Saturday, October 8, 2011

Retiring this Blog

Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed reading the recaps here.  I just haven't been able to find the time to keep them going.

We're still playing in CotMA -- it's been over a year and the adventurers have only recently managed to enter the 5th level...  Wow.

Any future posts about CotMA or anything else I'm doing will be over at Carjacked Seraphim, my primary blog.

Hope to see you there!
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

CotMA - Episodes 9, 10 and 11

It has been awhile, so this will be a brief recap:

  • The heroes did battle with a male and a female minotaur in a smallish maze.  Roberto (the mule) got skiddish at the approach of the bull-beasts and it fell to Xavier to quiet/rescue the animal.
  • During the battle, Kalen (the luminous) used Light to blind the female minotaur.  
  • A wailing ghoul paralyzed half the party with its mournful screams.  The other half barely kept their wits and were able to destroy the beast before it made a meal of the party.
  • At one point, the game session digressed into a conversation about the relative superiority of humans vs. baboons, chimps and gorillas.  Humans are toast.
  • Oryx was actually successful in finding and disarming an arm slicer trap.
  • The party encounters an extra-dimensional painting depicting a bowl of kobold skulls and a dagger on a table.  Oryx bravely enters the painting to discover that he becomes "oil-painting-ifyed" when in the painting.  Only the parts of the table that are visible, the bowl, the skulls, and the dagger are "real".  There is apparently an infinite drop into nothing should he fall off the table...
  • The dagger turns out to be magical.
  • The party steals the other four (valuable) paintings and places them *into* the extra-dimensional painting for safekeeping.
  • Xavier uses Animate Dead to add five hobgoblin skeletons to the party.  "Post consumer humanoid".  Mesha is in favor of "recycling"
  • The party encounters the orcs again and between the party and the "skele-boys" they soundly defeat them.  Only the firetoads and the firetoad herder are a significant challenge, but Collen and his frostblade (combined with chop and drop... at just the right time...) makes short work of them.
  • A critical hit on a gelatinous cube by Collen and his frostbrand freezes the cube entirely.  Oryx breaks it up with one powerful swing...  Instant "ice" cube...
  • Oryx makes the mistake of touching a floating opaque oily looking bubble.  The resulting explosion is devastating (but) he avoids fatal injury (by using a Krampus coupon)
  • Hanuman foolishly digs *by hand* through a room filled with fungus and mold.  His right arm is quickly engulfed with green goo...  Slow Poison is applied to the wound, but his harm has to be amputated to prevent his eventual death and the total corruption of his body by the ooze.  Collen uses the magic of his frostbrand to make a giant ice cube and the limb is kept in cold storage until the party can return to town.  Hopefully Uuthak can repair the damage...
  • Xavier and Elin use dual Locate Object spells to triangulate the location of the "chamber of arches" that guards the "Pale Mist".  It is determined that the path lies behind a single wall... so...
  • Collen uses the Obsidian Sphere of Decimation to blow a large hole in that wall.  The resulting blast and concussion are almost the end of Collen and it attracts the attention of a roving band of hydrospawn....
  • Oryx puts the Gloves of Spell Storing on and boils the hydrospawn in their own juices using the 8 die fireball...
  • A few of the hydrospawn survive the blast, but they don't last long under the concentrated assaults of the party.  The characters recover three "blorpers".  Hanuman discovers that he can talk to the blorpers becaused they are plant-based.  The blorpers like Hanuman and grant him a "to hit" bonus.  They also tell him how many charges they have left.
  • The adventurers proceed into the chamber of arches.  They discover an orange misty arch that wards undead.  Another arch that is a forcefield.  A third that Dispels Magic and a fourth that repels evil.  Once through the arches, they find a chamber with a stone door sealed with lead and a multitude of religious symbols.  The adventurers cleverly use Sir Owyn's Protection from Evil to funnel the Pale Mist through a narrow crack and into the mist collector.   
  • The party then left the dungeon to heal Hanuman and turn the Pale Mist over to Uuthak as agreed.

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    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    CotMA - Episode 8 (part 2)

    Continued from here.

    Now that the adventurers were back in town, Uuthak was able to tell them a bit more about that preserved crossbow.  A crossbow of accuracy +3!  What a find!  The amount of experience pushed just about everyone over the next level threshold, so dice were rolled...

    Torn, now with darkvision (TM), was oh so close, so he opted to roll on Jeff Rient's Carousing table.

    [Here's where that random thing I love happened!]

