Sunday, June 19, 2011, 4:19 AM
The PCs were Sugar (f; human fighter; likes Pepper), Spice (f; human fighter; friends with Sugar and likes Salt), Salt (m; elf wizard; later joined Gunpowder of Waterdeep), Pepper (m; human cleric), Sauce (m; gnome rogue; likes Syrup, but steals things from her when he gets nervous), and Syrup (f; half-elf druid). Since this is a party of 18th level players, they are quite famous by the time they reach Silversands, which is Sugar's hometown.
In fact, Sugar's parents have summoned her because of problems with a black dragon called Vrinthralix, who is threatening a gold dragon called Mira. There are some stone giants and an ogre mage causing trouble, but they use some trickery to get rid of the ogre mage. As they approach Mira with some caution because her sickness is driving her mad, a copper dragon called Cuprous (yes, from the previous scenario), Mira's boyfriend, appears. He tries to help heal her, but gets a little singed in the process.
Eventually there was a confrontation with Vrinthralix, but ended, because I think I was getting a little bored of the story, with an NPC called Dick Turpin blowing the dragon's head of with a railgun from Quake III. In turn, Cuprous bit Turpin's head off and the scenario limped to an end.
In the early scenarios I was trying for brevity partly to avoid long, tedious fight scenes. The scenario needs revising rather than complete rewriting, and it needs a proper end.
Next time: House of Harpies.
Friday, June 17, 2011, 7:47 PM
This was based on the suggestions for adventures in the 3.5e DMG (pp. 44, 45). I tried to link them together (which worked quite well in some cases), but there were 100 in all, and I knew I'd never get to the end of them. The PCs from the preceding scenario were in this one along with Steak, Kidney and Pie, and Captain Carruthers and his batman, Smedley. There was also Lord Raucus, who was kind of an early version of Lord Pier Geiron [sic] of Waterdeep, and a copper dragon called Cuprous.
The whole thing ran for the equivalent of 20 A4 pages before I stopped. I won't be revising this one, but some of the PCs and NPCs need to be reused.
Next time: War of Dragons
Thursday, June 16, 2011, 11:01 PM
The PCs were Gunpowder (m; human paladin of Helm), Treason (f; elf witch), Plot (f; human fighter and Treason's girlfriend), Kingdom (m; gnome [later halfling] bard), Power (m; dwarf fighter), and Glory (f; half-elf druidess). With an occasional change in the line-up, this became my regular band of PCs
The party finds itself in the town of Gryth. When Glory goes to worship in the local grove to Mielikki, the archdruid, who is an old pervert, is possessed by the goddess and passes on a scroll to her. Gunpowder also learns some divinely inspired information when he goes to the Temple of Helm.
The information Gunpowder and Glory have acquired is about the drow. Glory goes back to speak to the archbishop for more information about the Dark Rod of Fate.
Later, while the party is getting itself organised, Lord Defender Dagon of the Holy, a rival band of adventurers, warns them to back off. Kingdom, however, has a cunning plan, and using his Boots of Speed, he sets up a line of shrines where the Holy are bound to worship, thus slowing them up considerably. Nonetheless, they still bump into the Holy and manage to persuade them to join in an alliance.
In fact, the Holy have already been in search of the Dark Rod of Fate, and one of their number, Morning Glory Blade was left behind, seemingly dead. They were going to resurrect her, but were unable to do so because she'd been turned into a drider.
As the PCs explore the cavern, they overhear some drow talking…
I never finished this scenario because knowing how tanked up the drow were on magic (magiholics? magicaholics?), I wasn't really sure how to handle them.
The scenario also needs revising to take into account how these PCs developed because their behaviour wasn't what it eventually became. I have reconsidered it a couple of times, but have a problem with Morning Glory Blade, who was turned into a drider in spite of the transformation not being granted to non-drow. (I also thought, just before I discovered that it'd become part of 4e, that transformation into a drider was a signal honour and not a shame.)
I also had a problem with her apparent hatred of the Holy, which wholly [fnarr! fnarr!] made no sense. I'd like to revise and complete this scenario, but that'll either happen, unplanned, one weekend when I'll do nothing but write or it'll be two or three years from now.
Next time: A Potpourri Tale
Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 10:20 PM
The PCs in this tale were Fondue (m; human fighter), Soup (m; dwarf thief), Pie (f; gnome mage who dresses like a Goth), Casserole (m; human cleric of Helm who likes Pie), Bagel (f; half-elf bard and a celeb), and Haggis (m; human fighter who is Bagel’s minder). This was the start of a trend of naming PCs after sets of things.
The party got their quest from Reverend Pizza (Church of Helm), who would like them to recover the abbot's sacred loo brush from the Obelisk of Winds. (Yes, I started subverting the genre from an early stage.)
The adventurers enter the tower and eventually fight some zombies. While they're resting afterwards, they try another door through which a minotaur comes charging, or would have if Haggis hadn't have flicked the door shut causing the minotaur, called Traan, to get his horns stuck in the door. They manage to overcome the minotaur and some other monsters in the room beyond. They then sneakily subdued the boss monster and recovered the abbot's loo brush.
This particular scenario desperately needs to be rewritten because I wrote it more like the outline for a story. At least in the early days, the idea was to keep the tales short. That wasn't to last.
Next time: Self-fulfilling Prophecy
Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 10:45 PM
In spite of protestations to the contrary, D&D isn't really designed for evil PCs. I'm sure that it'd be possible to set a campaign for evil PCs in Shadowfell where such dubious behaviour might be tolerated, or in Underdark, or in Anauroch, or in Netheril (?), but for the most part the PCs are heroes purging the world of evil.
Our PCs today are Colara (m; blackguard), Krashbog (m; dwarf fighter), Lóbló (f; fighter), Nésamára (f; elf thief), Huli Jing (f; half-elf witch), and Shakespeare (m; bard).
In A Dark and Stormy Knight, the PCs were evil, but doing good nonetheless. The story opened with them having defeated some bandits whose bodies they throw over a cliff. One becomes conscious just in time to be killed by the fall, and another got impaled on a tree branch only to regain consciousness in time to slide off the branch and have his internal organs ripped out in the process.
The company's thief, Nésamára, got rather annoyed having to pick five locks to get through a door near the start of the dungeon. I also couldn't help having a poke at the ridiculous idea of aggressive rats.
When they did have a fight with some hobgoblins, they spared one so that they could question it. It was hoping that since it was evil and the party were evil, they could be friends, but it was wrong and when it tried to escape, they killed it – brutally.
I see I allowed some giant spider to inhabit part of the dungeon, but at least tried to explain how it might have survived.
The chest in the next room led to Kingdom's Law that the more openly placed a chest is or the more opulent the treasure, the more likely it is to be trapped and the more dangerous the trap. The point is that treasure chests won't be left out in the open. (Of Kingdom, you'll hear more in due course.)
Their next encounter is with a vargouille, which they killed with some deft manoeuvring. I think I've done the same in other scenarios with vargouilles. I have to wonder about such monsters because like beholders, if they're just a head and nothing else, how can they make any noise and how can they possibly fly? Birds can fly because they have hollow bones and pectorals of sufficient size. What does a vargouille have?
Nésamára is killed in the fight against the zombie bugbear, which is eventually defeated and she's laid in the tomb in its place. However, since the PCs are evil, they note that her death leaves more for everyone else.
Next: The Ministry of Winds.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 6:23 AM
Tempus fugit a little bit too much at times. My first encounter with D&D probably was thirty years ago and, as a little research via Google reveals, it was The Keep on the Borderlands. I never used it properly, but one day I created a party of characters which I played myself and wrote down what happened during each encounter. One character was called Perfectus Sum, who had full stats, whereas the other characters got what I'd rolled them. I stopped after about a hundred pages of an old A4-sized notebook and realised that the whole thing was like telling a rather controlled story; and then I thought that I may as well write stories and create my own world.
For many years afterwards, D&D mostly disappeared from my life until I found a gaming shop in Cambridge and recalling how I'd written up The Keep on the Borderlands, I thought that I could do something similar again. At the time, though, my life was at a very, very low point, and I couldn't possibly afford the somewhat expensive core rule books.
It was probably 2004 when I thought of this idea again and wondered what might be found on the Internet. After some nosing around the site as it was then, I found the section where original adventures were freely available for downloading. My initial belief was that this was stuff from the cutting room floor because (say it quietly) by my standards, I thought the quality was fairly dubious at times.
Anyway, I was in China and having little else to do much of the time, I embarked on my first scenario in late June 2005. The PCs were Letha (m; fighter), Denomhenta (m; bard), Cairin (m; mage), Ashrakh (m; fighter; dwarf), Sairemhanna (f; cleric), and Naidecolen (f; ranger). (NB -mh- is pronounced [v]; Cairin is a character from other tales I've written; Naidecolen also makes an appearance in later stories.) The scenario was Temple of the Gleaming Sands, a 5th level adventure by Skip Williams. The basic story is for the PCs to go to some temple and evict the monsters they find.
It starts with a couple of members of the party shopping for second-hand books and finding an old volume with a reference to the Temple of the Gleaming Sands. Since I knew that Anauroch was a desert region, I placed the temple there.
Letha summons the other PCs (he sends out his goblin servant, Snivel, to find them). The idea is that they escort a merchant caravan travelling from Tilverton in Cormyr, and after that, I made things up. A group of merchants asks the party to deal with some monster which has been preying on merchant caravans. The merchants also have a little information about the temple, but would rather not know about the place.
The company reached the temple and got past a couple of amphibians which were able to survive in fairly inhospitable conditions in pools outside the temple; they managed to get past the lair of the ant lion at the door; and they had an encounter with a sarcastic salt mephit. (I like my monsters to have some sort of personality.)
I allowed a swarm of scorpions to attack the adventurers, but I'm less inclined to permit such things these days. I accept that there must be some suspension of disbelief, but not too much, and actively aggressive or giant insects, and rampant rats are just not going to happen. There were also a few too many secret doors in one part of the temple.
The party eventually fought a canisphinx, but they were rude about it, calling it a hyena demon.
There wasn't so much treasure, but Letha was more concerned with his fame and reputation back in Waterdeep.
Next time: A Dark and Stormy Knight.