Friday, October 24, 2008

Adventure 4: Decisions, Decisions

A little boy is dead because of me. A mother, already without her husband, is now without a son, and it’s my fault. I have killed my fair share of people in my time, but all of them deserved it. All had killed in their turn and deserved the justice that can only be meted out by steel. This…this was different. I suppose I should begin at the beginning.

We sat in the evil paladin’s mansion for about 2 more seconds before we decided that we were not quite up to the task. We high-tailed it out of there and got back to our wandering ways. Eventually we came to a fork in the road. The eastern route led to a town called Dantalleen, the northwestern route led to a sea-town called Undamar. I was fairly familiar with the area, having wandered these parts in search of marauding orcs (orcs being a fairly common sight in this part of the world, unfortunately). I pushed for Dantalleen, remembering from some years ago the fine mead served at the tavern. None of us were all that comfortable with the prospect of the ocean, so we headed east.

As we approached the outskirts of town, we were greeted by the wonderful sound of a hysterical woman. Sobbing and screaming, she ran up to us, babbling incoherently. Malak, out of the kindness of his heart, yelled at the woman and threw a kick in her direction. That didn’t sit too kindly with the rest of us, so Lotheryn sent Anca to keep Malak at bay while she bent down and comforted the woman. After a few minutes we finally got her to calm down enough to speak.

Apparently, this woman’s son had been chosen by the townsfolk to be sacrificed to the local dragon. What’s more, this woman had lost her husband several years ago while he was with the town militia defending against an orc raiding party. She felt that whatever service her family owed the town had been paid. In light of the orc incident, I happened to agree with her. It is very possible that I fought alongside her husband against those very orcs. I beseeched my fellow travelers.

“This is outrageous. The woman has obviously suffered enough. Let’s go get her son back and take care of this dragon.”

The womenfolk, still sniffling from the sad story they had heard, agreed. Malak was unimpressed. “What’s in it for Malak?” he asked, again showing the depth of his emotion and empathy.

“This dragon is still rather young,” the woman explained, “but it is rumored that he has inherited some of his father’s plunder, which was a great store indeed. His father struck fear into the hearts of men in these lands for many years before bequeathing his reign of terror to one of his children – the dragon that now requires sacrifices of us. The rest of the old dragon’s whelps have gone to harass other nearby villages.”

“That’s good enough for Malak! Let’s kill.”

Bolt seemed unmoved, but shrugged in reluctant agreement. We sent Lotheryn and Ieuan into town to find out where this dragon was, while the rest of us sat and sharpened our blades. Not long after, we heard the thunder of hooves coming up the road we had just traversed.

As the men approached, Bolt, in that lordly way he has, stepped in front of them and commanded a halt. “Hold up, my brays. What’s got you all in such a hurry?”

The men dismounted and breathlessly gave their story. Apparently there was more trouble. A local youth had insulted the troll conglomerate that had been extorting money and materials from Undamar, the village by the sea. The town was fairly broke from having been paying off these trolls for so long. The three trolls had sworn to return this very night and take their pay with destruction and murder, promising to rape and pillage. It sounded grim. My first thought was that housing in this area ought to be pretty affordable, what with the problems in the neighborhood. My second thought was to wonder why these men didn’t just leave the town with their families. When asked, the men said that evacuation was not an option; too many had lived their whole lives in Undamar and refused to abandon it to plunder.

I had an idea. “What if you promised the trolls some dragon loot? When they show up tonight, you let them know that on the morrow, they will be richer than they ever dreamt. That will give us time to save the boy and we can deliver the “goods” to these trolls.” I gave Bolt and Malak a glance, letting them know exactly what “goods” we meant to deliver.

Malak, ever perceptive, stepped in, “Whoa whoa whoa. Malak is not planning on sharing any of his dragon loot with no good trolls. I say we just kill…oooooh. Now Malak knows why you make funny quotation-like gestures with your fingers. HA! Funny ranger. Let’s kill.”

But the men disagreed. “The trolls have been offended too deeply. I fear they are in an awful rage and will not be reasoned with. Undamar will not survive the night…”

Just then the Lotheryn and Ieuan returned with the woman, having found out how to get to the dragon’s lair. We filled them in on Undamar’s plight. The woman did NOT look pleased. Clearly we had a choice to make. We realized that we could not both save the townspeople AND save the boy. You could have cut the tension with a +2 short sword.

“Awkward silence…” offered Amaryllis, trying unsuccessfully to lighten the mood. We needed to do something. I called a huddle.

Bolt quickly spoke up, “Look, we have the chance to save an entire town. There are a whole lot of people who are going to suffer if we do not help them. I’m going with the men.”

