WotW: A Knot of Thorns The Second Parchment

Game Master Xzaral

Way of the Wicked by Fire Mountain Games

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King of Talingarde

Let me double check the adventure on that. I think indoors though.


So, Cain had Fargo put the 900g down for the Efficient Quiver, will you let me know when it comes in/he needs to pay the balance?


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

Indoors?

Anyone feel like recreating the end of Inglorious Bastards?


Male Human Lord of Darkness Antipaladin 5; HP 57/57; AC 23/11/22; Initiative +1; Perception -1; Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +5 (+1 vs. divine spells);
King Markadian V wrote:
1) Captain Varning is to head off for a five day trip on 2 Gozran, to return on 6 Gozran.

So, spread the rumor on the 2nd and go get him?

In my opinion, the performance sounds good but it adds a second layer to potential failure. Hrm. Still, useful, as a distraction.


Works for me.


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Ooh fun fun fun. Level 5.

The plans sound good also.


Percep +4. Init +8 -- Hp 50/50. AC 18, t12, ff16. Fort+4, Ref+4, Will+6

reporting in:

It's been unexpectedly busy for the past bit, and I kind of let myself lose track of this game. Working on catching up now.


Outsider (AC: 22|12|20- For:+5| Rex:+6| Wil:+7- Per:+2Init:+3)

Hint as to New Teon evolution avalible just in time for the attack.


Cool. Glad you're still around, Shulme. Hopefully we're getting ready for some fun.


King of Talingarde

Just a heads up that May 13th - 17th I'll be attending a leadership conference and will have limited posting ability.


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

Glad you're back.


So are you going to try to move things forward before then? Or are you wanting to wait until you get back to kick anything big off?


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Alright, it looks like Mark is dead. I am GM now. Who wants a template. Or treasure.


King of Talingarde

Fargo:
Sorry, this spoiler was trapped with an Vincent's Nuclear ICBM Fireball spell. You and everything within 1 mile is now dead or radioactive. I'll stat up the radioactive zombies tomorrow.

Honestly, waiting may be best. We might start the killing captains part but finishing before I leave probably won't happen. So I'll try to respond to any more questions and then we can start. I would like to know dates you plan to do stuff so I can plan though, if you don't mind.


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Shaking off the radioactivity, Fargo would like to point out that on his last game play post, he did post a date.


Still here. Using the lull to consider our time-table and the different opportunities we have.

.. just droppin' a bump on this biznass.


HP 21 | AC/T/FF 14/12/12 | CMD 17 | F+3 / R+3 / W+8 | Init +6; PER +10 | Image

Hey guys, sorry for my scant posts. Work and life are slamming me right now. Feel free to bot me as needed. I'll try to jump in when I can.


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Casts animate thread.


King of Talingarde

I'm awake!

Also I see the date Fargo (looking up thread a few posts). I have the weekend off when I come back, so assuming I survive I'll begin the soldier hunting then.


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Thanks for being a great DM. This is the only PBP I have ever joined that has not imploded.


King of Talingarde

For it to implode, my head will have to explode (something about the relative mass of online survivability in relation to my incredible ego, which btw, does possess it's own gravity due to it's mass; or I'm just crazy).

Honestly, I'm very much eager to move on to the actual assault. There's a lot of good story potential in the town (and a couple things I still need to resolve), but without the constant face to face, it looks like it may be relatively easy for things to go by the wayside. I'm looking at it in relation to the next couple adventures. Being the 'Evil AP', it does require a certain amount of push from the players, since as a friend of mine often cites, evil is active and good is reactive. I'm hoping as we go into book 2 to find a good method to help keep things moving in both games.

Also I'll probably be looking into some other WotW PBPs and see what they're doing too.


My ego's somewhat regular size and shaped. My head, on the other hand...

And out of curiosity, do you feel we're doing less rp'ing than your other groups? Or as other wotw groups? (Before you answer, be aware that my ego – while mostly normal sized – is uncharacteristically fragile)


King of Talingarde

I'd describe this group's roleplaying as 'comfortable'. It's not the rabid pit bulls my neighbors had when I was a kid that prevented me from playing outside some days when they got loose (well, them or the junkyard bear, true story). It's also not the high drama theatre groups where I felt my acting/storytelling ability was sorely incomplete to run with.

I only mentioned RP potential as I know most groups and individuals have different preferences. When I started up with Aldencross, for example, I came up with about 100 NPCs outside of what was in the book to have some potential RP with, expanding upon what was in the book to coincide with other storylines of the NPCs. I've used pretty much the same NPC listing for each group so if one storyline doesn't get used in one group it will in the other.

What I'm actually planning on looking at are ways to keep things moving. It's felt a couple times that things are starting to lag behind (which may be my own paranoia, but still a worry). Taking into account Kalina's disappearance and Gwyn's departure, it also caused me a slight worry that perhaps I'm not making the game as enjoyable as I could be (which is only one of numerous possibilities, but still something I want to take into account). I do hope if things aren't quite meeting up to people's expectations they would let me know. It's the only way I can grow as a GM.

Of course I kinda went gloomy or emotional or something like that, so I still need to shatter Cain's ego...

.....:
CRUSHING DESPAIR TRAP!!!


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

I am simply a massive ego that learned to type. But I am unshatterable because I am awesome.


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Fargo is having a BBQ. You are all invited. I will be serving small and cute fuzzy animals. Everyone please bring a drink or a side to share.


Slave comes dressed in Bermuda shorts and a floppy hat, his ribcage packed full of ice and beer bottles. Occasionally Xanos shoots him with a Ray of Frost when he starts leaking on the floor.

"Drrrrrrrrrnk?"


M Head Head 2 neck 2

Guess who doubles as a bottle opener.


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

Shouldn't Sir Eldon's head be looking a little less pretty these days?


Anyone bring any Scooby Snacks?


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Yes, he is, but I am not making another joke avatar.

Cain, there is a bowl of kibble behind the grill.


Fargo later goes to check the grill.

The steaks are gone... the kibble remains untouched.


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

I don't think you need to make a new one. I think you can just edit that one and change the picture if you want.


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Still seems like a lot of work.


I updated Mark's calendar with a few dates that make sense based on the conversation thus far (i put [Cain] after my additions).

Secondarily, we have over a week between the bard guy arriving and his show. Considering the fact that the show happens just a few days before my suggested assault date (the 9th), should we use the performance as the time to push the conflict between those two lords over the wife to a head? hopefully the business of them getting the performance ready could help us mask any setup we need to make it happen without bringing heat upon ourselves. Plus, that gives us a week to plant any initial rumors we want if we wish to "prime the pump", as it were.

Also, i put the ambush on Varning in the middle of his trip, but that's mostly just to get it on the calendar. We can pick any day when he's out... I suggest we just try to pick a day that's most likely to give us a chance to cover our tracks.

One thought i had was to try to get word to our bugbear friends and use them to set the ambush, and – if we want to try to keep word from getting back – we can position ourselves to intercept any soldiers that escape the ambush.


King of Talingarde

All righty, so I'm back. To repeat what I said in Parchment 1...

Spoiler:

King Markadian V wrote:
Gargamel, I command that you bring me 100 smurfs or your cat, Azrael, is dead.

Er, um, ignore that. Wrong quote. Here's the right one.

Spoiler:

King Markadian V wrote:

Quick update.

Got back late Friday night and began to fill ill. Throughout Saturday I updated the player games, but kept a tab open on both my WotW games to remind me to update them all weekend. I started several times but just couldn't get the proper wording + motivation to get the post in. Long story short, I put it off through the entire weekend.

GM braces for deserved reprimanding.

So that's what happened to which I will now apologize. I'm looking now at getting a post up for the entry into the shop itself. Expect it shortly.

So I'm looking at the game now and will be attempting to update shortlyish.


King of Talingarde

All right, going through the thread, it looks like the plan is mostly set.

1) Varning Ambush - What I need to know is if you plan to contact the bugbears or not so I know how to set that up.

2) Mott/Eddarly/Kaitlyn affair - Just want to know what preliminary work and how you plan to send the info to who.

@Fargo, you're able to pick up those scrolls without issue.

If I missed any information or leads you wanted to follow up on, let me know.


If we want to get notice to the bugbears, Cain can use his hunting/climbing trip as a reason to get out of town. Only a matter of looping out across the river and making contact at that point.

Just need to know what info to give them so they'll be in the best position for an ambush.


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

At 5th level Xanos gets his familiar. Since Mark said we'd be hitting 5th before the attack on the fortress, I figured I'd introduce it now. :)

Lets see how learning those spells goes-

Spellcraft, learning Animate Rope, DC 16: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13
Spellcraft, learning Charm Person, DC 16: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (18) + 12 = 30
Spellcraft, learning Create Map, DC 17: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (15) + 12 = 27
Spellcraft, learning Spider Climb, DC 17: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32
Spellcraft, learning Glitterdust, DC 17: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25

Looks like we'll have to do without Animate Rope for now.

Xanos is going to memorize Charm Person the morning after he learns it to go see about getting those more dubious scrolls.


King of Talingarde

It's amazing how a freezer holding plasma suddenly raising in temperature at 1:30 am screws with you for a few days :)

I'm going to assume the Varning ambush then for starters. Let me know who all is going on that. Contacting the bugbears isn't too much of an issue. I'll setup the map for it tonight.

While that goes let's work on what you want to do in preparation for Mott and Eddarly. I see mention of 'priming the pump'. What were your thoughts on how to do that? I don't necessarily need specifics so much as a general idea.

Xanos, the Charm Person thing. Are you planning on trying it with Regis at Third Eye Oddities?


Cain's going on the ambush if there are no objections. And I'd love to see how our new guy fares. :D

Alaric, you up for it?


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

I think you also need some spell back up. You two and Shulme should probably be able to handle it. Go in, buff up and ambush him and I think you will be fine. If you want, Fargo can go with you but he is more likely to be noticed if gone.


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

Yeah, that's the plan. I think I'll bring Shulme and Fargo as backup in case he resists or is protected.


Male Human Lord of Darkness Antipaladin 5; HP 57/57; AC 23/11/22; Initiative +1; Perception -1; Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +5 (+1 vs. divine spells);
Cain... wrote:

Cain's going on the ambush if there are no objections. And I'd love to see how our new guy fares. :D

Alaric, you up for it?

Always!


Hey, this isn't a private party. Anyone who wants in on the Varnibg slaughter is invited. :D


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

FYI, everybody. I was looking at Disguise Self, which the iron circlets are based on. I can not use it to disguise Teon, as he counts as both a humanoid and an outsider, whichever is most disadvantageous and Disguise Self does not allow you to disguise yourself as a different type.


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

Can Fargo cast Summon Eidolon?


Male Half Elf (AC: 15|11|14 - For:+4 | Rex:+3| Wil:+5- Per:+2Init:+3)

Yes, so it is not a huge deal.


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

Just means we know what you'll be spending Round 1 doing. :)


HP 27/35, Temp HP 0, 3 str damage, AC: 11, Fort +02/ Ref +2 / Will +6, Perception:+5 Channel 8/8, Bolster 8/8, Infernal Healing 50/50, Command Undead 50/50. Active Effects: Fox's Cunning

Sigh. Rant incoming-

Who the crap screwed up the Bugbear?:

There's nothing that bugs me more than when the Fluff of a creature doesn't match up with the mechanics.

When I look at an Orc, I instantly get why they're frightening. Even the lowly grunts can one-shot a second level character. Their Ferocity means they will take an extra hit or two to take out. When you fight an Orc, you're going to damn well know you've been in a fight.

When I look at an Ogre, I see good design. They have two feats because of their Hit Dice, and their raw power means they don't need to sink them into being able to hurt things any better. They're already in overkill territory for their CR. Instead, they have Toughness and Iron Will. Rock solid, simple choices that add longevity to an encounter with an Ogre. Mechanically and thematically this makes perfect sense.

Hobgoblins are basically foils to humans. They have this whole "evil roman legion" thing that is totally cool. They have bows and swords and wear decent armor. They're all-around dangerous with no particular weaknesses. Their feats are Toughness and Weapon Focus Longsword because every last one of them is a hard-bitten soldier.

And then there's the Bugbear. The fluff says that they're, canny, seven-foot predators that are the most feared of all the goblinoids. They plan ahead. Every action they take is designed to maximize suffering. They don't just want to kill you. They want to kill you in ways that hurts your friends. They're supposed to be terrifying. Then, you take a look at their stats and just... yawn.
They are a CR 2, and yet they are practically identical to a Hobgoblin, which is a CR 1/2. They have exactly 1 more Hit Point and 1 More point of AC than a Hobgoblin, and average one more point of damage per hit. Apparently that's all 1 1/2 CR means. A Hobgoblin is a scary CR 1/2. A Bugbear is an utterly underwhelming CR 2.
They have some pretty good skill numbers, but nothing that's going to really help them in a fight. They're maximized for Stealth and Intimidate. Both fairly useful, but not at the expense of actual effective combat ability. If their fluff was that they some kind of boogeyman that snuck around and scared people, but wasn't particularly dangerous, it would totally fit, but they're supposed to be combat monsters. A CR 2 can take on an entire squad of basic human soldiers and have a 50/50 chance of winning. Crunching the numbers, a Bugbear takes out one soldier, and then dies in round 1, pretty much every time.

So where'd the ball get dropped?

The feats and the gear. Go figure.

Bugbears have Skill Focus Perception and Intimidating Prowess. As a society, they basically decided that they wanted to light their potential effectiveness on fire. I could buy those choices from Goblins. Goblins are stupid and short sighted. From Bugbears, I expect better. Bugbears should not be less frightening than orcs or hobgoblins.

Gear-wise, Bugbears carry javelins and morningstars and light shields. I'm not even going to go into why that's dumb. I'll just jump into how to make Bugbears live up to their reputation.

The Fix:

So bugbears are all about stalking people and hurting them for as long as possible. Alright, lets work with that.

First, lets give them all Combat Nets. It doesn't even matter that they aren't proficient. They're going to be making a touch attack, probably from Stealth. They have a decent Dex, so they'll be fine. Now they can snag their prey. Entangled is a way worse Debuff than Demoralized, so lets ditch Intimidating Prowess. A feat is not worth a +3 bonus to a skill that you have to choose to use instead of beating face.

With that free feat, lets pick up something useful. How about Combat Reflexes. Now, when your prey tries to run, you can punish them for it.

Combat Reflexes is a natural fit for polearms. Lets give them all Longspears.

We can ditch the shield because of that, but we don't want to lose out on our AC, so lets give them Bucklers. It's the same bonus as a Light Shield anyway, and that -1 attack penalty isn't that bad. The higher AC is worth it, and with Combat Reflexes you'll have more attacks than usual anyway. You can afford to rely more on the luck of the dice than bonuses.

Skill Focus Perception is a garbage feat. It's arguably the best of the Skell Focus options, but that's not saying much. They're the ones doing the sneaking, not trying to spot the sneaky. Let's swap it out.

How about Skill Focus Stealth? At least that's in keeping with the established theme.

So now we have a sneaky, crafty, hard to escape from group of nasty sumb$#*&es that you do not want to face, worthy of the CR 2 title. They match up with the hobgoblin's "evil legion" thing and have a few interesting tricks to pull in combat.

We don't have to use the changes for this game, it's just something that was bugging me and I had some time to write.


Regarding bugbears…I don't disagree with you on the underwhelming nature of the bugbear from a combat perspective. They don't exactly strike fear into me as a player when I consider running into them in a standup fight. I have to say, though, that the write-up in the Bestiary as well as the mechanical choices the dev's made when putting the bugbear together lead me to think they were't really trying to build an effective combat brute, but rather to support a theme. Bugbears revel in killing… killing in as close, personal, and terrifying a manner as possible.

Your version of them would, indeed, create a more effective combat bugbear, especially a more effective group-combat bugbear, but it seems a bit contradictory to that same writeup.

I'm left with the sense that these guys are the psychopathic serial killers of goblinkind. That they pretty much live to cause pain, and – in my mind – that paints a picture of someone sadistically turned on with really close, brutal, grisly pain… not really using a longspear to kill from a safe melee range and using strong tactics to disallow them from running. I get the feeling these guys would much prefer to choose a victim (possibly at random), watch them for a bit (minutes,hours, days maybe) then sneak into their house when they think they can get away with it, lock the door behind themselves and wreak bloody hell on the hapless, sleeping victim. In that sense, training with a longspear doesn't seem to fit the MO… something closer and bloodier seems right. Heck, I'm surprised they don't all work with daggers or kukris so they can really get their hands dirty… but that's a step in an even less combat-scary direction. The morningstar seems fine to me.

But, like you said, your version of them would give players much more of a problem (and anxiety) in more traditional combat setups.

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