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Archive for August, 2012

Boarding the SS Zario

It was the opening night of a new campaign, and shiny first level characters all gathered together in a seaside tavern known as the Smuggler’s Inn. The next day they would set sail towards the New World and a campaign full of adventure. The evening was dying down, and only a few other patrons remained in the dockside tavern: two dark cloaked figures in one far corner and one drunk old sailor with his mustaches continually drooping into his flagon. The bartender never moved from his position behind the bar, wiping the same mug over and over.

They heard a jostling commotion from outside when suddenly the door burst open and four toughs wearing nothing but blue leather breeches and huge swords strapped over their backs burst in. They looked half barbaric like they just came in from some foreign, uncivilized land, and they looked around whilst fingering their swords. The leader stepped forward and said “We are new to your lands and challenge the strongest among you to fight!”

Half the party immediately stood to challenge the yokels, while the other half ducked under the table. The wizard just sat waiting patiently. The crazed dragon blooded sorceress was first to rise and she seemed in the minds of the berserk natives to transform into their most terrible nightmares as she roared they chose the wrong people to mess with. 3 of the 4 were cursed by fear.

Behind them the two strangers stood up and revealed themselves as Drow – the hated dark elves. One was a male wizard and the other was a female with hand crossbow and rapier. They wore strange clothes of oiled sealskin. After a few minutes of battle the berserkers were knocked out, in fear, tied up and disarmed, and the drow fled by diving into the sea. The party heard a tolling bell and realized this was a diversion.

Looking out into the Shalazar Harbor they saw that the anchor was raised, the sails were being set on their ship, the SS Zario, and it was turning towards the open sea. They jumped in the nearest dinghy except for the elf thief who took the canoe of the gnome cleric (and sailor) They approached the ship from the dark side and were unnoticed as they clambered up onto the deck. The thief sneaked forward to unlock the hatch locking everyone (the crew of nine as well as the 15 families of colonists) below. The gnome was the last to climb aboard and instead climbed into the port hole to lead their people.

The wizard cast ghost sound on the other side of the ship to distract the four (more) berserkers who were busy raising sail. The two drow from the Smuggglers Inn suddenly popped out of the sea and climbed aboard, shouting “WE might have company lets get out of here!” A third drow, older and wiser than the two siblings, stood at the helm and looked forward to see the heroes hiding in the shadows at the front of the ship…

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SO I signed up to help crowd-fund the Reaper Miniature company as they transition away from metal to new unpainted plastic miniatures with their new “BONES” line-up. They asked for $30,000 for the initial 30 miniatures, and when I signed up, they had just broken the one million dollar mark with five days left. Incredible, but what is really amazing is what they offer to those who sign up for the $100 “vampire level” Reward. It started out with around 60 miniatures from their Bones line, but as they keep breaking new records of pledges, 100k, 200k, etc. they keep adding new miniatures to the reward which is currently about 180 miniatures, all for the $100 vampire pledge. If you love miniatures you have got to check this out. The KickStarter ends this coming saturday.

Heres the website: Reaper KickStarter

Two things to keep in mind. First and foremost, this is going to be quite a painting project! And also, these have not been made yet, that is what this project is funding, and so the expected ship date for many of these miniatures is spring of 2013, almost 9 months away. One last thing, if they break $1.2 mil they are adding a second set of five local yokels, oh yeah! Without further ado, here is the pirate booty:

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You shall not pass. Ok, you might.

Conquistadors of the New World: A campaign from levels 1 through 5, using the second release of the D&D Next Playtest rules kicked off tonight with a full 3 1/2 hour session devoted character generation.

In a nutshell, the campaign is one of adventure, discovery, and colonization. A New World far to the south has opened up to the people of Shalazar and a ship full of colonists are being dispatched to claim the territory in the name of the Immortal Queen of Shalazar. The characters have one fyear to seek and make their fortunes and to ensure that the colony survives and flourishes by the time the supply ship returns.

The character building process was fairly strigthforward, and would have gone more quickly except that we took our time with the since it was new to all of us. And since tater tots and hot dogs (or the wierd dishes they inspired) took much of our time we didnt get to test out our new characters with the initial encounter as I Had hoped and planned. I ate quickly then spent twenty minutes or so reading the list of major changes from the last version, then onto each of the race and class choice descriptions and key features. Ah well, another week of planning can only help this sudden campaign game change. And finally, having just received the print-outs today, most of my time was spent collating, sorting, stapling, and three-hole-punching the dozens of provided pages.

I read thorough the character generation process, and as a group we went through the steps of creating a character. This reading was my first impression of the new and improved rules and they were a big hit around the table. Everyone was invested with every step and choice, and part of the reason for the lengthy char gen time was due to high interest level in weighing all the options. And that is a good thing. I absolutely adore the way that skills are rolled into backgrounds and feats into specialties. Brilliant, thematic, simple, and straightforward.

The chapter labelled “Character Creation” offers a step by step process of creating a character, and I read this allowed (my first time as well) and we as a group The first step is rolling up ability scores: 4D6 drop the lowest in any order. It was important to note to the players that both race and class would also give bumps to ability scores. I also let anyoe who was unsatisfied with their rolls to use the stanad aray instead. One player, the sorcerer opted for this.

We Then went on to pick our races, and each race other than humans added a +1 to one ability, depending on the subclass. Humans on the other hand add +1 to EVERY ability except +2 to one of them — just wow! Two of our players opted to be human – a new record! I made sure to point out that race and class went hand in hand and that they should be thought of together, each complementing the other.

We picked our choices, opted for starting equipment packages, with a few tweaks here and there, and then I gave out some campaign specific “professions” for each character and voila, it was time to wrap up for the night. Here are the charaters we came up with:

Gnar the Gnome. She is a “lightbeard gnomling” a cleric, essentially a lightfoot halfling without halfling luck but with speak with animals twice daily instead. She is also a healer, and common sailor as well as the envoy to the lost gnome city of Blindingstone. Her job is to discover the fate of her lost homeland.

Next we have Litha the Atisan weaver wood elf cleric, acolyte, and also the missionary of Erathis, devoted to spreading the faith in civilization that Erathis offers. Her job over the coming year is to ensure that Erathis is the main deity on the new land, and 75% of the sentient entities must pay obeisance.

Her sister wood elf is a rogue charlatan thief, with no name as yet. Her profession on the expedition is royal scribe and she is also secretly a spy for the elvish nation. Her duty is to ratify any treatise in the name of the queen of Shalazar.

Next we have Sharif the sherrif, a human sorcerer and thug whose specialty is survival. Her character’s profession on the journey is the peace keeper, and her duty is to keep the colonists alive and healthy.

Agnes the dwarf fighter is a soldier and holds the rank of corporal, as well as being a survivor. On this adventure she acts as the federated trade representative and prospector, whose job is to set up a trading depot, dock, and also to find mineable ore for which half the earnings are hers. She has one year to accrue 1,000 gold pieces worth of tradeble goods for when the supply ship returns.

Next up is William, a dual weilding duelist fighter and nobleman who is a nobleman without land, who has the chance to forge a new seat for his noble family, if he can pay the 1,000 gold piece tax that is due one year from colonization.

Finally we have John SMith the 42nd, a high elf wizard, sage, and magic user who also has the role of royal cartographer and naturalist, whose job is to completely map the new world in one year as well as catalogue all species of plant and animal with a focus on what will be beneficial to Shalazar.

There you have it.

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True to Mike Mearls word, Wotcee released an updated platest pack today which includes a new original adventure: Reclaiming Blindingstone. Additionally, they surprised me when I realized that two new playable classes have been added to the playtest: Warlock and sorcerer.

I have not yet read through the adventure but I wonder if the full page art at the end is the new look of the goblin? And is that mo-fo smoking a cigarette or picking its teeth with the bone of a vanquished foe?

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