GG4 Week 7 – a little downtime

25 March, 2012

Week off, this week. I ran a delve, which was fun. By which I mean, it was a TPK. Daniel somehow has managed once again to build an entirely legal monster freak powerful character. But not enough, not enough, when it’s three characters without a healer against a room full of vampires.

Korgul has been taking items instead of his split of the lewt and so has been running short of cash. Turns out I have not been taking the 100gp per job into account. Fixed that – he now has the correct treasure. And a hat.

Oh, and “Versatile Duelist” feat, which is extra fun with the dynamic dagger. I ran the numbers through excel. Even with a -2 to attack, broadsword does the most DPS. (-1 because you lose the brutal scoundrel dagger bonus, -1 because there’s a +2 instead of a +3 proficiency bonus on a broadsword). Scimitar is slightly better against things with a very high AC – things that you need an 18 to hit. But if you are up against something that you need an 18 to hit, you’re screwed and an extra 1.5 hp per round isn’t going to help.

A half-orc walks into a small but overflowing workshop.

“Biggles.”
“Korgul.”
“Business or pleasure?”
“Always a pleasure, Biggles, but yeah – I came in abaht some armour.”
“Ooch, I was wondering when you would. You know you have about three hundred gold on account?”
“Well, nah, I didn’t know. Which is why I have been wading into fights wearing this.”

Korgul dumps a sack onto the bench, and hauls out pieces of hardened leather. Biggles casts a professional eye over them.

“Well, laddie, there’s nothing much wrong with that. One or two notches, but nothing serious. I can easily add a little magic if you like.”
“Yeah, fanks. Wot do you fink you can do?”
“Well, you have enough gold for a basic dragonshard, and enough for a little bit extra. More if you traded in that dagger.”
“Naaw. I’m growing attached to it. Watch this:

Korgul staps back and draws a dagger from his belt. A flicker of motion, and suddenly he is holding a four and a half foot long broadsword.

“Nice, eh? Also works as a can opener if yer gives it a minit ter recharge. Where does the extra steel come from?”
“Dynamic weapon. The extra steel is conjured matter – it evaporates after a bit, which I’m sure you’ve noticed. Don’t you find a broadsword is a little clumsy for you?”
“Dunno wot yer talking about. I been practising. Nah worries.”

Biggles reaches to a shelf and pulls down a large book. Inside are pages and pages of arcane diagrams and spells, the diagrams overwritten with detailed notes on the position of each line and circle, and precise measurements of the positioning of dragonshards to be embedded as part of the enchantment.

“Well Korgul, I can do you any one of these – you can buy a 2-grain khyber shard with what you have. Plus labour, of course.”
“Of course. Oooh – that could come in ‘andy.”
“A little out of your price range, lad.”
“Oh. Yeah, awlright. Ow about this one? Replusion? For when I is getting mobbed.”
“Must be your personality, eh? Repulsion it is. Come back in four days.”
“Four days? I would av fort you could knock one of these out in a hour!”
“You’re not my only customer, Korgul. Just my ugliest. Four days.”
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Slutwalk

20 March, 2012

So the sluts are coming out marching again, apparently. A Canadian police officer said, “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”, and the grrrls are outraged. Outraged, I tells ya!

Thing is, you can tell that these walks are pro-establisment. How? No cops beating people. No teargassin. No tazing. No people being bludgeoned into a bloody mess and then packed twenty at a time into paddy wagons. No being held fifty to a cell for two weeks and then being released without charge.

You know. None of the usual.

Why?

Because the slutwalk is at its core a plea for more police, more security, more big, strong, safe men to keep an eye on every little thing that everyone does. Perhaps a woman should be able to dress in heels and nets and go where she likes without harassment or risk. But be that as it may, the only way to make it happen is more surveillance, more cameras, more locking down the police state.

There was never yet a cop who didn’t think that having a bunch more cops wasn’t a good idea. There was never yet a prison guard who didn’t feel, deep down, that the world would be a better place if everyone were in prison. And their bosses and boss’ bosses feel pretty much the same way. That’s why they are more than happy to let these marches, alone of all similar offences against public order, proceed without state-initiated violence.

Slutwalk is a demand for more paternalism.


Kingmaker

17 March, 2012

We change watch: Klael goes to watch the hostages, and Rainor joins us. There are doors to the north and southwest. I think. I am getting a little turned about, which is unnerving.

This dungeon is quite large, and Dave was mapping out the rooms by drawing them wherever we could fit them on the sheet. As a result, it was tricky for players to keep track of where things were, which nicely mimicked the disorienting effect of the Guards and Wards.

To the north is a cavernous room with pillars arranged as stepping-stones. A test of balance – another barbarian test, but one more to my liking. I step across. The pillars are rounded at the top and a little slick. Jope will not make it across here without a little help. I see some movement below. On the other side a short passage and a door which I do not open.

I head back to join the group – Rainor watching my progress. On the final pillar I become overconfident and fumble the jump. My ring of Feather Fall catches me, but below I find what is causing the movement – swarms of ants. Big ones. I cast Spider Climb from a scroll and flee, but I have several of the things on me, and thousands follow me up the wall.

I put up a Wall of Fire to burn them off. It helps, but not enough. Jope’s standardbearer uses the standard (a dragon head on a pole) to breathe fire. After a little longer, I manage by dint of rolling about to crush the remaining ants. But I need a fair bit of help from Ovthen to deal with the bites and stings.

The southwest corner is where the hag-priestess map indicated that the focus of the complex is, and we open that door.


Beyond is a temple, really. And barring our passage a human of indeterminate age. He and Jope chat a little. It seems that he more-or-less administers the test, and is not terribly pleased that Jope needed help to get through it. He is a priest of Gorrum, it seems – the chaotic god of fighting a lot. After a moment more of banter Jope simply attacks him. The fight might have gone on longer, but Rainor managed to stun him with a splendid shot to the temple, then – taking advantage of his momentary distraction – I got him with a Scorching Ray that arced up and transposed our positions. Although this sort of misfire can be a disaster, in this case it meant that he was teleported 30 feet away from his weapon. The next few seconds, well, nothing out-of-the-ordinary happened.

Yeah, we mugged that poor bastard. Three crits – two from Brett, one from me. We use the GameMastery deck, so it’s always a little more fun.

I open the next door. Beyond is a man who has sort-of half transformed into the hero (?) in the statues around us. With him are a squad of undead. The man attacks me rather than Jope, springing in and away. The undead move in. I drop a Glitterdust on the group, and retreat.

The man and the undead warriors pour through the door, I am hit again, then Rainor, then another one takes a swing at my ne…

I shall remember you, Verdant-daughter. To any who wears me I will tell your story too among all the others.

And so ends the story of Seldryn Verdant. She died looting a tomb – low on spells, out of action points. If she had cast Improved Invisibility rather than Glitterdust, it might have turned out differently. As it was, she was overkilled by 15 points – a definite character death.

Dave is not keen on respawning, and I don’t really want to bring her back nerfed. I had a look through Ultimate Magic, and two options have caught my eye so far.

First, there’s the question of her family ring: Thought and Memory. We could bring back her cousin who was present during the owlbear attack as a Magus, a gish class who probably can benefit from the T&M bonuses.

The second option is that it seems that this “hero reborn” business involves a certain minor artifact sword, dedicated to Gorum. I am thinking Oracle of Steel, which is an option for Oracle in UM. Chaotic Neutral, of course. Oracle of Steel gets Disable Device as a class skill. It leaves us short of an arcane caster, but like any team that’s been working to together a while the only way to seamlessly replace Switch would be to make a Switch clone, which we don’t want to do.


GG4 Week 6 – An interlude

14 March, 2012

Well, kids – them is the city gates. Ave a good look. An that road goes all the way ter Sharn, the big city. Wot? O’ course I been out o’ the city! ‘Eaps o’ times!

Jez as Ruz, Changeling Assassin
Reese as Mirokoth, HUman Cleric
Nick as Kruz, Goliath Fighter
Drewf as Chimera, Elf Swordmage

First time eva wos onna job. But there’ ain’t much ter say abaht it. There was two jobs, same as always. One ovvem was artificers an magic an fings. Uvver wos some goblins stole summik and we ‘ad ter go get it back.

So I went ter go beat up sum goblins, and they was a few miles down this road ‘ere. It’s orl farms for miles around, but there’s a couple ‘o spots where ther is still woods, and the goblins wos in oneovvem. There wos some guards on the door, and we beat ’em up. Oh – they ‘ad these plants that were sorta vines wiv orl spikes onnem. Nasty and poisonous – yer dahn’t wonnem ter scratch yer. But we was orlright.

Inside wos a chief goblin an some uvver ones. We beat em up, and recovered the sword wot they stole. An that wos that.

Naaah, kids – the sword went back ter the customer, and I fink ‘e wos pleased ter ‘ave it ‘ome. Family piece, or summik. Nah let’s get you two back ‘ome before sunset. Quick as yer like! Up on the roofs – I’ll be the watch, and you can try and dodge me! Ready, set … ay! I ‘avent said go yet!

They learns quick at their age.


Kingmaker – Oh for heavens sake! Really?

13 March, 2012

So we decide that we couldn’t simply leave whatever-it-was in the cave behind us and take the hostages back home. Instead we leave them with Rainen (who Rainor can telepathically communicate with), and go to investigate.

On closer inspection, the fog in the passage leading into the hill seems to be an “Obscuring Mist”. It tastes a little chaotic, if that makes sense. Beyond is was a room with three priestesses of the hag goddess – remember those cultists who gave us some trouble early on? There is a fight, and they are laying about with some sort of Confusion effect. I damn near kill Ovthen.

I didn’t blog last week’s Serpent’s Skull. Finally popped my DM cherry – killed a character. Tim’s. Needless to say, Ovthen is also Tim’s character. I don’t have it in for him, I swear!

We deal with the priestesses. There are two doors. Oh, and I might mention: there seems to be a Guards and Wards effect on the place. Webs, disorientation. A real pain. Very important we don’t become separated.

Beyond one door is a statue of a barbarian – no doubt the one who is al prophecies to return and scour the world clean of decent, civilised people. Beyond that, a room with four identical exits. Damn. With the magic on this place, you know that it spins around to disorient you.

Beyond the other door is an odd room – four differently sized boulders and four depressions in the floor. Ah – a puzzle. Do people really put those sort of things in dungeons, as in the books? It appears so. But why?

The boulders are too heavy for me to help with, so go back to the corpses and commence to cast Create Treasure Map. The map is quite odd. Rather than being filled with detail, it simply shows the chamber we are in, and instead of an “X marks the spot”, there is a circle drawn around a whole chunk of the map to the northwest. Then I understand – this place is not a temple of the Hag Goddess. These priestesses were here to raid it, and new only the rough location of something significant.

The boys trigger a trap in the boulder room, and several of us are caught in it. They then decide to put the boulders in in reverse order, and that seems to fix the problem.

Tim found out about the granted ability of the Strength domain – a +11 to Ovthen’s strength for a limited time. Nice. That’s how we shifted the boulders. Oh, and his Cure spells are 150%.

Onward.


Rainor and I think Klael go into the next room. It There is some sort of wheel on the ground, which they turn. Immediately the whole room becomes icy cold and conjured ice walls them in. They keep turning the wheel. I try to deal with the wall with a Scorching Ray, but it just burns a hole through and hits Klael (shooting a lot of own-goals today). Ovthen tries to bash through the ice from outside – I drop a Resist Energy on him. Eventually he gets through, and I leap through the hole he made as the room seals it up again.

Inside I first of all give Klael a Resist Energy by way of apology. After a moment, I need one for myself – it is cold in here. They keep turning the wheel. It clicks to a final notch and they hold it in place, and as they do the cold lessens somewhat. I jam the wheel in place. We discuss unjamming it – maybe it needs to be wound up and unwound, but Rainor disagrees and keeps holding the wheel. After a few more moments the conjured ice dissolves away and the next door opens. Seems Rainor was right.


The next room is simply a large chamber with an animated statue. We have Enlarged Jope, and the statue beckons him. They fight. My magic does nothing, and after a couple of wasted attempts at casting Displacement, I just sit back and watch.

Watching, I understand. For heaven’s sake! This whole place was built by barbarians and the rooms are a series of hairy male challenges. Strength, endurance. I suppose the other rooms test you for ability to drink mead, or stupidity.

Still – it rather works in our favour. The hag-goddess priestesses would never have gotten through. If anything, this whole place might very well have been built specifically to keep them in particular out. In fact, this place might very well have been built to admit someone just like his thickheaded lordship through to whatever treasure the priestesses were after.

In other words, we are not necessarily in enemy territory here.

Gods! This barbarian destined to return and conquer the lands … you know how these prophecies work: they are worded so vaguely that whoever happens to fulfil them becomes “the chosen one”. Can it be that Jope himself could be (or become) the prophesied conqueror? It all fits rather neatly, I fear. Lets face it: that’s exactly what he is doing. I wager that beyond this next door lies a sword in a stone, or some sort of ancient barbarian crown or some such.

Then again, perhaps the current ruler of Pitax is “The One”. You know how these prophecies work. Whoever wins becomes retroactively legitimised. I might keep this to myself for now.

Jope defeats the construct. Not far beyond is, well, no doubt something.

So Switch’s and my speculations about the campaign are out-of-game for the other characters for the moment.

Google

8 March, 2012

Apparently, people have decided to g-bomb Tawkify. So there you go.


SS Week 12 – The M’neri plains

1 March, 2012

At first light our heroes take their leave of Eleder, and set out 2 days in advance of the main convoy for Kalabuto. The travel the M’neri plains.

It is not long – only 3 days – before they face their first challenge: a mighty T-Rex!

The module does not contain anything definite about how often you roll for random encounters. I’m rolling twice a day and doing an encounter on a 0 on d10. First encounter, I roll up what it is and get a 99. Extra fun times.

It charges without hesitation. But Alison summons dogs to distract it, and the Monk’s cheese is equal to its blows. After a lengthy combat, they reduce it and loot the corpse.

Andrew’s monk is now a “master of many styles” lizard man. Crane style means that when fighting defensively, he deflects one melee weapon attack per round. A tyrannosaurus’ bite is a natural weapon, and counts.
A slam attck, however, is not a “melee weapon attack”. Neither is a bull rush or other combat maneuvers. This will become significant.

They continue on. On the 10th day, the road veers north around a line of hills. To the south, old signs indicate that there is a mine. Nkekchik guesses that the mine probably goes all the way under the hills, and that the route would save days of travel.

While considering this, they are confronted by a young woman and her pet. The woman speaks polyglot and is convinced the party are dinosaur hunters. The party badly bungles the diplomacy, and the fresh T-Rex tooth hanging around the lizardman’s neck does not help matters. She attacks. They knock her unconscious and tie her up, but with enough slack that she will be able to get out in a few minutes.

They head into the mine, which turns out to be a salt mine – strata of salt in the walls, and muddy, briny sludge underfoot with well-preserved wooden walkways: enough for mining carts, and sufficient for a caravan. They are attacked by an ooze, which they deal with easily. Then they are molested by groups of odd undead – crusted with salt, they draw the water out of the character’s bodies. There are two, three, four groups. One attacks after they find the old pay chest. One collapses the roof.

Eventually they reach a strange, blue, glowing orb pulsing with negative energy. Something begins to emerge, and they hit it with everything they have. Vik scores a splendid hit, and within moments whatever it was is no more.

On the ground lie two bodies. About the neck of one is a still-shiny pay-chest key. And about the other, a locket containing anb engraving of a kindly-looking man holding his infant daughter.

They continue to the end of the mine without incident, and break out into daylight.

And do not unravel the mystery of the locket. Oh well.

Two days later towards evening they meet a caravan traveling in the opposite direction. Taking the opportunity to rest for the night in a larger croup, they join. There is a cockfight, and Joseph is keen to wager.

His chosen bird does well, so well that the organiser of the event accuses him of cheating. There is a fight between the party and the bouncers, and the crowd around goes wild gambling. They defeat the bouncers, get their wager and winnings, and in the morning head onward.

Kalabuto is still another week and a half of travel away, if all goes well.