Into the Odd Delve #1: The Nine’s Tomb

Into the Odd Delve #1: The Nine’s Tomb

Thousands of years ago, when I was in junior high, we’d play AD&D and the premise was called the Quest of the Nine. In this premise, one character from each alignment represented a higher power in a quest to find an artifact called the Dragon Orb. The idea was that we couldn’t directly hurt one another but once we got to the Dragon Orb, all bets were off.

Hence, my Into the Odd adventure idea, the 9’s Tomb, in which adventurers have had themselves interred in the Underground. Since Into the Odd is an industrial take on dungeon delving, the adventurers we knew from D&D were a thousand years ago. It felt fitting to loot what we know of adventuring as the first delve.

Less than a thousand years ago I had a Facebook Group of FB friends who are also gamers. 99% of them I’ve either met at cons or have gamed with face to face over the years. I asked if folks were interested in gaming together and got a few games together, thinking that we’d play an Into the Odd campaign in a consistent world. This was our first session in what I hope will be a twice-a-month game with rotating players.

After past year or so of Thursday nights going to D&D 5e, Into the Odd felt sparse in a good way. Rather than go to the dice, I found myself asking lots of questions about what the characters were doing and what it looked like, so I could decide how the world reacted. When the dice did come out they were fast and decisive. No initiative and no to-hit rolls was a relief. When in doubt, I shared too much information, so the players had enough information to make interesting decisions.

The tone was perhaps goofier than my gaming usually is – with the Fighter and Thief Skeletons playing it up for yucks until Culver showed them his Arcanum, a Bone Box, and the Thief stabbed him to get it. There are Prog Rock musicians called The Floating Skulls in this world, we discovered. I doubt I’ll be able to stop myself from making Floating Skull band t-shirts.

My favorite moment was when they cut a deal with the attacking Air Elemental and opened a gate they found in another room to the Dusklands, where a Dooskelf had attacked them earlier. Outside the box thinking and using the world around them as tools and levers feels like exactly what this game should be doing. What will become of an Air Elemental in the Dusklands? Maybe we’ll find out some day, maybe it will just be a mystery.

The players made interesting decisions – leaving the Intelligent Sunsword in its tomb, rather than deal with the Sword Nun who appeared to whoever wielded it, asking the wielder about their faith. They crushed the Thief’s skull rather than keep the living/talking skull as a mentor and adopted the electrified floating sphere, naming it Sparky.

We hit the fast forward button a bit at the end, getting through the last bits of the dungeon; the interesting parts were already thoroughly mined. Moving forward, we’ll flesh out the Underground, Bastion and the Deep Country and I’ll make a map of some kind with notes on the unknown bits in between the explored areas until we have a kind of hex-crawly shaped thing to explore. But for now, just single shot adventures as the characters grow stranger and stranger and the world is filled with ancient religions, prog rock bands and dusklit dimensions just beyond a magical portal.

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

The Tomb of Annihilation’s Revenge 1: Return to Chult

The Tomb of Annihilation’s Revenge 1: Return to Chult

In which the Sigil 6 return to Port Nyanzaru.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

We discussed some shopping options and picked up matched Rings of Protection +2 with the Sigil 6 symbol on it. Yes, the group has matching rings. Items were bought and discussed and they spent down some of the fortunes they’ve accrued adventuring.

One thing was certain, they needed to go back and grab the lich’s soul jars their gnome friend, Dosk, picked up in looking over her scans of the tomb.

They went through a portal that took them directly to Port Nyanzaru and could feel the weight of the Death Curse was gone. The city was even more vital and full of energy now that death wasn’t hijacked.

There were more folk from the country and jungle in the city, people of different dressed and different makes of weapons and heraldry. It turned out that someone named Daacad was uniting the tribes to fight off the undead plague and some of Daacad’s folk were in the port to demand the Merchant Princes did their fair part to make Chult better.

