Thursday, February 28, 2019

Terrinoth #26 - Gangs of Freeport II

Entana conjures up a fog to cover the party's attack

Campaign Diary

Our heroes found themselves under fire by five crossbowmen, shooting from the deck of the beached ship.

(Click here for PC profiles)

They charged towards their attackers, but found the going slow as they were hampered by the water and sand. Entana conjured up a fog cloud to cover their approach, while Percy called upon the power of Kellos to conjure a flaming sphere, which she then hurled onto the deck, causing confusion among their attackers.

Now hidden from the crossbowmen, the party continued to wade towards the ship. Gio, the nimblest, was the first to gain the deck. He lowered a rope to the others, and then found himself under attack and outnumbered, and had to find cover. Once the others have climbed up, the battle turned against the crossbowmen, and once two of them were down, the other three abandoned ship and leapt off into a boat moored on the far side of the deck. Gio jumped after them, as did Percy... and when Strigoi too followed, his mass caused the boat to capsize, throwing everyone into chest-high water; Entana had meanwhile elected to stay on the deck.

When the dust has settled, four of the attackers were down, and they had captured the last. The party tied the thug's hands, and while Strigoi and Percy attempted to interrogate him, Gio and Entana descended to the lower deck to explore the hold... and were immediately ambushed by three more thugs! Hearing the ruckus, Strigoi and Percy joined their fellow party members below deck, and quickly took down the opposition, capturing another prisoner.

Under the light of the lantern gifted to them by Steward Gleason, the party first explored the cabin at the stern, which they found was the living quarters of these thugs. Wary of finding more attackers, they next explored the cabin at the fore of the ship. As Gio opened the door to the cabin, a loud thump was heard - Entana, standing at the rear of the party, had slumped to the ground, and was fast asleep! As Percy checked on Entana, Strigoi and Gio entered the cabin - it contained an alchemical laboratory, and standing behind a table was a gnome.

The gnome held his hands up, even as Strigoi demanded to know who he was, and slowly turned his hands such that the back of his hands was facing him; on one of his fingers he wore a ring with an opalescent stone. Suddenly, multi-coloured light streamed from the stone, and blinded Strigoi. The gnome made a dash for the door, but Gio was quicker, and tackled him.

Returning with their now two prisoners to the deck, they found that the first prisoner had cut himself loose of his bonds, and was frantically rowing away from the ship in the boat. A few well-placed spells took the escapee down, and the party regained the boat.

Percy, infuriated by the unprovoked attacks, started interrogating the prisoners with such ferocity that the other party members held back for fear of collateral damage.

The gnome introduced himself as Til Terraghast of Gafford, gnome wizard and alchemist. He proudly admitted to having produced White Smoke, which he called his magnum opus. Til denied responsibility for the "security arrangement" for his laboratory though, and claimed to have been employed by one Hurst to produce White Smoke for him. White Smoke, he explained, made the user more relaxed and more suggestible - how Hurst used it, however, was not something he asked or questioned too much about.

When the party threatened to turn over Til and the thug to the local watch, Til revealed that many in the watch were also on Hurst's payroll. He then offered his ring, which held a Mind Rune shard, and information to Hurst's whereabouts for his freedom. The party obtained a pledge from Til to never set foot in Orris again, and set him free. The gnome then revealed that Hurst was in fact the lighthouse keeper Garras - the party had been bamboozled!

The party bade the exhausted Tobb to once more row them to the lighthouse, but when they had arrived they found the sailboat missing from the pier. Hurst had gone; climbing to the top of the lighthouse the party could see the sailboat sailing towards Torrue Albes in the north, but it was too far to chase down now.

The last prisoner proved to have tight lips, and for a while our heroes debated on what to do to him. Unable to bring themselves to killing a disarmed man, they likewise obtained a pledge from him to quit Orris, and then released him. Percy decided to take over Til's laboratory equipment, and the party gifted the thugs' rowboat to Tobb, and paid him an extra Gros for his troubles (and silence).

The next morning the party went back to The Broken Mug, and was met by Sergal. Once they had given their story, Sergal explained that Hurst was the former Captain of the Watch, who was removed from his position some eight years ago after being found guilty of corruption. It seemed that he had returned to the city that had thrown him out, and that he had used his connections with both the criminal underworld and the city watch to launch his plot, perhaps with the aid of White Smoke.

Thanking the party once again, Sergal took his leave, saying he would now wait for the situation to revert to the way it was.

