Encounters Enters the Nexus

Getting back into the swing of blogging once or twice a week. My thought is that it will help me get back into the routine of writing every day. Hopefully that means writing every day and not using all of that time for blogging so I can tweak out the couple of short stories I’ve been working on and finish the novel sized manuscript. But that is only one of the reasons for today’s post.

If you have been following my gaming section, I have not talked much about D&D Encounters that I run on Wednesday nights at a friend’s game store. The reason for that is the table consists of the same 4-5 people every week. Most of them have Wednesdays as their only 4E game and want to advance past 3rd level. As such I offered to run them through the Nexus campaign I did for my Sunday group. We started the campaign last night.

Of course it really didn’t surprise me that the first night we ran that, someone came looking for a game. Not really Encounters, but a game. She just happened to pick Wednesday to stop by the store and ask. The upside is we explained the campaign and she was game to give it a try.

Rules started out the same as before – humans only and any class goes. I did have to set a restriction of no vampires (a class introduced in the Heroes of Shadow book) due to the campaign though. As with the Sunday campaign if a character dies, new racial options will open up depending on the allies they get during the course of the game. This option was never used in the Sunday game except for the one time I allowed the invoker to choose a dwarf battlerager. I was pretty sure he wasn’t interested in playing a kobold anyhow.

The party left the protection of Nexus with:

  • Saul – cleric of Pelor
  • Lexa – avenger (Fist of Pelor)
  • Carl – quick battlemind (psionic defender)
  • Staci – storm sorceress
  • Leonisis – bard/paladin hybrid
  • Mad Mardigan – drunken brawler (monk NPC)
After clearing out the ruined temple of the goblins that were there, the group came upon a ritual they can use to cleanse the mausoleum behind the temple and the temple itself. It does involve going into the crypt and retrieving a rod from the Hall of Heroes within. During this adventure the newest member of the group will join them.
  • Name Not Nearby – slayer
More will get posted as it develops. But as a refence for the new players, here is the postings from the original run of the campaign relevant to them…
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Damn it feels good to be a geek!

My post for today involves a viral video that is out combing the “interwebs” this week. If you have not seen it yet, I highly suggest you watch it because if you are reading this blog there is a better than even chance you will get most of the humor in it. For ease I’ll embed it below…

Seriously, this parody has me entertained even more than the Keenan Cahill video of the original song. No offensive to Keenan, but… dancing goblins. Um, duh. Winning!

Needless to say this song has been stuck in my head all week long. Seriously its like the worst earworm ever. I keep checking to see if I am smelling burning feathers. But that’s neither here nor there, the worst of it was last night.

As some of you may know, I run D&D Encounters Wednesday nights for a local game store owned by a friend. It’s like Friday Night Magic for role players. If you’re neither a D&D player or a Magic player, just nod your head and smile. After 31 years I’m used to it. Anyhow, last night was the final encounter of the season. This means a big battle scene. For this season it meant a dragon – specifically an earthquake dragon.

So I was sitting at the table and I think someone was trying to decide what to do on their turn. I started mumbling “fightin’ dragons in my mind… just for kicks…” and when it came to my turn the dragon needed to roll a recharge on a power so I ended it with, “DM says you’re gonna die… roll a D6!” I think I made 2 or 3 recharge rolls in a row doing that.

Art reflecting life or life reflecting art? I don’t know although my wife just nodded her head and smiled when I told her about the merriment last night.

Another issue to address here is that this song is available on iTunes. It stands to reason that Connor Anderson and his crew could make some money off of this video. And honestly, why shouldn’t they? It was a pretty decent video… damned entertaining… and the song is really well done. Enough so that (as you can tell by my last post on budgetary woes) I am considering banking a days coffee budget so I can buy the song for my iPod.

That being said, if I suddenly stop posting, am not on Twitter or Facebook… I was singing the song during the next week of Encounters and the players killed me. If not, and you are of the geek persuasion (especially if you are of the D&D ilk) consider giving these guys the equivalent of a cup of coffee in exchange for their song.

World Wide Game Day Sound Off

October 23rd is the Gamma World release event for World Wide Game Day. As I am currently the only one looking to run a table at Misty Mountain for the event and I am thinking that I might have a full table just with my normal gaming group I am looking to get a head count for the event. In short, I would like to know how many to expect so that we can be ready with people to run events for you or plan out multiple time slots.

Please comment below if you are planning on attending. For right now my plan is to start around 10:30. If it is a 4 hour event like the last couple, I will only be able to run a single session myself. If there is enough call for a 3:00 or 4:00 start time, I will either arrange to get someone to run it, or forward on the list of players if Ben is going to handle it.

If there are any questions on the event, you can either ask them below or email me directly.

Encounters Week 2

I am a week late on posting my bit about week two of the D&D Encounters. It started out as a test run and just seems to fall into place as a quick fix in the middle of the week that I am able to make with my wife’s new schedule. Also it is Spring Break. Either way, I sat down with a new set of dice (due to forgetting mine at home) and was surprised not only that they had Game Science dice there, but in the color I already had at home. They were only missing the inking (which I can get done at GenCon).

