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Slumbering Tsar #9: Drain the Swamp!

In a missing chapter of our tale, the party entered the tower on top of the central fortress and fought an iron devil and a mechanical construct wearing a human’s skin but with an array of flensing blades in its chest. They also found a statue with an overwhelming magical aura… an artifact? (More on that later.) -GM

6th day of Sarenith, 4717 AR

There was another hideous mummy standing unnervingly still next to the entrance…

Destroying the iron devil and machine had taken a considerable amount of our strength. We were too tired to charge the central guard tower and vanquish the sinister creator of all these nonliving guards, but we weren’t tired enough to go back to the camp and rest. After some thought, we decided to explore a presumably less dangerous entrance to the city: the sunken, swampy northeast gate.

There were two immense towers guarding the oxidized gate. One seemed to be mostly intact, but the other had fallen halfway into the bog. It looked as if whatever made the area sink didn’t happen until after Tsar’s citizens made the place perfectly suited to a flat, dry climate. A pool of swampy water separated us from the northern tower, but luckily there was a functioning boat on the shore. It looked more like a weird triangle than a boat, but we knew it was a boat because it was labeled as such, in large capital letters.

As we boarded the small vessel, we noticed several lights hovering above the pool. I threw a rock at one of them to show the insignificant photons that they were no match for us. The light flew toward me and exploded. How rude. I would have given the remaining lights a lesson on etiquette if a bunch of hideous mud mummies hadn’t ambushed us.

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Rappan Athuk #48: Boxed In!

The party, undeterred, returns to confront The Master and his court. (-GM)

8th day of Lamashan, 4718 AR

Greetings, Travelers! You will find these lost documents if you continue on the way our party has walked before you. They will tell you about what are adventures were like and give a summary of the creatures we fought.

So now that I seem to be stuck in this box of force above the party, I may as well record with magic writing (to write very fast) about what has happened so far this second run in the Cavern of Lava. I am Deckard Cain, new to this party as of a month ago. I came in search of new revelations about my mystery type, fire. And when that Paladin Valestar (Who is sitting on his golden toilet right now) told me that the party was currently in a cavern filled with fire and lava, I had to agree to join them.

Anyway, after our first run with 2 deaths (Arthritic Slaver and Shia) and a dead companion (Arvnevurr), we teleported back to the house and resurrected Shia and Arthritic and waited for a new companion a month later. Shia crafted a Banner of Ancient Kings, which gives us morale boosts on our actions.

Everyone but Valestar teleported back in ready for a fight, facing the room of the last battle when I saw 10 or so regular salamanders behind us back in the cavern slithering around who had not yet noticed us somehow.

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Stoneheart Dungeon #5: It’s All About Meme

(Meme is pronounced “me me”)

In an unwritten chapter, the party was almost slain by followers of Orcus who “cleansed” the temple of trespassers (i.e., the party). The party survived only due to the loyalty and hooves of their steeds. The next chapter was boring as they fought some spiders while camping and then decided to play a board game. Hannibal left the party and a new necromancer joins the adventure. She continues the story…(-GM)

24th day of Sarenith, 4717 AR

As the party returned to the town of Taverland, they met the Mighty Meme. When they decided to go in the wilderness together, we found a few Orcus cultists and skeletons. While the party ran away and hid, the Mighty Meme came charging into battle against the two cultists with a terrifying grin on her face. The Mighty Meme pulled out her holy symbol and possessed one of the undead minions, then ran away with pride and almost died.

When the party left town, we met a guard named Imril. Then Meme decided to get busy with Imril because he had 2 attacks per round. Later that day the party decided to go hunting for corpses (or make them –GM).

We decided to go up to the foothills and sleep for the night, but we ended up being attacked by 2 wyverns who attacked Meme’s horse, and I admit they had a lot of balls to do some crap like that and one wyvern was struck down by Meme’s horse. At the end of the fight, the party had won the ball-busting battle against the wyverns and Meme courageously scraped of the flesh and scales off of the wyverns and put the skeletons in her brand new cart along with her two body guards Super Skelly and To Be Determined.

-Meme (Zach)

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Eagle One, vanaran zen-archer monk 4
Fabrizio Moretti, tiefling alchemist 4
Groominator the Great, goblin rogue 4
Isaax, catfolk arcanist 4
Meme, aasimar cleric of Urgathoa 3
The WANDerer, half-elven summoner 4

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Rappan Athuk #47: Hot Damn!

The party faces its greatest challenge yet. (-GM)

9th day of Rova, 4718 AR

Here is a five-word summary of what was going on: Cavern. Lava. Hot. Hot. Hot. So hot that even Valestar declared that it was too hot for his holy bottom and went to sit on his golden toilet. He teleported back a few minutes later with an old man by his side. The old man introduced himself as Deckard Cain. We brought him up to date with everything that had been going on. It was so hot down there that even The Hero of No Name looked hot and that’s saying something cause that old guy never looks hot or cold or anything for that matter.

The party was kinda awkwardly sitting around on a bridge of gold when suddenly a SALAMANDER SLITHERED OUT!! Ok, so I know that does not sound very intimidating but these were pretty big salamanders and there were four of them. Two of them were larger and stronger, and two looked about what an average huge fiery salamander would look like. The more powerful salamanders of the group held themselves with an air of confidence like they were some kind of noble.

