Category Archives: #CommanderMasterChiefMrMurphy

I. Hate. Mister. Murphy.

Item:  Youtube has failed me for the last time.

It ain’t enough that I have the expected troubles with infiniscene being beta the way it is.  But now I’ve found out the hard way that I’ve exported my latest stream—the first session in “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” playing as Jamie Wintertouch (playtesting the Witch Class along the way)—and Youtube for some reason killed the sound.  And here I thought I wouldn’t have problems with youtube because I don’t have any political content in my videos.

I decided that I have enough of that site and I’m looking for another.  It was easy for me to find an alternative that doesn’t jerk people around.  I decided to try Dailymotion out for my video storage and see if they could be of any help.

Item:  Æthercoil Magazine #3

This is the reason why I’ve been so quiet as of late, other than the usual gremlin of other players not being around for sessions.  (A common malady toward Internet D&D players.) Almost immediately after I published Issue #2, I had enough loose items to make Issue #3, where I toss in some more options, elaborate more on my remix of the Witch Class with my own archetype, some other Prestige Classes, and more worldbuilding fluff where I pull a page from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and let people from the world itself make their own input.  The first such missive is from Justin Mercurial and he describes the region of the Calais Triangle, post playtesting…if I would ever get to playtesting, that is.

Item:  The Carpe GM Podcast

Link to CarpeGM Digital Entertainment

While the last video I’ll post to Youtube wasn’t with sound, it wasn’t without any feedback.  I got a message from Bryan King from CarpeGM that they wanted me to be in their recent blog posts.  I did a little research and they’re legit, and I’ll be meeting with them next Saturday, the 22nd.  I hope everything goes well.

Or at least better than what I’m currently having.  If only I could find this Mr. Murphy bastard and…

D&D recap, week of 27 Apr to 1 May 2016

It never fails.  The Sun goes up, the Sun goes down.  Seasons change, babies are born, people die.  Whenever a superhero goes into a bank it gets robbed.  And whenever my birthday rolls around, it storms.  Not rains, storms.  With hail, high winds and the occasional tornado.

This weekend’s Birthday Storm managed to wait until after I came home, however.  But the yearly shit didn’t stop hitting the fan until Tuesday.  Of course.

Out of the Abyss; Wednesday 27 Apr

I sped through most of the Menzoberranzan chapter and focused on Gromph Baenre’s tower.  The city, thanks to Gromph’s ritual bringing the demon lords to the Underdark, looks a lot like an underground Syria. The once proud and arrogant City of Spiders now looks like the aftermath of a war zone, complete with former highborn drow with thousand-yard stares.  It’d give people the impression that Lolth has forsaken her own people.

In a way you’d be right:  Lolth did use that ritual to dump eight demon lords into the material plane so she’d get more room for herself in the Abyss.  You’d think that a plane of existence would be roomy enough.

This wasn’t the first time she did something self-harmful in the name of self-promotion: In the latter stage of the 4th Edition Spellplague era, Lolth sought out other planes to incorporate into her Demonweb.  Those who played DDO’s Menace of the Underdark know what I’m talking about.  In my Foxfire Forgotten Realms, she did this to several other realms, including one that was a mirror image of her home realm.

A Forgotten Realms where Lolth didn’t become Lolth.

In this particular realm, Lolth met her former self, Araunshee.
The two looked at each other, thought each was a twisted abomination of the other, and they’ve been having a cold war with each other since.

Araunshee wants revenge against her demonic version of herself for destroying her world, and what better way to do that is usurp her role as deity of the Forgotten Realms’ drow?  Through a secret alliance with several native drow deities, and some meetings with Corellon Larethian (patron deity of the Elves, which Araunshee became in her old world) she founded the Council of Spiders.  These are a group of drow mages, fighters, rogues, and possibly Jaraxle Baenre and some of his Bregan D’aerthe company.  They wish to rebuild Menzoberanzan to their ‘proper’ deity’s image.

Which makes Vizeran’s plan of setting the Dark Heart ritual there problematic to some of the group.  Right now Menzoberranzan is in ruins thanks to the first meeting of the Demon Lords.  The Second Meeting will wipe it off the map.  Dare the party force me to make a second massacre in the Forgotten Realms, or would they go up and try to convince Vizeran for an alternate location for the ritual, like Neverlight Grove?

Something tells me I’m going to add another name to the list of Forgotten Relams deities pissed off at me.

Lost Mine of Phandelver; Saturday 30 Apr

Remember what I said about the birthday storm.  It often choses the time that it’ll do the most damage.  This year, it showed up when I was starting to stream this session.  I had to log off for about 90 minutes.

Was I laughing or crying?  I think both.

Fortunately for me, other players were offline with work and it was one of those off sessions.  Those who stayed managed to do some shopping and even beefed up Linka with eight Rings of Protection +2, they are Attuned as a single item, giving the Pandaren Drunken Monk a whopping AC of 37!

Yep.  She’ll be the fluffy tank.  A tank that can leap up in the air with Daggers drawn (now including a +3 Dagger and another that deals Chill Touch damage) spread eagle and yelling out “LOVE ME!!!”  I do so love playing her.

Of course that tactic don’t work when leaping on top of a dracolich who can cast Hunger of Hadar.  A female panda dressed like Katsumi from Dead or Alive; a spell that created a darkened area filled of tentacles?  Sigh.  Why does my sessions go into Hentai sessions all the time?

Hoard of the Dragon Queen; Sunday May 1

Just when I thought I was through with crap on my birthday, when I started to stream this session, Infiniscene Code 101’d on me!  (Code 101: Disney Castmemeber slang for technical difficulties-slash-out of order.  Even though I’m not CM material, I adopted some of their lingo by friends who were CMs)  While others in the group did suggest that I use more traditional means of streaming, like OBS, I just don’t have the ability to use that program properly.  I do have multiple machines to have one do the table while another streams, but getting video from one computer and into another computer that’s a foot or two away is problematic.  There are cables and cards that will send video from one computer to another directly, but they are currently cost-prohibitive.  Anyone who would help me out here, like what Spacehampzter Boo did with Tabletop Simulator, will be greatly appreciated.

Over at the session then.  The party is split, with Grumzer the dwarf in the bushes after attempting to rescue Leoshin from the Cult.  Meanwhile, the rest of the party was inside the Luggage as it was carried away by a Cultist’s wagon train.

Justin figured out a couple things while he was in there.  One, the Luggage’s inside is much larger on the inside.  Two, it might be a good idea to set up some variant of Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion into the Luggage, for circumstances like this.  How to do that without making something like putting a Bag of Holding into a Portable Hole is up in the air though.

And finally, with the mouth ajar, he was able to at least peek out and see what is going on.  Getting off the wagon, scampering to the bushes and waiting for the party to leave is no problem for Justin’s trained Mimic.  What it needed is a diversion, and that took some doing.  There were some options, including setting fire to a wagon and letting dragonborn monk Malakai breathe fire out the hole.  In the end, a discrete cut of a rope and a bump on the trail was enough to free the Luggage, and the party.

They returned to the Raiders camp to find it more or less deserted, with only the cave to the Dragon’s Hachery guarded.  Ildar was useful in getting some guards to leave, but eventually everyone in the cavern caught wise and the session ended in a classic 300 scenario where the heroes funnel the bad guys through a narrow passage.

Will they prove more successful than Leonidas? Will my computer hang-ups subside?  Can I have a May 2 with a clear sky?

….do I have to shank Mr. Murphy in order to answer yes to all three questions?

D&D recap: Week of 13-17 Apr 16

This week has been a wash as far as videos go.  Infiniscene was, as expected and as I call it, being beta.

Throughout the weekend, the stream has been shutting off in the middle of the sessions for some as yet unknown reason.  I’m thinking it’s network issues because I doubt I’d ever just turn on a browser and look up porn while I’m waiting for my turn, while I’m streaming on Twitch.  First off I don’t even like porn.  And second, I have three computers and four monitors, and that’s not counting tablets and the occasional Kindle.  I can multitask if I wanted to.

Wednesday; Out of the Abyss; 13 Apr

Wednesday started the staggered campaigns for my Encoutners table, I’ll be going between Out of the Abyss and Curse of Strahd until I finish Out of the Abyss.  This shouldn’t take me past June for this.

The party has moved clear of the Labyrinth Chapter.  They went past Filthriddens without conflict, and then they arrived at Yeenoghu’s Hunt, they wisely allowed Yeenoghu to wander out before taking on the remaining Gnolls that still fed on the Goristro.  They managed to get at the heart and some of the Yeenoghyu’s Blood needed for the ritual.

(I omitted the March to Nowhere for brevity’s sake)

Now for the Gallery of Angels, and the unfortunate angels that were not as much petrified but frozen in place in telltale “I have no mouth and I must scream” fashion.  All Eight of them, and each of them broken in body and mind.  I won’t comment on the Angel’s spirits.  They managed to get their feathers before they heard a voice demanding that they kill them.

