Saturday, June 22, 2019

more on session #3

From the Journal of Sapphean Gratchit, the wandering blue mage:

It is so great to be out of that stuffy library. Teaching is hard. I do love my compatriot Mr. Sleet and his enthusiasm for collecting spells. No matter how much I try it is just so exhausting to use spells that others learn from books. It is so much easier to just steal the abilities of monsters. As I was pacing the walls of my room the other day, I decided that it was time to move on. Riff Raff, my only student, was intent on following me even after explaining that we may never make it back from wandering the world and possibly other worlds.

We headed South for a long time. After a rather uneventful journey, Riff Raff and I found ourselves finally at the Happy Hearth Inn where we heard tale of a nearby Tombs that seemed just like the sort of thing we were looking for. I was ready to leave right away and as luck would have it a group of would-be delvers were gearing up to go in the morning.

My companions were as follows: Javert the Mage, Ms. Jovivi the Mage, Xergal the divine mage, Coco the Cat Person( who I assume is also a mage but could not be bothered to use any spells during this dungeon delve), and there was a hireling Illya Viktorovich, who proved to be quite useful with her treasure chest opening magic.

Our group of mages made its way up the nearby river and then headed into a dense forest. After a short travel, the entrances to the Tombs Lie before us. We had set out to continue the looting of the second Tomb, which I will henceforth call the Tomb of Bugmen and Yellow Mold, or ToBY for short. AS we ventured into ToBY it was made known that there was already a map of some of the northwestern area and so I decided to lead us eastward toward what was probably more likely to be treasure since it seemed no one had been there yet. After failing myself to open the door and Illya apparently unsuccessful some sort of door magic, someone else opened the door but I had moved to the back and was looking through my pack to see what I still had on me from my previous adventuring, so I am not sure who it was. The door opened into a room where half a dozen small bug men seemed to be in the middle of playing a game of card stacking. The bug men could not speak but we decided to join them in their game after realizing that we could possibly win some coin from it and with the help of Ms. Jovivi’s telepathy of sorts were able to comprehend slightly what the bug men were thinking. The game was quite fun and involved stacking the cards up as high as possible without someone knocking it over. I believe it was said that it resembled a game from someone’s youth called Jenga. This went on for a few rounds and the bug men who were knocked out of the game served us refreshments that tasted quite bitter but was enjoyable. This continued until Coco the Cat Mage tried to cheat with what he calls his “holy lantern”. Although I must say it did not seem that useful of a lantern really as it only lit up a small dot way across the room. He pointed the dot directly in the eyes of the bug man who was going which disrupted his turn but it was sort of obvious he had done it and then after a quick and angry few chitters from him to his friends we found ourselves at small knife point. The bug men got in a few slices before I decided to try to daze them all with something I had gotten from some fox person long ago. I placed the dazzling display right above 3 of them who had surrounded Coco successfully stunning them, but I also ensnared my new partner as well. I ran as fast as I could to his aid for I know what people do to those who cannot defend themselves, and then I stabbed a bug man in the neck killing him instantly. I managed to stave off an attack headed for Coco in the following fray and after a terrible blunder by one of the bug men slipping on his own cards and being rushed by everyone the melee was quickly over. We tossed the room now that there was no one around. There wasn’t much, just a cask of the bug ale and the betting money. In the pile of money though there was a fire maker that had “FUCK VECNA” inscribed on the side. I swear that I have seen that before in my time around Vyzor. Someone from there must have made their way here as well! I also tied up one of the bug men because we wanted to see if we could use him later. He proved to just be a hassle. I did contemplate about consuming the corpse of one of the bug men to see if they had any interesting innate qualities, but they also seemed rather weak, so I thought better of it. Also, maybe not the best first impression to make in a new place.

