In-Between Session

Here is the full party:

Dellarux = Mystic
Duffles the Unfortunate = Mage
Joan the Ogre Slayer = Fighter
Sherry = Cleric
Glevina = Elven Ranger
Niblog = Assassin
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances

Session Report

After clearing the dungeon found in “Liberation of the Demon Slayer”, one of my players wished me to run “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks”. The player controlling Dellarux, a level 1 character, wanted a little in-between adventuring so Dellarux could level up and hopefully not die instantly when hit in combat.

A local baron had an issue with weird monsters attacking his people. It appears that they are from a remote part of his lands. He promised the party that if they got rid of the monsters, they could keep all treasure and magic items they find. The party agreed and went looking!

So, I whipped up some travel adventures. I decided that the town from “Liberation of the Demon Slayer” (Clear Meadows) is on a river that and the river leads to another landmass, which will contain the new dungeon.

With a random encounter chart created (can’t share, because the party reads this blog) for both land and river, off they went!

While traveling the river, they encountered 4 (nude) Florida Men riding large ‘gators (okay, okay, I used stats for a large crocodile from the ACKS core book) who demanded a toll. Despite having an obscene amount of gold, the party refused to pay and a battle ensued.

Rider.jpg
Like this, but nude.

The crocodiles ended being more dangerous than the Florida Men. No one died, but they were quite injured. They made it safely to land and the ship captain promised to take any treasure back to town… for a cut. The party has agreed, but they are considering buying the boat and making the captain their direct employee. We’ll see what they decide next session.

Once they reached land, I rolled for a random encounter each hex they traveled, but nothing happened. That is, until they decided to rest in the wilderness.

In the darkness, a band small plant men attacked, as well as a couple of trolls. The Long Bow O’Fire got a lot of use here! The party overcame this challenge and continued on in the morning. They discovered a giant metallic dome in the hills…and the session ended.

asdfdasfasdfasd

Lesson Learned

Overland random encounters can be tense and make great gaming!

Remembering the Fallen

None…this time.

Do You Want In?
Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm-ish Central Time on Roll 20.

It’s a “drop in / drop out” deal. You can’t make a session? No big deal. Don’t like my GMing style and want out? No big deal. You can hit me up on Twitter (@NotJohnDaker), email (themixedgm@yahoo.com), or MeWe (if you know Power Word: My Real Name)

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Session 20 & 21 of “Liberation of the Demon Slayer”

Here is the full party:

James Blaylock = Elven Ranger PC
Dellarux = Mystic PC
Duffles the Unfortunate = Mage PC
Joan the Ogre Slayer = Fighter NPC
Sherry = NPC Cleric
Glevina = NPC Elven Ranger
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances
Cassandra = Former Slave / Elven Spellsword / NPC
Zana = Former Slave / Bard / NPC
Samantha = Former Slave / Fighter / NPC
Rodolpho = Former Slave / Mage / NPC

Hans = Fighter PC (player is unable to join for a while, so he is sitting at the tavern and visiting the horribly wounded former adventurers)

Session Report

2 sessions in one post. Here we go!

The party met a wizard on the 6th level who wants all of the odd multi-colored shapes that exist in the dungeon. He was mad with power, explained that he wanted to gain the power of Ulusek-Lokvarr and become a god, but the players still agreed to help him.

A hint he gave them was that the shapes tended to find their way into areas of Ulusek and/or Lokvarr worship. They traveled the dungeon and found several shapes to give him.

I made a few adjustments to the module, partially by intention and partially by mistake (said the wrong thing when the party was investigating an area of the 1st level, but I refused to retcon myself), so this whole section is just… odd.

On level 1, the found a portal to a padded room with a locked door. In the past they did not seem interested in doing much there, so I didn’t develop it. However, this time they went through the portal and kicked down the locked door.

