The Greatest Goblin 4

Blurg follows his new friend through the scrub. Low, weedy shrubs give way to taller plants adorned with thick spines and pine needle leaves. The goblin’s ears prick and twitch at the distinctive sound of long-bellied snakes crawling through the brush.

“Is it far?” He squeaks, eyes scanning the darkness.

“Oh miles,” she replies, jabbing a green finger at the entrance to a dark burrow beneath the roots of a thorny trunk.

“Or just there. Come on.”

Is anything amiss at the Toe Biter lar?

Even with the adventuring companies roaming Goblin Hold, I’ll say there’s a normal (4+ chance) of things being wrong. Rolling a 5 tells me something’s wrong. Consulting the Mighty Oracle to discover what the problem is reveals ‘harming’ and ‘Mental/Plotting/Technical’. I decide some naughty fiend has trapped the entrance. Was it Toe Biters? (1-3) or Adventurers? (4-6)

Die roll gives a 6 so the trap is of Good Kin design. The superior craftsmanship will make it a little harder to disarm/evade. First though, our goblins with have to spot it.

Rolling on luck, L2SR, Blurg needs 12+(!) The Toe Biter needs 15+(!!). Unsurprisingly, neither of them spot the trap.

Who goes in first?

Eager to escape the creepy forest, Blurg shoulders past his new friend and darts into the tunnel mouth. The cool air on his skin and the musty scent of the underground cool his aching nerves. Relief’s soft touch does not last long. His naked foot slips deep into the mud and hits something hard. A resounding ‘click’ echoes within the confined space. It almost overpowers the twang of a releasing string. He looks down in time to the crossbow poking out from the dirt, its bow slamming straight as it hurls a filthy quarrel at his chest.

Blurg has a chance to dodge the arrows. I’ll make it a 1SRDex, meaning he needs to roll 7+. He scores a 5. Since there are only Light & Heavy bows detailed in the MM12e rulebook, I’ll give blurg a chance and roll 3d for a Light bow.

Lucky old Blurg takes 15 points of damage, taking him to -6 and Death’s black domain. At least his woes with adventurers have come to an end.

The Greatest Goblin 3

Blurg hawks up gobbets of phlegm to clear the bitter taste of guzzler root. It’s still writhing on the ground so he starts running. With a limp that takes up his entire body, he charges toward the goblish screams. His brain tells him to find somewhere to hide but his loneliness gains the upper hand.

The screams come from a rent in the earth. A trio of dull green limbs, about the size of his own, and a pair of goblin heads, litter the rim. Blurg squeezes his eyes shut and turns to run, but the cries of pain and panic are too much to ignore.

Whip in hand, he races to the edge of the pit. There’s a pair of green skins down the bottom, Toe Biters if ever he’s seen them. They’re racing around the bottom like mad things, trying to escape the giant, bulbous white shape that’s snapping at them with a ring-like mouth that’s got visible teeth despite the depth and lack of sun. One of the Toe Biters trips over the opened-up torso of one of its less lucky companions. Its head disappears inside the grub-thing’s maw.

“Oi,” Blurg shouts to the remaining Toe Biter.

“Grab my thingy!”

With the skill and finesse of his breed, Blurg almost takes out the Toe Biter’s eye as he lashes his whip down the hole.

Quick roll for the Toe Biter’s more useful stats considering the situation:

ST: 9 Con: 10 Dex: 8 LK; 10 Spd: 11 Blimey, it’s actually worse than Blurg!

Toe Biter needs a SR1LK to catch the whip & makes it with a 6+4

Blurg needs an SR1ST to drag the goblin out of the pit. He blows it by rolling 5+1. Even Chaos Factor won’t save him this time.

Toe Biter needs to make an SR1LK to avoid the giant grub. With 6+5 they manage it handily.

Deft hands moving like lightening, the Toe Biter snatches the whip. Blurg heaves, but blood loss and his small frame block his attempt to drag the goblin to safety.

