Friday, November 18, 2016

An Old Tale, Pt. 3

The robed figure stood for a moment and contemplated. He sported a neatly trimmed goatee and his hair was cut short. His robes were jet black, lined with dark purple and he carried a strange glass device in one hand. On the other hand Hamish could see a ring flash he stroked his beard. He stepped into the middle of the room and chuckled. "So arrogant and so naive you all were." Walking closer to Shade, he inspected him closely before turning to the rest of the room. With a start Hamish again saw the resemblance between the two. The man's eyes swept across the rest of the gathered group, each transfixed in their spot until his eyes fell on Thorvald. He regarded him for a moment and then said, with a twinge of true remorse, "and the mighty Thorvald. Loyal and strong...shame what must happen next." The ogres stood impassively and watched as the cloaked man threw back his hood and raised his hands as if to cast a spell on the whole room.

Hamish cried out and threw his axe at the man, momentarily disrupting him. The ogres, confused, drew curved scimitars that rattled and buzzed and looked to the members of the party, still frozen in place. This gave Hamish an opening and he took a gamble. Sprinting into the room, he ran to the closest members of the party; Tom and Rayla and cuffed them both hard on the back of their heads. His gamble paid off as both immediately sprang back to motion. It took them both but a moment to realize the danger of the situation and Tom began firing arrows at the ogres while Rayla woke Thorvald and Draymun, shouting "we're under attack!" They too joined the fray. Hamish ducked under the buzzing, sparking blade of an ogre and slid on his knees to reach Shade, slapping him on the back and waking him.

Shade looked up and met the eyes of the mysterious dark-robed man and Hamish realized at once the reason for the similarity: they were the same man. The Shade he knew was younger and perhaps more rough around the edges, but there was no mistaking the look in the eye, the tilt of the head. And the rings. The rings they both wore were exact copies of each other.

"Hello, Vailien," spoke the older version. "I wondered if you'd show up. You know, we always did find ourselves in the most difficult places at the most inopportune times." The ogres, bloodied but still ready for action, stopped as their leader spoke. Thorvald and Draymun, who had shifted forms, stopped as well but stood ready, flanking the brutes. Rayla ran to Hamish and helped him to his feet. Dark Shade clucked his tongue, "you can't beat me. I have the benefit of experience, my spells are more powerful and my tools," he waved his arm at the ogres, slavering and growling, "are more plentiful. The only choice you and your friends have is to give up...or die."

Shade stood still for a moment with his head bowed and then looked around. He took in each member of the party in turn. When he looked at Hamish he nodded his appreciation and Hamish felt pride blossom in his chest. But what could they do? They were out-manned, trapped underground. They possessed neither advanced weapons nor overwhelming magic. He knew in that moment that Shade had to submit, had to give up whatever treasure the nega-Shade sought and live to fight another day. Looking at the other members of the party he saw that they had realized it too. Shade turned toward the pedestal and picked up the strange glass and bronze device and began to walk toward his evil copy. Thorvald raised his hand and growled, "we'll fight, we'll die here." But, seeing the resignation in Shade's face, he dropped his hand to his side and went silent. The dark one smiled a toothy grin and reached his hand out expectantly.

Shade met his eyes and said, "just one thing." Dark Shade rolled his eyes and spread his arms wide in a gesture of conciliatory condescension. As if allowing Shade to speak was his greatest sacrifice.

Shade gritted his teeth, "even in the darkest times and against the greatest odds, vengeance will fall!" He ran his fingers across the dials on the face of the time compass in his hand and then slammed it on the evil Shade's chest. For an instant Hamish could see them both darkly outlined by a burst of white light brighter than anything he'd ever seen. There was a loud tearing sound and waves of energy radiated out from the two figures transfixed in the middle of the burst and then they were both gone.

Dark blobs danced across Hamish's eyes but he tried his best to participate in the ensuing scrum. The party was quick to subdue the ogres who swung wildly and without direction. One went down under a rain of arrows, the other crushed by blades and claws and teeth. Rayla tended to the wounded and then the party looked around the room. Shade was gone and with him the time compass. For a time they were silent, each alone with their thoughts until Thorvald hefted his weapon, grinned wildly and said "well, you heard the man, let's go get some vengeance!"

Thursday, November 17, 2016

An Old Tale, Pt. 2

Hamish had grown tired of waiting. He and Dolgi had worked out a system: they spent time sparring and drinking and playing games of chance and when he needed space Dolgi could take care of himself. Alis on the other hand was always around and always pining after his girl. It wasn't that Hamish hadn't ever considered settling down with someone, it's that he needed the capital to do so. Adventuring was his ticket to the comfortable life he'd always wanted. For right now, a girl was a distraction, and young Alis was more than enough proof of that fact.

