Every now and then you run into times there nothing really comes out like you planned. For me, this week was one of those times.
Item: Encounters; Mar 9
The intro graphic pretty much says it all.
I had a very beloved group of baddies to throw at my party on Wednesday, a Monster group inspired by Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Tea Party, complete with appropriate characters, and planned for an epic and likable encounter to have a remarkable pause in this campaign for Death House.
Hypnotic Sphere, Hunger of Hadar, and two Fireballs.
The encounter lasted less than five minutes.
Inside, I was dying. At least I intend on still using this NPC party for my Living Parnast series. More on that later.
I managed to get the group into the Labyrinth chapter where they got to the Portable Fortress and acquired it. That will lead them up to a major scene with their second (or third, depending on who you ask) Demon Lord encounter.
But for now, we’re going through the Death House adventure, and I hope by God I can finally get my hands on Curse of Strahd during that time.
Item: Dreams of the Red Wizards, Mar 10
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsMdCoUCo_Y (Edit: I can not upload entire videos without breaking them into 15-min intervals. You’d think they’d let me know about this.)
Infiniscene had a beta moment, but I was still able to stream from it.
This session was the first of the Dead in Thay storyline, and the first time I was able to field test the NPC Party moving around. I have each party have a count of 50, as they take the elemental nodes that the party didn’t pick. I drew from the on-board card deck on Roll20 to emulate their progress. I only counted 2-10 cards, showing no progress on Faces and Aces. I have to admit that I need to take it easy on them because I saw a lot of aces, and I first had it that an Aces means a member of that party died. Something I wouldn’t know until I field tested the mechanic, right?
I had to admire the party for their ingenuity. As much as it annoys me that some well-thought-out monsters get one-rounded, I like it when the party uses stealth to move around creatures, and this session, you can see the party evade pretty much everyone in the Earth Node, save for one Thayan who was too close. I gave everyone 2K in XP because of this.
The rest of the campaign dealt with the Lich, Tarul Var. I used the Monster Manual for the stats, which included legendary actions and everything. At least I can console myself with the reality that I really can make a prolonged battle with one creature, at least until the time limit where I had Isteval and Company arrive.
I finished the session with the decision on Baazka and the blade on his side. One of the party was genre savvy because they’ve gone through Dead in Thay before: He pushed the blade in, banishing Baazka.
He’s going to remember that.
Item: Princes of the Apocalypse, 11 March
Infiniscene was really on the fritz on Friday, so much so that I couldn’t even stream with it. Which was sad because some awesome scenes, and the introduction of a new player, Nathan, who was in games streamed by Starwalker Studios. He said he’ll give me a good word for them, hoping that I’d end up in a game there. Nice to know that some networking is going on.
Which is more than I can say for Thulwar, the necromancer with the OPed summon. Everyboth, including the player of Thulwar, Denzil, agreed, so I decided to give him a proper send-off.
Cue six Elder Fire Elementals and Imix standing around Thulwar over a bridge over lava, while every cultist in the Shrine of Eternal Flame doing The Halls of Castamere.
And thanks to Roll20’s Random Number Generator deciding to be a total bastard this night, it didn’t even last as long as the Red Wedding!
Fortunately for Denzil, he had a secondary character, unfortunately for me he rolled up a Tiefling Warlock who likes to use Witchbolt and Darkness in a combo. He’s one of those players who likes to match wits with the DM. No problem, I have a mechanic I created just for the occasion: Mana Kicking.
Inspired by the Magic: the Gathering Kicker mechanic, it’s a way to game the Spell Points variant you can find in pages 288-289 in the Dungeon Master’s Guide: You cast a spell like you would normally, but after casting it, you can kick in an extra spell point for additional purposes. Casting a spell with a higher Spell Level is only one of these purposes. More will appear at a time most benefiting those I’m throwing at the players. Read: There’s going to be some shocked people, and come short cussing from Denzil.
Which will make me happy that I don’t have my web cam on while I’m playing, for I’ll be showing a lot of shit-eating grins.
I’m still not done with the Mad Tea Party, although they’re not going to be in my Encounters table. I need to speed through Out of the Abyss once Death House is completed. But they’ll come into play in my Living Paranst series, during their Rage of Demons chapter. I’ll also be working on the Mana Kicking and NPC party progression as I go.
Last of all for this report, I got back with Infiniscene and they told me that they fixed up the problems I had. I appreciate that kind of assistance with their streaming service, and they definitely got a customer with me.
Now then, if I can get some income to pay for this bill on top of the others…oh well.