Tuesday, September 26, 2023

#ReaperCon #Dungeon23 Session Reports 3-5

In case you missed the first part, click here for Sessions 1+2

Session 3

**Short session, as I played Blood on the Clocktower (after dark 21+ session) prior to running this session, and ended up too drunk to run the game for very long

The party takes the shorter hallway to the room, and then through the large heavy metal door that was in that room, reaching a massive multi storey tall chamber dominated by a circular opening in the floor. A metal walkway stretched over it, and blue light shimmered up from the depths of the clear water within. The white tiles of the room gleam, and great steel machinery hums on the far side.

Carefully looking around, they quickly all find themselves either on the metal walkway or standing on the edge of the pool looking down at the 36 gold rods standing on end at the bottom of the pool.

Greed getting the better of him, Balfasak jumps in, sinking down to the rods, the water getting hotter as he goes. He grabs a rod, and reaches up toward the elf for help. The elf wants no part of the gold death rod, but Ivermectin the dwarf follows his cousin down into the hot water. Not to be outdone, Maypole follows, and feels himself getting woozy as he approaches his fellow dwarves wrapped obscenely around the gold pole.

**Drink more water! Less Rum, whiskey, and beer!!


Photo of my gaming table at Reapercon. All seats are full, and extra seats have been pulled up. Everyone is laughing or smiling.

Session 4

**No silly notes this season, clearly I was too sober.

We return to find our 3 dwarves underwater, clutching a gold rod in a nuclear reactor pool, all beginning to seriously suffer the effects of radiation poisoning that even their dwarven constitution is having trouble handling. The fighters on the catwalk use a rope and grappling hook to drag their irradiated companions from the water. The dwarves have acquired a tan and a “healthy” faint green glow.

Deciding that the gold isn’t worth it, they press on, and try another door, this one taking them to a changing room with a large sunken circular shower in the middle. Suits similar to the ones worn by the zombies are stored in cubbies on the wall, along with some metallic tanks that look like they can be worn with a harness on the back. They play with the shower, but aside from a few clunking noises, they don’t get anything from it.

Continuing on to a room with a large double metal door without handles, one door slightly recessed from the other, and an impressive looking desk in the corner, the party is set upon by large rats bulging with tumors. Watermelon provides a running commentary on the fight, followed by a post-fight pep talk to the party on the virtues of not being eaten by giant radioactive cancerous rats.

The party circles around and comes to the control room of the facility, full of displays and blinking lights. A voice addresses them in a language none of them know, but one recognizes as an ancient human tongue from before the end of the world.

“Speak Dwarven!” Maypole yells! And the voice does.

“System damaged. Water level is critical. Immediate repairs required before core meltdown.”

“Who are you?”

“I am the Core Computer interface for this facility.”

“What happens if the core melts down?”

“All connected facilities will go offline. Damage to the local area within 5 miles, total. Radiation will cause a 50 mile area to become uninhabitable. Systems must be repaired. Emergency Authorization for repairs is granted to any personnel capable of performing necessary repairs.”

“What needs to be repaired?”

“Water levels must be restored in the main pool.”

“We can pee in it…. How much water?”

“22,000 gallons.”

“That’s a lot of pee… how long do we have?”

“Approximately 11 months until total system failure and core meltdown.”

“How do we get that much water into the tank?”

“Repair the main pump”

One of the displays flickers, and in Dwarven runes lists out the repair needed, and the parts to accomplish it.

What does it say? Asks a party member.

Maypole, prophet of the Core Computer, translates that Computer requires a pump to be repaired. We need a virgin to sacrifice.

Everyone looks at Watermelon.

Where do we find the parts?

The screen changes again, and a map of the facility’s 4 floors appears, highlighting different storage rooms.

The party sets off to collect the parts. They run into another group of Roachkin, and a heated debate between Maypole and Mojito the Cleric on the blasphemy of calling the Computer Core a god. This debate triggered an existential crisis among the Roachkin who had no concept of “god” or “soul” but now had to grapple with the concept.

They fight some more rad rats, and collect some of the needed parts. In another supply room they find a massive steel shelving unit running the length of the room, stacked with barrels. Mojito screws up and causes the entire shelving unit to collapse. The noise was deafening, and the heavy barrels caused some serious injury among the party members in the room. It also caused a large and lumpy mutant to investigate. Hoping to avoid any more mutants showing up, Wooo goes out to calm the mutant, and the pair of them bond over a wineskin full of the good stuff. The mutant leads Wooo back to his chambers, the party follows, and closes the door behind them, allowing them to collect the remaining parts while Wooo takes one for the team.



chaotic sketch of various figures from the game, with the 3 dwarves on the gold rod in the bottom right, Notknot in the middle, Watermelon and Wooo to the left. The names of all the characters are on the bottom
Session art created by Smaht Goblin

 Session 5

The party has everything they need, so off they go to fix the pump (no virgins were sacrificed to prime it). Returning to the control room, they talk with the computer core some more, and find out about the system that connects the different facilities via underground tunnels. Of course they head directly to the room labeled “motor pool” all the while wondering why you’d put a motor in a pool.

3 dusty old vehicles sit in the large chamber with a wide opening out into a dark tunnel. Most of the party searches the room, while a few poke around one of the open topped vehicles. Eventually they manage to activate it, and it begins to hover a good 6” off the ground. A bit of experimentation, and they get it moving toward the tunnel. There’s two rails running down the tunnel, and the vehicle forcibly shifts to the left one.

Everyone piles into the back, and off they go!

6 hours later, through dark passages with no idea which way they’re going, and randomly picking directions when turns or splits appear on the way, they enter into a room almost identical to the last one they left, the main differences being no other vehicles, and the 6 GIANT SCORPIONS!

They party scurried off the vehicle as the scorpions attacked the driver…

**I don’t remember who was driving

…tries to ram the scorpions, but they’re too quick, and he just crashes into the far wall. House Red takes a stinger right to the chest, and drops, foaming at the mouth. The rest of the party clambers over the crashed vehicle, and through a small doorway with stairs going up… and up… and up….

**Sorry House Red, you were too sane to live with this group. Also, sorry about stealing your drink, but to be fair, it was handed to me.

At the top of the stairs was a busted door, and a rocky mountain side with some scrubby bushes. The scorpions were following the party, but due to the small size of the stairwell, were moving slower than they normally would in the open. The party started throwing rocks down the stairs. For 15-20 minutes they chucked every liftable rock… and then stopped to listen. Their efforts were seemingly enough.

Taking stock, they knew they couldn’t go back down, and only had a vague idea of where home was.

And then the large red dragon appeared.

**Gotta love random encounter tables!

The party hid as best they could, and thankfully the dragon either didn’t see them, or didn’t care.

**It didn’t care

After dark, they started to make their way down the mountain.

**We were getting short on time, and everyone was very tired from the long nights of the convention

The party made it back home after a week of travel, much to the shock of the nearly waterless town. Another party had followed them down a few days ago, but had also not returned. After they report what happened, the town elders focused their questions of the underground stream that served the well.

“So what you’re saying is that you need to dig a little dirt and rock out from where the wall collapsed?”

“Uh… Yes?”

They’re sent back down the well with shovels and picks, and after some hours of work, restored the stream to its original flow, saving the town.

