License to Slay

Bureau of Dragons seal black 1

Hello everyone,

In addition to the Damn Elf Press blog I am writing, I’d like to share with you another website, the Bureau of Dragons.

At the Bureau we are issuing a License to Slay Dragons. You might be surprised to learn that dragons are real. This organization safeguards those dragons that pose no danger to humanity. Secretary Louis Baston has been instrumental in creating sanctuaries for dragons to live, free from interference by humans that would do them harm.

Your License to Slay authorizes you to slay any dragons that meet the International Hunting Regulation Code. Also, your License helps protect those dragons that are peaceful. The Bureau of Dragons has more information and details on how you can help.


Perils on the Borderlands, Day 25, Back at the Keep

Photo by Francisco Galarza on Unsplash

Perils on the Borderland, Day 25

This being a continuation of my Pits & Perils solo game

Day 25

Return to the Keep

Corwin and Martin go the the Jeweler to sell some of the treasure. After a bit of bargaining, they sell the gem, ivory bracelet, sword with gem in hilt, silver belt, and ring. The ring fetched the most coin, bringing 560 silver crowns to the party.

On all the items with the Jeweler, I had Corwin make a merchant roll to get an idea of the worth of each item. Next, I had the jeweler offer a price on each for a random amount below the value. Corwin then has to press him for more silver or take the price. Most of the items sold on average at 80% of their listed value.

Corwin examined the items carefully beforehand. He does not have any magic detection ability, but used his Int and magic background to evaluate the quality and look for any indications that there is more to the item.

In total, the PCs receive 820 silver pieces. Experience is 1/2 of treasure gained, so the PCs earned 410 xp.

Total xp for treasure is 245 xp for monsters defeated. I gave 1/2 xp for the monsters that fled. The Fear spell was a big factor in their defeat adn they may return again, so 1/2 xp for these seemed reasonable.

Experience for treasure is 825 xp. Each PC receives 267 xp for this trip into the Caves.

All of the PCs are now 3rd level!

Each PC receives 15gp, 244 sp, and 111cp.

Other housekeeping items…

The PCs need to deduct 10% of earned treasure for repair for Arden, Thane, and Martin. Corwin deducts 5%. This amounts to 40 sp and 20 sp respectively.

Arden pays for the men-at-arms. Currently with lodging and wages, it is 2 sp per day per man, for a total of 16 sp per day.

Arden keeps some of the weapons and armor found in the Caves.

Weapon inventory…kept in the Keep warehouse.

12 spears, 6 shields, 2 axes, 1 light crossbow, 60 bolts, 20 arrows, 1 shortbow, 2 swords, and 2 daggers.

Arden sells to the Trader (at 50% value) 5 spears and the platemail armor. Platemail looks valuable, but Arden doesn’t want the reduce movement rate and penalties…no swimming, etc.

In all, the Trader gives Arden 32 silver pieces. The Trader is overjoyed to hear of the orc defeat at the Caves of Chaos.

The day after the company returns to the Keep, Sir Arnaud will find Arden.

Martin has healed Arden fully.

Sir Arnaud asks why Arden would take his squire on a mission to the Caves of Chaos? The man was in his employ and he demands 1/2 a share of the treasure gained during the exploration of the Caves.

Arden tells him that Alan Dori said he was released or fired from Sir Arnaud’s service. Also no coin was gained during the time Alan was hired as a man-at-arms.

This answer does not satisfy Sir Arnaud. He will demand 500 silver pieces.

Arden tells the knight, no, but he will give him a silver piece for a beer. Arden refuses to fight the knight. Sir Arnaud is drunk and angry. He draws his sword on Arden at the Tavern.

Arden has no armor and pulls his dagger to defend himself. The two men fight, their blades flashing. The knight is drunk but manages to cut Arden several times. Arden gets in several quick stabs at the knight, but the armor is protecting him.

The Tavern owner calls for the city watch as the two men continue to duel. The city watch enters the Tavern. There are 4 watchmen. They surrround the knight and Arden backs off. Sir Arnaud makes a cut at one of the watch, wounding him. The others jump on him using cudgels and attempt to subdue the knight. Several rounds of combat and as Sir Arnaud’s takes a beating, he fails a saving throw and his knocked out. Arden is not taken to jail based on the testamony of the witnesses in the tavern.

