Tuesday, May 30, 2017

5e at the Citadel: The Gang Almost Causes A Zombie Apocalypse

After The One With the Gauth, the party divvied up treasure (four ways since Gilroy and Charmagnus still had to work dumb mundane world jobs).  Of note, Valen got the cloak that let him turn into a bat and Julius got the boots of stealth.  The party very firmly decided not to go back to Hagatha, Haras, and Hindra, and thus forged on the opposite way.  They traveled for about a day, realized they were pretty much not in swamps any more, and as night fell, they set up camp.

Now, the idea they came up with was pretty clever: hang the curtain to the secret room with the Chimera heads between two trees and everyone can sleep in the curtain while someone stands guard.  Valen turned into a bat with his cloak and hung up in a tree, Keeri Lo decided to go nearby to a stream, and Julius settled into his elven trance.  Now, the stream was a little ways off, and Keeri Lo took solace in getting wet and just being alone for a bit, but since this is a D&D game, something clearly happened.

Ah the joys of seemingly random encounters.  Forget biotopes...but really, I have biotope random encounter charts for this game I haven't used yet.

If this were a normal sort of game, I'd have probably had him roll randomly for some killer leeches or water spirits or something.  However, I had planned for something to be at that stream, and that something was a man clad in moldering leather armor with shackles on his ankles and wrists that attached him to a huge chunk of iron.  He was dragging it doggedly up the stream.  Keeri Lo was interested and approached.

The man introduced himself as Valdraaz, and in conversation, mentioned that he had to get to the Green Hill to blow the horn there to summon his army.  Why?  Keeri Lo asked that same question, and got some answer about making the nobles of some place that Keeri Lo had never heard of called Shriev pay for what they'd done to him.  Now, call our adventurers many things, but they're not typically the sort who dig on entangling themselves in feuds.  Keeri Lo took his leave and went back to the party and woke them up.

Everyone (aka Keeri Lo, Julius, Valen, and Fechedette) headed back to the man in the stream, easily finding him, because he hadn't gotten that far on account of the giant chunk of metal he was dragging.  With a new round of Perception checks, they figured out that he was actually dead--some sort of bog preserved undead which totally explained the moldy armor.  Julius also (with a nice little History check) remembered that Shriev was one of the city states that now formed the hinterland of Salas (aka the place they were all headed to).

Putting two and two together, they figured that Valdraaz blowing the horn was probably bad, reminded him that Shriev was gone, Valdraaz got angry, and then when Valen tried to stop the chunk of metal from moving, Valdraaz snapped.  His first blow sent Valen flying back (and did a good 14 points of damage), and the fight was on.

Valdraaz hit like a truck, and even worse, was strong enough to chuck the metal piece he was attached to at people and drag himself with it.  Finally, after Valen went down, Keeri Lo healed Valen back up, and Fechedette used her mud queen powers to throw mud in Valdraaz's face to blind him, they struck the final blow, and Valdraaz melted into the earth, leaving the metal chunk and the chains behind.  They took the (slightly magical) treasure back to camp, stowed it and them in the curtain, and went to sleep with Bat!Valen on watch.

We all know where this is going...

Valen woke first the next morning, which was worrysome, because he was supposed to be on watch.  Nothing seemed to be wrong, so he started waking people up in their curtain/tent.  That was when he and Julius realized that something was hiding behind the curtain.  Julius flicked back the curtain to reveal a Lamia, Valen pulled the curtain back to hide the Lamia again, and then the Lamia stalked around the curtain to address the party.  

She introduced herself as Mira, and ordered them to return what they'd taken, dressing them down for meddling.  The party was confused and very put out by the angry Lamia.  Julius tried to trick her into going into the curtain (almost certainly so they could just trap her inside and wait for her to die and deal with the issue that way), she refrained, and Fechedette snuck into the curtain to consort with the Barrys.  

This kind of Lamia, btw.  Not the snakey kind.

The Barrys said that Valdraaz was a revolutionary who some nobles had thrown into a bog 800 years ago.  Fechedette said he seemed a little more alive than that, and she ran out of the curtain as the party was gearing up to fight the Lamia to keep their treasure.  Cooler (hotter, in the case of Keeri Lo, who was trying to put the moves on the Lamia) heads prevailed, and they decided not to fight, and the team begrudgingly decided to help the Lamia defeat Valdraaz.

Why?  Well, Mira told them she was the current member of a bloodline that had to stop the undead Valdraaz from traveling from his resting place in the bogs to Gree Hill and make sure he didn't blow the horn there.  Why?  If he blew the horn, the remains of his sizeable army would rise from their graves and destroy the world.  Keeri Lo cast some divination to find the closest set of moldering leather armor, found lots and lots buried in the area, decided Mira was for realsies, and off they went.

