Friday, June 28, 2019

Time of the Tarrasque #25: Why Are Those Clouds Green?

"Time of the Tarrasque" is my current homebrew Pathfinder campaign. For an index of past session summaries, see The Story So Far.

Our heroes include:
  • Edel Naergon, high elf bard (archivist) 5.
  • Fatou Damiri, human wizard (evoker) 3/cleric of Yaziel 2; and Nochaesh, owl familiar.
  • Jumari Boneface, half-orc inquisitor of the Lost Egg 5.
  • ZhaZha, half-orc cavalier (order of the dragon) 5; and Zafira, camel mount.
This is the session that we planned to introduce our newest PC, played by my daughter, so I knew that the bulk of the session would be role-playing that. However, my players prefer to have at least one fight each session to help blow off steam at the end of the week. Therefore, before we started, I asked if they would rather have a fight before that meeting, because I couldn't guarantee having one afterward. They pretty much unanimously agreed that they wanted a fight first.


Last time, our heroes interrogated the surviving assassin who attacked Elder Usama, and learned that she feared Jumari, an albino half-orc, because a "white orc" was destined to slay her master. The inquisitor and her friends then assisted with the criminal's execution by Peacekeeper Morag. Afterwards, ZhaZha's friends encouraged Morag's interest in the cavalier, while Edel spent a night getting better acquainted with the tavern-owner Miriella.

The caravan left Dal-Raman the next day, leaving the sandy part of the desert behind. North of the town, the terrain consisted mostly of arid hills, with some grass and shrubs.

On their third night out from Dal-Raman, as the caravan approached a gap between two hills, they could see a large creature trying (and failing) to hide behind one of those hills. ZhaZha and Fatou could also see a second creature lurking behind the other hill. Nylrynn, the kobolds' guide, turned and started back towards the caravan, but was rushed by one of the creatures. It was an amphiptere, a large serpent-like dragon with spindly wings that it used to glide just a few feet above the ground.

As Fatou cast bless and Jumari cast expeditious retreat, ZhaZha charged the amphiptere and skewered it with her lance. It retaliated with a claw and a tail strike against the cavalier. The other dragon attempted to sneak closer and failed, alerting the rest of the group to its presence. Jumari moved to the midpoint between both dragons, suffering a blow from the nearer dragon's long tail, then cast blistering invective; the wounded dragon caught fire. ZhaZha's camel bit the burning camel, knocking it unconscious.

The cavalier then rode closer to the other amphiptere, and struck it with her lance (though not with a charge). Edel and Nylrynn both shot it. Jumari took another opportunity attack as she moved to flank the dragon, and narrowly avoided a crit (due to having her judgment applied to defense). Zafira the camel finished off this one as well.

ZhaZha and Jumari skinned the unburnt dragon's hide, thinking it would fetch some decent coin. The party as a whole searched the area for loot (none) and tracks (yes). They found tracks that led (after a long walk) to a hollow in the side of a hill. Jumari found a large, leathery egg inside. Edel was certain I was an amphiptere egg, so she fashioned a sling to help her carry it until she decided what to do with it. The group's best guess is that it wouldn't hatch for a couple more months.

The heroes returned to the caravan, and Vartoranax and Tyrrentyg asked to examine the egg. Jumari allowed them, with her supervision. Neither kobold had seen this kind of egg before. The merchant offered to buy it from her, but Jumari decided she did not want to sell it. (It might be valuable, and eggs are a symbol of her faith.)

After the next night's travel, dawn revealed a line of green along the horizon to the north. "Why are those clouds green?" asked Fatou. Edel tried to explain what a forest was to his desert-born friends. The grass here was more lush and green as well; Zafira ate it eagerly, so ZhaZha decided to trust the new greenery. Jumari, on the other hand, was unsettled by the vegetation, and the growing noise of insects, birds, and small mammals Meanwhile, Edel was ecstatic at the sight of green everywhere!