    He rolled a 19.  You just can't make this stuff up!

    Torn was visited by our favorite Unknown God, Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.  He shows up and starts complaining about how Kalen isn't taking his quest seriously.  He needs some help and motivation to find the Rod of the Sky Gem.  So, Torn, you're it.  Bachontoi explains that now BOTH of them are compelled to go and find this thing.  Torn asks where it is and Bachontoi says it's in the dungeon.  "But WHERE?", he pleads.  "Seventh level."

    Kalen approaches Uuthak, now that he's third level, and asks if there's some way he can barter for second level spells.  Uuthak says that there is.  He needs a sample of "The Pale Mist".  Apparently some kind of vampiric monster or effect.  "It's found in the chamber of arches on the third level," he explained and handed Kalen a giant jar with valves and various suction apparatuses attached to it.  Kalen was sold and picked two spells as payment.  Uuthak was fine with advancing the spells; if Kalen doesn't follow through -- the party will lose their one route to restoration and healing.  Mwah ah AH!

    To put a cherry on top of this situation, Asp decides to go carousing AND HE ALSO ROLLS A 19!!!  I swear, if you railroaded characters into this stuff, you couldn't force them this way.  :)  Now three different PCs are quested by Bachontoi to go and get that magical rod... and they voluntarily rolled for this.  Gary was right -- the first six levels ARE character background!

    Toward the end of the session, the players (some anyway) decided to open up the Libram of the Midnight Moon.  Now, this book does radiate evil, but not terribly strong evil.  :)  Owyn de Lapins protested strongly, but the larger part of the group was in favor of Kalen seeking out forbidden knowledge.  Owyn allowed the "opening" to continue, but he wasn't liking it one bit[1].  The gang worked together to stack protections upon Kalen (Bless, Shield, Prot Evil, loaner Ring of Protection (from Elin), etc.) and Kalen cast Read Magic and Detect Magic on himself.

    The first "ward" was a spiral set of runes.  Readable by Kalen.  All he had to do was say them aloud.

    Which he did, quietly, this caused blackish/blue flames to burst from the book (special effects only) and the three wax seals and clasps were now accessible.

    Kalen opened the first one.  I asked him to Save vs. Magic and he reached for the d30.  A wise man...

    He rolled a 24 or something equally large and he felt the cold hands of death release from around his neck.  Only a shiver remained where grisly doom once waited...

    He opened the next one.  A huge fire elemental leapt from the seal and focused one of its two attacks on Kalen.  It took several rounds to defeat, but the party was successful at sending the creature back to the elemental plane of fire.

    Then he opened the third seal.  A giant earth elemental appeared and proceeded to bash on Kalen.  The party joined in and eventually despatched the foul beast to the nether realms.

    Kalen leafed through the book and he discovered a number of sections that demanded careful study and reflection.  In addition, he found a number of spells that he can transcribe into his spellbooks.  The spells were of 2nd through 4th level.  JS rolled the spells randomly off the chart in the PH.  If he rolled a duplicate spell, I created a unique spell that matched the theme of the libram.

    Most were standard fare, but he rolled two duplicates; one 2nd and one 3rd.  Those spells are, respectively, The Darken Blight of Malikar and The Forceful Grasp of the Darkling Claw.

    More on those spells later...

    [1]  Owyn's deity, Sinakad, doesn't get all that worked up about these sorts of things (at least he didn't this time.  Translation: I rolled a 4).  He's more concerned about helping people who are trapped or abandoned.
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    Santa, The Krampus and your Humble DM Wish All My Players a Merry Christmas!

    I've created this sheet of gamer coupons for you to bring to our December 30, 2010 game (and if you don't use them all up -- they're good all year!)

    One sheet of coupons per PLAYER please!  Printed copies must be present!

    All of you are great players and it has been my pleasure DMing for you this year!  I hope we continue to have fantastic adventures together into 2011 and beyond!

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    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    CotMA - Episode 8 (part 1)

    The adventurers regrouped after defeating "The Ghost Tower" but several of them were in rough shape.

    Notably, Elin, who had large portions of her body melted by the chaos of Anarus Kalton and was also blinded by the experiment.

    Enter the wizard Uuthak and his marvelous Regen-O-Pod!

    I had been working on a special random table for eyes, but I left it on my desk at work...  Ugh!  I rolled with the punches.  I handed each player other than Elin's player a card and I asked that they put three things on it.