“Pull ‘arder,” the Toe Biter screams, scurrying from the reach of snapping jaws.

“Eat less fish!” Blurg retorts.

Blurg SR1ST: TN: 20 Roll: 11 That’s a success even without the Chaos Factor.

With a frustrated bellow, Blurg yanks on the whip again. The Toe Biter yelps the grunts as it slams down on the earth beside him.

After dragging the Toe Biter to its feet, Blurg pummels the grub creature with rocks until it disappears back into the earth.

“Thanks,” the Toe Biter says, dusting mud and soil from

1-3 male. 4-6 female. 4 – Female

her knees.

“We was running from some Big Foots when the floor went boom and that squishy had us.”

“Big Foots?” Blurg groans, head swimming.

“The Toe Biters are gone?”

“Nah,” the other replies.

“We was just going home to raise the alarm. You coming?”

Nodding his head, Blurg pulls the knife from his belt and hands it to his new friend.

The Greatest Goblin 2

Did it again. Blurg was originally Snotts. I guess since I started with Blurg I’ll stick with it.

Right, where are we? Yeah, Gut Fish Pond. The scene die is a 6 which is a rest scene. Pretty dull, so I’ll keep it brief.

Racing through low-lying foliage, Blurg reaches the lake. The Big Foots and String Chins are forgotten in favour of breakfast. Casting his helmet, shield, and whip to the ground he plunges head-first into the lake. Cold water consumes him, chills his blood and cools the fires of terror. Spindly arms dragging him through the drink with a sub-aqua breast stroke, Blurg starts to sing.

Is there anything nasty and fishy kicking about the lake? Norma chance (4+) Roll: 2. No giant pike, crabs, or UWRS agents.

They come slowly at first, tiny sticklebacks and shrimp. Freshwater crabs follow. Eels next. Soon Blurg sits at the bottom of Gut Fish Lake, arms a blur as he crams fistfuls of freshwater food into his gaping maw. Finally, belly full and hunger sated, he stretches onto his back, head resting on his forearms, and kicks up to the surface.

There. Rested. Have any other goblins made it to the lake? Likely (3+) Roll:2. No. Have any of the adventurers? Standard (4+) Roll:1. No.

Okay, quick roll on the scene chart gives me a 5. More travel.

Blurg swims back to shore, retrieves his whip and dons his helmet. Pot belly swollen from his meal, he has to adjust his toad skin breech cloth. Looking at the trees and plants bordering the lake, Blurg realises he’s never been alone before. It’s quiet, too quiet, and he doesn’t like it. He knows the Toe Biter tribe dwell in a valley to the west. Hopefully, if he can catch enough rats on his way over, they’ll delay killing him long enough for an audience with their queen. If that happens, maybe he’ll find a new home.

Does Blurg encounter danger on the road? Likely (3+) Roll: 4(1) Yes (but).

Three nights later he walks into Toe Biter territory. Small shrubs blanket the rocky, wind-blown landscape. Blurg’s tired, unaccustomed to walking his journey has drained him.

L1SR LK: TN: 20 Roll: 32 ([6+6 – DARO] +[6+1] + stat). Massive pass

but he sees the tell-tale signs of Guzzler vine as it races through the brush toward him. Six-inch long hollow thorns jut from the blood-slick vine as it slithers across uneven ground. Blurg sees this is no job for a whip and reaches for his knife.

Guzzler Vine: MR 20 (3d+10): 17

Blurg: Dagger – 2d6 (+1) 7

Blurg takes 10 points of damage. His armour mitigates 6 points, leaving him to suffer 4. His con’s a load of old socks, so he’s got 3 hits left before he chucks in. Yowzer!

Blurg’s too slow reaching for the blade. It’s barely cleared his belt before the vines surround him. Hollow thorns puncture his flesh, drain the blood that pumps freely from his wounds. His head spins from pain and exsanguination.

