Category Archives: Sword Coast Legends

Sword Coast Legends, initial perceptions and recording schemes.

Last Weekend I got invited into the Sword Coast Legends Headstart Weekends. Most people who prepaid for the game have because they keep moving the release date ahead. I’m currently hoping that the game will be launched sometime before Christmas. Nevertheless, I was going to use these weekends to get used to the UI, play a bit of Single Player, Multiplayer, and DM mode, and see if I can get the game streamed or recorded online. The last part is why I got the game in the first place, after all.

A heads up here: You’re reading the experiences of a forty something on the Autism Spectrum, so when you see my gameplay, don’t expect someone playing the game like a piano concert player. Expect a lot of pauses while I stop and fucking think.

Needless to say, the space key to pause the game and make tactical plans has become my new best friend.

I’ll start with the user interface. For someone like me who is used to “Over the Shoulder” point of view, such as DDO and Neverwinter, or point and click movements such as with most MOBA, SCL has some winkles the needs a bit of a curve. Your mouse points and clicks on the screen for the characters to move, attack, talk, and use items, sure enough. But (for now) the camera doesn’t follow the party. You have to move the camera with WASD and rotate the cameras with Q and E, and at times you have to do this and the mouse at the same time. Like I said, younger people and those who are in professional gaming teams that play in arenas and broadcasted on Twitch can do this a lot better than me. Nevertheless, I managed to get the hang of it, especially if I don’t really need to “Gotta go fast.”

Like I said before, using that space key to pause the game is very important. Thank the Gods that the characters can run on automatic so you don’t have to make every move in the game (This ain’t Final Fantasy, people!) but when the characters are in a jam, and they will get into a jam, you hit pause and tell the characters to drink a potion or stabilize someone who got KOed (The Gears of War save, you know.) Although there are some situations that not even that will save the party, like aggroing several demons at the same time. Or encountering a black ooze that was concealed oh so creatively as part of the floor.

A final grace: There’s no real TPK. A party wipe will result in the party respawning at the start of the area you’re in. You can effectively Zerg a big troubling encounter if you must. At least for now; I think that the devs would want to penalize this.

There’s a reason why I have an Injury Die for my tabletop play.

Maybe tomorrow, I’d like to start with DM Mode and play with that for a while. I still have a day left in this particular Headstart Weekend. But now I turn to providing my first Let’s Play series.

I initially wanted to stream the game on Twitch. However, even with an AMD A10, my sole quad-core can only do so much. I tried to use OBS with Sword Coast Legends, but only managed to Blue Screen Windows 10—Achievement Unlocked!!—too many times.   So I need to switch to recording the gameplay and editing it. Getting screen recording programs and Movie Plus would be simple for me. And I’ll have plenty of time to practice splicing videos together and putting in whatever annotations I need before the work begins.

I’ll let you know of more progress as I make them, but I’ll end now with a thank you from Kyle, from my Encounters table and in Roll20 for a time. I bartered with him for a used widescreen 1080p monitor for my computer which is a godsend. I needed more monitor real estate for my notes. But now I have to remake my whole twitch graphics to suit the wider screen. Labor of love, I say.

Dreams of the Red Wizards update, dated 24 Sep 15

Trigger warnings: Spoilers, Characters getting crude, players being stupid, and a near TPK

After touching base with both the farm that they bought between Daggerford and Waterdeep—Drow Alchemist Marcion has already settled into place and set up a greenhouse that simulates an underground environment to boot—and the Fountain inn at Waterdeep—they ran into Aovyneth who is about to set up a portal between the two cities—they proceeded to Phylund Lodge.

Where a small army of gnolls lead by a Red Wizard of Thay (Thegger Grynn by name) proceeded to knock out half of the party because they were stupid enough not to call for a Short Rest and heal up after an ambush from a previous encounter with a Gnoll hunting party. All because one of the party keep complaining about the rather nasty rash—and a loss of a particular appendage—brought up by a goblin in a pig sty. Act like a shock porn star on my table and pay the price, peeps.

I managed to KO three characters and almost had my first real TPK before a well-placed Fireball took care of things. Swapping out some nail-bedded boards with the traditional bucket of water over some doors was a nice touch.

I didn’t tell them everything about what the places in the upper part of the Lodge had. As some would remember, the second floor was built on top of two buildings and you can walk on the lawn underneath. I did, however, thanks to a miss read about a detonating page, let them have Thegger’s Spellbook, which not only had a good amount of spells, but a list of what he was doing. Some might need some translation—it was in Thayan—but it shows that the Red Wizards do have their schemes toward a certain keep, with a certain demon—Baazka—and a possessed gnoll that is underneath the mansion by name of Flubnak. Will they take care of the demon or go back to Daggerford to connect some dots? Who knows?

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on streaming setup with Sword Coast Legends, and I found out the hard way that it’s not goign to work, especially with the quality I’d want to be.  However, I’m not without options.  I can easily record the playfield for either Veoh or Youtube.  I’m guessing Youtube because I’m only intend on recording the game itself and not anything that Youtube gets triggered so much.

Out of the Abyss Enounters, 23 Sep 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Experimenting with the Event Deck, Ad Libbing out of my asshole.

Today starts the Party’s quest to get the bleep out of the Underdark, while the place is in Nutking Futz mode, all the while with the Drow from Velkynvelve in hot pursuit. The party once got out of a jam by using Wind Walk (from the Prayer Beads that they picked up from the previous campaign; remind me to nerf that while they’re still down there) which kept them some steps ahead of the drow, so that they can focus more on getting to Blingdenstone, and the nearest place to go back to the surface.

My method of travel had several stages per day, a stage to tell what lighting they’ll use, if they lost their way, if they could find food, and two possible events.  In some cases, I draw cards until I get a number card, and if it’s red, add 10 for a d20 roll.  The machine isn’t perfect, so I’ll be working on it for the next session.  The people on the table should know by now that I tend to work on mechanics as I go, and at times I get some feedback.

All the while trying to keep their Stress Quotient up. Unfortunately, some people in my party want to go insane! Like the guy (who is recovering from a scooter accident IRL) who just up and bit at a Shrieker! He got a nasty vision of the PAX Prime Acquisitions Incorporated session for his troubles. They also saw a good view of a rock octopus that could’ve been a demon in its own right. At least had enough Cthulhu theme to do some Stress Quotient damage. But I was too busy getting the hand of the traveling machine I’ve been working on. They also had some lights from fire beetles, which they can use when the moss—or the faerzress—isn’t present.

But then I ran into my own misguess on how much to prepare. The party managed to find their way to Sloopbludop, a village on the way to Blingdenstone, but something I didn’t prepare for. Therefore, I mostly ad-libbed their interactions with the Kuo-Toa where the party finds the populace split between those who worship the Sea Mother (the patron deity behind the Kuo-Toa) and this new Deep Father (which will be regarded as telling.) The followers of the Deep Father commandeered the party and the village elder fishhead (There’s a lot of yucks around when I described their arguing as a bunch of catfish swarming on a dock popping their mouths at the surface.) for a PC sacrifice. However, the Prayer Beads come into play again, when its owner summoned a Deva.

Next session’s encounter’s going to be a lot more interesting, let me tell you.

Meanwhile, a bit of Disappointment for Sword Coast Legends. And it’s not their moving the launch date to October 20 (At least they’re granting me Head Start Access). I found out that I can’t set up a 4 custom PC character party at the start. I have to start with Marcie and use three NPCs to work with. Oh well, I can adjust.

Sword Coast Legends PC: Marcie

Marcie Character DesignGranted, I might not have an exact match with the Sword Coast Legends program, and the options I have there–I’ve yet to find a dress there like in Neverwinter–but this is going to be the first of my four gal team which I’ll be putting through the single player campaign in the game.

Marcie’s been around for some time, and is the title character of an RPG Maker project which I’ve set in Cormyr, which combines DDO’s Menance of the Underdark campaign with the classic D&D cartoon.  (She comes to Faerun through an abandoned and run down version of the Dark Ride.)  Design-wise, you can see parts of Gamergate Mascot Vivian James and you can say that Marcie’s my take on her.

I’ve included a page on her in the Sword Coast Legends subpage, which will grow to include three more PCs and information of my first module created for SCL.  Once I figure out how campaign creation works, that is.  I feel that the HeadStart version of SCL doesn’t include everything I need to create campaigns.)

Encoutners Out of the Abyss Recap, 19 Sep 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, splitting up the party, bunny slippers, surprise Head Start!

I came into this session knowing that the players are livid at me. “I had a 21 AC,” one said. “I want my bunneh slippers (of Spider Climbing) back, Damnit!” said another. That’s what you get when you make a Metroid-like opener where you let everyone be OP for a bit at the start of the campaign and then strip them of everything! Heh heh heh.

The captivity part in Velkynvelve went through without a hitch, and took most of the one session to do it. I didn’t have them go through any work or much long-winding NPC interaction (a couple of them, Jimjar and Eldeth Feldrun, will be party allies for the time being.) because they wanted to start a fight to distract the drow anyway. At that point, I switched to the right scenario: I have Prince Dremdil and Ront go into a shoving match above Sarith Kazekarit, who started doing the twitchy eyeball that just tells everyone who’s sane that, “Now would be a good time to leave.”

Before anyone could think that, though, Sarith loses his shit, leaping up into the two combatants and tearing into him like a caged animal. That’s when the drow come up with Sleeping Poison needles and blowguns.   By the time all three of them were down for the count, they had more needles in them than what every member of the Rolling Stones had in their lifetimes. Each.

I had the drow drag Sarith away to be eaten by the spiders, and the other two NPCs to another hall for entertainment. I start Jorlan’s Gambit at this point, setting the stage for the party’s escape. However, two of the party members, one being a Dragonborn who wants to release some angst, wants to fight them. Oh brudder, now I have a “Spliting up the Party” scenario here. Fortunately I took to this situation quite well, since the two parties are up close and I’ll did some ad libing (and a second lift form the Priestess’s Quarters) to bring them back together asap. However, I did had to score their XP differently. Oh well.

Just before the battle the Dragonborn was in was about to go south, (I don’t want a TPK this early in the campaign) I released the Vrocks (I didn’t show them the Chasm Demons because my brain was still in multi-thread mode, and it’s not that good at that.) which attacked all the Drow, distracting enough for the party to get some much needed weapons, items (including the Bunny Slippers of Spider Climbing) armor, and what not, go down the two lifts to the floor of the chasm, and into the north passage to Blingdenstone (the quickest way out of the Underdark; I always lead into the full adventure in Encounters) just before the drow realize that there’s been a prison breakout while they were busy with the surprise demon attack.

Session 3 will have some Underdark traveling, which will involve my Event Deck mechanic. I thought about having multiple decks for various table, but then I decided that I’d just use one deck for everything. I just need to set it up.

In the meantime, I got the surprise in my In-Box: I got invited into the Head Start of Sword Coast Legends. I dabbled into it for a while, and will continue to do so until I feel accustomed enough to the UI to start streaming sessions there, which will include a recorded play through of the single player campaign with my own characters, some of which will be part of other games. Stay tuned for a more decent depiction of the characters I’ll be making in this all-girl power SCL team.

Encounters Recap 9 SEP 15

Trigger Warning: Spoilers, DM being 3v17, linking one campaign with another, preparations for Sword Coast Legends.

This post would probably be described as this: “The DM giveth and the DM taketh away. Blessed by the name of Gary Gyrax.

As I mentioned elsewhere, and I hope I did here—I’m posting this while I’m over at my parents, pet sitting…again—that I was stringing a module from Princes of the Apocalypse into the Encounters section of Out of the Abyss. The campaign starts in Red Larch, under new management, with a brand new and realistic looking sculpted fountain and bird bath in the center of town, and with a dwarf that stumbled his way into the All Faith’s Shrine, where I had a former Player Character be a permanent priest there. This dwarf prompted a bunch of new characters in my group—which now includes a couple ladies, one of whom stepped up to the table now. And people say that girls can’t be gamers—into a slimmed down version of the ‘Vale of Dancing Waters’ delve.

As a token of goodwill, and to create a bit of continuity between the two modules, I let the players add money and weapons from the previous campaign on this quest. I think you can guess where this is headed.

While the party is going along this delve, which included a metal bedpan dropping on someone’s head for tripping an alarm—a common slapstick meme in my DMing—and someone walking on a sparse ceiling until they come across the room where the final Dwarf Assassin and the Oni was.

The guy who was stealthing also ran into the Drow I thrown in with Do’Urden brand Sleeping Potion in hand. Not once, but twice. I could just hear Lolth go, “Thank Heavens for Stupid Players, eh, Daveykins?” And when the party turned their attention to the one drow they did see, the drow called for his dozen or so buddies to lob Sleeping Poison Smoke Grenades filling the place with sleepy sleep, knocking the players out and bringing them into Out of the Abyss proper.

“Please hand in your treasure cards,” I said to the players, who are calling me an asshole en masse. One of my older players went with the subtitle of this entry: “The DM giveth, and the DM taketh away.” At least I had the drow have some standards, they let everyone keep their underwear, and gave silken bedgowns to the ladies. They might worship ‘The Demon Queen of Spiders,’ but they don’t want to see anyone’s junk.’

This campaign will be the only table in play this week. (Thursday I’ll be headed back home) So I’ll be planning some good amount of NPC interactions and maybe even some exploration outside of the drow outpost of Velkynvelve. I just hope that they find out the goodies that they can pick up once…well, that would be telling.

Meanwhile, in a couple weeks, Sword Coast Legends will finally be launched. Some of you on Twitch would see the rich players mess around with the Headstart stuff. Meanwhile, cheapskates like myself will wait til the 29th where they’ll be plenty more players to do the DM mode with. I’ll also be using my own characters into the player campaign. With Sword Coast Legends, I begin something I wanted to put into this site since DDO: Incorporate the video games into my version of the Realms, using not just SCL, but the upcoming RPG Maker MV as well.

I’ll be using this blog as a hub for information on all of the venues I’ll be using, and I started with the D&D Wiki. I made some more official homerules to the character options and mechanics to the Wiki, and I’ll be changing the Campaign World page to make a more organized region-by-region depiction of the Realms so far, starting from Murder in Baldur’s Gate and leading up to Princes of the Apocalypse and the Play by Post campaigns. Meanwhile, there’s going to be subpages in this blog listing the current running campaigns, which will include the Customized Party I’ll make with my own characters in Sword Coast Legends. I hope that I’ll be able to film the whole player campaign for an alternative to Youtube and share it here. With this part, I’ll be able to get back into something that I’ve taken a sabbatical from so I can get my head straight and gain a bigger audience for: My Stories and Artwork. I’ve already proven myself to my Encounters and Roll20 tables that I can do the hard work on planning a campaign, maybe they’d like to read a short story or comic strip that is related to it, no?

The Post Earache Getting Back On the Ball Combined D&D Recap

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, catching up from procrastination, Otits Externa, Video Game Streaming

Just as I was wrapping up from the last Roll20 session (20 Aug) my left ear began to ache. It sometimes happens when I get my yearly chest cold caused by the weather; the congestion in my sinuses goes up the Eustachian tube and into my ears. At first, I thought it wasn’t anything serious, just a case of congestion. I’ll just get some decongestants for a couple days and I’ll be okay, right?

Turns out that this earache was worse than I thought.  I knew it was bad when the pain kept me up all night and the swelling was to the point of deafness. So I had to go to the clinic to get it checked out. End up getting some antibiotics and stronger pain medication. Yep, it was that bad.

I was laid up for about a week with this earache out of the pain itself. So much so that, when I get back up to speed, I realized that I forgot the recaps. I’ll take care of them now:

Dreams of the Red Wizards – Roll20

In the 20 Aug session, the crew took care of most of the second half of the part of Undermountain I had ready. They took a round path around where the Elvish assassin known as the Black Dragon was working in. Eventually they came to his war room where he was planning his major uprising with his band of liches and undead, only to be captured by the party using the capture crystal they detached from the bone throne room from earlier (the room with the throne that turned people into various undead.)

What happened to the Black Dragon isn’t revealed in this campaign, but I did allude to what happened to the captured baddie in one of my PbP campaigns. (I really need to make an recap of them, so you won’t say that I’m just talking in head-cannon and that this blog does not have telepathic capabilities. :p )

Due to the earache cutting into my planning, I told the players that I’m skipping a week to recover so I can have time to plan, which I will in time for the next session at 3 Sep. There are two more rooms to deal with, some transitional work where a farm is built and a portal is set up between Daggerford and Waterdeep, and the story goes back to the Scourge of the Red Wizards proper.

Bonus Dungeon – Encounters

I’m still working with customized side quests for my encounters table, and it’ll be a linking adventure between Princes of the Apocalypse and Out of the Abyss. The party finished the beefed up Tomb of Moving Stones where the party kept in touch with Meriele so that she can find out all she needed to know about the Believers. While she didn’t get to find the final fate of her mentor right away—Yather Indaglol, as listed in Volo’s Guide to the North—but she did get enough dirt to link the Believers with a breakaway group of Black Earth cultists known as the Bringers of Woe. (“Oh, Great. Just what we need, Cultists with pretentions!” –Meriele) The party pushed ahead to the actual room with the stones where they meet up with Larrakh, who I made into a Stonemelder for improved stats. I also beefed up the Bringers of Woe so that they have a double attack with a hand crossbow with a feat so that disadvantage won’t be applied to Close Quarters Combat.

It all worked according to script, while the party were messing around with a second batch of Bringers of Woe, Larrakh made his escape from a secret door in the Chamber…straight into a Flesh to Stone spell from Meriele. Constable Harburk got a list of the major players from Minthra Mhandyvver and had most of them detained, just so that they would get a baleful death glare from Meriele that told them that the marble statue she made is where they might be headed.

I’ll fast forward a winter to a new Red Larch, where both Out of the Abyss and Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike will begin. The sinkhole is patched up and a marble fountain is set up in the crossroads, containing the petrified Larrakh who is now eternally pissing out water and holding bird baths in his heads. (Was he aware of Meriele stripping his stone body nude, having tubes drilled into his body, and his face adjusted to wear a goofy grin, only to be put up to display for perpetually? Only the late Marlos Urnrayle will ever know. Well, there’s also Princess Celestra who does know if her statues were aware of being statues, thanks to John De Lancie. I’m rambling here.) The Chamber of Moving Stones is converted into a map of the Temple of the Elements with curios of the Elemental Cults on display, designed as a staging area for future teams of adventurers. Businesses are being rebuilt—you can become an NPC in this Red Larch with a donation to my blog; it’ll be greatly appreciated—and life is just about to go back to normal under the velvet hand of Headmistress Meriele.

The time is just about perfect for the Elemental Cults to finish regrouping and resuming their quest to bring Elemental Chaos to the Material realm. The invasions resumed while the weather started to grow wild again. Only this time, Red Larch is ready, and there’s already a full Guildhouse of adventurers ready, waiting, and anxious to storm the Temple of the Elements and take down the Cults of Elemental Evil for good.

Meanwhile, there were reports of demonic activity at an ancient Dwarven temple. Given Dwarves’ tendencies not to request help from other races, nobody in Red Larch knew about it until an injured Dwarf with ties to Mithral Hall arrived to Red Larch for healing, and hopefully assistance from he reincarnated Heroes of the Hall. He might not get Drizzt, Cattie-Brie, and Bruneor, but the characters made by my Encounters table will be up to the challenge. I’ll be using “Vale of Dancing Waters” as a lead-in adventure stringing the two modules together giving me time to get the Out of the Abyss book and plan starting that.

Darkest Dungeon and my Madness Mechanic

Which leads me to a game that I’ve been streaming as of late. One of my favorite Twitch streamers is Adam from England, who goes by the name of “Call of Cthulu” and is quite friendly once you get past his Lovecraftian fan content. He got me interested in this Rogue-like RPG that’s been popular earlier this year. Not only does the game caters to Conservative play (a necessity for a game that has permadeath) but it also has a Madness Mechanic, which is something that interests me since Out of the Abyss has one as well. I was thinking that this game will inspire me to improve Wizard’s rather shaky mechanic.

Wizards would probably require an attribute save for their insanity, but I think I designed something better. I call it the Stress Quotient. You add your Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores (not modifiers) together, and the player treats it as mental hit points. SQ can take damage and be healed much like Normal Hit Points. (Potions can’t heal SQ, but Hit Dice and Heal spells can. Heal spells cannot cure both SQ and HP.) Whenever a sanity check is required, I’ll have the player roll 1d20+current SQ. If the result is 40 or above, they saved, otherwise the madness takes place, and I have an expanded list of insanities.

There’s another reason why I got this game, and started to stream it. I wanted to get a regular streaming session going—success depends on what day I’m having and how my ears are feeling at the time—and doing it with both planning sessions and gameplay will be the way to go. I started with Darkest Dungeon so I can get a regular habit going, and then I’ll kick things into gear once Sword Coast Legends is released, where I’ll be heavy into that. It is with SCL, I wager, that I’ll get a lot more viewers in, since most viewers would want to visit streams that are popular, and any game that has just been released counts. There are more popular games out there than Darkest Dungeon and/or Dungeons & Dragons, which is why my sessions don’t get enough viewers.

But with SCL, I hope that changes.

Sword Coast Legends Pre-Ordered for Streaming

With the new month, I was able to get enough money for me to get Sword Coast Legends ordered for September.  This is part of my plans for my streaming.  Right now I’m just streaming the Thursday Roll20 Campaign, and if I remember to do it, some planning.  I need some more regular streaming sessions, and I can have it with Sword Coast Legends.  I tried out streaming with Heroes of the Storm, and while I’m satisfied with the Streaming, HotS is plagued with net lagging.  That’s a common complaint.  I’m wagering, after checking out this computer on the “Can You Run it?” site, I’ll fare better with Sword Coast Legends.

I’ll start off with an extended session as I get to know the game and go through the single player campaign, but once I settle into a regular scedule, I’ll mostly stream in Dungeon Master Mode, both doing Delves and Campaign creation.  What I’d like to do is recreate some of my previous campaigns so that current players can play my content and be brought up to speed on the unique spin on my campaigns.

But those are just plans, and I’d think more about it once I get the game downloaded and run from Steam.