I get email

27 January, 2011

Well, Adam, I could go through your latest mail point by point, I suppose, but I think it would be a bit of a waste of time and effort. Your original message to me was:

I wanted to ask you something, being completely serious and sincere. If you feel up to answering it I really would like to know your thought process on why is it that you doubt Christianity?

I’m not trying to belittle you or anything like that, I’m just curious as to what you found as “wrong” in it.

I’m sure any sincerity from me is wasted on you – you didn’t contact me to genuinely ask anything, but to proselytise. However, I’ll answer. It’s been a year or two since I put this into words.

Christianity is many things. Among them, it is a world-view: a map of the world as we find it, of life. It explains why things are the way they are. We see “the hand of God” and the opposition of the devil in the events of our lives, and in the broader world.

But after being a christian for a decade or three – the nonsense “prophecies”, the healings that don’t happen, the church and marriage breakups – you have to enrich your view of the world just a little, and admit that a heck of a lot that goes on in churches and around the world is just people being people. Good, bad, often stupid – people.

One day I had a simple realisation. It was not God’s plan that man should fall in the Garden of Eden. He gave us free will, and has to deal with the consequences of that. That is – omniscient, omnipotent God, by limiting his own power to make room for free will, is left playing catch-up.

With that realisation, I had to leave behind the usual christian conceit that absolutely every little thing that happens is a result of God’s or the Devil’s personal machinations (my mother, for instance, prays for parking spaces). Not everything that goes on is about us. Or me. A lot of what goes on isn’t intended to be about anything.

So, having found room for life being made, in part, of just … stuff – things that are neither good nor bad, God nor devil, christian nor unbeliver, an obvious question suggests itself: how much of what happens, how much of what I see around me, is just random stuff? Noise? I could start, obviously with people “moving in presumption”. But once the question is asked, it doesn’t go away. When someone prophecies, we understand that some of it will just be themselves. How much of it is just coming from themselves? How often? How much of what people experience in worship is just singing with a group that shares a common belief?

A christian friend of mine that I tried to explain this to answered: “that;s really sad – it tells me that your church was not seeing the miraculous”. Well … yeah. More and more, I saw less and less of the hand of God moving around, and more of people being people.

I was asked to give a little talk on the bible. So I went and investigated, read the Anglican confession of faith (well, that specific bit of it. It’s several volumes.) I was struck by “Yes! Yes! This is what I believe too!”. All well and good. But as an independent pentecostal, I had for years looked down on the denominational churches. Reading the confession of faith, however, I got an insight into what they must think of us and our vacuous happy-clappy churches (todays sermon: How Jesus wants your day to be nicer!).

But – where do you stop? Seeing how the anglicans could fairly regard themselves as being more securely grounded than us, I can also see how the catholics regard them, an the orthodox churches the roman catholics. And for that matter – how hindus view christendom.

Finally, one day, the fateful question: how would a person who did not believe at all view these churches? Us? Me? Now as I asked myself “How much of this person’s emotional prophesying is just themselves?”, “How much of this rah-rah sermon that we are going to ‘take this town’ for Jesus …”, another question presented itself: “What would a person who did not believe at all make of this – what I’m seeing right now?”

Remember that I said that Christianity was a map of the world. Oh, I knew that God really was speaking through the bible, that God really was shaping events around me, us, the world, I knew that he was active even if we couldn’t figure it out. But in asking “what would an atheist think?”, I began to build an atheistic map of the world. This went on a long time – it was not a sudden or emotional thing.

When you have two maps of a country that you are travelling in, that disagree with each other, eventually you’ll form an opinion on which one is better. All of the puzzles and difficulties that my christian map gave me – Why would God do this? How come things are the way they are? – my atheist map explained perfectly satisfactorily. No, God did not let the pastor’s wife die of cancer – people just get cancer and die, sometimes. The church went broke not because Satan attacked it, but because that other pastor was too young for the responsibility, and a meathead. The natural disaster happened because they live in an earthquake zone. Again and again, the atheist map made much more sense than the christian one, and explained the world better.

One day, years along the track, I said to myself out loud: “I just don’t believe it anymore, do I? This angels and demons stuff.”

And it was true. I simply didn’t.

Lot of water under the bridge since then, of course. Lot of revising my ideas about a lot of things. But I could not go back, now, to the confusing, confused nonsense I used to believe. I have found something better. Not happier, or more fun or satisfying. Just something that I am confident is true, a map with nothing to commend it but that it is accurate.


Kingmaker – Giacamo’s notes-for-epic

27 January, 2011

OMG! Zombies! Dave had us running through an adaptation of Resident Evil, apparently.
Have bad nightmares for remembering this. Baybe to write epic quickly – not to remember too much.

And so noble Jope to run all night until dawn should grant its benison of light and life did set his face, his companions also, undead horde not slow to follow and set to rend and tear. Then did Seldryn call upon her art and make use of magic prepared and hoarded against exigency dire, summoning mounts from aetheric stable for her lord and boon companions, and away sped they towards fell city, undead horde behind, but never far.
Seldryn is my character, so I can’t help by tell the story from my POV. My theory is: a wizard has a lot of spells, but can’t prepare them all. A spell that you know but can’t cast is pointless. The key, then, is to scribe scrolls. I pretty much spend all my gold on it. Mount is a 1st-level Pathfinder spell that summons a common riding horse. I had three scrolls, prepared ages ago – you never know when you are going to unexpectedly need an extra horse. It was a lifesaver. I was really pleased to be able to go “I have just the thing to get us out of this mess …”
Grim city attained, Jope sought shelter in Erastil-home from unholy horde – his mace making way for he and his companions. Yet even there was beset with evil, defences hard-pressed and companions grievously bloodied, so removed him to stouter inn where his mages told of echoes of abjuration.
I pushed for the church. Other options were the inn, and Brett picked up on a clue that the answer to the puzzle was at the fairground. The church turned out to be a bad move – not very defensible: big windows. We barricaded the door with some Feather token, Tree items. The boss was some sort of clawed ghost thingy – a jilted bride, of all things. Scary and sinister.

Attempting to get into the temple of Erastil

At last titan of undeath made himself known – stout inn struck to flinders, no defence there, but at bridge over water did canny Jope attain there to make his stand. With arrow and spell and mighty blows did he and his companions fell the bane, and lesser dead only remaining did search for dread earthquakes epicentre. At market-ground found his mages traces of the evil, their scent leading southwest beyond horizon.

Yeeees … Giacomo rather glosses over how we got from the inn to the bridge: a wiser bard than Sir Robin’s. The tactical retreat to better ground involved Jope cunningly exiting the back door of the inn while Rainor stood his ground outside and took some shots at a two-stories-tall undead thingy.

Meanwhile, Switch was bumbling about inside: the aura of Abjuration that she and Morgana sensed turned out to be some explosive runes. Once disarmed, they turned out to be guarding some loot and various notebooks containing plot exposition. The runes themselves were also a clue – something about centaurs. She did get off a Glitterdust, but then she also took off.

Morgana flies, of course, and was never in serious trouble. We had to retcon – thanks to the summoned horses, she did not need to use up her flight for the day to escape the zombies, and so still had a few minutes.

At the end of the session, Dave told us that in the module the town was abandoned. Ghaaah! The important thing, however, is that we hit level 8. Switch now has third level spells and 3d6 sneak attack. 🙂

For Rainor’s POV, see Brett’s blog.


Guild of the Golden Scorpion

26 January, 2011

The Green Crane / Golden Scorpion game is no more. The Good Games Lanyon GMs have decided to scrap it and start over, which is cool.

As we were all utterly wrecked after CanCon, Jamie asked me to run a delve on Monday. (God he looked terrible – the ‘ranga complexion does not do “exhaused” at all well). I ran the Level 16 delve with some pre-generated characters. There were several points of interest.


I am really pleased that we made the effort to simply be there, even though the green Crane Game was not on, and that the shop supported it. A gaming group just cannot work if “is it on this week?” is always the question. It’s the same as being in a sports comp – there has to be some degree of commitment from everyone to turn up regularly.


The “generate a character quickly” on the Wizards character builder blows chunks in several respects.

  • The quick-gen characters are all use the latest class-of-the month. If you want a striker, you don’t get a rogue: you get something out of PH3. Many of these have complicated rules which you cannot interpret just by reading the cards.
  • The quick-gen characters are horribly unoptimised. Jamie got one with which he could – essentially – do nothing. It really had nothing useful at all.
  • The generator just does not understand a4 paper at all, and some of the powers actually had important bits clipped. Seriously. We did not know what some of the feats and class abilities did. Wizards: not everyone uses the ridiculous, backwards system of weights and measures that the USA uses.
  • Don’t use the “Essentials” format. It seems to have missing stuff that you need for the full game.
  • Oh – page numbers, please Wizards. Or some way to figure out if you have accidentally missed a sheet. The printing is really bad, and I understand why Jamie wanted me to do up something to process those .dnd4e files into something useful. I might go ahead with it, now.

In all, the use of the fast-generated characters was a bust. I had to make rulings on the spot.

(UPDATE: I managed to convince my mac that I had a US Letter-sized printer. Print to PDF with that set as the printer captures the whole page as pdf. That pdf printed to a4 successfully captures all the text.)


I had fun faking out the players. The dungeon has a few statues. In the first room, one of them is a Helmed Horror. I managed to get the players paranoid about the second by putting it on the initiative board and rolling a d6 when it was its turn. In the final room, there are two statues. I managed to convince the players that they would light up when the boss became bloodied by accidentally letting the information slip. “Ok, ok, but your characters don’t know that – it might be something, it might just be another statue. It hasn’t moved yet.”

Had to chop out the second part of the delve – it took us so long to read the character sheets and figure out the powers, and invent rulings for stuff that we didn’t know.

Had fun ruling that a push into a wall did 2 points of damage – 1 if it was diagonal. The poor minions were getting clobbered by being rammed into the walls and furniture and knocked out. A little comedy.

Having the right minis was great – it just adds a little something, you know? Didn’t have enough Azers, and used a fire snake for one of them. What would have been nice is to have changed a couple of Azers into spitting fire snakes – level 16 artillery minions – and used the minis that I had.

I missed one of the boss’ powers – misread “burst” as meaning burst from around his position, rather than it having a range. But, it recharged on a six, so really missing it for a few rounds at the start didn’t make a big difference. Actually, I think that having the boss not use the recharging power straight away is probably a good move. An intelligent monster would watch the flow of battle for a bit and them place his shots. So all in all – not as big an OMG as I though at the time when I realised I had missed it.

Finally – I was pleased that the players wanted to know what happens after they take the vial off the boss and use it on the sconces. They wanted a denouement to the story – even though it was just a self-contained delve – and I made up something on the spot that seemed to please them. The delve says that the walls start to collapse and everyone has to scramble to get out. I embroidered this by saying that this set of rooms was a temporary structure in the primordial chaos that the boss had built specifically to accommodate the envoy (an air creature) – provided a “why” to back up the “what”. Cool.


Guild of the Golden Scorpion

21 January, 2011

Strange times! Strange echoes of the spellplague, perhaps – we all have odd … memories. Deja-vu. I am not sure how deeply the malady goes, not sure sometimes what is dream, memory, or honest reality. Nevertheless, the cure seems straight forward: continue on, and perhaps it will all make sense later. Perhaps no cure at all, but cure or not: it is all we can do.

Temporal dislocation or no, I am reasonably sure that I am Baharash, student of war. From far [insert place where dragon born come from] I hail. I have been a mercenary, a minor officer in the armies of two “kings” and a duke (a captain for all of 4 days. at one point), and now simply part of the Guild of the Golden Scorpion: may our future of our company be happier than our past.

Baharash: level 6 Dragonborn Warlord. “Soldier” background. Since he’s warlord, low-ranking officer seemed to be appropriate. As for the name: it was generated. Supposed to be “Bharash”, but I had printing problems – not changing the name now. Cha-based “inspiring presence” warlord build. Str 16, I think. Physically, I think of him as big. Keeps his chainmail shiny and his sword correctly honed. Some of his high charisma – his “presence” on the battlefield – is simply from being tall, some of it is from being draconic. He is the group’s main healer, at present – Stand the Fallen and so on.

LG alignment, which a lot of people are nervous about playing. LG does not always mean “nice” and does not preclude killing for money, which is what a mercenary does. Some of the other characters are … not LG. Is Baharash as oblivious to the undercurrents as he seems? “I’m with these bad guys to keep them from becoming too bad” might sound like a phony justification, but the fact is that the job of keeping him sweet has indeed once or twice kept the rest of the characters from tipping too far down the alignment axis. Maybe the platinum one really does have a plan. Or maybe Baharash really does have trouble reading human facial expressions.

Always careful to never big-note himself in his journal – which is how I think a good officer should behave. He keeps the journal in hopes that his experiences might prove instructive, someday. What other legacy can you leave, when you are young and haven’t made your mark? Dying on the battlefield is a sober possibility.

Think Captain Carrot, of Discworld.

For more about the unhappy history of the guild, see the last year’s blog entries.


And so we – The Guild of the Golden Scorpion – found ourselves short on supplies. We all – Gesh, [What was the gnome’s name? knobbywinkle? Dammit, I can’t remember any other names. Veren? varian? This sucks. Must get a list.] – all departed for town, leaving our chambers in the hands of its odd guardians.

Approaching Fairhaven, we were met by a messenger – a boy, with an offer of work from his master, a bookseller. Leaving behind our intent to purchase supplies – after all, if we had work, then we might have to make other plans – we went to meet with this possible patron.

The bookseller’s home was rather what you would expect – every surface piled high with writings of one form or another. The bookseller himself was a trifle odd, although obviously a mage of considerable power. He described his mission for us: we were to go to a ruin and recover three valuable tomes. He would finance our mission and we could keep anything else we found but the tomes.

This seemed to us a very poor deal indeed. In return for nothing but hay for our horses, he was proposing that we render up three tomes each quite possibly priceless. His offer that we keep anything else we found was a non-offer: after all, the contents of the ruin were not his to give, and by right of salvage anything we found was ours anyway.

We suggested that a fairer offer was that we would sell these tomes on the open market, perhaps paying him some sort of finders fee for giving to us their location. At this, the old miser relented and produced a considerable bag of gems for our payment. We agreed to the deal – we would loot this ruin, and he would have first choice of three books we recovered, subject to the condition that we would have the tomes looked at by a temple and if they proved to be evil or dangerous they would be destroyed and we would forfeit payment. We will not be party to loosing banes on the world – commercial contracts notwithstanding. In return, the mage would finance the expedition and pay us this bag of gems.

Agreement all around, we proceeded to the gate – met there by horses and supplies furnished by the mage. We were to head north, through the whispering forest, to whispering rock (a well-known landmark, no doubt laying next to whispering river in whispering valley), there to meet guides who would take us to the ruins themselves.

It does not bother me that we drove a hard deal. The bookseller offered no reason of honour or right as to why we should undertake his quest – as far as we know, it is purely a matter of a book collector desiring certain books. His original offer was absurd, and if he would rather part with a considerable quantity of gems than bid on the open market for the books, I rather doubt that it is we who have cheated him.

All in all, a fair result. A soldier is worthy of the coin for which he risks his life, and it is no shame to demand it.

I am really pleased at the way Baharash tipped this cheap old bastard upside-down and shook him for loose change. A fun bit of play on the night, and appropriately in-character. We didn’t bother rolling diplomacy or anything – it was all played out.

The road was uneventful. At [meh], we turned off into the whispering wood – no doubt named for it pine trees. We came at last to an abandoned, partially burned out barn and elected to make camp there as the weather had turned unpleasant.

Our rest was interrupted during second watch: a human woman and babe entered the barn and beseeched aid: “they’re coming, my husband is outside!”. Without further ado we sallied forth. Time shifted oddly: it was no longer second watch, but dusk, and the barn was no longer burned down but whole and new.

Outside was a fallen man and a squad of dragonborn – my own race. We engaged. The fight was awkward, as they were trained to take advantage of small openings [they got opportunity attacks when you shifted] and we were unable to maneuver effectively, and so could not take advantage of certain teamwork moves. [Baharash in particular relies on buffing the combatants immediately around him: doesn’t do a lot of damage on his own.]

But we prevailed, reducing their numbers. As the last fell he transformed, changing into a blue dragon, and swore vengeance before flying away.

We returned into the suddenly rebuilt barn. The woman’s husband was beyond help on the road outside. She offered us, however, a reward – a chest with four large gems. We debated amongst ourselves and eventually agreed that we should take only three. As we reached to take our payment …

the world shifted back, and once again we were in a ruined, burned-out barn. Was it a dream or vision? There was one way to find out – we searched the barn, paying attention to the layout we remembered. In that spot where the chest was in our dream, there it lay in reality. We took its gems.

It seems that our experience was no mere vision, but that we somehow had travelled back some few years in time. A troubling prospect: for if that blue dragon was real, then he will still be alive now – older and more powerful. Dragons seldom forget their vows of vengeance. We have made a dangerous enemy.

As Jamie (the DM) put it … “Dum dum duummm!” A 4th ed blue dragon will be after us. it seems.

Kingmaker – Giacamo’s notes-for-epic

20 January, 2011

Ok! Now for continue with epic, hooray! Get paid lots for this.
Sated not with battle, thirsty for victory Jope entered last bane portal to darkness bourne, lightswallower and foe of life. Companion swiftly stricken, yet he doughty handed scrupled not to sorcery submit and made match for his bony foe belaboured, he and his, until arcane thews severed, foe dismembered, its task undone and ended.

Swiftly returned he to mortal sphere, foe-hedge at last sundered, and swore to slay. Devil quick and sly quailed with fear, trembled before him – golden battle standard, prover of life – and fled to its wretched home, wise coward thing. Remained two, witches they, pussiant with unholy might, but no match or even fair challenge for hero Jope, and falling rendered up their precious, precious loot.

And so all seemed done, yet not so: Morgana warning gave – these three urgent, yet petty evil, echo and shadow of greater which east lay. Jope troubled was, for swordlords grim had laid geas on him, to the east rumour of danger and death to seek and vanquish. Yet for now must content the world be with edge-deeds bright and brave, and hero give place to ruler for a time.

Giacamo’s retelling of events is … not always 100% accurate. Any action by Jope’s bondmen counts as being done by Jope, according to him. Rainor tends to do most damage in awkward terrain – which is what this was – the bad guys getting swiftly pincushioned. Thanks to Morgana’s blindness spell, Switch got a very fun hit on one of the witches. She gets only one attack per round, but Gravity Bow + Sneak Attack + +1 bow + PB Shot = 20 points of damage. I picture her drifting towards the floor (we were coterminous with the astral plane at the time), leisurely lining up just one nasty, nasty shot.

As for the devil – DM’s call, I suspect. We probably could not have handled it.

The loot was a very nice cauldron – a minor artifact, in fact – and a means by which Morgana might perform a wide variety of harmless practical jokes.


Then we go back to castle. Trip is boring. Scaly brothers for joining the Fredonia marshals – is good, everyone is very happy. Jope is very fine duke! Then back to castle, which is big, good castle. Jope says is bad that they don’t have head for trophy-room, but is not too bad because trophy room pretty full. And they finish something for ships, which is very expensive, so should write something.
So home to happy hall: Tuskwater! Or minionfall, or Jopedale, or by whatever name stout defence and weary-hero welcome. Vassals many, their lord to greet, board laid with glad return-feast for thane wise and moderate. Jope far-sighted and even-handed, wavehome built for those who ply trade, guesthouse and hand of law. Yet burden-mindful he, swordlord geas to the east, of silenced land from whom no news or word for moons had come. And so his lands in good order took up his halberd he, journey to make, hard-faced to east did venture.

Absent wardensMany a mile waxing grim with each mile told journey’d quest-commanded faithful thane from Fredonia to wild east, settled barely by rival but not yet foe, unknown neighbour. And found he no trace of welcoming hearth or home, but yards untended, gates unlatched. A guard tower deserted, yet everywhere footprints – man-step shuffling and milling. Toward horizon-sighted city he and stout companions journeyed, and took refuge in deserted home but an hour from unknown gates, their preparations to make the morn to greet neighbour-lord and perhaps ally – or to face what’er morn might bring.

The night bare begun, first watch bringing alarm. Outside, milling and shuffling corpses condemned to walk the earth. Now no more mere shadow or echo of evil, but evil itself – a score outside, and beyond a score of scores, quick and lively, avid hasty thirst for brain-of-man.

Odure Moste Deepe

Their mounts lost, Morgana did mount winds and with fire clear their way once and twice, winning bare moments. But noble Jope, strong right hand and cunning artificer of weapons did stand and wield his mace Blackheart – undead bane and worthy weapon to belabour the dead and hem them away while his companions each did swift magic make and flee, to run until dawn.

Oh grim city! Wail and woe – what fate withall within your walls? Will noble Jope suffice to save and redeem the evil befall you?

Again – not quite the way it actually happened. I think Rainor and Jope took down the bosses, but that didn’t affect the main horde as we hoped. Switch – a utility caster and rogue – wasn’t much use except maybe to soak a little damage.

As matters stand, we are running from an entire city turned into zombies – and it’s going to be a long, long night for the characters.


Kingmaker – Giacamo’s notes-for-epic

15 January, 2011

Ok! Now for continue with epic, hooray! Get paid lots for this.
Sated not with battle, thirsty for victory Jope entered last bane portal to darkness bourne, lightswallower and foe of life. Companion swiftly stricken, yet he doughty handed scrupled not to sorcery submit and made match for his bony foe belaboured, he and his, until arcane thews severed, foe dismembered, its task undone and ended.

Swiftly returned he to mortal sphere, foe-hedge at last sundered, and swore to slay. Devil quick and sly quailed with fear, trembled before him – golden battle standard, prover of life – and fled to its wretched home, wise coward thing. Remained two, witches they, pussiant with unholy might, but no match or even fair challenge for hero Jope, and falling rendered up their precious, precious loot.

And so all seemed done, yet not so: Morgana warning gave – these three urgent, yet petty evil, echo and shadow of greater which east lay. Jope troubled was, for swordlords grim had laid geas on him, to the east rumour of danger and death to seek and vanquish. Yet for now must content the world be with edge-deeds bright and brave, and hero give place to ruler for a time.

Giacamo’s retelling of events is not always 100% accurate – any action by Jope’s bondmen counts as being done by Jope. Rainor, of course, tends to do most damage in awkward terrain – which is what this was – the bad guys getting swiftly pincushioned. Thanks to Morgana’s blindness spell, Switch got a very fun hit on one of the witches. She gets only one attack per round, but Gravity Bow + Sneak Attack + +1 bow + PB Shot = 20 points of damage. I picture her drifting towards the floor (we were coterminous with the astral plane at the time), leisurely lining up just one nasty, nasty shot.

As for the devil – DM’s call, I suspect. We probably could not have handled it.

The loot was a very nice cauldron – a minor artifact, in fact – and a means by which Morgana might perform a wide variety of harmless practical jokes.


Then we go back to castle. Trip is boring. Scaly brothers for joining the Fredonia marshals – is good, everyone is very happy. Jope is very fine duke! Then back to castle, which is big, good castle. Jope says is bad that they don’t have head for trophy-room, but is not too bad because trophy room pretty full. And they finish something for ships, which is very expensive, so should write something.
So home to happy hall: Tuskwater! Or minionfall, or Jopedale, or by whatever name is gleaming wall, stout defence, and weary-hero welcome. Vassals many, their lord to greet, board laid with glad return-feast for thane wise and moderate. Jope far-sighted and even-handed, wavehome built for those who ply trade, guesthouse and hand of law. Yet burden-mindful he, swordlord geas to the east, of silenced land from whom no news or word for moons had come. And so his lands in good order took up his halberd he, journey to make, hard-faced to east did venture.

Odure Moste Deepe


Kingmaker – Giacamo’s notes-for-epic

8 January, 2011

[apologies Dave: I just can’t do a scottish accent]

Maybe to start with biographical intro – is good career move:

I, Giacamo, slave by birth, of lowly worth
do sing of Jope, hard-hewn halberd, he who
by strength of arm, and vision broad,
did wrest stolen lands from terror and war,
and establish there Fredonia.

I think am mixing genres, and not so sure if rhyme. Oh well – maybe to fix later.

Benison to all, banner to the oppressed,
gentle and noble, of him and him alone do I sing,
and also his companions, of whom there can be no doubt
he never was without
Whom I shall list in alphabetical order.

First Morgana, she of sorceries dark
and power unquestioned, upon whose track
whispers of witch would hark
but never to her face: always behind her back
who would with necromancy mark
and permanently blind people
before everyone else stacked on and killed them.

Have to fix that last bit

Next Rainor and Rainen, bowman and companion, steady aim,
were he to fail (yet seldom he)
Jope lost would be
literally
because no one else could read a map

Finally Seldryn, of far elven halls,
of magic and fallen honour,
whose name of shame she bore with pride
and who was not above a little burglary on the side

Whew! Is hard work! Ok: now for the big duking thing at Restov.

Came to Restov they, city of Brevory gay, no longer rough frontier for Jope of bold hand and noble mien had taken lands which once held threat and dark mutterings of monster and evil, and so bunting to gild the street with holiday, for elevation of he, nobility created be, stolen lands now his as duchy.

And yet, day so bright with cheer, presentments to each companion came: Morgana, Rainor, and Seldryn, who each unburdened themselves they, to their lord and begged his aid, and he – of nature generous and stalwart – demurred not, nor hesitated but pledged open-handed on his life and honour, that each with stout companions should face their peril of the day.

Three sub-quests is good structure. Maybe more prose for a bit. Should read more Beowulf to steal ideas.

Morgana, she of dark sorceries, wise in the ways of the halls of the dead, by means occult great wrong to the south and west has escryed, evil into the world seeking to make breach, its fame dolorous bell tolling across dale and lonely moor of spirit borne. And so journeyed there Jope, his courage unflinching, there this urgent evil to confront and vanquish whatever it be.

Forgotten hill found he and cave, therin sorcery and ritual unholy: three around cauldron, and one within. He attacked without hesitation, yet protected the unholy trypich were, neither arrow nor spell able to pass eldrich wall before them. Rainen, fearless brute to attack the three did leap, and at eldrich wall did vanish.

Should do stanza on astral plane in cave, or something, but not very heroic for Jope so not matter.

Jope, friend to all defenseless he, their helpless thralls espied in cage and ran to free, scalykind and slave small, his companions wise in sorcery, to divine the nature of the scene. For mark or portal three were fixed one each upon wall and ceiling, power thick and clotted from each into the cauldron issuing.

Then Seldryn did sally forth into the portal to the left, and right prompty did emerge again from it, and cried to Jope – he of mighty thew and renown of battle – for battle to be had was beyond. So did he of willing halberd to slay did enter and beyond a scene of hell, which is called Malboge, devils feeding its fleshy substance to an engine, source of power to the evil.

Battle did he, and his companions, and did slay the lesser devils (but for one imp in enchantment by Morgana chained) and the greater, who departed with promise to return bringing companions many. Yet Jope did not flee, but watched while Seldryn – she cunning in the ways of magic and device – for precious moments did strive to injure evil engine, and she succeeding returned he last from infernal bale through portal to the cave returned, the fell sorcery weak yet not done, his course clear, into the second portal did Jope venture.

Beyond, no devil, but fire rather – fire and earth, again lesser creatures feeding the substance of their realm into an engine – great blaze interred – and warded by warrior native. Again by battle extinguished Jope the blaze, and eldich might denied he the cauldron three, and returned to living world, third fell portal to defeat and last before surely the evil itself to slay.

All tired! Bed now. Do rest of this tomorrow.