We continued on to the west as we had travelled some way east and perhaps we could connect the parts of the map that were missing to where we currently were. This seems to be true although we never confirmed it wholly as I explored with my ability to see in the dark the room appeared to be identical to the room on the map that Javert and his first expedition explored. He was certain of this as he stared at the walls which he said described a ritual of burial rites. Finally, we came to the large crack in the floor that looked like it went down into the next level, but it smelled of rotting flesh. Someone had the magnificent idea to toss one of the bug corpses down to see if there was anything in the hole. That was a bad idea because a yellow spray came gushing out and everyone stepped back in time except for Ms. Jovivi who inhaled a heaping lungful of the foul stuff. She almost immediately collapsed and being someone who has intentionally poisoned myself before I was luckily carrying some of Pete Loudly’s Anti-Venom on me. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work but it was worth a shot over a life. I popped the stopper off with haste ran to her and forced her to swallow it. I think I was just in time as a mixture of yellow and green got spat up all over her fine clothing. What an amazing woman she is because she got right up and started discussing how we ought to get down into the hole. I volunteered as someone who can easily traverse vertical surfaces, thank you very much weird spider dwarves. I climbed down to see that it was a room full of terrible yellow mold there was a door and in the corner, A CHEST! I quickly hurried back up to my comrades and was able to procure several oil flasks from Javert. The yellow mold was quickly dispatched by tossing the oil onto it and burning it away quite quickly. Now that the mold wasn’t a problem, I foolishly dropped my guard for a moment and set foot in the middle of the chamber to walk over to the chest. Immediately many skeletons rose and started to come after me. I turned to flee, and they got a few claws in my back before I could make it up the wall to safety. After emerging at the top, the divine mage Xergal cast a wondrous exploding bones spell and the skeletons were no more. I would love to be able to do that myself, but I am not sure that I could survive getting my bones blown apart while they are still inside me… perhaps we will come back to that another time. With the skeletons dispatched I went down and threw my arms around the chest so that I could be pulled back up with our loot. The hireling Illya stepped out of the shadows for a moment to do her thing with the chest magic. Alas, I am unable to learn things like that because they can’t be used on me. Perhaps, I could have someone transform me into a locked chest sometime and then I could know how to do it. I will have to ask Barnabas about that sometime. Or maybe even Pete Loudly, he seems to be quite knowledgeable, and has few moral qualms, I think… Anyway, the chest opened to reveal a massive pile of gold. A great haul for our first adventure into the tombs. However, that was not all. There was also a black wand with a skull on top. I really don’t care that much about gold but I wondered if any of the other mages wanted to use it. After all, I was just a stranger here for the first time. What luck I have though none of these mages wished to touch what they thought might be an evil relic. I snatched it up and could feel the power that it contained. Score. I felt bad though so I let them have the rest of what my share would have been of the coin. After that, we thought it best to return for the time being to the Inn where we could refresh ourselves and get a good rest so that we might try again soon. A rather uneventful return later I wanted to celebrate and went on for a night of drinking. I brought along the Cat Mage Coco and paid for his night out as well, for he seemed to need it after the shock from getting dazzled by my spell. All is well though and Coco even went off at the end of the night with a pretty, young cat lady. I hope he had a good time. I myself went back to the room that Riff Raff and I are staying in and slept a good long sleep until midday. This place seems like it is going to be quite lively and I just can not wait for the next time we get to go. I think I will try to let Riff Raff go and figure things out on his own. He needs the experience.

Javert's Maps of Tomb 2, levels 1 and 2

From Javert's journal:

In seeking another expedition, our companions rejoined the call to journey to Tomb No. 2:

· Xergal, the Acolyte the Temple of Damrak-Against-Rodukal.
· Sapphean Gratchit, the blue mage
· Ms. Kallisto Jovivi
· Coco, a Cat Fighter
· Javert the Mage

Prior to the trip, Javert the Mage spends fifty of his gold on the services of one expert lock pick, Ilya Viktorovich. Then, under the vermilion skies of morning, the brief expedition arrived upon the burial spot of Tomb No. 2.

After descending the slight cyclopean stairs of the tomb, the party decided to proceed east and explore the dark passages that proceed into the void further, led by Sapphean Gratchit. Some distance through the ancient tomb work, the party encountered a room occupied by bug people. Chittering wildly, the bug people seemed singularly engaged in a competitive round of precarious card stacking.

Some coin lay close by on a table, clearly unguarded.

Through Ms. Jovivi’s telepathic auspices, the party requests to join in the game. After a brief bug deliberation, the party is allowed to make bets. After a couple successful passes, Coco grows restless and decided to liven things up. Using a laser pointer, the Cat-Person distracts a Bug-Person stacking cards. Predictably, calamity ensues, and with knives drawn the Bug people turn hostile.

