Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beast of the Week: Grasping Hand

This is a bit of a weird one, as it straddles the line between monster and trap.  But then green slime, rot grubs, piercers, trappers, cloakers, lurkers above, and plenty of other "monsters" also straddle the line, so here it is.  Finishing up this month's Beasts with one from both Castlevania AND Ghostbusters.

Grasping Hand
AC: 8 (12)
HD: 1/2* to 3*
Move: 0 (0)
Attacks: 1 claw
Damage: 1d6
No. Appearing: 1d10 (1d10)
Save As: NM to F3
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 6, 13, 25, 50

Grasping hands appear as skeletal, rotting, or demonic arms that suddenly spring out of solid objects or the ground and attack.  They surprise on a roll of 1-4 on d6.  Any hand that hits grabs onto the victim and will not let go until slain (the victim may Save vs. Paralysis to escape).  Anyone grabbed may attack the grasping hand, but at -4 to hit.  Others may make normal attacks, but there is a 50% chance any hit will deal half damage to the victim and half damage to the hand.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Luck stats?

Some people house rule in a seventh "Luck" ability score to the classic six in D&D.  Some games include Luck as one of the options.

But D&D, as published, has always had luck scores for PCs. 

They're called Saving Throws.

That's all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Slide down my psionic rainbow!

No, I'm not playtesting the hot new RPG "Perverts and Penthouses," just continuing our series of bad puns and cheesy innuendo in Vaults of Ur.

This week's cast: Justin on DM, Dean playing Very Elder Karl, Jeremy going crazy playing Ripper, Adam finally getting in on the Ur action as Fjharrag the Folded Mind (a Magic-User), and of course myself pounding away with Thidrek the Sleestak.  And let me tell you, this concert rocked hard!

Actually, things started a bit slow.  We spent most of the first hour getting Adam up to speed on the setting, and figuring out just exactly what we wanted to do and how to do it.  The sandbox was really wide open this time.  In our last game, we'd escaped the harpies and vulture men, and found refuge with the rather neutral Beastmen who live under the sewers.  They gave us lots of info and assistance, especially when we decided to finally take the fight to the harpies.

The harpies and vulture men, by the way, had left the bramble maze, and were camped out around an old temple performing some blasphemous rites.  Our plan was to scout out the situation, find a safe house, and then try to lure the carnivorous apes into fighting with the vulture men to whittle down both of their numbers.  And for once, the plan more or less worked!

After setting up our safe house, Thidrek did a bit of scouting of the temple area.  There were around twenty camp fires, with up to ten vulture men at each fire.  Way outnumbered!  We camped out for the night so that Karl could prepare Speak with Animals to hopefully send the apes into battle.*  In the middle of the night, a patrol of vulture men and one larger humanoid passed our safe house, and Ripper woke up Fjharrag and Fjharrag put the whole group to sleep.  They woke up Thidrek, who happily slit the throats of the vulture men, wisely leaving Elder Karl asleep through the whole mess. 

The larger fella turned out to be an adventurer named Mongoose Liskin, who happily joined us since the rest of his crew had been slaughtered by vulture men.  Thidrek disposed of the bodies, trying to make it look like apes had savaged them.  Still covered in blood and gore, Thidrek then woke up Karl to take his watch.  In the morning, Karl cast his spell, and began yelling for apes in their language.  And they came!  A group of six came and soon got in a fight with vulture men.  When it all ended, only three apes left with bits of vulture men to gnaw on, and nearly two dozen of the little buzzard-buggers were dead.  Of course, that still left way too many for us. 

