Sunday, November 18, 2012

2nd Game in the CSIO

Most of the group gathered again for a deeper foray into the machinations of entities in the City State of the Invincible Overlord.  I tried to be a little more open and forthright with information this time to help the game flow a little better.  Thus, many of the NPCs were a little more talkative than I probably would have run them, but that's okay.  The group managed to solve a few problems and find more questions.  Two of the group were sick, so Oola the female mage/stripper wandered off in search of greener pastures and the ranger was preoccupied with something else going on in town.  IRL, one player was ill and the other had work & family obligations.

So, for a few days the group sat around the hovel of Tonto (the thief) while Tonto went out to meet with contacts around town, in the Thieves Guild and in the Beggars Guild.  He came back and reported that the nobleman, whom the group was initially interested in robbing, had paid his dues to the Guild to prevent any thieving taking place.  Also, the emerald which was the target of the potential hit was rumored to be cursed.  The group learned that the gnome wandering around was actually hired by the Overlord because the gnome claimed to have a new divination device he had discovered in some ruins.  The group figured that this problem will sort itself out since some believe the device being built summons things instead of scrying on things.  Lastly, they learned that the goblin slave they bought was grateful for his new masters as they didn't beat him or do cruel things to him.  To show his gratitude, he started singing and they were all very surprised by his voice.  (The image and sound I used to convey their surprise was to imagine Jim Nabors, aka Gomer Pyle.)  So, Tonto decided that they needed to start a goblin barbershop quartet and sent Patsy (the goblin) into the Goblin Reservation to find 3 more singers.  He returned with 10, only one was worth keeping.  Patsy was sent back to find more.

Following up on the secretive & fearful actions of the goblins as night fell, the group learned that goblins with a facial scar were the ones being targeted.  So, the group hired a beggar to lead them to the location where the last goblin had been taken.  As they walked around down there, they avoided an encounter with shriekers due to the keen nose of the beggar.  Taking a side passage, Tonto discovered a gas trap which he disarmed and put in his belt pouch.  Continuing on, they found a group of goblins hurrying through the sewers on business of some kind and followed them.  The goblins were ambushed by a group of human mercenaries, the same group as Oola had charmed/befriended earlier.  The mercs grabbed one goblin and chased the others off.  As the mercs were tying up and questioning the goblin, Tonto lobbed the gas canister at them.  They all failed their saves and were blinded.  Tonto slipped in and killed one outright.  The group attacked and the mercs didn't stand a chance.  One got a lucky hit in on Marshal's character (sorry, don't have my notes nearby to look up his name) and that was all.  The goblin not only had a facial scar but was also missing a piece of his ear, making him the prime suspect for the sage to interrogate.

The sage had asked the mercs initially to find this goblin, but the group "found him first" and so got the reward.  They got 100 gp and the 3 items they found identified: a bag of dust of appearance, a suit of chainmail +1 and a shield +2.  The group then decided to go back to the hovel, count their loot, and decide on the next action to take.

It sounds like a short game but the sewer trek was a dungeon crawl of sorts and there were often side comments about Pinterest, beer, Thanksgiving, gaming, D&D Next, 1e module reprints, the history of Judges Guild, and other stuff.  Now, back to work on the next Freeport session and the next CSIO game.

Oh, and if any of you follow Stan Shinn's G+ stuff, he has pics of the maps.  Worth a look!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Botched Game Night

Well, another game night fell through.  This one was entirely my fault because I was called upon to be an Astronomer for a fund raiser as well as an authority on Planetaria.  So, we couldn't meet Friday night and tried to regroup on Saturday.  However, half of the group had either work related issues or family demands which prevented all but 2 from showing up.  Instead, we had a nice relaxing dinner, discussed movies, and then played two games of Star Wars Miniatures game.  In the first, an X-wing and a Y-wing took on two TIE fighters and a TIE Advanced.  The Rebels wiped the Imperials off the board.  In the next game, we upgraded almost all the pilots and ships and played 2 X-wings & a Y-wing against 4 TIE fighters and a TIE advanced.  The Empire got its revenge and the Galaxy is now safe from some Rebel scum.

So, the next game will be the day after Thanksgiving if we can all get together then.  I foresee 3 not being able to make it already.  And since my dad will be in town, I may have to cancel that game as well.  We'll see. 

Anyway, back to working on the CSIO game, I guess.  Or grading lab reports...ugh...

Monday, November 5, 2012

CSIO First Game Report

Well, things didn't quite go as I thought they would.  In short, I expected a lot of investigation and roleplay while they expected a lot of action and combat.   From the feedback I got, I gave them too many options and not enough guidance.   And I accept full responsibility for the gaming not going anywhere, because I failed as a DM to encourage the good ideas and to discourage the bad ones.  I think we're going to do a little bit of "do over" at the next game.  Since we hadn't seen each other in a while, we all vented about the things that had kept the group apart and then started to feel giddy about being together.  This led to a High Elf character suddenly having the personality of Snooki....and then things went south from there.

Starting at the beginning....everyone arrived within 30 minutes of each other, which is just amazing in and of itself.  Most had an idea of the character they wanted.  Characters were rolled up and we had an Altanian fighter, a human ranger, a human thief, a Mycretian cleric, and a High Elf magic-user.  Since I couldn't think of a good reason for why they were together in the first place, and the players didn't seem to care enough to offer suggestions, we just started with the idea that they just know each other.

Looking over the 10 rumors, the first one which looked interesting was the search for bronze "brassieres" and the gnome associated with that search.  So, at the urging of the most Chaotic Neutral player (yes, player..not character) the group headed over to the Plaza of Profuse Pleasures.  The Mycretian was horrified and started handing out little "Mycr scrolls" warning the heathens about damnation and such.  The High Elf had a fit and suddenly was Snooki.  At the urging of the thief character, the High Elf was going around nude and trying on all the exotic bronze "clothing".  After a batch of silliness there, the group then bought a goblin at the Slave Market in the hopes of using it as bait for another Rumor.  However, the idea also popped up to disguise the goblin as a gnome to continue following the original Rumor. 

Basically, traipsing all over the City State, asking off the wall questions and not following up too closely on the answers, the group finally threw up their hands and admitted defeat.  They eliminated a couple of rumors as frivolous, two others as "not level appropriate", and then started asking for a dungeon nearby to raid.  So, by next time I'll have a couple of dungeons ready as well. 

Now, looking back on this, I really do not mean to portray the group as at fault.  It really was me.  I was not listening to them as well as I should have.  I did not give them enough to work with in the rumors.  And I did not respond well when they tried to run off on their own interests.  So, I'm going to redo the Rumor List with more detail and I'll put together a few dungeons, and I'll have a better group of encounters to make the city more lively.  That was a huge failing on my part.  The city felt empty and dead.  I'll work on that.