Friday, February 27, 2015

How and Where I Prep - February RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is hosted by Leicester's Ramble, and the topic is about when and where you write and/or do your game prep.

Most of my prep is done in the evenings, usually too late in the evenings, as both my energy and creativity are flagging. But that's usually when I have free time. Free time to write it down, anyway. I spend about 3 hours a day in the car, 4 days a week, and I hate for those to be wasted hours. A lot of the time I listen to audio books, mull over ideas in my head, and even try out NPC voices where no one else can hear me.

Super helpful Alicemonster the Charismatic

My computer is in the corner of my dining/game room, in an overly large corner desk. I usually have one or both of my dogs at my feet, and some movie soundtrack playing in the background. Lately it's been a lot of Tron Legacy, John Carter, Star Trek (various), and of course Conan the Barbarian. Tonight, as I write this, it's Star Trek The Next Generation Best of Both Worlds.

I keep my books handy. In the picture above it's the Rules Cyclopedia and the 5e Monster Manual. Not in the picture, but within easy reach are the DCC core book, the rest of my 5e books, Castles and Crusades PHB, Frank Mentzer's Basic D&D, and a number of zines as well as my dice.

What I work on depends. Sometimes it's just a random (or like this one, not so random) blog post. If it's a session report, I'll have my notes handy. If it's session planning, then it depends on what game I'm prepping for. Standard is whatever rulebook is appropriate. Lately that means 5e.

For my Wednesday night Adventure's League, I'll also have the Horde of the Dragon Queen book handy, as well as the Hack & Slash remix pages up on the computer.

My Friday night Weird New World group, I'll have a couple of Dyson's zine's handy, as well as Vornheim and my copy of Michael Curtis' DCC Adventure The Chained Coffin.

For Saturday's Stonehell game, obviously the main book is Michael Curtis' Stonehell volume 1. I'd have volume 2 handy, but I'm still waiting on Curtis to get the damn thing published!

So how and where do you do your prep?

And if you want to get ahead of the game, March's topic is Best GM Ever, hosted by Creative Mountain Games

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Magic Item: Guild Of Maintainers Lamp

"This is a heavy duty door for a sewer..." Nimble scratched his chin. "But I don't actually think it's locked."

"And no sign of traps?" Allianora asked.

"Nothing. Just this old writing." He pointed to the ancient script circling the door's wheel. "Feris, do you know what it says?"

Feris closed his eyes and muttered something under his breath. When he opened his eyes, they were solid gold in color. "It's an invocation to order, and a place name... I think."

"You think?" Rathgar asked.

"Have you ever heard of a place called URU?"

"I have." Allianora answered. "It was a great and ancient city of mechanical wonders. According to the old stories even the angels on their cathedrals were animated.

"If the condition of this door is any indication, we can hope some of those wonders are well preserved within." Nimble smiled and reached for the wheel. With a grunt it gave way, and the latches withdrew into the door. Rathgar reached out and helped pull the heavy door open. Within, the small chamber was lit by a single lantern. THe walls were covered in strange colorful drawings tacked up on wooden boards. The only furniture was the table the lamp rested on, it's light as steady as any magelight.

"Hua..." Nimble sighed. "I was hoping for something a little more... more."

URU Guild Of Maintainers Lamp by by *Pirkleations

This magical lamp casts light as a normal lamp, and anything within it's light magically resists the effects of entropy. It is not a full immunity, but food left in it's light will easily last for a century or more without spoiling. In addition the light acts as a protection from Chaos spell. A side effect of the spell, is that games of chance can not be played in it's light. For example, shuffled decks of cards will sort themselves in order from lowest suit and number to highest.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Green men

The road plunged into the mist filled gullie. The sides of the path were thick with a wide variety of leafy plants that grew thick, limiting line of sight even more than the mist.

"Are we really going through there?" Feris sighed.

"That's where the road goes, and we need to get on..." Allianora fidgeted in her saddle. "It smells... spicy?"

Nimble breathed deeply "It smells like an opium den"

"Maybe we should go around" Rathgar grumbled. "But according to the map, it's going to add days to the trip."

"I think it's better than going into that, don't you?" Nimble asked.

From within the mist, glassy eyes blinked slowly, and gills breathed out another puff of mist.

