Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lost Crown of Neverwinter - D&D Encounters Session 10

Fun with Tentacles and Slime, is this DnD or Anime?

Dirty dripping and frustrated was how the party started this session.  The dead rat gang member, who’d pulled the chain to start the great flush, lay half on the ledge and half off it. He looked back the party in time for them to see the last of his wounds heal and he tried to pull himself up out of the pit.

Cognitoe pulled his bow and pointed it directly at the Dead Rat.  Locke hurried to his side not to help him or anything but to rob him. Then Mr. E . Meat bull rushed him to try and knock him in to the watery chasm. The attack misses and fearing for his life the Dead Rat shifts into full rat form and tries to make a break for it.  Cognitoe’s bow was just too fast and hit him with an immobilizing shot.  The whole scene was enough to get the attention of the Kraken that lurked below and tentacles shot up out of the water.

Two tentacles lash out and grab ahold of Darbeck. Another 2 took hold of Mr. E. Meat and both pairs played with the impending food.  Single tentacles took hold of Locke and Cognitoe. As a DM I was reminded just how weak my PC reflex scores were.

Cognitoe rapid shots a group of three at the far end of the tunnel and kills two of three. Then, using an AP, he shoots again at the one holding him. It was a miss, but thanks to his enchanted heirloom card he is able to roll again and this time he kills it. Now that he was no longer grabbed he high tailed it back up the sewer pipe to put some distance between him and the tentacles.

The little colour hair bands show who is
grabbed by who.
Adrie uses magic missiles one the one that holds Locke and kills it. Locke spots a kraken shaped amulet on the furthest body.  He rushes towards it passing under a waiting green slime that is hidden in the ceiling. It drops down on him and engulfs him. His speed was too much to be contained by the slime and he breaks free on the far side. Then, uses an AP, he tumbles the rest of the way to the body and grabs the amulet.

Mr. E Meat attacks and misses but again the enchanted heirloom comes into play and he is able to hit it on the reroll.  Then he moves away from the chasm.  Darbeck free of tentacles moves and kills one of the few remaining tentacle with a blow from his hammer.

The green slime oozes across the cavern floor and attacks Mr. E Meat sucking him into its slimey body. The second slime had slithered across the roof and dropped down from the ceiling beside Cognitoe its attack missed.

Cognitoe shifts back away from the slime and tries to put an arrow into it but misses. Adrie again goes for the old faithful magic missiles and uses it against the slime that is eating Mr. E. Meat. The damage is nicely spread between the two of them. Mr. E. Meat uses Adrie attack as a distraction and makes good his escape.  Then tries to take his revenge on the slime but misses.  An AP is used to take a second wind.

Locke puts on his new amulet and then pulls out and drinks down a healing potion.  He fires off a sling stone but misses then fails the save against the ongoing damage. Darbeck second winds and uses a fortune card called Over Bold for ten extra temps. I had honestly forgotten anyone even had these at my table. They come up so rarely. Afterwards Darbeck uses healing word on Mr. E. Meat  and then misses his attack on the slime.  One of the remaining tentacles grabs ahold of Darbeck.

Both Green Slimes attack and miss. Cognitoe moves up and across the pipe and gets slammed by the slime for his efforts. He returns the favour and hits it with an arrow and slows it.  Adrie moves to attack the last two tentacles with Burning Hands the one hits and the other is missed. Mr. E. Meat takes out the last tentacle with a critical hit and then saves against his ongoing damage. Locke moved to the other body carefully watching the ceiling with each step he takes. Then he searches the body to find the second amulet He fails to save against ongoing damage for a third time.

Darbeck hits the slime and then AP for total defense. The remaining dead rat desert had finally shake
off the effects of Cognitoe’s attack and was able to move again.  He ran back up the pipe in his rat form
carefully avoiding attacks from Cognitoe and the green slime. The Green Slime moved into the sewage
and disappeared beneath it. Unknown to the players it saved vs slow. The other slime attacks and
engulfs Mr. E Meat, he is just so tasty.

Cogneato moves away from the slime and fires at it but misses. Adrie hits the slime and Mr. E. Meat. Sadly she failed the perception check to notice the damage being done to her companion.  The player of Mr. E Meat and I were able to use text messages to quickly let each other know about the damage being taken by the attacks. It worked really well and kept the other players out of the loop.   

Mr. E. Meat escapes the slime and moves away and then says “It hurts the person who is inside it when you attack it.” Locke backstabs with his sling doing massive damage to the empty slime. Then finally makes his save vs the ongoing damage. Darbeck healing word Mr. E. Meat and shifts to give Adrie flaking but rather than attacking he uses total defense.

