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August 18th, 2002

Just Back From Gaming

Gotta run off to bed, but I just felt like popping in here to mention that I just got back from running Session Two of what is probably the most relentlessly pound-on-the-PCs D&D adventure I've ever cooked up, and tonight, the players were doing most of the pounding! All of the encounters in the adventure range from "tough" to "ohmyGAWD" -- but many of them can be circumvented or at least made a bit less frightening with some forethought.

However, there is one encounter that is worth mentioning. This evening's Come Into My Parlor award for a player character just walking into disaster of their own free will goes to jamesbarrett who, instead of leaving the gray ooze alone, insisted on running up to the thing and whacking it with his prized +1 ghost touch dwarven waraxe ... may it rest in pieces.

Gray oozes, for those not up on D&D lore, are just these blobs of living goo, that move incredibly slow and don't do much. The easiest way to defeat a gray ooze is to walk away from it. However, if you're absolutely intent on killing it for whatever reason, your best bet is to stand at the far end of the room and pepper it with arrows, because it has an incredibly caustic acid touch.

This particular ooze was just tucked away in a corner of the dungeon, not in an area where the characters had to go, just sorta lurking its oozey days away. Even once the characters disturbed it, and realized what it was, all they had to do was leave. It had a movement rate of 10' -- even the slowest of them is twice as fast as it is.

I will applaud Frisk for the roleplaying, there ... given his fighter character's personality, going up to the ooze and attacking it makes sense, even when the player knows that doing so has a fair chance of obliterating what was, in my magic-poor campaign, a very nice weapon -- particularly painful since the weapon in question was a family heirloom.

On the other hand, part of me is still blinking and wanting to say, "You do WHAT?"

Camstone did ease poor Frisk's pain a bit, by having his rogue "loan" Frisk's fighter a very nice magic sword. It doesn't quite replace his beloved axe ... but if he's gotta have a "not my axe" weapon, this is a good choice.

Unfortunately, we had to end the session in a cliffhanger ... Camstone's familiar is engulfed by a gelatinous cube and his rogue is caught in a corridor between two of the icky things ... with all the other characters (except for Frisk's mage) on the far side of still a third cube. Frisk's mage is still the prisoner of the boss villain, and likely to remain so for the rest of her soon-to-be-shortened life if the rest of the party doesn't succeed in rescuing her. Because we got started later than I wanted to, the characters didn't progress as far as I'd expected, so I may have to edit the stuff for the next section a bit. I'd like to finish this scenario next weekend, so it doesn't have another lag while I'm at Dragon*Con.

I am enjoying this game tremendously. The more the characters manage to defeat everything I throw at them, the higher I keep raising the odds -- and still they keep beating them! These guys have earned their victories.

And, of course, still tougher fights the next time...

I'm proud of my players. :)

Anyway, that's it for tonight. Catcha later!

-The Gneech

Life, Both Real and Fictional

I saw Stuart Little 2 today. I enjoyed it, and it was certainly impressive. I think the highest compliment I can pay the creators was that I quickly forgot that Stuart was a computer generated mouse with Michael J. Fox's voice, and simply thought of him as "Stuart." His performance was certainly more convincing than Sheena Davis, that's for sure. :)

Today was Laurie's birthday. She was pleased with her presents, which in turn pleased me. She's not a disagreeable person by any stretch, but in her own way she's a very hard person to please. She rarely objects to anything ... but she rarely enthuses about anything, either. She is Ms. Placid -- which I don't mind sharing with the world can be a frustrating thing to a guy who thrives on making people around him happy. So when I make a positive impression on her (in this case by giving her some Bugs Bunny earrings I got at AnthroCon, among other things), it makes me happy.

But Enough of That Non-Geek Stuff!
Robert E. Howard wrote a short story that was, for all intents and purposes, a Conan story, except that Conan wasn't in it. (The story was later rewritten as a Conan story by L. Sprague de Camp, if I recall, but Howard's original was set in the stone age, not the Hyborian age. But I digress.)

The story centered around an ancient winged fiend of some kind who lived in a tower that was surrounded by a sea of vampiric plants. In a stroke of pure Howard, the plants where ghostly white lilies until they gorged themselves on a living being, at which time they became flushed red. Nobody could approach the tower to get at the fiend within, because they had to go through the plants to get to it, and the plants would eat them if they tried. The winged fiend, on the other hand, could come and go as he pleased, by landing on the roof.

That was such a wonderfully, horribly cool idea[1] that I just had to steal it, and steal it I did for the current D&D scenario. The celebrated Vormorax is half dragon -- he's got wings! Most of his lackeys either stay in the tower, also have the ability to fly, or are flown in on a case-by-case basis by the dragonpriest himself.

Anyway, there weren't any official D&D stats for the vampire plants -- or so I thought. But apparently, the writer of some ancient 1st or 2nd Edition AD&D module read the same story, because while I was tooling around The Creature Catalog, a source of old materials converted to 3e, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but exactly the beastie I'm looking for, almost down to the last detail, all written up for me!

I love making discoveries like this. It's like a little present from the universe. Or from other geeks who inhabit the universe, either one. It's very small -- barely even rates a 0.5 on the insignificometer -- but it's like a gem to me.

In the words of Weebl, "How handy!"

Oh, speaking of Weebl, Camstone brought PIE to gaming last night. What a silly fox. :)

Well, I guess I better hit the hay. Gotta drive all over the DC metropolitan area for 8 hours tomorrow, starting at 7:00 a.m., so I need to get some rest. G'nite LiveJournal, and be good while I'm away. 'cos if you don't, I'll just have to kick your ass when I get back.

-The Gneech

[1]One of the reasons I'm not happy with my own fantasy stories, is that I spend so much time trying to come up with wonderfully, horribly cool ideas like this one, and being disappointed by the results. Howard was good, man. Howard was real good.

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