Since Valdraaz was unshackled, Mira didn't know how fast he was travelling, so they decided to make it to Gree Hill and just deal with him when they arrived.  Keeri Lo turned into a red, wooden horse, Julius and Fechedette rode him, and Valen rode in the curtain with the Barrys.  Julius noticed some Celestial writing on a mace that Mira carried, Valen popped his head out and translated it, and discovered it to be a blessed mace.  Mira explained that it had been passed down generation to generation in her family and was the only way to make Valdraaz not sink into the earth and escape when he was defeated. 

Not a bad skill set for a fancy baseball bat.

Without much hassle (and about a half day's ride), they got to Gree Hill.  Note, that it was a very green hill, but it was called Gree Hill like someone forgot the 'e' when they wrote the word "Green" in the campaign notes half an hour before leaving to DM, decided that Gree was a fine name for a hill, and left the name in place because the only person who would remember the name of the hill 15 minutes after they showed up was the someone who made the mistake anyways.  On the top of the hill were several cairn stones and a giant horn made of metal on top of some rocks and held in place with bands of iron.  The party tried to just make off with the horn and discovered that it was magic-ed in place by powerful DM fiat magic, and settled in to wait for Valdraaz to show up.

It was mid afternoon, people decided to nap, and while the Lamia napped, Fechedette snuck over, made stealth checks, passed, and trimmed a little bit of fur off of the Lamia.  She then used her mud queen powers to make a tiny replica of the Lamia with the hair inside then used some cantrips to bake the mud into a statue and hid the statue in her bag.  When asked why by her curious DM, the player simply stated that "you never know when it's useful to have something like that." Everyone nodded sagely, and we moved on with the game.  

When your players start harvesting the hair of your NPCs while they sleep...

As darkness fell, the party and Mira readied themselves.  Then they waited.  As the moon rose, Valen was the first to notice that there were four figures that had manifested outside the light that the moon shed on the top of the hill.  It was Valdraaz and four of his risen warriors, and they attacked almost immediately, the three zombies trying to tie up the party and Valdraaz going straight for Mira.

Now, I want to go on record and say that my dice decided they hated Mira, and within two rounds, she'd almost dropped, because Valdraaz was a Wight and they do scary damage and their drain effect is similarly scary when you're failing saves.  Valen started using his swashbuckling skills to deal with the zombies, but 5e zombies don't die unless they fail a save, and they kept staying up.  Keeri Lo wildshaped into a giant octopus, and then realized his move speed was balls and started inching towards Valdraaz.  It took a couple rounds, but eventually he attacked, grappled, and held the Wight still.

Julius cast Tasha's Hideous Laughter and Valdraaz failed the save.  The  we literally sat there in a holding pattern until Fechedette and her Witch Bolt finally killed Valdraaz, because everyone's dice finally rebelled and nobody could hit anything, but the enemies were mostly dealt with and restrained.  Valen took down the final few zombies as the party started healing up and wrestled the heavy iron shackles from the curtain onto Valdraaz.

We ended there, and will pick up next session with the aftermath of the gang helping a Lamia potentially save the world.  Not your typical encounter with a Wight and 3 zombies, that's for sure.   

Saturday, May 13, 2017

5e at the Citadel: Beauty Is In the Eye

We last left our adventurers with Fechedette, the Mud Queen, digging them out of the collapsed way shrine to Pok the Mud God with her new mud powers.  Somewhere in the shrine, Charmagnus disappeared due to his chaos magic (and the player not being able to show up).  As Fechedette opened up the mouth of the cave, the party saw a small warband of goblins waiting for them at the mouth of the cave.  Two were riding giant crabs, they had two casters, and there were a half dozen foot soldiers as well.  Terrible odds for our 2nd level heroes.

The goblins demanded (in common) that the party lay down their weapons, because the party was being summoned by "the ladies."  Evidently, these "ladies" were in charge of the goblins, and, as the party discovered during a brief parlay, they had been watched and deemed powerful enough for an audience.  The party used this to their advantage and in return demanded that the goblins lay down their arms and escort the party.  Keeri Lo turned into a giant crab, Julius spoke as the voice of the crab lord, goblins bowed and mostly bought it.  After a brief whispered discussion, the two goblins riding on crabs told the rest to give up their weapons, and the party had an unarmed escort to...somewhere.

That somewhere ended up being a village several miles away in a bay by the ocean where there was a goblin town made of mud huts and buildings created from several wrecked ships.  As the party entered the town with their escort, goblins lined the streets, forsaking their menial jobs and play to see the crab king and company.  Even the goblin daycare (complete with bugbear nursemaids) came out to see them as they wound through the crooked streets to a huge house in the middle where three women waited on the veranda to meet them.

The first woman was an ancient crone asleep in a rocking chair, the second a grumpy and pudgy middle aged woman, and the third was a young lady who looked like Amy Winehouse.  The youngest lady took the lead, greeting them excitedly with a loud, nasal voice and gushing over how stoked she was to finally meet them, because the ladies had "been watching the party for a while to see if they were the kind of people they needed."  The youngest lady introduced herself as Hindra, the grumpy one was introduced as Haras, and the oldest was Hagatha, and the party was invited into the home for dinner.

RIP.  Also, voiced by Janice from Friends.

Inside the house, the party was first struck by how large the house was compared to the outside.  Clearly, magic was at play here.  Secondly, they were overwhelmed by the amount of...stuff inside.  There were Hoarders style piles of boxes, crates, scrolls, weapons, clothing, armor, tapestries, and just random junk everywhere.  As Haras moved off to start the dinner (and Hagatha stayed asleep on the front porch), Hindra leveled with the party and explained why they had used their goblin minions to summon them to meet with the three ladies.  

Basically, the ladies were tied to the area magically (speculation, in order, ran: hags, fey, or minor deities.  nobody got a straight answer on what they were).  A green dragon, just a small one, had stolen a magical jewel from the ladies several months back, and the ladies wanted their artifact returned but couldn't get to the dragon.  They wanted the party to go recover the jewel and offered dinner and item-based compensation plus whatever they wanted from the dragon's hoard as log as they returned the jewel.  

After pretending to use the bathroom, slipping into the curtain, and consulting with the Barrys (the chimera heads gave no real answer other than their master was scared of the ladies while he was still alive), the party decided that they could really use some more stuff and agreed to help.  Everyone went to bed except Keeri Lo, who slipped out of the guest room after his friends were sleeping.  He was searching for Hindra, who had also gone to bed, but the newly awakened Hagatha pointed our horny merman to Hindra's room, where the sexy time happened.  Both Hindra and Keeri Lo had "a good time", and our merman slipped back into the guest room.  Julius and Valen woke up enough to guess what had happened, but everyone slept for the rest of the night.

It's been a while since I've had to do one of these in a game...

The next morning, the party was given wooden, toy horses by the hags over breakfast.  Keeri Lo took the red horse, which comes into play later, and there was a white one, black, green, and blue too.  Each could turn into a full sized wooden horse that could unerringly take its rider to a set location.  The team took off, and headed to the dragon.

Finally, they found the ruined keep where the dragon supposedly lived, parked the horses in the nearby woods, and decided to come up with a plan.  There were several trees growing through the keep's walls, and since they couldn't see the dragon, they surmised that it was hiding in the trees.  Keeri Lo decided that he would head up to the keep and try to draw the dragon away by turning into something that could outrun it while the rest of the party looted its hoard.

Keeri Lo headed in, and was quickly confronted by a juvenile green dragon.  Because of course why not, he flirted with it, it threatened to eat him (oddly flirtatiously), he turned into a seagull, and a chase scene commenced.  The rest of the party sneaked into the ruined keep, busted into an old storeroom, realized there wasn't much there, and headed to the stairs.  Upstairs, they found a hole in the roof and the dragon's nest (which was made of pine branches and thousands of copper pieces), so they headed back downstairs and down to the basement.

In the meantime, Keeri Lo was leading the dragon on a merry chase.  He had noticed a collar on her, and also noticed that when he got too far away from the keep, she kept herding him back, so he decided to land.  She did too, and they spoke.  Through the sexual tension, he realized that the dragon was actually a princess dragon captured and kept in the tower by someone she referred to as "the master" and that his friends were in grave danger.  The dragon let him go, and he turned into a horse to race back.  Now, as a merfolk, he had never seen horses before, so he turned into a red one, and this became a bit of a running joke.  

Who cares if it stretches the Wildshape rules?  It's not mechanically different, and it's funny.

In the basement, the party found a giant brush pile, a well, and a locked door.  Something moved in the brush pile, and Valen was suddenly hit by a beam of energy that made him extremely afraid.  Fechedette shot a firebolt at the huge piles of brush hoping to burn them off, and illuminated a huge, hulking, circular form with tentacles.  It then shot a beam of energy at her that paralyzed her, and a struggle followed with the Gauth (for that is what it was) doing serious work on Valen, Fechedette, and Julius (because remember, Charmagnus and Gilroy's players were not present).  

Luckily for the party, red wooden horse Keeri Lo charged in several rounds later, and despite quite a lot of damage for the party, and most of them having been hit with paralyzing or fear rays at least once, they managed to take out the evil Gauth who was holding a dragon princess captive in a tower, because occasionally messing with tropes is fun, and I wanted to throw a Beholder at the party, but they were only 2nd level.  

Beholders and Beholder-kin (including Gauths/Spectators from 5e) are my favorite D&D monsters.  Also, obligatory artist credit.

After the party did some quick healing, they dealt with the fact that the fire Fechedette had started in the brush the Gauth was hiding in had started smoking out the room, and set to work on the locked door.  Once it was open, they discovered a veritable treasure trove with the following treasure:
  • +1 Darkwood Longspear
  • +1 Longsword
  • Brooch that gives the wearer a 1D4 bite attack, does 1 poison damage a round after the bite for 11 rounds if the victim doesn't make a DC13 CON save, and lets the user talk to snakes
  • Boots of +4 Stealth
  • Cloak that lets the user Wildshape into a bat 1x a night.
  • Several mundane but nice tapestries
  • 5 pieces of carved elephant ivory
  • 2 suits of scale mail
  • 500 GP
  • An elephant foot trash can that is enchanted to automatically write any "trash" thrown into it out of existence.  DM chooses what constitutes trash so the players don't throw enemies into it.
  • The realization that their DM was being nice and was consistently giving them way too much treasure for their level.
They also found a Lesser Orb of Green Dragon Control, which they quickly realized the danger of, especially when the baby green dragon came back and told them about how much her dad hated it and how it was what was keeping her a slave.  The party also realized that the Ladies had sorta lied to them, because the dragon hadn't stolen the orb.  The Gauth had just had it in his collection, and the Ladies had severely underplayed how powerful the artifact was.  Clearly, this was the Ladies trying to steal someone else's powerful treasure.  The party decided they didn't want the Ladies to have the orb, set the dragon free, but Julius kept the orb to keep it safe and keep them safe if the dragon decided to come back to hurt them.  He's a paranoid fellow.

We left off with the party ascending to level 3.  A good time was had by all, and I got to use a cool Beholder mini I got for a fight.  It was a good night.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

5E at the Citadel: Your Name Is Mud

Once upon a time, the person playing our noble Firbolg, Gilroy, had a job that changed his hours so he couldn't come play D&D with his friends on a Friday night.  His noble DM did what he could to not write his character out of the game despite him not being present and the party being on a wilderness adventure.  This is that tale.

Our nobl...these guys had decided at the end of last session to camp out in the house of the magical Firbolg that had died on the shitter and thus left them with the contents of his house.  Said contents included three talking, taxidermized Chimera heads named Barry, some low grade spellbooks, a magic teapot, and some potions and herbs.  Also a little bit of gold.  They had decided to set a watch, and by DM fiat, Gilroy had decided to take the last watch.

Everyone woke up well after when Gilroy should have woken them all up, which was worrysome.  Even more worrysome was that he was not in the house.  When they finally found him (on the front porch in a Firbolg sized rocking chair), he was petrified.

Not like this

After poking him to figure out what was going on, a clucking from around the corner of the house alerted them to a Cockatrice that was pecking around.  A few Arcana and Nature checks verified that Gilroy should actually be not petrified any more, which was cause for consternation among the exceedingly paranoid group.  A Medicine check cleared up some of the cause for alarm, however, when it was noticed that this was in like with an allergic reaction to Cockatrice venom, They decided they needed to kill the Cockatrice and they could just chuck Gilroy in the curtain extradimensional space room with the Chimera heads and move on.

They also noticed that there was a cart with a suspiciously open and Cockatrice sized cage in the nearby woods, and they noticed Goblin sounding sniggering from behind the house.  Valen, Fechedette, and Charmagnus opted to take on the Cockatrice, while a medium sized giant crab charged at Keeri Lo and Julius from the side of the house they heard goblin laughter from.  Putting two and two together, they remembered that the goblin wizards from the first session had crab familiars, they figured the goblins just liked crabs, and engaged in combat.

Now, poor rolls were had by all in the Valen/Fechedette/Charmagnus vs. Cockatrice battle.  The two casters singed it with firebolts while Valen and the Cockatrice both wiffed at each other until chip damage from cantrips finally took their toll on the turkey sized lizard bird critter.  Keeri Lo, ever the wily Druid, turned into a giant crab with his Wildshape (and everyone promptly had their mind blown when I produced a second Giant Crab Pathfinder Pawn for the battle mat, because I totes prepared for this).  The goblins ran away, and some crab on crab violence ensued.

The size of a turkey.

Keeri Lo won, of course, and quickly clambered on top of the fallen crab and waved his crab hands in victory.  The party repurposed the goblin cart so that Keeri Lo (in crab form) could pull it and took the delicious meat out of the enemy crab.  After graciously and unscientifically letting Valen go into the curtain extradimensional space to check and see if there was air in there (there was, plus there was no roof, only a view of stars), they chucked their petrified Firbolg bud into the room, packed up, and moved on out before more goblins decided to find them and try to enact revenge with more petrifying poultry.

They hiked through more mud, and as the day went on, it started to rain.  The mating calls of alligators rang out in the background, and the party decided they needed to find some cover.  They found a way shrine to the god, Pok, the deity of mud, lightning, and fire caused by lightning striking dead trees (because I am a firm believer in making weird-ass things to worship in D&D).  Said way shrine was a mud cave in the side of a ravine, and the party settled in to avoid the storm that was starting to rage outside.

You probably just watched a Youtube video of alligators having sex.

As the party slept, a landslide caved in the front of the cave/shrine, trapping them inside, because I wanted a mud dungeon, and I decided to exercise my DM right to force them to go into the mud dungeon.  There was a tunnel that had opened in the back of the cave.  They cast light and went in.  Actually, specifically, Keeri Lo wildshaped into a small crab and scouted ahead.  He found a big mud room that had a thigh deep pool of stagnant muddy water at one end.  There was also another tunnel that rose out from the muddy water that he decided not to traverse, because the rest of the party had gotten bored and decided to follow him.  

Valen waded into the water and felt something brush against his boot.  Then he felt his boot get corroded away and his foot started to burn due to acid damage.  Everyone started looking around to see what was there, pretty much nobody made the perception check, but those that eventually did noticed a pair of Grey Oozes in the water.  

A note to DMs.  Grey Oozes in 5th Edition D&D are disgusting party killing monsters.  I didn't read the stat block before using them.  I just wanted oozes, saw the grey ones were within a good challenge rating range for the party, and added the page number to my notes (this was about a CR1 challenge for a party of five level 2 characters at full strength).  No, these little shits can KO a full HP Fighter in one hit.  They almost did that to Valen, I used my DM screen to change my roll not to, because I realized how insane that was for a throwaway encounter, and scaled several DICE off of the damage for these little fuckers.

Party. Killer.

Moving on, the party killed them, healed a bit, because the Grey Oozes were still really insanely good and did a lot of damage, and then decided to head off down the other tunnel.  What they don't know is that I cut about 5 rooms and 3 traps out of the dungeon because of how bad that challenge went and the fact that we were running out of night and I wanted the boss fight and treasure room at the end, because I spent a lot of time on it.  Let this be a message to all you DMs who make their own dungeons and material: gauge the night, gauge the party, and make changes on the fly to keep the game awesome.

You. Don't. Have. To. Run. Things. As. Written.


The final room was a huge chamber with pillars of mud and a mud altar at the far end.  On said altar was a crown made of dried mud.  Clearly someone had to pick it up and put it on.  That someone was Fechedette, and putting it on summoned a gigantic Mud Elemental.  It was a huge fight, Valen got knocked unconscious, and finally the creature fell to spell and sword.  We had fun, laughed, rolled dice, and it was a great night.

I like to think that afterwards the Mud Elemental went to a nice bathouse somewhere and had a soak.

The crown Fechedette had grabbed ended up granting her control over mud beings, the ability to throw balls of mud, conjure mud, and shape mud (albeit not quickly).  She is also now the Queen of Mud and is always slightly grimy.  The player is beyond pleased.  They ended the session with her heading back up to the entrance to dig them out with her newfound magic.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

5E at the Citadel: The Player Trap

So session two (Session 1 here).

We start somewhere else in the world where Valen the ex pirate captain Aasimar (lots of backstory that I have worked into my overall plot, don’t worry Austin) has awoken drunk in the woods.  He was drunk in the woods because he had been drunk in town because his crew mutinied and left him there and then he’d run away when the Fire Nation Frost Giants attacked and then passed out in the woods. 

Unfortunately, he didn’t know where he was, since the party was in the middle of nowhere and there wasn’t a super logical easy way to bring in a character who’s player had to miss the first session, Valen ran into a goblin running through the woods.  Yes, that goblin.  The one that got away from the fight in the previous session.  Valen and the goblin both stopped, looked at each other, decided they were both cool, and just went in opposite directions. 

Due to a twist of fate/DM fiat, Valen wandered right into the ruins of a goblin camp as a party of adventurers set up their bedrolls for the night amid the wreckage.  The party and Valen traded pleasantries, and they decided he could come with them but not have any of their cash.  That was good enough for Valen, as he was originally from Salas, and they bedded down.  Charmagnus the Wild Magic Sorceror has the Bad Dreams flaw, and fortunately Julius our Elven Bard rolled that he has a nightcap that gives good dreams as his trinket at the beginning of play, so they were able to have a neat little bonding moment.  They set up watches, and we moved to the next day.

The landscape started to change from deciduous forests to swampland, and the proximity of the sliver of land they were on between mountains and sea meant that most water they found was brackish.  They had officially entered The Saltmarch, the treacherous marshes at the southern ends of the mountains that blocked trade to the south of Anchorheim.  The party had to deal with mud, itchy plants, and swarms of bugs (all in narration, because I’m not a dick of a DM who makes people roll to swat mosquitos). 

Imagine this for probably the next few blogs about this game...

As they passed by a muddy bog, they rolled for a random encounter, and several globs of mud hit the party coupled with cackling  from the mud.  Valen was stuck to the ground by mud, and the party discerned a pair of Mud Mephits.  They lured them out of the bog with insults, but the pair landed in tree branches overhead just out of reach.  That led to a bit of an issue for the ranged weapon deficient party, and Fechedette, the crafty Illusionist, created an illusion of a sexy, female Mud Mephit to lure them off.  It distracted one, but the other passed it’s Wisdom Save, but was quickly cut down by a spear and some Firebolts.  They then had time to disentangle from the mud and deal with the second Mephit before moving on their way.

Mud Mephit

That little encounter out of the way, they found what appeared to be a game trail that avoided the worst of the swamp, and followed it.  A few Perception checks later, they noticed the fungus covered trees they were passing through seemed to be some sort of mushroom farm.  A little later, the berry bushes appeared to be some sort of clandestine harvesting ground.  They came around a bend, and found themselves confronted with a little cottage.

Anyone who has read the backlog of my blog will notice several similarities between what happened next and something similar I ran for a group several years back.  It is.  I’m not sorry.  I liked it, and that game didn’t go anywhere, so I reused something I loved.  I changed bits, so nyah.

Anyways, the house was a little large for Medium sized creatures, so Gilroy was pretty much at home, but everyone else felt short.  They noticed a really bad smell from the nearby outhouse, and they discovered the rotting corpse of a Firbolg clutching its chest.  Clearly, the owner of the house had a heart attack while taking a dump (a surprisingly common occurrence, evidently).  They were free to loot!

Entering the house, they discovered a few items of note.  In the cupboards, they found some potions, coffee (gives the benefits of a long rest after a short rest, but in return, they need to take a long rest as their next rest), some gold under a mattress, and a self filling and heating kettle.  Also, there was a book about mushrooms and a beginner book of Wizard spells on the bookshelf and some herbs on a herb rack.  In all, a nice haul for a first level party.  That was hardly the best/worst part of it.

Remember, I shamelessly ripped off something I did in a previous game…

There was a curtain against a wall, and when they drew it aside, behind it was a small room that was not of the same dimension of the house they were in.  In that extradimensional room, three poorly taxidermized heads were on the walls (a goat, a lion, and a lizard) and there was a silver basin and large velvet bag inside a circle carved into the floor.  Inside the velvet bag was a silver Athame and a gris gris necklace.

On the top an Athame, on the bottom, a Gris Gris (basically a small bag worn as an amulet full of gross spell components).

There was some argument over who should put on the necklace or if it should be worn at all.  Valen and Gilroy were all about wearing it, and Fechedette skeptically sided with them.  Keeri Lo and Julius were definitely against it (note that Keeri Lo’s player was actually in the game where I did this the first time).  Charmagnus just wanted all the stuff and was just trying to get everyone to give the stuff to him.

Eventually, Valen just put the necklace on, and discovered that by wearing the necklace, he could speak with the three heads of the taxidermized Chimera.  It was named Barry.  The lion head was helpful and dim witted.  The goat was insulting and intelligent, and the lizard/dragon head was so poorly made it just unintelligibly mumbled.  After some confusion over who Valen was talking to and if the poor pirate had finally gone mad, Julius put the necklace on, decided the level of crypticism that the chimera met his questions with meant it was evil and plotting.  Fechedette thought things were fine after talking to Barry, Charmagnus was cool with it too, and Keeri Lo sided with Julius against the beast again.  Gilroy just kept getting skipped in turn order and when he finally got to talk to Barry, everyone was cross with each other, the Chimera was annoyed and pleading to just be taken with them, and Valen had taken the heads off the wall and put them back up at least twice. 

Team #cynic, aka Julius and Keeri Lo, wanted to alternately burn the heads, leave them while hiding the necklace, take the necklace and leave the heads, or just leave the lot.  Finally, Keeri Lo made a perception check and realized that the room was not part of the house but was actually generated by the curtain, so if they took the curtain down, they could just carry the lot.  After some pleading from Gilroy and Valen, they decided to relent and just take the lot with them as long as Julius and Valen kept control of the necklace in case the Chimera heads were evil and tried to negatively influence the less strong willed party members. 

Now armed with some healing stuff, various potions, a few new spells, a magical tea kettle, and an extradimensional room with talking taxidermy, the party hit level 2 and decided to spend the night in the house, thereby wrapping up the session.

*****Quick side note, I have updated the previous post's title to include the header 5E at the Citadel.  I will include that designation in future posts from this game so that they can be easily differentiated from whatever else I post in the meantime.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

5E at the Citadel: The Story Begins With...These Guys...

Adventurers Needed!
I fear the wards have broken in the latest avalanche.  A sudden warm snap has caused the Icefang Mountains to dump their prodigious snow that their peaks have collected down to the lowlands, and the wards that keep the mountain denizens at bay have been buried or worse.  I pray it’s just the wards being covered.  Otherwise, the two frost giants who came down from the hills and took our town three nights past have discovered a way to circumvent our ancient protective magic.  That is far more disturbing a thought. 

For now, though, our plight is dire.  Griffombul and Jontara, the giant and his giantess, have frozen our bay, leaving our ships trapped in shackles of ice, and a deep frost creeps over the town.  They started their reign of terror by ripping our guards to shreds along with any the giants deemed strong enough to oppose them.  Now they sit on our keep as if it were a throne, demanding our goods for their hoard and our children to slake their hunger. 

Those of us remaining in the Anchorheim Council have given gold to some hale souls who had decided to winter in Anchorheim so that they may slip from the city through our sewers with a letter to our allies across the mountains in Salas and at the Library at Howell to implore them for aid.  Even if they do make it through Saltmarch to the south and through the forests on the mountains’ eastern faces, I fear any help they reach will not find us in time.  I shiver not just from the bone aching cold the giants have brought, but from the fear that hangs in the air as palpably as our breath does. 
-Excerpt from the diary of Justice Claybones, Interim Mayor of Anchorheim

David Gardner will be running a 5th Edition D&D game fo3r new and old players alike.  We will run bi-weekly.  We will be using all 5th Edition material printed by Wizards of the Coast, and we will be starting at level 1.

That was the add I had my local gaming store put on their Facebook page.  Below is the party I ended up with (note that I ended up letting a player use a race from an Unearthed Arcana article):

This may or may not be the image that inspired the intro to this game...

Keeri Lo, the Zendikar Merfolk Druid Criminal. 
  • ·         Has great abs
  • ·         Druidic focus is a conch shell horn
  • ·         Wildshapes into crabs ‘n stuff
  • ·         Think slightly sleazy information broker with seaweedy tide pool magic
  • ·         Makes cutting comments using Vicious Mockery #throwingshade
Julius, the High Elf Bard Noble
  • ·         Commanding and in charge
  • ·         Has a lute
  • ·         Also makes cutting comments using Vicious Mockery #throwingshade
  • ·         Trusts almost no-one
  • ·         Battle bros with Keeri Lo
Charmagnus, the Human Sorceror (Wild Mage) Wanderer
  • ·         Super germophobe
  • ·         Casts Prestidigitation constsantly to clean everything
  • ·         Doesn’t use anything but cantrips unless he can help it because he’s afraid of his wild magic
Fechedette, the Forest Gnome Wizard (Illusionist) Sage
  • ·         Gets very excited
  • ·         Has “creative” uses for illusions
  • ·         Rides on Gilroy or Keeri Lo if he is a crab
  • ·         Has a chipmunk familiar
  •       Her name was randomly generate off of the 5e DM Screen
Gilroy, the Firbolg Barbarian Folk Hero
  • ·         Has a really comfortable coat
  • ·         No, really guys, it’s super comfortable
  • ·         Always down with trying new things
  • ·         Big, congenial bro
And coming late to the party (in session 2)…
Valen, the Aasimar (Protector) Fighter/Rogue (Swashbuckler) Pirate
  • ·         Cinnamon roll
  • ·         Loves everyone
  • ·         Likes booze
  • ·         Total go getter
  • ·         Just is happy to have friends

Our first session started with five characters (Valen's player couldn't make it to the first session) being hidden in a basement by Justice Claybones.  The old Mayor offered them 1,000 GP each if they managed to get a letter across (around, rather, but eh) to the city of Salas and to the Library at Howell.  It was a sweet deal for a bunch of first level adventurers, so they took it.

The Mayor moved a table, revealed a secret tunnel, and shipped the gang down it into a dark little  access tunnel.  They were ticked that he pushed a table back over the tunnel, sealing them down there, but quickly overcame their annoyance and forged on.  Eventually, they emerged several miles outside the town.  Quickly, they hightailed it to the nearby tree line to avoid any giant eyes.

After a brief bit of introduction and reveling in the musical instruments they had, they realized they were probably too close to town to make too much noise, and slunk off.  Near night, they discovered a farmhouse that looked like it had been trodden on by a giant, and found a squashed mother and child (both deceased) inside.  They also found some bread and potatoes.  The potatoes, coupled with the fact that Charmagnus had bought cheese at character creation, started a joke about how the party needed to make pierogis.

Mmmm, pierogis

They decided not to spend the night in a squashed farmhouse since there was still a little daylight left, and forged on.  As darkness fell, they saw a fire in the trees up ahead, and Julius, Keeri Lo, and Gilroy decided to investigate.  Charmagnus and Fechedette hid in the trees but stayed close. 
The fire was owned by half a dozen goblins and a pair of goblin dogs.  Two of the goblins were robed, the dogs were tied up, and none of them expected a Firbog, a Merfolk, and an Elf to wander into the middle of their camp.  This led to a few blades (goblin blades are basically sharp junk tied to sticks) being drawn but some talk happened where the goblins demanded the party’s stuff and the party tried to barter potatoes.

As a shock to nobody, these relations broke down, and the goblins in robes opened their mouths, their crab familiars scuttled out to safety, and the dogs were loosed.  A goblin rolled a natural 1 against Keeri Lo, and my description of how the goblin’s steak knife tied to the end of a stick broke when he shoved the knife at Keeri Lo’s stomach spawned Keeri Lo lifting his shirt, declaring his abs were steel, and then getting promptly dropped to zero by a goblin dog. 

One goblin ran away, but in a barrage of spells and steel (the wizard and sorcerer did good work with Firebolt from the trees), the rest of the goblins and the goblin dogs were dropped.  The party settled in for the night in the ruined campsite, and we finished the first session.  It was short because a large portion of it was spent in character creation, but laughs and fun were had.  

Been a While...


I've said it before and faded off, and I can't promise it won't happen again.  I'm a busy man.  However, I have some stuff I want to send out to the hive mind and some stories to share, so I'm gonna do it.  Kay?  Kay.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

TWBWDH: To Hell...(Maybe not back) Part 1

As most of The World's Best Worst Demon Hunters episodes start, we find our heroes chilling in the now chilly bunker under Centralia, Pennsylvania.  Lenny was playing video games in the Winnebago, Mark was making pancakes in the bunker kitchen, and Anne was resisting pent up urges over her growing lust for Kade in her room.  This was made harder when Kade came in and announced that he had an exciting job for them that was making him swell in anticipation.  Yes, the conversation actually went like that, except with more sex puns that either Kade didn't realize he was saying or played off very well.  Anne was flustered, we conference called Lenny in, because he didn't want to leave the Winnebago during daylight (because vampire), and Kade told us we were going to the Nether Realm.  
Of course, my brain immediately replaced Nether Realm with Nightosphere, coloring my entire perception of the whole ordeal we were about to face.

Lenny was told to stop playing video games while we discussed what was going on, so clearly he didn't. Mark was concerned, said it wasn't his bag, but was quickly swayed by the fact that we were getting payed a whole lot, and Anne looked forward to it.  The mission was to go to Miserachordia, the realm of Mephistopholes (because of course it was).  Now, the Nether Realm in Colt Regan is not actually Hell.  It's simply a series of connected planes where "demons" (technically extradimensional beings of various stripes) come from.  Miserachordia is mostly a ruined city-scape with pools of toxic waste and pollution everywhere.

"Like Detroit," Mark remarked.

"Like Detroit and Cincinnati had a child and it got all of the recessive genes," Kade replied.

We had to be there for possibly two weeks.  Mark and Anne bought cartons of cigarettes. Lenny realized he didn't have two weeks worth of clothes in his wardrobe.  Mark only packed five days worth of clothes but two weeks worth of underwear.  We realized that the video game situation in Miserachordia was pretty dire, and Lenny packed his Nintendo DS and a lot of battery packs.   Dr. Richard Thaddeus Block and Apocalypse Creed were mostly packed until Kade made a joke about packing extra socks to make sure we didn't get gangrene and Dr. Block decided he didn't want to chance a theory that Incubi couldn't get gangrene and ran back to his room to get more.

Necessary for any trip to the Nightosphere Nether Realm

Mr. Crow, our portal demon from the West Virginia Incident was due to come and open a portal for us, and he arrived at 7am.  Kade had woken us all up.  Mark was not happy about this and rolled back over in bed.  Lenny joked that he could carry Mark, so of course this episode's broment was Lenny carrying Mark to the meeting point in the bunker lobby.  Mark grumped around and drank coffee and was angsty, we waffled a few moments after the portal opened, and Mark decided that if he had to be miserable, he might as well be miserable in Miserachordia and was the first one through.

We were off to meet with some demons who had escaped experimentation by one of Mephistopholes's demon lieutenants and were trying to form a peaceful society.  Some of their scouts had disappeared, and we were to find the scouts.  Their encampment was a short hike from our portal, and we met a ragtag group of demons who sported mechanical augmentations or replacements for various and sundry body parts.  They informed us that every one of the demons they rescued were precious to their cause, to which Mark telepathically remarked to Lenny was most likely because all together they made up one whole demon.

Their leader, Jum, allowed Dr. Block to set up a station in their camp so that he could remotely monitor us over Bluetooth headsets.  We joked that he could hear us pee.  He professed not to have a pee pee fetish.  The jokes that he has a pee pee fetish are now clearly a thing we make on the reg.  We discovered that we had cell service, but figured the roaming would be Hell to pay.  Evidently, there is such a thing as a Fiends and Family plan offered by many cell carriers.  Roaming jokes were made, because all of us playing the game are call center veterans.  

It's the little bits of intrusive reality that lend Colt it's special brand of charm.

And then we set off into a blasted hellscape not dissimilar to Detroit after an apocalypse.  Mark lit a cigarette off of a gout of fire blasting through the concrete, Kade scouted ahead, we discovered that Lenny knows what a point man is because of video games, Mark and Anne brought up the middle, and Apocalypse Creed brought up the back and made sure that we were covered.  Our episode ends just outside of a ruined factory/hospital/meat processing plant as we readied ourselves to check out the dark and scary insides.  Because, y'know, cliffhanger and stuff.