Thursday, February 24, 2011

Instant Class Change

Today I had the second group again, though the classes are a little bit different this time. There is the original warblade, then a warlock replacing the duskblade, a cleric replacing the samurai, and a ninja replacing the rogue. Thus the title.

So we begin on the steps of the keep, just where we left off, with most of the party unconscious, and a few guard corpses around. After some small looting of guards, and a few convenient healing potions everyone was up, and ready to go. So the next course of action is of course to find the cheapest tavern in town, and spend a night there. After a relatively safe night, it was time to go out and get a job, so where would one acquire a job? Of course, at the tavern. Here they learn about someone who has been destroying buildings, and decide to murder him/it, as is the natural response.

So they arrive at the house where he was staying, though at this point they have a sort of a disagreement, as they can't decide whether they want to kill him, or see what his deal is. After knocking on the door, with the warlock spider-climbing his way up to a window. Now they meet the man, though all they can see is an enormous suit of armor, towering above them all by at least a head. This is actually an engineer using mountain plate as his mecharmor, but they don't know that. After the man questions why they're here they realize they don't actually know. So, surprise shurikens. Tink, Tink, no effect. Everyone rolls for initiative, ninja wins, slash slash, again no effect. Everyone in the party actually beat the guys initiative, so they all had their turns, ineffectively stabbing and shooting their way to no gain. The man then rips a huge chunk out of the wall, and smashes the warblade all the way down to 5 health.

This is when the warlock actually got a chance to attack the guy, and since he had 10 touch AC, he hit pretty much every time. This d6 damage didn't seem like a lot, but it did add up, and he began to get annoyed, running up and with one hit knocking the warlock down to -3, and bleeding. This is where the cleric really came in handy, healing the warlock and giving him another attack. Meanwhile the ninja has made many attacks, dealing a grand total of no damage, truly inspiring. The warlock however spider climbs his way up the building, not the best idea considering this guy's reputation, and looses another blast. As a natural response the guy, we'll call him Bill, decides to destroy a large part of the building, causing what I thought would be a fairly easy balance check, which was failed by the warlock. Now was the running time.

Running far, but not quite far enough, then charged down to -8, where he stayed. During this time the warblade was firing arrows at Bill, to little effect, but a lucky crit did enable a good amount of damage, so at this point the guy is almost dead, and is kind of flailing around, still doing damage, but not a great amount. Here comes the ninja again, nobody expecting much, but surprise, sudden strike shuriken and he actually takes Bill down. Now the warblade decides to drag Bill back to the keep, and claim the bounty. So he goes off alone, being the only one who is not a wanted criminal, but is unfortunately assaulted by 3 brigands, who I wasn't really expecting much of, but then I wasn't expecting a 1, and for him to toss his greatsword 50 feet away. So he goes down and unconscious, and loses just about everything but his life. This changes fairly soon.

So, he's pissed, and finds his party and they go on a crusade, busting down doors and such to find these guys. This has no real result, as they were already arrested, and gone. So their quest rendered moot, they go looking for others. They find one, in the case of a shop owner blackmailing another, a simple intimidate and beat up mission. This however goes horribly wrong, when they arrive at the door to find the man's wife, and before anyone can do anything intelligent the chaotic stupid ninja decides to spam shurikens, missing with both, how sad. The warblade then fails to keep the door open, as the woman screams and shoves the door shut. A careful application of force gets them through, and they charge into the basement, the only place she could really have gone. Here they find an ogre, what I though would be a fair challenge.

Well his first move is to just about knock out the warlock, bringing him down to 0 health. Both parties slogged it out, the ogre further knocking out the ninja with some fairly powerful swings. Then the warblade got what was his fifth one for this session, managing to critical hit himself, damaging his strength and con, and bringing him close to death. So the ogre, using his massive strength smashes the warblade right into the ground and down to -18. Death. Oops. They do manage to kill the ogre, and the man's wife, and knock out the shop owner, and this is about where we ended it. Next time they plan to go on a quest for a resurrection spell for their fallen comrade.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Centipedes Down Under

This is the second session of our first group, so it is the continuing adventures of the human druid, dragonborn dragon shaman, elf ranger, and aasimar bard.

