Saturday, June 15, 2019

Sorcery! #4 - The Scholar

Campaign Diary

Acting as casual as they could, our heroes managed to walk past the two dock guards without arousing suspicion, but as soon as they returned to the gate to find it unlocked, they immediately gave chase.

Goncol and Glowulf scaled up the wall of a nearby building and spotted the three masked men making their getaway on the roof tops - they gave chase, while Morgana and Valerian shadowed them from the streets, ready to cut the men off.

Just when our heroes finally caught up with the masked men, the dock guards also arrived. The masked men tried to leap across a wide street from rooftop to rooftop, but stumbled and fell to the ground along with the chest. As Morgana and Valerian tried to hold the guards off, Goncol and Glowulf managed to recover the chest, leaving the masked men and the bewildered guards at the scene.

Returning to the necropolis, they found Darius and his men waiting for them. The party handed the chest over, received one of the spell lines in return, and - too tired to travel to an inn - spent the rest of the night in one of the crypts.

It was mid-morning when the heroes woke up. Having freshened themselves at one of the public fountains, they took stock of the situation.

They had one of the four spell lines needed to open the North Gate, and they had but some 36 hours to leave the city. Acting on Flanker's tip, they decided to visit Lortag the Scholar at the Artist's District.

Lortag, as it turned out, did know one of the spell lines. In exchange for the spell line, he tasked the party with stealing the very same book which Goncol had stolen from Darius! He bade the heroes to meet him for dinner later that day, while he tried to learn where Darius was keeping the book.

With several hours before dinner time, the party wandered the streets, hoping to learn where else they could find a Noble of Khare. Passing through the Temple District, they were drawn to the sermon at the chapel of Slangg, the God of Malice. At the end of the sermon, the priest made a call for a champion to represent the chapel in a contest of wits and sorcery, in return for any favour the champion asked for. The heroes asked if the priest knew one of the spell lines, and when he replied in the positive, Morgana took up the challenge. The terms of the challenge, however, required her to convert to the worship of Slangg if she did not win the contest.

Morgana entered the contest, but was defeated. She duly converted to the worship of Slangg, and the party gained their second spell line. They were halfway there.

Then Glowulf had the idea that perhaps a noble could be found at the gambling hall. Hoping to gain entrance to the upper levels at Vlada's Gambling Hall, where the rich gambled, the party first tried to have some suitable clothes tailored, but finding it beyond their means, they decided instead to lure a rich gambler outside the gambling hall to a back alley, where they proceeded to rob him of the clothes off his back, before tying him up.

Goncol dressed in the rich man's clothes, and with the others acting as his bodyguard, tried to gain admission to the upper levels. However, the ante at the tables there were too high for their coin pouches, and our heroes retreated to the ground floor, where the common folks played. Goncol played a game of swindlestones with a gambler, and during the banter learned that the seventh Noble of Khare went missing several years ago, and it was rumoured that he was blinded by the Red Eyes, a mysterious race that lived in their own enclave in Khare, after he tried to enforce the city laws on them. The party thanked the gambler, and left to meet Lortag for their appointment.

At dinner, Lortag revealed that his informers had learned the location of the book. After his own vault was broken into by a thief (actually Goncol) a few months ago, Darius decided to rebuild it. When he recovered the book from the crypt, Darius called in a favour from Vlada, and kept the book at the gambling hall's vault! The party would have to break into the vault, and steal the book again. Well, at least they knew the layout of the gambling hall by now...

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was a rather open one - I left the players the choice of where in the city to go to try to find the spell lines based on what they learned from the last game. They chose to visit Lortag, which I expected, and I in fact planned for the quest he would give them to be the game for the session after.

The encounter at the chapel of Slangg was taken from the original book - after I chose to let the PCs each worship a god, I thought it would be nice to reference it by having conversion a possibility.

The actual contest was based on a logic puzzle, which I saw here:

The players chose a sub-optimal strategy, and lost.

The visit to the tailor was unexpected, as was the idea that the gambling hall would be a good place to look for a noble. The players had the impression that *all* nobles in Khare knew one spell line - I should have made it clearer that only the major ones did. Nevertheless, it was fun watching them lure the poor minor noble to a back alley and mug him.

