Guild of the Golden Scorpion

The Green Crane / Golden Scorpion game is no more. The Good Games Lanyon GMs have decided to scrap it and start over, which is cool.

As we were all utterly wrecked after CanCon, Jamie asked me to run a delve on Monday. (God he looked terrible – the ‘ranga complexion does not do “exhaused” at all well). I ran the Level 16 delve with some pre-generated characters. There were several points of interest.

I am really pleased that we made the effort to simply be there, even though the green Crane Game was not on, and that the shop supported it. A gaming group just cannot work if “is it on this week?” is always the question. It’s the same as being in a sports comp – there has to be some degree of commitment from everyone to turn up regularly.

The “generate a character quickly” on the Wizards character builder blows chunks in several respects.

  • The quick-gen characters are all use the latest class-of-the month. If you want a striker, you don’t get a rogue: you get something out of PH3. Many of these have complicated rules which you cannot interpret just by reading the cards.
  • The quick-gen characters are horribly unoptimised. Jamie got one with which he could – essentially – do nothing. It really had nothing useful at all.
  • The generator just does not understand a4 paper at all, and some of the powers actually had important bits clipped. Seriously. We did not know what some of the feats and class abilities did. Wizards: not everyone uses the ridiculous, backwards system of weights and measures that the USA uses.
  • Don’t use the “Essentials” format. It seems to have missing stuff that you need for the full game.
  • Oh – page numbers, please Wizards. Or some way to figure out if you have accidentally missed a sheet. The printing is really bad, and I understand why Jamie wanted me to do up something to process those .dnd4e files into something useful. I might go ahead with it, now.

In all, the use of the fast-generated characters was a bust. I had to make rulings on the spot.

(UPDATE: I managed to convince my mac that I had a US Letter-sized printer. Print to PDF with that set as the printer captures the whole page as pdf. That pdf printed to a4 successfully captures all the text.)

I had fun faking out the players. The dungeon has a few statues. In the first room, one of them is a Helmed Horror. I managed to get the players paranoid about the second by putting it on the initiative board and rolling a d6 when it was its turn. In the final room, there are two statues. I managed to convince the players that they would light up when the boss became bloodied by accidentally letting the information slip. “Ok, ok, but your characters don’t know that – it might be something, it might just be another statue. It hasn’t moved yet.”

Had to chop out the second part of the delve – it took us so long to read the character sheets and figure out the powers, and invent rulings for stuff that we didn’t know.

Had fun ruling that a push into a wall did 2 points of damage – 1 if it was diagonal. The poor minions were getting clobbered by being rammed into the walls and furniture and knocked out. A little comedy.

Having the right minis was great – it just adds a little something, you know? Didn’t have enough Azers, and used a fire snake for one of them. What would have been nice is to have changed a couple of Azers into spitting fire snakes – level 16 artillery minions – and used the minis that I had.

I missed one of the boss’ powers – misread “burst” as meaning burst from around his position, rather than it having a range. But, it recharged on a six, so really missing it for a few rounds at the start didn’t make a big difference. Actually, I think that having the boss not use the recharging power straight away is probably a good move. An intelligent monster would watch the flow of battle for a bit and them place his shots. So all in all – not as big an OMG as I though at the time when I realised I had missed it.

Finally – I was pleased that the players wanted to know what happens after they take the vial off the boss and use it on the sconces. They wanted a denouement to the story – even though it was just a self-contained delve – and I made up something on the spot that seemed to please them. The delve says that the walls start to collapse and everyone has to scramble to get out. I embroidered this by saying that this set of rooms was a temporary structure in the primordial chaos that the boss had built specifically to accommodate the envoy (an air creature) – provided a “why” to back up the “what”. Cool.

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