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2011-04-11, 03:31 PM
So it occurred to me that since I like hearing about other people's games, the same may hold true for other people. So, a campaign log.

General Stuff

This is not a game I run, but a game I play in. We play once a week on Monday night.
The game is HackMaster.
The youngest player at the table is 31. Oldest is 40. I joined the group about 1.5 years ago and we've been back on this high-level game for about 10 months.
We say that it's an "evil campaign", but really we're just morally flexible. We're generally not running around eating babies or raping people, but if there's a problem to be solved... Well, no options are off the table.

Things You May Need To Know About HackMaster

There's a stat called Honor. It accumulates as you do cool things or diminishes if you do uncool things (back down from a challenge, pee yourself in court). You can burn a little bit to affect a dice roll here or there but the only time we ever use it is to change something that just happened. Usually used as a "get out of crit free" card or to unfail a save. Purging your Honor reduces you to 10% of your former total, can only be done one time per level and until you regain a certain portion, all of your rolls suffer a -1. Saves, damage, skill checks, HP rolls, everything. And you earn reduced XP when you're in dishonor.
Damage and healing explode when you roll the max. If you roll a 4 on a d4, roll again and subtract one... unless you roll another 4. Keep rolling until you roll something that isn't the max and then subtract one from that.
Skills are based on a percentage system.
People say that Hack (http://www.kenzerco.com/images/rpg/hackmaster/hm_playershandbook.jpg)Master (http://sob.apotheon.org/img/dnd_1e_old_full.jpg) is what 2nd Edition should've been.
HackMaster is nowhere near as high-powered as 3, 3.5, etc. At 1st level, you're probably not going to be soloing... well, anything. It's also far more deadly.

The Party
I don't know crap about people's back stories. Yeah, we'll RP to the hilt in-game when the situation calls for it, but I can't tell you anything about where the fighter grew up. See #3 under General Stuff above.

Sheba Sugarfist - Human Monk 7/Charm Specialist 11 - Check that name. This guy's character concept was based on the blaxploitation honeypot. She's pretty and can charm you... and then whoop your ass. Likes to get into combat probably too often to be healthy at the level of bad guys we're running into since she's only leveling as a caster now.

Brunt - Half-Ogre Fighter 15 - Dual-wields gigantic clubby things that do sick damage. Pretty much just muscle and doesn't do a lot of tactic-y kinds of things. Tracker.

Arinon "I'm not tellin' you ****ers my last name" - Grel Ranger 12 - Prefers to use a bow. Tends to like "animals" that aren't so natural. Grel are a sub-division of Elves that are antagonistic to pretty much every civilized race. Guerrilla tactics, slaves, torturing prisoners. I've been told that the character used to be a constant pain in the ass (as in, "I stab the innkeeper") until the party told him he was going to end up in a ditch if he didn't knock it off. Note - This player has the most ridiculous luck with dice I've ever seen. He'll take the d20 you just used to roll 4, 18, 11, 1, 15, 7 and roll 15, 16, 14, 20, 20, 19. This guy is a RL detective and works every other Monday.

Shallyn "Just Shallyn. Like Madonna" - Elf Thief 18 - "Where's the loots?"

Marcus Liger - Human Thief 14 - Pessimistic. Mostly concerned with saving his own ass most of the time and would probably sell us out to do so.

Giovanni Vilano - Half-Elf Magic-User 13/Cleric 13 - Think of a Lex Luthor or Victor von Doom. Chief Executive Badass. Primary damage-doer.

Vagodra Banbar - Human Alteration Specialist 11/Chosen One 7 - Me. I mostly focus on movement spells. The character started as the leader of a small unit of casters in a different campaign and with that skill-set I branched into being the tactics guy for this group. A Chosen One is a Cleric-based class that happens when a god chooses you to be their chief emissary for a particular part of the world. Usually meant to spread the word about how great that god is and get stuff done for them, but occasionally meant to be boiled in oil or nailed to something to later be used as a symbol. So I'm excited about that. I'm a multi-class human! Whee!
Things As They Stand
The world is based on Earth around 1300-1400. The group was operating out of Istanbul (in-game: Zanbytium), getting involved in politics and other high-level stuff. [I couldn't tell you a ton about what was happening with them because I hadn't joined the group yet. I'll check with the group to get some history.]

I joined, and then this stuff happened: The group got a heads-up from a diviner buddy that the world was going to end (For GenCon 2009, KenzerCo tagged our GM to write the Word Championship Tournament specifically to blow up their official HackMaster 4thEd setting. Like, War of the Gods and whatnot.), so we started looking for a way to get off-plane. After a bit of looking, we found one and stole it. We didn't really know how to operate it, so we ended up plane-hopping for a bit. I missed most of this because my RL wife had our second child, and by the time I got back the group was settled pretty comfortably on Tartarus with a daemon prince's compound as a temporary base of operations. We did a number of odd jobs for him in exchange for room and board as we practiced with the plane-hopping device. After a couple more sessions of tinkering with the device, we knew how to operate it enough to get back to our home plane and world. So we gave our boy on Tartarus a "Later, dude" and zipped back home.

Things were bad. Think Mad Max. Any item that was magical anywhere in the world had exploded (even minor magic items (potions, scrolls, etc.) basically went retributive strike), killing everybody who had been in power, everybody who had a stockpile of magical gear, and basically 99% of NPCs worth a damn. There were a very few others who had gotten a heads-up, but we've only heard about them. Zanbytium went from being a region-dominating city of 500,000 people to a ruin with 5,000 survivors and refugees in very short order.

So. Since we were just about the only show in town, Giovanni's god (Hecate, Roman goddess of magic) told us to start building a library and storehouse for all the magical knowledge we could get our hands on. We started doing that and then ran into agents of Isis who were trying to do the same thing. Isis is the Egyptian goddess of magic, so we were pretty bummed to find out that her people were much more well-organized than we were. Fortunately, her organization is based on tons of very low-level dudes and ours was based on us being globe-trotting badasses. So we struck a deal and we're working in tandem.

Around this time, we had a humorous encounter with an unknown beastie or beasties. See, we went looking for a pirate in the Black Sea. This particular boat had been screwing with shipping that one of our little outlying villages depends on, so we let word get out that something valuable would be going by boat on a certain date from place X to Y. We were about an hour into the voyage when a humongous storm approached from directly ahead of us. Skill checks were made and it was determined that this was a magical storm. Like a bunch of dummies, we sailed right in. As soon as we got into the storm proper, the sailors working topside near the front of the boat started dropping over dead. A couple of us (Giovanni and I) were standing near the back of the boat and decided that whatever was doing this was being concealed by the storm so we decided to take no action and let this thing come to us. Right about then, we started taking damage. The GM rolled some dice, but we didn't get to save or dodge or any of that. Just, "You take X damage." We didn't like that very much, and since we both wear Boots of Flying on the job, we took to the air. The next couple of rounds was us flying around in this stupid blizzard taking a bit of damage trying to find this thing that had done non-negotiable damage to us and killed the crew. About that time, we noticed that the boat was, um... coming apart. (The two party members belowdecks had been dealing with it for a couple of rounds, but Giovanni and I were on the wrong side to notice it.) So. Boat being disintegrated, party taking automatic damage, and whatever was doing it was STILL COMPLETELY INVISIBLE. So the belowdecks guys got topside quick and the four of us just Teleported the hell away. That was particularly not awesome and was the genesis of a TON of searching (over the next few sessions) for some bit of knowledge as to what it could have been. We talked to a number of our NPC allies and finally found out it was an Elder Orb. (And that it must have been using Dust of Disappearance.) Look that thing up. They're SICK.
Shortly after we got our negotiate on with Isis, we discovered (I don't remember the source of our info) the greatest consequence of all the magic exploding. Guess who doesn't like magic and would jump at the first chance to see all of it go away? If you guessed "barbarians", you get a cookie. Our information told us that we were looking at an actual army of light cavalry barbarians from far to the east, but we didn't actually know anything about them other than the fact that they were a ways off. (They'd already been on the move before the cataclysm removed any serious resistance to them, and when they heard that we had set up shop in Zanbytium they put a big target on it.) We went out flying one day to go see one of their encampments and see what we could determine from a tiny bit of scouting. They spotted us and gave us a signal that they wanted to talk, so we landed and talked a bit. They knew exactly who we were (Giovanni and "those other guys") and we told them that we wanted to talk to somebody close to the top of their chain of command. The commander of that encampment told me that he'd send word that we wanted to talk to a diplomat and told us that it'd take a couple of weeks. So for the next two weeks we kind of piddle-farted around, trying to get our city in order, looking for high-treasure critters to kill/loot, gathering resources/people for our city, etc. Finally, the diplomat shows up and he's basically got a sheet of paper that says "Will you be subjugated? Check YES or NO." He had no room to really negotiate anything, just orders to tell us what's up. The Mongols wanted us to stop spreading magic outside our area of influence and to pay them a tribute. We told the diplomat "Thanks for the offer, now go **** yourself" and he told us we'd be exterminated. So that was that.

As soon as that was done, we knew that we were going to need fat loots to pay for fixing our city and raising/training an army out of the rabble/refugees that were left. We did some hunting and during this time we had an encounter that began with us trying to kill/loot a dragon and ended with us making an ally of an old-ish Swack Iron Dragon.

It occurred to us that we needed to find out exactly what we were up against, so we threw a bunch of cash at our pal Zymon and told him to find out as much as he could about numbers of Mongols, locations, leadership, etc. After a couple of days, he came back and told us that we're ****ed. A little over two weeks to the north and north-east are approximately 200,000 troops and a little over a month to the south-east and east are 300,000 troops. Also, they have high-level clerics and the whole invasion thing is really a power-grab by their (CE) god and his demon cronies. So that sucks.

As soon as we found out that we were facing not just two armies of mundane barbarians but all the rest of that stuff, we realized we were going to have to pull in a bunch of super-powered allies of our own. We knew that the only thing that would suffice would be a meeting of superpowers. We talked to Hecate first, primarily because she already likes us and secondly because she's one of the goddesses of magic. Then we talked to Isis. Even though she's a rival of our goddess, she's still a goddess of magic. After some skill checks, it was determined that we know that daemons, demons, and devils are all caught up in an eternal war against each of the others. Since we were already pals with a daemon prince, we talked to him and found out how we could get to the fortress of his boss. That would be the biggest baddest daemon Anthraxus. So we went and sought an audience and fortunately for us, some of his underlings had heard of Giovanni Vilano. So we chatted him up and convinced him to come to the meeting. Then we jumped over to [plane], but this time Asmodeus (the biggest baddest devil) had heard of Vilano. He agreed to come to the meeting too, which meant that we were just about done gathering allies. That old-ish dragon that I mentioned above (the one we got all buddy-buddy with) was pals with some kind of dragon council and he'd been working to locate any of them that were still alive. Unfortunately, he was only able to find a few, and most of those went all super-bunker-mode after the cataclysm and didn't want anything to do with us (dragons have great loots). He DID find a decent number of young dragons, but those are kinda "meh".

Oh. I should clarify. We're completely aware that any attempt to actually wage war will result in us losing. They've got 500K troops nearby and a decent number of infernal pals and oodles of clerics and all the other armies scattered across the rest of the empire. So all of our efforts will be spent on NOT having a war.

We needed a place to have our meeting, so we also invited Diana (yes, the Roman goddess), because she's Lawful Neutral and we could have it in her controlled area without any of the other superpowers feeling like they were being slighted or favored.

Diana, Hecate, Isis, Anthraxus, Asmodeus, and a contingent of dragons represented by one swack-iron dragon. And us. Instead of the GM RPing out a discussion in which we'd barely get to talk and he'd be RPing six different characters by himself, he hand-waved it and said that the meeting was successful and the people we'd aligned ourselves with had agreed to put some of their moxie into stopping the annihilation of magic/demonic power-grab that was underway. But they did make clear that it wasn't going to come cheap and that we'd be in charge of financing anything that came up.

So now it's lootin' time.

If you're just now seeing this through a link I provided in another campaign log and you have questions or a "What the hell were you guys thinking?", it's prolly best to ask it in the new thread.

2011-04-11, 05:54 PM
Heh, good post. I knew a little bit about some of this stuff cause I know the GM(he stole my HM GM and she moved to Memphis about 5 years ago and then I became the local GM around here)...

Keep this going, I for one will enjoy it!

2011-04-12, 06:57 AM
I also like hearing about other people's games - especially systems I haven't played, like Hackmaster.

Do go on...

2011-04-12, 01:39 PM
4/11 Game

Because of stuff I explained above we're in desperate need of lots of cash or cashable loot. We did some looking around and found a temple in [Germany] devoted to one of the gods who died during that whole cataclysm thing. We entered, snooped, found a tunnel, followed the tunnel, followed the tunnel, followed the tunnel and seven miles later found an illusory cavern. We (Brunt, Giovanni, Sheba, and I) investigated a bit and saw it was really just a crappy cavern full of bats and rats and a statue. We flew in all silent-like, Detected at the statue, and discovered that it was a succubus. Giovanni hit it with a spell, killed it, and the bats went ape**** on us. Suddenly Giovanni started getting hit with a level-drain attack while these bats were flying around (but we've got devices that give us a save to avoid the level loss). Our basic response could be summed up with "ZOMG WE'RE IN A CAVERN STUFFED FULL OF LEVEL-DRAINING BATS!" so we threw mean spells at the cloud of bats until they all died. After some investigation, it turns out that only one of the bats was level-draining and that was the vampire mate of the succubus. So that was the end of last session.

We had all seven members there last night, so we started kind of late and didn't get a lot done due to the vast quantity of table-talk [**** jokes]. We started off in the cavern where we ended session last time. We looted the place and found a decent amount of loot and a half-dead sverfneblin. We healed him up a bit and pumped him for information and he gave us a bunch of info on the gear that we found and he filled us in that we were getting close to drow territory. [At this point we were all ignoring the fact that the GM was holding a copy of Vault of the Drow (http://www.cs.txstate.edu/~gh10/personal/DnD/D3%20-%20Vault%20of%20the%20Drow.jpg).] Turns out he was charmed by the vampire and was kept around as their gofer. We brought the sverfneblin along since he was the only one there who was a native of the Underdark. Our guide pointed us to the correct tunnel, and we went on.

We traveled another six or seven miles until we calculated the time and realized that it was getting close to the end of our day, so we stopped and rested. (During the course of that last leg, we came across some tracks. Skill checks told us it was a group of eight small bipeds. (Yes, they were Medium. Just small.))

To be continued.

2011-04-12, 07:02 PM
Heh, Topher is a sneaky one! Going to have to steal that Vamp Bat in a bunch of normal bats trick for my game... ;)

2011-04-13, 02:50 AM
Heh heh - as I recall, the vamp/succubus thing is actually from Vault of the Drow. Or one of the D modules, anyway.

2011-04-14, 12:02 PM
Sorry for the delay. RL.

We traveled another six or seven miles until we calculated the time and realized that it was getting close to the end of our day, so we stopped and rested. (During the course of that last leg, we came across some tracks. Skill checks told us it was a group of eight small bipeds. (Yes, they were Medium. Just small.))

We had another RE-free night and continued through the tunnel. I should mention the tunnel. I forget the exact dimensions, but it was something like 100 feet across and 50 feet tall. I should also mention one of the items we found in the vampire-succubus lounge. It was a pair of non-magical lenses that let the wearer see as if the darkness was merely dusk. Unfortunately, there was only one pair and even though several of us have engineering, geology, etc., we couldn't figure out how they were made or what they were made out of (blown skill checks).

After another couple of miles of travel, we came to an enormous cave. Like, six-miles-across big. Out in the middle is a tower. It was circular and from where we were, we estimated it to be about 80 ft tall (iirc). The tower is a little over a mile from the entrance to the cavern, and about 50 feet into the cavern is a sign. We approached and read it and found that it said (in three languages) "All visitors must report to the tower."

We stood around the sign for a while, debating the merits of actually reporting versus going around it versus assaulting it. After a few minutes, the guy with the glasses noticed that a patrol of eight drow was approaching. One of us has a flying carpet (capacity of four) and the rest have... other means, so we took to the air and headed toward the patrol. We were about 50 feet up and about 150 feet away when they stopped and asked us to identify ourselves. We debated for a moment (Giovanni Vilano is famous and not for good things. Also, he was behind the genocide of an entire drow town.) and during the debate Sheba took a shot at the patrol with her crossbow. So that was that.

Sheba's shot told us that the drow had Stoneskins on, so our immediate tactic was to fly near them and toss a handful of coins at them. They returned fire at us, a couple of us (on the carpet) joined in the shooting, and the rest flew toward them for coin-dropping. I keep a bag of Continual Light coins, so I tossed a handful (10) at one of the drow in the middle of the group (they were arranged 2x4). No damage, but they were all hit with super-bright light. The responded by dropping their little Continual Darkness spheres, but since there were only eight of them, that left two coins still shining. The drow immediately scattered. Three went toward one wall, four went toward another wall, and the last one headed straight back toward the tower... at movement speed 96. All but one of us (Sheba) had taken our action for the round, so she shot at the runner. Stoneskin. And after that the runner was out of range of our missile weapons.

The next round opened with us picking our targets and giving chase. Sheba, Brunt, Arinon, and the sverfneblin went after the four, Shalyn, Marcus, and I went after the three with our missile weapons, and Giovanni tossed a long-range fireball (Sidewinder Fireball: max range - 1 mile) at the runner. Magic Resistance saved his ass, and by the end of the round he was at the tower. We plinked away at the drow for five(?) rounds before they were all dead. I felt pretty stupid for remembering WAY too late that I had Transmute Rock to Mud ready that day, so I dropped it and all three of the drow on our side (the AoE is pretty big) dropped into the mud... until they just levitated out. But at least they were restricted to up/down movement after that. I should've dropped it on the whole group at the very beginning, but I was so in love with my clever Continual Light coins that I forgot about looking at my spell list. Dumb.

So we stood around looting and high-fiving for a few seconds and then got hit with fireballs from the tower. That made us feel dumb, too. Giovanni responded with another Sidewinder of his own at the very top of the tower and then we got out of range for healing and facepalming. And then we ended the session.

I should post somewhere in here that I'm totally open to questions. If I haven't explained something properly, let me know.

2011-04-15, 09:28 AM
Nothing behind the following spoilers is actually a spoiler. This will be my info dump for items/spells/NPCs so I only have to explain them once and can link back here. The only things that are going in here are things that aren't obvious from the name. Fireball? No. Spy of Derijnah? Yes.

Bracers of Mapsense - They give you a top-down view of everything within 50(?) feet. BUT. It only gives you a view of things you can see. So it would show you the tunnel branching up ahead but it wouldn't show you a secret door. Most useful feature: The map is marked like a radar display where "enemy types" can be found. A bigger ping is a bigger critter. This description is mediocre at best. I'll borrow a GMG and make it right later.
Manor's Mindsight - Lets the caster see everything within 20 ft + 5 ft/level. Caster can see through/around walls/barriers, but is subject to existing lighting. Requires concentration, but caster can stop concentrating and resume again later. Divination spells can be layered on top, but must be cast before Mindsight.
Stoneskin - Blocks 1d4 + (1 per 2 caster levels) physical attacks. Magical or non-magical, all weapon attacks get blocked. Fireball laughs at you. Magic Missile laughs at you and removes one "block" per Missile. Greatest weakness: A handful of coins.
Phantom Armor - Catches the first (1/caster level) points of damage and provides a tiny bit of AC.
Wings of PanDemonium - Adds large temporary bat-wings to the caster's back which are composed of thousands of tiny screaming vortices to demonic realm blah blah blah. Provides flight class A and a movement rate of 70. (Standard human walking speed is 12.)
Rope Trick - Cast it on a length of rope. The rope will rise straight up into the air. At the top of the rope is an invisible doorway into a small extradimensional space large enough to hold eight people. Spells cannot be cast through the doorway, and any occupants are undetectable by most scrying. Duration scales with level.
Heat-Seeking Fist of Thunder - Cast it at a flame and the flames explode for d6/level, hitting everything within 20' of the flame with sonic damage. Also extinguishes the flame. Useless without a fire source.
Windwall - It's a wall of very serious wind. Any missile that doesn't have a bunch of weight is going to be deflected upward and miss. Negates dragon breath.

Rybax - This is the daemon prince I mentioned above. He's not quite a patron, but almost. He's one of our go-to guys when we need to research something and our #1 guy when we're looking to gear up or fence something.
Zymon - Human Diviner Specialist. Knowledge pimp. He's the guy who told us to get out of town before it went kablooey. He lives a few miles north of Zanbytium with a gang of other specialists (Invocation, Illusion, Alteration, Abjuration) in a super-bunker complete with library, sno-cone stand, and bowling alley. Those last two are made up, but the place is pretty sweet.

2011-04-19, 09:46 AM
4/18 Game
Characters present: Brunt, Marcus, Shalyn, Giovanni, Me.

So this week: I had another Transmute Stone to Mud memorized, and I told the group that I wanted to sneak up, cast it and either make the tower topple or just sink straight into the mud. The tower was 50’ diameter and 40’ tall, but the area of the spell is one 20’ cube/level. So I was thinking about casting the spell about five feet under the surface (the spell can’t be cast on worked stone) and having the super-heavy tower break through that and either topple over and crush the drow inside or sink straight down and drown everybody except the ones on the top. The only problem was that the drow’s MR was cutting right through our Invisibility and the range on the spell is 130 yards. That meant that even with Wings of PanDemonium (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) the drow casters would get a couple of rounds of tossing those long-range fireballs at me. So we were in the middle of coming up with diversionary tactics when Marcus said, “Hey. Why don’t you cast it on the ceiling, instead?”

We were all quiet for about a quarter second before we had a general freak-out about how awesome this was going to be.

Our final plan for eliminating the tower full of drow: Everyone gets covered with Dust of Disappearance. Giovanni gets within range of the tower for that long-range fireball spell and blow hell out of the top of it. At the same time, I take off for a spot directly above the tower (at movement rate 70). Getting to the spot and casting the spell will take four rounds, but by the time Giovanni is done blasting them they’re not likely to be looking up anyway. He’ll drop a couple of those fireballs and then step back out of range. I cast the spell, the tower gets crushed, and we move in for the loots.

Here’s how that worked out: AWESOME.

Round 1, Giovanni drops a mean-ass fireball on the top of the tower. GM asks him to make a MR check, he passes it and rolls a silly amount of damage. I take off flying.
Round 2, Giovanni drops a mean-ass fireball and fails the MR check. Fireball explodes in front of the tower. I keep flying. Giovanni gets hit with three fireballs. MR cancels one, he saves against the other two and takes a little over 55 points.
Round 3, Giovanni has been running for several segments. He’s out of range, and three fireballs blow up where he’d been standing. At the end of the round, I get to the spot.
Round 4, Giovanni is near the rest of the group. On segment 5, my spell goes off. GM requires a [skill] check and a to-hit roll. I’m successful with both and proceed to drop 5,000+ tons of mud on the tower. The spell causes an area of stone that is 20x20x260 to drop straight down onto the tower. The tower gets a save vs. crushing blow to see if it holds together and fills with mud or if it's just completely crushed. The tower fails the save and we all do a happy dance.

So we all headed over to where the tower had been and Giovanni popped a Detect Magic. We spent about 30 minutes digging through mud to grab what we could before we decided that something was probably headed our way to investigate all the noise and explodiness. Giovanni used some item to summon an earth elemental and set it to work gathering all the debris and piling it up in one spot for easy Detecting and retrieval later. So we returned to the air and went looking for whatever was going to come looking. (Of note: The tower had a magical ballista that survived the mud. We took it with us. Flying carpet, remember?)

After about 30 minutes, a group of eight drow and 12 bugbears came around a bend. Since we still had that Dust of Disappearance on us, we just flew over and Giovanni hit it with a fireball, I hit it with a Lightning Bolt, and Brunt beat the two survivors to death with his min-maxed club things.

We decided that sitting in one spot wasn't going to work for very long, so we headed toward a huge structure that I saw when I was up in the air. We got closer and found that it was a 40 foot-tall, 1000 foot-long wall with a huge gate patrolled exclusively by female drow. Inside the wall was a compound of 11 buildings and a large number of drow roaming around. I passed a generic "all of the military skills" check and determined that this was the central military compound for the area. We decided that we'd DEFinitely need to be at full strength to go at that, so we left and went looking for easier targets.

We returned to the cavern entrance (at the southern edge of the cavern) and started around the outside edge going counter-clockwise. Before long, we encountered a large manor house with a stable and a couple of smaller buildings. All of that was surrounded by a 10-ft wall with a large-ish gate. They hadn't seen us yet and since a couple of the others were itching to try out the ballista, we landed the carpet and they started prepping it to fire. Meanwhile, I flew up high enough to see over the wall (boots of flying) so I could get some kind of intel on what was inside the house. I saw drow of all ages as well as svirfneblin inside the area going about their business. There were some kind of lizard mounts as well, but we weren't particularly concerned about those. The drow didn't seem to be prepping for war (because there were kids walking around), but we don't really know anything about how drow operate.

So our ballista crew hit the gate with a bolt and wrecked it without completely destroying it. The next round, Giovanni hit the house with a fireball and killed about 60 of 'em. A few segments later, I hit the house with a spell called Heat-Seeking Fist of Thunder. I get the feeling that it's meant to blow up torch-bearers and extinguish fires that you don't want around because the target heat source is completely obliterated and deals (d4/level) sonic damage to everything within 20 feet.

So we blew up a house full of drow men, women, and children as well as svirfneblin slaves and then called time.

2011-04-20, 12:02 AM
Since I'm the GM, I'll fill in a bit of the background...

The campaign started in 2003, and my intent was to start the game five years prior to the fall of the Byzantine Empire and play it out. None of the original PCs are still active, but there are connections to that initial party. In 2008, we played out the war between the Byzantines (humans) and the Ottomans (dwarves), with the additional twist that the war was actually instigated by drow treachery--essentially, the drow were conducting guerrilla raids against both sides to draw them into a full-scale conflict.

The PCs played the humans against the dwarves and vice versa until they realized the drow were doing the same thing. At that point, they attacked the drow stronghold and eliminated it through the skillful use of commanded spectres. The Byzantine government was decapitated, so the PCs were finally able to act without government interference/massive bribes. Fortunately for them the dwarven kingdom was severely damaged and was in no condition to make the final push. Giovanni Villano built a monastery/temple and Markus Liger built a thieves' academy, while most of the other PCs did their best to live it up.

For the summer of 2009 the group playtested my modules for the HackMaster National Championship "Hacknarok" in which it was my job to blow up Garweeze Wurld Prime. The Diviners Syndicate discovered that Ragnarok was coming, because prophesy spells reaching out beyond two weeks stopped working. In an attempt to try to limit the destruction, they hired adventuring parties to acquire and destroy the artifacts the diviners could locate. The final round of the "tournament" involved the PCs swaying the battle between the divine forces of Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil until Odin finally got fed up and cast the last remaining copy of Fireball: Nuclear Winter on a magical ley line rift, destroying that world along with the Norse and Aldrazar pantheons.

I decided that the consequence of that event in my world was that all non-shielded magic would detonate, killing the overwhelming majority of high-level PCs. Not wanting to be a jerk, I did allow my players to act on the foreknowledge and try to find a way to get off-world before the cataclysm. After figuring out a slippery little time-travel puzzle I devised, they did.

The cataclysm turned Giovanni's temple into a lake--using an Everflowing Flask to spew gallons of dragon blood does have the side effect of creating a significant amount of magical energy--but left Markus' academy intact. Most Western governments are non-existent, but the barbarian (Mongol) horde is intact and on the offensive. Morghen's description of the ambassador-level meeting with the Mongols is mostly accurate, except that they really should have taken the deal (50,000 gp per year and an agreement not to spread magic in Mongol territory), at least until they had time to rebuild Zanbytium's defenses and raise at least a minimal army. Right now, if the Mongols decide to invade, they'll succeed.

During this stretch, the party had a little side adventure where they encountered Lolth (technically Zyandal in HackMaster terms) as a freak random encounter roll. Lolth killed one PC (subsequently raised) and barely escaped before she herself was killed. Obviously, a drow goddess has no kind feelings toward an adventuring group that obliterated one of her strongholds. Because it took the PCs three tries to accomplish that goal, the ill will is mutual. As such, the party wants Lolth dead, so running them through D3/Q1 was an obvious choice, even though it means me running a published module, albeit with heavy modifications, for the first time in about twenty-five years.

As far as Monday's game was concerned, Marcus' idea to rain mud from the ceiling was brilliant, but the party also made what I think was a huge tactical error. I'm sure Morghen will let you know if they get away with it...


2011-04-20, 05:04 PM
Hey Topher, yea, I was surprised that you were running a published module.

But I like the updates and your game sounds fun,...

...even if you stole my GM.... ;)

2011-04-26, 07:47 AM
No game last night.

Two of the three casters (and both clerics) were unavailable (that's Me and Vilano's player). So instead of four or five melee characters getting murdered by a city full of pissed-off drow, the group decided to play board games.

2011-04-27, 02:45 PM
Shame, I was looking forward to it. Oh well, next week...

2011-05-05, 09:15 AM
Okay, so it's Thursday and I still haven't updated.

I swear I'm not letting this thing fall by the wayside. The last two weeks have just happened to be games I didn't attend. See, my wife and I just had our 10th anniversary and went to D.C. and so preparations for that kept me out of the game on the 25th. Then we got back and since our kids were with my mom until Tuesday night of this week, we decided to go to a movie since we NEVER have kid-free weeknights.

So. I swear I'll be back next Tuesday with new game stuff.

(And if I can find out what happened this week, I'll post it.)

2011-05-05, 02:54 PM
The entirety of a text I got from the guy playing Sheba:

Yeah, we are balls deep in drow.

I asked for clarification and I got this:

[Brunt], [Vilano], [Shalyn], and I were fighting four groups of twenty drow.

So while at first glance it seemed like things were going GREAT, things are, in fact, going terribly badly.

2011-05-05, 05:01 PM
Okay, so it's Thursday and I still haven't updated.

I swear I'm not letting this thing fall by the wayside. The last two weeks have just happened to be games I didn't attend. See, my wife and I just had our 10th anniversary and went to D.C. and so preparations for that kept me out of the game on the 25th. Then we got back and since our kids were with my mom until Tuesday night of this week, we decided to go to a movie since we NEVER have kid-free weeknights.

So. I swear I'll be back next Tuesday with new game stuff.

(And if I can find out what happened this week, I'll post it.)

FAIL! Lame Excuse. j/k. ;)

To prevent this you just need to get your wife to game with you! Last GameCon Memphis was on our Annversary and this year it falls on the same weekend!

2011-05-05, 06:09 PM
Update from the GM and it don't sound good:

OK, here's the situation:

After fireballing the trading house manor, the party decided to leave it and explore the other direction. They flew past the cave entrance to find some other caves on a bluff. Once they found that the tracks were barefoot large humanoids (bugbears), they decided to ignore them and continue.

A little ways past that they found a series of long buildings with humanoid activity (mostly drow and bugbears). While they decided what to do, one of the drow security guards on the ground spotted them, despite another dose of Dust of Disappearance, and set off the alarm. The party decides that discretion is the better part of valor and heads back toward the entrance to the Vault.

Unfortunately for them, four companies of drow clerics stand between them and their escape. Worse, the drow vision is much better than that of the PCs, so the party was within longbow range well before the PCs can even see them. Even worse, the drow knew the party's tendencies to use large area-effect spells, so they weren't bunched together--no more than three could be hit by even the widest area Fireball spell.

By the end of the session the party was completely stripped of their Stoneskins and Villano had fumbled away his Staff of the Magi. Sheba had been critted multiple times but had captured one of the drow clerics and flew with her to altitude, where the cleric's sudden infatuation with Sheba's good looks started to make things interesting.

Shallyn took out multiple drow with her crossbows, and Brunt did a very successful dive bomb maneuver by flying down, grabbing a drow, returning to altitude to break her neck, then returning to drop the drow at high speed onto another drow, killing her as well.

When we left the party, Villano was trying to find Sheba to throw her some healing, Brunt was preparing to make another dive bombing run, and Shallyn was continuing to pepper the drow with bolts. The drow were down about half a company.

2011-05-11, 11:15 AM
5/9 Game
Characters present:
Shalyn, Brunt, Arinon, Sheba, Vilano, Me

So last night was pretty damn frustrating. The team felt bush-league all night long. We generally start around 6:30 or 7 and play until 10, but last night we started at 8 and wrapped up before 9:45. On the other hand, we got a ton of REALLY great table-talk in. So... yeah.

Bleh. I generally dislike bitching, but jeeze.

A note on HackMaster:
HackMaster has seven ability scores instead of six. Comeliness is #7. If yours is super-low, people will react poorly because of how ugly you are. If yours is super-high, you can end up having an effect like Fascinate if the person you're interacting with fails a Wisdom check.

The game
We started with the party spread WAY apart and since we'd all dosed with Dust of Disappearance, we didn't really know where anybody was. Brunt and Arinon were on the ground. Brunt was ready to start clubbing people to death (he got Enlarged last session and was something like 15 feet tall) and Arinon was prepped to start up his Rapid-Fire Crossbows. They knew they were near each other, but DoD doesn't just work on bad guys. Sheba was about 300 feet up in the air making out with the Drow cleric he'd grabbed. Shalyn was also flying, shootin' some fools with her Rapid-Fire Crossbows. I was about 100 feet up, fairly centrally located. Vilano was about halfway between two of the groups of drow, on the edge of what was happening. Right at the very end of last session, he managed to drop (whether he rolled a fumble or got critted, I don't know) his Staff of the Magi.

