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Norse/Northlands Campaign, No Grumps!

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Grump's paladin is SUCH a freaking paladin.


The good kind, not the a-hole kind.


He talked a panicked ghost down, and protected it from a PC.


Now I need to flesh out things I didn't bother with because there was no way they would just TALK to the kid.


I had a guerilla haunting planned, the cleric hurts it, it runs away, goes into hiding, and does sneaky little bits of horror.


Great scene that derailed my plans.


He gave the cleric his holy symbol and weapon, then sat on the floor to talk, telling the ghost he had old knees, if the ghost wants to run away.


Then he went SLOW telling the ghost to ask HIM questions, since it is the ghost's home.


Improving things one level at a time. Telling the ghost about his daughters, and how they would be just about his age if he had survived.


One REALLY bad roll, but Grump used his Diplomacy reroll to reroll and got a lot better the second time. So, he dodged a fumble.


The ghost is now Helpful.


And the party is going to try to end the thing in the cellar that is waking the dead.


Which I can tie back into my main plot by making it one of the anchors for the curse.


They will need a Hallow spell, which is too high level, so they have get a scroll or hire a cleric to cast it.


Which I can tie into the dwarf plot, since there is a convenient ruined dwarf monastery that the dwarves will want cleansed. Which has a perfectly acceptable reason to have a Hallow scroll or two, and means I can chase the party out of the Keep to go hexploring!


If they don't find the scrolls then the dwarf cleric can cast it for them.


So, I can interrupt clearing the Keep, and maybe get them some much needed resources.


The path to the dwarven monastery takes them through the hex with the second possible town site, and will give them a place to put their followrrs, who are currently camping, and getting grumbly about it.


Which allows me to introduce the orcs, who will start raiding the camp.


They need a town.


And the town map has two versions, open and with improvised fortifications.


My plan is coming together as I write!


I think I may have an orc scouting party track the party back from the monastery. If the players spot them and take them ALL out then they can prevent an early attack on the open town, and gain time to improvise fortifications.


Realizing I want a LOT of dragons in this campaign.

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I had a surreal moment last night, working on the game and decided that being able to gain dwarf allies would be good, and put in the dwarves wanting to reclaim a dwarf church in the PCs' area.  

There's a lovely old folk tale from Norfolk (that's Norfolk in England, not North Fork in America).   A man was out walking late one night. He got lost and eventually found himself in front

I never considered that he might offer to adopt her.   And tell her that she didn't need to rush for a husband, what she needs is a family.   And then roll a 19 on his Diplomacy ro

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That shield is now a cursed Artifact.


Maybe too powerful for them to want to destroy, which is the point. It is a danger magnet, and does bad things to the psyche of whoever holds it.


And has a specific way to destroy it, because Artifact.

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Started painting up an orc shaman


Scary, twisted, dark. NOT! That's what he was supposed to be.


Tired, old, and SANE! Is what he is.




I'm still statting him up.


If they ever need to talk to a sane old orc that is tired of war, this is the guy. ::):



And the dwarves. These are the guys that will hire the party to recover the dwarf monastery.




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Next week Grump's paladin mount shows up, and so does the groups first possible hill giant ally.


A hill giant druid that is accompanying the horse, because it asked him to.


More orcs, too, who only know about the PCs, not the settlers and the warriors that come with.


Depending on how a PC Knowledge (Engineering) comes out, the camp may or may not be complete enough to protect everybody.


There are more orcs than warriors, but the roll will determine how many of the warriors have cover, and how good the cover is.


50 orcs, and 5 ogres vs. 30 human warriors, and 10 dwarfs.


Thses numbers will change, if the PCs can talk the giant into staying.


If they do I am adding 10 more orcs and 2 more ogres. The giant still gives them an edge, but I want it to be a challenge.


The giant won't have any hardened dung boulders, being a strangely civilized sort for a hill giant druid.


He will also be judging the settlers, and whether his people should start dealing with them or move away. True Neutral.


I wish one of the PCs was a dwarf, I think DtY's half orc is the only one that speaks giantish.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Grump missed a logical step. :devil:


There was a troll chained outside of the orcs' dungeon.


The troll would attack anybody.


So, how do the orcs get in and out? :wow:


There are TWO answers. One is throw the troll some meat - which they didn't try.


And two is there is a back door.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They have found the monastery, and the draugr dragon that now calls it home.



The Hobbit was not a great series of movies, but I am trying to use Smaug's voice for the dread wight green dragon the PCs just encountered.


The dragon is a lot more evil than Grump thinks.


Grump is pretty sure, I think, that the dragon killed the dwarves.


What he doesn't know is that Agrell used to be one of them, twisted by greed and jealousy and anger. Killed by a hero, but in death returned to the monastery he was cloistered in before seizing their treasure and fleeing.


And that the dwarves he killed are wights under his control.


Grump avoided using Detect Evil, if he had used it he would have realized the scattered bones are merely resting waiting the dragon's word to rise again.


And is a level 15 monster. Mature Adult Green Dragon plus Dread Wight template.


And one of the first things it did was Charm the paladin. Grump is doing a good job of playing along, and the dragon is taking care not to break the charm.



They do not yet know that the dragon can shapechange into a undead dwarf.


Grump has also begun his quest for his paladin's mount, not sure, but I think I want to give him an elk as a mount, not a horse.


Oh, I cheated on the troll in the encounter last week - those dead orcs were added afterward, so the party faced the exact same number of orcs that they would have if they hadn't lured the troll into the orcs' dungeon. ::):


Gave the PCs a feeling that they had accomplished something, without changing the numbers, aside from a few more crappy weapons and crappy armor.




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I used the dwarf monastery to claw back some of the lost time.


It and the dragon were originally going to be separate encounters, but making him a dread wight, with power over the wights he spawns, meant I could combine the two, and make a better scenario. ::):


Most of the party have figured out that Piotr the Paladin was Charmed, but Grump has Piotr resisting that idea.


Piotr is gregarious, his behavior while Charmed is consistent with how he normally behaves. Given the choice between talking to an undead dragon and attacking it, of COURSE he would choose talking!


So, because being Charmed changed nothing he doesn't BELIEVE THEM! ::D:


They need someone else to talk to the dragon. Which means the skald, whose player is, well, I think a Charmed Grump is still a better negotiator.  ::P: I love Dunc as a player, he is so good at disrupting the players' own plans!




And the dragon is less happy with Piotr than he wanted.


I played a game of hnefetafl against him, dragon vs. Paladin, with the game setting some of their terms.


Grump. Kicked. My. Butt.


While complaining how he didn't quite "get" this game.


I kick his butt at chess, and kind of expected to do the same here, but NOPE! He took the dragon's king with no problems.


In a couple of levels the dragon will begin war against the PCs.


I am thinking the dragon might be a good winner but a terrible loser.

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On 6/22/2020 at 3:53 PM, PaganMegan said:

I played a game of hnefetafl against him, dragon vs. Paladin, with the game setting some of their terms.


Grump. Kicked. My. Butt.


While complaining how he didn't quite "get" this game.


I kick his butt at chess, and kind of expected to do the same here, but NOPE! He took the dragon's king with no problems.

Which version of the rules were you using? There's 3 variants and different board sizes (as small as 7 by 7 in some cases).

The king always needs to get off the board.

In the simplest "white almost always wins" version he just needs to get to any board edge.

There's also the version where he specifically needs to get to a corner square.

In the third version the corner squares are treated like the middle square in every way. Only the king can enter them and they count as an opposing piece for the purpose of taking pieces as well. Furthermore, in this version, once the king has left his great hall in the middle of the board he cannot return to it.


Try to not be too aggressive. Focus less on taking pieces in the early game and more on blocking moves. Also baiting blocking moves. So a typical early Black move might be to advance a warrior to a position diagonally adjacent to a white one threatening to cut off two direct lines of attack and restricting the movement of multiple white pieces via the presence of this black piece which cannot immediately be taken.


With white you're looking to bait black pieces away in such a way as to open an escape route for the king. Often escorting him with a rolling shieldwall of white defenders until the time comes for him to make a break for it. Remember that the king moves exactly the same as the other pieces. They all move like rooks. Also remember that the king needs to be attacked on all four sides to be taken instead of the standard 2 and that moving into a position that would result in a warrior being taken means he gets to stay on the board as he charges in and fights. You only lose a piece if the enemy moves into the correct position.

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The third variant, it came with a cheesy roll up paper board. We have to roll it backwards to get it to lie flat.


The whole game was in a tube, not a box.


I need to play more. He baited me out of position. I got greedy, taking pieces, when I should have been guarding my king. I took most of his men, and he took my king.


I get a weird feeling that Terry Pratchett played this a lot. I think he based Thud on it.


I also think Grump will play better on the defense.


But, really, I should make this die rolls, Grump's charactwr's skill should matter more than Grump's.


And I am certain that Jon Larsson can kick both our butts. His grandfather is Swedish. Looks like a lumberjack, but he was a lawyer. Lars Larsson. -_-


Grump also knows an Ivor Ivorsson.


I think our game made Jon sad. ::P:


The tube just calls it Tafl.

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I am using one of Grump's own encounters against him.


Let's see if he recognizes it. :devil:


A warband of mounted wights with spearmen and archers in the woods, we kiled the leader twice, and then the whole group would fade away.


But then the whole band would come back, including the leader we had killed.


He used them in one of his Borderlands campaigns, and we never did resolve it.


Making it harder, maybe, giving them some skellies on foot, also with spears and bows, for rhe full moon and the dark.


50/50 whether they meet the foot skellie beaters first or the mounted wights, both have horns to call the other group in - 1d6+2 rounda to call the beaters, 1d4+2 to call the wights.


Until the wights are permanently killed there is a +4 to rolls on the random encounter table. Higher is badder. ::):


I think I will give the leader a Mythic rating.


Sometimes we would hear the horns, then find dead people the next day, headless, skinned and hanging from the trees.


Happens near the Tree of Woe.


Which also gives a +4 to the encounter table.

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