Mages and Thieves

An 8 Hour Gaming Session Of AD&D

2nd Edition (Spikehelm Campaign World)

The Back Story: (aka the idea that became the setup for this game)
This was an off the cuff game, set up at the last minute with about 30 minutes to do the set up, and an hour to create Maldis. The characters don't know each other and Daniel was already within another game.
Ah the fun of being a DM!
The Adventurers: (aka the Player Characters)
Name Class Level Gender Race Brief Description
Daniel Blackthorne Battle-Mage 4 Male Dracôrian (Human) N/A
Maldis Thief (Adventurer) 1 Male Southern Durnite (Human) N/A
DM Notes: As they were not already acquainted, I needed to create a way for them to get together reasonably. Maldis was the easiest as he was a brand new PC. Daniel, however was already in another game that was on hold due to various players not being present, so I needed to get him away and into this game. This is how I did it.
Introduction: Maldis
Maldis had been exploring a ruin that was a few days from home village. On his return, he found the village under siege. He was alone and therefore helpless to do anything but watch as the raiders, mostly Orcs, burned his home to the ground. He stayed until the end hoping that if anyone escaped he might be able to help them, but no one did.
He had heard of another settlement a few days northwest of there, from the merchant caravans that passed through in the summer and fall. He wasn't sure exactly where it was, but with Raiders already on the prowl and his supplies running low, he ventured forth. What a horrible birthday present!
Two days later, he found a nameless hamlet with a solitary inn, sporting an old and weathered boar skull sitting over the entryway.
Introduction: Daniel
The group had just stopped to make camp in a copse of trees and it was Daniel's turn to get the fire started.
"What the Skrie!" thought Daniel, as he felt a forceful blow to his back. That blow pushed him into his fire that had barely caught. With his first stumbling step, night suddenly changed to day and embers from spent wood exploded away from him into the snow of the plains.
As he looked around, the group, his horse and the copse of trees was nowhere to be seen, "Where in the Skrie am I!" he swore into the cold spring morning. At least his rucksacks and other gear were at his feet. Cudgleigh, his ferret familiar, poked his black nose out of the rucksack with a "What did you do now?" look in his eyes. Daniel’s response was, "This time I didn't do anything, it’s not as if I'm a Chaos Mage... Sheesh!"
Picking up his gear, he trudged up a hill and looked around trying to find his bearings. In the distance he spotted a few thin trickles of smoke rising into the morning sky. "Well Cudgleigh, I guess that's as good a place to start as any." Being alone and in Southern Durnite, which was a deadly place to be without companions to watch one’s back, Daniel needed to get there before darkness fell and the gates closed. He headed out at a slow jog; it was still early spring and too cold to be running full out. Luckily the settlement was closer than it had looked and he made it there as the sun was setting.
Session Start: Sunday - 3:30 pm ( Actual Start - 4:30 pm due to PC generation )
Location: Southern Durnite
Game Date: The 7th day, in the of month of Thawing, in the year of the Gold Hunter, 6th Age, 941 years after the Great Crossing.
Moon Phase: Last Quarter
It was little, barely a hamlet, but it had a thick 10 foot tall clay and sod palisade with a single watchtower. The buildings within were also clay and sod, half buried in the ground to keep them insulated and out of the howling winds. The inn was the second largest building in the hamlet with the main storage barn being the largest. Daniel was directed there to find a place for the night. As he entered he looked around the commons room. It was 20' wide by 40' long and sported a 7' ceiling, which meant that the building was only 4' tall from the outside. Within were two caldrons on either side of the mud and woven reed door to keep out the chill. Along one wall, there was a long alcove that held pottery mugs and plates and a large cask. At the far end there was large hearth, to either side of that on opposing walls were a pair of woven reed doors. In between were two large trestle tables, 10'x3', with benches on either side and two woven reed chairs by the hearth.
There was only one person within, who looked up from a steaming bowl of stew that smelled wonderful to the very cold and wet Daniel. As he closed the door another man, obviously the innkeeper came out of the far left door. "Welcome to my place, the name is Meric, how can I help you?"
With that, Daniel got a room for the night and a meal, stream trout and for what he was expecting it was mouth-wateringly good, even the ale from the solitary cask on the wall was quite good. He sat across from the other guest and Maldis introduced himself. They spent a few hours chatting by the hearth as Daniel tried to get the chill from his bones. During the night five villagers stopped in for drinks, one of which traded a tinderbox "Sparker" for some of Maldis' exotic smelling pipeweed.
After warming up, they both retired to their rooms. The four guest rooms were accessed by the door on the far right, which led into a tight corridor that shared the wall with the hearth. Thankfully the temperature was noticeably warmer back there. The rooms were little more than 7' x 5' closets, half of which was taken up by a raised earthen shelf covered in furs and closed off with a simple woven reed door. Sadly there were already two other guests, so they were left with the 2 rooms farthest from the hearth.
The next morning they were greeted with the smell of cooking porridge. When they entered the commons room they found a large pot of it hung over the hearth with clay bowls and spoons off to the side. They also got to meet one of the other guests, a half-orc by the name of Kor.
After breaking their fast, the two talked with Meric about getting supplies so that they each could continue their separate travels. Meric told them that since it was still early spring there would be little in the village, but if they went hunting he could at least dry and smoke the meat they came back with so it would keep longer.
With that in mind they decided that it would be best to hunt together and split the take in half. As they got to the gate they pulled out the chits that they were given for their weapons and retrieved them.
DM Notes: In my game world Southern Durnite is a war torn and mistrusting place. Most communities require that strangers leave their bigger weapons with the guards. There are always guards! Things like daggers and dirks are allowed, but only one or two, a bandolier of them would be confiscated. What about magic items and spell casters you say? Most commoners have never witnessed magic and therefore aren't concerned about it; the humanoid hoards are more than enough to keep them occupied.
The fields that surrounded it were fallow and waiting for spring thaw. In the daylight they could see that the hamlet had recently fended off an attack; one of the fields and part of the palisade had been burned.
The plains beyond the hamlet were still white with snow and a strong frigid wind whipped about our two hunters, chilling them to the bone. What was left of the grass was barely a foot tall and crunched beneath their feet. The ground underneath, however, was already starting to thaw and in places was slushy. Soon enough, their feet were wet and cold. This close to the hamlet there wasn't much to hunt. They weren't expecting to hunt anything larger than rabbits so they continued further afield.
About an hour away from the hamlet, Daniel took an arrow to the chest. Luckily his enspelled armour took the blow and deflected it into the ground. Maldis caught it out of the corner of his eye and saw the arrow hit along with the resulting blue shockwave of the protective spell. Daniel, not wanting to have to explain dove on Maldis taking him to the ground just as another arrow shot between them. Wet and muddy they watched as two more arrows landed in their general area. Daniel sent out his familiar with directions to find out what was shooting at them. It took a few minutes for him to feel the throbbing that meant Cudgleigh wanted his attention. With a request for Maldis to watch over him for a moment, his eyes glazed over and he felt the familiar vertigo of his senses fading and joining with his ferret. Cudgleigh was looking into a ravine at a half dozen small dog-like humanoids who were cranking a device that was holding a bow. Daniel snapped back into himself and after the next arrow shot out he poked his head up and started crawling towards them, signalling Maldis to follow.
When they got there Daniel stood up with a spell at the ready to unleash on these little vermin, but just as they came into sight, the vermin fired their weapon from point blank range. Unfortunately for him that shot ripped through the remnants of his protective spell and passed right through his left leg between his knee cap and femur dropping him in a screaming instant.
As he fell back more of the vermin poured out from their burrows in the ravine and swarmed up with the intent to finish him. As they did, Maldis watched as they went to hack him apart, leaping to his feet and hurling his dirk into the back of the one closest to Daniel.