The next session will see them plan and pull off the heist, after which they will have about 24 more hours to find the remaining one spell line.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Sorcery! #3 - The Necropolis

Khare - the Cityport of Traps
Campaign Diary

As the party stepped through the gates of Khare, they came upon a market fair in the square just beyond. Their senses were overloaded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the city: stall owners hawking their wares, minstrels and town criers trying to grab the attention of passers-by, a myriad of colourful clothes and spices on sale, and the mixed odour of animal dung, roasted meats, and too many people in the same space.

Forgetting their mission for a while, the party spent some time wandering the fairgrounds, eating skunkbear meat on skewers, trying their luck at "Honest Hanna's Cabinet of Fortune", and Valerian took part in the fighting ring and (with the help of some magic from Morgana) won against the reigning champion, which gave the party some more gold to spend.

Having had their fill of food and fighting, our heroes turned their thoughts once more to their quest. To pass through the North Gate, Goncol told them, they needed to know the four spell lines that would unlock it. The only person who knew all four lines of the spell was Sansas, the First Noble of Khare, while the remaining Nobles, the identity of which were secret, each knew one of the spell lines. Goncol now revealed that he did not in fact know the spell lines as he claimed, but he knew that a book containing the spell lines was hidden in a crypt in the city's necropolis, which he proposed they go to.

Traveling north to the bridge across the Jabaji river, they took a brief halt at the Wayfarer's Rest, a large inn and tavern by the docks area, where they met Flanker. From Flanker the party learned that Lortag the Scholar was possibly a Noble, and that they might seek his help if they wished to learn more about the spells.

It was near sunset when they came to the gates of the necropolis. The party waited for the few people around the grounds to depart, and then Goncol guide them to a mausoleum. Pushing open the stone door of the mausoleum, they descended a flight of stairs to a large crypt underground. Goncol approached once of the sarcophagi in the centre of the crypt, and pushed open its lid. After a few moments of searching, he realised that what he sought was not within the sarcophagus. Confused, he nevertheless asked the others to search in the other sarcophagi and niches within the crypt. While they were busy searching, the door to the crypt sudden closed with a loud noise. Their candles and lanterns went out, and a rattling sound was heard as some of the bones within the wall niches knitted themselves into skeletons, which then came to life and started to attack them.

After a short, sharp fight, the party destroyed the undead, but Valerian and Glowulf were wounded. Goncol finally conceded that the book he came to find was no longer there, and the party headed out of the crypt... to find a dozen armed men waiting for them outside.

A pale, cloaked figure stood at the centre of the line of men; in one hand he held a book with a midnight blue cover - the book that our heroes had come for. The man revealed himself to be Darius, the Third Noble of Khare, and expressed his surprise that the party had survived the "reception party" he had prepared for them in the crypt. Goncol, he declared, had stolen the book from him several weeks prior, and had hidden it in the crypt before he skipped town; his men had trailed Goncol to the crypt and recovered the book, and Darius had laid a trap for the thief for when he returned to collect his loot.

Outnumbered, surrounded, and already wounded from their earlier fight, it was clear our heroes could not fight their way out. Goncol started hurling insults at Darius, hoping to distract him. Valerian and Morgana denied being Goncol's accomplices, and stated that they only wished to exit the North Gate.

Hearing this, Darius made the party an offer: he would let them have one of the spell lines, if they would "recover" a box from a warehouse in the docks for him before daybreak; in addition, they would have to leave the city within two days, or his men would kill them on sight. With no other choice, our heroes accepted the offer, and made their way to the docks.

Arriving at the warehouse late at night, our heroes spent the next two hours observing the guards' routine. When two of the guards had left to procure a midnight snack for the others, Goncol picked the lock to the gate, and broke into the warehouse with Morgana while Valerian and Glowulf kept a watch outside.

Inside the warehouse, Goncol and Morgana was surprised to find that two masked figures had entered the warehouse by removing the tiles on the roof and climbing down a rope. One of the figures took a small box from an opened crate, and together the two men climbed up the rope before Goncol and Morgana could stop them. Outside, Valerian heard a sound on the roof of the warehouse that told him something had gone wrong. Goncol and Morgana rushed out of the gate and informed Valerian and Glowulf what had happened, and together the party started to run out of the warehouse compound, hoping to catch the two masked men before they could get too far... and ran right into the two guards who had returned from their break...

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was based of course on Book 2 of the Sorcery! series, or rather the Myriador and Arion Games conversion of the book. Unlike Book 1, this part of the adventure had more branches, which meant that the party would bypass some of the encounters; yet at the same time, they needed to collect all four lines of the spell, which made things difficult for me as the GM.