Because I knew what went on last week (even though I wasn't there), I spent a chunk of time trying to figure out a way out of the colossal mess. I came to some conclusions.

1) This group of 80 drow weren't the things that got summoned by the alarm. They were stationed there to keep us from leaving so that whatever scary thing they had prepped could get to us. My guess was MUs with some kind of flight.
2) Fighting the mooks on the ground was a losing proposition. We might have been able to kill all 70 of 'em, but I was convinced that something way scarier was heading our way.
3) Deciding how we wanted to get out of the situation was the only real discussion to be had.

The session started with the GM calling for initiative.

Brunt started by beating on the dudes near him, Arinon started one-shotting some guys, Shalyn started by shooting some dudes, Sheba was making out with her new girlfriend, I pulled out a Continual Darkness coin for even the tiniest bit of protection and started yelling for the party to gather up on me, and Vilano cast his final Stoneskin on himself. Vilano had been flying in direction X and he immediately stopped when he lost his Staff. He decided that he was going to cast his Stoneskin, drop straight down as soon as he could move (five segments later), cast Truesight to find the Staff, and grab it/fly away five segments later. While under HEAVY fire. Longbows fire on segments one and six, and there were 16 drow firing at him.

So on segment one, everybody did the things I described above (including Vilano casting Stoneskin on himself). With the roll, Vilano's Stoneskin blocked 10 attacks. Then the drow fired and tore through every single one of them and took off 30-something HP, leaving him with 50+ (down from his max of 135ish). And then on segment six, he could move again and dropped straight down. The drow fired again but Vilano got lucky and they only took off about 15 HP. On segment one of round two, Vilano cast Truesight and the drow fired again. He got lucky again and they only hit him for another 15ish. Vilano's Truesight took effect and he discovered that the Staff (after the GM made a grenade-effect roll for direction and rolled a d30 for distance in feet) was literally within arms reach of him. So that was lucky. Oh, yeah. When the drow fired on 1, Vilano got critted and ended up with a couple of broken ribs. By this time, Sheba and Shalyn had gathered up with me and we'd gone to about 300 feet. Getting shot sucks. So then segment 6 rolled around and Vilano could move again. And he did. While getting pincushioned again. After that round of arrows, Vilano was down to 16 HP.

So Vilano flew straight up to get away from the archers and the GM gave him the heads-up that since he was moving fairly fast, the archers were going to get their regular shot on 1, but on 6 they'd need 20s to hit him.

Brunt and Arinon were still on the ground killing people.

Round 3, segment 1 (since PCs go first), Vilano cast a spell called Wraithform. Wraithform, in this case, is basically a "physical attacks don't affect me" spell. Fireball and such will still affect you, but totally mundane attacks pass right through you.

Sadly, the drow were all firing Arrows +1. And they shot his ass for another 35ish points.

-20 HP isn't much fun, so Vilano's player spent a couple of minutes trying to figure out a loophole or some kind of instant magical thing to get out of being dead. But he couldn't find anything so he had to purge his Honor. When you purge your Honor, you get to decide how you get out of the jam, so Vilano's player decided that the bowstrings of the five drow who shot him suddenly broke simultaneously.

There's a stat called Honor. It accumulates as you do cool things or diminishes if you do uncool things (back down from a challenge, pee yourself in court). You can burn a little bit to affect a dice roll here or there but the only time we ever use it is to change something that just happened. Usually used as a "get out of crit free" card or to unfail a save. Purging your Honor reduces you to 10% of your former total, can only be done one time per level and until you regain a certain portion, all of your rolls suffer a -1. Saves, damage, skill checks, HP rolls, everything. And you earn reduced XP when you're in dishonor.
So that'll be a pain.

By the end of round 3 we had Vilano, Sheba (and her new girlfriend), Shalyn, and me hovering at 300 feet waiting for Arinon and Brunt to finish what they were doing. By the end of round 4, they'd finished killing the drow near Brunt and they flew up to the rest of us.

I introduced several plans for getting away from this stupid situation and we decided that instead of doing a temporary escape, resting, and returning to **** **** up, we'd use spells and items to tunnel up through the mile of rock back to the surface and just leave. (I cast a Wall Passage with double the area of effect, walked to the end of it, cast Poly Self to turn into an Umber Hulk and started burrowing. Vilano had a... Spade of Excavating or something and he ended up doing most of the work.)

So we got topside, flew a while, rested, and teleported back home. And ended the session.

Sigh. Like I said, bush-league.

Questions? Complaints about how stupid it was for Vilano to not tank up before he dropped back down? Anything?

2011-05-11, 11:59 AM
Flying directly in to a mass of Drow... not that bright. Then again, purged honor can be regained. A very expensive staff (I assume it's a powerful magic item... never played Hackmaster before) might be harder to come by than a few more opportunities to be a badass.

I'm definitely loving the story though. You have good narration skills, and your DM is great at making things up on the fly. Much more interesting, imo, to have realistic effects than to stick to straight RAW.

2011-05-11, 12:48 PM
That brings the party to 1-3-2 vs. the Drow. I'm calling this one a draw since they took out a total of 17 Drow vs. the loss of one PC (negated with the honor purge).

When we left off, the party was deciding whether to return to Drowopolis* or to take some side adventures to raise some much-needed cash, so I have to prepare for both.


*Drowtown was utterly destroyed during their one victory (after three previous attempts) against the Drow. The one other tie was their grudge match vs. Lolth (Zyandal) where one PC was killed but it cost Lolth a level in the process.

2011-05-11, 06:46 PM
, and your DM is great at making things up on the fly. Much more interesting, imo, to have realistic effects than to stick to straight RAW.

Topher is one of the best GameMasters I've ever met and played with in 30 years of gaming.

Morghen, great story! I love hearing how other groups go through some of the same stuff that I put my group through.

oh yea, did I mention that Topher stole my HM GM? it's ALL Topher's Fault... ;)

2011-05-11, 08:30 PM
A very expensive staff (I assume it's a powerful magic item... never played Hackmaster before)AFAIK, it's exactly the same as a Staff of the Magi from the AD&D universe. I can't be certain because I don't own a HM GMG and haven't cracked an AD&D GMG for something like 15 years.

You have good narration skillsThanks.

That brings the party to 1-3-2 vs. the Drow. I'm calling this one a draw since they took out a total of 17 Drow vs. the loss of one PC (negated with the honor purge).Haaaaaaang on. THIS encounter was 17-1, but before this last one we were approximately 200-0? 150-0? The tower and manor house were both stuffed silly with drow.

When we left off, the party was deciding whether to return to Drowopolis* or to take some side adventures to raise some much-needed cash, so I have to prepare for both.Also frustrating. If everyone would just put on their big-girl panties and get their game-faces on, we could walk through this ****ing thing.

I love hearing how other groups go through some of the same stuff that I put my group through.Send 'em this way for a "Please play smarter than this."

Okay, that's too negative. Before that session I skipped we'd been doing mostly fine. Sheba's "I shoot the scouts" was kinda dumb, but other than that we were pretty much on point.

2011-05-11, 10:11 PM
I would actually put my group, The Red Shirts, up against anyone. They've learned their tactics the hard way... ;)

2011-05-12, 05:23 AM
Haaaaaaang on. THIS encounter was 17-1, but before this last one we were approximately 200-0? 150-0? The tower and manor house were both stuffed silly with drow.

The record is by adventure, not by encounter. Besides, everyone knows that male drow are completely expendable. ;)


2011-05-18, 02:55 PM
5/16 Game
Characters Present:
Shalyn, Vilano, Sheba, Brunt, Marcus, and me.

The Game
We started the session with me arguing for going back to the Vault of the Drow. I'm certain that we can finish this thing fairly easily as long as we pull our collective head out of our collective ass. Flying AT the crowd of drow was super dumb and as long as we can avoid goofy **** like that, we'll be fine. So we were gearing up for heading back underground and one of the things that Vilano said was that having an undead army to help things would be awesome. We'd already told the GM to hang on to the one-or-two-session thing he'd put together, but when we started talking about rounding up an undead posse he asked us if we at least wanted to hear the hook. Turns out he'd written up a crypt-crawl with a lich at the end of it. So we scrapped the drow-prep we'd been doing and zipped off into the wilderness of Sicily to go lich-hunting.

We got to the island (with that plane-hopping device we used to escape before the whole world went kablooey) and the only immediate sign of ANYthing we could see was a little blown-up town. We headed over and started asking around. The locals at the only remaining bar told us to go talk to the priest at the temple. We went to the temple (of Apollo) and the guy there told us that Ararac (spelling is definitely flawed) had been a wizard and he'd built a big tomb up on the mountain and he had died, but that the town hadn't seen him. In hindsight, I may have misunderstood some of this. I can't swear that the priest told us they knew that Ararac was a lich. Either way, Ararac had never given the town any grief, but the priest did know that his tomb was up on the mountain. So we went.

We flew up the mountain and saw two entrances in the side of the thing. We looked in each and found that one was 20x20x70 and the other was 20x20x50.

Frick. I lost track of time. I gotta go pick up kids. I'll be back and finish this tonight-ish.

2011-05-18, 05:25 PM
dang... just when it was getting good...

2011-05-18, 09:28 PM
Ow cliff hanger!

2011-05-18, 10:34 PM
as long as it doesn't get cancelled in mid-plot like my favorite TV shows tend to do... ;)

2011-05-19, 09:57 AM

We flew up the mountain and saw two entrances in the side of the thing. We looked in each and found that one was 20x20x70 and the other was 20x20x50. The longer one had a big double door at the end and the shorter one just had a bare wall at the far end. I convinced the group that the short tunnel was OBviously the way in. A super-smart lich wouldn't just build a door so you could walk in, right?

So we had our thieves check for traps and found that the walls had 100 gems total stuck in them. The gems were concealing some kind of trap, but there was no way to tell exactly what the trap was. Fortunately, the floor was completely untrapped, so we just walked down to the end of the hall. We got there and found a perfectly bare wall. Oh. The walls all the way down (both sides) were covered in your standard "demons eating people" murals. We checked for secret doors and got nothing, Vilano cast Stone Tell (it lets you talk to any kind of stone or rock) and found out that only one person had been through in the last few years (and that person had walked down the hallway and walked right back out). No entrance there. So as it turns out, I was completely full of ****. Oh. On the way out, I popped one of the gems out of the wall with my sword (that goofy cleric-ish class I have gives me proficiencies (in anything I want) at the same rate as a cleric) and the little gem (a diamond as it turns out) fell on the ground and just laid there. We looked at it for a second and when nothing horrible happened, we moved on.

And then we went to the longer tunnel. The longer tunnel had the same murals (an Artistic Appreciation: Painting check told us it was the same artist) and a big double door at the end. There weren't any traps in this hallway until we hit the big door. The door was trapped, but we couldn't find a way to deactivate it (apparently all the machinery was in the ceiling or walls or something). We could tell (Find Traps spell) that one of the huge block of the ceiling was part of the trap and it appeared that the thing would fall when the trap went off. So we tied a rope to the knocker, backed out of the tunnel, and pulled the door open. Or tried to. The door only opened about two inches and the gigantic block slammed down, totally ruining a perfectly nice rope. We stood around debating for a second before the GM called for passive Observation checks. We heard a hissing coming from the tunnel, so we backed out a ways and waited for gas or something. Nothing happened for a bit, so we went back in the tunnel to investigate and found that the block had risen back into the ceiling. And we found some liquid on the floors and walls. Skill checks (and IIRC, trap checks) followed to tell us that the trap works like this: Door opens, block falls about 10 feet away from door, 10-foot gap fills with acid, acid drains back into receptacle, hydraulic system kicks in and gradually raises block back into ceiling. Marcus convinced the rest of us that the door would only ever open about two inches and that this was a total red herring, so we left and headed back to the other entrance to retrieve those gems.

Shalyn was being all super-cautious and stuff, but the gem trap wasn't doing anything to her. Until the 50th gem popped out. Then all 50 of the open holes shot little poisoned darts out. But we ALWAYS have Stoneskin on when we're on the job and Shalyn was only hit by four of them, so we kind of shrugged and she kept at it. And then the same thing was repeated with the last 50 gems. Four more Stoneskins got taken off, but all three of the casters have 2-3 extra castings on hand.

Appraisal: Gems told us that Shalyn had just collected 100 1,000 gp diamonds so we did a little dance at our tidy little profit and decided we should check out the rest of the mountain. Oh. First, we put all the diamonds (~5 karats apiece) in their own separate bag in case they were radioactive or something.

And then we found another entrance a little higher up the mountain. [Facepalm]

This entrance was 20x20x120, and the first 50 feet or so weren't trapped. Right about there, we found a colored path on the floor that lead around some floor traps. Basically, the gist was that as long as you stay on the path, you can avoid traps. Until there was a floor trap that covered the width of the path. We flew over the traps and got to the end of the hall. Oh. The walls were covered with the same "demons eating people" murals. At the end of the hall was a big painting of a demon with an open mouth. The mouth was about three feet across and was an actual hole in the wall. The other side was completely pitch black.

Infravision had no effect, Dispel Magic had no effect, two Continual Light coins had no effect. Sheba sent an Invisible Servant in there to bring back anything it could find. It brought back a humanoid femur. He sent it back in and it eventually brought us an entire skeleton and standard adventurer clothes.

We spent the rest of the session (about 20 minutes) sweating and trying to decide what to do about getting in.

Things that have occurred to me since then:
-Trip those traps and see if they go anywhere.
-I need a spell called Sonar.
-Rock to Mud doesn't work on worked stone, but 95% of the mountain is unworked stone.
-We're covered in Stoneskin and have really good saves. Shut the **** up and jump in.

2011-05-19, 09:15 PM
Topher is running 2 Published adventures? Really? :confused:

Topher, are you feeling Ok?... :biggrin:

2011-05-20, 10:26 AM

So with one lucky guess and five seconds of digging, I've discovered that we're in some version of the Tomb of Horrors.

I've never gone through it myself and I've never even seen anything about it past ZOMGHARD! posts on here.

If you spoil anything I'll burn your house down. Let me run through this with no forewarning.

2011-05-20, 04:07 PM
From everything I've heard about Tomb of Horrors, as long as you don't do incredibly stupid things you'll survive. Drinking unknown potions, assuming anything isn't a trap (bring along a 10 foot pole)... anything that in real life you wouldn't do, don't do in a Gygaxian dungeon.

What makes them hard is the consequences are scaled up. In regular D&D, drinking an unknown potion could, at worst, be a nasty con poison (3d6 con damage is the worst official poison) or Alboleth Mucus (can't breath air, need a Water Breathing or Air Breathing spell or you suffocate). In a Gygaxian dungeon*, it could be instant death, no saving throw.

*Note, I've never played Tomb of Horrors. I only know of one trap, total, and as per instructions I won't let it slip. Statue.

2011-05-20, 04:39 PM
anything that in real life you wouldn't do, don't do in a Gygaxian dungeon.
We spent the rest of the session (about 20 minutes) sweating and trying to decide what to do about getting in.Check.

And who on earth uses ANY magic item before they check it out? That seems foolhardy.

This Gygaxian adventure shouldn't tear us up too badly, since the entire campaign has been more or less Gygaxian up to this point. Granted, there haven't been any "Wrong Tunnel = Death" moments, but stupid play definitely gets you killed. See the session from two weeks ago for an example.

2011-05-20, 05:38 PM
Heh, don't worry. I won't reveal a thing. I want to talk to Topher about it later, a la "The Gathering of GMs at Hawg's" some day and laugh about it... ;)

Of course there are at least 4 different versions of ToH, plus Topher is very, very good at coming up with his own stuff. I mean, I'll be following along with my copies of previous adventures and taking notes...

...cause I may want to put my HM players through it someday... ;)

to rip a quote from KODT

I Believe! I Believe! :smallbiggrin:

2011-05-20, 05:49 PM
In regular D&D, drinking an unknown potion could, at worst, be a nasty con poison or Alboleth Mucus.HackMaster has save or die poison. I encountered it in a 1st-3rd-level adventure. There's also no-save poison. I can't swear that it kills you, but it does exist because there's an item that gives you a save against poison explicitly for poisons that normally don't allow a save.

Also, thanks for the tip about the statue. I guess.

2011-05-20, 06:29 PM
Heh, save or die, bah! There's even worse ones in HM. At worst case with "Save or Die" poison is you need a Neutralize Poison and a Raise Dead.

2011-05-21, 05:48 AM
From what I read, you've diverged from the ToH in a few ways already; it'll be interesting to see what other changes your GM has made.

2011-05-21, 07:32 AM
I'm setting the over/under for PC deaths at 2.5.

I'm taking the Under. I'd set it lower, but then I'd be the only one betting on Under. (For the record, for this I'll be counting an Honor Purge to avoid death as a death.)

it'll be interesting to see what other changes your GM has made.It occurred to me yesterday that there's a good chance we're engaging in a bit of exhibitionism.

2011-05-21, 09:07 AM
From what I read, you've diverged from the ToH in a few ways already; it'll be interesting to see what other changes your GM has made.
Topher has at least 4 different versions of the ToH(including the version written HackMaster) to pull ideas from, plus what's in his head. He's written some pretty nasty HM Tournament Adventures and I'm sure has some stuff that was never used/seen at HMA Tournments...

2011-05-24, 07:20 AM
I am not running Tomb of Horrors or any variant thereof--but I am kind of proud of my red herring. :D I did use a ToH tribute module as a starting point for this--borrowing a couple of the puzzles and some of the map--but due to the advanced level of the party I have had to make significant enhancements to it.

The party was on their game last night, handling the encounters as close to perfectly as I've seen in a while. I'll let Morghen provide the details.


2011-05-24, 04:52 PM
Heh, figured it was something like that when Morghen's log didn't match up with anything that I have.

Knowing Topher, I think I'd rather be going through ToH, it would be much safer... ;)

2011-05-31, 02:36 PM
I've joined this forum pretty much exclusively to say that it sounds like a very, very fun campaign. I'm glad Greylond sent me the link - keep the updates coming!

(Okay, so I may also be posting so I can see what my avatar looks like...)

2011-05-31, 02:56 PM
No game last night, with the holiday weekend and all. More carnage next Monday night.


2011-06-02, 09:56 PM
This campaign log sucks. The guy never updates.

Yeah, I know.

I'm a teacher and the school year just ended. So I've spent the last week doing precisely ZERO. Except for mowing my yard.

I should have the game from LAST week typed up tomorrow during my kid's nap. Fortunately(?), we didn't play this week so I'm not that far behind.

2011-06-02, 10:06 PM
meh, I just figured that Topher got another TPK... ;)

2011-06-04, 11:56 PM
Yes, I suck. Here's most of it. I've got two more rooms left to type up.

5/23 Game
Characters Present:
Arinon, Shalyn, Vilano, Sheba, Brunt, Marcus, and me. (That's everybody.)

The Game
When we left off, the party was standing in front of a scary hole. The hole is the mouth of a mural of a demon painted on the end of a tunnel. Inside the hole is super-strong magical darkness. Dispelling it doesn't work, Continual Light doesn't work. So we talked about it a little bit longer, and (iirc) we decided to just have somebody crawl in. Stoneskin, Phantom Armor, studly saving throws, and the possibility of the Monk Dodge compelled Sheba to crawl in.

So she went. And found that we were facing a box. There was nothing inside it but the "oooooohhhhhh! Scary!" darkness. Curses were spoken.

So we immediately turned our attention to the floor traps further back up the hallway. We completely exited the tunnel, found a heavy-ish rock, and tossed it onto the first trap. The trap fell open, the rock dented some spikes at the bottom of a 10' pit, we examined the pit for entrances, and, finding none, moved on.

Floor trap #2: We executed the same maneuver, but this time found no spikes. We checked for traps, found none, checked for secret doors, found one (facing perpendicular to the direction of the main tunnel), listened for noise, heard some shuffling, and backed up.

Vilano has an item called a Bracers of Mapsense that basically gives you a top-down view of everything within 100(?) feet 3/day. It doesn't tell you size of critter, it just gives you a blip on a map to mark where the critter is. So he fired that up and we saw that there were eight somethings in the tunnel. None of them were particularly close, so Shalyn retrieved a 10' pole from her Bag of Holding and pushed the door open.

I tossed in a couple of Continual Light coins and we saw that the eight blips were eight Blind Wretched Pursuers. They're blind, um... they pursue you? I don't know a whole lot about them other than what our Divine Lore skill checks told me: They drain a level with a touch and they're tough to Turn or Command. The cleric has to place his/her holy symbol against the forehead of the BWP to Turn or Command, so instead of doing that eight individual times we decided to just blow 'em up and move on.

We backed up and Vilano dropped a small Sidewinder Fireball into the tunnel (you can direct where Sidewinders go), but none of them died. One of them tried to climb out, but Brunt killed the hell out of it, and since Brunt is immune to fire of any kind, Vilano dropped a smaller Sidewinder in there and the rest of them died.

Oh. Before we did any of this past the secret door, we checked the rest of the pit traps. None of them had anything other than spikes at the bottom, so then we came back and did everything I described above.

We hopped down in the tunnel where we killed the BWPs, and found that it was a fairly short thing that dead-ended after about 30 feet. A check for secret doors (specifically including the ceiling) lead us to a door in the ceiling. Vilano used his Bracers again and found that the room above was creature-free. So we checked for traps and popped the door.

The room above us was old and dusty and full of what looked like junk. Vilano dropped a Detect Magic and got a glow from a 4'-tall urn in a corner of the room. We trap-checked our way over to it, checked it for traps, and grabbed it. A closer inspection told us that the glow was actually coming from inside it, and specifically from the keys inside it. So we dumped the keys out and found that only two of them were glowing. A skill check told us that the magic was Alteration-based, but that's all we got. We gave the keys a once-over to make sure they weren't the cool interlocking "two keys that are really one key but you have to make them fit together" kind of key (they weren't), and then stuck them in a pocket. The rest of the keys went back in the urn and then into a Bag of Holding just in case. Oh. I can't remember how we came by the information (skill check?), but there were 664 non-magical keys in the urn.

The supply room had a regular door leading out, so we went. We followed the tunnel around some twists and turns (Looking at our map, I was starting to get antsy about missing some secret doors. It really looked like we were circling around something.) before we got to a stairway leading down. We headed down and entered a room with a big metal thing in the center. The metal thing had a big chalk circle on the ground around it.

All the players went "Oh, holy ****. Some kind of summoning thing and a protective circle."

The characters made skill checks and went "Oh. A Brazier of Summoning Fire Elementals and a protective circle."

We avoided it like crazy, marked it on the map, and moved on out the other side of the room. One turn and a 30' hallway took us to a long room with seven doors on each side and another in the far wall. Trap checks told us that we were facing 14 trapped doors, Remove Traps gave us 42 poisoned spears, opening the doors told us that they were all decoys, and a check for secret doors told us that the 3rd fake door on the left was a real door pretending to be a fake door. We went through it.

Inside was some spooky ****. We saw a glowing red column of light in the center of the room with a glowing cube floating/spinning slowly in the middle of it. The left-hand wall had a big inscription across it in Ancient Nefarian (what demons speak) that read: "Look into the grinning face to open the way." A closer examination of the cube showed us that the six sides had the following on them: The face of a devil; a skull with emerald eyes and teeth; a horned demon face; a stone head; the face of a medusa; the face of a human.

Looking at the cube got us nothing. We looked at the skull side specifically, and still nothing. Brunt stuck his hand into the red column and was told that it was immensely painful and that pushing his hand through was like pushing through wet cement (I can't remember specifically what the GM said, but this is close). Mechanics-wise, Brunt started taking 1d6 damage and had to pass a system shock test. It took three rounds of pushing to get his hand in and three to get it out (iirc). As soon as his hand was out, the damage disappeared (but we were told after the game that if he'd failed a system shock test he'd have died) and just like that we had the cube.

Unfortunately, the skull didn't do anything special once it was out of the red light.

2011-06-07, 07:44 AM
5/23 Game continued

I had no idea this was so gorram long.

So we moved on and just took the cube with us, but on the bright side we'd found the secret room that I was certain must be there. We went back to the room of the zillion fake trapped doors and took the only door we hadn't been through, the big obvious one opposite the original door we used to enter the room.

The hallway took a turn and lead us to a dead end with a big natural rock laying in the middle of the floor. The walls here had no secret doors (our party has two elfs and a half-elf) and our strength guy couldn’t pick up that boulder to check underneath. The problem wasn’t that he couldn’t pick up that much weight, just that he couldn’t get his fingers underneath the thing and it was too big for him to get his arms across it. So I cast Reduce on it and it fell through a hole in the floor.

We went through the hole and followed the tunnel for a bit (another turn or two) until we came to a clear door in the ceiling. We checked it for traps and didn’t find any. It wasn’t locked, either, so we pushed it up slooooooowwwwwlllly and as were doing so, a successful Observation check let us know that there was a strong smell of... vinegar? Crap. I can’t remember now what it smelled like. But I think I remember that it was vinegar. So we closed the door again to discuss. Our trap design guy (Marcus) passed a skill check and was told that the most likely reason for the smell was that the room above had some kind of acidic mist in the air and that it would probably do two things: some damage to us, and some damage to our gear. We weren’t cool with either one, so we started looking at solutions to our acid problem.

Vilano’s player asked about Fireballing the room above and was told that it would successfully clear the acid. We decided to come back to that as a last resort. Then he asked if Cone of Cold would freeze the acid and was told that it would.

An aside: The coolest thing about my Chosen One class (see my original post) is that it gives me access to both Cleric and Druid spells AND it lets me burn spells to cast any other spell on the list. For example, I can burn a 3 to get a 2 or two 2s to get a 2. The downside is that I roll a d100 for each spell slot and those are the spells I get. And they stand until I use them. “Oh, look. I got two copies of Sticks to Snakes.”

So instead of Vilano using some of his offense (and also to get rid of a somewhat mediocre spell), I burned a Flame Strike to get Control Temperature, 10’ Radius. I think a skill check told us that we’d need to get the temperature down below 40 degrees to make the acid freeze and fall to the ground. I used my Boots of Flying (I specifically got the slower version that gives you movement class A (if you don’t know D&D (HackMaster does the same thing), aerial movement is rated A-E. A lets you pull off right-angle turns, E means you’re making turns that cover a city block)) to float through the room and clear all the acid. I cleared the acid and we moved on.

We continued to follow the tunnel and it ended in a T intersection. To the right was a door and to the left the tunnel ended in a blank wall. We checked the door for traps, found that it was, disarmed it, and discovered that the door was a big fake. So we went back to the other arm of the T and checked for secret doors. Sure enough, there was one. We checked it for traps and moved through.

We followed the tunnel some more and got to an open doorway that lead into a room. Inside the room: Four support pillars; Four large stone statues of a man in plate armor (holding a sword, iirc), each of them next to a pillar; A largish alter close to the North wall; On the altar was a bowl of some kind (we couldn't see that well from the doorway); Two closed sarcophagi on either side of the room (East/West) between the support pillars; A doorway on the South wall, but we couldn't see past it because it was filled with a pink mist of some kind.

Vilano triggered his Bracers of Mapsense again and discovered that the four statues were in fact four Stone Golems. Then he dropped a Find Traps and found that there’s a 10’ square around the altar that is trapped. Much discussion was had here about how to proceed. I cast Levitate to pick up the bowl to see if that would trip something. Nothing happened. So then Shalyn used her Ring of Telekinesis (which I didn’t know about or I’d have saved my spell) to pull the bowl toward us. Still nothing. The bowl made it all the way to us and we made some skill checks and discovered that it was a Bowl of Summoning Water Elementals. We discussed some more. Finally, we settled on piling the three casters up near the door and removing the lid of the far sarcophagus (our doorway was on the Western side of the room).

So Vilano and I were standing in the doorway and Sheba was standing on the ceiling (because of a magical item she paid to have made that let her cling to walls like Spider Climb or fly like, um, Fly. They’re called Slippers of the Housefly) ready for whatever was about to happen.

I cast Reduce on the lid of the far sarcophagus. As soon as I did that, a... person jumped out and ran straight at us. The first round, I don’t know what Sheba did. It’s been two weeks since this happened, so some of the details are starting to get fuzzy. Vilano tried to Command it (but rolled poorly) because we figured out it was vampire after a couple of segments. I'd already cast that round, so that was us for round 1.

Round 2 I hit it with Chromatic Orb. It failed it's save and so became dead. The vampire. Sooooo... net effect of zero. Vilano hit it with a Magic Missile? Sheba shot it with her crossbow. The vampire swung at Vilano and pulled off a Stoneskin. Round 3, Shalyn stepped up and tossed a glass thing of oil at the vampire. Vilano and I weren't excited about that happening because of HackMaster's rules for firing into combat (roll a to-hit, then roll to see who it applies to), but it worked out because she doused the thing with oil just as Sheba's Burning Hands went off and lit that sucker up. As a result, the vampire turned into mist and skedaddled through a little drain in the floor. We tried to figure out some way to stop it, but it was moving pretty quickly and got away from us.

We made sad faces for a bit, then did something to get the lid off the other sarcophagus. It only contained a dead humanoid, so we made more sad faces and the session ended.

I swear that last night's game will be up by tomorrow.

2011-06-07, 10:46 AM
I actually like the heavily trapped dungeon idea. Makes more sense than a bunch of monsters living in some random labyrinth with nothing to eat. Still following this, with a lot of interest.

2011-06-07, 05:41 PM
Heh, classic Topher adventure...

Good stuff!

2011-06-07, 07:23 PM
:smallbiggrin: I'm enjoying this big-time. Miss you guys!

I swear that last night's game will be up by tomorrow.

Can't wait!

2011-06-08, 02:14 PM
6/6 Game
Characters present:
Vilano, Shalyn, Arinon, Marcus, and me.

We were faced with a drain and a pink mist as our next two choices for progressing through the dungeon. I cast Wall of Air into the alcove to see if that would have any effect. It didn't. Vilano summoned an air elemental and directed it into the pink mist. It disappeared, and disappeared from his Bracers of Mapsense as well. We didn't really want to take a risk of that magnitude, so we started looking at other options. We tossed the body from sarcophagus #2 into the mist and it didn't disappear. We could just see it laying on the floor a couple of feet into the mist.

Then somebody decided to search for secret doors. Ta-da!

We found another door on the same wall as our entrance to the vampire room. We checked it for traps, then went back and made sure that sarcophagus #2 didn't have a false bottom or anything, then moved on. About 30? feet down the hall, we came across another 10x10 pit trap. We tossed a sarcophagus lid on it to spring it and checked below for traps and secret doors. We got a no and a yes. We opened the door and it opened onto a shortish hallway. We followed that and at the end we found a big door in the ceiling. We opened that and found another hallway about 60 feet long that ended in a big doorway that covered the entire wall. The door had hinges toward us.

So we trap-checked our way down the hall to the door and Vilano fired up his Bracers for the last time that day. On the other side of the door was a 100'x100' room and 81 pings. So that was a bit of a concern.

Vilano dug out his crystal ball and took a look at the room. Inside were varying numbers of mummies, giant skeletons, ghasts, wights, wraiths and ghosts. And an undead beholder. Since that was actually what we'd come here for in the first place (an undead army), we started looking at a plan that would best help us kill the ones we didn't want and help Vilano command the ones we did (wraiths and ghosts). Wraiths are good because when they kill something they turn it into a wraith, which leads to a pretty gruesome snowball effect: turn a handful of wraiths loose on a scouting party of the enemy and you get TWO handfuls of wraiths. Then you turn those loose on a small encampment and you've got something like 50 wraiths and as long as you keep your original handful safe, big things like armies will have to start thinking twice about whether they really want to mess with you. I don't know why Vilano wanted ghosts, but he's got, um... he's got a thing for undead. I mean, he's... um... well, he likes ****ing undead things. So maybe that's it.

Anyway, here's the plan we came up with:
Vilano would cast Knock (the range on Knock is crazy and we were back by the door up into the hall) on the door on about segment 5 and the door would fling open (toward us). I'd send a Fireball through on segment 6 or so, Shalyn would toss some little grenade-like explodey magic item through, and Marcus would fire the magic ballista we picked up at that tower in drow-town. Then we'd open up with missile weapons and more spells and kill what we didn't want and Vilano would Command what we did and once the beholder was by itself we'd teleport behind it and Command that, too.

We were TOTALLY about to put that plan into action when somebody (I think it was Vilano's player) said, "You know, we should make sure the door is open before we start tossing spells at it." So we revised the plan. New plan: Same as the old plan, except I'd start casting AFTER the door was open. So that's what we did.

So Vilano cast Knock and the door stayed shut.

We all made sad faces. And then happy faces when we realized I'd almost blown us up. Granted, there's almost no way I can do enough damage with a Fireball to kill anybody in the party, but still.

The description of Knock told us that the Knock might have merely removed a Wizard Lock and that we'd need another casting to actually open the door. Vilano only had one more Knock memorized, so instead of using it he used a charge from his Rod of Absorption to cast Knock (juuuuuuust in case). Again, nothing happened. More sad faces.

We tried some skill checks but nothing told us why the stupid door wouldn't respond to Knock, so we tied a rope to it and pulled the thing open from 45ish feet away. And then the blow-up-ing commenced. Or not.

Shalyn's item flew through the door and didn't explode, my Fireball flew through the door and didn't explode, Vilano dropped a big high-level Fireball variant in there and it didn't explode. I'll come back to that, because I want to talk about he cool thing that worked better than the way we thought it would.

The Super-Ballista. That thing critted. For triple damage. 15d6? Nah. 45d6.

With the exploding dice that I mentioned in a previous post, that thing ended up doing 272 points of damage. Since a magical ballista bolt isn't going to stop when it hits most undead, that one bolt re-killed three different things and stuck in a fourth.

There was a bit of figurative high-fiving and literal whoo-hooing but then we all went back to wondering what the hell to do about the fact that our spells were getting eaten.

The GM asked for a skill check from somebody with a high Arcane Lore and high Animal Lore. I passed it with a pretty stellar roll and was told that we were all frigging idiots. No, he didn't say that. What he said was, "What does the central eye of a beholder do?"

Facepalming ensued. Undead started coming down the hall at us.

New plan: Shoot the undead with missile weapons as they came down the hall. Command any that get close enough to be a worry, keep either of the good kind, send back any that we didn't want in order to distract/whittle down the beholder. Pack up the ballista and prepare for fleeing if things go south.

Here's how that worked out: Really well, actually.

I need to tell you about the specific weapons our two primary Missile-Weaponers (Shalyn and Arinon) are using. They're called Rapid-Fire Crossbows and they fire on segments 1 and 6. And you can do that with one in each hand. Yes, they're quite magical. Oh. Both of our Missile-Weaponers also have an item called a Quiver of Ehlonna. It's kind of a quiver of holding. Think about the thing you want, and you'll get it. Bolts, arrows, spears, javelins, whateva.

Round two started with shots from Shalyn and Arinon. On segment three, I Hasted all five of us. That means that those two went from four shots/round each to EIGHT shots per round and Vilano was able to Command twice/round. Marcus started putting the ballista away and I... kind of stood around for a while.

So after a couple of rounds Vilano had Commanded (iirc) four wraiths and a ghost and we'd killed a dozen or so more. I flew back the way we came juuuuust to make sure that we weren't getting sandwiched. We were in a really good spot unless we had to do the same thing on two fronts. We were fine, so I flew back. We checked Vilano's Bracers and saw that we were about 1/4 of the way through the 80 undead and about then the undead stopped coming at us.

That got us nervous, so we checked the Bracers and saw that they were gathered up against the far wall, just standing around. Or floating.

An explanation of the room is in order: imagine a square room. For ease of explanation, North is at the top. In the far western edge of the South wall is the door we'd shot the ballista through. Against the western wall is a big altar that we couldn't really examine. Against the eastern wall is a huge pile of XP.

We were in NO hurry to charge 60ish mid-to-high-level undead, so we started looking at other ways to get at them, including NOT getting at them and just spiking the door shut and leaving this for later.

During this bit, Shalyn walked over to the door and called out to the beholder. She's got some kind of magic item that lets her speak any language she needs to. I'm pretty sure it's a tongue stud.

Shalyn basically told the beholder that we wanted to get in the room and that if it continued opposing us it'd be all the way dead before too much longer. At that point the rest of us got on board with what was happening and started offering her suggestions. We explained that we'd dusted 1/4th of the undead in there in less than a minute and that it didn't take a lot of imagination to see that the rest of them were likely to follow in short order. We offered the beholder a chance to get out of there and either of the following: just leave and make sure we don't see you again or get out of there and join our anti-Mongol League. Some rolls were made and the final deal was this: The beholder (named Gex) would join the AML (not our official name. I just made that up.) in exchange for a full Resurrection once we got the whole thing wrapped up.

Both sides agreed and the Beholder disintegrated the rest of the undead (except for wraiths and ghosts). We went in for chatting and debriefing, Vilano swelled his collection to a total of eight wraiths and four ghosts, and we called it a session.


2011-06-08, 03:02 PM
GM Notes:

Yeah, I was crushed when they decided to revise their plan to make sure the door was open first.

One thing many GMs miss is that characters may know things that players don't. The party had faced beholders before, and they knew about the central eye's anti-magic ability, so after they were frustrated for a bit, I called for the skill check. Besides, at that point I had already missed my best TPK opportunity.

The ballista is ridiculous. The party recovered it and the magical ammo--magical spears which have not yet been identified by the party--during their initial assault on Vault of the Drow. I included it in VotD because I needed something capable of shooting the party's magic carpet out of the sky. As it turned out, I never got a shot off, and despite Morghen's PC dropping several tons of mud on it, the bloody thing made its save. So the total damage was actually 45d6 + X, with X being the magical enchantment on the ballista and spear.

The conga line of undead is a great example of the players learning from the tactics I have used against them. If you have a large number of enemies capable of swarming you, don't give them the chance. (Likewise, when the undead realized the conga line was ineffective, they retreated.)

Getting the beholder on their side was the result of a freakish roll. I had Shallyn and the beholder each make reaction rolls to see how they viewed each other. Because of the previous fighting, I set the target number at 35. Shallyn rolled a nat 20, I rolled a 17 for the beholder. Thinking on my feet, I thought about what an undead beholder who had been trapped in a tomb for 800 years would want, and I concluded that he'd want life and freedom, so that's what I negotiated.

Finally, Morghen got the terms of the relationship slightly wrong: Gex has agreed to serve until the Mongol problem is resolved or until one year passes, whichever comes first. Villano also made clear to Gex that part of his job was to help keep Villano alive: Due to the postapocalyptic nature of the world, he's likely the only cleric capable of casting a full Resurrection.


2011-06-08, 05:44 PM
Good encounter Topher. Morghen, my compliments on y'all's tactics. Well done!

2011-06-14, 12:41 PM
No game last night due to multiple players out due to illness. Stay tuned...


2011-06-14, 05:09 PM
Bummer, hope everyone gets better for next week's game.

I'm hooked to these updates!

2011-06-18, 10:19 AM
Well, it looks like one week off is turning into a month hiatus. We have business trips and a surgery biting us this Monday, then I'm going to be out of town on vacation the following Monday, and the Monday after that is the 4th of July, so it will probably cause a cancellation due to family gatherings and the like.

More time for me to plan, I guess...


2011-06-27, 10:37 PM
Minor-ish update:

We were going to have a little bit of a surprise session tonight but it got re-called off due to a wee bit of a house fire at the gaming location.

That is, our GM's house caught on fire.

But as far as house fires go, it was a fairly minor one.

We should be back in two weeks. Happy 4th of July, errrbody.

2011-06-28, 05:02 PM
Wow! Topher's house caught fire?! Everyone is ok I hope?

2011-06-28, 09:20 PM
Yep. They were actually out of town at the time and had a friend of Shaby's house-sitting. He smelled smoke and called the FD. If he hadn't, I'm pretty sure we'd have gotten to see what the foundation looks like.

Lucky break, there.

2011-06-29, 08:48 AM
As far as fires go, I'll take this one. Yeah, it's inconvenient having to live out of a hotel for a week while waiting for the repairs, but we didn't lose any significant property and no one was hurt. All of my friends have been great and extremely helpful--they had the emergency cleanup work mostly done before we even made it back into town.

The back cover of the HackMaster Player's Handbook says "Who's Watching YOUR Back??" I know the answer.


2011-06-30, 05:02 PM
Good to know. Call if you need anything.

2011-07-01, 03:50 PM
Good to know. Call if you need anything.

Thanks. Things seem to be falling into place. The house passed the electrical inspection, so the landlord can get the rest of the damage repaired over the weekend. We should be back in the house by Tuesday.


2011-07-06, 09:31 AM
The house is in good enough shape for next Monday night. :D Now, I just need to refresh my memory so I can properly challenge the group.


2011-07-13, 02:11 PM
7/11 Game
Characters present:
Vilano, Shalyn, Brunt, Marcus, Me

When we left off, we’d just convinced an undead beholder to join our gang and Vilano had Commanded a small pile of self-replicating undead to start an army for Drow/Mongol killing.

A correction: The altar I said was in this room wasn’t an altar. It was a throne. Sitting on the throne was a crown. We asked Gex about the crown and he said that he was pretty sure it was cursed because the one time he’d seen anybody touch it, they vanished.

So we were standing around trying to figure out what to do with it and we’d discovered that it could be telekinesed and that it didn’t cause non-living things to vanish (we dropped a coin on it) and then all of a sudden Brunt just walked over and touched it.

And vanished.

So Brunt’s player left the room with the GM for a minute while the rest of us sat around slack-jawed in amazement at his foolishness bravery.

In game: Vilano dug out his crystal ball to locate Brunt and saw that Brunt was standing at the entrance to the dungeon with no equipment. And by no equipment, I mean that he was bare-ass naked. So that was a relief. Kind of.

Vilano then tried to locate Brunt’s gear (he specified one of the weapons that Brunt has been using for a long time) and all he could see was nothing. So I guessed that Brunt’s gear was sitting in complete darkness and the GM told us that I was most likely correct. Vilano Teleported out, grabbed Brunt, Teleported back.

I suggested that we send Brunt back through the crown holding a stack of Continual Light coins, but nothing happened when he touched the crown. Marcus pointed out that this assured us of an easy way to transport the crown. We enjoyed a giggle over this, and Shalyn stepped up to get naked hop through the crown with our CL coins. She went, Vilano brought her back, then used his crystal ball to look at Brunt’s weapon again and this time he could see that it was sitting on a stone floor surrounded by what looked like a ton of loot and a bunch of bones. Vilano cast Locate Object and found that the gear was located about 40 feet from any wall. We went to the closest point but found no door, so Vilano cast Phase Door and after checking Vilano’s Bracers of Mapsense (and seeing one blip) we just walked in. We were greeted by something we later identified as a Bone Devil (the bones on the floor had been bothering me from the beginning). It didn’t have much of a chance to do anything because Vilano and then I hit it with Magic Missile and killed the hell out of it. Looting commenced and it was good.

IMPORTANT: We found a rolled up piece of parchment(?) on the floor. After making sure that it wouldn’t kill us, we unrolled it to find that it was a set of blueprints for the place. Unfortunately, the blueprints were labeled “False Tomb” at the top. So that was irritating.

Okay. I’m about a third of the way through. I wanted to get this posted because I’ve got errands to run and I may not get this finished until tonight/tomorrow.

2011-07-14, 08:48 AM
Oh. A couple of things I forgot/got wrong.

*Shalyn left her stuff with us when she hopped through the crown. She just piled it all up on the floor for easy retrieval instead of having to stand around naked while we tried to figure out where it was.
*Vilano didn't have Locate Object memorized. So back in the room where we recruited Gex, we rested since it was getting late anyway. During Shalyn's watch (1st), she saw a person materialize on our side of the door (which we had closed). She heard the person say, "Oh. You guys." and then dematerialize. After a moment of thought, she realized that it was the vampire we'd fought earlier.

Back to the action.

We'd just found the blueprints for this Fake Tomb and were a touch bummed about not getting to fight/loot the owner of the place.

On the blueprints, we found that there was one room we'd missed. Behind the altar in the vampire room was another hallway and a couple of rooms. But before we could get to that, Shalyn started yelling to get the vampire's attention. She told it that we just wanted to talk and offered it (him?) all kinds of assurances that we wouldn't attack him.

So after a bit of "Here, kitty, kitty" we got a chance to talk to the vampire. We found out that his name was Krusvrik and that it had been a long time since anybody had been through the place. We talked to him for a while and told him that we wanted to hire him as the caretaker of the place. We'd send him food if he'd look after the heavily-trapped, hard-to-get-into dungeon. We told him that a couple of us (mostly Marcus) would come back to reset all the traps in the next few days but that otherwise he could have the run of the place. We told him that we'd contact him via the telepathy function of Vilano's Crystal Ball whenever we were sending him food but otherwise to carry on as if the place was his. And then we made him tag along through the rest of the dungeon to answer any questions that we might have.

Having done that, we set out to finish the last two unexplored spots: the secret door I mentioned above and the hallway/room past the floor trap leading to the room with the crown. We went for the room behind the altar in Krusvrik's original room.

We opened it and got in there and found a two-foot-long rainbow-colored key hanging on the wall. We investigated the thing and found that it wasn't going to kill us. So we brought it along and continued down the hall. After a bit, we came to a big steel door with a small cubic cutout in the center. Remembering the words from the creepy-ass room before, I told the GM that we'd stick the cube we picked up earlier into the cubic cutout, making sure to keep the skull (grinning) face toward us. The door opened, and we got access to a big badass treasure room. Stacks of platinum and whatnot. The room also had a wooden door, unlocked. Vilano's Bracers told us there was something inside the room, so we Lenny-and-Squiggy-ed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbqHZiap_u4) the room and got the drop on a demon. Vilano and I spent just a moment of OoC time discussing if we should murder the thing or talk to it. We decided that murder was the best option and after a couple of days of reflection, I have to conclude that we took the correct course of action. If the thing wasn't able to get out of there on its own, it wouldn't significantly increase our ability to kill drow/Mongols.

Vilano hit it with a Magic Missile, it MRed my Chromatic Orb, Shalyn shot it, and Brunt hit it twice and it died on segment 2.

We looted the treasure room and now faced the final hallway. We returned there.

We followed the hallway until it dead-ended. At the dead end was a tiny keyhole in the wall. No attempts to disguise it, just a dead end and a keyhole. The humongous key from a few minutes earlier clearly wouldn't fit, so we switched our attention to the two normal-sized keys from WAY back near the beginning of the place. Both of them turned in the lock. One of them did nothing at all. The other required a save versus spells but otherwise had no effect. After some monkeying with the keys, I failed a save and got tossed out of the place the same way the crown had been doing. I Teleported back, re-geared, and resumed monkeying. We tried to hold the Gonzo Key up to the small hole and pretend like it was in the lock, we tried sticking the two small keys together, I think we tried one of the mundane keys from the urn, um... I know we tried a few more things, but all my notes say is "No luck w/keys" and I don't remember what else we did.

About this time, somebody said something about finding the architect who drew up the blueprints. This part is a bit fuzzy to me. Somebody asked Krusvrik or maybe he just volunteered it, but as it turns out, the architect was entombed in this very dungeon. The bones we tossed into the pink mist to investigate it? Yup.

So Vilano dropped a Speak with Dead and got to talking with him. Interestingly, whoever wrote this module (not our GM) included an entire paragraph for just that possibility. So Blahblahblah the Architect said his little piece and we asked him a bunch of questions. (Vilano had three copies of SwD ready to go that day.) As it turns out, the Rainbow Key was part of the answer. The key we needed was inside it but it would only open for a Dispel Evil. We continued talking to Architechty to get any more information we could out of him, but he wasn't a ton of help where Acererac was concerned (which was really all we wanted). The one cool thing he did tell us was that he knew where Acererac's real tomb was. The group has been operating in and around the Mediterranean for long enough to know where he was describing (Malta), so we made a note and let The Architect go back to being dead.

So I burned a couple of 5th level cleric spells to switch for a Dispel Evil and the key popped open. Inside was a tiny, tiny, tiny key. We were told that the key was too small for any of us to hold effectively and that it kept slipping out of our fingers. My hands were too big (even though I'm 5'2") and Shalyn's were too big (despite being 4'4") so Shalyn picked it up with her Ring of Telekinesis and walked it over to the lock. And it worked. Finally.

The wall opened, and inside we saw humongous heaps of treasure and a big skull on a pedestal with glowing green eyes and then Vilano had to make a MR check and was told that the whole thing was a big fat illusion and we all got sad. No treasure at all. Sad faces all around.

The pedestal was real, but it just had one little wand on it and there was a big tapestry on the wall. I don't remember (nor did I write down) the wording of what the tapestry told us, but it can be boiled down to "Your princess is in another castle!" but substitute "BBEG" for "princesss".

So we told Krusvrik to keep things in shape for us and we all Teleported back home and got GREAT news. The area to the north of us got hit with a crazy monsoony storm and the Mongols coming from that direction lost about a week. This meant that we all had a week to go to school (HackMaster takes the "You have to go to school to get your new level" approach, as opposed to the "Ding! Fries are done!" approach.) which was HUGE because I had enough to go up two levels and Brunt and Shalyn were both ready to level.

So we Identified a ton of loot and ended the session.

Oh. The wand from the final room was a Wand of Teleport without Error.

2011-07-14, 08:57 AM
We talked to him for a while and told him that we wanted to hire him as the caretaker of the place. We'd send him food if he'd look after the heavily-trapped, hard-to-get-into dungeon. We told him that a couple of us (mostly Marcus) would come back to reset all the traps in the next few days but that otherwise he could have the run of the place. We told him that we'd contact him via the telepathy function of Vilano's Crystal Ball whenever we were sending him food but otherwise to carry on as if the place was his. And then we made him tag along through the rest of the dungeon to answer any questions that we might have.

The important thing here is how they intend to send him food. I didn't like the design of the crown as written (it works once, then it's non-magical), so I changed it to having it work once per PC. Oops.

So now the party's plan is to hire a bearer, load him down with treasure, then hand him the crown. He gets teleported naked to the front entrance to the tomb, where Krusvrik is waiting for his pizza, while the treasure gets teleported safely to the hidden chamber in the tomb.

Like I said, oops. Next week: HackSassin testing for Shallyn. :cool:


2011-07-14, 02:32 PM
A couple of important things:

1. For a while now, I've been jonesing for something that would let me do research on spells/items without having to take the time away from all the cool **** we're doing. I've got a bunch of nifty ideas for things that don't currently exist in-universe, but because the Mongols are breathing down our necks there's no way I'm going to be able to get to them because the Mongols are a 20-minute car ride away. I talked to all of the powerful people we've got on our side, and none of them had heard of anything like what I wanted: A room (or device that creates an area) where time simply stops passing. With that I'd be able to train officers, bang out some nifty spells, cook up some of the new items I'm looking into, and probably most importantly: learn more spells. In HackMaster, learning a new spell takes one day per level. I just got the ability to cast 6th-level spells and there are some doozies in there.

Anyway. Like I said, I hit up Hecate (Greek goddess of magic and my homegirl) for any information she's heard about anything like that and she came up empty. She told me that I'm trying to find artifact-level magic and that **** don't just grow on trees. So I made sad faces and moved on.

When we got back from annexing Acererac's Tomb of Nuisances, Hecate let me know that she'd gotten a lead on an item similar to what I was looking for. Several centuries ago a wizard had been doing extensive research into it and she thought he might have been successful. She even had a name for me.


That's right. Our boy Acererac has my dope. So now we've just got to raid whatever silly little dungeon he's REALLY in to get it.

I definitely feel like we just ran through a warmup. On the other hand, I also feel like it worked because we're working WAY better than we did before the Tomb of Nuisances.

2. Marcus is retiring from adventuring. Marcus' player is going to drop him into a "Run the city from the shadows" role and promote his high-level bard to varsity. The thing I like about this is that it makes sense both in character and out. Marcus is definitely a homebody and his first love is his Thieves Guild. Having TWO thieves in the party with a F/R Traps over 100 is nonsense and so Marcus is kind of reduced to 3rd-string Missile Weapon Guy. A bard, on the other hand, gives us FOUR arcane casters in the party. That gives us the opportunity for crazy levels of specialization in our spell selection. I can't remember what level that bard is at, but in HackMaster bards start getting spells at level 2, AND having somebody around who has a chance to identify high-level, unique, legendary-ish items we come across as we bust up the Tomb of Horrors and Queen of the Demonweb Pits is going to be mighty helpful. Also, getting more famous than we currently are would be pretty awesome.

3. In HackMaster, there aren't really prestige classes. Once you hit max level, you get tested by high-level types of your standard class category. There are four of them: HackFighter, HackMage, HacKleric, and HackSsassin. HackMages get cool **** like being able to cast two spells at once, Magic Resistance, memorizing more spells than your level would normally allow, and some other nifty little abilities. We all went through Vilano's HackMage testing a couple of (RL) months ago, and he's ready now for his HacKleric testing. But like Topher said above, we're running Shallyn through HackSsassin testing first. Here's what the PHB says about them: "The HackSsassin is a powerful hybrid of thief, assassin and monk abilities. ... While the HackFighter is the master of the art of hack, the HackSsassin is a master of stealth and quick death."

2011-07-14, 06:07 PM
Good read. Gotta be honest here. I knew all along which module it was...

Topher, sorry you didn't get any PC kills... ;)

2011-07-15, 08:45 AM
Topher, sorry you didn't get any PC kills... ;)

They've been as on top of their game as they have been in the last four years. When they're playing this well, it's going to be tough to get a kill. I was happy to get the honor purge a few sessions ago.


2011-07-15, 09:02 AM
When they're playing this well, it's going to be tough to get a kill.Hmmm...

and then all of a sudden Brunt just walked over and touched it.Maybe not as difficult as you think.

2011-07-15, 09:09 AM
Killing Brunt is easy. Getting him to stay dead is tough.


2011-07-15, 09:38 AM
Okay, that's a fair assessment.

Stabbed/Clubbed/Crushed? Ring of Regeneration.
Magicked/Poisoned? Ring of Regeneration.
Fire/Acid? Resurrection.
Disintegrate? Lyre of Building.

I guess the only two things that make me nervous are a "You get tossed to [dice roll][Plane X] and nobody knows where you went" situation or a Sphere of Annihilation.

I guess when you've been dead something like 15 times in the course of your adventuring career you start to see things a little differently.

2011-07-15, 06:56 PM
Eaten whole is always a good one...

Dipped in the Rivery Styx is another good one(I run it as per 1st Ed AD&D. Touch the waters of the River Styx and you loose all memory of past life, you are now a back to being a 1st Level Character).

Soul taken by some unnamed power, body left alive but souless(Void from a Deck of Many Things).

there's a few more I could come up with...

2011-07-15, 08:28 PM
I'm pretty sure he's been eaten whole.

They know better than to draw from the Deck, and they've spent enough time on the lower planes to know the Styx issue. It's mostly gotten to the point where I have to walk a fine line between running something challenging and being a jerk.


2011-07-15, 09:06 PM
Heh, "Know better than to draw from a Deck?"

My players will do it. When I'm playing, I always, ALWAYS, Draw 4!

Have I got an adventure for you! mwwhhaaaaaaa!!!!

2011-07-19, 01:16 AM
Lots of in-game deliberation and planning so tonight's session shouldn't take too long to type up tomorrow. Until then, an introduction:

Severan Dethe
14th-level Human Bard
Severan isn't a "sing a song and lift everybody's spirits" kind of bard. Firstly, he's barely into music. When he does interact with people, it's mostly in a "rouse the rabble with my spoken word poetry" kind of way. Secondly, he's a Knowledge Monster. Give him a puzzle to solve, let him do some research, and he's happy as a clam.

Severan is being played by Marcus' player, as previously mentioned.

2011-07-19, 07:28 AM
I'll let Morghen tell the story, but while reading his recap, consider this: I had a tooth extracted at 4:45 that afternoon, so I was gamemastering while fairly thoroughly drugged.

But yeah, I am that hardcore. :smallbiggrin:


2011-07-19, 05:44 PM
I guess better than that than drunk on Blue Stuff.. ;)

2011-07-19, 08:23 PM
7/18 Game
Characters present:
Vilano, Shalyn, Brunt, Severan, Arinon, Sheba, Me

At the beginning of the session, the god Hermes contacted Shalyn and then came to talk to us. (IIRC, Hermes is the god that Shalyn follows). He told us that Shalyn had been nominated for HackSsassin testing and that she was allowed to include her companions in the testing.

The test: Assassinate Kublai Khan in such a way that it would be indistinguishable from natural causes.

Kublai Khan is old and in ill health, but waiting for him to just kick the bucket on his own is bad because there's no telling when he's actually going to go. He could hang on long enough to see this whole "conquer the world" thing through. From what we gathered from Hermes, the Mongol horde was killing everybody's buzz and (this he told us straight out) when the Khan dies, his sons will likely start infighting and the whole Horde thing would be likely to break apart from internal stresses. If the Khan is killed, it's going to be a unifying event and somebody's going to have a million pissed-off barbarians up their butt. Bard-Fu happened and we got some information on Mr. Khan. The biggest thing is that Mr. Khan is a very old barbarian. Like, 20th level and one of the greatest warriors the world has ever seen. So that's bad. Oh. Hermes also gave us a map of his Summer Palace in Xanadu.

Hermes told us that he'd learned that Kublai was being watched over by a demon named Graz't. Bard-Fu happened and we got a ton of information on Graz't, the most important bit being that Graz't is the 3rd-most powerful demon in existence. And he casts Cleric and MU spells like he's 20th level.

To sum up:
We have to kill a 20th-level barbarian.
With enough secret sauce to make everyone think he'd just passed naturally.
While overcoming whatever protections a 20th-level C/MU had thrown up around him.
So. What I'm going to do is lay out all of the information that we got, but I'm not going to post our final plan until probably Thursday. I'd like to see what plans you guys come up with for this ridiculous thing. Feel free to post questions and propose multiple solutions.

Xanadu is in modern-day Mongolia.
Xanadu is a city of 100,000 people.
He does have a harem. He doesn't use it too much anymore, but he is still chummy with them.
Graz't is known to have succubi in his service.
KK uses a chamberpot in his quarters. No hiding in the loo.
Every other week or so he travels to a hot spring nearby for relaxation and whatnot.
There are two different types of poisonous snakes native to the area.
There are no herd animals larger than goats.
He does have bodyguards around him at all times. They're all beefy barbarian types.
Barbarians of sufficient level have a passive Detect Magic effect up at all times. It's a percentage chance that scales with level.
I may have forgotten some things. I'll add to this list if I remember anything, and I'm sure Topher will as well. Unless he was too high to remember it.

As I read over this, it occurs to me that I may come across as "YOU MORTALS WILL NEVER FIGURE THIS OUT! BAHAHAHAHA!" but I'm not. I'm wildly happy with our solution, but I'd love to hear what other people have to offer.

2011-07-19, 10:16 PM
I know nothing of Hackmaster, but there are a few theories I can think of. I wouldn't attempt the snakes unless you have a way to seriously pump the DC, as he's a level 20 barbarian and probably has a save through the roof. Aging could work, though I don't know if there are spells to do that. A powerful enough poison could take him out, but if this is a world where 20th level characters aren't unheard of someone with enough knowledge to identify a poison with similar effects to snake venom is probably available to prove it was an assassination.

An interesting idea would be to gaslight the Khan, since barbarians can detect magic with a percentage chance. If you have a way to make items register as magical (such as Nystul's Magic Aura in 3.5), simply having him start running across "enchanted" items (cast as a first level caster so they only stay enchanted for a few minutes) could make him seem paranoid, senile, and unfit to rule the tribes. Won't be long before his sons start bickering over who gets his title when he's dead. Not quite the same, but same effect. It's the perfect assassination - assassination of character.

2011-07-20, 06:51 AM
I guess better than that than drunk on Blue Stuff.. ;)

Blue stuff is more fun than hydrocodone. ;)


2011-07-20, 07:09 AM
An interesting idea would be to gaslight the Khan, since barbarians can detect magic with a percentage chance.That's actually a badass idea. Nothing like that occurred to us. But I also forgot one thing above.

Hermes gave us one week.

2011-07-20, 07:09 AM
Xanadu is in modern-day Mongolia.

It's actually in Inner Mongolia, which is modern-day China. I think Morghen was confused because of the description I gave of the winter capital as being in Mongolia. Karakorum is in the middle of present-day Mongolia, while Xanadu is here. (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Xulun+Hoh+Qi,+Xilin+Gol,+Inner+Mongolia,+Ch ina&hl=en&ll=42.357529,116.181192&spn=0.050423,0.093985&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=54.665451,96.240234&t=h&z=14)

I borrowed this map (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_XJ4M39a8Lek/S_gwpIRr_xI/AAAAAAAABOg/LuPs8BhFcFc/s1600/The+Court.JPG) for the inner palace, with Kublai Khan's quarters being the room labeled "magistrate's room." There were two Imperial Guards stationed outside each of the entrances to the room, and guards were on regular patrol outside the building as well.

The party didn't even attempt to scry directly into the room, but that would have been blocked by the lead sheeting inside the walls, ceiling and doors, plus the lead crystal windows. The Khan himself was protected with an Amulet of Protection vs. Detection and Location (the party did have that information), and the whole site was protected with a Protection from Teleportation spell--which the party correctly assumed but never actually tested.

The Khan was in the habit of drinking heavily at night, so he normally fell asleep/passed out drunk between two and four a.m., and waking sometime after noon. Beyond that, he didn't keep a regular schedule, since he delegated most decision-making responsibility to his ruling council, stepping in only when they were unwilling or unable to make decisions on their own.


2011-07-20, 11:36 AM
Dunno, it's hard for one person to come up with something on the fly that's going to work for a group better than something the group comes up with after joint deliberation, knowing their characters and tactics and such intimately vs us just being distant observers. We could throw 30 different "maybe this approach?" things all of which you'd know wouldn't work because of what the GM said or some character did/didn't have.

Some stuff I'd be looking into - not asking you to answer it, just throwing out some "things that lead to future questions and considerations" would be:

What's the nature of his ill health? And heck, with that kind of demonic clerical power at hand, WHY is he in ill health? Those kinds of cleric spells can heal a *lot* of stuff.
The party is gonna be a blaring siren to any form of Detect Magic - I know you've got multiple SNIs in the group (at least one of which I was part of designing). Of course with that Amulet he's already radiating magic to his guards. On the plus side, many really low magics are disproportionately poweful when used cleverly - as you guys know in your bones, given all of your wins :)
One knee-jerk amusing thought was that your guys are an Evil party, and chatting up demons/devils/etc is part of what you do. Plus you've got some serious clout in the Underworld; that doesn't rule out "work a deal with the 20th level protector-guy". Part of me wonders just why an entity as powerful as Graz't is hanging around with this barbarian dude, instead of trying to rule things himself. Getting inside his head a bit would be interesting, and may or may not open up possibilities. If he's that smart he should already have plans for dealing with succession. ("Succession Planning - it's not just for executives any more!")
Totally off-the-wall (almost literally) - One of my characters off'd an enemy by collapsing the ceiling on them (the building was already unstable so foul play wasn't suspected). It didn't take huge magics, either.
If he's got this 20th-level-guy at his side, then the solution needs to be something that Speak-With-Dead or Death Recall, etc, can't figure out.
Given his age, something to induce a heart attack is tempting ... tryst with one of those succubi, something slipped into the booze or the booze made extra-potent (reduce the water content, use flavor cantrip), etc. Or just touching some magic items that will struggle for control.
Drinking heavily like that means most narcotics would have an even heftier impact, chug-chug *SNOOOORE*, die-of-combo-overdose (one of my PCs has killed this way, too). It probably wouldn't take much (does he have tasters?).
"Natural Causes" sort of inhibits the option of somehow framing conflicting factions of the sons in such a way the result is infighting instead of unification. Or unifying them against Graz't, denying any resulting coalition use of his powers.
Hot springs = bad for elderly patient unless care is taken to avoid overheating. And hot water + heavy drinking is a bad combination
Let's see, have him drink heavily (with something in it to relieve his aching joints), hop into the hot springs, and start getting it on with a succubi? *snicker*

Anyhow, that's a few possible paths off the top of my head.

2011-07-20, 02:42 PM
Dunno, it's hard for one person to come up with something on the fly that's going to work for a group better than something the group comes up with after joint deliberation, knowing their characters and tactics and such intimately vs us just being distant observers.Yeah, that thought almost made me not offer this up. But I have mentioned the specific thing we used in a previous post in here.
We could throw 30 different "maybe this approach?" things all of which you'd know wouldn't work because of what the GM said or some character did/didn't have.True, but I also thought that with 3,000 page views, there have to be a few more people able to bring their collective brain power to bear against this problem than the seven we had at the table. I know I can't be all the page views, right?
One knee-jerk amusing thought was that your guys are an Evil party, and chatting up demons/devils/etc is part of what you do. Plus you've got some serious clout in the Underworld; that doesn't rule out "work a deal with the 20th level protector-guy". Part of me wonders just why an entity as powerful as Graz't is hanging around with this barbarian dude, instead of trying to rule things himself.Talking to Graz't was never brought up. It sounds like a good idea, but I guess we all assumed that he was too heavily invested in using KK (and by extension, the Horde) as a proxy for his power-grab to give us the time of day.
Totally off-the-wall (almost literally) - One of my characters off'd an enemy by collapsing the ceiling on them (the building was already unstable so foul play wasn't suspected). It didn't take huge magics, either.I don't think we thought of doing anything like that. I suppose we all assumed that KK wouldn't decree a stately pleasure-dome (http://www.artofeurope.com/coleridge/col2.htm) without making sure the buildings were all up to code.

If he's got this 20th-level-guy at his side, then the solution needs to be something that Speak-With-Dead or Death Recall, etc, can't figure out.Yeah, we were very aware that we wouldn't be able to walk up and contact-poison him.
Given his age, something to induce a heart attack is tempting ... tryst with one of those succubi, something slipped into the booze or the booze made extra-potent (reduce the water content, use flavor cantrip), etc. Or just touching some magic items that will struggle for control.The cursed item thing is clever. But we cottoned on to our final idea before we could go too far down the "mess with his booze" route.

"Natural Causes" sort of inhibits the option of somehow framing conflicting factions of the sons in such a way the result is infighting instead of unification.Yeah, Hermes told us that. Sorry.
Hot springs = bad for elderly patient unless care is taken to avoid overheating. And hot water + heavy drinking is a bad combinationWe were all pretty jazzed about using the hot springs in some way until Topher told us that he only went every other week. That was WAY too iffy for our liking, so we nixed it entirely.

2011-07-20, 03:13 PM
I'm the one who plays Shallyn, (I'm also the GM that Greylond complains about Topher stealing away) and since it was *my* HackSsassin test, I felt like I should start adding some comments.

First: We definitely thought about mucking with his drink, or using the Hot Springs to our advantage but we soon realized that a) this is guy is 20th lvl barbarian so his Save Vs. Poison was immense- even if I did succeed in getting him to ingest it, or a snake to bite him, etc. he would most likely just shrug it off; and b) we are major magic-wielding folks, our very presence is going to set off alarm bells left and right.

