GG3 Week 14 – sorry, guys

29 November, 2011

Oh man, I broke Winky’s encounter again. I won’t even bother getting Azroth to describe it.

We had gotten our magic bolt-cutter from the dwarf (I picture it as a chunky hooked axe – heavy like a blockbuster or goliath hammer) and were heading towards an entrance back to the underdark. We were attacked by a big gold dragon and a bunch of demons. Veritas calls “save yourself, and get the MacGuffin the fuck out of here!”.

And that’s the set up for the combat: fight or flee? And, if flee, how to get everyone past the melee?

Unfortunately, I like mobility. I’m playing a druid. And I had levelled up Azroth to 16. 16th-level utility power: Dryad trees. Daily. Summon 2 trees within a burst 20. Any ally can tp from a square next to one tree to a square next to the other as a move action. And I rolled 19 for initiative, I was second of the PCs.

Azroth moved to the edge of the battlefield (taking a couple of AAOs), and dropped one tree next to Warryn (who was carrying the MacGuffin) and the other 20 squares that away, well into the “you manage to successfully run away” zone. I then left the table (our turns take a while – lot of players). When I got back, almost everyone was clear. The DM did drop a demon next to Azroth, but drow darkness + run away fixed that.

We finished early. Sorry guys – I broke the encounter. It’s kinda cool, but kinda sucks as well.


Kingmaker

28 November, 2011

Missing a lot of time, I’m afraid. I’m getting close to a major milestone on my chainmaille, and that’s taking a fair bit of time.

Michael, this will be a little rushed, I’m afraid.

After the debacle with Ovthen alerting the whole town, Rainor and I decided to set up camp in that abandoned inn where the meeting was to be. After sundown, the other four (His Grace & “friend”, the Paladin, and the Dragon Disciple) sauntered in, assuring us that they had not been followed.

Hmm.

Anyway. At the appointed time, Satinda appeared. I say “appeared”, because it was an illusion – could have been anyone or anything. I Dispelled it, of course – we are all on quite the hair-trigger at present.

Satinda was on the roof. She and Jope spoke and hammered out the details, which were essentially what you would expect. She also mentioned a secret entrance to the castle but at about that time the soldiers who our clanking contingent were not followed by decided to attack.

There were some soldiers and whatnot. And a quite significantly powerful mage: he dropped a Chain Lightning and a Disintegrate on us – which did not manage to kill anybody.

I’ve said many times, to anyone willing to listen: Disintegrate is not a combat spell. There are more effective things – the most effective of which is buffing your fighters. It is, however, a brilliant spell in a different way: Disintegrate is rogue-in-a-can. There are not many traps, locked doors, and other environmental dangers that cannot be dealt with with a brief zap and it’s a very, very worthwhile investment to prepare one, or carry a scroll or two if you can afford the cash. I used it on a Necklace of Strangulation, once, arguing that I wasn’t trying to “make it let go”, I was just trying to destroy it (took two zaps before it failed the save). It specifically will drop a Wall of Force or any of the Bigby’s X Hand spells. It’s one of those spells that will get you out of all kinds of jams. If you need a hole widened, a siege engine disabled, a bridge collapsed, then Disintegrate is just the thing. Just don’t bother shooting it at people.

Anyway – he ran off (oh, he was Flying – should have mentioned it). Duke Jope offered mercy to the common soldiery, although not before a spectacular double nut-punch by our Monk/Ranger, vaulting down from the roof and dealing with two soldiers at once. “Stunning Fist” indeed. I think one of his victims actually vomited.

We decided to leave the town and hide out overnight. Rainor found a secluded spot, and I put up a Tiny Hut to conceal us further. We were undisturbed.


In the morning, we discussed assaulting a castle. Our paladin recalled that Satinda mentioned a secret entrance (well done, Scott). So I was sent to enter The Musty Clam again. It was locked up tight, but there was a window. No problem.

A tenth-level Rogue/Arcane Trickster does not have trouble breaking into an unguarded building.

Inside, it was plain that whatshername had abandoned the place. I rather hoped that she had left a message for me, so I went up to her office. Two secret compartments in the wall were open and empty, but the one in her little shrine was still undisturbed. And yes, inside – a map. Thankyou, dear. We shall try to not mess this up as badly as we have messed up everything else. I’m not terribly worried – once the boys get down to hitting things with sticks and lumps of metal, they manage quite nicely.

