Tuesday, September 2, 2014

5E Stonehell TPK

On Sunday 8/31 I ran D&D 5th edition at Titan Games. Last week I started the Lost Mines from the starter set, but I spent the week thinking about it, and decided that an open table, which is how I want to run it, doesn't work so well with such a structured adventure. I need something more... open. I only came to this conclusion a couple of hours before the game, even though it had been niggling at me all week.

A megadungeon campaign offers the ability for players to make forays into the dungeon, and return to town at the end of every adventure, making it easier to swap out players every session. This is going to be important in the future since I know at least one of the players will only be able to attend every other week.

Now, I have multiple megadungeons to choose from, including Stonehell, Barrowmaze, Dwimmermount, The Black Stairs, and even my own. There are also a number of mini-megadungeons out there like Dyson's Delve that I could snag. Since I had planned to run a Stonehell flailsnails game on G+ later that night, I had it with me, so that's what I decided to run. 

I quickly skimmed again through the entire first level, and especially the antechamber quadrant, while a new player rolled up a character. I also decided to steal the Yawning Portal Inn entrance to Undermountain for my game. This got the players into the dungeon (and into the action) much faster.

The characters for this past week:
Wood Elf Ranger
Wood Elf Thief
Human Paladin

The party gathered in the Yawning Portal Inn, paid their gold to enter the dungeon, and were winched down the 60' into the entry hall. They then headed south east, encountering an empty room, then some suspicious dwarves, and then a room with a giant rat. The paladin strode in to kill it, at which point 7 more emerged from the trash piles. The fight was painful and fast, dropping the paladin and the ranger over 2 rounds, and injuring the thief. Deciding that discression is the better part of valor, the thief ran back to the dwarves, and had just enough time to cry out for help before he was jumped by a giant rat, bringing him to zero.


I decided that the dwarves would help, so all the characters woke up several hours later with 1hp each, and owing the dwarves for their lives. They returned to the surface to rest.

After resting his 4 hours for the night the thief tried to pick some pockets which resulted in him spending most of the night hiding in an alleyway. 

The next morning the adventurers returned to the dungeon, exploring the ruined rooms to the north east, and then venturing through the ogre mouths. They avoided some territorial snakes, passed through an ancient battleground, and then shoved their way past a large stone double door. The 8 fire beetles on the other side of the door were a challenge, especially since I started using Giant Crab stats instead of Giant Beetle stats. Once I corrected my error, the adventurers prevailed, removed the glowing glands and then scurried back to the surface to sell them.

I look forward to seeing what they're going to do next week...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#RPGaDAY 22-31

22nd - Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

Dungeon Crawl Classics. I picked it up last Christmas for $25.

23rd - Coolest looking RPG product / book

I'm going to again go with the DCC core book.

24th - Most Complicated RPG Owned

3rd Edition D&D with splatbooks. It really just got to be too much, which is why I stopped playing, and was thrilled with 4e.

25th - Favourite RPG no one else wants to play

Star Trek. As much as I love the show, I've never gotten anyone that's been willing to play the game, in any version. The closest I've gotten was a free-form storytelling game on a forum.

26th - Coolest character sheet

Maybe it's not cool, but I loved this sheet.

27th - Game You’d like to see a new / improved edition of…

Tales from the Floating Vagabond

28th - Scariest Game you’ve played

Honestly, playing in Stonehell with a level 2 fighter. I'd worked really hard for that level 2, and we were going into the section filled with undead.

29th - Most memorable encounter

It's a tossup between throwing the same hydra at the party 3 times, or having my god of moths go toe to toe with the god of war in a sword fight... and winning. :-)

30th - Rarest RPG Owned

I don't know that I actually own a rare RPG... Maybe the Star Wars supplements?

31st - Favourite RPG of all time

Rules Cyclopedia D&D always.

Big thanks to Autocratik for putting this list together, and to everyone else who participated.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The 6 Month Mountain Reduction & Painting Challenge - Introduction & Rules

I have a lot of unpainted minis. Like really a lot. I've very slowly been working my way through them, but it's unlikely I'll ever completely make it through the pile... but I've got to try! So in the spirit of motivating myself to get shit done, I'm joining in on The 6 Month Mountain Reduction & Painting Challenge from Chris' Miniature Woes and Dave's The Spider Web of History, which I found via The Dead Lead Project.

The rules, beginning September 1st, are as follows:

1. No purchasing of new miniatures, EXCEPT if you use a joker card.  Like in a deck of cards, you get two jokers to use on a figure purchase during the six months of the challenge.  Could be a blister pack, an ebay bundle, or a single figure...you can't splurge. [I don't think this is going to be an issue. There are so many reasons I don't need to buy any more minis...]

2.  Gifts do not count against you. Christmas and or birthdays etc. Also, if you're given gift cards by your hobby illiterate family or friends, you can without penalty use them on anything you want miniatures wise. [Again, not a problem. The last time someone gave me minis, it was a box of old D&D minis, and that was over 2 years ago.]

3.  Paints, terrain (or materials), and other hobby supplies do not apply to the no purchasing rule. [I'm set for paints and basing materials, so unless I break my clippers or something like that...]

4.  At least one hobby related blog post and/or Instagram update a week.  If you Instagram, be sure to hashtag your pic with #6MMRPC [I don't have an Instagram account, but I have a blog...]

5.  Zombtober will be part of the 6 month challenge so, Zombie related stuff during October is ENCOURAGED! [I can certainly work with that!]

In addition to those rules, my personal goal is at least one painted per week. It doesn't have to have been started that week, but one mini finished each week (basing doesn't count since batch basing works better for the most part). Extra minis finished in a week do not carry over!

We'll see how well I do with this...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unexpectedly Running 5e

Before last night's D&D Wednesday night encounters league I was working on some of my many Reaper Bones minis and thinking about how I wanted to level my wizard when the DM pops in early. It seems he has to attend some last minute event, and won't be able to run our table. Given that last week we had 2 full tables, and they were expecting to be able to do 3 tables this week... that was a problem.

The guys at the store knew I ran a game on Sunday, and they asked me to DM my own table.

I wanted to play, not DM... 

What was I going to do? Make my fellow players waste a night? Besides, I'd already read the adventure. So I grabbed the packet for the night and went to dinner. While chowing down on a bacon cheeseburger and waffle fries I refreshed myself on the stuff I'd intentionally tried to forget.

Now, my group is apparently a session or 4 ahead of where the adventure league is supposed to be. We kinda skipped a lot using stealth, and ran roughshod over any actual role playing. The governor barely had time to begin explaining a problem before we were on it. I think we managed something like 7 or 8 encounters in 2 hours.

So for tonight, I wanted to slow things down a bit. I intentionally made my players role play, interacting with the governor and one of the survivors of the attack. Then, of their own accord, they opted to role play with the cultists they were chasing! Seriously, no combat dice were rolled till over an hour of table time had passed! I played the cultists as incredibly lazy and stupid, and the kobolds as simpering cowards. In spite of my players' poor dice rolls for deception, the cultists perception results were even worse. And everyone got involved.

The combat itself wasn't actually all that challenging, but it did end up taking them the rest of the allotted time.
While the players noted the different pace, and one of them was seriously itching for a fight by the halfway point, everyone seemed to have a good time.

Beyond that, I felt like I really nailed it. Sure, there are a couple of things I'd have done a little differently, but overall I'm really pleased with how I did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bits and Bobs XXIII

This week is the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters. For those like me who were too young to see it in the theater, it's back on Friday! You know I'll be there!

And if that isn't enough for you, Crooked Dice Games is releasing Four Paranormal Exterminators and (a big!) Ectoplasmic Entity.

Over at Wrath of Zombie's Blog there's a gory Blood Witch class for DCC. Like most of his stuff, it's well worth checking out.

Noah Stevens of The Hapless Henchman has a nasty deep black, tissue-paper-like monster called Noctules. Not only that, but he wrote them up for Dungeon Crawl Classics, Labyrinth Lord, and Swords and Wizardry!

If the new 5th edition is more your thing right now, Ed Hackett of Chainsaw Chirurgeon has a Myconids (mushroom people) race for you to use.

Arnold K over at Goblin Punch has some Fungal Giants + Moss Men + Disease Rules that thematically fits in with Ed's Myconids, even though it's more oldschool than 5e.

Jack over at Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque has a Mourning Blade (undead hunter) class for 5e.

Feel like you need some guns for 5e? Nicholas over at Realms of Chirak has you covered.

Cult of the Dragon bore you? Worshipers of the Great Old Ones just not doing it for you? How about some cults based on superheroes from Cedric P of Hors du chaudron de Koscista Noga?

And who's letting these cultists get away with it? Maybe it's the result of some (In)Effective Policing? Luke of ANT-LERRR has some random charts to try to figure out what sort of constabulary a town has.

Turn undead is a really underutilized mechanic. What else can the cleric do with Turn Undead? Eric over at The Dragon's Flagon has a few ideas worth checking out.

Lastly, I've decided that not everything I want to share really works well in blog format, especially lots and lots of pictures, so I've created a Tumblr, appropriately named Basement of the Archmage. There isn't a ton of content there yet, and none of it will be original to me, but it's stuff that I think is cool.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

5e Monster: Clockwork Zombie

Clockwork Zombies
Medium construct, neutral evil

AC: 14 (natural armor)
HP: 22 (3d8+9)
Speed: 25 ft.

Str 13 +1
Dx 6 -2
Con 14 +2
Int 10
Wis 5 -3
Cha 5 -3

Saving Throws Con +4, Wis -4
Damage immunities: lightning, poison
Condition Immunities: poisoned, frightened
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., passive perception 10
Languages: understands the language it knew in life, can’t speak
Challenge: ½ (100xp)

Lightning Recharge: Whenever the clockwork zombie is subjected to lightning damage, it takes no damage, and gains temporary hitpoints equal to half the lightning damage dealt.

Tick-Tock: Clockwork zombies can never surprise anyone that can hear.

Slam. Melee weapon attack +4 to hit, reach 5 ft. One target. Hit: 8 (2d6+1) bludgeoining damage.

The manipulation of necromatic forces to reanimate a body is not an exact science, nor is it an easy path to master. The turning of gears, the pumping of fluids, and the spark of electricity may be just as arcane, but it is a science, though a weird one.

Clockwork zombies smell of chemical preservatives, and are full of gears, pumps, and assorted steampunk paraphernalia that animate these poor souls. The animation process manages to preserve the mind of the original creature, but twists it to evil. They are intelligent, but easily fooled.

My first attempt at a 5e monster...

Image Source