We waited until nightfall, then Karl used his stone fist to telekinetically throw bundles of kindling into their fires, burning more vulture men (it was at this point when the quote I'm using as the title of the post occurred, as Karl contemplated airlifting us to the temple with the hand).  Alerted to our presence, harpies and vulture men attacked (although luckily not all of them).  Ripper and Thidrek managed to resist the charm this time (demi-human saves!), and after making sure that our allies would not walk out into the harpies' trap, waited for the assault.  Two harpies came in through the roof, but due to lucky initiative rolling, both Thidrek and Ripper hit two times in a row, downing both of them.  Vulture men, of course, smashed in the door and were fighting Liskin.  Ripper and Karl ran to his aid, while Thidrek climbed to the roof to watch for more harpies and snipe the vulture men waiting to come through the door.  Fjharrag kinda hung back until the end (smart), but did manage to take down one vulture man with his dagger.

Well, no more harpies attacked, but Ripper suffered two or three nasty critical hits in a row, one of them giving him a permanent wound (Justin decided a vulture man claw was stuck inside his arm), halving his Dex until we can find Fort Low's master surgeon and get it fixed.  And of course, the damage caused Ripper to go werebear!  This time, it was pretty glorious.  While Thidrek and Fjharrag hung back to loot bodies, Ripper-bear just charged into the temple.  There were four harpies, one giant chicken-man (who somehow got labelled as a Dire Cock even though previously that was the name for the actual giant chickens, not the chicken-men).  Plus a metric shitload of vulture men.  Well, the V-Ms couldn't hurt Ripper because they don't have silver claws.  The harpies likewise, but they did tangle him with their whips (Elder Karl's Silence 15' Radius kept them from charming).  So Ripper had a field day taking down the bad guys.  The chicken-man did have a magic sword, but only managed to hit Ripper once before getting his head crushed in Ripper-bear's mouth.

Normal vulture men ran away as the chicken-man and harpies were destroyed.  And we looted the temple, finding over 4000 gp worth of gold and gems, plus some magic arrows (and the magic sword of the chicken-man).  And we made it back to Fort Low without any fatalities (although Ripper's not in the best of shape right now). 

One of the funnest sessions we've had so far.  Thanks, Justin!

*I love it when seldom used spells like this one come in very very handy!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Magicians 마법사들

A couple days ago, we had a new member in our Facebook Busan Gamers group.  A guy in Seoul named Kyle Simons.  And he's producing a game that is intended to be both a fun RPG and a language learning tool, Magicians (the Korean in the title of the post is the name of the game in Korean).  As an English as a Foreign Language teacher and as a gamer, I gotta say I'm intrigued.

Kyle is running a Kickstarter for Magicians (who isn't running a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, these days?), but he's already more than tripled his goal, with 28 days left.  So you can rest assured this project is moving forward.  And you've still got plenty of time to get in on this if you like it.

What's cool about it?  Well, it takes the Harry Potter premise of a secret magical world hidden parallel to the mundane world, but it's set in Seoul, South Korea instead of jolly old England.  It also is chock full of Asian folk tales and legends.  And the really cool thing is that the magic system is designed to help you learn Korean.  In order to cast spells, you need to say the correct words, phrases, or sentences in Korean (and he's got a link to a free Android app that will check your pronunciation for you if you don't have any Korean speakers handy while you play).

Also cool is that he's got plans for other language versions.  I've volunteered to help with a Japanese version he's planning.  Kyle also speaks French, so he wants to do a French version as well.  So if you are interested in things Korean, in gaming with an Asian twist, or with learning languages (or using RPGs in your language lessons if you're a teacher), check this one out.

Tenkar also was promoting this one the other day.  Many of you may have already seen it over there, but it never hurts to have a reminder.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beast of the Week: Demon Dog

Last week, Tim of Hero Press asked, following my posting Slimer from Ghostbusters, if I was gonna do the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man next.  Well, there's still one more week before Halloween, I just might.  But for this week, I present the Ghostbusters demon dog for D&D, clones, simulacrums, propane and propane accessories.

