Wrath of the Righteous Chapter One, The Worldwound Incursion – First Session

Kenabres

Kenabres

First Session (17 page pdf) – It’s time for a festival in the town of Kenabres when there’s a minor goblin attack.  Oh wait, wrong Adventure Path, instead giant demons blow up the city and toss us into a hole to die.

We are starting with a full roster of characters this AP!  Six players, and they’re playing:

  • Antonius (An Tung), a Tien who grew up Chelish. His monk/paladin journey along the path of Irori has led him to the Worldwound. (Ernest)
  • Tabregon, a lame half-elven oracle of Iomedae. He loves being a healbot. (Bruce)
  • Tsuguri Chiba, a Tien cleric of Tsukiyo. Antonius is a Twinkie but Tsuguri is super Asian in all the scary yelly ways. (Chris)
  • Trystan, a half-elven bow-wielding paladin of Shelyn. But don’t call him a cherub, he hates that. (Matt)
  • Shawanda, a Mwangi paladin of Iomedae. She’s the main tank. (Patrick)
  • Calanthe, an aasimar sorceress of Shelyn. She’s our war leader and is somewhat embarassed when we call her “Khaleesi.” (Tim)

We get started by establishing the basic scene and determining who’s met who already. Then we’re sitting in some bleachers waiting for a festival and speech and stuff and…

Then we’re in the dark, with headaches.  It slowly comes back to us that some kind of massive demon attack happened above while we fight off giant maggots and take stock of who’s here.  Besides the PCs there’s a blind elf (Aravashnial), a lame chick (Anevia Tirablade), and a jerky guy (Horgus Gwerm). I like to say that all three of them are handicapped. We also find leftover scales from the giant silver dragon that was defending the city till it got its head chopped off by a balor or something, and they have kewl powers.

Then we wander around underground – looks like this isn’t going to be brief, looks like we’ll be here for a good number of sessions.  We’re first level so mainly we fight bugs, undead, and other vermin. Finally, we ally with some Mole People (mongrelmen).

Between finishing up character details, some fights and exploration, and madly trying to get to know each other and the three NPCs we don’t really get too many shenanigans in. But we’ll be more on our game next time!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Four, Second Session

Samaritha the Serpentfolk

Samaritha the Serpentfolk

Second Session (18 page pdf) – “A Birth and a Death in Riddleport” – Samaritha finally comes to term serpentfolk style and the crew entertain themselves by fighting in Zincher’s arena, but then they find one of their long-time crewmates murdered!

That’s right – Samaritha, Serpent’s wife, who got pregnant back at the end of Season Two, finally gives birth!  Well… Lays an egg, really, she is a serpentfolk. I think Golarion serpentfolk are supposed to do live birth but I’ve admixed the Freeport serpentfolk in instead and they definitely do the egg thing. Quite the milestone! So the first half of the session basically revolves around that. I’m really happy our campaign is in-character roleplay enough that a PC getting married and having a baby is absorbing for all the players.

Clegg Zincher

Clegg Zincher

And how better to celebrate than violence. But it’s not even the PCs’ violence! No, instead they get to watch Mase and Gareb, two of their crewmen, fight fish-men in the arena. They lose, but live through it.

Then they hatch a “clever” plan to hand off their captive Ulfen to the orcs, so that they don’t garner White Estrid’s revenge should she track them down. They wisely decide not to provoke the monkey that comes along for the ride – last time they provoked a monkey in Riddleport someone came close to losing a nose. Word to the wise. (It’s kinda like Costa Rica in that way.)

And then – beloved crewman and second mate Little Mike’s body is found on the streets of Riddleport. BAM! Downbeat and cliffhanger for next time.

 

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Four, First Session

Riddleport Harbor

Riddleport Harbor

Welcome to the start of Season Four of our epic Reavers on the Seas of Fate Pathfinder campaign! We’re exactly three and a half years in. In Season One, “Shadows in Riddleport,” our PCs went to Riddleport, became aspiring pirates, and became embroiled in a cultist plot to destroy the city.  In Season Two, “Eros and Thanatos,” they got their own pirate ship and confronted all manner of supernatural menace of both Shadow and Cthulhu types. In Season Three, “Et In Arcadia Ego,” they  head out to sunken Azlant in the Arcadian Ocean and face off against the elves of the Mordant Spire and the degenerate inhabitants of the lost Sun Temple Colony.

And now we begin Season Four – “Family Matters.” In which our pirate crew returns to Riddleport but finds an old enemy has not forgotten them, and then heads to darkest Nidal to help Wogan’s sister.

First Session (22 page pdf) – “There’s No Place Like Home” – the PCs return to Riddleport at long last! Time to dispose of booty, buy goodies, and drink much booze while re-acclimating to life on land.

Their first order of business is to hand over the thumbless, captive pirate captain Morgan Baumann to the Overlord, which they manage to do with a startling lack of decorum even for them.

Gaston pulls the hood off to reveal that Morgan Baumann has worked the gag out of  place. She spits an unhealthy glob at Gaston.
The man wipes at his face, then tells her, “Keep your hands off my ships.”
Her reply is, “Keep your hands off little boys!”
Gaston taunts her, “I didn’t figure you would go down so easy.”
She replies, “I thought the same about you!”
Unhappy with losing the verbal exchange, Gaston commands, “Take her away.”

I improvised that whole dialogue, I was proud. Then it’s cop-killing jokes and a return to the Golden Goblin in Riddleport, where the whole campaign started. Saul Vancaskerkin, one-handed crime lord, always slaps Sindawe on the cheek in that Italian-mobster way; he hates it.  I love that. They rove all over getting caught up on city life.  Not only are they higher level but also they have learned not to wander the streets of Riddleport alone, so they are no longer the second most dangerous thing in a given alleyway. At least the command crew is; now they have to run after their hapless crew members who are all getting robbed and tricked into fighting in the arena and the like.

Entire game sessions that are all the PCs entertaining themselves with NPC interactions and going places are great.  I was told once that if we weren’t rolling combat dice then “we weren’t playing D&D.” To that person I wisely reply “suck it.” REAL ROLEPLAYING BABY!

This episode is all about getting various balls rolling and threads started, and it’ll escalate steadily over the next five sessions until it’s a holocaust that would make the most seasoned hack-and-slashers quail. But for now… It’s a moment of relative peace back in civilization.

We Embark Upon The Wrath of the Righteous!

balorAfter we finished up Carrion Crown, we discussed what Pathfinder campaign Paul was going to run next.  The clear front-runner is Wrath of the Righteous, the against-the-demons Adventure Path from Paizo Publishing. Which means goody-goody characters for everyone!  And this one goes high level – it’s planned for level 20 plus 5 Mythic tiers.  Mythic is a cool new Paizo ruleset that adds a layer of legendary/demigod/whatnot on top of normal levels – not limited to “Epic” like the old “above level 20″ 3.5 rules, but this is how some level 5 guy (or critter) can have an actual legendary kick to them.

Here’s our campaign page with character sheets and links to pages of session summaries and the like.  I’m a little behind, we’re actually done with one of the chapters already, but the summaries should start showing up!

Because I always want to play something a little different than what everyone else is, and because all the 3.5 era min-maxers (they call themselves “optimizers” nowadays to try to wash the stink off) all say the monk is the worst and “most nerfed” (thanks WoW) character class ever, I’ll be running a monk. Actually a combo  monk/paladin, there’s a Champion of Irori prestige class that seems cool and kung-fu movie-style I plan to take. I’ll do a separate post on my character later. But besides me, we have two paladins (melee and ranged), an oracle, a cleric, and an aasimar sorceress! Fear our codes of conduct!

Before the campaign there was some talk of everyone playing Shelynites, which I was all for as that would be interesting – but the adventure has so many Iomedae hooks that two of the players bailed and went Iomedae, so I went Irori to mix it up. And then the cleric is of Tsukiyo, a weird pagan deity from Tien Xia. (You can look up what any of that gibberish means on the Golarion wiki at pathfinderwiki.com.)

So buckle up and prepare to witness our attempts to slay demons, redeem the fallen, and mind our cornholes in Wrath of the Righteous!

D&D 5e PHB Readthrough, Chapter 5: Equipment

tenfootpoleWelcome to the next in the series of my D&D Fifth Edition PHB readthrough and review. I know there’s been a little time gap, I had some bidness to attend to.

The equipment chapter kicks off with the basic monetary system and starting gold.  The electrum piece (worth 1/2 a gold piece) has returned from the sands of time. Ah, nostalgia, I remember you fondly.

Then they talk about selling treasure.  Undamaged gear is worth 50% of the list price, but monster gear is usually junk.  Then they finally breach the 3.e/Pathfinder bugbear, magic items – magic items are expensive and rare and selling anything but the most common is problematic, let alone buying them.  This is happy and leads me to believe that the “magic item economy,” which resulted in “Christmas tree syndrome,” one of the least delightful things about mid-range D&D editions, has been swept away.

Armor is somewhat simplified and has the interesting design decision that light armors allow full Dex bonus to AC, medium half, and heavy none. On the one hand that compensates nicely for different approaches, on the other hand it tends towards “everyone has AC 16-18, period.”

Weapons are simpler than in some editions, more complex than in others. They have one damage rating that is a die and type (e.g. 1d8 bludgeoning) – never any “1d4+1″ or the like. Then they have some keyword-properties like the kids are into nowadays that indicate special uses – heavy, two-handed, reach, finesse, light, etc. Finesse weapons use DEX for both attack and damage in this edition, making the uber-strength fighter a less automatic choice.  There’s no such thing as a masterwork weapon but you can silver one for 100gp.

Then they have other gear. You know, cook pots, paper, and the ever-popular ten foot pole. This is mostly “like every list ever.” There’s a couple points of interest, like “Basic Poison” that requires a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 points of damage. And a potion of healing – at 50 gp – that will heal 1d4+2 hit points. So they don’t conflate healing with the hit dice thing (like 4e did with healing surges). I’m not sure how I feel about that, seems like “heal a Hit Die” is pretty smoov, but whatever. There’s sub-tables for barrels and ships and stuff.

The Tools are interesting. They claim that tools “help you do something you couldn’t otherwise do” – but mechanically they just let you add your proficiency bonus.  So if you’re a fighter, you can try to pick a lock without a proficiency or tools and just up and make the Dex check. But if you have the skill proficiency *and* the tools, you can add your proficiency bonus.

A final cool part is the lifestyle expenses.  I remember this from Living campaigns back in the 1990s. Basically there’s a listed cost for living at certain social levels – from Wretched to Aristocratic.  They kinda wuss out and have no mechanical hook to those except to say “Well you know if you’re po’ then nobles won’t like you but thieves might.”

Similarly to the “magic items aren’t bought and sold like cattle,” even getting spells cast for hire is noted to be difficult – you can get a common level 1 or 2 spell in a major city for 10-50 gp but past that it’s DM fiat and quests, baby.

Then there’s two semi wasted pages on “trinkets” – a new character gets one!  Roll 1d100, you have “a single caltrop made from bone.” Seems gimmicky to me but I get that they’re trying to provoke some kind of “you are a real and unique person” roleplaying using it so that’s fine.

All in all I like where they’re going!  Next time, Customization Options!

Jim Shipman and Outlaw Press, Ripping You Off Since 2009

menagerieWell, our old friend James (Jim) Shipman of Outlaw Press, who happily steals other publishers’ products, art, etc. is back with yet another scam.  You can read about all his Tunnels & Trolls thievery in these old articles. And he’s back at it, as seen in Bleeding Cool News, stealing someone’s products again, a “Monster Menagerie” product from a small publisher, and he boldly states there’s more to come in an email to the artist that complained.

Our lovely IP laws only exist to protect Disney and other large corporate interests.  Everyone talks about “class action lawsuits!” and the like but you’re talking about huge money and mobilization to try to get whatever $200 is in the accounts of some scumbag in Lawrenceville, IL. You can rip off the little guy blatantly and mercilessly. Resign yourselves to it.  This has been going on for 5 years now.

The only real defense is for all of you to go after his Internet footprint – if you’re an affected publisher or artist send a DMCA takedown notice to his ISP/Web hosts; everyone is welcome to complain to the abuse line at anywhere he uses for email, Web, DNS, etc. At least that could drive him to prefer whatever other petty crime he commits back in Illinois. See the back issues for various emails (currently Jimship2@frontier.com), eBay seller IDs, and IP addresses he uses (4.59.106.0-255 is popular, which is Level3 in the Little Egypt region of Illinois) – and be aware he likes to post fake comments to sites claiming to be from other companies, vandalize Wikipedia entries, etc. He currently conducts his online sales from http://www.outlawpressinc.com via PayPal as op_publishing@yahoo.com. A WHOIS gives what appears to be his parents’ address in Lawrenceville, IL.

Feng Shui 2 Kickstarter Live!

Feng Shui, by Robin Laws, one of the coolest games in RPG history.  Well, it’s coming back, and you can get in on the Kickstarter!  Which is like 300% funded after being live for an hour.  Give up on collecting boots from goblins and be a real action movie hero, Chow Yun Fat style (or someone else for you kids nowadays).