WOTC has updated their core books and GM screen with errata. There has been some discussion on this at other sites already.

Late last week, Thursday to be exact, I started working on my latest painting project. This mini is the halfling rogue I play in Ray's KotSF 4e campaign. The mini works on multiple levels;

1. It is a halfling.
2. it is wielding one weapon.

See how perfect of a match it is? So far I have it base coated black and I am working on the skin tone. After 4 coats of Vallejo skin color (I can't remember the exact color, maybe medium flesh?) he is starting to come to life. I plan on painting his blade white with a metalic undercoat and a slight ice blue highlight. Eventually he will be equipped with an ice damage dealing dagger.

In the painting pipeline I have a dwarf fighter, cleric, human barbarian, and various others. The fighter and cleric are the other two I play during the campaign as well. The barbarian will be a gift to Ray for him to use in my Pathfinder games when we resume. I am also looking for a wizard to do up for Matt.

Clue #2

2. Ibor Thorn

Includes only two skill checks.

3.5e

  • DC 15 Intimidate or some other skill to change his feelings
  • DC 20 Sense Motive check reveals that Ibor’s holding something back.
4e
  • DC 25 Diplomacy, Intimidate vs Will, or Bluff vs Insight. Indifferent adds -5 to the difficulty (included in diplomacy).
Ok this may be tough for a newb like me. Ibor doesn't have any stats other than level 2 expert (Burnt Offerings pg. 67 under #25). So I need to find a way to make a 4e level 2 expert. I couldn't find any info in the DMG on that kind of class. WoTC wants to make it tough on me I guess. Looking at the pages on how to create an NPC doesn't help because they only have info for types of classes used for combat. Well I guess I could use one of those, but I would still have to build him out from scratch. Luckily there is another reference which seems to fit the bill, the Monster Manual. I flip to the page containing Human info (MM, pg. 162). There are a couple of entries two of which seem like a good fit. The Human Lackey and the Bandit. I feel the lacky would be a better fit, but I would have to subtract 5 levels from him just to get a couple saves for the DC above. Lets make this easy and use the bandit which is level two already. Alright now we are cooking. If Ibor played any bigger part in the story I wouldn't have an issue fleshing him out. Luckily for me he's a nobody and will always run the sawmill unless the Scarnetti's decide to make an example of him.
  • DC 25 Insight to sense Ibor is holding something back. This is supposed to be a difficult check. In 3.5 a 4th level PC could have 9 skill points in Sense Motive giving about a 50% chance to tell he is trying to hold back. With a DC 25 in 4e my test rolls seem to average around 40-50%

OK, step one done.

In my previous post I said the initial skill checks might work like a skill challenge. Well I just read through the skill challenge section of the DMG and don't think that would be a good fit. So I will go with the other plan of leaving it as regular skill checks. However the following will be modified to account for the skill changes introduced with 4e.

1. Sandpoint Lumber Mill

3.5e

  • DC 10 Knowledge (Local) - Information obtained by anyone in the crowds (locals, guards, etc). The mill was working during the night. The two night shift employees, Harker and Thorn, usually ran the mill until well past midnight. A bone of contention around town as the noisy mill and its infernally creaky log splitter kept neighbors awake.
4e
  • DC 15 Streetwise check (PHB pg. 188) Originally this is a Know:Local check which doesn't exist anymore. I am basing the difficulty off the common difficulty under Knowledge checks (PHB pg. 180)
The timber pier

3.5e

  • DC 15 spot check, anyone investigating the pier, (DM rolled) - A set of muddy footprints that leads from one end of the pier up to the mill itself.
  • DC 15 survival, anyone with Track feat - Your knowledge of tracking reveals the footprints to be from a barefoot human man who clambered up from the mud under the pier, crossed over to the mill, and then scalled the wall to an upper-floor window.
4e
  • DC 15 Perception (for both skill checks) - Since there is no track feat anymore I combined both into one perception check. No attempt was made to cover them up and they are found in the mud.
The party should be level 4 or close. That means a PC trained in perception would have about 9-10 skill points in that skill (PHB pg. 178). That takes into account +2-3 ability modifer. To see what kind of challenge that would be I rolled 10 d20's +9 at Pen Paper and Pixel. My dice came out as 8 beating the DC. A 80% chance of beating the DC seems reasonable for someone trained in observation to notice muddy footprints on the ground.

