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Buttmonkey's Home Game 
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Dracyian wrote:
Buttmonkey wrote:
Greyblade wrote:
I love your idea of your confused Beholder so much, I think I might steal it for my next session :)

Go for it! At least half of what I'm doing in my game is stolen from other sources. Probably more like 80-90%. How it is all woven together is my bit of "creativity." Bennie the Beholder was all mine, though. :-) He's going to show up periodically to interact with the party. He may even start following them against their wishes.


He can be their "unofficial" adventuring Mascot with threats of alignment change and other not nice stuff for damage done to the rather (for the moment at least) harmless beholder

One of my first house rules (after banning knights and paladins) was to throw out alignment. I tell my players to have a character concept in mind in terms of personality and moral philosophy, but that's pretty much it other than disallowing evil. Well, I say they can be merciless rat bastards if they want to, but I don't want to role play seriously sick stuff like rape. I also tell the players to create PCs that can function well in a party environment. No chaotic sociopaths.

The net result is the players can generally do whatever they want (I suspect players who want to rape NPCs are a pretty rare breed, thank God). If they want to try to kill Bennie the Beholder, the only penalty is likely to be a dead PC. I don't want to deal with alignment debates. I don't see alignment as really adding much positive to the game other than weapons that are restricted by alignment. I'll wing it if those sorts of items come up.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:27 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
Dracyian wrote:
Buttmonkey wrote:
Greyblade wrote:
I love your idea of your confused Beholder so much, I think I might steal it for my next session :)

Go for it! At least half of what I'm doing in my game is stolen from other sources. Probably more like 80-90%. How it is all woven together is my bit of "creativity." Bennie the Beholder was all mine, though. :-) He's going to show up periodically to interact with the party. He may even start following them against their wishes.


He can be their "unofficial" adventuring Mascot with threats of alignment change and other not nice stuff for damage done to the rather (for the moment at least) harmless beholder

One of my first house rules (after banning knights and paladins) was to throw out alignment. I tell my players to have a character concept in mind in terms of personality and moral philosophy, but that's pretty much it other than disallowing evil. Well, I say they can be merciless rat bastards if they want to, but I don't want to role play seriously sick stuff like rape. I also tell the players to create PCs that can function well in a party environment. No chaotic sociopaths.

The net result is the players can generally do whatever they want (I suspect players who want to rape NPCs are a pretty rare breed, thank God). If they want to try to kill Bennie the Beholder, the only penalty is likely to be a dead PC. I don't want to deal with alignment debates. I don't see alignment as really adding much positive to the game other than weapons that are restricted by alignment. I'll wing it if those sorts of items come up.


we always used them as guidelines and PCs can shift their alignment by their actions but it causes the character internal debate


Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:51 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Dracyian wrote:
Buttmonkey wrote:
Dracyian wrote:
Buttmonkey wrote:
Greyblade wrote:
I love your idea of your confused Beholder so much, I think I might steal it for my next session :)

Go for it! At least half of what I'm doing in my game is stolen from other sources. Probably more like 80-90%. How it is all woven together is my bit of "creativity." Bennie the Beholder was all mine, though. :-) He's going to show up periodically to interact with the party. He may even start following them against their wishes.


He can be their "unofficial" adventuring Mascot with threats of alignment change and other not nice stuff for damage done to the rather (for the moment at least) harmless beholder

One of my first house rules (after banning knights and paladins) was to throw out alignment. I tell my players to have a character concept in mind in terms of personality and moral philosophy, but that's pretty much it other than disallowing evil. Well, I say they can be merciless rat bastards if they want to, but I don't want to role play seriously sick stuff like rape. I also tell the players to create PCs that can function well in a party environment. No chaotic sociopaths.

The net result is the players can generally do whatever they want (I suspect players who want to rape NPCs are a pretty rare breed, thank God). If they want to try to kill Bennie the Beholder, the only penalty is likely to be a dead PC. I don't want to deal with alignment debates. I don't see alignment as really adding much positive to the game other than weapons that are restricted by alignment. I'll wing it if those sorts of items come up.


we always used them as guidelines and PCs can shift their alignment by their actions but it causes the character internal debate

I just don't see the value in tracking the changes and determining the changes and agonizing over whether a PC's overall conduct fits this or that alignment better. Blech!

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:59 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
Dracyian wrote:
Buttmonkey wrote:
Dracyian wrote:
Buttmonkey wrote:
Greyblade wrote:
I love your idea of your confused Beholder so much, I think I might steal it for my next session :)

Go for it! At least half of what I'm doing in my game is stolen from other sources. Probably more like 80-90%. How it is all woven together is my bit of "creativity." Bennie the Beholder was all mine, though. :-) He's going to show up periodically to interact with the party. He may even start following them against their wishes.


He can be their "unofficial" adventuring Mascot with threats of alignment change and other not nice stuff for damage done to the rather (for the moment at least) harmless beholder

One of my first house rules (after banning knights and paladins) was to throw out alignment. I tell my players to have a character concept in mind in terms of personality and moral philosophy, but that's pretty much it other than disallowing evil. Well, I say they can be merciless rat bastards if they want to, but I don't want to role play seriously sick stuff like rape. I also tell the players to create PCs that can function well in a party environment. No chaotic sociopaths.

The net result is the players can generally do whatever they want (I suspect players who want to rape NPCs are a pretty rare breed, thank God). If they want to try to kill Bennie the Beholder, the only penalty is likely to be a dead PC. I don't want to deal with alignment debates. I don't see alignment as really adding much positive to the game other than weapons that are restricted by alignment. I'll wing it if those sorts of items come up.


we always used them as guidelines and PCs can shift their alignment by their actions but it causes the character internal debate

I just don't see the value in tracking the changes and determining the changes and agonizing over whether a PC's overall conduct fits this or that alignment better. Blech!


Each to their own kind sir.


Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:37 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
A tree trimmer down the block managed to take down a power line and blow up the transformer, so we were without power from about 4:30 to 8:30 on Friday. No power meant no game session. Grr. We should be playing again on July 5th. I've finally got some original material to run once the party finishes A0. Level One of the ruins of Chance Prison has been stocked. Now I need to work up a nearby town and some more levels. Level one features the bandit king and his followers; some of Unklar's orcs left over from when Unklar's forces took over the prison during the Unklar Wars (they were buried alive in the prison during the Wars and the prison long-forgotten); and some undead. And two magic mouths, a magical fountain, and a room full of Cuddly Bears.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:29 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I had some down time this afternoon waiting to see prisoners at the jail, so I did some work on my campaign world and mega-ish-dungeon. I'm planning on featuring water heavily in level 2 and worked on water-related encounters. I put together 2 humanoid races/monsters and one straight monster. Nothing ground-breaking, but they're mine. Without further ado, I give you:

Frogmen
HD: 1d8
AC: 16 (due to speed and flexibility), 18 against melee opponents when fighting from the ceiling
Move: 30 feet, 20 feet on ceilings, 15 feet on walls, swim 30 feet, jump 15 feet vertical/30 feet horizontal
Attacks: 1 spear (1d6) or 2 claws (1d3 each) or 1 bite (1d4)
Special: Walk on walls/ceiling. Infravision. Jump charge.
Size: M
Align: Any
Int: Ave
Saves: P

Frogmen are man-sized humanoids with long flippery frog feet, fully functional hands with short claws, a frog-like head and mouth, and green skin. They disdain clothing and armor. They prefer to fight with spears and sometimes nets, but have natural weapons in a pinch. They can readily walk on ceilings (they can even perform a shuffling power walk getting up to speeds of 20 feet per round with at least one foot touching the ceiling at all times) or crawl along walls. Their armor class increases to 18 when fighting on a ceiling due to their opponents' inexperience fighting with that orientation. They are adept swimmers and can hold their breaths for extraordinary lengths of time. Their strong legs allow them to jump vertically 15 feet with a flip so that they "land" on the ceiling on their feet or horizontally 30 feet. Frogmen can jump onto a 10 feet high ceiling and attack from above in the same round.

Frogmen can engage in a leaping charge against opponents at least 5 feet away. Doing so grants a +2 to hit due to surprise and momentum as well as +1d4 to damage.

Frogmen typically speak common, lizardman, troglodyte, duckman, and kobold.

Duckmen

HD: 2d6
AC: Per armor, base AC of 11 due to feathers
Move: 20 feet, paddle 20 feet in water, swim underwater 20 feet
Attacks: Per weapon, typically short sword (1d6)
Special: Infravision, immunity to cold attacks
Size: S
Align: Any
Int: Ave
Saves: P

Duckmen look very much like Donald Duck with webbed feet, a feathered torso and head, functional hands, and a billed mouth. They are generally 3 to 4 feet tall.

Duckmen worship black obelisks standing in their pond-lairs. While many duckmen leave their homeponds in search of adventure (and can be classed NPCs), all duckmen in their lairs will defend their ponds to the death. Duckmen prefer to lair in fresh water. Duckmen rarely discuss their society with outsiders and never discuss their bizarre obelisk religion.

Duckmen typically speak common, frogman, dwarf, goblin, and lizardman. They are natural enemies of snakes and nagas.

(I've never played or even seen Runequest, but I've read that the game has duck PCs which always tickled me and they are the obvious inspiration for my duckmen.)

Carnivorous Turtles

HD: 2d8
AC: Shell 18, head 14, torso 12
Move: 40 feet, swim 30 feet
Attacks: 1 bite (1d8)
Size: M
Int: Animal
Align: N
Saves: P

Carnivorous turtles are quite large (typically 5-7 feet long) and shockingly fast. Their heads have a good AC despite being unprotected when attacking due to their ability to quickly duck and weave. Their soft torsos are normally unexposed, but carnivorous turtles are quite vulnerable should they be flipped over or somehow attacked from below.

Carnivorous turtles are voracious hunters that only eat fresh meat. They are indiscriminate killers, but do seem to prefer a frogman diet.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:37 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
Duckmen

HD: 2d6
AC: Per armor, base AC of 11 due to feathers
Move: 20 feet, paddle 20 feet in water, swim underwater 20 feet
Attacks: Per weapon, typically short sword (1d6)
Special: Infravision, immunity to cold attacks
Size: S
Align: Any
Int: Ave
Saves: P

Duckmen look very much like Donald Duck with webbed feet, a feathered torso and head, functional hands, and a billed mouth. They are generally 3 to 4 feet tall.

Duckmen worship black obelisks standing in their pond-lairs. While many duckmen leave their homeponds in search of adventure (and can be classed NPCs), all duckmen in their lairs will defend their ponds to the death. Duckmen prefer to lair in fresh water. Duckmen rarely discuss their society with outsiders and never discuss their bizarre obelisk religion.

Duckmen typically speak common, frogman, dwarf, goblin, and lizardman. They are natural enemies of snakes and nagas.

(I've never played or even seen Runequest, but I've read that the game has duck PCs which always tickled me and they are the obvious inspiration for my duckmen.)



Part of me wants to really play a duckman as a character race maybe as a druid specializing with water magic.

