Saturday, September 5, 2020

To the Heart of the Woods

Oh gods, Sis,

We made it to Alderheart. The city is huge and beautiful, and there’s so many people and wonderous things here. I’ll have to bring you here one day.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself. The trip had some bit of excitement as well and what would I be if I skip that part of the story.

On our way to Alderheart, we noticed that patches of the Scorch Grove reached near the path. All the more reason for us to hurry with our news. We were escorting Eliza again, so we had to keep our wits about us. Good thing too because we bumped into more bandits. I’m getting worried that the spread of the Grove is forcing more folk into banditry. I also feel very bad for those poor folk when they threaten Rakuno and Farah. The speed at which those two move is amazing. No matter how far the bandits think they are from us, those two are right on them like lightning out of a bottle. And the amount of punches and kicks they do in such quick succession. Their whole body is like a weapon.

That night, a Tender stumbled into our camp. Those folk are apparently gifted with commanding nature around them. This one, a Gallus, goes around and steering fires away from the rest of the woods. I believe a Tender came to Saltar’s Port when we were much younger, morphing the trees there to create a few homes, like the one for the Potters up the street from us.

There was not much else before we finally got to the city though, but we found that the grove took many more villages. There are a lot of refugees here, it’s very depressing. The city is doing what it can to help them, but there are just so many people. I did get to see the Perch Guard though. Dad’s and mom’s description of them were accurate. They wear very shiny armor and command respect when you look at them.

Oh I really wish you were here Reya. The city is amazing. We even spoke before the council, which is filled with so many elegant birdfolk. I don’t remember dad getting to speak before them, so I finally did something new. Their speaker, Bita, heard our plea, and will let us know how they can help in a few days. In the meantime, she mentioned a problem with a particular bandit, a leader of theirs named Benna Seridan. Do you remember dad talked of a Seridan in a village in the woods? Some local seer. I wonder if they are related.

Speaking of dad, you can tell him I bumped into a friend of his. Her name is Brin Whitecrest, a fellow raptor. If he doesn’t recognize the name, which I doubt because he remembers like everything, you can also tell him she has the markings, and frankly the ambition of the wind-touched. She told me a lot about you guys, so I’m sure you may remember her too.

I should say, even in the city, there’s adventure to be had. We decided to look around the Trunk Market and my friend Spoke was pickpocketed by some Jerbeen. We of course gave chase to re-secure my buddy’s fortune. The small chipmunk Jerbeen were cornered in an alley. It was a terrible situation, they were so young, still children, with no home or parents. I didn’t know what to do, lucky Farah and Rakuno offered to take them to the local monastery, recommending them to the chapter master. Farah, with her big heart, also made a sizable donation to them for taking in the children and getting them off the streets. Not exactly a solution to the whole bandit problem, but these kids will hopefully find a good path like Rakuno did. I should mention, Brin was with us during this. She is such a good friend to have. Funny enough, the inn we checked into was the same she was already staying at, the “Howling Harpy.”

I don’t know if you already knew this, but Brin apparently plays the Shawm. Well there was an open stage, and we all jumped up there to play a small concert to help brighten the mood of all the folk staying there. We had a good time. The owner of the inn was pretty happy as well and gave us the rooms for the night so long as we played some more. I find this bard profession to be a good choice for me.

I miss you Reya. Mom and dad too. I can’t stop thinking about home right now. I… I think I’m going to go see if Brin is still awake and in the mood to maybe talk some more about home. Wish your brother luck.

The goof that is your brother,


Monday, August 3, 2020

Beetle and the Beast

Heya Reya,

How are you doing, sis? We’re still in Winnowing Reach, but we’re about to head out very soon. I do have another story to tell though as the slime caves wasn’t enough adventure for us here.

When we returned from the slime caves, Kenna marched right passed the guards straight to the Magistrate. I wish I were so brave. We explained what had happened and was rewarded, but then he enticed us with another request.

After Kenna left, he locked us in. I’m not entirely sure what all happened after that, I sort of panicked and my memory is kind of fuzzy here, but he wanted us to hunt down a witch causing trouble with the city. She apparently is seen just before the slimes attack. Some wicked hedge witch of the swamp.

The Magistrate released us with the promise of a letter to get us in to see the council at Alderheart once we bring back the amulet that has the witch’s power. I hope I’m not worrying you because the story gets better.