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Ronald Recommends: Faster Than Light (FTL)!

You like tabletop RPGs,
And I do, too.
Since these games please me,
They might please you.

First in the “Ronald Recommends” series, this is not the first time where I wax eloquent about a game YOU ALL MUST PLAY. Today I extol the virtues of FTL: Faster than Light, an indie game that is 75% off on Steam until July 5 and only costs $2.49. It also available on iPads. GET IT NOW!

The premise of the game is what I like to call “Star Wars in reverse”: you have vital information that you must smuggle through hostile space, but you work for the Federation and the people hunting you are the Rebels.

You focus on managing your ship and crew, as you encounter aliens and random encounters along the way. You must make decisions as to how to deal with mysterious abandoned vessels, or offers for trade. But the main gameplay consists in BATTLES. Many, many battles. And with Rebels and pirates who get progressively harder as you reach your destination.

You will need to make decisions like whether to focus power in your weapons or your shields, or for your engines for a quick getaway! Or open and close doors to deny oxygen to fires that have started on your ship to keep them from spreading, or to deal with hostile aliens who have boarded your ship!

As with tabletop RPGs, you get to grow more powerful over time. Here, your spaceship is your “character” — you get to outfit it with better armor and weapons. Your ship has engines, shields, weapons, doors, sensors, cloaking devices, and a reactor that powers all of these subsystems. You get to spend “scrap” (the currency of the galaxy) to make improvements to your ship. One improvement is to add robotic drones to defend your ship, attack other ships, repair . You also get to find (and lose!) crew members due to the dangers of space. There are many other things you can add, including teleporting systems to send your crew over into hostile ships as boarding actions!

So who will like this game? People who like a CHALLENGE — the game does not let you go back to a previous save, so consequences are PERMANENT. It forces you to think about your strategies and how to optimize against various perils you will face; and how best to defend against a wide variety of dangers. You will like this game if you enjoy learning through trial and error, hard work, and eventually vanquishing a worthy foe. You will also like this game if you’ve ever wanted to think of yourself as captain of a starship,

Who will not like this game? You will not like this game if you don’t like managing a lot of elements. You are juggling a LOT of plates: it can be frustrating to focus on protecting your ship from hostile fire and finding a way to penetrate three layers of shields, only to find that you neglected a breach in your hull that caused your ship to lose all its oxygen. Thankfully, you are able to pause the game at any point to reflect over your decisions, and in fact the game assumes that you do. (Only true masters are able to play without pausing the game.) Also, this is not a lore heavy “Star Trek” exploration experience. The core of the gameplay is improving your ship and overcoming increasingly difficult battleships.

Here is a YouTube review of FTL if you want a video review. (Great review, but I disagree with it being “a little too luck based,” as skilled players can consistently beat the game.)

That’s it for now! And I assure you this won’t be the last thing that “Ronald Recommends”!

-The Grandmaster

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Ronald Recommends

 

Rappan Athuk #46: A Long Day of Maps

Our intrepid heroes, victorious from the Great Battle of the Phase Minotaurs, continues exploring their maze, now minotaur-free. (-GM)

9th day of Rova, 4718 AR

We immediately looked for a way to get Nioveskirian out of the floor, but sit would not budge, even when Perseus sat down on it.

After defeating the minotaurs, we wanted more action, and so we went down one of the passages leading out of the cavern. The tunnel eventually became rough masonry, and suddenly the floor underneath Nioveskirian disappeared. He fell into the ensuing pit, and the floor blinked back into existence.

We immediately looked for a way to get him out, but the floor would not budge, even when Perseus sat down on it. Eventually we decided to break out our trusty adamantine pick, and a few hours of Arthritic Slaver and me hacking away at the stone created a hole big enough for us to pull him out. The hardy dwarf looked fine, although he was a bit mad. I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye, and I turned to see a big ooze about to engulf Perseus, with me riding him. Perseus had noticed as well, and with a quick flap of his great wings, we were far from the smelly mass of goo. DFSIFA laughed, shut his eyes, and killed it with two quick arrows. He found it more akin to playing a children’s game than actual combat.

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Stoneheart Dungeon #2: The Visitors

More people join our heroes as they try to reclaim shrines from evil worshipers of the demon lord Orcus, Prince of the Undead. The party’s monk, Eagle One, continues their tale. (-GM)

23rd day of Sarenith, 4717 AR

A priest of Orcus

It is me, Eagle One again. Today, while we are cleaning the temple, two new people show up: Isaax, an arcanist, and Fabrizio Moretti, an alchemist. They are helping us clean the temple, when we heard some magic being cast.

Groominator and I go out to investigate it, and we stealth in some bushes. Turns out, they cast darkness, so we can’t see anything. We have to wait for Hannibal to get there so he can cast daylight. Then, we realize that he has to cast daylight on an object he touches.

I come up with the brilliant idea of him touching my arrow. I shoot the arrow, and we can finally see them. They are three humanoids, wearing a lot of black clothes, chain mail armor, and they have steel shields. They will be tough to fight.

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