Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons Session - Hellenika Campaign - No Trans Fat !

Arion is by Callisto's bedside whispering to her. He turns to the group and asks for some time with her. The party leaves them alone (taking the horn). Upon leaving, the party hears a scuffling downstairs. The party heads down, to see the staff stopping a crowd of people trying to get by.

Tesla asks what they want, and the members of the crowd cries out that they are cursed and want the party to help each of them. The party attempts to calm them but fails. A voice from the door calls for them to calm down. It is the high priest of Apollo. This calms the crowd. He advises the crowd that this is the work of the gods and they should look to the gods for help. The crowd disperses.

The staff parts to let him through. He asks to speak to the party. The group heads to Arion's office. They introduce themselves (Tesla using his elven name, "Teslanthasa", as opposed to the name he is known by and pulling his hat down). The priest speculates that a member of the staff had started spreading the news that Arion's curse had been lifted.

He wants to know what the party is doing here. Gal reveals that the party is here to prevent a portal to the realm of the dead opening. The priest points out that being here would be problematic due to the party's fame and status as fugitives. He points out that due to magic and time travel. Kerin points out that he obviously knows more than he is letting on. The priest reminds her that Apollo is the god of Knowledge and Prophecy. The party points out that they have no other plans though Tesla says that he probably has an inkling as to what else they may do.

The priest, Kierkos, points out that he'd sent Stephanos to the party to assist them. He also points out that the party is in possession of a music box. He asks that while the party closes the portals, that they attempt to solve "The Riddle of the Music Box" as Aktitos plays a roll in what is happening and somehow the box is connected. The party tells him that Aktitos is dead. While melancholy, the priest indicates that it IS possible for Aktitos to return. Because Aktitos was "favored of Apollo", and that Apollo came to personally claim his body, the priest believes that Aktitos isn't in the land of the dead, but is instead, in a land far to the north, that there is a hidden valley in the mountains where Apollo stays when not driving his chariot across the sky. It is said that in this land, Apollo keeps all of his favourites who have passed on and so it is possible that Aktitos is there and possibly retrievable.

Somehow the box is connected, and Gal observes that they could travel north to retrieve Aktitos. The high priest suggests that he speak with Arion to assist the party in being low profile. He thanks the party for helping Arion and says he will do what he can though he cannot admit to knowledge of what the party is doing and cannot be seen helping the party. He recommends keeping distance from the temples of Zeus, Hera, Poseiden, Aries, and Demeter. Hermes is a "wild card" in this scheme. He points out there are factions in the remaining temples that aren't safe.

He goes on to reveal that it is likely that Gal's deity is 'Kybele', and is one of the banished gods. While he does not know the ultimate will of Apollo, he has been instructed to aid the banished gods especially in stopping the plans of the darker gods. He also points out that Tesla's outfit is very dated and bad.

The party decides to hide until dark, so they can quietly return to their inn. The priest excuses himself. Tesla gets a book on magic and sits down to read and wait for lunch. Lunch arrives. Tesla describes Stephanos to Gal who shapeshifts into a nondescript human male form. Tesla hands her his hat which she puts into a bag. (S)He heads out.

Gal notices a lot of people milling about the inn. However, Gal heads to the Bazaar with little difficulty. She puts on Tesla's hat. A person does meet Gal. The person is suspicious of Gal, and Gal ineptly attempts to convince him. fortunately for Gal, this person is as inept as Gal. (Sadly there is no way that I, the blogger, can describe the interchange between the GM and the person who plays Gal and do it justice).

They head back to the Golden Sunbeam, with Gal in the form of a beautiful woman. She provides cover for him to head to the rooms. She makes sure he is OK, and then heads back to the Brilliant Bard. A staff stops her from continuing to the office. She changes back into her normal form, allowing her to pass.

Tesla attempts to complement Gal, who thinks he is chiding her. Arion comes in, and he is much better and more ably. Callisto apparently does not recall anything from the past decade of being cursed. He says he is going to perform this evening and will perform an enchantment that will wipe the party from other people's memories. Its not permanent, but should last a couple weeks.

He tells the party that the Aries worshiper has apparently returned from a stroll with his "uncle", though no one recalls the uncle leaving. Arion points out that the suite next to the room is empty and will remain so to deal with the problem. The party casts detect magic to determine if the horn still has an enchantment on it. Tesla notices enchantment, but they don't know if that is still the same compulsion.