Monday, September 25, 2023

#ReaperCon #Dungeon23 Session Reports 1+2

Games played the evenings of 8/30 to 9/3

Players and Characters - Not all players/characters played each night
Smart Goblin - Notknot Focust, Magic User
Thes - Ethanol the Cleric (aka 80085)
Aaron - Ivermectin the Dwarf
Haldir - Balfasak the Buzzed (aka The Aborted) the dwarf
JeepNewbie - Gorbeliead the fighter
Merrick - Charles Notchuck the fighter
Kyle - Ankou the fighter
Matt - Whooo the lover (not a fighter)
Thorne - Lethe the elf
Andy - Sarin
Natalie - Urethra
Brad Arm Candy - Mojito the 1st
Cranky - Maypole the Fudge Bringer, Prophet of Core
Ariel - Tila the Thief
Arthur - North The Elf
Evil Halfling - Mojito the 2nd (& 3rd) Cleric
Jeff/Dilvish - Uri
Dragoneye - House Red
Watermelon, NPC Torchbearer (12 year old boy or adult halfling, unclear, in platemail with no shoes and shoe polish blackened feet)
Lefty & Righty, NPC meatshields

Over the course of 5 nights I ran a rotating group of players through the first month’s worth of my #Dungeon23. These were all late night sessions (usually starting after 9:30pm) in which almost everyone had consumed various adult beverages. At any given time, there were usually about 8 players at the table.

DM’s notes, as written, will be indicated with **. These notes may or may not have anything to do with what's happening in the game, and may or may not make any sense… even to me.


The world ended. Fire burned the sky, and demons poured forth from the mountains to sweep across the face of the world, destroying the monuments and empires of mankind. But nothing lasts forever, not even the end of the world.

Everything was changed from that point on. New peoples with ancient empires appeared where once there was open farmland, and old nations fractured and split as what once was common became impossible to repair. Creatures of myth now walk, swim, and fly across the face of the world.

In the town of Dragon's Maw, so named for the ever steaming rocky gorge the town sits next to, the town's main well has gone dry. Workers were sent down to investigate and repair it. They didn't return. The townsfolk are nervous, and old wives tales about "The Demon Core" that lurks below seem a little more real. With nerves running high, and water supplies running low, a call has gone out for some would-be heroes to face whatever danger lurks below the town.

**I gave this intro every session, and sometimes multiple times if new players showed up.


Photo from DM's view of players at reapercon table in convention center hallway. My hamster plush sits prominently in the middle of the table next to my beer and notebook

Session 1

Too stupid to step back when the town council calls for volunteers, a half dozen unlucky souls are geared up to find out what happened to the workers and solve the problem if they can. Heading down the well, the strongest being lowered down first, they drop down into a long and somewhat narrow cavern with an underground stream running through it, and quickly discover that the cause of the problem is that a wall has collapsed, pushing the stream away from the well opening. More interesting is that the collapsed wall has opened an entrance into… somewhere else. Somewhere with a flickering blueish light.

As the fighters poke around, the nearly naked wizard, with bandoliers of flaming oil, loses his grip on the rope near the bottom, and falls. Lucky for him, he only suffers a bit of rope burn, a badly bumped noggin (no big loss) and a couple broken vials of oil. He then uses the oil to rub his nearly naked self down

**everyone is drunk, both in and out of game

**roll Tiddy dice for decisions

The party doesn’t see any sign of the workers in the cave, and so heads up toward the light. Once through the broken wall, they find themselves in a clearly man-made passage, with ancient flickering light panels set into the ceiling. Picking a random direction, they explore the hallway, ignoring the door near the break in the wall, and going directly away from it, ignoring the door at the turn of the corridor and looking further along, they see a group of four 6’ tall cockroaches, attempting to open a door further down the hall. 2 of them drop down onto all sixes, while the one at the door, and the one furthest back remain upright. They click and chitter amongst each other, then at the party.

Notknot, in his glistening glory, carefully approaches the roaches. They’re cautious, but let him approach, backing away from the door. He reaches for the door handle, turns it, and pushes in, and is immediately trampled by 4 more Roachkin busting out of the room. The Roachkin collectively scurry away down the hall, mostly on the floor, a couple using the wall until they round the corner down the far end. After a moment one sticks his head back around the corner and waves an arm before disappearing down the hall.

The party rushes up to Notknot, picks him up, and then they check out the open doorway. Beyond is a large open cubicle farm. The fabric walls are torn and moldy, and thick dust covers the inoperable machines within.

Returning to the previous door, they find a large plush office that once must have been for the boss, but was now just as ruined as the cubicle farm. Ivermectin does his best to fix the throne-like chair behind the desk, but the plastic wheels are beyond his skill and drunkenness level.


Session 2

The party continues exploring the underground facility, coming next to a store room, which was largely empty and the few remaining items were ancient and not in very good shape. Urethra offered someone a drink, and was weirdly turned down. Can’t imagine why… 

Among the various dusty artifacts is a weird four legged thing, about the size of a dog, but made out of metal and some other hard materials. A box, semi-attached to the bottom was the only bit that the party could shift with any ease. They pushed it one way, then another, and it clicked, and the dog thing stood up. While it didn't have a head, there was the impression that it was looking around. On unsteady legs it began to move, and then got more steady. They watched it for a bit, and it kept making a circuit of the room.  

**Resting Serious Face

The door across the hall was way more interesting, but stinky. Full of trash and lots of unidentifiable material, several more large Roachkin as well as an uncountable number of Roachkin nymphs, scurry in panic at the light coming in through the open door. Lots of clicking, chittering, and hissing can be heard.

**I’m smart enough to have an extra language, can I speak Roachkin? Sure!

Notknot clicks and chitters in return..

**We interrupt this session report for the sounds of Bohemian Rhapsody echoing down the hall, being played for Sophie Says in the main ballroom. None of my players heard it, and were apparently confused as to why I leapt up and ran into the ballroom to sing along

Conversation with the Roachkin continued for a bit, and the party agreed to not harass any of the roaches they might see in the facility.

**into a box

Leaving the Roachkin nest, they continue down the hall and into a decent sized room with 4 overly swollen zombies in torn radiation suits. Lefty and Righty charge in with the party fighters while Watermelon pees himself.

**Whooo’s toddling Watermelon (tutoring)

The zombies are tough, tougher than expected, and every time they get poked, a nasty gush of fluids squirts out toward the person poking them. Lefty and Righty both get a blast of the noxious fluids right in the face, and neither survives the experience. In a terrifying move, the wizard Sarin grabs the head of the nearest fallen zombie and chucks it at one of the last standing ones, killing it.

**That’ll do Canadian

After the fight is over Balfasak takes the intact heads of 3 of the zombies, and pulls the flesh off of them by hand, keeping them to throw later. He gets a minor case of radiation sickness.

**It might be small, but it’s neat and tidy... Really beautiful.

Opening the 3 doors to the room at the same time, the party finds a long hallway to the south, stairs going up and down to the north, and a shorter hallway to the east that leads to a room. 

Sessions 3-5 next post

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Halloween Movies: Halloween (1978)

Last October I decided to start watching some of the classic horror movies from the 70s and 80s that I missed as a kid, and I started with Nightmare on Elm Street and was shocked at how good it was. Now I didn't get very far into this little project, so this year I'm starting a little early, and Tuesday night I watched Halloween.

Not I'm not a big horror fan, which is obvious given my lack of having seen this classic, but because it's such a classic so many elements of it have made their way into pop culture that much of it felt familiar.  I also have to give props to the film maker for not relying on cheap jump scares. Mike Meyers isn't scary cause he jumps out at you, but because he just keeps coming. Of course they don't start there... they rightly build up to it, slowly just having him be there. Just bring present, watching, lurking, and freaking out the kids.

Overall I really enjoyed it, with only 2 complaints. 

1. I felt the sound balance was off. The music was just a tad too loud

2. He killed the dog. I hate that. Go ahead and murder the randy teens, but leave the animals alone 

Interestingly I expected more blood/gore. For all the violence, it was remarkably restrained.

The real question becomes, how do you make a D&D monster like that?

Monday, September 18, 2023

Stonehell: Troll's Treasure Map

Session 209 was played on 10/16

Borumar, Thief 9 (Josh) & Fido
Morgana, Magic User 8 (Rob)
Blotto, Goblin (Lanse)
Koltic, Cleric 7 (NPC)
Aroon, Fighter (NPC)
Jameth, Fighter (NPC)
Lor’Koth, Dwarf (NPC)

Troll treasure map in hand, the party heads out into the countryside, past Stonehell and further to the west than they’d ever before traveled. Following the map, they find themselves on a hilltop with an old well. Borumar drops in a copper coin with light on it, while Morgana uses her wizard eye circlet to investigate. She sees a stirge nest, and looks around more, and in the faint light finds an entrance to the complex. The party finds the spot on the outside of the hill, and begins the excavation. It looks like it has recently collapsed.

A few hours later the doorway is open enough for the party to pass through. Exploring around, they find fresh troll footprints, and quietly follow them deeper. Making good use of the wizard eye, they find the trolls before the trolls know the party is there. Morgana chucks a fireball at them. 2 trolls survived the fireball, but not Borumar’s backstab. The troll baby’s fate (it was outside the fireball blast area) was only briefly discussed, and Borumar made sure it didn’t suffer.

With the trolls dead, the party continued exploring, finding a magically protected chest. Morgana dispelled the magical walls around it, and Borumar avoided the poison gas trap further protecting it. Heading to the surface the party is surprised by some insect swarms and a mummy, but they deal with both with ease.

Gains: 2,000gp, Banded armor +1, potion of speech, scroll protection from undead
Kills: 6 Trolls, mummy, insect swarm

For this dungeon, I used Dyson's map Hunter's Descent.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Kalanzar the Wicked part 1

 It's time to paint another dragon! This time I'm going with another of the Bones 5 dragons, my favorite, the red!

Just look at that beautiful sculpt!


Out of the bad though, I wasn't as thrilled with it. Sure, it's unpainted, unassembled plastic, but that base... It just doesn't give me the proper feeling that this big dragon deserves. First off, 3" is just a little tight, so digging through my bigass pile of bases, I grabbed a 4" round and... realized it isn't just about the diameter, it's about the height. 

It's a little hard to tell, but the feet aren't really in their slots. There's a little warping, and unless I want to do a lot of work to get it all to fit together, and I don't, I need to scrap the the included base. 

That's better...

 And it better matches the base height of Aganzaraxthe Foul too. 

More to come!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Reapercon 2023

For the first time since 2019, I made it back to Denton Texas for Reapercon! 

After arriving, once the meet and greet was over, I quickly snagged a spot in one corner of the main ball room to set up, and get right to painting. I needed to finish my entries for the painting contest.

Painting station setup with a battery powered light, a pair of pistol cases, a coffee cup, a water cup and a bunch of minis.

After getting set up though, it was time to gab my books and run some D&D. I continued my late night D&D game tradition, but shifted from Stonehell into my own  #Dungeon23 creation. There's nothing like a little play testing to tell you what you need to tweak.  I have the session reports for this started, and should have it posted soon...

 Lat night D&D game, round table, players talking to each other

As far as the painting contest goes, I sadly once again only brought home bronze awards, and while I'm disappointed, I'm not too surprised. I got really good feedback, and had it hammered into my head that if I want silver (or better) I really need to actively focus on getting better, not just painting a lot of good tabletop quality minis.

Main ballroom full of people during the reapercon awards ceremony

After a rough night of too much drinking and fun, I woke up, checked my phone and read the news that Jimmy Buffet had died. I'm not sure I've said much about it here, but I'm a big fan, and it was heartbreaking news. Of course, I had to have a cheeseburger, cold draft beer, and a margarita. They were all really good too.

A margarita, cold draft beer, and a cheeseburger in honor of Jimmy Buffett

Aside from finishing up the contest entries, I also painted these at the con. The barmaid was from a fluid filled objects class, the warlock was from a speed painting event, the small tribal dude was an old figure painted for Reaper Jon, and the skeleton archer was in honor of Ed who passed away this year.  I also took a jungle basing class, but mostly just hung out and played games.

4 minis, a barmaid, warlock, tribal warrior, and skeleton archer

And speaking of games, Blood on the Clock Tower is a very fun game. It's a social deduction game of good villagers trying to figure out who the demon (and their minions) is. I played in an evening session on Friday, using a variant caveman rule where players could only say 6 words (like rock, fire, cave, big, etc.). We had 2 players who had special cards, one with only 3 words, and the other with phrases from Star Trek The Next Generation's episode Darmok, such as "The Beast at Tinagra" and "Shaka, when the walls fell". I got to play as one of the evil minions, and got the Star Trek phrases. We evil players were anything but subtle (we'd all been drinking) but we managed a decisive win.

todder standing on a chair, holding con bade and train of ribbons that touch the floor

Of course all good things must end, and then it was time to go home. I was ready for it too. I found myself missing my family more than I expected. All in all it was an amazing time, and I can't wait till I can go again.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Stonehell: Clearing the Troll Halls, pt 3

Session 208 was played on 10/3

Borumar, Thief 9 (Josh) & Fido
Morgana, Magic User 8 (Rob)
Karl, Dwarf 8 (Julia)
Gimble, Mage (Scott)
Koltic, Cleric 7 (NPC)
Aroon, Fighter (NPC)
Jameth, Fighter (NPC)
Lor’Koth, Dwarf (NPC)

As most of the trolls were killed in the last session, the remaining trolls hurriedly packed their things, and ran for it. This allowed the party to sweep their way through the halls, collecting loot, and freeing slaves as they went.

An encounter with a panther caused Borumar to accidentally reveal to Karl that he left a Karl Koin in the vampire lord’s spare coffin which resulted in a very loud “YOU WHAT!” over my headset.

Returning to the surface, the enslaved humans and gnomes were all given some pocket money and sent on their way. The party spent some time training, and Koltic managed to poison himself accidentally while brewing potions. 

Gains: various coinage and gold treasures
Kills: Panther

Sunday, September 10, 2023

14 Year Old!

It's amazing how time flies. I honestly couldn't have imagined that I'd still be actively blogging after 14 years when I stared this, and yet here I am. 

And because I haven't looked in a while, here's the stats! 

  • 2,156,496

Friday, September 8, 2023

Star Trek Day '23

 It's a weird amazing time to be a Trek fan! There's been so much new Star Trek to enjoy, and so much of it is so good... but we've also got Paramount selling off Prodigy, and with the writers and actors strike going on (Go Unions!) it's unclear what the future holds. 

Then again, Star Trek's core message is about hope for the future, even... especially when things are bleak. 

Happy Star Trek Day, and Live Long and Prosper! 

Friday, September 1, 2023

August '23 in Review

This month was all about prep for ReaperCon. Other stuff happened, like a family photo shoot, the in-laws heading home, visiting my sister and aunt (cutting mightily into my painting time) and actually being able to go out on a date with my wife for our anniversary! Lots of good stuff, but mentally... it was all about Reapercon. And yes, I'm going to owe my wife for this trip, and leaving her with the hamsterling while I'm gone. 


Due to a combination of factors, game was on hold this month. In place of that, kinda, I did the RPGaDay thing, and have also been keeping up with my #Dungeon23. Either I’m really really looking forward to getting back to it this month. Plus, there are games played at ReaperCon, but more on that when I get back.


I knocked out some quick walls of thorns and a stone wall for the RCL so that I could focus on my ReaperCon prep. I came up with a last minute diorama idea, and managed to get it done before I had to pack. Fingers crossed that I come home with at least 1 silver.


Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2
What We Do In The Shadows season 5
Only Murders in the Building season 3

Goals for Sept

Recover from ReaperCon & not get COVID or even con crud.
Play a scenario or 2 for Hope Eternal
Paint something non-reaper
Start the scarecrow for the yard for halloween.