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Archive for June, 2012

Evil DM with rare Summer Beard, entices his group to burn babies

The choice was simple, burn all the babies and live, or die. But what led up to this fateful act is the most interesting subject of this game session report, and so now that the burning baby is out of the bag, we shall endeavor to piece together what must surely have been the grisly events leading to that tragic finale.

7 stout zero-to-heroes set out from the Keep on the Borderlands one fine morning with the intent of rescuing a rich merchant from the clutches of a tribe of orc bushwhackers said to lair in the so-called Caves of Chaos. Having defeated the guards at the entry, they tiptoed their way in, with three clanking fighters, two clerics, two hobbits and a wizard discovering a large dining hall, with an immense carved stone table running its length, a stone throne at its end, and benches all around, but the chamber was deserted.

Various exits ran from this central hall, and one set was closed off by hide doorways. Since the dwarves were pretty deaf, they didn’t notice much, until suddenly a babies crying voice echoed through the lair. Te hobbit and the cleric Gnome went to investigate the furs whence the sound came. They heard three more babies crying, then were cooed to silence by a snorting pi-like sound ( oink-snuffle-snuffle) Peeking under,they were staring at an orc guards ankles, and failed to sneak utterly, and were spotted. So ensued a battle with 3o orcs, six of which were babies.

The room lists “up to 30 orcs” so I took that max since it was daytime and orcs were nocturnal, hating the sun, and rolled 3d6 to see how many were babies. Unfortunately for the players it was only six. 8 of the orcs, the females, formed up into a squad of shortbow archers, in a tight-knit group at the back of their lair, while the males formed into two squads of orcs, 8 with spears, and 8 with battle axe.

The whole thing went south when the wizards spell ailed to send any of the orcs to sleep, meaning the orcs had more than 10 hit points. Actually it put the six babies asleep, which was a blessing since their deafening howls were about to cause the players to start chucking dice at me. I know how irritating baby crying sounds can be. Oh yes.

During the first round of battle, the archers spread their fire, but from then on they fired all 8 arrows at a single target,and two or three characters met their end this way, such as the scotchobbit, the wizard, the gnome, and possibly even Big Meat, who sprung up miraculously with 1 hit point, when my sweet daughter (who plays big meat) rolled a natural 20 on her death save. (Note: look up official playtest rules for rolling a nat 20 on a death save. Regardless of findings, use this awesome method.)

The dwarf cleric Dr House was at the front lines with the scotchhobit, and they fought off the initial horde of 8 spear-orcs who came through the main entrance, while the hobbit Zooby zoo and the gnome scampered back. The other dwarf Dex the slay, tried to stem the tide of 8 orc battle-axers flowing through the other doorway. It was hopeless,though each dwarf slew thrice his weight in blood before falling. It was Zooby zoo, hiding under the stone table and stabbing ankles, who escaped alive from the losing fight.

Her and Big Meat, who shook off his death to rise again. The gnome cleric sacrifices herself to give Big Meat a cure light wounds spell, while the dwarf Dr House gave his life to aid the wizard, to no avail. By this point, only Zooby Zoo and Big Meat were the last ones standing, with at least 7 or 8 orcs still fighting. Dr House, Dex the dwarf slayer and the Gnome had all bled out on the floor of the cave, while the Scotchobbit and the wizard clung tenuously to life, though in a coma.

Big Meat was about to fall again, and Zooby Zoo took all she had, a healing potion and a mystery potion and fed them both to Big Meat. He turned invisible, and was about to wade back into the fray against the remaining orcs, but Zooby held him back. “Burn the babies,” she whispered.

So saying The dark skinned warrior lumbered invisibly around the orcs and into the back of the chamber where the six babies lay on their rotten straw pallets, still under the influence of the wizards Sleep spell. The warrior has two torches, lights them, and tosses them into the bunting. It is quick to light up, and son six burning orc babies begin screaming. Big meat exits the chamber and scoops up his dead and dying frineds, oe by one, not forgetting the mountain lion Graymane, whome he drapes over his shoulders. Zooby zoo carries the unconscious form of her hobbit compaion, and as the 8 orcs lose sight of the enemy and hear the wailing of their burning babies, the (ahem) heroes make their escape.

Epic.

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Yay fun with game. I am the evil one in red

It was another full house at Chez Moi, with 7 players gathered about ye ole round table to parley or melee the night away. Three fighters, all dwarf, one half giant/half dwarf named Big Meat, one tiny gnome cleric, two hobbitses (and we all know what mischief they get up to) and one wizard extraordinaire filled out the adventurous party this week.

We left off with thee unlikely heroes completely annihilating a patrol of 14 gnolls led by a pack lord. Just as they were qbout to finish off the gnolls put to sleep by the wizard, another pack of gnolls appears. They do not attack, and instead agree to a truce with the party, as long as no violence is done, they will not attack the party, in thanks for killing the warband sent to destroy them. They then take their five captives and depart.

After seeing the goblin caves are not very defensible, the party decides to head back to the keep for the night. A few wandering monster rolls finds them at the keep safely, but the gate has been closed for the night. Bored crossbowmen manning the gates say there is a 25 gold fee for opening the gates after sundown. The characters talk to the commander of the watch and convince him to let them in to hear about a potential gnoll threat. They make it into town for free. Using abilty scores in lieu of skill checks is a quick and easy way to handle role playing opportunities, and deciding on which of the six scores to base their roll on is usually straightforward. (A lot of Charisma, and wisdom, with some intelligence thrown in for good measure.)

The keep was an ancient stronghold on the edge of civilization.It had changed hands many times over the centuries as the boundaries of the world changed, and for now it was held in the dominion of man. It was a wild town, fraught with riches and danger, and those who lived their throve on chaos.

So anyway, they are walking through town, when this jolly friar in a brown robe tied with rope, and a bald pate, waves to them, asking if they are new in town. “He offers to show them about town if they will buy him a drink,which they initially refuse to do, but finally one of the hobbits, Zoobey Zoo, offers to get him a drink, thinking he might be interesting to know. Prices in the tavern were expensive, as to be expected in a pioneer town. Rooms were 1 gold per night, drinks 1 silver. This led to nearly everyone in the party looking to find “alternate” sleeping arrangements, and a few ended up spending the night in the attached (to the bar) chapel pews, being cared for by their own cleric, who was volunteering there! It was strange, the the things people will do to get out of paying for something. To be fair, they were pretty broke, having found only a mere 8,000 coins, all copper.

(Edit: wordpress just ate my second half of this article. I am too creatively bankrupt right now to rewrite the whole thing, so I am going to go over the highlights and cut this short. Sorry for a less insightful and entertaining session report than usual.)

In town they role-played it up, heard some rumours, and got a few quest ideas:
1 — Goblin and kobold heads are worth 1 silver apiece. Orcs and (now gnolls, sue to the parties information) are worth 1 gold.
2 — The friar wants help destroying the leader of a demonic cult he believes is hiding out in the caves.
3 — The Guild hall accepted John Doe as a representative of the Wizards Guild, and informed him of a 500 gold reward for rescuing a wealthy merchant from orc raiders in the caves.
4 — I think there was one other but for the life of me I can’t remembe, hope a player does!

They set ou the next morning, with the Scotchobbit in the lead. He spots a rarely used side path and they detour to fnd a large trunked tree with a small hovel carved inside. The Scotchhobbit sneaks up to the door and is abot to go in when Dex the warrior spots a semi nude hairy old man perched in the tree limbs over the doorway, about to drop on the hobbit from above. Dex lines up his crossbow for a quick kill, but the other hobbit stays his hand, and shouts out to the strange old man. Turns out he is Graymane the hermit, and he offers them tea. His wild mountain lion, Graytail, was circling around the party from behind,but the dwarf/giant Big meat befriends it and they continue on their way. Before they go, Graymane reveals that the orcs are on the right-hand side of the caves, and that he has seen strange humans in robes towards the very back of the ravine.

With the Scotchobbit in the lead, they go to the nearest right hand cave, and he sneaks up to the entrance. The cavern extends back about twenty feet to a t intersection, and the wall is stacked with heads. They shout with glee, thinking of all the gold those heads will reveal iuntil they notice most of the heads are human, dwarf, halfling, and even a gnome head(Gnome shrieks when she hears this, sure she is the last gnome n the planet. It doesn’t help matters that there is an empty gnomeskull sized space right next to tit.) Upon closer inspection, The Scotchobbit notices one orc head among the other, and its eyes are moving, though they haven’t spotted the hobbit. He whispers backwhat he sees, and the wizard (correctly) surmises that it is a disguised guard post. The hobbit starts sneaking back out of the cave when he brushes the wall and a stone clatters to the ground. Immediately the orc head shrieks “invaders!” and disappears.