The murder scene:

3.5e
  • DC 15 survival - reveals what should be obious -- a desperate struggle took place here several hours ago.
  • DC beaten by 10+ also reveals - One set of prints in particular is not only barefoot, but reeks of rotten meat.
4e
  • DC 10 Perception - I think a lower perception for something that seems obvious should be the right thing.
  • DC beaten by 10+ reveals the rotten meat info

Harker's body - Horribly desecrated. Placed on hooks on the wall used to hang machinery. The body is mutilated, skin on face is missing as well as the lower jaw. Chest has a 7-pointed star carved into it. The same one seen in different parts of Thistletop. The only identifiing mark is a tatto of a raven across his lower abdomen.

3.5e
  • DC 30 Knowledge (Arcana or History) - The mark is identified as being a Sihedron Rune, an antiquated glyh that symbolizes arane magic once practiced in ancient Thassilon.
  • DC 15 Heal - Reveals the presence of several additional wounds. These are not like the others and where made by what looks like a small claw -- a finve fingered, human-hand-sized claw. The rotten scent is stronger near these wounds.
4e
  • DC 25 Knowledge (Arcana or History) - I lowered this to 25 to bring it in line with a master knowledge check. On my previous 10 rolls for the nature check (assuming the same amount of bonuses) the PC would have only a 40% chance of beating a DC25. I feel that brings it in line with the rune being a very obscure object from a time lost to modern knowledge.
  • DC 20 Heal - I increased this by 5 points because I feel the extra information would come from someone expertly skilled in treating wounds. The DC is based of the Knowledge DCs.
The suspicous axe - This handaxe is embedded in the floor near the log splitter, as if it had been dropped here. The handle has bloody finger marks (left by Katrine)

3.5
  • DC 13 Fortitude, anyone who exames the axe. - The bits of flesh and bone are so overpowering you are sickened for 1d6+4 minutes.
  • DC 25 Knowledge (religion) - Stink is commonly found on corporeal undead. The axe was used on one within the past 24 hours.
4e
  • DC 20 vs. Fortitude - I raised this quite a bit because in 4e your defenses tend to run a lot higher than 3.5. From my quick math a human or eladrin cleric could have anywhere from 16-19 in will defense. A PC with no ability bonues affecting willpower would still be sitting at 12 points. (PHB pg. 274)
  • DC 25 Knowledge (Religion) - This master check would fall under the Monster Knowledge portion of a religion check. In the first bookd Burnt Offerings the PCs didn't encounter many, if any, undead at all. My group completely missed the catacombs of wrath wish would have given them a chance to fight a few undead. If they did I might have lowered this down just a bit maybe to 20.
The Marsh - Found on the other side of the river from the pier.

3.5
  • DC 20 Search - Reveals a relatively dry spot that bears a number of barefooted human tracks and a lingering stink of rotten flesh.
  • DC 15 Survival, made after the search - The tracks lead into the river, but never away from the site. The spot is hidden by several low banks of nettles, but ovffers a perfect view of the mill to anyone hidden here.
4e

If they don't cross the river to investigate the other bank
:
  • DC 27 Perception - This is only if they do not investigate across the river. I used Well Hidden and More than 10 squares away for the total.
If they do cross the river using one of the small dinghys on the dock:
  • DC 20 Peception - There is a DC for barely hidden and well hidden. Aldern didn't attempt to hide his tracks but he did stay hidden in the clearing behind the brushes. So I adjusted the perception check down a notch. This should be about a 60% chance of finding the hidden area (based off my 10 rolls earlier)
Once the hidden area is found:
  • DC 15 Perception to notice the information about the tracks. Once they find the concealed area it isn't to difficult to tell the there are tracks all over it and they lead to the water.

Here is a google doc of the first set of skill challenges as documented in the AP. In the next day or two I will post what I feel would be a could conversion for it. There are two ways to look at skill challenges. I could leave them pretty much intact letting the group use their skills to get them answers, or not. Or I could go full steam ahead and do a 4e skill challenge where they have to get a certain number of successes in a row before a set number of failues (depending on the difficulty). The problem with the 4e skill challenges is the group will automatically know they have missed out or not. I will be honest and say I am extremely new at DMing and have next to no knowledge of DMing in 4e. I think the skill challenges can be rolled secretly by the DM. That is why I need to check into the DMG. I also would like to give the group bonuses on their checks for good RP. That is something that they will know about beforehand.

