirate king Zabbar, and finally Unger and Davos who have uneasy working relationships.

Meanwhile Russ finds strange markings on a casket that he believes are claw marks, the grooves appearing as if someone were trying to get out of the casket. Muffled sounds, monstrous screams, and scratching escapes from the embedded casket spooking Lex.  Retreating upstairs to inquire with Evagara how she left her estate before her studies abroad, the young woman indicates the house was boarded up when she left and she improved the security when she returned.  She also identifies the casket in question as her aunt's casket that was entombed 25 years ago.

After a brief meeting our characters agree to free Voximore.  We leave with Osso and Evagara for Paola post haste leaving the unknown dangers behind. Before he leaves Voximore says to mention him for a ‘pirates chance’ should the need arise.  We leave in the quiet of the night overhearing Voximore calling out a humorous warning to ‘Laz’ and his bear traps. Lex marks the house door as unsafe. We hope to eventually pass the potential danger to the druid centaur Nogamon when the should the opportunity arise.

By the light of the quarter moon
We head off into the evening leaving Zebbug, passing isolated travelers along the way. Osso and Evagara are unsettled about the unknown danger in the basement, Evagara expresses the desire to be looked at by the Finnish church unsure if her close proximity to such a creature had infected her somehow, which was an answer that surprised Osso. When Osso is asked about his temple of choice he replies Otherwhere.  When Lex and Jabari press him further, he smirks and replies that he left his offering at the golden idol. 

It is dark, partly cloudy with a quarter moon and our travel through the night is swift as Marco talks about his past to ease Evagara’s mind.  His conversation reveals that she eventually wants to go to Italy. Their conversation is interrupted when we come to a small thorp, the horrific sounds of a crying horse and a surprise attack from wolves with red ringed eyes. Something seems amiss with these creatures as elsewhere wolves are attacking other things in the night.

Defeating the wolves we notice a brand on each, likening it to a barren tree. We retreat to a recently abandoned hovel which looks to have been inhabited by animals at one time or another. Wolves can be heard further into the thorp; Jabari and Lete sees a faint light at a neighboring hovel; Lex is certain the wolves are gathered around the thorp’s central well. Lete and Marco check out the light and hear sounds from inside. Moving closer Lete hears “it’s a trick’ as well as‘it’s the black one’.  Eventually we identify six Halflings (two women Misha & Navara) a couple of human women (Yesha & Gorsha) and a solitary gnome Idicorus hiding inside. Marco pleads with them to open the door but when they do four additional wolves attack.

When the combat ends everyone moves to the main hovel where the halfling woman Navara offers to tend to Lete who fell to a wolf. We make introductions asking about the wolves and it is indicated as the work of the Black Druid.

The Black Druid seems to have arrived eight months ago when the inhabitants of the thorp started seeing barren tree symbol burned in to the hovels and livestock.  Soon the crops began to wither and to their horror their dead livestock was used against them. We are also told of a half-elf who came here recently killing a Halfling Bawabi in the garden during day light hours.  Further questioning reveals most believe it was a random occurrence however the halfling women believe Bawabi was killed by the half-elf because he was in the garden. The two human women don’t seem to have an opinion. The Gnome Idicorus says there had to have been some reason Bawabi was killed three weeks ago.  

Barren Tree Brand
The group claims that normally after a night of attacks there is a few days of down time; hearing this we decide to stay and rest through the night. We invite them to join us back to town, and it is clear they wish to talk among themselves.

During the night Tony asks Evagara what she went abroad to study: she indicates that she is a novice wizard. She had a very good teacher Naxxar who she served for several years in repayment for her training.  She is now free to pursue her own path  and expresses a distaste for Egyptians. Why? She explains Naxxar’s favorite targets are Egyptian ships and she fears retaliation due to her association with Naxxar.

The human women Yersha and Gorsha agree to accompany us in the morning. Tony pays the Halfling healer a gold piece and gravely indicates she has saved our lives before we leave.

