Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pathfinder Xhuul: Game 2

Two weeks ago, on Saturday, our group got together to continue the Pathfinder campaign set in my home-brew world of Xhuul.  When we last played, the game ended with the group deciding that since some of the characters were low on hit points and spells, they were going to hole up in one of the rooms and rest.  I knew as a GM that it was a terrible idea, given that they had not cleared out the first level which was the home of a group of Kobolds.  I gave them hints that trying to set up a camp in an active monster lair would not be conducive to resting comfortably.  The group agreed and decided to exit the Emerald Spire and head into the ring of jungle that surrounded it and made a camp.  Malik the Fighter made a high Survival roll, so I determined they found a good spot that provided them with decent cover and a elevated spot so that the daily rain showers that lasted  3 or 4 hours would not flood them out.  The rest of the day and night passed uneventfully.

The next morning, the party re-entered the Emerald Spire.  The human cleric, Arkon cast several Light spells on everyone, in order to enable everyone to see in the dark.  There is a magical effect that suppresses any light source to a 5-foot radius, so it helps a little.  The party learned that they all had to stay within 5-feet of each other in order to "chain" the overlapping Light spells to get a line of sight of each other and anything they were next to.  Only, Brogan the dwarf Rogue wasn't affected because he has Darkvision.  Kord, the gnome sorceror cast his Mage Armor spell before they entered.  Arkon entered first and tripped a wire that caused a string of metal shards to ring out an alarm!  The Kobolds had set up this warning system to alert them of intruders after they discovered their slain comrades killed by the party the day before.  Immediately, they were attacked by 2 Kobolds firing arrows from another doorway to the east.  They were of course hidden in the darkness and beyond the range of the Light spells.  Another two Kobolds stealthily squeezed through a barricade that blocked off the south part of the room, that was to the rear of the party, and attacked Arkon, armed with spears.  Brogan set off a trap that dropped a vial of acid to the floor.  He nimbly avoided it, but some of the acid splashed and hit Malik.

The party made quick work dispatching 3 of the 4 Kobolds.  The remaining Kobold, retreated to the room where the party discovered the trap which would collapse a large section of rubble on top of anyone from the day before.  The party did not follow tise Kobold because they figured he was going to set off the trap if they did (they were right). The party decided to head to a set of double doors that Brogan lead them to using his darkvision.  They entered the guard room that Brogan discovered last time when he traversed the secret tunnel the day before.  This room was empty, except for a table and four chairs.  Just then, the Kobold who ran away from them emerged from the secret tunnel and took a shot at Arkon but missed.  The party killed the Kobold quickly as it was wounded from the earlier fight.  They searched the area and found nothing of value.  At this time they decided to go back and do another sweep of the rooms they had cleared earlier.  They found another acid vial trap that they did not trigger.  Brogan managed to disarm it and retrieved the acid flask.  Then they returned back to the room guard room.  There was a door to the south and a 5-foot wide hallway leading west which contained a door on the north wall of the hallway and a pair of double doors directly opposite on the south wall, with the hallway continuing west past the doors, leading to a larger chamber beyond.

The party investigated the door on the north wall in the hallway and discovered it was locked.  Brogan did not spot any traps and managed to pick the lock after two tries.  The door opened to a 15' by 15' store-room containing supplies and weapons.  Most of the weapons where of poor condition and made for a small-sized humanoid.   The supplies were contained in several boxes and crates and mostly held food-stuffs and general supplies, like rope, tools and trail rations.  They searched the room, but did not find anything of any great value.  They party determined if they could load the contents of the room in a cart or wagon, it might fetch 100gp back in Throxia.

Next, the party decided to check out the double-doors across the hallway.  Determining that the doors were not trapped, Brogan opened one of the doors, which opened into a 10' x 10' landing with a set of stairs curving downward and was immediately attacked by two Kobolds armed with spears.  Behind these two Kobolds were another two armed with bows, who fired arrows.  Brogan got hit several times to zero hit-points, staggered but standing.  Arkon cast an Obscuring Mist spell that helped level the playing field a little between them and the Kobolds, by impairing their vision.  This effectively impaired the Kobolds with the bows as they could not see beyond 5 feet in front of them due to the Obscuring Mist and since they were stuck behind the ones armed with spears, they really couldn't do anything else.  The party eventually killed the Kobolds and they investigated the stairs, but made the decision not to go down until they cleared the 1st Level.