Work has started on cataloging the different encounters in The Skinsaw Murders. Once I have everything down I will work on what those would equate to in 4e terms.

I did find a very awesome site that is doing the same thing except starting with Burnt Offerings. Let me just say that Scott, the admin, has done a stellar job of converting so far. He has even converted the monsters from the back of the book whether they are used in the adventure or not. Great work!! I would also like to point out that he has great taste in template style :D

Anyway, back to the grind.

Nualia's end

Ok so on the last session the group was facing a Yeth Hound. After considering their options they retreated and closed the door. Exploring the dungeon they came upon an Elf and a Human locked up in dungeons prison cells. The two, one an exotic dancer the other a Ranger, decided to join the group.

They managed to slay Lyrie and Orik who where barricaded in a room leading down to the next level. The exotic dancer they freed earlier found the pair of earings he was looking for, but decided on staying with the group for now.

Moving on they backtracked to a section of the dungeon that was roughly hewn out of rock. The floor was smoothly polished with dead corpses of birds and a few goblins. Inside was a deadly tentacle monster that tried to grapple the dancer and inject its deadly venom. Luckily his agile body and dance moves saved his life. Once the monster was slain, the Yeth Hound from earlier finally managed to break out of the chapel. He brought a friend with him and they proceeded to box in the group by covering their escape routes.

(intermission)
Wow it has been a long time since the group did that fight. (It is July 21 right now) I am trying to figure out why I paused to finish it. Oh well. Let me see what I can remember.
(/intermission)

The group managed to deal with the two Yeth Hounds. There was some issue with the group on what they should do. A couple of them decided to take on the Yeth Hound closest to them. the others not really able to get a line of site for ranged/spells just stood back. I had to come in and make a few suggestions on what I would do if I was the Rogue, Wizard, and Ranger. Once they figured out their differences and went with the flow things worked out. The Yeth Hounds bit the dust pretty easily. Their high AC just made it hard to hit them. The key damage dealing was the wand of flame and the exotic dancer (aka acrobatic rogue) to bypass the DR they had.

After dealing with the hounds they moved back towards the stairs down. On the way there they set off a burning hands trap CR3 I believe. I rolled all ones on damage. (sigh) With no real damage they just kept running. The dancer (Luke who has a lot of RP experience) took the lead and being the highly skeptical rogue he was searched everything and was rolling hot all night. My terrible poker face didn't help make it any harder for him either. He did manage to avoid the trap leading into the corridor right outside Nualia's room. They figured out how to disable it and moved on.

The fight with Nualia went pretty good. There were a few exciting rounds there. To compensate for the groups larger size I added a couple more Yeth Hounds. The Bard (Will) seemed to always try and get in the front of the fight. Even though she was only wearing cloth armor and using a whip, she managed to disarm Nualia while surving a few rounds. The others bullied their way in and took her out then the dogs. The Rogue bit the dust making it the second PC to die. After divying up the phat lewtz they continued their search.

It didn't take long for them to figure out how the faux stack of gold coins worked. Once they gained entrance to the secret area they found the key to the Barghest room. This had to be the best part of the whole thing for me. The Elite Barghest was THE toughest NPC in the whole adventure. When they opened the door the only thing they saw was the candles and the smoking pit in the middle. The dancer, apparently with a weak bladder, decided to piss on the unearthly fire pit in the middle. As soon as he whiped it out the beast struck. One hit later for 20+ damage the rogue is on the floor bleeding to death. His insides spilling out of the large gash on his side. Completely spooked now the group tries to figure out what is going on. The Barbarian heads in, the Cleric pulls the body out, and Wizard cast see invis. Uh, oh. The group makes a hasty retreat taking only a few hits while closing the door behind them. Damn.

The room with the shades went to easy. A well rolled Turn Undead made them a non-threat. The secret room which led to the old treasury was easy to find. After searching the room they see the large golden helmet in the water. The Bard, did I mention always in the lead looking for trouble, throws a rock at the helmet. After a few seconds the helmet spins around to face her. At this point the group remembers the large picture drawn on the wall by the goblins and they are showing a little fear. Alianna tries to speak a few different languages thinking she can reason with the giant head. the others are near the other hallway/stairs leading to the back of the chamber. A call of initiative makes it harder for them to get there. The fight went as expected with the giant crab dealing crushing damage to Alianna while the others tried their best to get there and help her out. Just before they could try and heal her the crab scored a decent hit and cut her in half. After that the crab went down easy.