Jusko had given their Ranger Guide, Tefnek some gold to purchase him an apartment. She got him an apartment made from a grounded ship, staked down on a black sand beach just outside the city. Jusko surfed and Tefnek suggested he stay and settle down but Jusko refused (I didn’t quite say, “Drew, do you want to retire this character?” but I came close).

The group got saddles on their pterodactyls and we ended a bit early there. We had some players missing and decided to start the journey back to Omu with more people at hand.

Drew:

Bugwump and Kuru discussing the merits and flaws of deliberately provoking interdimensional tears in the fabric of spacetime — as our opening scene — was pretty damn entertaining.

Trundle being interested in bringing back Omu to Chult was cool too — Trundle as a chosen of the gods trying to seek a solution involving gods, fun. Also the Incredible Hulk themesong for Trundle the Roadcursed was fun.

Anthony constantly CONSTANTLY brainstorming plans, side grifts, fallback plans, opportunities.. someone get him a job managing disasters somewhere, his brain is shockingly good at engineering solutions out of the detritus around him.

“Judd, did you engineer this bad guy or is he from some supplement?”

“Basically, what I did, was put a Demilch into an Iron Golem. Pretty simple.”

Bees bioengineer new queens. Whoa.

Bugwump hates flying, “I find this method of conveyance appalling.”

I kinda liked that the ship-apartment was the old Styx Boys boat. And that I got the old Slav out onto the water to get some night surfing in. Maybe the matchmakers will work some miracles. I thought about retiring him, but I think walking out on the S6 when they’re being hunted — plus having no idea what I’d play next — makes that hard right now.

Next Game: Into the jungle.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Goth Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/goth-collection
Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated, Session 3 – The Missing Mentor

Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated, Session 3 – The Missing Mentor

After more than a month away from the game, we eased back in, looking into a cold case, their mentor is missing.

The Lamordian House of Lords debated changing penal law so that any found guilty of a felony could have their body offered to science to better our understanding of the natural laws (inspired by the Bas Lag’s books’ ReMade).

Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated

Dungeons & Dragons

Weird Science,

Crime,

& Gothic fantasy!

Ripped from the 
pages of
Van Richten’s Guide to
Ravenloft

With Art by Storn A. Cook

Viktor and Talis dig into their unfinished caseload - a missing person and a burglary.

What became of their mentor, Mathias Vimmer?

Who burgled the University's hallowed laboratories?

Who hunts the streets of Ludendorf?
Private Eye but the eye is an eye.

Started the session on Warlock Cliff, a cliff-face just outside of Ludendorf where magic doesn’t work. When I started to describe it, Jeff and Storn jumped in, offering further details – fog coming in from the sea and a lighthouse below the cliffs, throwing light through that fog – a bell on a dinghy from somewhere in the waves. Good stuff.

They spoke with their mentors nemesis, Emil Enh, a corrupt constable who was arrested and thrown onto a prison hulk. The old villain was sick, with a bone-rattling chest cough and wanted them to take him into custody so he could help them look for their old mentor, Mathias Vimmer (our Commissioner Gordon).

They got 3 cases – a murder case involving a university student, a casefile from a man named Adam, who was currently serving on a Prison Hulk for Breaking and Entering, Assault and Illegal Possession of a Firearm and a missing person case about a young woman named Elise, who had been arrested in the past for thievery and body-snatching.

There was a fun series of scenes where the crew was trying to gain access to the Inspector General’s safe, the current Inspector General didn’t know it was there. We found ourselves butting heads with D&D a bit (more on this later).

In the end, they got some important files from cases Mathias was keeping, along with a pistol and knife from the war and a picture of his ex-husband.

Ravenloft Lore Icon (raven on a skull)

Viktor tracked down Dr. Lukas Kronecker who teaches (I hesitated, not sure what subject he taught and Storn said, “Pantheons Beyond the Borders.”) Mythography, allowing me to drop some St. Ezra lore.