My solution to this was to make a list of all the encounters in the modules which I found interesting, and then placed them in parts of the city which I thought they fit. I then let them know what the various districts of the city were and what they could expect to find there, and left it to them to decide where they would like to visit. These were the "flavour" encounters, which would allow the PCs roleplaying opportunities, as well as a chance to make some money and to buy or gain equipment and spell components.

For the spell lines, I decided to let them to associated with mini-quests. To avoid having the campaign grinding to a halt due to a single failure, I decided that there will be more than four Nobles who know the spell lines, which will allow them more than one chance to obtain each of the spell lines.

This session also dealt with Goncol's backstory, and introduced the campaign's theme of deception. Unfortunately for me, my players have a rather light-hearted approach to the game, and did not react as strongly to Goncol's betrayal as I had hoped for; fortunately for me though, this will not be the first deception they will encounter...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mad Robot Minaitures Sci-fi Cavalry

I finished painting this 5-Horse squad which I bought from Mad Robot Miniatures over the weekend. They round up my WW1 themed sci-fi force, which I will be using to playtest a set of rules by a well-known author that will probably be published in the future.

The great thing about this squad is that Mad Robot Miniatures allows you to customise the figures, so you get to choose from dozens of heads and torsos, and also three variants for the horses' heads.

I painted these in the same scheme as the rest of the force, and also decided to apply the decals which I got from Dom's Decals to the helmets. The resolution on these are really fine, as you can see from the photo below.

I also applied the decals to the rest of the force: the larger ones on the shoulder pads of the infantrymen, and the smaller ones on the weapon crews' helmets.

With the cavalry unit done, I now consider this force complete. Question now is what to do with the 40 Bauhaus infantry figures I still have lying around...

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sorcery! #2 - The Manticora

Fighting the manticore in its lair
Campaign Diary

Our heroes were able to quickly defeat the owlbear that had attacked them, but the rigours of combat and the need to move camp afterwards meant they all got precious little sleep that night.

The next morning Glowulf called upon Fulkra, the god of travelers, to show him the safest path to their destination - for most of the morning they traveled without any trouble.

A little before noon they came upon a hut by the side of the road. Exploring it, they found a woman in a large cage inside it. They quickly learned that she had been locked inside by the elvins, and pleaded for our heroes to free her. Neither spell nor strength could unlock the cage, however, until Morgana remembered the key they had stolen from the elvin's hut the day before; the key fit the lock on the cage, and the grateful woman gifted them with several magical items before she stomped off to repay the elvins a favour.

Continuing the path they had chosen for the day, they arrived at the village of Dhumpus, where they managed to earn enough gold to afford rooms at the inn by digging cesspits. They visited the store at the village, and Valerian noticed that one of the swords on sale was an Analander royal guard sword... how did the owner come by it?

On the third morning of their journey they wasted much time doubling back on their track after discovering that the path would take them to a village stricken by a plague. It was nearly sunset when they came to the village of Birritanti. Once more they found work washing towels, for which they were granted a visit to the crystal waterfalls.

The next morning our heroes continued they journey towards Khare. Just before noon, Goncol noticed that someone had set an ambush in the path before them. They party attacked the ambushers before they were ready. As Goncol demanded to know why their ambushers were attacking them, a familiar voice called out in reply: it turned out the attackers were apprentice-assassins being coached by Flanker, whom Goncol knew from Khare. Flanker apologised for the attack, offered some gold to our heroes as compensation, and admonished his apprentices for their sloppiness.

In the afternoon they came upon another solitary hut by the side of the road. An old woman, introducing hereself as Mama Clay, invited them inside for tea. She laid five cups of tea on the dining table, and as she turned to refill the teapot, Goncol, suspicious of her intentions,switched his cup with hers. As the other heroes drank their tea, they all felt refreshed, but Goncol found his limbs losing all strength, and he fell to the ground, paralysed. Mama Clay chided Goncol for doubting her hospitality, and demanded magical items from the heroes before she would give them the antidote. The party grudgingly gave up two bottles of potion, and left hastily once Goncol was able to walk.

As the sunset our heroes arrived at Torrepani, the final village before the gates of Khare. Here they found the inhabitants in a state of despair, for a man-eating monster - a manticora! - had taking up dwelling in the hills outside the village, making all commerce impossible. The winged creature would swoop down from the sky without warning, and when it faced stiffer resistance than it had expected, it would simply fly away. Our heroes offered to rid the village of the monster, and was given food and lodging for the night.

