Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
After checking on the horse (safe as houses), they cold camp for the night. Nothing too strange, although Dayereth thinks he sees a shadow figure fly through the cave but decides not to investigate.
The next morning, the adventurers head back in to the complex, checking through a couple rooms once occupied by the kobolds. They hear scratching at a door and open it. A guard drake, left behind, jumps out and attacks. Bang! Pow! One very dispatched guard drake.
Harlok, in a bit of a hurry, runs through the dungeon, and the rest of the party try to keep up. They come to a room set up in a chessboard-like grid, complete with very large chess piece statues of three pawns, a rook, a knight, and a queen. It's wizard's chess, Harry! The players quickly learn that if you don't move like chess piece, you are badly shocked and move back to the square you started. They also learn that NOT moving like a chess piece greatly upsets the very large statues, who come to life and attack our fearless heroes.
The PCs quickly adapt to their odd situation, using the strange magic of the room to their advantage by forcing the chess pieces to magically move in Non-chess style. Ouch! They don't like that! After several intense moments of gritty combat, there's a lot of shattered statuary in the room, and the players move, chess-style, to the door on the opposite wall.
Harlok is about to open the door when a mouth and eyes appear. Malareth's voice is heard.
"Fools! I don't know what you thought to accomplish by killing the dragon and running off my kobolds, but you won't stop me. Not when I'm so close! After months of preparation, the gate to the Shadowfell will open and the world will bow at my feet. The world of the dead and the world of the living will now be one, with me as its ruler! (With a little help from Orcus). Mwahahahaha!"
The PCs attempt, badly, to parlay with Malareth, but finally Harlok breaks in the door. Inside are several zombies, including one that looks like it was once an ogre.
"Zombies, attack! Kill the intruders, then bring the corpses to me, so that I may reanimate them to do my bidding. That calls for a second Mwahahahaha! Now, how do I turn this off? Let's see, press Star, Pound, Enter, Close meeting. Aah, there we are." Click.
Mr Grimes, taking a page from the Harlok fighting handbook, charges in and attacks the hulking zombie, barely scratching it. A ham-fisted smash from the hulk sends Grimes reeling backward. Falin also charges in, and calls forth a magical blast that knocks the zombie into the back wall. He is then quickly surrounded and grabbed by the zombies, who start chewing on him. Dayereth blasts one zombie with magic, and the great axe of Harlok begins its deadly work. Falin escapes the zombie's grasp and, calling on the power of his god, sends one of the dreaded undead back to the Shadowfell. Soon all the zombies are dead (again)!
They now hear strange chanting coming from the next room. A chill wind whips through the room and the adventurers realize that the spell to open a door to the Shadowfell is being cast. They race toward the next room and see Malareth's laboratory, complete with all the accessories a working necromancer needs: chemicals, beakers, bones, rotting flesh, Necronomicon, and a wraith and three skeletons. The necromancer's chanting is working, because a circular void is coalescing, forming a door to the netherworld.
But the PCs are fearless. Grimes launches himself toward Malareth, tumbling acrobat-style and stabbing Malareth in the back. "Aargh, my spell is ruined. Ooh, you're gonna get it, mister!" He shoots a blast of necrotic energy at the PCs, causing much damage. Meanwhile, the wraith has gotten out it's soul-sucking straw and is slowly draining the energy out of Falin. But Dayereth's and Falin's magic and the chopping of Harlok's axe prove too powerful, and the wraith is destroyed, along with the minion skeletons. Grimes shoves his longsword through Malareth.
"NO!" he screams. "Orcus, avenge me!" But Orcus is kinda busy and misses the call.
The players have won again. They immediately decide to loot the bodies, take all the crap out of the abandoned temple that they find, and sell everything they find that ain't worth keeping.
The end, for now.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
After a short rest, the players move down the hallway. "Who goes there?" someone shouts from the end of the hall.
"Umm, a bunch of us kobolds. We're here to relieve you guys over there."
"No, you're not! You're a bunch of thieves who can't make a decent bluff roll. Prepare to die!"
