Friday, September 29, 2017

Escort Missions are the Worst! Part 2 Dragonborn Sorceress

Work continues on my diorama... though not as fast as I'd like. I'm pretty much done with the dragonborn sorceress, and am switching over to working on the bard. I figure I should focus on getting the sources of light done first, and then move onto the other figures lit by the light.

But first, a bit about the sorceress, and my thoughts on light. Now, the characters are in a lightless dungeon corridor, so the ONLY light are the 2 torches. But light reflects, even a little, so I didn't want to make it so that everything in shadow was nearly black, because that isn't how it would look. But it's also not gonna reflect like it will in a small room with white walls and ceiling. So the shadows still get a bit of color...

And speaking of colors, these were the ones I used.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery - First Impressions

Warning: Spoilers!

Monday night my bride and I sat down and watched the prequel episodes of Star Trek: Discovery.

Prequel episodes?

That's right. The first two episodes are entirely devoted to setting up the series. The USS Discovery is nowhere to be seen (except in the opening credits). It's an interesting approach, though one taken before. The new Battlestar Galactica did something similar. What Discovery gives us for these first 2 episodes is a re-introduction to the Star Trek universe. The Federation's do-gooder "We Come In Peace" starfleet, the angry war-like Klingons, the Treknology (visually updated for the 2017 audience), and lots of fan service that manages to not overwhelm the story.

Synopsis of the first 2 episodes

The Federation

So what do we know about the pre-Kirk Federation. It's multicultural, and fairly well matured, but it's been a while since they've been involved in a war, and they're really not ready for it. Their tech is improving, but they're not in a super hurry to retrofit/upgrade their ships. Aside from some skirmishes, including the one that left Michael Burnham an orphan, the Klingons haven't really been in contact since Archer's time.

The Klingons themselves are a fractured people, with each of the 24 houses scheming and fighting each other more than expanding the bounds of the Empire. A small cult of highly xenophobic Klingon-supremacists draws the houses together in order to unite them in a war with the Federation. These are not the Klingons we're used to, but I can see the old Klingon Ambassador from Star Trek 3 & 4, and most of the plot of 6 coming out of these Klingons. Also, a ship covered in the caskets of dead Klingons?!? Love it!

The Look
This may not be NuTrek, but it kinda looks like it. The technology looks fancy and shiny, but it doesn't seem to work as well we it seems to in the TNG time period. Honestly, of everything going on, most of the visual changes don't really bother me. There was no way they were going to make everything look like it did in The Cage. It's been 50 years since that was filmed, technology has gotten better.

The changes to the Klingons appearance... I like less, but I'll get over it.

The uniforms bug me, but mostly because they're going to be such a bitch for costumers to replicate. Other than that, they're pretty...

Final Thoughts
After mulling it over for over a day now, I think I'm a fan. That the show is focusing on a primary character, rather than on a strong ensemble cast is an interesting take. That the main bad guys are 1) Klingons and 2) Stand ins for the nationalist/white supremacists works for me in a way that no prior Trek villain ever has before. I appreciate that the first two episodes were something of a slow burn leading up to a fantastic space battle I thought was a good choice, especially as I could watch one episode after the other. I'd have been less thrilled if I was watching on TV, and then had to switch over to the new CBS streaming service.

I also really appreciate that the main characters were a black woman and an Asian woman. And that they were both friends and colleagues who liked and respected each other, and didn't once talk about a man, except when planning to kidnap the Klingon zealot. I also liked that they disagreed, and talked about it... and that Burnham made a series of bad choices. That the ethics of the choices, and the Federations standing directives are questioned.

Star Trek is at its best when it asks those questions. I hope they keep it up.

One thing I'm not really thrilled with is that they made, on the whole, the Klingons even darker. The main zealot was in fact coal black. That his second was an albino... well we'll see if they can make it work without being painfully racist.

The other issue I had was the fact that Michael (not Michelle...?) Burnham is Sarek's foster daughter... Why? Why Sarek. There's a whole planet full of Vulcans. It didn't have to be her, and it doesn't make much sense given that there has never been mention of yet another sibling of Spock. Did they learn NOTHING from Star Trek V: The Search for God?

On the whole though, I'm looking forward to where they're going, and in hopes that we'll keep seeing Star Trek on the small screen, I'm almost convinced to subscribe to the CBS service to keep watching.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tales from the Floating Vagabond: Parrot Head-case

This week's 5e game at the FLGS was off, since half the group had other events and weren't going to make it. Rather than just cancel outright, I decided to run Tales from the Floating Vagabond, a game I haven't pulled off the shelf since... 2002? And even then, I think I only ever ran it once. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to dust it off.

Plus, I came up with an idea for a ridiculous Jimmy Buffett themed adventure. After sketching down the outline for the adventure, I made up 4 pre-gens:
A Disgustingly Cute Furry Thing Bounty Hunter
Rhino-man Swashbuckler
Robot Tough Guy
Bird-brained Scientist

My 2 players picked the robot and the rhino. After going over the basics of the system, I jumped right into the scenario. Sadly, neither of them were parrot-heads, so the references were completely lost on them. On the upside, as insane as it was, they still had fun.

This is what I wrote up initially:
Space Nazis have stolen the Last Shaker of Salt, and there's a parrot-head convention arriving in hours!! (Just as soon as the concert is over!!) Spit offers a diamond as big as a ritz for getting it back.

Traffic snarled, cars, ships, boats, and planes abandoned all over the place.
Cultural Infidels! Space Nazis have the shaker of salt, but can't get away due to the traffic jam.
·   Billy is running from the big man, who aims to cut him up for sleeping with his woman. Wants protection.
·   Captain America is helping an old mother through the jam, will ask for their help with the busload of other old ladies. They're actually bimbos with guns, who try to abduct him!
·   Hippolyte hates the Parrot Heads just slightly more than he hates Space Nazis. Gives rocket ship to the space station to the Nazis.

USS Zydecoldsmobile –
·   How do you drive this thing?!?
·   What do you mean there's no gas? Who's paying?
·   Jamaica Mistake-a, getting shot at trying to land in Morant Bay

Space Station: Chase and Fights as Space Nazis make for their Shark Class Ship docked in Montego Bay
·   Desdemona's Bake Shop "Cosmic Muffin",
·   Joe Merchant hiding from Frank Bama and hemorrhoid-ointment heiress Trevor Kane,
·   Movie Theater w/ Frank & Lola watching adult movie,
·   Ellis Dee has the shakes and needs a drink.
·   Dance Hall & Tiki Bar - Hokey Pokey, Carmen, Hula/Limbo Contest

Back in time for the party???


Not all the ideas above got used, and of course things went sideways pretty quickly. With laser-like focus on the Space Nazis, the rhino decided to abandon Captain America to the Bimbos, and I skipped Billy since it was repetitive with Cap.

Hippolyte sold his rocket to the Space Nazis for *those* 20 pieces of silver. The players took the silver, and the keys to the Zydecoldsmobile.

Rhino couldn't figure out how to drive stick, but "The Machine!" could. But they realized they were low on gas, so pulled into the station to get some, and paid with the silver. The Machine kept 5 of the 20 sp. Continuing on, the Jamaican Space Station started shooting at them, thinking they were smuggling Ganja. The party floored it through the shooting, and busted into the docking bay. Unfortunately luck wasn't with them, and the cops showed up. Trying to prove that they weren't smugglers, they popped the trunk open, revealing several bales of weed. They ended up spacing the cops by lowering the force field.

Ducking into the maintenance corridors, they get lost, steal a maintenance worker's outfit (which doesn't fit either of them), cash, and ID card, and find their way out into the main station. The Rhino seduces Desdemona and they find the Space Nazis drinking coffee outside the cafe at about the same time Billy Joel runs past, followed by a bunch of rabid fans. In the confusion, some of the Space Nazis get away, rushing into the movie theater, where they take Frank and Lola hostage. The Machine! tries to get the drop on the Space Nazis, but ends up shooting Frank and Lola. The Space Nazis run for it, cutting through the Tiki Bar.

Everyone in the bar is watching Carmen dance. The Machine! shoots twice into the ceiling, causing a panic. They catch up with the Space Nazis back out in the main corridor, where one tries to wrestle with The Machine! and mostly just ends up awkwardly hugging him, while straddling The Machine!'s crotch mounted gun. The Rhino uses his rapier to duel with the last Space Nazi, gets shot, makes his strength check to remain standing, and then takes him out. They grab the shaker, and run off to the shuttle bay.

Getting into the Space Nazi's rocket, they try to hotwire it, but end up setting it on fire, and so move over to the Federation Shuttle, taking it back down to the Floating Vagabond just ahead of the crowd of Parrot Heads. Spit, the bartender takes out a box of ritz crackers, and pulls out a diamond, the size of one of the crackers. They feel like they deserve more, but Spit's cool way beats theirs, and they back down.

A fun time was had by all, and the next time D&D is off, I'll probably run more Tales from the Floating Vagabond!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Demon Disappointment

I was really looking forward to last night's game. We'd wrapped up the previous session with the party having barricaded the hallway between the Asylum and the Reptile House, and the hobgoblins having released the demon they'd summoned. It had just rounded the corner, ready to charge the 50' to their front line and lay into them. 

The demon the party faced in Stonehell was based on the manscorpion monster, one I've been dying to use since I first got the RC, and never found a good place to put one in. Now I have... on steroids! And in spite of the cool stuff I wrote above, I just ran it as a manscorpion with the basic template. Didn't feel it needed any additional powers. The beast hits like a ton of bricks, it's fast, and since it's mostly immune to the stuff the hirelings can throw at it, there are only a few characters who can do much directly. I figured that being a pretty basic, if beefy demon, that it would have the usual resistance to fire damage. 

Sadly, a pair of lightning bolts (one failed save, one passed), and a critical hit with a magic arrow were actually enough to take it down before it had the chance to reach melee range. The line of hobgoblin crossbows (12) backed up by a lieutenant and the army priest barely slowed the rest of the party down. 

It's kind of rough having a big bad go down so quickly just because of a couple of bad initiative rolls. I really wanted to see him tear into the line. More importantly, so did the hobgoblin commander. I need to sit down again and figure out what his strategy is going to be.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Defenders

It took me 2 weeks to get around to watching Marvel's The Defenders on Netflix. It's taken another 2 to get around to actually writing about it. That it took me a while to do it says nothing about how much I enjoyed it, because I enjoyed it a LOT!

There are going to be some spoilers in this review.

The Defenders is definitely a case of the sum being greater than the parts, which is impressive given how good (most) of it's parts are. And yes, I'm talking about Iron Fist. Danny Rand was most definitely the weak link in the lineup, and like many other fans, I was so looking forward to the rest of the group slamming him. And they did. He's a very self important character, and having Luke and Jessica there to take him down a notch was not just in keeping with their characters, but also satisfying as a viewer.

At only 8 episodes, it was very tight and went quickly. Other reviews I've read complained that the first two episodes dragged a bit. I didn't feel it. I thought that things moved along at a good clip, though definitely picking up speed as it went.

Being a Marvel Netflix show, there was the requisite hallway fight, but I have to admit, it kinda loses something when there are 4 protagonists fighting in the same hallway. I'm also not sure that the way the fight was cut worked in it's favor. The previous hallway fights were very smooth with the camera work. This one felt choppy.

While not a comedy, there were a few laugh out loud moments, one of which I actually had to pause the show to recover from. It happens when Jessica crashes the party in the restaurant.

I was thrilled with the returning characters outside the core group. Stick, Night Nurse, Foggy, Colleen Wing, Seeing them interacting with each other, and with the protagonists they usually don't interact with is great.

Foggy: Most people call me Foggy
Luke Cage: And you let them?

Then there's The Hand! Madam Gao is of course still wonderful. Sigourney Weaver's character Alexandra is great. I thought they handled her, and the rest of the Hand's leadership really well. Seeing their motivations, their familiarity with each other play out was well done. The return of Electra was woven into the story flawlessly, and she had maybe the most interesting character arc of all. And when she killed... well... *grin* Unexpected!

Definitely well worth the watch, especially if you enjoyed any of the previous offerings. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Friday, September 15, 2017


It feels a little silly to write a review for a book with over 300,000 ratings and 1500 reviews on Goodreads. It's like trying to come up with an original thought on Hamlet. What can I say that hasn't already been said? Maybe nothing... but let's find out.

I mostly read on the subway now, which could be the most appropriate place to have read Neverwhere. It could only be more appropriate if I was reading it on the London Underground, rather than the NYC subway. But every day, as the subway car departs the lights of the station into the dark tunnels, and through a world only briefly glimpsed, I wonder what's going on in the shadows, in the distant spots of light. Is there a giant albino alligator living somewhere down there? A magical other realm with vampires, rat-speakers, goblin markets, and even stranger things. Neil Gaiman took me into that world, and once again shows how modern fairy tails can be told.

Back in the 90's when I was in high school, I picked up a copy of White Wolf's Changeling. Mostly because I loved the cover, but also because I enjoyed Vampire and Werewolf, and wanted to see how they wove in the Fairy, but it ended up being one of those things where there was just too much going on. Nearly immortal vampires doing their political thing, werewolves doing their thing battling the modern world, and then in the same universe you've got all the fairy and mummy and... too much, and it never fit all together, so I never got to play it. Everyone was way too into their vampires to think about playing fay. And honestly, I didn't really get how to make it work either.

I wish I'd had Neverwhere to show me how it's done. Between Gaiman and de Lint, I really want to start running a modern fairy tale RPG game.

The only complaint I have about the whole thing is the final page... But then Gaiman is more optimistic than I am. I'd have cut the story off just a few lines earlier than he did.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Scenes from Stonehell: Hobgoblin Edition

The guard stood in the mouth of the narrow cave, looking out to the wilderness beyond. The trail hacked open by his century was beginning to fill in with weeds and vines, but it was still easily passable, and open enough that he spotted the marching troops well before they reached the cliff wall. Reinforcements had arrived!


"Centurion, welcome to Stonehell."

"How goes the campaign?

"Slower than I'd like. There have been some difficulties that I didn't initially expect. The narrow passages make moving units difficult, and there are too many locations where our enemies can circle back around. Plus there are a surprising number of inhabitants."

"Good slave fodder?"

"Some. The kobolds are useful. But there have been several groups of roving adventurers with powerful magics. They've been depopulating chunks of the dungeon, and now that you're here, we can begin to fortify them."


"We lost 2 patrols?" And there's now some cloud of sparkling energy blocking one doorway?"

"The omens are not favorable." The priest warned the commander.

The warlock huffed. "Omens. Bah. You're here to bring the Warrior's favor upon us, not worry like some auntie."

"As are you" the commander growled. "What do you offer?"

"The power of Tezragul, demon of the sands, bringer of death."

"You fool! You would summon that which you cannot control!"

"We would bind it within a mortal vessel, and trap it within a cage of spells and your blessed wards until we're ready to set it free."


Trustee Sniv stood in the hobgoblin stairway hall south of the Korners. He never liked leaving his domain, but the newly arrived Hobgoblin commander wanted a meeting. His bodyguards looked woefully inadequate when compared to the meatheads the Commander had with him.

"I'm concerned about the stories of those humans and dwarves stomping through our home."

"Oh, they don't cause any trouble here." Sniv assured the commander.

"And I want to make sure it stays that way." He waved vaguely at his troops "my men need a safe place to relax... to spend their pay."

"The Korners are always available to any and all who don't cause any problems."

"I'm very glad to hear that. We're expanding our holdings, and we'd like to hire you for some construction work."

"What sort of work?" Sniv asked brightly.

"Gate installation, mostly. We have the materials, but your people as so adept at construction..." A heavy sack of coins is dropped into Sniv's greedy claws.

"I think we can handle that."

"Good, and in addition this payment, I'm assigning a few of my troops as guards in the Korners to make sure no one causes any issues."

"I have guards." Sniv's brow furrowed.

"And now you'll have more! This will help make sure that none of my men become over indulgent with that mushroom brew of yours. And just like your guards, they'll only be armed with small clubs, nothing too lethal."

One of the hobgoblin guards grinned at Sniv. "That's... very... generous of you." Sniv replied, gently bouncing the bag in his claws. "I'm sure that the Korners will feel that much safer."


The volunteer stood in the circle, stripped nude, his skin carved with runes that oozed dark blood that pooled at his feet. Iron chains cuffed to his wrists were bolted to the 4 pillars supporting the intricately carved ceiling. The priest painted wards of protection, lit candles, and muttered prayers while the warlock grinned with savage pleasure. "Are you ready yet?" he asked impatiently.

With a final brush stroke, he nodded.

"Finally." Chanting in a language none of the other spoke, the warlock sliced open his hand, and pushed the wound against the mouth of the chained host. "Drink." The carved flesh began to glow a dull red, then a fiery orange, burning brighter until it glowed white. The warlock stepped back, and the glowing form screamed. Flesh tore, blood splattered, and when everyone blinked away the blindness from the light, a monster stood on 6 chitinous legs that sprouted from the torso of the scarred hobgoblin. A great scorpion's tail curled over the demon, waiving, and then moving faster than anyone could see shooting out toward the warlock. The stinger stopped mere inches away, right at the edge of the binding circle.

The commander stepped closer, but not too close to the circle. "Now what?"

"Now we wait for the adventurers to make their assault."

"Is it safe?"

"Not even remotely. Best pray that our priest has done his job."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Demon Rules for RC D&D

I'm sure somewhere out there, someone has written rules for using demons in old school D&D. This is my simple(?) take.

Basic Demon Template:
Demons are immune to sleep and charm spells. NOT hold spells. Silver weapons can cause either half damage (lesser demons) or 1 point of damage (greater demons) on a successful hit. Magic weapons cause full damage. Demons can be turned as undead 2HD stronger than their listed HD. i.e. a 7 HD demon is turned as a 9 HD undead. Demons will often have resistance to certain damage types, usually fire (auto half damage, save for none).

Demonic creatures are unnaturally strong and will gain an additional +1 damage modifier to any physical attack

As for the monsters themselves, stick this template on any other monster, and you've got a demon.

Additional Generic Demonic Powers. Different demons will have different powers.

Force Grab - Ranged attack w/in 30'. Save vs Paralysis or be thrown 2d6' taking 1d6 damage. If thrown against a wall, the demon may maintain the force, pinning the target in place.

Hellfire - Ranged Attack, 30/60/90 causing 1d6+1 damage per 3 HD of the demon

Corrupt - Melee attack, drains 1d3/1d4/1d6 points of Charisma. Damage can be restored with 1 week/point of damage or Greater Restoration (or better) magic.

Unholy Aura - Any lawful or neutral creatures within the aura must save vs spells or suffer a -2 penalty to attacks, AC, and Saving Throws while within the aura and for an additional 1d6 rounds. Aura size varies based on HD of demon.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Escort Missions are the Worst! Part 1

With ReaperCon now weeks away, it's time to actually buckle down and get SOMETHING painted. Since I've got the diorama minis already cleaned, primed, and ready to go, it seemed like a good idea to start there. But because I never do anything the easy way, and my plan calls for some serious OSL (one source light) from a pair of torches... which I think makes it TSL? Maybe DSL? Or would 2SL be better? Anyway, the 2 torches are going to be the only light sources in the dungeon scene, so I need to know where the walls are, where the figures and torches are before I can really start painting anything if I want to get the effect even close to correct. So, first wall and base building.

Step one was figuring out just how big a base I need. The advice I've read is basically "make the base as small as possible and still be able to tell the story." So, okay, big enough to fit the 3 heroes, the pregnant lady, and the monster cobbled together that's seconds from trying to eat the lead figure.

Next was fitting the wall onto the base that will split the group from the monster. Both the base and the wall are made from pink insulation foam. Once I got the wall cut out, I then cut out the doorway. I followed that up with carving in the stonework of the wall, and giving it a little depth by pressing in some of the stones. I'd be a little further along if I hadn't sliced open my index finger.... and I still need to add more texture to the stonework.

And that's where I'm at now. Still to do:
Carve the floor's flagstones
Texture the floor
Attach the wall to the base
Paint the minis
Paint the base
Attach the minis to base

It sounds so easy listed out like that. 6 weeks? Plenty of time...

Sadly that's JUST the diorama. Still hoping to enter something into Painters. Probably not gonna get anything entered into Open or Ordnance at this point.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Back on this day 8 years ago, I started up the Tower of the Archmage.

So what does 8 years look like?
1897 posts
1,210,957 page views (at the time of writing)

Not bad at all. And it's been interesting the changes that both the blog has gone through, and the blog-o-sphere generally. Not to mention all the changes in life. Many, if not most of the blogs that I followed 8 years ago and inspired me to start doing my own thing, have gone silent. Some sit quiet, mothballed, waiting to be reactivated. Others remain only as dead links, sites nuked by their owners. A few have become infested by bots and squatters. (Sounds like a post-apocalyptic setting, doesn't it?) New ones have been built, and many of those have suffered the same fates. Yet the community of bloggers and gamers still seems to be going strong, and thank Gygax for that!

In addition I've got 2 ongoing games, a mountain of miniatures that I'm slowly working on chipping away at, while at the same time adding to!

I'm not even gonna try to guess where I'l be next year, let alone 8 years from now. But hopefully I'll still be gaming with friends at least, and if I'm lucky, I'll still have some followers who'll read about it.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Happy Star Trek Day!

On this day, September 9th, 1966, The USS Enterprise first appeared on TV screens across the USA. (The Canadians got it 2 days early, lucky S.O.B.s...)

In honor of the day, allow my to share a some pretty pictures of the grey lady herself.

And while she may not be "my" Enterprise, she came first. And I have to say, she's still a fine looking ship!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Stonehell: That Burning(prior) Sensation

Session 45 was played on 8/22

Eiric, wizard 5 (Kat)
- torch bearers (Gar)
- men at arms (E, Ulrich, Limdal)
- Naideen(dog)
A-A-Ron, Thief 5 (Henchman)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 5 (Henchman)
Brie, Human Wizard 1 (NPC Apprentice)
Karl, Dwarf 4 (Julia)
- Hobart (dog)
- men at arms (Kanye, Stable Boy)
- Linkmen (Mongo)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 6)

Events: Eclipse (Demon released/summoned in the dungeon) & Earthquake (structural instability, collapsed tunnel/hall/stairs)

When the sun was blotted out of the sky and the ground shook, there was panic in the streets. Some wailed, some flagellated themselves, and some went insane and lashed out violently.

In the basement of the orphanage however, there was little concern as the party planned for their next excursion. Boxes of rags, rolls of paper towels, and bottles of cleaners of all different types were put back on the shelves once the shaking stopped.

“Yolanda kept a nice suite of rooms at the Scroll and Arrow” Brie told Ulrich while looking at the unfinished stone walls and floor. She’d have whispered, but the sound of children being served lunch thundered above while dust continued to float down. “Aye” the dwarf agreed. “This is some miserable accommodations. And I like being underground.”

Not long after, they set out down the old king’s road, through the box canyon, and into the dungeon. Circling around, they worked their way down to the Asylum, and then into the great hall of the area without doors. A pair of giant black beetles were digging around in the rubble at the far end of the room. Flaming arrows made short work of one, and the other fled out the southern doorway.

Looking over the map, Karl and Eiric bickered about whether to deal with the hobgoblin occupying army, or go check out the burning priest. Mostly due to the fact that Eiric had the larger share of the party on her side, they went south, following the beetle, aiming to visit the burning priest.

In the room with the moldy skeletons and the burn marks from the green slime, they discovered some new construction. Stout iron bars had been installed in the doorway, blocking their path. Through the bars they could see an iron bar gate blocking the doorway to the silvery fountain.

“We definitely need to deal with the hobgoblins” Karl warned. “And soon, before they solidify their hold even more.”

Eiric wasn’t convinced that today was that day, so they went around the long way. Down the long corridor, past all the meditation cells, they came to the room with the partly dug up floor, and a papery nest of giant bees! “Didn’t we Power Thirst this already?” Peeking in, they could see the burn marks on the ceiling. The could also see angry giant bees, each about 2’ long, crawling out and flying toward the party in the hallway! (Cue Steve Irwin “They’re Angry!”)

The stingers were vicious, digging deeper every round, but the party managed to slay all the bugs without actually losing anyone. . The paper caught fire quickly, and black smoke and the smell of burning honey filled the air.

Back in the hallway with the iron gate, Karl decides to see what he can see. As he approaches, a red face peeks through the bars, and sneers “It’s them” and backs up. Karl launches a rock from his sling, but it bounces harmlessly. Shaking up a can of PowerThirst, he snags a torch and rushes over to the gate. He pops the lid, and sprays. Unfortunately the power of Power Thirst doesn’t spray far enough across the room, and misses the hobgoblin watch that stood ready with their crossbows. Karl retreated with a little loss to his dignity, and a couple of nicks from their shots.

Moving on, the party makes it down to the destroyed chapel. Fire and Brimstone, death, damnation, and the lash of the Lady of Pain came spewing from the fiery prior’s skeletal lips. The light of his green and red flames kept the destroyed chamber lit. Taking a side passage out of the room, the party explored a storage room, prayer chamber, and bunk room, finding little of interest but an iron gong, that Karl barreled through everyone to bang. While satisfying, it didn’t draw the attention of anyone else in the dungeon.

At least, not that came to investigate…

Sneaking back around, they again avoid the prior, whose preaching had turned to the sins of trespassing and violating sacred places. Down the opposite hall, they find another storage room, prayer room with a gong, and an old dusty study. Karl again ran in and banged the gong, causing the roof of the room to collapse on him. It took over an hour to dig the room, and Karl, out. He alternated between swearing and saying “worth it” the whole time.

In the opposite room, the only item of note was an iron bound alms box bolted to the wall. A-A-Ron warned that there was a pressure trigger on it, but couldn’t tell what it was hooked up to. Karl hefted his pick ax, and motioned everyone else out of the room. While the first swing missed the box completely, the second sent coins flying everywhere! It also sent large darts flying all over the room, only one of which managed to scratch Karl.

The coins were collected, they checked out the study, and found a secret passage! The once opulent bedroom had largely fallen to rot, but an armoire stood gleaming and dust free. Etched brass decorations depicting the Lady of Pain, whips, and suffering souls covered the teak wood. A-A-Ron picked up the smell of ozone, and tried to bribe the elf to open it with an offer of 5gp. The elf just looked mockingly back at him. The torch bearer jumped in and offered to do it. Pocketing the gold he reached out, yanked the door, felt a shock, and jumped back. Aside from a slight burn, and the fact that his hair all stood on end, he was okay. Within were 3 scrolls and 4 potions!

Heading back to the chapel, they searched among the broken benches, prayer books, and other debris, but found nothing. The flaming prior scolded them on the sins of wanton destruction and theft, and warned them not to interfere with those on divine quests. Karl threw a rock at him, which bounced harmlessly off if the prior. Without breaking the stream of consciousness monologue he flipped Karl off. Eiric cast Magic Missile at him. Holding onto the train of his sermon, he flicked back a small ball of fire back at her. In reply she hit him with a lightning bolt! The pulpit shattered, wood splinters flying everywhere while the prior was slammed back against the far wall. He lay curled up on the floor as the party cautiously approached.

He was sobbing. “Only 2 years, 3 months, and 13 days… I was so close… 97 years wasted!!” Karl hefted his ax, but Darryl held him off, and cast Remove Curse on the suffering soul. The fire wreathing his body flickered, and then went out. A silent moment later, it crumbled to ashy dust.

Deciding they’d had enough for the day, the party headed back toward the Asylum, passing some kobolds carrying skins full of water along the way. They nodded politely. “Where are you headed?” Eiric asked.

“Back to the Korners.”

“Wait, you can get to the Korners that way” she asked. “The Hobgoblins let you through?”

“Sure. They come to the Korners too.”

“Can you get us through?”

The Kobold looked worried “Don’t know, would really not want to try.”

Eiric understood, and the party continued out of the dungeon.

Gains: 600gp in assorted coinage, Potion of Healing x2, Potion of Extra Healing, Clerical scrolls of Ennui, What Was Your Doom, and Muttering Wounds
Kills: 19 giant bees, Burning Prior, Oil Beetle,

Revised House Rules:
Leveled NPCs only get 50% XP, but full treasure share
Carousing must be done with a die that allows for the possibility of rolling over your level

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stonehell: Brie's Tale

“I want to be your apprentice.” Brie told Eiric.

Eiric wasn’t in the least impressed by this girl. But she was persistent. It didn’t hurt that she came with a spell book already, including a spell she didn’t know. What really sold it was the fact that she’d been with Yolanda’s group!

This is what she shared:

Yolanda rounded up a bunch of nobodies to start with, usually following where you’d gone. She made sure to always pay those who came back injured to tell their stories. She even hired Loris Jim’Bo after you let him go. By the time she hired me as a lantern bearer, she’d also hooked up with Skelmis the Arcane, Arlen the Elf, and Galladan the Pure. We all explored through the antechamber, the contested corridors where we finished off the goblin tribe.

You beat us to the wizards school. Skelmis was pissed. Trustee Sniv was practically gleeful at being able to charge to let us into it. And that was on top of what she’d been paying him for information on you. We still checked it out. That’s where I showed some talent with magic. Remember the floating blue ball? I could sort of move it…. When Skelmis saw that he started to teach me when we were in town.

The Asylum was creepy, and the area without any doors? Not a lot better. The snake place was at least kind of interesting. Yolanda found a cool magic dagger under a statue of a 4 headed snake. Then we went down even further. That’s when shit got real. We took the moving room down, and almost immediately ran into another wizard with bugbear bodyguards. We ran. Then there were some monkeys with armor and blades and even whole limbs replaced with metal ones. They’ll zap you if they get the chance. Kiff and Ket, they were brothers, they both got zapped.

Ended up paying some wererats for some info and directions. Took refuge in one of the apartment rooms nearby. After we’d recovered a little, we kept on, and passed through what felt like a hothouse full of plants. Nasty ones too. There were these frogs that made you just… stand there… We lost Galladan there, along with Nif. He was the torchbearer they’d hired after I got promoted.

We were poking around, making our way back toward the elevator, sort of when we ran into Lachesis and her two ogres. They were coming though some locked doors, not sure how exactly. Yolanda tried to attack her, but Skelmis… he attacked us. I’m not even entirely sure what happened then, but I ran. I made it to the elevator, and back to the snake area. I managed to Sleep a bunch of them and ran. I found some stairs that brought me to the quiet halls, and bribed a work crew of kobolds to get me out. I waited in the enchanted woods for a day, but no one else came out.

I don’t have the money to join the wizards guild. Not yet. But… maybe if I hook up with you. Share what I know, we can work it out.

Eiric accepted Brie as apprentice.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Stonehell: Teleporter Problems

Session 44 was played on 8/15

Eiric, wizard 5 (Kat)
- torch bearers (Kali)
- men at arms (D, E, F)
- Naideen(dog)
A-A-Ron, Thief 5 (Henchman)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 5 (Henchman)
Karl, Dwarf 5 (Julia)
- Hobart (dog)
- men at arms (Groot, Paris, Carrdio, Love Bug)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 6)

With Eiric only able to speak Dwarven, Karl has to translate for her, which makes things a little awkward. Added to it is the fact that her ears are HUGE! Checking in with the wizards guild, there is one willing to cast remove curse for 500gp. He charges 25gp for merely consulting.

Remembering that they were going to get strawberries for Malfrecas Nul, they grab some in the market, and then head to the Quiet Halls. The pile of bodies at the base of the steps has been clearly rooted through, both by looters (all the weapons were gone) and scavengers. Currently they’re swarming with maggots and other bug things.

The Quiet Halls are quiet, and they return to the Antechamber to take the stairs down to the Asylum. Banking around to head to the teleport chamber, the party goes through the room with the stagnant water pit and the rickety bridge. Going across one at a time seems to be the way to go until the bridge breaks under Carrdio, and he falls in.

He comes up from his dunking flailing. Then he screams as black leach like things start to attach themselves to him. The screaming and flailing stop way more suddenly than anyone expects, as he’s dragged under. In seconds, the dark water is again still.

The rest of the party opts to go around. Making it to the teleport room, Karl decides to experiment, and leaves the door open, and his 10’ pole sticking halfway out into the hall. This ended up being a poor decision.

**DM’s Note: I gave it a 9% chance that it just wouldn’t work, and a 1% chance it would go bad.

Most of the hirelings arrived at the other end of the teleporter inside out. Everyone else was in pain (2d6 damage). Finding themselves in a chamber with 5 other teleport rooms, and one door out into a hallway, they opted to explore the hallway rather than risk using a teleporter to somewhere else they didn’t know.

Picking a random direction, they quickly encounter some weird elf-like people. They order the party to disarm and surrender. That goes over about as well as expected, and the fight is joined. A-A-Ron uses one of his screaming arrows, causing one of them to run. Darryl and Naideen both crit against their opponents, The remaining few opt to run away. Karl, Orpheus, and A-A-Ron gave chase, into a large chamber with a large shallow pit in the middle. And in the pit, 2 angry looking hydras who start hauling themselves out. Plus another of the elf-dudes who takes a potshot at Karl.

Karl, Orpheus, and A-A-Ron rush back to the party, who were busy looting the bodies. Deciding they’d seen enough, they run for the teleport chamber, but are intercepted by 3 more elf-dudes and a basilisk! Groot turns to stone, and Darryl makes his save. A-A-Ron uses another arrow, causing one elf-dude to run. Orpheus crits on the basilisk, lopping it’s head off as he ran past it.

The remaining party members make it to the teleporter, and back out of the dungeon.

Back in town, Darryl casts remove curse on Eiric for free.

Being so completely depleted of hirelings, the party holds a major recruiting event. From it they pick:
Mongo the torch bearer (former fishmonger who still sort of smells)
Erstby the Stableboy
Kanye the thug
Gar the torch bearer
An elf and dwarf pair who’ve been travelling together for some decades now.
Brie, a 1st level wizard who was the apprentice to Skelmis, the wizard who adventures with Yolanda (former hireling!)

Eiric was hesitant to take on an apprentice, but Brie brought not only a spell that Eiric didn’t have, but also detailed info on what Yolanda and Co. had been up to, and how (and where) they met their end!

Gains: Magic Glove, Magic Ear Thing, Swords and Armor of weird metal, gold and platinum coins (230gp value)
Kills: 4 elf dudes, 1 basilisk
Losses: Love Bug, Paris, D, F, Kali, Groot

Monday, September 4, 2017

Bloodmane Gnoll Warrior

Bloodmane was the August Hangout Figure of the Month. I don’t think I actually ever got on the hangouts this month, but I did get him painted up in basically 2 sittings. The first was the basecoat of liner and painting the armor, the second was everything else over about 2ish hours of painting. My speed is definitely picking up, even though I barely painted this month. It probably helps that I’ve done several of this style gnoll recently.

I decided to try out the sepia liner, and I have to say just that looked great. Seriously had good coverage, and the lighter shade meant that I could see more of the mold lines that I missed when first cleaning it up. But also it meant that there was less I had to do to bring out the fur texture. It was all already there!

The eyes I painted with Alien Goo green, with a drop of Ebony Flesh for the pupils. The skin was the usual mix of blue greys I’ve been doing on my gnolls forever. The gums are crimson red, while the crest was Vallejo Red Leather. The teeth and nails are both Desert Sand.

For the armor, I used scorched metal and shadowed armor. I used a mix of tanned leather and desert sand, brought up with Linen White on the leather, washed in spots with a really thinned down ebony flesh. The skulls were painted Ebony Flesh, Desert Sand, and Linen White. The shield metal was done the same as the armor, while the wood was a mix of Ebony Flesh, Woodland Brown, and Desert Sand.

One detail that didn’t make the transition to Bones very well was the outer edge of the right foot. It ended up as a barely defined blob. I did my best to paint in some detail, but it’s still a really mutated toe. Just another example of his demonic blood showing.

The Sepia Liner didn’t hold up though. Along the edge of the base where my hand rubbed against it the paint ended up coming off. Brown, Blue, and Grey liners haven’t shown that tendency, so I’ll be switching back to using them. I usually don’t bother with clear coating most of my Bones, but because of this issue, I think I’m going to do this guy.

While not a show piece, he’s certainly a solid figure, painted to a good tabletop standard.

Friday, September 1, 2017

August in Review

This was not a great month in terms of getting a lot of minis painted. In fact, I only managed to paint 3 minis. Kagunk the Ogre Boss, Inquisitor Lorr, and Bloodmane the Gnoll Warrior (write up to be posted Monday), and 2 of those were started already.

A big part of why is of course Bones IV, which wraps up Saturday. I’ve been following along, tracking it’s hourly progress from the start. Everyone in my family is just about done with me pausing whatever I’m doing to update my spreadsheet every hour.

I never touched the Heroines in Sensible Shoes, who need to get done in time for Reapercon. And time’s a tickin! What I need to do first is get the wall/base built so that I know where the light and shadows go. I’m probably gonna work on that this weekend.

For September:
Heroines in Sensible Shoes Diorama
3 Heroines
1 Pregnant Lady
1 Monster

One thing I did get done was catching up on my Stonehell session reports! As of now, I am completely caught up! Plus I’ve also worked on 2 sub levels, and also made some changes to the dungeon based on what the PCs have done. Primarily, they’ve cleared out large sections of the upper levels, and left them empty, but they’ve mostly ignored the Hobgoblins in the process. They’re taking advantage of this by expanding their territory. It’s getting to the point where the upper levels are gonna need a nearly complete re-write of the room contents. After 45 sessions, things are really beginning to take on a life of their own in Stonehell!!

It’s been another month of reading. I finished:
Supernatural: Bone Key
The Case of the Singing Sword

I’m currently reading The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds on my Kindle, and China: A History (which smells a little musty).

In other news I also got a new job, which I start on Tuesday!