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barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
10/2/22 2:59 a.m.

Home team now consists of a skeleton wizard, a dwarf cleric, and a high elf sorcerer. I have an open seat or two that hopefully I can fill soon. We had a fun session tonight. Embarked on a new quest to steal a secret magic scroll. Everything went well and we had a good time. Right up until the end, which can be summed up in a meme:

They knew of a secret passage. The scroll is supposed to be in the secret catacombs beneath a temple. The switch that opened the secret stairs was hidden, as is traditional. In the temple are statues of the four main deity in this world. One is essentially the god of death. The secret switch to get to where the dead things are was hidden on the god of death. I didn't think it was that hard. We stopped there because late. So many spell slots expended. There's a tough fight at the bottom of those stairs. Maybe tough. There will be a wand of wonder involved. I love chaotic magic. I'm excited. 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
10/2/22 8:32 a.m.

In reply to barefootcyborg5000 :

I was going to say that I'm normally not a fan of puzzles, because they usually feel forced and don't make sense in context...

...but "the lever to open the door to the catacombs is hidden in the statue of the god of death," isn't much of a "puzzle".

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
10/2/22 8:38 a.m.

Our session the other night was fun.

We had a moment of, "berkeley it. Let's attune to the magical artifact just to see what happens..."
Followed immediately by, "Oh god! This is the worst possible outcome..."
Then, "No wait... this is the BEST possible outcome."

Playing Descent into Avernus. The adventure line is very 'meh'. Super linear railroad of fetch quests. Whatever, we're making the game casual and fun and not pretending it's anything other than what it is.

So, we have to free someone from a pact with a devil to get them to do us a favor. To free them, they have to drink the blood of a titan. Whole string of "go to points A, B, C, D, and back to A" to get the Titan blood.

Well, we take this artifact that we're supposed to trade for... blah blah blah. One character attunes to it and the DM rolls up the bad things that happen when you do that. First it start messing with the mind of the PC attuning to it so whe won't want to give it up...

...And then it summons a Titan to try to steal the artifact away. So we poke it, get a bit of it's blood, it takes the orb (we're powerless to stop it), and we run away. The Titan stealing it frees the PC.

We laugh and end the session having circumvented a bunch of BS through like 4/1000 random chance.

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
10/2/22 11:30 a.m.

In reply to Beer Baron :

I've learned not to make my puzzles very tricky. Most of the time they end up quite silly or include the impossibly simple solution. Still. They'll find a way to either break something or over-complicate it. 

We stopped with them having entered a dark spiral staircase, at the bottom is an undead gladiator. His overly ornate shield has a wand of wonder imbedded it it. A failed attack "hits only the shield" and causes the wand to go off. Should be entertaining. Possibly fatal. Especially with most of the spell slots used up. 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
10/7/22 9:01 a.m.

Barefootcyborg...

Dunno if you're familiar with Sly Flourish's "Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master". Best GM prep book ever. Apparently he recently released a "Lazy DM's Workbook" and "Lazy DM's Companion". I'm probably going to pick those up for myself and my DM.

https://shop.slyflourish.com/

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
10/7/22 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Beer Baron :

I am not familiar, but with that price and that title, I soon will be. Thanks!

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
10/30/22 2:20 a.m.

I recently bought Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. If you can only buy one book, you need a players manual, but if you can buy two, buy Tasha's. It's got such cool stuff. 
 

Anyway. Halloween. The home team is on the return leg of a fetch quest, and have just been joined by a new player (half-elf rogue assassin) played by a fellow from church who hasn't played in my lifetime. So, in the spirit of the season, I used a storm to chase them into a haunted mansion filled with puzzle doors and trap rugs and cursed beds. Oh, and hellhounds and constructs. That they've discovered so far. There isn't really a plot critical purpose, other than just keeping things interesting during a rather boring stretch of road on a long journey. 
The dice were not in it tonight. The rolls were poor. I was worried because I really dislike fudging my rolls and I didn't want to kill a new player, but I didn't have to. Half the session was a single battle, after which the party noticed they were now bathed in an otherworldly green light, and we ended on a cliffhanger. The light will turn out to be coming from a ghost of the landlord, but I won't force the fight. I may have pounded them hard enough for them to cut and run even with the storm raging. We'll find out in a couple weeks. 
 

