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Everything posted by LuckyIke

  1. Threshing Eve had arrived in Elmsford. The last of the wheat was finally stocked away in the town stores, and most of the farmers felt a comforting, if not entirely not comfortable, weight in their purses. Elmsford wasn’t exactly bustling most of the year, but Threshing Eve had a way of pulling folks into town, even the farmers from the the east bank of the Rhill. In the corner of Elmsford’s only inn, a Storyseller sat in waiting. His once-red cloak was road-worn to a brown, and his soft boots looked in need of a cobbler’s love. Times were tight, but Threshing Eve offered the promise of a few extra coins, or at least rounds of drinks and a warm meal. As the farmers and townsfolk wandered into the inn in twos and threes, he twirled his talefeather deftly in his left hand. He glanced up with a sudden sparkle in his chestnut eyes, and began to speak, seemingly to no one in particular, but with a strong voice audible from across the room. “You all heard the one of the Wickersneak? Aye, yes, that’s an old one, worn thin like a cheap halfpenny. Let’s see, I caught wind of a piece of a tale down near Higginsford. But that one’s still half-baked at best. Maybe with seasoning and another sprinkle of rumors, it'll be ready in a fortnight or so.” The Storyseller leaned back in his creaky oak chair and looked out the window, his eyes momentarily lost in thought. “Ah, I think I have a tale for you all. Mayhap you’ve heard it, as it’s an old one, but mayhap not. Let’s wait a spell and when the light dims it’ll be ripe for a-tellin. Maybe some more folk will come in and fancy a listen. Now, I will say, a tale such as this is liable to leave a fellow a bit parched, I’m just sayin’.” The Storyseller drained his ale, wiped his mouth with a grimy sleeve, and looked around expectantly. “Do you all know how this inn got its name?” Bill Sunderland chimed in, “Aye, Kamrin’s Papa’s Papa’s named it. Old Man Khanas fashioned the sign, and it’s held up mighty fine, despite being a bit worn. I heard they brought the board all the way down the Rhill from up past Ledford.” The Storyseller chuckled mirthlessly as he eyed his now-empty wooden mug, “Well with a story as fine as that, perhaps I should hang up my travel sack and pass my talefeather off to you lad. No, not the story of the naming. What I’ve got for you lot is the story behind the naming. I tell you what, once folks have a chance to knock some of the dust off their boots and whet their appetite for a proper tale, gather round and hear of the Sapphire Stag.” (OOC): Come join in for a little narrative-driven adventure. I'll post once per day, in the evening (Pacific Time). Please keep your posts in-character, add (OOC) if you need to. It'll just be a fun little one-off tale, and we'll see where the adventure takes us. I haven't run an forum post RPG before, so it'll be a new experience for me as well. Now let's see who else might be in the Sapphire Stag on this Threshing Eve in a small nowhere town along the bank of the Rhill...
  2. Less than $3 / mini, but Shipping will be charged after the campaign.
  3. The portly innkeep wrung his hands in his apron and cleared his throat hesitantly, “Bill, I uh, reckon it’s about time for you to get back home, from the looks of it you’ve had a bit too much. Let’s not get things all tangled so as we have to fetch the constable now.” He eyed Nisha and Mossbloom cautiously, “As for you two, erm, misses. It would probably be best if you were on your way tonight.” He swallowed hard, “Yes, probably best. Can’t say as there’s another inn in town, I’m afraid, but still, no need for things to get out of hand. Mayhaps if you’re lucky you could find a punt barge heading Up Rhill.” The crowd’s murmur began to die down into hushed mutterings and whispers.
  4. I posted this in the miniatures thread as well, but check out these pooches!
  5. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/russrmc/animal-adventures-tales-of-dungeons-and-doggies This one looks like it is custom made to entice DMG fans! It seems pretty unique, so I’m in.
  6. As the volunteers step forward, the prospective adventurers begin to attract additional attention from the rest of the inn patrons. ”Are those, are those...horns?!” asks Bill Sunderland incredulously, pointing at Nisha. A startled murmur begins to bubble and fill the room as townsfolk talk amongst themselves in a rising clip. A plump woman gasps and rushes to the opposite side of the serving hall with her infant. Chairs scrape against the hardwood floor as some patrons crane their necks for a better view, while others try to hustle away from the tiefling.
