The April Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Event

Yesterday was the first Tuesday of the month.  I have penciled that in for the monthly Magical History Tour event.  Since March of last year, the system I have been exploring has been Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, the most recent edition of the venerable Tunnels & Trolls game.  The first Monday of the month is out because I am busy on Mondays, handing sundry responsibilities.  And stopping into the local coffeehaus for lunch.  😉

I didn’t do much last night.  It was a combination of feeling tired from a long walk and not feeling like playing.  So, I’m going to do what I have done in the past and extend the event over several days.  That way I can keep playing until I satisfy my need for Tunnels & Trolls gameplay.

When I start the event every month, I check the status of each character’s story.  As a running joke I note that my first Tunnels & Trolls character, Basio, is still dead.  He died in August on the blade of Golden Birgir’s cutlass.  Life is cheap and strange on my version of Trollworld.

So, I am preparing to play the second Tunnels & Trolls character I created, Adasen the Goblin Scoundrel.  He is the folk hero (the background from Fifth Edition D & D) of Goblin Lake.  I was stuck for months on what kind of adventure to create for him.  I feel that Trollworld Goblins resemble kappa from Japanese folklore, so I have been using elements from the tales about them.


On the Pathfinder Society and Individual Pathfinders

I’ve been reflecting on the Pathfinder Society in the Golarion setting and what I’ve read about individual Pathfinders.

I was initially interested in Pathfinders and the Society when I bought the Core Rulebook and read the description of the Pathfinder Chronicler prestige class.  That turned to disgust when I read Pathfinder Chronicles:  Seeker of Secrets.  The initial concept of the Pathfinder Society was fine with me.  The structures which have grown up around it and the people who have joined it since then put me off, emotionally.  I have no interest in having my Pathfinder game characters interact with a venture-captain, or worse, follow the dictates of the Decemvirate.

Pathfinder characters, from the fiction I have read in the first issue of Wayfinder, are insanely reckless and foolhardy.  The most likely result of a Pathfinder investigation is a thoroughly-dead Pathfinder.

So, that result obtains in my Thelsikar’s Ambition campaign setting.  A Pathfinder who sticks their nose into Thelsikar’s activities in Varisia is going to result in a dead Pathfinder.

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Pathfinder Campaign Arc: Riddles in Port, Pirates and Drow

It’s a bit of a blur, and I think two weekends ago I wrote the outline material for the second campaign arc of my monthly Pathfinder campaign.  I intend to keep running it until the players meet their character goals or get bored with it.  I’m pretty sure that creature Challenge Ratings go up to 30, so it’ll be a while before they are no longer challenged by encounters.  Their current Average Party Level is 6.

Here’s what I have so far:

Second Campaign Arc Title:  “Riddles in Port, Pirates and Drow”

Theme:  Urban and Water Pirate activity and Drow invasion

Outline:  Having done for Thelsikar, the player characters move to Riddleport to become pirates.



Pirates clash with the newcomer player characters- Being set up

Drow invade the surface world- Being set up



Who are the Drow and where are they coming from?-  Being set up

Who are the rival pirate crews?- Being set up


Campaign Elements


Important Locations


Varisian Gulf

Roderick’s Cove

Devil’s Elbow



Important Organizations

Council of the Overlord and Crime Lords

Order of the Cyphers

Remnants of Thelsikar’s Lamashtu Cult

Glory’s Cult of Nurgal



Rival Pirates

Drow Invaders

Nualia and other survivors of Thelsikar’s Lamashtu Cult

Recurring NPCs

Overlord Gaston Cromarcky of Riddleport

Elias Tammerhawk of the Order of the Cyphers

Jess Gildersleeve, Mayor or Roderick’s Cove



Erevan- Elf Wizard

Carangal- Half-Elf Ranger

Aerodus Baradin- Human Cleric of Abadar based in Magnimar, potential ally



Goblins (with class levels), Drow (with class levels), Erinyes,  Giant Octopus, Gorgon, Greater Shadow, Green Dragon (Young, Churlwood), Mhorg, Nabasu (Demon), Ogre Mage (Calphiak Mountains), Stone Giants (Calphiak Mountains), Treant (Churlwood),  Tieflings (with class levels)

Other Population of Riddleport

Aasimar (ether good or evil), Catfolk, Dhampirs, Drow(? Hidden, spies or outcasts), Fetchlings, Goblins, Hobgoblins (outcasts and mercenary companies), Ifrits, Kobolds (survivors, spies from Churlwood), Orcs (outcasts and mercenary companies), Ratfolk, Sylphs, Tengus, Tieflings, Undines, Changelings, Duergar (?), Gillmen, Kitsune(!), Merfolk, Nagaji, Samsarans, Sulis,  Vishkanyas, Driders (potential shock troops of the invasion), Gargoyles, Gathlain (deep in the Churlwood), Trox (bodyguards and thugs), Wyrwood, Wyvarians (from Churlwood).  On average, there are four individuals from each race in the city at any time.

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Thelsikar’s Ambition: The Abyss of Kaer Maga

I’m starting to run out of material that I have prepared ahead of time leading to the climax of the Thelsikar’s Ambition campaign arc climax.  I am continuing to add encounters areas to Scrags from the Sea during this time.  That adventure outline is turning out to be creepily atmospheric.  I have renamed the next adventure The Hills Have Ogres, because there weren’t any Ettins in it by the time I wrote the summary.  Next comes the climactic adventure, The Abyss of Kaer Maga.  It’s actually a series of urban adventures tied together with wilderness encounters along a caravan route.

Adventure Summary:  The player characters travel across the Varisian wilderness via road to Kaer Maga for a final confrontation with Thelsikar and his Cult.  It is an eight-hundred mile journey along the Yondabakari Varisian caravan route.  It is journey of 27 days, 13 hours at a human’s foot travel speed.  There are multiple towns along the way which can serve as stopping, adventure or rest points.  The motivation to go to Kaer Maga is a series of incidents in urban centers along the Yondabakari caravan route, indicating the spread of the influence of Thelsikar’s monster allies, his cultists and his lieutenants.

That’s right.  Thelsikar’s Cult of Lamashtu is a bad meme and it’s spreading bad craziness all the way from Sandpoint to Kaer Maga, the home base of the cult.

Looking at it, this adventure could take months to complete because each urban center is likely to be fleshed out into a fully described settlement.  That means ten encounters, like the outline of the island thorpe in Grubber’s Hermitage.  Ten encounters takes an entire session for the group I run to play through.

So far I have outlined four adventure summaries and I’m only about halfway to Kaer Maga, the City of Strangers, aka the City of Extreme Weirdness.

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Thelsikar’s Ambition: The Hills Have Ettins

The Hills Have Ettins is the second to the last adventure in the Thelsikar’s Ambition campaign arc.  As such, I wanted it to have a strong climax and wrap up a storyline which started with the first adventure, the presence of Black Fang in the Sandpoint Hinterlands.

Here are the notes I have so far:

It’s a wilderness adventure, with set-piece areas instead of rooms.  It’s inspired in part by “Fortress of the Stone Giants”, part of Rise of the Runelords.   I’m thinking a pack of Goblins with class levels, a band of Orc mercenaries from Urglin with class levels, a patrol of Red Raider Hobgoblin mercenary veterans for the Easy encounters.  For the Average encounters, three families of Kreeg Ogre Degenerates with class levels (see Classic Monsters Revisited in the Ogre chapter) and a Camouflaged Spiked Pit Trap (CR 8).  For the Challenging encounters, a mated pair of Rocs (with nest nearby, one at a time,3-5 eggs for treasure) and an Air Elemental (Greater) summoned by Thelsikar (Summon Monster VII).  For the boss encounter, Black Fang (Young Adult Advanced Black Dragon).

If they try to push on into the mountains after defeating Black Fang, they’re getting into Giant territory.  There is a group of three Stone Giants allied with Thelsikar ready for them.  This is CR 11.  They had better be prepared or better be ready to run.  The kid gloves are coming off for my adventure design.  They had better learn about the area they’re adventuring in before going in.

*- All creatures allied with Thelsikar wear a badge with the Lamashtu demonic rune on it.  The exception is the Red Raider Hobgoblins who wear red armor and Orc mercenaries from Urglin.  They are Black Sun tribe and wear armor with an eclipsed sun painted on it.  They are based in Urglin.

The adventure is set in the Fogscar Mountains north of Sandpoint.  It starts with news of a coming raid by a Goblin tribe on Galduria, Erevel’s small town.  Some members of the faculty of the Twilight Academy have scried it and sent a message to their former student.  That’s the pack of Goblins I first described.  They are the remnants of the Thistletop Goblins.

The player characters did not engage the Thistletop Goblins since I didn’t use that part of Burnt Offerings from Rise of the Runelords for inspiration.  Instead, an insane Nualia screwed up the ritual she was performing and was unable to release the Barghest trapped under Thistletop.  The magical backlash damaged the chapel to Lamashtu and killed most of the Thistletop Goblins.  Nualia booked it for Magnimar, where the  Skinsaw Cultists took her in.  This will allow me to use material from The Skinsaw Murders should the player characters go looking for Nualia in Magnimar.  The Skinsaw Cultists are in alliance of convenience with Thelsikar’s Cult.  *spoiler*  Instead of being loyal to Karzoug, Xanesha is one of Thelsikar’s growing cadre of lieutenants.

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Thelsikar’s Ambition: Example Inn Menu

I goofed up.  I meant to add this to the Minotaur Raid post.  It’s the latest menu I plan to use if the player characters decide to eat or drink at my version of the Rusty Dragon Inn.  I did some research on Wikipedia on various menu item types to pick the specific items I put on the list:

Rusty Dragon Inn Menu

Based on material from The Red Dragon Inn Guide to Inns and Taverns

Baked Goods

Loaf of Wheat Bread 3 SP, 2 CP

Steak Pie 1 GP, 6 SP

Apple Cookies 2 SP, 4 CP


Dark Ale 4 CP

Light Lager 4 CP

Hard Cider 5 CP

Mead 5 CP


Blueberry Wine 1 SP

Red or White Wine 1 SP

Hard Drinks

Applejack 8 CP

Janderhoff Firewater 1 GP

Clear Rum 8 CP

Irrisen Vodka 8 CP

Orcish Rotgut 3 Gold, 5 SP


Elvish Tea 1 GP

Apple Juice 1 SP

Coffee 2 CP

Cow Milk 5 CP

Water Free

Other Items

Raspberry Tart 2 SP

Cheddar Cheese 4 GP

Beef Stew 4 G, 8 SP

Monthly Special

Dried Giant Ant Meat 4 GP

A note on that last menu item:  I come up with weird monthly specials for the inn because I find them funny.  I roll on a temperate plains encounter table and turn the resulting monster into a meat item for the menu.

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