The Whims of Fate

One of the things I really like about the Glass Cannon Podcast is the the GM’s use of “bottle caps” [**Link leads to spoilers**] – virtual tokens handed out to the players who do something exceptional during play. It could be for outstanding role playing, a clever solution to a problem or even making the group laugh. A player can exchange the token for a second roll of the die, letting him take the higher of the two rolls.

5e has a similar rule, proffered by the Advantage mechanism. From the 5e SRD:

“Sometimes a special ability or spell tells you that you have advantage or disadvantage on an ability check, a saving throw, or an attack roll. When that happens, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll. Use the higher of the two rolls if you have advantage, and use the lower roll if you have disadvantage. For example, if you have disadvantage and roll a 17 and a 5, you use the 5. If you instead have advantage and roll those numbers, you use the 17”

We’re going to do something similar for Knotted Oak campaign – exception game play (in whatever form it occurs) will earn the player a bottle cap they can hand in for some help with a single die roll.

A typical Knotted Oak menu

Please note, management reserves the right to change the menu at any time ….

  • Today’s Specials
  • Imported hog and nag pie cooked in Night Eye Spirits (14sp)
  • Special roasted pork served with fish cooked in Jolly Claw Ale (22sp)
  • Tasty baked monkey with a side of donkey cooked in Haughty Jake Lager (18sp)
  • Honeyed mud and blackberries stew cooked in Honest Snake Port (18sp)
  • Fresh nymph and tree bark casserole cooked in West Hawk Rum (19sp)
  • Drinks Menu
  • Gray Beer [4sp; gray, murky, smells like slightly singed cotton]
  • Flying Hawk Mead [8sp; black, translucent, smells like lemons]
  • Gnomish Sprocketnock Gin [1sp; tan, sticky, smells like lemons]
  • Seadon Gin [4sp; charcoal, opaque, smells like garlic]
  • Haughty Eye Brandy [2sp; brown, glowing, smells like leather]
  • Happy Blade Stout [7sp; ivory, bubbly, smells like leather]
  • Dwarven Silverlock Stout [3sp; purple, bubbly, smells like wine]
  • Elven Nimrofin Grog [2sp; brown, glowing, smells like garlic]
  • Sea Snake Gin [8sp; green, sticky, smells like herbs]
  • Orcish Rantstalker Ale [7sp; green, syrupy, smells like baking bread]
  • Gnomish Gearbelly Beer [7sp; brown, fizzing, smells like wine]
  • Lonely Blade Ale [7sp; white, translucent, smells like lemons]
  • Hengiststage Beer [3sp; burgundy, opaque, smells like fish]
  • Flying Snake Port [1sp; green, translucent, smells like walnut]
  • Dwarven Longbane Rum [5sp; yellow, translucent, smells like rotting food]
  • Drunken Rover Spirits [8sp; black, cloudy, smells like cedar]
  • Flying Beard Brandy [1sp; violet, glowing, smells like pine]
  • Elven Erestglin Brandy [6sp; purple, glowing, smells like honey]
  • Dwarven Ironmace Cider [10sp; burgundy, translucent, smells like peat]
  • Food Menu
  • Pickled cream of pheasant with crispy fish (7sp)
  • Juicy deep-fried pineapple (8sp)
  • Luscious grilled satyr and fish (5sp)
  • Mouthwatering elephant and turkey broth (9sp)
  • Local dragon and cod pie (12sp)
  • Grandma’s boiled demon (10sp)
  • Smoked half a roasted unicorn doused in a crocodile, and boar puree (7sp)
  • Peppery tree bark and tree bark casserole (11sp)
  • Aromatic tree bark and tomatoes casserole (9sp)
  • Our acclaimed miniature banana pastries and tarts (13sp)
  • Marinated half a roasted unicorn doused in a pork, and lobster puree (11sp)
  • Fresh grilled horse and fungus (8sp)
  • Tender tomatoes soup (9sp)
  • Glazed grilled melon and lamb (14sp)
  • Battered grilled pasta and fungus (8sp)
  • Special boiled manticore (10sp)
  • Our world-famous roasted pasta served with boar (13sp)
  • Our acclaimed goat and vegetables stew (8sp)
  • Tender roasted blueberries served with lobster (7sp)
  • Glazed tree bark and raspberries casserole (10sp)