The slime moves out of the sewage but can't reach anyone. The other slime engulfs Adrie.
Cognitoe hits the slime that is behind the wall and slows it. Adrie takes her ongoing damage and then does everything she can to escape but fails. Mr. E. Meat shifts back and attacks the second slime scoring hi third crit of the night and kills it.  Although he did admit later to seriously considering attacking the slime that held Adrie, since she’d been responsible for attacking the slime both time’s he was trapped in it.

Locke shifts to a rat form.  Darbeck moves away from the slime that holds Adrie and spots a lights coming down the tunnel towards them. Cognitoe holds his action until Adrie escapes the slime. Which Adrie does just moments later and then misses it when she attacked. Cognitoe clever shots the slime with a critical and kills it.

The party scored somewhere around 6 critical attacks over the course of the battle. They were rolling amazingly hot.  I on the other hand was attacking their Reflex so I didn’t need to roll all that well at all.  It made for an interesting little Encounter although I surprised they didn’t try and talk with the dead rat at the beginning of the Encounter. 

The soldiers arrive at the end of the hallway and the PC’s are asked if they are the ones who fought the dragon. Mr. E. Meat speaks up first confirms it. Then they are invited to accompany them for a place to rest and also to discuss certain matters. As the group starts to leave Mr. E meat points out the rat hidden in the corner and tells them he is with them.

After being led to a secret lair of the Sons of Alagondar they are taken to a private room.  Food and buckets to clean up are brought in and the group has a few minutes alone.  Arlon Bladeshaper, the head of the Sons of Alagondar returns, he talks with the group and shares his desire to have this conflict end peacefully as well as his fear that the Heir will force the issue with violence. The party is unsure how to take this information and several insight checks are made.

Towards the end of their exchange he drops the bombshell that he plans to refuse the heir request for aid in assaulting the Protector’s Enclave. This piece of information seemed to be the key to gaining the groups trust. They will meet with him and try and convince him to end this peacefully.

Throughout the exchange Arlon keeps glancing over at Cognitoe.  He suspects that he recognizes him as a noble of the area.  The two of them have a brief exchange outside in private where Cognitoe confirms that is of noble blood. Arlon is blunt and admits that Cognitoe could help them down the road against the protector and give the people someone to relay behind. To that end he offers the loan of his armour to ensure Cognitoe’s survival in the coming battle.


The kids table as it is officially known.
I wanted to touch on something a little different at the end of this report. In the past I’ve mentioned some of the other tables that play at the Brick and Mortar where I play.  Towards the end of the summer we had a sudden and rather large influx of new players.  All of them were very young, no more then 15, and all of them wanted to play together as a group.  We did our best to accommodate over the summer but also prepared for the winter and their return to school.  The ideal situation was to do something where they could continue to play without interfering to much with homework and bedtimes.

So what happens now is one of the DM’s starts his game at 6 rather than the regular 7 o’clock that the rest of the tables start at.  He has the patients of saint I think, Gods know I couldn’t do it.  His table averages about 7-9 players. Honestly I think that number will grow if the kids talk about it at school. This is the real success of DnD Encounters.  It is introducing kids to our hobby and through them it will hopefully continue far into the future.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost Crown of Neverwinter - D&D Encounter #9

Sorry it's late I got distracted with all the excitement of Thanksgiving, and starting as a PC in a local fantasy LARP.

It was a much smaller group than our regularly table.  We were down to four characters, oddly enough neither of the tables regular Bladesingers were in attendance.  I toned the Dead Rat’s down by one member and we got down to business.

There was no advance planning or anything at the start. Locke just walked right up to the portcullises and inspected it for traps.  Quietly he informed the group that he’d found none.  So of course Darbeck had to double check and confirm that it wasn’t trapped.  Afterwards Locke moved up again and picked the lock on it. Before it was lifted up he shifted to rat form and moved up to scout. It was enough to give the party some advanced warning and intelligence before they attacked. He scurried back through the bars just as a thrown dagger clattered against the wall beside him.  Initiative is rolled and combat begins.

Mr. E. Meat moved up to the portcullis and lifted it.  The mechanism locked into place with each foot he lifted it.  He got it up high enough to pass but left it low enough that it would still would be a hindrance for anyone firing through it. Darbeck squeezed passed him on the ledge and got about half way down the narrow edge, and stopped in a defensive stance.  Cognitoe fired his long bow from the far end of the tunnel and seemed unhindered by the portcullis and put an arrow firmly into one of the wererats; poor man’s Crit.

A couple of the rats threw daggers Darbeck & Mr. E Meat but both of them miss horribly.  Another rushed Darbeck and bit a chunk out of his shoulder, leaving him in danger of becoming infected. The final wererat moved as far as he safely could in order to get at Cognitoe, in the end however it wasn’t far enough.

Locke tumbled around the corner and then under the portcullis.  His sling already spinning as he got to his feet and the stone caught the wererat off guard and was enough to leave him bloodied.