Shortly before the next dawn, the caravan reached a river that flowed into the forest, and followed it a short way to Galdar. They could not see the town until they were almost within it, because the forest trees obscured it. More trees were scattered throughout the town, and most of its buildings seemed to be made of wood. Fully two-thirds of the inhabitants were high elves, with most of the rest being half-elves and gnomes. They did, however, see a scattering of kobolds acting as guards outside certain buildings. These kobolds wore uniforms with an unfamiliar device (a black scale with the letter "O" in Draconic); ZhaZha concluded that they all belonged to the local garrison.

Most of the party noticed that the non-reptile races avoided the kobolds, and gave the caravan a wide berth--and many dirty looks--as it passed through town. They saw only a single half-orc along the way--and he seemed to be avoiding all the other races as much as possible.

The center of town held the largest open space in Galdar: a marketplace where the road ended at docks along the river; barges ferried goods and people across the water here. The kobolds headed for a caravanserai near this crossroads, which marked the end of the journey for which the party was hired. All four of them wanted to get paid and depart as quickly as possible, and finally be quit of the kobolds. Vartoranax paid them the agree-upon wage for the trip, plus a fair price for the dragon hide [approximately the cost of materials to craft the dragonhide armor and shield that could be made from it]. Fatou made a point of saying farewell to Nylrynn, the guide who they had fought beside a number of times. But apart from this, our heroes were in a hurry to find a place to sleep where kobolds didn't.

Shortly after they left the caravanserai, Fatou noticed a gnome following them, riding a human-sized scorpion. The scorpion seemed to be made of crystal, had only four legs, and bore a glowing rune that matched one on the rider's brow. She concluded that this was a summoner and his eidolon. Once the cleric alerted the others, they stopped to find out what the gnome was up to.

He introduced himself as Skarlo Rockhopper, and asked if they were from the desert. (Their camels made this pretty obvious.) The gnome wanted to go with them to see the desert. He didn't like it here, where there were kobolds. ZhaZha asked what he thought of death cults; he declared them "not good."

"You're awfully trusting. That makes me worry," ZhaZha remarked. "What were you before?" Skarlo didn't blink at the question, but simply said that he didn't know. Sensing her friends' confusion, Jumari explained the theory that she and ZhaZha had evolved: Not everyone who is reincarnated becomes a gnome, but all gnomes have been reincarnated as such. (The only two gnomes that the half-orcs have known well up to this point--Jubair and Morganox--were both reincarnated into gnomes. Skarlo's claim to have been reincarnated just reinforces that theory, and the gnome did not try to contradict them.)

Fatou then asked about the eidolon. Skarlo explained that he summoned her with arcane magic. "She hurts things, and carries my stuff."

Edel asked where to find a good inn. Skarlo offered to take them to the one where some of his family worked. The inn proved to be full of elves and gnomes, and had been built to accommodate the two races' very different sizes. Once side had a higher floor, so that gnomes could sit level with the larger races. A number of tables spanned the drop-off, to accommodate mixed groups. Skarlo was obviously well-known here. Most of the patrons took his big scorpion in stride, and even greeted her by name--Scuttledust--and she greeted them in return in the same languages. Skarlo arranged for a private room where they could eat and talk.

Once they were sequestered, ZhaZha asked what Skarlo had done to piss off the kobolds. He replied that he stole some material components from a spellcaster. This was near The Eye; the kobolds took over his family's home there not long after the Tarrasque's last appearance. Skarlo pulled out a map to point out places he mentioned. (The northeastern end of the continent is known as the Dragon's Head and the Neck, for its shape. The Eye is a lake near the center of the Head.) Skarlo's family had traveled south, away from the invaders, but now the kobolds are here, too.

Edel said he was from Dorthyra, and pointed to a part of the map in the southern reaches of Fendorlis. Kobolds overran his home as well. He briefly described his travels since then: through one desert, through The Shield and over the Dragonspine Mountains, and across another desert to get here. He had heard from other elves closer to The Stairs that there was a resistance cell in this city. When Skarlo confirmed this, Edel expressed his belief they could be of assistance to each other.

