Weekend Update for 17 Oct 15

This coming week will be a red letter day for me, because two of the programs that I’m buying, Sword Coast Legends and RPG Maker MV, are being released this week. (Finally!, as far as Sword Coast Legends are concerned.) They finally have some parts of the Single Player campaign in the last Head Start, and I have to say, they’ve really done a well job with the characterization of the NPCs. Especially with the rare complimentary relationship between Illydia (an Elf) and Larethar (a Dwarf). I hate to see what their wedding would be like.

Unfortunately for me, I’ll be unable to stream or even record Sword Coast Legends. My computer just doesn’t have the firepower, although I will continue on my plans to create SCL modules. At least not until Infiniscene appears in the scene. When that become available, I’ll try to make that stream. In the meantime, I can start on designing Baldur’s Gate Investigations, my first RMMV project, over in Twitch.

Also this week, I’ll also design my Halloween Zombie Horde episode where I put the party up against The Black Dragon in full-on Lich mode and PCs that become Zombies when they die. The survivors will gain a bonus in their Out of the Abyss campaign. I’ll also have an online session with a similar award.

Dreams of the Red Wizards recap: 08 OCT 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Business Reports, references to games that I should name-drop less than I do. Reference to other games that makes me reconsider my belief in humanity.

I mean, you’d expect autistics to be into Pokemon better than baseball. Or D&D.

But that’s what the references go when the party delved deeper into Phylund Hunting Lodge—dealing with some bigger undead along the way, including a Zombie Beholder that I tossed in just to piss people off, heh heh heh—and they came into the shrine part of the crypts.

Yes, folks, that circular room does look like a pokeball.

And what’s worse? They found two parts of a stone sphere and thought that rolling it into that room to see if it does something.

Part of me has wheels turning in my head, the rest is just rolling my eyes.

Like the saying goes, “Give them the sun, take ‘em through hell for the moon.”

But anyway, I did say that I’d do the first tenday business report for the party’s official company, Umbrella Corp, so here I go.

……yeah……Umbrella Corp. I’m groaning with you.

The Fountain

In its initial launch, Open Lord Laeral Silverhand took a look at what you made of the building and gave it her vote of approval. The initial tavern businesses made a profit of 95 GP, and 12 people in 3 adventuring parties joined the guild, creating a 120 GP a month cashflow.

In the business mechanic we’re working on, we have two attributes that deal with how the business is going: Prestige, which is how well known and influential the business is; and Notoriety, how much in shadier dealings you are in. At this time, I’m just giving these two factors in basic 1 to 10 scales until we refine the matter better.

12 Guild Patrons in 3 groups total (2 Tendays til the next fees of 120 GP)
Other Profits add up to 95 GP
Prestige is at 2 (On a scale of 1 to 10) and rising, due to the initial good start.
Notoriety is at 0 (On a scale of 1 to 10)

The Farm

I’m assuming that they have planted all of the plants you need at this time, which will take three months (9 tendays) to grow.

My only question is what kind of potions you want to make and, and this is hanging me up, what ingredients are required. However, this is a mere problem for me, and it’s based on my current lack of lore. I mean, come on, does anyone know what kind of herbs and ingredients go into a simple Potion of Healing?

So we’re going to need a Herblore mechanic somewhere, something for me to put into the campaign world (both Forgotten Realms and Æthercoil) that will make potions a little less Automatic. I’ll let you know about any future developments.

Business progressed as Normal, without any major profits or losses.

The Mangus Scroll

Chou’s brew has become as well-known in Daggerford as Cheese and Caramel popcorn is in Eveningstar. (Wait until I get my RPG Maker MV projects going for that.) The Mangus Scroll gets a 60 GP profit…

….well, it would’ve been 90 GP, but Natyssa insisted in designing a decent corporate headquarters with the back building, using hotel rooms that nobody else is using. There’s a three floor front building which is the Mangus Scroll proper, and a two floor back building that you’re using as a home base, with your own personal room and board. Natyssa took the upper floor that was empty into the business and recordkeeping part of the business, with a quite opulent appeal may I add, and has wooed a couple loveless brainy maidens into being maids in the building, aiding in the number-crunching and accounting, and making sure that all the papers are in proper order. It’s best not to ask where she found them or how they became sooooo contented in life. (Of course, she’s still Pencheska to the locals in Daggerford, although they have admired her improvement in life and consider her secretarial position in your company a couple ranks up from “Whore with a Heart of Gold.” Little do they know, right?)

