A Few Thoughts On A Game I Was Invited To...

As I mentioned last post, I have been invited to join a group that's playing through a 12th level 3.5-only campaign.

This could be fun. Epic (not in game-rule-sense) characters, trying to stabilize the world in the aftermath of war! Or cleaning up the remnants of the dark forces before they can rebuild their most devastating weapons! Or resealing the wards that lock down the ancient terror(s) that one army was trying to unleash upon the world!

Sounds cool, right? Any way that could go would be awesome, but the bad thing about the campaign is that, try as I might, I can't get any info about the setting from the person that runs the game. Info that even a character as high level as 12th would know. Not even day-to-day stuff.

Not only that, but I also can't get the information I need to make a character, so that I can bring something to the table and not have to drag the game down with time-consuming character choices.

This seems to be for multiple reasons. First, the person running the game is apparently writing a book, and seems to think that even IP that doesn't belong to her is her IP, and thus, is wary of sharing anything that could aid and expedite her game (character creation away from the table) and also seems to make arbitrary calls on what is and is not allowed in the game.

Granted, these calls could very well be made to uphold the flavor of the setting, but I just feel that this person is falling into a trap that many novice GMs fall into... the "My Game Is So Cool" trap. This is characterized, variously, by different things that GMs do to make sure the PCs don't mess up their campaign worlds.

Things like...
  • GM PCs, characters created and ran by the GM to railroad the group into not doing things that the GM feels would spoil their world (i.e., takeovers, assassinations, etc.) These characters are generally characterized by being created outside the boundaries of player creation rules.
  • Intense control of character options through every step of creation. On the outside, one might say that every GM does this, but usually not to the same extent. In these cases, very few limitations are actually communicated, but then crop up at every stage of character creation, limiting class, race, spells, and even feats and skills.
  • Setting Static, in which no matter what you may do to disrupt person, place, or thing X, there is always answer Y to counter it, whether that be the person being immensely more powerful than they should be, protective wards on the location, or unforeseen NPCs ready to jump into any vacancies created by the PCs before they, themselves, have a chance to do so.
The fallacy here is that by putting up these things, that the GM invariably sees as non-restrictive, they are choking the life out of their own creativity and the creativity of their players, which can lead to bitterness between players, or between players and GMs.

The fact that it is a fallacy is upheld by the fact that, no matter how many limitations are put into place, the players, if they are not having fun, will begin to make the campaign fun for themselves, or will eventually end up dropping out of the group. To quote a classic paraphrase in the gaming community, "No campaign survives contact with the players."

Having said all that, it may seem that I am being very derisive toward the game and the persons running and playing in it, but that's not my intent. I'm merely putting forward an at-a-glace opinion of what I see.

I certainly do hope that the game is fun, and that all participating enjoy themselves, but ultimately, I feel that the game will fail on the points I have presented above. Already, one campaign was aborted after only a few meetings, and I just feel that, perhaps, there is too much on the plate of someone who seems new to the task of GMing.

Happy Halloween!

First off, let me wish everyone a Happy Halloween, and I hope that if anyone goes out tonight with their kids or otherwise, that they are safe and have a blast.

Gaming, for me, has fallen off a little, as our group currently doesn't have a place to play regularly, but there are still some things on the plate that I hope will continue.

First of those things is Magic. I've been playing quite a bit more, and I really love the new set, Innistrad. Though there's really nothing new and innovative in the set, I do think it balances the comfortable play speeds of older sets with the rising power curve in cards that have been seen in the past few years.

Playing Limited in Innistrad is a blast, also, and that's always good with a new set.

Second, Paul has begun a game on Wednesdays at Batesville Gaming Center using the 3.x rules, and me, David, John C, Taylor, and Steve have all hopped on board. John C has yet to make a character, but so far we have a Spellthief, a Marshall, a Dragon Shaman, and a Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade.

I know a little of the story, but I'll not post here til Paul lets everyone in on it.

Next are the two games our group has going... David's Dark Heresy game, and a new Pathfinder game I'm running set in the Forgotten Realms (the nation of Halruaa, to be exact.)

Obviously, with me running a new game, that means the Wilderlands game has come to an end, and indeed it has. With a TPK, no less. I may eventually get around to posting what happened there, but right now, I'm working fairly hard on putting together what I hope will be a fun game for my players, and will give them an opportunity to explore the Realms!

The characters are an eclectic mix, and have yet to have their mettle tested, but time will tell for our Rock Gnome Gunslinger (Steve,) Fire Genasi Sorceror[Wordcaster] (David,) Human Monk (Taylor,) and Human Bard[Dervish Dancer] (Angela.)

So far, all they've done is met some powerful wizards and delivered invitations to a number of them for a party of some sort. Action packed!

David's Dark Heresy game has furthered only a little, as we've slogged through slow investigation, and ultimately lost Steve's Guardsman to a grenade party that Taylor decided to throw for some warp zombies. We have yet to see the conclusion of our venture onto Sinophia, and hopefully can solve the mysteries of the Archenemy that hide there!

I've also been throwing around the possibility of running various other games, either via text, like picking up the WoD game, or at the shop, etc.

Finally, I'm going to touch a little on a game that I have been invited to in my next post. It's ran by some former patrons of my shop. The game is presented as a 12th level high-fantasy campaign set in a world that, apparently, has just experienced war.


Magic Put A Spell On Me

It's obvious that I've not been posting on here in quite some time, and the reason is that pretty much all of my downtime has gone into Magic: The Gathering.

I had been reading articles, doing research into the meta, and tweaking the deck that I eventually ran at the "2011s" yesterday.

Here (That "Here" will be a link to the decklist as soon as MTGFanatic fixes their site) is the deck that I ran at the State Championships, that got me 57th place out of 108 total entrants. I would like to think that I did better than that other 51, and in a sense I did, but the truth of the matter is that at the end of the tournament, there were only 63 players still in.

57th out of 63 places just doesn't feel as good.

Looking back, there are certainly things I could have done to make the deck more consistent. It played strong in early turns, but when it came down to winning, I hadn't put enough finishers in. I had discussed the deck the previous night with Carl some, but didn't change the list, and then he text me again on event day, but it was too late for me to have changed my list.

In his text, he again urged me to consider adding draw and bolstering my finishers by adding maybe more titans or swords to my deck. Now, as I think about the games I played, other than a few mistakes made during play, I feel I should have listened when we spoke on Friday night, and at least tested the options.

Overall, I was overconfident in my deck's ability. It tested well in the preceeding days, and I felt like I had the major players covered with my sideboard options. I feel, perhaps, that if testing had gone worse, I would have been more prone to make the changes. It would have helped to have had more practice against Geistblade, Mono Red, and the mirror, as that's what I played against.

Having said all that, I did have fun. It's always a good experience to play in larger tournaments like that, if for no other reason than to play against people who you'd not normally have the chance.

I'd like to congratulate the guys I went down with... Taylor, who took 49th, and David, who was edged out of Top 8 contention on tie-breakers and took a very strong 12th place. I'd also like to congratulate all the Top 8, and especially the Arkansas State Champion and all the other State and Provincial Champions out there!


I'm On A Boat! In The 41st Millennia!

Friday was such a nice change of pace!

After cleaning up a few things as far as character creation goes, the group settled in for David's run of the 2nd book of the Haarlock's Legacy Trilogy, Damned Cities!

I have to say, for all that I spoke of the other day on how I feel the system can be very top-heavy and clunky leading up to gameplay, once you actually get into the action, things go quite a bit more smoothly than one might anticipate. For those who have played an RPG before, especially, the systems involved are very intuitive, the play's the same, as might be said, with the rolling mechanic being the only real difference.

With Angela being our one new player to the system, we only really encountered having to explain how modifiers affected your target numbers as the only "problem" on the night, and I can honestly say that's a blessing within a system as rich as the one Fantasy Flight uses for its 40k line of RPGs.

At any rate, we got off to a somewhat shaky start when David realized he had read the 3rd book instead of the 2nd for preparations, but made a good show of it, not having to pause much (except for a few hilarious tangents) to get us rolling.

And so, with our orders patched Astropathically to us, we made course for the planet Sinophia to deal with some rather interesting and gruesome murders that had baffled local authorities, and was giving even the tech adepts trouble when it came to collection of evidence in any spectra.

Touching down after a flight that would make a squig rider complain, we disembarked onto a platform that shared a color with the rain, that shared a color with the nearby canal's water, that shared a color with the sky...into a rain heavy enough to soak through our clothes.

Our pilot departed as soon as possible, leaving us with no clue on where to go, our orders giving us names of locations, but no relative spatial coordinates.

Then came Charon, a munitorum clerk and pilot of a water craft that could get us to Haarlock's Folly, where we were to rendezvous with the local Arbites. An easy enough task, save for the fact that we came across what appeared to be gangers trying to board and destroy a barge that was manned with the personal guard of a local noble house...at least according to Charon, which was good enough for us, so we sprang to action!

I made the clerk pilot us closer, so that we could attack the skiff-bound pirate/gangers, ("Skags" they call them here, apparently,) and aid the servants of the Imperium in restoring a modicum of normalcy to this place.

The battle was exhilirating, and the Emperor lent his wrath to us in dispatching justice! With just a few warning shots fired into the air from me, and one shot that I meant to hit, to show that our justice would be swift, the cowards routed from the fury of the Emperor's true subjects!

