Chronicles of the Grim Fist, part II

Spring, Month 4

Introduction Iamanu is a vast dragon, 14 tons and 50 feet long, with rough, charcoal-black scales and glowing green eyes. He wears a crown, rings, torcs, steel tips on his claws, an enormous ruby amulet, and similar regalia. A howdah is strapped between his wings, 10 feet by 20, within which a dozen archers, a woman in a black burqa, and two mages ride. And a shield hovers nearby, slowly circling the monster.

“It has been,” the giant beast rasps in passable Frankish, “a long, long time since I have accepted a vassal.”

Chlodomer gives a small, sickly smile, “Welcome to Galaufabonne, milord. I fear I have never hosted a dragon before …”

“Save it,” intones the dragon, “I am not here for pleasure.”

Discussion occurs:

  • Iamanu did not own Galaufabonne prior to now. Things change.
  • Iamanu granted Galaufabonne to the Red Duke, who gave the project to Count Abiron, who passed it to a trusted knight, who was recently eaten by Iamanu for incompetence. The Red Duke and retinue are currently in bad graces.
  • Aella is a former member of the Red Duke retinue; he promoted her to this project, answering directly to him. The details are up to her - he is here only to ensure good behavior on all parts.
  • Chlodomer can accept Aella's rulership or not. Hint: One of these is not a real option.

Chlodomer swears fealty. Aella decides to build the road backward (starting from Galaufabonne and heading home) so that she can observe Chlodomer’s rulership style firsthand. She graciously allows Chlodomer to host her in the lavish lifestyle to which she is accustomed.

Chlodomer’s smile gets a little more sickly.

Several things happen this month!

Adventuring An expedition into the Azure Hot Springs clears out two skittering maws - who almost give the entire party a watery grave - and finds the last of the hydra treasures. Galswintha acquires an elven ring of exceptional power (protection +3).
Aella Spends Money Aella requests an interest-free loan from Chlodomer to pay her people. Then she parties like a 12th level character while they slooowly build a road southward.
Hex Management Bugbear Forest Lake - the second ugliest hex and in the bottom half in value - hits a population of 100. Ugly Hill - the ugliest hex and in the bottom third in value - hits a population of 99. They are, in fact, the runaway leaders in population.

It is a mystery with, apparently, no answer.

Total income is -2,000 gold prior to festivals. Chlodomer throws a proper, full festival anyway, and gets perilously close to the red line Galswintha drew on the wall of her accounting office.

Not much of interest happens, otherwise.

A Dream of a Highway Shadagrunde and Vulfelind lay plans for a 150-mile highway following the original dwarven markers. Galswintha nixes it until the money is in better shape.
Diplomacy There are visitors from Orléans and Atanung. Chlodomer handles it with reasonable aplomb keeping the conversation riveted on just how much money everyone stands to make by continued peaceful trade, and just how badly it will go for everyone else if Galaufabonne has to go to war again.

Since tales of what happened to the armies Atanung left strung along the trail last year have grown (and muddied) over time, this seems to satisfy everyone.

Chlodomer does have to backtrack on a statement - he talks up the highway, and, err, accidentally claims credit in front of Shadagrunde. He does backtrack on it, though, and makes sure credit is given appropriately.

Also, Vulfelind’s little secret comes out:

In Spring of last year, the party asked Vulfelind to drop the issue of the Orléans Guild Boss being a wererat, and she left Orléans for a couple weeks of vacation to get over it.

Later, after the Battle of Orléans, they learned that the Orléans Guild Boss had died. It seemed a bit odd, but the timing was wrong for Vulfelind to have been involved.

This Spring, a representative of the new Orléans Guild Boss gave Vulfelind an expensive thank-you gift for “her investment and faith in him”: a small canoe (15 ft x 3 ft) with the same properties as a carpet of flying.

The other members of the Grim Fist put two and two together, and the truth outs: Vulfelind went to Atanung for “vacation,” worked with the Atanung Guild Boss to ensure a reasonably smooth succession in Orléans, hired a small group of assassins, and loaded them up for wererat hunting. Some spying was done to make certain of the targets, and then while Vulfelind and her crew were stabbing the Bandit King to death in a tunnel, the assassins were exterminating the nest in Orléans.

This may have also helped give the Atanung Boss the idea that Orléans was ripe for the plucking, which may have trickled up to the Atanung Governor, which may have resulted in some of that recent military action, but nothing can ever truly be certain in this world, eh?

Shorter version: She didn’t so much drop the issue, as drop it on someone’s head.

OOC: And at some point, I hope to get Vulfelind to write that up from her character’s perspective :-).

Our Lady of Light Shadagrunde takes Chlodomer's monthly tithe and puts it toward a temple adjunct to the central castle ... and begins putting attention toward a congregation.

Within the month, Team Priest has just about sealed up the 20% of the population not following the religious edict. Shadagrunde doesn’t have a workshop or library yet, however, so he continues working on the temple and just maintains the congregation.

Galswintha's Research The sorceress begins her first full magical research project. She refuses to divulge details to anyone.

(OOC: Okay, okay, I know what it is.)

Note: That doesn’t look like much of an update, does it?

This was the first time they really went whole-hog on making the domain profitable (during the epic weekend, they had lots of gold coming out of their ears, so they just focused on the military situation), and everyone had to discuss everything in detail.

