|Captain Gobbo Beatty|
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"We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Gobbo god says, but everyone made equal. Each goblin the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. Besides, squiggly things on paper make our heads hurt. So! A book is a growling dog in the house next door. Burn it. Defang the cur."
|Fireman Gob Montag|
|Captain Gobbo Beatty|
Well, I could tell you how awesome it was when I had Brother Panjeer in a prison cell and was simultaneously ripping off Darkness at Noon (tap-tap-tap: make a Linguistics check), The Man in the Iron Mask ("I am the King of Galt"), and Lost (The female half-orc turnkey brings you a toasted peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off and a toothpick) at the same time, but what's the point?
The whole party: Pieter Smith, Sheaogorath, Kormackr Odgenson, Dalscata Took, Brother Panjeer and newcomers Ausk Daggertongue and Roseanne Durutti were all killed in a Prison Block Rumble with Savage Nation. They even killed poor Alonzo the Reactionary Teamster and his poor burro, Rociante.
Campaign over. :(
There were some half-joking bitter recriminations that I rigged the climatic set-piece encounter to kill them off so I wouldn't have to keep writing the campaign, but they were the ones who decided to take on the full might of Savage Nation and ignore the two escape routes available to them and go down swinging.
Nevertheless, my sleep was ruined by nightmares of gloom, doom, and DM inadequacy.
I'm thinking next we'll do Rise of the Runelords.
Well, friends and comrades, Rise of the Runeplutocrats ended in a disastrous TPK at Thistletop. I won't go into the gory details, but suffice to say, my players have never mastered the art of tactical combat. I guess we're more "role" players than "roll" players, but don't let that make you think we're snobby. We do fart and dick jokes, too.
Anyway, we started a new campaign that is going to rely more, thank god, on published materials, than the Galtan gulag campaign, but enough of it will be (semi-)original enough to post in this thread.
Vive le Pezzack!
Here goes...[Cross posts from the FAWTL Refugees Thread, which I know you're not supposed to do, sorry. Won't do it from here on in.]
Kingpinmaker, Game One
I started a new campaign on Sunday that I am provisionally calling Kingpinmaker as it revolves around a couple of halfling gunslingers trying to take over the illicit substance market in Pezzack.
My players whined and cried and I let them start at 6th-level.
The party is:
Brother Makao, half-orc monk from the Sanctuary of Shazam
Giles O. Beck, human rogue
Esmerelda Abandawax, halfling bard
Barbie Ragnarock, "human" slayer
Genny, halfling gunslinger
and her older brother who doesn't have a name because his player was de-bedbugging his parents' house and didn't come to the first game.
So, I chose Pezzack because the first module I'm going to run is From Shore to Sea. Did a little reading on Pez, and I was like, "Woah, I didn't know there was a Galtan-inspired revolutionary city in Cheliax!" I started making up stuff and the day before the game my hetero life partner was like, "Did you see Towns of the Inner Sea?" (or whatever it's called) which made things a lot easier.
I rewound the clock to two years before the siege and started with Brother Makao stepping onto the docks in his orange Shaolin robes and being a handed a flier for a performance of Amalia Wraxton's latest hit opera Abrogail II at the Glass on the Hill Theater.
The title role was performed by Esmerelda Abandawax who, alas, is kind of a lackluster actress. But she nailed the arias and even rolled a Nat 20 on the flute solo. The military governor and the high priest of Asmodeus (with his daughters) were in attendance and they grew more and more angry as the play went on. It probably didn't help that Genny pegged the High Priest in the head with her empty noodles wrapper.
Anyway, they stormed out of the theater, the crowd went wild, and all of the PCs rushed backstage where they joined in an afterparty with absinthe, politics and flayleaf. Genny ran into a rival drug dealer, a tiefling named Brucks, who gave her a free dose of a new hallucinogen called "iced tears."
The party got all kinds of inebriated and, as the after party started winding down, Genny invited the party members back to her brother's bar to continue the night.
But, on the way, they were jumped by three undercover agents of the Inquisition who were on their way to bump off Esmerelda. One of them even turned out to be a barbazu, but the party, despite various forms of inebriation were able to take them out.
The next morning, Genny's brother went out and heard the scuttlebut on the street that the Inquisition was looking for Esmerelda and a half-orc in orange robes (the only two party members who were observed by passers-by) and he told them to get out of town until things blew over. He gave them directions to a "campsite" operated by a friend.
When the party got there, it turned out to be a still for "denner's resin" (a drug from the Patrick Rothfuss books) and they found all the still workers ripped to pieces. Further stealing from Rothfuss, I had the party fight a denner's resin-addled chimera. They kicked its ass.
Anyway, both of those fights were to see what the party could do with 2 gunslingers and no spellcasters (other than a bard). Well, one of the gunlslingers didn't make it, but they beat down the chimera no problem, but had difficulty with the barbazu due to his damage reduction. Good to know.
Next game, I'll get them on the road to Blackcove and start the prepublished module, which I hope will be awesome.
So, we added two characters to the party as listed above:
Urzzak Greentooth, half-orc cleric of Rovagug; and
Chyme, the Taint of Sandpoint, halfling gunslinger
Kingpinmaker Game Two, Part One
So, Chyme, drug kingpin on the make, had convinced Urzzak, itinerant maker of dolls and secret apocalypse-bringer, to invest in his shipment of denner's resin. The two got into his covered wagon, filled with doll parts and a caged dire rat (Urzzak's player wouldn't let anyone see the rat, but periodically, it would make noise in its cage and Urzzak would bang on the wagon, yelling "Shut up, Skeet!") and headed to campsite where the other players already were.
So when they reunited with the other players and discovered that Kelgath Redbeard and friends had been torn apart by a drug-addled chimera, they hatched a scheme to screw over the big-timey drug lord they were getting the denner's resin from, Mister Scratch. They loaded a half dozen barrels into their wagons, and hid the rest in the dead chimera's cave. Then they torched the still.
Somewhere in there, Brother Makao, who is the only good character out of the bunch, an Iomedaean monk who doesn't approve of dealing drugs, and who's player is in sixth or so grade, pulled a Teamster and followed his instructions to the letter. Before they decided on the chimera cave, Chyme asked him to dig a whole in the ground and bury the barrels of denner's resin in it. Except he didn't say "bury," he said "dump." Brother Makao dutifully dug a hole, and then proceeded to pour out the barrel's contents into the pit. We all cackled with laughter as Chyme yelled and screamed and I rewarded Brother Makao with a Hero Point.
Then Urzzak told Chyme that he had heard of an alchemist named Gerlach (getting into From Shore to Sea here, but no spoilers yet) who lived in a town called Blackcove who harvested hallucinogenic seaweed. They all agreed to leave in the morning.
What else? Well, Chyme had no idea how the drug addiction rules work (and, to be honest, I'm not sure I do, either) and quickly became addicted to both opium and flayleaf and was an absolute wreck for the rest of the game and his player dutifully played the part by getting drunk. Genny, meanwhile, had become addicted to denner's resin from the last game and Giles O. Beck was suffering from the onslaught of devil's chills which, in addition to the usual drawbacks, also caused him to grow a black goatee. After a while, Urzzak's player realzed that he could cast remove disease and promised to memorize the spell next day.
