Using My Monsters

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Gongoramm - Vulgorim Deity

GONGORAMM [Gone – Gore – RAMM] (All Ages): Brutal gigorim deity of brutality, bullying and cruelty, worshipped primarily by the Vulgorim. It is a disinterested deity, who rarely intercedes directly, although it may be persuaded to help when a particularly one-sided or unpleasant affair is under way. Gongoramm has no formal clergy or rituals, and is identified by the symbol of a bloody knuckle print, as if someone with blood-covered hands had punched a surface.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Something We Are Playtesting....

My 4e games are definitely taking a 4thcore twist as we modify it to suit our particular tastes, and if you have used many of the house rules discussed or presented on here, you too are probably finding things are getting quite brutal in your games too.

To help the players out a bit, we are trying out a new rule. This is in light of the fact that we no longer use XP, which leads to more free form battles, and to me trying to give alternate rewards for battles well won.

One form of reward are bonus Action Points, which, given all the options for using them now in the game, is nice. However, we are also play testing the following rule...

In a battle where you are offered an Action Point as a reward (be that for reaching a Milestone, or for a well fought battle), you can, instead, choose to recharge a single Daily Power. Each power may only be recharged in this once (this is to address Andy's concerns that you could just keep recharging your best power and become unbeatable - Andy is our resident rules manipulator supreme, and I trust his min/max advice).

So far it's not proving to be a remote problem. Ormid and the gang are deep within Skrung's keep, and the extra power is helping them survive the brutality of the area (Veteran would have taken 150 bludgeoning and necrotic damage in the last game, but fortunately, spent an Action Point to turn it into a mere 97 points of pain), whilst we have not had much chance to see it in use in the Shnecke or Newbie games. Time will tell. I shall keep you informed!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Hooked Daemon - Level 27 Soldier

The Hooked Daemon is based on the monster of the (nearly) same name in 13th Age, and is something I threw together to show some of the new save mechanics in action. Enjoy!

(Don't forget, the stat mods shown do not include the +13 mod the monster gets for half its level)

13th Age Saving Throws in 4e?

Firstly check out the rules HERE (on page 12). How do you think would work in 4e? Personally, I love it, as it means that nastier abilities (or ones that only trigger under certain circumstances) can be harder to shift, without the players having to keep track of numerous save modifiers (beyond those of their own attacks and items).

In my games we have stopped using XP, instead going for a more story based system (i.e. the characters go up a level when it seems right). This has lead to me giving out more action points as rewards for battles well fought, and for particularly good examples of players sticking to their characters - even if it isn't the best idea for them...or occasionally, their group. With this in mind, Dave (of Veteran and Jaeger fame), suggested allowing players to spend an action point to reduce a save to the next lowest category....

I like this a lot, as it add another use to the growing array of action point abilities (if you wonder what I am talking about, check out "Combat Options" in Dragon 425), and it forces the players to make some tough decisions.

Anyway, I intend to start making use of the 13th Age style saves, and will let you know how it all goes!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Shnecke's Wolves - Session Report (12/11/2013)

Following the Elemental Bergs, the group entered the Hydran Straits. There they encountered The Curse - a pirate ship crewed by Theo'Gorgai (Hoboblins), Nargor (Trulls or Trolls) and few Gorashym (Bugbears). The ships captain was a medusa. The two vessels exchanged fire for a while, before closing on each other. Then, a brutal battle, in which the crew of the Sea C*nt were totally victorious (though the Medusa had a nasty surprise for them, her blood animating as she was slain, and carrying on the fight as a vicious, petrifiying slime). A search of the ship cost two crewmen their lives, as they encountered an ancient Gorgothian warrior monster (A Witchlight Marauder) in the hold, and the group had to deal with the unexpected and out of place abomination. A search of the ship revealed no treasure (other than the ship itself), and the group realised that the pirates must have a base on one of the nearby islands. After some time and effort, they located the likely island, and prepared to seek the pirates lair....and their treasures...

27/8/1472: Group decide to land on the pirate Island, on opposite side from suspected pirate base. Will go at night, in order to hopefully maximise element of surprise. Before they leave they meet with Caleph and the chosen men, both to organise who will crew The Curse, and to discuss their planned mission to locate and loot the pirate base. Caleph suggests a deception, so that those who cannot be trusted completely do not realise that the group are no longer on board the ship (Jaeger sees to this deception).

01:00 - 03:30: The group land on the western side of the island, and make their way across its barren surface, beneath the baleful light of Aelnaeryss. The assassin looks for and spots a high point that would be useful as the location either for a lookout post, or the base itself, and the group split; Jaeger going by himself, the rest approaching from the opposite direction.

Able to see perfectly in the dark, and able to move both by teleporting, and stealthily at full speed, the assassin arrives ahead of his colleagues, and spots a lone theo'gorgai manning a simple watch point. A bundle of dry driftwood serves as a warning beacon. As the assassin plots what to do next, the barbarian's voice is carried towards the hide on the night winds, clear over the sounds of the distant surf, and at once the massive hairy humanoid is up, seeking out the source.

Distracting the beast with a thrown pebble, the assassin moves swiftly in, and thrusts his shadowy blade into its skull, ending its life. By the time the rest of the group arrive, he is sitting on the dead gorgai, cleaning his nails.

From the point, the group identify a well worn path that clambers down a cliff face overlooking a wide sea channel. It seems to lead to a bridge of raised land that forms a closed end to the channel.

04:15: The group follow the path, picking their way down towards the bridge. As they get lower, they spot what looks like docks nestled against the cliffs below, and soon, they spot a bulge in the stony landscape that looks out of place.

The assassin goes ahead, darkness cloaking him, and moves towards the bulge. However, his blood freezes as he spots something truly massive - a 30' high humanoid, with skin like a rhinoceros, obscene amounts of muscle, and a single glaring eye in its head - squatting next to what seems to be some kind of ancient stone entrance. Mind racing, he is horrified to hear the sound of clanking armour behind him - the rest of the group.

Also hearing their approach, the Orgon'Gigorim (Cyclops), raises to its full height - a living mountain - and emits a deafening challenge, swinging a gargantuan spiked club into a ready position, as if it were nothing. The rest of the group almost freeze, horrified, as the massive beast stamps its feet, sending shockwaves through the air, and prepares to attack.

Battle is soon joined, as three theo'gorgai pirates race from the entrance to join their terrifying ally. The crumbling bones of some ancient winged reptile are the only cover available to the group.

Ormid et Al - Session Report (21/11/2013)

Once, the mountain citadel occupied by Skrung and his kin, was home to a peaceful clan of Morgog'Gigorim (Stone Giants), who lived under the rule of Malogg Sturvodd. The Vulgorim took it nearly 40 years ago, during the final days of the Age of Loss, their greater numbers and desperation giving them the upper hand they needed to storm the keep and steal it for themselves. It is not known what happened to Malogg - but it is known that the skulls of many Morgogorim can be found in the valleys around the keep. With the arrival of the Vulgorim, the land changed. The villages and mines that once peppered the area are gone now - lost to Vulgorim raids, and the forests that once cloaked the lower peaks of the mount have vanished; burned and hacked by the monsters for fuel and building materials.

5/7/51 - 9/7/51: The group head into the fastness of the Northern Streaked Mountains, each expecting to face endless swarms of Gorgoth, Gorgryn and similar horrors. However, despite finding many signs of their presence, the greenskins do not attack - and the group realise that their epic bearing, so unnatural and potent, has cowed the ferocious beasts. As such, they have a relatively uneventful journey...until.

09:40: The group enter one of the last wooded valleys around Skrungs Peak, and are attacked by a band of Vulgol'Gigorim and their starved Owlbear companions. It is a brief battle, that sees the group taking a few good knocks, but they manage to slay all but a few of the monsters (who flee). The teeth and beaks of the Owlbears are collected for sale later, and the group, after a brief rest, continue...