And I’m not complaining, it was fun! But “first time slowness” was definitely a factor.

Having to pause the game for a few minutes here and there while I worked out a rule (i.e., the cost of highways) also played into it a bit. That will definitely reduce in the future.

Next week, I am hopeful that we can get 2-3 months done in the same time.

Ironically, in another thread on another site, grumbling grognards have pronounced that ONLY games which are already finished should be Kickstarted.

Here's w hy we'd Kickstart: 

Art: Cover art; interior art; and gameplay art. As a board wargame, DAW is fairly hard to grasp just from text. In additon, we expect the "digital boxed set" to include counters, mapsheets, terrain pieces, and tokens, all of which will require art, too.

Layout: Converting my text into nice, two-column PDFs that can be viewed on screen takes time. It takes additional time to add hyperlinks, indexes, and glossaries. And still further time to make it print compatible.

Printing: We want DAW to be available as softbound books, ideally in a shrinkwrap portfolio or boxed set.

Orders: Kickstarter has generated more orders for our books than any other sales channel, period. Even if the whole thing was finished, it'd just be a great sales channel.


Just wanted to say in response to this little sequence of quotes tucked into the last few sessions:

Cameron wrote: Vulfelind meets briefly with Chludwig d'Orléans - head of the Thieves' Guild - whose daughter she had returned to him last time. He wants to make sure that she knows that he knows about their plans for Pegasus Mountain, and that as long as she remembers who's really in charge, he won't tell the Governor what's really going on. She smiles and nods and kisses his ring finger and worries about which of her henches is actually a spy. She also finally pays attention to what he looks like, and realizes that he is probably a wererat.
Cameron wrote: Vulfelind talks to the party, but they're hesitant to take on a Thieves' Guild leader in a major city who is cozy with the Governor, especially when the "spy" is now a double agent on the party's side.

Vulfelind sighs and agrees, but still takes a vacation in Atanung (“anywhere but here”) to put it behind her.

Cameron wrote: A pack of grinning thieves, whose portraits Chludwig sent him months ago, are waiting for him at his exit. His hidden exit. His oh-so-secret exit. One of them, Vulfelind, puts a flaming, magical crossbow bolt into his leg as he slows to a stop.

Albert puts on his most charming smile, “Lovelies, I have allies who will be unhappy if you don’t let me by.”

Vulfelind smiles. The pack swarms the rat lord with magic blades and malice.

Cameron wrote: Some spying was done to make certain of the targets, and then while Vulfelind and her crew were stabbing the Bandit King to death in a tunnel, the assassins were exterminating the nest in Orléans.
I will never, ever play poker with Vulfelind.

Basically, yeah. She has the Old School D&D Player thing nailed, doesn’t she?

Thanks for the insight on your reasoning behind the DAW Kickstarter.

I have to agree with you that Kickstarter is a great sales channel. I know it’s just one data point but, outside of the ACKS rulebook, every single fantasy games purchase I’ve made in the last year has been a Kickstarter project (if you exclude me trolling for old Dragon mags at my local shop).

Session 22
Spring, Month 5
Hex Management

Galaufabonne's monthly income exceeds its expenses for the first time.

This would have happened earlier, but the Grim Fist continues to maintain a grossly oversized militia.

Torn Tree Hill, from which the Galaufchulis tree is visible in the distance, and whose exposed mineral veins make it one of the three most valuable territories in Galaufabonne, reaches a population of 100 peasant families, mostly miners.

Azure Hot Springs also reaches 100 peasant families … and while not as valuable a territory, its stunning beauty makes it a favored spot for the adventurers to visit.


Or maybe it's the monsters still lurking in the deepest caves below the springs.

Grilled giant piranha, it turns out, is good eating.

The Shadowed Lake territory reports an invasion of giant insects who turn out to be burrowing, 10-foot-long monsters. Watching from a safe distance, the peasants cheer as Chlodomer and Haramer, chained to the surface, stalk down each tube in turn and drag the insect’s beaten corpse to the surface. This ends up taking a few days, as healing is not unlimited, but by the end of it, the ankhegs are scoured.


Aella borrows Chlodomer's light and heavy infantry to help clear the path home - he sends Haramer to actually lead the soldiers, as he is still uncertain of Aella's tactical sense ... or willingness to let his people die. She continues to live luxuriously on his funds, and Galswintha points out that if Chlodomer wasn't paying for it out of his own pocket, Galaufabonne would be in the red.

The Grim Fist hold a meeting, and come to a purely financial conclusion: Aella has to go home. Soon.

Everyone chips in, mid-month, to put together enough money to build her road for her … in half the time. Vulfelind groans, “Are we always going to end up doing her job for her?” And then they take the portion of the army she hasn’t commandeered, and blaze a trail south to …

A surprisingly beautiful coast of craggy cliffs and white sand, with three small island mountains visible a few miles out. All of the Frankish territories are north of this area, so Shadagrunde’s extensive (and growing) map collection mostly just assumes “more land” in this direction.

Aella points out her island, as well as one of Iamanu’s favored cliffside caverns. A short boat ride later, her personal army begin setting up waypoints along the highway the Grim Fist built, and Chlodomer returns home with his once-again-complete army.

