Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 55 – Lucien, Meet Ra.

Session 55 happened Tuesday, November 29, 2011.

This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character for Every Game [] as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM.  I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.

Adventuring Group:
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Elspeth (female half-elf rogue)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Sun-touched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Macha (female human fighter, cohort of Elspeth)
Estrela (female Aasimar druid, cohort of Tre-Ba)
Asmo (male halfling sorcerer)
Carnish (male gnoll spellcaster of some sort)
Professor Walsh (male human expert)
The Red Keffiyeh (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)
Short John Copper (male halfling cook, hireling in the employ of Harkaitz)

Evening, August 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who purifies the unclean.

After a short consultation about how to deal with the smoke and its likely source (an ever smoking bottle), Estrella led us forward, shifting into an air elemental form and blowing the smoke ahead of her.  When Estrela reached the door to the entry area, the female vampire stepped out of the smoke and struck Estrela twice, draining life force with each hit.  Estrella fell back and the rest of us advanced – the fight was on.

We quickly discovered we were not facing just the female vampire – Lucien and another of his spawn were also in the smoke.  The smoke limited visibility and the fight was a confusing jumble of close-in fighting.  Aziz strode into the thick of the battle, dealing heavy damage to the vampires with his sword and the channeling of positive energy over them (something I was also doing).  All three of the vampires struck Aziz, Lucien striking the killing blow.  Lucien taunted us, calling out, “Where is your god now?”  We renewed our assault on the unholy trio.

The female vampire was felled first, dissolving into mist to escape and reform.  Estrela stopped this in her air elemental form, shaping winds to contain the mist and then flying out of the pyramid and into the bright, bright afternoon sun.  The female vampire boiled away under the cleansing power of Ra.

The other spawn fell next, turning to mist and temporarily escaping us.  We then concentrated all our wrath on Lucien.  I was ready when he fell and turned to mist – I cast stone shape and englobed him in a perfectly sealed sphere.  We then found and sealed the ever smoking bottle and I healed those I could.  Midnight cast locate creature to track down the missing vampire spawn and Estrela again used her air elemental form to drag the mist out into the sun.  We rolled the sphere containing Lucien far out into the sun and cracked the sphere open.  My last words to the vampire were, “Here.  Here is my god.  Now burn!”

Aziz’s body has been cleaned and wrapped.  Tomorrow morning I will summon a divine intermediary and report our success at securing the gate.  Rather than teleporting us, I will ask for assistance in raising Aziz from the dead.  This is within my capabilities as a priest of Ra, but we are missing necessary material components.  After that, I will commune with Ra to determine if we have completed our mission.  We may have to secure the gate near Terranor, lands that now swarm with demons and devils.

I will say a prayer over Aziz’s body and then turn in.

Morning, August 8, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who lifts his servants from the sand.

I reported our success and requested aid in bringing back Aziz.  I may have been a bit testy about the whole thing.  Eating breakfast next to a deceased friend seems to have that effect on me.  I have not received an answer on my request yet.  Am I in the proper frame of mind to commune with Ra?  I do not really think so, which is why I am writing this down.  I hope it will calm me somewhat…

…I noticed a gleam in my handy haversack, something that, due to the magics of the haversack, should not happen.  Investigating, I found a large diamond, flawlessly cut.  It is the missing component I needed to raise Aziz from the dead.  It seems I have my answer.

Noon, August 8, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who reveals shadows.

I completed the ceremony to raise Aziz and he is back with us, ready for whatever comes next.  This is good as my commune with Ra (done after raising Aziz), indicates we still have much work ahead.

We have not completely saved the world yet.  We must seal the Terranor Gate within a month’s time.  This is complicated by the demons spread across the lands of Abeloft who will work to stop us.

We are going to need an army.

Today and tomorrow I will be making sendings to those we know and have met on our quest (I can only make five sendings a day).  My message is simple:
  The lich and his vampire are destroyed.  We raise an army to free Abeloft from demons and save the world.  Are you in?
This message will go to Alathin, the brass dragon at Lagaskia; Lorastin, High Priest of Ra at Lagaskia; Doran, the High Priest of Ra in Uru; the leader of the storm giants we met in the Uskar; Feranhal in Ttaeladra; Nionel in the Drow City; and Ashias of the lizard men.  Beckett, High Priest of Ra in Terranor and still among the living, and Wednesday will get different messages.  Wednesday will be asked to go to Orzimar to recruit the dwarves and Beckett will be told relief comes this year.  We do not want to tip our hand, but Beckett needs to know help is coming.

After today’s sendings are made, I will start moving our group to Lagaskia via wind walk.

*End of Session*

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 54 – The Vampire Side-Steps Us

Session 54 happened Wednesday, November 23, 2011.

[We’ve been playing regularly over the last month and a half, I’ve just been working on other things and lax in getting the adventure summaries posted.  Exciting things have been happening and yesterday we finished what I’m calling Book 2 (Book 1 having been the exploration of Dyson’s Delve).

We are discussing the possibility of folks changing characters and I’m tempted to switch from Harkaitz, Aziz, and Sarisvati to new characters at roughly the same level.  The reason I’m tempted is that Harkaitz has plans and responsibilities that require him to stop adventuring for a while (you’ll see when I get the adventure logs posted).  The DM is putting a time gap between the end of Book 2 and the beginning of Book 3 and I think that whether or not I continue with Harkaitz depends on the length of that gap.]

This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character for Every Game as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM-in-training.  I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.

Adventuring Group:
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Elspeth (female half-elf rogue)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Sun-touched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Macha (female human fighter, cohort of Elspeth)
Estrela (female Aasimar druid, cohort of Tre-Ba)
Asmo (male halfling sorcerer)

Morning, August 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who righteously smites the unclean.

Brek’nok sent word that the phylactery was destroyed.  The lich is now consigned to oblivion for all time.  Some celebration is being made and Short John is cooking a celebratory breakfast before we re-enter the Throne of Ra.

Midday, August 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, our comfort and guide.

After an excellent breakfast and in high spirits, we entered the Throne of Ra again.  We kept watch on the pyramid during the previous two days and we were fairly certain that the female vampire had not escaped, but now I’m not so certain.

We entered the pyramid and took the left passage across the entry chamber.  We discovered that the mist had returned, obscuring the far corner.  Midnight cast dispel magic to remove the mist, uncovering four animated skeletons: two are bloody skeletal champions and two are bloody and burning skeletal champions.  The skeletal champions immediately charged, attacking Midnight and Macha, who were our front line at that moment.  They failed to injure Macha in the slightest, but Midnight was not so heavily armored and was seriously injured.  She promptly stepped back and Frankie took her place in the front line.  Estrela summoned a swarm of monkeys (I have no idea where the monkeys came from) and I activated my nimbus of light to suppress the fast heal of the skeletal champions [Harkaitz does more damage per round than they fast heal per round].  Sarisvati cast resist energy (fire) on Macha, so when the burning skeletal champions exploded after she and Frankie crushed them, Macha would not be injured.

After that, we made quick time to the elevator chamber, facing no other resistance.  Aziz, Macha, Tre-ba, Estrela (in bat form), and I took the elevator up.  It rose 100 feet, ending in a rectangular chamber with no obvious exits.  Additionally, there was a very real gap between the platform and the ledge around the room that we had to leap across.  That was not pleasant for those of us in armor.

Frankie and Elspeth searched the area and found two concealed switches, each of which exposed an opening on opposite sides of the chamber, 10 feet below the ledge.  We lowered ourselves with rope and checked the one we deemed to be on the left (per our standard procedures) and found a chamber with one door.  Elspeth also found a secret door in that chamber, one which was clearly trapped, but the mechanisms were all on the other side or the door.  Sarisvati used stone shape to create a new portal through the heavy stone door.  Elspeth was then able to disarm the trap, a combined fireball and animate dead trap, tied to the remains in the five stone coffins in the chamber beyond the (once) secret door.  Once we were all through and in the room, I blessed the stone coffins so the skeletal remains would continue their slumber uninterrupted.

This new room had a locked and trapped door out, which Elspeth was able to clear and unlock.  When Macha opened the door, she was rushed by a person in plate mail, bearing the sign of Ra!  The paladin (it turns out) paused when he realized we were not minions of the lich and we talked.  He is a half-elf named Teralis and he was placed here recently by an angel to guard the key to the sacred chambers guarding the portal.  He was greatly disheartened to discover that the lich had bypassed the trials and achieved the portal.  He cheered up slightly when we told him that we had destroyed the lich, but pointed out that until we destroyed the lich’s phylactery, it would rise again.  I will admit I felt a sly grin on my face when I assured him we had that covered and the lich was permanently destroyed.  Teralis nearly collapsed from exhaustion and relief at that point.  He has been here for nearly a week and has had almost no sleep.  Aziz has agreed to stay and stand watch over Teralis while he slept and the rest of us continued to explore the chambers on this level.  Everyone else is ready to go and waiting on me to finish this entry.  Time to finish this then.

Later in the afternoon, August 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who provides insight when we are shrouded in mystery.

While worthwhile, our search is complete and we still have not found the female vampire.

We followed a series of chambers around the perimeter of the elevator shaft.  Half way around we found a shrine to Skylar with a statue of Skylar on a pedestal.  I asked for it to be searched and Elspeth found a hidden compartment in the pedestal containing the Shield of Skylar.  I retrieved it for Aziz’s use.

After finishing our circuit around the elevator shaft and not finding the vampire we sought, we have returned to the Teralis’s chamber and wait for him to finish resting.  He has a ring of sustenance, so he will only need to sleep for another hour or so.  In the meantime we are discussing what to do next.  Aziz now has Skylar’s Sword and Shield.  We know where Skylar’s armor is, but I hope we will not need it.


Teralis awoke and we talked the situation over with him.  As he is no longer needed here, he has agreed to travel with us.  Midnight finally thought of a way to find the vampire and cast locate creature.  It was below us, apparently in the entry area.  We believe it is trapped by the afternoon sun.

We quickly headed back down to the entry area and found the passage to the entry area obscured by smoke.  We are contemplating our options.

*End of Session*

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Assault on Dextrose IV – Mecha of the 1/23rd Battalion

This is some of the mecha designs I came up with for our little playtest campaign for War of the Mecha by JB over at B/X Blackrazor.  I'll post more as they come into play.  I don't have the mecha sheets for the other players, so it may be after the campaign ends before I can post theirs (hint, hint guys).

Model: Archangel
Assault mecha
Total AP (80+1d20): 87, Walk/Run: 4/6, Jump: No, Heat Sinks 30
Weapons: 3 Large Energy Weapons

Quick on their feet and with long range weapons, the Archangel is a solid threat.

Model: Artemis
Assault mecha
Total AP (80+1d20): 93, Walk/Run: 3/5, Jump: No, Heat Sinks: 30
Weapons: 4 Large Missile Weapons

A fairly simple long-range attack mecha, the Artemis can fire all of its weapons while running and generate no heat.

Model: Bodyguard
Heavy mecha
Total AP (60+1d20): 78, Walk/Run: 5/8, Jump: No, Heat Sinks 20
Weapons: 2 Large Ballistic Weapons, 1 Large Energy Weapon

Surprisingly fast for a heavy mecha, the Bodyguard can run and fire all its weapons, generating no heat. It favors close in combat, but it can get in some damaging potshots while moving in.

Model: Brickhouse
Assault mecha
Total AP (80+1d20): 81, Walk/Run: 3/5, Jump: No, Heat Sinks 25
Weapons: 3 Large Ballistic Weapons, 1 Large Energy Weapon, and 1 Small Energy Weapon

The Brickhouse pilot has to be careful about heat as firing all weapons generates more heat than the basic array of heatsinks can handle. In close, all those weapons hitting will devastate the target, which is very tempting for most pilots.

Model: Fireball
Light mecha
Total AP (20+1d20): 29, Walk/Run: 8/12, Jump: Yes, Heat Sinks 10
Weapons: 1 Small Energy Weapon

Fireballs are designed primarily for scouting purposes and screening heavier units on the move. They are some of the fastest mecha on the battlefield and their jump capability will get them behind an enemy mecha for quick, cheap hits when fighting in urban of heavily forested terrain.

Model: Pharos
Assault mecha
Total AP (80+1d20): 96, Walk/Run: 3/5, Jump: No, Heat Sinks 30
Weapons: 8 Small Energy Weapons

The Pharos (a.k.a. Death-blossom Special) is a rude surprise for any opponent it closes with. This mecha rewards a pilot that makes use of cover to close with the enemy until stepping out at 90 m or less and then “lighting them up”. A full strike from a Pharos will vaporize light mecha, destroy a medium mecha, and deeply wound or kill a heavy or even an assault mecha.

Model: Sentinel
Medium mecha
Total AP (40+1d20): 41, Walk/Run: 6/9, Jump: Yes, Heat Sinks 10
Weapons: 2 Large Ballistic Weapons

The Sentinel was designed for fighting in urban terrain or very uneven terrain with many canyons or foothills. The designers sacrificed heat sinks for the ability to jump, so it has a tendency to run hot in combat, something the pilot has to pay attention to. Most pilots jockeying one appreciate the tactical flexibility granted by the high speed and jump-capability granted by the Sentinel.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Assault on Dextrose IV - Mission 2: RHO Ambush!

The Mission:
Bolstered by a  heavy lance of House troops (Elk Lance), the mercenary company The Red-Head's Own (RHO), decided that an ambush of forces of the 1/23rd Mecha Battalion was in order.  Intel indicated that elements of the 1/23rd's 2nd Company was on scouting patrol near the small industrial center of Carbomer.  This was a standard patrol the 1/23rd had maintained since seizing control of the area and the RHO/Elk forces suspected the patrol would be complacent after the RHO lost all of their heavies and assault mecha last week.

The Elk Lance assault mecha and two heavies were hidden in the largest cluster of buildings at Carbomer with the remaining RHO forces (1 medium and 5 lights) plus the Elk medium mecha placed in two clusters of buildings opposite the kill zone.  The path of the patrol always took it between these building clusters and the nearest safe location for the 1/23rd was past the large cluster containing the Elk heaviest mecha.

The 1/23rd forces were the 1st and 2nd lances of the 2nd Company, led by Captain Petra Leonidas in her Bodyguard mecha "Yojimbo".  The rest of her lance consisted of a Clint variant and two Sentinel variants.  The 2nd lance was four Fireballs, led by Lieutenant Hong Pashal.  They were not expecting any activity and were bunched closer than proper for a "scouting patrol".  THEIR intel indicated that the RHO was down to light mecha only and the current force would be plenty strong to inflict heavy losses on the RHO, if not wipe them out.  This attitude lasted up until Pilot Ronni Irigoyen in the far left Fireball spotted one of the Elk heavies hiding in the buildings to the west.  Then they spotted the Elk assault mecha ahead and to the left of them and the 2 medium and 5 light mecha all on their right.

Quickly realizing the danger her forces were in, Captain Leonidas ordered the 2nd lance to jump into the large cluster of buildings for cover and then get out of the area.  Petra knew the Fireballs could not take more than a hit or two before exploding like their namesakes.  The 1st Lance was ordered to hook left and escape the killzone by keeping the large cluster of buildings between themselves and the assault mecha.  To some extent this worked, but the Captain's Bodyguard was a natural target for the majority of weapons fire from the RHO/Elk forces and she died before getting to cover.  The Elk heavy took some return fire and had its feet knocked out from under it, but it was not out of the fight at all.

In the mad scramble that followed, the Fireballs got some shots into the Elk mecha before getting clear of the fight, thier fast mecha able to jump 240 m at a time, with Lieutenant Pashal the last to leave.  The jump-capable RHO mecha were too far away to close before the Fireballs escaped.  The 1st Lance was not so lucky.

Pilot Wendy Ha attempted to hide by jumping in a corner between two hardened buildings.  This protected her until the fallen Elk heavy got back up and moved right behind her and fired.  The heavies weapons blew Ha's cockpit off the Sentinel, killing her instantly.  Sergeant Jacinta Irizatti was able to use a copse of trees to hide from the majority of the RHO forces.  This would have placed the Sergeant's Clint in good position to escape...until the second Elk heavy cleared the trees.  A brief exchange of fire later and the Sergeant was forced to surrender or be destroyed.  The only mecha from the 1st lance to escape the ambush was Pilot Dee Chrestman and her Sentinel.  She was ablt to jump from cover to cover, making an impossible target to hit of her mecha.

The 1/23rd lost a Bodyguard (heavy), a Clint (medium), and a Sentinel (medium).

The RHO/Elk forces lost no mecha and were able to salvage a Clint and a Sentinel, bring the RHO back up to 2 full lances.

The Assault on Dextrose IV continues.

The Future:
The next mission happens in 3 days after this one and will be a Pitched Battle.  The 1/23rd wants revenge!

Thoughts on the Game
We had a friend sitting in for a battle and it seemed likely that his forces (he rolled a Lieutenant - a lance of mecha) would supplement the RHO forces which were decimated in Mission 1.  Making them a House unit (instead of a mercenary unit) meant they could be pulled elsewhere when he was not available.

In the post-game post-mortem, we all agreed that the RHO forces were too heavily bplaced in the back of the ambush, meaning once the 1/23rd started bolting, they were too far away to stop them or shoot them down.  We set up to BattleTech city maps with the long sides together as the play area.  We probably should have placed a third map on the side the 1/23rd had to escape from to give the RHO/Elk forces more time to shoot at them, but this kept the game short (three turns and it was over).  Next time we'll use a third map.

This is something missing from the War of the Mecha campaign rules - suggestions on set-up.  I can see why due to space constraints, but if JB does this as a small product, I'd recommend at least a sentence or two about setup.

Rules-wise, we had a short discussion about splitting fire from a mecha.  In BattleTech, this is allowed and inflicts a -2 to each shot.  We decided that the underlying principle of "Simplicity First" suggested that splitting fire not be allowed and so we went with that.  It should probably be included in the Weapon Fire rules.  We also lowered the movement cost to move into buildings by two for all classes, but added that mecha can only enter buildings while walking.  This seems to keep it in line with the War of the Mecha rules for elevation changes.

We took pictures of the game, but they are on a friend's phone at the moment, so they'll be delayed for a bit.  I'm out of time this weekend to post the pictures for last game, but that should happen this week, probably when I get the seond set of pictures so I can do it all at once.  I will also post several of the Mecha designs I'm using this week, again as I have time and husband points to do so.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Traveller - Fragments: Session Reports

This page is a collection of links detailing my first attempt at a Hero Traveller sandbox campaign.

Pre-Crash Player System Knowledge:
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6

Session 1: Guruphon Jump
Part 1: Getting to Guruphon
Part 2: Guruphon Station

Session 2: Guruphon Meltdown
Part the Only

Session 3: Maresfield Shootout
Part the Only

Session 4: Bhuddas and Bubbas
Part 1: Caraturth
Part 2: Krakatoa

Session 5: Whatever Happened to the Acojah?
Part the Only

This covers the entire first arc of adventure.