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HackMoor 2018/06/07 Fighting the Pit Fiend - Part II

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 03:53

Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

To satisfy the cravings for Pepperoni that my group lacked due to the reservations of one member who refuses it, I got two pizzas, one large sausage, one large pepperoni.

Map of new explorations attached in gif format but not this battle as that layout is redundant from last week. I'm only attaching new Level 12. Less the Kenzerco forum as my permissions img code is off.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

As the pit fiend flew over Huang, it attempted another Charm spell on him and failed at a flying movement rate of 18", Huang kept easily at the same pace but could not jump high enough to reach it. Timing was important, as initiative die rolls determined who is first.

Grok, decided to risk the flames from the Wall of Fire and move up behind Gnomex. Even with his ring of Fire Resistance, actually going through the wall entailed taking a limited (up to 10 points only) of fire damage. A player tried to argue that running through the Wall of Fire is not the same, however the rule for the ring is explicit, and I prevailed. Regardless of damage to Grok, this proved to be fortuitous for the Party, as we shall see.

Next round as the Pit Fiend continued to fly, initiative played a major role as the Pit Fiend was on Segment 9. While Grok's spell, a simple Web, took effect on Segment 8. The Fiend simply ran into the web during the normal course of movement. (Manuverability Class "B"). While the strength of the Pit Fiend would simply overcome the web or if the Fiend could simply Dispel it, it was still sudden enough to stop its flight and make it fall.

Huang was waiting where it fell and struck rolling a critical hit causing double damage. His Player then played a card doubling the damage again for a total of 100 points, killing the Pit Fiend.

In hindsight, I should have had the Pit Fiend Teleport to its destination.

Next the Party did an assessment and took experience and honor point awards.

It turned out that behind the starting point of the Pit Fiend, there were stairs going down. Although it struck me as odd, that while the text of the module said the Pit Fiend had been trapped in that for several hundred years. So why had not the Pit Fiend simply taken the stairs down? It goes against the intelligence score of this particular Pit Fiend.

So, the Party sent Aerys down the stairwell, 1001 steps assuming the game module is correct not that it mattered, she used her wings and flew. Where she found a ledge into leading into pitch blackness. The area around the ledge was also pitch black, as well as the stairwell but that would be redundant. In other words whatever light source she was using was good enough for the stairwell and the ledge, but not past it. Whatever was beyond was simply past range of her light.

So Aerys took a flying leap (I always wanted to say that). After all, she could fly anyway, so going down she discovered the bottom was 200 feet down a cliff into a forest of giant mushrooms. Well let's say the tops of the giant mushrooms were 200 feet down. The real bottom was 80 feet more.

After some reconnaissance she flew back up, over the ledge, and up the stairwell and reported back to the Party. The Party in turn repeated this performance but only by walking. When they got to the ledge they debated how best to get down the cliff, which included two dozen recently rescued dwarfs.

The most creative method presented was the simple fact that since Huang is an 11th level Monk, he can't possibly be harmed by any fall. So all they had to do is pile up on Huang's back and jump (hands free, of course).

Wait, that can't be right. Huang is only an 11th Monk, his ability to fall any distance starts at 13th Level. Looking at the rule it says a Monk can escape damage from falling as follows: 10 feet at 2nd Level, 20 feet at 4th Level, 30 feet at 6th Level, no damage at all at 13th Level. Looking closer, there is no joining ellipsis (...) in the rule between 6th and 13th Level, nor any other piece of grammar that says the reader should extrapolate the number of feet to fall between 6th and 13th level.

This ain't the first time I've been told Huang can fall any number of height distances. The only other thing is a "Talent" on Huang's character sheet that says "Slow Fall 10 feet", I don't know where that Talent comes from as I don't see it in the rules or supplements. Even so, I would think it only applies for 10 feet, and applying at the last 10 feets is against the laws of physics.

Once again I got snookered by clever Players.

In any case, they settled on casting another Web spell between two large mushrooms in the forest and simply tossing themselves into it. I contemplated a die roll to "miss" the Web and told the Players so, but the Players got their way and avoided it.

Also once again the Party declared itself once again on the trail of the thief whole stole their magic items. Actually they said so earlier when they sent Aerys down the stairs but I waited until now to write it. Apparently there were footsteps on the ledge 200 feet above and matching footprints on the musky ground that centuries of spores will have made. Amazing.

The party followed these footprints.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).
Two dozen dwarf miners

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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HackMoor 2018/05/31 Fighting the Pit Fiend - Part I

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 21:57

​Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had an extra large Philly Cheese Steak and Fresh Mozzarella pizza.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

After the small ball of fire hit Huang from last week's session​ I​ remembered he was wearing his Ring of Fire Resistance from earlier in the campaign in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire, so the "fireball" had no effect. (Actually it was a "Produce Flame" spell in shot mode, not quite a Fireball.) Consider it a non-event but useful for story flavor. The booming laugh still occurred.

Still, the huge​ glowing rune on the floor before at the cavern's entrance was still before them​ at​ ​about ten feet across. While pondering its effect, Huang and Honda were hit by a Hold Person spell and​ ​they both​ made​ their​ saving throw​s. Then Huang and Honda both leaped over it. It turned out to be a Symbol Spell, of Pain​, invoking a -2 to to Dexterity and -4 to all attacks for umpteen turns,​ or​ about an hour (i.e., until the battle is over), Then Huang and Honda charged at what was determined to be a Pit Fiend. The baddest, worstest, meanest, type of Devil from Hell short of of Devil Royalty at 120 feet away.

Meanwhile, the Pit Fiend cast a spell at the remainder of the party holed up in the thirty foot Octagonal room. Tanzen therein had a better initiative roll than the Pit Fiend by 4 segments, had line of sight to the spell caster, 150 feet away, in the dark. So Tanzen was then able to determine that a Wall of Fire spell was being cast at them, and predict its area of effect, and communicate it to the rest of the Party (including the 24 Dwarfs), and get them to evacuate the back exit.

Never did I see such and orderly decision, communication, and evacuation of 24 Dwarfs in the in the Tanzens's 4 segments (2.4 seconds) before the spell hit. Without even their own initiative roll (they didn't even get to say "Huh?" and question the evacuation order) they just got up and left. There was not even any crowding at the exit. They were of course followed by Aerys, Junkbot, and Fundisha as they did not have Rings of Fire Resistance either. (Who also did not roll initiative and were able to understand Tanzen and act in those selfsame 4 segments.)

Not to mention the Dwarf speed of 6, which in 2.4 seconds (presuming zero analysis and communication time) should have got them 24 feet, presuming they walked and did not run during the evacuation.​ It may have proved troublesome for those dwarfs at the farthest end of the 30 foot octagonal room.​

Those remaining with Rings of Fire Resistance were Numrendir, Tanzen, and Grok they moved to the center of the octagonal room. Gnomex exited the other direction towards Huang and Honda and stopped in the hallway before crossing the Rune. He cast Protection from Evil upon himself, thus preventing touch attacks by any extraplanar creature (i.e. Devils) not using a weapon.

By then the Wall of Fire hit, it turned out it was cast into the shape of a ring on the walls of the octagonal room. Just as predicted by Tanzen beforehand, from a spell caster 150 feet away, in the dark.

Huang and Honda charged​ ​towards the booming voice,​ ​although it would take two rounds to get there. Huang made it halfway towards it, Honda was slower and got one-third of the way. ​As it was, ​the Pit Fiend cast a ​Charm Person spell on Honda during her charge for which she failed her Saving Throw, so the Pit Fiend has a new friend.

After Honda was charmed, Gnomex in the meantime cast a Silence 15' Radius spell centered on the Devil.

Given Telepathic command, by her new "friend" and ally the Pit Fiend, our charmed Honda turned around, leaped back over the Rune and attacked Gnomex. Given Gnomex's awesome Armor Class, she missed. Twice.

Meanwhile.

Huang made it to the Pit Fiend but weaponless, no thanks to having his plus 2 weapon stolen during the prior session. So my Players made pause all activity (effecting stopping game time) to make a thorough rules search for anything that would allow a weaponless Monk to strike a creature that needed a plus 2 magical weapon to be hit.

45 minutes later.

The Players came upon the following idea in two parts.

