Using My Monsters

Friday, 29 May 2009

As a massive fan of both Warhammer and Warhammer 40K, the following video has made me go all gooey and smiley

Space Marine

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Session report - 26/5/09

bad things happen in this one...

22:35 – The group, with a blend of subtlety and simple aggression make it through the minion camp without getting caught. At the edge of the upper camp, the group can see many piles of rubble, excavated from the rock under / around the monolith everywhere (perfect cover).
Ormid spots a spherical, tentacle eyed form floating in the gloom at the back of the camp, entering a tunnel at least 100' above the camp. A ladder or something leads to the tunnel. At this time, the artificer chooses not to tell his companions that an Eye Tyrant may or may not be involved in all this...

Group decide – after a brief discussion, during which Ormid makes them aware of the eye tyrant – to check out the activity around the base of the monolith

23:10 – Group carefully thread their way up towards the base of the monolith using the plentiful piles of rubble as cover.

Brundorson notices that the rubble does not look like it has been mined, but rather torn from the ground

Many Gorgryn and Kydraxi fill the area, and Dwaerdorin guards watch over the nearest of three tunnels boring under the monolith. The two further tunnels have apparently been abandoned, and are now where off duty Gorgryn smoke and piss.

23:15 - After some planning, the group adopt crude disguises (some jump into an
abandoned mine cart, which is to be pushed by other), and move towards the second disused tunnel.

23:20 - Brundorson (disguised as a Dwaerdorin) intimidates the Gorgryn within this tunnel, and the group enter undisturbed.

Group move a little ways into the rubble choked darkness, and then light a Sunrod [Sunrod 4 of 6 used]

23:30 – Several group members notice that there are rhythmic vibration and roars emanating throug the ground. A slight breeze is also detected by the Dundorin, and a shattered segment of tunnel, subsiding into the new tunnels in the active shaft is located.

23:35 – The tunnel ends in a glowing wall of pristine stone that veritably crackles with power – the monolith. Despite the surrounding stone being torn to shreds by the claws of whatever is doing the work (Brundorson feels it could be Umber Hulks), the monolith's sides are untouched.

23:40 – Back at the weakened area of tunnel, the warriors begin to force a way into the lower tunnel

27/11/49 – The Group are Underground

00:05 – Group open a way into a low corridor that leads into the active tunnels.

00:10 – They crawl downwards and find themselves in a rubble strewn corridor. To the east and down, they can hear monstrous roars, whips cracking, Dwaerdorin issuing gruff commands, and the moans of Kydraxi and Gorgryn. Small groups of greenskins rush by, carrying chunks of hewn stone.

Suddenly, a familiar violet and black flickering is seen from the direction of the mine face, and the group feel a surge of magic. Screams and roars of shock and pain, as well as curiously Gorgoth like battle cries echo from the mine face, and the group feel the repeated release of powerful spells.

Suddenly, an Umber Hulk, apparently fleeing whatever is happening lumbers into view, closely followed by three panicking Dwaerdorin. On sensing the group, the Umber Hulk attacks, and fearing the group are allied with their attackers further in, the Dwaerdorin join in.

A brutal battle, in which Llewellyn slays many, ensues. The group are quite worn out, and shaken by the growing waves of raw POWER emanating from the monolith, apparently in response to a dark voice which is chanting powerfully from that area

Group get three rounds to do some preparation before five huge, sleek, Gorgoth like figures; black skinned, rune inked and crackling with eldritch power, come round the corner, weapons raised.

Brundorson seems to go into shock at sight of them, muttering “but you can't be what you are! You ain't real. You ain't real”

DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUN!!!!!!

Monday, 25 May 2009

A look behind the curtain...

Most of you know this already, but I have a tendency, nay, need, to detail lots of background stuff when I am designing something for my games / world. What follows is a little info I have created for a group that may, or may not, appear in one of my campaigns...

ORDER OF THE SKULL ENSHRINED (Early third Age) An order of knights, dedicated to one of many aspects of the sundered Lord Solum’Tassadexes. It was founded in the year 44 N.C. by the former Knight of the Dawn Griffon, Sir Edrek Solum’Tar, after he unearthed the skull of – so he claims – a former Saint of the Sun Lord, which he stated imbued him with special knowledge. Guided by the secrets given him by this skull (a gold plated human skull, sans lower mandible, inscribed with a single angelic rune on its forehead), he founded a new order of knights, and worked towards a great crusade in the name of his God to retake the High Temple of Solum’Tassadexes upon the Hill of Reclucent Zeniths, with a view to usher in a new age of might for a church reunited under the teachings of Solum’s only true words.

