Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pathfinder Tomb of Horrors

Our gaming store host, GameQuest, had a late night / early morning Magic release event, so we used the opportunity for a late night event -- Tomb of Horrors Pathfinder.  This morning, I am quite certain all of my players are crawling out of bed with a caffeine / sugar hangover.

I ran the 3.5 version of Tomb of Horrors with notes on adaptation to Pathfinder (modified DCs, reformulated monster stats).

The first party of five:

  • Felix the Rogue
  • Avatar the Half-Giant with a Cannon in a Bag of Holding IV
  • Sheena the Ninja
  • Another Ninja Banyetta
  • A fighter with a Lucerne Hammer
The party got lucky and found the right entrance first.  They avoided the first set of traps and found their way to the four-armed mutant gargoyle.  No one died, but it was close.  After becoming frustrated with the secret doors labyrinth, the group decided to go back to the main hall and jump through the mouth of the demon (a sphere of annihilation).  The last half-giant didn't want to go, but was pushed in by Banyetta, completing the TPC.

The second group swapped out a couple of characters and also found the true entrance.  They fought off the gargoyle with only one death, thanks to a nice shot with the cannon.  The group found their way through the labyrinth and into another corridor.  Down a crawl-way, the rogue found a brain in a jar.  Crawling into the next room, the failed will save took hold of the rogue, forcing him to stab the fighter (actually a bar-ranger-rogue).  After much girly screaming, the fighter beat the domination right out of the rogue.

The second ninja stripped off some gear and went through the portal, reappearing naked in the entryway again.  Exploring another exit from the main entrance brought him  to a cage with 3 levels.  Pushing all 3 down, dropped the floor out from under him, where he fell into a 100 foot deep pit full of undead that proceeded to eat him.  Another PC Death.

In came the replacement, a ratfolk alchemist.

They found the gem of seeing after sacrificing a buttload of jewels, which greatly pained the greedy rogue.

Down another crawlway, the rogue found three chests.  The first unleashed a scimitar wielding bone golem.  The second produce a ring of protection +1 after the alchemist disarmed it with a bomb of dispelling.  The third unleashed a swarm of snakes which the rogue outrun but was still poisoned by.

The group followed yet another very long crawlway into a temple.  There was some searching and the adventure ended with the half-giant, alchemist, and ninja going through and returning from a misty gate, only to find they had changed gender.

"Hey, I have boobs," said the half-giant.  And on that note we ended the adventure at the stroke of midnight.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monday Night Pathfinder Pirates: The Dominator and the Squib

Monday night we got back to our game.  Kyte, the female magus, Jacen, the rogue captain, Sheene, the ninja cook, and Dugen, the half-giant that thinks he's a dwarf, were back in action.  The Druid missed the announcement that we were restarting but will rejoin us next week.  The other Magus has left the group.

The ship was hit by a surprise squall and the old Magus was knocked overboard and lost at sea.  In addition, at the end of the squall, a bottle washed up onto deck.  The captain very cautiously examined the bottle, an old wine bottle from Candlekeep.  Inside was a wand marked on the side with the words 'Wubba Wubba' -- a wand of wonder.

Getting back underway, the crew continued on towards Luskan.  A day out from port, a large warship appeared on the horizon -- the Dominator.  The crew ran up a Neverwinter flag to attempt to appease the warship running under the Waterdeep flag.  The Dominator ran up the black flag, calling for parley.  Sheena went out in the longboat to meet their first mate.  The conversation was short (and difficult since everyone was trying to remember details from last time we played).  The Dominator left to chase down Captain Barnabas in the Carrion Crow, warning that the Bonny Kate should drop anchor and wait for Caliana of the Waves in the Vengeance who was a day behind the Dominator.

The crew got the Bonny Kate back underway, deciding to try to outrun the Vengeance (if they were even following) by heading north to the Iceflow Squib.  A minor incident with an Eye of the Deep required a bit of fighting on deck, but otherwise the crew arrived without incident.  (Though the captain was nearly loss after falling overboard after being stunned by an eye beam.)

At the Iceflow Squib, Rickety Hake, the local squib, and the local magistrate greeted the incoming crew.  Many found a seat at the Toastey Squirrel, a local wigwam style cabin tavern with a modern bar and an outdated fire ring.  The fire was surrounded by local barbarians toasting winter squirrels over the fire.

The tavern lead to new friends and new information.  The adventure ended with captain buying a new ship off the beach -- The Celestial Kyte, as he renamed it, a medium sized gnomish sailing ship with a hidden gunnery deck.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Appreciation for Monte Cook

I've been getting to know Monte Cook's contribution to D&D and other RPGs, both through his kickstarter for Numenara and through various other public appearances and interviews.  I'm also digging into some of his older D&D contributions.

His genius is reflected in his creations -- for example, a blackguard mindflayer riding a beholder:

I have to admit, I am becoming a big fan.  Numenara is going to be a really interesting new setting, and the related rule-set so far looks elegantly simple.  I am still looking to pickup a copy of Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and I am looking forward to the Call of Cthulu d20 manual that I should be getting this week. I'm also trying to find interesting new uses for the sphere of annihilation.  And someday... someday... I will get around to Ptolus, City by the Spire.

Thank you, Monte Cook.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Old School Maps

I had a lot of time over the summer to stay inside while avoid allergens and heat and air quality ozone action day alerts.  Cruising around the net brought me to a blog talking about an old school map -- I think it was drawn by Gary Gygax.  The image conjured up a lot of memories from when I was a kid and I would spend hours drawing maps on notebook and graph paper.  I'd even make my own graph paper so I could make maps.

So I started drawing, and drawing, and drawing.  It was just a simple dollar store mechanical pencil on a tablet of graph paper, but the layouts just flowed.  Tombs, halls, secret doors, hidden rooms all were fit masterfully together into mazes and puzzles on 8 1/2 by 11 sheets.  Beholder tunnels appeared attached to caves.  Pencil shading filled in the negative space.  A large multi-level temple took form.   Unfortunately, the more a made, the more faded my first drawings became.  Pencil smudges.

So I loaded up the 9 pages of maps into my scanner one by one and converted them into images.  In Gimp, I resized the images to a reasonable  number of pixels and thresholded them so that pencil marks and the grid became black and the rest of the sheet was white.  Preserved in this form forever, I started working on detailing them out for use in an adventure.

Keeping to my drawing, I tried first marking them up in pencil, but pencil doesn't show up well at all on a black and white printout.  So I grabbed a set of colored pens and started marking out room names, trap locations, secret doors, treasures, and all sorts of interesting things onto the maps.  Now they were becoming interesting.  And with the base maps digitally preserved, I can reprint them and reuse them for whatever scenario I need anytime.

The 9 pages of old school maps I put together would take months to adventure through, so I really wonder if I'll ever even get them into play, but it doesn't matter, because it was a lot of fun to practice some old school map making by putting pencil to paper.  It also was one of the most relaxing things I did all summer.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Right Way to PvP

Excellent article over at The She DM on how they did PvP in D&D and it worked out well.

As a GM, I am always up for interesting requests like this.