Skarlo explained that he did small jobs for the resistance, and they are starting to trust him. One such task is informing them of people passing through town. That's what drew his attention to their caravan when it arrived. Edel opined that, now that their contract with the kobolds has ended, he wouldn't mind if some misfortune befell them. Skarlo offered to inform his resistance contacts that he had found some people who wanted to help.

Edel proposed that if Skarlo could introduce them to the resistance, and if he would be willing to help them with some unfinished business back in the desert (destroying a death cult), then they would gladly take him there on their return.

Fatou noticed that Skarlo wore two wooden holy symbols, one of Vanatar, the unicorn King of Summer, and the other of Genesib, the god of earth. She expressed her curiosity about them, and showed the gnome the giantish symbol of the four Medan gods that she had acquired. Skarlo had not seen such a symbol of all four elemental gods as a group before. (On the other hand, Skarlo had recognized the symbols of Nalanimil, goddess of spring, on Edel's bow, and Fatou's symbol of the moon goddess Yaziel.)

Jumari expressed a wish to be out of the forest by the new year (in about a week), or at least outside it for that night. (She craved open sky for her devotions then.) 

Skarlo asked about the bundle the inquisitor carried. She showed him the dragon egg and explained what it was and how they had acquired it. She is still unsure what she'll do with it, but for now will try to keep it safe and warm.


Next time, the conversation with Skarlo will continue, and our heroes will try to gain new allies.

Going forward, our party will consist of:
  • Edel Naergon, high elf bard (archivist) 5.
  • Fatou Damiri, human wizard (evoker) 3/cleric of Yaziel 2; and Nochaesh, owl familiar.
  • Jumari Boneface, half-orc inquisitor of the Lost Egg 5.
  • Skarlo Rockhopper, gnome summoner 5; and Skuttledust, scorpion-like eidolon.
  • ZhaZha, half-orc cavalier (order of the dragon) 5; and Zafira, camel mount.
Skarlo Rockhopper: (L) on foot; (R): mounted on his eidolon Scuttledust.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Disney Series 2 Minifigures

With the first Disney Minifigures series, I only acquired 7 out of the 18 characters, so limited my review to those characters. (I did, however, buy an extra Maleficent, and have found her headdress very useful for various horned fiends.) Disney Series 2 Minifigures were released May 1, and I'm pleased to say that I've found more of them to be must-haves for my collection.

I'm not enough of a fan of Disney's mice and duck characters to be interested in buying them (though some RuneQuest players might feel otherwise about the waterfowl). I acquired 11 out of the remaining 12 minifigures this past week--missing only Edna, who I plan to collect soon--and will give a quick review of those here. As usual, my comments are biased towards my own gaming needs, but I try to call out what I like best about each character, and what I think would be interesting to others.

Anna and Elsa each come with hard rubber hair in their signature style, a cloth cape (Elsa's covered in snowflakes, Anna's a solid plum color), and the new skirt style that debuted in the recently revived Harry Potter theme. Their outfits are very detailed, including glittery silver highlights on Elsa's bodice, arms, and cape. Both princesses have double-sided heads, with one side showing a small smile, and the other a grin and a wink. (These winks mirror each other, perfect for posing the sisters as co-conspirators.) Anna's accessory is a lantern (also in the new H.P. style.), while Elsa comes with a very large trans-blue snowflake (a new color for the Christmas star from the Winter Village series).

One of the regulars in our local Pathfinder Society community recently debuted a new character, a witch with water and cold kineticist powers, based on Elsa. I made a point of buying an extra minifigure to give him so that he would have the perfect mini for her. He gave me back the snowflake brick, as it was rather bulky for his Disney princess's mini to carry, and he's not a LEGO collector. However, a similarly ice-themed character could use it as a magic shield or a giant shuriken.

Chip and Dale come with the new poseable short legs assembly. Chip comes with an acorn, which uses the mandrake root piece from the Harry Potter series (minus the printed face) capped with a dark brown 1x1 "nipple" plate. Dale carries a sack that has appeared in several past sets. I bought these two because my wife was a huge Rescue Rangers fan as a kid. We're both a bit disappointed that the chipmunks are dressed only in their own fur--per their earliest appearances--not the colorful clothes they adopt in later cartoons. In addition, their tails are painted on rather than three-dimensional. I found this surprising, since all the duck characters have tiny tail pieces inserted between their torsos and legs.

Frozone wears his white and aqua super-suit, and flashes a confident smile. He comes with two of the "energy blast" missiles found in some Marvel Superheroes sets, though I think clear is a new color for them. He also comes with a light gray disk with two studs for his feet; a 1x2 jumper plate lifts this snowy "surfboard" slightly above the baseplate. I predict this disk will be highly popular among gamers who use LEGO for minis, because it makes a very nice-looking base. However, it is 4x4 in size, which makes it too big to fit a 1" square. The lack of notches in the side also make it impossible to attach directly to the top of a large studded plate, which limits its use in building. (The piece is, however, the perfect size for gamers who build terrain a scale of a 4x4 plate per 5-foot square, and the disk can rest on top of studs without getting stuck to them.)

Hades is one of my favorite characters in this series, despite also being one of the more frustrating ones: His flaming blue hair is glued on, rather than a separate piece. (If not for that fusion, his wig would make lovely ifrit, gnome, or aquatic elf hair.) He does, however come with a lovely piece for the lower half of his toga, trailing off into tendrils of smoke. This part will be very useful in building the darker types of incorporeal undead and air or smoke elementals. It has a few dark blue lines that continue the folds in Hades' toga, but they're barely noticeable without his torso attached. Finally, Hades comes with two of the (dirt-common) trans-orange flame bricks.

Hercules wears armor in a cartoon-y style that matches the movie, and bears a shield with Zeus's cloud and thunderbolt. His dramatic orange hairpiece would look good on many a dashing hero, and I believe that his cloth cape is a new shape. His head is double-sided, one side smiling and the other angry/determined. He wields the same shortsword as the gladiator (Series 5) and Roman officer (Series 10).

Hercules, Jafar, and Jasmine (below) all have a light caramel-tan skin tone that matches Aladdin's in Disney Series 1. They offer a very appealing alternative to the "flesh pink" of most licensed minifigures, and having three of them in the same series provides some nice diversity within this relatively new skin tone.

Jack Skellington wears his trademark pinstripe suit, which includes cloth coat-tails and a bat "bow-tie." He comes with a gift-wrapped box--also in black and white--that holds a couple of 1x1 clear round tiles printed with snowflakes. I find it very interesting that three characters in this series have snow-themed accessories--Jack's and Elsa's snowflakes, and Frozone's missiles. This makes it easier to outfit one of them, or your own cold-based hero, with additional thematic props.

Jafar's black and maroon outfit is very nicely done, with the new skirt piece, flared shoulders, a cloth cape, and a single-piece turban with cloth drape, jewel, and feather. He carries a classic gold snake staff. His face is two-sided, one side with a merely haughty expression and one with an open sneer.

Jasmine wears her usual turquoise harem pants and bandeau; she even has the latter's straps printed on her arms, and her torso has a fully printed back. Her hard-rubber hairpiece includes her earrings, jeweled headband, and long ponytail. She is one of the few characters in this series who has hair but only one face, but overall she is a lovely Arabian princess figure. She comes with a small white pet bird, which I believe is a new piece. It would be perfect for a thrush or other songbird familiar.

Sally's patchwork body is made with a combination of two-color casting and printing. The patterns--and stitch marks--wrap around the sides of her legs and arms. She, too, has a two-sided head, but the faces are nearly identical except for the open and closed mouths. Her wig is a new piece that emphasizes the artificial straightness of her hair. She comes with the tiny black tree of her vision, which is built from a Friends-style flower attached by a tiny pin to a three-leaved stalk (like the top of Neville's mandrake, but in black). This accessory would make a lovely mini for a small, sinister plant, such as a petrifern (Pathfinder RPG Familiar Folio) or a leshy. Just stick the stalk into the hole of a 2x2 radar dish to give it a stable base.

Sally came with two trees, so I plan to give my extra to a friend who has a vine leshy character in Pathfinder Society. (This idea works even better now that their PC has been adopted into the infamous Blakros family!)

Past Collectible Minifigures Reviews 

LEGO Minifigures Series 14: Monsters!
Series 15 Minifigures
Disney Minifigures
LEGO Minifigures Series 16
The LEGO Batman Movie Minifigures
The LEGO Ninjago Movie Minifigures
The LEGO Batman Movie Series 2
LEGO Minifigures Series 18: Party
LEGO Minifigures: Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts
The LEGO Movie 2 Minifigures

Friday, June 14, 2019

Grin and Bear It

Back in the 1980s, teddybear-like races seemed to be everywhere in fantasy and science fiction media, particularly in cartoons aimed at younger fans. First came Return of the Jedi (1983), which introduced the Ewoks. These furry folk returned in two Ewok movies and a short-lived cartoon over the next couple of years. The Dungeons & Dragons (1983-1985) episode "The Traitor" featured cloud bears, who were obviously based on Ewoks, but with better technology and language skills. Then in 1985, Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears debuted, featuring a family of cute talking bears with access to a unique magical recipe. (The Care Bears also appeared in this decade, but that franchise never appealed to me, as they were overly saccharine and clearly aimed at a much younger audience.)

I was introduced to role-playing games just a year or two before Jedi, and the mid-to-late-'80s were my teen years. Therefore it was inevitable that I would try to work out game mechanics for my own small ursine humanoid race. I called them cloud bears after the D&D cartoon, but deliberately designed them to serve just as well for Ewoks or Gummi Bears. Those notes no longer survive, having gone the way of all my other juvenile RPG adaptations (like Voltron and Thundercats).

I was reminded of that old project by a thread at The Piazza asking members whether they used Ewoks in their Star Wars campaigns. Both my favored systems and my game design skills have changed dramatically in the past 30 years, so I decided to try to recreate that old idea using my current system of choice. The Race Builder rules in the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide made this exercise quite easy. You'll need a copy of that book (or follow the link to the online Pathfinder SRD) for full details of the traits listed below.


Bearfolk are a race of small furry humanoids with soft, rounded features that often cause larger races to dismiss them as cute and harmless. The bearfolk usually encourage such erroneous thinking for their own safety. They are approximately the size of halflings or gnomes, but tend to be somewhat more stockily built. All are covered by a dense layer of fur that gives them some additional protection from enemies and the weather.

Most bearfolk dwell in forests, where they can find food and building materials in abundance. Isolated family groups build camouflaged homes in caves, hollow trees, or hidden dells. Larger communities take to the trees themselves, building their homes on platforms high in the canopy, connected by rope and plank bridges. Crude elevators hung from cranes or winches give access to and from the forest floor, while allowing the bearfolk to withdraw out of reach of ground-bound threats.

Bearfolk leaders are chosen for their skills at surviving in the wilderness, efficiently organizing their people to solve problems, and negotiating with outsiders. They tend to belong to socially-oriented classes such as bards or charismatic rogues.

  • Type
    • Humanoid (bearfolk) (0 RP)
  • Size
    • Small (0 RP)
  • Base Speed
    • Slow (-1 RP)
  • Ability Score Modifiers
    • Standard (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Cha*) (0 RP)
  • Languages
    • Standard (Bearfolk, Common) (0 RP)*
  • Racial Traits
    • Defense Racial Traits
      • Bond to the Land (2 RP)
      • Lucky, Lesser (1 RP)
      • Natural Armor (1 RP)
      • Stubborn (2 RP)*
    • Feat and Skill Racial Traits
      • Skill bonus (+2 Climb) (2 RP)
      • Gregarious (1 RP)*
    • Senses Racial Traits
      • Low-light Vision (1 RP)
  • Total: 9 RP

At least two subraces of bearfolk have been identified. Members of those subraces replace the bonus to Charisma and the Stubborn and Gregarious traits (marked with an asterisk [*] above) with the new traits listed below. The total Race Points remain unchanged. Feral bearfolk also replace the Standard language trait.

Feral Bearfolk

These bearfolk are superstitious and highly suspicious of all other races, because so many of the creatures native to their forest or jungle homelands are bigger and more dangerous than they are. Some adventurers describe them as backwards and quaint, but endearing; others paint them as bloodthirsty cannibals. Most tribes are limited to stone age weapons, but they are far from stupid, and often quite ingenious in rigging traps to protect their homes.

Their leaders are typically rangers, druids, or shamans, whose deep knowledge of the natural world helps the tribe survive and flourish.

  • Ability Score Modifiers
    • Standard (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Wis) (0 RP)
  • Languages
    • Xenophobic (0 RP)
  • Racial Traits
    • Feat and Skill Racial Traits
      • Camouflage (1 RP)
      • Stalker (1 RP)
    • Offense Racial Traits
      • Swarming (1 RP)

Witch Bears

These clever bearfolk live in smaller groups than others of their race, typically in individual dwellings or tiny settlements consisting of a single extended family. They are known for experimenting with alchemy and magic, with each family claiming an ancestor who invented or discovered one or more new alchemical substances or magical rituals. (The bouncy body spell-like ability listed below is just one example of a secret recipe handled down within a family.)

Witch bear leaders are typically alchemists, wizards, or witches dedicated to preserving and perfecting their family's unique traditions. Individual characters often pursue archetypes that grant alchemical powers (such as mutagens) to classes that normally lack them.

  • Ability Score Modifiers
    • Standard (-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Int) (0 RP)
  • Racial Traits
    • Feat and Skill Racial Traits
      • Skill Bonus (+2 to any one Craft) (2 RP)
    • Magical Racial Traits
      • Spell-like Ability, Lesser (1/day--bouncy body [Monster Codex 105]) (1 RP)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Time of the Tarrasque #24: A Story to Tell Her Camel

"Time of the Tarrasque" is my current homebrew Pathfinder campaign. For an index of past session summaries, see The Story So Far.

Our heroes include:
  • Edel Naergon, high elf bard (archivist) 5.
  • Fatou Damiri, human wizard (evoker) 3/cleric of Yaziel 2; and Nochaesh, owl familiar.
  • Jumari Boneface, half-orc inquisitor of the Lost Egg 5.
  • ZhaZha, half-orc cavalier (order of the dragon) 5; and Zafira, camel mount.

Last time, the caravan reached the town of Dal-Raman, located at the edge of the sandy part of the Lokoran Desert. Our heroes were given a day's liberty by their employer, Vartoranax, while he conducted some business. They spotted a tavern, The Thirsty Centaur, which turned out to be run by a high elf woman, Miriella, who took a liking to Edel and encouraged him to visit her later. While shopping in the market, the party foiled an assassination attempt on Usama, a town elder. Usama offered his house as a place to question the surviving assassin, then his servants helped drag the bodies in off the street.

The elder wished to send a runner to the settlement's chief lawman, Peacekeeper Morag, but worried for his servants' safety following the attack. ZhaZha and Fatou volunteered for escort duty, while Jumari and Edel stayed here to question the prisoner.

