Saturday, August 30, 2008

Adventure Recap - Day 0 (the pre-quest)

(I intend this to be first in a line of post-adventure posts so that we have a record, however meager and biased, of our adventures that at which we can look back and giggle.)

With Moonglum on the sidelines due to an acute case of being weak, the six of us (Lord Bolt, Taran, Malak, Lotheryn, Iuean, and "Angela") started out on a grey, mournful day in the remote, uncivilized town of ... heck, I don't know, Grant's Pass? It wasn't a very remarkable town. In fact, it was kind of dingy... but crawling with women! Malak's kind of town, as he unsuccessfully tried to convey non-verbally (Malak requires an unskilled "show emotion other than rage check" to use body language -- he rolled a 2) to the group. Anyway, the weather wasn't the only thing that was depressing... all the women seemed depressed, and didn't want to talk to a fly brother (or his crew). We wasted no time in learning more...

after the jump, more on our first adventure.

Anyway, after Malak failed to make any progress by intimidating anyone, finally Ieuan the Bard figured out the source of the women's trouble... all the men went to a mine and never came back. A few awkward conversations later, we found out that a group of racially oppressed goblins ("kobolds") had taken over the silver mine (or so they assumed) and had also, somehow, poisoned the well water. Despite the protests of Lord Bolt and Malak (who both had better things to do than solve someone else's problems), and despite the annoying insistence of Taran the Ranger that Lord Bolt was supposed to care about the problems assailing the village, the whole group went down to the mine.

At the mine, things went from bad to worse. First of all, we couldn't figure out who was supposed to hold the torch. Or whether we should even use a torch and not a hooded lantern. Then we couldn't decide who should stand in the back of the group, and even though we had our best people on the case (Angela and Taran), we kept sniffing down hallways to no avail. We were assaulted by various traps and crappy enemies, pausing just long enough in each room to contract a disease before finally dealing roughly 10 times the damage we needed to just to kill the Kobolds we stumbled across. Malak was probably the star of the show, missing rarely and getting hit even less. Lotheryn struggled with her pet, but healed Ay-Ven at a particularly critical moment, and generally made herself useful. Taran mostly shook his head in the back of the group and wondered how he got here, and Lord Bolt charged to the front heroically (showing some of that Paladin can-do) and missed... and missed... and missed. Occasionally he died. It was very embarassing.

The encounter reached its climax in a long room with shelves, where after dealing with a cloud of baking powder exploding and getting in our face, we killed a bunch of kobolds, then a bunch of rats, and then carelessly freed a Dire Weasel who proceeded to wreak havoc on our sense of self-worth by relentlessly resisting our efforts to just step on it and be done with it. The danger didn't cease with the cessation of the Weasel, though, as Lord Bolt's predatory nature got the best of him at last... he ate diseased oats and fell gravely ill, causing his constitution to briefly drop into negative numbers. Fortunately, though, Angela looted like it was going out of style, and brought back a metric ton of gems, which we promptly "slanged" to the local community.

Oh, we didn't bring back their men. Nor did we find out what was wrong with their well water. But eventually a cleric did heal Lord Bolt's diseases.

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Some notes on our first adventure

So I think everyone had fun; I certainly did. Going through the rules was a little tedious for everyone, I think. I'm sure there are more rules to learn. Thoughts:

1. I think we got kind of bogged down in the rules (at the end it seemed like an endless series of dice rolls) so that we forgot that this is a simulation of a story. From what I've read in the DM Handbook, we want to try to steer away from that kind of thinking. I think we did well at this at first when we were talking to townsfolk and going to the mine. I mean, who didn't have fun when Malak got kicked out of the bar and Lord Bolt had to bluff that we didn't know him?

2. Related to that, we have to remember that we can do anything within reason and our DM will let us know if that's possible. Examples in retrospect: Lotheryn could have thrown the torch at a grain sack or a barrel and used that to damage the kobold since we had such a hard time hitting them with weapons. Malak could have pushed over the shelves to try to crush one underneath. Ieuan could have tried to bluff the kobolds into thinking we wanted to be friends. Lord Bolt could have eaten some rotten grain...wait, he did that. Never mind. Obviously I didn't think of these things either, but I figure it will definitely be more fun if we try to think outside the box rather than always "I better go hit this dude with my sword." I suppose hitting a dude with your sword will probably be the best option most of the time, I'm just saying it doesn't hurt to think of different ways to get the job done.

3. We have to ask TC a couple things. Certainly about Lotheryn's wolf companion and probably about Moonglum's familiar, when he gets it. I don't remember any other specific questions I had, but either post them here or try to remember them for Monday if you have any.

Don't get me wrong, I had a really good time, and I think a lot of those things were weird because it being the first time we've played. I'm thinking Monday will be a real hootenanny.

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Plan for Monday

For Monday:

Meet over at our place at 2 pm and we'll get right into it. For food,

Julia and I: We will have salad, fruit, chips, and drinks (mostly left over from tonight). We also have paper plates, forks, etc.

Brian and Angela: Bring some meat and a sidedish.

John and Bethany: Bring your brats and some dessert.

OJ: Beer. Although you might want to talk to Brian and Angela about it, since they might be able to get some cheap beer and maybe you can pay them back or something.

We will have the seven of us, plus TC and maybe his friend. And I was going to ask my parents to join us since they're helping us out by watching the kids the whole time. So that's 11 people, fyi. It should be fun! Call around or post here in the comments whether or not that will work for everyone.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

We have a DM

So I just talked to my boy TC and we are stylin'. He can make it this Monday as long as we start in the afternoon and he is good to bbq or whatever as well. The Thursday/Tuesday playing night deal works for him too. Thursday's are better mainly because he has work until 8pm on Tuesday but he is fine coming straight from work and he thought that if we got things set up and ready to go then he could get there and we could start playing by 8:30 no problem.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Example of Gameplay

I read this in the Dungeon Master's Guide. It's an example of the basic flow of gameplay. I found this to be VERY helpful in terms of imagining how the game will play out. Of course we've been dealing so much with the minutia of rolling for characters and picking skills, it's been hard to see the forest for the trees. I think this shows that rather than a series of isolated dice rolls to determine whether you kill some orcs, it's really much more like one of those "You Make the Story" books where you roll dice instead of simply skipping to page 34.

I think this is great. Of course our game will be different - we will have a different DM and we will probably need to ask more questions, at least the first few times. But I encourage you to read through these to get a feel for actual gameplay. It goes to show you that your skill points actually do something. You may have been asking yourself, "Why the heck does it matter whether I have a +2 to Search checks? I mean that's great, but who cares?" Well, as you can see, it may be the difference between you finding a gem in a random pile of junk and just finding junk.