Next time, we interrogate a prisoner and the barge's occupants!


A Word On Group/Character Cohesion

I know I've already griped about how character creation went for the Dark Heresy game last night, but I have a few more things I want to hit on, that I feel will affect the overall tone and perhaps enjoyment of the game, itself.

The issue is character cohesion.

Last night, I kept saying I would like for everyone to take group cohesion into mind, and after some thought, I really meant character cohesion. The group, I feel, could be interpreted as us as the players, which I don't think we'll have problems with at all. The group as a whole has been gaming together for years, and though we might disagree on things time to time, we certainly don't try to derail each other'a playing of the games, so that's a non-issue.

No, I was more pushing for character cohesion...complimentary skills and talents that would help cover the weaknesses of the other members of the group. Instead, we have half-melee oriented party, with me almost neglecting combat completely, and Taylor's character being a grenade chukker. I didn't get to look over skills and talents, so it might not be as bad as I envision it, but I'm seeing huge gaps that need to be covered early on, and I'm not sure who is going to fill them.

I know it seems unreasonable to think that they would need to be filled, or that people would need to build X character. It's true, I don't want anyone to play something they don't want to play just to cover a specific weakness, and David, who is running the game, doesn't either, else he would have restricted our creation choices...so I guess it just boils down to me being miffed at everyone ignoring my call for cohesive building.

Part of it is that I'm trying to figure out why an Inquisitor would send out a team of Acolytes consisting of a melee Assassin, a grenade throwing Assassin, an Arbite mostly skilled in "Public Relations" (shouting more than shooting/beating,) and a Guardsman prone to shredding people with a chainsword. Sure, I think we'll all have fun, but someone's either going to be hurt when a grenade is thrown into a crowd where the guardman and meleeAss are, or Taylor's going to have to forgo actions, and if everyone is insanely martial, how often am I going to be able to employ my social skills?

Dark Heresy is just the kind of game where I feel things like that are more important than they are in games like D&D. My two cents. Not like I don't think it's not going to be a blast or anything. I truly enjoy the game.

Character Creation In The Grim, Dark Future

As mentioned before, Taylor has ended his 3.5 game, and the group settled on David's Dark Heresy game to come next, so we converged at Angela and Taylor's to create characters for our forays into the second book of The Haarlock Legacy - Damned Cities!

There were a few problems with character creation last night, not the least of which being that we only had one week between ending one game and jumping to the next. We certainly take gaming seriously, and have no problems in the transition itself, but...more than anything, this just caused a jam because the copy I had ordered of the Core Rulebook didn't arrive yesterday, like was my hope, leaving us with just one book to build four characters from.

We let Angela use the books the most last night, since she was the newest player to the system, but when it came down to it, David, Taylor, and I couldn't remember too much, and Steve could remember even less about the system, because it has been about two years since we touched the system at all.

Taking in all the hang-ups and time it takes to build a character, even with a familiarity to the system, I can honestly say that, unless some gamers are definitely into 40k as a whole, I just don't see Dark Heresy, and by extension, the other three games Fantasy Flight has in the 40k line, as a good beginner's game. The price, at one time, may have been an issue with me, but I feel that you get the quality you would expect, as well as a tome chock full of game, but at the same time, I'm an adult, with a steady job, who isn't really hurting at the moment. If I were me 15 years ago and glanced at the game, I wouldn't give it a second look after seeing the price, except maybe to tell others to buy it for me for Christmas or birthday.

Then, if I did get it, and I tried to get my friends to learn this game, and get everyone to make characters, I could see it taking multiple sessions just getting that done, even if I had brushed up on the character creation rules. There's just too much back and forth looking at skills and talents for advancement, especially if you want anything beyond rank one, and that's not to mention the pages upon pages of gear that can be selected, especially weapons! Which, sadly, aren't always in the same section of any given book.

So, if I had managed to slog through character creation without losing all my players, and it came time to select gear (assuming they had more than a few thrones,) then that would be more page turning to deal with. If anything hindered us more than the lack of multiple books and our own time-forced ignorance, then it was the poor layout of the supplements available. It's very frustrating glancing over an armor, say, as you're after something else, then when you try to find it again, you have to run through 7 or 8 different armor sections to find the right one!

Maybe I'm being too harsh. Once I found what I wanted, it wasn't terrible to stat up a Rank 4 character, and more than likely, if we had been making Rank 1 characters, then this would have been much easier and less time consuming. I'm just the type of person who loves building characters, and this time, it just wasn't enjoyable to me.

Next week, however, we delve into the corruption of Sinophia!


Player Wiles? Wilderland Woes.

It took me a few days to post the session recap for last Sunday, not because I wasn't getting around to it, no...I had come on and began to type more than a few times, but didn't. The real reason it took me so long to post was because I just didn't enjoy what I was about to post.

You see, I began my Pathfinder Wilderlands game with the stated premise that the PCs would have a base of operations and would venture outward from there, seeking fortune and adventure!

This model has collapsed the past three sessions, and with it, some of my excitement for the game.

It's disheartening to feel this way, and I'm not pulling a shroud over the game's corpse or anything just yet, but the game is just moving from the original direction that I intended, one of a Sandbox style game, to more of a story-driven direction, and it's ultimately not what I want. Not to the extent that it's going, anyway.

Of course, I want there to be a backdrop story. I want the world to be dynamic, but I also want the game to center on the things that should be important...adventuring and gathering wealth and power. Is there a compromise here? Should I just bite the bullet and play it through and see what happens? Are Sandbox play and Story-driven play mutually exclusive from each other?

I'm not sure. I'm simply a minor theorist. I leave the heavy lifting in that arena to the people who care much more than I do, but what I do want is to understand the game, and while doing so, understand my players and their wants, as well as to learn what I like and want, something I'm not sure I have a firm grasp of, despite my 15 years in the hobby.

I'm just typing out loud here, but I do have worries that if the game continues to go in this direction, that I'll lose interest in it, and on many levels I don't think that's fair to my players or myself, but I do like to hold the integrity of any game I run or play in to the original model.


Two Days' Walk And A Hammer

Sunday, we picked up the Wilderlands campaign where we left off, without Dave or Travis (surprise, surprise!)

With the political situation in Bugbear Falls like it is, and the encroachment of a new blight to the area, the party spent plenty of time in deliberation as to what they wanted to do, and how they would go about doing it.

This took up much of the session.

Once a decision was made, and after arguing back and forth about its merits, the group decided to follow Lucius' lead to the south to collect the services of an Ogre tribe in the siege of The Falls that will act as a distraction as the group infiltrates and decapitates the corruption, after rooting it out.

Shortly after departing from Eldam's camp, while traversing the crescent of farmlands near Bugbear Falls, the group had two Ceustodaemons (basically tough beater-style summon fodder for the Four Horsemen) summoned into their midst by an unknown source! They finished the fiends off, banishing them back to their home plane, but not before losing a couple of NPC comrades, one being Se'ah, to the massive trauma caused by the daemons' frosty breath weapons.

After taking refuge in a nearby farmhouse after the fight, we all had a pretty good laugh when Steve realized that Jadazh had left one of his retainers out in the field, unconscious. Fortunately, the lad had been left unmolested by creatures of the wild, and was able to sleep off some of his injuries under the stars.

The band had decided to ferry across the river Modron at Hyyap, and with but a day before getting there, they ran across a mutated mass of thick, bright green, vines...which apparently bit Jadazh when he approached them, but in actuality hid a talkative, deceptive, and greedy Aranea, who was quick to tell the party that the vines were theirs, then upon failing to bring Jadazh and Chas under its sway, began to try to convince the group that it was a cursed human child.

The initial attacks by the creature on the party led the group to continue its assault, and then seek whatever the spider-thing was searching for under the vines once it was dispatched. Surprisingly, the creature held what is perhaps the most valuable piece of treasure recovered by them...a magical hammer! The hammer's distinctive look - an angel, wings spread and forming the head of the hammer - sparked a memory in Jadazh of a story he had heard or read about the weapon, it having been crafted over a millennium ago by arcanists loyal to the Invincible Overlord to combat the demonic legions summoned by the World Emperor's own wizards, but lost in The Demon Siege while weilded by a City-State general named Arikin.

Such a great find was hard for Jadazh to conceal, for after the group made it to Hyyap, and they were taking their meals, he hefted the weapon up while speaking, drawing every eye in the tavern to its soft glow.

The party was about to settle themselves for the night before taking a ferry across the gap, and then continuing on to "The Twist," where the ogre tribe supposedly lives, according to Lucius.


An End To A Menace And A Campaign And What's Next

And so, tonight, after long sessions slogging through the depths of the secure sanctums the kobold tribe held for their "lord," we finally met the beast, and were surprised not that it was a dragon, but that it was a green dragon!

Though Chymond originally made offerings of negotiation to the as-yet-unseen "lord," the creature was apparently paranoid, and voraciousness in its appetite led it to disregard any diplomacy and immediately attack, utilizing its breath to good effect against our grouped-up party.

Chymond had cast Shield Other on his companions, and Oth had followed up with Mass Fire Shield, setting the party up for an extended engagement in which the dragon would take damage if it attacked, and less damage would be put into those attacked, save for Chymond, whose role in the fight was basically to stand back and heal himself to keep up with the damage output.