He guesses it’s a three-goblin vine. He knows the thorns are sharp. Taking a breath, Blurg parries and blocks rampaging spines with his knife and shield. Imagining a juicy, juicy carp, he snaps his jaws closed around a woody tentacle and leaps into the air.

Okay, stunting time. The vine is a MR20 beastie so I want a lvl 2 SR on dex (slightly more demanding that the example in the core rules, but you all know what I’m like).

TN: 25. Roll: 11+13 = 24, which is a fail BUT Blurg’s a level 1 goblin without magic, so he’ll call on the chaos factor to bump his roll up by 1 point. That’s a success. Yay Chaos Factor!

Bitter sap filling his mouth, Blurg leaps in the air. Feet kicking, knife and buckler flapping with the ferocity of a squawking rooster, he sails above and beyond the vampiric vines. Landing hard beyond the twisting creepers, he drops his head and charges at the muck beneath them. Sweat and mud mixing with the blood leaking from his open wounds, he burrows beneath the bottom-most length of barky tendril, reappears within the coils and leaps again.

Blurg lands once more, staggers on unsteady legs and watches with amused satisfaction as the now-knotted roots tears itself apart on its own sharp, life-drinking thorns. The flexible length of death thrashes in the dirt, constricting around itself and sawing at its pulpy flesh. Viscous white sap leaks from self-inflicted wounds, only to be drained away by its own hollow thorns. Finally, the murder-plant stills itself in suicidal defeat.

Blurg swings a toe and the nasty plant then scoops up a handful of muck-a-puck and slathers it on his wounds. With plant dead there’s quiet. And still enough to carry cries in Goblish to Blurg’s twitching ear.

Better? Maybe. We’ll see how it goes next time.

The Greatest Goblin 1

Right then. I’m trying to sell a game of Monsters!Monsters! to the crew, so I figured I’d best run a(nother) solo to show off its goodness.
Our bod is Snotts, a goblin whose awesomeness is so epic he’s kicking off with +1 adds (certain stats give +1 add per point over 12. These are added to combat roll totals. +1 is pretty terrible). Since his glory shines like a pebble in the dark, he’ll have to play smart to live more than five minutes.


He started with enough cash to purchase a shield, a helmet, a whip, and a knife (along with his adventuring kit), so he has a bit of armour. If his saving rolls are up to snuff, he can pull off some decent stunts with the whip, which will coincidentally show off one of my favourite parts of the game.


One-Pager will be my oracle and to kick off I rolled ‘Moving’ and ‘physical. strong, constructed’ for his motivation. I’ll take that as Snotts is the sole survivor of a filthly ‘Good Kin’ raid into the Rot Belly Tunnels and now he has to find somewhere else to live before the bearded stunters turn up to nick all the shiny rocks in the cave.


Using the 1PE to set the scene, we’ve got Travel with the alteration that the location is different or changed. Well I guess it would be if a bunch of tin canned adventurers came in and wrecked the place.


Anyway, Blurg.


Biting his lip to keep the screams inside, Blurg clutches the pile of loot to his chest and runs. There’s a lot of metal in his arms and a lot of terror in his twisted little soul, but he needs to be as quiet as a maggot and he knows it.

Dex SR1 to keep quiet. TN:20. Score: 22 – Success.

Blood trickling across his tongue and teeth, Blurg bites harder into his lip. The pain’s exquisite and he uses it to calm his nerves. life’s going to be easier, and quieter, if he slips the helmet on his knobbly head and tucks the knife in his belt. Shield on his arm and whip in his hand, keeping the noise down is a whole lot easier.


Feeling safer with the shield on his arm, he creeps through the tunnels that were once his home. Hard stone gives way to soft earth and the mushroom grove he foraged from when the fish weren’t playing. He cuts his pace again, knowing that goblins aren’t the only thing that feast on the tasty fungi, and readies his whip in case there are bugs about.


Bugs in the forest? Normal chance (4+). Roll: 2/d6 No.


