A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

26 November 2013

Who's Who: Baral Cloudfoot [NPC]

Baral Cloudfoot’s parents both died when he was still young, leaving Baral and his just-barely-older twin sister, Deand, in charge of their eight younger siblings. They didn’t know what they were doing and muddled through raising their siblings to young adulthood. Unfortunately, their inexperience and botched attempt at surrogate parenthood scarred both Baral and Deand, as well as their younger brothers and sisters. None of the family will speak to Baral or Deand as a result of past slights–both real and perceived.

The last time either Baral or Deand interacted with their siblings was thirty years ago when the family of youths was forced to flee their ancestral house in Bucktoast Dale. The Dale no longer exists, except in the memory of past residents; the entire valley was decimated during a skirmish near the end of the Mage Wraith Wars. The halfling family fled to the safety of Heldweave City. As refugees, they struggled to find a safe place to live; as refugees they were hated and feared by the residents of Heldweave. Even after they managed to find a home, Baral and Deand were viewed with contempt and suspicion by the Heldweavers, which attitudes were worsened by the youngest siblings who played upon the emotions and worries of the neighbors. Ultimately, the twins were forced to leave Heldweave, sneaking out of the city in the dead of night. They eventually made their way to Coldweave, where Deand now watches over her younger brother, whom she still considers to be foolish and immature.

Deand has a particular disdain for Baral’s love of puzzles; “Simply childish,” she says. He adores puzzles, enigmas, and riddles of all kinds. He is positively giddy when he comes across a new type of lock or trap mechanism. This curiosity motivates nearly everything in Baral’s life; those few things not powered by his curiosity are instead fueled by his anger, particularly when ignited by a desire for revenge against the strong. He is not overly quick to temper, but when it is loosed, Baral becomes deadly and almost cruel. He is careful not to lose control too often, however, as he does not believe in murder, although he is proficient at violence when necessary.

Baral is quite capable with his blades. He practices his sword work in his off-hours, then whittles and carves small tokens and statues from spare wood when he is exhausted from his sword practice. The edges of his blades are always keen, the metal always clean and untarnished.

One of his younger sisters, he has learned, became an assassin. While Baral is not above a little petty theft and larceny, especially when it will benefit someone less well-off than he is, outright murder is beyond his ken or tolerance. It is clear that this sister was not of the same character as either of the twins. Both Baral and Deand blame themselves for this family tragedy. Although their younger siblings have rejected them, the twins both still love their brothers and sisters very much, and would do nearly anything to help them.

Baral is not an attractive individual. His brown eyes are just a bit too far apart and his hair a dull black. He is also a bit too tall for a halfling. In order to blend in with his favorite targets – the rich and powerful – Baral puts most of his money and efforts into attaining an extensive wardrobe of very nice clothes. He is not great at what he does, but he is workman-like and gets the job done eventually.

Baral believes strongly in luck over ability. He is a worshiper of Inudor, the Goddess of Luck and Chance. In fact, he believes so strongly in Luck and Inudor’s intervention in mortals’ lives, he has inadvertently become one of Inudor’s clerics. Contrary to other deities, Inudor chooses her priests, rather than the other way around. Those who aspire to be Inudor’s clerics and high priest rarely become such. She favors those who truly believe in luck and chance, instead of those who seek out luck and hope that chance plays a part in their lives. Clerics of Inudor still have to prepare their daily spells, they do so by praying to Inudor, believing that she will grant them the necessary luck to make it through life “just one more day.” Inudor's clerics seldom, if ever, realize that they are actually clerics of their gods; even when they unknowingly cast spells, they believe that it is Luck magically intervening in their life.

Baral is no different: he carries a set of dice in his pocket and is always willing to trust to the flip of a coin when required. He does not realize that he is casting spells to aid him in his work: things simply “happen” for him. Afterward, he prays to Inudor to thank her for intervention.

