Sunday, January 30, 2011

LL at Paul's: Special Guest Star


This week's game report's gonna be a little different, 'cos I didn't write it. I was travelling on business this week and couldn't make the game, so in lieu of my usual blather, I'll be substituting blather from fellow 10d gamer: exitsanity, who plays the mighty Kashiim.

Let us begin:

Picking up where we left off the party regrouped after the battle within the hallways of Tevlar's keep. Behind the closed doors Kashiim was re-awakened from the Hold Person spell and healing was passed around to the remaining members. The party charged out of the room to find.... the bodies of the bugbears cleared and the hallway silent. Opening a door at the end of the hallway the group found a lavish bedchamber being polluted by two bugbears; obviously either these were Tevlar's man-servants or they had slain the wizard and must be killed themselves!

Kashiim, Froggie and 1/2Klint charged the first of the beasts while Kettle, Deacon and Marklov dove over the curtained bed to flank the remaining bugbear. Kettle and Froggie took devastating wounds but the party managed to stick enough pointy bits into the bugbears to drop them finally. The keep became eerily quiet so Harth decided to cast one of his verrrry useful spells... Detect Magic! Deacon applied some healing to Froggie as Kettle called upon the god of Palengrad to heal his most grievous elbow wound.

Harth glanced around the room and noticed two areas glowing with magical auras; a trapdoor underneath a fancy armchair, and a section of wall adjacent to a portrait of Tevlar. Try as the party might they could not budge either the trapdoor or a hidden panel they found on the wall... Behind the portrait in a small hidden compartment Kashiim and the Deacon found a pouch of gems and gold coins. Other than the three hidden locations the brave adventurers only found Tevlar's lovely wardrobe though Froggie started scratching his stubble every time he looked at Tevlar's portrait. He saw a few improvements to be made on Tevlar's portrait and decided to try his hand at medieval photoshopping. Tevlar's portrait was hung back up with care; sporting a new monocle and mustache. (BigFella here: Yeah, that's gonna end well for us...)

Froggie and Kettle quickly made it clear that they weren't done with Tevlar's keep yet (even though they were both near death at zero hitpoints). Kashiim sensed their urgency and decided to lead the way through the remaining rooms. Of note the party found a complicated alchemist setup. Half-Klint, Marklov and Froggie quickly gathered up two-score of vials and stoppered containers in Tevlar's own robes/cloaks and the party went downstairs to recover an iron chest found earlier.

Without delay the group made for the road, putting the keep on the hill as far behind them as possible. It was determined that heading to Bridgefair was the next step to tie up some other loose 'ends'.

Arriving at Bridgefair it was obvious that the city had closed up its gates and strengthened the watch on its walls. Deacon deftly talked his way into the city and the group decided to find lodging at an inn named The Pikeman for an exorbitant weekly rate. After settling in their rooms the party split to take care of errands; a crowbar was purchased for the iron chest, Froggie started following up leads on the thief 'Tinhelm', Kashiim and Harth went to trade and catch up with the magician in the rich district, and the remaining members went to have the gems appraised.

The shoppe the gnomes ran in the wealthy district was boarded up. Some sleuthing revealed that an explosion was heard from within, that the gnomes may have been taken for tax evasion, and that some gnome arrived later asking a lot of questions about the gnome shoppe but may not be in town. We found a new gem cutter to deal with, Bardi. Kashiim and Harth purchased a couple of scrolls and also inquired of the ability to dispel wizard locked compartments for the possibility of finishing the raid on Tevlar's chamber.

Froggie used every bit of acumen to squeeze details of Tinhelm's location out of various townsfolk. I believe he only spent 10 gold pieces on bribes; obviously a steal for the amount of gold lost when the horses were stolen... Early the next morning Harth used his spells to determine that 8 of the potions from Tevlar's laboratory were magical; Kashiim brought those plus 2 more to the magician to be identified as the party made ready to follow up the most promising lead on Tinhelm's current location.

Okay, BigFella here again. Sounds like an interesting session. I'm just glad the Deacon made it thru okay, and look forward to pursuing our path of vengeance on Tinhelm, whilst avoiding any vengeance that might arise from Tevlar coming home to find his castle ransacked and his bugbears dead. I guess we'll dodge that fireball when we come to it.

Thanks to exitsanity for filling in the blanks, and thanks as usual to Paul for running the campaign. Lookin' forward to next week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

LL at Paul's: Bug Ugly.

It bears repeating, this was an un-bearable session. Okay, I'll stop...

Whamma hey.

So after an interlude brought on by the latest NorthEastern snowpalooza, we reconvened on Thursday night, which happened through a trick of the Gregorian calendar to also be my birthday. This happens to me frequently, for some reason, that I end up at a game table on the big ME day, and it rocks.

So anyway, when last we left the crew, we were sizing up the stone statue in the depths of Skull Mountain that came alive and roasted almost half the party by barfing up lava on us. This happened when Kashim touched it, so we avoided laying hands on the thing.

After a long interval of speculating and ruminating and trying to figure out if there were any secret exits to this skull decorated room, we threw up our hands and decided to cut our losses and leave. We'd gotten what we'd come for, which was info from the scrying pool, and we'd made a thorough map of the complex, which would serve us in good stead if we felt like dipping our toe back in to the piranha infested pool that was Skull Mountain. So off we went.

Our next objective, based on the info we'd gained, was to go to the ruined castle where we'd encountered Tevlar the Mighty, a powerful jerk of a mage, and ransack the place while he was off at this wizard convention thing we'd espied him at thru the scrying pool.

We had to do a little mental gymnastics for the lawful members of the group, i.e. myself and Kietel the Paladin, to be able to justify what was essentially burglary. Sure he was mean to us, but then again last time we met him we were intruding on his premises. Well, we figured counts against him A: His eager staff of evil bugbears didn't point to a spotless character and B: he sat there in full view of Skull Mountain and let the Obsidian Heart carry out their campaign of sacrifice and terror. So we decided to stick it to him. And if we managed to swipe a bunch of stuff on the way, so be it.

So we journeyed over hill and dale 'til we got to the Dead Hills, under the looming presence of the castle. As we camped, a stranger approached us, a burly, bearded, wall eyed gentleman of ill aspect who looked like he led a life of larceny. I'm not recalling his name with 100% accuracy. I wanna say his name was Markeva. (This was a new player to join our merry group. Sorry for the memory lapse, Mr. R, but it usually takes me a couple sessions to absorb a new character's name.)

After introductions were made, we broke camp and tromped up the hill to the castle. We decided to enter through the big hole in the wall made in the ancient battle where the castle fell.

As we entered, we were spotted by a bugbear, who ran for the inner bailey of the castle and ran inside. Markeva and Kashim, I think, had enough presence of mind to fire their bows at him, but didn't manage to stop him.

As we gave chase, we started getting peppered with bowfire from a row of arrow slits overlooking the courtyard on the second floor of the castle. Paul made us run through the fire if we wanted to get to the doors, and this was where the Deacon's recent equipment upgrades paid off. Now that I was wearing magical leather armor and a Ring of Protection, I was a lot lighter on my feet, and cleared the distance in one round. Kashim and Keitel with their heavier armor came next, with Frog huffing and puffing across the courtyard for three rounds. (Shoulda quit smokin' five packs a day Froggy my man.)

Winston Churchill once said "There's nothing more exhilerating than being shot at without result" and I think that was in play for the Deacon, 'cos once I crossed the courtyard I started kicking in doors ready to lay a smackdown with my Mojo Stick on anything that confronted me. That worked for two rooms, until I met a knot of five bugbears.

They're like Care Bears, except all they care about is splitting your face with a morning star.

Well, we set to fightin', and a tough fight it was, especially when it turned out one of 'em was a shaman, and tried to lay a whammy on us. He cast Hold Person, which mercifully most of us avoided, except for poor Keitel, who froze up solid. While Half Klint and Markeva dragged him off, the Deacon got pissed and decided turnabout was fair play, and Hold Personed the mangy, pantless bastard right on back, rooting him to the spot.

Our monstery foes fought on in spite of losing their higher up, and it took us some doin' to take 'em down. Generally, bugbears represent the deluxe in terms of simple dungeon thug types, being big and tough and hitting like a freight train loaded with bricks. Kashim gave 'em some good hits, as did the Deacon laying about with his Mojo Stick, while Half Klint returned and slipped around to do some solid backstabbing. Markeva finished off the shaman with a coup de grace, and soon we'd handled 'em. Then again, I had to pour a bit of my precious store of Cure Light Wounds spells on the lower level guys who were taken down pretty far, plus one to restore locomotion to our hapless paladin.

From there, we started to case the joint, checking out the various rooms in the castle, some of which we remembered from before our forcible eviction last time we were here. We managed to map out the first floor, then decided to move on upstairs, where we knew there were more bugbears lurking based on the lovely bowfire we'd weathered crossing the courtyard.

Well, we went up, and found a hall with a bunch of alcoves or chambers, and one of 'em had a bugbear in it with a bow, so we jumped him. I think he managed to wing one of us, but I'm not sure. We charged him and his buddies as they came out of their own alcoves, and soon the battle was joined. In retrospect, it probably would have been better to let them just shoot us, as it was a lot less damaging then when they hit us in hand to hand.

The brutes were soon joined by ANOTHER shaman, who cast hold person and managed to freeze up Kashim, which royally sucked. The thieves dragged him off to shelter in one of the alcoves as the rest of our battered fighters held the line. It was here we rather rued not having interns... I mean any henchmen to help diffuse the punishment we were taking.

The Deacon was forced to make a strategic decision to either stay at the front with a beleagured Keitel and fight or fall back and reanimate Kashim with a Cure Light Wounds spell from a stock of scrolls he was mercifully carrying. Finally, the wisdom of having our best fighter active and fighting over getting a few more magically charged whacks in with my boom stick held sway, and I fell back to the back nine while Frog and Keitel fought on, with some good results for Frog, who I guess was pissed at taking so many arrows as he lumbered across the courtyard.

As we fell back, another front opened up down a side hall with a bugbear with a bow and ANOTHER shaman. Crap! How many of these guys did they have? The first shaman cast a fear spell on Frog (I think.) sending him running back to join us. I think we managed to kill the initial group we ran into, and fell back to one of the rooms, with the other two bugbears plus who know how many else getting ready to come after us.

And it was here where we broke off the session.

So yeah, action packed, with a lot of whackin' and tomfoolery. A good birthday session.

Our big strategic flaw, of course, was assuming everything would be okay with the powerful wizard out of town. This, debatably, IS a good thing, 'cos we don't wanna also have to deal with someone who can casually chuck fireballs around and who's pissed at us for breaking into his summer home. The big thing we forgot, however (or several big things, big things with gorilla arms and pointy ears and heavy maces for smashing faces) was his housekeeping staff.

So yeah, we're in hot water. All good though. We'll git 'em. Somehow...

Thanks again to Paul and the rest of the 10d gamers for a rip snortin' session. It was a most enjoyable birthday activity!

Breeshk. BOOOM!

P.S.: It can't be helped. My conception of Tevlar is starting to resemble this image very strongly.
The Holy Grail and D&D, like peanut butter and chocolate...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

LL at Paul's: Snow forts for everyone!

Last week's session was cancelled by the northeastern snowpocalpyse.
So here's Joe Violence fighting a yeti.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

LL at Paul's: Methodical cartography.

Happy New Year, everybody!

With barely pause before the final strains of Auld Lang Syne faded, we were back around Paul's gaming table with our dice at the ready.

In particular, I was ready with an awesome dice my bro gave me for Christmas, that lights up when you get a natural 20! Sweet!

Sadly, I didn't get to really use it this session, as it was mostly careful exploring of the vacated interior of Skull Mountain.

Yeah, Skull Mountain. Having not been masticated enough by this hideous warren of deathtraps, we now stood at the mouth of the skull ready to go in and make a thorough exploration, which we did.

I don't need to go over the particulars, mostly what we did was map out an accurate picture of the lower levels, assembing our three half completed maps from our prior forays into a cohesive whole.

We applied the 10' pole liberally, and avoided all but one of the pit traps, which caught Kashim for a some minor damage. We also managed to neatly evade an arrow trap that guarded what seemed to be a map room, by spotting it's trigger and firing it off while nobody was in its sights. We made note of where the arrow hit on the map. (Paul, you ABSOLUTELY have to put something cool there! Rule of cool demands it!)

The only real trouble we had was when we set off a rolling boulder trap in one hallway that was hidden behind a door. Hearth and Half-Klint, our new halfling theif, both got crushed up pretty bad, but the Deacon healed them (what can I say, it's tough being 1st. level). Then there was the secondary effect of a bunch of Indiana Jones jokes, which we mostly avoided.

It's an occupational hazard in this biz...

Finally, we made our way down to the counting room/scrying room/aaghthestatue'sbreathinglavaonus level, and hied ourselves to the scrying pool. We got a LOT of info out of that.

Turns out, the way the thing works is if you drop some liquid from the black flask into the pool and think of something or someplace you've seen before, a vision of it appears in the pool. We found that stuff we hadn't seen, like treasure from the list we found in the counting room or Prince Gway, wouldn't show up. (As well as completely imaginary things, like a hobgoblin posing as Prince Hank.) So we lined up our priorities and took turns tuning in the Scrymaster 2000.

Restenford was wrecked up, and the castle was under seige, which we knew as players but didn't know as characters, so that was good dot connecting. We saw a lot of undead shambling around, which wasn't a good sign. (Although at my level I'm getting so if it's less than, say, a ghoul, it's not much of a bother. Frikkin' ghouls...)

Bridgefair was still standing and was thus far unattacked, but it looked like the forces there were busy building up fortifications.

Pelltar was at some kind of wizardly meeting with a bunch of high and mighty types. We spotted heraldry of a gold griffon on white and blue in the background.

Tevlar turned out to be at the same meeting, which I guess isn't that big a surprise since the guy mows his lawn (and by lawn, I mean a castle courtyard swarming with skeletons and zombies) with fireballs. This led to a larcenous gleam in the party's eyes, since if Tevlar was out at this big mystical Shriners convention his castle was unoccupied...

Shriners are awesome, btw, and I mean that totally un-ironically.

We tuned in on Tinhelm, and saw he was living it up in some tavern that Kashim recognised from his bar crawl of Bridgefair, no doubt on the ill gotten profits from OUR horses. So perhaps a little track and smack would be in order for our shiny hatted former employee.

Once we'd exhausted our options with the Scry-o-mat, we decided to go back to the skull shrine (the one with the idol/statue that nearly tpk'd us.) and check around. We closed out the session standing before the deadly carven lizard man, stroking our chins and pondering its mysteries, trying to figure out whether they could be plumbed without it coming alive and kicking the crap out of us.

So a good, methodical session, more about exploring than action. Thanks to Half-Klint's grabby little mitts we got a little bit of XP out of the glowing candelabra in the room where we'd found Belarus Beechson (returned safely to the shrine of the Good Earth in Greenwild), The Prince (ironically killed by lava), and caravan guy (mauled by giant wolves). We also got a little XP bonus from avoiding the arrow trap at the map room so deftly. Better than a peck in the head with a sharp stick, as my Dad would say.

If we could clear out the stank of evil from this place, it would make a pretty awesome fort, but that's a tall order. Right now, I think we just wanna cash in and move on to greener (or to be honest, golder) pastures.

Thanks again to Paul for running, and a tip o' the hat to the rest of the 10d gamers for another solid session.