Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ran the Nuke of gaming...Death Frost Doom

Hey everyone.

So, I just now finished a game that started late late at night.  Around 1 AM, I had three friends start on a journey through the module called Death Frost Doom.  It is now 7 and we just finished.  We did a major grind of it.

ALSO, it is set in Ravenloft.  I am still new to it and was winging about half the issues the characters dealt with.  They didn't pass certain checks.  But instead of going mad, they slowly lost their grip on things.  This is a great module to use for Ravenloft in my humble opinion.

The only thing I am going to really talk about now, and it won't be much cause I need to get some sleep, is that they didn't like the "surprise" at the end of the game with the plant.

For those of you who don't know, it is a "gotcha" module.  You need to hack through a plant to get to the "maguffin" of the adventure.  By doing this, it releases ghouls, skeletons and other undead.  Thousands of them.

They safely got back to the inn they started in, yet now, they have released thousands of undead.  It should be interesting to figure out what they will do now.

Goodnight everyone, I sleep now...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Gygax!

Today, he would have been 73 years old.  He will be missed.

I think that Rich Burlew did a great tribute to Gygax years ago when the grand DM left us.  Took me some time to find it, but here is a link to his comic.  A long, long D&D comic.  It has some spoilers for those who haven't read it, yet I think this is a great tribute none the less.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Apologizes and LotFP game session!

First, sorry for being so quiet this past week.  Been trying to find a job.  Hasn't been working out, but I strive to do what I can.

Which leads me to this post.  Raggi is going to offer some cash for people who create modules for his LotFP rpg.  I am in!

And, it started when I first read his post.  It got my head spinning out ideas and plots and many erasing them since much of LotFP is about being very weird and different.  Not, "hey I have ten rooms and I need something in each of them."

However, it also gave me a twinge of desire to play this system in some way.  So, a few days ago when I knew we wouldn't be playing our weekly 1E/Hackmaster mash-up of ToEE, I tried to get the others to roll up characters.  It fizzled when another player, after having spent the weekend at Comi-Con, bailed because of sleep needs (don't blame him.)

Then, last night, I got a few friends together and we rolled up characters for the game.  Our cast of characters include:

Barlin Darkrock: 1st lvl. Neutral Dwarf
Mars Blackstone: 1st lvl. Neutral Dwarf
Merille: 1st. lvl. Chaotic Magic-User
Clarence: 1st lvl. Lawful Specialist

They arrived int he town of Crestin in different ways.  The dwarves, after feeling the NEED to LIVE again, left their mountain hold and journeyed away to seek adventure.  The magic-user needed to get away from the pervy old master, leaving his crooked mage tower behind her and Clarence read about the missing people in the town, crept aboard a wagon train and sleep until he got to Crestin.  (I love how the Specialist is playing Lawful.  In any game with the nine alignments, he would be playing more chaotic neutral.  He is letting Fate decide what to do, he believes Fate has a plan for him.  Love it.)

Everyone but the magic-user, who has been in close proximity to this town for a long time, sees something wrong with this town.  The owner of the inn, the Fishhook Inn, and mayor Hynd, is grumpy and one handed.  The people in general have a gray pallor to them.  After several hours of excellent role playing, and trouble making in the town, the group finds its way to the Tower of the Forest.  (One of them that should be pointed out is that the magic-user insulted the dwarves and was knocked unconscious by Barlin.  She tried to cast a spell and was stopped by Barlin's cousin Mars.  From then on, Mirelle was on 1hp.)  Clarence got their first and used his torch to light up the entire first floor.  A large two hundred foot oval shaped room with wall sconces every ten feet.  When the others arrived, he was already going down the East stairway leading down.  The dwarves went becasue they were given a job by the apothecary Old Bob to clear out the tower, if they found any evil inside and to prove they did it, bring back a rune stone from the altar in the basement of the tower.

Mirelle followed, finding him tinkering with a door a hundred feet down.  When he opened it, a giant spider tried to attack.  Mirelle fled while Clarence tried to hold the door closed.  The dwarves come to the rescue of the Specialist, though they don't realize another larger spider is waiting.  It leapt into the fray and was demolished by the three, yet not before draining Mars to 1hp.