He is annoyed by those who, finding themselves in distress, whine about their circumstances. Inudor helps those that she will; if you are out of luck, that’s just the way of the Goddess. No reason to complain about it. And if you do complain, you are spitting in the Goddess’ face and she will be even less likely to help you the next time. This does not apply, of course, if you are a true innocent. Baral is a sucker for innocents, true innocents, and will go out of his way to provide assistance.

Baral Cloudfoot CR 4

Male Halfling Cleric 3 / Rogue 2
Chaotic Neutral Small Humanoid
Init: +1
Senses: Low-light Vision
Languages: Common, Halfling
AC 15 (Dex +1, Size +1, +1 Leather +3), touch 12, Flat-footed 14
hp 25 hp
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +6
Speed: 20
Melee: +7 Sword, short (1d4+1 / 19-20) or +6 Dagger (1d3+1 / 19-20) or
Ranged: +5 Sling 1d3 (range 50)
Space/Reach: 5/5
Base Atk 3; Grp 0
Atk Options: Sneak Attack; Turn Undead
Combat Gear: Sword, short, Dagger, Sling, +1 Leather Armor
Spells Prepared: (CL 3)
2nd — (DC 15): Calm Emotions*, Find Traps, Silence
1st — (DC 14): Charm Person, Entropic Shield*, Magic Stone, Shield of Faith
0 — (DC 13): Detect Poison, Resistance, Virtue
*Domain Spell. Domains: Luck, Charm
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 11, Wis 16, Cha 11
SQ: Fearless (+2 save vs. fear); Weapon Familiarity; Trapfinding
Combat Casting, Evasion, Heavy Armor Prof., Light Armor Prof., Shield Prof., Simple Weapon Prof., Weapon Focus (Sword, short)
Skills: Appraise 0, Climb 4, Concentration 7, Diplomacy 0, Disable Device 3, Gather Information 0, Heal 5, Hide 7, Jump 3, Know religion 1, Listen 5, Move Silently 5, Open Lock 3, Search 2, Sense Motive 5, Spot 5, Tumble 3, Use Rope 2
Possessions: Combat gear plus Explorer's Outfit; Belt pouch containing the following potions: Cure light wounds, Cure serious wounds. Also: acid flask, caltrops, flint and steel, Thieves' tools, Waterskin, Whetstone, 200 gp, 9 sp, 9 cp

**Many thanks to WotC's "PC Portraits" Archive for the image.

23 November 2013

The Manor #5 is OUT!!!

Great news!

Tim Shorts, of Gothridge Manor fame, has released the latest issue of his OSR 'zine, The Manor!

Issue #5 is chock-full of gaming goodness, from the Tavern Name Generator to the host of evil-doer NPCs. Let's not forget cover and illustrations by Jay Penn! I honestly can't say what my favorite part of this issue really is.

Yes I can. My favorite part is that my copy will be winging its way toward me and my bookshelves any day now.

Go on over and pick yourself up a copy: it's available in PDF or Old School hard-copy format.

Disclaimer: While I participated in proof-reading and editing of this issue of the Manor, I did so (and offer this review) without promise of any monetary gain. However, I may or may not receive a copy of this issue for my assistance in proof-reading.

22 November 2013

300 Posts! Milestone Reached!!

I just now realized that today's post makes a round 300 posts! From what I understand about the blogging community, I believe this means that everybody needs to send me presents and gifts to celebrate the milestone. I'm pretty sure I read that on the Internet somewhere. In that case, I'd gladly take large-denomination American currency or gaming supplies. Honest, I'm not that picky.

Seriously, though. I can't believe it's been 300 posts.

From and including: Friday, April 9, 2010
To and including: Friday, November 22, 2013
Result: 1324 days

It is 1324 days from the start date to the end date, end date included

Or 3 years, 7 months, 14 days including the end date

Alternative time units
1324 days can be converted to one of these units:

114,393,600 seconds
1,906,560 minutes
31,776 hours
1324 days
189 weeks (rounded down)


[From the Mailbag] Nothing from Golarion

Yeah, I know. I promised crunchy stuff this week, not more mailbag stuff. But depression hits different people different ways. Some people stay in bed, or curl up on the couch with a bag of Doritos and a stack of DVDs. Others get out the gallon-size bucket of ice cream and a warm spoon. Still others buy shoes, ties, or purses.

With me it's minis.

Well, it's some of the other things too, but this week it was minis that I used to try and salve my emotions. It helped that they were sent to me on a 2-day priority. (Oddly, it was their cheapest delivery option too!) And the box came today.

I was feeling a bit depressed and overworked--stressed to the hilt--and then THIS happened.
Yep. Those are three large bundles of pore-painted plastic minis wrapped up in brown-paper-anonymous goodness. One of the minis I ordered apparently vanished from the inventory before the seller filled my order, so it WAS one mini short. But the other 47 made up for it.

That's right. I said 47.

This is a group of Mage Knight, HorrorClix, and Dreamblade minis. The great thing about this deal is that I found a great discount sale price and the whole lot cost me less than 50¢ apiece. The downside--and this may be buyer's remorse talking here--is their size. Most of these had no size reference in the original pictures and I forget that these brands are not always compatible (size-wise) with the Pathfinder and Wizards plastic minis. Also the bases are unwieldy and I'm not sure where I'm going to store these. Space in my current mini-storage is at a premium and I don't know how I can conveniently expand. I need to put a picture of my mini storage up here to explain that. Someday. But for now, they'll probably find their way into a small cardboard box, or in the nooks and crannies of my current storage system.

So: Pics. I really didn't want to load up the blog with lots of individual images of these beasties, so I took a group photo, I'll give a list, and let y'all look up pictures if you're really interested. Or you can ask me and I'll give some detailed photos if you really want. Otherwise, just keep on reading....

16 November 2013

[From the Mailbag] Bride of the Return of the Son of the Unboxing of Golarion

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks here at the Stronghold. Let me just say that, while being the ultimate boss at the Stronghold (finally) is something special, the fretting about taking care of all the families at the Stronghold is not quite so fun. You realize suddenly that everybody else's family needs to be cared for first, then your own family. And the minions here are great, but a bit expensive and irreplaceable. That adds to the stress and fretting on every level.

But payroll is done for another 2 weeks.

So, on to the fun stuff. Last weekend was a great mail weekend. I got home on Friday night from our monthly 3.5 game to find a hard copy of Dylan's Tombstones of Terror: Curse of the Sin Eater waiting for me. I've already posted my review of it, but I love sitting down and digging in to a physical hard copy. This one is one of my favorites, in part because yours truly is immortalized on the front cover.

Yep, I sure am.

If you look carefully on the tombstone peeking out from behind the eponymous gravestone, you'll see the letters: "-oric -uum" which are, of course, short for "Boric Glanduum." Michael Monaco, from Swords and Dorkery is interred on the other side so I'm in good company.

Then, on Saturday, I received an even better surprise in the mail. 

15 November 2013

Found Item Friday: At The Potion Merchant's Cart

"Dilil, would you stop touching things? You have no idea where those things have been!" The female halfling slapped at her brother's hand just before he touched the oddly-shaped bottle on the merchant cart. Whispering, she continued, "Plus, if you break it, he's going to make you buy it. And you, brother, are a klutz."

Dilil sucked on the side of his hand and muttered, "Shiloru, you need to have more faith in me. And I'm not a klutz; put a sword in my hand and I'll show you." He waved his arm in a broad gesture, sweeping his cloak out of the way. The weighted edge of his cloak swept across the front row of bottles. Several fell to the ground, shattering, and leaving a variegated puddle.

The merchant smiled a cunning, toothy smile. "I'll just total up your receipt shall I, little master? Mayhaps you ought to listen more closely to your sister. Unfortunately, you chose a couple of the more rare items to, ahem, sample. If you wish to take them home with you, little master, I do have some – undamaged – bottles of the same draughts. I can just add them to your bill." Shiloru glared at Dilil and shook her head as the merchant walked around the corner of his cart, whistling happily.
  • Bottle One: Nectar of Life
    – This potion is contained in a glass conical bottle. The bottle itself is sealed with a screw-on lid covered and made air-tight with blue wax. On the side of the bottle, a single strange rune is painted; the rune is from a very rare language and names the potion. Through the glass, the potion is seen as a turquoise color. If opened, it smells reminiscent of rhubarb. If consumed, it is a very thick liquid, much like yogurt, and has a very sour taste. If the entire bottle is consumed, it causes leaves to grow on the drinker’s body. The leaves last for 5 minutes. If consumed in full sunlight, it acts as either a heal or restoration spell. MSRP: 3300 gp

  • Bottle Two: Oil of Irritation
    – This potion is in a brass container, one shaped to look on both sides like a grinning goblin face. The container is corked and sealed with black wax. There is no label on the container to identify the liquid within. If opened, the potion is seen as a yellow liquid, but is found to be odorless. If consumed, it tastes alcoholic, but with a greasy, oily texture. When consumed, the liquid causes the drinker to hear a high frequency noise for six hours; during this time, all of the drinker’s senses are diminished. MSRP: 300 gp

  • Bottle Three: Tincture of Predictions
    – This crystal flask is sealed with a glass cap, which must be broken off to open. This makes the flask impossible to reuse. On one side of the flask is a glued-on paper label, which describes on ly the general type of potion contained in the flask. The potion is visibly crimson colored. If the flask is opened, a harsh chemical smell is released. The potion itself is bubbly and fizzy when the flask is opened. If consumed, the potion tastes like chicken and grants the drinker a vision of one day into her future. (This is not the full 24-hour span, but simply the actions, situations, etc. a full 24 hours after consuming.) This vision lasts for 1 minute. After the vision subsides, the drinker suffers from drowsiness and mild paranoia for 24 hours. MSRP: 800 gp

01 November 2013

Found Item Friday: Battalion Mage's Desk

Seandi peeked around the tent's door, holding the fabric back with one long, delicate finger. There was no one visible within the tent; the coast was clear. Taking no chances, however, she slipped quietly between the tent flaps and quickly tip-toed across the inner space. As her lithe form crossed to the far side, her eyes flickered constantly around her, never once focusing on her true goal: the traveling desk of Master Alashor, Battle Mage for the 6th Battalion, Army of the Frozen Brand.

Her employer had said he would pay dearly for any items she could find on--and in--Alashor's desk. Now she just had to inventory the items and pack them away before she was discovered. Let the others worry about how they were going to get her back out from the middle of the enemy army.

Seandi grinned. She liked a good challenge.

Twenty Things Found in Master Alashor's Desk
  1. A packet of six 6" wooden dowels, tied with a purple ribbon.
  2. The heel (stale) from a loaf of bread.
  3. A shard from a broken looking glass.
  4. Four unmatched buttons.
  5. The stubs of two beeswax candles.
  6. Five cherry pits.
  7. A chunk of brimstone.
  8. One spool, made from clay.
  9. The remains of a large, hairy spider in a 4" bamboo cage.
  10. A dead newt floating in a fishbowl.
  11. A dead tortoise in a jar filled with an orange-tinged liquid.
  12. A 12"-long leather cord.
  13. A dessicated orange rind, peeled as one piece.
  14. Three dried peppers.
  15. A soiled handkerchief.
  16. Two peach pits.
  17. A pixie's skull, apparently suspended in a small crystal ball.
  18. One silver sewing needle.
  19. A skeleton key.
  20. A carved wooden whistle.

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