Monthly Archives: April 2012

Upcoming Game Dates

If you think my updating is sporadic, it’s not really. We do play every two weeks, but sometimes it takes me a few days to write the update.

May 4th – Star Wars: The Old Republic – Galaxy at Peace (’cause it’s May 4th – Star Wars Day – May the Fourth Be With You!)

May 18th – Doctor StrangeRoll D&D Basic featuring a brand new Geek Chic table and birthday cake (the cake is NOT a lie; it’s my birthday)

June 1st – No game; I’ll be on vacation and won’t actually be at my gaming table. My beautiful gaming table. It is…precious to me… [gollum gollum]

June 15th – There will be a game, what it is will be determined by attendance.

June 29th – The game will likely be the one we didn’t play on June 15th.

The Star Wars game is going to be a mini-campaign, probably no more than 5 or 6 sessions, I think, depending on how much we avoid conversational tangents, Monty Python references, and talking about Doctor Who instead of gaming. Once the Star Wars game is wrapped up, one of my players has volunteered to run some Doctor Who for us (the new one by Cubicle 7, not the old FASA game), so I’ll play that (though still provide updates on the game) while I prep a post-apocalyptic game for our alternate sessions, probably Gamma World or Atomic Highway (Fallout flavor), depending on what the group prefers. By then, it might be time for me to play test some of the adventures I’ll be running at Gen Con. I won’t post any spoilers about those here, though, just in case anyone who plays in them at the convention reads this blog.

Categories: Random Thoughts | Tags: ,

Off Session 2

Sorry for the delay in updating, work has been … stressful.

When we last left our Heroes of the Old Republic, they were hiking up a mountain path to the mine staffed by the occupants of Outpost 3 on Dantooine. They arrived to find the mine seemingly abandoned. Four large insect creatures (laigrek) were milling about the main processing area and moved to attack when our intrepid investigators entered. Despite the Jedi’s lightsaber, the battle seemed to be going poorly until Baccus used some mining explosives. When the dust and bug guts settled, they went about investigating the control room near the processing area.

They found evidence of another bug in the control room (probably fled from the massive explosion that just took place), and a curious thing: the surveillance system had been sabotaged. Something strange was in the air, a discordant musical sound echoing through the mine. They set out to investigate, following the rails deeper into the mine until they found a working shaft lift. As they descended the lift, the musical notes became louder.

At the bottom of the shaft, they found a labyrinth of mining tunnels. However, one was clearly used more than the rest, so the heroes followed the trail to a large chamber full of copper-colored translucent crystals. The chamber contained several examination tables, medical diagnostic equipment, some odd-looking machinery, and many empty cages. One of the cages was not, in fact, empty, and contained a strange creature that looked like a butternut squash on top of banana leaves wearing a mushroom. A Squib was fiddling with the lock on its cage whilst making the musical noises on a strange instrument.

The Squib, whom our heroes had difficult getting a name from (they alternately called him Ikky, Rikki, Tikki, but not Tavi), was a prisoner of a scary-looking Mirulakan, as was the strange, plant-looking alien, who introduced himself as “Bob” (with a strange emphasis on the “b” sounds). Both “Bob” and Padawan Jakar could sense the Force in one another. The heroes freed the aliens, collected some samples of crystals and poked around the makeshift lab. They found a datapad with a slicer’s spike attached to it. Fortunately, the spike was rigged to not work properly, so they were able to see several journal entries entered by Ben-Dara Jobi.

Ben-Dara Jobi Alpha Phase Journal

They concluded that it appeared Ben-Dara Jobi was experimenting with sapients to attempt to infuse them with Force energy in the hopes of repairing his own severed connection with the Force. They searched around the lower levels some more and found the masticated corpses of the missing miners–presumably the people upon whom Ben-Dara Jobi was experimenting. They left the mine and returned their borrowed mining equipment to Outpost 3, told the remaining citizens of the remains of the miners and headed back to Garang. There, they attempted to track down the man who sold the data spike to Ben-Dara Jobi. They found him in an electronics store, but to their dismay, he only SOLD the data spike, he didn’t program it.

Next, our intrepid band went to a cantina to attempt to locate the slavers with whom Ben-Dara Jobi dealt to get offworld. While subtlety wasn’t their strong suit (Baccus just out-and-out asked a seedy-looking fellow where he could buy someone to do work that he didn’t have to pay). Fortunately, no one called the police on their for their suspiciously-specific inquires and they learned that the only people who recently visited Dantooine who might be involved with such nefarious dealings was a Rattataki named Karsta Djannis. The man was reluctant to say more, so he suggested Baccus look around “sunfall.” Baccus suggested to the rest of the group that they wait until dusk to see if he came back to the cantina.

Meanwhile, the others discussed attempting to track down a slicer who programmed the data spike and was apparently jilted by Ben-Dara Jobi. They had the names of the only two slicers of that skill known to operate in Garang: Moki and Dandy Black….

The next game will take place on May 4th. As that is “Star Wars Day” (May the 4th be with you!), we’ll likely continue the Star Wars campaign and pick the Doctor StrangeRoll game back up on May 18th.


Categories: Star Wars RPG | Tags: ,

Third Session Report – The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh/The Isle of Dread

There were several ways I could have dealt with the complete derailing of the first Doctor StrangeRoll adventure. If you don’t want to read back through older entries, basically, the PCs burned down the adventure locale before finding the necessary clues that would lead them to the second part of the adventure. In a video game, this would lead to a “Non-Standard Game Over.”

Fortunately, in a tabletop RPG, short of the DM or the players quitting, there doesn’t have to be a non-standard Game Over.

Option 1: Give them the clues they need, pretending that they actually discovered them (and withheld the treasure they would’ve found) and proceed with the adventure as written.

Option 2: Mark the Low-Level Adventure Phase a “Fail” and move on to the Mid-Level Adventure Phase of the Basic D&D DoctorStrange Roll campaign.

Option 3: Throw up my hands, moan and wail that my players have ruined the game, call the Doctor StrangeRoll Campaign a total loss and play something else, like HackMaster.

Option 4: And Now For Something Completely Different–This is the option I chose. The PCs were hauled in front of the town council of Saltmarsh and offered a choice in leiu of punishment for burning down a house that someone was going to move into and renovate.

The council told the PCs of the smuggling ring they disrupted by utterly destroying the secret hideout. They were given a choice: help the town track and destroy the rest of the smugglers on the high seas, or go to jail. If they helped hunt down the smugglers, they’d each be pardoned and receive a 500 GP reward.

They finished their business about town and boarded the ship at dusk, as instructed. The Serpent’s Kiss set sail to intercept the smugglers (they had some idea of their route). That night, a storm battered the ship. The relentless storm battered the ship for days until finally, it ran aground and the crew was killed.

Our intrepid heroes (the PCs) were now marooned on…the Isle of Dread*.

By the time they regained consciousness, the weather had cleared. Since they didn’t know where they were, they went about collecting supplies from the wreckage and the deceased crew of the Serpent’s Kiss. Among the items they collected was a note and map stuffed in the Captain’s rutter. The map showed the outline of an island, with only the coastline detailed. The note told of a central plateau containing vast treasure. They debated over the true motivations of the Captain, wondering if he was really interested in stopping the smugglers after all.

They spent hours collecting supplies until a loud roar and the breaking of marsh trees alerted them to the presence of a large predator seeking tasty morsels.

While their first instinct was to flee, the instead held their ground and fought the terrible lizard. Herrick had the idea to lure the beast toward the ship and perhaps goad it into charging the figurehead, hopefully impaling itself on the broken timbers jutting out. Both he and Kilos were nearly bitten in half before the beast fell.

They celebrated their victory by binding their wounds, butchering the giant animal, and discussing various uses for its head (carry it between two pikes like a canopy, stuffing Wikki and Pat (who were still unconscious from the shipwreck) into its maw to frighten them when they woke up, etc.

In the end, they simply trudged south through the marshes. Pat recovered well-enough to carry the still-ill Wikki. For days they slogged through the marshy terrain, climbing trees each day to determine if following the coast was still the best strategy or if there was something to be gained by heading inland.

More days passed, and a few more large reptiles avoided, before the marsh turned into jungle and then mountains. After a day of navigating the mountainous terrain, they found a river to follow deeper into the heart of whatever land they were on. Following the banks of the river proved to speed their travel considerably (and Kilos and Herrick were chagrined that they left the t-rex head behind; perhaps it could’ve been used as a raft!). Finally, they found a plateau towering 3000′ above them and a rope bridge leading from part of the mountains above the river to the plateau.

They made camp at the mountain-side of the bridge. What dangers and riches await on the other side?

*This has the advantage of preserving the mystery of what they were supposed to find and do in the rest of the “haunted house” and UK1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. Since they have to play the adventure again with AD&D, then with AD&D 2nd edition, then with Pathfinder, and finally with D&D 4E, at least one of the play-throughs will have new stuff to discover.

In preparation for the new phase of the adventure, I bumped everyone up by 5,000 XP. I wouldn’t normally do this in campaign play (unless I was doing a time-skip of several years), but for the Doctor StrangeRoll campaign, it’s more important to be able to experience the classic adventures as written through the “eyes” of each edition than any sort of continuity. The whole shipwreck thing might be a little contrived, but at least it’s a little more natural than just giving them all the clues they inadvertently destroyed and say “Here’s what you WOULD’VE found if you hadn’t burned down the house.”

The next session of Doctor StrangeRoll will be on April 20th. We’ll most likely be returning to the Star Wars campaign for that session.

Categories: Phase One - Basic D&D | Tags:

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