Monday, 30 June 2014

Gygax Magazine #3 contains a little more Sci-fi this time around. Ernie makes a contribution, but Luke is "missing." Where are you Luke?

Ernie and Benoist give us an Adventure Module: "The Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat'uul." It used to be a city of the Dwarves, until some Stone Giants crashed the party; typical. There are goblins, kobolds, stirges, spiders, rot grubs . . . the usual "pests" one finds. Then, of course, there are the "larger" problems. Well naturally there are Undead – what did you expect? It's a tomb!
Wolfgang Bauer follows up with the article: "Order of the Knights Incorporeal." It's written for the 13th Age RPG. Yes, that's right . . . incorporeal. And yes, it means just what it says; an army of the buggers. Ravenloft anyone? Yep, the "Ghost Knights" are a new villain for the game and yes, a Vampire is to blame for their existence. But then, aren't they always? Of course, Wolfgang does try to lay at least some of the blame at the feet of the Darakhul -- Ghouls of the Underworld. But then again, isn't that just like Wolfgang? Yeah, defending the Vampire, naturally. Now we can all stop wondering why we only see Bauer after the sun goes down. Mwahahahahahaha!
Tim Kask presents us with "Master Mariner," rules for running a gang of Pirates! I think Mike Bridges – a.k.a. "Mortellan" –  of Greyhawkery should take a look at this one, pirate fanatic that he IS. Is there anyone left who doesn't know about Mort's pirate campaign? If so . . . where the heck have you been!? Yeah, even Mike could come away with some ideas from this one.
James M. Ward presents a mini Adventure: "They All Died at the International Space Station." Sounds like a TPK in the making to me, if the players are not careful. It's Sci-fi, so I couldn't get that into it, but I like the way James presents it. Nice writing.
Jess Hartley presents a piece of Advice on how to rid yourself of a contentious Player. A Player invited their girl-friend to join the group, they have since split up and she's being "snippy" during their gaming sessions. I'd say the advised works well for ridding yourself of any Player who has – for some reason – become a problem for the group. A definite must for anyone experiencing this kind of problem in their game.
Ben Gerber presents an article on sock-puppet role playing for kids. Talk about "passing the baton." Sounds like a great way to introduce the next generation to the game.
Jayson Elliot presents a new Player Class for AD&D, the Airlancer, on page 12. The Class is for those of noble birth. Do you have a player that doesn't want their character to be of noble birth? These guys possess a unique ability . . . for when they've had one too many! Look it over, you may have found a new Class for your game.
James Carpio presents us with the dwarven Rune Priest for Dungeon Crawl Classics. I found the character interesting and may have to give one a try out. Like every character class, it has its advantages and its disadvantages. It's for you to decide if this guy is for your game and you can't determine that until you've read the article.
Michael Curtis offers an interesting take on Artifacts and their ability to impart Knowedge and Ancient Lore to the holder. This is quite different from the blatant destructive/curative power usually displayed by, or granted to, an artifact. Surely everyone knows that "knowledge is power?" Well, here it is . . . manifold.
The comics "Full Frontal Nerdity" and "Order of the Stick" make a return in this issue. I'm partial to Order of the Stick myself and in this edition they've been . . . REBOOTED! Holy Mackerel! Our favorite Bard – Elan – then starts talking about how when a Franchise runs out of ideas . . . they start over. Sound like any company you know? I doubt that Rich Burlew has run out of ideas – just yet – but it is a perfect analogy for our Hobby. ROFL
There are other articles to be read, for sure, but I just can't get into that much Science Fiction. Sure, I've watched Star Trek, but not every incarnation. Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, blah, I was never interested in those. Sword & Sorcery is my escapism outlet.
Still there's more good stuff in this edition of Gygax Magazine for people of my taste too. Each piece is well written; the Publishers are insuring that they use people with some talent, it's only with some subject matter that I loose interest. But taste vary widely, so dive in and enjoy!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Player Characters:
Arya Snow - Female half-elven Ranger, age 32, 5'4" tall, 135 lbs., white hair with black streaks, green eyes, left handed. Born in the County, she joined the guard, but quickly learned her skills were put to better use patrolling the County's wild places. She now patrols the wilds alone, slaying evil humanoids her favorite past-time.

Duran Lazerde - Male human Paladin of Heironeous, age 20, 6'4" tall, 220 lbs., blonde hair and blue eyes, left handed. Duran was born the second son of Duke Lazerde, Knight of Barovia and ruler of the fortified stronghold of Broque. He is on a Quest to spread the "light of Heironeous" to unbelievers. The polyglot of people gathered in Flen -- in an effort to cleanse the Earldom -- has drawn him here.

Quintus - Male human Kineticist, age unknown, 6'2" tall, 195 lbs., black hair and beard, grey eyes. Born to a prostitute in Estgant, he was abandoned upon the steps of the Church of St. Cuthbert. His talents were quickly recognized and he was trained by the Order of the Sanctified Mind. He strives to use his psionic abilities for the betterment of mankind.

Rowan Nigel - Female wood gnome, Druid, age unknown though she calls grown men "kid," she's 2'4" tall, 30 lbs., with black hair and blue eyes. Her family lived amidst the Grey Elves of the Vesve forest, north of the Deepstill River. Trained as a Druid by her mother and taught Alchemy by her father, Rowan served her community well. Then, ten months ago, a horde of Abyssal bats -- led by lesser Demons -- invaded her home, as part of the on-going fight with Iuz. Rowan's mother was slain by an Ogre named Iron Jaw. While her father and brothers rebuild their lives in the Vesve, Rowan pursues Iron Jaw, whom rumor says is heading south. It's been sometime since she's had word of the Ogre's movements.

Fiolas Duihm - Male human Fighter, age 26, 6' tall, 195 lbs., brown hair and hazel eyes, right handed. Fiolas was born and raised in the city of Niole Dra. He grew up learning to use the sword and soon moved to the city of Flen, where swords were much needed. He served as a member of the Guard, a job he enjoyed, but within a few years he found himself chosen to serve as the County's next Executioner. Quickly losing interest in such grisly work -- and having served out his enlistment -- Fiolas now seeks to make his own way in the world.

Bryce Woodkin – Male gnome, Scout and Cleric, age 72, height 3'3", weight 47 lbs., hair red, eyes green, left handed. Bryce was born in the Little Hills of the Yeomanry and is in service to the Countess. His family was killed in the raid on Kilm, having lived on one of the outlying farms. He's anxious for vengeance against the perpetrators of these foul acts and was eager to join the group in its endeavor.

The Non-Player Characters:

Tarn - Male human Rogue, age 21, 5'9" tall, and 168 lbs., blonde hair, and blue eyes, right handed. Tarn is the second son of the Head of the Thieves' Guild of Niole Dra. Finding his son in gambling trouble -- again -- Tarn was sent on a mission; to contact each of the Guild Houses within Keoland. Silver tokens were given to Tarn, identifying him as a trusted member of the Guild. Tarn has long since gambled the tokens away and cannot return to the Guild. He's travelled west in search of his own Destiny . . . and to avoid the wrath of the Guild. (former PC)

Worquin - Male human Cleric, age 24, 5'11" tall, 190 lbs., close cropped sandy blonde hair and blue eyes, right handed. A cleric of Trithereon, Worquin came north from Longspear -- in The Yeomanry -- when he learned of the razing of Kilm. It is his desire to bring "Justice" to those who would perpetrate such evil upon the innocent . . . though "Retribution" is closer to what the Cleric and his God actually have in mind.

Pharles Brightblade - Male human Fighter, age 30, 5'10" tall, 185 lbs., brown hair and blue eyes, right handed. Pharles is a Captain in the County's army and is second in command of the fortress of Godakin Keep.  He knew Duran Lazerde some years back, when the younger man was training to serve Heironeous. His mission is to protect the territory around Godakin Keep, but given the relationship with Duran, he will allow the heroes to use the Keep as their base of operations.

The Game so far:

Well, like all RPoL games, it's moving slow. It can take as much as a month to cover one game "day." Slow moving indeed.

So far, the group gathered in the city of Flen and headed out for Godakin's Keep.  They're "officially" investigating what happen at the hobniz village of Kilm, while surreptitiously searching for the Countess' son, Lord Garson. His disappearance is being kept a state secret, due to peculiarities of my particular game.

