Sunday, November 27, 2011

Partial Party Kill (PPK)

Earlier this year, I blogged about using a Deck of Many Things in my CotMA game.  I believed at the time (and I still do) that that little "one off" adventure was a big success.

One of the draws was the Sun card:
SunKDGain beneficial miscellaneous magic item and 50,000 experience points.
Xavier the Marked (a cleric of Mesha) drew the card and was catapulted to 7th level.  I randomly rolled in the LL AEC for the magic item and it was a "Helm of Brilliance."

I've never played with one of these before.  When I announced that Xavier had found this, I didn't fully realize what it could do.  See below.

Wow.  This thing is practically an artifact.  

Upon reflection, I had an epiphany (1) about this kind of powerful magic item (at least with regard to my campaign.)

Xavier became the heart of the party.  I know the group felt that there was no foe too powerful to handle if Xavier was around.  DB was excellent at using the gems on the helm to maximum benefit and he also used the flametongue and detect undead powers to maximum effect. 

Xavier became the party leader, the party powerhouse and the party savior, time and time again.

DB made a special card (I hope to get a scan of it) to keep track of all the things Xavier could do with the helm.  It was excellent.

We all knew in our heart of hearts, however, that that little clause (I highlighted in blue above) would be the death of him (eventually...)

Well, it happened.  

It was awhile ago now, but I feel I had to memorialize Xavier with this post.  Writing nothing about it just doesn't seem right.

The party was completing their exploration of the second level of CotMA.  They came upon a somewhat isolated room and the monster description said that there was a "worry hag" in the room.  I'm sure that Joseph had a perfectly fine description of this monster in Appendix III, but I decided to wing it.

The party listened at the door and they heard a creaky voice... "Oh, I hope they don't come in here...  Oh, I hope they go away....  Oh no...."  I decided that this was a suitable warning that something nasty lurked beyond...  

The adventurers took this as an invite to go in.  Funny lot those adventurer types...

Well, the party was split.  Half of the group was checking out an adjacent room and the other half was listening to the hag worry away.  The hag group included the Sir Owyn the Paladin, Vera Diamondtree the Wizard, Kalen the Wizard and Xavier.

The party knocked on the door.

In a hushed voice, "Oh no, oh no...  I hope they don't come in..." Then a louder voice, "Who is it?"  Quieter again, "Oh no, why did I say that..."

Sir Owyn asks, "Is there evil on the other side of the door?"  Yes I say.  It reeks of evil...

I'm still hoping to creep the party out and hoping they'll just go away.  I've decided that this hag has some serious claw attacks (3d6x2) and that her claws will turn you to stone if you don't save.  She's got a crystal ball and a couple of cat familars.  One cat familiar has accidentally been turned to stone by an errant scratch under the chin.  She has a potion that can be used to cure petrification of one victim.  She keeps it around to cure her cats...

The party goes in through the door.

Xavier and Sir Owyn close in on the hag who erupts from her quiet repose with a blood curdling shriek.  She leaps over the table she's seated at (with her crystal ball) and tears into the party.  

The battle is joined.  Sir Owyn loses his protection from evil ability because he's attacking her directly (but he's still AC -4).  Xavier is AC 0.  They both begin to wail on the hag, who has considerable HPs, 8 HD, but a low AC of 5.  

Eventually Owyn is hit and he (amazingly) fails his save.  Instant Paladin statue.  JW is bummed that his Paladin is petrified.  

Things start to go sideways.  Kalen casts protection from evil on himself.  He uses his Wand of Illusion to simulate a Blur spell, making Xavier harder to hit.  The group retreats to the doorway and slams it shut.  The hag is on the other side.

The rest of the group joins the fray and there is some discussion about how they will finish the hag off.  Will they use a web?  Magic missiles?  Lightning?  Will they fireball the hag?

They decide that Xavier will fireball the hag and that he'll do it at close range because he has fire resistance from the helm.  Collen Redsides has a frostbrand that likewise confers fire resistance so he'll stick around as backup.  The idea is to throw the fireball into the room and slam the door shut.

A few other party members, Thannor the Ranger and Larot the Warrior linger in the immediate area...  The rest run to minimum safe distance...

The hag is ready and when the door is opened, she fights to get through...  The fireball goes off...

Xavier rolls a "1" on his save.  

The helm detonates.

We took the time to roll the Prismatic Sprays to see if any of the characters were sent to another dimension.  Nope.

The minimum damage from all the fireballs and walls of fire was hundreds of points.  

