Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Actual Play: Tomb of Terror, Part 2


Unfortunately my notes for this session aren't very good. I'm not entirely sure if everybody who played the previous session was here to finishing the adventure off in this session, but I think so, because L.B. was here and all the pre-generated characters for this one-sheet were in use.


  • M.A. played Gar IronHelm;

  • E.A. played Merula Lanus;

  • B.B. played Marcus Two Hands (when he wasn't helping out with baby C.A.);

  • D.B. played Ramel Ramelson; and

  • T.A. played Fox.

  • L.B. played Serena, Aevakar Priestess (from the Shaintar: Immortal Legends free download Heroic Archetypes)

L.B. joins the group with a shiny new character

L.B. was here, and wanted to play, of course. Since all the pregens were in use, I pulled out the characters from the Shaintar: Immortal Legends free download Heroic Archetypes and had her look through and see if she liked anything. She found Serena, the Aevakar Priestess, and fell in love. (L.B: “Look! An Angel!” T.K.B.: “Well, not an angel, but she is magical and can fly…” L.B. “Cool!”) I swapped out a few Shaintar-specific items and adjusted her XP up to match the “Tomb of Terror” pregens, and we got down to play.

Actual Play

Like I said, my notes for this game were…not good, so I don't have much to report. I do remember that they tried to burn the obviously magical journal of the insane necromancer, which put out a poison cloud that forced them to evacuate the village, and L.B.'s character Serena got to fly above the evacuees and make sure they were headed away from the poison cloud.

The kids seemed to have fun, and L.B. really wanted to play with her character again, so we might come back to these characters at some point. Certainly I have my doubts as to whether the journal could be destroyed by a simple fire…

Actual Play: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Part 2

I ran another session using the the Pirates of the Spanish Main one-sheet “Dead Men Tell No Tales” with the kids.

E.A. couldn't attend, but L.B. could, so she played Phillipe Gujon and Alice Pettigrew, and out of deference to her dislike of playing “boys”, it was revealed that “Phillipe” was actually “Phelicity”!

So, the roster was:

  • T.A. playing Isaiah Kestrel, Captain of the Lady Faire

  • M.A. playing Scarred Jack

  • L.B. playing (as her main character) Phelicity Gujon and (as her secondary character) Alice Pettigrew

We picked up a couple of days from the island on the map. Not liking the look of the decayed dock, they anchored offshore and left the crew to guard the sloop. On shore they found everybody 50 years dead. They easily found the mine, ignored the skeletons wrapped in pirate flags, and were shocked to find the lady hanging above the treasure in the depths of the mines. And of course, they were then attacked by the six skeletons wrapped in pirate flags.

T.A. was plagued by poor initiative card draws and low rolls, and earned the unhappy nickname “Captain Slowpants”, and eventually ended up “Captain Slow-anything”, much to his dismay. Eventually, however, they managed to kill the skeletons, and that's where the game ended. (We only had a short time to play.)


We played in my living room around a low, 2 foot diameter table, keeping dice, tokens, and cards on the table and character sheets off. We didn't bother to user miniatures. I used gaming stones to represent wound and shaken statuses, and check track of the skeletons just by removing the d6 that I rolled for their fighting attacks, so there was no book keeping. I thought that all worked well.

(My bones and joints, on the other hand, did not work well when getting up off the floor after a couple of hours of play.)

Recent Reading: Alfred Bester & Roger Zelazny

  • Psycho Shop, by Alfred Bester and Roger Zelazny, copyright 1998 by the Alfred Bester Estate and the Amber Corporation; Introduction copyright 1998 by Greg Bear; Vintage Original/Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Inc./Random House; July, 1998; first edtion; paperback; ISBN 0-679-76782-7.

    An interesting posthumous collaboration between the deceased Alfred Bester and Roger Zelazny, now also, alas, deceased. I wish both of them had lived longer and written more.

Actual Play: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Part 1

Some of the kids and I played through about half of the Pirates of the Spanish Main Savage Worlds one-sheet “Dead Men Tell No Tales” this afternoon and evening, before and after supper. This is one of the free downloads Pinnacle Entertainment Group did for the game.