Within just a few rounds, and after tons of devastating attacks, our side just narrowly won out, the dragon's body sinking into his extra-dimensional mire, likely to haunt us again....

...but not in the near future.

Taylor ended his campaign on that note, telling us that it's possible we might revisit it, if we ever cared to, but that, for the most part, he had said all he wanted to with the campaign, and that anything he did after would just feel forced, and more of the same.

Though there is always a small sense of sadness along with the end of a game/retirement of the characters within, our group is not giving up Friday gaming, and we have excitement building for a Dark Heresy game that David is planning to run. Character creation is next week, when we assemble our rag-tag band of Acolytes to tackle the 2nd book of the Haarlock Legacy!

For those wondering why we're playing the 2nd book, back in 2009, David ran a rather large group of us through the first book, which ended in a few characters (mine included) revealing that they all had a different idea of what we felt the Emperor wanted, and so it ended up that we didn't save the day, and Taylor's Cleric and my Psyker were the last ones standing, with a "the Empire will never know..." ending.
I had thought I had blogged about the campaign, but I'm not finding it. Sad, since it was certainly memorable!


Celebrity Gaming

While doing some research earlier into game design, I ran across a few articles that spoke of celebs like Seth Rogen, Patton Oswalt, and even Stephen King as possible Magic: The Gathering players.

It's pretty much public knowledge that Vin Diesel was (is?) a D&D player, and others such as Stephen Colbert and Lauren Graham have mentioned playing, too, if I'm not mistaken.

So, taking that into account, why don't we know about more? The law of averages says that there are many more celebs that enjoy tabletop gaming of some sort, but why do they not come forward with it?

Personally, I think it would be awesome, and tying in to my post a few days ago about shy players, might even help some of those people who are still in their shell come out once they see someone famous enjoys the hobby, and it would definitely draw a larger crowd to the games played by the celebs.

I certainly hope that the 'geek' stigma isn't what keeps them from mentioning their gaming preferences and pasts. That would be rather tragic. Everyone should be able to enjoy our great hobby.

Anyone out there know of certain celebs that play CCGs or RPGs?


To Siege, Or Not To Siege? That Is The Question!

As I spoke of in yesterday's post, one of the ideas put forth by the group to settle the matters happening in Bugbear Falls was to put an elite strike team (them) in the city, and have a force besiege to create a distraction, letting them have easier access to the inner bailey, and thus, the keep.

Now, I'm not one to hinder my player's options, so if that's what they want to do, and they come up with the means to do it, then more power to them! However, one thing that I am, is inexperienced with running anything like a siege.

I have, in the past, ran sessions that included mass numbers of combatants/troops, but those were ran with large-ish skirmishes instead of actually running military-like confrontations, with squads, battalions, etc.

I've tentatively looked into the rules presented for mass combat in the Miniatures Handbook and in Heroes of Battle, but need to read further to fully grasp what they entail. I also have a copy of 2nd Edition's Combat & Tactics, but something in the back of my mind is telling me that that way lies only complexity. Having said that, and though I am running a d20 based game, I am certainly willing to look at other system's rules or suggestions for mass combat/sieges.

Maybe there's something out there, perhaps even something I own, that I'm overlooking.


This Hive of Scum and Villainy Ain't So Bad!

Today we convened for our usual Wilderlands game minus Dave P. and Travis, but having regained Steve, which is a shame, because our two newest players may have had quite a bit to add to this session. Much plotting and intrigue is afoot!

As we opened, the group had just dispatched a basilisk and Lucius made a sketch of the suspected Fey Gate that Chas had found in the earliest days of the campaign. After doing so, just when he was about to exit, Lucius caught the light scent of wet earth and flowers, making him think that the Gate had been activated in the past few hours. This information he kept to himself, and with the (in Chas' case, eager) blessings of the group, all headed back toward the area of Bugbear Falls, with the intention of searching for River Wilds, the former Captain of the Watch.

Seeking to include Jadazh in their search, the party then went toward the gates of the city, when an explosion erupted from within. At the group's guildhouse, a messenger had arrived with what he claimed was a message for Gabrielle, which, when flipped over, and the wax seal read by one of Jadazh's axemen (I can't remember which, I can't find the sheet with Steve's NPCs,) an explosion was triggered that took the life of him and the messenger, and hurt the orc, Kizziar, and several bystanders in the street outside, as well as a few watchmen.

The party rushed into the city toward their house, where Jadazh and Kizziar explained what had happened first to them, then to the new Captain of the Watch, Praetor Donnlo and a few of his higher-ranking watchmen after they arrived on scene. Praetor did a cursory search of the house, then left after a few more words with the group, telling them he would find them if he needed to. However, dusk loomed, and not wanting to be trapped in town for the night with people obviously wanting to do away with them, the party gathered all their belongings and hirelings, cleared their accounts with the bank, and headed out of town and toward the hills north of the keep.

During their travels north, as the party skirted the farmlands that feed The Falls, they encountered many instances of a blight known as Nettlevine that, according to the tome Chas took from the carved temple near the Caves of Chaos, is the product of fell magic, and is hard to remove once it has asserted itself in flora and fauna.

The local farmlands hadn't been the only things, affected, the group soon found, as when they fell an owlbear on their first morning out, and began to clean the thing for possible breakfast, they found lesions under it's skin, and a thin film of black mold-looking material, though Gabrielle ate some with the intent of consuming less of the group's resources, holding to her divinely-granted immunity to diseases for protection.

Packing up that morning and heading out further into the mountains, it wasn't long before our company was set upon by Eldam's right-hand Gnome, Co, and after some deliberation they were led to a camp where the bandit lord and his men, plus River, and Gabrielle's squires, had all sequestered themselves and were already discussing the matters in the region, including the mysterious blighting and the political environment in Bugbear Falls.

This, then, is when things turned serious, with many an idea floating about sieges, precision strikes, diversions, etc. to root out the heart of what appears to be corruption in Bugbear Falls! This was pretty engaging, and it was fun listening to my players deliberate some rather extreme options. It really shone through that they care for some of the NPCs featured in the campaign, and they care about Bugbear Falls, partially because it is their home, but for more than just that. There is certainly an investment in roleplay there.

We left off with the deliberation still going, and I look forward to next session. What lengths will the PCs go to ensure peace and prosperity in their corner of the Wilderlands?!


To Be, Or Not To Be...A Roleplayer

Last night was the culmination of a week-long acting camp that my brother's youngest boy took part in, in which the troupe performed 2 versions of Hamlet (Through A Glass, Dimly & Quarto Hour,) and one girl did Kate's famous monologue from As You Like It.

Overall, I found the production to be light-hearted and fun, though I would have liked the first rendition to have been less condensed, but I digress. The reason I write this is because as I sat there, I thought of how many of those kids would make great roleplayers, but would likely never pick up any rpgs in their life.

As I sat with my family, one of the performers, a young girl, was sitting in front of us at her cue, and my brother leaned forward and asked if she was nervous. She said yes, and she fidgeted and rocked quite a bit, but once her part came, she was quick, and did well to carry her voice out. Then, in the second version of Hamlet, she did well again, as did they all, in acting out their parts.

While I understand that acting and roleplaying are not one and the same, and that if they did happen to play, dicing actions might be the thing to turn them off, I certainly think that it's a shame that more performers don't pick up rpgs, as a whole.

I've noticed through my years of playing, that all it takes to get quiet players to come out of their shells is to have another player at the table who is boisterous and will encourage others' roleplaying. Someone who is already sure of themselves when it comes to speaking in front of groups would only help this great hobby we share.

In fact, I can thank D&D some for my coming out of my shell. It helped me quite a bit that I could see the people I played with flub it up and then laugh it off, but never lose confidence in their play, and continue their railing against the king or what have you.

So, if any of you know actors, choir members, politicians, or musicians (or anyone who speaks/performs publicly,) encourage them to pick up some dice and join this great hobby of ours!

Oh, and btw...my nephew died, and he did so loudly and with little grace. I am very proud!

Musical Inspiration, vol. 7 - Noobie Noobinson

Today's auditory feast is "Meridian Nights (Noobie's Grim Dark Future Remix)" brought to you by the group Noobie Noobinson, and is from the Warhammer 40k Dawn of War 2 soundtrack.

The song has no vocals except for an opening monologue by, presumably, a Space Marine, and a few later repeated quotes by the same, but it evokes a feel for the universe that I think carried a bit better than the very militaristic symphonic tracks on the soundtrack.

Have a listen, let it fill your mind with an arriving fleet accompanying a Battle Barge, and let that inspire your next session of Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, or DeathWatch!

I've included the monologue's text in case you happen to miss any of it.

Sub-Sector Aurelia. This cluster of worlds stands on the very edge of the Imperium of Man. From this frontier came the Blood Ravens - a chapter of the Emperor's own Space Marines. Now savage aliens seek to overrun the sector and break the Blood Ravens once and for all.

Purge the alien

Remember - death is the servant of the righteous

Purge the alien

*As always, I don't own this, blah blah blah.


Guns: Do They Deserve A Place In Your RPG?

This, I think, is just as old a debate as the whole Sci-Fi in Fantasy thing, and really? It's just boils down to how much peanut butter you like in your chocolate, and I'm a fan of Reese's cups!

No, really...I am, but I digress.