In the year 49 N.C. the order had gained over 300 followers, and travelled to the holy city (by this time a ruin, ravaged by the constant battles over its sacred sites), ready to begin its crusade. Alas, in the spring of 50 N.C. the order was wiped out in a pitch battle against Sir Edrek’s former order, and knights of the Order of the Sun Blessed Sword. Sir Edrek himself lived on for another year, and was executed by Dawn Griffon knights early in the summer of 51 N.C.

As for the skull, it was claimed by the Dawn Griffon’s Arch-Prelate, who determined it to be an item of significant power, though he suspected the power was diabolic in nature. He carried it to the high altar, when his order managed to fight their way to the temple (they held it for 48 hours, before being forced to withdraw by a significant force of Sacred Zenith Templars), and conducted a ritual over it, which unleashed a bound angel and allegedly destroyed the skull. The nameless Arch-Prelate is said to have been struck deaf and blind by the outpouring of magic, and on the next morning, is reported to have thrown himself off a high tower; weeping loudly as he fell. The Dawn Griffon annals blame the death of this figure for their inability to hold the holy site beyond two days.

Interestingly enough, in 116 N.C., a wandering mage named Kyleth discovered a mottled skull in a river some 200 miles from Lumor (which was still being fought over at this point, though with less frequency, and was now being slowly rebuilt by those that occupied it), flecked with gold, and scribed with an alien rune. When he researched the skull, he found it a potent source of magical energy, and used it to bind a powerful daemon to a great suit of plate armour, creating the terrible Infernal Skin of Kyleth – a suit of power armour that would be used in the Aelwyn Wars by a desperate captain in the defence of his station in Mid-Fey, and which would meld with him, and resurrect the Daemon Odryxius. As for Sir Edrek’s skull, it was polished and set above the throne of the Dawn Griffon’s Commander, being lost when their main chapter house burned down in 59 N.C.

The Order of the Skull Enshrined’s standard depicted a stylized version of the skull, surrounded by a golden corona of fiery rays. The skull was kept in a sanctified box into battle, purity seals and prayer scrolls hanging around it, a mesh placed over it so it could be clearly seen by enemies, but was shielded from harm. According to some, when the order took to the field, the skulls’ eyes “would flash with a distant light, like the fires of our Lords holy Orb glinting from the blades of his chosen”, and one battle poet (or unknown allegiance) even claims that “lightning, the colour of the midday sun did crackle and flicker from the reliquary, laying all who stood against the knights smoten”.

Yeah, you heard me; Smoten.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Monster Manual II and other Musings

So, it arrived this morning. Thunder rumbled ominously, and the air grew dense and strangely perfumed as I tore the bubble wrap from the dark tome, and ran my fingers over its silky covers. And, after a quick read through, it seems to kick ass...though I am bit vexed by the lies we were told regarding the return of the Pennangalan...Pennnann...Penann - floaty head come off at night vampire, and the Vargouille.

Having said that, it is otherwise bloody lovely...for the GM. The players are gonna' hate it. Not only do we get the lovely Rust Monster back, but we get variants, including their swarming young and a magic feeding big brother. 4e Iron Golems are mighty opponents who I just know are going to sow carnage at the table top, and as for the new Demons...woooooo!

And I can't help feeling slightly optimistic that Spelljammer may yet make a come back, for now we have Neogi, Dracons (thinly disguised as the Drakkoth), Hive Mothers, Spelljamming Ships (in Manual of the Planes) and many other things that fit right in.

There are some fabulous new elementals, and some really weird things that I can't wait to throw at the group.

Only real complaints are the 4e Duergar (or Dwaerdorin in my games)...what. the. f*ck?

Beard quills?

Crap.

I shall ignore the 4e stats (they will do for a devil possessed clan maybe - anyone remember the Knights of Ket'Tzerrak?), and stick with those I have done for the current game.

Oh, and a point of massive unimportance to me; Metallic Dragons are back. Yawn.

Anyway, I have been writing the final scene for the current (monolith arc) campaign story in my regular game, and I have to say, the last encounter will be both a bitch to run, and, if it goes as I imagine, tons of fun. The guys are at least two or three sessions away from that though, so you will have to wait. However, I will reveal that it was partly inspired by the old loading screen for the last expansion on DDO.

