Things are back to speed

Now that I got my files back, I’ve reuploaded the Johnny Briz Legacy site and it’s back online.  I have also made an addition to the D&D wiki.  At first, I thought I could put up the campaigns and have an organized directory of who, what, and where in my take on the Realms, and keep it all in a Mediawiki site.

However, I found the use of the Lord British 4D Notebook all too useful for that.  For the uninitated, it’s a One Note conversion of Richard “Lord British” Garriot (The creator of the Ultima series.  Think of it as an OSR version of Final Fantasy) method of game design, where he has a section on the People, another on Places, a third on Things, and a fourth on how the story brings them all together.  I find that Microsoft One Note implements this “Four Dimensional Spreadsheet” format quite well in it’s Binder-like format.

So I moved the good chunk of the flavor behind My Customized Relams to its own One Note, available online for everyone to view, even as I add more stuff to it.  (It’ll probably take me a week or so to put up all the text, and then I’ll be adding additional graphics further down the line)  The mechanics of this customized campaign world will remain in Mediawiki; since they are best organized here.

In this One Note, I hope you get a better glimpse on how I design characters and work on the tweaks I made, and possibily get some clues on how I’ll be working into Æthercoil.

Princes of the Apocalypse Recap 10 Sep 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Adult Content, Really bad sex with obligatory buyer’s remorse.

This campaign really went south in a heartbeat.

We’re in the transition back to Daggerford and the storyline with the Black Dragon comes into play: The Black Dragon remained captured by the party up to the time where the party handed them over to amateur guards under the Lords of Waterdeep, where the necromancer assassin took off, from inside the crystal it was caught in. Natyssa told them about it later, but more on her later.

They also caught wind of the farm that would be great for growing herbs for potions. However they need to clear it from the goblins and ogres first.

Here’s where someone decided to be a bit creative with the Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments they got thanks to donjon’s random treasure generator. What would happen if you’re, while on the outside of a building, paint a room of a wall that juts inside. Well, the Tiefling Sin in the party found out the hard way: The new room pushed out all the contents of the previously existing room, which included a Orge and two goblins, which tripped and fall right on top of the poor sod. I almost took him out just by crush damage alone.

But the tiefling got off lucky. Merdoc found himself in a pig pen with a goblin…and proceed to preposition not just the goblin, but also the pigs that were still in the pen. Ugh! Sometimes you just can’t account for every person’s kinks! Of course, I got him back. Not only did that goblin gave his character the most unkind cut a man will ever get—the dude’s a Ken Doll now—he’s also got Herpes. The kind of Herpes not easily cured by any run of the mill cleric. A Wish spell is required, although Lesser Restoration can be used to alieve the symptoms which will reappear from time to time.

PencheskaBack to the Mangus Scroll where Natyssa got taken aside by one of the players and was told that they know. She tried to play it off until finally just feeling the need to stretch her wings. Now revealed as Pencheska, she reveals that while she was under control by a demon named Baazka (I know it’s different in the module, that’s why I changed it) but all that drinking of sacred Pandaren brew has freed her from the demon’s control.

Not so with a member of the Floshin family that is part of the lords of the city: Baazka has a certain Shalendra Floshin under his thrall, and through her the demon will rip open the protections in the Floshin Estate.

Now that “Natyssa” is now pretty much working for herself, as a professional mistress, doing what she does to make a living and all. (And getting laid to keep herself in power; they’re like sex vampires, after all.) The party is pretty much allow her to do her thing as long as she doesn’t complicate things, which she has no reason to.

So the party goes back to the main reason why they’re here, the Scourge of the Sword Coast. They have a trio of options to face: Phylund Lodge, Firehammer Hold, and Floshin Estate. They chose Phylund Lodge for now, which they will face on the 24th of September, the next session. (I’ll be too busy with family next Thursday.) I’ll be kept busy with Out of the Abyss, especially when the book finally releases in the game stores.

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?

Dreams of the Red Wizards Recap: 3 SEP 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, DM being a dick, new home rule, bad things being done to two systems…again.

