Br Warming’s Philosphy

22 October, 2017

Our DM is asking us to kinda distil down the essence of what our characters are about. As in: if your character was a D&D god, what would he or she be the god of?

Brother Warming-Light-Of-Saranrae has a couple of things going on, character-development-wise. We have the “half drow who has repudiated his drow-ness” thing. We have the “dude who was very keen to keep out character who was a vampire from going full-on bad” thing.

But really, the thing he does more than anything else is charge into battle. However, we have a priest of Iomedae, goddess of valour, and a paladin of Gorrum, god of getting into bar fights. Aren’t we just doubling up?

Iomedae’s code is here. There are a couple of points in it that aren’t really Br Warming’s thing:

  • I will learn the weight of my sword. Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless-my strength is not is my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.
  • I will guard the honor of my fellows, both thought and deed, and I will have faith in them
  • I will never refuse a challenge from an equal
  • I will give honor to worthy enemies, and contempt to the rest
  • I will suffer death before dishonor
  • I will be temperate in my actions and moderate in my behavior

Br Warming is maybe about valour, but he isn’t really about honour. He certainly isn’t about “I will never refuse a challenge from an equal”. His attitude to that is “Meh”. There’s a diffidence about him. Shame isn’t a big motivator for him, which isn’t to say he’s immune from it. He was rebuked, once, by Iomedae herself for lack of clarity of purpose, and he accepted and learned from it.

Gorum’s described here and . here.

The Lord in Iron is considered brash and impulsive; he takes what he wants, by force if necessary, and answers any direct opposition to his will with violence. His priests and followers tend to follow the god’s example, which means that there are more ruthless and exploitative members of his faith than those who espouse altruism.

(This passage would be better if the weasel-words “is considered brash and impulsive” was just made “is brash and impulsive”).

Br Warming is not really about fighting for the sake of it. He isn’t trying to prove something, he’s trying to accomplish something. Furthermore, he is good. Gorum isn’t. He isn’t going to get all offended by stuff and respond with violence – that is a part of the drow character that he has refused.

So, what is he about?


Choose your purpose. Choose your destiny. Choose your cause. Choose right. Choose redemption and rescue. Choose to stand against evil, great and small. Choose to protect the good. Choose to make a difference.

Do not fight for a cause for which you would not die. Do not hazard your life or the lives of others in mean, or ephemeral, or selfish causes; do not hazard your life for no gain. Act wisely as you may.

But then, fight! Fight extravagantly; fight without fear. Strike, and disdain to count the cost. Then strike again. If your life will win your purpose, spend it.

Have faith, and remember your reward in paradise. But first and last, remember the your goal here on earth. It must be worthy of you, so strive to be worthy of it.

“Fight extravagantly. Fight without fear.”

St Warming’s worshippers number a various orders of fanatical suicide monks. Humble as all get out, and prone to directly attacking the command tent or the heavily defended siege equipment. Whatever is going to win the day. It’s also quite common for battlefield medics and unarmoured sappers to venerate him.

They also number some people you wouldn’t expect – Andorran rogue/bards running the underground rail out of Cheliax. Spies infiltrating Red Mantis cults – sure to get caught sooner or later. Even some engineers building bridges in mountain passes find comfort in his teachings. Firemen, or the fantasy equivalent.

Anyone doing something they see as good, that’s probably going to get them killed doing it, whether or not it directly involves fighting, whether or not anyone ever knows about it.

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Wardstone with arduino

28 September, 2015

It ain’t finished yet, but here it is so far. I’m doing the electronics and the panels, Bevis is doing everything else 🙂 .

wardstone1-1

I was concerned that the LEDs wouldn’t be bright enough, that it would be “is that turned on?”

Holy shit.

You can’t look directly into them. I mean, you can, but then its several seconds before you can look at anything else. With a nice orangy-yellow, this thing looks molten.

The main thing is that you cannot drive something like that off a digital out – you will fry your arduino. I am driving these with the 5v off the arduino board via a darlington pair array. This means that power is coming off the regulator, not off the microprocessor.

Darlington pair array chips are designed for stepper motors and will happily handle 24v. They switch fast and have almost no resistance when driven (otherwise driving a motor would let the smoke out). The arduino analog out is pulse-width modulated, so no worries. Don’t need to use the flyback diodes, because the load is not inductive.

The darlington array shorts its output to ground when driven, so this means using common-anode LEDs.

Wardstone-layout-1I will etch some eldrich runes into the panels with the dremel. The idea is that not only will this catch the light, but with 2 differently-coloured LEDs in the base, different parts should catch different bis of the light. The arduino has six analog outs, so the LEDs are wired up as two sets of four on opposite corners.

I used single-core hookup wire for the loom, which was probably a mistake.

As for code – I just bodged something up this evening. light cycles between reddish and yellowish every second or so, using a slightly different period for the two sets. Won’t really know how it looks with the runes until we have runes. May need to make the colours more dramatic.

TODO:

  • move electronics onto a bit of veroboard, provide a controller of some kind – on/off at least. Might be nice to provide a pushbutton to make it strobe white, maybe some kind of “Oh Noes! The wardstobe has been corrupted!”. Our DM is being cagey, unfortunately, so I can’t be sure what he needs.
  • build obelisk that has been broken. Scribe runes first – we want the broken base to have enough runes to look kind of cool.

In defense of Brother Warming

27 September, 2015

So, Brother Warming-Light-Of-Saranrae executed a prisoner last session. It falls to me now to justify it so he does not lose his good alignment.

This may seem a little backwards to you, but we are writing fiction. I prefer to discover what my characters are like. This is very much like real life. Everyone’s untested opinion of themselves is usually wrong. We each discover what kind of person we are by our actions.

So we need a little background.

The city has become overrun with demons/devils. Massive disaster, war-of-the-worlds scenario. We have just discovered this after emerging from the underground.

We assisted an NPC to find her home and hopefully her wife. At her home, we were attacked by a dude who radiated evil (or detected as evil, anyway). We beat the dude, tie him up. Turns out he is a convicted criminal, and was waiting in this house specifically to murderfy our NPC.

After a bit of to and fro, my character – Brother Warming, went “right” and coup-de-grace’s the bastard while he was still bound.

Why?

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

On the night, I got it wrong. Really, I have been playing him wrong for weeks.

The dude was a convicted neer-do-well-er of some decription, probably quite a serious one. Maybe he was sentenced to death, maybe escaped, maybe wanted dead-or-alive. Maybe there was a warrant out for him. First, Br Warming didn’t know that; and second, that ain’t the reason.

Well, what else are we going to do with him? We can’t let him loose to hunt us down, can’t tie him up and leave him for the demons. Well, maybe that’s a contributing factor. It is not wrong to kill someone who has declared it their intent to kill you. And if it’s wrong to cut a dude’s head off, then leaving him to get eaten by the demons doesn’t become right just because to didn’t get your blade wet. So yeah, that’s part of the reason, but not the core of it.

Yes, the city is in turmoil and sometimes a warpriest has to step up and administer a little justice. But that’s not quite it either.

The core of it is this: the reason Brother Warming executed that bastard was to make the world a better place.

Br Warming is not Lawful Good, he is Neutral Good. Now, this is not to say that he holds the attitude that Lawfulness is neither good not bad. On the whole, Law is a good. Certainly not the greatest and most important good, but you know – it has its place. (Chaotic Good people can sometimes be inclined to feel that law in itself is basically a bad thing). But Br Warming is not going to feel a need to haul this dude up before a correctly constituted court, give him a lawyer and a six-week trial.

Oh sure, you have to be careful. Sure, it is better to do things properly. Sure, even though horrible miscarriages of justice happen all the time; on the whole the world is a better place for it. Vigilantes and mobs make terrible mistakes. Even priests od Saranrae make mistakes, it’s true. Going through channels and doing the procedure is usually the right thing.

But in a city that has demons crawling all over it, that has no functioning government? A murdering dirtbag like this? Nup. Sometimes it’s obvious what needs to be done, and if the paladins and priests of Iomedae are going to be squeamish and precious about their honour, then it falls to a warpriest of Sarenrae to do what obviously, obviously needs to be done.

The whole point of having laws at all is to make sure that people like this get executed (and that people not like this don’t). Sometimes it almost seems like Iomedae’s people think that the process itself is what matters. No. No it isn’t. This dude hung out in someone’s home to avenge himself on a judge by killing their partner. Any law that doesn’t result in this person being hanged, beheaded, or otherwise cleanly and humanely executed is not worthy of the name.

Br Warming is a sword of Sarenrae. Hers is the light that banishes darkness, that exposes and cleanses. Whether it’s demons, devils, or incorrigible murderers, Br Warming is prepared to do the necessary.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Now, I imagine that part of the whole campaign arc is the slippery slope to becoming a raving fanatic. Yep – totally this is a danger for Br Warming. Although I have played the “character turns evil” trope before and maybe it’s a bit old-hat.

There’s also the matter of his secret little background thingy, which the DM had us all pick one for our characters. Br Warming has to be particularly careful of his alignment. There’s a reason he chose Saranrae in particular for his god.

But I think his conscience is clean. This time.


So, did we win?

5 August, 2015

End of game!

We played the finale. Big, complicated fight with some cool stuff tying it back to previous adventures: some of the mooks exploded into candy (from the haloween plane).

And Brus got to kill Limen, just like he told Dimfuzz he would. “I am going to kill him with this”, he said, “unless I find something bigger”. In the end – he did find something bigger: Shub-Liminel with an Enlarge Person spell. Limen had an Anti-life Shell up, but with a reach of 15′ Brus was able to get him.

Did we win? The ending was just a shade ambiguous. Perhaps the whole thing – Coin included – was all just a big game put up by Limen himself. But, our characters ended the adventure levelled up and with bags of loot. All’s well that ends well.

Thoughts?

Well – inquisitor is ok as a class. The specific picks I made to get travel domain made it quite a bit better. There was some rules adjudication needed for some of the teamwork feats, and the Surmount Affliction spell is useless without the rule that it’s the one spell that you can drop even when you are under the effect of one of the conditions it addresses.

It’s a bit monk-y: fighter with kick-butt will saves, so can deal with things that a fighter can’t. But really: can’t heal like a cleric, can’t fight like a fighter, can’t cast like a bard, and the sucky reflex save is crippling. The class would come into its own in urban adventures, I think.

Brus was a hell of a lot of fun as a character, but the class was complicated to play and not good enough at the things that it did do. The main reason Brus was as good as he was was that the DM gave him a weapon with book value completely off the scale.

As always, Brus will be shredded. I levelled him up to 15, just to see how the story ends – spells Ghostbane Dirge, Mass, and Instrument of Agony. Like Fallback Strategy, it sits there waiting to be used for 1 minute a level. Will save, but a free action in combat and the effect (nauseated) is very, very worthwhile. For his feat, I drew on his human heritage and took Defiant Luck.

And with the money from Limen, Shub-Liminel will be upgraded to being Cruel as well as Vicious, because it just has to be done 🙂 .

Bye Brus! It was awesome. For the record, here’s how he looks at level 15:

Brus Reckoner #15
Male half-orc fighter 1/inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth 14 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide 38)
N Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent; Perception +12


Defense


AC 26, touch 13, flat-footed 26 (+9 armor, +2 deflection, +1 insight, +2 natural, +2 shield)
hp 154 (15 HD; 14d8+1d10+32)
Fort +13, Ref +4, Will +12; -4 penalty vs. odor-related effects
Defensive Abilities stalwart


Offense


Speed 40 ft. (30 ft. in armor)
Melee shub liminel +16/+11/+6 (1d8+20/×4 plus 2d6) or
   bite +10 (1d4+6)
Ranged composite shortbow +11/+6/+1 (1d6/×3)
Special Attacks exploit weakness, greater bane (19 rounds/day), judgment 5/day (2 simultaneous)
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 14th; concentration +17)
   At will—dimensional hop (140 feet/day)
Inquisitor Spell-Like Abilities (CL 14th; concentration +17)
   At will—detect alignment, discern lies (14 rounds/day)
Inquisitor Spells Known (CL 14th; concentration +17)
   5th (2/day)—divine pursuitUM, mass ghostbane dirgeAPG (DC 18), unwilling shieldAPG (DC 18)
   4th (4/day)—find quarryUC, judgment lightUC, leashed shacklesUM (DC 17), stoneskin
   3rd (5/day)—coordinated effortAPG, cure serious wounds, deadly juggernautUC, dimensional anchor, festerAPG (DC 16)
   2nd (6/day)—blistering invectiveUC (DC 15), bloodhoundAPG, instrument of agonyUC, remove paralysis, see invisibility, surmount afflictionUM
   1st (6/day)—deadeye’s loreUC, divine favor, expeditious retreat, fallback strategy, lend judgmentUM (DC 14), wrathAPG
   0 (at will)—brandAPG (DC 13), create water, detect magic, guidance, read magic, resistance, virtue
   Domain Travel


Statistics


Str 25, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 7
Base Atk +11; CMB +15; CMD 31
Feats Brutal Grappler, Cornugon Smash, Defiant LuckARG, Divine InterferenceUM, Escape RouteUC, Intimidating Prowess, Judgment SurgeUM, OutflankAPG, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (dimensional hop), Shake It OffUC, Shared JudgmentUC, Swap PlacesAPG
Traits armor expert, brute (orc)
Skills Climb +10, Handle Animal +2, Heal +10, Intimidate +36, Knowledge (arcana) +3, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +3, Knowledge (local) +3, Knowledge (nature) +3, Knowledge (planes) +3, Knowledge (religion) +3, Linguistics +3, Perception +12 (+20 vs. smells), Ride +2, Sense Motive +25, Spellcraft +3, Stealth +3, Survival +25 (+29 to track using scent, You do not have to move at half your speed while tracking.), Swim +9; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate, +4 to survival when tracking by scent
Languages Abyssal, Common, Custom Language, Infernal, Orc, Undercommon
SQ agile feet (6/day), monster lore +7, orc blood, solo tactics, stern gaze +7, track +7
Combat Gear potion of cure serious wounds (2), potion of shield of faith +2 (2), snapleaf, wand of cure light wounds; Other Gear +3 breastplate, shub liminel, arrows (20), composite shortbow, dusty rose prism ioun stone, amulet of natural armor +2, bane baldric, belt of giant strength +4, ring of force shield, ring of protection +2, backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, flint and steel, hemp rope (100 ft.), iron spike (2), iron unholy symbol, piton (2), torch (10), waterskin, material components for stoneskin * 3 (worth 250 gp), 137 gp, 7 sp, 4 cp


Special Abilities


+4 to Survival when tracking by Scent +4 to Survival when tracking by Scent.
Agile Feet (6/day) (Su) For 1 rd, you ignore difficult terrain.
Armor Expert -1 Armor check penalty.
Brutal Grappler When you and an ally with this feat have grappled the same creature, you may attempt to damage the opponent on your turn (whether you were the one who first initiated the grapple or were assisting your ally in doing so).
Brute (Orc) Whenever you score a critical threat, you add (but not multiply, in the case of a confirmed critical hit) an amount of damage equal to your weapon’s critical modifier.
Cornugon Smash When you damage an opponent with a Power Attack, you may make an immediate Intimidate check as a free action to attempt to demoralize your opponent.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Defiant Luck (1/day) Reroll a natural 1 on a save, or force a reroll of a critical hit confirmation roll.
Detect Alignment (At will) (Sp) Detect chaos, evil, good, or law at will.
Dimensional Hop (28 5-ft inc/day) (Sp) As a move action, teleport with no AoO to seen destination. Spend an equal distance to carry others.
Discern Lies (14 rounds/day) (Sp) Discern Lies at will
Divine Interference Sacrifice a spell to force an enemy to reroll a successful attack against your ally
Escape Route You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving through spaces adjacent to allies
Exploit Weakness (Ex) With a crit, ignore DR, suppress Regen, and take advantage of vulnerability.
Greater Bane (+2 / 4d6, 19 rounds/day) (Su) Make the weapon you are holding a bane weapon.
Inquisitor Domain (Travel) Granted Powers: You are an explorer and find enlightenment in the simple joy of travel, be it by foot or conveyance or magic. Increase your base speed by 10 feet.
Judgment Surge (1/day) Gain improved versions of your judgments
Monster Lore +7 (Ex) +7 to Knowledge checks when identifying the weaknessess of creatures.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Outflank Increase flank bonus by +2 if flanking ally has same feat. If you crit, ally gets an AoO.
Power Attack -3/+6 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Quicken Spell-Like Ability (Dimensional Hop [28 5-ft inc/day] [Sp], 3/day) Spell-like ability is cast as a swift action up to 3/day.
Ring of force shield An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free. It can be activated and deactivated at will as a free action.
Note: In order to get the AC bonus from this, it must be equipped and then activated on the in-play tab.
Construction
Requirements: Forge Ring, wall of force; Cost 4,250 gp
Scent (Ex) Detect opponents within 15+ feet by sense of smell.
Second Judgment (5/day) (Su) Variable bonuses increase as the combat continues.
Shake It Off Gain +1 to all saving throws per adjacent ally
Shared Judgment Extend a judgment to an adjacent ally instead of enacting a second judgment.
Solo Tactics (Ex) Count Teamwork feats as if your allies had the same ones.
Stalwart (Ex) If you succeed at a Fort or Will save for reduced effect, you take none instead.
Swap Places You can trade places with an ally with this feat during your movement.
Track +7 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.

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What is a Wall of Force?

19 July, 2015

What actually is a Wall of Force?

Well, the thing to note is that it is an evocation, not a conjuration. Very different.

A conjurer creates matter having certain properties by knotting the aether into a particular “shape”. A spray of something an acidic, a ball of burning stuff. It will exist for a period of time, usually, and then unravel.

Evocation is quite different, and goes back to Plato’s ideal forms.

What is the nature of fire? Well, the nature of fire is to burn. An evoker “evokes” – “manifests”, if you prefer – this inner nature of fire, without recourse to any gross matter on which the burniness subsists, and so creates a spherical region of sheer burniness – burniness in and of itself. (The concussion and sound are consequences of this, rather than being things in themselves.) Thus, a Fireball. Likewise, a Cone of Cold is a cone of sheer freeziness; and a Sound Burst a burst of loudness.

Now, what is the nature of solid matter, qua being solid matter? As the mage Pauli explains, the nature of solid matter is that it excludes other solid matter from the volume it occupies, and exerts force on other solid matter that tries to do so. Why can you not press your hand through a brick wall? Because the brick wall pushes back on your hand, in order to keep it out.

That is what a Wall of Force is – a volume in which is evoked sheer solidity, solidity in and of itself. Such walls need to be thin because they need to displace the air previously occupying the space. Even a Bigby’s Hand (showing my years – we no longer call the spell that, for legal reasons) is only a thin membrane in the approximate shape of a hand. Of course, these ideal forms can only be manifested briefly on Prime – often instantaneously – as Prime is not the place where these forms reside (they normally reside in the same place that fictional objects do). Maintaining an evocation for longer than an instant is always more advanced magic.

Assignment: 200 words. Summarise pp 453-460, “on the nature of fictional objects”.
Additional Credit: explain why a Disintegrate unfailingly dispels a Wall of Force.


He’s our buoy!

18 July, 2015

So, everything has gone to shit, Coin is probably dead, Limen was probably in the holy-of-holies – the tesseract – and has kinda stolen our plan. The dimensional anchor is imbedded in Coin’s portrait, and the rope extends off to … somewhere.

We had a bit of a chat to these kinda godlike dudes, who are Coin’s “children”. Maybe. We were going to want to catch up with Limen at the other end of this rope thing. We could follow that rope (which no doubt let through the Plane of Infinite Rats), or maybe take a shortcut.

We opted for the shortcut. We were waned that it might get a little damp.

Now, there’s a bit of history there. One of the doorways opened out onto a ship, which we sank a while ago and which “now” probably lies on the bottom of an ocean.

Checkov’s Gun was mentioned.

Oh, and we needed to find a wizard who was not very good (at being a wizard), but who was going to help in some unspecified way.

And they gave us a little thingy which would stop time while we all had a full nights rest and levelled up. Nice. And a second one. For later. Because we are going to need it.

In the “morning”, John gives everyone a Water Breathing spell, which will last for a while, ditto a Wind Walk.


First door. Opened out into a sewer. There were all these skeletons that had had the flesh sucked off them, but it was ok because they were fully dead. Nice.

Our key/compass pointed “thataway” to the next door, so we went thataway. Tied up in the middle of the fetor was some dude calling for help. “Please help!”, he yelled, “He’s coming back!”. A brief interrogation during which Brus for the first time ever used his “Detect Lies” class ability determined that he was lying his ass off. We ignored him and went for the door. Oh, and I think Picklick shot him a bit just to see what would happen, because even though Morgs was not at the table that’s just how he rolls.

Anyway. As soon as we got close the dude, of course, attacked and a couple more emerged out of the scenery (it was a sewer – lot’s of scenery). We managed to get them down without too much trouble, because it turns out they were flesh-suckers. Every sucked cooked flesh off a chicken bone? Well, they did that. Faugh has taken 3 points of Charisma drain, which – well – doesn’t really do much to him. I think Will took some as well, which does affect him. But, he’s rocking about 20 normally, so he’s ok for the moment.

There was a ping from a pile of scenery, and we uncovered a Ring of Water Walking. We gave it to Faugh, on account of he is a gnome and occasionally gets in over his head.


Next door. Wood panelled rooms which smelled awesome with beeswax. Brus drops a Bloodhound spell every day, so was relived to be out of the sewer. Following our compass, we found a wooden shield that had been pierced through with a very odd foot-and-a-half long shortspear, made of a weird material, kinda chitinous and aww shit: is that a bee stinger?

You bet your booty it was.

Anyway. We found this nice room with a boiling kettle, some tea making gear, and no wizard. We opened a door and looked down a corridor to see a dude in a wizard’s hat bolting towards us, pursued by a swarm of unhappy bees. We admit the wizard, slam the door shut, and Picklick proceeds to wedge the door.

Thud!

Them is some big-ass bees. The wizard mentions that he seems to have upset them. Then there’s a knock on the other door. We reason that bees usually don’t knock, so we let the guy in. Wizard looks like he’s seen a ghost.

Guy says “I’m sorry!” and splits open, and a swarm of bees emerge. Then the other swarm breaks through the wedged door.

Fight fight. Will (or Bottom) gets stung, takes Dex damage. We hightail it to the next door, dragging the wizard along.

But there are two doors! One goes to the bottom of the ocean, and one goes – well, somewhere else. We opt for waterworld. But first, a plan is needed. We rope ourselves together – a good start. We will close the other doors, open the portal door and wait for the inrushing water to equalise pressure. Cool. But we have two problems – we have dudes in armour, and we have a wizard who did not get this morning’s Water Breathing.

For the Wizard, we decide to stuff him into a Bag of Holding. He won’t be in there too long, so will probably not suffocate. Rather than try to convince him to to this, Picklick saps him and we stuff his uncoscious body into the bag. We actually have two, but one of them has a few corpses in it (it’s a long story) so we put him in the other one.

Now, our first thought was to use Wind Walk. But after a moment we recall that that spell doesn’t really work well underwater.

But remember that ring of Water Walking? That we gave Faugh?

If the spell is cast underwater (or while the subjects are partially or wholly submerged in whatever liquid they are in), the subjects are borne toward the surface at 60 feet per round until they can stand on it.

We decide that Faugh is our buoy. Problem solved!

So we secure our loos items (ioun stones, in particular) and open the door.

Well Brus, who opened the door, takes damage, people are washed back, there’s pummelling and cold damage and John drops a Resist Energy (cold), Mass. Much damage. The other doors in the room strain to control the pressure, and John’s invisible Fairy Dragon puts up a Wall of Force It won’t last long.

We get through the door and underwater, and far enough away from the portal to not be sucked back in once the WoF goes down. It’s cold, but we are warmed by the thought of what is going to happen to those fucking bees.

Faugh pops us to the top, cork-like. There is a fortuitous boat just nearby, the crew a little startled by people bobbing to the surface of the sea out of absolutely nowhere, and possibly also by the sight of a deep gnome calmly walking on the water like it ain’t no thing.

Aboard the boat, we let our wizard out of the bag. He’s a little bluish, but not too bad. He is also wet, having made the mistake of opening the bag for a moment.

And here we are. Alive, but still racing the clock.


Brus Reckoner – if it ain’t broke …

4 July, 2015

I’ll do this one OOC, I think, ’cause I’m feeling lazy. Full house again – everyone is back, which is good news.

So, we are in a city that has been conquered by some dudes working for Zon Kuthon. By which I mean, an army. We have kinda decided that rather than immdiately assaulting the scary fortress of evil, we should do some of the other encounters. The rationale is that ZK is getting mana off the bad stuff going down, so we should stop it. It’s very similar to the plot mechanism in the final Age of Worms module – take care of enough of the bad things in the city, and it knocks Kyuss from being a rank 1 god to being a mere demigod.

Three encounters, which makes it a big game night. First, we got a wandering patrol outside the rather nasty undead factory (DM’s: a great way to run a game is just to kick off with a smallish encounter more or less as soon as people sit down. Puts people in game mode.). Multi-legged dog things and some orc mooks. When I say mooks, I mean 100-odd hp mooks, but mooks. We discovered a sweet-ass combo: a Hold Monster from Will and a coup-de-gras from Brus. The naginata is a *4 weapon, so the coup-de-gras means a minimum DC 106 Fort save or die. There’s really not a lot of things that can make that. Maybe we wasted a 4th level spell on someone who was not actually a cleric (thought he had a holy symbol: “Gakk the cleric!”), but we wasted it on making sure that the magic whistle of bringing the entire city down on us like a ton of bricks was not blown, so probably woth it.

We noticed some sort of hamster-wheel-of-pain arrangement over yonder. Barbed wire and spikes, ordinary folks being forced to drive it. Rather nasty and very Zon Kuthon. We decided that the correct approach was to send in someone invisible with decent Stealth and Disable Device. A chance for the rogue to do his thing, which was really great because the player has had to miss a few games. The wheel went rolling off down the hill – unpleasant for the people in it, and people who got in the way. Some collateral civilian fatalities, I’m afraid. But at least the whole “evil green glowing magic stuff” aspect of it has been nullified.

Then we decided to look into the desecrated church. It was – well – pretty thoroughly desecrated. Flayed people hanging from the ceiling beams, corpses propped up in the pews, eeeevil symbols drawn everywhere. We found some clues that had been left carelessly lying about and then fight. Rats and rat swarms, couple of orcs, and chick with crossbow doing sneak attack and serious negative energy damage. She got the drop on us, which was bad.

It transpired she was a vampire using a weapon that lets you do a supernatural effect through it. So she was able to vampire level-drain at range with meatshields. Really bad. And worse, our cleric is phobic about rats.

Neverthless, two really good things happened. First, she rolled a 1 on her save vs Blindness. This pretty much hosed the encounter for the DM. Second, Will had a bunch of low-level creatures to use Rainbow Pattern on (Rats have an Int score, so rat swarms are subject to mind-affecting. Furthermore, they are not immune to weapon damage. They are still a pretty serious problem for this group, however.). This fascinated five or six of them. From there, Brus mopped up some mooks on the floor, and the more acrobatic took to the rafters to kill them some blinded vampire lady. Will moved the Rainbow Pattern outside so that the rats would follow and allow John to come in and start channelling, but John had started his Wind Walk dematerialisation (he really dislikes rats) and was out of the fight. Doesn’t matter – he did the main thing. Picklick tried sneak-attacking with a vial of alchemists fire, but missed. 10′ range increment, meh. Brus rolled some 1s, but mostly had a great old time on the ground, Bottom also cleaning up his share of mooks. Faugh got his pummelling strike in, but mainly had to chase flying blind vampire lady around the rafters. He has a natural climb speed, apparently.

Playing a bard can be a little frustrating at times – you do your bard song (which, btw, is invaluable: +3 to hit makes all the difference) and sometimes it feels like that’s it. But this session we saw what could be done with the bard’s spells. Particularly given that we don’t have an AoE blaster, taking half the combatants out of the fight made a big difference. Some cheese that gives Will a Fireball equivalent might be worthwhile (is there a Greater Sound Burst?).

Anyway. We got some clues – apparently ZK and Limen have some sort of “deal” going. The main issue at the moment is resource management. Some of the undead are light-sensitive, which means this town will become way unfriendly as soon as it gets dark. My character is using a vicious weapon and just chews through HP like crazy – we only have just so much heals.

We saw a side door on the cathederal of badness. We will un-desecrate the church by burning it down (quickest way to go about it, really), and then I’m not sure that there’s anything else needs doing before heading off for the main event. We are down on resources, but not seriously depleted yet AFAIK.