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 Post subject: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:29 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
This thread will chronicle what will be a DCC campaign held in a game store in upstate New York which I hope to run at least for a few months. I just started running the D&D Encounters stuff on Wednesdays after taking a year or two off, and I poached a few players to play DCC RPG on Mondays.

Right now my plan is to start in Gnatdamp (the town from Gygax Magazine #1) and run:

Sailors on the Starless Sea
The Old God's Return
Intrigue in the Court of Chaos
Maybe another level 1, not sure what yet
Tower Out of Time
Glipkerio's Gambit
Fate's Fell Hand
and etc.

So last week I went in. My plan was to sucker them in with a fun game of D&D, and then while they're drunk with treasure, see how many will sign their soul away with some DCC World Tour shenanigans.

The D&D Encounters adventure, Legacy of the Crystal Shard, is pretty cool. It's not like the 4e encounters though. You can't sit down with your free complimentary module (that you can then sell for around $30 on ebay) and in 10 minutes be ready to run that week's session. Now you have to buy the module (for about $30!), and get ready for some serious cram sessions prior to playing.

You have to read a 30 page adventure book. And a 60 page campaign guide. And download the 25 page stat book (of either 3.5, 4e, or D&D Next rules, whatever you're running).

I swear, I spent probably 7 hours reading and taking notes (8 pages of handwritten notes) and I only got through the adventure book.

I had been warned that the group was full of "kids" and that they were annoying. Distressing news! These were the people I was hoping to wrangle into the DCC game, after all.

It turns out that they're really fun. A mix of high school and college kids, along with one "grognard" and two guys who are around 30 years old. These people are all really new to the game and have tons of enthusiasm. I have the opportunity to give them those sessions that they look back on forever, the ones where everything is new and crazy - where you realize how much is possible and you get to try it all out.

It took a few weeks, but at last I was able to begin the DCC RPG game last night. It's me and three players. Two are around 30 years old, and played a lot of D&D when they were younger. The third player is a high school kid who is new to the hobby.

I ran Sailors on the Starless Sea. I know on the Spellburn podcast this adventure gets a lot of praise, but I prefer Portal Under the Stars. I internally debated whether or not to run "Portal" instead. But I'd already run it in my game world, so it just doesn't make sense to run it again. I think Sailors went off pretty well.

The full summary is here: http://dungeoncrawlclassics.webs.com/volume2.htm:

TLDR Version: I took it easy on them. Out of 12 0-level guys, only 3 died. Two fell in the misty pit, and one was killed by the beastman champion. The scything trap almost killed one, and good rolls saved another 0-level guy from the Well of Souls.

It's funny, the character who fell in the well was a "junk" character, but after he survived he became the player's favorite.

I definitely played real soft with these guys. With only three players, I was worried this would be too difficult. None of them have played much of any RPG, so I want to kind of wean them in and give them a lot of leeway until they understand how everything works. I want them to have the time to get used to the style of the game, and my style of DMing.

They had a weird problem in that they couldn't agree on looting procedure. I told them most of my groups split everything evenly and give items to the character that could best utilize it, but this group seemed inclined to try to hoard things. When they began to butt heads, I told them they could just roll off for disputed items. They took the suggestion.

The high school guy was a bit upset that the band of fire was "too powerful". He felt like the guy who had it (not his character) was going to slaughter everything and he'd be useless. I explained to him that the PC had taken the risk (he freaking willingly pulled the plug in the pool of skulls, got sucked down the chute and burned luck to survive) and therefore reaped the reward. He seemed to understand it when I explained that. I should have told him that everyone will end up with good stuff as we go.

In my DCC beta campaign, I did not know that PCs were expected to hit level one during the 0-level adventure. I learned this when listening to the Spellburn podcast. But what happened when I ran this was that I wasn't sure when XP should be awarded and thus my PCs didn't level. I'm not sure if I want them to level - we have to stop the game and share one rulebook to level up to 12 characters..? That completely kills the flow for me. Plus, it is a time-suck.