The morning started like any other, he made breakfast, he inventoried the wagon for what felt like the hundredth time, he fetched water, he checked his weapons and then...he waited. He'd been given strict instructions to wait for a young dwarf named Kheldru but the dwarf had never come. It had been a month to the day since his benefactors had left and he was resolved to do something.

After packing and equipping, he left Bremel at noon, leaving Alis to his melancholy and Dolgi to his cups. It felt good to be out and about again. He had the map that master Shade had drawn for him and he'd already scouted around in the forest near Bremel so it wasn't any trouble to find the spot they had said to meet. He was surprised to find that there was the entrance to an underground chamber that he hadn't seen before. He was also surprised to see a group of adventurers beginning to climb the steps into the dungeon. Two dwarves and a human conferred and then chose a door and entered the darkness. Hamish waited a moment until they had explored the first room and then crept carefully along behind them.

Hamish followed for some time, in awe of the old dwarven structure but also in fear of being discovered or trapped alone in the darkness. He witnessed the rescue of a rude orc and a harrowing battle with some kind of mold monster. When the party split up he followed the human and the orc. In his excitement, he had almost forgotten his reason for being here when he heard a loud and hearty voice, one he thought he might never hear again: Thorvald. "Hail adventurers! What brings you to this ancient place?"

The orc and human looked ready to draw blades when, from up the stairs, they heard another voice. This one quieter and more sinister: "tsk tsk tsk, don't make any rash decisions, friends." More shapes came into view, backlit by the bright sunlight streaming through the open entrance: Rayla the kind dwarf and Draymun, Shade, wearing his signature dark cloak and Tom, who was wearing a hooded cloak of his own that obscured his face. Draymun stepped forward and spoke in a rough baritone, "this is a dwarven stronghold, lads, ye ken? Anyone caught trespassing will be killed." Hamish had thought to reveal himself but started at the strength in the accusation. Thorvald stepped ominously closer and spoke again, "boys we don't want to cause any harm. Tell us where Kheldru is and go back to town and we won't say anything." The half-orc grunted, "what's it worth to you?" Thorvald laughed and slapped him on the shoulder, "a businessman, fair enough." He pulled out a small bag of coins, "this should be enough for your troubles, or at least a few nights in the Inn."

The human and orc reluctantly trudged up the stairs and out into the world. Tom watched them go and seemed ready to say something before turning back to the party who were congratulating one another on their genius plan. Shade did a little jig, "I told you good constable/bad constable would work Thor!" Rayla quipped, "more bad constable/bad constable in my estimation." They went on like this for a time and then headed into the dungeon. Hamish decided to follow in silence to make sure he wouldn't be punished or sent back to town.

They worked the same routine on the two dwarves, this time Draymun stood in the back and wore the same cloak Tom had worn during the first encounter. Hamish realized with a start that he bore a striking similarity to the one of the adventurer's who had entered first. As expected, the dwarf called Kheldru was sent back with instructions to seek out Alis and Dolgi and he. Hamish felt a bit of shame when he realized he wouldn't be there.

The party then struck out again, this time seeking a vault of some type. Hamish noticed a shift in tone as the party grew more somber and focused. They starting doing regular checks for traps and he had to fall farther back to avoid detection. When they reached the door of the vault, they all stopped and conferred but Hamish was too far away to hear. When they stepped in he quickly made his way to the door of the vault where he saw a man and an elf-lass frozen in front of a pedestal where an object sat. The party stood around the room, at the ready. Rayla and Tom at range, Draymun near the frozen figures in a fighting stance, Shade and Thorvald on opposite sides of the pedestal.

Shade strode towards the object on the pedestal and reached out his hand.

A light flashed and with it the sound of a hornet's nest.

Then, at the far end of the vault, a dark-robed figure accompanied by two great ogres appeared.

The figure reached out his hand and then said one word:


The whole room went still and silent.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

An Old Tale, Pt. 1

September 12 720 by Kingdom Reckoning

A gust of wind picked up the edges of a frayed cloak as a lone figure topped the final hill before his destination. He looked out over the rolling hills of rural Ashmont and sighed. It had been a long time since he'd been home. So much had changed since he'd left and yet the landscape still looked the same. He singled out an old stone cottage among the smattering of small homes on the hillside and began to trudge toward it, pulling his collar close against the cold autumn breeze. He could see a faint glow in the windows. A thin plume of smoke rolled out the brick chimney before it was caught up and scattered by the wind.

