D&D recap: 25 Nov 15

Note:  Only Encounters this week due to Thanksgiving.

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Cultural Appropriation, DMs suffering from PTSD

I do not envy Steve Harvey. Not one Iota.

While I’m not a big fan of the newer versions of Family Feud. (To me, it ain’t Family Feud if the game board doesn’t rotate or flip mechanically. Rest in peace, Richard Dawson) I have to say that the most recent incarnation has its own twist: Game Show Network does not censor the players’ answers at all, and they focus on Steve Harvey’s reaction. More often than not it’s this expression above, of him looking like he’s constipated. And if you look at the above youtube video, you will not blame him.

That’s the same kind of expression I make every week at Encounters. No fail.

Here’s what happened last time (25 Nov): I whipped up a harder dungeon to take the party to Entemoch’s Boon, a Summoning Circle for Earth Elementals, they’re going to use in the upcoming Battle of Blingdenstone. In this dungeon, I had a locked gate to the circle that needed a key, a key that is in the stomach of one of the ten Rust Monsters in an adjacent chamber. (I borrowed the idea from DDO. It was made in some indigestible cheap plastic.)

One of the players had enough smarts to use the rust monsters to their advantage, and use bags of caltrops and ball bearings to lead some of the rust monsters to the gate to eat the lock. This guy then decided that spider climbing to the roof of the chamber. Where six giant spiders pop up to cocoon him.

However, that’s not the part that drove me into a combination of laughter and tears. Two of the party members were petting these Rust Monsters.   I’ll pause here to keep me from blue-screening. One of those was Kyle, the one who likes to caress basilisks. That’s all the foreshadowing you get this week.

The other one, Cakecore, was the one who triggered me so: He tried to stuff one of those rust monsters into a Heward’s Handy Haversack.

Cue five minutes of me laughing and crying at the same time. As a Dungeon Master, I didn’t even think that was possible. Of course there was that lizard section in my brain that was loving moments like this, and he got out to play. I had that Haversack get ripped during the process, creating a small black hole to the Astral Sea. I didn’t send anyone to get spaced, though I wanted to, but it did manage to blow the rust monsters out of harm’s way. And the party loses one Haversack.

But that doesn’t make my next session all that more appealing for my blood pressure. It has basilisks in it. The module officially calls for them. They even have basilisk eggs. Do you ever walk up to someone and you just flat out know what they’re going to do, because they have that look….you know that look….

Welcome to the 5th Circle of Hades, ladies and gentleman. My name is Dungeon Master.


D&D recap; week of Nov 15-21 2015

Otherwise known as the “I’m a slacker” post.

Been through one meeting with family and friends all over the weekend, and I knew that I let something slip…I don’t remember what it would be…oh right, the recap! I’m an idiot!

Item: Out of the Abyss, Encounters, 18 Nov 15

I managed to get the party to release Ogremoch’s Bane from the material world, after I have them defeat the animated drow statues. But then something happened that triggered one of my pet peeves.

Remember the Dragon’s Hatchery all the way back to Hoard of the Dragon Queen? I planned a whole month of two of content in that dungeon, while I was still using the shortened Encounters version of the module. The party blazed through that dungeon in two weeks. Why? They bought a copy of the module themselves and were reading along.

I don’t mind people jumping off the tracks, even though I don’t try to railroad (I prefer a network of Paths and Nodes myself) but if you’re going to be looky looing and buying the book yourself to read ahead, at least have the decency to not let me know.

Guess what someone did this week? In Blingdenstone Area 10, there’s a deep gnome named Sark Axebarrel, who would warn the party of the medusa that they encountered the week before, and would’ve given them a reward…had the party, or someone when the party split into three separate tracks (oi!) would’ve met him.

First thing in this session, someone went and paged back in the book and went, “Hey! There’s this guy who offered a 1,000 GP diamond if we return the head of the medusa to him!”

I didn’t put in a Trigger warning, because that’s one of the few things that would’ve triggered me.

I currently have them searching for Entemoch’s Boon, and I’m going to have to make it a wee bit harder to make them responsible for this crime. I scrambled a bit in donjon.sh to generate a quick layout for a dungeon where the Earth Elemental summoning circle is located, and there’s definitely going to have to deal with the party in Neverlight Grove…I’ll be working all night tomorrow on this one.

Item: Dreams of the Red Wizards, 19 Nov 15

I managed to get some extra players in the game, and enough players arrived so I can continue in this campaign. They managed to work their way almost to the end of the Floshin Estate where they have to deal with the possessed member of their clan. I had to stop them from forging any deeds to wrest the mansion from the Floshin’s. (They want them to deal with the evils in their home, not take their home away from them.) I managed to throw in document protection schemes in official Faerunian documents that resemble checks and bills. Next time you have a check or a crisp new $20 in your hand, look it over, you’ll find a lot of anti-counterfeiting stuff in there.

Of course, the PCs continue to be stupid and see how far they can push the boundaries with me. Even though I do have some standards. (No, you cannot forge a document to show that you now own someone else’s mansion. Besides, you have 4 locations in two different cities already. Go find another abandoned shack to renovate.) I do let the dragonborn piss in fountains. But that only means that I get to summon water grues, and later on, a water elemental, to drown, strangle, and knock him out like a pinata. They finally got the hint.

This is Thanksgiving week, so I won’t have a Dreams of the Red Wizards table this week. But there might—if I can get a new player in—have a Princes of the Apocalypse session, which will make its way to a place where I bring back an item from my Author Avatar and Mind Control Roleplaying Days. Here’s a hint: Aline Rabbit.

Baldur’s Gate Investigations announced.

Let me put this out on record at the start. If you’re looking for my best effort with this project, just keep on looking. I’m learning how to program a Role Playing Game, something I always wanted to make since I was a kid, with RPG Maker MV, the program I bought so I can start off from its launch. I’m learning how to code, especially with the Gordian Knot that is Object Oriented Computing. I’m even learning how to do Digital Inking on Draw Plus for some good amount of the graphics there, especially the bust picutres.

This is not going to be a AAA-level quality game here. I doubt it’ll even be worthy for Steam.

As they say, your first novel, artwork, RPG Maker project, or anything else, is going to suck. Suck. Major. Balls.

You can understand why I’m using my first Encounters campaign I D.M.ed for my first RPG Maker Project. I wanted to remake Murder in Baldur’s Gate into something I find more agreeable, and to start bringing you, the online followers, up to speed on what’s going on in my offline Forgotten Realms campaigns. I’ll also use this game as a sort of experiment lab for future games, where I add some parts (either here or in other D&D-themed projects) which will be used for any commercial projects, if I actually start with one.

And of course, it must be said that this project is a pure fan-work. I’m doing this for the learning experience and as a derivative work, and it will be free for all to play. That way, it’ll fall into Fair Use Laws of the United States of America. I’m just doing this for the learning, for the love of D&D, and for the shits and giggles.

You might not see a lot of progress here on this blog, but I have opened up a discussion over at a RPG Maker MV forum I’m a part of. You’ll see a lot of progress there.

D&D recap, Week of 8-14 Nov, 2015

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Drow Medusas, Fresh Blood on tables, and the first invocation of the Dark Powers!!

You have to excuse me this week; between the bruhaha at Missou (which in my lived experiences proves that the ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’ rule must apply in a liberal arts college, and what happened in Paris, I had to go into my own personal ‘safe space’ for most of this week. Of course, my ‘safe space’ consist of OneNote, Roll20, RPG Maker MV, and a bunch of long naps. I do allow the press to look over my shoulder, however, to see what I’m doing. Unless I’m napping.

Both tables this week had some new players, especially in Princes of the Apocalypse, where the players insure that this table’s going to be…interesting.

Item: Out of the Abyss, Encounters, 11 Nov

They’ve starting the preparations of the Battle of Blingdenstone and this time, they’re not allowed to split the party, they pick one of the three paths, two of which go side by side, and the Deep Gnomes and Wererats take the other two. The party chose to deal with Entemoch’s Boon, the Wererats went with cleansing the Steadfast Stone (as thanks for the Deep Gnomes for allowing them to stay) and a party of Deep Gnomes headed to Neverlight Grove to ooze-proof their weapons.

Along the way, they encountered someone that might pose a bit of a problem: No, it’s not that they ran across the Mind Flayer who was full, but what he warned them about:

“Oh, lightbringers! Don’t worry about me. I’ve already eaten. A archmage that succumbed to madness by the demons. Never tasted a brain that was so delish. I am Grazilaxx of the Society of Brilliance; a group of like-minded Underdark Denizens who were studying what is coming on among this region, and I have to tell you, these times are very interesting. Fun too, if you’re someone like me. Ever tried the brain of a minor demon. I’d suggest you don’t; it fried one of my kind from the inside out.”

“If you’re heading to Neverlight Grove, it’s in this direction,” He points ahead. “I didn’t encounter anything on the way here, but as you can expect, there’s no guarantees. However, I do know that there are demonic activity going on there. It seems that the Demon Queen of Fungi, Zuggtmoy, is in the vincinity. I would suggest that you do your business and bail before your minds are reduced to mere delicacies. Not that I would’ve minded, of course.”

There might be some problems for the Deep Gnomes over there. Do you think that Grazilaxx would warn the other about what might befall the Deep Gnomes? Will Blightenstone be heard about this. Will the party have to stage a rescue? Depends on what I plan for the next two days.

Item: Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike, 13 Nov

Thank God I was able to get a party in this day. It must really suck to be a Muslim in France at that day.

This session has a bunch of new players which I broke in easy with a series of roadside encounters, and already I could tell that this campaign’s really going to kick up some notches. One new character was a Half-Orc who was prepositioning every lady of ill repute in the village. (I have to invoke the Carousing Table on this one) and…<gasp>…a dwarf.

A Dwarf who looked at a passing band of dwarves who just wanted to mine in peace away from the Cults of Elemental Evil—a group I had just for forshadowing purposes—and called them all women for retreating.

I could just hear those Little People go, “Oi! Dungeon Master! Yeah, you, David Foxfire, you waste of a beard! We all of the sudden like seeing ye scramble over your screen turning this encou…oh, yer set up a combat table already?….Ye’er no fun. Roll for Initative, ye buggards.”

You can tell how triggered I’ve gotten this week (Missou and Paris) when the monsters I throw at unsuspecting players get snippy. Why, oh Gods, can’t I just summon Tiamat and sic her on all these ISIS bastards? It’ll make for much better snuff porn.

But having the party Dwarf arguing with the NPC Dwarfs to the point of fisticuffs wasn’t the best part. Remember that Half-Orc? He joined in with the Dwarf…and called the others who didn’t join in, because they had no skin in the battle, cowards.

Yeah, I know it’s good Role Playing, and I know good Role Playing is not always sunshine and lollypops. (This is Dungeons & Dragons, not a Liberal Arts College!) But all of the sudden, the encounter went into PVP mode! With a DM who didn’t know if he could laugh or cry, with an inner child going, “THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME!!”

In the end, the Half-Orc K.O.ed one of the PCs. So I had to do it:

Me: “Dark Powers has been trigger, the sky darkens and the surrounding area starts to fill with a mist. Necromancer, what happens?”

(And yes, the person knocked down was a Necromancer. I had to nerf his body guard for him to summon it to once per session, but in this special case…)

Necromancer: “I rise from the dead as a 20th Level Caster for 1 Round.”

Half-Orc: “Hey, what the fuck?! that’s OP..”

Me: “I allow it.” <Insert Shit-Eating Grin here>

Yeah, I’d allow it in this case. Any other situation where he falls, I would’ve ruled it that his deity, a benevolent deity of death—they are out there and they deserve our love—would’ve told him, “Hey, it’s not your time yet, but you got a bit unlucky there. Go enjoy your nap.” But no, someone was roleplaying stupidity and invoked the Dark Powers for the first time in my career. That mechanic against evil roleplaying is there for a reason.

But all in all, everybody enjoyed the Roleplaying and understood what was going on (Overpowered moments notwithstanding). And I didn’t have to do much outside of making sure that arguments on the table doesn’t come to blows over the table. That’s part of the DM’s Job Description after all.

Item: In this coming week

I haven’t been posting here because I’ve been playing with RPG Maker MV, and I wish to post an introduction to my first D&D themed project here. These are, of course, non-commercial projects designed to a) give me a venue to learn RPG Maker and experiment on, and b) to fill online players up on what happened in my Encounter Campaigns. The first one is based in Baldur’s Gate and combines Murder in Baldur’s Gate, Legends of Baldur’s Gate, and in a twist I didn’t count on until the brain cells connected while I was designing it, Ace Attorney.