Magical Research

Shadagrunde's library and workshop continue to be built.

Galswintha’s first research project continues to be the most secret of secrets.

OOC Notes

This was another slow session, although at least we knew what we were doing this time. There was a great deal of discussion about the Aella financial situation: mainly, that theoretically, building her highway for her would pay for itself, but in practical terms, would take the Grim Fist right down to the thick red line, so if there was another financial crisis ...

So they sat down and crunched the numbers in detail, and blew most of an hour deciding that it was worth kicking the medusa south so they could start making a profit on the lands.

Small extended family emergency yesterday, which is when I usually have time to write my notes up into usable format. I will either do a short-ish update tomorrow, or a substantial update next weekend.

Session 23
OOC: My life continues to be ARGH due to some extended family members who don’t know how to handle their own lives without excesses of drama, so there is no game this weekend. I am taking a few minutes here to type up LAST week’s game, sorry for the shortness.

Spring, Month 6; and Summer, Months 7, 8, and 9
Aella asks Chlodomer to come out to her island. During her absence, judgement requests built up and she needs some help digging her way out of the backlog. Haramer runs things in his absence.

During his months there, Chlodomer is less than impressed with her managerial skills.

He wisely keeps this counsel to himself, however, and does his best to help her mete out justice in good and Lawful fashion. During his time there, Chlodomer gives Aella another zero-interest loan, which she spends on hosting him. At the end of Summer, she pays off the first loan and sends him home.

Galswintha’s research fails, continues, and then is finally revealed to be a spell recreating dragon’s breath.

Vulfelind: "What? That's the big secret?" Galswintha: "I never said it was a big secret, just that I didn't want to discuss it." Vulfelind: "You trapped the entrance to your lab." Galswintha: "Oh, did you find that even after I asked for some privacy?" Vulfelind: "..."

Shadagrunde’s library and workshop are completed, and he successfully researches a potion of cure serious wounds (2,000 gold, 1 month, throw 12+); then fails to research a potion of neutralize poison.

The party drives off a cyclops; clears out a few nearby threats; and fight off a wave of undead when Haramer pronounces judgement on a wizard in Ugly Hill … and the graveyard comes to rescue him.

Throughout Summer, Vulfelind acts as steward for Haramer, and a messenger to Atanung and Orléans. Vulfelind and Shadagrunde forge ahead with the highway, spending their own money “until Galaufabonne can pay us back.”

Almost every hex reaches Borderland status; and Bugbear Forest actually counts as Civilized.

The first pegasus war steeds complete their training! The first-hatched goes to Chlodomer, the second to Galswintha (in return for being Guardian of the Wood and primary agitator for pretty much the whole Pegasus Mountain thing).

Galswintha names her pegasus Archer. Archer is an unmarked amber champagne mare - her wings and fetlock featherings match her chocolate points - with a calm personality.

Hench Spotlight: Genofeva

As part of this session, we explored the current affairs of one of Chlodomer's henchmen: Genofeva de Paris - third daughter of a duke (estranged), high CHA, master horse rider, and skilled commander. Probably Chlodomer's brightest asset, and a bit bitter that Chlodomer declared Haramer as Seneschal.

Chlodomer asked Genofeva to clear hex #1809 (Red Cliff Hill), and provided her with funds (and permission to take her cavalry along). Genofeva hired Amarante le Certaine (Chlodomer had released Amarante from service for issues of religious compatibility, but Genofeva is not as committed to the Lady, so a Night-worshipping hench is less of an issue), Galande d’Orléans (cleric of Night), and her cavalry, and went to work.

Red Cliff Hill is a high, dry land with a central, steep and rocky hill and a series of smaller hills surrounding. The rocks and cliffs are ferrous red, with sparse wood.

They destroy a nest of stirges (although everyone is battered), and make camp to rest; the following morning, they spot a gargoyle lair - one gargoyle on watch, vague shadows moving deeper inside. The gargoyles seem aware of them, but unconcerned until they draw close … and then Amarante puts a fireball down the mouth of the cave, and the gargoyle on watch boggles and then flees into the sky.

Nothing else comes out of the cave, and so the party slowly works their way up the cliffside and loot the cave.

Here, they find something really nice: a dwarven shield that matches Genofeva’s (and Chlodomer’s and Shadagrunde’s) and a green-bladed spear identical to Haramer’s. “This,” she says to no one in particular, “ought to get some attention.”

Genofeva lends her sword to one cavalry sergeant and the extra shield to another; and wields the spear and her shield. She makes sure they know this is a loan, not a gift.

They do a sweep of the hex as a whole (they never see the gargoyle that fled again), and finally make it to the top of the central hill.

And set into solid rock at the top of the hill, a spiral staircase descends into shadow. Leaving the cavalry (soldiers not hired to delve dungeons) to guard the entrance, they descend … into the lair of a vampire.

With a few hours of daylight available, they do a quick search, but cannot find the coffin, so they loot what they can and flee to perform better preparations.

That night, however, the vampire discovers the missing treasures and brings the fight to them.

Galande, attempting and failing to turn undead and then attempting to cast a spell, dies of old age on the second attack by the vampire, and Genofeva is herself aged somewhat before the vampire is forced to retreat in gaseous form.