The group divided up the coins on the bottom and headed back to town. At the news of Nualia's demise and the clearing of Thistletop the town threw them a celebration. Statues of the group where brought in to commencerate their achievements. The group was also given two magically enchanced items for their efforts. This was done because they never would have beaten the Barghest and gotten the spoils, and because their gear was very magic lite. At 4th level they had no magic weapons or armor. Everything was masterwork or silver.

Well that is about it. The next book will be converted to 4e because we like it. I should have had it done by now, but I just haven't done it. I hope this weekend I can get the 4e DMG out and do some studying.

Well I missed posting the last session. It was ... interesting ... to say the least. I still find it odd that five level 3 PCs run from one bugbear. Oh before I forget again, I swear Ray had some prior knowledge about the bridge trap. Let me start at the beginning (right after a brief recap).

So the party cleared the top floor of Thistletop. No small endeavor on their part. They went back to town to stock up on potions and rest up a day before heading back.

Ok, now on to the current, well as of the last session, situation. I purposefully left the top of Thistletop on the battle map. I started everyone on the main land side of the bridge. Hoping everyone would pile across. Of course like everything in life nothing ever goes right. First the rogue, Matthel, hides and moves silently across the bridge solo. He checks things out doing the normal listen and spot checks. Nothing comes up because the top is still clear. Next the others cross over one at a time. During this time Ray keeps saying lets go over one at a time. Ugh, who leaked him the info!!! After discussing what they are doing for a few minutes everyone but the Wizard is over the bridge. I don't know what Matt was thinking about leaving him there but I guess that's how faith rolls. Right after the last one leaves the Wizard by himself I call for initiative. Matt rolling lucky early gets 1st action with his Wizard. I didn't let the Bugbear, whom I buffed up another Ranger level for double shooting, get a surprise round. My hopes where to get everyone over the bridge to attack him at once so it could collapse. The Wizard attempts to cast sleep which fails due to the Bugbears higher HD, 5 to be exact. He next moves his 6 squares over the bridge to the others. There were a couple of PCs that went before the Bugbear, but they all stayed on the other side. The Barbarian, big bad mofo with a greatsword, said he isn't crossing the bridge. Ok big guy I got something for you. Instead of Elf bane arrows I substituted Sleep arrows. With the bug bears double shooting feat he managed to score a hit on the wizard causing him to fall asleep in the middle of the bridge. To cut this a little shorter, the next 3-4 rounds the PCs stayed on the other side. Will was the only one who had the balls to try and run up and do something. He ran to the bridge tried to attack or cast a bard spell, not sure on that, before running back. The next turn the Barbarian or Cleric, both still deathly afraid of the bridge, tied one end of a rope to the bridge post and tossed the other end to Will as he ran by again. This time Will ran to the Wizard and lassoed him with the rope. The cleric pulled them back across. This whole time my Bugbear Ranger is pelting them with arrows. He has a good To Hit and is steadly knocking HPs off the Barbarian and the others. FINALLY, I let them make spot checks to tell the bridge is rigged to collapse. Will's Bard ties it up to prevent it from falling and they make it over. After a few rounds the bugbear is toast. They moved into the top level everyone and their momma rolling spot and listen checks. With 5 PCs there is usually always a 18-20 rolled. Nothing surprises these guys apparently. The stairs where supposed to have CL3 Burning hands traps set there but it took so long to do the Bugbear fight I forgot all about it. Moving into the 1st dungeon level they skipped all rooms that didn't have noise in them. After just a few minutes they were already at the Chapel with the Yeth Hounds. The AP originally calls for 2 Yeth Hounds which I bumped up to 3. While looking over the stats I realized no one had a silver weapon to overcome its DR/10. I scalled this back to 2 Hounds, eventually taking it to 1. This is where they are at currently. Combat has only gone to round two with the Yeth Hound.

Some notes on this encounter:

1. Ray's Cleric and Barbarian would not cross the bridge whatsoever. Even when Matt's Wizard and Will's Bard where on there at the same time. It was at this point I basically let them make a spot check just to get the battle going. The bugbear was getting close to running out of arrows.