No mo' do'

I scrambled, but quickly found a map of a hospital for the party to explore. The portal led to an alternate dimension that was basically the modern world, but people worshiped Lokvarr. So, this place was a mental hospital run by the church of Lokvarr.

After a brutal fight with some orderlies, the party found one of the shapes in the Lovkarrian chapel (orange shape effect: magic cast ON the wielder or BY the wielder is doubled in potency), kidnapped one of the doctors, and convinced one of the patients to go back to the party’s world. Once back in their world, they demanded that the patient to scout ahead. He got scared and ran away, never to be seen again.

They gave the kidnapped doctor to the dark elves to help them with their attempt to create half-dark elves. The party refuses to… uh… “personally help” with the breeding experiments, so by giving the dark elves a man every now and then, they are paying for passage through the dark elf enclave.

To remind them of the hell they unleashed on the world, I had a crayfish-mutant-man attack them in the dungeon. I have been creating some mutants to assault them as they travel to show the horror of what they have unleashed.

A few sessions back, when the party killed Krinjess, they did NOT explore his territory. They did so now and found the blue shape. The NPC Zana (with a bad leg) was chosen by the party to touch it. She disappeared and immediately reappeared with two good legs! (blue shape effect: the possessor can create a temporal distortion if he wishes 3 times per day and up to a year either backwards or forwards)

The power of time distortion to change the past to prevent the injury that gave her a bad leg!

Oh no.

This party will not abuse this at all. Not at all.

They then went to the petrified statue of Niblog the Assassin and used the blue shape to prevent him from being petrified. He’s back in the party!

Most importantly, they went back in time to prevent JCN from unleashing the nuclear apocalypse. JCN is destroyed, so all the nuclear missiles are still resting dormant in their silos. All those mutant attack ideas. Gone.

Through smart play and using the tools provided by the dungeon, this party has reversed the course of history. As a GM, I did not foresee this outcome. In a dungeon with the potential to completely destroy a campaign, this party has destroyed the world… and fixed it again.

If the video does not automatically take you to 10:32, start watching there…

“I wish I got more credit for things I broke and then barely fixed.”

All the shapes, except the blue and orange shapes were NOT given to the mad wizard. The consequence of bringing all the shapes together would have been the rebirth of the god Ulusek-Lokvarr. To put it mildly, this would not have been a good outcome. Good thing they kept a couple shapes for themselves!

At this point, the party has effectively cleared the dungeon. So what’s next?

Next session, per the request of one of my players, the party will go on an expedition to visit a place called the barrier peaks. The NPCs accompanying the party are being trimmed a bit, so here is who is going: (unless YOU, dear reader, wish to join, in which case your character will be added as well).

Dellarux = Mystic
Duffles the Unfortunate = Mage
Joan the Ogre Slayer = Fighter
Sherry = Cleric
Glevina = Elven Ranger
Niblog = Assassin
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances

Lesson Learned

Consequences can be reversed. Also, if you create a portal to an alternate world… flesh out that alternate world ahead of time.

Remembering the Fallen

None… this time. We actually had a reverse of this. The world is un-exploded and Niblog is back.

Do You Want In?
Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm-ish Central Time on Roll 20.

It’s a “drop in / drop out” deal. You can’t make a session? No big deal. Don’t like my GMing style and want out? No big deal. You can hit me up on Twitter (@NotJohnDaker), email (themixedgm@yahoo.com), or MeWe (if you know Power Word: My Real Name)

Session 19 of “Liberation of the Demon Slayer”

Here is the full party:

James Blaylock = Elven Ranger PC
Exardell = Mystic PC
Duffles the Unfortunate = Mage PC
Joan the Ogre Slayer = Fighter NPC
Sherry = NPC Cleric
Glevina = NPC Elven Ranger
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances
Cassandra = Former Slave / Elven Spellsword / NPC
Zana = Former Slave / Bard / NPC
Samantha = Former Slave / Fighter / NPC
Rodolpho = Former Slave / Mage / NPC

Hans = Fighter PC (player is unable to join for a while, so he is sitting at the tavern and visiting the horribly wounded former adventurers)

Session Report

The party picked up the middle of combat with the minor demon lord Kordath and it wasn’t going so well. Exardell, the wielder of the anti-demon sword Kalthalax, was the target of most of the demon’s ire and he was taking a few hits.

A use of the Rod of Strange things was in order! Duffles the Unfortunate whipped it out and used it. The party hoped the banana with a mustache and arms would return, but instead one of the party’s magical items was doubled in power for 12 hours! A couple rolls later, and Kalthalax was doubled in power!

Super-Kalthalax-isticexpialidocious!

It wasn’t enough, though. A few attacks in and Exardell fell. Not dead (yet), but if healed, there would be a roll on the Mortal Wounds table. The party, realizing that one of their heavy hitters was down, asked Duffles the Unfortunate to use the Rod of Strange Things again, a desperate attempt to stop this rampaging demon.

A Death Shade appeared and demanded either the wielder’s life or the life of a party member.

Ded

What would you expect in this situation?

A) Bargaining
B) Fighting against it
C) Discussion of the morality of giving a trusted party member to a Death Shade
D) Just handing over Exardell with no qualms whatsoever

If you choose ‘D’, congratulations! You are eligible to join the party!

In the party’s defense, Exardell was close to death anyway, so it made sense. Chances are, after rolling on the Mortal Wounds table, he would need to retire from adventuring anyway.

Joan picked up Kalthalax and finished the fight strong. Kordath fell to the party’s onslaught and they looted his body. Among the items found was a magic item that would animate statues.

A quick rest and trip to town later, a new party member joined, Dellarux the Mystic.

Despite discussion of using the magic item to animate the statue of Niblog (who had been turned to stone by a medusa), the party went back down to level 6 and began exploring a new section of the dungeon. It reminded them of level 3, with a strong sci-fi aesthetic.

They saw a door with a bunch of buttons. Suspected something evil on other side, an Elven in the party cast “ESP”. Ones and Zeroes assaulted the elf’s mind, along with visions of world domination.

They punched in the “code of ascension” they found earlier to open it. Inside was a perfectly clean room containing a metal box covered in buttons and pretty lights (aka a computer).

Duffles went over and started messing with it. A holographic head appeared and spoke to them.

MCP
This is the picture I used in Roll 20. +20 awesome points if you recognize it.

The being, called JCN, promised the party great wealth and power, if they assisted him. They needed to fix the nuclear bomb they damaged on level 3. He claimed he had the power to destroy the world with the weapons eh controlled in underground bunkers across the planet.

The party refused and threatened JCN. I may have got a little too into the moment and said the following:

“I’m a god. How can you kill a god? What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive?”

Yes. I quoted Dagoth Ur.

download.png

The party did not back down from the threats, so JCN ordered all of the nuclear missiles to fire. Several robots came out from a side door and prepared to attack.

In order to try to control JCN, the party used the new magic item they found on the computer, the one that animates statues. I didn’t consider the computer / holographic head as a statue, but for the creativity, I gave the party a 50% chance to work. I rolled it openly and it worked. The computer became animate. However, it was not under their control.

A pitched battle ensued. The party was victorious and headed to town to see what happened.

The townspeople mentioned that they saw many clouds in the distance that resembled mushrooms and the sun seems a little less bright now…

Someone set us up the bomb

I guess this is going to be a post-ap-ACKS-alypse campaign now!

Lesson Learned

Don’t be afraid to let the party destroy everything. Their actions WILL have consequences.

Remembering the Fallen

Exardell

Exardell the Mystic (Given to a Death Shade)

Also… most of the world

The world

Do You Want In?
Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm-ish Central Time on Roll 20.

It’s a “drop in / drop out” deal. You can’t make a session? No big deal. Don’t like my GMing style and want out? No big deal. You can hit me up on Twitter (@NotJohnDaker), email (themixedgm@yahoo.com), or MeWe (if you know Power Word: My Real Name)

We Need To Talk About Elves

Let me get this out of the way: I am a human supremacist. I think that humans are superior to all the demi-human races: elves, dwarves, halflings, Canadians*, etc.

So what about elves? Why am I so gosh-darn angry about elves in particular?

angry_about_elves
Tempted to edit this with me wearing my luchadore mask, but I’m lazy.

Tolkien knock-offs. That’s why.

The concept of elves has existed for a loooooooooooooong time and they tended to be creatures of mystery… of danger. Otherworldly, even. They weren’t entirely trustworthy. In fact, they were often opposed to humanity and our interests**. They stole babies, could not stand the touch of iron, and were opposed to the Lord Jesus.

Broken Sword
Read this book for a non-Tolkien approach to elves

Tolkien did something different with his elves and that is acceptable. They still had this aura of “otherness” to them. I get the sense while reading The Lord of the Rings that the other races generally did not trust the elves or want much dealings with them.

But most of Tolkien’s knock offs in fiction?

Pretty-haired men who are good with bows and prance around in the forest. As I said on Twitter:

… although I suppose I should have said “English”, not “British”.

Unless you are the next Tolkien, if you write an elf character, go pre-Tolkien with it. Don’t do yet another forest-dwelling, treehouse-making, master-archer, pointy-eared parody.

So far, I have mostly be talking about writing, but where does D&D fit in this?

For one thing, adventurers are more likely than not odd people who don’t fit in with society. Yes, the town’s innkeeper might enjoy the coin that is spent, but the average villager wants nothing to do with the vagabonds who come into town, spend a lot of gold, impregnate their daughters, and leave.

So an elven adventurer can work. He or she (hard to tell which is which!) could easily be in exile (self-imposed or not) from the elven village, which the human adventurers absolutely cannot visit unless specifically invited by the elf king. And the party will be escorted by guards 24/7. And they can only visit approved areas.

Elf

The elf adventurer should always be a bit mysterious and odd. Roleplay some odd habits.

Examples:
– Eat raw meat, rather than cooked.
– Skinny dip. Often.
– Answer personal questions with “Maybe”.
– T-pose while everyone else is sleeping.

Don’t betray the party for no reason, or refuse to give assistance. Just be a little weird.

Be a memorable elf! Don’t be just another woodland archer!

Until the character dies 1/3 of the way until level 2. Then, roll up a real character. Like a human.


* Kidding! I am pretty sure that Canadians are fully human. If you are a Canadian and offended, please do not re-enact the War of 1812.
** I am working under the assumption that everyone reading this is, in fact, human.

Session 18 of “Liberation of the Demon Slayer”

Here is the full party:

James Blaylock = Elven Ranger PC
Exardell = Mystic PC
Duffles the Unfortunate = Mage PC
Joan the Ogre Slayer = Fighter NPC
Sherry = NPC Cleric
Glevina = NPC Elven Ranger
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances
Cassandra = Former Slave / Elven Spellsword / NPC
Zana = Former Slave / Bard / NPC
Samantha = Former Slave / Fighter / NPC
Rodolpho = Former Slave / Mage / NPC

Hans = Fighter PC (player is unable to join for a while, so he is sitting at the tavern and visiting the horribly wounded former adventurers)

Session Report

We skipped Mother’s Day, so this was the first session in two weeks. The party was back and READY FOR BLOOD!!!

rip_and_tear
We play over Roll20 and don’t use webcams, so I am forced to assume that this is what my players look like while playing the game.

Before I go into the game, let’s talk about Exardell. He is a Mystic (unarmored fightin’ guy… think Bruce Lee, but he can use every weapon, not just his fists).

“Exardell’s the name, face-checking doors is my game!”

He opens doors (I have added a few more traps / treasure on some of the rooms) and when the trap goes off, he makes his save… EVERY. DARN. TIME. The party doesn’t have a thief that can survive very long, so they use what they have. Which is Exardell’s face.

Anyway, back to the game. They explore around level 6 and tangle with a lava worm, which is huge flaming snake. It goes down quickly to the party’s combined attacks.

(One thing I may not have mentioned is that this level is suspended over a lake of lava)

Looking over the lava lake, they noticed a huge island, but no way to get to it.

Further exploration leads the party to meet a couple of adventurers, Routhbaard & Humbar, who tell them of treasure being guarded by a spider demon. With the power of the amulet that makes the wearer more impressive than they really are, they convince the adventurers to attack the spider demon with them.

Spider_Mastermind.gif
This, minus the chaingun and robot legs

Unfortunately, Routhbaard fell to the spider demon and just as the final blow was to be made on it… the party did the most obvious thing in the world.

Betrayal

They attacked Humbar. Betrayed the ally they made 5 minutes ago. Why, you might ask?

Here’s a short conversation I transcribed that the players had:

“They are in the dungeon; they are monsters.”
“We are in the dungeon.”
“We are monsters, too.”

Deep man. Deeeep.

In the combat that followed, brave Zana was crippled by Humbarr, but now the party gets the treasure from the spider demon AND the stuff that the two guys carried.

#WINNING

They look over the lava lake again and noticed that the island has moved. Remembering stories about a dragon living down here, they get nervous.

A quick jaunt to the southern part of the dungeon leads them to the lair of the demon Kordath. They speak with him and tell him that Vord is dead. Then, they invite him to see for himself that Vord is gone.

As they approach the recently-consecrated room that Vord inhabited, Kordath gets nervous at the holy magic, but a quick-thinking “Protection from Evil” spell trapped him between the consecrated area and the party. At this point, the lava men are the only people they have not betrayed. Well, I guess they haven’t tried to kill the townsfolk or the dark elves.

The combat was paused, so that is where we will pick up on Sunday!

Seriously, if you ever meet anyone in this party in real life… WATCH YOUR BACK. Do not trust them and wear a steel plate on your back. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Lesson Learned

I can’t sleep out of fear that the party will find me, befriend me, then kill me. I take different routes to work, so it is harder to find me. Change up the parking spot I use at home and work. Only eat food that I prepare, so they can’t poison me.

Remembering the Fallen

None… this time.

Do You Want In?
Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm-ish Central Time on Roll 20.

It’s a “drop in / drop out” deal. You can’t make a session? No big deal. Don’t like my GMing style and want out? No big deal. You can hit me up on Twitter (@NotJohnDaker), email (themixedgm@yahoo.com), or MeWe (if you know Power Word: My Real Name)

Review of “Eyrie of the Dread Eye”

Eyrie of the Dread Eye cover image.PNG
Action-packed cover that inspires the imagination? Check! Accurately depicting what the party might encounter? Check!

Today, let’s take a look at AX5: Eyrie of the Dread Eye. I purchased the pdf and physical copy, but this review will focus on the pdf, due to the fact that the physical copy is still on its way. There is a 5E version of this, but I am only interested in the Adventure, Conqueror, King System (ACKS) version of it!

Sidebar: Really appreciate Autarch making the pdf + physical copy combo the same price as just purchasing the physical book.

This adventure is for characters of 6th to 8th level and it WILL challenge your players. Be forewarned that this is not some cakewalk.

The Good:

– The pdf version included a separate download that is just the maps as presented in the book.

– More uses for proficiencies. Some encounters can be easier, if a character has the relevant proficiency. It is not an “I win” button, but it does incentivize characters who take proficiencies that may not normally be optimal in a dungeon.

– More gonzo! ACKS (and the default Auran Empire setting) is a bit more of a “realisitic fantasy” than other products. This adventure has some weird stuff that should get every player excited: weird humanoid constructs, little blobs of flesh that wear porcelain masks, and a mobster called “hell wasps”. If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will!

– The rumor table. A good rumor table has rumors that you can use to hook players into adventuring. A great rumor table has little hints in the nonverbal actions that the speaker takes. Shifty eyes, awkward pauses, etc. This rumor table is chock full of them. I can hear exactly how each rumor sounds, which goes a loooooooong way in making the rumor feel real at the table.

– The challenge is not just in fighting baddies, but in simply getting where you need to go. Climbing gear, spells, & smart plans are going to be the best friends of the players.

– FACTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIONS

The Bad:

– The maps do not have an unkeyed version that can be easily used with a virtual tabletop like Roll20, nor are all of the keyed versions of the maps perfectly overhead so that I can use the snipping tool to quickly grab them and plop them into Roll 20. Not a deal-breaker for me, but something I REALLY appreciate with pdf adventures.

The Ugly:

– There is a thot and she is not being actively patrolled:

THOT
If she breathe…

If you would like to purchase this adventure, you may do so here.


Disclaimer: I am not affiliated or employed with those involved with this adventure, nor do I receive any sort of compensation if you choose to purchase it. 

Session 17 of “Liberation of the Demon Slayer”

Here is the full party:

James Blaylock = Elven Ranger PC
Exardell = Mystic PC
Duffles the Unfortunate = Mage PC
Joan the Ogre Slayer = Fighter NPC
Sherry = NPC Cleric
Glevina = NPC Elven Ranger
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances
Cassandra = Former Slave / Elven Spellsword / NPC
Kindrella = Former Slave / Zaharan Ruinguard / NPC
Zana = Former Slave / Bard / NPC
Samantha = Former Slave / Fighter / NPC
Rodolpho = Former Slave / Mage / NPC

Hans = Fighter PC (player is unable to join for a while, so he is sitting at the tavern and visiting the horribly wounded former adventurers)

Session Report

Few things I forget from last session:

1) Due to her skill at proactively defending herself from ogres, Joan’s new name is “Joan the Ogre Slayer”
2) The little imp that keeps looking for the strongest creature has been informed that there is apparently a magma dragon somewhere on this level. This won’t have any consequences…
3) Vord’s lair has been consecrated to Law (thanks to Sherry) and the party is using it as a base of sorts

Back to the present:

The party geared up the former slaves, I mean adjunct party members (and I thought adjunct professors were treated poorly…), and explored around level 6 a bit more.

Upon locating a room that contained twenty diamonds just lying openly on the floor, the party wisely choose to toss in a rock before entering the room. This attracted the attention of the giant manta-ray-esque monster that lived on the ceiling to drop down and attack. Instead of engulfing and eating a party member, it got hacked to bits and dumped into the lava.

The party considered letting it live and trying to lure enemies in there to be eaten by the manta-ray-esque monster, but, as mentioned. I’m not sure if this was a genius idea or not.

Manta Ray
Imagine this, but bigger, dropping on you from the ceiling.

Free diamonds for all! Take that De Beers!

They found some secret passages in that room and starting working their way through some hallways. The noise they made attracted the attention of one of the lesser demons that lives here and a pitched battle began between the demons and the party.

Despite have single digit hp, no shield, and mediocre armor, Kindrella bravely ran to the front of the group and attacked the demons with a two-handed axe. Both of her arms were promptly crushed. However, the rest of the party emerged victorious and went to town to level up / heal / drop off Kindrella at the retirement home for injured adventurers.

The party still has not betrayed the lava men. I am in shock! But there is always next week…

Lesson Learned

Never underestimate the bloodthirstiness of the party.

Remembering the Fallen

None… this time.

Do You Want In?
Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm-ish Central Time on Roll 20.

It’s a “drop in / drop out” deal. You can’t make a session? No big deal. Don’t like my GMing style and want out? No big deal. You can hit me up on Twitter (@NotJohnDaker), email (themixedgm@yahoo.com), or MeWe (if you know Power Word: My Real Name)