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.

Advertisements

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)

Session 16 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 = Fighter NPC
Perry = NPC Thief
Sherry = NPC Cleric
Glevina = NPC Elven Ranger
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances

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 chose not to pursue the lava men further and talked with them instead. If the party left the section of the dungeon inhabited by the lava men (and to NEVER enter the temple that the lava men worship at), the lava men give the party some information.

The party learned:
– The lava men wouldn’t mind all the demons being cleared out of the dungeon
– That a giant magma dragon lives in the lava below level 6 (the party can see the lava below and could potentially fall in it)

So far, the party has respected this truce. I am as surprised as you are!

They wandered south of the lava men and ran into some flame ogres. Unfortunately, Perry the Thief was peeking around the corner when the flame ogres ran up and was turned into “perry paste” with a single punch.

Flame Ogre
It is all ogre for Perry

The ensuing combat was not going well for the party, so they pulled out the ROD OF STRANGE THINGS again. A quick wave of the wand and…

…a banana with arms and a mustache appeared to fight on the party’s side for several rounds.

Odd, I know, but it was on the table of things that can happen! And that banana helped them  win!

Even with the banana on their side, the fight was tough. The Staff of Healing (called the “feel good stick” by the party) was in heavy use. Naturally this led to the following being spoken:

“Sherry! Hit Joan with the feel good stick!” (pretty sure that there are many videos online of this exact scenario)

It makes sense in context, I swear!

Despite the difficulty of the fight with the flame ogres, the party chose to keep exploring, rather than return to town for rest / healing. They found an ominous door, which opened on its own. The voice of Vord, the powerful demon whose consort the party slew, rang out.

They pushed on anyway.

Upon confronting Vord, the demon lord, the party pulls out the ROD OF STRANGE THINGS and a portal opens to another plane, sucking Vord in… similar to the high priest of the previous floor.

That was anti-climactic.

But now, there is an angry demon lord out there… still alive… still hungry for vengeance. I am sure this will have no consequences at all.

The rest of the session was spent freeing the slaves Vord had, looting his treasury, and reading in his library about some strange deity-ish being that lives on this floor.

Rather than re-enslave the slaves or send them to the surface to be free, the party is trying to monetize them / make them employees of the party. Unfortunately, Vord’s use of the slaves was mostly for… uh… NSFW purposes, so they don’t have many skills useful for adventurers. But we’ll see what happens next time!

Lesson Learned

Keep your composure when the party uses the term “feel good stick”.

Remembering the Fallen

Perry

Perry the Thief (punched to death by a flame ogre)

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 15 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 = Fighter NPC
Perry = NPC Thief
Sherry = NPC Cleric
Broon the Smart Hobgoblin = Hobgoblin NPC who carries a torch / manages finances

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

With a couple new party members, our intrepid adventurers decided to get vengeance on the medusa and perhaps bring one of the two stoned characters.

Somehow, they succeeded! Explosive crystals and blind-firing phasers brought victory.

No one got turned to stone, but James Blaylock lost three fingers on one hand to a well-placed crossbow bolt, which means that hand is useless. Luckily, the party has plenty of phasers from level 3 and those can be used one-handed!

To keep themselves safe while looting her cave, they covered the medusa’s head with a bag, like a hideous one-night stand partner. Exardell found an amulet that will impress people and make them think he is more important that he really is.

This will not be used and abused; not at all!

The party had one scroll to use that could restore a person to life. Niblog the Assassin? Or Glevina the Elven Ranger?

With no argument or discussion, Glevina was brought back to life! The longest-serving NPC is back in action. Poor Niblog.

After stopping the last few cultists from living (and rescuing some prisoners) the party took their accumulated treasure and went back to town. They finally showed the town that they had the magic sword and stuck into an altar in the church to purge the nearby countryside of demons. The town wished to keep the sword there, so that the demons would never return, but Exardell used the power of the recently-acquired amulet to convince them to let him keep the sword for a wee bit longer. He totally promised to return it to them.

Oh dear.

Onward to level 6!

The entire level is suspended over a sea of lava and fire-themed monsters abound! The party ran into some “Lava Men”, which they killed (after a thorough examination of the picture I used for them in Roll 20) before ending the session. Before they died, the Lava Men called out to their brethern to secure “the temple”. What will happen next time?

Lava Man.PNG
Best picture for “Lava Men” I could find on DuckDuckGo. So I used it!

Lesson Learned

Making the Lava Men handsome may have been a mistake.

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)

He is Risen! (Orthodox readers, please wait one week before reading)

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. (Luke 24:1-6 NASB)

Have a blessed Easter!