Thursday, February 25, 2010

We Flame Strike at Dawn!

After magically transporting back to Cyclops Island, the Party searched the outlying areas. Eolar knows that there’s a ship on the island. A ship big enough to carry them all. Despite this though, he can find no safe harbour or cave big enough to hide it.
Finally then, Thesis and Durin get their wish. The Party will have to face the giants.
Leaving the priest Roly, the Children, the Hamster-men and the Sailors back in the safety of the magical mansion, the Party travel the seventeen miles to the giant village.
Leaving the path about a mile before the village, they stealthily climb the steep hill and wait until first light.
The giants are going through their morning duties. Washing, eating and preparing for the day ahead, when Eolar summons a huge Fire elemental in their midst.
A giantess screams and a moment later, a heavy bell rings out an alarm!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No Diamonds without Pressure

It’s taken over a week but the Party, as well as Roly, the two Hamsters, four Sailors and seven Children, have all collected as many of the rough diamonds as they can carry.
How many is that?
Can Svenone correlate the total for me and what that means in regard to individual encumbrance?
How fast the characters can move etc and what they’re using to carry the diamonds in…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Life Unhatched

In its mountaintop nest and still inside its shell, the last thought that goes through the infant Roc’s undeveloped mind is:
‘I’m lonely and so very cold…’.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Four-arms is Forewarned

The Beast-master hasn’t come back and little Gronk has been gone all night…
Balling up all her courage, the giantess goes to visit the chieftain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snacks for Snakes

The monstrous snakes slither around the bottom of the valley. Something’s changed. Something massive has changed.
There have been no attacks from the giant birds for days and these new little flying creatures smell delicious.
Emboldened by the lack of assaults, the giant snakes start hunting in earnest for the elusive snacks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Children are the Future

Roly gathers the seven remaining children around him. Despite the abundance of food and wine and the absolute safety of Bodush’s mansion, Roly doesn’t feel safe.
These adventurers seem oblivious to the suffering of others. Hawkmoon seems the coldest, treating the Hamster-men and Sailors as servants or worse.
Although the adventurers rescued all the children, other than poor Daniel, it seemed more out of challenge than concern.
Still the Were-bear, the Lizard-man and the Dwarf, did try to help.
Eolar the Half-Elf seems the most aloof. Roly has heard of St Cuthbert; He can even still remember the stories of its great navy from when he was a boy. They believe in order above all else. Order but not kindness.
Still the diamonds he’s found will partially make up for the loss of his treasure chests.
Rocking the little ones back and forth across his massive belly, Roly decides that he should stick to the Dwarf. Barbaric though he may be, at least he has a conscience.
He is also worried about the journey back to Shalalah. The Sorcerer’s spells leave him and the children unsettled and disorientated. It’s almost as if he is torn into strips while travelling through the nothingness.
The Kraken has been fed recently. Perhaps it’ll leave a ship alone?
If only they had one.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Breakfast of Chompians

The remaining two Hamster-men huddle together. Unlike the Lizard-man and the Dwarf, they’re glad to be off Cyclops Island, for they know why Mendez named it thus.
It was one of their brothers that was killed there during Mendez’ first visit. Brutally skewered alive and roasted, still screaming over an open fire. The one-eyed giant creature ate him for his morning meal.
Mendez had eventually managed to escape, blind the one-eyed giant and save all the other Hamster-men, but though sightless, the giant had managed to survive.
The two giants recently encountered on the shore, though different in appearance were definitely the Cyclops’ kin. The stink of their evil was unmistakable.
Since emerging from the Gnomish Mountain, the evil they’ve encountered has been hard to understand. These creatures however seem so much worse.
Why do the Gods allow them to exist?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ask and thou shall receive ... answers

While finishing another marvelous meal, Eolar basks in the glow of his own ego. How easy this trip for Estaban has been. Everything seems easy to him now.'Losing' the sailors and Hamster-men had merely been an oversight. Eolar then turns his thoughts to the return journey. Bodush¹s Teleport spell is typically unreliable for an arcane spell. He could use his god-given powers to Plane-shift everyone but that'll be time consuming and the plane of Law would possibly prove hazardous to the unenlightened amongst the group. Taking time out of his meditation, Eolar attempts to commune with his God...

"St Cuthbert, hear my prayer. Is there a way home not dependent on spells?"
A voice vibrant with power but heard only by Eolar answers:

"Oh Great One, is the Sky-ship still repairable?"
With the sound of a muffled snigger:

"Is there a ship?"

"Is it on this island?"

"Is it on Ape island?"

"Is it on the Giant¹s island?"

Eolar raises an eyebrow in surprise. They hadn't seen any harbours or ships when circling the island.

"Is it large enough to carry us all?"

"Do the Giants have it?"

Having a hunch creeping up on him, Eolar continues with an almost bored voice.

"Will they give it up peacefully?"

Eolar couldn't hide the simper. At least the lizard finally get's what he wanted. So there will be a battle.

"Are there more than a dozen Giants?"

Still not completely willing to fight a whole tribe of giants, Eolar wants to be sure.

"Are they Evil?"

With a bit more enthusiasm...

"Are they Chaotic?"

Suddenly with a more cautious voice

"Do they deserve to die?"

Eolar quickly kneels and looks up "I am sorry my Lord for not having sensed your wishes! I will return to the island at once to rectify this mistake! I'm deeply indebted to you for the guidance and help you have granted me! Please forgive a loyal and always faithful servant, my Lord!"

Mara’ch One

Skulking in a corner of Bodush’s ‘Marvelous mansion’, Mara’ch wonders to himself…
‘Do they trust me?’
Despite travelling with the Party for over a week, Mara’ch knows that he’s still not one of them.
He’s just one Kobold among the many warm-bloods.
Still, big and ugly as they are, the giants he saw were much worse.
Would helping to kill them prove his trustworthiness?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bodush does some sums

Bodush counted the diamonds in his bag, if only he was stronger, then he could carry even more diamonds to help poor Esteban out with his financial troubles. Despite the lack of any altruistic impulse in how he had conducted his life in the past, he had to admit, the thought of helping out the family of his comrade in arms did give him a feeling of strange satisfaction. Perhaps it was this feeling that had sustained the unfortunate Lesyeux through her suffering and led her to her service of Pelor. While not necessarily something, he would do every day, helping others might be more appealing than he had previously thought.

Perhaps there was a way to get more diamonds to Esteban, as teleport thing was a bit too unreliable, and might lead to a loss of diamonds. If only he had a boat. Maybe the Giants could help him build one?

It’ll all End in Tears in the Fabric of Time and Space

Hawkmoon kicks at yet another diamond. How is it possible to be bored by such riches?
Still, all he wants is to go home. This mission has taken far too long.
Despite having training in the Eldritch arts, he feels nervous of Bodush’s ‘Teleport’ spell. He’s heard of terrible disasters befalling those who became over confident while using it.
Still he feels even more nervous of Eolar’s plan. The thought of travelling through the Plane of ‘Law’ makes him shudder.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Banner: Under the Influence

The evil intentions of Esteban were felt heavily on the actions of the party this week. His bardic spell was over us all, but it was the veteran spellcasters, Eolar and Bodush, who most felt it's fell weight.

They were compelled to move with all haste onwards to Serpent Isle where diamonds were to be found scattered on the land, and a plan was hatched to get the party there swiftly.

Bodush would fly there and mark the landing spot, he would teleport back to the beach and then take as many of the party as possible to the isle. Eolar then cunningly commanded a sparrow to go to Bodush and followed the straight path he took.

All this to get to the island safely and start picking up diamonds - completely ignoring the gargantuan snakes with judicious use of filght, invisibilty and mage-hand.

But at what cost? It seems there was adventure, treasure and magic to be found with the giants. And, maybe most useful of all, a means to leave these islands and get back to Shalala.

It is almost as if the game finished with a screen that looked like this:

Level Complete
Kills: 2 of 18
Gold: 0 gp of 125,000 gp
Magic: 0 of 8
Secret locations: 2 of 7


Thesis seethes inwardly. The smug spell-casters whisked him off Cyclops Island before he could prove his bravery.
Giants! There were giants to pit himself against!
Now instead, he finds himself stooping low to gather shiny rocks. Why is it he feels like a servant rather than a king?
When will he receive the respect he deserves?
Things need to change.
Thingsss need to change ssssoon!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Moradin then Durin can Stand

After a few days of living in fantastic luxury and sleeping on the softest beds, Durin ironically begins to feel uncomfortable.
Despite the earlier loss of his backpack, he has gathered up more diamonds then he can count, but it all seems too easy.
In his sleep though, he hears Mordin, All-Father of the Dwarves, calling to him…
“Why have you failed me Durin? Why, when you had the chance to battle our hated enemy, did you allow your callow friends to take you from your rightful glory?”
Upon waking, Durin knows what he must do…

Monday, February 8, 2010

It looks Plane Shifty to me

OK… (Sound of DM rolling up his sleeves.)

'Plane shift' is another useful but flawed spell.

Eolar can only cast the 5th level spell 4 times per day.
It can carry up to 8 people per use to another/different dimension.
(It doesn't mention size constraints, so let's just assume (for now) that it doesn't matter...)

Eolar has to travel with the group transported so ends up in a similar predicament as Bodush.
Because he has to go backwards and forwards, he can only transport 14 people per day. Therefore it would take him two days just to get the whole Party to the other dimension.

And that’s IF he reappears anywhere near the remainder of the Party.)

'Plane shift' takes you safely into another dimension but is quite appalling at getting close to your intended location.

You will end up between 5 and 500 miles away from where you want to be!

Now it gets even more interesting…

It would take Eolar another two days to transfer everyone back to ‘our’ dimension AND the distance calculator would have to be applied again.

The Party would on average be about 250miles from target and you would probably end up in the sea again!

(You could in theory end up 1000 miles from Estaban's mansion!)

The real clincher though is that whatever happens, Eolar’s spell would be certain to split up the Party (by hundreds of miles!)

So in conclusion:

You do NOT want to split up the Party regardless of mental commands. As a DM it would be unfair of me to kill the characters piecemeal rather than all in one go.

To Teleport or not to Teleport…

While ‘Teleport’ is a fantastic spell, it’s not a perfectly safe one.

Bodush can teleport five medium sized people 1500 miles per use of the spell.
He has only seen Estaban’s mansion once and therefore has a drastically reduced chance of finding it.

The Party currently consists of:

1) Bodush.
2) Eolar.
3) Thesis.
4) Durin.
5) Hawkmoon.
6) Mara’ch.
7) Ragnar.
8) Roly.
9) Meldo. (Large = 2 medium characters)
10) 1 x Riding horse. (Large = 2 medium characters)
11) 4 x Sailors.
12) 2 x Hamsters.
13) 7 x children.

A grand total of 25 for the purpose of Teleport!

This means that Bodush would have to make 11 trips (11 castings).
Unfortunately he can only cast the spell 7 times per day…

In addition, his chance of being successful first time is only 76%. (A failure chance of 1 in 4!)
This means he’ll probably have to cast the spell at least 13 times. (Unlucky for some?)

Of the 1 in 4 failure chance, the Party will end up off target for about half of these.
That’ll probably put you all in the water…
Fully armoured and heavily encumbered! (And Thesis all out of ‘Water walk’ potions.)

Sure, Bodush can simply cast ‘Teleport’ again, unfortunately everyone teleported must be touching each other.
(Tough luck to anyone who failed their swim role…)

Lastly there is about a 1 in 22 chance per use of the spell going badly wrong.
Everyone teleporting gets ‘Scrambled’ and takes 1d10 damage…

Not too bad you think?

That’s not all. At that point the teleport spell tries to continue but rather than a simple re-roll to see what happens, the chances of success collapse to a very poor chance of success.

Total success: None!
Off target: about 1 in 10!
More scrambling: about 4 in 5!

Worse, every time you’re scrambled the process repeats.
The likelihood is that everyone will take about 30 points of damage!

Not much you think?

It’s enough to kill the Sailors, the Hamster-men, the children and possibly Meldo and the horse!

Feel like risking it now?

(Curse Dag for making me read up on some more spellcasting rules!!!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Off Balance

Considering the problem of Serpent valley I came to the conclusion that it’s an issue of abilities.
It’s hard to counter a spellcaster at the best of times but when a Party of six contains four of them, any hope of control is gone.
We’ve effectively got four characters that can fly, turn invisible, inflict massive damage from great distances, escape from most traps and rest in absolutely safety .
This leaves Durin and Thesis very square pegs in a Sorcerer shaped Party.
What can be done to fix the situation?
Nothing really.
It’s not right that the DM changes the world to beat a Party that has adapted itself to conquer it.
The Giant snakes would have been a real problem to the standard Party of Fighter, Rogue, Cleric and Wizard, but our Party's numbers and wizardry made them irrelevant.
You didn't even have to bother facing them.
They were (I suppose appropriately considering they were snakes) beneath you.
Saying that, the final encounter will pit the Party against the most powerful creatures in the D&D Universe…

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Joy of Melee and Magical Treasure Avoidance

A strangely non-confrontational session last night. Oh well, you got to snake Island and gathered up as many diamonds as you could carry so you get the experience bonus.
(You missed out on some nice magical items on Cyclops island though...)

So then here are the current scores (In experience order):

Mendez: Level 17: 141,866xp
Eolar: Level 17: 140,953xp
Thesis: Level 16: 134,050xp
Bodush: Level 15: 116,399xp
Durin: Level 14: 98,168xp
Hawkmoon: Level 13: 86,351xp
Mara’ch: Level 13: 83,445xp
Ragnar: Level 13: 81,009xp

No level ups (Sorry Assif) but considering the style of play used yesterday, it can't be a surprise to anyone.
The Party could travel back via Cyclops island on the way back if you so choose though...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lost at Sea

With not much time between sessions I shouldn’t need to remind you of what’s happened but…

The Sky-ship was destroyed completely but everyone except two of the horses and one the children made it to the beach.
Thesis and Eolar encountered an oddly proportioned giant with a head approximately one-third the size of its entire body.
They killed it, but not before Thesis heard it cry for its Mummy.
That was two hours ago.
It is about 3pm.
The beach is inhospitable with sharp rocks and only shallow caves. Despite this the sailors and the Hamster-men collapsed as soon as they realised they were safe(ish).
Above the beach is a steep but small cliff-face and then Scrubland.

Roly’s two massive treasure chests were lost to the sea and the fat Cleric looks disconsolate.
Durin’s backpack and all its contents are also lost and anything not carried by the Party members is gone. (Be honest.)
The corpse of the colossal Roc has also been dragged beneath the waves by the Kraken and although unseen, you all have the feeling that it’s just a few fathoms under the surface… Waiting.
Debris from the battle is washing its way towards shore though. Mostly wooden wreckage, but some rope and possibly a few other useful items…

Hawkmoon has retained the map and compass, but how are you going to get off the Island?

Eolar: How many spells does he have left? Is he injured?
Thesis: Although easily defeating the giant baby, the sixty-foot dive onto water hurt him. How badly?
Bodush: Has used up all his 3rd, 5th and 6th level spells. What has he got left? Is he injured?
Durin: Was battered in the Roc’s single attack. He’s raged twice. How’s he feeling?
Hawkmoon: The Elf of arrow reliance has to be running low on arrows!
Mara'ch: Even rubbish spells run out. What’s he got left?
Ragnar: Who held his stuff when he turned all furry?
Roly: Strangely has more on him now than when first encountered.
7 x Children: With nothing left but their ragged clothes.
2 x Hamster-men: With nothing left but their leather harnesses.
4 x Sailors: Their quick thinking saved your lives, but they now seem dazed.
2 x riding horses: In an environment too jaggedy to canter on.
Meldo: has managed to reach some overhanging grass and is munching happily.

Everyone modify their character sheets to show the loss of equipment and keep track of spells/special abilities used and Hit points lost.

Assif’s probably got everyone’s HP’s down though, so please bring your Laptop.

Who let the Dogs out?

Gronk’s mother was worried. He’s idiotic enough to have ventured down onto the beach.
Clambering clumsily down out of her cave, she hurries over to the clan’s Beast-master's den. Barging past the flimsy door, she finds him inside.
“Gronk’s been gone for hours and you know how simple-minded he is. You must find him before it gets dark!”
The gruff looking giant, swivels around to see the giantess. His huge trunk like nose wobbling slowly to a halt.
“Your boy’s always getting lost. Why worry now?”
“With Brontes taken from me, he’s all I have left.”
Grumbling under his breath the Beast-master unleashes four of his best trackers.
Waving Gronk’s straw and rag doll under the huge dogs nose, he gives the order.
“Sniff ‘im out boys. Find little Gronky!”
The Beast-master looks at the shabby giantess standing before him. She’s not much to look at, but at least she’ll be grateful.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bard Dream or Nightmare?

Estaban sits alone in his incense filled chamber. The doors are locked and his servants have instructions that he’s not to be disturbed.
Eyes creased shut; he murmurs arcane words in a tone, dark and unearthly.
“Heed my words little spy. How is it that you’ve allowed the adventurers to land on Cyclops Island? If there’s a problem I expect you to find a way to let me know!”
Breathing deeply while still in his trance, Estaban continues.
“Have you been observing the adventurers carefully? I want full descriptions of each of them. Their strengths and weaknesses. Their favoured spells and tactics, as well as any vulnerabilities and defensive shortcomings. Tell me everything I need to know!”
Hundreds of miles away over open water, a sleeper mutters under his breath.
“I shall do all that you wish of me.”
Estaban opens his eyes, but his mouth and jaw are still set tight. He’d assumed Mendez’ tales about his friends were simple exaggeration but after watching them defeat the Roc, he suddenly feels less sure.
Calling for one of his servants, Estaban sends him on to the city.
“Find me some local ruffians. Idiots who are willing to fight for a few gold coins.”