A few days later, the party bade farewell to Entana's family, and boarded an Al-Kalim ship to the port of Trader's Fort. The journey took them to Redwater on Lorimor's west coast, before cross the open ocean to Thieve's Coast.

Once they arrived at Trader's Fort, Al-Kalim's gateway to the north, they were led to the Terrinoth merchant's compound, while their onward passage was arranged. A few days later, the party joined a camel caravan on the next leg of their journey to Al-Madena, the capital of Al-Kalim, and where Entana's father awaited them.

For two days the party traveled slowly westwards across the sandy desert. At this time of the year the days were still cold, and by night it was colder. Each day would begin with the caravaneers greeting the rising sun and chanting the Hymn to A'tar, and each night would end with a meal of roasted sheep around the camp fire, when Gio would sing to his captive audience.

Late in the afternoon on the third day, the caravan spotted vultures circling a couple of miles to their right.The dour caravaneers refused to deviate from their course, but Percy felt confident that she could find their planned campsite if they went to investigate, and so they did.

Driving their camels towards the vultures' direction, the party crossed several dunes, before arriving at a scene of carnage: half a dozen human and camel skeletons littered the ground at the base of a dune, their flesh having been scoured off their bones. As they went closer, they found that one unfortunate soul was still clinging on to life - half his face and the flesh on one side of his body had been sheared off. With his dying breath, the man whispered: ghibli, before dying.

As they surveyed the macabre scene before them, our heroes wondered what could have caused the injuries seen on the men and camels. It was as if, Strigoi mused aloud, that their flesh had been sandpapered off...

Just then they detected movement at the edge of their vision: two man-sized whirlwinds had formed, and was closing in on them...

Prepping and Running the Game

The first part of the session was a continuation of the Gangs of Freeport module which we started the previous session.

The fight on the beached ship took a whole hour, and was quite fun, with a flaming sphere moving randomly across the deck, people jumping off the ship, and a surprise attack on the party when they thought the fight was over and had not healed up.

Percy's player seemed genuinely pissed by the unprovoked attack on the party, and was yelling at Til and berating him for his lack of moral. We were all taken by surprised at the player's intensity during the role-playing.

I had based Til on the character Gale Boetticher from the show Breaking Bad. I imagined him to be a genius alchemist who was so invested in his craft that he did not question the moral consequences of his work. I had chosen to give him only non-offensive spells, as I gave him only a Mind Rune shard and thus only enchantment school spells, and as I thought it suited the character (Gale did proclaim himself as a libertarian), and as it gave the players less reason to kill him. I am glad the party did not kill him (they tend to spare those who grovel), and look forward to bringing him back again in the future.

The module was supposed to end with a confrontation between the PCs and Hurst, but in this case I ruled that the commotion they caused at the ship would have been visible from the lighthouse (and Hurst would have been watching), and when he saw them returning he would have known the game was up and it was time to cut his losses and plan another comeback another time. I am less certain of what I want to do with this character again; I imagine Hurst is too focused on his final goal of revenge on the city to want to go after the PCs, but his need to put together a cadre of... associates may see him meet the party again.

The last hour of the session covered the journey to and in Al-Kalim.

Al-Kalim is of course based on Arabia, but I find its religion more akin to that of Aten worship than Islam. Accordingly I lifted the Hymn to Aten and used it as the basis for A'tar worship in my world.

For the description of Trader's Fort I made use of the description of Alexandria in the book City of Fortune, and for the camel caravan I used information from wikipedia to add flavour. I had taken a short camel safari in India several years back, and would recommend the experience if you had the chance to go on one.

This session gave the PCs some interesting loot. Percy gained a whole lab set-up, which costs some 50 gps. She lacks the space to set a lab up now, but once they are back in Terrinoth, she could start brewing potions again. Entana gained a Mind Rune shard, which opened up the enchantment spells to him. I should plan some loot for Strigoi and Gio in the upcoming sessions, and I believe I might have an idea.

I have yet to settle on what modules to run for the main arc of this campaign. I will probably run a short urban-based scenario in Al-Madena, before embarking on the main quest.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Terrinoth #25 - Gangs of Freeport I

Gio takes shelter under the wagon

Campaign Diary

For three weeks our heroes journeyed south, passing through Nornholt, where a banquet was held in their honour, and Tamalir, where the heard rumours of a drug called the Red Mist.

(Click here for PC profiles)

When they had at last arrived in Dawnsmoor, Percy took the opportunity to visit the Temple of Kellos there, and viewed the holy relic Kellos' Horn. It was the tail end of the trade season, but Entana's brother, now in charge of the family business, managed to secure passage on a ship to Orris, where the party hoped to find onward passage to Al-Kalim.