They discovered that the circular wall to the left side of the stairs that spiralled downwards was made of a glowing translucent green stone that was different than the greenish stone that the rest of the structure they had been going through was made of.  They found a strange glyph carved into the stone above the landing.  It detected as magic and a read magic spell translated the marking as the number "One".  They made a copy of the glyph and proceeded into the large chamber at the end of the hall.

At this point we ended the game as we usually only play for 4 hours and it was our usual ending time.  At this point they have explored about half the structure, and they have earned enough XP to be about 2/3rds the way to Level2.  There are a couple of boss fights upcoming and now that the place has been alerted to the party's presence, they'll be brought into play sooner and in different locations than where they normally would be encountered.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tyranny of Dragons Minis

For my birthday I received an Amazon gift card.  I bought a booster box of the new Tyranny of Dragons minis from Wiz-Kids.  I also purchased the first module of the new Pathfinder Iron Gods Adventure Path titled "Fires of Creation".  The premise of the adventure path is the introduction of technological items into the Pathfinder world of Golarion.  A massive starship crashed in the barbaric land of Numeria some time in the distant past and it has altered that land in strange ways due to radiation, leaked chemicals and rogue robots and androids.  This really hits my Gamma World buttons and I love it.  Because it is set in a land of barbarian tribes and warlords, it's really screams Thundarr the Barbarian to me.  You can even see some influences from the old TSR module "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks".

But anyway, back to the minis.  I received the minis today and opened the box.  I received a Huge Stone Giant, a Human Paladin (which I am going to get good use out of since I am playing one in a Rise of the Runelords game), a Wood Elf Druid and a small Mane Demon.  These minis look good and my only gripe is that you can't read the label that identifies the mini on the underside of the base.  Only the Huge mini is readable because for some reason Wiz Kids put the label in white ink, but didn't do so for the other minis.  Very strange.  At least the Pathfinder Battles minis are consistent that all of the labels are readable in white lettering.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thinking About D&D 5th Edition

So, I downloaded the free PDF of the D&D Basic Rules for 5E and read through it.  I was skeptical about this new version of D&D and I did not participate or read about any of the play-testing, so I was curious about how it all turned out.  I like what I see, especially that combat has been stripped down and using a grid is optional.

One of my gripes about Pathfinder is the tactical miniatures play and how long it takes to get through a combat encounter.  Things really slow down because players spend so much time optimizing their position on the board for the best combat advantage and reducing their risk (I'm looking at you Attacks of Oppurtunity!).  It's almost like playing chess sometimes and I don't like my role-playing games devolving into a board game.  But given that the combat section discusses movement and some class abilities trigger when allies or enemies are withing 5 feet of you, I wonder if the game can truly be played gridless?

A lot of people out there in the blog-o-verse are playing 5E and the general consensus is that they are liking the game and it is fun to play.  Sure, it has its faults, but I think those are easily remedied with house-rules.  I'm enjoying reading other people's play-reports to see how the game runs.

A friend of mine let me borrow copy of the new Players Handbook to read.  There looks like some good stuff in it.  I'm not sure about the Feats.  If I were to run a game, I would want to keep it as simple and fast to play as possible.  Once you start introducing more options, it can start to drag things down.  Those fighter archetypes of Eldritch Knight and Battle Master (4E's Warlord) I was disappointed by.  You would think that Wizards could have come up with better archetypes for the fighter instead of using it for a vehicle to shoe-horn in previous edition Prestige Classes and Classes as a sub-class.  Some of the other classes suffer from this as well, such as the Rogue's Arcane Trickster archetype.  I never really liked the Warlock class.  Why introduce yet another arcane spell-using class?  What, the Wizard is no longer viable anymore? 

Frankly, I think sticking with the Basic Rules and using the Backgrounds to flesh out the character is good enough than adding more classes.  Want to play a Ranger?  Pick a Fighter and take the Outsider Background.  Play a Bard?  Pick the Rogue and the Entertainer background. Done and Done.

I may post more thoughts on 5E in another post.