Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Something Wicked Cool - Final Clue

Four clues down, and this final clue to go. I have commissioned something awesome for myself and my gaming group. The four clues so far in order are:





And the final clue for those that have not yet guessed what it is that was commissioned:


Monday, January 26, 2015

Tasting Torul

Yesterday we dove back into CaptCorajus' D&D game, where we had just defeated the cult of Set. Now we have managed to find our path crossing with a different cult. What is it with the Hollow World and evil cults?

The party made our way back to the city of the Ascans who gave us a mule, some supplies, and a tablet saying we were their friends. Then they kicked us out of the city and explained that the tablet would be useless since other Ascans would attack first and read later. Gee, thanks for the souvenir!

We were heading for an elven city some distance off and had to cross a clearing that even large predatory dinosaurs would not cross. So of course we made a bee line right across the center. We found out why the predators avoided the clearing.

This World Has Worms

Oh, and everything seems to want to eat Torul. On the question of whether the halfling rogue would get sneak attack damage for having an ally within 5 feet of the creature? The answer is YES . . . within the first 5 feet of the creature!

The huge worm tried valiantly to swallow and chew on the half-orc fighter for a number of rounds and when it realized it was perilously close to death it spat out the fighter and dove back into its tunnel and ran away. 

We continued on and eventually met a villager who was seeking help for a strange affliction affecting his normally peaceful village. People were acting strange, old friends not acknowledging each other, people going missing, no services at Odin's temple, no concern by the town guards about the missing people, etc. We needed rest so we agree to go to his village.

During our time there we investigated the problems and very quickly determined that the root cause was hidden somewhere within the jail and the temple. We started our more in-depth inquiry at the jail.

Darion the guardsman was looking a bit slimy was being rude and uncooperative so Torul decided he needed to learn some manners. As expected, a fight broke out when Torul revealed the guy was part slime, not just in reputation, but fact.

The order went out to release the creature and the other guards went tearing out of the jail. Then came the creature. It looked something like a shambling mound, but a lot slimier and somewhat meaner.

In the ensuing combat the wizard put the guards to sleep, and everyone focused on the snot monster. Darion of course ran away in the confusion, later to return from behind the party with cultist allies, one quite powerful.

The monster did incredible harm to the jail before being defeated and melting down into a puddle of lumpy mucus. That is when Darion and the spell casters came at us from the direction of the temple.

Fortunately our wizard easily outgunned the row of cannon-fodder adepts easily while their errant spells brought down the jail completely.

Their priest however (converted from worship of Odin to worship of Juiblex, lord of boogers) was a different matter. Torul was having an uncharacteristic amount of difficulty hitting this well armored and spell buffed foe. The priest was also tearing Torul apart with spells while Darion interposed himself between them (Insect Plague hurts, especially when cast from a higher spell slot).

Eventually the half-orc risked an attack in order to reach and slay the slime priest, and the party chased Darion beneath the temple, ending his pitiful existence.

That's where the game left off until next session.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Getting back behind the screen for some more 5e

It is about time. It looks like the group will be getting back together February 21st to complete the Isle of the Abbey adventure we began in October.

There will be some changes in both the cast of characters and the players. I'm trying my best to drag the same people back to the table and maybe a couple more.

The previous player of the Paladin will be playing a thief. The Paladin will be played by the player formerly playing the wizard. There is no confirmation yet if the player of the Ranger is returning, though most of the group hopes this will happen. A player that could not make it last time due to a family emergency is likely to make it this time and may bring a plus one (both have never played D&D and want to learn). Someone will inherit the wizard, and someone will get to choose from the starter set pre-gen characters.

When we last played, the characters had crossed the island, braved attacks by undead and pirates, met some goats and other pirates, made their way up a cliff to get to the abbey, ambushed some evil cultists, got inside the surviving underground portion of the ruins, fought a bunch more cultists, and earned more than enough experience points to become level 2 which they will be at the start of the upcoming session.

There will be exploring, combat, more exploring and combat, etc. Mostly dungeon crawling this time around. They have already discovered there are some factions at play, so far mostly of the get me off the island and I won't interrupt this adventure for a Pound type. They have not yet decided how or if they should do anything with the factions and individuals that are roaming the island and the ruins.

I am definitely looking forward to the game, especially since I will be able to break out lots of props and some surprises for the group.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gygax Magazine Issue #5

I contacted the publisher a while back asking about the expected release date for the 5th issue.

Michelle Weidman was kind enough to get back to me on December 15th and let me know that they are still working out production kinks. She stated that issue #5 was getting close to completion and that they hoped to have it out shortly after Christmas.

Thanks for letting me know this information. I'm hoping it will be arriving this week, because Christmas has slipped on by and January is over halfway gone.

I think it is important to state that I am a supporter of the magazine effort and have twice subscribed for a full year (issues 1-4, and 5-8).

Let's hope things will speed up during 2015.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Something Wicked Cool - clue 4

Things are coming along for "that which has been commissioned".

Clues in order have been:




For the first clue, Stu Rat offered John Henry the Role-Playing Game and Olympic Hammer Throwing.

For the second clue, Stu seemed a little rattled and offered paneling for the game room.

For the third clue, Stu seems to have lost his voice.

Maybe this fourth clue will elicit some speculation:


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Advertising Question part 2

So far none of the readership has commented on the idea of allowing or keeping clear of advertising on the blog.

Therefore, an experiment will begin soon and run for a number of months to gauge results. I will activate AdSense and see what happens. If it proves useful and not burdensome to readers, I will allow it to continue. If it proves pointless after a good trial run, and/or proves a headache for readers then it will be halted.

Please feel free to chime in at any time.

Monday, January 19, 2015

We found our errant halfling

Just over a week ago we continued playing in Captcorajus' D&D campaign. When last we left off, we were in the temple of the dead god Set, searching for the missing party member who possesses the artifact the cultists needed to restore Set to life.

To briefly recap:

The party had stumbled upon the artifact, one of Set's eyes, while earning bounties by clearing the Caves of Chaos (modified to have a shrine and cultists of Set instead of the original evil cult from Keep on the Borderlands).

In our travels we kept having trouble with Set worshippers, hmmmm, wonder why . . .

We got to Karameikos and got tangled in a murder mystery, set upon by, assassins, and took down the local cult to Set. We also had to once again track down the Eye of Set which somehow got into the Thief Lord's Vault.

We recovered the Eye, and while looking for the way out of the vault took time to loot, since we had not found an exit, and were unceremoniously pitched through a portal into the Hollow World.

We beat up the local Kuo Toa until they realized all we wanted was to get out with most of our and some of their treasure. They were very happy to see us leave.

We wandered through the swamp kicking the crap out of the local flora and fauna - Shambling Mounds, Crocodiles, T-Rex, etc.

We were again set upon by Setites. This is when our halfling bearer of the ring, er, I mean Eye, accompanies the snaky worshippers of Set via teleport and leaves the rest of us to have an "oh, crap" moment.

We tracked them to the gigantic temple built over the dead god's body and went in to get our halfling and the artifact.

We managed to bluff our way past the dangerous throne room by spouting some nightmarish pro-Set propaganda, and went hunting.

After slaughtering a room full of adepts and some capable priests, disguising two of the three of us as high priests, we worked our way deeper into the nastiness, eventually taking down a Death Knight.

And here is where things pick up with the most recent session . . .

After descending a very long stairway we came upon two of the big snaky spawns of Set. My character, the half-orc fighter disguised as a high priest, intimidated the two of them into going up to intercept the intruders that had slaughtered a room full of adepts and priests and we would take over guarding the "Chosen One".

That is when we found the halfling, as we expected, being feted with a smorgasbord of he most delectable foods and wines available, and doing nothing what-so-ever to escape. Yup, we KNEW she went willingly. (Protest all you want CaptCorajus, your daughter's character was content to sit there being catered to, typical halfling).  ;)

Coercing the halfling to come with us, and grabbing some food for ourselves (hey, we just spent two days without food trying to get to our hairy little sneak).

Suddenly our sneak vanished on us again, (teleport or dimension door, we weren't sure), and now we had to return to hunting in the vast temple complex.

Our choices became limited to going back up the stairs or risking an opaque black portal in the carved snake maw. We tested the black portal using a broken table leg tied to a length of rope. The leg and a portion of the rope did not come back. That had us convinced the long stairs back up were the only choice. We didn't need further convincing, but we were given additional reason soon enough as the vending machine formerly known as the black portal began spewing hundreds of venomous snakes. (Quite a return on investment - broken table leg and a short bit of rope for hundreds of snakes).

The party ran for the stairs and began the assent as the snakes formed up into a huge amalgamation of a monster.
Never give a dead serpent god an enema because this beast is what you get.

Remember, running away IS an option in D&D. Run we did. We were climbing the spiral stairs upward in a hurry and this thing was tall enough to intercept the party 20 feet up without effort.
Note: The dwarf is the ghostly figure. He was wearing an invisibility cloak and could still be seen by this thing.

We ended up having to fight this monstrosity and that meant the half-orc fighter with his amazing 28 AC vs evil, had to get in its face while on the stairs. It kept spitting caustic venom like that scene in Jurassic Park where the frilled dinosaur attacks Nedry. Three times it tried and three times my character saved. Got bit once, but is immune to poisons of all types thanks to a magic ring, and eventually the beast swept Torul off the stairs for a 20 foot drop.

While the beast had been occupied with Torul, the party combined for enough damage to destroy it.

The wizard is down to cantrips, the dwarf is conserving spells for when we find the halfling again, and the half-orc has chugged two healing potions and used his second wind. There was no time to rest so we decided to check the portal again - we had another table leg and more rope so why not, what's the worst that could happen, space herpes?

This time there was a normal cavernous tunnel where the black portal had been and we could hear combat and chanting somewhere within the tunnel. That settled it, it was up Set's colon we had to go.

In a larger better lit cavern we located our errant halfling, wreathed in glowing armor with a glowing sword, dancing about in some ceremonial display in which she kept swinging the sword, but never striking her dancing partner, as a room full of Set minions chanted.

The halfling was standing in the palm of Set and nearby, half encased by stone was the serpent god's face, with one eye socket empty, his glowing ruby eye on his palm at the halfling's feet.

Battle ensued, eventually resulting in Torul having to jam his sword into the dead god's eye socket to keep the eye from fully restoring him (The Sorceress the halfling ran off with originally had jammed the eye into the socket). Meanwhile the dwarf cleric uncorked the last of his more powerful spells to harm the remaining enemies each round.

Finally, the eye fell out and the halfling decided to again switch sides to be on the obvious winning team, and tossed the eye into the nearby volcano. She retains all ten fingers.

The temple began to collapse and we high-tailed it to safety.

The only loot was a single live cobra that Torul had captured and was carrying in a sack.
According to the DM, thus ends season 1.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Something Wicked Cool This Way Comes - clue 3

That which was commissioned for myself and my gaming group doth approach through the winter cold.

It is on the move and that means it is time for the third clue. Clue number one was SWING THE HAMMER. Clue number two was DARK WALNUT.

The third clue is: PHOENIX

Sunday, January 11, 2015

RIP Game Cat, You are missed.

A couple of weeks ago my friend decided that it was time to humanely euthanize her 16 year old cat, Selene, who was suffering from cancer. The poor girl had reached the point of having great difficulty eating and had exposed bone where the earlier surgery had removed a large tumor and she was not healing anymore. Right up till the end, Selene was a very affectionate cat.

She was also quite curious as can be seen in the photo of her trying to figure out what everyone was doing at the game table during a session of 3rd edition D&D back in 2000. A player stepped away for a moment and up popped Selene to look across the table at the dice and miniatures. My friend, a camera bug, snapped a quick shot that went on to become a LOLcat picture. (Thank you to the person that turned Selene into a LOLcat.)

The picture of Selene distracting an orc with her +3 cheeseburger will remain on the blog in its regular space. Here, for a better look is that picture again.

RIP: Selene

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Quizzing the Readership

Up to this point I have deliberately kept the blog free of advertising (aside from having the Zazzle store which gets almost zero traffic). My thinking on it was to make the site both less bothersome and easier to load. These days load times are pretty insignificant so the real question for the readers is would you be bothered if I activated AdSense and allowed advertising on this blog?

Please post your thoughts in the comments to this post. I will not be making the jump immediately, preferring to wait and bring this up again in a week or so to give readers time to discuss the idea.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Red and Pleasant Land, and Death Frost Doom revised.

I have been looking forward to getting my greedy little DM fingers on these two books. They became my present to myself for the holiday season.

Death Frost Doom
I have read most of Death Frost Doom and have a solid grasp of just how good this adventure meets the horror criteria and easily functions as a pivotal event in a campaign. The book, and it is a book; hard bound; 6 by 9 format; new art; and updated material that puts a keener edge on every story element and encounter within; is a great example of how adventures should be written, even if they aren't apocalyptic. Everything within is tight and worthy of player attention, and it meets the definition of adventure - DANGEROUS!

DFD is the start of an undead apocalypse or close enough to one that as it says, the PCs that survive will have a lot of work ahead fixing or at least mitigating the damage caused. The smile on my face at several points in the reading of the adventure was that of a rat bastard DM loving the potential in the pages. If you have the kind of players that enjoy moral dilemmas, and love horror elements done right, then Death Frost Doom is worth the cost.

WARNING - Death Frost Doom is not suitable for crybabies unable to handle character death. In this adventure it is likely that some player or players, will lose their character if the group is not sharply aware, and/or take too many risks. Some things may be tough to avoid, but can still be mitigated by a party on their toes. Besides, what fun is there in being too cautious!

A Red and Pleasant Land
What if Lewis Carroll and Bram Stoker somehow mated and bore offspring, then made an RPG setting based on their wickedly strange family? This might be that outcome, channeled through the mind of Zak S. of Playing D&D With Porn Stars.

While I have not finished reading the beautiful book, my skimming of A Red and Pleasant Land convinced me that it is a work of art, even more-so than its predecessor Vornheim. It is full color, full of art, and full of wonderfully twisted ideas mixing Alice in Wonderland and Vampires to create a very playable campaign setting. The bits and pieces, all of them, easily lend themselves to cannibalization for use in other fantasy style campaigns.

The Alice character class is unlike any character class I have seen in decades of RPGs. In this setting, it fits perfectly with the whimsy and twisted reality of Voivodja, though outside the setting it would be incredibly out of place and possibly less effective. During the progression of the class, random rolls move development along peculiar paths, all useful for navigating the chaotic social and political structures of the vampire warped pocket of existence and all based on some aspect of Alice in Wonderland.

ARPL is another of those RPG books that is very worth having and reading even if you do not plan to play in the setting, or might make a brief detour through it during your regular campaign.

The first printing/first edition (3,000 copies) has sold through and a second printing has been ordered. The reviews that have come in so far include glowing praise from the likes of China Meiville, Ken Hite, Monte Cook, and others. Get it, quickly, do not hesitate, or you may regret not having a copy for your gaming book shelf.

I may have more to say when I finish reading this amazing book. The only drawback, if you can call it one, is the very tiny bits of gold glittery material that ends up on your hands and other objects while you handle this hard bound, cloth covered treasure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Something Wicked Cool This Way Comes - clue 2

It is time for the second clue about what was commissioned for myself and the gaming group.

The first clue was Swing The Hammer. That resulted in some fun thanks to Stu Rat tossing in the comments about John Henry and Olympic Hammer Throwing.

Now let's see if the second clue provides for some more fun.

The second clue is: DARK WALNUT