The 'Auspice', a Lorimor trading vessel, carried the party on the five-day voyage to Orris, during which - once they have got their sea legs - our heroes tried to learn as much of the customs and language of the country; the language of Lorimor was close to that of Terrinoth, but varied somewhat in the way certain letters were pronounced, and of course there were unique figures of speech.

On the noon of the fifth day the 'Auspice' rounded the tip of the Lorimor peninsula, and sailed into the wide mouth of the River of Sighs. There, on the left bank of the river, our heroes laid eyes on Orris for the first time - a sprawling sea port larger even than Tamalir.

As the goods were unloaded at the docks, Nott, a steel merchant on the 'Auspice' offered the party 2 Gros to escort him and his wares to the nearby warehouse, on account of the recent rise in crime in the city. Strigoi accepted the job on the party's behalf, seeing as it was it would take them closer to the merchant's district, where Entana's other brother operated the Venier family's office in Orris.

As the wagon wound through the narrow streets in the dock district, our little caravan found itself suddenly surrounded by six crossbow-armed men. Still unsteady on their feet from the long sea voyage, our heroes only managed to see off the bandits with some difficulty, during which the wagon was overturned. As they helped Nott reload his wagon, Gio felt a bump on his coin pouch. A quick examination revealed that someone had placed a scrap of paper with the writing, scratched in charcoal, "meet me at the broken mug" in Thieves' Cant.

Once the cargo had been safely delivered to a heavily guarded warehouse, Nott paid the party, and engaged a street urchin to guide our heroes to The Broken Mug, a tavern nearby.

Arriving at the tavern, they met with one Sergal, who claimed to be from the local gang called the Blackshirts. He told his tale of sorrow: of late the gangs of Orris had taken to the use of a newer, more potent form of the smoking leaves called Snake Grass; while Snake Grass was commonly used in Orris for its relaxing effect, this newer form of the leaves, called White Smoke on account of the thicker, whiter smoke it gave off, focused the mind. Curiously, the leaves were obtained cheaply, and the gangs had not begun to sell them for a profit, but had limited the use to its members. More curiously, they had stopped fighting for turf among themselves, and seem to have become allied in their efforts, committing crimes now in districts which they had not previously dared to. What is more, it seemed that the city watch was never there when these crimes occur.

Sergal had stayed clear of White Smoke, and indeed Snake Grass, but yesterday his men had offered him some, and when he refused they turned violent and drew their weapons on him. Barely escaping with his life, he found no place to turn to. When he came upon the party's altercation with the bandits earlier, he decided to seek their help. Offering up the last 50 Gros he had, he begged the party to get to the bottom of the mystery so he could regain his place in the gang hierarchy.

Leaving Sergal, our heroes made their way to the Venier family's residence, where Percy was welcomed by Entana's sister-in-law, who took an immediate liking to her. A chat with Entana's brother confirmed Sergal's story of the rising crime rate, along with the city watch's inability to stop the crimes.

The next morning the party learned that the next ship to Al-Kalim would leave in four days, which gave them time to do some shopping and investigation. Strigoi purchased some clockwork toys imported from nearby Torrue Albes, while Percy bought some amber jewelry, before visiting the local Kellos temple with the wives of the Terrinoth merchants in Orris.

Entana visited a recent victim of robbery, and learned from him that the merchants were losing their patience with the city watch's impotence, and were planning to threaten a move to Torrue Albes if things did not improve.

Gio followed the lead provided by Segal, and looked up Polov, a supplier of White Smoke, pretending to be an interested buyer from Tamalir, but was asked to return the next day for a reply. He then visited the city watch on the pretext of lodging a complaint on the attempted robbery the day before, but learned little for his trouble.

Later that morning, while making enquiries at the docks, Strigoi noticed Polov waiting by a pier. Watching from a distance, he observed a blond man with a large jaw approach the pier in a row-boat, and there he and his companion handed Polov a sack, and took from him a few crates filled with food and bottles, before rowing away again. Following discretely along the dock, Strigoi saw the row-boat turn westwards as it exited the mouth of the river.

Having learned that there was little west of the mouth of the river except for sand bars, some ships wrecked upon them, and a lighthouse, our heroes decided to hire a boat of their own and visit the lighthouse. They learned from Tobb the boatman that the previous lighthouse keeper had died some six months prior, his death only discovered when the light failed to come on on a stormy night, resulting in a ship running aground on the nearby beach.

When they arrived at the lighthouse, the new lighthouse keeper, one Garras, was waiting for them. The friendly man gave them a tour of his home and the tower of the lighthouse, from where they could see the shores of Torrue Albes, but could not tell them more about White Smoke or the crime spree. Strigoi did notice that Garras owned a row-boat that looked like that he saw earlier (but then most row-boats looked the same), and a larger sail-boat.

With still an hour before the tide went out, they decided to investigate the wreck of the ship that had run aground. Tobb beached the boat a short distance away from the wreck. Our heroes walked towards the sun-bleached hull of the ship... then suddenly, from the deck of the ship, crossbow bolts sped towards them...

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was based on the Freeport module 'Gangs of Freeport'.

Now Freeport is of course a rather famous setting, and I had been looking at the various publications from the range; but it is only now that I found a city-port in the Terrinoth setting that I thought matched the city.

There was only one combat this session - the attempted robbery. The players rolled rather poorly during the fight, while I rolled exceedingly well, which we attributed to the PCs still having wobbly legs, and the effect of White Smoke on the bandits.

Much of the session was spent on lore, as the players were all very keen to learn more about the places they would be visiting. They came up with the idea of buying expensive gifts in case they needed to gain favours while in Al-Kalim, and I had to on the spot offer up some options and prices, based on the idea I had about trade in the region.

This was in turn based on what I have learned about medieval trade from the book City of Fortune, a book about Venice. I recommend this book to any GM who would like to add some realism to international trade in their game worlds.

I enjoy going into the lore of my setting when the players ask me for more information, and I often compare what I describe with what happens or happened in our own world. Occasionally we come up with questions which I have not thought of, and which the authors of Realm of Terrinoth did not reveal, like: do gnomes predate humans in Terrinoth, or is it the other way round?

A lot of time was also spent on role-playing and in-game jokes. People the party meet now almost always assume that Entana and Percy are a couple, and the line "You're a lucky man" was whispered to Entana several times during the evening. The other running gag involved gnomes (or halflings), as Orris had a large population of them, and the Freeport supplement mentioned a scam where halflings would pretend to be human children acting as guides to visitors, only to lead them into ambushes where they would be robbed.

I planned a total of three fights for the session, but due to the slow pace of their investigation we only managed to play through one and begin another.

This was due to two reasons, in my opinion. One, the players had no real investment in the situation; two, my players are generally not very good with investigative scenarios.

The module itself is actually quite well-designed, with more than one way for the investigation to progress from one stage to another. In the interest of time and to make the investigation easier, I trimmed the number of locations down to four: the Broken Mug, the house where Sergal was attacked, the shipwreck, and the lighthouse. Readers will no doubt already surmised that the lighthouse keeper is in fact the true villain behind all this - I had expected the PCs to visit the lighthouse last, but am glad they did so earlier, allowing me to roleplay Garras' deception, which will give more impact when the PCs confront him again later.

The unexpected slow pace of the session is a blessing in a way, as it will allow me more time to plan for the Al-Kalim leg of the campaign.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Battle Ravens

Three months ago Plastic Soldier Company launched the kickstarter for their Dark Ages boardgame by Dan Mersey.

I have been a fan of Dan for several years now, and have playtested a few of his Osprey games, but I was not involved in the development of Battle Ravens.

I downloaded the pdf of the draft rules from the kickstarter site, and realised that I could play the game using the 15mm Dark Ages figures I already own, on the gridded mat by Deep-Cut Studio I had, so I roped Fg in for a game.

We played a game over pizza and 'Outlaw King' in the background, using my Anglo-Danish and Norman armies - the basic game treats all armies as identical, although the full game has special cards that gives each army its own flavour.

In the first few turns we both played in a literally straight-forward manner, placing Ravens rather equally in all our areas, and attacking or blocking with all our dice. After a few turns, I came up with the trick of not using all my Ravens for blocking when attacked, but reserving a few to counter-attack, when the opposing force will not have any Ravens to block - it worked!

As the game went on and the ranks thinned, it became necessary for us to move our forces laterally to shore up weakened sections. I made the first capture of an enemy area, and was feeling cocky, but Fg soon fought back and took two of mine, and it became harder for me from then on, and I eventually lost the game.

The game took longer than we had expected - although simple in concept, there were several levels of decisions to be made each turn and each round. The Ravens placement phase of the game felt like a game of Go, while the movement and attack phases felt more like a game of chess or a wargame. Like a game of chess, the playing pieces became fewer as the game progressed, so visually the game became less appealing as it went to; this is about the only complaint I have about this game, and of course it applies to most wargames.