Maybe all that rich stuff she found to décor the place came from her personal collection.

Tenday profit: 60 GP
Business Headquarters set up proper. Opulent and Imperial. Only without any eldritch portals underneath. Sorry, I’m rambling.

Prestige is at a 5; the Mangus Scroll is the mid-range leader in Daggerford, catching up to the Lady Luck Tavern. Curran Corvalin’s sweating a little; not expecting this level of competition from what is still a new arrival.

Notoriety is at 2 because of the Red Dragon still in the basement. But the dragon has become an avid connoisseur, and knows of a pathway that allows him to get to the surface without disturbing Daggerford so he can hunt.

Tallying it up

The business combine to a 275 GP profit, which is put into the company bank account, making the balance 8275 GP, a good omen. Hope it lasts.

Now then, what to do to that Pokeball room.

The hassles of trying to stream and play with one Quad-Core, and a way around it.

Yesterday I literarily slept all day. If you have insomnia and you’re in your 40s, you can expect that. No, I am not a spring chicken.

Anyway, I wanted to spend this Head Start weekend to get to record some Sword Coast Legends to edit. However, it has become apparent that streaming or recording a game that you’re playing at the time is too much for a quad-core computer, even one as awesome (or maybe because of? Depends on who you ask) as an AMD A8. For best results, I would need a second Quad Core to do the recording-slash-streaming (I do have the bandwidth with it thanks to Charter Spectrum, and the new router is working great for that role) and get a screen capture card to feed the gameplay into the streaming machine.

Of course, that will cost more money than what I have so far, and with Illinois politics being as pissy as they are at this time, saving money up to get a third computer is a joke. (Although I would appreciate donations in the Paypal tip jar, accessible from the Affiliates tab. All donations will go to better equipment, and you can design your own NPC in the campaigns, be they D&D, SCL, and RPG Maker MV.)

But then I got invited into something that could be a big help with me: Infiniscene. This is a Streamcasting program that resides in the cloud, with a mere helper program residing in the background of your computer to connect to it. My computer sends the feed to Streamcast, who then has all the required processing power to create the stream, thus reducing the load on my own computer.

I’m looking forward to trying this service out. I’m already in the Beta Queue (in the 300s, no less) and I can invite anyone who’s interested in Infiniscene with this link: https://infiniscene.com?refcode=eb12cf5e091a . I hope that this will be what I need to really get into the streaming community.

Out of the Abyss Recap, 08 Oct 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Halloween Session Plans

The party had enough torches and food to last them throughout the trek through the Darklake region which will probably take them two sessions, including this one. I’ve got a simplified Event Deck system going: I draw until I get a number card, Aces being 1. If I get a red card, I add 10. I then consult the table for the results like a d20. For a d12, I just add Jacks for 11 and Queens for 12.

The session was pretty uneventful, expecting for a travel montage episode. Nothing much for me to report here, but there’s something else I wanted to announce here.

In three weeks, on the 28th, is the Halloween session in Encounters, and for that, I’m going to have a special one-shot session: A zombie apocalypse scenario that uses a regular villain of mine: Dralmorrer Borngray, the Black Dragon.

In my Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign, I had Dralmorrer be left behind by the Cult of the Dragon when the heroes retook Castle Naerytar. Seeking revenge against the Cult of the Dragon, he delved deep into Thayan Necromancy to create a Zombie Apocalypse in Faerun.

In my Halloween scenario, I’ll be setting the party up against The Black Dragon in an encounter with him at full power. When he kills the PCs, he also reanimates them into becoming his army, and the players join my side of the screen and go after the survivors. Those still living when they finally get the Black Dragon down…or manage to escape with their lives…will have a reward waiting for them in they return to the campaign.