So. I took the map back to the team, and Rainor had no rouble finding the entrance. A concealed cave on the Hooktongue, set up with a deeper channel for access by boat. We descended the bluff, and Rainor unhooked the rope and came down the cliff using this odd monk technique. I admit some envy, but I manage well enough.

Go team Elf! Nature Boy and Urban Girl! Yay!

Inside and further in, a cave. And a pair of Black Puddings – that mage’s specialty, apparently. We’ve dealt with them before, you know. The trick is to use missile weapons to split them into smaller bits, then area-of-effect fire. I don’t really do evocation, much, but His Grace’s sorceress is reasonably competent.

At the back of the cave, a door. I slipped under when the boys levered it up a tad and went looking for a lever on the inside. I found it – but I think they broke the mechanism and go the door open just a second before I could open it from the inside. We’ll have to get that door fixed. And make it stronger – a door that can be opened in half a minute by 3 determined men is no barrier at all, when it comes to castle defences.

Having Dimension Door prepared drastically changes the risks you can take. 🙂 There was loot and a Bag of Holding, but Switch is not that kind of rogue. Ordinary theft is rather beneath a member of house Verdant, don’t you know.

Beyond that, the basement. And the treasury. We looted the gems, but the bulk of the coinage will of course go back into the barony – the walls, fixing the door, hiring some reliable defenders. And a monument. Always a monument.

A set of secret doors, but all of them secret from the other side. A trapdoor in the ceiling, with a rather clever little ladder, leading to a closet, and two doors leading to a wine cellar and a prison.

In the prison was Cassandra’s father, of course. Words were exchanged – I think His Grace managed to get an agreement that Freedonia would annexe Fort Drellev, and that this person would be Baron.

He was warden, or something, and gave us a nicely complete description of the keep. Also of interest were the – ahh – domestic arrangements. It seems Lord Drellev is married to the mage’s sister, but they are estranged and he is banging the (female!) bard. Interesting.

We left him below to guard the exit (we have fought together for some time – he’d only get in the way). Some of our loot – a magical sword and breastplate, and a Potion of Lesser Restoration, and he was altogether a different fellow.

We went up the secret trapdoor.


And another one above it. Very clever – no doubt these hidden little doors go all the way to the top of the tower.

Really nice castle design – hidden passages and an escape route. First time I’ve seen secret doors that made sense, rather than being an obvious plot device.

We went up to floors, and then heard a discussion being had. The boys in armour can’t help but clank a bit. His Grace ordered an Invisiblity Sphere which I did, but it was a bit of a waste as we had been heard and it fails the moment you do anything offensive. Oh well. His sorcerer dropped a Haste on us, there was another spell from somewhere, and then we burst out of the closet.

After the first few moments, in which Jope did the usual, the mage dropped a Wall of Force across the room, isolating him. Nice spell – nothing I could do: they are quite impervious to Dispel Magic. His Grace used a potion of Fly and exited out the window. Meanwhile, I had cast Improved Invisibility and skipped though the melee. The mage was a bit towards the back, and need to be dealt with.

Tumbling through a threatened square. Switch has Boots of Elvenkind, Improved Invisibility, and is a rogue. Evading mooks is not a problem. Higher levels are more of an even thing: it’s Acrobatics vs CMD, and CMD includes BAB. So a fighter’s CMD levels up at the same speed as a Rogue’s ability to tumble past them.

I put a Scorching Ray into the mage, and the Jope came through the window. The guards and the rest of us fought. Jope’s little sorceress was killed, I’m sorry to say – I’m not sure whether by sword or spell. The bard Dimension Doored Drellev and herself away. They do have a castle full of mercenaries, including giants, so they’ll be making a stand there. The mage used a full Teleport spell (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was). He could be on another continent.

Switch does 4d6 sneak attack per ray plus 2 per d6 of sneak attack. And I rolled high: lot of sixes. 90 odd points of fire into the mage. Next round either Switch, Jope, or Rainor would have killed him.

Anyway, there are only guards left. Our paladin is yelling for people to surrender, but I want to use the rest of this Invisibility – it only lasts a minute. (Next purchase: a rod of Extend Spell – my current rod just doesn’t have the power to extend a greater spell). I have run upstairs – looking for the wife, the mage’s sister.

Apparently not a nice pice of work, but then again most people are not. The paladin is right: I really shouldn’t kill her out of hand. It might be nice for His Grace to be able to make a show of mercy, and the mage is still alive, so giving him reason to take revenge might not be a good idea. I’ll shoot her once then offer quarter, I think – she’ll probably survive. Her brother did, and I got an especially nice shot on him. She’s probably a mage of some description (enchantress is my bet), so bound, gagged, and I think hooded might be best. Damn – was that Jope flying outside the window? They are looking for the Baron, I only have a few seconds. Catch this bitch, Dimension Door down to the dungeon where whatshisname is guarding the exit, then … I don’t know: up the secret door to the closet, out the closet door, and follow the sounds of fighting. Giants bellowing will be a clue. I might use a regular Invisibility to cover that – it lasts longer.

I am on the top floor of the castle. I see a T-shaped corridor, doors to the left and right, a door ahead. The room ahead will be the master bedroom. I suspect that the lady has her own room that she uses during the day, so I’ll search those first. Left, or right?

(Hmm … a brief thought. The warden called this woman “vain”, which is code for “attractive”, usually. If Jope kills her husband and his lover, I wonder if she might be interested in becoming a duchess? I wonder why Drellev has so little interest in her? If she is neither stupid nor too attached to Drellev, perhaps she might be pragmatic about things. She is – after all – nobility. Technically, and perhaps even by birth. Her brother and Morgana, also, might find they have common interests.)


GG3 Week 12 – Ok. Now it’s just getting silly.

28 November, 2011

We join the refugee march. I – still attempting to escape my unwanted fame – adopt my form and travel on the underside of one of the wagons. On the second or third day, my unit is sent to scout a structure somewhat at the road, at which someone has seen some activity.

We form up, head out. There is debate, but I forget why. I examine the tracks around the structure, briefly, but determine nothing.

Another martial practice. It’s supposed to take 10 minutes, so Az wouldn’t have been able to do it … but the DM told me I found nothing, so that counts as a use, so I paid the price (1 healing surge) anyway.

Inside: Lolth! Whatshisname the traitor general (I’ll call him Fred) is there, and Veritas! Much is discussed. At the end, I am left with a few key points:

A lot of plot, a lot of story exposition.

Bahamut, it seems, ordered the black magisters to go to the temple of the winds. Two generals accompanied them. The generals were ordered that if the magisters attempted to free the bound dragon, they were to be killed. The magisters did so, and Fred disobeyed the order. Hence they were declared to be traitors.

I was, it seems, completely wrong about this bound dragon to which I spoke. Quite simply, I spoke to Io the progenitor. There is no other. Why the, did he reply yes that he was Kevin? Because it was true! What need has the progenitor of a name? If I call him Kevin, or Io, or whatever, then that is his name.

Io told me that he had been bound by “two infernal spirits”. Surely, Bahamut and Tiamat fit the bill. Likewise, he told me that he was bound by the souls dying in their names. What would better fit this, than their wars?

The problem here is that there are a few completely plausible alternatives.

Firstly, the standard story: Bhamut and Tiamat came from Io, and they contend with one another. The bound dragon may or may not be Io, but in any case if he were released then there would be catastrophe.

Secondly, Kevin’s version. Io was bound by two internals: Bahamut and Tiamat. They sacrifice mortals on the altar of war to keep him bound.

Or possibly, a hybrid – that Bahamut was recently deposed, or replaced by something else.

I am not goig to finish this before next game. I’ll publish it now. It’s incomplete.

Urls at Urinals

23 November, 2011

Browsing MRA sites, found the “URLs at Urinals” thingy. So, wrote an EPS file suitable for printing onto sticky labels.

RedPill-mgtow-20.eps

The eps has a QR code for http://www.mgtowforums.com.
EPS is used because, well, the label-printing business whose site I found on the web seems to accept it. This image can be converted to other formats, but the process of doing so may create fuzzy images – it depends on how good the postscript processor in the converter is. You’re better off using the eps directly.

The eps is built for 20mm labels, with a 2mm area left clear around the border (because, once again, the online printshop that I found seemed to want that). However, it’s pretty simple to customise. Note that if you change the size by modifying this block:

/sz 20 mm def		% 20 mm sticky labels
/requiredborder	2 mm	% need a 2 mm white border
/textsize 5 def		% trial and error - flyspeck 5 fits ok

Then you must also modify the EPS headers

%!PS-Adobe-3.0 EPSF-3.0
%%BoundingBox: 0 0 56.6929133858268 56.6929133858268
%%IncludeFont: Helvetica
%%EndComments

56.6929133858268 is (obviously) 20mm converted into points (10mm=1cm, 2.54cm=1in, 1in=72 pt).

Most of the file is a QR generator, which I copied off http://www.terryburton.co.uk/barcodewriter/. The business of drawing the label is right at the end, and it’s pretty obvious where to stick the text and URL is you want to change it. If it’s not obvious, then find someone who codes.

See:


GG3 Week 11 – a little peace and quiet

8 November, 2011

Why am I sitting here debating, when there is a gateway to a progenitor dragon not 20 feet away? I step onto the portal.

I find myself in a place much the inverse of where I came from, an upright pyramid all in white. I see twin stairs leading up to a balcony, doors below and doors above. I decide to try the upper doors.

Beyond, a library. Four shelves of books, extending into the distance. I walk along and come to a wall, and a door. The door will not budge. I elect to leave it for the moment and try the door under the stairs.

It opens into a room. More books. On a table in the centre of the room, two books and a recent outline left by two more. Hmm – it’s seems I am not the only one who habitually keeps secrets.

The contents are indecipherable. The first is perhaps Dwarvish? The second script I do not recognise at all.

I spend an hour and turn the room over thoroughly, a trick I learned from a halfling pickpocket. The key is to search every surface once and once only, to neither waste time revisiting places you have been, nor to suppose that you have already searched surfaces that in truth you have not. Deceiving oneself is surprisingly easy, without discipline and mindfulness. A lesson, there.

Yay! I used a ritual! Or a martial practice – same thing. “Thorough Search” – one hour and 1 healing surge. +20 to a perception check. 6 on the die, 46 in total.

But no, nothing. Or at least, nothing that I am able to find.

The candles are odd. Strangely bright. I put two in my pack, and two to light my way – perhaps the light is magical? I return to the door at the end of the bookshelves above.

This time I see that the walls are odd. I walk through – they are simply illusions. A simple trick, but it worked on me the first time. (How strange that I admit that so freely! I have not been among my own race for many weeks now, and I see them and myself more clearly. The defensive pride of the drow is rooted in their fear of one another.)

Beyond, more bookshelves. An arch filled with blackness that my vision does not penetrate. Beyond, a room and a dead giant. It seems that I am following Gabriel’s trail. I search the giant (why not?), but no loot.

And beyond that, finally, a dragon.


The dragon – I cannot focus on it, my mind or my eyes. Is it simply a huge dragon before me, or is it bigger than the sky? Its scales are a colour new to all the world: a new primary shade. I cannot name it, I cannot even visualise it in my mind’s eye. It slips beyond my grasp, even as I stand and see it before me.

It is fettered at every point with irons of metal, of some substance that I will not even try to name. Manacles on in its legs and feet, on each individual claw, on the thumb hook of its wings and each wing tip, on the joints of its tail and neck, heavy bindings around its head and jaw, a mighty pillory of solid metal across its back holding the base of its wings, and chains from all of them them anchored in the floor and massive dome of the chamber about me. Every link, every join written deeply with runes, deeply etched on the fetters and finely inscribed across each weld, every stone of the chamber likewise inscribed, even the mortar in exquisite detail, the very pattern and shape of the stones a great warding. The dragon is half suspended, half hanging from chains that have held it for an age, held as if about to take flight, its legs ready for the leap, its wings poised for that first great downbeat that will lift it free of the earth. Bright power plays across the runes of its bindings and the chains that anchor it to the ground, but they hold fast.

I waste no time, I probably have only one chance. “Dragon, do you speak?”

It replies! Psychically – its voice painful but not overwhelming. We talk. I am open with him – I think it wisest. I tell him that I am a renegade of my kind, that I desire to slip free of the hold of the spider-godess Lolth, that the blood of a progenitor dragon changed me and that I desire to change permanently. I name Io, I mention the war above. The knows the names Bahamut and Tiamat, and reacts, but what they mean to him I cannot guess. He tells me that he knows of no other dragons like himself and Io. He says that he was bound by two great infernal spirits, but he does not know their names, nor can he describe them to me.

He tells me that I may take his blood – he cannot keep me from doing so – but it will do me no good, for I have already tasted the blood of Io. I ask him if it is in my power to free him, but he says no.

A am … disappointed. We cannot bargain: I cannot help him, and he cannot help me. Nevertheless, I find a likely vein and tap a mouthful or two of his blood. It is like the blood of Io, but it seems to work no change in me. We talk a little more, but to little purpose. He says that the library contains “the knowledge of ages”, but I could have guessed this, as it is the nature of libraries to contain knowledge. It is rather the whole point of them.

I wander out, return to the room below, and retrieve the two books. I return to the dragon. His mind – his mind is clouded. He does not remember me. I think that the fetters about him also fetter his mind. The books are simply a pair of dictionaries. With the two of them, one may translate between supernal and dwarven.

The portal does not transport me away, but I neither eat, drink nor sleep. I read. I talk to the dragon, occasionally. With nothing to mark the time, I am not sure how long I was there.

I am suddenly snatched away …

I was going to mention some out-of-game info in this blog. But screw it. Youse can all find out later. Maybe 🙂 .

Oh – apparently Gabriel said straight up that he was working for Big B, and that threw the dragon off. Big B isn’t Azroth’s primary thing (Big L is), so he kinda dodged a plot bullet just by way of his backstory. Cute.


I am at the portal in the inverted black pyramid below. People – humans, dragonborn. I am dazed, slow to react. One yells “I know that drow! Get him out of here!” I am clubbed unconscious.


It seems I am a prisoner again. Of the Black Magistrars, no less: The Platinum One’s legal assassins. I tally up the ways in which this could have been worse: there are many. Best of all, they are taking me out of the underdark, which is the direction in which I want to be going. My captor is that Gith whose assassination of that diabolist we failed to foil, all those months ago.

There have been more intrigues. It seems that one of Bahamut’s own generals has denounced the Black Magistrars, that nearly all of have been executed. The gith assures me that there is some mistake, that the magistrates are loyal to Bahumut. Or at least that he is. I promise to take his message. Left unsaid is that while I might convey his message, I cannot vouch for its truth.

One of the magistrars accompanies me. A bowman.

New player. Welcome to the weekly chaos!

We make it to the capital. We are in a stable, preparing to infiltrate the Ivory Tower tomorrow. When utter chaos strikes – a major attack on the capital itself.

The bowman and I emerge. Dragons are warring in the sky, crashing to earth. There is some sort of enchantment on the whole city – ordinary citizens: barbers, tailors – are fighting one another on the streets. Singly and in knots of dozens and hundreds. In all this chaos, who should I see but my companions. What are the chances? Someone is moving the chesspieces around, I fear. Regardless, we need to make our way to the Ivory Tower, fast, without being waylaid.

We got together at the table and within half a minute had broken Winky’s game.

Who was fastest? Kriv, of course, who can fly in short bursts – enough to get past the various melees and other obstacles in our way. I used my power to transform all of us except Kriv into small spiders, and we all
clung to him as he took us directly to the tower.

Druid utility power “Animal Shapes”. Transform a bunch of willing allies into innocuous small animals – mice, chipmunks. Sustain minor. Azroth does spiders, of course. A few strands of webbing, and hanging onto a running, jumping, half-flying dragonborn is not a hassle.

At the tower we change back – Kriv shedding allies, and join the crowd. Someone wearing braid addresses us all – it seems that one of the generals, the same that denounced the black magisters, has turned traitor. Well, well, well. The Platinum one is elsewhere. We march to regroup.

Apparently my companions were granted an audience with his metallicness himself, Gabriel describing his meeting with the progenitor. Bahamut insists that this dragon must be freed.

I’m not sure how this might be accomplished. I have diagrams and rubbings of some of the runes on the fetters. Perhaps the great one might tell us how we could proceed to accomplish such a thing as loosing them?

Oh. I’d like to meet the platinum one myself, too. For a specific reason, which I will not relate just yet.


Kingmaker

6 November, 2011

Missed a week blogging. Oh well.

Michael,

I am absolutely furious. Bloody livid. I’m sorry if I vent a little in this message, but really!


From the Inner Sea World Guide. Hopefully our characters get a better map than this!

What was going on last time I wrote? We came back from the mountains, there was an attack on Tatselford, that’s right. We worked out that there was trouble from the west.

Well, after stabilising things we went home. Things to do – there wasn’t going to be another attack any time soon. I took care of business, and His Dukeness relaxed by pursuing his hobby down ‘t forge, making me a really very nice chainmail shirt, while I did up some scrolls to replace the ones I had used. We’d all like to have done more, but there wasn’t time. Eventually we simply replaced our consumables by buying them. We can afford it, these days. The people in our academy and caster’s tower also had recently researched some new spells, one or two of which I have transcribed.

Switch relies heavily on scrolls: it’s really the only way to play a wizard, I think. Her bonded item also gives her just that little bit of flexibility, but she scribes and uses a lot of scrolls.

The “new spells” are in Paizo’s new “Ultimate Combat”. Dave rolled for whether the ones I wanted were available. One or two were, and it actually came in handy.

I took “arcane armour training” as the 12th level feat. The chain is +3, which is level-appropriate. Quite a bit better than the old Mage Armour, and more rogue-y. Anyone want a slightly used wand?

Meanwhile, this woman had been pressing His Grace to do something about Baron Drellev, to the west, who was behind the attack. The baron (like ourselves) had been charted by Brevoy to tame a chunk of land, but had had much less success than us. Apparently he eventually struck a deal with the local savage tribes – they would take hostages in exchange for not razing his town. Thing is: the baron is without issue. So instead they took the first born of each of his council. This woman – Cassandra – was from one of the families.

Now … really. Have you ever heard anything more suspicious in your life? I’d wager considerable gold at poor odds that the Baron himself is behind the whole thing, and that these hostages are not held by some savage tribesmen but are instead tucked away in the dungeons of that castle I can see just beyond the trees.

But I’m getting ahead of the story.

We headed out, sallied forth. We were simply going to go to Fort Drellev and, well, find out what was what. His Grace also decided to clear out the worst of the monsters as we went. I think he’s feeling acquisitive again (now that we have the resources, we should finally start regular patrols in the forest. We needn’t build roads through it, but I’d like to know that it is definitely our territory.). We bought along our new hangers-on: the dragon disciple who we discovered at the attack on Fort Tatselford, His Grace’s replacement for dear little Giacomo, and Scott’s character who I just can’t quite recall, sorry dude (all I can picture is your rogue from the other game).


The land to the northwest is swampy – you can see it on any map. We left our roads and made our way overland to the north, where there is an important bridge, then west along the trade road to Fort Drellev. The road runs along an enormous swamp, and the local residents are tough – it’s not a wonder that Baron Drellev had difficulty establishing his barony. We took down some ettins who attacked our camp, not a problem. Then there were some aggressive frogs and lizards which were a little near to the road. These lizards – well, they turned out to be basilisks and I don’t mean to worry you but they got me. One moment I was shooting Scorching Rays at these things, next I was regaining consciousness with a gutted basilisk carcass draped over my head, the blood from which had reversed the petrification. (Nasty stuff. Acidic. When the petrification was reversed, I used Prestidigitation to clean it off. My hair is a fright.)

So anyway. The basilisks were done for, but the frogs had run off and were huddling around this hill, a few score feet away. Rainor shot an arrow into it and the whole bloody hill turned out to be a Froghemoth. Just as well they woke me up first [says Switch, preening slightly]. Froghemoth (what’s the plural, do you suppose?) snatch people with their tongues and swallow them. I must make up a new wand of Grease at earliest opportunity: this one is nearly done. His Grace was fine of course – Ring of Free Action. Once everyone was greased up I dropped a Scorching Ray into it, but it was really no use at all. I simply must spend a little time and research a variant that uses a different mode of action. They simply whacked it until it was dead.

Anyway. Job done, after a few tense moments. We continued on.

Oh, a rules clarification. In Pathfinder, if a spellcaster’s rest is interrupted then it isn’t “Ha ha! No spells for you!” as in 3.5 and earlier. It takes an extra hour of rest per interruption. Any spell slots you use cannot be used again until 8 hours have elapsed. Much less annoying.

So. Fort Drellev. Cassandra gave us a contact, a certain X at “The Velvet Corner”, and a token to show her. We tried to bluff our way in as a mercenary company, but the guards were just a shade too bright.

We rolled badly. Dave ruled that we were suspiciously well-equipped for a down-at-heels mercenary company, which is the only kind that would be seeking work here.

So instead it was my job to make contact. Rainen would fly me over high enough that we would not be spotted, I would use Invisibility and Feather Fall, and that would be that. I used my rod of Extend Spell. With that, I can do a simple Invisibility for about an hour and three quarters. Plenty of time.

The guys are all going “HALO drop!” Switch could probably simply have walked in through the incomplete wall. But meh: using magic is the first thing that occurs to her, so it’s in character to do it the complicated way.

What? An assignation, a clandestine meeting! I wake, a little. We are a shadow, we walk past them – they never know we are there, not once. Roomsfulls of swords, yet we have no fear whatever. Even if they did see us, they could do nothing to impede us. And it matters not – we are too cunning for such as they.

I had thought to drop the invisibility once I had gotten into town, but there were guards everywhere. So whatever. I found “The Velvet Corner”, which – as I should have suspected – is a brothel. (Why not call it the “Velvet Clam” and be done with it?) I located the madam, who went into a back room to do a little paperwork. She left the door open to give herself a view of the front desk, which made it easy to enter.

Well. Here I was. What to do? I wasn’t sure that this was my contact – she was using a working name, I think. But, well, I couldn’t imagine that someone of good family would work here as a companion, so the madam was probably she.

I gave a discrete cough, which got her attention. I dismissed the invisibility. After a beat, she went to the door, told the guards that she was not to be disturbed, and closed it. What a sensible woman, thank Desna.

Well, I won’t go into too much detail. I don’t think I was very persuasive. But I did set up a meeting for an hour after dusk tomorrow, at “The Iron something-or-other, a disused inn”. A sign of how badly the baron is managing things, bye the bye, that an inn right in the middle of town is disused. I cast invisibility again, asked her to open the door, and went to see this inn. I took careful note of things so that I could Dimension Door in tonight, teleported out as far as I could (beyond the treeline), made a note of where I had teleported to, and went to report.

I flubbed the encounter rather badly, forgot the name of the chick who sent us here – thought and memory had to remind me. I’m actually think that’s kind of ok. Switch has low charisma. I think it’s not because she’s bad-looking, it’s because she sucks at dealing with people. Sigh. I’m a lousy roleplayer: I always wind up playing myself. She also has a low Wis and gave away details such as that we would teleport in. But compared to what happened next…

Anyway. His Grace’s new offsider can cast Clairvoyance (she’s a sorceress, you know, so it doesn’t count). I used one of the new spells: Share Memory to give her an accurate picture of whatshername’s office. We snooped, but I don’t think we accomplished much by it.

We would idle away tomorrow, and meet an hour after dusk. What could go wrong?


So anyway. His grace, keeping up the charade that we were a mercenary company trying to get into town, went down to argue with the new gate guard. Unknown to me at the time, he decides to bribe the guards to get in. Ovthen also bribes his way in, our scruffy down-at-the-heels mercenary dwarf dropping more money on them than they will ever see in their entire lives.

Stuff happens. Ovthen decides to make an absolute display of himself. He’s tyaken to the castle. Don’t know where His Grace and the four or five hangers-on he took into town with him are. First thing I know about it, Rainor and I see what is unmistakably a Flame Strike hit the castle. Shit. I’m running to Rainen, casting invisibility as I go. Another one for Rainien and Rainor on the way over (I use the low level spell because it lasts longe and it’s less risky). Ovthen is in the castle courtyard, enlarged, fighting two giants. I do the HALO jump again (not sure why they call it that), yell “Ovthen, you bloody idiot” so that he knows it’s me, and then Dimension-Door the two of us the hell out of there.

Dave dealt with this at the table by having us play the bad guys – the human guards. My dude got toasted 😦 .

I’m – I still can barely contain it. THe whole town, the whole town is in an absolute uproar. I don’t know what our contact, Madam Whatshername, is going to think. At least it was only one of us, and His Grace wasn’t in the castle courtyard, openly fighting with the guards.

We have a Hat of Disguise, so maybe we can deal with this mess by disguising Ovthen and pretending that the fracas was nothing to do with us. Maybe not. I think we should just bury him up to the neck in the woods and pretend we never knew him. Pick him up later. He’s a dwarf, he’ll survive. I can still teleport us into and out of the old inn where we are supposed to be meeting tonight.

Or maybe we might as well simply assault the castle and damn stealth. I don’t know.

It’s just appalling.

Unknown to Switch, His Grace et. al. was in the bearded clam (whatever), and sort of did a hat-tip to Ms Thingy (actually, it was Ben’s character, the Dragon Disciple). There was also a nugget of information – Lord Drellev has been acting weirdly ever since he got a new caster. An important development. Switch couldn’t have gotten that info, with her crap social skills.

In any case. Game on next week.


Annette @ The Durham

6 November, 2011

Odd night last night.

I think it’s because I was a touch dressed up. Pants, rather than jeans. Shiny shoes, rather than workboots (I ride a vespa – sturdy footwear is wise). 200-dollar shirt. Couple of years old, but I don’t wear it a lot so it still looks like a 200-dollar shirt.

I’m 45, growing out the facial hair. Big patch of grey on the chin, a little here and there on the cheeks. I don’t work out. Spindly arms, pot belly. 5’8 – shorter than most. Guys (here in Oz) at the bar call me “Big Fella”. It’s not a compliment. Beta – shit – Zeta male.

But Annette walks right up to me and starts attempting to talk over the music. The clothes, maybe, or the age. I was the only 40-yo in the joint. Annette – late 30s. Not a hot late-30s either. Not an american land-whale, but yeah, carrying the usual weight of a woman that age. But you can see it in her face, the feminine little chin, the confidence: she used to be cute as fuck. She used to be an 8+.

“I’m not trying to pick you up”, she yells. “Oh yes you are, babe”, I reply. Don’t know if that’s a good opener or not. Don’t care. Had my midlife crisis, been through the male menopause a few years back.

Annette buys me a drink. Interesting. We talk a little – yell above the noise. I get the impression that she is back in town for a weekend. I live in Canberra: the Big Smoke is Sydney or Melbourne. I think this particular bar, she used to be queen here 15 years ago. My, but a lot has changed! My, it’s a whole different crowd! Well, duh.

Annette drags me out on the floor. I usually hate dancing – I’m bad at it, and there’s this pin in my leg. But the crush is severe enough that it doesn’t matter: all you can do is jog up and down. Annette faces away from me.

A couple of guys are peacocking. Probably not PUAs, it’s just that every now and then there’s a fancy-dress party somewhere in the neighbourhood, and people move on to the nightlife at Green Square when they wind down. One guy is dressed as an Ace of Clubs, one as the mad hatter wearing a furry hat that makes him 7-foot tall. Annette wants it. Lesson: Mystery’s furry hat fucking *works*. It deals with the thing that many guys find most intimidating: the approach.

Stuff happens. At one point, Annette attempts to put her handbag over my head. I wave it off. “No babe,” I yell over the music, smiling (thanks to these forums, I knew to smile while I did it), “I will not hold your handbag for you while you dance with someone else. Fuck that.” I just passed a shit-test! Oh sure, I failed a whole series of others, but still – I passed one. I see a spark of respect.

But not enough. Not nearly enough. And anyway, I just don’t want it enough. She attempts to flirt with guys 10 years younger, who don’t want it either. Particularly fascinated by a couple of black guys (this is Canberra, dudes, black people here are not “niggers” in the way Americans mean it, they are exotic people often actually from Africa recently). “You don’t know me”, she drunkenly proclaims to me. “You don’t know me”. Apparently her brother is a lawyer. Apparently she – or at least he – was a big shot around there, 15 years ago. It’s Canberra babe. National capital, remember? You’ve clearly forgotten that important people are pretty thick on the ground.

It’s 2, 2:15 maybe. The band (Special K – good band) finishes up. Thank you and good night. She suggests another drink. I say no. She’s had enough. I’m probably not going home with her, but if I do I don’t want her so drunk she falls asleep during. I go for the close – why not? “You wanna go?” Annette shakes her head, drags me out on the dance floor again. Back to me. I fuck off, head next door to the Holy Grail. Buy a beer. Grab a chair outside, watch for her to come out and head down the path, alone. That head-shake was all I needed to see, but I am the only guy within a 500-m radius who is even potentially willing to fuck her late-30s faded hot-chick ass tonight. I’m feeling good.

She emerges, just exactly, precisely as I knew she would. I debate it briefly, but I’m not quite ready to go home. I follow. Just around the corner. She’s all unhappy. Apparently the police moved her drunk not-having-a-good-time self on. Poor little ex queen of the bar! Whose brother is a lawyer! Who was an important person around these parts, 15, maybe 20 years ago!

Misery loves company. I’ve been made miserable for years and years by exactly these people, her age cohort. Even now, she’s still trying to treat me like shit. Seeing her unhappy – not just unhappy, but shocked: drunk and bewildered, uncomprehending how these things could possibly have happened to her, realising that it’s a whole new reality – it’s a good feeling. She’s living my reality, now, the one I have lived all my life. I feel good about it. Momentarily guilty about feeling good about it, but along with Roosh I say: “You did this to me“.

I tell her to her face, “Well babe, if you want to be all unhappy and not having a good time, that’s up to you.” I head back to The Grail. Don’t expect to see her again – you know, police and all – but there she is. Dance floor again. She has the fucking front to introduce me as her brother to some black guy. Whatever. It’s after 3 and I have to start sobering up if I want to ride home. We aren’t doing anything tonight. At my age, if you want to fuck then you have to head home at 2, or preferably before.

And anyway, I’ve kinda finished, you know? I sit in a chair for a while (dangerous, because you can fall asleep that way). I think she drags me onto the floor one final time, but I just walk off as soon as her back is turned, which is pretty much straight away. Whatever – not even offended anymore. I leave, go walk around the block, as usual. Walking it off. Get back after 4, and I can see from over the far side of the carpark that they are turning the ugly lights on. I don’t go back to the bar to see if she’s still there. I get on my bike, and ride home.