- Iris & Ivy took their captive back to town and turned him over to the local militia. Later they took the captain and a few others to the camp they'd found and recovered the rest of the stolen valuables, though they hadn't been able to find the other suspect - a man called Dav. The captain asked them to stay in town for a few days as they would need to speak to the magistrate regarding the incident.
- The pair then went over to the docks to find a man called Haelmare, whom they'd been told may have been around when Elam Nethley came through around 50 years ago. He agreed to meet with them that evening at the tavern and told them about his encounter with the man. His description of Nethley wasn't at all what they'd expected.
- Iris decided they should try to catch the other thief, but Ivy was fairly worn down from their previous encounters. They decided to stop by the local temple before returning to the camp to see if Dav returned...
- The winged blue creature who had taken Iris' sword snapped its fingers summoning a few tiny air elementals and leapt out the window. While Ivy chased after it, Iris ran out of the room and outside. Unsure of the best course of action, she decide to find one of the town guards who took her to speak with their leader. The guards listened to her account, but were unconvinced that the creature was the theif they had been looking for.
- Ivy, meanwhile, had followed the creature just close enough to catch site of it diving into a wooded area on the riverside about half a mile north of town.
- The two met back up at the inn and finished resting. Early in the morning they made their way to the place Ivy had seen where they found a small camp with a sleeping man, a pair of bedrolls, and Iris' sword leaning against some heavy-looking packs.
- As they made their way to the packs and grabbed Iris' sword, the man awoke and the blue creature came flying into the camp shrieking frantically. The man attempted to frighten them off while the creature swooped in swinging at Iris with its claws.
- The pair fought off the man, eventually severely injuring him while the blue creature became more distressed. Its howling seemed to summon winds from off the river which coalesced into a massive air elemental.
- Iris grabbed one of the packs while Ivy picked up the injured man and then they quickly exited the area, taking their captive back to town...
- Ivy & Iris helped the travelers right their cart and collect their horses and then continued to the river town of Helok's Ford. When they arrived, they were questioned by a couple of guardsmen about who they were, what their plans were, and how long they'd been in the area. Apparently there had been a recent rash of break-ins and thefts and the leadership suspected a transient or new-comer.
- Looking for an old fisherman called Haelmare who might have been around when Elam Nethley entered the area, the two went to a tavern he was said to frequent: a dockside dive called the Backwater. They didn't find him, but they did speak with a half-elven server who told them another man had asked about Elam Nethley nearly a year ago.
- The two decided they would try to find Haelmare at the docks in the morning, and went to get some rest at the Stonebridge Inn. As they rested, Ivy became aware of something moving in the room - when she roused herself, she saw a strange, whispy blue figure perched at the window as if about to leap out - holding the scimitar their grandmother had given Iris...
- The patrol kept an ear out for the sound of whatever was approaching, but decided not to venture out to investigate. Whatever it was seemed to pass them by.
- The following day brought the storm Hakett had predicted, and the group holed up and waited it out. The only incident occurred when a box turtle began making its way toward their shelter. Nip was able to establish some very rudamentary communication with it and convinced it to look elsewhere.
- The following day, the caravan once again headed out toward Elmoss. They decided to stop at a local wilderness homestead for wheel repairs, but found that it had been smashed and burned out. Their investigation turned up skunk tracks and ferret fur. The patrol discussed splitting up to go after the ferrets, but eventually decided their first duty was to the caravan. After the wheel was repaired, they set out again for Elmoss.
- The following day as they travelled down the road, Nip noticed they were being tailed by a grey squirrel whom she though might be after the grain in their carts. As she was relaying this information to Hakett, another squirrel burst onto the path from the right, smashing into one of the carts and tipping it over...
- Headed back to the village of Bolgrove. Camped on the way. During the night, a man calling himself Eli appeared to Iris, asked her questions about their quest, and gave her a purple crystal.
- Upon returning to Bolgrove, stopped at the tavern and the home of the druid Saffa. Were not able to find any info on the "heart of shadow" or the other man who seemed to be looking for Elam Nethley, but the druid told them that the "dwellers of the deepest darkness" might allude to the dwarves of the Galloth Mountains. There is a gate to an underground passage to the dwarven city of Unver Gual from the mining town of Laduun.
- The following day, they set out for the kingdom toward Helok's Ford to cross the river and then continue south to Laduun, as this was their best lead. On the road, they met with a caravan being attacked by giant insects - and they ran in to assist.
- After yelling to the others about the approaching snake, Clove leapt onto the creature's back. Hacket and Nip arrived shortly to help, and the three managed to kill the serpent before it could swallow Clove.
- The crew finished work on the bridge the next day and continued on toward Elmoss. As they went, Hacket noticed the change in the wind and told the group they would need to hole up somewhere because the next day was sure to bring a violent thunderstorm.
- The patrol was unable to find an ideal shelter, but they did find something passable a little ways from the road. It took some doing, but the group managed to reach relative safety before nightfall.
- Unfortunately, they efforts to get the carts of grain into the shelter had resulted in a broken wheel. The caravan leader Jayma told them about a homestead a bit further up the road. If they could rig a usable wheel to get them that far, the carpenter that lived there could probably give them a more permanent solution.
- As the group was winding down for the night, they heard something moving out in the forest - some distance away, but getting closer...
- The sisters continued on toward the Sunken Shrine. The found a broad, submerged avenue lined with broken columns leading up to an overgrown and crumbling stone structure. They noticed a couple of humanoid skeletons partially-submerged as well. While Ivy was examining one of them and Iris was looking over the statue, the two were attacked by and aggressive pack of rats and one giant dire rat.
- After fighting off the rats with Aelrah's (Iris's wolf companion) help, the two entered the building. While attempting to dismantle the barrier between the antechamber and the main hall, they heard a creaking overhead and scraping sounds outside. Outside, they found the skeletons had animated and were coming to attack them.
- Ivy's quarterstaff made short work of the skeletons and they returned to the structure. After gaining access to the main chamber, they discovered a naga - an enormous snake with a reptilian woman's head. She told them that Nethley wasn't there, but that another had come looking for him. He had mentioned something about a "heart of shadow" and the naga had told him to seek out those that "dwell in the deepest darkness". After some conversation that nearly turned violent, the naga succeeded in convincing the two to leave its lair.
- Level up to 2
Hannah has played No Thank You Evil and enjoyed it, but we may have reached a point where it's simplicity and whimsy aren't quite as enticing as they used to be. Not that she doesn't like kid things, but she's 9 now and has been into Harry Potter, Avatar, and some fantasy books that aren't quite as "for small children".
Trying to think of some more creative things to do during this pandemic thing, when we asked if she would be interested in playing D&D, she was adorably excited. Because I'm me, I spent way too long conceiving of a setting (and WAY too long drawing a map for it). We ordered her some dice of her own, and this last weekend spent an evening and an afternoon rolling up characters and starting an adventure.
System: D&D 3.5
Setting: The Kingdom of Elionde
Players: Sheri, Hannah
- Iris [Hannah] :: Elven Druid
- Ivy [Sheri] :: Elven Monk
Twin sisters Iris and Ivy had happened upon the mostly-forgotten mystery of a famous druid from their country called Elam Nethley. Nethley possessed a potent magical talisman said to have been blessed and empowered by the angel Saphrielle. Around 50 years ago, he had traveled north in search of a lost temple and never returned. Magical attempts to contact him or discern his fate failed, but a divination suggested that if any were searching for him, they should travel to the Kingdom of Elionde.
Iris and Ivy had been travelling along the west road through the White Ridge Forest for more than a week when they arrived at the tiny logging village of Bolgrove. Stopping at the tavern for food and lodging, they learned from a local hunter about the existence of a ruin the locals called the "sunken shrine" in the swamp to the southeast.
The next morning they headed toward the shrine, having decided to investigate it for clues. Just as the knight statue they'd been told about came into view, they were attacked by a large and unusually-aggressive constrictor snake.
- The patrol spent a few of days at the Sunflower Inn and providing lookouts and support for the spring foragers around Ivydale, encountering a belligerent groundhog and some gathering crows.
- After a few days the grain shipment to Elmoss was ready to depart and the group began its escort to their next stop. On the second day, they came upon a washed-out bridge that would have to be repaired before they could continue. While out cutting small saplings for support structures, Clove spotted a water snake closing on the mice's position...
So early on in this pandemic thing I started buying the odd lego car for Micah and I to assemble together. We both like legos, he loves cars, and Lego's "Speed Champions" series - which are modelled after real cars - is pretty cool, so it seemed like a fun thing to do. I was specifically getting the larger, more detailed sets, because they would be a good challenge for the 4yo, and they were, in my opinion, the cooler ones.
As we built 2 or 3 of these cars, I had an idea - an idea I will freely admit was inspired by 3DBotMaker's youtube channel where they race diecast cars - that, when we had a good number of cars, it would be really fun to build some sort of track to run them down and see which one was the fastest.
I had some 1x2's in the basement, and some sheets of some kind of thin plywood that we used to have under our foam mattress before we got our current bedframe. A few weeks, a number of hours, and some masking+spraypaint later, I had a pretty cool, straight, 4-section track. Micah saw me doing the checkered line at the end and figured out what it was. His excitement was adorable.
Now I just needed a sunny day that wasn't completely intolerable. Given that I'm on vacation this week and the forecast is "forever storms", I thought I should probably jump on the time when it presented itself - so today became the day, even if it was a hot one.
I figured the hill in the backyard would provide most of an adequate incline to give them some speed heading down, supplemented by elevating some of the upper sections with stacked 2x4's.
My plan had been to bridge the seams with bits of cardboard taped down - something that had worked very well when i tested the track concept a month or so ago, but that was not having any of it today. I'm not sure if it was the humidity or if the painted surface just didn't like it, but I couldn't get the tape to stick hardly at all. I probably should have resorted to duct tape, but I didn't want to mess up the paint job I'd worked pretty hard on. We rolled with it, but it was less than ideal.
I engineered a gate-like device, also made of legos, that when you pulled on a string, it would raise bars to either side of it, allowing gravity to pull the cars down the track. I also constructed some overhead signs that spanned the track with green lights at the top and one with a checkered flag at the bottom.
I decided that for a car to be eligible for our tournament, it had to have a design consistent with most of what we had. This meant that it had to have the wheel size (and mounting) of the others, it had to be generally sedan-shaped, and it had to have a width of 8 blocks. At present, lego has 5 cars that fit this description, so we acquired and constructed all 5: a Jaguar, a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a Nissan, and an Audi. The plan was to race each car against each other car twice - once on the left, and once on the right (since there were certainly some imprefections in the track). After that point, we would see which car won the most races, and, if there was a tie, we would race the tied cars until there was a winner.
The cars turned out to be pretty evenly matched. One won 3 races, 3 of them won 4, and the fifth won 5 races. The tape proved to be a problem on some of the races, and there were a few that we re-ran because they were deemed unfair. Also, the track had a slight lean to the right, and, since the 9 and 4 year olds were in charge of aligning the cars for most of the races, well, that might not have been fully controlled either.
Even so, it felt good. We had some exciting close races, some spectacular crashes (a couple of which resulted in us combing the grass for missing lego pieces), and the kids had a blast counting them off and running them down the track.
The car that ultimately won - the red Ferrari - was actually the smallest and lightest. It seemed to roll faster off the starting line than most of the others. When it went straight, it usually won, but the other cars would often be gaining by the end. I suspect that if the track was longer, the cars with greater mass may have pulled ahead.
This was, in fact, a great time all around. For friends, there are a few more pics and videos on my facebook page. I tried to live-stream the final race, but, well, i may not have done that correctly for Reasons.
Anyway, I'm a little proud of myself. It was the sort of project that I'm likely to say "yeah, that would be cool" but then never do it. Well, this time i did.