 Mr. E. Meat climbed up on to the portcullis and scrambled over the sewage while holding on to the slippery bars. Then he charged at the one Locke had bloodied. It was a solid hit but not enough drop it.  Darbeck calls on that famous dwarven reserve of strength and then smashes his axe down in to the rat that had just bitten him.  From the far end of the tunnel Cognitoe fires another arrow hitting it and leaving it lame and slow moving.

A wererat from the back of the pack calls out for his brothers to fall back and make the adventures come to them, sadly he was the only one really able to do much of anything movement wise. The slowed wererats moved as far back as they could in their condition and both throw daggers to no effect.  Mr E. Meat provided a tasty snack for the wererat who was ever so near death.

Locke twirls his sling and is about to let fly another stone when the wererat across the sewage calls out to him.  “Locke, is that you?” Only then does he realize that the intended victim of his stone was an old friend from the Dead Rat Nix. Locke didn’t recognize any of the others, but Nix was an old friend and they had done a few jobs together. There was a brief exchange in which Nix tried to convince Locke to help him out with these invaders.  Locke wasn’t going to have any of it and wasn’t interested in coming back into the fold.  He let fly the bullet, and called for stun damage. Nix slumped to the ground. After his friend falls Locke calls out to the party to not kill his friend.

Mr. E. Meat pulls the rat that was biting him off and kills it.  Darbeck moves up and bloods one of the slow moving one with a massive blow from his axe. Cognitoe draws back another arrow and kills it. Not for the first time I find myself missing the old rules from earlier editions about firing into melee.

The player of Mr. E Meat out of the blue asks what the group is doing down here. I remind them all of the earlier flavour text and their meeting with Lord Neverember as well as the information that they had been given.  It all leads to a short albeit interesting comparison between this season and last.  Everyone is very much in agreement that they don’t feel they have any control over the adventure.  They are mostly going from one combat encounter to the next without really knowing why or getting to make any decisions.  At least in the last couple of seasons there were a few encounters where they had some say in what was going to happen.

The knocked out wererat stands back up and rushes across the pipe to attack his now ex friend. Apparently he didn’t believe friends should show their love for one another with sling bullets.  The other wererat backed up and tossed a dagger at Darbeck.  Locke dropped his friend like an unwanted bag of coppers and then kicked him in to the sewage.  Cognitoe moves up past the portcullis finally and puts an arrow into the remaining the wererat.   Darbeck moved up and took a defensive posture rather than charge and finish off the last wererat.

Seeing that the fight is over and his side has lost the remaining wererat pulls the rope that set off the trap.  The chamber is flooded with water and sewage. Then everything is sucked down the nearest vortex.  Each of the party members is able to make a check against one of several different skills.  To my surprise as Cognitoe made his roll. The only person to fail it was Darbeck and it cost him a healing surge. 

I was so certain that Cognitoe, who has a long history of poor dice rolls, would fail it. I had spent some time during the afternoon research what happens when a character which has no healing surges, is forced to lose one during a skill challenge. This situation wasn’t covered in any of the rule books that I checked and twitter didn’t provide me with any answers either. I ended up calling the DM hotline.  The guy who answered basically told me nothing would happen, because it wasn’t covered in the rules.  I guess it is his job to know the rules but I think a certain amount of creativity is called for at times. So what I had planned was to say that he hit his head on a rock and gave himself what would have effectively been a mild concussion.  This would have left him with a -1 to attacks, skill checks and his speed as he was unsure of his footing.  I had considered taking his surge value in hit points but with the last encounter coming next I didn’t want to take away the hit points.

From start to finish the whole was less than an hour and twenty minutes. It was the shortest encounter in the history of my experience with Encounters.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse - LARP

It’s Sunday morning as I sit at my computer for a few minutes trying to keep my thoughts clear in a body that is in pain.  So far this weekend I’ve played 2 different games that I’ve never played before.  It’s been a wonderful way to kick off the October and Play a New RPG month.  This report will focus on the second game I was in. I want to get this out before I forget, because I wasn’t able to take notes during the apocalypse.
Our zombie Survival team

The arsonal.

The Steinbach LARPers Society hosted a Zombie Apocalypse game.  People were encouraged to come out with your favourite Nerf Gun, LARP baseball Bat or whatever else might be found during a modern day Zombie Apocalypse.  Our own group collected a variety of weaponry;
  1. ·         A purple royal crown dice bag (that I stuffed with foam) to simulate a dice bag.
  2. ·         A knitting needle case the was filled with straws to simulate knitting needles
  3. ·         A spray bottle filled with water that was supposed to be a mixture of peroxide that would blind a zombie
  4. ·         5 different style Nerf guns.
  5. ·         A couple of foam knifes
  6. ·         And more Nerf Ammo then you can shake a stick at.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lost Crown of Neverwinter - D&D Encounter #8

What’s a little Filth Fever among friends?