Young Brendan Wolfsbane regarded his Granddad's home quietly, remembering days spent on the porch listening to his stories of adventure; the time he chased down and killed a group of bandits by his lonesome, the time he was captured and tortured by goblins or when he slew a great she-wolf and earned his surname. Brendan and his brothers had dreamed of finding adventure like Granddad. However those were not the tales Brendan sought now. He wanted to hear a different kind of story. One not told on a happy summer afternoon, but now, in the dead of night, when everything in nature was asleep and the wind blew from the north.

He knocked once on the door and then opened and stepped through out of habit. In the great front room, where once so many brothers and sisters and cousins and nephews had crowded, sat his Grandfather alone in a high backed chair, staring into the fire. He looked well, 5 years older than last time Brendan had seen him, but still sure and strong. His father had told him that Granddad's hair was once as red as the sunset after a storm but he had only ever known it to be white. Brendan could see a puff of white hair sticking up over the back of the chair and he laughed to himself. Granddad always wore an old knitted cap outdoors in the winter and taking it off had made his wispy hair fly every which way.

He coughed and his granddad looked up.

"Well, well look who it is! Me favorite grandson Brendan. How are ye boy?"

"I'm well Granddad, as well as I can be after hearing about ma and pa."

The old man spat into the fire and cursed, "I thought the new king had taken care of the bandit problem down those parts! If I had know about it I'd have drawn blade and taken care of it myself!" He gestured to an old hand axe hanging above the fireplace.

Brendan chuckled and fought back an eye-roll, "I'm not here for revenge Granddad, sisters are at aunt Nancy's house and the boys are old enough to hire out on their own. I'm here to ask you a question. I want to know what happened in the tomb outside of Bremel."

"Oh lad..." he sighed as he got up out of his chair and went to the fire. Grabbing a fire poker he pulled a kettle off and began the preparations for tea. "Lad that's best left buried in the past." He idly poked at the coals and sparks flew up the chimney.

"Granddad, I already know most of the story, my guild keeps good records. I just want to get a version from someone who was there and you're the only one I know." Brendan began counting on his fingers, "the Beast went to his den in the east a long time ago. The Tracker walks the long roads to the south. The Dwarf won't speak of it. The Red is lost at sea and the Shade...well you know what happened to the Shade."

The old man grunted and shook his head. He stood staring into the flames with his back to the great room. Brendan could imagine him in his prime, killing goblins and bandits and dire beasts. "Granddad, these stories need to be told. The old days are passing and with the ogres returned, the Bear Clan reborn and the Blinkers we need all the weapons and all the knowledge we can get!"

"Boy, ye don't know what yer talking about. There's nothing but death and fear and sadness in those tombs. Even if you could find where the entrance popped up this time, you'll only regret it."

"But still...I need to know." Brendan dropped his hands to his side and slumped down into an over-stuffed chair.

His grandfather looked at him and grinned, "oh fine, just like when ye were a boy: always want one more story before bed time. Alright, well pour me a cuppa and I'll tell ye the whole tale." He sat back down into his chair and pulled a bear skin over his legs and began his story...

Monday, November 14, 2016

Archive of Previous Character blogs

As we're moving into Volume 2 of the Chronicles, I thought I should keep the links to the previous character blogs so we can link to them as needed.

Dolgi Orcsmasher:
Draymun Stonespeak:
Jul Tekel:
Kring Danglebones:
Rayla Boulderfist:
Thorvald Raugberd:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rook, Human Fighter

I want to play a human fighter named Rook. My concept is something like a man-at-arms who decided that simply defending the city isn't enough, he wants to go out into the world and confront evil.

I know I want to play a strong, defensive type character so I assign my point buy like so:

Str 16
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 8
Wis 10
Cha 10

I had to sacrifice a little intellect to get my Dex where I wanted it so I assume that my character had little formal education. He is of average charisma so I know he's a plain fellow and his wisdom is average so I know he is neither rash and impetuous nor an "old-soul."

Now I run the character through the Background Generator. I learn the following:

His father was the village warlock and as such Rook is in posession of a random 1st level druid spell that I determine to be Aspect of the Falcon. This perhaps informs my character conept. I might determine that he learned the spell from his father and perfected the technique on long days in the watchtower of his village.