The next day our heroes put in action the plan they had come up with the night before: Goncol and Glowulf set several traps in the canopy of the forest near the edge of the village, and they started roasting a goat in the nearby clearing, hoping to draw the manticore. Sure enough the smell of the roasted mutton attracted the attention of the manticore. Our heroes retreated into the forest, hoping to drawing the monster in after them. When it became clear that the manticore was a faster and tougher opponent than they had expected, Morgana cast a spell on Valerian, causing him to double in size - but when Valerian swung his sword at the manticore, he found his sword arm caught in one of the snares they had set! Alarmed, the manticore turned and fled to the open ground, where it took flight.

The party chased after the monster, and Morgana called to Pangara, the god of winds, to send a gust upon the it, causing it to tumble out of the air. Now on the ground, the manticore continue to flee on its feet, towards its lair in the hills. The party could not keep pace with the beast, but Glowulf was able to track it to its cave, where after a fierce fight, they were able to slay the beast. Valerian took the head of the beast as proof, and Goncol harvested the venom sac from its tail. Searching the cave, Morgana found a broken staff similar to the one she held - a Analander Sorcerers College staff, and the tattered remains of a sorcerer's robes.

Our heroes returned to the village and were welcomed as heroes. A feast was held in their honour. Tomorrow they would enter Khare, but for now, they would eat and rest.

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was also runned pretty much out of the book, but I did use it to do some foreshadowing, and lay the seeds for future encounters.

The party got a sense that perhaps they are not the first team sent out of Analand for this mission. This will become clearer as they progress.

To add another element of the original gamebook to the campaign, I made each of the players choose a god for their character, and allowed each character to utilise the priestly power associated with that god once per session. I am glad that two of the players have called upon their gods for favours - the more attached they are to their gods, the more fun it will be for me when their PCs are forced to convert!

The next stage of the campaign will see them in Khare. I plan to run this part of the campaign in a more free-form manner; Goncol is a native of Khare, so I plan to let his player know about the various locations in the city, and let him tell the other PCs where they could go to find what they need to find. This will make things less predictable for me as a GM, but I imagine it will be fun for the players, and especially for Goncol's player.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Sorcery #1 - An encounter with Elvins

Campaign Diary

It was a cool spring morning when our heroes passed through the Cantopani Gate and entered into the Shamutanti Hills. Following the dirt road to the northeast, they arrived at the village of Cantopani at noon. They were met by the village headman, who offered them some advice for their journey beyond the village, but he was rebuffed. Entering the trader's hut, Morgana spent much of her gold purchasing a bamboo pipe (useful as a spell component) and a glittering jewel set on a necklace. Finding little else of interest in the village, they soon departed.

Beyond the village the dirt road split into two. On the fork to the left, leading down into a valley, Glowulf noticed several figures made from sticks hanging from the branches - it was a way to ward off evil spirits. Ignoring the warning, our heroes continued down that path. A few hours later, they arrived at a clearing with three thatched huts; a fire burned in a pit at the open area in the centre of the clearing.

Our heroes went about exploring the seemingly deserted village, managed to get themselves cursed by a dark spirit found inside a chest in one of the huts, fought and killed two guard dogs inside another, and finally were put into a magical slumber by the music inside the third. When they awoke they found themselves prisoners of elvins, a magical, elf-like race. They were admonished for their intrusion, and were thrown outside the village, with some of their provisions taken.

With the sun setting, our heroes hurried on to try to find a place to spend the night, and arrived at the village of Kristatanti just before sunset. Having spent most of their gold on purchases in Cantopani, they found themselves with insufficient funds for a room at the inn, and decided to sleep in the open just outside the village.

They settled upon a spot beside a stream, and while the others started a fire, Glowulf started fishing, and managed to catch enough fish for two. After dinner, the heroes set a watch, and with Morgana taking the first watch, the others went to sleep.

In the middle of her watch, Morgana heard a rustling coming from the brush near the camp. She quickly roused the others; the party barely had enough time to grab their gear before a large form burst out of the bush with an unearthly shriek - they were being attacked by an owlbear...

Prepping and Running the Game

For this session I stuck pretty close to the script of the module, since at this point it was reasonable that things were relatively linear.

Truth be told I was rather disappointed by how the players played their characters in this session. Three of the four players are from the Terrinoth campaign, and played experienced characters who behave accordingly; put in the roles of new characters, however, they regressed to the typical murder-hobo type, insulting NPCs and breaking and entering as though they were in a video game RPG. To be fair this type of behaviour is par for course for gamebooks, but hopefully after their encounter with the elvins they will be more circumspect.

