Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sums up my thoughts pretty well.

I am sick to death of stupid "Edition Wars" posts... but this post from Initiative or What  summed up my thoughts on it almost exactly.  Quote to be exact:

So here's my Dungeons & Dragons philosophy:  I role-play like it's 1st edition, built worlds like it's 2nd edition, manage my game table like it's 3rd edition, and I use the rules for the 4th edition.

Simple as that.  Just in case that's not clear, though, here's a more detailed explanation.

1) "Role-play like it's 1st Edition".  Everyone goes on and on about how the 1st edition and/or OD&D were the best for role-playing.  Gygaz & Arneson wrote such an encyclopedic and esoteric set of rules that there were plenty of gaps on how certain things had to be played out.  What are you left with doing?  Well, role-playing, of course.  It was the only real way to fill in the gaps.  So when you play 4th edition.  Role-play like your playing 1st edition.

2) "Build worlds like it's 2nd Edition".  The second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons saw an explosion of different campaign settings and worlds.  Spelljammer, Dark Sun, & Planescape were just a few of the settings that expanded the AD&D universe.  When you're playing 4th edition, think back to those times and create your worlds like they did in the 2nd edition.  Expand your horizons and don't be afraid to break the mold.

3) "Manage your table like it's 3rd Edition."  For this argument, I'm including the 3.5 edition as well.  The 3rd edition of the game saw in increased emphasis on knowing what the battlefield looked like during an encounter.  The use of miniatures was encouraged, and factors such as line of sight, area of effect, and terrain considerations all became pretty important.  4th edition maintains a great deal of that emphasis.  Keep a good battle mat and some inexpensive counters or miniatures at the table and manage like you would in the 3rd edition.

4) "Use the rules for 4th edition".  The rules are tidy, easy to understand and (for the most part) fairly balanced.  While hard core early edition fans will probably out right reject this statement, it's my personal belief this is the tightest set of rules so far.  It makes DMing much easier than previous editions, and I don't waste a lot of my players time with complicated tables or maths.  They're my rules of choice.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Earthynn Adventure Log!

Our latest adventure log is finished!  It was a great session, lots of good role-playing in this one.  Also I got to finally reveal the arch villain!  :) We had one player missing (our rogue) but an often missing player was able to attend to fill the gap (warlord). I also uploaded the early work-in-progress version of our world map.  Which can be viewed here.

Adventure Log #5

Dragonborn Daring-Do

After arming the people of seaburgh and pointing them toward the future, Tannim set out to rejoin his compatriots. An encounter with a fly-by Vrock and a party of foul, relentless orcs did not slow his progress. Upon reaching the ruined city, the intrepid dragonborn descended into the depths of the ruined city. Following the trail of his companions he went ever further into the depths… The soggy form of a gnoll was discovered, branded with the symbol of Rothn and stabbed with the triple threat of a trident. Further along in the moist tunnels, the dragonborn discovered some foul fishmen…

While resting in the Duergar Theurge’s “lab” the party did some light reading… discovering some facts about Murasha’s underground denizens. On some secret pages, there was a log of people who had met with the Sewer Lord: The Emissary, Illusule, Gultreax, Gloombrood the Black, and others… (I’ll put the full list up later, my notes aren’t handy) just at the end of their rest, the Chime of Awakening awokened the party. A lone sahuagin crawled on his hands and knees in the gloomy hallway. The fishman was inscribing slimy runes on the hallway floor. The runes were trapped, alarms and acid tied into the ancient slimy symbols. The party easily supressed the foul fish magic. Older passageways were blocked by oceans so It was onto the former mud room, which appeared to be leaking…

Crocodile Rock

The former “mud and water-trap” room was now flooded with water, and crocodiles. The vents were on full blast and the water rained down upon the room like a dark mirror of the storms raddling the city above. Even when flanked by enemies on both sides the sahuagin and their reptilian friends attacked with ferocity. The sahuagin priest attempted to bring to bear his horrible magics; however, the party smote him before the foul incantations could pass his scaly lips. The crocodile made their best attempts to feast on the party with their vice-like jaws. The reptiles were dispatched with ease.

This hyena is not laughing

The party ventured back to the old watchtowers and returned to the storm soaked surface. After traipsing about the ruins for a while in search of the Library, they stumbled upon an old fountain and the giant stone head of Rothn (the statue, not the god). A lone hyena sniffed about the fountain, minding his own business, just trying to make his way in this harsh world. The adventurers would have none of that this day. They brought about the poor defenseless hyena’s demise with casual ease. Approaching the scene they spied signs of gnoll-ish encampment surrounding the area. The party took what was of use and while searching the buildings discovered a gnoll, clutching something tightly, sitting next to a trash hole. Dyrge’s diplomacy burned like wildfire… but the stubborn and scared gnoll would not give up his Onyx Dog. The party wrestled with him and stole it away… but when they wrestled with their collective conscious… they lost. The wretched creature warned his pack would be returning, and would deal with them. The gnoll’s prize was eventually returned to him. They opted not to go in the hole and continued onward.