Daniel watched as they hacked at the air 3 feet away from him. His armour's last defensive spell was active, and displaced his image away from where he truly was. With a smile, he raised his hands and unleashed a fiery fan into their midst killing them all. The creatures were cowardly; many of the ones that hadn't yet made the ledge dropped back down and fled into their burrows.
Maldis stopped just before the fire got to him. Where it came from he couldn't guess, but then his attention was drawn to the creatures franticly cranking to reload the bow. With his rapier already out, it would be a simple thing to thrust and kill one, but he also noticed the panic that took the ones closest to Daniel and changed his tactics. He picked the most visible of the lot and aimed at its eye and stabbed. Then, with it skewered, he pulled it up with his sword and tossed it into the others. The problem was, this had the reverse effect from what he wanted; instead of scaring them off, they charged up the wall at him.
Daniel had been forced to sit and watch as all of his remaining attack spells were line of sight and the vermin were not. But when the first one came up over the ledge to get Maldis, he shouted a warning to him and fired his favourite spell. It was based on lightning and could be cast in one of two ways: either as a bolt that rooted the target to the spot and shocked them; or as a concussive blast that hurled them away. For this fight, he decided that the former would be best, and by luck or by plan, his bolt struck true and the others behind the first banged into that poor creature and the spell's effects spread to them all. That ended the battle, as the damage from the spell was enough to kill them.
After that, Maldis helped Daniel to bind his leg and made a type of crutch from the crude reed javelins the vermin had on them. With him wounded, they gave up the hunt and headed back. Along the way they saw some signs of rabbits and Daniel asked Cudgleigh to flush them towards them. Maldis and his dirk took care of the rest in a few minutes.
When they got back to the hamlet, Daniel asked the gate guards to get a priest to heal his leg. They looked at him and then told him that the only healer that they had was Meric. With the help of two others they got him to the inn and sure enough Meric was able to help. In the end, it would be 3 weeks before he was up and able to walk again. Add the fact that he almost died from infection twice and at one point, also they thought they might have to take the leg.
Maldis stuck around because the weather turned bad. To make the best of things he told Meric that he had skills as a blacksmith. This turned out to be a great boon for him as it seemed that everyone in the hamlet had something that needed fixing. Since he didn't have any tools with him he asked Meric to find the minimum for him to work with and a safe place for him to setup. He also went out with the hunters to gather food. In the end, he wound up with food and some extra things, like fur bedrolls, that he could used in the wilds.
Game Date: The 4th day, in the of month of Planting, in the year of the Gold Hunter, in the 6th Age, 941 years after the Great Crossing.
Moon Phase: Waning Gibbous
As the weather got better the two men got ready to continue on. They had also had some time to talk and had decided to travel together for protection, but two days into their travels a fierce storm caught up with them. They had been traveling along the broken remains of an old Arcanite highway. Out here in the rolling plains with no shelter, they would surely die from exposure.
Luckily, Maldis spotted what looked like a rock outcropping on a hill a short distance from the highway. It was better than nothing so they went for it. It turned out to be the ruins of an old watchtower. While they were trying to create a makeshift shelter, Maldis came across a loose stone while trying to wedge a knife into the wall.
That stone turned out to be a release mechanism for a hidden door, but it was stuck. Only through the great strength of Daniel were they able to force the door open enough to get in. It opened into a narrow sloping corridor, within the outer wall, that led down into the hillside and ended at a large cellar still stocked full of ancient dust-encrusted stores in crates. Along one wall there were bunks enough to sleep 8 people. There were 2 large trestle tables with bench seating and hidden behind a small crate was a fireplace. It was cold down here, but they could survive. Something else they noticed was that there were no cobwebs, bugs or rodents down here, only a thick layer of dust and when Cudgleigh started to complain about an irritating buzzing Daniel put two and two together and recalled a spell that would keep vermin out of an area.
-- To Be Continued --
Session End: Sunday - 11:30 pm