Green Men
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 2* (S)
Move: 90' (30')
Attacks: Claw/Claw
Damage: 1d3/1d3
No. Appearing: 2d6 (2d8x4)
Save As: D1
Morale: 7
Treasure Type: C
Intelligence: 8
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 25

Green Men are related to lizard men, but like pandas they have abandoned meat eating in favor of a plant based diet. As they did not evolve for a herbivorous life, the digestive repercussions are unique. The Green Men constantly release an intoxicating gas. Any area inhabited by Green Men quickly becomes saturated with the gas, and anyone entering the area must make a saving throw vs poison every turn or spend the turn incapacitated, able only to move at half speed, and suffering a -6 penalty to armor class and any action that would require a roll. Thankfully, Green Men are both cowardly and generally non-violent. That doesn't stop them from gnawing on a hapless mammal that becomes overly intoxicated in their midst.

Monday, February 23, 2015

#6MMRPC Were-shark Nun and Gorgon

With the arrival of Bones II I've been feeling a little more motivated to actually make some progress. I guess the addition of 207 new minis will do that... and on top of that Friday night my usual game got canceled, so I asked over on G+ what mini I should work on next. The answers were Nun with the gun, Were-Shark, and Gorgon.

So this is what I accomplished:
Doing a bit of color blocking here.

For the Nun, I painted her outfit in walnut brown and bone as the base colors. Linen will go over the bone.

The Gorgon got a heavy drybrush of gunmetal over walnut brown.

The were-shark got the most attention with a base coat of Stone grey followed by a blue-grey mix (Denim and Stone) for the upper half, and bone over the lower half. The bottom is going to need some more smoothing out, and lightening. I might even try the same linen over the bone as I'll be doing for the nun.

I had a bit left over Old Rose Pink from the sharks mouth, so rather than waste it I pulled out the brain monster and added him to the mix. It then got the same blue-grey and bone colors I used on the were-shark.

Friday, February 20, 2015

1 week until Charm City Gameday!

Next weekend will be my 4th Charm City Gameday event at Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie and I can't wait. I'm going to be trying out Mongoose's Traveller, and getting to play in a 5e D&D game. If you're local, there's still time to sign up and get in on a game!

If those don't tickle your fancy, there's also Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Shadowrun, Dragon Age, C&C, DCC, Marvel Heroic RPG, , Godlike, Hollow Earth, Dresden Files, Danger Patrol, and Torchbearer, so there's something for everyone!

So sign up and get your game on!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#6MMRPC General Update

Nearing the end of the official challenge. I've been lousy with the updates, and only somewhat better actually reducing the mountain. While I've managed to paint 47 minis over the last several months, and refrained from buying any, Bone II arrived increasing my total number of minis by 207! But since I bought them back in 2013, they don't count... right?

On the other hand, I have finished several up over the last couple of days.

She has golden eyes...

It's a little hard to tell, but his armor is purple

More and better pictures to come...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Saying Nope to PiRats! 5e WNW

Session 8 of the weird new world campaign was played on Friday 2/13

The party consisted of the following:
Verdt, 1/2 Elf Wizard 3 (John)
Nessendra, Wood Elf Cleric 3 (Erindale)
Kethra, Human Fighter 3 (Nikki)
Bach, Dragonborn Warlock 3 (Erik)
Riia, Human Ranger 3 (Hanna)
Guy Noir, ½ Elf Rogue 2 (Nadia)
Anya Bowen, Tiefling Ranger 2 (Allison)

Special Rule of the Night: Critical Hits occur on a natural 13, not 20

After disposing of the bodies in the mud, Guy wrote a note explaining that the two scouts had fallen in love and were running away together, complete with little hearts about the i's. The note was stuck to a tree, for the next group of scouts to find. Riia, Guy, and Anya then scouted the perimeter of the lair, and I provided the map below.

Returning to the rest of the party, they told them what happened, including the were-rat bites, and about the lair. They sat down over a meal of trail rations and discussed their options.

Here things moved out of game, and we all had a discussion about how I'm running this game, namely as a sandbox. If they opt to leave, the pirates will do their thing, but the lair will still be here if they come back. It won't magically scale to match whatever level they are at, and there is in fact no guarantee that they're of a high enough level to tackle it now.

The party opted to skip the lair for now, and head upriver to Coruvon, the town they've heard a little about. I'm taking some inspiration from both Dyson and Michael Curtis for this... but that's for another post.