Ieuan disagreed. “These men could flee and save their lives. They also have a chance to defend themselves. This poor boy is absolutely defenseless. He has no choice in the matter. We have to help him”

Lotheryn backed her up, “Besides, we already promised this woman we would help her. If we back out now, she’s going to die of grief. Or because Malak kicks her again,” she added, giving Malak a vicious glare.

Malak grunted and shrugged as if in agreement. “I say we take dragon loot.”

Amaryllis was on the fence, unsure of who to help. The poor rogue seemed on the verge of tears. “I just want to help SOMEone,” she said.

I turned to Bolt. “I, too, am in favor of helping the woman. I do not wish to leave Undamar to destruction, but I have given my word to this woman and I intend to keep it. We need you with us Bolt. Your sword would be sorely missed against this dragon. What say you?”

Bolt was clearly frustrated, but finally relented. “Fine. We’ll buck the dragon. But I don’t like it.”

We informed the men of Undamar of our decision. Let’s just say that they didn’t take it well. I don’t know what it means to have a “pox” upon my “house,” but apparently I now have one. I’ll have to get an exterminator to take care of that when I get home.

We left the men still frothing with rage at our decision and went to see what we could do about this dragon. We had fought a dragon once before, but this one didn’t sound like quite as big a pushover as the last one was. We approached the lair with caution and entered a giant cave filled with noxious fumes and running lava. We looked through the haze and saw him – a large red dragon looking very hungry as he towered over a frightened boy. We stayed in the shadows and planned our approach.

Amaryllis snuck in, silently padding from stalagmite to stalagmite. We looked nervously at the dragon, but he gave no indication that he knew she was there. Finally she got within range of the dragon.

“Well,” I said. “She’s within range.”

“Uhhhh, range for what?” Bolt asked.

“Good question. I’m not sure we got that far in the plan. If we had planned this better, you, me, and Malak would be jumping out of a wooden horse, but I’m afraid we forgot the wooden horse. Now what?”

“I can speak Draconic. Maybe that will put the dragon at ease. Dragons are supposed to be highly intelligent, maybe we can reason with him,” offered Ieuan. It was worth a shot.

“I’ll go with you, just in case.” I said. I wanted there to be something in between a giant dragon and an unarmored sorcerer, in the likely event that trouble went down. We snuck up, quiet as can be, until right before we reached cover. Ieuan picked a bad time to lose her fitting, and came down with a thud.

The dragon looked over slowly. “Alright sorcerer. You can come out. I know you’re there. You too ranger. And the ever-so-stealthy rogue. Come no closer, but bring your friends with you.”

The three of us stepped out cautiously. Ieuan tried imploring him in draconic. “We have come for the boy, dragon. We mean you no harm. Please release him to us and we will be on our way.”

The dragon laughed evilly. “I am impressed with your mastery of my language, sorcerer, but your negotiating skills leave much to be desired. I will not entreat further until your friends join you. Especially the paladin who is lurking in the shadows. I could smell his stench halfway up the mountain.”

The rest of our group joined us. You remember back in school when you would be in the middle of passing a note and you’d feel a stern tap on your shoulder and you knew you’d been caught? Well, that’s how we felt except instead of the teacher, it was dragon and instead of being sent to the principal, we were going to be flamebroiled and eaten. Otherwise it was the exact same. I decided to try the direct approach.

“Oh mighty dragon, you are ever so wise. Is there nothing we can give you in exchange for the boy? Why do you require a sacrifice?”

If it’s possible for dragons to look amused, this one did. “It’s not so much a sacrifice, ranger, as it is lunch. I require food as you do. Why hunt for it when I can stay here with my gold and have it delivered? But since you are the first adventurers to be so bold as to confront me, I will give you an opportunity to convince me that this is not the particular lunch I am looking for. Please proceed, beginning with you, barbarian. Or are you too scared to play?”

This did not sit well with Malak. His eyes flashed as he let out the fiercest war cry I had ever heard. Even I was tempted to hide, and the dragon flinched, ever so slightly. His demeanor did not appear as confident as before. “You will not speak that way to me, dragon!” Malak yelled.

Well, that was a good start. Bolt took his turn next. “You know dragon, the boy you have there is the son of a woman who has suffered extensively. Is there any way we can replace him? You know, bring you a different boy, maybe a couple of boys?”

The dragon squinted at Bolt, “That’s quite a statement for a paladin – bringing me additional INNOCENT sacrifices. I do not think you are telling me the truth. And even if I did believe you, what is it to me, this woman’s suffering? All boys taste similar, once you’ve covered them in barbecue sauce. One woman’s tears will not get in the way of lunch.” Oops. That wasn’t good.