As morning arrives, the party makes a more thorough assault on the lair, and tear the place apart looking for the coffin. At noon, Amarante’s familiar finds a crack in the wall designed for gaseous form, leading to a hidden room.

They begin tearing through the wall with pick and hammer, and as sundown approaches, break through to the other side. The vampire awakens …

… and Genofeva manages to get surprise and stake him in one fluid-but-panicked series of die rolls. Then they behead the paralyzed corpse, pour holy water down the throat and on the head, burn everything to ashes, gather the ashes into an urn to submerge in a river, smash the coffin, burn that, and then flee when the smoke from the coffin threatens to choke them. The ashes are mixed thoroughly with river water, and Galande’s body - still two days from becoming a vampire - is treated in much the same way.

Then they spend two days carefully looting everything, and return to Galaufabonne to recover.

This campaign sounds more and more legendary every time I read about it!

If you ever stop this campaign, or stop updating us on it, I am going to has a huge sad.

Just putting you on notice.

I’m not planning on going anywhere, and this game (and sharing it) is a bright spot in my week. I may eventually move it to its own blog, but I would have to figure out how a blog works first, so that won’t be anytime soon.

We had a game this weekend. I should have time to write it up tomorrow.

Session 24
Fall: Months 10, 11, and 12

Aella increases the taxes by 1 gold per peasant family ... then pays off the last loan from Chlodomer (the money just mysteriously showed up!), then revokes the tax. Chlodomer is not displeased, however: he'd given up on the loan in the first place.

The Grim Fist clears out a few more nearby lairs, focusing their efforts on areas near the highway. Nothing exceptional … until they receive news of a purple worm sighting in the deep wilderness to the south, heading north toward Galaufabonne. A quick flight and reconnaissance confirms the presence of several surfacing points. They choose to not take a closer look and instead retreat to plan.

At the worm’s expected travel rate of 12 miles per day, they expect it to arrive in three days, so they send messages to their captains to get their soldiers to the border in three days time. Then they plan to scout out the terrain and think of a way to stop a creature that can burrow under any defenses …

And they might have had a chance to think of something, if purple worms only spent part of the day traveling …

As the party is examining the layout of a river, erupts from the earth and swallows Chlodomer whole, then curves back and begins diving back into the earth to bring its stinger to bear on the party. And then two more worms erupt from the earth, narrowly missing Shadagrunde and Galswintha before uncoiling from the earth and preparing to fight above the surface.

Deep within the belly of the worm, Chlodomer abandons his shield, draws a pair of daggers, and begins grimly scaling the inside of the worm’s gullet using the knives as climbing picks. Unfortunately, the worm deals more damage per round and has more hit points to spare, so things look grim.

On the surface, Galswintha jockeys for position, dodging worms to get to a point where her dragon’s breath can have maximum effect; Vulfelind savages the worm holding Chlodomer; and Shadagrunde summons a spiritual weapon to attack the worms.

The worms sting Galswintha twice … and she shakes off the poison both times. Vulfelind and Shadagrunde are both bitten, but avoid Death’s invitation.

Chlodomer continues his horrible, grinding climb; Vulfelind switches to her crossbow; and Galswintha breathes dragonfire, catching all three worms in its blast.

And then Chlodomer stabs the worm in a major nerve cluster and it thrashes briefly, then stops. Without the stomach muscles grinding, he sighs and starts carving his way out.

Meanwhile, on the surface, Shadagrunde continues to layer spiritual weapons, and Vulfelind switches targets.

And then Galswintha breathes dragon’s fire again, and the second worm turns to crisp … and the third worm is not in particularly good shape. It stings her (she beats the odds again!) and then swallows the diminutive magi whole. Amazingly, she retains consciousness (OOC: well, having fighter-like hp is helpful, I suppose).

And then a shrieking werefox pounces on its head and everything - for the worm - goes dark.

After everyone is dug out and assistance is acquired in hauling the corpses out of their tunnels … the Grim Fist finds, lodged widthwise in one of the worms, a statue of what appears to be elven royalty.

Sadly, the statue’s head was wedged into a different part of the beast than the rest of it, so the attempt at surviving the worm’s guts by means of self-petrification failed. But a stone to flesh treatment later yields a fresh corpse (which is given a proper cremation with an attempt at “elven ritual”) … and some serious treasure.

  • Two small sacks with three thousand platinum, and a third sack filled with gold.
  • Four amethyst seal cylinders showing a period of elven history thought long-since lost.
  • A flawless diamond tooth.
  • A royal crown of electrum, studded with star rubies and pearls.
  • A royal sceptre of platinum, studded with emeralds the color of deepest ocean.
  • Delicate elven plate armor of the finest craftsmanship.
  • An actual broadleaf enchanted to hardness and carried as a shield.
  • A leaf-themed ebon bow.
  • An elven sword layered with platinum, silver, and emeralds.
  • A protective scarab.
  • And magical lenses of some sort.

Almost all of it aside from the coins and jewels is magical in some fashion or another. With careful expenditures, the magic items turn out to be:

  • Plate armor +1, weighs 3 stone, grants +30 movement speed, and acts as boots of striding and springing.
  • Shield +1, grants hide in shadows and move silently as thief in wilderness.
  • Wyrmtooth (sentient shortsword, Neutral)
  • Composite Bow +3
  • Scarab of Protection
  • Eyes of Petrification, beneficial

(OOC: With no NPC assistance at all, Chlodomer hit level 10 and Shadagrunde hit level 11; Galswintha is still a long ways from level 10; and Vulfelind can’t even see level 11 from here, thanks to the werefox thing.)

Shadagrunde can’t strip out of his chainmail fast enough for the plate armor. Vulfelind takes Wyrmtooth and pairs it with her unwilling sword of luck, who is a bit put out …

Wordthief: Well, my life is over.
Wyrmtooth: Wordthief, is that you?
Vulfelind: You know this sword?
Wordthief: As if I would associate with such a plebian weapon.
Wyrmtooth: You still have all of your wishes?
Vulfelind: Oh. My. Goddess. Wyrmtooth, I want ALL of the embarrassing stories.
Wordthief: Well, my life is over.

On the plus side, they now have a name for the sword of no wishes for you.

Chlodomer - voted most likely to get caught with a deathtouch by a hot necromantic witch - gets the scarab. Galswintha gets the lenses. The remainder gets passed down to henches.

Hex Management

By the end of Fall, everything is borderlands except for those areas that are civilized: Red Meadow, Pegasus Mountain, Utena's Shadow, Bugbear Forest Lake, Ugly Hill, Torn Tree Hill, and Azure Hot Springs. (Oak Circle remains "unpopulated" wilderness, of course.) This does wonders for the income, despite Chlodomer still hanging on to a grossly oversized army.

(OOC: For XP, since Galaufabonne is a group effort, I divided the total GP earned among the group, then awarded XP where that exceeds their GP threshold. This has meant … not a lot of XP. Heh.)

Highway: The completed highway is 10 feet wide and paved for 150 miles (75,000 gold) with a stone townhouse every 12 miles (12 of them, 14,400 gold).

Maintenance: 375 gold/month.
Garrison: 100 light infantry; 300 gold per month.
Income: 600 gold/month.

The garrison costs will go down as the area is civilized, however, and in the meanwhile, the income between Orléans and Atanung essentially allows the extra infantry for only 75 gold per month.

Once the highway is completed, Vulfelind talks Chlodomer into putting Adela and Genofeva in charge of the highway hexes. As they are lair-free, the entire 26-hex length is only a pair of strongholds away from being part of a Galaufabonne realm … and Adela and Genofeva both operate cavalry with the capacity to cover half the highway’s length in a single day, making power projection (at least along the highway) a non-issue.

By the time strongholds begin construction, it looks like they will be done by the end of Year 6.

Once that starts, though … Vulfelind argues that it is time to build “her” city: Bone Temple (in Bone Temple Hill, squarely in the midpoint of the highway, and at the midpoint of three domains-to-be). And since it is the worst hex (Land Value 5 with the efreet wish), a city is one of the few ways it can be profitable.

The city is constructed; peasants are moved in from all over Galaufabonne, and Vulfelind immediately begins building further infrastructure (no one bothers asking whether she’s riddling the city with secret passages).

By the end of the year, Bone Temple has amazingly managed (if barely) Class IV status.

Year 6, Winter, Month 1, Day 1

Atanung's representative arrives on the first day of Winter, concerned by the two fortress constructions going up along the highway, and implies that "concerned parties" beyond just Atanung itself might get involved.

Chlodomer smiles, claps the representative on the shoulder, and says, ever so softly, “The good news is, I don’t believe in killing the messenger. Take your men and go home. Sit by a warm hearth, eat a fine meal, enjoy the company of those you love. Then tell Atanung or whoever it is you are trying to imply you actually represent: No.”

The representative is sent back with Adela’s cavalry as guard, and deposited at the entrance to Atanung, safe, snug, and shaken.

Hench Spotlight: Sir Merideth le Chocolat
As part of this session, we explored the current affairs of one of Shadagrunde's henchmen: Merideth le Chocolat, whom Shadagrunde sponsored for knighthood in the Lady's Church. A small, dark-skinned woman with ankle-length platinum hair and a constant, ready grin. WIS and CHA +3! Bears the lady's cane (mace +2 which can cure disease once per day).

Currently leading a small cavalry force chosen for their elite skill, loyalty, and gender; and despite the best efforts of Adela and Genofeva, they have made a name for themselves as the premier cavalry in Galaufabonne … and the Church has approached Shadagrunde on a few occasions to try to borrow them (Shadagrunde has argued, thus far successfully, that they are doing the Lady’s work in Galaufabonne, and that keeping Galaufabonne is an important, long-term strategic goal).

Merideth’s cavalry is composed primarily of six church knights of varying ability, plus her squire and their squires:

  • Squire Tescelina de Galaufabonne
  • Sir Airsenda de Galaufabonne and Squire Sibilla de Galaufabonne
  • Sir Ermingardis d'Orléans and Squire Nicholaa de Paris
  • Sir Alia d'Orléans and Squire Racilda d'Orléans
  • Sir Aliberta d'Atanung and Squire Cecilibrunde d'Atanung
  • Sir Sigebald de Paris and Squire Bertaswind de Galaufabonne
  • Sir Vuit d'Atanung and Squire Hathvidis de Galaufabonne

All serve the Lady and can bring the Lady’s grace to the battlefield; all are armed and armored with the best and most expensive gear available; all ride only the finest heavy war horses, and string along seconds for great need. What they lack in numbers, they make up for with seeming invincibility.

In addition to the core group, each of Merideth’s companions have supporting employees of various sorts. Beyond their squires, most have employed the services of 2-3 devout but non-casting warriors (also functioning as cavalry), horse handler, lantern bearer, and scroll bearer. Sir Alia has also acquired the services of two devout wizards who serve the Lady with their arcane might; Sir Airsenda and Sir Vuit both employ the services of a trap-finder; and Sir Sigebald employs a wilderness guide.

Recent rumors have placed a new troup of bandits in hex #1605, Mistwood Springs, where they prey on travelers and hide from the highway’s protectors. At the request of Shadagrunde, they have come to cleanse the springs.

Mistwood Springs is mostly valley, with a multitude of small, warm springs and resulting streams heading north. With little information, they hunt for trailsign and camp sign, until Sigebald’s tracker finally spots signs that the bandits were recently nearby.

Very recently! The ambush of arrows is brutal, and the rogues remain unseen in woods filled with the mist of warm springs hitting snow.

The bandits, however, are not as prepared as they think for the prey they have caught. Detect evil and locate object (for quivers of arrows!) quickly reveals the location of the primary groups of bandits, and they cannot melt away fast enough to escape the devoted cavalry.

Moments later, the bandits are tied up and given first aid … and the first regains consciousness, only to see Merideth’s teeth in a broad smile.

“You will live to see the inside of a court if you tell me where you camp. If you do not, we will see if the gentleman next to you will live to see the inside of a court.”

They can’t talk fast enough.

At the bandit camp, four flame strikes and a cavalry charge end all hope for the bandits before they realize they had hope to lose. First aid and rope is parceled out, strays are hunted down, and almost two hundred brigands, less those who died, are lectured on the folly of opposing the Lady in matters of faith and war.

They are then marched to the outskirts of Galaufabonne, where Merideth speaks to Shadagrunde, who speaks to Chlodomer … and Chlodomer and Merideth together interview the brigands to determine what drove them outlaw.

For many, it is entirely too obvious that a weak character and greed brought about their sorry state; these are charged and convicted of assault and theft, whipped and fined, and then sent to one of the larger temples near Orléans to work off their penance - as they lack the funds to pay the fines.

For some, it is equally obvious that they are simply evil, and bear no one good will. These are charged and convicted of robbery, fined (mostly for show), and beheaded.

But most have a sufficiently persuasive sob story, and swear under oath most prettily that they, themselves, have never murdered, that Merideth asks Chlodomer to stay his hand. They are charged only with theft, placed in the stocks rather than whipped, and fined the minimum amount … and then offered a place to work off their penance in Galaufabonne, where they can become citizens if they behave loyally for three years (the time required for “basic service” to pay off 150 gold in fines), without further stigma.

Of great interest to everyone, quite beyond the normal treasures of the bandits, is an artifact of the Lady: a necklace of platinum, with two diamonds upon it. Each diamond is said to be a mortal lifespan, which can be sacrificed to resurrect a cleric of the Church (both may be sacrificed for anyone else).

Merideth gifts the necklace to Shadagrunde as the divine patriarch of Galaufabonne; who gifts it to Chlodomer as the ruler of Galaufabonne; who gifts it to Galswintha as “most likely person in Galaufabonne to find the right use for it.”

Marvelous! I love reading about your campaign.

Two notes of specific praise:

1) Having a mage self-petrify to survive inside a purple worm was an ingenious way of providing a nice treasure haul in the gullet.

2) This was awesome:

Wordthief: Well, my life is over.
Wyrmtooth: Wordthief, is that you?
Vulfelind: You know this sword?
Wordthief: As if I would associate with such a plebian weapon.
Wyrmtooth: You still have all of your wishes?
Vulfelind: Oh. My. Goddess. Wyrmtooth, I want ALL of the embarrassing stories.
Wordthief: Well, my life is over.

Thanks! Gonna make me blush!

Wordthief is - against all bets I would have taken - my most popular NPC. I apparently do an excellent “bitter, whiny sword” impression … and I try not to think too hard about what that says about me.

Bonus OOC: Bone Temple Hill
I have index cards and lists and spreadsheets and text files and hex maps to keep track of the six-mile domains within Galaufabonne, and I’m still figuring out a good way to do that. As a result, a lot of stuff gets swept under the rug when I’m writing up a description of a session - all of the disorganized crap I don’t want visitors to see!

However, since Year 6 marked a full one-year anniversary (in-game) for the founding of Galaufabonne, I took some time to break out ONE of the six-mile hexes and its development over Year 5: Bone Temple Hill.

I chose Bone Temple Hill for a few reasons: it has a low Value, but is placed well for the highway; it ended the year with a city on it; and the party has been discussing it more than most of the others (Azure Hot Springs a notable exception), so I have more notes on it.

Bone Temple Hill is dominated by a semi-barren hilltop with ancient temple ruins on it. The highest point of the temple is high enough to be visible from about 9 miles away, or twice that if the other point is on a similarly high hill (or a mountain).

Land Value 6 0102: Rocky, flat area; stream from #0203. 0103: Ridge running SW. 0201: Small hill. 0202: Crest, sloping away from #0302. 0203: Ridge and mini-hill. Weak stream runs to #0102. 0204: Hill. 0301: Northernmost ridge running from the peak in #0302. 0302: Peak of highest hill; elven temple ruins. An elven temple to the Lady - or the elven conception of the Lady - with shattered statuary, slender columnar obelisks (most broken in half, but some simply knocked over), and seven attractively placed, large flat rocks with smooth surfaces. A few steps are carved into a narrow cavern cleft, which is not very deep - inside are wondrous wall paintings of frolicking elves and animals (including, yes, pegasi). There were skeletons scattered across the temple, but these were cleaned up and given to a funeral pyre before the hex was declared "clean."

The peak is fairly flat and a quarter-mile across before sloping off into the rest of the Bone Temple Hill hex.

0303: Southernmost ridge running from the peak in #0302.
0304: End of ridge in #0303. Small cliff at southernmost end.
0401: Gentle slope N; meadowed with light trees.
0402: Gentle slope NE; meadowed.
0403: Sharp valley crease between the hill in #0502 and the ridge in #0303.
0404: High hill with an empty bear cave.
0502: Hill.
0503: High hill.

Upon completion of Galaufabonne’s central castle, 20 peasant families had moved in, almost all of them in #0401 (taking advantage of the easier farming and proximity to the safe-ish highway zone there).

Accounting for the first month:

Land: +140 gold (20 x 6, +20 due to Morale +4). Service: +100 gold (20 x 4, +20 due to Morale +4). Tax: +40 gold (20 x 2). Tithes: -28 gold. Winter Festival: -100 gold (20 x 5).

4.65% of OVERALL domain accounting:
Starting Treasury: +26,050 gold.
Fortress Construction: -24,650 gold.
Stronghold Maintenance: -115 gold.
Garrison: -500 gold.

NET: +937 gold … but only because of the party chipping in.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to do the huge breakdown for every month!

Over the next 11 months, the population grew substantially. The Grim Fist adventured regularly and the Morale couldn’t budge from +4, so the growth looked like this:

01 > 02 > 03 > 04 > 05 > 06 > 07 > 008 > 009* > 010** > 011 > 012
20 > 27 > 35 > 44 > 55 > 69 > 86 > 109 > 131* > 148** > 181 > 219

  • In month 9, Bone Temple Hill shifted to Borderlands.
    ** In month 10, 16 peasants were moved to the city (plus peasants from other hexes).

That growth is the result of pop x1.25 for adventuring (x1.2 months 9-12; x1.15 after month 12); then +4d10 families (+21 on average). The +1d10-1d10 balanced out on average.

By the end of the year, roughly 60 families each are in sub-hexes 1401 and 1402; and 3-10 families each in all of the other sub-hexes.

In month 10, Vulfelind constructed “her” city, Bone Temple. Predictably enough, she chose the central hilltop. Also, the player agreed to let me reproduce this section:

Bone Temple

V: Okay, a straight path north to the highway runs along a ridge - can we flatten the top of the ridge for a highway? A 3-mile, 12-feet wide dwarven highway at 3,600gp is too sweet to pass up.

C: Clearing rock first is more expensive. Call it 4,500 gold.

V: Done.

V: I would also like to renovate the elven temple. Or make Shad do it - that’s what the tithes are, right?

C: Without statuary: 3,000. With: 13,000. Shad can spend tithes how he wants, but you could sweeten the pot by making a land grant. It looks like the first month’s tithe for the region with be about 3,000, so that may be the way to start.

V: Done. Will email Shad.

V: The city will grow, but I want a wall to start with. I think I’ll have 1,000 fams pretty fast, so I’ll start with that. MDME says that’s 0.13 square miles. I want a hexagon, but you do the math.

C: The hex is 2,000 feet across; each side is 1,200 feet long. Six sides is 7,200 feet long. Pick a wall and go. Will NOT count toward infrastructure, but WILL count toward defensive structures if Galaufabonne Castle falls.

V. Ugh. Okay, no wall. We’ll make walls when I’m swimming in platinum.

V: How much do I have to define the “infrastructure”?

C: As much as you want. Anything you don’t define, if it comes up, we’ll just use something basic and standard and easy.

V: No no no. My city has to be the best.

C: I think that answers your question of how much you want to define, then.

V: You are so mean LOL. Okay. What is the starting point?

C: 1,000 families is 3.5 million square feet and needs 40,000 gold in wells, administrative buildings (including a town square), streets, fees paid to draw up the city charter, flattened areas suitable for erecting wooden buildings on, and any small extras your city is known for.

V: Sewers?

C: Not standard. Hm. Good sewers will let a city pack the same people into a smaller area. You still needs the same number of wells, administrative buildings, and fees, but the streets and flattened areas are halved. So 40K + ??? - ??? for savings?

C: I’m going to rule this as a construction-like problem. Rather than price the sewers per se, I’ll just say that you can halve the area of the settlement with “improvements” worth +50% gold, or quarter the area for +100% gold. So 60,000 gold and 80,000 gold, respectively. In both cases, the extra gold halves the area, but does not count toward allowing a higher population.

V: Will it count for the extra family growth rate?

