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This is the first journal from one of the players (the wife) in my Arden campaign, a low magic home brew setting.
Currently the game has had about 40 sessions and is still going strong (saying this is probably tempting fate).
The game uses the Request Gloranthan calendar, D&D 3.0 rules with a number of house rules. Arden is one of many different lands that sit on a ring world like object called the Mobius.
The Diary of Jack Robin
Freeze Day, Status Week, Sea Season:
They say it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and I can attest to that first hand. The wind that blew our ship onto the rocks freed us from the pirates who had taken us prisoner. There were some scary moments on board the ship, but not drawing attention to myself seemed to work to avoid any confrontation.
When I woke up on this isolated beach, my head was pounding and my mouth was parched. I warily raised my head to see what was going on and saw debris scattered all over the beach. Four others were picking through the items and searching the bodies. These would become my companions at least for the short term, and a motley crew they are.
First I met Safrax, a sailor by trade. He seems a dour type, but is not without skills as we would find out later. Rolan is an interesting one, a glassblower by trade, but with a side-interest in healing herbs, and pretty good outdoor skills from what I saw. Menon is one scary guy! He seems as strong as a horse, and has hardly said a word other than his name. Starhawk has also not said much. She appears to be a barbarian from the wild lands, but that is all I know.
We gathered together everything we could find, and set about dividing it up. I was half expecting the biggest and strongest to take everything they wanted, but it was a rather polite affair, with no-one wanting to make the first move. I took a couple of daggers, a mirror, my share of the food and an entertainer’s suit. It’s a bit garish but won’t show under the leather armour I’ve managed to make fit me, and it may come in handy if I get chance to earn a little money by performing later. We’ve got a few bolts of silk and trade bars that we should be able to trade if we managed to find people to trade with. I think I might be the only one with experience in that area, so all those merchanting classes Dad made me attend may turn out to be useful after all.
We set to gathering up crabs and winkles for supper, and it was when we came to cook them that we realised we had no cooking pot. All sorts of ideas were bandied around before Saffrax set to carving a pot and a spoon from the wood of the ship. It’s funny how things you take for granted in your everyday life become so important when you need them. The resulting soup may not have been as finely spiced as at home, but it tasted damned good to a starving washed-up foreigner. We also have fresh meat, courtesy of the large seagulls which came to pick over the corpses of the people who didn’t make it. We skewered a couple with some javelins we’d picked up in the debris, and the stronger members of the company moved the bodies out of sight and buried the non-pirates in the sand. I’m glad I didn’t have to do that. Firstly they looked and smelled horrible, and secondly they may have been pirates, but maybe not all of them were bad people. With the coming of night we could see a faint light coming from the south, and that is where we headed the morning after.
We had walked for a good long time when we came to a raised lump of rock standing above the grasslands. There were three gangly humanoids with blue-black skin and yellow eyes up there who promptly noticed us. I tried to talk to them in the local language, but they only seemed to know a few words, so I just said “We go this way.” and pointed on past the rock. They chattered amongst themselves as we carried on, summoned more of them from a cave in the rock, and headed towards us through the grass with obviously hostile intent.
I must have managed to hide fairly well, as they all approached the others. I moved up behind the one facing Starhawk and stabbed him with my dagger just like Dagmar taught me in combat tactics class. It worked more effectively than I had expected; the creature dropped to the ground dead. My first thought was jubilation – the little merchant girl had proved her worth in combat! It was only later once the chaos of battle had subsided that I realised I had killed something capable of speech…
The battle continued, with Ronan proving deadly with the heavy crossbow he’s picked up, and Manon effective with the longsword. One of the creatures hit Saffrax a mighty blow that almost brought him to his knees, and then looked up with an evil grin and licked the blood off his blade. It was this eerie and frightening action that brought a name to my mind – the Frallon we were warned about in our childhood: “Don’t stay out too late or the Frallon will get you!”. While I was thinking on this, someone smote it and it fell to the floor groaning. Should we then kill it? Safrax was sure on this one and soon it was no more.
I shouted out to the others to warn them what the creatures were, and it had a surprising effect on the Frallon – the last one left standing looked petrified and ran away back to the cave! Maybe I misread his expression. Safrax looked so pale that I asked Rolan if there was anything he could do. He spent some time concocting a treatment and applied it, but nothing seemed to happen. I turned away disappointed, but then a few seconds later, Safrax piped up that he felt a bit better. Although it is not the magical healing of old, is is still impressive.
While we looked over the bodies of the fallen, Menon and Starhawk had followed the runaway back up to the cave, and the rest of us followed shortly thereafter. As it was pitch black, I held the lantern that we’d found so the others could see. When the small group of Frallon inside the cave caught sight of us there was much consternation and whispering. They attacked again. I got a hit with a thrown dagger, and after that left the fight to the others. It was not long before all were dead, with Starhawk and Rolan taking out those that tried to run. As silence fell, it did seem like they had never stood a chance, and I wondered if we should have tried harder to come to an agreement with them. Then I remembered the evil grin as one licked Safrax’s blood from his blade and cast the thought from my head. At least any future travellers here will be safer.
- Location: Ruthin
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