After stealing coin, a freak-out suffered by Coco induced by the Blue Mage’s color spray spell, and a brief melee that resulted in the death of most of the bug people, the party sets off through the double doors to the west...

The party then finds a large room cut by a cynosure crack in the floor, out of which surges strange noxious fumes. By dropping a bug body down the crevasse, the party discovers it’s infested by yellow mold. Sapphean saves Ms. Jovivi from a moldy death in the nick of time with an anti-poison. Wiping the spittle from her yawning chin, Ms. Jovivi presses forward undeterred.

Upon further investigation, the party finds the crack leads down to an undiscovered level of the tomb. Sapphean, clears the vault below of yellow mold through fire, then spider climbs down to investigate a seemingly unguarded treasure chest. It is then suddenly animated skeletons, clearly perturbed into restlessness by Sapphean’s feet, set him upon. Fearing for his life, the Blue Mage escapes with his robes tattered by bony claws ready to rend. Sensing an opportunity to demonstrate the power of his god, Xergal destroys the undead with potent magics.

Having hauled up the chest and made their escape, the party returns home. Coco and Sapphean look forward to a hard earned night of carousing and the party is left to contemplate their next move.

Earned Treasure:

· Sappheon acquires a wand! Clearly evil of black obsidian and a yellow skull, it enables him to command the undead.
· Ms. Jovivi takes two plain daggers from the haul.
· Javert obtains an ancient Zippo brand lighter with the words ‘FUCK VECNA’ stamped on its side.
· Each of the party procures 161 GP from the loot they obtained.

Lost Tombs, session #3

So last night Javert the Magic-User led a second expedition to Tomb #2.

The mysterious mage Kallisto Jovivi, Ms. Jovivi if you're nasty. 

Ms. Jovivi's addendum to the map of Tomb #2.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

more illos from Nick!

The delightful and talented Nick Kuntz has contributed two more illustrations to the story of the Lost Tombs.  Thanks, Nick! 

Eyeri the Young riding her ambulatory brain
(No horses in this setting, if you purchase a mount you roll on a d30 chart.)

Skullmak the Sorcerous, hireling slain in session #1

Lost Tombs session 2

No session recap from a player yet, but here's a map by Perttu Vedenoja:

And here's a sweet illo depicting an encounter with some sort of purple thing, courtesy John Sarracino:

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Lost Tombs session #1

So I've decided that I am not going to attempt a recap of my own after every session.  I'm not sure I have the time to do that sort of work justice.  However, I have put a bounty of your PCs current level x100 xp on any of the following items:

  • a session report written from the PC's
  • an illo relevant to the session (even just a PC selfie)
  • a map to share
So here's what I have to share on behalf of the party, at least so far:

Eyeri the Young Magic-User and their familiar Slith

Grenthor the Half-Dragon's Account

Tumero Uno
[It is a known fact that there are multiple tombs in the region. The party declared the one they visited "Tumero Uno." -Jeff]

[Shoe: Magpie; Nick: Iree; Matt: Ricky Prosecco; Adam: Grethnor]

Immediately after entering we have a birthday party for Magpie! She
levels up! Loooong stair to misty room, feel our way to NW corner.
Magpie heads out holding string into circle of six swordsmen(?) in metal
armor with torches, who hear her. We avoid them and south there are are
double doors.

Skullmac uses his Read Languages to discover "The Death of Ten Thousand
Dooms Be Upon Him Who Disturbs The Tomb of Lysoc the Conqueror."

Another double door with a witch (striped leggings, buckled shoes) with a
soup that smells awful. But it tastes good! Grethnor drinks a bowl and
introduces himself. She gives Magpie a lime candy. Magpie sneaks off
to heist a taxidermied cat and we find exit door behind tapestries. The
witch is apparently named Granny now. Ricky drinks a potion of heroism
and has extra sleep spells.

She says Lysoc is very grumpy and on the third or fourth level. LRR:
gnomes; LRL: skeletons. All skeletons look alike to her. Watch out
for the skeleton king.