Meanwhile, Mirelle is at the bottom of the stairs and finds a long passageway into the darkness.  She hears a roar and tries to get as much cover as she can as a charging ape-man comes careening out of the darkness.  She fights the ape-man, smacking it hard with her staff, yet suffers a blow that knocks her down to -1hp.

Hearing the fracas, the rest of the party comes down to see her getting hauled away by this ape thing.  The Dwarf Mars attacks, charges and strikes a might blow.  Yet, in the ensuing fight, he is killed.  Below -3 and bled out.  His cousin Barlin cries out and strikes the ape thing down and takes his cousin's body. Clarence binds the wounds of Mirelle and they both get the idea to visit her master.

"He is a wizard, magic is needed here." -Clarence.

After dealing with some wolves, and giving the town a wide berth, the two conscious players get their way to Ghren, the wizard.  He allows them in and tells them there is something that can be done.  Has the two unconscious (okay, technically, a dead and an unconscious) character in two metal seats that face each other, with a large rough hewn crystal in between in a large metal table.  The table and chairs are all one piece.  (This will have its own write up soon.)  The other interesting feature is the metal spike in front of each seat.

Ghren communed, after feeling up Mirelle, (One reason she left was so she could get away from the perv) and found she wished to sacrifice her life for the dwarf's.  She wanted to go on to be a part of the swirling Chaotic Vortex.  Ghren, agreeing to help, grabbed her hand and the dwarf's and slammed them onto the spikes.  After a light show and sparks, the dwarf awoke with 1hp and the body of Mirelle dissolved into dust.

While the two dwarves discussed what happened, mostly Mars telling Barlin that he needed to stop reacting violently to everything, Clarence told Ghren what happened and was given a job to find a torch made of ebony metal that supposedly had the secrets of dark fire.

Last thoughts for now, it was an amazing session and I apologize if this was a long post.  But, it was a really fun session.  And I find it very interesting that the character with the "best stats" Mars, was the first to actually die.  Though, he was able to be raised.  (Yet, the foul things he has seen and has become a part of make the evil GM part of me laugh.)  Also, LotFP is amazing and is as a friend of mine said, Nintendo hard.  (We are talking the old school 8-bit console, not the newest ones.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

50, wohoo...

So, my fiftieth post.

The last day or so, I have been toying with an idea for my own campaign setting.  Yet, it isn't going to be the normal kind of campaign.  This might just be a flash in the pan, but going to give it a try.

The idea is to make a sword-and-planet setting.  Already started working on it.  I will keep all of you readers about it.

Sorry for the short post.  Enjoy your day, back to work for me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My 49th post!

Yeah, I know, this is the penultimate post before the 50.

There are many I wish to thank, and many who just wish I would get on with it.  I think I will do the latter.

This might seem like a bit of a silly post, yet I think certain things should be celebrated.  I know over at THAC0 forever, he just posted his 100th post, and that was after 3 years.  I hope it doesn't take me that long to do mine.

Still looking through the LotFP:Deluxe box set.  And, I really want to try and get the Grindhouse edition eventually.  However, one thing I have already done is obtained the free pdf from his blog.  I must say, looking over the spells, he has truly changed the game in an interesting way.  Wizards no longer have the destructive spells of fireball and lightning bolt.  And at first glance, that is a bad thing.  Yet, if you think about it, two ideas pop into my head at least.

One is that this makes the wizard a little more "balanced" with the rest of the party.  He no longer can out damage the fighter, with the exception of magic missile which still does a d4 of damage PER LVL!  The other thing is that with spell research, if a wizard PC REALLY wants to get those spells into the game, he can find a way as long as the DM allows it.  I would say don't do it.  Unless there is a cost.  Perhaps go back to the way the druid spell call lightning works in 2E.  You need to have a storm going to summon up the lightning in the first place.  Not saying do it, but that just came to me as I was writing.

