@Geo Fix you beat me by a year then. I did not actually start playing until the fall of 1980 although we did sit in on a game in 1973 for a little while. Decided these people were strange and went back to our wargames. I was 24 in 1980 so that made for a little different start than most today.
@James We try and split into two games when we have more than 10 players. We keep extra tables and supplies for several sessions at once. That day my wife was out of town so I did not have a back up dm for the second game.
|James B. Cline|
Not only do I encourage RP, but every session the players vote on the player who did the best job of getting into character and interacting with the setting. It gives the players a little incentive to tie themselves to the setting in some way. The xp reward each session is an APL-1 CR, players vote by selecting two other players, and the DM is the tie breaker. I wanted to remove myself from the voting process. Typically I also award an additional RP award if someone submits a background of two paragraphs, which in the long run is a trivial amount of xp, but the players enjoy it. It gets them asking questions.
I'm also a fairly strict enforcer of "you can't roll diplomacy if you don't say anything". Sometimes I stop players midsentence during game when they start saying "well my character tells you" and I tell them "no say it in character". It really goes a long way to getting into those great rp situations, because otherwise no one would ever slip up and say something interesting.
I've always stressed at least in the Paizo AP's that at least half the encounters are able to be defeated through Bluff and Diplomacy, which is generally true. Bards tend to do extremely well in my games as long as the player is quick of wit and can understand his audience.
For instance the other day I was playing in a side mission in the other GM's game. The battle was nearly over and we had defeated a small zombie horde, but after an intense battle my character saw someone at the edge of the combat. My ninja ki-ran them down and tripped them, grappled them, and started pummeling them. At one point I said, "Surrender and you will survive this!" The gm responded by having him stop struggling. Then I took my sneak attack. The moral of the story is, mixing RP and combat is fun, even if you bluff the GM.
James, thanks for taking the time to do a review. I agree that video makes it both easier and harder. Easier if you are good at talking "off the cuff". For myself, I am sure I would feel the need to write a script first.
I really loved your podcast. You have a fun and vibrant group! Keep on posting. I can't wait till you get to the parts that I edited. I'd love to experience the reaction of your players once they get inside the city.
By the way, The Slumbering Tsar is all Greg A Vaughan's work, his magnum opus. It is amazingly well-written. We few editors did not have to do much work.
It was in fact Greg's efforts to get this published that convinced Bill Webb to start up a little company called Frog God Games with Greg. It is an interesting turn of events (including, in part, the publication of Tome of Horrors Complete) that caused Frog God to acquire Necromancer Games and have the ability to produce Rappan Athuk for Pathfinder and the Swords and Wizardry game systems. I hope many more groups get to experience the horror that is The Desolation of Tsar and the city itself.
I did not hear about Tsar at the time. We climbed aboard with the Tomb of Horrors Complete. Was glad to get it though. Rappan Athuk is more the "World's Largest Dungeon"! I played the 3.0 one for awhile and all it was how we can throw everything in all the books into one dungeon. No thought went into it and it got really boring real fast.
Rappan Athuk is what you make of it as is the World's Largest Dungeon. An excellent GM or storyteller can take the bones of either and make it into a compelling tale of adventure and heroism.
As an example, the following link to the Enworld forums leads to a lengthy story told by one who used Rappan Athuk (Reloaded, the boxed set, not the Pathfinder version) to tell a story.
It all starts by the author asking and answering two questions. Why would the player characters go to this death trap in the first place and what are the followers of Orcus planning to do? This is something that every GM or story teller must to do to make the adventure work for their players or their audience. Just as James here is doing with his players in The Slumbering Tsar.
Sorry Sasha, that didn't come out right. I was referring to the AEG World's Largest Mistake when I was referring to the 3E version. I quote from the first paragraph of RA:
Once upon a time, there was an idea—an idea formulated by GaryGygax and Dave Arneson in 1974 and published in a little paperback book
called Underworld Adventures. The idea was simple: it is a lot of fun
to go into a dungeon and kill evil monsters. Why is the dungeon there?
No one knows. Why do the monsters usually fight rather than talk? We
aren’t really sure. Why are there 16 trolls in a cave with a jug of alchemy?
No one cares. What do all the monsters eat? We don’t know that either
(although “adventurer” probably tops the list). And we don’t have to
know these things. This isn’t an ecology experiment, it’s a dungeon—the
quintessential setting for pure swords and sorcery adventuring.
As old 1E players we don't ask why, we just do!
Holy crap, this is great! I am waiting for my copy of Tsar to show, but I do not even have a group where I am currently located. I have been gaming starting with the red box since the early eighties and pretty much did the DM thing the whole time (I got to play periodically, but 98% DM). I move around alot (and I cannot wait for the next move) so I get exposed to a lot of new players. I am a huge fan of what was Necromancer games and since FGG has at least some of the talent that brought those wonderful items to print, I will probably be a fan of theirs for the forseeable future (especially since I jumped in on Sword of Air).
I would like to mention that there is a lot of interaction between the fluff (and characters) that are present in a bulk of the Necromancer adventures. In particular, there is a Half-Orc Cleric that goes from Crucible of Freya into Rappan Athuk (and if you destroyed him first, that is already covered). I became attached to the FR setting, so I run all my campaigns there. Fortunately, there is a preceident for Orcus in the game world through the Bloodstone Lands series. That made it easy in my mind to have all that wonderful stuff cross over into FR. Most of the stuff I use from Necromancer was linked to a campaign I use time and again (cause I move and have so many new people to experience it) adapted from The Night Below. I have other stuff too, but it is about 50/50 between Necromancer and all others. I even added RA as a side venture, but most groups were afraid of it. I can say that its introduction to your campaign should not be a conflict at any point and that your players will have just about as hard a time negotiating without losses as they are do now. The good news is that they designed entrances to lower levels (thus more difficult, or built for higher level characters.) They should work well together and you may even be able to link something they desperately need to solve the Tsar (remember, I have not read it yet, so not sure about the viability of this) by going to RA and get it.
I also have a suggestion for teleport, if you would like a logical reason for it not being an option for them. Link a teleport to a random loction ward to the massive unhallow effect of the Desolation. I figure without deity level magic, they will be unable to penetrate or dispell the effect until they resolve the core issue (thus ending the campaign and it is no longer an issue). Further, you can link a teleport shield that nullifies the effect while inside the Desolation so they are unable to teleport out for ease of travel. That way, when they first try the teleport, they hopefully get the message that it will not work or can get them into even more random trouble if they attempt to use it as a simple short cut. Just some ideas to help with your thought train.
One of these days I need to do a story hour, my wife says it would be nice...maybe once I settle down for a bit...
|James B. Cline|
What I'm doing to prepare for next game:
Teleport - I've debated creating my own site based encounter where there is a 4-5 room dungeon teleporters get trapped in, similar to the Feet of Orcus (The Great Temple) Prison Room 2. I think for now I'm going to put this idea on the back burner unless my players need some extra xp. Could be a really cool idea though... I'll get back to ya'll on this.
Researching Smite Evil - It's not a huge problem, but the paladin seems to be having a significantly easier time than the rest of the group. My main issue is that old feel of Lichs being highly resistant to damage. Smite evil gets through "all DR", it seems to me that if a Lich has a short list of weaknesses, smite might have been listed, but its not. This is more of a complaint about Lichs not having some special defense, than Smite. Being a high charisma character, thus high saves, with immunitiy to diseases and in the fights that matter AC 29-37 (when smiting) I'm looking for ways to keep the challenge without going to far off the adventure as written. I've got a rules question in the Ask James Jacobs Anything thread, which hopefully will even up the game a bit. I did manage to find a spell that shouldn't be too hard for BBEG's to have found Corruption Resistance, the spell. Post Reference: Smite Evil Question. The player of the paladin has expressed interest in trying something else like a rogue. I'm just wondering if the writers intended Smite to be this powerful or if it was an oversight in the rules. /end rant
This Friday's game - I'm expecting to have a smaller group of new-ish players for the D4. Firebase of the Damned encounter, which should be alot of fun with less fireballs. It will definitely be a slugfest game with a ticking clock to drive them forward. We may see more than one dead PC (insert dramatic music).
Malerix - I'm preparing to have the PC's get a gander at Malerix. I have had them hear a dull roaring on the wind for several games now and I'm trying to have more Peddler sitings before they get to close. I doubt the players showing up will push on to the Black Gates.
I've shuffled a number of the site based encounters into the paths of the players because they haven't really sought many out. D6. The Embattled dwarves is pretty high on my list and King Kroma is pretty nasty if he buffs with harm/Righteous Might pre-combat. His touch attacks are brutal even if his paralysis DC is low. In the case of powerful badguys, I tend to put myself into the position of actually playing the character as to how they would fight, in his case I would forego using his wounding weapon for touch spells. Wasn't wounding more powerful in previous editions? Food for thought.
|James B. Cline|
The Pall over Tsar - Does this qualify as an enchantment? As a Spell/Spell like ability? Does the spell have the evil descriptor (I'd guess so)? Just prepping for those will saves for sleeping in the City. The entry on page 389 doesn't go into too much detail, otherwise I would have it act as a non-descriptored effect.
Firebase of the Damned. Did anyone notice that NONE of the creatures at the firebase have ranged weapons? I don't think it would be a big deal, except for other groups might find it easy to plink away with arrows at the defenders, who would be silly to come down and fight. I thought about having them turn one of the catapults, then have it fall apart when they fired it. My players are going to be dealing with me rolling a thunderstorm on them while they assault it.
Pall over Tsar - It is present and cannot be dispelled or affected in any manner except by the method spelled-out in the campaign. Without a doubt it is evil. I would not give it a descriptor to tie it down in any fashion, IMO.
Greg would be the one to ask to verify. Perhaps he will pop on once finals are over to comment.
As I read it the Pall of Tsar comes across as a force of corruption; something so foul and insidious that has the potential alter a character's soul.
Since powerfully evil entities can affect someone who casts detect evil I am planning to add some type of saving throw versus...confusion? stun? to anyone who casts detect evil while in Tsar. I'll probably add a -5 on all spellcraft where detect magic is used due to the taint that the evil imbues everything with.
|James B. Cline|
Game 17 “Rocks Fall” 12/13/2013
1st Half Roster: Half-Orc Cleric, Dwarven Ranger, Tiefling Rogue
Note: With the holiday season everyone's schedules are a bit busier, but with the promise of extra XP for small parties three brave adventurers managed to show up, and later three more would be enticed by a need for adventure! I'm good with propaganda! We did manage to get a post-game podcast in and as soon as Hinkel/the paladin gets done editing it I will post it.
Once More Into the Breach
Fleeing from the Oncoming Storm (Dr. Who?) the cleric, rogue, and ranger have reached D4, the Firebase of the Damned, with the winds rising at their backs and deadly lightning raining down they made a plan. The cleric cast Hide from Undead on the party and they climbed up the hill, knowing a small leagion of the undead awaited them. At 11am they crested the hill and of the 18 will saves two passed, but were unable to make the spot checks to see the party as they snuck up the hill. They grabbed some cover behind the mostly intact munitions building D6, but before they get a chance to shelter and scout it one of the 38 Juju zombies starts charging the cleric who happened to make some noise. Realizing if he attacked the spell would drop for the others he dodged back taking some light wounds before drinking a potion of Hide from Undead out of his pack. The semi-intelligent undead intelligence 4) gave up after a few minutes and went back to its post. With some relief the party hunkered down behind a 15' wall section and the rogue snuck in to make sure it was safe. He was frightened of the clay golem he noticed around the corner that they almost walked into. Though in enemy territory they surmised that they could shelter here more safely than exposed to the storm.
Resting in Hell
They decided to wait out the storm, which would be a few hours but a passing patrol of skeletons attacked them around 3pm. Fearing the noise of combat would attract a real threat they tried to kill the skeletons as quickly and quietly as possible, luckily the skeletons attacked from the base of the hill and were slowed by the sharp wood defenses. During the combat the golem was alerted by the skeletons and over the wall he started smashing the skeleton invaders while the players used the cover to make stealth checks and pray. A juju zombie was also alerted to the combat but barely didn't see the cleric in cover in the rubble. He had prepared a cure critical wounds just in case, but remained steadfast in trying to hide. They managed to stay stealthy and the golem and zombie returned to their posts. Bowing to the absurdity of their situation and being separated from the main party they formulated a plan to take a few hours when the storm passed and go to the Crossroads to speak with the “creature that grants wishes”.
Traveling at under cover of night the dwarf, half-orc, and tiefling had no issues moving with their darkvision. They reached the Crossroads and saw it had a dozen skeletons, which they quickly dispatched. They waited until Midnight until the Demon appeared and the cleric of Asmodeus began making some observations. He attempted to discern what allegiance the creature had thinking he was an infernal, but he was offered the power he was seeking and by the luck of a dice decided not to take the deal. Next the Dwarf was tempted with becoming a king of his people, a crown almost in his hands, he decided against it. (That would have been King Kroma if you were wondering, :) The rogue tried his luck next, not trusting the creature, he decided to unleash a flurry of insults at the creature, who offered him wealth (The Usurer's of course!). The trio decided better of it and did not make any deals.
Searching for the Others
The trio was hit with an acid storm trying to return to the party and were able to throw up some tents when the cleric saw the storm coming. Unfortunately their travels also attracted a pair of Assassin Demons (Babau) whom summoned an additional pair to complement their attack. Teleporting in from the darkness the cleric lay dead on round two, the ranger following in negatives on round 3. The tiefling rogue managed to solo a Babau on round 4 and was able to heal the ranger. They couldn't carry the cleric so they buried him under some rocks with the intent of returning. They continued the rest of the journey stealth after using a healing wand.
Roster 2nd Half: aasimir paladin, gnome magus, suli sorcerer, half-orc cleric, dwarf ranger, tiefling rogue
At 6am the tiefling and dwarf found the rest of the party, tired and wounded they explained how they had been lost in the storm and the cleric had died some miles back. The party decided to find his body rather than abandon it to the Desolation. A 10% chance of becoming a zombie and the cleric was lucky and didn't turn in the ground. They used their scroll of ressurection on the cleric, who was brought back with one negative level. Unfortunately the cleric ruined the lie and told them they had gone to the Crossroads, the rest of the party was suspicious, but surprised to learn that no one took the deal. The party set about heading to their original goal, Tsar.
Approaching the city they met almost no resistance on watch the Sorcerer lightning bolted a single attacking ghoul with a laugh. They made camp knowing they wanted to be at full strength as the winds picked up again and the Ranger saw the Peddler. The party coaxed him to make the deal and they heard a riddle they said was no riddle, not to sleep in the city. (Hopefully they heed the advice.) Resting finished about 1 am and they pushed on and were attacked by 11 vargoyles. The sorcerer almost killed them all with his quick reaction, before they could do their work. Only the Magus and the sorcerer were unaffected by the shriek. The paladin, cleric, and ranger all failed their fortitude saves versus the Kiss, though the paladin's lay on hands cured them of their affliction. After the combat they heard a terrible roar not to far away as they started making their way through a path in the swamp. They saw some tracks of some massive reptile, but they pushed on, the stink of the swamp not deterring them they then found some very fresh tracks, minutes old. With a few words the paladin coaxed them on as a terrible roar deafened them, the tiefling and half orc became panicked and the half orc dropped his torch lighting the tar on fire. It illuminated the massive dragon, Malerix, that had been at the extent of their darkvision for a few moments. A panicked moment and the party prepared for combat, a defensive retreat once realizing how large it was. It breathed its tarry breath on the party trapping the Paladin, the Ranger, the Cleric, and the Magus. The dragon spent a round laughing and in draconic announced “Its time for you all to die.” Sorcerer casts fly then fly on the trapped magus, though no one is able to break the grasp of the tar, the tiefling keeps running panicked. The dragon steps forward to the paladin in front and laughs, (I roll a natural 20... confirm, 78 damage) The paladin is ripped in half with a sickening bite, while the party watches. For a round the party looks on while the dragon laughs while devouring the rest of him. Horrified the magus casts dimension door, after grasping the cleric, they escape. The dwarf ranger remains helpless and struggling in the tar as the others flee, not being able to help. The dragon laughs at the struggling dwarf and slowly crushes him into the bog, he suffocates and is crushed. Game Ends.
Fatalities: Aasimir Paladin, Dwarf Ranger
Party APL reaches 10. Will post XP soon, I did award some XP for surviving Malerix, for being smart enough to run.
Wow, and I thought my dragons were bad ass. I feel silly asking questions like this, but I have not received my copy of Tsar yet...has the dragon been modified as part of the module (tar breath, etc.) or is that your doing? Also, what age category was he? Just trying to put him in perspective...thanks!
|James B. Cline|
edit: Mature Adult
Nope, Malerix (for some reason I want to call him the Dread) is a gargantuan Tar Dragon with a breath that will entangle a player almost gaurunteed for several rounds, even a paladin with ridiculous saves. He's the "gatekeeper" for players going into Tsar to keep them from walking in and getting TPK'd from the much more difficult challenges there. He's meant as a last warning measure and he works pretty well. I made it clear to the players that he doesn't chase, which allows them to escape regroup and come back later prepared for revenge. Since we've got some new players I'm going to recommend things like casting Stoneskin on the front line fighter, Mass Energy Resistance Acid, Waterbreathing?, and Freedom of Movement. That should buy them some time. I'm not sure Water Breathing would work in the Tar Bog, but maybe a necklace of adaptation.
As an aside I watched the Hobbit movie yesterday and "The Desolation of Smaug" reminds me of something. As far as Malerix, I've seen in some play by posts where he attacks the Camp. I was debating him destroying most of it so when the players arrive there's little left, but maybe the Userer and a few survivors. I'm not sure it would hurt the story as long as the Camp didn't dissappear entirely and it would have some interesting roleplaying with the people there. The players might feel some responsibility and give them even more reason to push their limits in the Wastes. The more I think about it, it seems like a good idea.
The best part about the whole thing was my players were generally in a good mood after the encounter and I would stress to DM's that they give the players at least 4 or 5 big warning signs that there is a dangerous dragon out there. I have used Rumors, a Roaring on the Wind, tracks, and finally the big reveal where he picks at the party. I gave them two opportunities with the tracks and they've been hearing a terrifying roar on the winds since they crossed into the Dead Fields.
Anybody else have any adventure progress to report?
Daisy Level Drained -2
Travis Level Drained -2
George Level Drained -1
XP TOTALS 12/16/13 (after game 17)
James, Ryan, George +10,535
Hinkel, Jody, Liz +6,800
Liz 122,615/155,000 Level 10
Jody 103,745/105,000 Level 9
George 103,670/105,000 Level 9
Michael 90,140/105,000 Level 9
Daisy 89,010/105,000 Level 9
Anthony Ryan 88,270/105,000 Level 9
BOOST 9! James 85,835/105,000 Level 9 MAKING NEW CHARACTER
Hinkel 81,800/105,000 Level 9 MAKING NEW CHARACTER
BOOST 9! Brittney 75,005/105,000 Level 9
BOOST 9! Travis 75,000/105,000 Level 9
Note: My players have given control of the distribution of loot mainly to Liz who almost never spends her gold. Right now I know they are sitting on at least 40k gold in gems and credit with the Usurer. This makes it easy for them to bring people back, but it may keep them under geared. My players have surmised its fairly inexpensive to Raise Dead and Restoration x2 as long as they can recover the body. Though they have lost the paladin who had the ability to Raise Dead, he is supposedly bringing in a healer cleric.
|James B. Cline|
Yeah, I feel your pain. There might be week where I miss posting in here because a lack of game. Also relating to corporate frenzy, I'll try and read ahead or do a podcast on Rappan Athuk or something, maybe I can score some FGG sponsorship for me and my club if I do enough, lol. Its happened before a few times. We get discounts at local stores, people send us free products, and demos. With that in mind I'll be moving my video reviews over to the SMG Club channel where we have tons of subscribers. I'll relink when it moves.
I've also been thinking long and hard about filling out the obituaries in the back of the book. I'm not a big fan of writing in my gaming books, but its very tempting.
Soulknife 7 Travis Game 2 Murdered by the Benders in his sleep
Kais the Sorcerer 7 Jody Game 2 Murdered by the Benders, Shanked on the Toilet
Sorrow the Mage 5 Game 6 Tim Axed by a Party Member Possessed by Shrieker
Oracle of Sarenrae Game 6 Jody Crossbowed by a Party Member Possessed by Shrieker
Dwarf Fighter 8 James Game 10 Howling Abomination at Chaos Falls
Jezellah the Archer 9 Daisy Game 13 Assasined by Assassin Demon
Soulknife 8 Travis Game 14 Patty cake with a dread wraith
Nam of Asmodeus George Game 17 Assasined by Assassin Demon
Rogal Lightbringer 9 Anthony Game 17 Eaten by Malerix (cleansed his colon)
Dwarf Ranger 9 James Game 17 Squashed into a bog by Malerix
|James B. Cline|
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Ok... forum ate my post. I'm going to blame the dog.
@brvheart - Ok yeah, may your dice roll unmercifully. I've been browsing for a good play by post for a while, or at least an adventure progress thread. My tech support job leaves me a lot of time to browse the forums. We've been sticking to the Paizo Flip-mats and wet erase markers. I saw on google where someone had enlarged the dungeons and printed them out on some massive paper sheets. I was expecting my party's fight to be a bloodbath of gore, but Malerix cut them to pieces like a surgeon. If you expect the dice to surprise you, you won't be surprised.
@Dark Sasha - Done! I went over to the FrogGodGames Forums and started a few posts one in the Obituaries needed thread and the other in the Pathfinder one. I've got a post in there with a link back here, with the review video, and podcast. I'll probably just update the podcasts and such as we go along. Our club president is working up setting me a window to do regular videos/podcasts for the adventure.
Frog God Games Thread Link.
@Geo Fix - Good idea, luckily my future brother in law has a calligraphy set we bought him two Christmas' back. I don't think he will mind.
And just in case ya'll get bored, I did a Rappan Athuk Review, although I haven't run it yet I've been reading it and its play by posts. There were zero videos on Youtube for it and figured I'd make one.
|James B. Cline|
Game 17 Podcast by SMG
Game 17 Podcast
Game 18 12/20/13
Roster: Suli Sorcerer, Gnome Magus, Tiefling Rogue, Halfling Druid
“Meat! This is my City!” - Malerix
1 AM The party flees from the tar bog around the city of Tsar. The echoing draconic words following them out into the night. The wind starts blowing hard and a foul smelling rain falls with thunder and lightning crashing down. The party runs as far as they can and makes an impromptu camp with a casting of Wall of Stone and Tiny Hut. Watches are set: 1st Magus and Sorcerer, 2nd Rogue and Pseudodragon, 3rd Druid. At 6am the rogue's watch is disturbed when through the walls a trio of wraiths begins draining the life of the party. They are dispatched over 3 rounds, though 3 members of the party have minor constitution drain, the sorcerer suffered far worse about 6 points of constitution. Third Watch ends without any problems though conditions are windy.
At the urging for a quick entry into the game the player of the dead paladin wanted to introduce his new character. He and his mercenary band were hunting demons in the Desolation, they stumbled upon The Restless Warrior (D3) unfortunately he was the only survivor when it ran over his comrades. He hustled for an hour to run from it before seeing the party wandering. He crested a hill screaming “RUN!” before cutting across them hoping they would start trying to destroy it. The party decided since they didn't know this tiefling that they would Fly/Wildshape Fly and get out of the way since he appeared to be gaining a small amount of distance on it. After two rounds of observation the party druid cast soften earth and stone on a strip of land in front of it causing it to get mired down. Seeing his chance for some revenge he turned around and charged the Battlehulk thinking it disabled, though seeing its many arms and spinning flails. He lept up to jump on it and was struck with a metalic arm causing him to hit the ground instead. Feeling sympathetic the magus flew down to grab him, in addition to being too heavy she was also struck and failed her fly check and fell into the mud. With an additional fly spell on him the Rogue flew down and snatched up the magus pulling her 40' or so into the air. Before he could react (higher initiative) the Battlehulk gained some traction and the unnamed Tiefling was run over by the Battlehulk and killed. The party sat around for several rounds trying to hit it with magic missles, lightning bolts, and stoneshape but nothing seemed to have any effect as it slowly rolled away. They decided to continue their retreat. Fatality #11 Tiefling Fighter 9.
Back to town. Ignoring the Obvious.
3 PM a Bonestorm hit and the party countered with a Tiny Hut. After the storm cleared with exceptional rolling the druid saw a trio of vultures flying to the east (D5 Carrion Birds) and to the west they saw signs of life (D6 Embattled Dwarves), though they pressed on worried about their injuries and losses. They pushed themselves for several hours making the endurance checks for their long walk and they made it back to town at 7 pm.
Roster: +Half Orc Cleric, +Tiefling Fighter, Suli Sorcerer, Gnome Magus, Tiefling Rogue, Halfling Druid
At the Inn they met a curious pair a female dwarf named Katrina who wore monkish garb as well as the holy symbols of a foreign god Freya. She delivered their quest reward for saving Holocolm and spoke about the diseased encampment of Argos about a mile south. Apparently he had returned with a contingent of soldiers, but disease had broken out and killed over half the expedition, the survivors had quarantined themselves for the time being. The second character was the Tiefling Fighter (part 2) who had just arrived in town. It almost came to blows when he made some semi-threatening remarks towards Crackles the Magus, the rogue was already moving into position to take him down when Katrina (Npc) chimed in that he might be misreading the holy texts of Gorum who he espoused to be a member of the faith. After a tenuous invitation the druid and the cleric set about making plans to bolster the Camp with dozens of casting of Mud to Stone, Stoneshape, and Wall of Stone over the next few weeks. They made a small addition to the back of the Inn for now. The new fighter exchanged his knowledge of engineering for a few night's stay. Katrina was given a free room for her help and service to Argos. They had also learned that their caravan was at the other Camp awaiting the paladin Rogal to complete his transaction, though he was dead the party purchased all of their goods, mostly diamond dust and paid for another caravan to come in advance. They were attempting to negotiate for some laborers to be hired, but they decided magic would be easier and cheaper for now.
To the Pillars
The party decided they wanted to take a third trip out to the Pillars of the Chaos Rift (C10 The Pillars of Orcus). They decided to take the road 3/4ths the way up the map and cut over, rather than trying to travel through the canyons. Over the nine hour trip to the Crossroads they had no encounters and good weather, a rarity, but I let the dice roll where they may. They made camp about an hour north of the Crossroads when a Bonestorm hit around 7 pm. That night they were hit with a terrible lightning storm which masked the approach of 6 ghoul wolves. With a streak of terrible rolls the Magus and Sorcerer were paralized on round 1 after alerting the party. The magus survived two coup de grace attempts by making incredible fortitude saves and lucky for the sorcerer I couldn't land the hit on him. The other party members jumped to action and swiftly defeated the wolves although the magus had taken extreme wounds. Second watch the fighter and rogue were attacked by a lone ghoul, but the rogue misidentified the creature as a lich (rolled a 1) and awoke the whole party as the fighter ran out to do his work. By the time everyone was awake the fighter was standing in a pool of gore, after 1 swing. They had a laugh at the rogue and went back to sleep, third watch was uneventful.
Edge of the World
The party reached the Rift by 5pm with no encounters, but windy conditions and some acid rain negated by a Tiny Hut. They decided not to climb down and to cast fly on the party, the druid shifted into an elemental. Knowing they were going to cut it close getting to the top of the closest pillar they flew straight for it awakening a group of 6 Dread Ravens who focus fired on the Rogue who was leading the group and somewhat overconfident they were just birds. He failed his fly check and could have splattered 1500 feet down, but managed to make his fly check on round 1. The sorcerer was quick enough to cast feather fall on him as well.
At the base their flight spells quickly expired and they were conducting some experiements on the pillars. Some minutes afterward a chaos beast appeared amongst them, but before it was defeated the sorcerer struck a pillar with lightning and summoned another. They dispatched them without to much trouble, but noted the effect. Noting the pillars were only active at night the druid cast soften earth and stone around the base, and the effects were magnified, though the pillars themselves were unaffected. They decided to rest and give it more attention in the morning, as they set watch they started noticing that the Chaos Beasts regularly appeared in the area. Game Ends.
Notes: Thanks brvheart I borrowed one of your pc's if you don't mind. I told the players it was a DM Exchange and that it was a pc from another run of the game.
I felt really bad about killing the tiefling fighter before he was introduced so I redshirted him and let him reintroduce him at the bar, though I will be recording it as an obituary kill. I don't think the player was happy about it, but it was fairly rolled it was easily escape-able and he should have known taking it on by himself was foolhardy, I can't feel too bad.
We did manage to get another podcast done around 3 am, gotta love these long games!
|James B. Cline|
Liz 127,015/155,000 Level 10
LEVEL 10 Jody 108,145/155,000 Level 10
LEVEL 10 George 106,470/155,000 Level 10
Anthony Ryan 92,670/105,000 Level 9
Michael 90,140/105,000 Level 9
Daisy 89,010/105,000 Level 9
James 85,835/105,000 Level 9
Hinkel 84,600/105,000 Level 9
Brittney 79,405/105,000 Level 9
Travis 75,000/105,000 Level 9
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Our game was last night. It was somewhat uneventful in comparison. They battled a Gray Render, some poisoned Zombies, 2 Large Water Elementals and a few Toxic Mudmen. They did spot the tar dragon at a distance, but did not approach. Has them rather nervous. The new Halfling rogue hid in the paladin's armor during one encounter that was rather humorous!
RA today was more eventful as they descended to level 10A. They ran into first 4 and then 13 Caterprisms. They past the lake and ran into the waterfall and descended. The half-orc fell trying to climb but the mystic thurge cast touch of the sea and swam down and rescued him. They found the secret doors and found a drawing of double doors. They were not able to open it. Going through the second door they ascended to level 9B and we broke for the day. I am having one of my players due a write up for the RA section.
We managed to squeeze in a game despite the demands of shopmas. One was a one on one game for a character who was separated from the group. The nice thing about it was that we played at a gamers pub called Storm Crow. The un-nice thing was that the character (a rage chemist known as the Good Doktor) ended up dead after the Scythe Falcon critted him and I rolled 3 ones. First with the wrong die, second on the floor (which everyone knows doesn't count) and third with the correct die on the table. The player took it in stride and we modified the rescued sorceress to be one of his ex-wives who had come looking for him (it's complicated).
All of this took place in the Reclaimer's area.
I also modified the druids so that they all had call lightning or call lightning storm. The range on those spells and the terrific volume of 3d6 lightning bolts means that 3 druids, flitting around as birds, change from annoying to worrisome to lethal in short order. The witch (Darth Glorious) ended up dead before they managed to locate and finish off the druids.
They decided that that was enough and after having spent 3 weeks in The Desolation they returned to The Camp. Their view of The Camp is much more positive than when the left it. The Desolation makes even the dregs of civilization look good.
|James B. Cline|
Re-Reclaimed - Ok, I don't think I posted anything about this. Many games back when the paladin got teleported by the Crossroads Dweller inside Sanctuary, between him and the fireball sorceress they downed all the druids. During his escape from the stick monster, treants, and dire tigers (oh my!) they flew out in a hurry and didn't loot anything. If one of the two druids made their bleeding save they could have potentially survived. Meaning that druid could reincarnate all of the other Reclaimers and I'm sure they would.
You will hear it in the podcast for game 18, but Ygritte left the party and rejoined Skeribar's group. There was a wordless encounter when the party saw her walking with the rangers, the sorcerer nodded to her and she tossed him a fresh apple, but didn't smile or anything. Knowing what the apple was, he crushed it in his hand.
At this point I'm thinking about turning her into one of the most zealous Reclaimers since she has seen the failure of the paladin. Cool for story and it creates a "badguy" the players know and have worked with before.
During the fight I had them mostly shapeshift and attack throwing various spells. I think one had Ice Storm, which I used to knock them out of the sky when they were flying.
Flying - Three of my players have hit level 10, the sorcerer has access to teleport now, but they have been using the fly spell alot to get out of danger. The problem is they are failing the fly checks when they are struck and the Windy (-2) and High Winds (-4) from the weather checks are keeping them cautious about it. They have enough castings to put fly on the whole party for a short time. Hasn't really been a problem in my game, but other Dm's might find it helpful. I think I'm not going to try and hinder their teleport efforts, though I guess I should prepare for the influx of them spending their cash.
|James B. Cline|
Game 19 12/27/13
Roster: Half Orc Barbarian (James), Suli Sorcerer, Tiefling Fighter (Anthony), Tiefling Rogue, Gnome Magus, Halfling Druid
The party left off last game camping within 400 yards of the Pillars in the Chaos Rift (C9) even though they were seeing frequent appearances of plane shifting chaos beasts. Their normal campsite was set up by using Tiny Hut and Wall of Stone. Around 6 pm in game and the party is deciding watch*. The new characters walk up and introduce themselves and ask the party for shelter for the night, they agree pretty easy after some detect evils and sense motives. Immediately, first watch is attacked by 4 Chaos Beasts. (I rolled a 1d6, for them grouping up, they are everywhere.) The sorcerer and the magus handily defeat them having seen them approaching. Second watch fights again 4 chaos beasts. Third watch when the Rogue and Barbarian are on lookout, 4 chaos beasts approach. During the fight the fighter is clawed and fails his “turn to goo” save as well as the Rogue. The sorcerer goes into evacuation mode and starts teleporting everyone out. The fighter realizes what’s happening and is attacking his party and coup de graces himself after finally passing a Charisma check to stabilize his form for a minute. The sorcerer returns and gathers up the rest of the party, but cannot carry the Barbarian so he leaves him. On his second trip he picks up the Tiefling who he teleports straight to Father Death, who they wake up in the middle of the night to cast Restoration. (Not sure if he actually has it, but the party has it cast a bunch so it’s a good money maker for him.) The Barbarian who hardly knows the party decides not to wait around for rescue and tries to run to this place called The Camp, but he’s alone in the middle of the Chaos Rift. He rolls well on his survival check and starts running, makes a few climb checks, avoids a few encounters, but finally dies short of town to a Bone Storm.
The party decides that although its early morning when they teleported in, to spend a bit of time in town figuring out what to do. They ask around town for rumors, I think they are looking for plot hooks so I invent a few. The rogue wants to go to Sanctuary, the sorcerer wants to comb the Ashen Wastes, and a few others want to go see who’s camping on the hill in the Dead Fields (the dwarves). The Rogue narrowly avoids coming to blows with the Rancher Finnelaus after an insulting street altercation. While they are debating two more adventurers show up, an elf wizard and a half-elf paladin. The party quickly adopts them, they exchange some money with the Usurer and they get a night’s rest.
Combing the Desert Spaceballs Style
They decide on a horizontal scouting pattern that at best will take them about 8 days taking them north. Day 1 they come across a pair of Babau demons who injure the Rogue and Sorcerer pretty badly, they heal using their wands. They weather an acid rain and make camp early due to a Bonestorm. At night they fend off 10 ghouls, pretty standard fair. The new wizard had a Magnificent Mansion spell so in leu of Tiny Hut and Wall of Stone they begin using it. Day 2 They encounter only a spot of Quicksand and they make camp. At night they get infiltrated by 3 Screamers who possess the Tiefling, drain some of the paladin’s Charisma, and generally make a nuisance of themselves before dying (again). Day 3 at noon they get attacked by 10 ghoul wolves, but they aren’t stealthy at all and the sorcerer fireball (lightning balls) the group of them before they can attack. The party makes early camp due to a Bonestorm, but they also find a graveyard (Tranquility’s Face). They investigate it and are highly suspicious of the furrows so the wizard sends in some monster summonings which are promptly destroyed by a huge earth elemental. They decide to distract the creature with more summonings, while they run through and make a quick investigation. A natural 20 knowledge religion and they are able to identify the monument to the first celestial killed during the battle Azarkites. They note that the place is interesting if not a bit suspicious, they were expecting it to be a trap, but they leave and make camp. Game Ends.
*Anthony has decided he wants to re-introduce his fighter with a different alignment and background. Instead of being a semi-evil worshiper of Gorum, he’s goes for a Lawful Good fighter who worships Aroden, mechanically he’s a tiefling, but he wanted to say he has Azlanti Blood. To introduce them (James and Anthony) quickly I told them they were part of an adventuring party that had a teleport with error, they were the only survivors, but something had gone awry and they both started the game with a curse that they couldn’t be teleported and each had 4d6 damage, pretty typical.
Fatality Count: 13
Tiefling Fighter 9, Half Orc Barbarian 9
Ryan +6940 +1600 (Background story)
Liz 133,955/155,000 Level 10
Jody 115,085/155,000 Level 10
George 106,470/155,000 Level 10
Anthony Ryan 101,210/105,000 Level 9
Michael 90,140/105,000 Level 9
Daisy 89,010/105,000 Level 9
Brittney 86,345/105,000 Level 9
James 83,540/105,000 Level 9
Hinkel 81,940/105,000 Level 9
Travis 75,000/105,000 Level 9
It appears to me that the reason your campaign is so deadly is the level you have increased the encounters. I mean 12 chaos beasts in one night, 4 at a time? I know the party is rather high for this area, but that means they should be rolling through this area and on to the Boiling Lands and the Dead Fields to me. I do throw in some other encounters some times for variety from ToH4 because the tables get a bit stale at times, but I try and not get the CRs above what they have been facing. To each his own I guess, but we have only had 6 deaths in a lot more gaming time. Players are the same level 9 almost 10.
|James B. Cline|
I mentioned that they saw a bunch of them spawning out periodically fairly close by, but they decided to camp down anyways. The fighter dropped due to a fortitude roll of a 2 and they hadn't brought anything to fix the condition, even though they knew it was a risk.
I couldn't reason there would be too many other creatures that close, besides things that might eat chaos beasts, the 4 at a time thing was just me rolling a d6, I figured the creatures were weak enough and there were 6 players, but my group has a few characters who could really use the xp. I was hoping they would get the hint about sleeping so close by being attacked on every watch, but you know players.
The half-orc dying was due to the party leaving him to die alone. He was just short of the Camp when he went down, I could have fudged it, but it wouldn't feel right. I have fudged a couple or rolls here and there, but not very many and mostly for drama.
We played a short session on New Year's Eve and they finished off the Geyser Cluster. The Steam Mephits weren't much of a challenge to the 4 that played, but the Soul Eater gave them a little trouble as it could not be damaged by weapons. The visiting wizard character finished it off in three rounds though.
Not that Tsar is a pushover, but of the three ftf games I am running currently it is the least deadly. RA tops the list and Razor Coast tops ST by one.
Your game reminds me of how my RA game went for about four months, deaths almost every session.
One look at the tar dragon from a distance and the party won't go near the city yet. I threw in an adult blue in the chaos rifts and now they are paranoid of dragons<G>! They don't even know what it is, they only know it is black and it is big!!!
I agree, bring the paladin back:)
You made Katrina a guy? I won't tell my wife... She is a female dwarf. Rather strange as she has three levels of monk.
Female Dwarf Valkyries Fist 7/Monk (Monk of the Four Winds) 3
LG Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +13
Aura predator's grace (15 ft.)
AC 25, touch 22, flat-footed 21 (+1 armor, +3 Dex, +2 natural, +1 deflection, +1 dodge, +7 untyped)
hp 86 (10d8+30)
Fort +13, Ref +11, Will +14; +2 vs. enchantment spells and effects
Defensive Abilities defensive training, evasion; SR 15, magic resistant
Speed 55 ft.
Melee +2 warhammer +12/+7 (1d8+4/×3) and
masterwork dagger +10/+5 (1d4+2/19-20/×2) and
masterwork dwarven waraxe +10/+5 (1d10+2/×3) and
masterwork katana +10/+5 (1d8+2/18-20/×2) and
masterwork throwing axe +10/+5 (1d6+2/×2) and
masterwork wakizashi +10/+5 (1d6+2/18-20/×2) and
masterwork warhammer +11/+6 (1d8+2/×3) and
touch attack +9/+4 (As Spell/×2) and
unarmed strike +10/+5 (1d8+6/×2)
Ranged masterwork composite longbow +12/+7 (1d8+3/×3) and
ranged touch attack +11/+6 (1+3/×2)
Special Attacks Channel Energy 4d6, flurry of blows, wooden fists
Valkyries Fist Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +14):
4th (1/day)—divine power, summon nature's ally iv
3rd (2/day)—magic vestment, beast shape i, prayer
2nd (3/day)—eagle's splendor, lesser restoration, barkskin, align weapon
1st (5/day)—moment of greatness, divine favor, liberating command, shield of faith, bless, magic fang
0 (at will)—mending, create water, detect magic
Str 15, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 21, Cha 10
Base Atk +7; CMB +15 (+17 grapple); CMD 31 (33 vs. grapple)
Feats Crusader's Flurry, Dodge, Elemental Fist, Extra Channel, - Custom Feat -, - Custom Feat -, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Monastic Legacy, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (warhammer)
Traits magical knack, resilient
Skills Acrobatics +16 (+24 jump), Climb +6, Diplomacy +4, Fly +7, Handle Animal +4, Heal +13, Knowledge (arcana) +6, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +2, Knowledge (history) +5 (+7 on checks that pertain to dwarves or their enemies), Knowledge (nature) +5, Knowledge (planes) +6, Knowledge (religion) +8, Linguistics +5, Perception +13 (+15 to notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors in stone walls or floors), Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +11, Survival +9 (+11 to track vs. humanoids of the Giant subtype); Racial Modifiers lorekeeper
Languages Abyssal, Common, Druidic, Dwarven, Giant
SQ ac bonus, aura, bramble armor, domains (fur, magic, plant), fast movement, giant hunter, grayflame, hand of the acolyte, ki defense, ki pool, maneuver training, slow and steady, spontaneous casting, stability, stonecunning, unarmed strike
Combat Gear Potion of cure light wounds (4), Wand of cure light wounds, Wand of Mage Armor, Acid, Antiplague, Antitoxin, Caltrops, Healer's kit, Holy water (2), Oil (4); Other Gear +2 Warhammer, Masterwork Arrows (50), Masterwork Composite longbow (Str +2), Masterwork Dagger, Masterwork Dwarven Waraxe, Masterwork Katana, Masterwork Throwing axe, Masterwork Wakizashi, Masterwork Warhammer, Ranged Touch Attack, Touch Attack, Boots of elvenkind, Bracers of armor +1, Grayflame Amulet of mighty fists +1, Handy haversack (94 @ 99.8 lbs), Ring of protection +1, Ale (per gallon), Artisan's tools (Craft [armor]), Bedroll, Belt pouch (3 @ 0 lbs), Cleric's vestments, Drug, opium, Flint and steel, Grappling hook, Holly and mistletoe, Holy symbol, silver (Freya), Marbles, Scroll case (empty), Silk rope, Trail rations (14), Waterskin, 81 GP, 9 SP
Acid - 0/1
Antiplague - 0/1
Antitoxin - 1/1
Bramble Armor (7 rounds/day) (Su) - 0/7
Cleric Channel Positive Energy 4d6 (5/day) (DC 13) (Su) - 0/5
Drug, opium - 0/1
Elemental Fist (3d6) (7/day) - 0/7
Hand of the Acolyte (8/day) (10/day) (Su) - 0/10
Healer's kit - 0/10
Holy water - 0/2
Ki Pool (Su) - 0/0
Masterwork Arrows - 0/50
Masterwork Dagger - 0/1
Masterwork Throwing axe - 0/1
Potion of cure light wounds - 0/4
Predator's Grace (+15') (8/day) (Su) - 0/8
Trail rations - 8/14
Wand of cure light wounds - 16/50
Wooden Fists +3 (8 rounds/day) (Su) - 0/8
AC Bonus +7 The Monk adds his Wisdom bonus to AC and CMD, more at higher levels.
Animal Companion Link (Ex) You have a link with your Animal Companion.
Antitoxin This substance counteracts a specific toxin. If you drink a vial of antitoxin, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poison for 1 hour.
Alchemical Power Component
Like antiplague, this substance can augment certain healing spells.
Neutralize Poison (M): Add +2 on your caster level check to neutralize poison on a target creature. Antitoxin has no effect when you cast the spell on an object.
Aura (Ex) The Cleric has an aura corresponding to his deity's alignment.
Bramble Armor (7 rounds/day) (Su) Foes striking you take 1d6+3 damage.
Cleric Channel Positive Energy 4d6 (5/day) (DC 13) (Su) Positive energy heals the living and harms the undead; negative has the reverse effect.
Crusader's Flurry May use flurry of blows with deity's favored melee weapon
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Defensive Training +4 Gain a dodge bonus to AC vs monsters of the Giant subtype.
Elemental Fist (3d6) (7/day) You can add 1d6 energy damage to an attack.
Evasion (Ex) If you succeed at a Reflex save for half damage, you take none instead.
Fast Movement (+30') The Monk adds 10 or more feet to his base speed.
Flurry of Blows +6/+6/+1/+1 (Ex) Make Flurry of Blows attack as a full rd action.
Giant Hunter +1 to attack/+2 to tracking Gain a bonus to attack and tracking vs. Giants.
Grayflame Channel energy into weapon for +1 enh bonus and +1d6 damage, bypass some DR.
Hand of the Acolyte (8/day) (10/day) (Su) Throw the melee weapon you are holding 8/day.
Improved Grapple You don't provoke attacks of opportunity when grappling a foe.
Improved Unarmed Strike Unarmed strikes don't cause attacks of opportunity, and can be lethal.
Ki Defense (Su) A monk can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round.
Ki Pool (Su) You have a ki pool equal to 1/2 your monk level + your Wisdom modifier.
Lorekeeper +2 for Knowledge (History) checks relating to dwarves and their enemies. These checks can be made untrained.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Magical Knack (Valkyries Fist) +2 CL for a specific class, to a max of your HD.
Maneuver Training (Ex) CMB = other BABs + Monk level
Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Precise Shot You don't get -4 to hit when shooting or throwing into melee.
Predator's Grace (+15') (8/day) (Su) Swift action: +10 speed, Low-light vision for 1 round.
Share Spells with Companion (Ex) Can cast spells with a target of "you" on animal companion, as touch spells.
Slow and Steady Your base speed is never modified by encumbrance.
Spell Resistance (15) You have Spell Resistance.
Spontaneous Casting The Cleric can convert stored spells into Cure or Inflict spells.
Stability +4 Gain bonus to CMD vs bull rush/trip while standing on ground.
Stonecunning +2 +2 bonus to Perception vs unusual stonework. Free check within 10 feet.
Unarmed Strike (1d8) The Monk does lethal damage with his unarmed strikes.
Valkyries Fist Domain (Fur) Associated Domain: Animal
Valkyries Fist Domain (Magic) Granted Powers: You are a true student of all things mystical, and see divinity in the purity of magic.
Valkyries Fist Domain (Plant) Granted Powers: You find solace in the green, can grow defensive thorns, and can communicate with plants.
Wooden Fists +3 (8 rounds/day) (Su) Unarmed attacks are lethal, do not provoke AoO, and gain +3 damage.
Grew Up in the Mountain Wilds, run out of the underground areas and mines through a war that left them abandoned on the surface. Her family learned to survive in wild becoming proficient mountaineers. The Giants that lived in the are were constantly raiding there surface camps. Her only friends during that time were the animals and every tree. Eventually, the pitch battles were fought to a stalemate with the Giants and her family took refuge in a small village nearby in a temple of Freya. She was so moved by the way they helped the refuges, she took up the calling and swore to learn to fight off the evil, learning the special techniques of the Monks of Monastery so she would be able to always defend herself amd the ways of the cleric to become one with Freya Nature and Magic. She has has been fighting those who seek to destroy what her god hath made.
Domains are Healing, Magic, Plant and Animal (Fur Subdomain).
Weapon Familiarity: Battleaxe, Heavy Pick, Warhammer, and any Dwarven weapon as martial weapons.
Deity favored Weapon; Warhammer, Longsword, Longbow, Shortbow, Shortsword.
Cure Light Wounds charges = 43
Mage Armore, charges = 47
012013: Died from Wereshark and Gug attack. Subsequently Raised by Castiel at the end of the battle in Rappan Athuk, Gained one negative level for my trouble.
020213 Caught the bad guys, threatened him and gained 2 points towards evil.
Made it to the town in my dream, fought the giant and got settled in, fought some assasins at the inn.
Have 62 iron bits from the town.
|James B. Cline|
Nah, Katrina was a female dwarf in my game, not sure if someone misspoke, maybe me. She had some positive interaction with Crackles the Magus, I think they asked her to join up, but I had her as part of Argos' band.
As far as the death's go, I think the newly introduced characters are having trouble getting their feet under them. Anthony, the player of the paladin, really liked that character and wants to bring him back. He's trying out a wizard now though and I think its good for him to expand his horizons a bit, maybe later after they beat the dragon they can find him and ressurect him or something. He did win the copy of Ultimate Magic I brought to our Nerdy Secret Santa party. The city itself doesn't look too bad, except for some of the site based encounters.
I'm making sure to get all of those random encounters in because we aren't using level up points. The attrition on the group keeps the game difficult, but the group seems happy with it. I'm glad I prefaced the adventure by saying "You might be on your 8th or 9th character" by the time we start getting through with this thing. Most of my players have focused on getting their fortitude saves in the 12-14 region, so they can pass most of the tests of the Desolation. Those survival checks are really important too.
In retrospect, they were having an easier time with the paladin. At level 9 he was running around with 37 AC, literally nothing could hit him, until he ran up on the dragon. Paladins are nasty, but the party needs one out here. James made one after the half-orc died. We'll see how it goes tommorrow, but they should have a fairly easy time since they are going back and grid searching the Ashen Wastes.
I'm highly interested in reading Savage Tides, lately I've been trying to learn the core rules for Rogue Trader and getting a ps4 for the holidays I've been playing way to much Battlefield 4.
I really enjoy your podcasts. Not something we have got into at this point. Our sessions are fairly short anymore 4-4.5 hrs. We used to play 8 hours or more, but as we got older our schedules have gotten in the way and the games have gotten shorter and shorter.
I use some stuff from Ultimate Magic, but on a case by case basis. Same with Ultimate Combat but I use more from that. Almost nothing from the race guide. I try and limit ACs to something hitable or the rest of the party suffers when one person is far above the rest. Our new paladin unfortunately won't be here tomorrow night and only have three players unless we get someone else to show. The wife is going to Dallas to see her father for the weekend.
PS4? I got my wife a PS3 a couple of years ago, but we rarely played it and now she bought me my own hoping we could play coop games. There aren't many for the PS3. Not like the computer games we are used to playing. The few that are out there lose the story line of the single player.
|James B. Cline|
Our club really pushes for us to make media, which is fun for me and we get tons of views. The club gets sponsored by local gaming stores (Jaks, Macnarbs, Gamers N Geeks) so we show up and run competitions and teaching days. We also do product reviews for some online retailers and plug them in our podcasts so they send us promotional stuff. We got some really cool objective markers for Warhammer 40k once. We are set up to run our first convention later this year, its going to be a wargaming one, but should be alot of fun.
As far as the paizo books, I put a blanket "yes" to everything they put out. My players don't try and break the system so I can be pretty lenient, very few of them play nonstandard classes and hardly ever multiclass. I think the feat selection and new spells helps make everyone unique. Paizo tends to do a good job playtesting, though I had some beef with the gunslinger when it came out for a couple of reasons, mostly their weapon costs.
I think this adventure really needs a paladin in the party, you can get by without one. My group doesn't even have a full time cleric so the paladin Mercies to Remove Disease have been immensly helpful. The additional healing and DR breaking smites help too.
We only got our PS3 a few months ago and my list of games is pretty short Fallout 3, New Vegas, Skyrim, and Borderlands 2. My user tag is Dresslock if you want to add me. My fiance also plays, mostly Jack and Daxter, and we try and find coop games, but we mostly end up playing Little Big Planet. The PS4 we got in preparation of Elder Scrolls Online, we are big MMORPG players, but that will be in June. So I'm going to be sticking to Battlefield 4 until then, I'm not huge on the "twitch" shooters, but I like all the vehicle mayhem.
Edit: I used to limit AC's to a hard cap of Level +20, but then everyone saw that as the number to build to. So if someone wants to run ridiculous AC I just let them. In my custom games I just build the encounters around it, in these adventurers I really don't have to.
The groups here are real clicky and as a result the main game store in our area doesn't want to favor one over another. My wife and I get an industry discount there, but we don't run games there anymore. Most of the Warhammer places are or have gone out of business the last year or so. It was real big a few years ago, but not now here. Not something our group plays.
I have a few real power gamers so I have to put some limits on things or they get out of control real fast. James still power games, but at least this keeps him somewhat at sane levels. Marty can out power game him when he wants to.
We have issues keeping a cleric in some of our games also. Kara is the cleric here and Marty in the RA game.
We only have 7 or 8 games: Skyrim, Eldar Scrolls IV, Dungeon Siege III, Call of Juarez Bound in Blood, Call of Duty Black Ops, Red Dead Redemption, Resident Evil, The Last of US and Lord of the Rings War in the North. The last two are our latest. I am VanMorgan and the wife is Rose_Morgan on PSN. I will send a friend request today. Those are our SASS aliases.
I tend to keep the players broke to start out with and make them earn their treasure. By 9-10th level they usually have caught up and passed WBL. In my RA game they are now wondering where to carry all their gold ore!
We played again on Friday night and the wife was out of town so no Katrina. Had six players with a new player playing an NPC fighter, Arien, the paladin, rogue, Archie and the Inquisitor. They checked out the Mass Grave in the Boiling Lands and fought an Advanced Spirit of the Plague. The inquisitor got infected, but was cured by the paladin after the fight. Afterwards they decided to head south to the Dead Fields and got close enough to the city that I added the tar dragon to the encounter checks. Sure enough, he came up on the first check. The rogue, inquisitor and the fighter got stuck fast. Arien on her phantom steed was not slowed by the mud and kept making the SR rolls. She rolled very well on several scorching rays. The inquisitor used Deadly Aim effectively for two rounds until Malarix crit him! Crunch! It was enough though with Archie hitting him also with arrows to bring the dragon down! Dang, Cr 15s are not what they used to be. Only one death, but Achaedus lost all his equipment before they could cut out a finger to bring back to have him resurrected with the scroll they found. Father Death charged them a pretty penny for it!
The party headed back to Bard's Gate to re-equip via teleport. I am restricting it to caster level 9 though as I don't see any casters higher than that in the Bard's Gate book. They will have to go to Zelkor's Ferry for higher level casters, but Arien does not wish to cast on Never Seen! Everyone is now level 10 with that XP though. They are debating about going back after the Brood Mother as she kicked their butts the first time they faced her and then explore the Dead Fields prior to going into the city. All in all a good game!
|James B. Cline|
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Game 20 1/3/14
Podcast 20 Note: We ended last game around 3 am and we had a Warmachine event to run in just a few hours, so we are going to try and get it done Wednesday afternoon. Hopefully we can post it before the Friday Game.
More great reading material, DM AK's Slumbering Tsar Campaign Play by Post
Roster: Suli Sorcerer, Gnome Magus, Tiefling Rogue, Half-elf Paladin, Elven Wizard, Halfling Druid.
Another Day another Campground
The party left off making camp on their third day mapping the Ashen Wastes and were just outside of Tranquility's Face (A6). They were cautious of it, still expecting it to be some kind of trap. They set watches as usual 1st – Sorcerer/Magus, 2nd – Rogue/Paladin, 3rd Wizard/Druid. Strong winds blew all night and second watch heard the sounds of pouring Acid Rain, but their Tiny Hut held sound. Third Watch was met with 5 wraiths which left the paladin down 6 consitution due to some poor rolling, with his already 4 missing from Shriekers in the previous days the party teleported back to the Camp to lick their wounds.
12 is the Craftiest Number
The party spent several days in town re-gearing and making some purchases to fortify their future efforts. They tried to renegotiate the aasimir paladin's discounted spell casting from Father Death. (I didn't see the double cost part and I showed the wizard player what Scribe Scroll does.) The wizard spent some time crafting gear upgrades like Wonderous Items and Rings as well as distributing a pair of Teleport scrolls as backup just in case. Last game the player of the tiefling sent me a backstory so I sent him some rewards, he's built as a demonslayer, but he didn't know he needed cold iron to make effective attacks against Demons. Now he's properly equipped. The party also dug out that Tome of Understanding +2 and gave it to the druid after they debated for some time about selling it. Ultimately the Magus and Sorcerer were the only surviving characters from its acquisition so they made the call.
They decided to hoof it back out to their position since they'd only loose a couple of hours and since the slowest member of the party (the Magus) was now casting Mount to get some extra move, they could explore a fair bit faster. About 7 hours into the day with strong winds they were attacked by 10 ghoul wolves, who managed to get some damage in by sneaking up on the party chain tripping the paladin and sorcerer several times. They pushed a bit further to make up for some lost time, but made camp by 5pm. That night they couldn't catch a break and were assaulted several times the first watch by a pair of Screamers, second by 4 Allips, and lastly by a pair of Assasin Demons who dispelled their Mansion spell dropping them out of their bunk beds and into the dirt. The Demons managed to summon an extra pre-combat and used it as bait to lure out the paladin who rushed headlong into it, while the others moved to flank, dealing 52 damage in a round to him. They survived but learned a lesson about tactics. Overnight the wizard decided to write up a list of questions to ask through his improved familiar, Azata's, Commune. (Below Section) Needless to say the questions and answers left them with even more questions.
Q. What is the crossroads thing? A. Swindler from another realm.
Q. Can the Desolation be restored without Sanctuary? A. Yes
Q. What area should we avoid except Tsar? A. The Camp*
Q. Where can we find relics to defeat Orcus in the Desolation? A. The Crossroads
Q. How do we shut off The Chaos Rift? A. Uncertain
Q. What is causing all the storms in the Desolation? A. 51 Lost Souls.*
*It was late and I was winging it as best I could. As far as the Camp, the Userer can be very dangerous, plus hopefully that clues into the Furious Fourteen and the Rangers. I'm not sure about the storms, but I think I read that they stop if they win. I was also trying to inject some future plot about the 50 and 1.
The Mystery Pit
The party a little weary from the previous night decided to press on. About 9 am with clear skies they found a strange pit in the sand. Caution did not give way to curiosity and both the druid and wizard cast summon spells to survey the pit a celestial eagle and a dire rat. The dire rat fell in when it got to close and they sent the eagle in to investigate, it was caught in webbing, though it could not communicate it. A bit more testing led to the wizard summoning a hound archon who could telepathically communicate. It gave an account of its slip into the pit, all the falling damage, and walking around with all the webbing prematurely the spell expired, but he heard a telepathic scream of pain, then nothing. The party spent some time with this information deciding whether to fireball the pit from altitude, deciding finally on a casting of cloudkill. With no results from that they decided to cast fly on the group, made some knowledge checks and surmised it was some kind of trapdoor spider behind a wall. While flying above the hole they started mass monster summoning into the pit which the brood mother popped out to attack. The flung magic missles, arrows, Lightning Bolts, and many more summons after it realizing that a spider was probably immune to smite. With nearly 28 summons in the pit, mostly giant spiders, and the brood mother at half life I hand-waived a victory. Though their damage once the brood mother had reteated was minimal it was making no progress against the hordes of spider summons from the druid and wizard. After much debate they gave the brood mother a few more “double taps” and investigated her lair. They smashed all the eggs and finally started noting all the dwarven architecture. Game Ends.
Note: They spent most of the session in town, we were having to look up some rules on item creation. I could have sworn there was an XP cost to creating scrolls, though I couldn't find it. The wizard spent a long time trying to persuade the Magus (his wife) for access to her “group fund”. There's a couple of things I'm really trying to push before the next couple of games: the story of King Kroma, what I see as an eventual confrontation with Ygritte and the Reclaimers, and the Hammer of Mordacai's Doom. I know the party is going to investigate the dwarves on the hill (d6) in the Dead Fields soon and I'd prefer to have them get that realization of who King Kroma is rather than just have him just be another big-bad to slay and loot. I'm probably going to push the idealogical confrontation between the Reclaimers and the PC's because they make such a good enemy though I don't see them as evil, its one of those things in game that might bring up some moral debate or roleplaying. Lastly, the Hammer, the Commune spell led them that they could find a relic outside of Tsar by speaking with the “Great Swindler” at the Crossroads. As a DM, its a gamble, the item is incredibly powerful and a great plot item, while it can also be danger in that one fight. I think its value to the forces of good outweigh its curse, but will the players be willing to make a deal with the Dweller? I'm not sure the gods would tell them to, but I made a call. They were very specific with all of their questions “in the Desolation, outside of Tsar.” They won't even talk about Malerix to the new characters, they don't want them to get all dragon hungry.
Ryan +250 Helped with Game Notes
Liz 141,395/155,000 Level 10
Jody 122,525/155,000 Level 10
LEVEL 10! Anthony Ryan 108,900/105,000 Level 10
George 106,470/155,000 Level 10
Brittney 93,745/105,000 Level 9
James 90,980/105,000 Level 9
Michael 90,140/105,000 Level 9
Hinkel 89,380/105,000 Level 9
Daisy 89,010/105,000 Level 9
Travis 75,000/105,000 Level 9
@Brvheart - Wow, sounds like your pc's had some serious luck going for them! I may force an eventual encounter with Malerix, but he's serving a great purpose to keep them exploring the Desolation and leveling. If it gets to the point where they have seen all that it has to offer, I'll probably push the Malerix fight up. Realistically they could probably handle it once they hit 11, with preparation. My players tackled the Brood Mother with lots of planning. They surprised me when they didn't repel down there to get one shotted, which I told them post session is what would have happened probably. They were really disappointed in the loot, but luckily they stopped there so I can make some really great King Kroma lead ins. I'll work on something and post it or I'm open to suggestions.
I had four good players, one new player and one player that is well.... errr.... ummm..... he can sometime play a ranger.... after 17 years of experience. Marty has streaks of both good and bad luck. On Saturday, they were in RA and fought a Clay golem and they wasted most of their healing resources trying to heal most of the damage from it trying to make caster level checks. Problem is they are on level 9B so resting is not a good option. I am considering giving the two dwarves some King Kroma leads while they are in Bard's Gate. Maybe have a cleric of Dwerfater visit them? I don't want to give too much info though.
Note: They spent most of the session in town, we were having to look up some rules on item creation. I could have sworn there was an XP cost to creating scrolls, though I couldn't find it.
You spent XP to scribe scrolls (and craft magic items in general) in the 3.x rules, but that got changed in PF.
|Chuck Wright Layout and Design, Frog God Games|
Great stuff - you seem to be getting better and better at this.
@ Brvheart - I agree with you about the magic item creation rules. The loss of XP helped keep things more rare.
My group found a dead dragon in the dead lands and are now wrestling with the troubling question of whether it was 'The Dragon' or just a dragon.
Now they're with the dwarves and have just had the lookout raise the cry regarding approaching undead. (7 Ghouls from the wandering monster table) I've modified Kroma to be more Orcus inflicted and I've modified his spells to have two spiritual allies what will look somewhat like Orcus - Just trying to increase their sense of Tsar's closeness and influence.
Anyone care to share some ideas for foreshadowing?
|James B. Cline|
@brvheart - Luckily my group stopped at A8 and didn't get the chance to explore. I'm going to include some stone tablets carved into the bunker.
In Dwarven, "Here you find some worn inscriptions of the six legions of allied clans forged together under the banner of his majesty King Kroma. It is an accounting of the first months of the war, detailing the battles of nearly 14,000 dwarves. A powerful cleric of Dwerfater, King Kroma's victories are legendary. Though any historian could relate that he himself was another casualty of the war. It is known the legions continued their crusade and fought alongside the Army of Light until its disappearance following the great flight from the city." I say stone tablets or something inscribed in shields, give it that Indiana Jones feel, forget which one they did that in. I'd steer away from an npc personally. My players have played several dwarves, but sadly none have been interested in the allied clans history, see page 34 and 144.
davrion - Thanks that was bothering me, I try to use the rules as raw as I can. I don't mind crafting scrolls for just cash, it depletes party resources. Regular crafting still costs xp right?
@Chuck Wright - hey no problem, thanks for putting out great products! Hopefully I'll get a chance to do some more soon, I should be able to make better quality next time, the club is going to let me use the good equipment. I'm interested in doing a Savage Tide, but Stoneheart Valley will probably help my ST adventure for more background. Is there a PF compatible version?
@geo fix - Use that "shield story" above, I think it will help add some fun background. Say some of the corpses they found were dwarves of the 3rd legion, by the markings on the shield, apparently they marked their victories by inscribing stories in their shields. I'd probably have the dwarves hesitate to show the party, require some diplomacy because they might be sensative to other people rooting around with dwarven artifacts.
Ok so I just noticed while doing podcast 20 that I labeled 18 as 19 and we forgot to upload 19, which we are converting right now. I'll list them out in order in my next post for ease of use. We are having a short game tommorrow because of scheduling, but we are making time for it. Enjoy!