So in true old school wilderness travel mode, I checked for random encounters using the Rules Cyclopedia encounter charts. Their first encounter was during the first night. Off in the distance Anya spied some short grey humanoids with round black eyes and large batlike ears. They seemed more curious than threatening, but Anya woke Verdt, who promptly cast dancing lights and fell back to sleep. The wyre-lights caused the creatures to scatter back into the darkness.

Around noon the next day, and the party continued up the muddy riverside, they spotted a large reptilian form in the river. It spotted them back. Bach greeted it in draconic, and the dragon lazily lifted itself from the water and chatted with him. The rest of the party slunk back into the trees away from the river's edge. Bach and the dragon Blightfang conversed, and with a series of remarkably good reaction rolls, managed to secure passage through Blightfang's territory for a toll and a promise to sing her praises when they reach Coruvon.

Further upriver, later that same afternoon the party came to an abandoned structure built right on the edge of the river, similar to the one the pirates occupied, but much smaller. The exterior was covered with mostly weathered carvings, but a panel with a large horned cyclopean being attacking smaller humanoids was found. There was a single bronze door which Bach and Kethra managed to lift to knee height, but triggered a trap that blasted sand, knocking Kethra down face first. Nessendra wedged a stone block under the open door, and all but Anya slipped under the door.

The interior of the temple/tomb was a single large room with numerous alcoves. In the center of the chamber stood a statue of the the same creature found on the carving, it's single eyeball taking up the vast majority of the thing's head. As they began to creep into the chamber, 4 skeletons matching the statue step forth. flanking the party on either side. Nessendra managed to turn 2 of them, but the remaining two still hit like a ton of bricks, knocking Riia into unconsciousness.

Anya, watching from outside, and sniping with her bow, notices that from down river Blightfang watches. Anya decides that bring inside the stone temple full of cyclopean skeletons and her friends is better than being outside alone with a dragon!

Eventually the two active skeletons are destroyed, and the two turned ones I handwave as they were already damaged, and still had a significant amount of time before the turning ended.

What will the party do now, with Blightfang watching from about a quarter mile down river?? What will Blightfang do?? I'll find out on Friday!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Troll & Toad and Were-Pi-Rats - 5e WNW

Session 7 of the weird new world campaign was played on Friday 2/6

The party consisted of the following:
Verdt, 1/2 Elf Wizard 3 (John)
Nessendra, Wood Elf Cleric 3 (Erindale)
Kethra, Human Fighter 3 (Nikki)
Bach, Dragonborn Warlock 3 (Erik)
Riia, Human Ranger 3 (Hanna)
Guy Noir, ½ Elf Rogue 2 (Nadia)
Anya Bowen, Tiefling Ranger 2 (Allison)

Things in town were subdued, as everything basically shut down for the funeral of the children. The general opinion of the party was somewhat lowered in the eyes of the Sheriff, and so the party began to investigate a means to get to the pirate lair. Walking through the swamp was doable, but slow and gross. Getting a boat was doable, and Guy was strongly in favor of borrowing a boat to do just that. The fact that none of them knew how to pilot a riverboat was something of an obstacle that the rest of the group decided wasn't worth dealing with. Instead they hired a boat to take them to within a few miles of the lair, drop them off, and then come back and check on them in a couple of days. THe riverboat captain, Marty, wasn't really thrilled with the idea of taking them that close to the pirates, and demanded extra for the trip. Guy negotiated a reduction in that rate in exchange for his services during the trip.

The rest of the party tried to remain as far from the wheelhouse as possible during these services.

A couple of hours into the trip, as the party dozed on deck, the boat rocked violently, and a large green-skinned female humanoid lept onto the side of the boat, reaching over to grab at Verdt. She missed, and the party lept into action, hacking at the creatures rubbery skin, They were dismayed to see her wounds knit together during the fight. Once Verdt got out of the creatures reach, his flamebolt spell proved immensely useful. But while everyone was distracted, Nessendra found her midsection wrapped on a great purple tongue, while she was pulled toward the opposite side of the boat by a giant toad. Freeing herself from the tongue with a great flexing of her arms, she then smashed the creature with a sacred flame, knocking it back into the water. With the toad driven off, the party finished hacking the troll apart. Verdt then spent minutes making sure every bit of flesh was scorched before kicking the chunks of burnt troll off the deck.

