The Fall of Magic

J.R.R. Tolkien,  Rivendell

J.R.R. Tolkien, Rivendell

Some divide the fantasy literature from which D&D sprung into two broad categories: Tolkien or Howard. I appreciate both, but my Lands of Khos campaign will look more to Tolkien and his predecessors. An age undreamed of precedes each, but their sense of what has been lost differs. For Howard’s Conan the past is unfathomable, mysterious and of an equally amorphous moral fiber as his present Hyborian Age. With Tolkien’s Third Age, even victory over a clear Manichean blight was accompanied by a sense of loss about what too was passing away from Middle Earth.

I’ve run enough old school fantasy RPG games to feel both thrill and anxiety at what sometimes follows the first steps of campaign’s long road. For the short arcs and one-shots of the myriad small-press RPGs I’ve reveled in the past fifteen years, I’ve learned to welcome character decisions that can’t be taken back. For the long-form sandbox campaign I have in my mind’s eye, however, I want to be careful about the “toys” I place within. Maybe I’ve simply read too many threads about Rings of Invisibility or Brooms of Flying and such. I want the PCs to be able to utterly transform their Age but am wary of adding permanent elements to an ongoing campaign that might bring harm to the overall endeavor by taking focus away from the characters and putting it on their toys.

Hence, “The Fall of Magic”. The Elves of Khos have almost entirely “gone west” to their Feywild and magic is passing away from this world. This will reinforce themes of loss and decay as well as create escape clauses for my mad experiments.

What does this mean in practical terms?

Along with traditionally consumable items like wands and “potion growlers,” most magical items will have one of the six classic polyhedral dice ascribed to them, e.g. “Helm of Telepathy (d8)”, Gauntlets of Ogre Powers (d10). Each time an item is activated, the assigned die size will be rolled and if it comes up a “1” then the die size will be decremented one size until it reaches a d4. When such a diminished item is risked further, on a “1” result (25%) its magic will depart and the item will either break or be inert. The default activation time will be one turn or one use as appropriate, but might vary according to the nature of the item. Even magical weapons and armor will need be “called upon” and stoked to power before a fray.

I was in a campaign several years ago that used a form of this rule to track ammo. Rather than having 20 arrows and having to account carefully for each single arrow, people had, for example, Arrow Quiver (d8) and would roll at the end of a combat to determine whether their ammo had diminished sufficiently to decrement their quiver to a “d6”.

I asked on Twitter about the origins of this kind of a mechanic and heard back that Confrontation had a form of it, that Logan Knight and James Young later used it to track torches at their tables & that David Black’s The Black Hack may have been the first published old school FRPG to use something similar. Apart from the aforementioned campaign, I think I re-discovered it elsewhere.

I’ve not considered it much, but it occurs to me now that so long we’ll be taking the time for such decrement checks, some other result (4s?) might result in a “flare” and/or a side-effect for some items as one finds with house rules or systems where magic is unpredictable (Dungeon Crawl Classics excels in this kind of thing).

The “breaking weapons” element in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game received mixed reviews. Players seemed to either enjoy or dislike the feature. It wasn’t implemented exactly the way I might have chosen, but I appreciated its design intent & thought it was mostly successful. Facing a given conflict, I liked having to choose whether to end it quickly and with less risk by using a superior weapon or to “keep my powder dry” by charging in with a humble Moblin club.

I felt the draw of this kind of design aesthetic recently while watching a playtest of Agon 2nd Editon. Deciding moment by moment, situation by situation, whether to exhaust a resource or reserve it and increase one’s risk of loss is powerful.

When at its best, two hearts of good old-school role-playing are managing resources and putting meaningful decisions into the hands of players. I hope to infuse more of both by basing my game in a world where magic is dying.

Incidentally, while far from the old school (closer to freeform academy), the Fall of Magic is a stellar RPG, a favorite of mine, and one I hope to to return to. It’s a game that evokes for me that Tolkien-esque sense of loss of a world which is passing away.

Mimir's Head - 0101

A sylvan valley hides a shallow brook. Half-buried in the muck of the runnel lies the colossal form of Mimir’s Head.

Mimir’s Head nears nine feet ‘cross and weighs a thousand stone.

Odin left him ages past for some sin to atone.

His pallid skin and lolling tongue toll forgotten dread.

His haunted eyes weep anon and stain the waters red.