Before ever leaving the city the composition of the group changed, due to the disappearance of Players. RPoL Players are not the most reliable in the Gaming World, sadly. Still, I've managed to collect a few that are faithful and regular, so . . .
They spent the first day Gathering Information. Lord Garson's disappearance was only a "rumor," being a State Secret and all. Arya Snow (our Ranger) was able to get the skinny from a Sergeant in the Army with whom she is acquainted. Duran (our Paladin) once campaigned with Captain Pharles Brightblade – an Officer at Godakin's Keep – who happened to be in Flen that day.

Trusting Duran, Pharles explained the situation, including the need for secrecy, and told Duran he would see him and his companions at the Keep. Using the rest of the day to supply themselves, they set out for Godakin's Keep the next morning.

The first day out they ran into four Hobgoblins and five Goblins. Tarn (our Rogue), Quintus (our Psionicist), Arya, Duran and Rowan's Brixashulty (our Wood Gnome's riding goat) all suffered some damage; Arya Snow suffered the worse, falling into the negatives. She received some healing during the fight and was able to bring her bow back into the service of her companions. As the final goblin fled, Arya called out: "Go ahead and run, boy . . . You'll just die tired . . ." It did . . . die tired, that is. In the end, they overcame their foes and continued their journey southward.

The second day into their journey, they were rudely awakened by an Ettin! Fiolas Duihm (our Fighter) landed a solid blow right out of the box, as did Quintus (our Psionicist); with a Ray of Frost that caused almost max damage. Rowan (our Wood Gnome) then caused problems by casting Entanglement. Her spell failed to hold the Ettin in place, though it succeeded in preventing Duran (our Paladin) from charging with his warhorse. Also, in casting this spell, she failed to take into consideration that we did not have all that many ranged weapons among our number.

Duran decided to charge the Ettin on foot, testing his ability to avoid being Entangled, but only succeeded in giving the Ettin an Attack of Opportunity with its superior reach. The Ettin felled him with a single blow, dropping Duran to -8 hit points. Using a two weapon attack, the Ettin also did severe damage to Fiolas (our Fighter).

Tarn (our Rogue) managed to get close enough to Duran – without coming into the Ettin's ten foot reach – and poured a Cure Light Wounds down his throat, healing all the damage and bringing Duran back to 1 hit point.

The Ettin took a step back, to avoid Fiolas' sword and lost his Save roll, finally becoming Entangled by Rowan's spell. Everyone fell back at that point and resorted to bows, slings and crossbows to finish off the Ettin. On its next turn, the Ettin failed to break free of the entanglement and the companions were able to finish it off with some solid hits by the few ranged weapons they possessed.

All healing spells were used up getting everyone fit enough for travel and they saved the last two potions for emergencies. Fortunately, the rest of the day passed without event, even though I rolled random encounter dice, but only twice. They were pretty beat-up and I wasn't ready to kill anyone off.

They met Captain Brightblade at the Keep, the Captain having traveled by barge was able to travel without stop, and so arrived before our band of heroes. They received some additional healing, met up with a Cleric of Trithereon, named Worquin, who will now be traveling with them, providing healing for the group.

Arya Snow also met up with Bryce Woodkin, a Gnome Scout of her acquaintance and another PC. They've been Gathering Information, Listening and Spotting – have learned their lessons earlier – and picking up rumors from just about everyone.

A couple of more NPCs have entered the story, but will be confined to the Keep and will only play a role when the PCs are there. That's the update and I'm sorry it took so long, but as I said, the online game is slow moving.

Next, I'll be getting to that review of Gygax Magazine, Issue #3. More Science Fiction gaming in this one, so it was a tougher read for me. Also, I've read all my Manors, from Time Shorts over at Gothridge Manor, and enjoyed every one of them. I'll be getting to the Manor review as well.

Look for all of it in the next couple of days. A review of Nathan Irving's latest offering, from Secrets of the Shadowend, is also in the works, even though Erik Tenkar and others have beaten me to it.

Thanks for reading! And sorry I was gone for so long. Won't happen again . . . I hope!