A huge bugbear flanked by two large kobolds charges the PC. Harlok and Falin respond with a counter charge. It's a quick battle, with the end result being dead bugbear and kobolds, and a shiny new magic axe for Harlok.
The next room contains a fancy rug and a distinctly unfancy dire rat wearing a collar (one of the bugbear's pets). Harlok charges, only to run headlong into a pit concealed by the rug. The less impulsive members of the party go around the pit and dispatch the rat, who's a little tougher than the first thought. The rat squeals a warning to his pals in the next room.
Fat lot of good that does. Though the party members are down significantly on healing surges after four big battles, a couple dire rats aren't enough to stop them. In the room is a giant minotaur statue with a strange message in dwarven lettering. The players aren't sure what it means.
But where is Malareth? Where's all the stuff robbed from the merchants? Another door leads further into the complex . . .
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
A moan from a wounded merchant near one of the carts momentarily halts the adventurers from looting. Falin heals the merchant of his wounds and, grateful for the help, the merchant proves helpful. His says his name is Kavras, and that he is a spice merchant traveling south from Whartston Hall. He and his fellow merchant were attacked by bandits. Kavras was wounded and left for dead. He saw some of the bandits carrying his spice crates through the woods to the east. Then he lost consciousness and woke up to the sounds of fighting. He offers to reward the PCs with 50 gold if they can return his spices to him. He will be staying at the Inn of the Three-Legged Unicorn for the next few days before returning to Threshold. The PCs promise to find the spices for him.
The adventurers track the bandits through the woods, which eventually open up in a clearing with a small stream running through it. On the other side of the stream is a cave entrance guarded by four kobolds.
"Are they wizards?" asks Harlok.
"Yes," says Falin.
"Then they must die!" bellows the dwarf. Hefting his trusty battleaxe, he charges through the stream to attack the kobolds. He is quickly outnumbered, and the feisty lizards dart around him, wounding him.
A Freezing Blast from the eladrin, and a well-placed firepot slung by Mr. Grimes, turn the battle in the adventurers' favor. The last kobold flees but is cut down by the merciless crew.
After looting the bodies, the adventurers explore the cave. They find two heavy doors on opposite sides of the cave. Harlok, "helped" by Falin, block one door so it can't be opened, and enter the dungeon through the other door.
Inside were a number of rooms, partitioned by doors and red velvet curtains. A blast of cold air and some very angry kobolds greet them. A kobold wyrmpriest appears at the end of a long hall, and casts a spell. A ray of sickly green energy shoots out, splattering Dayereth with acid. Mr. Grimes moved quickly down the hall to get behind the wyrmpriest. This he does, though he pays the price with a stabbing wound from the priest's spear. Grimes is then attacked by more kobolds who appear from another entrance.
Falin and Harlok move toward the priest with readied weapons. Suddenly, the priest inhales deeply and breathes a gout of acid at them. Harlok sout of the way but Falin is not so lucky, taking an acid blast to the chest.
Dayereth casts a Fear Cage spell at the priest, wounding him and rooting him to the spot. The frontal attacks by Falin and Harlok, combined with the flanking backstab of Mr. Grimes, is too much for the priest, who slumps over in a pool of his own green blood. The remaining kobolds are quickly crushed.
After this, the adventurers rest (with occasional looting) for several minutes. Mr. Grimes listens at the large door at the end of the corridor. Loud breathing from some kind of large creature can be heard. The eladrin checks his compass. The needle points toward the door and glows bright red.
Will the adventurers open the door? Does sudden, untimely death await our heroes? Will they turn around and head home to live quiet lives of peace and comfort? Find out next week . . .
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Half the session was taken with the players rolling up characters. Bryan is playing an eladrin wizard named Dayereth Dawnfire, Sam a dwarf knight named Harlok Shieldbearer, Brian a dwarf stormpriest named Falin Thrall, and Scott a human rogue named Mr. Grimes.
The story begins as they so often do at the Sturdy Mug Tavern, a famed dwarf ale-house in the town of Threshold, along the Northern border of the Kingdom of Karameikos. Harlok, Thalen, and Mr. Grimes are seated at a table drinking fine brew, eyeing the Dwarf wench Clover Peaches, and ignoring the “Weezer and Ned Experience,” two local watchmen who moonlight as troubadours at the tavern.
While relaxing, they are approached to take on two seemingly separate missions. Thalen Thrall’s immediate superior in the church, the High Priest Throngil Cloudgatherer, asks Thalen and his friends to stop bandit attacks along the King’s Road between Threshold and Whartston Hall, a walled village 25 miles to the north. He also asks Thalen to investigate possible Shadowfell activity in the area. He mentions that the heroes should talk to Baron Padraig in Whartston Hall, who may have more to offer as to information concerning the bandits. The eladrin Dayereth offers to join the party as they are heading north. He states that his teacher, the archmage Andarriel, is working on a spell to close gates to the shadowfell, but he needs certain components to accomplish this. The first component is the heart of a white dragon. He shows the others a magic compass that points to the heart of the nearest white dragon. Substantial rewards are offered and money changes hands. Mr. Grimes purchases a horse at Muleskinner Joe’s Mystical Mules! (and horses), and the heroes leave town.
After an uneventful afternoon and evening on the King’s Road, the heroes stop at the Three-legged Unicorn, a fortified inn, where they hear more stories of attacks on merchants to the north. Especially talkative is a Halfling cloth merchant named Julius Winterbottom, who was not attacked but knew several merchants who were. He and Mr. Grimes spent much of the evening discussing cloth, and Julius sold a bolt of red velvet to Dayereth, who immediately changed it to green velvet.
The next morning, the heroes continue on their way to Whartston Hall. A couple hours into their journey, they hear the sounds of battle on the road ahead. Mr. Grimes spurs his horse to investigate. Reaching the crest of the hill, he sees two carts on the road, with several people laying face down by them. Off to the right he hears several whistles and badly imitated animal noises. Leaving the road, he gets off his horse and sneaks through the woods to discover where the noise is coming from.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group, seeing the scene below, rush down the hill to investigate, weapons drawn. One person by a cart begins to slowly rise. Harlok asks, “What’s going on here?”
The man slowly rises. “Only,” he says, drawing a longsword, “your deaths! Attack!” The man hits Harlok with a savage blow, but Harlok returns the favor and wounds the man with his great axe. The man’s visage changes into a creature none of the characters recognize.
Suddenly, several kobolds rush out behind boulders along the road and attack the heroes. One hits Harlok from behind and another engages Thalen in combat. A kobold slinger hits Dayereth with a bullet. The eladrin retaliates with a freezing blast that obliterates two kobolds.
Meanwhile, a larger kobold emerges from the wood near Mr. Grimes hiding place. He barks an order at the kobolds.
What will happen next? . . .
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Tonight the Gaming Syndicate or whatever our name is will be playing Castle Ravenloft at Comic Store West. I think our plan is to play 2 different adventures and then do a PODCAST review of the game.
Check back later for more info.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
At least, not if, by "cinematic" you mean, "like the movies." Cause I gotta tell you... I don't think you would enjoy playing the main character(s) from most movies.
Action movie characters often face overwhelming odds, split up the party, have little control over what happens to them, get few rewards from their battles, and often win based on sheer luck or the actions of "NPC" characters. Let's look at some examples from some movies I recently watched.
In "Live Free or Die Hard" or any of the Die Hard movies, John McClain is outmanned, outgunned, and gets the crap kicked out of him. Do you know how many times players would be crying "fowl" if their GM treated them like the moviemakers treat McClain? Even when he "wins" his life just gets worse and worse.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? Harry's "victory" is through sheer luck.
Any Terminator film? You're hopelessly overpowered by a superior force that you can't even damage. In gaming terms? Attack - fail, attack - fail, attack - fail... repeat 500 times. Sounds like fun!
Indiana Jones? Always gets captured and he wins by keeping his eyes closed, invoking the name of Shiva, running away from an earthquake, and a alien ship taking off. Those don't sound like satisfying RPG wins.
Even movie franchises with RPGs based on them such as Star Wars wouldn't be nearly as fun if you ran them like the movies they are based on. "Wait, I'm a JEDI! How was I beat by a wampa in a single round?" "Okay, so you're entering an asteroid field... you need to roll a "1" and a d3,720 to survive."
I Am Legend? 30 Days of Night? 3:10 to Yuma? All feature main characters hopelessly outmatched. Not much fun at the gaming table. But see, that's what movies do. Movies put the character in the darkest, most hopeless place possible before saving the character from inevitable doom.
I like all of the movies I listed above - as movies, not as a model for my RPG gaming experiences. Bottom line - I don't wall out of many movies thinking, "Boy, I wish my RPG experiences were more like that!" So why do some players insist they want their gaming experiences to be like the movies?
That's my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Feel I cherrypicked my movie examples? Post a comment with your thoughts!
I liked "Local Gaming Group"... It was inviting and universal. Kinda like "Friendly Local Game Store" is in The Knights of the Dinner Table. Everyone has a LGG and can relate to that. Everyone has sat around with friends and shared their thoughts on games. A cool motto would be "Pull up a chair." Syndicate? What are we, the mob? Sounds tough which we definately are not.
Let me make a third name suggestion.... it fits with our "review on a six sided die" motif, which is pretty cool. My suggestion...
5D6 Gamer Blog
D6 is our review style. There are five of us. Brian, don't make me spell it out for you.
Debate? Post your comments, contributors and *ahem* fans alike...
Of course, I was also a big proponent of "Critical Blog!" See, we're being critical by reviewing games and "critical" is also a gamer term for an outstanding success so... never mind.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I've played a lot of games.
OK, maybe that's too brief. I got into the hobby in 1979 when I bought Panzerblitz and a little bit later bought Divine Right. This led within a few months to buying the Dungeons & Dragons basic set (in the cool blue box). It only covered characters from 1st to 3rd level, but it had an adventure in it and was capably written (an uncommon trait in the early days). I "DM'd" the adventure with some neighbor friends and we were soon hooked. We all bought the AD&D books when the came out and were soon running campaigns and arguing about rules and grudge killing characters and "Monty Hauling" through ridiculous dungeons full of monsters and traps.
Other board games and RPGs followed. I won't name them all. In fact, I won't name any of them. But I'm pretty sure I played or read most of what was available back then, except for some of those super-complex giant SPI games like Drag Nacht Osten.
I stayed with the hobby in college with a great group of friends, and started getting into miniatures games, too. Inevitable, considering how miniatures driven games like D&D tend to be.
After college, I played with several different gaming groups, including one at Comic Store West, back when it was at the North Mall (you guys want anything from Orange Julius?). A lot of D&D, but plenty of other games, too. Eventually I got married to Carolyn, we had Bryan, and I slowed down on gaming for a few years. When I got back into it, I played mostly miniatures games (Warhammer, Chipco, DH, and numerous historical rules sets). I wanted to get back into RPGs, but didn't have the time.
Over a year ago, Brett invited Bryan and I to be in his D&D group. I'd never played 3.5, so I was happy to play. I've had fun ever since!
Why do I still play after 30 years? The simple answer is: Because it's fun! Beyond that, I love RPGs because they promote cooperative game play and working with a team. To be good at pen and paper RPGs, you have to learn how to work and interact with people face to face. And miniature and boardgames are fun because they are competitive and allow you to see how people think, both strategically and tactically. Most of the people I've gamed with I consider friends and I really like hanging out and talking about other stuff beyond gaming. It's one way I stay connected to people outside of family, work, neighbors, and church. I will always find time to game because I've never considered it a waste of time.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Eclipse Phase is a pen & paper roleplaying game of post-apocalyptic transhuman conspiracy and horror.
