Saturday, October 12, 2013

LFG: Roc Falls, Wizard Gnome Dies

Game Date: 10/12/2013
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Looking For A Group, Session 15
System: D&D Next / 5e Playtest
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Baer a.k.a. "Halfbeard" (Cliff) - Dwarf Fighter
Barad Stronghollow (James, subbing for Jeremy) - Dwarf Paladin
Demethius (James) - Human Cleric
Doran of Clan Hawk (Eddie) - Human Barbarian
Jared (Cliff, subbing for Rob) - Elf Druid
Keyleth Siannodel (Matt) - Elf Druid
Steif Tartaus (Daniel, subbing for Thomas) - Human Monk
Vikao (Daniel) - Human Ranger
Woil Xurcaine (Daniel) - Gnome Wizard
Zuul the Sleep Deprived (Graham) - Half-Orc Paladin

The Session:
Braaaains... nope, none here.
When we left off last session, we had befriended some exiles from Doran's tribe, who allowed us to make camp with them.  While Zuul and Demethius were on the first watch of the night, the encampment was attacked by a group of ghoulish undead.  Since most of us had been sound asleep, it took us a round or two for us to join in the fun.  Unfortunately we didn't yet have the benefit of an extended rest, so we had to face this battle with limited resources.  Jared used Entangle for a little crowd control, and Zuul's Turn Undead caused half of the enemies to flee the area.  The rest of the deadites didn't take too long to finish off.  We watched out for an hour or so to see if any more appeared, and then went back to bed.  Good thing that won't happen again, right?

Gamer Food
A few hours later our sleep was interrupted again, this time by the sound of birds screeching.  I'm starting to call this "The Island That Never Sleeps" because we so rarely make it through an entire rest.  This time the encampment under siege from a pair of Rocs, who kept swooping down and carrying off villagers.  One went straight for Woil, the party Wizard.  At first he managed to push it away with Thunderwave, but on the next round it ate him.  As one of the lower-level party members, he had a max HP of 12.  The Roc hit him for 32 damage, swallowing the little Gnome in one gulp. (Not the healthiest diet, but at least it wasn't beef snacks in spray cheese.)  We never even had the chance to heal him.

Steif was the next to get carried off.  While flying through the air in a Roc's beak, Steif attacked the monstrous bird, finishing it off...  then suddenly finding himself plummeting to the ground.  The fall dropped him below zero hit points, but we healed him before he could share Woil's fate.  The surviving Roc decided it had eaten enough, and flew away.

We (finally) finished our rest and continued our hike.  Eventually we reached a 100-foot rope bridge.  We were concerned the bridge might not hold our weight, so we tried going across one at a time and used some of our rope to reinforce it.  As it turned out, the bridge's structural integrity wasn't the problem.  No, the real challenge was the flock of pterodactyls that attacked anyone who tried to cross.  Luckily they weren't nearly as powerful as the Rocs, and we didn't lose any more party members.

Kill it with fire!
Our guide, Vikao, joined the party as we continued on our quest.  After the bridge, we reached a plateau and started following a river.  One night, while camping by the river, we were attacked by three trolls.  Demethius and Zuul were once again on watch (we've got to stop letting them watch).  The trolls managed to knock out Demethius before he even knew they were there, and he stayed near death through much of the fight.  Having been asleep, some of the party members weren't in their armor, which is never a great thing when facing trolls.  Keyleth used her favorite fire spell against one of the trolls, and spent the rest of the battle moving the fire around.  One of the trolls quickly realized she was responsible for this burning sensation, and punished her harshly.  Though bruised and battered, Keyleth got the last laugh when her spell eventually finished him off.

Troll Soccer
Steif decapitated another troll, which is a pretty mean feat considering he was using his fists.  However, the headless troll continued to fight, and the troll-less head continued to bite anyone who came near.  Steif tried to drop-kick the troll head, but instead the head ended up chomping on the Monk's ankles.  Steif spent the next few rounds wrestling the surprisingly agile head.  As the fight continued, both head and body started to regenerate into full trolls.  Another troll's severed arm also threatened to regenerate into an additional monster, but we didn't let it get far.  There were a lot of ups and downs in this fight, but eventually we got all the trolls down long enough to finish them off with fire.  We camped again and ended the session.

We might not play next Saturday 10/19, as our DM is scheduled to run a game at Nashville Comic-Con.  I will not be able to make it on 10/26 or 11/2, but there might not be a game on 11/2 anyway.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

LFG: Monkey Business

Game Date: 10/05/2013
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Looking For A Group, Session 14
System: D&D Next / 5e Playtest
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Baer "Halfbeard" (Cliff) - Dwarf Fighter
Barad Stronghollow (Jeremy) - Dwarf Paladin
Demethius the Holder of Actions (James) - Human Cleric
Doran of Clan Hawk (Eddie) - Human Barbarian
Jared (Rob) - Elf Druid
Keyleth Siannodel (Matt) - Elf Druid
Steif Tartaus the Verminslayer (James, subbing for Thomas) - Human Monk
Woil Xurcaine (Daniel) - Gnome Wizard
Zuul the Designated Punching Bag (Graham) - Half-Orc Paladin

The Session:
Keyleth's Favorite Spell
We're still exploring this island, searching for an ancient artifact in a lost city.  While on watch one day, Zuul and Demethius encountered some Aranea in the trees.  Since most of us were asleep, we started the battle at a disadvantage, complicated even further as the spider creatures fired webbing at us.  At one point Doran (who's still level 1) was taken down to 2 hit points, causing his fiancee Keyleth to lose her temper and kill his attacker.  This was the first of many times Keyleth defended her betrothed this session.  She's going to have a tough time keeping him alive until the wedding.

More resting, more wandering.  One day we encountered an aggressive tribe of apes.  One of them gave Woil a big hug. Zuul tried to scare them off with a mighty roar.  And it worked... sort of.  They apes ran off, still carrying Woil with them.  Our party chased after them, working our way over rough terrain, and dodging the rocks they threw at us.  One of Zuul's spells had the side effect of causing a loud peal of thunder.  The sound attracted the attention of a much larger ape.  It was a rough fight, but we got through it.  Woil cast the spell that finished off the big one, and we wiped out the remaining apes within a couple of rounds.

Damn dirty apes!
Later we heard the sound of something chasing something else.  We investigated just in time to see the tails of some giant lizards running by, but we didn't try to draw them into a fight.  Another night we were accosted by a bunch of monkeys.  They weren't much of a threat in battle, but they were quite annoying in that they kept trying to steal our equipment.  We wiped them out and went back to bed.  A couple of hours later, the smell of dead monkey attracted four more apes.  It wasn't a long fight, but it was yet another one where sleeping party members had to join the fight late.

Another day, we found some humanoid tracks.  We followed them to a group of neanderthals.  Zuul and Barad greeted the primitive people, who spoke in broken common.  We asked them if they knew where we could find the city we sought, and they agreed to lead us to the bridge to the city.  We followed them for a few hours.  We saw more monkeys, but we just ran past them while they threw feces at us.  That may be the first time I've used the word "feces" on this blog.  A bit further, a giant spider suddenly burst out of a mountain crag, killing one of our neanderthal guides.

Not really a squid.  This time.
We fought several giant spiders, with a cliff wall on one side and a drop-off on the other.  The spiders had the advantage of being able to climb the walls and attack us from the sides.  The best moment was when Woil, having spotted a spider climbing up the cliff below us, used a grease spell to make the spider fall to its death.  After the battle, we continued for a few more hours, when we met some exiles from Doran's tribe.  They were friendly, and allowed us to camp with them.

We ended the session there.  We're at the camp, but we haven't actually taken an extended rest yet.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

30 Day D&D Challenge - Day 31 - Bonus Questions

Note - This post is part of the 30 Day D&D Challenge.  Well, sort of.

Day 31 - Bonus Questions

Not to put down the person who put this list together, but there were a few questions I thought it was lacking.  Just for fun, here's a few extra questions I might have used if I'd been the one to make the original list. 

Cleric of Sune
What's your favorite way of representing a battle?
(In other words, do you prefer Minis/tokens/pennies/M&Ms? On grid/hexes/unmarked map? All in your head?)
I love miniatures - generally I use the prepainted ones WOTC made, but I have great respect for people who paint their own.  And a standard gridded map is great, but bonus points if you build something three dimensional.

What is your favorite miniature?
The Cleric of Sune (Unhallowed #15).  Several of my characters have been female redheads, so I've probably use this mini more often than most.  Most significantly I used this one for Aria Thatcher in the Scarred Lands campaign.  Some of my possible future characters also fit this description.

Dungeon Tiles
What are your favorite dungeon tiles/maps?
I really like some of the later Dungeon Tiles WOTC put out, that had the three dimensional elements to them.  Granted, I was already doing three-dimensional things to my Dungeon Tiles before WOTC started doing it.  I love adding little props like furniture and other details.  But that gets expensive and time-consuming.

Of course I'd really like some Dwarven Forge playsets, but I'll never be able to afford any of them.  Terraclips are nice too.  If I had unlimited money, these things would be all over my house.

What is your favorite non-d20 (weapon/magic) die? 
d4, because they're the easiest to identify by stepping on them.

What is your favorite game-breaking exploit or overpowered build?
Well, I've never seen the point in cheating, but it's still fun to read about uber-powerful feat/spell combinations powergamers have come up with.  I remember people complaining about 4e's "Frostcheese" for years, and the pre-nerf Blade Cascade was pretty neat.  About the funniest one I've heard of is the Locate City bomb.

But while I'm not much of a powergamer at the table, I do enjoy overpowered builds in the video games.  I remember some NeverWinter Nights servers banned things like the "Tenser's Transformation" spell and the "Weaponmaster" prestige class.  I once built a Halfling Weaponmaster who dual-wielded keen kukris (and it takes a LOT of feats to pull that off).  Her normal damage wasn't that scary, but she usually critted several times per round.  Add in all the crit feats (Improved Critical, Overwhelming Critical, Devastating Critical) and most of her foes didn't last long.  Of course, by the time you get all those feats you're at such a high level that most enemies are pushovers anyway, and some enemies are immune to crits... but it's still a fun build.

What's your favorite spell?
I love a ranged at-will, even if it's weak.  I'm especially fond of minion-stompers like the 4e Sorcerer's Blazing Starfall or the Druid's Chill Wind.  Sure, you're not going to do a lot of damage, but you're never helpless.  In NeverWinter Nights I really enjoyed Sound Burst (I played a lot of Bards, and I loved sound-related spells).  Also negative energy ray because it looks like a laser beam.

What's your favorite level/tier?
Mid-range, maybe around level 12.  I have no interest in playing a god, but I've seen so much of the early levels that I'm nearly sick of them.

What was your best "Crowning Moment of Awesome"?
Twice when playing "Living Forgotten Realms" games, I've rolled a crit on a Daily power that killed the session's final boss.  One of the times, it looked like it was going to be a very difficult battle, with a powerful boss and lots of minions.  But in the first round my critted Daily took the boss out, leading the DM to shake his head and say, "I hate you guys."  The encounter was smooth sailing after that.

Not D&D, but a runner up would be in a game of Dungeon Crawl Classics, where we were fighting a giant worm.  My fighter climbed to the top of the monster and held on, hacking away at it's head.  It was a feat of heroism I might not have attempted in an ongoing campaign, but in a one-shot I was a bit more brave.  It really pays off sometimes; that image will stick in my head forever.

What's your favorite fictional character and/or novel set in a D&D universe?
Well, it ain't Drizzt.  The best D&D-related books I've read is the Justicar Trilogy by Paul Kidd.  But my favorite character in a D&D book was probably Majandra the bard in The Tomb of Horrors.

What's your favorite D&D-related comic/webcomic?
Knights of the Dinner Table helped me get into D&D in the first place, so I have to give it to them.  But my current favorite RPG webcomic is Order of the Stick.

Which "type" of gamer are you?  (Powergamer, Roleplayer, Instigator, Explorer etc)
I like to think of myself as a Roleplayer, and yet I often find myself sitting out some of the narrative parts of the session.  It depends on the group I'm in, the character I'm playing, and how comfortable I am.  Really I'm a little bit of everything to some extent, but then, that probably describes most players. 

What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
What do you mean?  An African or European swallow?
Huh?  I don't know that!  Aaaaiiiigh!