"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part One)

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #24

Between the eleven of them, mopping up the remaining quaggoths was not difficult. The loudmouth blonde proved to be as efficient as he was showy with his blades, and the stocky dark-haired one in wolf’s fur displayed a strength and fury that appeared to even scare his companions.

In moments both groups were standing at either end of the cavern (Jana, Ratchis and the others with their backs to the cliff) facing each other nervously.

“Debo get scalps,” said the stocky man, and proceeded to use a hatchet to cleave off the tops of the dead quaggoth’s heads.

“Yes, Debo, you cut them hairy floggers up real good,” said the blonde with the curly hair, he leaned on his long sword and smiled at party, his gaze stopping at Jana and going up and down, and then looking past her at Tirhas who was standing in the rear. “Where’d ya pick up the lima bean?”

Ratchis furrowed his brow, and Jeremy sneered. Martin and Kazrack simply were trying to figure out what he meant.

“Ya don’t see many lima beans around here,” the man continued. “Especially ones that look as delicious as she does; a little weird, a little boyish, but that’s alright by me.” His gaze went back to Jana. “Not that you are anything bad to look at, sweetness. Ain’t nothing wrong with a nice little human girl with some muthalovin’ meat on her bones to give ya more cushion for raucous ride only I can give a woman.”

He winked, and then addressed the whole group.

“My name’s Gunthar. I remember you guys, the pig-f*cker and the tall bald guy, where’s he? Anyway, what are you doing down here? Friggin’ dragon’s not the flarn down here – we know.”

“You came down here looking for the dragon?” Martin asked.

“No, ya friggin’ idiot. Where in the hell in the puckered arse of Set would a dragon fit down here? We’re just huntin’ ogres, padding our pockets with some of their ill-gotten booty, but these hairy muthalovin’ father-stabbers ambushed us. Twice! We grabbed what treasure we could find and a few pelts that might be worth a lousy queen’s sweaty armpit bit of copper to some sick kid-humper – but not many ogres about. Most musta been killed by the hairy things.”

Gunthar’s words came out like a hail of arrows from a thousand men, ceaselessly and they seemed to darken the light of the lantern and even that of shield borne by the tall man in black with a shield.

Ratchis wracked his mind to identify the shield’s insignia (see last installment), but he could not place it.

Gunthar’s companions did not talk much, however, the heavily armored man whom the bard referred to as Aldovar placed a hand on him and said softly, “Oh my dark lord, if you see fit please heal this man so that the strong might prevail over the weak as you would have it.”

The bard’s wound closed.

Kazrack cursed under his breath.

“Well, we should go,” said Kazrack aloud and turned to leave, but his companions made no move to follow him.

“Kazrack, these men might have information we need,” Ratchis said softly.

“These men are loud, obnoxious and crude. We should not waste our time with them,” the dwarf insisted.

“Little grubber’s got a problem? Not tall enough to get a woman?” The tall lanky man let out a donkey’s bray of laughter.

Kazrack walked back towards the passage they had emerged from to see if Silverback was still there, but the giant ogre was gone.

“Hey!” Jeremy said. “There is no need to insult my companions, or speak of anyone in a crude way especially the ladies!”

“Oh, ho!” Gunthar said. “What do we have here? Mister Fancy Two Swords! Why shou…”

Gunthar cut himself short and cocked his head, and when he did it, his mannerisms in combination with his blonde hair, build and persistent smile made a bell go off in both Martin and Jana’s heads.

“What’s your name?” Gunthar asked Jeremy,

“Jeremy, why?” the Neergaardian replied.

“Where you from?” Gunthar asked, his eyes squinted and he took a step forward, his hand coming off his long sword.

“Why?” Jeremy responded getting nervous.

“You from Neergaard?”

“Um, no…” replied Jeremy. Martin looked at him suspiciously. “I’m from all over.”

“But not Neergaard?”

“No.”

“Everyone is from some filthy muthalovin’ place originally,” Gunthar insisted.

“Well, if I had to pick one place I’d say Herman Land,” Jeremy replied.

“Kind of light-skinned and haired for a Herman-Lander,” Gunthar said, stepping back, and an edge coming into his voice.

Martin leaned over to Jana and whispered, “Is it just me or do the two of them…”

“Yes, they certainly do. It’s weird,” the young witch replied.