Cue a bit of discussion over the alignment-based conundrum that allowed me to rest my brain.  It was easy enough to do the deed:  They can activate the Instant Fortress and squish them in place, but it would prove distasteful for some of the characters, for obvious reasons.

Then John found out that he still had the Necklace of Prayer Beads one of which had Summon Planar Ally.  Said Ally, when summoned, was just as puzzled over the angel’s existence as the party, although he had heard of some fallen angels that were double crossed.  The being noted the current location and said that he’ll alert his superiors on this as the party returned to Viseran, who has gotten the Timmask Mushrooms in the interim.

All that remains is Gromph Bernre’s grimoire.  Which can be found in Menzoberanzan.  Viseran knows where Gromph’s home is in town.  The problem is getting there and out with the party’s skin.

No pressure right?

Friday; Princes of the Apocalypse; 15 Apr

The battle between the Rules Lawyer and the Creative DM continues.

It began with the mob surrounding the party in the crosshall, with a new player arriving in the form of a halfling robe. Denzil, the rules lawyer, tried to port everyone out…only to meet a flaming wall of heated steel.  Oh, no, asshole, you’re not getting away, you’re going to at least take out part of this encounter.  And they did, managing to get half of the sheer mass of creatures consisting of the remainder of this dungeon level as well as some Mages who know Dispel and Counterspell, a necessary when dealing with Denzil.

Denzil then retaliated with sneaking over to area E17 in your publications and sabotaging the mechanics.  Whatever or not that effected anything remained to be seen, but I can only surmise that there is one cult pissed off at the knucklehead.

Almost as much as Claire is.

You see, in the middle of this encounter, Claire, who is played by my first Trans player in my group of regulars (remember what I said about Seige of Dragonspear, and fuck off, you college plebeians) decided that using the Orb of Dragonkind would be a good idea.  You know the orb.  The one who had that ancient dragon spirit inside who’d possess Claire if the dice decided not to like her.

The dice decided to like her today.

She ended up teleported to the lair of the Red Dragon waaaay back in the homemade dungeon I added for the water weapon.  It was easier for me to give the second key to the water weapon to Claire in exchange for the Orb than for me to get her back to the rest of the party.

I was about to call the session when I managed to do so, but then another Drama Storm came up:  It was another alignment conundrum with her and the Tiefling played by Denzil.  Throw in a couple Nat 20s dueling against each other and things really got derailed.

What a predicament, and it’s keeping going throughout the week to date.  Something tells me that I need to pull out PvP Mode, and a visit by someone I never thought would have to intrude into my campaign world:  The Lady of Pain.

Saturday; Lost Mine of Phandelver; 16 Apr

Something tells me that Denzil wanted payback on my poor Pandaren.

He made Linka work for her getting accustomed to what she calls, “Her Baby,” with trying to get inside that thing and fiddling with the controls.  I suspect that Denzil was mad at me at this point.  That Apparatus of Kawalish is going to have a cute nickname before the end, blinged out with accessories when they arrive to the nearest major city.  I also wanted there to be an owner’s manual or at least a title form in that device.  I’ll probably get one in Phandalin, as well as vying for a +1 quaterstaff.

Linka only managed to find the keys with a security device.  Important when thwarting plebeians trying to jack “Her Baby.” While this was going on, the rest of the party dealt with the sole survivor in the battle of Thundertree, the druid Reidoth.  The party managed to spell the beans about Cragmaw Castle, where Gundrin is believed to be held.

The remainder of the session was random encounters, some of them were necessarily overpowered to accommodate the party’s level.  They were powerful enough for the party to KO some people, but not deliver the TPK.

So far, it’s still 1 TPK for me, while Denzil is still sitting on the Goose Egg.

Imagine my shit-eating grin.

Sunday; Hoard of the Dragon Queen; 17 Apr

The party finished with the first chapter, Greenrest in Flames, with the classic one-on-one matchup between Langdedrosa and Illdar.  It was a classic depiction of this particular mission right down to the eventual KO of Ildar.  By now the party has canonized Justin’s luggage as, if not identical as The Luggage of Diskworld fame, or even a direct descendant of said creature (which is the cannon version), at the very least is similar in nature, albeit not as Evil.  If anything, the Luggage is more like a loyal dog companion to Justin than anything else, and quite protective. It nipped at Illdar at least a dozen times so far in this campaign.  It also took in four chickens from Transition Encounter 1, Stragglers, and burped out feathers from one of them at Transition Encounter 2, Rearguard.  Good Times.

