Archive for the ‘Game Summations’ Category

On riddles…

So, during the last game session, my players got to face down the old standby of all DM’s.  No, not orcs with grenade launchers.  Riddles.  So, for the pleasure of my audience, I thought I would post those riddles here.  And so, here we go.

1. What king can you make if you combine the head of a lamb, the middle of a pig, the hind of a
buffalo, and the tail of a dragon?

2. At night they come without being fetched.  By day they are lost without being stolen.

3. A woman has seven children, and half of them are boys.  How is this possible?

4. I weaken great men for hours each day.
I show them strange visions while held in my sway.
I take them each night, although the day takes them back.
None suffer to have me, but do from my lack.

5.  A man walks over, a man walks under
in times of war he tears asunder.

6. A beating drum useless bereft
of a twisting river mired in flesh.
The two note song its beating sounds,
leads an endless dance around and around.

7. I have six sisters, don’t doubt that I do.
The oldest named so for all the books she perused.
The next in line was given the name of a fruit.
The third is easily frightened, a cowardly lass.
After her, the next loves to lay about in the grass.
The fifth suffers sadness that never shall pass.
The only sister younger than me,
Is frequently found with royal company.
Sometimes we all meet, after it’s rained.
So tell me my friend, can you guess my name?   

8. Three of one and one of another,
four from a sister and one from a mother.
Take away two when you visit the Hells,
and tell me out loud what your plundering spells.

Now, I feel it important to point out the context here.  While breaking into a museum, the PC’s stumbled across a cunning trap.  The box which held the keys to the exhibits (and thus the loot) was guarded by a summoned demon.  (Technically, it was a yugoloth, but hellspawn don’t deserve political correctness.)  The trigger that summoned the demon also summoned a Prismatic Sphere around the box.  As a failsafe, the demon was under instructions to test the intelligence of anyone trying to get the keys (the rationale being that a museum curator would be able to answer the demon’s riddles, while thieves would not).  Each correct question removed a layer of the sphere, and the final question would compel the demon to banish itself.  However, whomever placed the trap did not think to give the demon a specific set of riddles.  Hence the last one, which is a bit of a cheat.  (Since answering it fulfilled the demon’s instructions, as well as giving it a new instruction that it would be only too willing to carry out.)

Oh, and for those of you who need them, here are the answers: (highlight to read)

1. A lion. (The king of the jungle.)
2. Stars. (Dreams would also have been acceptable.)
3. All of them are boys.
4. Sleep.
5. A bridge.
6. A heart.
7. Indigo. (The sisters in the riddle refer to the colors of the rainbow.)
8. Eat me.

I kind of thought that the seventh riddle might be a little bit obvious given the Prismatic Sphere, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  The first five riddles are not mine, so I can’t take credit for them.  The last three, however, I made up myself.  I like writing riddles, and if I am guilty of anything as a GM, it is shoehorning them into my game.


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Game 8

So the eighth game is completo, and my loving and adoring girlfriend has posted her synopsis on her blog here.

To sum up, my girlfriend linked up with Julium.  The two of them followed up a lead to the drug dealers in Devies, only to be bushwacked by the drug dealer, Krislos.  After dealing with him, the two of them followed his information to a meeting between two mercenaries hired by Krislos, and the servants of those who were producing the narcotics.

After defeating them, they discovered the drug producers were in fact fiendish myconids, spawned by a half-demon myconid sovereign named Mushroostopheles.  (Yes, that was his actual name.  Burn in hell haters, I did that joke just for me…)  They rounded up the last of the natural myconids and went to engage the fiendish ones.  After slaughtering the fiendish myconids, they engaged Mushroostopheles, but were in turn engaged by his financial backer, a young adult black dragon named Vuthalitrix.  (Draconic for ‘Black Armor’)

Retreating from a losing battle, they managed to lose Vuthalitrix by charging through an area rumored to be the territory of an ancient dragon of indeterminate breed.  They arrived back in Stilldale and raised the alarm, summoning their other friends.

Eventually Vuthalitrix did arrive, with Mushroostopheles in tow.  The mushroom demon attacked the graveyard, in order to use his animation spores to create some shock troops.  Natalia and Roan engaged and killed the demon king, while Vuthalitrix used the opportunity to attack the gathered townspeople.

Natalia and Roan returned and slew the black dragon, with Raelan delivering the final blow.  The next day they went to the dragon’s lair and looted the dragon’s hoard, leaving the lair in the posession of the few natural myconids who had survived.