It turned out, the ex-husband didn’t know anything and was bereft that he didn’t know where Mathias had gone. Viktor told him that they found a picture of them together in Mathias’ safe. When he left, Viktor could hear the Mythographer crying.

Talis took the pistol and knife to a Vistani woman, who could, at this point, only say that Mathias was not anywhere in Lamordia alive and if he was dead, his spirit was not restless. She would work to look beyond the borders but that would take time and resources.

DeKalb, the Tiefling from their last case, was out of work because of things they did. He was hired by the Kranev Investigative Guild and would be an administrative aide and added muscle when needed.

D&D 5e doesn’t seem to be helping us much in our goal of playing an investigative gothic fantasy buddy crime story. We’re discussing other options.

The End, with human/bat skeleton, wings fanned out.

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Planescape Tweener Planning Session

Planescape Tweener Planning Session

In which the Sigil 6 return to Sigil, do research, ask questions and make a plan.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

With their powers and resources dwindling, they ran like hell from the Tomb that Walks. It did not follow them into Sigil.

After weeks of brutal battle, it was lovely to take a moment and breathe a bit. Kuru visited the Head Administrative Clerk of Sigil, a subtle Hobbit lady who Kuru knows is Sigil’s Spymaster.

She gave him access to intercepted arcane messages sent between liches and their thoughts on Aborak. Established:

Liches are selfish jerks.

They are fascinated with Aborak and think the demilich likes being a bounty hunter in the depths of what is left of their dark soul.

Aborak’s Iron Golem has delayed blast fireball gems on its chest.

Demiliches can’t cast spells and Aborak has to pay necromancers and liches to gate around. The Lich-Queen often barters with them, trading lost Silver Swords and runaways for money. The Githyanki Lich-Queen is the Tomb that Walks’ bank.

NOTE/OATH: If we don’t have a heist on the city of Tu’narath, I’ll have considered this campaign and my entire gaming career a net loss.

They asked their Gnomish Artificer friend, Dosk, questions about demiliches but she didn’t have much to give them but their questions made her go back and look over her scans she took in Chult under the Lost City of Omu. She pointed out to them that there were clearly lich-soul-jars (trying to get away from the term, phylactery in support of fellow Jews who detest its use in this manner).

They are returning to Chult to grab them.

Their Drider handler, Quarace, is going to head to the Radiant Citadel to set up shop so the Outlands Expedition Teams and the Shieldbearers can talk shop and trade techniques.

The Sigil 6
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel
Session 1: Cool Ass Title

Failed Soldier met up with a necromancer corpseflea called Failed Lich, who mentioned that his name didn’t seem to encompass his actions and Failed Soldier (Flodier for short) gave a humble answer.

Then they met up with the Corpseflea Librarian who was meeting with a Harlequin-garbed Corpseflea Bard who suggested their species should hold their lore in poetry and song. The Librarian also suggested that Failed Soldier’s name didn’t seem to encompass them.

“I want something about guiding souls to where they belong, helping them on their way…I’m not sure.”

“What about Shepherd?”

I think Failed Soldier has a new name…

Jusko feasted the Holy Order of Ioun and asked the holy eldritch knights who ride tenser’s discs, to watch out for the Sigil 6’s friends and family. We said cool shit about how adventuring comrades become friends and then something like family and then something more than family. It was good shit.

They are going back to Chult, apparently Jusko has an apartment there. Then we’re off to the Radiant Citadel.

Next Game:

PIC: Acererak's green gem eyes looking over the Lost City of Omu

TEXT: The Tomb of Annihilation's Revenge
Sigil 6 Subject Divider

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Goth Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/goth-collection
The Dragon Deal with Troika!

The Dragon Deal with Troika!

Played tonight despite everyone being a bit low energy but still, we played and finished up the Sword Temple and established a cool next adventure. We’ve got another game on the calendar for next week but agreed that we’d ditch the game in favor of some social bonfire enjoyment if the weather is nice, not wanting to squander these last days of summer. We are treading dangerously close to having a weekly game on our hands if we aren’t careful.

