As I mentioned previously, I will not be publishing the Encounters season of Curse of Strahd until the Friday party is at the same point of time. Because spoilers. I also had the unfortunate circumstance of being ill over the weekend, so the recap here has been a bit slow. I also have an update on my Living Parnast and my SRD as well. I would’ve done this sooner but I also got ill over the weekend. Nothing that bed rest didn’t cure, but it did slow me down a couple days.
Item: Curse of Strahd, Friday the 6th
URL: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSdRcjIHCSxfJSJXBWhLkx-iBXg6_o70Y (Episode 1 in two parts. Both Saved now that I know how Playlists work)
Here’s the reason why I’m not releasing the updates on Encounters: My Friday group is starting the Curst of Strahd the way I did with the Encounters season, by setting the Death House in Baldur’s Gate. Thanks to extensions from the DM’s Guild, however, it won’t end the same way. Heh heh heh.
They did manage to give Rose and Thorn a proper burial, and gotten the Silvering Gun and Silvered Rapier. Denzil thinks that they’re going to face a werewolf somewhere in this house, and I can’t tell him here what he’s facing. (Hint: He will be facing a werewolf.)
Yeah, I know, I have my favorite Munchkin in this table. We all know that one power gamer in their group that he always thinks of playing the game system instead of the campaign. And if you don’t know a person much like I’m talking about, you’re the one I’m talking about. IMHO, it wasn’t his main attack being a grapple-dependent attack, but it was him being a vampire that causes some others to talk. Again. In fact, I had to wave that he can’t turn others into vampires. Especially when we have Claire back in the team.
Fortunately, I have some very nasty surprises for Denzil. I just hope the campaign doesn’t fall the way of last time. I’d rather have Strahd deal with Denzil than the Lady of flipping Pain.
Item: Lost Mine of Phandelver, 7 May
Unlike last session when things were pretty much ape-shit…well, it was my birthday weekend, what do ya expect? We managed to get into uncharted waters for me. I never made it to Cragmaw Castle before in Lost Mine. I honestly expected that TPK when someone bellowed out an “HELLLLOOOOO!” In Thundertree and woke up that Green Dragon and brought all of his friends with them.
I mean, if you have to do that, you might as well do what Linka does: Charge up to the first tango she sees, leap up spread eagle in the air with a “LOVE ME!!!!” and proceed to do her (by now) four attacks in an action. Ah, sweet Linka.
Of course, that I did also managed to draw in all of the creatures in the abandoned castle, but at this time I didn’t mind because Linka’s AC is now in Munchkin levels at thirty fucking seven! With a +3 Dagger and a Dagger that delivers chill touch to boot. Folks, if you’re going to be a bit of a Power Gamer, this is how you do it. You do it with a lot of flavor and an infective chuckle. Oh, and a fluffy body that is guaranteed Beach Body Ready. With the right attitude, confidence, and a friendly smile, any body type can be beach ready. If you don’t have the former three, then yes, you’re going to need Protein World.
Of course, now she has a gnome who wants to use her as a mount. And even gave her one of those baby vests that allows her to carry him! Sheesh!
Item: Homesteading Mechanic and the Foxfire SRD
Over the latter parts of the weekend, that’s when I got sick. It’s nothing I don’t concern myself over too much unless it keeps me awake at night (you can guess what happened; I had to call off Sunday because I was too sleep deprived.) since I still have a pretty healthy immune system. More often than not, just give me something over the counter and let me sleep it off; I’ll get better.
During this time, I managed to finish up a hurdle in my campaign design for my homemade campaign worlds: The Homesteading Mechanic. I wanted to have something similar to what Pathfinder’s Kingmaker series has converted into 5th Edition rules, especially for Living Parnast who uses it. As of this post, I got it through the first proofread and will make the second draft with Parnast as a sample homestead and make that my first offering to the Dungeon Master’s Guild. I’m releasing it for people to playtest the mechanic and give me feedback for what to add for a second version, which will include other sample homesteads (such as Phandalin, Red Larch, and Greenrest.)
As I planned and called earlier, this mechanic will be part of the Foxfire SRD once I compiled everything. It’ll be used for all of my campaigns including Æthercoil. Since it’s a mechanic and not anything to deal with flavor, It shouldn’t clash with the DM’s Guild’s Terms of Service. (But there are alternatives if problems does show up.)
Item: Out of the Abyss, Encounters, 11 May
Also while I was recovering, I managed to plan the rest of the Out of the Abyss campaign, playing things straight—and skipping over the random stuff—to get it out of the way so I can focus on their Curse of Strahd playthrough, which they flat out enjoy. (Again, I can’t spoil things for Denzil.) I had Viseran get a vision to take the ritual to Aramycos, not just to stop the actions of two demon lords (Juiblex and Zuggtmoy) but to keep Menzoberanzan from turning from Syria to Hiroshima. It was straight out encounters back to back, with some rests in-between (and an improntu level-up at the middle of the session) but when the dust settled over the Royal Rumble of Demon Lords, Demogorgon was raising his arms up in victory over what would be the fight of his life.
Just like John Cena when he won the title at the Elimination Chamber. Remember the look on his face when Vince McMahon walked up and announced that Edge has cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, scheduling his Championship match at that instant?
That’s what both of Demogorgon faces had when he looked down and saw the party looking up at him.
Yes, the end was pretty much the same.
There’s still some other Demon Lords running about, and some will return sooner than you’d think, but Demogorgon left an Underdark battred, broken, and in need of some psychiatric help, but still more or less intact, and the surface world doesn’t have any more to fear than necessary.
Lessions learned in Out of the Abyss
- Work on the Louis Carroll material some more.
The execution of the Alice in Wonderland scenes, especially with the Court, left people a bit off, but I think I can salvage that part for Æthercoil, where Alice in Wonderland-themed scenarios would be more at home in.
I think that’s why I don’t think that Out of the Abyss has much replayability, although parts of them can be reused as springboard material. Chris Perkins mentioned a Wonderland theme and it threw my Autistic brain off. Demon Lords and Disney-ish realms don’t mix very well.
- Gromph Baenre will return in Living Parnast
In even the cannon Out of the Abyss the Drow wizard who unleashed all this madness blew his home town like a Syrian Migrant heading toward Germany before anyone even through of gunning after him. If there’s any loose end I’m going to address in the Rage of Demons season in Living Parnast, it’s the party finding Gromph—in a very brain-addled state—in the Parnast region
- Focus more on NPC interaction than Combat.
This one’s more from Curse of Strahd than Out of the Abyss, but there was an opportunity for some interaction at first that I missed. Especially at the start where everyone was in the Drow Slave den. However, I wasn’t as aware of a story at that time as I have with Curse of Strahd, so I didn’t do much with the NPCs at the time. That’s something I’ll work on in future campaigns.