Wednesday, November 30, 2022

It's a A Very Wyvern Thanksgiving, Halfling Brown (plus a bonus review of The Crimson Monastery).

Well met.... 

Back at the Brewery, we meet our erstwhile heroes. 

Since it had been a minute since we had played, I pulled a Gary G and treated the real-time break as equivalent game-world time. What was everyone doing over the last couple of weeks?

  • Bonk, fighter, had befriended the local fisherman and was abusing his magic trident in spearing carp
  • Tylenol, cleric, had been proselytizing at the inn, drinking and gathering souls 
  • Jax, barbarian, had been wandering the woods, collecting plants and snooping about caves
  • Rondel, elf, had been transcribing found spells into his spellbook (his charmed chaos acolyte saved out of the charm, but chose to stick around, as Tylenol has been missioning hard to convert him) 
  • Frederick, thief, showed up late to the session after attending local gladiatorial matches
  • and the party was joined by Feef, halfling, who had escaped a bad family reunion elsewhere... She was taken in by the local halflings, who appear to be a different kind of "family"

I was reminded that I'd forgotten to gift Feef with headgear, and she rolled up a spiffy crusader helm to match her plate armor.

just imagine a fire hydrant creeping through the woods

I was up for some lighter adventuring, and described a beast having preyed on the local goatherd's sheep. With some description, it was found to not be the resident giant eagle, but a wyvern. The party made some plans to counter the dangerous beast, and got a sense of which direction the beast had come from. Assuming that it laired in a cave, the party hoped to either corner or trap it to rob it of flight. 

Departing after Brother Tylenol's morning prayers, the party headed to the woods. I'd made a quick d6 tracking game for the party's search. By rolls, the party first spotted the flyer, then heard its call. Knowing that they were nearing the lair, Jax poked ahead to some previously-known caves, spotting rotting detritus and bones (Goober rolled in it, of course). 

While Bonk and Tylenol scrambled above the cave with a weighted net, Rondel, Fred and Feef crept inside, hoping to spot the beast (determined to be sleeping off its latest kill). Jax held back, readying her bow. After a couple of rounds of creeping, the trio woke the thing and ran in terror as the result of the creature's horrific scream (failed saves). 

Taking the three fleeing PCs to be a sign, Tylenol rolled boulders (missed) and Bonk threw his net (partial success). The net was enough to ensnare a wing, but the beast was likely to escape soon. Jax took the initiative to rush the tangled beast and attempt to better tangle it up. Winning initiative, she was able to get the net around the animal's head. The wyvern exchanged blows, striking the barbarian with a venomous claw. Jax rolled away, digging in her pack for her anti-venom plant poultice. 

Feef hit the thing with a javelin, as Tylenol rolled another stone (miss). Bonk leapt from the cave mouth, spearing the wyvern, and ending up on a monster's back for the second time. Frederick, still shaken, sent his shot wide, and Rondel rolled a nat 20. I use the ASSH variable damage critical hits. The damn elf rolled x3 damage and maxed rolled damage. Headshot... 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

It's Tea Time

So one of my players is a tea-aficionado halfling, on the search for new and interesting blends amongst the explorations and delvings of our sessions. 


Abandoned crates: "Is there tea?"

Ruined tower: "Is there tea?"

Undead-haunted crypt: "Is there tea?"

Hollow log: "Is there tea?"

Ok, Stumbleduck. I suppose I need a random tea table for the next time you query... A random list of leafy brews both mundane and special:


Enjoy...


Edit: Effects adjusted, clarified.



Sunday, November 13, 2022

Appendix N vs Appendix N

This was lost in my "Drafts" folder for about a year, and revived due to a post on Bebergal's book by a Redditor. So here ya go:

***

I'm not a "student" of Appendix N, per se, although I had an inadvertent exposure to many of the books during my itinerant reading of youth: Lest Darkness Fall, Hiero's Journey, the Pellucidar stories, Lovecraft, Derleth, Tolkien (of course), and Wellman (via his non-Appendix N "Silver John" books). Mostly I didn’t ‘know’ these were Appendix N books, and although I bought the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide new, I never took the deep dive into the Appendices. The books were just good stories, and thematic to what I was reading at the time.

More recently, I've explored Lieber, plus recent listens to authors such as Jack Vance, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith via audiobooks on long drives. I recently listened my way through Princess of Mars as a work accompaniment.

In 2020, I saw a link to a collection of short stories by Appendix N writers, touted as a survey of writers influential on Dungeons & Dragons. There was a limited hardcover run, so, intrigued, I sprung for it, and shared the info to a couple of social media sites. I was surprised to get comments along the lines of "Why did he steal the title from the Appendix N book?" "Who does he think he is?"

Surprisingly, books can share titles, or have similar titles... Who knew? 