PIC: Red dragon eye with scaly eye ridge. Don't tell anyone it is an alligator with red and blank radiant gradient over it.

TEXT: The Dragon Deal with Troika!

The artifact that they use to traverse the worlds is a Wind Throne and it has a dot matrix printer that prints out all of their maps for them. I like having a map on the table to draw on and give everyone a sense of place. I edit out secret doors. Dyson Logos maps are too good not to share. I made a basement map, where the dragon is sleeping and where its treasure used to be. When one of the monks was asked where the dragon’s treasure was, he said it was in a bank. The floor of the lair was largely empty with only the dragon’s three favorite swords on stands near where it sleeps.

We returned to the game right where we left off, with disarmed sword-monks on one side and vengeful children on the other. A dead sword-monk was nearby, his face decimated by the nunslinger’s laser pistol. The children wanted the dragon dead for destroying their village. Sister Falconius was cutting a new notch into the pistol’s grip in remembrance the kill.

Mental Note: I should have the old 2d6 Moldvay reaction table on hand for when I’m just not sure how NPC’s will react and no skills work.

I read the amazing description of the dragon to the table from the Troika! book and shared the cool art too. The knew the dragon would likely kill them. The vengeful children were grabbing swords off the wall and debating about which one is the best dragonslaying sword.

Sister Falconius talked to the children, urging them to go outside and wait for them to flush the dragon out to them and told the monks to bar the doors and not beat anymore children. Then, Mallory cut a deal with the dragon. In flattering and flowery turns of phrase, Mallory asked that the dragon (“Lord Dragon is fine.”) never harm the village again and in return, they would do something for the dragon.

The dragon asked the nunslinger about the fresh notch on her pistol and she said something poignant about not only doing it to warn off would-be aggressors but to remember the violence she’s done.

They agreed to retrieve a sword from a king who slayed one of the dragon’s kin. This dragonslaying king stole a flame brand blade meant for a dragon’s own champion. In return, the dragon would not go near the village as long as one of the children still lived – as long as none ever entered the temple again.

When this was explained to the vengeful children, they complained that it wasn’t fair. In the end, I had them go home but I think we’ll see them again.

Science Fantasy Sword Subject Divider

Now I’m daydreaming about a city ruled by a dragonslaying king. Slaga means slayer and cwealmdréor is blood shed in death in Old English.

https://dysonlogos.blog/2020/10/19/marpenoth-river-city/

I’ll fill the blanks below with character options from Troika!’s d66 chargen tables, using those character options as factions. I’ll probably roll or choose on the game day.

The Slayer King took the throne when the Wizard-King never returned, killed in the attempt to slay the dragon.

The Slayer King took the throne and holds on to his power with the zealous backing of the _____________________________.

The Slayer King is dangerously close to losing the support of the _____________________________.

Across the channel, a monarch trained originally as a _____________________________ watches for signs of weakness in Slaga.

Science Fantasy Sword Subject Divider

Wind Throners,

The Slayer King is a difficult man to see. You’ve all been in the city of Slaga for a month now.

What is your favorite part of life in Slaga?

Does anyone get a job or do you crash in barns outside of Slaga’s walls, trading a roof for a hard day’s choring?

Does anyone fall in with the wrong sort?

Does anyone fall in love?

Does anyone grow up a bit? How does this maturity manifest?

Who seeks out what kind of training?

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Science Fiction Collection
scifi Truesword
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction
Gloomwrought: City of Midnight, Session 4, LOOK UPON ABORAZ AND DESPAIR!

Gloomwrought: City of Midnight, Session 4, LOOK UPON ABORAZ AND DESPAIR!

