Tuesday, August 12, 2014

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #8: My Kingdom for a Dingleberry

Our Cast
Zorin Redrock, Gnome Titan Fighter. Veteran of the Barbarian Wars against the Gnomish City-States, Zorin had retired and has honing his skills for future glory in Markakeikos. Unfortunately, his near bloodthirsty disdain for humans was putting a crimp in his plans.
Mutumbo: Nubian warrior wandering around strange world where, if the gods weren't crazy, their believers were. While not the most talented in the party, he obviously demonstrated the most experience, thus his continuing ability to take a pummeling and not complain about it made Zorin give his begrudging respect.
Cecelia Darkspruce, Half-Elf Fighter Cleric of Sif, Valkyrie of Pre-Ragnarock Battles, Hero of the Barony of Celsior.
Gwendylyn Lorax, Half-Elf Druid. Even a Druid of the native Rifflani Elves needed a moment or two in the dirty city for supplies and information.
Janus Redrock, Gnome Titan Priest of Pangrus. Zorin's cousin. Looking for brawling and booty (both financial and otherwise).
Marek the Mage, some claim this bookish human magic-user acted like a prick when he was drunk, but his true friends knew the truth: unless you dealt with him in the matters of magic, he was a jerk regardless of sobriety.
Brother Thomas, Human Monk. It was never ascertained exactly which monastic order Thomas originated from, only that he could indeed kick ass.
"Whitey":  War buddy of Zorin's.  Pitiful albino halfling cook.
Nina, a quiet, unassuming human thief, pregnant with Mutumbo's child.

4th of Decdec, 1132 - Califon, Kingdom of Marakeikos
The group trekked out in the morning to an odd grey snow, and were quickly surrounded by a large warband of orcs and goblins.  Despite being severely outnumbered, the Trogs soldiered on the defeated them, with no significant wounds on their part!  Very late that night, they ventured into Celsior.  The taxes on the house had been minimal, and the Trogs proceeded to buy some furniture for the house and find *gulp* jobs over the next few days.

11th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
Despite finding no jobs, and their cook Whitey having a proclivity to falling into the fireplace, the group was settled.  That afternoon, an magical flying airship appeared outside the town gates.  After an hour or two of hovering there, it flew over the the Baron's castle and disembarked some of its passengers.  Cecelia attempted to seek an audience with Baron Desmond, but was turned away. 

12th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
Cecelia was finally granted a quick audience with the Baron.  Baron Desmond explained that he was "acting king" for awhile and had many problems to deal with, especially to the west, where a large comet had hit the halfling shires, killing thousands and now the area was overrun with kobolds.  Magical messages had confirmed that Drow had poured into Agenmoor as well.  He dismissed Cecelia, put called her back with the other party members later that afternoon with an important mission.    The party was entrusted with the safety of a group of diplomats back to the Emron.  The Trogs were given Royal papers, properly equipped, and told to come back at dawn for the  journey.

Per Cecelia, "That night a large fire broke out at the Baron's castle.  There was a large explosion that levelled half of the castle and killed many in the diplomatic group."

13th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
The grey snows continued to fall from the sky, but it did little to cool the smoldering ash of the castle.  All but one of diplomats were killed, so the Trogs effectively became his bodyguard.   

15th of Decdec, 1132 - Somewhere over Milosic
It was discovered the the diplomat was actually King Norm I of the distant kingdom of Mercadia.  He acted a bit awkward, standing on the bow of the ship and yelling, "I'm Emperor of the World!"  There was little other interaction with the king, but luckily, no attacks on the airship as well.

20th of Decdec, 1132 - Emron City, Emron
The airship finally arrived in Emron City, the capital of the Wizards of Emron.  This magistracy was at war with neighboring Ispatlia, and it was not going well for either side.  The recent comet hitting the halfling lands across the narrow Mer Adros was enough to convince each side the talks were needed.

The Trogs escorted King Norm to the negotiations.  The room was essentially packed to the gills with powerful wizards with little "diplomatic" experience.  The king attempted to keep things civil, but soon numerous insults and accusations began to fly and soon fireballs and lightning bolts erupted within the halls.  The Trogs wisely took whatever cover they could find, but Norm took a chair and began knocking over some wizards of their wands, others he knocked their legs out so the group had clean getaway on the airship. 

25th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
There were many tense moments escaping the city, but soon it had arrived safely back in Celsior. 

The Trogs were given proper payment and thanks by King Norm and the airship departed back to Mercadia.

1st of Undec, 1133 - Celsior
Outside of aiding the Baron with some local assignments, the Trogs decided to stop operations until the Spring and enjoy the winter in Cecelia's house.  One strange thing happened on the first of the year, however.    Marek couldn't memorize spells, Cecelia and Janus felt no connected to their gods when they prayed.   Minor enchantments that people wouldn't notice around town failed to work.  Later, tales of other towns having riots and other having calamities occur when magical fail safes no longer worked.

2nd of Undec, 1133 - Celsior
The magic returned, but the Trogs shuttered themselves in for the remainder of the winter, just as a precaution.

DM Notes:  I'm notorious to running a "living campaign" where things constantly occur with or without the party's involvement.  The Ispatlians City-States and Emron had let trade disputes erupt into open warfare and the firepower of the two were quite devastating.    Massive airship battles had levelled some major cities, including portions of the Isptalian capital of Remus.   When an Ispatlian plot to vaporize Emron City went awry (and landed into the halfling lands across the sea), they pleaded for peace, but even a famous adventurer as the lead negotiator could not make any headway, ultimately, the wizards of Emron came together and tried to joint cast a powerful ancient spell to destroy Ispatlia.  But even the mightiest wizards of the continent were no match for the dark secrets of the distant past and the spell backfire.  Part of it's result was the "Day with No Magic" that happened to occur on the first day of the next year.  Yes, this is directly stolen for the Known World setting, with barely the serial numbers filed off.  Both Emron and Ispatlia would be crippled for the coming years, dreadfully impacting the magic research and mundane trade on the continent and overseas. 

King Norm of Mercadia was a much older (60 years?) version of a PC in the AD&D 2nd Edition College Game.  Norm Dingleberry was a nose-picking Dwarf fighter with a wisdom of 5 (maybe 6) that simply refused to die.  He survived adventures that decimated his friends, travelled to the far off world of Talislanta in a blue outhouse (don't ask), saved the whole village the party had adopted three times, and made Yule the true holiday of giving. 

His highest moment in game was during the finale of the campaign.  When all the good guys were routed, when his friends were dropping like flies,  when the prophesied chosen one returned, only to be struck down by a stray goblin arrow,  who was able to lift the legendary Bloodbrand, the sword that would reunite the known world of Georic under one banner, and lead the good guys to a narrow victory.

Norm Dingleberry, Temporary Emperor of the Known World. 

He bequeath the sword to the proper human heir and their was peace for one human generation.  Norm had been given a Duchy in the Kingdom of Crosedes as part of his reward.  He named the territory Mercadia, in honor of the fake country one of aliases was from, and he settled into a life of nobility.  When Rurik V, Emperor of the Known World,  died, the kingdoms fractured back to their original borders and Norm decided to turn his duchy into a kingdom.  No one was powerful enough to say no to him. 

Without going through the journal, I think this is the only time he appears as an NPC in the campaign.  All of his human friends had died in either the quests leading up to the finale, or in the decades since, so there is a chance that he's a lonely mad dwarf, succumbing to that low wisdom affecting his decision making.  Only time will tell...

Or perhaps he'll just buy all the pudding manufacturers on the continent.  Makes sense to me.

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