I've never really been a purist when it comes to my fantasy. As someone who was first introduced to RPGs through games like Crystalis and Final Fantasy, I had always just assumed a certain level of tech was A-OK, and then I started gaming, and some of the people I encountered were so strict about it, to the point where I wonder if they would consider even sighting modifications for crossbows.

And so it was that, for a very long time, unless the game was sci-fi or modern or something of a similar vein, no signs of higher tech, and especially not guns, were encountered in my playing experience.

While I didn't get to play a character in the first game I'd encountered to incorporate firearms, all that I had missed out on came to the fore when I started running a campaign set in the Forgotten Realms with a slightly advanced timeline (compared to the 3.x FRCS.)

In that campaign, a group in Lantan had gotten the breakthrough that was actual gunpowder, and swiftly began manufacturing (relatively) cheap guns, of which my pal Zack's Scout owned 2. Pistols, to be exact, which he further modified in-game to be 4-chambered revolvers.

My initial reservations mostly were with the damage output of firearms, and how, at early-to-mid levels, not only were the weapons devastating in the hands of PCs, but they could end an adventuring career quickly if the opposing team had them.

And though what I feared is most certainly true, and was almost made manifest a few times, including firearms also added a certain mystery to tech that I feel, in some cases, rivaled magic, and even if the weapons were amazingly destructive, it was tempered by the fact that my players were big boys and could handle a character death, and the simple fact that the things, while cheaper than a normal gun in the realms, was still prohibitively expensive, meaning that not everyone was toting a long tom around to supplement their swords.

The whole reason I'm even talking about this is the release of Ultimate Combat for the Pathfinder RPG, and the rules for the Gunslinger class and large list of firearms available.

Though I feel that the Gunslinger can tilt a little on the unbalanced side, I'm not one to care about that, really, and I don't see it as a fault. The abilities are well thought-out and flavorful, many of them reminiscent of spaghetti western action and tropes. They even have a "Mysterious Stranger" archetype with an ability called No Name. Classic stuff.

The weapons themselves, I have very little issues with, and while I, personally, wouldn't include all the guns provided in the weapon chapter, I certainly wouldn't balk at including a few, and perhaps conceding one or two to a player who wanted to manufacture some of the more ambitious (and powerful) weapons.

I think that guns can make a powerful and mysterious weapon for a fantasy campaign, and I embrace the chance to throw interesting things in my game to give my players something new and surprising. I'm the kind of DM that will throw Warforged Titans that can transform into Lightning Rail troop transports into my game, so yeah...

I can understand if it's not your thing, but I would recommend the Pathfinder rules for the use of firearms if you are running a game derivative of the 3.x system. It's streamlined and designed well enough that you can drop any of it into your game with little to no work on your part.


A Gaming Experiment: World of Darkness Text Game

On Monday, June 13th, the first messages were sent out to 6 of my 7 players for a World of Darkness Mortals campaign ran entirely via text messaging (save for one international player, who plays via IM.)

In mid-May, David B. and I had been discussing various game concepts played via email and various electronic media, and what we wanted to do with the ideas. While his concept seems alot more ambitious (and overall alot more awesome) than mine, I decided to jump on a game ran via texts using the new World of Darkness for the rulesset, since the mechanics are very simple and fluid, and would take the least amount of resolution for actions.

The simplicity of rules systems was a bonus for two reasons: One, I didn't want to bog my players (some of which hadn't played traditional rpgs) with rules and complicated character creation, and two...I wanted to keep the rules out of the game for my players almost completely.

And so, after two or three weeks of character creation and deliberation of systems and syntax for messaging within the game, we began.

At first, everyone responded rapidly and the enthusiasm was there for the game and the characters, and then posting slowed gradually, some players seemingly dropping out altogether.

It's been three weeks since the last game-related text was sent, but I'm not ready to abandon the game just yet, I just think some of the enthusiasm needs to be recaptured, mainly by me, and then we can be back up and running.

Since the players don't really interact with the rules, except to choose xp expenditures, they can focus on what they want their characters to do while I handle all the behind the scenes stuff. This, I think will also aid in getting some momentum back into the game, since it's easy to just pick back up where you left off.

So, this is a call to my players who read this thing: The game will resume as soon as I collect some of my notes and get back on track!

Anyone who wants in on this game, the only book players need access to is the World of Darkness Core, and that's only for character generation. Everything else is done via texts/IM.


Pathfinder... Do I Need One To Navigate Paizo Products?

As any of you who have read my posts may know, I'm running a sandbox set in the Wilderlands, using Paizo Publishing's Pathfinder RPG. While I have no problems with the game itself, or the rules Paizo provides, I've recently come across something that I feel I'm probably not alone in, and that's the navigation of the various Pathfinder product lines.

You see, I use the Pathfinder RPG rules, but my game isn't set in their Golarion world, and so I'm not using their Campaign Setting line. I'm running a sandbox campaign, so I'm not using their Adventure Path line, and since I'm not using those lines, and my game also incorporates 3.x books as resources, it kind of obviates the need for the Player Companion lines (though, I must admit I've not looked too deeply into that line.)

However, when Amazon dot com tipped me off that there's a book coming out about The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, I got excited and started looking, since my current game has some ties to those fellows who ride colorful ponies.

I couldn't recall the name of the book when I went to Paizo's website, however, and it wasn't presented on the home page of the Pathfinder game, so I had to look. I used the search bar and skimmed the entries and thought that perhaps I had been mistaken, since I didn't see the book at first glance...but on my second look at the list, I saw it was #2 in the results, but the title was prefaced by "Pathfinder Campaign Setting:"

That's why I overlooked it in the first place, honestly. I first gleaned Paizo's lore behind the Horsemen in the Bestiary 2, and thought that a book that would highlight a specific type of archfiend would be included in their core line, but that was not the case.

If I had been a lazier person, I would have skipped it altogether and probably just chalked it up to misremembering the Amazon email.

I do understand the marketing reason behind separating the Pathfinder lines. It simplifies the consumer's choices when dealing with specific products, gives them exactly what they're looking for in regards to the type of product they wish to see, and makes it easy to search for the products desired.

However, I feel that they fail in that last task more because some of those products seem to walk the line between categories. I hope I'm not alone in this, but I just felt like this book is something more akin to a specialized bestiary, like the Fiendish Codices were for 3.5, which should put them in the core line, instead of setting material.

It's a small complaint, I realize, but my enthusiasm was taken down a notch at just that minor snag. Combine that with the fact that it being a setting book almost makes me give it a pass, if it weren't for the reasonable price I feel Paizo offers for it (64 pages, $19.99.)

Anyway, am I being ridiculous with this? I certainly don't think so, but then...I like to be a little more frugal with my gaming dollar these days.


Baby Steps, Bob, Baby Steps

Earlier, I posted about ways in which I could help the blog along, and I hit on one almost immediately...a name change!

Of course, the domain will remain the same, but from now on this blog will be known as Greathammer Gaming, in homage to the moniker I chose for the shop when I took it over from Tony until I closed it.

The reason for this was simply because too many other blogs shared the name, and I wanted something that was a bit more unique.

So, here we are, and I want to promise that I will continue to bring you the same kinds of material I have presented in the past, as well as new fuel for your gaming brains.

If any of you are returning visitors, please continue to do so. There's a lot more to come!

The Secret To A Successful Blog, or Things I Don't Know

Today, as I was driving to work, I was thinking about the things that make a gaming blog work, and what I could do to increase readership, etc.

I don't claim to be the most prolific updater, but neither are some of the guys whose blogs I read.
I don't claim to have the coolest content, but I don't feel I'm the worst out there, by far.
I don't even claim to fully understand my readership, but I do love gaming and sharing my experiences and ideas, and I think those are the most important requirements for what I do with this thing.

So, where do I go wrong?
Posting schedule is obvious. It's easier for someone to follow what you have to say if you say it more often. To that end, starting this past Saturday, I made a decision to post daily when at all possible.
"Advertising" by putting my blog in my forums signatures, on my Facebook (maybe) and anywhere I can get it might help, but is that really a viable way to get readers? Also, it seems a little shameless.
I don't think I need to change the content. I'm happy with my subject matter and I don't feel like I do things too much differently than some of the best out there do, and besides...without my own content, people would lose interest quickly.

Basically, I'm just typing out loud here. During my heaviest traffic times, I have only boasted 9 regular readers, and while that's awesome, I would certainly like to have a little more regular traffic.
I've wondered at times what it is that I do wrong, so if anyone out there happens to read this and has suggestions, I would be more than happy to hear how to improve this blog.


Love is in the Air...Springtime, Wilderlands Style!

And so tonight was another foray for our recently expanded group into the Wilderlands!

The party has recently returned from an excursion west, past the Adder Copse as far as the village of Trenth, where they declined to intervene with a political dispute between two local powers, that could possibly involve a third.

Upon returning to Bugbear Falls, however, it quickly became apparent that things were rapidly changing in the political scene of the keep, and that there were too many things happening for it to all just be coincidence and normal restructuring.

First, it was found that Rayyid the merchant's nephew, Sayib, was hung from spikes affixed to the inner bailey walls after being killed for a failed assassination attempt on Dal Lago, and that Rayyid has since been M.I.A..