Second: It's *my* test gorramit, it should be *my* show. And it was, baby, it was. My brilliant idea- brilliantly executed. (Okay, so I got lucky too.) :smallbiggrin:

Also, some backstory on Shallyn that Morghen doesn't know about. The reason she's just Shallyn is that she's Upper-Upper Class royalty. I don't exactly need a last name- I'm a princess to a little European nation. I became a thief to piss off my parents (it's not like I needed the gold) and discovered I had a propensity toward roguery. I'm NOT evil. I'm chaotic neutral and while I'm not against killing, I'm more likely to be the one to think another solution would yield better results than the normal beat/blow them up and take their stuff that my teammates employ. As a result, I tend to be the one to encourage the party to take in strays or befriend others (most recently the vampire, the beholder, and Fred-the man-eating intelligent plant). I love a good fight, don't get me wrong, but I prefer if I don't have to fight at all. :smallcool:
Oh! and of interest, I should add that I'm an Elf, about 120 years old. I've stayed that way for a few years now because I once got aged significantly in an encounter with a ghost and spent all my money at the time to get both a potion of Youth and a Flask of Everflowing liquid. See what I did there? I drank it pretty religiously until I got back to my normal age, and since then I've snuck a few sips in every once in a while to keep myself youthful. Don't judge- a girl has to maintain her image!

To Grendus with the idea "to gaslight the Khan, since barbarians can detect magic with a percentage chance.":

I absolutely <3 this idea! Brilliant, but also not of much help in this particular circumstance. Hermes gave me a one week deadline, and we know that he's not really in charge anymore as so much of a figurehead. He wasn't in ill health other than being very old, and if he started to get senile or unfit to rule then his sons would just gradually get more of the power and would continue in his stead as one of them eventually became the solid next leader. Not what we wanted. We needed a dramatic change to the status quo.

I must say that it sucks being a rogue type, who is being told that she can't use her range weapons, can't use a poison, can't seduce him (remember that harem- I thought about that for a LONG time), has to make it look like a natural death and can't let him know what happened.

As Sharona pointed out, we'd figured that someone around him could cast Death Recall or Speak with Dead, and we needed to make sure that KK couldn't tell someone he was murdered or would have seen it.

It's a good thing I'm sneaky!

2011-07-20, 04:33 PM
Unfortunately, nature doesn't kill level 20 barbarians. Pretty much every "natural" death is, at best, a fort save or die. Barbarians are tougher than a brick wall and twice as determined, nature isn't going to cut it. I like the idea of collapsing the palace, and if you worked it sneakily enough (tunnel underneath and collapse the supports, for example) you could get past all the magic detecting radars.

Your other best bet for a natural death would be something akin to a natural disaster. There wouldn't happen to be a volcano conveniently nearby, would there:smallbiggrin:?

I await your actual plan, I'm intrigued. If this were D&D, I'd suggest psionics, as there are several abilities that could look like natural causes (Crisis of Life causes a heart attack on a failed save, for example, though it's a fort save so it wouldn't be the manifestation of choice), but a lot of your options are likely going to be Hackmaster specific.

2011-07-20, 05:02 PM
Unfortunately, nature doesn't kill level 20 barbarians. Pretty much every "natural" death is, at best, a fort save or die. Barbarians are tougher than a brick wall and twice as determined, nature isn't going to cut it. I like the idea of collapsing the palace, and if you worked it sneakily enough (tunnel underneath and collapse the supports, for example) you could get past all the magic detecting radars.

Your other best bet for a natural death would be something akin to a natural disaster. There wouldn't happen to be a volcano conveniently nearby, would there:smallbiggrin:?

I concur with you there. I was originally thinking something widespread that would take out pretty much everyone around- a plague or a pestilance or a bad water supply. Something "natural" and widespread. We're not a good party, I don't care if a few extra (thousand) people get hurt/killed in my attempt to get rid of one baddie. But there's still the issue of his saving against it. I toyed around with the thought of major physical issues with the hot springs, like a sinkhole or geyser eruption, but it was too iffy if he'd even go there during my limited time frame. I didn't want to take down the whole palace since that would reek of something targeted and supernatural. Buildings don't usually just collapse without good reason. Especially well-built palaces. I never thought about triggering an earthquake, though i guess that might have been a possibility- but still too chancy that he'd actually get hurt by it. With my luck he'd be strong enough to survive a ceiling collapsing on him! LOL

I await your actual plan, I'm intrigued. If this were D&D, I'd suggest psionics,

Ha! While there are rules for Psionics in Hackmaster, our GM considers them a personal affront. He is very VERY anti-psionics. They just don't exist in his world. Just thought of suggesting it makes me laugh. :smallbiggrin:

2011-07-20, 05:36 PM
Hmm... well, you could always kill him in a more traditional manner and then leave a dummy corpse. You'd need to create a fake corpse, preferably with a dessicated liver. Then sneak in, coup de grace him while he's passed out drunk, replace the real corpse with the fake, and sneak out. Won't hold up to magical scrutiny, of course, but hopefully the mongols magi-phobia would prevent that.

Downside is, you'd have a pissed off demon prince angry because you killed his puppet. The odds of you fooling someone capable of casting as a 20th level cleric/MU are low.

2011-07-20, 05:38 PM
Hmm... well, you could always kill him in a more traditional manner and then leave a dummy corpse.

Ooh! Now that is a very lovely idea. I never even considered that! I really, REALLY like that. I wonder if it would have worked- if it would have fooled the demon.

2011-07-20, 06:25 PM
You could always leave any magically incriminating evidence pointing at the demon. So long as it was easier for him to say "oops, age got him" and side with whichever of the Khan's sons happens to be more powerful at the time, odds are he wouldn't make a fuss.

2011-07-20, 06:33 PM
Yo Shaby! Glad to see you posting here...

I've got an idea...

Asteroid Strike! Not the spell, but a real life Tunguska strike on the palace. At your level you should be able to pull it off.

2011-07-20, 09:26 PM
Hmm... well, you could always kill him in a more traditional manner and then leave a dummy corpse.Ooh! Now that is a very lovely idea. I never even considered that! I really, REALLY like that. I wonder if it would have worked- if it would have fooled the demon.I did. Polymorph Other. But then I remembered Speak with Dead. I also thought about one of us masquerading as the Khan for a bit, but our knowledge of Mongol culture would surely have given away the Non-Khan pretty quickly.

Demon stuff: I don't think the Khan even knew he was under Graz't's wing.

2011-07-20, 09:44 PM
Could you have killed the Khan, then polymorphed his body into a version of the Khan with a completely wrecked liver and a hemorrhage in his brain? A quick Prestidigitation-equivalent to mop up the blood and you're good to go. Now you just have to make the Khan think he wasn't assassinated. Still almost impossible, but much easier than trying to fool a demon prince.

Or you could have found a pseudo-innocent victim (your party is morally ambiguous), mind raped him into believing he was the Khan and that he died of natural causes, kill and Polymorph Other, then replace. Doable in 3.5, dunno if there are the spells to pull that off in Hackmatser.

2011-07-20, 09:59 PM
The problem is that in HM there are a lot of High Level Divination spells that would allow easy detection of any falsehood. And remember that Topher plays a Detective(Double Spec Divination) PC and knows all the ins/outs of those Divination spells...

2011-07-21, 08:59 AM
The problem is that in HM there are a lot of High Level Divination spells that would allow easy detection of any falsehood. And remember that Topher plays a Detective(Double Spec Divination) PC and knows all the ins/outs of those Divination spells...

Damn. It's bad enough that my Detective scares other GMs--now I have to worry about him scaring my players too? :smallcool:

But yeah, this knowledge was one of their main concerns. Killing the Khan while he slept was an important consideration, since Death Recall shows the last ten minutes of a victim's life through his eyes.


2011-07-21, 11:06 AM
The Plan

We originally thought about poisoning his food/drink but decided it was too risky. We switched that idea out for me casting Polymorph Other on Shallyn to turn her into one of the poisonous snakes native to the area. Then Vilano cast a spell called Augury which is a divine spell intended to keep you from noobing yourself to death. You cast the spell, and the spell tells you if your current course of action is wise or not. But it tells you in a somewhat cryptic way that leaves some of the interpretation up to you. The Augury told us something about his protections holding up or somesuch, so we scrapped it and went back to the drawing board. We had been thinking about throwing a ton of spells/gear on Shallyn and having her fly in and pour a gallon of poison down his throat, but we kept coming back to the fact that KK saved against poison on a 2 or higher.

I'd like to give some kind of build-up to my inspiration for the actual kill mechanism, but it came as a bolt out of the blue. Maybe we were talking about how the Khan was super-old. I don't know. Anyway:
Vilano swelled his collection to a total of eight wraiths and four ghosts, and we called it a session.Remember back in Acererac's fake tomb? Yup. Ghosts. I remembered that 1) ghosts have an aging attack; 2) Shallyn's got a Bag of Holding. Skill checks told us that being touched by a ghost gets you aged d4x10 years, no saving throw.

Oh. To make sure that we weren't about to turn the Khan into dust by aging the **** out of him, we retrieved some random old prisoner from the dungeons and had a ghost poke him once or twice. Once he hit "old enough to die of old age" he just died. He didn't go all "Oops. Wrong Grail. (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-80iBqnffCog/TZEh3pREzlI/AAAAAAAABIU/46ThZ-Z_574/s1600/Indiana+Jones+and+the+Last+Crusade+4.jpg)" on us, which was the only potential flaw I could see at that point.

So. We waited until about 4 am local time. Vilano commanded one of his ghosts into Shallyn's BoH and Shallyn got hit with Dust of Disappearance, Reduce (which put her at 1" tall), Haste, Stoneskin, Phantom Armor (takes the first X in HP of damage, X=Caster Level), and Imbue with Spell Ability (which gives the recipient two 1st-level and one 2nd-level Cleric spells).

Then Vilano Teleported them into Xanadu about 250 yards from the palace. He would've made it "directly above the palace" but the spell requires you to aim for a solid surface. As soon as they landed, Shallyn zipped off to the palace.

She flew inside, invisible and 1" tall, avoiding guards and whatnot. She got to the first door, made a Move Silently check to avoid scraping the ground, got inside the first room, made another Move Silently check, and she was in the Khan's bedroom. He was snoring.

The first thing she did was drip a bit of the heaviest poison we had into his open mouth. No dice. Then she opened the BoH and the ghost went to work. He floated down and touched the Khan's arm (attack roll successful).

And the Khan kept snoring.

Lots of "What? Oh, ****." around the table.

Shallyn sent the ghost back at the Khan. And he kept snoring.

The ghost successfully attacked the Khan 10 TIMES. And then the bastard finally died.

So Shallyn packed up the ghost and flew out the way she came in. At the first door out, one of the guards (we learned later that he was the only one who made his check to detect magic) pulled his sword and said, "What was THAT?" (She's got an item that lets her understand any language.) The other guard gave him a "lol wut?" and they started talking about it. Shallyn skedaddled.

So she left the palace, flew to where Vilano was waiting and they Teleported back to Zanbytium. All before her Haste had worn off.

High-fiving ensued.

Post-game, the GM told us that Shallyn had avoided Alarm spells and Glyphs because the text says they trigger on anything rat-sized or larger. At 1" tall, Shallyn got around that by a bunch. He also told us that the Khan had a Stoneskin on, and that the Khan had two years left, so the 20 years we put on him were more than enough. He also told us that the two guards closest to KK's room had an 80% chance of detecting Shallyn's magic. Out of four shots, only one success. Being skilled is nice, but when you're lucky, too? Yikes.

2011-07-21, 11:31 AM
The other thing to note is that the ghost had to make 10 attack rolls and the Khan had to make 10 saves to not wake up. In HackMaster the rule on waking someone is that they have to fail a save vs. paralyzation, so he needed to roll a 1 to wake up. Still, that was 10 chances for the ghost to fumble and 10 chances for the Khan to wake up.

Yet another bit of luck that went Shallyn's way.


2011-07-21, 04:53 PM
Damn. It's bad enough that my Detective scares other GMs--now I have to worry about him scaring my players too? :smallcool:

I aint scared of NO PC! Just prepared...

2011-07-21, 05:00 PM
Dang Good plan. I'm not sure how I would have GM'ed it, but I don't find anything wrong with the way Topher did it either. Sounds like a good game session.

2011-07-21, 05:11 PM
In retrospect, we should have had ANY kind of plan for if anything went wrong with Plan A. As it was, we just sort of went, "OF COURSE IT'LL WORK! Look how awesome this plan is!"

Yes, having Giovanni Vilano there to blow **** up is great for escaping with your life, but "Nuke it from space" was probably a pretty terrible method of extraction when the original goal was discretion-oriented.

2011-07-21, 08:58 PM
Heh, "Nuke it from Orbit, it's the only way to be sure..."

That seems to be my group's "Plan B" all the time also...

2011-07-21, 10:36 PM
Generally speaking, Plan A should be elegant, Plan B should be efficient, and Plan C should be surefire. Luckily, plan a worked. Though I must admit, having incorporeal allies who could age someone is pretty awesome. Clever plan, enjoy HackSassin status.

2011-07-28, 12:18 AM
Man, I must be hooked on this thread... I've checked for an update about 3 times per day.... ;)

Can't wait to hear what happens next... http://www.kenzerco.com/forums/images/smilies/popcorn.gif

2011-07-28, 07:22 AM
Things did not go well for our intrepid adventurers...


2011-07-28, 08:50 AM
Yeah, you don't diss Hecate. I was like, "OH, NO YOU DID'NT ?!??!"

2011-07-28, 01:24 PM
Mr. Dolomite is Sheba's player.

Yeah, I know it's taking me a while. I'm trying to squeeze in as much goofing off as I can because teachers have to report on Monday.

But I'll get it done today/tonight.

2011-07-28, 06:31 PM
Things did not go well for our intrepid adventurers...


Oh man.... why do you have to leave me hanging like that?...

2011-07-28, 08:54 PM
Oh man.... why do you have to leave me hanging like that?...

It's not my log, even if it is my game. :p


2011-07-29, 09:22 AM
Morghen! man, dude! I'm dying here... ;)

2011-07-29, 02:30 PM
7/25 Game
Characters present:
Vilano, Shalyn, Brunt, Severan, Arinon, Sheba, Me

After the shenanigans with the Khan, we took three weeks to sit around town and rest/level/shop like crazy. We'd been operating at super-speed for the last month of game-time, so some laying around was definitely in order. Also, we were flush with cash as we didn't have to give it all up to power our Supernatural Allies War Machine.

We got word from Asmodeus (yes, that one) that Villano was to present himself at Asmodeus' stronghold 48 hours from X. We geared up for hijinks and went.

When we got there, Asmodeus told us that he was going to be the proctor for Villano's HacKleric test and that Villano could bring any of us that he wanted. But Villano (and anybody else who wanted to participate) would have to sign a contract stating that we wouldn't cause any unnecessary damage to the premises, attack Asmodeus, attempt to conceal our actions from him, or inflict any unnecessary injuries to any being while we were there. (Asmodeus is LE, so he loves contracts.)

While we were debating, a drop of blood fell from Asmodeus' side and as soon as it hit the floor, turned into some kind of big scary demonic thing. We all gave it the stink-eye for a second and it started walking toward us. We decided to just give it a second and murder it if it appeared to actually take any kind of offensive action. After the thing took a few steps, Asmodeus commanded it to leave, and it did. We asked Asmodeus about it, and it turns out that he's just constantly dripping Pit Fiends out of this unhealable wound in his side.

The contract: We all signed it. Shallyn tried to get away with some shenanigans, but Asmodeus called her on it and she signed.

The test, as Asmodeus presented it: There are nine rooms. You must figure out what to do with each room. You may ask me questions. I do not have to answer them.

The nine rooms extended away from Asmodeus' circular throne room. In the middle of his throne room was a big pool of scrying water centered on Villano. Each of the rooms had a 30’ hallway filled with dense fog that blocked sight but allowed us to hear some noise from the rooms.

We listened for noise at each of the hallways and heard the sounds of combat from #6 and women talking from #9 (far left is #1, far right is #9)

We entered #1 (Arinon stayed behind with Asmodeus) and found that it was a bar. And what a bar. EXTREMELY nice, high-quality furnishings, literally any drink you can imagine, that kind of place. Drinking in this bar were Bellerophon, Odysseus, Jason (the famous one), Hercules, Perseus, and Galahad. They were swapping war stories and talking about how badass they were.

So the bard went to work. He started bragging on us and told the guys about how our group killed Scylla (before my time), Grendel, an octogorgon (300’ feet long, 60ish HD), and a dozen dragons. BOJHP, and G were moderately impressed but weren’t really as impressed as we thought they should be. We told some more stories but didn’t seem to get any more traction. Severan made some Legend Lore checks, I made an Ancient History check, and we came up with some information on a couple of the guys who were still unimpressed with our exploits. We tried using that against them to get them to admit that we were more awesome than them but still weren’t really getting anywhere. We talked for a little while longer and one of the guys finally asked which one of us thought we were the best. I came back immediately and told him that I thought I was the best. Villano *****-footed around and asked what he meant by the best. After some discussion, Villano told the guy that he (Villano) thought he was the best. At that point, Asmodeus sent Arinon in to tell Villano that he’d passed this room. So we all left the bar.

Room #2. We asked Villano what was in there and he told us that it was a waiting room. We asked him for more information and he told us that he didn’t look in there. So we went in. Inside was a bunch of people standing around in extremely nice clothing. They all started whispering about us and Shallyn overheard one of them talking **** about her specifically. So she came back at that person and they were catty at each other for a while. After a couple of minutes of bitchiness, Villano told them they were all a bunch of chumps because they were stuck in the waiting room and he was going to go talk to Asmodeus. And then we all walked out.

Room #3. Asmodeus told us that he didn’t recommend going in here. But he also wouldn’t tell us what was in the room. Severan and I approached the room and found that it was full of nothing but fire. And screaming. Severan left, but I cast the druid spell Protection from Fire (which gives the caster total immunity to fire damage to the tune of 12 points of damage/caster level) and flew into the room. I flew around for a bit, but the only thing in the room was a bunch of people having their skin burned off over and over, so I left.

Room #4. Asmodeus told us it was the Art Room. He said that there were a number of artists in the room who had bargained their souls to him in exchange for immense artistic talent. We entered. Inside were a painter, a sculptor, a man doing sketches (sketcher? sketchist?), and a man working on a song. I can’t remember what the first three were were doing specifically, but their art was one of the following: a woman smashing chains to free slaves, a woman picking flowers in a field, and a woman feeding the poor. One of us went to talk to the songwriter and got him to play it for us. It was in a language that only one of us understood (Shallyn’s got an item), but Villano and I cast spells that let us understand everything after the first little bit.

The song was about a battle and it talked about Hecate (the goddess that Villano and I worship) helping the BlahBlah defeat the OtherGuys. A quick skill check told us that his song was A) historically inaccurate; B) would offend Hecate because the BlahBlah are a bunch of good guys. Villano started off with a very mild “WTF are you doing?” response. The singer came back with total disrespect. “It’s my art” “You must be dumb” “Art doesn’t have to be truthful” Villano got a little more heated, the singer got more inflammatory, so Villano tagged him with a Cause Light Wounds that killed him. We were talking about it for a second when Arinon came in again and shook his head at Villano. We all assumed that meant that Asmodeus was giving him a warning to watch it (or something). So then Villano cast a full Resurrection on him and told him to knock it the **** off. The singer gave him a “Go **** yourself” and went back to his song.

We started talking to the three other guys, and sure enough, they’d all made art of Hecate doing things that a LE god would NEVER EVAR do. They all had approximately the same attitude toward us telling them what art to create that the singer did, even after seeing that Villano was willing to kill them if they didn’t stop creating art that blasphemed against his god.

Villano bought their current works off of them and told them he’d destroy it: “We’ll just make more.”

Shallyn made a high-quality sketch of two of the artists doing naughty things to each other: “Well, I don't like it, but I’m not going to disagree with your artistic vision.”

Hang on. Villano didn’t buy their works. He tried to and they were all, “I don’t think you appreciate my artistic vision.” So Shallyn bought them.

We talked and talked and talked about it amongst ourselves, we talked to Asmodeus and got just about nothing from him, talked to the artists some more and got the finger some more. Telling the artists that he was going to kill them had no effect on their interest in creating art that blasphemed against Hecate.

So Villano hit them with a higher-grade Magic Missile variant. Since there were four of them, they each only got one missile and didn’t die. He hit them with the same thing. One of the artists said to another, “I don’t think he realizes that a dead artist is more famous than a living artist.” And then Villano used the same spell a third time and they all died.

So we took our money back, grabbed the art to toss it into the room full of fire, and left the Art Room. We got back to Asmodeus’ throne room and, while I don’t remember the specific words that he used, he told Villano that Villano had screwed the pooch and that the test was over. And to go ahead and leave.

Sad faces all around.

Q: What’s the difference between a failed HackTest and a lightbulb?
A: You can unscrew a lightbulb.

When we found that out, our sad faces got even sadder.

So then Villano had to purge his Honor so that he could get another shot at his HacKleric test.

Next week: We burn Athens.

Questions? Condemnation?

2011-07-29, 03:23 PM
A couple of notes:

The point of the exam was to get Villano to commit each of the seven deadly sins. He passed Pride (in the bar) and skipped Envy (the waiting room, where everyone waiting had slightly nicer clothing and gear than the party), before crashing and burning on Wrath with the artists.

The way to get past Wrath was to convince the artists to produce work in line with what Villano/Hecate wanted by any means necessary, or to make sure that the artists couldn't produce art in the future, but keeping them alive as examples to others. This being an evil party, torture was certainly on the table. Brunt actually asked Villano if he could cut off their hands, which Asmodeus would have accepted as a solution to the problem. Death by Magic Missile was really too good for them, but death via torture would have made examples of them--the artists would be more famous for how they died than for their work. Arinon saw Asmodeus shaking his head through most of the encounter, but they just weren't getting it.

Villano's player is meeting with me Sunday night to try to get his PC out of bad karma, so that the karma doesn't hurt the rest of the party. I'll report on that when it happens.


2011-07-29, 07:30 PM
Honor Purge, is Almost = to a PC Death in HM, imo, because it puts the PC's honor way down into the Dishonor category and it is very hard to get out of that. Possible but Hard.

2011-07-29, 08:13 PM
Honor Purge, is Almost = to a PC Death in HM, imo, because it puts the PC's honor way down into the Dishonor category and it is very hard to get out of that. Possible but Hard.

An honor purge is the loss of 90% of the PC's honor. In this case, I think he went from 223 to 22. Until he gets above 69, I believe, he will be in dishonor, which gives a -1 to all die rolls. I normally award two to four points of honor per session, so barring extraordinary measures, he'll be in dishonor for a while.

Having said that, this party is known for extraordinary measures. It would not surprise me to see every player play an honor coupon each session for a while.


2011-07-29, 09:06 PM
In all fairness, seven deadly sins might be hard to gather from nine rooms. I'm guessing two were just extra (the fire room, for example), but still. I would never have guessed seven deadly sins from that.

Does remind me of something I did in one of my campaigns though. The party was exploring the ruins of a church/monastery that had been burned during a siege and was spawning undead. In one of the rooms, the ghost of the abbot was waiting in a burned out confessional, with various bonuses and treasure based on if they confessed to one of the seven deadly sins. My group is mostly Lawful/Neutral Good though. They didn't figure it out though, I think one of our younger players got bored so they went to fight the mummies in the next room. I was sad, the older players usually like my puzzles.

2011-07-29, 10:40 PM
In all fairness, seven deadly sins might be hard to gather from nine rooms.

That was intentional: I figured seven rooms would have been too much of a giveaway. The fire room was one of the red herrings; the other was Room 6--The Arena.

The other rooms were a harem (Lust), a luxury bunkhouse (Sloth), a banquet hall (Gluttony), and a vault (Greed).

The biggest mistake the party made Monday was not scouting before acting. They could have easily looked into each room before deciding which to attempt first.


2011-07-30, 08:14 AM
Fair enough. I'm not used to a more RP heavy group - my group is more likely to blast their way through an epic encounter when they can't figure out a riddle (literally... the DM at the time had statted up a tarrasque like sphinx that was all brawn no brain, we incapacitated it with a no-save-just-suck and beat it down with higher level consumables before it had a chance to recover) so we tend to make puzzles more obvious.

I was wondering about the lack of scouting. I assume it had something to do with Asmodeus not explaining the challenge thoroughly enough (though his explanation was adequate, as is befitting a being of pure law, as well as evil) and them assuming that they had to solve each room as they came to it rather than solving each at some point.

Ahh well, better luck next time.

2011-07-30, 03:06 PM
This is a classic "Topher Adventure" He usually has one or more "Social Encounters", one or two "Trap Encounters", puzzles to figure out and plenty of combat. Also Red Herrings are to be expected. Reading this log I was thinking the same thing that I wondered why they didn't scout more. I know my group goes heavy on data/intel analysis, they've learned the hard way..

2011-07-30, 03:32 PM
By the way, if anyone wants to see this adventure, send me a PM. It's not fully fleshed-out, as I figured I would have to improvise a lot, but it should give you an idea where I was heading.


2011-08-01, 10:42 AM
7/31 Sunday Night Extra Session

Present: Villano, Shallyn, Sheba and Severan (briefly via phone)

After the events of last Monday, Villano realized that continuing the normal campaign while being in dishonor/bad karma was bad for everyone, so he asked if I could run him through a solo adventure to get out of bad karma. I agreed. Sheba's player (dolomite23) and Shallyn's player offered to assist.

To start the session, I had Hecate express her disappointment with Villano. She sent him a message via a hellhound courier. The hellhound greeted Villano by taking a huge dump at his feet. When Villano went to remove the metal canister from its collar, the hellhound attempted to lift its leg on Villano, but he saw it and jumped clear. Inside the canister was a note expressing Hecate's disappointment and instructing him to bring her the Apple of Discord (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_of_Discord) to return to her good graces. In the meantime, Villano would be unable to pray for any clerical spells above 2nd level.

Research provided them with the information that the Apple of Discord was still in Aphrodite's possession in a grove on Olympus. After a very brief discussion, they decided that parley was better than battle, so they formulated a plan...

The party decided that they needed two things: Sufficient art to sacrifice in a Temple of Aphrodite to get an audience, plus an exceptional piece of artwork to trade for the Apple. The party commissioned two pieces of artwork: Botticelli's Birth of Venus and a lifesize gem-encrusted platinum sculpture of a swan, inscribed with the words "For the fairest of them all." The party also collected a significant portion of their artwork recovered from prior adventures. In all, they allocated about 500,000 gpv of artwork for the task.

Additional research revealed that the current largest temple to Aphrodite was the Temple of Venus in Mero (Rome). The group used its Well of Many Worlds to travel to the Forum, asked for directions, and after a short discussion, convinced the "high" priestess (only sixth level) to perform the sacrifice of the Botticelli and miscellaneous artwork. The sacrifice was sufficient: Aphrodite teleported them to the grove.

Because Villano was in dishonor, the party decided that Shallyn should be the voice of the party. Shallyn explained the situation to Aphrodite, and explained that the party wanted the Apple of Discord. Once again, the party rolled well and I rolled poorly on a reaction roll, so I decided that Aphrodite was willing to listen. Via phone, Severan composed a poem in tribute to Aphrodite, which was then read by Villano. At the completion of the poem, he revealed the swan. Aphrodite rolled a nat 20 on her reaction roll. Aphrodite was speechless (the artist was an expert and I had rolled a 01 on his Jeweler skill check, plus Aphrodite rolled well enough on her Art Appreciation roll to understand that it was truly a masterpiece).

Regardless, Aphrodite isn't stupid, and negotiated the following terms:
1. The party would give her the swan.
2. The party would build a temple to Aphrodite in Zanbytium to the design specifications of an acolyte appointed by the high priestess of the Temple of Venus in Mero. This acolyte would become the high priestess of the new temple.
3. The party would defend the temples of Aphrodite/Venus against external threats when called.
4. The party would encourage the spread of "love" throughout Zanbytium. This was justified through the realization that the city needed a population boom.
5. The party would do its best to ensure that the Apple would not be used to sow discord. The party believed that Hecate, a lawful evil goddess, would be unlikely to use the Apple for this purpose.

The party agreed to the terms, Aphrodite gave the party the Apple safely stowed inside a pouch, and returned to base. Upon their return, Villano found the artist again and commissioned a jewel-encrusted holy symbol made from the bones of an onyx dracolich, then they went to visit Hecate. Hecate's people were suitably rude, but after they managed to explain that they had the Apple, they were escorted to her presence. After apologizing profusely, presenting her with the Apple, and begging her forgiveness, Hecate agreed to tolerate his worship. She granted him his daily spells, and the party departed.

Once again they returned to base, where a certain undead beholder was waiting for them. Gex wanted to be resurrected, since the Mongol threat was no more. Villano agreed, but negotiated a cooperation pact by offering to regenerate Gex's missing eyestalks. Gex asked that, should his resurrection fail, his body be cremated. Villano cast Resurrection and I rolled Gex's resurrection survival roll. Natural 100. Permadeath. Gex was cremated.

Villano is still in dishonor, but his bad karma has been removed, so he can now gain honor normally. I gave the party members three points each of permanent Fame for acquiring the Apple of Discord.

GM Notes: The party handled things as close to perfectly as I can imagine. If the party had tried to seize the Apple, Cupid was going to hit Sheba, Shallyn and Villano with arrows. This would have led to great confusion. Sheba's a lesbian, so she'd have fallen for Shallyn. Shallyn isn't, so she'd have fallen for Villano, and Villano would have fallen for one or the other (but being an evil GM, I'd have pushed the dice toward Sheba). This, plus the discordian effects of the Apple, should have led to full blown PvP. Alas, it was not to be. Having said that, I stripped the party of 500K gpv of treasure and a potentially formidable ally, so I'm not disappointed with the results of the evening.


2011-08-01, 01:11 PM
Arguably, though, they're on a good path to setting up solid relations with Aphrodite, presuming the uphold their end of the bargain, and they got Hecate's forgiveness. I'd take the good favor of two greater deities over a beholder any day, even one as powerful as Gex. Poor eye tyrant, just wasn't his day.

I love their plan. You're pretty lucky, your group is amazingly versatile. Any group that can switch from tactical invasion one week to buying the favor of two gods is very rare and special.

2011-08-01, 01:26 PM
You're pretty lucky, your group is amazingly versatile. Any group that can switch from tactical invasion one week to buying the favor of two gods is very rare and special.

Part of that isn't luck--I do tend to force my groups to be versatile--but I do have a diverse group of players, which I highly recommend. People who have different skills, political views and religious views in real life will do a better job solving problems than people who are all from the same background.


2011-08-01, 06:40 PM
I will attest that Tohper's group is arguably the BEST HackMaster group out there. They won enough Official HackMaster Assocation Tournaments that they basically retired from playing in them.

Good job guys.

2011-08-01, 09:46 PM
I will attest that Tohper's group is arguably the BEST HackMaster group out there. They won enough Official HackMaster Assocation Tournaments that they basically retired from playing in them.

Good job guys.

Yeah, but I won tonight. :smallcool:


2011-08-01, 11:46 PM

**** **** ****.

Just one death, but a mountain of frustration.

2011-08-02, 06:02 AM
Yeah, but I won tonight. :smallcool:


Score one for HM GMs!

2011-08-02, 08:48 AM
I was wondering about the lack of scouting. I assume it had something to do with Asmodeus not explaining the challenge thoroughly enough (though his explanation was adequate, as is befitting a being of pure law, as well as evil) and them assuming that they had to solve each room as they came to it rather than solving each at some point.


See, we're rather accustomed to being tournament players. As Greylond mentioned, we've each won several national championships- with and without each other. I think at last count, I personally hold more Wurld titles than any other HM player out there, period. What this basically means is we've gone and played at too many conventions! :smallwink: But it creates a different problem- Tourney adventures are very specific in their setup: 10 encounters, 4 hr time limit, with an even combination of social, puzzle, and hacking encounters. This is mandated by the HMA for consistency and fairness. So, here we are, at a FORMAL HacKleric test, for a ONE Night session, seeing a map of 10 rooms (the 9 and the central chamber) and we go into Tournament mode. In most Tournaments once you enter an encounter, you can't leave until you've dealt with it. Re-entering while you deal with other stuff isn't an option. So in our minds, scouting beyond listening at the doors (which we did at most rooms) wasn't an option. So we make our preliminary investigations and decide to go through the rooms clockwise starting from the bottom left.

We handled the bar all right, and we discover that entering and leaving isn't a problem (so far) so we're feeling pretty good about our decisions. Asmodeus himself tells us not to bother with the next room (the fire pit), so I start to think that maybe the point isn't necessarily the rooms themselves, but rather how our actions are perceived by him. We enter the 3rd room- the waiting room- and these people are lame, rude, and haughty. I personally have no envy of their finery- I distrust any item I haven't personally inspected- and I have the best stuff on Earth, so let them be uppity while they sit and simmer waiting for an audience. I'm pretty certain Vilano felt the same way. There was nothing there for us to associate with Envy. I mean, seriously, we have the best stuff in the world, and can make and purchase anything we want, there's no desire to take it off losers who can't get an audience with a devil. so we enter the 4th room (the art studio) knowing that there's still an arena (which means fighting), and a room with some women talking (we're assuming harem) coming up. So far, our only agreement is that we have to behave in a way that impresses Asmodeus- so we're thinking we'll be tested in fighting well, etc.