We enjoyed the game, and will probably play it again when we want to play something quick but engaging.

If you want to read the draft rules, or  pre-order the game, you can still do so at the kickstarter site here.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Terrinoth #24 - The Beast of Graenseskov

In the lair of the werewolf

Campaign Diary

Their mission in Nerekhall completed, our heroes departed for Greyhaven.

(Click here for PC profiles)

As they neared the town of Nornholt on the afternoon of the fifth day, they noticed that a small settlement of tents had formed outside it walls. A quick enquiry revealed that the occupants of the tents were peasants from the surrounding villages - a number of attacks by a werewolf had made the villagers flee their homes for the safety of the town. When the town guards learned that the party were Gio Gerber and his companions, they were brought to the burgrave's residence. However, after being made to wait for several minutes, they were told that the burgrave would not meet with them, and so they made their way to an inn.

While they ate dinner at the inn, they learned more about the recent events from the townsfolk: several huntsmen had been sent to slay the werewolf, but none had returned except for one, whose body was discovered outside the town gate one morning, his throat ripped out.

Then a child approached them with a message: they were invited to a meeting at Mama Clay the astrologer's place. Arriving at the place, they found Steward Gleeson waiting for them.

The steward revealed that the werewolf was actually the old burgrave; the old burgrave had not died in a wolf attack two years before as claimed, but had in fact been wounded by a werewolf which he slew. Aware that he had been infected by lycanthropy, the burgrave ordered his loyal steward to tell the town that he had died. Since then Gleeson had met with his old master at the ruined tower in the forest on the night of every full moon to bring him news of the town. However, over the years the steward noted that the old burgrave had gained a more bestial nature; he also began to blame his fate on the old prophecy that the town would be cursed if the eldest son of his line did not hold the position of the burgrave. Finally, a few months ago, he bade Gleeson to lure his younger grandson out of the town so he could murder him, on the hope that his older half-brother would then take his place and release him from the curse of lycanthropy.

Gleeson tried to stall his old master, but the old burgrave began to slay innocent villagers, thinking that it would cause the younger burgrave to come out of the town to calm the populace. Now, on the night of the full moon, Gleeson found himself at wit's end, until he heard news of our party's arrival. He called our heroes to meet in secret to do what was unthinkable to him: to slay his old master.

Our heroes took up the quest, and together they hatched a plot to lure the werewolf out: Entana would disguise himself as Montford by dressing in the clothes of the young burgrave. The party will follow Gleeson as he traveled to the ruined tower for his meeting with the old burgrave, giving the impression that the young burgrave had decided to trail his steward on his secretive journey.

Gleeson agreed with their plan, and bade our heroes to meet him at the town gate in an hour, where he would hand them their young burgrave's clothes.

At the appointed time, our heroes arrived at the town gate to find Gleeson waiting. As they waited for Entana to put on the borrowed clothes, Percy felt a hand grab her arm from behind: it was Reynard, the burgrave's half-brother and chamberlain! Reynard had followed Gleeson when he saw the steward acting suspiciously, and was glad to see Percy once more. His gladness turned to puzzlement when he noticed Entana dressed in his brother's clothes, he began to ask Gleeson what was happening, but before he could raise an alarm, Entana stepped forward and punched him on the nose. Now smarting and even more confused, Reynard fled, and the party hurried out of the gate and headed to the forest.

For two hours our heroes trekked through the winter forest, following the light from Gleeson's lantern in the distance. As they neared the ruined tower, a mist began to surround them, and the howl of wolves could be heard in the distance. Then, out of the mist, the werewolf and his wolf companions attacked.

Our heroes put up a stiff resistance, and when the werewolf realised that the "burgrave" was in fact a wizard, he vanished once more into the mist. Arriving at the ruined tower, our heroes found Gleeson gravely wounded. He had been attacked by wolves, but managed to drive them off on his own. He handed the party his lantern, and bade them to pursue the werewolf.

Under the light of the full moon, our heroes followed the tracks of the wolves to a cave. Entering the cave, the party followed the winding tunnels within, coming across a cave filled with bones of beasts and men, then a cave with bestial and human hand prints upon its walls, before arriving at a large cavern filled with rock pillars.The pillars of rock made a maze of the cavern. As they moved deeper into the cavern, our heroes heard the low growl of wolves around them. Then from behind the rock pillars, or the darkness of the shadows cast by the light of their lantern, wolves darted out to attack them, then disappearing again before our heroes could retaliate.

At first our heroes spread out to try to track the wolves, but they soon realised the danger of doing so and closed their ranks. They called out to the old burgrave, claiming that Entana had a cure for his lycanthropy.

For a while all was silent. Then the werewolf and his wolf minions attacked with ferocity, but sparing Entana. Strigoi took on the werewolf with the enchanted bronze sword he gained from the ancient king's burial, while the rest despatched the wolf minions. Outnumbered and wounded, the werewolf disengaged and fled deeper into the cave system.

Our heroes pursued the werewolf, until at last they came upon a cave which opened into the night sky. Propped against the wall in the far end of the cave they found the old burgrave, now in his human form.

The old man forced a smile and asked: "There never was a cure now, was there?"

Percy pleaded with the old burgrave to think of his duty to his people and do the honourable thing. At last the old man raised his head and offered up his neck.

"End it, orc!", he said to Strigoi.

Strigoi stepped forward and beheaded the old burgrave with a single stroke, and the party burned his remains.

It was past midnight when the party arrived back at Nornholt with Gleeson. They escorted the steward to the burgrave's hall, but declined the invitation to rest there that night, returned to the inn, and left early in the day before they had to face Reynard again.

Arriving at last back in Greyhaven, they gave an account of their deeds in Nerekhall to the University Council, and were given the rewards they were promised: a Masters degree for Entana, a full scholarship for Percy, 1500 Gros for Gio, and a suit of enchanted armour for Strigoi.

In the ensuing weeks Gio departed to pay the weregild to redeem the freedom of his family, Strigoi had a suit of armour measured and made, while Entana tutored Percy in rune magic.

Then, in the middle of the month of Wintar a letter arrived in Greyhaven for Entana: his father had traveled to the lands of Al-Kalim, and had learned of something of great importance, and he bade his son to join him there.

Taking leave from the Council, our party began the journey south.

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was based on the module The Beast of Graensekov, available from DMs Guild. Although the module was written for Ravenloft, the storyline can be used for any fantasy setting with a dark or Gothic streak.

I had promised my players I would tie up the loose end of the story they started when they first came to Nornholt, and I knew it would end with a confrontation between them and the old burgrave. However, I struggled to find a way to make this something other than a straight fight, so I searched for a module which would give me some ideas.

During the prep for the session I toyed with the idea of using the whole storyline from the module, and making the burgrave's lycanthropy be due to a curse by a hag, and making a confrontation with the hag an encounter; perhaps this hag was the third member of the coven of the hags that B Team had met? As it turned out the hunt for the werewolf was enough to fill the session.

How the players would approach the problem was left pretty open, but the module offered several possibilities, including setting traps and luring the werewolf to them. I had expected my players to spend some time putting a plan into action, but as it turned out the day their party arrived in Nornholt was the day of the full moon (I keep a campaign calendar), and they decided to improvise a plan on the spot.

I was thrown off guard by this - I had hoped to roleplay some more interaction between the players and the young burgrave and his amourous brother, so I had Reynard make an unexpected appearance at the gate. Then I was thrown even more off when Entana's player decided to solve the problem with his fist. After the game I rationalised that Reynard may have thought that Entana was a jealous boyfriend, and that he had committed a faux pas.

The tracking of the wolves to their lair was again a skills challenge, and once again my players struggled to think of ways they could use their skills narratively. I think this will be the last time I use skills challenge, at least in this form.

The final fight was inspired by the map in the Battle Mat Book I owned. To let the wolves attack from a hidden position and then disappear again, I gave them the Nimble Escape trait. I was secretly happy when it looked like the players would separate in order to chase the wolves down, but they quickly realised the danger of doing so, forcing me to launch the attack.

The ruse to make the burgrave think they had a cure for lycanthropy was unexpected, and I decided that the burgrave would try to kill or incapacitate the other PCs and capture Entana, but the NPCs were no match for the PCs.

The final scene was a bit of a prepared 'cut-scene', and I was happy with how the players roleplayed it.

The next arc of the campaign will be based in Al-Kalim, although the party will have to stop-over at Lorimor along the way. I have seeded this possibility when I made Entana's father declare that he wished to go there several sessions ago.

I plan to let the PCs pass through Nornholt again on their journey south and have them interact with Reynard, Gleeson, and the young burgrave again. Perhaps I will use their relationship with the PCs to launch another arc of this campaign.