We arrive early in the morning at the Seven churches where Evagara believes she sees signs of ships being in dock, much relief to Osso. Our characters intuit Garamaldi will be busy today.

Arriving to Ukko’s church, we see the Greeks are manning the church. We watch Gorsha enter the Norse temple while Yersha waits outside and by time we are finished at Ukko’s they are gone. We find an adept who expects a new high priest as well as a merchant who will come to claim a new carriage where we temporarily place Osso after assurances from Marco that Evagara will be well taken care of.  The adept Horgh claims a Greek education and reveals he has agreed to be the new assistant to the new Finnish High Priest.

We tithe at our temple and arrange healing as well as CLW for 40 gold each. Meanwhile some of us agree to work for the church while Carlo waits to speak to Garamaldi. We inquire about messenger services to warn the druid about the plague house in Zebbug as well as the thorp suffering the dark druid.

Lex keeps Osso company while Jabari and Lete work for the church easing the minds of the new arrivals, Lete identifying potential threats such as evidence of the EYE, as well as offering our skills with languages should it be needed with the new High Priest. Jabari's knowledge of King's Tongue appears to be the most coveted language.  Meanwhile Lex guards Osso, keeping him company, trying to get him to confide in him. Osso warns him to be careful with Unger and Davos who he identifies as crime lords operating in Hagar Qim.  Osso claims they control sections of the docks and often come into conflict with each other.

Marco and Carlo travel to Paola, taking Evagara, to go armor shopping and encounter the first wave of new comers.  They encounter ancient archways at the entrance to the city which the locals considered good luck to pass through.  The threesome pass through the archways into the overpopulated Paola. Tall apartment buildings are common and eventually the two find a working forge where Rob acquires a chain shirt. After their armor purchase they meander about, to window shop and eventually find a tall glass sculpture of a beautiful woman in a park where artists (bard college students) have gathered to render the statue. The bard college (the Candle) is famous for their glass works and sculptures. In their wanderings the three come across two walled estates and a bank.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Malta Session 3: 08/30/2017: Fessaj Cooperates and Finding Osso

We begin this session in front of the Chomstop in Zebbug. When our characters arrived the awning of the store had caught on fire as four cloak humanoid individuals raced from the store…

Lex, with a quick assessment believes the small fire is actually a medium sized fire elemental. We close in and find our adversaries are catfolk plus one tengu. We were successful in getting two catfolk to surrender. Lete calls for guards as two of catfolk are restrained and disarmed. Marco asks the cooperative Fessaj who hired them and was instructed that a Captain Soverah Fessaj put them to task; Marco allows that cat folk to ‘escape’ in return for this valuable information. Soon deputies Muck and Guck arrive.

The shopkeeper explains to the deputies the catfolk asked about Osso and was directed to the upstairs to search for whatever they were looking for. The shopkeeper states that Osso has not been seen for about day; Osso’s upstairs apartment looks to have been ransacked, our characters assume they did not find what they were looking for. Further speaking with the shopkeeper he indicates the offenders were disguised when they asked about Osso.

The guards check our identifications and seem appreciative for our character’s efforts. A mention of magic has alarming reactions bordering on the superstitious. Lete and Lex briefly leave looking for Jabari who had run off to find the fourth assailant- a tengu and the likely cause of the fire elemental (both were first spotted on the roof of the Chomstop.

We want Osso right meow. 
Later our own search of Osso’s apartment as well as the roof top yields a false chimney, inside are three healthy sized finely cut diamonds, an Egyptian marked ring as well as a blank masterwork badge. Jabari would eventually look for Eye symbols in the shop but instead sees a woman taking interest in the activity around the shop.  Once she sees she was noticed the woman walks steadily away.

The deputies says they are taking the captured catfolk to a nearby cellar where he will sit until payment is made, proceeds are to go to the lord-mayor. An arrangement we are not comfortable with, we must eventually speak to this lord-mayor.