I also learn that he has experience sailing small vessels, he is missing a toe on his left foot, his family doesn't expect much of him, he can tell what time of day it is when outdoors, he is succeptible to colds, he has trouble judging distances and he has trouble with responsibilities.

All of this, in addition to any mechanical effects, paints a vivid picture in my mind of a man who is an outdoorsman. Perhaps spent some time sailing and might have some vision loss as a result of staring at the sun too long. Maybe he jumps from profession to profession because of his trouble with responsibility and that's why his family looks down on him. My mind connects the dots in a number of ways and the result is a rich, multi-faceted character concept.

Rook is in posession of 170 gp so I know I can buy armor, a sword and sheild as well as some basic provisions.


Scale Mail - 50 gp
Bastard Sword - 35 gp
Heavy Steel Shield - 20 gp

This leaves 45 gp for a tent, bedroll, iron rations, torches, flint and steel etc. which I will include on my character blog.

I calculate my modifiers:

Str 16 3
Dex 12 1
Con 14 2
Int 8  -1
Wis 10 0
Cha 10 0

I open up the fighter page on the website or in the book and find my starting stats.

I get a feat at first level, I get a feat as a human and I get a bonus feat as a fighter. I want him to be a shield fighter with a bastard sword so he can be flexible in combat, using a sword and shield or a two handed weapon. So I spend my feats as such:

1. Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword which allows me use of the weapon without penalties
2. Shield Focus which adds +1 to my AC with a shield and opens up other possibilities later
3. Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword which gives me +1 to my attacks

Base Attack Bonus 1
Melee to Hit: 1 + Str + weapon focus = 5
Ranged to Hit: 1 + 1 = 2
Fort Save 2 + Con = 4
Reflex Save 0 + Dex = 1
Will Save 0 + Wis = 0

I choose only 1 skill, since Rook is an outside type of guy and since strength is my highest attribute, I chose Climb.

For Rook's village of origin I choose Slaketon since it's near water and add the relevant information to my character sheet.

Now for the character created elements. I want to focus on his time as a drifter so I work with party members either from Slaketon or who are also wanderers to form bonds. I might have been on a fishing vessel with one or I might have needed one to heal me sometime.

For the positive relationship with an NPC I choose the guard captain of Slaketon. Rook worked for him and despite moving on, the guard captain is still available for advice and assistance.

For the negative relationship I choose Rook's father. He disapproves of Rook's use of forged weapons and his reckless abandon of his home village.

For a location I choose the Wicked Wench, a tavern in Slaketon.

I would encourage you to put the relevant information in seperate sections on your blog. One post for background and story and NPC relationships. One page for equipment and loot and xp. One page for all of your stats and calculations and a final post with just relevant information like melee and ranged "to hit", your AC, your current HP, your spells etc.

Rook, Human Fighter


Melee Attack: Bastard Sword (one-handed) - 1d20+5 to hit, 1d10 + 3 damage
Melee Attack: Bastard Sword (two-handed) - 1d20+5 to hit, 1d10 + 5 damage
Ranged Attack: Sling - 1d20 + 2 to hit, 1d4 + 3 damage

AC = 10 + 5 (armor) + 1 (Dex) + 2 (shield) = 18
Flat footed AC = 17
Touch AC = 11
Fort Save: 4
Reflex Save: 1
Will Save: 0

Speed: 20 (due to medium armor)


Trained: Climb = d2-+7


Str based modifier: 3
Dex based skill modifier: 1
Con based skill modifier: 2
Int based skill modifier: -1 (note knowledge skills can not be used untrained)
Wis based skill modifier: 0
Cha based skill modifier: 0


Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Bastard Sword
Shield Focus
Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword


Scale Mail
30 lbs
Heavy Steel Shield
Bastard Sword
Tent, Small
10 Torches
Traveler’s Outfit
2 sacks
Common Dungeoneering Kit
37 gp, 6 sp

Carrying capacity: 77-153 Medium Load

Monday, November 7, 2016

Chronicles of Ashmont: Volume 2 - Character Creation Guidelines and Discussion

Hello everyone and welcome (back) to Ashmont!

First a very quick digression into some of my principles of role-playing games, specifically as it impacts character creation.

I strongly believe that the fun of RPG's comes from the interplay of drama and catharsis. Player Characters (PC's) are introduced to a situation. They explore that situation using both the character knowledge and abilities as well as the Player's intuition, curiosity and "game-sense". The dungeon master presents a choice or series of choices. The Players react to those choices. There are consequences. These consequences create drama and the resolution of the situation provides catharsis.

Drama and Catharsis. 

