Roachseat

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This frontier town is at the edge of Rumbleseed territory in the Deeps, at the end of the Delve. The town is shared between Rumbleseed dwarves and a local tribe of Sithics, bug-like natives with hive lifestyles and a complicated history of conflict and cooperation with the dwarves.

Roachseat is in a massive cavern, a cluster of buildings suspended by cabling (both organic and built) with many wires and walkways connecting them. Below the hanging city is a range with many stone dish shapes built into the floor where deep moss grows, cultivated to produce a fresh crop every three months.

This efficient production uses up the city’s waste, and allows much bigger herds of housebeetles (the size of a two story building when full grown) to be maintained. The beetles get a rune carved in their shell when young, and it striates as they grow until they are big enough for the community to come together and have a hollowing party, slaughtering the housebeetle and packing the meat to last the community for a long time. They also export the moss to other communities that need roughage for their insectile livestock.

The local dwarves are led by the Grimeater family, and Roachseat Grimeaters tend to adopt aesthetics and materials to echo the stylish exoskeletons and tactics of their Sithic allies.

There is significant trade with neighboring fungaloid communities. The nearby cavern known as the Golden Vent has forest-scale fungus that is metabolizing something long dead that gives off cosmic energy. The spores from the biggest fungus are therefore dangerous to breathe (and the size of snowflakes) as they put the breather into the dying mind of something beyond their comprehension. There are many predators that frequent the area. Beyond the Golden Vent is the Elefrangy Stretch (a fungaloid community) and beyond that, an entry to the Various Gardens.

Beyond the Firescreamer

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Played 6/6/20 IRL, 12/22/21212 IG.

  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Berserker, Chef, Healer.
  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Support, Gunsmith, Engineer. (Apprentice, Tella)
  • Vanmil Glowhide (Kriss) Vanguard, Adept, Jeweler. (Fleshpacter, Fishel)

Roachseat

Thoreson and Ivo represented the Dunn family, and in Roachseat they met with Vanmil, a local representative from the Grimeater family who was also working with the expedition into the Various Gardens. While they waited in Roachseat for the council leading the expedition to hand out assignments, they were supervised by Cerise, a local Sithic assigned to watch them and make sure they got everything they needed. A Rustad family team led by Lady Jeet was also waiting for an assignment.

Confronting the Firescreamer

Word came in that the Dunn team was assigned the task of clearing out a monster on the road into the Various Gardens, while the Rustad family team was assigned local errands. Triumphant, the Dunn team (Thoreson, Ivo, and Vanmil) met with their guide, a fungaloid named Sypert. In order to get the full story, one or more dwarves would have to breathe in Sypert’s spores to meld communicate, as the little fungaloid could not talk. Vanmil had experience communing with fungaloids, and handled the briefing.

The mission was to travel through the Golden Vent, an area controlled by the local fungaloids. The Golden Vent was troubled by attacks from a firescreamer and its victims, sporehounds it corrupted to become fog breathers. They target those who breathe, so the fungaloids and Sithics were relatively safe.

A year ago the fungaloids agreed the expedition could pass through their lands, and the Sithics agreed to allow the expedition a few months ago. In the last week the fungaloids withdrew their approval, so the whole expedition was impereled.

The fungaloids were concerned that additional traffic would draw more predators, and they needed a sign the dwarves could handle themselves and not suffer predation. They must confront the firescreamer, behead it, and present the head as a trophy to an elder of the fungaloid circles in the Elefrangy Stretch. The elder would then decide whether they could proceed with the overall expedition or not. Only a few dwarves could go; they didn’t want to scare the firescreamer off. Sypert would serve as guide.

Preparing to Go

Before heading out, they handled some business. All three visited a few alchemical and enchanter workshops in Roachseat, collecting magical fragments and chemicals. Ivo retreated to build several fragmentary explosives, tutoring Tella in constructing explosives.

Thoreson and Vanmil asked around for an invitation to a scheduled hollowing, a community event where a crowd showed up to butcher one of the massive beetles in the herd below the city, hollowing out the towering bug and preparing a feast to feed the town for days. As a visiting chef, and a Grimeater from the Shallows, Thoreson was eager to share the experience and demonstrate his skill. Thoreson also purchased some climbing harnesses and supplies, and secured a grubbly as a beast of burden.