Anyway, I need food...and caffeine...and blooooooood...so I will catch you all soon. Our next game in on Tuesday, so I shall be posting around then if not before.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Double Yays of Doom, and Something Incredibly Cool

First "yay": At least one copy of Monster Manual 2 is on its way to me (from Infinity Games UK)

Second "yay": I was able to extend my DDI subscription at the reduced rate without destroying my remaining time on this subscription.

And now the cool thing. Steampunk Beholder.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Apparent Inability To Ship In Time

Oh yeah, am I the only one getting increasingly pissed off at the apparent inability for Wizards of the Coast to ensure their pissing product gets to Blighty in time for release? I pre-ordered MM2 in bloody September, and have been informed that I won't get it until mid June...that's f*cking 3 weeks after I should pissing have it.

Not. Happy.

One thing I don't mind is the increase in the DDI subscription charge, as if they (if...they...) give us what they promised (note: so far, they have been a bit [very] bad at this), it will be worth the money (which works out at less than a quid a week).

Would have been nice if I could have taken advantage of the limited cheap subscription charge without losing 6 months I have already paid for though.

Wizards of the Coast's marketing dudes really need firing...from a cannon preferably.

Anyway...

Last game update - 19/5/09

Okay, not a lot got done this evening, as the characters hit level 8, and we ended up just talking about crap instead of playing - not that is in any way a bad thing.

Anyway, here are the time line entries...

15:31 - The group re-join and hide themselves and the corpses, hoping to avoid a confrontation (they have not had chance to rest and so have not been able to regain lost encounter powers or their action point. They are able to spend up to two healing surges, though with the help of Ormids powers, extra healing is gained)

15:33 – Despite their efforts, the Steeder Patrol spot the drag marks, and move to investigate...

15:35 – Group ambush and battle the Dwaerdorin and Spiders, winning with ease

15:36 – Group flee the area, and find shelter in a half drowned basement. They decide to take an extended rest.

22:00 – After rest; decide to continue to explore the monolith

22:15 – Group move through streets until they come to the edge of the section of cavern floor that rises to meet the second layer of the cavern. The buildings here are spilling over with Gorgryn and Kydraxi, as well as a few patrols of Dwaerdorin. Rubbish floods the streets, and rats and other things race everywhere, glutting on the mess.

After a brief discussion in which the group weigh the pros and cons of simply wading in and killing everything, they decide to sneak through the area.

22:25 – Halfway through their sneak, the group get a better view of the layout of the next level. They spot an armoured tent in the middle of an organised camp of tents, surrounded by defensive banks of stone spikes. They also notice that there are numerous Gorgryn and Kydraxi running about, and that there are extensive mining efforts going on at the foot of the monolith.

22:35 – The group, with a blend of subtlety and simple aggression make it through the minion camp without getting caught. At the edge of the upper camp, the group can see many piles of rubble, excavated from the rock under / around the monolith everywhere (perfect cover).

Ormid spots a spherical, tentacle eyed form floating in the gloom at the back of the camp, entering a tunnel at least 100' above the camp. A ladder or something leads to the tunnel. At this time, the artificer chooses not to tell his companions that an Eye Tyrant may or may not be involved in all this...

* * *

Okay, so I let them have an extended rest way before they should have, but the way I saw it, if I denied them that ability, they would have got splatted in the next fight, and let's be honest how much fun is that...I mean for the players, not me...I mean, splatting PC's is pure fun for me, but for them, how much fun would it be?

Not a lot.

Anyway, my Dwaerdorin have proved to be a lot tougher than I thought they would, though I am pretty sure this is because I seem to have rolled really well when playing them. For the spider fight I used the following;

DWAERDORIN SPIDER PATROL (Level 71,700 XP )

Some of the Dwaerdorin ride on Steeders (Blade Spiders), patrolling in a wide arc, over the rooftops as well as rotted streets

2 x Blade Spiders (Brute 10, Monster Manual P. 246)
2 x Dwaerdorin Soldier (Soldier 7)

The Blade Spiders were pretty ferocious to tell the truth, but some of the most vicious damage came from one of the Dwaerdorin's powers. My players are familiar enough with it now that I don't mind sharing...

[melee] Puncturing Strike (Standard; Recharge 4,5,6) ◆ Weapon

Must be wielding a War Pick; +12 Vs Fort; 1D12+5 plus Ongoing 5 damage, and
target suffers a -2 penalty to their AC (save ends both)

Yeah, this little beauty has wreaked some horrible, spurting agony in the game, and shall continue to for the foreseeable future, for there are worse things than mere footsoldiers in this area...much, much worse things...