At this point, Genny's player still hadn't arrived, as he was coming from work in a snowstorm, so I threw two landsharks at them. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to scale CRs for a party of six or seven players, but this one was right on the money--suitably terrifying but they all survived. Largely because of Giles O. Beck's trait which gives him prestidigitation 1/day (a landshark was going to devour someone--Ginny maybe?--but he made her clothes taste terrible, so he gave up) and Urzzak's domain power (call lightning, m$%##&+%*!**!) which was prety cool. Otherwise they probably would've all died. But they didn't. They even stocked up on trail rations and leather for doll parts.
However, the landsharks had killed two of their horses and broke one of the wagon wheels. Chyme freaked out, Genny's player showed up, we ate pizza, Urzzak said "I've got it." That night, he prayed to Rovagug, took out his holy symbol which is a grotesque, misshapen plush orc doll with a black gem for one eye and I forget what else for the other, made whole the wagon, cast remove disease on the afflicted--Giles lost the chills but still has the goatee, Chyme's opium addiction proved too powerful for even the power of Rovagug, I think Genny's still chasing the dragon, too, she was getting wasted on the sly, taking sips of denner's resin with a straw that she dipped into a hole she chiselled in the cork of one of the barrels--and summoned two skeleton horses from his robe of bones. These he then outfit with with blankets and rolls of leather so that you couldn't immediately tell they were skeletons.
I'm not exactly sure where he was going with this, but it didn't matter because he was Percepted by on-watch Barbie Ragnarock who was, like, wtf?!?
Kingpinmaker, Game One Out-of-Character Intermission
I wanted to say thanks again for the voodoo dolls rules, everybody.
So the ganji doll is pretty awesome, but funny thing:
At 16,000 gp a ganji doll was too expensive for him to buy at 6th-level so he wanted to keep 8,000 gp set aside and make one in-game.
I was all like, yeah, I don't know if I want your guy to start out lugging 8 grand around and Barbie's player was all like, voodoo dolls are pretty cool but if we're close enough to a Big Bad to get a piece of hair off him, why don't we just kill him? And then I was like, look, if you're 6th-level and not running around with the appropriate amount of magic items, you're going to get your ass kicked and he was like, [Deflated] Fine.
I talked to him on the phone after we played. I'm kind of skipping ahead, but he had played CE to the hilt. Affable CE, but totally recognizablly CE. He was nervous and worried that the other players were going to hate him, the player, for being so disruptive and evil.
"Are you crazy? You were awesome! When you were banging on that cage and yelling 'Shut up, Skeet!'? In that voice? You were the shiznit!" "Yeah?" he asked.
"Yeah. You were great. [Pause] "That being said, some of them were talking after you left about how they might have to kill your character."
"Let them f%%~ing try! I've got call lightning, I've got storm burst, I'll make a f~#*ing voodoo doll of them--I wish I still had my eight thousand gold..."
A light dawned. "So that's why you wanted all that money? Not to get a Big Bad but to get a PC?!?"
"F*## yeah, man, I'm Chaotic Eeeeeee-vil!!"
Anyway, Anticlimatic Kinpinmaker Game Two, Part Two
I made Urzzak and Barbie leave the room to continue the conversation and I guess Urzzak spilt the beans about being a priest of Rovagug. Which probably wasn't very wise, but the player was inebriated by this point. Barbie conveyed the info to the rest of the party, which led to much consternation.
I don't really remember much about the rest of the journey, but they got to the outskirts of Blackcove and ran into the first encounter in From Shore to Sea. Taking into consideration the size of the party, I upped the
The NPC (can't remember his name at the moment) had been knocked unconscious and Chyme stole his golden comb. Urzzak made an argument for murdering the NPC and stealing his rowboat, which led to Giles's player threatening to stab him in the back while Brother Makao made stern LG half-orc faces. Urzzak backed down and started telling Chyme about his ideas for getting Gerlach's hallucinogenic seaweed and then killing him.
Game ended and the other players started planning on killing Urzzak.
See above for follow-up phone conversation.
Kingpinmaker Game Three
This gaming sessions was terrible and I've been procratstinating in writing it up. The best thing that can be said about it was that it didn't degenerate into a full-on "Wing Buffet Night".
What's a Wing Buffet Night? Oh, it's when one player drinks heavily, blacks out and then starts imitating other player's eidolon's wing buffet attacks on other players at the table. "Do you want a wing buffet?" [Slap slap slap] "What? What's wrong? It only does a d4!" [Slap slap slap] "Are you sure you don't want a wing buffet? [Slap slap slap]
Well, it didn't get that bad, thank god, but only because of two time-outs, some clever distractions and a lot of yelling and screaming.
In the end, we got through one of three planned encounters in four hours
Despite all of this, the players all said that despite the poor behavior of one of the player, the scenario was wicked fun, which I credit to Brandon Hodge, module writer extraordinaire.
The next day, of course, the miscreant player had no memory of his misbehavior. But if he does it again, we're breaking the group up.
Kingpinmaker, Games Four and Five
Have run two more sessions of From Shore to Sea, but they pretty much stuck to the module so I'm not going to bother writing them up.
Well, we're almost done with From Shore to Sea. Much hilarity, much adventure, etc., etc., but not really worth writing up. Except for one thing,
That encounter, of course, was the springboard to the rest of the module, and I had to adjust things on the fly (a horde of skum pour out of the natatorium and attack!), but I thought it was funny that they spent so much time investigating the orerry and floating tower library of amorphous blobs and never even figured out what they were for!
Hopefully, they'll meet the aboleth next week. First time I've ever used one of those. Hope I don't blow it.
So, after two sessions in a row where I had to invoke the whole "he's got until the end of the round or he's dead" cop-out, I was surprised that nobody took a dirt nap in the no-holds barred climatic finale to From Shore to Sea.
With the combination of a +1 aberration bane spear and a 6th-level cleric of Rovagug hitting it with call lightning, that poor aboleth didn't stand a chance.
Am taking a little break from the campaign because now I have to write shiznit. [Grumble, grumble, grumble]
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I asked my players last game to give me some of their favorite moments from From Shore to Sea. I only got one answer from one player, so I shall now relate his story up to the end of the latest game.
Urzzak Greentooth, half-orc cleric of Rovagug, itinerant peddlar of dolls, and maker of undead monstrositities, did not want to attend the climactic
So he and Barbie, who's player may have been inebriated to the point of uselessness (see above) stayed outside when the storm came in and the waters rose precipitately and cut them off from the lighthouse. So the two of them were outside the tower when the monstrous tentacles attacked. I gave them a chance to try and save the crazy old beachcomber (I forget his name) but even though Urzzak tried a variety of clever storm-magic tricks, they were all for naught because Barbie's player was misbehaving. After that he cast call lightning and was rained the monster with lightning bolts.
At one point, a tentacle had wrapped itself around a little girl and one of the players inside the lighthouse had come real close to saving her when BLAMMO!!! a lightning bolt would hit the tentacle and made it and the little girl explode. "Wait a second," the player trying to save the little girl cries, "I don't think lightning bolts work like that!" "Ha ha ha!" laughs Urzzak's player "For Rovagug!" "Hey, you're outside, you don't know what's happening in here!" "I know," replied Urzzak's player, "I hit 'em with another lightning bolt! For Rovagug!"
So, that was his favorite moment.
Since then, and the further victory of the party over the menacing mysteries of Nas-Kashel, Urzzak stayed behind in Blackcove when the rest of the party left, used his undead horde (I think he has an ogre plague zombie and a couple of fishmen zombies) to help rebuild the town, converted major NPCs, including
His plans are to sew as much chaos in Cheliax as possible by a) pumping drugs out to Pezzack; b) creating a horde of undead and fishmen/Blackcovian Rovagug worshippers; c) becoming active in anti-slavery terrorist activity.
There was a bit more, actually, with the start of a new adventure, but I'll leave it at that for now.
Hmm, I don't know.
Unfortunately, however, the Galt campaign ended in disaster (there is no other way for it to end at our table) and we are now playing in pre-revolutionary Pezzack in Cheliax.
But it does dawn on me that I could ask if anyone knew any mods or scenarios that take place near Pezzack?
I've already found From Shore to Sea, No Response from Deepmar (I can't imagine any reason these players might be headed to a Chelish prison camp, no, not at all) and a scenario that we are running right now, as a matter of fact, Fingerprints of the Fiend. Anyone know any else that are situated in the vicinity?
Okay, so Giles O. Beck's favorite moment in From Shore to Sea was during the fight with the two
The rest of the party is watching, mouths agape, as their friends get mauled by creepy crustaceon monsters. Giles O. Beck snaps out of it and breaks into a run. He does a cartwheel to avoid the first chuul, grabs the spear, continues the cartwheel behind the second chuul, skewers it from behind, wrests the spear from the creature's corpse...the player went on for a bit and was way more descriptive than I've been as he was shaking the die for his Acrobatics roll. The die hits the table and lands on a 2. As Giles cartwheels by, the chuul attacks of opportunity him with its capacious claw slamming him into strange, snailshell like wall, and, of course, crit hits Giles who goes down with one blow.
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Anyway, he obviously survived and returned to Blackcove and was hailed as a hero by the soon-to-be-Rovagug-worshipping villagers. The next day, Giles, and others, awoke to discover that Barbie Ragnarock was missing and that a villager she had been seen dancing with and presumed fornicating with, Sven, was found all clawed up outside of his shack. Giles helps look for Barbie, but she is gone.
The party--minus Urzzak and Barbie--hang out in Blackcove for a short while and then begin the long trek back to Pezzack. Chyme, under the tender care of the druid Lira Sauvuren, has recovered from his array of drug addictions, but, oddly, there is a tension between him and his sister, Genny and they are mostly quiet for the rest of the ride home.
When they finally arrived in Pezzack, despite the Dungeon Master's reminders that Esmerelda and Brother Makao were wanted by the Inquisition, Brother Makao declined to take proper measures to disguise himself. Esmerelda, btw, turned invisible.
Anyway, there was a hold-up at the gates, and the wagon in which Giles, Brother Makao and the invisible Esmerelda were detained. The guards thought they recognized Brother Makao and sent a runner to fetch the Hellknights and it took a while before the players realized that they were in some deep shiznit, but then they resorted to outlandish bribery, like, hundreds of gold pieces, and this is Cheliax and there is a whole chart for bribes in the Player's Companion about it so...I let 'em get away, although I didn't like it.
Anyway, it didn't take long for Giles and Esmerelda to run into their bohemian friends. Giles and Esmerelda decided that they wanted to lay low outside of Pezzack and that the best thing to do would be to buy an abandoned lighthouse and make as if it were haunted. I did them one better, and sold them Foxglove Manor from the second issue of Rise of the Runeplutocrats which we never got to because they all died at Thistletop because they're terrible tacticians. (See post above.) I tried to be demure about it, but when they realized that it wasn't, in fact, an abandoned lighthouse, they asked more questions, didn't like the answers, and looked it up online, found a picture of it and said "Yeah, that's awesome!" Hee hee! The poor souls...
Anyway, the two of them then settled down to a cozy dometic arrangement wherein Esmerelda makes wands in the basement mad scientist laboratory they found through the secret door in the library ("Ooh, that's convenient!", they cooed!) while Giles spends his time, in his player's words "pilfering the bourgeoisie of Pezzack."
Vive le Galt!
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Please say a prayer to Rovagug, comrades, at the dispatching of his servants, Urzzak Greentooth and Barnacle Bettye, as well as a brand new NPC who didn't get to hang out for very long, Sinhardra Singha--a monk of Iomedae, so maybe say a prayer to her, too-- who were all eaten alive by morlocks in the Ruins of Rachikan.,
[Moment of silence]
Hmmm, well, I better get the story up to the present time before all the characters die.
Okay, so, back on the night that the PCs were honored as heroes for rescuing them from the horrors of Nas-Kashel, it just happened to be the full moon.
On the full moon, and the two nights prior, Barbie Ragnarock hears the call of her Mother. She has dreams that beckon to her, premonitions, spectral visions, all that shiznit. She has to make a succession of Will saves and if she doesn't make 'em, she has to [looks at notes and wings it].
Well, she failed one out of the previous two, and on this night, the night of the full moon, the call was particularly powerful. She knew that only the abandon and release of inebriated fornication could afford her the ability to resist the siren call of Mommy Dearest.
So she grabbed a bottle of brandy, some denner's resin, some flayleaf, and a hulking Fabio of a fisherman named Sven, and headed back to his shack. [Camera darkens]
Spoilered for sexiness
Well, essentially: crazy, hawt, boom, boom, boom, knock everything in the room over, unh, unh, unh, unh, she's just about to get off and [Player fails Will save even with all kinds of +2s] poor Sven can delay no more, "No worries, baby, I can go another round, what, awww! no! no! please, no!" Barbie falls under the influence of Mumsy
As mentioned above, poor Sven was found cut up pretty bad, and almost dead, but fortunately Urzzak Greentooth (All praise his memory! Hail Rovagug!) was there to miraculously snatch him from death's jaws! ANd he showed us the way to Rovagug! (I'm so sad Urzzak is dead.)
But, back to Barbie. Well, I'm running out of steam, so cut to the chase:
Barbie steals a boat from Blackcove and sails across to that chain of islands. She runs out of supplies and has to stop at one of the islands to reup for water. She finds a stream, fights a jaguar, heads back out to sea, lands at a different island, meets her Mother, who is a Storm Hag. [Dramatic music, thunder and lightning]
They have a pretty awesome role-play scenario that I, alas, don't remember at all because I was improv-ing while [bubble bubble bubbled], but, basically, Barbie was judged, had to face an allip, won, and was rewarded with a Bonus Feat which gives her prehensile hair. She sails back to Pezzack.
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Okay, memory's really starting to fade here, as we have played two or three times since the last report.
Blah blah blah. The party reconvenes in Pezzack. I probably left some stuff out but whatever. All of a sudden, my best friend from grade school's in town for the weekend and he can only hang out on Saturday night but, oh, Saturday night's D&D night, oh! you guys are still playing D&D? I'd love to play!
So, the party runs into a new dude in town, a cleric of Milani, who's looking for his brother, Eldris* who had told him to meet him here in Pezzack, that he had discovered the fabled Ruins of Rachikan and, yeah, he's cool, he's got a magic hammer and he dress like a cowboy and his name is [sighs] Buck Rogers.
Genny, using her underworld connections, helps Buck look for his brother in Pezzack, lotta roleplaying interviews with halfling hookers and Mwangi gang lords and if it wasn't exactly as awesome as a Dash Hammett story, well, you weren't there, so let's just say that it was.
Eventually they find out that Eldris had been kidnapped by one of the local drug kingpins, the Mack Daddy, who had disappeared some time ago on a ship with a bunch of slaves. Genny, gambling big, goes to rival drug kingpin, Mister Scratch--or rather, I should say, Mister Scratch's tiefling intermediary, Brucks--and gets him to finance and outfit them with a ship to give chase.
Somewhere in there, with a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting I'm sure, the town gets attacked by a horde of strix. The players are all like, wtf? I point at the book and say "It's Pezzack, these things happen." The party kicks mucho ass, dropping strix like it ain't no thing, which it really wasn't. But it made them feel good. Urzzak Greentooth animates some of the strix and takes them with him on the ship. He also takes two of his followers, Barnacle Bettye and a little nine year-old boy who's name I don't recall, even though Barbie's player warns Urzzak's player that taking your followers into battle is a bad idea.
I start running The Fingerprints of the Fiend in earnest. They get through the first encounter, the fight on the
I talked to him on Facebook later and apologized for not being able to hang out more and just shoot the shiznit and he was all like "What?!? I blasted that biznitch! It was awesome!!!" so, huzzah!
*I start weaving in Fingerprints of the Fiend.
Alright, so next game, the party ascends to the top of the cliff. Some of them fly, some of them climb the rope, some are carried by undead strix. Urzzak instructs one of his followers, who is a 9-year-old boy wearing a wooden mask, to hop on the back of one of the undead strix and hover on the beach, watching over the rowboat.
They get to the top of the cliff. They see, a half mile off, an encampment that seems to be attended by two dozen slaves, etc., etc.
I'm not going to go into to many details, because it would require Fingerprints of the Fiend spoilers and, uh, also I don't remember much anymore, but, funny thingsin this game:
Half of the party snuck up to the Mack Daddy's slave camp, while half of them waited behind (with Genny and her rifle somewhere in between) when a fight broke out. A half-mile is a long distance, and we worked it out in rounds and it was a lot of them.
So many fact, that Brother Makao and Esmerelda didn't even make it to the first fight with the Mack Daddy's men. And that fight went on for a while, at least in real time. And that's with Brother Makao being a
7th-lvl monk and having invested in the Run feat.
They went on into the second encounter which is supposed to be an exciting
There was some clever use of prestidigitation, a quickly made up random chart tp roll on, a bunch of awesome trick shots that earned grit points, and, finally Brother Makao just jumped in the cart and killed everyone with his flying fists of fury and then making the cart jump off the track and plummet a thousand feet down into the mist-shrouded Ruins of Rachikan. Brother Makao was fine, though, hanging on to the rails by the tips of his fingertips.
At the end of that battle, Buck Rogers, huffing and puffing, finally showed up.
Thus ended that game session.
Actually, I take back the bit about the boy on the back of the undead strix. Urzzak's player wasn't there that gaming session and both he and the boy stayed behind. Urzzak's player was there for the next game, however. And it was here that, after the Mack Daddy's slaves came rushing towards the rope after Genny had told them "You're free! Get outta here!"
Urzzak roleplays with the slaves who are a combination of halflings, Mwangi humans, and Mwangi halflings. He learns a bunch of stuff about the slaves that is unimportant for now, as shall be seen. He does learn, however, that one of them is a hot-shiznit monk NPC Sirhandra Singha who the Dungeon Master specifically made as a way to open up roleplaying opportunities with Brother Makao and had a whole lot of future plots riding on her but then, well, getting head of myself.
Urzzak ordered his boy to get on the back of the strix zombie, and invited Sirhandra to accompany him back up to the plateau. So they happily ran into the rest of the party before they descended down into depths of the Ruins of Rachikan. Buck Rogers decided to stay behind, though. Turns out he knows people in the Bellflower Network, and went to go talk to the former slaves of the Mack Daddy.
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The whole rest of the game was one fight that took the rest of the night.
I mean, it was murder. Rounds take so long, I wish they were 1st-level again.
It was another kind of murder, too, of course.
The party got f$~&ed up. It's all a blur now, but Urzzak went down, should have been dead, soft-hearted DM pulls punch; Barbie goes down, should have been dead, soft-hearted DM pulls punch; Barnacle Bettye (forgot about her) goes down; invisible Esmerelda heals Urzzak who then does something incredible stupid and goes down again. DM gets mad and mlks kill and eat Urzzak, carry off Bettye's unconscious body and kill Sirhandra Singha for good measure.
Meanwhile, sg is wreaking all kinds of havok with the party who didn't pick up on the clue that the scroll they had found in the previous encounter detected as moderate transmutation magic. Surviving party members run, hide or climb up to the top of a toddering building. Sg starts bashing at it. Party keeps rather ineffectually firing at it. Sg knocks down one of the walls. Giles O. Beck narrowly escapes.
Finally, Genny pulled off some magic crit hit trick shot that dealt 54 points of damage and blew the sg's head into smithereens. Mlks by this point have wandered off with their fresh meat to gorge themselves.
I am now only one game behind.
Kingpinmaker, Game N-2
The deaths the party suffered in the previous game had two immediate effects. The first was that the zombie strix that had been carrying Urzzak's little boy follower went rogue and attacked the Rovagugite. The second was that one of the nameless, faceless slave NPCs suddenly glowed with divine light and underwent a transformation changing her into a PC named Sym Singha. She just happened to be the twin sister of the recently departed Sinhandra Singha and, for shiznit and giggles, was instantly aware of her sibling's untimely demise. Anyway, she and Buck Rogers were able to take out the zombie and they were even able to save the kid cultist, which I didn't expect.
They realized shiznit must have gone down in the Ruins of Rachikan, so they ran to catch up with the rest of the party. When they got to the crevasse, Buck was surprised when Sym wrapped her arms around him and flew to the bottom.
They got pretty close to where the rest of the party was still hiding and cowering from the recent drubbings they had received. They were still licking their wounds when they heard the sounds of a man's naked feet slapping the pavestones, coming towards them. They peeked through the cracks and saw a 6'8" Mwangi dude, giant muscles everywhere, wielding a double axe. Sym and Buck were down the street, hiding in an alley, also watching. Sym, of course, recognized him as one of the Mack Daddy's top aides who, I delicately indicated, might have taken liberties with the slaves in the past. Sym's eyes gleamed with hatred. Make a Perception check, Sym. [Fails] Never mind.
Anyway, this fight was four weeks ago, so I'll cut to the chase. Dude effed them up. I think he was an eighth-level barbarian or something, I took him out of the NPC Codex. The party was covered in blood and eviscera, some of them had urinated in their pants already, when the Mack Daddy's man went down...and then an intellectual devourer jumped out of his head and attacked them! Hee hee! Anyway, I'm not sure I really used an i.d. as effectively as it could be, but, whatevs.
Party proceeded to the last encounter which was exactly as written in the Fingerprints of the Fiend, except that instead of [redacted] and [redacted] [redacted] it had charau-ka and the Mack Daddy. I had spent a lot of time re-tooling the BBEG into a Demoniac of Anghazan, looked up some kick-ass spells for him to use and was looking forward greatly to summoning a fiendish girallon to kill the party, but it turns out the party has been getting a little bit better tactically while I wasn't looking. In fact, they took down the Mack Daddy pretty handily. In the first round, his summoning spell was disrupted by a hand grenade (stupid wealth by level and starting out as 6th-level characters) and when he ran back into the Temple-Foundry to try another spell that would have killed them all, Sym cast a fireball into it.
Basically, party kicked their ass. They were standing around, high-fiving each other, congratulating themselves on not dying and taking the Mack Daddy's loot, when I chased them out of the Ruins of Rachikan with
Oh yeah, somewhere in there, Buck Rogers was heartbroken to discover that his brother, Eldris, had been [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]. Fortunately, Buck is 1) connected with the Bellflower Network, so he can keep busy with the ex-slaves; 2) no longer a PC so we don't have to spend much time on his tears.
The game ended with the Sym flying the party one by one, up the crevasse.
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How terrible. I had the last game fresh in my mind and then didn't post for two weeks. Now my memory...well, anyway:
Kingpinmaker, Game N-1
The party is at the top of the crevasse looking down below into the Ruins of Rachikan, waiting for hordes of morlocks to follow them. But it was daytime and, apparently, none of them ever read The Time Machine and despite their worries, there was no danger of a morlock resurgence.
I'm going to have to go back one of these days and fill in the back story of Symoreel Singha, human witch, but it's long and confusing and involves me reappropriating material from the Mwangi book to suit my own purposes (hint: Jambala Jaeg!).
But suffice for now that the party was now privy to a lot more information than they had been before. And some of that information was that the Mack Daddy and crew had arrived at the Ruins of Rachikan in a galley named The Whale captained by a storm witch!
So, Giles, a couple other party members and some liberated slaves got into the dinghy and started rowing back to the ship that had brought them here. And, as they were about to clear the rock pillars and get into the open ocean, they heard a loud booming sound, louder than anything they had ever heard before. Rowing stealthily, they peeked around the corner and, surprise, surprise, saw their ship being boarded by the Mack Daddy's ship, which was armed with a cannon.
The party was going to row back to shore and trade out the ex-slaves for PCs when Giles was like "Hold on!" He dug out a potion of invisibility, said "I'm going in!," drank it and dived into the water.
He swam over to The Whale climbed on board, and then proceeded to perform a one-man invisible Benny Hill act, using a set of manacles to chain a pirate to the railing, knocking another pirate into the water with a boom, upsetting the cannon by pulling a pin out of the wheel, stealing the storm witch's components pouch, etc., etc.
It was pretty funny, but when he stole the component pouch, I knew I was done. The rest of the party arrived, boarded The Whale when most of the pirates were on the other ship, and, basically, kicked ass. There was a lot more to it, I vaguely remember, but only vaguely.
Unfortunately, the ship they came in sank, they were only able to save two of the crew (Captain Whitlock and Peter Parker, the ship's carpenter), and found themselves in possession of a gigantic galley with two ballistas and a motherf!@!ing cannon! Oh yeah, I forgot, the ship was called The Whale not only because of its gigantic size, nor because of the amazing picture in the captain's cabin of a leviathan smashing a ship, but also because the masthead was a great white whale's penisbone. The party got a real kick out of that.
Anyway, The Whale is The Wormwood from the first Skull and Shackles chapter and I gave it to them with basically everything described in the Adventure Path, which is quite a bit, actually. A couple thousand gold pieces, at least. They moved all of the former slaves onto the ship, congratulated themselves and tried to decide what to do next.
A lot of conternation about what to tell Mister Scratch; should we give him this ship to replace the one we lost? Or should we just show up and say, "Yup, we killed the Mack Daddy, lost your ship, here's a couple thousand gold, have a nice day!"? Etc, etc. Meanwhile, they discover that Buck Rogers has connections with the Bellflower Network and that, before he so sadly passed (Praise Rovagug!) Urzzak had told the ex-slaves about the freedom they could enjoy in Blackcove. They were still deep in debate as Captain Whitlock ordered a bunch of the ex-slaves to cast off (turns out a lot of them had Profession: Sailor which was good because none of the PCs did) to set off on a course back to Blackcove.
A couple days pass and, among other things, Genny the halfling gunslinger is instructing a few of the ex-slaves on the art of firing a cannon. Giles O. Beck is up in the crow's nest when he sees, boom!, a dragon turtle. Party freaks out. Ex-slaves freak out. Everybody freaks out. "They have capsize as a special ability!" one of the players yells, "We're doomed!" Dragon turtle swims up. "I am Calzagon the Mighty, puny fools, look on my works and despair!" "I bardic knowledge!" yells Esmerelda Bandawax, halfling bard. "Oh? What do you get?" [Furious dice rolling] "28!" I read the part about dragon turtles loving gold and jewelry and they start shoveling treasure off of the ship. "Calzagon the Mighty is appeased! Feel free to come back any time you have more treasure you want to throw away!"
Calzagon swims off, Genny runs to the captain's chambers to mark Calzagon on a map. "Might come in handy, one day, to know where there's a dragon turtle."
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Reading over what I've written, I realize that everybody totally forgot about the pirate Giles had manacled to the railing. Hmmm.
At this point, the party counted their resources and came up with the following:
--one pirate galley, complete with penisbone figurehead;
--one captain and ship carpeneter;
--eighteen ex-slaves, one of whom is a Mwangi princess, many of whom have a rank or two in Profession: Sailor, (I'll get the list out later);
--favors owed by a member of the Bellflower Network;
--the location of a dragon turtle;
--a town of Rovagug worshipping fishmen who think they are great;
--Gerlach the Fishman Sorceror, and his hallucinogenic seaweed;
--twelve barrels of denner's resin;
--an in with Mister Scratch;
--a haunted house;
--a dive bar.
Oh yeah, I forgot. After the experience with the zombie strix turning against the nine-year old boy, the party recalled how Urzzak had left a plague ogre zombie back in Blackcove and some of the party feared they were waltzing into a zombie infestation. Hee hee!
|Giles O. Beck|
Giles! What are you doing here?!? Um [looks around to make sure the house is in order], wow, you were here on Thursday?
That only reinforces how negligent I have been in posting. :(
You're right about the manacled pirate, of course. I had remembered that over the weekend but forget to come and correct my post.
Genny can't come to this weekend's game, alas, and I'm not sure about Symoreel quite yet. I'll send you an invisible messenger soon.
Anyway, here's that list I was talking about:
Starting with the Princess, we're talking about Mwangi humans, somewhere around Mobutoo or Umja we grade down to Mwangi halfling, and by the time we get to Gillis and Barley, we're talking Chelish halflings, the last two an elderly married couple.
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Kingpinmaker, Game N
The party spent the next couple of days aboard The Whale sailing back to Blackcove. We looked up all of the rules for using ballistas and cannons, and the players had fun assigning NPCs to each of the weapons, counting their money, and identifying their magic goodies.
Somewhere in there, Giles O. Beck and Esmerelda Bandawax, out of the kindness of their good, good hearts, offered a home to Toby and Jillian Poodlecock as cook and groundskeeper at the Foxglove Manor, helping keep up the illusion [stifles giggle] that the house is haunted. What else? More role-playing with, for example, Barbie Ragnarock spying on Symoreel Singha having a lesbian encounter with Princess Mwangli and getting secret instruction about retrieving "The Heart of the Jungle" from The Mack Daddy's guildhall, the consolation of Urzzak's young apprentice who was moved to throw his mask into the waves and be adopted into the Jambala Jaeg, Buck Rogers telling Genny that if she wanted to make contact with the Bellflower Network she'd have to find a contact in Pezzack named "Doodlebug," etc., etc.
After the appropriate amount of time, boom! the player up in the crow's nest (I forget who) sees a great fin break the water. Boo-yah! A megaladon! Genny's player shot me a dirty look, because he had been talking about megaladons before the game began, but I swear, I already had it planned before he brought it up.
Anyway, it was a pretty fun fight and the reason it was so fun was it so fast! Megaladon attacks, Captain takes evasive manuevers, Megaladon eats poor Umja, the players unload their sparkling new toys into Megaladon, repeat once, Megaladon is blown to shreds and slinks back into the deep waters with single digit hit points. Huzzah!
Couple of days later, they arrive in the waters off of Blackcove assuming the worst. They pass by the Magical Island of Nas-Kashel and see rowboats beached by the Wedding Rock. "Oh no, how did the zombies use rowboats?!?" The party gets in their dinghy and heads out to investigate. Genny sees a woman's face, transclucent and shimmery, peek out of the waves. Players freak out. Two nixies rise up out of the water, set to charm. Esmerelda gets to go first, though, and cheats with her Bardic Knowledge ability again. "They're nixies" I say, "And you remember that Lira Sauvuren, the Blackcove town druid, was friends with nixies and all kinds of ocean creatures." The party starts parleying, drops Lira's name, the nixies relax, "What are you doing in The Whale?" they ask. "Oh you know The Whale?" "Of course we know The Whale, big old galley with a penisbone masthead, owned by The Mack Daddy, everyone under the seas knows The Whale." Anyway, they're lucky they have Esmerelda around, because I had augmented the nixies with an oceanid, and I bet I could have drowned at least one of them.
Anyway, they return to Blackcove, find out that it was not turned into a plague zombie infestation town--it turns out Gerlach the Fishman Sorcerer has learned to control the undead, hmmm--break the bad news about the death of "Lord Urzzak", get a tour of all the new construction that has gone on since they were gone, particularly the new temple of Rovagug (!!!), Barbie Ragnarock is reunited with poor Sven who is a mess of scars and blind in one eye (he quickly forgave her and the two retired to get better reacquainted) and are told there will be a feast tonight in the memory of Urzzak and Barnacle Bettye. Bunch of other unsettling stuff, night falls, feast starts, party, party, party, Gerlach stands up, clears his fishy throat, makes a moving speech about the recent history of the town and the heroism of Lord Urzzak, and, to finish, yells out "Bring in the sacrifice!"
"What?!?" says the party in unison, as the villagers break out an In Darkest Africa-style drum circle and Lira Sauvuren leads in a manacled Chelish tax collector! "Death to Cheliax! Long live Rovagug!" the villagers chant. The party freaks out, much roleplaying and Diplomacy ("But Lord Urzzak said live like a Chelish pig, die like Chelish pig..." "I don't care what he said, you can't sacrifice tax collectors to Rovagug! Don't you think somebody will notice when the tax collector goes missing?!?"), etc. Everyone decides that maybe Blackcove isn't a good place for the ex-slaves to stay, grab the poor tax collector, and head back to The Whale.
After that, they headed back to Pezzack and got attacked by another bunch of strix. These strix, though, had four seventh-level characters among them, but, the party kicked their butts pretty soundly. It was a pretty cool fight, with cannons and flying combatants, but I am afraid I don't recall most of the cool details. Suffice to say, after years of playing together, I think the party is finally starting to cohere into a lean, mean, semi-tactical D&D playing machine. Huzzah!
Game ends with The Whale a day's sail away from Pezzack.
Kingpinmaker, Game N+1
Short game, Genny's player couldn't make it.
The PCs gathered in the captain's cabin of The Whale and conferred about a great many things, trying to remember all of the loose ends from a month ago. Meanwhile, Symoreel Singha, who has a new name, but I forget what it was, is converted from pantheistic ancestor worship of the Jambala Jaeg to the worship of Iomedae by a halfling slave, Tadeusz Lightwhistle. Princess Mwangli was a little upset by Symoreel's apparent desertion of the tribe (which was essentially motivated, as far as I can tell, by Symoreel's player wanting to multiclass into warpriest) and says she will release Symoreel from fealty to the tribe, BUT ONLY after Symoreel fetches The Heart of the Jungle from the Mack Daddy's secret storehouse in Pezzack, the Abandoned Clocktower. Symoreel agrees. Rest of the party is ready to go. For the sake of convenience, I assumed that the Chelish tax-collector rescued from the Rovagug-worshipping Blackcovians is still recovering from the drugs the latter pumped into the former.
The Whale sails a day north of Pezzack to a secret cove Barbie Ragnarock recommends, near a local monument called the Devil's Tor. Barbie has secret backstory reasons to know about the Devil's Tor, too, but she doesn't reveal any of them. Anyway, from the secret cove to the road is but a quick walk up the beach and over some hills and then it's only a day's walk south to Foxglove Manor and from there just a skip and a jump to Pezzack. For the trek are: all of the party members, Buck Rogers and Toby and Jillian Poodlecock, the freed halfling slaves who are looking forward to being Giles and Esmerelda's domestic help.
They travel south for half a pleasant summer's day (it now being the last month of that season--I forget the Golarion name), strolling and joking, when they come across a twenty-wagon gypsy caravan on the side of the road. There were many sights and wonders to behold, but the party all made their Perception checks and were drawn immediately to the most wondrous sight the caravan offerered, which was a wagon pulled by a giant snail attended to by an ancient halfling wizard.
He was working underneath his wagon when Symoreel approached and, trying to be playful, she pulled the wizard out by his slippered feet. The wizard, startled, cast burning hands at Symoreel for 11 points of damage after she made her saving throw, and burned most of her hair off. The wizard yelled at her and bade her away, especially after he noticed that she didn't have any money. The rest of the party did, however, and he introduced himself as Ebeneezer the Magnificent, Traveling Tinker at your service, etc. There was quite a bit to it, really, but if we fast forward past the magic stuff I made up ("As he opens the door into his wagon, you peer over his shoulder and notice that the inside is easily three times as big as the outside of the wagon. Inside you see a fully-stocked library, papers everywhere, an alchemist's lab bubbling away and smoking, and a menagerie of almost every imaginable animal--all miniaturized in small glass boxes. You see a giraffe, etc., etc.") and the haggling, essentially the party dumped all of their superfluous +1 chain shirts and +1 longswords and got a broom that sweeps by itself, a Small-sized +2 small sword (dubbed Black Razor) and a +2 belt of dexterity. In the middle of it, the lunch whistle blew, and the party had to wait an hour and a half for Ebeneezer to finish his midday meal.
As they continued their trek south, they realized that due to the many halflings in the party, and the advanced age of Toby and Jillian in particular, the party wasn't making as good time as they'd like and they probably wouldn't roll into Foxglove Manor until way after dark. So they decided to find a place to camp for the night. It was then that Toby and Jillian revealed that they had blown all of their money (Genny had given each of the liberated slaves 20 gp a whiles back, don't think I mentioned that before) on a magical skillet that didn't need a fire and a bunch of luxury food items, which they then began to prepare for their masters. "I'm not your master," said Giles, "Stop calling me that." "Yes, master."
Anyway, the party had been warned by Ebeneezer and the Varisians that there was quite a bit of strix activity recently (I gave a knowing look to Barbie Ragnarock's player, although I'm not sure he caught it), so they found spent a good deal of effort in making their campsite undetectable (too late--the strix had already been spying on them for the past four hours) but then totally goofed by only posting one sentry, Brother Makao.
And here it is that I have to admit to a terrible error. When reading the Bestiary entry for the harpy, I misread the range of their captivating song as 30' instead of 300'. I even remember thinking that 30' wasn't that far [facepalm], but anyway, two harpies popped up on either side of the camp and started singing their song. One of the Poodlecocks (I forget which), Genny, Esmerelda (the bard!) and Barbie all fell under the song's power. Brother Makao was about to get the jump on one of the harpies--when a peryton dropped out of the sky and attacked Buck Rogers! (in fairness, I had foreshadowed the peryton a bit, not my players noticed, the poor suckers). And, finally, adding insult to injury, after the captivated characters all got next to the harpies, a dozen strix jumped out of the high grass and bundled Genny and the Poodlecocks into bags and flew away! (They had to beat the non-capitavated Poodlecock unconscious first, poor thing.)
Brother Makao engaged the peryton in a mighty one-on-one duel and made mince meat of the antlered horror. Giles went around stabbing the harpies with his gladius and interrupting their songs. This, finally, led to Esmerelda and Barbie coming to their senses in the last round of combat, whereupon Barbie eviscerated one of the harpies with her four talon attacks per round and the other harpy decided to beat it.
Meanwhile, when the strix took off with the bagged halflings, Symoreel activated her fly hex and took off after them. There was a stunning aerial battle--she took out all of the non-bag carrying strix in mid-air, although she took way more damage than she should have. I had warned her that taking a level in warpriest would only make her more likely to get into not terribly intelligent melee battles, but anyway, two of the strix decided to ditch their halfling in a bag (much gasps as I roll the falling damage the poor Poodlecock takes). Anyway, the long of it is, I was right, Symoreel shouldn't have been flying off by herself into melee combat, and the game ended with her unconscious but stabilized at -3 hit points a good two miles north of the rest of the party in the middle of the night. I probably should have had the strix coup de grace Symoreel, but I am a merciful Dungeon Master.
Next time, though...
Kingpinmaker, Game N+2, Part One
Thankfully for the party, and Symoreel in particular, Genny's player came to the next game. Shaking off the effects of the harpy's captivating song, being carried in a bag and being tossed by flying strix from 20 feet in the air, Genny finally collected her wits as the strix attempted to pick her up again. She slashed through the bag with her new +2 short sword and made mincemeat of her strix captors.
She revived Symoreel and they flew back to the rest of the party. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth and bemoaning the fate of the poor Poodlecocks until Barbie finally piped up that she thought she knew where the strix were going. Turns out Barbie, in her sordid past, had spent some time living with the strix of Devil's Point and had even, for a time, taken a hadnsome winged devil for a paramour, whose name, she told the party, was un-prounounceable in their tongues, but whom she called "George." Anyway, Barbie had spent a good two-and-a-half-weeks vacationing with George at a romantic strix getaway which, of course, was the Devil's Tor (mentioned above), and that she knew a secret way of getting into the winged devil hideaway without being seen.
What she didn't mention was that George had taken her here, screwed her silly for ten days and then flew away in the middle of the night, not even leaving her cab fare.
The party made preparations to undergo the trek to Devil's Tor.
At some point, while I was conferring with Barbie's player alone, outside, trying to remind him of all the cool backstory he had devised for his character and then, apparently, forgotten after I went and made use of the hooks he had given me, Omar the D&D-Hating Terrorist stepped out for a smoke and listened to us talking.
After a while, he interrupted, saying "So let me get this straight: You guys play this fantasy game where you play wizards and knights and fight monsters and shiznit, and you [points to The Black Goblin] choose to play at having birdman lovers?"
"Well," I said, to clarify, "He's playing a woman."
"What, that's supposed to be better?" responded Omar, "Because he doesn't have a gay birdman lover?" [Shakes head]
"I knew D&D was racist but I didn't realize it was homophobic, too!"
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Kingpinmaker, Game N + 2, Part Two
So, the rest of the night was taken up with the Assault on Devil's Tor, which, like a lot of encounters that I make up rather than stealing from Paizo books, suffered from a lot of flaws in design. These were compounded by a few flaws in execution, for a very long, frustrating fight.
Barbie led them to the secret tunnel into Devil's Tor where the party, precariously picking their path through a floor of razor sharp stalagtites (? -mites? whatever), upset a
bat stirge swarm.
I had originally planned on them encountering a bat swarm, and then was going to reward Genny's player with a giant heaping pile of bat guano from which to make gunpowder, but the Black Goblin's player received a package from Frog God Games earlier that day and in it was a copy of Tome of Horrors 4. I decided to teach the Black Goblin a lesson about his profligate ways and decided to use a monster from the book, found stirge swarm and, voila!
Well, those stirges f#+*ed them up good. I think only one, maybe two, characters avoided their blood drain and poor Giles O. Beck, I think it was, lost 10 points of Con! There was much gnashing of teeth and consternation, especially with the movement reduction, and the party was only saved when Symoreel pulled out some spell I'd never seen from one of the splat books that created a mini-maelstrom of electricity like out of Terminator 2 that drove the stirges away.
Finally, the party found themselves near the bottom of a giant crater in the middle of Devil's Tor. Below them, they could see a giant pool of white putrescence; above, they could see a winding path to the top of the tor, some caves, and two shelfs near the top that jutted out into the center of the crater.
From one, they could glimpse the harpy from the earlier encounter, banging a ritualistic rhythm on some drums; on the other they could see a wooden scaffolding. As the party scouts watched stealthily from the bottom, they saw two flying strix carry out a naked Toby Poodlecock and hold him in place as a eight-foot-tall strix wielding a nasty-looking falchion tied him to the scaffolding so he was spread-eagle, facing down, his lashed limbs the only things keeping him from falling into the roiling puddle of poo.
By the banging of the drum, and the gathered strix celebrants the party scouts could make out, they realized they didn't have much time. Potions of invisibility were quaffed, the stealthy party members started stealthily sneaking ahead, and the clanky party members waited and readied their ranged weapons.
And then Brother Makao stepped out into the crater and rolled a 1 on his Stealth check. Now, I know that a 1 doesn't automatically mean a failure, but Brother Makao didn't have a very high Stealth modifier and the players all drew in their breaths in nervous anticipation...so I had the strix notice them, interrupt the ritual, and attack.
Here's where all of the design flaws came into play. First off, I am nowhere near good enough of a DM, nor mathematician, to pull off a 3-D fight with many different layers and over 20 combatants. Second off, I had looked up some irl tors and had come up with a height of 800'. The party started the fight 500' below where the sacrifice was and, in retrospect, never had a chance. Third off, I had forgotten to tell Barbie's player a couple of things. Fourth off...well, I could mea culpa all day but essentially:
An invisible Giles started climbing directly up to the shelf with Toby. Barbie and Genny snuck out and started walking the path that led around the edge of the crater. An invisible Esmerelda snuck out after them. Brother Makao stepped out, tripped, and dislodged a large rock that crashed down the inside of the crater, alerting the strix. Brother Makao starts running DOWN the winding path towards the poo, hoping to distract the strix from the sneaking party members who were already climbing up the path. Buck Rogers, clanky as all get out, followed him down. I don't remember what Symoreel did.
For the first couple of rounds, the strix attack Buck and Brother Makao down below. The giant strix cleric summons a gigantic vulture demon which menaces the party doing some kind of crazy dance before Esmerelda dispels it to shouts of victory. The harpy flies out and sings her captivating song. Giles climbs invisibly. Genny and Barbie reveal themselves and shoot at the harpy. More strix show up, but attack Genny and Barbie. Symoreel blasts the harpy with a fireball The giant strix cleric casts some more spells. More strix show up. Giles, this entire time, climbs invisibly.
At some point, Barbie realizes that there are two different types of strix, ones with a blackish-blue coloration and ones with a purple-red coloration, like her dear George. Then she realizes that the next band of strix warriors flying down are LED by George! Ohmygod! They squawk at each other in strix as the demon-summoning and fireballs exploding all around them and Barbie learns that the all the strix tribes of Devil's Point have been strong-handed together into a giant confederation of all the winged devil tribes that is ruled over by--a cult of Pazuzu! But George isn't happy about this, and he is easily persuaded to call upon his brethren to revolt against the tyranny of the Black Talons! Birdman revolution!
Meanwhile, Giles keeps climbing. Around this time, Brother Makao, who has the Run feet and can move at 250' per round starts running up the path. Barbie and Genny jump on the backs of Symoreel and a strix and they start flying about, fighting Black Talon strix in mid-air.
Meanwhile, the eight-foot tall demoniac of Pazuzu with the falchion has been preparing his ritual sacrifice of poor Toby Poodlecock and, as Giles finally, invisibly makes it to the top of the ledge, disembowls poor Toby whose entrails spill out dangling down into the crater. The demoniac plays in Toby's viscera and blood and channels Toby's ebbing life power into summoning another vrock! which would have been a lot more ass-kicking if Esmerelda hadn't dispelled it again! Huzzah!
Anyway, I know there's a lot I'm missing in here, for example, at one point Buck Rogers summoned an angel, but to wrap it up, demoniac of Pazuzu kills Toby, flies away. The party, with their new friends in the Red Banned Band, kill all the Black Talons. Giles spent most of the game climbing the wall and Brother Makao spent, I think, four or five rounds just running. Design flaws. :(
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Kingpinmaker, Game N+3, Part One
So, the party makes friends with "George" and the Red-Banned Band, prepare funerary rites for poor Toby Poodlecock, etc. The party was pretty concerned that all of the strix tribes had been united under the leadership of a cult of Pazuzu, but then Barbie Ragnarock's player said, "Wait a minute, we're not in Sandpoint anymore, we're in Cheliax, we should just go tell the Hellknights!" but, of course, later, when they were in a position to inform authority figures about the impending winged devil apocalypse, they didn't.
Anyway, more roleplaying (there actually was hardly any combat this game as the loyal reader shall see), Jillian Poodlecock is inconsolate, blah blah blah. With a little prodding from the Dungeon Master, Genny realizes that the strix-and-stirge poo collected at the bottom of Devil's Tor just might be chemically identical to bat guano, and makes arrangements to come back and collect it all to turn into gunpowder. "George" tells the party how he and his Red-Banned braves are going to go gather other members of their tribe and arrange a series of signals ("if you find a pile of white rocks with a black one on top, that means the Devil's Tor is no longer safe; if you find a purple one in the middle of all white ones, that means..." etc.)
The party spends the night in the Devil's Tor and when they wake up the next morning, all of the strix are gone. So they say their last goodbyes to Toby (he was cremated) and resume their journey to Foxglove Manor.
When they arrive at Foxglove Manor, they espy a light on in the upper story and discover three little kids hiding in the wreckage of the stables. Sneaking up on them, they discover that a gang of juvenile delinquents have come up here to drink beer and commit acts of antisocial vandalism. The party decides to teach them a lesson.
They cast euphoric cloud (fog?) on the three hiding in the ruins and start tormenting them with ghost sounds and suggestion. As they were doing that, they noticed that a larger light is coming from the Manor itself, and Giles climbs up the outer face of the Manor and peeks in a window where he discovers Beavis, Butthead and Eric Cartman busy defecating, setting tapestries on fire and spray-painting "Satin Rulez!" in the hallway. More shenanigans involving Giles using prestidigitation to make a suit of armor rattle and impersonating the ghost of Aldern Foxglove, Symoreel flying about casting showy spells and Barbie Ragnarock displaying her prehensile hair to good effect. Beavis and Butthead wet themselves and ran away, put poor Eric Cartman stumbled down the staircase and broke his neck. Thankfully, Buck Rogers was there to save the obese adolescent, and they put a blindfold on him and scared him some more.
Hee hee! Good times.
Anyway, the it might not look like a whole lot on paper (or on screen), but the Haunting of Foxglove Manor was by far the most exciting part of the gaming session, so I will leave off at there for now.
I wrote something up last night, but it appears to have been eaten by the post monster. :(
Well, two things I forgot from the last post:
One--It being the full moon, and Barbie being beset by the calls of her Mother, she spent the night rekindling her romance with "George." Barbie gets around.
[Data point for the "Playing the Other Sex" thread: Barbie's player makes me keep track of her time of the month; I don't think I've ever had a female player even mention their character's menstrual cycle.]
Two--Someone, no names, who has watched too many Dave Chappelle stand-up bits, may have placed a carrot up the unconscious Eric Cartman's butt.
I'll try to fill in the rest later.
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Hmm. Well, we've played two and a half times since last I posted. Last game was a bit of a miscommunication, actually, so ended up being whipped up on the spot. But, I probably won't get to that for another month, so, nevermind...
Kingpinmaker, Game N+3, Part Three
Rest of the game was pretty much all role-playing with a brief, disastrous, combat at the end. In no particular order, and, possibly leaving somethings out:
Some of the party went and "manumitted" their slaves. They figured that it would best if all of the ex-slaves had proper papers, so Esmerelda spent a bunch of time (back on The Whale, I think) forging papers for each of them, including poor Toby.
Some of the party went to the Town Hall/Church of Asmodeus, where they stood in line for hours, filled out forms in triplicate, waited in more line, waited in wrong lines, and, finally, insult to injury, were forced to attend a "counseling" session with an Asmodean priest before they were allowed to free their slaves.
Party went and met with Brucks, their intermediary with Mister Scratch. As soon as he saw them, he got very excited and quickly performed a series of ritualistic movements that ended with the lighting of a scented candle, which freaked the party out because they thought he had cast zone of truth. They reported success, Mack Daddy's dead, we've got a map of all his hideouts and strongholds in town (Symoreel had made that back on the boat, with the help of all the slaves), we can totally kick their ass if we strike before they find out the Mack Daddy's dead!!!, We might have sunk your boat. Brucks was thilled and they made arrangements to meet in a couple of days' time and coordinate their attacks to wipe out the last remnants of the MD's criminal empire.
At this point, Genny gave an impassioned speech to Brucks, I don't remember all of it, but the gist was that after this, Genny and Chyme would be moving out of the drug trade. Brucks laughed and ominously intoned "We already have an arrangement with your brother..."
Brother Makao went to the chruch of Iomedae and did some chores. Giles went and scoped out the Abandoned Clocktower, which was across the street from the church. Saw a suspicious character reading a newspaper and drinking an espresso at an outdoor table. Brother Makao, was summoned by a shrieking child complaining of being bullied by "the Misshapen One." Newspaper Man followed him. Giles followed him. Brother Makao didn't find the Misshapen One, but go in a fight with a thief posing as a blind pencil seller and his two accomplices. Other stuff, not very important, but keep an eye on that Newspaper Man.
At some point in all of this Esmerelda was spotted by her bohemian friends who were hanging out with the rebellious daughters of the High Priest of Asmodeus. She found out from them that there were a bunch of Hellknights in town.
Genny stopped by the Academy of Applied Magic and was disappointed to discover that her pistol that can create a rift between this plane and Hell once per day wasn't done, and, in fact, couldn't be done without another spell. Said "f!!! it" and took her gun back.
Barbie, I now recall, didn't go to Pezzack, she stayed at Foxglove Manor and went and bought a dog, an Andoran wolfhound (+2 Str +2 Dex +2 Con) which she presented to Jillian which she named "Toby."
Two more bits to go to the end of this session, but I'll finish tomorrow. I'm pretty beat. Did me some overtime today, huzzah!