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Month: November 2010

116. Silver Lining (AGLA 1-5)

We finished up the day with Silver Lining. Mark B. ran; Colin, Pamela B., Matt B., Stacey, and Marc were the other players. I played Veil, my cranky deva avenger of Vergadain. You try getting hijacked by some dwarven god of merchants and thieves on your way to serve the elven pantheon and see how you feel.

By this time we were pretty punch-drunk. Matt’s barbarian pummeled everything. I cannot for the life of me remember who healed… it must have been Marc, cause Stacey was playing a Magic Missile-happy wizard and Pamela was playing a psion. This was absolutely fun and reminded me what it is I like about H1 play. As did How To Hunt A Demon, for that matter.

115. How To Hunt A Demon (IMPI 1-5)

Colin ran How To Hunt A Demon for our second game of the charity gameathon. I played Cine; the other players were Pamela and Matt B. (who run a Columbia game day that we wanna go to sometime), Stacey, Marc, and Mark B. This time we played low and Colin complained about it the whole time until he accidentally killed Mark’s warlord. I told you so, Colin!

I think possibly part of my earlier crankiness about Cine was because Spellgard was getting a bit claustrophobic, because this time he was pretty fun. Moving people around the battlefield continues to rock.

114. Shadows of the Knights (LURU 2-2)

Games & Stuff does a charity gameathon every year after Thanksgiving, so this year instead of waiting in line for Black Friday sales I went down to Glen Burnie to play a bunch of LFR. We set up three adventures for the day; I ran Shadows of the Knights to kick things off. My players were Colin, Mark B., Mike McK, Stacey, and Marc.

Playing high was probably a mistake – any second year adventure, you should take the high/low distinction seriously. I wound up underplaying the final fight a bit to avoid demolishing the PCs, which normally I wouldn’t do but who needs a bad start to a charity event? I like the mod a lot, though. Plenty of room for roleplaying.

113. Enemy of My Enemy (CORE 2-8)

I ran Enemy of My Enemy online last night for Matt, Oskar, Dareus, DanMathMan, Genolen, and Joey. I was pretty interested in seeing how the module held up under the assault of Matt’s wizard. Answer: pretty well, given that I spent some time thinking about tactics beforehand.

I dropped Matt once thanks to a lucky critical, and came very close to dropping him again towards the end of the second fight. If I’d thought a bit harder and pushed him into the Stinking Cloud rather than the Wall of Ice, I suspect he’d have gone down. I also had Genolen’s cleric nearly dead, and all in all things went quite well. The module is challenging but not overwhelming for optimized characters.

Minor rant: someone who will go unnamed was all “I want to cast a ritual to let us take an extended rest in ten minutes.” I was pretty sure that was a bad idea given that there was a big fight going on and time was limited, but just to make sure, I pushed a bit and found out what the ritual was. Turns out he wanted to cast Solace Bole, which is a great ritual, but there are two flaws with his plan.

First, it takes ten minutes to cast, but you’re pulled out of the world for an hour. They’d have failed the module doing that. Second, it’s from a Dungeon Magazine article, which means it’s not player-legal in LFR anyhow. So, um, cut that out, nameless dude.

112. The Sign of Four (CORE 2-11)

Susan, Mark B., Peter S., Noah S., Amanda, Jimmy, and I playtested The Sign of Four last night. Jimmy ran. I won’t talk about the adventure at all because, you know, playtest. I think, however, I can legitimately say that it rocks even in the non-final state. I picked a couple of nits and made some suggestions cause that’s how I am, but you could publish the sucker right now and you’d have a fine module.

Note to self: 11,760 XP, and full bundles/gold at low tier. Also, I bought two Potions of Resistance (cold) and only used one.

111. Agony (DALE 2-2)

We finished up with Agony on Sunday morning.. Bill W. ran for us, which is cool, since it was fun playing with him on Saturday. We only had four players – me, Susan, Jimmy, and Amanda. This is just about right for a Sunday morning game; keeps it from being over-lengthy, and it’s nice to play with familiar people.

I loved the way this mod brought together almost every Dalelands plot to date, with a sprinkling of Dragon Coast material to boot. I really, really loved the use of Kira and Dayan Nenthyn. Reed happens to be one of my PCs who hasn’t played The Prospect, which is a shame, so he didn’t have the emotional hooks some of my other characters would have found, but it was still cool stuff.

As with the other Pain and Suffering modules, it’s very investigative. This one doesn’t have the same branching that you find in Pain and Discomfort, but it’s still good. It’s a trifle strange as a capstone, insofar as the big villains from some of the previous modules are completely missing, but it does become clear that they weren’t at the heart of the drug trade.

Also, there’s payoff for a very subtle grace note from Arts that I’ve been wondering about for an entire year. Very nice.

We handled the module very well. Much to my amusement, the fate we were fighting so hard to prevent was something Reed could probably have soloed, but that’s just the luck of the draw. Sorcerers sometimes have 20 resistance to just the right damage type. Would have been funny if it’d gotten loose, though.

Reed and Faral end the weekend at level 17, and Collin ends it at 14. Three levels and two tiers gained, and a lot of really fun play. This might have been the best convention we’ve done so far, although DDXP 2009 did better on pure spectacle. Overall, though? GASPcon was great.

110. First Strike (AGLA 2-2)

J.D. McCoy ran First Strike for us on Sunday evening; the players were the now familiar cluster of me, Susan, Jimmy, and Amanda plus Brian S. as our fifth. Brian played a warforged fighter who did the meatbag schtick, which let’s just say I’ve seen warforged doing it before, but his build was interesting. Lots of focus on defenses. 30 Will at level 14 is quite good. He gave me some stuff to think about with Collin.

We stomped the mod. This one we definitely should have played at high tier. I’d heard something about it being tough, but the reputation is overrated. There’s one of those old-school solos that’s just a bag of hit points, and when you have a fighter to lock down the brute while everyone else slices it up, there’s not much challenge.

I can’t say the story is super-absorbing, but you’re at least doing big important things.

109. The Blinking Eye of Fire (SPEC 2-1 P1)

I didn’t sign up for The Blinking Eye of Fire, but there were in theory two open slots and no defender playing, so plenty of room for Collin. Also the experience would get him to level 14 and upgrade his bracers, so why not?

Unfortunately, our prospective leader wasn’t feeling well, so he bowed out, which left us with Kerwin running for me, Bennet O., George O., and Joe G. No leader. If they’d had a fifth player I would have bailed, but without me, no table. I wasn’t too worried about Collin living through the mod, given his self-healing capabilities, but the bracers were a high tier reward and the vibe from the table was a bit weird… ah well.

The run was clean enough. I have no real idea what the story was, and Joe sulked when he found out he couldn’t shift underwater. The first encounter was somewhat tough. The second encounter wasn’t. I did get quasi-dominated a couple of times and rolled two crits while attacking party members, which is always good for a sardonic chuckle.

Also, Collin is now P2, which is very strange. Cool, though.

108. Enemy of My Enemy (CORE 2-8)

Enemy of My Enemy is the sequel to Killing the Messenger. That was maybe the best paragon module play experience Susan and I had together so far. This run pretty much lived up to it. Rob B. GMed for us; Jimmy and Amanda played with me, Susan, and Bill W. Mustering was a pain in the butt because people kept overcomplicating it, but in the end I said “look, us four want to play together, we need one defender out of the two available, and Brian over there will play a leader at the other table. Problem solved.” And lo, it more or less was.

We played this on low. This was probably the right decision; much of the party would have had trouble hitting stuff with defenses two points higher, and it’s a mod that can really crank out the damage. On the other hand, we had a balanced party (Bill played a defender) and it turns out that Reed can generate enough damage to function appropriately as the sole striker. Lightning Daggers is very very good.

The module itself rocks. Great roleplay opportunity. Bill’s orc was spellscarred, which made some decisions much more interesting. I also like the coda, which is yet another nice moral decision.