08.01.14

May-July 2014 Books

Posted in BookReviews-text at 6:29 pm by Stephanie Bryant

Been busy with a lot of things, so I haven’t done a lot of reading. Or rather, I’ve been reading, but nothing complete. Lots of game books, but I don’t read them cover-to-cover.

#5: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. Good book with a steampunk vibe from before SP was a thing. I was not thrilled with the ending, which was too much deus ex machina, but overall, it was a decent enough read.

#6: “Our Love is Real” – This is a comic book, so I shouldn’t count it. But when the comic book starts with “the vegisexual riots,” you get to count it in your list.

Currently reading: Pale Fire by Vladmir Nabokov, Silas Marner by George Eliot, and a half dozen game books, of course. Listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

 

07.18.14

Dead in Thay: Finale

Posted in Gaming at 11:59 am by Stephanie Bryant

We ran the final session of Dead in Thay this week, due to scheduling conflicts. So if you’re playing Encounters at another shop, wait a week to read this post.

In this final session, the PCs travel to the Phylactery Vault, where Szass Tam has hundreds of lich phylacteries stored, the phylactery jars of his many lich minions. The mission of the PCs is to go in, breach the sepulchers where the phylacteries are housed, and destroy the phylacteries. This will ensure that the liches themselves can be defeated permanently.

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07.11.14

Dead in Thay: the Penultimate Session

Posted in Gaming at 1:11 pm by Stephanie Bryant

HomePage_DnDLogoWe are going to be ending Dead in Thay a week early, due to Comic Con, so I sped up a bit of the campaign. With 3 tables, the second half of the campaign has been going quickly, and we’ve had at least 1 table in the Temples of Extraction for the past 3 weeks.

Last week, I had car trouble (dead battery– happens every 2 years in Las Vegas’ summer weather) and had to miss the game. It’s very nerve-wracking as the organizer and a DM to miss a game, but my co-DMs Mike and Josh picked up for me and carried on!

Anyway, between missing last week and needing to end the season early, I came into the game this week with just 2 sessions left. The module is clear: the parties need to clear out the Temples of Extraction and disrupt sufficient black gates by the end of this session.

On the other two tables, Mike and Josh ran their PCs through the Temples of Extraction. Due to a miscommunication, they both went in the same directions, freeing the same remaining Chosen. I handwave and say they took care of all of the remaining Chosen.

My own goal was also clear, even if it wasn’t part of the bigger picture: I have three PCs who are undead, including one who has been played since the Neverwinter campaign 2 years ago.

There is one room in the Doomvault proper where the soul-bound dead can be restored to full life. I told my PCs which sector it was in (the Master’s Domain), explained they really wouldn’t have another chance to restore their lives if they wanted to do so. They took the bait.

Because they started at a black gate a bit far from the room in question, I gave them a “random encounter.” It was far from random, though, since the alert level of the dungeon was high enough to automatically cause a random encounter. In this case, the dice came up with “special encounter.”

The rules in the Dead in Thay module are really poor for “what to do about special encounters.” There are instructions for the organizer to make a special encounters table, but no idea what is probably going to be on it, or how to use it.

I decided that the PCs get into a special encounter with the hezrou they released earlier, and the little squadron of quasits. They encounter these in the room with a monument that disrupts physical abilities (disadvantage on STR and DEX checks), but enhances magic. They parlay with the hezrou, who makes a bargain to trade information on where the resurrection room is, in trade for their spare glyph key and information on how to get out. When they lie (badly) about not having a key, the quasits steal it from the cleric. The cleric hits the quasit with a lance of faith, and the key falls. An opposed dex check between the crossbow-wielding rogue and the hezrou results in the hezrou beating him, but only barely.

The hezrou tells them anyway, because he doesn’t care as long as he can get out of here. The hezrou heads for the black gate, to eventually head out to Thay and, in time, to find a portal home.

The party heads up to the laboratory where they find a red wizard torturing one of the named NPCs, and a bunch of wights on the stone tables of necromancy. The party tries to bluff her, but she doesn’t quite buy their story. The wights get up to attack. Combat starts. The mage draws aggro from all the wights (our wizard has been an amazing tank through this campaign– he regularly takes the attacks and survives them!)

The druid blasts the shit out of the red wizard, who yells “hey, let’s not be hasty, here!” She bargains with them to teach the wizard the ritual for restoring life via the necromantic tables.

Unfortunately, after they raise the druid and cleric, they tell the red wizard to GTFO– without the NPC, and she resists. The monk punches through her sternum, bringing her down to negative hp, but the cleric stabilizes her so they can question her for more information. She makes a second deal to be let go; she’s not going to fight them for the NPC now.

The druid cures the NPC’s wounds while the wizard brings the rogue back to life. The party disrupts the black gate, then heads up to the sanctuary vault and, to start next week, the gatehouse.

Next week: The Phylactery Vault!

07.09.14

SS Placeholder: Endgame

Posted in Gaming at 12:29 pm by Stephanie Bryant

Note: At this point, you should assume all the trigger warnings for the SS Placeholder game. This week’s writeup hits on transphobia and racism, along with our usual complement of sexism, piracy, violence, etc.

This recap covers the final 2 weeks of the Space Race campaign.

We had an early start, but spent a good amount of time recapping after a 2-week absence.

We made it to Paragon station, where Alain apparently teleported part of the station/asteroid into our ship, nearly shortening the captain’s height by about a foot. He leaped out of bed and went barreling for the med bay to find Kiray and some drugs (paranoia when he’s not indulging his addictive personality).

The party proceeded to charm its way into the cargo hold of an actually-competent space “pirate” (formerly an engineer) who was salvaging the wreckage. We convinced him that there’s a lot of money to be had if he transports us to the coordinates where Ricky Serrano is hiding out.

He agrees and we get underway. Shenanigans ensue. Alain gets Bubbles working on “some project” involving the wreckage of Paragon Station.

On the eve of facing our dooms with Ricky Serrano, Kiray and Angel have a little chat about Alain and, tangentially, Captain Steele.

A werewolf offering dating advice to a fish in a machine suit who likes a cat-man in a gas mask while a small cat robot possessed by a ghost eggs her on. I just want to point out the absurdity of this scene. (from Tyler)

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07.08.14

Bribery and Dinosaurs

Posted in Challenges, Crochet and Knit, Gaming at 1:03 pm by Stephanie Bryant

About 5 months ago, I was looking at going to GenCon, and I really really really wanted to see if my online gamer friends would like to meetup there. The same guys who participate in the Grinding Ice, Moving Forward, and Space Race campaigns. My Tuesday night crew. My gamer friends.

You see, aside from Daniel (GM for Space Race, Ordune in Moving Forward), whose brother is a friend of mine here in Vegas, I haven’t met any of these guys. Alex (Tris in Moving Forward, Vor-Kai in Grinding Ice) lives in New York. Steve (Captain Ryan Steele in Space Race, GM for Moving Forward, Hrothgar in Grinding Ice) is in Minneapolis. And Tyler (Alain in Space Race. Firiel in Moving Forward, Much-Abused GM of Grinding Ice) is about one mountain over from my in-laws near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I love the in-person interaction, and I really want to Make This Happen.

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