Friday, September 7, 2012

Two Updates for ICONS

ICONS Update:

Looks like we're getting a new publisher - hopefully Steve can give his creation the support it deserves

Hopefully this also means Team-Up will be out this year ...

Stark City:

Also, up above there is the cover for Stark City, which is being developed by some people who have done a lot of good ICONS work to date. I don't normally pimp kickstarter projects but if you're interested in ICONS and haven't heard of this it's worth a look.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ToEE 4E Session 8 - Back in the Swing of Things

It's been months since our last ToEE session but over the holiday weekend Apprentices Red and Blaster wanted to get D&D rolling again. Last time they had help from Apprentice Who and a friend but this time it was just them. Starting back in the carnage of Lareth's audience room they sorted out gold and magic items:

Deep in the catacombs beneath the Moathouse, our heroes arise from an extended rest:

  • Torgor Bearkin, Dwarf Sentinel Druid with his bear companion "Po" (Apprentice Red)
  • Isaac, Human Swordmage (also Red)
  • Torinn, Dragonborn Sorcerer (Apprentice Blaster)
  • Apollo Magewood, Elf Bladesinger (Also Blaster)

Among other treasure they find some mithril armor, boots of freedom of movement, and a staff of striking - thank you Mordenkainen's Magical Emporium for making these conversions easier.  Two players, four characters, three magic items - just like the good old days, this took some time to settle.

Once that was handled they moved out and backtracked to check some of the corridors and ways they had bypassed earlier. Another close encounter with the unseen Orcs from last time almost turned into combat - the boys were looking for a fight - but they recovered nicely and headed for the northwest section of the dungeon.

After some searching and some false alarms (and due to being rusty) they completely forgot their usual level of caution (perception checks for listening and looking for tracks, attention to light sources, some concern with stealth) and blundered into a room where something was waiting for them - five bugbears.

With all 4 PC's surprised, the first round went quickly - a volley of throwing axes thunked into the swordmage, bloodying him before he could even taunt mark an enemy! Four of the bugbears then formed a line that blocked further access into the room, engaging in hand to hand while the leader stayed back hurling axes at the most threatening target. There was not a ton of maneuvering in the first part of this fight as both sides went toe to toe.

During the fight the swordmage dropped, was revived by the druid, dropped again and was revived again, and was in pretty bad shape at the end, though he was conscious. The sorcerer reminded everyone what he's about as he stepped over the fallen defender (move), unloaded a lightning breath attack (daily standard), inhaled (free), unloaded another lightning breath attack (racial minor), action pointed, and blasted out another breath attack! This left one bugbear dead and two others bloodied, gave the Druid time to heal the Swordmage, let him soak up a thrown axe, and then he backed off to provide supporting fire for the rest of the fight! The bladesinger slashed about and laid various effects on the bugbears. The Druid spent some time healing but as the tide turned he managed to get in some hard hits too.

As the bugbear line collapsed the leader charged into melee as well but it was too late to change the outcome - with no way out the bugbears fought to the end and were slain. The party took a short rest and debated which way to go next ...

DM notes: This was a relatively short run intended to get us back in the groove after taking a long break from this campaign. We probably would have played some more ICONS or M&M but with Apprentice Who unavailable the older boys had mayhem on their minds and it was time to finish up the moathouse. 

Observations: Bugbears hit pretty hard whether at range or up close, and they have a pretty good chance at surprising a party, especially one that's not paying attention. I have a lot of bare stone rooms in here too and while I will add some crates or debris if it's noted in the room description I'm not going to turn every encounter into an exotic funhouse ala White Plume Mountain. Sometimes you're just fighting in a fairly plain stone room - that's just how D&D works in some old school dungeons. 

We didn't actually finish but there isn't much left  and they got enough experience to level up so I think the next session will see a return to Hommlett and an expedition to Nulb or the temple itself. It also means I have some work to do as I only have outlines for the areas beyond the moathouse - time to get to work!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

RPG Actual Play Returns - 50 Fathoms

Well much to my surprise Apprentices Red and Blaster came up to me over the weekend and asked if we could play "that pirate game".

"The Pathfinder thing?" I asked.

"No that other one" which caused me to roll my chair back start pulling out books - because I can do that now : )

"Yeah that one, and that other one you were going to use because this one doesn't have any magic."

 "Yeah that's it"

Alright, let's see if I can find my notes - flip flip flip - Deadlands, my Necessary Evil campaign from 2010, character sheets for 4 or 5 flavors of SW, nope, nothing. I'd like to blame it on the move but my Savage Stuff was all in about 3 binders and I see no sign of it. I remember thinking that I would have them make PotSM characters (since it has all of the rules in one book anyway) and then I was going to transport them to the world of 50 Fathoms which is much more fantastic and probably more to their liking. Alright, I can wing that.

So a few minutes later we're working on characters - Red still had his character from this episode so he decided that he was going to be the captain and that Blaster's character could be the first mate. I gave them a two-master as their starting ship, assigned generic "pirate" stats to the crew and set up the starting situation.

They were somewhat new to pirating on their own. Blaster had been found at sea years before after his merchant father was killed and his ship sunk by a pirate. The ship that found him was Red's father's where Red was serving as well. They decided that Red's character's father had been a successful pirate and Blaster had joined up as he had no place else to go. Eventually Red's father had been killed by a rival pirate captain - the same on who had killed Blaster's father all those years ago. Now they had used some hidden treasure to outfit a ship of their own and hoped to eventually seek revenge. I thought this was a pretty good story and gave them some extra money and a few XP's for it.

I don't like the assumed starting point of 50 Fathoms - about the only thing I don't like about it - so I had them starting in the "real world" (sorta) of PotSM headed back to port. This grounds them in this  world and gives them a place to return to when the 50F finale is over if they choose to do so. The racial notes for human characters in 50F contains a decent description of what humans experienced when they were transported to the campaign setting (humans are not native to the world but there are a bunch of them there now - there's some magic afoot) so I used that to describe what was happening and to jump right to the good part they ended up trapped in a sargasso mess with debris and bodies in the water at night with a storm approaching, and with zombies climbing up the sides of their ship. Cards, dice, and poker chips heat as we refresh ourselves on how combat works.

 Those are Heroquest mini's on a ship map from the D&D 3E Savage Tide adventure path with counters from the old Yaquinto game Swashbuckler standing in for the crew. That's about a 25 year span of gaming materials but hey, it was close by and guess what type of miniatures I DON'T have? That's right, pirates. Great.

So they fought off the zombies (without losing a single crewman!) and decided they needed to take to the lifeboats and head for port to get some help pulling their ship out of the entangling seaweed. Of course, as the sun comes and they sight land they realize that port should be over here and instead they see land over there, which means they must be seriously off course. They have no idea ...

DM Notes: What the heck was I thinking agreeing to run a miniature-friendly game that I have no miniatures for? There are some figure flats available for it so I'm probably going to go with a paper mini option for the first time ever, just for this campaign. 

Also, typically I at least skim a campaign book before I try to run something in a published setting. No chance of that here as I had not looked at either book since that discussion last year. Given their level of interest though I couldn't say no and I have been wanting to run this system again - I just thought it would be Deadlands! I have a few days before we will play again so I should have time to read through the starting situation and read back through the high points.

Despite this we all had fun with it and they want to play it again next weekend so stay tuned.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Motivational Monday

Theme for the month is ...