"Sunday's Game" - The Exodus

Something of a Rant
Maybe it's Just the Weather

I had a particularly unpleasent time at the game I played in this evening, and I’ve been mulling it over in my head as to why that is. Perhaps it’s the weather, or perhaps it’s because I spent a good four or five hours playing a game, only to get one extremely easy combat done and over with. Maybe it was the negativity that certain people spout and always spout. I think it was a little of everything. All I came home with from this evening was a splitting headache and a sense that perhaps I should move on.

Of the negativity issue – if I wanted to be berated or hear others berated, I’d go back to high-school. So, I think at this game, the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” applies. Seriously. I’m sick of it. It’s draining, and gets me in a foul mood. And when I’m in a foul mood, I get candid, and then feelings get hurt. Natural defensive reaction. So, I’d much rather avoid that kind of thing at this game. At any game for that matter, actually, which is why I’m not going back to Chris’s. Sorry.

I don’t want this game to become like that. It’s a game, meant to be enjoyed. If you’re not having a good time, take a break, do something else. Seeing as I’m the DM in this situation, I don’t want to have to take a break – because that forces the rest of you to take a break. So, I’d like to continue enjoying the game. So please – no whining about the rules during the game (correcting me when I’m wrong is fine, of course), no snide remarks out of game. There’s just no need for it. If you have a negative opinion about something, keep it to yourself, unless it’s something that has to be said.

I say all this because, well, frankly, it’s tiring. Most people come to “games” to escape negative shit, be it at work, home, whatever. That’s why I DM, too – to have fun. So, while I doubt, honestly, that this game will ever get to the point where I’m getting fed up with anyone, I don’t want it to ever get to that point – because, I won’t kick anyone out, I’ll just stop altogether.

Another thing is, don’t worry about your characters stats and all that crap – again, it’s a game, but, it’s a team game. Sure, inter-party fighting is bound to happen, but, if it has to happen, don’t compare stats. Seriously. If you need to have a dick-measuring contest, do it outside, away from me. The game isn’t about the character who r0xx0rz the most. Hell, I honestly have more fun with a “hopeless” character, myself, who gets into situations he has to overcome despite having no means. That’s one complaint I have about the d20 system – it lends itself to easily to characters competing with out of game stuff.

Again – maybe it’s the weather, but, I’m simply not in a good mood – I’m happy about OUR game, but right now I’m just not happy. I don’t see our game going that route, once more – and I don’t ever want to see it even leaning towards that route.

So, in summary. Negativity: cut the shit. Powergaming: cut the shit. Nature: cut the shit.

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Trouble Times Two: Part Two

Ru struggled to his feet as we heard the sounds of more of the cavern’s denizens tromp forward. Amoraq nodded at us, and said he’d hurry back to the encampment and try to find reenforcements. Almost as soon as he ducked out of the cave, Tindel and Franklin were standing at the entrence. Before they could say anything, however, we were beset upon by goblins.

A large number of goblins were seen in the passageway to the North of us, and, after a couple of them were cut down, they fell back into the next area. Renzo and Thenar persued, and the rest of the party followed suit. There was no real “plan”, apparently… some people stayed back, intending on staying in the doorway, while Renzo, of course, had another plan – paste the gobbies. He moved forward through the room, taking a couple bolts to his side, and does what he does best. He cut down one of the goblins that were firing at him, but was quickly getting overwhelmed.

A number of orcs entered the room, intent on pulling away a pair of boulders that were laying atop what was obviously a trap door. Franklin read quickly from a scroll, which produced a ball of flame – it burned one goblin to cinders and then it moved quickly to burn a rope away, forcing the orcs to move forward and try to move the boulder by hand. Franklin then ran forward and stood in front of a recovering Renzo.

Mae and Ru stayed in the doorway, firing at the goblins and orcs, bringing them down one by one. The remaining orcs managed to pull the other boulder away from the trapdoor just as Tindel was crossing it – Tindel fell into a pit that was a good twenty feet deep, but seemed to recover well from the fall. Renzo ran back to me for a moment, so that I could apply some healing magics to him, and then curiousity got the best of him as he went to return – he peered into the pit.

I couldn’t understand the conversation he had, but he was clearly speaking to the ogre that was now climbing out of the pit – I feared for Tindel, who I hadn’t seen since the pit had opened. The ogre and Renzo babbled at each other for a bit, and I could have sworn I saw the ogre curl his lip up and shrug. Amazingly, when he emerged from the pit, he began laying into the goblins and the orcs instead of the rest of my friends.

“It’s okay!” Renzo shouted to us, “He’s our friend now!”

I stood there, bewildred for a moment – the rest of goblins and orcs that were still concious ran back further into the cavern. Mae began interrogating one of the goblins as Renzo told us our new friend’s name and what-have-yous. We fed the ogre for his troubles.

Mae told us what the goblin told her – that, apparently, the one that was running this whole thing was calling himself Ferd – which was the name of the bandit that this lot took care of way back in Cinq… I suppose it was POSSIBLE that he lived, but… I had a distinct feeling something else was going on here.

We pressed on, pausing only to wait for Teg and Renzo lift a heavy portcullis out of the way. There was another larger cavernous area, and another portcullis in our path, but Ru discovered a secret switch that allowed us to simply lift it up. We pressed on once more. Thenar and Renzo were leading the party, then Thenar stopped short. He said, quite loudly, “I think I hear orcs up ahead.” He then, apparently, realized his own tone, and then whispered, "And, well… I think they just heard me. We moved up to a corner quietly, and started whispering plans. Thenar, knowing that they had already blown any surprise they might have had, shrugged, and dove around the corner, shouting as dwarves are apt to do. He then, very shorty thereafter, turned back around the corner, riddled with bolts.

After I patched him up a bit, we quickly glanced around. Mae and Ru saw a bit of cover they intended to make use of, and Renzo saw a huge boulder he intended to pick up to advance with. Tindel signaled to Franklin (although he didn’t speak) and Franklin placed a magical armor on him. Tindel’s intention was to step out and draw fire so that everyone else could get cover. I gave him a quick blessing, and the game was on.

Everyone moved like lightning – Tindel sprang out, dodging almost all of the bolts, a pair of them landing solidly in his shoulder. Renzo dove across the opening, and picked up the huge boulder, and positioned it so it would provide him cover. Ru and Mae dashed behind a set of rocks, and began to lay down fire from their bows, and Panbatter, Thenar and our new friend Teg moved out behind Renzo to aide him.

Renzo tossed the boulder atop a pair of goblins, and knocked the orcs that were standing behind them back and down. Ru and Mae made short of any target they could get a bead on, and, after another series of bolts, the goblins pressed forward – as did one of the humans that was standing at the end of the cavern. He bellowed as he advanced, which reminded me of how Renzo fought sometimes. That thought frightened me.

The whole battle was a flurry of swords and arrows, and I just remember healing whomever I could. An orc almost buried an axe into Renzo, but, Panbatter SOMEHOW shoved Renzo out of the way, taking the solid hit herself. After it was all said and done, Panbatter was greviously injured, and Teg was laying there unconcious, but alive, and the rest of us were hurting badly, but at a standoff with the remaining man at the end of the cavern, and his orcs.

“No one said anything about a kid,” Tindel said, out of turn. It was true, though, we had heard nothing about this. The man stood out in the middle of the cavern, with a child in hand, holding her above a pool of water. Once again, in all the anticipation I lost track of things. I tried to creep forward to heal our new friend, Teg, but, an orc buried a crossbow bolt in his head… not soon after that, Ru, somehow, suddenly appeared behind the man, and put an arrow into him, then jumped towards him with dagger in hand. A quick struggle, with Tindel and Franklin diving in after the child which was inevitably dropped… oh, I’m starting to babble here, aren’t I?

I apologize – what we saw next was distressing, to say the least. The man fell to the ground, finally – I once again forget who put in the final blow – but, once he fell, a spectre emerged from him. The spectre of Ferd, the man that my friends had killed way back in the town of Cinq. He bellowed in rage, and tried to force his will over a number of us, succeeding for a small amount of time with Merenwen, and almost succeeding with Renzo. A combonation of spells, magical weapons and finally holy water made his visage fade… and then we ran.

(Bah. Bad summary. This is what I get when I take too long to update.)

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WTF PWND
Getting Things Accomplished

I apologize for not getting some of the stuff I said I would get up, but, I’m weak.

I blame… the sea.

Ff1duke


Anyhow, I did manage to get something accomplished – the new site design! …you like? You damn well better, because I’m keepin’ it like this for quite some time. Or, until I have another fit of energy and decide it needs another facelift. Or if I learn a new trick that would make updating the site easier. Or something. But for now it stays! Hell, it looks like it works for resolutions 640×480 on up, so, that’s a decent change..

Alright. This sleep thing isn’t happening today. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

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Black and White
Makes Baby Jesus Cry

It’s about quarter past one in the morning, but, I’m determined to get this new design up. I finally got the template to work, which, ultimately, will save me from having an anuersym in front of my computer, which will save Good Tom a lot of clean-up work.

I had a really good time, last game, and, considering it was all improvised, I think I did fairly well. I mean, sure, I had a general idea of what I had planned on doing – all of this was based on a module I had read a couple weeks previously. But, unless I print out the modules, I usually just skim them and get a good idea as to what might be going on. It’s all in my brains, you see. Brainsss…

Have to say, John and Lilly’s digs were definately a pleasent change of pace – not that I don’t like it here, but, I’m here at Tom’s apartment an awful lot. I have to keep thanking the two of you for being so hospitable – so, ah – thankewthankewthankew. What more can I say that wouldn’t, eventually, get on your nerves?

For the time being, the houserules section is down, as is the characters section – I plan on revamping them, adding in new rules/clarifications that’ve come up, and, I plan on making a bit more about the world around you known. I’m going to add in a general information section, too, so that you can know what your characters might know – as in, what kind of beasts are whispered about in parts you’ve come from, what creatures are uncommon, and what creatures are common, and so forth. Additionally, a few homebrew spells and houseruled feats’ll be going up – basically to let the rest of the party know where I’ve broken the rules. One of the main examples of that is Panbatter’s Deflect Arrows ability. She obviously isn’t the fist-fightin’ sort, but she wanted to bat arrows away on occasion – so, I let her use Weapon Focus as a prereq instead of unarmed, provided that she had the weapon focused weapon in hand when she wanted to deflect said arrows. I don’t want to break too many rules – but, for the sake of style, sometimes, and the sake of sanity, some rules simply should be broken.

3.5 is coming out soon, which is another issue – once it is out, I’m just letting everyone convert their characters – if you have a feat that, suddenly, you should have automatically gotten (case of Thenar’s EWP: Dwarven Waraxe), you can replace it with another feat – I’m not going to stick you with a useless feat. For the more dramatic class changes (Ranger, Sorcerer comes to mind), we’ll convert those over as much as we can, taking into account what you really wanted to do with your characters.

Anyhow – tired. Expect to see at least part of the adventure summary for Episode Five up later today, and, although this’ll be a bit more work, the characters and houserules stuff, too. G’nite.

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Relocatin'
Movin' on Out

Without much pomp and circumstance, it seems that we’re relocating to Lilly and John’s apartment which should be much more accomidating for the size of the group, and hell, even has huge frikkin’ cats in it. Seriously, some of these cats put Chris and Candi’s fatcats to shame.

This upcoming Sunday, we’re meeting up at Scholar’s (34 CENTRAL SQ, BRIDGEWATER) at 11:30 or so, so that we can all find our way to the new playing place. You can give them a call at (508) 279-1712, if need be. If you need to figure out how to get there, which I doubt any of you do, you can simply click here and hit “Get Directions to This Location” above the map, and then, you’re set to go. We’ll probably be browsing the selection at Scholars, if we can wade through it, before we head back and start up the game.

There’s been talk about getting a Dwarven Forge set – which, if everyone dropped approximately 12-15 bucks, it seems, we can start out with the cavern one, which would be appropriate for the places that the lot of you will be adventuring in in the near future. Of course, cityscape is good for ANY situation, but, I’m not too terribly concerned about it, we have a map that we’ve been making good use of.

Once again, Lilly’s going way out of her way to be nice to us, so, do your best to bring foodage, firstborns, catsnacks, cashmoney, plasma or whatever various goods you can bring her. Just don’t leave any of it on the rug.

Also, a note to the players of (or the players who want to play in) Chris’s Game – I may very well be dropping out of the game, so, if you’re interested in playing, let Chris know. Not sure when this is going down, but, it’s a good idea to let Chris know anything a good week or three in advance. Now I’m off to see if I can churn up any more art for this page, and then work on the summary for the adventures that happened at PortCon.

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Trouble Times Two: Part One

Trial the First: Crossing the Sands

We left Duvik’s Pass with a few new friends, who had expressed interest in joining the Exodus. First of them was Saihoushi Bo, as he introduced himself, and he seemed to be a fairly jovial young halfling. He spoke of being a shaman of sorts, although I knew nothing of what magics he might posess. His almond eyes gave away his origins – it had been some time since I saw someone from the Faraway lands. Secondly there was Amoraq, who said he came to Duvik’s Pass originally to trade silks for silver. However, with the plague setting in, he had to sell off his silks at a loss – so he took up a sword, and decided to do his best as a hired blade in the Exodus. Thenar had the same idea, although, it seemed as if that was his idea all along. He seemed to be particularly eager for the fight, and, that doesn’t surprise me, as dwarves go.

So, we set out together, with our new friends. Franklin and Tindel had promised to catch up to us. Tindel was taking care of matters involving his voice, he had mentioned, and Franklin was waiting on something he was having crafted for him. I had no doubts that those two would have any troubles along the way, and Jonas, no doubt would keep an eye out on them.

On the first day of travel, we narrowly avoided some five-headed beast that was hunting by the riverside – it, thankfully, seemed pleased with whatever it had caught in the river, and we managed to sneak around it. That evening, however, we weren’t so lucky to avoid some of the beasts of the desert. It was almost time for us to set up camp when I heard a distinct flapping noise right behind me. I turned and saw what was clearly a demonic agent! I let the party know in the most calm manner that I could – it tried it’s best to escape, but, it was quickly cut down by the party. I don’t know why an agent of the Abyss was out in the desert, and I’m still investigating what would have attracted such a beast. Of course, that was certainly not the last of our troubles that evening.

During the night, when we had our camp set (and Ru had his trap set, the boulder trap he’s so proud of), we were attacked by a group of spiders that looked the size of dogs! They tried to take down our horses, and drag them off, but, thankfully our watch wasn’t without merit. Ru and Mae had spotted them – first Ru kicked a rock down onto Renzo trying to wake him. Renzo, of course, didn’t budge. Mae’s animal call, however, went out, and most of us woke quickly – except for me, I’m told. I slept fairly well for a few moments more. When I did wake, I saw the party batting these huge spiders off away from our mounts. Mae’s dog, in the excitement, ran between Ru’s legs, tripping him in the process. This is what, I think, set off Ru’s bad mood for the next few days. Ru managed to crush one spider underneath his trap, regardless of this, and, while some of us were bitten and shaking from the spider’s venom, we managed to escape the worst of the effects and sleep out the rest of the evening.

The second day and evening, thankfully, went without incident – Ru fed Mae’s dog some of his rations, in an apologetic gesture. He had kicked it after getting up from his fall the evening before.

The third evening, while we were in camp once more, we were set upon by what seemed to be the skeletal remains of ogres, still-moving. Ru, reflexively, shot at them at a distance, and, they began to close with the camp. Thenar and Panbatter rushed forward, to delay the beastly skeletons, and I ran out to the best of my ability and threw Fharlanghn’s symbol out towards them, in hopes of keeping them at bay. Fharlanghn must watch closely over travellers, because the skeletons, upon seeing the symbol of my god, turned and fled. I wish I knew what energies were filling the desert with such malice so as to animate the dead, but, perhaps it’s a question best left unanswered – we are moving away from all this, after all.

After a couple more days of travel, which went by uneventfully, we finally approached the Exodus, which we saw in a great dust plume in the distance. Amoraq rode ahead of us. We began to approach a small cottage, which seemed to be on it’s lonesome, far from the upcoming town of Iredell – Thenar noticed a small winged thing, not unlike the demon we had noticed before, fly into the open door of the cottage. That in addition to the plumes of thick black smoke coming from the chimney of the house, led us to investigate…

Trial the Second: Something’s Cooking

I honestly don’t trust wizards, and after this particular incident, I don’t think that will ever change. I know that I should respect anyone who travels any path, but, wizards simply seem like they’re trying to take one too many shortcuts.

We stepped, cautiously, into the house, looking about the sitting room that we entered into. The house was extraordinarly quiet, and we had seen no sign of the winged thing that few in here just moments ago. There was a distinct smell from further in the house, a smell of some pastry or some such. Renzo, of course, immediately started into the next room. We began to follow, but, as I mentioned before, this seemed to be the house of a wizard. A draw cord from a windowshade snaked around my throat, and several other items in the room started to move of their own volition, too.

I struggled free from the cord, while a table bucked like a horse, kicking at Thenar – a chair was trying it’s best to sit on Panbatter, while a book flew about the room trying to teach us a quick object lesson. Lastly, a firey hot poker, that had been sitting the fireplace, tried it’s best to stab at Mae and Ru. Renzo, seeing the party in trouble, headed back into the room, smashing the table and the chair, and Thenar managed to swat the poker from the air. Ru obliterated the book, and Panbatter cut the cord.

We moved quickly through the rooms and into the kitchen, which was demolished. A breif encounter with the stove’s fire, which flared up aggressively as we approached it, but stood down when we moved away from it, let us know that this kind of thing would likely be happening often in the house. Ru and Thenar quickly rummaged through the kitchen for “clues” (and a number of the “clues” ended up in their pockets). There was a set of footprints that led to a door that a chair was propped up against – there was also signs of someone being dragged from this room down into the hallway. We couldn’t help but move down into the hallway and investigate.

The hallway led to a smallish bedroom – an older man was tied to the bed, horribly bruised and covered in what looked like blood – three winged things sat in the room, idly destoying what they could find – they seemed exceptionally surprised to see us. The lot of us immediately moved in upon them cutting two of the three of them down quickly. The third was injured, but managed to fly out the door, and off to report to whatever master sent him. I was able to bring the man back up to conciousness – it turned out the “blood” soaking him was merely tomato sauce, although he was, admittedly, badly beaten by the imps that had up until recently took up residence in his room.

After he awoke, he explained to us what had happened… not many of the party really seemed to want to listen, but, he explained anyhow. He had been working on a golem of sorts, made of foodstuffs – these beasts attacked him when he had finished it, and the golem went berzerk – he managed to lock it in the basement before the imps knocked him out, and that’s all he remembered. He then, quite bluntly, asked if we might be able to take care of it. The party asked what they might get out of the bargain – and while I’m usually for helping the needy without a reward, I had been accosted by this man’s furnature. He offered his ring, which he claimed was magical, and potions that he had hidden away… the party shrugged, agreed, and went off to destroy this golem made of foodstuffs.

A rich, and tempting smell came from the basement door, and my mouth watered – until, of course, the door opened, and this beast the shape of bread emerged, bringing it’s pastry fists down onto Renzo. Renzo, who can usually take a hit, staggered a bit – this thing, although it was meant to be some exotic treat, seemed to be better as a killing machine. Every time we cut at it, it spurt forth hot sauce, which stung like nothing else. Renzo actually fell over during one point in the struggle, but we managed to bring the thing down fairly quicky – we simply overwhelmed it. After it fell, Renzo began to devour parts of it, of course.

It was about this time that the man’s wife arrived home, and gave us all a rather suspicious look – the man quickly tried to explain to the wife, but it was clear she wasn’t in the mood for talking, and left without a word. The man, thanking us quickly, dispensed with the promised goods, and escorted us quickly out of the house…

Trial the Second: Trouble Times Two

Arrived in the town of Iredell, finally, with the Exodus camped along the perimeter of the little hamlet. It looked as if the town had doubled in size overnight with all the carts and tents suddenly springing up. Amoraq, who rode ahead of us last evening, was awaiting us in the town. In hurried tones, he told us of bandits that were once simply ragtag orcs and goblins that were becoming uncommonly organized. The party was distracted from it’s travels across the sands and it’s misadventure in the cottage on the way, so, Amoraq had trouble getting his point across – that this posed a threat not only to Iredell, but to the Exodus as well.

Eventually, the party focused. While many of the party thought it wasn’t much of an issue that these bandits were running rampant and ambushing travellers and merchants, eventually the decision was made that they were going to do something about it. I actually suggested that we dress up as commoners ourselves, and travel out to the roads where the ambushes were happening and waylay the waylayers – and perhaps interrogate them or have Mae’s skills in tracking help us to find where they were coming from. This plan was agreed upon, and everyone got to working on their disguises.

I covered my armor and weapons, and made myself to look much more like a simple travelling healer, than a battling one, that I have been of late. Ru and Mae dressed as farmers, and Amoraq slipped easily back into his merchant garb. Panbatter already looked the part of the unassuming cook. Thenar seemed confounded by the idea of disguising himself, and made no efforts to hide his weapons, which was fine, ultimately – we wanted to keep up appearences and look as if we had SOME protection.

Renzo dressed up as a tree.

After setting Renzo straight, putting in some common garb, and wrapping his sword in a burlap sack, we moved out to the roads, to catch our query. It wasn’t long until we spotted them, and they, no doubt, spotted us. We made efforts to pretend that we hadn’t seen them, but, they caught on quickly. Thenar moved into the fray quickly, charging down a goblin, and Amoraq and Ru tried to sneak around behind the boulders to flank the goblins that were intending to attack them. The battle went by at a dizzying speed – I recall casting a spell of confusion upon on goblin who then charged me, then, upon me blocking his blow, looked up at me pitifully. Renzo, of course, cut his way across the battlefield with amazing speed. Ru didn’t seem to be having as much luck, and was visibly upset after we had felled the would-be bandits.

I kept a number of the orcs and goblins alive, so that we might question them later, and the party bound them tightly. Mae, in the meantime, had quickly found the path that the bandits had followed to this place – she noted that it was about a two hour travel to a plateau off in the distance, where the tracks seemed to lead. After a brief discussion as to what we should do, it was decided to simply move on then, and stop the bandits as soon as we could. Ru had asked the Exodus to wait for them for but a day – so he was particularly eager to get it done with. So, we moved on, another trek through the sands.

When we arrived at the base of the plateau, it was clear that Mae hadn’t led us astray – the tracks she followed led clearly to the mouth of a cave in the base. Thenar and Renzo peered in for signs of life (they being able to see in the darkness)… and saw none. Amoraq and Ru moved in then, with myself, Mae and Thenar providing light to them. Renzo stalked over to a pit in the center of the cavern, which contained a pair of emaciated wolves… he motioned for the rest of the party to move in. When they did, Renzo’s eyes widened – he spotted something that he had missed before. He quickly indicated that there were orcs hiding in an alcove of the cavern, and motioned for Thenar to move over with him. The orcs quickly realized they had been spotted, and another dizzyingly fast battle ensued. Ru made a wrong turn in the cavern and found himself cut down by an orc’s axe, while another pair of orcs tried to push Thenar down into the pit with the wolves (Thenar seemed almost amused by this, shrugging off their efforts and cutting them down in the process). Panbatter lept to Ru’s aide, holding off the orc that had cut him down, and Mae and myself ran to Ru’s side, in efforts to heal him. Renzo jumped ’cross the pit to aid Panbatter, as she was rushed by a number of orcs, and, as Renzo often does, he cut through his opponents like a hot knife through butter.

Ru was revived by Mae, but obviously still aching badly from the wound that the orc gave him. And that is where we are now, not sure where to progress from here…

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PortCon
Seriously, though, I'm so tired.

Actually, no, I’m not tired any more. I typed that last bit last night, and now I got myself some sleep. Woo. Feel much, much better.

Alright, so, it looks like Lilly and John may be willing to host the game on Sundays, so a big big thankew to both of them. Big BIG thankew. The convention enviroment is not one that I’d like to run a game at all the time – so many distractions, so little sleep – although a few interesting things happened during the game and discussion about the game on the ride there and back. I personally look forward to running the OpenRPG game with the Maine crew and everyone else, and hope I can actually make it up to Maine, say, once a month or so, to run it for them.

Mistakes are made, so, clarifications are made – as is true with any game. But I think one of the most interesting ideas that I plan on putting into use in a few sessions will be the musical episode. I really need to get a tape recorder for that one.

Alright. I’m getting distracted. I think I’d best post a number of pictures before it’s too late. So, here we are – the pictures I took at PortCon this year. (All reduced in size to keep the filesize fairly small.)

Pc01Pc02Pc03Pc04Pc05Pc06Pc07Pc08Pc09Pc10Pc11Pc12Pc13Pc14Pc15Pc16Pc17

There were a few more, but, I decided to leave it abbreviated. Going to get to work on the summary this evening, and, hopefully finish it this evening as well. Oh, and I’ve stopped trying to keep ultra-accurate records of what all your characters are carrying. It’s impossible without putting more effort into it than it takes to make the game fun for me to run. While I’ll keep a general idea what your characters have, that’s why I keep your character sheets.

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Subject: D&D 'n' Whatnot
Geekin' Out Hardcore, Yo

Thanks to the wonders of the INTARWEB, I may be able to run a game with an ENTIRELY different crew – here’s the email that went out.

From: “Jason Paschal” <jbpaschal>
To: divineisha@yahoo.com, tbean@maine.rr.com, aaedaien@yahoo.com, vioiencia@aol.com, faf69@rocketmail.com, dkoyata@yahoo.com, jbpaschal@msn.com
Subject: D&D ‘n’ Whatnot
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 01:35:10 -0400

Certainly looks like I got the people I wanted to hop into the game. Now, of course, we have to deal with the particulars. I suppose I’ll keep it short and sweet.

1.) How familiar are you with RPGs?
2.) How familiar are you with D&D 3rd Edition?
3.) What did you have in mind that you wanted to play?
4.) When would be a good time for you to play (bearing in mind that Sunday’s right out, as that’s when I run my game here)?
5.) I guess bringing snackage isn’t much of an option.
6.) You know the main site is at http://sundaysgame.tripod.com, right? Alright, disco.
7.) I don’t know, I’m just really eager to make a list. Let’s see if I can think of anything else.
8.) Feel free to Reply All, get a feel for the potential other players. I want to keep this a game for 4-6 players if at all possible, so, if you don’t all hate each other, well, that’d be just dandy.

Now, from my understanding, running games online isn’t as fast as running a game at an actual table, so it’ll take longer for you guys to get things accomplished in-game. But, thankfully, the OpenRPG thing has an option to keep logs, so, we can pick up right where we left off if we have to end the session early. I suppose that’s it for now. Surprised I came this close to filling the “seats” in a matter of less than a day. Rawk.

- Jason

While I’ve never run a game through OpenRPG before, from what I’ve seen of it it’s incredibly easy to run, once you get it installed. Of course, my monitor is giving me trouble, but, hopefully, before I actually get things rolling I’ll get my old computer up and running again (thanks to a harddrive given to me out of the goodness of someone’s heart), and this computer can finally take a nap. Ahh.

For those of you that aren’t too terribly familiar with tabletop gaming (which this will sort of be), well, it can be a harrowing experience if you don’t have the right DM – hopefully, I won’t horrify you into a coma. I’ve been told by a few people that I’m a decent DM, but, then again, they’ve been participating in my games and most likely simply want more XP. Heh. But, yeah – tabletop RPGing is definately hit or miss. We’ll see how this little spin-off goes.

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Sorry...
"Sometimes, dragons happen."

When I made up the random encounter chart, I honestly didn’t expect a dragon to ever pop up on you – but, I suppose that’s why it’s random. It’s unexepected for both myself and you – I have to run the encounter on the fly, figuring out what the creatures would do – and you guys have to make new plans on the fly as well.

And sometimes, PEOPLE GOTTA DIE.

Heh, sorry about that. If it weren’t for the drama cards, though, I assure you, the lot of you would very likely be toast. And, that’s exactly why I put the cards in the game – for the lot of you to do extraordinary things occasionally, like kill the blue dragon you stumbled across – albeit with losses.

A few corrections – the old madman on the mountain did not read from a scroll – he cast the raise dead himself. While the travelling from the spirit realm to the material realm isn’t that much of an issue, having your spirit shoved back into your body is painful – having your body shoved back into your body and your body pumping blood through you again is even more painful. So, ultimately, Panbatter got the more painful experience – but, at least blood flows through her body again.

I really do feel bad for Tindell. He seems to be the hard-knocks monk – he gets deafened, poisoned, cursed – but, so far he’s survived it all. Me, I’m the hard-knocks GM. Got hit in the face with two d20s tonight – you guys gotta calm down there. Ow.

Let me explain a bit about the spirit realm – let’s see now. Any of you play Zelda on the SNES? It’s like the dark world sort of – that’s a geeky way of putting it. More accurately, things are more exaggerated – forests are impossibly thick, trees tall – the mountain, although you may not have noticed from being on it, was actually taller as well, and more steep. Panbatter certainly experienced this. The days are brighter, the nights are darker – everything is more extreme. It also, to some degree, reflects the past – in the past, these parts were a thick forest – eventually the spirit realm will become a desert, but, not for some time coming. But, other than that it’s much like the spirit world.

Basically the spirit world you guys encountered was the “close” spirit world. Eventually, the appropriate agents, like I said, will escort your spirit away to it’s proper reward – if you wanted to stay around, you could say so to said agents – some might allow you to stay, some might drag you along to your final reward (or punishment). Now, if you’re a spirit and “die” again, in the spirit realm? Well, that might be a bit more FINAL. First, the spirit that’s “destroyed” makes a check (1d10 + the spirit’s HD or level) against a DC 16 – if they make the check, they rejuvinate in 2d4 days. If they fail, however… well, that’s that. (Out of game – no, Jakk’s gone for good.) It works much like a ghost’s rejuvination power – actually, pretty much exactly like it. Tougher enemies are going to be much harder to keep down, of course.

Now, a few of you wanted to learn the spiritwalk skill – it’s a class skill for all classes – it essentially requires grim determination (I’ll put the skill up in houserules as well) – this allows you, with a DC check of 30, to travel to the spirit realm. Using the skill is a full-round action. Of course, there are places that are more closely tied to the spirit realm, which you may or may not discover – that recude the check significantly. This skill allows you, of course, to travel from the spirit realm to the material realm as well. Yes, even if you’re dead.

If you’re a spirit and have the spiritwalk skill, you can manifest yourself in the material world – although it’s not a permanent shift. For every 1 you beat the DC by, you manifest yourself for one minute – this is usually best for communicating to the living, of course. When you manifest, you are just as you are on the spirit world, save that you are incoporeal… again – I’ll put all this in the houserules section.

I apologize that you had to visit the spirit realm twice, but… you think you benefitted from fighting Ikuta (the blue dragon – Jonas mentioned his name breifly)? Heh. But, from this point on, unless, of course, you don’t make it too far from the mountain, you’re going to need to actually go to the spirit realm and ensure that the spirit that you wish to recover doesn’t get destroyed or escorted away – not quite as simple as casting a raise dead spell. Daniel, of course, is going to do his best to start studying the spiritwalk ability – probably the first in his church to do it.

Daniel, really, was going to be a big nobody in this module – tagging along with you guys has certainly made him a somebody. Of course, he hasn’t really spent much time with the Exodus – hopefully he won’t catch hell for that. All manner of things you guys are going to go through in the future – right now, the adventures are a bit rag-tag, with no particular theme. But right now, you’re making potential long-term enemies, all while moving slowly to the real story.

Hope you’re enjoying yourselves thus far.

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Finding Franklin

Franklin was dead, and that state wasn’t improving any faster as the days went on. Three days after the incident in the mines of Duvik’s Pass, Ru approached me.

“Alright,” he said, “Let’s do what has to be done, then.”

I had a few drinks that day, I’ll admit it. I had a horrible night before, and only by Fharlanghn’s blessing did I recover from the Burning Plague myself. I wandered out to meet with my friends, to see what they had been discussing. Ru led me over to the graveyard, where the rest of the party was gathered. When I arrived, ‘Renzo was digging furiously at Franklin’s grave.

“We’re gettin’ Franky back!,” he shouted to me as I approached.

I needed another drink.

There was much discussion as to what, exactly, what we were intending on doing. After much milling about and shrugging of shoulders, the party finally parted ways to ask around to see if there was anyone that had knowledge of bringing the dead back to life. While I’ve heard of powerful clergy being able to do such miraculous tasks, we were far from any city. However, after an hour or so, Tindel returned with news of some hermit that lived atop the mountain to the West of Duvik’s Pass. While it was unlikely that this hermit held much sway over life and death, it was certainly a better lead than we had before.

There was a brief altercation between Ru and the rest of the party as to if they should bring Franklin’s body to the top of the mountain. There were shouts of we’re going all the way up the mountain, we’d better be sure that we don’t leave anything behind by Ru, and shouts of how would you feel if someone brought a corpse to your doorway by the others. I got myself that drink.

Finally it was decided that we’d climb the mountain without Franklin’s body, and I was dragged away from my drink. After buying some mountaineering equipment (Ru haggling with the shopkeepers as usual), we started the trek up the mountain. It was a long, hard climb, a good eight hours of climbing, although the mountainside was as barren as the desert below. Save for a lizard or two stalking about, we were the only souls on the mountainside.

Hm. Funny I should use that word. Souls.

Finally, we reached the hermit’s shack. After a moment of confusion among us (should we just go up and knock what if he doesn’t want visitors are you sure he’s not dead that’s an old shack), we approached the shack. Ru knocked lightly on the shack, pieces of it falling off as he did so. From inside bellowed an croaky old voice. “WHAT?!”

“Ah,” Ru stuttered, “Sir?”

WHAT?!!” screamed the man on the other side of the door.

“Well, sir, we have a problem,” Ru continued. He was interrupted by the old man openning the door. The man was black as night, and naked as sin, standing there waving in the wind. Everyone’s eyes widened (except perhaps Renzo, who didn’t see what the big issue was), then turned away.

The old man paced his words. “What… do… you… WANT?” He demanded.

“Well, ah, you see,” Ru said head still turned, “we have a friend, from the village down below – he died helping the town from a disease.”

“And?”

“Ah, we were told you could help him? Us?”

“Where is he?” Ru boggled at this statement.

“Ahm… down in the town below?”

“Well, go get him! What do you expect me to do without his body?” His attention turned to Tindel. “Gods, you are a tiny man.”

“So are you, apparently,” Tindel replied.

The old man got the joke, but, was not amused. In a much more calm tone than he had spoken before, he said to Tindel, “From now on, you will not speak until spoken to… until you learn some manners.”

Tindel was quiet on the trip back down the mountain. Ru wasn’t so quiet, muttering all the way down, we should leave the body, you said, we shouldn’t just drag a body up to the hermit’s house, you said…

A trip down the mountain, a body picked up, a trip back up the mountain. Eventually Ru gave it a rest. The second trip was even more tiring than the first, but, we eventually made it up to the top of the mountain. Once again, we knocked on the old hermit’s door – once again, bits of it fell off. He came out of the hut, once again, and, after a few moments of explaining who we were… again… he asked us where he was.

The body was with us, he explained, but, the spirit wasn’t.

“Well, how do we go about getting the spirit,” Ru asked. The old man sighed at this, almost as if he thought it was common knowledge.

“You simply go to the Spirit Realm and GET him,” the hermit said, impatiently, “So, go on – head there and get him, I’ll be waiting here.” Of course, we all stood around, dumbfounded once again. Eventually he spoke up again – “You don’t know how to get there, do you?”

He went into his shack and came out with a lizard, freshly killed. With its blood, he drew a circle in the dust (and then gave the lizard to Renzo to eat) and had us sit in it. He asked us to simply close our eyes, which we did – in what seemed like just seconds, he muttered a few words to himself, and told us we could open our eyes again. What we saw was incredible. Where we had just been stading atop a mountain of rock and dust, we were now standing atop a mountain THICK with vegetation – trees of the sort that I had never seen before, and the sounds of animal life all around us. This was, the old man explained, the Spirit Realm – where spirits either await an agent to take them to their final reward or where they spend the rest of their lives. It didn’t look too terribly different from the world we had come from – we were on the same mountain – it’s just that “life” seemed to be flourishing more here.

Of course, it is also home to other things, other beings that are anything BUT spirits of the dead. The old man hurried us down the mountain, told us, unceremoniously, that we had a full day to find Franklin and return to him. He had no intentions of staying in this realm longer than he had to. We soon saw why.

An hour, perhaps two down the mountain, we saw a great bird-like creature in our path – it stood about 15 feet tall, and was apparently without wings. Four bird-like legs held it up and took great strides as it moved about. And, unfortunately, it saw us. It kawwed and chirped at us in the most horrible way imaginable. …it was then that we decided to take a detour down the side of the mountain. As we dove off the path and down the steep slope, it kawwed at us, “NO! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?! RAWK!” That this thing could speak didn’t encourage to stay any longer. That was but the first peril we came across on our trip down the mountain. We were perhaps halfway down the mountain, when ’Renzo and Tindel, who were leading the way down, ran into something – one second they were moving down the path, and another second they found themselves trapped in a web.

From the trees jumped some bloated spider-thing, which immediately began biting at Tindel as he struggled in the web. Even ‘Renzo had trouble moving in the webbing, trying to draw his huge blade out and keep the thing at bay. Panicked, the party moved around the webbing to where the thing was standing. I, admittedly, nearly feel down the side of the mountain in doing so. While on my back, I saw Ru do some sort of leap-flip from a tree that the webbing was stuck to. What he was trying to accomplish is beyond me. We quickly surrounded the spider-thing and proceeded to fight it down, and off of Tindel. It’s skin was incredibly thick, and it took great effort to finally put it down – it seems that some of the spirit folk are a lot more resiliant than living folk. After pulling Tindel down from the webbing, we moved on, helping Tindel along – he was shaking quite a bit, feeling effects of the spider-thing’s poison.

It was getting late as we approached the mines where we believed Franklin to be. There was a soft red glow coming from the cave. As we approached it, out slithered a smallish flaming snakeman, wielding a sword. He smiled at us as we approached, and stood, blocking us.

“You wantss to get in?” he hissed, “Then you wantss to pay the toll. Thiss iss my cave.” Renzo was visibly upset by this, but, after realizing that he wasn’t making any progress, put out his coins to the snakeman. Panbatter put out some of her coins as well. Ru, of course, as usual, wasn’t having any of it. He approached the snakeman with his gun, and pointed it at him. The snakeman stared at the thing pointed at him for a moment, and then snorted, “Fine. You wanna go in? Ss. Fine with me. Go ahead.” He slithered aside and let us pass. We all kept an eye on him as we went by him, but, he made no move towards us.

The mine looked much the same as it did in the living realm, except perhaps a bit less worked. Almost immediately upon entering, we heard the sound of metal upon stone, coming from the great silver cavern that we had fought the kobold sorcerer… Ru went on ahead, to see what was occuring.

Moments later, he came barrelling back up the path towards us – “Here he comes!” he shouted – I wasn’t sure what he meant at first, but, in a moment, I saw what must of been the spectre of the orcish cleric that had killed Franklin. He cursed and spat at us in orcish as he ran up the ramp, but, he was unarmored and without a weapon, save for a crude stone club that he carried. He was quickly cut down – and as soon as he was, he faded into nothingness. A brief encounter with a villian from our past. Knowing how the spirit world works, I wouldn’t be surprised if we meet others in this manner.

When we moved down into the mines, we saw Franklin chained to a number of kobolds, all working silver from the walls with crude picks. Franklin, for obvious reasons, was a bit surprised to see us. We explained to him about where he was, and how we got to him, and that we were running out of time. After taking a moment to think on this, Franklin agreed that they should simply make haste back up the mountain, and get him back in his body. We asked the kobolds what they wanted, and they told us that someone should be waiting for them nearby. Not wanting to press any further on that subject, we left the mines.

The snakeman, unsurpisingly, was gone when we emerged.

Up the mountain once more.

It was late at night, and most of the noises in the thick of the forest were that of nightbirds, the few of them there were. Off in the distance, we heard singing, however. As we closed on it, moving up the path, the song became more powerful. Panbatter and Franklin seemed to move ahead of us to get closer the music, with an almost dreamy look in their eyes. Soon we set our eyes on the thing making the music – it was some sort of perverse songbird, with the body of a woman and the legs of some sickly bird. It sang beautifully, but was a horror to look upon. This didn’t deter Panbatter and Franklin from moving in on it, however. As soon as Panbatter was up close to the bird, it immediately began to bite into her, Panbatter unflinching. This set the rest of us into action.

Ru and Mae immediately started putting arrows into the bird thing, and Renzo, seeing it was hurting Panbatter, moved up with his blade. It took flight with it’s winged arms, and swooped down at us – it seemed surprised at the number at us, and, after a couple of swoops down at at us, it flew deeper into the forest, scared off by the damage we had inflicted upon us. In the confusion, Renzo had knocked Franklin out, in an effort to be sure he didn’t approach the bird. I revived him, just as the bird flew off, however, and, after being sure the thing wasn’t returning, we pressed onward, and upward again.

We quickly dealt with what appeared to be devilish skeletons, and heard yet more rattling in the distance – it was becoming more obvious, as each step we took, why the old man on the mountain didn’t want to stay here terribly long. The horrors that come out at night come out in terrible numbers.

Finally, in the wee hours of the night we reached the top of the mountain once more. The man was still, as we approached, fast asleep against his shack. We roused him and, after nearly putting Mae’s throat out with a spear, realized who we were… he grunted at Franklin, telling him to sit in the circle and wait… the rest of us closed our eyes again, and, fast as we had come to this strange world, we were back in our own.

The man took an onyx from us and placed it violently into Franklin’s eye (his corpse was still just that – a corpse). As we rested, the man performed some strange ritual, mostly muttering to himself and whispering things into Franklin’s dead ear. After about an hour of this, the body of Franklin finally stirred. Coughing, it sat up – his eye was still put out, and Franklin, mistakingly, put his finger there, and shouted – that woke the few of us that had fallen asleep in the process.

Franklin was back, in a manner – his still-rotting corpse was moving, none of his injuries had been healed – but he was moving, nonetheless. Franklin seemed to take this badly.

We rested atop the mountain that evening, thanking the old man for helping us – he explained that there are means to bring people back in a more proper manner, but, that he needed a diamond do so. Franklin didn’t sleep at all during the night, and kept mostly to himself – he seemed incapable of sleep, in fact, which is why, perhaps he kept to himself. But, despite all that bad things that had occured, Franklin seemed to be in decent spirits.

We moved down the mountain, without issue, and into the town. Franklin hid himself from the townsfolk, not knowing what they’d think of him coming back, and especially in this form. He looked utterly ghoulish. We quickly grabbed the supplies we needed, loaded up the cart, and headed out to catch up with the Exodus. However, the fates seemed to want to keep us in this town…

Not an hour from the town, something emerged from the sands to the west of us – a large blue winged lizard of some manner. He was big, but still smaller than our horses. There was something incredibly menacing about him. We muttered to each other, as it flew over to us, and landed in front of us. It then spoke.

“Why, hello there, travellers,” it spoke in a cordial manner, “might I ask where you’re travelling to?”

We all muttered to each other, and answered him at the same time. We’re going to the Exodus, perhaps you saw it pass by here…

“Ah, yes, wonderful. And what’re you taking with you?” He grinned, and lightning danced between his teeth. It was fairly obvious what he was getting to. We told him we just carried our foodstuffs, and whatnot, but, he knew we lied. Tindel began to quaff potions quickly, Panbatter began to unload what she needed from the cart (she had already put her money down). Ru snorted at the great lizard, and began to ride by him.

Renzo approached the great lizard and said, innocently, while holding out a red potion… “Do you want this too?”

It smirked at him, and turn it’s attention back to Ru while saying, “Sure, sure… just add it to the pile.” Renzo then quaffed the potion – the already immense troll grew to his size and one half, and towered over the lizard-thing.

“I don’t like mean blue doggies…” Renzo growled, and drew his sword.

“I’ll deal with you in just a second,” the lizard growled right back. He turned to Ru, and a line of lightening jumped from his mouth. Ru dove from his horse, avoiding the the electric death, but his horse wasn’t so lucky, and crumpled to the ground. Renzo brought his sword down on the dragon then.

Everyone scurried for cover then, seeing the great lizard’s breath, and what it could do. Out of nowhere, then, came a great gust of wind – it nearly picked me up, as well as the others in the party. It tore up the landscape, throwing sand in every direction. The dragon, of all of us, seemed to be expecting this the least. He howled and coughed, at it seemed that sand filled his throat, his eyes, and everything else. He stumbled about and struck blindly at ‘Renzo – a great gash went across ’Renzo’s chest, and put him down. I ran over to him and put Fharlanghn’s magicks into him to bring him back to his feet, while the others circled the great thing, and took shots at it while it was bewildered by the sandstorm. Tindel and Panbatter closed on it, Ru and Mae fired at it from behind boulders that lay on the side of the road, and Franklin, while still rotting, served his purpose – his magicks, incredibly, dazed the beast for a few moments.

Everything happened so quickly. Renzo put his sword into the thing, but it would not fall. After a while, the dragon stumbled away from Renzo, bellowing in pain. Renzo chased it down, tried to put it down before it got it’s bearings again. But, before he could finish it, it turned and filled the air with more electricity, this time catching Mae and Panbatter in the arc. Mae threw herself back with the arc, and fell unconcious. Panbatter wasn’t so lucky. Renzo finally buried his blade deep in the thing’s neck… and immediately stumbled to the ground. I immediately went to work.

We found the thing’s lair… hidden within was a diamond, as the fates would have it. Fharlanghn had set me on a strange path. Back up the mountain. Panbatter fought this battle, and it was only suitable that she benefit from the diamond. On the trip back, we met another lizard thing – he introduced himself as Jonas. His scales were coppery and reflected the sun. Upon seeing the body of the blue lizard thing – he identified as Ikuta – he offered to help us in whatever way he could. We travelled back up the mountain, and Jonas escorted us all the while. There was a brief band of goblin bandits that tried to stop us, but, our impatient crew made short work of them, cleared them off of our path.

Panbatter was brought back, looking a bit less energetic than she usually was, but certainly far more alive than Franklin…

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