Then, after Chas had a less than friendly meeting with Vic Tappas, the Bailiff of the keep, and Praetor Donnlo, the former Corporal of the Watch, it is discovered that River Wilds, the Captain of the Watch, was "promoted" to Watch Errant Captain...a duty that removes him from the city on an almost constant basis, and that Corporal Donnlo has become Captain of the Watch.

And if that wasn't enough, Honorable Justice Sollas excommunicated Gabrielle, though his magic didn't strip her Paladin abilities, giving creedence to the fact that something has gone terribly wrong, and he is not acting in the graces of Iomedae any longer.

All of this culminated in tempers flaring and inquisitive minds, leading the group to follow Lucius' lead....to the Fey Gate?

And so our intrepid adventurers set out into the wilds to find the Gate, much to a nervous Chas' chagrin, since he and Jadazh had been warned to not trespass into the affairs of the Fey.

Once there, the party encountered a Basilisk that had taken the shallow cave that the Gate was in as its home, but quick work was made of the beast as Lucius moved forward and, getting the jump on it, killed it swiftly with a well placed hand-crossbow bolt. (This after peppering it with a round from his double crossbow and then winning initiative only to crit, with a kill on the charts!)

And there we left off, with our heroes just outside the cave, save Jadazh, who is still back in Bugbear Falls with the party's NPCs.

Steve couldn't make it for the 2nd week in a row due to being in Michigan, but we have two new players in Dave P. and Travis, and both are a welcome addition to the group.

Current Cast of Characters
Chas DeLong, Male Human Fighter 6 - David B.
Lucius Ember, Male Dhampir Inquisitor 3 - Taylor
Gabrielle Dianthe, Female Aasimar Paladin of Iomedae 4 - Angela
Morg, Male Half-Orc Barbarian 2 - Dave P.
Amberlin, Half-Elf Monk 2 - Travis
Sa'eh, Oracle 3 - David B. controlled NPC


More Musical Inspiration...

The first appearance of this feature all year, and I have to admit, I'm not so sure the song will do much for the average GM.
This Saturday's offering comes from The Prodigy, (not the rapper "Prodigy," but the British dance music outfit.) "Diesel Power" has, since I first heard it while messing with gaming stuff, evoked the image of a fantasy/cyberpunkish rapper/dancer competing in underground literal rap 'battles' which combine rapping with combat, and the better you can incorporate the percussion of hits with the beat of your song, the more props you get.
All kinds of weird stuff. Visually, I'm getting a Full Metal Alchemist vibe, so maybe that will help you get what I'm saying...except mix it with something akin to D&D Bard.

Having said all that, I can't find a full vocal mix of the song, and the originals have been stripped by a Music Group for copyright reasons, so check it out, if you can find the original...

...and instead I present to you something darker, and more suited to a mystery/horror campaign. Perhaps Ravenloft or a World of Darkness game.
This song gives you a full plot outline, and I can see it played out in a variety of rules-sets with minimal work.

Cradle of Filth has many evocative songs that tend to grab my imagination when it comes to gaming, and I have used a few of them as adventure ideas, though I've not gotten around to using this.
Though it's probably imagined, I always get Victorian-esque mental imagery when correlating their music with gaming, making me think Dogs in the Vineyard might be a fun alternative system for running adventures based off CoF music.

"The Moon, she hangs like a cruel portrait
soft winds whisper the bidding of trees
as this tragedy starts with a shattered glass heart
and the Midnightmare trampling of dreams
But oh, no tears please
Fear and pain may accompany Death
But it is desire that shepherds it's certainty
as We shall see..."

She was divinity's creature
That kissed in cold mirrors
A Queen of Snow
Far beyond compare
Lips attuned to symmetry
Sought Her everywhere
Dark liqoured eyes
An Arabian nightmare...

She shone on watercolours
Of my pondlife as pearl
Until those who couldn't have Her
Cut Her free of this World

That fateful Eve when...
The trees stank of sunset and camphor
Their lanterns chased phantoms and threw
An inquisitive glance, like the shadows they cast
On my love picking rue by the light of the moon

Putting reason to flight
Or to death as their way
They crept through woods mesmerized
By the taffeta Ley
Of Her hips that held sway
Over all they surveyed
Save a mist on the rise
(A deadly blessing to hide)
Her ghost in the fog

They raped and left...
(Five men of God)
...Her ghost in the fog

Dawn discovered Her there
Beneath the Cedar's stare
Silk dress torn, Her raven hair
Flown to gown Her beauty bared
Was starred with frost, I knew Her lost
I wept 'til tears crept back to prayer

She'd sworn Me vows in fragrant blood
"Never to part
Lest jealous Heaven stole our hearts"

Then this I screamed:
"Come back to Me for
I was born in love with thee
So why should fate stand inbetween?"

And as I drowned Her gentle curves
With dreams unsaid and final words
I espied a gleam trodden to earth
The Church bell tower key...

The village mourned her by the by
For She'd been a witch
their Men had longed to try
And I broke under Christ seeking guilty signs
My tortured soul on ice

A Queen of Snow
Far beyond compare
Lips attuned to symmetry
Sought Her everywhere
Trappistine eyes
An Arabian nightmare

She was Ersulie possessed
Of a milky white skin
My porcelain Yin
A graceful Angel of Sin

And so for Her...
The breeze stank of sunset and camphor
My lantern chased Her phantom and blew
Their Chapel ablaze and all locked in to a pain
Best reserved for judgement that their bible construed...

Putting reason to flight
Or to flame unashamed
I swept form cries
By the taffeta Ley
Or Her hips that held sway
Over all those at bay
Save a mist on the rise
A final blessing to hide
Her ghost in the fog

And I embraced
Where lovers rot...
Her ghost in the fog

Her ghost in the fog

*As always, I don't own this, blah blah blah.


Walking in a Winter Wilderland

With winter hard approaching, our heroes did the prudent thing and holed up til fairer weather, taking mundane jobs to raise a little more coin before the next campaign season. (Gabrielle a Watchman, Jadazh a Brewmaster at the local, and Borash plying his clerical trade through spells on the cheap, and Chas a smith)

Winter was far from dull, with many an event taking place to break up the monotony of small-town, snowed-in days...not the least of which being the marriage of the Castellan Dal Lago to a "political ally" from the southeast, whom nobody seems to really trust, and more than a few people suspect of being behind something fishy, since the marriage was announced and carried on with suddenly.

The arrival of two powerful groups in town punctuated much of the rest of the winter, the first being a cadre of Black Adders, the Emperor's secret police (more the SS than KGB), who were "summoned" to the city for the various odd happenings/"open" crimes therein. In deed, one of their number, an agent named Sai'a joined the party for the duration of the open case of the Fey Gate and disappearance of Elomir the Sage.

The second group was a more curiouser one...a band of brigands and outlaws led by the notorious Bandit King Aldem, who wintered his men in the keep, with a promise to stay his and his men's hands at the plying of their trade. Gabrielle had a short conversation with him, and he intimated that keeping Dal Lago in power around Bugbear Falls was something he wanted. What this means to our young paladin, and how the Bandit Lord and the Castellan are connected are still up in the air.

The earliest days of the thaw saw the drawbridge leading out of the city collapse, halting travel into and out of the city for 3 weeks while construction of a new one is completed. This was devastating, as due to a fire consuming most of Tak Shire, building materials needed to be cultivated, as all manufactured had been diverted there, and it needed to be done quick since bandit activity in the early months of winter had food stores running thin, doubling the price of all food.

With the thaws, our adventurers went to check on the Gnoll tribe they have befriended, and learned that Brakish and Grahyip, nor any of their honor guard, had returned from the temple some 5 months earlier, and that the bitches of the tribe were planning to name a young pup as the new "King" and have the eldest female be regent til he is old enough, trusting that the errant "King" and "Prince" would return.

Further discussion led the party to venture into the Goblin caves to rid the area of that menace so that the surviving Gnolls (what little there are) would be able to compete for food in the region, since the Goblins breed and mature so much faster.

This gave the band purpose, and having been going stir crazy holed up in town for months, they unleashed the Hells upon the Goblinoids, decimating the numbers of Goblin and Hobgoblin, alike.

When we last left off, the party had just routed the Goblin tribe and had avoided confrontation with the Hobgoblin commander and were regrouping with their new charter members (prisoners/food) rescued from the Hobgoblins, about to discuss what to do next, since they have many injured party members, including a crippled Borash.

Cast of Characters
Borash, Male Half-Orc Cleric 5 of Gorum - Taylor
Chas DeLong, Male Human Fighter 6 - David B.
Gabrielle Dianthe, Female Aasimar Paladin 3 of Iomedae - Angela
Jadazh Gr'tea, Male Human Duskblade 5 - Steve C.


Sins of the Flesh (Golem)

Last Friday, after weeks and weeks of delving into the Crypt of Sayn (an ex-human king of no little fame and wealth,) we finally reached his burial chamber and its guardian...a flesh golem!

The tedium of traps and exploration had worn our resolve, as well as our nerves, but our band jumped to face the abomination of flesh that stood before us, with Chymond and Kedereckt moving in to directly confront the thing, and Oth and Xulira adding in magical (and for the most part, ineffective) artillery.

During the assault, our quarry made his presence known, and to our surprise, Sayn turned out to be a Lich, and the Lich turned out to be a Warlock, and pelted us with abyssal rays at his leisure while his brute smacked us around good.

Kedereckt fell shortly to the construct's meatpaws and then the thing was disabled itself, leaving the Lich to make his fight alone, which our arcanists ended quickly, with Sayn doing a good BBEG laugh and telling us we had unleashed him onto the world. Something for us to deal with later, and later, and later...until we find his phylactery, that is! ...not that any of us know that about Liches...

During the looting of the burial chamber, we discovered that Kedereckt was indeed farther beyond help than we originally thought, and had apparently succumbed to a poison that none of us knew was in his veins.

Here, we left off...without the ability to raise our comrade (Steve vetoed the raising, though I had just attained 5th level and could have done it,) and wanting to return to the delve of our dwarven patrons as soon as possible.

Cast of Characters
Chymond Veg "The Bronze Vassal," Dwarf Cleric 9 - Me
Oth Ixen, Kobold Wizard 9 - David B.
Kedereckt, Human Rogue 5/Assassin 4 - Steve C. deceased
Xulira Shiesril, Drow Warlock 5/Demonbinder 2 - Angela


GM ADD, Or Why The Posts Have Slowed

So, as is very evident, my posts have slowed. I'm not sorry for it, this isn't an apology. I have maybe 4 returning readers, and that's generous.

The reason the posts have stopped is because I've become enamored with superheroes of late, and would like to play a superhero rpg. I've been reading blogs and forum threads about people's games, different rules, etc. Basically, it's taking alot of my attention.

I haven't been thinking of new rules for my Pathfinder game, or really, putting too much into that game, other than playing it. Does that mean I'm tired of running my players through my little twist on the Wilderlands? Absolutely not! I'm having a ball, and more will come shortly on that.

The posts I want to get out will get out, but expect more diversity in the coming weeks. With my Wilderlands game at full tilt, still playing in Taylor's game, David talking about finishing the Haarlock Legacy adventures for Dark Heresy, and superhero gaming running rampant in my mind, I have yet to be stalled!


Falls Follies

Sunday, we joined again to play a session of my Pathfinder Wilderlands game, this one also sans Steve. Though, I believe he will return in two weeks!

When we left off, 3 of our heroes (Well, 2 and a hireling...) were under a powerful compulsion, forcing them to chant ancient, evil litanies as their young Paladin comrade looked on, unsure in action...watching zombies shamble slowly toward the mesmerized men.

This moment of thought was lightning fast, however, and Gabrielle took her line, attached to a grappling hook and, successful with affixing it to Borash, hauled the Half-Orc out of the chapel, only to find that he was still chanting!

At this time, however, Chas seemed to shake the effects just as the zombies reached him, but Kezziar, Borash's only remaining Orc retainer, was drug off to a place unseen to some horrible fate.

After dispatching these strange, pestilent zombies, the group decided to cut their losses and return home to Bugbear Falls, for resupply and safe rest. Upon reaching their adopted home, however, the group was detained by local officials for the murder of knights of Iomedae, as witnessed from the walls of the city.

The PCs gave good account of their actions, and together with divinatory magic performed by Honorable Justice Sollas, a member of the tribunal, were found guilty only of minor recklessness and neglect of the duties of a citizen, and (only for Borash) were found guilty of bribery of a town guard...when the guard was asked to buy him an ale from The White Cliff. These two charges cost the party 205gp, 200 for an adventuring charter and 5 (the amount given the guard to buy the beer)as a fine for the bribery.

With the charter listed, the Unbreakable Warriors adventuring company was formed!

None too late, either, as many things caught the attentions of the party, and they seem to want to take action against them!

Chas discovered upon returning to Elomir the Sage's house that her door was ajar and the place had been ransacked. Upon further investigation, Chas found that the elf, herself, was missing, and so alerted the guard as quickly as possible.

Gabrielle was witness to the fleeting black sheet looking thing that many of the group's hirelings had seen before. This time, however, it fluttered past the 2nd story windows as she took stock of the party's new residence.

Further, writings gathered in the temple structure within the caves, and one of the knight companions of Gabrielle contracting a disease, have the party thinking of ways to purge the place of all traces of filth and pestilence before an epidemic arises.

Much of the rest of the session was dealt with acquiring supplies and spending 500gp from selling loot to purchase a large apartment in town to act as a base of operations for adventuring.

A bit of a wedge has seemed to form over the dispersal and expenditure of loot (some of it based on out of character knowledge,) so I guess we'll see where that goes.

The session pretty much ended with the group about to discuss what to do/where to go next, so I guess we'll find out Sunday!


A Supers Campaign Inspired By A Dream

So, I had this dream, right? When I woke up, I spoke all I could remember of it out loud, and I've been mulling it over, just to keep it fresh in my mind. Since, I've been thinking quite a lot about superhero gaming, and so I decided to go ahead and post the contents of the dream, since it obviously inspired me quite a bit.

The first of the dream I remember is that I was at Taylor and Angela's place, my game group was gathered around, as normal except Paul, John, Tony, and Chris were there, which doubled our usual numbers.

We were discussing the government contracts that each state of the U.S.A. were allowed to give, and how restrictive they were to the superheroes in them, not letting them perform "unsanctioned heroic acts," and Angela brought up a hero named Arkansas Twister being penalized by the state, and threatened with having breach of contract drawn against him because he stopped to help people in an automobile accident.

The talk was politically driven, but also asked the questions "Would you work for the state for $500k a year as their lapdog hero if you had powers?" and "What made the Federal government decide that state-ran hero programs could only include ratios of 1 hero to every million citizens?"

Heroes not sanctioned by the government were operating on a gray area, where they were allowed to go about their business without having to register or anything, but if deemed to be performing illegal activities by any government agency, would then receive vigilante/villain status. All collateral damage performed outside state sanction would be paid in full restitution within a 1 month period or be moved to vigilante/villain status.

Not sure what vigilante/villain status is, but I can assume that the punishments would be extreme once the government found out identities...frozen assets, etc., not to mention having heroes on your tail.

Basically, the dream felt narrated. I feel like I'm forgetting things now, but it seemed like everyone was talking 90-to-nothing about this phenomena, and we (being game nerds, I assume) were all very interested in and excited about the goings-on. Tons of information to digest, but a skeleton that a campaign could be hung on.

I do realize that a bit of it is familiar...there are elements of both The Fifty State Initiative and The Superhuman Registration Act present in the framework, but I'm sure they came to the fore in my dream due to Civil War being one of the last major comics storylines I read.

I really want to flesh this out. I could definitely run with this idea, but what rules-set? Aberrant is the supers system I'm most familiar with, and my friends have all played Storyteller system, so that might be workable...there are others out there, though, that might fit. Not too familiar with many, but maybe Mutants & Masterminds or some other system would sit better with my group?

Thoughts, comments, questions, concerns...all are welcome in the comments!

Insubstantial Death, A Kobold, and A Dwarf

Last night was a pretty fast-paced session of Taylor's continuing Friday night campaign. We got a late start, but tacked on about an hour to our usual quitting time, so all was good.

At any rate, like I said...this session was fast-paced. We practically crawled through the labyrinthine tomb, trying to find our quarry...the reason behind the undead menace that have plagued the delve of the dwarvs, and indeed permeate this complex. Kedereckt led us carefully through, on constant watch for pitfalls and other hazards, doing well to keep us safe, but not handling many traps he discovered successfully, though avoiding much harm.

After hours and hours of traversing corridors and not finding anything, Chymond had a keen realization and asked his newly commanded vampire minion if there was a store of treasures in this tomb, hoping to find more funding for further survival and to increase his holdings in his homeland. This was, indeed the case, and the undead led us to a small chamber, in which we found a chest of silver.

Asking further, the spawn told us that this was an antechamber to the real room, and that the traps contained in the silver hoard room were meant to finalize the life of most treasure seekers.

Well...we're not most!

Venturing further into an even smaller chamber, Chymond promptly fell into a pit, and then the group was set upon by a ghostly figure (a specter, but none of us knew that) that was intent on draining our very lives away!

At first, Xulira and Kedereckt meant to help Chymond escape from the pit, but upon seeing how the odds favored us initially against the specter, Xulira decided to run for it, and I commanded my vampire to make Kedereckt run (since he is technically still the thrall of the undead.)

Chymond was sure this was his end, down in a pit, the life drained from him...doomed to likely be raised as some sort of undead in the service of whatever master ruled this tomn...and he was certain Oth would join him in death...there we'd be, two small specks of power and vibrancy, snuffed! All very dramatic, you understand...

However, through the desperate use of spells and not a small amount of luck, neither of us succumbed to the deathly grasp of the specter, and we managed to disperse our ghostly foe back to whatever hell they came from!

With Xulira and Kedereckt managing to make it out of the tomb within minutes, and heading back to the delve of the dwarves, Oth and I sat and deliberated what we would do with newly acquired treasure (the silver from the previous room, and a few items from the "treasure chamber") and when to bring the fight to the undead master.

Deciding that we were a bit too worse for the wear, we packed it up and began our trek out of the crypt, hoping to regroup with our allies and be at full strength when we finally meet our foe.


Zombies, Skeletons, and Medusas...Oh My!

Yesterday, we played a regular session of my Wilderlands Pathfinder game. This session was sans Steve, as he's currently obtaining his CDL to expand his career choices. Good luck, Steve!

As predicted in the last session write-up, this session was quite fun!

When we picked up, the group had just encountered and destroyed some wandering Zombies in the worked stone caverns they were currently exploring. Jadazh excused himself from this part of the venture, claiming to need to attend to something and promising to regroup at a later time. Jadazh's axemen, too, took their leave, but Borash was adamant in the extermination of the undead, and wished to press forward, with the other PCs and their men in agreement to the course of action.

Venturing cautiously through the broad corridors and narrow tunnels that make up this part of the cave system led them first to a chamber filled with torture implements and small living furnishings of the torturer, who happened to be present, but was given a swift death after blows from both Chas and Borash. Inspection of the chamber turned up quite a bit of coin and a bracelet, the latter of which likely taken off a torture victim, which the party quickly divvied and then pressed on.

Roaming the twisting corridors further led the party to an unusual door, locked and barred from this side, which they found quickly to be a holding cell of some sort, populated with more than a few skeletal remains of prisoners and a shapely human-looking woman with a bag over her head who was very much alive and manacled to the wall. Upon noting that there wasn't a way to open the lock on the door at hand, Chas returned to the torturer's room and got some brands and winch bars to use as prybars, and was able to pop the padlock with the help of Borash.

Having gained entry into the cell, the group moved in, weapons at the ready to fight off the skeletons, which they were sure would animate at any time, and Gabrielle went to tend to the woman, removing the hood, causing all present to freeze in horror at the sight, and Borash to solidify into solid stone as their gaze met a Medusa's!

Gabrielle quickly replaced the hood that had been covering the deadly gaze of the Medusa, and Chas remembered a salve given to him quite some time back with restorative and healing powers. Using all of the jar, he was able to return Borash to his fleshy self, and the group began to parley with the Medusa, trying to learn what they could of the place, and bargaining her terms of release, with a focus on no further harm to the party.

With the medusa having left in peace, the party continued further, discovering a room packed with crates and barrels, holding dry goods and fresh foodstuffs(!) which they quickly partook of, before back-tracking and pressing on deeper into the complex.

Back in the main corridor, the group came upon a door leading into a room that housed four priests of unknown faith, who gave the PCs a lengthy fight due to good armor and tight fighting quarters, coupled with Zombies brought forth by the noise of combat. All were systematically put to the sword, and our band continued further in, coming again to a door that stood just outside what appeared to be a grand chamber.

Slinging the door open, Chas animated the score each of Skeletons and Zombies inside, but the party made quick work of the undead through good tactics and use of resources. Things were not to be so easy, however, as Chas and Borash ventured forward in the vanguard, entering the large chamber before them...discovering a grand chapel with three altars, draperies on all but the backing wall, which was translucent red stone...and then they began to chant, seemingly unable to do anything else.

Gabrielle froze with indecision at her companion's plight, the youth unnerved by their spewing of vile litanies and seeming to be under the power of an unknown something. I called the session as Angela debated her course of action and a group of Zombies, these different from the others previously encountered, walked into view in the chapel.


Posted for Truth and Posterity

The following is a quote by James Raggi that I feel is very important in context of a player-driven game like the Wilderlands campaign I run. I post it here for my players to see, and as a reminder to hold true to the style of game I want to run.

"If a player complains that he’s bored and that nothing is happening, look at him and say, 'I agree. So are you going to do something or not?'

It is not the referee’s job during a session to provide excitement for his playing group. His job is to administer the setting and resolve character actions. If the characters are taking no action and are not interacting with the setting, then the referee has literally nothing to do. The players are wasting his time."


Hello Me, Pleased to Meet You...More Dungeonfail

Tonight was a pretty interesting session of Taylor's continuing campaign, in which we further explored the tomb of Sayn, and did not depart from our habit of ending up going in circles!

As far as exploration goes, this dungeon is pretty vanilla...corridor, room, corridor, room, secret door, corridor, trapped door, etc.. Most people know this type of exploration all too well, and I can say it's sometimes refreshing to just be dungeoncrawling.

Kedereckt has maneuvered us well through the place, keeping us from suffering too much when it comes to traps, but at times failing to spot the things, like the dart fusillade trap that peppered Chymond and Kedereckt with something along the lines of 15 darts, total.

The highlight of the night, however, came when a vampire spawn was able to dominate Kedereckt, and ordered him to kill us all. Steve took to the task, but didn't get far before Oth was able to clear the area of the bloodsuckers and I overrode the dominate with one of my own.

Not much later, we encountered yet another group of spawn, and one of their numbers was able to gain hold of Kedereckt again, and another tried to take Oth, but his draconic heritage made him immune.

I took over one of the spawn with a command undead, but ended up losing control of an owlbear skeleton I had commanded earlier, which then began attacking Xulira. We drove off the rest of the spawn, but now I have the one that dominated Kedereckt under my control, and...by proxy...the Assassin, himself.

We left off after that battle, hoping to find a safe room to catch enough rest to regain spells and much needed hit points.

While this report is short, it's simply due to the fact that I'm tired. We accomplished quite a bit, or at least it felt like we had some pretty steady play.

Cast of Characters
Chymond Veg "The Bronze Vassal," Dwarf Cleric 7 - Me
Oth Ixen, Kobold Wizard 8 - David B.
Kedereckt, Human Rogue 5/Assassin 3 - Steve C.
Xulira Shiesril, Drow Warlock 5/Demonbinder 1 - Angela


Who is Lord Laeryndaal?!

This past Sunday, I ran my usual Pathfinder/Wilderlands game.

The group's foray into the caves originally led them to entering the wrong entrance, finding instead a locked door leading to the hobgoblin chambers, and a (presumably, anyway) hobgoblin on the other side, sight unseen, who refused to open the door and basically told them to move along. The party let this go without challenge, since they were looking for the Gnoll cave to begin with, and wished to beat the party of City-Staters that were on their way to purge the non-human "threat."

Once the party found their destination, it became clear quick that they were too late, the Gnolls set to guard the entrance had been slaughtered, and after venturing forth a bit further, they discovered another corpse, but a store room adjacent to the area they found the body was able to shelter a little over a dozen members of the tribe, who were able to tell the group which way their assailants went.

Tracking the arrogant kid and his party down a long corridor, they became privy to a disheartening sight, arriving just in time to see the main living chamber of the Gnolls, which also served as their nursery, fireballed. Before the backwash of the flames had even died down, Chas charged, and entered melee with a large armored figure, the rest of the group following his lead and engaging in what ways they could, both from range (when able) and moving into hand-to-hand, though the fight was a tight one, and not much maneuverability could be accomplished.

The fighting was fierce, with the PCs gaining the advantage by way of a Color Spray provided by Jadazh, stunning half the villanous group and forcing them onto the defensive. This only lasted a short time, however, and the tight quarters became an advantage to the other party when their mage pulled out a scroll and placed an invisible, unbreakable wall between the PC party and themselves, trapping Jadazh on their side, and attempting to whittle away at him before moving on.

A Spiritual Weapon cast by Borash before the Wall of Force went up slowed the progress of the enemy, and they eventually cut their losses, leaving two dead as they used a magic item to transport out, the large, armored figure having stated that "Lord Laeryndaal would be displeased with their failure."

After this, the PCs went to the surviving Gnolls and spoke with them briefly, which led to them saying that "Those that walk when dead" were located in a nearby cave. This set Borash off, as he is an adamant slayer of undead, and he was able to convince the party to go with him to rid the caves of that menace.

When we left off, the group had just encountered some Zombies in the caves the Gnolls has indicated, and they were all left wondering who Lord Laeryndaal was and what he wanted with who in the party.

This coming Sunday should be fun!


Old TV Meme (Because I'm Killing Time)

The Rules: Bold all of the following TV shows which you've ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime.
Italicise a show if you're positive you've seen every episode of it.
Underline the ones you own copies of.
If you want, add up to 3 additional shows (keep the list in alphabetical order).

7th Heaven
8 Simple Rules
Aeon Flux
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Batman: The Animated Series
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
Beverly Hills 90210
Blake's 7
Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal
Boston Public
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Caitlin's Way
Chappelle's Show
Charlie's Angels
Clarissa Explains It All
Commander in Chief
Coupling [UK]
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Stars (I was watching with a gf, ok!)
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci's Inquest
Dawson's Creek
Dead Like Me
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Doctor Who
Due South
Earth 2
Everybody Loves Raymond
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Facts of Life
Family Guy
Family Ties
Father Ted
Fawlty Towers
Flash Forward
Freaks and Geeks
Friday Night Lights
Get Smart
Gilligan's Island
Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Wing
Grey's Anatomy
Growing Pains
Hannah Montana
Happy Days
Hill Street Blues
Hogan's Heroes
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life on the Street
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Instant Star
Invader Zim
Hell's Kitchen
John Doe
Just Shoot Me
Keen Eddie
LA Law
Law & Order
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Law & Order: SVU
Laverne and Shirley
Life With Derek
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
Malcolm in the Middle
Married... With Children
Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission: Impossible (the '60s series)
Mission: Impossible (the '80s series)
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown
My Life as a Dog
My So-Called Life
My Super Sweet 16
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
North Shore
One Tree Hill
Perry Mason
Phil of the Future
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Project Runway
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (UK)
Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) (Original Series)
Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) (New Series)
Red Dwarf
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Salute Your Shorts
Saved by the Bell
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings & Arrows
So Weird
South Park
Space 1999
Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Spongebob Squarepants
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis
Stargate SG-1
Teen Titans
That 70's Show
That's So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The Apprentice
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Brady Bunch
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Famous Jet Jackson
The Flintstones
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Honeymooners
The Invisible Man (1975 - David Mccallum )
The Invisible man (2000 - Vincent Ventresca)
The Jeffersons
The Jetsons
The L Word
The Love Boat
The Lucille Ball Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters
The Mythbusters
The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Pretender
The Real World
The Shield
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Venture Brothers
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wire
The Wonder Years
The X-Files
Third Watch
Three's Company
Top Gear (UK)
Top Gear (US)
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Two and A Half Men
Ugly Betty
Veronica Mars
Vicar of Dibley
Whose Line is it Anyway? [US]
Whose Line is it Anyway? [UK]
Will and Grace
Without a Trace
WKRP in Cincinnati
Xena: Warrior Princess
Yes Minister
Yes Prime Minister

I am not ashamed of how much TV I've watched, but there are a few shows on this list I'm not particularly proud of. Makes me wonder how many hours of TV I've watched...