Those interested in playing this one shot will need to make a 6th Level character, and you can min-max on this one. I’ll have a real life session on the 28th, and if any of the Roll20 players want to, I’ll make online one-shots of the same scenario as well.

 

Dreams of the Red Wizards Business Report, 6 OCT 15

I never thought in my wildest dreams when I started this D&D themed blog that I’ll be starting a weekly—that’s what I’m shooting for—business report on a company that exists in my campaign world a la Bloomberg! The sick freaks in my Dreams of the Red Wizards proved me wrong.

It all began when someone rolled up on a net-based carousing table during a day of downtime. He first gave me the link to the table he’s using, and then he gave me the result.

Everyone’s jaw dropped, including my own, when they found themselves with the deeds to the Mangus Scroll tavern in Daggerford.

Now the party has to deal with running the business as well as the campaign. But the players wanted to get into some coin-raising schemes, so they ran with it. In fact, during the Undermountain chapter of the campaign, they even managed to get an abandoned guildhouse and refurbished it with an underground network of portals (So far two: One to Undermountain and another to Daggerford) and even had a farm in the process.

So here is my first business report on what I’m calling The Fountain, LLC., for now. (Name to change by the party if they wish.) We’re currently working on a more expansive business engine, which I’ll be gradually implementing as I go along.

But for now, I just want to set up the assets and the initial cash flow to get the playtest engine started. I’ll be assisted by Natyssa, one of the party’s employees who became the secretary of the group. For those who know her form the Scourge of the Sword Coast module, she has recently been freed from demonic and Thayan influences thanks to some Pandafolk brew, and just settled into a new life as a free succubus more interesting in living her life than wooing men into giving up their souls.

Sidebar: A succubus homerule

Incubi and Succubi are usually demon monsters that are pretty much what you expect from the Monster Manual. You can find out all you need to know about a standard D&D succubus in Dragon 417, near the end of their PDF run.

When a Succubi becomes an NPC, much like with Natyssa, I’d like to make her less Demonic and more hedonistic. The biggest reason for this is to pull the D&D setting away from its reputation brought on by the Histrionic Outrage Mongering SJWs of the 1980s. It’s a similar reason why, in Æthercoil, the Tieflings in the real act less like devils and more like Satyrs. More on that in a future Æthercoil post.

When it comes to Natyssa, my kind of succubus would be more of a stereotypical “Girl Gone Wild,” always searching for parties to crash, beauties to woo, and songs to sing and if they can’t find one, they’ll make one just as an excuse to make merry. Oh sure, they still require doing it to replenish their strength, but with two differences. One, it’s not the sex itself, but the reckless abandonment associated with it. The less inhibited, the more energy they can gather. And the second, unlike a standard Succubus who is constantly seeking to fill an eternal emptiness caused by their falling of grace, someone like Natyssa will actually feel full after bedding someone. Filled to bursting, to be precise. Granted, in a couple days she’ll be hungry again, but it’s just like a basic human need for subsistence, only here it’s life energy expended during the act. It is possible for a succubus to drain someone to the point that they do become a thrall to the devil, their soul given away for a life of eternal pleasure, but to those who aren’t under the control of a higher-rank devil, that’s a bit counterproductive. Best let the darling sleep and rest to recover his own strength. Let the poor long-suffering soul dream of his true love so that he’ll always come back as a regular source of energy.

That’s what Natyssa is doing right now in Daggerford. She probably has a small group of suitors that she keeps tabs with, offering her all sorts of goodies and trinkets—and an occasional gossip—for her to enjoy as she feeds on them. No dreams of conquest of bringing The Nine Hells on Earth, just doing what she does to get by.

Not bad for a starter. I need to work on her hands and her right ear, and I hope I can practice the Ink Pen took with her in future reports.
Not bad for a starter. I need to work on her hands and her right ear, and I hope I can practice the Ink Pen took with her in future reports.

But enough about her, let’s get to the company report.

The Numbers

Umbrealla Corp., starts with an 8000 GP bank account (for expenses the Characters don’t pay for Out of Pocket) and three locations:

(Yeah, yeah, I get the reference.  I just thank the gods that they’re not dabbling in viruses.  Yet.)