Now that I’ve taken care of the Labor Day weekend, I can go back to these recaps. There was no recaps for Encounters, since last week was Session Zero, for Character Creation and all. I told them that they can get some of the previous character’s money and some magic items since they’ve started off in Red Larch (where the last campaign ends) buuuut…

If you’ve already read Out of the Abyss, you know they’re not going to keep them. They’re really going to be pissed once they go through the transition delve I created to make a smooth transition between campaigns (another hallmark in my campaign design to give the impression of continuity) and they find themselves captured by the drow. Heh, heh, heh.

Those Trigger Warnings are up there for a reason, folks.

Over to my Twitch channel, where the party cleared the last two rooms in Undermountain.

Those with the Halls of Undermountain module from 4th Edition know that room 12 is the vision chamber, which included the puzzle where you have to move three spirits from one end of a hall to another without screwing up. I had the players going “Oh OH OH!! I know this puzzle.” I had people yell at me in the Twitch Channel saying that they fricking solved it already! What I didn’t expect to hear that, when the puzzle is complete and someone sat on the throne to get the blessing, they also got the vision of Natyssa—remember her, from the Scourge of the Sword Coast module they were supposed to go through—being revealed through a reflection as a succubus. “Now I like her better,” was the reply.

There’s just no accounting to another person’s kinks, right? That Fifty Shades of Gray book didn’t get written in a vacuum, didn’t it?

So the Fountain crew goes back to managing their businesses and return back to Daggerford (Global Headquarters, perhaps? They have room in their building.) so they can return to the original trek in the module.

2015-09-07 19_45_23-donjon; 5e Random GeneratorExit Trinkets; Enter Cyphers!

The new rule I have here occurred while I was planning the starting chapters of Out of the Abyss. They have some chests to put in trinkets for the players to play with. But when I went over to donjon to roll up some random items, I found out that they have Cyphers programmed in. Cyphers come from a newer RPG system with the same name by Monte Cook games, and two campaign worlds have already been set up with it, The Strange and Numenera. Cyphers are small one-use magic items that have random effects, its use can really make a turning point in a campaign.

When I saw that random generator for Cyphers in donjon, I knew. I even written it in my OneNote: Fsk Trinkets (I never worked them into my DM play anyway) I’m going to put Cyphers in my campaigns! I’ve already threw up a bunch of random generated Cyphers to be found in Out of the Abyss and will show up in other tables. (And be a part of Æthercoil as well.)

How Cyphers work in my table is that you have a random item’s description. You don’t know what they’ll do but you’ll know that it’s a Cypher. You can identify one Cypher in an extended rest (and before you ask, you cannot make consecutive short rests just to get another identify. Do that and I’ll throw in an ambush.) five with an Identify spell, and five more with each Extended Rest. (Or you can use one blind and hope for the best.) Unlike the Cypher System, there is no limit to the number of Cyphers you can carry, as long as it’s not becoming unwieldly. (Hoard Cyphers and I might call you encumbered by the pile you’re carrying).

Using a Cypher will take a Minor Action, regardless of what happens, and once it’s used its power is expended and becomes just inert junk.

Oh, and the reason why there’s Cyphers lying around in Faerun?  It’s the same reason why there’s Inventions, Artificiers, and soon to show up in future campaigns, Psychics:  The Spellplague required wizards to tinker and experiment with these small powered trinkets to create the same effect of their missing magic.  This tinkering couldn’t be stopped now that the Sundering reseted the Weave.  Once again, the people of Faerun now have the proverbial Genie of Technology out of his bottle, and he’s not going back in anytime soon.

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.

Encounters Recap: 19 Aug 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Extracurricular Activities, Customizing canonized side quests, Shameless requests for donations.

Today was the first of a set of filler episodes between Princes of the Apocalypse and Out of the Abyss, so I decided to work in some side quests that come with the PotA module, which I adjusted to suit the current team. The one I worked on is the “Tomb of Moving Stones,” which is normally set up early in the campaign. I skipped it because people have already gotten to Level 3, but now that I have some spare time, I can go back to this dungeon. It took me all weekend to retool the dungeon to Level 8 characters, but I think I have something fun to delve in.

MerieleThe party, along with several others, have succeeded in driving back the Cults of Elemental Evil. At least for the moment. As the people of Red Larch treat everyone here to the obligatory 10 gold and a party—only here it’s 200 Plat and a Feast—suddenly all of the shenanigans that the Elemental Cults have done to the local environment have taken their toll, the main intersection of the city has been eaten by a sinkhole! The heroes begin to go to the rescue, but some of the elders are telling everyone to stand back. “Nobody should come into the sinkhole! The Stones must not be moved! We shouldn’t disturb the Delvers!”