Demon Dog*
AC: 5 (15)
HD: 5+2**
Move: 150 (50)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 1d6/1d6/1d8
No. Appearing: 1d4+1 (1d4+1)
Save As: F5
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: L+N (V)
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 575

Demon dogs are large creatures from the Lower Planes with bodies shaped like a cross between a frog and a hairless dog.  They have horns on their heads and glowing red eyes.  Demon dogs are usually encountered in small packs, each with a cryptic name related to its role in the ritual (see below).  Each demon dog in a pack chooses a victim that it hunts and attempts to possess using its magic jar ability (once per day).  While hunting, it can become invisible to all but the target.  While in possession of a mortal, the demon dog gains the following powers: polymorph between demon dog form and the victim's true form, levitate, and cause fear, each three times per day.   Once each dog in the pack has possessed its target, the dogs come together and perform a ritual that opens a Gate, allowing a powerful extra-dimensional being or demon to enter the Prime Plane.  The demon dogs then serve as the demon's guardians and servants.  When killed, a demon dog turns to stone, and if in possession of a victim at the time of death, the statue crumbles within one Turn, releasing the victim.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Presidents Arise! (700th post!)

In between preparing two presentations for my grad school classes for this week (one down this evening, the next tomorrow evening), what else did my brain turn to?  It brushed off the mothballs and began reworking my and Paul's super-simple, super-silly Presidents of the Apocalypse RPG.

Anyone out there remember me talking about this before?  The premise is that players run super-powered versions of Founding Fathers or other personages of (U.S.) historical significance battling a mish-mash of typical postapoc baddies (Mad Max biker punk types, mutant scum, killer robots), plus the dregs of both history and modern pop culture, all with a very silly sci-fi twist.

When I was in Japan, it was our typical "going away" game when someone left the group, and Paul and I are always tinkering with the rules, trying to get it right.  We've got the flavor in spades, we just need a rule set that supports it better.

Anyway, I've got a few ideas that just might make it work.  When I get them ironed out, I'll try to get my G+ Vaults of Ur crew to try them out.

The primary inspiration for the game were Brad Neely's George Washington and History Lesson No. 1 (JFK).  Look em up on YouTube if you don't know them.  Pretty funny stuff.  Here are some pictures that also show what the game is all about:

This one pic encapsulates it all perfectly.

A typical villain

Neely's JFK, Hyper-charismatic telepathical knight

He's coming, he's coming, he's coming.

Another villain

A PotA Mastermind level Villain

Monday, October 15, 2012

Of Vampires and Energy Draining

I've been watching some vampire-themed movies lately (The Lost Boys and Salem's Lot in particular).  So I've got vamps on the brain.  Which of course leads me to think of energy draining.

I've heard folks complain about the D&D vampire for doing a double energy drain in combat.  Some folks complain that vampires in legends, folklore and modern literature and cinema are blood-suckers.  Shouldn't they have a blood draining attack?  Others just complain about the energy drain mechanic in general, and the fact that vampires (and specters) have a double energy drain.

Well, I was thinking about the vampire's attack.  In the literature, vampires tend to suck blood from sleeping or charmed and therefor "willing" victims.  When Van Helsing and Harker come after Drac, he doesn't try to "suck your blood" [please read that in a cheesy Bela Lugosi accent].  Nothing in the D&D write-up of the vampire prevents them from feeding on blood.  But when adventurers attack, no vampire is gonna try and sink their teeth through steel gorgets, and even if they managed that, they wouldn't be able to suck enough blood to cause much damage before they get pummeled with magical weapons and such. 

No, vampires save blood sucking for feeding.  When they're in danger, they use a much more insidious attack, the energy drain.

And of course, we're always tinkering with energy drain, aren't we?  I had been thinking to modify it so that instead of losing levels, a PC just lost the XP.  They would still function as whatever level they were before the attack, they'd just need to earn a lot more XP to get up to the next level.  So, for example, a 5th level Fighter hit by a wight or wraith's energy drain attack would drop down to 12,000 XP (halfway between 4th and 5th), and if hit by a specter or vampire's double energy drain would drop to 6,000 XP (halfway between 3rd and 4th), but in either case would still function as a 5th level Fighter until earning 32,000 XP and making 6th level.