Vanmil checked in with the local Sithic elders, arranging a meet with a shaman to see what she could find out about the sporehounds and the firescreamer and the fog breathers. The shaman told her the firescreamer’s flames were fire, but not fire; fire turns physical material to heat, light, energy, and motion, and the firescreamer burned memory and connectedness to this world instead. Vanmil thanked them for sharing some information on the threat.

Into the Golden Vent

They traveled in relative safety, attentive to Sypert guiding them around hazards. They didn’t breathe the “snowfall” of spores from the giant fungus, they didn’t get too close to big wet holes full of predators, and they avoided the local wildlife on their way into the Golden Vent. Vanmil attuned to the life force of the place so she would be better able to pick out anomalies in the teeming ecosystem.

Ambush!

They reached the Golden Vent Passage, and fog billowed in as the fog breathers attacked. The fog triggered panic and deadened the ability to see life and motion in the combat site. Ivo’s gunfire blew one of the tough fog breathers away as they closed, and he also shot a second one as the Fellowship finished off the third.

The Firescreamer attacked, but was backed off by more gunfire and mystic assaults from Vanmil. Relocating, it sprang out to tear her face off, but she drove it back. It withstood a pounding from the berserker before Vanmil managed to shove the mighty creature back further, demanding Ivo hurl his explosive. He did, and the grenade exploded in the air, showering everyone with enchanted shrapnel.

The firescreamer tried to escape, but somehow Vanmil wrested it into position so it could not, then her chitinous fist weapons shattered its jaw and she twisted its head, snapping the neck.

The Fellowship removed the head altogether as the fog breather corpses dissolved unpleasantly; Vanmil memorized the energy flavor in their skulls as they smoldered out, and Thoreson removed some spicy glands from the firescreamer’s throat to spice up the upcoming hollowing party.

Elefrangy Stretch

The Fellowship followed Sypert to the Elefrangy Stretch, and he led them to one of the conscious elders that was not melded deep and unable to communicate. The elder was a mystic called Funderbunk. (The fungaloids don’t bother with names, they have a deeply rooted sense of identity and don’t need titles, so the name was assigned at some point by a dwarf.)

All of the Fellowship melded with Funderbunk, whose thoughts were somewhat inscrutable. The main takeaway was that the fungaloids approved the expedition going forward, and the dwarves were successful.

They returned to Roachseat without incident, earning 5 Ledger each.

Open Table: June 27

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RSVP IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

This is an open table invitation. Only respond if you are able to attend. If you sign up but are no longer able to attend, please let me know as soon as possible (and I don’t need to know why.) The game will go forward as long as there are 2 confirmed players plus myself.

Attendance is first come, first serve for five players. You RSVP here, then I confirm with you. If I do not confirm with you, then you will be on the waiting list and I will notify you if a spot opens up. 

Please make a character ahead of time. We play on Roll20 here: https://app.roll20.net/join/5979643/fXhc5g

Need rules? Here’s the quick start. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296327/Axes-and-Anvils-Quickstart-Rules?manufacturers_id=5544

These are the adventures of Clan Rumbleseed. You can read about the clan and their exploits so far here. https://axesandanvils.com/play-reports/

So what’s the plan?

To the Gilded Tower!

Cagroot and Thorgrim promised to take Baroness Elenor’s ashes to the Gilded Tower to help her ghost find peace. Looks like it’s time for a side trip to human lands on the surface to tidy up that loose end.

RSVP Confirmation

  • Vanmil Glowhide (Kriss) Grimeater Family
  • Cagroot Hopstrider (KC) Dunn Family.
  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Dunn Family.
  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Dunn Family

Open Table: June 20

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RSVP IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

This is an open table invitation. Only respond if you are able to attend. If you sign up but are no longer able to attend, please let me know as soon as possible (and I don’t need to know why.) The game will go forward as long as there are 2 confirmed players plus myself.

Attendance is first come, first serve for five players. You RSVP here, then I confirm with you. If I do not confirm with you, then you will be on the waiting list and I will notify you if a spot opens up. 

Please make a character ahead of time. We play on Roll20 here: https://app.roll20.net/join/5979643/fXhc5g

Need rules? Here’s the quick start. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296327/Axes-and-Anvils-Quickstart-Rules?manufacturers_id=5544

These are the adventures of Clan Rumbleseed. You can read about the clan and their exploits so far here. https://axesandanvils.com/play-reports/

So what’s the plan?

Hunt the Spiderstalker!

