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Showing posts from 2012

Update 2

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My daughter is two months old now, and although she is technically still doing well, over the past couple of weeks she has put on lots of odema (edema)– swelling due to fluid retention– and this has been causing her problems with her respiration, and she has been fast asleep the past three days, and possibly suffering from withdrawal now that she is off her morphine. All very hard to witness, and quite stressful. Hopefully 2013 will be a much better year.

Update

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My daughter is now six weeks old, and had her surgery on Monday. You can see the size of her cut/scar/wound. They shifted organs around, but couldn't put all of her stomach back where it is supposed to me; this may or may not cause any problems, we'll just have to wait and see.
She is stable, and doing well all things considered. Now we have to wait for her to recover, then work on her lungs getting better.

Hold Person

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City of Bones is on hold, indefinitely. Why?
This is why:
My daughter, 3 weeks old today, still in intensive care, still stable but not stable enough for her surgery yet. She has a diaphragmatic hernia, which basically means her liver in up in her chest, her lungs are squashed and her heart needs to do extra work to pump her blood around.
Even if she has her surgery in the next couple of weeks (which is doubtful) she'll still be recovering come Christmas; which means that this year, we shall be spending Christmas in the hospital. That's going to be weird.
So, until she has recovered and is home, the fortnightly Sunday game of the City of Bones campaign is in stasis; in case anyone was wondering.

Player's Report from Last Session

Dear Jack,

You'll never guess where I'm writing to you from! No really, try and guess. Wrong! Try again. Still Wrong! Give up? Ha! Ok then I'll tell you. We're in a giant metal coffin travelling down an underwater river! See? I told you you couldn't guess! Also, Mr. Black is dead.
Let me try and describe what's going on.

Well, we fought off the zombies and camped outside instead. This morning we finally got rid of all that purple fog. It was tough but I convinced the others to come with me into the room it all seemed to be coming from. We couldn't see anything so we were expecting to get attacked at any moment, but feeling along the walls we found a dwarf that looked like he was sitting in meditation next to a fire pit. Three weird seeds were burning to make all the smoke. I guess the dwarf was a zombie as well but Mr. Black cut off his head before he could do anything. Ishy carefully took the seeds outside and put them out. We all took a break while we waited…

With the tour over...

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...and with the game temporarily on hold (holidays and the like), what to do?
One thing I haven't done yet is sketched out the area surrounding the city. All we do know is that there are mountains to the north and south, the land all around is a wasteland, and that's pretty much it; there are ruins in both mountain ranges, a pass north that leads through to the northern kingdoms (and where I dropped hooks about the Stonehell Dungeon, in case the players feel like heading that way.
Then I remembered an old map, and I thought, well, why not use that and add it to it later.
So, here is the old map, before I do anything to it:

Couriers of the City

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Within the city itself, couriers known as SPRINTERS carry messages from one Quarter to another, for a small fee. They are members of the TORCH BEARERS' GUILD, chosen for their speed and agility; many of them are children. Other guilds use their own members to deliver messages or packages, but generally only for guild business. The BEGGARS' GUILD, for example, uses its street urchins, who can move about more easily and quickly than even the SPRINTERS, knowing the streets as well as they do.
For outside communication, the council rely on homing-pigeons to deliver messages between settlements, or armed couriers who travel with the caravans; or, if the message is urgent, ride off on horses that they exchange for fresh mounts at way-stations along the main roads. Occasionally, they turn to the magi of the ACADEMY for magical communications.

Time & the City

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There are few clocks in the city; the few that exist are owned by rich nobles, the magi, and certain faiths. Most people rely on the ringing of bells from the City Hall of GREEN HILL. The Hall's bell-tower has twelve bells, each a different size and tone. They are rung in the same sequence every day, each tone and bell signalling a different hour. During the day, each bell is rang twice upon the hour; at night, the bells are rang but once.
Each hour is accurately timed thanks to an elaborate orrey, a gift from the priests of YELANA. This massive, intricately designed clockwork masterpiece stands within the council's bell-tower, and tracks the movement of the sun, moon and stars, measuring time at all levels. It not only displays the hour, but also the date (Southern reckoning)– day, week, month and year– as well as the seasons. A calendar is marked along the radius of the orrey, but follows the Southern months; thankfully, scholars have translated and transcribed them to their …

Architecture of the City

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For the most part the architecture of the city is a mixture of Southern and Northern design, heavily influenced by dwarf craftsmanship, as that stout race are responsible for building most of the city's structures, including the walls, towers and gatehouses that protect it.
The materials used are often an indication of wealth, with the wattle & daub and stone at the lowest levels, followed by timber and brick, to marble and other precious and fine stonework. Most of the buildings in the MERCHANT QUARTER are stone; while wood, coloured bricks, and expensive stone are proudly displayed in the NOBLE QUARTER and upon GREEN HILL. Stone also dominates the RESIDENTS QUARTER, with the poorer dwellings little more than wattle & daub huts crammed together to form blocks. A few houses are built with red or sandy bricks or, rarer still, imported timbers.
Most buildings are sharp-edged, flat-roofed and straight-lined; a mixture of Southern and dwarven architecture. The interiors are ofte…

Trade in the City of Bones

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Despite being part of the larger kingdom, the CITY OF BONES largely operates as an independent state. It sends a nominal sum to the King's coffers, to cover basic taxes, but is left alone to govern its own affairs.
Due to its location, within the desolate region where the GreatBattle took place, little vegetation is able to grow and the sandy, gritty land is sterile for miles around. The city does, however, have dozens of small outlying farms that struggle to produce the necessary food to sustain the city. Wood is also scarce, with the nearest forest several days journey distant, and home to forest elves who call it home; they sell timber to the city, protecting their forest as they do so, coming down hard on anyone trying to fell trees by themselves. The resources that the city does have in abundance are minerals and metal ores, mined by the dwarves from the surrounding hills and nearby mountains, even from within the WEEPING CHASM. The raw materials and the goods produced are one…

...the story continues...

Played on Sunday, which is only- I think- our third session of the campaign, as there have been holidays and the like creating long stretches between games; in fact, it will be three or four weeks until our next game.
This session was spent largely hiring henchmen, shopping, and (for some reason) finding places in the city to rent or buy; they took a job escorting a dwarf priest to a tomb/temple of some obscure dwarf deity, and explore only three rooms before heading back to the city: they did manage to kill 11 dwarf zombies, and loot a hoard of weapons and armour, which they sold when they got back. They almost lost one of the party: Black Raven took a hefty punch to the head, felling him and crushing his ear. He had it restored back at the city, but still needed two week's to recover. In the meantime, Jacqui went carousing and made a fool of herself when trying to intimidate someone, and falling flat on her face.
Highlights of the game: Using a Protection from Evil spell to grea…

The Story So Far...

We've only managed to play a few sessions so far, and have another planned for tomorrow, and I haven't been keeping notes as I have for my other game; not enough time to scribble down the unfolding story; so instead I shall scribble down some notes here, partly to how that this campaign is actually being played, and so I have some sort of record as to what has gone down: Three would-be adventures, monster-hunters, explorers met when a hippogriff broke loose and they killed it;They were given a job by a nan whose life they save: to retrieve a stone book from a tomb in the catacombs. This they managed, after a couple of trips and exploration (and looting) of the tombs;They explore more catacombs, slew giants rats, giant corpse fleas, avoided and got injured by traps, found some treasure and have so far survived;Recently they ventured down to the surface of the Weeping Chasm to get some blood to sell on, earning a tidy profit, and hoping that nothing comes bad from selling the wr…

The Iron Soldiers

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While the CITY-WATCH are responsible for protecting the interior of the city, the IRON SOLDIERS protect the city from the outside; the walls, the gates, roads, farms, and mines all fall under their jurisdiction.
They are trained warriors, soldiers dressed in lamellar cuirass over chain shirts, with conical helms with half-masks that cover their faces. Like the footmen of the Watch they carry round shields and wear tabards with the city'd coat-of-arms, although their tabards are a rust-red. They all carry swords, daggers, with additional weapons depending on their duty.
Gate-Guards have spears, used to prod wagons, checking their cargo for contraband. Those patrolling the walls have arbalests, but are not skilled as the archers of the Watch. They patrol in shifts, and many sleep in the barracks in the IRON TOWERS; which is why these soldiers are known as the IRON SOLDIERS, although others say that their name comes from the fact that they are inflexible, tough and cold-hearted.
Those t…

Policing the City

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The CTY-WATCH are responsible for the safety of the inhabitants of the city, and are the guards you see manning the WATCH-TOWERS and patrolling the streets. All are easily identified by their bone-tabards bearing the city's own coat-of-arms; a modified version of the duke's who lays claim on the city as part of his domain, even though the city effectively runs itself and is as free a city as one that is part of a kingdom can be. Each member of the Watch also carries a badge of office: a copper brooch pinned to their cloak, with an engraving of a sword over a shield. This badge grants them the authority to enforce council orders, keep the peace, make arrests, and search the premises of suspected felons, so long as they are not on religious grounds.
There are two types of CITY-WATCH guards: footmen and archers.
Footmen patrol the streets, assist the GATE WARDENS, and deal with trouble in the city's quarters. They wear conical helms, lamellar cuirass over padded tunics and legg…

The Catacombs: the real City of Bones

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Below Godsend, beginning under the TEMPLE QUARTER and spreading out from there, is the necropolis, the city of the dead.
It began with a few crypts, and catacombs beneath the temples; then expanded as graves were moved to underground vaults. The largest of these vaults, beneath WINTER-HOLD, had viewing chambers built-in where families could bury their dead, but have them preserved and displayed, so that they could visit the deceased. The priests of the RAVEN KING began to rent out space to other faiths, who then built themselves tunnels connecting their temples and churches to the crypts.
As the centuries passed, the tunnels, chambers, crypts and tombs, the extended network of catacombs soon covered as much ground as the city above; then they began to dig deeper, as space and necessity demanded. Some pass beyond the city walls, but not many for fear of undermining the walls and fortifications. Today, the necropolis is a vast web of cared-for crypts, forgotten tombs, lost catacombs an…

Delvers' Guide: Ruins of Kor, Part 2

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The Stained PalaceNestled amongst the rubble of the fallen walls and towers, rests the largely intact palace of the former rulers of KOR. It has buckled on one side, an entire wing bending at a steep angle to the rest of the building, the rest leaning backwards as if to escape the rest of the ruins. The centuries have worn away at the stone, and the rain, blood and waste blown across the chasm have stained the walls. It's name derives from these stains, but it is also known as the STAINED PALACE because of the stained-glass windows encircling the dome that dominates the palace. The glass has retained its bright colours, is unbroken, but generally coated in a layer of grime. The windows have proven to be indestructible, repelling even spells that unleash destruction in the form of lightning bolts and fireballs. Magi would gladly pay a king's ransom to discover how they were made. The Twisted TowerNot far beyond the palace is another mostly intact building, the TWISTED TOWER; so …

Delvers' Guide: Ruins of Kor, Part 1

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The Eastern RidgeThe eastern tunnels largely emerge into the ruins over a ridge of densely packed stone, strewn with scree slopes and scattered boulders. Many of the rivers of blood stop here, forming pools and small marshes; others have carved channels through the ridge, and bloody waterfalls cascade into the ruins beyond.
The ridge acts as a natural border, separating the tunnels and city ruins, and is spread across the miles-wide chasm. Paths, natural and man- or monster-made cut through the stone, winding down to the sunken city below. The Boulder Fields Forming a rough crescent on the edge of the denser ruins is a sparse expanse of bedrock, scattered and strewn with boulders of all sizes. These are actually the worn-down remnants of ruins, and hidden amongst them are trapdoors and buried stairs leading down into cellars, crypts, dungeons and underground warehouses. Some are visible, some have been excavated and explored, but most remain untouched, waiting to be discovered. The Red Ca…

Delvers' Guide: the Ancient Ruins

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The ANCIENT RUINS OF KOR are centuries old, and by all accounts KOR was an old city even before it fell. There is no doubt that a wealth of treasure can be found there, along with ancient knowledge, unknown magics, and history waiting to be discovered. It is the ultimate goal of anyone descending into the chasm, and can be a hive of activity; with adventurers, explorers, historians and other scholars all paying the ruins a visit.
The ruins are also dangerous, even more than the tunnels and surface of the chasm. Pale, regressed humans are the dominant threat in the city, believed to be the descendants of the original inhabitants. They are little more than scavengers, cannibals, and hunt in packs. They have an aversion to sunlight, and cringe in even bright light, but can tolerate the light of lanterns or torches. There are rumours that some among them are shamans, but this has yet to be proven.
The original landscape of the city has changed beyond all recognition, and there are few intac…

Delvers Guide: Places to See & Avoid, Part 3

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The Hidden Forest Deeper into the tunnels is a natural cavern that sinks lower into the ground. This cavern holds THE HIDDEN FOREST, with giant mushrooms in place of trees, patches of mould in place of bushes, and fresh water from streams fed by rainwater that trickles through the layers of stone above.
Home to a variety of wildlife, some hostile, the forest is a source of food and water for those that live in the tunnels, and for adventuring parties passing through. Old Scar-Face One of the inhabitants of THE HIDDEN FOREST is an old, huge tenacious Manticore that has been given a name by adventurers: OLD SCAR-FACE; for the monster's face is covered in scars from the battles it has fought and survived. None have managed to slay him, and those that have tried have always suffered casualties. In part, this is due to his size, power and ferocity, but also because he is rarely encountered alone, being normally encountered with his fully-grown children or mates. The StatuaryCloser to the ru…

Delvers Guide: Places to See & Avoid, Part 2

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The Bloody MireUpon the surface of the chasm, starting a short distance from the shaft, is a boggy marsh region where the rivers of blood have muddied the debris; creating the reeking BLOODY MIRE. This marsh is abuzz with insects, including some of the giant variety, and monsters hunt and lair there. Flocks of BLOOD RAVENS dine on the insects when they can't get meatier prey, and ICHOR or BLOOD ELEMENTALS have been known to spontaneously form.
The mire covers two-thirds of the width of the chasm, making it to difficult to avoid. Those that try find themselves trapped by those monsters who have learnt to hunt on the 'dry land' between the mire and wall. Blood RavensThese abominations are a bane to all travellers to the chasm. Originally they were ordinary ravens, attracted by the deaths of all those Avatars and followers. They began to change when they first tasted the divine blood; growing in size, feathers turning blood red, beaks sharpening, overcome with insatiable hunger…

Delvers Guide: Places to See & Avoid, Part 1

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The WEEPING CHASM is full of danger, but it is also full wonder. There are things below that you won't find anywhere else, sights unseen, experiences like no other. Some can be found in the tunnels, others in the ruins, and a few cling to the walls and lie upon the surface. Keep your wits about you, however, because for every wonder there's a monster close-by.
Here are a few of the more common monsters and places to see, and sometimes avoid. Skin WraithsThought to be the lost, discontented souls of slain Avatars and their subsequent victims, SKIN WRAITHS are common enough to be fairly well documented. Semi-corporeal undead entities, akin to the deadlier life-draining wraiths found in the CATACOMBS, these shadowy creatures wear the tattered skins of their victims. They radiate intense cold, and their touch freezes, eventually paralysing their victims. The SKIN WRAITH then skins the victim, slowly, painfully, killing them in the process.
Thankfully, they are vulnerable to the divin…

Delvers' Guide: Entry & Exit

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Entering & Leaving the Chasm There is only one safe way to enter or leave the city, and that is by the lift attached to the DELVERS GUILD. For a modest fee, a delver will take you down in the lift, and the return ascent is free; although you may have to wait a while for the lift to arrive. There used to be a bell attached to a very long rope, but it was removed after the more intelligent monsters learnt that they could call down food; their very own room service.
The lift passes through a shaft at the bottom of the chasm, and stops in a cavern that has been cleared and enlarged over the years. The shaft is defended by sharpened stakes driven deep into the rock, and a mixture of divine glyphs and arcane wards. There are no guards down there, as their life expectancy would be very low.
The other ways in and out of the chasm are risky at best, deadly for the most part. The obvious way is climbing the walls, which certainly have plenty of nooks and crannies to hold on to; an easy climb, …

Delvers' Guide to the Weeping Chasm

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The first thing you need to know about the WEEPING CHASM is its size: a little over twenty-seven miles long, half-a-mile deep, and five miles across at its widest point. The tip begins here, in our CITY OF BONES, and the fissure ends at the foot of the mountains to the west. It is vast, with numerous tunnels, caverns and pits spreading out from its interior, like cracks in a broken pane of glass.
The second thing you need to know is that its depths are largely unexplored, and that new areas are always being discovered. The remains of the ancient city of KOR lie in the chasm, the more intact buildings at its centre, the rest at least partially buried by rocks and scree, flooded with water or blood. The accumulation of centuries of fallen stones, dumped waste, and general detritus have compacted layers of debris, with natural pockets and caves being formed, creating a network of tunnels and rooms, some narrow, some wide avenues, often cramped with low ceilings, damp and pitch black. Thes…

City Tour: Questions & Answers, & the End of the Tour

All of which brings us to the end of our tour, right back where we started, outside the PILGRIMAGE INN. I hope, ladies and gentlemen, that you found the tour both educational and interesting, and I thank you all for both the pleasure of your company and for parting with your gold.
Now, before I leave, are there are any further questions?
Mercenaries? Look no further than that long building practically next door. That's the place to hire sell-swords and the like, at least if you want some legal protection and loyalty that money can't buy (although, it helps). It's, appropriately enough, called the MERCENARIES' GUILD. If you're on the look-out for someone cheaper, trawl the taverns or hang-out at the FIGHTING PITS.
The most powerful people in the city, individuals? Well, that depends on who you ask, but if you want my opinion, I'd say that the most powerful magi is THE WHITE WIZARD, old greybeard who lives by the chasm. He has to be powerful, certainly more than tho…

City Tour: The Church of the Divine Flesh

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The CHURCH OF DIVINE FLESH, or HOUSE OF CONSUMPTION, was the first church built on the battle. The city largely spread out around it, although that's not so evident today. This is a major reason behind the church's power and prestige. It doesn't hurt that they bought up a lot of land, which they later sold for great profit, or rent land to others. It's certainly the richest of all the churches, in influence if not in gold and jewels.
They worship DOKONALI, the God of Perfection, Physical Prowess, Pride and Power. A lot of warriors follow him, as do some merchants, and the more energetic, power-hungry and gluttonous nobles. His clerics have to be seen to be believed; and we're in luck, because there's one, together with his entourage. Yes, that bloated man being carried in that iron-contraption, that's the cleric; high-ranking too, judging by his size. Those muscular men, the ones straining under the weight, are the acolytes, studying hard so that they can …

City Tour: Winter-Hold

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A tour of the TEMPLE QUARTER wouldn't be complete without a visit to this temple: WINTER-HOLD, temple raised in honour of the God of Death himself, the RAVEN KING. One of the Northern gods, the RAVEN KING stands guard over the realm of the dead, where the souls of the deceased eventually end up. His ravens are said to shepherd the souls to his realm, which is why they are considered ill-omens and can be found on battlefields. They have a reputation of being scavengers, but they're merely messengers, watchers, and shepherds. You should always treat a raven with kindness, especially if you're about to die.
The temple holds the entrance to the largest of the catacombs and crypts, the NECROPOLIS, and some of them are actually rented out to other faiths, who consecrate and decorate if for their own religious needs. The priests run most of the funeral arrangements of the city, largely because they're the best there is. They also sponsor adventuring parties to destroy undead; …

City Tour: The Jewelled Hall, The Crimson Church, & the House of Cards

The Jewelled HallsThis ornate stone edifice houses shrines to the entire dwarven pantheon, and the interior is richly decorated in precious metals, stones and jewels. Each of their gods is represented by a specific jewel, and each shrine shines with that gemstone. It must be the richest place in the whole city, and the sight of those bejewelled shrines must be amazing; but if you're not a dwarf, you'll never see them. The stout folk refuse entry to anyone else; even if you lay bleeding on their doorstep. They'd likely tend to your wounds, but would do so outside. The Crimson Church Our next stop is this brightly coloured church; when it catches the sun its glow makes the surrounding buildings and streets look like they've bathed in blood, much to the annoyance of their neighbours. This, is the CRIMSON CHURCH, where the followers known as the CRIMSON HAND worship the warrior goddess AADILA, the Crimson Goddess, the Red Hand of Justice, with domain over war, justice, and, …

Ghouls in the City of Bones

[Inspired by a recent post from Monstrous Television]
Ghouls in the City of BonesBeneath the City of Bones, lurking within the deeper levels of the Catacombs, is a slowly growing Kingdom of Ghouls; but these are not your usual ghouls, these are free-willed, less savage ghouls who retain many memories of their previous lives. Ruled by a self-proclaimed King, the ghouls survive by feasting on the dead, robbing from the living, and providing services to adventuring types who delve into the catacombs: services such as guiding delvers to tombs that can be looted; ancient lore; assassinations and thievery; and some even hire themselves out as henchmen. Their presence in the catacombs isn't well know, but rumours are plentiful. Several of the city's religions have a standing bounty for the destruction of these undead abominations. Ghouls as a Playable ClassGhouls are created by being killed by another ghoul, and when the new ghoul 'awakens' they are, at first, weaker versions o…