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Game Session - 12/5/09

Another belter of a game! I'll blog some of my observations tomorrow. Anyway, the story continues...

14:55 – Ormid has repaired the up-ended stone throne that was in the chamber, and Llewellyn has searched the doors out for traps (he finds none)

15:00 – Ormid repairs the broken opening mechanism on the doors, and they slowly – and loudly – grind open revealing a vast cavern beyond and below...a cavern that is filled with a ruined Dundorin city, and on a ridged rise above it (where according to Brundorson, the main keep should be), a massive monolith of white stone, engraved with vast runes, which warn of a dire peril. POWERFUL magic, beyond anything the group have known, thrums quietly from it, the result Ormid and Gyllithed decide of either a Gods actions, or a grand ritual that would have devoured the life force of those working it. Either way, it is no minor feat of magery.

15:05 – Further investigation by the group reveals what appears to be an effort to mine into or under the monolith by persons unknown. They also see that the streets of the city are choked with fungal growths and rubble.

The exit form this chamber leads directly into an elevator shaft, and the group decide to use the ancient rungs of a ladder hammered into the wall to descend into the city.

15:10 – About halfway down the group encounter a strong warm breeze, faintly smelling of brimstone, blowing from the north. They ignore it, deciding to see what is going on at the Monolith – determined to stop the mining if, as the group surmise, the purpose of it is to hold in some dark thing.

The group wrap cloth around their Sunrod so they can control its light, and move into the rotting streets of the dead city.

15:25 – The Vyrleen and Artificer sense stealthy movement in the gloom ahead. The group hide in the buildings either side of the decrepit street and wait...

15:26 – A patrol of Dwaerdorin move by; soldiers in heavy chain, bearing a variety of weapons. The group decide to ambush them, and take them by surprise.

15:28 – After initially gaining the upper hand, the party find themselves fighting for their very lives against the Dark Dundiir. One of them is a powerful psychic, who unleashes psychic lightning and confusion powers, as well as emanating waves of psychic pain which distract the group. There are also a pair of Crossbowmen who are able to imbue their bolts with elemental power, which blasts the party and visits all kinds of doom on them

Time and again the group come to the brink of defeat, before managing to pull back. One of the crossbowmen flees, but after a short chase (skill challenge), the group capture and kill him (Llewellyn caves his skull in with a well placed blow from his mace).

15:30 – From his vantage point on the roof, Llewellyn spots two more Dwaerdorin soldiers approaching on the backs of huge spiders.

15:31 - The group re-join and hide themselves and the corpses, hoping to avoid a confrontation (they have not had chance to rest and so have not been able to regain lost encounter powers or their action point. They are able to spend up to two healing surges, though with the help of Ormids powers, extra healing is gained)

15:33 – Despite their efforts, the Steeder Patrol spot the drag marks, and move to investigate...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

What's Going On?

Um...some template issues have arisen, and I am too tired to try and correct them...booh :(
Okay, here is the low down on the latest game, followed by my thoughts about it. Hope this is of use or interest to someone out there :D

02:25 – After a short rest, the group, despite their wounds and weariness, vote to carry on a bit further, if only to make use of the remaining light from their second Sunrod...
An identical corridor stretches ahead

03:05 – After moving down this corridor checking for traps. No traps
Ormid opens Dundorin lever door. See the spiral stairs beyond. Vyrleen checks for trap.

03:15 – No traps! Move on! Group come to flight of stone stairs, that spiral into dark waters 45' below.

03:20 – At bottom of the stairs, vyrleen strips off and dives in

03:22 – Vyrleen reports two corridors; one to the Southeast, the other to the Northeast, roughly 45' below. Offers to dive back under and to explore further. Group agree.

03:25 – Vyrleen uses the groups' rope ladder as an anchor (held by the Warforged), and dives down.

03:26 – Gets to end of Northeastern tunnel. Discovers that the source of water is here; pouring through several large cracks in the roof. An ancient cave in blocks the tunnel
The Vyrleen re-surfaces (loose his grip on the ladder, when an over enthusiastic Warforged races away with it, tearing it free), catches his breath and dives down again

03:27 – At the end of the Southeastern corridor, discovers another collapse. Also sees that there are several dislodged floor stones, and that the water is draining into a lower chamber past them.

03:28 – Vyrleen back up top. Discusses with group. Several plans formulated. Group is unhappy about forcing the flag stones down the SE corridor, as the rush of draining water would almost certainly sweep the unfortunate to an unknown fate. Ormid proposes somehow blocking off the NE corridor, to allow the remaining water to drain naturally. However, the practicalities of this prove too much and this plan is abandoned.