1: The Fountain Building

Located in the South Ward of Waterdeep, this was an abandoned guildhouse, which current Open Lord Laeral Silverhand granted to the party. The party refurbished the building and even proceeded to set up a pair of portals, one to Room 6 of the Undermountain Dungeon, and another to the Mangus Scroll in Daggerford. The first portal is already set up. The second one is in mid-construction, and will be complete in three tendays.

At the opening of the business, it has by the first tenday 12 customers, each paying 10 GP each for a monthly fee. All expenses are taken care of out of pocket already.

2: The Farm

This is a farm on the Trade Way between Waterdeep and Daggerford. It was just liberated from Goblins and has been retiled for the purposes for growing ingredients for potions and brews being made within the company. At this time, the fields are being prepared by a group of farmers whose salary is already pre-paid. Pandafolk Brewmaster Chou Wildbarley has cordoned off a plot for his own crops, and Farm Manager Marcion Sha’Garess (Drow Alchemist) has constructed a special greenhouse that emulates the Underdark environment for certain plants and fungus. (Descriptions on the plants he can grow in this area can be found in Out of the Abyss. Marcion is testing his greenhouse with a group of each listed fungus.) Chou has planted some vegetables and is now transplanting some fruit trees from the Phylund Lodge for convenience sake.

At this time, a bit of research from the Players into what Potions are needed and what crops needed to grow is in order. Once that is known, the farmers will plant the seeds and tend to the fields.

3: The Mangus Scroll

This is the pub and inn the party originally procured. The pub is remodeled in a Shou style, and fully stocked. The tavern is on the rebound thanks to Chou and his brews—he always have several kinds, two regular brews that appeal to local tastes, and a couple experimental ones he invites people to taste and comment. Chou’s carefree attitude and variety in the fully stocked pub combines into a very successful business. While he has a 1G a day—taken from the profits, he has very meager living arrangements, leaving the rest to invest in plants to grow and the tending to the half dozen waitress he puts in Chengsong to tend to customers. The total fee for these six waitresses are 3 GP a Tenday, taken from the profits.

The Mangus Scroll also has a small Inn and houses the headquarters of the company. The Inn has been converted to your private quarters, and is considered your home base. This location is tended to by Natyssa, otherwise known as Pancheska, a succubus who has been freed from any Thayan influences thanks to Chou and his sacred brews. She now lives comfortably on a 3GP a day lifestyle (a combination of pay from the Tavern and her own prostitution) and finds herself as your secretary. She even dresses up in the role. (Word of warning: Attempts to sexually harass her will backfire, very creatively may I add. She is a Succubus, after all. She might have someone in a maid suit that she enthralled last night into assisting her.)

What happens Next

At the end of the next Dreams of the Red Wizards report, I’ll call up some random events that will show how the businesses are doing. It will be up to the party to deal with the aftermath, make their next plan, and make their investments.   I will then do another roll when I feel a Tenday has passed in the game. (A ‘tenday’ being a time period of ten days, which is the Realms version of a Week. There are three weeks in a month.)

Dreams of the Red Wizards update, 1 OCT 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Tentacles in the Toilet, Cthulu Fatagan my friends!! Dwarven Bigotry. Routers who have Failed Me for the Last Fucking Time!!

The party is still in Phylund Lodge and I guided them through to the rest of the upper buildings and eventually into the crypts, where they took out Flubnak, the third Possessed creature in this campaign. They also threatened to burn down the whole place if they ever see a coffin meant for a dwarf. (You can thank a stupid Dwarven Cleric who hugged a Basilisk for this form of Racism.)

But that’s not the gem of this session.

Early on I have set up a privy in the upper levels (Room 10 in the module) with a very special treat: A tentacle in a toilet. And the morons are stupid enough to yank on it. (Personally, I think they’re intentionally doing it for shits and giggles.)

