Hero Kids: The Lizard Swamp

IMG_20190219_205852This week, (C) decided to play her long haired hunter and (S) decided to play her water Shaman, “Owlette.” We played at LTUE in their game room, which was a special treat for all of us. Their plan was to pursue the path on the map Gekko captured last week to get to Ulster’s Tower and rescue the boy taken by the rats.

The path rAN first through the Lizard Swamp. On the way to it, they came upon a pair of bandits that they easily defeated together. Soon, the path became squishy and wet. As they went, they were ambushed by two lizard savages and a lizard archer. The archer caused enough damage to drop (C) before (S) could finish him off.

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Experimental Facility Tuv

TUV1The Haven players recently cleaned out all the secrets I had in mind for Experimental Facility Tuv, so I can share it now! The Citadel House Adventurers first entered this dungeon on November 11th, Year 3. This visit was brought on at the invitation of the Nekolyns, who accompanied them into the first level of the bunker. On this delve, they found the hidden stair in the kitchen, giving them access to the residential floor. From there, they passed the first puzzle door to the statue room (after searching all the unlocked rooms) and figured out enough of the broken-in mutation wing to disable the crystal causing the blight above. With the Nekolyns satisfied, they decided to try to disable the lightning on the residential level, but were chased out by a facsimile they turned aggressive. Wounded, they went home.

The next time they returned (January 6th, Year 4), they stayed for over a week and received reinforcements. During the first week of this effort, they disabled the now aggressive facsimile, accessed some previously unopened living quarters, and contended with the mad Nekolyn Laetian who had been stranded here under the influence of the crystal, though he escaped. They spent the weekend recovering and awaiting reinforcements and resupply. When the others arrived, they solved puzzles and accessed the other two wings. In one they cleared a fungus infestation and disabled the lightning enchant, making ingress and egress much easier. In the other, they followed a long passage (the southeast one for over a mile) until they fought an extremely dangerous predator that used illusion to confound them. With some of them badly wounded, they withdrew back to Citadel.


It was over a year before they returned again, February 9th, Year 5, at the behest of the Nekolyns. In no rush, they searched the place from top to bottom and with the help of a living rock they found discovered even the most secret doors to the secret lab being used by an infiltrator to the facility back when it was functional. Loot was a significant haul. They also encountered the large facsimiles used to dig the tunnels. Wounded and tired, they awaited reinforcements.

When the new arrivals from the Vale, they followed the South tunnel as it spiraled down thousands of feet and it brought them into the underdark where they were repulsed by dangerous enemies. Now believing that all the tunnels lead to dangerous underground connections, they departed with little intention to return. The Nekolyns know that the South door is the most likely to contain continued danger and the facility has been turned over to them.

I’m considering starting a Patreon so I can make some of my prep available without it being player-facing. If you’d be interested in that, let me know so I can determine whether or not to put in the effort.

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Raglan’s Journal 17

As Anduin, Juniper, and I joined the battle, we quickly cut down enemies, saving unicorns and others and it seemed we were about to capture the field in total triumph when suddenly a beam erupted from the tent, awakening one of the dormant astrite golems. There in the tent stood a massive dragonborne, a bronze horn in his hand and dead cultists all around him. Continue reading

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Biweekly Monster-Furnisher

old-furnitureYou were warned not to sit in any of the chairs or put a coat on any of the racks, but you you didn’t comprehend how many of those you would have to eschew. The shack was only small and this room of it is crowded with dusty end tables, coffee tables, dinner tables, chairs, coat racks, stools, and cabinets. The fey creature you came to speak to bobs between coat racks as it greets you, seeming a little too eager.

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Haven: The Upper Underdark

On February 16th, Year 5, the Citadel House Adventurers became worried about Rovert, who had been asking around about the elven facility in the blight the Nekolyns were asking about. Not having seen him all week, some worry for his well being and others worry what evil he might be exercising in the ancient lab. Still others were simply interested in whatever was going on.

  • Rovert (TrS): Level 6 Human Magic-user (Death and Undead)
    • Drej, Level 4 Psuedodragon Familiar
    • Dohasan, Level 1 Centaur Herbalist
  • Randall (HuS): Level 6 Human Druid
    • Oliver, Level 6 Fox Companion
  • Rowan (MiM): Level 3 Elf Magic-User (Death and Life)
  • Ale’filia (DaS): Level 2 Elf Cleric of the Living Water
  • Warren (CoS): Level 1 Dwarf Fighter

The weather has been nice and the roads are clear. By evening on the 16th, the rescue party arrives at the blight, where the Nekolyns inform them that their companions entered a week before and have not been seen since, though the ground has shaken and a sinkhole opened. They spend the night with the Nekolyns before entering. Continue reading

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Hero Kids: The Ulster Path

In this week’s session with the girls, (C) had to sit it out to catch up on some school work, so (S) made yet another character: Gekko, a melee fighter with grabbing and stealth ability. He has sticky goo and tracking as an ability.

(S) was eager to return to the pool she discovered connected to the rat caves under the restaurant. She searched around it and found a trail into the woods toward the mountains. As she followed it, she meet a pair of bandits that she defeated by sticking them with her goo and fighting them one at a time. Continue reading

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Is Failure an Option?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to set conditions for failure in a tabletop RPG. On the one hand, tabletop RPGs lend themselves well to total and final failure in a quest because, while we strive to achieve our objective, death and failure can still be a satisfying end to a campaign (if done right). On the other hand, unlike video games, a tabletop RPG campaign is often a one-time experience and there is no opportunity to try again after a campaign ends in failure (though a new party could try to pick up the pieces). This perceived drawback is especially present in persistent world campaigns (like my Haven campaign) where failure in any given arc can have undesired repercussions for the world going forward (much less of a problem if you design failure repercussions that you’re happy to see). In any case, Challenge is a major aesthetic of tabletop RPGs, and so the fun of any campaign relying on this aesthetic is greatly served by the real possibility of failure. To that end, let’s talk about how to design failure conditions that strike a satisfying balance between terrifying threat of failure and high chance of success (including minor, unforced errors on the part of the players). Continue reading

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Primordial Frontier S2: Into the Lowlands

At the mayor’s request, the party prepares to descend into the magically perilous lands below their plateau where the ship crashed. Bilbil’s host father, the sky dock’s chief technician, provides him with pitons and rope to help the other two descend. Meanwhile, at the shrine to Emedia, the priest tries to talk Amhran out of going into this danger. They both meet Rathdar at the tavern to head down.

  • Rathdar (ByW): Level 1 Human Cleric of Vardor
  • Bilbil (RiH): Level 1 Harpy Thief/Roboticist
  • Amhran (BiW): Level 1 Human Cleric of Emedia
    • Clarence: Level 1 Skeleton with Revolvers

From the edge of the plateau, they can see the ship through a break in the clouds below, about a dozen miles away. Rathdar is familiar with climbing equipment and takes the lead helping Amhran and Clarence descend safely. Bilbil glides about, ready to catch any if the fall and watching for danger.
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Biweekly Item-Pearl of the Deep

A massive blue pearl set in an elegant silver pendant, the pearl of the deep is an item of legend captured from far below the waves, stolen by intrepid adventurers from the hall of a storm giant at the bottom of an ocean trench. It glows with a pale blue light when the attunement process begins. Continue reading

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Haven: Investigating Tuv

On February 9th, Year 5, after being asked back by the Nekolyns surrounding the blight, a pair of adventurers who had never been there before set out to explore the bunker further. One is a recent, seasoned member of Citadel House, the other a newly arrived orc deserting Schek Tarifk:

  • Rovert (TrS): Level 5 Human Magic-user (Death and Undead)
    • Drej, Level 4 Psuedodragon Familiar
    • Dohasan, Level 0 Centaur Herbalist
  • Gorg “Sneaky Feet” (HuS): Level 1 Orc Thief

With the best information any of the previous delvers into Tuv can recall, they set out with 12 days of food, expecting to spend a week in the tunnels beneath the bunker. By Monday evening they make camp a mile or so North of the dam. Tuesday morning, Nekolyns find them and accompany them to the blighted area (a region of aggressive and dangerous plants), which they have cut back most of the way, including a wide path to the bunker entrance.
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