Deal with the Devil you know? #RPG #Deadlands

Meeting with DrH tomorrow <STOP> Trail of C brothers lost <STOP> SLC a marvel of engineering <STOP> Pursuit of package still top priority <STOP> Package reported up for auction by C brothers <STOP> Unable to report in for a time <STOP>

The trail of this package and the Chadwick gang has become very confused since we reached Salt Lake City. Our pursuit has been derailed by the authorities here. I attempted to bluff my way past the possession of the lightning rifles but was unable to.

Ms. Montgomery and I had picked up the trail of the Chadwick brothers in a bar in the less reputable part of town here. Just as we were about to get more details on the thieves and their operation our contacts were assassinated. I managed to wound one and kill another of the assassins before we fled the premises of the bar in order to avoid being seized by the authorities again.

Things became far more intriguing and difficult to understand when we met with Doctor Hellstromme. In that meeting he made it clear that our covers were completely blown, he knew exactly who we were. But that did not bother or concern him. Instead, he was focused on our knowledge of the package and the trail.

According to him, the package contains an extremely dangerous material. Material that could at a minimum change the balance of power on  our continent and at it’s worst place the fate of all living things in danger. This does fall in line with the dying words of our contact. He wishes us to continue our pursuit of the Chadwicks, to keep the pursuit somewhat quiet, and retrieve the package. His stated intention to then destroy the material within it.

We have agreed to do this. Receiving some fine materials from him, and supplies. In addition, he is sending one of his colleagues along to help when the material is retrieved. We have the use of many technological marvels to aid us in this pursuit.

I cannot help but wonder at the motives here. Will his colleague truly help us or is he just another of the mad scientists who helped create these dangerous items? Since the Chadwick brothers have reputedly put the package up for sale at an auction why doesn’t Hellstromme just purchase the item? Why hire Pinkerton agents whose loyalties would at least be questionable?

I will find this material. I will make sure that the Chadwick brothers are brought to justice for the many lives they have already taken. What I will do once the material is retrieved is a question I cannot answer at this time. I do not know if this material truly is what everyone says it is. And if it is, will Dr. Hellstromme truly destroy it? Or, if it is so powerful, should it not be placed in the hands of the government so they can end this war once and for all? At this time I have far more questions than I have answers. So the journey continues.

Digging into it. #DnD #RPG

This weekend I began work on running Storm King’s Thunder. I am having a good time really digging into the adventure. Determining what the boys will be able to handle. I really like these new campaigns that WotC has put out. I thought of running Curse of Strahd, but not for this group.

I am planning to make this campaign work. I think that by running this I can avoid my usual pitfall of boredom with preparation. I like writing my adventures. But I admit that at a certain point I begin to lose focus on my storyline. So it changes up, becomes something else.

By running this I have the benefit of a defined end point of the campaign. A goal for the party. A long running campaign that the group can stick to. And when it is done we can decide where to go. Who knows, I might dump them all into Zendikar at that point.

The big thing for me is that I have a structure to follow for the foreseeable future with the boys game. Which will help all of us, and it should be fun for me.

It can’t be Thursday already #DnD #CriticalRole

When I was laid off about 2 months ago I had been keeping myself up to date and current on a number of podcasts and web shows. Because my job allowed me to keep things like this going as a background while I did other work. Since then I have not had the same circumstances. My life at home has not been one where I did a lot where it made sense to have background shows. Recently, however, I have made a commitment to doing more writing. These shows are actually a fine background for my writing.

That means that I have spent this week catching up on my Critical Role. I was several episodes behind. But I have been able to make real good headway here. I have enjoyed these recent episodes. The death and resurrection of Percy. The masterful huge battle at Glintshore. The humor of the Spice deal. They have all been great, and a joy to watch and listen to.

As I listen to another episode it occurs to me that it is Thursday again. Which means that even if I catch up to the last 2 episodes available, I will have to wait until Monday to truly become current again. I do not try to watch the shows live because I normally do not like to stay up later on weeknights.

I will admit that listening to these has given me inspiration to really get going on my own campaign work. I spent yesterday plotting and researching ideas in Pathfinder. I have lots of thoughts and ideas for my character in that game. And I am looking forward to really digging into the Storm King’s Thunder for my next game with the boys.

It is all coming from this wonderful show. Thanks again to the crew for making this show, and making it so much fun.

Fun character idea #DnD #RPG

I was listening to an interesting D&D podcast the other day. It was going into the Monk class. Talking about the cliches of the class. Different ways to approach the class and concepts. And I was inspired with my own concept.