They ended up pulling Cthulhu out of the phantoms and into the Forgotten Realms. I managed to give two levels of Madness—the first time I use the Madness Mechanic—before he slips back into th

Go̼̻̮̗̟͉͚d̖̯̲̻̟̟̣ ͍͉D͈̫̭̣̩̙̖a͍̱͇m͕̲͕ṋit̩̗,̝ ͈̤D̼̹̰̣̠a̘͔̳̰̞̬̹v̭̣̩͖̲̥̟i̭̟̞ͅḓ̟͎̜̯ ̪͍̞G͖o̥n̲̘̼͍̝̹͇t̼̖̲͇e̻̠̳̥r͍̝̬̦̠m̹̱̘̯̲ͅa͖n̪͉͕̹ͅ!͇̼͕͇̳ ̥̦̺͙̼͉̦ ͕̞͙K̟͙e̗̥͕̣e͇̰̰p̦̱̺̣̬ ͍͍̝̫̝̝m̺̼͖̠̳̩ͅe̲̲ ̫̳͎̳o̞̟ͅu̝̦̰͎̮̗̦t̖ ̘̝o̺͈̱̺f̱̣ ̩̖̩̭yo͚̼u̗̘̩r͈ ̦c̘a͇̱̻̖͎m͎͍̼̞̩p͈̗̫ạ̞͓i̳̖̻̝͍̹̲g̮͙͉̣͍n̬̗͈͓̼s͉̜!̦!̰̫̙̺̝

 

….touchy, ain’t he?

I would’ve have a decent session though, but my router kept bugging out on me near the end of the session. About five time within the last 20 minutes! That’s when I start acting like Anakin and start yanking at items. The following day I got a new router, and it looks like this one’s behaving itself. However, I think it’s the cable that’s connected directly on the main cable, threaded through a tree, and into my apartment and then my machines. But if the Router doesn’t stop with a momentary net hiccup and requires me to restart the device, I won’t complain. Much.

Because of this, I had to postpone the first session of Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike until the following week, the 9th of October.

You ask me, I think Cthulhu got me back. I could hear him laughing like a idiot.

Out of the Abyss Update: 30 Sep 15

Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, plans going awry, people needing to be nerfed, DM pulling shit out of his @$$, One of those sessions.

Eventually, during your time with D&D, be you PC or DM, where you have a session that could’ve gone better. Plans go awry, an encounter that should’ve lasted two hours went by in less than 5 minutes, the party ends going off the rails, or worse, ran out of rail to run with. Everyone on the table ends up pulling stuff out of their respective colons, and the result might, emphasis on the word might turn up okay, but more often than not the progress isn’t something to write home about, and it often ends up early.

This was one of those sessions. I had the ritual battle at Sloobludop where they see Demogorgon for the first time. Even had a battle map and a figure of Shrek (??) for where the demon rises up. I was hoping it would last at least an hour for my usual party of 6 to 8.

Unfortunately for me, only the four older regulars showed up, with the kids having a busy night with school work. I thought I gave the Prayer Beads magic item that was a bit too OP at this time a needed nerf by having the recharges off until they reached the surface, and when Demogorgon made his entrance, he would make the Deva that was summoned through the Prayer Beads to go psychotic and start attacking the party.

I didn’t nerf it enough. When Demogorgon appeared, immediately after the insanity check, the team used Wind Walk and bailed.

That happened within the first ten minutes.

Well, that threw out all of my plans all to shit. Time to start improvising.

I was scrambling as much as the party was to get outta dodge. I managed to at the least get the party back on track, heading toward Blingdenstone, which will take them through The Darklake. I used most of the time to playtest this Chase Scene Mechanic that uses my Event Deck. I managed to fill up the rest of the hour or so using the playing cards and little dice. (In fact, I stocked up on smaller d6s just for the occasion.) I had this for the chase with the Drow Party. I ended up using it against Demogorgon instead as the party rows their way out of Sloobludop, which will no doubt be destroyed by the demon.

Chris Perkins is going to hate me for this one.

And now I need to revise my traveling mechanic. I’ll already ruled them having enough light and food. They just need to not do anything stupid. I also have to make the link between the two cities remaining, Mantol-Derith and Blingdenstone, and then move up to the surface. I’ve already got some ideas in the works, but that’s going to be telling for now.