Finally, Natalia returned to her tree, only to find Sorval lurking in wait for her.  One Geas/Quest spell later, Natalia finds out that Sorval intends to use her to kill Raelan.  And that’s where we called game.

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  So when my girlfriend, Spring, first suggested that I run a D&D game just for her, I was suspicious.  That special kind of suspicion born from being offered something too good to be true.  So, like a homeless man being handed a hundred dollar bill, I regarded the whole affair with some trepidation.

  But fortunately, I was not dragged into the back of the metaphorical limo only to be robbed of my kidneys and left in a hotel bathtub filled with ice.  It seems that my lovely and understanding girlfriend was seeking a greater knowledge of this hobby that I have so much love for.  Since she is a shy sort, who has misgivings about any sort of performance in front of others, she wanted to do it as a one-on-one game.

   Now, I have experience running a game for only one person.  My good buddy P-Mac (real name withheld) used to work midnights at the desk at a seedy hotel.  Since I was working odd hours at the time, I frequently hung out with him for hours at a time.  Often, we would play some kind of rpg, usually D&D.  So I at least have some concept of the difficulties inherent in a one player game.

 The difficulties are far outweighed by the ease of work, however.  A one person game is easier by far.  Probably due to the fact that I only have to factor in one player’s reactions, one player’s difficulties, and one player’s goals/desires.  The only real difficulty you face in running such a game is that you only have one player facing off with monsters who were designed for 4-6.  But that’s okay.  My girl decided to play a druid.  The multiple animal companions will help her, I think.

   So, enter into the world Natalia: a young woman of the human persuasion.  My girl even wrote a background.  (Well, not wrote, more came up with and told me one day in the car, but its way more effort than I usually get from some of my veteran players, so I’m not complaining.)  Natalia, it seems, grew up in a super religious home, and faced with the pressures of an extremely organized religion and oppressively religious parents, decided to flee into the wilderness to seek the divinity therein.  This even allowed me to help her select a deity.

     A little bit about the world: Natalia lives in a world called Valt.  It is a world of my own design.  The particular corner of the world that Natalia lives in is known as the Stillwood.  The Stillwood is a small section of the Derrikol Forest, which is bordered at its far northern end by the North Sea, and at its far southern end by the Derrikol mountains (across which lie the desert nation of Cadram) stretching for a large distance in between.  To the west of the Stillwood lies the small town of Stilldale, and civilized Numbrar.  To the east lies ever densening forest, the Derrikol river, and even more forest.  At some point to the east the forests give way to swamps, and eventually to a mixture of rocky, treacherous mountains, deserted forests, fetid marshes, and sandy badlands, collectively called the Wasted Lands.

     Showing an immediate nesting instinct, my girlfriend defies decades of gaming history and goes looking for someplace to live rather than any monsters to kill or unattended valuables to appropriate.  Tragically, beginner’s luck does not apply to her first few Wilderness Lore rolls, and Natalia winds up alone in the wilderness in the rain.  Or rather, with her wolf, in the wilderness, in the rain.

     Natalia’s stoic companion throughout all of this is her wolf, Beta.  Spring defiantly tells me she wants Beta to be gray.  Because, as she says, “Wolves are gray.”  I tell her that the wolves native to this part of the world are a reddish brown in color, or sometimes black.  She tells me that Beta is gray.  She has that look in her eyes that same look in her eyes she gets when I start thinking about mounting a dead animal on the wall, so I agree that Beta is indeed gray, and make a note that Natalia has fled a long way from home to be in the Stillwood.

     Natalia’s first night is marred by her introduction to Alesander, a werewolf who lives alone in a cave.  After a brief exchange in which Alesander thinks he might get lucky, Natalia leaves.  She also spends her first night in the Stillwood cold, hungry, and huddling in a wet muddy hole in the ground.  Ah well, nowhere to go but up!  (A friend of mine used to say that most games started you off with very little and allowed you to earn supremacy.  He preferred to force players to start with absolutely nothing and force them to claw their way to mediocrity.  It seems I have unwittingly learnt the lesson a bit too well…)

     But on the next day, Natalia manages to find what will be her eventual shelter.  A group of trees that have grown together, perfect for building an elven-style house in the trees.  Yay Natalia!  She also runs into a local druid by the name of Virbiene, who Spring immediately dislikes for being ‘creepy.’  However, Virbiene’s ability to cast 4th level spells and the presence of her rough-looking gnomish ranger ally place her squarely in the ‘too tough to handle’ category.  A brief conversation with Virbiene nets Natalia the knowledge that within the Derrikol Forest, territory is an important thing.  And Natalia’s treehouse is squarely within Alesander’s.  She also brings Natalia up to speed on the whole oh-did-you-know-he’s-a-werewolf thing.

     Inspired by something Virbiene passingly mentioned, Natalia treks north, to the large metropolis of Devies, to converse with a wizard who lives on the shores of the lake near the town.  The wizard, an apprentice whose master had died, has inherited his master’s tower and belongings.  He happily agrees to help Natalia out with her werewolf problem.  He and Natalia journey south and do epic battle with the werewolf. (to be more accurate, they lure him out of his cave and jump him like a schoolyard beatdown)  Raelan, the wizard, skins Alesander to make a cloak of his hide.

     As she continues trying to build her treehouse, Natalia eventually meets Julium, a noble from Numbrar who has sequestered himself in the woods in order to better understand himself so that he might be a better leader of men.  With Julium’s help, Natalia clears out most of the lingering monsters in her section of the Stillwood.  While travelling with Julium, Natalia encounters Roan, a cleric held against her will by several hobgoblins.  Natalia takes Roan back to Stilldale to settle in with the church there.

     The final companion that Natalia meets is Grugor, a half orc barbarian.  Spring likes Grugor the best out of my NPC’s.  This might be becuase of their similarites: they have both left homes where they didn’t fit in, (for Grugor this was a tribe of orcs) they both just want to settle down and keep to themselves, and they both like the forest the way it is: undisturbed and natural.  It also might be because he has a stupid-yet-sweet way about him, or it might be because he hits like a fuckin’ hoss in combat.  (1d12+9 for melee damage at 2nd level!  Suck it!)

    Natalia is soon off on her first adventure, as it seems that Grugor has come down from the mountains seeking his human mother.  He had heard that she came to his tribe to learn their ways, but was imprisoned, raped, and managed (somehow) to escape.  Before meeting Natalia, Grugor had gone to the town of Stilldale, only to be beaten and run out of town.  Matters are complicated further when a bounty hunter arrives, bearing a warrant from Stilldale for Grugor’s arrest.

     After killing the bounty hunter, the two adventurers return to Stilldale to clear Grugor’s name, only to be arrested.  While imprisoned, Natalia is confronted by the Lord Mayor Renger and his wife, who is unarguably Grugor’s mother!  What’s more, it became apparent that she is holding some manner of sorcerous hold over her husband.

     In short order, Natalia arranges a daring prison break, and she and Grugor go to the Lord Mayor’s manor to argue their case.  (And by argue their case, I mean chop his wife into cat food) After a pitched battle, the Lady Renger lay dead, and the Lord Renger filled Natalia in on the pieces of the story she was missing.   Shortly after Grugor left town, the Lord Renger’s daughter vanished.  Lady Renger blamed the disappearance on Grugor, in order to get rid of her half son, who may have become an inconvenience to her at a later date.

     The two agree to go and find Allista Renger (Lord Renger’s daughter) and set off.  The confront a graveyard guardian and manage to find out what happened to Allista: she was kidnapped by strange creatures.  After doing some research, Natalia discovered that the creatures were extraplanar monsters known as Gith.  Later she would learn of the two races of Gith, as well as their war.  They manage to discover that the Gith took Allista because she is a psionicist, and on the rare occasion Gith travel to the Material Plane, they do so to kidnap mortal psionicists. (which is why psionic characters are so extremely rare as to be unavailable as PC’s)

     Gathering together Raelan and Grugor, Natalia follows the Gith through an ancient portal concealed in the mountains to a monastery on the astral plane, where the Githzerai who kidnapped Allista were preparing to extract her psionic energy (along with her brain, and her life) in order to power the ancient artifact that kept the Githyanki from killing them.  The temple came under siege during their rescue attempt, and the adventurous trio were forced to flee with the monastery collapsing behind them.

     More adventure looms on the horizon, however.  The circle of druids which live to the north of Natalia threaten war with the civilized people of Devies (a large metropolis and trading hub) and Natalia struggles to find a way to find out more about their plans.  One of Raelan’s master’s former apprentices seeks to kill him and take all that he has.  Natalia has discovered that she shares her home range with an ancient green dragon.  Julium seeks to reunite the fractured empire of Numbrar.

     In a world where good is an impossible ideal to maintain, and evil is all too willing to claim the unwary, can one girl maintain her freedom and her morals?  Or will she be swept away into a cause larger than herself, and a story not of her making?  Stay tuned to find out.

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