Raglan’s Journal 06

Though I have only a little while to write and with frozen hands, I must record the exhilaration of what I have just experienced. We ventured into the snowy realm seeking the fourth “key” to this “layer,” to use the terms used by the creator of this hellish menagerie. We could hardly see as we traversed the rocky terrain, but eventually we were attacked. Anduin and I dealt swiftly with some ice creatures, and I gather that Juniper did the same separately. Seeking more foes nearby, I attempted to climb a ridge and was cast down by a rock.

Anduin cast a spell on us both that allowed us to fly! At the top of the mountain we found a great blue man who hurled a rock at me. I engaged, and the thrill of striking at such a creature while in flight is something indescribable I hope to experience again. It was like I was a hero from the stories of old. Continue reading

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Celebrian Cavern

IMG_20180815_134328Named by the elves who no longer live in the area, the Celebrian Cavern was once a popular place for lovers to meet and for children to play. Those who use it today have various names for it, if they deign to name it at all. Continue reading

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Extrinsic Game Costs

I like puzzles in my games. I’ve mentioned before, however, that they present a challenge of design for to their reliance on player ability and not so much character ability. In my previous post, I gave some tips based on one of my successful puzzle experiences for solving this problem, but a more recent experience with an admittedly worse-designed puzzle has brought into focus for me a separate and broader concern: extrinsic costs of game elements.

While much of my discussion will focus on this example of a puzzle gone somewhat awry, I think we see these extrinsic costs in many situations. For example, a player may avoid playing casters to not have to study the spell list or rely on others’ help or delay on their turn. A player might make sub-optimal combat decisions to avoid an unclear mechanic or save time (avoid calculating probabilities). The party might travel to a distant destination on foot rather than flying because they want time in-game to pass more quickly (wouldn’t spending a couple weeks hanging out in town be even faster?). Continue reading

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Biweekly Item-Mordenkainen’s Mummy Bag

Inspired by Rick Stumps recent post about a certain mediocre motel room spell, I thought I’d go ahead and flesh out Rowan‘s magical sleeping bag. He hasn’t gotten much use out of it, but now I’ll be more ready for if it comes up. Continue reading

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Wandering the Wilds

On August 11th, Year 4, Randall answers a long-standing call to chart the areas along the road to the gnomish lands from Iron Fields to ensure they will be safe for regular trade and cart travel. He is:

  • Randall (HuS): Level 3 Human Druid
    • Oliver, Level 3 Fox Companion

He departs early in the morning, flying to Iron Fields in falcon form with the plan to spend the next 6 days exploring the woods on either side of the road for a quarter mile out, making a quarter mile zig zag up one side for 3 days (long, 12-hour days) and then down the other side on the way back. He believes this will give him good coverage (62.5% of trees and underbrush should be at least seen in a cursory manner) of the area within a quarter mile or so of the road. While there will be some gaps, anything significant he should get a glimpse of through the trees. Continue reading

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ToM Session 14: Back to the Workshop

We left our adventurers, recently banished from the merfolk city, swimming toward the surface but cut off from it by giant jellyfish. They are:

  • Doane Six (ByW): Level 5 Nekolyn Monk
  • Lamila (BiW): Level 5 Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter
    • Benquil: Level 2 Spider Monkey Animal Companion
  • Lucifer “Lucy” Underfoot (RiH): Level 5 Halfling Bard
    • Gelda Roughsole: Level 3 Halfling Thief Follower
    • Eymen Hunyadi: Level 2 Drow Padfoot Follower
    • Rav Lugulu: Level 2 Goblin Chemist Follower
    • Hilderek Ferlwinkle: Level 2 Gnome Tinker Follower

Since there are three jellyfish, Lucy proposes that they split into 4 groups so that at least one group can get above the jellyfish and safely attack them (and hopefully not Rav and Hilderick). I guess I wanted the plan succeed, or maybe I just reasoned that the jellyfish would certainly follow the two slower groups (Rav/Hilderick and Lucy/Gelda), but I rolled to see if the third followed Doane or Lamila. Continue reading

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The Frying Pan

On August 4th, Year 4, a pair of Citadel House adventurers answer the invitation of the gnomes of Slighe Domhainn to join them gaining access to a dwarven stronghold of yore nearby. They are:

  • Verdis (HuS): Level 9 Human Fighter
    • Phineas, Talking Rock Companion
  • Q (TrS): Level 1 Human Thief

Expecting Slighe Domhainn to be about 3 days of forced march from Citadel, they take 8 days of food each. The journey to Slighe Domhainn takes them to Rathad Oidiche on the evening of the 5th, where they pay for a room and sleep in a small but comfortable bed to recover from their walk. Continue reading

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Biweekly Monster-Clinging Glow

A Clinging Glow is really a cloud of unusually predatory plankton. While many ocean creatures have learned to sense its draining presence and avoid it, it still obtains plenty of prey and can prove deadly to creatures that don’t belong in the sea.

Continue reading

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The Search for the Temple of Sha’Ha

Camping up in Slide Canyon on Friday, we had some down time and so I ran a short, casual session of my very vague understanding of Fate Accelerated, further simplified from my only source of knowledge: GM Showcase. This is my favorite “system” to run when while driving or just lounging around in hammocks, and it can be easily adapted for any setting (I may need to buy some actual Fate Dice, rather than just using an app). Part of what I love about it (specifically the Labyrinth of Eternal Horror and also Knives variant) is that when a major aspect of the story is ridiculousness, I can take the players at their word without hesitation and just have things backfire in nonsensical ways. I hope that that comes through in this report. The characters were:

  • King Arthur III (RiS)
    • Powerful wizard
    • Frequently loses spell components and wands
    • Wears very colorful clothes
  • Gancho (EnS)
    • Courageous Swordsman
    • Afraid of Heights
    • Loves dramatic theme music for his fights
  • Alfred (KeS)
    • Desert Warrior Monk
    • Terrible at magic
    • Loses focus constantly

It began with only King Arthur III (KA3), walking the magical, way-shortening road in the sky with his trusting guardian, Gancho. As the fields and forests rushed by beneath them, they saw a wave in the road approach and, not having time to respond, were thrown from the road into a swamp. Continue reading

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Aguluk Cegri


The mostly goblin heretical Schek Aguluk Cegri worship an underground aspect of Aguluk, goddess of rivers and lakes. They are highly secretive and hide themselves by living and traveling along underground rivers. This is one of their hidden holds, housing 15 or 16 small family groups. Though they have to farm on the surface, they spend as much as their time as possible near the river. Continue reading

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