Sword Coast Legends, initial perceptions and recording schemes.

Last Weekend I got invited into the Sword Coast Legends Headstart Weekends. Most people who prepaid for the game have because they keep moving the release date ahead. I’m currently hoping that the game will be launched sometime before Christmas. Nevertheless, I was going to use these weekends to get used to the UI, play a bit of Single Player, Multiplayer, and DM mode, and see if I can get the game streamed or recorded online. The last part is why I got the game in the first place, after all.

A heads up here: You’re reading the experiences of a forty something on the Autism Spectrum, so when you see my gameplay, don’t expect someone playing the game like a piano concert player. Expect a lot of pauses while I stop and fucking think.

Needless to say, the space key to pause the game and make tactical plans has become my new best friend.

I’ll start with the user interface. For someone like me who is used to “Over the Shoulder” point of view, such as DDO and Neverwinter, or point and click movements such as with most MOBA, SCL has some winkles the needs a bit of a curve. Your mouse points and clicks on the screen for the characters to move, attack, talk, and use items, sure enough. But (for now) the camera doesn’t follow the party. You have to move the camera with WASD and rotate the cameras with Q and E, and at times you have to do this and the mouse at the same time. Like I said, younger people and those who are in professional gaming teams that play in arenas and broadcasted on Twitch can do this a lot better than me. Nevertheless, I managed to get the hang of it, especially if I don’t really need to “Gotta go fast.”

Like I said before, using that space key to pause the game is very important. Thank the Gods that the characters can run on automatic so you don’t have to make every move in the game (This ain’t Final Fantasy, people!) but when the characters are in a jam, and they will get into a jam, you hit pause and tell the characters to drink a potion or stabilize someone who got KOed (The Gears of War save, you know.) Although there are some situations that not even that will save the party, like aggroing several demons at the same time. Or encountering a black ooze that was concealed oh so creatively as part of the floor.

A final grace: There’s no real TPK. A party wipe will result in the party respawning at the start of the area you’re in. You can effectively Zerg a big troubling encounter if you must. At least for now; I think that the devs would want to penalize this.

There’s a reason why I have an Injury Die for my tabletop play.

Maybe tomorrow, I’d like to start with DM Mode and play with that for a while. I still have a day left in this particular Headstart Weekend. But now I turn to providing my first Let’s Play series.

I initially wanted to stream the game on Twitch. However, even with an AMD A10, my sole quad-core can only do so much. I tried to use OBS with Sword Coast Legends, but only managed to Blue Screen Windows 10—Achievement Unlocked!!—too many times.   So I need to switch to recording the gameplay and editing it. Getting screen recording programs and Movie Plus would be simple for me. And I’ll have plenty of time to practice splicing videos together and putting in whatever annotations I need before the work begins.

I’ll let you know of more progress as I make them, but I’ll end now with a thank you from Kyle, from my Encounters table and in Roll20 for a time. I bartered with him for a used widescreen 1080p monitor for my computer which is a godsend. I needed more monitor real estate for my notes. But now I have to remake my whole twitch graphics to suit the wider screen. Labor of love, I say.

Æthercoil Worldbuilding Post #5

This one contains two parts, one big picture, and one flavor. Word of warning, this might be a long one:

ITEM: Exit Demons and Devils; Enter Furries

One of the bigger detractions from D&D in the game’s history is the presence of Demons and Devils. While they are not the same kind as the ones depicted in many religious texts you can see where the outcry in the 1980s came from. However, it is my fervent belief that, just like Rock Music and Heavy Metal, Role Playing Games can be used for Christian purposes. Hell, I’d love to make a D&D supplemental that will incorporate most Judeo-Christian trappings into your campaign world. Setting up a historical setting and having the proverbial butterfly take it to another direction, and then see where that direction ends? That’s a perfect fodder for an RPG campaign and has been done countless times before.

Of course, it should come to no surprise that I’d say something like that: I have Jesus Christ in Æthercoil, after all.