The owlbear is of course not "native" to the Sorcery! setting, but fg had recently painted the model, and I thought it was as good a stand-in for a skunkbear as any other monster we had.

The best bit of meta-roleplaying in this session was actually when Glowulf's player announced that he would try to catch some fish for dinner. While seemingly innocuous, this actually foreshadows and event that will occur much later on in the campaign.

It was a short session, as we spent the first hour creating characters. During the next session I hope to complete the remainder of the first part of the trilogy.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Sorcery! #0 - A New Campaign


This week, we started a new campaign based on the old classic, Steve Jackson's Sorcery! gamebooks from the 80s, using Arion Games' Advanced Fighting Fantasy rules.

I have wanted to run this campaign for many years, and at one point was waiting for the now defunct Myriador to release the fourth and final module in their conversion of the campaign, but sadly that never happened. I got the Arion Games version of the campaign, which is a faithful reproduction of the plot of the original campaign, which means it had a rail-roady ending which I did not like. I let the whole project stew at the back of my mind for many years, until I decided to set aside a few months this year to finally make it happen.

I wanted to keep the basic plot of the campaign, but not necessarily all the details. This means that the party will be tasked to recover the Crown of Kings, will have to journey through the Shamutanti Hills, enter Khare, find the spells that will let them open the gate to the Baklands, race/defeat seven serpents as they cross the Baklands, then finally enter Mampang Fortress and defeat the Archmage. As long as I kept to this basic structure, I reckoned I could just find suitable modules and slot them into the appropriate places in the campaign.

I also wanted to add something to the campaign... a theme, which I think I have settled on, but which I will not reveal for now.

The Party

As befits the title, I wanted to have a sorcerer in the party. A lot of the fun in the original game was the spells with their funny names and the odd spell components which were required before the spells could be cast, which you found along the way, so I decided to use the AFF rules, which retained the original spells.

At the same time, I did not want a whole party of sorcerers. I decided that one other PC would be a fighter, an escort for the sorcerer. Once these two roles were taken, I asked the other two players what they wanted to play. One wanted to play an elven barbarian, and the other a rouge. Together, we worked out a reason for these characters to be included in the party.

So I present... the party!

Morgana Lefay, Sorceress

Trained in the Royal Academy of Sorcerers, Morgana was chosen to undertake the quest to recover the Crown of Kings and prevent a war that will destroy Analand and the other nations of the Femphrey Alliance.

Valerian the Victorius, Warrior

A sergeant in the Royal Guard, Valerian was hand-picked to accompany Morgana in the perilious quest.

Goncol, Rogue

A native of Khare, the cityport of traps, Goncol was recruited for his knowledge of the city and the spells which will allow the party to open the North Gate.

Glowulf Armstrong-Blackarm, Black Elf Barbarian

A black elf raised by barbarians of the Baklands, Glowulf was employed to guide the party through the wilderness beyond Khare and to their destination.

So there we have it: four characters, each with their reason to be in the party. Over the next few months I will post the adventures of our heroes as they travel towards their encounter with destiny. I hope you will join us on this journey.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Terrinoth #37 - Strongholds and Followers

(image from MCDM Productions)

Running and Prepping the Game

I'll skip right to the Running and Prepping the Game section here, since this part of the session was done mostly OOC.

I was initially a little apprehensive about running this part of the game, as the players have not been the most enthusiastic when I announced I wanted to transition the game to a "domain" game - certainly with a new group I would not have proceeded, but with this group I felt we have been playing together long enough for me to push things a little. Just a little.

I began by asking the players what they wanted to do now that they have their own "stronghold". They talked about establishing trade routes, improving the agricultural productivity (yes, one player did), and setting up an alchemy lab.

I grinned, told them to 'hold that thought', and then played the first encounter.

A dragonkin Knight-Sorcerer named Amran Ambrol turned up at their tower one morning, and challenged Strigoi to a duel to the death. Amran is based on the concept for the B Team character for Strigoi's player; we never did use him, so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to bring him into the story. In his days as a mercenary captain Strigoi had "neutralised" many dragonkin settlements, and now the survivor from one of them had come to avenge his family.

The stats for Amran is based on that of a Retainer from the Strongholds and Followers supplement. He was of course no match for Strigoi, but the orc was impressed by the young knight's courage, and offered to take him as a retainer and train him. Amran agreed, but said he reserved his right to vengeance. Percy thought it was a bad idea for Strigoi to train someone who might one day be able to defeat him, but Strigoi's logic was that as his disciple grew stronger, so would he; and in any case, death in combat was preferred to death in a bed.