Silence in the Library

Proceeding onto the library, the stalwart explorers found the cathedral-like structure mostly intact. A large magically warded door blocked their path, so they went in the back way – except for Rothak, who went up on the roof to scout it the interior, and promptly fell to the rough streets below. The back room was eerily (and magically) silent, and a few kenku and a destrachan milled about, unaware of their impending doom. The party charged in and killed the beasts with relative impunity. Moving on into the main hall of the library they battled more kenku, and after some fabulous horn blowing, they battled the fearsome feminine forms of three furious harpies. Burning and Entrancing Songs filled the room as the harpies shrieked and sang their way into the fray. The lesser bird ladies lured and repulsed the party to and fro as the burning harpy belched blue flames; however, all was for naught. Their feathery female hides were destroyed beneath the party’s powerful blows.

Delving into the library’s depths the party discovered, oddly enough, books. A few tales penned by Barnaby Biggums, some works on selling fruit, some studies on arcana and religion, and a variety of others. The knowledge imparted by these books… may save the world one day. They also discovered the office of the Librarian, who turned out to be a devout follower of the Patheon of Four, and a devout “follower” of Shillatre the Multifaceted. By reading the kenku-feather bookmarked passages in the Librarian’s journal they also found out about a Tome owned by Shillatre. This tome seemed to create a magical connection between the two and could provide a means to enter Shillastre’s tower. The Librarian treasured it and kept it always in his possession. But the Tome was not to be found in the library.

The adventurers decided to search out the Librarian’s home, to the north of the city. As the rain continued to pour, they found his residence, routed through it, and found only more religious paraphernalia strewn about his simple home. Perhaps the Temple is the answer?

Pack Attack

The journey south toward the Temple was not without incident. A scouting pack of gnolls was almost upon them, so they fled to the confines of an old structure. The gnolls had their hyenas at the front and they quickly smelt out the smelly group of adventurers. Battle was joined. Marresk and Nowhere hurried out the back to try and flank the gnolls, while the others ventured out the front to engage the gnolls head on. The gnolls proved to be a challenge as their pack tactics worked to their advantage. Dyrge’s rousing voice and songs spurred the party to greatness as his curses demoralized their foes. Tannim’s fiery presence tuned their senses and tactics to a razor edge. Marresk took care of the archers, one bow at a time. Nowhere blasted the canine creatures to chaos and back. Rothak weathered the claws, teeth and weapons of the gnolls proudly. Bartok lurked in the shadows. In the end, the party stood tall and their enemies fell short. The Temple of the Four awaited.

A Babe, a Bird, and a Brain walk into a temple…

The huge open air temple loomed ahead. There were massive columns supporting a ceiling that arched over the broken remnants of four huge statues. With some careful scouting some Kenku were spied milling about inside. The party approached and dealt with the kenku. It was then that a section of the temple moved and a stairway was revealed. Three forms ascended. A familiar gnome rogue floated up the stairs, being carried by a hovering, beaked, tentacle-wielding brain, and lastly; a young half-elf woman. She wore a form-fitting midnight blue dress adorned with hand-sewn, shiny, silvery stars. Her blond hair was loosley tied back with purple ribbon, and she carried numerous packs, sachels and pouches stuffed with magical trinkets. Her elaborate dagger rested fitfully in its sheath. Her faintly glowing lavender eyes only added to her beauty. She focused them on the party as a smile spread across her lips. The mistress of the Kenku, the mysterious “She” they had been seeking for so long, was now before them. She greeted them warmly, only to be interrupted by the fiery furor of Tannim. Such despicable monstrosities would not be tolerated. Battle was the only language he chose to speak at this time. The woman and her companions fiercely fought the party, and the woman did her best to teleport her foes into the waiting grasp of the Grell while avoiding danger herself. Despite her curses, it was not long before the young lady stood alone, her foul and feathered friends dead. She did not seem worried, and was actually impressed. But a little sad for her Grell… he had been with her for a long time.

Second star on the right and straight on till insanity

Sally Starlyte introduced herself. Introductions were the first step in a civilized discourse after all. The conversation was informative, but straining on the party. She was rational, polite… but not quite sane. Tempers flared, passions inflamed, arguments argued. Tannim could not tolerate the corruption and Rothak could not tolerate her despoiling of the natural world. But before they attacked anew, they discovered some things. She had been using the kenku to spy on the area, but otherwise left them to their own devices. Sally had Shillastre’s Tome, and a way into the tower. Her power came from those who spoke to her. Walking out of the Temple she pointed to a single star, the voices came from “that one right there”. They appeared to be at an impass… some of the party thought she should be destroyed, other felt now was not the time. Those set on violence attacked the young woman, and she defended herself by tossing a dark green stone on the ground. The stone shattered in crack of thunder and two blue worms appeared, Gricks. Sally blasted forth some dazzling starlight that blinded her adversaries. During the time their allies were blind, Marresk, Nowhere and Dyrge managed to diffuse the situation. Sally agreed to stop sending kenku to Seaburgh (though she seemed to believe most has been destroyed already, the roost had been discovered) and called off her Gricks. She departed, her form cloaked in shadows as she scurried off. One more thing was left to puzzle out – the weird green stone she shattered on the ground was the same as the ones set into the Seaburgh Stone Amulets that the party were given many weeks ago by Clara Clove…