But with the Demons and Devils part, I actually see no place for them in this campaign world. Or at least, anything above a Tiefling-like race who is closer to Trickster Spirits and Bacchanalia than any soul-stealing spirits. More to come from there. As I continued to design the campaign world in my head, however, I find that the Demons and Devils of a classical D&D world have been replaced by a menagerie of sentient and intelligent animals in various stages of anthropomorphism and temperament. Some animals are more bestial and would still consider humans food, while others would resemble someone who walked out of Zootopia.

In other words, I replaced the Devil with Furries. The many new races alone would make up a good quarter of the Player Options section of the Campaign Guide.

While it would be clear that Æthercoil would cater to those in Furry Fandom that would like to RPG as their favorite critter, or even their Fursona, it is still possible for a more classical group of PC to play in the world and have some decent campaigns. They don’t even have to include any talking animals if they don’t want to; that’s the beauty of RPG design.

While I had this idea stewing in my head for some time, the thought didn’t come up to the forefront until Wizards started their Rage of Demons season. This campaign focuses on the Underdark and it’s Alice in Wonderland-ish theme. For the like of me I don’t know how I can see an underground Wonderland that has 12 Demon Lords driving everyone batty, but I can clearly see such a Wonderland without them. A sort of natural faerzress that covers the entire Underdark (which in Æthercoil would lie below all of Europe) that acts like a psychedelic mist that plays tricks with a person’s senses, perceptions, personalities and eventually their entire mental being until they become as madcap as the Disney movie. I just got A Red and Pleasant Land which will be a great inspiration for the Æthercoil Underdark, including a group of people, the Alices, who used to be surface people, but have become so list in the Underdark and assimilated by the faerzress that they have become their own class.

Also, I have already thought up a reason for this Underdark’s Existance.

ITEM: A brief history of the Æthercoil World’s Fall of the Mordern World.

“I will erase even the memory of Sparta from the histories! Every piece of Greek parchment shall be burned. Every Greek historian, and every scribe shall have their eyes pulled out, and their tongues cut from their mouths. Why, uttering the very name of Sparta, or Leonidas, will be punishable by death! The world will never know you existed at all!” — Xerxes, 300

As I listed earlier, only 300 years has passed between the beginning of the end (The Cubs winning the World Series) and the start of the Æthercoil campaign. In that short time, the Modern World has regressed into an Old School Renaissance type world. A world more fitting for Game of Thrones or The Bastard Executioner. Scholars in this era look back at the history they knew with utter shock, not over the idea of the world you’re in falling down into nothingness, but that it has done so blindingly fast. It was almost as if something erased a good chunk of history.

They weren’t far off. The aforementioned Samson Option—which occurred in the following three months after the Cubs’ win—that reduced most of the middle east into an Ocean triggered a backlash that reverberated throughout the world. By the time the spring melted the snow at 1 WR (the following year, not even a half year removed) Europe, Africa, some parts of Asia, and the Americans were in war, most of it split on ethnic, religious, and cultural lines.

The United States was the first to fall. Not due to some outside forces, but from within. Democrats vs Conservatives, Progressives vs Libertarians, Christians vs Atheists, Whites vs Blacks, SJW vs Everyone they just don’t like. The downfall of American Society was caused by people not seeing another person and thinking of him or her as…another person, another being in this world, living their lives alongside of their own. Just another person trying to live their lives and make it in this world, just like them. Instead everyone saw everyone else as “The Enemy” and in many cities, the streets ran with blood.

By 3 WR, Modern Society has collapsed and the countries today have broken up into an assortment of governments. Most of them dystrophic. It was a crapack world combining images from Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Ayn Rand’s Anthem, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and others.

It was during this time when everyone started to do what Xerxes threatened to do with Leonidas, and proceeded to erase the United States from history. Records and documents were burned, historians who refuse to confess their ‘lies’ were slain, entire locations were burned or blown apart to the cheers of the public, and many inventions and devices that were created by this time were destroyed. Those who were in power declared the United States the enemy of the ‘real world’ and was regulated to Emmanuel Goldstein status.

It took all of a generation to wipe all memory of this Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, but by 45 WR, the time from 1450 AD to 1 WR has become a lost age. Those who read up on how this erasure was so effectively done in such a short a time consider it a tragedy. Everyone else didn’t know that there was ever a New World, or that the world was round, and orbits the sun rather the other way around.

