8 hours ago
Monday, December 29, 2008
I'm a bad blogger, there's certainly little room to argue on that front. Heh, let's just clear the air then, I'm in no way near as prolific as Scott over at 'World of Thool', James over at 'Grognardia' and no where near as creative. That's unfortunate I suppose, but I will say that I have just as much passion as my esteemed peers. And therein lies the reason that I maintain my feeble scribblings upon this e-medium.
Picking up where we left off; this entry will be a little less florid and a bit more pedantic for posterity's sake and to make up for my lack of sufficient in-game notes.
Safara and Ember soon discerned the nature of the odd finger bone, it seemed to point to danger! After a bit of poking around through dark corridors and peering into the deeper darkness of archways and side tunnels the heroes heard the 'tink, tink, tink' of metal on stone.
A stealthy approach allowed them to sneak up on a group of strange red-capped miners accompanied by some kind of ferocious wolf-like beast. The fight was bloody and a few casualties were accrued. Sir Pelinor took was taken down by the wolf and one of the henchmen was slain as well. The party was forced into a limping retreat but not before taking a surviving red cap prisoner.
On the way out one of the henchmen encountered a green slime that dropped on her face from above. She was disfigured horribly but survived.
Once on the surface, the party healed up as much as possible, grabbed a few more henchmen and descended again, this time in the hopes that they could recover some of Sir Pelinor's remains in order to properly bury him.
The descent back to the mining area was without incident and as soon as they arrived another nasty little fight erupted with the remaining red cap, his wolf and the party. Eventually the party won out with few casualties and were exploring the ancient wine cellar when the muttering of voices and stomp of boots echoed down the tunnel to announce new comers.
A small detachment of goblins, carrying more rusted and dented mining implements shows up and yet another fight is joined. This one though turns out for the worst, one of the little blighters rushes forwards and plants his pick in Halister's eye. The mage goes down in a heap...dead as a doornail. The party quickly starts tossing what remains of the wooden shelves into the hall way as a barrier while the goblins scramble for their weapons.
As the goblins attempted to rush the quick barricade, a flask of oil and torches were tossed and the whole thing turned into a conflagration. The goblins squealed and ran back. Safara took down the leader with a well placed magic missile and soon the tide had turned. In the end, 5 goblin corpses littered the hallway.
A map was found and on it was some writing in Fae that indicated that digging for the "key" was to commence at the spot indicated on the map. Someone named Melchert had signed the message written on the map.
Again the party gathered up their fallen dead, including what was left of the wolf gnawed remains of Sir Pelinor, and made their way towards the surface and sunlight. There they buried Sir Pelinor and questioned the captive red cap about the map. He told them that Melchert was their master and a friend of Ylfrit, their queen. Melchert was searching for a key that opened the black door, beyond which he claimed lay secrets worthy of the Unseelie Queen. But what those secrets are, Melchert hasn't said.
The red cap is let loose with the promise that he'll never return to this area on pain of death. He disappears into the woods. The remaining henchmen get together and come to Safara and Ember for better pay. It's just too dangerous they claim...too many of them have fallen and only 3 of the original 6 remain. The two leaders agree and it's also agreed that they'll go back to Botkinburg, as they're quickly running low on food and torches.
One day is taken for Safara to hunt, in an attempt to supplement their remaining rations. She comes upon a boar and slays it from the safety of a tree. But unfortunately the noise attracts a strange hoofed beast from the woods (Ilfaren) who thinks that meat on the hoof is pretty tempting. Safara desperately casts charm and then convinces the beast that the pig has been poisoned. He looks at her, nods and then walks back into the woods...
Later during the trip a pygmy rhino emerges from the woods and violently reacts to the screaming of the henchmen as it tromps into camp, by spearing yet another henchman on it's horn. The others climb trees in order to escape the angry beast. Two henchmen left...
Finally the troll bridge is spotted through the trees and the dead boar is bartered for passage. On to Botkinburg.
When they finally set foot on those fields we know...(a little Lord Dunsany there) they meet a halfling decked out for adventure on his way into the woods! This is rare indeed...but this little guy, a retired adventurer from days gone by, claims that an aged priest has come into the village and is in need of aid. He's dying and has spent his life tracking down religious relics that were stolen from his order's temple long ago. He's found many of them but there are a few remaining..and he thinks that there's one out in the woods with the required knowledge to find them: The Hermit.
Well he's invited the adventurers to join him when he returns in 4 or so days...They've agreed.
On into town they venture, and their they find that autumnal festival is in full swing and that most of the village has gathered at the "Tree" for a day long celebration with free food and beer. They arrange for rooms at the Bent Hook, clean up and plan to join the festivities after returning Halister's body to his family north of town.
A short ride brings them to a shallow gulch wherein lies the Halister family tower...apparently the family has been in the business of wizardry for quite some time. As the two approach a low growl comes from a shadowy copse of bushes near the door. They stop and attempt to control their mounts as they call out to the tower.
The window shutter is flung open and a wizened old woman appears...the news is conveyed and soon a very upset mother and father, thin like sticks and dressed in tattered robes, emerge to collect the remains of their son. They thank Ember and Safara and when offered what is owed to Hallister they scoff and say "What need have we of money?!?" and shuffle off.
This is where we end it for now. Stay tuned... they'll be joining the festivities and options will become known.
NOTE: I've come to the conclusion that old school is fun but the girls are heavily invested in their characters...death upsets them. And losing a character is not what they'd enjoy. So...I've decided to muck with the magic system a bit. In a past Castles and Crusades game we used Al Krombach's spell point system and it worked out well. It is a little high powered for this type of game but it certainly affords the girls a bit of a cushion. I might tone it down as we continue on though...we'll see how it works out.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Ever sit down to a movie or television show...or even a book, and after you've delved into it a bit you find out it's not at all what you initially thought? Most of those surprises aren't all that welcome. Most are utter shite.
Last night though was an exception. Our Tuesday night 4E group met with the understanding that we'd be starting up a new group of characters. If you've been following at all you'd be well aware that the previous band of dastardly do-gooders had bit the proverbial bullet in a knock down drag out fight with some...wait for it, ghouls! "Ah" you say to yourself, there's the undead reference.
But you'd be mistaken. Back to the point, we sat down around the table last night and started introducing our characters to one another. As you might imagine we started in a tavern; Staid but nearly necessary in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Around the table we went, first the dragon born paladin, then the eladrin ranger, then me... Oops, nope.
That's right when our DM Wes, piped up and said, "The front doors crash open and a man stumbles in holding his hands to a gaping wound on his neck. Screaming at the top of his lungs, 'You've got to help me'." The doors swing shut, and then Boom! back open again. Another human comes hurtling towards the wounded citizen, knocks him to the ground and starts munching. Uh oh!
This is accompanied with screams and madness from out in the streets. What's happening? Bet you guessed by now. Yeah, zombie apocalypse. Soon we're absolutely over run w/ the rutters. They're everywhere; Coming in through the windows, the doors, everywhere. We're surrounded and are forced to make a stand.
We end up doing pretty well. Laying the initial wave of flesh eating monsters low is quickly accomplished. But that's just the beginning. Our paladin crawls out on the roof after our fight in order to recon the situation. The light of dusk reveals that the entire city seems to be over run. They walk the streets now like stately Sunday strollers...unless they see live bait, then they double time it like a drunken sailor on speed. It's pretty grotesque.
Well it's obvious, we can't stay here long. The whole party gathers on the roof to survey the damage and plan how we're going to get out of this mess alive. Not too far off lies the temple to the Raven Queen, it's burning. Drats! To the east of us lies another large church and it looks like there's a bit of resistance going on there. That's our target we decide. And about this time, more screaming erupts from down below in the bar.
Looking down through the chimney reveals that a few of those "dead" bodies have stood back up and are briskly chasing their meals around. The paladin acts in accordance with his creed and leaps down to save the innocent, while the rest of us stand up there scratching our asses and mumbling about getting the hell to safety. It doesn't take long and the paladin's in a bit of a spot.
Our warlord leaps down to aid him and get the three survivors out of there. They're successful but not before the paladin takes a nasty wound to his arm. (more on that later) With their emergence back on the roof it's decided that we'll use the eladrin's teleport ability and go from rooftop to rooftop and see if we can't possibly make sanctuary at that large church.
We're pretty careful as a group and we seem to work well together. Not everyone agrees all the time, which is natural in a large group (6), but we act in concert for the better of the whole. Not a bad way to get things done. Eventually we make our goal and are standing on a roof top across from a boarded up church.
The eladrin sends an arrow wrapped with a message through the stained glass window facing us. Soon a face appears in the hole and waves. We signal back and send another shaft with a rope attached. It gets tied down and off we go. Soon we're standing in the church with about 40 - 50 survivors.
Long story short, there's enough food for about a week, maybe a week and a half if they really ration. There's plenty of water though, as there's a well in the church proper. The clergy is as confused as we as to what's caused this odd outbreak. Oh, there's a star in the sky too...something we certainly noticed way back when we first emerged upon the roof of the tavern. The mage seemed to know something about a reference to some old story of the coming of a star and the end of the world. Great.
Well if it has happened before there has to be some way to turn it back. That wound on the paladin's arm is pretty nasty. Can't be healed with the normal means and even low level magical seems to be ineffective. There's got to be a way to heal it though, so now we've got a couple of quests ahead of us.
First: Get some food for the refugees in the church so that we can make our escape and head for the capital city for help. I'm not sure that they've faired much better but the attempt has to be made.
Second: Find some kind of cure for this disease that these nasty zombies carry. A library or a sage maybe? Not sure...but we have to try, otherwise the paladin's a goner.
By the end of the session I was a grinning fool. I love this kind of thing and personally I think 4e will work well with it. I'm not going to get into it here, but I think that 4e lends itself better to a strong story-type game, and not well to the looser aspects of a sandbox campaign. Anyway, I'm excited. This is going to be a hoot. Kudos to our DM for surprising us like that. Being old and jaded is more of a burden sometimes than it should be, and things like this make me feel young again.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Noisms over at Monsters and Manuals created this neat little random were-chart that I just idolize. You can see it here.
I had this idea that I am going to implement in my girl's Labyrinth Lord game. The Fae in and around the Tangle Downs are a rather rough bunch, in that there are certainly more of an ill intent than of the benign sort. They're an old race, one that was here before the Eld came, but they've never really done much to enforce their will upon others, which means that they're not as instantly obvious as say the old Eld slave races, like Orcs or Hobgoblins.
Saying that though, since humans have come upon the scene relatively recently, the Fae are becoming a wee bit more militant about their elbow room. In the past there was more of a balance, but now that their land is in jeopardy, the Unseelie court and Queen Ylfrit have tipped the scales in their favor.
Anyway, I've got this idea regarding all of the Fae's allies. I was going to utilize all the standards; Things like Ents, Red Caps, Spriggans, etc. But one of the things that I really latched on to was the idea that lycanthropes would be utilized as spies. I mean c'mon, the moon, the Unseelie Court and lycanthropes? It's like kittens and a ball of yarn. They just go together.
This is going to be short, but I thought I'd write down a few thoughts I had about last night's game.
I've been playing in a 4E game with some guys, cause, well frankly, because that's what's available. Anyway, our DM Wes, had set us on a mission to rescue some villagers from the Valley. They had been captured by some hobgoblins and taken into this old abandoned minotaur city. Well, we went after them. Duh.
Turns out that it's not REALLY the hobgoblins that are to blame for this, but rather it seems a crooked group of powerful mages have swiped them in order to use them as blackmail leverage to get us to do some dirty work for them. Some items had been heisted and they wanted them found with as little fuss as possible. We didn't really have much of a choice; Fight the mages, or work for them. Hmmm, option two seemed reasonable.
I'm playing a thief named Thoth Amon (heh...yeah, I love REH and the names he comes up with.), who's this Babylonian looking dude from the darker side of a port town. He's a rough customer who doesn't hold much faith in human nature, but he's willing to give most a chance at "redemption". The first thing that Thoth wants to do is run this mage (The Arcanis) through for forcing him into this situation. But he's convinced by his party members that this isn't a "prudent" course of action.
Well fast forward: There were a couple of quests that were levied upon us; The pay out was of course the villager's freedom. Hrmph... The first quest was completed without much adieu and 1/2 of the villagers were released.
It was the second quest that proved a bit more interesting, to say the least. I'm not going to go into a play by play, but simply put, we were tasked with finding the second set of these stolen artifacts (I'm having trouble believing that all of these things were stolen and spread out amongst all these different factions, but hey, I'm just the messenger right?) which were to be found with a group of gnolls taking refuge in an old abandoned temple to Baphomet.
Sounds kinda shaky to me. Turns out I wasn't too far off. We get through this portal that takes us to the temple and we emerge into this large room with 3 archways leading off of it. (including the one we were currently in.) 5 huge pillars, carved to look like minotaurs stood at random places in the room and in the far corner was a low, square well.
First thing, the paladin steps into the room and sets off these magic mouths, which deliver some type of message to the faithful. We ignore them and he proceeds to the well, looks down, and WHAM! A huge set of tentacles reaches up and nabs him. Boom! We're in a fight for our lives.
Add in a couple of ghouls hiding in the shadows and a few chokers scrambling in from overhead, and you've got a big ol passle of trouble with a capital "T". Can you see any kind of a theme in the above mentioned adversaries? They can all grab, immobilize and / or stun. This was a bit of an issue and turned out to be our undoing.
It didn't take long. 5 PCs bit the dust in quick succession. We made a few tactical blunders, which in 4E can spell doom in a quick way. You really do have to be decent with tactics in this newest iteration of the game. Oh, and I forgot to mention, but we were short a "defender", or rather a fighter, and that my friend was probably the largest contributor to our demise.
So in the end, we got the ass end chewed out and wrapped the evening up rolling up new characters.
My take on this whole debacle? I LOVED it! Seriously. One of the largest complaints I've had regarding 4E is that there's a huge safety net, which sort of fuzzies the distinct edges of danger. And I don't like that. I want my game to be decidedly nasty. I want to know that there's a very real chance that I won't succeed and that if I do, I've done something above and beyond the norm.
That was one of the huge differences between the earlier games and today's version: Back then there was absolutely no preconceived notion that you were going to make it. In fact it was quite the opposite. IF you made it you knew that it was because you were either VERY lucky or VERY cunning. Or both.