Twenty-First Session (7 page pdf) – “An Unusual Route” – The Araska and Bunyip decide to stop in at Hermea to refit. They get a little bonus.
CAUTION – ADULT CONTENT
First, a tide worm gives them some trouble, but ends up on their dinner table. (It’s from one of the many random d20 naval books I have, I’m not even sure which.) Then – after all the carnage last time, what do pirates want? Sex, and lots of it. They put in at Promise on the island nation of Hermea. Hermea’s a weird place – run by a gold dragon trying to perfect humanity via eugenics and a Star Trek-esque polity of plenty. James Jacobs and other Pathfinder designers like to argue about whether this is really Lawful Good or not. (It is “interesting,” however, which is wayyyyy more important than that, so I don’t really care.) Enter the dock district prostitutes. You could argue that there wouldn’t be prostitutes if all the women were free in a utopian-aspirant society. I figured that general Golarion sexual politics tends to say that no, there’s definitely plenty of “it’s what they choose to do” sex workers. So what’s the next natural conclusion? Well, if they can’t risk conception because of eugenics, then it’s an “anal only” zone. I like this conclusion because you can just imagine how every shipful of pirates (and merchants, and…) SO wants to dock there from the sheer novelty. “Let’s go to Hermea! Did you hear… Hur hur hur!” And, let’s be honest, the place already is reminiscent of Greece, and… If you don’t know where that’s going I’m not going to tell you, but Google away. (As an aside – some Pathfinder writers tend to like to “cheat” and come up with convenient risk-free alchemical concoctions that do everything from guaranteed birth control to problem-free sex changing. I understand blatant wish-fulfillment in RPGs but don’t go in for it – heck, those things aren’t 100% effective and risk free with 21st century science, let alone smooshing some St. John’s Wort into some tea – so I prefer not to do stuff like that which reduces common Renaissance-era risks. Sorry, it’s expensive/powerful magic or pretty poor hedge treatments in my game.)
A Hermean officer reads from a prepared script, “You may dock in Promise. You cannot pass the sandstone walls. The island is governed by the Council of Enlightenment. Trade is only permitted at the docks. No immigration is permitted. No organized religion is permitted. Do not land anywhere else on the island. You are not permitted to get Hermean citizens with child. We have additional laws – they will be explained as they come up. Enjoy your stay. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop.” The command crew isn’t sure if the stories that Hermea is ruled by a gold dragon that eagerly burns pirate ships to the waterline is BS or not but they aren’t inclined to risk it.
Well – most of them, that is. Tommy and Lil, however, have accepted Seyanna the succubus‘ profane gift and become followers of Nocticula. They decide the best course of action is to find one of those Hermean prostitutes (in this case Britt, a spoiled fourth-generation Hermean), convert her to Nocticulaism, and tempt her into illegal normal-style sex. (Tommy’s player, usually absent, returned for this session so we gave him a starring role.) I made them do a lot of scheming and make a lot of rolls of one sort or another to make this succeed, but in the end they summoned their friend Seyanna to consummate the deal.
The crew also lucks out otherwise. Whenever the crew is at liberty (in port, or left to themselves for a while) I do a d20 roll per pirate to see if anything good or bad happened to them – 1 or 20 is dramatic, 2-5 or 15-19 is something worth note at least, 6-14 is just business as usual) and no one got into any really bad trouble. Then, the captain throws me the GM for a loop by declaring they want to go back to the Shrine of the Arm-Ripper on Argavist Island next time. They have enough people with missing limbs to make it worthwhile. To my books!
Posted in session summaries
Tagged actual play, adventure path, arcadian, D&D, hermea, ocean, Pathfinder, pirates, reavers, RPG, RPGs, session summary, story hour
Twentieth Session (9 page pdf) – “A Dish Best Served Cold” – Escaped sorceress Daphne brings back some Mordant Spire elves for revenge on the PCs, and by “some” I mean “four ships full.” The Teeth of Araska and Black Bunyip fight for their lives against an ambush on the high seas.
First, they almost lose Tanned Hank the ship’s carpenter to a sea horse (yes, really). Then… Things get out of hand.
Daphne, the sorceress that they had Samaritha keep mentally dominated for so long, managed to escape in the fight with the Bunyip – she got hit by a dispel magic that dispelled the domination; she grabbed a dragon staff one of the crew had gotten as booty and flew off. Well, she’s back with some friends. The Mordant Spire elves take offense at anyone prowling the ruins of Azlant and they drive off or sink any they find.
The Black Bunyip and Teeth of Araska are lured into attacking a ship which turns out to be two Mordant Spire elf skimmers. Well, that’s not too bad… Oh wait, suddenly there’s a blue dragon fireballing us from 500′ up! That’s bad! Wait, there’s two more Mordant Spire skimmers catching us in a pincer? HOLY SHIT! A six-ship battle, the largest we’ve dealt with in the campaign.
Serpent flies up to do battle with Daphne the dragon, while the blinded Sindawe gives Samaritha the wheel and instructions to ram. Read the session summary for more, it’s hot action indeed – blood and screaming among cannon-fire and smoke. Besmara’s thirst for slaughter is well-slaked today.
Posted in session summaries
Tagged actual play, adventure path, arcadian, azlant, colony, D&D, lost city, ocean, Pathfinder, pirates, reavers, RPG, RPGs, session summary, story hour
Nineteenth Session (10 page pdf) – “The Long Voyage Home” – The Teeth of Araska and captured Black Bunyip sail through the hazards of sunken Azlant. And a second chance encounter with the Fishwife ends up with a high body count.
First we get to know the surviving crewmen of the Black Bunyip. Then we find out that JJ was built with a watertight internal cavity. Then Serpent weathers the wrath of Samaritha – she’s pregnant, but he doesn’t know that, so theories about why she’s acting psychotic range widely.
And then, they meet an old nemesis – the fishwife! She lures sailors to their doom, and the squid she has dragging her ship around is no mean opponent either. A decent chunk of ship’s crew dies in the conflict, but most notably is the demise of Jaren the Jinx – allegedly at the hands of the squid but actually at the hands of Sindawe! He’s had it with that darn jinx-curse he bears (it turns all 1’s into critical fumbles). But you know why you never kill a cursed man, right? Every pirate knows that…
Finally, they make it out of the Azlanti islands into the cold northern waters! To get there you go along the trades to the south, but to get back to Avistan you have to come around far north to get the winds. More shipboard drama, next time!
Posted in session summaries
Tagged actual play, adventure path, arcadian, azlant, colony, D&D, lost city, ocean, Pathfinder, pirates, reavers, RPG, RPGs, session summary, story hour, sun, temple
Fifth Session (10 page pdf) – We ascend Gallowspire and it’s a fight to the finish with a would-be successor to the Whispering Tyrant!
Welcome to the final session of our Carrion Crown campaign! It lasted for exactly a year of every-other-weekend play. We’re level 14 and locked, cocked, and ready to rock.
We have some luck and an optimized necromancer – the one fight on the way up the tower that could have been epic and/or fatal was the nightwing, and Zurak banished it at a go. We did a good job at not hesitating to use our spells as we went up but also not depleting ourselves completely.
Then we threw down with the lich! Well, an amped up semi lich dude. But the “solo caster vs party of PCs” fight never lasts too long, we lay on greater dispel magics and swarm him.
You can see our final L14 character builds (for some of us, at least) on the main Carrion Crown page! I’ll publish a retrospective with thoughts from the players and GM later.
Posted in session summaries
Tagged actual play, adventure path, Carrion Crown, horror, lich, Paizo, Pathfinder, RPG, RPGs, session summary, story time, undead
This week’s Bundle of Holding is all ORE all the time – for one low price get Wild Talents, GODLIKE, Better Angels, and a bunch of other stuff.
The “Gamer Oscars,” the ENnie awards, are given out each year at Gen Con. And the nominees for this year are… Well, go read the link for all of them, I’m just going to chime in with the parts I have an opinion on. My picks are…
- Razor Coast: Heart of the Razor – Frog God Games. Because I helped proof it, because it’s good, because I’m running it in my pirate campaign, because it had an epic journey to finally come to life. Though I really like that there’s a Dreamlands campaign (The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man) in the running.
- I’m not big into trinkets. I’m also not sure how to reasonably judge some dice against cards against an advice book. Pass.
Best Art, Interior
Best Art, Cover
- Razor Coast – Frog God Games immediately over Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Mythic Adventures – Paizo Publishing. For my money Wayne Reynolds is the Larry Elmore of the 2010’s. He’s basically competing against himself here and the Mythic cover is a little too busy; the Razor Coast cover is classic.
- Haven’t read any of them except for Gnome Stew which I don’t get a lot out of. After a quick read I like the feel of The Other Side the best.
- Hmm, no opinion. The fact that there is a Map of the Flanaess is bad ass but it’s not the quality of some of these others. And I love Razor Coast but its maps are not its high point (they tend to be pretty but have some problems in play).
Best Electronic Book
Best Family Game
- I have no context on any of these.
Best Free Product
- I don’t know. I mean, it was originally the battle of titans – 13th Age vs Fate Core System vs Numenera. Huge sales, huge buzz. But I have to say, after getting 13th Age and Numenera – I read them, and that was it. If someone was running a Numenera game I might play. Not sure about 13th Age. And I have very much not enjoyed the FATE games I’ve played in. So none? Sad I know, and it’s not because they are small or bad games. Just none of them interest me. I’ll give Numenera the edge just because I’d play it if asked and might not play the other two if asked.
Best Miniatures Product
- Pathfinder Battles: Wrath of the Righteous – WizKids Games/NECA. The Pathfinder minis are just beautiful. I really don’t need any more but I can’t resist buying a brick every time they have a new set because they push the bar forward on sculpts, paints, and weird materials each time.
- Hmm, I listen to a lot of podcasts but haven’t heard of these. No RPPR or Fear the Boot? Come on now! I’ll try out All Games Considered and Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.
Best Production Values
- Numenera Corebook – Monte Cook Games, LLC. Can’t say anything against the production here, it’s first-rate.
Best RPG Related Product
- As opposed to “Aids and Accessories?” Trinket category 2, pass.
- I’m not in love with any of these. 13th Age and Fate Core System leave me mostly cold. Hillfolk is supposed to be all groundbreaking but I found Hamlet’s Hit Points to be pedantic and plodding as hell so I haven’t ventured it. Shaintar: Legends Arise – “more stuff for Savage Worlds” is fine but I have a hard time pegging a “Best Rules” on it. Makes me wish I’ve read tremulus because maybe I could vote for it here.
- Razor Coast – Frog God Games, because I love pirates, followed by Numenera Corebook – Monte Cook Games, LLC, because it’s artsy and unusual if a little less accessible.
- Realm Works – Lone Wolf Development and Roll20 – The Orr Group LLC. Gaming software’s come a long way since back in the day! I’m more likely to use Realm Works than Roll20 just because I’m a in-real-life guy.
- Hmm, Numenera is the only one of these I’ve read so I can’t really judge.
- Why the hell is The Escapist nominated every year? It’s infrequently updated, a mass of 404s and “this is shut down now” – I go look at it every year when it’s nominated and try to figure out what I’m missing. Blog? No post in 3 months. Forum? Shut down. Podcast? Dead 5 years. Escapist Interviews? 404. What am I missing, because a casual survey indicates this is an old ass abandoned site?
- Tabletop Audio is pretty and a cool idea. RPG Geek is a good reference site. See Page XX is engaging, I read it once every 6 months or so, but it’s pretty tightly scoped so one every 6 months is enough.
Product of the Year
- I assume Fate Core System is going to win just because squee, FATE. Or maybe Numenera on the basis of being the only game that’s not retreading well-trod ground. Another Cthulhu game? We have enough, seriously. Razor Coast is the one out of all of them I plan to play…
All in all, not a year I’m super excited about. I got a couple fun things, which are mostly not on this list… I do like looking at the lists to see what I may have overlooked that could be good. I need to read tremulus sometime and see if it overcomes the “storygame effect” (entertaining to play – once). How about you, were any of these super winners in your mind?
Posted in talk
Tagged awards, ennies, RPG, RPGs
Since I am running a long pirate campaign that’s headed to the Razor Coast, I was jazzed to come across this ship and terrain Kickstarter – with various ships including a 60′ barque (La Belle), 90′ sloop-of-war (HMS Drake), and a 130′ frigate (HMS Surprise). It’s a chunk of change but… I had to do it! Go check it out if you plan on some naval action in your game.