Monday, November 2, 2009

Gaming = Barely Controlled Chaos

Okay, I let that go a little longer than I should have.

I sort-of ran out of stuff to talk about, though. I was thinking of going back and re-organizing a bit. I had a style... a plan that I was following to start, and I went off track from that. It's a little disappointing that I couldn't keep it up. Oh well. Maybe I'll do the reorganization again and alter things a bit, but I'll keep the content the same.

In the meantime, a story.

One thing I love about RPGs is their unpredictability. No matter how you plan, no matter how you try to organize things, to lay things down in a line of progression, temporal or otherwise, the players will find a way to go astray... and it typically produces wonderful, highly entertaining results. There are those times when you are forced to deal with a total pooch-screw, to borrow from True Lies dialogue, but thankfully those times are few and far in between, and even when you have reached pooch-screw levels of boneheadedness, as long as everyone is having fun, it usually comes off as a success regardless.

When I think about campaigns gone astray, I typically think back to Steve's awesome campaign world that we completely boned... and it can all be traced to one specific event. I've gone over it already. Our fateful premature interaction with the entity formerly known as Ikthara (I think I got that right). However, I've gone there. This is not the time to go over it again. I've worn that tshirt before.

Instead, I will don another tshirt, one with colorful illustrations by the wonderful Larry Elmore. I come to my online game of 3.5e D&D Dragonlance.

I've mentioned this before, but this is about something specific to the game, rather than how long it was taking.

Now, if you haven't read the books, well, you're in for a spoiler here, so if you don't like spoilers, just stop reading now.

In the books, there is a blacksmith character named Theros Ironfeld, who lives in the hometown of the main characters. Early on, he is caught by the Dragon Armies, as he had been helping to hide elves (who were killed on sight) and sneak them out of town.

The characters arrive back at their hometown after an adventure in a ruined city, where they found The Disks of Mishikal, which contain knowledge of the gods and anyone who reads them can become a cleric. They find their town overrun and occupied by an army of dragon-men supported by dragons and led by a human "Dragonlord" named Verminaard. They also encounter an old friend of the main character, Tanis... an elf named Gilthanas. The elf came to find the other elves, which Theros had been helping, but he was too late. The elves were captured and killed by Verminaard's dragon in the town square. He almost ran in to his death, but Theros knocked him unconscious and dragged him off to his house to save him. The main characters catch up as Gilthanas is out and about the next day, and they are all captured by the dragon army. Theros is brought over shortly after with his arm cut off, and nearly dies, except for the cleric in the main group healing him... but his arm is still missing.

This is a rather large plot point, because there is a legend that the man who produces the dragonlances will have a silver arm... conveniently provided as a magical artifact by the story... so Theros is all set up... a blacksmith, with his arm missing... there you go. Just need some heroes to drag him along until they get him in the right place to get that arm, stick it on him to replace his missing one and the world is saved.... right?

Well, lemme tell yah. heh.

The characters in my game ended up being a day or two early in the "timeline" of the story, due to taking some alternate routes, and returned to their hometown just as the elves that Theros had been hiding were being killed by the Dragon. They helped Theros subdue Gilthanas and they all went back to his house to hide out. The next day, the group went off to the Inn to see what more information they could find, and overheard a dragon army officer saying that they were going to get the blacksmith. Well, a few members of the group took off to his blacksmith shop, and save him... and save him they did! When they arrived, a draconian had just raised a huge partially-forged two-handed sword, ready to bring it down on Theros' arm, when the party members broke in through the door and killed the draconians! It was all very dramatic and heroic and they were able to flee with the blacksmith intact...

BUT

there goes the prophecy out the window. hehe.

It wasn't a problem for me, because at that point, it actually opened up a lot of options for me. Now the story became about searching out the dragonlances that were still around, rather than forging new dragonlances.

Now, as I'd said in the previous post, we didn't get very far into the story, because it was taking too long, but it's a good example of how the actions of the players can completely change the direction of a campaign.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's quite possible I -wanted- to forget this part...

So, the part that I forgot while writing the previous story...

I'm taking a guess that this was after the ogres, but before the drug dealers and druid and elves.

Alron was captured by orcs. I don't remember how. He was unarmed, so it likely wasn't difficult. He was taken away in a caged cart, to an encampment. When they arrived there, the orcs started herding people out... oh right, I just remembered something else, and that has jogged my memory about how he was caught... Alron had somehow broken a rib, which had poked him in the lung and he collapsed and blacked out... then woke up in the cart being taken off to the orc camp.

Upon arriving, the orcs started herding those captured out of the cage, but Alron, lying there with his broken rib, wouldn't go. Two of the orcs grabbed him, one by each foot, and started pulling him out. He reached out, wrapped a hand around a bar of the cage and flexed his arm, stopping all progress towards the door of the cage. The orcs pulled and pulled, but they couldn't budge him. Why did he do this? Because he KNEW that they weren't going to be gentle about it, and they were just going to drag him out until his head and shoulders slipped past the edge of the cart, and dropped the three or four feet to the ground with a painful thud. He wasn't going to give them the satisfaction.

However, that's when another orc got up into the cage and started smashing him in the face with a mace. He grabbed that orc by the tunic and smashed his face into the bars, knocking him out, which escalated the whole thing, and knowing that he wasn't going to be able to fight with the broken rib, he finally gave in and let go of the cage.

Predictably, they dragged him out until his head and shoulders slipped off the edge of the cart and he dropped the three or four feet to the ground with a painful thud, and blacked out again. =P

When he woke up, he was hanging from an upright post, his hands shackled above his head, with the chain of the shackles hanging over a nail to keep him up. His feet were secured to the post as well. He hung there for several days, the orcs degrading and demeaning him, throwing food in his face for him to eat, until eventually, weak, hungry and tired, they dragged him down and put him to work in the mines.

As he was trying to work out an escape plan with his fellow miners, a group of human warriors attacked the camp, and freed everyone, Alron included. They helped him get back into shape (he was here for awhile), and they reequipped him, and sent him on his way... which is when he encountered the druid and the elves and Amanda.

Certainly was a rollercoaster of a journey here... and all for going to hire some builders to expand the house they have... and it was all Milamber's (Francis' character) idea to hire these people. Alron should have punched him in the face when he got back.

All of this taught me two valuable lessons, though... never split the party, and never solo adventure with Steve as the DM. =D

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not the greatest performance...

You know, I think I forgot a part between the werewolves and this, but it's hard to remember exactly where it went in the sequence of events, so I'll just go into it later.

So, as I said, Alron left with his troop of elven archers, and they made their way to the camp of humanoids. Scouting out the area, we found that the prisoners were all chained together, and guarded by an ogre and a bunch of orcs.

We climbed up into trees, and on my first shot, the elves were supposed to take down all the orcs. My hope was that it would draw the ogre to us to counterattack, and would leave the prisoners unmolested.

Unfortunately, that's not how it worked.

Alron fired two arrows at the ogre and the elf nearest him followed suit. The others all picked their targets and started firing.

Instead of coming after us, though, the ogre picked up his huge sword and started slaughtering the prisoners, one by one!

Augh! I had everyone open fire on him, but it still took a few rounds to take him down, which meant a few prisoners that were killed horribly. =(

In the mean time, one of the orcs made it to the edge of the clearing and started shouting his head off towards the main encampment! Alron took him down with a bow shot, but it was too late. Suddenly, we were nearly overrun by a massive force from the main camp. If it wasn't for a large force of elves suddenly decending upon the scene, we'd have been killed horribly too.

We were rushed away with the prisoners, and I found out afterwards that we were basically a distraction for the main force. We'd done our job well enough, not knowing we were doing it... well, the elves might have known, but noone told me. The main force attacked and decimated the larger encampment. I was kinda ticked off at that, but I also felt pretty badly that I hadn't come up with a better plan. We lost some of the prisoners for my lack of plan, and Alron (and I, honestly) still felt rather guilty about that snafu for some time afterward.

Alron didn't feel much like celebrating at the big banquet the elves threw that night. The only upside of the evening was the beautiful female paladin named Amanda that was there. She translated the elven that was being spoken, as Alron didn't know the language, and she favored him with a big kiss as part of his reward (Whoohoo!). Given that Alron was an ugly slug at this point (this has to do with the missing part I mentioned above), this was quite the boon for him. :)

He had to leave shortly after, but as a last token to him, Amanda gave him a magical longsword.

I'll go into the missing part next.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To Continue...

Okay, so Alron had run away from the werewolves, and found out shortly thereafter that he was a wereboar. Not as glamorous as a weretiger, or as powerful as a werebear, but at least not evil, like a werewolf. Still not an ideal situation, though. He quickly headed south, so that he could find somewhere civilized to get cured.

He was making good progress, he thought, until suddenly he blundered into the territory of an ogre family... the kids being the first ones he encountered. Before he knew it, he was set upon by three ogre children... each easily as big as him, and all three together stronger than him. Without any armor or weapons, they took him down quickly, but Mom arrived shortly to spoil their fun. She grabbed the barely-conscious Alron by the foot and dragged him back to their lair, throwing him in a part of the cave with a wooden cell door over the front. Inside were a few other people, all having just as bad luck as he was. Not one to want to stick around to be eaten by ogres (or, really, to fight them while unarmed), Alron managed to convince two of the prisoners to leave with him. The others refused, too scared to make the attempt, so Alron unlatched the door from the inside, and with the two brave ones, he snuck out. He contemplated going back in for the others, but sudden screaming of those left behind revealed that dinner was about to be prepared. Not much to do, so we accepted it and moved on.

Unfortunately, Alron's changes weren't quite so regular yet, and that night, with the two hapless gents he escaped with there at the camp with him, he changed into his wereboar form.