I envision a Monk who is actually a part of a family of Luchadores. His Monk training is all about combat and performance. He would still have all of the deadly martial artist abilities of the Monk, using the Way of the Empty Hand. And he would have the Entertainer background, giving him ability with Performance.

His approach to combat would be as cinematic and athletic as possible. Never using a simple blow when a more exciting alternative is available. Using all of the extra speed and athletic ability of a monk to enhance his attacks.

He would be making a living as a traveling entertainer. He would be willing to go fight monsters and such provided there was a reward, and preferably some kind of audience.

Ideally, he would have at least one companion who was a bard. Who would sing the songs and tales of his exploits. And would act as a manager for his bouts. I could even picture an entire troupe. A bard or 2, a couple of monks, maybe a rogue to steal from the crowd, and maybe a Cleric to act as the healer.

It would take the right kind of group, and some teamwork to do all of this. And a group of players willing to ham it up. It would be a lot of fun.

Planning and executing makes it fun #DnD #RPG

My Pathfinder game this weekend went very well. I wasn’t super effective, but overall I had fun. My character is still trying to regain his power after having all of his stuff stolen. I have found that one of the other players likes to plan and scheme about the game almost as much as I do.

We were both up late Saturday night before the game exchanging e-mails about our plans and ideas. And since the game ended we have been burning up the interwebs with our ideas and plans. It is a lot of fun.

I think that is one of the thigs that makes the games fresh and interesting. Sure, most of our plans end up changing. Because no plan survives contact with the enemy. But it is still fun to make plans.

It is especially fun to figure out ways to make my character effective. Because this game is very high powered. And the GM is a master at coming up with ever more challenging and deadly encounters. I have to be on my toes and do my best to think ahead.

Now I do not want to become too powerful again and have all of my stuff taken away again. That was no fun at all. I have to ride a thin line.

I do not get quite as much out of running a game for the boys because they are easy to outthink and trap. I do wonder if it would be different running a game for adults. Eventually, I might get a chance to find that out. For now, I will reserve this part of my joy for the Pathfinder game.

The hunt begins #RPG #DnD

The Heroes of Clermont returned to their home. With the party intact and restored to health. They began to spend time working on those projects that they were diverted from. Thorvald continued work on his mighty keep, Nordheim. Elly and Qwaliki entertained themselves and worked on their respective fashion lines. Mickey wandered about because that is what he does. Viper returned to his alchemical studies and potion work. This is what they were working on when a messenger arrived from the Count.

The services of the party were needed. The Chateau Les Eaux had been attacked and the prospective Princess Violet had been kidnapped. The party quickly boarded their new flying boat and traveled to the site of the attack. Viper was able to determine that the attack was the work of 5 frost giants, accompanied by winter wolves and a giant bear.

Unwilling to let such an affront stand, and worried about the plight of the Princess, the party set off immediately in pursuit of the evil giants. Viper tracked them through the night until they finally caught up to the terrible creatures. Qwaliki unleashed some fireballs from afar at the party of creatures. Ellly got off the boat and summoned her trusty steed, and with the aid of some spellwork of Mickey, was able to follow the giants on foot. While Viper guided the boat through the air in pursuit as well.

This pursuit ended when a harpoon flew up from the forest trees into the side of the boat. They had found the giants.

The battle that ensued was hard pressed. With Mickey needing to be revived from near death once. While Elly herself also had to survive many severe injuries. In the end, the giants were all killed, along with the bear and 5 wolves. The young ladies were rescued from the clutches of evil, and a large treasure was retrieved.

There was another creature out in the forest, attempting to hinder the party. But they were unable to find it. So they know that there are more fell creatures out in the mountains. It is clear that something has roused the giants in the area. It will likely not rest until it is destroyed or the party is dead.

 

No fun when it is not working #DnD #RPG

There are a number of things in this life that require some work. Even the things that we enjoy require some effort. Role playing can be a lot of fun. I enjoy a good session of gaming more than just about anything else in life. But doing so requires work. Running a game takes work on the part of the Game Master. Playing a game in a way that makes it fun takes some work as well. A special kind of work called ‘teamwork’. When it all comes together it can be a special thing.

But when it does not come together that fun can slowly disappear. If the GM does not put in some work on the game. If the players do not take the time to learn how to play the game. If the group has some members who choose not work together, but instead revel in their own style and approach or do not even want to play, preferring to just be there for the social interaction.

The last game for the boys was an example of the later situation. I put in the work; had a number of scenarios planned. The boys were not all on the same page. Some were there just for an excuse to get out of their house. It was not much fun, and I spent the next day in a funk.

I was planning to play this week. Scheduling threw a wrench into that. That meant no game for the boys this week. And as things look we will not be playing again. At least not as that group was constituted. There was some chemistry there that just did not work. Some wanted to role play. Some wanted to just play, screw around and not do anything else. I have another kid wanting to join the group. All of this means I have to make a tough decision.

I recently celebrated a birthday. For my birthday I asked for and received the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and Storm King’s Thunder. I am taking all of this together as an excuse to make some changes.

When my schedule clears up I am going to do 2 things. First, I will change up who is playing in the group, with a goal of developing better chemistry. Second, I will run the game in the Forgotten Realms and use the written module as a basis. I think that doing those 2 things will fix what is presently wrong with my game.

A narrow escape, into the City O’ Gloom #RPG #Deadlands

Still pursuing Chadwick Gang STOP Crossed Salt Flats STOP Entered Salt Lake City STOP Meeting with Doctor H STOP Investigating ties between VH and H STOP Will keep apprised of developments STOP

My posse traveled across the Salt Flats. Not prepared for the journey we were still able to make camp. Only to be attacked at dawn by a group of young Salt Worms.

Odd creatures, with long tentacles, and the ability to apparently sense movement above ground. Not invulnerable to gunfire thankfully, although I did have to empty my entire weapon into one just to force it back underground. We did lose our pack horse before we were rescued by a land ship of worm hunters.

Maxwell proved his worth as he was able to haul an entire worm out of the ground before it swallowed another horse. He is a man of extremely rare strength. I think that with some training and experience he could become a very useful companion.

Our rescuers were very hospitable, providing food and shelter to go with transport into the City of Gloom. I have learned that city has definitely earned that appellation. It is an oppressive atmosphere, with the sky in perpetual gloom, and the building built up so high as to restrict what view there is of the gray sky.

While hospitable our rescuer, Captain William Jennings, was suspicious of our cargo. Going so far as to open the crates of lightning guns that came from Van Helsing Arms. Which altered my initial story. I was forced to adopt a posture of complete innocence, claiming we must have grabbed the wrong crates when we forced off the train. For now, I am operating under the guise of a journalist for the Belleville Democrat.

Captain Jennings brought us to the authorities, who then asked that we come to a meeting with Dr. Helstromme himself. In my attempts to gather if anyone had any dealings with the Chadwick brothers, I have so far been unsuccessful. That name has not struck any chord in any of those I have spoken to.

This makes me glad that I will be put into contact with Dr. Hellstromme. This will give me the chance to either determine f he is at the heart of this theft. Or if it is his material that was stolen. Which could lead us farther west in our journey. Or South into Confederate lands if my suspicions prove true.

Who knows what this meeting will bring? Or what we might uncover if we take the time in Salt Lake City to chase down the elusive Chadwick Brothers? I believe that there are still deeper plots involved in all of this.

The games return #DnD#RPG

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I was laid off from my job of 15 years a few weeks ago. The thing that is different about my life at home is that I do not spend all day sitting at a computer, reading and writing. That is why I have not been posting for a few weeks. But I realized that it would be good for me to get back into a regular posting schedule. I will start with talking about the most recent D&D sessions with the boys.

I had some turnover in recent sessions. Two of my regular players have bowed out of the game for different reasons. I have replaced them with 3 new players. All three of the players are younger and far more energetic about playing. Which has really changed the dynamic of the game.

Another factor was the fact that I have not spent as much working on the game. Not being in front of the computer has that effect on the game. To be honest this most recent session I went back to the Donjon site and just grabbed a randomized adventure to run. It was certainly challenging enough for the group, I wore them out. But it is not the kind of quality work I am capable of so I need to work a little more on things than that.

Having these new, younger, players also really changes the dynamic of the actual game play. The new kids are more willing to try and be sneaky and even talk their way out of things. It really forces me to be more on my game and think on my feet. Which I enjoy doing when I pull it off. It is a different kind of challenge. Which will force me to expand and build up my DM skills.

I will go into more specifics about what happened after the next session. But I will bring up a great line from one of the players. So he created a character with the Urchin Background. And he is a Merfolk (playing in the world of Zendikar.) This week he had an epiphany:

‘I guess that makes me a sea urchin’

 

Birth of the slayer ##Pathfinder #RPG

Viper was not sure why he was doing this. It seemed like a good idea. But standing on a stage, in a closed-in glass cage, and drawing a card from a deck, made it seem negative. Viper did not like crowds or attention and this was a definite spotlight event. But he had committed to it, so he reached out and pulled a card from the deck. He saw the card, an Ace of Spades the called it, and there was a flash of light and he was transported to another place.

‘Your quest is to keep Amarantha pleased’, those were the words he heard before his head and vision cleared. He felt a surge of power, and a squeezing of his will, like a giant hand was grasping him and crushing him. Then it eased, and he could finally look around. His eyes fell first upon the tall creature with almost Orc-like features, a refined grace, and elegantly tailored clothes. He knew this creature, Icarium, the brother of Vivimort, God of Death. Next to him stood a radiant looking, gorgeous female, of the same race probably, but stunningly beautiful.

‘This is Amarantha, she is your keeper, you will keep her pleased’ repeated the creature, who then snapped his fingers and disappeared.

‘I am not here to please anyone, especially foul creatures such as you, no matter how beautiful the covering’ shouted Viper defiantly.

‘Oh, but you will, for defiance will only result in more pain than you can ever imagine.’ The creature named Amarantha snapped her fingers and 3 more stunning women stepped forth. ‘These are my ladies in waiting, Misty, Mandy, and Monique. They will help show you how to play.’

Viper grabbed his bow and prepared to shoot. Even released one arrow at the tall one. Her look of displeasure and anger as she was hit caused a deep pain in his entire body. He struggled to release more arrows, which were stopped by a barrier in front of the creatures. But the pain just increased. And when the Ladies came for him he fought, swinging his scimitar with as much strength as he could muster. But he could feel the invisible hand gripping him tighter with each swing. Until he fell from weakness.

That was how his training began. When he awoke all of his equipment was gone. He stubbornly defied his keepers every day for a week. And each day his weakness grew, while the Ladies in waiting took from him what they wanted. The routine varied, he thought he might escape into the woods and gardens surrounding the estate. He would get deep into the grounds before the Ladies would track him down, chastise him for not pleasing his Mistress.

Eventually, his will broke. He gave up on his defiance and escape attempts. He knew that these were the cause of his weakness. The only way to keep strong was to please his terrible Mistress. He began wearing the clothes they gave him. He played their games. He began to live for the smile of pleasure on his mistresses face. He gave up on his companions coming to his rescue because he knew that rescue would displease her. He began to accept his lot. He determined that his Mistress could not listen to his thoughts, so he kept his feelings of hatred for her and her Ladies well hidden. He kept his face and his actions open to his Mistress, to all intents and purposes living for her pleasure. And he waited.

Then his hopes came true. His companions came to the mansion. He assumed to rescue him in some fashion, how he did not know. Because he had no idea how that would be possible without incurring the wrath of his Mistress.

The day after the celebration of their arrival he was in attendance of his Mistress in her hall when the chief manservant appeared.

‘My lady, something unpleasant has happened, one of the visitors has opened the door to where your former husbands are entombed. They have awakened and are presently in pursuit of the stranger and he is leading them to the rest of the group.’

Viper knew that if his companions encountered the remains of the mummies that many would die forever. Which would greatly upset his Mistress. He rushed to where his companions were eating their breakfast, arriving before the mummies broke into the garden. He led his companions to where their creatures were stored. Doing what he could to slow the mummies. They got into the barn where their creatures were kept and began preparations to leave. When he felt metal bands hit him and grapple him.

‘What have you done?’ He cried.

He struggled as the beautiful Elly spoke magical words and he found himself inside of what he could only describe as a bag. After some struggles, he sat and began to contemplate his new fortune. He assumed that eventually he would be freed from the bag. Hopefully, the companions would also free him from his geas. He would be free from his Mistress Amarantha. He would have lost all of his wealth and items, but freedom was well worth that cost.

In his time alone in the bag, he came to a new outlook. He welcomed the beast into his soul. And became the Slayer. He would rest no more than was absolutely necessary. He would become the hunter. He would hunt these creatures. The Undead and their ilk. The Demons who sought to enslave him and abused him. He would need new weapons, he would use his skills, hone what he could, and begin his new quest. To end this scourge on his plane, and maybe eventually bring the fight to other planes.

*****************************

Well, it is all over but the fighting. The rescue of Viper is kind of complete. He is out of the Abyss. If the group can survive an attack from the Handmaidens of Amarantha, and then figure out how to free him from the Geas spell he will be free. I will have lost all of his equipment. Which sucks. But now I can start over from scratch and get the weapons and items that I want. Pick out the exact things I want, rather than just random items that we have come across. And have a new goal in mind: the Slayer. A hunter and killer of all the bad guys, a grim, remorseless creature. Should make things interesting and fun to have a goal in mind.