C: Hmm… yes. That seems sensible.

V: What about secret passages?

C: Heh.

C: Okay, revised rule: +50% per “city improvement.” Improvements include:

  • Density: halve area required. Gain bonus families when built. Aquaducts, sewers, raised streets, building complexes, grid design, etc.
  • Secret Passages: Grants +1 to relevant thief guild tasks. No other benefit.
  • Feng Shui: Grants +1 on arcane Magic Research rolls. No other benefit.
  • Religious Shui: Grants +1 on divine MR rolls. No other benefit.

C: Each can be taken twice. You will also have to keep them up when the city expands, if you want to keep the benefits.

V: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmkay. I want sewers. Annnnnnd secret passages. So starting out, the city will cost 20,000gp for a 10,000gp settlement; and for my purposes, the initial expansion will be 60,000gp for +30,000gp in settlement value. Can I add density improvements later?

C: Yes and yes.

V: And if I quarter the size of the city, the walls cost…?

C: If area is quartered, lines are halved. You know this :wink:

V: Ugh. Not enough.

V: So no walls and highway brings the total to… ugh. 84,500gp. Well, that’s my allowance for a while.

C: Don’t forget that your first month might not be profitable.

V: Well, I’ll burn that bridge when it comes. Maybe I can wheedle some cash out of Chlod.

Bone Temple grew rapidly: starting with 250 peasants in month 10, it grew to 433 in month 11 (helped along by Vulfelind’s investments), and 628 by the end of the year. It is now a Class IV large town!

Demand modifiers:

Modifiers: age 0-20; water source none; climate deciduous forest; elevation hills; land value 6; within 144 miles of Atanung and Orléans (which are, themselves, not QUITE within 144 miles of each other).

Both are Class II, so I just averaged them for Bone Temple’s modifiers, with Orléans winning on 0.5 values for being slightly larger. After rolling 2d3-4 for each and modifying the values appropriately:

-3: wine & spirits, fine textiles.
-2: beer & ale, arms, cloth, silk
-1: gems, semiprecious stones, preserved meats, common metals, precious metals, salt, wood, and rare woods.
+1: monster parts.
+3: spices.

And since Vulfelind is planning to build it into a Class I megalopolis, I’m keeping the original scores for when the tables are turned on Atanung and Orléans:

-3: wine & spirits, semiprecious stones, common metals, precious metals, salt, cloth, fine textiles.
-2: ivory, silk, wood, and rare woods.
-1: animals, arms, common furs, tools.
+1: mounts, pottery, glassware, tea and coffee.
+2: spices.

Obviously, trade demand between the two larger cities has warped the local demands!

Accounting for month 12:

Land: +1,533 gold (219 x 6, +219 due to Morale +4). Service: +1,095 gold (219 x 4, +219 due to Morale +4). Tax: +438 gold (219 x 2). Tithes: -310 gold.

5.59% of OVERALL domain accounting:
Vassalage: -460 gold.
Stronghold Maintenance: -140 gold.
Garrison: -600 gold.

Bone Temple City:
Revenue: 5,970 gold.
Garrison: -1,260 gold.
Upkeep: -940 gold (repairs, city officials, and similar).
Defensive Structure Upkeep: -45 gold.
Tithes: -600 gold.
Vassalage: -1,200 gold.

NET: +3,241 gold.

A Morale +4 city makes a substantial difference in income!

Vulfelind’s chosen garrison is fairly simple: 50 heavy infantry and 30 longbowmen, equipped with decent gear and a badge showing a rearing sphinx.

Session 25
Year 6, Months 1, 2, and 3 (Winter)
By the end of Winter, the entire domain (sans the Oak Circle, which remains a preserve) is Civilized, and Chlodomer has reduced the tax rate to 10 silver per family … despite the now-maxed vassal tax he is paying Aella.

This also marks the first season in which the garrison has needed to expand. Chlodomer spends some time recruiting, and some of those bandits Sir Merideth found last year find themselves with warm beds, hot meals, better gear, and proper paying work.

Bone Temple City hits 1,000 families … and keeps growing as Vulfelind pumps money into infrastructure!

Shadagrunde also finishes one of his major projects with Galaufabonne’s religious tithes: a temple (30x30 wooden bldg.) in every hex! He begins hiring clerics, aiming for a priest and two acolytes for each of the 23 temples, with sufficient salary to provide healing for free.

At the end of the season, we total everything up: the kingdom’s coffers are fat with almost 100,000 gold … but it’s not nearly enough to provide anyone with XP, and it’s still less than they started the domain with.

OOC: And sadly, that’s all we managed this session, because the rest of the session was taken up with planning and discussion. This was helpful - knowing the party’s long-term plans lets me set up some stuff in advance - but it’s difficult to put into a narrative. And we didn’t even manage run through the monster lairs I’d set up, so those will be rolling into this weekend’s game.

This weekend’s game was short, and I should have plenty of time to write it up tomorrow. But it was much fun: Galswintha almost TPK’d the party dropping a fireball at ground zero.

As she stated just after dropping 9d6 on the table, “AUGH, no, no, that’s too many sixes!”

Thanks for all these campaign updates. I love reading them! It's great to see your adventurers' domains develop.

Can I second this? I love this thread.