We find three gnome janitors following the instructions (past an
upstairs with a glowy magical light at the top), and Ricky puts them to
sleep. We steal a belt buckle and two rings. Then we find some giant
rats whom Magpie befriends. She discovers that Granny gave her a magic
glove! It dispels illusions and if it can be protect-from-evil-ed she
can become invisible to it.

Then she and Iree's pseudodragon head down the rathole. They do some
exploring, find a nest (no babies), a tunnel leading down to "spooky
levels", a round room with a black column of eeeevil and four steel
skeletons. We go exploring some more and Grethnor uses an "Abstention
Of The Written Path" to find a secret door. Skullmac opens it and is
immediately eaten by some horrible lumpy furry beast with a skull face.
A short combat ensues and Grethnor buzzsaws it in half.

Sumptuous bedchamber behind the secret door. Painting of an arrogant
wizard with a safe (which we cannot open) behind it. Time to get out.
The gnomes are fighting, and Ricky puts them to sleep again. We get out
without further incident, bearing Skullmac's body; we pay double to the
guild for his burial and each end up with 200GP and 388XP.

Grenthor's Map

One Other Thing

Nick has kindly started a PC roster like we used in the Vaults of Vyzor game.  This helped everyone keep track of the adventurers lounging about the base area.  It's not a requirement that you use it, but I think it's a good idea.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Quick Campaign Update

So forty people have signed up for the campaign.  That was fast.  This means it might be several sessions before your turn comes up.  My goal will be to get everybody a chance to play as soon as possible, but in order to maintain some continuity from session to session, I plan to invite a person or two from a previous expedition.

Emails inviting people to the first session (which will be the early Saturday slot) will be going out shortly.

In the questionnaire I asked "Are there any particular concerns, needs, or questions that need to be addressed in order for you to enjoy the game?"  I'm going to respond to some of the answers here, without naming names as to who asked them.

I'd expect that things like bigotry and explicit sexual violence are pretty much verboten at any open table, but I'm pretty comfortable with most stuff.

Yeah, that sort of thing is definitely not my scene.  But if anything in play ever crosses a line for anyone, just say so.  The point of the campaign is to have fun times, after all.

My schedule is flaky because of kids and also OK to sign up if I'm not sure about my availability? Weekends are harder to plan for weeks/months in advance and similar concerns

No prob.  If you can't play when your number comes up, efforts will be made to ensure you get another opportunity soon thereafter.

I have small children, so I cannot guarantee that I will never have to respond to the occasional small scale disaster during game time. I would absolutely try to minimize the impact on game play.

Again, no big deal.  Parenting takes priority over a silly game.

I have not yet played a game online.

If you've got a stable internet connection, a microphone and a camera (even just the built-in stuff in a laptop), you should be fine.  I don't use a virtual tactical display or even online die rollers.  It's really just video chat with dice rolling.

Trying to tone down my intake of heavy violence lately... obviously not asking for a toothless game, but it'd be nice if we stayed a bit short of Death Love Doom territory...

I do use some somewhat graphic critical hits, but they are usually less like a Lamentations of the Flame Princess illo and more along the lines of the Black Knight from Monty Python.  Feel free to remind me to tone it down at the start of a session and I'll do my best.  (True story:  Once I showed that Python scene while teaching a unit on King Arthur and it didn't even occur to me that it might shock some of the students, none of whom had seen it before.  I apologized afterwards for not warning them.)

Can I be human variant who's a hermaphrodite, can change sex over a period of a couple of hours? Thanks

Yes, please do!  I want that character in my game!

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Arise from your grave!

Guess who has a full draft of his dissertation and a hankering to play some D&D?

The new campaign is called Lost Tombs of the Western Kingdom.  As with most of my previous outings, it will be a dungeon-centric FLAILSNAILS affair.  You can read more details here:

The game will be run on google hangouts in 2 hour sessions.  What exact day and time will vary from session to session, with morning, afternoon, and evening possibilities.  If you'd like to sign up to play, please fill out this form:

I hope to start this coming weekend.  Please join the fun!

Over the weekend I was reading S. John Ross's tweets about his Encounter Critical campaign at the same time I was wondering how hard it is to set up a storefront on  Turns out it is not very hard at all.  So now you can download my Encounter Critical module Asteroid 1618 from drivethru: