Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kid 'n' Play not in attendance

We had our housewarming party over the weekend, and the turnout was excellent. We ran out of chairs at some point, but nobody seemed to mind standing around to socialize. Lots of co-workers and friends were in attendance, and most everyone seemed to mingle together pretty well.

I made a huge platter of buffalo wings using the Good Eats method, and I have to say they're the best wings I've ever eaten. It's all about the cooking method -- the wings spend ten minutes in the steamer to render out a bunch of fat, and then go in a very hot oven for 45 minutes. Doing it this way gives you a nice crispy outer skin that the sauce clings to, while keeping the interior nice and tender. I will never put wings in a deep fryer ever again.

Hillary made a couple of cakes, one of which she labelled "the Delicious Disaster" because it didn't turn out quite as visually appealing as she'd hoped. It tasted excellent, however, and I think people ate more of the ugly cake than the pretty heart-shaped one she made. She also cranked out what may be the best buttercream frosting I've ever tasted.

Once the party was in full swing, we busted out Rock Band and proceeded to get our rock on. Unfortunately, my bass drum pedal, which was already sporting a hairline crack, decided to snap in half when my friend Adam (who henceforth shall be known as "fat-feet") started playing on it. We muddled through a few more songs, after creatively utilizing some kitchen flatware as a splint for the bass pedal.

As the crowd started to dwindle, we gathered around the coffee table for a rousing session of The Great Dalmuti (also known as Dilbert Corporate Shuffle). It's a perfect game for a group of 6-10 people, as hands go very quickly and the rules are extremely easy to pick up. You also get to play musical chairs, which is fun in any context.

Anyway, it was great fun. Thanks to everyone who could attend, and if you couldn't make it this time, I'm sure we'll host something again soon -- as soon as my new bass pedal gets here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NO CARRIER Episode 7

We interrupt this D&D game to present you this week's episode of NO CARRIER. We went longform this week, covering topics from the Activision/Blizzard merger to nVidia's mobile chip woes.

You can check it out at the NO CARRIER website.

Monday, July 14, 2008

D&D Campaign - Episode 1

Game Session #1 - May 28, 2001

Color Key:
Player Character dialog and actions
PC actions when controlled by DM
DM communication to players
NPC dialog and actions
Area descriptions and flavor text
Log annotations
Die rolls

This night, you've all chosen to visit one of the taverns in Errol for various reasons: whether to drink, visit with friends, or simply observe people.

It is well past nightfall, in the month of Deepwinter. Spring is on the horizon, but the air still carries the chill wind of winter. Patrons huddle around the fireplaces and ovens of the Cackling Wyvern Inn, which contains the largest tavern in Errol.

The night has advanced enough that only a few stragglers remain around the small stage at the east side of the inn. The rest of the tavern's visitors have retired to their homes or inn rooms, or quietly nurse their final drinks near the warmth of the fires.

A young half-elf woman sits on the tiny wooden stage, serenely plucking at the tavern's rusty full-sized harp. She does not seem to notice the frequent discordant note that issues from the instrument, nor does she acknowledge the random copper piece being tossed at her feet (and occasionally, at her head).

Near midnight, there is a sudden, loud rumbling from somewhere outside. The very walls of the common room shake, dropping hung portaits to the floor and overturning more than one stein of mead or ale.

The tavern patrons (those who are sober enough to do so) jump to their feet, and many cries of alarm ring out from around the inn. The rumble continues, fading into silence after many long moments.

As an uneasy calm settles, many of the more adventurous-looking types make a determined march toward the tavern's only door to the outside. Across the river, against the dim moonlight, a large plume of smoke can faintly be seen.

The sound of a group of running, iron-shod feet is heard from up the street. A handful of Errol Home Guards runs toward the harbor area, and the bridge that crosses the river. One of them stops at the doorway of the tavern.

Guard: There's been an explosion at the docks! We need any able-bodied citizens we can get to help!

Most of the tavern patrons seem timid or inebriated, but five people take up their weapons and packs and follow the guard out.

Upon approaching the bridge, you see that there is a raging fire along the entire coast on the other side of the river. Every building seems to have flames spewing from it, and even from this side of the harbor, the smoke is almost unbearable.

As you approach the wooden bridge, a flaming ember flutters over and lands on the canopy. Within seconds, the dry timber has burst into flame.

Keris: "Well blast."
Reav: "Hmm looks like the party got a little out of control here"
Keris: "well lads, we've got to get across somehow"
Keris: "how about we throw this little bloke across with a rope?"
Ander: Is the river swimmable?
DM: Ander - The port itself is on the far side of the river, and there is little on this bank except for a row of small storage sheds near the waterline.
Reav: "ropes too risky unless its wet first, cant have it burning up now can we?"
DM: Reav - It's hard to tell at night, but generally the river is too swift to swim across.
Ander: is there anything that might be useful in the area?
DM: Ander - You don't see anything from your station near the bridge. The sheds obstruct your view of the shoreline, but there are certainly no ships on this side of the river.
Ander: can i get the shed out of view?

The small contingent of guards you were following rush off toward the water's edge, trying to gather water in buckets, helmets, or anything else that will hold liquid. Unfortunately, their efforts seem somewhat futile.

DM: Ander - You could walk down the shoreline, away from the bridge.
Keris: is the river more shallow/managable there?
DM: Keris - No. It's a fairly wide and deep river (ships take it all the way across the island and out to sea). Unfortunately, all of the ships are on the other side of the river, where the docks themselves are now starting to burn.
Keris: "a'right boys. what can ya do? what talents do ya have?"
Ander: could i swim across the deep/slow part of the river?
Reav: Well, if I knew how wide this here river is, I'd probably try to grapple us a boat from over yonder there
DM: Ander - The whole thing is generally too swift to swim. You could try, but the prospects don't look good. You can see some debris flying into the river and being swept away very quickly.
The river is about a quarter of a mile wide at the bridge. It widens further to the east and west.