Toward sunset, the party made landfall, and began setting up camp to rest for the night. Riia, Guy, and Anya scouted toward the pirate lair, trudging through the muck of the swamp. Just beyond the lair, they stumbled across two pirates on patrol outside of the lair. Unseen, they decided to take them out. Anya and Riia  readied their bows, while Guy snuck in close. The two arrows sent the one pirate stumbling, badly injured. Guy's sword went right through the other's guts. However, rather than reacting with the agonized gurgling he was expecting, the pirate looked over his shoulder at him and sneered. Then he began to transform into his hybrid form, and bit Guy.

Lacking silver or magic, Riia and Anya still charged in, and hacked ineffectively at the ratman. Quickly realizing the futility of that strategy, they switched tactics, and instead piled on top of him, and held his face in the mud until the struggling ended. During the fight, everyone ended up wounded, but in the chaos of it all, was anyone else bit? And just how infectious is lycanthropy?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New Monster: Goatman

The bowl-like depression blasted into the peak of the mountain was massive, and ringed by stone pillars. A fire burned atop each pillar, wreathing the area in flickering light and dancing shadows. At the center of the depression squatted a stone altar that seemed to be continually oozing, barely maintaining its shape. Atop the altar a human form struggled, as a robed figure crowned by a pair of ram's horns raised a bronze dagger. Around him similarly crowned figures beat the stone with their hooved feet.

"Rathgar, now!" Nimble hissed over his shoulder. Rathgar loosed the arrow from the bow, while Feris cast and Alianora chanted. The arrow blossomed into many, splitting apart and blanketing the sky as they reached the peak of their arch. As they fell toward the altar they shimmered and became snakes, falling upon the goatmen with fangs extended.

Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 1+1 (M)
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1 weapon/ 1 headbut
Damage: by weapon/1d4+1
No. Appearing: 2d4 (2d8x4)
Save As: C1
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: (P) D + O
Intelligence: 8
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 15

Monster Type: Humanoid (Common)
A Goatman's most distinguishing feature is his goat's head. Additionally they are covered in the short fur of a goat over their entire body, and walk on cloven hooves. They are omnivores, willing to eat anything. One member of every group is a spell casting priest of their dark gods with access to 2 1st level spells. Every heard is headed by a high priest (shaman) of level 1d6+3.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Teaching D&D

I've recently had the opportunity to introduce someone to D&D that knew next to nothing about it. One of the first things I did was to toss most of the rules. She said she wanted to play a wizard just out of school. So I gave her a piece of paper with the 6 basic stats, HP, AC, her weapons, 3 spells, and equipment.

Without a plan, I dropped her down in a city and told her there was a tavern keeper that was having trouble with a thing in the basement. Investigating, it turned out to be some sort of slime creature that she blasted with her firebolt spell from the stairs, rather than going down to face it up close.

Then she heard about a haunted house that needed cleaning out before the new owners could move in. Turns out it was owned by an evil old guy who didn't want to die cause he didn't want to go to hell, so he’d summoned a demon to gain immortality. The demon wanted to be released, and to take the damned soul with him. Feeling a surprising amount of empathy for the damned man (who was a ghoul) she decides to sign a contract with the demon, freeing the ghoul’s soul to go to purgatory. In exchange, her soul will be damned until/unless she retrieves 99 souls that escaped from hell. Everyone walks away happy, and she collects her reward for getting rid of the undead monster haunting the house.

Session 2
The next day the demon showed up to her room at the inn and told her where one of the damned souls was. A nearby bathhouse had suffered a series of mysterious murders. The owner wanted to keep it all quiet, but 3 murders in 3 days…. Investigating the bathhouse, she came across a demon hunter (Paladin) who I had thought might become a companion in her quest. The demon hunter was there for the same reason she was, but she was having none of it. So she fights the Damned Soul on her own in a locked private room.

Thankfully the walls weren't very thick, and as she gets taken down the demon hunter bursts through the door, and takes out the “demon”. The natural form of the damned souls is that of a large grub with a mewling human face. Hardly demonic, and the demon hunter is willing to let her take it for "disposal."

Session 3
After recovering from her fight in the bathhouse, the demon shows up to collect the soul and to take her to the city of doors, since not all the damned souls will come to her little po-dunk world! A little bit of Sigil, mixed heavily with the market dimension of the M.Y.T.H. series. Her demon doesn't have a lead in the next damned soul, so she goes shopping and finds a “soul trap” for sale, but for more than she has in cash. She finds an alchemist who’s looking for basilisk horn, and willing to pay good coin for it. He opens a door to another dimension, and she goes hunting…

Session 4
Hunting the Basilisk in it’s lair isn't too hard when you set a trap for it at the entrance to it’s lair! Setting herself up in a good sniper position, she blinds the beast with a spell, and then alternatively freezes and burns it to death. Sawing off the horn, she returns to the door, hands over the horn, collects her gold, and buys her trap.

