Dwarven Adventurer

I left the holdfast when I was a young man, grog still stuck in my beard and my grandmother’s axe on my back. I reckoned I’d come back and take over the family business once I’d had a taste of the world.

dwarf adventurer

Thing is, I like how the outside world tastes. I like the evening company of leggy women and sinewy men. I enjoy mulled wine and tea. My people have it right on goat stew and mushrooms, no one else comes close to my dad’s recipe on that and I can feed a city block with a stout goat if I cook it his way.

Hell and Blood, I trim my beard and study fencing. My brothers would give me such shite over it. I can’t even tell ya.

Using G+ Polls to play games: Demi-Goddess of the Were Displacer-Beasts:

I’m having a stupid amount of fun writing this up, always trying to write up choices that are all interesting. My goal is to have the votes be as close as possible, even better if folks are invested and interested in the outcome. It isn’t gaming but it feels like some kind of odd isolation exercise that prepares one for a specific part of gaming, like doing deadlifts to prepare for playing football.

Chapter 1

(NOTE: This first chapter was published under a private circle, the rest have been public.)

In which the Drow empress and her displacer beasts hunt the lycanthrope-infected last human…

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Chapter 2

In which the High Warden of the Matronsguard attempts to avenge her Empress…

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Chapter 3

In which a newly ascended goddess of were-displacer beasts marries her archangel…

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Reading, Planning and Writing on a lovely autumnal Friday

Reading: I put down The Shadow Rising and picked up The Dark Defiles. Morgan’s book just came out and I’m enjoying it. Wheel of Time was driving me crazy with its meaningless trolloc fights, like something out of a poorly D&D game, combats for the sake of action with nothing at stake and nothing interesting about the characters uncovered. My Wheel of Time finish sprint might have lost its steam.

Planning: Two days off this weekend! I’m planning a secret-fun Saturday with the lady-friend and on Monday the buddies be playtesting Space Cops in the Spinward, a Green Lantern-inspired Dogs in the Vineyard hack.

Writing: Choose your own Adventure with G+ polls! Here’s the most recent chapter in which the High Warden of the Matronsguard has a big decision to make in the barren crater gardens of the Moon God.

And you?

Tuesday Night D&D: Fights, Business and Criminals in Big Shire

The party hired a guide, Hugh Bryskett, and his Shire Mastiff riding dog, Abernathy (thanks for the dog’s name, Janaki!) to guide them around the farthings. Shire has strict no-weapons and no inciting adventure laws, so if you hire a guide for 10 gold a day, you can keep your weapons on you because he’ll just explain to the shirriffs that you were just holding old Hugh’s weapons for him, you see.

Big Shire is made up of a dozen farthings, each ruled by its own mayor. It is the Los Angeles of Shires, spread out over the hills as far as the eye can see.

I got to roll on my Big Shire encounter tables. Since the party travels at night, they usually run across folks who have made camp. This time they walked around a few dozen mercenaries, deciding not to engage. Smart move, I thought.

They went to Hugh’s cousin, Bil Niner, an honest merchant halfling as played by Bob Hoskins:

They sold the whereabouts of the Deadshire, after some deliberation for a thousand gold with an extra 200 for accompanying them into the Silent Peninsula and showing them exactly where it is.

Gorgolog continued to work it as a gladiator in a Big Shire bare-knuckle fight:

Tonight Gorgolog, my orc fighter and gladiator, beat up an elf in a pit fight and won the championship belt.

Roleplaying is done. I won it all.

Also, Gorgolog cornered a goblin who was fighting a halfling. The orc’s advice had the goblin bitting and clawing at his opponent. Yes, the goblin will be traveling with them from now on.

Crow cages are set by every road in to Big Shire and are in front of every Shirriff’s office. I had a table for figuring out who was in each cage. Most of the time it was just some halfling thief but last night there was also a dwarven adventurer. When they talked to him, he told them that he had figured out that the surface world’s calendars were years off and there was nothing stopping an enterprising individual from going into the underground world and looting it silly. We are going to start our next game in front of his crow’s cage, several characters thinking about freeing him and having him join up.

I was kind of worried about the game. The two hour time slot is fast, though I’m keeping it fast-paced and there hasn’t been any delving as of yet. I’m making peace with the fact that I have stuff on the map and the players are exploring it at the pace they want to explore it and having fun in the process.

P.S. Dev’s character has named the sun. It is now known as the Hate Star.

D&D: Githzarai Monks, Orcish Wrestlemania, Research in the Library

Session Summary

The group is headed towards Big Shire, hoping to sell the location of Deadshire, an ancient and deserted hobbit shire, to well-to-do halflings in their most metropolitan settlement. On the way they ran across The Monastery of Dor Amon and stopped to sell the books they had stolen from a dwarven caravan last game.

Gorgolog leafed through the Axe Bible, written by the Saint of Axes. Turns out the Saint was a knight who tossed aside his blade, threw off his spurs and beheaded his king, traveling the land to become an axe-wielding bad-ass. Once the orc heard he was human, he lost interest. Orc are finicky readers.

The Githzarai monks were treated to a display of wrestling entertainment as Gorgolog and the Drow/Acolyte Monk, Saav, put on a display of martial prowess. Traditional orc rules say that when the loser is thrown from the circle, they are fed to dogs but since we didn’t have dogs, we’d have to change the stakes a bit. Then Gorgolog took on the monastery’s martial arts instructor, Master of the Thoughtful Fist and lost to her in two punches, both delivered in the first round. Githzarai are NASTY. A total of 3d8 damage from each punch and the ability to throw two in a round. 2d8 of that damage is Psychic damage. Ouch! It is CR 2…hmmm, are the CR’s broken?

It was all in good fun and Gorgolog got up and rocked out like a solid wrestler, leveraging Bret’s passion for sports entertainment.

They traded this night of entertainment for 24 hours of access in the library. I had their Drow/Rogue/Scholar, Fal’ethon. She got 3 questions and rolled appropriate skills for each. She had an advantage die because she had the scholar they rescued from the Ghoul Knight in our first game, who is now traveling with the party. Laura made a roll to convince Yon, the scholar, to change her thesis to be about the underground and its denizens.

Things they learned:

  • The 12 above-ground cities and the basics of what has happened with them in the past 1000 years. Very basic. I’ll draw a map for the next game.
  • The elven aristocracy has left the planet, leaving behind elven thieves and scoundrels. They grew ships from seeds and took to the stars.
  • The big money on this continent is run by the city-state, Vault, owned by a dwarven merchant house.

Next game we will continue to head towards Big Shire, hoping to sell the information of the Deadshire’s whereabouts and then perhaps set off for Vault to make some Big Money from the economic nexus.

Session Thoughts

I’m having a great time, though two hour sessions are rough. It felt slow and it felt like not everyone in the 5 person party got to make a meaningful decision this session, not everyone got to roll dice, which vexes me.

I’m wondering if I’m peppering my hexcrawl map with enough delving and door kicking opportunities. I’m going to go over my map a bit in the week between games and just think it over.

5e Thoughts

Advantage dice and Disadvantage dice are a really neat tool. I can’t get enough of them and I’ve been a fan of them since I first saw them in Whitehack.

Backgrounds are a great way to ground the party in the real world and connect to the setting. I have to be careful because these characters are all from deep underground and so they aren’t linked to the above-ground at all. I still want them to be able to connect to the world through their Backgrounds when it makes sense.

I was mindful of this when Bret proposed trading expensive library access for a wrestling exhibition. I could’ve said that the monks were too staid and not into it but I took his background into account and made the more-fun decision, that kung-fu monk/scribes from another dimension would love to watch an orc kick ass and/or get his ass kicked, allowing the group to party with the monks, drink terrible beer from the Astral Plane and just have a fun night. They never delved into the deeper secrets of the place and that is fine. They got what they wanted. Onward to Big Shire with Hobbit crimelords and sherrifs.

Tomes mentioned in the Monster Manual and X The Mystics Rules of Dungeon Survival

My favorite part of the Monster Manual are the bits of in-character/in-game lore that are notes on the pages.

  1. The Far Realm: Real Yet Unreal by Vaqur Zekh’r
  2. Hooves of Fury by Irvil Grayborn of Sandown
  3. Demonicon of Iggwilv
  4. Mordenkainen the Archmage’s Chronicle
  5. Manual of Clay Golems
  6. Diary of Evangeliza Lavain, necromancer
  7. Night of the Kraken Cultby Malfeore Serrang, Pirate-Mage of Tethyr
  8. Journal of Jaster Hallowquill
  9. Sonnet of a Naughty Satyr (scroll)
  10. Tale of a Half-Orc Ranger
  11. Masters of the Forbidden City by Codo Vidak
  12. X The Mystic’s Rules of Dungeon Survival (series of scrolls)

Ah, X The Mystic’s Rules of Dungeon Survival!

X The Mystic’s 1st Rule of Dungeon Survival: Trust a Flumph.

X The Mystic’s 2nd Rule of Dungeon Survival:  ?

X The Mystic’s 3rd Rule of Dungeon Survival:  Sometimes a chest is just a chest, but don’t bet on it.

X The Mystic’s 4th Rule of Dungeon Survival: No one carves statues of frightened warriors. If you see one, keep your eyes closed and your ears open.

X The Mystic’s 5th Rule of Dungeon Survival: ?

X The Mystic’s 6th Rule of Dungeon Survival: Keep a few gems in your pocket. A hungry xorn is a helpful xorn.

X The Mystic’s 7th Rule of Dungeon Survival: Before opening a sarcophagus, light a torch.

If you possess any copies of X The Mystic’s scrolls containing any of the lost rules, please present them to a librarian, so that their authenticity can be ascertained and then transcribed.