That night they camp at the foot of the mountain, close to the huge flight of massive carved steps (each one 5' high) that lead all the way to the great gatehouse that guards the way into Skrung's Keep. Although they hear disembodied voices booming down from the peaks above, as well as piercing animalistic shrieks, they enjoy a good night's rest.

10/7/51: The next morning, they opt to climb the stairs (aware that this may mean more encounters with Vulgorim, but preferring that idea to trying to climb the mountain up one of its other sides. However, they meet no one, and that night, they rest in a small hollow carved in the cliffs against which the stairs butt.

11/7/51: As the group get higher, so the air thins and grows colder. Each step brings them closer to the huge gatehouse; a looming thing of stone, that bears crenelated battlements, as well as a heavy portcullis. None look forwards to fighting whoever guards it.

12:00: As the group enter the last stretch of the path, their legs trembling and weary from their efforts, so they encounter the guards posted to watch the gate - several more Vulgorim, as well as a great warrior giant, and, at the gates themselves, two of Skrung's personal guard; massive Vulgorim clad in dire bear furs, and bearing huge shields of hardened wood. Each wields a stone club, and both show unusual canniness as they allow their kin to wade into combat, to wear down and weaken the group before they attack...

Using the stairs for cover, the group allow the fight to come to them - the guards on the battlements being dispatched by a well placed blast of acid from Dracusviir - and up to the point of writing, things are going well from them; most of the base Vulgorim painting the stairs with rivers of their blood, or the air with their shrieks as they plummeted to their deaths from the stairs unbound side. The warrior has just managed to smash the artificer brutally, sending him tumbling back down the stairs, and as yet, Skrung's Guard have done nothing but edge slowly forwards, shields before them, carefully waiting for the right time to strike. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Wood Giant (Voadkin / Aelwyr'Gigorim) - Level 8 Artillery

The Voadkin or Wood Giant was one of those odd creatures that rarely if ever got any use as far as I can tell. Stealthy, smaller giants, they were allied with the elves and shared many of their traits. Whilst flicking through the 2E AD&D Monstrous Manual, I came across the little blighters, and decided to convert them. You will also note some of the 13th Age type flourishes that I am now using have crept into this conversion - although you can ignore the escalation dice one if you want (or give that power an alternate recharge state). 

And remember, the stat modifiers listed at the bottom do not include the +4 bonus this fellow will get for half his level!

If you wanted, you could add another way of ending the ongoing damage; namely that someone takes a standard action to make a D.C. 20 Heal check on the individual bleeding out. I've started doing this quite a lot lately, and it works really well!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ormid et al - Session Report (5/11/2013)

18/6/51: Whilst accompanying Llewellyn to retrieve some papers from a well in Currusp, the group are attacked by a supernatural assassin known as a Gloom. It all but slays Llewellyn with a single strike, and similarly dismantles Ormid after he tries to heal the rogue. It is clearly intending to finish off the vyrleen when the Veteran stands over him, and manages to land a blow against the fiend. This wounding sends it away - although all realise that it will be back!

To keep Llewellyn safe, he is temporarily put under guard. Vladislav - who is visiting - helps with this, as do mages of a cabal of noctramancers allied with the Order. Llewelyn is confined to a circle, cast to protect against minions of the shadow planes - the dimension it is felt his assassin comes from.

19/6/51 - 20/6/51: Whilst Ormid makes use of Currusp's libraries to research their assailant, the rogue (from his self imposed prison) tries to use his guild to find out who could have sent it. The artificer learns that the monster is an incredibly potent being, that only the most epic of rituals, beings or items could summon to this plane - let alone allow it to be commanded. Llewellyn is only able to surmise that one of the three most potent thieves guilds his own have pissed off recently might have been behind the summoning.

During his research, Ormid is able to ascertain (through disparate fragments of lore written across a number of tomes), that a "device" that contains a trapped Gloom does exist. It was a painting known only as "The Shadow Man", which was first reported in the early 2nd Age. Little information exists about where it could be, or even, if it really exists. In order to try and verify both his theory, and to locate the item if it exists, Ormid seeks a copy of the View Object ritual - which he obtains for a price from the sisterhood of Merriel'Shaava.

21/6/51 - 23/6/51: The ritual is cast (Ormid is assisted by the Helldazzler, and a number of his allied mages), and the artificer asks to see "The device used to summon the Gloom that attacked us". Finds himself in a five-sided chamber of what he recognises as Northstone Granite, almost being smothered by the thick strands of shadow magic there. Briefly sees an ebony picture frame, before a toxic intellect forcefully ejects him. Ormid passes out and fits. Two of the mages die. The artificer deduces from the stone, that the most likely locale is quite local. This would suggest that the guild most likely to have sent the monster is the "Hands of Silence" - based in nearby Tull'Norak.

Much discussion about how to proceed. Llewellyn has unrealistic ideas about mobilising his guild to march in force on the Hands. His advisors, as well as the Veteran and Ormid point out the many flaws with this plan. They discuss seeking out an ally - a guild or order that also has something to gain from the fall of the Hands of Silence - and with a groan, they realise that the main candidates are the infamous "Tanners and Knife Sharpeners Guild" (TKSG) of the holy city of Alaz'Cellinthar; one of the guilds that the Procurer's so recently annoyed and threatened.

24/6/51 - 26/6/51: Llewellyn does some digging, in order to find out if there is anyone in his guild that is expendable. He comes to hear of a young human named Sored Viid; cocksure and arrogant, and a little too quick to voice his negative opinion of the vyrleen. Late on the 26th Sored is told that he will be sent to Alaz'Cellinthar with a letter from Llewellyn, calling for the TKSG to put aside their hared, and to meet to discuss a cooperative move against a common foe.

Sored weeps and begs not to be sent. He is told he has no choice - a likely (but not definite) death on this mission, or a certain death at the hands of Llewellyn and his potent allies.

Sored is teleported to a circle within the holy city....everyone waits.

31/6/51: Research on the fragments found around the "infinite hole" discovered by the group in the Eastern Guild reveals that they are parts of a Chronoportal, recently (within the last 12 moons) destroyed. Although opinions are a little split, it is felt that the "hole" is actually a tear in time itself. This raises concerns amongst the group, who wonder what Ebon Eye would want with a time portal - and what harm he could do.

The Veteran also learns that the multi-destination portal they discovered in the ancient lab could be used to forge a planar energy infused rebuild of Ferrous. He decides that a Defender infused with the chaotic power of Pandaemonium would be most useful to the group, and artificers under Ormid's command begin to draw up plans for the Mk III version of Ferrous.

3/7/51: To the group's utter amazement, they receive a curt but amicable reply from the Khorven Dulsiir, leader of the TKSG. A meeting is arranged for noon, on the 13/7/51, in the main taproom of the "Jaded Monk" inn in Laeran. Llewellyn is advised that he may only bring one guard. The homunculus that brought the message is returned with the groups message - "It shall be so".

4/7/51: With ten days to burn, the group decide to deal with Skrung, the Vulgol'Gigorim Lord who calls himself the "King of the East Mountains", and to end his threats to the Veteran's keep once and for all!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Zengott The Everflayed - Lesser Daemon Lord

I had a dream last night of a dark place wrought from frozen pain, carved into blades and spikes by winds born from anguished screams. At the heart of it, bound to a throne of hooks, twitched and shrieked a terrible being who's rage and hatred blossomed like a black fire through the walls of that reality, and into the world of men. Zengott The Everflayed*. Broken beyond reason, he appeared as a faceless human, devoid of flesh, gutted and broken. Entrails hung from his ravaged and opened abdomen, writhing and twitching as if seeking something to tear into, each pipe and coil equipped with barbed blades of bone and seeking hooks of gristle. Where his face would be, was a soft, lipless orifice, from which came a constant, terrible howling - pain, hopelessness and rage, given voice and sung into the nightmare world born from its refrain. A horrific light, unlike any earthly illumination, pulsed and writhed over the thing, its touch triggering agonies in the fiend, his screams in turn giving the strange glow more weight, and I knew that if I stayed too long, this blasphemous light would erode my sanity and send me into the arms of Xix forever.