DM of Doom has spoken

Five orcs rush into battle against the hobbit, who survives the initial onslaught, and is soon relieved by his allies who ush up the slop and into the cave mouth. The batle was short and ferocious, but the five orcs were soon slain, and we ended there, before they have even wiped the blood from their blades, as our little Gnome has to be home by ten o’clock sharp.

It was fun, and next week should be even more fun. I am loving the D&D Next so far.

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The session began with a wandering monster roll, resulting in 3d6 gnolls and a pack lord making their way down the ravine towards the party. Two new adventurers were ahead of the pack lord and trapped with the rest of the party by the pack of 14 gnolls and their huge leader. The beast men built a bonfire in the middle of the ravine and started dancing around it and howling.

Gnome ( a 3e gnome cleric) and Big Meat (a half-dwarf/half-giant fighter using 5e pregen) met up with John Doe human wizard (who after tonight shall ever be remembered as dog-strangler) and the pair of hobbit thieves, Zooby Zoo and the Scott. These three were inhabiting the recently degoblinized tunnels. Gnome and Big meat rushed up into the cave mouth to report a warband of gnolls had trapped them in the ravine, and to say hi.

After a short discussion it was decided that they would not go deeper into the goblin caves, whence stared knee-high eyes at the edge of darkness, until the warband had been dealt with. John Doe the wizard attempted to decipher the gnoll’s elaborate howlig ritual, an as he listened he crept closer and closer to the edge of the cave mouth, which was above the floor of the ravine. WHen an answering howl came from further up the ravine, he was so startled he fell ot of the cave ad slid down he side of the ravine, to land prone at the valley floor.

All movement and howling around the bonfire stopped as the gnplls turned as one. They were surprised, but the wizard couldnt tell if it was becasue of his cave exit, or the answering howl. Nonetheless, Big Meat took the surprised moment to launch a crossbow bolt into the neck of one of the gnolls, killing him instantly (9 hp) The gnome cleric finds a spot way back in the cave where she can watch their backs ad still see the cave entrance, allowing her to cast a Radiant Lance.

The hobbits launch sling stones, whereupon the wizard stands up, brushes himself off, and casts Sleep. 5 of the gnolls drop, and the rest are slowed to half movement. Big Meat charges the leader of the beast men, hitting him a powerful blow that cuts through his scavenged chest plate, but barely scratches him. In retaliation, the pack lord starts howling, as he spins his flail above his head, which starts smoking as thew pack lords eyes glow red. The mighty blow knocks half of Big Meats hit points away.

Two more gnolls drop from sneak attack sling stones from the cave mouths as the gnolls divide and charge at their slowed pace, 4 heading toward the nearst cave mouth, while the other 2 head for the wizard. Pack Lord and Big Meat trade another set of blows, and the dark skinned warrior is reduced to 3 HP. He performs a reverse charge back to the cave mouth and away from the pack lord, who is not even bloodied after taking 30 hp damage from Big Meat.

Two gnolls run in their sleep-slowed state toward the waizard. Instead of doing the rational thing an casting Expeditious Retreat the wizard instead charged towards the nearest gnoll, hand outstretched to grab the gnoll around the neck. His strangling hand flared with lightning and the gnolls mangy fur was burned to a crisp, leaving a stinking cooked hot dog in his grasp. He moved onto the next, which suffered the same fate. Was this a first level wizard or Ironman? Still not sure.

The gnolls heading towards the cave covered by the hobbits and cleric were cut down by sling stones and radiant lances, except for one who stumbled into the cave directly between Zooby Zoo and Gnome the gnome. He managed to hit the gnome for a small amount of damage, which still brought her within inches of her young life. She was saved by Zooby zoo who took the gnoll out from behind with you guessed it, a close range sling bullet to the back of the head. Gnome then rushed forward to save Big Meat who was being chased toward the cave mouth by he pack lord. She saw he couldn’t be bothered to take an action to swallow a potion, so the gnome literally smashed her uncorked potion into the warriors mouth.

It worked, and after 2 more sling stones and a radiant lance, the pack lord finally fell to a final chop of Big Meat’s huge axe. They didn’t even have time to loot the corpses, we were out of time, but it was a fun game, and a hilariously engaging night of hacking and slashing. The combat rules, while they have some definite rough edges, are fun, quick, usually bear some resemblance to imagined fantasy reality (or verisimilitude) and so far, after two sessions, we are having a blast. I am stragnely reminded of a red box basic game with character somewhere betweeen 3e-4e, but better.

Oh, we need wandering monster rules.

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