Conflict and Resolution.

This is the balance that I try to strike in every game. Possibly the most important originator of drama is randomness. I am not a dungeon master that pulls punches. I do not decide a pre-determined outcome and then force things to happen that way. I rely heavily on the dice to keep my opinions and preconceptions and ego out of the equation.

This impacts character creation in the following way: some of your character's background will be random. I strongly feel that without a little chaos, interesting choices can't and won't be made. If every character is a perfect hero, then no growth can occur and no drama happens.

As a dungeon master I also emphasize choice and the consequences of choice. I want you to have to make difficult choices because from those choices come meaning and drama.

Elements of an RPG Character

So, there are three separate elements that make up your character:

1. Random Elements
2. Selected Elements
3. Character Created Elements

Random elements are those over which you as a player have little or no control. In some games these include everything from starting stats to race to your character's appearance. In my game this means your character's background. If you're interested in learning more about this decision and why I made it, you can read from where I stole my background generator. In short, your character had a life before you started playing him/her and you must deal with the consequences of that life. Make note that higher starting abilities impact background in a positive way.

Selected Elements are those parts of the character that you choose from a list. These include your character's race, gender and class as well as starting city and, in this campaign, their Starting Abilities. 

Character Created Elements are those things that you get to make up to be included in my campaign. This is where you get to have a little fun in deciding what sort of people your character associates with, what places they hold dear and who their enemies are. It lets you tell me what you find to be important and it lets me customize the campaign a little.

Character Creation Rules

Selected Elements
1. For starting stats use a 15-point buy. More info here: No starting stats above 18 please

2. For your characters race you may choose from: Core Races + Catfolk, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Ifrit, Kobold, Oread, Ratfolk, Sylph, Undine

3. For your character's class, you may choose from: Pathfinder Core + Base Classes + Hybrid Classes. Talk to me if you want to play a Vigilante.

4. Max Hit Points for your class at first level.

5. No Traits

6. Everything else is by the book.

7. I will generate your starting gold with which you may purchase items.

8. Your village of origin.

  • Ashmont - you are a city dweller, through and through. You like the night life, you enjoy easy access to wares and entertainment. You also know how to handle yourself in the city. You can add +2 to your Knowledge Local checks when in Ashmont and you may re-roll any gossip check once per session while in the city of Ashmont. -2 to morale checks when in the wilderness at night.
  • Lockton - you are from the sticks and you're proud of it. You know how to hunt and trap for sustenance and you know your way around a bow. People may think a little less of you because of your simple manner. Add +2 to survival checks when foraging. You are proficient with the longbow, if you are already proficient, add +1 to hit. -2 to social checks made when in towns.
  • Bremel - you are from the oldest town in the area and you're proud of it. You love nothing more than your own hearth and it's said "one from Bremel always knows the way home." However, growing up around dwarves has left you a little wary of new-comers. +2 to Knowledge History checks and you can always point toward Bremel. -2 to morale checks toward new hirelings.
  • Lark - you are from the high plains and spent your life riding horses and listening to the wind through the grass. Your greatest joy is an open sky. +2 to Ride checks and you can tell when bad weather is coming. Sleeping inside is difficult and you are useless fighting from a wagon.
  • Slaketon - you know the seas like the back of your work-hardened hand. You have also spent a lot of time looking at foreign goods and you can spot a well made item. Your calloused hands make precision difficult for you though. +2 to Swim and you can operate sea-craft. You can also identify a counterfeit item if you succeed on an appraise roll. You are at a -1 on critical confirmation attempts and really delicate operations like sewing are best left to others.
  • Formby and Bushwick - you are normal in every way. No bonuses, no drawbacks.

Generated Elements

I will generate the background from your chosen race and stats.

Character Created Elements

Each party member may create the following:

1. A positive link or relationship with 2 other party members.

2. An NPC with whom you have a positive relationship.

3. An NPC with whom you have a rivalry.

4. A location that you have a link to.

Please make a blog with the information formatted however you wish. Let me know your race and stats so I can generate a background. If you have difficulty with any of this please create a comment on this post and I'd be more than happy to assist you.

As a side note, when coming up with your character, please try to keep the secrets and anti-social behavior to a minimum. We are all here to play a game and have fun together, as a group.

I will be available on here and the Facebook group for any and all questions. I encourage communication between the party members as well.

We will start when I get my notes back together, definitely not before Nov 14 . I can tell you this: You'll start in the capital city of Ashmont on a festival day. The first post will give you a reason to be together.