Ander: "Maybe swimming it is not a good idea"
Ander: is there any wood lying around?
Keris: how much time do we have?

There is a crash from across the river, and you see the roof of the Quartermaster's Office caving in, breaking into a pile of burning timbers.

Keris: "we've haven't got a lot of time here. Think!"
* Keris looks at group
DM: Well, it will take a while for the entire harbor area to burn. Unfortunately, there's barely anybody over there, since most residents of Errol live on this side of the river.
Keris: "If you can..."
Reav: are there any trees within a decent distance?
Rockface: "We might not be able to do anything."
Keris: Can we dismantle the sheds?
Keris: And make them into makeshift rafts?
DM: Reav - Small evergreens along the shoreline. Not much toward the town (Errol is situated on the edge of a fairly barren plain).
Keris - The sheds are falling apart, but there seems to be some usable wood there.

Ander: "let's take apart the shed"
Ander: "they are practically apart anyways"
Keris: "Do any of you have any way of tying the wood together?"
Keris: is the wood in form of planks?
Ander: "I have my belt"
Reav: "Well, I do have rope here, and some small skill with it, if that helps"
Ander: "Okay, let's use that instead"
Keris: "well, busy your hands more than your mouth and let's get moving"
DM: Keris - Yes, mostly planks, boards, rotting posts...
* Ander starts ripping apart a shed
* Keris starts looking for usable planks of wood
Keris: how much do we find?
Reav: "Well, I'd do more iffin that Dwarf there who isnt so drunk from his ability to stand upright would drag that wood over...."
Reav: and yes, i'll use rope

As you begin to dismantle the sheds, a small flood of rats comes barreling out from between the rotting boards. An entire wall of the nearest structure collapses, revealing lots of fishing supplies, some old wagon axels, and... a decrepit-looking rowboat.

Keris: "ugggh...rats"
* Ander inspects the rowboat for seaworthiness
Keris: I stab one with my rapier and chuck it out into the water.
DM: Keris - The rat quickly goes under.
DM: Ander - It's hard to tell... There are certainly holes in the hull, but it's large enough to get five people across the river -- if it doesn't sink first.
* Reav kicks a rat that comes over in the general direction of the river
* Keris kills another rat and uses it to plug holes in the boat.
DM: Keris - It's not doing much good... Aside from getting blood all over your hands, most of the holes in the boat are nothing but small cracks caused by warping wood.
Ander: "This looks like the yarrest river going boat there be"
Reav: why not use a rapid fox to combine the planks, the boat, and the rope to make the boat more seaworthy?
Keris: "a rapid fox?"
Keris: "is this some sort of game you country folks play?"
* Ander looks over in the river

As the city guards vainly attempt to quench the fires on the bridge, there is a loud creaking noise. The guards attempt to leap to safety, but two are taken into the river as the entire structure collapses and is swept away.

Ander: "ahh, rapid foxes, a danger we haven't considerd yet
Reav: "A rapid fix not fox or did some of those coppers fall in your fair ears miss?"
Keris: "oh flaming ashes, they've fallen in."
* Ander pushes the boat towards the water and scans the river for wildlife"
Keris: "well, if you didn't bloody throw them in I wouldn't have this problem!"
Keris: "hey boy! That girl's still leaking! stop!"
Reav: "Hey, why spend good copper on ears when oh geesh here"
Ander: "Just getting it in position"
* Reav takes some of the chalk bits from his sack and hands them to Ander
Ander: "Why don't we jsut make a run for it. If it does get swamped we can most likely swim the rest"
Reav: "try these for fixing some of those holes, should last long enough to get across the river
Keris: "but it won't save the two gents who've fallen in"

The guards who fell in the river went under fairly quickly, weighted down by their metal armor. You haven't seen them since, though some of the other guards ran down the shore to look for them.

Keris: "oh bother"
Reav: "Hang on, imabye we can get them out with this"
Keris: "well, let's see if the chalk will work"
* Reav pulls out the grappiling hook in his sack with a length of rope attached

Across the river, you can hear some faint cries, mixed in among the roar of the flames and the crashing of burning walls and ceilings.

Reav: "Anyone for fishinng for guards?"
* Ander attempts to plug the holes in the boat with the chalk
Keris: "you there, what's your name?"
DM: The chalk fills in the cracks fairly easily, but it's hard to tell whether it will help waterproof the hull.
Reav: "Who me?"
Keris: "yes, the country boy"
Ander: "well it will have to do"
* Ander places the boat at the edge of the water
Keris: "well, pour a little water on it and see if the chalk just washes away"
Reav: "Just call me Reav miss?"
Keris: "ok Reav, we'll have to forget the guards for now, they're long gone."
Ander: "Al aboard who are going aboard"
Bosbar peers across the river at the burning piers, occasionally scratching his head and pulling at his beard in thought.
DM: Are you lowering the boat into the water? It's about ten feet from the waterline right now.
Keris: "bearded one, you wouldn't happen to have a suggestion?"
Reav: "You in the boat, you forgot the oars or something to stear and paddle with
Keris: "here, take these planks"
Keris: "But make sure the chalk'll hold"
Ander: i'm placing the first 2 feet of the boat in the water
Bosbar glances briefly at you, but appears to be lost in thought.
Ander: does the boat have oars in it? i assumed rowboats come with them
DM: There aren't any paddles for the boat, though there are small grooves meant for oars.
* Keris spits on the chalk
Keris: what did that do
DM: Keris - Made the chalk wet.
Reav: "I dunno about this but..."
DM: Ander pushes the boat toward the water, and the front few inches hit the water with a small splash.
Keris: I run and jump in, grabbing the little man on my way
DM: The chalk in the front looks a bit wetter, but there's no standing water in the boat.
* Reav shrugs his shoulders then packs the rope and kook back in his sack before heading over to the boat
Keris: (taking all of my stuff with me)
DM: How does Rockface feel about a strange half-elf grabbing him?
* Keris doesn't have time to worry about it
Reav: "At the very least we should make an attempt to save whoevers screaming over there"
Keris: "bearded one, get over here"
Keris: "we can use as many hands as we can get!"
* Ander motions reav and the bearded man into the boat
Reav: "Or are you too drunk to enjoy a lucious lady grabbing you hmm?"
* Reav gets into the boat
* Keris glares at Reav
Bosbar nods, grabs his giant floppy hat to keep it solidly on his head, and runs toward the rowboat and the rest of the party.
Keris: "save your pretty words for a pretty lady"
* Ander waits till bozbar gets in and then runs and pushes the boat into the river and jumps in
* Keris hands out planks to the party
Rockface: "I can't swim..."
DM: The boat is currently still on the shore... It will take a bit of pushing to get it riverborne, especially if anyone's in it.
* Reav uses one of the planks to push off the bank?
Ander: it's still on the shore?
Keris: "and you won't have to if we get there before the boat drops us"
Ander: (how embaressing)
DM: Ander - It's about halfway into the water. If you're shoving off, I want to know where everyone is.
Rockface: *cautiously helps launch boat/gets in*
Rockface: "Noone rock the boat."
Keris: "clever. I need cliches like i need a sinking boat right now"
Reav: im in the back of the boat far as i can tell tryig to push off
Ander: I am also in back/pushing and then jumping in once the boat is off
Keris: I'm in the boat watching them push off and getting ready to paddle
DM: Okay... Everyone's in the boat except Ander, who is pushing from the rear. The boat plops into the water and immediately begins to drift away from shore. Ander manages to jump in, rocking the boat severely.
Reav: "you sure you dont need a sinking boat miss whatever your name is? because thats what were gonna be in if we dont hurry before that chalk disolves and turns into chalky water"
DM: The boat begins to drift away from where the bridge once was, pulled by the current.
Keris: "my name is keris."
Rockface: "Good for you... NOW PADDLE!"
Keris: "row against the stream so we wind up somewhere near the docks"
* Ander paddles for all he's worth
* Keris paddles
* Reav paddles, trying not to start a round of row row row your boat
Keris: "a round of what?"
DM: Before you're ten feet from the shore, you notice a small amount of water seeping in between the cracks. The chalk has turned into a bit of a paste. It seems to be helping, but there's still quite a bit of water leaking in.
Reav: "a old boating song, nevermind, not important"
Keris: "think we can make it or shall we try to plug it up more?"
DM: The boat is currently still plenty seaworthy, and with all of you paddling, it's making a decent pace.
Ander: "I think we would be better off just paddling"
Rockface: "Keep going"
Rockface: *paddle paddle*
Keris: "done"
Ander: "we won't need the boat once we get to the other side"
Keris: "i surely hope not, but we'll have time to make her more seaworthy then"
Reav: "Aye, lets worry more about getting the rest of the way first unless you wish to make a snack for some fish?"
DM: A few hundred feet out, there is about three inches of water in the bottom of the boat. Your boots and packs are now quite wet, and the boat is sitting noticably lower in the water.
Keris: how far are we from the other side?
DM: You're still making decent progress, but as the boat sinks lower into the river, the current is having more of a dragging effect on you.
DM: Keris - It's still at least 500 feet to the other side.
Keris: "i think we have to do something about this now"
Keris: is there any particular source of the leaks?
Keris: or is it just the entire bottom of the boat?
Rockface: We could dump everything except us.
Keris: "can any of you cast any sorts of magics to help us?"
DM: Keris - There are too many leaks to count. Most of them have chalk paste in them, but even there the water is seeping in.
Reav: 'dont look at me, alough praying right about now would probably be in order"
Rockface: *uses whatever item has the highest scoopage factor to get rid of some of the water*
Ander: does anyone have a hat?
Bosbar: "I don't have anything that would help at this moment, unless you think setting the boat on fire would be useful."
Keris: "right, and who here would be a religious type?"
DM: Bosbar has a HUGE, floppy hat.
Keris: "at least for a helpful god"
Keris: "bosbar, you get this water out with that bloody hat of yours"
Keris: "the rest of us will keep rowing
Bosbar looks completely shocked at your suggestion, and clamps a hand down on top of his hat. "No, we'll have to think of something else."
* Keris rolls eyes
Bosbar gets a sheepish look. "Besides, it's not very watertight at all."
Rockface: *is scooping with his helmet*
Keris: "anything helpful then Bosbar? Or the hat will get wet anyways."
Bosbar grabs his backpack and dumps a seemingly endless number of odd and random items into one of his belt pouches. A large spice rack falls into his lap. Bosbar sets it carefully on one of the boat's "seats". "Do NOT let this get wet."
Bosbar then takes the now-empty leather backpack, and begins scooping water with it.
DM: Are the other three still paddling?
* Keris sighs
Keris: yes. I'm paddling, Reav is paddling and Ander is paddling
Reav: "well.... i hate to do this but this should help a little"
* Keris sings a fast paced shanty to keep the pace of the paddling
Rockface: "Bad idea... *scoop* very bad idea... *scoop*"
DM: Between the bailing and the paddling, the rowboat manages to reach the shoreline within about 20 feet of the docks. You're slightly downstream (and downwind) from the main harbor, and breathing (let alone seeing) is pretty difficult.
Keris: I take out a handkerchief and soak it in the water and tye it around my face
Keris: (loosely)

There is a ton of smoke in the air, though there are few burning embers flying, now that most of the roofs have collapsed.

* Reav stops paddiling for a few moments while he reaches over and takes out his rope and hook and does something rather helpful by attempting to hook onto something solid onshore to help get the boat onto the shore
Ander: I'll also try the handkercheif trick
Reav: me too
DM: As Reav drags the boat onto the shore, it skips over a jagged rock and the brittle boards in the bottom crack, exposing quite a large hole.
Rockface: doh!
Keris: oy.
Ander: "I didn't like that boat anyways"
Keris: "it didn't treat us too kindly"
Bosbar grabs his spice rack from the rowboat, tucks it neatly in his backpack, and wets part of his cloak, holding it up to his face.
Reav: "ahh well, we shall give it a proper funeral later on, but for now, let's find teh source of that screaming

Not far up the shoreline, there are several piers with warehouses located very near the docks. There are only two ships in port this night -- one is aflame, with no signs of life apparent. The other is upwind of the fire, and so far seems unscathed.

Keris: "shall we run for it?"
Reav: "Which boat should we search for oh fearless leaderess?"

The Harbormaster's Office is in ruins, and almost all of the other buildings (including a small tavern for sailors) have collapsed or are burning.

Ander: "Seems as good an idea as any"
Keris: does there seem to be anyone still alive?
DM: You can hear a few cries from the inferno, but it's hard to pinpoint where they are without getting closer.
Keris: "augh."
Keris: what's the chance of running ing the building and grabbing people and not dying?
Reav: "Well, we dont have time to make up our minds so lets just do something and try to help!"
DM: Which building? There are four warehouses, the Harbormaster's Office, the tavern, and a couple of small residences.
Keris: Rockface, look in the office, reave, take the residentials, Ander, the tavern and i'll get closer to the warehouses"
Keris: "watch for flying debris"
DM: Three of the four warehouses have collapsed into burning embers. The Harbormaster's Office is virtually a smoking pile of rubble. The tavern and residences are in flames but are mostly intact so far.
Reav: "Gotcha oh fair leader"
Keris: "scratch the office and the warehouses, we'll all check the more intact buildings"
Bosbar narrows his eyes. "I should guard the boat then?", he says sarcastically.
Keris: "bearded chef, come with us if your spice rack is not too endangered"
* Ander listens to see if there is anyone in the tavern
* Reav heads off in the direction of the residences
* Keris looks in the tavern
DM: Okay, I'll get these one at a time.
Keris: "one of you take the dwarf"
Keris: "and keep him away from the tavern"
Reav: uum can i attempt to use the skill detect noises to discern if anyones in either of the residences?
Rockface: *checks the tavern*
DM: Reav - Absolutely. I'll roll for it here.
Ander: "hey rockface wanna help me with the tavern?"
Reav: (oy vy thats the dwarf allright, saving the ale)
Rockface: "Yep"
* Keris glares at Ander.
* Keris looks in the other residences as the tavern is overly crowded
* Reav attempts to hear from outside the two houses to discern which one to explore first
Rockface: How bad is the tavern burning? Can we go in?
Rockface: to, um, check for people.
* Reav notices a cat jumping out the window of one of the resudences so heads off in that direction first
DM: Ander and Rockface approach the tavern. The roof is burning and there is a bit of smoke wafting from the shattered windows, but at the moment it looks structurally sound.
Rockface: I head in
Reav: "Miss leader, go check the other one out"
Keris: "will do Reav"
Reav: "if its no trouble that is"
Keris: "Chef, check the warehouse"
* Reav draws his sword and attempts to use it to shatter the rest of the window so he can get inside
DM: Rockface pushes the tavern door open, which swings limply on a broken hinge. There are a few overturned tables visible from the doorway, but the room and the bar area seem to be abandoned.
Bosbar rolls his eyes and trots down to the warehouse (which is the furthest building upstream)
Rockface: I'll down a drink, if any are standing.
Rockface: And then move back outside.
Ander: I'll scan the tavern for anything useful
Ander: or any people to save
DM: As Keris approaches one of the residences, the front door crashes outward in a flood of flames. The roof caves in, throwing up burning embers in a small cloud surrounding the house.
Keris: "Bloody ashes!"
* Keris backs away
DM: Keris - /roll 1d20
-RPGServ:#pvpdnd- Roll for Keris [1d20]: 20
DM: Keris dives away from the blast, easily rolling behind a small stone wall near the dock area. Burning timber and ash lands all around her, but miraculously, she avoids even the smallest bit of burning debris.
* Keris sighs in relief
DM: Unfortunately, as far as Keris can tell, nobody in the building could possibly have survived the collapse.
Rockface: I guess everyone is either gone or dead.
Keris: there's still the house where Reav is
* Keris looks like she's holding back some emotion
DM: Rockface walks a few feet into the tavern, and trips right over a large backpack lying on the floor. He crashes headlong into a nearby table, which contained the stein of ale he was walking toward.
Rockface: I didn't see the large backpack?
DM: Reav bashes in a window on the second residence, and inside he can faintly hear a male-sounding groan.
DM: Rockface - There's a lot of smoke.
* Keris heads over to the house where Reav is
Ander: er, what about me?
* Keris runs to the house where Reav is
Rockface: I'll grab the backpack
Keris: "what did you find?!"
Rockface: Do I hear Reav yelling?
Rockface: If so, I'll head over there.
DM: Ander - You see the pack Rockface tripped over, but other than that, the only things of value are a large ornamental shield on one wall of the tavern, and the alcohol bottles behind the bar.
Reav: "Theres someone in here still alive, but not for long unless somethings done"
DM: Rockface - Not from where you are. The fire is still making quite a roar.
Rockface: Well then I just head out of the tavern
DM: I'll get to Reav and Keris in a moment.
DM: Rockface grabs the large pack and drags it out of the tavern behind him.
Ander: I'll grab several alcholic bottles
Ander: and i'll follow the dwarf out of the tavern
DM: Ander grabs lots of alcohol. The tavern is beginning to fill with some serious smoke now.
Rockface: *hurries out*
DM: Keris approaches the house, which is solidly on fire now, as Reav punches in a window.
Rockface: "Phew, I'm glad noone was hurt."
Ander: "so what's in the bag? I thought you'd be more interested in this" (displays alcohol)
* Keris runs in the house
Rockface: *checks backpack*
Keris: "hurry up Reav"
* Reav enters through the window then
Keris: i listen
DM: Keris - Reav just broke a window (or finished breaking it). How are you getting in? The other windows visible are on the second floor, and there's a front door on the other side.
DM: Reav climbs through the window, and is immediately blinded by hot smoke.
Reav: "GAAH!"
Rockface: "We'll save that for later, Ander."
Keris: I went through the door on the other side after opening it
* Reav drops to the floor in an attempt to avoid as much smoke as possible
DM: Reav - /roll 1d20
Ander: "sounds good"
Ander: "find anything interesting in there?"
-RPGServ:#pvpdnd- Roll for Reav [1d20]: 14
DM: Keris dashes to the other side of the building, and encounters a locked door.
Rockface: "I'm looking!"
Keris: can i kick the door in?
DM: Reav drops to the floor, and manages to wipe his eyes with the wet handkerchief. He can see two dark, human-sized shapes on the floor near the other end of the small room he's in, though the male groaning is coming from upstairs.
DM: Keris - You can try. /roll 1d20
-RPGServ:#pvpdnd- Roll for Keris [1d20]: 10
Ander: maybe we should help. then again we should't leave this bag alone
Keris: i yell "Reav find anyone?!"
* Reav crawls over to the two forms on the floor and attempts to find any signs of life from them while answering
DM: Keris tries to kick and shoulder the door, but it seems to hold fast.
DM: (I'll get to the backpack in a moment)
Rockface: "Maybe we should split some of that drink..."
DM: Ander and Rockface - This is happening while you were approaching, entering and leaving the tavern...
Ander: oh
Keris: "augh. forget this door"
Ander: tell us when time catches us up again
Keris: I run around the back
Keris: "see if you can pass me the bodies through the window
DM: Ander - You're walking out of the tavern right now. You faintly hear Keris yelling something about a door.
DM: Upon closer inspection, Reav sees that the shapes are each made up of two large pillows, bound together with rags.
Ander: if she needed help she prolly woulda yelled that instead of door
DM: Rockface and Ander rummage through the backpack. It contains a blanket, what looks like some sort of holy symbol or badge of station, a wooden stick with a string tied around one end, and two small opaque bottles.
* Reav smells something fishy here as he crawls to the stairs, attempting to see if theres anything amiss here other than the fire (find traps)
* DM makes Find Traps roll.
* Reav cant help but smirk at that comment
Rockface: *takes the bottles, dumps the rest*
DM: Keris is heading for the warehouse?
Keris: yes
Rockface: *goes to find the others*
Ander: I'll grab the blanket and tear it into strips and pocket them
* Reav heads up the stairs, staying as low as he can to avoid teh smoke as he tries to hear where the coughings coming from (detect noise)
DM: Rockface grabs the two bottles (which feel to be full of some sort of liquid), and drops the pack on the ground.
Keris: "and I don't trust that floppy hatted git further than i can spit him"

[At this point, Doc returned to take control of Bosbar, but Murdly had to depart, giving the DM control of Rockface.]

DM: Rockface opened the backpack and grabbed a couple of bottles out. There's a blanket, a stick with a string on the end, and the weird badge thing.
DM: Okay, Ander rips up the blanket. Going to leave the other stuff?
Ander: yeah
Ander: you never know what will happen when you mess with holy symbols
Ander: I'll head off towards the others voices
DM: Toward the residence?
Reav: im still trying to detect noises in the house i guess while heading upstairs
DM: Reav - Aye, about to get to you.
* Reav almost trips over a coughing body
DM: Keris is heading toward the warehouse, and will get there when Bosbar is done reading his log
Bosbar: ok
DM: Rockface follows Ander toward the house.
Ander: heh
Reav: "well spit me open and call me wally the slime"
* Reav attemts to throw the man over his shoulders to haul him out of the house
DM: As Ander and Rockface approach the house, a man's body is heaved out the bottom window.
DM: The body his the ground with a grunt, and begins coughing uncontrollably. His face is black with soot and ash.
Ander: I rush over to check his condition
* Reav crawls out the window and tumbles to land away from the fallen man
DM: The man is in serious trouble. He is badly burned, and you can tell that he has inhaled far too much smoke. He gasps for air, and then goes into another coughing fit.
Reav: "Ahh are you two done "saving" the ale yet?"
Ander: "Alas, many noble kegs perished"
Rockface kneels before the man and mutters something about fool humans not knowing how to take care of themselves. He places his hands on the man's chest and begins chanting quietly.
* Reav considers going back in to see if theres anyone else in there
DM: After a moment, the man takes a deep, wracking breath and tries to speak. The sound that issues forth is barely a wheeze.
* Ander offers the man a drink
Reav: "Oh ta heck with it"
Rockface stands up and says "Bah, I'm not sure what else I can do for him. His wounds are too much for my magic."
* Reav gets ready to go back inside
DM: Ander reaches down and offers his canteen to the man, who drinks eagerly. His breathing becomes more even.
DM: The man pushes himself up to a half-sitting position.
Burned man: "Wait... please *cough* help... my children."
Ander: "where are your kids?"
* Reav goes back inside before hearing the mans words to see if anything else needs "saving"
Burned man: "Just... inside. They were where... you must have... passed them."
* Ander yells after Reav
DM: Reav - The flames inside are getting worse. You quickly scout the lower floor (it is not a large house), but see nothing aside from the pillows you saw earlier.
Burned man: "hurry... my girls were... downstairs..."
DM: The man is beseiged by another fit of coughing, and after a few moments, he passes out.
Ander: I check his pulse
* Reav mutters to himself "crazy old man, these must be his kids... least we can do if the dwarf cant heal him is let him die in peace" grabs the dolls and protects them as best he can, heading back to the wiindow
DM: Ander - He's still alive, but lack of oxygen has made him lose consciousness.
DM: Reav climbs back out the window, dragging two pairs of pillows. Each pair is tied together with tattered rags.
Reav: "heres his "kids"... they can at least provide him with some comfort that theyre safe...."
* Reav sets the "childern" down by the man
Rockface pulls out his canteen and splashes some water into the burned man's face.
DM: The man awakes with a weak cough, and glances at Reav.
"My girls... where are... my girls?"
Reav: "there here sir, safe and worried about you"
DM: The man looks at the pillows increduously.
Burned Man: "Are you... mad? Those are just *cough* pillows!"
Burned Man: "Please... They must be... downstairs..."
Keris: (*L*)
Reav: (dangit! i felt for sure i was on the right track)

By now, the roof of the house is beginning to groan, and small bits of timber are dropping down both inside and outside the house.

Reav: "i'm sorry sir, these were all i could find, forgive me for thinking that these may have been your childern
The man coughs weakly a few more times. His voice grows faint... "the... cellar."
Reav: "cellar... i didnt see an entrance to the cellar in the house"
Burned Man: "*cough* outside... trap..."
DM: The man passes out again.
Reav: "ergh outside..."
* Reav gets up and starts running around the house, looking for the cellar door
Rockface kneels by the man and begins chanting again.

[Ander attempts to make mental contact with anyone who might be inside or under the house.]

-RPGServ:#pvpdnd- Roll for Ander [1d20]: 13
DM: Keris reaches the warehouse and sees that the door is open and the interior is brightly lit.
DM: However, the warehouse is not burning.
Keris: interesting...
* Reav finds the cellar door and attempts to open it, listening
Keris: "bearded one...where are you bearded one?"
DM: There's a small door in the side of the house. When Reav opens it, he sees a rope ladder descending into the darkness.
* Bosbar peers out from behind a crate.
Bosbar: "Oh, it's you."
* Bosbar stands up.
DM: It's getting hard to keep track of both groups... Reav and Ander: Let's pause for a moment and let the warehouse play out
Keris: "what are you doing here?"
Bosbar: "I ought to ask you the same thing."
Keris: "sorting your spices are you?"
* Bosbar leans on his staff.
Keris: "I sent you here to search for survivors..."
Bosbar: "Well there aren't any, girl. You can see that just as plain as day."
Keris: "and now it looks as if there were nothing to survive..."
Keris: "So why are you still here?"
* Bosbar knocks on a crate with his staff.
Bosbar: "I found something interesting."
* Keris looks at crate.
Bosbar: "It's a shipment of weapons, headed for Galeria."
DM: There are about fifteen crates in the warehouse, all waist height, square. Black lettering on the sides.
Keris: I read the lettering
Keris: "what sort of weapons?
DM: The lettering says "Dest: Galaria, Cont: Wpns".
Bosbar: "Don't know yet. You came in before I could have a look."
* Keris looks suspiciously at Bosbar
Bosbar: "And what's THAT look for?"
Keris: "now you be careful now. a man with such a large hat has to be compensating for something else and i don't want to deal with the consequences"
* Bosbar clears his throat.
* Keris smirks
Bosbar: "I'll have you know that I am a great and powerful wizard. This hat is merely part of the ensemble.
Bosbar: I got it in wizard's school."
Keris: "uh huh. great...and powerful."
* Keris looks Bosbar up and down
Keris: "and all ye can do is cast fireballs?"
Keris: "well, enough with this, we've got things to do"
Keris: "let's take a look shall we?"
* Bosbar strokes his beard in thought.
Keris: "well...?"
Keris: "I'm not about to touch this thing until you give some sort of indication of what you think"
Bosbar: "Well, they're just crates. See?"
* Bosbar kicks a crate.
DM: The crate is kicked. Soundly, even.
Keris: "'just' crates sometimes are more than what they seem"
Keris: "don't you read your ballads?"
Keris: "A crate once contained a giant were-rat that ate the one who kicked it thus"
Bosbar: "Girl, I've written ballads. And these crates are just crates."
Bosbar: "Give me a hand, eh?"

There's a crash off in the distance, as another structure collapses. You can't tell which one it was from the warehouse.

* Bosbar pulls on a crate, trying to open it.
* Keris throws Bosbar a knife from seemingly nowhere
Keris: catch
DM: The crates are nailed shut pretty solidly. It would take some serious force or a tool to get them open.
Keris: "we'll use this as a lever"
* Bosbar catches the knife.
* Bosbar fumbles with the knife.
Keris: both of us work from both ends to try to get the nails pried out a little
Bosbar: "This is taking too long."
DM: The lid of the crate pops off, and inside, sure enough, are a collection of weapons, armor, and shields. There are not any distinguishing marks visible, though the shields carry the yellow and blue colors of the Galaria Militia.
Bosbar: "Looks like they're getting ready for something big."
Keris: "indeed"
Keris: is this building at any risk of burning down soon?
DM: This warehouse is the only building not in flames. It's upwind from the rest of the fires.
Keris: "leave it for now, let's see what the others are up to"
* Bosbar looks out the door, to see if anyone's coming.
DM: Nobody's coming.
Bosbar: "Alright."
* Bosbar pockets a dagger from the crate.
* Keris coughs
* Bosbar winks at Keris.
Bosbar: "Just in case."
Keris: "i do want my knife back"
* Bosbar returns Keris's knife.
Bosbar: "Of course."
Keris: "thank you luv"
* Bosbar doffs his hat.
DM: Are you two heading back to the rest of the party?
Bosbar: Yeah.
Keris: yup
* Bosbar extinguishes his light spell.
DM: Meanwhile...
DM: Reav has opened the trapdoor at the side of the house, where a rope ladder descends into the darkness.
DM: Ander seems to be concentrating, his eyes closed and his hands tense.
Reav: "well, here goes nothing"
* Reav climbs down the ladder into the darkness, searching for any sign of the girls
Ander: I'll follow him down
DM: It's pitch black downstairs. There's a bit of smoke in the air, but the fire has not yet spread to the cellar, though the floor inside the house above is now burning. You don't hear anything for a few moments, but suddenly there's a faint whimper, and then a sharp "Shh!"
Ander: I silently look around
Reav: "Hello? is there anyone in here?"
DM: No sound... Ander, you can't really see anything at all...
DM: You bump your toes on a lot of junk lying around the cellar floor.
Ander: "if only we had some fire to light up the place"
Ander: I'll go up stairs and grab a burning peice of wood
Ander: and bring it back down
Rockface yells back down: "Just what ye need down there, more fire!"
DM: A lit torch appears at the trapdoor entrance, and Rockface hands it down to Ander. As light floods the tiny cellar, there's a frightened shriek from behind a bookcase.
Ander: I check behind the bookcase
Reav: "Hey now, dont be alarmed, were here to help you but we really need to get out of here"
DM: A small blond-headed girl peers from behind the shelves.
Blond Girl: "Who're you? Where's da?"
DM: Another "Shh!" from behind the bookcase, and the head recedes.
Ander: I am Ander, and this is Reav
Ander: "now we need to get out of here, your father is alreadys afe outside"

There's a crash from above, followed by another shriek from the bookcase.

Reav: "yeah, and your fathers up out there hurt and looking for you, and if we dont get out now, this place is going to colapse and were all gonna be crispy critters
Keris: (you're so good with kids...)
Ander: I extend my hand to the girl
The same voice says: "Get da, he'll bring us out!"

The air in the cellar is starting to get more smoky.

Reav: "we cant get your father, hes lying up there hurt and being attended to by the cleric up there
Another, slightly deeper female voice says, "What kind of cleric?"
Ander: a dwarven cleric
There's a pause, and then: "A dwarf? Here? You're lying! Get out, before da finds you and cleaves your head clean off!"
Reav: "i'm, not sure actually, all i know is hes a dwarf... and hes very nice as long as you give him ale"

A few glowing ashes sink down from the ceiling above.

Reav: "may Selune strike me down if i'm lying, theres a dwarf up there attending to yoru father
Ander: "Come now, you must realise you can't stay here, at least get out of this burning house"
Deeper-voiced Girl: "Selune? He's a Selunite?"
Reav: "and if we DONT get out of here, were all going to be in extremly deep trouble"
Deeper-voiced Girl: "Okay, but if you try to hurt us, I'll kick you RIGHT in the shins, and then da will GET YOU!"
Ander: "sounds good"
Reav: "fairs fair, and if i try to hurt you ill be the first to kick myself in the shins, now come on, lets get out of here to safety ok?"
DM: Two small heads pop up from behind the bookcase. One is a young blond girl of about six years, the other has red hair and looks to be a couple years older.
Redhaired girl: "You go first. We'll follow you."
Reav: "allright"
* Reav turns and heads back up the ladder quickly
* Ander follows, making sure everyone gets out allright
DM: At this point, Keris and Bosbar come walking back to the burning house. Rockface is the only one outside, and he is tending to the unconscious man's wounds.
Keris: "and so THAT's why you carry a spice rack with you everywhere"
Bosbar: "Mostly, yeah."
Keris: "Rockface, oh, you've found one!"

"The girls climb timidly up the ladder after their rescuers. As soon as they're out, some burning timbers fall from the cellar ceiling and ignite a wooden beam.

