Sunday, August 18, 2019

Do the Hirelings of Clargarser Still Want to Work for the Party after a Party Member Shot and Killed one of Them by Accident



So in the last session one of the PC’s fired his bow into a melee and killed one of the hirelings. Normally there is a paladin in the party and these things don’t happen; but this time there wasn’t and it did. The question is how this effect morale and the ability to attract hirelings in the future.
The first thing we have to figure out is whether the other hirelings saw the death of their comrade. Now it was dark and the hallway was pretty crowded. There were about five figures in between the hirelings. So, I am going to assign the base chance for a hireling to see a friend getting shot by one of their bosses at 15% and I am going to make that cumulative. So three hirelings have a 45% chance on noticing the OSHA violation.  Then I am going to subtract 5% for each intervening character. There was a pigman, two magic users, a mule and an orphan. That is minus 25%, so there is a 20% chance that henchmen saw the death.
Let’s Roll. I Got a 79. Everything is good so far.
The next issue is that after two hirelings were killed they were then raised from the dead as zombies along with a bunch of goblins by the evil magic-user in the party.  This creates two issues:
1: It provides ample opportunity to notice that one of the dead hirelings has an arrow sticking out of him that looks suspiciously like the arrows that one of the PCs use.
2: Seeing your former comrades animated into hollow mockeries of life and forced to do battle along side the goblins that killed them is unsettling (I would imagine).
I am going to say that each hireling had a 30% chance to notice the arrow over the course of the rest of the adventure let’s roll:

Ok I rolled a 20,
            
27,
and a 38. Two guys noticed. That’s not good.
Next we need to figure out how much these guys care about their comrade dying. Unfortunately, the henchmen in Clargarser have a lot of solidarity because they are all in the same religious cult and they also have class-consciousness because of the teachings of the Marxist paladin. On the other hand their cult is called the Corpse Worshippers so this might actually be a mitigating factor. I am going to say there is a 70% chance this is a good thing. 
I rolled another 38; that means corpse worshippers like being raised as zombies.
In conclusion: murder is bad but being raised as undead is good. The three surviving henchmen also got paid 238gp for their trouble. I am going to call it a wash and say that henchmen will not get harder to recruit unless it happens again.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Session Report: The New Dungeon Entrance

Today’s adventure began with finding a new dungeon/dungeon entrance. This was found some time ago by Belree the Antiquarian while searching for a chair Nese Geard Tower. The group - Zander, Lister, and Theodora - decide to set out and explore the staircase entrance. 

They travel to the tavern and recruit some men to fight for them. 4 Hired Men (3, 2a, 2b, and 1). And the Fighter from their last foray into the dungeon re-upped. After the passing of Moe last time it was decided that a new orphan would be taken in, cared for, and given charge of the mule in the dungeon. The orphan chosen was Abbey. 

Moving into the dungeon, or what we assumed to be the dungeon. The stairwell is wooden and has rotted through but it is decided that Zander will check out the space below with his climbing skills. 

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When it was determined that the coast was clear the entire party (which included the 3 adventurers, 4 hired men, the orphan, the mule, and Bart the dog) traveled through a dimension door opened by Lister into the room below. 

The room was rough hewn and clearly older than a basement with small animal scratches on the walls. 

The party travelled forward encountering a small but rude/rowdy group of goblins who got into some word play with the group. After a brief scuffle involving Zander and a well shot arrow the goblins retreated. The group followed, coming upon a Goblin orgy/party. It was unpleasant to witness and the group retreated quickly placing Hold portal on the door. 

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They continued, finding a door with two Pigmen and another group of goblins. 

The adventurers attacked, beating back the 4 with magic and weapons. Another group of goblins (5 of them) approached from behind. Once close enough Lister cast a webbing spell which trapped the goblins. They were subsequently lit on fire and killed. In the end the pig men, goblins, and 1 hired man (our repeat offender) succumbed to wounds. They pig men and goblins took out all of their anger on Zander, who survived but at a loss of quite a few hit points. 

Lister acted quickly, bringing all ten back to life as zombies!

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With now a very large company the team set off again. They entered the room and found a filthy mess that looked as if another orgy had just finished in there. They looked under a Once nice rug and found only a “clean spot”. There was an ivory scepter taken by Lister that reeked of bad goblin sex. As well as a chest, the contents were removed and loaded on the mule. 

Theodora removed silver nipple rings from the pigmen’s nipples and pocketed them. 

They again encountered a door and on the other side could hear what sounded like goblins. Nasty, teasing goblins, playing games. The door was opened and it was quickly decided that they were in fact Bugbears. The door was then closed. When it was opened again the Bugbears were gone. 

The team then followed, traveling through a room that was actually a very large toilet. The orphan girl, Abbey, begins to lose her stomach (and her sanity). 

Through the room there was another door, which lead to a crossroads. To the left was the orgy room of the Goblins. Some of these venture out and begin humping and molesting their dead prior compatriots. Stating, “We mate for life.” Perhaps they did not know they were zombies. Maybe they didn’t care. To the right, the Bugbears. And straight ahead was another room where only the strong sound of wind could be heard. 

Following that path the company finds an unusual octagonal room behind use bronze doors emblazoned with snakes. In the center is a coiled snack as wide and thick as a man. And it is hungry. 

In exchange for their safe exit, the team promised the snake fresh meat (after it rejected the initially offered zombie corpse). Hired Man (#1) stays behind as “collateral” and the group imagines they will never see him alive again. 

The plan was for Theodora to charm the Goblin leader/king and lure him and thus his followers to the giant snake. On the way however they encounter a Flesh Gollum! The Gollum is fairly simple and just shambling along. The team lure him back toward the snack room and offer him up instead. 

The snake doesn’t love it but it too hungry to refuse. 

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During his food processing, the snake is distracted by satiation. The team uses this time to skirt around the room and through another door. The door lead to another hall and a room filled with dedicated ancient snakes. Smaller ones, like garter snakes. And on the other side of the door at the other end of the room was a female goblin. A magic user. 

The group attacks and somewhat quickly defeats her. From her body they take ivory candlesticks (6), some wet fleshy scrolls (Lister), 8 golden nuggets shaped like heads (Theodora and Lister), and a metal ring of unknown origin (Theodora). 

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From here they decide it is best time to leave and use the dimensional doorway to arrive above once more, ending the journey. 

Casualties from the party:

2 Hired Men. 
The Orphan’s sanity. 
3 Zombies (7 remain). 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Man I Wanted to See is Dead



I don't like to talk about non-rpg adjacent stuff on this blog but right now I feel like screaming into the void about something.

There was this band called the Silver Jews and they held a mythical status in my mind long after I thought I could no longer feel like bands were made of mythical people or held mythical importance. The Silver Jews were really just one guy named David Berman. He was a guy I admired unironically and without reservation long after I thought I had forgotten how to be sincere forthright in my feelings.

He died yesterday. I had tickets to see him this coming Monday in Philly. I really related to his new album for personal reasons. Today I realized his album was probably a suicide note. Maybe it wasn't I'll probably never know. I might never know how he actually died although I think that everyone who cares has a pretty good idea. Maybe it was a heart attack or he choked or something. I don't know it that would make me feel better or worse.

This feels worse than when Kurt Cobain died. When Kurt died I couldn't really relate to dying. In the intervening decades though my mother has died and my estranged father has had a stroke. I've begun to feel old and I can imagine my own death with greater clarity and certainty.

I returned my ticket to the venue today and got my money back. It felt shitty.

There's a lot of horrible stuff going on right now. Stuff that is way worse; but this really hit me.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Totally a review of Knight of the Living Dead by Allen Varney

Section 1 Spooky Introduction:

This is my Thursday Evening. the Cover is by Jeff Easley. The interior art is by George Barr.
George Barr is 82 years old. Jeff Easley is only 64.

All right. I'm drinking wine and playing this solo quest. Allen Varney wrote this. He seems like a cool guy. This book is from 1989. The introduction features to lovers presumably going to bang in a cemetery, when they are killed. Hold on, sorry they are just put to sleep by spooky ghosts.

It is even more metal now. I am dead and the Allen is describing how much  I hate the living. I am super jealous of the living. Time for a sip of wine.

Holy shit I am being eaten by a weasel. This could have really used an illustration.

Guys, I killed the weasel.

A quarter of a column later I am talking to the dead weasel. I really need a picture of this weasel.

The weasel just told me I'm undead.

I googled weasel skeleton. They are freaky

Guys! In this choose your own adventure you are a suicidal skeleton that talks to a dead weasel. Allen Varney is a god.

Section 2 There are rules:


Crap now there are like 2 pages of rules out of nowhere. I need to go get a pencil.


OK. I'm back.

Here's the deal I am an undead paladin with amnesia who rolls a d12 to hit stuff. I have something called a cerebricule (I have no idea what that is), a magical sword, and weasel skull(sorry buddy). I am trying to recover my memory and stop being undead. And I have 24 hours and I have to keep track of what time it is. Sounds great. Wait. it turns out I have 24 hours to look for the "staff of waterdeep".


Section 3 Introduction again:

OK, that was jarring. Back to the narrative though. A lich is telling me what to do. I have already finished my first glass of wine and I still haven't gotten to make any choices. Ok. the lich says i have to find the staff that can destroy it even though it is scattered around Waterdeep in 12 parts not hurting him. You're losing me Varney. Cool lich drawing though.

You can ask about most of the items in this picture, which is weird and didn't really move the story forward. 

Guys. A cerebricule is a magic shrunken head. Now I get to make my first decision. IT's to ask about the liches wardrobe and some other stuff. I ask about one of the rings on his hand. It's the lich's wedding ring. The lich is a chick; now I am finding out about her ex-husband. Varney is back in top form.


Section 4: Adventure Time


Actually time for a flashback where I recall my past life. Turns out the liches ex husband and I used to hang out. The weasel skull is starting to get annoying. It's a know-it-all. I'm treating this like a seder in that I'm pouring a second glass of wine.

This is the cemetery. It's pretty
I've been poking around for a while and the shrunken heads fake Haitian accent is starting to get ridiculous. It's about 40 minutes in and I have gotten the skull drunk in the Hall of Heroes and wasted an hour. The skull is singing in Haitian accent. I am sure this is offensive.

In this picture you can see the bottle of wine I gave to the shrunken head. 
Now I am at a theater with a shitty stand up comic ghost. Maybe don't buy this book. After reading about the ghosts stand up routine I was able to get a piece of the staff of waterdeep. I also lost 2 hp from listening to shitty jokes. Allen Varney is a psychopathic madman.


This is the depiction of Waterdeep. It's covered in sleep gas or else there would have been way more buildings to draw. 
I am going to take a break. Varney did too good of a job capturing the atmosphere of seeing a shitty stand up comic.













Friday, July 26, 2019

Estate Sale Haul


I picked up some classic modules at an estate sale the other day. There are numerous reviews and retrospectives of these guys. Here are some:


So, I am just gonna look at some pictures. 

Steading of the Hill Giant Chief

 This first picture is what Steading of the Hill Giant Chief is all about. It's not about unknowable inscrutable monsters in an alien underworld. It's a Jack and the Beanstalk tactical simulator. The description for the Kitchen says it is "a typical giant kitchen." I wonder what background knowledge about the "typical giant kitchen" Gary expected us to have.


Expedition to the Barrier Peaks


This picture is what Expedition to the barrier peaks is all about. You think you are playing dungeons and dragons and then the dm shows you a picture of a sexy android or something and he is working out. It's 1981 so you roll with it. Then you get hit by a dumbbell  for 2-20 points of damage and you are pissed. You complain and the dm says that the shirtless humanoid tells you "to hustle or you won't make the team." Later a rabbit or something kills you. 

 Or maybe you get hugged to death by vegetables while monkeys laugh at you. The Dm is not laughing at you though. He is a neutral referee. 

 I present this image without comment.


Queen of the Demonweb Pits


I wonder how I would have felt in 1980 if I bought this adventure, took it home, opened it up and found out this was the map. The map does not show the rooms described in the adventure, which is crazy. I also don't  understand how the levels interact with each other. The adventure says that they are on different levels of the abyss and you change levels through teleportation gates. If that is the case what is the point of having them overlap like this. Let me check and make sure I'm getting this right. Ok. that is wrong there is a whole section on how to climb up and down the levels.  cool. But also weird. page 7 describes how to climb up/down the web to different levels and then page 8 says that the "number of the level does not refer to elevation, but only the progression (by way of teleportation rooms)." Confusing. 

On a more positive note, all driders should resemble overweight elves. I want a mini that looks like this as opposed to all the drider minis with abs.

I like the juxtaposition between the quasi historical castle in the foreground and the far out over the top fantasy stronghold in the back. This picture encapsulates a lot of what dungeons and dragons is all about.

Surprise. This is another sci-fi adventure! You're on an inter-dimensional space(?) ship. On this metal dimension hopping ship with control panels and voice tubes, there are ogres who sleep on beds of straw. It's a ship hewn from pure chaos, so you should abandon any preconceived notions you might have about what belongs on a high tech ship created by a god. Gods love to hang out with ogres and bugbears.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Clargarser: Prominent NPCs


Fablon Wagshank: Head of the Corpse Worshippers


Fablon lives in and runs the Corpse Worshipper compound, reporting only to Tehedrin, the immortal corpse founder.

Traits:

  • gruff
  • shakes with excitement when imagining violence
  • Messianic Ideation
Fablon Hires out Mercenaries from his crew of Corpse Worshippers. There are currently 24 living Corpse Worshippers. Fablon can organize larger groups of Militia on a case by case basis.

Mercenary Recruitment Chart


Season Recruitment Fee Mercenaries Available Payment
Spring 30 gp 1d4 1/2 share
Summer 10 gp 2d6 1/4 share
Winter 20 gp 2d6 1/2 share


Aleena Lymro: Head of the Larchmont Clinic

Aleena runs the medical clinic attached to the Corpse Worshipper compound. 

Traits:
  • obsessed with earwax
  • white knuckled
  • teetotaler
You can pay 20gp/week to stay at the clinic. This guarantees maximum natural healing and gives a +2 on any save vs. disease or poison at the end of the week.


Tehedrin: Worshipped Corpse, Bartender

Tehedrin is a skeleton in plate mail armor with a seemingly magic sword. The Corpse Worshippers treat him like a demigod. He is the bartender at the tavern in the Corpse Worshipper compound. 

Traits:
  • creepy
  • wants to give people their idols back
  • more Vincent Price than Skeletor

Carousing at the Corpse Worshipper bar

Carousing in a town like Clargarser where disease and famine have devastated the liquor supply is relatively safe. Here's how you do it.
  1. Roll a d8.
  2. Remember that number
  3. Multiply that number by 50. You gain that much xp and pay that much in gp to the bar.
  4. Divide the number by 2 (round up) and Subtract it from your constitution score and remember that number too. Let's call this your "party score"
  5. Roll a d20.
  6. If the number is under your party score everything is fine. the end.
  7. If that number is over your party score, you have vomited on one of the prominent NPCs in town and cannot use their services until you make a gift to them of 100gp * your level. 

Xylarthen: New Wizard in the Tower

He killed Raglom in battle and now he has moved in to Raglom's tower to steal all the dead wizard's knowledge. He has managed to raise his intelligence score since his debut in Men & Magic

Traits:
  1. Handsy (sigh)
  2. Arrogant
  3. Has no emotional investment in whether anyone lives or dies

Wizarding Services and Costs

Currently these are the services that Xylarthen offers. He may provide more as his research continues.
  1. Reincarnation: There is a 35% chance that Xylarthen has a scroll of reincarnation on hand. If he does it costs 10,000 gp to get reincarnated.
  2. Remove Curse: Xylarthen will cast remove curse for 400gp + 100 gp for every level your character is over level 4. You will have to wait 1d4 days for him to memorize the spell.
  3. Spell tutelage: If you want to learn a spell that Xylarthen knows, he will teach it to you for 200gp * spell level for spells level 1-3 and 500gp * spell level for levels 4 and up.
  4. Divination: 1/week Xylarthen can cast the 4th level spell question (Blueholme p. 34) for 500gp. You will have to wait 1d4 days for Xylarthen to have time.

Mo Afsa: Black Smith

Just a blacksmith. any weapons or armor of the basic equipment list but you may have to wait.  Suits of armor will take at least 2 weeks to make.  

Nupo the Gnome: Merchant, General Store Owner

1. This guy's personality changes. Often over the course of a conversation. 
2. His accent changes too. I am not very good at voices.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Session Report: The Construction of Nese Geard and the Death of an Orphan

Adventure Day 1 (after a 3 month relaxation/rebuilding period)

The squad - Larchmont, Xander, Lister, Herbert, Theodora (now a gnome after her reincarnation), and Sven - have spent the winter building a stronghold in the town they previously destroyed (specifically in the rich section of town). Their large round tower is modest but well appointed and tasteful. Boasting a moat (which is actually a 10 foot wide by 10 foot deep ditch as they have yet to find water), a drawbridge, a small outdoor animal shelter, MANY slit and regular windows (covered in oiled paper - they could not yet justify the expenditure of glass), scavenged furniture from locally destroyed dwellings AND a secret tunnel that allows them passage beyond their moat and within the city limits into an abandoned but stable abode (some 50’ from the edge of their ditch). There is housing for the mule, the owl bear, and Theodora’s new pet Terrier - Bartholomew (Bart). As well as all of the adventurers. There is even a plush velvet chaise/fainting couch. The tower was christened Nese Geard (Neverland).  

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Money was saved by using local building materials (aka the detritus left behind by the towns destruction). But more money was needed for digging the moat (ditch) and tunnel for the same reason. All in all, costs were around 11,000 gold. But it’s really all about REBUILDING THE ECONOMY. Two guards were brought on to care for the tower and a hired man (Level 1 Fighter, Armor Class 2) was a acquired. 
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The Nese Geard Tower (complete)

During the time off Theodora worked through the stages of grief and came to terms with her new form. She is very thankful to her compatriots for resurrecting her. She has also used her time to train a street dog (Bart) to be a companion (which aids her with her new small stature) as well as craft a number of magical scrolls. 

Also during this long winter of building and scrounging the Owl Bear has grown! He is now the size of a dog and becoming more difficult to control. An animal trainer was sought. None survived the destruction of the town though (unfortunately). The Owl Bear requires a lot of food. Which has resulted in the team feeding it the rotting unburied corpses of the towns dead. This has resulted in the animal developing a taste for human flesh. Not a positive when combined with its strength and growing size...

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The caravan of food has returned with 75 out of 100 people who left with it. Population numbers in town are low. 500 or so. The Corpse Worshippers have also lost many members to illness and desertion. But the people were happy for the supplies!

The merchant who returned with the caravan, a man whose name I can not recall, showed some interest in the Owl Bear when Larchmont mentioned it to him. He offered 900 gold pieces. The adventurers (Larchmont, Herbert, and Theodora) suggested something like 1000 gold pieces if they threw in Owl Bear feed for the journey. As this was the rotting corpses of local people the offer was rebuffed and the team accepted the 900. The merchant left mildly disgusted and quite disturbed.  So much for Paladin goodness and honor! The people of this town have become so desensitized!

Then it was time to head back to the dungeon! The coffers would not refill themselves. 

In the bar built by the adventurers Larchmont, Herbert, and Theodora (with their hired man, the dog Bart, the mule, and their orphan boy/mule leader/torch holder) meet up with some prior acquaintances - the merchant (still disturbed) and the new leader of the Tower, the powerful wizard who brought Theodora back to life (as a gnome...). Pleasantries were made and rebuffed as Larchmont and Herbert immediately acted too friendly with the man. But he and Theodora shared a connection and he offered to teacher her more advanced magic during her off time. There was an odd attraction between the older man and the (ADULT) gnome. Both parties look forward to their next meeting. 

Moving on, the team chose to avoid the Corpse Worshippers leader, the skeleton man, in the banquet room as they STILL have not found his idols AND took a 3 month long break. And the one they did find (known as “the butt plug”) is currently stuck/unretrievable. 

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The dungeons looked a little different than their last visit. Not only due to a few map malfunctions. But they were covered in a yellow/gray mold. Thicker in some places than others and with toadstools growing from it. 

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This mold was believed by the party to be dangerous and they did their best to avoid it. 

Encountered while in the dungeons were - 2 man sized naked mole rat creatures, 3 giant spiders, and 2 large flesh toned snakes. 

The rats and spiders were fairly easily dispatched. Though Herbert was briefly poisoned by spider venom and inhaled some of the mold (he recovered during a quick break). The snakes were a bit more challenging. During the encounter with them Larchmont was bit in the face and on his remaining hand (he recovered), the dog was bit in the leg (he quickly recovered), and the orphan boy was bit in the throat. Sadly, he died there and was left in the dungeons. 

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The party chose to kill two birds with one stone and send him off like a Viking while also seeing if the mold would burn. A Molotov cocktail was tossed into the mold filled room with the corpse of the boy. 

Very little happened. The room was too wet. After, it was still moldy and smelly. And the boy’s body was barely singed. 

The party decided the mold was not likely a threat then (as clearly they were fine and a number of other creatures were living amidst the mold) and returned to the Giant Slug/rushing water room and explored into a new part of the dungeon. The mold continued there. They did not get very far though as Herbert was late for a dinner appointment. 

All made it to the surface and back to Nese Geard safely. Minus the orphan boy. His name was Moe. RIP Moe. 

- Erika (Theodora)

Do the Hirelings of Clargarser Still Want to Work for the Party after a Party Member Shot and Killed one of Them by Accident

So in the last session one of the PC’s fired his bow into a melee and killed one of the hirelings. Normally there is a p...