Each of these sessions has lasted about an hour, and the rules have been kept to a bare minimum, retaining only the most core elements of D&D: d20 to hit, roll for damage, mostly limited spells (5th edition sort of way with cantrips), and have bumped her level just about every session. Progress will slow at this point to a level after 2 sessions, then after 3, then 4. She keeps wanting to play more, so I must be doing something right... Plus she’s interested in trying out a game at the local game day!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lions and Gnolls and Demons, Oh My!

Session 3, February 7, 2015 
The party consists of:
Melvin the Magnificient (male wizard,  (a slightly transmuted) David (aka me)
Deilip (male elf rescued from the bugbears) - David (aka me)
Yesod Zul (male-ish fighter) Elli
Albert Franklin (male cleric) - Ed
Skalgos (male wizard) - Jonathan
Spider (male thief) - Justin
DM - Peter (Who gets author credit for this post!)

Yesod and Albert are "barbarians" from the demon-haunted northlands beyond The Keep,
Skalgos and Spider are running from Baron Akar's Law (stealing from the wrong personage is never a good idea).
Everybody else (notably Nayla, Raph, and Alsador) is busy licking their wounds.

On the morning of Day 5, Melvin begins recruiting "new help" for his "quest" to find Lord Kendall. Luckily everybody is on board as soon as an equitable split of loot is agreed upon. The group heads out along the north road in the middle of the thunderstorm (that chafes in plate!). After a few hours they unexpectedly run into a hungry Mountain Lion. It charges at Yesod and inflicts some gruesome scratches, but Melvin saves the day with his Sleep spell. Yesod promptly covers himself in even more blood by skinning the beast and extracting its brain.

As more lightning and thunder strikes in the never-ending luke-warm rain, the group decides that they've had enough. They tie the carcass to Skalgos' staff and carry it back to the keep where they can unexpectedly sell it as a delicacy. Yesod grosses out about half the keep's population when he (?) starts squishing brain matter all over the Mountain Lion skin to cure it. Meanwhile Skalgos manages to "cook up" a relationship with the taverner and they prepare Mountain Lion stew together. All is set for a dry night indoors when suddenly...

Flames to the South: The Monastary of Oghma is under attack! Chaos ensues as residents of the keep panic and even the guard has some trouble getting their shit together. Melvin of course volunteers the services of his group to investigate what is going on and the adventurers once again find themselves outside in the pouring rain, heading south this time.

It's getting dark by the time they sight the monastery. The gate is smashed and the palisade has been torn down in several places. All the buildings, including the main temple that presumably housed the library, are on fire. From afar Melvin and friends spot a large group of hyena-headed humanoids in the process of clearing out. But as the they debate what to do next, they are surprised by a bunch of arrows fired out of the nearby bushes.

Four sneaky little Kobolds were apparently stationed here as a rear-guard, and whoever put them there must have impressed upon them that they need to kill any reinforcements The Keep might send. But despite the ineffectual attacks of Deilip they don't last very long: One gets blown to bits by Skalgos' magic skulls wreathed in turqoise flame (aka magic missle), another is skewered by Yesod, and a third backstabs himself on Spider's waiting blade. The fourth one makes it out though. Deilip gives chase but loses the little bugger in the rain after a few rounds.

Weary of attacking the gnolls the party decides to send Spider to scout ahead quietly while the rest of them hide in the bushes and wait things out. Skalgos has the idea of interrogating the kobold before he bleeds out, a task made more difficult by the fact that his victim is in and out of consciousness. In hopes of improving the situation Albert casts Cure Light Wounds on the kobold who promptly decides to keep "playing dead" anyway. Of course they also discover at this point that nobody in the group speaks kobold to begin with. Albert at least gets a gagged pet-kobold out of this.

Without the usual concerto of jingling plate armor in tow, Spider has no problem sneaking up on the monastery. He peers around a breach in the palisade and catches sight of the biggest, meanest gnoll leaving at the back of his troops. The bodies of a few gnolls and many kobolds lie strewn about between the burning buildings, as do the bodies of many monks of Oghma. He decides that there's really nobody to save anymore and returns to the rest of the group with the grim news.

Since the gnolls seem to be leaving, and since the kobold that got away apparently didn't report on the player characters, Melvin decides that they should at least take a first-hand look at the massacre to make sure that there really are no survivors. So they cautiously approach the place together, ready for a fight that never comes: The gnolls actually left, no ambush! However, a more detailed look at the site of the battle reveals that two of the dead humans are not monks of Oghma at all, indeed they seem to be clerics of Erythnul! (DM Note - Sorry I retconned this, originally I said Hextor but I had my gods mixed up.) As the rain puts out the last of the fires, a brief investigation of the main temple reveals that most likely the humanoid forces came for certain books in Oghma's library, potentially a big setback for the forces of good!

As our group is about to head back, a troop of guards finally arrives from The Keep. Melvin wants to report to Gilda the Castellan, but the captain of the guard recommends talking to the Bailiff or his scribe instead (apparently the two room together and are pretty sensible, something that Melvin feels cannot be said for Gilda). The mood at The Keep is certainly at a new low now that the forces of Chaos have shown themselves this brazenly.

The next day (no more rain but lots of mosquitos!) is spent on an uneventful trip up the northern road, mostly to get a better feel for the territory that Melvin believes Lord Kendall would be held prisoner in. The party encounters one of the patrols from The Keep tasked with keeping the North Road safe, but nothing else of importance transpires during the trip. Later in the evening, however, the group finds out that the patrol they had met earlier never reported back in.

Day 7 sees the adventurers return to where they last saw the patrol themselves. They find a small force of guards from The Keep a little north of that position, clearly freaked out by what they found: Bits and pieces of (apparently) two of the missing guards, no sight of the other two (or the missing pieces for that matter). Yesod and Albert decide to kick it ranger-style and look for tracks, and despite his rather dimwitted nature Yesod seems to have a real knack for this kind of thing. (The soaked, marshy ground might have helped a little.) The group discovers the tracks of a large, heavy creature with hoofs, apparently bipedal. Melvin concluces that a demon must be on the lose, after all the entire keep was abuzz last night with talk about the evils of the underworld coming to swallow the borderlands whole...

Unperturbed by this possibilty the barbarians lead the group on a chase of this mysterious monstrosity. A few hours later they find a tall but narrow cave mouth the tracks lead to and once again it is decided that Spider should scout ahead by himself. When a few minutes later they hear the thief shout "SOMETHING'S REALLY WRONG HERE!" they all charge in, only to find out what exactly is wrong. Immediately after entering the cave, the group becomes first dizzy and then horribly confused. They cannot seem to recall where they just were and how they got to this particular point of the cave.

The group decides to stay together and not lose sight of one another (smart move) as they slowly creep into a cave they saw a red glow in. Strange clicking sounds can be heard as well, but nobody seems to be sure from where exactly. As they enter the cave proper, Yesod catches the strangest sight out of the corner of her (?) eye: To the left of the tunnel they came down a smaller tunnel branches off, and Spider is clinging to the walls of that smaller tunnel in a desperate attempt not to be seen. As Yesod clears his (?) throat, Spider whips around in confusion which quickly turns into relief. Then the fire beetles attack.

As luck would have it the adventurers react almost instantaneously: They all make their way down the smaller tunnel, leaving Yesod the Barbarian in the back to block the beetles at a choke point. Maybe not a strategy to use against intelligent monsters who could cut around to the other side, but for the beetles it worked great. A rather entertaining battle ensues as Melvin and Skalgos hang back, Spider repeatedly fires his crossbow to no avail (bolts everywhere!), Albert takes Skalgos' halberd and tries to help from the second rank, Deilip takes Skalgos' halberd from Albert and tries to help from the second rank and promptly gets it stuck across the hallway, Albert throws hammer after dagger after dagger without hitting a beetle, and so on. Yesod eventually succeeds in killing all the beetles with only minor help from one magic missle and one crossbow bolt that actually hits. Victory!

Sadly the beetles do not have anything valuable on them, so after the battle is won the group is back where they started: Somewhere deep in the caverns with no idea how to get out. They decide to head down the smaller hallway, then an even smaller hallway again and luckily Yesod can stop them before tumbling into another cave full of beetles. They successfully avoid a strange cave in which some flapping sounds are heard, stumble a bit further down the tunnel, and much to their surprise suddenly find themselves at the mouth of the cave again. What gives?

A quick decision is made that heading back inside with a wounded barbarian would not be a good idea, especially since they saw no sign whatsoever yet of the large demon they are hunting. So they strategically withdraw back to The Keep to solve this mystery another day. Adventure ends. :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Inspirational Image: House of the Golden Cupids

House of the Golden Cupids

This house, initially excavated between 1903 and 1905, is thought to have once belonged to Gnaeus Poppaeus Habitus. Situated on the Via del Vesuvio, it is a refined dwelling, richly decorated throughout. It was named after the glass discs etched with cupids found in a cubiculum off the peristyle.

This is but one tiny part of one page full of pictures and descriptions of the homes and neighborhoods of Pompeii. Definitely a treasure trove of info on a ruined city.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Root of the Problem - 5e WNW

Session 6 of the weird new world campaign was played on Friday 1/30

The party consisted of the following:
Verdt, 1/2 Elf Wizard 3 (John)
Nessendra, Wood Elf Cleric 3 (Erindale)
Kethra, Human Fighter 3 (Nikki)
Bach, Dragonborn Warlock 3 (Erik)
Riia, Human Ranger 3 (Hanna)
Guy Noir, ½ Elf Rogue 1 (Nadia)
Willow Annika Anya Bowen, Tiefling Ranger 1 (Allison)

The vampire lay staked to the ground by the rotted haft of the “magical” shovel, the gaping hole of the tree dripping a blood-like ichor, and leading down into a narrow tunnel lined with roots, and similarly dripping with ichor.

With two of their number badly injured and unconscious, the standing members of the party decided that heading back to town for healing was the way to go. They didn’t even make it as far as the gate when a procession from town arrived, headed by the creepy Sister Gri-Gri of the Ladies of Mercy. Each was clad in full black, with their faces painted like skulls. They walked silently past the party and into the garden. Sister Gri-Gri, with a glowing staff, healed the two fallen party members.

Behind the Ladies of Mercy was a large contingent of townsfolk, including the mayor. The party told of the vampire, but denied knowledge of the children’s whereabouts. They then followed the Ladies back into the garden to witness Sister Gri-Gri’s ritual to dispose of the vampire’s corpse, and the rotted flesh of the children, leaving only their bones. Each body was collected by a black clad silent sister. They reformed their line, and without word, left the garden.

The gaping hole into the tree continued to bleed. Around this point, the party noticed that 2 of the individuals who’d come up with the townsfolk and the Ladies had joined them in the garden. After a brief discussion, it was decided that they could join the party in their exploration of the tunnel under the tree. The the ichor slick tunnel quickly expanded out into a large root lined cavern, with a thick but broken tap root running from roof to floor. The top half was wilting, but the bottom half whipped around, sending out a blast of energy which dropped Bach, hurt Nessendra, and barely scratched Guy.

The root tried to reach out toward one of the more distant party members, but Riia locked it down with a thorny entanglement delivered via arrow. The rest of the fight was a slog, but the root had already lost. 7:1, immobilized, and taking constant damage (even if the party was delivering on average sub-par amounts), it added up quickly. In the sludge around the root the party found the vampire’s treasure, including a magical hat and cloak.

Collecting their hard won loot, they returned to the town and rested.

This ended up being a shorter session than usual do to spending some time on character creation for the new PCs. I used a blue dragon wyrmling stats for the root.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Things I'm Excited About!

First, and most importantly, Bones II begins shipping officially on Monday! While I'm only about 40% of the way though Bones I, I am inordinately excited about this! And not even necessarily for the big minis (though I did order 2 of Dragons Don't Share!)

I mean just check this out? And this is just the core set! I'm also getting expansion 1!!

I've signed up for the A to Z Challenge again this year. Once again, I'm already questioning my sanity. This year, even more than before, since I'm planning on being on the Appalachian Trail for a good chunk of April, which means I need to get those posts written like NOW and get them scheduled.

The good news is that I have a theme and a plan already! We'll see how that works out.

DareDevil, while not one of my favorite characters, is coming to Netflix! I'll probably be on the trail at that point, so I'll catch up on the first season when I get back.

They're doing a Doctor Who lego set!

And for those gamers of a more Baltimore-centric type, Charm City Games Day is being held February 28th at Games and Stuff. If you're local, you should sign up!