I handed Strigoi's playing a piece of paper with the Amran's stats on them, and then passed out more all round, based on what the players said they wanted to do for the village; most were NPCs they have met in their adventures so far.

There was Trystan, the smith who made a scabbard for the magical sword Strigoi found in the first adventure, now come to seek employment.

There was Uth'rul, the dragonkin farmer and his family, whose lives the party saved from a lynch mob; they have come seeking some land to build their new home and farm on.

There was Zach and Brach, the gnomish merchants whom they met on the way to Nornholt; they asked for the right to hold a market at the village, for a cut of their profits, and to help Entana gather information of the lands around them (and spread misinformation, if he so desired).

There was Gartulf, whose inn was burned down when Mondock attacked the PCs when they were staying there; he wanted to set up a tavern at Fulhurst, and offered taxes in exchange for the monopoly on brewing and sale of alcoholic beverages.

There was Glint Khertrason, son of the dwarven metal merchant whom the players met at the inn. He offered his services as a miner for bog iron found in the swamp on the village land.

Two bards offered their services: Wilhem of Woodside, who left his village and began life as a traveling minstrel after the death of his beloved, and Elvahn the Trabadour-warrior, a fan of Gio and the composer of an opera based on his adventures (that closed after a week in the theatres of Nerekhall).

And of course, there was Til Terraghast, the gnomish alchemist-wizard, who was sadly asked to return another day... but I have plans for him, so he will definitely be back.

The NPCs were either retainers, who acted more like henchmen and could go adventuring with the PCs, or artisans, who "stayed at home" at the village, but conferred certain benefits to the PCs, like helping them gain information, or in the form of taxes. Retainers cost (I decided) the party 3 gp per
level per month, while artisans could bring in 10 to 15 gps per month.

To make this list, I went through my notes for the campaign and made a list of all the NPCs who may made made an impression, and who could reasonably offer their services to the PCs. Some of these matched the roles given in the Strongholds and Followers supplement, while others I made up to suit. I feel that offering them choices of NPCs whom the players had a history with made things more real and engaging.

The catch was, each PC could only take on as many retainers or artisans as their Charisma modifier, with the minimum of one, plus one for each level of the tower.

The players spent a good hour discussing which followers to keep, and debated over the wisdom of taking the right to brew ale from the villagers for money. Eventually they settled on taking in the metalsmith and the miner, for the synergy, and because they suspected they would eventually need an army, and these two artisans granted bonuses to troops; Entana granted Uth'rul and his family land, Strigoi took on the Amran, and Percy took on a healer retainer, and Gio took on Zach and Brach. Sadly there was no place for Til, but the players plan to take him on as soon as they upgraded their tower.

With the addition of more people to the household, the party needed to expand the keep. The PCs all chipped in for their share, and I gave Entana's player the task of drawing out the floor plan for their build. All these, I imagined, came together: trees were cut down for use in the construction and for the forge, and the land was granted to Uth'rul. The bog iron could be sold off to Zach and Brach, or be made into items by Trystan, which could then be sold... we got a whole medieval economy going on here.

By the end of the session the players were pretty pumped up at the prospects of getting their own space in the keep.

On my part the NPCs are a source of drama and dressing for gameplay.

I imagine Glint and Trystan would be working closely together. Will they get along? Or will they be at constant loggerheads, necessitating intervention from the PCs?

Amran and Uth'rul would most likely find a common bond, but how will the villagers feel about having suddenly to live alongside so many non-humans (six dragonkin, a dwarf, an orc, and a gnome)?

Amran will also likely share the duty of the guard at the keep, and of course there will be tension between him and Strigoi.

The upgrading of the tower would take about two months in game time. I asked the players what their characters would like to do during this period.

Entana did some spell research based on the rules in Strongholds and Followers, and now has a more powerful version of Magic Missile.

Gio wants to accompany Zach and Brach on their travels to the surrounding villagers and gather intelligence on what is going on in the region, as well as to spread tales of his adventures.

Percy decided to explore the lands around the village, and to get to know the villagers.

Strigoi wants to train Amran, and learn about mining and forging from Glint and Trystan.

It will be around six months in real life before we return to this campaign, and during this time I want to prepare the plot for the next arc, and paint up the figures required for it.