But those a-holes in the art studio are dissing his Gawdess. I, personally, don't care. I find it amusing artwork, and I agree with their philosophy- but we know Vilano can't let this go. He has to do something. So he talks for a while, tries to convince them with his powerful charisma and oration skills to convert to Hecate (makes sense for a HacKleric test, right?). They aren't interested. We try to convince them there should be truth in art- they don't buy it. He tries to convince them that some art just isn't tasteful and shouldn't exist, and I tried to make my point with MY artwork, and that doesn't work. In the meantime, they are getting progressively more rude and insulting. That cannot be abided. So, he does the evil thing and causes physical pain. If I cannot convince you with reason or manipulation, or intimidation or fear, then I *will* get your attention with PAIN. And he toys with them with magic missiles. Just enough to seriously hurt them but not kill them. He had already made his point before that he could kill them then bring them back and hurt them again since he did that to one of them already. And they don't care. At this point, frustration got the best of Villano- he tells them "Fine! I will kill you and I will dishonor your bodies and your names and your art. I will destroy you and everything you have made, and I will travel throughout the world to find everything related to you and destroy/bismirch it as well." And that's exactly what he did.

This is my issue with Topher's "Test". If that did not embody WRATH, I don't know what else does! I feel it was a perfectly reasonable solution to his puzzle even if it isn't the one he was looking for. Vilano preserved his Gawdess' honor, destroys the infidels and all their artwork, and still appears as a Bad*** Lawful Evil Cleric. He tried to convince them in other ways first. He had permission from Asmodeus to kill them (he even went back into the audience chamber and asked first, rather than offend his host), and he *did* try to torture them with pain first. He's an MU/Cleric worshipping a Gawdess of Magic, his idea of pain involves magic, it would never occur to him to physically get his hands dirty with a knife and blood. Our resident torturer (Allenon) wasn't in there and wasn't interested in torture- in fact, his only comment the whole time was something along the lines of "Hey guys, this isn't working- just leave them alone to be artists and do their thing." To which we all laughed because Allenon is NEVER the voice of reason and tolerance. We only dismissed Brunt's suggestion of removing their hands because Villano had already tried hurting them badly and they didn't care about the pain, AND they had already offended Vilano and Hecate so badly that at that point that they deserved to die in his eyes. The idea of a "fate worse than death" didn't register with him since he was already seeing red from their behavior. He was too full of WRATH, ahem, to spare their lives for anything else other than his satisfaction of destroying them.

I still maintain that he acted in the best interest of his Gawdess, and role-played in accordance with his character's beliefs, tendencies, and persona. If the goal was to demonstrate WRATH, he did so very well. If the goal was to impress Asmodeus, I still think his actions were sufficient. My main complaint is that the test was too subjective, and it wasn't what the GM had planned for as a solution, so he didn't accept it. *shrug* C'est la vie. We'll try again. It just sucks we have to wait to get Vilano back in honor.

2011-08-02, 09:15 AM
So in our minds, scouting beyond listening at the doors (which we did at most rooms) wasn't an option.This feels like a cop-out. We may have started in Tournament Mode, but we exited rooms 2 and 3 without solving them and there were no negative repercussions. Villano tried swinging his **** at them and when that didn't solve it he just swung it harder.

and he *did* try to torture them with pain first.Nope. The first spell he cast, the first time he touched any of the artists, he hit the singer with a CLW which killed him instantly.

2011-08-02, 09:25 AM
This feels like a cop-out. We may have started in Tournament Mode, but we exited rooms 2 and 3 without solving them and there were no negative repercussions. Villano tried swinging his **** at them and when that didn't solve it he just swung it harder.

Nope. The first spell he cast, the first time he touched any of the artists, he hit the singer with a CLW which killed him instantly.

No cop out, my legitimate gripe feelings on the night. YOU entered and exited room 2 because there was nothing there to do, just as Asmodeus told us- not to mention Vilano himself didn't enter it and this place was HIS test, not yours. As for room 3, I figured we exited with no issues because either A) there was nothing to do there, either- it was a waiting room, after all; or B) we handled it appropriately. In my eyes, I saw the room as a test of our tolerance with those idiots- we didn't let them rile us because we were beyond them. We exhibited PRIDE and ARROGANCE- which was what we needed to get approval in the Bar room. It made sense to me.

As for the CLW which killed the dude originally- Yes, he did, but then he immediately resurrected him, and basically told him "See what a bad*** I am? I can kill you and bring you back whenever I want. You should listen to what I am telling you about my Gawdess." Yes he was swinging himself around. That's what he's supposed to do- and what had already gotten us approval in the previous rooms. It's a logical move. I still defend him.

Oh, and Topher- who says *you* won last night? I disagree. Allenon wanted to level Athens and get approval from Ares. Check and check. As for what else happened.... I just see that as Plotty McPlotHook. You had to have a way to give us the next adventure. That is NOT a victory for you! :tongue:

2011-08-02, 10:30 AM
Oh, and Topher- who says *you* won last night? I disagree. Allenon wanted to level Athens and get approval from Ares. Check and check. As for what else happened.... I just see that as Plotty McPlotHook. You had to have a way to give us the next adventure. That is NOT a victory for you! :tongue:

Me: One kill
The party: Zero kills

And Arinon got a promise from one not exactly known for keeping them. :smallyuk:

Finally, I really didn't need another open plot. Frankly, had Brunt not deviated from the plan, the new plotline never would have opened. By my count I had three open plots before last night--one of which I'm reasonably sure the party has forgotten. :smallbiggrin:


2011-08-02, 10:38 AM
Hey, Topher- if it makes you feel better, take your victories wherever you can find them. :smallbiggrin: We've settled several plot lines, ignored a few others, probably forgotten a few. No biggie. We're masters of the world. Gods are fighting for *our* favor. Variety in plot lines is a good thing. Thanks for being the awesome GM who keeps bringing them to us!

I'm interested in reading Morghen's depiction of the night's events. *summon Morghen* Dood! Where are you? Where's our recap? I'm waiting for commentary and comments from the peanut gallery and all that fun stuff. I know Greylond and Sharona are waiting with bated breath...

2011-08-02, 10:48 AM
*RRRINNNGG* Hello, Monday Night Hack Services. We will get it done right or blow it up tonight. Whats that Neptune, You need what? Sorry we are all booked up. Maybe you can try back later.

Umm, Topher last time I checked, you were a grown man. This is our game. I say erase the plotlines if they forgot them.

2011-08-02, 11:05 AM
Hey, Topher- if it makes you feel better, take your victories wherever you can find them. :smallbiggrin:

Exactly. Most of the time you kick my ass.

And dolomite: The "forgotten" plotline is too good to let die. Of course, there's always the possibility that you simply hope that I've forgotten it. Oops.


2011-08-02, 11:32 AM
*summon Morghen* Dood! Where are you? Where's our recap?God, you're right. I didn't realize it had been 14 WHOLE HOURS.

2011-08-02, 02:32 PM
God, you're right. I didn't realize it had been 14 WHOLE HOURS.

That's right! You missed your deadline by 12 hours. I know you were up in the middle of the night. I saw you posting all over Facebook. :smalltongue:

But seriously, I was just exclaiming that I enjoy your recaps and am always eager for the next installment. <3

2011-08-02, 03:59 PM
8/1 Game
Characters present:
Vilano, Shalyn, Brunt, Arinon, Sheba, Me

We opened with Sheba buying a Wish from (I forget which) one of our allies so that she could stop leveling as an Enchantment/Charm specialist and go back to leveling as a monk. Then we did some more shopping and distributed some of the backlog of loot that's been accumulating for the last six months of RL time.

So this Athens thing that you've been hearing about.

Remember those HackSsassin and HacKleric tests we've been doing? To achieve that, you need to have 20 levels. Arinon is an elf, and elven rangers hit their level cap at 17. But Arinon saw that I got Chosen by a god and thought, "Hmmm... I know a way I can get some more levels..." (because in HackMaster, only humans can switch classes after creation). So at some point in the last few sessions, Arinon sneaked off and talked to his god Ares about making some kind of deal that would see him (Arinon) ending up as a Chosen One of Ares. I don't know the specifics of the deal, but Ares told him that seeing Athens destroyed or converted to Ares would be juuuuuuust the ticket.

So were all kind of getting on board with the idea of leveling Athens when I remembered that we held our super-power anti-mongol meeting (Things As They Stand (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194737)) in Athena's house (but in fact I was incorrect: It was Diana). And then somebody piped up that Athena had been one of three gods who oversaw Villano's HackMage test. THAT was when we all kind of went, "Um... You know, Athena's kind of a big deal. What exactly did you tell Ares?" That was when Arinon told us that it definitely had to be Athens.

At that point, Villano suggested we go talk to Hecate. So we went. She explained that in her pantheon, she was looking at a 4-way tug-of-war between Hermes (CG), Ares (CE), Athena (LG), and herself (LE). Hecate herself is not closely aligned with Athena so we were okay from that standpoint, and the only real blowback we'd see from our actions would be from Athena herself, not some unintended unbalancing of the Greek pantheon. On the plus side, Hecate would see her power increase marginally, so that was something.

Unfortunately, Villano and I weren't the only ones doing a little day-trip. As soon as the two of us were out the door, Shallyn (who'd been protesting all along) pulled out her own Well of Many Worlds and zipped off to Athens. She scooted up to the Parthenon and talked to the high priestess. Shallyn told her that bad **** was on the horizon and that lots of lives would be lost. And then she bounced back to Zanbytium. So that sucked.

Then we went to talk to our boy Xymon. We asked him what kind of defenses we'd be facing and were told that they didn't have any significant magical defenses but they did have an extensive tunnel system underneath the city. We weren't excited about that, but then we figured that Arinon's deal with Ares just covered burning the city, not the under-city.

So. We went.

Arinon's Plan: He would approach the main city gate and ask to speak to whoever was in charge of the city. He would talk to that person, give them the chance to offer the city to Ares, and then we'd kill everyone in town when his offer was rejected.

So he marched up to the main gate and told some mook that he needed to speak to whoever was in charge of the city (he was told that it was the High Priestess of Athena). The mook told him to wait there and scampered off. The rest of us were invisible (Dust of Disappearance) and flying. So we waited. During the waiting, I flew up over the city to see how many people were still around.

There weren't very many. After a bit, I saw a number of soldiers going from building to building. I watched them for a while and gathered that they were conducting a forced evacuation. I wasn't too excited about that, but remembered that our job wasn't to kill everybody in Athens, just to convert/destroy the city.

After about 45 minutes, the mook came back and told Arinon that the HP was very busy and that she could see him tomorrow at noon.

So Arinon said, "Okey-doke" and found himself a spot to camp. He and Brunt stayed there while the rest of us teleported back to Zanbytium to sleep in actual beds. Over the course of the night, Villano and I took turns checking on them once/hour to make sure they hadn't been murdered in their sleep. The didn't, so we went straight to Arinon's meeting with the HP.

At noon, Arinon arrived at the main gate and the mook from yesterday told him to follow. Arinon and Brunt were both there, so they both went. The other four of us flew in a perimeter around them. After a walk, they met a group of five women guards and a woman who introduced herself as Palace, the High Priestess of the Temple of Athena. The rest of us were up in the air, so Arinon took Brunt and the GM in another room for the conversation. I tried using an item to cast Clairaudience and was told that it didn't work. The next thing we knew, our boys were walking out.


Part way back to the wall, Brunt decided that he was going to alter the plan a little bit. See, he's got this one weapon that lets him throw the spell Earthquake and he decided that he was going to hit the Acropolis with it. As he got close, he saw that the High Priestess (big helmet, shield, staff) was waiting for him. He didn't change his course and she just waited for him.

And then they fought.

Brunt started attacking her, but his weapons bounced off because of Stoneskin. And then she hit him and her damage went right through his Stoneskin and Phantom Armor (the first [CL] points of damage are negated). Also, she was doing a TON of damage per attack. We cut loose with spells right away, but they just stopped about 20 feet away from her. She had some kind of bubble keeping any magic from getting close to her, but Brunt was still attacking more often and his attacks absorb half of the damage he causes. I used the handful-of-coins trick again and took off the rest of her Stoneskin so at least Brunt could start healing himself. Just then, Sheba used an awesome skill that gave him a called shot to the throat but instead of starting to bleed out she just took some damage. Then Sheba successfully hit a Disarm to get rid of the staff that was wrecking Brunt. But the staff didn't go flying the way it shoulda. It would've been pretty freakin' epic, but for some reason his cool shiz just didn't work. So that was worrisome.

So we used missile weapons to try to help whittle her down but after another round or so she put a crit on Brunt that did three times more hp in damage than he had left and he went down like a bag of concrete.

There was a bunch of out-of-character discussion about whether or not Brunt should purge to avoid the hit or just take the hit and we could Res him later. After a couple of minutes, we came to the conclusion that in the long run it would be better if he just took the hit and got killed for subsequent rescuing/rezzing.

On her next action, the High Priestess touched Brunt with her staff and they both vanished.

So that was irritating. We responded by blowing the holy hell out of Athens. I used Transmute Rock to Mud to level (or nearly level) the Acropolis and then we all threw explody spells around and torched the place.

And then we sent Arinon to go talk to Ares. One of the first things Arinon said was, "The ****?! What was that about?"

See, earlier I told you that the High Priestess told us her name was Palace or some such. But when I heard it, I heard Palace or Pallus or Pallis or something. But I missed the HUGE one that woulda saved a bunch of trouble. Pallas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athena). SHE TOLD US WHO SHE WAS. Uh. I realized it in the car on the way home and felt DUMB the rest of the night.

So he and Ares had a private conversation. Then Shallyn went to see if her god (Hermes) and the fact that she rang the warning bell could get her an audience with Athena. Talking happened for a bit.

Final result: Brunt is just fine! He might even come out of this better off! Whee!

Anything else? Oh, just, you know... stuff.

We owe Athena a favor if we want our boy back. So that's where all my frustration comes from.

On the bright side: Good triumphed over Evil!

Other stuff:

Those three plot lines that Topher mentioned are 1) Killin' them drow; 2) Killin' Acererac; 3) Dealing with the city under our city. I'll let him explain #3.
I was up all night because I had a baby trying to turn itself inside out. A 1-year old holds more vomit than I would have thought.
I don't want people to think that this thread has reached its maximum number of commenters. If I didn't explain something or you have a question about why we did something or feel like complaining about how dumb we were at a certain point, please feel free.

2011-08-02, 05:19 PM
Awesome updates everyone!

Lurve it when Shaby and Topher go at it, it's teh funny cause I've seen it live and can picture the look on both of their faces when it's happening.

Once again, this is a very fun campaign log.

And for anyone who isn't familar with HackMaster 4th Ed, Morghen talks about doing stuff, like zipping off through a Well of Worlds, flying/fighting/casting while invis and stuff like it is nothing to them. This is because they are very high level. My HM4 group is half their level(8 - 12) and would have trouble doing most of what they are doing.

2011-08-02, 05:21 PM

See, we're rather accustomed to being tournament players. As Greylond mentioned, we've each won several national championships- with and without each other.

I thought about this when I read through Topher's adventure notes. I say that I've gotta agree, a good group in the mind of "Tourny Mode" would have been thrown off a bit at first.

...but then again, that just means that Topher is doing his job... ;)

2011-08-02, 08:36 PM
Those three plot lines that Topher mentioned are 1) Killin' them drow; 2) Killin' Acererac; 3) Dealing with the city under our city. I'll let him explain #3.

I hadn't really considered 3) a plot line. My last impression was a live-and-let-live scenario, with them possibly assisting when the Mongols got close. You guys can certainly go after them, but I didn't think it was a priority.

If you do call that a plot line, then I have a fourth. :smallcool:


2011-08-05, 08:23 AM
Just a note: With four players at GenCon this weekend we won't be gaming this Monday.


2011-08-06, 07:53 AM
I hadn't really considered 3) a plot line. [snip]
If you do call that a plot line, then I have a fourth. :smallcool:


Well, we *do* have unresolved business on Tartarus, too, right?

Just a note: With four players at GenCon this weekend we won't be gaming this Monday.


And that is sadness. :frown:

On the brightside, those of us who aren't going to GenCon this year (OMG! The Horror!) could always get together and do something else. Boardgames, anyone?

2011-08-06, 08:58 PM
We are having an UnCon(Online Con) this weekend via MapTools and Ventrilo ya know...

2011-08-07, 03:21 PM
We are having an UnCon(Online Con) this weekend via MapTools and Ventrilo ya know...

Unfortunately I had to work today. Business is good. :D


2011-08-07, 03:33 PM
Better than the opposite....

2011-08-09, 12:37 PM
Just a note: With four players at GenCon this weekend we won't be gaming this Monday.

Well, actually we did- just not any RPGs. We had a few friends over and dedicated the night to adult beverages and silly card games.

Lord of the Fries and Give me the Brain took up most of our night, but we did pull out Zombie Fluxx, too- in keeping with the zombie theme. It was a good night. I enjoyed it.

At one point I almost GM'd Morghen through a solo Hack adventure- but the lure of YouTube videos and CakeWrecks was too strong and I got sucked into the couch and the InterWebz. Maybe next time...

I actually can't remember if I've ever had him sit at a table I ran. Morghen? Have I ever GMd you before?

2011-08-09, 12:39 PM
You solo'd me through your little Solo HackMaster Engine a while back.

You also ran The Playtest That Must Not Be Named.

(No, not FATAL. HackMaster 5th Ed.)

2011-08-11, 02:16 AM
Dang, that's right, you've missed out on those wonderful warped HackMaster GM-only games at the cons because you were a player. Shaby ran a glorious one of those that she had written, hmm.

Topher & I had written one intended for a GM-only game at a con, but I don't think it was ever played because of the version change. That might be a good candidate for another "filler" night.

Comic #800 reminds me sooooo much of a certain BBG with dual self-loading hand crossbows .... MUAHAHAHAHAAA

2011-08-11, 02:23 AM
I'm interested in reading Morghen's depiction of the night's events. *summon Morghen* Dood! Where are you? Where's our recap? I'm waiting for commentary and comments from the peanut gallery and all that fun stuff. I know Greylond and Sharona are waiting with bated breath...

I'm enjoying the recaps. Usually Topher & I have already talked a bit about his plans for you guys. So I keep my mouth shut here to avoid ruining your game with leaks.

Man I miss playing :( I'm getting some good design and writing done during swimming workouts (in my head, obviously), but it's not the same as playing. And there's a lot of stuff that I hammer out while in the pool, then have completely forgotten 40 laps later when I am drying off afterwards and have access to a sketchpad.

2011-08-11, 03:16 PM
You also ran The Playtest That Must Not Be Named.

(No, not FATAL. HackMaster 5th Ed.)

Ahh, okay. I couldn't remember if you had switched over to Monday nights by then, I thought you did later. Man, it *has* been a while. I try not to remember the 5th ed stuff. No one seemed to like it. I felt that very keenly as a GM- I'd like to think that no matter the engine or setting, the right GM can make any game fun- and obviously I wasn't doing it because no one was enjoying it. :( It made me sad because I wanted you guys to enjoy the nights. And whether it was my fault or not, I believe that the Monday Night Hack crew will cringe anytime I want to GM them for that very reason. I'll just have to write my own material again. There's always better response that way.

But as for Monday night, I'm eager to see what happens next. Out of character, we all know that I played both sides of the fence on that Athena encounter (hey! I'm CN), but in character the guys don't know, and I have no intention of telling them. I wonder if we'll start to see more schism in the group as we all tear towards supporting our various gawds...

2011-08-11, 04:24 PM
It made me sad because I wanted you guys to enjoy the nights. And whether it was my fault or not, I believe that the Monday Night Hack crew will cringe anytime I want to GM them for that very reason.I thought the world and the GM were positives. I disliked the system quite strongly.

And I may be wrong, but I'd put money on everybody else feeling the same way.

And I think that ****ing door soured everybody on the campaign because it threw the stupid healing in H5Ed to the forefront.

I'll just have to write my own material again.GM SOME SHADOWRUN RIGHT NOW. I love this campaign A LOT, but I'm absolutely cuckoo about Shadowrun.

2011-08-11, 05:52 PM
GM SOME SHADOWRUN RIGHT NOW. I love this campaign A LOT, but I'm absolutely cuckoo about Shadowrun.

It sounds pretty intriguing. I'm desperate for Hack but so many Hack friends have moved to Shadowrun rather than H5 that I'm beginning to consider it. Been hearing some good stuff about it from people whose opinions I usually agree with :)

Still want to hear the Monday night shenanigans next week tho!

2011-08-12, 06:10 AM
You guys really didn't like HM5? Really? I know what Topher said about it but I like it better than HM4, and I love HM4. I really like some of the new things that are being worked on for it.

2011-08-12, 06:32 AM
You guys really didn't like HM5? Really?Healing. Oh, god, the healing.

I really like some of the new things that are being worked on for it.In fairness to 5th Edition, Advanced, we didn't play much of that. And I did like the "Count Up" initiative system. That was pretty awesome.

But the difficulty with healing just broke our collective will.

2011-08-12, 05:21 PM
Really? I don't think healing is all that bad, I actually like it. Having someone who is a Master in First Aid helps. Personally, one of the tings that always annoyed me about AD&D/HM4 is the ability of characters/monsters to be able to fight and take wounds down to 1 HP and then one spell and BOOM! Back up and into the fight. I just think that should be something that should hold off until High Level, and not happening at Day 1 when the adventurers start off.

2011-08-12, 06:37 PM
The problem with the healing was that it was a dramatic change from the old system, and it would require a significant change in my GM style. One of the hallmarks of my home game is that I punish parties who leave things unfinished. If you don't clear the kobold cave, it will be reinforced and retrapped by the time you return. Because the party needed to leave frequently, I had many opportunities to reload, and it made it much harder for the party to actually accomplish anything.

Now, having said that, the First Aid skill was improved from our initial tests.

The other problem I had is typical of switching from a "complete" system to one in development: There weren't great opportunities to specialize. With a group of three to five players having the standard fighter/fighter/cleric/mage/thief party composition is fine. With seven, specialization is almost a requirement to have every player feel necessary. In HMB I couldn't make a PC I wanted to play. I haven't read the Advanced PHB yet, but in playtesting things still weren't refined enough to get a one-trick-pony-type PC.

Now, we haven't run it in about two years now, so things are likely dramatically different. The issue now is that we're having great fun with the current game, so there's no need to change. Once the party gets everyone to HackClass, it may be time for a reset. At that point we could switch to HM5, or do a house-ruled HM4.5 with the things we like from each edition, or we may switch to something completely different. I may even get motivated enough to write down my own system...which is wildly different from the fantasy RPGs currently out there.


2011-08-12, 06:59 PM
I just think that should be something that should hold off until High Level, and not happening at Day 1 when the adventurers start off.A 4E 1st-level Fighter is going to have about 29 HP [20+1d10+2 for Con+1 for Honor].
A 4E 1st-level Cleric is going to have 3-5 CLW (if that's the only thing he takes for the day), which fixes 1d4+1(for Honor) HP.

A 7th-level Fighter is going to have about 83 HP [20+7d10+14 for Con+7 for Honor].
A 7th-level Cleric is going to have a single casting of CSW, which fixes about 45.5 HP [7d10+7].

A 9th-level Fighter is going to have about 110 HP [20+9d10+27 for Con (it has to have gone up by this point)+9 for Honor].
A 9th-level Cleric is going to have a single casting of CCW, which fixes about 72 HP [9d12+9].

9th is starting to get up there a bit and it's still not "one and done", and that 1st-level Cleric definitely isn't going to just sling one spell and fix the Fighter. In 4E, if you're low level and your Fighter gets broken it's probably going to take you a day's complement of spells to zip him up. In 5E, it's gonna take you a month to fix that guy.

(For those not familiar, the above acronyms are Cure Light Wounds, Cure Serious Wounds, Cure Critical Wounds.)

2011-08-12, 07:17 PM
Yea, but there are also magic items in HM4 that give healing back.

But hey, I play in two HM4 games also, GM one every other Friday and play in one every other Sunday. I still love HM4, but I like the new version even better.

Like Jolly says, get together with friends, sling dice, have Fun!

2011-08-13, 07:06 AM
Yea, but there are also magic items in HM4 that give healing back.

Really? Items that give healing *back*? What might those be? Besides potions of healing which don't do a lot and are prohibitively expensive for a "young" party and largely ineffective for an advanced party what else is there that would be plentiful and common? And we saw NO such thing in 5e, which made healing that much worse. Especially with the skewed change in money values. We would joke sometimes: "OMG! We found 3 silver and 22 copper! Our whole party can retire forever! We're wealthy beyond our wildest dreams!"

At that point we could switch to HM5, or do a house-ruled HM4.5 with the things we like from each edition...

Which is actually what I did when I ran it. I thought if we took some of the most different elements from the new system but played it with the old system's skillsets and classes and money- they might like it more. I couldn't convince the guys of that.

See, when Topher led us through the playtesting for 5th ed, it was a serious case of growing pains. We fixed a lot of things that went into that game, believe me. The backwards percentage checks, the missing spells, the non-existent skills. These were things that had to be corrected after our party played through it. And let me explain the infamous "door" and why we hate the healing:

Our first and 2nd level party went through a temple and there was a trap door in the ceiling of an upward-leading tunnel that would fall on you if you didn't open and hold it just right. It took several PCs working together to hold that heavy door, and sure enough it fell and grievously injured everyone standing in the tunnel- plus the falling damage due to gravity- nearly killing them. And it so happened that there were a bunch of undead in the room that door opened into so once we climbed up the ladder to see that we responded with an "Oh ****! close the door, close the door, we're not strong enough to take on an entire room of them with both our Fighter and Cleric nearly dead." But that's when we really discovered our problem: we had to go that way to continue, but we needed to rest and heal. So we stopped for the "night" and our healer could heal maybe 10 points of damage total in the morning by completely depleting his spells- but our party was down ~60. If we left this temple we'd have to fight our way back to this point again (oh heck no- that was like 10 rooms of undead and monsters) and we didn't have the strength to go on immediately. Our solution: "Let's just camp in this room and rest for 3 more nights!" So we did. And when our Cleric and Fighter were back >75% of their hit points we tried again. And once again the door fell on PCs and nearly killed them. So we camped out a few nights, AGAIN! We ended up doing this for nearly 4 weeks in game time to get enough healing... no joke. It was a comedy of errors- we couldn't survive the stupid door. Over and over it defeated us, it was ridiculous. The party had a phobia of doors for several adventures afterwards. We could kill any imaginable monster, but would wet our pants at the sight of a door!

2011-08-16, 07:22 AM
Two players unable to attend.
Two players unable to show up until way late.

So we (GM, Arinon's player, and I) scrapped it and talked Fantasy Football for a while. Also we got a bit of a GenCon after-action report from Arinon's player. Then we played Carcassone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcassonne_%28board_game%29) once Shalyn and Sheba's players showed up.

I won.

We'll be back next week.

2011-08-16, 05:13 PM
Dang IT! It's bad enough when my favorite TV show is pushed off a week due to some stupid Sports Event, NOW Its happening with RPG Session Logs!!! :smallsmile:

2011-08-22, 11:55 PM
Heads up.

Tomb of Horrors, y'all.

Get ready for serious spoilage.

2011-08-23, 11:40 AM
I figured you'd head that way once you got all the mastery tests out of the way. A room of ridiculously sped up time? I'll take two.

2011-08-23, 12:00 PM
For spoilage sake, I'm running a modified Tomb of Unspeakable Horrors. I moved the setting from Garweeze Wurld to Malta, and I'm upping the difficulty significantly.


2011-08-23, 04:37 PM
Sweet! I'll follow along in my copy as I read...

2011-08-24, 09:36 PM
A tease because this is taking me so long:

My character had his eyeballs exploded this session.

2011-08-24, 10:50 PM
Ouch... that's never good for a Mage...

2011-08-25, 12:12 AM
i am getting the feeling that this isnt going to be up tonight :smallfrown:

2011-08-25, 01:43 AM
Well, he did have his Eyeballs exploded...

2011-08-25, 11:40 PM
8/22 Game
Characters present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Shalyn (Thief), Brunt (Tank), Severan (Bard), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Me (Mage/backup Cleric)

When we left off, we'd just found out that Athena had killed and then stolen our boy Brunt and that we'd have to do some work for her to get him back.

Shalyn was told that we'd have to wait a day, but that Athena would be in contact. So we waited and the next day an owl showed up carrying a message from Athena.

The message told us that we were to escort the Athens refugees to Vienna. Yes, the one that's more than 1,000 miles from Athens. As we were standing around with "Uh... hang on..." all over our faces, Shalyn and Vilano got a feeling that we were being watched. A quick deduction led us to the conclusion that it was Athena and, talking to the air, we told her that we needed more information. Specifically, did they all have to survive and could they be teleported.

A couple of minutes later another owl showed with a note that basically said, "There are 500 of 'em. They all have to survive. They can be teleported if need be." And then Brunt popped back up looking none the worse for wear.

So we gave a sigh of relief and went to go talk to some refugees.

We teleported about 100 yards away from the refugee camp and flew the rest of the way in. As soon as people recognized us, the situation turned into a lot of screaming and running around. Not unexpected, but inconvenient just the same.

So Shalyn quickly found somebody who looked like he was more in charge than some of the others, zipped down to him, and convinced him that we were there to transport them to safety. As opposed to what our reputations/actions indicated we were there for.

But after everybody calmed down we realized that something like 100 of them had disappeared into the forest next to the camp. That sucked a bunch, but after a couple of hours of searching and convincing by other refugees, they came back.

During that, we talked to the people some and found a high priestess of Athena who was even more in-charge-r than that other guy. We told her that we were going to stuff her people (100 at a time) into this groovy little extra-dimensional library that we tote around and teleport them to Vienna. She essentially told us that she didn't know **** about Vienna and there was no way she was going to just send her people haring off into the wilderness on our word. We argued with her for a bit but, when it came down to it, the refugees weren't leaving without her blessing. And she wanted to go see Vienna for herself. So we left Vilano there to protect the people of Athens. Yes, you read that correctly. I was just as amused as you are.

The rest of us took the high priestess to Vienna, talked to some mook guard, talked to his supervisor, went to the Duke of Vienna. Shalyn introduced herself using her full title (Princess Shalyn blahblahblah of blah) and the Duke went, "Oh, yeah. I know who you are." The Duke told us that the city would need two days to get things in order, so we left the high priestess there and jumped back to Athens to wait.

During the waiting, Severan and I decided that having sex with some of the refugees would be a good idea. So we did that.

Late during the 2nd night, about 50 of the refugees decided that they'd had another calling (from somebody other than Athena) and that they all had to leave and head up to a cave in the mountains RIGHT NOW. We argued with 'em for a bit, we woke everybody else up to help convince the 50, but nothing was changing their minds. Just as we were about to let 'em leave the camp, I decided to hit 'em with a Detect Magic. Sure enough, they'd been Charmed. So Vilano dispelled that and we all went back to bed.

At noon of the next day, we teleported the refugees over in groups of 100. Nothing interfered with us in any way, and so just like that we had Athena off our collective back. Wheee!

So we did a little bit of talking and decided that heading after Acererac would be the best course of action.


I know that's not much, but I felt like I needed to get something up here. The juicy Tomb-y parts will be up ASAP.

Also, I apologize for this being so late. In addition to being a RPG nerd I'm also a Fantasy Football nerd. I felt like I was woefully unprepared for my drafts (including one tonight), so I've been doing my Fantasy Football homework. But that's done now, so it should be full steam ahead. If things fall right, I should be done tomorrow.

Oh. I keep meaning to ask this:
Do people prefer that I refer to the characters by their names or by their characters' archetypes/classes?
"Severan and I decided to go bang some refugees."
"The Bard and I decided to go bang some refugees."

2011-08-26, 10:29 AM
During the waiting, Severan and I decided that having sex with some of the refugees would be a good idea. So we did that.

GM Note: Zero stamina. :smallyuk:

The party dodged the serious bullet: Their initial refugee relocation plan was to use two Wells of Many Worlds, one for Athens-Tarterus and another for Tarterus-Vienna. I *so* wanted to see how they'd react when the (mostly) LG refugees freaked out upon reaching Tarterus. :smallbiggrin:

Once again, they showed tremendous restraint, which was the main danger of the relocation.


2011-08-26, 10:33 AM
Love that eyeball-implosion spell!

And thanks for the writeup, you guys got off easy just transporting a bunch of refugees.

Oh. I keep meaning to ask this:
Do people prefer that I refer to the characters by their names or by their characters' archetypes/classes?
"Severan and I decided to go bang some refugees."
"The Bard and I decided to go bang some refugees."

Since you asked ... I'd personally prefer the names. Then change your log header, here:

8/22 Game
Characters present:
Vilano, Shalyn, Brunt, Severan, Sheba, Me

to include the character classes: Severan would be Severan (Bard).

2011-08-26, 08:47 PM
Come on, come on, get to the EyeBall Implosion scene! :smallsmile:

2011-08-27, 09:45 AM

So we decided to take a run at Acererac (but as players, we were most interested in it because it's the Tomb of Horrors).

So we used our Well of Many Worlds to zip off to the biggest city in Malta. There, we found ourselves a decent-looking bar and found the oldest man in there to pump for information about creepy ruins, rumors about undead, all that business. I only remember where some of the clues we got came from, so I'm just going to lump 'em together at the end of this thing.

The old man really didn't want to give us anything. "Such things should not be talked about" and whatnot.
So then we remembered that we have a Bard in the party. He got his Bardic Knowledge on and gave us a little bit of information.
I asked if the town had a library and, sure enough, it did. I threw five gold at the guy with a "Look, we're not kids. We're not some chump treasure-hunters. We're professional badasses and we're looking for this guy/thing." He was a bit helpful, but we still didn't have a lot to go on. After that I asked if, with my general knowledge of religions and the librarian's knowledge of the town, we could find a temple to any god that generally hates undead. We were told that Hades was right up our alley and had a nice presence in town.
The temple of Hades was a freaking gold mine of information, once we told them that we shared a goal (wanting to wreck this specific undead) and gave the head priest 1,000 gold.