We were a smaller table this down to five players.  Yet again the two Bladesingers must have coordinated who would be attending beforehand as we only had the one.  Although I must say we did have the prettier of the two options.  Sorry @Sithlordyoda, but it is true you’ve got to admit it. The evening was plagued by odd little tech glitches; my iPhone where I takes notes that I use to make this blog post after the fact ate all the notes about the skill challenge.  Then the program I use on my tablet DM’s Assistant wasn’t updating the changes to the monsters hit point totals. I had to leave the program and came back into it after each change to see the effect. It made for a frustrating evening.

The group arrived at the cottage and pulled the rug aside with the flourish of a magician.  Everyone felt the hidden tunnel under the rug was pretty much over done. We quickly moved on in to the decent portion of the tunnel exploration. This was intended to be a difficult decent but the players poor rolls certainly made it worse. Of the five tests they need to make they failed four.  Adding insult to injury was the fact that three of those failures resulted from eighteen on their checks, the target number was nineteen. In the end they made it to the bottom through tight tunnels filled with filth and noxious smells, but at least they made it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Play a New RPG Month

The folks over at The Dice of Doom podcast started a great project a year ago. Their idea was to try a new RPG every month for a year. They have played a variety different games so far, and talked about what they liked and didn't about each on their podcast. Now they are throwing down the challenge to all of us. Step out of your comfort game, and try something else.  To Play a New RPG in the Month of October 

Every Wednesday I am at my local brick and mortar store to run DnD encounters. I talk with about 20 different players about games and RPGS. They continue to surprise me by their lack of knowledge about any game system beyond WotC Dungeon and Dragons 4th edition. While I am overjoyed that they are at least playing something I wish they would expand their minds and try something different. There are so many different game options out there. I think that is where something like Play a New RPG Month is really going to shine. In order for it to do its job however, it is up to all of us to get the word out. Otherwise it is likely just going to be a bunch of people who would already be playing different games anyways.

I’ve made a list of my top five picks for Play a New RPG month. Each of them was picked for a variety of reasons but one of the main deciding factors were their ability to play in a single session and the cost. Almost all of them can easily extend them into a longer session but I want to try as many different new systems.  I know this is a slightly different take on it, but I figure if you try it and you like it or are at least curious about it then you can always go back to it and see what else it has to offer.  The second time around you can get more into personalizing the characters. With pre-gens and relatively simple systems you can grab something and run with it. I’ve also tried to keep each of my picks relatively inexpensive if not free. With all of that in mind here are my top five picks for Play a New RPG month

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lost Crown of Neverwinter - D&D Encounter #7

If you missed Session 6 you can read about it here

Welcome back to week 7, there are a couple of small changes in our party’s line up once again. Our traditional Bladesinger has been replaced with her Drow doppelganger. it is funny how these two characters never seem to be at the table at the same time. We were also missing the second cleric that had joined us last week. Fondle the Dead's player returned with a new character called Mr. E Meat and yes, his naming skills leave much to be desired.

After a good rest at the Inn of a Thousand Faces the party was ready to get going. They were greeted at the door on the way out by the inn's owners who warned them that things were going to get violent very soon. There was no telling how long they had if they wanted to prevent blood from being spilled in the streets. As a way of thanking the party for how they handled the Charl situation they gave the group two healing potions, wished them good fortunes and sent them on their way.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Critical Hits and Terrible Fumbles

The critical fumble chart from
If you are going to scream out and get excited when you roll a 20 then you need something to make you quiver in fear at the sight of a 1. D&D 4e was missing that balance. Like most people we first tried following the rules as written. They just didn’t work for us. We found that they sorely needed some fumble rules. Here are the rules that we came up with to balance that 

When a 1 is rolled on a skill check or attack roll it is considered a failure regardless of any bonuses you might have.  The exact reason can be determined by either the DM or the player, so long as it makes sense for the campaign and everyone agrees.  Maybe the character was distracted while trying to do something complex.  Perhaps their footing wasn’t as good as they thought it was and they nearly slipped. Whatever the cases they have failed and now must deal with the repercussions.  If the 1 is rolled while making a skill check the test is failed in some disastrous way, this is where we really get to be creative and have fun with it.

In the case of an attack roll the result is a miss regardless of any bonuses and it ends your turn.  Characters go directly to the final step of their turn and make any saving throw checks that are required.  Afterwards it moves on to the next person in the initiative, no action points can be spent to keep the turn going.  Of course with any rule there are always exceptions that come from a more specific rule for example; Elvin Accuracy, or the Enchanted Heirloom renown reward would both allow the PC to reroll their 1.  Considering the luck of the average player they will likely get a 1 again anyways.