Sunday, December 10, 2017

Banished to the Purple Planet - Part Three

Under a Weirdling Sun

Peril on the Purple Planet is an epic DCCRPG box set devised by +Harley Stroh. The adventure is a hex crawl, so player characters get to explore a completely open and lush world. Characters must discover artifacts, make alliances, battle terrifying worms, and sustain the deadly sun's rays if they are to ever make their way back home.

Care to hear about this week's banishment? Read on!

Previous Tales of the Banished

The Banished

Banished to the Purple Planet, Part Three

Fun fact! Since our last session of Peril on the Purple Planet back in October, I've dumped 54 hours into The Long Dark by Hinterland Studios. Needless to say, after all these weeks of scrounging for beef jerky, crafting boots out of harvested deer, and battling wolves, my survival game kung fu is strong! So for last night's hex-crawl, I really tried to inject a bit more of that feel into the game, especially when it came with dealing with a lack of resources and needing to live off the land. 

As I did with the last blog entry, I'm breaking down this play report into more of a "day to day" journal of player activities. That said, I'd love to get some feedback from my players themselves, in the form of character narrative. Something like this:

"Ya know, I never shoulda tried lookin' fer waters in that there cairn. Almost lost me arm doin' that, and I need dat arm to battle critters." - Floyd Pink

Just for the record, I came up with that quote, not Marc. But you get the idea guys.

Oh, and check out this sweet map that Marc is contributing to the game! Since this was the session where the party doubled back towards the lake in the south, you can really visualize THE FREE COMPANY walking in circles!

On to the journal entries

Day 3

  • Running low on food and water the party tries searching the cairn for a source of water. Floyd Pink finds the lowest point in the room, and attempts to pry up one of the stones in the wall. Slipping while lifting the stone, however, Floyd Pink's arm gets pinned and crushed in the wall. See 127 Hours for how I was hoping this scene would go. 
  • Fortunately, water started pouring out of the tiny gap between Floyd's crushed arm and the ground. While the party's warrior writhed, begged, screamed, and threatened to shoot Nicodemus with a silver tube, the rest of the team filled their water skins and their bellies with cool water. There's a good chance that some of Floyd's blood mixed with the water, but that just added some metallic goodness to the flavor.
  • To free Floyd Pink, Imric casts enlarge on Hammy, who in turn lifts the stone. The party paladin then lays on hands and heals Floyd's smashed arm. 
  • Once it was night the party set out into the wild, again hoping to avoid the weirdling sun. They wanted to make their way to the lake to the south, hoping to find cool, sustaining water and maybe some more insight into this strange world. 
  • After a few hours they heard horrible grunts and flapping in the hills to the west. The shadowy shapes of nine lizard creatures flying in the night startled The Free Company, causing them to draw their weapons. These beasts, called Gribbs, set upon the travelers with razor sharp talons. 
  • During the battle with the gribbs, Floyd Pink almost killed himself by fumbling with his ray rifle. He was pointing it backwards when aiming the six foot long silver tube, and shot himself in the chest. Fortunately the armor took the blow, and he didn't disintegrate himself. 
  • The gribbs successfully slashed at Floyd and Imric while getting peppered by the party's ranged weapons and spells. Imric was especially angry at the beasties, and his flaming hands spell cooked three of them in flight. Once half of the monsters had been defeated, the remaining ones flew off. The party harvested the carcasses of the dead gribbs for gear. 
  • The Free Company reached the hills that surrounded the lake a few hours before dawn, but just as they began their uphill march a fierce rain poured down from the sky above. The water created a deluge that poured through the ravines and down the hills, and the resulting flood threatened to sweep away the party.
  • Floyd Pink, Imric, and Hammy managed to climb atop a rocky outcropping before being swept away, but Nicodemus was not so lucky. The thief started to drown, and nearly died [taking 8 points of Stamina damage] before his luck turned and he was able to grab hold of some terrain. 
  • It took eight hours for the waters to recede, forcing the party to remain exposed to the weirdling sun until close to noon. Once the ground dried, the team climbed down and made their way further into the hills. Desperate to find shelter, the party searched the area for any sign of a civilization, cave, or perhaps another cairn. What they ended up finding was an abandoned camp.
  • The small camp provided the party with the materials to make rustic hide tents, and five reed containers filled with some kind of fluid. There was also a bit of jerky to add to rations. The party rested for a full twenty-four hours before heading back out. 

Day 4

  • Once night came on Day 4, The Free Company traveled a mile south until they reached the shore of the long sought after lake.
  • Unfortunately, the water was highly corrosive. Wooden poles and rods placed in the water started to come apart.
  • At the edge of the water, there was a bit of treasure: a dead kith laying next to a cache of greenstone shards! The party collected the shards, and then noticed even more treasure: a metallic skiff just below the water about 40' from shore. 
  • While the team tried to decide what to do next, two forms emerged from the hills to the west. It was StarRider and Saynen, who had both disappeared back in the Lair of the Mist Men! Somehow they had made it to the Purple Planet, and were still alive. 
  • [Note for next game: the game ended around 9pm, Purple Planet time.]

Adventure Notes

  • Gribb Gear: In the true spirit of The Long Dark I allowed the players to harvest the dead gribbs for materials that they could use in their adventures. Each gribb had 10 lbs of edible meat, and 2 razor sharp talons that could be turned into point for arrows, bolts, javelins, and darts. If used as such, the talon-tipped weapons cause +1D of additional damage. In addition, Marc thought up the brilliant idea of converting the gribb stomachs and wing leathers to water skins. 


"So, Nicodemus is looking at Hammy like a big pile of bacon right now." - Alex getting into scavenger mode. 

"So, Marc... have you ever seen the movie 127 Hours?" - Judge James revealing the next scene to the party. 

"If enlargement lasts for more than four hours, contact your doctor." - Marc commenting on a popular wizard spell. 

"Oh wise and bright one, lead us." - Nicodemus declares his fealty to Floyd Pink... wait, what?

In Memoriam 

  • So close to taking Floyd Pink's arm. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Family Game Knights - The Emerald Enchanter, Pt 3

Exploring the Chained Coffin

Welcome to Family Game Knights, our regular tour through of the Shudder Mountains and  The Chained Coffin box set.  

For those uninitiated with the Chained Coffin, creative lead +Michael Curtis and the rest of the Goodman Games crew have created a wonderful and vibrant fantasy campaign setting based on Appalachian myth and legend.  During this journey, we'll be dipping into all of the adventures written specifically for the Shudder Mountains, as well as tossing in a few other favorites as well, thus turning this into a fantastic, ongoing campaign!  Special thanks to the DCCRPG G+ community for so many wonderful adventure suggestions.  

Here are our previously yarns:

The Adventuring Party

  • Jen
    • Wize Wizard McBride - Cleric
  • Evie
    • Jefffff - Warrior (she plans to add another "f" after each gained level)
  • Carrie
    • P. Specs - Thief
  • Jeremy
    • Sir Huey, Keeper of the Sacred Door - Warrior
  • Ella
    • Quinn & Kippy - Wizard & Squirrel Familiar 
  • Cooper
    • Soapy McSoap - Warrior
  • Andy
    • Walden - Thief

The Emerald Enchanter, Pt 3

As you can probably tell from the cover art of this blog post, I decided to add a little trickery to tonight's session. You see, during Goodman Games' big Black Friday sale I managed to get my hands on Grimtooth's Ultimate Traps Collection. I then spent about three evenings digging through the crazy and brutal inventions. I couldn't wait to spring these on my players, and I had the perfect opportunity during our next episode of The Emerald Enchanter.

Our players are taking their sweet time with this adventure, an they keep going back to the village of Ugly Bottom after exploring part of the Emerald Enchanter's lair. Well, this time I decided that there would be a price to pay. The Emerald Enchanter reached out to Grimtooth and purchased a bunch of traps to catch those pesky jerks that keep messing around with his stuff. My good friend Frank put this idea in my head about 8 years ago. The idea that a dungeon left alone should be restocked and better guarded this time around.

Well the Emerald Enchanter spared no expense to protect his home! When the PC's arrived they found a note on the front door:

"Dear Burglars: Don't come inside ever again. You've been warned. - EE"

Naturally my players did not follow this advice... it would've been a short game if they had!

The party thieves, Walden and P. Specs, both checked the door for traps, and found one: a door knob that would grow spikes, blast off and strike the players. Walden disarmed the trap, and pocketed the spiky knob. They then opened the door. 