I have no idea what happened to those two, but when he woke up, he was lying naked in the forest. He knew that he was further south, which was good, but on the other hand, he was naked. Happening upon a small village a short time later, he was investigating, not wanting to just walk into town in the buff, when he heard two men talking. Approaching, he saw two rough-looking men with a bag of something, and they were acting pleased with what they'd found... it seemed like they'd stolen the bag, or something like that. Needing some clothes, Alron picked up a stray branch, sneaked up to where they were, but at the last moment, they heard him. They turned around and saw him standing there, buck naked, with his hand behind his back.

"Hey..." the one said, bemused by what he saw... "Whutcha got behind yur back there?"

Well, Alron let him see it... up close. The branch swung around and cracked into the guy's skull, and he fell hard. The other guy ran for it, and Alron let him go. Unfortunately, the blow had killed the guy. I felt guilty about that. I'd forgotten to say "Hey Steve, that's gonna be a non-lethal attack." Bleh. Oh well. I took the guy's clothes, his dagger, and the bag of whatever it was... which turned out to be some kind of dried leaves... which turned out to be some kind of narcotic, according to a druid I encountered afterwards. He disposed of it for me... I didn't ask how he was going to do that... if he ended up smoking it, who am I to judge? heh.

The druid pointed me in the right direction, saying that there was an elven village not far away that I could get help at. I was a little leery of that, given my last encounter with elves, but I decided to just not mention the lycanthropy thing.

With word having been sent ahead by the druid, Alron received a warmer welcome from these elves. They were willing to help him, but they wanted some help from him in return. Several people, including elves, had been taken prisoner by a large group of humanoids... goblins, orcs and ogres. They wanted Alron to lead a group of elves to rescue them. I had no idea what the situation really was, so I was really uncertain about making plans without more information... Steve portayed the elves as rather dubious about that, but he and his troop of archers were soon on their way.

Continued in the next post (and you won't have to wait 2 months for it, either!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Boared"... or, "Were, were you??"

Ah puns. Aren't they great? What? They aren't? Really? Well, okay.

Anyway, this was fairly early on in Alron's "career of pain". We'd finished the Saltmarsh trilogy, and the town counsel awarded us with a house on the outskirts of town. It was someplace we could use as a base of operations.

Steve drew up some basic floorplans, but it was really nothing fancy, so we started making plans. Dig out the basement to make a study/laboratory for Merlin (Francis' magicuser), get furniture, artwork, etc. So, Alron took Conan (Jeff's barbarian) and an npc character, and we went to the next city over, to find a crew to do the digging.

On the way, we were camping, and the camp was attacked by these animals. We didn't have the opportunity to light a torch or anything, so we just defended ourselves by the moonlight, and killed the creatures. In the morning, we woke up to find out that the three creatures were gone, and in their place were three human bodies! Oh crap, they were lycanthropes.

Alron had taken quite a bit of damage, so I was fearful of him contracting the disease, so I had him go to the local church in town, to get them to case a cure disease on him. Well, the priests there wanted to have proof he'd contracted it, before they would cast the spell... I think Alron didn't have the gold available, and they said that they'd cast it for free, to rid him of the evil, but they wanted proof of it first.

Not really wanting to wait, he found another church outside the city, but it turned out to be an evil temple. I had him just tell the priest there that he was going to leave, and the priest agreed it was for the best, and that was that. heh.

So, I waited. Next night, Alron went out into the woods (this was probably not the best idea, but I wanted to avoid bloodshed), took off his armor and weapons, and waited... and yup, he transformed into a were-something. I thought it was a wolf at the time.

So, Alron wakes up the next morning, and he's not in the same place that he started... understandable... let's just have a look aroun.... wait a second... these are the same kind of trees that were in the forest I was in... these grow further north. Oh crap. He's covered in dirt and mud, completely naked otherwise, aaaaand suddenly he's got several elves with bows challenging him.

Well, I had him explain that he wasn't sure how he got here, and he didn't even really know where "here" was. The elves weren't impressed, and took him prisoner. Tossing some clothes onto him, they took him to their village, and in front of their elders. They questioned him, and it came down to it that I thought maybe they could help Alron... so I had him say that he suspected that he was a werewolf.

Wrong answer.

Ten elves with bows were on him in a moment, all pointing arrows at his head. Hooooboy.

Without letting him say another word they took him away and threw him into a dark cell with a bunch of others... humans and a dwarf. One of the humans approached and asked him why he was there. He figured it would be good for some cred, and as a warning, so he said he was a lycanthrope. Noone else seemed to understand, but the human talking to him did. He asked what kind. Alron said "wolf", but the man scoffed, saying that he didn't have it in him.

I was confused by that, but there was little time to debate the issue. Elves came and dragged him and one of the others out of the room, over to what looked to be a temple. They were dragged inside, and strung up by their feet. A cleric began to chant and was going to sacrfice them with a special knife. He stabbed the other, but with them swinging freely, the knife didn't penetrate too deep. Just then, the door burst open, and it was the human he talked to, and the dwarf. There was a prison break. They attacked the cleric and cut down Alron and the other, and everything after was a blurr as they escaped the village.

Well, Alron stuck around for a bit, but left very quickly upon seeing how they acted... thoroughly evil... and it appeared that all of them were werewolves, a roaming pack of them. After escaping, he started to make his way south again... but not before finding out that it wasn't were-wolves that attacked him that night, but were-boars!

That's right. He was a were-boar.



To be continued...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You take the bad with the good...

I was playing Alron, the Archer/Ranger. The rest of the group, as a reminder, was Sarek, the half-elf cleric, played by Mike... Richard, the human ranger, played by Jonathan... Milamber, the human magicuser, played by Francis... Zoroaster, the half-elf fighter/magicuser, played by Joe... and a halfling... I dunno... jester or something... played by Francis' girlfriend, Jen.

So, our group was setting up camp for the night, and someone was casting a few spells off in order to memorize something else for the next day, and detect magic was cast. A tree nearby registered as magical! Curious, we had Sarek cast dispel magic on it. The success of the dispel was dependent on difference in level between the caster who cast the magic spell you're attempting to dispel, and the caster casting the dispel magic. You apply that difference to a die roll, and roll. First attempt, it didn't work... so, we stayed there, Sarek taking that spell as many times as he could (three, I think), and casting it time after time, failing each time, until around 4 days later, he FINALLY rolled low enough to get it! The tree suddenly transformed into a beautiful elven princess!



She told us that she had been put under a polymorph spell by a jealous suitor who would not let her marry someone else. Since the half-elf cleric had saved her, she was in his debt, and if we would escort her to her home, she would arrange for a great reward, part of which was her hand in marriage to the cleric.

So, we're traveling to her home when we encounter an evil cleric. He cast Fear on the party, and several of us fail our saves, including Alron, and the princess. So, I couldn't do anything as my character is running as fast as he can to get away. The halfling, who made her save, is worried about the princess, that she might run into somewhere dangerous, or run into a tree, or fall down and hurt herself... so, she picks up a rock, and throws it at the princess, trying to knock her unconscious. She rolls a 20, scoring a critical hit, and kills the princess (she only had like 6 hit points or so).

In 1st edition AD&D, elves cannot be raised with a Raise Dead spell (which I believe Sarek had access to) because they have spirits, not souls, so that was that... the whole reward/hand-in-marriage thing, all up in smoke because of this.

The real kicker, Jen decided to lie about it. The whole exchange between her and the princess took place in private, in another room, so none of us knew what happened. She told Steve she had her halfling run around, trying to make it look like there were a whole bunch of enemies that had run in and run out again. When Alron got back from his run, and we'd dealt with the cleric and his minions, we went gathering everyone up. We found the princess dead, and the halfling nearby. She told us that goblins had attacked while we were dealing with the cleric, and they killed the princess. We had two rangers in the group, though, so we searched the area, checking out all the tracks that were around, and found that all the tracks were halfling, made by the SAME halfling, and the rock-wound in the princess' head, and the rock lying there... when goblins tend to use swords and spears... yeah... it was kind of like medieval CSI. heh.

If I remember correctly, we took the body of the princess back to her people, and we gave up the halfling as her killer. I believe Steve did something with that, something the rest of us weren't privvy to, probably some kind of spell put on her by the elven wizards, and the halfling was allowed to continue on with us. I was never sure if anything came of whatever "punishment" she received. She certainly wasn't saying anything. Probably for the best. heh.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Roll them bones!

I own a lot of dice.

I still own every die I have every bought, I believe. There may be a few incidentals that got lost here and there, either left behind at a friends or rolled under a couch, never to be found, but for the most part, I still have them all.

The die that is the avatar for this blog is my very first twenty-sided die. It is quite worn.

I retired that die after I used it to kill a Medusa.

Steve was running our group through The Caves of Chaos, which is the main source of experience points and treasure in the adventure "The Keep on the Borderlands", which is the first complete module included with the Basic D&D set. There was "In Search of the Unknown" before that, with the Caverns of Quasqueton, but that was just the two maps of the dungeon, with basic descriptions of the rooms, but no monsters or treasure. The DM had to add those to complete it.

So, we were going through the Caves of Chaos, and there is one part of the caves that houses the priests of an evil cult. In the cells of this area, the cult leader is keeping a medusa that had been captured. His plan was to cut the snakes off her head, put her eyes out, and then sacrifice her to his demonic lord.

Well, our group went into that room, not knowing there was a medusa in there. We heard movement from behind a curtain, so Fang walks around the corner of the curtain and whoa!! Medusa!! Steve rolls a saving throw vs Petrification... he makes it! He turns his head away just in time not to be turned to stone! He tells us there's a medusa back there, so Aubry, my elven bard, takes out his mirror, and walks around the corner. Aubry makes his saving throw, and the medusa makes her saving throw against turning herself to stone, so they both looked away just in time...

