Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Labyrinth Lord Recap

Behold, yet another recap of my family game.

The PCs / Players:
Isabella - Female Human Fighter level 2 (my wife)
Ember - Female 1/2 elven Cleric level 2 (youngest daughter)
Safira - Female Ice Elf level 2 (eldest daughter)

We open with the party looking for two hirelings, and deciding that the bartender of Ortloff's House of Sludge would be a likely source of knowledge in this regard, Ember makes a deal: A purify water spell or two in trade for the bartender's aid in finding some decent hirelings. It is agreed upon...she (the bartender) will have them by morning of the next day.

In the interim Safira heads to the west, looking for an open field in which she can practice her sword play. She spends an afternoon and near the end a horseman wanders past and asks if he may spar with her for a short time. Safira agrees. A few minutes of back and forth swordplay results in an early draw, but the longer it plays out it is obvious that the thin man in the armor is a far superior swordsman.

After a good half hour of sparring, the man introduces himself as Frekin, the capt. of the Keep's Guard. He compliments Safira on her skill and they strike up a quick conversation regarding the mapping of the wilderness that the party has undertaken. He says the the Duke is very interested in expanding his holdings and would pay handsomely to those that aid him in doing so. Even so far as to bequeath land...if the deed(s) were of sufficient merit. Either way, the Duke is very interested in any information he can gather on the land to the East of the Hruesen river.

Later that evening, after supper the party turns in and spend a pleasant evening under cover of a roof, away from the stinging and biting insects of the wet season.

Morning dawns overcast and with it comes the sound of fighting down in the tavern. Sure enough, the Krieger brothers are involved. All have gathered to set forth on the next stage of the journey to the Ruined Monastery. The bartender has been successful in finding a couple of hirelings and she introduces Birg and Doran Half-hand.

Birg is slow in speech, disheveled in appearance and smells bad. The likelihood of him being an asset is small. The party summarily dismisses him. Doran on the other hand is a competent fellow. Horribly maimed in a fishing accident, the man has only the fore-finger and thumb on his right hand. He speaks with a lisp due to damage that has scarred his face. Claiming that he was beset upon by a giant gar in the river that pulled him under and then let him go, he considers himself lucky, but still, he wants to try his hand at something other than fishing for a living.

DMNOTE: My youngest plays the cleric, who has an 18 charisma (rolled, I swear) which makes her the natural envoy for the party. She rolled extremely high for the reaction with Doran so he's a loyal man. In fact, I'm going to have him sort of fawn over her a bit and really ham it up a bit. See where it goes.

After breaking fast the group heads towards the river, whistle in hand, with the intent of crossing and setting trail through the woods straight towards the Monastery. Doran is obviously nervous, but he rides behind Ember and clasps her tightly... All goes well and they make it across as a group safely.

Once into the woods, they take their bearings via the ridge in the distance, seen from on high across the tops of the intervening wooded hills, and set off at a brisk pace...They want to make it before nightfall.

At lunch they take a breather, and most sit down to eat while Safira climbs a tree to see if they're headed in the right direction. Unfortunately no, they're not. Instead they're trending more in a southerly direction, towards some fetid swamp land. In fact, while she's up there, Safira swears that as the mists clear w/ an errant gust of wind, that she can see strange blocky ruins jutting up from the surface of the still waters. Noting this, she climbs down and informs the party.

They set off upon their new bearings and encounter nothing dangerous or untoward in the trek up and down the wooded hills and ravines. Come nightfall though, they reach the long hill, upon which sits the ruins they're searching for. Safira slowly sneaks around and scouts the area but it appears vacant...for the time being.

Making camp in the tumbled down remains of one of the outbuildings the party sets up a small fire and lays out the guard rotation. Again, the evening passes w/out event.

Next morning they light their mini-lamps and descend into the dungeons, intent on finding the Black Door. Following their map, they trod upon now familiar path ways, Isabella and Ember lead, Belinda follows closely with lantern and behind her comes Safira, the Krieger brothers, Doran and finally Fura the halfling adventurer.

Ember hears some strange scratching at the rock and holds up her hand. She approaches the corner looming from the gloom and spies what appears to be a horde of massive rats digging at the corridor wall. She quickly ducks back before being seen and signals for Safira to come to the fore. This is the perfect place for a sleep spell.

The elven warrior wizard peaks as well and then begins the spell in a quiet voice, hoping the wall will muffle the sound. She then flings the sand into the air and completes the spell...all but one rat goes down. This one scurries about, sniffing at his fallen pack-mates.

A noise made by Isabella alerts the lone rat and it slowly approaches the group. As it does so it somehow changes before their eyes. It elongates and the long snout becomes shorter as the forelegs turn to human looking arms, terminating in obviously human hands. About 10 feet away it stands up. It is now dressed and has a rapier by its side. It peers at the exposed members and asks in common what their business is here.

*DM NOTE: The girls were totally freaked out at this. My eldest was very reticent in attacking the creature, stating that anything with the power to change like that, and that approaches superior numbers, that are armed no less, with out fear, has something up its sleeve. How right she is... After rolling it turns out that the rat-man is neutral towards the party.

He hisses out in his strange voice that he doesn't appreciate the attack upon his pack-mates. Isabella offers up that they haven't had much luck with rats here lately and this is a humane way with which to deal with them. The rat-man agrees...but he states that if they want past they'll have to pay a fee. This is after all, his portion of tunnel, due to the fact that well, he's here.

Bargaining ensues and an agreement of 1/5 of the haul will be sacrificed upon the party's return for their safe passage. He awakens his comrades and after a few squeaking phrases they move to the sides and watch while the party passes. As they disappear down the hall he calls after that he's got eyes and ears everywhere, so don't even think of cheating him.

Not long afterwards they come upon the tunnel that the goblin claims leads to Melchert and the Black Door. The traverse the distance and note that the halls lead downwards significantly. A few corners brings them to a room, partially collapsed and dimly lit by black candles set upon skulls, all surrounding a sturdy looking iron-bound black door. Also therein can be viewed a shuffling man, enshrouded by black robes so that it's difficult to see him clearly. He mumbles as he shuffles back and forth across the room, placing objects along the far wall.

Again, it is Safira that is called to the fore. Her magic is again needed. While she's preparing her sleep spell, Ember prepares her protection from evil and casts it upon herself just as Safira completes her spell. The man in the chamber slowly sinks down to the floor and lies motionless. It appears that it's worked.

DM NOTE: If you haven't kept up with the entire thread of the story, you're probably wondering how Safira and Ember are able to cast so many spells. I'm utilizing Al Krombach's spell point system. It was originally created for Castles and Crusades but I've modified it a bit for LL. It gives the girls a bit more horsepower on the front end. It evens out as it goes along though.

As Isabella moves into the room a skeleton detaches itself from the shadows in the near corner and swiftly swings its notched and rusted blade at the amazonian. She ducks back quickly and the blade swings wide. The rest of the group rushes into the room and furious battle ensues.

Ember turns one of the three skeletons in the room...the one she can currently see, while Safira and Isabella set upon the other guardian. Seeing that blades don't due much damage, Isabella grabs the bone club acquired from the Orc chieftain and sets to her grim task. The skeletons soon fall, and Isabella is the only one to take a scratch.

But the process has awoken Melchert and he arises from the floor to face his enemies. Thinking quickly, Safira casts a charm person upon the dark cloaked figure...hoping against hope that it will work. And it does... After a brief negotiation Safira convinces Melchert that he should head over with the remaining skeleton and dig for the key. He readily agrees that this would be a marvelous idea, since he "knows" where it lies, and those feckless goblins and redcaps failed so miserably.

Isabella then approaches the Black Door. She knocks one of the strange black candles to the ground and whooomph! the lights go out. The party quickly relights the lamps that were put out earlier in the hallway and all is well. They clear the skulls and notice that below them was drawn a semi-circle in blood. The sight sends shivers up their spines.

Again employing Fura's method of wiring the key to the end of the 10' pole, the party opens the door. There is apparently no traps as the thick, swollen door stubbornly opens to reveal...A dark and dank stairway down into darkness.

And this is where we cut it short.

Stay tuned for their descent into the Darkness Below. Bwa Ha Ha Ha!

Another pioneer passes this mortal coil

Ah...now sadly this has been confirmed: Dave Arneson has indeed passed from our realm and on into the next. Farewell captain! You shall be missed. More here.

Huzzah! It has come to light that the initial report of David's passing had been greatly exaggerated. So...Please ignore the rest of this erroneous post.

Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, creator of the Blackmoor campaign setting (longest running campaign at 30+ years) and overall gaming enthusiast has passed away today. He was one of the last of the "old guard", the progenitors of this hobby. His contributions to the hobby were insurmountable.

For more information: Original D&D Discussion

Dave you will be remembered, and sorely missed. RIP 1947-2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wizards pulls a fast one

OK, I'm no lawyer, but I AM a loyal customer who is willing to purchase products (and often does) via the interwebs. Yeah, I'm talking PDFs here. You know the evil electronic format. Sure, I like books, and when they're available I'll buy them. But I am not financially secure enough to go and dump $100+ on one of the LBBs. Sorry...

Well, to the point: WotC has pulled the licensing for the resale of all Dungeons and Dragons PDFs. In other words, you can no longer purchase any type of Dungeons and Dragons related PDF from anywhere...Not from Paizo, or from RPG Now, or from Drive Thru RPG, or anywhere else for that matter.

The crazy thing is that these companies were notified TODAY that they had to pull the plug on all of their customers by April 6! What the hell? That's, uh let me see, I'm not too good at that math-type stuff, but isn't that like 0 days of warning? How asinine is that?

I mean this kind of thing drives me up a wall. This sudden pulling of the rug out from under my feet w/out a word of warning is getting a little OLD WotC!

Sorry....I'm a little hot under the collar at the moment. They MIGHT have a valid, affordable alternative that's ready to roll out tomorrow. But even if this is so, why didn't they warn the rest of us? Why spring it on us? To cut down on "piracy"? I mean c'mon man... If SONY can't get a grip on piracy then you can't seriously think that WotC's got a chance in hell.

On the other hand, there's suddenly a HUGE void that's begging to be filled. Hint, hint all you old school worker bees out there. ;-)