2. This one fight took way to long because Ray's hesitance at jumping into the fray. To clarify, the fight between one Level 2 Bugbear Ranger and 5 PCs in a well rounded group took over 3 hours. Yikes. I will say in their defense we are still working on the rules, etc. This is the first game some of us have played in years if not decades. Trying to look up some rules and the ensuing discussion takes up precious time.

3. I didn't mention it in the game summary, but they left a room of Goblin babies alone because that would be wrong. They open the next door and slaughter the Goblin women. Matt was the only one who wanted to kill the babies. I have to agree with him. With no one to care for them they will just die a horrible prolonged death. Well at least for the ones that gets eaten by the toughest one until he dies.

4. The Thistletop dungeon is comprised of many small rooms with a whole lot on nothing going on. Maybe I should do something about that but the AP has decent descriptions and some rooms have important hints or other items that can be used. The group was getting tired and wanted to get to the end. Little do they know there is another whole level to explore. They completely missed the rooms of the human occupiers. This would have given them some clue as to what they will be facing.

Well that's it for now. As soon as I get a chance I will post Saturdays upcoming session. Peace!

I Am A: True Neutral Human Bard/Sorcerer (2nd/2nd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-10

Dexterity-11

Constitution-13

Intelligence-9

Wisdom-14

Charisma-11


Alignment:
True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Bards often serve as negotiators, messengers, scouts, and spies. They love to accompany heroes (and villains) to witness heroic (or villainous) deeds firsthand, since a bard who can tell a story from personal experience earns renown among his fellows. A bard casts arcane spells without any advance preparation, much like a sorcerer. Bards also share some specialized skills with rogues, and their knowledge of item lore is nearly unmatched. A high Charisma score allows a bard to cast high-level spells.


Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Organization

Ok, so I know I am not the most organized person around. So my goals for the next session are:

  1. Organize stats of any NPC they will can fight. Right now I have 4 of the last 6 bosses already printed out on The Game Mechanics free monster cards. I need to add the hirelings to the sheets.
  2. Use the free item cards I get from Paizo on each of my shipments. These are tracked in a spreadsheet on Google Docs. I only keep cards for items that are magical or quest related. They have a number on the back which is noted in the spreadsheet. Once they ID the item I tell them what it is and they write it on the back. Not game breaking but it looks cool to dump a few of them in a small treasure chest.
  3. Keep better track of the game environments. As noted before I didn't trigger the bridge trap and failed to use the Ripnugget encounter as I should have.

Ripnugget R.I.P.

Well, they finally managed to clear the top of the island. First off some mistakes I made:

1. The rogue climbed up on the roof and listened at the guard posts. My first mistake of the night. The section the horse is in is uncovered so he should have been able to see the goblin dogs and could have possibly unleashed ranged death upon them.
2. I missed drawing some doors on the map. This didn't make a huge impact but kind of blows it for immersion.
3. In Ripnuggets room I only put him there on the throne. Rayzo entered from the eastern door, saw him and waited for me to call initiative rolls. I didn't and let him know that Ripnugget was not acting aggressive in any way and wanted to parlay. They move into the room spreadout and the bard moves 4-5 spaces south of him. As soon as they are done initial moving I place all the other gobs in the room as if they were hiding behind the pillars. The mistake is, the warchanter had a wand of silent images and is supposed to hide everyone behind it until they get close. grrrrrr.
4. After defeating him they prepared to enter the courtyard with the goblin dogs. Remember mistake #1. Yeah, this is when I tell them the courtyard is open to the sky. The group looks at me, "why didn't you say that earlier we could have ranged them to death." Since it was getting late for Will so he asks, "can we have a couple of us climb up and just assume we shoot them down with ranged?" At this point I am feeling dumb with the mistakes I have made and say sure. Moving along they hit the latrine room and the rogue makes his search check for secret doors find the treasure room, doesn't search the chest for traps, and tries to open it. The trap misses it's attack. The others have the key and open it. I didn't even ask which way they turned it. Mainly because I forgot to, but afterwards figured what was the point. The trap was triggered. They would have just bashed it in.
5. After clearing the top they go back for the horse which Will calmed down with some food from one of the barrels. They left Thistletop to head back into town. Um, the bridge is still trapped and I planned to trigger it. Except I forgot about it.

