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  • #61
    D&D Adventurers League--

    Last month, Minmaxer ran an adventure for D&D AL that was an homage to the Carmen Sandiego games. (Actual, 3rd-party publisher adventure!) The party is tasked with tracking a master thief called Camille Santiago, and there are many punny names throughout the adventure (as there were for Sandiego's crew in the old games) before we capture her. Two weeks later, Minmaxer ran "Part 2," a follow-up adventure where Camille Santiago escapes from prison and the party has to go catch her again.

    This week, Minmaxer began a longer campaign, just as DM Spencer did last summer with the Spelljammer campaign Light of Xaryxis. We began Descent into Avernus with effectively two shorter adventures, back to back. Getting a lot of our Level 1 characters up to Level 3 by the end of the night. But during the second half of our run, the party needs to get some information from a notorious thief in Baldur's Gate, a thief who already has at least two aliases by the time the party met her, and described names as being like hats, and preferring to have a lot of them.

    We end up having to defend this thief against a crew of thugs that turned up, angry cuz their boss had been bested in dice games by the thief. The thief joins in the fight, lands a blow on the thug captain, and Minmaxer describes her as flourishing a bit and reaching up to tip her hat to him, but remembering she isn't wearing a hat. I quipped about, "I'm having flashbacks to Camille Santiago." I said it out of character, but Minmaxer looked at me and says, in character as the thief, "Camille Santiago... that's a good name, I'm gonna use that."

    I stopped, looked at him and said, "Wait... is she a half-elf?" He confirmed it, then pointed to the mini he was using for the thief. It was the same mini as the one he'd specifically 3D printed and painted for Camille. I hadn't thought too much of it, since he frequently will use other minis as placeholders. When I started laughing, he beckoned me to peek behind his DM screen and pointed to his notes for the thief. There it was-- "Turina/Camille" -- the thief's current alias and her future alias. I'm laughing my ass off as Minmaxer says, "This is part of the origin story. I was gonna reveal that at the end of the adventure, but you saw through it."

    Even when Minmaxer is doing an "official" adventure, he'll find ways to make it more unique and special for his recurring players.
    PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

    There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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    • #62
      Mysteries of Albia--

      This week's case had us tackling a Jack the Ripoff case, an adaptation of an adventure module about a serial killer called Red Jack, stalking the streets and alleys of the Kappelweiss borough of Victorium. This region happens to be where Charlie Tango, my character, grew up. So there were a few NPCs who recognized him as "Charlie Tango, the war hero." Which just embarrassed him, since he doesn't think of himself as one.

      But as we're leaving a pub where we got some info from one of Charlie's old friends, a local bully called Macheath mockingly called out to him. Charlie kind of blew him off, in a very Seinfeld/Newman kind of way, until Macheath snidely said, "You know we used to call him Charlie T-- T for 'Trollop's Son!'" And here's the thing... yes, Charlie's mum earned some extra coin "by arrangement" and he accepts that, but you still don't talk about his mum like that.

      So Charlie draws his gun and points it in his face, but Macheath wouldn't stop running his mouth. So our Rogue kicks him in the nuts to kick off initiative. Then Druid wildshapes into a bear, attacks Macheath, and then Charlie shoots him in the knee. Then we hung him by the arms from a street lamp with a sign reading, "I Talk Shit About Other People's Mothers Because I Don't Have One." And Charlie warned him, "If you shoot your mouth off again, I'll shoot it off your face."

      I kind of knew that a bunch of Charlie's past would come up soon, since the DM had asked for any details about some of the NPCs recently, but hadn't been expecting it all to play out in one go.
      PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

      There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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      • #63
        That's a strong bit of roleplaying. I love it when DMs incorporate your backstory into the story and world. I've had DMs who have completely ignored the backstory I've written for characters, and it was super frustrating.
        "I look at the stars. It's a clear night and the Milky Way seems so near. That's where I'll be going soon. "We are all star stuff." I suddenly remember Delenn's line from Joe's script. Not a bad prospect. I am not afraid. In the meantime, let me close my eyes and sense the beauty around me. And take that breath under the dark sky full of stars. Breathe in. Breathe out. That's all."
        -Mira Furlan

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        • #64
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          I kid, of course!
          Skilled programmers aren't cheap. Cheap programmers aren't skilled.

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          • #65
            Quoth Ghel View Post
            That's a strong bit of roleplaying. I love it when DMs incorporate your backstory into the story and world. I've had DMs who have completely ignored the backstory I've written for characters, and it was super frustrating.
            Yeah, I freely admitted that I screwed up in our Curse of Strahd campaign. I had been fairly light on the backstory for Dolan Brakenshield, my dwarf paladin, and the first time something came up that would have explored the backstory, I played it wrong. There'd been a pendant we found on the road out of Barovia Town, with a picture of a female dwarf resembling him, and named "Irena Brakenshield." Instead of leaning into this, I had Dolan shut it down immediately, "I don't have any relatives named Irena," and then warn the rest of the party about speaking too much about themselves.

            And then we did that, for too long. It wasn't until much, much later in the campaign that we started opening up more about ourselves. I admitted in our post-campaign wrap-up that I played it wrong. So I was more forthcoming with information for the DM, while still leaving things open for him to throw in to surprise me.

            I know we'll probably run into something connected to our Rogue at some point. She's on the run from some kind of thieves' guild called the Lightning Guild, and keeps asking after them. And our Druid is tied to the sort of fey resistance movement in Ireland-- his player's admitted to being inspirated by the IRA for the character-- and we don't know WHAT is going on with regards to Beckett and his backstory yet. But it's good to see the DM is incorporating this stuff into our adventures.
            PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

            There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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            • #66
              Forgot to mention something that happened a couple of weeks ago at Adventurers League--

              New player at the tables is also new to the area, an Australian guy. Not unusual-- one of the other newer players I've played with recently is German-- but in the Aussie's case I told him from the get-go, "I apologize in advance, my echolalia might make me mimic your accent sometimes, I'm not trying to take the piss." Then I had to explain what echolalia is; in my case I have a tendency to "pick up" the accents that I hear, and while I don't always immediately mimic it, it can start to happen a bit unconsciously. I wanted to forestall any assumptions that I was doing it out of mockery.
              PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

              There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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              • #67
                I think that happens to everyone to some extent. You're just better at it than the rest of us!

                Last night I got together with a friend of mine for dinner and a game. We played a two-player game of Arboretum, a card game about building a garden of trees. The scoring mechanic is odd and I always forget it, especially since it seems to be a long time between plays. And somehow reading the rules doesn't seem to get the ideas to sink in correctly.

                There are up to ten species of trees. (With two players, we used six of them.) Each have eight cards, numbered from 1 to 8. At the end of the game, you score up "paths" of each species of tree that you have played down to the table in front of you. BUT--you can only score one path for a given species, and ONLY if you have the largest total numbers for that species STILL IN YOUR HAND at the end of the game! For instance, if you have a 2 and a 3 of Oaks in your hand, but your opponent has a 6 of Oaks, he can score the Oak trees and you cannot. Even if he doesn't have any oak trees on the board... There's an added twist that a 1 of a species in your hand will turn an 8 of that species in your opponent's hand to value 0, which is even meaner.

                More by chance than planning, I was able to build one really good path and win the game.
                “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.
                One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.
                The other, of course, involves orcs." -- John Rogers

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                • #68
                  I believe this may be very useful in working out the species

                  If anyone does have an online game they don't mind an extra bod joining in, I'd love to.The only problems I usually have are my computer is so old and slow that it doesn't like Discord and since I'm in England, evening US games will be about 1-4 am over here and that time is reserved for special activities in my bed*












                  *sleeping of course.What did you think?!
                  The Copyright Monster has made me tell you that my avatar is courtesy of the wonderful Alice XZ.And you don't want to annoy the Copyright Monster.

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                  • #69
                    Sadly--very sadly for an old Python fan like me--they do not have the Larch as one of the species in this game!
                    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.
                    One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.
                    The other, of course, involves orcs." -- John Rogers

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                    • #70
                      D&D Adventurers' League--

                      I missed a couple of weeks, since they've been having issues with their site preventing sign-up going live until later in the week, and by the time I get home to see the news that sign-ups were open, the tables had filled up. But I got in on a Tier 2 adventure for this week.

                      Basically, the party was investigating a disappearance of a Candlekeep monk around this temple of Sune, the goddess of beauty, which is basically a healthy and beauty spa/retreat. We're all pretty suspicious from the get-go, and it turns out the three "sisters" who run the place are in fact a coven of hags. Our first combat encounter was against the spa attendants, who were actually scarecrows. When my Bladesinger slashed one of the attendants and found straw spilling out of the wound instead of blood, I described them as going, "Oh! Interesting..." with a grin on their face. Sure enough, my next turn, I figured out the best place to cast Fireball, which basically annihilated most of the attendants. Aussie was playing a bugbear Gloomstalker with crossbow expert feat, and basically "shotgunned" the fiendish concierge with crossbow bolts.

                      When we went to challenge the hags, another player sent their snake familiar up the stairs ahead of us, which is the only reason none of the party got destroyed by the glyph of warding that the hags had put at the top of the stairs. But Aussie's Gloomstalker "shotgunned" one of the hags on his turn, getting three attacks (with two Nat-20s), bringing her from 94 HP to 5. Sadly, this made him the target of their first attack, got hit with Blight and got instantly downed. While people healed him back to consciousness, he wasn't able to get back into the fight as AoE attacks kept applying and downing him again.

                      My Counterspell paid dividends as well, as I was able to twice prevent the hags from casting spells that would have seriously affected the party. (One hag targeted my Bladesinger with Otto's Irresistible Dance, another later tried to Blight our Eldritch Knight.)

                      I talked with Minmaxer-- who has the same name as Aussie-- afterward and said, "He almost out-Snerk'd Snerk." Snerk was Minmaxer's bugbear Battlemaster Fighter from our Spelljammer campaign last year. This got the two of them talking character builds and such, and I happily left them to it.
                      PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

                      There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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                      • #71
                        Mysteries of Albia--

                        The DM had given us some "homework" in the three-week absence we had after the Red Jack case, prompting each us to tell him about a choice our PCs had made that they regretted or wished they could go back and do differently. I related to him something from Charlie's backstory in his time in the war, when he and his scouting partner discovered a massive enemy force was moving toward both their forward camp and the army's fort, and they didn't have time to warn them both. They split up to try to do so, and Charlie went back to the fort. The fort was able to fortify and repel the enemy force, but the forward camp (and Charlie's partner) was wiped out. Charlie was seen as a "hero" for getting the message back to the brass, but he regrets it because he lost all of his friends.

                        In our new case, a village had disappeared-- only one young boy had escaped disappearing and gotten word to the police-- after a traveling jester came to town. All of the villagers had walked into her wagon and never came back out. We went in, and found ourselves entering "Tasha's Madhouse," some sort of fey demiplane. One of the doorways led into a hall of mirrors, which showed reflections of "alternate selves," related to those choices. Knives, the violent alter of our rogue, saw Vash, her regular alter, in the mirror. She touched the mirror, and they swapped places-- but then the DM told Vash, "Knives isn't there anymore." He passed Vash's player a note, and Vash's player read it and looked shocked. The reflections spoke and basically intimated that the jester running the madhouse might give her back if we survived.

                        There were also short-term madnesses that some of the characters were afflicted with, and at one point, Beckett was hit with a compulsion to eat offal (organs) for several minutes. We rescued one of the villagers (the boy's sister) and killed a couple of monsters, and then Beckett started eating them while Vash and our Druid started investigating some of the magical items in the room. I let them do this for a bit, then interrupted to say, "While all this is going on, Charlie's going to go up to the girl and check on her. Because you all forgot about her, and I wanna be like 'Bitch, you okay!?'" (We've joked this may become our catchphrase.) She was fine, reassured that her little brother was still alive, and then, as Beckett's compulsion wore off and he started puking up the offal he'd just eaten, this triggered a chain of vomiting from the rest of the party, while Charlie just turned the girl away and told her, "You don't want to watch this."
                        PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

                        There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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                        • #72
                          Two days of gaming this weekend! Each day involved a short "player summoning" game, and a longer more involved game.

                          Both days, the "player summoning" game of choice was "Just One", which I may have mentioned before. It's a cooperative guess-the-word game, where one player picks a card at random with a word on it, and shows it to everyone while they don't see it themselves. Everyone then writes down a one-word clue, while the guesser leaves the room (or at least closes their eyes and stops listening). Clues are revealed, and if any clues are duplicated then all duplicates are removed. So it is possible to wind up with no clues to guess from... On Sunday, one of the words was "Venus"; two people wrote "second" as a clue and three wrote "planet". All five clues gone. One wrote "goddess" and I wrote "deMilo". (Which may not really count as a single word, but they were willing to give me the benefit of the doubt. I figured "Willenberg" was too obscure and didn't think of "armless" until today.) Fortunately those two were more than good enough.

                          The long game on Saturday was "Terraforming Mars", which I have written about before. One member of both of those groups is quite obsessed with it, and always lobbies to play it. (In previous years, she was much the same way about "Puerto Rico".) I wound up last in that game, after starting out fairly mediocre and then gradually falling further behind every generation (turn). The winner started with a good "Corporation" and very good initial cards to go along with it, while my initial cards had absolutely nothing at all to do with my Corporation so I couldn't gain any extra advantages that way...

                          The same gal showed up on Sunday and got a Terraforming Mars game going there too, but I didn't feel like playing two days in a row. Instead I played "Outpost", which I had only played once before and most people there were very familiar with. It's an economic production game, where the object more or less is to build your economy to make money to build your economy--and most of the parts of the economy you build are worth victory points at the end of the game. Your income is never static, as you draw different types of cards that are worth varying amounts of money (e.g. the ore cards are worth 1-5, the water cards are worth 4-10, and so on). You pay the total cost for things but don't get any change. Some things you just buy outright, while other things you bid against other players for. I came in last, again, to the other person who had only played the game a couple of times. The difference was one point. The winner was pretty obvious by about mid-game, when he was able to pick up two very good production units for relatively cheap. Still, it was interesting.

                          Next game session won't be for a while, and it will be back to simpler stuff. The group that I'll be hanging with doesn't like complex games.
                          “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.
                          One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.
                          The other, of course, involves orcs." -- John Rogers

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                          • #73
                            Forgot to mention a fun little interaction from Mysteries of Albia two weeks ago.

                            At the start of the session, we dealt with the aftermath of the Red Jack case, as there was an official inquiry. The reason was because our report had stated that the murders were perpetrated by a vengeful ghost that was possessing people, but official (state) church doctrine says that deceased spirits don't linger on the material plane without someone performing necromancy. Prior to our reporting to the court to testify, Charlie met with his old commanding officer, Major Walken, who reminisced about the war, before giving Charlie his old service weapon, a +2 revolver. (The DM had suggested he would be doing something like this, to help offset my "lackluster" efforts in combat situations, which are mostly down to my bad luck with the dice gods.)

                            Later on, the young boy who brought the case to our detective agency's attention was generally down and miserable when we spoke to him, and Beckett gave him some food. And when I say "gave him some food," I should note that we went to the briefing room to speak with the kid directly from a big celebration party, and several of us grabbed food before going into the briefing, and Beckett had piled a plate high with it. He never touched it as we heard the kid out, before Beckett gave him his food. (This, along with Beckett being a devout acolyte of the state church, is why Charlie's dubbed him "Saint Beckett.")

                            We finished up the (gentle) questioning of the boy, and were preparing to leave to go investigate his village. At which point I said, "Before we leave [to go to the village], since he now has this fancy new gun, Charlie is going to leave his old gun with the--" and before I could finish the sentence ("--armorer"), one of the other players jumped in with, "--with the boy!?" This broke the table, even as I quietly fumed at the assumption, though I did crack a few jokes along with everyone else about that image. (A lot of Southern accents popping up. "You're a man now, boy...")
                            PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

                            There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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                            • #74
                              I was half expecting the boy to be a necromancer, shown out because he refused to eat the food Beckett gave him. But if that scene happened before you investigated the village and explored "Tasha's Madhouse," I suppose that wouldn't make sense.
                              "I look at the stars. It's a clear night and the Milky Way seems so near. That's where I'll be going soon. "We are all star stuff." I suddenly remember Delenn's line from Joe's script. Not a bad prospect. I am not afraid. In the meantime, let me close my eyes and sense the beauty around me. And take that breath under the dark sky full of stars. Breathe in. Breathe out. That's all."
                              -Mira Furlan

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Nah, the boy was just a bit stunned at the amount of food put in front of him. Beckett's a big guy (we routinely describe him as "six-foot-four and built like a pro wrestler") and has a big appetite.
                                PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

                                There are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

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