During this session, I was sketching Justin and his eventual Grapple Belt (think of a slimmed down version of Attack on Titan’s 3D Maneuver Gear) to make improvements on Justin’s token.  I intend to share the progress of this artwork as I return to art, although it will be shown in Google+ instead of DeviantART.  There’s a lot of people out there who are better received there, some of which needs more improvement than I do.  Unfortunately, I’m not in this group.  Whenever I post something that people turn around and demand I answer questions about my personal live, I find out that I’m no longer welcome there.

Whenever I find myself going “What in God’s Name have I done wrong now?” in a job, relationship, or anywhere else, it’s a sign that I’m going to end up leaving said place.  I’ve said that line while in dA several years ago.  I’ve long since asked that when it comes to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.  And Instant Messaging, for-fucking-get it.  I’ve yet to say that about G+.  I hope to God I never will.

I might never say that about D&D; I’m pretty much welcomed in this open tent.  Even to Trans players.  (All I ask is not go into melodrama because I default on Cis Male pronouns.  My computer’s spell checker is more important than your feels.)

The group is now in transition to the Raider’s Camp and stopped just before the Rearguard Encounter began.  Here’s hoping things go well, we’re about to head into a hornets nest.

DM Player Gameplay recap, weekend of 9-10 Apr

Item:  Lost Mine of Phandelver; Playing as Linka; Sat 9 Apr 16

Sometimes I wish that Mr. Murphy was a real person so I can kill him.  I could just see my overweight ass sneak up behind him and pull a Richard Marcinko.  Shanky shanky Mcstabstab.

I knew this day will go to shit when the lawn mower broke just as I was about to mow my parent’s lawn.  But imagine my consternation when the time came for that night’s session and my main computer won’t connect to the Internet.  It’s Wireless connector (I needed to use Wireless over at my parents) had a Code 101 (My way of saying that something’s not working because of something I have no clue over, which eventually fixes itself for no good reason. It’s taken from Disney Castmember lingo for something that’s out of order) and it took most of that night, and the session, to decide to be working again.

So I didn’t have a recording of Saturday’s session, which is sad, because DM Denzil, the rules lawyer, found out something I learned long ago in my DMing career:  The most epic of TPKs you’ll ever have will end up being thwarted.

At least the thwart wasn’t in record time.

But was by thwarted by the resident pervert in the group.

Clair Valentine, as you’ve seen in the previous week, is the bard who has befriended countless animals using Animal Handling in the forests toward Thundertree.  By the time the party arrived, she has amasses a small menagerie of a pack of wolves and an owlbear.

God as my witness, I couldn’t make this up.  I was afraid that she would charm Linka, and what she’ll do with the panda.  This is the same player who plays a lesbian bard who wants to get it on with every tiefling she sees—including Vanifer!!—and thought that attuning to an orb of dragonkind that beefs up performance but will turn you into an evil elder dragon if you every perform is a good idea.

That would be the Bonehead PC move of the week if it weren’t for what happened last session:  Thundertree is a sticking point in my attempts in Lost Mine of Phandelver because of that Green Dragon.  It created a TPK last time I was in it.  Imagine my facepalm when one of the party members walked up to Thundertree and yelled out, at top lung, “Is there anybody in here!?”

Cue every creature in the abandoned village.  Twig Blight, [My style of] Zombie, and Green Fucking Elder Dragon.  All making a beeline toward the party, and making me wish that I could invoke PVP mode but Linka would never think of that.  At least there was a tavern with a forgotten stash of brew for her to drink and, as I normally do, ride through the storm.

Of course that won’t work when the dragon comes crashing from above.

That’s when Denzil found out about something that Wolves have called ‘Pack Tactics,’ where the wolves can charge over and attack with advantage, and their collective bites can bring down even a dragon the size of a large house!  With the dragon prone, the party makes short work of the dragon.  In spite of poison breath taking down a couple PCs including Linka.  Putting Denzil into a familiar emotion for me; that you make an encounter that is sure to TPK only to have the party surprise you in actually succeeding.

Don’t feel bad, Denzil.  I’ve been at this game or three years, and my TPK count is at 1.

The party is then able to play Hot Gates with the riff raff—did you forget about the three dozen twig blights and zombies while all this is going on—and funnel them through the staircase from outside the tavern basement and pick them off King Leonidas style.  Sparta would be proud.

And an all-too-human chill flowed over DM Denzil’s soul.  The sheer amount of XP earned brought everyone up to Level 5 (Only because I invoked my DM’s award where—as decided on in this table—everyone gets the bonus XP when I cash one in.) Also, Linka got ahold of an Apparatus of Kawalish which she’ll use for traveling, on top of a metric boatload of gold for any magic items she might need.  (I definitely need to get her a +1 Quarterstaff or Silvered Brass Knuckles.

I’ll decide over the week.

Warning:  Political Content Ahead

I had to console Spacehamzter over the weekend.  As you know, I rarely get political here, instead taking it to Google Plus for my bitching.  However, this spilled onto sacred grounds.

I’m glad to say that I’ve got Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition I off of a Steam Sale.  Especially after what they did to a DLC I will never buy, Siege of Dragonspear.  I want to put this out there on the record and state what most of us who are up in arms about this dungheap add-on are all about:

We are not bitching because of a Trans character.  We who play and DM Dungeons and Dragons have met at least one Trans NPC during our combined campaigns.  We don’t give a fuck about Trans NPCs, most of us wouldn’t care whatever or not a NPC is trans, a fellow player can make a Trans PC and we won’t give a rat king’s collective ass about said PC as long as he’s* good in a fight.  (Note: I default to Cis Male Pronouns as a writing convention.  Look at the warning on the left if this triggers you, and get out more.)

What we are bitching about is the gross disregard of what is known in some parts as “Character Integrity.”  In the Siege of Dragonspear, they changed three important characters to fit their feminist agenda and to rip at Gamergate.

One of the characters changed was Minsc.  The Beloved Ranger.

That, to many D&D players, is the equivalent of high blasphemy. You can draw a picture of Mohammad while shitting on a Koran, wrapped in bacon and wearing a carved out Pig’s head, and you will be more redeemable than making a much-adored character talking smack about “Ethics in [games] Journalism,” something that ­does not fucking exist in Faerun!!

This is the same problem Marvel got when they made Jane Foster into Thorina. A female Thor we didn’t mind. We complained about a female replacement for Thor. There were perfectly vacated Superheroes they can do a Rule 63 on without anyone raising a stink. But they pushed Thorina up against everyone’s faces and said “You’re a misogynist pig if you don’t like it.”

Minsc is intended to be too addled-minded to be interested in politics by design. (That’s a topic best left for Boo, IMHO) Safana is intended to be a tease by design. The whole Forgotten Realms does not have the same environment that our world has or–thank God–the world that Beamdog lives in, by design. Changing that is what got Beamdog in as much hot water, and none other. We don’t care if there’s a trans NPC in Siege of Dragonspear. We do care about Minsc being co-opted by SJW prissants! If that is too much for you to wrap your head around, then I can’t believe that you actually coded that game, because you do not understand the words that are coming out of my mouth.  That, and I have no intention of spending my money for your so-called ‘Game,’ in fact, I wouldn’t even torrent Siege of Dragonspear because it’s not even worth the electrons used in the illegal act.

You are not worth my money, Beamdog.  If this means we’ll never have a Baldur’s Gate III, so bet it.  I have RPG Maker MV, I can get by.

Now then, back to our original programming.

Item:  Hoard of the Dragon Queen; Playing as Justin; 10 Apr 16

Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqnA–9Rgwk

Ever heard of the saying, “When opening a door where you know someone’s waiting on the other side, lob in a grenade first to ensure friendly reception?”

That is essentially the first part of this session.  When the party came up to the mill house in Greenrest, they discovered that there is a small group of raiders waiting for them inside.  After a lengthy discussion that took up way too much time, they decided to do a rather modern ‘Breach and Clear’ technique.  I had Justin make up a potion version of the Flash Bang; something I had to add to my character material on the fly.  Justin would toss it in where, when it breaks, creates a blinding light for 30’ and produces a deafening bang, everyone in the room must make a CON Spell Save DC or be stunned for one minute.

Justin would throw in that flash bang potion a la Gauntlet 2 into that mill and have the others take the feebs down.

Fine time to roll a Nat 1, if you ask me.

Fuck You, Murphy.

Fortunately, the other players can pick up the slack, and I got Justin moved to another vantage point so he can snipe.  All in all, I’m developing the Æthercoil Engineer class with Justin here.

The other half of the session, where we dealt with rescuing the clerics of Chantea from a siege-in-progress chapel, moved faster.  That’s where Justin found something that will provide some well-needed character development.  He got a good chunk of magical ore that, when forged into a weapon, will provide an additional offense against Evil-aligned beings—including Dragon Cultists.  Whatever this weapon becomes is up in the air.

I would have it be a gun, but I don’t know if the DM would permit it.