COURAGE MONGOLOID!

Over the weekend, camping, we played Lamentations of the Flame Princess and it was good.  We didn’t play one of the awesome and horrific modules by James Raggi and crew, as the GMburger surprised us with some ancient B module (Horror on the Hill? I think so) that put LotFP through it’s paces… as a fighting RPG.  The best thing about this was that I got to play for once.  I’m usually the one FORCING various RPG’s down the fucking throats of my friends and acquaintances, but this time, I take a back seat and just sat and got drunk in a cloud of pipesmoke staring blankly into space most of the time rather than being the always on guy that you must be as a GM. The following was played over a three day period in the woods in a tent with inordinate amounts of alcohol.  Decisions were made that weren’t good or tactically sound.  If you are looking for a method to get through this module, do the OPPOSITE of the following.

Leftovers

Leftovers

The story was that there was a village, near the village was a river and across that river was a hill. The hill had an old monastery on it that was filled with horrible things.  We went to kill those things and take their stuff at the behest of a wandering cleric who got to go first in the marching order.

Party 1 (foreshadowing?)

Hintern Geshlects – Specialist (me)
Changeous Botlinger – Fighter
Snatchus Maximus – Fighter
Ashtell Lumberman – Magic User

Everyone started with level 1 characters. There weren’t any stand out characters in this mix (like a: “holy shit it’s  +4 character!”) either.  Character creation is very fast and extremely solid. As a system note aside, your character must have at least a zero in all bonuses, so you can have a -2 to say, charisma, but a +2 bonus in strength or you toss out the set of rolls and roll again. Also being able to switch two rolls say from charisma to strength is huge and easy. with out all the +1/-2 bullshit from Basic.  The LotFP system of character creation is fun and very fast, which is good as you die a lot.  The slowest part of generation is the equipment buying– which needs to be very thoughtfully done of course or you will die a lot.  I played the Specialist and took dots in Stealth, Sneak Attack and Search.  These dots are VERY important if you are playing a Specialist because you simply cannot take enough skills to be what your party needs you to be at first level, and you can’t fight well either.  I found sneaking and surprising enemies nearly impossible during the game, so pretty much gave up and just got stuck in with the fighters.

The magic user luckily rolled the SLEEP spell for one of his initial spells. Both fighters were sword and board for this run to max AC.  Everyone had leather armor at least.  We were fucking ready!

The adventures started in… a tavern where the party met some sort of cleric named Darius of Specularium (isn’t that the thing to check for genital warts inside a woman?) that bade us to join him raiding a monster infested monastery on a nearby hill that had been shunned by villagers.  We…agreed, secretly knowing we would kill him as soon as possible to maximize XP splitting of treasure, at the end.  We had to pay a fisherman 10sp to cross the river (and vowed to kill him too when we got back) and up the hill we went.

After scouting for a long period of time, we immediately wandered into a room with a couple of drunk Ogres.  I failed to sneak.  Failed to surprise.  First level characters vs 2 Ogres?  YES!  With luck that would soon run out, we were able to take them out without any casualties.  Inside we opened their meat lockers that contained a group of  still living cro-magnon mongoloids.  Luckily, our Magic User spoke their gibberish tongue  (in LotFP you have a 1/6 chance of knowing any language you come across) and was able to get two of them to join the party while the other two ran back to their mongoloid caves.   The mongoliods:  Grum and Frum, became our meatshields instantly and there was rejoicing.

After this brush with death, we found something akin to the greatest treasure possible for Basic characters– a fountain that when drunk from had the potential to increase STATS.  Not heal, not grant a bless, but PERMANENTLY increase stats.  While my immediate idea was to shit into the fountain, as is my wont, Darius the NPC priest (meatsheild) drank first and felt good, so the rest of the party drank. It was a stat increase FIELD DAY for everyone. Really we could have walked away from the adventure at this point and been considered winners, but we went on.

Sneaking around we found a massive weapons cache, enough to get us up a couple levels if we got it back to society.  We were able to grab some spears and arrows and such before getting into some more fights in the halls nearby.

Soon, clomping around in armour with torches (we bought torches and lanterns) we got into a couple of very big fights, with what I think were hobgoblins and bugbears. I won’t bore you with the details but the gist was that the magic user cast sleep on some sort of high priest in PLATE MAIL and he was stripped of it and taken to a nearby torture chamber to be thrown on the rack to find out where more treasure was.  During torture, he wouldn’t give up anything but yelled a lot, you know, in pain, and all that. All we wanted was a few large sacks of gold. While fun, this was not a very good idea. Reminder here that we had drunk some before and during.

GMburger. This was not a face for the camera.

GMburger. This was not a face for the camera.

During the torture, my specialist tried to set up a bucket trap by the door. This entails opening the door a crack and setting a bucket on top balanced with hot oil in it.  I think normally this would be simply allowed as it was so basic, but since we were playing where Tinkering rolls had to be made to create any type of trap (per the rules) I had to roll a 1 on a sixer– and it just didn’t happen for 10+ turns (100 minutes of in game time).  The GM had no choice but to roll wandering monsters and so they came barging in spraying the hot oil everywhere.  Characters nearby had to roll vs breath weapon or take a D6 damage.  Naturally my specialist failed and took the FULL SIX POINTS, dropping him instantly.   Even though some of the hobgoblins succumbed to the oil, the onslaught was too much for the party– after slitting the evil priest’s throat, both fighters(one now in plate mail), the NPC cleric and BOTH meat shield mongoloids were dropped.  Beating a hasty retreat, the Magic user was able to run away to the safety of the river bank.  Total XP: 57.

Party 2

Having recovered for a couple of weeks, the Magic user raised another group– this time (naturally) all fighters.

Tor Horst – Fighter (me)
Snatchus Maximus 2 – Fighter
Nerdlinger
Ashtell Lumberton

We didn’t have our meat shields of the cleric or mongoloids, so we walked and found the Mongoloid cave and asked the other two cro magnons we saved to come with us to help. Reluctantly they said goodbye forever to their mongoloid loved ones and followed us back to the monastery.  Next, of course, we all went to the fountain of free stats and drank.  This time it wasn’t all good and Nerdlinger was cursed with stat drop.  What’s more, because we found all those supplies, we told him not to buy any equipment, so he did not.

We were able to sneak into the bad place again and actually find the specialist, who had been tortured for a couple weeks but wasn’t dead. Nearby both fighters’ corpses looked like they had been burned an partially eaten. We had one of the Mongoloids carry him back to his tribe’s cave for healing, deeming that if he tried to get into town with what looked like a bloody sack of meat, he’d be killed outright.  Before we could get to the armor and supply casche, there was a fight and Nerdlinger, without armor or a weapon, was instantly killed.  John rolled up his third character and then passed out.

Descending deeper into level 2, we were able to find a secret door to the evil priests’ quarters and raided it.  Within were some scrolls, some platemail, and a chest which no one would try to unlock without a Specialist.  Seeing the pitiful level of XP the only surviving character got last time, and since one of the fighters was already dead, we high tailed it back to town with about 600 Silver pieces in tow, as much armor as we could carry and the priest’s chest (still unlocked).  Because we stole three suits of platemail (1000 SP each) we were able to level up– and for me things got ridiculous.  We started with Max HP per the GM, and for 2nd level I rolled an 8+1 for constitution–for a total of 18 HP.  At level 2 this was crazy high.  With full plate and a shield plus a dex bonus of +1, I was also walking around with 19 AC. I could tank. Imagine that…

Party 3

Ulog (Mongoloid NPC)
Tor Horst – Fighter Level 2
Cornelious Pubic – Fighter Level 1
Ashtel Lumberton – Magic User Level 2
Snatchus Maximus 2 – Fighter Level 2

Ready for the third foray, Party 3 was a lot harder than the first party.  Being 2nd level you could take some hits, not many, but you weren’t going to be one shotted.  Of course, not everyone was a 2nd level character yet…

The party delved deeper and found some sort of foundry and after another fight with bugbears and hobgoblins of generic non-human varieties, we found some fat bearded man chained to the wall obviously forced to smith for the non-humans.  Freed, he was placed in the front rank and given a hand weapon of the generic variety.

manowar1

Shortly after, we found some sort of large room with some dogs near some rotting corpses.  I said quoting Blood Meridian “I CAN MAN ANYTHING THAT EATS!” and got some meat for them.  We manned both dogs and were able to rob their old master’s corpses to boot!

After this we were nearing, notable from GMburger’s excitement, the first boss fight.  It was never to occur.  After finding some kitchens, some hobgoblin cooks ran off.  We tried to run after them but they were too fast.  The Magic User would not release his dog to chase them down (a sure kill) and so a large fight ensued as the cooks alerted all other hobgoblins in the area to our presence.  Cornelious Pubic, the first level fighter, was one shotted. That was the third character to be mulched for John during the sessions.  The blame game on Matt (the magic user player) for not releasing his dog will never be lived down DESPITE John playing most of the game sessions in Orde Wingate fashion (i.e.: lying on a cot).

Next we found a temple of some forsaken God that had jewels for eyes.  We had the mongoloid, UNK climb the statue and peel out one of the jewels.  As he did so, some large fly-like creatures attack from a hidden pit in front of the statue.  Gareth Silverhand, the NPC smith, died instantly and in an epic action, UNK succeeded in a FLYING grapple onto one of the flies from the top of the statue.  After this they were easily dispatched, and Unk was coerced into climbing down the pit to check it out.  Nothing was there, and moments later in a nearby hall, we all fell down into a pit trap slide (likely to the third level).  With this, out of fear, we took the stuff we nicked and got the fuck out of the monastery.

Thoughts and Feelings!

First, having three fighters in this adventure was essential.  Though we were stupid and did idiotic things like leave bodies everywhere they fell and make a lot of noise it was negated a bit by being able to use charge (attack for double damage), Press (+2 to attack, -2 armor) to drop hobgoblins left and right. And at 2nd level, get a +4-+6 attack bonus.  Tactically, we had tanks in the front and the weaker characters or hurt fighters would hang in the back rank with spears (still able to attack).  We ruled that they could press from the back rank, giving +2 to every attack with no drawback since the front rank fighter would take the hits. This worked well.  Tor Horst, with his 19 AC and 18 HP feels like a complete badass compared to his scuttling bloodbag first level self.

Secondly, being a player this time, I was able to bask in the glory of a rules light RPG without all the fucking bullshit of modern RPG’s. The character sheets are not crowded with skills and special attacks and roleplaying triggers and all sorts of that stuff.  You are able to focus on the game at hand and your character’s actions rather than what’s on your sheet.  While I like high powered gaming and happily run a 13th Age game (and eventually Exalted again), this was a breeze to play.  Combat was relatively fast (though boring in long fights which was the staple of the B series of modules) and got resolved quickly.  Whether this would standup to later levels of play, not sure.

Third, sense of accomplishment was awesome. We played absolutely terrible people doing terrible things in the wilderness. Psychotic fighters, a lying, thieving specialist and a fear-wracked magic user who left his friends to die and would do so again most likely.  Contrast to all the YOU’RE A HERO! type games and current milieu of Pathfinder and the like it’s funny.  When you survive as a first level character to 2nd level, which is NOT easy at all and not even likely, you feel great.  Basic D&D and Lamentations of the Flame Princess are HARD games to succeed at.  XP does not drop from the sky like blood rain when you cut a swath through enemies and gold and silver and jewels are difficult to get back to civilization.

 

Iconic

Iconic

A Cracking game of Talisman

While reluctant to play with more than three, due to length, we got in a cracking four man game of Talisman last night– well cracking for some and a descent into madness and death for others (including myself).

This was the first time for the Firelands and print on demand Nether Realm expansions, so we picked one of the alternate endings from Nether Realm: The Hunt.  The idea behind this on is that you have to destroy (and turn in as trophies) four Nether Realm creatures and then make it to the crown of command space in the middle.  Seem easy?  Unlike the very easy Warlock Quests, the Nether Realm cards are absolutely brutal.  There are multiple cards that will kill you on certain turns of the dice, and man– the Goblin Baby is one of the best Talisman cards I’ve seen in a long time.

Needless to say, the game last night had the highest death toll of characters I’ve ever seen in a 4th Edition game– and that was with very little PVP.  Monsters had much to do with these deaths, which is pretty rare due to fate points now in the game.

Late game, Scott had already lost 3 characters and was out of the running, Matt had lost the Magus and restarted as the Gladiator, and John had a very powerful Bounty Hunter gearing up for the win.  At this time, I had a suped-up Valkyrie and just happened to land on the space where the Goblin Baby had done his work (ALL monsters from all regions go to that space).  I defeated one of the monsters (the Lord Efrit who didn’t mix with the others we ruled) and then took on the strength stack (at strength 14).  I had a pretty good chance of winning with some tricks, but in the stack was the basilisk.  This is a strength 2 creature who rolls 2 dice for his attack.  If it comes up doubles, your character is killed outright!  Of course it was ruled that the whole 14 stack got to roll 2 dice and guess what came up?  Box cars.   We called it a night as the rest would have likely been John going to the middle for the win (he was at 10+ strength and craft).  Great game.  Need to play more!

The death toll: Barmaid, Sage, Magus, Valkyrie, Warlord.

The death toll: Barmaid, Sage, Magus, Valkyrie, Warlord.

 

TL2 Hardcore Victory!

victory

While I used the Essentials mod while pulling this off rather than vanilla, I finally got my Veteran hardcore badge for Torchlight 2.  I still am only about level 34 in Elite hardcore– and I do NOT like my build very much at all.  The lack of farming and the really really difficult and long fights you encounter in Elite mean it may be…ah….never before I get the elite hardcore badge.

It was a good run.  I learned a lot about the berserker– I’m no expert but getting there.  I used Ice with northern rage as my AOE and Raze as my 1 on 1 attack.  I was doing massive amounts of damage with Northern Rage at the end there and had a power that would proc to increase casting speed by 50% or so which made Raze crazy insane.

Offense means very little in hardcore though, it’s all about the defense.  Having over 600 armour and 400-500 in every resistance is an absolute must.   The only way to do this efficiently is to run a shield.  Always always run a shield in hardcore, regardless of your class.

That said, I lost a lot of characters pushing through to the end.  Here is a list of the fatalities:

Buttdust_0 – level 32 Embermage-- died in Korari Cave (got caught in one of those bone traps and couldn’t get away).

Lipstitch – Level 8 Berserker - The Bone Gallery (oops!)

Dead Rose – Level 22 Berserker - Watchweald Temple

Poofias – Level 51 Berserker – The Broken Mines Floor 7: this one hurt emotionally since it was right near the end. I didn’t have my electric resistance high enough…

Poofias 2 – Level 22 Beserker - Watchweald Temple (again!!)

Vagisillica_0 – level 44 Berserker – Forgotten Halls floor 1. Just a bad mistake IIRC…

Vagisillica_1 – Level 44 Berserker - Blightbogs. This was on a critical hit from a champion troll. However I got overconfident and ran a pistol and sword rather than a shield. Stupid, stupid stupid.

And the final iteration of the berserker that pulled it off:

Vagisillicus 2

Vagisillicus 2 – the two handed sword is just for show.

Monster Hunter for iOS

There just aren’t many good games for iOS that aren’t “free” and then try to take your cash to let you play the game.  I was pretty surprised to see a port of Monster Hunter to iOS show up yesterday and grabbed it immediately.  At 15$ this will set you back, but it’s worth it.  The controls (I’m playing on an iphone 5) are awesome for the touch screen and the game is damn fun–it’s fighting in real time and then crafting craziness.   What’s more the game has 4 player multiplayer on wifi.  This is probably the closest to Dark Souls that we’ll see on iOS as well.  And if you were a fan of Infinity Blade– this is just so much better.

Free RPG Day : yay!

Went out to the gaming stores this morning like a true nerd and scored a 13th Age Adventure (Make your Own Luck) and one for Lamentations of the Flame Princess (Doom Cave of the Crystal Headed Children!!).  Matt picked up the Dungeon Crawl Classics which looks pretty crazy.  I really don’t know why this day exists, but it’s pretty damn cool.

crystal

In other D&D news, there has been a release of a pregenerated fighter character sheet for D&D5.

Some points of interest:
Looks like there is a specific set of skills that all characters have, that all characters can try to do (like Runequest or OD&D). For example, anyone can disarm a trap. Will they succeed? Likely not if they don’t have skills.

Proficiency bonus– I’m not sure what this is but it looks like a plus to EVERYTHING the character tries to do.

The character sheet looks promising especially in the bits where 3.5 sucks–skills and feats. Does it look better than 13th Age for powerful character gaming? Does it look better than Lamentations of the Flame Princess for old school style gaming? Not really sure on either counts. Definitely the 5E fighter is a lot more boring than the equavalent in 13th Age, which gives you a lot of options and various PROCs to pick from plus the one unique thing and your backgrounds (a much better way to do skills with the added punch of narrative potential) and OD&D gets down to the real deal really fast without all the mess.

Third time’s the charm

Given that the existence of the Ghanaian soccer team is to prevent the USA from advancing in the World Cup, it was amazing to see the very close victory this evening by the Yankee horde.  The game looked… sloppy at best from both sides.  Given Altidore’s injury, I feel the air was taken out of the USA’s offense early on, and it was all defense after that.  The corner on Ghana where the second US goal was scored was beautiful but unfortunate for Ghana as that didn’t need to happen– especially when they were peppering the goal right and left during the middle of the game.    Needless to say, both teams need to take it to Portugal (if possible) and then minimize their loss to Germany to advance. Ghana could still end up being the foil to USA’s chances to advance out of the group.  Just you watch!

oops wrong sex

oops wrong sex

“Irrational Games was unprofitable and probably misrun”

A lot of people swung off the dicks of Bioshock and the first two thirds of the original were very good (last third was not needed) to the tune of two sequels. While I didn’t play either of the follow ups (Bioshock was not a good FPS) they were reportedly good games.

That took forever to make.
And cost more to make than they sold.

So there goes Irrational Games. Three solid games put out and a closed studio. How does that happen? Essentially it comes down to Poor project management.

I’ve been there, where a project is so fucked and my teams have been sent to die on a hill by the upper management and everyone busts ass to get the work done only to be fired a month later because the sales and management team sat around for a year on Facebook instead of bringing in new work from clients or making sure scope was reigned in so the budget wasn’t blasted to the Kuiper Belt.  That looks like what happened here except in the game industry with a lot more budget dollars.