We started the group off as we ended last session, one tied up thief and a few bodies in an alley. The party retreated back to the shack they call a guild, and after some healing from the dragon shaman did a little interrogation work. This took a little while to begin, as the "good cops" decided to try interrogation and the bad ones just kind of sat there. Eventually it got sorted out though, and they found out that under torture anyone will admit to anything, so they found out some information, and carted him over to the shopkeeper, to get a reward. They did, getting the benefit of reduced prices at the shop, and a small 50 gold bounty. Then they decided to go to the location the thief claimed to have sold his good at.

Here they spent a lot of time, trying to burn, smash, and politely ask to get through, all to no avail, as the metal simply wouldn't budge. Then the waiting came. Waiting for an entire day as the bard busked outside, hoping that some mysterious person might go in, but no one did. Finally they tried to go up to the roof, and pry their way in, again resulting in no obvious effect. This is when they took the clue that maybe they should try doing something different. They retreated back to the guild, and had a nice little rest, to regain the few spells lost.

Now I had a standard situation, the frantic woman comes and begs for help, because of the monsters in the basement. Now I have used this before, and still feel it is a little cliche, but sometimes the job just needs to get done. In the basement there was an extremely large centipede, though given its low health and AC, it went down fairly quickly. This is not the end of the story however, and in this basement there was the hole that the centipede came from leading to a location that I think I will have some fun with, called the undercity. See this current city is build on the remains of buildings past, as instead of destroying the old they simply built on top, gradually creating a maze of crumbling masonry, forgotten memories, and deadly monsters.

That last part is the important bit, and will almost certainly play into the story later, but in this small area all they found were centipedes, a nest of sorts. I had small, medium, large, and even one huge one to fight, and they were fairly easy overall, as I overestimated the difficulty of hitting them, in that most of the players average rolls were about 15, as opposed to the 10 I was expecting. But I digress, what they really found was the remnants of ages past, a city devoid of people. So after fighting through a whole lot of centipedes, they decide it's time to head back, and with the kind lady's permission rest in her house. For killing the monster plaguing her basement they also get a fine lute that has been passed down for generations, giving +1 to inspire courage.

What followed was some information gathering about undercity, various trinkets they found, and the lute, as well of the fixing of the ranger's bow, which was natural 1'd to an early death. So the ranger now has a masterwork bow, they are all a bit closer to leveling up, and courage shall be inspired to all, for an even bigger boost. Still a lot of 1s rolled though.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane

This Tuesday we had a day off school, so as is natural we had D&D. I decided that as an aside from the regular campaigns we'd just mash everyone together and run an old classic, the Sunless Citadel. This was actually the first thing I ever ran as a real DM, and it was about a year and a half ago, it worked alright, but was really more of an experiment than an attempt at a campaign. This time we ran it with the Druid, the Dragon Shaman, the Ranger, the Bard, the Warblade, the Samurai now Cleric, and the Duskblade.

So we started off in the town of Oakhurst, and after hearing some rumors about a castle down the road, they headed to the citadel. I figured the rope climb at the beginning would be simple, what with the DC 0 to climb, but we had the cleric player get a 1 on the climb check, plus his armor check giving him about -6, and falling down for minimal damage. The druid also decided to bring horse down, possibly his worst idea yet. The rats at the bottom of the rope proved no problem, though they did some minor damage to the druid, it was the staircase following that resulted in troubles. See the druid decided to ride his horse down the 5 ft. stairs above the 80 ft. drop. The conclusion was natural, especially with a 1 on the balance check for the horse.

One failed reflex save and the druid + mount ended up splatted at the bottom, in what was probably the worst character death I've seen. Then there was the pit trap in front of the door, that was fun. First the warblade falls down the pit, then the duskblade decides to tumble down the hole, hoping it will help, he fails and takes 6 damage. I'd like to point out I rolled max on both of the falling damage rolls. The dragon shaman glides his way down, and they beat the single dire rat at the bottom, though it was actually the Ranger shooting down that killed it, none of the melee really did anything.