  7. Bone box and hero sleeves From left to right: bocote, ziricote, wenge, Bolivian rosewood, Chechen. The Chechen hero sleeve is the winner - it is my first piece of Chechen and just look at this beauty! The cell phone camera doesn’t capture the chatoyance.
  8. (OOC: Good question, @RomyCat. Yes I will take the role of the DM, and will set the scenes up for you guys - I have some NPCs that you may run into as you go along your way . I do have a story arc and a few set pieces I’ve built out, and have some rough ideas for some additional encounters depending on where you guys decide to take things. That said, I’m undecided if the format better supports pure narrative or if we will incorporate some dice rolling, as DMG did during their Puzz campaign. What are your preferences as far as format as you all depart the tavern and head off into the unknown? I welcome feedback on that and on any other aspects of things thus far.)
  9. I think he can, I think he can, I think he can!
  10. The Storyseller regarded Gnarly closely as Mossbloom made her announcement. “You may not speak it aloud, but I see you asking me your question. You ask it with your eyes, with the way you stand, shifting from foot to foot. So consider your question asked, and now answered. Yes. Yes, you should go. The crops are in and tucked away, there’s nothing here for you that a friend or two can’t mind for a few weeks. The world out there awaits, full of things to be known. Go find your piece.”
  11. The Storyseller downed Gnarly’s gifted ale in one long draw, his Adam’s apple bobbling with each gulp. He nodded a contented silent thanks to the farmer. “Exact is an interesting word, isn’t it? I don’t know that I could fix any one thing truly true enough in this world to call my knowledge of it exact. Perhaps a mathematician up in his tower would disagree, but maybe that’s why they like to stay up in those sort of places - less fussing with the real world and the ability to seek comforting solace in nice clean numbers. The cartographers tried to venture out into the world to capture those sort of pure numbers and lock them into fine vellum. Sadly, in my experience, they don’t understand that the way of things means sometimes fifteen miles across flat ground is shorter than a single mile up a mountain. Language is much the same, as are stories. Words have a breath and life of their own, and flit around, changing their shapes like shadows around a guttering fire. The tongue is a lazy, wicked thing. It never wants to say any more than it must, and often does less work than it should. Dimnir’s Hall, over thirty and three generations must have succumbed to a slow crumble by now. In much the same way, the names and places of such things slip from memories of old grandmothers and start to shift around. As such, I would bet the new gold coin resting in my boot that I know it’s today name. Neershall. Up Rhill. But why? Those lazy wicked tongues of thirty and three grandmothers. Before Neershall... Neer’s Hall, not all glommed together with the ‘sh’ sound. Take off the shawl and you have a very different sounding place, no? I couldn’t find it, not on a map nor from the boat I rode down three seasons back. But I can’t say I scraped the banks, nor did I poke my walking stick too deep into that theory. Curiousity didn’t seem to have served Dimnir himself too well, after all. From there, the path would be long gone of course, but the stories always suggest a path from the hall, a day, a long night huddled, and part of a second day trekking through the woods. Thus, it seems reasonable that upon whichever bank you find the Hall...well...who knows really. Stories have some threads that run true, but those always get wound up in the big snarl along with the exaggerations, boasts, and outright lies. Who can know truth from untruth in the midst of that knot of Tinker’s twine? So exact? No, but I would hazard I’ve given it more careful thought than most. Although maybe I’m no better than a cartographer, saying one mile is just a mile, when our aching feet know better.”
  12. (OOC: sorry all, got crushed at work yesterday and didn’t get a chance to post the Storyseller’s reply to Mossbloom’s question. I’ll get it posted today.)
  13. The hottest I ever experienced in my life was 126 with some humidity. After surviving that, the 108 we got up to last week didn’t feel so bad in comparison.
  14. The Storyseller’s eyes widened ever so slightly for a moment as the gold coins clanked into place atop the sealed letter. ”Aye, I make it to the court on occasion. That’s a more than fair price to pay for a bit of mail, I must say. For that gold I will make my way to the court immediately and deliver it to your king myself. Looks like I’ll be breaking in a new pair of boots along the way, thanks to your coin. Being a namer and knower of many things, I mean no offense when I say that Roseblossom does not have the feel of a royal name, but your royal price for my service may suggest I am mistaken.” The Storyseller winked. The Storyseller stared at the elf intensely for a long moment, and broke his gaze to glance at the bearded farmer standing over her shoulder. ”For your generosity, in addition to my services as courier, you have also bought answers. Three is a lucky number, excepting when it comes to troublesome gnomes, so answers to three questions I will provide you. Providing they aren’t questions related to gnomish tinkers, that is. One from you, one from your bearded farmer companion here, and one from another guest of your choosing. But please do recall, I don’t do fortunes, so don’t waste your questions on that sort of nonsense. So often in these farm towns I am treated as little more than an almanac. But you know better and deeper.” The Storyseller quietly secreted the sealed letter away in a hidden pocket of his once-red cloak. In a practiced set of moves, he placed one gold coin into his left boot and the rest into his purse. He chuckled softly to himself as he watched a heavily-armed dwarf take a tumble, then returned his gaze to the elf standing before him.