With thanks to Morrus

The Angry Dwarf

The Angry Dwarf was born before Leifri was a gleam in the First Bard’s eye. It is said his double-bladed axe, “Luminous Cruelty” played a key role in the outcome of the Celestial Crusade. These days, when he’s not relaxing in the natural springs on the Bastion of the Pyre, or wagering massive sums of gold playing eight-card Ghastly Profanity at the luxurious Tower of Gavriel, he can be found curled up with a good book and his six-legged cat, Lefty.

Vaudin Sormere – Knight of the Foremost Wall

Vaudin Sormere, a young Knight of the Foremost Wall, an organization devoted not to a god or pantheon, but to the structure, safety, and ascendancy of civilization itself. They enshrine and adore the society-building races, and see in civilization the means by which otherwise base creatures can elevate themselves above the putrescent mud of ignorance and baseness. Without societies and civilization, races like men, elves, and dwarves are nothing more than myopic beasts, deserving of each brutality that might fall upon their jutting brows. Civilization, as a product of security, provides space for the sentient races to shed their primitive snake skins and engage in the higher functions: art, commerce, governance, life freed from the vicissitudes of the natural world. Knights of the Foremost Wall lavish praise and protection on those elements of civilization that could not exist outside its walls.

The Knights, then, see themselves as the first barrier against entropic encroachment. They are the living barriers against all manner of chaos, anarchy, and violent disruption to society, at once so profoundly necessary and so fragile. The Knights repel brigands, hunt rampaging beasts, deter unrest; they protect scholarly expeditions and road crews, venturing into uncharted wildernesses (for with their maps and charts, these men and women are constructing knowledge, peeling back the wild unknown, and shackling empty spaces to inhabited ones).

The Knights are beholden to no kingdom, religion, or creed other than their own hierarchy. Once in full service to their order, many Knights may claim a city or kingdom, and thus construct a permanent post from which they operate in alone or in small groups; others seek the roaming lifestyle, drifting across the continents to prop up the settled, city-strewn world. Above all, they honor order and stability. They loathe criminality when it festers above its shadowed boundaries–because in moderation, even thieves maintain a certain order and societal harmony. Likewise, they maintain no compunctions against removing (bodily, if need be) corrupt city or court officials who, with the pestilence of their corruption, are rotting civilization’s thin structure from the inside. Civil war and pure anarchic strife are their worst fears, and of any such movements, the Knights are quick and brutal to respond. If an invading empire were to show greater discipline or more thoroughly enact their laws than their victim, one might find the Knights fighting for the invaders, opening the city gates (if such an action could legitimately quell any burgeoning chaos), or at least standing by in neutrality. As Knight initiates are drilled: Order above Justice, Justice above Mercy.

Continue reading Vaudin Sormere – Knight of the Foremost Wall


In comparison to other, similarly sized villages, Grayberry would be considered unremarkable save for three, quite noticeable quirks.

The first is its location: Nestled in the valley of the Alterdan Mountain range, access to Grayberry is best described as challenging. Known as much for its treacherous, jagged peaks as for the multitudinous tribes of orcs, hobgoblins, trolls and other equally nasty creatures that dot the range’s countless caves as for the brutal snow storms that plague the mountains preventing access by air. Travelers are forced to brave narrow, icy paths in hopes of reaching the village alive.

Second are the berries from which the village gets its name. Found only in the fertile ground surrounding the village’s 200 or so residents, the fruit is prized for its use in rich, deep gray dyes, medicinal poultices and, most of all, the realm-famous, highly intoxicating, odd-colored Gray Beer, the brewing process kept secret by the town’s brewmasters.

But it is the third unique characteristic of the village of Grayberry that most differentiates it from the hundreds of other villages that dot the continent of Aramuk: The Knotted Oak. Continue reading Introduction