Aubry kept shoving the mirror in her face, and she kept pushing him away, until she finally shoved him, knocking him back, where he stumbled and fell. The mirror broke, and she went after the rest of the group, trying to "stone" everyone.

I ask Steve what my chances are for cutting off her head. He told me I needed to roll a natural 20 to hit her in the neck, and then roll maximum damage to cut her head off.

Well, she'd forgotten about Aubry for the moment, so he stands up, unsheathes his magical longsword and walks up behind her. He grabs a fistful of her snake-hair, and brings his longsword down on her neck!

I rolled that d20, which looked then pretty much as worn as it looks today, and it rolled...

and rolled...

and rolled...

AND ROLLED...

AND FRANCIS WAS TENSING UP AND MAKING THIS "EEEEE" NOISE...

AND IT ROLLED...

AND FRANCIS WAS SAYING "HOOOOLY SHIIIIIT!"

AND IT ROLLED...

AND IT FINALLY ROLLED TO A STOP!!!!

20!!!!

AND FRANCIS FREAKED OUT!!! "OOOH MY GOD!!!"

SCOTT PUMPS HIS FIST "YES!!"

STEVE CURSED AT US!!

Well, it wasn't over yet... I picked up my d8, which was in decidedly better shape, and rolled it...

AND FRANCIS FREAKED OUT AGAIN!!!

8!

IT ROLLED AN 8!!

AUBRY CUT THE MEDUSA'S HEAD OFF!!

HE ACTUALLY DID IT!!

HOLY SHIT!!!

"Fine!" Steve said, disgruntled. "The fucking medusa is DEAD. It's head comes off and rolls across the floor."

Granted, after that was the session where everything went to shit.. when we all got captured, and Alron got tortured... and Aubry got tortured too, even worse than Alron, 'cause the orc torturer REALLY wanted to hurt the prissy grey elf.

Ah well, win some, you lose some... that's the way the dice roll. heh.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Favourite Game, That I've Never Really Played

I've played Dungeons and Dragons the longest, and most consistently, of any of the roleplaying games that I've played, but my favourite game, ever since I first played it, was Gamma World.

If you're not familiar, it's a post-apocalyptic game, where you play humans and mutants trying to survive in the ruins of civilization. It is hundreds of years after the apocalypse, with much of the knowledge of The Ancients lost. They are seen as almost mystical, and their technology bordering on magic. You could choose to be a Pure Strain Human, a human with no mutations, and a high resistance to radiation and disease. You could be a Mutated Human, with fantastical physical and mental mutations, some beneficial, some defects. You could also play a Mutated Animal, choosing a basic stock animal and applying mutations like mutated humans have.

Typically, you started off in a primitive village, your people scraping out a basic existence in the harsh world. Many adventures start off with rites of passage... sending the group of young humans and mutants out to recover some ancient artifact, to prove their strength and advance them into adulthood.

I've owned every edition of this (except the d20 version, which I thought was a faker, undeserving of the name Gamma World), however, I've never really played it. When I started playing 1st edition game, with my best friend at the time, Quintin. I was a pure strain human, who had some psychic abilities, which I'd "stolen" from the show "The Powers of Matthew Star". The main character of that show was an alien who looked human, and it was sort of the typical 70's "on the run, and helping anyone he comes across" show. Kind of like "The Littlest Hobo", but with an alien kid. heh.


(The only way I was able to remember the name of this show was by recalling that Louis Gossett Jr was in it, as Matthew's guardian, and I'm shocked that I was able to remember even that detail. Thinking back, the show was likely HORRIBLE. heh. I mean, look a that guy's HAIR!)

The only things I'd encountered in his adventures was stuff Quintin took from Return of the Jedi, since there is a type of armor called "Plastic Armor", which could easily be Stormtrooper armor, and Quintin and I were obsessed with Star Wars at the time (yeah, I'm not at all obsessed with it today... *shoves his full suit of Stormtrooper armor into the closet, where you can't see it*). I encountered some aliens, and that was about it. No mutants, no ancient artifacts, none of the actual themes of the game.

I played another game of it, for one session, with my friends Steve and Francis, and probably a few others, but I can't remember who. I started them off with the Rite of Passage adventure in the Allegheny County area, near Pittsburgh, but we got bogged down in the rules and me being rather inexperienced with being a Games Master, and we just went back to D&D.

So, I feel that I can't really count either of those two instances.

I'm not exactly sure what has drawn me to this game over the years, despite never really playing it. Maybe it's the message behind it... that the world can be torn down by war and destruction, and we will go on, at least in some form. There is a spirit of rebuilding to the game.

I was told a couple of years ago, by a fellow gamer, that I'm the only person he knows that ever took the game seriously. Every time he got a game going, it was just a silly, wacky game, but I've just never seen it that way. I actually found it pretty strange when he told me that. Okay, yeah, your characters have fantastical mutations that would never happen in real life, and there are mutated humanoid animals (one adventure module even included cycloptic, human-sized, intelligent chickens), however the writing of the game has never inspired any "yucks" from me. I mean, they didn't make it particularly dark or depressing either (not like other post-apocalyptic games have done), at least not any more than D&D was, but it never struck me as game you were supposed to "clown up".

Well, regardless, I've always had my plans to run a game of this. From time to time, I've envisioned what the city I've lived in (Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Atlanta) would look like in the setting, and how the unique characteristics of the city would translate. Not in some kind of screwed up, morbid "The world ending would be cool" kind of way, but just "If I were to set my Gamma World game here, what would I draw for the city skyline? What would the iconic places of this city look like? What traditions or superstitions would the people cling to or warp over the years?"

One interesting, and humorous fact... Altanta is considered a Gamma World City.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sometimes, I'm a cheeky bastard.

So, back in Steve's big campaign, I had moved off to Edmonton, Mizraith being my last character before I moved there, and when I returned 6 months later, I took on a new character... Thorn Greenwood, human cleric of Teutares.

Teutares is the god of nature in Steve's campaign world, and instead of druids, he has his clerics. They abide by the same rules as clerics do, with a few of their own special abilities and spells. They're basically like druids, except remove all the elemental connections for their spells and their Hierophant levels. They still had some of the abilites of druids, like shapechange, but they can turn plant monsters, like clerics can turn undead.

So, I had some fun playing around with the new spells that Steve had come up with. Reinforestments was my favorite, I think. When you cast it, you create automatons out of the detritus and debris on the forest floor, and you can make these attack. You got one for every three levels, I think. They would pop up behind an opponent, attack, then next round you could make them fall to the ground and pop up in another place, attacking again. Very neat.

Well, when I was playing Thorn, we were still dealing with trying to save the world, but now the gods were even more involved. At one point, we were in the Seven Heavens, talking with Rhom, and he said he was going to send us down to this one location, and there, we would need to retrieve a suit of armor. We gave a big ole' salute and he sent us down in the right location.

It was winter where we were, and nearby was a big hole in the ground, which turned out to be a steam geyser. It went off every so often, which we timed a few times, to make sure it was regular and predictable. Going down into the geyser, we found these little branch caves, and at the back of each cave was what appeared to be a body part of a stone statue of an armored man. So, we took our time, going after one piece at a time, letting the geyser go off in between, then going after the next, until we had them all.

Figuring we needed to put the pieces together and something would happen, we did so, putting the statue back together. If I recall, the pieces all fit together perfectly, and held together, but nothing happened. So, I believe we made camp, and someone memorized "Stone to Flesh". The next day, we reassembled the statue, and cast the spell. The statue immediately turned into a human man and proceeded to attack us. However, part of his attack was magical dominance. Everyone was affected except Thorn.

Being neutral, I didn't see a way that I could take on the whole group, plus this guy, so I said "Well, I guess Thorn leaves. He turns into an owl and flies away." I don't know what I was thinking at the time... that maybe Steve had something in mind, or the like, but he basically took me aside and said "Come on... you have to do more than that..." So, I had Thorn come back.

By this time, the armored guy had taken everyone to a nearby cave. I had Thorn shapechange into a rat, and skitter along the edge of the cave until I saw them. The big guy was standing there, monologuing to Thorns dominated friends, about how he was going to take over the world or somesuch.

So, I had him cast this "tentacle" spell, which had these tentacles grow out of his back... the rat's back at this point, and then cast Poison, the reverse of Neutralize Poison. He ran up between the legs of his friends, and before any of them could do anything, he reached out with the tentacles and touched the big guy... the big guy failed his poison save and died, which released everyone from his control.

At that point, we either stripped the armor off him and returned, or we just returned with his dead body and the armor. When Rhom got us back, he was pissed, complaining that we weren't supposed to have killed him.

My answer back was something along the lines of "Well, you only said you wanted the armor. You didn't say anything about getting HIM back alive. In fact, you didn't say anything about him at all. So, you got what you asked for."

I'm still not sure why my character survived that encounter... mouthing off to the Head of the Pantheon is not conducive to a long life-span. :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stepping Back

Wow, taking a look at the previous posts, I inadvertently covered a lot of time there.

So, let's take a step back, shall we?

Back in highschool, Steve gathered a few of the regular Games Club people together, the GOOD players, and he put together a dungeon for us to play through. We made up some characters... I think maybe 5th level or so, maybe higher. I rolled up a gnome illusionist/thief and a half-elf or human ranger (I can't remember). Funny, the only other player I can remember in the group was my friend Marcel. I've lost track of Marcel over the years. I think I might have found him on Facebook, but I have no idea if it's him or not.

Anyways, Marcel made two characters too... one was a thief... or a fighter... I think. Anyways, that's not really that important for the story. heh.

So, this was a fairly typical dungeon... like the ones I described that we played through in Grade School. Entirely random as far as room layout, and what kind of creatures were inside the dungeon. Oh, there was some rhyme, but not much reason. heh.

So, we're down there adventuring, killin' monsters and takin' their stuff, when we came upon this one room. The unusual thing about the room is that it had a solid walkway through the room, but everywhere off the solid walkway was soft, I think like pillows or the like. I can't remember why it was like that. Marcel's character went off into this adjoining room, where there was possibly treasure or something, but he also found some kind of creature that was like a little bipedal turtle, with a crooked neck. Kind of like a combination of these two characters, if I remember correctly (ignore Bugs, although I guess its personality turned out to be similar to him)...



He called the rest of us into the room, and we looked around, but all we could see was a small area on the floor that looked like it had gold dust on it. He swore up and down that there was this little turtle thing there, but we were all "Ooooookay, Crazy Marcel! Whatever!" and we left the room. When we left, the turtle reappeared, but now it was standing on his shoulder.

He walked out of the room and said "Here it is!" but all we could see was the same gold dust, now on his shoulder. We tutted and shook our heads and he got all indignant and left the room, where the thing promptly reappeared, this time on top of his head.

So, he ran out of the room to where we were, shouting "Look, it's on top of my head!"... but all we saw was that same gold-dust on his head, like he'd sprinkled it there.

And again, we're "Ooookay, Crazy Marcel! Whatever! Whooooo!"

He wasn't having any of that this time, though.

"I'm not crazy!!" he shouts, and says that his character pulls out his sword!

Now, I'll pause here for just a moment to say that we didn't let Marcel finish what he said he was doing, which was trying to take his sword out, turn it around and hand it to us hilt-first, so that we would know that he posed no threat to us. However, with his earnest cry, I just had my gnome illusionist react immediately.

"Holy Crap, he's gone crazy! I zap him with my wand of paralysis!" I quickly shouted!

Zap! He was paralyzed. No more words from him!

Marcel protested, finally getting out what he'd meant all along, but I called out "Too late!"

My ranger threw him over his shoulder and we continued on after that.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Forgotten Era

It's amazing what I'm recalling for each post in the blog so far, but this is stuff that I legitimately remember about my gaming days. It's all fairly fresh in my mind. However, I find it equally amazing what it's bringing back to me.

Back in highschool, I got a job at the Domino's Pizza down the street from my house. Early on there, I overheard one of the drivers, Todd, saying to the manager that he was off to play in a D&D game. I think it wasn't until the next shift we worked together that I asked him about it. He'd been playing with the same batch of guys for several years now. They even played through the entire Dragonlance Chronicles campaign together. So, knowing that I played, Todd invited me to join the group.

Now, here's where my memories remain sketchy. I know we played at Todd's place to begin with, but I can't remember what character I played. There are only two characters I remember playing in that group, a wood elf archer named Daikini Randor, and a dwarf cleric named Rokan Ironfist, but I only remember playing those characters when we played at one of the other player's apartment. I think maybe I played a half-elf ranger first... hmmm... Earendil? That rings a bell. (Yes, I was in the habit of yanking names from Tolkien in those days. Most of my halfling characters were taken from Bilbo's family tree. heh.)

Now this group, being the jokesters they are, was in the habit of coming up with alternate names for characters... Paul, the DM, changed Daikini into "Bikini", and Rokan became "Rodan".



Fortuanately, Daikini didn't last long (so I didn't have to suffer the nickname for long)... actually, I think he got killed pretty quickly. See, another fact of this group was that no matter when you started a character, you always started at 1st level. The rest of the group was pretty high level when I started with them... like, 9th or 10th on average, I think. I remember that in the first session I played Daikini, I was down by the river at the camp, and was attacked by something that he needed saving from. The rest of the group happily abliged, giving him crap about being a noob, of course (granted, this was in the late '80s, so the word "noob" didn't exist yet, heh).

The group was adventuring through "Tomb of the Lizard King" adventure module when I rolled up Rokan... oh, sorry, I mean Rodan, and they found him as a prisoner there. No equipment and 1 hit point. They healed him up, and outfitted him with magical chainmail and two magical hammers. When they finished the adventure, they heaped upon him a mound of gold (his share), and in those days, 1 gold piece gave you 1 experience point, so all of that gold, plus the magical items they gave him, raised him up from 1st to 6th level in one go. That put him on a more even footing with everyone else, which I guess was the point... start them at 1st level, and if they can survive, they'll even out soon enough. I should mention that there was a rule in the books those days that said you couldn't actually do that. You could only gain one level, plus the experience to bring you one point less than the level above that. If you had any more experience points past that, it was lost. However, this group did away with that rule. Once you were of the same level as most of the other character, it wouldn't happen that way anyways. So, it wasn't a big concern. It was amusing, though, that this complete greenhorn dwarf gets rich and suddenly he's a powerful cleric the next day. Well, I guess the rules factored in getting someone to train you when you reach a new level (which was also a good way to relieve a character of plenty of his extra cash. heh). So, it wasn't completely unrealistic. If I became a millionaire tomorrow (*crosses fingers*), I'd probably pay someone to train me in some martial arts (probably kendo first).

One of the other players was playing a halfling thief, and he decided that he wanted to play him like a kender. So, he had his thief steal my dwarf's holy symbol. Then, when I had my dwarf demand he give it back, he ran for it. Well, Rokan picked one of his hammers off his belt and threw it at the halfling. Well, I rolled a 20, getting a critical hit, and ended up knocking him into negative hit points. Rokan took back his holy symbol and healed the halfling up to full, but I got a lot of flack for that. Seriously, though, how was I supposed to know I'd roll a 20?! ;)

I'm having a hard time remembering the other adventures we went on in this group. I vaguely recall wanting to use the Stone Shape spell to form a big stone spike out of the ground, possibly to impale a Purple Worm, but that's really it. All of this only just came back to me, though, so hopefully I'll remember more later.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Okay, Now the Real Break from Reality

Okay, in talking about Laarde, I forgot to talk about what I really started that post to talk about...

My involuntary switch from tabletop to online play.

I'd migrated my Star Wars game to online when I moved to Ottawa, since my players were all back in the Toronto area, and I think that went fairly well. We played via IRC (Internet Relay Chat). We would all sit down at our computers on Sunday night and log in with mIRC (the specific program we used). I started a specific locked chat room for us, which everyone would connect to, and then I would open up a supplementary window for each player so that I can private chat with them if needed. There were a few problems maintaining the connection for all the players, but when everyone could be on, it went really well.

I even ran one adventure where they flew down into the atmosphere of a planet that had suffered a total global nuclear war. They were searching for why they had detected an Imperial signal from the planet's surface. They had trouble with their engines as the approached the signal, so they landed while they could still fly, and put on environmental suits to continue on. As they continued, their communications began to break up, and I was able to factilitate that really well with the IRC system. I told them to type what they wanted to say in the private chat window, and then I would relay it to the others, as they heard it, with all the breaks and static. I thought it was pretty fun, and they learned to keep their messages short to get them through (or to put their helmets together and yell). They eventually wound up underground (someone fell through a weak point in the street pavement, I believe) and that helped with their communications, so I didn't torture them with it for too long. Still, that would have been very difficult to do in a tabletop environment. Online play made it very easy.

The play-by-post games I've been in have had mixed reviews. They went fairly well as long as people posted in a timely fashion, but there were some games that dragged on because people wouldn't post. The D&D 3.5e Dragonlance game I ran was an example of that. I was following the published adventure modules, converted from 1st edition to 3rd edition, and there are 12 or 13 playable modules.



After three years of play, we had only gotten to the middle of the second module. Three YEARS. It really hit home then. We had tried it a few times where we played similar to how I'd run the Star Wars IRC game. I got everyone together online at the same time, and established a Posting Initiative, so that we wouldn't have everyone talking over one another. Each person posted, in turn, and if you didn't have anything to add to the conversation, you would just post your character shuffling their feet, or picking their fingernails, or staring off into oblivion. Whatever, just to discharge your turn. Then, when combat came up, we'd roll initiative normally for that, and play through the fight, then switch back to the posting initiative. After the two or three sessions we played like this, each time I went back and compared how many posts we got through, and compared it to how many we'd gone through just before the session. On average, in one night, we went through three months worth of posting. Amazing.

At this point, I told everyone playing, if we can't switch to playing like we did in those sessions, I'm just going to end the game. It's taking far too long. There were at least 10 modules after that, and so it would take 20-30 years to finish the campaign. Noone could commit to it, so I stopped the game there.

Oh, I forgot another character... I'll have to go back to the Gaming-ology post and add her in. I played a 1st edition D&D Half-elf Cleric/MagicUser named Shandara in an rpol.net game. The plot was that we were all captured by Drow Elves and escaped and were trying to make it back to the surface. Sort of a reverse of the Descent into the Depths module. The DM even called the game Ascent from the Depths. That was a fun game, and Shandara was a pretty good character, and became quite useful to the group. I have to say that I enjoyed that game.

I was playing another Rpol game at the same time. This was the one I played Warren Livingstone in. It was an Against the Giants game, so we were playing through the G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, G2: The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, and G3: Halls of the Fire Giant King modules. I'd paged through these in my younger years, but we'd never played through them. Warren had a similar story to Shandara, with regards to being captured and escaping... he'd gone up against the giants years ago, and was captured by them. He'd been passed along to the three giant leaders, for them to torture, get whatever info they could out of him, and then he was passed on to the drow for the same. He survived for several years this way, and then was brought back to the Hill Giant Chief so that he could have the honor of killing Warren. This is when the group the DM was playing raided the place and freed him. He joined up afterwards and assisted in destroying the Hill Giants and the Frost Giants. We didn't make it to the Fire Giants before the play-speed waned and eventually ground to a halt. It was fun while it lasted though.

Basically, what it came down to was time. I don't mind taking my time with a game. I actually honestly like the extra time to post exposition and descriptions, and I find it easier to remember little details of play that I want to put in, as opposed to playing in person.

However, there are limits. When there are days between posts, and you have to nudge people over PM or email to get them to continue, especially when you notice that they're online on the site, but still aren't posting... well, that's about the time when you give up.

So, the main point of this... I had some fun with the online games, and in some cases, I was able to do things that I couldn't do at the table, but for the most part, the online games were just disappointing. The games all ended prematurely, for one reason or another, so there was never any closure for the characters.

I'm currently running one online game, playing the group through a 4th edition D&D conversion of the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Danger at Dunwater, and what comes after. I intend to at least keep the game going long enough to finish what comes after Danger at Dunwater, but if the group is still interested after that, I will continue on. So far, it's been fun. The greatest hurdle we've had is the conversion from Castles&Crusades to 4eD&D. Everyone seems to be enjoying the new system, or at least they're not complaining to me. Let's hope we can keep it going. :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Break from Reality

I was going to say that Adrianna was the last character I played in person, until I moved to Georgia, but I just realized there was one character after that... Keneda Matsumoto. That was my Akashic Brotherhood character in a Mage game I played with some friends while I was living in Ottawa. I only got to play him for a short time, we played only a few sessions before the Storyteller quit. He was a fun character. I patterned him off the rather stereotypical "Japanese biker gang member". I can't remember how he discovered he was a mage... I think he got caught by a rival gang and when they tried to kick the crap out of him, he single-handedly turned the tables on him... then an old guy showed up to train him... pretty Hollywood, now that I think about it. heh.

After that, though, I took an involuntary break from tabletop gaming. All the rpgs I played in after that were online... some by IRC, some by Email, and some by Play-by-Post. I played and ran several PbP games, on dndadventure.com, rpol.net, drunkendwarfinn.com, and even a couple in the MSN groups.

That last medium is where I played Laarde Torosken.



When I joined the Star Wars: SARC game, I was the first one to speak up about wanting to play a Force Sensitive character (who could eventually learn to use the Force), so I got it. I decided to go a different route with it, and designed Laarde to be a troubled teen. My inspiration for his personality, and his picture, was Isamu Dyson, from Macross Plus. He's a hot-headed pilot that rarely pays attention to the rules. I made him a Wroonian, though, which is a tall, thin, blue-skinned/haired, near-human race, which made for troubles on the human world of Merridon, which had an Imperial Academy. He was very intelligent, and easily excelled in his classwork, but he rebelled a bit, mostly out of boredom, and hung out with a mostly harmless speederbike gang. They didn't cause much harm, just tormenting the cadets at the local Imperial Academy, and seeing who could tweak his speederbike the best. His best friend was the rather geeky mechanic of the gang, and he was romantically involved with the little sister of the leader of the gang. He eventually wanted to become a pilot or navigator for the newest Imperial starships, but was told by his professors just before he graduated (and thus would be able to move on into the Academy on his grades) that he would never reach his goal, because he wasn't human. So, he dropped out of school without graduating and tried to steal a shuttle to get off-world. He was caught by the local Search and Rescue Corps, and after his influential parents pulled some strings, his sentence was that he had to serve in SARC for a period of 2 years. So, he got his wish, to fly ships, but in a way he hadn't anticipated.

On one such mission, we were helping to clear some mynocks off of a ship, when Laarde got a flash of insight that a ship was in danger somewhere in the system... it was a small cargo ship being attacked by TIE fighters. He reported it, got back inside the ship, and just KNEW where to set the hyperspace coordinates. With a bluffed plea to his Captain to trust him, he activated the hyperdrive and took them right there, to the fight, exactly as he was seeing it. They dispatched the TIE fighters, who were clearly acting illegally (in our view), and offered assistance to the damaged ship. One passenger, an elderly woman, said she knew Laarde... that she was an aquantence of his uncle, but that's all he got out of her before they had to let the ship go.

Well, since this game was online, and we could pretty much post whenever we wanted, Russ let us "play in the sandbox" a bit. As long as we didn't do anything real major (or at least not before we consulted him), we could run our own little side adventures. When we got back from saving the ship, we had to make ourselves scarse while the Commander ran interference with the Empire for our actions in attacking their cadets. So, I had Laarde go back to see his speederbike-gang friends, who were fairly pissed off at him for seemingly abandoning them, so that he could get their help with breaking into the hospital to see his uncle.

See, Russ and I set up a little side story for Laarde. I'd decided that his Force Sensitivity was also shared by an uncle of his, who was being held in the local sanitarium, heavily medicated. His uncle was his favorite person, and was a pretty fun guy when he wasn't doped up. Well, Russ took that and made it that this uncle used to be a Jedi, and voluntarily started taking medication to dampen his Force Sensitivity, in order to hide himself for a time when he would be needed.

So, in order to convince his friends to help him, he had to help them first. They were planning a big "send-off" to the Imperial Academy graduates that afternoon, and afterwards, if Laarde helped, they would help him break into the hospital. So, Laarde helped them fix up the system they needed on their speederbikes, and then accompanied them on their sendoff... where they flew around above the gathered formations and spectators, strafing them all with blasts of paint. In the process, he saved his friend's life, since one over-zealous trooper fired at the leader of the bike gang, looking to shoot him down for good. Laarde appeared to take the hit, and the group sped off.

They arrived at the hospital, Laarde appearing as though he was shot in the back, and when he was taking to an exam room, who of his friends started a fight in the lobby that distracted everyone, allowing him and his mechanic friend to slip out of the room and upstairs to see his uncle. When he got there, he found his uncle fully lucid, and accompanied by a strange older man he introduced as Corwin Shelvay. He explained that they were both Jedi, and that they had to leave, quickly. They made it to the roof of the hospital, and were confronted there by a Dark Jedi, Imperial High Inquisitor Tremayne. His uncle used the Force to get Laarde and his friend to flee the scene, so that they wouldn't be captured or harmed, while he and Corwin fought Tremayne. Laarde used a bit of the Force himself to get his friend to turn the speederbike they were on around, and get him back to that roof. He arrived just in time to see Corwin being dragged on board, Tremayne leaping onto the ramp of the shuttle as it took off, and the shuttle strafing the roof with blaster fire. He ran to his uncle's side, but it was too late. He faded into nothingness, leaving behind only his robes and lightsaber, which Laarde took before they fled.

We went through one more short adventure after that, and were preparing for another one, when Russ decided to reprioritize his gaming. Unfortunately, we didn't make the cut. I went through the MSN group and copied all the threads, so that I would have a record of it. I used those posts to put together a few chapters on fanfiction.net, but I got distracted and never got back to it. Unfortunately, the files are gone now, since my harddrive crashed last year, but the fanfiction chapters are still up. If you're curious, take a look. I had to do a little bit of editing, to make it work better as a story, as opposed to a string of gaming posts, but it's still a bit rough, so bear with it. It'd be nice to go back and just completely re-write it so it flows better, but it'd be a fairly daunting task these days.

Oh well, Laarde was a pretty cool character. I tried resurrecting him for a different Star Wars game on drunkendwarfinn.com, but the first incarnation was better.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My wife endured this, so now you're gonna...

Okay, so, fairly early on in my relationship with my wife, when we were still just boyfriend/girlfriend, we were walking through the mall, talking about various stuff, and probably discussing D&D in at least some small way, and someone set off one of those security alarms at a store entrance. This brought back a memory of a D&D character of mine that set off one of those, and caused me to chuckle, and she asked what for...

Okay, so, in the University campaign, I was playing Rainara at the time, and our group was "convinced" by a Green Dragon to go into this dungeon, to retrieve a magical amulet for him. Not wanting to die, we agreed, and then figured we'd maybe find something in there that we could use to kill him, rather than follow through on our bargain (Hey! Don't look at me like that. He was evil. Who's to say that he'd have followed through on his side??). We delved into the dungeon, only to find it deserted... well, almost deserted. We found out that there was an entity residing there, or at least something that he could speak to us through. It was an ancient, long-forgotten god. He told us a tale of how Satan had been ousted from Hell by the other Devil-Lords and he had been placed into a "null-dimension". A void he would never be able to escape from. However, foolish humans on another world were worshiping him. These humans had gotten hold of a magical necklace from our world (courtesy of a world-hopping wizard) that carried with it a magical connection to our world, through which the wizard could draw magical energy through, in case he ended up on a low-magic or no-magic world. Well, as it turns out, the world these foolish Satan worshipers were on was a no-magic world... Earth.

The ancient god told us that these humans were using the magic of the amulet to summon Satan into their world, and they would succeed without intervention. The god could not act directly, so it wanted us to travel to Earth and replace the amulet with a copy, then bring the real one back. The idea was, that the worshipers would still attempt their summons, but with only a small residual of magic left, they would not be able to complete the summons. Satan, in his anger, would destroy them, before falling back into his prison-void. Thus, ending the threat.

First off, the god needed to establish which of us was the leader, so he had us fight each other in the dungeon. Long-story short (heh), Sarek won. I think he got the ability to copy the necklace. Once that was done, the god sent us to Earth's past, so that we could find a way to learn the language, before he sent us to the time we needed to be at. We purchased was was likely a bible, and then returned to our own world. The plan was for the Bard to take a couple of weeks to learn the language, and then she would teach it to all of us, then we would go.

I couldn't show up the next week to the game, but it turns out that Joe, Zoroaster's player, got bored and decided to search around. He found a secret door that led into a small room. It had a semicircle on the floor of what looked to be strange wavy tentacles, around an area of darkness against the back wall. We figured that the tentacles would grab you if you tried to cross, so Zoroaster summoned a Flaming Sphere and rolled it all over the tentacles to burn them up. With those gone, we approached the blackness... Colin's character stared into the blackness, and Steve called for a saving throw. He rolled low and suddenly screamed in terror, his hair turning pure white. After that, one by one, we started entering the darkness... anyone who's played through Tomb of Horrors probably knows the logic here...

Well, next session after that, things were very different... it turned out that the inky blackness was another entity, named Ik. When we all entered it, it basically took us over. It absorbed all the magical energy from our magical items to grow stronger. It gave the green dragon the amulet that it wanted, and then proceeded to take over most of the northern part of the country. Our characters awoke 20 years later to find that we had been living very mundane lives in Ik's domain. He had turned a fairly peaceful countryside into a bunch of insular walled cities, all paranoid about the others. He had caused a war with the elves in the northern forests, driving them further north, and even had killed off a few of the elven gods in the conflict. The green dragon had taken the amulet, which allowed it to polymorph itself, and it killed the Prince of the kingdom, taking his place. He took over the southern parts of the kingdom, leaving Ik with the north, and reigned as a tyrant.

A further problem with that was, that since we didn't go to the other world to stop Satan's worshipers, he was summoned into that world and took it over. He used the magical connection to our world to draw magic to Earth to become stronger. He then returned to our world, took over Hell again. He began drawing more and more magic into Earth through Hell, which was linked to the prime material plane through a large fissure in the far north called "The Great Rift" (I think). This was causing the magic in the north to be very weak, which was, in turn, weakening the elves, who need magic to survive. So, having gathered together again, we tried to find a solution to this.

In our searching, we were told by the Sun God, Rhom, to go to these three towers nearby. When exposed to the sun, these towers could fire off a beam of magic that could cause great destruction. However, if fired a far enough distance, the magic wouldn't be harmful, it would just bathe the target area in magic. So, we devised a plan to tell all the elves to gather in one spot, and we would fire this weapon there, and since they are far enough away, they would only be supplied with the magic they needed to live, as opposed to being destroyed. To allow for the towers to operate day and night, Rhom gave us three fragments of the sun, in a bag from the god of Thieves, which could hold anything. When the tower was aimed properly, we would place the fragments at the base of each, and that would do it.

However, when we were going to do this, Ik had gotten wind of it all, and caused basement of the tower to collapse into a dungeon underneath it. The mechanism for aiming the tower was broken apart and scattered throughout the dungeon. So, we had to go find them. Rainara died in the dungeon, crushed to death by a creature that had taken the form of a chest of treasure (a mimic, or maybe a protein polymorph). To replace her, I brought Mizraith, my dark elf magic user, into the game. He helped continue with the search, and Colin's character came upon the main compass of the aiming device, set behind metal bars, just out of reach... he had found a new sword a few rooms back, an old, rusty sword, but one that was magical... he used it to reach through the bars, to pull the device towards him. Well, it turns out it would have been better if he touched the bars with it... it was a sword of rusting. Very good when fighting foes in metal armor... but very bad for touching compasses made of metal. The compass turned to rust dust before our shocked eyes.

Well, that plan was down the toilet. Angered by our stupidity/incompetence, Rhom showed up again and sent us to Earth, to fix things there, hopefully cutting off the flow of magic to our world. We showed up there, with some knowledge of the language, and proceeded to try to get by. Mizraith was sticking out like a sore thumb, though, so he turned invisible. The invisibility spell, in those days, worked indefinitely, as long as you didn't attack someone, so the one spell stayed on him as long as he needed it. Now, we needed some equipment, so he sneaked into a store (with tools, camping and hunting equipment, etc) and started making his way around, grabbing what they needed and storing it on him, under his cloak, so that it would turn invisible too. Now, here's the part, finally, where we get to the security alarm... bet you'd forgotten about that by now, hadn't you? heh... so, he grabbed all this stuff, and he went up to the exit, with its automatic doors, and he saw people going through, but he couldn't get it to activate on his own, 'cause he was invisible. So, I waited until some unfortunate man was attempting to go through the door, struggling with a large box. As he delayed slightly to shift the box in his arms, Mizraith quickly exited, setting off the alarm. The two men grabbed him and dragged him off. I'm sure he was fine, though. heh. I brought my ill-gotten wears back to the group (including a nifty pair of sunglasses for my light-sensitive dark elf eyes), and we continued on in our quest.

Now, so as to not leave you hanging on the rest of the story, we tracked down Satan's "lair" to a large sports arena. Apparently, this place looked normal from the outside, but inside was a completely different world, a little pocket dimension. Avoiding entering through the front doors, we climbed up the building, and found a maintenance entrance through the roof. Inside, yes, there it was, a vast forested landscape, with a tall tower in the distance, far larger than the actual sports arena. We entered, and traveled to the tower, but were unable to find a way to affect it. So, I had a brilliant idea... we'll go back to that maintenance entrance, climb back up, and just before we're going to close the door, we dump those three fragments of the sun into the world, hopefully burning it all up and destroying everything in there, including Satan, or at least his connection to our world (I think that's what the tower was).

Well, we definitely hit upon something there, because as soon as we decided on that plan, a massive blizzard kicked up, making it extremely hard going to get back to that exit. We had to camp for the night at one point, digging into the huge snow drifts for warmth. I joked, while we were doing so, that we should just summon Satan to our location, and use the fragments to destroy him directly. We all chuckled, and went to bed, setting a watch.

Well, seems Colin took me more seriously, and on his character's watch, he took the bag with the fragments and went off to make a deal with Satan. Satan would restore his youth (remember that 20 years? That was nothing for Rainara, an elf, but Gawain was a human, suddenly in his mid-forties.) and he would give Satan the fragments. He agreed, restoring Gawain's youth, and had Gawain throw the fragments in a hole that opened up in front of him... Gawain did, and the hole closed up and they were gone... this is when we all hear that "Zonked" sound from Let's Make a Deal. Should have taken the box, Gawain. Satan wasn't even physically present, so the fragments wouldn't affect him. Well, that was that... we woke up and everything was calm, no more blizzard, and we were allowed to leave, peacefully... we were no threat then.

Great. We returned to our world, failures. Rhom and the other gods weren't pleased. I think we were sent on another mission after that, to go up to the Great Rift, and go into it, to attempt to close the connection from this end. The only thing I really remember about that is walking along a tunnel that had all these traps in it.

Well, I moved to Edmonton, Alberta, shortly after that, so that was the last time I played Mizraith. I don't know what went on in the game for the next 6 months. When I moved back from Edmonton after those 6 months, I started playing Thorn. I met them in Hell, and transported back to the prime material plane with them, and adventured with them after that. We were still doing work for the gods... probably still trying to fix the same problem, but I don't think we were doing much better after that.

I think Steve just got burned out on DMing at that point, and I started running Star Wars. heh.

So, yeah... my wife, then my new girlfriend, endured that whole story, and she was STILL my girlfriend afterwards, and still went on to marry me a year later. That's love for you. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh, the times we had.

When Steve and I were still in highschool, we were both members of the Games Club.

Steve started up a couple of D&D games with the members of the club, both of which failed miserably.

I'm uncertain which of these was first, and which was second, but I'll tell them in the following order...

We were playing a group of rogues. Everyone rolled up a character that was at least part thief. I think my character, the leader, was a human dual-classed fighter-thief. So, he was a fighter first, then switched over to being a thief after a couple of levels. The only thing I remember is that we were wandering around the countryside, and we came upon a man driving a wagon. We made up a story about being the militia, searching for... I dunno... fugitives or something... so it gave me the opportunity to check the back of his wagon. He had a bunch of carved figurines and stuff that he was going to sell at market. So, I let him go. The group got all grumbly at me, because they wanted to steal stuff, and even went so far as to accuse me of taking something and not telling them. I explained to them the plan... to intercept the guy on his way back from market, and take his money then, but they I don't think they believed me. Typical.

However, I'm now getting the impression that this was the second campaign. Here's what happened with the first one.

I was playing a human monk. I don't remember all the other characters, but there was definitely a paladin and a cavalier in the group. We were in a town on the edge of a swamp, and we were told by the townsfolk that some of their number had been attacked while they were picking plants in the swamp waters. They thought it was lizard men attacking them, to drive them out. As I led the group into the swamp, I had my own ideas of what it might be, but I had nothing concrete to go on. When we arrived at a lizard man village, I told the group that I wasn't sure that the lizard men were responsible, so they weren't to attack them unless the lizard men attacked first. I even extracted a promise from both the paladin and cavalier... they were to give me their word of honor that they would obey that order. They both agreed.

So, we moved into the village, which was very quiet, and fanned out to check the various buildings. I approached the largest building, as the cavalier and paladin checked out two of the smaller huts. The cavalier went inside one, to find that there were several lizard men asleep. It was in the middle of the day, so I guess they were taking a bit of a siesta. As he looked around, one of the lizard men woke up, got up and reached out towards him.

Apparently, in the cavalier code of conduct, a lizard man reaching out towards him constitutes an attack, so he suddenly drew his sword and cut the lizard man down. It screamed as it died, and woke up the rest of the village. Lizard men poured out of their huts, attacking everyone. The cavalier and paladin began gleefully hacking down lizard men, right and left, as I yelled for everyone to calm down and stop, all the while, using my three-sectional staff to harmlessly ward off the attacks of the lizard men. It quickly became pointless, as everyone else joined in the slaughter (I did NOT), and lizard men were dropping left and right. It came down to one lizard man left, and the paladin grabbed it in a headlock, the player rolling his "bend-bars/lift gates" Strength check to break its neck. He only had about a 25-30% chance of succeeding per try, so I had my monk quickly move through the main building, around behind the paladin, and I planned on hitting him to knock him out before he could kill this last lizard man. See, in that edition, Monks had the chance, on any strike, to knock an opponent unconscious. It wasn't a high chance, but it was there, and I was going to try to take advantage of it.

Just as I got to him, he finally succeeded in his roll, and he broke the lizard man's neck, killing it. Steve asked me if I still hit the Paladin, and I nodded. I rolled my percentile die and rolled 01. I succeeded! I karate chopped the paladin in the back of the neck, and knocked him out.

Immediately, the rest of the players started booing me and saying "Down with the Monk!"

Pissed off at their stupidity, I said "Since the Cavalier and Paladin think that they know what's best, now they're in charge. I quit as leader." That shut everyone up, but we continued on, since there was nothing more to be learned in the lizard man village.

We continued along the path, and all the while, players (other than the cavalier and paladin) were handing me notes, begging and pleading with me, even making promises to give my character all their treasure if I would just come back as leader. I would calmly write "No" on the paper and hand it back, every time, much to the disappointment of the person who wrote it.

We got to a point on the path, and suddenly heard the sound of wings. A huge black dragon landed on the path in front of us, with what appeared to be a human wizard on his back.

(This miniature seems to have been cast directly from this scene!)

The wizard accused us of being murderers, since we killed the lizard men, and so I went forwards to talk with him. I didn't like having to say this, since I thought the group deserved to die for what they did, but my monk was Lawful Good. So, I said that he should let the group go, and that I would see to it that they would be brought to justice, once we made it back to civilization but he did not agree. He said that the justice of civilization wasn't good enough. I told him that I would fight for the group, and attacked him, but the dragon let out a stream of acid, killing my character instantly.

Now, Cavaliers and Paladins are supposed to be honorable. They are not supposed to run from a fight, in fact, they have resistance to fear specifically for this purpose. What was the first thing this cavalier and paladin did?

They ran. Followed by everyone else.

I just sat back and laughed as Steve had the black dragon track every last one of them down and kill them. The cavalier and paladin even tried to climb a tree... although I have no idea what they thought they'd get from that (hey, maybe they were trying to get up to the Dragon's head level, I don't know), but climbing a tree in full plate armor is no easy task, so they failed and fell to the dragon eventually. That's when we just started the "thieves" game, since it seemed obvious that these guys couldn't play a "good" party. Unfortunately, that didn't turn out any better.

Funny edit: Re-reading this, I switch perspectives a lot, from "my monk" or "my character" to "me" and "I". Don't worry, I'm not deranged, it's just that when you're playing a role, you tend to get into it, and play it from the first-person perspective. I think it helps with immersion in the story.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fang

There's one rather prominent character in Alron's life that I have neglected to mention so far.

I'm fairly certain that it was after The Final Enemy (mostly because I can't recall Fang being along with us for what we had to do in that adventure). The group was walking by an alley in town and we heard what sounded like someone getting beaten up. Investigating, we found a big guy lying on the ground, with another guy sitting on his chest, and another guy standing nearby. We helped scare off the two men, but when the "victim" on the ground got up, he was huge! A half-ogre!

Instead of thanking us, he got hostile... and he and the barbarian got into a fight at that point. He knocked the half-ogre out, and the guards showed up just then... this is how it went:

Guards (at the end of the alley): "What's going on down there??"
Fang (on the ground): *wakes up* "Grrr!"
Conan (sitting on Fang's chest): *punches Fang in the face, knocking him out again*
Alron: "Quick! Put out the light!"
Half-elf NPC (fighter?): *throws lantern onto the ground, smashing it*
Alron: *forehead smack* "Let's get out of here!"

and we dragged Fang off. When he woke up, he grudgingly explained that they were trying to rob him, and he decided to join our group, since we helped him... I guess. I never could figure out why Fang joined up, other than maybe we didn't attack him or try to take advantage. Ah, the benefits of being "Good". heh.

The name of our new friend... Fang Irontooth.

Here's Fang now, obviously having some in-depth philosophical conversation with Alron about the meaning of life, or somesuch.


(Hmph. I can't find the image for this now... gimme a few ticks...)

Fang accompanied us on all our adventures after that... even Bone Hill. I think he ended up trying to read a book in the Charm room.

When it came time to test for the quest we were supposed to go on, Fang never said what he'd gone through, but he came back with this really cool platemail armor. He went with Alron to the Caves of Chaos to fight the cultists there, and went with him through the portal to escape the demon... but he got separated from Alron.

It wasn't until quite a bit of time after Alron arrived in the future that he met up again with Fang.

The group (this was the roster from two posts ago) was traveling along, when we ran into a large force of orcs, hobgoblins and ogres. We took them on, since they looked fairly organized and with a purpose in mind... and probably not a very good purpose at that... and we defeated them soundly. It was a tough fight, but a resounding victory.

We got into the next town and Alron was walking in the market area when he suddenly got struck in the back by an arrow. Pulling it out, he found a note attached. It said to come outside town, alone. Curious, he went, and was met by some orcs, who were peaceful, at least to him. They had a coach and they said that they were going to take him to their leader. Refusal would mean the destruction of the town.

He went along, and was brought to an immense camp of humanoids... orcs, goblins, hobgoblins... and was taken up to the leader's tent, with two huge ogre guards. Going inside, he found Fang, sitting on a throne, as their leader.

It was an amiable reunion, but it turned out that Fang used the powers of his armor to accumulate this vast army of humanoids. I guess he came out of that other dimension faster than Alron had, so he was around for a few more years before Alron arrived. He was upset at us destroying his forces, even though it was just a small percentage of the whole, since it was a challenge to his authority, and if he didn't do something, he'd lose face with his troops.

He said that he did not want to harm Alron, since Alron was a friend of his, but he wanted the elves and half-elves of the group. If they didn't show up, he would have his forces destroy the town. Alron asked for one thing, that he not kill them. He returned to the others and told them what happened, and they agreed.

Sarek, Zoroaster, and I think my friend Todd was playing an elf at the time, went with Fang's troops, and it was basically an arena fight. All three of them against him. He must have been a 10th or 12th level fighter by this point, with that powerful magical armor he got from the Gods. He kicked their asses and then returned them, alive, as Alron requested.

That, I think, was the last we'd seen of Fang. I don't know what happened to him after that, and we didn't encounter his forces again, either.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Disappointing Finish.

So, continuing on again from last time...

It turns out that the very next session, only session 1 of this transition period, we happened upon several damsels in distress, surrounding a knight that was lying on the ground, apparently wounded. Sarek went up to help the knight, while Zoroaster and Bishop went to "talk" to the girls, and Richard, Milamber and Alron hung back, skeptical about the whole thing. Well, I had Alron look through the back of his mirror-shield, as it sometimes gave some insight on the situation, and I could still see everyone as they were, but sort of 'behind' the damsels was the outline of these giant silhouettes. I was about to shout a warning to everyone after Steve passed me the note, but just then the knight let out a shout and the damsels that were fawning over Zoroaster and Bishop grabbed them and transformed into Giants!

Alron was ready, so he fired two arrows at each giant that had grabbed Zoroaster. Steve ran a system of critical hits, and as both an archer and a ranger, I was getting some pretty good odds of critical hits shooting a bow at giants... first two hits... one critical, one not... but did quite a bit of damage to that one... second two hits, again, one critical, one not... did enough damage with these to kill that one giant. Down it went! Boom!

The knight got up and attacked Sarek, while another Giant still had Bishop and was attacking the other members of the group. Richard and Milamber concentrated on that one.

Next round, I got my turn again... fired two arrows into the giant that still had Zoroaster... another critical! I killed that one too! Boom! My remaining arrows went into the third giant, but it was Richard and Milamber that finished him off.

Then it was the knight... Milamber cast a spell on him... Immolate. It was a custom spell that Steve designed. It sets your skin on fire, and if you don't take a round off of doing other stuff to pat out the fires, it quickly begins to consume you, doing more damage every round until the duration expires or you're dead. It set the knight's flesh on fire, and seemed to kill him, but a moment later he got up again! He was Undead! We wailed on him for a bit until he dropped again, and then his skull rose up and started chasing Sarek around, until we were able to finally destroy it!

So, the kicker to this... keeping in mind that I wasn't able to gain experience points for this session... by Steve's method of generating experience, as a Ranger, I got double experience for killing giant-class creatures... strangely enough, Giants, are giant-classed creatures. Each giant was worth 3000xp. Double for me, and I killed two of them by myself, plus helped with another... I lost over 13,000xp for that one session (for those who've only played 3rd and 4th edition, I was 6th level at the time, dividing that xp between two classes, and I think there was about 30,000xp between levels, so it was significant, but not as much as you might be thinking).

I can't remember for sure, but I think Steve was lenient on me and said that was enough lost xp, and I could start regaining normally after that session, 'cause... Wow.

At this point, the whole "Quest" thing caught up to Alron... I guess the big guy in the sky, Rom, had lost track of him after assigning him that quest oh, so many years ago, and now he found Alron, 500 years in the future, so suddenly this Solar (Elvis-lookin' angel guy) drops down out of the sky....




He says (now imagine this in Elvis' voice for the full effect) "Hey, Alron, the big guy, Rom, wants you to go do this thing for him, uh huh? So, take your bow and shield and go find this paladin on this island, and give them to him... 'cause he needs to go on a quest! Yeah!"

Once Elvis had left the building, Alron finds that he's near a shrine of his own god, Teutares, and goes for a visit... tells them about the whole Rom thing, and they said "What is that shit? Bitch be trippin'! He don't be tellin' our people what to do!" So, I guess Teutares went over to Rom's place, and slapped him around a bit and told him to do his own dirty work. Then the same Solar showed up, looking a little pissed, and took my bow and shield back. Boo.

Oh well, I was an Archer, so I just made one of them snazzy "bows of greater pull", and I was back in business. I kinda missed that shield though. It was functional and fashionable. :)

So yeah, we get back to adventuring, but the only thing I remember at the moment is that I think we stumbled upon some guy who was dying, and he said something about his son being trapped in a tower. Or we just stumbled upon the tower... the dying guy might have been later on. Anyways, so, we found a tower, and couldn't find a way in at the base, so we climbed up to the top and up there was a circular enclosure, with an open door, and inside was an ornate circle in the floor. It was a teleportation circle. I guess there were 5 levels on this thing, maybe more, maybe less, I can't recall, but if you stepped on one of these circles, it teleported you to a random level... or it's possible there was a pattern, but we didn't seem to take the time to figure that out before we started screwing around with the thing. There were all these buttons and levers and such, and the tower could move around, and apparently traverse dimensions. So, this had everyone randomly hitting buttons, maybe making a vague attempt to be organized, but it didn't seem like they were succeeding at much. Alron was on one of the upper levels, and just before he went to step onto a teleportation circle, someone hit a button that turned them all off. He was stuck. The circles looked identical, on or off, so he just sat down in the middle of the circle, hoping that it would transport him the moment it turned on. Well, instead, it shocked him. It came on and Steve had written down in the module that if anyone was in a circle when they were powered up, they'd take damage... and not a small amount, either. Ouch.

But, the cirlcles were working, so Alron gets down onto the bottom level by using that circle, and this was after we have traversed dimensions to a different world I should add, and he finds a way out at the base. A secret door. Going outside, he found himself in a lush forest... and the door closed behind him. Crap. He couldn't open it again. Double crap. Okay, well, our rope was still there, so he climbed up the side of the tower... and when he arrived at the top, he found that he had three giant leeches stuck to his back... each of them doing 1d4 damage per round of bloodsucking. Damn! He was already low on hit points. I didn't have him go straight for the teleport circle because I didn't know if it would get me to anyone in time, so I had him turn around and slam his back into the wall, in the hopes of crushing the things, but it didn't seem to have any effect. He took more damage, and then got out a torch, lighting it up, and stabbing one with it... it fell off of him, only to fall onto his leg and keep sucking... shit... he was boned... he started to run for the teleportation circle, but that was it, and he was at zero hit points. He fell over and the leeches proceeded to feast upon his blood... Alron was dead. The group found him... who knows how long later, with three bloated leeches around him.

That was it. All the adventures he'd gone through, all the hell he'd endured and survived, and THAT'S how he ended... by three fucking leeches. I'm still bitter about that. No, he couldn't go down fighting a horde of orcs, or a dragon, or something heroic... he basically died for nothing. Wonderful.

We had a druid character in the group (technically a cleric of Teutares, which Steve had written up as similar to, but significantly different from, the druid, but it's just easier to say druid), and he left the group right after that, so he took Alron's body with him, for a proper burial right by that religion. Steve told me later that Alron could come back to the group, if the group was in the right area... basically Alron's soul was now invested into a coniferous tree, which is what happens to the faithful followers of Teutares, so that they will never die. His enemies become deciduous trees (that have to die every winter, only to live again and go through a horrible cycle of life and death every year), or ground-plants, that are trampled upon by people and the creatures of the wild. So, with his soul invested in this tree, if the group was in the right place, he could re-form into a human again, and I could play him again.

Sadly, this never came to pass.

Incidentally, I had the opportunity to remake Alron in the latest edition of D&D, but at the last moment, I decided not to. He deserves a nice retirement, so I left him there. heh.

The Torture Continues...

To continue,

Alron was now 500 years into the future. He still had his really nice magical bow, and his funky floating mirror-shield. And now, rather than it just being me playing his whole group, I actually had a group of other characters to play with! Steve has ruined solo adventures for me. I never want to do that again. :)

So, when he first dropped into the future, he ended up in a tree, and saw a bunch of guys ride past, with a prisoner over one of their horses. He dropped down and followed, curious what was going on. He came upon what appeared to be a bandit camp. A bunch of ruffians, who weren't treating their prisoner very well... and the leader having taken the prisoner's sword and was flashing it in the sun and waving it around like an arrogant prick.

So, Alron put two arrows into him (which I think killed him outright), then changed location. When the others moved in the direction where Alron was, I put four more arrows into two different guys (I found out at this point that the special magic bow was giving me four attacks per round, instead of the normal two), taking them down as well, and I continued with this process of him shooting and moving, until he'd whittled it down to just one guy, whom he'd shot in the leg to keep him from running away.

Moving in, I released the captive, who turned out to be Richard, and I joined up with the group after that. Okay, that was a bit of a backtrack from the last post, but I thought that was pretty funny at the time, so I thought I'd relate the story. :)

I should introduce everyone.

Sarek, the half-elf fighter/cleric, played by Mike
Zoroaster, the half-elf fighter/magicuser, played by Joe
Milamber, the human magicuser, played by Francis
Richard, the human ranger, played by Jonathan
Bishop, the human thief, played by Wayne.
the human "druid", played by Terry... I don't remember the character's name.
the gnome or halfling jester, played by Jennifer, Francis' girlfriend. Don't remember this one's name either.

So, continuing on for real now, after finishing the adventure with the haunted house... I don't recall much more about it, other than an evil spirit that was already possessing Richard caused him to attack Alron while we were exploring the house, and the magical sword that Amanda gave him way back got broken by him touching a strange glowing circle in the ceiling of one room, which turned the sword's blade to crystal, and the sword got shattered on the next attack he made... and then he and Richard (as two "men of good") were the ones that went back into that bubble room to grab ahold of the tattered remains of the bubble and pull them together again to reform it.

After that... as I was saying... we continued to travel, and went through a bunch of weird adventures. We encountered this blob of rainbow light that enveloped Alron and talked to him. Francis' girlfriend decided to screw around at this point, and was using her Ventriloquism spell to "make it talk to me", while it was actually talking to me... so, I alternately got notes from Steve about what it was saying that were silly/stupid, and notes that were more serious, with no indication of what was really going on there. It was a little bothersome, since hey, this thing could have been consuming Alron's soul and here's the jester sending magical messages saying "Hi! I'm Globby the Glob! Tee hee!" I mean, we're all for fun and such during the game, but come on. Well, anyways, it turns out this thing was benevolent, and granted Alron a gift. It would benefit him in a time of great need. That really wasn't explained to him at all. The only outward difference in him is that his normally grey eyes now changed color randomly, like the thing did.

We continued on, and Richard brought us to the place his father used to live, or own, or whatever... basically an outpost in the forest. Richard was supposed to inherit it, so we were checking it out. We were staying in one big room, and while Alron was on watch (we thought something was going on here), it sounded like someone was trying to pick the lock. So, Alron whipped the door open, surprising two men who were fiddling with the lock, and he grabbed one and pulled him in the room. The other ran. We questioned the man, who said that he was just "checking the lock" (Pft. Yeah, right.), and then the other guy came back, with the "authorities". They took Alron in for questioning, and possibly Richard (I vaguely remember that), but unbeknownst to me, the thieves in the group followed us (even when we told them to stay put), and Francis' magicuser turned invisible and followed as well. So, while Alron is being questioned, the men leave him alone in the room, and the two thieves pop in to talk to him... and are promptly caught by the guys when they come back to talk to Alron more. Lovely. And I found out afterwards that Francis' magicuser discovered that there was some evil conspiracy going on, and decided to kill the conspirators... which Alron got blamed for, because he was the only one there at the time (Milamber was invisible).

As a sidebar, up to this point, Alron was of Chaotic Good alignment. It's the "Do whatever you want, as long as what you do doesn't hurt you or anyone else" philosophy. After this, though, he changed to Neutral Good, which is more of the "Yeah, that Chaotic Good idea is alright, but there has to be SOME rules, otherwise things just devolve into complete chaos, and that's not good" idea. The whole fiasco bothered him so much that he decided there had to be a change.

So, Alron was brought before the magistrate, and because he had the magical aura from "Globby" inside him, they figured he was the one that killed the people there, and so they were sending him to the south to go on trial for it. I finally convinced Francis to come clean about it, since he was all "Well, if they're actually going to put you to death for it, I'll come forwards then..." Wow, thanks, friend! You're awesome. =P

Anyways, Alron agreed to accompany him to the south when he went on trial, but we actually never made it. We got attacked by berserkers about halfway there, and I had to use up that "Globby" help when they pushed the coach we were in over the nearby sea-cliff. Basically, it kept me at 1 hit point, when I would have been dead.

So, we worked our way back to the others, since all the guards and such were dead, and we had no idea where they were taking us... and we continued on.

Now, my memory is a little fuzzy on this, but maybe I waited until now to actually change Alron's alignment... because the rule at the time was that if you change you alignment, no matter the reason, you lose 1 level, and I remember that Steve thought that was rather unfair, so instead he said "I'll roll a d6, and that's how many game sessions you can't gain experience points for." I agreed, and I think it came up as a three. So, for three sessions after this, I couldn't gain any more experience. After that, I would be fully Neutral Good, and I could gain experience normally. It was kind of a "transition period".

Now, if you think that this was going to be an easy transition, well, I'll recommend you to be calling up Vince for the ShamWow or the Slapchop, 'cause you know the Germans make good stuff, and you'll love his nuts. ;)

More in the next post...


Oh, if I were to play Alron now, I think I'd probably use this miniature, or something similar. He's supposed to have black hair and a 'salt&pepper' beard and grey eyes... unlike the mini in the previous post, who has blond hair.