Whine, rant, whatever, here it comes. I have no DM'ing experience whatsoever. Generally for rules I favor the group just so we are not stuck spending an hour looking something up and discussing if a dancing lights spell can blind someone. (real issue that came up) After the play session I spend the time looking it up and let the group know my findings. So when it comes up that I decide something on the fly that goes against the group I have to defend my ruling. It wastes time and causes friction. Part of this is my fault as I seem to be unprepared for the groups intellect in doing things. I know that comes with experience but it is frustrating. The rest of the fault I feel is with the ones that want to argue back on the ruling. I had to put my foot down when Matt wanted to argue that the dancing lights would blind someone. He argued his maglite thrust into your face would blind you. Really? A 4 D cell Maglite puts out 23,000 candle power. That means 23,000 candles would have to be 1 foot away from your face to get the same effect. Dancing Lights puts out light similiar to 4 lanterns or torches. A kerosene lantern puts out 12-25 candlepower of light. So yes, a Maglite will blind your ass. A torch/lantern will not. It will be annoying to have four of them float just in front of your face, but that's it.

*end rant/whine*

To make up for my errors last time I will be planning things out as much as I can. Since the bridge wasn't trapped for them last time it will be this time. The main gate is closed and lookouts have been posted. Once they realized what happened topside he had the gate barred and the watchposts manned by two goblin commandos and a bugbear in each. Seriously pissed that Sandpoint sent adventures up and slayed Ripnugget, Nualia had the bugbear fortify the fort while she went down to pray to Lamashtu. She knows it is only a matter of time before the group comes back and will be planning something for their return should the bugbear prove useless.

I wanted to post about the Pathfinder Miniature line. The Valeros I ordered came in last Thursday and he looks awesome. I know he is the fighter Iconic, but I think he looks more like a badass ranger with his dual weapons and quiver/bow strapped to his back. I was so impressed I checked their site and ordered all the others that are out so far. They were listed as backordered so I thought I had a week or two before they came in. Uh, no they shipped the next day. Sorry babe, didn't mean to spend $120 on D&D this month. I won't mention the $25 on a WoW character move or the $15 on the second account my son plays on.

First Party Death

So this past Saturday's game marks the first PC death. It just so happened to be my 11 y.o. son who played Zeldax fierce warrior. I think he was in search of some princess and a triangle shaped key. I am kidding about that last part.

Anyway, the other guys are much older in their 30's so the maturity level is pretty big. From the first day he started with us I noticed this arrogant attitude from him at the table. Now I normally would deal with this as soon as it came up, but I wanted to see how the others re-acted. I can tell Matt was getting a little annoyed with Ray and Will trying to help him out a little. My son didn't seem to pick up on the hints to just sit back and learn. Which brings us up to the last game. The group just started at the maze of briars at the Thistletop entrance. They take the first path to the left which eventually leads to a passage left and the other ahead on the right. The others are trying to figure out what they should do. Everyone rolls listen and spot checks. My son walks right on by to check out the passage ahead on the right. I call for initiative checks and everyone groans abit and looks at him. I try to explain that he walked right by an open doorway without first checking it out. The encounter was way to easy for the others as they bottlenecked the doorway and slaughtered a bunch of refugee goblins and a few extra dogs I threw in.

Fast forward a few halfways/rooms and the bard spots a room with 6 goblin dogs chewing on some remains. Surprise round give them a tine bit of advantage. The doorway is still narrow but this time it is 10ft wide and the dogs have 50ft movement. They engage the party quickly while they are hampered by a 4ft tall hallway. My son who is a brave little guy runs up backed up by Rayzo (Ray's Barbarian). Of course now he has blocked the others from getting any shots off which annoys them as well.

A couple things I should point out:
1. My son started after the group so his fighter is 3-400 exp behind them and still level 1. The others hit 2nd making them more effective in combat.
2. The Wizard (Matt's) didn't memorize any offensive spells. At least not any that he used. He is basically a crappy ranger.

Ok back to the post; My son takes a couple hits bringing him dangerously low. Ray moves his cleric up but decides to hang back a square and throws a CLW on this Barbarian. The next turn my son goes down by one of the dogs. The others start shooting above his corpse. He looks at me like I murdered our dog. Then looks at the others with a smile and asks for someone to bring him back alive. Matt looks at him and says something about them not raising him and he is lucky they don't roll his corpse down the hole they just passed. He gets up and I tell him to roll up another one.

Now I try to let my kids work their problems out and if there are any questions or I feel I should intervene I will. So I let him go and continue on. After getting the others into the next encounter I head up to talk to him. He looks like he is about to start crying. I try to comfort him as best as I can. To me it is nothing but a game and making the characters is one of the best parts of it. To him he lost a part of him. Part of our discussion centers on his actions. I try my best to show that you are part of a group not 5 individuals doing whatever you want. Another thing I discuss with him is his attitude. I feel I got through to him. He wasn't as upset afterwards and we are planning on fleshing out Penelo his female Cleric. I can't wait.

Oh wait, about the game? Well Gogmurt or whatever his name is was a challenge for them. I will say Matt's Wiz is a bitch with his crossbow. Before I could move the Goblin druid back out of combat into the surrounding briars he scores a hit and kills him. Great. I have a few things up my sleeve. One of which is the whole Goblin camp is aware of their arrival. Once we meet back up this Saturday they will hear the alarm ringing. MWUAHAHAHA. um yeah, sorry.

Last Saturdays game

Well I was totally blown away that my group didn't find the Catacombs of Wrath under the glassworks. They listened at the doors, but of course the door with the tunnel leading into the catacombs was closed and nothing could be heard. They went to the door where they heard Ameiko struggling with her bonds. Once they found her they went topside and spent an hour trying to figure out what to do with loot. Next game day will be their adventure to Thistletop. They read Tsuto's journal which clearly points to Thistletop and his beloved one, Nualia. I need to work on the intro and some of the encounters before we get together. With their overpowered group they are pretty much walking through everything. The last battle with Tsuto I beefed up the EL adding in 5 additional goblins with Tsuto as he came up behind them. In his two rounds he lived I rolled a two each time he tried to strike Ray and his Barbarian. He didn't last longer than those two rounds. They did manage to subdue him and he will be making his way to Magnimar jail in a few days time. Hmm, maybe I will let him escape and make his way to Thistletop so he will be there with Nualia or waiting up top with the other goblins. I guess I better start working on my stuff this week. Later.

WotLK

If you have not seen the WoW: Wrath of the Lich King site yet please do so now.

I can honestly say that this expansion looks to be the best so far. The graphics seem to get a small boost, instance design of the first dungeon seems top notch, new story arcs, and two starting areas that are neutral to both faction, at least it seems so from their description.

The graphics on the flame effects are very realistic. I wonder what impact this will have on the majority of systems out there. I am running a Pentium D 3.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 8800GTS SLI right. I still get lag in heavy pop areas. That lag more than likely has to do server lag but is still frustrating when running a higher end system. The flame effects could easily choke up others especially when 90% of your server pop is there doing the same quests. Ugh.

The instance design of the first dungeon, Utgarde Keep, is above anything I have seen so far in BC. Which isn't saying much as I have only been in TK a few times and some of the 5 mans. Yes that is a big content gap but I have my reasons. I love the fact that the story arc is works so seemlessly with the Keep. Just like a good fantasy book starts the reader off at the start of his adventure getting small hooks here and there. Eventually finding his way to the big bad castle with the BBEG (big bad end guy). I hope they can keep the story going so the other zones/instances are included. Not a quest that says, "Hey you just killed this big bad mofo that we couldn't touch. Thanks! Please go to this new area and kill 10 bunnies for Farmer Smith for 20s."

Having two starting areas seems like a good idea. From what I have read it will be something like Aldor/Scryer without the faction penalty. Get done with one and head over to the otherside to do all the quests, etc. Hmm nice.

This Saturday the players will be starting in the Glassworks. This is a pretty simple area with not much going on. I need to drop in some more stuff for them to do to keep it interesting. With 6 of them the original setup will be trivial for them.

As for the players here is their names and character info:

Matt: Rogue and Wizard
Ray: Barbarian and Cleric
Will: Bard
Joe: Fighter

Matt and Ray play two characters because they were the only ones I could get in initially. Will came on board just days before we were to start and Joe, my son, created his on our 2nd play day.