After Ieuan made a successful plea, it was my turn. As I mentioned, I had traveled this area several times before and I remembered what the woman had said about the dragon’s brothers and sisters. So I decided to draw upon that knowledge to make this dragon nervous. “You know dragon, I know exactly where each of your brothers and sisters resides. If you return the boy to us, no harm will come to them.” I proceeded to tell him where each of them had taken residence, hoping to worry him somewhat.

It didn’t. It made the dragon angry. “I know well of my brothers and sisters. In time, I hope to show them that I am the only one who is as mighty as our father. If you killed them, it would only quicken my ascension to that role, but it would not please me, as I desire to show them myself how powerful I am. You know little about the way of dragons, ranger.”

Lotheryn used her sharp elven eyes and quick wits to quell the dragon’s wrath. “Oh fantastic dragon. You are truly magnificent. I have never seen such luminous scales. The sheen of your hide is breathtaking.” Dragons, as I quickly found out, are very susceptible to flattery. The dragon took this well and calmed down a bit.

Amaryllis wowed the dragon with her display of disabling magic devices. Malak, still seething over the dragon’s slight, once again gave his warcry, but this time, the dragon was ready for it, and laughed in his face. Bolt reasoned with the dragon by explaining how the sacrifice of this boy might cause him more trouble down the road, if the townspeople were ever to rise in revolt. Ieuan then told the dragon that we knew of a very wealthy evil paladin who was ripe for the plundering, if the dragon was willing to relocate. The dragon seemed interested in this idea. Finally he turned to me.

“Well, ranger. Your party’s pleas have been illuminating. I very well might let this boy go. But first I must hear from you one more time. What have you to say to me?”

I, as you know, am no diplomat. Business is conducted with sharp steel, not with words. I did not have the nimbleness of fingers of Amaryllis, nor the skill with flattery of Lotheryn, nor the ability to exposit like Ieuan or Bolt. I have keen eyes, a quick bow, and a large flail. I decided to use the first of those to show the dragon that we were not scared of him.

“Dragon, you claim this desire to be mighty. But how can you be so mighty when there is clearly a chink in your armor. I see it plain as day – there, under your left breast.”

The dragon seemed to grow twice as large as he raised himself up. “Ranger, your eyes have failed you for the last time. This is no chink, but a special scale that is the marking of all dragons of my line. That you think me in any way weak shows how foolish you are. This is the payment for your foolishness.” Without another word he snapped his jaws and devoured the boy.

“NOOOOOOOO!!!” I shouted in anger and despair, as I charged recklessly towards the dragon, striking him with Rage. The rest of the group joined the battle, knowing that we now had no choice but to avenge the boy’s death. The dragon breathed his flame breath on me and Bolt, but I barely felt it as I continued to hack away at his scaly sides. The dragon, obviously taken aback by our collective fury, rose to the air and took a cheap shot at Ieuan, damaging her significantly.

“You coward! Get your red ass back on the ground!” I yelled, as I withdrew my bow, took sight, and loosed an arrow which struck inside his gaping jaws, causing him to go into a rage. Ieuan moved away, casting her magic missiles as she went, but the dragon continued to attack, this time felling her as he landed back on the ground. As Lotheryn hurried over to apply healing, Bolt, Malak and I rushed back into battle, continuing to strike with deadly accuracy. Malak in particular slashed viciously with his sword, partially severing one of the dragon’s forelimbs. As the dragon screamed in pain, it once again unleashed its flame, this time consuming Bolt, and causing him to fall to the ground as well.

“Bolt, no!” I shouted as I moved over.

Bolt looked up at me with pain in his eyes. “Tell…my brother…not…to…give in…to the white man…”

“Bolt, you’re not dying on my watch,” I told him as I shoved a healing potion down his throat. It was enough. He staggered to his feet. But just as he did that, the dragon landed one more blow, this time knocking him unconscious.

Malak had had enough. As the dragon roared in victory, Malak drove his sword with inhuman force through the armored hide and into the monster’s heart. It shuddered and collapsed, dead at last.

