Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Slowly Returning

A week's physical vacation has turned into a longer virtual vacation as I recuperate. So you don't miss out any longer, here are some scenes from my time off:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Be Back Next Week

I've already got some nice posts for the next Weekly Roundup, but the next installment will be delayed. Enjoy the internet!

Monday, July 7, 2014

PortCon: D&D Next

We had Next pre-gens, we had the Next rules...and we had a DM who said he had read through them once but pretty much didn't remember any of them. We essentially played 3e, using 5e character sheets and the DM's home adventure he has run many times.

I played a Gnome Druid with a charlatan background. I named him Greenleaf. I wasn't exactly sure how to merge druid and charlatan, so I mostly stuck with being a druid in a strange land. Here are some of my more druidic offerings:

We were searching for the whereabouts of a girl presumed to be kidnapped. The party cleric when to inquire at the temple. Being of religious bent, Greenleaf went along too. After the cleric was in between topics with the head priest, Greenleaf suggested the stuffy church could do with some plants in some of the more open areas. The cleric was taken aback, thought about it, and then said he likes to keep the church free from allergens. He then went back to talking with the cleric. When they were done, Greenleaf mentioned he had been contemplating some hypoallergenic plants, and a hibiscus would fit perfectly in the corner, unless he'd rather put the work in keeping a boxwood well-trimmed. (The GM burst out laughing, as I had actually pulled up a list of hypoallergenic plants on my cell phone.)

When we returned to the tavern to discuss our separate findings with the rest of the party, it was time to order some drinks. Greenleaf mentioned to the barkeep that he preferred fresh rainwater, sweetened by rolling off the frond of a palmetto. The barkeep didn't have any of that. He brought river water. It wasn't too bad, even with the hint of salmon flavor.

Greenleaf went with the party elf to do more research. The elf was visiting the missing girl's father. Earlier she had visited the mother, who didn't let the father say anything. Greenleaf decided to distract the mother so the elf could talk to the father. He knocked on the front door, stated his was looking for an elf friend who was there earlier, and then remarked on the beautiful hydrangea he could see arranged in the house. Greenleaf let himself in and continued, babbling about the woman's amazing decor and use of natural lighting. The woman ate up the praise, and the elf had plenty of time to question the father in the workshop.

Our investigative travels took the party north near a great forest at the foot of a mountain. The DM described the lush flora and the recent, cleansing rains. Greenleaf took his cup out of his backpack and started collecting water dripping off the plants. Not long after, we unexpectedly met up with fairies in the forest. Our elf guide got them to stop for a moment and chat. Greenleaf immediately stepped up and offered his cup of rainwater. A lasting friendship was formed.

The rest of the quest was comparatively inconsequential. We entered the goblin caves in the mountain, slipped through some traps, overcame goblin henchmen, and killed the goblin king, releasing the missing girl he was about to sacrifice.

It sounds a lot better when I tell it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mini Review: Kingdoms

The board game Kingdoms can be played with 2 - 4 players. It's three rounds of strategy in building up points for yourself while trying to minimize the points of your opponent(s). You have your own keeps you can place on the board that multiply the points you earn by 1, 2, 3, or 4. Only the single multipliers return to your hand at the end of each round, so use the 2, 3, and 4s wisely. Other random tiles add, subtract, and multiply your points or block your opponent from points.

What I like about the game is that it is a relatively simple strategy game that plays well with two players. However, it can be quite competitive. If your significant other doesn't like you blocking them from points or giving them negative points, you might not have as much fun with this.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

PortCon: Basic D&D

The first game I played at PortCon Maine 2014 was Basic D&D. The game was player/character driven. My character, Hank, was a human priest with little personality to start. His whole concept was that he tries to subvert the evil queen by being kind and helping the oppressed populace.

The party dwarf was enamored of his own beard to the point of acting like it was a sentient being. His charisma allowed him to attract followers to see his legendary beard. The places he went offered him free services for the pleasure of hosting his beard. He also had a horse, Bethany, and a bearded axe with bearded armor, fashioned after his own beard.

The dwarf fell in our first battle, and my cleric was able to heal him due to a boon from his deity (the first level Basic cleric does not have healing spells). From that point on, the dwarf considered me to have saved his life.

The dwarf had a hireling, a halfling torchbearer, who followed him around, held up his beard, took care of his pony, was responsible for torches, and for lobbing the master's Molotov cocktails. The halfling was able to perfectly perform every act he tried and often outshined the dwarf.

The party elf had two iterations, once played by a guy whose backstory was being a liaison between the land of the elves and the lands of men. He was a helpful scout until he decided to take a situation into his own hands instead of reporting back to the party. Then he got captured, and we had to try to rescue him from superior numbers.

The second person to run the elf was more aware of the character's sword, bow, and spell abilities, and she used them appropriately. She aided us in making wise, helpful decisions.

We had another human, a hermit, who joined us but was killed by evil clerics he ran off to fight on his own. The lessons above, of course, highlight not splitting the party.

The cleric was able to avoid a battle with a wounded ogre because he could speak ogrish. We traded some "elf meat" (rations rubbed over the elf's body to retain her odor) for info and the promise of safe passage.

The dwarf lost his axe in a fight. He lost his beard to a treacherous party thief who was trying to cause in-fighting (this was another gamer who likes to cause trouble and was luckily only around for a few minutes). At the end, the dwarf even lost his horse to unstable flooring in an old palace. He wept bitter tears, until the Silver Princess herself came to comfort him.

Our cause was won by the Princess bequeathing her caring wisdom on her sucessor. We vowed to help her rule wisely, rewrite the laws, and coordinate with the other races of the land.

Monday, June 30, 2014

[WFRP 2e] Morrslieb's Shadow 35

Maximillian Morningglory, Halfling Vampire Hunter
Magnus the Pony

My companions
Udrin Sor-Valdir - High Elf Wizard
Ludovic Hasselhoff - Human Entertainer
Durak Braksson - Dwarf

Tegort - Ogre bodyguard
Sir Ortolf Eiche ("Ike") - Magister and Wizard Lord of the Azyr Wind
Abelhardt Mullberger - Journeyman Apprentice
Oswin Pellensteiner - Conscripted Boatman

(Previous update)

The barge was hastily rechristened "Bianca" after Ludovic's recent amore from Stimmigen. He, Tegort, Udrin, and Oswin were left to get the ship ready for sailing. Maximillian went after the absentminded wizards.

The tavern was on fire. The funeral pyre to burn dark elves and other chaos spawn had spread. It was heading from the pyre to the tavern, in the direction of Ike's room. Maximillian and Mullberger rushed to find the magister.

Ike was found and hurried out of harm's way. Passing back through the tavern gate, Maximillian found the priests of Morr milling about. His attempts to recruit them were in vain, and they begged off to further study the lead priest's dreams. However, a dwarf traveler chose that moment to round the corner and approach the group.

Maximillian cordially introduced himself and responded to the dwarf's desire for passage upriver. Maximillian was willing to offer a discount to the dwarf if he was an able boatsman (you can offer discounts when you're the Purser), but the dwarf had no experience in such matters. He did insist, however, that he was full able to pay fair passage price on the barge.

Maximillian properly introduced the dwarf, Durak Braksson, to Captain Ludovic and headed off to the galley to prepare for departure. He also hid the ship's alcohol supply, hoping to keep the sole skilled sailor sober for the duration of the trip.

Captain Ludovic charged Boatman Oswin to show his worth and get our ship moving up river. The process started haltingly and jerkingly, however, after a few rough hours, smoothed out nicely. Tegort settled mid-stern and took the rudder. Ludovic and Oswin took turns tacking the sail. We made modest progress before weighing anchor mid-river (the safest spot) for the night.

The night was quickly interrupted by wretched rat-men (I believe they are called Skaven) who had swam to the ship unnoticed and attacked the ogre. Why they focused on the ogre, nobody could tell, however, the swarm of rat-men overpowered the crew and capsized the ogre. During the battle, the vicious rats also cut the anchor line, and our ship spun out of control to the western bank of the Delb. Due to some mighty axe-wielding by the dwarf and Maximillian's sharp shooting, the ratmen were chased off.

We find ourselves beached on the western shore with a scratched up ogre and a half-conscious captain (the ratmen were mean to him also). We are without anchor and who-knows-what else after the brief attack. At least the Bianca is still seaworthy (or the proper word for rivers).

I am concerned at what tomorrow may bring.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekly Roundup 7

Now that summer break is here and my schedule is less hectic, I'd like to start a new weekly post...a round-up, if you will, of different interesting things I have read through the week. I hope you find these enjoyable...and helpful as well.


Chivalry - It Isn't Good Manners by Rick Stump (Article)

Chivalry vs courtesy vs stupidity. Your game may be more fun of you play appropriately.

Revised Magic Book Name Generator by David Brawley (Article)
Who doesn't like a good random name generator? This one is for that special tome you want to talk about or share with the players. Get your d30 dusted off!

Negadungeon by Jack Mack (Article)

I like the idea that there is a dungeon you know you don't want to enter. All the signs, hints, and rumors confirm you don't want to, but you must. Your honor/quest/race's survival depends on it.

I also like the, tangential, idea that there are things you can release during your adventures that are completely out of your control. You may open a chest and a trapped horror escapes, devastating the countryside. An honorable party would adventure to destroy it, if they can. What will your party do?

Good Isn't Stupid, or weak, or nice. by Rick Stump (Article)

Remember the roundup in which I stated my fondness for clerics? Here is a shining example of good ways to play paladins and other good-aligned characters.

The Town of Chalk Hill by Dyson Logos (Map)

I can see using this town in a (noncommercial) WarHammer game. I might call it a village...or maybe just a settlement. Either way, it needs a German name. I present Kreide Hugel!