Blurg creeps through mottled trunks. His gut’s roaring at him but the threat of getting it opened up by Big Foots keeps him moving. There’s a lake out in the Under Sky and he’ll be able to sing up some fish when he gets there.


He creeps between the trunks until he sees the opening. It’s a patch of darkness against blacker walls but he can pick out filthy white pinpricks of starlight . Whip-hand dripping with sweat, blue ears twitching like a cat’s whiskers, he creeps toward the entrance and escape from the Big Foot murderers.
Guards at the entrance? Likely (3+). Roll: 1. He’s safe again.


Blurg flees into the night air. It’s warm and feels good against his skin. With the Big Foots behind him, he stretches his small legs and breaks into a sprint. Gut Fish lake is close by and his guts are hurting, so stealth be damned.


Okay, not really selling it there. Maybe we’ll do something cool next time.

Lost Company – Part 10

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Ginny awakes from dreams of Rog Nokur’s palace and his ogrish attendants. Though she did not see the High God himself, prophecies of his aides and handmaidens have filled her with both physical and spiritual power.

I’ve decided to boost her up to full (5) hp. If she survives this adventure, which she may well do, she’ll be hitting 1st level cleric. Let’s say Old Rog has noticed her devotions and is rewarding her.

Eager to please her divine patron, Ginny breakfasts on rat flesh and water from her flask. She searches the room for anything of spiritual significance but finds only common tools and a sack of coin. Both are left where she found them.

She delves deeper into the ruined cathedral, following ancient stone passages lined with lichen and the scent of dust in the air. Finally, the twisting corridor ends at a doorway. The thick slab has weathered the centuries well, but the catch has decayed enough for it to hang ajar.

Hear noise check. 1/d6 – success.

Something clatters behind the portal, accompanied by a serpentine hiss that bores deep into Ginny’s soul. Musty air gives way to Death’s rotting stench. It crawls down her throat with lascivious intent, fills her lungs like some purulent infection.

Hand outstretched, the ogress clenches her fist into a tight ball. Hesitation at waits beyond rushes through her giant frame. A sliver of thought dives through her brain, urges her to turn back, to reject the quest thrust upon her by a people she has never met. Temptation swells in her breast. Sweat glistens on her brow.

“I’ve sacrificed too much.”

The whisper is lost as her boot slams into ancient wood. Cudgel raised high, she shoulders her way into the room. Eyes wild, teeth bared, she searches for the source of her fear. She sights the creature, gasps…

Save vs Poison; Roll: 9/d20. Fail. -2 to all actions fo 7/2d6 rounds

And splashes the stones with hot, acidic vomit.

Hunched, emaciated. Ribbons of muscle visible through decaying skin, it lurks in a shadowed corner. Impossibly big eyes gleam red. Thick saliva drips from wolfish jaws. Green, toxic-looking mess dribbles from beneath its talon. Waves of stench rolling off it in almost visible waves, the creature wastes no time and pounces.

Initiative:

Ghast: 5

Ginny: 2

Ghast: To hit: 16/17/10. Damage: 2/3

Ginny: Save vs Paralysis: 5

Death’s emissary is on her faster than she could ever imagine. Dripping fangs snap an inch from her face. Panic-stricken, she drives her palm into the monster’s jaw, ruining its chances of tasting her flesh. The defence costs her, opens her ribs up to two slashing claws. Fetid talons rip at her flesh, send lightning pain arcing through her body. As suddenly as it begins, the pain stops. Numbness follows until she can no long move.

Locking in a cage of paralysis, the Ogress can do nothing but watch with insane fascination as the creature chews flesh from her body.

Finally, too little blood left to pump oxygen through her veins, Ginny passes into unconsciousness and into the arms of Rog Nokur.

Lost Company – 9

By the time Ginny has retrieved and cleaned insect guts from her doll, Ika is long gone. Drag marks scar the layer of dust on the cold flagstone floor. Ginny’s heart leaps into her throat, but she swallows the emotion and clutches her corn effigy to her chest.

