Commentary thread for that “Describe your game in five words” thread.

aramis erak

In re Animal Encounter in J-Space...
I had one of the rescued folk from the ship they rescued have two pet creepy-crawlies... dodecapodal hermaphroditic omnivvourous arthropods, about 1m long, 2-3 kg, and about as smart as a cat... Made for some fun RP. The vargr hunter used hunting... live capture. The Air Marshal figurd out whose they were by coordinating with the Engr CPO...

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I crit!
Acorn Killed the Death Knight!
Found a magic tree in the dungeon running away from something we didn’t get a good look at. It gave us magic acorns! One room we went and hid in after had a Death Knight with an intelligent evil sword! My PC jammed those acorns into the Knight and they instantly grew into an old tree blowing it up!


I'm suspicious that these are illusions. The Fairie of this world can do some really good, long-lasting illusions, and we've got past several that had lasted more than 3,000 years. Next week, we'll try to see if we can get past these.
We did. We got the Fairie Lord skeletons we were looking for, and also the body of Duinn. He'd been petrified, and we un-petrified him as part of getting through the illusions. And then we realised what we had on our hands, and started planning to hand it over to the right people really quickly.


(he, him)
Sunday: Ghost knight not evil. Parlay!
After a bit of preamble, the PCs saw a ghostly rider run down a villager, while ignoring them. They intervened, and the ghost continued to ignore them. After casting a spell that does damage to evil creatures, and noting that it did not damage, the party's oracle cast another spell which allowed a highly accelerated diplomacy check, which was a spectacular success. We called the session a little early, so I could figure out what the ghostly knight actually knows.

This is the first session of the new chapter of PoA (we are up to The Standing Stone), having just rotated back from Savage Tide, so it was my first session of GMing on Sunday for a while (following on from my first session of GMing on Thursday for a little while).


(he, him)
Thursday: Tough fight but nobody died.
The first bit of the session was taken up by introducing the new character for the player whose previous character died last week. Then the PCs did a bit of exploring and eventually ran across a pair of quite scary undead. The fight went better than the previous week, in that nobody actually died (although one of the PCs went down and had to make a recovery check before being healed).

After a bit more exploration, the PCs decided to head straight down stairs to the lower level of the dungeon (ignoring several outbuildings). Presumably because they decided the opposition on the first level was too easy.... :confused:


barbarian got slimed during downtime

We had a shorter session yesterday because I wasted an hour troubleshooting a problem with one of the players who couldn’t access the PDF of the current state of my homebrew system because it was made available on an internal site on my home network, and his Android phone (a OnePlus) hardcodes which DNS servers it uses regardless of what your network advertises. That tempted me to make this one “android wastes all our time”. I ended up fixing it later at the router level, but I digress. 😂

Yesterday’s session was focused mostly on downtime. We started off catching up on the project work for the construction of their manor. I finally got it converted/updated into the current system. The manor house portion is … lavish. It’s got 32 4-tick clocks, which seems like a lot, but it’s huge. Their barracks are three 8-tick clocks and are nearly finished. They’ve been under construction for a few months, so this timeline feels intuitively okay. They could try to make things go quicker by hiring more teams to work on stuff at the same time, or they could rush the work (at the risk of degrading the durability construction clock, which would result in ruined materials if it emptied completely).

The party spent a couple of weeks last session in town taking care of business. Everyone spent one of their weekly activities on leveling. You can spend EXP on one skill, speciality, or proficiency as a camp activity, but you can only fully level as a weekly activity. (Technically with a base camp, you can level out in the field, but you have to take steps to effect that.) The rest of the time, the party pursued their own agendas.

First Week of Downtime

Dingo (the thief) spent the rest of his time during the first week trying to find a buyer for a weird, magical-ish chalice the found. If you fill it with blood and drink it, it restores HP. He doesn’t actually have Rapport, so he didn’t want to ask around. Instead he went to Severin, one of their friends, and tried to Persuade him to give him information. I’ve been trying to do a better job of foregrounding consequences, so I noted it was likely in this case going to be that Severin would want something from him.

I think the players assumed I meant money or goods, but I was thinking more likely favors. Dingo rolled a Mixed Success, so Severin told him about rumors he had heard regarding a “blood cult” in town. He thinks that sounds like a group that might be interested in buying the item, but there were some concerns from the authorities about it, so he wanted Dingo to report back after he met them since Severin works with the local government there (which is a military outpost for the most part).

Dingo wasn’t thrilled about that idea because he intuited the cult was likely lead by their vampire friend Natalia (this is correct intuition), so he resisted the consequence. He gave up an amulet they found (kind of crappy, but it’s still something of value the NPC would want since Severin is a sage and interested in that kind of thing) to boost the result of his Defense Check, ultimately giving him a critical success. That let him to avoid having to report back and avoid gaining any stress.

Tama (the cleric) has been training to cast spells while wielding a weapon and shield. She bought a shield in town (normal shopping doesn’t require an activity) then went looking for someone to help paint her religion’s sigil on the shield to allow her to use it as a holy symbol for casting. She got Mixed Success on her Rapport to find someone, so she ended up being fobbed off on Jon the Painter, a measly rank +1 apprentice, because the good crafters were busy. She tried Working Together with him, but their rolls were bad. No progress this first week (but at least the shield’s not ruined yet I guess). Tama could have gained stress to offset Jon’s bad roll, but she opted not to take it.

Deirdre (the barbarian) is interested in boosting her fame. She wants to throw a party for herself, and the first step is inviting important people to it. She spends her first week working with Ilsa, her bard retainer, to post notices and connect with people to try to get a good crowd for the performance next week. Ilsa has Warin-Grafs Folk Songs as one of her experiences, so she’ll be able to use Wisdom on her Entertainment roll in that performance. She’ll be singing songs about Deirdre’s deeds in the traditional style at Sugar’s place (the main tavern and inn in town). They get Mixed Success on their Rapport to recruit, so the consequence is less fame from the performance (not as much interest as they’d like), but they still get the +1 from setting it up. Deirdre could have resisted this outcome, but she chose not to do that.

Second Week of Downtime

When the players announced individual goals at the start of the session, Deirdre announced her intent to throw a party. Dingo countered by saying he wanted to prank Deirdre. This is when he set her up. For his activity during the second week, Dingo went looking for an alchemist who could help him out by providing a barrel full of ooze he could dump on Deirdre during the performance. They fought slimes and oozes in the dungeon, so he knew that was going to be something that would come up. His search lead him to find Wally, another vuple alchemist.

The Negotiation for the ooze went very well. Dingo really wanted this to be good ooze, so he traded two fame to offer Wally to come to the performance. Dingo rolled and thanks to his expertise was able to get a good enough result for Critical Success +1. That’s one degree beyond normal Critical Success. He got extremely good ooze (the consequence on the table was the ooze would have been contaminated and make Deirdre magically glow, which she would not have liked). I suggested the additional +1 of success could negate the fame loss from the roll for the performance, which Dingo’s player accepted.

Tama and Deirdre pursued similar goals for their first activities. The party is interested in taking care of a massive stirge infestation near their manor. Tama wanted to do Research while Deirdre wanted to ask around (using Rapport) to find out more about the stirges. Was there a tactic they could use? They have 90 stirges to deal with, which is a lot. Both of them rolled Complete Success, so they got straightforward and complementary answers: stirges tend to nest in clumps together, and they are a bit sluggish when they return to their nests in early morning. An attack in the morning would enable hit and run tactics without drawing the attention of the all the stirges all at once.

What Tama and Deirdre did is how I’m handling information gathering. It lets them nail down parts of an upcoming adventure, so they can make plans and execute them. It also helps me with designing that upcoming content. I know now that stirges nest a certain way, so I can design the “dungeon” with that in mind. I’ll need to figure out how I want to run the sequence because constant attack and retreat to camp tactics might be a bit tedious at the table.

Tama also worked with Jon on her shield more. This time they made slightly better progress when Jon failed again while they were Working Together, but Deirdre opted take the stress to negate the roll. I actually think this is too harsh and may revert the penalty for failures on these group checks to −2 instead of reducing the degree of success, but I need to analyze it a bit more. If I do revert, Deirdre and Jon will be about half-way done. She could opt not to help out, but she hasn’t so far. For these group rolls while Working Together, she’s been using Crafting + Wisdom to draw on her expertise in religion to guide the design of the symbol on the shield.

Dingo spent his second activity this week setting up his prank. He met with Ilsa to get her on board and make sure what he needed was in the performance. This all went pretty well. He was able to do that, and he got someone there at the bar to tip the ooze on his signal. That would result in a pretty amusing resolution process because the skill for giving an order is Leadership, which Dingo does not have. Dingo’s player ended up using Dexterity as his approach, relying on his sense of timing to offset his not being very good at giving orders (resulting in a net −2 to the roll).

Finally, it was time for the performance. Most of the NPCs they’d met before showed up as did some of the members of the settlement’s administration. They’d met some of them before, but Commander Grimmelshausen showed up. Previously, they’d only met his Lt Commander Thurgrid when they wanted to meet with him to deliver a letter from a group of soldiers they’d help that vouched for their good work. I don’t know whether this will translate into work from the leadership, but it doesn’t hurt to know they know about you (in this way anyway). Natalia also talked her way into watching the performance.

Natalia’s time is almost up, and she needs to feed. The way undead work in my setting is there is a distinction between regular undead (which are effectively death elementals) and intelligence undead. Regular undead are the degenerate versions of intelligence undead. In order to maintain your intelligence, you need to take something from the living. For vampires, it’s blood. For ghouls, it’s fresh flesh. If you don’t, you turn into the unintelligent version. This is known as the Curse of Intelligence.

Currently, I have a clock on the table that is at 3/4 ticks for going off for Natalia. If it does, she’s going to feed in a way that causes problems for the PCs. Otherwise, it’ll probably bump out her next interval for a few more months. She wants to sire more vampires (being the last of her kind), but she wants to do it consensually. She’d been taken by the Blood King when his people invaded Mars (where she was a psychic researcher) to bring her back to replace the previous Princess of Blood who’d been killed. It was mostly bad luck on her part that got her chosen (others were also taken in the attack, but they didn’t make it). She doesn’t want to inflict that on someone else (as technically the new Blood Queen, though she eschews that title in favor of the name she uses currently, which is not her given name).

Anyway, the performance went pretty well. Ilsa sang songs about their adventures, and as they got to the oozes, it was time for Dingo to do his thing. His attempt to lead got a Mixed Success. This was handled as a regular Working Together roll to help or set up, so he contributed a +1 to Ilsa’s Entertainment roll (which didn’t stack with the +1 from yesterday). Dingo didn’t have an overt consequence, but he was going to share in any consequences that came from the main roll. The bucket fell, Ilsa rolled, and she got Complete Success. There was a bit of shock and surprise at first, but Deirdre rolled with it, and the crowd got into it eventually. Deirdre then invited Tama and Dingo up to the stage where she got slimed to thank them for their help, giving Dingo a big hug. Since Dingo is covered in fur, he’s now a terrible mess. Deirdre can at rinse off the ooze normally. She’s a mao (cat-like ancestry), but they’re more nekomimi than anthro. Dingo’s a vuple, which is the other way around (fox-like anthro a bit over half a meter tall).
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Prophet of the profane (She/Her)
Fifteen shots in the balls

Dark Heresy has this hit location mechanic, and, well... My gal shot her rifle fifteen times. All fifteen landed in the "lower body".

I guess I inadvertently recreated Sniper Elite!

Also I came home and drawn a picture of her:


I tried to replicate Blanche style, but idk if I succeeded. It does seem to me that it wouldn't look out of place in Dark Heresy rulebook, so... I guess it's a win.
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Opposition incompetent, or overly devious?
We got the Fairie Lord skeletons we were looking for, and also the body of Duinn. He'd been petrified, and we un-petrified him as part of getting through the illusions. And then we realised what we had on our hands, and started planning to hand it over to the right people really quickly.
With carefully planned use of teleport, four of the six party members got the body to a safe place without telling anybody what they had. They then came back and met up with the other two party members, the squire and all the horses, who were heading back the way we'd come. We'd met up in a halfling city, and went to a good restaurant, and then to an inn for a night's sleep.

In the middle of the right, our ranger/cleric checked on the stable, and found three halflings dressed in black frantically searching the horses' tackle, saddlebags, and so on. Two of them succumbed to Hold Person, so the third killed them and fled. After careful searching, nothing was missing, but they'd searched really thoroughly.

Trying Speak with Dead on one of the corpses resulted in it animating and attacking the cleric. After it had been put down, there was no contact on the spell. The other one had an active spell on it, and Speak with Dead got no connection. All this seems characteristic of the major opposition, the "One True Church of Evil."

We don't know what they were after. It might have been one of the things we had in our rooms upstairs in the inn, or they might have been trying to give us the idea that we missed something important at the site of the Fairie battle so we'd go back there, giving them a chance to follow us and locate it.


(he, him)
Sunday: Cancelled. Others went to cinema.
One of the players' wives is a huge Mario fan, and both her husband and the other player had promised they would go and see the new Mario movie. It turned out that the only time they could all make it was Sunday evening.

I was invited to join them, but I pointedly had not promised to do so and politely declined. In the list of things I would like to do, paying money to watch that film with a married couple, their kids, and another friend probably ranks just above disembowling myself with spears but well below holding a chicken in the air or sticking a deckchair up my nose.

(Anyone get the reference?)

Thursday: Descend to third level? Nah!
Last session, they did this:
After a bit more exploration, the PCs decided to head straight down stairs to the lower level of the dungeon (ignoring several outbuildings). Presumably because they decided the opposition on the first level was too easy.... :confused:
Abomination Vaults is a pretty old school design in that the deeper you go the more dangerous everything gets (if perhaps less so in other respects). Each level of the dungeon is designed for one character level, and although there is obviously some variability within each dungeon level, every level counts for a lot in PF2.

Anyway, having had one fairly-tough fight at the beginning of the session (level 3, so not something beyond the scope of what could have been on the level above but still a tough fight for level 1 characters), they found a secret door leading a set of stairs down to the third level. And to my utter astonishment, they seriously debated heading downstairs!

Now, bear in mind that they were considering this while one of the casters was out of spell slots, and several characters were down on hitpoints (they seem to have a weird aversion to getting all their hp back after a fight).

Anyway, cooler heads prevailed and they remained on level 2: They did a bit more exploring, then ran into a level 4 shadow. It did not help that it won initiative and critted their toughest character twice in the first round before anyone could act. Fortunately, it was bound to the room and could not follow them out, otherwise it would have been a TPK for sure.

They retreated back to town, healed up, and bought some healing potions and scrolls for next time. Then they decided to finish clearing the first level before heading back downstairs, but we will pick that up next time.


Evil Cult Based on Voadam?!

So in an old campaign I was playing my eponymous character Voadam, we stopped a world ending threat, the rest of the high level party wanted to absorb the threat's power and become gods in a world without them, I thought that would keep the threat going and end the world so said no and took actions to divert some of the power away to prevent the world ending threat, the other PCs killed me in a big five on one fight, used the remaining power and ascended. They developed their god activities as the new world pantheon, my character did not ascend but his soul was cursed by the gods.

New campaign is same DM, a couple generations later. There is an order of knights who believe that each generation there will be a crisis and there will be an incarnation of the Voadam who will arise as a mortal hero to save the world. My valor paladin revolutionary is part of this order. Some feel it will be an actual incarnation of one being, others that it is metaphorical and it is every person's duty to meet the challenges of the world and you should try and be a hero.

In our last game we found out there is another Voadam cult splinter faction/heresy. Samlerites believe you should gather power (wealth, magic) so that when challenges arise you are prepared to meet them. A further splinter of the Samlerites are prepper hard core libertarian capitalists who feel you need to maximize your own power and profit including dominating and owning others. There is a young powerful paranoid dragon who conquered a domain, claimed all the mainstream Samlerite residents as his property, and has schemes to enlarge its hoard. It is epitomizing greed and the preppers are bringing him tribute to try and gain positions among its hoard as its herald and such to make it a saint/god and in return empower them as elite masters of the world.

I drew a throne card from the deck of many things in the prior game and my keep is the domain the dragon took over. I am called on to slay the dragon and liberate the domain. I am answering the call. :)


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