And here's all of the information that we got:

There is a strange burial ground where it is said that "unspeakable things" occurred.
The slaves speak darkly of a burial plot bearing the name "Charles Tim".
We got a warning to never let "them" know your name or "they'll use it against you."
Somewhere in Acererac's writings we got the phrase "Death was right under his nose."
Somewhere in Acererac's writings we got the phrase "Starting second is sometimes the best way to win the race."
Somewhere in Acererac's writings we got the phrase "As rich melt and pay alms thrice, crime halts and realms itch."
Somewhere in Acererac's writings he referred to himself with the phrase "Child em I."
We learned that we should look for Acererac near or at a big... something... that looks like a skull. I don't remember specifically what the "thing" was, and I didn't write it down.

A couple of us have some kind of puzzle-solving perks that were bought at character creation. Those told us that the bolded things above were anagrams. It took us a second, but we solved those. See below. This I will put behind a spoiler in case you want to take a crack at them.

In order: master lich, master lich, master lich, master lich, demilich. As characters we went, "Uh, yeah. Duh. Wait, what was that last one?" As players we reckoned that those were there for people who didn't know what they were facing in the Tomb of Horrors.

So we headed back to the library because I figured the librarian would know more about the surrounding countryside than the priests of Hades. He did. He gave us specific enough directions that we just hit the road and were there in about 20 minutes (iirc).

So we got there. It was a big stone hill/outcropping that didn't so much resemble a skull as it was completely designed to look like a big damn skull.

There was a large pit in front of the thing to prevent easy access. In the pit was icky smelly gunk, but we didn't go too close. It didn't seem sinister, just gross. There appeared to be six entryways through the teeth, plus the nose and two eyes. Below the teeth, some words were carved into the stone in big letters. "One is the clock. Two is the rock. Three is the door. Think again once more."

We discussed our options here for quite a while. The pit obviously wasn't going to be a big deal because we can all fly, but that still didn't tell us which entryway was the one we wanted to fly to. Judging from his fake tomb, Acererac loves his traps so we were all a little on edge. Whatever the setting past "CAUTIOUS" is, that's what we were.

So we talked about the "one, two, three" clue for a bit, we talked about the "right under his nose" clue for a bit, we discussed if the "starting second" clue meant that we should use the second entrance or avoid being the first person through the door. I felt like we didn't have enough information to make the correct decision, so I flew near each entrance and tossed a Continual Light coin into each passageway. Then I went back and looked down each passageway. They were each about 10' long before terminating.

The Left eye had two doors at the end of it.
The Right eye was a taller corridor with a great deal of cobwebs above the walkway and two doors at the end.
The Nose was a longer hallway that ended at two doors.
Tooth-Gap 1 (far left) was a dead end. There was some writing on the wall at about chest height. I read it and my eyeballs exploded. I found some Runes of Eyeball Implosion! I only took eight points of damage, but my eyeballs sure did collapse like a mother****er. I was going to borrow Brunt's Ring of Regeneration, but instead Vilano hit me with some 6th-level healing spell that also cures status effects so we could just get a move on.
Tooth-Gap 2 had a single door at the end.
Tooth-Gap 3 had a single door at the end.
Tooth-Gap 4 had a single door at the end.
Tooth-Gap 5 had a single door at the end.
Tooth-Gap 6 (far right) was a dead end. There was some writing on the wall at about chest height. We left it the **** alone. Oh, wait. Vilano tried to hit it with a Dispel Magic and the GM laughed at him.

Faced with 10 doors, none of which we knew anything about, we continued in info-gathering mode. Vilano turned on his Bracers of Mapsense and took a look at the thing. Behind Tooth-Gap 5 he got two pings but nothing else within range in the skull. But we still couldn't see what was in there, so I cast Manor's Mindsight (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8). Then Vilano put a True Seeing on me, which DOES let me see in the dark. Tooth-Gap 5 had two Rust Monsters behind the door. We decided to not care about them. I also discovered that behind the Left Eye, both doors work. The rest of the doors are fakes with nothing behind them.

Just then I had a sudden idea and flew down to the pit to see if there were any entrances down there. Four Carrion Crawlers tried to get at me, but it's tough to surprise somebody who can see in every direction simultaneously and has True Seeing on. They flailed at me, but I stayed away. Then Vilano blew them up. One survived and tried to climb out of the pit, so Brunt smooshed it.

And then we called time.

I'm going to edit one of my earlier posts to be a Spell-and-Item-Explanation-Dump. Then I'll just link each spell and item I mention back to that post. It's getting cumbersome to explain stuff over and over, but I want to make sure that people who don't know the system know what we're using.

2011-08-27, 11:29 AM

Runes of Eyeball Implosion are always good for a laugh, for the GM... ;)

2011-08-27, 03:02 PM
I've begun a items/spells/NPCs info-dump post. I cannibalized a post of mine from the first page and I'll be parking everything there. Go look for Manor's Mindsight in my most recent post. It'll take you there.

2011-08-30, 09:34 AM

On an organizational note, probably no game next week due to the Labor Day holiday, and definitely no game the week after due to me going on vacation.


2011-08-30, 04:55 PM
Vacation the week after that? You aren't taking time off to come to GameCon?...

2011-08-30, 07:14 PM
Vacation the week after that? You aren't taking time off to come to GameCon?...

If things work out we might be able to pull that off too. Juggling lots of things that can mess with schedules right now.


2011-08-30, 07:54 PM
HM4 AND HMb games on the Schedule! AND we're using a rear-projection table. We're going to be geekin' out!

2011-09-02, 03:28 PM
8/29 Game
Characters present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Shalyn (Thief), Brunt (Tank), Severan (Bard), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Arinon (Ranger), Me (Mage/Cleric)

We ended last week having thoroughly scouted the face of the giant skull, and we started this week's session with a map of most of the lower floor drawn out for us. The first thing I noticed was that the room with two Rust Monsters wasn't a dead-end room. It lead into a room with two doors, which meant that we decided to care about those Rust Monsters after all.

The door to get into them had some kind of magic trap on it (which Shalyn disarmed) and it was locked. Our 20th level thief failed to pick the lock. Our 18th level fighter with a ludicrous strength score failed in smashing it. But the guy who has a knack for rolling ridiculously well (Arinon's player) came in and gave it a good bash and broke the lock. He yanked the door open and flew backwards out of the passageway. Vilano filled the corridor with a Fireball but one survived so our archers killed it the rest of the way.

Past those (to the North) was a 15'x15' room with doors on the North and West walls. On the left-hand side of the West door was "M. von Drydow 1" and below that "L.M. Dugord 2". Our Bard did his thing and remembered reading about a Dwarven Battle Mage named Max von Drydow who was a member of an extremely selective magical organization we know about. Mr. von Drydow specialized in security testing for strongholds. Severan didn't have anything on Dugord, but in his educated opinion the names on the wall were a building directory (meaning that Drydow had been in charge of 1 and Dugord had been in charge of 2).

I should mention here that with Manor's Mindsight (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) and True Seeing up, I could see the layout of the entire lower level, as well as all of the critters and stuff in it.

The floor had two rooms with no entrances or exits. One was right next to the Tooth 5 entrance (where the Rust Monsters had been) and the other was in the extreme NW corner of the floor about 75 feet away.
The entrance-less room next to us had six wraiths in it. The far-away one had a single high-level-undead-looking-type in it, along with a fireplace, two chairs and a bunch of art objects.
The room to the north of us stopped at an archway that I couldn't see past.
The extreme west room had what looked like a dead body sitting on a throne, as well as a chest, some urns, and another high-level-undead-looking-type sitting in some kind of sphere while illusioned to appear alive.
Between the dead-body room and us were two rooms. The close one was empty, but the far one contained a skull resting on a pile of ashes. The far room also had a door to a lab.
The (fairly close and to the NW) lab had lots of lab-y things in it.
There was a set of stairs going up to the second level.

We proceeded North. The room was empty. At the far end of the room was an archway filled with a rainbow-colored mist. The mist did not encroach on the room, but it could not be seen through. This was similar to the pink mist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11156954&postcount=47) from Acererac's Fake Tomb we ran through earlier, but we were definitely in no hurry to go experimenting with it. But we did a little bit anyway. Somebody tossed a coin at it. It disappeared. Shalyn stuck a 10' pole halfway in. The whole thing came back. Since it wasn't obviously deadly, we decided to come back and look at it later.

We went to the empty room to the west. Empty room really is empty.

We approached the room with the skull/ash pile with a fair amount of trepidation. Shalyn went to examine the door and discovered that it was trapped. She attempted to un-trap it and a humongous blaring alarm suddenly started up. Boy did things get busy for a minute.

The two high-level-undead-looking-types vanished. The skull floated up to about chest height, approached the (closed) door with the alarm on it, and turned to face us. The wraiths from the no-door room (which was now behind us) started coming through the wall toward us. We all started hustling out of the place and Vilano hit the door with a Silence 15' Radius.

The two high-level-undead-looking-types stayed gone. The skull floated back down to the ground. The wraiths got killed by Brunt or Turned by Vilano. We waited a second to see if anything else would happen. Nothing did. I did an Arcane Lore/Spellcraft skill check to see if I knew what the skull was and my educated guess told me that it was a 3rd-level spell that was basically a "lookout" type of spell. I didn't believe that information completely, but at least it was something.

We proceeded back to the empty room. Oh. Empty room wasn't totally empty. On the South wall was a large mural of a young human man taking part in some kind of ceremony. Above and behind the ceremony is a red dragon in the sky. Vilano cancelled the Silence 15' Radius. The door to the room with the skull was still closed, so we opened it.

The skull floated back up, so Brunt crushed the **** out of it. Also, the pile of ash had been replaced by a dwarf. He took no offensive action, so we gave him the eye for a second to see what he would do. He introduced himself as Max von Drydow.

Around the table we all gave a collective "Um. What?"

So... yeah. This guy was the Dwarven Battle Mage from zillions of years ago. We talked to him for a while. Yeah, it felt weird to us, too. But zany **** happens to us all the time. So we talked to Max von Drydow who was, according to our Bard, something like 800 years old. He told us that he was in charge of observing those who came to loot the Tomb and refining the defenses if any changes were necessary. We chit-chatted for a bit and our conversation was completely cordial. It was a bit surreal, chatting with this guy who probably should have been dead and was definitely part of the administration of the dungeon we were running, but then things got really weird.

He mentioned that one of the ways he passed time was by practicing as a barber. And he offered to cut our hair over in the lab.

And Max von Drydow, the "oughta be dead" 800-year-old Battle Mage partially in charge of security for the Tomb of Horrors gave haircuts to three of us.

Shalyn took him up on his offer. And when she survived, I got a haircut. And then Vilano got a shave and a haircut.

In a campaign filled with high magic, eldritch horrors, extraplanar beasts, and pacts with gods and demons, this was undoubtedly the most bizarre and surreal thing that has happened to my character.

And then Max wished us well and went upstairs.

We all kind of went, "Well, that was weird." And then we went back to detrapping/looting.

We went back to the room with the dead body, chest and urns. We solved the door and went in. The room stank. Bad. Because the dead body on the throne really was a dead body. Just a plain old decomposing body. We left it alone, but I'm likely to go back and give it another look. The floor was alternating 5'x5' tiles of stone and dirt, which freaked us out a bit. After testing it, though, it didn't seem to be anything dangerous or sneaky. In the corner, as previously mentioned, was the little sphere where the high-level-undead-looking-type had been before vanishing. We Detected at it and it showed as Abjuration magic. The chest. Oh, the chest. On top, a book. The book itself was not trapped. We examined the book and discovered that it was a history of the City of Brass. This was amusing because Sheba was the one who opened the book and Sheba had previously been teleported to the City of Brass by a booby-trapped book. We took the chest clear out of the dungeon for this next bit, but as it turns out the chest itself was completely untrapped. We retrieved five spellbooks from the chest and placed them in their own separate bag away from our other treasure. Then we went back in and checked the urns before looting them. A decent bit of coin (platinum) but nothing mind-blowing.

One important note here: Somewhere in here (I didn't write it down because it wasn't earth-shattering at the time) we found a container with a bit of Deepspawn flesh in it. The name doesn't matter, I just don't like calling it Component X. For some reason, Deepspawn flesh made me go, "Hmmm. I wonder what that's used for" and my Arcane Lore told me that it's an alternate component for the spell Clone. That made me concerned because I definitely didn't want to fight Acererac more than once, but there wasn't really anything we could do about it at this point.

Then we turned our attention to the final no-door room, immediately adjacent to the dead-guy room. I threw a Wall Passage at the wall and we took a look inside. It was filled with some kind of fog that we couldn't immediately identify. He hadn't had much luck with it up to this point but Vilano threw a Dispel Magic at the fog and we all did a little happy dance when the fog disappeared. Unexplained fog is spooky. We went in and gave it a decent examination. There was a good deal of art (extremely nice stuff) and we took it. There was fire in the fireplace. We left that. As there was nothing left to see, we moved on.

To the lab! Which was STUFFED with all kinds of crazy components. Tons and tons of odd-ball stuff, some expensive, most not, all of it kewl.

We decided to go upstairs.

Just then, right before we left the lab, Shalyn said, "I'm gonna grab all of our hair that's laying around on the floor. I'm gonna burn it."

I'm not gonna lie. I kind of lost my **** for a second.

I immediately jumped to the conclusion that Max had taken some of each of our hair and he was going to do something horrible with it. I started throwing skill checks around to see what I knew about the spell Truename and the spell Clone and if I knew of any other spells that require a piece of the target. I remembered the clue from back in town: "Don't let 'them' know your name or they'll use it against you." There was a lot of "OMFG THAT WAS SO STUPID."

After a bit of that we sort of went, "Well, nothing we can do about it right now" and moved on. I wasn't crazy about that philosophy, but I wasn't coming up with anything concrete and I didn't want to hold everybody else back with my screaming, crying, and freaking out.

So we went upstairs. The stairs ended in a hallway that ran for about 60 feet and stopped at a dead end. We found a not-very-secret door and went through it. We found a room with a hallway leading away to the west and three closed doors on the North wall. Trap checks told us we were facing two fake doors with spear traps behind them. We solved them and then I recast Manor's Mindsight and True Seeing on myself and looked past the only real door. The room was very long and on the West wall was a large mural with religious-looking Egyptiany, Greeky, and Romany animalish figures and symbols. We opened the door so we could all see and the biggest thing we took note of was that there were seven large colored circles in the mural being held by the animalish figures. We made skill checks and Severan made a check and everything we knew told us that the figures were meant to be intentionally vague, "religiousy", and misleading. We puzzled at it for a bit and then called time.

About 10 minutes after time had been called and some of us were still standing around talking, I told the GM that I wanted to zip back to see our buddy Zymon (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) to see if he could help shed some light on the situation. I took Severan with me and Teleported straight there. The three most important things said in our conversation are below.

Zymon: "Well, as long as they don't have easy access to Deepspawn flesh..."
Zymon: "Clone doesn't specify how much of the target's flesh is needed, so theoretically he could have scraped your ear or neck and gotten what he needed."
Me: "Well, a Clone takes 2-4 months to grow, so I guess it won't be really horrible until then."
Zymon: "Why were you at the Tomb in the first place? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11701745&postcount=162)"

So. Here's where I'm at: Vilano, Shalyn, and I are being Cloned right now and our other selves are going to show up and murder us. I'm imagining that somewhere in the next few rooms we're going to end up getting separated by something and our, um... eviler? selves are going to kill the rest of us.

Now, if we can all get out of the Tomb without getting separated, we should at least have a leg up on, um... ourselves.

So we're definitely going to avoid getting separated.

Especially any of us who are being Cloned.


2011-09-02, 04:27 PM
In reading your re-cap, there are some things that jump to my attention:
A) Max von Drydow is so old he should have been dead for years, and we thought that was weird... Why the heck didn't we just realize he *is* dead. Dude, this place is for a DEMI-Lich, why wouldn't there be some other Liches and other undead around. Gawds, I feel stupid.
B) I bet the other dude, Dugard was around there too and was the OTHER of the 2 high level undead things we had a ping on earlier that disappeared after the alarm spells went off.
C) Checkerboard floor outside the lab with the big urns and dead guy on throne and stuff. Did we check to see if it was actually a checkerboard???? like 8x8? Maybe there's something there... are the pieces set out like a game? I can't believe I didn't think of that either. i was too busy thinking traps, not treasure.

I have some theories I want to test now. I feel so foolish for overlooking this stuff. And we definitely need to setup our doppelganger questions before we go any further. Stupid clones.

2011-09-02, 10:21 PM
Heh, interesting reading along and see a group of characters reactions as they go...

2011-09-07, 01:26 PM
As I suspected, no game Monday night. Next game September 19.


Can the party figure out the meaning of the colored circles? Will our intrepid adventurers find and kill their clones? Will the liches unleash more devious and deadly traps? Will Severan Dethe uncover the light on his platinum gem-encrusted codpiece?

Tune in then for

"The Seven Hundred-Year Lich"


"Send in the Clones"


2011-09-07, 01:33 PM
Tune in then for

"The Seven Hundred-Year Lich"


"Send in the Clones"


Well done, Sir. I applaud you. :biggrin: I actually was waiting for Fractured FairyTales to come up next. I knew I loved you for a reason.

It will be a long couple of weeks without a game, I know. Our faithful followers will just have to be patient.

2011-09-07, 03:03 PM
You need to set up some kind of safe word for if you get separated so you can tell the difference between each other and the clones. Preferably a rotating safe word in the quite likely event that Acererak overhears it. He has that room of infinite/near-infinite time, your clones are likely already ready.

2011-09-08, 05:25 AM
Hey, a nice log to read you have here. Looks like you guys are running through a quite interesting campaign :smallbiggrin:

Question - any chance we could get to see a scanned character sheet or something like that? I must say I'm interested how a sheet of such high-level Hackmaster character looks :smallwink:

Question 2 - are you guys using rules for spell memorization by the book? Asking because you seem to be throwing a lot of spells left and right and I dimly remember HM spell memorization taking a considerable amount of time, especially if you have a lot to re-memorize, and the party didn't seem to have much in terms of downtime so far. Though maybe I'm just overestimating amount of spellpower being spent here, you do have plenty of spellcasters it seems.

2011-09-08, 11:32 AM
Question - any chance we could get to see a scanned character sheet or something like that? I must say I'm interested how a sheet of such high-level Hackmaster character looks :smallwink: Er. Maybe. I've got a scanner, but I'm terrible at computers. The GM is a badass at computers but he's going on vacation. What are you interested in? Stats? Quirks and Flaws? Magic gear? I might just be able to tell you (for mine, anyway).

Question 2 - are you guys using rules for spell memorization by the book? Asking because you seem to be throwing a lot of spells left and right and I dimly remember HM spell memorization taking a considerable amount of time, especially if you have a lot to re-memorize, and the party didn't seem to have much in terms of downtime so far. Though maybe I'm just overestimating amount of spellpower being spent here, you do have plenty of spellcasters it seems.IIRC, memorization takes 15 minutes per level of the spell. There haven't been a lot of instances where we stay overnight in a place. And if we stop somewhere, we're probably going to stop for at least twelve hours because traveling when you can't see is insane and setting up camp when you can't see isn't much safer. So at a minimum we've got 16 spell levels of memorization and it's just assumed that if we need more than that that we stay in camp for an extra hour or so.

2011-09-08, 11:52 AM
Er. Maybe. I've got a scanner, but I'm terrible at computers. The GM is a badass at computers but he's going on vacation. What are you interested in? Stats? Quirks and Flaws? Magic gear? I might just be able to tell you (for mine, anyway).

A bit of everything I guess :smallwink: Having read the rules I've a fair idea of how a starting character looks, and being the guy-who-likes-crunch I'm interested how character after so many levels of evolution and being subjected to rigors of adventuring differs from that :smalltongue:

2011-09-08, 06:09 PM
For obvious reasons I'm asking everyone to get me copies of their character sheets for the next session. If I get them electronically I'll pass them along.


2011-09-21, 01:55 PM
We did have a session Monday night. Had an odd coincidence with a pseudo-random monster, and I gave the party something more to think about. :smallbiggrin:


2011-09-21, 06:40 PM
And STILL no update?.... man, this is worse than waiting on the series premiere of your favorite show...

2011-09-22, 04:52 AM
And STILL no update?.... man, this is worse than waiting on the series premiere of your favorite show...You know my last two game updates have averaged 2200 words, right?

2011-09-22, 05:25 PM
Yea, and now I'm hooked... :smallsmile:

You know about what they say about doing a good job, right?... ;)

2011-09-23, 06:37 AM
Okay, okay, you win.


See what you made me do?

2011-09-23, 05:59 PM
So, where's the Log for the last session?!

Get back to work...

...or I'm driving to 'Nooga!

Or at least some of y'all could drive over here next week for GameCon...

2011-09-25, 11:07 PM
I swear to god it'll be up tomorrow.

Contagious kid = staying home.

Also, I apologize profusely for sucking this week. Busy week at school, busy week at home.

2011-09-26, 01:54 PM
9/19 Game
Characters present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Brunt (Tank), Severan (Bard), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric), Shalyn (Thief) (late arrival)

If you remember the last game, I spent a decent bit at the end freaking out because our clones are going to kill us.

So we spent some time at the beginning of this session playing catch-up with the people who didn't know the situation with the cloning, and then we spent a TON of time trying to figure out what we should do about this damn cloning business.

When I say "a TON of time" I mean, like, an hour, probably.

Oh. Somewhere during this part we realized that we were metagaming like crazy, so I used a Well of Many Worlds to jump back to the Tomb and introduce the rest of the crew to the "We're All Gonna Die" show and then we all zipped back to Zymon's house because it's the most secure facility we know of. Yes, cloned version of ourselves would know about it, but the way Zymon had the place protected against scrying meant that we were un-findable.

Basically our two options boiled down to "go and get 'em" vs. "hunker down for a week" because of the way Clone works. The original and clone can feel each other. And they hate it. And they'll each try to seek the other out and kill them. One week after the clone is created, if both are still alive, there's 90% chance that the clone will go berzerk and destroy itself, an 8% chance that the original will go berzerk and kill him/herself and a 2% chance that both do. For a little bit, some of us (mostly Vilano) were arguing that we just bunker up for a week and take that 10% chance of dying. Then we started asking a bunch of questions like, "If Acererac gave a clone a haircut, would making a clone out of that still be considered cloning the original?" and "You've got original A and clone B. You give B a haircut. You kill B and make clone C. How do A and C feel about each other?"

In the middle of this theory debate, we decided we needed a bit more information and needed to take some basic precautions. So Zymon and Severan scoured all their information to get a little bit of information on the combat abilities of a demilich.

It's bad. Bad bad. There's a scene in Unforgiven where Gene Hackman's character (who has been whipping Danny Glover's character for quite a while) tells Glover that he's going to go and talk to some prostitutes to see if their stories match Glover's and then he says to Glover's character: "Now Ned, them whores are going to tell different lies than you. And when their lies ain't the same as your lies... Well, I ain't gonna hurt no woman. But I'm gonna hurt you. And not gentle like before... but bad." This is while Ned is tied to the door of a jail cell and has been beaten and horse-whipped for an indeterminate amount of time.

That's what it felt like to me when we found out what a demilich can do in combat. The three big things are these: 1) Any weapon that hits the demilich that is not a +5 or higher blade gives the demilich one energy point. More on those in a second. 2) A demilich can toss around a spell called Trap The Soul that basically pulls your soul out of your body (on a failed save) and lets him hang onto it until he's ready to do something with it. 3) Any spell cast at a demilich is absorbed by the demilich and gives the demilich a number of power points equal to the level of the spell. Once a demilich accrues 50 energy points he can spawn a ghost.

The biggest problem here is that our thing is spells. We're VERY spellcaster heavy as a group, and having that edge removed in such an absolute way is CRUSHING. The other thing is that our primary beater is Brunt. He's specialized in a blunt weapon and while he can still swing bladed weapons, he's nowhere near his best with them. So our 19th-level fighter with three (four?) levels of specialization is using something he's merely proficient in.

IMPORTANT: Somewhere in here, Vilano felt a pop in his brain and felt the presence of another Vilano in the world. He hated it.

After that happened, Vilano immediately got in contact with Hecate (his goddess), informed her of the situation and told her that if he didn't pray for a specific crappy 1st level spell to not grant him any cleric spells.

So we made sad faces for a second. Then we started looking through our old loot for +5 blades. Now, this may sound odd, but it took a while. We've accumulated a staggering amount of magical loot over the years and the majority of it has ended up in a Bag of Holding version of the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sheba also has a specialized magic item that can turn vanilla magical swords into intelligent magical swords, boost their pluses and give them powers. Her player got it when he won MVP of a tournament at GenCon (or Origins). So she tried turning any spare +3 or +4 blades we have into +5 Swords of KEWL. So Vilano's player (keeper of the list of goodies) has been sitting on this mountain of loot that everyone but me knew about and he called out a couple of cool things and I ended up with a badass new staff.

After that, we all got tattoos from one of the wizards living in Zymon's complex. The tattoos are all in spots not visible without removing clothing and they're all specific to the individual. We also told Zymon that if we came to him and tried to pay him in anything but emeralds that it wasn't us. Or it was, but, um... Yeah.

After all of our preparations and tattooing, the GM told us that we'd spent about two hours futzing around looking through our loots and getting inked up.

I realized that we should definitely tell Rybax, our BFF on Tartarus, about the alternate Vilano. We used a Well of Many Worlds to zip over and I asked him if he'd seen Vilano in the last two hours. He said he had.


He said that Vilano had showed up and grabbed one of the bags that we were storing at Rybax's place. We all sort of went, "Huh? What bags?" Now, as the new guy in the group (despite the fact that I've been in the party for two years of RL time) there are things that were decided long before I showed up. For example, we've got two or three Rings of Regeneration laying around. Did you know that if your entire body is destroyed except for a single finger, you can put a Ring of Regeneration on that finger and your entire body will be returned? Fun, right? Interesting wrinkle: If you cut off a finger, you can use a RoR to grow that finger back, use magic to preserve the removed finger, and if your body is destroyed the RoR will return you to life via that solitary finger. Whee!

But you don't want to keep that finger with you, so you should probably put it somewhere safe. And if you're using this strategy as a party, why not just gather all of your Safety Fingers together for safekeeping?

The fake Vilano took the bag with all the Safety Fingers in it.

At that point, we all gave a collective "**** IT. GAME. ON." and decided to blow some **** up.

And then the rest of us all felt a little pop in our brain as we each felt another us enter the world. We each hated it.

So we zipped back to the Tomb. I should mention that in the last session, on the upper floor, there was a hallway that lead away to the west that I didn't talk about. It was a hallway that turned left, then right immediately and lead to a statue of a gargoyle with four arms. Two of the arms have been broken off and are laying on the floor at the feet of the statue.

We returned to the second floor and went straight to the gargoyle. We did some checking and it was definitely just a statue. As we were looking, detecting, secret-door-checking, etc., the area started shaking. We all braced for shenanigans, but all that appeared (coming straight through the floor) was a bizarre-looking critter with an egg-shaped body, three arms evenly spaced around the mouth at the top, and three legs evenly spaced around the lower part of the body. I'd encountered a xorn once before, so I knew it wasn't going to just attack us on sight, and I convinced the group to just see what it was going to do. It started eating some of the rock dust at the base of the statue. I asked it what it was there for. It said it was hungry. We talked to it a little bit more and basically got "I'm here for the grub. Not interested in you unless you've got food." So I threw it some platinum and then a 500 gp gem. It ate them and then disappeared back through the floor. That ****er didn't even thank me.

Two quick notes:
I didn't feed the thing because I was trying to be nice to it. I'd learned that xorn can be crazy powerful in the right setting and it occurred to me that having one on our team might come in handy.
Xorn don't make tunnels, so there was no way to follow it. They just sort of swim through stone and rock on a molecular level or something.
So then we left and went back to the tunnel with all the fake religousy stuff on the wall. There were seven colored spots on the wall. From closest to farthest from the entrance, they are: Green, pale blue, pink, black, yellow, red, indigo. The far end of the hallway stops at an archway. In the archway is more of that colored mist we keep NOT going through. The archway has three glowing stones set in it. The extreme bottom left glows with an olive light, the keystone glows russet, and the bottom right glows citron. We had to check, but those roughly correspond to green, red, and orange.

I tossed a coin at the black circle. The coin vanished. I tossed a coin at each of the rest of them. The coin bounced off. Brunt walked over and touched the green circle. We all kind of freaked out for a second, but nothing happened. We discussed our options for a second and as we stood there a 10' long golden-colored badger appeared next to Brunt.

Backstory: Earlier in the evening, we'd spent 10 minutes or so discussing that hiLARious YouTube video of the honey badger (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg) (NSFW due to language). We'd all expressed admiration for it's tenacity and seemingly total resistance to cobra venom. Suffice to say that many lulz were had.

Except now we were facing a gargantuan version of the damn thing. We were less than pleased, but put the beatdown on it. It actually took a decent amount of beating, but before we could kill it Sheba hit it with a Charm Monster. That was cool. Bodyguards are always a plus. So Vilano healed it back up to max and some skill checks told us that it wasn't actually a SUPER HONEY BADGER, but a Dire Ravager (or something like that). After the game, the GM told us that it really had been a completely random roll. We were amused.

As soon as that was done, Shalyn gave a shout for "NO MORE TOUCHING THE CIRCLES!" which was completely fine with me. She wanted to go back downstairs and investigate the downstairs more. So we went. She spent a number of minutes giving the art room that had previously been full of fog a pretty exhaustive shakedown. I can't give a complete rundown of everything she tried because I was on the phone, but it sounded numbingly thorough. No new information presented itself despite her efforts, so we returned to the room with the dead body and alternating stone-and-dirt tiles.

I misunderstood the description the first time we came to this room. I thought that the tiles were 5'x5' and that there was no way the room was a checkerboard. Instead, the tiles are 2'x2' and there are eight tiles on each side. So, yes. Checkers/Chessboard.

Shalyn wanted to dig, so I took a look with another Manor's Mindsight that I'd recently cast. I couldn't see anything in any of the dirt squares, but that didn't necessarily mean anything. Shalyn decided that she'd start on the side of the room closest to the throne with the dead guy sitting in it. She started with the tile most opposite the entrance and worked her way across, digging 2' down. She found nothing below where the queen's rook should sit, and found nothing below the queen's bishop. Below the spot where the king should sit, she found a leather pouch in the dirt. We all sort of tensed up. It wasn't trapped, but we didn't want to just yank it open, so I used Manor's Mindsight again and saw that it had a small crystal man wearing a crown and holding a sword aloft with one hand. It was radiating Conjuration/Summoning magic and radiated TONS of evil, but other than that we had no idea what it was. Somebody offered up the likelihood that this was some lich's phylactery and some smashing was in order, but others of us weren't crazy about smashing random magic items found buried in the Tomb of Unspeakable Horrors. The "Smash It!" crowd won, though, when one of them reminded the rest of us that Vilano spent 20 RL minutes going through the list of magic items that we had in deep storage. If it was an artifact it wouldn't be smashed, and if it wasn't an artifact we probably already had one.

So Shalyn tossed the little bag (unopened) on one of the stone tiles and Brunt smashed it.

Except that it didn't get smashed. We didn't hear it break and I looked inside and it was still together and we all went, "Ooooookay. Yeah, it's probably good that we smash this." So Brunt whacked it again and the little crystal king got pulverized.

After that we dug up the rest of the dirt tiles but found nothing. And then we called game.


2011-09-26, 05:25 PM
Awesome post. I loved the Clone subplot, classic Topher tactics. I'm impressed with your anti-clone plans also.

I'm reading along with my copy, fun stuff...

FYI, I've used that resurrect from a finger trick for my bad guys against my players before...

2011-09-27, 10:17 AM
I have to say... the instant that you got haircuts from the dwarf, I facepalmed. Hard.

Otherwise, quite an excellent and entertaining read. :)

2011-09-27, 12:45 PM
No game last night, as real life reared its ugly head for a few players. Next week should be interesting.


2011-09-27, 02:13 PM
I have to say... the instant that you got haircuts from the dwarf, I facepalmed. Hard.Yeah, that was dumb. That was due to two things: 1) We've sort of got this thing where we tend to talk to things that we should maybe be killing; 2) And it was also a bit of a swagger kind of thing. "We went to the Tomb of Horrors and got our herr did."

No game last night, as real life reared its ugly head for a few players.Regarding this: Sheba's player GMed the HackMaster GM and I through a playtest of a setting he's developing for Rippers. I'll do a write-up of that here in the next day or so.

2011-09-27, 08:51 PM
"We went to the Tomb of Horrors and got our herr did."

East Tenn Gamers... :smallwink:

"You may be a RedNeck if..." :smalltongue:

2011-09-28, 04:17 AM
1) We've sort of got this thing where we tend to talk to things that we should maybe be killing

Talk instead of killing? In Hackmaster? Aren't there rules against it or something :smalltongue:

2011-09-28, 05:50 AM
Smart HM Players know when to avoid combat, especially when Topher is GMing...

2011-09-28, 09:01 AM
Smart HM Players know when to avoid combat, especially when Topher is GMing...

Yeah, I'm known for throwing overpowered "monsters" at adventuring parties, forcing them to find non-combat solutions.

As for the haircuts: +10 style points, -1000 for bad thinking. :D


2011-09-28, 09:53 AM
As for the haircuts: +10 style points

And thats why Sheba sticks with Afro Puffs. As for this dungeon, Sheba is going listen to advice of her sifu, Honeyknuckle Williams.

I don't waste my time with it. When the end comes, I won't even notice.
Oh? How so?
I'll be too busy looking gooood.

2011-09-28, 04:44 PM
Yeah, I'm known for throwing overpowered "monsters" at adventuring parties, forcing them to find non-combat solutions.

Yes, exactly. Many times HackMaster is all about the Hack, but there are times when Hack is not the answer. The key is in the knowing...

2011-10-04, 06:49 AM
Sad times, friends.

No game last night.

On the bright side, we made up some Shadowrun characters. We're going to finish the Tomb of Horrors and then do alternating weeks of HackMaster and Shadowrun.

Severan Dethe's player is going to GM. Sheba's player is using the pre-gen Gunslinger Adept, I'm using the pre-gen Hacker, and our Hack GM made up a Face/Occult Investigator (core book only).

I'm beyond jazzed about Shadowrun. I love, love, love it. I'm playing a Hacker because it's the one thing that I've never done. I've done various gun-based classes, I've done the magician thing, I've done the rigger/drone thing, but I've never been a decker/rigger, so I figured that until I get my feet under me I'll just play it by the book.

Once this thing kicks off in earnest I'll make a separate thread for the Shadowrun game.

2011-10-04, 07:35 PM
our Hack GM made up a Face/Occult Investigator (core book only).

Somehow I'm not surprised about that...

2011-10-11, 01:07 PM
Somehow I'm not surprised about that...

I figure I can learn a system or learn a character, not both. :D

Had to cancel our game last night due to a few players getting a stomach bug. Since I was one of them, I'm not complaining... (Had I been the only one, we'd have played!)


2011-10-11, 05:04 PM
Personally I like Detective types, no big surprise because IMO The Rockford Files is the BEST TV Show ever produced and I really, really like Glenn Cook's Garrett novels...

2011-10-19, 06:58 PM
I swear to god we haven't stopped the game.

One guy got called in to work unexpectedly and another hauled his family off to Disney.

So board games.

We played Dante's Inferno (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/6201/dantes-inferno) and Quicksand (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/6738/quicksand).

They're both good and I recommend them. Quicksand is quick and easy and you can play half a dozen times in an hour. DI is VERY loosely based on the book. Here are the similarities:

They both take place in Hell.

I couldn't get through the book (because it bored me to ****ing tears), but I'm assuming the narrator of Inferno didn't fight Satan at the end.

2011-10-19, 07:01 PM
Bah, just go ahead and join the MSBGC...

(ask Shaby, she'll get it)

2011-10-21, 01:08 PM
Still following this, though by the time you get back to playing your clones will probably have gone crazy.

2011-10-23, 07:40 PM
Nah--I'm not letting them off that easily.

So far it looks like everything is a go for tomorrow. Crossing my fingers...


2011-10-24, 11:41 PM
The game did go down.

A preview:
A long-winded puzzle!
Badass aerobatics featuring a levitated half-ogre!
Creative ways to get around the lack of a thief!

2011-10-28, 03:45 PM
Shameless Bump. WHERE IS IT! WE WANTZ EET... :smallbiggrin:

2011-10-28, 10:09 PM
I apologize.

Half-sick this week and some other stuff that totally shouldn't have kept me from typing.

I oughta be able to get it up tomorrow.

2011-11-01, 12:56 AM
9/19 Game
Characters present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Brunt (Tank), Severan (Bard), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric)

We opened the session with me saying to the group, "Hey. We've been a bit forgetful. There's another entrance that we've ignored. Let's check that out." There was a lot of "lolwut?" from the group until I reminded them about the entrance through the eye. When we first arrived at the Tomb, we went through an entrance in the teeth of the skull-faced mountain and ignored the other one.

We went.

Through the eye was a short hallway leading to a big double door with runes on the surface.

Oh. This is important: One of the Talents (they could also be called Feats in a different system) I took at creation was Photographic Memory. It gives spellcasters an extra spell/spell level and lets you, you know, remember everything you see.

So earlier in the day (BECAUSE IN-GAME, WE ENTERED THE TOMB OF HORRORS LIKE, EIGHT HOURS AGO FFS) when I was throwing Manor's Mindsight (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) around, that 95' radius was showing me just about everything, upstairs or down. However, the only reason I could see anything was because I also had True Seeing on. My dumb human eyes can't see in the dark unless they're magically aided.

When I reminded the GM of this, he drew out a big chunk of the upper floor for us. It looked like this:

The first hallway extended about 40' before ending at a big double door. After that, the hallway ran another 85' before it got all filled up with a big dumb magical snow/hailstorm that I couldn't see through. True Seeing is killer against illusions, shape-changers and darkness, but it doesn't let you see through things that are actually there and just obscuring your vision. Until the snow blocked everything, the walls of the second hallway were covered in murals. Things I saw: cattle grazing, slaves of several different races (orcs, humans, and human/animal hybrids) (what the slaves were doing I don't remember), a library, a torture chamber, a wizard's lab, a copse with wolves standing around, and tons of mundane pots and torches and crap like that. I've got a little bit of checking that we need to come back for, but I'll save an explanation until I've actually done it. In the hallway was a pair of statues holding a box between them. These statues were against the left-hand wall and were the only thing protruding from the walls of the hallway. On the floor of the long hallway was a meandering red line that didn't seem to follow any sort of specific path but went from the doors and disappeared into the snowstorm. Also on the left-hand wall was a secret door behind the painting of the torture chamber. The door led to a short hallway and a medium-sized room with a gargoyle-y looking thing in the middle of it. That room was getting close to the end of the reach of my previous spell, but I did see that there were two doors leading out of it.

So that's that.

The runes: Vilano threw a Detect Magic at them and they came up showing Evocation and Abjuration. Then Vilano cast Find Traps and the runes got all glowy. So that helped. The spell also told him that there were three more traps in the hallway ahead. If you look at the "characters present" above, you'll notice a total lack of Thief. So... spells.

Vilano hit the runes with a Dispel Magic and nothing happened. I hit it with a Dispel Magic and nothing happened. While dispelling the runes and walking through the door was our best-case scenario, we did still have a number of options. I cast Wall Passage at the wall next to the door, and opened a 5'x8' hole in said wall.

We went through the hole into the next hallway... or we would have except that the GM told us that as soon as our point man got within 10' of the runes we felt the trap go off and the first immediate thing we noticed as a group is that Vilano's Find Traps and Detect Magic had both disappeared. Also, my Wall Passage. Also, Sheba's Charm Animal. We knew her Charm Animal had expired because the Dire Ravager we were standing next to suddenly turned and started trying to maul us. That sucked.

Unfortunately for the Dire Ravager, we're really good at killing things, so we finished the job we started earlier and just murdered the holy **** out of that thing. Then we recast our Stoneskins, but had to leave Severan out because we had one fewer casting than recipients and **** Severan. We all sort of agree that he's a ****.

Unfortunately for us, I'd used my last Wall Passage and we had to find another way to get through to the mural hallway. Phase Door to the rescue! Vilano had a couple stashed in a magic item and so he ferried us over one at a time. Phase Door works like this: Hit a wall with it. The caster may make X/level passages through that spot. The caster may take one other person with him, but that person counts as an additional passage. We had a momentary OOC discussion about how we'd just left one person alone two separate times (first passenger across, last passenger across), but in the middle of it the GM asked us for a percentile roll and when I succeeded he told me that we were being watched. I argued that since the bad(der) guys were watching us instead of jumping us, this meant that we didn't have to go revealing our safety tattoos and everybody else agreed so we just moved on.

Once we were through the wall, Vilano recast Find Traps and I tossed a Continual Light coin down the hall. The meandering red line I'd seen before was still there. There were also still three traps in this hallway, and the red line avoided them. One was located at the box that the two statues were holding. The next was about 20' ahead on the floor and the final trap was about 20' away from both trap #2 (also a floortrap) and the snowstorm. Find Traps will give you additional information when you get close to a trap, and when Vilano got closer to the first trap he found that the trap would pop when anybody got within 10'. So we backed off. I argued that this was a repeat of the trap on the other side of the door and was designed to kill our buffs. We discussed for a bit and settled on me hitting the box with a Disintegrate. I did that (and disintegrated a 10' cube around said trap in the process), and Vilano couldn't see the trap after I did. Yay!

We decided to deal with the gargoyle room on the other side of the secret door before dealing with the snowstorm, but as we got closer to the secret door leading to his room Vilano learned (from FT) that the floor in front of his door was part of floor trap #1. If we stepped anywhere on the 10'-square tile, the trap would be triggered. Now, we can all fly, but Brunt has... well, some back story is necessary.

In HackMaster, every monster in all eight volumes of the Hacklopedia of Beasts has a list of spell components that you can harvest from it. Included in that list is anything that you can eat that may have interesting effects, even if that effect is "can be eaten, but it tastes like mud." At some point, the group learned that eating the brain of a dragon can have badass magical effects. You can have your stats boosted, gain magic resistance, gain cool skills, have interesting physical changes happen to you, and a bunch of other stuff we haven't seen. You can also have some fairly gnarly **** happen to you. I can't remember much of the bad stuff, but I remember that it included dying or being driven insane and thinking that you actually are a dragon. Because the effects can be so awesome, we've kind of gone hog-wild on those things as a group. Several of us have eaten more than one, but Shalynn (and maybe Arinon) haven't eaten any at all.

Brunt is one of the ones that has eaten two. Before I go on, let me describe him: Brunt is an 18th-level fighter. He's a half-ogre who dual-wields these things called flats that are basically big square-ended clubs designed for murder, he stands 8'2" tall and he weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 lbs. And because of the dragon brains that he's eaten, he has enormous bat-wings and glowing red eyes.

So Brunt can fly. But he can't fly in your standard dungeon hallway because he needs something like 15' of space to flap those big damn things, which leads us back to the hallway with all the murals.

The doorway to the gargoyle stood on one of the floor traps, and while the rest of us have methods of flying that let us hover, Brunt has no such means. So I hit him with a Levitate. We were about to bust down the door and run at the gargoyle (which, according to Vilano's Bracers of Mapsense, was still there) when I came up with a much cooler idea. Sheba has an item called Slippers of the Housefly that she had made that let her fly like, um... you know, and stick to walls like someone cast Spider Climb on her.

I told Sheba to stand on the wall adjacent to the door. I told Brunt to flip over so that he was facing the floor and basically crouch against the wall opposite the door, still levitating. Sheba would give the door a stomp to smash it in, Brunt would give a jump (and because he was levitated he'd be mostly ignoring gravity), and our monstrous tank would go flying through the open door, down the hallway and smack dab up in the grill of Mr. Gargoyle.

Here's how that worked: AWESOME. Sheba smashed the door, Brunt jumped and soared down the hallway "Inception"-style, the gargoyle looked up in time to see something scarier than it flying straight at it, Brunt arrived at the gargoyle and smashed the crap out of it in one hit. Or he would have, but the gargoyle (gargoyle lord, as we learned later) purged its Honor to make Brunt miss his attack. So: Plan executed perfectly, but the victim was unwilling to just fall down and die.

So Brunt hit it some more and Sheba chimed in with a crit and they put that thing down like a dog. We found that it had a jeweled collar with some kind of magic on it, but we decided to save that for later. And then we harvested the Gargoyle Lord for components.

From here on out, it should go without saying that any critter with organs that work as components in spells/items is probably going to get split open and harvested. As long as it's worth our time, anyway. A 50 gp eyeball is going to get ignored.

So. Gargoyle Lord dead, time to investigate his collar. We monkeyed with it for a bit and eventually broke into it and found a little piece of paper. The paper had a nasty little enchantment on it and some writing. The writing went like this:

Seek the arch deep within the eye and the second great hall you'll discover. But heed the sad man first and the coward last. Then give gems in hand to hold to hear a tale untold. The archway at the end makes haste but not for friend.

It was signed with an "A" at the bottom. We didn't know what that whole thing meant, but we decided to continue to explore and maybe it would come to make more sense.

The doors that I could see earlier were in the near right-hand corner of the room. Given the fact that we had no thief, Vilano examined the situation with his Find Traps and saw that it was just a crazy ****ing warren of traps past those doors. Given the position and spacing of the traps, it appeared that we were facing about a dozen 10'x10' rooms, each with a trapped door or possibly floor. Again, from the positioning of the things, it looked like one of the two doors lead to a dead end after four rooms and the other lead completely around the dead end and went somewhere promising. We didn't know where yet, but it was something.

With no thief in sight I gave a hearty, "I'm not playing" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordian_Knot) to the warren of traps and zapped as much as I could (heading toward the unknown area past all the traps) with a Disintegrate. That got us closer, but that was my last one so Vilano cast one from an item and that got us through to a hallway.

We followed the short hallway (after checking it with FT) and came to a dead end/back side of a secret door. We cracked it and found ourselves back in familiar territory. We were in a room that we'd cleared earlier in the day. If you'll look back in the narrative, we were in the first room we came to after we went upstairs post-haircut. It was a room with a hallway that lead to a fake gargoyle and a xorn, two fake doors that concealed spear-traps, and a big doorway leading to a long hallway with a mural that prominently features colored circles.

At this point, there were only a few things we hadn't explored fully:
All those colored circles that apparently trigger at a touch.
Pink mist archway on the 1st floor.
Pink mist archway on the 2nd floor.
Whatever is past the snowstorm on the 2nd floor.

At that point, I rolled a skill check to pause the action. There's a skill that, when successful, lets you pause the action so you can converse with your party-members. It's more meant for in-combat tactics, but I wanted to have a conversation without Acererac and our other selves listening in. So we did. And my conversation went like this: "Look, we're not taking any damage or anything, but we're heading for a showdown with US. And that US is optimized to kill us while we're running through our expendable resources. They're not going to get appreciably scarier with one extra day to prepare for us. Let's rest and get geared up a bit and we'll come back at this thing in the morning." And they all agreed. But we decided to do one more thing.

One more leeeeeetle spell wouldn't hurt anything, so we hustled back to the hallway with the perpetual snowstorm and Vilano filled the hallway with some variety of Fireball. At the far end of the hallway we saw a big scary face on the wall with a big gaping mouth. We got a good look at it for just a couple of seconds before the stupid snowstorm came back.

And that was that.

We bugged out. We decided to avoid Rybax, avoid Zymon, avoid Zanbytium, avoid all our standard haunts. We went to Vienna. It was a nice-sized city and would be able to provide us least some of the creature comforts we were missing by not sleeping at home in Zanbytium.

Tomorrow: We kill Acererac.

Questions? Comments?

(IRL: We didn't game on Halloween. Too many of us have kids. Back next week.)

2011-11-01, 12:02 PM
Good writeup. Didn't I kill a "Brunt-Clone" a few years ago? Said character was 1st or 2nd level and Topher and Shaby came visiting and I got my first TPK...

anyway, you guys left the Dungeon?...


2011-11-01, 12:38 PM
Good writeup. Didn't I kill a "Brunt-Clone" a few years ago? Said character was 1st or 2nd level and Topher and Shaby came visiting and I got my first TPK...

anyway, you guys left the Dungeon?...


The half-ogre fighter dual-wielding flats has become a mainstay of 'nooga adventuring parties. I'm pretty sure I recall five different variants.


2011-11-01, 12:40 PM
Just to rest and optimize our spell selections.

Oh. I forgot to mention that the long-winded note above was signed "A". To the Edit Machine!

A thing I figured out in the shower this morning:

Then give gems in hand to hold to hear a tale untold. This refers to the jeweled collar and what to do with it.
Gems in hand = the jeweled collar we'd just busted into.
Hold = Stronghold
Translation = Put this jeweled collar into the box outside this room to hear an awesome message and probably a clue.

Except that I went and disintegrated it.

I'm pretty sure I recall five different variants.I have one.

2011-11-01, 02:02 PM
The half-ogre fighter dual-wielding flats has become a mainstay of 'nooga adventuring parties. I'm pretty sure I recall five different variants.


Yea, I figured that... 'Nooga is like that... ;)

2011-11-01, 02:04 PM
Just to rest and optimize our spell selections.

Yea, yea, that's what they all say. I'm thinking some stuff will get reset or changed by the time you guys get back... ;) As a GM I do that sort of thing all the time... ;)

Except that I went and disintegrated it.


2011-11-09, 11:08 PM
You've probably already guessed what I'm about to tell you.

We did not Hack this Monday. I promise that I'm more irritated than you are.

Work or some other bull**** keeps people from coming.

One teaches a night class on Mondays until early December, one travels for business and business is either good or bad (I don't know which), one works at a place that keeps yelling at him to come in on Monday nights, one is a detective and works every other Monday night, and one guy just loves staying home and playing his xbox or some damn thing.

2011-11-15, 03:19 PM
We did play last night. :smallbiggrin: I think things went my way, but I'll leave it to Morghen to fill you in.


2011-11-16, 08:23 AM

Sheba buys an inn!
Gratuitous use of extra-dimensional space!
Two cities burn!

2011-11-16, 03:08 PM
You Tease...

2011-11-22, 08:30 AM
We did play last night. An interesting turn of events, leading to a showdown in two weeks...


2011-11-22, 11:30 AM
Yeah, we did a lot of talking this week.

I'm going to be combining last week and this week and it'll probably be shorter than the last few.

Rope Trick abuse!
"Do you want to go buy a Wish?"
Crystal Balls!

2011-11-30, 04:18 PM
11/14 Game
Characters present:
Brunt (Tank), Severan (Bard), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric)

A while back, I started trying to figure out some kind of plan for how to go about actually killing Acererac. Unfortunately, I saw a murderously difficult fight just in Acererac himself and when I added our clones into the mix I just didn't see any way to go about getting it done. Here's a quick rundown of KNOWN combatants we'd have to get through:

Us. And we're pretty badass.
Dugord (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11770157&postcount=180), probably. Yeah, remember him? It's been a minute.
Those two skeletal-looking guys from the lower floor.

I added those together and saw a pretty vicious ass-beating in our future.

So I pitched a plan to the group (yes, all three of them) that was basically Sheba's idea from several session earlier: Run the **** away, hope our clones die instead of us, THEN take on Acererac. Totally risky, but a lot less risky than running face-first into a meat-grinder.

The plan was this: I cast Rope Trick (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) over and over, we hide in that little extradimensional pocket for another six days and count on the GM's dice coming up in favor of us instead of them. (First big paragraph.) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11919239&postcount=197)

But then I remembered a gigantic problem with that plan: Extradimensional spaces don't play well with each other. Like, "sucked into the void and obliterated." So that was definitely a problem, given that our group has a non-zero number of Bags of Holding.

New plan: Go hang out in Vienna, hope they forget how to scry, wish for the best.

So we went to Vienna. Sheba decided to buy an inn (about 10K gold, thanks for asking) to reflect our new not-fighting ways. Yes, "not-fighting" was originally her idea, but whatevs. We woke up the day after Sheba's purchase and gathered in the common room of her inn. After a few minutes of hanging out there, we realized that we were being scryed by something. We gave a one-finger salute to the scryer and I cast Advanced Illusion. Advanced Illusion basically lets you create an illusion and then ignore it while it carries on with whatever you told it to do. Smell, sound, sight, maybe even touch (I can't remember). It's kind of a badass spell. I created an illusion of the four of us walking out into the square outside the inn and scanning the skies for... something. But really, the four of us just stayed inside.

And about two minutes later, the inn blew up and we took damage from the weight of our own stupidity. Not really. It was from the Fireball.

I Dimension Doored myself about 800 feet above the inn and the other three dosed themselves with Dust of Disappearance and ran out the front door. People in the surrounding area were starting to run to the fire to help put it out/stop it from spreading. Our illusory selves seemed to not care about the explosion, fire, crowd, etc. From 800 feet up and right there on the ground, we scanned the skies/area for whoever it was that decided to blow us up.

I took my own bump of Dust of Disappearance, cast Wings of PanDemonium (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) on myself, and started flying concentric circles about 200 feet from the ground at movement rate 70, scanning the area for the baddies with my Eyes of the Eagle.

We continued to not see anything. A building next to Sheba's Insurance Fraud and Tavern caught on fire. The illusionary versions of us were still being total ***** about the burning inn right next to them.

After a couple of minutes of not getting attacked, we started calling out so we could find each other, came together, and decided that a new plan was in order because the "hope they forget how to scry" plan had turned out to be a resounding failure.

In the face of a superior foe, one's options may seem limited if one chooses to restrict oneself to avoiding option that might otherwise be deemed "unsound", "foolhardy", or "****ing stupid".

Our next move was solidly in that category. I knew that because we were actively trying to avoid a fight we were at a disadvantage. And because we couldn't hide inside a Rope Trick like we'd initially hoped, we needed to find someplace that Ourselves would be less inclined to go. Someplace where we might find allies against... Ourselves. So I started thinking about places that had either natural obstacles that could be turned against Ourselves or actual living enemies that would recognize Ourselves and possibly do our work for us.

One option immediately jumped out at me.

Mutha****in' Drow Town.

The drow HATE us. If they saw us cruising around in their territory, they'd be certain to jump all over us, whichever version of Us they happened to come across. We'd just have to be stealthier than, um, Ourselves.

The four of us went to the cave we'd initially used to get in there. We knew that the entrance was a good five-plus miles from the actual city so we'd have a decent cushion before we ran into a ton of random patrols. Also, you may remember that we hadn't been able to Teleport in and out of the cavern because of some goofy quality in the rock. We were hoping that that same effect might also block Ourselves' scrying.

We flew in. We knew we might not encounter random patrols, but traps are set-and-forget.

Unfortunately, so are wards. We flew into one that covered the entire width of the tunnel. It hurt. Not a ton, but definitely enough to get our attention. Apparently, the drow didn't like the fact that we could just fly in and blow them up. So they set up a ward across the tunnel. We were irritated, but continued after I put up a Detect Magic to check for any more.

And we did. Another couple hundred yards down the tunnel we came to another one. I hit the side of the tunnel with a Disintegrate and we slipped around the warded area. We continued. And came to another ward. I used Disintegrate again to get around the ward and we continued. Finally, about 3/4 of a mile from the surface we stopped. We knew we were going to have to set up camp and put up some defenses and do some serious hiding, and we were pretty sad about not getting to use Rope Trick to hide.

I don't remember what it was, but something kicked in my memory around this point. I started thinking about who we had with us, and wishing that we had a Thief around for hiding things, and then maybe we could just hide our Bags of Holding in a crevice or something, and then it hit me like a ton of stupid.

Brunt, Sheba, Severan, and Vagodra have something in common: None of us owns a Bag of Holding. So we never had to worry about being eaten by our extradimensional spaces in the first place.

Why, yes, we DID feel stupid. It wasn't "dungeon haircut" stupid, but it wasn't far off.

So we hid. I cast Rope Trick, we climbed in, and we hid out. For the next five days, that's what we did over and over.

And then at the 1-week mark we all felt a little "pop" and realized that we could no longer feel the clones running around in the world. So we made it.

Yeah, it felt about that climactic.

We stood around for a minute, then decided we were curious about how our clones had died. Shalyn('s player) had just showed up, so I grabbed the crystal ball she has and started looking. I couldn't locate my clone, but I definitely knew that he was dead, so I surmised that he'd Disintegrated himself. Sheba was laying in the middle of a field wearing peasant's robes with no weapons around. We weren't really sure what that was about, but no additional information was available, so I moved on. At that point I decided to save my final viewing (you can use a crystal ball 3x/day) for a just-in-case, and we decided to go talk to some of our allies.

The way the Well of Many Worlds (it may actually be called something else, btw) works is that you cannot hop from location to location on the same plane. You have to hop to another plane and then you jump through again to get to your intended original-plane destination. Our standard method is to go through Tartarus because our pal Rybax (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8)lives there and he's got a sweet little crib that we know is reasonably secure. So we went to Rybax's compound.

Instead of a palacial compound fit for a daemon prince, we found this:

We immediately jumped to the conclusion that Ourselves were the ones responsible. Since nobody was around, our thoughts immediately turned to Zymon. We activated the Well and went to see him.

Fortunately, he was fine. We reminded him about paying in emeralds and made sure he knew we were the originals and debriefed him on our previous six days. We asked him if Rybax was still alive and he fired up... something. I don't remember if it was a series of spells or a device, but he told us that Rybax was fine but pissed off. Then he asked us if we'd been to see Zanbytium yet.


We. Are. *****.

Rybax? Palace destroyed.
Zanbytium? Wrecked like we'd done to Athens.
Acererac's test-tomb with the vampire in it? Demolished.
Vienna? Only half-destroyed. So... that's something I guess.

Also, Shalyn's estates in Monaco were untouched and Ourselves had refrained from kicking the hornet's nest that is the Mongol Horde camped... well, pretty much everywhere to the east of us.

We were pretty mad at Ourselves.

There was a few minutes of dismayed "razzafrazza"-ing among the five of us at the fact that Zanbytium and Rybax's house (among the top three most important places anywhere, to us) had been demolished.

Then we decided to hop on over to see Shalyn's people in Monaco and at least stay in decent amenities while we tried to figure out what to do next.

That night, at dinner, the five of us each felt a pop somewhere in our brains as another round of clones entered the world.

More swearing.

So we went back to Vienna. **** those guys, I guess.

Then we called time and bitched some more.



We did game this week.
We should probably check on Alexandria. We were kind of working with them and Ourselves may have decided to blow them up.
We should probably check on all the little towns near Zanbytium.
Questions? Condemnation?

2011-12-14, 12:29 AM
Apologies for all the delaying and not-updating that's been going on.

I've got three sessions to get in here. They'll be up by Friday afternoon. I'm a teacher and the semester is ending.

So: Tons of "GAHHHHSOMUCHTODO" for the last few weeks but that ends tomorrow.

And: I'm contractually obligated to be in my classroom for four hours on Thursday and again on Friday, but the students ain't around. So my priorities will be: 1) Updating this campaign log; 2) Browser-based TD games.

Again, I apologize for the crapness and beg your continued attention.

Vixsor Lumin
2011-12-14, 08:24 PM
All is forgiven:smallbiggrin: I love this

2011-12-29, 05:48 AM
So is this gonna be dead? Checking this every day gets a bit tiring so, will i be able to remove this from my bookmarks?

2011-12-29, 07:45 AM
I truly am sorry that I haven't updated in so long.

I WILL be updating with the four sessions that we've had since that last one, and I really will be doing it as soon as possible.

The end of the semester got all hectic on me and then everyone in my house had the stomach flu and then preparing for travel and then actual travel and soon the beginning of the semester are all to blame for me being behind.

I really do enjoy posting these and I swear they'll be up ASAP.

Which will probably be at least another week because I'm nowhere near my gaming stuff right now. Like, a different time zone and stuff.

2011-12-29, 01:01 PM
So is this gonna be dead? Checking this every day gets a bit tiring so, will i be able to remove this from my bookmarks?

Theres a subscription button under thread tools, but for the lazy. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/subscription.php?do=addsubscription&t=194737) To check your subscriptions, go to your user control panel. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/usercp.php) Apologies to all those subscribed people who thought this was an update.

2012-01-10, 03:27 PM
You should probably go back and take another look at the last game or two. I had a hard time remembering all the details without a refresher. I'm gonna try my damnedest to catch this up by the weekend.

11/21 Game
Characters present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Arinon (Ranger), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric) and one or two others but I can't remember who.

We didn't accomplish a ton as characters this session because we started kinda late and the GM had to run off to deal with a work emergency, but mostly because the players spent most of the session talking about what we should do. We were still/again faced with:
Us. And we're pretty badass.
Dugord, probably. Yeah, remember him? It's been a minute.
Those two skeletal-looking guys from the lower floor.

I laid all this out to Vilano and the first thing out of his mouth was, "What about talking to Acererac?" and I had to confess that I'd been thinking along the same lines.

We debated the merits of trying to get a "Hey, you're kind of a badass. Let's be badasses together." kind of meeting with Acererac and came to the concensus that on the road to Murderville, you take any exit you can.

And so we decided to try to get in bed with Acererac.

The way a Crystal Ball works in HackMaster goes like this: Think of somebody/something that you'd like to take a look at. If they're not using magic to hide, you see them. And if you've got one of the more uncommon versions, you can communicate with that person. As globe-trotting badasses, of course we have the cool version.

Vilano tried looking directly at Acererac and found nothing. So that was a quick splash of cold water. We decided that Dugord might at least be able to put us in contact with Acererac. Vilano put a ping from the CB on Dugord, and found him.

There was a bit of cautious conversation for a while. Dugord knew exactly who Vilano is, and a large part of the conversation on his end was to the tune of, "You don't have anything we want. Go **** yourselves." That was kind of a downer, but not at all unexpected. After some more feeling out, we got the gist that Dugord's boss was not interested in riches, or arcane knowledge, or magical items because he literally had everything that he could want and that the only thing we could offer Dugord/Acererac was the possibility of increasing the security of the stronghold. We told Dugord that we weren't interested specifically in killing Acererac and looting his tomb, but that we knew about The Room Where Time Gets All Wonky and we wanted to get in on that ****. We made sure Dugord knew that we really had no quarrel with him or Acererac and that our only interest was in The Room and asked him if we could come to some arrangement. He told us to call him back tomorrow.

We did.

He told us that Acererac would NOT be communicating with us because that would mean that Acererac would have to leave his unlocatable location. Dugord told us that we could come to a working arrangement. If we agreed to not kill any of the residents of Acererac's tomb, we could make use of The Room as payment for testing the defenses of the tomb. Dugord said that we're free to keep any coins or items that we liberate but to not kill any of the intelligent residents.

And so there we are.

We THINK we've got an arrangement with Acererac that will keep us from killing him and him from killing us. But that's us relying on the word of Dugord who may or may not be terribly trustworthy. We were told that Acererac (or whoever) would arrange for a group-on-group COMBAT EXTRAVAGANZA! in a few days and we agreed to show up for that.

2012-01-13, 02:11 AM
11/28 Game
Characters present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric)

Something I forgot to mention in the last post is that we set the hot group-on-group action for the 12/5 game, which meant that there was a whole lot of "Ehhhhh.... I'll see you guys next week." for this week's game.

But the three of us who showed up wanted to kill some ****, so plot took a backseat to "WHOOOO!!!" We asked for some kind of dungeon crawl and in response, we heard about a cave full of "magical creatures" near the sea. Since those have the fattest loots, we rubbed our hands, cackled, and went.

The cavern was about 50' feet from the top of a seaside cliff, so we approached by air. Honestly, we approach by air in just about every conceivable scenario. We did take a boat one time. That was pretty awesome. I killed a bunch of fish... things with a Part Water spell. (If you cast it under the surface it makes a big tube of air and all the water-breathing critters will drown in the air. Mwahahaha.)

Anyway. We approached.

When we got close to the entrance, Vilano put up a Detect Magic only to discover that it stopped at the entrance to the cave. We were mildly perturbed by that, but I tossed a Continual Light coin in to see if we could see farther inside. Unfortunately, as soon as the coin passed the entrance, it stopped being a CL coin and resumed being a standard coin. We spelled at the cave entrance a little more and came to the conclusion that the cave was just a dead-magic zone. When the whole world blew up, a number of those were created. I believe we've encountered one or two, but we've also heard about them from other sources.

You can imagine the joy we felt, a cleric/mage, monk/mage, and mage/cleric, at the prospect of entering a cave full of unknown magical beasties and finding ourselves completely missing 95% of our offensive capabilities.

But in the end, the prospect of loots won out and we decided to at least see what was going on in the cave before writing it off completely.

Sheba did some monk-y sneaking into the cave and heard conversation from somewhere in the cave. Unfortunately, it was in a language she doesn't know so she didn't get any information from it. Sheba retreated, gave us the tiny smidge of information she had, and we decided to head on in and see what was to be seen. And then a funny thing happened. We realized that we weren't going to be able to see anything in the cave, so Sheba pulled out a lantern and lit it.

That was the weirdest thing. Pulling out our weapons, lighting a lantern, and entering a cave that we had no way of scouting. Actually, it was pretty ****ing cool. It's been a minute since anything remotely like that happened and it was fun. For a second. Until we remembered what entering an unscouted cave can sometimes lead to.

The three of us headed into the cave. We'd only gotten about 30 feet before we saw something blocking the tunnel ahead. A quick look told us that it was a honking big eye. More accurately, it was a big floating meaty thing with one big eyeball in the middle. Looking at us. Yay! We found the source of the dead-magic zone. All we had to do was kill this one beholder and Lootin' Time could commence.

Sheba and I ran forward to split the thing open (I've got a not-quite-an-artifact sword that has a chance to ignore being turned off.). The beholder hit Sheba with one of the nastier eyestalks and she had to use her once-per-game re-roll (for having high Honor (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10755620&postcount=1)) before we even got into melee. Fortunately, as soon as she got there she critted the bejesus out of the thing and it died.

The three of us spent about a half-second going "Whooo!" and high-fiving before we looked at the cave the beholder had been blocking.

It was stuffed to the brim with more damn beholders. And some other things that I couldn't immediately identify, but I got enough of a look to see that there were more than 15 of the damn things.

Three buttholes got very tight right then.

And we ran. On the bright side, we were in a tunnel that was tough for more than a couple to look down, but that first round saw us take a bunch of shots from those eyestalks. We got hit with a few spells as we ran, too, but there was precisely zero chance that we were going to try to turn around and return fire. The beholders knew when they were going to turn off their central eyes and we didn't and that was that. Intelligent monsters using tactics are scary. POWERFUL intelligent monsters using tactics are a nightmare.

So we ran. And we made enough saves to keep from dying even though, in retrospect, there was a very significant chance that one or more of us could have gone down.

All in a day's work when you're a globe-trotting badass, I suppose.

Outside the cave, we healed and regrouped to discuss strategy. After the drubbing we'd just taken, we REALLY wanted to kill those ****ers, but our options were sorely limited. But then I remembered that the cave was actually fairly close to the surface, so I put up a Manor's Mindsight and took a look inside the cave. I couldn't see everything (because, you know, beholders) but I could see enough to know approximately where they all were. And I also got a count of them and identified them all, to boot. There were 10 beholders, 6 of something called a Director, 5 Overseers, and one Hive Mother.

We asked for a dungeon crawl and got 23 beholders.

So. Since "running at the beholders to stab them in melee" was officially OUT as a tactic, we started casting around for an alternate plan.

And of course, I went to what is becoming my go-to offensive spell. Transmute Rock to Mud. It's tough to argue against the destructive power of almost 20 tons of mud smooshing your adversaries into paste.

And then I put Operation Beholder Smoothie into practice. I cast TRtM and looked in the cave with Manor's Mindsight. No movement to be seen, and significantly, nothing interfered with my magical vision. So Vilano used an item to conjure up an Earth Elemental and ordered it to head on down to the cave and bring the loots to the surface.

It did, we grabbed said loots, and we returned to our previously interrupted storyline.


2012-01-13, 01:28 PM
I figured either collapsing the cavern, rolling down a dragonsload of explosives, or flooding the place would probably be the best way to deal with beholders. Tough to deal with monsters that can cast when you can't.

Making a deal with Acererak? Interesting. I wonder if he'll abide by it?

2012-01-14, 04:44 PM
Edit :He doesn’t seem the honourable sort but it's worth a shot. Maybe bring one of your allies as *insurance...*

You know, you'd think you would be well-known for transmuting rock-to-20-tonnes-of-death right now.

Edit2: Also,I really want to buy of copy of this now. Just for the sillier spells. Like, Fireball: Sidewinder, and the thundering fist thing.

2012-01-19, 04:44 PM
12/5 Game

Characters Present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Severan (Bard), Shallyn (Thief), Arinon (Ranger), Brunt (Tank), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric) - Yeah, that's everybody. It's been a while.

As previously mentioned, Acererac and/or Dugord arranged for us to fight our clones as a test of the whole "Trick Adventurers Into ****ing Themselves Up" mechanic of the tomb. It felt a little "I said DANCE, monkey!" to me, but we were in no condition to put up a fuss.

Dugord contacted each of us and asked us individually if, once the other version of ourselves died, we wanted to stay in the combat to help the rest of our group or if we wanted to be removed from the combat. I told Dugord that I wanted to stay. I had no idea what shenanigans Acererac had gotten into (body swapping, mind control, brain washing, etc.) with our clones, so I wanted to make sure that I had some say in who survived and who didn't.

We were told that the fight would go down on the following day, and that at some point in the day we'd be alerted that we had 90 minutes of prep time, after which we would be transported to the field of combat. At that point, we would have three further rounds of prep, and then the fight would commence. Dugord told us that if we left the designated fighting area (a cute little spot on the coast of Acererac's island) before our clone was dead, we would be hunted down unmercifully and killed.

We were allowed to see the field of combat on the same day that we were told "Tomorrow's the day." Here's what the place (generally) looked like: First, it was 500' x 500'. At least, I think that's right. It might have been 400', but I didn't write it down. Either way, pretty big. From our left to our right, the physical features: Ocean, Beach, Dunes, Grass, Trees, 100' Cliff, Grass.

We decided that we would all wear tiger-striped bandannas during the fight, to make sure that we could visually differentiate each other from our clones. Other than that, we barely discussed tactics. OOG, I'd talked to Vilano's player and Sheba's player about some very general stuff (spell selection, what to do about our defenses), but we really didn't plan a whole lot. Probably not the best tactic, I agree.

When we got the word (the next day) that we had 90 minutes, Vilano and I tossed a few protective spells around. I really loaded Vilano (and myself) up because he does more direct damage than anybody else in the party. A minute or so before the prep-time elapsed, I put Manor's Mindsight (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) and True Seeing on myself. I anticipated Them trying to be invisible, and I wanted to be able to spot them for easy defeat. And then, right before the 90 minutes was up, Shallyn threw some Dust of Disappearance around, because being invisible is awesome. (In-game: DoD is like Invisibility on steroids. Doesn't disappear when you attack, lasts five hours.)

Oh. A quick aside: We've all leveled a few times since the rundown in my first post.

Vilano - 15th-level Cleric, 14th-level Mage
Severan - 14th-level Bard
Shallyn - 21st-level Thief
Arinon - 14th-level Ranger (I may be low on this one.)
Brunt - 19th-level Fighter
Sheba - 8th-level Monk, 16th-level Enchantment/Charm Specialist
Vagodra - 14th-level Alteration Specialist, 10th-level Cleric/Druid

When our 90 minutes of prep ended, we all vanished from where we'd been (I don't remember if we were at some place near Acererac's tomb or if we were hanging out in Vienna, or what. I didn't write that down either.) and appeared standing ON A HUGE PILE OF HANDWAVIUM. But whatever. Rule of Cool? Yes, and plenty of it.

The battlefield was divided in half. Our side was completely visible to us, but the other side was completely black and the impenetrable blackness extended far into the sky.

I implemented my plan. Round -3, I cast an Advanced Illusion of our group standing atop the cliff. They would take a defensive posture and the casters would appear to cast multiple spells on the party for two rounds, then everyone would take to the air and seem to avoid combat. Round -2, I cast an Advanced Illusion of our group in the ocean. On the 2nd round of combat, they would emerge from the ocean and fly toward the other half of the field. The casters would lay waste with area-effect offensive spells and the rest of the party would escort with missile weapons ready. Round -1, I cast Wings of PanDemonium (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) on myself, because mobility is king.

Meanwhile, Vilano flew up to the top of the cliff, Brunt and Sheba headed off toward the right side of our grid closer to the bottom of the cliff, Severan went to the leftish side of the grid toward the beach near the darkness, Arinon pretty much just stayed where he landed, and Shallyn planted some decoy Shallyns that she'd made up in advance.

And then the humongous curtain of darkness fell and combat began.

Round 1: We didn't see any other people in the entire battlefield. Apparently, Ourselves were also fond of Not Being Seen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zekiZYSVdeQ) and knew what would happen to them if they were. Brunt and Sheba advanced up the right side. Sheba kept a hand on Brunt's back to make sure that she didn't run into him and accidentally attack him. I tossed a Fireball about 100' ahead of them to light some of that seagrass on fire and reduce Ourselves' available hiding area. Vilano cast Ice Storm along the cliff edge with the same kind of idea. Shallyn camped in a tree with missile weapons ready. Arinon camped in the middle of the grassy area with missile weapons ready. Severan drew a tic-tac-toe grid in the sand and shouted that he wanted to challenge his clone to a game of tic-tac-toe to see who would stay and who would die. I know. Bards, right?

Round 2: Brunt has supernatural hearing (from eating one of those dragon brains) and heard a noise from a few feet ahead. He tossed a handful of coins that way and heard them bounce off of something wearing armor. There was a lot of glee from our side at the prospect of Brunt going ape-**** on one of Them so quickly. And then Brunt got hit with a handful of coins from somebody nearby, removing all of his Stoneskin protection. So that was definitely not awesome. Vilano cast Wall of Fire in a line from his Ice Storm to where I'd dropped my Fireball. Shallyn and Arinon, as snipers, continued to lie in wait to unleash pointy death. On the beach, Severan heard someone approach. Severan2 drew an X in the middle of the TTT grid and Severan stabbed the bejesus out of him. Except that Severan2 had Stoneskin up. [sad trombone] As soon as Round 2 started, I took off flying at a movement rate of 70 (human walking speed is 12), hoping to use Manor's Mindsight and True Seeing to unleash ARCANE DOOOMMM!!!! on our opponents. I flew at 50' off the ground and by about segment 8 had covered the majority of their half of the battlefield and still turned up nothing. I was peeved because those two spells should let me cut through any invisibility-type magic around. However. At some point during our prep time we got some intel (I don't know how we got it because I was out of the room at the time) that Ourselves were all wearing nifty gadgets called Amulets of Nondetection. Those, combined with an invisibility spell/device would completely negate my MM and TS. And of course I didn't know this because I was out of the room at the time. I expressed my frustration about my magic not working in the expected manner and the GM informed me that I was SOL.

Many curse words were spoken that day.

Round 3: We started the actions for the round with Arinon2 using his sick sniper-y skills to roll a whale of a crit on Brunt and kill him all the way dead. Not in a "He's in negatives! Somebody stabilize him!" kind of way, either. More of a "Sheba, you get sprayed with Brunt's viscera" kind of way. Yup. In HackMaster, your tank can get one-shotted.

A tiny bit of explanation: Weeks earlier, our GM had told us that he had no way to accurately recreate the deadliness Arinon's player brings to the table. (See: The Party (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10755620&postcount=1)) So he told us that Arinon's player was going to be making rolls for Arinon2. And of course he threw up a crit in the first actual combat roll of the encounter. In HackMaster, a 20 is always a crit. There's no confirming it, it just is. Then you roll a d1000 to determine location and d8 plus any bonuses to determine the severity of the crit. That d8 can explode, giving the potential for really gross results if you've got somebody with hot dice.

And so They had the first kill. Sad faces were had by all.

Vilano threw up another Ice Storm next to the line of fire we had bisecting the battlefield.

I reckoned that whoever shot Brunt had to be on our side of the huge fire burning across the map. So I tossed a Heat-Seeking Fist of Thunder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) at the fire in an attempt to catch them in the resulting explosion. I didn't know if it did or not, but that was a honking big explosion.

I don't know what Shallyn, Arinon, or Sheba did this round because I didn't write it down.

Round 4: After shaking bits of Brunt out of her hair, Sheba decided being bolted to death was not in her best interest and put up a Windwall (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10784684&postcount=8) between herself and the direction the Brunt-killer had come from. Arinon decided to just shoot blindly across the field and hope his ridiculous dice would lead him to shoot one of the bad guys. The GM gave him a multiple-dice combo to determine direction and then had him make an attack roll.

He didn't hit anybody, but came within 10' of one of us (I don't remember who it was.). So that made us a little nervous, but we had no way of telling him in-character to knock it off.

Vilano put another Ice Storm on the cliff.

Shallyn flew around trying to listen for bad guys.

Severan and Severan2 were stabbing the hell out of each other. Severan was winning because he has a Rapier +12. No, I'm not kidding. He actually got proficient in rapier.

I'd been at about 50' the whole time and decided that if we were going to be in the "reducing their possible area to stand" business we might as well just completely take that area away. So I cast Transmute Rock to Mud about 10' below the surface and turned an enormous area (20'x20'x20' cube/level) into a muddy morass. I centered it on our side of the scorched explosion. Right about then, a Fireball exploded right below me. As soon as I could take actions after my spell went off, I zipped up to 150'.

Also this round, I noticed that my illusions were being completely ignored.

Round 5: Apparently, the radiation from all of that handwavium we landed on earlier had an effect on the magic They were using, because at the beginning of the round all of Them showed up. As far as we could tell, our Dust was still keeping us Disappeared. Brunt2 was nowhere to be seen, Arinon2 was between the ocean and the Ice Storm/explosion area, Sheba2 was close to the middle of the map, and Vilano2 was in their corner farthest from the ocean on top of the cliff, so Vilano's "I cast Ice Storm 30 times" plan wasn't far off. Shallyn2 was in a tree in the center-right of the map, Severan2 was still fighting Severan, and Vagodra2 was about 50' from me. Apparently, the "tiny screaming demon vortices" aspect of my Wings of PanDemonium was cluing him in to my location.

Vilano couldn't see Vilano2 from his position, so he zapped Sheba2 with a Magic Missile variant that hurt her a bunch. Because Severan2 was closest, Arinon shot Severan2 with his crossbows for a bunch of damage. I hit Vagodra2 with a Chromatic Orb (save or die and even if you save you're paralyzed for d4+1 rounds) that did positively nothing. That made me sad. Shallyn flew over and tossed a fistful of coins at Shallyn2 to remove any Stoneskins she might have. Sheba flew straight at Vilano2 to bust that fool up. Halfway through the round I got hit with a touch attack from Vagodra2 through a Spectral Hand he'd cast (spoooooky floating hand lets you cast touch spells at range) and it jacked me up. Cause Serious Wounds or something took about 40% of my HP. Severan continued poking holes in Severan2.

Round 6: Vilano put another MM into Sheba2 that killed her. Referring back to Dugord's question at the beginning of the session: When Sheba2 died, Sheba did not disappear. Vilano2 hit Shallyn with a pretty heavy Fireball while Shallyn and Shallyn2 were shooting at each other. Unfortunately for Shallyn2, Shallyn still had most of her Stoneskins left. Sheba did some cool martial arts **** to Vilano2, but Vilano2 still had all his Stoneskins and Sheba's awesome was for naught. Because my Chromatic Orb had done nothing, I was concerned that Vagodra2 had some kind of magic immunity I didn't know about. So I decided that I'd melee that bastard to death and cast Silence 15' Radius to cover the sound of my jacked-up Wings. And then I got hit with a Cause Moderate Wounds (or something) for another third of my HP. I was definitely not feeling super-happy about my situation at this point.

Round 7: Vilano hit Shallyn2 with another MM and killed her as well. Severan finally polished off Severan2 via pincushioning. Following my "I'ma stab that fool" plan, I tossed a handful of coins at Myself to remove the Stoneskin I was certain he had. Vilano2 had a plan specifically to deal with being meleed. He had a big bad magical staff and knew how to use it. And by "use it" I mean break the sucker in half to make an ungodly big explosion. If you're not familiar AD&D-based games, a couple of specific powerful magical staves can be broken to unleash what is called a "retributive strike". The one breaking the staff takes a humongous amount of damage and has to make a roll to avoid being knocked into the astral plane even if he survives. Anybody within 50' (I think) takes a slightly smaller amount of damage, but is still in a world of hurt.

And that's what Vilano2 did. He had a thing called a Staff of Power and broke it to try to kill Sheba, then purged his Honor to avoid the damage/plane shift effects. And when the the GM rolled damage it was enough to take Sheba from full HP to a little below 0 even if she saved. More "Dammit"-ing from the group.

But Sheba is a monk. And not the crap kind you find nowadays. I mean an old-school monk who can dodge area-effect spells. When we reminded Sheba's player to roll for Monk Dodge, he made it and then made the regular save and took one QUARTER the damage the dice called for and so shrugged off a retributive strike at ground zero.

Rejoicing and high-fiving ensued.

Just a second after that, Arinon critted Vilano2 in the head and knocked him unconscious.

That left Vagodra2 and Arinon2 still up. At this point, it was 6 on 2. Neither Brunt was to be found, but other than that our whole side was fighting. And here's where my notes got sketchy because... I don't know. I should have taken notes for that last round but I just didn't.

Some of this is inference and guesswork:

I think Shallyn shot up Arinon2. Sheba finished off the unconscious Vilano2. I, seeing that I was at a little less than 1/3rd of my total HP, got the hell out of the way of the only bad guy near me. My pals could see him but couldn't see or hear me and I didn't want to get caught up in any area-effect spells or catch any errant crossbow shots. So I zipped straight up in the air and let the rest of my group cut Vagodra2 down.

Round 8 was the final round. The last two of Them went down under the combined onslaught of all six of us, and as soon as they did we were all instantly teleported/handwaved into some kind of prep room where we found Brunt2 appropriating Brunt's gear in an attempt to pass himself off as Brunt. In the weeks leading up to the fight, we'd been talking about what to do in a situation like this. And here's what we did:

We shrugged.

Brunt has been dead something like a dozen times. It's like if the drummer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinal_Tap_(band)#Drums.2C_percussion) in Spinal Tap kept being regenerated each time he exploded. So really, Brunt2 is Brunt. And we were okay with that.


I think the failure of Their invisibility in Round 5 was more to do with the bitching of our group about how long the fight was taking than anything else. I was fine with struggling to defeat a nearly-evenly-matched foe, but a couple of people at the table were getting progressively more whiny because the combat promised to drag on for a while.
The reason my Chromatic Orb didn't work is because Vagodra2 purged his Honor to avoid it. He knew he'd tumble to earth and either die from that or get stabbed to death. I wish I'd known that, because I would've just hit him with it again.
I'm sure I've left something out. I've been typing this mother****ing thing for what feels like a month. If something is unclear or... whatever, let me know.

I figured either collapsing the cavern, rolling down a dragonsload of explosives, or flooding the place would probably be the best way to deal with beholders. Tough to deal with monsters that can cast when you can't.Another thing we were thinking about was using Manor's Mindsight to pop in and out of the cave with Teleport and Dimension Door, peppering them with big area-effect spells from behind.

Making a deal with Acererak? Interesting. I wonder if he'll abide by it?That's definitely been on our minds. Also: We've only talked to Dugord about this. Acererac may not even know about this setup.

Edit2: Also,I really want to buy of copy of this now. Just for the sillier spells. Like, Fireball: Sidewinder, and the thundering fist thing.I really love HM 4th Edition. Lots and lots of great stuff.

2012-01-19, 09:37 PM
So,Brunt is Kenny?


Another immaculate update, even if your tactics wern't so much!

2012-01-21, 12:27 AM
12/12 Game

Characters Present:
I don't know. Vilano was there. I was there. A few others.

I'm really kind of burnt out for a minute. That last update was a ****ing monstrosity. I'm still gonna try to get another update done before Monday, but this is going to be a craptacular update for a low-action evening.

We got some leveling done. When I started this update I remembered that this evening's session put us at the levels I listed above.

I rang up a daemon pal I'd made during a previous level-up on Tartarus. I asked him if word had gotten around about the whole "That wasn't really us" thing, or if we were going to be blacklisted to all of Rybax's pals. He told us that Rybax was very deeply pissed but that he was aware it had been our clones. But he was very deeply pissed. My pal wanted to make that clear. The overall opinion among people in the know is that, while it wasn't technically us, we still should have handled our business before it got out of hand and burned a bunch of cool **** to the ground. It was our responsibility and we fell down. I asked Daemon Pal if Rybax would be willing to meet with us and DP kind of laughed at me. He told me that we'd need to start a pretty serious reparations project before Rybax would come within sniffing distance of us.

So I started looking through my spells (arcane and divine) for anything that might speed along the building of a big-ass Nefarian palace. I used the word "building" because "rebuilding" implies that some sort of repair would take place, when in fact there was nothing that could possibly be repaired.

And yes, we did remember the fact that Vienna had been heavily damaged and Zanbytium was straight-up destroyed. But those places are full of mortals. And mortals wield just about zero power in the post-apocalypse world, so really?..... eh. We'll get to 'em in a while. Also: Athena's got Vienna under control. They'll be fine.

So. Spells: As it turns out, I knew about a 7th-ish level (I don't remember right now. I'll look it up later.) that would basically let me play with stone like it's modeling clay. And since I've got photographic memory (and Sheba and Vilano as well), I'd be able to get the place back to it's pre-Us condition. Yes, it would take some engineering knowledge, but I've got that. Rybax would obviously be necessary to get all the secret details inside as good as new, but we'd all spent a large amount of time there over the last year (or whatever it's been since the world went kablooey) so the main areas would be easy to reconstruct.

Not easy: Rybax's library.

GM told us that Rybax's library was several times the size of the Library of Alexandria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_alexandria). And We went and blew it all to hell.

IIRC, Daemon Pal told me that Rybax was most pissed about the library and that his stores of magical goodies were down the list a bit.

So we hatched a plan to hire something like 50 scribes (in Alexandria) to train a ton of the refugees in Alexandria and turn them into scribes. And they can transcribe all of the common books that Alexandria has just laying around. But Rybax didn't have a library full of common books. He had a library that was probably 40% adventure hooks rare/hard-to-find books.

And then we started doing a bunch of math to figure out how much this project was going to cost us. Yes, it'll be expensive, but we've got the accumulated wealth to handle it. Plus, whatever places we'll be raiding in the coming months will have plenty of loots as well.

I'm pretty sure I'm leaving something out. Maybe one of the people from the group will swing by and fill in the rest.

I'm unlikely to do round-by-round combat rundowns again any time soon. That was 3,000 words. Bleh. But I've only got two more sessions to get in here and I'll be caught up.

So,Brunt is Kenny?I was very deeply confused for a second there. I thought you were talking about specific people in our group.

Kenny is the RL name of Arinon's player.

2012-01-21, 01:17 AM
In case you were woundering, no, I was referring to this kenny. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheyKilledKenny)
Funny how it all works out, huh?

Also, sounds like remaking the Libary is going to be hellishly (harhar) expensive. What is the maximium level reachable in hackmaster?

2012-01-21, 01:32 AM
What is the maximium level reachable in hackmaster?Humans and a very few demihuman/class combinations are uncapped. It's very 1st/2nd Ed that way.

2012-01-23, 04:41 PM
1/9 Game

Characters present: Shalyn (Thief), Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric), Arinon (Ranger), Severan (Bard), Brunt (Tank)

I still wanted the group to finish The Tomb of Horrors just for the sake of having done it, even if the original reason for wanting the No Time Room has gone away (spell research, item creation, and officer training to deal with the Mongols). Whatever else is going on, having access to the Room of Time Wonkiness will be awesome once we finish this damn thing.

If you remember back to some time last year, we had three things that were unexplored: The first floor had an archway full of colored mist that we strongly suspected was a "anything artificial gets dumped into a pit full of loot and anything living gets tossed outside" one-way teleporter. The second floor had one of those as well, and the hallway leading to the 2nd-floor teleporter had seven colored circles on the wall, each about two feet across that we knew had some kind of... something to be explored.

I lead the way and decided we should investigate the 1st-floor archway. But first, I needed a living creature to put into the mist. Because we're high-level and good at what we do, the GM hand-waved a squirrel. I tossed it in. Vilano tagged it with his Crystal Ball and saw that it was in the entryway (where the Rust Monsters used to be, if you can remember that far back). So at least we knew that it wasn't a disintegrating mist or some nonsense like that. We retrieved the squirrel and wrapped a cheap silver chain around it. We tossed it in again. The squirrel was in the entryway again, sans chain. Vilano tried to ping on the chain and came up empty. Not that it was dark where the chain was, but the chain might as well have not existed. Since we already knew that Acererac was fond of using locations that were sealed from outside scrying, we assumed that meant that there was a honking big treasure horde somewhere in the building, full of hundreds of years of equipment from silly adventurers who decided to jump into a glowing mist they hadn't properly tested.

We decided to find this loot pit. And Shallyn came up with the idea of using a mechanical noisemaker to bring us to it. Just wind up some little mechanical oddity, send it into the mist, and (hopefully) use Brunt's crazy hearing to track it down.

We headed back to the only town on the island.

There was one shop there that sold "curiosity"-type toys that would make noise if you wound them up, so we bought one (a little man who bangs a drum) and I had the proprietor modify it so that would be louder and run for a longer time, and then I had him put wheels on the bottom of it so that we didn't have to toss it.

We took it back to the 1st-floor archway, wound it up, rolled it into the mist, watched it disappear, and then stood around in total silence for about a minute before we realized we'd just thrown our money away. Swearing ensued.

We went to the second floor and did the squirrel trick again, with the same results. Because the noisemaker trick had worked so well the first time, we decided to put it into action again. We returned to the curiosity shop, but he was fresh out of anything that could help us. Swearing. Somebody, as a joke, brought up using a calliope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calliope_(music)) because they're usually really loud. The rest of us jumped on it immediately. The idea, not the calliope. Unfortunately, there wasn't any place in town that had a calliope, so we used a Well of Many Worlds to jet off to Vienna. We found one, bought it for 10,000 gp, we fired it up, I hit it with Reduce, and we zipped back to the Tomb.

One funny thing about a normal-sized calliope that's been reduced to a hand-held calliope is that the sound it makes is VERY high-pitched. Like, dogs-go-crazy high.

Because I knew when the Reduce had been cast I knew when it would end, so we waited around until about a minute before the spell wore off (at it's normal size, the calliope simply wouldn't fit through the archway), then rolled the tiny calliope into the mist and waited for a humongous noise to come rolling out of the hidden treasure pit.

And we waited. For a couple of minutes. More swearing. I decided that there must be some kind of dog-monster guarding Acererac's Dumb Adventurers Pit O' Loots and when we rolled that tiny calliope in there it went berzerk and mauled the hell out of it before the spell wore off.

And then we moved on to experimenting with the circles. We went around and around about which ones to touch, but we had a pretty good idea what the green and black circles did. A while back, Brunt touched the green circle and a humongous badger-thing popped into the room. The black circle seems to be a made of Disintegrate. On several occasions, one of us has tossed a coin at the circle and seen it vanish. The coin doesn't disappear into the hole. No, as soon as the coin hits the surface of the blackness, it goes away. Maybe it's another teleporter, but there's no way in hell I'm gonna find out. As I type that, it suddenly occurs to me that using a squirrel to double-check that thing might yield positive results.

From the gargoyle lord's collar, we had a little scrap of paper with a little puzzle-y passage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=12137603&postcount=219) written on it. (Do a text-search for "seek".) Together, Shallyn and I put forth a theory that the blue circle corresponded to "the sad man" and the yellow to "the coward". Because she's got better saves than most of us and as HackSsassin has a monk-dodge, Shallyn got volunteered to test our theory and touch the blue circle and then the yellow. She touched the blue and it moved the tiniest bit. Then she touched the yellow and it did absolutely squat.

A quick aside: Before Shallyn touched any of the circles (2' across, btw), the GM asked her where on the circle she was going to touch, and how. She told him that she would put her palm dead center of the circle. After that, every time Shallyn touched a circle, the GM would roll some dice before he told her anything.

After the blue-then-yellow plan gave us nothing, we tried several different combinations of blue-other circles-yellow and got nothing until at one point Shallyn touched the blue circle and it pivoted around a center point. It only moved an inch or so, but it was enough for us to go, "Holy ****. That's a cover for something, not a magical switch."

We swung the blue around the rest of the way to reveal a tunnel. When the circle had pivoted 90 degrees it fell into a groove and slid toward us for easy removal.

We immediately started prodding the other circles near their edges to see if they would pivot. Only the red one did. There was a tunnel behind it, as well.

An addendum to the previous aside: In the two weeks since this session, I've realized that the GM was rolling (percentile, I believe) to see if Shallyn's hand stayed directly dead center or if her hand strayed toward either edge.

Vilano cast Stone Tell because knowledge is good. The stone near the blue circle told him that there was a temple on the other end of the tunnel. We all went "!!!". The stone further told him that there was nothing in the tunnel that would interfere with him. The stone near the red circle told him that the tunnel lead to a room with three chests in it, and it (they?) told him that there was something in the floor that would try to hurt him.

So we went to the temple. Except for Brunt. He's ****ing humongous. We crawled/flew through the tunnel with Shallyn in the lead. We got to the other side and camped right by the hole, all of us floating.

We saw four pews, a rail between pews and dais, a dais, an altar with a padded chair on the far side, two candelabra next to the altar, two pottery urns in the far corners of the room and a skeleton on the floor wearing mail. I should mention that this room is about 80'x80'. Oh. And a big archway full of funny-colored mist. Then I dropped Manor's Mindsight and True Seeing.

With it, I saw that:

the rear-most three pews had a decent amount of coins hidden inside each
the wall to the west had a hidden door
there was a tiny slot shaped like an "O" next to the misty door
the misty door wasn't a misty door, but a big ****ing mouth ready for crunchings and munchings

Shallyn swept the rooms for traps while the rest of us sat back and waited for the mouth to make any move toward her. It didn't, and she learned from her trap-sweeping that there's an icky-looking glyph on the altar and the front pew had a trap of some kind. We ignored both.

Then we turned our attention to the mouth on the wall. We hit it with missile weapons and Magic Missiles. It flew through the air toward us but ended up getting murdered before it got too close.

With some examination, we learned that the mouth is a Mouth of Devouring. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Then we looked over and saw that the MoD had been covering a doorway into another room. Inside the 15'x15' room was a big pile of bones. With my spells up, I saw that it was really a big undead critter that I identified as a Flesh Thrasher.

And then we called time.


Last week's session was a little short because we had to start quite a bit late, so I should be able to get it up by the end of the week.



2012-01-24, 11:04 AM

Thanks again for the updates.

2012-01-25, 12:57 AM
1/16 Game

Characters present:
Vilano (Cleric/Mage), Sheba (Monk/Mage), Shallyn (Thief), Brunt (Tank), Vagodra (Mage/Cleric)

We started with Vilano Commanding that Flesh Thrasher we saw at the end of last session. As it turns out, a Flesh Thrasher is a humongous bony undead critter with jaws for hands. It doesn't do a ton of damage, but it causes a lot of pain. Also, they're humongous. 15'x15'.

We looked around the room some more. After examination, the formerly secret door opposite the Flesh Thrasher's room had no discernible way of opening it. We examined the skeleton on the floor. It had some mail, no weapon, and a fairly plain silver ring on its hand. The "O"-shaped indentation in the wall next to the FT's room was about the size of a large coin. Or about the size of a plain silver ring.

The plain silver ring was introduced to the indentation. It made a satisfying click and the formerly secret door slid open to reveal another hallway. We followed it.

It lead to more hallway, a staircase, some pit trips we flew over, and a secret door with sinister-looking yellow gas behind it. The hallway continued past the gas chamber, and we did too.

The hallway continued a fair distance. Using Manor's Mindsight, I saw that the hall lead to an enormous wooden door and that, past the door, the floor sloped to a large pit of lava. We continued, and arrived at the door. At the door, we heard music and singing. However, I could see into the chamber with MM and saw no source for the music (and because my character's got a crazy-high intelligence he automatically knocks down 1st-4th level illusions) and so I knew that both music and singing were fake.

So we left. It looked like your standard sloped-floor-will-make-you-slip-and-fall-into-lava chamber, and so... **** it. Not interested.

We returned to the gas chamber. Sheba used an Unseen Servant to open the door and Vilano cast a 2nd-level cleric spell called Dust Devil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_devil) to blow the gas out. Buuuuuut we weren't outdoors. So the gas just billowed out and blew all over us. Buuuuuut we've all got these items called Necklace of Adaptation that let us exist without air. So we didn't breath the gas and continued through the room. Really, we were concerned that it was some kind of acid or exotic monster.

Using Manor's Mindsight, I saw that the room had two exits: Left and Right. Right lead to blah blah blah and a couple of doors and Left lead to The Room. Yes. The Room Where Time Goes To Die.

There was a good 10 seconds of "Wait. What? What? You mean... what?" from the group. And then we went in.

And we were in the Time Room.

And... yeah. We were all sort of stunned that we could just walk in. And there was a lot of discussion about whether we should just shut the door and do a bunch of research and item construction, then just leave the tomb altogether, or if we should finish the Tomb and come back for the prize later. I was among the "Let's come back" faction (primarily because we didn't have any of the stuff necessary to actually do any research or item creation), so I took a quick glance at the stuff in the room. It was a lot of generic research-y looking stuff, and there were two big urns in one corner. I looked inside with MM and saw that there was a key at the bottom of each urn. Then Shallyn took an actual appraising look at the assorted stuff in the room and discovered that it was pretend generic research-y looking stuff. All of it was fake. We weren't exactly sure why The Room was full of fake magical stuff, but it was. And then we double-checked with the GM. It definitely was really the Room of Time Hijinks.

So then we went after the keys in the vats. I saw that the vats were all filled up with goo, so we used our big brains to get into the vats. The thief said a ring would keep her clean of that goo! "Telekinesis!" she cried as she grabbed at the key, the key that I saw in the left-est-most urn. She brought out that key and boy, it dripped acid! She brought out the second and then the room burned. "Greek Fire!" we cried from quite a safe distance, the distance we'd reached because we are cautious. Urn Two had a membrane to keep the Fire down, and some lich had left it, hoping to catch us.

We let the fire burn out and moved on through a secret door opposite the entrance. While waiting for the fire to burn out, we monkeyed with the keys and it turns out that they're really one key that binds itself together. Kinda neat.

We wound around a couple of turns, down some stairs, and came upon a long pit with spikes covering the floor. Shallyn saw that it was magically trapped, so we flew over it cautiously. As we got to the other side, she identified the nature of the trap. A pressure plate covered the width of the hallway on the very edge of the pit. It was set up so that if the first person across put any weight on it, the spikes on the floor of the pit would fire straight up, poking a zillion tiny holes in anyone following behind. We avoided doing that.

We continued down the hallway and I saw another not-that-secret door. Inside, the room was a jumbled mess of trunks and urns and busted up furniture. There were also two very nice-looking tapestries hanging on the wall in each of the corners opposite the entrance. Most interesting of all was what I saw underneath the room using Manor's Mindsight. Machinery. It was some kind of trappy mechanism that I realized (after skill checks) was designed to take the floor and toss it up and down and make it super-difficult for anybody to walk across the floor.

Several of us gave a "Poop! It's Acererac's crib!" but I wasn't buying it. Not with that wonky floor tossing everything up and down.

But then we called time.



Vixsor Lumin
2012-01-25, 02:07 AM
Hurray were almost up to date :smallbiggrin: seriously though I love reading this :smallsmile:

2012-01-25, 10:12 AM
Hurray were almost up to date :smallbiggrin: seriously though I love reading this :smallsmile:
Hear hear!!! These are completely Awesome. With a capital. And a non-silent exclamation mark. :smallbiggrin: