Take ALL the shinies!

Mikal makes his escape
Death follows the trail

Mikal was slumped over his desk. Papers and scrolls lay strewn everywhere including the floor. A soft rustle could be heard from the papers in front of Mikal as his breathed in this sleep. Clearly he had passed out while studying the notes. His fingers were smeared with ink, his glasses disheveled. A silent alarm on his most recent rentals front door was tripped sending a warning into his head not ten seconds before his study door burst open. Two thuggish looking characters charged at Mikal as he spun awake staff in hand. Barely able to deflect the first short sword his eyes locked with the closer invader, power rippled briefly through the room as the man turned on his friend embedding his sword into the second mans chest in his disbelief. The first man also crumpled taking a swift knock to the head with Mikal’s staff.

Taking a deep breathe Mikal resealed the door with arcane energy. More intruders could be heard in his living space and he knew it wouldn’t be long before they broke through. Quickly he gathered what papers and scrolls he could, threw everything into his bag and prepared to make his escape. In the background a smashing noise could be heard. Mikal took another calming breathe walking up the the door and released the hold while opening the door. His staff came down and cold night winds whipped up around him rushing out the door. Grunts of pain could be heard from the intense chill. One man shouted, “I can’t see shite in this fog.”

Mikal grinned briefly before making his dash towards the door. This wasn’t the first time men had come for him, it likely wouldn’t be the last if he continued his search. Sitting still doing research didn’t seem a viable path anymore given the increasing frequency in attacks and money was running short. Time to break his streak of peace and quiet. Shouldering his pack he cast a spell to disguise his features as he strolled down the street. Losing his persuers in this city should be easy enough with the right tricks for now.

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Random musings

So I wanted to lay out a few points, in the vein of Angry DM’s Game Mastering Credo. These are put up for point of reference as to how I am planning to approach things, and (very importantly) so that you guys can give me feedback as to what you are looking for. What I list here might not mesh with what you want, so let me know if that’s the case! This is a starting point, nothing more.

  • In order to keep the game moving as much as possible, let’s keep rule discussions to a minimum. You guys have been pretty good about this so far, but it bears mentioning. Rather than looking rules up and such, I’m going to try to (when possible) just give a ruling if there is uncertainty about something, right or wrong. If it turns out that we did the wrong thing, then that’s my bad and I’ll try to learn from it going forward.
  • I am planning to run combat encounters in the Angry DM’s self-described style of “build fair, play to win”. That means that I’ll make encounters which should be of appropriate challenge levels, but once things get going I’m not going to fudge rolls to make it easier or harder on the fly. That means, among other things, that characters might die and the party may be out-matched. If that happens, remember that flight is a valid option. If something turns out too hard or too easy, then I’ll learn from it for future sessions, but in the moment I’m not planning to pull punches. This is because I believe strongly that without the possibility of failure, success isn’t as meaningful. Nobody has fun if I just hand out victory.
  • Corollary to the above two points: if I make an on-the-spot ruling which turns out to be wrong, and winds up having significant negative consequences for a character (death, mainly), then we can retcon things. My ignorance of the rules should never cause one of you guys to get screwed. But again, that’s a discussion for in between sessions, not during them, just so that things keep moving.
  • I am going to try to give you guys more non-combat approaches to situations (and entire non-combat encounters, for that matter) than we had during the last adventure. I thought that one of the drawbacks of Keep on the Shadowfell wound up being that the right approach was pretty much always to bash people’s skulls in. Now, there’s still going to be plenty of bashing skulls. And bashing skulls might even be the most obvious approach a lot of the time. But I will try to ensure that, a decent amount of the time, bashing skulls isn’t the only approach.
  • I may do stupid things, or make bad decisions which make things not fun. It’s happened before and will surely happen again. Please smack me if I do.
  • Not everything is possible, or beatable, etc. But I also won’t let you guys wander into such situations, or waste precious resources on actions which can’t succeed, without knowing the possible (and probable) consequences. If you decide to draw swords and try to kill the king in the presence of the royal guards, well… that’s probably not going to go well for you. And I won’t stop you if that’s really what you want to do. But you should at least be armed with that knowledge. ;)
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The story so far

Our heroes were drawn, by various circumstances, to the sleepy mountain town of Winterhaven. There they unearthed a growing threat from a death cult, worshipers of Orcus. The party searched for (and found) the cult’s secret lair, inside the ruins of an old keep which was built around a rift into the Shadowfell. The heroes adventured (and misadventured) their way through the ruined keep, culminating in a standoff with the necromancer Kalarel, who was seeking to open the rift to the Shadowfell.

The party triumphed over the necromancer, though their victory was not without cost. One of their number, Kaz the vampire pixie, was drawn into the Shadowfell by the whispering voice of Orcus, and met his untimely demise. While rejoicing (and mourning) at the Winterhaven inn, Kurosh met a road-worn traveler, who recognized him as the brother-in-law of Captain Davidson of the Selgaunt city guard. The traveler warned him that the city, and thus his brother-in-law’s life, was in danger.

So, our heroes have traveled to Selgaunt, jewel of the Sembian Empire. They do not yet know the peril they have stepped into…

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