I apologize for the poor quality. I had to copy them as images from a PDF file. I blew them up as much as I could, so I hope you can read them. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Just how public is this D&D-ing? Also, is "D&D-ing" a verb? Like, I'm not sure whether to make public the fact that I am indeed participating in this game, or just quietly live a double life as an elven bard.

Is everyone here super proud that they are nerds?

I'm not sure that I can even tell my closest friends and family (well, those that aren't part of this venture).

I'm having some self-identity/esteem issues; please weigh in. Who knew such a life crisis could arise from a game?

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Time for Monday

Let's collaborate on details for Monday. Some thoughts:

1. As John said, we want to play for several hours since we'll have the time, probably at least 3, maybe 4 hours.
2. That said, we will be getting a babysitter (probably my parents), so it can't be much longer than 4 hours, unless we play in the evening and split it up. For example, start at 5 pm, babysitter drops off the kids at 8 and we put them to bed, then play for another 2 hours or so. But that's kind of a hassle and there's no guarantee the kids will fall asleep right away, especially with people in the house.
3. It may be cool to do a barbecue or at least get pizza and beer or something to go along with our D&Ding.
4. We're happy having it at our place, but since the kids won't be around, it's not a necessity like usual. Although if we do a barbecue, our place may be the most suitable unless we take over OJ's place for the afternoon.

Here are two options (feel free to chime in with others):

Option A: Come over to our place around noon. We'll barbecue (or do something else food-ish), I'll go drop the kids off while we're cleaning up lunch and when I get back we can play from like 1 - 5.

Option B: Come over around 1 or 2 pm, play for four hours or so, then my parents can bring the kids back around 6 and we can barbecue at that point.

I think I prefer Option B of those two. Let me know what you guys think. Obviously, this also depends on TC's availability, so let us know as soon as you can, Brian. Like I said, we have no problems hosting, but if someone else wants to volunteer, that's cool too.

Edit: Or, as OJ suggests, you can all come over at like 7 am and we'll just play until midnight like the hardcore nerds we are.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I don't have practice on Monday so I am good to go all day....LET'S DO THIS!!!!

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We doin' this?

So I've been looking at a premade adventure that I downloaded for level 1 characters and I totally think I could run it if we wanted to get together and give our characters a test drive. I'm interested in DMing anyway so I think it would totally be fun.

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Template Feedback

Template update:

This new style should be pretty good for our purposes, although I will look for notepad-scroll type background that we can use to add a little texture.

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This is not a posting on dice roll percentages, feats or skills. It is however, a brief glimpse into how being an undercover D&Der is affecting me. I am sure this is how John's and my wedding will be:

- sigh -

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Respect Us!!

From the Wikipedia entry on D&D:

As the popularity of D&D grew throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, the game was referenced more and more in popular culture. Numerous games, films and cultural references based on D&D or D&D-like fantasies, characters or adventures have been ubiquitous since the end of the 1970s. Typically, though by no means exclusively, D&D players are portrayed derogatively as the epitome of geekdom. References to the game are used as shorthand to establish characterization or provide the punch line of a joke. Many players, irritated with this stereotype, embrace the fact that professional basketball player Tim Duncan, comedian Stephen Colbert, musician Moby, and actors Vin Diesel, Matthew Lillard, Mike Myers, Patton Oswalt, Wil Wheaton and Robin Williams have made their D&D hobbies public.

Speaking for those that are AAVE-fluent, I find this list of celebrities devoid of a G contingent. Obviously Tim Duncan is black (partially) but he's not exactly "TD from the block," or anything. I would like to hear of, say, an Elijah Dukes playing D&D, or a Tyrese Gibson, or even a Marshall Mathers.

Update (8/26): as Dan alluded to in the comments, Vin Diesel is half-black. And he is pretty hard. In fact, he has the name of one of his D&D characters tattooed on his BACK! Isn't that ridiculous? He says that during the filming of one of his Riddick movies (either the Chronicles or Pitch Black, I don't remember) he and Judi Dench and this other actor dude used to play D&D after the day's shoot.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Addendum to Lotheryn the Druid

The Council had only one idea as to the source of the evil harming our lands. Some twenty-five or thirty cycles ago (forgive my inaccuracy, such a short time period means little to a young elven woman who has seen the birch leaves fall 200 times), our grove was visited by the strangest druid I had ever met. At least she claimed she was a druid. She was an old woman, but by the way she forced her way into our midst, it was apparent that her appearance belied her age. She vehemently insisted to see our High Council, intermittently yelling incoherently and babbling about some new Power found in Nature and some prophecy about a man chosen to wield it. Druids tend to be an eccentric lot, choosing to align themselves with the fickle forces of Nature more often than humanoids, so this was not entirely out of the marshes, but the experience was stranger than most. The High Council, of course, dismissed the woman as quickly as she had come. Before she left, she struck a pentagram into the forest floor with her staff and uttered a vague curse about being left without the very force that sustained us. She then took her Natural form, which happened to be, oddly, a moose, and galloped off as if a High Druid had evoked a lightning storm above her. Those of us in the Order would not forget this woman, but the encounter was not treated with any measure of gravity. Now it appears that may have been a mistake. Whether this woman is the cause of the blight that has sickened our grove or merely a seer, she must have answers. My charge was to seek the terellor, while the task of seeking this woman was given to a druid of more seasons than I. Although if I can find any hints as to her whereabouts, it would certainly help in regaining good standing with the Council. I must keep my ears sharp as the wolf and my eyes sharp as the hawk, all while remaining patient as an oak. I am quickly realizing that this is no simple journey to have undertaken.

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Lotheryn the Druid

I love trees and flowers and vines and grass. I love the freedom of the bear cub playing amongst the trees, the intensity of the wolf stalking its prey, the gentleness of the deer nurturing its fawn. I love all natural life, whether it wanders or it stays.

I love people also – the laughter of a child, the touch of hands between husband and wife, the beauty of a sonnet sung with passion and reverence, the way a community of elves unites to aid one of its members.

These are not conflicting loves for me. Whether person, animal, or plant, all is life, all love, all need love in return. There are some who think these must conflict, and though this view confuses me, it will not change me.

My loves stem from my parents. My mother, Melindiel, is a beautiful singer. She can take people to times and places they have never seen or imagined. I have never heard a more impassioned performance than her rendering of the Lay of the Wood Elves and Their Search for Elvenhome. My mother, as all good elves, loves the Earth and its inhabitants, but she is never more at home than when she is sharing her gift of song with a gathering of fellow elves.

My father, Borgaladh, chose a different path, one that suited his passion more closely. His love of the Earth prompted him to join the Order of Druids and dedicate himself to the study of Nature and Her power. His life as a druid rarely brought him into contact with any elf outside of his Order, but he took infrequent forays into various elven communities to ensure that Nature was being properly respected and nurtured. It was on one of these forays that he heard my mother sing. For all his love of plant and animal life, not one blossom of elanor nor one grazing moose had touched his heart such as the voice of my mother. Despite his vows to commit himself to his Order, he married her and soon I was born. He attempted to lead a double life as druid and husband/father, but could not and left the order. As a loving reminder of his druidic life, I was named Lotheryn, Blossom of the Woods, in our tongue.