Another thought comes from talking with a friend of mine.  You heard him on the last podcast.  My buddy Joe and I were talking about this game system.  Well, I was telling him how great it is and he was giving me the stink eye, but you get the idea.  The point is that this box set is very much a DIY kind of game.  DMs can use as little or as much as they want.  The rules are basic and easy to use.  There are rules for making magic items and I for one have more than a few ideas for items that would have the feel of the "weird" that ould fit into the setting.

Now, the only issue is to try and convince the rest of my gaming group that this is a good idea.  Some of them might shy away from the difficulty inherent in this system.  Wizards are big power houses, fighters are the only ones who get better as they level, clerics are healers and "buffers." (To borrow from the lexicon of the MMORPG.)  And, with no "stock" monsters, the DM must create monsters and creatures that are eldritch, macabre and unique.

I think with my next post, I will start giving a run down the box set, or at least rules and concepts that I like from the game in a more expanded way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ideas, ideas, ideas

Last night, I was listening to The Game's the Thing.  I got it from Zak and while I listened, I pulled out my box set of the original Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  (Not the Grindhouse edition, which I want to get after hearing Raggi pitch it.)  I had already decided to use the small modules that he included in the box set.  (Tower of the Stargazer, which is brutal if played by idiots.)

Here is the thing, when I first got the box set, I thought it would be a neat little collection to have.  I might pull it out and look at it, yet I was getting it as a collectible.  Once I started looking through it with an eye towards game design though, I was won over by this thing!  It is an amazing little set of rules.  It is real old school, with a few modern twists.  The Specialist to replace the thief/rouge is the biggest one with ascending armor class being the other.  I devoured the books and was amazed at how elegant and simply, without being simplistic, this game system turned out.  I am not itching to run a game of this for my group.

Though, there are some who have a philosophy counter to the very nature of LotFP.  A few of them believe that their characters are heroes.  That nothing can hurt them and they are better than the rest of the world around them.  Not so in LotFP.  Your character isn't a powerhouse.  Your PC is a guy with a sword, spells or an attitude of wanting to go out and find "adventure."  And, typically, that adventure turns into delving into a dark and forbidden place, where things lurk in the dark that would make H.P. Lovecraft shudder.  S/He isn't better than anything out there, and most stuff out there can kill you easily.  So, why play at all?  For the challenge of it.

I can even link it back to the podcast I released yesterday.  (By the way, if you haven't listened yet, keep your volume down a little.  We were recording really loud I think.)  This idea of set challenge ratings and encounters is something that would never survive LotFP.  In this game, you a small guy/girl who can't hack it as a potato farmer and instead picks up a sword, or a book of spells, or a holy symbol and goes out and tries to survive in a  world that is trying to kill you.  Or, to be blunt, doesn't care if you live or die.

Ok, I hear those of you reading this thinking, so why are you talking about this and yet you put in the 4E label on this blog?

Well, I'll tell you.

First, there is something else you need to know.  I love Vornheim (also, a contest I am trying to do.)

So, imagine my surprise when I look to a game blog a guys writes about called re-skinning Vornheim.  Here is the link, and this guy's idea rocks!

What can we take away from this?

1. Vornheim is cool.
2. LotFP is an amazing and brutal system I want to play.
3. Even 4E can be cool, if done right.

And, as a last minute thought, I might also try and do a full review of LotFP in my next blog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Zero level and other tidbits

I decided to cut my post in half, first half on the Temple of Elemental Evil and then this on what I wanted to talk about level.

This has got me thinking again about the whole zero level kick off to a campaign.  I have this module and want to run it.  Yet, as I said in my comment to Jeff, I have players who balk at the idea.

I understand why they do.  There are several reasons.  One of them is my own GADD (Gamer ADD).  I will be running a game for a little bit and then something new/old will come into my field of vision and I will turn towards that one, wanting to play it or run it and the game I was running gets left int he dust.  I am trying to avoid this.  Yet, it can happen.  Another reason is that, as was pointed out in Jeff's blog comments, 1st lvl. PCs are rather fragile in 1st edition.  Plus, as a zero level, they don't have ANY real skills to rely upon.  No spells, no combat prowess, no thief skills, nothing.  Yet, the players who talk and squawk about this are losing sight of what I believe a zero lvl. game is about.   It is an chance to forge a bond with the other players from the very beginning of their adventuring career.