The away team managed to bust out of jail, evade capture, and set sail as fugitives of the city they were in. But not before the bard seduced the captain of the guard, and then openly mocking the night guard of the jail they escaped. These players have a habit of making themselves unwelcome. What worries me is just the players themselves. Everyone gets along, but the last two sessions have been a chore for me just trying to keep everyone together. One keeps trying to split the party, one just wants to play dialog, one is a murder hobo, and the fourth constantly looks for ways to start a scuffle. Add in the scheduling difficulties and I'm afraid the group may fizzle. Time will tell. 

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
11/14/22 2:06 a.m.

Yesterday was a rather successful session with the away team. They managed to evade capture and set sail. The only real hiccup was not bringing any food. Tried fishing, no dice. So they did what any reasonable person would in that situation. Put blood in the water and fish for sharks instead. Then the bard magically paralyzed the shark, looks at me and says, "do you know what happens when a shark can't move or swim? It suffocated and dies." And I thought, damn that's cold. And gave him a point of inspiration. They then managed to net another shark and pull it aboard for dissection. Because funny, I let them discover the shark was expecting. Warlock asks if unborn shark bits may have any magical properties for potions or whatnot, and I ended the session there. Gotta see what I can do with that question before the next session. We had a lot of fun and laughs. Good session. 
 

Tonight was a home team game. They had found themselves seeking shelter from the storm in a decrepit mansion that only appears under a full moon. So of course the place is haunted and booby trapped. They narrowly fended off a couple animated suits and two hellhounds. This was last session. Tonight they found the ghostly master of the house and promised to try and help free him of the mansion. So they'll be seeking out a swamp witch and attempting  to get her to lift the curse. Other than that, they've been asked to seek out an ancient red dragon in hiding. The goal is information, but the complications are plentiful, and the road there is long and dangerous. So we have options and goals. The new party member is having fun and seems to be a good fit. Going forward we'll likely need to spend a session planning and preparing for the tasks ahead. And I'll have to flesh out the lore and history a bit more. Pyr, the dragon has been in hiding for millennia, deep beneath a dwarven stronghold. In this world, dragons and dwarves are old enemies. While the party would be welcomed as travelers in the dwarf kingdoms, any hints of their true purpose would be disastrous, and a misstep with the dragon could mean TPK. 
They've gotten real hints at the long game here and the story I want to tell. Hopefully they decide to take the quest at some point. I do have to remind myself that I'm trying to be a good game master and not a train conductor. The world is mine, the lore is mine. And I'm very proud of both. But the story is theirs. 
 

 

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
11/26/22 2:36 a.m.

Home game tonight. The party has decided to seek out the ancient red dragon in hiding. They are not making a beeline though, instead taking a meandering route towards another smaller quest mostly on the way. The side quest is seeking the it a swamp witch in an effort to lift a curse. It's a fair journey there and so far they've made decent progress and the only event has been to follow the sound of screams off the road and into the hills. Turns out, the screams were from a harmless mushroom called a shrieker, as they were being eaten by some deer. They didn't scare off the deer, but the wolves did. So they fought a wolf pack and finally leveled up to 6.

Another few days journey will take them further from the mountains and into the lowland plains towards a place called Grasswater, where on the outskirts lives a swamp witch. 
 

Of note. They have been advised to find something that can be offered as tribute to the dragon they're looking for. The idea was floated of trying to capture the witch and offering her as tribute. They quickly dismissed the idea, but if that isn't a perfect example of the kind of unexpected shenanigans this game brings out, I can't think of a better one. They also came into possession of a bag of devouring. So that may come in handy if they can keep it. 
 

I gave them all a fair amount of gold for completing the last fetch quest, and they actually used some of it to prepare for winter traveling. So that was mature. They'll likely level up again before they make it to their goal in the southern mountains.

This is a good group. 4 players that work well together and have similar goals and expectations from the game. The newest player is the hardest to schedule, but still not bad. Twice a month is pretty reasonable. 

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