As Lotheryn got Bolt back on his feet, we collected the dragon’s loot somberly. Malak and Bolt both found armor to fit them. I found a flail in the pile of gold and jewels. This flail glowed red, as if it was infused with flame. It was the only flame that burned, as I felt nothing but despair inside. I looked at Rage and knew that it had served its final purpose. I am now a ranger of my own accord, and Dark Star’s legacy would be in the strength of my arm and the tortured determination in my heart. I threw Rage into the lava and picked up this new weapon. Narqualme is what I named it, Flame of Agony in the tongue of my dead mother. Agony is what it had brought to me, and it is what I would reap against my enemies after this day.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008


I originally had written something both lengthier and more thoughtful on the subject of how our adventure is proceeding so far, but Firefox encountered an error and needed to close. I'm attempting to recapture the magic:

Since we're about to take a week off from D&D, I figured I'd weigh in on my gameplay experience to this point, and invite everybody else to do the same. I'm having a good time and really looking forward to Thursday nights. I think the only thing I would really like to change is the difficulty of our encounters... the fights are all way too easy! We cruise through without breaking a sweat most of the time. I think that's mostly because TC is making all of the monsters we fight much worse since the maps and scenarios are meant for higher level characters... for example, his sheets usually have the monsters down around 15-16 in their AC, where they might have originally been a crew of 19s. I don't think there's an easy fix for this problem... we don't want to use a crappy scenario, but just fighting a bunch of guys with high AC's is just going to make for a bunch of boring turns ... "you miss," "you miss," "you miss," etc. So how can we make the experience more difficult without turning the whole evening into a contest to see who can roll 18+ first? As you may imagine, I have several suggestions:

The monsters need to hit harder - TC usually rolls a d6 (six sided die) and sometimes lower. I think it would be safe to let him either roll a d8 almost every time, or have the monsters add anywhere from +2 to +4 every time they hit.

Our AC is too high - We almost never get hit! Either we can all shave off some AC (not exactly realistic or fun) or TC needs to break out a few skills to get around our armored beast-hides. For example, temporary reduction to Bolt's AC, or Malak's AC, or a hideous boost to TC's strength modifier (turn some of those 13's into 19's occasionally), or more frequent auto-hit attacks (like our casting cronies with their magic missile).

Crowd control - There's no getting around it... there are too many of us. As much as it kind of sucks to chill out for a couple turns and not be able to do anything, it wouldn't be ridiculous to have TC change us into a block of ice, or .. charm one of us to fight against each other! That would be ridiculous.

TC is too easy on us - As a group, we've hinted at this rather obliquely, but it's probably worth bringing up with him in two weeks... before we start, we've got to let him know that we want the monsters to try as hard as they can to kill us. I think the only way he's going to really bring the pain is if he believes that we all want the pain brought.

There's enough creativity between the seven of us, and especially enough background in the tactics of fantasy combat between the guys in this group, that we ought to be able to generate a whole list of ideas for TC to randomly incorporate into our encounters. TC is definitely going by-the-book, and I think our encounters would be a lot more epic if we were playing the scenarios at a higher level and with fewer people... our particular group of adventurers really shouldn't be all that epic, since we're only at level 3. But at the same time, I think there are some adjustments that would add a little variety to our fights that would make them tougher.

Of course, the easiest way for TC to incorporate our suggestions and offer his feedback is if he would read the damn blog. But maybe he's never used the internet before? I don't know. Assuming he never checks out the blog, we should just bring stuff like this up at the beginning of the night. TC is definitely trying as hard as he can to help us have a good time, and he's even making an effort to meta-game like we do (he was asking Bethany and I about USC and Oregon football last week, and killed us with that "untrained (you-know-what) check" a couple weeks ago...) I think we just need to be clear about what we want and he will strive to please.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Adventure 3: Of Three-Headed Monsters and Were-Rats

Another day, another crazed paladin who’s decided to rebel against his god and wreak havoc in the neighborhood. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen that… I just don’t understand why people get so upset over things the gods do. How does the old saying go? If the gods give you lemons, spend your whole life on a personal vendetta against the filthy thieving orcs who killed your parents. Or something like that. Anyway, apparently our stalwart group of adventurers has earned quite a reputation for pest control, so we got hired to get rid of this paladin. It’s nice to be famous, but I long for a day when I can pass through a village without being beseeched to kill some evil lunatic. I’m not a big fan of evil lunatics as a matter of principle, but you’d think we had a monopoly on the hero business. Oh well, the pay’s good and the company isn’t bad (although I get the sneaking suspicion that the gnome has something tricky up his sleeve).

We made our way up to this guy’s humble abode (translation: large, sprawling, ostentatious mansion, probably teeming with things like were-rats and three-headed goat-dragon things). This paladin had obviously been checked out for some time; the issue of Bard Entertainment Weekly in his mailbox was at least a year and a half old. Lotheryn, the good-hearted druid that she is, tried knocking on the front door, but Bolt decided that a sharp kick with his over-sized sneakers would be a better method of entry.

We walked in slowly, wary of anything that might spring a trap on us. After a few minutes, I noticed someone was missing.

“Malak? Malak! Where are you?” I called, hoping that whatever evil lurked in this place would take pity on the simple-minded barbarian.

Just then Malak came shambling up the entryway, looking sheepish.

Ieuan gave him a quizzical look, “What took you so long? We’re traipsing about through a haunted castle and our meat shield is too scared to join us?”

Malak was defensive, “No, not scared. That was the issue with the 50 hottest half-orcs of the Great Realms. I just wanted to, uhhh, read the article…”

“Riiiight," I said, nearly rolling my eyes out of my head and pointing out that he couldn't technically, you know, read. "Why don’t you stay in front, huh?” I told him. Remember what I said about the company? Sometimes I wonder…

We made our way into a large chamber with a wide set of bloody stairs leading up to a dais at the far end. There was rubble strewn about and a large column in the middle of the chamber. As we went to inspect the column we suddenly found ourselves set upon by a large group of…

“Were-rats!” shrieked Amyrillis, brandishing her short sword.

“What trouble can a few rats be?” mused our confident Lord Bolt as he hewed one in half. We were able to dispatch most of them rather quickly, except for one beast of a rat who seemed, well, slightly different from other were-rats in that most rats aren’t big enough to eat a Halfling. This one was. As an added bonus, it had lightning quick reflexes.

Still, our advantage in numbers ruled the day as we overwhelmed the rogue were-rat and collected our breath.

“Now all we need is a three-headed dragon-goat thing and I’ll be able to settle down and open up shop as a fortune teller,” I told Lotheryn jokingly.

She got a strange look in her eye. “You might want to turn around,” she said in a low voice.

Damn. I hate it when I’m right.

So of course there’s a three-headed dragon-goat thing. And it brought friends. Why not? We engaged it even though the blood of the were-rats hadn’t even been wiped off of our weapons. We quickly discovered that the dragon head was the one to fear as it blew its flame breath all over Lord Bolt, singing his skin, but not dazing him. Bolt, the trooper that he is, kept at it, hammering sword strokes upon it as Lotheryn healed him up. Ieuan and Moonglum nailed it with some magic missiles and rays of various kinds. Amaryllis and I worked on the brutes that had come with it, along with some help from Anca who used his wolfish abilities to sweep the legs out from one of the enemies. After chopping enough flesh off of the dragon-goat to throw a barbecue for a clan of dwarves, Malak was able to finish it off without further mishap. (As an aside, I’m not sure of the purpose of the goat-head – it had a funny looking red hat with a bird’s head on it and kept cackling about “1908,” some guy named “Bartman,” and a “curse”. Weird stuff.) Exhausted by this time, the two minions succumbed to our attacks and we finally had a chance to rest for a moment.

After our breather, we quickly agreed to move up to the steps and away from the center of the chamber. This turned out to be another questionable decision in an endless string of questionable decisions. We encountered more resident evil minions, including a couple of zombies and a necromancer.

Ieuan was not impressed. “Hey, necromancer, you think you know how to deal in death? Try my ray of enfeeblement on for size!” I am so jealous. With cool dry wit like that, I could be an action hero. Oh well. I always think of the good lines after the fight.

We used the same tactics to eliminate these fools as we had for the last battle, and it served us well as we conquered them without much difficulty. We rifled through their clothing and found some choice items, including a couple of scrolls and a nice patent leather belt with a gigantic belt buckle emblazoned with a whirling tornado. Moonglum identified it as a belt of Whirlwind, allowing the wearer to use quick attacks against multiple surrounding enemies. Bolt, Malak and I all claimed it as our own.

Wishing to avoid an argument, I quickly made my proposition. “Guys, guys, let’s be reasonable. Bolt, you’re black. What would your people say if they saw you with a belt buckle this large? You’d be disowned. And Malak, you couldn’t figure out the zipper on your breeches, so you just wear those elastic teddy bear pants Lotheryn sewed for you. What do you need with a belt?”

Malak agreed as he looked happily down at his pants. Bolt was harder to convince, but he finally acquiesced, leaving me to strap on the belt with a heightened sense of fashion. Ieuan expressed delight in the scroll she had found, saying she couldn’t wait to use her "Milf’s Acid Arrow." I was a bit dubious as to how a good-looking middle-aged woman would help us in battle, but stranger things have happened.

As we sat there, confident in our abilities and pleased with our performance, we heard the sound of heavy, echoing footsteps. It quickly dawned on me that our spellcasters had used up most of their high level spells and Malak had expended most of his energy by enraging during the last battle. I saw the same look of grim horror on my partners' faces that I'm sure was spreading on my own.

“Uh oh…”

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tremors 4: Search for Marian

Our adventures found us down in the ruins of some jungle temple, as we’ve been for what feels like the past two years or so. I’ll tell you, just once I’d like to get lost in a place that’s had some decent interior decorating, you know? As much as the spattered blood has kind of a fung shui effect, it’s a little grim for my tastes in wall adornment. Although according to Bolt’s knowledge of nobility, we did find a rare, valuable rug that had belonged to King Dre himself, dating back to the 3rd century after the Sundering. That’s actually a lie, Bolt’s knowledge of nobility has never proven useful.

So we continued our search to find Marian, someone Bolt refers to as “Shoog,” apparently an inside joke he shares only with himself. So far we’ve fought an irritated ent, some raving smurfs and a bunch of other evil guys who hissed at us about sacrifices. We did find a nice fountain, which Malak promptly soiled, but we’ve been down in the bowels of this place for so long, I’m beginning to forget what it even looks like aboveground. In other words, this chick better be worth it.

We promptly faced off with five minions of whatever foul beast rules this craphole. Anca, Lotheryn’s wolf, who has warmed to me somewhat in the last few days (I attribute it to the Snausages, the remainder of which have gone missing – I noticed Malak had some awfully greasy hands this morning), proved himself very useful as he finished off a couple of them himself. Amaryllis was quite the acrobat, bobbing and weaving her way in between enemies, backstabbing here and there. It was a drawn out affair, but we managed to quell the resistance without much issue.

We made our way down another hall, and turned a corner only to find the craziest looking snake thing I’d ever seen. “Where’s Kevin Bacon when you need him,” I muttered. Well, crazy or not, it was up to us to do something about this thing. Moonglum quickly noticed that there were frightened, bound prisoners throughout the room and surmised that we were probably just in time to witness the beast perform its sacrificial duties. Having run out of popcorn several dungeons ago, we decided that spectating was not a palatable option at this point. We rushed in headlong to the battle.

We took our usual positions, brawn up front, brains in the back. Ieuan started us off nicely by hitting the creature with her ray of enfeeblement. “I’ve got your cartoon balloons right here!” she yelled pithily. Bolt activated his Wonder Twin power, form of PWNAGE and started beating the thing like nobody’s business. For all its size and ugliness, the mass of snakes didn’t put up much of a fight. We were able to fell the monster before it had time to poison us or eat any of its captives. It had some nice loot, and I have to say I coveted some armor it dropped, but I let Amaryllis take it since I’m such a nice guy.

We found Marian and returned her to her uncle. We were rewarded handsomely, although after that nightmare of a journey, I can’t say I’ll bring much of it home if I find a decent tavern around here. We also noticed that our experiences had once again enriched our skills. I can only hope this leads to more hand waving and colorful emanations from our gnomish wizard, who delites in such things. While the womenfolk went off with Malak to get their nails done, and Moonglum to find some new scrolls, Bolt and I found a local watering hole to drown our aches and pains. As we sat there recounting our travels, I finally asked the question that had been burning in my mind since our battle, hoping he could provide an answer.

“What the hell do cartoon balloons have to do with anything?”

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Sunday, October 12, 2008


Why so long on the adventure recaps? We just fought a giant tremor!!! The recaps are my favorite posts. They're way more interesting than whatever that idiot who posted pages and pages of loot was talking about...

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rainbow Flagella Margarita

I think Brian has too much time on his hands..

(see previous three posts)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

more loot? yes please. (rings, rods and wonderous items edition)

The other post was getting long so I thought I would break it up. Hopefully this is interesting to someone besides me.

Sweet sweet goodness!!!!11!!1!

Ring of Counterspell 4000g - This ring allows a single spell of 1st through 6th level to be cast into it. That spell cannot be cast out again. Instead, should that spell ever be cast upon the wearer, the spell is immediately countered, as a counterspell action, requiring no action (or even knowledge) on the wearers part.

Ring of Force Shield 8500g - This simple ring generates a shield-sized wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC)

Ring of Protection +1 2000g - This ring offers continual magical protection in the form of a deflection bonus of +1 to AC.

There are some crazy rods. All of them have really long explanations. I liked the Rod of Wonder (12000g) best. Dan might like the Rod of Flailing (50000g). John might like the Rod of Lordly Might (70000g). Moses might like the Rod of the Python (13000g). Bethany might like the Rod of Splendor (25000g).

Amulet of Health +2 4000g - Gives +2 Constitution bonus

Amulet of Natural Armor +1 2000g - Gives +1 natural armor bonus

Bag of Tricks 900g (for the smallest size) - Anyone reaching into the bad feels a small fuzzy ball. If the ball is removed and tossed up to 20 feet away, it turns into an animal. The animal serves the character who drew it from the bag for 10 minutes or until slain. Can be used up to 10 times per week.

Belt of Giant Strength 16000g - Gives +4 to strength

Boots of Striding and Springing 5500g - Increase base land speed by 10 feet, +5 on jump checks.

Bracers of Lesser Archery 5000g - +1 bonus on attack rolls with ranged weapons

+1 Bracers of Armor 1000g - Gives an extra +1 to AC

Carpet of Flying 20000g - This rug is able to fly through the air as if affected by an overland flight spell of unlimited duration.

+2 Cloak of Charisma 4000g - Gives +2 to charisma

+1 Cloak of Resistance 1000g - Gives +1 to all saving throws

Daern's Instant Fortress 55000g - This small metal cube, when activated, transforms into a 20 feet square, 30 feet high tower complete with arrow slits and crenelated battlement atop it.

Elixir of Fire Breath 1100g - This strange elixir bestows the ability to spout flames. He can breath flire up to three times, each time dealing 4d6 points of fire damge up to 25 feet away.

Figurines of Wonderous power (between 10k-20kg) - Figurines turn into magical animals that kill people.

+2 Gauntlets of Ogre Power 4000g - Gloves give +2 to strength

+2 Gloves of Dexterity 4000g - Give +2 to Dex

+2 Headband of Intellect 4000g - Gives +2 to Intellect

Ok, that is all for now. These were somewhat more realistic items for us to look forward to. My eyes are hurting from too much reading on the comp.

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more loot? yes please. (weapons and armor edition)

Since not all of the loot was that great looking in my previous post, I thought I would do a follow up post that included some cooler items. Some of these things will be intended for higher level characters. Other items may not be ideal for any one of us in particular but are interesting enough that someone might want to save up or perhaps coerce TC and make him drop it. I'll include the prices so you have some idea of how close (or far!) you are from getting the item as well as a brief explanation if it seems like that is needed.

**You can skip this paragraph if you don't care how pricing works. I'll put an example at the end of each item so you know how much a weapon/armor of each type might cost.**
The cost of weapons increases exponentially as you add bonuses to them. So a +2 weapon will cost more than 2 +1 weapons. Regular enhancement bonus are easy to track. A +5 greatsword has the base price of a +5 bonus plus the cost of a MW greatsword (all magic weapons have to be masterwork weapons). However, there is more than can be added to a weapon or piece of armor besides a regular enhancement, and that is what makes pricing confusing. Take the "Animation" enhancement listed below. It does not have a set price. Rather, it costs however much gold it would take to get an additional +3 bonus. So if you were thinking of buying a +1 heavy steel shield of Animation (all items with magical effects must first have at least a base bonus of +1) it would cost 16170g (16000g as the base price of a +4 enhancement and an extra 170g for the MW heavy steel shield). However, a +2 heavy steel shield of animation would cost 25170g (25k as the base price of a +5 and another 170g for the MW shield). There are lists the base prices of enhancements for each type of weapon in the Dungeon Master's guide. Final note, in case you didn't know, a +1 or +2 or whatever in front of the weapon just means that you add 1 or 2 or whatever number to your attack and damage roll. A +something in front of armor just adds that to you AC. Oh, one more final note, if you don't see "(base)" after the thing listed, then it is an actual piece of armor or a weapon or whatever and it has a set price.

I don't know if that was an effective explanation of pricing. Let me know if you have a specific combo in mind or want to know what other options you have (since I certainly did not list them all here, I only gave a few that looked interesting to me) and I can let you know how much it would cost.

On to the goodness!!!!

Shield of Animation +3 bonus (base) - Upon command, an animated shield floats within 2 feet of the wielder, protecting him as if he were using it himself but freeing up both his hands. Example: +1 heavy steel shield of Animation 16170g

Dragonhide plate 3300g - This suit of full plate is made of dragonhide rather than metal, so druids can wear it. Otherwise, it is identical to MW full plate.

Armor of the Wild +3 bonus (base) - The wearer of a suit of armor or a shield with this ability preserves his armor bonus (and any enhancement bonus) while in a wild shape. Example: +1 Dragonhide of the Wild 19300g

Adamantine Breastplate 10200g - This nonmagical breastplate is made of adamantine, giving its wearer damage reduction of 2/-

Mithral Full Plate of Speed 26500g - As a free action, the wearer of this +1 mithril full plate set can activate the armor, enabling her to act as though affected by a haste spell for up to 10 rounds each day.

Lion's Shield 9170g - This +2 heavy steel shield is fashioned to appear to be a roaring lion's head. Three times per day as a free action, the lion's head can be commanded to attack (independently of the shield wearer), biting with the wielder's attack bonus (including multiple attacks, if the wielder has them) and dealing 2d6 points of damage. This attack is in adition to any actions performed by the wielder.