“Oh well, my grand-father immigrated to Herman Land from Neergaard, but we haven’t been back for two generations,” Jeremy said. “You from Neergaard?”

“Uh, yeah.…yeah,” Gunthar suddenly re-gained his swagger.

“Sorry to question ya like your puke-sack old lady when you been out piercing bloated whores with your javelin of poking, ya know what I mean?” He smiled a disgusting smile. “It is that for a second… What’s your last name?”

“Uh, Brighthelm,” Jeremy replied.

This time the entire party looked at him funny, including Kazrack who coming back and seeing his party still talking to Gunthar, decided to go back down the passage himself and find Silverback.

“Yeah, I thought maybe you could be my little brother,” Gunthar said. “But that would be impossible, he died before I ever met him.”

“Yeah, well I don’t have any brothers,” Jeremy said.

“Yeah, well, wishful friggin’ thinkin’,” Gunthar said. “Ever since I found out that I had a younger brother I dreamed of taking him under my wing and teaching him the ways of the world, and when I finally got my chance it was because he had died, and our dad took me as his legitimate heir.”

There was a long pause.

“So, what are you doing down here? Oh, wait, I know same as us,” Gunthar continued to talk. “Well, there is not much left, them hairy bastards running around covered in their own frggin’ sh*te took it all to a central chamber, crawling with the hairy things, like chiggers on my nutsack. Ya wanna stay the Hell away from there. We were going to go down there, but even though Debo can’t die, the rest of us can.” He pointed to the barbarian who said, “Debo can’t die.”

“So you are leaving here?” Ratchis asked.

“Yep,” Gunthar replied. “We have to get back to hunting the dragon. We have a plan.”

“Oh yeah? What is it?” Jeremy asked, curious.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Gunthar said slyly. He turned to his companions, “We’re getting out of here.”

The other party gathered their things and made their way to a passage in rear left corner of the cavern. As they disappeared into the darkness, Gunthar turned and looked back, “Oh, and watch out, there is some huge white-haired ogre running around. We shot at it before. It would’ve been a great kill, but it got away. I think it is injured though, so keep an eye out.”

The permanent gritted smile seemed to be the last thing to fade in the shadows of the passage way.

-----

The party re-grouped, and Ratchis was able to catch up with Kazrack who had found Silverback hiding a hundred yards or so back into the narrow passage they had traveled through.

The old giant commented that the five men the party had run into had attacked him from afar, but that he led them into a quaggoth ambush to avoid them.

Silverback led them along the narrowing cliff edge and then up another passageway, that broadened into a place of many steps going in three different directions. Here he paused and asked for them to describe each to him, before deciding which way they should go. What followed was two hours of going up broad stairs, down narrow twisting ones and then a slow gentle ascent until finally, all other routes and passageways seemed far behind them, and there seemed to be only this one narrow stairway.

Finally, Silverback stopped. As he turned his body, the air changed in the passage, a cold metallic taste caressed them from beyond the giant.

“Ahead is an old watch post. It looks above the central chamber and there is a stair that will lead down to a dry riverbed that is adjacent to the place – which will allow us to take them by surprise, or so we should hope,” his voice was raspy and slower with every word. “There are openings that allow one to look out into the huge chamber, though at this height and with the darkness there will be little to see, but we will most definitely be seen if you make light, so do not.”

Silverback entered the room, and crouched down, nearly crawling to a far corner where he sat down.

“We rest now,” he said. “Tomorrow we go to die.”

Ratchis and Kazrack went into the room and looked around. It was not more than thirty feet wide and about forty-five wide. They immediately could see the openings that looked out and down of the central chamber area, but from where they stood all they could see was darkness. Just off center of the room was a stone bench, about eight feet long, three feet wide and three feet high, decorated with the carvings of countless spiders.

“The cold air feels good,” said Ratchis. “The air was getting oppressive down there.”

“Ratchis! Kazrack!” came a sharp whisper from behind them. It was Martin the Green. “We can’t see. Once we turned off the lantern all but you two were in the dark!”

“Let’s turn on the lantern very low,” suggested Jeremy.

“No!” Ratchis said harshly, but in a whisper. “Here is my hand, we’ll direct you in.”

“I think we can get away with a little bit of light,” said Kazrack.

“No light,” said Silverback

“What do we do now?” Jeremy asked.