The roster was:

  • T.A. playing Isaiah Kestrel

  • E.A. playing Alice Pettigrew and Phillipe Gujon

  • M.A. played Scarred Jack

They found the dying pirate with the chest manacled to his foot, and after he died opened the chest and found the treasure map, and decided to head for the island. Along the way they found and boarded the decaying pirate ship, from which they deduced had come the dying pirate. They had a hard time with the zombie pirate captain wildcard, who had the luck of the initiative most of the time, ending up with the Joker three times, and the high card of the draw most of the rest of the time. The zombie wildcard incapacitated Alice with one blow that ended up doing five wounds at a whack, and things were looking dire. However, the zombie pirate captain's luck with the iniative cards finally left him However, E.A., rolling for the crew extras who showed up after hearing Alice scream as she went down, aced an attack roll, then aced all three of the damage dice, and then aced at least one of the rerolls, putting the wildcard down decisively. After that M.A. had Scarred Jack try an untrained Healing roll and aced it big time, so most of Alice's wounds got healed and M.A. wants Jack to learn Healing for real now, which is neat. After they returned to their ship the other ship collapsed and sank. They decided to continue to follow the treasure map, even though a storm came up. Alice was unconscious for four days. After couple of days it was obvious that they and their ship were suffering from the curse, and that's were we had to leave the game.

Lots of fun.


I should have looked up all the details of the edges and hindrances and wrote them on the kids character sheets, and on my copies, before the kids came over for the game. I had to do it while they were there, and of course they wanted to get on to the gaming. However, I knew we'd be looking them up in the middle of game if I didn't.

We also need to play more often so I can keep the details in mind better. Maybe next weekend.

Recent Reading: Brian W. Aldiss

  • Non-Stop, by Brian W. Aldiss, Copyright 1958, 1959, 1987 by Brian W. Aldiss; Carroll & Graf, 1989; bookclub edition.

    This was actually homework for a Metamorphosis Alpha game I intend to play with the kids, but quite enjoyable. I thought I might have read it before, but I certainly didn't remember any of it. (Did I read it as a kid myself? Quite possible.)

    Now I need to find more generation ship novels and movies. Any suggestions?

Rushing Valley D&D, Session #2

Rushing Valley D&D, Session #2

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


2021-08-09 10:54:48

This is an actual play report from the “Rushing Valley” Dungeons and Dragons campaign. These actual play reports are available in html from TKB's blog and from P.D.F.'s RPG forum's Rushing Valley Campaign History forum.

So, here's the actual play report of the second session.


Clockwise round the table, starting with the GM at 9 o'clock:

  • P.D.F as GM

  • M.A.F playing Bartha

  • C.A.F playing Onchu Zillman (sp?)

  • T.K.B. playing Droston a'Seamus, and since unfortunately J.H. wasn't able to play, Eirnin


For the first session we each got 500 XP, and M.A.H. and J.H. got an extra 2 XP for roleplaying.

Actual Play

Still Traveling to Riverton

Tuesday morning, May 5th, we set off for Riverton, with the wounded Bartha travelling on one of the wagons.

Finally in Riverton

We finally reached the outskirts of Riverton in the late afternoon, and realized we had no idea where to deliver the stone. We knew it must be a warehouse down near the docks, but weren't sure which one. We stopped a few passersby and asked directions and for a surgeon. Eventually we determined that Grian's Warehouse was where we needed to go, and that Sawbones Colmün (or was that Cölmun?) was the doctor in our price range, and that we needed to get there before he started drinking for the night.

Taking Care of McVoy's Business

We needed to take care of our obligations to McVoy first and get the wagons safely into the livery stables for the night, so we headed out to Grian's. We got there just as the Grian was locking up, and he was quite upset about how late we'd arrived, since all his workers had already left for the day, but after seeing our injured Bartha he allowed we could unload, if we'd do it ourselves and be quick. We did and were (and I think Grian even pitched in, as well), and finished in good time. Unfortunately, this left us all fatigued. We said goodbye to Grian, who seemed in a good mood at the end, and set off for the sawbones.

Bartha gets Wasted at the Sawbones

Arriving at Sawbones Colmán's, it turned out he was a butcher with a side trade in surgery, but the price was right. Onchu and Eirnin took the wagons to the livery stable (Bran McVoy, as you'd expect from that cheapskate, used the cheapest livery stable in town, even though it was on the far side of town from Grian's.)

Bartha paid for the surgery, but wasn't going to pay for the whiskey to make it easier, so Droston did, insisting this wasn't for her, it was for him, so she'd let him pay. He wanted her to be well anesthetized while the sawbones did his cutting. After a few pulls off the jug she was feeling no pain, and got through the surgery well. Sawbones said she'd have an ugly scar, but she'd do alright, as long as she kept off that leg.

Wolves! No, just a Kid and a Dog

On the way back from the livery stable Onchu and Eirnin heard a howling approaching them, which after their wolf experience the day before set them on edge, but it was just a dog being chased by a kid. (Or was it the other way around?)

Supper, with Violence

Once Onchu and Eirnin were back, we set off, two of us carrying Bartha between us. Droston's intended kindness towards Bartha backfired: it turns out that Bartha is a noisy, friendly, curious drunk, and in the dock area after nightfall friendly women attract rather too much attention. When we tried to get supper at a tavern three thugs thought Bartha would have more fun with them, and the inevitable bar fight ensued; things were not helped by Bartha throwing soup over the combatants and mostly hitting Droston. The thugs were eventually driven off, to their surprise, but Droston lost his temper when the barkeep demanded we pay the damages, and told him off. Onchu, no stranger to bar fights, knew when to leave, and took Bartha with him over his shoulder, followed by Eirnin, but Droston, not so savvy, got shot twice by the bartender with a crossbow. Luckily, both shots were just minor flesh wounds, and Droston left, with the barkeep yelling after them.

Sleep at last

We left the area quickly, and eventually found a quiet dockside inn, the “Wharf Rat”; luckily Bartha had moved on to being a quiet drunk by that time, and although the innkeep warned them all he had was a common room and he couldn't answer for Bartha's safety there, we told him we'd have no problems keeping her safe. We put Bartha against the wall and crowded around her, and one of us was wake at all times, weapon nearby, during the night.

Headed Back, Part 1

In the morning Bartha had the expected unpleasant aftermath. After we got her moving, we went back to the livery stable on the far side of town got the wagons and horses and headed back through town. This time we avoided the docks and went through the good part of town, a much nicer trip. That night we stayed at the camp spot, but had a better arrangement of fires and wagons, in hopes of avoiding more canine entanglements, and luckily had an easy night.

Headed Back, Part 2

The next day, however, while Droston was ranging ahead, just past halfway, he heard animals coming towards the wagons, and was able to warn the drivers. It turned out to be a couple of deer chased by a mountain lion. Thanks to the warning and their own efforts the drivers were able to keep the horses and wagons under control. For a few seconds it looked like Bartha was going to send a sling bullet the mountain lion's way, but she was still recovering from her wound and hard time in Riverton and decided against it, preventing Droston from having a heart attack, imaging what her dad would have said. (“What?!? You let Bartha get bit by a wolf!?!?!? What, you let Bartha attack a mountain lion and get mauled?!?!?!?”)

Just outside the village we heard faint laughter and saw a coin purse hanging in tree. Droston though it was probably the murderer from Riverton trying to ambush people, and argued intently against Bartha trying to get it.

Back in Masonburg

We turned the wagons and horses over to McVoy, who paid out as agreed. We told McVoy about the purse, in an attempt to warn him and the villagers about the possible ambush, but found him touched more by greed at the thought than caution. Bartha proceeded to try to wind McVoy up, but he just looked at her in disgust and left.

Jed, Bartha's dad, was not happy at all about the shape Bartha was in when we brought her back, and told her she wasn't to leave her bed until she'd healed. We told him about the hanging purse too, and he was wistfully tempted by the thought of the money.

