Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Campaign Recap; Ravenloft #4 (part 1)

Well, after a purely combat session, the next was not. It actually angered one of my PCs. Tom likes to splat stuff, and I really don't mind that most of the time, but occasionally you need to do something besides smack stuff. The group consisted of Po, Tom, Jim, and Darrien.

After taking care of all the ghouls and the Blaspheme, they exited the tunnel to find another group on its way. Jim (Cleric of Wee Jas) had finally come in a manner that we were able to get with the rest of the group. However, he had some friends. HE was with Lucian, the Castellan of Ravenloft, and Kavan the Grim, head of the Ravenloft Gaurd. Not to mention several of the other gaurds.

After a near confrontation, the two groups made their way back to the Manor House of the Burgomaster. Ismark the Lesser, who the group had really only known as the town drunk, had taken over. As a relectant thank you, he gave a house in the village to the group as a place to stay since he wanted Jim to rebuild the church and the inn was destroyed.

The group decided to retreat to the house, and then went to sleep. So day 6 in Barovia came to an end.

Day 7 in Ravenloft, the group decided to go up to the castle to find out how much the local lord Count Strahd knew about the werewolf problem, since that was what they come to Ravenloft to deal with.

Going up to Castle Ravenloft, they were escorted to the Dining Room where Count Strahd greeted them.

A brief aside. When I tried running this for my kids, at this point, my eldest son went "Fff..." I looked at him and said; "It would be entirely appropriate to say the f-word at this time." to which he replied "I hit him with my b-word sword". Then two rounds later, Strahd had killed 2/3 of the kid's party. My work PCs did not make this mistake.

After a brief moment of shock, they had a pleasant conversation with Strahd where he invited them to a ball he was having the next day. He even gave them a letter to his tailor to get them appropriate clothing. So they returned to the Village and relaxed for the rest of the day, since they would not have enough time to get to the next town. They spoke to Ismark, the lesser who asked Po's paladin to watch over his sister, since Strahd had his eye on the girl.

This is where the PCs started to realize that something odd is going on. First Jim is from a different country, one across the continent, but had only traveled for a day. They had come from the next town, but the one that Strahd said was immediately to the south was not the one they had come from. They decided to go forth to investigate.

However, they hit The Mists of Ravenloft. The two Paladins failed their rolls, and Ashlyn the NPC paladin fell off. So everything panicked and ran back towards the village. However, on the hurried way back, they ran into a group of Murks attacking a black armored dude with a raven.

The combat only ran for two turns and the group was triumphant. As the group healed their ability damage, the strange armored man told them that he was Sir Urik the last Knight of the Raven. He told them that they couldn't trust Strahd and that every thing he did was for his own purposes. Then the knight left.

Unfortunately, when Ashlyn, the NPC paladin woke up, she had eyes of green fire. They decided to return to Castle Ravenloft to determine what was going on.

About Half Way through, but I'm tired. More later.

Campaign Recap; Ravenloft #3

I think that I missed something somewhere. I dunno. I know that at some point the PCs had been harassed by the locals into going to kill the big evil, but I'm not sure when it happened. Maybe we had another in between session, but then I don't know. I think my brain left me sometime in my twenties. The locals had even shot one of the paladins.

So they left and followed the trail back to the church and the graveyard behind it. So this is when the session started. The only people who were there in the beginning were Megan (Wizard), Darrien (Black Bear Rogue/Barbarian), and Josh (Druid).

Going down the tunnel underneath one of the graves, they smelled Ghast stank. Everyone passed their fortitude checks. Then they heard the enchanting song of a ghast harpy. Megan and Darrien failed their check. So Josh dropped his traditional favorite spell, Entangle.

This did not work the way that he thought it would. Both Megan and Darrien made their reflex saves, avoiding being trapped by the Entangle, but cut Josh apart from the rest of the group. Then Po finally showed up.

Megan and Darrien went forward. Darrien got side tracked on his mission to go adore the harpy by a Ghoul Monk. Megan went forward and because of her Improved Invisibility spell, the harpy was unaware of her existence.

Po and Josh made it through the Entangle and were attacked by the Blaspheme that was causing the whole zombie apocalypse.

So in all Po and Josh were fighting the Blaspheme, Darrien was fighting the ghoul monk, and Megan's familar a fire mephit that had passed its will save was fighting the harpy.

Four rounds later, the bad guys were all dead, and the session was over.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Campaign Recap; Ravenloft #2 (part 2)

So we stopped, right? Right when the PCs were about to go retrieve the 23K SP that they left hanging in a tree in session #1.66, and while my eldest child pointed out the poor chance for a hiding place, it took someone else to wonder how they managed to get the money up a tree in the first place.

Er. Well. Hmmm. Answer to that will win a "No Prize".

So they went back to the silver, since Darrien was busy actually doing work (SUCKER!), Josh decided to climb the tree and get the silver. He grabbed the bag and set off a bear trap. He then failed his climb check to stay in the tree. In all he took 23 some damage from the trap and the fall. So Darrien went to undo the trap, and took 3 damage from the roll of the 1.

So Po's paladin finally got everyone out. The worg mentioned that Varikov the trapper, Strahd's gameskeeper, is the only one allowed to use bear traps in Barovia. So they left to go find Varikov. The trapper lived in cave underneath a waterfall. Cliche, but the adventure is from before the cliches became cliches.

So wandering up the path to the cave, between the river and the cliff edge, the PCs saw a pack of rival worgs. So the Josh's Druid dropped his ever favorite entanglement spell. The rest of the worgs and their Dire Wolf alpha were handled pretty easily by the rest of the party. Then things went bad.

Po decided that his Dire Boar bounded mount was powerful enough to power through the entangled area. It was, unforunitly, it hit a beartrap. Po made his ride check to stay in the saddle, but failed his handle animal check to keep the boar undercontrol. So the Boar charged forward, and hit another bear trap. Yet again, Po made his ride check to stay in the saddle. However, the Boar failed its reflex save to stay on the path and plunged into the water.

So let's review. Po gave his character a nice lithe weight of 115 pounds (you can tell we play a fantasy game!), then add on 50 pounds for full plate, 15 pounds for the large steel shield, 30 pounds of saddle, and a rough estimate of 50 pounds of extraneous gear. A grand total of 260 pounds on top of the boar. Using the standard -1 for every five pounds of gear it would normally be a -52 to the roll. The pool was a DC 15 challenge since it was churning water. We didn't do that. Po sent the boar back into its pokeball. Then he started to drown.

A few rounds later, the worg saved Po's life, thus earning his eternal gratitude and trust. Or, maybe not, this is Po we are talking about. After all, his PC in the Plague world campaign went evil and practically betrayed the group. Well, ran away at a critical time. So his trust is er, Lackadaisical. So we'll see.

So the group regrouped and plotted. They sent Tom the Sorcerer's weasel familiar in to scout out. It rolled really well and was not spotted. So they planned well. Wellish. Poorly. It SEEMED like a good plan. Darrien the Black Bear Rogue was to go in first and then followed by Po and then Josh. Then last would be Tom, far from line of fire.

