Showing posts with label Come Endless Darkness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Come Endless Darkness. Show all posts

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rise! Tharizdûn!

Spent some quality time with the Order of the Platinum Dragon this weekend.

These guys:


They just cleared out the first level of the Hall of the Fire Giant King and are now headed down to the second level.  They have encountered the first bit of solid proof of the Drow interference.

We (You and I that is, not the players or the characters) that they will eventually encounter Lolth.


She should put up a pretty good fight.  What happens to her depends on the actions of the characters.

After that there is a real good chance that they (or they along with the Second Campaign Characters) will also have to fight Orcus.


He looks a lot tougher.

But the problem is that they are not the "big bads" of my 5e games.  All my campaigns will link up at the end to fight the mastermind pulling all the strings.

Tharizdûn!


Yup. I know that is a WoW figure (Demon Form Illidan Stormrage), but he works perfectly as Tharizdûn as I envision him.  Part drow, part demon, part dragon, part devil.

Tharizdûn, through Asmodeus and Graz'zt, have manipulated the characters (in all three campaigns), Lolth, Orcus and scores of other demons to locate the Chaos stones. Once collected the PCs will think they are using them to save the world, but really it is the key to Tharizdûn's prison.  Blocking out the sun is a herald of his return.

I'll get more details on how this is all going to work in future posts.
Right now I need to make some minor alterations to that figure.  I need to find some chains to wrap around his wrists and ankles to show that he had been imprisoned.


My players have not seen this figure yet. I plan on keeping it hidden till he is released.

Now to come up with some appropriate stats for him.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

No More Secrets in Saltmarsh

Over the weekend we continued with what was going to be the Second Campaign.  Still is...but I'll get to that.

The boys made some new characters and we started the "Treasure Hunters" group.  Overtly this group is getting together to hunt treasure. We have a band centered around "an expert treasure hunter" (a ranger), a cleric of the god of Knowledge and warlock.  Joining the group is my favorite character to date, a gnome druid named "Erky Timbers", played by my youngest.

I took them through U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh.  We had such a great time we played for about 10 hours, only stopping to quickly grab a bite to eat.



We played it under 5e and I used +Mark Stout's  "Classic Modules Today" conversion of U1 to help us out.

Though this proposes and interesting problem for me.  This is the adventure I wanted to use to start the "Second Campaign", the one that runs parallel to the "Come Endless Darkness" campaign.  At some point, after 15th level, the survivors of both campaigns will come together to fight a larger evil.

I supposedly started the Second Campaign back in March with the Forgotten Realms.  But so far we are only one adventure and two sessions into that one.  Plus that one is in the Realms, the Come Endless Darkness is very much Oerth/Greyhawk.

So. I might change that game to a simple "Into the Forgotten Realms" game and pick the Second Campaign Game up here in Oerth.  I was vague on where Saltmarsh actually was, so I can still decide. Given the adventures, I am pretty sold on it being in Greyhawk.

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God levels 1-3 (novice)
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, levels 1-3
U2 Danger at Dunwater, levels 1-4
U3 The Final Enemy levels 3-5
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7
I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10
Gary Gygax's Necropolis, levels 10+

With a break right after I4 for the Council of Greyhawk. This group will be sent to the desert but unlike the Order of the Platinum Dragon the Treasure hunters will not be transported back.

This could end up being quite epic.  Hope I am able to get it all done.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Preparing to Descend

The Order of the Platinum Dragon has just begun their attack on the Halls of the Fire Giant King, but I am thinking ahead to their descent into the depths.
While I am putting together my adventures now in truth I have been planning for this since 1983.

My Giants+ binder was so successful that I am doing the same thing for the D Series and Q modules.


I bought and printed out all the PDFs plus some extras.


Some 5th edition Lolth stats I found on Redit. (I think).


D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth.




D3 Vault of the Drow with the 5th edition conversion from Classic Modules Today.


I am also adding "D4" Encyclopaedia Subterranica from Dragonsfoot.

Then we get into the "Q" series.



Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits and the 5e Classic Modules Today conversions.


I am going to add in bits from Skein Of The Death Mother also from Dragonsfoot.


I'll wrap up their underdark/Abyssal adventures with Monte Cook's Queen of Lies, which I am going to mod a bit to make my own Q2.

Been planning this since 1983, back when I went through all of these myself.

It is going to be epic!

Monday, March 13, 2017

More Weekend Gaming in the Second Campaign

It was my youngest son's birthday last week so we spent the weekend having kids over and gaming.
I decided to run another session of my so-called "Second Campaign".
We had a variety of kids playing including some that have played before and some who never had played.  I stuck with Under Illefarn since there other adventures in the book that would work.

Also, I had 7 kids between the ages of 13-14 so I needed something to keep them all busy.
So I ran the "Rescue Mission" mini-adventure.  The conceit of having all the characters be part of the city guard is great and it worked out well for this group of mixed new and old characters. Plus we had three paladins, so that worked out well.


It took us three hours to play that adventure.

Overly caffeinated and sugar-dosed kids (birthday cake, ice cream) makes for some difficult times in focusing.  Plus I was tired, having worked on my son's computer all week and weekend to get it running (I failed, but that is a different tale for a different day).

I will give the kids credit, they caught up with the Baron that had kidnapped the Duke's sister and instead of fighting him made a VERY convincing plea to the Baron that why kidnapping is not a good way to profess your undying love to someone.  They managed to do such a good job that the Baron agreed to go back with them to the Duke and plead his case for the hand of Bronwyn (the Sister) to the Duke himself.  By the end of the adventure, they Baron and Duke were already discussing wedding plans in front of an aghast Bronwyn.  I know, not very forward thinking of me, but it was a time when people were married off for political alliances all the time.

Of course on the way they managed to fight some ghouls and rescue a band of pixies.  One of the pixies is now part of the city guard.   We had about an hour left so my oldest joined us and I had them take out a nest of ghouls.  The nest of ghouls was added by me, it was something that I have used in the past to great effect.

I have decided that I am going to spend more time on the personalities populating the Realms than my usual games.  I am still fairly sure that many of the "Big Names" won't be making an appearance, but it would be a shame if I didn't at least name-drop them.

One thing I am thinking of doing is have Demogorgon make an appearance or be a "thing" in this game.  Orcus has what, 30,000 adventures out there, Lolth has at least as many. But no one ever does anything with the Prince of Demons.

It will be this campaign that I introduce the multi-verse to the players and characters.

One character, in fact, is coming over from our Come Endless Darkness game.  Cynder is the daughter of one of the wizards of my 3rd Edition game. She made a brief appearance in the Come Endless Darkness game during one of the flashback adventures. The other characters had forgotten about her but when the flashback was done they remembered and began to wonder what happened to her.

She is going to wake up in the Realms and it will soon be discovered that she can wield Spellfire.  Why not. It is an homage to first ever Realms novel I ever read and I love that cover art from Clyde Caldwell.  How she got there is not as important as to why she got there.  Spellfire could have changed the tide of the war brewing in Come Endless Darkness.



This is going to be a great time.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Weekend Gaming: New Blood and Would-be Queens

Huge gaming weekend this past weekend.

Friday night my youngest son ran his game of D&D ever for three of his friends.  It went great and the kids sounded like they had a great time.  One even showed up with a homemade character sheet with his character ready to go.  I guess his dad had helped him put it all together.

Sunday we played an extra long session of our 5e game.  The boys had just finished the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl and were headed to their next adventure when they saw a girl, potentially a snow elf, running across the tundra chased by Winter Wolves.  This was the start of the first mini-adventure "The Frost Giant Jarl's Daughter".

The adventure is obviously based on the Conan story, The Frost Giant's Daughter.  But there were other influences as well.   The first encounter was with the wolves.  Winter wolves are actually pretty tough in D&D5.  Next I had them run into the skeletons of long dead Frost Giants.  I didn't have minis for that, but I do have my collection of old AD&D toys.


They worked out well.  I included them as my homage to this famous Dragon magazine cover.



They chased the girl to a cave where they found her behind a wall of ice.  They were attacked by the brothers of the Frost Giant's Daughter then.

For this part I adopted a little bit of 4e as mentioned in this post.  This made the frost giants a little tougher and gave them some interesting and unique powers.


Finally, after defeating the brothers, the girl reveals herself to be the Frost Giant Jarl's daughter, and now the new ruler of the Frost Giants. I guess she was a Countess.


The adventure takes place right after G2 (I am calling it G2.5, but I guess G2.45 is a better code).  The party must cross a glacier to get to the next point in the series.

I went to 4e for help on crafting the encounters; a group of Winter Wolves, Frost Giant Skeletons and finally her two four Frost Giant brothers.  The Jarl's Daughter is a Frost Giant Ice Shaper from 4e.  She has/had ice powers and was the one that crafted the ice wall.


The adventure could end in two ways (well three if you count the PCs getting killed, but that was not a design goal). Either the brothers are all killed and the daughter entreats with the PCs to come to a truce or the PCs kill everyone.  The Daughter is quite powerful and I'd prefer the PCs not having to fight her.

I am thinking of working up the adventure for downloading.  The idea is to "be playable after any adventure dealing with Frost Giants but before moving on to Fire Giants".  This works with G2 and G3 and the Storm King's Thunder adventures.

After we did that the Order of the Platinum Dragon moved on to discover a Cloud Giant Castle full of Mountain, Fog, and Firbolg giants.  Basically all the AD&D Monster Manual II and Fiend Folio Giants.

Here the bastard daughter of the Storm Giant King and a Cloud Giant witch has taken control of a cloud giant castle and is dealing with the drow.  I based her on the 4e Eldritch Giant and made her a Cloud Giant warlock with a Primordial pact.  Her pact is with the Elder Elemental Eye.

For this adventure, I combined a number of "Cloud Giant" related adventures.


Again, both of these mini-adventures come from my misreading of "Storm King's Thunder" as "Storm King's Daughter".

Going through the Storm King's Thunder, Saga of the Giants, and Curse of the Cloud Giant Queen. I noticed a lot of similarities. Not that this is a big deal really; all the adventures are drawing on the same source materials. Namely the classic G series and the mythology in D&D about Cloud Giants.

The adventure in the Storm King's Thunder is nice and tight and I loved the masks.  The Curse of the Cloud Giant Queen has a great dungeon and some ideas as well. The Saga of the Giants' Cloud Giant Castle is also a nice adventure.



Reading them all over I got the idea of a floating castle in the clouds, ruled by a Cloud Giant Queen. I have always, always wanted to do a floating castle! She is supplying materials to the Frost and Fire Giants below.  Plus the Drow getting the Cloud and Storm Giants would be a huge coup.

The PCs were able to get in and defeat the imposter Cloud Giant Queen and free the Storm Giant King.  The Fog Giants gained control of the Castle again to get it back into the hands of Cloud Giants.  I decided that not all giants chafe under the yoke of larger giants; fog giants are happy to serve the cloud giants.

Given that so much of this cloud giant adventure was really a mis-mash of other people's work, I won't work that one up into anything to be used by others.

So now the Order has defeated Hill, Stone, Frost and Cloud giant enemies. They have faced Storm, Mountain, Fog, Firbolg, Ettin and Cyclops giants.  All that is left are Fire.

Next time we meet at the table it is G3 Halls of the Fire Giant King!

Will the Frost Giant Queen or even the Cloud Giant Queen return in my War of the Witch Queens? They were a witch and a warlock respectively.  Who knows.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

More Hero Forge Minis, Part 2

About a month ago I posted pictures of my new +Hero Forge Minis.   Since then I got in contact with +Epic Die Studio and they were looking forward to painting some Hero Forge minis. Plus they were nearby, so it looked like it was going to be good match.

I was wrong.

It was a GREAT match!

Here are the unpainted minis:


And here they are again after Epic Die Studio did his magic.







Love the design on the shield.  Great for a warrior of Bahamut





Skylla!



Taryn and Mojo




If you live in the Chicago area they are totally worth checking out.
I am beyond pleased with these.  Can't wait to do some more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Plays Well With Others: D&D 4th Edition and D&D 5th Edition

Wait...what?
Seriously though hear me out on this one.

Long time readers will know of my enjoyment of 4e when it first came out.  I felt there was a good game here, even if it was not 100% D&D-like-we-knew-it.   Well it was pretty much derided by any old school gamer and those that did like it, loved it with a passion.

Well yesterday +Thomas Denmark over at Original Edition Fantasy/Rules posted a video about how to incorporate elements of 4e into your 5e game.
https://originaleditionfantasy.blogspot.com/2017/02/dr-strange-edition-or-how-i-learned-to.html

Here is the video he shared.


It's an hour long, but the YouTuber Matthew Colville is so earnest about this that it is fun to watch.  BTW he has a lot of other D&D videos as well. The guy is obviously a gaming evangelist so his enthusiasm is contagious.  So much so that this morning before getting everyone awake I dove into my 4e monster manuals.


It seems that Colville is onto something here.

I have mentioned before that there a number of 4e innovations I would like to adopt in my games.  Among these are some of the conditions, in particular bloodied, and the minion rules.

But today I want to talk Giants.

My group is working their way through a modified and expanded version of the G series.  They finished G1, "G4" (the R.C. Pinnell Stone Giant adventure) and G2.  Next they are going to do a mish-mash Cloud/Fog/Storm Giant one before going on to G3 and the Fire Giants.  But before that they are going to do a one shot based on the old Conan story, "The Frost Giant's Daughter".  My adventure will be called "The Frost Giant Jarl's Daughter" though roughly the same plot.

I will be 100% honest here. I was never a big fan of giants for most of my D&D adventuring days.  That is until 4e helped turn them into something else.  In 4e (and possibly before, I might have missed it)  Giants became the products of Primordials and Elemental forces.  They were not just "bigger orcs" but something else.  I really liked the 4e versions of giants that included not only giants, but also titans.  So you could have a Frost Giant and a Frost Titan.  The Titans were larger and more tied to their elemental natures.

In the G4 module I did a bit of this with the main Stone Giant being replaced by a 4e style Earth Titan.

In The Frost Giant Jarl's Daughter I am going to take Colville's advice and run the giants with more of the 4e elements than I had previously.  A lot more in fact.


The adventure takes place right after G2 (I am calling it G2.5, but I guess G2.45 is a better code).  The party must cross a glacier to get to the next point in the series.   However, along the way, they will be taunted by the apparition of a beautiful girl.  Now I need to be careful here.  I have an elf woman that has been following them all the way from the A series. They think she is a thief, but in reality she is a spy from another group that wants the same things the party wants.  I don't want to run into the cliche of a beautiful woman actually being something else.


Along the way there will be three 4e crafted encounters; a group of Winter Wolves, Frost Giant Skeletons and finally her two Frost Giant brothers.  The Jarl's Daughter is a Frost Giant Ice Shaper from 4e; or maybe the Frost Titan, have not decided yet.  So she is going to have some very nasty tricks up her sleeve.

If this works well then I am planning on doing this more in the Fire Giant's adventure.


A bit of personal history.  Back in the earliest days of my gaming when I was going through these adventures myself I found a 60mm metal mini of a knight in bronze armor.  To me it looked just like the picture of the Fire Giant from the Expert set.


I wanted my DM to use it as an advanced Fire Giant Knight.  Someone that would come out to challenge the players.  Given that the art above also has a passing resemblance to Brian Blessed in his younger days (think Flash Gorden era) he would be very bombastic. Well on the day we did G3 I forgot the mini.
Somewhere over the last 35 years I lost the mini.  I remember his leg broke off and I was very disapointed that my Fire Knight never made it to battle.  Well thankfully I have the internet and I found a replacement.


That's the Fire Giant Queen and next her is the Schleich Dragon Knight Hero.  He is not perfect, but he is really, really, really close.  I can use the Fire Titan stats for him and give him all sorts of kick ass powers, like Hurl Lava and Burning Wave.

The Cloud Giant queen, who is in reality the bastard daughter of the Storm Giant King and a Cloud Giant Sorceress, will be recast as a 4e Eldritch Giant.


D&D5 has long been touted as the edition to unite all editions.  I have seen that certainly in terms of Basic and 1st through 3rd.  There are some remnants from 4rh here, but we could do with some more.  4th Edition, despite it's issues, had a lot of really cool innovations and I'd hate to see those lost.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Huntress

"I don't need a killer. I need a Hunter."
- The Faerie Queen to Kaede

A fairy-tale retold.  Warring Fae Queens. A world plunged into an endless, lightless winter.  Two powerful (even if they don't know it yet) female leads. Romance. Betrayal. World changing events? It's like author Malinda Lo was reading my Christmas list!
But seriously.  Huntress is a prequel to Lo's fantastic Ash, a retelling of the Cinderella story.  In this case we learn of the history of the King's Huntress and how she came to be.  Though Kaede is not the Huntress of Ash, not is she a Huntress yet, but it is no spoiler that she will be.  If she survives this tale first.

The story focuses on two 17 year girls, Kaede and Taisin.  Both are in the academy of sages. Kaede is from a well to do family, her father is the Chancellor to the King. She is not a great student and really has no magical talent to speak of.  She is good at throwing knives and picks up the bow through out this tale.  Her father wants to marry her off to a Lord in the south to strengthen ties, but Kaede, who prefers other girls, wants nothing to do with that.  In truth, she wouldn't want it if her father offered to marry her off to a noble Lady either.  Taisin, on the other hand, is from a poorer family, but she already has the Sight and is capable of other magics. It is Taisin's vision and an invitation from the Faerie Queen that bring them together and place them on the road north to Taninli, City of the Sidhe.
The world is currently into its third year of a seemingly endless winter; or rather the summers are poor, there is no light and things are getting worse.
Kaede, Taisin along with the Prince and some his guards must brave to road to the Faerie Queen's land to find out what is going on and how to stop it.
We also must learn what Taisin's visions of Kaede mean and if there is anything she can do to change them.

Like I said, this book is overflowing with the things I love.  Long time readers here will immediately see the parallels between this story and my own "Come Endless Darkness" campaign here.  There are lots of really, really good ideas for my games from this book.
Are their witches? Of course there are!  One could consider Taisin a witch.  That label certainly fits her better than "Wizard" or "Oracle".  There are also named Green Witches in the form of Mona later in the book.  Also, Ash tells us of a Green Witch that cast spells to protect the Huntress.  If this is a prequel to Ash, then how do we know that the Green Witch so mentioned wasn't Taisin herself?

If I extend the concept a bit further the idea of a Huntress is similar enough to my Witch Guardians in practice, if not form.  Malinda Lo is drawing on some deep mythological concepts here and breathing new life into them. It's one of the reasons I could not put this book down.
In fact, I could not but help think back to the otherwise dreadful "Snow White and the Huntsman" and wonder how a "Snow White and the Huntress" would fare in Ms. Lo's more than capable hands.

Using this Story in a Game
Without giving too much away the line of Huntresses starts here.  The Huntress would be charged with protecting the lands between the human and sidhe worlds.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 6
Level: Maiden
Witches in this book: Taisin, Mona and the Faerie Queens.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Everyone does good as they see it, even if it doesn't look that way to others.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Any form of D&D will do. Must have a good witch class and a Feywild.
Use in WotWQ: So many ideas. First and foremost there is the obvious ideas for "Come Endless Darkness", the effects on the people and the land.  For War of the Witch Queens there is the answer of why my Witch Queens would want to involve mortals in their affairs.  Easy, they can't act directly against each other.

Personally, I would be shocked if Kaede didn't make a guest appearance in my games someday.  In Pathfinder she would easily be dual classed witch/ranger.  She started out as a witch (or maybe a cleric, oracle or something) and then became a Ranger.
In Blue Rose she would start out as an Adept and then move on to Warrior/Expert.
In fact, I think she might have to appear with an army of Sidhe warriors just in time to save the characters from undead before they get into Death's Ride.  If I do 5e, then she would have the Sage background, one or two levels of wizard (with limited spell choice) and maybe 13 levels of Ranger.  OR this would give me a good excuse to try out an Oath of the Ancients Paladin or the new Hexblade Warlock for 5e.
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