Pick-on-Halflings Day

The last session pretty much ended up being Pick-on-Halflings day.  P.W. has a lousy Charisma and negative modifiers, but the rest of the party prefers to let him be the spokesman, because they find his failures hilarious.

Talk to the landlord seeking rent? Fail
Hire henchmen?  Fail, fail, fail
Talk to Morlocks?  Fail

The dwarf Justin didn't have much better luck either, and the first wanton murder of the campaign occurred.  I expect many more in the future.  No PC likes to take a bunch of backtalk from an NPC.

I got caught up in the spirit of things and Mongo's new cleric henchman start back-talking the halfling, too.  Forgot that his reaction roll wasn't that bad - whoops.  Oh well, it adds dramatic tension.

Mongo's player was bitching about the last session where they found no gold, only horrible death (for their henchmen).  I mentioned that they've walked by tons of obvious puzzles and so forth, so Mongo made it his mission to start working through them.  And the players actually tried negotiating with a monster instead of immediately charging - the dice wanted violence, though.  So the party has made another enemy in the underworld.  It's probably for the best - morlocks are kind of bitey.


Session recap, 4/27/2011

Netal the Elf (1), and his dogs Bitey and Moe
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Leroy Brown the Cleric and Jimgar the Elf
P.W. the Halfling (1)
Justin the Dwarf (1), and his dog Bailey

The party was staying at Mongo's place, when one morning there was a knock at the door.  P.W. got up to answer it, and opened the door to a human in a shabby blazer, bowler hat, with a waxed moustache and wielding a cane.  The human said "What's this?  A halfling?  In my building?  Get Mongo, little man!" and started poking P.W. with his cane.

P.W. was incensed at this outrageous behavior, and drew his short sword to parry the cane away.  His swipe missed, but the man was horrified by this assault.  He began backing away down the hall shouting "Help!  I'm being attacked!  Somebody help!"

Mongo rushed to the door, and tried to calm the man down.  The man was Oscar, Mongo's landlord, and he was quite irate.

Oscar: "That halfling is going to hang!  There are no demi-humans allowed in the building!  Get that half-man away from me!"
Mongo: "What you want?"
Oscar:  "The rent is due!"
Mongo: "Problem.  Mongo out of money right now."
Oscar:  "Then your problem is that you're evicted!"
P.W.:  "Here, take this, I'll pay the rent." (hands over 300 gp)
Oscar:  "I'll take your money, but you're going to hang, halfling!  I'm getting the guard!"

Oscar stormed out of the building in a rage, with P.W. silently trailing him all the way to the Palais Indomitable.  There, Oscar began talking to one of the soldiers of the Unyielding Fist.  "A halfling assaulted you?  Horrifying!  We'll get the little bastard!"  The guardsman gathered a few more of his fellows and they (along with Oscar) headed back towards Mongo's apartment.  P.W. decided to remain where he was, hiding near the Palais Indomitable.

Back at the apartment, the guards banged loudly on the door, and Mongo answered.

Guard:  "All right, you, where's the halfling?"
Mongo:  "No halfling here!"

Pushing Mongo aside, the guards searched the room, with Oscar in tow.  Oscar had a deep look of shock, surveying the state of the apartment:  dog excrement everywhere, demihumans laying about the place, and they weren't even paying extra rent.

Oscar:  "Unacceptable!  You!  This is unacceptable!  I want all this out of here!  Everything!"
Mongo:  "OK, everyone out.  Out!"
Guard:  "If that halfling comes back, you're going to come get us?  You hear?"
Mongo:  "OK, what's your name?"
Guard:  "What the hell do you want to know that for?"
Mongo:  "You said to come get you!  How will I find you?"
Guard:  "Any guard, you idiot!"

The party members were shuffled out by Mongo, and the guards and Oscar left soon after.  Mongo then set about cleaning his apartment for the rest of the day.

Back at the Palais Indomitable, P.W. saw the guards return (without Oscar).  He approached them, and said "You!  Help!  A man in a bowler and blazer robbed 300 gp from me!"  The guard laughed scornfully.  "I sincerely doubt that!  A halfling with that kind of money?  Ha ha ha!  Get out of here, half-man!"

His scheme to frame Oscar for robbery foiled, P.W. made his way back to the apartment, keeping an eye out for the landlord.  The rest of the party eventually made it back to, and they determined their next step should be to head back to the dungeon, to get more gold.  Mongo explained a vision he had, of gold hidden in places by puzzles that they had refused to experiment with.  The party agreed to head back, but first - they wanted more henchmen.

Mongo wanted to hire a cleric, so off they went to the Street of Temples.  They accosted a random priest in the street:

P.W.:  "Do you want great offerings for your god?"
Priest:  "Why yes, Lemelius, God of the Small Intestine, is always looking for offerings!  What would you like to contribute?"
P.W.:  "That's the greatest intestine!  How do you feel about beetles?"
Priest:  "You want to sacrifice beetles?"
P.W.:  "Yes, beetles!  Giant beetles!  You could digest them, right?"
Priest:  "Giant beetles?  Those are dangerous!  You mean the one they make beetle paste from?"
P.W.:  "Yes, beetle paste!  You can eat it!"
Priest:  "Are you insane?  You don't eat beetle paste!  That's incredibly risky!"
P.W.:  "Well, who would want to go with us?"
Priest:  "Maybe a priest of Miguel, the War God.  They're over there."  (points)

The party made their way to the Temple of Miguel, the War God.  Two burly acolytes guarded the entrance to the temple, maces resting on their shoulders.

Mongo:  "You want offerings for your god?"
Acolyte:  "Of course, Miguel appreciates a good offering!  What do you have in mind?"
Mongo:  "Treasure!  We kill and take treasure!"
Acolyte:  "Huh?  You're going to kill someone?  Who are you talking about?"
Mongo:  "No... no... from ruins!  Take treasure from ruins!"
Acolyte:  "Oh, from the ancient ruins!  Your eloquence has convinced me, stranger.  I am Leroy Brown.  Bad Leroy Brown.  I'm the baddest man in the whole damned town."

Leroy in tow, the party then decided they should hire a thief.  They decided thieves would most likely be hanging out on the Street of Lesser Men.  As they approached the street, beggars began following them.  P.W. tossed a silver piece at one, and immediately a horde of beggars descended upon the party.  To escape, P.W. began hurling silver down the street in one direction, while running in the other.  The beggars were mostly cripples and lepers, and the halfling was able to outpace them.

He then began a new scheme, and approached one of the local toughs leaning against a building, held out his hand, and proclaimed "Wallet inspector!"  The tough was having none of that monkey business, and began swinging wildly at the agile little halfling.  P.W. dodged easily, and tried to leg-sweep the grizzled mugger, but his tiny legs weren't up to the task.  Eventually Justin got tired of watching the feeble battle, and pulled out his knife.  The ruffian wasn't about to be murdered by a wallet inspector and his dwarven buddy, and took off down an alleyway.

The beggars were making their way closer, so P.W. took off down the street again, this time lobbing a gold piece into the air.  After putting some more distance between the beggars and himself, he approached another street tough, held out his hand, and proclaimed once more, "Wallet inspector!"  The results were identical, with neither opponent hitting the other - but this fight ended as the beggars ran up and began pummeling the musclehead who was bothering their benefactor.

The party then began bar hopping.  The first bar they entered was the Rusty Fork.  Justin approached a man who looked like a thief - and the man did indeed proclaim himself as such.  "I'm the finest thief in the city!"  "Well, would you like to join us on an adventure?"  "No, don't think so."  The thief shook his head in disgust and left the bar.

P.W. tried talking up the barkeep.  As he approached, the barkeep proclaimed "You there!  A free meal and drink, if you eat with this rusty fork!"  He held up a mangled rusty fork, with tines spread every which way, and jagged shards of metal sticking pointlessly out of the implement.  P.W. agreed, and the barkeep handed him a rat on a stick, pulling the stick out "because you can reuse them, you know?"  The other patrons gathered breathlessly around, muttering things like "I can't believe he's going to do it" and "Nobody's done this since Lockjaw Larry!"

The comments made P.W. nervous, and he changed his mind.  The bartender, clearly disappointed, took the rat back and stuck it back on its stick, tossing it into the food-bucket.  P.W. approached another thiefly looking fellow, and said "Hello there!  I was wondering if you'd like to join us on an adventure..."

Fellow:  "Do you know who I am?  Clearly you do not know who I am.  If you know who I was you would not ask that.  But you did.  And now you're going to leave by the time I count to five, or you're going to be eating with the rusty fork."

P.W. stood defiantly til the count of 4, and then hightailed it out of the bar.  The angry fellow gestured at the rest of the party:  "You, too!  All of you, out!"  Meekly, the party left, heading to the next bar.

The Flaming Moe was sadly thief-less.  And on to the next bar:  Blind Willy's.  Justin went in alone, and within saw a few old men sipping shots of wood alcohol, complaining about their terrible eyesight.  Justin approached the barkeep, and asked if he knew any thieves looking for adventure.  The barkeep wordlessly reached for a bucket of grease, and tipped it on top of Justin's head.  The insult being too much, Justin drew his protonium-metal dagger and lunged at the barkeep, as the old men ran out of the bar screaming.  The fight was short, and ended with the barkeep laying face down in a pool of his own blood.

Justin cleaned himself off as best he could, and marched out of the bar.  The party then decided a change of venue was in order, and headed to the Street of the Alien to see if they could hire themselves an elf.  They stopped at the first elven tavern they saw, Leafy Green's ("what kind of bar is that?"  "a salad bar!").  The party marched in, and P.W. once again asked if anyone wanted adventure.  The barkeep and his customers glared at P.W., and the barkeep shouted "No halflings allowed!  Get out NOW!"  P.W. sadly marched out the door, to wait for his friends to finish their business.

Mongo walked up to the bartender and asked if any elves were looking for adventure.  "Hmm yes, you see that elf over there?  That's Jimgar, he's looking for a bit of work."  After a brief introduction, Jimgar proclaimed Mongo as being one of the most eloquent humans he'd ever met, and an employment agreement was reached.  Sadly, Jimgar's knowledge of the arcane arts was limited to the hold portal spell, and not the coveted sleep spell, but the party decided to roll with it.

The party then went off to the dungeon, arriving uneventfully.  Traversing the upper level turned out to be much more of a challenge than previously - creatures from below had been working their way up.  They fought their way through screaming freaks, giant earwigs, and those weird yellow kruller shaped creatures with horns.  The earwigs are much more hostile than they had been in the past, climbing up onto the dogs and pinching with their rear pincers as well as biting with their insect mouths.

The party made their way to the room with a bin full of wires sticking out.  Justin tried touching various wires to each other, but only managed to give himself nasty electric shocks.  Eventually P.W. decided to cut through the Gordian knot, and dropped his shield on top of the mass of wiring.  He shorted out all of them at once, and a secret door opened in the northeast corner.  There was a small closet behind the door, and two foil packets were on a shelf inside.  Justin opened one, and it contained a square of crumbly blue foam-like material.  He experimented with tasting it, and found that a nasty cold sore spontaneously cleared up.  The foil-wrapped foam squares were some sort of medicinal product.

They then headed to the cylindrical chamber with the glass tubes full of glowing green liquid.  They climbed up to the catwalk, and Justin hammered away at one of the tubes his protonium-metal dagger.  It smashed the tube open, and the party began filling their dozens of empty flasks with the glowing green liquid.  The liquid felt warm to the touth, and P.W. became curious.  After touching the liquid, he decided to taste it - and keeled over instantly, his veins glowing faintly greenish.  Justin crammed a mouthful of the foam squares into P.W.'s mouth, and the halfling recovered.

Netal, P.W., and Justin decided they should experiment with the poison, by dipping arrows in it, making the dogs howl, and then shooting whatever wandered in through the doors below the catwalk.  The experiment was almost a complete success - except the monsters showed up at the door on the catwalk level, scratching at it from the other side.

Mongo and his henchmen went to the opposite side of the catwalk, wanting no part of this plan, while P.W. opened the door.  A group of giant earwigs started running around in circles, as they had before in honor of Nisus.  P.W. responded to this by dumping a flask of green goo onto one of the earwigs.  It immediately curled up and died, and the rest of the earwigs took off in a panic.

The group decided to head back to the beetle-trap room and try to gather up the silver tassels.  On the way, they encountered a group of four morlocks.  The morlocks hesitated, unsure of the party, and negotiations took place:

Morlock:  "What? Who you? What you?"
Mongo:  "Me Mongo!"
Morlock:  "They mongos! Mongos!"
Mongo:  "No!  No!  Me Mongo!" (pointing at himself)
Morlock:  "Me Torgo"
P.W.:  "Take us to the beetles!"
Torgo:  "You go!  You go now!"
Mongo:  "No!  You go!"
P.W.:  "Take us to the beetles!"

Sadly, the high-powered talks broke down in the 11th hour, and violence ensued.  Torgo shouted his battle cry of "Kill the mongos!" and charged, straight into Mongo's two-handed sword.  His head bounced back down the hall, and the other three morlocks turned tail and fled into the darkness.  Netal declined to gut the morlocks, so P.W. jumped in cutting, hoping to find that the morlocks were avid treasure-eaters.  All he found were fragments of humanoid bones.

The group headed deeper into the dungeon, reaching the beetle-trap room with the tapestries and silver tassels.  They tied a rope to one of the tapestries near the entrance, and then poured all the green goo in a half-circle around the entrance.  Beyond that they poured dozens of flasks of oil.  Justin then yanked on the rope - and nothing happened.

Nonplussed, Justin hooked up the rope to a different tapestry, and the procedure was repeated.  This time, a grinding noise was heard in the darkness - but no beetles.  Tossing a torch out into the middle of the room, they saw that a secret door had opened in the east wall.

The party shrugged, and went in to go gather the tassels.  As Mongo lifted one up, he released tension on the wire supporting it - and suddenly blocks near the floor lifted up, releasing massive swarms of beetles.  The party high-tailed it for the exit, and began lobbing flaming flasks of oil at the beetles as they slowly approached.  The beetles suffered massive attrition as they crossed the ring of oil and the party lit it up, but eventually the ring of fire died out, and more beetles began crossing the green goo towards the party.

Everyone but P.W. ran further down the hall.  P.W. started pouring green goo on the beetles, and a few died, but not nearly enough - the beetles swarmed over the halfling and he collapsed in agony.  The party performed a series of retreats and hurls of flaming flasks of oil, and eventually the beetle swarm chasing them was destroyed.  Mongo ran up to see what had happened to P.W., and found him breathing his last.  He hurriedly jammed the wafer from the foil packet down P.W.'s throat and worked his jaws, and the halfling's beetle-gnawed arteries began to close up.  He was stable, but still unconscious.  A few fragment of blue foam wafer remained, and Mongo forced that down P.W.'s throat - he awoke, cursing his continued existence.  Why, oh why, couldn't he die?

P.W. asked Mongo if Leroy could heal him - but Mongo refused.  Leroy comforted the halfling, saying "Don't worry, little fellow - even if Mongo had ordered me, I would have refused to heal you."  He then turned to Mongo, and said "You know, if we kill the halfling, there'll be more treasure for the rest of us."  "What?  Is that what priests do?"  "Well, technically no, but we can bend the rules..."

P.W. offered to forgive Mongo's rent debt if he'd just fire Leroy Brown, but Mongo refused.  P.W. speculated loudly on what possible use could a cleric who wouldn't heal be, but the complaints garnered no sympathy from his hardened companions.

Attention turned to the secret door - beyond it was a 10' square cubby.  Searching inside revealed two loose stones in the ceiling, which when presed, operated both the secret door they had just discovered, and another secret door on the east side of this cubby.  Justin closed the door, and the party decided to call it a day and head back to Denethix.

Back in town, Justin generously purchased a suit of plate mail for P.W., and found that he had reached the 2nd level.

Next session is Wed May 11th.


Lulu vs RPGNow: Lulu wins?

So I read Bat in the Attic's comparison of Lulu to RPGNow and I'm not seeing RPGNow being a big winner.

According to Rob, the printing cost on an 84 page book is $5.01 at Lulu vs. $3.84 on RPGNow.

***** UPDATE - I have corrected the royalty rate, I misread the RPGNow contract *****
The royalty rate on printed non-exclusive books for RPGNow is 65%, versus Lulu's 80%.

Overall price = (cash you receive / royalty rate) + printing cost

So if you want to make $5 on that 84 page book, Lulu is $11.26 and RPGNow is $11.53. Things are close to break even there.

If you want to make $10 on that 84 page book, Lulu is $17.51 and RPGNow is $19.22. Pretty lousy now.

Now if you've got an 84 page book, you've probably pumped a lot of cash into the art. How are you going to recoup that at $5 a copy?  You're probably targeting the $10 range where the disparities are greater.

Now, I just checked Lulu's shipping to Toronto. $6.99. Their shipping to London UK is $4.52. That doesn't seem outrageous.  Canadian shipping isn't great, but it's not horrific, and RPGNow's lousy royalty structure means that Lulu is still going to be cheaper for Canadian customers.

Finally, consider the constant 20% off sales that Lulu has. I don't see how RPGNow is a winner here at all.


Happy Easter!

Luke 24:1-12

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.


Dober Man

So I've been busy on this adventure for Fight On! (an 'art first' thing, the artist drew the pictures first, and I'm writing an adventure to go along with it).  Deadline is this weekend.  So no new content for you.

I feel vaguely and pointlessly guilty about not posting, so here's another monster illustration, the Dober Man:



Fruiting Towers

I'm actually not working on level 2 of the megadungeon - I suddenly remembered I had a deadline for something I had volunteered to do.  Hopefully it'll be done by the weekend - it's an adventure tentatively titled "Fruiting Towers."

Here's a first draft of the map.  It'll look better when I gussy it up in CC2.  Click to enlarge.


Victory Dance

When the three henchmen bit the dust last session, I stood up and did a victory dance.  Sometimes it's hard to be an impartial referee.

That trap worked out really well - it was inspired by the scarab beetles from The Mummy, and I figured the players would just wade in and toss flaming oil and that'd be the end of it.  Of course, I didn't count on Gutboy's player being so stingy with his cure light wounds spells, which left two vulnerable henchmen, and a henchman who only had 1 hp max anyhow.  "Nom nom nom, delicious!" said the beetles...  The ridiculously uncoordinated second attempt at slaying the beetles was just icing.  Jam a rag in & light the oil BEFORE you throw, gentlemen...

The bit about dwarves sharing the one woman born per generation was just tossed in for laughs.  Who knows, it might come up later in a visit to a dwarven stronghold - assuming the players ever leave the dungeon.

Most of them are quite happy with just heading into the dungeon and back out again, although Justin's player seemed surprised that they were heading back in again.  I'll need to cook up some short alternative adventures in case they start getting punchy.


Session recap, 4/6/2011

Mongo the Fighter (level 2), and his henchmen Rogar the Elf and Melzgar the Elf
Gutboy Barrelhouse the Cleric (level 3), his henchman Serlo the Elf, and his dog Rufus
Justin the Dwarf (level 1) and his dog Bailey, and (briefly) his henchman Borgonar
Netal the Elf (level 1) and his dogs Moe and Bitey

The party moped around the city of Denethix for a few days, trying to scare up some kind of bleeding-edge weapons.  The reports of a dog plague slaughtering all the available war dogs depressed the canine aficionados, and Netal's search for a grenade launcher was stymied when he discovered grenade sales were regulated by the Unyielding Fist.  Justin's search for a silencer for his rifle only got him blank stares from the gun merchant.

Mongo's shopping trips went much smoother, and he was able to buy 3 futons and have them delivered to his rented apartment.

Justin then began bar-hopping, looking for a drunken tough to recruit as a henchman.  The first bar he entered, he saw a likely candidate - a skinny fellow with a shifty look.  The fellow twitched madly as Justin introduced himself - uninterested in pursuing this clearly defective henchman, Justin turned around mid-sentence and walked out the door.  Trying a few more bars on the Street of Worthy Servitude, he found only day laborers having a liquid breakfast - so he decided to head up to the Street of the Alien.  In the Prospector's Inn, a dwarven bar, he announced "Anybody looking for gold, jewels and adventure?"  An older dwarf stood up, squinted at Justin, and said he was in.

Justin: "What's your name?"
Borgonar:  "The name be Borgonar.  Do you be having any lanthanides?"
Mongo: "Lanthanides?  What's that?"
Justin: "Heavy metals.  Uhh, no I don't."
Borgonar:  "Arrrr, tis a pity.  Well, I come from a long line of adventurers.  My many cousins Rollo were adventurers, all dead sadly."
Justin:  "Oh, a relative of mine.  Welcome aboard!"
Gutboy: "You're related?"
Borgonar:  "All dwarves are related.  We don't like to talk about it.  It's complicated."
Gutboy: "Huh?"
Borgonar:  "There be only one dwarven woman born a generation.  We have to share."

Not knowing where to take the awkward conversation from there, Justin & Borgonar left to equip the older dwarf with splint mail and weapons.

The rest of the party visited the Temple of Science.  At the entrance, Gutboy confronted the attendant (presumably named "Moe", as that was the name tattooed across his forehead).

Gutboy:  "Ahh, Science!  I have news!"
Moe:  "Oh, you're that priest.  What can I do for you?"
Gutboy:  "We have bad news.  Phil is no more!"  - and then with a flourish, Gutboy whipped Phil's rotting severed head out of his backpack to display to Moe
Gutboy: "Yes, he's dead!"
Gutboy: "Have you heard we rescued Brian?  Hey guys, is Brian with us still?"  (the party completely ignored poor Brian after arriving at Chelmsfordshire, and he returned to Denethix on his own)
Moe: "I did hear.  Look, I'll get Head Scientist Gregory... and something for Phil's head..."

As promised, Moe returned with a burlap sack and Gregory.  Gutboy dropped Phil's head in the sack, and Moe ran off with it, retching as he went.

Gregory (frowning):  "It is good that you rescued Brian.  I am not pleased by the desecration of Phil's head, though."
Gutboy (oblivious to the implied criticism):  "Yes, those goblins chopped his head off and left it on the stairs!  Anyhow, Bob's probably dead, so..."
Gregory:  "I do not think so.  Brian said that Bob was taken away.  All the rest were butchered in front of him, but Bob was led away."
Gutboy:  "I think the goblins killed him."
Gregory:  "I think he still lives.  You must look for him still."
Gutboy:  "Well, if he's been led away, it's probably to a deeper level.  Much, much more dangerous.  It's going to cost more to get him back."
Gregory:  "700 gp."
Gutboy:  "750"
Gregory:  "Done!  Now, I must go."
Gutboy:  "Wait!  There's lots of scientific stuff down there.  Do you want to some guys with us?"
Gregory:  "All our team was slaughtered.  This place is Very Unscientific."
Gutboy:  "No, it's scientific!  There's lots of things that spark, and machines..."
Gregory:  "I don't think you know what the word Scientific means."

And with a frown, Gregory departed.

The party then met up back at the apartment, and began the long journey back to the dungeon.

Arriving uneventfully, the party made their way back uneventfully to the secret room full of expensive mahogany furnishings.  With no easy way to remove the furniture, the party wandered around aimlessly for a bit, trying to figure out where Bob might have been taken.  Eventually, they came across a room full of goblins - and battle was engaged!  This time, the goblins struck first, and Borgonar the dwarven henchman was stabbed multiple times.  He went down with a sigh in a puddle of his own blood.  Netal cast a sleep spell upon the goblins, and they were rendered unconscious and slaughtered ruthlessly.  The bloodlust was too thick to permit any notion of interrogating a goblin or two as to the location of Bob.  Netal gutted every single goblin corpse after the slaughter, seeking gold in their entrails, but found only the fingerbones of unfortunate Scientists in their stomachs.

After the butchery ceased, Justin convinced Gutboy to cast a single cure light wounds spell upon Borgonar.  This stopped Borgonar's bleeding, but he was still unconscious.  Gutboy lamented wasting the spell, wondering if it was worth wasting such powerful magic on a lowly henchman - he then assured Serlo that it's only Justin's henchman that it would be a waste on.

Wandering about some more, they came across a room with a rotted wooden floor, and a mirrored ceiling.  In this room were four of the strange yellow-and-red horned spongy monsters they had seen on several previous occasions.  Battle was quickly engaged - but with the party confined in the doorway, the four creatures had the advantage.  Melzgar's sleep spell did nothing to the monsters, so sword and arrow were employed.  The hounds took several gorings, and Rogar was knocked to the floor with serious injuries.  Still, the spongy things went down, one by one, until just one was left, strangely squatting over Rogar's prone body.  Finally, the battle was over, but Rogar was bleeding.  A feeble attempt was made to bandage Rogar, that looked like it would delay the end a few hours, but Gutboy refused to waste his precious divine magic.  While Rogar was pointedly ignored, Netal took the opportunity to chop apart the monsters, looking for treasure in their spongy flesh - but none was to be found.

Dragging the bodies of the battered, unconscious henchmen, the party explored a bit more, finding a doorway leading out into the long 30'-wide-hall that they had come across at several points.  Outside the door were old bloodstains, a terrifying reminder of a previous expedition's horrible demise.  As they contemplated this, screaming came closer - more screaming freaks had found them!  Justin and Gutboy once again began arguing about the map instead of paying attention to this obvious threat, but Mongo got their attention, and the party arranged themselves in battle formation.  As the creatures arrived, the dogs lunged at those within reach, and Netal threw a flask of oil at one of the creatures, soaking it.  Mongo tried lighting it up with his flamethrower, but disappointingly, the freak was just out of range.  Not wanting to risk hand-to-hand combat, the last sleep spell was expended.  The creatures fell to the floor, waking them up, but not in time to save themselves from the blades of the bloodthirsty crew.  Netal once again went to work, slashing open their stomachs, but these creatures had not eaten any gold in the near past.

Wandering aimless again, making directional choices largely based on whether their map would reach the end of the paper, the party came to a large room, with gray, rotted tapestries hanging from the walls.  At the end of each tapestry were silver tassels - there must have been over 100 of them.  The floor was strangely dust free, and in the center of the room were four goblin skeletons, completely cleaned of flesh and covered with tiny scratches.  Puzzled, the party decided to ignore this warning, and Justin grabbed one of the tassels.  As he lifted it, the wire it was attached to lost tension, and stones at the bottom of the wall lifted up, releasing tens of thousand of two-inch-long carnivorous beetles into the room.  The beetles swarmed over the unconscious forms of Rogar and Borgonar, and Melzgar fell screaming to the floor, trying to get the beetles off him.  The rest of the party fled for their lives as the beetles crawled up their pants legs, biting them in their most delicate areas.

The beetles were quicly left behind, and several hundred feet down the corridor the party stopped to catch their breath.  Mongo and Justin argued for going back to the room and trying to kill the beetles, while Gutboy adamantly refused to go inside.  They were able to convince Netal to join them, though, and the party left the dogs with Gutboy and Serlo while they went back to deal with the beetles.

Inside the room, the swarms of beetles were crawling all over the bodies of the three deserted henchmen.  Mongo gave the flamethrower to Netal, and then Mongo and Justin tossed oil at the nearest swarm.  Netal tried to fire the flamethrower, but unused to the device, the flames shot harmlessly over the beetles.  Enraged, the beetles began swarming towards the party.  Justin bravely turned and fled out of the room, leaving only Mongo and Netal.   Mongo grabbed the flamethrower from Netal, and Netal tossed the only torch at the beetles - sadly, he missed, and the torch snuffed out as it hit the ground.

Netal's elven eyes guided him in the darkness, and he abandoned Mongo to his fate, wishing him luck as he sped away to safety.  Mongo grimaced as the beetles began swarming over him, but a blast from his flamethrower briefly lit up the room, and he ran towards the exit the light revealed.  The beetles were left behind, and ahead in the darkness he saw the light of Gutboy's torch, and he made his way back to the rest of the party.  The blatant cowardice exhibited went unremarked.

Defeated and broken, the party made their way back to the surface, and returned to Denethix to lick their wounds, three henchmen short.


My DM screen in PDF, and other miscellanea

So first off - I installed GhostScript and RedMon last night, in another attempt to be able to save CC2 maps to image files without having everything come out crappy.  Finally, a total success story!  The quality is awesome now.

Extra bonus, I can now print Word documents to PDF files, so I've converted my LL DM Screen to PDF.  You can download it here:  ll dm screen.pdf

In other news, the OSR Group has gotten an upgrade to a sweet booth in a primo spot for GenCon.  So yay for us! Completely undeservedly I am a part of the group.  I'm pretty much the little kid sitting at the grown-ups table, all my fellow groupers have serious product to move.  Hopefully some of the GenCon attendees smack their head on a low-hanging beam and groggily decide what they really need is a gonzo megadungeon with lasers, robots, and screaming freaks.

As you may have noticed, level 2 stuff is filtering its way through to the blog.  I'm doing the keys now for both the 2nd and 3rd levels, so new encounters & creatures should be seeing the light of day over the next week - probably after Wednesday night's game session.  If I'm lucky the players won't head down this next session, otherwise there'll be a certain amount of dungeon improv going on.


Level 2, higher res

I installed Ghostscript and Redmon, and I'm now getting great quality images & pdf's printed.  I also fooled around with CC2 and figured out how to print partial maps, so here's the map split into two images - a lot easier to see detail now.


PrimEvil Studios

One of my players bought a boatload of minis from Mega-Miniatures - I got in on the deal and bought a few dogs.  He then wanted them painted, so a bunch went off to PrimEvil Studios.  I tossed in some of my older minis that were suffering lead rot, plus my poor broken chest-bearer.  The finished results just arrived in the mail.

Ed did a fantastic job painting them.  Here's Netal the elf, Justin the dwarf, and P.W. the halfling, along with a bunch of dogs to do their fighting for them.

And here's a bunch of other guys that Netal's player bought.  Ninjas?  Not sure what he's thinking...

And here's some of my original Grenadier guys, now painted

Level 2 of the ASE in CC2, complete

I finished up translating level 2 of the ASE to CC2.  It really needs to be printed in two different sections - it's a big map, and a single page compresses the detail too much.

You can't make out everything right now due to the size - I'll post up an update when I split the map into two sections.  But overall I'm pleased with how it came out.