This would save lots of book-keeping.  No need to refigure hit points, attack values, saving throws, spells, Thief skills or undead Turning. 

Another idea I just had this morning would be the opposite.  The PC effectively drops down to whatever level the energy drain attack would drop them to, but the PC keeps their current XP total.  As soon as they make enough XP to gain whatever the next level would be, they get all lost levels back and gain the new level as well.  So, our 5th level Fighter above would function as a 4th level Fighter after a wight/wraith drain, or as a 3rd level Fighter after a specter/vampire drain, as normal.  But would keep his, let's say, 20,850 XP.  When the Fighter earns 32,000 XP, he would become a 6th level Fighter.

I'm not sure which I like better.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Beast of the Week: Slimer

Somethin' strange in your neighborhood?  Who ya gonna call?  Ghostbusters!

Yep, this week's beast is everyone's favorite green binging ghost, Slimer.

AC: 3 (17)
HD: 3*
Move: Fly 150 (50)
Attacks: 1 pass
Damage: special
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Save As: F3
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 50

Slimers are bulbous green lesser ghosts made mostly of ectoplasm.  They can pass through solid objects easily, but leave a slimy coating of ectoplasm behind when they do so.  While mostly immaterial and only damaged by spells or magic weapons, they can manipulate physical objects to a limited extent (Str 3).  They are constantly hungry, as eating replenishes their ectoplasmic mass.  In combat, they do no damage when they hit, but they coat the target with ectoplasm, imposing a -2 penalty to hit rolls, damage, and saving throws.  Anyone hit by a slimer must Save vs. Death Ray or all consumables and paper products (including rations, potions, scrolls, maps and spellbooks) are ruined by the slime.  The slime can be washed off normally, but requires large amounts of water.  Slimers have all the normal undead immunities, and are Turned as wights.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Knowledge is half the battle

It's been two years since I've blogged about rumors.  Time to do so again!

I've been stocking my megadungeon using a "keystone treasures" idea.  There are certain extremely valuable items of treasure in the dungeon, and some known magic items as well.  Rumors about these treasures are easy to come by.  The idea is that by giving rumors of these sorts of treasures, it gives players some goals to shoot for when exploring.

I've also now got lists for the first two levels plus the outer works that provide rumors about monsters, traps, tricks, and red herrings and a few outright lies (but hopefully lies that still lead to interesting locations in the dungeon). 

Now I've thought up a new wrinkle: Class Specific Rumor Tables.

Or if using AD&D, Basic Fantasy, or LL AEC, Class Specific and Race Specific Rumor Tables.

I'm thinking of sorting out all the rumors into areas of knowledge.  Magic-Users are more likely to learn about what sorts of magic items there are down there (and what sorts of spells could be learned, or spellcasting monsters abound).

Clerics learn about relics and shrines, undead, and holy magic items.

Fighters mostly learn about monsters and magical arms.

Thieves learn about tricks and traps and what monsters are likely to have treasures.

Dwarves and Halflings get a mix of Fighter and Thief rumors.  Elves get a mix of Fighter and Magic-User rumors.  There would likely be some demi-human specific rumors on their tables as well.

Also, I can then break down rumors about keystone treasures into groups.  The Adventurer's Guild and the Thieves' Guild can tell you about most monetary keystone treasures.  The old hedge wizard or the alchemist can tell you about wands/staves/rods and miscellaneous magics.  The old arms-master can tell about most magic weapons and armors.  The priests at the temple (or the druids in the grove) can tell about holy relic treasures.  Things like that.

This would give players a bit more of a reason to play a variety of classes (get more rumors), as well as give everyone a reason to be adventuring.

Also, one more idea - every henchman or man at arms hired knows one random rumor.  Another reason to hire help!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Modules: Judge me by my size, do you?