Although he knew I was there, he gave no sign, continuing to writhe against the almost sentient implements that pierced and restrained his twitching, bucking form, holding it in place. However, I could feel his mind - a perverted thing of utter madness and loathing - hungrily searching for something undamaged to take apart and toy with; groping through the stench and misery of his realm, and with great fear in my heart, fought to leave.

I managed to escape, leaving Zengott to his eternal torments. However, having caught a glimpse of this abomination, and knowing that it was more than a mere dream**, I began to search through the archives for any mention of him or his cults. I spent several months in my studies (until the Order grew wary, and banned me from the accessing the great tomes that detail the Lords of the Abyss), and despite my intense research found mention only of two cults that could be related to this horrific fiend.

One was based in Lower Malgoroth towards the end of the Second Age, and was initially thought to be a cult dedicated for Adathraine, the Great Beast, for its members engaged in many of the same activities - cannibalism, ritual scarification and blood rites. However, they showed a particular fondness for flaying both their victims and each other. Even more tellingly, their High Priests ritually removed their eyes, and carved their faces open to create a single mouth. This somehow did not kill them, and many developed supernatural senses to replace those mundane one lost in the procedure. This cult was destroyed by an order of Solumite Knights, their own records speaking of preventing a ritual which would have seen the "Flayed King" born "through the entrails and agony of a pure victim".

The second mention was more apparent, and referred to a pre-sundering group who had been kidnapping, skinning and violating "innocents" from the streets of Talosvern. They daubed the symbol of a toothless, screaming mouth in blood all over the place, and were quickly stopped due to their blatant acts. Their leader - one Thadeus Raadim, a former merchant - is reported to have screamed spells of agony at those sent to capture him in a language of "screams, choked howls and raw, full throated shrieks", his spells stripping flesh from his enemies, rupturing eyeballs and in one poor individual's case, causing his entrails to prolapse explosively from his anus.

As stated above, the Order have grown suspicious of my readings (and in light of the recent catastrophe and the loss of so many of our leaders, I am not surprised). However, I intend to seek further information from tomes outside of their control, and am currently arranging passage to the heart of daemon worship - the ancient, decaying "daemonocracy" of Draxia - specifically, the City of Stained Stones, Pentas Daemonica. Wish me luck, for I believe that I shall need it.

May Merriel'Shaava bless you. May Leorn'Aerbrin give you good fortune, and may Rithuen'Ardaana clear your path.

Your friend, Allessar Kreede.


* I really did dream this....No cheese was eaten before I went to bed.
** I am speaking from a fantasy point of view was only a dream!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Trapper - Level 12 Controller

(Art is Copywrite Wizards of the Coast). Feel free to use this .png token for your virtual table games if you use this beastie!

Ah, the lovely Trapper - a monster that, along with the Mimic, Cloaker, Xaver, Lurker Above and Lurker Below (not to mention endless beasts that were variants on those themes - remember Living Webs and Palimpsests), had every adventurer paranoid as hell whenever they entered a dungeon chamber for the first time. Well, I thought I would get them statted up for 4e - so here you are! Bear in mind that the ability modifiers do not include the +6 bonus it gets for being 12th level! Enjoy!

Click to read without agony...

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Summoning

So, my newborn is due to be summoned very soon, and it's unlikely, what with all the sacrifices, chanting and drawing of restraining circles, that I am going to get much chance to do anything for a while. So, don't be too disappointed if you don't see much up here for the next month or two, it is only a hiatus, not a permanent end.

Still hoping to get some crunchy bits and bobs up here as I write them (got some feats that draw on the Escalation Die to post later), but certainly, there will be a big slow down of stuff for a while.

With regards to the game write ups. I'm not getting the time to get anything done at the moment, and so, will be retiring that part of my blogs. I do intend to post most of the crunch from them here though, as soon as it's no longer relevant, and will give occasional "What Happened" style updates, but nothing like the old days when I had tons of free time!

I hope you will stick with the blog whilst I'm busy getting acquainted with baby puke and no sleep, and hope you find it worth your wait when I return in full! Until then, catch you around!!

P.S. I will still be posting stuff on our Facebook Page, so feel free to drop by!

Friday, 4 October 2013

13th Age Style Backgrounds in Gatespace

Pelgrane Press' 13th Age is worth buying, even if you do not have any intention of running it. Why? Because you can basically use it as a huge book of house rules and tweaks for 4e – which is exactly how I see it.

I love 13th Age's rule for “skills” - or rather a lack of them – the use of Backgrounds. Much as I love 3.0 / 3.5 and 4e skill systems, they have somewhat taken from the players need to be creative with how they are using them (although I have been a lot more insistent on knowing how my players intend to use the skills they have suggested in a given situation). The background rules, whilst they raise a few issues in 4e (for example, the skill related boons from 4e backgrounds – my answer, apply the bonus when it seems relevant, which shouldn't actually be hard at all), truly encourage the players to think about their character before they became an adventurer, and serve to not only flesh them out, but lend themselves to far more creative use of "skills" in play. 

My personal preference for player backgrounds would be to work with them to create them. However, here are a bunch I have come up with to get creative juices flowing...

So, avoiding the more obvious ones...

Unified Order Mage; You have attained the rank of “mage” with the Unified Order, and enjoy the privileges that go with that status. However, you are also restricted by the Order's laws, and as such, are somewhat hampered in your freedom to practice magic.
(Variations with slightly different applications could include Unified Order Artificer, Unified Order Hunter, Unified Order Apprentice, Unified Order Specialist [as in Evoker, Conjurer, Fire Elementalist etc]).

Unified Order Apostate; The Order are a corrupt group of control freaks, who seek to stifle magic, kill the Gods and rule all creation. You have escaped, but they do not want you to live. It is only by your cunning and skills in arcane lore that you have escaped far. (Variations could include, Failed Unified Order Initiate, Subject of Divorcement, Enemy of the Unified Order).

Dundorin Merchant; You were raised in one of the great Karrag's of your people (you will specify which and where), and learned the basic skills and lore taught to all. However, your destiny lay not in the sweltering forges or deadly deep places, but out in the upper world, engaging with the other races....and more importantly, their wealth.

Scarred Veteran; You fought in the (insert war relevant to campaign timeline and setting), and survived despite the horrors you endured, and have carried more than physical scars into these times of relative peace. You struggle to cope with the nightmares and still react to many circumstances as if you were in battle. However, you remain sharp and your wartime skills are still alive within you...even if sometimes they hamper rather than help.

Xix Touched: He whispers to you in many voices, telling you the truth and telling you lies. He picks away at reality, showing you glimpses of the truth beneath, and keeps you safe from those that wish to harm you (or does he?). Amongst other things, you are special, and they know it too.

Bruiser: The North Republic Guard (or Bruisers, due to their black and blue livery) protect the huddled masses against the dangers of the peaks, the lowlands and their own streets. Steadfast and determined, they are the line between the murderous Gorgoth and Gigorim, the Dracane and the manifold other dreads that would sweep down and crush the cities of men.

Tribe Athlete: In a society of natural athletes, you were one of the best.

Risen Lands Botanist: The vast, magic scarred realms of Eathoran and Anathar called to you since you were young, and on arriving you were amazed at the mass of strange, beautiful and at times, deadly flora there. Before you took on the mantle of adventurer, you spent a lot of time studying these plants, and came to know much about them. (Possible Variants could include a specific study of a certain type of monster from a certain type of terrain, so Boreal Aberration Specialist).

Vengeful Barkeep: Once you owned an inn, and life was good. Then (insert catastrophe, organisation or monster) happened, and you lost it all. You remember well the skills you used as a host, merchant and sometimes bouncer in that place, and hope, when the killing it done, to have enough gold left to start up another inn.

Cellinthite Guide: The Holy Guides, Warrior Priests of Cellinthar'Valladir accepted you, and you serve with them. You are part chaplain, part warrior, you soul and life dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and weak against those that would harm them – all in the name of your noble and loving God.

Irinite Watch: You once served with the Watch of Irin (this could offer a range of bonuses depending on when you were in the watch. If it was when the fungi hit during the Sundering, your skills would be very different from those you would develop during a less exciting time).

Pentas Demonica Expat: Once you lived in the madness and horror of the City of Stained Stones. Now, for your own reasons, you have left, and although you have turned your back on that vile place, it, and those things within it, have left their mark...and indeed, may not yet be done with you...

As you can see, the backgrounds not only serve to shape what you will be good and bad at (they can, for example, inflict penalties in some cases – the Xix Touched may struggle with a Charisma check made to resist a madness inducing effect, suffering a penalty equal to the points they have invested), but when used with the “One Unique Thing” rule (another one I intend to use), can really flesh out your character, their past, and their future.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Greater Feyr - Level 20 Controller

The Feyr was a horrific and wonderfully weird monster that I seem to recall I first encountered in 2e. I do remember them appearing all the time in my games for a while, until I got distracted by something else, and don't recall using them since...

...Until now that is....

(Stat modifiers do not include the +10 bonus for 1/2 monster's level)

Monday, 23 September 2013

More Ormid Et Al!

This file is a .wav (44.97 MB).

Ormid et al - Session Report

So, my life is on the cusp of MASSIVE changes - with a daughter on the way and a new job about to start - and as a result, I am going to be pushed to find time to fit all my hobbies in as well as attending to my duties. This means that I do not have the time to do write ups for the gaming sessions (although I will continue to publish stats and ideas as these are created as part of my games - and I shall continue gaming in order to delay the inevitable psychotic episode and crowning of myself as the "Sovereign of Devoured Worlds"). However, I plan on verbally describing the sessions, and posting the mp3's up here for you to download. That way, I still have a good record of what has happened, and you get to hear the ongoing tales (and trust me, there is some insane stuff waiting to drop in all my campaigns).

Hopefully, this will be enough! So, here is the last written account before the new format...

16/6/51 - 05:00 - All gather at East Guild Portal after two weeks of preparation for the coming trials. The portal is opened, and beyond they find a shattered chamber filled with ash, smoke and dead warforged. 

Three portals "Administration" "Forge Zone" "Research and Development". Signs have been swapped around, but it's a double bluff. Llewellyn enters a portal, takes a huge amount of damage and is nearly deposited on the surface of the sun, and the group realise that their magics have been tampered with at a microscopic level (magically speaking).

Aided by the Warmages, Ormid untangles the arcane virus that infects the portal glyphs, and the group enter the administration wing, thinking it the R&D department.

Find nothing but several feet of fragments, which were once desks and other things. Ormid enacts a ritual to repair some of the debris, and recovers a desk (with ancient documents within), as well as the frame for an Iron Golem (which he instantly states he wants to keep).
It is at this point that the air grows icy with undead energies, and a voice, ancient and hoary, declares the group's doom. Runes ignite in the floor, and a Glabrezu is wrenched into this dimension. It is a formidable beast, but against the combined might of the group and their allies, it is banished within seconds.

The ghost that activated the ancient defences appears within the protection of a Prismatic Sphere - an ancient mage named Ghashavir - and through the Veteran, he communicates with the party.

He believes the group to be allied with Ebon Eye, and takes more than a little persuasion that they are in fact, his enemies. He explains that the warforged came with an army, and after doing something with the creation forges headed for his true goal - the God Forge.
It appears the God Forge was an experimental forge that the finest minds in the guild had built. It had the ability to imbue an individual with impossible power, literally forging them into a God. It's creation caused a huge uproar in the guild, for many knew it to be something that not only corrupted the natural and immortal order, but which could be used to create a monster beyond words. A vote by the High Arcana (the highest council) decided that it would be banished to a number of different dimensions, forever disjoined, and the epic ritual needed to do this was begun. This was at the height of the opening days of the Guild Wars however, and many believed the forge to be the ultimate weapon - a tool that could be used to overcome the other guilds, and to forge a new future. Lead by a mage named Cydrus Vortheme, the "Pro-Apotheosis" movement made plans to stop the banishment ritual.
The ritual required several days to gather its energies, and Cydrus and his men attacked on the dawn of the final days, when those involved were at their most vulnerable. Alas, the disruption unleashed an apocalypse of wild energies into the guild, and not only was the forge banished (though to planes unknown even to those conducting the rituals), but the guild's safety protocols, woven into its many layered mythal, were awoken. These shut the guild down, and apported its entrances to a remote dimension, removing almost all ways of egress. So, the "withdrawal" of the Eastern Guild from the wars was not intentional, but a result of this catastrophe...And now Ebon Eye seeks to located and use the God Forge.

The group make Ghashvir aware that they shall stop Ebon Eye in whatever he is planning, and withdraw, taking their army with them.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Level Notes - The Money Pit

These are the level notes for the last adventure I ran for Shnecke's Wolves. I haven't included the maps as it's not really a very complex dungeon - just a series of chambers piled on top of each other. The last encounter didn't get used, as it felt one battle too many. However, other than that, the game was run as the notes describe (although player ideas did cause some changes to be made of course). Enjoy!

Set up - The group are approached by hysterical crew men who tell them that a couple of their allies have uncovered a pirate stash. However, they feel into what seems to be nothing more than a pit trap. The group are asked to help / investigate. This dungeon was written with 15th Level characters in mind...

Level 1:  A bed of spikes, with several skeletons impaled on them is evident some 40'  below with a D.C. 15 Perception check. About halfway down, a veil of slender threads is linked to a mechanism that activates a rope cutter. This is far harder to see, being some 20' down, and requiring a D.C. 25 Perception check to locate (this can be disabled with a D.C. 30 Thievery check). If a character descends and passes through the veil, a blade sweeps from the top and severs their rope (if any) [the blade can be found with a D.C. 23 Perception check by a character at the top].

A character falling into the pit suffers falling damage as usual, and is exposed to the following attack

Spike Trap (Level 15; 300 XP); Targets creature falling into it; +20 (+1 per 10' fallen) vs AC; Hit: 4d6+21 piercing damage and target is restrained until escape (D.C. 24). Note: Each escape attempt inflicts 2d6 points of untyped damage to the individual, regardless of success.
It takes five minutes searching, and a D.C. 18 Perception or D.C. 22 Dungeoneering check to realise that there is a space below the pit trap.

Level 2:
Two chests sit, mouldering, on a floor of mud. A crop of slimy mushrooms has sprouted in the clammy pit (if eaten, the individual doing so must make a D.C. 15 Endurance check to avoid getting diarrhea for 24 hours, which means they  suffer a -1 penalty to speed, AC, Reflex and all Dexterity related attacks, damage, ability and skill checks). A D.C. 17 Nature check allows them to be identified as mildly poisonous.

One of the chests bears an old but still effective trap;

Poisoned Blade Trap (Level 15; 300 XP); Target an individual opening the chest without the correct key, or who fails to disable the trap; +20 vs AC; Hit: 3d6+19 slashing and poison damage plus Ongoing 15 poison damage (save ends). Miss: Half damage.

Locate: Perception: D.C. 26; Disable: Three successful D.C. 28 Thievery checks before three fails.
This chest contains a few small trinkets; 32 gold pieces, 44 silver pieces, 112 copper pieces, a crudely cut ruby worth 450 gps, and a +1 Dagger. There is also a note, written in  Meridianeese that says "Thanks for the treasure. I left you some dregs!"

Once again, the floor is false (See above).

Level 3:  A single chest lies half sunken into the mould covered mud of this level, and the air stinks of rotting fish and clay. The chest bears two traps. The first is false. It is easily found (D.C. 10), and appears to be linked to spikes set into the base of the chest. It is easily removed (D.C. 10) and characters gains 10 xp each for doing so.

The real trap lies within the lid, and can only be found with a second, closer check (D.C. 28 Perception). This trap will spray a mist of Green Slime if the chest is opened.

Green Slime Trap (Level 15 Elite; 1,200 XP); Trigger: The chest is opened,  an attempt to disable it fails over all, or a single check fails by 5+; Close burst 2; +20 vs Reflex; Hit: Target is covered in Green Slime and begins to lose a cumulative 1 healing surge each round. If they have no healing surges, they suffer untyped damage equal to their level. This continues until they spend a standard action to remove the slime (D.C. 22 Dexterity check, +1 per previous failed attempt) - though this will destroy whatever is used (unless it is glass), or until someone else makes a check for them (this is a standard action). Miss: No effect.

Locate: Perception: D.C. 28; Disable: Four successful D.C. 30 Thievery, or D.C. 35 Intelligence checks before three fails.
The chest is empty.

The floor can be detected as being above a lower space once more.

Level 4: This is a vast space. Crops of luminous mushrooms cast a dismal light below, over a pool of slimy water. The reek of old mud and death is strong here, as is a vague sense of unease (A D.C. 25 Religion check will allow someone to detect that unquiet spirits reside here).

40' below Level 3, Suspended 30' above the water,  is a moldering platform upon which stands a heavy stone chest. This is filled with lead shot, and as soon as anyone stands on the platform it falls into the water below (3d10 bludgeoning, target is knocked prone). As it falls, so two heavy plugs set in the wall come free, and filthy water begins to pour into the chamber. This rises by 5' per level (the green square represents this), the chamber filling in 14 rounds.

Worse, at the same time, two undead crocodiles slip into the muddy water, whilst the spirits of three individuals who lost their lives in this place manifest as Frightful Wraiths (See DDI Compendium - though mine were modified to make them more awesome), sweeping in to attack.

The water is turbulent as it fills, and a D.C. 22 Athletics check is needed to move through it. Visibility below the water is reduced to 2 squares.

40' below the original surface of the water, marked by a human skull impaled on a spike of rusted iron (D.C. 20 Perception to find), is a heavy oak and steel chest, within which the real treasure can be found. Those trying to swim with it must make a D.C. 38 Athletics check to move it, a fail meaning thy are pulled 6 squares towards the bottom.

The chest is locked (D.C. 25 Strength check, or D.C. 22 Thievery to open). Within are the following;

500 pps, 773 gps, 855 sps,
An emerald, ruby and gold medallion (3,760 gps)
An antique bronze and electrum spyglass (350 gps)
A set of Kai'Yassanian tea cups from the early 2nd Age (12,600 gps)
Gems (3 x 50 gps, 3 x 250 gps, 2 x 500 gps, 1 x 1,000 gps, 1 x 2,300 gps)
A Level 15 Elixir of Treasure Finding
A Level 16 Pair of Ghostride Boots
A Horn of Blasting
A Stone of Storms
2 x Elixir of Remove Affliction (level 18).
Returning to the Surface: The rising water will cause the bottom chamber to collapse after 20 minutes. Anyone within the pit at this time is dead. Getting out will either require the group to climb out (Climb D.C. 26) or to find another way out.

However, all is not over, for the jealous souls of the pirates that dug this pit have reanimated their old bones, and awoken to attack. Once these undead have been laid to rest, the dungeon is complete, and each character earns 500 XP. A search of one of the skeletons shows it to be carrying what appears to be a +4 Flaming Scimitar. However, it is a Cursed -4 Scimitar (level 16 Item).

(As always, add 1/2 the monster's level to the ability mods to get the right bonus)


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Yaaargeth - The Pirate Beholder Awaits!!!

So, to give the players chance to try out their shiny level 22 characters (for my Stag Game), I have set up a test battle on Roll20. Whilst thinking of what to put them against, I came across THIS fabulous bit of art....and Yaaargeth was born. I won't post the stats until after the battle, but thought I would share a quick screenie of the battlefield (well, some of it). Full map and scenario stats to follow!

"Yarr, come ye and have a go, if ye be thinkin' ye to be hard enough!"

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Shnecke's Wolves - Return to the Carrion Port, Unrest, A Surprise, Elemental Bergs

:: Yes, at last, a game report! You will see it's quite a lot more condensed than the old one, and it starts a few sessions later (the players decided they really wanted to get back to pirate hunting, and a little bit of Deus Ex Machina was employed to see that happen). However, this covers about six sessions of gaming and outlines a full "chapter" of their story. Enjoy!::

(12/8/1472) 18:40 – 19:10 arrive in Draxian tower trapped within magic circle. Mages bring it down. Secret doors located and opened. iron golems attack. Jaeger sneaks through the battle and to one of the doors leading from outer area. Hears low chanting from beyond. Other rooms searched. Scrolls recovered and Remove Affliction Elixirs. Group move to door and opening it (after removing a bit designed to exhaust its targets) , see only utter darkness.

19:10 – 19:30: The darkness is lowered by Thatari, and a flight of stairs is seen. A trap glyph is located in the ceiling, and the group can see that darkness still shrouds the lower steps. This too is lowered, and another glyph removed. More darkness..and again, it is removed. However, as this falls, so a room is seen beyond, within which stand two draxian apprenta, arms raised as they call on their power, a translucent mephit of steam and shadow darting around them.
A battle immediately ensues. Caught up in the fight, the group forget that there may be a final trap, and an Infernal Transposition Glyph is triggered, turning a stretch of the stairs and chamber into a zone of hellish terrain. This wounds the apprenta as well as the group, although the warlock manages to force reality back to where it belongs with the brute manipulation of the local dimensional fabric (He also marvels at the dimensional locks that must be in place on the tower to prevent such a transposition ripping reality open in this area of wounded reality).

19:30 – 19:35: The battle is tough but the group are victorious. There are three portals leading from the area, and the apprentices each bear a sigil that seems to be the key to opening them. However, concerned that they may be forced into a battle they should avoid, and worried by their increasingly weary state, the group decide to leave these chambers be, and head through the secret door.

19:35 – 19:45: Another flight of bloodmarble steps, which widens as it enters a huge ornate circular chamber of polished bloodmarble. In the middle of the room stand four floor to ceiling columns carved from onyx. These have been crafted to depict humans and daemons involved in sickening sexual acts, and a bloody light oozes from them painting the room in shadowy radiance. Either side of the room, two rune scribed portals lead elsewhere, whilst dead ahead a huge pair of gold and obsidian doors, bound in cold iron and worked with warding glyphs, leads...outside perhaps? However, the group's attention is taken up by the massive thing - a flesh golem, though made from the unnatural parts of daemons rather than mortals - that snarls and roars between the pillars, flexing its malformed, clawed hands, and whipping, sting-tipped tail. It stands just over 12' tall, and has a mass of hideous heads stitched directly to its chest.
The daemonflesh golem leaps to attack, unleashing a blast of raw chaotic power amongst the group. Hitting hard, the Chaos Hammer stuns Varracuda and Shnecke, dazes Jaeger and Thatari, and misses Grigori. An epic battle unfolds, in which the group's resources are all but depleted. The golem however is eventually destroyed through cunning as much as strength of arms, for whilst the battle rages,the assassin examines the ornate doors. Almost at once he recognises the layers of deadly spells woven into it, and with this in mind - and being reluctant to try and disable the complex, interwoven glyphs, he hatches a plan. The golem is lured close to the doors, and then hurled against them by the swordmage. As it hits the doors, so its massive bulk forces them apart, triggering a maelstrom of destruction as the wards trigger. Shredding, clawing power evaporates the golem, its destruction sending echoes of wild magic through the hall, and the doors vanish in the apocalypse of released might, revealing the storm blasted streets beyond. From somewhere nearby, a thickly accented voice howls with rage, and the group decide to head out of the tower whilst they can.

19:45 – 20:05: The island is in the midst of an unnatural storm - both a physical and metaphysical storm. Buildings lie destroyed, and bodies are strewn everywhere. The group make their way to a nameless inn, and find it almost deserted, the only inhabitants being a gibbering sailor driven mad by the sights he has seen (he is quietly drained of his blood by Grigori and Shnecke), and a sobbing, but sane, red-haired barmaid named Beth.

20:05 – 06:00 (13/8/1472): The group settled into the Inn, availing themselves of the profits and the best alcohol in the house, and then spend some times settling in. The assassin finds an antique shield brooch, which he recognises as an ancient Silver Guard symbol - enchanted to absorb force damage. Outside the storm rages, the only living soul they witness being a man - naked and bleeding - running howling through the slashing rain, vanishing in the stinging fogs. At about 03:00 the storm stops as if turned off, and eerie silence envelops the island, punctuated now and then by distant screams or the crackle of unleashed magic.

06:00 – 10:40: Beth is offered a place on board the SC, which she accepts. The group set about trying to find some additional supplies in the city, whilst the assassin heads down to the docks to see if the SC is still moored there. (The group realise that the Geas has ended on them, as technically, they have fulfilled their part of the bargain - the portal is now closed by their hand).
The harbour is choked with wreckage, the ships that were moored there smashed in the unleashed power of the planar collapse. Several ships are fused with the cliff sides over looking the harbour. None appear to be the SC.
The assassin also spots a Draxian - almost certainly the one who's tower they trashed - stalking along the harbour front, his fury shimmering around him in a nimbus of bloody shadows. He senses that something unseen and impossibly foul follows the diabolist, and knowing that he would be killed were he to be spotted, he slinks back to the inn.
Grigori enacts a ritual and makes contact with Caleph. He is heartened to learn that the SC has survived, though it is damaged and listing hard to port. Caleph agrees to bring the ship back to what is left of the Carrion Port, in order to collect the group.
Out at the edge of his vision, the assassin notices a small, armoured ship cutting through the waters towards the port. Straining his eyes, he sees it's name - "The Soliloquy".

10:40 – 11:10: Returning to the group, it is decided to head down to the northern side of the island, and to try and locate a boat, to sail out to meet the SC. it is also decided that the group will stop by the Swaervar'Tritul temple to see if Rodag is there. They move through the streets, disgusted by the swarming flies and screaming seagulls that feed on the bloating bodies of those slain in the upheavals, and soon locate several small rowing boats that have weathered a devastation, ideal for sailing out to meet the SC.

11:10 – 11:55: The group heads to the temple of Swaervar'Tritul, and find it empty; the icon of the Sea God warped by whatever power briefly lay here - its once noble features corrupted by horn-like eruptions of weeping coral, that ooze and fester in the still heat. A cleric lies dead and bloated; pecked by seagulls and swarming with maggots, in the entrance, though it is not Rodag.
A search of the temple shows it to be empty. However, as they wait there, a group of sailors arrives - one of them wounded, their foot bloated and discoloured. The group approach them, and Grigori mends the wounded man's foot. They agree to join the crew of the SC. Three are Vaedanci sailors, the last, a Dohr'Khustan.

11:55 – 22:30: The group await nightfall. From the bell tower (where a single bell tolls morosely in the unpleasantly warm, death-scented air), Jaeger scans the island from signs of life. Where the shift mines were, a brilliantly glowing chasm now yawns, beams of radiance reaching into the skies like burning spears.
As night falls, only a few lights shine in the black ruin of the Carrion Port, one of them being the bloody, smoky energies that rise over the blade and thorn studded tower of the Draxian. The group wait for the moon (only a few days from being full) to rise before they head out into the streets, glad that the night has at least brought some relief from the gulls and flies - though rats now gnaw on the dead and chase foully through the shattered streets.

22:30 – 23:15 The group make their way to the shore without incident, and with their new allies rowing, soon meet with the SC - though she is far more wounded then the group imagined she would be; listing hard to port, the cannons there almost facing down into the waves.

23:15 – 00:30 (14/8/1472): They immediately meet with a weary Caleph, who has managed to keep the crew loyal to the group, and tells the party of several individuals that have tried to usurp their authority (although he warns many are commenting on the ill favour that seems to follow this vessel).
Principle amongst these is a so-called missionary of the Goddess Rithuen'Ardana named Vensk.
Vensk it seems is a manipulative snake-oil salesman of a man - always talking of his great power, but exhibiting only charlatanism, fake healing, and suggestion. This has not stopped him gaining a small following amongst the displaced of the crew, and he has, of late, voiced some rather less than friendly opinions of the group.
It is decided that he will be watched and then disposed of, the assassin assuring the group that he can make him vanish with disturbing silence.
The group's attention then turns to the matter of what to do next. It is decided that the first task will be to get the ship patched up, so it can make the dangerous journey to the next nearest port - the "black port" (pirate / lawless port) of Scarathane. Scarathane is a violent, anarchic port located within the corpse of a rumbling, dormant volcano, known by local pirates as Isola degli dei ruggente (Island of the Roaring God). Controlled by a syndicate of three powerful organisations (the Cult of Zargor, the pirates of the Feccia Del Mare (scum of the sea) and the surface dwelling, psionically potent Dwaer'Syth of lost Athrandia).
However, to get there, the ship must pass through a deadly region of islets inhabited by pirates, who's water teem with daemonically infused Sahuagin. In order to stand a chance, the SC must be patched up – at least enough that she can bring her port armaments to bear. It is therefore agreed that the ship will seek out an island somewhere nearby, so that temporary repairs can be made.
The ten most trusted crew members are also singled out and given the task of keeping an eye on the mood and morale of the crew and the refugees. They agree to do so, becoming the ships chosen men.

14/8/1472 – 18/8/1472) A course is set, and the SC heads out. Jaeger shadows Vensk, but after a few days is unable to find him. During his search for him, he discovers that several other refugees are missing, and he tells the rest of the group.

11:00 – 14:00: A thorough search of the ship is made, and no sign of the con man found. All that remains is his copy of “Common Prayers for the Adventurer”, his holy symbol and his boots. Realising that he can solve the mystery quite easily, Grigori enacts a ritual to read the psychic vibrations of Vensk's holy book – and makes a chilling discovery. The last person to speak to him was none other than Beth.

14:40 – 15:15: Grigori and Shnecke arrange to meet with Beth in the captain's quarters, the assassin lurking in the room, masked by his shadow magic. Although not in the chamber, both Thatari and Varracuda lurk nearby, ears pricked for even the slightest hint of trouble.
Beth arrives, and when asked about the fake holy man seems to grow angry and frustrated. Grigori, realising something is wrong, but unsure of what, tries to calm her, but her rage grows with each second. Then, before the horrified adventurers, she leaps at the priest, her beauty shredding as her true form – that of a sag titted, twisted old woman with huge claws, a hooked nose, and glowing yellow eyes – rips free.
”HAG!” screams the priest, summoning his magic. “Fools!” Screams the hag, “You had to meddle didn't you?”
Within moments, the luxurious splendour of the captain's quarters is reduced to ruin as the group battle the Brine Hag. She is a truly deadly foe, and it takes almost everything they have to even draw blood. By this time, the room is awash with corrosive slush, poison tipped urchin spines and other manifestations of fey magic, and each adventurer is almost at their limit. Luckily, as soon as her warty, sagging flesh is actually cut, the hag seems to lose any stomach for the battle, and with a shriek of rage, she transforms into briny water, and flows through the floor, escaping the group, and fleeing to who knows where...
Word spreads quickly through the ship, and morale takes another hit. People mutter about the SC being cursed, and dark tales spread like a sickness through the crew as they tell ever more wild tales about the party and past events.

(18/8/1472 – 21/8/1472): Grigori and the chosen men work hard to calm the raw emotions, and manage to reassure many. However, there remains an undercurrent of fear and foreboding, which hangs over the crew like a cloak.
09:35: A strange fiery light is seen on the horizon. Caliph confirms that there should not be anything there that would cause such a thing, and once more, the group realise that the strangeness of the Sundering is making itself known. The assassin climbs to the top of the main mast, and looking to the south-east, is unsure of what he sees, for the sky itself seems to shimmer and wobble, as if it is a mirage.

22:15 – 22:35: However, as night draws up her hood, so the source of the glow becomes apparent – a flotilla of impossible, huge chunks of burning, frozen fire, floating in the sea; huge glassy things, who's upper reaches blaze with an almost colourless flame, the waters of the ocean seething and boiling where they touch them. Worse, creatures of elemental fire can be seen dancing and fighting within the infernos atop the “firebergs”, and it is feared that they may try and attack the SC should it draw too close to them. The heat coming from them is horrific, and an emergency meeting is called to decide how to proceed.
The meeting is tense, with arguments for going around the elemental hazard and for going through. Eventually however, it is decided that it would be safer to try and wend through the strange phenomena, rather then risk skirting too close to uncharted, possibly deadly waters.

23:00 – 05:20: All non-crew are confined to their quarters (where once again, the muttering begins about the SC being “cursed”), and the crew grimly prepare to act on the orders of their bizarre captains. It takes them roughly six hours, but incredibly, the ship manages to move through the “fireberg” flotilla with barely a scorch, despite falling chunks of frozen fire, errantly lobbed fireballs, and surging bursts of superheated water.

(26/8/1472): 10:05: Four more days pass, and land is spotted!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Giant Solifugid - Level 15 Skirmisher

I was watching a documentary about Solifugids the other day, and remembered them from the first Drow of the Underdark. Then I got to thinking about how I would capture their speed and viciously powerful jaws in 4e...


(Add +7 to the ability modifiers listed to get the correct modifier for its level)

Friday, 23 August 2013

Exotic Metals of Gatespace

Well, after discovering that Wizards loved my name for the destruction of the Third Age so much they decided to use it for the FR*, I have finally got round to detailing a few unusual alloys and metals found in my game world. Hope you like them!

* please note, I am kidding. It is kinda' weird though to be seeing "The Sundering" all over D&D now, when that has been such a big part of my campaign world for so long!

Monday, 19 August 2013

More on Roll20

So, the test of Roll20 was a howling success, and as such, tonight I shall be running the next Ormid game with my mates through its haunted vaults. I have downloaded a bit of software to capture the Skype conversation (we are not using the integrated chat yet), and hope to have something I can let you all listen to by the end!

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes. I have been really busy with RL stuff lately, hence the lack of stuff here. My daughter is only 10 weeks from making her entrance into this plane, so I suspect things are going to get a lot quieter here before they get busier! Bear with me - it is worth the wait...honest!

HERE is a nice article that sums the Roll20 experience up a little, and below is the scene that will greet Ormid, the Veteran and Llewellyn as they star the game tonight!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Roll20 - Too Awesome For Words

With a little one on the way, and a new job starting soon, I am going to find time to game increasingly difficult to secure - or at least, time for face to face gaming. So, I have been looking into the alternatives, bearing in mind one thing - I am terrible at many things technology wise.

So, I was more than a little happy to find Roll20 a site that is geared to enable roleplaying over the interwebs. It has some lovely features, such as dynamic lighting, fog of war, and if you have one, the ability to use Google Hangouts. I've subscribed (it's  a modest price), and hope to make use of it over the coming months. It's free to use (although some features are disabled, and you will have to contend with ads), so give it a look. I loves it!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Boalisk - Level 9 Controller

AD&D's Monster Manual II was the first place you could find yourself face to face with one of these reptilian horrors, and for some reason, I have been thinking about how to place them in one of my games (not got any plans to use them yet though). So, I thought I would share the stats I did for it with you all. Enjoy!

 This is the original art from AD&D Monster Manual II (it's on page 19). 
Here be the stats! 

(Add +4 to all ability modifiers shown to get the right to enlarge)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Daemonflesh Golem - Level 14 Solo Soldier

Shnecke and the gang encountered this thing guarding the entrance hall to a Draxian tower (a report will be with you once they finish this current mission). It proved a tough opponent, and so, I thought I would share it with you all, so you can "enjoy" its tender mercies yourselves...

This is a conversion of the 3.0 Demon Flesh Golem found in the Fiend Folio.

Add +7 to all the ability modifiers to get the correct overall mod (so the Dex mod is +10 not +3).

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Succubus Lustwitch - Level 21 Controller

This is a slight spoiler for those of you playing in my Stag Weekender, but hey, I've been so busy that I have not had time to post much lately, and I feel bad! Anyway, here are my 4e stats for the Succubi that guard the entrance to the Deepearth. As you can see, they have many of the traits of 3.5 Succubi, and are potentially nasty little monkeys (especially as part of a group). 

Click for Largeness

Don't forget to add +10 to all stat mods for the total bonus (i.e Strength checks would be +13 not +3).

(EDIT:: Yeah, Polynorph and other stupid spelling removed...though I probably missed a few as dumb)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Still Here!

Just a quick post to say "Hi!". I am still here, still writing and getting things prepared to post here. However, life continues to be very busy, and so, I am not able to post nearly half as often as I used to. Do not despair though, I have many, many things to share with you all!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Don't Forget Your Army!

I've created some minions that Ormid and the gang can choose to take with them into the deadly depths of the Eastern Guild. They are based around the four class roles, and should prove to be valuable allies. 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Quantifying Epic Minions

The idea of epic minions is a weird one when you think about it. I mean, to be an epic enemy, you have to either be incredibly powerful by dint of your natural abilities and immunities, or have to have worked your way into that incredible sphere of power. So, why would a 21st+ level creature only have 1 hit point?

This has been floating around my brain quite a bit lately, as Ormid and the gang finally hit level 21, and are about to open the gateway into the Eastern Guild, and to unleash the “joys” lying within. I know I will make use of minions quite a bit, but something about it initially rang as wrong. However, after pondering the issue for a while, I realised that there is (kind of) one way to rationalise it (other than “it's a game stupid, stop being so anal about it”).

Epic minions, despite being “epic level”, may, in some cases, represent “normal” creatures of lower levels, in their power relative to the epic characters. In other words, the rock hard warforged knight who kicked your butt at level 13 is now a mere minion to you – still capable of inflicting some hurt on you if given a chance, but just not equipped to stand up to you for very long. If we think about a lot of epic minions this way, they make a bit more sense. It also highlights again the huge void in power and scope that opens between “normal” folk and the epic hero.

I'll be musing a lot I suspect about epic tier play here, and will soon have some monsters, powers, items and other goodies for you...

What do you think of the above?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Adventure Report - Ormid et al - The Blue Lords Lair (Part 2)

(Covering Events from 19:45 19/5/51 to 22:00 30/5/51)
The entity in the chamber appears to be some kind of animate, forged from the lightning breath of the Blue Lord; a fearsome and unnatural foe. However, it does not appear hostile, and the group quickly realise that it must be somehow related to moving beyond the highly decorated pentagonal chamber it dances in (the walls are covered in brightly coloured bas reliefs of coiling dracani; the monster's bodies being painted in brilliant reds, greens, whites, blues and glossy blacks, their teeth and mane like tendrils painted gold).

A thorough search of the chamber (both in the physical world and the metaphysical) reveals a large hidden pressure plate next to a central pillar (itself a work of art, covered in curling carvings of serpentine dracane). It takes all three adventurers standing on it to force it down, and as it drops, so all the golden components of the rooms decorations flick out to point into the chamber. The animated breath weapon responds immediately, splintering into a million filaments of arcing power, and leaping across the multiple points in a web of flickering lightning. This powers some hidden mechanism, and a portal flashes into existence, a dry, charged breeze blowing through it.

Eager to move on, the group jump through...

...Into the lair of Exaxadreithion, the Blue Lord...

Not really expecting to face the ancient dracane so soon, the group are slightly wrong footed, and the opening rounds of combat see them badly punished for their lack of preparation; the dracane flying high above them, safely out of reach of most attacks, blasting them with its devastating breath weapon. However, it makes the mistake of swooping in to relish a kill with its fangs and horn, and is ensnared by the Veteran's skills; earthbound and vulnerable to attack.

Llewellyn teleports to a spot behind its head where it cannot hurt him (though it repeatedly tries to dislodge him, and at several points unleashes blasts of thunderous energy, which almost send the vyrleen flying), whilst the Veteran and Ferrous flank it front to back. Ormid stays back, hurling magic at the warforged's axe, shrouding it in killing layers of frothing, snapping energy. 

 "Ah, you seem to have something in your hair there...."

Despite losing its main advantage, Exaxadreithion puts up a fantastic fight, and both Ormid and the Veteran take a severe beating. However, the monster is soaking up a terrifying amount of damage, and soon its blood is oozing through its shattered scales; turning to flashing corposant the instant it is exposed to the air. It spits twinned bolts of lightning, blasting Ormid to the ground, and heating the Veteran's armour to glowing, and the group fear that their foe may be beyond them...especially as blasting glyphs of ancient power smoulder on the floor, primed to strike at any of them foolish enough to step over them (as the Veteran finds out when a blow from the dracane sends him sprawling across one).

However, as the monster's life force begins to weaken, so ancient, malevolent, ethereal machinery awakens, and four spectral crystals manifest in a circle around the beast, immediately unleashing festering lines of blackish-green radiance, which corrode the dracane's body where they touch, the stench of advanced decay mingling with the reek of ozone, copper and dust. At first the group are overjoyed at the unexpected help. Then they remember that they must actually keep the dracane alive if they are to avoid awakening the Lich that supposedly slumbers beneath them somewhere, and with sickened horror, they realise the shards are part of the undead mage's plan...

The focus of the group's attention shifts from trying to beat the dracane down, to trying to keep it alive – though this is made more difficult by the beast itself, who wrongly believes the shards to be conjured by the party, and ups his efforts to destroy them, taking the artificer down. Fortunately, Llewellyn forces a potion down Ormid's throat, and he groggily clambers to his feet, ready to try and save the ancient reptile from the Lich's foul magics.

Ferrous sweeps one of the shards out of existence with one bladed claw, whilst Ormid hurls thunder at one (destroying it) and misses another with a wild blast of conjured flame. The third shard is shattered by the rogue, and the Veteran charges the final one, swinging his vengefully singing axe (wreathed in acidic energy, radiant runes and edged with vorpal enchantments) towards it. However, before he can destroy the shard, Exaxadreithion gives a despairing howl, and collapses, its body bloating with unnatural decay.

The graveyard stench of corrupted graves sweeps the room, black ice slithering across the chamber like mould, and all realise that Exaxadreithion is close to death – close to unleashing the undead mage from below. Realising that their own, and many other's lives depend on his swing, the warforged lashes out at the last shard – and destroys it – a howl of ageless despair curdling the air with its wordless rage....

...And it's over! Ormid rushes in to stabilise the dracane, whilst the Veteran stands ready to smash it unconscious again should it stir. It is only now they become aware of the sounds of battle from above – the bellowing of gigorim and the yelling of the aenochian and his allies.

Soon the party are chatting with the heavenly warrior, and are delighted to see that he has a prisoner – the sobbing, wretched form of Sariq. Unfortunately, it seems one of the warriors and the mage have been slain in their latest battle, though no less than eight of the massive desert gigorim bleed in the chambers around them.

Hours later, and the chamber of Exaxadreithion is swarming with mages of the Order. The monster's vast hoard has been collected and moved to a secure location, although three items of particular power - a deadly axe with a blade of smouldering meteoric steel, a heavy mace surrounded always by a lensing aura of barely sustained gravitational energy, and a true relic of the early Second Age, the implement of the ancient East Guild Warmage Tartheld “The Bold” - are claimed by the group as their own.

Ormid notes that awe colours the faces of those that regard him and his, and becomes keenly aware of how far beyond the “normal” folks they have become. Pride and a vague sense of fear assails him as he considers the distance between his current state and his original humanity...

This distance is demonstrated again three days later when the group are invited to meet with the majorodomo's of all 15 of Kadash's houses to show them evidence of the Blue Lord's defeat. They have met in the gardens of House Na'Daesha, each Lord accompanied by a contingent of body guards, slaves, exotic beasts and favoured, their standards bright in the crushing morning heat. At first the group anticipate disbelief and a sneering lack of respect from the pompous heads. However, when they present their evidence – Sariq and the horn and teeth of Exaxadreithion – there can be no arguing, and, lead by Lady / Lord Na'Daesha her/him self, all gathered prostrate themselves before their liberators.

The group decline an invite from Ie'Ierremmon to enter the vaults below the Blue Lords lair in order to search for the phylactery of whatever Lich lies there awaiting resurrection, and instead turn their attention towards both the immobilisation and maintenance of Exaxadreithion's life force, and the repair of the gate into the Eastern Guild (the other missing components have been identified and applied, so only the bone marrow of the ancient wyrm is needed).

The former is being taken care of by a combined effort of a cabal of necromancers from central Fey, and some dundorin mages who manipulate the energies of the fabled Vodus Aeska, whilst the latter is overseen by Ormid himself and his chosen artificers*

Llewellyn spends time with his guild, girding them for war, whilst the Veteran spends time practising with his new axe – the subtly named Annihilator.

And, as night falls on the 30th day, of the 5th moon, in the Third Age Year 51, the final components are added to the damaged portal, a low hum of arcane power thrumming through its triangular frame...

* It should be noted that by this time, the Order is growing at an incredible rate, and Ormid spends a lot of time creating a structure to it, with “circles” of mages who oversee certain duties and support those below them. He also responds to an invite from the church of Merriel'Shaava, who seek to ally themselves with the potent new collective.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Epic Rewards

These are the items rewarded to The Veteran, Ormid and Llewellyn for completing their current story, and hitting (finally) Epic Level. They are potent items that gird them for the mind blowingly powerful enemies they shall soon face...consider them "purple" items (assuming you have played an MMORPG and know what I am talking about). 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Akulzar "Twice Risen" - Level 24 Solo Controller (Leader)

Ormid and the gang are midway through their battle with the Blue Lord. Things are tricky at the moment, but I have (more than they do) confidence that they will somehow manage to defeat the dread wyrm, and claim its amazing hoard for themselves - as well as its bone marrow. However, I have asked the players about the possibility of hunting down the Lich that slumbers beneath the dracane's chambers, and they have, unanimously, told me where to go.

However, I had already statted the ancient horror up, and so, present to you now the foul Akulzar "Twice Risen"...maybe you can get your players to take him on? 

(Remember, there is a +12 modifier to the stat mods shown above)