Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Wizard and the Djinn

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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

The Wizard and the Djinn
by Larry Heyl - CC BY

Setup

The party wakes up in the morning next to a clear running creek. There is a slight chill in the air so they stir up the fire and make hot tea. They eat fruit and biscuits with their tea as they trade stories around the fire.

(DM hint: time permitting go around the table with the stories allowing the PCs to fill in their backstory and add items to their character sheet.)

They hear a noise in the woods and they all look to see what it is. When they look back there is a striking figure wearing a pointed hat and holding a staff standing next to the fire. The wizard addresses the party saying “I’m Randolph the Red and I need your help with a quest. There is a famous Djinn, Coriandor, who has disappeared. He had a spell book I need called The Pink Omnibus. He also had gold and jewels. I don’t need the treasure, you can keep that. But I need the spell book and if we find his lamp I want that too. Grab your packs and fill your water bags. You’ll need water where we’re going.”

If party members do not do as told Randolph the Red puts a compulsion on them. They do get a saving throw but he is a very powerful wizard. When they all have their water the wizard steps into the middle of the party and slams his staff on the ground. They begin spinning in a large circle like they were caught up by a tornado and then they fall from the sky to land in a desert surrounded by sand vipers, no wizard in sight.

Goals

Recover the Pink Omnibus and the lamp.
Make off with the loot.
Somehow return home (Probably with Randolph the Red’s help)
Get Even with Randolph the Red for his compulsion.

Assets

Map of the desert area where they are sent

Pregen character sheets for the party
Character sheet for Randolph the Red
Character sheet for Coriandor the Djinn
Character sheets for Coriandor’s friend and family

Stats for Sand Vipers and additional desert monsters

Map of the camp where the Coriandor’s friends and family wait for him including his tent

Map of his tent with the treasure, book, and lamp

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Milyagon Treasure Hunt

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Snowy Owl by Francois Nicolas Martinet & Georges Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon dated between 1770-1786 , public domain

Milyagon Treasure Hunt

Week One

Ari, Caper, and Tude (Ari’s wildcat) got a message from Kendrick to go see the witch at Milyagon. The witch gave them their quest, to bring back an owl’s tail feather, some squamish mushrooms, and a branch from the ancestor tree in the Wilkin Woods. She also mentioned that no one knew more about Wilken Woods than the woodcutter.

The party went and talked to the woodcutter who drew them a map and gave them sage advice about the fairies.

They entered Wilkin Woods and traveled nearly all the way across it on Woods Way. About halfway across they ventured south and found the first marked owl’s eyrie. Returning to Woods Way by traveling due north they found a landmark, a tree with a burl on it that looked a little bit like a face with knotholes for eyes.

Continuing along Woods Way they realize they must have passed the second marked eyrie. Caper leads the party back, leaving the road to the west of the eyrie which they also find. It is now evening so they eat supper and prepare to camp hoping for more luck with these owls in the night.

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The Woodcutters Map drawn by Larry Heyl CC-BY

Week Two

Ari, Tude, and Caper were joined by Bones under the owl eyrie. The party erected a large tarp using rope and Bones’ tent hoping to catch a naturally falling owl’s feather. Caper climbed a tree trying to make friends with an owl but when it started to get dark he had to come down. They attracted two owls by putting out some meat in a cook pot on a tripod.

Then Ari threw Tude’s ball under some bushes. Tude ran over and flushed a bunch of rodents and bunnies. For a few minutes there was a flurry of owls feeding. The next time Tude ran under a bush Caper shot a little bunny rabbit. Holding the dead bunny Caper called to the owls with a series of hoots. An owl landed on Capers outstretched arm and started feeding. With his other arm he slowly petted the owl. And then he had a hold on the tail feather that had been bothering this owl. Bones said we should scare the owl. Tude tried to scare it and Caper added in some cat noises and the owl flew off leaving one tail feather behind. Caper handed the feather to Ari for safekeeping.

We went south looking for the fairy circle trying to get some help from the fairies finding the ancestor tree. Ari and Caper kept true south while Bones scouted east and west. Bones was about a quarter mile to the west when he found the fairy circle. He jumped right in it and started dancing but fortunately he made his saving throw and didn’t fall into Feyland.

Bones stayed near the fairy circle and after a while Ari and Caper noticed he was late. Ari asked Caper if he had anything with Bones scent on it so Tude could track Bones by scent. Caper held his rope out for Tude to smell and then they followed Tude west to Bones.

Caper found some rocks for chairs and sat down about 20 ft. from the fairy circle and played his flute. Sure enough some pretty fairies came to listen to the music and the party started up a conversation with them.

