Thursday, January 27, 2011

Not-Roundup, #1.

So against all probability, there were no games at all this week. Instead, there was a ton of work on the LARP that I am staffing with Shieldhaven, Stands-In-Fire, Basics, and others-- Dust to Dust. I am working on the website.

What-no-link, you ask?

No. None indeed. Not for another few days, anyway, as we go live on February first.

In the meantime, we will be gone for an In-Play Party and One Day event for Eclipse this weekend. Yes, LARP events count for the weekly roundup.

So... watch this space. There may be also some discussion of the necessity of the familiar in games. Which puts me in mind of one of my lj icons for my instinctive reaction, at least.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Session Roundup #1

Partially for my own benefit, and partially to satisfy my own nonsensical desire to order the universe, I am going to try, each Thursday, writing up a brief rundown of the previous week's games. It is possible that All My Gaming will be changing up soon, which makes me very sad. Also there's been some breaks in the schedule of late, but the past two sessions of various games have been worth mentioning.

B's Game, last Tuesday-- We finished up a storyline in which, from the little we could tell, the Raven Queen sent her minions after Hane, my Revenant Assassin. We didn't find out much of what was going on, but she'd taken over the Imperial Palace, and we had the Crown Prince (a 6th level warlord) with us. We had him wait outside the door to the throne room while we tackled a couple of Ebony Guard and two Gawd Awful Hounds with a nasty fear aura, that dropped our attacks by 2 when we were in aura 5. Yeah, bad times.

On top of that, after we'd committed to wiping out the Guard as fast as possible (so we could deal with the hounds, which we'd fought before and which have unholy hit points), a Revenant Lurker showed up, with poison daggers and an eye towards making our lives bloody miserable. Fortunately, (though the player wasn't there, we had a Bard.

And the Bard had Insult to Passivity.

Insult To Passivity basically dazes an enemy until their are attacked. This is important-- they can take damage and stay dazed, so long as they're not attacked. Enter My Assassin's Shroud, and the feat that allows me to deal shroud damage without removing the shrouds when I use my Dark Reaping racial ability.

So this chick was super unhappy, trying to get close enough to hit us with daggers on her next turn, and eventually trying to run off... but we got there first and shut the doors on her. So sad for her, not having phasing. Finally, after we'd (well, mostly I'd) been wrecked by the hounds, and pretty much put them down, Our Mageblade went and started wailing on her, so she could finally use her powers. Which were pretty brutal-- she immediately went invis on us and hid behind some tapistries.

Shame I'd put Hunter's Eye on her, since she was my shroud target, and thus could find her no matter where she went. It also gave me +2 to attack her, but that's neither here nor there. Also, Norman-the-Runepriest-Barbarian-Hybrid-Dwarf (Also my Assassin's descendant) had Earthsense, and could tell where she went.


So we wrecked her pretty hard, and that was awesome. I have to say, this was a really cool fight, and everyone got a chance to feel pretty awesome. Our Mageblade has specialized in AC improving stuff, and the things that targeted AC were balanced in such a way that while they could get most of us, they couldn't get him, most of the time. Norman also did some splendid damage, combined with healing like a madman, and our Wizard was... well, our wizard. But enough about Magic Missile in 4e. Because we wrecked her so hard, we didn't find out much more about what was going on, but the Crown Prince and the Emperor were very happy with us, the Raven Queen's shroud went away, and we all were extremely satisfied to leave the encounter with pretty much nothing left but at-wills.

Chessenta, monday-- Chessenta: Book of Serpents is run by He Who Stands in Fire, and is the most brutal game in which I play. This session was no different.

As of last session, we wound up in the town where we'd received our first quest-- we had the Axe that we were supposed to return to the town's church, and had, uh... gotten sidetracked helping out some Brass Dragons before taking it back. Of course, when we get there, the entire town's been swallowed by the Shadowfell.


We made our way into the Shadow-Copy of the town last session, via a pretty darn neat gating system which stuck each of us in a black room with a horrible monster. For me, this meant sitting there trying not stay alive while my poor Shaman was wailed upon brutally. The others killed their monsters and teleported to another of the four rooms. Naturally, they got to me last.

But I was just fine.