The usual Gloomwrought: City of Midnight title card, session 4 but with the text in obnoxious red in a glitch-font - LOOK UPON ABORAZ AND DESPAIR
Gloomwrought: City of Midnight / Session 3 / The Second Wave

In which the Sigil 6 survive their first encounter with Aboraz, the Living Tomb, the Skull that Walks.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Aboraz landed, crushing the stone beneath his feet. He taunted the Sigil 6 in ALL CAPS. The party hated him.

I made some Aboraz houserules. Aboraz slowly imposes Lair status on any battlefield where he strides. I rolled a d6 for his 3 main Lair actions and he’d get access to those lair access when they came up.

We use the bingo chips from our XP Bingo Board as Inspiration. Helewynn and Trundle blew through a ton of inspiration avoiding the Demilich’s Howl, which would have taken them to 0 hit points. So, they were standing but were terrified of the next Howl, not knowing I had rolled and the power had failed to re-charge.

Without any rests, they were diminished and had fewer powers to choose from. When Aboraz Life Drained those in melee with him and the Iron Golem he is encased in, he healed himself of the damage they had managed to do for the first few rounds. Morale was not high.

Bugwump threatened to break the Staff of the Forgotten One, which might have very well destroyed everyone, including the Tomb that Walks. Aboraz was willing to bargain, “CHOOSE WHO AMONGST YOU WILL STAY AND DIE. THE REST MAY LEAVE WHILE I COLLECT MY BOUNTY ON YOUR COMRADE.” They didn’t go for that. Bugwump Dimension Door’ed out, trying to bring Jusko with him but the stubborn old fighter refused to leave just yet.

Trundle used his newfound power from the God of Gates and Portals to grant his comrades increased movement and they ran for it after Failed Soldier kept folks up with a healing spell. Aboraz’s Iron Golem tried to grapple Jusko but rolled a 1 and so they all got away.

I checked in, making sure it was a villain they loved to hate and not just a villain they hated for real. Everyone was having fun. Cool, cool. We’ll start from the guarded gate back to Sigil next week.

DM’s Notes: I’m glad that fight is over. Y’know, I think waves upon waves of enemies is what I’m supposed to be doing for every 5e combat. Oy.

Next Game: I have no idea.

Drew’s comments:

Other highlights: Petty wizard digs between Bugwump and the mechalich: “Something something and your aesthetically unappealing golem chasis.” ML: “AESTHETICALLY UNAPPEALING, YOU HAVE HURT MY FEELINGS. IT IS ALL YOU WILL HURT.”

Judd’s portrayal was amazing – Like a robot luchador moonlighting as a carnival barker. Super irritating, and funny.

Bugwumps signature black hole failed – oh shiz!

The backchannel chatroom: “Someone text Jesse NOOOWWWWWW”

Hellewynn was dropping damage in the 20s tonight, holy crap. Always give the barbarian the lightsaber, folks.

The fact this thing brings lair actions to every party is a problem.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Goth Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/goth-collection
Solving Problems with Swords, Necromancy & Laser Pistols ala Troika!

Solving Problems with Swords, Necromancy & Laser Pistols ala Troika!

We played our first game in June, so it was a bit hazy. Luckily, it was a good stopping point, jumping to another world aboard an artifact throne. I asked folks to remember moments where they felt their character come forward and that led to a fun discussion about things we did in the last session.

Solving Problems with Swords, Necromancy & Laser Pistols with Troika!

We ended on the Throne of Air, with young Mallory, a runaway squire from a Temple of Telak (“No, it is tel-AK.”) the Swordbringer asking the artifact to bring them somewhere cool. I said that we’d start the game at the Temple of Ten Thousand Swords but I think there is an adventure with that name already, so in an ancient tongue, ten thousand is shorthand for, more swords than is reasonable to count. Many.

A nameless Necromancer with a co-dependent ghost named Rory, a Nunslinger named Sister Falconius Silvanus and Adamson ‘The Kraken’ Mallory, runaway temple knight of Telak the Swordbringer found themselves in a mountain range, near a temple. Mallory could tell it was a Telakite temple but something seemed off.

Tech Sword Subject Divider

The Prep

Last time we played I rolled dice and inserted factions based on the d66 character types but this time I knew I wanted a temple to Telak the Swordbringer but with a dragon sleeping in it. When I opened the book to look over some rules, I found the Vengeful Child character type. Instead of making a mad libs and rolling dice, I wrote:

Vengeful Children are running amok, wanting to kill the dragon and avenge the burning and pillaging of their town.

BLANK has a spy among the Telakite Monks.

Telakite Sword-Monks are trying to avert the dragons’ wrathful awakening.

I grabbed a map from the amazing Dyson Logos and did a touch of editing. More on editing next time, we ended this session in the midst of some Big Decisions. When we sat down, I filled in the BLANK and it fit into the story whole mess perfectly.

I knew I’d need to make swords and so I made three tables.

SWORDS! Type
1 Longsword
2 Gladius
3 Katana
4 Rapier
5 Saber
6 Two-Hander
SWORDS! Magic
1 Runes
2 Star-Metal
3 Tech
4 Blessing
5 Elemental 
6 Spell
SWORDS! Purpose
1 War
2 Fashion
3 Dueling
4 Executions
5 Slaying
6 Ornamental

Shit, do I now need a table of elements? Sure. Do I need two tables of elements? Yes.

Elements
1 Fire
2 Earth
3 Water
4 Air
5 See Strange
6 See Strange
Elements, Strange
1 Ice
2 Smoke
3 Mirrors
4 Magma
5 Steam
6 Black Hole

These were dropped into a pretty format for the blog but were just jotted down into my notebook quickly so that I could get this thing down in hopes of getting in a workout and a shower before the game (I got both in!).

I only used the tables once during the game. When they met their first vengeful child, I decided that he had grabbed a sword off the wall and rolled. I got a katana that I called Spring Blossoms on the Wall. Later in the game, when Mallory would use this magical katana to try to thwart a 13 year old girl with a longsword from stabbing the abbot, he’d fail his roll. I asked if he wanted to Try His Luck and see if he could activate the sword’s arcane power. He declined, not wanting to hurt her by accident, which I really liked – felt like a soulful, very real reaction.

Tech Sword Subject Divider

The Characters

The posse we’ve made are in their teens and early twenties and they feel very young. We laugh a whole lot at their shenanigans but it isn’t goofy. There is an emotional core there that I dig. Sister Falconius is a kind of old, cool sister with a laser pistol. The Necromancer without a name who is in an unhealthy relationship with a ghost feels so very much like a young woman before she comes into her own. Mallory is the teenage boy who wants to see the dragon, even though it might spell death for the entire party, because its cool. He carries around swords and has spent his life worshipping a sword-god but isn’t good at swordplay.

They are a hot mess and I adore these teens. Will we see them grow up? Will they survive?

Even without dragons, how did any of us survive those decades growing up?

Tech Sword Subject Divider

Dice

For whatever reason, I don’t like the roll under option and use the versus roll for everything. I need to think through what exactly I’m doing when I do that and write that down.

As the game began, I wasn’t sure how the Vengeful Children were doing as they tore through the Temple. I rolled 2d6 for the Sword-Monks and another 2d6 for the Vengeful Children. It was clear that the Sword-Monks had the upper hand and so the game began with a few monks tossing out a bruised and battered kid. I used those numbers I initially rolled for the first few conflicts where the characters tried to use their skills to get some kind of upper hand.

At one point, Sister Falconius tried to kneecap a Sword-Monk and failed the roll. A miss felt wrong. She shot the monk in the head, killing them instantly and accidentally. The monks dropped their staves and put their hands up after that but I feel like we’ll need to see a consequence of that death at some point. I’ve got ideas. I want failed rolls with firearms to be messy affairs.

Tech Sword Subject Divider

Next Time…

This is what happens when you send teens out into the worlds with only laser pistols, swords and necromancy to solve their problems but they also have tools, right out of the Troika! chargen that are better suited for solving actual problems – skills like Awareness, Etiquette and Relationship Counseling.

When we left the group, they had the vengeful children and the Sword-Monks rounded up. The abbot had been stabbed by a child. The six-step countdown clock for the dragon waking up had a few ticks on it. As always, I have no idea where this is going.

After our next game I’ll write about how this mess resolved and will also peel back the curtain more on the prep without worrying about spoiling any sense of mystery for friends at the table.

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Science Fiction Collection
scifi Truesword
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction
6 – Time, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

6 – Time, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

I didn’t sleep last night, so when we got together to game, my prep wasn’t where I wanted it to be for a return to the Roots of Old Kalduhr. I grabbed Attack of the Phase Spider, definitely the strangest adventure I have written. Reading about the False Hydra, I see that the concepts have something in common, though the False Hydra stuff goes a bit further than I’m comfortable with in blurring in and out of game.

https://trophyrpg.com/

Lots of cool stuff happened but I want to playtest Attack of the Phase Spider and don’t want to spoil it. In the end we discovered that Aaron is not a fan of time travel stories but for a meal he wasn’t wild about, it was a fun game.

As written now I feel like this adventure’s text is a hammer to traumatize one’s friends. It needs a ferocious re-write but there is a good idea in there that I can’t wait to get right.

We had a character hit 6 Ruin (but pulled it back with clever temporal magic problem solving). I love the rules for hitting 6 Ruin as they are written and wish there were more games where we had moments for folks to step up and co-GM a bit. I feel much less nervous about a character dying now. Now I want full rules for players stepping up and running an incursion for when their character becomes a monster and shacks up in a dungeon and starts eating folks.

When this adventure is working, it should use the characters’ backgrounds to create a surreal otherworld, blend character’s histories together in confusing and interesting ways and confront parts of characters’ past while thinking a bit about the future (something the desperately in-debt treasure hunters rarely have time to do). As it is, I think I managed to do that but the text isn’t helpful just yet. Still, a good first step.

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a
Devil's Bargain with a scary black and white stag with a flame above its head between its horns.

Devil’s Bargains from this session:

If Baso goes to 6 Ruin he’ll become a Temporal Monster of some kind…

What is a Devil’s Bargain, you ask? From the book:

Treasure-hunters laugh at danger, fueled by the folly of their pride. But failure nips at their heels, waiting
for the perfect moment to strike. When you gather dice to make a Risk Roll, the gm or any other player
can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain from them. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

Causing collateral damage or unintended harm 

Getting lost or separated from your companions

Sacrificing an item or piece of treasure

Betraying a fellow treasure-hunter
Attracting unwanted attention

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die. The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it).

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their treasure-hunter. You may only offer and accept Devil’s Bargains when making a Risk Roll.
https://trophyrpg.com/
Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.

Bestiary

Phase Spider – shit, I named it in the title.

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a

Takeaways: I need to re-write this adventure but there is something good in there.

Ready for Next Week: Re-read the Roots of Old Kalduhr and daydream about the delve and Fort Duhrin and the refugees from Wellslode a bit.

More?

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

This session was played via Zoom on 7/15/22

Gloomwrought: City of Midnight, Session 3, The Second Wave

Gloomwrought: City of Midnight, Session 3, The Second Wave

Gloomwrought: City of Midnight / Session 3 / The Second Wave
Gloomwrought: City of Midnight / Session 3 / The Second Wave

In which the Sigil 6 loot the vault of the late vampire gang, kill the last surviving vampire, stuff 2 vampire spawn accountants in a bag of holding and face Innistradi Vampire Assassins.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Tearle, last of the vampire criminal syndicate known as the Barovian Sabbat died on his knees. His last words were, “Get on with it, motherfu-” as Helewynn beheaded him with the same blade she used to kill Strahd. He had said, “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Who are you to be so eager to deal out death in judgement.”