I couldn't tell when I should give out XP and when I shouldn't. So it went like this:

Wall Collapse Trap: triggered by one PC (Do I give XP for this? I thought No)
Frosty Tomb: door trap avoided, tomb avoided (No XP? 1 XP for cleverly avoiding the door trap?)
Well of Souls: 1 PC fell in and survived (No XP..?)
Tar Ooze: Warded off with Incense (2 XP? 1 XP?)
2 PCs fall in Misty Pit: and both die, nobody else goes near it (No XP?)
Fight with Beastmen: (2 XP, maybe 3? One guy died)
Scything Blade Trap: One dude lost a finger (No XP?)
Pool of skulls: Drain "trap" that one PC willingly triggered (XP for that one PC?)
Warding off the tentacles with the incense: (2 XP?)
Defeating Molan: among the beastmen (2 XP?)

So I felt like they wouldn't have even leveled until the end anyway. And I really don't want to give out individual XP in this case, as then I have a situation where one PC levels, so I stop the game to level him, then start again, then stop again to level someone else!

Next week we're doing The Old God's Return. It looks really awesome. And I'll use the promo bonus encounter for Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, which is an adventure I am extremely excited about running.

The players really loved it and are very excited to play in a campaign. We are off to a great start.

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:11 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:43 am
Posts: 148
Location: Chicago
Nice right up. It's always interesting to see the different experiences people have with Sailors on the Starless Sea. I've run it several times myself,and only once did anyone find the ring.

Also, good call on not leveling up during the game. I agree with that. There was a bit of discussion on that topic on another thread recently Here; http://www.goodman-games.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=46460 Since the topic is "running games at cons", it might have been hard to find.

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:56 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
I had an npc (Dorota of Charms, elf of Gnatdamp) tell the heroes that they needed to search everything, and they actually heeded the advice. This group was listening very intently, always looking for clues or tricks. It was pretty refreshing.

Good to know about the 0-level adventures!

I just prepared The Old God's Return for Monday. I added in the bonus "foreshadowing" encounter from Intrigue at the court of chaos. I'm a little worried that the creature is too tough. I believe it takes half damage from non-magic weapons. And this group has no cleric. I am thinking of having Dorota cook them up a healing brew for them, though it'd have a chance to make them roll on the minor corruption chart or something.

I also changed something from the final section. In the adventure, when the adventurers destroy Tjaptar's antlers, it frees the child souls and the whole floating iceberg starts to fall apart. It's "magic bindings" fly around like shards. If the PCs fall off the iceberg to ground hundreds of feet below, it is suggested they might be able to grab one of these shards to prevent plummeting to their death.

I am going to change it so that the child souls are rocketing around like comets, delighted to be free and getting ready to return to their bodies. So if a PC falls, a child soul-comet comes to try to help them. I had introduced a couple kids last adventure - Booger Neil and Bleria - so that they could be involved in this adventure. I'll probably have Bleria save a PC in soul-comet form if it comes to it.

I also read through Intrigue at the Court of Chaos and am pretty pumped about it. It is an extremely cool adventure, one I'd actually love to play in. I really like the encounter with the ox. There's just something really fun and original about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:24 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
OK, had another fun night. These guys are just plain fun to play rpgs with. The full summary is here (just scroll down):

http://dungeoncrawlclassics.webs.com/volume2.htm

Short version: Town was attacked by blue gnomes, kids' souls stolen. Our heroes go to their floating iceberg lair and start hacking their way through it.... The party is almost slaughtered.

We started late, as everyone had to level up. For me as a DM, going in to a session, prepping at the right time is pretty important. If I prepare the adventure a few days' previous, I go in cold. If I go over stuff and make notes a few hours prior to the actual session, I am in the zone. For tonight, I sat down and made notes for leveling up during the day. It is really nice that the party only has 3 classes - Warrior, Wizard, and Halfling. Piece of cake!

Wizard is the trickiest class, but also by far the coolest one, imo. A few things that popped up to me in this prep was that only one halfling can be the "lucky" one for the party, and that a wizard can spellburn 20 points for an auto crit!

As for the actual session, the fights were either really easy or really hard. The heroes slaughtered the first batch of tontuu. Then, Sam the halfling went up on the iceberg all alone and was nearly killed by a lone tontuu. Then, the tontuu up in 1-2 were murderized by a Choke Cloud.

I inserted the Court of Chaos prelude encounter, with the Clutchculus. The players loved that monster. They were just blown away/freaked out... laughing and trying to figure out what it was called. I was worried that this thing, which took half-damage from non-magic, would be too tough... but a wizard almost single-handedly killed it with a good roll on magic missile.

Down in 2-1, with the trees linked to child souls.. well... there was a fire. Some kids didn't make it. Lawful PCs lost some luck, and characters' personalities started to develop in the ensuing argument.

Then came the ambush... 2-2. Yikes. YIKES. We were a hair away from a TPK! The players weren't using their sovereign fire (even after repeated blatant suggestions from me), weren't exploiting the Tontuus' vulnerability to fire, and were just using terrible spells. 2 PCs dropped below zero, and two more had 1 hit point left each, and still they were reluctant to spellburn and burn luck.

It's weird... 4 tontuus were no challenge at all. But 5 tontuus and a goat dude with a chain was an epic war. There were a couple critical misses and wasted turns (the one player is obsessed with force manipulation, which does a measly d6 damage to one target).

I am honestly not sure if the PCs can take Tjaptar. They are hurt bad. I did have Dorota give each PC a black lotus oil. That's d10 hit points, but after an hour you lose d4!

I guess we'll see. They really loved the game, so mission accomplished. Next time we'll finish this, then they'll spend a week casting their find familiar spells (I plan on using the chart extensions from the Crawl! Zine). And then we will begin Intrigue at the Court of Chaos.

This module, The Old God's Return, is awesome. It is lean and mean, and it gets right to the good stuff with no padding or BS.

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:47 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
OK another awesome one! Summary is here.

Short Version: We finished The Old Gods. They cast Find Familiar. Then they got through most of Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, which is absolutely awesome.

I was worried about the ice demon in 3-1. But, to my delight, the warrior rolled a critical and killed it in one shot with Molan's flaming flail.

The trees with the poison sap... they just walked right into it. They burned the trees.

And then... Tjaptar. I had toyed with the idea of just getting rid of the tontuu and the joulbok, but because they "one-shotted" the ice demon, I figured they'd be ok. They almost weren't! Catherine fired off a great shot with her band of fire scorching rays which are manifested as LASER BEAMS. That was so great.

Tjaptar came at our heroes. I allowed something - not sure if I did this right. I just though it was cool so I let it go. They used force manipulation to summon a floating disc, and then the halfling rode it (he weighs less than 100 pounds). That allowed him to get up by the antlers and use luck to make sure he hit the antlers and destroyed them.

They'd used so little sovereign fire that they all were able to fly down off of the crumbling iceberg.

Then they had some downtime in Gnatdamp. Both wizards wanted to cast find familiar. Poor Catherine rolled a one.. so she failed, has to wait a month to try again, and got a corruption result of "corpulent." She gained 36 pounds!

The other wizard fared better. He ended up with a floating skull (from Crawl Zine issue 3).

Then I sucked them in to Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, which I've been dying to run since its' cover first appeared on this site. The flavor text is good, but it is wayyyyy wayyyy too long. Luckily my players are very into the game and were attentive. I think most groups would have zoned out big time.

I don't like the tatterdemalian. He doesn't feel right. Not a big deal, but I'd have liked him to be a bit less like a guy from one of the final episodes the '60's show "the prisoner", if that makes any sense at all. A dude in a goofy costume. I'd have liked him to be weirder like the court of chaos.

Anyway... I know the module wants me to pull the players aside for their secret offers, but I am in a game store and i don't have the space to do so. Plus, i don't like having people sit around while i talk to just one person. So I just flat told them that their characters are approached with offers in their dreams, and that they needed to keep in mind that their characters don't know this. They are new to RPGs, so I took this as an opportunity to explain about the "evils" of meta-gaming.

They are very into this game and so they took this all seriously and with great interest... especially when I started rattling off the awesome items each of their characters was offered. I love lexaliah, too. What a cool character: A spy for Law with brass skin and silver hair. She is a very inspiring NPC.

Our heroes agreed to go to the plane of law, and there's so much i love about this. I love how you pluck the chaos rose to go home. I love the floating 500 foot tall diamond. I LOVE the name of it - THE CATAPHRACT! That is the best name for anything ever. I love saying it out loud. And I'm not sure why, but i love Taurziel the freaking 30 foot long ox. I died laughing as i read that when his 'curse' is lifted, he floats up in a golden sunbeam like a mote of dust. What a classic encounter. And the drawing of him is utterly fantastic.

The encounters inside the cataphract are more of a mixed bag. A couple felt a little limp. The one with the monster where you make sacrifices just didn't feel like enough. I felt like it was too abstract.

The room with the scales was great. The room with the dancers didn't do it for me. It was too tricky to point out the lack of shadows. Luckily, a players just on a whim decided to snuff out a candle, mostly because it's one of the only things to do in there. The clay was ok.

The pit room with the potions... that is just epic. My poor players, though, they failed their fort saves every time. There's this character who fell in the well of souls and got corruption, and now he's been further afflicted by these potions. He is Citon the 12 foot tall donkey-eared warrior who is covered in sores and sweats sunlight. I can not wait to get an art commission of this guy haha.

A player really came through in this room, realizing the solution was ROYGBIV. Came out of nowhere! I was starting to feel sorry for them. And man the description of crying rainbow tears that coagulate into a rainbow bridge... unreal. Just so creative, I really admire it. This adventure is so imaginative, it really is one of my favorites of all time. There's just so many cool, original moments and scenarios.

And the court itself! So many cool entities. It brings me to a question. Are these guys patrons? My wizards might want to use them. I don't blame them.. they're awesome. But I dread the idea of having to stat them. I'm not sure if i can do it right, or rather, do them justice. Has anyone statted these guys, or have any patron guidelines?

And what about the Scions of Law? Has anyone created them? What would they be like? I assume one of them would be made of crystal?

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:42 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
We had a week break, but got back to the DCC RPG campaign on Monday. We are rocketing toward level 2. I think most of the party will level next week, and then I can start running the two World Tour adventures - Glipkerio's Gambit and Tower out of Time.

One of the players brought their 13 year old sister to the game. She had made a warrior named Faye. She seemed to enjoy the game. She is new to RPGs so she was a bit confused, but really it all boils down to "roll a d20 and see what you get", so she was fine.

We finished Intrigue at the Court of Chaos...

Our heroes fought their lawful duplicates and it was brutal. These players could not roll above a 9 to save their lives. They did not hit at all in the first four rounds! I was looking at a total TPK. Someone came up with a theory that if they left the room, their duplicate would vanish. I went with that idea.

One amusing part was where the Yokeless Egg is described as "twice the size of an ostrich egg". I thought that was funny because none of us knew how big an ostrich egg is. I assume it's kind of big?

There was a very intense showdown between the players. The guy playing lawful characters was willing to fight for the egg. He wanted to give it to Lexaliah. The other PCs eventually backed down.

Our heroes then had to fight the prism sentinels. I love how rays refract inside them. This whole adventure is very amusing. In fact, I'd honestly ay that this is one of my favorite adventures of all time. Faye the warrior rolled criticals left and right in this session (it's funny how that works with new players) and the sentinels stood no chance.

Then our stalwart companions returned tot he court of chaos and tried to hand the egg to Lexaliah. They had to wade through 4 of Dzzhali's undead grooms, but they were successful.

The Lawful PCs want Lexaliah as their patron. She is really cool.

Then the PCs hung out in town for 6 weeks, so the wizard could tr Find Familiar again. She got a pseudo-dragon and was very happy. The citizens of Gnatdamp built a new house for the 12 foot tall, donkey-eared, sunlight-sweating warrior. They also made him some clothes.

He desperately wants to be cured, so I dropped the Cave of Secrets hook on him from "The One Who Watches From Below". And thus we began that adventure.

I was stunned at how much time we had, and wasn't prepared to run more than the first 6 rooms of that module. But I had read half of the adventure, and was able to roll with it as our PCs made it deep into the second level.

I was worried about the curse in this. Spoiler alert obviously: A PC who touches certain gems becomes a pair of eyes separate from his body. Well, this worked out in a fun way. The PC who became eyes has a floating skull familiar. So he climbed into the skull's eyesockets. Awesome!

When reading this adventure, I didn't like the idea that the "eye" player had to hold up a sheet of paper with a hole cut out and use his eyes to communicate with his fellow players. I just felt like i would get old fast. So I didn't do it. But when I mentioned it and showed the players the sheet on the inside cover, they erupted! They loved the idea, every one of them. I guess what happened there is that I projected my own likes and dislikes on them. I should have had it ready, and allowed them to decline to do it if they didn't want to.

The heroes fought some mutant halflings and giant eyestalks, and got to the library and read about Shigulnazthrub (or whatever!). A party's wizard has decided that she wants Shigulnazthrub as her patron, so I'll have to sort that out.

We should finish The One Who Watches next session. If there's time, I want to do some stuff in town. I want the Court of Chaos to try to seek revenge, each in their own way. I want Noohl to approach the one-armed former town hero... he will give the town hero three replacement arms if he will subdue the heroes and bring them back to the Court!

I'm going to try to cook up a mini-scenario like that for each of the Court members, just to kind of impress upon the players that their actions have consequences. Lexaliah and the Scions of Law of course will help them. I am thinking of having Lexaliah grant the town a Prism Sentinel to keep watch and protect the people...?

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:44 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 12:55 am
Posts: 45
Whoa. Sounds like an epic last session. I have some suggestions for taking on Shigazilnizthrub as a patron.

SOME SPOILERS BELOW




If the Book of Chaos was read, the PCs may learn that Shigazilnizthrub followers must cut out their own eyes and place them on the elder god's altar. One of those altars is in the Vault of Eyes in the Undertemple. Of course, all bets are off if the PCs touch any of the treasure in the vault. Shigazailnizthrub won't become a patron of anyone who steals from its vaults.

Shigazilnizthrub is of neutral alignment (like Cthulhu). Invoke patron and his spells should revolve around seeing remote things, domination/mind control, and being able to collect eyeballs - maybe even store them on the wizards body somewhere.


Here's a great template to help you write up your own patron if you take it that far.

http://thewizardsmisguidedapprentice.bl ... te_27.html


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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:27 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
Thanks for your help! I will see what the player thinks. I am guessing the problem will be.. if he cuts his eyes out, hes a blind wizard! Although he has a familiar, maybe we could say he sees through its' eyes. I guess he'd need to do like you said, graft the eyes of some poor sap to the wizard's body. Up until then, the familiar can telepathically help the wizard get around.

On a separate note... they found those fetus jars. Sheesh what a cool familiar one of those would make. We'll have to do something with one of those.

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:22 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
Just got home. We finished The One Who Watches From Below. This was a really special night in the campaign. I felt the group come together and gel. The best way to describe it is that the players are united in their enthusiasm for the game.

We had added a player's 13-year-old sister a week or two back. This time, another player brought his girlfriend. She just wanted to watch (which is something I normally hate). I could see as the game progressed that she was really into it, and she confirmed at the end of the session that she wants to join us.

I now have a situation where, if each player has 2 PCs, I am looking at a party of 10 characters. That's pretty big..! Maybe too big?

Last time we played, I was not properly prepared. I made extra-sure I was ready this time. I made my handy outline that I like to have of handwritten notes on each room. And I drew a map of the final room. I was blown away at how awesome that final room is - I couldn't wait to run it.

Here's a basic rundown of what happened:

- The flying book fight was a bit intense. I really didn't want the PCs to take much damage because I knew the final room was going to be extremely rough.

- The heroes dropped down into the fetus-production facility and had a couple fights. They decided not to enter the glowing pool/pyramid room when I described blindness to them (I was going to go with the lesser blindness from the mighty deed of arms: -4 to hit).

- Katherine the wizard wanted The One Who Watches as her patron. I couldn't believe this... one player had taken some eyeballs from a vat (the vat was a way for The One to communicate with the fetuses!). Katherine traded the BAND OF FIRE for the eyeballs. I have never seen a player hand over a major item like that, in any game, ever. The player explained to me that from what he understood, The One wouldn't want his wizard to have possessions anyway. I was blown away. The band of fire is now in the possession of a non-spellcaster.

- They kept away from the acid worms.. wise choice! They left the eyeless gorilla alone.

- The negative ring..! I couldn't wait for them to find this. When reading it, I felt it had too much of a Lord of the Rings vibe. It's such a cool item, I didn't want it to be reduced as a prop for jokes. So I re-flavored things slightly. Citon, the donkey-eared, 12 foot tall warrior who is covered in sores and sweats sunlight went in and got the ring. Everyone loves that character except for his own player, who desperately wants to rid him of the corruption.

- We got to the final room, which I was worried that I would mismanage. There's a number of elements to keep track of. I know this isn't in the tone of DCC RPG, but I go soft on these guys. Some of you GMs might be appalled! These players are so new, and I really don't want to slaughter them when they're having so much fun learning.

So what I'm trying to say is that I hinted incredibly strongly to take the wheelbarrows. I also made sure they could see Sparklefang and the blue wand clear across the room. And when the stuff hit the fan, I did not have the wall of eyes chase them. Once they got out of the room, they were safe.

What a great encounter this was! I don't think I can possibly say enough about it. I really loved the rules on how much treasure could be taken. I think a lot of adventures would have left it vague, and it would have caused a lot of DM headaches.

Basically what happened was that the heroes entered the room and spread out, in awe of all the treasure. Katherine walked up to the altar. Our heroes began to loot. Cue tentacle monster and eye rays shooting off left and right. I cringed every time our poor heroes got hit - I kept rolling frost rays. I was worried about a TPK.

Our heroes snatched up piles of loot and ran. As soon as Faye the mysterious amnesiac warrior (the 13-year-old's PC) saw Sparklefang, she had to have it. I had read a review of this adventure where the reviewer hated the name of the sword. I had considered changing the name, until I realized that this weapon would likely end up in the hands of a 13-year-old girl's character and that she would probably have no problem at all with it. And in fact, I was right. She loves that sword so much.

Faye grabbed Sparklefang and didn't care about anything else. She ran, got hit by a beam and was turned into... a pony! She was so happy. With Sparklefang in her teeth, she galloped her way to freedom.

As the chaos ensued, Katherine went to the altar and used her pitchfork to gouge out her own eyes to offer to The One Who Watches! She wanted to graft the eyes that she'd traded for onto her body. She felt her head fill with ancient eldritch power - the sounds of screeching monkeys and broken glass. She made no attempt to loot or flee, merely offering herself to The One Who Watches.

Everyone else made a mad dash for the exit, brimming over with loot. Much luck was burned, and I'm talking permanent luck points. Titus the halfling "died", but was scooped up in a wheelbarrow and later was rolled over - he made his luck check.

The heroes escaped as the place collapsed. Outside the place, Katherine was found eyeless and safe. The One had "saved" his new follower. Perhaps in time she could replace Whateley. Maybe Katherine can earn the power to change into an eye-headed sorcerer like the dude on the cover.

- Here's even more of my softiness: When I had looked over the magic items and saw that they were mostly potions, I decided that I wouldn't roll - each coffer/bag/chest would automatically have a magic item to be rolled for! I know, I am Monty Haul re-incarnated. But I didn't see the harm in it. And I felt like the PCs deserved a reward for putting themselves in so much danger for a plot hook that didn't pay off (They originally came to the cave of secrets looking for a cure to Citon's corruption).

- We finished just before the store closed. The 13 year old wants to add a second character. She wanted to run an "alternate timeline" version of her character, Faye! That works out so great for this campaign, as the forest they live in is full of weird reality warps (due to the three-way wizard battle which will fully play out once we go through Fate's Fell Hand!).

So alternate universe Faye will be "old". 'How old?', I asked. "26! And she'll have scars and stuff". How awesome. And Becky the girlfriend will jump in next time as well.

I decided, considering we have another new player, and that half the group is level 2 and the other half is level 1, that I'd run another level one adventure. Next week we are going to do Frozen in Time. I'm going to be super-careful that they don't see the cover of this adventure. I want them to be surprised by the robots and lasers. They love the weirdness of this game and I think they are going to really enjoy it.

- I am going to have to cook up The One Who Watches as a patron. I am terrible at this sort of thing. I will use Jobe's advice as a guide and hopefully I can come up with something serviceable. Any help is appreciated!

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:43 am
Posts: 148
Location: Chicago
Although I painted it , I agree with you on the cover for frozen in Time. Maybe you can show it if they get to the Robot room.
I was just talking to somebody the other day about how my mind was blown when I was kid going through Expedition to Barrier Peaks the first time. I must not have seen the cover.

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:00 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
We played through Frozen in Time tonight. We are on quite a roll! The group continues to really enjoy the game.

I hid the adventure in a folder so I would not spoil the premise. It was very effective. The module is written in a way that the players slowly realize that they are, in fact, dealing with 'modern' technology.