The shopkeeper expresses his gratitude and offers us a discount for helping. We offer the masterwork falchion (with markings of Bayaloynian origin), a composite short bow and a breastplate. He offers 200 gold each in diamonds gemstones for the falchion but warns that the gem conversion is not equal throughout Malta.

The shopkeeper indicates where we can receive healing and offers the upstairs apartment during our stay. Furthermore he says Osso has been seeing a woman Evagara. We decide to investigate this woman and head to what is a family farm.

The farm looks deserted but we call out and approach and eventually meet Evagara. We explain ourselves and why we are looking for Osso. She claims to have not seen him and offers to extend our interest in finding him for our common employer Garamaldi. Lex pleads to her sympathy and warns that Osso is in danger. Lex and Marco decide to stake out Evagara’s farm while the rest of us go to try to secure healing with Gamon the Green.

Exotic Flower
Lete, Jabari, and Carlo find the large grove, located in the central portion of Zebbug, and are welcomed with a goodberry by a young druid.  Upon inquiring about Gamon the Green the young adapt agrees to introduce the trio if they will follow social protocol and disarm themselves. Explaining their desire for healing we propose trading the composite shortbow for five CLW potions. Gamon agrees, offering to sweeten the deal (with a neutralize poison) if we would spread the seeds of a particular flower during our travels in the Mediterranean specifically Malta. We agree and are welcome anytime at the grove. Lete is offered a task of pruning rose bushes for healing, which he does saving the thorns for a makeshift caltrop bag.

Jabari asks the centaur of he is old enough to remember the Sundering? While Gamon is not he advises speaking with his father Nagamon. Gamon says that if we should ever encounter the Halfling Pan and bring him along he is Nagamon’s favorite cook and would go a long way towards good relations. Jabari asks if Gamon has ever seen a dragon? No and he hopes to never do, they are not of the natural order. Jabari asks how old Nagamon is? That is uncertain as counting of time is differs, but he is old. Jabari asks if Gamon knows Osso? Yes and are we friends of this man? No our characters reply but it is the nature of our visit to Zebbug. Gamon does not trust the man; in addition Evagara is recently returned to Malta after studying abroad. Jabari explains our encounter at their farm; Gamon explains the farm was uninhabited and is boarded up because of a past illness. After this Lete, Jabari and Carlo return to the farm.

Lex and Marco keep watch for over an hour.  Evagara is clearly on the look-out but fails to notice our well hidden characters. When Lete, Jabari, and Carlo return Lex notices a flag is now missing from the front porch- probably some kind of signal.

We spread ourselves out keeping in sight of each other waiting for the cover of darkness before we attempt a stealthy entry. After about ninety minutes Jabari sees a flash of movement on the farm grounds. Lete is alerted to a camouflaged ice cellar which he opens and enters, waiting for Jabari and Lex before following  a crooked passage towards a farmhouse door. Junk litters the basement. Searching the basement we find a family crypt but nothing of interest or value

Outside, Marco and Carlo witness individuals walking in their direction scythes working back and forth through the farmland. Marco and Carlo keen on watching for a diversion.

Back at the farmhouse Jabari, Lex and Lete climb steps to the first floor to the sounds of conversation. “we just have to wait until nightfall and then we can leave” Jabari moves to signal Marco and Carlo who warn of the scythe wielding visitors. We eventually reunite and reveal ourselves to the farmhouse occupants Osso, Evagara and a tiefling.
We explain that we came for the journal. Osso asks who wants it. We ask why the journal wasn't delivered to Garamaldi? Osso admits to crafting a story and that he took a better offer. Without the diamonds? Lex asks and things get hostile.

“Zabbar will learn of this treachery” the teifling says as he flees the fray. After a short battle Osso and Evagara surrender saying the journal is in Hagar Qim “surely we can come to some kind agreement” Osso states; when asked he explains he was hoping to secure their own ship. The sample was what he was using to secure the deal with Zabbar.

Evagara will be safe and will travel with us until we obtain the journal from Hagar Qim. Osso says we are looking for Mallox, a former slave dwarf who offers discrete safe storage and all we have to do is give the dwarf one of the gems (we found).

