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…

First Post Orcus Campaign

Last night marked the first game of the Orcus Campaign one of the players is running between chapters of the Tomb of Horrors. We met and created characters. The initial player-character list is as follows:

  • Mike: Gloin the dwarven cleric
  • Kim: Kava the dragonborn fighters
  • CJ: Clarence Gattling the elven ranger
  • Dave: Varis the elven wizard
  • Nick: Mellick the tiefling paladin
  • Zombie Joe: Raven the halfling vampire

We went on a single quest to deal with a grouping of goblins that had been leading raids from a mine near Harkenwold. A quick search of the area revealed a rather intricate lair built into the mineshaft. Goblins with wolves had indeed made their home there.

The party of adventurers went through the mine and eradicated the goblins, only allowing the largest of the wolves to be set free once the vampire had used his feral nature to befriend it. They also managed to recover a magical long sword, a black orb taken from the inside of an old statue of Orcus. We also found a map of the village with the inn and the Lord’s Manor circled in red along with a letter written in goblin.

End of Game Notes

  • 53 gold each (this includes the 25 gold payment from Old Keller)
  • 243xp each
  • map – brewery and lord’s manor circled in red
  • letter written in goblin with only the word Thunderspire written in common
  • black orb (religious item) found in statue of Orcus)
  • +1 long sword (given to the paladin)
  • red potion of healing (not given to anyone)

Game Quotes

  • Seriously, I can make my staff glow whenever I want.
  • What? Just grab on and walk backwards. It’s totally my power.
  • I would have totally pounced on it and sucked it dry. (The game does have a vampire after all…)
  • It’s hard upside down.
  • And not the swing you sit on.
  • You could take a standard action to make me surge. Do you want that? Yeah… yeah I do.
  • Be more specific… Okay, I try to penetrate it.
  • I don’t know where my little lever went.
  • He gonna mage hand the lever.
  • It’s much easier going down.

Tomb of Horrors – Chapter 1 Wrap-up

Little did the Blackhawks Talons know, but they were a couple of encounters away from completing chapter 1 in the first leg of the Tomb of Horrors. Of course with Bairn the runepriest still off helping out Puff and Anuk the druid gone off to track them down in her loping wolf-form, the group was a little unprepared for what lay ahead of them.

While inspecting the room that seemed to be part mausoleum and part arboretum, three zombie eladrin knight burst out of their cairns along with an undead firbolg. This, of course, happened after the ivy growing along the walls in the other couple sections of the room mounded up into a roughly humanoid shape with a single eyestalk ending in a reddish looking gem for an eye.

Highlights of the Zombie-Ivy Battle

  • The firbolg hit like a sonofabitch
  • The DM’s dice were hot or cold, very little in-between
  • The Ivy Beast was a pain in the ass with an 8 square reach
  • Kafka the Wizard bounced at the brink of death from a Drain Soul attack for several rounds getting better then worse until finally breaking free of the hold
  • Had the DM not been rolling cold dice the party would have died
  • The DM is not fond of his Vegas casino-used dice

Once done with the monsters that had been set to guard in the room and putting the 4 intact cairns from the entire garden left (before the undead burst out of them) back into place, the Talons came upon the double doors that were depicted in the magical tapestry that Anuk had inserted the key into the lock of. The doors stood slightly ajar, so the key obviously worked.

Once inside the room they were met with an enormous magical construct. Kafka determined that it was channeling the absorbed magic from the feywild to something else. They weren’t sure what, but he was sure that dismantling it would stop it. His wizards sight showed him where the key component of the construct was and he plucked the magical staff from it, causing the construct to collapse in on itself.

Puff reappeared shortly after with news. Anuk was just outside of the area of the Garden helping to care for some of the pixie refugees who were injured fending off the attacks of more planar slavers that ambushed them as they left the Garden area. With the destruction of the construct and the release of the curse on the Garden, fey from across the areas nearby have been showing up to help with putting the Garden of Graves back to its former state.

The party is welcome to help with this, but Puff also brings the news that Bairn was taken captive by the slavers that attempted to enslave the pixies. The closest place that Puff can think of that they might go with a Feywild oddity like a dwarf would be a nearby carnival. As soon as the Talons wish to leave, Puff has agreed to show them the way to the carnival. After all, his people owe their lives to the Lady of Fur and Fangs (his new name/title for Anuk the druid).