My FLGS Titan Games is hosting an RPG day this Saturday. Kind of short notice, but if you're free it might be worth checking out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#6MMRPC Barnabus and KotDT

While I started Barnabus Frost in hopes of finishing in time to get in in on Caffineforge’s monday miniature post, he proved a more detailed mini than I first anticipated. Plus finding the right color for his jacket proved elusive. Originally I was going with a blue jacket and purple trim, but it didn't work, so I switched it to the light blue.

I still need to work on figuring out my light box...

And I never got started on Kord for today’s post. *shrug* I do have next week’s Vaeloth already painted up, and the Battleguard Golem should be doable in a single speed painting sitting. The next one after that is the large earth elemental. I don’t own that one, but if my FLGS gets a restock I might grab it… so long as it shows up before Bones II ships. Otherwise it’s straight onto the Grandmother.

I did finish up my Knights of the Dinner Table minis. I’m really pleased with how they came out, even though they ended up being more work than I expected from such simple little minis. I want to take a moment to point out this post from My Blog Is Fight! which shows both sets of the KotDT minis fully painted. While I didn't use his color scheme, I did use his pictures to help show me how to paint them, in the “how the hell do I paint something this tiny to make it look good??” sort of way. Though I totally stole how he did the bases.

Not the finished minis, as I couldn't get a halfway decent pic of them using the light box. Maybe next week.

I've also added some color to a bunch of minis, mostly out of a desire to not waste any paint. Sometimes I only need a teeny-tiny bit of paint, but end up with a full drop. So… grab a mini and slather the color on!

My plan for this next week is to work on the Battleguard Golem, and switch back to working on the Dork Tower minis.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Strange Fruit - 5e WNW

Session 5 of the weird new world campaign was played on Friday 1/16

The party consisted of the following:
Verdt, 1/2 Elf Wizard 2 (John)
Nessendra, Wood Elf Cleric 2 (Erindel)
Kethra, Human Fighter 2 (Nikki)
Bach, Dragonborn Warlock 2 (Erik)
Riia, Human Ranger 2 (Hanna)

Not in attendance:
Max, Human Bard 2 (Yann) - left campaign

Rested and recovered from the pirate attack on the town, the party decided that the missing children were still the top priority, especially since the townsfolk didn’t seem particularly concerned about their kidnapped fellows. It seems the pirates tend to ransom them back after a couple of weeks. Strange that…

Heading back to the manse, the party circled the walled garden, and opted to enter by going over the wall near one of the outbuildings. After several decades, the roof wasn’t particularly sturdy, and when Bach jumped on it, the roof collapsed. The rest of the party hopped through the hole Bach made, spotted a vine monster slowly snaking it’s way up the stairs and opted to depart the groundskeepers cottage via the window.

Creeping along the wall they fought off another vine monster, and made it to another ruined building, this one a storage shed that had mostly collapsed in on itself. A brief minute spent digging around inside turned up nothing more impressive than a half-rotted shovel that Verdt cast faerie fire on, causing Bach to think it was magical.

The party decided that the next objective to check out was the stables/carriage house. Cutting across the center of the garden they came upon a massive tree in a somewhat clear spot in the otherwise overgrown garden. Hanging from the tree were numerous vein laced pods, each about 3' tall. Riia took aim, and shot one with her bow. The pod broke open, and a black viscous fluid poured out. At this, the roots of the tree began to undulate, and several other pods bounced to the ground, cracking open. Childlike figures emerged from these pods, but horribly changed, as they had twigs and branches growing out of their various orifices, and even through their skin.

The horrible little creatures were vicious, but not super coordinated, dispersing themselves around in their thirst for blood. As the battle continued more and more of the pods fell until a total of 9 of the creatures were swarming the party, all while the tree swayed and the roots undulated under foot. With the death of the last of the monstrosities, the tree and roots stilled…

The party sighed in relief, but it was short lived, as the base of the tree split open and a figure with a ragged hole in his chest burst forth. Most of the party's weapons were not nearly as effective as they should have been, but Verdt’s Eldritch Blast had no such issues. After just a few rounds of combat the Gulthias vampire was again dead, the shaft of the “magical” shovel pinning the body to the ground.

But what will they tell the townsfolk about the kids?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Inspirational Image: Tuxedo Mask

by xangedemonx

I know this isn't my usual sort of Sunday Inspirational Image, but really, how easy would it be to make him as a 5e character? There are a couple of ways to do it, but I'd go wizard. How about you?