Travel to the Screenhall to slay the hideous Spiderstalker that preys upon the Spiders of Silkpurse. The Spiderstalker lays its eggs in paralyzed magical goldspinner spiders. What horrors hatch? If the Spiders of Silkpurse can reclaim their home, then the dwarves of Rumbleseed will gain Kalara Heights and predatory new allies as they push into the deeps of the Various Gardens.

RSVP Confirmation

  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Dunn Family
  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Dunn Family

Open Table: June 13

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RSVP IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

This is an open table invitation. Only respond if you are able to attend. If you sign up but are no longer able to attend, please let me know as soon as possible (and I don’t need to know why.) The game will go forward as long as there are 2 confirmed players plus myself.

Attendance is first come, first serve for five players. You RSVP here, then I confirm with you. If I do not confirm with you, then you will be on the waiting list and I will notify you if a spot opens up. 

Please make a character ahead of time. We play on Roll20 here: https://app.roll20.net/join/5979643/fXhc5g

Need rules? Here’s the quick start. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296327/Axes-and-Anvils-Quickstart-Rules?manufacturers_id=5544

These are the adventures of Clan Rumbleseed. You can read about the clan and their exploits so far here. https://axesandanvils.com/play-reports/

So what’s the plan?

Expedition to the Various Gardens.

Kalara Heights! Over four centuries ago, some rogue dwarves undertook construction to fortify a hidden base just beyond the Golden Vent during the War of Fences. They were driven out of the position and the fortification was abandoned. If it could be reclaimed, it would be an excellent base camp for further exploration…

RSVP Confirmation

  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Dunn Family
  • Vanmil Glowhide (Kriss) Grimeater Family

Open Table: June 6

Tags

,

RSVP IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

This is an open table invitation. Only respond if you are able to attend. If you sign up but are no longer able to attend, please let me know as soon as possible (and I don’t need to know why.) The game will go forward as long as there are 2 confirmed players plus myself.

Attendance is first come, first serve for five players. You RSVP here, then I confirm with you. If I do not confirm with you, then you will be on the waiting list and I will notify you if a spot opens up. 

Please make a character ahead of time. We play on Roll20 here: https://app.roll20.net/join/5979643/fXhc5g

Need rules? Here’s the quick start. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/296327/Axes-and-Anvils-Quickstart-Rules?manufacturers_id=5544

These are the adventures of Clan Rumbleseed. You can read about the clan and their exploits so far here. https://axesandanvils.com/play-reports/

So what’s the plan?

Clan Rumbleseed has assembled an expedition to probe the entry to the Various Gardens, a territory adjacent to the clan’s holdings. Families have sent delegates to assure fair play in exploring the new territory. Everything should go smoothly with all these experts on hand, right?

RSVP:

  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Dunn Family
  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Dunn Family
  • Vanmil Glowhide (Kriss)

“Under the Mountain” is the Deal of the Day!

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“Axes and Anvils” GM book “Under the Mountain” is the Deal of the Day at DriveThruRPG today! The $15 .pdf is on sale for $6 today only.

This book has the rules for the game in the first half, and the second half is GM generators and tools. If you want rules for playing humans and elves (as well as dwarves), mass combat, GM-less play, collaborative setting development, monster randomizer and benchmarks, and more, this is the book for you. The book concludes with an analysis and summary of the GM role in the unique context of an Axes and Anvils game.

Check it out!

utm cover

GM Book

Guiding Ancestor Runes (Enchanter Upgrade)

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GUIDING ANCESTOR RUNES (ENCHANTER UPGRADE)

  • Ancestral Shield. The bonded bearer of the rune retrieves a glimmering echo of an ancestor in the line. This ancestor can assist, in combat or a challenge and/or risk test. It usually takes a full round and a Resolve to manifest the ancestor, who can assist for up to an hour, for one scene or one fight. A Resolve may also be spent to manifest the ancestor for a single round as a free action. This ancestor counts as one of the two maximum assistants a character can have.
    • There are powerful iterations of this rune that can summon two ancestors, manifest them more clearly and in a more articulate way, or more visibly or tangibly, for longer times. These bear costs related to legacy and bloodline in addition to permanent Vitality.
  • Ancestral Lookout. The bonded bearer of the rune retrieves a glimmering echo of an ancestor in the line who can stand guard for 1 shift, 4 hours, automatically waking the bearer if detecting something unusual. The echo can also scout up to a mile away, moving about as well as a dwarf would. Ancestors chosen as lookouts and scouts tend to be ones who had primary skill in those roles. If the lookout is attacked, it dissipates, and the bearer gets a fleeting impression of what did it. The lookout cannot fight.
    • There are powerful iterations of this rune that can fly, move through walls, act with greater intelligence, connect with the bearer as though scrying, and detect supernatural energy. These iterations tend to manifest remarkable traits in the ancestor they echo. Most only bond with bearers from the same family, whether by blood, by having the same Guiding Saying, adopting the same mission, or by living out of similar perspectives.
  • Ancestral Rebodying. These runes can bond an ancestral spirit to an animal that the ancestor had an affinity to in life. The animal gains the ability to talk, and takes on shades of the ancestor’s personality and memories. An enchanter can spend 1 Vitality to coax the ancestor’s shadow into the animal for a brief conversation, or 1 permanent Resolve to bond the ancestor to the animal for the rest of the animal’s lifespan. A permanent bonding is a challenge/risk test, where the risk is breaking the rune and losing the spirit echo and the challenge is sucessful bonding; neither success nor failure means the bond doesn’t work, the Resolve is not lost, and the enchanter can try again with another animal (but that particular one will never work for that echo.)
    • There are powerful iterations of this rune that bring physical mutation to a hybrid animal/dwarf, or allow the fusion to use one or more abilities the ancestor had in life. There are cheaper versions that only bring forward one or two aspects of the echo. Some versions retain the memories the echo earns in each body and conversations, others start from the reset point each time, others don’t bring memories only personality and some abilities.

Guardians of the Nest

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Clan Rumbleseed, played 4.25.20 IRL (in real life) and 10/25/2121 IG (in game).

  • Miraeg Dunn (Jonathan) Leader, Performer, Mechanic.
  • Ivo Flynt (Imre) Support, Gunsmith, Engineer.
  • Cagroot Hopstrider (KC) Skirmisher, Brewer, Delver.
  • Thoreson Grimeater (Anders) Berserker, Chef, Healer.

Loaded for Bear

The Fellowship left the vent in the hillside and returned to Lebrim Manor’s construction site, performing battle haka and armoring up. They equipped themselves with the best climbing gear they could, including a climbing harness Ivo was experimenting with that could support a human. Ivo asked Justicar Trays to go with them, and he agreed.

As the Fellowship was grimly headed out of the camp, they were met by Magistrate Lyrin. The dwarves swore they were going to prove there were monsters under the hill; the magistrate agreed they would do just that. Unfortunately, that proof wouldn’t shift the growing human conviction that the dwarves were perhaps responsible for the monsters. Frustrated, the dwarves went to take out their feelings on the nest below.

Down Below

They found the vent, following it to the chasm, then to the pit. Cagroot, the best climber, anchored the rope so Miraeg could climb down first. Halfway down, Miraeg was ambushed by a cave pouncer. Thoreson leaped to his aid, rappelling down fast, and Ivo supported with gunfire. The pouncer was slain, and Thoreson and Miraeg reached the bottom of the shaft to face off with more cave pouncers–after the fear drinker psychically assaulted them and left them vulnerable. Concentrated fire from above, blades and brawn below, and the timely intervention of the justicar won the day.

Ivo earnestly persuaded Cagroot and Miraeg to arm themselves with his pistols. Then the Fellowship pursued the fear drinker further in.

The Sprawling Lair

The Fellowship and the justicar came to a more open area with a vent to the sky far above, and some faint bioluminescent nesting filth. The cave pouncers hung back, and a massive “breathless” monster charged the Fellowship as the fear drinker redoubled their panic. A combination of Ivo’s explosive bullets and Thoreson’s massive sword brought the breathless down, and Thoreson dug deep with the blade, imbduing it with the breathless’s dissipating life force.

Cagroot scrambled up the uneven slope towards where the fear drinker lurked, fighting his terror. Miraeg joined him, and was inspired to fire the killing shot that took the fear drinker down. Cagroot climbed up to verify, and he was spotted by the queen of the nest.

Yaas Queen

The hideous bulk reared and hissed, and Cagroot snapped off a couple hollowpoints and blew it away. The Fellowship surveyed the mounds of jelly with basketball sized eggs embedded within, feeling some trepidation. Fortunately the dying queen vented chemical signals that didn’t enrage the cave pouncers, a symbiotic species, so the opportunistic predators began eating the jelly and eggs and ignoring the dwarves.

Thoreson enlisted Cagroot’s help to harvest the queen monster glandular tract to make rare spices, avoiding the gut parasites filling the torso cavity. Miraeg plucked the golden orb eyes from the breathless to keep as glassy trophies. Ivo contemplated how best to bring down the cavern with the few explosives he had on hand; there was a fissure, high up, and he climbed towards it to wedge the grenades in just the right spot. His climbing skills did not match his engineering analysis, and he took a bad tumble, banging his way down the craggy slope to squash into a wad of egg jelly.

Deeper Still

Cagroot noticed a hole behind one of the egg wads, and he had a waking vision where the ghost of the baroness hiding in his life energy retreated to him, begging for help, as the wavering meat forest trembled with the approach of a predator. The echo fever infection in him was nearing a merging point once again with a corrupt psychic field like the one that the baroness’s ghost escaped from in the first place. Cagroot could eject the ghost into that starving field, or shelter her in his own life force. He chose to shelter her.

Cagroot told the Fellowship to face what was down the hole, and he retreated to protect his refugee ghost. Linking up with the justicar, Cagroot found the man babbling non-stop as his stoic silence was shaken apart by supernatural fear.

The Corrupter

Meanwhile, fresh terror tore through the rest of the Fellowship as something in that hole trembled the earth. While Miraeg resisted, and Ivo clamped down on his sanity using his resolve, Thoreson embraced the inexorable sensation and retreated into his berserker fury, diving down the hole.

He confronted the corrupter worm writhing below, noting its bite radius matched the victims in the wreck of Lebrim’s Manor. He charged the foul thing, and the world went red.

When Thoreson regained his senses, seven minutes had passed and he was climbing out of the pit covered in blood not his own. He announced the thing was slain. All of the Fellowship felt the echo fever evaporate. Cagroot saw a dead gleam in Thoreson’s eyes, once again reminding him of the stare of a cave moray.

The ecology of the underground could be complex, and the echo fever projected by the fear drinker had been flavored by the worm thing in the pit. Their fields had interacted, probably boosting each other. It was not a surprise that the two forces had reached some kind of uneasy chemical truce, and settled near the queen nest and the cave pouncers attracted to her service. Still, knocking apart the alliance greatly diminished the threat of the nest.

Return

The Fellowship returned to the surface and hefted their monster trophies back to Lebrim Manor’s construction site. They had a terse exchange with the magistrate, then loaded up the wagon and prepared to leave.

Baron Lebrim came to see them off. He assured them they could come back anytime. The teeth in his smile seemed much too sharp. With that, the Fellowship departed.

Legendary Weapon: Breathless Blade

This two-handed blade can be activated by its bearer by spending a Resolve and a defend action. All foes in melee range count as being targeted by a successful defend action.

The Hotbed: Entry to Rumbleseed’s Delve

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The entry to the Delve is a dwarf gate called the Hotbed. The dwarves see the location as a fortification with a trading post added as something of an afterthought, with a fringe of human settlement that has built up over time (enough that humans now have to get a permit to build near the gate.) Humans see the Hotbed as a permanent town flavored by trade with the dwarves. When humans want to deal with dwarves, they go to the Hotbed.

The Exchange

The central exchange of the settlement is a stepwell with shops built in to the walls. A bright mix of restaurants, merchants, and artists must get permission from the Trade Council to locate in the public exchange. The exchange is rigged to flood should aggressors try to lay siege to the dwarfgate. Beyond the exchange, there is a mix of human and dwarven construction for the families of merchants, workers, and servants as well as the hospitality industry for travelers.

The Trade Council

The Trade Council has seven voting seats, with five dwarves representing Rumbleseed families and two humans. The humans have only had seats for the last two centuries, grudgingly granted to try and reduce tensions between the races. The representation has not eased matters much, since wealthy merchants have taken the human spots and deal with the dwarves from a trade perspective that doesn’t do much to address the concerns of the numerous poor living in and near the Hotbed. Dwarves take care of their own, and expect humans to do the same.

The Greatest Flattery

The last century has seen an economic resistance movement growing up in the Hotbed as artisans gather under the direction of The Polishers, a criminal organization focused on imitation dwarven goods. They study real goods, and hone their skill at crafting forgeries. Adding insult to injury, the organization moves the goods through channels that will do as much damage as possible to the dwarven reputation. Over the last sixty years, eight of the leaders have been caught and punished, but humans crop up as fast as you can uproot them.