“He was a good brother,” she says to the mass of woven stalks.

“But there are more important things ahead.”

Ginny casts a glance around the room. Junk and mouldering rubbish fills the tight space. A rotting leather knapsack hangs from a hook in the wall, one side losing its battle with gravity slightly faster than the other. For a moment, she considers finding out what’s weighing it down. Again, she crushes the impulse and heads deeper into the ancient cathedral. Her nascent deity is more important that human life and simple curiosity.

Her superior heritage aids her way through cramped, dusty tunnels. Ogre sight picks out deeper shadows in the darkness, allowing her to traverse the old stone corridors. Pitch blackness solidifies at the edges, becomes the grey of a doorway. Chest hammering with excitement, she bows her head and passes under the lintel.

Ginny’s too wrapped up in finding the chalice of her god, so she’s not really worried about traps, ambushes & the like, but I give her a roll anyway. 6/d6 is an outright fail.

She passes the threshold, hears something click underfoot. Stinging liquid spills over her, bruning away her thick, dark hair.

Saving throw time: TN 17. Roll 18. Ginny’s not blinded, but she does take 4 out of her 5 hp in acid damage. Ouchie!

Not for the first time, she’s grateful for her brute heritage. Ducking low exposed her neck to the burning acid, saving her eyes. The consolation is worth little, considering the pain of flesh being dissolved from her bones with each passing second. Bubbling skin gives way to hissing muscle. Her lungs fill with the stink of her own cooking flesh.

Ginny staggers forward, cracking her head on the low stone frame. A curse rumbles deep in her chest. It passes her lips in a ragged whisper as drained of life as the ogress’ body. Brushing thick fingers across her burning flesh, feeling rotten chunks of her body slap against the floor, she searches wide-eyed for a pool of water or an ancient, still-filled for to wash away whatever is eating her alive.

“Rog Nukor,” she grunts, faltering gaze falling on blood-red eyes and incisors the lingth of her forefinger.

“Why do you test me so?”

Intiative:

Ginny:4, Giant rat: 3

Ginny’s attack: TN 13 Roll: 16. Damage: 6 (5+1 STR)

Pain and fear swelling into a ball of rage, Ginny raises her simple club. Her swing intercepts the giant rat’s leaping strike, smashes the its muzzle to paste. Face a bloody mess, it falls to the floor, sharp squeaks cutting the silence before it twitches once and lies still.

Overcome by wounds and exhaustion, Ginny mimics the enormous vermin and collapses into a heap. Merciful sleep takes her.

Lost Compay – 8

Part 7 kinda stumped me. When I wrote each character’s introductory part, I got an idea of who each bod was and what they were doing in the hills. Ginny’s having visions and wants to retrieve some doo dad. Fred/Frank’s her brother and is looking to keep his kid sister safe (despite the fact she’s twice his size and way more physically able). Ika kinda crept out of my head as only being along to get close to Fred/Frank. She doesn’t really want to be poking around in old tombs, but also doesn’t want anything to happen to her potential beau.

With Fred/Frank rotting on a stone block, there’s nothing to keep the remaining members of the party together. Ika’s not too keen on the monstrous Ginny and Ginny doesn’t give a turd about anything but getting her hands on whatever it was I said was in the bottom of the dungeon. They’re not particularly keen on one another and, with Fred/Frank dead, they’re not likely to continue adventuring together.

I guess the only thing I can do is write it out and see how it goes.

“Frank!” Ika barely recognises her own voice. The pain in her chest has clamped off her throat, cut her airway down so she can barely breathe.

She’s across the floor and on her knees before she knows it. Frank’s body already starting to cool. Arms wrapped around his chest, she crushes his body against hers as if the warmth of her flesh can gift heat and life to his.

“No,” she sobs, not caring that the monster can see her cry, could easily trace the line of a tear rolling from her cheek and onto his.

