Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Cthristmas

Merry Christmas one and all to every race, profession, construct, dead, undead, spirit, illusion, hallucination, manifestation, god, demigod and jester !!!!!!!!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Plot Thickens

First of all, I should note is that I am no longer running a World of Darkness game...
The whole line has been renamed into Chronicles of Darkness!

With that out of the way, I shall note that since I haven't used either of the scenes I had prepared for last session, I only had a bare minimum to prepare for this one. Our were-polar-bear had a nasty surprise when he was coming home only to hear his dogs barking that there's an intruder on his territory. Yes, he has the uncanny ability to understand animal speech to some extent.

Suffice to say, Devlin's attempts to remain sneaky and locate the intruder in his own home ended up being fruitless. Fortunately, he called in the cavalry and VT managed to spy someone sneaking out of his house by the backdoor. A chase ensued shortly thereafter.

I personally don't require players to have read an entire corebook just to sit down and play. That sounds like way too much homework to me. Games should be accessible for newcomers and I found no surer way to discourage someone from gaming than slapping him with a 300+ book to read within a week... oh, and make sure you'll remember everything.

It's been my rule for quite a few years now. The problem with doing something this often is, unfortunately, that you end up forgetting you're doing it. So with a slight embarassment, I realised I should have reminded people earlier on that they can spend Willpower points to add 3 dice to their rolls. Instead, I only did that after it was clear who the dice smiled upon that day.

The players managed to catch the intruder who turned out to be a woman. Latter interrogation revealed she is also a shapeshifter and was snooping at the 'murder' scene as a deer. We had a glimpse at VT's warform which was appropriately creepy. A large falcon with human hands for talons and, unless I'm misremembering, a human/falcon hybrid face.

During their interrogation they learned that the woman was named Fawn and she followed a trail from Fairbanks to hear when she was looking for whatever/whoever was responsible for kidnapping people off the street. She wasn't very talkative at first but after being unable to break Peyton's webbing and receiving a punch from Devlin, she warmed up a bit.

In the end, Fawn went to stay with Peyton, her Striking Looks Merit working like a charm, while Devlin noticed he was invited to dinner by the head of the local hunter's club.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Second Level Sucess

Broadly speaking we have moved from the general category of being slayed with one hit to being slayed by two or three hits. Now some of the party will say speak for yourself as the Paladin I am playing did, with the favour of his god, max roll his hit allocation for the last level increment.
Its still a bit of a rock, paper, scissors, divine intervention game at present but if we get our hits in first then there is a slightly good chance now that we will be dancing in the bar by tea time. At the end of the last thrilling instalment of the DnD we were faced with taking down a large beaked creature with long hooks for arms- a Hooked Horror if my goggling skills are on form. Shame its such an aggressive creature as I suspect it occupies an ideal evolutionary niche for opening cans of beer. Never mind.
First and foremost it was the Paladin and the Cleric who threw themselves into the fray. The Horror did not gracefully yield to the Paladin despite being given the opportunity to do so, so in turn received  the first use of the Thunderous Smite. Both dramatic and effective the blow hit with thunderous roar, both knocking the creature back and shocking our fighting pit audience into a brief deafness. The Cleric followed up and whilst taking some damage from a counter we were at least alive for the second round. My second spell slot was reserved for a Searing Smite and whilst it failed to ignite the fiend it was enough to bring it, together with the damage from the Cleric, to within a whisker of its life. [It was after the game when I was looking at the other paladin speciality that I had picked up, Divine Smite, which I think would have made the other smite spells redundant as it deals more damage but burns any spell slots you have for the day. The idea being that you can learn a couple of utility spells but if combat demands it, burn them for a Divine Smite.]
Anyway, enter stage right the party thief who, after nimbly staying out of any trouble stole the initiative and snuck around to the back of the creature and stabbed it for the killing blow. Honestly the bloody cheek of it. Anyway it turned out that the people inhabiting this area are a sort of neutral band of middle men who I get the sense are living off a lot of the cream of the Neverwinter chaos at the moment.  Not actually evil they are not to be trusted but have pointed us to a very old Elf that has shone some light on the ancient teleportation system which will allow us to finally get ahead of one of the cobold packs preying on innocent traders and villagers.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A Split Party

Allow me to pre-face this entry by saying that no (were-)bear has been shot or otherwise harmed during our last session and that we do not condone violence towards animals. Especially ones that can turn into hulking monstrosities and rip your face off.

This time I came in with two scenes in mind that I could use, neither of which saw any use other than a hint here and there. It's entirely my fault as I tend to be a reactive GM and already having established an issue within the setting, I wanted to give the players a chance to react to it in their own ways. I was waiting for a hook I could use to start off either of the scenes I came in with. Even though none appeared, everyone had fun so I can't say our time went to waste.

We went on to the day after everyone has given a statement on what happened in the woods. I began the session asking people what they would be doing the very next day.

VT decided to look at the scene again from the skies. She clearly likes her falcon form. She decided to track where Windy (official nickname) went by looking at snow patterns. Since her falcon form gives her Keen Sight and a Perception bonus I allowed it and she found out the trail of fresh snow leading from the scene of gruesome murder up to where the hunters' group was gathering. There was also a doe having a look at the aforementioned scene. Then it went off to graze on leaves and twigs. Perfectly normal behaviour!

Devlin had a look through his mother's notebooks in hopes of finding something that could cause blizzards out of nowhere. Going through books sounds boring but we had a nice glimpse into Devlin's backstory. I do love it when players take time to flesh out their characters. We've learned that Devlin's mum is in prison. She's innocent but took the blame for his father's murder when he was beating her and young Devlin snapped, turned into a bear and frenzied in the living room. I loved the story enough that I rewarded him by saying he found mentions of one Wayne Webster who was good friends with his mum and a source of most of her information on local tradition.

At that point Devlin wanted to go and speak with him but I ruled by that time it would be too late for a polite visit. This was mainly because I didn't want to have the whole evening spent on single-player scenes. I try to avoid the lack of player-to-player interaction during a game.

Next up was Peyton who, while working at a hospital in Fairbanks, went to the local coroner to see if he could provide them with the autopsy reports of the body they found. Whenever I see coroners on screen, they always seem unfazed by dead bodies. I take it, it comes with the territory but then I thought that this was probably a horrific event in this guy's life, I'd make him be uncomfortable talking about it... and just when I was about to give out some information, I realised there's actually a Social system of Opening Doors that I should be using rather than making things easy and simple. Things were said and done, and Peyton had a very good approach at convincing the coroner to do him a favour.

At the end of the evening, both in-game and out-of-game, the characters met in a pub. VT was already chatting people up about a new extreme sport she thought of that incorporated logs, lakes and hills. Devlin didn't get into a fight, amazingly enough. Some girl tried to flirt with Peyton because she thought they were a boy. I'm so glad I could come up with some randomness. Especially considering social interactions are certainly not my forte.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Teleportation insurance

Ritual circles, triangles, pentagrams, menhirs, and glowing flagstones are all things that should really have those 'slippery surface' warning signs. It always a little disconcerting trying to work out whether you are dead or not after being teleported.

Having wandered around a gigantic cemetery for a while we followed some humanoid claw like tracks to a large mausoleum and a sarcophagus within. It was fairly evident that  this was all a bit of a neat and tidy arrangement particularly for an old burial chamber, so much so that one could hear the time honoured Admiral Akbar screaming "Its a twap" in your ear. The funny thing about this is not that we didn't see a trap coming, it's that we hadn't realised that the trap was disabled by 4 magic gems to be found in the murals about the coffin. Not a problem...except that there is a thief in the party. It was a deliberation though but eventually the thief did see the down side of dying a rich man but of course went back for the gems afterwards.
Spiralling down and around brought us finally to the afore mentioned teleport and off we go.
Unfortunately, to continue the Star Wars theme, as it is nearly Christmas, we seem to be in a fighting pit Jabba style, surrounded by a very excited crowd of cobolds, hot dogs and popcorn in hand with something growling on the other side of some very big doors.

So the extent to which we teleported without dying is still a debateable point but what advice to give before stepping on a portal ? Pack swimming trunks and heavy weapons.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Gutting Fishermen

Our DnD adventure is taking us down the coast at present, by land I might add, as what with mysterious fog banks and a wandering ghost pirate ship we are quite happily sticking to terra firma. Our current mission was to talk to a druid local to one of the fishing villages to try and get some information on some of the background happenings around Neverwinter but worryingly we passed at least one village that had been raided from the sea and its inhabitants either killed or presumably captured. I suppose missing at sea would be the correct description for them now.

I would guess that ordinarily Pirates carry out raids for various logistic reasons, water, food and also for slaves or possibly new crew members as well as for the usual collection of loots. However, what a Ghost Pirate ship raids for is less clear to me. Potentially they could be collecting more crew albeit of an undead variety but I wouldn't have thought they would have a large turnover of staff...unless bits drop off during the working day. A rigger with no legs is not going to do well in his next performance evaluation.

Either way I suspect that they are either cursed and or operating under the will of a more malevolent force.

I think I am working out why it is called the Sword Coast.

Moving inland we had a meeting with the curators of a vast, rolling cemetery and once again they hve said that the passing traffic seems to be much busier these days for no particular or obvious reason. Connecting the dots, it would be  reasonable to suppose that someone is stealing bodies though we have yet to catch them in the act. I think the next question would be to ask for an audit but this is often met with an extremely grim demeanour in any profession let alone from the curators of a cemetery as large as East Sussex.