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Month: July 2010

76. Curse of the Queen of Thorns (CORM 1-6)

For the second module of the day, Jimmy ran Curse of the Queen of Thorns. I swear I very rarely choose modules for the bundles, but I admit I wanted to play this one for the Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor. Such a good item, even though the damage bonus doesn’t stack with Reed’s radiant weapon. The extra use of an encounter power is still good, and I’ll have more flexibility to use different damage types without giving up damage this way.

Powergame much? Well, sometimes.

Amanda joined me, Susan, Hudson, Jason B., and Mark B. on the player side of the screen. Her warlord, Kiera, is a serious Cormyr loyalist, so this module was awesome for her. We got very diligent about handling every single threat to the realm, which somehow wound up with four PCs sitting in a mausoleum an hour’s ride from the palace, while Kiera and Reed held down the fort at the palace itself. We expected and got simultaneous attacks on both locations. Jimmy scaled both fights for six players.

It worked out surprisingly well. The away team dealt with their problem pretty quickly, and Kiera and Reed played survival and gonzo damage dealer respectively. I think we actually might have been able to finish up the palace fight alone, although we’d have needed some luck, but the away team managed to teleport back in time to finish off the last monster. It helped that Reed and Faral were level 14 and we were playing on low, but it was still pretty tense.

75. Closing a Deal (WATE 2-2)

7/24 was the first paragon game day for the Baltimore area crowd, since a full seven of us had played characters up to level 11 the old-fashioned way. (You kids. My lawn. Get off it.) Amanda ran Closing a Deal for me, Susan, Jimmy, Hudson, Jason B., and Mark B. Yay, Waterdeep!

Why, yes, it’s a very talky module. I don’t want to spoil certain surprises, but this is definitely a good place to let go of your preconceptions about the structure of LFR modules. Amanda did an awesome job running paragon tier for the first time, as preparation for her Gencon GMing stint. Reed and Faral helped out Lord Moonstar for a second time. Unfortunately he’s only looking for P1 help and they’re about to level – still nice to see the old chap once more.

74. Mystery of Deepwater Harbor (WATE 1-4)

Mystery of Deepwater Harbor was the final step in my plan to get Collin to level 10. Susan and I like Waterdeep mods, so playing one down at Games and Stuff was an excellent scheme. Except for the bit where they still hadn’t fixed the air conditioning. Four more days of Baltimore summer heat, and four more days of gamers in a stuffy room. It was getting kind of rank up in there.

Derek McN ran; I hadn’t met him before, but he’s a nice guy. His son Luke played, and I had met him before – he played in my run of The Icy Queen’s Crossing for Weekend in the Realms last year. Susan, Mark B., Tom B., and evil Tony filled out the table with me. As with all Waterdeep mods, there was a lot of talking. This one also had some pretty good fighting. Games and Stuff had to close a bit early for a solid LFR run, as usual, but it was still decent times. I like meeting new people.

73. Night of Fallen Petals (DRAG 1-6)

So I was reminded/informed at Dexcon that Collin’s level 5 daily, Dervish’s Challenge, had been nerfed. It’s a fair nerf: a 3[W] attack that only uses a minor action is ridiculously good even before you add in the stance effect. The nerf combined with my general lack of any need to use Dual Strike combined with my desire to do more damage meant that I really wanted Collin to hit level 10 and retrain before the nerf became mandatory.

The plan was to drop all the two weapon powers he had, get rid of the Fighting Shield (which was his second weapon), and get Iron Armbands of Power to increase the punishment for ignoring his mark. But I had to hit level 10 first, and we skipped the Sunday games at Dexcon which would have gotten me there. Good thing there’s online play, huh?

Moticon ran a superb session of Night of Fallen Petals, particularly for a first-time online GM. Xalcairn, Kazordan, Thaldryn, Logopolis, and Trident were my fellow players. I continued to not need either Dual Strike or Stop Thrust, and I continued to get excited about hitting level 10 and executing Plan B for Barbarian. I couldn’t find anything on weres in Chessenta, but I figure it’s going to represent a sort of cold anger – Collin’s always tended to dislike injustice, so I can rationalize his newfound barbarian side that way.

72. Scepter Tower of Spellgard, Part 3.1 (ADAP 1-4)

This is part 3.1 of Scepter Tower of Spellgard because part 3 takes forever so we still have the second 40% or so to go. As previously, Jason B. ran, and Mark B., Tom B., Hudson, Susan, and I played. This was the time we found out that you can reserve the back room of Games and Stuff, and someone else had, so we bumped out into the main room which was full of very nice Privateer Press demo squad people. Fortunately there was one table left! Unfortunately the air conditioning was broken. More on this later. Not a newsflash: gamers still get a bit whiff in close quarters and heat.

Playing Cine with a ranged AoE was just as pleasant as I’d hoped it would be.

71. Death In Icewind Dale (MYRE 1-4)

Jimmy’s got this fun adventuring company called Hellfire Engine or Infernal Combustion Engine, depending on who you ask: it’s a bunch of tieflings who’ve made a deal with a devil. All members must be paragon tier and they must be able to do fire damage at-will. Easy for some classes; others require a flaming weapon. It’s a fun premise.

I cheated and made up Ceptse, who is a dead tiefling assassin, which is to say a revenant. I like her a lot. She’s letting me get out all my horror roleplaying urges. Her paragon path is Soul Thief, which has the ridiculously cool feature Soul Killer: “A creature killed by you cannot be restored to life except by a creature of a level higher than yours.” That’s flavor.

I got in on the second My Realms he ran for the group, with Amanda, Hudson, Mark B., Jason B., and Chris. We had no leader, so that was very exciting, but it all worked out in the end. 

70. Dancing Shadows (CORE 1-10)

I know why I played this one; someone grabbed me on Skype and said “hey, can Alesk come play?” I assumed it was because they needed a leader or a fourth player; in retrospect I think they just assumed I’d want the free spot. Alas, I’d played Dancing Shadows before and I wasn’t that interested in doing it again. By the time I figured out what was going on, it was too late to back out politely, though. C’est la vie.

gadunge ran; my fellow players were Goldfishmind, Zheron, darksydex, Eklinaar, and EWInsight. I think; gadunge never reported the game so I’m sort of guessing. I wound up being vaguely annoyed because my fellow cleric freaked out in the final fight when he was down to one heal; apparently he wasn’t familiar with how much healing a Strength-based cleric can muster. I had four heals left. Only one was guaranteed, but I take great care to make sure Alesk can hit and activate his heals most of the time, so possibly retreating all the way out of combat wasn’t the best thing he could have done. 

OK, I was somewhat specifically annoyed. More than I needed to be because I wasn’t entirely stoked about the game. I didn’t get snippy at the (virtual) table, though.

69. Sibilant Whispers (EAST 2-2)

I have good notes for this session as well, which implies that by this time I knew I was a mile behind so I was trying to ensure I could catch up someday. I probably didn’t mean for it to be a month later. Ah well. Still pretty good thinking for a Saturday morning.

Jay B. filled in to run for us, as the theme of chaos continued. David, Peter, Tyrek, Susan, Kai and I played. Sibilant Whispers debuted at Origins and got some bad press for a) being a four fight module and b) having some nasty dominate effects. We pretty much breezed through it, as we had a heavily optimized group and Jay’s a good GM. David ran a barbarian, Kai had a two weapon Stormwarden ranger, Tyrek had a very solid fighter, Peter had a nearly invulnerable swordmage/battlemind. Reed and Faral continue to be reasonably competent. I don’t think any fight lasted more than three rounds. Maybe four. Smackdown.

We had dinner with Blake that night, which was nice. We actually wound up heading home Sunday morning and skipping our last two games, since we both felt kind of sick and since things had been relatively disorganized. Nice people running things, but.

68. The Undumor Connection (AGLA 2-1)

Our Friday evening game at Dexcon was The Undumor Connection. My records for this are better than my previous ones: I know that Katie, Peter, Tyrell, and Steve played along with Susan and I. I believe Robert N. was our DM but I’m not 100% sure.

It was reasonably fun. The other four at the table were all from the Fair Lawn, NJ LFR group, so they knew each other really well. They definitely had a far more collaborative style than most Baltimore players: lots of suggesting moves and so on. The emphasis on tactical play meant that they naturally worked better with each other than with us; after all, they knew their characters better than ours, so were more able to make plans based on each others’ capabilities.

Not at all annoying, but interesting on a sociological level.