This obviously had repercussions, especially if you know the progress America gave to the world. In the just under 250 years that the United States has existed, there has been a 5000-year leap in every sphere of human existence. Technology, Agriculture, Live Expectancy, Information, Commerce, Architecture; America has achieved more progress in their short time than the previous combined histories of the rest of the world prior, and it was because of what America was as a country and a concept.

With America gone, so went the leap. Humanity went backwards just as much—and in just as much speed—in these near three centuries. The world of 250 WR wouldn’t be much different than the world at 1000 AD, only without the Roman Catholic Empire. Almost all of the religions in the world were forgotten, burned up by the fire that took the US from the world. And without anyone having a concept of God or any other kind of moral compass, they behaved accordingly. Some would say that you don’t need to believe in God in order to be good. I can agree with that with one provision: That somewhere in the world there is a standard on what goodness, moral, and ethical is. Without such a standard, there is little to no inclination to actually be good. It was truly a dark time.

And it remained dark until the Princesses arrived. A dozen ageless ladies of magic and light, beauty and power. They appeared all at once, all over the world, less than 25 years prior. I’ll be describing those in both mechanics and flavor in a future post, but their arrival at around 275 WR took on the dark kingdoms there in a blitzkrieg that would make the Germans jealous, reclaiming most of the Crescent Coast in the process. Granted, there are still a bunch of area where the darkness still exists, but after almost 300 years, light, hope, and civilization returned to a world that was feared lost.

As the Princess formed their alliance with their twelve “points of light” to spread out to the known world, they discovered a shocking revelation: The Lost Ages were not completely erased. Some brave men and women spirited away the inventions and documents from that time and hidden it from those who wished it disappear from memory. Some can be found in ancient towers, or in long lost lands, or waiting in vaults in dungeons, crypts, or even the Underdark. So the call was made, for willing souls and able bodies, go out and find what was lost, and bring them back to where they were meant to be.

The call is met at 300 WR, and that’s where Æthercoil comes in.

Dreams of the Red Wizards update, dated 24 Sep 15

Trigger warnings: Spoilers, Characters getting crude, players being stupid, and a near TPK

After touching base with both the farm that they bought between Daggerford and Waterdeep—Drow Alchemist Marcion has already settled into place and set up a greenhouse that simulates an underground environment to boot—and the Fountain inn at Waterdeep—they ran into Aovyneth who is about to set up a portal between the two cities—they proceeded to Phylund Lodge.

Where a small army of gnolls lead by a Red Wizard of Thay (Thegger Grynn by name) proceeded to knock out half of the party because they were stupid enough not to call for a Short Rest and heal up after an ambush from a previous encounter with a Gnoll hunting party. All because one of the party keep complaining about the rather nasty rash—and a loss of a particular appendage—brought up by a goblin in a pig sty. Act like a shock porn star on my table and pay the price, peeps.

I managed to KO three characters and almost had my first real TPK before a well-placed Fireball took care of things. Swapping out some nail-bedded boards with the traditional bucket of water over some doors was a nice touch.

I didn’t tell them everything about what the places in the upper part of the Lodge had. As some would remember, the second floor was built on top of two buildings and you can walk on the lawn underneath. I did, however, thanks to a miss read about a detonating page, let them have Thegger’s Spellbook, which not only had a good amount of spells, but a list of what he was doing. Some might need some translation—it was in Thayan—but it shows that the Red Wizards do have their schemes toward a certain keep, with a certain demon—Baazka—and a possessed gnoll that is underneath the mansion by name of Flubnak. Will they take care of the demon or go back to Daggerford to connect some dots? Who knows?

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on streaming setup with Sword Coast Legends, and I found out the hard way that it’s not goign to work, especially with the quality I’d want to be.  However, I’m not without options.  I can easily record the playfield for either Veoh or Youtube.  I’m guessing Youtube because I’m only intend on recording the game itself and not anything that Youtube gets triggered so much.

http://foxfirestudios.net