Arion creates a diversion by announcing his concert this evening to celebrate the lifting of his curse (free performance, free drinks). The party leaves and returns to the Golden Sunbeam and meets Stephanos. Tesla tells him that they will help, but he must help them with the portal. He is aware of a "Sideways hole to nowhere" as part of the prophecy he was given. He knows that he was to be instrumental in the battle by fighting "the undefeatable foe".

Iridinae tests Stephanos with swords. He is "moderately good", but not great. He tells the party that over the past few months, a number of his friends and family have died. Many were people who'd been contracted to educate the royal children. Kerin speculates that it has something to do with "The Queen's Daughter" (from a while back).

The party explains to Stephanos about Garm's attempt to overthrow the gods. Stephanos gets worried as this talk is heretical. The party convinces him that they're on the right side and have worked with Keirkos. He recognizes Iridinae and asks about her. She says that she was instructed by her temple to work with the party.

Gal asks about the prophecy. He says that he was to find the rogue who does not hide, hire him to do the unthinkable in reverse. He would reveal to him the sideways hole to nowhere where he'd fight the unbeatable foe and that would lead him to the answers he seeks. Tesla and Iridinae realize that the "unthinkable" is the heretical thoughts of Garm overthrowing the gods. After all, heresy, by definition, is unthinkable. In reverse would mean maintaining the "status quo" (A phrase used repeated in Timeos'/Boxo's journal).

Stephanos officially hires the party to prevent the overthrow of the gods.

Session ends.

*The decision has been made to temporarily put the campaign on summer hiatus.*

More Food

I listen to The Splendid Table on NPR, the show for people who love to eat.

A recent episode mentioned Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor. Texas Monthly named it #5 on it's most recent best BBQ article.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons Session - Eberron Campaign - A story begins

On Saturday night, the Eberron Campaign started...

The cast of characters (in order of the sheets next to me):
  • Tosca Zarchadis - Changling Rogue
  • Kal'tozak - Fallen Demon Duskblade
  • Sequester Cross - Humanoid Swordsage
  • Liver Mist - Quickling Jester
  • Dominicus - Illonis Cleric
  • Agotha Broska - Vampiric Elven Warlock
  • Chava Arvid of Clan Roza at Stormhold Eyrie - Niomus Spellsinger
(Changling is in the Eberron Campaign Setting; Fallen Demon, Illonis, Niomus are listed in The Fantasy Flight Games Supplement Mythic Races; Quickling is in Arcana Evolved; Duskblade is in Player's Handbook II; Warlock is in Complete Arcane; Spellsinger is in Kingdoms of Kalamar Player's Handbook; Jester is from the Dragon Compendium; Swordsage is from the Book of Nine Swords - level adjustments have been taken into account)

It is two years after the end of The Last War that ravaged across the continent of Khorvaire. In country of Breland is the city of Sharn, the City of Towers. This thriving, cosmopolitan metropolis is the largest on Khorvaire and looms atop an inhospitable outcropping of rock near the mouth of the Dagger River. It is here that our story begins.

The story opens on a late summer evening in Sharn. Drizzle was falling from a dark, grey sky.

Deep below the city, in the area of Sharn known as "the Fallen", Agotha awoke. The hunger gnawed at her, she knew she must feed soon. Her eyes fell upon Liver, who shared her lair. He was a small being but she had little choice and asked for him to submit to her, so that she may feed. She took just enough blood to satiate her hunger, but not enough to kill. They proceeded to The Bazaar in Middle Dura.

In the Dragon Crypts, a lone figure walked toward a small mausoleum. Dominicus was an Illonis, a blind being from a long forgotten plane of existance. He resided in the necropolis as a last resort. Pushing the the door to the mausoleam open revealed a demonic being sitting in the darkness, Kal'toras. He was also an outcast from society, as his demonic visage alienated all those who saw him. Despite the rain, Dominicus desired company and they chose to walk to the lower class necropolis known as Halden's Tomb.

Meanwhile, Tosca walked through the Bazaar in Middle Dura, hoping to find work. She was greeted by Chava who'd just finished her last errand for the evening. They began to talk as they heard a cry from a nearby alley followed by sounds of a scuffle. The two ran to discover a man being beaten up by a couple of thugs. They easily intimidated the two toughs who fled, with a threat of "Stay away from the orphanage."

They helped the cleric up and made sure he was OK. At this time, Agotha and Liver were walking through the Bazaar when Agotha caught the scent of the clerics blood, piquing her curiousity. They find Chava and Tosca (Chava and Agotha have met previously). The quartet offer to escort the cleric back to his temple (The Church of the Silver Flame) in Upper Dura. Agotha first pauses to get food for Liver (as he was still weak from being fed upon). She found a street food salesman who she attempted to intimidate. Chava simply paid for the food.

Back in the Necropolis, Dominicus and Kal'toras encounter Kal'toras's friend Sequiter. They continue to Halden's tomb. Dominicus sings a haunting song of battle which attracts the attention of two ghoulish beings. They were skinless bodies with grey, wet musculature. While the party made quick work of the two, the battle attracted two largers ones, who they barely defeated.

In the Bazaar, Tosca asks the Cleric why he was attacked. The cleric informs them that the Lantern Way Orphanage had recently had four children kidnapped. His church had sent him to perform a preliminary investigation. It was on the way back that the two thugs attacked him. He had yet to uncover any information, as the doors of the rooms the children were in had been locked for the night.

Session ends.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sharn Primer

For those readers who will be participating in my D&D Campaign, I recommend keeping up with my blog for info.

First, note that anything to do with my campaign will have the "Eberron" metatag. By Clicking on the metatag, you will be able to view all posts that deal with this campaign.

Secondly, as previously noted, this is a city based campaign located in Sharn: The City of Towers in the realm of Eberron. While I don't require any players know anything about Sharn, I would like to offer these links to provide deeper information if you'd like a primer.
From a GM perspective, I'm using Ten Foot Wiki to manage campaign info.

Also, I ask my players to do two things in combat:
  1. Know what you are going to do when I call on you
  2. If necessary, have the rule/spell out and ready for me to look at

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Carolyn Wonderland @ Blues on the Green - Last night

I saw Carolyn Wonderland with the Trophy Girlfriend @ Blues on the Green.

If you can, get out to see her and buy her CDs!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I am a member of the Adeptus Astragalactica!


And I cut my thumb open with an exacto clearing flash off of one of my Warhammer 40k 5th ed counters :(

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

3.5 House Rules

In prepping to run my 3.5 campaign I am assembling some house rules. I figured I'd log a few of them here along with the reasons why.

Bull Strength, Cat's Grace, Bear's Endurance, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom, and Eagle's Splendor - the duration of these is 10 minutes/level, not 1 minute/level. I did this because I do not like 1 minute/level spells. They encourage rushing through encounters rather than balancing the buff/duration. I'm not a great fan of 1 min/level spells. Monte Cook talks about the issue here.

I'm a big fan of Monte Cook. I think he has a knack for balancing and figuring how what is "cool".

I'm using the 3.0 version of Polymorph. Read the 3.5 version of Polymorph self, then look at Alter Self. Its a rather pathetic spell. Also, 3.5's baleful polymorph - GONE.

Weapon sizing works like it does in 3.0. A dagger for a "medium-sized" creature is a "short-sword" for a small creature. 3.5 differentiates the two. That always rubbed me the wrong way, especially since J.R.R. Tolkein set the precidence that the interchange was OK. Remember Bilbo/Frodo's short sword, Sting? It was actually WAS a dagger that got passed along.

Action Points: Eberron uses Action Points. If you look at the d20 SRD, you will see how that works. Well, I'm expanding that a little bit. You can be awarded Action Points for doing something Cool, Heroic, and especially Herioc at a Dramatically Appropriate time (if you remember WEG Star Wars, you will understand this concept comes from Force Points).

Damage Reduction: Monte Cook puts it best.

Now, many readers I'm sure are saying "Wow! 10 people!" Well, I again turn to Monte Cook for information: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

I'll post more on this later.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A new campaign and an MMO ANNOUCED!!!

So, I'm in two gaming groups. Everyone who reads here knows that I'm in a gaming group on Wednesdays. We switch out GMs and the current GM is running the Hellenika campaign. That group is about to take a break for various reasons.

However, the OTHER gaming group which meets on Saturdays has got me to ramp up and run a D&D game. Well, I've wanted to run a city based campaign that takes place in Sharn (The City of Towers from Eberron). I'm planning to also use the Ptolus book as a source. I will be running it with D&D 3.5/Pathfinder system.

The only trick will be that this is a HUGE group (about 10 peeps) to run with.

We shall see how this goes.

On another topic....