03:35 – Ormid states he will go an examine the NE corridor

03:36 – Ormid dives and swims to in-flow area of the corridor. Realises he can seal the cracks the water flows in through with his artifice, and does so.
Because of the effort, Ormid begins to run short on air, and begins to drown.
Panicked swim back to surface. Manages to make it back, though only just (Looses 6 Healing Surges)

03:37 – Group decide to rest, to see if the waters will recede.

::NO ENCOUNTERS::

14:00 – [Sunrod 3 of 6 used] Tunnels drained, time to move on

14:10 – Group slog their way through the muddy gunk in the drained tunnels, and are soon trying to dislodge the collapsed flagstones, to gain a clearer view of the area below.

14:15 – After a number of attempts, the stones are dislodged.

14:17 – Llewellyn is lowered into chamber below on the rope ladder. Reports a large, rubble and fungus choked chamber, with Dundorin Stone Pillars, a dais, and directly beneath where the water has been flowing, a large pond, formed in a water carved depression. Still lots of water in the chamber. Also spots furtive movement.

14:25 – Group enter the Rotting Hall.

- Shambling Mound lurking under the water attacks; only the Warforged and Vyrleen are not
surprised.
- Other vegetable horrors emerge – four Ustilagor fungi and a Basidirond
- The Warforged is caught in the throes of powerful hallucinations for the entire fight, and attacks
at random. Other members of the party are hampered by the psionic dread the tiny brain like
Ustilagors inspire.
- The Shambling Mound envelops Gyllithed, but is quickly dispatched. The other fungi are a lot
harder to remove

14:27 – Following the battle, the group have a brief argument, when the Vyrleen presents the scroll he stole a while ago from Ormid. Ormid informs him it's a fake and burns it (much to the Vyrleen's horror as he is pretty positive it's not a fake).
- Brundorson makes his feelings about thieves very clear, though he is quite happy (he
hallucinated that he was being attacked by Trulls in the previous battle, and believes he has
slain one)
- The group decide to split up to search the chamber and adjacent chambers

14:45 – Large stone chest is found in side room. Llewellyn, with the help of Ormid, opens the
complex Dundorin lock, and Mithril Bars are found within, along with several useful elixirs, and an enchanted cloak (which the Warforged claims). Llewellyn steals a scroll written in Dundorin from the chest also .

And that's where we left it for this week. So, time to discuss this game.

Okay, the whole water filled corridors bit, actually played very well, even though the group did something I had not anticipated. What I thought they would do is send the Warforged (who has the best Endurance check) down the corridors, and that he would kick the loose flagstones out, creating (as they predicted) a powerful rush of water, which would put him at a huge risk of falling into the chamber below (suffering damage and being Prone), and having all the monsters there get a surprise round on him. Worse, the rest of the group would have to find some way to get to him before the fungi destroyed him - not easy at all.

Of course, I had given a fairly easy chance for the Warforged (or whoever) to stop themselves being sucked through the floor, so it wasn't a raw death trap...honest.

However, Ormid's suggestion was by far, the more sensible one (and I was gobsmacked that the Vyrleen - that's a Halfling folks - was the one doing the diving), and I was only too happy to let them use that plan. I was also really happy when he started to fail Endurance checks after undertaking a strenuous activity, as it added some serious drama to the proceedings (Ormid was one Healing Surge away from starting to take 7 damage per round by the time he broke the waters' surface).

With the waters cleared (I gave a nice XP reward for this, as if each character had defeated a level 7 monster), the group moved in.

Okay, the fight. The Shambling Mound was from the Monster Manual. However, the other monsters (4 x Ustilagors 1 x Basidirond) were homegrown conversions from 1st edition / 3.5.

The Basidirond was a Level 6 Controller, and with its Aura 5 that caused Hallucinations (and forced victims to choose random targets and to use random attack powers each round), it behaved very much like one (although every other attack it had failed or it didn't get to use). However, the Ustilagors (Level 7 Lurkers) acted more like Controllers, as their Aversion Auras (which temporarily hedge characters out, and Push them), kicked in from all angles.

This coupled with the terrain, made for quite a controlled fight, which was not really what I had intended. It was tough too - though the hallucinating Warforged caused some very tense moments when he targeted players. Muwahahahahahahaha!

By the way, I would post the stats for my monsters, but can't seem to get the tables to copy right here. Sorry :(