Weapon of Bane +1 bonus (base) - A bane weapon excels at attacking one type or subtype of creature. Against its designated foe, its effective enhancement bonus is +2 better than its normal enhancement and it deals an extra 2d6 damage. Example: +1 Flail of Orc's Bain 8308g

Weapon of Flaming +1 bonus (base) - Upon command, a flaming weapon is sheathed in fire. A flaming weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of fire damage on a successful hit. Example: +1 Flaming Longsword 8315g

Weapon of Vorpal +5 bonus (base) - Upon the roll of a natural 20 (followed by a successful roll to confirm the critical hit), the weapon severs the opponent's head from its body and kills him. Example: +5 Greatsword of Vorpal 200350g

Dagger of Venom 8302g - This black +1 dagger has a serrated edge. It allows the wielder to use a poison effect (as the spell, save DC 14) upon a creature struck by the balde once per day.

Oathbow 25600g - Of elven make, this white +2 composite longbow (+2 strength bonus) whispers "Swift defeat to my enemies" in Elven when nocked and pulled. Once per day, if the firer swears aloud to slay her target (a free action), the bow's whisper becomes the low shout "Swift death to those who have wronged me." Against such a sworn enemy, the bow has a +5 enhancement bonus, and arrows launched from it deal an additional 2d6 points of damage (and x4 on a crit instead of the normal x3). However, the bow is treated as only a MW weapon against all foes other than the sworn enemy, and the wielder takes a -1 penalty on attack rolls with any weapon other than the oathbow. These bonuses and penalties last for 7 days or until the enemy is destroyed.

Rapier of Puncturing 25320g - Three times per day, this +2 wounding rapier allows the wielder to make a touch attack with the weapon that deals 1d6 points of Constitution damage by draining blood.

Sylvan Scimitar 23657 - This +3 scimitar, when used outdoors in a temperate climate, grants its wielder the use of the Cleave feat and deals and extra 1d6 points of damage.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

loot, gear and treasure

Whatever you want to call it, getting new ish is my favorite part of playing roll playing games. But it occurred to me after last week (when I knew exactly what I wanted to drop after the encounter) that some might appreciate some help in figuring out what drops they should be hoping to find. Since we are on the brink of level three, I thought I would put out a list of the basics that we all might want as level up and venture through level 3.

A few things to note before we get started. First, you don't have to want the things I listed. It is just meant to be a sort of starting guide in case you have no idea. Second, you don't have to wait for these things to randomly drop in order to recieve them. So far, our DM has been rather lenient in what we are able to buy in between campains. I would imagine that that will continue into the future and so you can certainly hope for a sweet sweet drop but you could also just save up some money and buy your heart's desire as well. Finally, be patient. The intended way for loot to be distributed is really confusing, especially because 7 people is so much bigger than the normal party size. The easiest way to think about it might be in terms of straight cash. On average, a single level 3 encounter will drop 900g for the 7 of us to split (that is up from 600g from a level 2 encounter). Sometimes that will take the form of cash for us all to split but othertimes there will be a little bit of cash and then one big item for just one person to have. So if you ever get something really big, realize that you might have to wait awile before you get another super-pimp drop. I'll put the cash value of all the recomended stuff below so you know which things are big and which are not as big.

Alright, on to the loot!!


Composite Longbow (+2 Strength) 300g

MW Greatsword (he might already have this benefit) 400g

Mithril chain shirt 1100g

Potions of Bull’s Strength 300g


Composite Longbow (+2 Strength) 300g

MW Longbow (he might already have this benefit) 315g

Full plate armor 1500g

MW heavy steel shield 170g

Potions of Bull’s Strength 300g


MW Flail (he might already have this benefit) 308g

MW Short sword 310g

Mithril chain shirt 1100g

MW heavy steel shield (I’m not sure if you carry a shield with you, just in case) 170g

Potions of Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace 300g (each)


Wand of magic missile (caster level 1) 750g

MW light crossbow 335g

+1 bracers of armor 1000g

Scroll of: summon monster II, web, blur, fog cloud 150g (each)

Potions of Fox's Cunning 300g


MW rapier 320g

Mithril chain shirt 1100g

Potions of Cat’s Grace 300g


Wand of magic missle (caster level 1) 750g

MW longbow 300g

MW long sword 315g

+1 bracers of armor 1000g

Scroll of: color spray, charm person, cause fear 25g (each)

Potions of Eagle's Splendor 300g


MW scimitar 315g

Wand of cure light wounds 750g

Scroll of: barkskin, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, cat’s grace, owl’s wisdom, flame blade, flaming sphere 150g (each)

Potions of Owl's Wisdom 300g

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