Game Quote of the Night

You can have my soul, but you can’t have my body.

said when the wizard stunned by the Drain Soul was missed several times in a row by attacks…

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.

Tomb of Horrors: Log and Quotes

Sunday the group delved further into Chapter 1 from the Tomb of Horrors. It also produced a decent number of good game table quotes. For those simply interested in the Game Table Quotes, scroll to the bottom. The rest of this is an adventure log to help the group’s memory from one game to the next.

Blackhawk’s Talons – Tomb of Horrors Chapter 1-1

Having completed the challenge of the water serpent (to get a platinum key), the beetle woman (to get past the sundial challenge) and the mad wraiths (in failing the sundial challenge the first time), the party took refuge in the Haunted Game Room. They had defeated their ghostly opponents at the game and succeeded in disarming the tables. They took their rest for the night in the room although nightmares tormented their sleep (game effect – they didn’t start with an action point).

Upon waking they walked into the next oddly-shaped room in the ruins formed from the cairn stones. The lights illuminating the room dipped low and when they came back up there were duplicates of the heroes mixed in with them. The fight broke out almost immediately with the party winning, but only after taking a few lumps (in a couple instances from their own teammates). Moving a lever found in the corner of the room, they heard a door opening somewhere back the direction they came from.

Going back to the tapestry room (part two of the sundial challenge) they discovered another secret door that had opened behind a tapestry. We left the night’s adventure with them camped outside the door leading into the next room in the ruins.

They also now have a printed copy of the poem in their possession. I am pretty sure one of them said they were writing it down.

Quotes from the Game Table

most are rated R this week… or at least PG-13

  • Oh yeah, I take her goodberry.
  • You killed something, so you explode… and then…
  • He’s making the hole bigger.
  • Should I use my big one?
  • Just don’t do it next to my face anymore.
  • You have to eat it the Blaine way, where you just shove it in your mouth.
  • My boyfriend… a little gay.  I hate you all. (second sentence from said boyfriend)

Tomb of Horrors: Feywild Handout #1

In an effort to re-introduce non-political blogging into my writing and to give the game notes to my Sunday D&D Group, I am posting the handouts from the first chapter of Tomb of Horrors. The following poem was one they found as they entered the Garden of Graves in the Feywild. As it was originally printed in the Tomb of Horrors super-module, I take no credit for the quality of the poem. 😉

Count you the shadows, watch the sun,
The wise know where they stand;
While knowing not the time to shun,
The fools must find themselves undone.

Like lustful swain or panicked child
Who beg another’s gentle hand,
The fool delves heedless through the wild.
The wise are not so soon beguiled.

When darkness falls and dreams portend
The rising of a fearsome foe,
The fool, swift-striking, meets his end,
The wise know foe from friend.

Let art and image point the way,
Abandon all you think you know,
For common sense leads fool astray.
The key is simply this: Obey.

The wise must ever strategize;
They never play, unless to win.
They see the harm in comfort’s lies,
And ask to open weary eyes.

You’ve fought your way, you’ve risked demise,
To view the ivy heart within.
Now as the soul within you dies,
This knowledge is your only prize:
You’d never have come, were you truly wise.

Tomb of Horrors – Introduction

The past couple of weeks have sparked our introduction into the Tomb of Horrors. If you are one of my D&D interested readers, you likely already know this is the 4E super module that is the sequel to the iconic D&D adventure. If you are not, you are probably not even reading this far.

Our part makeup can be found in the D&D section. The group as a whole will be running between 6-7 players with at least 1 character in each role. All of them are members of a guild that hires out sell-swords to various businesses in the area, collectively known as Blackhawk’s Talons.

In traveling to the north of Trinity to discover what on the road has made travel so treacherous for the merchants of the business district, they came across an altar to Bahamut set up in a forest clearing – the site of a great battle of the Heroes of Trinity from generations past. It was overrun with bandits and devilish creatures performing some ritual of ill intent.

Working into the depths of the foundation to the altar, they came across a group of devils using human sorcerers to summon a pit fiend to the Earth in an effort to gain a foothold here. A great battle took place in which the devils were defeated and the ritual stopped just before the gateway fully opened.

The succubus that had entranced the barbarian made a bid for her freedom. In exchange for her freedom, she agreed to return to her home plane and not seek out entrance to Earth herself for 100 years. She could not assure that she wouldn’t be summoned, but she would not seek her own means to the world. She also agreed not to seek out the party for revenge (she didn’t like the bearded demons anyhow), and would give them a pair of beneficial (level 12) magic items as way of ransom for her release.

The group freed a fae that had been trapped below to be used in the ritual as a sacrifice and he directed them towards a tear leading to the faewild. He is pretty sure this corruption in his home plane is the same threat that is causing problems on the road.

World Wide Game Day: Gamma World

Remember when I said there would still be the odd rant or gaming post on the blog? You guessed it, today is indeed that day. Specifically because of the fact that today was Wizards of the Coast’s World Wide Game Day. This weekend the 4e version of Gamma World was on the menu. It was wanton mutant silliness to an extreme.

Of course the day started with the dog needing to go out around 3 in the morning, followed by the shower and ignoring the shaving part. Really after getting up at 3am with the dog who wants to shave on a weekend? There was also the trip to get bagels for the game, Starbucks (so the GM was awake for the game) and pick up Scott (one of my local players in need of a ride). Normally I wouldn’t provide bagels, but the table I was running first was my Sunday group – most of them anyhow.

For those of you interested in the game, I will give you some of the specifics. We had the socially frowned upon side of the table and the pop culture side of the table.

The Friendless Side

  • Pyrokinetic/Seismic (The Lava Man – complete with a fire aura that hurts EVERYONE) played by Mike
  • Giant/Radioactive (8′ tall glow in the dark guy) played by Blaine
  • Doppleganger/Cockroach (self-multiplying roach) played by Nick

Seriously, are there 3 guys that are less popular out there? One guy you can’t stand next to without taking 5 points of fire damage every turn. They made him ride on top of the mini-tank that the giant pulled as his Omega Tech. The giant (with his 4 charisma) was totally the Lenny character. As for the cockroach, he was named Terminix after the truck that he found with his picture on it. And yes, he did actually roll a truck as part of his gear.

The Pop Culture Twins

  • Electromagnetic/Gravitational (Dr. Tesla, he was dressed in steampunk gear and was his own tesla coil) played by Van
  • Hawkoid/Android (Hoot… he decided he was the clockwork owl from Clash of the Titans) played by Scott

The combinations were pretty staggering. Totally random, but each of them seemed to work. They all fit pretty well. Dr. Tesla started off wearing a Tron costume for armor, but after the first encounter and the pog I was using for him, Dave decided that he was a bit more Steampunk.

The opening encounter helped to flesh them out a bit. Each player was getting a feel for their character’s abilities. Lenny did choose to throw a bowling ball at the first porker (pigman) he attacked as opposed to using his radiation eye beams though. Of course Blaine was the guy who played a full season of Encounters as a fighter without marking a single creature.

Overall, the game was a lot of fun. There was a whole lot of silliness that came up, especially when the party started finding “treasures” – items rolled up from the Ancient Junk table. The group seemed to love finding the kid’s inflatable pool and weed whacker in the middle of an abandoned office building more than anything else.

The encounters did become increasingly more brutal as the game moved on. In the parking garage the Radioactive Giant (Lenny) had mutated with flame wings. He was standing on the back end of a car while one of the roaches with the assault rifles sprayed bullets their way. Needless to say upon leaving the back of the car to fly his direction the fire did blow up the gas tank after the last spray of bullets damaged the tank enough. In other words, the final hit points damage to the car was his flame wings. Yeah, the effect was rather explosive.

The system itself is very streamlined and open to interpretation by the players and GM alike. Lenny’s “heavy ranged weapon” was a bowling ball. The cockroach used a light gun as his ranged weapon without any description as to what it was. You simply pick the type of weapon and the stats are the same no matter what you choose it to look like. Lenny’s two handed weapon was a lamp post as opposed to Hank the Lava Man who may have used an aluminum baseball bat. Same stats, different weapon.

This is definitely a lighter more party-style game. It goes up to 10th level and that is about it (unless this changes in expansions). Although without traditional healer types (clerics and such), the game is definitely more deadly. They tell you not to get to attached to your mutant and they mean it! Not to mention the randomness of the character generation is pretty awesome.

Our current goal is to complete the “Zombieland: Nexus” campaign on Halloween night. Nanowrimo starts the next day. To eliminate the need for me to prep anything during that month the idea is to play Gamma World through until December when we will start Tomb of Horrors. I think it will be fun as hell myself.

And for those looking for them (namely my players, but after Shannon Butcher posted game night quotes to Twitter I felt obligated to include these)…

Gamma World Quotes (mostly inappropriate humor)

  • That’s what he gets for spitting down my throat! (counter attack on the porker who just hit Dr. Tesla with his “Swine Flu” attack.)
  • The Ass Whacker! (Hank named the weed whacker when we commented on rigging it up to an extension cord plugged into Tesla’s butt.)
  • Lenny is impervious to boing. (The mutant rabbitman’s leaping attack.)
  • I totally like it when it’s hard like that! (Blaine/Lenny commenting on the fun of having an encounter where most of the party almost dies.)

There are more from the Sunday “Zombieland: Nexus” D&D game, but I will save those for their own post.

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.

Nexus: The Pilgrimage of Pelor

The party sat ready to enter the underground to underwater lair of the lizardmen that had been taken over by the draconic legions that are attempting to enslave the entire dead world with their dragon zombies and the zombified minions. In the path towards the back entrance to the lair, the group finds evidence of a holy site that is a pilgrimage for the faithful of Pelor. The cleric convinces the group to check it out.

The highlights of this adventure to date include:

  • A fight along the bridge/top of the “tower” (worked stalagmite) with an undead beholder (gauth), 2 wereboars, 2 zombies and 2 corruption corpses.
    • The cleric and warden both are thrown from the bridge, putting them temporarily out of the fight. The battlerager contracts Moontusk Fever from the wereboars.
  • An extended rest sleeping among the mushroom “forests” on the ground around the tower.
  • A fight in an arena-like room against a group of mushroom men (4 guards and 2 “priests”) as well as a few sporlings and a zombie ogre the priests controlled through the use of mushrooms on/in him.
    • The group attempted to take another extended rest in this room as the fight took a lot out of them. They awoke not feeling well. The battlerager still had Moontusk Fever and all of the party awoke down 2 healing surges.
  • The thief failed in his attempt to pick open the mechanism to open the portcullis and the group had to strongarm it up to being half-raised so they could all get through.
  • The group steps into a portal and are transported into a room. Once they enter runes circle the room telling of the Test on the Path of Three. The Path of Three being the tenants to the Church of Pelor.
  • On the Trial of Protection, the group enters a room where a pair of infected ogres with giant clubs stand in a room with a pair of glowing motes. Corner rooms also have motes. As the fight enters a pair of infected goblinoid archers (gnolls actually) and a pair of infected tigers join in on the fight. The creatures start using the motes to travel from portal to portal flanking the group.
    • During the fight the battlerager becomes infected with the zombie rot as well as the moontusk fever. The group attempts another extended rest in the room before leaving it. They manage it, but while the dwarf recovers from the Moontusk Fever, the Zombie Rot worsens.
  • The Trial of Light is the second test they are given. In this test all six of the enemies they previously faced appear in the room and the motes are now glowing pillars of light. The cleric informs the group that standing within them will allow them to grant radiant damage.
    • The warden also figures out in shoving one of the tigers into the pillar of light that it will destroy the infected creatures.
  • The Trial of Healing is the final test in which the 6 motes are replaced with fallen villagers. They are unconscious but alive, and there are two zombies chewing on each of them. The party rushes to heal them before they are killed and eaten by the zombies.
    • They manage to save all of the “villagers” from the attack.
  • They are then met by a spirit guardian of Pelor in a room where they are provided with beds, food and a chance to heal. They are informed there is one more test, but it may be more difficult than the tests that were normally set up for the pilgrimage. There is another that has led an assault on the holy place and is in the final temple attempting to get access to some artifact that’s safety was entrusted to this temple long ago.

Next game is Sunday June 20th, unless people inform me that they cannot make it by 5:00 that night.