    1. A type of eyes
    2. A location for the eyes
    3. A magical power
    I then asked RF to roll 2d6.  I told him that his target was "7" but he could add or subtract Elin's CON bonus (18 CON = ±2) to get there.  If he got to "7", he could choose the answer to the question.  If he didn't, he had to ask one of his fellow players for the answer off their card...  (insert diabolical laugh here)

    His first roll was a 10.  Nope.  Ask someone... he asked JW who said "compound eyes".  Ack!  The one kind of eyes he didn't want.  I told him that Elin now had a +1 on saves relating to dodging or movement.

    His next roll was 2.  Bummer.  Where are her eyes?  He pointed at LB and she said, "on your hands".  This is a tough crowd...
    His next roll was a 6 and that was modified to 7.  What power?  "the Evil Eye" RF told me.  We agreed to "figure it out" cuz I don't know what I want that to do yet...

    Needless to say, RF is a little disappointed, but this is a sandbox campaign.  You want to get your eyes moved?  You can find a way!

    Two new adventurers, Torn and Asp joined the crew for this foray.  Torn rolled a sidekick, Marus, on Michael Curtis's Character Snowflake table and the old warrior joined the crew.

    On to the dungeon!  The adventurers busted out their maps and decided that they were tough enough to head to the third level where they'd encountered hobgoblins and white apes so long ago...  They figured that they were tougher now and that they'd give the hobbos the old what for.  

    Down they went on staircase B.  It's a long one with lots of loose shale tiles/steps.  Almost impossible to be stealthy in descent.  They arrived at the portcullis to discover it was damaged and jammed in position. Kalen was prepared to use Knock, but the fighters threw their backs into it and were able to drag it three feet off the floor before it was soundly jammed in place.  The group entered the old hobgoblin lair...

    They found it completely abandoned and cleared out.  No clues presented themselves as to where the hobgoblins went.  The party didn't do a thorough search, but decided to leave via a door in one of the known corridors.

    The corridor wound around for quite a distance, but eventually the sounds of an explosion could be heard in the distance.  The party closed in and could hear chittering and shouting in a strange tongue... as they drew closer still it was determined to be kobold!

    The party came upon a group of about 20 kobolds fighting something(s?) that were around the corner out of sight.  Every round a few basketball-sized motes of smoke and fire would fly into the kobold ranks and explode.

    Once the kobolds spied the party, they split their attacks.  Kobold slingers, archers and potion lobbers all bombarded the party to little effect.  The party closed in...

    ... to find three pyro-manticores!  (here's a quick mashup!)
    The pyro-manticore hurls balls of plasma with its tail instead of iron spikes....  Yikes!
    The PCs didn't know it, but they were in for quite a battle (with a few twists)

    [Editorial: I've said this before and I'll say it again -- I LOVE RANDOM STUFF!  You'll find out why a little bit later in this post!]

    As the adventurers closed in on the kobolds, the little lizard/dog men scrambled to fight on two fronts.  Many died and some ran away.  Eventually the party had to deal with the pyro-cores.

    I should have written this down, blow by blow, but that system has proved to be cumbersome.  Perhaps I'll drag it out again and use it for combats vs. big bads like this.  :)

    In the end, three or four PCs had been rolling on the Death/Dismemberment chart.  At one point, Oryx waded through about five kobolds through the use of the Chop when they drop rule.  Torn was blinded by a plasma ball (another trip to see Uuthak!) and several PCs, including old Marus, had been hit DEAD ON with a plasma ball, but took NO DAMAGE due to the eccentricity of the random D,D and DD table!  Priceless!

    Old Marus was riding on Roberto the mule when the plasma ball hit... the ball careened off the reinforced steel shields the characters are strapping to the mules sides as backups.  All that happened was a gout of flame, a whoosh of sparks and the smell of burning hair.  Awesome!

    Kalen busted out the scorpion poison and applied it to his darts.  It was discovered that the poison wouldn't kill the pyro-cores outright, but it did hurt them AND short circuit their plasma ability.  It took about ten rounds, but the PCs were eventually triumphant.  They gathered some monster bits for Uuthak and searched for treasure.  They found a rotting chest with a strangely preserved medium crossbow under a pile of bones.

    Back to town for healing and restoration!

    Once back in town we repeated the Regen-O-Pod eye trick for Torn.  He was much luckier than Elin.  He has a ±1 CON bonus, but he didn't need it for his first two rolls; 7's on the dot.

    NC declared that his eyes were human AND they were placed normally.  Possibly one of Uuthak's most successful regenerations!  He bombed his third roll and pointed at JS who informed him that he had "darkvision".  Not bad at all...

    (More to come!)
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    Magic Items from the Ghost Tower

    Here's the haul that the PCs took out of the Ghost Tower.  Their patron (of sorts) Uuthak has been helping them with identification...

    3 sets of spider fangs -- these and 1 gp will get you a nice flagon of mead...

    1 bottle (magic) unidentified -- Oil of Slipperiness (1 use) -- 750 XP

    black onyx sphere (magic) unidentified -- Obsidian Sphere of Decimation -- bearer crits on 19, 20 -- can be activated (with unpredictable results) like a grenade (one time only) by bearer -- 2000 XP

    3 rare alchemy ingredients -- Uuthak will accept these as payment for the two trips into the Regen-O-Pod

    journal with rod/purple mist instructions -- Uuthak will pay 1000 GP for this book

    signet ring of House Kalton -- Giving this to Traevus will double your reward to 2000 gp

    Skull of Traevus's brother -- worth 1000 gp in reward

    Amulet (unidentified) -- Reflecting Amulet of Hesitation -- If the wearer saves vs. a targeted spell, it will be reflected back upon the caster (who gets a save).  The wearer always acts LAST in combat. -- 5000 XP

    5 gems (extremely wondrous and valuable looking) -- we'll do the old 3d6x100 trick when we get together tomorrow

    potion (unidentified) -  extra healing (2d8+2 per dose; two doses) -- 1600 XP

    pair of gloves -- Gloves of Spell Storing -- wizard puts the gloves on and casts a spell.  The gloves remember the spell.  You take the gloves off.  Whoever puts the gloves back on can cast the spell stored within as the original caster.  When the spell is cast, the gloves are empty. Each function can only be used once per day (store and cast).  -- 15,000 XP

    Dark Codex (sealed) -- Libram of the Midnight Moon -- this tome is sealed with magicks and runes -- the party can work to unseal it, but that will require some play...  -- 2000 XP for finding it

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    New Characters

    One of my longtime players, NC, has rolled these two up and added them to the adventuring party in CotMA.  Enjoy!

    Torn Sunderhelm/ Human Fighter/Former chieftan of a viking style barbarian clan
    Str-17 Dex-14 Con-16 Int 12 Wis-10 Cha-13

    He was beaten in ritual combat by an up and coming warrior, and was replaced and banished by tradition. His wife died in childbirth of his only son, so he has no ties with the clan. The older warriors are still loyal, and hate to see him go as he was a strong and just leader. Reality is,the strain of leadership, and the boredom of peace was gnawing at his soul. By the gods, a warrior of his skill needs to die in battle, not wrapped in furs in a longhouse. His people will praise his name once more. He truly hopes no one saw him throw the fight at the last moment! It will make the clan hard to manage for the poor young warrior. His dreams of becoming a hero were momentarily interrupted, as his horse rounded a small stone building and he heard a popping and crackling like campfire bacon in a nest of snakes?

    Asp Tombseeker/ Halfling/ Lone surviving member of the Black Sash adventuring group.
    Str-13 Dex-18 Con-17 Int-14 Wis-11 Cha-7

    Aspar crawled from the tomb entrance, and collapsed smoking in the weed strewn entryway. The sizzling of acid could still be heard, like a panful of Burrowdown bacon. He no longer had the ability to scream, as the clever acid mist trap had savaged his vocal chords, and rendered his face into a permanent rictus of pain. The best he could manage was a sibilant whisper of agony. If only he had listened to his instincts, and  searched for the secondary trigger on the final door to the wizards tomb, he would be laughing and doing a jig, holding the biggest ruby in Queston. But no, the other Black Sash's had to rush him as usual. He always gave them enough time to swing swords and cast spells. Why were they always rushing him at his art. Well, technically they wouldn't rush him any more, Aspar silently mused. Tomman was pummeled to death by the hulking tomb guardian, and Rafe was incinerated by his own fireball. Quel wouldn't let him search the strange corridor, so he never saw the tripwire that triggered the blade trap that removed his fool head. Shari would never smile at him in that funny way again. They had been making so much damn noise, no one had heard the pack of ghouls stalking them until it was too late. He could still hear her screaming as they dragged her down that hole.
    The last thing he heard was a deep male voice. "You are in bad shape little one, what is your name?"
    "AAAAASP" came the strangled reply, just as the mangled halfling passed out.
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