“We’re the Sigil 6, motherfucker.”

In one of the most prudent moves in the campaign, they stuffed vampire spawn accountants (Salem and Star, which upon reading it even SOUNDS like an undead accounting firm) in their bag of holding, hoping to utilize their skills as wealth managers once they are safely at home in Sigil.

Kuru threw water on the rats as he hit them with a wand of lightning bolts. Thought that was fun. He did a sleight of hand in order to not catch his friends in the lightning’ed water.

The Innistradi Vampire Assassins struck from the shadows and as many opponents do, they struck hard but the Sigil 6 weathered that initial storm and hit back. The trio of assassins (Opal, Liam and Lucius), who I pictured as a throuple, turned to mist once the first of them took 109 points of damage and get out of the vault.

In the quiet of the battlefield, as all vampires were mist and the rat swarm was dispersed, dirt fell from the vault’s ceiling as an iron golem with a demilich in its chest stomped its way to the well-entryway to the vault and crashed into view.

I AM ABORAZ, THE STRIDING SKULL, THE TOMB THAT WALKS. DO NOT SURRENDER! I WISH TO LEARN ALL I CAN FROM DEFEATING YOU ALL IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE.”

DM’s Notes: This will be the third week of fighting but I feel like we still get role-playing in, which is fun. Why is Helewynn afraid of rats?

I need to make a wealth sheet for the loot picked up here (like the one I did for the Ravenloft fortune).

Next Game: Another fight. Why not?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

If you would like to get an email notification when blog posts are published, please subscribe below:

Goth Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/goth-collection
Gloomwrought: City of Midnight, Session 2, Killing Rahadin

Gloomwrought: City of Midnight, Session 2, Killing Rahadin

Gloomwrought: City of Midnight

Session 2: Killing Rahadin
Gloomwrought: City of Midnight / Session 2 / Killing Rahadin

In which the Sigil 6 kill Rahadin and most of her vampire gang that has terrorized the streets of Gloomwrought since Strahd’s curse was lifted.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

We got a late start, so the game was half a dozen or so rounds of combat.

In the first moments of the battle, Jusko held himself in reserve and took stock. He noticed that someone was watching the battle. He saw the arcane eye that is made when someone is scrying.

Failed Soldier changed the fight with a Daylight spell that decimated the 3 vampires, causing one to flee, another to get caught and another to get separated and eventually killed by Jusko, Helewynn and Kuru. I rolled a 1 on ANOTHER vampire bite. These undead fools love to chip their teeth on Sigil 6 armor; this time it was grappled with Jusko but couldn’t get a taste of his blood.

Failed Soldier’s Blight spell killed Rahadin, who was locked in battle with her rival, Helewynn. Strahd’s red right hand was dead and the Sigil 6’s ending of the Curse of Strahd is complete.

Trundle laid into a group of vampire spawn who were near dead and seemed to drop one with every swing of his flamebrand.

Bugwump’s fireballs were also game-changers. He spent the combat under the aegis of a Greater Invisibility. Rahadin hit him with a lucky shot in the first round or so with a poisoned dart.

Late in the fight, he vampire spawn were sent to kill Failed Soldier, wanting to end the Daylight spell. For one round they surrounded him and just could barely touch him. One Vampire Spawn rolled two 1’s on their two attacks. Based on this I decided these were undead accountants, counting money in the vault of this vampiric gang. The last 2 vampire spawn left surrendered and one vampire is still in an arcane prison circle.

DM’s Notes: I’m not wild about D&D combats. It felt like there weren’t enough fun environmental toys for the players to mess around with in the vaults. I’ll think on that moving forward.

Next Game: What will they do with their undead prisoners? Who is watching them? What now? Surely none of this has anything to do with the vampire assassins they know are after them, sent from Innistrad.

Surely…

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Lich Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/the-lich-collection