Maybe +1 to dex and natural ability to swim, with a penalty to charisma and possibly strength, sorry thinking outloud sort of


Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:41 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Session 4 – July 5, 2013

The Party:

Gung – Level 1 human barbarian played by Don
Gurgus – Level 1 half-elf fighter played by Dave
Shadar Howling-Fist – Level 1 human monk played by Bryan
Boris – Level 1 human cleric NPC

Drew and Josh couldn’t make last night’s session, so the party was missing its wizard and illusionist.

We picked up where we left off last session. The party had retreated to base camp to heal up. Shylock, the illusionist, was unconscious after deciding to enter melee combat with the Stablemaster and his minions. In the morning, Boris healed Shylock up, but Gung and Gurgus discovered they were seriously ill (that’s what happens when you root around in a pile of rotting corpses at the bottom of a giant wolf spider lair). Boris is 4 levels shy of being able to cast cure disease, so the party decided to limp back to town in search of a cure. The normally 2-3 day trip was stretched out dramatically since the two meat shields were reduced to ¼ movement. Halfway back the fighter and barbarian recovered. The party decided to finish its trip to town in order to pick up rations and try to cash in on the loot recovered to date.

The party left the wizard and illusionist in town to sell the loot while the rest headed back to the dungeon. During the return trip, the party ran into some goblin zombies chanting, “Brains… brains…” in goblin. Boris succeeded on his first turn attempt and the party made quick work of the zombies.

The party reached the dungeon and headed down. I planned for tonight to be the big finale. I hadn’t used the dungeon’s ability to create walls to mess with the party yet and intended to trap the party in the dungeon this time. I figured the monsters would try a new tactic to guard the entrance. Instead of posting sentries in the entryway or using a trap, Gritznak posted 4 goblins in hiding outside the dungeon who will follow the party in and attack from behind. I also planned to introduce the party to duckmen. I stuck a rival party of 2 duckmen adventurers into the dungeon for the party to interact with.

The party got into the entrance chamber and saw the blood-covered gold bowl had been replaced once again. Yoink. As the party debated which way to go, they heard sounds coming from the west: a flapping sound like a flipper hitting pavement, tapping, and Donald Duck-style muttering. Light from a torch came incrementally closer down the western corridor. The party hid in ambush and waited for whatever it was to walk into the chamber.

After a few minutes, two duckmen walked into the chamber from the western corridor. I’ve never seen or played Runequest, but I’ve always been tickled by the fact it had anthropomorphic ducks as a PC race. I decided to rip that concept off and introduce a race of duckmen to my campaign world. They are 3-4 feet tall Donald Ducks with fully functional hands, infravision, and worship black obelisks in their pond lairs. These two particular duckmen were basically good-aligned adventurers mapping out the western branch of the first floor of the dungeon.

As the duckmen stepped into the chamber, they saw Gung and Gurgus waiting for them around the corner.

Duckman #1: Quack!
Gung: Attack!

Gung, Gurgus, and Shylock charged and wiped out the duckmen very quickly. Boris hung back. After the fight, he asked Gung why he attacked the duckmen.

Gung: You got a problem with it?
Boris: Um, no?
Gung: That’s what I thought.

Right about then the goblin guards outside the dungeon who followed the party inside fired a volley of arrows into the party’s backs. The party, slightly pin-cushioned by arrows, slaughtered the goblins, then searched the duckmen’s corpses. They found some coinage, gems, 2 potions, 2 obelisk holy symbols (the party has no idea what they are), and a partial map of the dungeon showing the western branch of the first floor in detail.

The party headed east and then north like they did in session 3. This time they explored the kennel room that the Stablemaster came out of last session. The party found the staircase leading down to level 2, but decided to stay on level one for now. They headed north and found the scriptorium where Slisnass the nasty kobold and his hench-kobolds were looking through paperwork. Once again, the slaughter was brutal and efficient. The party started looking through the documents on the floor. I asked them how long they were going to look. They said, “5 or 10 minutes.” I asked which is it. They went with 5. Too bad – all the good stuff is turned up after a 10 minute search. What they saw was mostly letters, but I threw in a map showing the locating of the current dungeon (Baleon Nakt) as well as the location of Chance Prison in the south near the city of Rotter. I’m working up Chance Prison between play sessions as a megadungeon, so this was my helpful nudge to get the party on the track of more adventure.

The party decided to head back south, but discovered there was now a wall locking them into the northeast quadrant of the first floor of the dungeon. Baleon Nakt is a sentient dungeon. It has a number of powers. One of them is it can create a 10 foot section of wall every 6 hours as well as an illusionary 10 foot section of wall every hour. The dungeon had had enough of the party hacking its way through the dungeon’s minions and leaving to heal up. It intended to trap the party inside and interfere with the party’s ability to reload.

The module specifies the walls created by the dungeon are pretty weak. A pick and 10 minutes’ labor can break through. I now got to watch a dynamic I see play out over and over again with the party. The players started discussing how to deal with the wall. A variety of ideas were suggested and one of the first was to try to break through the wall. That idea was immediately shot down by another player and the party started troubleshooting in all sorts of wrong directions. They managed to talk themselves into thinking the wall was created by the party opening and closing doors. The decided to backtrack their route through the dungeon and make sure all of the doors were closed. Silly mortals. When that didn’t work, hopeless frustration started to set it. They eventually came back to the idea of knocking down the wall. They reluctantly grabbed the dead kobolds’ spears and started chipping away.

The banging on the wall attracted bad things from the second level. 8 goblins from the mess came up the stairs and charged the party. As per usual, the party waded through them while sustaining minimal damage. Then the second wave of 8 goblins plus the gnoll war chief from the mess came upstairs and charged. Boris dropped most of them with a sound burst spell and the melee guys finished off the rest.

At this point, the party was in fairly bad shape and needed to heal up and regain spells pretty desperately. They were afraid to keep hacking through the wall for fear of attracting more monsters, so they decided to hole up in the scriptorium for the night.

The night passed uneventfully for the party. Boris regained his CLWs and immediately dumped them into the party. Gurgus was still in fairly bad shape and decided to drink one of the potions from the duckmen in hopes it was a healing potion. It was actually a duckman potion of water breathing. The potion was only safe for duckmen. Gurgus made a constitution save, so he just felt sick, but was not poisoned. He had no idea he could breathe underwater since he wasn’t submerged. Gurgus decided not to roll the dice on the second potion, although he did test it to see if it tasted like the first potion (it did). With no more healing forthcoming, the party decided to make a break for it. When they opened the eastern door of the scriptorium, they discovered another wall blocking their way five feet past the doorway. (The dungeon was busy overnight.) They tried the west door and found another wall 5 feet to the west, as well. I had decided the dungeon was going to set the weakened party up for a final confrontation with Gritznak and the rest of his minions. The dungeon placed several walls to the east of the scriptorium and an illusionary wall to the west. Gritznak would attack the party from the rear when he could hear the party smashing through the wall to the east. If the party headed west, they would be surprised to see Gritznak’s forces waiting for them on the other side of the wall.

The party checked out both walls and discovered the wall to the west was not solid. Gung and Gurgus led the party through the west wall and were immediately attacked by Gritznak’s goblins. The ensuing fight was far and away the most excitement we’ve had so far. The PCs were not at full HPs at the start and the bottleneck in the hallway restricted the fight to two per side as the party hacked its way through the goblins. Gurgus went down and Shadar filled his place. With half of the goblins dead, Shadar engaged Gritznak and was knocked down to -9 hit points. Boris stepped up to fill the gap. Boris was immediately hit by Gritznak and knocked down to 1 hit point. With Gritznak and 3 goblins left, Boris had 1 hit point and Gung was down to about 4 or 5. The fight was extremely tense and I thought we had a TPK for sure, but Gritznak and two of the goblins dropped. The last one tried to flee, but Gung cut him down from behind.

Gung and Boris looted the bodies, then holed up in the scriptorium again. They spent a couple days recharging CLWs and healing before trying to leave again. Fortunately for the party, the dungeon had given up. The final assault by Gritznak wiped out all of the dungeon’s forces except a giant snake on the second level, some skeletons, and a ghoul that is confined to a single room on the second level. The party smashed through the rest of the pesky wall and left the dungeon.

Hopefully, everyone will be in attendance next session. The party will have to decide whether to head back down to mop up the rest of the dungeon or seek adventure elsewhere. I need to develop Chance Prison some more (I have one level put together so far) and detail the region. It would be good to have some other small adventure locations ready to throw at the party regardless of which direction they decide to travel. The party also has a bunch of treasure to value and magical items to try to identify. The loot hasn’t been divided up yet.

One thing I’ve struggled with is encounter difficulty. The party is capable of unleashing a freakish amount of offensive power. Bastard swords do ridiculous amounts of damage at 1st level (1d10 if wielded 1-handed, 1d12 if wielded 2-handed). When you throw in strength bonuses and weapon specialization, 1 HD monsters are pretty much doomed unless they win initiative and roll well to attack. The party won initiative something like 90-95% of the time this session and steamrolled most encounters. Their success suggests throwing more monsters at them is the solution, but the poor bastards are also remarkably vulnerable. A few bad rolls and it’s TPK time. It’s going to be tricky keeping the party both challenged and alive until they hit second level and get some more hit points.

I feel bad for the guys who didn’t make this session. The party finally got the treasure pay-off for hacking through the mooks in the first 3 sessions. The XP award for this session will probably dwarf the earlier sessions. That’s mitigated a bit by the fact everyone gets 100 XP per session just for playing (I swiped that rule from Frank).

Kills: 4 goblin zombies, 2 innocent duckmen, 28 goblins, 1 goblin cook, 4 kobolds, 1 gnoll war chieftan, and Gritznak (a 3 HD goblin).

Gains: another blood-covered gold bowl, 81 gp (from the duckmen), 1 potion of duckman water breathing, 4 gems (from the duckmen), 2 sets of duckman chainmail, a duckman shield, 2 duckman helmets, partial map of the dungeon, 2 obelisk holy symbols, 15 sp, gem-studded necklace worth 50 gp (from Slissnas), a map showing the location of Chance Prison, 3 gold earrings worth 20 gp each (from the gnoll war chieftan), a silver nose ring worth 15 gp (from the gnoll war chieftan), a gem-studded belt worth 50 gp (from the gnoll war chieftan), a glowing +1 broadsword (from Gritznak), a +1 ring of protection (from Gritznak), 100 pp (from Gritznak), and a gold necklace worth 100 gp (from Gritznak).

Losses: One potion of duckman water breathing.

Next session in 2 weeks.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:00 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
Session 4 – July 5, 2013
Gains: another blood-covered gold bowl, 81 gp (from the duckmen), 1 potion of duckman water breathing, 4 gems (from the duckmen), 2 sets of duckman chainmail, a duckman shield, 2 duckman helmets, partial map of the dungeon, 2 obelisk holy symbols, 15 sp, gem-studded necklace worth 50 gp (from Slissnas), a map showing the location of Chance Prison, 3 gold earrings worth 20 gp each (from the gnoll war chieftan), a silver nose ring worth 15 gp (from the gnoll war chieftan), a gem-studded belt worth 50 gp (from the gnoll war chieftan), a glowing +1 broadsword (from Gritznak), a +1 ring of protection (from Gritznak), 100 pp (from Gritznak), and a gold necklace worth 100 gp (from Gritznak).

Losses: One potion of duckman water breathing.

Next session in 2 weeks.


Thats a pretty good treasure hoard claimed by the players if they ever get it sorted and identified it will be nice to get themselves gearing up for the next adventure.

Are you going to make the Duckmen a regular thing?


Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:42 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Dracyian wrote:
Are you going to make the Duckmen a regular thing?

Yes. There is going to be at least one duckman pond-lair in Chance Prison, so they will feature prominently if the party decides to follow that lead. They will also be an uncommon NPC race, so they will be around. They are a rarity in the area where the party is currently adventuring. This is going to present problems for the party. If the party tries to sell the duckmen's equipment in the nearby town, questions are going to be asked. The duckmen stopped there on their way to the dungeon, so the source of that loot is going to be pretty obvious. Depending on how the players handle it, this may give them a reason to get the hell out of Dodge and head south towards the city of Rotter and Chance Prison.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:39 pm
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Unkbartig
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
So is your campaign turning into a set of dungeon crawls? or were you planning on making it more like a sandbox campaign with a mega dungeon to enjoy throughout the campaign?


Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:40 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
That depends on the players. Ideally, we'll be in a sandbox with a megadungeon to mess with periodically. If the players want me to lead them by the nose from adventure to adventure, Chance Prison may feature more prominently.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:13 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Session 5 – July 26, 2013

The Party:

Gung – Level1 human barbarian played by Don
Gurgus – Level 1 half-elf fighter played by Dave
Baldwin – Level 1 gnome fighter played by Daniel
Boris – Level 1 human cleric NPC

We were short on players this session, so Dave’s son joined us and rolled up a gnome fighter with weapon specialization in light crossbow.

The night started out with the players trying to figure out what Gritznak’s ring does. It’s a ring of protection +1, so their efforts were in vain, but funny. They tried flying, telekinesis, turning invisible, levitating, running through a tree, duplicating a sword, and summoning a herd of trees. They eventually gave up and Baldwin decided to wear the ring in the hope something would come up revealing the ring’s power. Gung confiscated Gritznak’s +1 broadsword.

The party decided to head back into the dungeon to mop up. They killed pretty much everything last session. The only things left were a snake, the materializing ghoul, and the skeletons. The party headed to the southeast corner of the first level and then headed west since they had not explored this area before. The floor collapsed under them, dropping the party to the second level. They explored and mapped for a little bit, then I realized there was no point in torturing them by having them slowly explore a bunch of empty rooms. I grabbed the party’s map and filled in everything except the evil section of the second level.

The party headed through the arch into the antechamber. Baldwin decided to copy down all of the ancient script written all over the walls while the rest of the party left him behind. If the dungeon’s occupants hadn’t been gutted last session, this would probably have proved fatal to someone. Baldwin ended up catching a break. He eventually got bored and rejoined the party before anything bad happened.

The party looked into the ghoul room, sensed nothing good would come of entering it, and moved on. So much for my fun. The ghoul is a cool encounter. 

The party made their secret door checks and found the sacrificial chamber. They launched arrows into the evil eye until it croaked. The eye tried fighting back with its spiritual hammer, but only hit once before it was all over.

The party then found the sarcophagus room. The players were pleasantly freaked out. It’s nice to see the risk of even minor undead can be unsettling to experienced players. The party ordered Boris to peek into the first sarcophagus. “Oh, hells no,” was his response. Boris pointed out he would be more effective hanging out at the entrance of the chamber with a wider view for turning undead. It fell to Gung to risk a face-hugger attack. He peeked into the first sarcophagus and saw a skeleton lying in the sarcophagus holding an ornamental mace decorated with gold and silver. The skeleton didn’t move, so Gung checked out the next 2 sarcophagi. They also contained skeletons with maces. Baldwin checked out the next sarcophagus and found the boss skeleton lying in his sarcophagus, slowly regrowing its flesh. Unlike the other skeletons, the uber-skeleton rose up nosferatu style and attacked. All of the other skeletons raised up and attacked the party from all sides.

Boris managed to turn 3 of the regular skeletons, but failed his turn attempt on the boss. Hack and slash ensued. The party wiped out the skeletons without much difficulty, then headed out having successfully defeated their first dungeon.

On the way back to base camp, they ran into my attempt to inject some gonzo into the game. A 5 foot tall pillar of fire erupted in the trail ahead of them. A voice intoned, “Who would be judged?” I figured at most one player might bite, but all three did. The voice continued, “Then step into the flame.” All three stepped into the fire while Boris stayed behind.

The pillar of fire had mutating effects, although the players don’t know that yet. I had the players roll to see if they got 1 or 2 mutations. All of them rolled high and will receive 2 mutations. I gave them a 50/50 chance of the mutations being beneficial or harmful. The players rolled horribly and 4 out of the 6 mutations were detrimental. I then had them roll for mutations and made note of what they got. I used the class 1 mutations list from Mutant Future’s Mutants and Mazes section. Here’s how it broke down:

Baldwin: simian deformity and pituitary deformation
Gurgus: dwarfism (a dubious beneficial mutation at best) and pituitary deformation
Gung: night vision and bizarre appearance

I told the players I would reveal the results of the flame’s judgment next session. I expect the party to head south to the city of Rotter and explore Chance Prison.

Kills: 1 snake, 1 evil red eye, and 6 skeletons
Gains: 180 gp, 250 sp, and 6 ornamental maces, copies of ancient script, and 2 beneficial mutations
Losses: 4 detrimental mutations

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Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:30 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I'm sorry I haven't been diligent in keeping this journal updated over the last couple months. We have had 3 more play sessions with another scheduled for next weekend. Yesterday we had my first TPK as a GM. Two of the players didn't make it, so their PCs weren't effected. The corpse wyrms in Kingle's (or whatever the ogre's name is's) cave from A1 made larva feed out of the party's meat shields and the NPC cleric. The players took it well. I'm not sure they realize how badly they screwed up. The entire party was paralyzed and cocooned by the wyrms. When the meat shields recovered and broke out of the cocoons, they discovered the cleric was missing. Instead of running, they went back into the wyrm lair to rescue the cleric who had been dragged off to feed the larva in the gelatinous hive. Oops. So, we're going to have 3 new PCs next week. More details to follow.

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Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:29 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
It's been an incredibly frustrating few months here as I've failed repeatedly to schedule another session of my game. Fortunately, it looks like all of the theoretical regulars are available this Saturday for the first session since October. I was just about to throw in the towel and try starting a PBP game instead. <shudder>

In my down time, I’ve been working on some special spell scrolls inspired by Glen Cook’s Garrett, P.I. series. In many of the early books in the series, the hero would get slips of paper that operated like spell scrolls from witches. He would then be able to activate the scrolls by reading a word written on the paper or stating a command word. I like the idea, especially since the players in my C&C game generally play meat shields rather than spell casters. I’d like to give them access to the occasional wizard effect without inserting an arcane spell caster NPC into the group. I also like the idea of non-wizards being able to utilize these special scrolls. These scrolls cannot be transcribed into a spell book since there is nothing to transcribe but the trigger word on the scroll.

I plan to introduce the scrolls through a witch the PCs can meet in the wilderness around the current dungeon. She was kicked out of the nearby city’s wizard college for too much independent thinking (the instructors did not much like the idea of mini-scrolls usable by anyone). She has spent many a long year perfecting her alternate scroll magic and would like the PCs to field test some of her creations. Assuming things go well, she may be willing to sell some of her wares to the party down the road.

In the Garrett novels, the hero frequently is not given precise instructions about what the scrolls will do. For example, the witch might tell the hero to run like hell as soon as the scroll is activated, but not give further details. I figure my witch will be typically vague as to the scroll’s effects. It’s up to the players to decide whether to use the scrolls.

I’ve been working up some magical effects for the mini-scrolls. The power level can easily scale with the PCs’ levels. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far for my 1st level party:

1. Blindness – All creatures within a 30 foot radius of the reader are blinded for 2d4 rounds. The reader will be blinded, too, unless she closes her eyes as she finishes reading the scroll’s trigger word.

2. Explosion Level 1 – An explosion detonates centered on a target position selected by the reader within 30 feet distance. The explosion has a radius of 10 feet. All creatures within the blast radius suffer 1d6 points of damage. Combustible materials in the blast radius will likely ignite.

3. Itching Bugs – All creatures except the reader within a 30 foot radius are incapacitated for 2d4 rounds as they are suddenly covered by a swarm of itchy insects. The insects scamper away at the end of the scroll’s duration.

4. Laughing – All creatures except the reader within a 30 foot radius are incapacitated for 2d4 rounds by fits of laughter.

5. Barfing the Day Away – All creatures (including the reader) within a 20 foot radius are incapacitated for 1d4+1 rounds by uncontrollable vomiting. Creatures may move slowly while under the effects of the scroll, but fighting, spell casting, or significant communication are impossible.

6. Help Is On the Way – Creates a sound effect of a large group of men in armor running up behind the reader shouting encouraging things in Common like “We’re on our way!”, “We’re almost there!”, and “Kill the monsters!” The volume increases as the shouts get closer, although actual help never arrives. The sounds last for 3 rounds.

I'm also planning on introducing a new cleric NPC since Boris became larva food in last session's TPK. This guy will be a cleric of the Blood God. Rotter City (the PCs' current base of operations) is host to many deities and religions, but few of them supply NPCs for adventuring. The Blood God's need for blood for ritual purposes results in clerics willing to go adventuring with parties in exchange for a relatively nominal amount of treasure and the promise the PCs will help the cleric haul out blood collected from the monsters in the dungeon. The Blood God isn't evil, it just needs a lot of monster blood to engage in its Blood God activities.

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Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:05 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
This update covers several sessions. After cleaning out their first dungeon, the party had a map showing another Unklar-related dungeon near the city of Rotter captioned “Chance Prison.” The party decided to head south to Rotter with plans to explore the new dungeon. Along the way, they learned that the duckmen they slaughtered in the dungeon were good-aligned adventurers. Whoops. The party signed on as guards for merchant ships sailing along the coast to Rotter. The fleet was raided by kobolds, but the trip was otherwise uneventful.

Upon reaching Rotter, the party consulted a sage who gave some background information on Chance Prison. Hundreds of years ago, the king of this region succumbed to a desire to reform criminals (as opposed to the usual brutal justice scheme). He created a prison designed to reform all classes of criminals and to contain magical villains and creatures that could not be killed. Conventional wisdom said the prison gradually became a hellhole due to the cruelty of the inmates and the more aggressive members of the guard staff. The prison was overrun during the Unklar Wars and taken over by vicious humanoids. No further word was ever heard from the prison. The violent sorceries employed at the end of War destroyed the prison and the land for miles around. Mountains now thrust up from the plain where the prison once stood. The sage speculated the prison may not have been destroyed in the Unklar War and humanoid might still be operating out of the prison, now hidden somewhere in the mountains.

The party, still accompanied by Boris the cleric, headed north from the city into the wilderness with their rough map to guide them. The path through the mountains had several forks. The party went left at one of them and discovered a lookout post halfway up a mountain. They tried to clear it out, killing a very nasty ogre along the way. On their way out, they ran into some crypt wyrms (very similar to carrion crawlers). Rather than fleeing, the party pressed on. It was a close fight, but in the end all of the party members were paralyzed. They started to come out of the paralysis several minutes later. By that point, the corpse wyrms had dragged them into their lair and wrapped them in cocoons. Several strength checks later, all of the PCs were free and fought their way out of the lair. Unfortunately, Boris was left behind, embedded in the gigantic larval sack that took up half of the lair. The party was starting to flee the outpost when they heard Boris start screaming as he was slowly devoured by whatever was growing inside the larval sack. The party made the foolish decision to go back to save their trapped cleric. The battle was exciting, but all too predictable. The session ended with a TPK.

That was in October. We were able to reconvene for the first time this afternoon. The dead PCs were replaced. They joined up with the PCs were who were not present for the October session and avoided the TPK. The new party decided to make another run at Chance Prison. They picked up a couple new NPCs: a dwarf monk and human cleric who worshipped the Blood God. The cleric was willing to go along for a ¼ share and the party’s promise that each member would haul out a bladder of blood from the dungeon for the Blood God’s temple. The Blood God’s clerics frequently go adventuring in order to acquire monster blood for the Blood God’s rituals.

The party headed back to the mountains. This time, they followed a side trail leading to a hut in a clearing. Much to my surprise, the party knocked on the door rather than kicking in the door and killing whatever was on the other side. An ugly crone answered the door and invited the party inside. The PCs asked if she knew anything about Chance Prison. She told them it was right down the main path and they were almost there. She also pulled aside the party’s rogue. She told him she was a witch who was expelled from the wizards’ college in Rotter for pursuing forbidden magics. Since she left Rotter many, many years ago, she has developed new branches of magic. She asked the rogue to perform some field testing on some of her tricks. She has developed scrolls that can be used by anyone, not just wizards. The “scrolls” are slips of paper with a word written inside. The user opens the slip of paper and reads the word in order to activate the scroll. The witch gave the rogue three slips of paper. She was quite vague on what the scrolls would do. Two would have diversionary effects. The last one was special. The rogue would need to concentrate on a target when he read the word. The target would get whacked and the rogue would not want to be nearby when the target was affected. The rogue intended to ask for more details, but found himself outside the hut instead.

The party headed down the main path again and finally found themselves at the entrance to Chance Prison. They headed down the tunnel leading into the mountain and came to a large entrance chamber with pillars and a well in one corner. There were three doors, one of which was barred shut and had “DO NOT OPEN!” written in orcish on it. The party decided to try the southwest door. As the barbarian started to turn the doorknob, a voice from behind the party said, “You don’t want to do that.” They PCs swung around and discovered a magic mouth on the nearest pillar. Then another mouth appeared on the next pillar and said, “You should totally go in there. It’s awesome.” The two mouths took turns arguing for and against going into the room. The mouths then made a 5 gold piece wager on whether the party would go through the door. When the party turned the doorknob, one of the mouths spit 5 gold pieces across the chamber into the other mouth’s mouth.

The door led to what appeared to be a waiting room for the prison. It was filled with broken furniture and toys. It also had 8 teddy bears that jumped up and ran toward the party with arms stretched out for hugs. The barbarian waded in and started slaughtering the teddy bears, stuffing flying everywhere. The teddy bears ran around screaming as they were picked off one by one. The rogue snagged one of them and tried to question it. It didn’t know much other than it loved the rogue and the room had been dark for an awfully long time. Then the bear bit the rogue for no apparent reason. The rogue yanked its head off and the party moved on.

They ventured deeper into the prison and reached a chamber with 6 zombies which they destroyed fairly easily, although the barbarian required some healing. From there, the party reached an ossuary filled with bones. While exploring the ossuary, a wind blew through the chamber and 12 skeletons animated from the bones and surrounded the party. The cleric failed his turn attempt and the battle was on. Over half of the party was unconscious when the last skeleton was defeated. The rogue tried two of the mini-scrolls to little effect. One caused a fiery explosion that barely damaged anything and the other caused an audible illusion of armored warriors yelling that they were coming to the rescue (the skeletons did not care). The functioning PCs dragged their comatose companions back to the teddy bear room and barricaded themselves in. After several days, they were out of food, but all of the party members were mobile except for the cleric. William the Bloody clearly would need magical assistance in order to survive.

The party made a break for it and left the prison without further incident (the mouths paid off another bet, apparently over whether the party would survive their foray into the prison). They staggered back to the witch’s hut in hopes of getting aid. The witch provided some food and allowed use of her well, but would not let the party rest on her property or provide magical healing. The witch attributed the ineffectiveness of the tested mini-scrolls to operator error, but gave the rogue two more to try out when the party returned to the dungeon.

The party made it back to Rotter and got William to the Blood God’s temple. The priests there restored William to good health and the party was ready to make another run at the prison within a few days. This time, they hired two stableboys to serve as torch and blood sack bearers.

This time, the party decided to try to the barred door with the warning in orcish. The session ended with the players debating how best to tackle whatever was beyond the door. The rogue could hear growling and scratching sounds through the door, but was unable to pick the door’s lock. Two of the players had to leave at this point, so we called it a night.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:45 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
I thoroughly enjoyed the stuffed Teddy Bears


Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:19 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
The players seemed confused by them. I was surprised by the barbarian's immediate bloodthirsty reaction to them. One of the benefits of not using alignment is the players can feel free to do whatever they think makes sense for their PC. Still, it was a little savage. I don't think they were an ultimately effective encounter. The "cuddly bears" as written up by me were a little unfocused and I think that came through in the encounter. I also created a nastier strain with bloody red eyes that are more aggressive. I'm thinking they will be replaced by bringing back the bears the PCs encountered last session. This time they'll be sewn back together Frankenstein style. And they'll be pissed.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:10 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Buttmonkey wrote:
The players seemed confused by them. I was surprised by the barbarian's immediate bloodthirsty reaction to them. One of the benefits of not using alignment is the players can feel free to do whatever they think makes sense for their PC. Still, it was a little savage. I don't think they were an ultimately effective encounter. The "cuddly bears" as written up by me were a little unfocused and I think that came through in the encounter. I also created a nastier strain with bloody red eyes that are more aggressive. I'm thinking they will be replaced by bringing back the bears the PCs encountered last session. This time they'll be sewn back together Frankenstein style. And they'll be pissed.


This has the makings for an excellent B horror flick

Revenge of Theodore
Revenge is best sewn cold


Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:44 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Ha! Nice pun.

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Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:00 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Have you considered two PCs per player? Work into the game why all PCs are together and most times "for some reason" each player plays just one PC. BUT on the rare case that not enough players show, some or all of those who do show, play two PCs. We have used this method for years. Very good in that it lets a player really "try something new" in their second PC which helps with full team rounding when say only two players are there. PLUS as adventures change one PC might be much more suited than the other. This lets the not played PC stay home to "mind the farm, train, etc." without wasting game time doing those things... Finally, if you whack a PC early one night you just need to work the second PC in without the delay of making a new PC or telling the dead PC to "chill" all night.

Just a thought, "fun for a few is better than none for all", and the chance to gain exp for a few may give more pressure to those not showing for "silly reasons".... ;} Capt'n

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Wow, Another Natural One! You guys are a sink hole for luck. Stay away from my dice.


Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:59 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Most (all?) of my players aren't good enough to run two PCs at once. I've been keeping the party reasonably rounded out by NPCs and adjusting encounter strength as I go.

Next session is this afternoon. I've got 3 players coming, all playing meat shields. They've got a monk and a cleric helping them out from NPC Land. I'm still hoping they will come to their senses and not open the door to the ghoul room. As further discouragement, I'm going to have the cleric warn the party that he senses nasty evil through the door and that he thinks opening it is a bad idea. That's two warnings not to do it (the magic mouths both warned the PCs not to go through the door last session). It's on them if they decide to reap the whirlwind at this point.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:22 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
So here is where you decide if they all become Ghouls could they retain their personalities AND continue adventuring... how evil they would be would be up to you... don't think of it as "death by ghoul" but multi-classing...

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Wow, Another Natural One! You guys are a sink hole for luck. Stay away from my dice.


Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:55 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Another game session down the drain. Only one player showed up. The other two who were supposed to be there, a father/son combo, are my most available players, but this is the 2nd time they've no-called, no-showed. The dad texted me last night to apologize (he forgot about the game session). Very, very frustrating. I need to recruit new players. Too many scheduling conflicts with my existing players. It's reached the point where I don't even want to try to schedule game sessions anymore. Fortunately, Gary Con is coming up and my batteries should get a much-needed recharge there. I'd play online, but my most reliable player is my dad and playing online with him is not feasible. I need to get more reliable players. :cry:

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Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:23 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Game Session March 1, 2014

The Party:

Gungs – Level 1 human barbarian
Gurgus II – Level 1 half-elf fighter
Baldwin II – Level 1 elf fighter

NPCs:

William the Bloody – Level 2 human cleric of the Blood God
Jorn Orcbane – Level 2 dwarven monk

We wrapped the last session outside a door inside the main entrance to Chance Prison. The door was locked and boarded up with “DO NOT OPEN” painted over it. Two of the players from last session could not make it for this session, so the party was a little underpowered (or so I thought). The door led to a 20 foot hallway containing 2 ghouls. I was worried about a possible TPK if the party opened the door, so I did everything I could to encourage them not to mess with it. The magic mouths on the pillars in the main entrance warned the players. William the Bloody warned them that he sensed something very bad through the door.

I seriously misjudged my players’ willingness to accept risk. They didn’t blink at the warnings. They ripped the boards off the doorway and kicked the door in. Just as I misjudged my players’ recklessness, I also misjudged the strength of the encounter. The party tore through the ghouls in 2 rounds. The first ghoul tagged the barbarian with one of three attacks and the other ghoul never hit anything. The barbarian wiped out the first ghoul in one swing (+3 damage bonus from an 18 strength and a bastard sword doing 1d10 damage one-handed equals regular carnage). The half-elf fighter similarly punked ghoul #2 in the second round.

The ghoul encounter proved to be a joke. On me. I’m still learning how to balance encounters at first level in C&C. 1 HD monsters tend to be mooks that go down in one swing when the players roll modestly well. When the dice are performing in mediocre fashion, they quickly get in serious trouble. I have yet to riddle out the formula for a medium-difficulty encounter.

After wiping out the ghouls, the party decided to try the door on the east side of the entryway. They opened it and found a corridor leading into the darkness. There was a lit torch inside the door, so the party was well-lit for anything hiding in the dark down the corridor. A voice yelled out, “Who do you serve?” After considering a couple Excalibur-based jokes, the barbarian yelled, “We serve goodness!” The voice in the darkness answered with several volleys of arrows.

The party backed into the entrance and slammed the door shut. The players debated the best course of action and then drifted into some non-game-related stuff. After 10 minutes or so, I decided to get the game back in track. The door to the corridor flew open revealing a bunch of orcs. That breathed fire at the party. The orcs had flasks that they drank from enabling them to breathe fire. I thought that would be a pretty cool innovation. The players liked it, although I repeatedly rolled poorly so that the fire breathers underperformed. The orcs bottlenecked at the doorway and were quickly cut down by the party. Finally, the last 2 orcs along with their gigantic orc leader rushed through the door to get into the entrance and a better tactical position. One orc was cut down as he rushed past the warriors at the door, but the other orc and the Uber Orc got clear. The small guy was cut down like his pathetic fire-breathing brethren, but the leader finally started rolling well. He wielded a glowing long sword and dropped the elf fighter. The rest of the party surrounded him and the orc offered to surrender. The barbarian and monk hesitated, but Gurgus was out for blood. The orc went down, but he went down hard.

The party searched the orcs and I decided to throw the party a bone by rolling on the Treasure Type 3 table. The party picked up some amber crystals and a potion of flying (as yet unidentified). The party also found 6 flasks containing the fire-breathing elixir. The players distracted themselves with more non-game chatter for a good 15 minutes, so I figured it was time for some wandering monsters to swing through and remind them to stay focused. I looked over the wandering monster table for the dungeon entrance area and stirges jumped out. It made sense they would be attracted to the blood pouring out of Baldwin and the dead orcs.

The stirges proved to be the toughest fight of the night. The players stopped rolling like their dice were on steroids and I couldn’t lose an initiative roll to save my life. I almost had to fudge some rolls to keep the party alive, but they scraped by. Baldwin got sucked to -9, William the Bloody was sucked to negative something-or-other, and Gungs was barely mobile at the end. The party dragged their unconscious members into the cuddly bear room and holed up to heal for a few days. The cleric was back on his feet in 2 days and he eventually got everyone healed after about 5 days. While the party rested, they periodically heard human voices in the entrance area, horses, and maybe even a wagon.

Upon emerging from the cuddly bear room, the party discovered the entrance area had been cleaned and the orc and stirge bodies were gone. The party decided to press on, in part because they felt guilty for failing to collect any blood from the orcs and stirges (their deal with William the Bloody was that he joined the party in exchange for everyone agreeing to haul out a bladder filled with blood for his temple). They explored the orc lair at the end of the dark corridor. The lair was deserted. I decided the remaining orcs would have fled after their leader was killed by the party. They found the orc leaders’ treasure stash under his throne. I rolled randomly on the Treasure Type 3 table again and the party did much better this time. The C&C treasure tables are a lot more fun that the 1E tables. They got a jade flask with gold and silver trim filled with unholy water worth 1,250 gp, 140 gp, some more gems, a well-crafted dart, a pewter goblet, and something else I can’t recall. The party also found a fountain that detected as magical. Baldwin tasted it and found it to taste like cumin. He drank some of the water to no ill effect. At least, not for a couple minutes. Then he had to pee badly. He picked a likely corner and tried to relieve himself. He managed to pee out liquid fire for 3 points of damage. The party left the fountain alone after that.

The party also found a disturbing temple to Unklar, the horned god. A door on the north side of the temple revealed a stairway going down. The party debated going down, but decided to clear level 1 before heading down.

The party returned to the entrance area and approached a set of ten foot wide double doors on the south end of the chamber. The doors had giant knockers (which predictably led to inevitable snickering by my players). Rather than use the knockers (more snickering), the players pushed the doors open.

They were immediately confronted by an angry voice: “What the hell, boy! Don’t you know how to knock?” On the other side of the door, the party saw several humans in studded leather armed with crossbows, short swords, and daggers. The party froze and didn’t say anything. The man asked, “Are you going to pay the toll?” The players decided to back up and close the doors. The guards tried to pull the doors open again, but Gurgus and Gungs were too strong for them. After a short debate, the party decided their only option was to let go of the doors and prepare for a fight (they couldn’t hold the doors closed forever). The doors swung back open and the party was confronted by the original guards plus several of their friends who had joined them while the party debated what to do. The lead guard asked again if the party was going to pay the toll. This time the party asked what the toll was. “Normally it’s 10 gp per person, but since you were assholes, it’s 20 gp this time.” The party decided to pay using the cash they snagged from the leader orc.

The guards led the party south through their territory to the throne room of the Bandit King. They had a very brief audience with the King and were led to a door leading to stairs going down. The guard told them their pass is good for 24 hours.

The party headed down the very long staircase. Jurg estimated they went down about 100 feet. At the bottom of the stairs they came to a hallway guarded by several frogmen. In a froggy voice, one of the frogman guards asked the party, “Are you going to pay the toll?” For another 10 gp per person, the frogmen would allow the party to go down the next staircase into the dungeon. That was too rich for the party’s blood, so they went back upstairs. The Bandit King and his men laughed at the party, but allowed them to leave unmolested.

The party headed back to Rotter to unload their treasure. No blood was recovered, so William agreed to take a normal full share of the treasure. They sold everything but the fire elixir and the flying potion. I was surprised they sold the magical long sword. They had it identified and confirmed it was a standard-issue +1 long sword. The fighters were both specialized in bastard sword and the barbarian was also a bastard-lover, so they decided they wanted the cash. They got the potion identified and hired an alchemist to try to identify the fire elixirs. The latter took a few days. The alchemist said the elixirs were only useable by orcs (and maybe half-orcs). Anyone else who drank them would be seriously injured. However, the elixir-filled flasks were explosive and could be thrown as missile weapons. The party divied up the remaining flasks. The alchemist had some ideas about how to make the fire elixir and offered to pay the party to bring back samples from the fountain in the orc lair and the well in the entrance chamber. The party agreed to bring back some samples and took some empty bottles for that purpose.

The nice treasure haul this session pushed the party to about 1,250 XP each. The fighters should have a good chance of leveling next session.

I learned some things this session. First, everyone enjoys rolling up random treasure during the game. Normally, I would just decide in advance what treasure a monster has, but I didn’t before this session. I picked a random treasure type on the fly for the 3 HD orc leader and let the party roll for the loot. Lots of fun all around. Second, I finally decided how to handle what the party will receive for selling loot back in town. If a module says a gem is worth 50 gp, my normal instinct would be to say they could sell it for 40 or 45 pg (no respectable merchant would pay actual market value). That proved to be a pain in the butt. From now on, I’m just giving the party book value and not worrying about it. If they want to buy such things, they will be charged a mark-up over book value. That is much easier to manage from my end and avoids a pain in the butt haggling session at the end of the night.

Next session should be in 2 or 3 weeks. It sounds like the party intends to slaughter the Bandit King and his men to avoid this pesky toll business. That may prove harder than they think…

Kills: 6 orcs, 1 orc leader, 6 stirges, and 2 ghouls.
Gains: +1 long sword; jade, gold, and silver flask of unholy water; 5 flasks of fire elixir; 1 potion of flying; 40 gp; 5 amber gems; silver necklace; decorative egg; steel breast plate (large orc size).
Losses: 100 gp in dungeon tolls; one flask of fire elixir consumed in testing by alchemist.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:44 am
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
One thing I am noticing is I am motivated to play more when we are able to play more. We have had a LOT of difficulty scheduling game sessions and getting people to show up after committing over the last 6 months. This has led to a lot of burnout on my end. It's hard to stay motivated to develop campaign material when it feels like the players aren't interested in playing. That feeling flew away when we were able to play this past Saturday. Suddenly, it's all fun and no work and I have lots of ideas to work with. I hope we can finally get some momentum again. This is pretty damn fun when people show up.

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tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:59 pm
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Game Session – March 15, 2014

The Party:


Slauto (formerly known as Gungs) – Level 1 human barbarian
Shylock Banquo – Level 1 gnome illusionist

NPCs:

William the Bloody – Level 2 human cleric of the Blood God
Jorn Orcbane – Level 2 dwarf monk


The party returned to the ruins of Chance Prison with plans to try out the various stairs leading to the second level of the dungeon. I was not happy with my original design, so I redid level 2 that morning.

The party started out by going down the stairs located past the Unklar temple in the orc area of level one. The stairs led to a short hallway ending at a door. The party opened the door and found a large girl’s bedroom (the room was large, not the girl). A little girl sat at a desk drawing. The party walked up to her and asked what she was drawing. She handed the barbarian a spooky stick drawing of a humanoid figure. The little girl said, “He told me to give this to you. He said he is going to kill you.” The barbarian asked who she was talking about. She pointed behind the party and said, “Him.”

The party spun around and saw a large, dark figure out of their nightmares. The barbarian charged and everyone else followed except for the illusionist. Shylock failed his saving throw against fear and cowered underneath the girl’s bed. The party members took turns over the next several rounds hiding under the bed. Whenever one PC or NPC recovered, another one ran in fear.

The nightmare figure was a 4 hit dice monster and gave the party a run for its money. But bastard swords are bastard swords and it was only a matter of time before the creature was hacked apart. The real fun came when the little girl attempted to backstab the illusionist. She hit but for minimal damage and some poison (I forgot the illusionist was poisoned, so no adverse effects ensued from that). The illusionist proceeded to whiff against the little girl with a 10 AC. After 3 critically poor rolls, the cleric stepped in and smashed her face with an 8 hit point blow from his war hammer.

The party found a secret door at the back of the girl’s closet leading to outside of the mountain. They couldn’t figure out how to open the door from the outside, so they shut it and stayed in the dungeon.

The party healed up and returned to level one of the dungeon. For their second trip downstairs, they tried the stairway in the undead area of level one. This staircase led to the pool room from B1 – In Search of the Unknown. The barbarian and illusionist poked and prodded the pools, but only tried drinking from the wine pool. They were convinced combining the liquids in the pools would create a magical effect. They tried various recipes without success before getting hyper-paranoid and giving up.

That left one more staircase down – the stairs in the Bandit King’s domain. This time the party politely knocked on the Bandit King’s door and paid the toll (just 10 gp per character since they weren’t dicks this time). The barbarian tried to get the Bandit King to do something about the frogmen on level 2 who charged an additional toll to go to level 3. The Bandit King was not interested and dismissed the party. The party headed down to level 2 and paid the frogmen. Down they went to level 3. I didn’t have time to whip something up for level 3, so I inserted them into level one of Stonehell Dungeon. Stonehell has the virtue of using very terse room descriptions, so it’s possible to run it with minimal preparation.

The party wandered around level one of Stonehell. They avoided the dragon’s lair (helpfully identified by a signpost at the intersection of two hallways). They easily wiped out a group of berserkers (descendants of the original prison population who have turned into Firefly-esque reavers). They then headed east into a first level quadrant featuring undead. They didn’t get very far or encounter any undead. Instead, they came to a chamber with 8 fire beetles that were occupied eating fluorescent lichen on the walls.

My players are pretty simple creatures. When they see something alive in a dungeon, they try to kill it. That was a poor decision this time. The party is capable of unleashing a significant amount of damage at first level, but really don’t have the hit points to take much of a beating. Fire beetles are the monster equivalent of the party. 1 hit dice beasts that do 2d4 damage with their pincers. Four characters versus eight fire beetles was really bad odds. We nearly had another TPK. The illusionist decided charging into melee with his staff was a good idea. (Hint: it wasn’t.) The monk and cleric eventually dropped and it was up to the barbarian to save the party’s collective butt. I had to nudge things a little to keep the party alive. Rather than have the last 3 fire beetles swarm the barbarian, I ruled one started dragging off the cleric’s body and another started chewing on the illusionist. This gave the barbarian enough of a break that he was able to kill off the distracted beetles and save everyone. He dragged the unconscious party members back to the berserkers’ room and holed up for several days. The cleric eventually recovered and healed the rest of the party up.