Peacekeeper Morag
Usama's servant led them to the Peacekeeper's office, a utilitarian stone barracks located a short distance from the market, with a small, windowless jail attached. The staff here was human, except for a single halfling and their chief. Morag was a tall, muscular half-orc who wore a chain shirt and carried a small arsenal: a longbow and quiver, an orcish double axe, and a bandolier of alchemical weapons. (He also wore a symbol of the Javanian pantheon next to his badge.) Once ZhaZha informed him of the attack on the elder, Morag promptly agreed to go with them to Usama's house, and hear more of the details on the way.

Meanwhile, Edel healed the bound half-orc woman just enough to wake her. She opened her eyes, saw Jumari, and seemed disturbed enough by the sight of the veiled albino half-orc that she refused to meet the inquisitor's eyes. Edel began the interrogation by politely asking her to explain the attack, and managed to persuade her to talk. She was sent to kill the elder as a holy mission from her master, to spread fear of their god. She was not allowed to speak her master's name, and refused to tell where his training cave was. When asked why she chose Usama as her target, she replied that the other elders were more careful. (The old man seemed outraged at this, but subsided after a moment of self-reflection.) She did not know if any other attacks were planned.

Jumari asked how she got up the Escarpment. "I walked." This confirmed the inquisitor's guess that the assassin came from some ways to the south, so Jumari asked if she belonged to the Ghost Fist clan. She denied it--"I serve the god more directly"--but did know enough about where that tribe's territory (south of the Escarpment, west of the Stairs) to avoid them on her way here. Jumari stepped closer and pulled back her veil to reveal her white skin and prominent red birthmark. "Why are you afraid of me?" The other woman seemed absolutely terrified of her, and shrieked, "Only the White Orc can kill the Master!"

Fatou, ZhaZha, and Morag entered Usama's house just in time to hear that outburst. Edel quickly brought the Peacekeeper up to speed as Morag examined the assassin's dead accomplices. He discovered that each of them had the name "Ras Radaz" tattooed in Halfling script somewhere on their bodies. The prisoner flinched as he read the name aloud. Edel and Fatou recognized the name as a legendary assassin in the death-god Asmolon's cult, and the leader of the force that killed the half-orc hero Gorza. When Edel asked the cultist how she followed a supposedly dead assassin, she proclaimed, "The Master has transcended death!" She then looked at Jumari again, and fainted. Morag took the opportunity to examine the woman more closely, and found the Ras Radaz tattoo on her as well.

The heroes asked Morag and Usama for their opinion of what to do with her. The two men agreed that the cultists was too dangerous to leave alive. They exchanged a few words that seemed to be some sort of shorthand from long practice, then agreed that a prompt and public declaration of her crimes, followed by a swift execution, would be best. Usama ordered a servant to fetch his trumpet, and a small procession formed, with the adventurers assisting Morag in carrying the bodies to the market square. They ascended a platform that sported a pillory at one end and a chopping block at the other. Having noted Edel's interest in the instrument, Usama allowed him to blow the trumpet to get bystanders' attention.

A crowd soon gathered, and the elder gave a brief speech about the attack on his person. Morag effortlessly lifted one of the dead assassins with one hand and used the other to rip away clothing to display the tattoo. He instructed the townsfolk to report to him if they see anyone with the same tattoo--"and let me do what I do best." He then asked ZhaZha, who was carrying the living cultist, to hold her up for him. He unslung his double axe, stretched a bit, then skillfully beheaded the criminal. The spray of blood drew cheers form the crowd, a few of whom chanted the Peacekeeper's name until Morag spoke again, declaring justice done in the elder's name and ordering the crowd to disperse. More quietly, he thanked ZhaZha for her assistance as he cleaned his blade on the dead woman's clothing. He told her to leave the body for his people to dispose of, and gave permission for her and her companions to take anything of value from the bodies.

This looting yielded a handful of healing potions and a number of masterwork weapons and suits of light armor. They claimed some for themselves, and collected the rest to sell in the market. The real prize of the lot was a scabbard of vigor that all agreed ZhaZha should take.

