Saturday, March 23, 2013

Playing in the White Box

We had a 2nd game in the the S&W White Box this week.  Stan ran a continuation of his game in his Redmark world.  The last game we played, we found the Amulet of Shinkara which turned out to be a handy little healing item.  We started this time with turning in the Amulet to the Duke who had put out a reward for anyone finding it.  When we showed up with it, we were rewarded not only financially for our troubles but we were also given a tower in a northern castle/keep if we would be willing to do other dungeoneering things for the Duke.  Since we unfortunately only had two players as the others had various personal or professional conflicts, we had to hire a batch on NPC's to flesh out our info gathering ability.

Arriving at our tower, we discover that the nobility who actually owns the keep is still present, is related to the duke, and is quite mad which requires him to be locked away.  The meister who is currently acting as steward immediately set off our personal alarms and we started trying to figure out his background and control level.  We had fun giving his spies lots of red herrings as we were looking for information about him.

Lots of role play was done.  We had a real blast.  I rolled dice twice, both were ability checks.  No combat.  It was great.

Now, I know this was terse.  As most of you know, I am pretty distracted right now dealing with my dad's recent discovery of tumors on his pancreas and his liver.  I am currently at MD Anderson with him, awaiting a biopsy of the tumors and the start of chemo or radiation treatments.  So, no game this coming week.  I'll get back to regular posting as soon as life settles down again.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wandering around Torsh

This past Friday, the group did some more wandering around the island continent of Torsh, from Judges Guilds' Portals of Torsh module.  I added it to the campaign in the hopes that it would derail the railroad of the introductory Freeport Trilogy.  I put a random portal about 10 feet in the air in the middle of a city block and put a portal to Torsh specifically in the top of the lighthouse maguffin of the 3rd Freeport module.  By making the lizardmen of Torsh more like the serpent people of Freeport, it made sense to connect the two.

Anyway, in the last game, the group had a showdown with the inhabitants of the lighthouse in the end of the Freeport Trilogy.  Honestly, as a DM, I cannot recommend much from that module.  It's a nose-ring, railroad of an adventure.  Modifying as much of it as possible to 1e, the characters pretty much walked through the "tough" fights with barely a scratch.  Their purpose for being there was to chase after and capture an escaped prisoner.  They went through all the levels and never saw him.  After looting the place, including stealing the jade serpent, they went off to heal up.  One of the group finally wondered why they hadn't seen the guy they were chasing, despite seeing him enter the place.

So, they went back in, went up to the top, and entered Torsh.  For those not familiar with Torsh, it's a continent in an alternate Prime Material plane in which the dinosaurs didn't die out but continued to evolve.  Mammals therefore never evolved.  Add to this, most of the plants and such are poisonous to mammals. Lastly, the place is extremely iron poor.

Once there, they followed the tracks of the escaped wizard to a mud brick town of lizardfolk.  They encountered lizardfolk adventurers, human settlers and got news about their quarry.  Following the lead to hunt this guy down, they invaded a lizardfolk mage's tower, got caught stealing, and found the guy to be way out of their league.  They question him and make plans to escort him back to Freeport.  He gives them a gem to calm their jittery nerves and sends them ahead. 

They make plans to ambush the convict when he arrives.  However, they have a few encounters with dinosaurs, more lizardfolk, and then more of the human settlers.  Plot development ensues in which they learn that the guy had helped the settlers escape to this world but is now trying to get them to Freeport.  He has no qualms about genocide of the serpentfolk variation which nearly killed off all the settlers in their home dimension.  And has been working on a scheme to return them all home and eliminate the serpentfolk. 

The PCs decide to quit working for the medusa and help out the convict.  They destroy the bracelet contact with her and start eliminating the lizardfolk.  And that's where the story ends for now.   Sorry for the lack of exposition, but I'm beat.  It's been a horrible week.  I'll write more about it later.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Real Life Sucks

Well, it's been a while.  A round of the flu bug at home and at school meant for lots of late nights, either grading or working with students as they tried to get caught up on their missing work.  In addition to all that, there's the life of teenage children who need someone to haul them to this place or that, or to be picked up at this place or that, and "oh, by the way, can you drop off so-and-so or pick up so-and-so?"  And all this sucks away time to sit down and write.

Sorry for the terse reports below, but I can't remember all the details.

Freeport Group
There has been problems with this group having a consistent attendance, so the challenges sometimes are more difficult because the group is missing its cleric and mage, or missing two of its fighters, or missing the cleric and the rangers.  Anyway, we have now added a player who can be here consistently and be the mage.  Now all we need is to get a cleric.

Anyway, the story so far is that the group continued to chase down the escaped mage in red & green.  The first new player who joined the group decided to play a ranger instead of a cleric, despite the group needing a cleric and already having one ranger.  But, that's their problem, not mine.  So, the first order of business was to go back into the portal to try to track down the mage.  They got as far as the 2nd room in the "prison" (for lack of a better word) which turned out to be a storeroom of sorts.  The markings on the crates were indecipherable, but inspection led to the discovery of lots of little odd things like spices, clothes, mirrors, cannabis, poppy seed, leather straps, dowel rods, etc.  Literally, the entire evening was spent with them going through crates.  Then, as time neared to call and end to the game, they realized they had "wasted" the evening.  I said, since they had fun it was not wasted.

Two weeks later, we meet again, now we're missing the two fighters.  However, the new mage player holds his own as the group follows a lead about the red & green mage.  They chase him to the new lighthouse being built.  They storm it and fight all kinds of snake people as well as humans.  At the top, they fight it out with Milton Drac and two cohorts who are trying to cast some spell upon the town.  They stop it from happening and loot the place, forgetting they were chasing the runaway mage whom they never encountered.  They pick up a few items and some experiences.

This last game, they realize that the mage was never seen so they head back to the lighthouse.  The original mage of the group as well as the cleric are missing (and have been for 3+ adventures) but the group soldiers on.  They find at the top of the lighthouse another portal, only more obvious.  They tie a rope on a body and throw it through the cloudy doorway which is the portal and then haul it back.  Then they enter.  They find themselves on a grassy plain with odd smells and sounds all around them.  The sun is different as are the moons.  They discover dinosaur tracks and the tracks of the mage.  They follow the mage's tracks which are two days old, and thus have to skirt a group of grazing stegosauri and a group of brachiosaurs.  They crest a hill and see a tower off to their right and a mud village/city to their left, so they head to the city.  The city guards are lizard folk, similar to the serpent people seen in the lighthouse.  The guards lets the group in but pointedly tell them which way to the "human section".  Once there, they discover that humans are not native to this world, the food here is poisonous, metal is scarce with iron worth as much as gold.  They also learn of the mage, who is off in the tower with the "Lizard Wizard".  So, they head that direction.

They get into the tower using the medallions they took from the snake people.  They investigated the tower but set off a trap about halfway through, but they were able to grab the red & green wizard's diary before they were caught.  They then tried to bluff their way through grabbing the wizard but he managed to buy them off, for a little bit, with a jewel.  So, we left off with them awaiting him at the portal back home.  They are planning on bringing in a batch of iron scrap with some weapons and armor to sell and make some money before the lighthouse is destroyed.

CSIO/Charlie's SF & Fantasy Adventure
I guess the CSIO game is dead and I take the blame for that.  I didn't get the tone set properly from the start and it was way too hard to get it back.  Charlie stepped up with a SF/Fantasy adventure using S&W rules.  So, we're adventurers who are terrible at adventuring.  I think I already discussed the game in which we found a crashed starship.  So, following up from there, we went after the escaped criminal from the ship.  After two weeks moving across the plains and such, we never lost him but we never gained on him either.  Finally, we encountered a caravan parked in the middle of nowhere.  Talking with the half-orcs and humans we see walking around we learned that the two very large pink flamingos in the center of camp were the leaders.  The one with the top hat and monocle was awake and polite as we asked about the guy we were chasing.  He hadn't seen it but his mate might have, she'll be awake next week if we wanted to wait.  Talking with the humans, we discover they were charmed or something and cannot remember which way he went or what he took with him.  While we were talking, a group of gnomes riding perytons arrived.  We talked with them and got them to take us in the direction the escapee apparently went.  (Charlie had seen a picture of the peryton online and called it a "deer eagle" and made up stats.  When I showed him the peryton in the AD&D manual, he changed what they were because "perytons are better".) 

Climbing on their backs, we headed off only to be attacked by a blue dragon.  We finally defeat it, after exhausting our laser pistols.  And we stopped as we neared the town where the escapee is supposed to be going, hopefully we got there before he did.

White Box Interlude
The last game that was supposed to be run by Charlie ended up being run by Stan because Charlie had a rough week at work and hadn't put any thought into a game.  Stan pulled out an interesting little one page dungeon with some pregens and we jumped right into a game.  We ended up fighting a group of orcs, a few dire rats, a basilisk, and a medusa.  For two fighters, a mage and a cleric, we managed to somehow survive.  We enjoyed the game and might play it some more in the future.

So, that's what's been going on.  I'll try to get back to normal now.