Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quick Notes on the Faces of Fear

Goblin Kill-Suit - Equivalent to armor spikes; mounted beneath the skin so they burst through and protrude from the body.

Lying and bribing to convert despite elevating free will choice as supreme - Believes that such deception and manipulation are justified to counteract the same practices by the present order. Not a case of hypocrisy because her efforts lead to ultimate truth instead of illusion. "You must never forget that you have been blinded to the glory of our hidden Lords by the present order. If I have deceived you, it is only with respect to its prior deception. I have lied against a lie in order to bring the truth before your eyes. I see your soul writhe with hunger for truth and reality but it lies confined amidst the webs of the present order's deception, unable to free itself. Composed as they are to keep the truth away, the only weapon with which I am left is deceit. You fight fire with fire. What I have said and what I have done are the knife with which I cut you free from your bonds. I have afforded you the liberty to make your own choice, where before you had none. Standing now free, you can choose of your own will to follow what is true, what is right, and what is real."

Monday, July 2, 2007

Red Hand of Doom Intro

I am running Red Hand of Doom for my gaming group. One of the players will leave on vacation two weeks into the game but the other three should remain and a replacement might be available in an old member of the group (who was on vacation when we started).

Red Hand of Doom is a module for characters of 5th through 10th. The party takes on an advancing army of hobgoblins and monsters, attempting to stop them from overrunning the Elsir Vale. Due to the unique structure of the adventure (event-based, strict timeline, taking on an army, etc), each encounter is typically the only encounter for that day. This means that each encounter is purposely more difficult and deadly than the D&D norm. My players were warned.

I will add particularly interesting or memorable happenings from around the table here. The game is now two weeks old and while they have accomplished much, the party has a long road ahead of them (we are still only halfway through chapter 1 of 5).

The party created was thus:

Tik-Tik the thri-kreen lion-totem (pounce) barbarian 1 (ECL 5) who dual-wields greatswords. His pride and joy are his twin magic swords, one outfitted with a lesser crystal of acid assault (+1d6 acid damage), and his sole goal in life is to wield two KEEN greatswords of acidic burst. (Tik-Tik is known in the group as Bug and his player spends most of his time clicking together metal dice to make his trademark tik-tik sound.)

Lira Hellsong the human warlock 5. Specializing in her eldritch blast power and occasionally summoning an infernal swarm of rats, bats, or spiders, Lira spreads her brand of at will destruction liberally around the battlefield. She is also the party face. (Lira is known in the group as Whorelock because she wants to sleep with every female NPC. Her player is a dirty, stinking Frenchman wannabe.)

Justice the human (previously warforged) cleric 5 of the Sacred Heat. Devoting himself to both the healing and harming aspects of flame, Justice alternates between healing his comrades and cutting down his foes with his own greatsword. (Justice is known in the group as "cleric" and Pinnochio because he used to be a warforged but now he's a real boy. His player is pissed that he never has enough actions and healing spells to keep the party from getting TPKed all the freakin' time.)

Lokey the elf druid 5. Lokey has two joys in life - summoning 6' wide balls of fire to slam into his enemies and calling down bolts of lightning to fry those selfsame enemies. He is particularly good at both but should they fail to take the field he morphs into a wolf or crocodile and takes matters a little more personally. Accompanied by his vigilant hawk companion, the recent troubles in the vale have led Lokey to consider a more robust companion. (Lokey is known in the group as the Colonel and his hawk is known as KFC and Combo Meal #2. Lokey's player is the newest to D&D but he seems to handle his character a little more competently than everyone else ... except when he forgets every single round that an attack, skill check, and initiative roll always use a d20.)

The group had spent the last few weeks trekking through the Elsir Vale towards the small town of Drellin's Ferry. From there, they could strike out into the Witchwood and explore the ruins of Vraath Keep mentioned on the old map they had found. Prior to reaching the dusty little town, they found themselves surrounded in an ambush. Hobgoblin archers pelted them from the trees and a pair of hellhounds closed in for the kill as a cleric and blademaster appeared on the road before them. The party burst into action, Tik-Tik charging through the undergrowth to engage the well-trained and equipped regulars while Lira and Lokey used their spells to attack from afar. Justice had his hands full keeping the party alive as waves of arrows began to take their toll.

The Blademaster called out an eagerly met challenge to Tik-Tik and the two faced off in battle. Tik-Tik cleaved into the dual-shortsword wielding hobgoblin for 30 damage but the warrior took the blows in stride and struck back with a single strike for 10 (wowed the party because he only rolled a 4). Tik-Tik managed to finish him off the next round. On seeing his champion fall, the hob cleric commanded the bug to flee, drawing attacks of opportunity from the surrounding hobgoblin regulars.

The two hellhounds had managed to drop Lokey and almost drop the warlock and her horse before Justice and Lira could put them down. Justice managed to get the trio back on their feet and fighting fit by the next wave.

Around this time, the initial ambushers were almost all dead with the exception of the advancing cleric and his reinforcements coming from up the road (6 more gobbo regulars). The cleric blessed his warriors for the coming charge and stood ready to enhance the attack further with cure spells and buffs. Two of the warriors were picked off by the druid's call lightning spell and the warlock's eldritch blast, leaving four hobgoblin infantry to charge the bug. They attempted en masse to trip the creature but failed by 1 (19 to 20). The bug proceeded to open a can of sweet hot asskicking, felling two goblins while Lira and Lokey's spells finished off the last two. In the span of one round's time, the cleric watched the party fell 6 regular infantry. That seemed like a good cue to run the hell away. He cast invisibility (yay Trickery domain) and attempted to make off. Lokey would hear nothing of that. He wild shaped into a wolf and tracked the cleric in real time by scent with Tik-Tik at his side to finish the job.

The group looted the corpses and retired to an abandoned farmhouse for the night to rest and play Three-Dragon Ante.