IT'S OFFICIAL! Bioware is making Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Road Trips

As many of you know, since I got my little pony, I've made a few road trips for lunch. I've been to Cooper's BBQ in Llano and Sodalak's for Chicken Fried Bacon in Snook. I also made a trip to Fredericksburg and hiked Enchanted Rock, but that was in someone else's car. Of course, I also headed to San Antonio for Spam-a-lot with the Trophy Girlfriend.

I don't know when I'm going, but here is the next destination.

If you want a little road trip, I also recommend Hard Eight BBQ in Stephenville.

So, gentle readers, what places within 2 hours of Austin would YOU recommend for a Saturday road trip and a good meal?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons Session - Hellenika Campaign - I love it when a plan comes together

The party decides that a frontal assault is best and makes plans to attack the following day. They decide to capture her and bring her back to Arion. A little more information gather reveals that the undead being terrorizing the area does so every year about this time.

The next morning, the party leaves the city toward the last known location of Callisto. The party heads to the cave, leaving behind the skittish horses. Gal hears odd baying around the otherside of the hill. She changes to Giant form. Kerin casts buff spells (including electrical resistance, knowing that Tesla will be blasting electricity).

As the party rounds the hill, they see a pack of undead dogs tearing apart a small fox. Iridinae fires her bow at them. Tesla fires a massive ball of electricity which destroys a bunch of them. Gal rushes into the pack striking at several of them, her druidic abilities allowing her to charge across the rough terrain. Kerin feels a tugging from behind her just as she is about to act. She still manages to move forward.

The battle continues with Iridinae firing again, but a second blast from Tesla takes out the remaining undead dogs.

Immediately following the battle, Kerin feels her pack pulling her away. She opens her pack and looks. The music box given to her by Aktitos is pulling toward the fox. The music box opens and the fox vanishes.

Tesla casts fly on the group and they glide around to the mouth of the cave. It also is now full of zombie wolves. Iridinae fires killing one. Tesla blasts, killing many. The rest of the group pressing taking no damage. Iridinae fires again at one of the 4 remaining killing it. Tesla blasts again killing the rest.

There is a glow from inside the cave. The party is greeted with a large firey horse (a Nightmare). It swings a hoof at Kerin. Iridinae draws her sword and moves into melee. Tesla fires daggers of electricity at it doing minor damage. Gal swings, doing massive damage to it. Kerin moves in and starts stabbing at it, killing it utterly.

The party proceeds into the cave, Gal shifting to Ogre form. They hear growls as they move deeper. They find a sleeping figure being guarded by two undead wolves. Iridinae cuts at one. Tesla fires rays of electricity, killing one wolf and wounding the other. Gal moves up and starts swinging at the remaining wolf, killing it.

Kerin casts detect magic, seeing a great deal of magic. The area is clear, though the body radiates magic. They wrap the body in the hellhound cloaks and remove all of her magic items. They grab the horn and proceed.

They return to the city and go to the Inn. Arion is melancholy over seeing his sister. Upon taking the horn he becomes dazed and immediately tries to blow it. Kerin casts silence before he can. Gal attempts to wrestle it, away, but tries to blow it. Kerin wraps it in a cloak and takes it from her.

They wrap the horn in a cloak so that Arion need not touch it and Iridinae gives him her Cloak of Resistance. They decide to go to his quarters in case something goes awry.

He blows into the horn, creating a musical 'hunting horn' sound. He attempts to sing, but fails. The group suggests he write the lyrics down but this doesn't work. After a discussion, he recalls that he has a music box similar to the ones Stiggos had given the party. He says he taught Stiggos how to make them. He finds his music box.

He blows the horn and opens his music box. His music brings Iridinae and Tesla to tears. The room is bathed in sunlight and they see his limbs heal and his sister regain life. She awakens and remembers him.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back on the Battlewagon

Ever since the 'Dark Times' of February, I've pretty much fallen off the 40k building and painting wagon. All that Eldar stuff I got (look in January, you'll see) is still shrink wrapped. Also, normal wear and tear means that the Anger Sharks have seen better days.

This weekend, a new edition of Warhammer 40k is being released. Furthermore, I actually have a 40k table of my own. So I think it is good to start getting back into the building. To this end, I'm going to try to set aside about an hour a day to work on modeling. I have one of my Wave Serpents out and hopefully will be able to start building it today (before going to see Los Lonely Boys at Blues on the Green).

Sadly though, I think that due to the replacement of the central AC in my house, any hopes of getting a Space Marine Battle Company is slim. Yes, I know I don't need that many troops, but MAN that'd be cool to have.

ANYWAY, here's hoping!