Archive for the year 2008

Meet the Aghar

So what do you do after you save the world in 3.5e D&D?

Why, start all over in 4e, of course!

I’m not running the game, this time.  Christine (Nox) has volunteered to do so.  Wish her luck, as she’s got quite a party to contend with.

Christine has tried to run 3.5e games in the past, but we always switched back after a few sessions.  She can give her own reasons why, but it tended to center around not being comfortable enough with her own rules knowledge to make rulings.  (I have always been the rules whore for the group, so I had an easy time coming up with consistant rulings that were fairly in line with the actual rules.  I think that she was trying to do the same, which was probably a mistake.  My style of GMing doesn’t have to be hers, by any means.  But I digress.)

Anyways, her general feeling is that she will be a lot more comfortable running 4e than 3.5e.  And I believe her.  In the few short test sessions we played before the campaign started, she was already as familiar and comfortable with the 4e rules as I had ever seen her with 3.5e.

This is one of the reasons I love 4e.

But I’ll let her tell you all about the game, and how she’s doing (well, by the way).  But right now?

You wanna hear about my Paladin?

Well, some of you may have noticed the site layout change.  If not, go look.  I’ll wait.


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DDM is dead, and nobody is looting the body!

So, the D&D Miniatures line is being revamped.  The minis themselves are becoming solely an RPG accessory, and the skirmish game is no longer going to be supported.

Personally, I have no problem with this.  I never really cared for the skirmish game.  (Though I had some fun a few weeks back with the star wars minis.  Lost twice, and had Vader and a diplomat attempt a suicide melee rush.)  I’ve always just used them for D&D anyways.

But I just noticed that nobody was looting the body.

Allow me to explain.

With DDM (and Dreamblade before it) defunct, there is now a community of minis gamers with no home.  It’s not a huge community, but they need a place to go.

Why is one of the competing minis game producers (WoW minis, for instance), not offering something?  Produce stats for the DDM minis that these people already own that are compatible with your own game!  Or even just list equivalencies (DDM Orc Berserker may be used with WoW minis Orc Thrasher, for instance).

Heck, even WotC did this when they introduced D&D Minis (well, two years later, in 2004).  They brought out a big table of equivalencies for old Chainmail players to update their sets with.

Why is nobody doing that for the crumbling DDM fanbase?

Even a statement of intent would be good enough for now.

Seems like a missed opportunity to me.

(There are, of course, some legal issues with copyrighted names, but you can still do 90% of the minis, leaving out Elminster and the copyrighted monsters like Beholders.  Hell, you never even have to list the DDM names anyways, since every mini is numbered!  Tordek (from Harbinger) could just be “DDM Set 1 #13”.  The Eye of Flame (Dungeons of Dread) could be “DDM Set 15 #14”.)

Pathfinder 26 – One month after the fact.

First some news!

I will be out at Game Knight DMing for (or playing in) Weekend in the Realms this Saturday. As in tomorrow, Oct 25. This is despite the fact that this is supposedly an RPGA event, and I have no idea how RPGA events are supposed to work. But if you’re free, come on down. There are definitely some people around her I’d love to game with again. The event starts around 10:00 am, and is supposed to last up to 8 hours (6 pm), but you can probably come/leave as you need.

Oh, and there are no real pregens for this game. They expect people to bring their own level 1 characters. But I’m going to bring a stack of pregen sheets anyways, just so we can get started faster if we want to.

Alrighty.

So, about a month ago, we finished the Pathfinder game. It was one session after the last post, but then university decided to kick my ass for a while, so I’m just posting about it now.

We shortened the final dungeon for three reasons.

  1. We didn’t want the characters to be too drained going into the final battle.
  2. A fair amount of the final dungeon battles were repetitive “hey, look, more giants” battles (seriously, like 30-40 storm and cloud giants). Which would have pleased Thorbar and his Giantbane axe, but even still.
  3. I wanted to finish the game before school kicked my ass. It seems I got it done just in time.


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Pathfinder 24-25 – Speed Run!

Alright, not much time to write this stuff up, so we’re going at turbo speed today!

Session 24:

Started book 6.  Needed to figure out how to get to Mhar Massif, where Karzoug is in the city of Xin Shalast.  Went back to Sandpoint, talked to the historian dude (Brodert Quink/Gune) to get more info.  Apparently it’s fucking impossible to reach, but two dwarf brothers may have.  Went to find them up near the mountains.

Both Dwarves are dead, one a cannibal ghost.  Yeah.  Creepy house, haunts, missing notebook pages, beat up a ghost.  Get the lost notes from the brothers.

Battle in book: Wendigo

Not ran.

Wendigo has 1 or 2 actual interesting abilities, all of which are 100% negated by the party’s nice new weapons.  Wendigo becomes a flying bite/claw/claw monster.  Yawn.

Session 25:

Followed directions in notes.  Followed river up to icy lake.  Found naked ice chick (nymph) who just happens to be the cousin of the nymph we saved before.  Yay coincidence!  Naked ice chick gives the party a safe haven in her little ice lake.  Warns against going north, but casts spells to help group anyways.

According to directions, party fasts and takes starvation damage, and halucinates a ghostly river.  The dwarves really never should have found this out, if they weren’t retarded.  Yay starvation!

Following halucinations!  Seems like as good idea as any.

Hey look, a city!  Fought some birdy men, helped a creepy, ugly dude to free his people, beat up an invisible demon to do so.  Found a ring with the Sihedron rune (seven pointed star).

Original creature they were supposed to fight:

Advanced dread vampire decapus sorcerer 10

Ring of invisibility, plus Greater Invisibility spell.  Plus reach, and 10 tentacle attacks each round.  Oh yeah, and energy drain!

Yeah… that one didn’t stay in the game.

Ugly dude that they helped showed them a faster way through the city, and a tunnel to further up the mountain in thanks.  Fought an evil ice witch (originally ice devil and wights, but this lady (Frostwind Virago) was just too much fun).  Another similar ring, and a +4 icy burst returning spear.

Lessons learned:

  • School takes too much time.
  • Campaign almost over.
  • News about the convergence of those two items will come soon.

My players will hit me for doing this…

…before I put up the latest session writeups, but I have news!

I got fanmail!

Real, legitimate, non-spam fanmail!

I know!  I can’t believe it either.  It even included phrases like:

“Reading your response method was very refreshing… very pleasant.”

“I can’t believe the ease with which you speak of 4e, and haven’t even cracked the core books open!  You write like one of the game designers, and you write much more maturely than a college student…”

“I can’t wait until you have played it a while… I think your intellect and your personality will become a valuable resource for those of us who need a bit of re-set perspective.

It’s nice when someone says, “Did you look at it this way?” in a teaching, sharing sort of way.  And then, with delight, you say, “Oh!  No.. but.. wow!  Cooool!” “

“Your site, and your comments on other blogs, are fresh, witty, and enrich the people who read them, encouraging critical, creative thinking.”

and

“Be careful, because if Mearls reads your posts, they might try to kidnap you and let your vision guide the development of this edition over the next few years. :)”

It was in response to some comments of mine that I left on another blog, rather than this site in particular, but still.  It always surprises me that people read what I write.

In the same email exchange, however, I got asked some questions.  It seems that, despite the fact that I have yet to do a full readthrough of any of the three core 4e books, I have become somewhat of an authority on the subject, specifically character design.  If you disagree that I have become such an authority, shut up, I’m having a moment here! :annoyed:

So he asked me for my advice on converting two of the favourite characters/concepts of his group and players from 3e to 4e.  Well, I’m all too happy to oblige!


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Apparently there’s a carnival in town…

So, Donny began the second edition of an RPG Blog Carnival.  The topic this week: Homebrew.

I read his original post, and then NiTessine’s post on a campaign world I really, really want to play in some day.  And between the two, they inspired me to share my own dip into a homebrew world.

It was when I first started GMing, which was admittedly not that long ago.  I was trying to run the group through the WotC adventure “City of the Spider Queen.”

Now, this wasn’t the first time we had tried to get through this particular adventure, nor was it the last.  Not all that far in we were sick of it again, myself especially.  So we wandered back out of the Underdark, and I switched dimensions on them.

(Note, during this swapping of worlds, before they got to the other one, I also managed to spring a Wight Dragon on them, followed by a Gold Golem.  I also managed to send them through a reality-warping series of hallways on their way.  I realise now that I wasn’t so much bored with CotSQ as bored with standard fantasy tropes in general, and wanted to mix it up a bit.)

This new world had next to nothing written about it, and most of what was written happened after the group arrived there, but I had it all made in my head.  I even made a map within a few weeks.  I dubbed it Generica, since there was nothing specific or extraordinary about it.

But I was wrong.  Looking back now, I see that in my desire to escape from standard fantasy, I had actually created a very different, very unique world.  The portal to this world deposited them in a desert.  As they crossed a dune, they came to an arabian-inspired city… of Dwarves.

The Elves were plainsmen, I believe.  The Halflings, savage jungle-dwellers (if I remember correctly).  I basically took every standard fantasy trope I could think of and turned it on its head.

The main plot was centered around dragons, and could have been quite good with a bit more work.  We stopped playing that game before we got too far, though.

In the time since, whenever musing about where to set the next game, I’ve often gotten had a player suggest Generica.  I always assumed it was in jest, and perhaps it is.  But someday, maybe I should call their bluff, and return them to the land of Generica, where everything is most definitely not generic.

Pathfinder 22-23 – Many options, obvious choice

Phew!  Two sessions to report on this time.  Both took place in the same dungeon.

I said last time that I post faster if I have things to rant about.  That holds true, as the last two weeks were quite good.

If you remember, last time, the party stood at the mouth of a swirling portal, about to enter the demiplane of Runeforge.

Present for session 22:

  • Nonnie, Halfling Sorcerer
  • Reza, Dwarf Cleric
  • Thorbar, Dwarf Barbarian
  • Eretri, Aasimar Warlock

The group stepped through the swirling vortex and emerged in a hallway.  The portal closed behind them, leaving no sign of an entrance of any sort, and no visible way of getting back.

I’ll note that for this dungeon, you are supposed to assign each PC a primary sin.  They then gain bonuses when in that sin’s area, and take penalties in the areas belonging to opposed sins.

This was in-fucking-credibly easy for our group!

  • Nox – Greed (“Lewtz!”)
  • Thorbar – Wrath (Barbarian who likes to smash things.)
  • Nonnie – Pride (If you aren’t sure about this one, wait for the pride section below and it will be clear.)
  • Eretri – Gluttony (Also includes lust for power.  Greed and wrath were also possible, but both of those, for Eretri, are in the search for personal power.  Also, Warlock.)
  • Ristan – Lust (Bard.  ‘Nuff said.)
  • Reza – Envy (This one was difficult, as Reza was actually fairly virtuous, or at least not exceptionally sinful.  Especially not in any one specific way.  But I then ran it by the other players once Reza’s player left during session 22, and we decided on envy, due to, well, comments like this one. :lol: )

They followed the hall to a central room with seven statues in front of seven hallways and a bubbling pool of prismatic liquid in the center.  Thorbar pulled a rat out of his bag of tricks and shoved into into the pool, splashing some of the scalding hot liquid onto himself.  The rat screamed in pain and skittered off once released.  Nonnie’s further examination revealed that the pool was used for enchanting items.  On this, Eretri dipped his mace in, getting splashed with burningly cold liquid, with little other effect.

Hot… cold… sufficiently confused, the group turned their attention to the statues and hallways.

The seven hallways each are valid options from the players’ points of view, and of course they pick the ones that I had spent the least amount of time prepping.  The seven rooms take up 2/3 of the adventure in this book, however, so it’s difficult to adequately prepare.

That said, the hall they chose should really have been obvious.


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Pathfinder 18-21 – Fuck, it’s been a while

Yeah… so it seems that “a day or two” translates to a month, when I’m working 10 hour days.

So, we’ve had 4 sessions in that time.  I’ll go through them as if they were one, and I’ll be fairly quick about it.

One thing I noticed, though, is that I blog much faster when the module really pisses me off, which it hasn’t been doing as much recently.  Huh.  I wonder what that says about me.

When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had finished off an annoying part of Book 4, and were continuing on after a room of zombies.

From there, they entered a hallway with a big inscribed (locked) door at one end.  They ignored it, assuming it to be Mokmurian (Stone Giant leader), and went the other way first.

(I should note, if you haven’t figured it out yet, that my players tend to play D&D like Diablo or NWN.  Perhaps a comparison to WoW raids could be made, but I’m not the one to do it.  Explore and loot everything before hitting the boss to end the dungeon.  This will possibly change once we’re playing 4e and they realise how treasure works in that edition, though that’s doubtful.  ^_^   (Note for my players who read this, most enemies don’t have magical treasure in 4e.  You won’t walk out of a dungeon with 50 +1 rapiers to sell.  You’ll walk out with a smaller number of more useful items instead.))


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Stupid Monsters ahoy!

Log of the last session will be up in a day or two.

For now, I’m sure most of you have seen Jared Hindman’s Dungeons and Dragons: Celebrating 30 Years of Very Stupid Monsters.  If you haven’t, go read it now for context.

You see, after writing that article, it took off beyond Jared’s wildest expectations.  To the point where he got brought into a local (Berlin) D&D group, and has been playing for the last 6 months, including GMing at D&D Game Day.

So, of course, he wrote another article.  Well, two actually.

A Noobian’s Guide to 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons:  Celebrating 30+ Years of Stupid Monsters:  PART TWO.

Read.  Enjoy.  Comment.

And if you like his stuff, feel free to support him by getting him to custom-paint you a banner ad.  It’s cheap, because he sucks at business. :P

Pathfinder 16 & 17 – Good sections, but…

Hey look!  I’m not dead!

That’s right, this writeup will include two sessions.  This is for two reasons.  First, it will get us up to date.  Second, the last session was rather short.

Present for both of these sessions:

  • Nox, Changeling Swordsage
  • Reza, Dwarf Cleric
  • Nonnie, Halfling Sorcerer
  • Eretri, Aasimar Warlock

So, we teleport as close as we can get to the destination.  This means the giant landmark at the base of the Storval Plateau, the Storval Stair.


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