It worked really well until I told them to roll move silently. Naturally Darrien made the roll, and Po failed.

The first few rounds the PCs moved cautiously since Josh had the only source of light. The Trapper was a dwarf and had no need of a light source. He cut down a rope bridge thus forcing the PCs to go around another direction. Then Darrien walked over a pit trap. He managed to make his reflex save and jumped to the other side. He yelled back to the other side about the pit.

Po decided to give Darrien a hand, since the Black Bear Rogue is still lower level then the rest, and would probably need the help. However, he failed his jump check with a natural one. Turns out the pit trap was actually a slide trap, and he slid out of the cave, back into the pool of water under the waterfall. Then Josh decided to make the jump, and also failed (but not critically). Then I told him to make a reflex save to avoid hitting Po. He then got the natural one. So he landed head first on Po's helmet. Fortunately, he made the fortitude save to not be knocked out.

So then the next turn, Darrien ripped apart the trapper's pet wolf, and Tom easily made the jump check over the pit. Both Josh and Po failed their swim checks. The Worg got in the water and tried to save Josh. Passed its swim check, but failed its strength check. Josh, also playing a female, took a more realistic weight.

The next turn, the inside squad finished everything else. Darrien ripped into the trapper, and Tom finished it off with a lightning bolt. Outside, Josh decided to just use Wild Shape to turn into a freshwater dolphin. The two of them tired of the water, decided to go back to the village via the river.

Tom and Josh, assuming that everyone else was dead (in character), left the cave and headed back to the village via the road. Along the road they met Countess Sasha Illicanova who asked them to escort her to the Vistani gypsy camp. Which they did. Although Tom seemed to catch the Lady's eye, being the only viable male in the group, especially since the other male is a bear.

Josh and Po managed to make it back to the inn in the village, but did not have a nice night. During the night, the zombie defenses failed, and some of the zombies got into the inn. Ismark the Lesser, the son of the deceased burgomaster lead the peasants that had been hiding in the inn away. The NPC paladin, the Po PC paladin, and the Josh Druid managed to combat the zombies, until a woman appear along the rooftops and taunted them and threw a tanglefoot bag at them.

Afterwards they regrouped at the inn's stable, wondering where the worg was, only to find him in the hay loft foaming green from the mouth. The NPC paladin used some ipecac on the worg and saved it, only because Po told her that the worg had saved his life and he owed him. The next morning they set out to the Vistani gypsy camp to hopefully find a cure for the poisoning and met up with the rest of the group.

End of Session...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Campaign Recap; Ravenloft #2 (part 1)

Well, the last official session started out rather oddly. Walked into work, and the only person there was Tom. Not surprising, he and I are the only ones that normally start in the morning. Then Darrien came in. Megan who starts early on Saturdays wasn't there. We waited for Josh, who doesn't start until 45 minutes after us. Granted good gaming should make someone want to start work early, but the reason that he comes in late is due to the buses. Granted if I thought that I was going to be gaming, I'd come in at 6:30 AM, but hey, that's just me.

Waited a bit for Po, who doesn't work on Saturday, but comes in to play. After 9:30, still no Po, and no Megan. So we started without them.

So the Druid with a Polar Bear, the Sorcerer with a Weasel, and the Black Bear Rogue decided to go back to the Church to investigate further. This is day four in Barovia.

They met with a couple zombies on the way, and everything was going smoothly. Well, as smooth as can be expected. The Druid was using up his healing spells quickily. Then the Ghasts attacked. They paralyzed the Polar Bear, and polished him off pretty quickly. Josh ran over to use his Healing Belt on the Polar Bear to save it. Only to have it fail. The PCs hadn't realized earlier that the Polar Bear had failed a zombie disease check earlier.

The next round, the Polar Bear came back as a zombie with MORE taint then it had gotten fighting the Grey Jester. So it awoke with two taint traits. Sycophantic and Hysterical. Which means that it fawned over Josh's Druid, and laughed at everything. So it was like when your best friend gets really drunk and keeps giving you hugs and laughing at things.

They quickly dispatched the Zombie Polar Bear (I kinda hoped they would keep it). The Paladin of the group caught up with them. So the Paladin and the Sorcerer went onto the church to investigate further, and the Druid and the Black Bear Rogue went to find a new animal companion for the Druid.

The Druid wandered around the mountains of Barovia for awhile. Eventually he got a brown bear and a worg that followed him around.

The Paladin, the Sorcerer, and the NPC paladin examined the wreckage of the church. They got the stuff that belonged to the NPC paladin's party and the stuff from the tainted priest. The items the priest had actually weren't tainted, but he had been. So they divided up the stuff, and decided that the Black Bear Rogue would get the Chain Shirt +1, since it is basically a chain metal t-shirt and didn't require the use of straps or buttons. The Paladin took the tainted priests Full Plate +1.

The Paladin read the church diary of the tainted priest, and got a few points of taint himself, but not enough to gain any tainted traits. The Sorceror looked over the Libre Blaspheme which was bound in human skin, and didn't get tainted.

The Druid and the Black Bear Rogue showed up then, since several hours had passed. They looked over the new animals and the following exchange took place (more or less);

Paladin: A WORG? They're all evil! In the goblin wars, I experienced it first hand. All Evil!
Worg: Barefoot pregnant in the kitchen.
Paladin: Oh, that's it. That things dead!
Worg: You want to throw stereotypes, then I can throw stereotypes.
Paladin: Touche, worg.

The paladin used detect evil on the worg, and amazingly found it was not evil. So he told the Druid it was his responsibility, and then they made plans to go back to Bildrath's mercantile to retrieve the Sunsword. They knew that it was there due to the fortune telling from Madam Eva.

So they returned to Mercantile and asked for the bastard swords the guy had. His mentally handicap nephew brought out a bag with several bastard swords in it. One of them was just a blade and tang made from mithral and had delicate filigree on it. Bildrath would only part with it for 3330 GP. So the Paladin left her old full plate with him as a deposit. And they decided to go back to the Vistani Gypsy camp to get the silver that had been hidden to pay for the Sunsword.

That's when everything went to hell in a hand-basket.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Campaign Recap; Ravenloft #1.33 &1.66

Well, we also had a bit more that happened throughout the week whenever a couple of us could stand a few minutes. So the group broke into two separate groups. So I'll detail the things they've done in each part.

Group 1:
Po, Megan, Tom
Session 1.33
The two arcane casters and the paladin went to Madam Eva to find out more information about the different things. They found out some information from a fortune telling. However, they also asked about things that were not detailed in the adventure.

Nothing really happened in the session, but it determined where certain items would be located and some of the things that they would have to do to activate them. The most notable of these is that the Sunsword was in a place of money, which means that it would be at Bildrath's mercantile. Which the PCs figured out relatively easily.

This is something I really like about Ravenloft, depending on how the cards play out, it can be a totally different adventure.

Group 2:
Josh, and Darrien
Session 1.66
While the other PCs were having their fortunes read, the other PCs were not involved. Darrien decided that he wanted to gain some more experience, which made sense since he had only gained a level only to lose it to come back to life. I also think that he wanted to take his character for a test run, given that he was now a black bear.