Anyway, after I was rescued by my buddies, we found ourselves attempting to sneak through a city full of undead and shadow creatures towards a church. It was really just one of those sessions where we could not pass a skill challenge to save our hides. The sheer quantity of 1s rolled on 20 sided die were staggering. Thus, we wound up in two really quite brutal encounters with shadow creatures and horrible undead fleshy-monsters, one of which dropped some interesting papers. The second encounter involved these dudes who not only were able to turn invisible (and threw poisoned daggers), they created huge freaking zones of total darkness. Ultimately, we had to just frigging run away, and then try to lay in wait for them, hoping that they'd go back visible. That worked all right, and once we could, you know, hit them, we did so with much vigor. Also, our combat rolls suddenly got better. We then got to the church, rescued the mayor of the real town, and realised that we were going to have to go into the creepy sewers beneath the shadow town after all. The best part was hanging the axe back up in the church, which got us a happy quest reward: all of our weapons now do Radiant Damage as long as we're in the Shadowfell.

Hurrah super useful quest rewards!

Monday, January 17, 2011

So, more about my game... custom gods and feats.

In the company of Such Illustrious Game Designers (by which I mean thems what has actually found themselves paid for this sort of thing. Whereas I have only been paid for the heartless crushing of dreams), it is with a little trepidation that I offer up my humble efforts in this realm for scrutiny. Nevertheless, it is perhaps of interest to some few of you to see the ways in which I have potentially broken my D&D game horribly with a few extra Divine Feats.

To explain. In the setting I have created, a world called Liel, the most prevalent form of religion is called the Giedame. In this faith, each worshiper claims a personal pantheon of six gods, which may be any god in this setting, or any other setting for which rules exist in 4e-- and if rules/feat choices did not exist for a deity a player of mine wanted, I promised to make some up. As for setting deities, I provided the local pantheon of Ar'Siva, the island continent where the main of the game takes place. Entering the worship of each god allows access to that god's feats, which may be taken at any level. In the interest of avoiding tl;dr, I'll break this up into groups. So here's the first bunch:

The Hero-Gods (Atailan)

The Hero-Gods, Begaren, Vai'Varin, and Pi'kati, are called thus because of their roles in various myths and stories. It is not known whether they were once people who lived and were later deified, but the stories treat them as if they once, indeed, lived in the world like men.


-- The God of Honor, Valour, and Nobility, his worship is common to warriors and those who value codes of honor above all else. In Ar'Siva, he is a favorite god of Military Knights, though his worship is more common in the other countries. His worship suggests proficiency with all manner of heavy (not thrown) swords and/or shields. His symbols are a sword cutting through tendrils of dark energy coming from below, or a shield with a hand and three orbs upon it, parting a wave of dark energy from above. Those who consider themselves Dedicate to Begaren may choose from the following divine Feats:

Shield Brethren

If you have shield proficiency, grant +2 to a defense as an immediate interrupt, once per encounter to one ally who is adjacent to you, or adjacent to the attacking enemy.

Sword Brethren

If you have proficiency in light or heavy blades and have a sword equipped, +1 to attack rolls for flanking allies using melee weapons.


-- The God of Humility, this god is never himself depicted, though like Begaren, he is considered a hero-god, and spoken of as such. His symbol is a common household item-- a shoe, a kettle, a broom, et al-- held singly, or on a plain field. Leaders benefit most from the worship of Vai'varin, and many warlords serve him. He is a common household god on Ar'Siva. Those who consider themselves Dedicate to Vai'Varin may choose from the following Background Feats:

Helping Hand

Adjacent Ally gains a +3 bonus to their surge value when they spend their second wind, +5 at 11th level and +7 at 21st.

50 Feet of Rope

You may spend your move action to grant one ally an extra 5 move before the end of your next turn. Allies who start a climb or a jump adjacent to you gain +2 to their Athletics check.

The Best Cook Ever

During an Extended Rest, you may sacrifice a Healing Surge to add +2 to all Allies Surge Value, as you are up cooking the entire time.


-- the God of Tricksters and Rogues, he is a god widely worshipped by people in all walks of life. He is especially popular in Ar'Siva, in the country and among the proleteriat. It is not uncommon, apart from those who are of the Rogue or Bard profession, for someone to feel themselves Pi'kati's in Soul, and honor him thusly. His symbol is a four-holed flute with one hand open and one hand closed; sometimes with his grinning Face behind it. Those who consider themselves Followers of Pi'kati may choose from the following Divine Feats:

Unassuming Pickpocket

+2 to stealth and thievery or you may also treat Stealth and Thievery as trained skills, even if your class does not permit it. Once per encounter, you may make a bluff check as a minor action to gain combat advantage over an enemy within close burst 10.

Made You Look...

Once per encounter, as a move action, you may shift from a square adjacent to an enemy to another square adjacent to the same enemy. You have cover from enemies until the end of your next turn as long as you remain adjacent to that enemy.

Coming next: The Gods of Ascension and the Gods of Detriment.

I will also note that thanks to DDI, adding custom feats and making them apply correctly is really bloody difficult, and thus a hard thing to have 4e players do. Also, I have not really dealt with Divine Power dailies for these gods, except for Vai'Varin, as my Cleric and my Artificer worship him (The Rogue and the Avenger primarily worship Pi'kati). Still, the most efficient way of breaking one's game is through handing out utterly stupid custom magic items. But more on that later.

Moar Announcings.

So, another addition to the Gaming Blogroll-- it is important to go read Musings of a Wombat Warlord, as the Wombat Warlord muses about... well, whatever Wombat Warlords muse about. Wombat, also known as G or G-Money, is the GM for the Eberron game in which I play, and is awesome.

This has been your weekly blog-pimp. Gotta keep the pimp-hand strong.

Friday, January 7, 2011

You're gonna hear electric music/Solid Walls of Sound.

Deck of Many Things returns this week to discuss a spell. This spell can be found in Monty Cook's Arcana Evolved game. It is called Wall of Sound, and the fucker is broken as hell.

(*Note* there is apparently errata which makes it less broken, but I'll deal with that at the end of this post.)

So, about the circumstances under which I employed this spell for the first time in the campaign. I was playing my Magister, Basel (11th level at the time), who was frustrated with the limited nature of her 6th level spell options. She had memorised Vitrification, Shaped Strike, and Wall of Sound for the day-- nevemind that we were in a field of crystal and fighting crystal monsters, so Vitrification was fair useless. A little bit about these crystal monsters, by the by:

1) They had spell resistance.
2) They were immune to fire and cold (so much for shaped strike, which is a fire spell).
3) They were resistant to Electric Energy (which is one of my energy templates).
4) They could refract damage spells so that they bounced in a random direction, potentially hitting me or my allies (so much for most of my damage-- considering the changes of hitting either of the Large-Size Giants in the party, or the hit-point shy Faen, or the Human who is pretty much the main tank... yeah).
5) ...They were vulnerable to Sonic Energy.

So, after trapping one of them in stasis for a round with Dreaded Freeze, This Rabbit goes and looks up Wall of Sound. According to the original printing, the spell has the following attributes:

1) Simple (which means almost anyone can cast it)
2) Spell Resistance: No (later fixed in the Errata, but that may not matter, depending on what is being resisted.)
3) covers a number of 5X5 squares up to your spell level. (Mine at the time was 13, having cast a Heightened Greater Enhanced Magical Flow)
4) Is not bound by gravity, and need not be vertical.
5) Can be made in about any shape you want.
6) has hit points equal to 50 X your spell level.
7) deals Sonic damage equal to 1 X spell level at 20 feet away, and I forget how many d4 of damage (1d4 X spell level with a limit?) at 10 feet away. Half damage on a fort save at 10 feet, no damage on a fort save (I think) at 20.
8) has a duration of 10 rounds per level.

Sounded fantastic to me, esp as we were fighting 10 foot tall crystal critters. My first thought was to create a ceiling of sound over the one fighting my companions, but could not do so in a way that would not hit my allies. So Bo, the Winter Witch, came up with another suggestion.

"Hey Basel, why don't you box the one you Froze in the Wall?"

Well, why didn't I? I could put the wall entirely around the dude, and I could place it at such a height that crawling under it or jumping over it were both problematic, and so that, even if it did get out, it was going to take stupid damage first. Beating on the Wall, at 650 Hp, wasn't really going to do it much good either. So that's what I did. The crystal tenatacle thing (did I mention the tentacles? Yeah. Crystal Effing Tentacles. WOULD I MAKE THIS UP?) shook to death in a handful of rounds, by which time we'd murdered the hell out of his friend.

At which point, Bo very sensibly says something like,

"Yeah, just wait till that's used on us."

Hm, a valid point. The general rule of AE is that anything we can do, the NPCs can do better. And this spell, used with a bare minimum of creativity, is pretty much a Win Button.

Now, it is 6th level, and it is apparently subject to spell resistance, but I'm going to have to look up exactly how that works to see if that just means you don't take damage from it, or if you ignore the wall entirely. Because if it's the former, then that still means dude is trapped in what is basically a force wall with 650 hit points.

Still not hot, particularly if you have angry bow-fighters and magisters ringed around you, and you have any exposed bits at all. Otherwise... well, you're stuck in a box that will let the party get away long before it fades off of you. Suck.

The best ways out of this situation, assuming there's no ceiling on it, is to be able to fly, or maybe to dispel magic, so far as I can see. Otherwise, I think I'll be avoiding using this spell overmuch, as believe it or not, I am not a big fan of The Win Button. I like there to be more than one Right Answer possible in the main of situations.

Ask me about 4e Artificers and Magic Weapon sometime, when you've got a few hours.