Week Three

In which we recover all the loot, branches from the ancestor tree, squamish mushrooms, and a tailfeather from an owl, and complete our quest.

Last week we left off talking to the fairies near the fairy circle. Cautious not to ask a favor and indebt ourselves to them we finally found out that the fairies remembered when the woodcutter came through here and found the ancestor tree. When the fairies pointed out the trail that the woodcutter took, Caper couldn’t see it but Ari and Bones could and Caper soon discovered that it was a game trail and he could also help follow it with his tracking skills.

After hiking for about 4 hours we found ourselves at the foot of a large hill. The trail seemed to continue up the hill but it was not distinct. We decided to climb to the top before dark even though we were already tired.

It was dusk when we got to the top so we waited for dark to see if the big tree at the top of this hill was the ancestor tree. Ari detected magic on the tree and it was magical. She detected magic on branches on the ground and they were not. So this might not be the ancestor tree but at least we were in the right vicinity.

The moon was already up in the sky when the sun set. Soon it was dark and the moon lit the treetops but we didn’t see a fey glow. Bones helped Caper up to the first branch and Caper carefully climbed to the top where he could look out over the moonlit forest. After Caper got back to the ground he said, “I think we’ve come too far. The moonlit glow is brightest to the northwest and I think the ancestor tree is back a ways in the direction we came.”

In the morning Bones suggested that Caper climb the tree again for a daytime view but it was slick with dew and Caper couldn’t do it. (I rolled a 4) So we headed back down the hill the way we came and at the bottom with the sun peeking up over the eastern horizon we searched for a path up a hill to the northwest. Soon we were climbing the next hill and were at the top well before noon.

Of course there was a big tree at the top of this hill too. Bones boosted Caper up and he was easily able to scramble up to the top. When Caper climbed back down he said, “The next hill to the northwest is even taller than this one. I’m not sure the ancestor tree is there but I’m pretty sure this isn’t the ancestor tree.” So after we ate we continued on to the northwest again. Ascending the next hill we found a huge tree. It was time for supper. After we ate we thought we would look around for squamish mushrooms just in case this was the ancestor tree. Bones found a patch of them due west and then Ari found a big patch north of them.

After the sun set the big tree glowed brighter than the moon. We went to the big patch of mushrooms and followed the moonbeams penetrating the forest canopy and shining on the ground. With half the night gone Bones finally saw the moonbeams light some mushrooms and he was able to pick five of them which barely covered the bottom of the witch’s bag.

In the morning we ate and although we were tired we decided to search for a branch from the ancestor tree before we slept. We searched here and we searched there and then Ari found a big branch just north of the tree. She detected magic on the branch and sure enough it was a branch from the ancestor tree. Caper searched again to the northeast and Bones searched around close to the tree. Bones found one but Ari couldn’t tell if it was magic or not. Caper suggested that Ari carry her branch and that Bones should carry his back to the witch to find out if it is magic.

After their naps Ari searched for medicinal plants and Caper searched for mushrooms. Ari found a fever plant and harvested leaves. Caper found two large mushrooms he knew to be edible but when Ari detected magic on them she discovered that they were magical and Caper decided not to eat the magic mushrooms until he had talked to the witch about them.

It took two more nights to find enough mushrooms. The third night we spread out a little with Bones looking at the patch to the west while Ari and Caper looked at the big patch. We had good luck toward morning. With the moon near full it didn’t set until almost sunrise. We ended up with 30 mushrooms. 20 filled the witch’s bag half full and Ari put the other ten in another bag stowing them carefully in her pack.

Although we were tired we decided to hike on back to Milyagon. We found a game trail heading east and we left the Wilken Woods in the farmlands to the west of Milyagon. Soon we were across the bridge and at the Inn having a hot dinner, something Caper really missed while they were camping.

After we ate it was a short walk to the witch’s cottage to the northeast of town and she was vary glad to see us. She kept the branch Ari was carrying saying it would do fine. She looked at the branch Bones found and said it was also from the ancestor tree and was in fact a magic quarterstaff. She told Bones to keep it and thanked him for his help. When Ari showed her the two bags of mushrooms she was delighted and said that she would teach Ari how to make the squamish salve and she could keep the extra for her medicine kit. She grinned wide when she saw the tailfeather, stuck it in her bonnet where it looked right at home, rolled her eyes three times, touched her nose, and said, “Yes, this will do nicely. My thanks to all of you.” Then Caper showed the witch his magic mushrooms found beneath the ancestor tree and the witch said, “Now these are nice. These mushrooms are not dangerous but they should be consumed in moderation. One half of one of these large mushrooms will affect three people as if they had two large tankards of ale. And, of course, the mushrooms are much easier to carry then a keg of ale. Unlike ale the mushrooms don’t slow you down in fact they do the opposite and make you slightly more dextrous for about four hours.”

Slight Denouement

Caper and Bones found a bench under an oak tree and sat down to rest while Ari and the witch made the squamish salve.

They ground the squamish mushrooms into a paste with wild cherries and sage to make the salve which is good for treating carbuncles and other skin ailments and can also cure light wounds. About 2/3 of the salve filled a jar the witch had set aside so she went and got a smaller jar which she filled and gave to Ari.

With that task done Ari and the witch walked over to Caper and Bones and the witch said, “The items are for the Ogre up in the foothills Northwest of Milyagon. He has been under pressure from orcs and hobgoblins moving in. The branch makes a magic quarterstaff to fend them off and the mushrooms are the important ingredient in a salve for his carbunkles. And the feather? That’s for his hat. The Ogre has a magic hat and the owl’s feather, willingly given, is a component of the spell. He is smart for an ogre because of the hat so it is very important that the feather in his cap does not become bedraggled.”

Enlightened but still very tired the party made their way back to the inn where they ate a hearty supper and turned in early for the night glad to be sleeping on beds under a roof instead of on the ground under the stars.


This story unfolded over three nights of play on discord. Vivian played Ari and Tude, Carl played Bones, I was the DM playing Caper as an NPC. I also wrote the quest soon to be published as a minizine. The text is licensed CC-BY.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Yon Rogar’s Hat

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Illustration from The Violet Fairy Book, public domain

Yon Rogar’s Hat
by Larry Heyl

It was late afternoon and Yon Rogar eyed his woodpile. There was no way that tiny little bit of wood was going to get him through fair day, tomorrow. The woodcutter was late with his delivery, probably carving on one of those statues of his. Yon decided to go after some wood himself. He threw his ax in his barrow and pushed it across the bridge to the Wilken Woods.

As usual it was slim pickings with very little deadwood on the ground. Yon picked up a few pieces and then pushed his barrow deeper into the woods. This was more like it, he picked up a few more pieces and then eyed a dead branch, about to fall off an old oak tree. That one branch would fill his barrow, he thought, so he reached up and gave it a tug. It was still well stuck to the tree and Yon couldn’t pull it loose. So he reached up with his ax and gave it a good chop. That did it. The branch fell at his feet.

It was then that he heard the moaning, deeper than a person or an animal would make and more substantial than the wind. He looked around but he didn’t see anything moaning. The wind was picking up, blowing through the leaves with a whooshing sound and the moaning was getting louder. The branches started to thrash about but not like they should in a wind. They were like the arms of a giant, moving with purpose.

One of the branches knocked the ax out of his hand. One slapped at his face and when he ducked it took his hat off. Yon was frightened. He threw the ax and the dead limb into his barrow and he ran for the bridge, leaving his hat behind.

The branch didn’t really fit in the barrow and everywhere it hung out it was getting caught on scrub and bushes. Yon just bulled through never even slowing down until he was out of Wilken’s Woods.

He threw the dead limb on the ground and made short work of it with the ax cutting it into pieces small enough to fit in the barrow. He worked up a sweat and wiped his brow noticing his hat was missing. “I’ll go after it later.” he thought as he loaded the wood into the barrow and pushed it across the bridge.

After he had stacked the wood he was still hot so he went to the Inn for a pint. “I’ll have a story to tell tonight, that’s for sure.” he thought.

He never did go back after his hat.

Epilogue

About a month later Yon Rogar was at the woodcutter’s cabin bringing payment for some wood left at his forge and making another order. After they were done with business Yon looked around and right there, on one of those ax hewn wood statues, was his hat, sitting on that wood head just like it belonged there.

Thinking the woodcutter had found his hat in the woods Jon said, “That fellow there is wearing my hat.”

The woodcutter said, “Well, it was your hat, but I see you’ve got another one now.”

“Still, I liked that hat better. I think I’ll just take it home and clean it up.”

“Best not,” said the woodcutter, “You lost your hat to the woods and it’s yours no more. Ain’t no use in stirring up trouble or that fellow with your hat might come a visiting, looking for it.”

So Yon thought better of retrieving the hat and on the walk home he near convinced himself that he liked the new hat better. It did leave him wondering though, how the woodcutter knew he had lost his hat in a fight with the woods.

“Yon Rogar’s Hat” by Larry Heyl is licensed CC BY. There is more about Milyagon including Mini Zine Quests at minizines.cc.