So yes, two similarly-titled books. One is a collection of stories, and the second, a collection of essays reviewing the eponymous stories and novels. So I bought both. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

"No Man is an Island" - or "Hop In, I'm Sure the Water's Fine..."

Time to post up another small creation for folks to explore.  

Jackson threw this up about a year and a half ago, and it's been languishing in the notes for a while. It's a good space, with a few looping paths, always good for having a few options or routes to access the depths. He added a number of features to inspire the space and its story, as well.

Source

Things to inspire:

  • Water: Jackson does like his murky subterranean ponds
  • Odd pools (Those of us of a certain age do like our spaces to have a room of mysterious pools) 
  • What appear to be two styles of statues or alters in the various rooms
  • Some green stuff
With the features, it took me a while to wrest the story of the space from the map. Certainly, the objective is on the island in the pool, as would be expected. But the elements that gave me a challenge in explaining their existence/purpose were the two styles of statues or alters. I vacillated between stele and more active guardian-constructs, and finally came to an idea of a single sacred space honoring two gods, an old and a new. It took a bit to justify this scenario, and I'm not sure how well it works, but I'll leave that to the readers to decide. 

As is common for our favorite underground exploration spaces, is is abandoned, and has fallen to neglect. It happens. Because of this, the entryways have been re-colonized by new tenants that guard the hallowed spaces beyond. And that green thing? One of the tenants, and a somewhat virulent one (a pared-down version of a somewhat classic hazard).

So feel free to take a look around "Urnage's Island Rest" and have a dip.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Sunday Game recap: The Necromancer's Lament...

 Another Sunday game on the books - 

Tonight's band of miscreants: 

  • Jax and Goober - barbarian/wardog dynamic duo
  • Frederick - Increasingly insectaphobic thief
  • Pepto Von Bismol - Devo Dwarf
  • Rondel Keebler - Crumbly elf
New player showed up - is this a serious game? Well, judging from the existing player names and the fact that everyone gets a random hat, I'd say no. Geoff grabbed a blank character sheet and rolled 3d6 down the line, like a boss...
  • and our new chap: Tylenol - Painkiller Cleric

We started our scene in the fair village of Neuförde, did a bit of banking and real estate investment (the party bought a vacant house), and established a few NPC relationships (There's no thieves' guild, but the town halflings seem to know how to find or disappear things; and the weird elf twins are happy to identify unknown items). Tylenol was determined to be a colleague of the town's priests, and dovetailed in with the group.

The party had closed down the bar, as one does, when an alarm was raid of a raid on the town. Torches and a commotion were heard north of the bridge, and most of the party moved north to investigate, joining some of the locals in discovering a group of goblins raising a ruckus setting fires, and stealing stuff. They engaged in a brief skirmish, slaying a few, and chasing the raiders off. Tylenol sensed that this could be a feint, and stayed south of the bridge, alert for another incursion. Which occurred in the form of several shambling forms from the trees. Aided by a couple of NPCs, Tylenol called upon his god and turned several of the undead. Joined by the party, they killed the remainder. Some of the zombies were unusual, in that a couple were surprisingly fast, and one, when it struck Pepto, left him in a weakened state. Additionally, the undead were formed of deceased goblins and orcs, an interesting observation. The party discovered that the turned number had retreated across the river and slogged north, following the goblin raiders.

Realizing that an abandoned dwarven temple was a good candidate site for the raiders' lair, the party trekked out the next day after shaking off their injuries from the night before. Tracks indicated that the place was quite occupied, and the entrance now sported a deadfall trap. The PCs skirted it, taunted the carrion crawler in the chasm, and crept to the entrance. The door was readily picked, and the door flung open, surprising a goblin sentry. He was rapidly sniped, and disposed of via carrion crawler. 

I provided a sketch map of the previously-explored areas, and the party opted to investigate unexplored areas. Crossing a heavily damaged bridge, the party was ambushed by another goblin guard, but they dispatched him before he was able to retreat and get off a warning. Accessing some corridors and rooms, they found an empty galley and corridor occupied by a pair of dwarven statues, known by Pepto to be animated, provided the correct 'key' could be found to activate them. The party chose to 'walk' one to the top of a flight of stairs in the event they needed to flee and it could be pushed down on pursuers, since they didn't know what would activate it.

Finding a long corridor, a couple of party members saw a faint light and heard communication at the end. Fred stealthed to the end of the corridor, finding a crowd of goblins being berated by a cloaked figure. He returned to the party, indicating that this may the the leader of the previous night's raiders.

The party approached, although their clanking did alert a few of the goblins. As they approached, Fred took a pot-shot at the leader, wounding him. The leader turned, revealing to be a human wearing bone armor. In good bad-guy form, he cursed at the players, giving a monologue about how he wasn't to be fooled like his predecessor, and that he wasn't to be trifled with. Melee issued, with a couple players shooting the big-bad again, preventing him from casting.