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I replayed this about 2 years ago and wrote a "classic review."  I thought it held up quite well over time.  The story is interesting and you start to care about the characters.  It is turn based, so the combat does not get screwed up.
I like my tats. I'm not sure why we're making such a fuss to have them removed.
We wander around a bit more. The Innkeeper had mentioned some Sage that might know more about our sigils; perhaps this person could shed some light on why these are not just tattoos gained after an evening of drunken debauchery.

At least, that's mirth's theory.

Here we go. The town's not that big so it didn't take long to find her.

In the interests of continuing the plot, we answer "yes."


We've met the D&D equivalent of the federal government.

Well, it's not like we can't spare the dough. And as Monty Hall-esque as these adventures can be, something tells me this will easily be replaced soon enough.

We choose "tell the truth."

Journal Entry 38
You bear the symbol of five different organizations. Three I recognize, one I've never seen, and the last causes me some concern. The flame and dagger is the symbol of the Fire Knives, a group of assassins who last operated out of Westgate. That group had been destroyed, so they must have a new base of operation. I fear l do not know where.

‘The mouth in the palm is the symbol of the god Meander. This god was banished from the world hut he reappeared briefly as a pile of filth. It laid waste to a section of the city of Yulash before its defeat. The cult's color of choice is green.

The ornate Z in the triangle is the symbol of the Zhentrim, the Black Network. These are an evil alliance of priests, mages and thieves operating out of Zhentil Keep. Some say that they run Zhentil Keep.

The flaming symbol I've never seen, so I can give you no information. The last symbol, with the crescent moon, bears a disturbing similarity to a powerful sage in Shadowdale, for my own safety. I'll say no more about it."

And with that, we are shooed out.

At least we have a bit more information, now.

We can confirm that we have had these sigils added against our will. But why? Are they brandings of some kind, to indicate ownership? If so, why five such owners? Are we like a corporate lear jet that's jointly owned by a cabal of evil-doers?

Who knows. More answers will be forthcoming, the further we push this.

And push on we do, to see what else this town has to offer.

The Hall of Training is nice to know, but does us no good right now. If I remember right, each of our characters are just barely at our levels of experience.

A General Store.

We should poke our heads in...these places usually have a few interesting trinkets.

Generic NPC #0045 offers us wares for sale. We want to sale the heck out of her wares.  ^-^

The pickings here are rather lean. Even with the IRS Sage taking half our money we still have a helluva lot of Platinum and I was hoping for some more useful things than this.

Regardless, I have KyzBP buy one of each, a mirror and a flask of oil. Something tells me I should buy a mirror for each of my characters - perhaps I am channeling earlier experiences with this game. I don't know.

I only buy one of each for the Cleric, so maybe we'll come back. If we can.

Our wanderings through the crowds has gleaned a few bits of information.

Very likely, this is the Princess we have been tasked to find. There's rarely coincidences or false tracks in these gold box games.

We wander around a bit more and run into the local priestery. We go ahead and stick our head in here, too, because you never know what you might trigger.

Let's check out the rest of this place.

Instead of moving south, we move through the large doors across from us.

Ah, this is where the magic happens, I suppose.

We wander around a bit in here, only to be caught up in a crowd.

So, this place has all kinds of issues and worries other than five strangers with sick tattoos on their arms.

We wander back into the main hallway and to the south, where the head priest's offices were pointed out.

Yes, we do.

You see, we were altar boys and this priest of Illmater...

Oh, nevermind. That's not pertinent to this story.

Journal Entry 19
As the cleric casts the spell, the bonds begin to glow brightly. Arcs of blue flame shoot out from them and strike about the room. The characters begin to writhe in extreme pain. The cleric ceases the spell. "These bonds fight my powers, removing them is beyond me. I wish you better luck. Go with Gond."

That was rather anti-climactic.

Though you didn't think it would be THAT easy, did you?

No, somehow, I think we're going to have to hack our way through five strongholds and kill five boss-type characters to get these sigils removed. And if that's going to be an easy time...well, I doubt it will be. We always make things hard on ourselves, but then again, there's not a lot of fun in role-playing serfs, so...

Mirth - Half-elf 4th/4th level Fighter/Magic-User
nice. One of my favorite all-time favorite characters I played in high school was a half-elf, fighter/magic-user. Think I ended up getting thrown into a bottom-less pit by a vampire (that wasn't my favorite thing about the character).
Seriously? Like Krull?

Niiiiiiice. I thought 'glaive' sounded rather familiar. It's been a while since I've seen Krull though.
Tabletop AARs / Re: 1985 - Checkpoint Charlie AAR/Rules Check
« Last post by UBoater on Yesterday at 11:56:47 PM »
Now it's the 32nd Guards Tk Div turn to take a crack at the US Berlin Bde.

A Standard Assault for 4 MP is initially considered.

Supply is good, no WMD, no EW units present, no Active Defense.

The 387th Art Bde is stacked with the 32nd Guards and will support the attack. There are only air 4 assets left (Su17s and Mig23) but they will be saved to support later attacks.

Defender/NATO Combat Modifiers:
City Terrain +3
Cadre Rating +5 Tested
Hedgehog +2
Festung Berlin Rule +1
Total 11 for the Defender

Attacker/WP Combat Modifiers:
Cadre Rating +4 (Soviet CAT I Div untested)
Enemy Casualties +2
Combat Ratio 7:1 so 0 for this
Total 6 for the Attacker

Combat Modifier is 11 - 6 = 5
At 7:1 gives
1-7 D
8-12 C
13-20 A1

Not great odds. There are 2 ways the WP can try to increase the chance of success:
Commit some air units to get at most +3 Combat Modifier - but they will first be exposed to AA fire which could reduce that.
Or the 32nd Guard could choose Single Echelon Assault (all regiments attack/no reserves) instead of Standard Assault which would multiply its attack factor by 1.5. The problem is on any result that is not a D the unit loses an extra step. On a C that is a one step loss, but on an A1 attack into a city that is a 2 step loss +1 step for Echelon Assault - unit destroyed.

The WP will just let it ride as is and the roll is… 5!
The WP wins the gamble - the US Berlin Bde is eliminated and the 32nd Guards must advance into the hex.
The normal cost for the move into a city hex is 2MP which is less than the 4MP for the Standard Assault so no additional MPs need to be expended - the 32nd Gd still has 16 MPs left.
Also the result was between 4 and 16 so the 32 Gds is now tested and flipped to a 5 Cadre value.

Should the 32nd Gd keep going and attack the UK Berlin Bde?
Let's look at the anticipated combat modifiers:

Defender/NATO Combat Modifiers:
City Terrain +3
Cadre Rating +6 UK default/untested - the Brits are good
Hedgehog +2
Festung Berlin Rule +1
Total 12 for the Defender

Cadre +5

That gives a 7 combat modifier at 7:1 so only 1-5 for D1, and 11-20 for A1. Not good.

But the WP can choose to throw in the 3 available Su17M squadrons for Ground Support.
The 3 Su17M Squadrons form an Air Group and come screaming in over West Berlin.

The French and UK Bde's each get a shot at the Group as a whole.
First the French - average evasion for the Su17M's is 5 giving a +2 DRM.
The roll is an 8 + 2 = 10 on the Flak D column is no effect.
The UK roll is  10 + 2 = 12 on the Flak D column is again no effect.

The combined Strike Values of the Su17M's are added to the 32Gd Combat Factor.
Now the odds are 18 + 5 + 7 (combined Su17M) = 30 giving a 10:1 and an addtional +3 modifier.

The odds are 7:1 with a 4 Combat Modifier:
1-8 D1
9-13 C
14-20 A1

And the roll is… 20!
Stopped cold by the Brits with an A1.
Attacking into a city so 2 step loss and a 1 step loss for the supporting Artillery and end of movement for both units.

Both the 32nd Guards and the 25th Tk Divisions have experienced heavy losses and are out of the battle for now. The US Berlin Bde has been eliminated but exacted a toll on the 25th Tk. And the Brits stopped the 32nd Guards cold, but now it's the 90th Gds turn…

But first time to check my work.
Coincidentally, the History Channel's blacksmith competition show "Forged in Fire" will feature a Glaive-Guisearm challenge on the next episode! (June 26th.)
It's a five-pointed throwing star thing, a little larger than an average grown man's hand, that can be telepathically controlled by magic after its claws pop out.

The claws resemble the claws of a goose's arm.

Thus the name.


(It's a special type of pike with a broad blade instead of a spear at the end, but the blade has a hook on it, too. There are various designs. It isn't as long as a typical pike, more like normal spear length. This question also vexed me, back since the days of the Blue Book or possibly the Red Basic Rules. But there were pictures back then, too. I think the Swiss Vatican guards use them.)

The first thing to do is Encamp and memorize spells.

None of us have one bit of equipment on us. Funny that whomever our little thieves are, they didn't bother to take the king's sum of cash we have stashed. I guess we hid 1800 Platinum under our pillows? Bah.

The memorizin' takes over 8 hours. We're seasoned adventurers now. Because we totally defeated Tyranthraxus. Weren't you around for that? Gee, what a shame...  ::)

With nary but the clothes on our backs and enough money to buy this speck of a town, we ventured groggily out into the hallway, to be immediately accosted by this establishment's owner.

Collective scowls are collectively scowling and less than pleased.

What in the hells of the Demonweb Pits happened to us?

Journal Entry 31
"You were brought in by a group in red robes. They said they'd found you on the road, near death. They paid for your rooms in advance, so you can stay as long as you'd like. You had those tattoos when you came in, but I've never seen anything like them. Filani the sage could help you though, you should go see her, two blocks north."

So we were "found" in the road, dumped into this random Inn, had all our lodging expenses paid in advance.

Were we made the playthings of someone or...some thing?

A quick mental check reveals no issues with the nethers, thank goodness. No wyvern tails or tentacles in our past.

Err...that we know of.

Stepping outside into the bright light, feeling naked despite our clothing as we are completely unarmed, the name of the establishment silently calls its name to passerby.

We wander about a bit, trying to find the arms store "across the way."

Guess that ain't it...

Probably shouldn't go bashing or picking locked doors yet...

Aaaaaand I'm doubting that's an arms shop...

There we go!

Our aimless wanderings have finally found the target of the Innkeeper's vague directions.

A guy that looks like he does LARPing on the weekends and on days he's off from his total drag of a retail job helps us re-arm.

I avoid asking the age-old question, "what the **** is a Glaive-Guisarme?"

This is a question as old as time. I remember asking it when I first played the blue-covered D&D game. And through many iterations and editions after that.

Now, I have NO DOUBT that any one of a few dozen weapons nerds in these forums could answer this question RIGHT off the top of their heads.

So could Google, too, but I don't feel like looking. I'd rather leave this ambiguous for the time being.

Or, maybe JP could write us twelve paragraphs on the history of this weapon?  O:-)

Such a nice parting quip.

We're feeling much more warm and fuzzy with new shiny armor, pointy weapons, and spells left sizzling at some of our fingertips.
I'm copying and pasting a lot of content from the game books. If that's copyright infringement, please tell me and I will refrain and edit as necessary. I figure that these materials are so prevalent now on teh Intarwebz that it's not that big a deal, and it helps a lot to frame the story if you, the reader, understands the history.

If you don't care, just keep scrolling to the next few posts.

Ahem...getting into role-playing voice mode, here...

"I am beginning a new journal. My old journal is gone, along with all of the party's equipment. I write here to try to make some
sense out of our spotty memories.

We had all agreed to come south to Tilverton to seek the lost princess, Nacacia of Cormyr. Tilverton is on the border between the Dalelands and Cormyr, and was the last place the princess had been spotted.

Rumor was that King Azoun's youngest daughter, the Princess Nacacia, ran away from the royal household of Cormyr almost a year ago. She fled an arranged marriage and ran off with a cleric from Tilverton named Gharri of Gond.

The latest word was that Nacacia and Gharri had a falling out and that she was seen near ‘Tilverton recently. The king had a large reward out for Nacacia's return. A smart group of adventurers like ourselves


could make some powerful friends if they found the princess and returned her to the king.

Somewhere along the road to Tilverton we were attacked. The brigands must have been invisible, because some of our party went down before we knew what was going on. I vaguely remember dark faces in evil looking helmets firing crossbows into our midst. The crossbow hits were not fatal, but every hit seemed to drop its target. I remember getting hit in the arm. The wound blazed like fire. My head swam, just before l blacked out, I thought that this was a bad end for such experience adventurers.

I mean, we beat Tyranthraxus like a rented 0th-level NPC. We totally pwned him. Maybe I'll eventually get to tell that story...

Anyway, now we awake in Tilverton with our wounds healed. Our equipment is gone, but we have found a stash of coins. One of
our first priorities must be to buy new equipment.

Funny thing! We have 300 friggin' Platinum pieces PER CHARACTER. That's...1,500 Gold pieces.


We could build a damn Keep with that kind of coin.

Anyway...back to the backstory...

I overheard a servant mention the date, but I in not sure I believe it. If the servant speaks true it is almost a month since the ambush. Almost anything could have happened in that time.

It seems that almost anything did. Each of us awoke with five azure blue symbols imprinted on our sword arm. The symbols are
not tattoos, they seem to exist below the skin. They occasionally feel like they're moving.

We have devised a plan of attack. Our spell-casters will prepare their spells. We will purchase some new arms and armor. Then we are going out into Tilverton and find out what is going on. Someone must know. And l don l care if we have to roust every sage, priest, and bartender in this town to find out.

These are some random printed notes I have collected. Their information may be important on our journey."
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