The party returned to town and cashed in for the night. The barbarian leveled up, making him the first PC in the campaign to hit level 2.

Kills: Nightmare creature, little backstabbing girl, all the wine the illusionist could drink, four berserkers, and 8 fire beetles

Gains: 220 gold pieces, 10 gems worth a total of 515 gps, four bladders full of monster blood for the Blood God’s temple, and a level of barbarian

Losses: The illusionist’s pride after being beaten up by a 7 year old girl. 80 gps in dungeon tolls.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:50 am
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Game Session – April 12, 2014

The Party:

Slauto – Level 2 human barbarian

I made some changes to the game starting with this session. After all of the hassles trying to coordinate game sessions last fall, I decided to put a stop to that process. Instead of contacting my players and trying to coordinate a game session that works for everyone (a frequently impossible task), I am now scheduling games every other week on a schedule that works best for me and inviting all of my players to come. I will play with whoever shows up. Previously, I required a quorum of at least 2 players, but I am chucking that rule.

Today was the first session under the new schedule. Only one player could make it this week. Anticipating this “problem”, I picked up the PDF of Scarlet Heroes, an RPG system designed to allow a single PC to run through adventures designed for complete parties. Although Scarlet Heroes is a complete RPG, the key rules allowing a single PC to run through party-based modules can easily and by design be ported to any old school RPG. The single PC system works by altering the way damage is calculated. For all damage rolls, the amount of damage is reduced based on a simple chart that goes something like this:

Roll Damage

1 0
2-5 1
6-7 2
8-10 3
10+ 4

Damage caused by the PC is calculated in hit dice, not hit points. For example, if a PC rolls a 6 for damage, it will do 2 hit dice worth of damage. If the PC hits a standard 1 hit die orc, the orc would be killed. The extra hit die of damage potentially carries over to another opponent in reach, allowing the PC to hack its way through mooks. In addition, the PC gets a Fray Die which is basically an extra damage die every round. The size of the die varies by class (e.g., fighters have a bigger fray day than wizards). The assumption is that in addition to the Big Attack each round, the PC is hacking and slashing throughout the round. So, each round the PC gets an attack and also gets to roll a Fray Die for additional damage inflicted during the round. Meanwhile, monsters inflict diminished damage in hit points per the chart. So, PCs do lots of damage measured in hit dice and monsters’ damage is muted. For both PCs and monsters, there is a possibility of an attack not doing any damage even if the attack hits.

My player today was intrigued by the Scarlet Heroes approach and willing to give it a shot. Today’s session was also a first for me in that I improvised almost all of it more or less on the spot. I considered continuing with Stonehell Dungeon with the one PC as well as possibly running the PC through the main dungeon of A1 – Assault on Blacktooth Ridge, but neither of those options was really calling to me. Then, I considered using the random dungeon tables from the 1E DMG. My dad was my player today and I have fond memories of staying up late with him when I was a kid using those tables. I thought it would be fun to give my dad a chance to just be the player in one of those sessions (albeit 30 years later). My only concern with that is the session would be a pretty shallow hack and slash session. That can be fun, but pure hack and slash without some sort of hook can also feel empty. I hopped into the shower 30 minutes before game time and decided to just make it up as I go along, something I have never tried to do before.

My dad is a good sport when it comes to accepting whatever adventure hooks I present to him. I decided to trot out the classic trope of the PC’s family member is in trouble. I had been planning to introduce the Pain God to my campaign for some time. Today would be the perfect opportunity. Slauto’s brother would be a recent convert to the Pain God’s church. All was well at first, but recently the brother told Slauto he was uncomfortable with some of the church’s theology. Now, the brother is missing. The brother, of course, would be a captive of the church and need to be rescued from its evil priests. Not exactly original, but at least it would give the session some plot.

I briefed Slauto’s player on the fact Slauto has an older brother who recently joined the Pain God’s church. The Pain God sounds pretty sinister, so I had to give some explanation for why the brother would get involved. I decided during the game that the Pain God claims to take people’s pain away. It seeks out the emotionally damaged among the city’s population and does outreach such as soup kitchens and therapy sessions. Slauto started out by running to the Pain God’s church. Unlike the vast majority or religions in Rotter, the Pain God’s church was not located on the Avenue of the Temples. The Pain God’s church is located in a three-story building in a very poor part of town, ostensibly because it puts the church near the people most in pain in Rotter.

The door guards at the temple told Slauto his brother was in meditation and could not be disturbed. Slauto accepted that at face value and came back the next day. This time, the guards told him Slauto had finished his meditation and left the temple the day before. Slauto was not expected back at the temple until the next public worship service in 3 days. Slauto ran by all of his brother’s usual hang-outs, but couldn’t find anyone who had seen his brother recently. His brother’s landlord let Slauto into his brother’s room in exchange for Slauto paying up his brother’s back rent, but Slauto didn’t find anything of not in the room.

That left the Pain God’s temple as the likely place to search. Slauto scoped out the temple building, but couldn’t find any way into the temple other than the front doors. He almost checked the roof, but held back for some reason. I figured there would be a guard or two and a trap door on the roof allowing for a covert entrance by Slauto, but he passed that possibility up. Instead, Slauto attended the temple’s next public services. After the service, he spoke with the head priest about his missing brother. The priest was very concerned about the missing brother and invited Slauto back to his office to discuss the matter.

Slauto followed the priest downstairs with a couple acolytes bringing up the rear. They reached a waiting room and Slauto’s barbarian senses tingled. He looked up just in time to see a giant constrictor snake dropping onto him from a hole in the ceiling. Turns out Slauto failed a charisma check when trying to con the priest, so evil priest was on to him and led him to the snake trap. Sadly for the Pain God, C&C barbarians are difficult to surprise. Slauto sidestepped the falling snake and combat ensued. The acolytes barred the doorway to the stairs while the snake and priest attacked. Normally, a 3 or 4 hit die constrictor snake and a mid-level evil priest-warrior would probably overwhelm a level 2 barbarian. The Scarlet Heroes overlay made the encounter exciting and readily survivable for Slauto.

The snake managed a few bites and constricted Slauto twice. The priest tried to slap Slauto with a cause light wounds three times, but rolled horribly to hit despite attacking from behind. About the time Slauto wiped out the snake, I realized we had not been using his Fray Die for extra damage each round. I hand-waved it away by saying the acolyte mooks who had been blocking the door to the stairs were summarily dead. That left the priest. The priest finally manage a hit, yelling, “Pain!” and causing a couple points of damage Slauto. The PC is at a big advantage in one on one fights using Scarlet Heroes and priest quickly dropped.

A quick note on the priest. I didn’t have anything planned in advance concerning the encounters. I ran the theoretically class-based monsters as straight monsters with class-like abilities as needed. For the priest, I figured he would attack as a 4 hit die monster and could periodically employ touch attacks for cause light wound damage.

Slauto dragged the acolyte bodies into the room and searched everything. The only interesting item he found was an unholy symbol under the priest’s robes. I was working on the fly and hadn’t thought up what the Pain God’s symbols would be in advance. I came with a simple circle with an X across it. Not the coolest symbol ever, but my player didn’t seem to have any idea I was making it up as I went along.

There were two other exits from the room. A door to the south led to a 40 foot corridor ending at a T intersection. The door to the west opened to a long corridor with doors every 10 feet running down both sides of the corridor before opening into a chamber in the distance. I figured these side rooms would be dormitories for the temple’s acolytes. The chamber at the end would be a dining hall with a kitchen to one side and chambers for the head priests. Slauto didn’t want to mess with that hall, so he went south to the T intersection.

I figured there would be a secret true temple to the Pain God reflecting the PG’s true evil nature somewhere down here. There also had to be a torture area where Slauto’s brother was being held. Slauto asked if he could hear anything as stood at the T intersection. The first thing that sprang to mind was that he could here a sound like a hammer striking an anvil, so I went with that. The hammering sound came from the west while there was only silence to the east. Slauto went east and came to the secret Temple. There was a large Pain God symbol imbedded into the large floor. There were braziers with burning coals in each corner as well as shackled in two of the corners. Blood was spilled at various points throughout the temple, especially on the circle and X symbol. I figured the Pain God’s priests would sacrifice victims or maybe make victims fight in gladiatorial-style combat on the unholy symbol. However, the secret temple was not in use at the moment. Slauto went back to the west and reached a door. He could heard deep voices speaking something other than common, as well as rhythmic hammering and low moaning. Slauto went back to the snake room and put on the priest’s robes and unholy symbol. Putting on the symbol was extremely painful, but did not cause damage and was not debilitating, so he left it on. Then, he went back to the hammering room and opened the door.

Inside, he found three ogres. One was wandering around the torture chamber, another was idly stabbing Slauto’s brother with a spear, and a third was hammering away on a piece of steel to fashion a sword. The brother was tied to an oversized Pain God symbol leaning against a corner of the chamber. I decided to apply some flair and said there was a red mist floating from where the ogre spear was piercing the brother to the anvil where the sword was being made. Evil and spooky!

The ogres failed their wisdom saves and bought Slauto’s priest disguise. Slauto took advantage and walked up to the spear ogre and cut it in half (he rolled something like 12 or 13 for damage which translated to 4 hit dice in damage, just enough to wipe out the 4 hit die ogre). The other two ogres gave Slauto a run for his money, but the Fray die kept him in it and ultimately victorious with one hit point remaining. Slauto chugged a potion of extra-healing and was in pretty good shape when he heard the damn slam open behind him. Two bad-ass looking fighter-priest stepped into the room.

These new guys were clad in black plate mail with a glowing, blood red symbol of the Pain God embossed on their chests as well as on their shields. Each wielded a black long sword with black flames running up and down the blades (a touch I ripped off from Seskis after he used that imagery at Gary Con this year). I decided these guys had 7 hit dice each. The swords would do 1d8 damage for the blade and another 1d8 for black fire damage on a successful hit. They could also shoot black lightning from the blades. I figured this would make them challenging but not overwhelming with the Scarlet Heroes overlay.

The fight started out with each of the bad guys firing lightning at Slauto. He made his dex saves for half damage and only lost a few hit points. The melee that followed was very exciting. At 7 hit dice, these guys had some staying power even with the Fray die. The plate mail and shield resulted in the highest AC my players have faced in the campaign so far, so Slauto’s player was a little freaked when he wasn’t hitting with 17s. The first bad guy dropped relatively quickly, but the second one went down hard. He got in another lightning attack for full damage (something like 6 points – each damage die is applied to the chart separately, so a PC can suffer up to 4 hit points of damage per damage die). Slauto finished off the second one with just a couple hit points left.

Slauto searched the bodies which led to the question of what treasure these guys would have. I decided they would have a potion of healing and a potion of poison. Then I flipped through M&T to get an idea what treasure table 7 hit dice monsters usually use. Then I rolled the treasure randomly. Slauto cashed in big time. He got over 1,000 gp in coinage. I figured these guys wouldn’t be carrying around that much gold, so I converted it to platinum. Then we got to the gem table. Slauto rolled over 7,000 gp worth of gems between the two warriors.

Slauto tried a taste of one of the potions. He picked the poisonous one, so I told him he took 2 points of damage. That left Slauto seriously weakened. He decided he needed to try the second one if he was going to have any chance of escaping the temple with his brother. This time he got back 8 hit points.

Slauto untied his brother, dressed him in one of the acolyte’s robes, and hauled ass out of the temple basement. His priest disguise startled the remaining acolytes upstairs enough that no one barred his way and he escaped the temple with his brother.

Slauto knew he needed healing, so I suggested he buy some extra-healing potions. I milked him for 2,000 of the gems and he got the healing he needed.

The mission having been completed successfully, I had to figure out what to award for experience. Applying the Scarlet Heroes overlay radically alters the power level of the game. Straight XP is clearly inappropriate when the PC is pumped up on dwarven growth hormone and the treasure acquired is out of whack to the danger level. I normally award 100 XP to every PC just for playing in the game session. I decided to tack on another 750 XP for a total of 850 XP for the session. That’s probably too high, but it shouldn’t be game breaking.

I tried another new thing this session. I chucked the GM screen and rolled nearly everything in the open. All attack and damage rolls were done in the open. I only hid rolls when they could convey information the player/PC would not know (stuff like find trap rolls). I much preferred doing this to using a GM screen. I’ve been reluctant to give up the option of fudging if necessary to prevent TPKs. I think there are better ways to prevent that than fudging. I’m incorporating luck and hero points from the CKG which allows the players to fudge instead of me. The greater degree of control is fun for the players and getting out from behind the GM screen is fun for me.

All in all it was a very fun session. I discovered I can improvise reasonably well if I try and my player really enjoyed the Scarlet Heroes rules. He found the battles very exciting. Running for just one PC was a success.

Kills: One head priest, a giant constrictor snake, two acolytes, three ogre torture chamber attendants, two evil warrior-priest things, and 5 temple guards I forgot to mention earlier who attacked before Slauto went to the T intersection.

Gains: A crap load of platinum, gems, and an unholy symbol of the Pain God.

Losses: Slauto’s brother’s innocence.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:48 am
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Game Session 5-3-14

The Party:


Slaughto – Level 2 human barbarian
William the Bloody – Level 2 human cleric NPC

Torch Bearers:

Grey Dick, a half-orc
Jimmy, a halfling (who happens to be a thief looking to rip off the party, but they don’t know that)

As discussed in previous entries, I’ve begun running my game on a regular schedule and playing with whoever shows up, even if it’s just one player. Sadly, this has resulted in back-to-back sessions with just one player, but at least we’re playing. We’re going through a rough patch for getting people to the table. One player is tied up with his daughter’s softball activities (an ongoing problem that will severely limit his ability to play for a few years to come). Two players have some personal issues conflicting with game sessions, so their attendance will be sporadic for the foreseeable future. My other regular player is spending most of his free time prepping for a promotion in the military, so he is largely unavailable for the next few months. That leaves me with just one regular who can be counted on to show up at the moment. I’m hoping things stabilize with several people able to show up regularly by the end of the summer. In the meantime, the game goes on.

As with the last session, I used the Scarlet Heroes combat rules on top of C&C to allow one PC to function in adventures designed for a full party. Things were a little different this session since I let the PC bring along the party’s NPC cleric, William the Bloody. I decided not to give William a Fray Die, but otherwise ran him as any other PC under Scarlet Heroes.

We started out the session with Slaughto following up on his raid of the Pain God’s temple in Rotter. He got his brother healed up and stashed him at an inn to complete his recovery, then ran by the Blood God’s temple to let William know what he found. William said he would pass Slaughto’s report along to his superiors. When Slaughto checked back the next day (he was hoping the Blood God’s followers would launch a further raid of the Pain God’s temple and that they would let Slaughto tag along), William reported the higher ups were surprised at Slaughto’s report since the evil rituals he described were inconsistent with their knowledge of the Pain God’s faith. The higher ups contacted representatives of the Pain God outside of Rotter to find out what was going on. Representatives of the Pain God were on their way to Rotter to sort out what happened.

As the Blood Goddians were not immediately going to cleanse the temple, Slaughto was left up to his own devices to decide what to do next. Slaughto’s player suggested he would go back to Chance Prison unless I had something else I wanted him to do. His willingness to be railroaded brought a tear to my eye. Is there anything more beautiful than a player who will take pity on a hapless GM and go with the flow sometimes? I told him he could do whatever he wanted, so he decided to head to the prison.

My initial instinct was to refuse his request to have William tag along for the adventure. The Scarlet Heroes overlay is designed for a solo player and I wasn’t sure how it would work with a classed NPC tagging along. Then I decided to hell with it and figured I would make it work. As noted above, about the only thing I tweaked was to eliminate William’s Fray Die. That left Slaughto as the hero of the session while allowing William to tag along for healing, turning undead, etc.

William suggested bringing along some torch bearers. (I’ve been reading a lot of Knights of the Dinner Table lately, so I’ve had torch bearers on the brain.) Slaughto dropped by a local watering hole in search of down on their luck NPCs who looked like they were healthy enough to survive the trip to the dungeon. He hired a halfling, but managed to immediately offend him, so the halfling quit. He then picked up a half-orc (Grey Dick), and another halfling (Jimmy aka “Jimmy the Sneak”). Unbeknownst to Slaughto, Jimmy is an accomplished thief who will most likely swipe some of Slaughto’s gems on the way back from the dungeon before vanishing into the city.

Off the party went to dungeon. There was one random encounter along the way. I had been thinking about having an attack by hobgoblins riding wargs during my adventure prep (that was pretty much all of my adventure prep this time, actually). When I rolled a wandering monster encounter, I was good to go. Three hobgoblins riding wargs with lances charged the party. With the benefit of Scarlet Heroes, the party made quick work of the monsters. The rest of the trip to the dungeon was uneventful.

The party started off going back to the creepy room where the little girl and the nightmare monster used to live. There was a secret door leading from the little girl’s closet to the outside of the dungeon. The party was unable to figure out how the door mechanism worked from outside originally. This time they had Grey Dick and Jimmy try to figure it out. Grey Dick came up blank, but Jimmy figured it out, so the party now has an alternate entrance into the dungeon.

The party then headed down through the Bandit King’s and the frog men’s domains to the dungeon proper and continued their exploration of level one of Stonehell Dungeon. They mapped and cleared out about a quarter of the northwest quadrant. The dice seemed to favor lots of random encounters as well as lots of valuable random treasure. A group of five wandering goblins were quickly dispatched. Looting their bodies revealed 5 extraordinary quality short swords and a stud earring made of platinum and silver worth 750 gp. Stupid dice are going to mess up the local economy! Jimmy was even happier about this than Slaughto. The big bad for this quadrant of Stonehell is a giant gecko lizard. The lizard popped up as a wandering monster encounter. It didn’t stand a chance to the Scarlet Heroes steroid version of Slaughto.

Slaughto managed to get Grey Dick killed while messing with a dry fountain. Slaughto poured some water from his canteen into the fountain which triggered a poison gas trap. Slaughto, William, and Jimmy took some minor damage, but Grey Dick collapsed with black foam oozing out of his mouth. Slaughto looted Grey Dick’s body and found a picture of a remarkably ugly orc woman with the inscription “Love, Mom” written on it, but no other treasure.

The most interesting encounter was with a kobold work crew that was making repairs to one of the chambers on the first level. Slaughto grazed one of them with an arrow before the kobolds had a chance to parlay. The kobolds were unarmed and not to thrilled about being shot at while working. Slaughto planned to surprise attack them as the party walked through the chamber, but thought better of it and let the little guys live. This could have all sorts of roleplaying implications later on if the party continues to explore the dungeon. We called it a night shortly after passing through the kobold chamber.

Ultimately, it was a long session, but was a bit short on adventure due to non-game-related talk.

As with most of my sessions, my thoughts about how to GM evolved. The Scarlet Heroes overlay rules really don’t work well in a first level dungeon. The monsters are just too wimpy to create a challenge. William and the torch bearers did get beat up, particularly William, but Slaughto wasn’t pushed at all during the adventure. If I am going to continue running these one-on-one sessions, I need to crank up the monsters’ hit dice considerably or else dump the Scarlet Heroes rules and have Slaughto take a bunch of classed NPCs with him to round out the party. I’m reluctant to do that because the last session with Scarlet Heroes worked out really, really well and was a blast for both me and my player. I just need to figure out the proper power balance.

I’m also circling back to the same conclusion I reach just about anytime I run a published adventure: it just doesn’t work well for me. The upside to Stonehell is that it is really easy to run with minimal prep due to its two-page dungeon design. The downside is I am less invested and interested in running someone else’s stuff. I think that lack of investment comes through in the way I GM. I improvised 75% of last session’s adventure (and the other 25% was prepped while taking a shower a half hour before the game started) and it was probably the best session I’ve ever run. I need to get back to that level of creativity and investment. I don’t think I need to improvise everything, but I do need to put my own stuff together if I am going to run a successful game long term. I like stealing ideas and encounters from published stuff, but if I am reaching for a book or module during a game session, something is ultimately going wrong (or at least something inferior is happening compared to what I am capable of).

Today was session two without using a GM screen. I really like getting out from behind a screen and rolling almost everything in the open. It feels more participatory and I think my players are more excited when they see the combat rolls coming at them. I’m 99% sure the GM screen is gone for good. I still have my CK screens available for reference (some of the charts are really useful) if I need/want them.

One last thought: I wish C&C had a morale system for monsters. Obviously, I am the GM and in control of when monsters want to bug out, but I like leaving that sort of thing in the hands of the dice. It makes the game a little unpredictable for me which keeps me engaged (kind of like how I have been rolling treasure randomly lately instead of just assigning it). I’ve been trying to assign a percentage chance a monster will flee on the fly (sorry for the alliteration), but I’d prefer to work with a play-tested system.

Kills: 3 hobgoblins, 3 wargs, 5 orcs, 3 giant toads, 1 giant gecko lizard

Gains: one platinum and silver stud earring worth 750 gp, 1 potion of healing (unidentified), 6 torches, 6 bedrolls, 8 flasks of oil, 12 torches, a quiver with 24 arrows, and a bunch of moderately-valuable gems

Losses: Grey Dick

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Sun May 04, 2014 5:02 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: Buttmonkey's Home Game
Game Session – May 17, 2014

The Party

Slaugtho – Level 2 human barbarian
Kharl Magneson – Level 2 dwarven cleric
William the Bloody – Level 2 human cleric – NPC
Jorn Orcbane – Level 2 dwarven monk – NPC
Dobin – Level 1 human fighter – NPC
Armass the Archaeologist – Level 1 halfling wizard – NPC
Jimmy the Torchbearer – Halfling NPC
Rat Head the Torchbearer – Human NPC

We were joined this session by DF’s own Invincible Overlord, one of my old gaming buddies from our Empyrea days in Frank’s home campaign. It was great having him at my table and it looks like he will be able to join us more in the future. I started IO’s PC, Karl, at second level so he could keep up with Slaughto and the party’s usual crew of NPCs.

Slaughto started out the session drinking at the Gangly Wench Inn. Kharl joined him for a pint or two while waiting for an adventure hook to arrive. That did not take long as a halfling (Armass the Archaeologist) asked to join them. Armass was seeking out Slaughto for some assistance (Slaughto’s raid of the wicked Pain God temple last session having generated a certain reputation for toughness and general badassery amongst Rotter’s discerning population).

Armass is the president of the Rotter Archaeological Society (the RAS). The RAS has been excavating a site north of Rotter. A wealthy Halfling family was digging an addition to its summer hole and discovered relics from pre-Cataclysmic times. When the RAS found out, it got permission to excavate the site. Everything was going fine for a few weeks until one day the workers showed up to dig and discovered a new tunnel leading down from the dig site to the unknown. One of the workers grabbed a lamp and crawled down the hole. After a period of silence, horrible screams echoed up the tunnel. The workers fled and the excavation was put on hold. Armass and the RAS are seeking someone to find out what created the new tunnel and eliminate anything that would threaten the RAS’s excavation, all for the low-low price of 1,000 gp and any treasure recovered (archaeological relics to be left undisturbed). This sounded like a fine way to spend a few days, so Slaughto and Kharl took the commission.

They invited William the Bloody and Jorn Orcbane along. William suggested the party take a new initiate of the Blood God, Dobin. Dobin agreed to work for blood just like William, so he was quickly welcomed. Jimmy, the surviving torchbearer from the last session came on board and recommended Rat Head as the party’s second torchbearer. Rat Head got his name from the rat pelt he wore as a makeshift hat. Finally, Armass agreed to accompany the party under Slaughto’s leadership. Armass was a first level wizard before abandoning his magical studies to pursue archaeology. He brought sleep, magic missile, shield, and some 0 level spells with him.

The party traveled north for a day and a half, passing through the farmland surrounding Rotter and reaching the foothills at the base of the mountains where Chance Prison is located. Rather than heading straight for the hobbit mansion, the party stopped by a nearby village to see if the locals knew anything interesting. Sadly, they did not, and the party arrived at the hole in the late afternoon/early evening.

The lower level of the hole showed signs of minor ransacking and looting, but the upper floor was intact. The party quickly reached the archaeological dig site and saw the new tunnel leading down. The tunnel itself was approximately 2-3 feet in diameter and smooth. The tunnel opening had some scorch marks. (Armass had told the party about this back in Rotter, so Slaughto purchased a potion of fire protection just in case.)

Jorn Orcbane and Kharl scouted the tunnel. After a considerable drop in elevation, it opened into a dark room. As Jorn started to exit the tunnel, a spear thrust past him. Jorn and Kharl jumped out of the tunnel and made easy work of the frogman who was trying to poke them. (See below for frogman stats.) The room was a cluttered storeroom with a variety of dry goods and supplies. Jorn fetched the rest of the party and the dungeon delve was on.

The storage room had an open exit to the west and another one of the circular 2-3 foot diameter tunnels leading north. The party propped up the dead frogman guard at the western entrance while deciding what to do. The corridor leading west dropped a foot or so and was flooded. The party could hear a multitude of voices approaching and splashing feet. The party hid behind crates and barrels as the voices approached and then quickly receded. Having nothing better to do, the party headed west.

They immediately came to a door on the north wall. The booted the door and rushed into a larder. The only thing inside worth killing was a door leading west. The party booted that door, too, and found themselves in busy kitchen. A crew of frogman chefs stared at the party in shock. The party opted for immediate violence as one of the frogmen fled to the dining room to the west. Thus began one of the party’s most epic fights. 16 frogmen (the party arrived at dinner time) charged the party from two sides to help out the kitchen staff. About the time they had that under control, an oversize frogman riding a giant lizard rolled up on the party. A flask of burning oil took care of that frogman while the party hacked down the lizard. That was when the four troglodytes showed up in front of two frogmen cracking whips to drive them to violence. The party cut the trogs down as the frogman whipmasters ran away.

That was it for this foray into the dungeon. The party limped back up to the hobbit mansion, barricaded themselves into the upper level, and spent a few days healing up and recovering spells.

The party found the dungeon largely deserted as they headed south from the dining area. They eventually reached the frogmen’s audience chamber. Slaughto triggered a pit trap and fell 30 feet into shallow underground lake. A giant carnivorous turtle (see below for stats) tried to eat him as the party lowered a rope, but it was no match for a barbarian with a bastard sword. Once he climbed the rope, the party worked its way around the pit and looted the frogmen’s treasure room. They then explored the southwestern quadrant of the frogman lair and discovered an exit leading to an enormous underground highway. Everyone stared in awe at the vast hallway leading north and south into the darkness.

The party headed back north toward the dining room. A pack of four giant frogs attacked and was quickly wiped out. The party passed a hallway leading up into a dark cavern. A high-pitched, creepy voice called out and invited the party to come up and play. The party went west and then north instead, presumably circling the creepy-voiced cavern. The party took a risk leaving a hostile force behind it and paid the price when a pack of hell hounds charged the party from the rear. Thus began epic fight #2 for the session.

The hell hounds proved to be almost too much for the party. Rat Head was killed and most of the other party members were below 0 hit points at some point during the fight. Jorn Orcbane was dragged off by one of the hell hounds while Slaughto fought off the last two hounds. The battle swung into a new level of epicness – epic badness. Slaughto and the last two hounds went approximately 30 rounds with each combatant hitting once. I have never witnessed such a sad display of bad dice karma. Thank God I roll in the open now – if I hadn’t, my players never would have believed I didn’t fudge the hounds’ rolls. Slaughto finally killed the last hound and the party fled the dungeon, unconscious NPCs slung over their shoulders.

The party ran all the way back to Rotter to regroup. Jorn Orcbane and Rat Head were dead. On the plus side, Slaughto and Kharl gained enough XP to level, so they spent a week training (and having their disposable cash siphoned off).

During the fight with the frogmen diners, Jimmy stepped up and joined the fray. He also joined in the fight versus the hell hounds (rolling considerably better than the PCs). My players cheered Jimmy on enthusiastically as he somehow survived combat as a presumably 0 level meat shield. Upon their return to Rotter, they offered to pay for Jimmy to be trained as a 1st level fighter. This presented me with a quandary. I had originally conceived of Jimmy as a mid-level thief posing as a torch bearer to rip off the party. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to change direction with him, so I told the party Jimmy had to check with his wife before embarking on life as classed adventurer. The players wanted to keep Jimmy around for their return trip to the frogman lair, so they significantly upped his pay. Jimmy agreed to go back with the party and brought along another torchbearer, henceforward known as Jimmy’s Guy.

Slaughto picked up another potion of fire protection and Kharl got a potion of hill giant strength before setting out.

Trip three into the dungeon was clearly going to be the big final battle in the creepy-voiced cavern to the north. They walked up the ramp leading into a very large cavern with a glowing 10-foot diameter pit in the middle. Frogmen were playing bongos while more frogmen cavorted in vile dances and two frogmen priests chanted. A sleep spell took out the priests, but the drumming and dancing appeared to be summoning something from the depths of the pit as a hot glow rose up the shaft. Salamander time. Four salamanders, in fact. I sent them up individually which made them manageable. Probably too manageable. The party was never in too much danger from them, although they were pushed to the limits of their resources by the end. Slaughto’s potion of fire protection probably saved the party. One of the salamanders managed to coil around him, but was unable to inflict fire damage. Any of the other party members would have been quickly killed by the attack. As the last salamander appeared, a tavis wyrm burrowed up from the floor of the cavern. It also focused on the barbarian, but was unable to do much damage due to his fire resistance. The party killed off the last of the salamanders and the wyrm, then proceeded to try to loot the priests’ quarters. Sadly for them, the priests had no treasure. They did find a secret door leading out of the massive cavern. Opening that door unleashed the hell hound that had dragged off poor Jorn Orcbane. The hound quickly fell to the exhausted party.

With the hostiles all destroyed and the source of the mysterious tunnels (the tavis wyrm) eliminated, Armass declared the expedition a success. The party headed back to Rotter to cash in and mourn the fallen dead.

Kills: 21 frogmen, 1 frogman chieftan, two frogmen priests, frogman dancers and drummers, 4 giant frogs, 1 giant lizard, 4 troglodytes, 1 carnivorous turtle, 8 hell hounds, 4 salamanders, and 1 tavis wyrm.
Gains: 3rd level for Slaughto and Kharl, ring of violent hindsight (see below) (unknown number of charges), bejeweled hand axe, ankle chain worth 1,000 gp, tuxedo worth 200 gp, golden harp with jade and platinum accents worth 2,000 gp, a gold frog figurine worth 1,000 gp, and oil of bless.
Losses: Jorn Orcbane, Rat Head, and Slaughto's bastard sword (irretrievably melted by striking the tavis wyrm)

New Items:

Ring of Violent Hindsight: Allows wearer to turn back time after trying to resolve an encounter through talk/negotiation. Once the ring is activated, the time-space continuum is restored to the moment when talk/negotiation was attempted. The wearer must immediately attack.

New Monsters:

Frogmen
HD: 1d8
AC: 16 (due to speed and flexibility), 18 versus melee opponents when fighting from the ceiling
Size: M
Movement: 30 ft, 20 ft on ceilings, 15 ft on walls, 30 ft swimming. Jump 15 ft vertically or 30 ft horizontally.
Int: Ave
Saves: P
Attack: 1 spear (1d6) or 2 claws (1d3 each) or 1 bite (1d4)
Special: Walk on walls and ceilings. Infravision. Jump charge.
Align: Any
Treasure: 1
XP: 13 + 1

Frogmen are man-sized humanoids with long frog-feet, fully functional hands with short claws, a frog-like head and mouth, and green skin. They disdain armor and clothing. They prefer to fight with spears or their natural weapons. They can walk on ceilings or crawl along walls. Their armor class increases to 18 when they fight from a ceiling due to their opponents’ inexperience fighting in that orientation. They are adept swimmers and can hold their breaths for extraordinary lengths of time. Their strong legs allow them to jump vertically 15 feet or 30 feet horizontally. Frogmen can jump onto a 10 foot ceiling and attack in the same round.

Frogmen can engage in a leaping charge versus opponents at least 5 feet away. Doing so grants a +2 to hit due and +2 to damage due to surprise and momentum.

Frogmen speak common, lizardman, troglodyte, duckman, and kobold.

Carnivorous Turtle

HD: 2d8
AC: shell 18, head 14, torso 12
Size: M
Movement: 40 feet, swim 30 feet
Int: Animal
Saves: P
Attacks: 1 bite (1d8)
Align: Neutral
Treasure: 1
XP: 15 + 2

Carnivorous turtles are quite large (typically 5-7 feet long) and shockingly fast. Their heads have a good AC despite being unprotected when attacking due to their ability to quickly duck and weave. Their soft torsos are normally unexposed, but carnivorous turtles are quite vulnerable should they be flipped over or somehow attacked from below.

Carnivorous turtles are rapacious hunters that only eat fresh meat. They are indiscriminate killers, but seem to particularly enjoy a frogman diet.

_________________
tylermo wrote:
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.


Mon May 26, 2014 9:05 pm
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