“Please no,” she begs any and all Gods that will listen.

Huge steps thunder toward her. For a moment, hope flares white hot in her chest. The fires die beneath the realisation the monster’s twitching step made her Frank’s corpse twitch.

“Kia?”

The bass rumble fills her mind. A heavy, calloused hand drops on her shoulder, forcing her spine to twist a fraction. Ginny’s musty, inhuman stink fills her nostrils and she wants to puke.

“Its…”

Ika lets the sentence drop. There’s no point correcting her again. The big brute is as stupid as she is ugly.

“Come on,” the bastard horror rumbles, patting Ika’s shoulder again.

“We can attend him when we have the chalice. Maybe we can find enough coin in her to give him a proper send off.”

The nervous laugh she tacks onto the sentence’s end punches Ika in the chest. Is knocks the breath from her lungs and she squeezes Frank tighter.

“What?”

It’s not so much a scream as a gurgled mess of noise. It punches into Ginny hard and loud enough to make the horror stagger a step. Deep lines cut into the ogress’ face as she drives a single, rocky brow high up her forehead.

“We must continue. The body will be safe here.”

“Safe? SAFE? He’s dead. Your brother is dead and you think he’ll be safe?”

Ginny’s gruesome lips curl into a smile. Realisation falls across her bestial face and Ika’s gut boils in sour knots.

“Ah,” the ogress grunts, nodding with the sagacity of Old Muro back at the village.

“Yes. I see. You liked him. Of course.”

The pain in Ika’s chest is obscene, a hard spike of iron driving into her heart and burning away her soul. The monster’s expression, realisation and humour, hammers the piton deeper, crushes any last strip of rationality from her mind.

“He’s dead,” she screams again, her raw throat forcing out the words at little above a whisper.

“He’s dead and you’re grinning?”

Lips twisted over uneven teeth, the ogress raises her hands in submission.

“I understand,” she growls, beady eyes staring from under her cliff of an eyebrow ridge.

“But with the chalice, Rog Nukor will grant me the power to bring him back!”

“He won’t grant you anything. That thing’s just a damned corn doll and you know it!

She’s on her feet and moving before the words have passed her lips. Somehow she knocks the corn doll from Ginny’s hand with a slap. The bundle of reeds skids across ancient stone and into a pool of sizzling insect gore. Behind her, Butch whines.

Ginny’s is an avalanche. She crashes down on Ika, smothering her with muscle and rage. The distinct bestial stench fills Ika’s throat as easily as the ogress’ fist closes her airways. With a vice around her throat and hate-filled eyes not quite an inch from her own, she barely notices her feet leaving the ground.

“Take him,” the ogress growls, though Ika can barely hear over the insistent hammering of blood trying to force its way through constricted arteries.

“Take him home and prey you never see me again.”

Ika tries to think of something witty, but the world ends in inky blackness and dull impact against the hard floor.

Lost Company – 7

I just realised I changed Frederick’s name to Frank. Never mind. We’ll stick with Frank.

Crossbow readied, Frank steps over what’s left of the halfling. Despite his best efforts, he can’t stop himself looking at the pool of acid-blackened flesh. Bubbles form in the slick mess, bursting into little corrosive sprays that eat at his rag boots. Swallowing his gorge, he looks at the door, shrugs, and opens it with a solid kick.

The lock is ruined. Frank won’t need to make an open doors check.

Dust and mildew ride the air, a musty stench that clogs the mercenary’s throat. Chitinous scraping pulls his attention from the stink. Long, hard-shelled shapes twist in the darkness. Clattering feet race across rock. It’s the only sound other than Frank’s beating heart.

3&6 means neither side are surprised.

Party initiative: 5/d6

Monsters: 2/d6

“Trouble,” he shouts, raising his bow.

To Hit target: 11. Roll: 20(19+1, no crit)/d20. Damage; 2

Rope twangs. The bolt flies true. It races toward the creature’s shimmering red and black carapace, finds a joint between its solid shell. Iron tip bites deep into pliant flesh, sprays thick green ichor in its wake. The creature rears up, mandibles clacking in a near-silent scream, dozens of spear-like feet slashing the air.

Ika: THT: 11. Roll 11. Damage: 5/d6

Something whistles by Frank’s cheek. He flinches away, sees red fletching bury itself and inch below his bolt. The arrow buries itself deep in segmented flesh, rips out the other side and clatters to the stone floor. Writhing with snake-like ferocity, the creature claws at its wounds before falling still.

“Brother!”

Ginny’s voice booms through the large chanber. Heavy, naked feet slap against damp flagstones. The Ogre’s pounding stride seems to rattle the temple, shake dust from the rafters and rock the foundations.

Monster: TN: 13, Roll: 10

Ginny’s stride covers a lot of ground, but not enough to intercept the creature. Body curled back on itself, venom-slick mandibles wide, it lurches forward, whip-like and lethal.

Frank flinches, brings an arm up to deflect the attack. Clasping jaws strike his toughened hide vambrace, slide off its hardened surface and leave a trail of venom in its wake. The viscous liquid stinks of burned steel and sour fruits.

Frank: TN:11 Roll: 7 (6+1).

Flipping his weapon in shaking hands, Frank hammers the stock into the creature’s head. His aim is true, but the creature’s armour turns aside his blow as easily as any knight’s plate.

“Ginny,” Ika’s voice shrieks from the back.

“Kill it or move, I can’t get a shot.”

Ginny: TN:11, Roll: 10(9+1).

Corn dolly dangling from her fist, Ginny sweeps her club in a downward arch. The hunter’s call grabs her attention, distracts her from the grisly task. Solid oak slams into ancient stone.

The giant centipede has two targets. To work out who it’s going for, I allocate 13-/d6 Ginny, 4-6/d6 Frank. I roll a 6. Luckily, Frank is the only member of the crew in armour.

Centipede: TN: 13 Roll 16(!),

Frank winces. Jagged chitin rakes across his knuckles, opens a line in the back of his fist. Insidious fluid mixes with a trickle of blood. The wound’s not bad, doesn’t even hurt. He’s taken worse and lived.

This is another save vs. poison or die scenario. It’s a +2 to the roll.

He swings again, slamming his stock into the creature’s skull. Bone and flesh erupt from the impact, spraying him with thick, stinking fluid. A kick sends the segmented monster to the ground. A stamp pulps its head into a memory.

“How’s about that?” He says, running a hand across his face.

He feels damp on his fingertips, doesn’t understand the amount of sweat pouring from his skin. The ringing in his ears is new, too.

“We did it,” he says, trying to smile as topples face-forward.

His heart’s stopped beating before his hits the floor.

Frank rolled a 7. He needed 14+ to shake off the centipede venom. Even with the +2 bonus he’s only slightly less dead than Pelton.

Lost Company – 6

Pelton waves a hand at the iron bound door. It matches the ancient stone structure so perfectly the halfling wonders how many times it was replaced before the designer was happy. Though the bands and rivets are browned with age and rust, the wood looks mostly solid and he doubts he’d be able to open it on his own.

“So this is the place?”

He tries to keep the edge of fear from his voice, but he knows it’s a challenge he can’t meet.

“Yep,” the male, Frank, grunts, adjusting his grip on the crossbow and squirting a line of thick black juice from between his lips.

“The Dead God’s chalice lies within,” Ginny, the half-ogre and Frank’s sister, booms, her voice making Pelton want to run for the hills.

“Okay then,” the halfling whistles, dragging his belt up over his rumbling stomach.

With the swagger of a man who’s faking it but hasn’t quite made it, he struts toward the door. Eyes probing the wood and iron, he looks for any sign of wires, catches or triggers. He’s no thief, just a simple fisherman from a small village, but the humans won’t listen when he says he’s never picked a lock in his life.

“Won’t be a …”

Door has a poison gas trap. Activation is 1-2/d6 Pelton scores a 1, setting it off. It’s supposed to be instant death if activated, but that’s a twat move and I give him a save. The 1/d20 he rolls makes it instant death anyway. Bye bye Pelton, it was short.

Frank’s been around a bit. He’s fought on a couple of battlefields and hunted bandits in Thekamere wood. He’s seen death, but he’s seen nothing like this before. The cloud wafts from the key hole. Thick, orange, and strong enough to burn his throat even at such a distance, it consumes the halfling in less time than it takes to breath. Dissolving flesh slough off his skull, leaving sticky red puddles at his feet. The sharp stink of acid, cut with a hint of boiled pork, fills the air. Frank’s eyes water, sending tears rolling down his stubbled cheeks. He tells himself it’s the cloud, not Pelton’s agonised screams.

“The hell was that?”

He turns to his sister and the hunter. Ika’s face is the colour of alabaster and Frank’s sure the way her mouth’s twisted in horror has to be painful. He can feel the look on her face mirrored in his own terrorised features and he hopes she doesn’t start puking because if she does, he’s going to follow.

“By the Dead God’s balls!”

Ginny’s unfazed, as ever. Her massive mouth, though hanging agape and flashing her tombstone teeth to the world, is more an image of surprise than gut-wrenching revulsion. The sickness in his gut solidifies into icy terror as Ginny’s face moves from surprise to determination.

“Well, the little thief opened the door, at least. Look.”

Corn doll dangling from her enormous fist, Ginny gestures toward the portal. Solid wood, proof against centuries of harsh weather and decay, now hangs open. Its black iron lock is not nothing but a corroded memory of rust and scraps of melted hobbit.

“You’re not wrong,” Frank manages, swallowing his gorge and turning to Ika.

“We should send Butch ahead. He’ll make a hell of a racket if there’s anything waiting for us.”

The look he receives tells him that’s not going to happen.

Lost Company – 5

Pelton gasps. The bugbear sprints. Light flashes on a jagged blades aimed for the big girl’s spine. Reflexes honed by years on small-crew fishing vessels kick in. He’s in motion before he can stop himself. Scarred, calloused hands wield the net, spin it around his head before hurling it at the murderous beast. The net flies, spinning through the damp, cold air.

Pelton: TN: 15 Roll: 21 (20 w/+1 bonus). That’s a crit! Since Ginny scored high on her intimidate, I’ll take it as just another reason for the bugbears to reconsider.

It sails true, spinning over the bugbear’s head with the accuracy of some hungry, unearthly fiend. Yellow-furred limbs snag in knotted rope, become bound together. A sharp, rage-filled yowl rips through the air. A dull thump and cracking bone follow on its tail.

Pelton gasps, dropping back behind the rock. He hears humanoid shrieks of terror and thump of stamping feet. He doesn’t care. He’s too concerned about the ache in his gut and the acid burning in his throat. He knows the creatures would have had him gutted and roasted him, but he’s never killed anything resembling a person before. He never thought it would feel this bad.

“Hey, behind the rock!”

It’s the human male again. His voice is still deep but it’s almost vibrating now. It’s got the sharp edges of a plucked harp string. The note matches the one reverberating through Pelton’s body.

“Look, I just wanted to say thanks and…”

A rough gurgle, maybe a clearing throat, mangles the human’s words. A yelp of pain follows.

“And sorry for being an ass. Why don’t you come down? We’ve got some strong grog.”

Pelton’s lips curl into a grimace, but the offer of booze is too much to ignore. Fighting to keep control of his stomach and his breathing, he struggles to his feet and peers from his makeshift burrow. Hopefully the odd trio don’t notice the tremble in his fingers. Hopefully, a medicinal shot of whatever moonshine they’re packing will put an end to his shakes.

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