“We wait and rest, and tomorrow try to sneak into this central chamber and see if Rahasia or Richard are there,” said Ratchis.

“Right,” agreed Kazrack. “But we should look around here some, and see what we can find out about this chamber and about our options for escape and/or retreat.”

“Might be a good idea,” said Ratchis, he walked over to the openings. He had to squat down because they were obviously built for much shorter people, but Kazrack could see nothing because it was obviously built for people a head taller than him or more.

“You know there is a door over here, looks like it goes outside,” said Kazrack walking over to the left hand wall. “It was kind of half-hidden, but I can make out the mechanism perfectly now.”

And so, the plan was made. Ratchis would cast Silence on the door in case it made a lot of noise while being opened. It was made of stone, but braced with rusted metal. Once this was done Kazrack and Ratchis would go out and see what there was to be seen.

Beyond the door was a narrow stone ledge, which over looked a very long drop off. The watch post was actually built within the corner of an immense piece of stone that made up two sides of the huge chamber. They could not see the walls on the opposite side and directly below them they could make out the vague outline of ridge of soil and stone that might be the edge of the riverbed, and that the center of the chamber was in more than level, with a lower portion being an underground stream with tall banks as well.

There was no way they see of getting down there from here. On one side, the ledge was blocked by an outcropping of rock, and on the other a past rockslide must have smashed away.

They crept back into the room and closed the door before the silence spell was over. One of the others had lit the lantern, and had it burning very low.

“We said no light,” Ratchis said angrily.

“Come on, we need to see,” said Jeremy.

“What if something had happened to you while you were gone and we could not see where it was you went,” reasoned Martin.

“You didn’t even notice it until you came back in because it is so low. There is no way anyone else could see it,” said Jeremy.

“I think it’ll be okay,” said Kazrack.

“Silverback,” Kazrack said. “Do you know another way out of here?”

“There is the stair right here which leads down to the riverbed, that can be followed to the right all way to a cave exit below the town,” the old giant said. “Or back the way we came, not far there is a series of steps that will take you right down to the stream that still runs, this will lead directly into the front of the central chamber.”

The others sat and tried to rest, and turned off the lantern, as the dwarf and the half-orc scrambled around trying to learn more about their surroundings.

“I don’t like it down here,” Thomas said, burying himself deeper into the folds of Martin’s robes.

“It’ll be okay, Thomas,” Martin reassured his familiar.

“I think I am going to go down to the dry riverbed now and just scout around and learn what I can,” Ratchis whispered to Kazrack, as they stood by the archway led to the stairway Silverback had mentioned.

“That would be dangerous,” Kazrack. “But we should learn what we can about this place before rushing in. The ogre chief may be willing to die, but the rest of us are not quite so eager.”

“I won’t take any unnecessary chances,” Ratchis said. “I am going to leave my armor with you, so I will be even more quiet.”

Ratchis and Kazrack began to make their way down the uncharacteristic narrow steps that descended very sharply. Kazrack was to go part of the way down with him, but not forty feet down the stairs, the stone steps themselves stopped, what was left was a slick limestone ramp that the steps had been carved from.

“I had a feeling this places was half-finished,” commented Kazrack. “The stone work here is alien to me, but still skilled, but unfinished, probably tired themselves out with all their extra spider-frills and the baroque ornamentation.”

“Uh, Kazrack, can we discuss this another time, and tie this rope around your waist,” Ratchis replied. “I am going down there, stairs or no stairs.”

“Wait,” Kazrack said, pulling his dwarven rune stein from his pack. “Drink this first. It will fill you with the spirit of Alagh, heroism.”

The dwarf filled the stein with two mouthfuls of wine and passed it to the half-orc, who gave his awkward snarling smile of friendship and drank it down quickly.

Ratchis holding the other end of the rope, began to lower himself down the slick stone. There were only occasional little rough spots of rock that could pass for hand-holds, but most of the descent Kazrack held up the hulking half-orc by brute strength. However, even nearly fifty feet of rope was not enough for Ratchis to reach the bottom of the shaft.

He sighed.

Ratchis scooted over to the very corner of the shaft, trying to wedge himself between the wall and the floor to give himself more slack.

He let go of the rope and moved and immediately tumbled head first down the shaft. He threw out a hand and a foot and halted his fall panfully, but just precariously.