Part I) Huang would use his Monk ability to "Improvise Weapon" which allows a Monk to turn virtually any ordinary object into a weapon. Examples include chopsticks, chairs, clothing, dead animals, and shoelaces . So Honda improvised his plus 3 Ring of Protection. Thus using incontrovertible Player logic by declaring a plus 3 defensive magic item becomes a plus 3 magic weapon!

(I think the emphasis should be on the word "ordinary", since a Plus 3 Ring of Protection is not "ordinary". But I digress.)

Part II) Huang would use his Monk ability of "Weapon Strike" with his "Improvised Weapon" to target the Pit Fiend's Jagged Club and Wicked Scourge. Thus destroying the Pit Fiend's weapons, forcing him to use his Claws. (As Gnomex cast his Protection from Evil spell above, he would thus be protected, should the Pit Fiend arrive.)

Of course Huang destroyed both the weapons of the Pit Fiend's weapons in two strikes. Also during the round the Pit Fiend made a fumble.

Nonplussed, the Pit Fiend decided to fly over Huang towards Honda and Gnomex. Huang made one more pass at the Pit Fiend as it flew over with his "improvised plus 3 weapon" and caused a few points of damage.

To be continued next session...

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

HackMoor 2018/05/24 The Party is Robbed!

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 02:41

Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had a meat lover's pizza with the pepperoni removed.

Map repeats with nothing new from last week and therefore not attached.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The two dozen Dwarfs were evacuated from the large chamber with the big Devil in it. The entrance was closed again and the Dwarfs were fed.

I then took about an hour of game time to perform maintenance and a designated Player made some die rolls. The primary issue being religious control of the two dozen Dwarfs. Gnomex who was the party's Cleric, took the opportunity to convert them to his gawd, Gaerdal Ironhand, (the most Dwarflike of the Gnomish gawds). Aerys on the other hand, being a newly minted proselytizer of Id attempted to convert the the Dwarfs to her new gawd. Without making die rolls (I'll probably do that offline) I simply judged Gnomex converted 75% and Aerys 25% of them. Dwarfs have good feelings vis-a-vis Gnomes whereas they have antipathy towards Fairykin like Aerys. Although her Charisma and Comeliness scores of 20 each counteracted the antipathy a bit, no doubt Aerys' Dwarf converts simply have the hots for her.

The party also took this opportunity for maintenance of spells and healing of minor wounds glossed over from prior encounters. Since the Dwarfs had just eaten their first big meal in years they slept soundly.

Aerys took watch.

Seven hours later (one hour before wake up time), Aerys sounded the alarm as several medium dog sized creatures were headed down the rearward hall the party originally came from. It was hard not to be alarmed, as their hides were made of steel and it made obvious crashing noises as their bodies brushed along the walls as they came down the hallway.

In matter of game mechanics, there was a point of contention. The Party's figurines disposition were on the table, which is a huge white board laid flat. The room's dimensions where previously drawn, with entrances, walls, doors, et. al. So one of the Players, as was his wont, picked up Huang's and Honda's figurines and placed them in at the entrance in front of the approaching beasts. Also rather automatically, the Player for Huang stated he was swinging with his +2 Footman's Flail and Honda's +3 Warhammer.

"As you reach for your favorite weapons," I told them, "you discover that they are missing."

Apparently his characters had been robbed during the night, despite Aerys being on watch. (We'll get to that later.)

"Whoa, whoa, WHOA!", said the Player and declared he wasn't going to fight. So I put the figurines back to their starting positions.

Other Players thought the Player's reaction to his new reality was a little harsh. (Although to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”)

So we interrupted the combat so characters could make a spot check on their equipment, with the presumption we would resume as soon as it was determined Party members could also reach their alternate weapons.

We discovered every party member was missing a weapon or some piece of critical equipment, and the rescued prisoner from two sessions back was also missing. It is now assumed that rescued Fighter prisoner, instead of being a half-starved miserable wretch, may actually be a high level Thief.

Accusations flew.

Firstly, how could Aerys fail the watch and let the Party get burglarized, and secondly, the point was made by another Player (our resident rules lawyer), that the "Pick Pocket" skill only applied to small items, not large weapons. Lastly the argument was made that party members sleep with their weapons, like similar to U.S. Marines in the field, (e.g., "I Love My Rifle More than You").

In regards to the first point, Aerys said she was watching the two entrances, not the Party and she didn't pay attention to the "sleeping" party members.

In regards to the second point, the argument could be made, how do Thieves steal vast treasures in the first place if their only means of pilferage is the Pick Pocket statistic? I had to admit to the party the culprit must have been a really high level Thief. Thus the Thief skills of Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and other Talents lend themselves to a good heist. I told the Party they should be glad he wasn't an Assassin. They'd be dead THEN he would have stolen their stuff.

Aerys is now viewed with suspicion.

In regards to the third point, I contend the party is not that disciplined. They can't even make up their minds on marching order, much less who takes point. To argue they are close to their equipment, I'll only concede that none of them has ever removed their armor once to even take a dump. Enemies should make a saving throw vs. smell or go into convulsions as if the party were fighting Troglodytes.

Aside from the first two items mentioned above, almost every member lost something. Grok lost his plus 6 short sword, Gnomex lost his plus 5 Warhammer, Aerys lost her plus 2 dagger of climbing (the Thief must have been extremely adept to target Aerys while on watch. Or it was in her large sack while she looked the other way?), and Numrendir lost his Communicator (from Module DA3). There may have been other items stolen, but there was not enough time for a full inventory in the middle of a fight. Only Junkbot, Fundisha, and the two dozen Dwarfs were spared, as they had nothing of value.

Anyway, they all had alternate weapons and fought with that they had. These creatures were a special variety not from HackMaster, but one of the BlackMoor (which I misinterpreted highly), in any case they were an effective side excursion to the evening. The monsters had a special power called "Toughness" as effective as the "Stoneskin" spell (must have been their steel skin), with which they cannot be hit with weapons, only by spells for a certain number of hits based on a four sided die plus 1. So the party ends up whacking them. Whack, whack, whack, for no reason if only to decrement the required number of hits until the power loses its effect.

After defeating the beasts, the party got a burr up its collective butt to track down the Thief. So the party went back and made cursory checks in each and every room to see if that guy was there. They went up all the way up to the Steel Elemental at the beginning to ask if anyone had gone this way.

The answer was an effective "No".

Gnomex also asked if it knew "Anything about some other steel-skinned creatures living down here?"

"You mean Fido, Rover, Spot, Benji, Buddy, Patches, and Checkers?", replied the Elemental.

"Oh, never mind." said Gnomex, "I must be mistaken.", and departed.

They even went across the hall to the Wood Elemental (the one the Steel Elemental told them not to talk to). Nobody had come this way, either.

Lastly, the went upped to the trapped staircase where Orc was posted awaiting their callsign. Nope, nobody had come up the stairs.

Aerys, using his mighty SIr Arthur Conan Doyle powers of deduction ("Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." ), suggested that "The thief MUST have gone through the other entrance where the big Devil was." So the Party made their way back down the where they started and saying the prepatory phrases, opened the doors leading to its chamber.

Before them, glowing orange on the floor as wide as the entrance, was a big huge Rune. (I had marked the table with an orange Sharpie). This stopped the party at the open doors as they pondered the meaning of it. At they stood there, a ball of flame coming from the other end of the cavern hit Huang for a mere three points. Luckily his clothing made its saving throw as he had no armor. A big booming laugh came from the other end of the cavern.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

tweetbutton: 
Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

[2018-05-24] Lejendary Gnome Titan

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 08:18

Lejendary Gnome Titan

Same as Gnome except:

Health 1d6
Precision 1d12+4

Excluded Abilities: Chivalry, Learning, Arcana
Restricted Abilities: normal + Divination

Mandatory Abilities:

80 Unarmed Combat
60 Tricks
50 Physique

Chosen Abilities:
90
40

Racial:
Every 5 points in UAC and Weapons modifies the Ability by +1 in attack only. No bonus damage from this.
-10% Merits
50% fail utilizing any magical items not combat, stealth, stealing, or Sorcery related.
Must zealously follow a deity of war tithing 20%.
A little more impish than their Gnomish cousins (harsh practical jokes).

Just spitballing this race to help me sleep.

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HackMoor 2018/05/17 Devils and Chained Mi-Gation

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 04:02

Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had an extra large chicken and garlic pizza.

Map attached. Includes prior sessions on this level.5
PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The party was still faced with the trapped passageway. Was it a one time trap? Was it reset only to strike again?

Grok found out the hard way.

Aerys tested out the passageway first, going through the first door with seeming ease. She of course said the password before going through. She passed through the second door as well, making the motions of shoveling shit down a grate. Closing the doors, she came back to report there was a cavern on the other side.

Apparently the Players didn't notice Aerys speak the password to the first door nor the somatic component of the second, as Grok took the lead and went through the first door. Just as he opened the second door, he found himself in the same mini-Tholian web of a Forcecage as the former goblin. One minute later a Horn Fiend "gated" in.

(Actually it is called a Sentinel Devil, and it is found two pages earlier than a Horned Devil in the same manual. The verbal reference caused some minor confusion amongst the Players who for awhile thought it was the latter, although I should have docked them Honor points for looking in the manuals. Also I said "gated" because this became before the Players Rules-Law Bar later.)

The Devil started to make mincemeat out of Grok and our Dwarf was down due to a failed Threshold of Pain Check. So, if only to attract its attention, the party shot arrows at it through the while Gnomex cast a Heal spell on Grok from a distance.

Aerys was apparently forgetful, and finally said the password to undo the Forcecage trap.

So the party was now locked into Combat with this Devil. Among the actions this "gated" Devil was to successfully summon another Hell Sentinel (at 35% chance) in the middle of the Party. So they had to fight two Devils. What got me into rules trouble were that I tried to get the secondary Devil to summon another Hell Sentinel and the Players objected, saying a summoned Devil cannot summon another. OK fine, I agreed, but the gated one could. Eventually the fought three Sentinel Devils.

(Aside from being shown the rule that says I couldn't do that, and strangely enough I can't find that rule again, apparently it explained to me that it Chained Summoning is against the rules. Otherwise the entire fantasy world would be suddenly overpopulated by Demons and Devils. Although it occurs to me that's exactly what the Devils would want, but with deference to Terry Brooks' Shannara chronicles as though is its darned magical tree existed, I'll concede this point. But I'll hold that doesn't apply to gated monsters since they have free will. So if the manual states a Demon or Devil can "gate" another as opposed to "summoning one", I'll keep trying.)

Another item we determined did not happen but I have to include it here because it was so funny. I forgot that Grok had been healed and he should have been ambulatory. But I kept him down due to the Threshold of Pain failure. Since Grok was behind the first Devil and the door was still open I gradually moved his figure through the door every round as though it were being pulled by an persons unknown. I told Grok's Player he could hear voices in the dark, saying "... fiend, fiend, Fiend, FIEND, .... I gave him the impression he was about to be murdered and sacrificed. The Players got into into it, at one point the Players gave a group cadence of "Ziggy, Zaggy, Ziggy, Zaggy, oy, Oy OY!"

Meanwhile the Devils in the previous battle had been defeated, so Grok's personal reckoning with his newfound captors was not to be. Although I did maintain Grok entered the next chamber, whether his own free will or dragged, was immaterial. (I was not going to replay the battle with Grok in the rear.)

As the party entered the next chamber they found him with two dozen other malnourished Dwarfs (note I'm using the proper plural here). They effectively wanted to give him to the Big Devil in the back, since they had an "arrangement" that only one of their number would be "eaten" per month for continued existence and the monthly date was about due.

(This is a departure from the module story. I couldn't fathom how two dozen Dwarfs could survive in this chamber for years without food, water or, an unblocked printed exit on the map except they made a deal with the other occupant. It was easier to create this fabrication and just say there must have been more Dwarfs before, if asked.)

In any case, the other Dwarfs have now been freed, presuming Aerys makes continued rituals every time they pass through the two doors. And the Party (including the two dozen new Dwarfs), espying two large glowing eyes in the distance staring at them from about 120 feet away, all headed back to the previous chamber.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

[2018-05-23] HackMaster 4e Part 2: Player Character Ability Scores

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 12:39

Chapter 1
Player Character Ability Scores

Creating a character in HM4e can be an adventure unto itself. Probably not nearly as smooth or fun as Traveller, but an intriguing experience.

A couple negatives off the bat. Making a character in HM4e is an investment in something that may be lost quickly. Be prepared. It’s also convoluted as written and needed errata and clarification.

On a good note, Appendix I has a step by step procedure that is most helpful.

As you may know, HM4e combined 1e with OA, UA, and 2e. At this point we already see the UA and OA influences as there are eight attributes. The basic six done in the 2e order with Comeliness and Honour. For many people, Honour might be new and yeah, they spell it wrong (Honor pronounced Donair for flair).

Unlike modern RPGs, there’s no talk about character concepts but just making a character and watching him develop as you eventually begin to see through his eyes.

The game scoffs at house rules for rolling initial attributes (they call them Ability Scores but I’m not changing) covering such users with the disdain associated with athletes getting caught using steroids. “Be a real hero - roll the dice and let them fall where they may.”

There is an alternate method when you create offspring of your PC. Otherwise, roll 3d6 for the first seven attributes and then % (fractional).

One thing visually is that this book is full. The two column spread is jam packed with text and while the art is fantastic, there isn’t enough of it or white space.

This chapter contains the tables for the attributes ranging from 1 to 25 (Dex table needs errata for 20+) as well as the descriptions of all the things you’d expect from a parody of AD&D.

As well they offer two options for adjusting your rolled attributes. One is the ridiculous method of 2 for 1 and the other is just a sacrifice to gain BPs (Building Points).

What are BPs? We’ll see later, but mostly they’re used for a tacked on skill/ability system.

Honour…. Charisma affects Honour and Honour effects BPs. It is a measure of accomplishments and will lead to something called an Honour Die. The attribute starts as an average of your other seven, rounding up. Of course the example given is wrong and you have to do the math yourself to see.

The example, despite the writer, playtester and editor failing in math, has a good writeup about why the numbers don’t define a good or bad character, just how interesting he might be. The idea being that the best players see the low scores as an opportunity instead of a hopeless character to discard. Not only that but PCs with low ‘stats’ are remembered longer than the spotless characters created by immature gamers who feel they aren’t up to the task of playing a unique hero.

Survivability has less to do with attributes than role-play. Here I can see the writer channelling a Holmesian vibe not normally encountered in AD&D2e (or later). The idea of a flawed character teaching you something about the true nature of heroism.

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[Anime Review] Sword Art Online II

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 23:28

SAO II

The first four episodes are unnecessary garbage.

Then it does turn into an interesting albeit dogged story. It feels more like the second half of SAO I. They took much of what didn’t work in the first series and ran with it, leaving behind the best parts.

Still, after you roll your eyes through four useless episodes it picks up for nine. This story could have been told in three or less so it can be frustrating however it’s also touching.

After thirteen episodes though they do a reveal. It gives you just enough time to figure it all out before they reveal it and the twist is a little offensive (probably not offensive the way the word is used by a SJW).

Then it goes on to make a point about the dangers of identifying with a virtual world. It goes half measure with the danger.

Wait, it’s not over… a whole episode recaps this season. One can’t deny the overwhelming power of the concept even though it’s somewhat wasted. Like the first season, there are two main plots that have very different feels. It can’t be stressed enough that much like the first season, the secondary plot is angsty, ‘mature,’ and even more angsty. Did I mention the angst? To be fair the angsty stuff is done a little better this time.

One of the big negative issues I had with this animated cartoon was the sheer number of spoilers in the intro credits. This changes with a new intro for the last part of the season which appears to be returning to it’s roots, bringing back some of the original charm from the first season. Just ‘some’ though as it’s still a little lacking. This should have been the intro all along for both seasons.

Somewhere along the way, the music got better.

A problem with this later plotline is that I personally forget who a couple characters are and some of the names just leave a fuzzy question mark over my head. The battles also lack the imagination from the first series.

Still, there are some good ideas here even though it slows down in pacing.

Suddenly for a few episodes it switches to an independent storyline that could be watched alone without seeing any of the previous ones. It leads us to the finale. This little cute story is neat, fun and inconsequential.

Until it isn’t. Then it’s attempt to be moving generated some hilarity. I gather the writers had a point however it’s overshadowed by absurdity.

Despite the potentially negative review this seems to be. I feel a sense of fulfillment I probably wouldn't have without seeing the whole thing. I doubt I’ll watch it again but if they make more, I’ll give it a whirl.

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[2018-05-17] HackMaster 4e Part 1: Intro to the Player's Guide

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 23:02

Opening the book and seeing the date 2001 gives me an odd feeling of how that shouldn’t seem so long ago and yet the battle of HackMaster does seem well in the past. It’s a game that ran its course and veered off in a completely different direction than where it initially travelled. It ended. Debate away.

The inside cover has ads for the GMG, HoB (over 1600 creatures), Quest for the Unknown and Little Keep on the Borderlands.

Of those, B1 Quest for the Unknown is easily the greatest gem. It took a fantastic classic adventure and made it even better. I’ve used it more than any module.

Inside the opening page is an area for signatures to be used to rub your dice against for dice purging and luck charges. It never occured to me over the years to actually get any of those signatures although I’ve met a few of the Kenzer team. There is a Reality Check and Foreword, both of which were so funny that they alone sold me on the book purchase in a Michigan WOTC store. The same place that taught me the Wheel of Time CCG completely wrong.

At its core, 4e is a spoof of AD&D. This parody humour was the core of what the game could achieve, and veering in any direction away from it would spell it’s demise and the creation of some 5e game that bears little to no resemblance to any of the many things that made 4e work.

There’s an in game joke next that’s worth the read introducing the game from Hard Eight. Here we see the two realities of HackMaster. There’s the game itself, and the game as used in KODT. It’s not really an important distinction however it’s all part of the fun and tone of this rulebook which makes it a joy to read.

Following that is a page of errata I bound into the book and man, this book has a ton of errata. That part alone makes having ‘extra’ copies for your players a difficult and long process. You can’t even create characters reasonably correct without the heady errata.

Then we have 5 pages that are the Table of Contents. Impressive and a joke unto itself but also very helpful in finding things.

Welcome to HackMaster, the introduction to the game. Again, this is a fantastic read which most notably has a section on the use of the male pronoun. This book came out at a time when RPGs were forced to either use alternating male/female or just female pronouns to avoid vilification. This was well before the requirement of gender neutral speak. It would be interesting to see what they would say now if HackMaster in this form had continued.

HackMaster makes comments on it’s fictional history as a game as if this was the 4th edition of a game instead of a 1st. Indeed it could be seen that way, as a spiritual successor to AD&D2e as well as recovering from D&D3e to get the roots of the AD&D game (certainly not the roots of D&D itself).

Another part of this parody is the idea of mastering the game. Improving toward being in a Name Level Group, dice etiquette and more.

To be continued….

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HackMoor 2018/05/10 The Raising of Aerys

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 20:21

Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had an extra large sausage and mushroom pizza. Once was not enough and some of the Players ordered pepperoni on their own, because we don't normally order it due to one player's personal phobia.

Map attached. Includes prior sessions on this level.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

Before continuing on, the party debated much on what to do with the stone statue of Aerys. The point was made that her butterfly-like wings should have collapsed under their own weight but I ignored that. I was simply ready for her Player to simply take over her sidekick Tanzen, and be done with it.

Gnomex offered the Lesser Reanimation spell, unfortunately, the party had no access to reverse the Flesh to Stone. So they decided to call in a mark. The asked Numrendir to get on his communicator from The City of the Gods (module DA3) and call for help.

The party waited 5 minutes and a scroll materialized before them, the contents thereof being a Stone to Flesh spell. Going through the procedure, the spell was cast, followed by Gnomex and his Lesser Reanimation spell. Aerys survived the Resurrection Survival die roll by the way, her Constitution score is now down to a 5.

There's a drawback with Lesser Reanimation however, unlike a regular Raise Dead, the recipient gets three new random flaws. Of those flaws known, she got, Shaky Hands, Loud Talker, and Alcoholic. (Shaky Hands is not good for a Thief character, but Aerys will have to make do. Being a Loud Talker will attract more Wandering Monsters, and the Alcoholism will require mandatory court ordered enrollment in AA.) Must be something in the afterlife that did this to her, as it drove her to drink.

Aerys woke up thirsty and was quite loud about it.

Having done that, the party set off in marching order through the next door. Following the narrow passageway they came to an octagonal room with a dead body. Using Huang's Monk limitation test, they discovered no magical items of worth so they moved past and on to the next door.

(Note the party previously had discovered the rules limitation for Monks having no more than three magic items. They simply maxxed out Huang with three magic items. If he attempts to pick an item up and it slides off like a greased pig, it must be magical. Instant magic item detection sans spell use.)

This door had runes on it that needed to be deciphered basically the kind of code that could be compared with a custom license plate. The Party spent ten minutes on it. It was rather lame so I won't mention the cipher. What to do with the cipher was the next and the party just didn't get it, so as was the norm, they gave up and sent their remaining Goblin escort to open the door. It turned out to be another narrow ten foot passageway ending in another door. Sending the hapless Goblin to the next door triggered a trap, as soon as he got to the next door, a forcecage appeared filling the entire short hallway. (Think of it as glowing lines like a Tholian web in Star Trek but only one inch apart.) So the Goblin was stuck there.

The party thought about it and attempted to cast Dispel Magic on the Forcecage to no effect.

The only remaining thing to do was open the next door. (There was another stupid puzzle to be solved but I won't go into that.) The poor Goblin turned the knob (whether it was locked or no, it didn't matter), and as soon as he did so, a Horned Devil appeared and ate the poor little thing right up. It then turned towards the Party and simply made idle gruesome threats as devils are wont to do.

There was an impasse. The Party couldn't dispel the Forcecage, neither could the devil. Both sides decided to wait it out.

After what seemed like three hours, the devil faded out, and the Forcecage also faded out shortly thereafter.

Was the trap reset or just a one time trap? Tune in next week.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

HackMoor 2018/04/26 The Passing of Aerys

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 17:49

Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had our staple steak and mozz pizza again.

Map attached. Includes prior session on this level.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The session picked up at the beginning of the hallway with fourteen doors spaced evenly ten feet apart, each one adorned with the statue of a gargoyle on top. The party methodically opened each door to ten foot by ten foot chambers, finding in each one a specific implement of torture. Chains, whips, pillories, racks, iron maidens, et cetera. These rooms were either the domain of one particularly twisted individual or lifted from the ten most popular things to do in a Maastricht tourism guide.

After these fourteen doors the hall skipped ten more feet and there were two more doors. Turning left they found a survivor, a miserable wretch half starved fighter who only survived with the help of a magical Ioun stone that conjured up bad food from who knows where. Said he'd been there since captured by the Bloody Duke since the last Blackmoor Dungeon Festival and for some reason been ignored for most of a year. He only wanted to get out of there. The party wasn't going to escort him nor give him the password to get past Funk III's trapped passage so they kept him.

On the other side of the hall where kept humanoid body parts, the purpose of which became obvious, when they had to fight the Flesh Golems in the next room.

Speaking of which, at the end of the hall, it opened up in to a thirty by thirty foot room in each corner stood a Flesh Golem, whose only response to light was "Fire Bad", and commenced to attack, thus blocking the singular door behind them. The fight seemed to be going rather well for the party as they got the advantage early on. But after the first round came battle cries from the back as several of the Gargoyles above the torture room doors animated and attacked the party's rear guard.

Aerys who just happened to be in the back, took battle damage fairly quickly, Since Gargoyles have multiple attacks per round, she was brought down to negative seven hit points and was considered "dying", when the Gargoyle's last attack added insult to injury and turned her to stone. (A special attack by Gargoyle Lords which these happened to be.)

A few more rounds of this and the Golems and Gargoyle Lords were finally defeated and the party had to decide (next session) what to do with Aerys. At least being turned to stone saved them the prospect of having to give her a proper burial.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

HackMoor 2018/04/12 BlackMoor Dungeon Level 11 Begins

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 21:50

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

THERE WILL BE NO GAME THIS WEEK AS I AM OUT OF TOWN.

Instead of a pizza and since I had only four players (they are kind enough to SMS ahead of time if not showing up), I got four Whataburgers with accompanying fries. It ended up being about the same price as a pizza. The burgers were better than the most, if not any chain establishment I have known. At first I was dismayed by the appearance of crinkle-cut fries, but they turned out to be made from real potatoes, not pressed potato powder. (You can tell if some of the fries have a curvature, as if from the end of a potato.)

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

When the party reached the bottom of the stairs, I avoided the rebus puzzle and accompanying trap from the text. I deemed it a rather Sophomoric yet still above the ability of my group. Maybe I should have used the trap anyway and not tie it to the puzzle, but that would have been unfair.

They came to a short thirty foot pillared hallway followed by a four way intersection. The party turned right and entered a tunnel adorned with silver and copper chunks as they followed the tunnel it opened up to a large chamber occupied by "Matt", a large bipedal metallic looking creature that once again the party needed a one-way Comprehend Languages spell to understand.

"Matt" seemed friendly and warned them to stay away from his arch-enemy across the hall named "Woody"

Taking their leave as best they knew how, the party inadvertently took Matt's advice and turned right again and went further down the hall. (I can't claim if the party actually gave a damn about the warning or were simply following protocol by always turning right.)

After another thirty feet down the original hall, the party was "greeted" by an mouth attack by a Purple Worm, swallowing the lead Goblin whole.

Oh, I neglected to mention the Goblins, they were an escort granted by the Goblin "El Jefe" two levels up. Since the Honor Duel with the Orc Stratra one level up, they were under Strata's protection and not killed outright by the Orc Kingdom. Anyway I think there were originally four escort Goblins granted by "El Jefe", but when I asked the Party they only remembered two. Perhaps they were simply taken in by feminine Orc buxom charms and stayed behind?

Anyway the Goblin was soon dissolved by the Purple Worm's gullet.

Next either Huang or Honda fought the creature who was also swallowed whole. This caused a minor rules check because one of the Players said that since the character was swallowed whole there was no "bite" damage only the gullet damage counted. Not in a mood to argue, I said "fine", notwithstanding I recalled several movies where some giant creature still takes one or two gulps to swallow whole, which would tell me it would also "bite" in the process.

Ignoring the bite damage (2d8+12 in d20 system) or (2d12 in HackMaster), this brought the disparity between the stomach of a BlackMoor (D&D d20 system) Purple Worm, which does two 8 sided dice plus 12 points of crushing damage plus 8 points of acid damage per round verses the stomach of a HackMaster Purple Worm which automatically kills in 6 rounds. I chose the d20 system method. Either way the character fought its way out from inside the Purple Worm in time and also killed it.

They explored the cave the one the Purple Worm came out of. All they found were some brownish soft rocks which turned out to be Purple Worm shit. The other cave opposite across the hall turned out to have some dead gophers, ostensibly Purple Worm food.

Going back out they turned right (again) and followed it fifty feet to a thirty by thirty foot square room. It was full of billions of little beetles (or so said the module text). Numrendir was temporarily in charge (mainly because another Player went to the can), and backed the party out. Upon return of the other Player, they decided to fireball it.

This brought another rules discussion.

According the HackMaster, each beetle should have been worth at least one Experience Point per beetle even if they were so small to discount the hit point kicker. So there was some fantasizing about all the Party members going up by infinite levels. I had to kill that idea, I even got my HackMaster Smartass Smackdown Table handy, in case it got serious.

The beetles were not the problem of the room, they were simply meant to be a clue. The writer's of this module thought is was a good idea for the party to "observe" the beetles and see if they notice them crawling into and out of a crack on floor of one side of the room. The Fireball eliminated that. So I reversed the clue and had the party "notice" more Beatles were entering the room from the crack instead.

It was a hard gamemaster's night.

Of course this meant the party found the secret door they had not bothered to check for. Since they were preoccupied with beetles.

Opening the secret door and following it, the Party found it narrowed down to 2 feet in width, so they had to continue single file. The remaining lead Goblin started to fall into a pit trap filled with spikes fifty feet down. But Huang just behind him, managed to pull back the hapless little Goblin just in the nick of time.

Next they entered a twenty by twenty foot chamber containing six upright sealed stone sarcophagi. Gnomex, (think it was Gnomex anyway) detected something "evil" inside one of them. Naturally being one of the curious sort, he attempted to strike it with his trusty magic Warhammer. As soon as he hit he, he disappeared. Gnomex found himself inside of of the sarcophagus he attempted to hit, and also under water, dirty water at that in a tight fit, even for a Gnome, with hardly any room to maneuver.

The Party on the other hand only heard the tinkering and "mummphfl-flmmfs-gurgle" coming from inside the selfsame sarcophagus. So they struck it down. (Good thing the magic Teleport only worked once on that sarcophagus.) The water and Gnomex, spilled out, along with a dagger which was apparently the source of the "evil". So the party wrapped the dagger in some cloth and put it away. (They'll have to remind me who has it.)

Last thing on the agenda, the party exited this chamber, being mindful not to touch any of the other sarcophagi, turned a corner to the right and found themselves in a ten foot wide hallway with fourteen doors (seven on each side) spaced every ten feet. Each door was adorned overhead by the statue of a gargoyle.

Session to be continued on 26 April 2018 if there is a quorum.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly
Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a
Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a
Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

[Anime Review] Sword Art Online

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 01:09

SAO takes about 5 episodes to get going.

SAO is a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game and the cartoon is about people playing that game. It touches on Human relationships, action, drama, romance, and how a writer can screw up a good idea.

I loved the novel “Dream Park” which would make you think I’d immediately love SAO but it’s just not that good, for five episodes. It lacks the charm, depth and humour evident in Danmachi (Familia Myth/Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?).

SAO is a fantastic concept (very much like Dream Park combined with modern ideas of MMORPGs) but it’s a bit boring and at times, painful to watch.

All that said, it gets better after episode 5 and starts to become more and more interesting. After 10 more episodes it turns suddenly into awesome and emotional.

Then…. Even more suddenly SAO becomes stupid through to the final 25th episode.

I see a lot of people toss Danmachi aside for it’s tame minimal fan service for the much more serious SAO however after episode 15 it becomes about boobs and a little fan service even up through tentacle fetishes.

It’s a slog through the rest of the episodes where the main character departs a little from who they are for no other reason than to keep you in suspense. As well, this later chunk of episodes have a lot of filler with multiple episodes that could just be skipped and nothing is lost.

Did I mention that the intro and outro credits are painfully long. The music is fairly average.
So in the end you can think of SAO as two parts and an epilogue. The second part feels like it was written by Stephen Moffat. It does not have the same feel as the first and there are his famous style of dues ex machina.

Slow to get going, awesomeness, stupidity, veering way off track and a finale. It stumbles through romance, action and horror. I really mean stumbles as it doesn’t do any of them well in the long run.

I’m glad I watched it but doubt I’ll watch it again or get the manga or even the original light novels. It didn’t really spark any imagination.

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HackMoor 2018/04/05 Level 10 and King Funk III

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 02:38

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had a Steak pizza with fresh lumps of Mozzarella and Garlic.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

If you haven't guessed by now, Gorignak is an Earth Elemental.

Gorignak was in a friendly mood, so Numrendir cast a "Comprehend Languages" spell, knowing this would be a one-way conversation. Gorignak, having lived in this dungeon since its beginning aeons ago was quite patient and wise, and understood what Numrendir was doing. (While wise, Earth Elementals are still limited to one language by their Intelligence score, and Modern Standard Common wasn't it.)

Numrendir learned from Gorignak there were "Pig Noses" and "Small Giants" living on this level. (Orcs and Ogres respectively). and Gorignak uses Ooze Para-elementals to run errands for him.

The party was about to wrap this conversation up and decide which way to go, when from the Southeast passage from Gorignak's lair comes this large Orc, apparently the twin brother of the Orc just slain last session. (I rolled snake-eyes to get this encounter, just like his twin.) Not wanting to let a good thing go, I had the Orc ask everyone in the room, "Has anyone seen Gronk my twin Brother?"

"You mean the one we just offed?", replied Gnomex, "his carcass is in the next room."

This of course necessitated another Honor Duel with the Orc (who called himself Stratra) who eventually lost. This wasn't just any orc, it was an 8th Level Fighter Orc (like his twin). High level Orcs are not normally allowed in HackMaster, but the module provided it. Anyway, the last blow dealt brought Stratra down to exactly zero hit points, so Gnomex (since he was a Cleric), had a few segments to healed the Orc before it was considered Hackmaster dead. It thus satisfied the Honor Duel and using movie-logic, put the Orc forever in Gnomex' debt.

A "take me to your leader" deal was struck with the proviso the Stratra could retrieve his dead brother in the next room for proper burial. Thus laden, the Stratra led the party and its entourage to Orc territory, where they were challenged by the sentries but passed Stratra's word. This included the Id Cultists, whom the Orc tribe was nominally at war with.

Stratra found his priests and took his brother to be entombed saying he'd be right back. Allowing the party in their free time to tour local Orcdom, including the slave pens, brothel, and local bar and grill. Especially the bar, while expensive, they found that this Orc tribes brew was quite good. (It must have been the water in this dungeon as the pools they found were exceptionally clear and pure.) They stopped at the entrance to the King's double-wide entrance doors where they were not permitted entry as there was a sign posted stating that "King Funk III Tours are held at the bottom of the hour" and it was the top.

Meanwhile an Ooze Para-elemental appeared in the hallway carrying a waterproof pouch, it stopped by one of the guards, took a letter from the pouch and placed it in a puka near the entrance marked "King's Post" and departed. (There was no explanation for this but the party learned later both Earth and Water Elementals living on this level employ Ooze Para-elementals to run errands and are this Level's Postal Service.)

Finally at the bottom of the hour, Stratra (who had just buried his brother) showed up and gained entrance to King Funk the Third's hall the by way of the nickel tour. As if on queue a buxom female Orc in a slinky dress and stilletto's invited them in and they got the official tour. When asked about having an audience with the King, she told them he was away in his Sensitive Compartmented Orc Facility making war plans.

Finally the King arrived and the Party gained an audience.

These became diplomatic talks. So the first question asked by the King was, "Why should we make a pact with you? We have been at war for years!"

"Why not?", replied the Priestess of Id, "We're both Evil, Lawful Evil in Fact".

"Yes but we're still a different kind of Evil.", argued the King.

"Not so much, really, what's so different?", said the Priestess.

"At least we don't sacrifice an innocent child every Monday." , said the King. (GM's note: In game terms it was Sunday.)

The Priestess countered "Oh nooo. You use slaves and when they're no longer any use, you eat them. How is that so different?"

Even the King, faced with this form of logic relented. A peace treaty was made and a deal struck.

They decided to trade muscle for supplies, notably since the cultists could pass as normal people outside the dungeon in Blackmoor. They could obtain the hops and barley on the open Blackmoor market needed for the tasty Orc brew. In return the Orcs (who are growing in ever increasing numbers) could build their forces to invade Blackmoor again and retake what King Funk the First lost long ago. In due time Numrendir, who has the brewing skill, could lend his assistance.

The Party it was deemed, were free to continue further down the dungeon and explore. Since no one in the Orc's dominion had ever returned from that direction, the King deemed it a safe bet.

To seal the deal the High Priestess Cultist asked for a private audience in the King's Chambers. They were gone only a few minutes and they both emerged with the familiar glowing blue eyes the party knew too well.

"One last request,", the Priestess said and whispered in the King's ear. The King then summoned one of the guards and gave private instructions. The guard returned shortly with an innocent slave child tied to a rope.

"Thanks, we'll be leaving now,", said the Priestess, "we have a ceremony to prepare for."

"IDspeed." replied the King. And the Cultists left.

Now the Party, no longer followed by Cult observers were led by the King to the stairs leading down to Level Eleven. "Beware the trap.", informed the King as he pulled down a lever. "The scything blades along both walls are the only thing that keeps the lower critters out and there is no off switch at the bottom."

"How do we get back up if there is no off switch?", asked Gnomex.

"I'll keep guards posted, when you need to get back up just call out the password.", replied the King.

Gnomex had to ask, "What's the Password?"

"Donkeyballs".

Thus warned, the party went down.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLNE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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HackMoor 2018/03/29 Looking South to See Gorignak

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 01:23

Second attempt at this post, first attempt seems to have disappeared.

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had a Spinach and Chicken pizza with fresh lumps of Mozzarella.

There is an image attachment to this post that the email version didn't get, at map of this level that they have explored so far. Due to black and white format, areas of shadow not explored are indistinguishable from solid walls.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

I deemed we did not have sufficient Players for a quorum, so we played another three Player session of Rail Baron. This time the two losers from the last game outplayed the winner from the previous game.

On the side however, I asked the Player running Aerys to conceptualize the room they were in. She decided to look to the opening to the South and met a strange creature made out of earth and rock. It wasn't hostile, and started to talk to Aerys in unintelligible sounds. At which point I suggested a comprehend languages spell may be in order.

For the sake of the story I named the creature Gorignak, the rock monster from Galaxy Quest. (The module gives it a different name but I think this is better.)

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLNE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



Tracy Johnson
Ye Olde Fashioned Text Games at:

BT

NNNN

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Volume 6 - Raiders of Gor

Sat, 03/31/2018 - 17:19

This book started pretty slow, but turned into a swashbuckling-action-oriented feast! It was reminiscent of the first book and I really enjoyed it for the most part. I find in almost all of the Gor books I start out a bit bored while they set the story up, then get hooked when the meat of it starts.

The final battle scene description made my eyes glaze over a bit, it could be because I'd taken a break from the Gor series so I had forgotten what certain terms meant. I skimmed through the in depth ship descriptions because I wanted to get back to the action. (And because honestly...I didn't care, it's a boat...move on). Tying the women to the front of the boats was equally barbaric and beautiful to imagine, their faces twisted in fright, their bodies on display. I'd like to see a painting of that.

Character-wise I liked Telima alot, the switch-a-roo at the start was interesting, and the scene where she and the other girls dance around their captive tied to the pole made me smile. It was good to see some payback coming to the males. As for the main character, I did tire of his angst after a while, he needed a good smack upside the bottom to smarten him up. I think I still don't understand how he can be so angsty for lost loves and then get more women and then get angsty about them, it's like he punishes himself constantly. Get a hold of yourself man!

I enjoyed learning about the workings of Port Kar from the political system all the way down to the how they handle slaves. I pictured it as a floating (though not described as such) pirate city full of all types of booty. A book focused solely on the day-to-day workings of Port Kar featuring minor characters would be very intriguing I think.

Captive of Gor is next, I'm hoping it'll be just as action-packed. (or more, more would be good!)

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] Vigilo Confido (Easy-Ironman)

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 20:10

I blow the time to restablish contact with the Western U.S. after the game tells me I can't. Vigilo Confido!

I gain three potential target sites. Eastern U.S. to counter the Alien Cypher dark event to gain a scientist; New Mexico to counter the Alloy Padding dark event to gain a Grenadier; Western U.S. to counter a hidden event to gain 84 Intel. The last being the only one that isn't labelled Easy. I take it.

Operation Spider Tomb
Moderate Difficulty
84 Intel Reward
Protect the Device just outside Vancouver

Cast of Depravity:
Leftenant Schneider "Sheriff" a Sniper
Knight Number 5 "Tinderbox" a Spark
Leftenant Neptune "Sailor" a Scout
Sergeant Uranus "Sailor" a Hacker
Sergeant Klein "Clydsdale" a guy who blows stuff up [Shaken]

We stir Klein around a bit before getting him off the Skyranger.

Moving in we see a Viper and a Lancer. One basic setup later and Clydsedale uses supressing fire on the Viper which isn't effective. Everyone but Tinderbox and Uranus miss but those two down the Viper. Neptune gets Lanced by the ADVENT stooge and neutralizes him.

Uranus considers penetrating the ADVENT security but finds it too tight and backs out. Tinderbox aggros a Lancer and Officer while Uranus injuress the Officer as it gets under the covers.

The ADVENT stoolies centre their frustrations on Tinderbox after he misses the Officer. Tinderbox get's marked and shot by the Officer. As the Lancer breaks for Tinderbox, Klein jumps up and misses completely while Sheriff gets a pistol hit on him before he Lances Tinderbox.

Klein moves up and reloads. Tinderbox turns his back on the Lancer and rushes the Officer who screams at the Lancer to intercept but it's fruitless as the Officer is torn to shreds by the Spark.

Uranus gets a little inappropriate (won't repeat what she said) and reams the Lancer.

We mess around and reload while inching toward the target. Some ADVENT move in on us and everyone but Tinderbox fires wide.

Klein tramples the Viper, Sheriff ticks off a Trooper that's flanking him so Neptune slips up and takes care of his problem which ends the mission. Excellent.

---

Klein is promoted to Leftenant and takes Heavy Ordnance over Holo-Targeting. He won't listen anyway; he just likes to blow stuff up and make horse jokes. This mission sees him recovered from his "Shaken" status.

Low on Power and Comms in my base. Despite needing a Proving Ground still, I build more Comms and start clearing space for more rooms. With only two Engineers, I can't do much. I finally research magnetic weapons.

The Dark Event ADVENT Alloy Padding completes and they launch a retaliation strike against our resistance by targeting civilians. Let's save some lives people!

Operation Flying Dawn with Cpl Kazanova, Cpl Hamilton, Hijack, Tinderbox and Sheriff.

With a mixture of arrogance and apprehension, we hit the gound.

Our first encounter near two civilians is a Super Trooper and a Muton. A grenade and some shots take them out. We hear shots in the diatnce and a Human cry the cry of death.

A choice always has to be made in these types of missions whether to rescue civilians or eliminate threats. I save 9/13 civilians in 5 turns and eliminated 7/7 enemy targets, with only one soldier wounded from a Muton counterattack.

---

Operation Righteous Dawn
Hack the workstation on CP rail, Edmonton.
Difficult

Trainees:
Lt. Clydesdale (Grenadier), Cv Tinderbox (Spark), Lt Neptune (Ranger), Sg Uranus (Specialist), Sg Cyborg (Sharpshooter)

Time to get this resistance back on track.

With complete confidence we all run forward. We don't expect this to be wheely hard anyway. After a bit we see a Mec and Officer and realize we only have 6 turns to get to the objective.

I setup and launch a grenade into the two but they run the other way and no one but Tinderbox can see them; he rails against the Officer, sending him crashing to the ground. Uranus sends Aid Protocol to Tinder and the Mec hides in a car. Tinder blows up the whole car and Neptune finishes the Mec off.

We meet heavy resistance with a couple Sectoids, Vipers, and Troopers. Tinder gets in the middle to draw fire but Neptune takes a critical hit and gets poisoned.

Neptune gets swatted hard and her caboose goes to the railyard in the sky. Uranus screams, steels herself and rushes for the target network access.

Success. Good but not great. By Neptune's beard, we lost one. In Neptune's honour, Specialist Uranus takes the Field Medic skill which would have come in handy.

KIA Leftenant Sailor Neptune; 6 Missions, 15 Kills, a Ranger.

---

Operation Buried Shadow
Raid the ADVENT Train

Trainers:
Number 5 "Tinderbox" a Spark
Haruku "Sailor" Uranus a Specialist
Dmitri "Rocket Red" Pushkin a Grenadier
Markus "Clydesdale" Klein a Grenadier
Deric "Efreeti" Blackstone a Ranger

We see a mechanical turret and Uranus decides to hack it with only 30% chance to control and succeeds! Unfortunately, even with success, it means we lose concealment and are now being hunted.

A couple Mutons, Shieldbearer, Viper, and two heavy turrets. The hacked turret does most of the work for us. Tinderbox burns the rest but.. but... the mission isn't over?

Another Shieldbearer and Officer sneaking around. The Grenadiers make short work of them.

Flawless victory in six turns.

---

Operation Shattered Witch
Neutralize target in ADVENT vehicle.

Leftenants Cyborg and Sailor take Sergeant Efreeti and Corporal Pushkin along with Cavalier Tinderbox along for the ride.

Soooo, I failed a Hack with nobody in Overwatch and a Ruler Muton Beserker along with some ADVENT soldier attacked. We panicked and Pushkin killed the VIP, Tinderbox dropped the Beserker AND Pushkin to the lower floor with a blast.....

The Beserker flees through a gate, Efreeti misses with his blade. Many reinforcements come.

We use tactics like blowing up floors so bad guys take falling damage and land within grenade radius of other bad guys. We flee.

It's considered a mission success but I'm pretty disappointed in myself for shooting the VIP instead of the Ruler. It was purely a lack of attention to detail. I get far too cocky on Easy mode.

--

Operation Blood Knife

Destroy alien facility

My name is Stephen. I'm a Ranger for the XCOM project. This will be my fifth mission. I don't know the rest of the crew on this one but they seem to have a bond. Apparently my predecessor was involed with our Specialist and something pretty brutal happened to her.
On the flight into action I examine the cool throwing axes they equiped me with. They're odd but far better than the sword I used to have.

(Grenadier Cpt Clydesdale, Spark Vanguard Tinderbox, Specialist Lt Uranus-gravely wounded planting explosives, Sharpshooter Lt Sheriff-wounded) Stephen Hamilton, Sgt Ranger 16 kills.

"Apparently I WAS better than Neptune."

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HackMoor 2018/03/22 Down to Level Ten

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 03:12

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

Back to the usual, a meat-lovers pizza with the pepperoni removed and Philly-cheese steak substituted.

​PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The party had just accepted the surrender of the surviving two of four Goblins. They were about to attack Goblin El Jefe inside the next room when they were annoyed by the Priestess of Id raising up the Goblin dead and healing the surviving Goblin's wounds.

"Tsk tsk, we can't leave just a mess like THAT around," she said, "it will bring down property values, and show up on Neighborhood Watch reports. Besides, our new Order of the Lawful Good aspect of Id needs new converts, don't they?"

As she thus spoke her eyes glowed again blue, the four Goblins nodded in agreement.

Cheerily the Goblin guards opened the double doors to the next room, introducing "Sir Huang, Baronet of Catan!" (formerly Temple of the Frog and environs. I should have also added he was announced in the manner of Helga, in "'Allo 'Allo".)

The party interrupted El Jefe's evening meal, consisting of very large flies, served on a platter by relatively cute goblin wenches. (Now why the flies just don't fly away? My guess is they're just too fat to fly.) The wings were pulled off just before El Jefe ate them, a Goblin delicacy.

As they come in El Jefe says "WELCOME Sir Huang!", as his eyes glow a bright azure. In another pleasantry he addresses the Priestess of Id, "Greetings your Holiness, how long has it been, a week? What can I do for you all?"

Gnomex, getting to the point whispers to Sir Huang about directions to the next level down.

Therfore Huang as if prompted, asks: "Which way down to the next level?"

"No problem Sir!" says El Jefe, "My guards will see you down."

"Former guards." Interrupts the Priestess. "They just joined the new Lawful Good Order of the Temple of ID."

"No matter." says El Jefe, "We're Goblins, we'll make more!" As he grabs one of the Goblin show girls and winks.

As they leave, a good-bye shout is heard from El Jefe's hall, "For the glory of ID!"

"For the glory of ID!" Replied the former Goblin guards.

So the Party is accompanied by the Cultists (the High Priestess, a few other priests and guards) You can almost say they follow the Party out of morbid curiosity. Thus, avoiding most of the pitfalls of Level Nine, the party is led past a few twists and turns and reach trap door in a nondescript room. They take the steps going down.

GM's Note: I must have missed something, as my eyes on the map wandered. When I put them on leve ten, I accidentally shifted the party a bit and they found themselves in a hallway with a door. I can rectify that next session or just leave them where they are. In any case it was just a door in the hallway.

With a bloody greasy door handle.

The party detected no traps, notwithstanding they didn't want to touch the bloody door handle. (Which is strangely odd, considering the wild abandon the Players grab pizza slices with unwashen hands.) So they asked the new Goblin members of the Lawful Good Holy Order of ID to do it.

After they opened the door, as if it sadness could ever overcome Goblins, they burst into tears. Inside were a baker's dozen dead Goblins. All friends and acquaintances.

They vowed revenge.

As if on cue, what came strolling down the hall but the biggest baddest Orc the party had ever seen, wearing a banded mail and a large floppy hat with a feather, circa late 16th century.

Omitting most details, a challenge was issued, centered on Aerys for some reason (probably as the new Grand Master of the LG Order of ID,) and was answered. Since Aerys was female, Huang was designated as her Champion. (Or was it Gnomex? I've had a couple beers as of this writing.) In any case the Orc was defeated and the Goblin rage was assuaged as it were.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level ​WitchRanger​ (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome ​Adept​ of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING​/OFFLNE/RETIRED​ CHARACTERS
​Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
​Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage​ Second​ (a Protege of Jacko). ​
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

HackMoor 2018/03/15 BlackMoor Dungeon - The Cleric of Id

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 01:52

Games are (usually) on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had two large pizzas, one Pepperoni, one Chicken. After many weeks, we had a session of HackMaster.

​PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

The party took some respite from their endeavors by accepting the hospitality of the Cultists of ID, memorizing spells, healing, sleep, et. al. During this period one character mentioned their spell book contained a dearth of spells. So I suggested the player take some initiative and steal them from another character. I amended that to include friendly borrowing, if another character agreed. So there was some die rolling involved, as players invoked some "Write" spells to copy spells from each others spell books. As I also told them there is a chance of failure, they can attempt again when they gain another level. It was as if that was a harbinger of fate, as one Player kept rolling ones and twos on their attempts, we even tried using a new die after every bad roll.

This evolution probably took a day or two, since the each spell Written takes one hour per spell level pass or fail. Their hosts were rather nice about the party taking their time. The non-magic users were easily entertained and an alliance was made.

Aerys made the first move towards an alliance, or at least an association. First the Cultists "alignment" was ascertained.

While this is usually a social faux pas, the Cultists made no dissembling. The Cultists Priestess, the significance of her position apparently obvious by her glowing blue eyes when she spoke, (like a G'aould from Stargate): "We're Evil," she said, "but at least we're honest about it."

The party pondered this, finally Aerys came up with a rejoinder: "Do you have any Neutral or Good Chapters of your Religion? If not, can we start one?"

"I don't see why not," she said, "we're always looking for new members. This could be an interesting method to expand our franchise."

So the deal was struck. I proffered the Player a briefing on the Religion of ID (to be delivered later), as I had previously said the Characters had been given the pamphlets and tracts anyway.

After this the Party, accompanied by the Cultists, went out exploring level Nine. Although it should be obvious dear reader, the Cultists were quite familiar with parts of this level. They went along to see what the party would do.

They went North then turned Southwest to see the staircase they came down before. Seeing nothing, they turned into a short hallway going Northwest that ended in a heavy door. Eventually breaking it down as it took more than one attempt, they found a small ten foot by ten foot square room with a door on each wall (including the one they came in). Within it was a large statue of a Goblin with various "offerings" placed around it. Specifically, some flasks with unknown fluids (one ceramic, three glass), a jar filled with blood, a silver goblet filled with cheap ale, two moldy pieces of bread, some moldy cheese, several teeth and bones, a gold signet ring, an empty scroll case, a crushed holy symbol of an unidentified diety, three decomposed headless chickens, the head of a female elf. various silver and copper coins, a vial of ink, a quill, and a scorched wizard's spell book. Since they had just gone through that process of transcribing spells, they simply stowed it, and anything else of value.

After successfully desecrating whatever intent these offerings were by taking them, the party made a exited the chamber by the easily opened (from the inside) door opposite the way they came. Coming to a "T" intersection they turned left, passed some corridors came within view of the aforesaid staircase and turned left again to find themselves outside one of the side doors to the same statue room.

Forcing this door open, they went past the statue through the other side and came out to another "T" intersection. Turning left they came to a door on their right, and checked to see if it was locked. It was, and they attempted to unlock it or force it I forget which as it didn't matter. One of the Characters, (probably Numrendir), at this point noticed that a mere 10 further was a wide open corridor at a 135 degree angle relative to their current corridor and decided to peek around it.

What he or she saw where a pair of Goblins aiming their arrows at the back side of the door the rest of the party was attempting to open. Whoever it launched a Phantasmal Fireball and hit for beau coup hit poitnts. 3 out of 4 Goblins failed their saving throw (there were 2 other Goblins around the corner), but they all survived. The two visible Goblins did a mere right face and let loose their arrows back at Numrendir for 11 hit points.

At this point Grok cast a Sidewinder Fireball (Factor 2) and downed a couple of the Goblins. One of the Goblins had charged Numrendir but Grok was ready to meet him on the second round and struck with his Short Sword (being a Battle Mage) and rolled a critical hit. (Using my cheesy system, he scored triple max hits, dropping the Goblin.

These Goblins were a bit difficult to take down, apparently they were Sixth Level Fighter Goblins.

In any case the surviving two Goblins failed their Morale Check and offered the location of their boss, just through the next door down the hall.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Grok the Dwarf, a third level ​WitchRanger​ (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome ​Adept​ of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING​/OFFLNE/RETIRED​ CHARACTERS
​Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
​Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Master Espion (Infiltrator, subclass of Thief).
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage​ Second​ (a Protege of Jacko). ​
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] die Pause für die Beförderung

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:11

After the mission i realize that I forgot to do my previous promotion so Sheriff takes Quickdraw (firing pistol first doesn't end turn) and I really don't know if it's better than Death From Above; Neptune takes Run and Gun (take action after dashing); Jones takes Deadeye (lower Aim to improve damage) simply because I always take Lightning Hands and want to see if Deadeye will ever come in handy or if it's just a way to miss.

Uranus and Jones recovered from their 'Shaken' status.

The previous failed mission not only lost me the Intel and VIP but contact with Western U.S. and the supplies normally gained there. Talk about a setback.

I go back to base and feel shame.

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[XCOM2-Spoilers] Devil's Gift (Easy-Ironman)

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:00

Operation Devil's Gift

Rescue VIP from ADVENT Vehicle, Edmonton

This is a rescue mission so I decide on two sharpshooters and no Grenadier.

Cast of Kidnappers:
Sergeant "Sailor" Neptune (Ranger); Sergeant "Sailor" Uranus (Specialist); Knight Number 5 (Spark); Leftenant "Sheriff" Schneider (Sharpshooter); Corporal Jones (Sharpshooter)

We start on a roof but after setup, only Sheriff is left up there as he has Squadsight. I do some running to scout using Jones and Neptune. We see a couple ADVENT in a building to our right but then we see the Viper King and a Viper peon slither out front. He becomes the priority target and we set up allowing the Troopers to flank us. Number 5 will start the barrage with everyone else on overwatch.

It goes fairly well. Neptune never got line-of-sight on the King and everyone else hit except Sheriff. The Troopers took tactical positions to my flank as expected, but we have to kill this Viper King.

Apparently only Neptune can move so she pulls her sword and dashes for the King doing heavy damage but not enough and his reaction is to open a gate for escape. Number 5 is Marked and takes some damage from a flanking Trooper (ADVENT Officer) while Uranus gets stabbed by the other one (ADVENT Stun Lancer). No music comes from Number 5.

I try to use Lightning Hands with Sheriff but somehow screw it up and he blows his whole wad on the Viper King, eliminating him. Now to the flankers and the eleven turns to get our VIP.

Number 5 flanks the Lancer and misses, almost hitting Uranus who ducks and curses Yoma. Spectacle Jones removes the Lancer from play.

Neptune rushes over, and strikes down the ADVENT Officer with her sword and snags some loot making me wish I'd added the extra loot option to my Guerilla Tactics Room.

Uranus hacks one of the local ADVENT systems to increase our vision for one turn.

Well I'll be a milksnake's uncle..... In my haste to take out the Viper King successfully, I just may have blown up the truck with the VIP.....
Mission Fail.
7 turns, 4/4 enemies killed, 1 soldier wounded.
Rating: Poor

Well, once again I feel like the mission was so bloody easy that I became lazy and foolish. This is a part of who I am. I excel best when challenged and when things seem too easy, I drop the ball. Perhaps as , XCOM can teach me some things that will transfer to real life. Perhaps I need to travel in the opposite direction he is to find my own balance.

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