The module in question is called Treasure Hunt, N4.  In it a bunch of people are captured by slavers and the ship is wrecked on the shore of a small island.  The PCs are these captured people and must survive.  Kind of like Survivor, the real game!  In it, the DM tracks what the PCs do and helps him/her guide the player to a particular class.

The amount of potential in this module is staggering.  Every since I found it, by chance, at a gaming store awhile back, I have been in love with the idea of zero lvl.  I think it is one reason I want to try the new DCC beta on some players.

I think my games are much more story based than rules based.  The DM of our Temple game broke it down this way, there are two kinds of games.  Simulation, trying to be as much like that era you are trying to play and story based.  I disagree to an extent, but that is for another blog post.  My point is that, yes a zero level game is going to be scary.  You have a d6 of hit points and you can't hit anything unless you roll REALLY high.  But, I'm not that much of an evil DM.  At this point, I want the campaign to continue.  I'm not going to throw things at you that the player can't handle.  UNLESS, there is a story based reason behind it, or I want to teach my players that running away is a valid option.

Side note, there was a TPK I had the last time I tried to run a zero level game.  They characters were all first or second by this point.  The fighter rushed into some brush to find three gnolls.  He mixed it up with kobolds and decided to attack.  He died, the mage/cleric tried to stop them and died, the ranger tried to get away, and died while trying to dodge out of the way of the blades in a small copse of trees and the thief died as well.  They didn't run when they realized what it was that they fought.  My players have a tendency to stand and fight regardless of the odds.  I had to spank them for it, and I will again in my upcoming 1st ed. campaign.  They need to know that running away is a valid excuse and one that SHOULD be used on occasion.

I think it is one problem with some gamers.  Especially those that were raised on anything after 2nd. edition.  And, even that edition has some issues.  Players began to think they could survive anything.  A DM was going to "balance" the game.  Where did this idea come from?

Anyway, sorry to get off topic.

The last thought I have about the zero level concept is this.  It is an intriguing idea.  It helps a DM with that age old question of where do the adventurers meet?  There is no inn they need to meet in, no sudden command from the king to find brave adventurers.  The PCs are all normal folk, swept up into something much bigger than themselves.  They BECOME adventurers.  That is what I think will make an amazing game and an amazing campaign.  PCs are born, they are forged!

The Temple update

Got home to late to give you all a Temple of Elemental Evil update.

The party consists of a bladesinger, a cavalier, a cleric of Moradin and a thief.  (Next time, I will give you their names.  I am a bad player in that I don't know how to spell the names of the two elves, the bladesinger and the thief, nor the dwarf.)

 We are deep in the water node, have collected three of the four gems.  We had just finished clearing out a lair of Vodyanoi.  To get around, a majority of the party had been staying in the bladesinger's bag of holding while the priest walks through the air using an airwalk scroll he found awhile back.  (This is not the best idea, yet until recently, it was the only thing that worked.)

We get to an island, are attacked by lacedon.  Fourteen of them.  The bladesinger by this point has Fly up and is hovering away from us, waiting for the right time to strike.  This doesn't occur until the dwarf and my cavalier are grappled and being dragged into the water.  The thief is barely surviving, lucking out on the paralysis because she is an elf.

It was almost a TPK.  The bladesiger pulled out a shield that is cursed, calling all undead to him.  The lacedon turned from us and moved into the water, where he used a lightning bolt to great effect.  Being greedy adventurers--plus wanting to look for the water node gem, we dove into the atoll that was the lacedon's lair.  The bladesinger and theif using the Fly spell as a way to buzz through the water at speed and get out in a round or two.  The bladesinger was attacked by a sea hag and is still under the effects of it.  After fleeing, we get to the middle of the water node and Jaroo, the druid from Hommlet appears.