I wonder what will happen to the drunken knight, Sir Arnaud?

More to come…

Perils on the Borderlands, Day 23-24, Orcs! Part 2

Arden and Company continue their exploration of the orc lair in the Caves of Chaos…

The party finds an armory with a large number of spears, some swords, and a suit of dwarven chain and human sized chain. They leave it for the moment.

The chief is barricaded in his room. He takes a healing potion, grabs some of his treasure and makes for the secret room connecting the two orc lairs. His concubines stay behind in bewilderment.

The party manages to break the door down, crowbar and axe assisting.

The chieftain has fled and the two orc females will not attack. They nervously look towards a corner of the room concealing the secret door. I have Martin make a wisdom check and he is able to pick up on this clue.

Also in this room is an alcove with an iron lock box lying open. The chieftain had grabbed some of the treasure. I randomly rolled and determined he was able to make off with about half of the coins. The company takes the remainder and finds a scroll of fireball…translating this to Pits & Perils means a Fire Bolt scroll.

Using a series of checks, Martin, Corwin, and Thane all succeed on their Wis or Int checks and manage to open the secret door. The orc women are allowed to leave the room. In all, Arden and company have let 7 male orcs flee with their women and children. I had made a ruling that if the orcs were pressed in defense of their common room they would receive a +1 morale bonus to attack. Arden decides it is better not to wear the company’s resources down by killing the orcs. Also, he won’t participate in wholesale slaughter. Allowing them to flee will suffice.

The company finds a secret meeting room. This is an area known only by the two chieftains (areas B and C). The two orc tribes are rivals but the chieftains meet in secret to occasionally work together. The chief has fled to the other tribe to ask for help with the human invaders.

Nothing is in the secret meeting room except for a table and a bucket in the corner. The company finds a pouch under the bucket and 2 giant centipedes! Martin is bit and Thane also! Thankfully Martin makes his save. Thane fails his by one point and uses a Luck point to adjust the roll making his save. The centipedes are killed. The pouch contains silver and a gem.

Moving into the Area C cave, the company first finds the chieftain’s quarters. Arden and Thane go in first, the door takes several tries to budge open. They encounter one orc guard. The chieftain is in the next room with the other chieftain and his wife.

Battle ensues. The chieftain of this tribe yells at the other orc chieftain, “You fool! You’ve led them here! Kill them or I shall kill you myself!”

Thane works on the guard while Martin and Arden attack the chieftains. One chieftain hurls a magic handaxe +1 but misses.

As the PCs deal with the orc chieftains. Corwin is watching and waiting to use his spell. The orc warriors hear the sounds of battle and come running to their chieftain’s defense. Arden’s archers fire on them but the volley fails to hit. Meklin and Handsome hold the line, while Corwin casts his Fear spell. The first chieftain is killed by Martin.

The orcs all scatter, except for the other chieftain. He makes a stand, but is cut down by Arden with the help of Martin and Thane.

The company discovers more treasure, including a +1 handaxe. The first chieftain was carrying a +1 shield. Both of these are given to Thane.

The remaining orcs flee the caves.

Arden and Company have defeated the orcs! They carry away what treasure they find and also many of the good quality weapons from the orc armory.

Some of the treasure gained:

A keg of good wine (55 sp), platemail (orc chieftain), chainmail (other orc chieftain), dwarf sized chainmail, another set of human sized chainmail, handaxe +1, shield +1, silver belt with gold buckle (160 sp), sword with gem in pommel (100 sp), ivory bracelet (100 sp), sack with 50 gp (big prize), rope of climbing, copper bowl (10 cp, actually worth 50 sp but no one passed their check to notice it carefully), 1 gem (50 sp), 4 swords, 18 spears,

Coins in total = 56 gp, 268 sp, 37 cp

Notes–the battle with the orcs was long, even with the simple rules. Each orc was wearing leather and had 1-3 hp. Having PCs concentrate on one orc at a time helped, especially with the chieftains. I had the orcs do the same at times. The orc chieftain directed the orcs to kill Arden and it almost worked. The orc chieftains were both level 3 enemies, each gaining +1 to hit.