  15. Bill Sunderland whistled appreciatively from his table near the Storyseller. “I’ll say that’s as good a yarn as any I’ve heard in this inn. Here’s a copper well-earned, Storyseller.” He tossed a penny onto the Storyseller’s table. A serving girl brought the Storyseller a bowl of soup and a fresh mug of ale with a quiet word of explanation. The man nodded his appreciation to two well-dresses merchants seated across the room. The Storyseller turned to his travel sack and took out a stack of sealed envelopes, ink and quill. “I’ve got letters for sale bound for the North, and for the West. I’ll record your will for three penny, and write down your family story on fine vellum for two silver. I’ve got news from afar, of the King’s War against the rebels to the south. Whispers of familial discord in the elvish courts. Questions answered, rumors clarified, bits of tales and knowing of things. I don’t tell fortunes but if you want me to tell you ‘you’ll find a wife and happiness by running off with a gal from two towns over’ I’ll do it so you can tell her and her angry parents with a straight face that it was all fortold and destined to be.” Patrons came over to the Storyseller in ones and twos, mostly tending to the small simple business of farmers’ small, simple lives. The Storyseller affected a professional demeanor and tended to his recording with a slight hint of boredom. He sold a sealed letter to a merchant bound for Swillig, far up Rhill in the foothills of the Dunnlap Mountains. Eventually his business dried up and he found himself staring into the fire nursing a half mug of ale.
  16. Is anyone else eyeing Eclipse 2nd edition? I won’t be participating in the CMON Cthulhu Kickstarter, but am considering throwing the equivalent sum at this one. Has anyone played it before?
  17. I have a long commute and so do most of my reading with my ears via podcasts to keep up on the news. My go-tos are: The Dice Tower The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast Rahdo Talks Through Ludology Occassionally I listen to Heavy Cardboard, but not as regularly as the others. Another fun one for getting into the theories, mechanisms, and business behind games is The Board Game Design Lab. They generally have guest designers address one very specific aspect of boardgame design per episode and it can be a fascinating glimpse into the hobby from a different perspective.
  18. Looks like the actual voting runs 17-30 August. Let’s go Sawdust!
  19. Here’s the link to the Kickstarter campaign. Give them a shout and see if they have more copies for sale!
  20. The Storyseller pulled his gaze from the fire, and took slowly took stock of the room. With a twinkle in his eye he remarked, "Ah, you never know what kind of crowd Threshing Eve will draw. It looks like it's not just farmers drawn to the Sapphire Stag tonight." He drained his ale, and gave an appreciative nod to Gnarly, then crossed his boots atop a low stool, his chair creaking as his weight shifted. To no one in particular, he began to speak. "Not many know of the Guardian of Khartoum around these parts. But as I heard it, that involved not two, but three tinker gnomes. As my gram's gram used to say, 'One gnome brings baubles, bits, and trinkets; two gnomes bring bubbling brews, whirlybirds, and news from afar; but three gnomes bring naught but mischief and an empty purse." But, nay, no time for the misadventures of the three tinkers and the Sultan's Golem. " The Storyseller thumped his mug upon the table at his elbow, once, twice, thrice. Then he held his talefeather aloft for all to see. It was a simple raven's feather, bound to a short wooden handle with a well-worn leather grip. From the grip dangled three beads on a short cord, one of wood, one of bone, and one of iron. Compared to the ornate talefeathers found in the King's court, rainbow-colored peacock feathers adorned with beads of gold and jewels, it was no sight to behold, but nonetheless it marked the Storyseller as no mere rumormonger, but a true passer of news and knower of many things. "Gather round, those who care to hear, and let me sell you a story of naming, of deceit, and of forgetting. Let me tell you, on this fine Threshing Eve, the story of the Sapphire Stag." "Thirty and three generations ago the world was younger, and brighter, and a little quieter. There was no Elmsford, no Ledford, no King as we know him now. The Rhill was there, but perhaps it ran a little faster and a little straighter, and had fewer snags to upset careless ferrymen. Nay, thirty and three generations ago, the Direwood Forest stretched over this whole region. From as far as Trent in the north, down past Donling in the south, the woods, not men, owned this land. Of course, there were knowers of things, even back then, and those among the men who knew things learned to tame the woods, to drive it back in fits and starts, to make way for their farms and hovels. They were beset upon by all manner of foul beast and daemons, and they grew to fear the Direwood and never strayed far in her depths at night. It came to pass that seven small towns grew slowly prosperous along the banks of the Rhill, and each Threshing Eve the seven chieftans would gather at the largest village to trade, swear pacts and oaths of protection and friendship. They swore oaths of blood and of tears and of ancestors long turned to dust. They slowly beat back the Direwood, grew bolder and stronger, and trade flourished up and down the river. Until one Threshing Eve only six chieftains arrived for their annual Feast of Oaths, as it had come to be known. Absent from among them was Dimnir the Curious. It was said that Dimnir had dwarf blood running in his veins, and it well may have been, for the people of his town were most renowned among the seven for their skill and artisan of all things iron and stone. Dimnir's town boasted the thickest wall and the longest spears of any of them, and the others regarded it as impregnable. Thus when Dimnir and his party did not arrive for the Feast of Oaths, the others at first suspected he had met with incident along the Rhill. They sent their swiftest scouts up either bank, to check for a capsized boat or a stranded group. The scouts returned from upriver without sight or trace of Dimnir or his clansmen. Thus, the six chieftains boarded their boats, and with a full complement of fighting oarsmen, traveled upriver to Dimnir's Hall. When they arrived, the gate stood locked, the walls vacant, and the air sat still and silent. They knocked, politely at first, then insistently, then attempting to batter down the door. But Dimnir's Hall was the sturdiest, and the gate would not acquiesce to their entreaties. Finally, one of their scouts managed to find an almost climbable portion of the wall, and with much difficulty slipped onto the battlement. He hurried down and opened the gate himself, for there was no one manning the gatehouse. A search revealed there was no one at all in Dimnir's Hall. The finest fortification along the Rhill lay abandoned seemingly overnight. The only trace of the Dimniran was a well-beaten path leading east into the Direwood. At dawn the next day, the six chieftains set out along the path, bound by blood and tears and ancestral ash to protect and help Dimnir the Curious and his Dimniran, wherever they might be. They marched until the sun reached its zenith, but still the path wound through the wide spaces between the ancient trees of the Direwood. They resolved to press on, knowing that each step took them one step further from return before sundown. They made camp and were beset by all manner of daemons, losing seven warriors in the night. At first light, they pressed on. At midday on the second day, the woods broke into a large clearing. In the center of the clearing was a large hill, evenly sloped and covered in thick verdant grass. As they entered the clearing, the keenest eye among them swore he saw a shape atop the hill for a brief moment. The party climbed the hill, remarking on its perfectly even slope. Atop the hill they discovered a circular stairwell descending down into the inky darkness of the hill. Resolving to help their kin, bound by the oaths, they entered a great and ancient barrow, deep in the Direwood. The chieftains and their warriors were surprised to find well-lit chambers and the whole of the Dimniran within the fay crypt. Dimnir the Curious greeted them with joyous exclamation, and invited them for a feast. The chieftains were perplexed, they had lost warriors seeking out the Dimniran, and they were seemingly safe and secure in this strange place deep in the Direwood. They remained cautious and suspicious, and kept their swords and spears close at hand, despite the jovial atmosphere and happy faces of Dimnir and his kin. Dimnir led them to a great hall deep in the belly of the barrow. It was as high as a dozen men, and was magnificently adorned with all manner of tapestry and finely woven rug, seemingly unaffected by age or rot. At the end of the hall sat a round table, surrounded by seven stone chairs. In front of each chair rested a small cushion with a glittering object resting atop it. Dimnir invited his perplexed guests in to sit. As they drew closer to the table they saw that each chair featured an intricate carving of a different animal, and upon each cushion rested a jeweled ring. There sat rings featuring: an Onyx Bear, a Ruby Lion, an Emerald Serpent, an Opal Wolf, a Sapphire Stag, a Diamond Eagle, and an Amethyst Hare, all so intricately carved they seemed to dancing and writhe in the shifting torchlight. Dimnir exclaimed with delight that these were gifts freely given; he himself reached out and placed the Amethyst Hare ring upon his finger. Each of the other chieftains warily put on a ring, and they felt power coursing through them. The power felt different to each, but in a scarcely describable way, much as the difference in the way love feels to different hearts. Invigorated, and feeling more comfortable and confident, the six chieftains sat down with Dimnir in the great barrow hall for a Feast, and deemed it to be a Feast of Oaths. They swore oaths of blood, of tears, and of ancestors long turned to dust. They promised to use their power to protect their towns and one another, and to prosper and beat back the daemons and the Direwood together. They drank and ate and fell into a deep slumber. It was in the midst of their slumber that Dimnir struck. He was Curious after all. Curious to see if he could consume the power of another ring wielded by a strong-willed man. He could, it seemed, after he felled the chieftain wearing the Opal Wolf. He felt the power course through him as he crushed the opal into the now-bloody floor. He moved swiftly, his Dimniran mobbing the rest of the groggy warriors, while Dimnir himself chased down the chieftains. One by one, he slayed them, crushed their rings, and absorbed their power as their lifeblood drained from their bodies and their eyes grew dim and sightless. Ruby Lion, Diamond Eagle, Onyx Bear, and Emerald Serpent all ground to fragments beneath his boot. However, in the midst of the din, one chieftain, who had remained a little more wary than the others, and had drank and ate a little less, and slept a little lighter, sprung off. Hare chased Stag through the depths of the ancient barrow. Dimnir's power had grown and the chieftain knew in his heart a fight would be futile. He made for the spiraling staircase, and ran up and up, until he could see the light of day, smell the sweet fresh air. He clawed at his hand and threw his ring backward, down into the depths. Dimnir stopped in his pursuit long enough to recover the Sapphire Stag, and then attempted to chase the chieftain into the daylight. However, while Dimnir's power had grown, it had also corrupted, and at the faintest kiss of sunlight his flesh began to burn and blister. Dimnir let out a pained shriek as the chieftain made his way quickly down the slope of the great barrow. The chieftain was the sole member of the group to return to the banks of the Rhill. The rest of his kin figured him half mad, but knew better than to chase off into the woods full of daemons and worse in an effort to find the rest of the lost party. The six villages eventually chose new chieftains, slowly grew, and together they beat back the Direwood in fits and starts. However, parts of that wood remain wild and unknowable to this day, and men dare not stray too far afield without sturdy iron at their side. Of the chieftain who had once held the Sapphire Stag, he spent the rest of his days a hermit in Dimnir's Hall, which slowly fell into disrepair and ruin. Of course, there is no town by the name Dimnir's Hall anymore, but the world does not easily forget such places. Some say that the banks of the Rhill have shifted over three and thirty generations, and the ruins must be off deep in the woods. Others claim that there used to be a ferry crossing called Neershall, several days' travel upriver. But I have been up and down the Rhill and have never encountered such a crossing myself. They say the chieftain remained convinced that as long as he stood safe outside the woods, no member of the Dimniran could catch him and bring him back to the barrow. That chieftain remained fleet-footed and sharp eyed well into his later years, and while his name is lost to the ages, he embodied the Stag he once held. That is why these days a stag of sapphire is said to watch over travelers, guests, and those in unfamiliar places. I reckon it's as good a name for an inn as any, but there are names and then there are the stories behind those names." The Storyseller sat his talefeather down upon the table and cleared his throat. "A story such as that is hard to come by, and leaves a fellow quite hungry and parched, if I do say so myself."
  21. March Madness is upon us! I’m still riding the Super Bowl high from my Eagles, and have no dog in this fight. I’ll just be watching and rooting for upsets and chaos. Here’s a spot for trash talk, rivalries, and good-natured rooting fun for those of us who enjoy both gaming and sports. To kick things off @Barb Bliss , what’s your prediction for score of the first round MSU game?
  22. Benge party pack out and in use for a three-player inaugural game of Rise of Tribes:
  23. “Thank you kindly for the ale.” The Storyseller took stock of the half-filled room. ”I think we will give any stragglers a chance to settle in before I start proper. The only thing worse than missing out on a story is only hearing the ending. For example, I still don’t know what role that mule had to do with Baron Scalest’s daughter running off and joining a band of troupers.”