We rolled saves for all their magic items.  Only a couple survived.  Here's a scan of everything that was destroyed in the conflagration:

All that was left was a statue of a Paladin.  JW is now happy that his Paladin is petrified...  :)

RIP -- Collen Redsides, barbarian warrior of the North; Thannor, Ranger of the Deep Woods; Larot, grim Warrior (we hardly knew ye...) and Xavier the Marked.

You will all be missed.

(1) A magic item of this magnitude just couldn't be made by a single wizard.  Either these things are made by a cabal or, I've decided, they are made by the gods.  You see,  the gods put items of chance, like the Deck of Many Things into the world and then if an adventurer is lucky enough, they bestow items like The Helm of Brilliance upon them.  That's how items of this power make it in to the world at large...  at least in Queston.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Building the Ominous Storeroom (Part 1)

Kev, of Kev's Lounge fame, helped me out a while back with my One Page Dungeon design.

Since then, he and I have chatted online and via Skype about gaming and also about his latest projects at the Papercraft Dungeon.  Here's a previous post.

His first set is the Ominous Storeroom and it's very cool.  In my game, there are always dank, dangerous warehouses near the wharf of cities like Ravenport.  Crimelords use these warehouses to plot and plan their next job.  Greedy merchants protect their warehouses with Box Golems.

What better than some 3D scenery to make it all come to life?

Well, I've printed out all the stacks of boxes and crates and I've begun the process of building.  There are several levels of difficulty within the set.  I've started with the basic.  As I progress, I'll post more picture and more comments about the build.

I began by gathering my materials:

I have a copy of the crates boxes, scissors, a ruler, a hobby knife and a cutting mat.

I started cutting, using the ruler and the hobby knife to make straight lines.  I actually never used the scissors.  The hobby knife turned out to be too flimsy and I made some sloppy cuts.  It's also possible that the tip of the blade was a bit dull.  I was going to need a bigger knife...

This made the process go a lot faster.  I used the ruler for the long, straight lines.  I was able to freehand the little triangular notches.

When it was cut out, I flipped it over and I scored the back on the folding lines using the ruler and a black ballpoint pen.  This works very well for scoring, regardless of whether you fold forward or backward.

I prefolded all the corners and I worked to make sure the folds were matching up where the box pattern started.  Ideally, I wanted all the corners to join up so you couldn't see any of the white paper.  I didn't succeed terribly well, but it isn't too bad.  In the future, I might use a brown marker PRIOR to glueing to make the white paper a bit more invisible.

I used a toothpick to apply a little white glue to each flap.  The paper I used (non-glossy cardstock) glued very quickly.  I didn't have to hold the flaps very long at all.

In the end, here's the first part of the Ominous Storeroom...

More boxes to come!!

What kind of D&D Character am I?

I Am A: Lawful Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:

Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Slimes, Jellies and Puddings - Redux

It's been over a month and my "milk plastic" slimes/jellies/puddings are doing just fine.  They aren't breaking down.  They're not oozy or outgassing.  Sure, they're a little smelly, but not any smellier than some cheap plastic toys.

Here's my prior post

Here's a quick video.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My DIY DM Station

In these videos, I show the rolling GM station that I've built for myself.  I built this on Columbus' Day this year (I usually do something crazy on that day each year -- my wife is always out of town!)

Enjoy the videos

If you have questions or feedback, please post that in the comments.

The 20-Sided Quickies are ALSO from 9 and 30 Kingdoms (thanks Talysman)  They are AWESOME!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Many Hobbies of Tabletop RPGs

I'm sure someone else said this before and I'm certain that they said it more eloquently than I will.

Tabletop RPGs aren't just a single hobby.  They are an axle around which the spokes of many hobbies revolve.  They are the gateway that allows participation in many different (related) hobbies.

For example, I'm a writer because of D&D.  I wrote this little book, I'm working on another (slowly) and I'm rolling other ideas around in my head for a third.

I write adventures too.  I write spreadsheets and other software tools to help me run games.  I write this blog.

What's more, I'm kind of a hack artist too.  I like to draw maps, monsters, magic items, etc.  Sometimes I use pencil and other times I use GIMP.  It's fun.

I'm also a minis painter.  I do crafts.  I invent all kinds of things.

I've even built a rolling DM station that stores all my minis, includes an LCD projector, is my DM screen, contains frequently used charts...  (I'll post about this very soon)

The bottom line is, what other hobby lets you do all these other hobbies too?  Hell, it practically compels you to do these other hobbies too...

...and I haven't even mentioned ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME as a hobby in its own right.  :)