Sunday, July 15, 2018

"Release The Kraken!!!" - "Oops." - The Sunken City Adventure Continues - July 15, 2018 - Two

Luckily, the FLGS had a Kraken in stock.

Unfortunately, the Kraken also brought a Maelstrom along...

... and most of the players got sucked right in...

... so, as seems to be usual, they blew it up.

The guards having become a trifle suspicious, they summoned the Kraken to help them out, and things got more then a little out of hand (tentacle?) as the Kraken had thoughtfully brought a Maelstrom along with it, occasioned by the use of a little too much sorcery near to the Mysterious Glowing Orb that the party had managed to find and 'aquire'.

Things did not go well; the GM was rolling really hot, and the party really poorly. Things turned into such a confused mess of a melee that the poker chips that indicated depth went to the players, as it was assumed that everyone in the maelstrom was swirling about; the GM then went around the table by depth / poker chip color, and things became very manageable.

Not that this helped the players; there were several rounds where people were reduced to zero or negative HP, and the party's healer had her hands full keeping everybody alive in the mess. The Kraken didn't help matters by grabbing players as they swirled by and trying to dip them in shrimp cocktail sauce;  the party's best magic-user put a damper on this by hitting the Kraken on the noggin with a fireball, which seemed to dampen  any appetite for player-character appetizers.

The party ran out of time, due to schedule issues, so this game will be back on the table in three weeks after people get back from Comic Con in San Diego and other events. Nothing like a cliff-hanger, I always say, so tune in again for the next installment of the Saga of the Shieldmaidens as the attempt to stay off the menu...

Back To The Sunken City, With The Shieldmaidens - July 15, 2018 - One

Not five minutes in, and this happens.

A passing Bronze Dragon stops by.

What was supposed to be the climactic game of this particular adventure turned into a 'mid-game' session, with the party ending this game on a pretty dire cliff-hanger.

The basic plot, as regular readers will know from previous posts, is that the party has been hired while on their vacation to find a Mysterious Glowing Orb that's supposed to be hidden in the Sunken City. The previous session to this saw them find the thing, and they managed to talk their way past the guards to grab the thing. Some unplanned sorcery ensued, as they attempted to get away with their prize. The mer-guards and their eight-armed allies got suspicious, and sounded the alarm.

However, one of the players was a little faster on the initiative then the guards were, and summoned a passing Bronze Dragon to get some sage advice and counsel. The dragon was also feeling a bit peckish, so the swarm of sharks that were after the players disappeared in a swash of drawn butter and tartar sauce.

The dragon then dispensed the Sage Counsel and Useful Advice, and vanished back up to the surface with a contented burp. However, the guards were made of stern stuff, and called reinforcements. Which resulted in our cliffhanger of a battle, and the subject of our next post.

As is my function, I set up the table and stood back to watch the mayhem. I had left the game all packed up from the last session, so it was a simple matter of loading the car and getting into the venue. I had been asked for a Bronze Dragon, so the plush 'Asian Lung' that normally graces the game lounge was pressed into service. (Went over very well, I am happy to say.)

The group has really taken off, with this party being of ten, and the other campaign that they run having six today. They did a 'demo game' and a panel last week at Convergence, the huge F/SF convention that happens here in the Twin Cities every summer, and got a lot of interest and media attention from that.

And, if I may modestly say so, the recent series of games using my scenery and terrain seems to have helped. It is showy, I will freely admit, but the attention that is gets the group is certainly worth all the loading and unloading that has to be done to make all this happen. I enjoy doing it, and they say 'Thank you, Chirine!" so I'm a very happy camper.

Right! On to the melee!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

An Interlude, and An Excursion - July 7th, 2018 - The Weekly Update

 A product of the For Motor Company that you may not have heard of

And some properly dressed passengers, as well!
The Missus and I went out on a little excursion to Holman Field in St. Paul this afternoon, and took a few photos of a visitor to the Twin Cities and her passengers. Here's a news story about her:

We had a lot of fun, I got to talk to a lot of people, and a very nice couple who were flying as passengers - and who had dressed properly for the occasion, complete with their luggage - let us take their pictures.

As regular readers of this little confection are aware, I love older forms of technology, so today's excursion was a real treat. She'll be here in town today and tomorrow, and is well worth a visit. The food in the terminal building is very good, too! :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Blood In The Water, or, We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat...

The party came prepared and fully equipped...

... ready to face the Giant Octopus...

,,, but the GM had her own laptop ready...

... and mayhem ensued.
Yes, I know it's blurry, but that's because I was laughing so hard.

So, as related in our last installment of the Saga of the Shieldmaidens, they'd gone for a swim to find and 'collect' a Mysterious Object, which was supposedly an Orb of Great Power. Being canny players, they had their Druid shape-change into one of the local sea creatures, and inquiries were made of the denizens of the deep as to the possible whereabouts of any magical objects that might be secreted in the Sunken City.

Their first lead, from a passing Giant Gulper Eel, resulted in some sort of magical object being detected in one of the large stone heads on the north side of the temple plaza. In order to investigate this, the party's Halfling was stuffed up the stone head's nose - it was the largest opening that the Halfling would fit into - and she passed the magical orb that she'd found out to the rest of the party. However, it wasn't the orb that they were looking for, so further searches were made as the players had realized that the temple pyramids were hollow and contained all sorts of useful goodies what their GM had thoughtfully rolled up and left scattered around as diversions away from the main prize; they were, as was pointed out, 'red herrings' - from which comment you might be able to determine the tone of this game session.

After much fooling around and sundry bits of looting, the party finally Got The Hint and looked into the one and only sand-colored temple pyramid guarded by the Giant Octopus. Said guardian objected to the perusal of the temple's contents, whereupon the Rogue in the party whipped up a set of fake IDs for the party to display which claimed that the party was on Official Business and had every right to have a look around the place.

(Fake IDs, by the way, also played a major part in the previous game session when the party arrived at the Tiki Bar and went to work. The party's Rogue has, I gather, a special kit for the making of these things; in this case, one of the magic users created an air bubble to house the little printing press while the Rogue worked.)

The Giant Octopus was not particularly convinced of the veracity of the party and their credentials, and trouble loomed.

(At this point, seeing how the current flowed, I went over to the next door fast food joint and got a fish sandwich for lunch; I wanted to beat the school of sharks to the buffet that was about to open, as it were.)

As could have been predicted by just about anyone, the party was attacked by the Giant Octopus and defended themselves. The GM was particularly delighted by this turn of events, as she'd been up all night lovingly crafting said Enormous Cephalopod out of various portions of the Monster Manual. Things looked grim for the party, as they were really kinda out-classed and out-armed by the thing.

I found the melee really fascinating, from a game design standpoint, and really gross, from the cleaning-up-the-mess standpoint. The players just waded in on the creature and - this is the important part to remember - used the three-dimensional nature of their surroundings to 'stack' their attacks, both for doing lots and lots of damage and for mutual support. The Octopus was surrounded by the poker-chip depth markers, indicating that all of the party was attacking on every melee round - the defending octopod was limited to one action per round, while the party could get in six to eight actions.

The party turned into hyper-active sushi chefs, and there was a lot of stuff for the surrounding sharks to snack on by the end of round two. Since the party were all in close contact, they could support each other, and things got very messy very quickly.

(It was at this point that one of the players noticed my lunch, and pointed it out to the rest of the party. there was a chorus of "EEEEeeeeuuuwww!" and they went back to slaughtering the Octopus. I tried to get photos, but I was laughing too hard.)

Eventually, the hapless cephalopod was no more, and the party proceeded to get into the Secret Chamber in the heart of the temple to collect the Orb that they were looking for. All in all, they thought it was quite the successful operation, and I thought that it was a very good game. We're back again next week for a little clean-up and detail looting - the party wants to make sure that they've gotten everything worth getting - and then they'll be back to dry land for more adventures.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunken City, One Each, For The Use Of Gamers - Sunday, July 1st, 2008 - The Weekly Update

The table, looking north. GM table in the back. Time to set was forty minutes.

The table, looking southwest. The Giant Octopus stands in for the Kraken.

You never have enough sharks. Plastic sharks on GW flight stands.

The GM table, with poker chips, dice, and Giant Sea Life ready to hand..

Before I get into the game report proper, a few comments on the game itself. I got a short 'specification' for the table, which was "A sunken city; giant sea creatures would be nice." So, that's what the GM got. The wonderful Stonehouse pyramids got interior details, which the players figured out pretty quickly and took the time to explore. (And loot.) The Giant Jellyfish went over the proverbial treat, with one player opting to use one of them for her PC figure.

I took a litlte time to drill the plastic - vinyl, really - sharks for fitting with GW clear plastic flight stands, and this seemed to please everybody and be well worth the time. I thought it made for a much better-looking school of sharks, especially when the huge melee got started.

Speaking of which, I was quite fascinated by the way that the players understood the poker-chip depth system, and how they used it to great effect. They 'got' the three-dimensionality of the game instantly, and then used it to 'stack' themselves to get more attacks on their targets when they had melees. Very effective, and I started to feel a bit peckish and went to the fast-food outlet next door for a fish sandwich.

This group plays a very fast game; the pace is very, very quick, and the combat rounds incisive and tight. All of the new players - we had several - were coached and helped by the more experienced ones, and everybody had a very good time.

Next up: blood in the water - we're gonna need a bigger boat...