Category Archives: #Bears!

Weekend Report, 27-28 Mar 16

Saturday Table, playing as Linka, Lost Mine of Phandelver, 27 Mar 16

Stream:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kjq7CfRWmLY

LinkaSketch10I wanted to delve more into Linka Windstorm’s character in this session.  However, there was some traveling salesman wanting to switch my energy supplier.  Note to those who need to work in that particular vocation:  Allow people to reschedule or have a card where you can apply online.  Some of us would be busy when you knock on our door. Like having dinner, or streaming a D&D session!

Linka is similar in nature to a certain famous Pandafolk Brewmaster (or rather Pandaren, and now she shakes her ample booty now since Blizzard committed the sin of caving to SJWs, on top of trying to get me addicted to Warcrack!  The company can blaspheme the Holy Ghost and be more redeemable in my sight now.) who’s not far from her ever flowing barrel of her homemade brew.  A brew she’d just looove to share with her crew, even to the point where she holds drinking contests with anyone in the tavern in Phandelver.  Makes for excellent opportunity for gathering information, which she does so with relish.  She also ranked third in the subsequent drinking contest.

The rest of the session dealt with facing the Redbrands directly, so they charged right into the hideout and took everyone out.  At this time, I was wondering how to play the game, and it deals with whatever or not treasure is combined or just claimed by whoever gets at it first.  Linka at this time is just someone who wanted to make sure that her needs are taken care off—and that she can keep buying the needed brew that she’s constantly drinking (Which comes in handy since she’s sharing tank duty, much to the chagrin of Linka’s poor hit points.  At Level 3, she can spend a ki point to get THP).

She’s also very boisterous, as illustrated at the start of the session, where she greeted the newcomer with a brew and a bear hug.  Then there’s the moment where she slapped someone in the back so she can get him to taste her custom draft.  This comes to no surprise then, when they found that waterproof satchel in the cistern (Area 1 on your maps) she just swan dived into the water, getting the satchel for herself and shaking off the water from her fur like a dog.  (She did the same to several pouches from the riff raff and a red cloak she thought was cute.)

I only wished that I wasn’t acting so autistic during this session, but then again, that damned telemarketer threw off my train of thought.

Sunday Table, Playing as Justin, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, 28 Jun 16

Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktdbdr5TvUY

I labeled the Video with a Caution, “Drama Ahead.”  I don’t use it in a denigrating tone, though.  Over the course of a day, someone gets emotional out of no thought of their own, and causes an otherwise decent session to get derailed.  I liken them as thunderstorms in interpersonal relations; it’s best to just lie low and let it blow over since you’re not a direct part of it.

This particular drama dealt with the splitting of the party since last week.  If it weren’t for the split, I would’ve told the NPCs to hold up so that the others can catch up, but Claire wanted to lead them to the keep, while the others were still interrogating the goblin.  Justin made a snap decision and went with Claire.

“Lathander told me to guide them to the keep, that’s all I have to say,” Justin said in his defense and just held his peace from there on out.  He managed to ignore the berating from the other party members (IMHO, both parties were in the right.) until Ildar’s mention of hamsters and Tail-Chasing caused him to fall on the ground laughing.  (The two must really like each other by all the bickering they give each other.)

Claire, however, went into what some might call histrionics in defending her actions.  Up to the point of salt.  When cussing on the table is heard, you can be sure that the Roleplaying has gone into Drama territories.  So much so that the poor player has been kicked out of the party afterward.  Regretful.  Justin really liked Claire.

The rest of the session proved a lot smoother thanks to hindsight and the lack of having to escort NPCs.  Justin managed to surprised people by showing a bit of healing magic combined with his usual engineering.  (If you haven’t seen his sheet. Justin got his connection to the arcane Weave through divine means, and while learning how to draw on this energy, he learned Cure Wounds and Healing Word, both of which may prove useful in a pinch.  There’s a chance that he’ll be a second healer in the party next week.

The main problem with the session wasn’t the drama, but the battle with the pair of Rat Swarms.  We were bottlenecked in a tunnel and weren’t properly prepared for battling swarms.  Justin had to use his healing skills in the encounter, which proved more useful than his hand crossbow.  He’ll make a note to find some other options for next week:

Chris Perkins brand Green Flame™ Alchemist Fire, anyone?

 

Dreams of the Red Wizards Recap, 2 Jul 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Bears, DMing at the seat of my pants, Constructive Critism

Good news: I managed to get a streaming session going. Bad News: Only 2 caracters showed up. A new regular who’s playing a Pandaren called Chou (using my own 5ed Custom race) and one of his friends who’s playing a goliath as a one shot. I didn’t want to play with just two people, but both me and the new regular just wanted to play, so I improvised a couple set up scenes to get Chou up with the other players. I had a perfect scene with the guards at the still-lockdown Daggerford, inspired by Christopher Titus:

Guard at Daggerford: “Step Through, Step Through, Step Through, HEY! You with the Goatee! I Don’t Like Your Look! Empty your pockets, take off your shoes, Panda you go ahead, YOU! {Puts on a rubber glove} I believe this search’s gonna be a bit more intensive…Hold on. {Picks up a 2-way radio.} Hello! Of course I let him through, he’s a Pandaren. Well, how would you know he’s not Chen Stormstout!?”

Yeah, how would he know Chou wasn’t a Stormstout. It ain’t like Faerun’s part of the Nexus, ain’t it? (Although I did create the Pandaren class as spiteful payback for Blizzard. Get my ass addicted to Heroes of the Storm, did they? Although I have to admit, this Friday I’m getting Charter Internet, and once I do I’m going to try to stream Heroes of the Storm for a regular streaming habit. I’m rambling here.)

I took the Pandaren and his one-time Goliath partner through a couple encounters, getting them to Level 2 in the process, and got him into a grand entrance with the rest of the team in time for a slobbernocker of an opening battle.

Not bad, and the two newest members of my playing audience liked what I was doing. And one of them even offered a bit of constructed criticism: While I was clearly stammering and stuttering in this session, they could tell that I was doing things more freely when I was just flying off the seat of my ass, and was a bit sketchier when I was referring to the module, reading parts of it when required. They suggested that I do more free-wheeling as a DM.

A little pause here to talk to those who want to bring a critique to me: This guy did it over Skype in a conversational format, listening to me as I respond to his criticism and digesting it, (I told them about my need to plan ahead for my campaign sessions, which is my MO here) and keep things without any snark above some light humor. This is how you do it if you want to criticize me. I’ve been ‘criticized’ for over two decades online, at times to the point of fearing posting anything because of the constant drivel, and when I hit the ban hammer on someone trying to give me some “Constructive Criticism,” more often than not it’s because of the vitriol and denigration they include into it. When someone claim that someone “Just can’t accept criticism,” often times it’s not on what’s being said, but the method and tone used. There’s a line between Criticism and an outright Flame, and some people can’t tell the difference. You’ll probably find them in comment sections of various social media, anonymous Image Boards, Amazon and Goodreads reviews, and the like. They bewail the part about people wilting like too-fragile-to-live flowers at one little criticizing word, and weep over books they refuse to read, or artwork they refuse to see getting wall to wall positive reviews, and that the whole world is full of weak-spined and thin-skinned wimps who can’t take it without crying like autistic babies.   My personal favorite is TV Tropes locking their Chris-Chan page and people complaining that the site’s officially gone to Hell.  Unfortunately, they don’t want to see their own reflection in the mirror.

Back to my Roll20 table. I hope to get everyone in my table next week, I hope. Those who do Virtual Tables knows how much this is like hearding cats. (I call it, things I struggle through on the way to a Twitch Channel that pays.) When they do—I have to say ‘when’—I have a perfect restart of the Dreams of the Red Wizards campaigns and hopefully get back to regular streaming.

Especially when I get my Charter Internet. Need it for the speed.

Encounters Update: 10 May 15

Trigger Warning: Spoilers, Smurfs, Bears, DM being a d*ck, and Bill and Ted reference.

Yes, it’s about this time when I start cranking on some of the jerkdom as I crank up the difficulty. As the line says, “Give them the sun, make them fight for the Moon.” They’re at the part where they’re fighting for the moon.

This comes into play as I’ve get them to clear the B1 of the Sacred Stone Monastery, and further down into what I’m calling “The Temple of the Elements,” which is usually called “The Temple of Elemental Evil.” This is due of me not being focusing on the nine Alignments, I don’t call Elemental energies as Evil or Good; only the way it is used. In an Elemental Evil like adventure like Princes of the Apocalypse, there are Elemental brings that with to use the Elements for nihilistic goals, and thus provide the Evil in the campaign. I can see a faction like the Emerald Enclave or the Order of the Gauntlet send adventuring parties into this Temple dungeon regularly to ensure that these beings don’t make a resurgence. Also in the campaign, the main goal is to deal with just one of the four Elemental brings. That will give this module a lot of replayability as the other three Elementals need to be dealt with.

That, and there’s also the upcoming Rise of Tiamat to deal with.

2015-06-14 01_45_28-ApplicationWindowIn the previous post, I gave you a report on one of the PCs (played by Kyle, who is also in my Dreams of the Red Wizards campaign) being turned into an honest-to-god Smurf, complete with blue skin, and all white outfits…and the compulsion to dance whenever Fibbler (Spoony Bard PC of one of my older players) plays with his fiddle.

I even made him a card that describes his doubled curse. Yes, he needs to have Remove Curse cast on him…twice.   He gets the “Your Skin Turns Blue” again, he shrinks down to three inches tall and you need a Wish to undo it.

That’s not all of what I do.

In one of the rooms in the floor, I put in a whole lot of mushrooms. Magic mushrooms? Perhaps, Perhaps. However, I added a part that the Drow-turned-Smurf is overcome with the desire to stay in the room and call it home. Cue some comical scenes where the other party members hogtie the blue boy and eventually spit out a Lesser Restoration to counter that effect.

By now this guy, is starting to hate me.

I love my job.

But that’s not the part that raised my ire.

This is.

DeathNoteTheMusicalSomeone, brought a Death Note in my table! Not just that, the party actually used that to predict the death of a named character.

That, sadly, means that they can use the Death Note in the campaign. I have to put my foot down and claim that it can’t be used IRL. And claim that it’s because I beaten Death in a particularly nasty game of Twister. I’ll let you figure out the reference.

Of course, if they use it, it’s going to have dire circumstances, so they have better be careful using it. It could be another reason why someone will have to make another character.

2015-06-14 03_11_04-Statblock exampleLast but not least, I have the druid back at the table, and so I included a bear companion (They keep chanting “Needs Moar Bear!”) for the kid, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, I added a little cutscene of said bear waltzing into the Monastery, and in an opportune moment in a combat, I have that bugger chase some extra human shields into the party’s way. Much to the crowd’s delight.

I also included a printout of the specialty created Monster Manual entry for the bear in question. After an extensive search for a decent stat block creator that at least looks close enough to the published books, I chose a new Statblock markup that is found in github. It requires Chrome for it to work right, which is its sole down side, but it’s a small sacrifice for a decent finished graphic to use in my plans and future modules. I hope they work on this some more and employ a better entry interface for this, because this is the closest to the Monster Manual stat block, and by far the easiest for me to read.

Encounters Recap; Dated 3 JUN 2015

Trigger Warning: Spoilers, Fast Zombies, Extended Rest in a prison cell, and an exclusive cutscene.

There wasn’t any Thursday online group because someone fell ill, so it’s just my Encounters table here.

The heroes recovered from their impromptu Umbra Hulk encounter to find themselves in a lair above a trap door that has clearly seen a lot of use, judging from all the organic debris scattered about. I made the west door rusted shut—by now I’m not making things that easy; that door leads straight to the Temple of Black Earth—so the party headed over to the east door.

A door that someone Leroy Jenkined through.

Right into a crypt full of zombies.

My custom made fast zombies.

Needless to say, that little bugger booked it back to the party, with eight zombies running right on his heels. Laughter and Initiative rolls ensued.

They progressed through the main entry room with three Orogs and an Ogre, and found a pair of keys (I guess the monks believed in always having a spare key available, I know I do.) One of which opened the prison cells, whom they said that someone from the delegation (the same group that was lost in the outskirts of Beliard) is somewhere on the floor and needs rescuing. Once they led the party members out, the party in their infinite wisdom, decided that sleeping in the cells was a good idea.

I thought about Jurth meeting them when they woke up would be a good idea, but then I thought, it’s about 15 minutes left in the campaign, let’s have Quarbo and his friends deal with them. I would’ve put down the hurt with shatter if the party haven’t saved.

But in afterthought, I realized that I really wanted to clear the Sacred Stone Monastery of Cultists and monks because I want to use it for something else. In this encounter, I introduced in name, if not in person, a hero Lich named Renwick Caradoon. He’s a rare case that he hadn’t acquired lichhood not from necrotic magic, but from a mistaken potion from his brother. “We had a collective whoops together,” he had written in a book that he posted in his eventual tomb.”

He takes a role in this cutscene which I haven’t included because the Druid wasn’t there:


 

The monastery was quiet for the bear. Too quiet.

He could hear the commotion that was battle and he felt a tad disappointed in not being in it.

Then his senses perked up, he felt a connection with one of that party strengthen. The druid that befriended him. He knew that the Druid would need his help, his protection, and his company.

But as he bounded around the monastery, he couldn’t find a way in. All of the doors were closed shut, and even with his strength, he couldn’t crash one in.

But as he rounded a corner for the last time, wondering about giving up, he noticed a door being open for him. He went through.

The bear entered the older part of the monastery, detailed very different from the rest of the building. However, the bear didn’t notice anything except the effervescent scent of undeath. The lower part of a tower is fitted out as a laboratory, with work tables covered in alchemical apparatuses and shelves full of strange curios and dusty clay jars. The windows are bricked up, and cobwebs hand thick in the ceiling corners. The only light comes from glowing crystals placed on the walls and floating about in random locations.

The bear sniffed very cautiously at the ancient figure leaning back in his chair. He was taking a break from his tomes and notes with a Sudoku puzzle. He looks up at the bear, and although it was a face that is several centuries older than a human being should look like, there was no malice in this being’s ancient eyes. Just an acknowledgement of the bear’s existence.

“Your friends might need your help,” he said to the bear, who merely huffed. The bear looked around and found a staircase leading down.

“Yes, they’re down there.” The Lich said, as he pulled out something from a desk to his side, a glowing golden amulet. He got up and handed it to the bear. “Take this to them, it’ll come in handy.”

The bear thought about it for a moment. He sniffed at the amulet, and noticed that it wasn’t like the lich itself. Maybe the lich is powerful enough not to need it. He didn’t think about why such a being would just hand him something, but he did take the amulet in his mouth and bounded down the stairs.

The Lich just returned to his chair and continued his Sudoku puzzle.

Encounters Recap: 29 Apr 15

Trigger Warning: Spoilers, new guy coming in, High School Melodrama,  Godless Killing Machines. I consider the third one a personal trigger. I’m not going to discuss what I and the high school students talked about before the session because I don’t want them to catch hell. I will say this to the Faculty of Granite City High School: Your computer network security sucks and you need new passwords. Let’s move on to the recap.

The Colbert Report excerpts are quite necessary, as you will see. This session also introduced Player 11 to the game: James, one of the older Magic players, has decided to make the switch over to D&D, and created Jim, a Monk with a much needed offensive umph (Flurry of Blows with an extra Unarmed Strike…with an enhanced initiative.) He proved quite an asset in the three combat encounters as the party moved North toward Beliard. With a bit of a humorous, if not completely annoying, angle:

That bear in the Bears and Bandits encounter has returned, at first in the distance toking on a beehive…and then Scott, one of the kids on the table, whistled over to the Godless Killing Machine…just as they were about to stealthily sneak up to a bunch of cultists whom I placed around that wagon I so kindly left for the party. The older party members want to throttle him. I even let one try to attack him for 1d4 non-lethal damage. Something tells me I should supply more piko piko hammers and giant paper fans in “In Case of Idiot, break glass” boxes.

They were pushing it with an Animal Handling check to pet the bear…and a couple Nat 20s had him lying on the back being group snuggle. But the bear had enough and sauntered off. (Can’t say a blame him. Someone wanted him to drive the cart.) And all the time for the rest of the campaign, they wanted that bear to come back to him. And I’ll probably be hearing it from here until the end of the campaign, “We want Bear! We want Bear! We want Bear!” I could just see Stephen Cobert waking up in a cold sweat, screaming like a little girl.

Something tells me that, as well as upping the difficulty of some encounters by adding a minion jump-in mechanic (especially when you get three Nat 20s in the Initiative roll, not counting the new guy!) that this bear might come back to play with the party…in some unexpected ways. You know what they say; “Give the players the sun and make them fight for the moon.”

Will I be using this bear for good….or for eeeeeevil……zombie bear? Bear developing a taste for cultists? Bear raiding party’s picnic baskets? This will be triggering to Stephen Colbert, but the party has not seen the last of that bear!

On an unrelated note, I refer to this Link: http://daegames.blogspot.com/2015/04/dungeon-world-artifacts.html Since the DMG doesn’t have much in artifacts outside of the usual suspects “The Hand and Eye of Venca? Seriously?” but it encourages you to make your own. However, I didn’t exactly have the desire to build one by their guidelines. Instead, I had in my mind the idea of having artifacts that start small and then grow along with the player, gaining abilities and quirks as he progresses through the campaign.

It not a new concept; 4th Edition has artifacts with Concordance, which goes up and down according to how much in sync the character is with the artifact. In the linked blog article, the artifact gains XP much like with the player (in Dungeon World, you only gain 1 XP at a time, and if you get 7+your Level in XP, you Level up. Correct me if I’m wrong here.)

The way I do it is different. I let you build your backstory in a character, and if the backstory involves a certain weapon or trinket, I’ll haggle with you to make it your Artifact. When you enter the campaign, it’s little more than a basic non-magical weapon or trinket, and maybe a small ability to go with it (such as being able to call it to your hand a la Mjonir.) As your character goes through his adventures, you can gain abilities for your weapon in story events, and I’ll include a feature card to go with your weapon.

A prime example would be what happened in last week’s session. They were in the Haunted Crypt and one of my guys, who has an artifact sword his village has given him, were parlaying with a Ghost over how to cure someone of the Zombie Virus. And he rolled a Nat 20, which changes the path of the campaign. (I love it when the people in the table decide on a rail for me; makes things a lot easier.) I added something for his weapon: The ghost decided that the party didn’t really want to do any evil actions such as raiding a tomb and decided to further steer them clear of the Dark Forces, so he went into the sword. (Which is quite roomy, if I say so.)

The result is a sword that has acquired sentience through the spirit haunting the sword, it also became a +1 Magic Sword. The sword’s personality is that of the Lawful Neutral spirit, and as long as the character doesn’t do anything Evil or Chaotic, it shouldn’t give him any problems. (Read: The sword can’t be drawn from its scabbard if he’s doing anything stupid.)

There’s another guy who has an artifact weapon in my table, and I’ll let you know how his weapon-trinket turns into. Now if you excuse me, I need to set up the next Encounters season…and probably make a Ursine player race for my Customized Forgotten Realms.  I just know that someone would want to roleplay a Bear PC.