(Later we learned that Jed had gone down to look for the purse, and found McVoy already there, no purse, and McVoy already half convinced we'd been playing a trick on him, until Jed turned up. And when Jed got back, he chastised Bartha for trying to wind McVoy up.)

Bad News for Droston

When Droston checked with his family after dropping off Bartha, his dad had a sour look for him at what little Droston told him of their adventures going to town, and some really bad news about his cousin, Brocc. Deputy Han found Brocc, Droston's cousin, who had been overdue a day coming back from the high pastures, treed by two wolves. Brocc had been attacked by 15 wolves several days ago, and while he had killed two of them with his staff, some of them injured him and drove him up the tree and stayed there threatening him while the others went kill-mad and killed many of his fifty sheep and drove the others off. Two of the wolves stayed there for several days until Deputy Han came and drove them off and took Brocc, in pretty bad shape, back to town, where he was bedfast still. Droston went over to him and got Broc to tell him want happened, and it seemed very unusual and upsetting.

That day Droston and Eirnin searched the local area and found two of the missing sheep, out of fifty in Brocc's herd originally.

Back to Work

The next day Onchu and Eirnin had to go back to work. Droston spent the day hunting extra to give to Brocc.

No Rest on the Weekend

By the weekend Bartha was healed enough she could walk without any problems, and Droston asked if his friends could help him try to find some more of Brocc's sheep. They agreed, and we all headed out for the alpine pastures,

[My notes here say: “Sat Morn: 3 dead sheep”; I presume this means we found 3 dead sheep on our way up to the pastures.]

While we were still on the road we came across another purse, lying in the road. Bartha could not be gainsaid, and went for the purse, but the purse disappeared when Bartha grabbed at it, leaving behind a very elaborate but harmless trap, which exploded a red berry dye over the side of Bartha's face, and we heard more laughter. After making sure Bartha wasn't injured, Droston scouted the surrounding woods, but found no tracks.

We arrived at the 1st alpine meadow late in the afternoon and found approximately 20 dead sheep. We set up camp against a huge rock at the far side of the meadow, away from the dead sheep, and found lots of firewood so we could have a large, large fire to keep away the wolves, if they came back.

Eirnin Hears a — Who?

During the night while on guard Eirnin heard little wings behind his head and a voice told him that there was a very bad man 20 yards thataway. Eirnin immediately woke everybody up, and he could hear one humanoid running away.

Mini-arrows and Murderers

The next day we searched during the early part of the day, and found 3 more sheep, including 1 pregnant, all scared and thirsting. We left in good time to make it back to the village before dark. Along the way down we came across a man, who matched the description of Roy, the murderer from Riverton, face down in the road with a tiny arrow in his neck, unconscious. The arrow, when removed, proved not to have injured him much, and there was no sign of injuries to explain the unconsciousness. We carefully tied him up and took him in to town, where we explained how we found him. The mayor told us to work near town for a few days until someone came from Riverton to take him back to face his unhappy fate.

Sheriff Artair came to pick up Roy and paid us 10 s.p. total as a reward, which we divided evenly, 2.5 s.p. each.

Droston in Trouble Again

The Sheriff took Droston off and spoke to him about events in Riverton, and Droston admitted he'd learned his lesson there.

We ended Thursday night, May 14th.


We each got 1 Reputation/Fame point, which can be used to reroll any Diplomacy type roll. We also got 400 XP.

Actual Play: Tomb of Terror, Part 1

I ran the first part of the Savage Wolds fantasy one-sheet “Tomb of Terror” for the kids after we got done with farm work.


Around the table, starting with me as the GM at 6 o'lock, going clock-wise:

  • M.A. played Gar IronHelm;

  • E.A. played Merula Lanus;

  • B.B. played Marcus Two Hands (when he wasn't helping out with baby C.A.);

  • D.B. played Ramel Ramelson; and

  • T.A. played Fox.

Actual Play

We got through the first encounter with very little difficulty, largely because I forgot the very important surprise packages the zombies had that should have gone off when they died, and then nearly had a TPK when I set them all off at once. They got to where they could hear the next encounter when we had to quit.

Maybe we can finish this at Thanksgiving.