“Ratchis! Ratchis!” Kazrack hissed down the shaft.

“Lower the rope more,” Ratchis hissed back. “I can’t make it down. I need to come back up.”

Kazrack came to the very edge of the end of the stairs and lowered the rope as far as he could. The frayed end of it was only seven inches short of Ratchis.

Ratchis sighed again. “Lower!”

“As low as I goes,” Kazrack replied.

The half-orc leapt from his awkward position up towards the rope, but his leg came off the wall at a weird angle, and he tossed himself more outward than upward, and less than a second later he was tumbling all the way down into the darkness, trying hard to keep his yelps and groans of pain as quiet as possible. At the end was a final fifteen foot straight drop. He lay on a hard stone floor covered in a light drizzle of sand. He sighed again.

Ratchis was in a tiny chamber no more than ten feet at its widest point, but there was a narrow crack, through which he could spy a plateau that lead right down into the dry riverbed.

He got up achingly, and felt a dozen scratches and scrapes burning a once. “Nephthys, close these minor wounds so that they may not be my undoing when I a suffer greater ones,” he said, clutching the scored and broken chain about his waist.

Back at the top of the shack, Kazrack waited at the top for a moment listening to the echoes of Ratchis’ painful descent fade away. He then went back to the watch-post where the others rested.

He told them what happened.

“What the hell were you doing playing around in the first place?’ Jeremy asked.

“We were not playing around,” Kazrack said angrily.

“Ya could have fooled me,” Jeremy said, grabbing his gear and walking past the dwarf carrying the lantern, which he had re-lit, but had on very low.

Jana, Martin, Jeremy and Kazrack got to the edge of the stairway, with Tirhas observing from a few feet back. Jeremy turned up the lantern some more, since there was less chance of anyone seeing the light here.

Kazrack tied the rope around his waist, “Jeremy, you’ll have to lower me down as far as the rope can go.”

“Where is the other rope?” Jeremy asked. “Didn’t Ethiel give us two ropes.”

“Yes, there were two ropes,” Tirhas concurred.
“Ratchis has the other one,” Kazrack said resignedly.

“Well, that’s real smart,” said Jeremy.

“There’s no point in arguing about it now,” said Kazrack.

“Right, there’s no point to any of this at all,” Martin the Green said, tersely. “We don’t even know what we are getting into or where we are going or for what.”

“We’re going after the drow witch, Martin,” Jeremy said, sounding confused.

Martin sighed, “I know. Forget it!”

Jeremy lowered Kazrack slowly, with some help from Jana and Martin, until they ran out of slack. Kazrack then slid his shield beneath himself and untied the rope. The dwarf rocketed down the shaft, turning 180 degrees and then tipping over onto his side as he slammed into the opposite wall of the shaft and down the final fifteen feet with a loud groan.

Ratchis looked down at him.

“What the hell are you doing down here?” Ratchis hissed.

“I came to help you to make sure you were all right,” Kazrack replied.

Ratchis rolled his eyes, “There is no way back up there. The way is too steep and slippery. We’re in trouble, because if we get attacked here, we have nowhere to go.”

A few moments later they heard the wild hooting of quaggoths passing by outside the crack. Ratchis ducked down, and crept to the opposite side of the crack, but beyond in the gray darkness he could see nothing but dim shadows of movement.

Suddenly he heard another voice passing as well, but it did not sound like a quaggoth, it sound like a soft-voiced woman, making a very clear representation of the melodic hooting. They were calling back and forth. She was giving orders!

The quaggoths passed just as Kazrack heard the yelp and the thumping of Jana tumbling down the shaft. He caught her and stepped backward and landed on his rear, and her hip bone struck him heavily on the forehead.

“Nephthys have mercy!” Ratchis hissed. “Is everyone going to come down here and risk their lives? Kazrack you should have told them to stay up there!”

“And split up the group and leave you to die?” said Kazrack. “We needed to come down here anyway.”

Jana nodded, and said, “Get ready, Martin should be next. Ratchis, I brought your chain shirt with me.”

Martin hung from the rope in the utter pitch dark (the lantern had been sent down with Jana, as Jeremy held a dagger with the light spell on it).

“I just gotta let go. I just gotta let go. I just gotta let go. I just gotta let go,” he said over and over again, but simply hung there.

“Martin! You have to let go!” Jeremy called down.

The Watch-Mage gulped and whispered, “Hold on Thomas!” He let go of rope and slid down the shaft. Amazingly, he was able to keep from flipping and slipping, holding his robes open beneath him, and trying to steer by yanking on one side or another.

Below Kazrack heard Martin’s approaching shriek, he braced himself to catch the mage. The impact was loud, as both cried out and Kazrack went flying back against the opposite wall. Ratchis, who had moved over to the other side of the crack to keep an eye open for foes, turned to look at the dwarf, and in that moment, a quaggoth leapt int oteh cavern, hooting loudly and swinging its club at the half-orc.

Stunned, Martin moaned, “We’re all going to die.”
 

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Cyronax

Explorer
nemm, better than ever! This is a real nail biter. I bet you were either having a lot of fun DMing that session and their uneviable predicament, or else you were silently cursing their recklessness......

C.I.D.
 

Love it!

Nemm,

I agree that these last two posts have been some of your best work. I think it's a combination of:

- an excellent NPC (Silverback),

- fantastic dialogue (I somehow seem to be able to visualize the party's surroundings even better than usual due to your descriptions), and

the fact that with a great DM like you a simple "dungeon-crawl" is anything but! Rather, it's a creepy cavern on the edge of hell inhabited by a half-ogre/half-giant with a tragic but believable tale and an evil party that kicks butt and swears up a storm.

Major kudos!

PS I agree with the posters above that the spell-casters are having a tough time. May I inquire as to why they only seem to cast cantrips and first level spells? No offense is meant to the players, I'm truly curious on this point. Are their spell selections more limited than would be normal for characters of their level (4th or 5th, I believe)?

PPS The exchange between Jeremy and Martin about "we're hunting the drow witch" - classic Jeremy!
 
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Horacio

LostInBrittany
Supporter
Great! Great!
Nemmerle, you're changing the meaning of Dungeon Crawl, taking it to a literary category...
 

Dawn

First Post
Nemm - I have to agree with Hercules about the descriptions. I felt like I was there in the dark and unable to see. Great descriptions of the PCs falling through the darkness to the bottom of the shaft.

Was that where the session ended for the night or are you just breaking up the recanting in that manner?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Dawn said:


Was that where the session ended for the night or are you just breaking up the recanting in that manner?

No, I break up the write-ups of the session for length and try to stop at a dramatic point when I can. . . When a session actually ends I end the installment with "End of Session #X"

spell-casters
As for the spell-casters, Jana only has access to one 2nd level spell, Blindness - which she tries often (lately at least). As for Martin he has two (maybe three) second level spells, Minor Image (which he used this past installment) and Disappear (from R&R which he has never used).

Because of her task from Osiris, Jana is not actively attempting to learn more spells - and Martin will be getting more spells soon.

And yes, in Aquerra (because of the lower magic level) wizards do not choose two new spells each level 0 instead they have a chance to gain one new spell every two levels.

Dungeon-Crawls

We played these session right afet "Lord of the Rings" came out and I was more than a little inspired by the scenes in Moria. :D
 
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KidCthulhu

First Post
nemmerle said:
And yes, in Aquerra (because of the lower magic level) wizards do not choose two new spells each level 0 instead they have a chance to gain one new spell every two levels.

So I have to ask what the spell casters get in return. Ratchis and Kazrack seem to be more powerful than Jana and Martin. They have plenty of spells AND they can hit things hard.

Have you given your weakened spell casters any other goodies to make up for the lower magic levels?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
KidCthulhu said:


So I have to ask what the spell casters get in return. Ratchis and Kazrack seem to be more powerful than Jana and Martin. They have plenty of spells AND they can hit things hard.

Have you given your weakened spell casters any other goodies to make up for the lower magic levels?

Well, keep in mind that both Kazrack and Ratchis have Strength scores of 18 - which means they hit stuff really hard and both have ranger/fighter levels in addition to priest levels - so their combat abilities are very good.

As for giving wizards something back ~ not in terms of any crunchy rules - but instead in terms of weilding "great power" in a setting where that actually means something - also, they are casting what spells they do have in situations where there are no enemies that can cast spells as well.

As for witches (my sorcerer replacement), they have the ability to confer with the creature their token summons to gain info and learns things like meta-magic feats (when they have an open slot) - Jana has just not had time/inclination to do so.

I'll admit that wizards are a little behind the curve in Aquerra at lower levels - but this shifts at higher levels - and in the end as long as players are aware of what it is like and are having fun playing their character paying homage to what I call "the myth of balance" is not so important. :D
 

KidCthulhu

First Post
nemmerle said:
In the end as long as players are aware of what it is like and are having fun playing their character paying homage to what I call "the myth of balance" is not so important. :D

Sounds good to me. Myths arise for a reason, though. I wondered if they players didn't feel frustrated. That's why balance is something designers work for. So everyone has fun. But it's clear they're all having fun, and how could they not with you driving the bus?
 

Nail

First Post
nemmerle said:
Session #24

“I think I am going to go down to the dry riverbed now and just scout around and learn what I can,” Ratchis whispered to Kazrack, as they stood by the archway led to the stairway Silverback had mentioned.

“That would be dangerous,” Kazrack. “But we should learn what we can about this place before rushing in. The ogre chief may be willing to die, but the rest of us are not quite so eager.”

“I won’t take any unnecessary chances,” Ratchis said.......

[snip]......

“Nephthys have mercy!” Ratchis hissed. “Is everyone going to come down here and risk their lives? Kazrack you should have told them to stay up there!”

“And split up the group and leave you to die?” said Kazrack. “We needed to come down here anyway.”

Yup, they needed to come down "here" alright. 'Cause they got a Plan. A real good plan, yup. You just watch out, Nem....they got a plan and they aren't afraid to use it. Full of thinkers this party is. Always lookin' fer angles. Each memeber is part of the Well-Oiled-Machine! (tm), carefully tuned and balanced by all of their previous Plans.....err, and strategies......ummmmmm......

Yup, they've got it all worked out...a wonderful, intricate, masterwork plan just about ready to...well, that is, they almost have them right where they...err, I mean, eventually they'll bring it all togeth.....

Oh, crap. They're totally screwed, aren't they?

-Nail

P.S. After this, should they survive, Ratchis learns about the "scouting ahead" fallacy, right? He figures it out, right?....He puts this experience along with all of the others and "gets it".....right?......<please, oh please say he figures it out.....>
 

handforged

First Post
I too am worried about the spellcasters. Jana has little chance of gaining new spells anytime soon, and her gift gives her significant minuses whereas Ratchis, one of the more powerful characters anyway got a very useful item. If the players are happy I guess that it is ok, but it seems like the spellcasters do get slighted.

~hf
 

Ciaran

First Post
KidCthulhu said:


Sounds good to me. Myths arise for a reason, though. I wondered if they players didn't feel frustrated. That's why balance is something designers work for. So everyone has fun. But it's clear they're all having fun, and how could they not with you driving the bus?

It really is kind of frustrating to be so far behind the power curve, but I blame that as much on my choice of Evocation as my banned school as anything else. I was trying to curb my natural tendency towards power-gaming, without realizing that in Aquerra, there are only two types of adventurers: the min-maxed and the dead. ;-)

- Eric
 

Nail

First Post
Nem (and players), great story, and.....

KidCthulhu said:

Myths arise for a reason, though. I wondered if they players didn't feel frustrated. That's why balance is something designers work for. So everyone has fun.

Ciaran said:

It really is kind of frustrating to be so far behind the power curve....
[snip]
.....in Aquerra, there are only two types of adventurers: the min-maxed and the dead. ;-)

Agreed.

action=>result

-Nail

...and really => good story hour
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
On arcane spell-casters:

As this is the furtherest I have gone with a 3E group, my recent change as to how wizards gain new spells was precipitated by the realization that the rules I had for limiting wizard spell-power in 2E were too crippling in the latest addition - thus, now wizards get a chance to gain new spells outside of trading, buying, training or finding (which was the only way they could get them before).

As for witches - remember they are basically sorcerers - Jana has few spells - but she can cast them a buttload of times.

Also, she has had other chances to gain more and different spells - but the inopportune time/place she summoned the creature from the baby wolf skull totem led to her having to destroy it - and another token she might have gotten she has not seen yet - and she avoided the sneaky thing and did not try to steal/borrow one of the elves' token all the times she has been in Aze-Nuquerna (the elven enclave).

I am a firm believer in vreating opportunities as DM - and PCs can discover and take them or not. . . Sometimes they are good opportunities and sometimes they are bad. . . but they are there, none-the-less.

in Aquerra, there are only two types of adventurers: the min-maxed and the dead.

Come now, Eric. . . I doubt anyone in the whole party is "min-maxed" - in fact the last "min-maxed" character I could think of in Aquerra was an elven cavalier in a 2E game many years ago.

In terms of the party's magic items: Personally, I beleive everyone got somethin very useful. Martin can finally take some damage without dropping, Jana has a better chance of getting her spells thru, Jeremy has a magic weapon, Ratchis is a better position to do his reconn thing, and Kazrack has a holy dwarven item that covers a broad number of situations.
 

KidCthulhu

First Post
nemmerle said:
Also, she [Jana] has had other chances to gain more and different spells - but the inopportune time/place she summoned the creature from the baby wolf skull totem led to her having to destroy it - and another token she might have gotten she has not seen yet - and she avoided the sneaky thing and did not try to steal/borrow one of the elves' token all the times she has been in Aze-Nuquerna (the elven enclave).

I'm going to put my game designer hat on for just a minute. Are these tokens and powers that you want or need to give to Jana? Is this stuff she needs to have in order to continue to be a productive and surviving member of the campaign? If yes, then while I'm all for branching opportunity structure, you can't just put them in the world and if she doesn't find them, oh well.

That's like making computer game players hunt all the pixels in the room for the one key that will open the door later. If the player really needs the "Key" to make the game possible and fun, make sure they can find it, either by multiple opportunities, or by making it clear. Challenging, yes. But clear.

If they're just cool extras that would be fun for her, then fine, so she misses some of them.

Pardon the donning of the dreaded hat, but I wasn't clear from your statement what you meant.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
KidCthulhu said:


I'm going to put my game designer hat on for just a minute. Are these tokens and powers that you want or need to give to Jana? Is this stuff she needs to have in order to continue to be a productive and surviving member of the campaign? If yes, then while I'm all for branching opportunity structure, you can't just put them in the world and if she doesn't find them, oh well.

That's like making computer game players hunt all the pixels in the room for the one key that will open the door later. If the player really needs the "Key" to make the game possible and fun, make sure they can find it, either by multiple opportunities, or by making it clear. Challenging, yes. But clear.

If they're just cool extras that would be fun for her, then fine, so she misses some of them.

Pardon the donning of the dreaded hat, but I wasn't clear from your statement what you meant.

Well, I respectfully disagree - kind of. These tokens are needed for her to learn new spells, but she has had multiple opportunities - now whether or not all these opportunities were "clear" is another thing entirely - but a player does have a certain amount of responsibility to actively seek out the things they need to prosper in their adventures - whether it be newer or better armor for fighter-types, material components and such for wizards or better tools and gagdets for rogues, etc. . .

In addition, she has the means of creating new tokens - but has not taken the time to make one (basically, a kind of item creation feat). . .

But I think I am very fair in providing the opportunities for advancement.

There have been three chances to get new tokens since the campaign started:

1) The Wolf Skull - She found it, but destroyed it.

2) I cannot say what it is or where it was found - but a series of unforeseen events led her to not seeing it - but it is not out of the realm of possibility that she could still get her hands on it.

3) The eight different tokens in Aze-Nuquerna.

In addition, witches gain the Brew Potions feat at first level - Martin found an alchemist's kit in the valise he was given by the King of Gothanius (that belonged to the warlock that worked with Markle & Co.), but he has not mentioned it to anyone - but she could use that to start supplementing her abilities as well.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Heh.

I hope I didn't come off as defensive. . . I am not really into rules "crunchiness", as I am into "flavor" and I use DMing and story-telling skill to make sure everything balances alright - and that everyone has fun.

You need a DM with a slow hand, you need a DM with an easy touch. . . ;)
 
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KidCthulhu

First Post
No defensiveness at all. You'd be entitled to it, what with me baiting you in your lair, wearing my designer hat.

And I hope I didn't come across as implying you are wrong. No such intention!
 

Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
Edit - easier to email my other metagame questions!

Nem, as always , this story hour is just plain cool. I'm curious; how long after the games do you write your story hours? How much of a lag is there between the game and what we're reading?
 
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