Thursday, September 30, 2010

Primal Adventures V

(Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)

Another long absence meant we spent a chunk of time recapping where we'd got to. Then we carried on our trek through the woods, noticing more and more odd things - there didn't seem to be a noticeable sun and, come to think of it, the trees did look a little....tentacly. I put another notch in my "weird stick" and the Shaman consulted the spirits to be told it was the influence of the Far Realm on the world. I mused that I didn't really know how to cure an infection of the world, rather than a person, and the Shaman pointed out we should try and find what was causing it and remove it. After wandering around a bit to figure out which way we'd been going (as the ground didn't seem to be taking footprints) we carried on in the direction we hoped the tribe's camp was - the direction in which it was easier to walk.

Eventually the trees thinned out and we came to a grassy area that was less grassy than we remembered it. After a few feet the grass gave way to...sand? We also seemed to be slowly sliding forwards (towards the "desert"). As we started to take this in, some more floaty-tentacly-things came through the trees and we moved, with great difficulty, towards them to fight them. The ground definitely seemed to resist us moving away from the sandy area, and we still kept sliding towards it. This reduced movement didn't help when the Warden managed to get himself surrounded by tentacle-beasts and took sufficient damage to knock him unconscious.

What followed was mostly the Barbarian hacking away at the things which seemed to hit harder and harder with each successive hit, while I thinned out the minions and the Shaman kept picking up the yo-yoing Warden until he ran out of healing and healing potions. Eventually I went down too (in two hits) and the remaining two had to deal with the last couple of baddies by themselves. Thankfully, the biggest had hit a couple of times and then wandered away, presumably bored. We seem to be letting a lot of things escape.

The fight took all night. A quick post-mortem afterwards seemed to suggest the monsters mostly just got lucky - not missing meant their damage got ramped up to the levels of 6d6. With fewer of us helping to take them down, it took the barbarian longer to deal with them despite being able to throw out large chunks of damage, and the reduced maneuverability meant they could surround us easily. Thankfully the two of us who went unconscious only failed one death saving throw each, but unless we get an extended rest soon we're in a fairly vulnerable situation. The feeling of danger was an interesting extra element to the fight, as we'd been going through without taking a lot of punishment thanks to Longtooth Shifting and our Shaman. So all in all, a pretty good session, even if I did end up with nothing to do by the end.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

That Was The Weekend That Was VI

Celebrated the Terror's first dance class on Friday with tea at the Black Bull with Nana. The Terror lived up to his nickname by not wanting anything on the children's menu and mucking about just a bit too much. Still, he settled down once food came and it was good food with good cider, followed by good chocolate cake so that was, um, good. Still, Friday evening was a bit "bleurgh" once QI was finished.

Saturday, we actually got to sleep in, but still made it to the cinema's Kids Club to watch Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. It was ok, and for 95p a ticket you don't really need much more than that. In the afternoon we headed into town to pick up my new glasses from the opticians, and had a bit of a wander around the Food & Drink Festival trying not to gape at the chocolate, fudge and baked goods too much....We bought a couple of pies to try - a game one which was a tad disappointing and a "huntsman" one which was topped with stuffing and much nicer. On the way home we passed Oddbins and went in on a whim to see what whiskies they had....Spotted A'bunadh on the top shelf but sadly it was only their taster one and they had no full bottles in. The man instead suggested GlenDronach Revival which we tasted and then went, "yeah, ok." That evening we opened the whisky, but only after finishing off the wine C had brought round. We mostly played Dominion, but finished off with a couple of games of Chez Geek which is always fun.

Today has mostly been more "bleurgh" though. I managed shopping, just, despite falling asleep in bed after getting dressed. Had a bit of a nice walk this afternoon, and am settling down in front of the telly tonight while J is out playing D&D. Tomorrow I go see the doctor and decide whether I need to go back on anti-depressants. Can only hope next week will be a bit better than this week has been.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Campaign With No Name - Sept 22nd

Continuing the interrogations of their prisoners, the party managed to establish that the Magus was originally from their world, had no idea (or was deliberately vague about) how he got to this world, and was willing to give them anything they wanted in return for his freedom. His measured opinion on Dungeon Master was that he manipulated people into acting out stories for his own amusement. Mouse, confused by all this talk of other worlds, was given one of the Drow's leaflets on Dave, and once again began to doubt the sanity of her fellow adventurers. After an extensive intra-party debate, during which the Warlord proposed just killing both of them and never speaking of them again, they opted for Chuck's suggestion that they just let the Magus go as he was, at least to start with, as much a "victim" as they. The Magus left quickly, groveling and promising them any magic items they want if they come find him in his tower in Vek.

Moving back to DM, they admitted they had no proof that it was he who was pulling people from outside into this world, and despite some misgivings, decided to risk giving him the ring as Chuck didn't want it anyway (due to its tendency to implant thoughts about taking over the world). After spending five minutes "absorbing" it somehow - apparently turning it into the pure essence of magic - DM looked a lot healthier and was surprisingly compliant when they decided not to give him his staff back and to make him come with them for a while.

After checking that Charles was indeed no longer in the time trap and concluding that there was little point chasing after the chronomancers just yet, they decided to head back to their house to check on the progress of the repairs. The workmen had cleared a lot of the rubble but hadn't yet started rebuilding. They were mostly sitting around drinking tea. The foreman came up to talk to them and explain that it looked like it would be more difficult than they first thought and will probably take longer and cost more money. Oh, and could they get some feed for their horse? The men found it in the stable half-starved and while it had been eating grass and corn from the surrounding fields those plants didn't look all that....healthy.

They took watched through the night just in case, but DM failed to try and kill them in their sleep. He continued to follow them meekly as, after consulting the map he'd given them showing the nearby locations of undead, they headed south to a forest inhabited by vampires. They arrived at one of the surrounding towns, Newtown, just before dusk and went to the local inn. The innkeeper was nervous and kept mentioning how it was getting late, but they continued to drink and had just persuaded him to let them stay the night when a gang of vampires burst in. The party immediately issued a demand for Treasure Tax, which just confused them. As more vampires piled in, they passed the question of Tax to their leader who indignantly replied that round here, people paid taxes to him. After a failed attempt to beguile the Warlord, the vampire-in-charge drew his sword and Mouse promptly shot him.

Chuck moved in front of the group and asked if this really was going to become a fight. The vampire leader simply growled "Kill them," at which Chuck blasted away several of his minions and replied, "Was that directed at them or me?" Mouse shot down most of the vampires as they charged, including those who were outside but entered at the sound of a fight. Their leader attacked Mouse but then became flanked by the Warlord and Cat, and once the last of his servants had been teleported outside by Chuck he turned into mist and fled. The party settled down to finish their drinks and some hours later the innkeeper came back and acted both surprised and terrified that they were still alive.

OC Comments: Was afraid the thing with the Magus and DM would drag on too long, but thankfully the players decided to just do something and then found something else to occupy themselves with. Although I gave them the map ages ago, it shouldn't be too hard to level up some of the adventures and the others I may have to rewrite, but it's certainly easier than thinking up yet more new things.

Quote of the Session
Me: "He draws his sword."
D: "Is it a particularly nice sword?"
Me: "No, just a bog-standard short sword."
D: "Oh, in that case I shoot him."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Convoluted History of The Campaign With No Name, Part Two E: Finally Getting Up-to-date

The First Bit, The Second Bit, The Third Bit, The Fourth Bit

The mages and the party teleported from the Arcanum to the Mages' Guildhouse in Port Haven. Due to a weird glitch in the teleport spell, everyone had a brief "vision": Mouse and the mages all saw themselves in a potential near-future situation, the Drow had a vision of Dave showing him the whereabouts of a magic dagger, the Warlord unearthed a "memory" of a possible past-self, and Chuck merely saw the wizard whose body she is inhabiting and a Tiefling arguing on a featureless plane. The mages chalk the strange occurrence up to "one of those things" and the group sets out cross country to the field where they left Charles. Once there, they check the area is still clear of undead, and the Drow digs in the spot indicated by his vision, finding a dagger that glows with divine light. The mages enter the barrow, examine the area around the frozen Charles and then start preparing for the ritual to free him.

The adventurers guard the barrow to ensure the mages are not interrupted, and it is just as well as with a bang and a cloud of smoke, a small army of undead appear across the other side of the field. As they soon make short work of the charging skeletons and zombies, they take the fight to the site of the horde arrival. The mages finish their ritual and emerge to inform the party of their partial success: they believe they have released Charles from the trap, but possible at the point in time he would have come out anyway. Or possibly another point in time. They're fairly certain he survived. They just don't know when. They suggest they may be able to do "some sort of divination" and retreat back into the barrow.

With another bang and cloud of smoke, the Magus himself arrives, along with a small retinue of skeletons and a "hostage". When he realises the PCs care nothing for the strange woman they have never seen before in their life, he attacks anyway and the woman seeks out Mouse to hide behind. After a kiss, Mouse is unable to attack the woman directly, even when she reveals herself to be a succubus. The succubus and the skeletons are eventually dealt with and the Magus beaten to the point where he flees. Chased and shot down by Mouse he surrenders.

Desperate, the Magus pleads for his life, offering them power, money, anything they want. As this doesn't seem to sway them, and begin contemplating just killing him, he blurts out that he can tell them Dungeon Master's "secret". He had just started telling them that he was working with DM to discover the secrets of a type of powerful magic item known as an "artifact" when the gnome himself appeared from behind a tree and hit the Magus with a colourful ray of magic that caused him to collapse in agony.

What followed was nothing but confusion.

The Drow cast a spell at DM to prevent him turning invisible before going to see how injured the Magus actually was. Mouse took this as a cue to attack, and promptly shot at the newly arrived wizard. The Warlord followed her lead, and Chuck and the Drow stopped the Magus from escaping. A three-way fight ensued, with the DM dropping the Magus at least once while pleading with the characters to stop fighting and just give him "that ring". After turning invisible and trying to sneak up on Chuck but being caught out by Mouse's sharp eyes and a pinch of magic dust, he finally stopped fighting and just tried to plead for the ring that Chuck had - a ring which seemed to be both powerful and evil. As Chuck was unwilling to hand it over without a good reason, they decided to take DM prisoner as well as the Magus.

Tying both of them up, they clubbed the Magus unconscious and questioned DM. He told them he needed to "consume" powerful magic items to survive and explained he'd attacked the Magus to stop him telling them "lies". A lengthy interrogation failed to get much more out of him, other than an admittance that there had in the past been other "outsiders" who he tried to "help" while also getting them to find items for him to feed on. The Magus was from a party of such adventurers, who had turned against him, as they also did in the end.....

And that's it so far! I've finally got up to date and will try and do fortnightly session write-ups, much as I do for J's primal campaign.

Monday, September 20, 2010

That Was The Weekend That Was V

On Friday I finally got sick of trying to make a decision and just went ahead and reserved a bike at Halfords. So Saturday mostly consisted of waiting around until I could go collect it, hoping it would be the right height etc. Fortunately it was fine, and the frame is actually a nice colour and the stars aren't too girly so that's all good. We put off buying helmet, lights etc, and just got a lock - I suspect it'll be a while before I'm going fast enough or near roads enough to worry about wearing a helmet. I practised a bit on the way back and despite a few wobbles it seems riding a bike isn't something you forget even after 15+ years. The boy was so proud of me he promised to make me not one, but TWO badges - one for managing corners and one for riding past a group of dogs without running any of them over. Not that he's made them yet. Think he's forgotten.

Had D over for tea and fed him leftovers, which he repaid by buying us cider. I'm not quite sure what we've done to deserve such nice friends...We had a booze and cheese and games evening and managed to introduce him to Carcassone, which he promptly won despite my SO's farming prowess, Zombie Fluxx, which he managed to win on his second turn, and Chez Geek, which he came perilously close to winning too. Talk about beginner's luck....I sucked at usual. But it was fun.

Yesterday I mostly slept.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Convoluted History of The Campaign With No Name*, Part Two D: In Which The PCs Do Politics

The First Bit, The Second Bit, The Third Bit

Shortly after taking office, the new Captain of the Guard learned of the ongoing rivalry between the Guard and the Sheriff. Having spotted the crude assassination attempt, he summoned the Sheriff who blustered and denied everything. He quickly set some poor underling the task of working out how to arrest/kidnap/dispose of the Sheriff and went to the pub. After hearing about this, Mouse did some "investigating" of the Sheriff's house and found evidence that he was blackmailing members of the council. Some kerfuffle and public posturing followed, and one of the blackmailees dropped hints that if the Warlord could possibly sort out the Sheriff problem once and for all that would be nice.

Chuck and the Drow went to the Grand Assemblage of the League of Eternal Discovery, and joined the Arcanum by solving a teleport maze, with the intention of using the extensive library to learn rituals. The Drow had a strange experience with a door in the library everyone else wanted to get away from but he felt strangely drawn to....An epiphany on the nature of the universe followed, while anyone else nearby just got a headache. The door may have hidden a Source of Arcane Magic or something. Whatever it was, it didn't distract him too much from spreading the Word of Dave and having some pamphlets printed.

The mages in the Department of Chronomancy were excited at the prospect of studying a Time Trap in person, but due to interfaculty politics and the need to maintain quorum in the senate, getting permission for a field trip was less than straightforward. The person in charge of signing off on expenses would only do so if the party found his sister first, who was missing presumed investigating leads to the ruins of Alabaster City in the jungle to the south.

So, leaving the mages to prepare for the trip to rescue Charles and the city Guard plotting to take down the Sheriff, the four adventurers headed south, following hints and rumours of a determined archaeologist and avoiding most of (but not all) the dangerous wildlife. They made their way to a hole in the ground that was the adventuring mage's last known destination, and fought some duergar that were guarding it. Making their way down, they faced stirges and more duergar, and an angry dragon at the bottom who told them to p*ss off before attacking. Once they'd beaten the dragon up a bit, it shapeshifted into a humanoid form and admitted defeat. Turns out the dragon was the mage they were looking for, and she thought they were rivals looking to steal her "find" from her. She showed them the decorative portal that she believed led to the Alabaster City but which she had been unable to open. She conceded to return with them, but only to regroup and do some more research before heading back, and they headed back to the city.

Once back in the city, the Sheriff sends an assassin after them, who dies horribly. Then he attempts to settle the situation by a duel, with the winner taking up the combined post of Sheriff and Captain of the Guard. However, as he names a champion to fight on his behalf, the Warlord decides to name his own champion, and persuades the dragon mage/archaeologist to fight on his behalf. The Sheriff's champion turns out to be a bitter, twisted, Pete who had been held captive and tortured by the Magus all this time and now sported a withered Wight claw instead of his normal left hand. The dragon mauled him horribly, Mouse stopped the Sheriff's bodyguard unleashing undead to distract from the fight and the Warlord stopped the Sheriff himself escaping. Once it was all over, the Warlord left some poor sap as Acting Guard Captain, the mage had been press-ganged into sitting on the council and the Sheriff was due to be executed.

Then they finally set out to rescue Charles from the Time Trap with the Chronomancers.

* Yeah, I've given up.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That Was The Weekend That -Ow!

At some point of Thursday my left shoulder went from "slightly achy, must have slept funny" to "Ow ow ow ow ow!" Since then I've been mostly trying to rest it, but the pain crept from shoulder to all around my neck and while mostly just "constant ache" rather than "stabbing pain" it was still enough to make my days kind of....meh. Not being able to keep myself busy with housework, I got bored pretty quickly, as even reading caused my neck to ache after a while from having my head down (bad posture I suppose, but you try holding a book up for any length of time).

So, um, yeah. My weekend has been one of painkillers, naps that are painful to wake up from, and not doing much. Slowly seem to be get better, and might just have to force myself to try some (gentle) yoga tomorrow to see how I fare. But apart from that, and the boredom, and the sense of lacking direction or meaning in my life, I have nothing to report.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

That Was The Weekend That Was IV

This weekend was less exciting than the previous one, I admit. For the Bank Holiday weekend, we were at the Gathering, and despite depression getting its teeth into me pretty strongly at first, we all had a good time. The Terror enjoyed playing with other children and he was old enough and responsible enough to know he wasn't to leave camp without one of us, so we could pretty much get on with our own thing provided we weren't going to be away for too long. I had a nice surprise at the group meeting when I found out I was being given a factional training voucher (way to instantly buy occupational skills) for manning the gate over the last few years, and after some angsting finally splurged some of my OSPs on various stuff like being immune to disease. That and a Monday of being witness to the death of an eleven-and-a-half year old character and the subsequent angsty role-play, it was pretty good.

This weekend, nothing really happened. I've been a bit stressed for no apparent reason, and my SO has been a bit ill with a cold but only one evening of really suffering thankfully. Friday night, D came round for tea, wine and painting tips as he's interested in playing 40K and we then got to introduce him to Firefly. Last night, C & T came round with healing booze and the ill girl won several games of Dominion. Tonight she's out for her other D&D game, and the evening has flown by, with help of cider. I applied for a job at Boots (stacking shelves in evenings, I've got to try something), watched and listened to some comedy on BBC iPlayer and failed to come any closer to a plan for life, career, or even what to do in my game on Wednesday. So no change there then.

Primal Adventures IV

(Part One, Part Two, Part Three)

After a prolonged absence due to work getting in the way, we finally got back to J's game and had a pretty awesome session.

We spent some time debating what to do with our "infected" packmates - those that had attacked us and looked "wrong" somehow. After whipping up a potion to sedate them, we tied them up, and deciding against dragging them all the way back to the cave of nasty kobold ritual, found a rocky outcrop to pile them under. As we were hurling the last one in, we all got the brief sensation that we were throwing them into a gaping mouth instead. After prodding the rocks to make sure they really were just rocks, we shrugged it off as a mild hallucination, although we were slightly spooked when we realised we all saw the same thing.

Then we headed on towards the tribe's camp, cautiously in case of any more attacks. But it all seemed peaceful. Too peaceful. Despite everything looking normal (grey leaves making the ground springy underfoot, trees turning to follow our progress like they always do) we did eventually notice that it was unnaturally quiet. There was no sign of birds or other creatures anywhere nearby. After deliberating for a bit about whether to retrace our steps or not, the shaman discovered that the ground was slippy when walking in one direction, but not in the other. I started to keep track of "weird things" by making notches in a stick. Despite being slightly worried now, we decided to press on towards the tribe.

We found a suitable clearing to spend the night, but were woken by a group of floaty-tentacly-things and a Thing-With-Eyes. The fight against them was somewhat disorganised, and more insubstantial floaty-tentacly-things kept coming out of the trees to surround us, but we were eventually successful. I did add another notch to my "Weird Stick" though as every time we were hit by a floaty-tentacly-thing, as well as the searing pain in our head we briefly saw the world in strange colours (green grass, brown tree trunks etc).

Afterwards we all praised J for her brilliant GMing - she totally managed to get the point across to the players that the forest was changed in very disturbing ways, but that our characters just accepted it as normal. The intrusion of the Far Realm has clearly gone further here, but how our characters are going to realise this or what they can possibly do about it I have no idea. We've had another break from gaming due to work and larp, but once again I can't wait to get back to it. While at the same time having no clue what we should be doing. It's great.