In addition to Martin’s healing spell, some of the company passed around the dwarven brandy (restoring 1 hp each drink).

Arden’s archers worked worse than I had hoped. They were able to shoot two volleys while in the dungeon and both times each archer missed. When melee began, the archers were unable to fire.

The combat effectiveness for the company has increased with the recovery of a magic handaxe and magic shield. Both of these will be given to Thane the dwarf.

During the return to the Keep one of the men-at-arms, Jacob Scoggins (criminal), was contemplating stealing some of the coin. I considered this and then decided that the iron strongbox from the orc lair would’ve been used to transport some of the treasure. Scoggins may have had the desire, but too many eyes were on it. Even if Scoggins could’ve convinced others to follow his lead, there were too few to defeat the PCs and their loyal men-at-arms.

As the party made their way to the Keep, I rolled a daytime encounter. Bandits were the result. The nine bandits that had met the PCs in the past were again on the prowl. They were outnumbered and out armed. The bandits had fewer missile weapons, less men, and no desire to confront such a large and well-armed party. The presence of the men-at-arms helped to prevent this encounter.

Several of the new men-at-arms are characterized as craven or cowardly, but even in the battle I did not roll morale for them. The archers were not in direct contact with any orcs during the battle. Next time, they may show their true colors.

It was a really fun trip into the Caves of Chaos.

More soon…

Perils on the Borderlands, Day 23-24, Orcs! Part 1

Day 23

Arden and Company march on the Caves of Chaos.

I rolled the dilemma die, d6, and result=1. Instead of a table, I opted to roll a couple randomly chosen Story Cubes (Rory’s Story Cubes). I have 3 or 4 different sets of these and really like them. The two dice showed two people arguing and the other showed two figures shaking hands. I decided to use both of them. Sir Arnaud was the drunken knight, thrown in the Keep jail for a little while. He ordered Alan Dori to sell his armor and pay his fines. Alan, being the good squire he was, did just that. Then the knight left the Keep to go carousing in one of the nearby towns. When Sir Arnaud learns of his squire’s death, he returns to the Keep to demand compensation. The story cube that shows two men shaking hands represents friendship to me. I am thinking that the bailiff of the Keep will speak favorably of Arden and Company to the knight. Not that it will matter much to Sir Arnaud, but at least the authorities of the Keep will not be involved.

Sir Arnaud of Berrenvale makes his way into town as the PCs leave for the Caves. He will certainly make trouble for the company when they return.

6 hours travel towards the Caves. Encounter? No. Break for lunch.

4 more hours march and the company is near the large hill on the eastern side of the map. Still looking for a unique name here.

Rations/water usage roll. Set up camp and set a watch. Encounter? No.

My encounter checks are rolled two times per day and when ever else I feel like it might liven things up.

While in camp, Arden instructs the archers to…

  1. Concentrate on leaders of any force first if possible.
  2. Do not fire into melee!

Arden promises to reward archers for valor and woe to any who fail to aid the company.


Day 24

6 hours travel to the Caves of Chaos. Enounter? No.

Corwin sends his familiar Nicodemus to scout the entrance to Cave B.

Question-Since the last attack, have the Orcs taken advantage of the Kobold’s weakened numbers? d12 yes, d8 no. Result=yes! Did the kobolds fight back? Result=yes! I then rolled some dice to get a % lost for each tribe. D6 x 10% for orcs and d10 x 10% for kobolds. The orcs lost 20% of their fighters in the attack. The kobolds lost 70%.

The kobolds suffered a defeat and the survivors fled the Caves area.

The orcs in Cave B took all the kobold foodstuff and treasure but did not expand into the kobold caves. I need to remember to reduce their numbers by 20% in the module.

Nicodemus uses stealth to sneak into the cave (entrance to cave B). Success? 2d6=7 yes. Does the cat see the guard posted in a concealed guard post? Nicodemus has nightvision. 2d6=8 yes!

Does the cat hear noise to the east? No. To the west? yes. I used the FU die for this.

Corwin links with his familiar and can see through his eyes. He instructs Nicodemus to go east. Rolled another stealth and Nicodemus was able to sneak into the room to see 4 orcs in the guard post. He slips back out and scouts the area to the west to get the layout of the tunnels and then returns to Corwin.

Arden plans to block the west tunnel off until the 4 orcs are dealt with. Thane will use his caltrops in the west tunnel, Corwin will use his fear spell if the PCs cannot hold the line.

Thane and Arden will enter first and fire upon the sentry. He is in a secluded location and very difficult to take out. Note-Corwin still has a potion of invisibility he hasn’t identified.

Martin and Meklin will follow next.

Note–the ensuing battle took 31 rounds! Here are the highlights…

Arden and Thane enter the cave with Catamont shining the lantern from behind. Arden hits the sentry but only wounds him. Sentry runs to alert the guards. Orcs move to the entrance. Thane lays down a 10×10 area of caltrops.

The orcs from the east guard post are cut down by Arden and Martin, but the PCs take some damage. Thane, Meklin, and Handsome keep the orcs on the west blocked in. The caltrops are effective against a couple orcs, causing one point of damage and slowing them down. I rolled an attack against any orc that entered the area. Thane took some damage from the orcs and Meklin was severely injured. Handsome swapped out with him to save him.

Other orcs come to aid the guards. The chieftain arrives and moves to the front. Arden has a pitched battle with the chief. Martin supports him giving them an advantage to the combat. The chieftain is severely injured and moves back. Martin heals Arden for 2 hp.

The orcs finally fall back, leaving a trio to block the company. They are dispatched and the party moves into the great hall. The orcs had taken serious casualties.

Orcs are in defense mode. Arden and company are looking for the chieftain. There are only 7 orc males and quite a few women and children. Arden and company motion for the orcs to flee the cave, which they do. Nothing of value remains behind.

More to come…

Perils on the Borderlands, Day 21-22

Day 21
Alan is laid to rest, buried on a hillside outside of the Keep. The funeral is attended by a priest of the Chapel. The entire party is there.

Question-Does the Curate attend? D10 yes, d10 no. Result=no, the curate is not in attendance.

That afternoon…

Thane works on caltrops. Makes one batch d6 usage. Note-I’m using the Black Hack usage die rules for some items.

Martin searches woods for healing herbs, accompanied by Handsome, Catamont, and Meklin. Roll 2d6. Result=11 +1 for Wis ability (per my houserules). He finds 2 batches of healing herbs.

Arden takes 180 sp out of bank (banker charged 10%) and goes with Corwin to purchase some bows.

Corwin uses his merchant skill to haggle with the provisioner. 2d6 roll. Result=12 an outstanding success! The provisioner will give the party a 1d6 x 10% discount. Result=50% discount. He tells them a tale of orc attacks on his caravan, and is only too glad to supply them with bows.
They buy 8 longbows for 100 sp and 160 arrows for 8 sp.
They now have enough firepower, but not enough men-at-arms.

Day 22

Thane makes more caltrops, d6 usage.

Martin once again searches woods for healing herbs, accompanied by Handsome, Catamont, and Meklin. Roll 2d6. Result=9 +1 for Wis ability (per my houserules). Martin finds one batch of healing herbs in two hours of searching. Note-he has a total of 4 batches now (found two yesterday and had one batch from before.)

Arden seeks men-at-arms. Five are available for hire at the tavern.

1. Goat Bentley, hp 5, leather armor, he is a craven coward, long beard.
2. Yardley Muggins, hp 6, leather, youthful, lazy, handsome.
3. Jacob Scoggins, hp 2, leather armor, club, criminal, handsome.
4. Egg Barkley, hp 2, chain, middle aged, serious, balding, cook.
5. Sideways Carlin, hp 4, no armor, longbow, bald, criminal, ex-soldier

It’s a rough looking lot, but Arden will hire them nonetheless. He had passed on Jacob Scoggins once before but will hire him this time.

50 sp hiring bonus and then 1 sp per day each.

Now the party has 8 men-at-arms. Each will receive a longbow and 20 arrows.





Perils on the Borderlands, Days 19-20

This being a continuation of my solo Pits & Perils game.

Day 19

Just outside the Caves of Chaos.

Arden and Thane cut some saplings to make a litter to carry the body of Alan. Morale is low even for the PCs. Arden is more worried about pursuing orcs than anything else at the moment.

Question–Do the orcs pursue the party? d10 no, d8 yes, result=No, not this time. Perhaps the magician’s powers have given them a reason to pause.

Two hours march to the road and then the group turns south. Without stopping for a meal, the party marches another 4 hours south and makes camp. Martin has healed Meklin during this time for 4 hit points.

The thought crosses Martin’s mind to have Alan raised from the dead. But this will not happen. The cost would be prohibitive and even if the party did have the funds, there’s not a holy man of sufficient power to do this. The curate at the Keep has some healing skills but is unable to perform a miracle of this magnitude.

Martin’s remorse turns to anger at the orcs. Thane told the party of the gruesome trophy room just inside the cave entrance. A prayer forms on his lips as he asks Eos for the strength to defeat this evil.

Arden also has a burning desire to rid the area of the orcs. Many of the people he once knew were slaughtered by orcs. A vow of vengeance forms on his lips. Alan’s death will not go unanswered.

Corwin thinks of the outcome. He worries that one misstep may spell the party’s doom. What if he wasn’t able to cast his spell of fear? What if an orc spear found its mark while he was preparing to cast the spell? Corwin knows he is limited in how many he can cast. Corwin’s not a religious man, he’s seen things during his apprenticeship that would be considered heresy to the wise clerics of Eos. Those things had the lure of great power, but also the threat of falling into the Abyss. Perhaps Corwin’s outlook has changed because of this encounter? Perhaps he will look into his spellbook for greater knowledge of the magical arts. Maybe the lure of the black arts will tempt him?

Question–Does Corwin move closer to Eos (and the side of Law) or work towards becoming more powerful with little regard for whose side his is on?

D10 y, d10 n. Result=Yes, he will stay on the path of Eos and forswear the temptation of the dark arts. Result was 4 for yes, 3 for no! Corwin is resolved to fight the Caves of Chaos but on the side of Law. Note-this question just came up as I wrote this piece. It is interesting how the character’s motivations may be formed from events in the game. I’m glad Corwin didn’t turn towards the black arts. I’m uncertain of what this will mean for the magician.

Thane the dwarf is a little more quiet than usual on the march back to the Keep. He had only known the human lad Alan, just a few days. It is hard to tell what fate is held for any of us. Alan will soon make his journey back to the beginning. Eos will welcome him home and his ancestors will be there to meet him. Thane thinks about this on the way back to the Keep. He knew his time would also come, but he would try to delay that as long as he could. Thane considers how the party can gain an advantage over their enemy. The next time the orcs charge, Thane will be prepared. Note-Thane has concocted a plan. He has the Int ability and blacksmithing skills. He will put those to use to gain an advantage over the orcs.

The party camps near the road. Encounter? No.


Day 20

A few hours march and the party arrives at the Keep.

Arden is questioned by the Bailiff about the death of Alan. Arden gives a detailed account of the battle with the orcs.

Question-Does Arden’s explanation satisfy the Bailiff? D10 yes, d8 no. Result=No!

The Bailiff listens intently. He then explains that Alan was the squire of a knight and that he as Bailiff is duty bound to report his death to his family. There may still be questions that need to be addressed. Note-this may become an interesting side plot.

Martin and Thane go to the chapel with the body of Alan to make burial arrangements.

Corwin and hirelings go to the inn to take their rest.

Edit: my thoughts about Arden using a magic dagger vs his greatsword (below) were in error. The +1 is just for “to hit” and not for damage. At least that is rules as written. I’m happy with it being played that way. Comments on tactics or rulings I have are encouraged. Please let me know what you think about the game so far.

Note-something I need to consider, tactically is the magic dagger that Corwin has in his possession. It functions as a +1 dagger. If Arden the fighter were to use it, he would do the same damage as his greatsword but gain a +1 to hit. I’ve decided to not have him use it. Even though the dagger would be beneficial in the numbers sense, it would still be out of character for any fighting man to forgo his greatsword for a dagger. Somehow it just wouldn’t seem right. Let me know what you think about this? Send me a comment or post on G+ your thoughts on the matter.

More soon…

Death on the Borderlands, Days 18-19

This being a continuation of my solo Pits & Perils game.

Day 18

At the Keep

Martin buys some healing herbs, 1 bunch, from the trader. He makes note to search for herbs in the forest next time. Cost is 5 sp for the bunch.

Thane buys a flask of brandy (for medicinal purposes only…) Cost 5 sp.

The party of adventurers head out of the Keep’s gates with full supplies and well rested. 6 hours of travel and they break for a late lunch. Encounter? No.

They break camp and continue along the road for 4 more hours. They are just north of the large hill on the eastern portion of the map. They find a campsite near the road, set guards, and rest. Catamont builds a small campfire and the watch begins. Encounter? No. Roll rations/water.

Day 19

6 hours march and the party approach the caves. They break near the road and have a quiet meal. All are on guard, nervously watching for any enemy. Encounter? No.

2 hours travel to the west and the party stands at the Caves of Chaos. I roll a random direction. D12 Result=10. Northwest. The party bypasses Cave A (Kobold cave from last trip). There’s a 50/50 chance they will enter Cave B or Cave C. Result=Cave B.

Thane enters first. The rest of the party will cover him with missile weapons. Thane has his handaxe and shield ready. The dwarf moves in slowly, checking for traps as he goes. He enters a passageway. On the far wall are an assortment of heads in various states of decay. A guard peeks out from behind this wall.

Question–Does Thane notice the guard? Roll 2d6=7 No. If Thane had Wis as his ability, he would have seen the Orc staring at him.

Question–Does Thane continue? D10 N, D6 Y. Result=No. His mother raised no fools. He listens and hears noise from the east, nothing from the west.

As Thane backs up to rejoin the party, he hears heavy footsteps from the east. Thane moves quickly out of the cave and on his heels are a tribe of angry, howling orcs!

Four come out, each with two spears. They form a line at the cave entrance to throw them at the party.

Initiaitive…PCs win.

Round 1
Thane moves farther out of the cave. The party fires arrows and spears. Only Catamont hits an orc with his spear.

The 4 orcs return volley. Catamont and Handsome each take one hit, but armor soaks it up.

Round 2
Arden and Alan both miss with bows. The others in the party close ranks with the orcs. Martin misses (critical) and loses his footing (-1 to next attack). Handsome stabs an orc with his sword. Thane hacks at an ugly orc with his hatchet for 1 pt.

The orcs stab spears at their enemy. One hits Meklin for 1 pt.

Five more orcs pour out of the cave!

Round 3
Arden slashes savagely with his greatsword for 2 points to an orc. Meklin fumbles and drops his club! Handsome stumbles! -1 to next attack. Note–these critical fumbles are killing me! Thane hits again! Corwin the magician moves to help Catamont and conks an orc with his staff (1 pt).

The orcs attack. Melkin is hit! Thane is hit! Alan takes two vicious hits, one is an outstanding success. Total of 3 points damage!

Round 4
Catamont hits an orc, Alan drops his dagger in a fumble. Meklin moves behind Arden (no attack). He will try to get Arden’s dagger to continue the fight.

Orcs are 3 on 1 vs Arden. He takes an outstanding hit for 2 points. Handsome and Thane are both hit (1 point each).

Round 5
Arden kills an orc! Thane hits another wounding it. Corwin hits an orc and moves back to prepare a spell next round.

Orcs attack! Alan is hit! He is struck down by a spear wielding orc! Alas, poor Alan! We hardly knew ye! Note…I will be using the variant armor rules for Pits & Perils, but I only intend for the PCs to have this variant. So…so long Alan.

Corwin summons arcane energy and casts fear! The orcs scatter, some running off into the woods, others back to the cave. The party doesn’t even stop to search the bodies of the fallen orcs. They grab Alan’s lifeless body and flee the Caves of Chaos.

I knew that it would happen sooner or later, but I still feel bad about losing Alan Dori. Arden will be going over the tactics and taking much of the blame. More armor would have helped Alan. More missile weapons may have made a difference too. Perhaps choking the orcs off at the cave entrance, but no one could have predicted the orcs would boil out of the cave in those numbers.

Corwin could have used his fear spell one round sooner…but Alan was hit hard by two orcs the previous round, so who knows?

Regardless, the party will have time to think of this as they make their way home with one of their fallen brothers on their shoulders.

More soon…


Alan Dori, man-at-arms, killed by orc spear at the Caves of Chaos, day 19.