Dylan over at Digital Orc is running a poll about preferred size of print adventure modules.  Pop over there and make your voice heard!  What do you prefer, letter (8.5x11), booklet (5.5x8.5), or some other size?

Personally, I like letter/A4 size, although I've experimented with booklet/A5 size for my Presidents of the Apocalypse rules (still not much happening with them, maybe I should try to run a few tests of the current rules ideas on G+...).

In other news, Joseph Bloch reports that it looks like WotC is gonna reprint 2E AD&D next.   I'm not so excited about this, as I've got my old black cover 2E books from the 90's sitting on the shelf over there, and they're still in really great condition.  They will also be reprinting some modules though, starting with the A (Slave Lords series) and S (funhouse killer dungeons like Tomb of Horrors and Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth) modules.  I wouldn't be surprised if more follow.  These I may be interested in, as I've only got PDFs of AD&D modules.  Plus, as Joe points out, the RC or a BX reprint may be in the works! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Missile Silo of the Maggot Men

Last night was yet another Vaults of Ur game.  Justin wanted to get it in quick because next week he'll be busy.  In the last session, we were wandering around the harpies' thorn maze and getting beaten upon by Dire Cocks.  At the end of the session, we found refuge in a tower.  That's where we started this session.

Players were Dean as Very Elder Karl, Jeremy as Ripper, Ted as Digger, and me as Thidrek.  If you haven't been keeping score on who's who, try some of my older posts on the subject (Constant Con tag).

We rested for the night after making sure that the tower was relatively secure.  The barbed-wire vines that made up the maze were also growing inside the tower.  Ripper and Karl thought they could maybe use some to fashion new shields, but it was no good.  At the top of the tower were red glass windows (unfortunately not ruby or anything worth cash).  Below, we found a large mound that lots of the vines were growing out of, and an airlock or submarine type hatch (similar to the entrance to the tower).  Thidrek, thinking the vines might be sentient and that we could reason with it, tried talking to the vines.  They began moving, the mound quivering (more immature jokes followed), and as he asked, "Tell me, what is it you want?" the vines attacked.  Apparently they want to eat us.

We escaped through the hatch and found ourselves in some very well preserved tunnels, lit by strange green lighting set in the walls.  Thidrek's ability to read Ancient Ur script finally came in handy, as things were labeled "Breeding Vats" and "Living Quarters" and "Experiments" and such.  Yes, this session played much more like a Gamma World game than normal D&D.  I kept hoping for a chance to roll on the GW mutations tables, but no luck (yet - come on, Justin, a Sleestak with radiation eyes or two heads would be awesome, would it not?).

Exploring the bunker, we managed to create some makeshift shields, and then the Maggot Men attacked.  They were basically masses of grubs and worms in a humanoid shape.  Very gross, yet cool.  They attacked with arms and a sort of chest-burster worm from their chest, and latched on.  We managed to put them down without too much damage. 

After a bit more exploration, we found stairs leading up.  Ripper began hacking the door down as a few more maggot men attacked.  When we had the door mostly open and the maggot men were down, we could smell oil beyond the door.  Our kind of trap.  Calling up the stairs, voices answered.  They weren't vulture men, but didn't want to say who they were.  They didn't seem too friendly, but not immediately hostile, either.  We torched their oil (with screams to freak them out, then charged up the stairs.

We were met by six crossbow-armed Beastmen using tables for cover.  They didn't fire immediately, thankfully.  Also, a group of eight Ur Ghouls (mutant nasties) were charging up the stairs behind us.  Together with the Beastmen we fought off the ghouls, with Karl getting paralyzed and almost drug off down the stairs.  The Beastmen took us prisoner, and took us to a large chamber full of their fellows, where we met up with Caradoc (they'd "rescued" him after his battle with the harpies).  They were very interested in Digger's magic armor, Karl's magic stone fist, and Ripper's magic two-handed sword [Ripper and Digger's items coming from the Chicken-man Boss].