One thing I like about this adventure is that there's not a lot of combat. It's more about about exploring and pushing buttons. That's tricky, though. Some groups will get bored. As a DM you really have to know your players and control the pacing. For me, tonight, this adventure worked perfectly and was a nice change of pace.

What I am realizing is that a lot of times, my own enthusiasm determines how well the session goes. When I am genuinely excited, it seems to transfer over to the players. I couldn't wait for them to grab that blaster rifle.

Here's the main notes:

- Katherine the wizard successfully bonded with The One Who Watches. I have not yet made a full patron entry. I'm trying to take the stuff in the module and apply it in a way that is logical. So, to do the ritual, Katherine had to make a pool with pyramids at the corners (like in the halfling hybrid area). Eventually she'll need to dig a pit, put pink stones in there, and start growing hybrids in jars.

My working idea for the spells is for the level one spell to involve animating eyes,allowing the wizard to send them off and see through them. I really like the idea of the level two spell allowing her to turn herself into a LASER HARPY, but I'm a bit concerned that the power of flight might 'break' some of the pre-published adventures.

- The new player, the girlfriend of the guy with the two lawful characters, made an elf. She decided she wanted a patron. She wanted... The Court of Chaos! I have two reactions to that. One: Awesome! Two: Wow, I have to try and cook up material for that. Not my strong suit. But I love the court of chaos, and I love the idea that she has to deal with all five of them jockeying for position (especially considering they hate the PCs for handing the Yokeless Egg over to the Scions of Law).

- The players threw me a curveball. Some of them wanted to switch in some of their 1st level PCs that survived the funnel! And as it turns out, the halfling actually died in the final encounter of the last adventure... so his player rolled up a cleric. I was hoping he'd choose Loptir, Lord of Flames as he'd been established in the campaign, but instead the player chose a lawful god i knew nothing about.

- As I've mentioned, the 12 foot tall donkey-eared warrior who sweats sunlight wants to cure himself of his corruptions. So he cashed in his favor from Lexaliah, Scion of Law. He sweated sunlight, which projected an image of Lexaliah's face on a wall, who spoke to him. She explained that there was a "silver ball of knives that spoke with blue light" in the frozen north that could cure him.

What this means is that the medical drone in Zepes Null-Eleven's chamber can cure him. It has 5 doses of healing in it. Each dose can cure one corruption with a healing injection.

- I tried to get "Torp!" over as a catchphrase. I had the tribesmen use it as a word, like how the smurfs say "smurf" all the time. It worked to a degree.

- The heroes kept messing with the buttons in the power room. They actually came back to it. I felt a little bad for them, as there was only negative results to be had. There was a hilarious scene where the donkey-eared guy cured himself of all of his corruptions at last by letting the silver ball drone inject him. Then they went back to the power room, he pulled a lever, and gained a major corruption (his skin is now deep blue). We died laughing. All that work! And now he's corrupted again!

- I prepared perfectly for this. But I had a hard time keeping the map straight. I got through it ok, but it got a little hairy there for a second. I almost accidentally mixed up two gravity tubes.

- Another thing I was a bit concerned about was the items behind force fields that there was no way to obtain. The petrified wooden plank, the enigma machine, etc. On one hand, I felt like it could potentially frustrate them. But on the other hand, I know I've been real soft on them, and this was a nice way of kind of re-inforcing the notion that I am not always just going to toss them items like they're candy.

- I loved the yeti. The PCs healed him and he followed them. He quickly became the party's buddy.

- The party has a pile of familiars/pets. There's a floating skull, a pseudo-dragon, a cobra, and a falcon. The heroes kept sending them up ahead to scout. One player had the idea that it would be cool if i made some kind of animal adventure for them. I immediately started to turn it over in my head - maybe not a full adventure, but a scenario where the pcs fall into a trap and the pets have to save them somehow.

- I loved the blaster rifle. I was a bit bummed that it only had five shots. So I placed a ray gun - from Crawl! Zine #8 - in a holster on the body of Zepes Null-Eleven. A wizard has it. He loves it.

- The new player got the blaster rifle. She was very clever. She had cantrip, a spell that I would think sucks, and she used it constantly to great effect tonight. As the heroes were trying to escape, they ran smack dab into the T-Rex. She opened fire on it with the blaster rifle... she hit the T-Rex, but the blaster exploded! Two PCs went down! They survived and our heroes escaped...'

- I asked them if they want to do another level one adventure before we jump into the "special" level two adventures (Tower out of Time and Glipkerio's Gambit), and they do. This works out because I have a pile of level one adventures sitting around to choose from... though I am not sure which one to use. I'm going to have to do some reading. I am kind of thinking of doing Well of the Worm.

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 Post subject: Re: Road Crew New York 2014: The Chaotic Overworld
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:02 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:08 pm
Posts: 34
Location: New York
I ended up running Tower of the Black Pearl last night. The group is totally into it. I was worried that the adventure would be too short to fill a 3 hour session but we actually didn't finish.

- The cleric is lawful, and had to lay on hands on a pair of lawful PCs who had almost died in the previous adventure. It is hard to decide how much disapproval to assign. It is also difficult to figure out how much disapproval the cleric should receive if he continues to heal these chaotic PCs over time.

- I ran a special short thing for them involving an alternate universe. One of the players wanted to run an alternate universe version of her character. So I had her current character go to this alternate universe which is like hers except it's a few years in the future. The chaotic entity Ith-Narmant (from Crawl Zine 7) is in the process of dimming the sun and the alternate universe version of our party is leading an army to try to stop him. It's a long story, but the purpose was basically to introduce the new character and to debut the Shadowsword of Ith-narmant - a weapon that could destroy the world. I also foreshadowed stuff from future adventures, including Mythender from Glipkerio's Gambit and the weird ship at the end of Tower out of Time.

- Khymie the Elf had chosen the entire Court of Chaos as her patron. I decided that she would have her choice of five different 1st level spells, one linked to each entity. Once she picked, that was the only one she could use. The idea is to simulate how the court are all playing against each other, trying to get the PC to choose them for their own nefarious needs. I am thinking that maybe the elf will need to actually serve in the court with the other weird people at the feet of the giant entities. What do they do there, exactly?

- Our heroes found out about the tower and headed out. They got inside and left the law candles alone, to my surprise. They battled some pirates, leaving the female pirates alive. This happens so much in my games - the female players are dirty! The female players wanted to keep the sexy pirate ladies for.. well, we were in a public setting so we left t at that. Of course, the problem is that these pirate women hated the PCs. The elf cast charm person on one. The other was killed.

I didn't have a name ready, so it was suggested that her name was Salty Samantha. That worked for me. Salty Sam proceeded to be kind to the elf, but cruel to everyone else. She mocked and insulted them in pirate style. Finally, a PC had enough and pushed Salty Sam off the bridge at area 10. Sam plummeted to her doom.

- I had foreshadowed the shadowsword of Ith Narmant in my little alternate universe scenario. The PCs ran into Savage Quenn at area 7, and guess what he was wielding? Dun dun dunnnnn! Yes he has a demonic sword that could destroy the world. What do the PCs do? Kill Quenn and argue over who gets to use it! Very amusing.

- The sarcophagus at 11 was opened, and Sezrekan was none too happy. A party wizard swore fealty to avoid his wrath.

- They figured out how to get to 12. They had a heck of a time trying to cross the water. Patrons were invoked. The warrior used the negative ring (which is probably my favorite magic item in this game so far). Two PCs crossed the viper-filled water. They argued over who got to snatch the black pearl from the statue. The warrior did it. The viper water immediately same down on them. We rolled initiative. Two PCs, underwater, against 25 vipers!

Unfortunately it was 9:05. The store closes at 9. We had to stop there. The young player of the warrior was freaking out, worried his character was going to die. He probably will! The snakes go before he does! We'll find out next week.

- We're going to do another level one after this. They'd like all their level ones to be level two before we start level two adventures. Makes sense to me!

- Tower of the Black Pearl is a very god adventure. It is a little weird to have multiple hints of dragons, but no actual dragon in the adventure.. but that leads me t0 an idea i had...

- In the adventure, it says that the pearl attracts the attention of creatures levels 5+ within a 5 mile radius. As in, the creatures come after the person with the pearl, drawn to it. Welp, Near the town is Hargn the river dragon (from Crawl zine... four... i think). So that means, if our heroes get the pearl and bring it home to Gnadamp, then the dragon is going to attack the town and we are going to have an epic session!

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