The front hallway had a complete home makeover! The Emerald Enchanter replaced the tile floor with black tiles, and the ceiling was a swirling mass of sand. Walden entered the room, and gravity reversed, pulling him into quicksand on the ceiling. Both Sir Huey and Soapy managed to get sucked in as well, but they went in head first and started taking damage. Maybe I should give you some mechanics, as this trap was inspired by Grimtooth, but of my own design:

  • Gravity Sand: PC steps into the room and gravity reverses. DC 15 Reflex Save to go into the quicksand feet first instead of head first. If headfirst, PC takes 1d10 damage every minute. Anyone trying to pull the PC free must make the same save or they get pulled in unless they are tethered. 

Holy traps!

After freeing the PC's (Sir Huey would need to be revived, as he fell below zero hit points) our party wizard Quinn used her Flaming Hands spell to turn the sand to glass. The team then stepped out into the room. Since only the first fifteen feet were glass, Soapy used his shovel to burrow through the nearby wall into a hidden passage. This gained the team access to the next part of the map.

If you read our play report from the last session, you know everywhere that the players went this game, as they didn't go anywhere new. But with every turn, I hit them with a trap:

  • A floor trap in one of the hallways that can be found in Grimtooth's Ultimate Traps Collection. Step on one side, and the floor flips around on a hinge, dumping the PC into spikes below. 
  • Another trapped doorknob, with a handle that turned to acidic slime. On the other side of that door the party would find a signed receipt from Grimtooth to "E.E."
  • A [REDACTED] that the party didn't find, but I really hope they do next game.
  • A rolling ball trap that greeted the players just before they went into the room with the remains of the three dead wizards (the Consultorium.) It was a full 10' wide ball, straight out of Indiana Jones. Three of the PC's ducked into a nearby barracks chamber, while the other three retreated so as not to get crushed. 

This was Cooper's 3rd full game in this campaign, and he did a wonderful job figuring out a way to bypass some of the traps via digging through walls.

When the party finally made it back to the Consultorium, Quinn used her new Speak with the Dead spell. She cast it on both the mummified corpse and the brain in the jar. 

  • Thesipedes (the corpse) revealed that the word "Yasmilon" could be used to destroy Emerald Eidolons. Also, that the safest way to get to the Emerald Enchanter was through a grate in the floor, found later in the dungeon.
  • Istrobian (the brain in the jar): promised Quinn great power, and tricked the party wizard into letting it sneak into his brain, taking up residence. Quinn would gain intelligence with his new second brain, but at the cost of needing to eat human or elf brains. 

Unlike previous journeys into the Emerald Enchanter's domain, this time the party decided not to head back to the village afterwards. 

A Fine Selection of Quotes from the Table

"Wait a minute. I have a bomb." - Andy. And his character really did have one!

Campaign Crematorium

  • None this game... boo!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Family Game Knights - The Emerald Enchanter, Pt 2

Exploring the Chained Coffin

Welcome to Family Game Knights, our regular tour through of the Shudder Mountains and  The Chained Coffin box set.  

For those uninitiated with the Chained Coffin, creative lead +Michael Curtis and the rest of the Goodman Games crew have created a wonderful and vibrant fantasy campaign setting based on Appalachian myth and legend.  During this journey, we'll be dipping into all of the adventures written specifically for the Shudder Mountains, as well as tossing in a few other favorites as well, thus turning this into a fantastic, ongoing campaign!  Special thanks to the DCCRPG G+ community for so many wonderful adventure suggestions.  

Here are our previously yarns:

The Adventuring Party

  • Jen
    • Wize Wizard McBride - Cleric
  • Evie
    • Jefffff - Warrior (she plans to add another "f" after each gained level)
  • Carrie
    • P. Specs - Thief
  • Jeremy
    • Sir Huey, Keeper of the Sacred Door - Warrior
  • Ella
    • Quinn & Kippy - Wizard & Squirrel Familiar 
  • Cooper
    • Graver - Gravedigger
    • Soapy McSoap - Gravedigger

The Emerald Enchanter, Pt 2

Happy holiday season to all you Living 4 Crits readers out there! What better way to spend this festive season than to be together rolling dice with all your favorite folks? That's definitely how we roll here in the Walls residence! 

And to make this season even more special, we received a special package from Goodman Games: our rewards from the Dungeon Crawl Classics Scratch Off Character Sheets Kickstarter. Now, I was planning on keeping these hidden until next month's Norwin Game Knights event, but Cooper was so excited at the concept that he demanded the opportunity to join our game as a player... so long as he could scratch off some characters. 

I was pretty geeked about this. Cooper played in Moonricket Bridge but has been absent since, not showing much interest in joining the group as a player. He's been participating as a monster creator, drawing some random crazy stuff that I've injected into the game from week to week. Now that he's seven, though, I really wanted him to spent more time at the table. Well, the allure of these scratch off sheets was quite strong! 

He ended up with two gravediggers (scratching off the second after the first died.) The first character was pretty decent (14 Agility, everything else between 9-12), and the second was pretty much the opposite. Obviously the second lived. I'm hoping that he wants to join in the next game. We played for about two-and-a-half hours and he stuck it out for all but the last thirty minutes. I think he'll have a better time once he has a character that can stand toe-to-toe with the monsters in this challenging adventure. 

During our last session of The Emerald Enchanter by +Joseph Goodman, the party chose to leave the Emerald Enchanter's Citadel to regroup and upgrade their gear. I thought that this was some wise gameplay last session, and was impressed at the care they were taking to ensure that they would all survive the adventure.

Gameplay was a bit shakier last night. 

I think the fact that we've been away from this particular campaign since early September threw off the group's Dungeon Crawl Classics dynamic. Quinn the Wizard was leading the charge into rooms firing a bow instead of casting spells. Both Jefffff and P. Specs kept trying non-combat solutions to encounters where combat had already been chosen by other player characters. The Wize Wizard McBride couldn't cast a spell to save his... or anyone else's... life. 

Actually that last part is pretty par for the course throughout the campaign.

Eventually the group remembered how to properly play DCC, and they made some great progress in what only ended up being a two-and-a-half hour session:

  • Hall of Anguish: The party encountered a series of weird Ebon Spirits, who at first were very little threat until Jefffff started playing his fiddle. For some reason this really made the spirits mad, and they assaulted the party's spear-weilding warrior! Sir Huey was quick to come to Jefffff's aid, but the rest of the party bickered over whether or not to try and fight. The Wize Wizard McBride couldn't cast a single spell, so no help there. The battle cost poor Graver his short life. Sir Huey was able to light the fiddle on fire, thus quelling the anger of the spirits.
  • Passageways:  Here's where the party got a bit sloppy. Quinn led the team right through a trapped area, which he dodged, but then he led them into battle with an emerald statue. Sure, that fight was pretty easy for the supremely powerful Sir Huey, but the party was by no means prepared.
  • Bedroom: Looting this room led to some great swag! A scroll for Quinn an a statue and cash for Sir Huey.
  • Lounge:  All that great gear in the previous room meant that the party expected it in the next. No luck! Even so, the Judge was nice enough to place a hissing metal cylinder in the room for the team to agonize over. 
  • Library: Now THIS was a fun puzzle! The room contained two teleporting books that traveled around eight pedestals as they were approached. The party needed to figure out a way to first get them to stop teleporting, and then free them from their ledges. To help the team visualize the scene I used dice for the books, and then brought out my old D&D miniatures. The party eventually found copies of "Thesdipedes' Book of Transmogrification" and "The Emerald Enchanter's Blueprints." Quinn could use the former to communicate with the dead, so long as he had enough practice.
  • Guard Station:  After finding the secret door at the end of the Hall of Anguish, the party broke into the next portion of the Emerald Enchanter's Citadel... where the true danger awaited the foolish mortals!
  • Consultorium: Earlier in the quest, some of the emerald statues turned to humans after being slain, each calling out for Thesdipedes for some request. Well in this macabre room the party found the elusive Thesdipedes. All that remained was a mummified corpse leaning against an ancient sarcophagus. Also in the room was a brain in a jar (labeled "Istrobian") and a skull on a wall (labeled "Gobur.") Quinn believed that he could communicate with all of these corpses if only he had an evening to study the books found earlier. So the party ditched the citadel and headed back to Ugly Bottom. 
Hopefully next week we'll be joined by +andrew lyon. He was supposed to be at last night's event, but he took a nap and slept in. Too bad. We really could've used Walden's expertise! 

A Fine Selection of Quotes from the Table

Carrie - "I'm gonna crack open a cold one!"
Judge James - "Don't you mean you're gonna uncork a warm one?"

"If I die, don't rip my underwear off." - The Wize Wizard McBride's requests were modest. 

Campaign Crematorium

  • Graver: Cooper's first 0-level character created using the DCC Scratch Off Character Sheets got murdered by an Ebon Spirit in the long hallway.