So we escaped from the harpies and vulture men, and are with a neutral force.  They don't want us to kill the Carnivorous Apes, so it looks like next session we'll be going back to Fort Low to negotiate with the Priests of the Great Bear.

Beast of the Week: Cauldron Born

A few weeks back, I posted my old stats (from '89 or '90) of my version of Lloyd Alexander's Huntsmen of Annuvin.  Here are the Cauldron Born from the same source, the Prydain Chronicles.  Alexander took the idea of the Cauldron of Rebirth from the Mabinogion (The Tale of Branwen), and like his Arawn, the Cauldron and its contents are much more sinister in Prydain.  Originally I'd made these monsters for a high level plane-hopping adventure that was inspired in equal parts by the Prydain Chronicles and Led Zeppelin's Battle of Evermore.  Never got the adventure completed, but did write up my various Aunnuvin creatures for it.  Anyway, here are the Cauldron Born:

Cauldron Born*
AC: 4 (16)
HD: 5**
Move: 60 (20)
Attacks: 1 weapon
Damage: by weapon +2
No. Appearing: 2d6 (2d6)
Save As: D5
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 425

Cauldron Born are powerful zombies created by an artifact known as the Black Cauldron.  They can be distinguished from normal zombies before combat by the Chaotic holy symbols that are branded onto their foreheads.  They may only be damaged by spells or magical weapons, and both of these always do minimum damage.  They are immune to sleep, charm and hold spells, and to all spells of third level or lower.  Clerics Turn cauldron born as Specials*.  

*If using a rule set other than BECMI/RC, they Turn as the most powerful undead in that ruleset, whatever that may be.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Someone was talking about Gonzo settings

Yesterday or the day before, someone either on a blog or on G+ (just spent the better part of an hour looking for it but not finding it, apologies to whoever it was for this indirect reply) was blogging about the term "gonzo" as it applies to RPG settings, and its opposite.

Specifically, the blogger (it's really bugging me that I can't remember who it was) was looking for a word that would mean "not gonzo."

I thought of the right word this morning in the shower (and it's taken me all day to have the time to finally post about it).  I'd use the word "congruous" for such settings.  To me, a gonzo setting is one full of incongruities, so a gonzo setting is an incongruous setting.  One that is not gonzo, therefor, would be congruous.

So, how does one tell if a setting is gonzo or congruous?  I think applying Jeff Rients' semi-famous description of what D&D is would work.  Once upon a blog post, Jeff said something to the effect that he would describe D&D to a newbie as:

I'm Gandalf, you're Conan, together we fight Dracula.
That's a good formula for evaluation.  And by my reckoning, the above would be a congruous setting (pretty standard D&D goulash, IMO).

A similar formula for a sci-fi game might be:

I'm Starbuck, you're Ellen Ripley, together we fight Ming the Merciless.

An incongruous or gonzo formula might be something like:

I'm Elric, you're Spongebob, together we fight Magneto.
I'm Marc Antony, you're Dana Scully, together we fight Godzilla.

It's not just about cross-genre, though.  It's more like kitchen sink and then some.  It's also got a level of absurdity that just manages to stay on the right side of awesome (so obviously tastes will vary about what is gonzo and what is just silly).  Cross-genre may be congruous, like Tom Moldvay's Lords of Creation (a game I'm only familiar with second hand, but appears to be "I'm Owen Glendower, you're Wyatt Earp, together we fight Morgan La Fey") appears to be not so gonzo from what I've heard of it.  Stephen King's Dark Tower setting also crosses genres without it feeling absurdist.