After getting out of the pit, they proceeded to the door, which lead to a fairly empty tower room. Here they found the secret door, and found the druid player again, this time playing a, wait for it, druid. This was mostly for simplicity, as making a new character really would've taken too long, and the player needed to do something. The rest of the players don't really trust the druid, and for a good reason, as he is not really being cooperative. They then realize that they need someone to set off their traps, so he becomes the general party meat shield. So he charges headfirst into all the next encounters, including another dire rat, and a Quasit, an imp thing.

After this they wandered through the dungeon, at one point judicious use of acid helping them to get through a stone door. And solving a nice riddle, which one player believes I should use more. Another notable event, was an orb that forced the players to leave the room. That was fun, taking potshots at the orb from outside the radius, then when that didn't appear to be working, brute force to smash the orb. It worked, though it probably took about half an hour of in game time. We ended the session with them fighting the Quasit, it having already knocked out the druid. I decided we weren't really making any progress, what with its regeneration and DR, and I was getting really tired, so it just kind of ended. I don't think we will continue this dungeon, though if I ever truly run out of ideas we might.

So a body count, 5 dead dire rats, 3 crumbled skeletons, 1 druid and one horse, and they never even met Meepo. As a final note, there were a total of 10 1's rolled, and only 5 20's, kind of funny how that happens.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Body Count

So I figured I would try to keep a running tally of the enemies killed, and times the players were knocked out. In our first session we had:
1 orc boss who killed himself
3 dead orcs, one by horse and two by spear
2 dead human thieves
1 tied up and unconscious Elf Thief
And the party's own Druid knocked out twice.

In the second session we had:
1 warden knocked out, tied up, and pushed down some stairs
6 basic guards with either long swords or longbows knocked out and left to die
2 musket wielding guards dispatched in much the same way
2 high level guards guarding the entrance, swarmed to death
In the party we had the Warblade knocked out once, the Rogue knocked out once, the Totemist knocked out twice, the Samurai knocked out once, and finally the Duskblade, who was not actually knocked out.

As is obvious the second group had significantly more kills and knock outs, as is like to happen in a prison break, and the first group doing a little less killing and a little more investigating.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Second Party, First Session

Today we had the first meeting of our second group, this one consisting of 5 members. First thing we had to do was design one character and redesign another, resulting in another slow start, about an hour after we were supposed to. Hopefully this will get better the more we play.

The party consists of:
Garar, Lizardfolk Rogue 2 who had minimal success with his crossbow
Earl, Azurin Totemist 2 with a focus on grappling
Grimnir, Human Duskblade 2 who had extremely effective color sprays
Kirara, Dwarf Samurai 2 who had some fun with intimidation
Drake Bladestrider, Human Warblade 2 who they met later

We started the session off with a bit more excitement than last time, with the decision that they should all meet up in jail, then proceed to break out. This resulted in the need for a bit of improvisation on my part, given that I had had no plans for them to go to jail yet. We started with the duskblade using color spray on the warden, making him flop about uselessly for a bunch of turns, and the resident rogue picking the lock. Interestingly enough the rouge had neither search nor disable device, so traps will definitely be fun for the group with no healer. After getting out on a natural 20, they proceeded to get their weapons from a nearby chest, and tie up the warden.

Now there is only one exit to this place, and that is a stairway leading up, so they decide the best course of action is to have the Rogue scout ahead, and the rest of the party to come after , leading the warden up with a knife to his back. After a few botched stealth rolls at the top of the stairs, the guards in the next room both see and hear the rouge, and proceed with the stabbing. Now the rest of the party hears this, and kicks their prisoner down the stairs as they run up for a fight. With two guards standing back and shooting the party, and two at the front blocking for them, the combat was difficult, especially the with the limited maneuverability of the stairs.

A well aimed color spray late in the battle however turned the tide, as the remaining two guards were incapacitated and unconscious for about 10 rounds, an immediate death sentence. Before that however the Totemist, who killed the other two guards in one attack, managed to fall down and be color sprayed, to writhe on the ground inefficiently for the rest of the battle, and the dwarf Samurai managed to stab himself in the foot, halving his speed to 10 ft. for 10 minutes, which was incidentally the rest of the session. So after this basic combat, and the goes without saying looting, the party decides to exit through another door, into a courtyard. This is where we found the final member of the party, a disgruntled Warblade guarding a door, which after some quite painful to watch role-playing joined the party.

