D&D Tales – Talos Would Not Approve

Adam continues his descent into roleplaying games in a new D&D campaign.

For the third session, nearly our whole adventuring group was present. While Daria the monk lay upstairs in the inn recovering from rat inflicted wounds, and Amber the ranger was away at army, Eldo Timbers Cracklebang, Artin Holderhek and Carnicula Vorator all approached the town of Greenest. Trudging into a town still slightly smouldering and aflame they found a relief effort under way following the attack from the dragon cultists. In the square they found the town governor in discussion with Ravoprax, Nausicaä and Red, all now level 2. He had been telling us about a purple cloaked woman who oversaw the sacking of the tax wagon, stealing gold as part of the cultist plan to raise the dragon queen Tiamat. Welcoming the new recruits, Governor Nighthill requested that we all as a group follow the cultists that lay waste to Greenest and scout their camp to find out their plans.

buster army

We were then approached by a hooded man, who asked us to look out for Leosin Erlanthar, his brother in arms. Both Red and Artin were familiar with Leosin, in fact he had summoned both to Greenest to help with the cultist problem. During the fighting the previous night, Leosin had been knocked out and captured. It is imperative that the cult doesn’t find out what he knows about their plans.

The group headed down the road after the debris and tracks of the cultists. Ravoprax, as a level 2 druid, used the Wild Shape ability to transform into a hawk to scout ahead. A mile in front he saw a group of cultists and kobolds gathered round a cooking fire. We sneaked up and Carnicula cast minor illusion, making the image of a small dragon made of fire float above the camp. All the enemies bunched together, falling down before the apparition. Red, after I asked the DM how solid a massive nearby boulder was, attempted to knock it over onto the kobolds. It was such a terrible idea it needed a total score of 25 to succeed… and it didn’t. So Red smacked face first into the boulder, knocking out a tooth.

wile eThe cultists and kobolds all turned to attack the nearby fighter and barbarian, and one hit a critical on Red that would have killed pretty much anyone else – barbarian HP is pretty decent even at level 2. Ravoprax then turned into “a motherfucking bear” (Wild Shape is probably my favourite ability so far) and bit one cultist’s head straight off, tore through another’s shoulder and took out his chest, and mashed the last to the ground,  Eldo burned up two kobolds with Sacred Flame, and Red cut two in half with a swing of her great axe. Nausicaa again “sassily” crossbowed one and Artin killed another.

bear

Carnicula, having been absent from the previous game, complained that this all wasn’t as hard as we had let on and, despite the fact that he had kept to the outside of the fight, he thought there had been no danger. An ambush drake then appeared behind him and nearly killed him in one hit, while another confronted Ravoprax. Carnicula hurriedly tried to heal himself and hide from the first one behind a tree, doing an awful job of it. Red and Ravoprax, in his bear guise, made short work of the other ambush drake. Finally, together with Red, Artin finished off the other ambush drake before it ate Carnicula.

ambush drakeWe looted and healed, and Carnicula tried to quietly cut off a portion of one of the cultists to eat, rolling terribly. As Eldo seemed the most disgusted, he cast a mental message pretending to be his god Talos, convincing Eldo to trust him and stay close to him. The players then started holding hands. It was weird. We also stole the cloaks of the cultists, and Eldo decided to stitch two together to make one for Ravoprax specifically in his bear transformation, meaning we were left without enough cloaks for everyone. Ravoprax scouted ahead again as a hawk, and soon we came to a large camp with high walls and a single entrance.

While deciding what to do, whether to send for word back to Greenest or go in, Artin scaled down the scree on the side of the camp, sneaking in for a closer look. Aware that there were at least the numbers attacking the town the previous night, and potentially more, Red, Nausicaa and Ravoprax adopted a more careful approach. Using two cultist cloaks, and relying on reverence for dragonborns, the three walked in the front entrance with Ravoprax leading. while Eldo and Carnicula went around the top of the camp, staying hidden but level in case support is needed.

The camp seemed quiet, but nearby were four dragon claws overseeing prisoners chopping wood. After some very high charisma checks, we chatted to them, We convinced the leader Bishtar to give us two of the slaves, and we took them to one side. They were of little help though, just telling us roughly how many enemies there were (too many to fight) and begging us to help them and the others. On the other side of the camp, Artin approached a large tent and lifted up a peg in corner, seeing a woman in a purple cloak yelling at a blue half-dragon (Langdedrosa), berating him for wasting time with the adventurers the previous night rather than securing the tax wagon and the treasure.

Meanwhile up on the ridge, Carnicula drank some of Eldo’s dragon blood from his bottomless flask (from the first night, as winner of the Ring of Punchfight). As the DM rolled for the result, Carnicula looked on excitedly as he expected to get some sort of magical dragon powers… then all of his hair fell out.

dragons blood

Next to the command tent was Leosin, tied up. Artin moved in to try and rescue him, while Eldo cast a fog on the guard tower as a distraction. Ravoprax and Artin freed Leosin and helped pull him up the ridge. The dragonborn then convinced Bishtar that up at the entrance we lost the first two slaves, and sent him and the remaining dragon claw to go and help find them, saying he would guard the last three slaves. He freed them, and as Bishtar and his friend got to Red and Nausicaa they were dispatched quickly. Before we departed, Carnicula again drank another shot of dragons blood, and rendering everyone nearby (so just us) vulnerable to piercing damage. So we left the camp pretty quickly.

Back at Greenest Leosin told us he was part of ‘The Harpers’ who stand for justice and against tyranny. He needs to talk to his superiors, and will talk to us later about dealing with the dragon cult. We got a small reward for our efforts and a free stay at the inn while we planned our next move.

…finally Carnicula had one more shot of dragons blood, and turned invisible.

Everyone levelled up, so Red, Ravoprax and Nausicaa all hit level 3. This is when most classes can start making choices for specialities to get more interesting abilities. For me, as tempting as ‘Path of the Berserker’ was, I decided on the other barbarian option of ‘Path of the Totem Warrior’ for Red as it should be a little more interesting and fun.

Come back next time as we continue to investigate the dragon cult, and almost certainly stop the raising of Tiamat before she lays waste to the entire Sword Coast.

Adam 

The Lost Lighthouse First Thoughts Review: Through The Breach RPG

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Gary checks out Wyrds first pen and paper RPG

After almost a years extra wait, my Through The Breech (TTB) Kickstarter has arrived! Now I’m not going to go on a rant about Wyrd not delivering on time etc etc because of one simple thing, they communicated! Because of the tardiness backers also got a free Arcane fate deck and a Lilith crew. Thank you very much!

In this article I will make reference to the fictional world and the actual miniature game ‘Malifaux’. If you are unaware of this amazing game and story then it’s probably worth check out Ben’s article here before continuing with this one.

I’m a massive fan of pen and paper RPGs, and when I found out that Wyrd were releasing one for Malifaux I got very excited! I was even more excited when I learnt that Mack Martin was the lead designer.

For me the two most important elements to a great RPG are mechanics and character creation. The mechanics should be smooth but not so simple that it’s not worth going through the motions, and they should never NEVER stop the story from being the star role. Character creation should be fun and get you excited about playing him/her. It’s should be clear as it’s normally new players doing it and should explain, in-game, what the stats and skills you’re choosing relate to.

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The Cross Road Tarot helps build your character

So, does Wyrds new baby cut the mustard? Well, in my humble opinion, yes but with a few caveats. Character creation is very close to being perfect but it slips up on some very basic things. To me, it’s written as if you already know how to do it and the steps are just a simple summary of what you need to do. A little more detail here is sorely needed. In the pursuits section, your started talent isn’t even labeled as such. Basic stuff like this can be confusing to a new player.

Mechanics in mind, to put it very simply, if you know how to play Malifaux you can learn this very quickly. Which is fantastic! It’s exactly as any Malifaux fan would want it. They do add some extra actions to make ‘dramatic time’ more interesting. The other thing you need to know is you use cards from a communal ‘fate deck’, rather than dice like most RPGs. At times though, constant flipping of cards slows down the story and at other points the cards seem a bit shoehorned in. But these are very rare occasions, and I think the design team have done a great job. I think it must have been difficult to build the mechanics around the cards but it’s turned out very nicely indeed. Personally, I’d still rather roll some dice, but I do love dice.

Should you buy into this system? If you love Malifaux and want to get into pen and paper RPGs then this is a perfect gateway game but hopefully Wyrd will release some sort of ‘helper’ PDF for character creation. If you are already into pen and paper RPGs, don’t over look this one as it has some cool new takes on the genre. If you’re not at all into Malifaux then maybe give it miss but if there’s even a hint of steam punk love in your pneumatic bones then give it a go!

On friday we shall be releasing a mini-cast where ‘The Tabletop Project’s own Jan Proudley creates his character with Gary.

Love to your mothers

Gary.