Meanwhile the tiefling is laid low and that is where we end our session. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Waterhawk

Pilini walked back across the deck of The Waterhawk to go over arrangements with the Captain an additional time. The newly appointed Captain nodded, “The first mates quarters shall remain empty as you instructed, of course everything will be done as you have instructed.” 

Pilini continued, this time switching to their native gnome tongue, “Since I am not going to be with you, I have to be sure we have covered everything. Mapping is going to be very important, Carlysle can handle it but he is an artist with an artist’s temperament, remind your crew that his work is very valuable to...me.  

The other fellow Alithando, he it turns out is a skilled diplomat and linguist, don’t allow the sailors to bring him to any harm.”  The gnome captain nodded before asking about the Halfling Stewart, “He spooks me, what is his story?”   

Pilini sighed and looked down at the waters slapping against the hull, “Stewart was a prisoner down there," he explained pointing down at the foaming sea, "Out of everyone we’ve saved from this storm, he’s the only one without jumbled fragmented memories.  Give Stewart a chance, he’s agreed to help out our cause.  Besides, if he decides to disembark somewhere along the way and get on with a life, he is free to go.”
Captain Varbold 

Captain Varbold smiled at that, “Thanks again for this Pilini, Stormhaven is too dangerous for all of us any longer!  Everyone aboard this ship owes you their lives. We will deliver everyone to their missions and if we make it to the great continent, assist Carlysle with mapping its coasts. 
Sailing from Stormhaven

Thursday, August 24, 2017

08/23/2017 Malta Session 2: Blood on the Swords and The Third Tit

Garamaldi's Eye Window
We begin this week’s session heading to Garamaldi’s half tower, our identification badges ready. The man offers breakfast and coffee at the early morning. After eats we retreat to the upper area and find the art room in a mess with some of our renderings ruined (Lete and Lex) or at best damaged (Marco); however, we do not find Jabari’s or Carlos renderings.

Geramaldi says there are also others missing besides ours (including one of a Halfling), furthermore a valued commission is missing- Wassier. Garamaldi states this must have happened within the last hour. A short time later a servant explains how he was getting water, he does remember a noise however and the sound caused him to check the ceiling window’s latch but it didn’t appear to be opened. This was a half hour ago.

In regards to our current task Garamaldi warns that in some cases between here and Zebbug are hills that may contain hidden entrances home to under races and perhaps rat-folk and where there are rat-folk, there are bugbears. He has also heard of night creatures and monsters, so travel during the day. Garamaldi gives us a signet ring to use at our discretion Marco carries the ring.

We eventually make our way out of Garamaldi’s half-tower when Lete sees a figure a block away in the shadows. Lete uses the bonded mind to alert Jabari who tarries behind. Eventually the form emerges from the shadow and seems to follow the group, albeit across the street. Jabari follows in suit.

The Curious Tengu
Lete and company sets up an ambush with perfect timing. “Can I help you friend.” The individual is was a surprised tengu, black plumage and all. “Why are you following me.” Lete demoralizes him, but the Tengu does well to hide it. The tengu is seen to have a variety of daggers and a hand crossbow and after some brief words realize the tengu works for somebody who ‘wants to know things about Garamaldi and who works for him’ but in all likelihood was really interested about our characters and our business.

We set for Zebbeg with a song. The path changes from paved stone to rural road then to trail a short time later. Several landmarks make travel easy. About two and a half miles our characters crest a hill and see a driverless wagon being pulled by (trained?) oxen. The trail they are on leads to what is likely a farmhouse; there seemed to be no blood or foul play so we continue on another half hour.

Eventually we come across stone structures akin to an old unused oven. Jabari finds three loose bricks and leaves behind images of an eye in each one and through a series of connections discover Garamaldi’s signet ring is an Eye. During this some of us see a feathered serpentine shape in sky far off in the distance.

We continue travel to what is known as the third tit and find a blood splattered humanoid lying on the ground. Some of us see the third hill has an abnormality and a flash of movement. Characters approach, Lete wary for the imminent ambush. Seeing movement Carlo points this out and the trap is sprung. None of us really surprised by a ratfolk and two bugbears Merd the turd and Gnasher. After some shitty dice rolling we drop Gnasher but the ratfolk and Merd got away.

We recover a stolen masterwork falchion with markings of Bayaloynian origin (reward?), 6 javelins, and a fine (possibly magical cloak), a vial separate from the rest of this equipment; a breastplate, and on a leather thong he has a brass skeleton key. 21 gold pieces, each coin uniquely stamped (a coin collector) including one of Egyptian coinage.

Shortly after our character investigate ‘the third tit’ and find a rat warren tunnel. Introducing a lit torch triggers scraping sounds while also revealing a dirt tunnel. With the help of a rope Lete lowers Lex into the tunnel followed by the rest of the characters. Our characters follow the tunnel to a resting chamber where we happen across sleeping ratfolk; we continue on to find a naked and drunken bugbear and with some stealth we continue to an upper level. Eventually we decide to retreat from the bugbears, ratfolk and possible disaster.

We emerge and begin to pass through hills and farms and the closer we get to Zebbug we see the emergence of an active civilization. Early interactions with the populace are filled questions on the dangers of the road including any unusual weather. We are directed to Nebettawy or Gamon the Green for our healing needs. We report ratfolk which is confirmed by the Zebbuggians.

Upon entrance to the walled city we are asked our business (‘requisition of property’) by a guardsman who politely explains the sense of the city layout. Investigations lead us to west side Chomstop. When we arrive the awning of the store has caught on fire as four cloak humanoid individuals race from the store.

We begin with this scene next game session. We gain 400 xp. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Maltese Grid

I have the above printed out for our use.  The grid will allow us to communicate easier without having to remember every odd name.  As you learn of places or go there, you can add it to your map and we can update it here. 

Modern Malta covers 122 Square miles, our ancient version is larger and further spread out. 
We are going to say 200 square miles.  

What does that mean for us.  It means that in the map grid above each lettered square across is roughly 16.5 miles across left to right.  It means that each square down is roughly 28.5 miles. Example, square 1A is 16.5 miles across by 28.5 miles down. 

With that knowledge we can apply the following:

Average walk speed is 3mph

Average Sailing speed is 7 knots which is roughly 6mph.  Larger ships can get to greater speeds we are just dealing with averages

Average Flying Speed is 6mph.  This is based on the idea that most PC's move 30 and move 60 if the fly spell is cast on them. 

The goal behind this is to give us a quick go to when we need to be able to calculate or realize travel time.   

Walled City of Zebbug

Walled City Zebbug

N Small City Corruption +4; Crime +4; Economy +2; Law +2; Lore +4; Society +2 Danger +8

Primary Religion:  Green Faith

Marketplace Base Value 4,000 gp; Purchase Limit 25,000 gp

Government: Lord Mayor served by a Religious Adviser.

The Current Lord Mayor is IL-Kataniz.  The Lord Mayor always comes from the Kataniz family as they are the wealthy benefactors of Zebbug residing in Castle Kataniz.

The Mayor chooses the faith he draws his adviser from and the church chooses which of their parish is sent. Large donations help secure the pontiff of choice
The Religious Adviser is considered the voice of the Lord Mayor and therefore the 2nd most powerful person in local government.

Gamon the Green
The Current Religious Advisor is a centaur, son of Nogamon, Gamon the Green.

Population 7,903 (5,000 humans; 1,000 elves; 500 halflings; 500 dwarves; 400 half-elves; 400 gnomes; 103 other)  

Zebbug is a walled farming community based around the nurturing of the olive groves the Kataniz family has been cultivating for generations. Olives are over seventy percent of all farming done in Zebbug, the remaining farming providing for the base needs of the city.  Due to this Zebbug has been having to import more and more products to keep up with their growing population.

People of Note:
Lord Mayor Il-Kataniz is a well liked half-elf leader known for his generosity.  During times of bad weather citizens of Zebbug have taken refuge in Kataniz castle. The family has also provided access to the family library to those citizens trying to learn to read. 

Gamon the Green blesses the farms here and has kept the olives free from disease.  He is well liked but locals often find his presence troubling as he has no sense of propriety and is always nude. 

Chomson is the second wealthiest man in Zebbug owning two general stores that serve the community.  His payments are usually a percentage of a harvest, gems, or trade holdings elsewhere in Malta.  Chomson is a human bachelor that enjoys taking his meals with different farms throughout the city.  Relations are sometimes strained between Chomson and the Kataniz family due to sometimes conflicting interests.  Overall Chomson is a well liked respected member of the community.

Borko the Dwarven Beer maker supplies all of Zebbug with the beer bearing his name, Borko Beer. His family owns a number of stills that provide liquors to trade with the rest of  Malta. Borko would be wealthier if it were not for his penchant for gambling and financing sailors treasure hunters.  

Kereka is the dwarven wife of Borko.  She is also a priest of a dwarven deity that serves the cities dwarf population.

Nebettawy is a Egyptian woman that provides auguries and healing.  Some of the locals won't go to her claiming she is a mind reader.  She is the daughter of the Oracle Isetnoket.

Sciortino is a notorious Tiefling, having been convicted in the circle of judgment three different times.  Each time he was sent to walk the plank (the local nick name for the walk through the archway) the portal flashed but did not take the Tiefling.  In the eyes of the council of faiths Sciortino had been judged not guilty by the gods and his convictions were overturned.

Siggiewi is a catfolk that proclaims her profession as a tree sculptor. Several farms use her services which come with a recommendation from Gamon the Green

Tal-Grazzja operates a gaming emporium, Grazzja's Chance, where locals gather to smoke, drink, gamble, and play other games of entertainment.  The emporium frequently hosts fights and attracts many recruiters for the Malta fight circuit.  Grazzja's operates purely on gems or small merchant weight bars of silver and gold.  Grazzja's Chance also offers training in linguistics as well as a variety of skill focus feats.  A standard fee for training in a language or an approved skill focus is equal to the downtime costs plus a service for whomever you convince to train you. 

Places of note in Zebbug:

Grazzja's Chance: See notes above.  The structure is an old barn and corn silo. 

Kataniz Castle: An impressive stone structure that dominates the center of the city, it too is walled. 

Kbira Lake: Located on the west end of Zebbug, Kbira lake pierces the walls of Zebbug the only opening in the well crafted walls.  The lake itself runs west continuing outside Zebbug.  Its the cities primary water source. 
Kbira Lake

Olive Groves....lots of them

Chomstop: Two general stores located on opposite ends of the city, each owned by Chomson.  For those shoppers looking for items beyond the basics Chomstop offers catalog shopping.  Most requests can be delivered within two weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Malta House Rules

House Rules
1. Drinking a Potion is a move equivalent action instead of a standard action.

1.1 Potions that provide spell duration bonus to the PC take up a magic item slot.  See below

1.2 No more than 3 potions can be consumed in a round regardless of shenanigans, mythic or otherwise. 

2. Five Foot Step is changed to your Natural reach.  This change is primarily for the benefit of larger creatures who have a natural reach of 10 feet or greater, this allows them to take a “step” equal to their size.  Magical changes in size do NOT affect your five-foot step.  In hopes of removing all doubt, if the creature or player doesn’t live their regular lives at a larger size it isn’t considered their “natural size” and they cannot take advantage of the greater step.

4. Critical Hit/Critical Miss cards won’t be used this campaign. Critical hits, besides providing your weapons critical hit modifier to damage, will also provide cumulative +1 Luck Bonuses during an encounter.  Critical Misses will provide a -2 on your next attack plus the evil creativity of the GM

5. Luck Score Stat: Starts out at 1, increases by 1 every 2nd level and every 2 Mythic Levels.

5.1 Luck abilities and checks cannot be used to affect mythic.  Mythic can be used to affect luck, primarily via the Surge ability

5.2 Role playing and story achievement will lead to luck rewards. Suggestions made within the rhythms of the game are appreciated.

5.3 If players say it at the gaming table its presumed known by every player at the table.  The spoken actions/scene are learned of by any absent PC's at the first opportunity unless a player states that its a secret or something they aren't going to share. 

6. Improved Initiative is changed to:
Your quick reflexes allow you to react rapidly to danger.
Benefit: You get a +4 bonus on initiative check and add 2 to your luck score

6.1 Each of the following feats also provides a +1 to your luck score: Great Fortitude, Iron Will and Lightning Reflexes, Blind Fighting, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes,  Dodge, Endurance, Mobility, Point Blank Shot and any feat that provides a bonus to a skill. 

6.2 Teamwork feats increase your luck score by 1 as long as there is someone else in your party with the same teamwork feat.  Yes Bonded Mind provides everyone a +1 to your luck. 

7. Once Per Game Session you can roll a luck check DC 20 to improve your initiative.  If you succeed add 5 to your initiative.  You may attempt this after your initiative has been rolled. Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

7.1 Once Per Game Session a player can attempt a DC 20 Luck check to provide their skill check to any ally attempting the same skill.  That ally must share a teamwork feat with the person they are sharing a skill with.  Example: Two players trying to sneak or climb.  Excluded skills: Linguistics, Use Magic Device. Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

7.2 Once Per Game Session a player can attempt a DC20 Luck Check for a combat advantage similar to attacking from higher ground.  If successful add +2 to your to hit roll.  Must be declared prior to rolling attack. Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

7.3 Once Per Game Session if held, paralyzed, or confused a player may attempt a DC20 Luck Check to suppress the effect for one round per 5 levels.  Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

7.4 Once Per Game Session a player may attempt a DC20 Luck Check to suppress a condition, such as fatigue or shaken, for one round per 5 levels.  Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

7.5 Once Per Game Session a caster as part of a spell may attempt a DC20 Luck Check to include cohorts, animal companions, followers, rescued NPCs or civilians in a beneficial spell effect for free.  The number of extra targets that can be included are equal to the number of party members plus one.  Thinking primarily of teleport here but could see Resist Energy and other spells being applicable. Can only be attempted on spells that effect more than one target or an area effect.  Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

7.6 Once Per Game Session a player may attempt a DC20 Luck Check as an immediate action to provide a cohort, animal companion, follower, NPC or civilian the benefit of their saving throw bonus.  This could be role-played as diving and pushing them out of the way of the blast or slapping the poison vial from their lips etc. Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

7.7 Once Per Game Session a player may attempt a DC20 Luck Check to lower the DC's of all skill checks they attempt in the next minute.   If they succeed for the next minute all skills attempted by that PC has the DC's reduced by 5.  Pass or Fail you can only do it once per session.

8. Leadership: If anyone takes Leadership, I’ll explain in further detail but I run it differently, essentially using the chart to give a total number of HD of followers rather than a bunch of 1st and 2nd level NPCs.

8.1 One free teamwork feat Bonded Mind

8.2 Some feats will be available to learn at specific locations in Malta.  The training is accomplished via downtime rules.   A non-mythic PC may only learn one of these extra feats.  A mythic PC may learn an additional, non mythic feat. If a feat is available, it will be listed in a city or locations description. 

9. Max Hit Points your 1st three levels and every level that you gain a character point (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th). When you receive a character point you also receive a point in your luck score.

10. Combine Swim & Climb into one skill Athletics. When you put first skill point in rank you must decide if your athletics is strength or dexterity based.  This cannot be changed without following retraining rules.

10.1 One free skill point per level for Perception

11.  Body Slots not only limit the number of magic items that you can have but also the number of spells that can be on an individual.  Any spell of a duration greater than instantaneous takes up an empty body slot on the person it is cast upon.  Detrimental spells like curse or a prayer that works against you also take up body slots.  If body slots are full the detrimental effect takes over the lowest level spell filling a body slot.  If all body slots are full from magic items, the magic item effect is suppressed for the duration of the detrimental spell.  The affected player chooses which magic item is suppressed. 

House Advice

HA 1 
Pay attention, even when it isn’t your turn/scene and try to limit speaking over others. Check out Facebook alerts and unimportant texts/messages/email before and after the game. Don't talk over other players that are playing the game so you can finish your story or talk about Game of Thrones.

HA 2
Help each other out; combat can pull attention in multiple directions, while the GM is talking about the height of the ceiling, the parties’ spell-caster might be looking up area of effect rules.  If you hear a pertinent fact use the dry erase mat to write it down.  Use the dry erase mat to write down bonuses and penalties if you don’t keep track electronically.

HA 3
Keep good notes, if you recovered a +2 weapon from a combat or bought an alchemical item somewhere it wouldn’t hurt to know it.  Saying I’m going to throw a tangelfoot bag is one thing, saying you’re throwing the last tanglefoot bag from crazy eddies in Gibraltar is more fun and provides the GM an opportunity to get creative. Keeping good notes includes keeping track of the source material your abilities/feats come from.

HA 4
The GM has a lot to try to remember and manage.  Please make the effort to know your own characters abilities.  If you’ve leveled up and it’s the first time doing something, say so, and then we can take our time working through it.  Try to figure out how something works, not how it doesn't. 

HA 5
This is a game and it’s supposed to be fun.  The higher level the party, the greater the complexity and thus the longer it takes to run combat.  Because of this sometimes a penalty such as being paralyzed feels worse than it was intended because despite the roll only saying three rounds it’s been an hour since you’ve been able to have your character act.  Speak up and say something regarding the situation.  Not saying that every time something gets said I’ll say yeah that’s long enough but I may come up with a lesser penalty that still allows you to do something (see luck above).  Along the same lines, if you are down, help the GM run NPCs, offer to take over initiative until you are back or remind the other players of conditions, effects and how they can help you etc.  If you’ve been “killed” and are waiting for a return to action and don’t want to pay attention to the combat, review notes and previous posts about the game.

HA 6
Remember your party members are counting on you to fulfill your portion of the social contract.  Communication helps.  It sucks to have your character die, it’s even worse when you discover that your fellow player forgot they had that wand of healing or the scroll of restoration.  It’s hard for people to plan if you never communicate your abilities and possessions, or worse don’t know them.

HA 7
All of us have parts of the game we excel at and portions we don’t enjoy as much.  If you mentally check out during the portions you don’t enjoy as much, those portions are never going to improve.  Try to identify what you don’t like about it and make suggestions for improvement at the appropriate time. If you make it fun for others you’ll find yourself having fun too. Make an effort, the more you put in the more you’ll get out. 

If your character isn’t in the scene find out from the GM if he can make out of character suggestions to the players in scene.  For example, your character is at the temple being healed and the rest of the part heads to a meeting with the Sergeant at Arms.  You ask the GM if you can comment and permission is given.  So during the meeting, you can bring up notes from the blog or points of interest you don’t want forgotten. PAY ATTENTION to the scenes you aren’t in. If the primary review note taker is in a scene and you are not, let that person know you’ll take notes for them while they are involved and you are not.  If there is something you want to be sure is remembered let people know.  

Use the blog.  This doesn’t mean you have to post new entries although you are welcome to.  It does mean to read the posts.  Comment on them. Ask Questions.  Make suggestions.  I find the review posts incredibly helpful, please use the comments for corrections as well as reminders, inspiration, and ideas.  Also this is an excellent location to give the GM a heads up you want to do whatever on game day.

LISTEN to each other. Don’t forget to say what you enjoy. Make suggestions for game improvement.    Some of the worst arguments I’ve been in come from when I mentally check out and quit listening to the other person, I think I know their point or perspective and don’t listen only to later discover I didn’t understand what they were trying to tell me.  Most of the time these aren’t major arguments but they are major time wasters.