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Author Topic: D&D Living Greyhawk (#2 and #3) Raptorcon Report  (Read 765 times)

Abyssal Maw

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D&D Living Greyhawk (#2 and #3) Raptorcon Report
« on: March 26, 2007, 07:41:55 pm »
...speaking of Drowning (and falling...)

After the terrible indignities inflicted on my fighter Scepter Kreel, I switched over to my 'spare character'. My very first LG character is a gnome sorcerer I created for Winter Fantasy 2006 called Glimmershim Coppertail.

He's pretty cool actually. I made him because everyone I knew advised against an arcane caster, and a demi-human. I had not played him for over a year. He was 2nd level on the cusp of 3rd.

The module was "Tears for Bright Sands"- one of the desert "Rary the Traitor" series. In this one, we would be going to a remote area off the coast where a city had sunk beneath the waves. We would be seeking a magical sledgehammer that belonged to Vathris- a minor greyhawk demi-deity of lost causes and revenge.

The entire module takes place underwater. Atthe beginning, the paladin who hires you provides for scrolls of water breathing.

As luck would have it, we were a strong party. It included three clerics (luck of the draw) and two elven rangers. My character was the only arcane caster.

So (because of waterbreathing) the environment was not too much of a problem here except for movement. Movement-wise we were kinda screwed, because we had to swim everywhere. Half moves on the tactical board.

Immediately we ran across a place halfway to the ruins where there was a merfolk child who claimed to be lost. He wanted to go in the opposite direction of our mission. We discussed this and settled on helping the kid, in hopes that we could ask the merfolk for help.

This turned out to be smart. The Merfolk kid disappears as soon as we reach the Merfolk encampment. They tell us there is no missing kid. They demand to know who we are or why we are invading their lands.

Well, we made friends eventually.

The cleric of Pelor suggested to us that the 'mystery" mer child was actually a manifestation of that hero-deity Vathris, helping us out, testing us for compassion. Maybe so!

The Merfolk presented their problem which was they wanted to move into those ruins we had just left, but were afraid of Sahuagin and a Dragon Turtle that were rumored to be in the area. We agree to check it out. And hey, thats good intel.

Off we go. We explore some underwater ruins. Explore, explore, explore.

We find the temple to Vathris! Explore, explore.

Suddenly, a Locathah and his (huge) shark companion challenge us as we are  leaving the temple. We start out by attempting to parlay with him too, but he attacks.

So--it's on! There was a cool underwater battle at this point. The archers were both screwed, but I could still blast magic missiles until they reached closing range.

We handily took him down within a few rounds, but we gave him ample opportunity to surrender. At a mid point, one of the clerics who had no way to attack, instead cast 'detect evil'. The locathah wasn't evil, so we switched to subdual damage as soon as we could. The Locathah was actually a druid, we soon figured out.

The real danger was the shark, which was fairly brutal.

okay, so battle over, we 'capture' the Locathah, and even allow him to heal his shark. He demands to know what we are doing down there. I started telling an elaborate story about falling off a boat, but my companions soon shushed me (haha) and told him the truth of our mission. The Locathah than revealed himself as an agent of the great dragon turtle Zyzrix.

It went back and forth from there for a while, but we brought up the merfolk who wanted to move in, and explained how their presence would be mutually
beneficial to the dragon turtle, and how we would leave immediately after we had the hammer. We were travelling on a mission from a paladin, after all-- and we had no desire to plunder the area.

At this point the dragon turtle appears.. we were standing on him!

He rises up out of the silt and addresses us. We make introductions. We are to invite the merfolk to come to the ruins. After that, he will put us in touch with the spirit of the hammer, who haunts the area. (so it was really the hammer who was the merfolk child..aha).

So that went pretty well.

On the way back, we spot a pair of sahuagin scouts advancing on the merfolk area.

Often in these mods, it's a matter of knowing what you are "supposed to do". So we were in a bit of a quandary. We could have ambushed the sahuagin at that point, but instead we let them go. We reported them to the merfolk instead, along with the other news about joining the dragon turtle to live in the ruins.  

The merfolk respond with "oh noes, the sahuagin are going to attack!"

So we helped out in the defense of the merfolk redoubt. We set ourselves up in a strategic pinchpoint (Where their numbers count for nothing!!) and got ready to repel the sahuagin onslaught.

Then there was a cool battle against sahuagin and several medium sized sharks.

We really F'd the sahuagin up by having one of our clerics cast entangle right as they were closing on us. I was in a nice cozy niche with my back to the coral, firing off magic missiles every round. At one point one of the dwarves got netted, but he managed to stand his ground. Dwarves are sturdy folk!

We wiped the sahuagin out, including one of their leaders. They fled. In the aftermath of the battle, the merfolk thanks us, and went to meet the dragon turtle.

At this point a celestial porpoise appeared, and motioned for us to follow him.

The porpoise identified himself as the spirit of the magic hammer, and talks with us for a long time. We explained why it was needed (to undo the damage to the desert, to rebuild the city..)

What finally convinced the hammer to allow us to take him with us, was we promised to return him to the ocean if after meeting with the paladin who sent us, he still wasn't convinced. The porpoise led us to an area and showed us where to dig. We found the hammer.

We returned to the surface world, bearing the magic hammer.

Journey journey journey.. across the desert back to the starting point. Then we roleplayed a bit with the paladin (Lady Karystine). The hammer agrees to help her. ...and that was the end of the adventure.

And I found out I really enjoyed playing my sorcerer again!



Also, I levelled up and got to pick a feat and a spell. Since I used Magic Missile so much, I got that one (my previous magic missiles came from a wand) I picked that up. I kinda agonized over the feat. A "smart" feat would be a spell focus one. But a flavor feat would have been fun. I opted for fun and took 'Improved familiar", which gave me a celestial serpent for a familiar.

I named her Opal. I love her.

Next up, was the Interactive (larp)!
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Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2007, 09:45:18 am »
Ok, the third slot was the Interactive:

This is a *bit* like a Larp, except that there are very few (actually almost no) costumes worn, no boffer combat, and the entire thing takes place in a large room with different 'stations' set up. My friend Joel's dwarf cleric is missing a hand, so he made a little stump thingy and a symbol of Moradin to wear.  I had a fake snake (actually a pet-toy, complete with squeaky bulb) to represent my familiar. That's about as far as we went. Generally people would place their name, character race and gender on a nametag and wear that. So mine just said "Glimmershim (gnome)".

The situation was:

The gnomish king garnet had been turned to stone for many years, so the regent, another gnome called Ingot Quikbucon, was being officially crowned until such time as the king could return.

So the interactive begins with the crowning ceremony, which takes place outside the 'larp area', and we all watch. THEN we go in.

Inside, it's set up kinda like stations. So at one table they have a 'gnome temple' with a GM acting as the cleric of Garl Glittergold. At another table they have a 'shop' set up, etc. And several of the tables are set up as games (one of which was a 'dig for treasure' contest).

I kinda hooked up with a couple of people around me and visited the temple, talked to the cleric (Madame Razzlebee), and then visited the "Farlees Five Flavors" shop.

It was kinda fun. I ran across king Ingot and congratulated him, and he offered his mark (which was a gold star thingy). You stick it on your nametag.

What we soon learned, was that there was a group of loyalists moving around the Larp, agitating against Ingot, and they had gem stickys. So at this point, it became clear that the "game" of the Larp was a contest of loyalties. Joel and I signed up as supporters of Ingot despite the fact that he was clearly the wrong choice (I'm kinda perverse that way), and we started looking out for Garnet loyalists to mess with. And theyre messing with us. It's kinda fun.

Other guys in our group signed on as Garnet loyalists!

Ok, so we're walking around meeting other peoples characters and generally having some low-impact roleplaying. When we meet one guy who tells us he has a secret mission for us. Once we have gathered 6 of us, he takes us aside where we leave the larp area, sit down and pull out character sheets and go into tabletop mode.

The mission involved leaving the coronation party and navigating through a secret section of the gnomish kingdom (a candy factory, actually) to get a scroll and pass it along to a supporter. This was kind of fun, and had some really clever tricks in it. At the end, there was a situation where we had to move the scroll across to a sleeping gnome without waking him up. I got to use my celestial familiar to move it over to him (note to self, I need to start carrying around an unseen servant scroll...) while I remained hidden.

This was about an hour long mini-adventure, after which we went back into the Larp, and wandered around. I ended up visiting the temple again, and th4en going to the book-shop which was run by a Garnet-supporting NPC who tried to convince me to change my affiliation. Then we saw a guy and a girl have a gnomish insult contest (which was pretty funny, actually), and tried out some of the other games. At the every end, I got pulled into joining another mission which (funny enough) was meant to totally counteract the one I had been a part of earlier. The GM running this one was playing the part of a gnomish ambassador and he made a good case why we should try and undo what we had done earlier.

This second mission was much harder, and involved battling a huge construct in another secret area of the gnome clockwork research area. Several PCs were injured, but once again, my familiar came in very handy scouting ahead and climbing through pipes and such.

So that was my first Larp experience.
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RedFox

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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2007, 04:33:29 pm »
Glad ya'll had fun.

I just got into the RPGA thing and am a Herald-level DM.  I looked into the various campaigns and...  well, honestly Living Greyhawk intimidated the shit outta me.  Too much stuff to figure out.  Xen'drik Expeditions has some hoops to leap through but seems much more manageable.
 

Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2007, 07:17:41 pm »
Both of those are a lot of fun as a player. I especially like XE a lot, and highly recommend it for someone just starting with RPGA campaigns.

The Living Campaigns (Living greyhawk) can be fun too (re: these two Ap reports hopefully show), but there's something kinda complex going on there. See, there's the 'regional' adventures which are very specific to where you live, and then there's the core region adventures. It's almost like two different things. I kinda hate my own region (Geoff/Gyruff) because it's (and this is going to sound pretty nasty)- controlled by what we might politely refer to around here as swine.

allow me to explain...

The adventures are sometimes pretty ok, and I think the regional people are decent enough (usually- with a couple of noted exceptions and everyone knows their names). But the entire emphasis of Geoff adventures is *usually* on what a special group of NPCs is doing. Player characters are cast as window dressing and audience members to the "important characters"- who are all NPCs.. I've been in adventures where the DM read through a page and a half of box text which was essentially two NPCs talking amongst themeselves. They have  discussions on the mailing list about what important NPCs might be up to.

It further doesn't help that the region I come from is controlled by a gang of genre cops who have redefined the Geoff region to be this heavily welsh region. So instead of the Grand Duke, he's referred to as a pseudo celtic term "the Brenin", and people try to argue about the racial purity of the Flan, as if they were celts or whatever. It's (often) kinda lame.

The first adventure (the one we failed)- was a regional adventure. I was kinda perversely happy we failed it too, because it resulted in the death of an important NPC. (heh!) But I swear we did our best.

Ok, in their defense, they aren't all like that, and I've played in two or three really really great adventures set in Geoff.

The CORE's are totally different, though. Those come down from WOTC, and are set in either the Greyhawk region or one of the surrounding regions (like the bright desert or the Pomarj-- at DDXP we went onan expedition to the City of Brass in the Elemental plane of Fire). In those, I feel like we really have a better (more character focused) D&D experience.

In XE, there aren't as many adventures, but the ones they have are top quality. (Seriously great mods!)  I especially especially especially recommnd the Blackwheel Company and Cabal of Shadows mods. And my favorite faction is the Crimson Codex. XE also uses Dm's marks which are mods that your local group Dm writes up and get submitted for play, so you can have an XE experience that kinda matches up with what your local D&D Dm is able to write if you can stand that. I wrote a DM's mark for Blackwheel company back before the level kick, and I'm writing one for Cabal of Shadows now that the campaign is at 4th level.
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Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2007, 07:38:23 pm »
Ok, well, my rambling post doesn't make it clear.

Living Greyhawk runs on a scale from "blisteringly awful" to "totally amazing and fun".

My absolute worst experience in a d&d game ever was actually an LG mod run by an unprepared and unskilled DM.

One of my best experiences have been in Living Greyhawk. Actually a couple of my best roleplaying experiences.

Taken as a whole, LG wins because you meet tons of people, and it's cool to have the consistency of the Living Campaign at its best. I've roleplayed my main LG character with people all the way from Finland and Norway. I've travelled from Saltmarsh to the Dim Forest to the Bright Desert, and all the way to the City of Brass with one of my characters. Another of my characters has gone from Greyhawk to the Pomarj, to being in a travelling musical show in Bissel, all the way to the Stark Mounds. I guess I've played a total of 15 or so mods, and often had slightly different players alongside me each time- each table was between 4 and 6 people, so we're talking about directly roleplaying in the same campaign with around 50 different people in just a years time. It's really cool to look across the table and see a guy you played with a year previously and say "hey, don't I know you from that rescue mission in the Dim Forest a year ago? How the hell have you been, comrade!"

I mean, thats really cool.  

Living Greyhawk is epic. But it's also dependent on who you end up with sometimes. The good outweighs the bad, easily.
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RedFox

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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2007, 09:06:54 pm »
Ah, well my area's pretty much free of RPGA folks at all.  Geographically, I live in the middle of a desert, hundreds of miles away from most major cities (the exception being Mexicalli, which is 15 miles away, right across the border).  There's a grand total of one gaming store, with no RPGA folks in attendance.  I may be wrong, but I'm probably the only RPGA member in the whole valley.

Thus the appeal of Living Greyhawk is kinda moot where I'm concerned.  When shopping for RPGA campaigns, I'm looking for fun, simplicity, and the ability to either once-in-awhile attend a convention game or to run/play with a home group.  For that stuff, XE wins out head and shoulders above LG.

At least, that's my impression from comparing both Standards documents.  LG looks like it tries to provide a more persistent, rather than episodic, experience and the amount of kruft and rules it's accrued to do so makes my head spin.  The regional system seems of no benefit to me, yet is another layer of complication.  XE has fewer possible games, and it's episodic, but it looks like it's consistently fun and far easier to get into.

Anywho, sorry for going off on a broad tangent in your AP thread.  :o
 

Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2007, 02:15:36 pm »
Quote from: RedFox


At least, that's my impression from comparing both Standards documents.  LG looks like it tries to provide a more persistent, rather than episodic, experience and the amount of kruft and rules it's accrued to do so makes my head spin.  The regional system seems of no benefit to me, yet is another layer of complication.  XE has fewer possible games, and it's episodic, but it looks like it's consistently fun and far easier to get into.

Anywho, sorry for going off on a broad tangent in your AP thread.  :o


Not at all! I highly recommend XE. If your gaming group is up for it, you can even get in a DM's Mark. If you are coming to GenCon I'd recommend jumping into it there as well.
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