Nobody knew what they were talking about, but one has heard of them before, and she now has an ally that could bring whoever’s being these Delvers into the light. Meriele Ambercrown has called on the party to enter the Tomb of Moving Stones to get to the bottom of the Believers once and for all.

I’ll be doing the same to the other side quests in this module for my upcoming Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike where I take a second group to the Temple of the Elements on Roll20. I’ll be starting designing, more like re-designing, the campaign on Friday, and here comes the shameless request I’m talking about.

Earlier this week, I said that I’ll be making some NPCs available for donations. If you donate to my Twitch Channel, either by Paypal or by Streamtip (See my Twitch Channel for that, http://www.twitch.tv/davidfoxfire ) with $5 or more, I’ll put your name, and any likeness you’d request, into Red Larch as part of the campaign world. Proceeds of these donations will go into buying Out of the Abyss for the Encounters group. (When you’re on limited funds like I am, you’d appreciate all the help you can get.)

Speaking of Worldbuilding, tomorrow will be the Scourge of the Sword Coast VT stream, where the party will begin by planning turning a building in Waterdeep into their own Player’s Guild. It’ll be the second in my custom Forgotten Realms, and will be working on new mechanics that might come into play in future campaigns.

Introducing Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike

The Elemental Evil were driven back about a couple months back when the four Elemental Cults appeared in the Dessarin Valley. The people of Red Larch discovered that the cult’s reach has even grasped the town elders. The new Town Elder, the Arcanist Meriele Amblecrown, can only think of one thing from this: The Elemental Evil was down, but certainly not out. They will strike again.

And the Four Elemental Cults did not disappoint. They have regrouped and remarshaled their forces and have been spotted in the North, redoubling their effort to bring Elemental Chaos into the world. Heroes are needed to answer the call to bring down the Elemental Evil once and for all.

Second Strike LogoPrepare for Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike, a Roll 20 Virtual Table campaign in the works, beginning September-October.

Become a NPC in the game!

Because of the loss of some of the cannon NPCs in the module, there are a need for replacements. Therefore, I’m offering this opportunity for readers to become a part of the new Red Larch:

Paypal Link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=XH8YGFE8UM62Q

Anyone who donates $5 or more through Paypal with your name and description will have their likeness put in the game as a replacement NPC. Proceeds will go in the procuring and preparation of the Out of the Abyss Encounters season. Exceptional donations will go into the eventual goal of having the Encounters table filmed for a Video Podcast, which is my ultimate goal for my Encounters Group.

Over the weekend, or maybe sooner, you will see me stream the preparations for Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike using One Note and Roll20. I hope that you’ll be interested in playing the game.

Dreams of the Red Wizards Recap, 13 Aug 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, slow play, net gremlins, major stuttering.

I might as well post these recaps soon. I got a truckload of work to do this weekend.

This session was slow going—and there was a couple disconnects as well; maybe I need a new router—but I managed to start the next chapter in the “Black Dragon” saga, where the Red Wizards team start their action against the former Cult of the Dragon member turned independent assassin. The Cultists already know about him, and feared what he knows about them enough to put up a 5000 PP (!!) award on his head.

By now the first part of the map is so contrived that I just tell the party that they passed through it, especially the Hall of Heroes with their interchangeable, yet randomly rigged, statues. They made the last encounter in the throne room where I let them have the globes, one of them is a containment globe which is attuned to a rod that they can use to capture someone, like say, a necromantic elven supremacist.

They proceeded to go to the Magic Stream room, getting a Thunderstone in the process (which can be used as a bomb.) because I upped the difficulty by adding traps to the doors, and found a place where some claim would be a good place to set up a base to explore the rest of the map.

That got me thinking. I first had Aowyneth set up a portal to his humble home on the surface in Waterdeep, so that the party can exit and enter through that point, then as the party talked about things like shoring up the defenses in the room—allowing a character to be benched in the process—they talked about setting up a tavern and inn of their own, using the portal to provide another entry in Undermountain.

