S&S – A new ship, and an Island

23 September, 2012

DP:
Jarrod – Havok, half-orc barbarian
Tim – Mork, half-orc fighter
Andrew – Vorok, tiefling rogue
Doug – Aliza, female human sorcerer
Paul – “Salty” Bob, human cleric of Besmara
and
Keegan, DM.

Arr, thank ye lad, and Besmara bless ye! Come dawn, we had nearly caught the other ship and the armsmaster gave us our orders. Special, ye see, because we were new on ship. The goal is first, to test our courage in battle; and second, to make sure that to survive we must kill someone. No turning back after that, laddie. We were to take the wheel at the sterncastle, and to see to it that no-one made the stern lifeboats. Well, it were a while back now and I can’t give ye a blow-by-blow account. There were about four on the ‘castle, and the helmsman, and the lads took them down. I mainly stood back to heal if I were needed, but I wasn’t. I told the sorceress lass to keep her powder dry, so she switch to the bow, at which she was pretty terrible if memory serves.

Then the captain boards and heads belowdecks. One sailor steps up to stike him from behind, bit one of the half-orc lads deals with it. A few seconds later, the met of the other ship emerges and heads for a lifeboat. Our sorceress fires a spell at her that tips her into the drink.

Doug has given Aliza “toppling spell” and a feat that lets her put it on Magic Missile without penalty. Not a bad combo for a sorcerer. As she levels up, she will get more missiles, and the combat maneuver check scales with her level. Nice for the rogue, as he then gets sneak attack.

Harrigan, who has run out after her, yells “I want her alive!”. The officer is in armour and is just barely treading water. She surrenders, and we haul her up.

We have successfully taken a ship, and divided the booty. Grog all around, and the sailors that don’t join us walk the plank. Harrigan gives Hakok or Mork a bonus for quick thinking.

Harrigan orders Mr Plug and Mr Scourge to take the new ship to [I think] Port Peril, and tells them to choose a crew. They take most of the old hands, and us, offering a nasty little pair of grins as they do. Mr Plug will be Captain Plug on his new ship, and I don’t like out chances of making port.

The quartermaster gives us each a little bonus. I had taken to the scrimshaw, and asked for some materials – mother of pearl, some whaletooth.

The materials will be for crafting scrolls, which for colour reasons Salty Bob is doing as scrimshawed icons of the goddess. I jumped the gun on the night – he cannot actually do the scribing until 3rd level when I will take the feat. Doh!

So, we set sail for Port Peril. The ship is quiet. After a day or so, it becomes plain that we are making for Bloodcove, where they will give yer ship a new name and fitout. No-one likes it, but Plug is captain, now.


A few days in, we weigh anchor at an island. “We are running low on water”, says the capt’n, “go ashore and get some”. I protest bit – Besmara can supply us with all the water we need – but the capt’n seems to not trust my spells. Well, some is more pious than others, suppose. And the problem with spelled water is that it doesn’t keep – ye must drink it in a day, or it evaporates. If you rely on spelled water, it’s wise to keep a hogshead of the natural stuff, and to purify it occasionally. The gods can be a bit capricious, is what I am saying.

So the captain has a point.

We launch a boat and circle the island. There seem to be one or two abandoned farms, and an unusual number of skeletons in the surf. This, my lad, is never a good sign. We land at a beach – coconut trees and a few crabs. One of the lads, for gods knows whatever reason, decides to climb a tree and haul down some coconuts (ye can’t drink the ones that fall by themselves – ye must get then green, or ye’ll get the squits).

But something’s made its home in the tree – a giant crab it was, five or six feet wide. They come down and we all fight the thing. One of the other lads also decides to climb a tree, but the gods decide not to treat him as he deserves, and there be nothing up there.

There is a ridge in the middle of the island, and likely a soak at the base of it where there be fresh water, so we head inland.

We make our way along a trail, almost overgrown now. A bit along, we are attacked by a swarm of flying insects, but huge things as big as your thumb. We run for it, but get lost off the path. It’s a bad lookout, but we light torches and drive them off with the smoke and fire.

Swarms are immune to weapon damage, and will simply kill low level players. Especially these, which did bleed or Con damage or some shit. The DM handwaved and ruled that our torches did 1d12 damage on the swarm.

Apparently, Richard Pett tends to kill characters.

We made our way on. No soak at the base of the cliff, so we climbed. At the top, an abandoned building of some descripion. And a spring! Contrary to all laws of science and physics, there is a spring right at the top of the ridge.

One of the lads climbs a tree, for no discernable reason, and is attacked by something above. He tackles it and falls out, knocking hmself unconscious and squashing it flat beneath him.

Welcome to falling damage, noobs!

A couple more lads climb and deal with whatever is up there, uncovering a nest and some loot. Meanwhile down below is a telescope. The telescope is fixed in place, aiming at a cove on the shore. That explained a fair bit, as that cove was probably a smugglers cove. And one of the lads with sharper eyes than me spots a grindilow [?] and a tricorn hat. Our priestess was washed overboard weeks ago during a storm, and there were these things on deck. The lads became convnced that that hat was her hat, and decides to explore the isle for another day. Also in the cove is what is clearly the shadow of a sunken ship. I explains that Besmara can give me a spell to create a bubble of air – good for only a minute, but enough to clean out anything big living in that ship. But it will have to wait till tomorrow.

The lads are adamant – we have to run to the rescue today. So I says, “All right lads”. But there is one final thing – the building. Inside is a gruesome thing: an undead corpse left by a man who has been hanged from the rafters. It’s twitching and moving, but not going anywhere. The sorceress lass shoots it, and somehow – somehow manages to part the rope it was hanged by. It attacks. It’s tough, but the lads beat it, and just as we are ready to relax it vomits out another swarm which we deal with with the torches again.

We make back for our boat, to go to the cove. But the tides are wrong, and so we stop at the only other landing place on the island – what looks like a farm. Night is coming on, so we head for high ground: an old tor. There is a watchfire atop – probably laid by the smugglers that were once on this island – but we leave it alone. We set watch, and it’s well we did, for we are attacked in the night by more undead. Three of them.

The rest of the night is quiet. We want to investigate that ship, unravel the mystery of the tricorn hat, and then get the water and back on ship, off this cursed island, before Captain Plug decides to abandon us here or keelhaul us when we return for taking too long.

Advertisements

Kingmaker -Treachery! Treachery!

23 September, 2012

Well it’s been a while since I wrote, but I have been detained.

We delivered that capstone to the scholar from Daggermark, and he was quite taken with it. I dropped in on him just quietly, and I’m fairly certain that he had abandoned taking any interest in the games to study it. But no real sign of what the capstone actually did.

The games themselves went quite swimmingly. We participated in four competitions – archery, woodcutting, oratory and the joust, which is traditionally participated in drunk.

Rainor simply blitzed the archery. There were three targets at various distances, points given for distance, accuracy, and swiftness. Rainor shot ten arrows at the far target – launching his second flurry before his first arrows had even hit, and turned away without watching the last ones fall. No bullseyes, I’m afraid, but ten hits. It think one competitor did score two bullseyes on the middle target and approached Rainor’s score, but that was simply luck. Everyone knew that Rainor completely outclassed everyone else – it was obvious.

Jope did the woodcutting – six logs, cut through as many as possible in a minute. Well, we were caught by surprise as it turned out that magic was permissible: people were using potions and one sorceress casting Tenser’s Transformation. The only rule seemed to be that your spellcasting must be done in the time limit. Jope and I conferred. On his go, he stepped up and drank a potion of Enlarge. Meanwhile I cast Haste, but concealing the gestures.

Arcane Trickster “Tricky Spell” feature.

It was cheating, but we seemed to get away with it. Our story would simply be that he had gotten some odd combination potion off an alchemist. Enlarged, he worked his way along the logs and got through all six of them within the time, with a few seconds to spare. An unprecedented achievement, apparently.

The logs were set 15′ apart. Andrew did full round attacks, but on each round did a 5′ step to get closer to the next log in line. Enlarged, he could reach the next log in the middle of his full round attack once the one he was working on was through. He had to do a move action to move up the line on one round, but apart from that it was a blizzard of damage. Don’t know if the game designers thought of that one <g>.

On the oratory, we did less well. Jope related our assault on the underground drow fortress and how we came to free the kobolds. He wasn’t the worst, is all I can say. The winner and favourite was one of the Pitax counselors, who told stories about an unnamed kingdom – quite obviously our own, relating some of the events in a way that made us look like fools. She knew all of our business! And was letting us know that she did. Not good – Pitax’s spies are far better than our own.

The joust was to be held the next day. But the ruler of Pitax and host of the game announced at the dinner that there had been cheating! Naturally, we nearly shat ourselves. He held up a bunch of arrows. (whew!) It seems that someone had swapped in arrows with adamantine heads: non-magical, but more likely to pierce the targets. I cast Detect Thoughts, concealing the gestures again and scanned the other competitors. The daggermark contingent was in an absolute tizz, and it’s plain they were the cheats. I mean, really! At a friendly games and all!

The next day, I and I think also Rainor checked in on the scholar, but nothing to report. There were heats for the joust, and I’m sorry to say that Klael was knocked out early on, but by the eventual winner and favourite so there’s no great shame in that. Even so, Fredonia had won the competition on points.

But at the awards, the lord of Pitax announced that there had been a murder! The scholar was dead, his capstone missing, and the awards moot.

We went to his pavilion and investigated. We were questioned, and were open with answers which, in hindsight, was rather silly. His lordship arrested us and had us taken to a villa a few miles away, where we were under arrest.


Well, we politely stayed in the villa like idiots. Five days we cooled our heels, then the head of the secret police came in and simply ordered “kill them”, and pitax warriors poured into the room. Rainor, Jope and his shieldbearer, and Klael began punching the warriors out and scrabbling for the weapons they dropped. I tried to cast, but it had been some days since I had drunk the blood of anything respectable and had trouble concentrating. Eventually, I got off a Haste and a Greater Invisibility (it’s my only defense, really – up against a trained fighter who can see me, I am toast) and proceeded to deal with the Pitax bards who were busy singing their national anthem and war chant. Meanwhile, Rainor and Klael were whistling for their companions.

Within a few seconds (frightening how fast a battle goes, after days of inactivity) they were done, and Klael and Jope began stripping the armour off the warriors, shieldbearer helping them dress.

Rainor and I stepped outside, to where the head of the secret police was calmly smoking a Galois on the porch, watching the detachment of soldiers that had brought him ride off down the road. Rainor had a moment of bad luck or just plain clumsiness and alerted him and they began to fight. He knew I was there, too, even invisible. He was too quick to hit in a sensitive spot with a Scorching Ray, so I brought out my only big hitter: Phantasmal Killer. But he shook that off, too. It took Rainor, Rainen, and Klael’s pegasus to bring him down. Rainor grappled and pinned him, and I put a Scorching Ray into the base of his skull.

The stasi officer was a high-level rogue. Seldryn has 3 levels of rogue and cannot get sneak attack on a high-level rogue with Uncanny Dodge by flanking or invisibility. They have to be immobilized. The Phantasmal Killer had a decent chance – it plays on a rogue’s weaknesses – but he made his fort save.

As soon as we were free of the villa, Jope started to receive messages – Tatselford and Fort Tuskwater were under attack by Pitax! They would had to have started their march as soon as we were safely occupied with the games.

Of course.


So. Here we were. Armed and armoured if just barely, in hostile territory, and me without my godsdammed spellbook. I performed a Locate Object (with a little help from our family friend), but it was nowhere nearby. We needed our gear, including my backpack with probably close on a hundred thousand gold worth of scrolls which I have been crafting for the past year and my goggles. I mean – yes, everyone else has their stuff too. But I was lost without my spellbook.

The one soldier we had left alive was no use whatever. I suppose Mr Secret Policeman might have been some help, but I had incinerated his brain and no help was to be had there. There was nothing for it but to mount up (thankfully the stable had about a dozen horses) and ride for the games ground. We tied up the prisoner. We should have killed him, but Klael wouldn’t hear of it and even Rainor was squeamish. I suppose it wasn’t that important.

Sigh – the things that a neutral character has to put up with! Klael is a Paladin, and he and Seldryn avoid each other as much as possible.

We made decent speed and got to the site of the games within a day or so. We found our troops – a detachment of humans and kobolds, as well as His Grace’s masseurs and whatnot camped in the woods where we had left them.

The games were still being packed up. At the grounds we came dressed as secret policemen, of course, and Jope has “imperious” pretty much down. It seems our gear had been awarded as booty to the general of the Pitax army, and was with that general over at Tatselford.

So. Home with the best speed we could manage with a dozen or so troops, to assault the army besieging Tatselford.


Well, we didn’t really want to assault the whole army – just a quick strike into the command tent to get our stuff. It was a large pavilion surrounded on three sides by a palisade. Archers on the corners, a pair of trolls out front, and who knows what inside. The plan was to have our dozen or so troops stage a distraction outside at the main camp and to do a quick strike – in and out – at the pavilion.

We buffed up. I had Stoneskin (communal) prepared and a few pinches of diamond dust in my pouch. I also still had the Keen Weapon that I had prepared for the woodcutting. The godfolk were perfectly fine, of course, and cast their various blessings. We Dimension Doored into the pavilion and started the havok.

The interesting thing for me was just how much magic Switch still had, even without being able to prepare spells and without access to her scrolls. Thought and Memory acts as a Ring of Wizardry II, as well as being her bonded item. Stoneskin (communal) is a rort – 600gp worth of diamond dust to give everyone 110 points of DR 10/adamantine for 10 minutes. We needed it.

The general was an Oni – a spellcasting ogre. Great. He had two other people in the pavilion, both quite nasty fighters. Klael held off the Trolls, taking a real pounding doing so. I summoned an air elemental as a distraction (it fought defensively). Jope, Rainor and shieldbearer were dealing with the people inside, and I think Rainen and the Pegaus were taking out the archers outside. Our gear was all there in a big chest, but we didn’t have time to root through it. The Oni dropped some spells – confusion among them. Went invisible. I cast See Invisibility and Glitterdust, but he had gotten outside and was flying off. I managed to hit the trolls, too, with Glitterdust, which was handy, but I had no fire left to deal with them. The two offsiders were dead, the Oni had escaped, the trolls were healing up as we watched and had dealt with the elemental. Rainen, I think, had dealt with the confusion on shieldbearer but Klael was just about done. Jope and sheildbearer grabbed the chest and Jope was positively screaming at me to get us out of there (although I think we could have taken the trolls), so I did and we Dimension Doored back to the rendezvous. Less than a minute later, Klael on his pegasus and Rainor on Rainen arrive too.

And I have my spellbook back! The boys are rearming, Jope has his flail. We are still less than half a mile from a hostile army. We have barely a moment to take a breather.

I bet Dave threw in the trolls just because – well, because we are us.

Klael, between the Stoneskin and his Lay On Hands (which is a swift action for him, I belive), took about 300 points of damage. The dude is a tank.

Switch has used 21 spells – 5 in that last fight. She still has:

  • Detect Magic, Dancing Lights, Mage Hand, Acid Splash
  • Feather Fall × 2, Identify
  • Resist Energy
  • Major Image, Fly, Dispel Magic × 2
  • No 4th level spells
  • Phantasmal Web

Fun times.


GG4 – Goblin I and II

21 September, 2012

I didn’t write up last week’s session, so some of the details will be a bit skimpy.

So anyways, we were back at the U-Stow-It, sort o’ waitin for the uther shoe ter drop after our little meetin wiv the moll ‘oo runs Tarkanan, when up walks this goblin an introduces ‘imself as “Reggix”, and says ‘e wos the barman back when Mandor an the rest of us was dahn in Deathsgate, and could we please ‘elp ‘im.

So we is orl getting antsy anyways, and we says sure, why not? Turns out ‘is kid ‘as gone wandering off inter the old city underground, but ‘e is pretty sure where. It’s ter this “big set ‘o doors”, wot ‘as been closed since ferevver. So we ‘eads dahn, and there is ‘ook ‘orrors and shit. We kills one ovvem, but there is more coming.

This was very atmospheric, very “Slenderman”. The thing kept going for our lights. Often we handwave light in-game, but actually playing out fighting off an unknown number of hook horrors in mostly darkness works really well.

Anyways. We is in goblin tunnels, an it gets tight, and a couple of us squeezes through but Corves an’ Gathak dont make it. We ‘eads on wivout them, which is a bit stupid but we is in a ‘urry to find this kid. The we come ter these doors what ‘ave been closed fer forever and yep, they is open. Oo’d o’ guessed it, eh?

Well, the kid wos in there ad ‘e wos sort of in a trance, or summik, and was sayin’

as a 13th moon rises, a blinding light will start the war anew

Wotever. There wos these angel fings, wot attacked, and then [can’t remember the name] summons this dragon, and the back wall of the room comes down and behind it is a whole city and this giant ‘and grabs the dragon, and we fight our way out.

Sorry about the summary, but there you go.

Andrew dropped a hint that Vol used to be the 13th dragonmarked house. But that’s out of game. Sorry that this recounting of last week is so sketchy when Andrew put so much work into it.

“This is bad! And you should feel bad!” ~ Zoidberg

Couple of days later, Regex (as we ‘ave decided to call ‘im. Don’t know why – I fink it’s some sort ‘o private joke) comes by an’ invites us ter dinner. It’d be a bit impolite not ter accept, so we grabs a couple of bottle from Lorne’s cellar and – well, wot do yer know. Pickles.

Gorfak wos finking of putting him in the cellar, or in the downstairs, but Pickles is a drunk and eiver would be a shockingly bad idea. I tells im to stuff pickles inter one of the upstairs rooms. And ter give ‘im a bucket.

So. We goes ter see Regex an’ ‘is missus. The kid seems no worse fer wear, but someone ‘as beaten up regex a treat. ‘E drinks more that wot ‘e should, but still ‘as presence of mind not to talk about business in front of the kid. A real family man is Regex, which is good.

I should explain – Regex wants ter join the guard. Personally, I ‘appen ter think that’s a great idea. I told ‘im a while back that I finks that it would be top if everyone in the guard were just like ‘im. ‘E gets the kid off ter bed and sits there drinkin’ Lorne’s wine in ‘is little fake guard’s uniform wot ‘e made ‘imself – gods love ‘im! – tellin’ us that goblins used ter own Sharn an by rights they still should. Then ‘e gets on ter ‘oo beat ‘im up.

Seems ‘e wos tryin ter arrest a slaver. No-one important, by which we means no-one ‘oo bothers any of the pinks what run the city. Just a bit ‘o kidnapping and selling goblins inter slavery. Nuffink serious (and if yer getting the impressions that I don’t fink much ‘o ‘umans ‘an toffs, yer might be right). Regex recons that if ‘e can pul off an arrest, they might make a guardsman of ‘im.

Nahh personally, I would very much like Regex ter be in the town watch, particularly as ‘e is a honest sort an’ we saved the life of ‘is kid. So I looks around the table an says “Regex, dahn’t yoo worry – we will ‘elp yer put cuffs on this bastard”. An ‘e is very ‘appy, as yer can imagine.

But I is concerned that, well, ‘e might arrest ‘im an nuffink comes of it, so I says that we has ter see the local captain ‘of the guard and nail dahn the deal. Nah, Regex wont go alone. But orl of us, well, after the prison beak an all that it could ge a bit dicey just walkin up ter the watch’ouse. So Gorfak goes wiv im.

Nah, I only gets this second-‘and, obviously, but Gorfak tells me that not only did ‘e get a firm “Owright, Regex, you arrest this prick and you’re a guardsman”, but the captain let summik very, very interesting slip. He says ter Gorfak, just quiet “I didn’t give Korgul a present just ter ‘ave you coves walk in here”.

Well!

Now it look like we knows where them military-grade explosives came from, wot we used ter blow the prison gates. Not ter mention the info that it would take four ovvem. But now we is left wiv a swag of new questions, innit? Like “Why the fuck?” I’m guessing there’s a bit of rivalry between ‘im and the bitch wot came dahn ter defend the place.

But there’s nuffink for it for now. We ‘ad ourselves a slaver ter arrest!

So we ‘eads over ter the market. The slaver is there, an ‘is two made men: a beastmaster wiv a couple of dogs ‘an a ogre. Which is bad news.

I slips in ‘an gets around behind the bastard. The rest of the boys move up, an Corves decides ter smack down a random goblin, which is not in the plan. Fer orl we know – that little bastard wos Regex’s brother-in-law, or summik.

But Regex doesn’t notice, and tells wotsisface that ‘e is under arrest. An it’s on. Most of us goes fer the ogre, and the beastmaster runs off after takin a bit of a cut. But the slaver runs away, and since the ‘ole point of the exercise is ter arrest ‘im, me an [arrgh! temporary NPC] chases ‘im and surrounds ‘im.

E is tough, but we is beating ‘im up when I gets a crossbow bolt ter the back. Seems that someone ‘as sent someone after me. I chats ter ‘im while beating up the slaver wiv the ‘elp of [temporary NPC]. Seems ‘ouse Boromir wants a word, which is bad news but not entirely unexpected. Ter tell yer the truth I might ‘ave gone wiv ‘im, but we is kind of in the middle of a serious fight an a couple of the boys attacks ‘im, so I tells ‘im over the row “Tell Boromir ter send someone polite around ter the U-Stow-It in The Bazzar, an’ we’ll ‘ave a talk.”, an ‘e shoots this ‘ooked net over us two ‘an the slaver.

Having discussions during combat is a free action.

Well at this, the ogre decides ter attack this bounty hunter, which is good, and I get out of the net.

Would have gone down if not for a recent purchase! gear rocks!

The slaver does not get out, an the ‘ooks just about do for ‘im, an [temporary NPC] connects, and then I punch ‘im out and says ter Regex (where did ‘e come from?) “Cuff ‘im, Regex”.

At which point the ogre is a bit confused, but I speaks a bit ‘o giant talk and says “Kill that fucker!” [intimidate check] and ‘e continues in on the bounty hunter while I takes a breather.

As always, there was more going on. Gauthak mainly dealt with the beastmaster and his dogs. Not sure what Corves was doing – I think we were all ganging up on the slaver, who was a boss and tough.

After a bit more, the Bounty Hunter surrenders. “Stop, I yield!”. Very fancy. “I have never failed to fulfill a contract before”, he says. So I makes a bit of a speech attim. I says:

“Well, I don’t now that yer ‘ave failed, exactly. yer were supposed ter set up a meetin, and ye’ve done that. We’ll ‘ave a chat ter ‘ouse Boromir, nah worries. Look on the bright side! I always do.”

“Roll Diplomacy”! Korgul has a lousy diplomacy.

Natural 20.
Big cheer at the table.

The hunter seem ter agree that any fight yer walk away from is a win, an nods. The ogre is confused. “What about boss?” he asks, indicating the slaver, who is currently unconscious and has Regex in his little homemade guards uniform sitting on his chest, punching his face. “Old boss lose fight.”, I tell him in giant, “You come with us. Good food. Sometimes quiet, sometimes fight”.

An’ ‘is big stupid face lights up, an everyfink is ok. Finally this fat guardsman runs in and looks at the situation. I don’t fink ‘e wants ter deal wiv us (lot of claret, lot of weaponry) so we points ‘im at Regex.

“In all my years”, ‘e says “I have never seen the like of this. Will you join the watch?”

And fin. A great night’s game.

Check your privelige

9 September, 2012

This: The Dialectics of Breastfeeding on Campus – Exposéing My Breasts on the Internet.

Sigh.

Privilege. Or “rights”. Much the same thing, really. Leaving aside the “I have a right to perform bodily functions in public” aspect; leaving aside the “you have no right to have any feelings on the issue, and even inwardly reacting ‘eww! Squick!’ is a violation of my rights” bit; what grabs me is that this professor thought nothing of bringing her little disease vector into a classroom of students without the power to say no.

Life under a matriarchy is just like life under a patriarchy in that respect – the powerful do as they wish, and the powerless have to endure it. The only difference is content: what the powerful want to use their power to do.