So this becomes a bit of a To-Do List for this week:

  1. Introduce Baldur’s Gate Investigations on the Web Site. (Already have a Page ready for it, with my first forays into digital inking. Don’t expect the Mona Fucking Lisa at this point)
  2. Plan my three campaigns.
  3. Set up various micro delves that can plug into all three campaigns, such as a crime scene hunt, several treasure caches, a spare Dungeon Delve, and so on.
  4. Write the next post on Æthercoil, and refer it to an RPG Maker MV forum, because someone was interested in it.

I just hope that I can get my sleep schedule to agree with me now. At 45, your internal clocks like to troll you.

D&D recaps, week of Nov 1-7

Another week, another lost battle with my current nemesis, scheduling. But at least I get stuff done. Eventually.

Item: Out of the Abyss, Encounters, 4 Nov

This was a session, I have to tell you all, I have been dreading. A three-way split of the party. At least they had the decency of giving me a proper head’s up and told me at the end of the previous session (21 Oct) which ways they’re going to go. One, the Wererats; Two, the Ghosts; and Three, the Crazy Deep Gnome that is with all those Oozes. All. Those oozes. We’re talking dozens. Of Black puddings, gray oozes and ochre jellies. Each. And just to piss people off, I thrown in a handful of Gelatinous Cubes to spice things up.

Did the two that picked ‘Crazy Deep Gnome’ wanted to Leeroy Jenkins it? No, I didn’t think so.

While one of the ghosts gave the players an additional adventuring hook in the Whorlsome Tunnels, I’ll save that for when they come down here later. But now, everyone’s now focused on The Battle of Bridgestone, which will start this coming session, Nov 11. Which will be a major load off of my mind.

In retrospect, I’m glad to hear that I did a good job dealing with the three-way party split, migraines notwithstanding. I took care of the three tracks one by one, and to keep the other players on the table by using copied pages of the Deep Gnome page from the Monster Manual when their turn wasn’t up. If I had more time, I would’ve just have the players in each track sit down and have the others be in the Audience, but for my Encounters Table, it worked well within the constraints.

I just hope I don’t have to do that again this year. Oi! Where’s my headache pillz?

Item: The Online Halloween One-Shot, 5 Nov

Since I had two people from my Friday table bail on me—I decided to have all of the available players on Thursday for the week-delayed Zombie one shot. It was the same one as last week (28 Oct) where they fought a lich that was constantly raising zombies in a cemetery.

This time, I had more than 90 minutes to play with. With more time, I could cut loose, and boy, did I ever cut loose. I have to admit by now that I was getting back at my players for the crap they gave me, especially those who min-max and flavor text their PCs to my—and the other player’s—lament. 1d8+1d4 zombies per round? Done. Fireballs at 9th Spell Slot Level? Done.  Using Spell Points so I can use more than one 9th Level spell slot? Done. Power Word Fucking Kill cast after Round 1? Done! Using a rod pulled out of my ass to tripe the range of a Disintergrate? Done! Re-raising all the zombies again for one last push at the end? Fucking Done!

I think I had suppressed some anger over the past months. Or maybe I just wanted to blow off some steam over the past year. Needless to say, I had fun this session. It’s not something I want to do all the time, but it was fun.

Halloween Special Recap

No Trigger Warnings this time.  Not much happened.

There was a lot of people out of town this past week, so much so that the online sessions for this week were shelved.  (Such is the trials and tribulations of an online DM.)  But I managed to try out my Halloween One-Shot on the Encounters team.

As a recap.  I have a party of Level 6 characters go up against a Lich that is constantly rising up zombies in a cemetary.  If someone is killed, he rises up as a zombie and will attack the remaining survivors.  Those who do survive by slaying the lich recieve an XP award for their main campaign.

In this case, it would be the “Out of the Abyss” campagin.

The one-shot proved very enjoyable, even though I had to truncate it because of time.  They said that they would’ve enjoyed it more if the zombie hoard was bigger, something that I want to show in the (would’ve been the next day, but it’s now going to be on Anonymous Day, that is, Nov 5) Dreams of the Red Wizards table.

Hopefully things will get better.

In the meantime, I get to work some more on my MV project, which I’ll tell you more about later.  There was some more background on Æthercoil and some preparation on next week’s Encounter’s Session (They split the party on me!  ARRRRRGH!).

Looks like I have to take advantage of a Virtual NANOWRIMO.  I used to do National Novel Writing Month when I had novel ideas to bang out.  I found out that I can do 50,000 words in 30 days, and usually more.  I want to do that again once I have some time free.  Maybe I’ll do it anyway with the Æthercoil campaign setting instead.