From the Ashes…

We are in the waning days of the luminary Dragon and Dungeon magazines. This summer, their pages will grace our mailboxes no more. It shouldn’t be surprising that replacements loom. Paizo Publishing is set to release Pathfinder, which looks very promising. I am a charter subscriber. Wizards of the Coast has this thing now called Gleemax. What an abhorrent cup of crap that has been. I hope that is not the “replacement” for my favorite magazines, but I am afraid it is. Dragon had some style and class. Maybe the replacement should have attempted to follow suit? Oh well, another boat missed.

Today I found that veteran game designer, Wolfgang Baur, is creating a quarterly digital magazine called Kobold Quarterly. It looks promising as well. I’m a long-time fan of Mr. Baur. In fact, I’m running my gaming group through his “A Gathering of Winds” adventure in the Age of Worms campaign right now.

Visit the website and check it out. A subscription is only $12.00. At $3.00 an issue for material from gaming professionals, it is really a steal. Jump in this boat and help the mighty kobold rise from the dragon’s ashes.

Banner for Kobold Quarterly

Age of Worms Adventure Path – Game Session 43

Game summary for June 28, 2007; present characters included Ashkor (lizardfolk barbarian/battle sorcerer/dragon disciple/fighter), Iapetus Hasur (hu-charad giant rogue/vigilante), Lady Aridarye Phylund Brokengulf (human aristocrat/harbinger cohort), Lyrin Sinbal (simian incantatrix/warmage), Morak Beardfist (shield dwarf fighter/rage cleric), Pitamian Kalal (human yang monk), and Taravin Truesilver (human gray guard/paladin of honor).

After some discussion, the Mercenaries began to free climb the waterfall chasm. They traversed around outcroppings, narrows, and mini-lakes for about 1,800 feet. The going was slow and tedious, and they used Pitamian, tied off to a couple of ropes, as their plumb and scout. As he found “safe” ledges, the others would make their way to him, and then he would be lowered further into the darkness.

Eventually, Pit discovered the end of the waterfall in a massive room filled with crystals in the ceiling. A strange green light refracted off the water and crystals to cause a twinkling like starlight above. The Mercenaries all went into the room and swam toward shore. There, they were greeted by a well-groomed man with pale skin and dark black hair. He wore no armor but carried a massive sword across his back. In his hand rode a green-lit lantern that cast cool rays about the chamber.

Although leary, the group spoke to the man, who introduced himself as Moreto, Marquis of Ravenstone. Taravin used his paladin senses to determine the man, if he is indeed a man, as evilly-aligned; however, Moreto made no aggressive moves or threats. They discovered Moreto seeks to do some undisclosed research on the surface but ran afoul of Flycatcher above. The party revealed they made a deal with the spider to kill the Marquis. At this, Moreto laughed and made a counteroffer. He wished to reach the surface and would help the team back up the waterfall and engage the spider as well as give them a strange crystal he had stolen from the spider. Lack of trust made the team debate for a long time, and they finally reached an agreement. Moreto’s companions, a pair of mohrgs, were of particular concern to Taravin. They agreed the mohrgs would accompany them up to the chambers above, but they would have to stay within and not go through the Daggerford portal. Moreto agreed to this stipulation only because the Mercenaries offered to protect him until he got to a surface library.

In a show of good faith, Moreto gave the crystal, wrapped in cloth, to Taravin but warned that unless one spoke the correct words of power, touching it would cause monsters of air to appear and attack. When the portal is reached, Moreto will give the command words allowing safe handling. The Marquis then cast levitate on the party and then shifted into the form of a bat. Approximately a third of the way up the waterfall, Taravin noticed the glowing outline of a door that only he could see. He and the team investigated and found a massive staircase. As Moreto and his minions arrived, the team climbed the stairs to discover a pair of gigantic 50-foot-tall metal doors of gleaming black metal.

What riches, and dangers, lie beyond?

Army, Iraq

Received the following email:

Hello Charles,

Thanks for the care package. It was put to used by me, my Soldiers, and Soldiers we support.


My section and I are getting settling into our job of supporting convoys everyday. It is very Hot here. I love hot weather but this is a little overboard.

Tell your family and Black Falcon that the Soldiers out of Baghdad said hello and thanks for supporting troops.

God bless you,

U.S. Army

Age of Worms Adventure Path – Game Session 42

Game summary for June 21, 2007; present characters included Ashkor (lizardfolk barbarian/battle sorcerer/dragon disciple/fighter), Iapetus Hasur (hu-charad giant rogue/vigilante), Lady Aridarye Phylund Brokengulf (human aristocrat/harbinger cohort), Lyrin Sinbal (simian incantatrix/warmage), Morak Beardfist (shield dwarf fighter/rage cleric), Pitamian Kalal (human yang monk), and Taravin Truesilver (human gray guard/paladin of honor).

Lyrin used a fireball to melt the ice plug in the ceiling, and Pit and Ashkor climbed up into an ice-slicked room. Within were two doors, an open hallway leading out, and a pair of red ice statues carved with smoking white runes. As the party began moving into the room, the statues came to life and attacked. The team attempted to flee back down the hole, but the golems snatched two up and pulled them back through. Forced to engage, the Mercenaries fought the golems and eventualy destroyed them.

Moving on through the hallway, they came upon another room with six statues of Djen. After about half the party moved into the room, one of the statues moved and triggered a lever, which dropped bars across the doorways. Trapped inside with what revealed itself to be a kolyarut inevitable, three of the party fought for their lives. The creature was able to blast forth black rays of negative energy, which took its toll. However, in the end, the Mercenaries succeeded in turning the mechanical monster into scrap. Exploring the room behind the inevitable, the Mercenaries found it completely empty.

Iapetus discovered a secret door in the room of statues and opened it. They found it went into a huge cavern where the blood-red river cascaded down into the depths. After considering a climb down, the party went back and explored the other room they had not entered.

Within the room, the floor was a swirling, churning, semi-liquid mixture of snow and ice. The best swimmers, Pit and Ashkor dove in, and Pit found it enhanced his chaotic nature. The cold was brutal, however, so both quickly got out after finding the depth was 10 feet and went nowhere.

Now the Mercenaries face the depths of the waterfall chasm. Can they safely descend? Does it really lead to the Marquis of the River? What else lies in the deep realms below?

Army, Kuwait

Received the following email:

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the box which we
received today. It was very warming and heartfelt. Soldiers here are in
good spirits and appreciate the fact that you and others like you
support us here. I will be sending a group photo of the unit as soon as
one becomes readily available. Everything that was enclosed in the box
was greatly appriciated and will be used up right away. Again, thank you
for all your support. Be safe and God speed.

U.S. Army

Age of Worms Adventure Path – Game Session 41

Game summary for June 14, 2007; present characters included Evo Shandor (human fighter/rogue), Morak Beardfist (shield dwarf fighter/rage cleric), Pitamian Kalal (human yang monk), and Taravin Truesilver (human gray guard/paladin of honor).

The Mercenaries proceeded past the room with the strange spider and found a small room with what appeared to be a shrine to Icosiol. A large gold statue sat on the shrine, but the party decided not to bother it for fear of setting off traps.

Instead, they followed the footprints through another door and found a large roundish room with a floor sloping toward the center like a funnel. A metal spike protruded from the ceiling, and at the end of it floated a blue sphere of arcing lightning. Within the sphere, suspended in mid air, floated Delfen! As the party moved in, they were blasted with deadly bolts of electricity.

With no obvious means to turn off the sphere, the team resorted to their specialty—brute force. Using a grappling hook, Evo snagged the metal rod, and the four party members all grabbed the rope. With a number of forceful tugs, they managed to rip the rod from the ceiling. As it crashed to the ground, so too did Delfen as the sphere winked out of existence. Evo rushed in and administered a potion of cure moderate wounds while Morak used magic to heal the injuries of his companions.

The party spoke to Delfen for a while and then returned to speak with Walker Across the Threshold. However, they discovered he had left and Cornerweaver had come in his place. After a while of talking, the party decided Cornerweaver was as crazy as Walker Across the Threshold. The spider provided them a lot of information, including more details regarding the Marquis of the River. However, it soon became apparent that Cornerweaver’s concern for their safety was suspect at best. It appears the spider answers questions exactly and literally, despite the intent behind the questions. The Mercenaries made sure the spiders would not harass them while they rested, and Cornerweaver assured them he was almost fairly confident that he was pretty sure the Hungry Prince might not try to harm them in their sleep. After this discussion, the party made camp, and Delfen “Yellowknife” Ondabar used some sort of transportation magic to leave their presence and head back to Daggerford.

The mind-numbing circular conversation with the spider had actually gleaned useful information. Apparently the direction Walker Across the Threshold had sent them was the “short way” to the Marquis because it leads directly into a waterfall or some such. Cornerweaver described a “long way” that had more guardians but would still lead to the Marquis. The team opted to try the long way.

The party opened another set of double-doors from the spiders’ chambers and found a fast flowing river the color of freshly spilled blood. Spanning the river stood an old stone bridge badly worn by time and the erosion of the water below. Across the river stood a gatehouse with massive doors. Desiring that none be trapped on one side of the river or the other, the party charged as a group across the rickety stone bridge; however, at the last moment, Pitamian pulled up short and decided not to run across. A moment later, the combined weight of the party brought down the bridge and submerged the Mercenaries in the river! Pitamian quickly used his monk ability to fall safely to descend to the riverbank, but a strange creature rose up out of the stone and mercilessly injured him. Wasting no time, Pit dove into the river after his companions. The creature remained on the banks as Pit swam circles around his allies and they all began to be washed downstream.

Aiding one another, the group managed to go down a fork in the river where the current calmed. Following this branch of waist-deep water, they found a strange “plug” of red ice on the ceiling. As they looked it, they noticed the glistening, undulating form of two blood red oozes slithering up on them!

The Mercenaries quickly engaged the blood amniotes and found them hardy opponents. Whenever one of the oozes hit a target, the person’s blood began to flow out of his pores, float through the air, and enter into the ooze. Taravin and Pit fought against the creatures while Evo feverishly retrieved and lit a torch from his kit. Morak attempted to use flame strike but was struck violently and lost his concentration. The team hammered at the creatures and Evo burned away with his torch. Taravin reached out and used his lay on hands ability to devastate on creature who quickly succumbed to blows the next round. Soon, both creatures had been dispatched.

Morak took a few moments to heal injuries, and now the party gazes up at the ice in the ceiling above.

Navy, Iraq

Received the following letter:

I wanted to write and thank you for the package. You will most likely not believe this, but last night I was sitting on my bed with some microwave Mac-N-Cheese. If only I had a bowl to cook it in. The very next day your box arrives! I know—how about that for timing!

We are a crew of 10, our main job is to track injured service members until they return to the US or duty. The job is not too hard and is a lot safer than most people out here.

Like you, I also am married and have 1 son. He will be 10 in June. He misses me like crazy, but he is getting used to me being gone. He knows I am safe and will be home soon. Well I better get going. Dinner time again.

U.S. Navy

Marine Corps, Iraq

Received the following email:

Hello and greetings from the Middle East. I wanted to send you a quick email before we go out on a patrol to say thank you for the care package and support. My boys and I liked everything that you sent, the Pringles were great. It is really nice to know that there are people that still support us and what we are doing out here. I cannot listen to or watch the news because the reporting is so lop-sided.

I noticed that you are an MMA fan. When I get home in a couple of months I am going to go train for two months my first fight. I am way out of shape to step into a ring right now and fight… I would be gassed in a couple of minutes. I spar with my friends out here and recently took down the “BigBoy” out here with a heel hook. He Is 6’2″ about 235 and I am 5’5″ and 165 lbs. I have studied jiu-jitsu for about 3 years and I am okay at it, but I am a sneaky little scrapper. Snap, Tap, or Nap.

I think it is great that you are a father too. I miss my kids (1 Girl, 1 Boy) I know how you feel, my daughter has Hi-Functioning Autism and I love her to death. She just has quirky moments at times and people don’t understand. So I understand fully when it comes to hitting those milestones and appreciating them.

Have got to run and prepare my gear, and make sure the young-uns do as well.

Thank You and God Bless you and your family,

Marine Corps

Drink Mix Deals

One of the number one requests from our deployed troops is powdered drink mix singles to go. Why? These men and women have to drink lots and lots of bottled water to maintain hydration. After a short while, all that water gets difficult to swallow. A little flavor goes a long way! In addition, things like electrolytes in some of the mixes helps rehydrate, and caffeine in others helps on those late night patrols. As of the date of this posting, here are some of the good deals on drink mix singles.

Office Depot

  • Break Escapes Singles (four flavor multipacks) 100-pk – $10.00
  • Break Escapes Caffeinated Singles (four flavor multipacks) 80-pk – $10.00

Sam’s Club

  • Bigelow Tea Singles 40-pk – $6.99


  • Wyler’s Singles (Lemonade, Pink Lemonade or Raspberry) 50-pk – $5.00


  • Fulfill Singles (with electrolytes) 10-pk – $1.97
  • Morning Spark Singles (with caffeine) 10-pk – $1.97
  • Replenish Singles (with electrolyes) 10-pk – $1.97

Marine Corps, Djibouti

The following email arrived recently:

I would like to thank you on behalf of —– for your support. We received your package today and it is greatly appreciated. You won me with the macaroni and cheese as my call sign is “Cheese” and for good reason. Without the support that is given by individuals such as yourselves we wouldn’t be able to keep up the high level of morale that is required to get through day to day life. We are stationed is some of the harshest climate mother nature can throw at you and it takes everything you’ve got to get through day to day routines. The little things are what matter out here especially those that come from home. Keep up the good work and we will be thinking about you and your families as we continue the fight on Terrorism.

Thank You,

Marine Corps