CROW–a New Spell for Pits & Perils

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Photo by Tyler Quiring on Unsplash

Otis Bramble, the hedge wizard, looked across the field at the pack of worgs. There were five of them, big ones. The wizard stroked his beard for a moment and set his burlap sack down. He had four nice-sized trout, freshly caught, and he wasn’t in any mood to share.

Raising his gnarled staff over his head, he paused a moment and then spoke the incantation. He started out softly, but the incantation grew to a sharp crescendo. All was quiet for a moment. The worgs loped towards him, black tongues hanging lazily in their slavering jaws. Then it happened.

Suddenly the air around Otis Bramble was filled with a rush of black feathers, cawing, Cawing, CAWING cries of countless crows. The murder of crows seemed to swirl forever. The yelp of startled worgs was the only other sound. When the crows flew away, two dead worgs lay at the wizard’s feet. Three more were running back into the dark woods. Otis Bramble bent down, picked up his burlap sack and headed on his way, happy to be dining alone this evening.

Notes:

CROW summons a flock of murderous crows centered on the caster. Any creature not touching the caster will take 1 hp damage per round while within a 30’ radius of the caster. All attacks within this area will be -2 to hit for the duration of the spell. Duration is 1d6. The caster adds +1 round per 3 levels gained.

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Recap

Recap from Arden and Company’s foray into the Caves of Chaos.

9 goblins killed (45xp)
1 goblin bodyguard (15xp)
1 ogre (70xp)
50xp for the elven encounter north of Keep.

180/4 = 45xp per PC

Approximately 25% of the goblins are killed.

The ogre is dead. The remaining goblins are shaken by the attacks. The hobgoblins will try to either attack the goblins or incorporate them into their tribe.

Returning to the Keep, the PCs spend time in discussion and evaluating their goals.

Arden thinks about his goals. The Caves of Chaos offer a path to riches and a comfortable lifestyle. His background is tragic. Arden’s village in Granden Vale was destroyed in orc raids and many of his family were slain. Revenge burns in his heart as well as lust for gold. The death of Jacob Scoggins doesn’t weigh on him near as much as that of Alan Dori. Alan was idealistic and wanted a better leader than the drunken Sir Arnaud. Scoggins was looking for drinking money, a common tavern rat. He was a true hireling, no more, no less. Arden will pay for a proper funeral and not look back.

To the near future, Arden will spend time hunting the bandits. They’ve taken Company property and need to be dealt with. Arden looks back at his farming life and thinks how much work it was for so little reward, much like his last trip to the Caves.

Corwin thinks about his part in the last raid. He held back the use of his FEAR spells until absolutely necessary, and he was justified in this. The attack on the Company by the bandits came as a surprise. Corwin had one spell in reserve in order to rout them. The Company would have won the day, hopefully, but with more casualties than Scoggins. Corwin had great doubts about the man. He had a dark cloud about him, more than the stench of stale ale. He was feeling better with the man gone. Yardley Muggins survived, but with a loss of nerve. Corwin doubted that the man would sign on again.

The magician’s first task was to find a suitable spell to add to his spellbook. If Florian didn’t have one, he would look elsewhere, perhaps offering the scribe at the bank more coin.

Corwin scratches Nicodemus under his chin. The cat had had a bad experience in the Caves. Corwin would reward him with a nice fresh fish from the river. He heads to the Tavern to see if they have one.

Thane kicks himself for not throwing out some caltrops. He got too busy with the goblins and then the ogre! The goblins certainly took a disliking to him. It was evident that they teamed up on the dwarf most often. Bad blood has been the part of their story since dwarf and goblin could remember. The ogre they killed weighed on Thane’s mind. He had to have had some treasure set aside somewhere. Finding it was another matter. The battle wasn’t a total loss. The goblins took a good hit and the Company got some intelligence about another faction in the Caves. Hobgoblins. The dwarf knew about them. They were disciplined, better armed, and had well-thought out tactics. They would certainly be a tougher opponent than the elves. Thane cared little for magic, but he had to laugh. He was carrying an enchanted handaxe and shield. Afraid of spellcasters? Rightly so, but the sharp axe and strong shield helped to save his bacon. Corwin wasn’t a bad fellow for a human. Thane was more in awe of the power he could summon, rather than being afraid of him.

For now, the dwarf will concentrate on getting re-stocked and sorting out what worked and what didn’t during the last outing.

Martin prayed to Eos, thanking his god for safe return from the Caves. He would attend to the funeral of Jacob Scoggins. Martin could sense the man was a liar and he did not trust him. Catamont was a criminal and now indentured to Arden, but the young lad had more integrity in his small finger than the old Scoggins had in his entire being. He was thankful for the young Catamont, the brave Meklin, and the steadfast Handsome. These men proved their mettle in the face of death. The other archers? Maybe not.

Martin would turn his attention to building the church at Coot’s Mill. The Caves would wait.