An "eclipse phase" is the period between when a cell is infected by a virus and when the virus appears within the cell and transforms it. During this period, the cell does not appear to be infected, but it is.
Players take part in a cross-faction secret network dubbed Firewall that is dedicated to counteracting "existential risks" — threats to the existence of transhumanity, whether they be biowar plagues, self-replicating nanoswarms,
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Check out the game if you have not yet seen it? link
If you want your own copy, talk to Brett about pre-ordering this game. It looks like it's gonna be awesome.
Played religiously for nearly 10 years, took a break for about 15 years and am back playing everything I can (or at least reading everything I can.)
Have played and (probably still own):
Role Playing Games:
Aces & Eights
Battletech (all versions)
Brave New World
D&D (ver 1, 3, 3.5 and hopefully very soon 4)
DC RPG (version 1)
Marvel RPG (all versions)
Mutants and Masterminds
Star Fleet Battles
Star Trek (Decipher)
Star Trek III Star Ship Combat
Star Wars (all versions)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Villains and Vigilantes
Warhammer Fantasty RPG
World of Darkness
Collectible Miniature Games:
Lord of the Rings Minis
It was around the 9th grade when I started spreading my wings as a gamer and played different gaming systems. I have fond memories of TMNT, Marvel D100, Star Wars, Battletech, Gurps, and others. I also found myself gaming with several stable ongoing gaming groups. I ran a Marvel game for several years that grew until it had about a dozen people playing. I also spent quite a bit of time in the DnD world of Ravenloft. I still have a strong affinity for that world today. Toward the end of high school I also started experimenting with other forms of gaming such as collectible card games. I had quite a Magic: The Gathering collection from early on that I sold in college. Argh!
When I went to Harrisburg Area Community College, my gaming friends all moved away to college or joined the military. I worked in my first comic book store at this time (Wolfhead Comics). I played Magic still and gamed occasionally but nothing steady.
After HACC, I worked at Comix Connection, the second comic book store to employee me. While working there, I rebuilt my Magic collection and fell into a weekly 5 or 6 player Magic game. We had quite the time, playing for hours on end. I even went to some Magic tourneys. DnD 3rd edition was released which sparked our Magic group to morph into a role playing group. We started a long standing campaign. When I moved to Millersville to attend college, I still gamed with this group, driving an hour one way to get to the game each week.
Alas, it wasn't to last. I flamed out on the group when group tensions were brought to a boil due to a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship between two gaming group members. I quickly fell into another group but it was odd because the group had been gaming together for 20 years and I was the "replacement" for a group member that had moved away. I found myself constantly unknowingly breaking previously-established group protocol. I quit this group when I moved to North Carolina.
In NC, it took me awhile to find a gaming group. During this "down time," I got hooked on strategy board games including Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Ticket to Ride, and Colosseum. Eventually, through the internet, I found CharlotteRPG. At CRPG, I was exposed to a host of games that I had never played before, such as Shadowrun, World of Darkness: Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage, Seven Seas, Sengoku, Star Wars D20, and Macho Women With Guns. We pretty much played it all. I also met my second arch nemesis, Doris the Austrian Au Pair. We would routinely lock horns both in and out of the game. As a group, we would throw in some card games, video games, and board games for variety. The Vampire board game was cool, as was the collectible GI JOE card game and Cosmic Encounter. We also had an ongoing DnD campaign. Unfortunately, I moved back to PA and away from this gaming group.
Upon arrival back in PA, I randomly met an old gaming buddy in Walmart and we formed a new gaming group with some folks we used to game with back in high school. We had an ongoing Ptolus DnD campaign that took us from 1st to 12th level (a rare treat to truly develop a character). I was very sad when the GM just gave up the campaign and let us all hang. I left the group shortly thereafter.
And that is how I found myself available when Brett Stoner, owner of Comic Store West, asked me to join his gaming group on Wednesday nights. We started with DnD 3rd edition but didn't get very far when Brett had to leave the group. The group continued, however, and we have continued to play a variety of games including Aces and Eights, Atomic Highway, Traveler, and Warhammer Fantasy.
In the future, I look forward to playing a variety of new RPG games but I also look forward to getting into another long standing campaign where I can develop and advance a character through the levels.
Picked up the new creature source book - 'Irradiated Freaks' from the store before the game (but I won't need it tonight).
ok, not much action last session but I promised there would be more in this session. I spent the last two days of my vacation designing the prison and then I found a better prison floor plan on-line (http://www.mysterylist.com/hag.htm).
Our band of brothers first decided to check the cars in the lot for good batteries. They lucked out and found one with a decent charge which allowed them to use Rambler's deer spotting light. The group then decided to check for a generator
and found it in an exterior building, along with a good amount of gasoline (in an aux tank). They got the generator up and running and got the prison lit up. The group journeyed into the prison through the destroyed east wing which went
directly through the Warden's quarters. A few useful items were found in the warden's quarters expecially after Gorbo ripped the door off of the hidden safe.
Continuing to the warden's balcony our group spotted their first two zombies (yes kids you heard right zombies). Our group of Einsteins started shooting at them which caused more zombies to spawn because of the noise. The first zombies to appear
were ex-prison guards and prisoners (these were called Lurchers). Then the higher ranking guards (called Moaners) came finally followed by our first female prisoner (a screamer). Check back soon for full zombie specs. It took a while for the group
to realize everytime they used a gun (or chainsaw) the noise was attracting more and more zombies. There was 1 point where I was actually running out of minis to throw at the party.
The following characters got bitten: Hank and Rambler. Gorbo received a nasty claw scratch from the Screamer and I think all of the party received some damage from the screamer's scream. Only time will tell if Hank and Rambler turn into zombies because of the bite damage.
Anyway most of the party switch to quiet melee weapons and the zombies were destroyed.
Gorbo rolled two critical misses and once with the hammer (hitting the door frame instead of a zombie) and once with the chainsaw (getting the blade lodged in a zombie's spinal cord). Rambler
also ran out of bullets in his pistol and was forced to switch to his rife.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I look forward to hearing what you have to say!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
We started off with some quick character creation for Bryan and Dave since they missed the prior week. But then within about 30 minutes we were off.
So Gorbo, Roach and Eddie were off still trying to deliver the magazines/books from session 1 when they came across a broken down Winnebago owned by Rambler and
his friend Hank Hill. They managed to tow the Winnebago back to Little Town after killing a few Rat-Dogs (stats on Rat Dogs coming soon).
Once at Little Town we discovered that Rambler and Hank have been looking for this old detention center that was rumored to be in the area but had never been found. With the help from our
in-house history book Roach was able to figure out the aproximate location of the detention center.
Gorbo, Eddie and Rambler rode in the '58 Chevy and Hank took his motorcycle up The One (Rte 80) and finally found the overgrown rode. The vehicles were unable to continue through the overgrown rode so our heroes
made the last trek of the journey on foot.
Meanwhile Roach stayed behind in Little town to Tweak Lady (Eddie's car) and Rambler's Winnebago. Little did our heroes know Roach has a 'chem' problem (rules on chem coming soon) and probably should not have been left alone.
Our group of heroes found the lost prison, which because of tectonic shift was at the bottom of a steep cliff. The outer fence was wrecked it many area so after checking if it was electrified our heroes journeyed to the outer walls of the prison.
Experience for the session was given. All characters got 2pts. Gorbo was MVP so he received an additional point.
To be continued in session 3...
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Brian ran character creation for Scott and Sam. Brian chose a Remnant, LoreKeeper for his character - ROACH. Sam chose a 'Steader, Road Warrior character, and Scott went with a Feral, Pit Fighter character.
Since Dave and Bryan were absent we just did a short car battle adventure.
Brian and Sam are both going to run some in this game system.
Character stats to follow.
The following equipment was acquired:
2 sets of jumper cables
2 bootles of fuel additive
portable battery charger
4 bottles of car wax
Medium machine gun on the hood
Medium armor (11)
Protection of 75 (8 damage taken so far)