Archive for the ‘Games we Play’ Category

NASA Cosmosphere in Hutchinson Kansas

NASA Cosmosphere in Hutchinson Kansas

There was no game last week, instead we made a trip to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson Kansas for my son Jackson’s 17th birthday. Great fun was had by all, including a brand new game of Ticket to Ride, an instant favorite. This week we were back to the game, crossing the half-way mark of DL 1, Dragonlance Dragons of Despair.



This week also saw the triuphant return of one of our players after an absence that was way too long. She filled the character of Goldmoon with life, and was very excited to be playing a Native American Princess. I had to try and explain t the player that yes indeed she actually is wearing pants, but the cover of the adventure did not aid in that argument.

We began after a short recap about flying pegasi and unicorn forest lords; a flight out of town pursued by hobgoblins; and finally an encounter in a tunnel through the mountains betrayed by dragon-men disguised as priests. The dawn finds them atop the mountains staring eastward across the great ameri-Krynn plains. Smoke rose from the sites of the plainsmen villages, including the village from whence came Goldmoon the princess. Though they had planned to take the shortest distance east to the ruins of Xak Tsaroth, the decided to detour through the villages.

First they came to Que Teh which was abandoned leaving meals half eaten (the players finished those right up) and even left – gasp – their children’s rattles scattered about(!) Goldmoon’s village of Que Shu was similarly abandoned except for the savagely erected gibbet in the center of town upon which hanged three smoking corpses. After much intrusive investigation it was determined to be hobgoblin corpses.

A placard was deciphered by the magus to read that the Lord Verminard was in command and he would not allow his armies to capture prisoners. After much discussion it was determined that Verminard was a powerful northern warlord whom their missing friend Kitiara had spoken about joining on occasion. Sturm and Tanis had both heard their companion speak of the powerful warlord who could seemingly show up anywhere at any time and then disappear just as fast.

The heroes of the lance figured out that the native tribes must have been taken prisoner and hauled off to the south. They must however continue their quest to the ruined city to meet whatever destiny had decreed for them. Soon after they spot a naked indian being pursued by four draconians. They slay the enemy and rescue Nightshade a scout from Que Teh who swears fealty to the princess of the plains. He says hye was sent from his peaople to search for an escape for them, who were slaves of the southern armies.

Later that night, after seeking camp in an old abandoned mine shaft, they were surprised by four trolls staggering up out of the depths for their nightly hunt. They immediately attempt to retreat, bu not before Nightshade is killed in grisly manner, his head popping like a popcorn kernel between the rotted jagged teeth of the troll. Then the wizard’s charmed guardsman meets a similar fate before they escape.

The blue staff shows off its magic, healing the most grievous wounds from the troll battle, and the next day they finally enter the salt marsh surrounding the ruins. They come to a spiderweb-like rope bridge crossing over an especially deep section of swamp. Tanis decrees that they cross the bridge with the utmost caution: tying ropes to one another as well as each one tying off to the bridge itself as they cross. Basic OSHA Fall Prevention. I had no idea my wife had such knowledge, but after years of gaming, she has learned many of my tricks. It is a good thing too, the text reads something like: “If a character falls in the water, they attract a monster from the wandering monster table.

For fun, I rolled to see what they would have attracted, and it came up catoblepas. Death cattle! Description: does 1d6 damage or gaze causes death.

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The dungeon master singing Canticle of the Dragon, or possibly imitating unicorns.

The dungeon master singing Canticle of the Dragon, or possibly imitating unicorns.

Last night was incredibly fun and hilarious. It started with the grilling and consumption of meat, as is often the case, and was followed by three hours of game play that had some of the funniest moments of gaming I have experienced. It was one of those nights, some might blame the full moon.

The game started as the characters landed in the secluded forest of the Dark forest and met with the majestic unicorn called the Forest Master. This divine creature spoke to them in a lilting soft voice and told them that they would be safe from all the forest creatures while they stayed. He then told them about a prophecy which foretold that those who carry the blue crystal staff must go to the ancient ruined city of Zak Tsaroth within 3 days to receive “the greatest gift of all time.” During certain epic keywords during this speech, the unicorn would pause as the nearby pegasi who were chewing on some sweet grasses would shake or whinny or my favorite, shimmy their shanks, all of which I role played for the players to give the encounter and added level of visualization.

They were then led to a banquet catered by centaurs, and the young neutral wizard Raistlin commented that with the dark wood and the centaurs and the unicorn and pegasus bit it was sounding very Harry Potter. The DM retorted that was all well and good but Dragonlance was published in 1984, yearsbefore the british wizard apprentice invasion.

Goldmoon (and the blue crystal staff) were not with the party, but back in the inn at Solace singing plains folk songs with Riverwind accompanying on the flute. The pegasi flew the party back to the inn, where they ordered a meal. I was going to have the players roll for drunkenness but I forgot. Durnit.

Suddenly the swinging doors crash open and who walks in? …a villager. It is the one whom the night before said that there were groups in town offering a reward for the blue crystal staff. Behind him the hoboblin undersergeant Fewmaster Toad barges into the room followed by ranks of hobgoblins, still tramping up the spiral stairs into the taern resting in the bole of the great oak tree. The voluptuous Tika leans over Caramon and whispers in his ear “come with me if you want to live” and dashes off into the kitchen. The party is quick to follow.

There is a hole in the floor and a rope for bringing up supplies from the ground far below. As the party begins sliding down the rope, making dexterity checks, Sturm fails his roll, his hands burn on the way down, causing 2 hit points damage (one per hand.)

Raistlin starts to grab the rope, even though the humble wizard reminds him of the feather fall spell. The wizard counters that since it is once per day he might need it later. That does not do, with a nod, Caramon gives his brother a push, who stumbles out the hole and must cast his spell to float gently down to earth. Caramon’s look of dismay turned to one of wonder as he watched his brother glide to safety.

At the bottom they were confronted by a road going bo0th directions. At the end one way were a group of human guards, at the other were hobgoblins. They chose the guards but were having trouble convincing them to let the heroes of the lance pass, so Raistlin had to charm Roy the Guardsmam whose lack of wit will keep him charmed for 3 weeks. Roy led them to the shore of the lake where they had to search for a boat. They eventually found a small dingy with “The leaky caldron” painted gaily on its side. Speaking of which at some point during the night it was decided that since the player of Tanis only wanted to play a woman, and it is required for story reasons that Tanis have a beard, then Tanis would become Caramon’s “Beard.” I hhad to look up what that meant, but then I agreed.

Lair of the Turquoise Hydra

Lair of the Turquoise Hydra

(This setup had nothing to do with the game but the players set it up and it looks cool. )

As they rowed away in the leaky caldron, the hoboblins lined up in ranks and behind them the guardsmen lined up and leading them came fewmaster Toad. He shouted Archers! and the hobgoblin raised their bows. He shouted Fire! and a few of the archers loosed hastily drawn arrows while others looked around confusedly. Then fewmaster toad shouted No Flame! and everyone smiled and understood and the guardsmen rushed forward to light the arrows with their torches. Now Fire archers! he sputtered and they launched their flaming missiles toward the boat. Then then guardsmen stepped forward and when toad shouted Hurl! they all did you know what. They hurled their hand axes, ineffectually. They plunked into the lake. Except for one unfortunate guard. He was australian and was experimenting with a boomerang axe concept. Meaning he rolled a “damage self” on the penalty roll table.


On the other side of the lake, the party was safe and made camp. The next day they were crossing mountains on their way towards the ruined city, when they had to pas through a tunnel. Whilst in their they heard the chanting of monks, pulling a wagon upon which one of their number lay. Their were nine of them including the one in the cart, and the party pressed themselves against the wall to let them pass. the Leader stopped and told them they were on their way to a town where it was said a staff of healing was performing miracles. The heroes of the lance shrugged noncommittally, but Goldmoon (played as an NPC by an evil dm at the moment, until our real native american princess takes her over) steps forward and proclaims that she has the staff and will heal them.

It was around this time the wizard discovered the 0 level cantrips out of Unearthed Arcana. They are hilarious, as the below example for the spell Wink proves:

By means of this cantrip, the caster causes the subject person (or
creature) to blink his, her, or its eye or eyes. The blinking reaction is
only momentary, of course, lasting no more than half a second. A successful
saving throw indicates only a single eye wink, or no effect for
one-eyed creatures. The verbal component is a softly spoken magical
word (such as hat-cha-cha), voiced while the caster snaps his fingers

Make a saving thrown for half-wink!

The draconians revealed themselves and a wild melee ensued. The weapons got lodged in the dead dracs, Roy went on a boot-kicking spree, and someone’s wrist was sprained (It really hurts!) But they lived and were victorious and Goldmoon healed em up good at the end of the night.

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Last week I was struck with sudden inspiration: why not play some good old fashioned AD&D? All week I pondered different ideas for our group to switch gears and start playing advanced d&d after a year now of playing various mini-campaigns using the upcoming newest edition’s playtest materials, when just before game-time, the Dragonlance idea struck..

With the Fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons publishing this summer, and being tired of sorting through scattered, incomplete playtest materials, I wanted a chance to cleanse my palate of all that and enjoy the first edition. Pure d&d.

Over the past year we have played at least 5-6 different min-campaigns, never getting above third level before starting something new. It sometimes happens that a game group has a hard time settling on a game, either after a long campaign, or if there are a lot of player changes, or if scheduling is an issue, or if the dm is a maniacal bag of insane ideas that can’t be silenced. We were beset by all these problems, but I was ready to get serious about a long-term campaign game. And so it came to pass.

At our smallest size since Friday Night Game Night began five years ago, five of us gathered round ye olde gaming table to pick up the roles of the dungeon master (that’s me) and Tanis Helf-elven (my wife played this dude, who has never played a character of the opposite sex.) Sturm Brightblade played by Dr Karen Khar, no stranger to playing dudes. Dave took on the mantle of Caramon who’s boyish grin and rippling muscles is surely how Dave sees himself. And o

f course the evil mage was played by our resident evil mage. No surprise there. (And for a young wizard who is used to all the trappings of modern magic users, he was less than enthused with many of the harsh old-school constraints put on his character class, including the 8 hit points, the few spell memorization slots per day, the low-powered spells available to him (Push?! I didnt even remember that spell existed and laughed out loud when I saw it in my old PHB.) The icing on the cake of disappointment was the fat that most others start at 5th or 6th level but Raistlin starts at third! (Don’t worry Joel he is also the only one to gain godhood, so it balances… eventually.)

The campaign began with a question: do you remember all those past adventures and campaigns and characters? For they were naught but dreams of another realm of existance. As one fades away, whether is be a Temple of Elemental Evil or an Isle of Dread, another dream of the multiverse comes into focus. We discover that all those characters are but aspects of the Eternal Champions who are called upon to serve and save where needed across the multiverse.

In this case the world was Krynn, and it was an Age of Despair.

Four of the Companions returned to the crossroads outside Solace five years to the day after setting out on a mission to rediscover divine healing or any sign of divine aid. They returned empty-handed, and while reminiscing about their journeys, they were interrupted when seven hobgoblins stumbled out of the underbrush, followed by a flabby donkey carrying a flabbier hobgoblin under-sergeant, the Fewmaster Toede. The cretin demanded they turn over the wizard’s staff, which caused a harsh rebuke: Raistlin cast Charm Person of the hobgoblin captain. He amazingly made his save and called for his troops to attack, whilst he rode off to safety.

Two hobgoblins charged each of the three fighters with the last charging the wizard. The first hobgoblin rolled a natural one – a chance to use the new improved critical hit and miss tables! He wound up killing the hobgoblin next to him, wanting Tanis all to himself apparently.

Sturm fought and parried two as did Caramon, but the one who charged Raistlin hit for max damage with his rusty logsword, doing 8 hit points damage and dropping the magic user to zero. The wizard, wounded onthe ground fought back and slew the hobgoblin with a strike of his magic Staff of the Magius.

After the battle they stumbled into the tree-town of Solace, and up the winding staircase that led to the Inn of the Last Home nestled in the bole of a great oak. They interact with the crowd, and then two Native Akrynnians enter and begin singing a song. Cue the youtube video.

The magic blue flash of Goldmoons staf heals the wounds of Raistlin and the crowd is surprised. They learn of four different choices where to take the staff: the capital, turn it in for a reward, Darken Wood, or the lost city of Xak Tsaroth. They turn in for the night and the next day set out to explore the region. Tanis goes to a nearby peak and hnts for the white stag. He spots a glimpse and follows it deeper in the woods. Meanwhile Caramon spots a naked giggling girl who darts off deeper into the woods. They both follow, while Sturm and Raistlin keep to the path.

The stag leads Tanis to a clearing in which four pegasi calmly munch on a patch of sweet grasses. Caramon is led to a pool around which six giggling girls sit. Regretfully he turns back to the path until everyone arrives at the pegasus clearing. Raistlin mounts a pagasus and it leaps into the air and heads south. The rest follow until the whole group flies between the peaks and heads deeper into the Darken Wood. They land in another clearing and standing on a rocky outcrop they came face to face with the beautiful unicorm known as the Forest Master.

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The Temple of Elemental Evil Game Night

The Temple of Elemental Evil Game Night

Two years ago this January, we began playing the adventure Village of Hommlett. It was an epic occasion, but fell apart in the village of Nulb before ever venturing into the Temple of Elemental Evil itself. That game included some of the best roleplaying in the history of our game group: featuring one of my all time favorite characters the gunslinger Calamity Jane and her twin sister Calamity Joan; using the Pathfinder Beginner Box rules was a huge change from our earlier style of gaming; Rufus and Burne the gaylords; … there is too much to recount, read about it here: Welcome to the Welcome Wench, Wench!


Starting this year we changed all that, with a deus machina shift in the gears of our current campaignto place our heroes rght about where the last game ended, at the gates of the Temple of Elemental Evil. It happened like this…

For what seemed an eternity the part of advenurers had been wandering aimlessly through and endless dungeon with no sign of escape. Eventually they found themselves traversing a wide open area with grotesque columns holding up an arched vaulted ceiling. The chittering skittering sounds that were following them wherever they went surrounded them and resolved into giant insects of all shapes and sizes. The one thing they all had in common was that the bodies of the insects were covered in strange tufts of fuzz. The fuzzy mold covering the insects was of a different color for each one, ranging from bright purple to yellow ochre. The insects were easily defeated but the wizard and paladin were each bitten and contrated a constitution-sapping disease. Which the paladin promptly healed.

With much flapping of wings, the Raven Queen appeared, and offered to help them escape from the endless dungeon if they would do her a small favor – and slay the Demon Godess of Cosmic Fungus, Zuggtmoy, who was imprisoned beneath a temple dedicated to evil. They agreed and on a side note the paladin swore fealty to the Raen Queen and was granted additional healing.

They walked through a portal which sent them to a path. In one direction lay a hill in a clearing, upon which the blackened blight of the temple slouched. The other way led to a village of good helpful folk led by gay lords. The Raven warned them not to let the townsfolk know the temple was growing in power, for if they found out, the king’s evil advisor would soon learn and send armies of humanoids.

The Temple of Elemental Evil using Dwarven Forge Game Tiles (plus extras)

The Temple of Elemental Evil using Dwarven Forge Game Tiles (plus extras)

While investigating the temple grounds, they unleashed a horde of 70 giant rats. This caused them to seek quick entry into the temple, so they held the ats off while they broke through the stout side door. Once inside, they began a methodical search of the interior, finding robes in four colors, and finding four means of gaining access to the lower levels: a great pit in the center of the temple had a narrow ledge spiraling down; a grand central stair led downwards; and two sets of spiral stairs also led down, hidden in chambers to the left and right.

While investigating the grotesque throne at the end of the temple, through luck and tenacity, they managed to figure out the puzzle. The chair immediately descended many hundreds of feet downward and opened into a strange fungus filled chamber with many doors ad stairways leading from it. While searching the room, they found two secret doors. The first door led to a sitting room filled with loveseats, divans, nd ottomans of all different colors. The fightress sat down on a green velvet divan and put her feet up on a black leather ottoman only to find they were actually made of green slime and black pudding!

They fled through the other secret door and came to a room that had a conference table and a great map of the region on the wall with the temple marked at its center. A shelf contained many silver weapons. There was also a black ottoman that attacked them and chased them out of the room and all the way back onto the throne, which they took back to ground level, after deciding that they still lacked the power to take on the Demon Goddess of Cosmic Slime in her own boudoir.

They ultimately decided to take a side stair down to the first level of the dungeon and begin exploring there. They passed through two intersections before coming to a hexoganal shaped room with debris on the floor. Just as the kender assassin found a magic ring on the floor, 16 stirges attacked, four per charater.It was a tough battle, but they defeated the stirges and found a ring of incredible worth.

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holiday cheer around the gaming table

holiday cheer around the gaming table

2013 rang in the new year with a first for our gaming group – we played a short-to-medium length modern zombie horror survival game using the New World of Darkness role playing game. By late spring however, the clarion call of the worlds most favorite role playing game became too insistent to ignore, and we returned to dungeons and dragons for a series of playtest games that usually ended up with rolling up new characters and starting over every couple of months.

Zombie Horror Survival Game – When the Lights Went out in Kansas City

Modern Zombie Apocalypse Survival Campaign kicking off 2013
Walking with the Dead – The Cast of Characters
Game Night Jan 11 – Nightmare at Hill Manor, a Prelude to the Nocturne
Game Night Jan 18th – Zombie Apocalypse on the Broadway Bridge
Pixel-bitching the Real World – or how not to use “Now” as the game setting
Game night Feb 1 – Surviving the night of the zombie apocalypse
Game night Feb 8th – Shopping for the zombie Apocalypse
Game night Feb 15th – World of Darkness, Worlds of Fun
Game night March 8 – Cruising the zombie apocalypse in my Escalade
Game Night Irish 2013 – Shelter from the Zombie Apocalypse

…and that is where the zombie survival game ended. There may have been one more event that went unrecordeed, and indeed a pact was made that night to never speak again of what transpired in that dungeon beneath the church. The fate of the survivors remains unknown. Next, we playtested the new version of the next edition of dungeons and dragons, using 10th level characters I created based off the players best charaacters from campaigns past.

A Rogue’s Gallery of D&D Next Characters
Game Night D&D Playtest – The Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb

…then we started a new campaign as first level characters. This is a mega dungeon crawl.

Game Night April 12th – Playtesting D&D 5 Zero Level Rules for a new campaign.
Game Night April 19 – Playtestsing DnD5 and the Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord
Game Night April 27 – DnD 5e and the Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord
Game night May 3 – DnD5e playtest Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord
Game Night May 9th – Captured in the Fell Tower
Game Night May 31st – Playtesting D&D 5e and the Ruined Fortress – The Flaming Whats?

A long summer of hazy gaming passed, and I am not sure exactly what happened in the interim. More dungeon crawling? Not sure but it was probably hilarious and occasionally drunken, with plenty of missed Friday nights sprinkled in. Nonetheless, summer came to an end and we began anewwith a seemingly random series of games:

Dnd Playtest Oct 11 – Dicepaws
Game Night Halloween ’13 – Playtesting D&D with Dwarven forge Game Tiles
Game Night Nov 15 – Dungeon Nirvana
Game Night Nov 22 — Dungeon delving and demigod destroying
Game night November 30 – High Noon on Ant Hill Redux

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High Noon on Ant Hill

High Noon on Ant Hill

One of the first adventures I wrote for 4th edition, while still testing out the game, and before taking the plunge with a new campaign, was the “delve” High Noon on Ant Hill. It is a 3-5 encounter mini adventure with a very straight-forward premise. Enter the ant hill of the giant ants and kill the queen. It was played twice, once with a group of middle schoolers, who only made it through the first encounter, and once with the permanent members of the game group, who were slaughtered during the final encounter. It was a great little adventure, known and reviled for its difficulty, and I decided to dust it off for our Thanksgiving game bash. It was a ton of fun.

The adventure was updated to 5th edition rules on the fly, and other changes were made to help the game “flow” and also because I wanted to build the whole dungeon before-hand using my collection of Dwarven forge game tiles. The delve was incorporated into the dungeon the party has been exploring, and for simplicity sake, there was no resting and no turning back while we played. I let the players know that if they made it through the whole adventure, they would gain a level at the end. This seemed to keep them moving forward without too much complaining. Sadly no photo was taken of the delve during play, but it consisted of four encounter areas.

The first encounter is the hill. Originally, it was a large conical hill with a dead tree at its top. The tree was hollow and acted as a doorway into the anthill. In this rendition, I mixed it up. They entered a large chamber. The ants had dug up a twenty foot trench and used the dirt to create a hill against the back wall of the chamber. They stood the trunk of dead tree at the top of the pile, and the hollow led through a passageway to the door in the back wall of the room. Hidden in the branches of the dead tree were a pair of giant flying ant drones. They were tough.

The ants had a high armor class and high hit points, and they had a fly by attack that let them make an attack in the middle of a move without provoking an attack. This worked until the party forced them to attack at the limit of their 8 squares, so they ended their round next to a party member. When the ants became bloodied, they could shatter their crystalline wings in a burst attack of crystal shards.

The ants were killed, and in the process the wizard’s ferret familiar was reduced to one hit point. Rather than having a wounded ferret on his hands, the wizard snapped its spine so it would reform fully healed in thirty minutes. The little ferret let out an agonizing squeal as it perished at its owners hands. The squeal echoed down the hallways and nearly a mile away, a giant lizard heard the sound of breakfast being served. Before exiting the chamber through the bole of the tree, they found a dead elf concealed by his cloak of elvenkind. The rogue snapped it up.

They came to a hallway, and heard a scratching sound ahead. They were not surprised by the carrion crawler ambush, and everyone was waiting for it when it sprang out of the wall. But they were not expecting the giant lizard coming at them from the direction they just came. The lizard attacked the wizard and while the rest of the prty fought the carrion crawler, the wizard fought the lizard. He scared the lizard so bad with his imitation of a female lizard in mating season, that the monster leaped up into the wizards arms, yet still tried to swallow his head. The paladin finally slew the carrion crawler and turned to stab the lizard. The wizard wept at the lizard’s passing, having become very close to it in such a short emotion filled encounter. From the lair of the carrion crawler, they found a pair of potions. One was a potion of invisibility, the other was unknown.

The third encounter area was a long chamber with the center dug up for farming. Various fungi were being tended by ten giant worker ants, and guarded by 2 warrior ants. Additionally, one new worker ant appeared from the far door each round until the characters moved into the final room. This battle was quick and decisive, as the worker ants only had one hit point apiece (yay minions!) In the fungi field they found an abandoned battle axe +1, which was made of weightless iron, and had a quirk that it was the only magic weapon carryable at ta time. The paladin took up the axe, but traded it with the fightress at the end of the adventure.

The party entered the final chamber where they had to fight the queen ant and her pair of drone cows, each of which was covered in corrosive slime and could pump out a worker ant or make a pincer attack. Meanwhile the queen flitted about making pincer attacks. The wizard was struck by a critical hit and knocked unconscious. The fightress attacked a cow and her weapons were corroded by the acidic slime. She went down the next round, and it was up to the kinder assassin and the dragonborn paladin to bring it to a conclusion, which they did. Beside the magical component they were looking for, they were rewarded with 500 gold pieces, a magic suit of banded +1 and a wand of magic missiles with 10 charges.

And they made it to third level. Good game.

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thedm2Join me if you will good travelers as I recount a tale of how a group of random homicidal maniacs fell together one day into a large hole in the ground. Once down there, this group of murder-hoboes teamed up to embark on a voyage to escape, and to destroy the divine pantheon of their world’s creation along the way. Oops!

The wizard had in his possession a magic recipe for the creation of an unknown magic item. The scroll was blank, and only when a spell component was near would a line appear with the needed ingredient. As the party was arguing and picking each others pockets in some obscure hall in an unknown stretch of dungeon, Jambunathon felt a warming sensation in his breast. No it was not his heart growing three times larger, it was the first line of the recipe filling in on the scroll in his vest pocket.

a hall

a hall

Dwarven False Gold appeared, a type of ore mined by dwarves and renowned for its use in magic. Ahead they saw a set of iridescent glowing, multi-faceted eyes at the end of the hall. A carrion crawler and giant soldier ant were locked in mortal combat. The ants eyes were glowing with particles of dwarven false gold. The adventurers quickly slew both insects, and they discovered that the ant carried 1/150th of the amount of the stuff they needed.

Ant man vs cat fish - I mean giant warrior ant and carrion crawler locked in combat

Ant man vs cat fish – I mean giant warrior ant and carrion crawler locked in combat

It was decided that the drone mothers, who spawned countless ant warriors, must contain glands full of the dissolved gold, and that they could get the required 2 pounds by extracting it from the source, rather than 149 more sets of ant warriors eyes.

However, when the party decided which hallway to follow at the intersection with the insect incident, they chose the long, dark, narrow passage sloping downwards, rather than the wide hallway with clear ant tracks. Go figure.

This way be monsters... but that way be monsters too.

This way be monsters… but that way be monsters too.

They came to a stair and descended. At the bottom of the stair, the magic users detected and anti-magic field. They entered, and were in a region that was totally dead to magic. There was also no escape, they could not leave the anti-magic shell once in.

But first, there was a strange and unexplained rumbling in the walls...

But first, there was a strange and unexplained rumbling in the walls…

They could hear the sounds of women grunting in what sounded like athletic exertion, and soon discovered its source. A chamber held two naked women, holding hands and fighting desperately with their long nails, gashing and gouging in a mortal fight that upon closer examination had been going on for a long time.

They were the fleshly avatars of the Goddess of Betrayal and of Treachery. They had been imprisoned and could not leave until one was destroyed, but they were equal in power, and though stripped of magic by the anti-magic shell they were trapped within, they could not one overpower the other.

Interestingly, another item appeared on the wizard’s grocery list. One drop divine heart blood. Oh this was going to be good.

The godess of treachery drew the short straw, and she was soon killed. The fightress Jillian knew a moment of divine strength as she beheaded the goddess. She then felt a stabbing pain in her back, as the lights dimmed in her eyes. Betrayed by the Goddess of Betrayal!

This is a creatively re-imagined portrayal of what actually didnt happen.

This is a creatively re-imagined portrayal of what actually didnt happen.

When the goddess was slain, the anti-magic shell dissipated. The Goddess of Treachery regained her powers and grew another set of arms and daggers appeared in each delicate hand.

The wizard survived a slash of her blade as he gathered a drop of divine blood. The paladin saved the fightress by laying on hands, and the goddess recognized she was in danger. In return for letting her escape, she would tell them the location of a magic sword (up the stairs down the hall, turn left, cross the wide hall and continue along to the tee intersection, look for the secret door) and she also granted them a favor if they should ever call on her.

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A few photos from around the table. This is my little corner of the universe.

I am the dm.  The dm am I.

I am the dm. The dm am I.

Here I sit upon my throne, framed by the eternal pink and green flames of destiny, ready to judge and be judged. I am the dm, you can tell because of the hat.

My little corner of the universe.

My little corner of the universe.

I no longer hide my rpg material in the closet like a junkie, but festoon the walls overlooking the dining room table.

The gamers gaming

The gamers gaming

Here is a photo of a game in progress with actual role play happening, including epic role playing moves.

I play d&d -- all of it.

I play d&d — all of it.

This is a meme I made one time. It’s my bookshelf of rpg material, with my iconic black panther standing guard. Also yoshi sitting on a a pile of choose your own adventure books.

Twinkie Pie and Jinx Bell

Twinkie Pie and Jinx Bell

And here are the kittens who make it all possible. (Their cuteness is the reason people agree to visit our house.)

Twinkie is big now

Twinkie is big now

One time after a game, Twinkie Pie carried a puffball in his mouth and dropped it into the dungeon. He then chased and batted it through the corridors of the dungoen, knocking pieces everywhere. He was playing dungeons and dragons!

Typical encounter

Typical encounter

This didn’t actually happen last night… but it could have! (And quite possibly should have.)

And there you have it.


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Fortress of the Evil Overlord level 2

Fortress of the Evil Overlord level 2

Playing d&d has never looked better, thanks to the recent acquisition of Dwarven Forge Game Tiles, Reaper Kickstarter miniatures, Wizards of the Coast and Paizo miniatures, and a great group, I am living my life long dream of near perfect dnd. Now if only the dungeon master were better than the ill-prepared, unkempt fool behind the wheel.

Here is the stack we have to work with.

Here is the stack we have to work with.

We started off with a small ret-con to provide a clean slate. They tumbled down a chute and out the doors of a large antique wardrobe and into a dungeon chamber. Behind them was the solid back of the wardrobe with a keyhole in the center, but they had no key. Before them on the ground lay a corpse and next to it a small pile of charred bones.

messing 'round with dwarven forge game tiles.

messing ’round with dwarven forge game tiles.

The corpse was home to four rot grubs which caused much near-death hilarity as they jumped about tying to bore into flesh and reach the hearts of victims. First one gnome then another was victim to rot grub attacks, but in each case the halfling rogue was able to pluck the grub from its victim before it was too late. Eventually a blast of lightning fromthe dragonborn quelled the rot grub threat so that the wizard could get to the magic scroll he detected.

This didn't happen

This didn’t happen

The scroll was completely blank. What a find! It was a secret wizard recipe for the creation of a magic device. As the correct items were collected they wold appear on the list until all items were gathered at which it could be cast and create the item. Being blank, the wizard Jambunathon had no idea what item it wold create.

They went through a few chambers, fled through a storage chamber full of stirges, and eventually opened up a door and surprised a napping ogre and its pet boar. They fought, and the dragon was knocked out by the ogre and its club. when a healing attempt was made, the gnome druid was pounded flat as a pancake, scooped up and eaten in one bite by the ogre and his massive club. Finally the ogre was slain by the fightress Jillian, and the bore soon followed. While looting the ogre corpse, Jillian found a ring of protection +1.

I couldnt stop laughing after the gnome druid was killed in a single blow by massive damage. I rolled max damage, 2d8+4, for 20 points, and the poor gnome only had 10. It filled me with a warm glow to have killed the gnome, like I still had it. I’m sure the player must not have felt so good, but it is not his first fatality and he handles it well. Good times.

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Laying out my stack of tiles for some serious construction.

Laying out my stack of tiles for some serious construction.

For the past two Fridays, we have been using the Dwarven Forge Game Tiles with our miniatures to play d&d. We happened to be going through an urban murder mystery at the time (Murder in Baldur’s Gate) so this took a little modification, but the past two weeks have shown how much awesomeness the Game Tiles can add. I am lucky to have acces to such wonderful paraphernalia for our game, including the Dwarven Forge Game Tiles, Reaper miniatures, and other good stuff picked up over the years. The last two items though, both coming out in the past year, has definitely taken our game to a new level of cool.

It was thanks to the exemplary player, friend, and all around great dude Dave, who made this possible. I was on sabbatical at the time and he stepped up to take part in the Kickstarter for the tiles when I was unable due to a chronically deflated bank account. My players are all great, and constantly work to make up for my own inadequacies. Isn’t that what a good life is all about?

Player built the dungeon, I added appropriate encounters.

Player built the dungeon, I added appropriate encounters.

It looks like this will be quite a challenging dungeon! Fortunately reason prevailed and we went on to play the adventure at hand: Murder in Baldur’s Gate. In this episode the heroes have just defeated the demon who slew the town’s protector, and are beset upon all sides by those whowant to fill the power vacuum left in the good duke’s wake. They get offers from the Silver Spoons, the Flaming Fists, and an attractive lady known as Rihanna. Each group requested a midnight meeting in a tavern known as the Dragoneye. When they arrived, they realized it was a set-up, and were attacked by the Silver Tea Spoon Thugs on one side, and the Pirates of the Flaming Fists on the other. It was their alliance with the owner of the tavern Rihanna herself which allowed them to prevail.

Throw down at Rihanna's

Throw down at Rihanna’s

That was last week. This week for Halloween I wanted to spookify it up, so I took some inspiration from the classic adventure Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and rebuilt the mansion’s first floor. Their goal, was to help out Rihanna, who was a champion of the poor outer district. The fisherman’s wharf area was having many of their children kidnaped – 30 in the past 3 weeks. She feared that even more will be at risk during the next day’s children’s festival, and asked the heroes to find out what was happening. All signs pointed to the crumbling house overlooking the sea at the top of Saltmarsh Lane.

Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

We didn’t get to finish the adventure but it was a ton of fun.There were traps on practically everything, and a few good treasures were found. They also had a run in with a Frankensteinian Flesh Golem. After spoiling for a fight all night, they quickly ran away from the monster. They did save 5 kids before we had to call it a night. Maybe next year!

Jambunathon pummeled

Jambunathon pummeled

Punched up, knocked down, and dragged out of the room by the monk, Jambunathon faced the mighty flesh golem alone. While everyone else wondered what the heck was he thinking?!?! It was fun.

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