Congruous settings may be kitchen sink (Gandalf + Conan + Dracula) or may stick to one genre trope (Abraham Van Helsing + Simon Belmont + Dracula), but there's a level of verisimilitude about it that makes it work.  Gonzo settings have enough twists and oddities that they probably shouldn't work, but still do.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Between a cock and a hard place

Due to the Chuseok holiday, we had our latest session of Vaults of Ur Tuesday night.  In our last session, we'd been captured by the harpies and their vulture-men underlings.  This was the continuation.

This time, of course Justin was DM, Jeremy played Ripper the Orc, Dean played Very Elder Karl the Cleric of the Great Bear, Tedankhamen returned as Digger the Orc, and I played Thidrek the Sleestak.  We also had our two henchmen crossbowmen, Pliny the Younger and Thodrick (Rick).

We were taken inside the harpies' iron bramble maze (sorta like dense, oversized barbed wire) and stripped of all ranged weapons and combustibles, but left with everything else.  Poor Thidrek.  He first entered the ruins of Ur with nothing but a crossbow, and that beloved weapon was taken from him and smashed.  I think that affected the poor Sleestak, as he had terrible luck with attack rolls the rest of the night.

We were left on our own then, and Digger showed up, having followed us and infiltrated.  He lent Thidrek a crossbow, but it just wasn't the same.  We started exploring the maze, occasionally hearing a cock crow (Justin had prepped a sound effect for this).  The first oddity were roses growing from the brambles that opened and had human eyes in their centers.  Thidrek applied a torch to one, it withered, and tentacles/pseudopods emerged from the wall and ripped poor Pliny apart.  We managed to sever two of them, and punish the third enough that it retreated into the wall.

More rooster calls.

Next, we were ambushed by some oversized vulture-men (the ones we fought before were about 4' tall, these were 7' to 8' tall).  Thidrek took a beating.  Dire Cocks* (the source of the noise) ambushed us from behind at the same time.  Elder Karl's stone fist sent them flying back into the thorns, killing one and rendering the other near death.

After defeating these foes, we found another area where the thorns widened out, with some sort of tower, and lots and lots of round objects all over the ground - vulture-man eggs.  We were smashing them contentedly when another force of giant vulture-men, with two more dire cocks, and a leader giant with plate and two-handed sword attacked.

This was a killer fight.  Thidrek's shield had been splintered already in the previous fight, so I was starting off underprepared and only had three rounds or so to use the crossbow (missing every time).  The cocks battled Karl, the vulture-men fought the shield-wall orcs, and the big leader guy came after Thidrek (who had been trying to shoot him with the crossbow).  Digger went down to negative hit points (but not dead), and Ripper was having strange pains in his red left eye and a sudden urge to strip off his armor.  When he finally succumbed to the urge a couple rounds later, he transformed into a werebear!

Blessed by the Great Bear in his return to the mortal realm, apparently.

Karl got Digger back on his feet, and the big leader turned from poor Thidrek (who while unable to hit, managed to avoid all of the leader's blows as well) to fight the werebear that had just mangled one of his followers.  One more vulture man joined the battle against Elder Karl as one cock went down, and Digger helped out there.  Thidrek fought a normal vulture man, and actually managed to get a bit of damage in before Ripper-bear took down the leader.

About this time, some harpies started flying over the battle.  They made an attack pass, then grabbed the final vulture-man and flew away with him.  Unfortunately, Thidrek was down at negative hit points and Karl was out of spells.

I had to take a short break to help my son, who had woken up, to pee, and when I got back they were wrapping up and I think we had entered the tower to rest up.  We're not dead yet, but we've got a long way to go to get out of this jam!

It was another fun session.  We may not make it out next time, but we'll cause all kinds of havoc on the way.

*Yes, lots of immature dick jokes and bad puns were made for the remainder of the session, and hence the one in the title of this post.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yeah, I'm a lemming

Your results:
You are Geordi LaForge

Geordi LaForge
Mr. Scott
Will Riker
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Jean-Luc Picard
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Deanna Troi
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Sulu
You work well with others and often
  fix problems quickly. Your romantic
  relationships are often bungled.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz