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 Post subject: Aalborg DnD campaign reports
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:34 am 
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Title: Oh my giant of Lannister
I've always liked reading Merl's campaign reports, so now that I've gotten involved with a live game of my own, I thought that I might just as well start writing my own. We've been at it for about a month or so, but it's not until now that I've gotten a semi-permanent internet connection, so the details might be a bit sketchy, especially since I'm doing this from memory.

Dramatis personæ:

Khumash Ghor, a CG human scout with cannibalistic tendencies, played by yours truly.
Olaf, a dwarven warlock. He's Neutral Taciturn.
Karanf, a LN human fighter, who usually just goes by the name "Achmed", "Judge Dredd" or just "Fighter Dude".
Fahyt, a CG elven rogue. Constantly whines about flying mounts.
Aldren, a LG human wizard, and finally
the CG elven cleric, whose name no one ever remembers, so he's just "priest".

Session 1:

Anyway, the party starts out as members-in-training of a good mercenary organisation known as "The Aid", where they have been stuck training and doing menial jobs for the last few months. However, early one morning they are all summoned to the local mercenary bigwig, Lord Commander Bloodscalp, where he gives them a mission to check up on some of the local farms. It's harvest time, and none of the farmers in the north of the region have been in town to sell their goods. The party is to investigate what's happened, and if necessary, take whatever action is necessary. If the party is succesful, they'll be inducted as full members of organisation, and be given a sizable reward. The party is issued some field rations, and are then unceremoniously tossed out the gates.

The party, sans cleric (the player was busy with school projects) and wizard (he, the player, just moved here last week), then sets out north, and after a days uneventful journeying, the party arrives at the outskirts of the closest farm, which seems uncharacteristically empty, ie, no farmers in the fields, no livestock, nada. Arriving at the farm proper, it is clear that it has been plundered, and hidden in the stables are the bodies of the family that owned the farm. They are given a proper burial, and then the party sets out to the next farm, where the scene repeats itself - farm plundered, farmers killed and hidden in the stables. By now, the sun has set, and the party sets up camp after burying the farmers. The scout keeps watch, and gets the obligatory random encounter, a single wolf, which he easily dispatches with a critical hit, only informing the party of what happened when he is relieved by the fighter. Morning dawns, and the scout find some tracks, which the party follows to the edge of a nearby forest, and the session ends.

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 11:11 am 
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Session 2

At the edge of the forest, where the last session ended, the party decides to send off the rogue into the village, where he can send out a warning to the other outlying farms, and wait for the cleric to meet up with him. Whilst the rogue runs off, the rest of the party goes south to the remaining uninvestigated farm, with the scout staying behind for a while to follow the tracks a bit further into the woods.

The third farm holds no surprises. Thoroughly looted, and everyone killed, just like the others. After a while, the scout joins the party again, and a few hours later, the rogue and cleric rejoin as well. The party then sets back out into the forest to confront whatever menace might be in there.

Once again arriving at the edge of the forest, the scout and rogue walk about an hour ahead of the party, searching for opposition - which they find. The scout succeeds both his hide and move silently checks, whilst the rogue manages to fail both, and as such he is attacked by two humans with crossbows. Now, instead of retreating, the idiot runs ahead and attacks the two humans with his dagger (as an aside, I think the player has had his mind destroyed by World of Warcraft - flying mounts and close combat rogues?!), and by some manner of miracle, he does not get horribly killed. After being given some harsh out-of-game talking to, the rogue wisely decides to run away back to the rest of the party, whilst the scout covers his ass by soaking up te arrows that should have hit the rogue.

Anyways, once all characters have joined the party, it is starting to get dark, and so they decide to head out of the forest to the closest farm, where they can rest, and the cleric can heal the scout and rogue. They then camp for the night, barricading themselves in the largest building on the farm.

During the night, they are attacked by a force of ten bandits, who try to lay siege to the building in which the party is camped. This doesn't work very well however, since all the doors and windows are securely barricaded, and the only open window is guarded by the fighter, who specialises in longspears. The bandits try to force open a few of the windows, but without success. This would have been the end of it, if it wasn't for one of the bandits who got the bright idea to just light the house on fire. What follows then is a looong battle, where:

* The rogue once again heads off into close combat, and once again nearly gets himself killed. He then flees, only returning an hour or so after.
* The cleric gets two critical hits in a row, killing two bandits.
* The scout shows how broken the skirmish ability is, and kills four bandits
* The warlock shows how broken some of his incantations are, and keeps most of the bandits grappled (using earthen grasp, or whatever it's called) for the entire fight, and pinning one of them to death
* The fighter knocks out one bandit, and then nearly croaks himself, spending most of the battle bleeding on the ground.

After such an awesome display of martial prowess, the two remaining bandits flee into the night, leaving the party battered, but victorious. The party spends the next two days resting, healing, and interrogating the knocked out bandit, who continuously tries to escape, but fails every time since we kept him in negative hit points. Particularly amusing was the fact that everyone rolled ones on their use rope checks, so the bandit was always found a few feet away from the ropes he was tied with. Then we found out we could take 20 on the check, since the bandit was knocked out most of the time. After the bandit was tied up properly, he was healed to one hit point, intimidated (our fighter got 26 on his check), and then forced to take us to the bandit's camp. After walking for a few hours, the party finds the camp some way in the forest, hastily abandoned apart from a bunch of farm animals and two tents. Checking the tents, the rogue finds two young women with their throats slit. The bandit tells us they were hostages from their raids, and though our fighter tries to intimidate the bandit into saying more, the bandit "would rather die, than rat out his friends". Our fighter goes into Judge Dredd mode, and happily obliges, knocking the bandit out, and then burning him on a pyre. The scout finds this punishment cruel and unusual, but since he (the bandit) was evil, he keeps his mouth shut. Besides, he was pretty sure people wouldn't go along with ritual cannibalism.

Anyway, after a survival check, the scout finds the tracks of the two missing bandits, but it's at least one day old, and since the bandits probably know the forest better than the party, they decide to just go back into the village to inform the mayor of what has happened, where the farmers' livestock is, and that they were too late to save the two women. The mayor is saddened, yet grateful for all that the party has done, and wishes them good luck in the future. Since the forest is quite a way from the village, night has fallen whilst the party was with the mayor, and so they spend the night at the local inn, before heading back to the base of "The Aid". They report back to the Lord Commander, who is pleased with their work, and gives them 100 GP each, as well as the official symbol of "The Aid", a medallion with the symbol of Kord imprinted on it. The party receives enough XP to go up a level, and the session ends.

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:58 pm 
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Title: Oh my giant of Lannister
Session 3:

This session was a real marathon. We started playing pretty early, at about 7 pm, and we didn't stop until about 3:30 AM. Still, it was great fun, and there were a few moments that made us laugh out loud.

Also, when I'm using "I", then I'm referring to the scout, and "we" is the party. The style from the last two posts was just too messy, IMO. With that said, let's get on with the show.

It all begins a week or so after our last adventure, with us being summoned to the Lord Commander at an ungodly hour, where we're told that he has a somewhat untraditional mission for us. The Aid hasn't been given any contract (and as so, we won't get paid), but some days previously, a messenger arrived with a note saying that a local potentate (I think he was a baron or some such) has offered a reward for the return of his missing daughter. We would be free to accept or decline this mission if we wanted to, but should we accept, the Commander would be willing to give us more than our usual share of supplies. Naturally, we accepted, and the Commander wished us luck. Also, he asked us to go back to our barracks, and see if we couldn't find someone to help us, since this could be a dangerous undertaking. We do so, "recruit" the wizard, and go to the quartermaster's to pick up our supplies: twice the regular rations (apart from the rogue, we tend to be cautious and rest often) and four healing potions. We then saddle up, and proceed on our merry way to an inn mentioned in the messenger's note.

After two days on the road (the baron fellow lives six days or so from the base), we are attacked by two wolves as we are camping, again on my watch. I succeed on a Knowledge (nature), and recognise one of the wolves as a worg. I wake the rest of the party, and we make short work of the wolves. The rest of the journey is uneventful, and a few days later we arrive the inn - the Sphinx I think it was called. The rogue and the wizard try to find out more about the baron's missing daughter, but they don't learn much, only that a herald will be at the inn on the next morning, and he knows all about the case. The fighter and I just play dice and drink ale, and I lose two silver pieces all in all, accusing the fighter of having enchanted his dice. Otherwise, nothing much happens, and we go to sleep.

The next day however, is another matter entirely. As we wake up, we find that the common room (where most of us were sleeping) is devoid of life, as is the downstairs bar. In addition, the entire inn looks like it had burned down several years ago, with several sections of the roof having collapsed. Outside the entire countryside is covered in an impenetrable fog, and we can't see for more than 10 feet in any direction, including the elves and the dwarf. Luckily, our horses are still there, and though they are a bit spooked, they are unharmed. We try to search the place, and apart from the fighter rolling a 1, and finding a bottle of wine that had turned to vinegar, we find nothing. So we get on our horses, and set out in the general direction of the village where the baron is supposed to live. Naturally, in the thick fog, we get lost immediately, and only after several hours do we stumble upon the village.

(As an aside, this is where everyone suddenly starts to fail nearly every skill check, which is why this session took such a long time)

The village itself is less fog enshrouded, though we still can't see much more than 60 feet in any direction. We go into the centre of the village, where we meet an old woman drawing water from a well. We try to talk to her, but all attempts at communication are ignored. It's not until we mention the baron that she points towards a large mansion on a hill. She then goes back to ignoring us, vanishing into the fog with her water. Naturally, this doesn't leave us with much to do, so we go in the direction she pointed, passing a boarded up temple on the way, though we couldn't figure out which god it was dedicated to (our priest failed his knowledge check).

to be continued...

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 5:29 pm 
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An interesting read. Cannibalism ftw :o

Sorry that I haven't posted any of my campaigns lately, they haven't really been postable.

1) Zombie game stopped after two sessions, I had hoped we would at least get a resolution.

2) We played "Pendragon" which is a different system at the beginning of January, and I joined that group after the game was already going. We only played three times. Since I never really felt part of that campaign, I didn't post it

3) We played an evil Drow game for through the end of March, 10 or so sessions, and hit 21st level and put it in hiatus. I didn't post it because it was an "evil" game and I didn't want to accidentally give away any of my plots (I was the wizard) and stuff.

4) We are currently playing a "Heroes of Battle" type of game. Since our group got too large (10 people) We split up, half go into the basement and half upstairs. Since the makeup of the group changes on a weekly basis, it would be kind of hard to write it.

Incidentally, on the subject of Scouts and Warlocks...

Scout is a good 20 level class. Through about 6th level, it seems broken because he will probably get his skirmish damage on every attack as opposed to a rogue only getting a few attacks as sneak attacks.

In the Battle game we are playing now, I am a 6th level scout/ranger with the Swift Hunter and Improved Skirmish feats. I just hit my peak, and its all downhill from there. I attack at +11 for 1d8+4d6+6 (vs humans, and we fight a lot of humans)

Warlocks seem really powerful up until about 7th level, when the fighter, rogue, wizard... everyone starts to outshine him. At 1st level, they are a strong class because they can Eldritch Blast every round as a ranged touch attack, AND have some spell like abilities. The fighter soon does more damage and hits as often, and the wizard has more powerful spells. The warlock is a good class to have if you frequently find yourself running out of spells and hit points, or are taken prisoner and can't renew your spells.


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 6:28 pm 
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nice to see someone finally tested that Warlock to clear up all the guessings of it being overpowered.


(ill get to reading soon i hope)

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 7:36 pm 
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The thing I considered broken about the warlock, is how he can just constantly spam his abilities in combat. The eldritch blast in itself is pretty regular - it's not much more than a shortbow (IIRC, it does 1d6 damage or so) that doesn't require reloading. But the spell like abilities... As an example, our warlock knows a couple of incantations, but the only thing he ever needs to do, is to spam his "earthen grasp" on all enemies. Once I get further into my reports, you'll see just how dangerous it is. Our basic tactic at the moment is to delay so that the cleric can go first (so he can buff us), the warlock second so that he can throw down a hand (which grapples the most dangerous looking enemy), and then the rest of us just go nuts. Our rolls still suck balls, but due to thems grapplin' hands, combat is becoming a cakewalk. Anyway, on with the show...

Session 3, continued:

We ride up to the mansion, and dismount. Me and the warlock stay behind to tie up, and keep an eye on, our horses, whilst the rest of the party goes in to talk to the baron. They knock on the door, but since no one answers, they just step inside the lobby. Even after calling out a few times, no one answers them, so they start exploring the mansion, going into one of the adjacent rooms first - and as they all enter the room (a study), the lobby door slams shut. This scares the pants off them, especially since they can't open or break down the door, nor break (or even see) through any of the windows. They're stuck.

The sound of the door slamming shut was enough to startle our horses, so I decide to go take a peek. I try to open the door, and it opens effortlessly. I peek around the lobby, but I am unable to see anyone, nor can I see anyone in the study. I try to call out to the other guys in the party, but no one answers, so when I set out to explore the rest of the mansion, the predictable happens - the door slams shut, and I find myself in the middle of the party. The first thing I do, is to point at the fighter, and shout "Your demon dice did this!". Anyway, to make a longish story short, pretty much the same thing happens to warlock, and so we are all together again.

After having spent some time talking about what the hell has been going on, we search the mansion, and apart from some tacky jewelry (which the rogue snags, despite having been told OOC by the DM that it's worthless), we find nothing. Instead, something finds us. As we are rummaging through what looks like guest quarters, we are interrupted by an old man, who asks us what we are doing here. We give him the short version of our mission, and he gives us the long version of the plot. Basically, what has happened is this:

* The baron's daughter was indeed missing, but that was many years ago, so we're a bit late.
* Even if we had found the girl all those years previously, there is no one to reward us, since the baron got depressed, went into the cellar one day, and never returned.
* Barring even the (presumed) death of the baron, how would we get out again?
* And last, but not least, the girl was insanely evil, and is most likely behind all of this buggery.

So at this time, our course seems pretty clear:

1) Go down into cellar
2) Slay evil girl
3) Get back out, and report that there wasn't much to do
4) Go to the closest temple of Kord, and get the fighter's dice blessed, before they kill us all.

Granted, the last bit was more of a personal "request" of mine, but I refused to go anywhere until the fighter agreed. And since I am in the lead when it comes to kills, they didn't feel like leaving me.

So down into the cellar we went, and straight into our very first dungeon. It was no more than some 20 x 50 feet, but it had all the fixtures: blood stain, cramped hallways (well, long little holes in the walls) and a few token zombies. After a short crawl, we enter some kind of chamber, where the only thing we see, is a rotten old chair with a skeleton sitting in it. By now, we had been playing for some seven hours, so we were getting a little tired, and as such, more than a little silly. Basically, we played football with the skeleton's skull. The skeleton didn't really like this, so it politely asked us to put the skull down, which we did. The skeleton then starts to yammer on about the backstory (turns out it's the corpse of the baron), but none of us were really listening, and even the DM is cranking out internet memes like there was no tomorrow. Not that it mattered any, since it was just a long, emo-ish version of what the old man from before had told us, only interrupted a few times by the cleric turning undead.

I think this is where the DM got a little annoyed, because the rampant turning of the undead had the exact opposite effect - it summoned the evil, undead girl (EUG)... and her zombie henchmen. What followed was a fight, where I and my piercing weapons were pretty much useless (but since I was in total defence, I had AC 24, so I never got hit), the wizard ran up to the zombies in order to cast burning hands, got AoO'd and spent the rest of the battle dying, the warlock was busy spamming hands, the thief plonked uselessy away at the EUG with his crossbow, the fighter was the only one who was actually useful, and killed both zombies, in addtion to dealing 90% of the damage to the EUG, and the cleric got lucky, and dealt the killing blow to the EUG. And to top it off, once the fight was done, the DM announces that the girl was "... a load-bearing boss". So once we force a potion of cure light wounds into the throat of the wizard, we start running towards the ladder out of the cellar, dodging falling rubble, and trying not to suffocate in some evil black smoke. Of course, once we get out of the cellar, the door in the lobby still won't budge, and the smoke is only getting closer. We run into the study, but the smoke follows, and at last, we pass out.

Thus endeth the third session.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:02 pm 
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Hehe, i picked that same incantation for my warlock back when i played a bit with it, its indeed an almost too good level 2 spell. However, its entangle like demand of only casting it on the ground is a pretty big disadvantage, that makes it rather normal along with its 15 strength if i remember the spell correctly (increases with level), i wasnt totally blown away by it, but then again we played a large part in a cave-system like environment.
I believe the other one i took was that +6 to dextrous skills incantation, which was very useful to get my tumble to a good level, but it because of its duration it is not so much different from a wizards spell (though of course it isnt one..), played him up until level fourish i think.
I somewhat disagree on the blast being pretty regular, i believe that was our main fear, though it obviously goes down by levels even when taking a number of the associated powerups. It is a ranged touch attack spell which makes it way more dangerous than a shortbow, and i also though it did a tad more damage.

nice turn attempt btw :D

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 1:34 am 
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Eldritch blast does increase with levels, that's true. And it is a ranged touched attack. But considering that it can't otherwise be made better, except from feats, I don't think it's all that overpowered, since warrior classes can increase their damage by improving (enchanting or whatever) their weapons, and mage classes can use metamagic feats (plus they are way more versatile - even the sorcerer!). Also, even if the warlock has a crazy amount of dexterity, his BAB advancement isn't all that great - in the end, he still only gets something like +6 or so to hit, in addition to his BAB. At the same level, a fighter could just as well "take 2", and hit anyway.

Nope, like I said before, what I consider to be broken about the warlock, is his spell like abilities. This is not so much that he can use them at will (though that doesn't help), it's more about how powerful they are. If you have access to the Complete Arcane, try checking out the "Least Invocations" table - damnit, I'd kill for just one of those abilities!

As for the turn attempts, well... Too much coffee, too much whiskey, and way too much time spent on the internet ;)

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:17 pm 
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Hmm the blast increases 1d6 per uneven level, so its like 3d6 on 5th level, with indeed only a +3 bab, which might offset the ranged touch a bit, though in my opinion it is a lot, a typical l5 fighter would have +5 bab, a dex of a tad higher maybe, a +1 weapon and maybe a weapon focus, totalling say +10, I'd guess the Warlock would have +5 with its dex on average, and the touch attack ignoring both armor and natural bonuses would also give at least +5 (chainmail). The upgrading of the blast with spell effects happens by choosing invocations for it instead of a spelllike abilities, i consider them pretty harmless, except for nice stuff like the spear invocation that increases the range to a massive 250 feet. That damage is pretty much however, i doubt many level 5 fighter would reach a 3d6 damage/attack.

The least invocations arent overly powerful in my opinion, apart from having access to one at first level and two at second, while the spell levels used are around level 2 spells (or level 3 characters.) you have to make use of these up until 6th level however, which accounts for MERLANCEs note of them being less powerful as level advances, they are powerful when they enter a new invocation category, but so are wizards attaining level 3 spells.
going down the list:
* Baleful Utterance - Shatter spell, pretty useless because of few places to use it.
* Beguiling Influence - good bonus on talking skills, but due to duration stacking is no option.
* Breath of the Night - Fog Cloud, no use for casting multiples, defensive spell, not useful everywhere
* Dark Ones Own Luck - Cha on a saving throw, lasts 24 hours, so no stacking either.
* Darkness - as per the spell, same as fog cloud no use for casting multiples and is a defensive spell not positive in every situation.
* Devil's Sight - magical darkvision, pretty much useless, though a char could combine it with darkness, but thats 2 invocations for medium use.
* Earthen Grasp - indeed one of the best invocations, though its demands of casting it on sand/earth/mud/grass and its ac and hp are pretty low, it takes AoOs and is stationary.
* Entropic Warding - deflects ranged, leave no trail or scent, as per entropic shield, an underused spell.
* Leaps and Bounds - useful bonus to dextrous skills, but also no stacking due to duration.
* Miasmic Cloud - cloud that fatigues and conceals, no use for casting multiples and not useful in all locations.
* See the Unseen - see invisibility+darkvision, quite useful but you do have to meet such opponents regularly, so no real stacking options.
* Spiderwalk - spider climb, quite useful, but again no use for casting multiples, and as opposed to the spell self-centered.
* Summon Swarm - thats probably another good one, but it has duration concentration, so you cannot cast multiples. Also i dont find this summon very powerful.

So all in all, i dont think theres much problems in there, though in certain environments spamming earthen grasp is indeed very powerful, in that case your DM should take care to let you guys play in environments with snow, water, stone, metal etcetera floors/ground.
For the others spamming multiples is not possible due to duration or nonstacking effects. Several defensive spells like the clouds and darkness have a good side in casting them several times a day, as do the dispelling ones, like the see invisibility one, but then again, a cleric has quite some spell slots to cast say 'darkness', so i doubt the warlock would actually use it more often in a single day, especially with days lasting pretty short due to injuries and recharging the spellcasters left.

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