After the Glassworks the group will get a chance to hit the Catacombs of Wrath. There is a pretty tough fight in there. These types of fights are pretty interesting because each group thinks differently using a number of different strategies. From what I have read most players tend to be gungho, running into combat without any real regard for deaths. I am guilty of this as well. We have one guy in the group, Will, whose bard is a pacifist. She doesn't want to engage in actual combat unless it deals sub dual (non-lethal) damage. It will be interesting to see what he does IC if things start going wrong. In either case Matt and Ray already rolled up an "extra" character. Previous experience with either a bad DM or rules-lawyer DM have caused them to fear me. Matt even has a tendency to try and see what I roll behind my binder that I use for a DM screen. He has said before when he played in college it was not unusual for the DM to fudge the dice in favor of the monsters. I can imagine that would leave a bad taste in anyone's mind.

Well it seems my neurotic habit of starting something and never finishing anything has kicked in full time again. After my last post I did paint a couple more guys, flocked bases, etc but that was it. I still do not have one squad finished up. Knowing your weakness is supposed to make it easier to overcome, right? Well I have not given up on my 40K IG yet. They have just been shelved once again as they were five or six years ago.

Part of my strange obsession to start something, spend a chunk of change, and then give it up has to do with my childhood. I remember trying to create my own miniatures game using those cheap green army guys that come a hundred to a pack. After a day of working on that I gave it up. Just think if I would have known about Mr. Gygax at that time he would have inspired me to continue. But no I gave it up when it got hard. Well being 9 or 10 probably had something to do with it to. At that age I had never even heard of miniatures or D&D but I knew I had something going. Maybe my idea was destined to be shot down anyway ;)

Anyway, I want to talk about my new obsession. One I hope will last the rest of my life. Wow, reading that sentence sure makes it seem like a long time. I thought about changing that sentence because well I know I never do anything longer than a few weeks or months before giving it up. So this new thing or old thing really is D&D, or should that be written as AD&D? I "played" this as well as Shadowrun a few times when I was much younger. It was in middle school, or what was known as Junior High back then. Of course my very first taste of it I remember almost like it was yesterday. We were sitting in the lunch room when I asked a couple people from my neighborhood what they were playing. One guy had a book and the others had a paper with their characters on it. He said they were playing Dungeons and Dragons. I thought wow that is cool, "Can I play"? He said no you can't because you don't have a character. Um, OK. Now here is where human nature kicked in. I lied and said I had one. He was a level 5 fighter. Well of course that got me in. It's really not that hard to make some stuff up on the spot. That lasted all of the 10 minutes that was left on lunch break. The next few endeavors in D&D I don't recall. Shadowrun was one that I had a good time with. Even enjoying the game that came out on the Sega Genesis. The thought of futuristic people with computers in their head and slinging magic was to much to resist. My first character was a Decker. I remember sitting with my friend Stephen at the time trying to figure out the rules. Such good times. It is a shame that none of those things followed me further in life. They shaped a love for Fantasy and Sci-Fi books and movies. So here I am at 33 years old trying to relive my youth as it were. My son just turned 11. He loves Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and pretty much anything else fantasy. Here I have a building block to shape him the way I never had anyone do for me. I started a few small adventures for him to get him interested. He seems to really enjoy it but as I am pretty new to this to it is hard with rules, etc so I just wing it. I also started playing in a couple Play-by-Posts to get my feet wet. It has been about a couple months and I think I am ready for more. In the middle of January I email a couple friends, "Hey want to play some D&D with me? It will only be you two so make a couple characters each and meet up in two weeks." A couple days before one other guy wanted in. Saturday comes up, all three show up and we commence to spend 6 hours making 5 characters. Yes that is how long it took. :) We did manage to get one really small combat in which took us another hour or so. Fast forward a month to our next meet. I only planned for a couple fights because well that last one took so long against three goblins. This time things where going to get interesting. About an hour into the game my son comes downstairs with a character sheet in hand. Confused I ask him what it is. He says he just made him and wanted to know if he could play. Apparently he found my D&D basic kit I bought awhile back, pulled out the character creation sheet, found a d6 from a Clue game, and followed the 4d6 drop lowest rules. I am speechless. Needless to say his fighter Zeldax, obviously a tribute to Zelda & the Phantom Hourglass game he has been playing, is added to the group. This is what I have wanted to experience my whole life.

I will be posting up the campaign information here. None of the players know about this site so it may contain some spoilers for our game.

Setting: Golarian
Publisher: Paizo
Campaign: Rise of the Runelords

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