We’ve asked around town about the slime attacks and what they know of this witch. They were able to share with us many rumors, but no one seems to have actually talked to this lady yet. So we decided to be the ones to get to the bottom of this problem and go confront this person ourselves… together of course. No need to confront the unknown alone. A lesson for you.

We gathered supplies and set out. Fortunately, we picked up the trail of the witch near an area that she was reportedly sighted before. Farah and I found her footsteps, well Farah found, I almost tripped into, but helped locate it nonetheless.

We came cautiously upon a hut out in the swamp, something humble and not looking like a place a witch would dwell. Rakuno braved the porch way to go knock and introduce himself. We were expecting some ugly hag of a hedge to answer and try to swallow our Jerbeen companion, instead it was a very nice well-dressed middle age lady.

Her name is Susan, and she’s been living out here alone because she’s a bit of an introvert and shy’s away from social situations. She lives with this flying beetle that she can talk to named Normal. They’re both absolutely adorable, and I think Spoke is rather smitten with her. They would make a good pair.

Susan served us some Nettle Tea and Cat Tail Scones. I’ll send some leaves for you to try the tea yourself, it’s minty.

After talking with her, we found out she was just gathering components for her spells, specifically one for summoning a fey spirit so she could ask it about a vision she had.

Don’t panic because this is just a vision, but Susan saw a large burning creature that set a great blaze consuming the woods. I’m not sure if I believe in visions, but it was worth helping Susan get the stuff she needs to finish her summon ritual.

We set out to gather frogs, leaves and herbs from a nearby pond. While Spoke and Rakuno found the easy stuff in my opinion, Farah and I decided to get the frogs. These frogs are a lot more cunning than the ones we went after as kids, because I had a heck of a time swimming after them. Farah got one, but I resorted to taunting another to death. Good thing Sycamore was on watch because the little frogs had a much larger frog friend. Being the one in the pond wasn’t the best place for this encounter because the thing almost ate me alive. Sycamore was able to skewer it before it got the chance.

We rested for the night while taking back the ingredients only to hear a call for help in the middle of the night. A Gallus apparently got stuck in quicksand trying to study the habits of slimes at night. I’m not sure what this town’s fascination with slimes are, but it gets them in trouble a lot. We helped the poor stranger out and she gave us an interest gift. Don’t tell mom or dad, but I enclosed it with this letter. It’s a switch-knife hidden in a wooden spoon. Please don’t hurt yourself with it.

Back to Susan, we delivered the giant frog and the leaves and herbs. Putting what she needed into her snail cauldron, she said her incantation, something like “oh great spirit, heed my call.” She was surprised when a red fuzzy beast of a creature came out, but tried to ask her questions.

Unfortunately, whatever the thing was, it wasn’t interested in talking, and instead attacked us, specifically your idiot brother for sitting too close to it. We were able to put an end to the demon before it harmed anyone. Strangely it just fell to ash when we did. Susan suspects it has to do with the burning grove corrupting the spell, that or the giant frog spleen used instead of the normal frogs.

So without answers to this vision, Susan decided the next best thing to do was to apologize to the town. Apparently when she was gathering other components, slimes would approach, and she would run away. This unfortunately lead the slimes close to the town instead. A big misunderstanding by the folks and Susan offered to try and fix anything she could.

On our journey back, Spoke tried to flirt with Susan. It was super adorable and a little awkward, but I could see Susan and Spoke connected a little. Maybe one day they will get together, but she has her work at her shake still, and he needs to help deliver our warning to Alderheart.

As we neared the town though, Susan was getting worried, so your brother decided to cheer everyone up and began playing my pan flute. That supposed amulet of Susan’s was actually an ocarina and she joined in, and Rakuno played too. Had a bit of a parade coming into town. I wish you could see it, many folks cheered us. Spoke was also ready in case some folks weren’t as welcoming to Susan.

We decided to ask Kenna one more favor in dealing with the Magistrate since she has no problem standing up to him. I hope to find someone like that someday.

The Magistrate wasn’t very happy with the results but was convinced it was best for both parties to understand each other and work with one another. He accepted the apology and wrote us the letter. I could see Spoke was ready to give the Magistrate a piece of his mind in case the conversation went south. Luckily, it never came to that.

We also have an ally now in Winnowing Reach, Susan and Normal. They offered to make potions for us at discount if we are in need and have the components. I’ll send you the list as well if you wanted to take interest in alchemy someday.

How’s dad’s business going? Hope you guys stay safe. And Susan was nice enough to give me the recipe to her scones if you would like to try them yourself. They are unbelievably delicious. I’m also sending a gift for mom and dad, some Prickleberry Wine. I hope they enjoy it.

With all my love,

Fell on Hard Slimes

Hi Sis,

I wanted to check in with how things are with Mom and Dad. I don’t remember you mentioning anything in the last couple of letters.

There’s been a bit of a delay in my trip to Alderheart, but well worth it. A young Corvum apparently was in need of help as she journeyed alone to study slimes in a nearby cave. The Magistrate (can you imagine a magistrate asking for my help?) asked us to find this Kenna Brightspark for him. So off to the caves we went.

Remember when we would joke about putting slimes on mom and dad’s beak brush instead of the cleaning paste? Well I’ll tell you what, slimes are no joke. These things either burn through leather and metal with some alchemical properties, and if that’s not enough, instantly glue themselves to anything it touches. My friends lost a weapon or two fighting them. But funny enough, they also have feelings as I made one cry with my abilities before it loss cohesion and died. I felt pretty bad, but it was either it or us walking away from that fight.

Here’s a particular interesting scene, my friend Sycamore, the Cervan if you recall, is pretty tall. When we were down in the caves, his antlers grabbed a sizable amount of the cave moss. It reminded me of images of Cairith. Now Sycamore may think he’s the spitting image of an Amaranthine Deity, but if you meet him, don’t feed his ego or he’ll think he is one.

Back to the slimes, if you ever see them, you can use this trick. We came across some in the cave and needed to get past them. They apparently sense movement, so we used some stones and tossed them to a part of the cave to move them away from where we were going. I’m attaching a book that came in handy about the slimes with this letter. You might get some use out of it. I’m also sending some of the glowing mushrooms I found in the cave. Please don’t eat them, the group told me I shouldn’t do that either.

Just remember, caves are dangerous. There was a section that fell on your poor old brother, knocking me out unconscious. I was told a cave slime came out and was about to feast on me, but Rakuno rushed in and pulled me away, while Spoke was able to heal me. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Please don’t tell mom and dad about this incident, I don’t want them to worry.

Farah was having some problems, I think she had allergies or something while in the swamp. She was a little slower and like she wasn’t all there, but she helped when it counted.

We did find that slime researcher though. She was stuck to a wall in the cave, guarded by this large slime. Not sure what it was, but it shifted colors as we fought it. It was very pretty for something so dangerous. Rakuno and Farah were tag teaming it until some other slimes showed up from the commotion. Spoke was having some trouble with his spells, but we were able to clear the room of the slimes with Rakuno getting the final blow on the large one and Sycamore finishing the others.

Getting Kenna unstuck was another challenge altogether. Sycamore got stuck (please don’t tell him I told you) but Spoke magically created water that was able to clean up the slime.

We just got back from this whole ordeal, so I will finish this letter and get it sent with the presents.

Your tired, but still kicking brother,

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Humblewood Campaign

Greetings travelers and weary adventurers, please sit down and listen to the tale of a great campaign...

Welcome to the chronicles of the D&D campaign I'm playing in using the Humblewood ruleset. It's built on the D&D fifth edition, but with cute bird and animal folk as the players and npc's.

My character is Cookaroo Tavian, otherwise known as "Corkscrew". He's a Maran Raptor Bard that looks like a bearded vulture, and will be the perspective of how I will tell these tales. Each post will hopefully be a recollection of his for that play session.

My fellow players are;

Rakuno Lightpaws, a Jerbeen Monk, He's played by Rakuno.

Farah, a Mapach Monk that is actually based on a ferret. She's played by Kiran.

Spoke, a Hedge Cleric of the Community Domain. He's played by Mtnpapa.

Sycamore Stronghoof, a Proghorn Cervan Fighter. He's played by Anniemuis.

And the DM that put this all together is Faeldray.

So below I'll try and update it with the link to each session, which I hope any ready will enjoy.

Un-Spoke Woe of Ashbarrow

Long time Sis,

Thank you for the delicious pumpkin bread. It didn’t last long but was enjoyed none the less. My last letter was pretty light like many before, but now I finally have a tale to recount.

This is a tale of sorrow and romance of a group of unlikely heroes, both large in bravery and in heart.

This humble bard was having a bit of fun in a nearby river when a large crowd gathered. Naturally, with large crowds come interesting news, so quickly I gathered my things and joined in.

The head guard had returned with terrible news. Ashbarrow fell to the Scorched Grove. As far as I could gather, the whole town is lost. Though I lost my chance at my story, I grieve for my friend who lost his home.

Oh, speaking of which, I along with some of the others here are now on a quest. Unfortunate tragedy turned into surprise opportunity.

Some of my new troop I had mentioned before in my letters, but I should refresh what I had previously told you.

Spoke, the unfortunate Hedge who has lost his home, is a kind and compassionate cleric.

Rakuno, a noble and justice seeking monk. This Jerbeen is small but packs a serious punch.

Farah, rivals her fellow monk Rakuno. As a Mapach, she’s really creative with harvesting supplies. I’m unsure which region she’s from, but she looks closer to a ferret than a typical Mapach.

Sycamore, a mighty Cervan. This Pronghorn is intimidating in stature, as I would expect a fighter should be.

Finally, the heart of this group is your older brother, me. The group doesn’t call me by Cookaroo, but by my nickname Corkscrew. You tried to torture me with it growing up, but I like it and took it as my bard stage name. The Raptors I see around here don’t quite look like our family heritage of bearded vultures, but it’s nice to see others of our race away from the trees.

You may not believe it, but we’re headed to Alderheart. I had to move up my plans to head to the big city, but it’s for good reason. We must warn them of the spread of the grove. Our first stop is the Winnowing Reach. I’ll be sure to send an interesting recipe with this letter.

The troop headed out, but what good adventure starts without a problem. We stumbled upon a group of bandits ruffling through a poor merchant’s cart. Either the desperate cry of poor Eliza the Eluran, or the way the mourning works in our cleric, but Spoke gave them quick warning and rightly open fire.

There was at least three Mapachs and a tough looking Vulpin. You might think your brother was scared, but I was protected by Fara and Rakuno as they made swift work of those toadies. And Sycamore frightened off that Vulpin with a battleaxe the size of a wagon wheel I tell you.

With the chaos that ensued, we thwarted their plans, and even may have steered one back to the humble life.

We were also chased by some fearsome fiery bats. These creatures I swear to you exist, and not just stories. There was even a strange humanoid looking creature made of magma. The Scorch Grove is truly an awful place.

Please give mom and dad my love, and I’m fortunate you guys are so far south and safe from this danger. Enclosed is a delicious looking recipe for Cajun Gumbo.

With all my love,


Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Robot Apocalypse Is Upon Us

A moody Tyrannodorkus
Careful, he getting huffy and puffy and may blow your house down

I came to realize the singularity (moment when robot intelligence surpasses humans and rise to be our overlords) has come. It was a gentle thing, a small moment that most people would think, “Hey, you’re just being a sore loser.” But no, I say, listen to my wisdom!

I was playing the Jackbox Party Pack 4 on Steam with a couple of friends. The games were innocent enough, the kind you wouldn’t think world ending prophecies would occur. We played the ‘Survive the Internet’ game first. Big mistake. Since it was just us three, the game decided to throw in a robot player to even the odds. Long story short, the AI was beating me on the scoreboard, making my prompts look the fool. But then the game sort of froze and we decided to move onto the next game. The computer probably had to pause so it could plot our demise.

We had fun playing a couple other games free from the influence of Skynet meddling in our affairs, and then decided to end it on ‘Monster Seeking Monster.’ I forgot it was a pretty awkward game where you must chat to each other to try and get one another to go on dates. Not exactly a game to play between a bunch of friends, but behold, the game threw in a robot player again. I had the bright idea to see who the robot would choose, and we all tried to date the bot. Three rounds later and not once did that s.o.b. pick me. The nerve! That’s it, everyone. Game Over! The robots know how to play us as fools and relish in our misery.

What else could it have been? That RNG just wasn’t in my favor? I’m too good for that!

You may also be going, hey wait, you haven’t posted anything in over 1 year and 10 months, why now? My answer is… robot uprising! Yeah, why else would I post this? To guilt someone to give me sympathy for being a sore loser? Pfft, it was the uprising.

Either way, stay safe out there.