Miniatures, part 5 - D&D Miniatures, Group 3

Getting into what is technically the more "modern" of the D&D Miniatures sets, you'll see slight purchasing effort here and there, but nothing really compared to some of the older sets. Space and money were both at a premium when these sets were being released, and I had lost some of the interests in having yet another drow mini, or whatever. This becomes more apparent during the 4th Edition runs late in the line.

All lists are grouped in set and number I own from that set, numbered as they are within that set, and with the quantity of each beside the individual mini names in parenthesis.

War Drums (28/60)
1 Arcane Ballista
2 Arcanix Guard
4 Axe Soldier
5 Combat Medic
8 Sacred Watcher
12 Warforged Captain
13 Warforged Scout (2)
18 Halfling Slinger (8)
19 Hunting Cougar (2)
20 Lion of Talisid
21 Mephling
24 Warforged Barbarian
26 Wood Elf Ranger (3)
30 Goblin Blackblade (5)
31 Goblin Underboss (4)
33 Inspired Lieutenant (2)
35 Khumat
36 Large Duergar
39 Skeletal Legionnaire (6)
40 Snig, Worg Rider
41 Terror Wight (7)
46 Derro (3)
49 Hill Giant Barbarian
51 Horde Zombie (2)
55 Orc Mauler
57 Quaggoth Slave
58 Tiefling Blademaster
59 Troglodyte Thug (2)

War of the Dragon Queen (16/60)
1 Aasimar Fighter
3 Cleric of Syreth
5 Golden Protector
8 Tordek, Dwarf Champion
16 Storm Archer
20 Huge Fire Elemental
28 Diseased Dire Rat
33 Dread Warrior
41 Witchknife
43 Cleric of Laogzed
44 Cloudreaver (2)
51 Ogre Skirmisher
53 Small Black Dragon
54 Small Fire Elemental
57 Tundra Scout
58 Twig Blight

Unhallowed (1/60)
14 Changeling Rogue

Night Below (10/60)
3 Champion of Dol Dorn
4 Deep Legionnaire
13 Greyhawk City Militia
23 Warpriest of Vandria
24 Wild Mage
33 Hobgoblin Marshal
35 Kobold Trapmaker
41 Skeletal Courser
51 Drow Enforcer
53 Gnoll Claw Fighter

Desert of Desolation (17/60)
2 Animated Statue (2)
7 Militia Archer
11 Farmer
12 Merchant Guard
14 Black Woods Dryad
15 Cliffwalk Archer
23 Capricious Copper Dragon
24 Tiefling Cleric
25 Tiefling Rogue
27 Blood of Vol Fanatic
28 Guardian Mummy
33 Sahuagin
41 Demonweb Swarm
42 Flame Snake
43 Naga
46 Drow Blademaster (2)
55 Shrieking Harpy

I think I'll just have one more post of D&D Miniatures left, but it will be kinda large, as I just want to finish this out.

Miniatures, part 4 - D&D Miniatures, Group 2

Here, we've gotten to the second grouping of D&D Miniatures. As mentioned previously, most of my collection ranges to the older sets, so are about a decade old.

I started picking up Underdark boosters because I was involved with several games at the time and everyone wanted to use miniatures and I wanted to bolster what I had so we could get closer representations of what we were playing or encountering. I should probably just push ahead and buy the singles to finish out the set, since I'm so close. Maybe I'll track down some cheapish boosters.

All lists are grouped by set and number I own from that set, ordered as they are within that set, and with the quantity of each beside the individual mini names in parenthesis.

Giants of Legend (6/72)
19 Lidda, Adventurer
22 Xeph Soulknife
23 City Guard
32 Hobgoblin Sergeant
43 Displacer Serpent
44 Drider Sorcerer

Aberrations (2/60)
19 Longtooth Barbarian
43 Silent Wolf Goblin

Deathknell (7/60)
3 Dwarf Artificer
4 Dwarf Caver
8 Skullclan Hunter
11 Warforged Wizard
14 Catfolk Wilder
36 Grim Necromancer
50 Deathlock