This next combat is where I first introduced guns into play, and showed just how powerful they can be, almost knocking out the Duskblade in the first shot, and actually doing it on the second, of course they do take a round to reload, and with non-proficiency for the players they really aren't that powerful. This was also an important combat because it showed just what the Warblade was capable of, missing his first two attacks and then critical failing himself all the way down to -8. After the wrap up of this combat, and some generous healing potions on the guards corpses they were on their way to the exit, only one door and two guards on the other side stood in their way.

Of course these two guards were much better than the level ones they had previously been facing, and though they outnumbered them 5 to 2 they still thought long and hard about how they were going to do this. Their first plan was for the Warblade to go out and convince one of them to come, but after some failed bluff rolls, and decent sense motive checks they had no chance of coming in and it was time to get creative. He boosted out of there and they decided to simply gank the guards, death by swarm and all that. So slowly opening the door, the rogue missed his sneak attack, but the Warblade's bow found his mark, as did the Samurai's sword. The Totemist tried to rush by but was knocked to 0 HP by the attack of oppuritunity, and with his last effort got a bite on the non-wounded guard. Through a combination of good rolls on the part of the guards and bad rolls on the part of the players it ended with only the Duskblade and the Warblade up, each with about 5 health, versus the guard with about 3. It was fairly close at the end, but a lucky critical fail by the guard resulting in him falling down and it was all over.

And that is where it ended, more than half the party unconscious, and the rest not in exactly good shape, no way to transport there nearly dead friends and standing at the gate of the castle with two corpses. We'll see what happens next time, I'm sure it will be entertaining at the least.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First Party, First Session

Well, today was the first session, and it went moderately well. It was a little slow starting up, but once everyone not playing had gone we got some decent work done. We started off with brainstorming how the group would come together, and we decided on an old classic, they're in a guild together. Though the guild they have is pretty crappy, with their party being the only members. After that they decided to go looking for quests, and I told them about the bounties that I had created.

The party consists of:

Laxus Dreyar, Human Druid 2 with his trusty horse companion Buttercup
Fyiad, Half-Orc Dragonborn Red Dragon Shaman 2 with 6 intelligence
Lia Galanodel, Elf Ranger 2 with archery style
Bistechrn, Lesser Aasimar Bard 2 with 20 charisma

They started off by splitting up, always a bad idea, one half of the party going to find a thug hanging around in an alley, and the other half to go investigate some thievery. I had a little difficulty here as I tried to switch between the parties, allowing both to be doing stuff at the same time, which never really seems to work. So here we had the first real combat of the game, the dragon shaman and druid with heavy horse companion fighting a group of 4 orcs.

The battle was littered with misses and a spectacular critical fail on the part of the orc leader, which resulted in him knocking himself out and all the way down to -9, then failing his stabilization and bleeding out. The three basic orcs proved to be about the threat I thought they would, though an early lucky crit brought the druid down to -8, where the dragon shaman's aura kept him from dying. After dispatching the orcs, and a little bit of looting the rest of the party arrived from their investigations, they had decided to go to a upper class elf party in the hopes of catching the thief.

I'm not sure quite where this idea came from, but I let it slide, because I didn't really want them to waste their time. So I had the thief arrive at the party, acting shifty and the like, but a few failed sense motive checks later and I really had to tell them nothing was amiss. After the ranger decided to go and get the less stealthy of the party, the dragon shaman and druid, the party had come to a close, I had the thief try to run, and they of course decided to run after him, resulting in a chase scene which really could have been better. It ended with the druid, who got there first and alone, being stabbed to unconsciousness, again, and the dragon shaman coming to the rescue. After a lucky hit from the thief the dragon shaman was down to 0 health, though his aura granting fast healing 1 he was not doing too bad, especially after a series of 5s and 6s from me, and finally the ranger comes in, and finishes him with a couple of well aimed shots, with a little courage from the bard, and he was captured for next session.

And that was where we left off, the thief in chains and interrogation and presumably torture and murder soon to follow. Tomorrows group may take a completely different turn.