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.

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Really back at it #DnD #RPG

I have games this weekend!

That’s right, who has 2 games and 2 role playing games this weekend? This guy, that’s who! I will be running the boys campaign on Saturday and then go to Denver on Sunday for my Pathfinder game. I am pretty excited about this.

I did have to sit down this morning and actually write up the encounters for the boys game. I had figured out the monsters before, broke them up into encounters etc. But had not actually written down the details of the encounters. It was all in my head. I will also have to take a little time to read up on the monsters the boys will be facing so I actually know how they work.

This will be the first session with our new player. I am excited to be back to 4 players. It will be interesting to see how he meshes with the existing group. He is not a stranger, he has grown up with them. But this will be the first time playing D&D and that is a different dynamic. I hope it will work out.

On Sunday I will hopefully be playing the last game with my replacement character. I certainly hope so, because it is getting frustrating to play with this character when I have no plans for moving forward or how to develop it.

In the end, I am really just happy to be returning to a ‘normal’ role playing schedule. If I do it right I will be alternating my Deadlands games with the D&D weekends. Life is good.

 

The versatility of a simple game #DnD #Pathfinder #RPG

Yesterday we resumed our Pathfinder game. And a great time was had by all. Our party demolished a Purple Worm, several demon hounds, and a major demon. Along the way, we had to contend with demonic bureaucracy, oddly strict rules, and some strange atmosphere. But it was another example of the versatility of the GM and the games overall.

Here’s the thing. My character, Viper, was caught up by a variation of the Deck of Many Things, played in an astral Vegas run by the Githyanki Mob. He is now held hostage and being forced to marry the niece of the Death God. The wedding is taking place at her palace on one of the levels of the Abyss.

So the party has come the Abyss and made their way to the palace. Along the way seeing many vast palatial estates. As this level of the Abyss has apparently become the equivalent of a gated community, where great powers can come and build their vast estates without anyone bothering them.

Reading over that description it is clear that my Pathfinder GM has a very vivid imagination. And is not afraid to turn pretty much anything and everything in the traditional fantasy world on its head. Turning the Deck of Many Things into a casino game. Deciding that the Githyanki were the equivalent of classic Mafia, running protection rackets across the Astral plane. Then deciding that a level of the Abyss was actually not a realm of insane chaos, but instead a playground for the truly powerful beings in the universe.

On my drive to and from Denver for the game, I spent my time listening to the Godsfall Podcast. Which is a really interesting show. And really quite amazing how much work the GM has put into the world. It is very definitely a different take on some of the traditional fantasy tropes. Not with the same modern takes, but still very different.

In my internet browsing, I have come across another web show, Acquisitions Inc. Which is yet another show that takes some of the standard fantasy approaches and tweaks them just a little. And the players clearly have a great time with it.

The point to all of this is that there is no right or wrong way to play these games. One of the beauties of the latest edition of D&D is its versatility. It really comes down to the GM and the group to make the game what they want out of it. If I wanted to create a game where the players were running around with firearms I could. Or I could take the same rules set and go for a really low magic heroic game like Conan. Or I could go full bore magic like an Eberron or the weirdness of a Moorcock universe.

I think that is what I like most about this rules set. It is far more open and versatile than the editions I had played before. There are no bad choices you can make with it if you choose to tinker.

A perfect answer: What Even is an NPC (And How to Do Them Right) @TheAngryGM #DnD

The Angry GM delivers advice to players and dungeon masters of fantasy role-playing games with humor, snark, and attitude. Game masters and players are sure to find something of use, whether they are playing AD&D, D&D 3.5, D&D 4E, 5E, Pathfinder, D&D Next, or any other role-playing game.

Source: What Even is an NPC (And How to Do Them Right) | The Angry GM

I spend a lot of time scouring the Interwebs for gaming articles. I seek inspiration, ideas, entertainment, sources. Then I take the time to think through what I read and re-process it in my own words.

I also try to see if I can apply what I read to my own gaming. Either as a player or as a GM. As a GM one of the best resources for this has been AngryGM. And occasionally he writes an article that absolutely blows things out of the water. This article is one of those. I recommend that any GM or aspiring GM read the article linked above and follow the rules set down by Brad Hamilton lo those many years ago:

When did everyone’s Charisma get so high? #DnD #RPG

I had a good time watching Critical Role last night. And I noticed something for the first time. It has to do with something I have noticed in how the boys created their characters. If you had to pick one thing that I have noticed as an old ‘veteran’ of D&D, an ‘Old School Gamer’ it is that today’s characters all have much higher Charisma scores.

It goes to the concept of the ‘Dump Stat’. You have your six stats as a character. When you create your character, not every number you have to select from when rolling is going to be great. Or if you are using a point system you end up wanting to reduce one stat so you can have a higher number somewhere else. That is the nature of the game, really most RPG’s work that way.

One of the changes I am seeing in coming back to RPG’s in general and D&D specifically (including Pathfinder) is that the systems have evolved to the point where you no longer have people following the idea of a Dump Stat. And the systems even go out of their way to punish people for being willing to take a low score somewhere.

The place I notice this trend the most is with the Charisma score. Back in the old days the only people who cared about having decent Charisma scores were those who took classes where it mattered (Paladins, Bards) or if they were playing a certain character stereotype (teenage and college age males playing really good looking female characters with loose morals.)

When I was coming up with my character for my Pathfinder game I followed this old practice and dropped my character’s Charisma score. Then I was in for a rude shock when I began playing and realized how much lower my score was from the other characters. Even more so when I began to discover how much Charisma now mattered in the game.

One of the things about Critical Role is they will splash the character stat sheets on the screen as they play and I began to see that they all had good Charisma scores. No one used that as a dump score. Not even the barbarian goliath (he used Intelligence as his dump stat.)

One of the things I have seen when I work with the boys is I will take the time to re-type their character sheets after they create them. This helps me understand what the boys have. Make sure nothing is getting missed or added wrong. And none of the boys ever dumps Charisma.

This is a whole different way of playing for me. Admittedly I have some suffered from self-esteem issues most of my life so maybe that colored things. But I was not the only player who would willingly take low Charisma scores. I am not judging it, I understand how things got like this. And it is good for the games for the most part. But it is still a shock for me and one of the harder adjustments I have to make. It is a little thing, but it is still an adjustment.

Too much can be bad #DnD #RPG

Sadly, my Pathfinder game was canceled this weekend. But when the GM said why they were doing it I completely understood and agreed with his choice. Because, as much as we all love our role playing, too much of it can be bad. And bad role playing is seriously no fun.

The funny thing is that while I was looking forward to getting out of the house and getting together with the group, I was a maybe sensing this for myself as last week went on. I was feeling a little burned out by the current thread in the game. The big reason for that was because I was not playing my character. As much fun as it was to really get into the character of the ‘bad guy’ who joins up with the group temporarily, that is not my ideal way to play.

But that was not the only reason. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how you could tell that some members of the Critical Role group were getting a little bored with 2 ‘character development’ sessions in a row. I think that is a little bit of what is affecting my views of my Pathfinder game. We have had 2 sessions with not a lot of battle. We finished the Boss battle rather quickly, and then went and spent money and messed around. The next session was when I began to play my temporary character, and we had one very short combat encounter where the party quickly ran when it was clear that they were outmatched. So there simply has not been a lot of fighting lately.

My Deadlands game has gone 2 sessions without a single battle, but I think that is the core concept of the game. And I am happy with that. So it is not like I have to have constant combat sessions. It comes down to the flavor of a campaign. If you craft one kind of campaign, and then go too much the other way to break things up that can end up being a problem.

An ideal game would probably have a mix of combat and social encounters, with some trap finding and mysteries as well. But not every GM can run a game like that. I know I am not. And my Pathfinder GM runs a great campaign that is almost purely combat encounters. The last couple of sessions have gotten away from that. Which I think is too much for that campaign to sustain. Which is why I am hoping that his taking a break was a good thing. Because he now has time to put together a couple of his normally kick ass combat scenarios. Get back to what he is good at.

Because social encounters can be fun, but too much of them can be a bad thing. Which is the opposite of the lesson I have taken to heart from the boys. With them, I have learned that attempting any social encounters is probably too much, at least for them.

In a real happy place #DnD #RPG #Deadlands

Tonight I get to return to the Deadlands campaign. I am happy to get to this. I am also looking forward to playing a different style game. I am definitely in a happy place as far as my role playing right now.

If I want to murder hobo, and just visit strange and exotic new lands, meet strange and exotic new people and creatures I have our Pathfinder game. If I want to be in charge and craft wondrous adventures and play with the many monsters that are out there I can run D&D for the boys. And if I want some more mature, quiet, investigative work then I have my Deadlands game.

That is a pretty great space to be in. I should never be bored with doing the same thing over and over and over again. Be it wandering from one location to the next, killing or destroying everything there. Or throwing darts at the list of monsters from the Monster Manual to see what monsters the boys will face this week. Or if I want to be cautious, almost never use a weapon, and only kill as a last result.

In an ideal world with the ultimate GM and a great group, you could get all of that from the same campaign. Critical Role seems to do that for the most part. But that is a very rare thing in my experience. My experience is that things usually work very differently. Which is why I am happy with my options now.

A report to the Don #DND #RPG #Pathfinder

Hey Boss,

Just reporting in as requested. I attached myself to the Heroes of Clermont like you told me. They fell for the story that I was not happy with my standing in the organization and I am here to help them. Or at least the part that I joined them to help free the Ranger so they could go back to earning proper.

Like you hoped they went back to their home base before beginning their quest. Let me tell you, this Clermont area is ripe for the picking. It is rich with people and goods. A lot of rich people have been moving here. Plus it is the frontier town where a lot of ‘adventurers’ like this group come back to after exploring the dead zones.

That means there is construction. New shops. And a lot of trade and merchant caravans. There are a lot of potential sources of income for the organization.  With a lot of merchant guards looking for entertainment as they pass through.

The best part is that the Count is completely focused outward, worried about the Undead threats. He does not have the time or energy to worry about us moving in and making a living off all these rubes.

I know it is your call, but I have already gotten the ball rolling with a recommendation that Louie look at a certain jewelry shop to start. And one of these so-called heroes will be joining the next round of competition for a slot in the organization.

I will continue to keep my eyes open. Although we are headed to the Abyss next, which I recall is a protected zone. But if I see an opportunity for the organization I will let you know.

Continue reading “A report to the Don #DND #RPG #Pathfinder”

Fresh food for thought #DnD #Pathfinder #RPG #Movies

This weekend was fun. And it provided me with a lot to think about for my hobbies. I watched movies and shows. I ran a game. I played in a game. I will be going more into detail on each of these in posts later this week. For now, I just want to discuss some ideas that came into my mind.

I did not set out to run a Total Party Kill on Saturday. That is what I ended up with. But I think the game went well despite that. There was not a lot of complaining or accusations of my having done this on purpose. I do have a decent place setting however for the group to start in a different setting. The most important part was that the group did play well for the most part. I think that the start over will help as this way the boys may be playing characters that are more suited to what they want to do.

I enjoyed the Warcraft movie. I understand why those who were looking for something different might not have enjoyed it. There were more than a few places where the plot jumped. It was, however, exactly what I wanted out of it. There was plenty of cool fantasy action. Great imagery. Best of all, there was a lot I could use as a reference point when I run games for the boys. I can call back to the movie to explain what something looks like.

My Denver game was a refreshing change. There was not a lot of action. We had one battle that ended rather quickly when we realized we were seriously outgunned. I did have a lot of fun with my role playing my temporary character. I created a lot of havoc and set more than a few things up for the GM to use in the coming adventure. It was very different.

I now have a lot to think about. There is a campaign to plan. I have ideas for other things that are spinning in my head. It was a very inspiring weekend, giving me a lot of ideas to work with.

Immersion, that is the weekend plan #DND #RPG

This will be the weekend of role playing and generally geeky pursuits. I plan to immerse myself, and let my Geek Flag fly!

Warcraft

I never played the game, nor do I plan to start. My son and his buddies have also never played it, and I do not think they plan to play it. But, we are all familiar with the general concept of Warcraft. It is a fantasy world, not unlike many D&D settings. It utilizes many of the tropes of D&D.

Which meant that when the timing of the opening weekend of the movie was the same day that we are playing D&D I thought it would be cool to combine the two. I plan to take the boys to the movie in the morning. And then return and play D&D. I have hopes that it will inspire a little better role playing and immersion for the boys.

I know the reviews have been pitiless. Crushing the movie in general. But I do not generally care about reviews when it comes to movies like this. Because I am going to be entertained and enjoy the scenes and scenery, not for great drama.

D&D

Like I said, after the movie we will head home and play. I hope to continue my use of the available tools. And put into more of the ideas I have learned in the last month or so from watching Critical Role, and articles from TheAngryGM.

This will also be a test for one of the boys who took some time off to figure out how to be more respectful and enjoy the role playing instead of screwing around. I expect a certain amount of teenage ADD. But this had reached the point of no return so he ended up taking a session off.

Pathfinder

If a Saturday spent watching a movie and then running a game was not enough, Sunday is my Pathfinder game. It has been a little extra time between games due to scheduling changes. Which means I am more than a little bit excited about the game.

On top of that, I will have the challenge of playing a different interim character. Viper was taken prisoner by the Deck of Many Things last time. Which means that I will be using one of my backup characters for a session or two while the party tries to rescue Viper. That will bring some additional challenge to the session.

There you have it, two games and a movie that is purely aimed at geeks like myself. I could barely ask for more. Except of course spending Sunday night with Game of Thrones to top things off! Yep that Geek Flag will be flying high this weekend!