So the druid with a polar bear and a black bear set out to find what had caused one of the Vistani gypsy to start talking like Ben Stein. They quickily found a mile from the Vistani gypsy camp a large circus tent containing a Grey Jester, a type of fey that feed on emotions. The Grey Jester was the ring master of a circus with four minotaur servitors.

It took them most of an afternoon to defeat the five CR 4 opponents, but they were able to do so. Both of them gained enough XP to go up in level and quite a bit of treasure.

Since this had not been a planned part of the adventure, and was just a side trek I had to use the random treasure table, which generated something interesting. 23,000 Silver Pieces. The following conversation took place;

Me: After spending several hours counting it, its 23K SP.
Josh: How much is that in gold?
Me: Er. Two Thousand Three Hundred.
(Josh starts to write it down on his character sheet, I glare.)
Josh: You're not going to allow me to just add this as money are you?
Me: Not a chance. That's a lot of silver pieces, you got to figure out how to deal with it.

So a few minutes later we determined that it was 460 pounds of silver pieces. So they decided to bound it up in a piece of canvas from the circus tent and hid it in a tree with a Hide result of 17.

Interesting side note; When I told my son who is eleven that they did this, his response was this; "Twenty Thousand silver in a tree a mile from a gypsy camp? Well, that's twenty thousand silver they won't see again."

Oddly enough the kid was right...for a bit...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Campaign Recap; Ravenloft #1

With the last post, I mentioned how I was running the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft adventure. So I think that I'll get a little more indepth, since one of our PCs has been out since it began.

To start with, things have changed at work. We got moved to a new pod, or rather pod and a half, since most of the computers in the new section are broken. Odd, the computers for the Technical Support are broken. Some are because they were for another account before ours and just aren't taking to the new software, and another because it is a legal dispute. When they replaced the carpet in the building, apparently the carpet company actually cut one of the fiber optic cables for data transmission. This has lead to a legal battle between the carpet company and the data company over who has to fix it. Which is just stupid. Fix the damn thing, it will take all of an hour! But with so many of the computers broken, we had to take in a straggler. Darrien, who is not tech support, but showed interest when we would talk D&D. Which is more then Ed who joined us for a few weeks did.

Halloween is coming up in a few weeks, so I decided to pull out EtCR. Darrien asked to play, so I let him roll up a first level rogue as a henchman who would gain experience. This is something that Po and I disagree on. He'll take anyone and let them start with a high level character, but I think it is best to start low and build up. It's a matter of personal preference. One of many, but not one that prevents either of us from enjoying each other's games.

I allowed everyone to start with a level 7 character with 19K GP of equipment. Except Darrien, who would start at level 1 with standard starting equipment. I have no idea why so many of the PCs decided to play women when they aren't in real life. I guess cause its not going to be a long term thing, it doesn't really matter. It's not like those guys are going to be girls for the next few years.

Po; A female human paladin, breaking from his normal position of playing male characters with a slightly cowardly (if not evil) outlook. His paladin Cassandra Victoria rides a dire boar.
Megan: A female elf wizard with a fire mephit familar.
Tom: A male sorcerer with a weasel familar. This has been Tom's most successful character to date. He's really come into his own with it.
Josh: A female human druid with a polar bear companion.
Darrien: A male human rogue with jet black skin. This is interesting. I looked over his character sheet and under skin he wrote 'black'. I asked him if he meant African American or jet black. He thought about it for about two seconds, and then stated it was jet black. After running him through a few encounters to get a feel for the game, he was at 2nd level to start with.
Jim: A human cleric, who hasn't started playing yet. He's been off since the mini-campaign began, and our thoughts are with him.

So it started with the PCs getting a note from the Burgomaster of Barovia asking for help since there were werewolf attacks. So the PCs set off for Barovia, with the idea of saving people from werewolves. However, they found that there was a zombie apocalypse going on at the time. After a few encounters they reached the center of the village and met with the NPC Ashlyn, a female paladin of the same order as Po. After helping re-establish the barriers and destroy the zombies that were in the immediate area, the PCs rested.

The next day Ashlyn told them that her group had gone to the local church of Pelor to sanctify it and get clerical help. That had been two days ago. Ashlyn decided to stay to help the people and the PCs went to see what was happening at the church.

This is where things kinda went wrong. I had told Darrien that as a new player, and low level character to stay to the back of the group and let everyone else get in first. He took that advice at first, but then started to go forward.

When the group got to the church, the whole place radiated evil. The main doors were shut and barred. So the druid used woodshape, and turned the doors into bars. They could see the priest at the alter, his full plate with Pelor disgraced. The next round, things went poorly. The PCs found they couldn't open the door, since with wood shape, it doesn't destroy wood it just moves it. So they had the Polar Bear wreck the door. The paladin walked in, and then the evil priest dropped a circle of death from a scroll on them.

Everyone except Darrien made their save. So the poor 2nd level Rogue died. Even the stupid weasel made his save. The rest of the round, Tom blasted the evil priest with a lightning bolt, and Josh hit it with a flame strike. Killed the evil priest. End of turn one.

The next few rounds were all about taking out the other undead hanging out in the church. When the paladin went forward to examine the giant hole in the floor of the church and determined it was the source of the evil. So she walked out and had the druid hit the church with flamestrike again, collapsing the building.

The PCs took Darrien's body and the druid cast reincarnation on him. So the human with jet black skin came back as a black bear. An odd synchronicity to that, the druid with a white furred polar bear reincarnated a dude as a black furred bear.

End of session. More soon!

Long Time, No Posts...

Heh. Thought I forgot about this, didja? Had a bit of a slump there for awhile. However, we've started playing on Saturdays again. I've been running Ravenloft. The 3E Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, which I find superior to either the original I6 or the 2nd Ed update. There's more to it to begin with, but still lots of things I can flesh out. Of course, though are the changes I've made due to my PCs.

Quite a few of them are familiar with Ravenloft and its master, Strahd. They KNOW that Strahd is a vampire. They know that messed up stuff is happening, mostly because of Strahd. There's enough there that if they just ran over to the castle and started messing things up, it would be well justified. However, I'm taking a longer term approach. There are things that need to be done first, and I keep modifying the adventure to fit.

Ravenloft is one of those truly great adventures for doing that. There are enough NPCs that are detailed and the political situation is well detailed, so I know everyone's motivations for doing stuff. Using that as a backdrop, I could probably run a full campaign here with sidetreks. However, it will come a time when things change and they go after the master of the Castle.

There's where things will be very different. There's already some things that have changed. The villagers do not live in fear of Strahd, he's viewed much like any nobleman. There's a Worg who didn't show up as evil when the paladin did a detect evil. I added a short side trek with a Grey Jester, and killed the polar bear. Because the PCs have yet to take care of the zombie incursion, well, things are going to get worse for them in the eyes of the villagers. Granted the PCs showed up to kill some werewolves, which they have yet to see, but still...

I think I'll detail some of the stuff that we've done in some other posts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Death and Dying

Hrumph. Grumpy. As always. Such a surprise. Do I take it out on my PCs? Not really, surprisingly. However, I also am the type of DM to throw more at them then they by rights can handle.

However, in this case, the adventure I made that the group is currently embarked upon can potentially be a TPK. Total Party Killer. There's some really deadly stuff. And some of it is probably a bit unfair. I changed the way I play. Totally.

I've done things that I don't normally do. Traps. Which I always thought were kinda stupid. I mean who puts a pit trap where you pass by when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? That's just stupid. This game, traps are tactical. They aren't there just to wear down the party. Where they are set up are intentional to put a difficulty for those who are attacking.

This campaign is more like urban combat rather then traditional medieval combat. Even small threats are more deadly. The Orc in a 10x10 room whomped off half of Megan's HP. I hate to think what would happen if they met up with a clan of Kobolds. Things that are experts at traps and small quarters combat. It would be a bloodbath.

That being said. There's going to be a point where they have to run. Probably two. They might run at the first, which isn't really the point they need to run, the second though, if they stand and fight, they WILL die.

If that happens, well, they get to go back down the hole with new PCs. However, it will be different. I almost always start my PCs off at 3rd level with 2700 GP to spend how they want. However, if I get the TPK, well, then they'll start off with a handicap. Still at 3rd level, but only starting cash. So just starting equipment. Harsh, I know, but if I allow them to kit out, then well, that's WAY too much treasure. So just enough to get started.

However, I doubt any of the stuff that's really useful will still be there though. These dungeons are living entities. Smart critters take useful stuff. And there is one creature that will be exacting revenge. It will take some doing to keep it alive, but it will be fun. Not the Big Bad, but a reocurring villian. Someone to show up and cause problems. Kill someone and run away. Dragging the body with all the treasure as well.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finally, A REAL Session!

Finally got to have a bit of a campaign this Saturday. Remember that list of Rumors, Advise, and Things Overheard in the Bar? It is surprising how much of it the group either forgot or just ignored. And somethings they proved from that list.
Starting with #10; Three things to take to Old Crosston, a pickax, rope, and a towel.
So the man took them to the well where the rooster had been stolen. Now, Tom being of sound mind and not knowing too much about Old School adventuring, left it up to me to get his equipment and skills. So I tricked out his barbarian dwarf with lots of dungeon delving skills like mining, climbing, and knowledge (local), and gave him a full kit of spelunking equipment. So what does he do? He decides to climb down the well.

I ask him what he does, and he replies "I climb down the well", and I tell him that due to the five foot circumference and the slippery sides of the well, it would be a DC 20 check. Which given his total bonus of +9, should not have been a problem. Except he rolled a four. Which caused him to fall down into the well taking 19 points of sub-dual damage when he hit the water. If he had used a rope (which he had), or a pick axe (which he had), he wouldn't have needed a towel (which he didn't have). He had to sacrifice his shield to get enough of a bonus to keep swimming until the rest of the group to drop his rope to him.
Which brings us to #2; There are black walls under the city that cannot be broken.
Climbing up Tom found a wall of one side of the wall that was ten feet tall, and made of pure black rock that a roll of 27 masonry check couldn't identify. It was the floor of a room off of the well. The room's floor was made of this material, and all together it was like 900 square foot of black rock.

So the rest of the group decided to climb down the rope which was DC 10 and they all took ten to do it. Po cast detect magic and found that the whole rock radiated a residual magic of Evil and Transmutation. So while they were doing that, I had everyone make a listen check.

Megan passed with a 27, and could hear breathing from behind one of the doorways in the room. So she made a move silently check to sneak over to it. THEN she made a critical error. She stuck her head into the door. At which point I declared SURPRISE ROUND, and smacked her for 14 points of damage. The Oldest of Old School cliches. An Orc in a ten foot by ten foot room. He hid and smacked her with his great ax.

She promptly killed him. And then oddly enough, she moved on. Granted the rest of the group was busy with work stuff, BUT she still ran ahead.

Which invoked #17. Stay away from the muck! I had her make a reflex save, which she did. Again with amazingly high accuracy. She BARELY dodged out of the way of a that old dungeon standby, green slime. Then SHE had to do some work.

The rest of the group, especially Po and Jim were amazed at her suicidal veal. They examined the room at the other end. There was a locked iron door in it. So Jim, playing the rogue searched for traps, and got a 21. Unfortunately, the magic lightning bolt trap had a detect DC of 24. So he took 5 points of damage, as did Megan, who was at the other end of the hallway. She was not happy about that.

They wisely decided to leave the door alone. So they regrouped and decided to push on. Megan, Tom, and Jim went into the next room, which was dark. I had them make a spot check, and none of them succeeded.

Which brings us to #1. New Crosston is a magnet for evil. Tom heard a voice say 'Hey, Buddy, there's a magic item in the room with the green slime, could you go get it for me?' and failed his will save. So Tom walked off. The next round, Jim got hit with something and took 1 point of HP damage, and three points of dexterity damage, and Megan went to tackle Tom.

Round three, Jim ran back to the first room, not wanting to mess with the poisonous thing. Megan tried to tackle Tom and found out that the Suggestion he was under wasn't suicidal, he knew that he had to destroy the green slime.

A few rounds later the green slime was destroyed with Torches and Jim succeeded his secondary damage from poison. Tom and Megan found a spear made of granite that should have weighed much more then it did. Tom took it to the imp, which they could now see. The rest of the group was hanging back in the first room, with the black floor.

Tom gave the Imp the stone spear, to which it replied "Son of a bitch actually did it!" and then walked over to a huge arch.

Which is #6. There's more under the city then the city. The arch lit up and the Imp stepped through. So they defeated the imp with almost no combat. They'll still get full XP for it.

They moved to the next room which had a Dire Toad in it. At first Megan, who is playing a ranger didn't want to kill it, but then the rest of the group just said kill it or it will eat Jim who is a halfling.

Room after that was a big bowl with a pool of water at the bottom. There were some firebats in it. Cunningly, they used the carcass of the Dire Toad to feed the fire bats, which then would leave them alone. However, in that room were also Dire Bats. Which they were debating what to do about when we had to end the session. Right now, the thoughts of it are to leave for a bit, heal up and then go tackle the Dire Bats.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Some Notes (NSFW)

Well, we have some new D&D news. Starting a new campaign. Saturdays. Again. I'm going to try to go for something long term. To do so, I'm going back in time. Old School. I mean its going to be run on 3.0 rules, but with a First Ed Flavor. There's nothing really outside the dungeon. Well, there's a city. Which I already talked about, but the city is really just Dungeon level 0. Law is provided to anyone who can afford it. Merchants and Guilds rule. There is no civil authority. However, due to a gross miscalculation, there were business at work. So all we really got to do was character generation. And we came up with a list of names for the guild.

So the group is; (Player: Type- Name)
Tom: Dwarf Barbarian- Frumpy Foreskin
Josh: Elf Cleric- Saturday Morning Fever (after the time we usually play)
Megan: Elf Ranger- Hazlet
Jim: Halfling Rogue- Unnamed at this time
Po: Human Mage (possibly necromancer)- Bones

And the Group Names we've come up with.
Fevered Foreskins (after the two target names in the group)
Soldiers of Ill Repute
Guild Of Calamatous Intent
Spelunkers 'R' Us
Guild of Unknown
Knights of IVR (so named after the automated telephone system)
Head Cases
The Longhairs and Josh
Munchkins for Hire
Speedball Express
Wizard and Four Others
Furious Five
Adventurers of the Diamond Oak

Right now the names winning are Spelunkers 'R' Us and Adventurers of the Diamond Oak (although the adventurers might be changed to Dungeoneers).

So while we got that situated for the most part, we also got to the beginning of the adventure. One of my best.

ME: "You are sitting in a crappy inn after having decided to start an adventuring company. A man runs in and yells; SOMEONE STOLE MY COCK!"
TOM: "Where did you last see it?"
ME (as Man with stolen cock): "In the coop"
TOM: "Could you describe your cock?"
ME (as Man with stolen cock): It's a blue grey bantam razor cock.
TOM: What happened to your cock?
ME (as Man with stolen cock): A black shape stole it and flew down the well!
TOM: Can you describe the shape?
ME (as Man with stolen cock): It was black.
TOM: (with a slight bit of aggravation): Ok, so it was a black shape that flew?
ME (as Man with stolen cock): Ayup. I'll give y'all a hundred gold pieces if you go fetch it.
TOM: (with enthusiasm): Each?
ME (as Man with stolen cock): No, total. It's just a cock.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Campaign

So, another new campaign is starting. And I'm going deliciously old school on it. I mean all the way back. There is just the dungeon. And super deadly. No kid gloves. Basically doing a thing of a city named New Crosston built on top of a giant dungeon (Old Crosston). I did some ground work which resulted in the following...

Rumors, Advise, and Things Overheard in the Bar;
1. New Crosston is a magnet for evil.
2. There are black walls under the city that cannot be broken.
3. Dwarves don't like the silt corridors.
4. One of the Merchant Masters is a Disciple of Asmodeus.
5. Evil comes from Deep Holes.
6. There's more under the city then the city.
7. Moaning is the sound of the Drowned Ghosts of Old Crosston.
8. If you leave an unshod horse and a silver piece in Old Crosston overnight, that's one horse and an silver piece that you won't see again.
9. There was a healing fountain in the garden of one of the Merchant Houses, and its water will cause fruit trees to bear fruit even in the winter.
10. Three things to take to Old Crosston, a pickax, rope, and a towel.
11. Beware of Bifton, he's a loose siege weapon.
12. Thieves will be hung up by their Figgin.
13. There's a swimming dragon in the river that calls Old Crosston home.
14. Beware the end of the rainbow, there's gold there, but leprechauns are vicious little bastards.
15. Don't mess with the Masons, they have a medusa who will turn you to stone and then into a wall.
16. In Old Crosston there was a golem made of Gems.
17. Stay away from the muck!
18. There is a tribe under the city that used to be human.
19. There is a place where the Professional Order of Assassins dump the bodies. The alligators have found it as well. Alligators are a myth, its crocodiles down there.
20. The only reason that dwarfs are here is that they are looking for a still that was lost in the flood.
21. Dirty Deeds done dirty cheap, you get what you pay for.
22. Hellbenders can swim through water and earth.
23. The Violet Snake Eats Its Own Tail, Millenium Hand and Shrimp!
24. Mushroom rings is bad, but mold patches is worse.
25. Keep a boat on your roof, just in case.
26. One of the Merchant Houses kept exotic pets, and they've been breeding.
27. They say there's a cult dedicated to rats in the sewers. Not a that the CULT is in the sewers, but they venerate the rats in the sewers. It takes all kinds.
28. Fear the "COWER YA BUGGERS!" for the tortoise monks are attacking!
29. Only fools use bows.
30. The Order of Mystical Arts lost a forge in the flood.
31. Do not cross an elf, for they shall have the greatest revenge, they'll outlive you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Shots, Short Term, and Long Term

Well, I've been doing a lot more philosophizing then playing lately. I guess that's how it goes. So today, I'm thinking a bit more, cause we didn't get to play The Monsters today. Which really kinda pissed me off, cause I gave Po a great scenario. Just going off his original idea, it would be brutal. So looking forward to seeing how he would tweak it. So fun!

Anyway, that didn't happen. We were busy today. So I had some time to think.

There are three types of campaigns. The one shot, the short term, and the long term. It seems that our work long term campaigns don't seem to work. There's just too much that could happen. People are sick, or have a kid's religious ceremony, or we get busy.

Maybe. So I'm thinking we need to change some stuff. First though, some background.

One Shots; Or as I like to call them Ragmoffs. As in ragamuffin. I used to call them that because I'd drive around in my beat up Chevy Astro van and pick up as many of my buddies as I could and run something for a couple of hours. My friends got real good at rolling up a character in less then ten minutes. I think that some of them had characters already rolled up...

Short Term: These are campaigns that usually run only a few sessions. These typically happened because we started a long term campaign, and it fizzled out. There were a few that we actually designed to only last a short term. The Monsters is one of them, and the Dark Sun campaign is another. The beginning of a short term campaign usually has a preset goal and a definitive ending. Though they can be expanded to go to long term.

Long Term: I both love and hate these. The long term campaign is something that takes dedication. It does have a clear starting point, but doesn't necessarily have a set end. It could go from level 1 all the way to epic levels. These are the campaigns that shake the world, the campaigns that PCs talk about endlessly forever. At the end of the campaign, the campaign world is different. These are the types of campaigns that emulate novel series. A typical long term campaign will take a year or more of real time given a session a week.

See, the problem? We really can't do a long term campaign. There's always a chance that someone leaves. Or something comes up. Right now, I'm raking my brain trying to figure out how to make ragmoffs and short terms into a long term.

So I have a few ideas;

1. The Eternal Champion; The original concept was done by Michael Moorcock, it was one guy who kept coming back to life to champion blah, blah, blah. However, in a D&D multiverse, everyone takes a single class and alignment, and has to stick with it. So the character itself is the same, but equipment and the setting change. Even levels will change drastically between each scenario. So it would be like a series of short terms and one shots.
2. 30 Greatest; The thirty greatest adventures as decided by Dungeon magazine awhile back. Some are short single adventures, some are nearly fully campaign length. It might be a good back up.
3. World Tour: There's a lot more games then D&D. I would love to run different variations. Throw some Call of Cthulthu, Alternity, Star Wars d6, Werewolf; The Apocolypse, etc. Just some short stuff from each. Maybe a single adventure each.
4. Problem Solvers: I always wanted to run something like this. Each PC rolls up a bunch of characters. Then I start an adventure, and pick different PCs to take it on. Kind of like GI Joe. When there is a water mission, they sent Deep Six and Shipwreck. Only this would be slightly different. Same idea, but done in a role playing thing, maybe a group of the king's problem solvers. Or harpers, or whatever.

So I think I might put this to the players as a short term before we can get back to what we normally do.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Plot Vs. Characters

There's really two ways to run a role playing campaign. Plot based and character based. In all truth, they can't exist alone. Either one depends on each other, but like a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, its all about the ratios. Too much of one and not enough of the other creates a bad game. The mixture is right, but sometimes it leans one way or another.

Personally, I love a good plot, but when it comes down to it, its all about the characters and their choices. That's why I really like sandbox games, to steal a phrase from our illegitimate bastard child hobby video games. I love just setting things up and then letting the PCs just find their own pace and explore.

However, in the past, I've run all sorts of games. In one old game I ran during college, I basically railroaded my PCs through several massive plots that had to do with the world in balance. Everyone had fun, but it was really forced. Overly so. There weren't very many choices, and I often manipulated them to go where I needed them to go to further the plot. At the time I justified it to myself because I didn't have anything created except for what I wanted them to do. I wasn't confident enough to let them do what they wanted. I both regret it, and remember it fondly. The important thing is that we had fun.

Later in college though, burned out on D&D we played Vampire; The Masquerade. However, I made the exact opposite side of the cord. The characters did it all, with a few exceptions when things got too stale. There were things that happened, but it was because they were what the characters wanted. Or rather after each session, I asked what the PCs wanted to do, and then tailored each session for them. It was too easy. Just a handful of constant NPCs. We actually ran three separate interconnected campaigns, so each of the three GM's were players in the other campaigns. So it was really really easy. We would swap out PCs and events and such.

Right now, our campaigns are great.

The Plague World campaign has been stalled for a bit, but it started out plot driven, but has quickly become character driven. Its interesting to see how the characters interact. Especially when they plot and plan. I love running a highly tactical game, given my wargame roots. It's awesome to watch them plot and plan, only to see the glaring errors while their doing it.

The Monsters, ah, the Monsters. It's not really plot driven or character driven. It's an odd duck. It fails on both fronts, but it is a pure fun. Possibly because it avoids both of them, it succeeds on both of them.

The Ogres. Well, it is far more plot driven then character, because the characters are cut and paste. It is fun, though, because they started out as such stereotypes, they grown as the plot has gone on. I love seeing how such a simple concept can be taken by some good players and run with.

Darksun. Well, it should be more character driven, but we'll see. It could go either way. I started watching wrasslin again because of it. So it could evolve through it, it will depend entirely on the PCs.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Ah, all things are doomed to failure. Problems with quality at work have caused the banning of books. No books on the floor. We've been scrambling. Converting character sheets to emails, then to .rtfs. Too much too soon. Gah. Partially my fault. I'm one of the ones whose quality is down. However, it isn't from a lack of effort, just a chance of the one or two horrible calls that get scanned. So buckle down and charge ahead full.

So Monsters, been doing a lot of The Monsters lately. Mainly because it is one that if we are missing a character or anything it doesn't effect the rest of the group. Given the Monsters is also a Monster of the Week, it doesn't matter story wise if someone has missed. Easy to catch up on.

So the story is pretty simple, or at least it started out that way. It's gotten more complex. In the beginning it was just a bunch of monsters killing stuff, now there's conspiracies.

It all started with the first session. We fought a Celestial Titan. Big good. Took us a bit, but we whupped it. Now, my character is a pixie, and thus is a trickster. A Celestial Titan is a good creature, regardless of how you split it (down the center is what we went with). So as a good trickster, I blamed someone else. I took the time to set up and execute a frame job. Left some holy books of Lloth lying around and some other stuff that would indicate that it was done by Drow.

All good, right? Wrong. Apparently, there's a CSI; Bytopia. Celestial Squad Investigators. While we were wandering around killing other things (notably other EVIL things), they were investigating the drow.

Which leads us into what is happening right now. Last time we got together as a group, we fought a tetramorph. Which ended up sending most of the group to other planes. The Mindflayer Wizard used his innate plane shift to go back to the prime material plane. The HalfDragon Werewolf Cleric and the Rakasha Sorceror were stuck in the Abyss.

We found out that the Mindflayer decided to cross the underdark to return to Larlock's Crypt, where we were all stationed and being sent out to do the demilich's business. Along the way, he encountered some drow that were running away because 'Mistress is in the Abyss'. He finally took the time to eat...THEIR BRAINS. Later the CSI team came and used the dead drow as a starting point for further investigation of the Drow High Priestess.

Meanwhile in the Abyss, the Halfdragon Werewolf and the Rakasha Sorceror were approached by three succubi, who were trying to contract them on behalf of a Drow High Priestess and her Druegar bodygaurd. The Drow High priestess wants them to kill a Phoenix and get its heart. It seems that those two agreed. Not something I'm too thrilled about. Probably not going to help with that one.

The rest of us decided to take out the Ettin tribe. Which we will do soon.

So long story short, we set up some Drow, those drow get harassed by the CSI, run to the abyss and contract us to take out a phoenix to get a phoenix heart, and then they'll take out the CSI. All nice and neat. However, my ultimate plan is to become part of the Fairy Court. To do that I will spread chaos and trickery via battle across the planes. The greatest test of trickery, deceit, theft, all to permanently alter the course of the Blood War. I'm going to use the group to steal the Ruby Rod of Asmodeus. Trick some more people and end up in the dead book. Rise again from the dead on my wits alone and join the fay. And watch the whole of the lower planes burn. Then figure out how to get the Celestials involved. It shouldn't be too hard. Goody goodies are too goody goody for their own good. If I crash the whole planes, it will be well worth it. Then I might just go back in time and kill myself before I can do it. THAT is how you run with an epic campaign.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Slight Update

So I got an email, but it was more metagame then actual game. Stuff that will be upcoming and such. DM's sharing ideas, ping ponging stuff across. You know the sort of thing. But there was a slight update;

So, today only Josh (Huge Fire Elemental Barbarian) and Jim (Mind Flayer Wizard) teamed up to go fight an Ocean Giant, an Ocean Strider, and a Titanic Toad. Josh almost died at 2 HP (lots of horrid wiltings did things to him). They did in the enemies and such.

Got another email. So I'm just going to cut and paste. More information, but less as well.

From Tim;

Po just ran JIm & Josh up against a giant toad, a dryder & a water giant. Josh finished up at 2 HP (truthfully, I think Po took pity on him & let him live, By what I was hearing while on calls, he probably should have died at least twice over). Tom & I were supposed to do something too but we never got to it. WARNING!!!! Po was looking through the Monster Manual again & I think that we may be going up against a Phoenix at some time. He kept says how THAT was what he should have used as the final boss instead of a Tarrasque. He says that he's finished creating the fearsome 5 of the CSI (Celestial S(omething) Investigators - I forget what he said the "S" stood for, but I know it wasn't "Scene") who are supposed to be some kind of real bad-asses looking into the death of the Titan we killed. Guess we'll see. My only fear is that my next confrontation is going to be just me & Tom (he of the oh so intelligent choices) - gulp

Monday, May 10, 2010

A True and Unabridged Story

Well, today I got some bad news. At lunch my wife had a panic attack so I have to take her to the Doctor tomorrow. So I'm not going in to work tomorrow. So what that means is that there is going to be three uninterrupted days of the Monsters!

What is the Monsters campaign? Well, a bit of background. Cue Doctor Who TARDIS sound; Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. It all started a while back, when I was on the phone. I've got a high pitched men's voice, so I've been called every slanderous synonym for gay that there is. But one day, I got called a new one.


Man, that was classic. I almost couldn't keep myself from laughing. It was hilarious. Afterward, I got out the Savage Species book. Rolled me up a pixie named Twinkletoes Fairypants. I did it as a joke, but Po, one to take a joke to internet proportions, decided to take it to the next level. He had us all roll up monster characters. Fifteenth level monsters. A nice lead in to a high level campaign.

Due to the heavy plot line campaigns that we've been running lately, Po decided to go a little lighter. Total monster of the week. He comes up with stuff that is seemingly impossible, and we beat on it. The background is that Larlock the demilich fouled up his summons and a bunch of prime material monsters got summoned instead of the demons/devils he meant to summon. The purpose was to defeat the Tarrasque. Bum, bum, bum. So he introduced us to Monty Haul, the lich who controls the portal room. The portal room has a bunch of portals with different monsters behind them. We go through, find a baddie, and kick its ass.

So this is a lot of fun, and I'll try to get some updates from Po as this goes on. For we played today, and they'll play tomorrow when I take my wife to the doctor, and then again on Wednesday. So many many updates for the Monsters!

A tad more on Fairypants. His full name as of the end of today's session is Mayor Twinkletoes Fairypants, Dragon Slayer, Giant Bane, Slaad Slayer, Linnorm Perferator, Champion of Titiana. Background is that he is a Warrior Trickster of Titiana, and her choosen champion. He started as a pixie cobbler and part time fletcher as all pixies are. However, a young green dragon moved into his grove. He rose to the challenge and killed it. He then continued his schemes and dealing death to those who threatened his lifestyle. He is the most manly of pixies with purple eyes, neon green hair, and sparkly skin. When he started he was just a pixie with 10 levels of rogue fifteen total levels (5 pixie/10 rogue). Now he's technically a 23 level character (5 pixie, 10 rogue, 8 wizard) and the biggest badass in a group of badasses.

The Group: I'm not sure of the levels or the character names, which is what typically happens when you do monster of the week. It's all about the powers brought to the table. Or rather in our case, the pod.

Me: Twinkletoes Fairypants.
Tim: A cleric halfdragon werewolf.
Po: DM
Jim: Mindflayer wizard.
Megan: Fire Giant Barbarian.
Josh: Fire Elemental Barbarian.
Tom: Rakasha Sorceror.

What has happened before; In our last session, we fought a tetramorph, two balors, a celestial of some kind, some chaos beasts, and a Death Slaad. While I killed the Death Slaad by myself in two rounds (thus giving myself the Slaad Slaughterer title), the tetramorph proved a worse foe. It ended up sending most of the group away. Josh had been absent last week, so he was back at the portal room. Jim, Tom, and Tim were transported to the Abyss. Megan and I defeated the thing and returned back to the portal room. Jim promptly used his plane shift innate ability to go back to the prime material plane, however lacking teleport spells or abilities, he has to walk back to Larlock's castle.

Today: So five days to kill and playing a fairy. Well, easy part was what I was doing with the days. I made Megan a pair of boots of limited flying, and a Huge Masterwork Mighty (+13) Composite Longbow, mainly because she's the only PC that listened to me. Which technically ate up the five days (two for the boots, and three for the non-magical bow). But to get some play time in, I managed to get teleported back to my character's hometown by Monty Haul.

TTFP went home to see his wife, a nymph who married him due to his shoemaking ability. Which is mainly because its funny. He's a manly pixie. Tooling around his hometown, the village mayor told him there was something out in the wilderness hurting the villagers. Since I had mentioned that I wanted a nice low level stomp, I wasn't prepared for what I meet with.

A grey linnorm. Which none of the rest of the group really understood what the problem was. They thought, 'Oh, dragonkin, take it out dragonslayer'. However, I think I put it succinctly when I told them that I had to fight Grendel's mother. Without backup, or proper preparation. Thing was practically created to give TTFP problems. Blindsight out to 120 feet negated my natural invisibility and any type of sneak attack. And its Protection from Arrows at will pretty much negated most of my ranged attacks.

However, I was able to beat it mainly due to keeping the hell away from it, and a timely use of Otto's Irresistible Dance. It took me 7 rounds. Which is impressive and a lot less then the 120 rounds that I had anticipated.

So I took the head off of it and that bit dragged back to the village. Since a nearby village had lost its elder, I put myself up as the elder, citing my age of 872 and the linnorm head as qualifications for the position. This was done for a reason, and that is because I had taken the leadership feat. Which is going to be instrumental in defeating the tarrasque.

Hopefully Po will send me an update either tonight or tommorrow on what has happened so far with the rest of the PCs. At the least Megan and Josh should be able to get something done tonight, and Jim, Tim, and Tom will be there tommorrow to do other things. Well, that's all for now.

As always, drop me a comment to let me know you've seen this.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Trying It Out

Well, today. Today, today, today.

This is the busy day at work. Well, D&D wise, that is. However, I'm not too sure. We barely got to play The Ogres today, and most of that time was spent going over and over rooms they've already been through to try to find a clue of where to go next. Frustrating since they missed the most obvious place. The corpses of the dragon's victims. They also ignored several magic items, mainly because they just didn't bother to have the NPC cast detect magic. Such is life. Frustrating.

Rolled up some Dark Sun characters. Ended up with two Thrikreen and a half elf barbarian. Odd mix. I was thinking that there would be four PCs, but Josh opted out. He stated that it was because he was getting 'D&Ded out'. Which I can understand. Four campaigns a week is a bit much for almost any newbie. So right now, its just the Monsters campaign for him. I think. Maybe also the Plague World. I'm not sure. However, part of me wonders if it was due to my previous comments on this blog. I dunno. Maybe I should ask him. Or I won't. I'm not good at that type of thing.

In real life, I'm rather anti-social and tend to make social mistakes. Simply because I don't think out my thoughts. I have no filter. No Jiminy Cricket telling that saying something is not the wisest thing to say or the smartest action to take. I'm much better then I used to be. MUCH better. However, I still make the occasional social faux paus. Which Firefox says I spelled wrong.

However, Dark Sun started out pretty well. Decided to go with a grand melee to start things out. One hundred men enter, twenty men leave. Since mainly it was NPCs taking out NPCs, it wasn't too strenuous on the PCs. They ended up taking out something like 8 gladiators. Which ain't too shabby for just two PCs, since Megan had to leave early. However, I took the chance to introduce them to some typical gladiator tactics. Things that they will have to get used to. Such as 'tag teams'. One member to take an action that incapacitates the opponent, and the other member to eliminate the opponent. Also the stereotypical and cliche sand thrown into the eyes bit.

Part of me is really looking forward to this campaign. I'm an old school wrestling fan from way back, and back in the hayday of ECW, I liked to think of myself as a smart mark. I still fell for the storylines, but I understood the back business as well. Which is part of why I'm looking forward to this. The other part is that Tom is still a major wrestling fan. He understands the point of marks, pops, heat, heelturns, and such. So I'm really hoping that he can step up his game in this campaign. This is the type of campaign where he can really shine. He knows wrestling, and is fairly passionate about it. Come up with some tactics and some promos, and other great things. I'm thinking of doing an 'Undertaker' type of gladiator. Some unbeatable giant. Or maybe a Rey Mysterio Jr type. Oh, a STING parody! That would be golden.

If you read, please comment. I'm lonely and I want to know who's seen this.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Alright, I'm bored and tired. Gotta kill some time before bed cause eldest child went to a MLB game tonight, so gotta sit up until he comes home. Looking at the score its 3-3 at the bottom of the eighth. Which means approximately nothing to me. Does that mean that they are almost at the end of the inning or the beginning? Dunno. Doesn't really matter. Not what I want to talk about, I want to talk about blooding.

Blooding is something I take very seriously. Many people disagree with me. Some DMs feel that its counterproductive, and others don't understand specifically planning it. What is blooding you ask? Why killing a character, pure and simple. Maybe not pure and simple. What is going on is that I purposely kill a neophytes character.

Why do I do this? Because, it needs to be done. I strongly feel this way. I want to impress on the PCs that it is a game, and characters die. Sometimes from stupid situations, sometimes from bad die rolls, and sometimes because you do something so stupid that you deserve to die. I've seen many people who's characters start out normal, but become some sort of fantasy fulfillment Mary Sue type of thing. Need to nip that sort of thing in the bud. Remind them it is a game, and to just roll up a new character before the next session.

People disagree with me. Some say its counterproductive and just chases new players away. Others think that death will happen naturally and to just let it happen. I don't. Oh, I'm not going to target them straight off. Never do that. Let them get a feel for the game, maybe level once or twice. Then BOOM. Take off the kid gloves. I'll focus the boss on them, or leave out some healing, or just let stupid take its course.

Death is part of D&D. The lesson isn't just to teach them that characters are just numbers on paper and not to get to attached, but also to teach them that the life of an adventurer sometimes ends abruptly.

In Warhammer 40K, there is a rule called 'Death or Glory'. In essence, you either crunch the tank, or the tank crunches you. I can't remember who said it, but there is also the old Latin chestnut 'Fortes fortuna adiuvat' which translates to 'Fortune favors the Bold'. And of course in our modern internet X-treme culture, 'Go Big or Go Home'. That's the point. D&D is an adventure game. You have to take risks, and sometimes those risks don't pan out. The sooner the PCs realize that, the faster they can get into doing cool stuff. Risk can end in failure, but it doesn't matter. Sometimes the risk is worth it.

There's my reasons. First to stop some Mary Sue, second to show the ephemeral nature of characters, and third to teach the PCs to take risks because the reward is so much sweeter.

Soooo LAZY

Ok, I'm not giving up on my other blog Infamous Campaigns but I am not finding the time or energy to really go into it right now. Mainly because we are playing D&D too much and I must create.

So some background;

I do websupport for a major interweb place (3.9 million registered users). Don't be mistaken by the title, its not tech support, at least not most of the time. Mainly it consists of the advanced customer service aspect. In other words, when Cust Service Reps can't figure the problem out, it gets booted up to me. Mainly, it consists of resetting passwords, instructions on how to download Adobe Flash Player, and teaching little old ladies how use the computer. So, in other words, the stuff that most people reading this would not have the patience to do and can do easily themselves.

What that means is that when there is no special promotions going on, we're not taking any calls. Or not enough calls to keep us busy. So we either read or play D&D. This is because most of us are huge geeks, which is how we got our job in the first place.

Right now, our group consists of myself and 5 other people. Here's the breakdown;

Me: An old school gamer that never really gave it up, but never really continued either. I've played almost every game out there. I got my start with Hero Quest, and the Black Box of D&D basic. So call it the early to mid-90's. When my brother in law passed all of his 3.0 stuff on to me, I thought it was a perfect time to start playing at work. When I play, I tend to take odd pairings that work in strange ways (Halfling Barbarian FTW!)
Po: The other DM. He's a vet, and generally plays cautiously but not to the point of CSI: Shadowdale. Probably the most level headed of the group, and the most strategic player.
Jim: Jim's the other vet. He's been playing on and off for a little longer then I have, with almost all of his experience being in 2nd ed. He's the first to get really ticked off at the stupid n00b stuff that the neophytes do. He's also the only person to have multiple player kills in character.
Tim: Tim is a veteran returning after a long hiatus. He started and stopped playing OD&D before I was born. He's a very old school gamer, and almost looks at the game like a wargame. He's not one to start crap and thinks about his actions before hand and rarely makes errors. In character or out of character. So he's a valuable resource. I can count on him.
Tom: Tom is perhaps the odd man out. The other neophytes look at him as a veteran, but he's only been playing with us for a bit longer then them. He tends to make odd mistakes and tactical errors. Or create things that just don't quite work (cough*Half orc bard*cough). He's also had the most characters killed by other characters, a total of 3. Two by Jim and another by Parker, who no longer works with us.
Megan: Meg's great. She was at first reluctant to play, but eventually joined in. She's caught on quick and understands character actions vs. player actions faster then most of the other people. She's much fun and a joy to have in a group. If I ever play a game at home again, I'd invite her so that my wife would have another girl in the group. Oooh. Idea. I should call Danielle too...
Josh: Josh has a lot of bad habits. I blame it on Warcraft, and his inability to understand 'in character' and 'out of character'. However, I think that he's improving. Slowly. Very slowly. He has the only other character killed by another character, which was me.

So the games themselves. We're currently running 4 concurrent games.

Tuesday: Plague World, run by me. A post apocalyptic D&D world where the world ended around the 1960's due to a plague. A little odd, there's guns and mortars and no economy. The PCs are all from the one town that survived the 500 years of plague intact.
Wednesday: The Monsters, run by Po. An Epic campaign, we're all different types of monsters, with character classes. We're currently leveling up to take on the Tarrasque. Total monster of the week. I play a pixie named Twinkletoes Fairypants, Dragonslayer, Giantbane, Slaad Slaughterer, Champion of Titiana (funny story about that name later).
Saturday Morning; The Ogres, run by me. It started as just a couple of Ogres running around, after the previous campaign fell apart. They've become lords of a town full of goblinoids. Its probably the easiest campaign I run, especially since I often use published adventures for it. Right now, I'm running them through the Return to The Temple of Elemental Evil.
Saturday Afternoon: Starting a new campaign this week. Going to be a Darksun campaign set in the gladiator pits of Raam. So it will be another Monster of the Week, with option to expand.

So why am I writing this blog? Well a couple of reasons. First is that non-work often comes up, people call off or whatnot. So with this blog they can keep up to date with what is happening. Second is that I've found myself retelling stories of what my PCs did to my other interwebs friends. Some of it is extraordinarily funny, or noteworthy. Lastly, though, there's also rants. I mean I need somewhere to put my thoughts on 'blooding' new PCs, published vs created adventures, and why we're playing an outdated system.

So sit down, plug in your headset, wait for a call, and read some of the fun stuff here.


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