Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gnome Alone Too

The weekly game reconvened with the party sealed in a large cavernous chamber beneath a power-diving dragon.

When fighting a dragon it is almost always best if you can somehow ground it. Mobility makes an otherwise very dangerous foe incredibly deadly. We failed to ground our enemy for most of the fight and used almost all of our resources in a desperate battle over many many rounds before finally killing the beast.

My character was breathed on twice and fireballed by the spell casting dragon. The fireball was the final straw and down went the gnome (formerly a high elf) for good . . . almost. Again he was reincarnated and again as a gnome, this time even lower level.

Reincarnation as a spell can be interesting, but it has serious drawbacks. Since we are rotating GMing duties and running a myriad of different games the drawbacks don't matter like they would for a campaign and are quite amusing instead. We were hoping the rolls would give us a Pegasus so we would have an easier time getting ourselves and our loot out of the dungeon.

Alas, poor pregenerated character Fonkin Hoddypeak. He began play as a high elf fighter/wizard levels 5/8, became a gnome fighter level 5, and has been demoted to gnome fighter level 2.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Villains & Vigilantes

Last weekend I joined a group playing V&V. We had discussed doing this back in the fall and I was still busy with getting more edumuhcashun and could not immediately join the fun, but that didn't stop me from coming up with a character.

My subconscious was obviously channelling Star Trek because what I ended up creating was a twisted version of Data from Next Generation.

When we were discussing the game back then it was the 40th anniversary of the video game Pong. That gave me the character name and a basis for powers: an android with force field and force blast powers. All I had to do was determine what his name actually stood for. Person Zero Next Generation. P0NG

When we finally got around to creating the character his powers not only inclded the force abilities, they also included full life support, android body (looks 80% human), 39% self repair, 73% armor, and other minor adjustments.

Pretty boring if that is all there is to him. Here's the catch - he was completed in the 1970's and only briefly active. He was deactivated and stored in a crate. His database and social reference frame is limited to knowledge from 1976 and older. Newer things are a puzzle to him, and he has a tendency to drown conversations in slang from the 70's and earlier.

Here is how he looked once reactivated in last week's session.

Needless to say the team is convinced they need to take him clothes shopping. They already bought him an ipad which he is still trying to figure out where the knobs and antenna are located among other things.

During play the group of heroes tracked down and fought the villain SCUZZ who was able to convert living flesh into a protoplasmic jelly eventually killing the target. P0NG being artificial/synthetic was mostly imune to the worst parts of the attack. Once Pong got into the right position he separated the villain and himself off from the vulnerable members of the party by putting up a force wall and then began blasting away at Scuzz.

Meanwhile the other party members figured out that Scuzz was vulnerable to gasoline and brought some back to disolve the disgusting evil-doer.

We thought the fight was over when suddenly a rather large robot showed up intent on doing harm to the team leader Metal Mummy. We left off on the cliff hanger of it firing a blast at MM while the room immediately behind him is soaked with gasoline.

We play again on Superbowl Sunday with the promise that we will not miss any of the game.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Product Review: NoteBoard (with bonus dungeon)

For $10 I recently purchased a nifty new product called the Noteboard. It is a foldable dry-erase whiteboard that is small enough when folded to fit in a shirt pocket. Below is a test use of it along with comments and a mini dungeon.

The noteboard is basically a bunch of 3 by 5 index cards laminated for use with dry erase markers. One side is blank and the other has three different sets of grid lines (hex, 1 inch square, and centimeter square) printed on it making it suitable for gaming maps or other art/engineering sketch work. It can also work as a calendar since it has 7 panels by 5 panels.

Despite what the picture shows below, the product is white. The color below is due to the light source I was using when I took the picture.

The noteboard folds up into the space of 1 index card stacked about an inch thick. It comes with a cloth carry bag and a marker with an eraser on the end. This ease of portability is a huge positive point in the product's favor. No need to lug around heavy, bulky whiteboards or vinyl battle mats.

To test it I hung it up on a wall using quarter inch Scotch poster hangers, the double sticky sided tabs. Normally I would use a table, but I was not where I could use a table.

As you can see in the picture there are clear gaps between the cards so that the noteboard can be folded up easily. There is lamination in the gaps so have no fear about drawing across these gaps. You won't ruin your table or wall. I recommend if possible using a white background under the noteboard unless having another color peek through is fine for your purposes.

On the negative side I found the eraser that comes with the pen less effective than I would have liked. That may be due to it being lightly tacked to the wall and me being careful not to have it come loose. It does clean off fine with toilet paper or paper towels and it states right on the product itself that for stubborn stains a drop of hand sanitizer works well.

I have not yet tried transporting it folded up with anything drawn on it. That test will wait for another day.

Overall the utility and low price make this a no brainer for a DM that has to haul their stuff around from place to place which would be a huge plus for convention use and for flying when you want small profile light weight items to avoid those checked bag fees.

Here is the link to the product:

In an effort not to waste the test drawing here is a piece of a dungeon to go with the map above.

Dungeon Title - The Cult of Jolokia

Map scale: 1 square = 10'

Room 1 - Flanking the stairs down into this chamber are a pair of floor to ceiling statues of great twisting serpents with human-like heads. To the south double doors bear the fading painting of a screaming face with images of flames inside the mouth.

Room 2 - The walls of this chamber are covered in mosaic tiles depicting many beings contorted in pain, their mouths open with what appears to be flames around their tongues. The floor is covered in a swirling serpent-like pattern with worn pathways from the tread of many feet over the ages.

Two tapestries face each other across the room East to West. The tapestries bear images of a great open mouth, a human headed serpent wrapped around the tongue, with flames stretching the length of the beast.

A door is hidden behind the west tapestry. It can easily be located by looking behind the tapestry or noticed by someone standing next to it on 1-4 on a d6.

The door to the east is locked. Any noise of normal talking volume or above will draw the attention of the naga in room 4 who will come listen at the west door to determine a course of action. If it believes intruders have passed out of room 2 through the east door it will pause for certainty and then enter room two and try to quietly follow the party hoping to ambush them later.

Room 3 - Piled along the walls of this room are piles of enormous snake skins. In the center of the floor there are some tools beside one large snakeskin. Close examination will reveal that work has begun to fashion the snakeskin into part of a garment. Roll a random encounter for the hallway north of this room if the party stops to search.

Room 4 - If not already alerted to intruders, Moruga, a naga will be quietly resting here reading from several long scrolls made from snakeskin.

Room 5 - Three cultists are carefully crushing and grinding peppers to extract juices and create powders. Along the walls are shelves lined with jars and vials of potent mixtures. The air in the room is thick with the scent of the peppers and anyone not used to constant contact with the plant must make a save vs poison or suffer greatly while present and for 1 turn afterward. (intense burning of the eyes and throat, choking, -4 to hit and -4 to AC). Those who save suffer a lesser effect of -2 to hit and AC while present and for 5 rounds after leaving the area.

The cultists will not hesitate to throw powder or juices at the faces of intruders before engaging in hand to hand combat if possible. Anyone hit must save or be blinded and incapacitated for 2d4 turns.

Random encounter tables:
If an encounter is indicated, roll 1d6 on this table to determine the event.

1 - 1d6 cultists and 1 speaker of fire (wizard) arrive.
2 - distant screams and gagging can be heard, roll randomly for perceived direction.
3 - 1 tongue of Jolokia (cleric) and a naga arrive.
4 - a cultist stumbles up, hands on throat, face deep purple, sweating profusely, he or she will make a grab for a water skin and falls down dead (cross this out and replace with option 1 after it happens).
5 - the sound of ringing cymbals can be heard in the distance, roll randomly for perceived direction.
6 - options 1 and 3 together, from different directions if possible.
7 - 2 fangs of Judgement (tougher fighters).
8 - a level appropriate encounter from the normal encounter tables.

All members of the cult will attack with powders or juices first or at opportune times if possible.

------------- Feel free to use this  dungeon however you wish. If you decide to publish it please mention the blog from whence this came.-----------------

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


In the weekly game we continued the raid on the giant steading.

My character, newly reincarnated from high elf fighter/wizard 5/8 is now a gnome fighter level 5.

Gathering loot from the last great battle we believe that once we make our minds up to leave the dungeon and make haste for town, we will have reaped a tidy profit. The loot may be worth around 100,000 gold pieces.

Despite having dealt a severe blow to the giant forces, the party, getting ever shorter on resources, and character height, keeps hanging around investigating with little extra to show for the time spent.

Worse still we stumbled upon an extremely evil altar in a strange chamber with symbols that drove our henchman mad. He now believes the party dwarf murdered his family and keeps trying to kill the dwarf when not A> restrained; B> charmed; C> having Remove Fear cast on him to temporarily lessen the effects of the madness.

We ended the evening on a cliff-hanger. A dragon is diving down from a cavern ceiling to attack the party.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Seat At The Table

After a very long lull I reunited with the weekly gaming group. With school out of the way for now it seemed like a good time to roll some dice, defeat some monsters, and take their treasure.

I returned to play at a fortuitous time as the party was about to make a raid into the Hill Giant fortress (the old G1 module) and that meant an extended session with lots of combat and fun. We normally end sessions at about 10:30 since everyone has work in the morning and some have long drives home. This time we played to nearly midnight. Many giants were slain and much fun was had by all.

One highlight was the timely use of a Find Traps spell by the party cleric. Find Traps is a spell I have rarely seen used in play and almost never to good effect. This time it saved the bacon of several party members.

Another rarely used spell highlight was the reincarnation of my deceased high elf fighter/wizard into a gnome.

The group is rotating DMs and games so now we need to decide what to play next.

It is good to be back in the game.