As a child of such a pair, I naturally gained both passions. My mother taught me to love our fellow elves and serve them in whatever ways Ehlonna had gifted me. My father taught me to tend to plants and animals, not to interfere, but to keep them strong and thriving. Although I learned much from my mother, it was my father’s teachings that most held my interest. I spent long hours walking amongst copses of birch trees, studying the insects as they worked industriously at their tasks, noticing how the trees reacted to both sunshine and rain alike.

This passion led me, as it had my father, to the druids. Nowhere else could I find such devotion to the care of Nature. My father warned me of the isolation the Order would require of me, but I impulsively joined anyway. I threw myself headlong into my study of Nature’s Power, especially enjoying my companionship and communication with animals. Healing came as second nature to me. But as my father warned, I soon longed for my home amongst other elves and to once again be a part of a larger community. I yearned, as my mother did, to share my gifts with others.

Although it was frowned upon by the High Council of the druid grove I studied and worked in, I took furloughs back to my home, mostly under the pretense that I was educating my community in the hope that they would learn to care for the Earth as I did. My excuse did not earn me much grace, and so I found myself in poor standing with my Order when our grove and its surrounding forest was struck by an unknown disease. Animals that were once peaceful became frightened or hostile. Trees that had stood for centuries and eons began to wither. One plant especially, the terellor flower, potent in its use as a healing agent, disappeared entirely from the land.

Our Order was in an uproar. A Council was held involving every druid in the grove; such meeting had not been called in over 1,200 years. One order of business was to restore the terellor to our grove as soon as possible. A druid would have to journey out of the forest to try to find the plant and bring it home intact. Seeing my opportunity to visit other communities and to endear myself to my Order, I volunteered. After much debate, the Council agreed to send me out. As I go now, especially to new lands predominated by humans, I see much need for a druid’s love and caring. I see much neglect and abuse of Nature and Her Power. I help where I can, but I know I must find the terellor at all costs.

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Malak "The Destroyer"

As related to Gregor Immilus, to whose memory this publication is dedicated. Gregor had, shall we say, an "accident" when his torso accidentally ran into a two-handed sword. One witness of the event would like to remind the readers that this "accident" might have been avoided had Gregor not made some unfortunate "editorial" comments about the subject of this history. Without further ado...

History of the Tribes of Khanduras

Not much of the history is known of the barbarians of Khanduras. All that is known is they have been there since the Kingdom of Westmarch has started its records. What is known is that the barbarians are grouped into 12 big tribes that are part nomadic and part settled in villages. The villages seem to be around sources of food, water, and material. Normally these tribes are at war with each other and if they are not warring on each other they are raiding the nearby villages in Westmarch. There is no written language among the barbarians at all. What has been found is that the barbarians use hand signals and symbols to communicate with one another. It is guessed that these hand signals and symbols differ from tribe to tribe.

One tribe of note is the one known as the Harrogath, their leader is Gallar the Great, who while searching for a source of food stumbled upon an iron vein and developed a village in order to produce steel. Steel was of great signifigance to the Harrogath due to their god, Crom who is the god of steel and war. They were the first tribe on record to start producing steel and implementing it into their weapons and armor. It was this vein that led them to believe that Crom had led them here to it so they could vanquish their rival tribes. A problem quickly arose with the producing of steel and where this tribe had built the village. It was not near many resources to help produce this valuable metal to them. This led them to continually raid other tribal villages or Westmarch to appease their god and to find resources to help produce steel.

Life in the Harrogath tribe is very brutal, using their standard age of 5 winters old they would start their training. The boys are taken from their families to a master trainer and are in contact with them once a year. The girls however stay with their families and learn to harvest food, produce goods, and mend the barbarian warriors. However, the girls are taught to defend if they need to with the same weapons as the boys. The boys are taught from the early age how to use and craft several different weapons such as swords, axes, and bows. They are taught skills in physical training, tracking, living off of nature, and training animals. After 10 more winters the boys who are now 15 put their survival skills to the test. They are sent to raid a nearby rival village and bring back the heads of their kills. If they are successful in returning with a certain number of heads they are allowed to join the barbarian army, which is more of a militia. Those who make it back but have none or don’t have enough are relegated to returning to their villages to become craftsmen.

One point of great significance to note in recent history of the barbarians is that of the tribe Harrogath. There were two rival tribes Arreat and Cimmerian who grew weary of the vein that the Harrogath was in control of and allied with each other. They planned an attack on that village which was under the control of Gallar the Great, who at that time had two sons Harak and Darius. When the attack happened the Harrogath barbarians were completely caught by surprise and received heavy losses including, Gallar. If not for the heroics of Harak and Darius the village would have been completely lost to the rival barbarians. After the battle both were herald as heroes and given titles, Darius the Vanquisher and Harak the Executioner.

The two brothers both vowed to unite the 12 tribes under one banner to avoid debacles like these in the future and to strengthen the barbarian race. After establishing his leadership of the tribe Harak took the purest sample of iron and had and crafted into a great two handed sword. In honor of the battle he called the sword Kurast and it became a feared weapon among his foes. After taking control of the tribe’s milita army; Harak and Darius went out to conquer the neighboring tribes.

Enter the Destroyer

It was about 24 years ago that a most important barbarian was born to Darius. He was the third child of seven to be born and his name was Malak. Everyone noticed very early that he was going to be a great warrior. He was strong at very early age and showed great aggressiveness towards other people. When he left for his training to begin at age 5 he was put with the older kids after a few months since that was more to his strength and size. He showed great sense in his physical prowess of climbing, jumping, and swimming. He was very in touch with nature especially wild animals; he found special kinship with wolves raising and domesticating them. As for weapons he showed skill in all them but none more so than two handed swords, combined with his strength he could cleave a human in half by the time he was 15 winters old.

His uncle took great pride in seeing his nephew Malak grow up over those 10 years. He would often visit the camp and help train him and see to his grooming as a warrior. Harak always felt there was something special in Malak, like an untapped power that had yet to be showed to all. Harak not having any sons planned for when the time came Malak to take over the role of leader of the Harrogath tribe. Darius seeing that his brother had taken a special intrest in his son grew jealous of his brother for that. He also began to hate his son for the respect and love he had for his uncle.

The time came for him to go out for survival test. Harak and Darius were there to handpick where Malak’s group would go, Darius blinded by his jealousy hand picked a village he knew to be heavily defended by the Arreat tribe. When Malak’s group began its raid on the village they took heavy losses. Malak seeing his brothers in arms that’d he grown close to over the years fall before him went berserk tapping into a power within himself. He gave over to his anger and everything went white to him.

When he came to all the villagers, men, women, and children had been killed. He was the only surviving Harrogathian to make it back to camp, with his body covered part in his blood and blood of the villagers. The trainers sent scouts to the village and when they returned they confirmed what Malak had told them. This greatly disturbed Harak a bit knowing that his nephew had this power in him at such a young age. Darius meanwhile saw his chance at seizing power with this boy all he need to do is wait.

Soon after his trial of survival they gave him the name of Malak the Destroyer and he lived up to his name in the following years. By this time all but two tribes had been conquered in the north. They were the Arreat and Cimerian tribes. Harak wanting to put his nephew in a favorable position put him in command of his armies to subdue these tribes and complete the unification of the barbarians.

Malak, who was now 23 by this point and who had now established a great following from the barbarian warriors, led them against both tribes. In a years time both had been subdued and Malak returned to the village a hero to the Harrogath tribes. It was at this village that Malak brought back the leaders of both the Arreat and Cimmerian tribes so they can receive their punishment for their attack 26 years earlier. Harak wasted no time in pulling out Kurast and beheading both of the leaders and keeping them on pikes in front of his hut.

Malak was hailed a hero and his uncle welcomed warmly into his hut where they began to plan for the future of their now one tribe. Darius and his two older sons meanwhile stood back and brooded at what had now become the heir apparent to the Harrogath tribe.

The Exile of Malak

A year had passed since the unification of the tribes of Khanduras by Harak and Malak. The kingdom of Westmarch began to feel a little uneasy with the fact that now they had a single enemy in the north instead of many that could be dispensable and dealt with at a time. They began to send emissaries to Harak seeing if he would form an alliance with the Kingdom in exchange for new materials and supplies from the civilized world. Harak seeing this as a sign of weakness began immediately to plan an attack against Westmarch.
He called a meeting of all his chief advisors at that time, which included Darius, Malak, and his two older brothers.

It was at this time that Darius and his two older sons, Kroll and Doruk put their plan into action to move against Harak and Malak. Some of the other advisors at this time disliked Malak as well since he was Harak’s favorite. While in a counsel between Harak and the advisors about moving against Westmarch, they subdued Malak and Kroll pulled his sword and stabbed Harak multiple times. Leaving him for dead they quickly went and got Harak’s personal guards to show what had happened.

When Malak came to he had been shackled to a tree, his father “told” him that to commit such an act against the tribe would be punishable by death. Before they would kill him though they made him watch as they killed his family and any advisor that had supported Harak or Malak. This sent Malak into a white rage and he began to try and break the binds that held him. Believing that Malak would not be a problem any more Darius and the sons left the executioner to carry out his work with Kurast.

Malak now had tapped into that power again, that he had so many times before, but this time it felt different. Using all of his strength and how the chains held him he cracked the tree in half. This setting him loose he quickly killed the guards by smashing their heads and then killing the executioner by ripping out his throat. As he brought himself out of “berserking” he saw his uncle’s sword and picked it up and fled. He ran as far as he could for as long as he could until he could not run anymore. It was there that he collapsed and began to weep for those he had lost. He fell into a deep sleep in which he imagined a big Thor like figure approaching him. He then showed him a land to the south with jungles and a group of people that looked and acted like him. When he awoke he knew that his time here was at an end for now but one day he would return with this new army and seek his vengeance on his family. He then strapped Kurast to his back and began to head south in search of this new barbarian clan…

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Scheduling Sucks

So as most (all?) of you know, we have scheduling issues. Brian and I discussed possible solutions on Sunday, but we didn’t come up with anything definite. Here are my ideas.

We get together tonight just to hang out. We can finish working on our characters. I think John and Bethany still need to pick their skills, we all need to decide on feats and we need to pick our equipment. That shouldn’t take too long, so we can play a game of Citadel or Buzzword (it’s a new game I got for my birthday) or something.

After tonight, it’s up in the air. I have softball games the next two Thursdays. This week it’s at 9:30, so that makes things tough. Our kids go to bed at 8, so you could come over then and we could hang out for an hour until 9, when I have to leave for the game. You guys are welcome to stick around after I leave, of course.

Next week are the playoffs for softball, so I will probably have a 7 pm game, but if we win, we’ll have another game at 9. But that Monday is also Labor Day, so TC (our DM) shouldn’t have school. So I'm thinking we go on Monday next week, if we can, since Thursday is out for me.

After next week I will probably have two weeks off where I’d be ok on Thursdays. After that it’s just a crapshoot depending on when my game is each week.

Here's the way the schedule would look:
Tonight @ 8:15 pm
Thursday? 8/28 @ 8 - 9 pm
Monday (Labor Day) 9/1 @ 8:15 pm
Thursday 9/11 @ 8:15 pm
Thursday 9/18 @ 8:15 pm

The other option is to go with a different day of the week entirely. For me, it doesn’t matter. One day is as good as the next (other than Thursday, of course). Julia is pretty much the same way – there are no weekdays that are worse than others. I think Brian would prefer Mondays or Thursdays. OJ said it kind of depends, but Thursdays might actually be a little bit worse because they’re league nights. I’m not sure if that’s accurate or not. Either Tuesdays or Wednesdays are perfectly fine for me and Julia, but we can make something work if we have to do a different day.

We can discuss this tonight or you can comment on here.

Expect a story from Julia coming up here pretty soon.


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Saturday, August 23, 2008


Ummm, we need to chose some feats. I don't think anyone has any idea what feat they are going to choose at first level and OJ and John both get 2 feats since they are human. Dan's choice will largely depend on what combat expertise he is planning on taking at level 2. Angela and Bethany's choice will largely depend on whether or not they are going to do primarily ranged damage or primarily melee damage. Even those of us who have a clear direction of where we are heading probably don't know what feats we are taking. So let's start discussing!

Dan has been thinking long and hard about the combat expertise he is going to chose and then the feats he's going to take along with it. Last I talked to him, he was planning on going with 2 weapon finding as his ranger expertise and then pursuing the feats for better bowmanship on his own time so as to be a pimp with both. If he does that, he should probably be the most versatile fighter we have though he might do slightly less damage since he is essentially specializing in more than one thing. Still, that is a fair trade off.

OJ seems like he would enjoy beating the crap out of things. Based on his newly improved backstory, Weapon Focus (greatsword) might be the best 1st level feat for his character with Power Attack taken as his bonus feat. From there, the Cleave and Greater cleave feats would make lots of sense though maybe Improved Bullrush, Improved Overrun, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes or Dodge would be preferable to him. Oh, and I would suggest wearing medium armor rather than light. Who cares about armor check bonuses, I say, but you can't go wrong either way.

John, I don't know what to tell you. The book suggests Weapon Focus (longsword) and Improved Initiative as your bonus feat. You don't get your mount until level 5 so you will have to choose 3 feats before you even get to ride a horse. It seems then like you might rather delay things like Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge and Trample but maybe if you can get a regular horse before you get your special Paladin mount it would be worth it. The weapon focus in longsword makes sense as you would be able to use a shield at the same time and Improved Initiative is good for everyone (in fact, I might be taking that at level 1). Improved Shield Bash might be something to look forward to at level 3 and then from there, maybe you could start taking all the mounted combat feats. What do you think?

Julia, I also don't know what I would do if I were you. The book recommends Scribe Scroll which doesn't sound very sexy to me but I could see creating a bunch of crazy magical scrolls actually being pretty cool if you wanted to give it a try. Natural Spell will be totally awesome for you once you can go into wild shape but that won't be until level 5. You are still planning on going caster heavy, right? Maybe Combat Casting, Spell Penetration or Spell Focus? Endurance is ok but not great but it is a prereq for Diehard which is pretty cool and might go really well with your skill set. Improved initiative or one of the defensive feats are always ok options as well.

Bethany, since you will be fighting, casting and even singing in the midst of combat, it might make more sense for you to use a bow as your primary way of dealing physical damage so that you can cast and sing at a moments notice without putting yourself in any danger. All those bow feats would be nice for you, starting with Point Blank Shot with Precise and Rapid Shots probably coming next with later levels perhaps devoted to Far Shot, Many Shot, Shot on the Run and Improved Precise Shot. Weapon Finesse might be worth it eventually in case you need to do any any melee combat or maybe even Quick Draw so you can put away a weapon and get out a musical instrument or vice versa quickly. Again, Dodge or Improved Initiative might also be cool.

Angela, given your crazy high dex and the likely abundance of ranged fighters amongst us, it might be a good idea to go melee and trust to your dodge bonus from dex to keep you safe. You'll do plenty of damage from sneak attack so it might be better for you to focus on defensive feats so you can live to fight another day as well. Dodge and Combat Expertise would be great initial options for you with Mobility and Spring Attack as eventual options as well as maybe Improved Trip or Improved Disarm as something cool do do up close. Either way, if you are going to melee, getting Weapon Finesse as soon as you get your second feat would probably be a great idea especially if you can buy a rapier. You can't get Improved Critical until your base attack bonus is +8 but that would still be pretty cool when you get it. If you want to go the bow and arrow route, there are lots of good feats for that too mentioned in the Bethany paragraph. Oh, and improved initiative is great for you since you are so frail and it will be important for you to position yourself behind OJ and John at the beginning of combat.

As for me, I have no idea what I am going to chose. Maybe Combat Casting, Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, or (surprise, surprise) Improved Initiative. Improved Counterspell will be worth it eventually also. I don't' think I'll take any metamagic feats with my normal feat selection. I'll probably save those just for my bonus feats.

Anyway, this has gone long enough. I definitely could use some advise on what to chose for my first feat as well as the general direction for my character. What do you all think of the suggestions I made. Even if I sounded like I was telling you to do one thing rather than another, always feel free to do whatever the crap you want. My opinion is always still just an opinion. But what does everyone think?

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This is about to be us, every Monday night

I can hardly wait.

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Mibbifoodle of the Elric clan

I hate telling people my given name. Seriously, what were my parents thinking? Mibbifoodle?!? I mean, I get it. I’m a Gnome. We’re supposed to have strange funny names because we’re a strange funny people. But at some point, shouldn’t someone stop and ask what the cobbbiddle we’re doing? But that’s Gnomes for you; full of the most ludicrous traditions and customs anyone’s ever thought up. Take my best friend growing up, Nacklepen, for example. His parents were absolutely obsessed with worshiping Garl Glittergold. Chief gnome god and Watchful Protector my woody-brown @&#! I think he must have got the name Glittergold from all the tithing done by Nacklepen and his family. It’s funny, I never got the impression that Nacklepen was all that into worshiping his supposed Protector, but his parents leaned on him a bit and now he is off somewhere serving as a cleric for the Glittermonger and I am stuck without a best friend. I tried to keep him from throwing his life away (and from giving away essentially everything he owned) but he kept saying that his parents expected it of him and that it was a privilege to embrace Lady Poverty along with the rest of the clerics. Unbelievable.

Still, not everything is terrible in the land of Gnomes. Despite my parent’s lack of originality (and apparent insobriety) at the time of my birth and my subsequent naming, I am not stuck with such an unfortunate (i.e. dumb) sounding name for the rest of my life. You see, Gnomes get many names and I picked up quite a few during my formative years and during my formal training in wizardry. Today, I am most often called either Brightwick or Moonglum though I am sometimes referred to as Ninefingers (for obvious reasons) and those who have known me for a very long time occasionally still call me Nobwinkle because of a particularly nasty joke I played on a classmate in my youth.

My clan name is Elric which wouldn’t be particularly notable if there weren’t a long line of Elric males who had all gone on to become “rangers.” I say “rangers” with “quotes” because I’m not sure that you can really be considered a true, adventuring ranger when you’ve never gone more than 10 miles away from home. You can then imagine my parent’s concern when, in my youth, I expressed an interest in adventuring abroad while simultaneously displaying both disinterest and ineptitude in outdoor activities. I’ll never forget my first lesson with a shortbow with my father. I was literally quaking in an effort just to draw the arrow while he barked “No struggle! No progress!!” at me like a drill sergeant over and over again. Eventually I couldn’t stand the strain of the bowstring any longer and just let the arrow fly. No one was hurt or anything but I think my father saw that my eyes were closed when I actually shot the arrow because he never offered to give me lessons again.

Fortunately, what I lacked in brawn I more than made up for with brains. Now, maybe I’m being a bit arrogant here but seriously, I was smart. My parents may not have known what to do with an unathletic nerd but Gnome society came through for me at last when my instructors at school recommended that my parents put me in wizarding school as soon as I was of age. They were resistant at first (of course) but I hounded them relentlessly until they allowed me to go. I suppose I should have felt guilty for wanting to leave home so badly and it probably would have pleased my mother if I had cried at least a little bit when I left. Yet, I feel like I had known my whole life that I did not belong in Gnome society with all its traditions, customs and oddities. I needed freedom and wizarding school was where I hoped to find it.

Oddly, it never occurred to me before I left home that a school of magic might have more restrictions and far more traditions than what I was leaving behind. My first difficulties regarding my professors expectations came when they assumed that I would take a spell focus in Illusion like every other promising young Gnome mage. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think illusion magic is pretty cool. It is great for practical jokes and I love the idea of being able turn invisible whenever I want. But as a spell focus? Please. Have you seen those evocation spells?? Thunder and lighting and hell raining down. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Illusions are great in a tight spot or for those Gnomes with no adventuring aspirations but I wanted to go out and see the world, be the master of my domain, you know?

School went by at a normal pace and I had many of the same experiences others did while going to wizarding school. In order to focus my studies in Evocation I chose to ignore Necromancy (which I detest) and Enchantment (which always seemed useless to me). I also became good friends with a young illusionist named Bimpnock who brewed his own ale. In retrospect, it’s odd that we should have become such good friends as his life’s ambition was to establish a tavern that would become famous for its many different types of ale. Such a normal and rooted down lifestyle was exactly what I was trying to dodge. When I left him, he was still brewing out of his home but he promised that when next we met, wherever that might be, we would sit down in an establishment he owned and have a pint.

No story of my schooling would be complete without some mention of Ranzmalkin. An absolute horror of a Gnome, he embodies all the worst traits of both Gnomes and wizards. Not only did this chucklehead take his spell focus in necromancy (totally cliché, right?), but I know for a fact that evocation was one of his prohibited schools (it’s almost like we were ordained to be enemies!). His sinister demeanor falls right in line with what we at school have all heard about his father. Though not technically a politician, Ranzmalkin’s father is apparently well placed in society, with enough cunning and ruthlessness to match his great wealth. Furthermore, after a fight was broken up between me and Ranzmalkin on the day of our graduation, Ranzmalkin started bragging that I’d better watch my back or I would witness firsthand the effects of his father’s newfound alliance with a foreign barbarian tribe. If I never see that guy again, it will be too soon.

At last, that brings me to where I am today, which is right here. All my life, I have wanted the freedom and the ability to do whatever I want without regard for tradition or expectation. I plan to guard that freedom carefully and see where my feet take me.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Characters

Ok so I don't know how to post spreadsheets here. I'm not sure if it's even possible. So my grand idea of presenting our abilities in tabular format are shot to hell. You'll just have to deal with it. Here is each character with each stat (modifier in parentheses) and skills (with the number of points invested, if that number is less than the max of 4):

Angela - ??? the halfling rogue
Str - 10 (0)
Dex - 19 (4)
Con - 11 (0)
Int - 13 (1)
Wis - 8 (-1)
Cha - 6 (-2)
Skills: Climb, Balance (2), Escape Artist, Hide, Move Silent, Open Lock, Use Rope (2), Disable Device, Forgery, Search

Bethany - Ieuan the elven bard
Str - 10 (0)
Dex - 16 (3)
Con - 12 (1)
Int - 15 (2)
Wis - 13 (1)
Cha - 15 (2)
Skills (suggested): Sleight of hand, Sense motive, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather info, Perform, Use magic device

Brian - Mibbifoodle (Moonglum) the gnomish wizard
Str - 7 (-2)
Dex - 13 (1)
Con - 18 (4)
Int - 17 (3)
Wis - 11 (0)
Cha - 6 (0)
Skills: Concentration, Decipher script, Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft, Heal (2 - cross class)

Dan - Taran the half-elven ranger
Str - 14 (2)
Dex - 14 (2)
Con - 13 (1)
Int - 11 (0)
Wis - 13 (1)
Cha - 8 (-1)
Skills: Hide, Move Silent, Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature) (1), Listen (3), Spot, Survival

John - Lord Usain Bolt the human Paladin
Str - 16 (3)
Dex - 13 (1)
Con - 13 (1)
Int - 10 (0)
Wis - 13 (1)
Cha - 13 (1)
Skills (suggested): Ride, Knowledge (nobility and royalty), ????

Julia - Lotheryn the elven druid
Str - 8 (-1)
Dex - 17 (3)
Con - 11 (0)
Int - 11 (0)
Wis - 16 (3)
Cha - 15 (2)
Skills: Concentration, Knowledge (nature), Spot, Handle Animal

OJ - Malak the human barbarian
Str - 18 (4)
Dex - 14 (2)
Con - 15 (2)
Int - 8 (-1)
Wis - 8 (-1)
Cha - 10 (0)
Skills: Climb (1), Jump (2), Swim (1), Listen, Intimidate, Handle Animal

John and Bethany, we talked about some skills you might want to consider, taking into account your respective classes and the roles we think you might play. Obviously, you don't have to take these. Although it would be helpful if Bethany was our group's diplomat and performed, especially considering her charisma bonus. Do with that info what you will.


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We MAY not be nerds...

But we are completely and thoroughly unrecognizable from them at this point. In fact, I created a new gmail account so my old one wouldn't even be linked to our adventure. I view the divorce from reality as a two-way street.

Anyway here are some interesting numbers I was thinking about... the odds of rolling a certain sum when you roll three dice:

3: 0.5% (actually 0.46, or 1 in 216, but rounded off for this table)
4: 1.4%
5: 2.8%
6: 4.6%
7: 6.9%
8: 9.7%
9: 11.6%
10: 12.5%
11: 12.5%
12: 11.6%
13: 9.7%
14: 6.9%
15: 4.6%
16: 2.8%
17: 1.4%
18: 0.5% (as 3’s note above)

The 3d6 method (as it's known, I assume, in the community of other non-nerds) produces an almost perfect bell curve, but of course our odds of rolling a higher sum were slightly higher since we were allowed to ditch the lowest number out of four die. (leaving aside for the moment that we had the option, judiciously exercised, of throwing out our first roll if we wanted.)

I've been thinking about this in my free time, and I have absolutely NO idea how to calculate our particular character creation odds. How do you account for the odds of particular sums of three out of four dice? Has anyone else thought about this?

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Malak "Rockhead" the Barbarian

Grunt, grunt, grunt, grunt…bellow, yell, grunt, grunt, grunt. Makes gesture with hands in a x motion. Grunt, animal noise, animal noise, grunt, uhh-huh, animal noise. Laugh, grunt, laugh, laugh, grunt, gesture with hand like paddling a boat. Tries to whistle, beats chest, grunt, grunt, slaps face, slaps leg, laugh, grunt, grunt. Blows air, caws like bird, caws like a bird, grunt, grunt, slap table, beats chest, grunt, roar, grunt, grunt, roar.

-A performance by Gregor Immilus to the patrons of The Elvish Impersonator tavern and brothel in Dar Leckhoff.

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Lord Bolt

Taken from “Grand Commentaries on the Imperial Kingdom, Edition II: Royal Houses of the Kingdom” published originally in the Second Majestic Era.

House of Bolt
… the Estates and Manors of the fertile southern kingdom, one of the few areas of His Majesty’s Domain that survived the catastrophe of the First Majestic Era, have been home to the Esteemed Bolt Family since the earliest records maintained by His Majesty’s Imperial Historians. Lord Ato Bolt contributed to the earliest raids on the untamed hordes in the southern regions…he later was assigned by His Majesty to lead the first regimented cavalry against the organized barbarians of the south. Upon his victory, the Bolt estate was expanded to cover the streams and valleys of what was then the Wild South.

… Lord Ato Bolt had two sons, the oldest of which ascended to Lord Asante Bolt upon the death of his father. The youngest son, Byron Bolt, became the first member of the House of Bolt to embrace the call of righteousness and become a Paladin of His Holy Cavalry.
To this day, the Bolt family maintains its considerable estate in the southern hills oof His Majesty’s Domain. Lord Usain Bolt I is an Exemplary Cavalryman of Honor within His Majesty’s Honor Guard. His eldest son Asafa is a warrior for His Majesty’s Guardian, and his son Usain Bolt II is a Paladin with the Holy Cavalry.

… the Bolt family has long been known for their articulate nature and their extreme athleticism. Indeed, many bolts are renowned for being extremely swift of foot. The Kingdom Record for sprinting 100 rods has been in the Bolt family for 13 cycles, most recently set at 9.69 by Usain Bolt II.

Taken from “Palace News and Kingdom Report,” a circulation among the cities distant enough from the kingdom to escape the oversight from His Majesty’s Ministry of Truth, the most recent edition.

Palace News
Our palace bureau is sad to report the death of Asafa Bolt, presumptive heir to the estate of Lord Usain Bolt I. Asafa Bolt had been away from the palace for several months when word reached our desks that he had been killed. Our sources say Asafa was part of a contingent of specially assigned warriors who were on His Majesty’s Secret Affairs in the western kingdom. No further news of other casualties nor of the circumstances surrounding his death are available. With the deaths of Lord Bolt I and Asafa Bolt within eight months, the Bolt estate is divided by tragedy and insecurity.

Taken from “Know your Knowbles,” a published, detailed, unofficial history of the houses of His Majesty… “Knowbles” is an officially censored work. Possession constitutes imprisonment under His Majesty’s Dictums, Version XXI.

House of Bolt
Anyone who’s read the official description of the Bolt estate and finds themselves alone in the southern kingdom is in for a shock, we dare say! That’s right, the Bolt family is black as night! Dark skinned! No mention of it in the official commentaries of course… given that most other humans that look like the Bolts are slaving for his Holiness in the Commons, it’s no surprise!

… the Bolts have been known for their decency and their brevity (but not their levity) over the years… nary a Bolt has uttered more syllables than it takes to say his name! As for the former, their record of charity to all in need is well documented, even in the official records, even as the policies of His Dimwittedness become more and more restrictive to the natural rights of all His subjects. Of course, the Bolts still maintain a good old Pally in the Royal Family of Horsemen, and this year it’s Lord Usain II, second-oldest son of the Lord Usain. Of course, his Lordship includes none of the property rights to the Bolt estate, although he is second-in-line should something happen to Lord-To-Be Asafa Bolt, who does serve in his Majestic’s army. Another family in the kingdom and Asafa would be watching his back like a four-eyed owl! But with the Bolts you’d never think it, although they did evict Traymon Bolt (second-youngest!) after a business squabble not seven cycles ago.

.. the Bolts do exhibit a bit of emotion during His Majesty’s Contests of Skill. Usain II has gestured rudely at his competition for years, increasing in frequency proportionate to increases in the margin by which he obliterates subjects of his majesty in the Royal Contests. Common forms of his expression have included the “chest-pound” and the “throat-slash,” which must be seen to be believed.

Most recent Competition Results, selected, His Majesty’s Contests of Skill:
100-Rod Dash
Anthony, Brom – 11.56
Benedict, Peter – 11.95
Cartwright, Edmund – 12.50

200-Rod Dash
BOLT, USAIN II – 19.41
Bryce, Donald – 22.10
Gaunt, Cornwallis – 22.23
Benedict, Peter – 22.87

Personal Statement of Lord Usain Bolt II

I am a Paladin, a Holy Knight for His Majesty, like my uncle and many generations of Bolts before me.

Many cycles ago, before I was conceived, my father committed an unspeakable act of shame. I have never heard anything from anyone about his crime, and he has never spoken of it to anyone. For this reason, my father believed himself forbidden to have a son that bore his name. My oldest brother was named “Asafa,” prince of runners, and was to be Lord of the Bolt Estate upon my father’s death.

Seven years after Asafa’s birth, my father awoke one night under the compulsion of what he believed was a dream. To his own recollection, he walked, unobserved by any member of his servant staff or his family, from our estate in the south to the edge of the Northern Forest, whereupon he encountered a grove of apple trees in the shape of a star. Sitting at the base of these trees was a wizened old Moose, who pondered my father in silence. After several minutes, the Moose transformed into an old woman, who muttered something in Druidic language. My father, who could not read, write, or understand Druidic, nevertheless without comprehension wrote the message on his cloak, and immediately returned to our home. The following morning, my mother found him sleeping at a table in our kitchen, wearing a cloak stained with dirt and blood in the shape of an ancient language. The Druidic script was brought to the temple, and translated: “you have no sons but the one you shall now bear, and you shall call him as yourself.”

My father returned home from the temple to find my mother, crying with joy, revealing that she had discovered within herself a new life, and the Bolt Estate would welcome a second son. I was named Usain Bolt II.

I was told of none of the circumstances that led to my birth, learning these secrets from injudicious members of the temple’s maintenance staff. As is customary for the second Bolt, I became a Paladin and served righteousness and the God of Justice. Long after I had lost my faith in a God of Justice, I continued to serve the ideals upon which my Knighthood was formed. I served glory and his majesty for several years.

On my last visit to the Kingdom of my birth, I expected to discover my father and brother charting the fortunes of the Bolt Estate, as well as hear the latest of my oldest brothers exploits as a Servant of the Highest Court of Knighthood for His Majesty. Instead my father and brother were dead… my father dying peacefully, under mysterious circumstances, in his sleep one evening, and three months later my brother reported missing, presumed killed on detachment with his Majesty’s Knights.

I am now Lord Usain Bolt II, in service and by birthright. I fear the hands of destiny that have wrought uncertainly, strife, death, despair, and mystery upon my family. I fear for my mother, who now lives alone in the Bolt Estate with none but my youngest brother as her counsel. I fear for my youngest brother, who knows (for I am sure his curiosity has long since driven him to the temple, the way it did me some years ago, for the truth of his father’s dream) that I am decreed “the only son,” and has seen my brothers perish or disappear. I do not, however, fear for myself. I shall instead manifest that fear upon the druid who cursed my family to bear this torment, or the yet-unseen power that drove the druidic prophecy which has placed me at its nefarious center.

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Taran the Ranger

To the point of my first memory, I lived with my mother and father. My father was a hunter and woodsman. As soon as I was old enough, he taught me to use a bow. He would take me out on some of his shorter excursions, explaining to me about the ways of the land. My mother was a beautiful woman, although she could be a stern disciplinarian when I required it. When I was four, my sister, Aralee, was born.

We generally lived in happiness, although there would be times when both my parents grew very worried. My mother, especially, seemed to be distressed by some inner fear, although she kept it mostly well hidden. Those times were always followed by a move to another small village. Our family was friendly enough with the fellow villagers, although we never lived in one place long enough to truly become part of a community, and we always set up our lodging on the outskirts of the village. My father said this was because he could not stand to be apart from his beloved groves of trees and woodlands.

One day when I was eight, my father and I heard a commotion coming from our village as we returned from a hunting trip. We also smelled smoke. When we got near the edge of the glade where our cottage was built, we saw a band of orcs with my mother in hand. Our cottage was burning. My mother had been beaten and was bleeding.

My father turned to me and I could see the white hot rage in his eyes. Even so, I could also see the compassion on his face when he kissed me on the forehead and said, “Taran, I love you dearly, but I have to leave you. You must remain here in hiding, the way I taught you to stay silent when stalking an animal. With Ehlonna’s blessing, I will return to get you.”

Ehlonna did not grant her blessing. My father fought valiantly but was severely outnumbered and was subdued. The orcs, the leader of whom spoke Common and who referred to himself as the Great Grbac, killed my mother in front of my father, and then slew my father as well. Grbac laughed as he pulled the sword free. I had never known hate until that point.

It was then I noticed one of the orcs had a sack in which someone thrashed and yelled. I knew that sack contained little Aralee, and in my mind I saw myself rushing out to save her. Whether paralyzed by rage or fear, my body would not move. It most likely saved my life, which was the only blessing Ehlonna saw fit to bestow that day. I watched helplessly as the orcs absconded with my sister.

I walked to the village in a daze. I barely noticed that many of the homes were burning and that the surviving villagers were looking at me with contempt, as if I had brought this upon them. However, I was aware enough to know that I was not welcome. I wandered down the road out of town, foraging for food and water. Eventually I was happened upon by a troupe of minstrels and singers, along with their families, making their way from town to town to perform. They had pity on me and took me in as one of their own.

It was with this troupe that I learned my true identity. When I first joined them, one of the older men looked at me curiously. “Got the elvish blood in you, eh boy?” Of course I knew of elves – my mother had spoken of them often in her stories. But we had lived amongst humans our whole life, and humans were all I knew. It was then I realized that my mother WAS hiding something – her elvish heritage. I looked enough like my father to be mistaken for full human by the villages we lived in, but these travelers knew something of the world and saw my roots immediately. I made a personal vow to learn the story of my mother and why she had remained hidden.

I was well loved and cared for during this time. I enjoyed playing with the other children to an extent, although I was a tad too rough around the edges for most of them and had too much pain in me to ever truly open up and make friends. I was taught the elvish speech, as the minstrels thought befitting one of my blood. The bards tried to make me one of their own, and although I earned an appreciation for the art of song, I was not skilled at it and my heart yearned only for the woods…and for vengeance.

When I was 15, the longing for a life in the woods was growing too strong for me to bear. It was then that I happened upon a man who would change my life. I was sitting in the audience at one of the shows when I noticed a lone stranger, cloaked and hooded sitting near the back with his tankard of ale. At that same moment he looked up and seemed to stare right through me. He beckoned me over. Curious, I went.

As it happened, he called himself the Dark Star – he did not give his true name, and I did not ask. I had heard snatches of song about this man, an accomplished ranger who wandered the forests as a vigilante, bringing bandits and other evil creatures to grim justice. He was a tall man, skin black as night, with a black star embroidered on his stained leather tunic. He told me that he was seeking an apprentice, and Ehlonna had guided him here. When he asked my name and story, I broke down and told this complete stranger everything that had happened. When he invited me to join him in his travels, I went to gather my meager belongings and left the minstrels with only a note of thanks pinned to one of their wagons.

The Dark Star continued my education where my father left off. He taught me to track, to use weapons (especially his favorite, a flail he called “Rage,” forged of black iron), to understand plants and animals, to forage, to move without a sound – anything I could learn. I asked him often about his past, but I was mostly met with a grunt and a scowl. Even more frustrating, I would hear him mutter angrily in his sleep about a brother and a kingdom I had never heard of. Finally, after several years of persistence, and after a particular harrowing battle with a group of bandits, he opened up somewhat.

“I am in self-exile, Taran. I come from a place far from here, where I was the younger brother in a family where younger brothers mean little. I was allowed a small role in the family “business,” but I had much different ideas about how that business was to be carried out. After an argument with my brother came to blows, I departed with only that which I could carry on my back. I am not proud of that past, but neither do I regret it. I have since devoted myself to a land which needs no governance, and protecting without the knowledge of the protected.”

We traveled together for 15 years, him and I, but that was the most he ever told me. Finally there came a day when he looked at me and declared, “I have to leave you now. I have taught you everything I know – you have much still to learn and do, but you are an able ranger. I know that you still burn for vengeance – I urge you to seek that vengeance and exact it. I know you still desire to know the fate of your sister – find her, if you can. I go to finish a matter that I began long ago, one from which I do not expect to return. I leave you all that I have, including Rage. I also leave you this.”

He reached into the folds of his cloak and handed me a medallion I had never seen before. On it was emblazoned some sort of family crest, a star partially hidden by a cloud, from which was shooting a jagged bolt of lightning. He said that if I was ever to happen upon a member of the House of Lord Bolt, to return this to him, as it was taken long ago without his knowledge. Without another word, he turned and left.
Since that time I have journeyed far and wide, searching for traces of the orcs that destroyed my life so long ago, searching for any sign of Aralee, implementing justice as I go, in the same way the Dark Star did before me. The trail has long since gone cold, even for my tracker’s skills, but still I search.

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The Beginning...

Welcome to We're Not Really Nerds, We Swear. This is our inaugural D&D blog posting. I have emailed you all and invited you as authors of this site so you can post. Feel free to come on and post as you, or your character, or your grandma or whatever the heck you want. Just put your name at the end so we know who it is you are posting as. You can always comment on a posting as well, if you don’t feel like posting a whole entry. Just use your name for that, rather than signing in.

This blog can be about anything. The first thing I’ll post up here is the backstories, so they’re available to everyone. So far, I’ve got John’s and mine, and, uhhh, something from OJ. I’ll also post all of our stats (I’m not sure if I can post an excel file on here, but if I can, I will). If you have a question about something, put it up. If you want to talk about how much fun you’re having, post it up. If you don’t like Brian’s character, please, let us all know. Every week someone can post a summary of our previous adventure.

I think this can be a lot of fun. Obviously, I’m really excited and involved, but you guys don’t have to be quite as into it to enjoy yourselves. Really, this is about us getting together and playing a game, so don’t let my intensity scare you off. At its core, this is just an over-sized board game, with the added bonus of allowing you to utilize you creativity to give the game the flavor you want. I’m pumped! See you all on Monday evening.
- Dan

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