Angelfire (3/60)
12 Village Priest
18 Elf Swashbuckler
53 Feral Minotaur

Underdark (54/60)
1 Battle Plate Marshal
2 Dwarf Ancestor
3 Earth Shugenja (4)
4 Githzerai Monk
5 Gold Dwarf Soldier (7)
6 Half-Orc Paladin (4)
7 Lantern Bearer (4)
8 Loyal Earth Elemental (6)
9 Marut (2)
10 Medium Silver Dragon (2)
11 Royal Guard (10)
12 Slayer of Domiel
14 Dromite Wilder
15 Elf Stalker
16 Elminster of Shadowdale
17 Guenhwyvar (3)
18 Half-Ogre Barbarian (3)
19 Halfling Sneak (11)
20 Nentyar Hunter (4)
21 Rikka, Angelic Avenger (2)
22 Satyr (2)
23 Spirit Folk Fighter (10)
24 Wizard Tactician (5)
25 Iron Golem
26 Justicator (3)
27 Mercenary Sergeant (5)
28 Xorn (4)
29 Monitor Lizard (8)
30 Ankheg (4)
31 Xen’drik Champion
32 Artemis Entreri (2)
34 Dolgaunt Monk (8)
35 Duergar Champion (3)
36 Half-Orc Executioner (7)
37 Helmed Horror (4)
38 Kobold Miner (11)
39 Skeletal Equiceph (3)
40 Troglodyte Captain (2)
42 Dark Creeper (9)
43 Death Slaad (2)
44 Dire Bat (2)
47 Drow Arcane Guard (3)
49 Grimlock Barbarian (2)
50 Half-Fiend Ogre
51 Hunched Giant
52 Large Deep Dragon
53 Lolth’s Sting (13)
54 Mounted Drow Patrol (2)
55 Orc Skeleton (6)
56 Roper
57 Spider of Lolth (13)
58 Swarm of Spiders (3)
59 Troglodyte Barbarian (10)

60 Winter Wolf

With this second grouping, I'd say we're a little past halfway through the D&D Miniatures line that I own. Perhaps just one more post, then I'll move into the Pathfinder Battles line.

Adventuring in the Shadow of the Demon Lord, part 2

As I had mentioned in the next to last post, our group was short on numbers that weekend and we decided to try out Taylor's latest purchase, Shadow of the Demon Lord. We had already finished one adventure the hard way (by dying), and since David had shown up and we'd only burned through two hours of the night, the group set off on character creation, except for Angela, who asked if she could play her Clockwork again. I said yes, saying this could, theoretically, be hundreds of years after Taylor's adventure was set, since we weren't really using the setting stuff on these trial runs.

Warning: The body of this post contains spoilers to the Shadow of the Demon Lord module A Year Without Rain!

Not having anything prepared and not wanting to wing something while learning a system, I decided to go on Shwalb Entertainment's site and purchase one of their modules. After looking at the starting level tiers for each, I decided on A Year Without Rain, which noted that it was for Starting/Novice characters. This seemed like a good place as any to start, and help me get a feel for how the company constructs scenarios.

I asked everyone to give me how long they had been in Asylum, the village where the adventure starts in, asked them to give a quick description of where they would like to start out in the town, discussed some interesting characterization points for the characters, and off we went.

It all starts just as the sun begins to rise, when an older couple out for a walk come across a body face-down in the road. For such a small town, any event draws attention and many people crowd around, mumbling this and that, guessing who the body could belong to, even placing wagers on identity and cause of death. Samyra, the town's mayor by default, shows up and begins to organize the scene, turning the body and discovering it belongs to a cowherd that lives just outside of town. Known to be a mean drunk, he was easy to ignore and never caused much harm, so it is surprising to find him dead, especially when, upon closer inspection, he seems to have had all the moisture removed from his body.

Samyra asks for volunteers to go out to Braidon's shack and see if anything is amiss. The PCs eventually get assigned when nobody really steps forward, by virtue of standing closest to the body when Samyra looks up. They leave immediately, and come to the cabin a short time later to see it covered, inside and out, with chalk drawings depicting terrain not local to these parts and a beautiful woman with flowing hair. Paul's Changeling realizes just now that he has a locket with a picture of this same woman, and wonders if maybe this is why he was drawn to this new town. Nothing is out of the ordinary, other than the drawings, so they head back and report what they know, then retire to their own devices.

On the following day, a second body is found. This of the seamstress Glyssandra, apparently dead in the same circumstances as Braidon. The group goes back to their duties as a posse looking into these incidences and find that Malery was the one to find the body, so they talk to her. She's very stand-offish until someone asks what kind of contact the two women had previously. When Malery admits the seamstress was doing a job for her, the group turned the heat on and pressured her enough that she admits to hearing a laughing voice and seeing the figure of a woman descending into the well at night.

The posse immediately ask for a few things from Samyra to descend into the well and make their way, finding a small passage off to the side of the shaft which leads to old doors with the seal broken. Undeterred, the four of them head in and work their way through a small maze of passages, killing some large spiders, a magical construct made of living sigils, and a few dastardly traps before finally hearing the giggling they had been told of before and seeing a shadowy figure charge toward them. The posse fly into battle with the bound demon, but in the end, though they fought bravely, they were no match for the minion of evil known as The Laugher in the Well.

Thoughts on A Year Without Rain
Though we all enjoyed the module, I must offer a word to those who wish to use A Year Without Rain as a beginning module: This thing can be HARD. The lead up takes a bit of tying everything together, and unless your group really is on top of their game and asking the right questions, they could falter in the early stages and a string of deaths could begin piling up bodies.

One crucial piece of advice I have for anyone wanting to run this module is also to consider letting their players hit Level 1 when they can get the Malery reveal. You might not feel it fits the pacing of Shadow of the Demon Lord to level mid-adventure, but The Laugher is no joke, and she can easily chew up a group, even if you have someone dedicated to using the Distraction mechanic the whole fight and everyone else swinging away at her (like my group.)

Now, I'd read good things about this game, but never expected it be as good as all the hype I'd seen for it expressed. Combat was simple, fun, and only slow because of poor rolls throughout the session. Overall, we were all impressed with the simplicity and flavor offered by Shadow of the Demon Lord, and have since played a campaign that's now on a short hiatus. I've even been working on a Dark Sun hack for it, but that's for later.

Master of the Fallen Fortress - A Friday Night One-Shot

This post has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time, so I decided to clean it up a little and put it out, since it was mostly done, anyway.

On some past Friday, I was set to run my ongoing Rise of the Runelords Pathfinder game (yes, the same one I had been posting about in the past), but various circumstances conspired against enough of the group showing up for us to be comfortable enough with running it, since the adventure EL was currently ~14.

Taylor, Angela, and I decided to play something, anyway, and Taylor downloaded the Free RPG Day module, Master of the Fallen Fortress. Angela made a Human Fighter and I cobbled together a Dwarf Ranger, both 1st level, and we started the adventure in media res, with our characters outside the ruined siege tower.

We made our way toward the tower, but are set upon by a small pack of three wild dogs, but we quickly dispatched them and made our way inside via a hole in the wall, only for myself to be covered in webs and then power my way out. The giant spider that provided the web then pressed the attack and charged Mira as she made her way through the opening, whereupon the warrior made good use of her earthbreaker to end the creature's life. In an adjacent area, we found the remains of someone's pet dog, that we took the bejeweled collar off of and headed up to the second level of the tower, climbing in from the outside.

There, we encounter a friendly little lizard that almost immediately tries to electrocute us, which eventually draws the attention of two pungent lizard-like beings, that attempt to put an end to our quest to find a little treasure and glory. The fight goes poorly for us, and we're forced to
leave for civilization to rest up, heal our wounds, and plan for another assault on the ruined tower. Almost a week later, we trudge back to the place and after giving the ground floor a cursory once-over, we head back up to the second level.

Shortly after ascending, we come across more (or the same?) of the nasty reptile people, but make relatively short work of the situation, then blunder right into the path of a mechanism that hurls javelins. I'm a little fuzzy as to our course here, but I believe we crawled up to the next level onto a ledge, but could see no egress, so we went back and backtracked to a central spiral stair we had seen before and came out in a large chapel area, obviously dedicated to Nethys, the god of magic. This place was guarded by two skeletons lit afire with eldritch power, but we were (barely) able to defeat one of the things, if memory serves, before we were made to turn back and again spend time at our homes, recuperating.

Our third foray into the tower met us with more opposition from the lizardy beast-men, but we managed to press through by the skin of our teeth and met with a human by the name of Balenar Forsend, who claimed to be a member of the Pathfinder Society. Though we (I, anyway) distrusted him, he healed some of our wounds and pledged to help us complete our task in the moldering keep, simply for the experience of it!

We returned Balenar's things - that we had liberated from the Troglodytes (as the Pathfinder called them) - and waited while he composed himself before venturing further up...this time to come face to face with one of these Troglodytes that could command magic! The thing also had a large pet lizard, the color of fresh snow, with a long snout filled with teeth! Battle was commenced, and after a long fight, we prevailed against the vile master of this ruin, despite his calling of a swarm of vermin and his brutish unnatural companion.

We took our spoils, dividing them as we saw fit and bade Balenar well on his travels, retiring to home and speaking of never doing a fool thing such as "adventuring" again.

Cast of Characters
Mira Silvano, Female Human Fighter 2 (Angela)
Whurvark Moonoath, Male Dwarf Ranger 2 (Buddy)