This has promise of maybe yet another guildhouse, if that is possible, in my Forgotten Realms, where a home base of many campaign parties can use as a place to call home and explore both the Sword Coast and Undermountain. Whatever or not this comes into play in Out of the Abyss remains to be seen (from what I’ve seen in Dungeon+, that campaign starts in Mithral Hall.

Regardless I need to set up this proto-guildhouse as well as a custom dungeon for my Encounter team over the weekend, as well as the other necessary things. This makes me grateful that I typed out these Recaps quick so I can get to the real work behind D&D.

But I have to end this with a shout out for my Roll20 party.  Because they realised that I’m pretty competent as a Dungeon Master despite my stuttering issue.  You probably never seen me talk outside of the few videos I made and the Twitch stream, and for good reason:  I have a cronic speach impediment.  Whatever it’s caused by my Autism or a childhood car accident where I fell on my head–I think it’s the latter, because that is also the source of the former–I have trouble articulating “properly,” and sometimes I just plain trip over words constantly and I had to stop myself and start over.  You can imagine how much trouble this caused me as a child.  And why I prefer to communicate by text most of the time.  If I can get away with it, I’d be completely non-verbal, just out of frustration over not being able to talk ‘right.’  But D&D has given me a reasonably safe avenue for me to at least attempt to keep talking, especially when I’m behind the DM Screen.  And while I might not be the clearest speaker in the room, I am encouraged to gather enough confidence to keep trying.  That’s something I couldn’t do when I’m forced to sit down on a chair and have some grown-up who should know better to get in my face and shout out “SAY SOMETHING!!”  (Sometimes with threats of getting knocked out in the process)

For that, everyone who’s playing D&D past and future, wheather it’s online, IRL, or in a forum, you have my thanks for encouraging me to go on with this game.  I hope to give you better stories and better games as I progress, and maybe by the time I dead this god damned stutter will improve.

Encounters Recap, 13 Aug 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Boss Battle, Time Limit.

I really tried to do a TPK in this session, I really tried. Only the time limit kept me from doing so.

If you’ve got the book and have read along, you’ll know that the traditional win scenario in Princes of the Apocalypse is defeating all four Prophets and defeat one Major Elemental Prince. If I didn’t have a time limit—I have to start Out of the Abyss in September—I could stay around the Red Larch area and take more than a year to make this goal. Keep in mind that, much like with my campaign, that there’s a Nemesis System similar to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Modor, where there is a hierarchy of the leadership in each of the four cults. Defeat a Prophet and someone else will take up his or her place. This happened twice in my game, and will come into play when—yes, when—I start the next run of Princes of the Apocalypse in an online forum.

But then I move on to the big boss battle in the campaign. This should’ve happened sometime in September, but like I said last week, they took the short cut from the Howling Hatred floor, skipping past the Fane of the Eye, and end up sludging through the Howling Cave floor. By now my win condition is to defeat a Prince.

In this session, they met that Prince. The Air Prophet Aerisi was waiting for them in the final room in the Howling Caves. And her first action (I took a Legendary Action for this purpose) and summon Yan-C-Bin, the Prince of Elemental Air, and just to spice things up, he brought 3 Air Elementals with him.

Commence the battle where I swung for the fences. The attacks were fast and furious where I use Yan-C’s attacks, and a Cloudkill from Aerisi, to devastate the party. I managed to take down two players, and the Wyvren that accompanied them, and used Yan-C’s innate Fire resistance to his best advantage.

It would’ve been the biggest battle in the campaign.

It would’ve been a very hard fought victory if they actually managed to do so.

But then the clock rang 7:45p.

Hero’s Hideout closes at 8:00p.

Most people would’ve just paused the game at this point, but I was in mid-battle, and had to work fast. I tried removing all resistance from Yan-C as the portal to his plane of Elemental Air closes around itself.

In the end, at 8:01p, I just had to have Yan-C get sucked back into his dimension. A cop-out ending if there ever was, but what could you do with time constraints?

So I basically called it a victory for the party, and they have achieved the win condition for Princes of the Apocalypse, but the story is far from over. There was a chapter in the campaign that I had to skip over earlier because the party had already leveled up to a decent level to start the dungeon proper. I’ll go back to that chapter with some homemade construction as I start filling up some time between now and Out of the Abyss.

I’ll also provide a bit of a recap as to how the power structure is currently shuffled in the Cults of Elemental Evil, and set the campaign up for another party.

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