Sucker Punch: A Non-Review

Today, in celebration(?) of my birthday, I went to the movies with David and Dave to see Sucker Punch. This movie has not seen stellar reviews at all, and while I can see why, I don't think many of the reviewers really gave the movie a fair shake, or they went in with preconceived notions. It plays out a little like Pulp Fiction meets various anime meets Kurosawa's Dreams.

The casting was good, acting was a little stilted in the first half, but the cinematography was gorgeous. The film was well directed and, to me, at least...well written, and it had a pretty rockin' soundtrack. For those who don't know, the movie follows a young woman who is put in an asylum and then retreats into a fantasy world to escape the reality of what she's enduring and also to try to focus her intent to escape.

In the lead character's (called Babydoll) fantasy world, she fights spirit-animated samurai armor, steampunk Nazis, and a dragon, to name a few menaces, and ends up getting what basically is a quest item that will aid in her escape in the end.

The whole time, I couldn't help but think "Wow, this would be cool in a game" when it cut to the fantasy segments, but then I started focusing on the concept of the movie itself, and wondered what a game would play like in which you're perfectly normal most of the time, but can slip into another reality...a dreamscape or whatever, in which you never really know what you'll have to do or where you'll be, but there's always a task or something driving you, then you snap back to reality once you accomplish it or perhaps even at random.

I know there are games out there that use the concept, or something similar to it, at least. Anyone out there played in them? If so, what are some of the difficulties of games of that nature?

Do any of them present something more than a normal person in the real world? Like a superhero who falls into a weird vampire dream state or something...


Flawless Victory! Your Opponent....Ran Away...

There's no doubt that killing for experience is now considered the norm in modern D&D games and their simulacra (Pathfinder fits that label, right?) Combat experience is sometimes the only type given in some of these games, and it is almost certainly what sticks out in most new players' minds as the key to advancement, until they have a firmer grasp on the game.

This is not to say everyone runs their campaigns like this, but before I digress, I'll state that campaign style is not the focus of this post. Instead, I want to touch on something that I find to be missing from most modern rules sets: morale.

When I started playing AD&D 2nd Edition, Paul - who showed me the ropes of DMing - utilized a simple system, using a d6 (if I remember correctly,) that I believe was derived from published TSR rules. I remember him checking at milestones like 1/3rd combatants fallen, leader taken out, etc., and possibly even giving bonuses if a PC had dropped and so forth.

I like that. It makes sense in the context of the world. If you have the advantage, you press it. Once you lose that advantage, you hit fight or flight. A good morale system can simulate those responses fairly well, and I think it does nothing but add to the game's enjoyment, realism (which I care about, but not to a fault) and overall flavor (especially if, for some reason, say, ogres always seem to roll breaks, you might come up with lore stating they're craven, and never fight if they lose the advantage.)

At any rate, I want to find or make a workable morale system for use in my Pathfinder game. I want it to be somewhat simple, but I would like, also, for it to present more options than "stay and fight" and "run away." Maybe a parley result or surrender.

I'll definitely be posting more on that, as I think I might want to design my own, or at least take the skeleton of something I find and slap some meat on it...but before I sign off on this one, I want to touch on one more thing...

When awarding experience for encounters in which a morale system is used, and the npcs run away or cede victory, I would like to give full xp, but what if these same npcs are faced once again, or even multiple times? I don't want to keep dishing out xp for the same group encountered, or do I? With the shift of experience progression to the "Slow" chart, something like that would do very little to impact overall progression, so I might go ahead and award full for those that get away/give up the fight. Always in the past, I've given 1/2 or less in those instances.

As always, comments are welcome.


o0o A Race! Wilderlands AP

As we left off, our intrepid heroes (?) were planning to make haste to the caves by Bugbear Falls and head off the party that had set off to exterminate the "monsters" inhabiting them.

Sadly, they were unable to do that, as an attack by a rogue group of Iomedan knights as soon as they headed out the city gates and multiple random encounters plagued their journey.

The knight attack was unexpected, and ended with one of the 9 attacking getting away, but also gave the party a hint at a heretofore unknown adversary, one Lord Laeryndaal and an organization called The Black Lotus, which no one had heard of before.

After that, a destructive encounter with mysterious, hulking warriors carrying Javelins of Lightning, and a few other brushes with fate, including a tussle with a dire boar, slowed them to the point of not being able to catch their quarry before reaching the canyon where the caves are located.

When we left off, the group was staring up at the various cave entrances, looking for any sign of the young man and his party.


I'd like to apologize for how short and somewhat dull this report is, but honestly, I don't think my six siders wanted the players to succeed. It seemed like I couldn't NOT roll an encounter for the group, and I know that's probably frustrating for everyone, but I did try to make them interesting, at least.

In the area that the group is in, there's a 1 in 6 chance of encounter every hour. I realize this is pretty heavy, but I kept with it, and it seems sometimes to swamp the pacing of the game.

I've been thinking about putting together an encounter table of my own, and adjusting the chance of encounters, but I keep putting it off. I think I need to get on that. I also want to touch on some of the other topics I mentioned I would cover here, like magic item bloat, etc., and how I plan to tackle that in the campaign.


The Arkham of the Neitherworld

For reasons unknown even to me, I've made it a goal to read every post by those on Jeff's blogroll.
This is not something that can be accomplished in a day, but I've made it (going from oldest to most recently updated) back to Neitherworld Stories, a great blog by Stuart, a friend of Jeff's, which I had caught up on a couple of years back, then had forgotten about.

Stuart's posts are usually relevant to my own gaming, so it is a treat revisiting his blog, even if it apparently is dead. (Maybe my reading through will prompt him to post again? It's seemed to happen with other blogs on the list.)

The reason I bring Neitherworld Stories up today, though, is this post, which I think is great inspiration for a fantasy or supers game, or some mix of the genres.

You see, I've been thinking alot about supers gaming recently and even originally was gonna run a quick stint on my birthday using Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game, but I guess we're hitting up a Magic tournament instead.

I don't really have a group to scratch the supers itch with, since my current group is involved in 2 different D&D games, but I've been thinking about drumming something up to remedy that!

A Slight Revision to New Wilderlands Characters

Recently, I posted about new characters and starting levels in my Wilderlands campaign.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the scaling of levels that I put forth at the end of that post, so I'm replacing that here with the following:

In the event that a player makes a new character, that character will begin play at the base experience total for their old character's level minus five, or 1/3rd the level of the highest level character in the party, whichever is higher.

I think this cleaves both to what I want from the game as far as power level and character development and keeps new characters relevant to the action.


Go Go Teamwork!

Tonight was pretty cool, and even though we didn't make it far, due to backtracking and such, I felt like we accomplished a fair amount of dungeoneering.

After a miraculously uneventful night stayed in what we hoped was a secure room in the crypt itself, and some much needed rest and recuperation, Chymond, Kedereckt, and our drow ally (I still need to ask Angela her character's name. I know she's told me, and I swore I've used it in game, but I can never remember it when I write these posts) headed back into the corridors of the tomb, still searching for the heart of the undead plague that has been threatening the Dwarves.

David wasn't able to join us early on, but we still managed to search a few rooms and avoid a couple of traps along the way, mostly by sheer luck...methinks Kedereckt may have lied to us about his ability to bypass such obstacles.

Amazingly, we were able to avoid combat until right after David was able to show up and Oth threw a Sound Lance against a door that had given us a little bit of trouble. Knocking one side off its hinges revealed a room teeming with more Zombie Wyverns...five of them, to be exact, which gave us less trouble than any fight before due to what I feel was a tighter manifestation of teamwork and good tactics than we have previously displayed.

After this, however, we continued to move through chambers and halls that pretty much doubled back onto areas we had already explored, and Taylor called it somewhat early since Angela has to be at work in the morning.

I had previously spoken about how I wasn't feeling like my character was adding anything to the party at all, and that I was thinking of asking Taylor if I could possibly retire him and create a new one. After talking about it a little the other day, then again some tonight before the game, I decided to give it a few more sessions, continuing to tweak my spell list and possibly even how I play my character. I still don't know how I feel about him, but I absolutely had fun tonight. Maybe a few changes would be all it would take for me to be happier with him.

At any rate, I'm actually feeling eager to continue exploring the dungeon.