(A bit of a side not needs to be put up here.  In our game, the DM has larger machinations going on with Hedrack.  The temple decided to attack Hommelt, we as the adventurers thought it was a good idea to go in and try and strike from within.  While we were dealing with the nodes, Hedrack attacked the refugees of Hommlet, killing Burne and many others.  Jaroo was taken prisoner and sent into the water node.  We only know about the attack because the DM wanted to give us a glimpse of what was going on off screen of the "main adventure.  I approved of this.  Yet, it was exposition.  I think it would have been kinda fun to try and play some of the NPCs in this battle with humanoids, Hedrack and a red dragon.  Yes, we know going in we will probably lose.  Yet it was just a thought.  Maybe I will try something like that myself in one of my upcoming campaigns.  More than anything, it was would a way to keep the players engaged in the game itself.)

With Jaroo hurt and without equipment, we escaped the node and went back to the maid node room.  Jaroo went off as a sparrow to try and find spell components while we waited in an dome of opaque force.  We were attacked by two blue skinned ogres (not ogre magi).  My cavalier went out to fight them while the thief attacked from inside with arrows.  I was able to get one of the ogres down to half his hit points before two things happened.  One, the ogres started to hit me with their two handed swords causing major damage.  It wouldn't have been to bad if the second problem didn't crop up, the thief started to hit me instead of the ogres.  She was firing into melee and our DM was being very hardcore.  Which I do approve of again.  (Look, in my opinion, if you fire into a melee, there is a chance you will have some friendly fire.  I know other editions did things to "remedy" this.  I'm not bashing them for saying, that is silly in my opinion.  Combat should be deadly and a little unpredictable.)

Jaroo returned soon afterwards and we entered the water node, falling into the vast ocean again and stopped for the night.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hopefully, a game tonight...

Tonight I will hopefully go back to playing the mash up Hackmaster/1st ed. Temple of Elemental Evil game.  I have been through a lot in this game in the past year and a half.  Gone through almost ten characters.  And, I think the final fight is in sight.

How did I lose ten characters?  Well, many of them I lost in the temple somehow.  I was rash, stupid or in one case, just a few bad rolls.  (And, our cleric wasn't there, which would have helped.)  Also, a few I retired for various reasons.  In fact, we rebooted the game and had to restart.  Yet, the way our DM rebooted it was we had the new characters being drawn into the machinations of the temple while our "first group" was still dealing with the temple.  Our most recent group came in with half of the temple already decimated by the swords and spells of the first group.  So, it was a re-boot more of a separate storyline that converged.

My favorite character, thus far, was the very first one I played.  Sir Jeremiah Wallace, the Baron of Graystone.  A cavalier who died at 6th level to a white dragon in the air node.  Currently, I am playing one of Jeremiah's followers, Sir William de Montefort.  He has the sword of his one time leader, Chauncy (Yes, I cam up with the name and it was the first thing that popped into my head.)  If any of you know much about the temple, this is a mild spoiler, there is a +3 frostbrand in the game.  Our DM rolled up the random powers of this sword.  It can detect shifting walls, levitate me and detect evil.  It is an amazing sword and has saved Sir Jeremiah and Sir William's ass on many occasions.

More late on the game...I will do another post when I get home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You will be missed.../Challenge to yourdungeonissuck!

I been doing this blogging thing for about six months, and struggling to keep up a blog.  So, when I saw this I was more than a little pissed.  (If you want to read the post that set Christian off, it is here.)

It gets me pissed off when things on blogs makes others quick in disgust or in tears or rage.  Reminds me of what happened to ChicagoWiz back towards the beginning of my blogging career.  This personal attacking bull is just that, B.S.!  What the fuck, how can this guy send away someone who has been doing the blogging thing far longer than me off without much of a fight?

I don't have all the answers, I now he said he isn't having fun anymore.  But, if you are listening man, screw what the guy said.  And hey you over at yourdungeonissuck, turn your attention to something besides tearing other people down.  And, as I said on your latest post, if you want to pick on someone, bring it!

I am a young blogger who is starting out, read what I have.  I'm sure there is plenty of fodder there to bring more of your hate.  I'm ready for you.