The cavalier's friends had seen the admiring looks the Peacekeeper gave her, and took action to encourage him. Before departing the platform, Jumari invited Morag to have dinner with them. Edel had his own plans for the evening, but cast heroism on ZhaZha before departing (then cast heroism on himself en route to the Thirsty Centaur). Fatou bought a fine meal for the others at a nearby inn. After she and Jumari finished eating, they slipped out of the inn to leave the two warriors alone.

The moon was still full, so the two priests went their separate ways to spend time in private devotions. Jumari started a new tattoo to commemorate this latest "inquisition," but has not quite settled on its form. [Fatou might ask Jumari to use her skills to provide her with a tattoo of her own holy symbol, but it seems unlikely that the half-orc would do that for another god's faith.]

Miriella, faerie priestess and
proprietor of the Thirsty Centaur
Edel found Miriella at the tavern, and had a long and fruitful conversation with her as they became better acquainted. The elven woman had left Fendorlis when kobolds invaded the forest and destroyed the temple and distillery where she worked. She bought a small brewhouse here in Dal-Raman, and spent the next few years repairing it and starting over. She was very curious about where the bard was from, and his adventures since leaving their homeland. He told her many stories of his travels, and mentioned the caravan he traveled with now--but not what race his current employers were. Miriella was surprised that two of his companions were half-orcs, but he explained that they were stalwart companions, and eager to help him drive out the kobolds.

Since leaving Fendorlis, Miriella has had occasional news about rebels fighting the kobolds in Galdar, the border town where Edel was headed. A woman known only as "The Red Swan" led the rebels, and the priestess suggested that the bard seek out her help. Miriella did not know how to find the Swan, but did know that she and some of her people were among those who swore the Oath of the Bloody Tree. Edel had heard of this group, who swore to eliminate the kobold conquerors and reclaim their homeland. Miriella described most of the Sworn as fanatics, but admitted that they did provide some of the most effective resistance to the invaders so far. Their talk soon turned to more pleasant things, and both were pleased to experience the other's skills in the love goddess Nalanimil's arts.

Across town, ZhaZha soon forgot her mild irritation at her friends' blatant maneuvering. Morag had quickly sized her up as a seasoned warrior, and the two half-orcs eagerly discussed weapons and fighting techniques, long after they finished their meal and left the inn. The cavalier praised the Peacekeeper's fine axe, and he allowed her to try her hand at it. She was clumsy at first, but soon grew steadier with it, though it would never feel as comfortable to her as a pick or lance. While sparring, Morag finally propositioned her, and she only needed a moment's thought before agreeing. Morag had treated her with far more respect than any of the brutish louts back home ever had, and she had thoroughly enjoyed his company so far. ["And she will have a story to tell her camel," as her player put it. Whether she ever tells her other companions anything about it remains to be seen.] 

Before ZhaZha left Morag's home the next morning, he expressed his desire that she would visit him whenever she next passed through his town. She readily agreed: "We can trade tips."

Edel's farewells with Miriella were cordial as well. He promised to bring her news of home if he came back this way.

The caravan left Dal-Raman at dusk. The kobolds expected the journey to Galdar to take five days. Along the way--and well out of earshot of the little reptiles--Edel informed the others of what he had learned about Galdar and the rebels there.

Jumari also she felt very strongly about her new identity as "the White Orc." ZhaZha agreed with her, and earnestly wished to avenge Gorza, the hero for whom her home village was named.


My teenaged daughter has asked to join the campaign, and the other players were happy to welcome her to the game. They all already have some experience gaming with her, primarily through Pathfinder Society. We will be introducing her character (a gnome summoner) once the party reaches Fendorlis, which should be next session.

She will start at the same level (5th) so that I will only have to track one XP total for everyone. Our last couple sessions have gone a long way to correct the amount of wealth the PCs should have, but they aren't completely where they should be yet, so the new character will be starting with wealth approximately on par with what they have when they meet her.