If you are wondering as you look at the photo above, that is a copy of Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland there. I like to keep a book with me in the event I have time on my hands before the event. This week I am sporting Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis. Also you will see the non-Starbucks cup I had that week. When one has to park over a mile from one’s office, one must make executive decisions about one’s coffee. In other words, I stopped at Barrique’s Wine Cave for coffee on the way to my car to save time.

We begin with a discussion from the DM running the other table about how he does not allow laptops at the table and our DM prefers paper character sheets but will deal with the laptops. The other DM made a comment about not seeming hostile since it was not his table with the laptops. (Yes that will come back into play later.) So we were given the entry text into the encounter and we set up the map of the location just under the inn.

For this week we even discussed using the Twitter buffs/debuffs in the encounter. They decided to go with them, so through the magic of my Droid our two tables were listening to the inspiring music float down from the inn above (granting up a +1 bonus to all attacks). Our DM decided that since we had 6 players and we rocked the encounter the previous week so hard to buff up the bad guys. I am not sure what the standard was supposed to be, but in the exit to the cave we had two scorpions and two handlers with halberds in our way. And when I say “our way” I mean my half-elf battlemind’s way. Yes, I did zip right up to them, ignoring the minions as soon as initiative was rolled.

Above you will see all those pretty colored plastic markers under the tokens representing monsters. The little rogue monster came right up to me to attempt to stab me in my “squishy bits” but managed to miss. This set me up for an amped up Whirling Defense that allowed me to mark every non-minion monster on the board. I am the only defender and with two leaders I figured this would work in our best interest. Not to mention it was cool to run the guy with the markers out of his “marked” collection in one swing.

The halberd guys were a bit of a pain as the getting knocked prone along with a whopping amount of damage was getting to be a lot of not fun. Of course during this time two things kept it even more fun than prior to getting knocked prone. One was our monk stating that he was going to shift to this spot. The DM on the other table commented “I’ll shift you” (or something similar). This allowed me the reply of, “The laptop thing did not seem that hostile. That right there? That was a little hostile.” It was almost like gaming with my group at home.

The other high point was renown points. During the course of the fight (thanks to some well-timed heals) I took a total of 54 hit points of damage. Sadly this huge feat only gains you 1 renown point, but still that was a heck of an accomplishment. Also, I get to start this week with a brand new action point to use, so I have that going for me.

I am starting this week with all of my powers, 1 action point and just over half my healing surges left. We will see how things go tonight.

The dwarf is bloodied… and delicious.

With the new psi-classes coming out in the Players Handbook 3, I wanted to have a chance to give them a go myself before deciding to make them an option in the Nexus game. That meant grinding out 4 characters (one for each party role) and popping over to one of the local stores running the event. My preferred option was to play a monk, but as someone else wanted to play a monk I switched to playing a half-elf battlemind. Partially the choice was based on the party makeup being a Runepriest, a Cleric, a Ranger, a Monk and a Psion. I plopped out my folder, my cardbox with cards and miniatures in it, my dice and my coffee – then introduced myself to the healers and said, “You will be keeping me alive all night, pleased to meet you.”

Looking at the battlemat before us, I knew somewhat how this was going to play out after we interacted with the NPCs at the inn. A mugging in the back alley where we had to work across a rickety bridge to get to helping the woman we were to save. I also knew it would have been better had I managed to play the monk as the battlemind in its scale armor and shield is not the most agile of characters – the up side was the Speed of Thought class feature. My initiative may be +0, but as soon as I roll it I can move 9 squares (as I took a feat to improve it from the normal amount). I made a very lucky roll on acrobatics and made it across the bridge to face off to the dwarf (the bad guys defender) before the encounter began.

The bad guys rolled poorly on their initiative and my modest 10 result went before all of them. This is not before the ranger unleashes his daily power on turn one and snipes the tiefling wizard for a critical hit and the halfing sniper for higher than average damage, bloodying both of them in our first action. The elf cleric snipes at the wizard with her own bow for a solid hit, allowing the psion to finish him off, dragging the dead body 1 square with the attack. That left me open to taunt the dwarf with how we are just dragging their corpses around like trash, marking his buddy behind him and attempting an attack to mark him (although missing, the rest of the part made up for it.)

In the second round the ranger uses Twin Strike and manages another critical, this time on their sniper, killing him. For those keeping score, by round 2 their sniper and the guy that could deal ongoing fire damage (as we heard from the other table) were out of the fight. Our psion telekinetically pushed the dwarf back, putting all three remaining bad guys in a line before me. The cleric used one of her powers that granted me a +2 bonus to hit. So I stepped forward and used my Whirling Defense power augmented up two levels. I managed to hit all of them, marking them all. The monk finished one of them off.

The highlight of the night came when the ranger assigned his Hunter’s Mark on the dwarf. One of the players took one of the M&M’s that were sent with D&D sayings on them and placed it on the dwarf for the mark. I think it was the DM that said, “The dwarf is bloodied… and delicious.” That was pretty much the call for the night in my opinion. It summed it all up nicely. During the course of the night I used 2 of my 13 healing surges and my action point. All other expenditures on my part were encounter recharges. All of this culminated into getting done early so I could work on more writing.

I will likely give this another try. With the whole thing taking two hours (assuming that we do not rock it this hard next week) then it does give me a chance to test out some builds before I open them up to my Sunday group as a whole. It also gives me a chance to play as well as run a game.