John Bauer,  Odin Speaks With Mimir’s Head For The Last Time  (illus.), 1911

John Bauer, Odin Speaks With Mimir’s Head For The Last Time (illus.), 1911

What’s on Mimir’s mind? (1d6)

“Stay awhile and listen.”

1) Gibbering madness. Mimir cast Contact Higher Plane and it went… poorly last time out. He’ll be himself in 1d6 weeks.

2) The 2d4 giant centipedes painfully feasting on his ever-regenerating flesh & the fey Branch Sisters not three leagues away who left them here to feed and grow plump with wisdom until they come to collect them. Or perhaps it was Baba Yaga who did this?

3) The faerie knight Laurel Snowthistle and their noble pig Blacksnout have not returned from the quest which Mimir bade them. Mimir senses they have run into trouble 1d6 chambers into a fell place 1d6 hexes from here in a random (1d6) direction.

4) The dreams of the dragon Vaithrax to which Mimir has unhappily become attuned. Mimir knows where Vaithrax is when the wurm sleeps and for how long they are likely to slumber. Mimir is vexed with bouts of useless greed until this bond is somehow broken.

5) The latest scheme of either a lich or Khoschei the Undying. Present company excluded, there are few who know of Mimir’s location. Mimir knows the hiding place of the lich’s/Koschei’s phylactery. If the latter, Khoschei’s goat Peony is nearby to ensure Khoschei knows when and whether this information is relayed, but it’s possible (2-in-6) Peony has wandered off for a bit.

6) Little to put into words for those whose lives are but a candle’s length. Mimir is thirsty for knowledge of the lands where he’s been abandoned & is predisposed (+ 2 reaction) towards those who might provide such.

Mimir cannot likely be slain nor moved, however much he might wish. He can cast Contact Higher Plane, Geas, and its reverse as a 14th level caster. If well-disposed, he might act as a sage with nine specialties including Ancient History, Dragons, & Northern Lands. Mimir knows the properties of most magical items created on this plane. If ill-disposed and/or poorly-treated, expect a Geas involving collecting some intelligence or artifact for him.

Inspiration for Mimir’s Head comes from John M. Stater’s NOD #6 (p35)

The Right Tools For The Job

I spent most of the past weekend finishing up the player-facing equipment document for my B/X Essentials campaign. I went through the exercise because the equipment list for B/X D&D is terse for my purposes, because I intend to revise it with simpler-than-RAW encumbrance and other house rules down the road & because experience has taught me it’s good to have a few copies of more easily-referenced gear for when the game transitions to “shopping mode.” I lifted items from The Nightmares Underneath, Advanced Labyrinth Lord , Beyond the Wall and many others.

I had a few thoughts about this process & thought I’d share some while they’re fresh in my mind. No doubt at least one of these observations have been made ad nauseam in the blog-o-sphere over the last decade.

The Humble Crowbar

As written, this item costs and weighs more than a short sword and yet has no explicit mechanical benefit. From B/X Essentials and some versions of Expert D&D it’s mentioned as being used for prying open objects like chests or windows. It’s not clear whether an adventurer even needs one to be able to force open a stuck door. I decided to clarify and rule on this; you can open a stuck door w/o a crowbar, but the base chance (2-in-6) falls to 1-in-6, so the base chance assumes you’ve got one.

Five Gold Garlic

Garlic is found in the Expert edition of the game and in B/X Essentials’ equipment list. It would be pretty harrowing for Basic level (1-3) adventurers to run across a vampire, but one never knows. Neither tell you on the player-facing side what garlic does. I’d been adding some explanatory details for my list, but decided not clarifying garlic’s potential benefits in the equipment manifest was a good creative choice. What amused me is that garlic costs approximately 250 times what one might expect given it’s difficult to not grow garlic, in our world at least.

I’ve read blog posts and listened to podcasts about following some of D&D rules’ peculiarities to their seemingly illogical conclusions rather than ignoring them or house-ruling them away. Judd Karlman talked about this with alignment languages recently on Daydreaming about Dragons. “That kid was born speaking Evil…”

What does it mean that garlic costs two orders of magnitude more than you might expect? Has a local vampire lord found some way to curse the soil for leagues around so that garlic takes an especially green thumb and or magics to nurture? Something like that sounds fun. I’d already been borrowing lots of things from Dolmenwood for my game, so maybe someone like this guy is behind this garlic price-fixing scheme.

Holy Symbols - You Get What You Pay For

I found it curious that Moldvay D&D doesn’t seem to provide any indication as to whether a holy symbol is necessary or how it might be used beyond devotional or status purposes. Such a symbol costs 25 gp which is quite a bit for a beginning Cleric who might also like to afford some other protections. Turning to Expert D&D, I find a holy symbol is “Used in turning undead.” The B/X Essentials book I’m using as my base indicates that “a cleric must carry a holy symbol.” As I’m making equipment packages & would like even a relatively impoverished acolyte to be able to afford a symbol of their faith along with some armor and weapons, I’m providing a wooden holy symbol option that costs only 1 gp, but has the disadvantage of a -1 to their 2d6 ability to Turn Undead. I’m guessing the 25 gp version might be made of something like silver and that such metals are for some reason more effective in warding off the undead. I think I may have stolen this “-1 for wooden symbols” from some blog or another, but arrived at this at least two years ago and have no idea by now where it might have come from. I think for my game holy symbols might be something more like a religious icon of some sort, some weighty object.

Silver and Wolfsbane

Engraving, 18th cent. depicting a scene from Johann Geiler von Kaisersberg's  Die Emeis  (1516)

Engraving, 18th cent. depicting a scene from Johann Geiler von Kaisersberg's Die Emeis (1516)

D&D monster entries indicate that lycanthropes, i.e. werewolves and such, may only be harmed by silver or magic weapons when they’re in their animal form. The literary origin of this vulnerability to silver apparently comes only recently from 19th century German folklore. On a weapon and equipment list as concise Moldvay D&D’s, I find myself wondering that a full three items, silver arrows, silver daggers & wolfsbane, are about the killing and/or driving off of shapeshifters. If one had only page 12 from the 1981 edition of the game, one might guess its primary mode of play was in hunting werewolves. Was there some Appendix N fantasy fiction especially concerned with this kind of adventure?

I recall playing a Solomon Kane / Van Helsing-like character in 4th edition D&D. The GM, catering to my concept, threw some recurring wererats at us in the several sessions. Apart from that, I don’t actually recall any particularly memorable D&D arcs over the years that involved lycanthropes, either as a GM or a player and feel like I may have missed something there. Moldvay Basic details nearly as many kinds of were-creatures (five) as it does dragons (six)! In using B/X: Essentials and in the world-building for my game, I’m wanting to get at something cardinal to the origins of the hobby, so werewolves will be a going concern. Some werebears might also be appropriate.

In some Russian folklore, a werewolf is called an oborot (“one transformed”) and there’s an evocative ritual to become one involving circling a tree and stabbing it with a copper knife while chanting a peculiar rite. That’s a great seed for an adventure.

In the B10 Night’s Dark Terror module I’m hoping to incorporate, there’re a couple of werewolves named Bailakask & Kalkask that are vital to end of finding some important ruins along the Volaga river.

Some depictions of the grand prince of Kiev, Vseslav of Polotsk, had him not only as a sorcerer, but as a werewolf. More fodder.

The silver arrows and dagger of the classic equipment list also reminded me briefly of 3rd edition D&D’s damage resistance mechanic & how it did actually lead in one campaign to that edition’s mostly apocryphal “golf bag of weapons” i.e. one silvered weapon, one cold iron one for fey, a bludgeoning weapon for undead, etc. Good times.

Every House Rule a Resource or Relationship

I finished up a run of the Legacy RPG recently and am taking a break from GM’ing while I prep my B/X campaign. I am playing in a couple ongoing games though. The first of these is Ryuutama, which has me pondering resource management and travel rules, the second is Primetime Adventures, (our fifth series there?), which again has me thinking about the power of PC/NPC relationships in tabletop role-playing.

I like house rules because I like to hack games to my own preferences and to those of the other players at the table. I enjoy the process of experimentation whether or not the ratio of success to failure is any better than 1:1.

A lot of the players in my community are interested in playing role-playing games “as written,” whenever possible. At least at first. Especially when it comes to old-school dungeoneering. Either they are around my age, want to revisit the game they played in their youth and have since discovered that they never actually played the game as written forty years back or they’re younger and are interested in the possibility of experiencing some “uncut” taste from a mystical “Golden Age.” In spite of my hacker core, part of me feels the same way. And what if my additions are nothing so much as baking soda?

There’re convincing arguments that the "Golden Age” of old-school RPGs is all about adding and subtracting things. Tinkering with the form. Others have covered that thesis well.

I ultimately had several pages of house rules for the multi-year Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign I ran. It probably got to be a bit much for some of the players, but a lot of “extras” seemed a decent fit for that game with its various spell effects, critical and fumble results tables, etc. For a B/X game, I suspect fewer house rules would be preferred. Again, for the players I know and for initial sessions in particular.

Reading through The Nightmares Underneath recently, I was struck by its rules for developing social institutions for the civilized settlements adventurers return to. In TNU, as explorers spend coin at these institutions, the organizations grow in potency and become increasingly able to offer specialized goods, information and services. These rules, along with recent episodes of Daydreaming About Dragons and an old Against the Wicked City post (the hirelings bit in particular), got me thinking about ways I might add various game states and conditions I want to the campaign by adding them to the world itself rather than always to a house rules document. Employing exception-based design as games like Magic: the Gathering do, players get the benefit of a “purer” and simpler ruleset, but I get the house-rules I might want to try out. By tying game states to an NPC, a resource or an institution, one might gain richer world-building as well as further incentives for characters to explore, seek status & develop communities inside the fiction of the game. I’ll post in the future examples specific to my Lands of Khos setting, but here is a single case for a common hack:

Max HP at First Level

This house rule increases the survival rate for new PCs. It’s a long way to second level in Classic D&D. At 5 XP per giant centipede, many GMs consider this hack almost essential either to manage player frustration or to keep the game from dark comedy in a game that might otherwise be rules-as-written. Even Moldvay Basic nods towards a similar option where “the DM may allow a player character to roll again if the player has rolled a 1 or 2 for the number of hit points…” (B6). Max hit points at 1st level serves the secondary function of niche-protection. A Fighter with 1 hit point doesn’t much feel like a character that can protect the others in their party relative to the high CON Cleric who starts with 7 h.p.

One could simply add this rule to a house rule document or mention it during character creation. It’s popular, common & few would bat an eye and/or feel they were being denied the hardcore mode of the original “old school.”

Some might though. And from what I’ve been reading and listening to lately, adding even this simple and typical house rule represents a missed world-building opportunity to create a relationship and/or a resource.

Nate Marcel.  Blood Caster,  mixed media on paper. From  The Nameless Grimoire , 2017, Metzger, Johnstone

Nate Marcel. Blood Caster, mixed media on paper. From The Nameless Grimoire, 2017, Metzger, Johnstone

What if everyone rolls their hit points and you get what you get? Or you at least employ the Moldvay option so there’s a slight chance a struck character yet survives? Now you’re playing on “Hurt Me Plenty mode.” The grognards and grogs-at-heart will smile.

But you, clever and secretly soft-hearted DM that you are, know there’s a Blood Caster named Zora who dwells in the forest somewhere near the keep where the campaign begins. You placed her there in this world. Zora is more-or-less on the way to one of the most likely destinations for adventurers. There are rumors about Zora among the keep’s villagers. They say she can bring you luck… for a price.

Zora wants something from the nearby Cave of the Unknown. If you swear you will retrieve it for her, she will quickly perform a blood sacrifice and you will receive Zora’s Boon. Zora’s blessing lasts for three days and nights and grants a PC one-half their HD +1 temporary hit points (i.e. 3, 4 or 5 hit points) every morning they wake. These daily temporary hit points are gone once lost, cannot be healed and represent a narrow miss or lessening of any damage otherwise received.

Consider how many birds may be felled by this design stone relative to “all PCs get maximum hit points at 1st level.” Should they decide to attend to the rumors about Zora and having met her, they agree to her terms, they’ve improved their chances to survive a single dangerous encounter each day as if they’d near maximum hit points or better. They’ve gotten to speak with an enigmatic and hopefully interesting new associate. They’ve gotten to make a choice and express something interesting about their character; maybe the 3 hp acolyte of Freya is offended by something in Zora’s terms and decides to forgo her blessing! As a DM, you’ve eliminated a house rule and are playing closer to “rules-as-written.” Moreover, by making these hit points temporary you’ve thrown a wrinkle into the classic dilemma of the 5-minute adventuring day; Zora’s boon is time limited. The magic-user’s Sleep spell is exhausted, but should the party head back to the cave entrance and camp there or should they press on while they’re still under the aid of Zora’s sacrifice? Choices.

Unlike a house rule which, if changed, may exhaust both a GM’s memory and a player’s patience, Zora can always move along if you decide the “rule” is not quite right for your table. Or that it was fine while the PCs were 1st or 2nd level, but the extra hit points have outworn their welcome. On the flip side, the relationship with Zora holds the potential for further benefits and dangers, further experimental game states. "Zora the Blood Caster” contains more latent possibilities than a hit-point house rule. Zora can take care of herself, but she’s also a resource and a relationship that might be threatened in-game. More choices.

A popular modern house rule, All Shields Shall Be Splintered, operates under a similar design principle - how can we increase the survival rate for old school low-level D&D player characters while giving their players’ more choices?

Gary Gygax had his own list of house rules and began many of his campaigns at 3rd level. This may have been his way of molding the games he ran to the preferences of the players at his table. Some of his players may have tired of the ultra-high mortality inherent to playing 1st level characters rules-as-written. It’s a great house rule to that end! I wonder whether by examining every house rule through the lens of possibly converting it into an in-game resource or relationship, we might serve our own tables as well.

Whither Russia?

Matt Colville asked on Twitter recently “How is your campaign setting different from everyone else's? What's the weirdest thing about your world?” One of many replies was “It’s based on Eastern European/Russian folklore.“ I studied Russian history in college thirty years back and I’ve been working on my “Lands of Khos” dark faerie tale Slavic setting since shortly after The Witcher III dropped in 2015. I’m still far from finished, but it feels like there’s been a lot of material coming from this zeitgeist in the D&D world lately. When I arrived home, I found my copy of Ussura had arrived. I decided a cursory review of some of the Slavic fantasy influences in D&D might make for a post or three. There are a lot of reasons a D&D game set in a fantasy version reflecting Slavic Eastern Europe/Russia elements makes a good fit. I thought I’d also maintain a living bibliography for those looking to build a world inspired by similar sources. A summation of what follows might easily be “My campaign world project is not all that weird.” A lot of dark faerie tale and Slavic fantasy game settings have proceeded it. I’m okay with that.

Ivan Bilibin,  Tale of Prince Ivan, The Firebird and the Grey Wolf  (illus.), 1899

Ivan Bilibin, Tale of Prince Ivan, The Firebird and the Grey Wolf (illus.), 1899

I never played in the default setting for 4th edition D&D, but I liked the description of it & felt like the whole “Points of Light” thing got to and recalled something primal in Dungeons & Dragons. 4E’s Nentir Vale was described as a cold and sparsely populated land, a frontier dotted with ruins and monster lairs. It brought to mind Gygax’s Keep on the Borderlands, & reminded me of my early years play in Judge’s Guilds’ Wilderlands of High Fantasy setting. For me, part of D&D fundamental setting was always near post-apocalyptic. There was a Golden Age in the past where people and things we know little of constructed and dwelt in these amazing places that have since fallen into dissolution. The reason these dark corners haven’t been explored, (and this is where the adventurers come in), is not only because these places are dangerous, but also because the lands are… big. They contain a frontier so vast that one could spend lifetimes exploring it. It’s a place has enough of the familiar to make it relatable in game and narrative terms, but a place that is also strange and unfamiliar. To me, a westerner, that’s the idea of Russia. A concept that contains both West and East. A place of contradictions and therefore a place for my fantastical grotesques alongside Whitman’s multitudes.

Another common trope in Dungeons & Dragons for me are its connections to heavy and later “viking” metal music. I’m not as versed in this connection as many, but I’ve skimmed its surface at enough at least to absorb its shibboleths. You see it in the early artwork, in the popular conception of vikings, in R.E. Howard’s Conan, in other Appendix N fiction, and as a result, in many of the role-playing hobby’s early and current devotees. My roots in the hobby go back to the Satanic panic of the early 80s. From this mental space, my mind wanders to the Rurik dynasty, Kievan Rus’ and the Varangians. For me, the archetypal Dungeons & Dragons explorers were viking peoples & so it only makes sense that the borderland frontier for their adventures might be placed in a fantasy version of the East Slavic lands and beyond.

I’ll return here to edit and maintain all the resources I’ve been using to build my “own private Novgorod,” but for now I’ll point simply to the first in Basic D&D’s Gazetteer series The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (GAZ1) as an impetus for me to follow this Slavic path. I wanted to someday run the well-reputed adventure module Night’s Dark Terror (B10) which is contained within this duchy. I read of Karameikos’ Rugalov keep, its Patriarch Aleksyev Nikelnevich, its Volaga River running throughout & my course was set.

Seeds on the Borderlands

M Meredith Williams,  Lagertha  lithography, 1913

M Meredith Williams, Lagertha lithography, 1913

1. This season's viking was unfruitful. Some clans log the forests of the borderlands west of here, repairing the ships that will bring them home for harvest. Your jarl has allowed you to travel and seek opportunities at the keep during this interval. Led by the shieldmaiden Kadlin, a dozen of your rival clan Tjärnholm are rumored to be scouting the keep in advance of a final raid. (Ftr)

2. Among other intents, you're to retrieve from the keep's armorer a suit of silver-ornamented chain mail for your captain. Due to a logistical error the suit is not yet paid for. Return to your captain empty-handed or find a way to pay for the suit and be compensated later? Your cousin Dražen is assistant to the smith Nazer. Dražen is brave, but his pockets are as empty as his head. (Ftr)

3. A confidante has informed you the jewel merchant Tikhon is quartered in the keep and the caravan he waits for will be delayed for weeks. You also know he secrets gems in his belt. He is reputed as cautious and you'll not likely get close to him without jewels of your own to sell. He’ll drop his guard if he’s inspecting a large gem. How to find such a thing? (Thf)

4. Your sister Mira and her new husband have been captured by the Spinebreak hobgoblins. If that witless honey merchant hired adequate protection she wouldn't be in this fix. Doubtless father's magical dagger Dustbringer she made off with after the wedding is missing now as well. She's always been there for you. Maybe it's not too late to find her. (Thf)

5. An ascetic priest from your village, Brother Dalibor, came to this region years ago. Some say he was a heretic, others that he held great wisdom and knowledge but was a bit touched in the head. You've been tasked to find him and entreat him to return to the order or, failing that, to request from him the Ring of Martyrs which he took from the elders when he left. Assuming he's still alive, he may be difficult to track down. (Cl)

6. Your mentor, a priest of your order directed you to ask the keep curate Radovan about rumors of an amulet worn by the dead-who-walk which make it more difficult to turn them. If you recover such an amulet, Radovan may be able to teach your order how to nullify its potency. (Cl)

7. You've come into the possession of a fantastical magical formula. For all the good that is likely to do; the ritual requires a pound of ground owl beak! It is bad luck to kill an owl and this ritual would required scores of owl beaks. Unless you are clever enough and can find some way forward from this dilemma... Maybe you'll find answers at the keep. (M-U)

8. When the Spinebreak hobgoblins ambushed a honey caravan some weeks ago the seer Naum, your mentor, was traveling with them. He must have been struck down before he could wield the wand of paralyzation you know he always carried.  It's unlikely they know of its properties and have made kindling of it by now, but perhaps not! (M-U)

9. A warrior naturalist, your uncle Beinost and his partner Almithara indicated their intention to collect blistercress from the red alder trees of the swamplands in this area. That was three years ago. Someone sent word that Almithara was seen at the keep recently. It may be she knows where he was last wandering. (Elf)  

10. The raids of the Bonesnap goblins and Spinebreak hobgoblins among your people have increased. Your leaders are occupied with even larger problems, but you have heard there is no love lost between these goblins and the Skulltooth orc tribe said to garrison near here. Perhaps they can somehow be turned against these goblins - use one trouble to fight another. (Elf)

11. In years gone by, your clan earned its reputation by the heroes among them who slew giants. You are setting out to make your own mark. There is an ogre by the name of Irok dwelling in these lands who has worked as sellsword for the hobgoblins which have raided your people. He is no giant but his death would increase your name. (Dwarf)

12. You escaped the torture chamber of the Spinbreak hobgoblins just a couple months ago! Your wounds have healed and you know the location of their cave entrance in the ravine near here. You also have a fairly accurate memory of the location of that hated chamber relative to the cave entrance and have drawn a map. With your comrades-in-arms, you are intent on paying back your stripes with interest. (Dwarf)