Keris: "how are things going..."
Ander: "good good"
Ander: "you?"
DM: The girls spot their father, and run to him, embracing his limp form.
Keris: "oh!"
* Reav scrambles to get back to a safe distance from the house
Redhaired girl: "Da!"
Keris: "let's get these guys up to the warehouse!"
DM: The man is looking slightly better under Rockface's care, though he still hasn't woken up.
Keris: "don't worry little ones, the odd little man will take good care of him"
Keris: (under breath: I think)
Reav: "well, were all back together so what have you two been up to fearless leaderess?
Rockface: "I think he's well enough to be moved, if we're careful."
Keris: "we've found a safe place with...a few interesting things"
Ander: "ah"
Keris: "did you guys find anyone else?"
Ander: "we saved some precious lives in the tavern"
Reav: "Ahh, sounds fun fraid not just this man, whoever he is and his daughters and a bit of embaressment over those dolls....."
* Reav looks extremly sheepish at that
Keris: "uh....huh."
Keris: "well, let's get them up to the warehouse then"
Keris: "carefully..."
Reav: "aye"
* Ander picks up the old man's other children and carries them to safety
Ander: (the pillows, not the girls)
* Reav assists uum whoever in moving the injured man down to the warehouse
Reav: (oh geesh will i ever live this down?)
Rockface grabs the man's feet and says "Hey, am I the only one here with a strong back?"
Ander: "I beleive so"
* Keris grabs the man's head gently
Reav: "i'm helping you shrimp so just hang on carefully and lets move"
Reav: "Hmm, mabye i should try some of your ale rockface, it certanly gives you muscles"

As you round the burning residence, you see the dock area in the distance. The one ship that was burning has now gone under, just a few pieces of flaming wreckage on the surface.

Ander: well one less burning object to worry aobut
Keris: is the other ship still there?

The other ship, the one that was intact, has its sails completely unfurled. You don't recall them being deployed when you crossed the river.

Keris: "curious..."
Keris: well, we take the man to the warehouse

DM: As you travel toward the warehouse, you see the ship beginning to move downriver. There's a bright flash from the deck of the ship.

Keris: "oh shoot."
Keris: "everybody down"
Bosbar: !

Within seconds, the remaining warehouse explodes in a HUGE ball of flame. Pieces of debris fly everywhere, and the structure is completely obliterated in a giant fireball.

Reav: GAH!
* Keris looks up in disbelief
* Reav ducks and tries to shield the man from shrapnel from the blown p building and hopes otyhers are shielding the girls
* Keris is shielding a girl
Keris: or rather, the man's head now that i think about it

The party is far enough away to avoid most of the blast effects, though small pieces of debris rain down on you, ripping some of your clothes and inflicting small cuts and bruises.

The ship begins to move at high speed down the river, either oblivious to the explosion, or already having picked up too much wind to turn around.

Reav: "BLAST IT! what were those fools thinking?"
Keris: do i recognize anything about the ship due to my local history skill?
DM: It's already moving faster than a man's sprint, and is quickly moving out of sight.
DM: Keris - Rolling Lore.
Keris: "nothing special about it..."
* Bosbar harumphs.
Keris: "are the girls okay?
Bosbar: "They're probably heading for Galeria."

As you survey the area, you see that the tavern has completely burned itself out. There is no roof and the inside walls are blackened, but the fire is out. The other warehouses are still burning, but they're quickly being reduced to rubble.

* Bosbar strokes his beard thoughtfully.

The ship is almost out of sight now... It is moving extremely fast.

* Bosbar casts dancing lights on the ship in an effort to cause the helmsman to panic and run aground.
Ander: well. there goes that
DM: Bosbar - The ship is way, way out of range for any spells. It was out of range before it even started moving.
* Bosbar harumphs.
* Reav checks on the girls visually
DM: In the distance, you hear some heavy footsteps approaching from the burned-out bridge remains.
* Keris looks around
Keris: what the...
* Keris goes on guard
DM: The girls and the man are fine, and the man has woken up, though he is not moving much.
Ander: I pull out a strip of blanket and a bottle of alcohol
* Bosbar suppresses a fit of coughing.
Keris: "Who goes there?"
* Keris prepares knife in hand.

A contingent of five Errol Home Guards rush around the side of the far warehouse, buckets in hand.

* Keris puts away knife
* Bosbar coughs heavily.
Keris: "ahem. A little late."
Reav: "boys, you arrived late to the party yet again, so now what are you going to do?"
Keris: "Bosbar, you okay there"
DM: The lead guard walks up and looks at you strangely.
Bosbar: "Ah, yes lass. The smoke and soot is just getting to me, that's all."
Guard Leader: "Aren't you the folks I retrieved from the Cackling Wyvern?"
Keris: "hello"
Keris: "Well, it depends on what you mean by retrieved"
* Ander stashes the alcohol and blanket strip
Keris: "if you mean led to a collapsing bridge then forced to fend for ourselves in getting across"
DM: You recognize this as the same guard who first called you out of the inn to come help...
* Reav considers "retrieving" his hazzard pay from the guard but doesnt
Keris: "then not showing up whilst we save people"
Keris: "yes. you retrieved us"
Bosbar: "Hush, girl. The man's just trying to do his job."
* Bosbar nudges Keris with his staff.
* Keris sighs
Bosbar: "Don't mind her, officer. She's a little testy."
Keris: "how can we help you?"
Guard Leader: "But... how did you get over here before we did? We had to carry rowboats all the way from the guardhouse!"
Ander: "we made a rowboat"
Ander: "from some saplings"
Reav: "we flew across on a mighty dragon while singing songs about bread of course"
Ander: "it sank when we got across though. I suspect treachery"
Guard Leader: "Well... nevermind that. Did you find any survivors? What was the second explosion we saw?"
Keris: "We found this family. A father and his two daughters"
Reav: "found only three survivors.... and that boat shot the warehouse"
Keris: "I saw a Galarian tradeship leaving just before the building exploded"
Ander: "4 survivors you mean"(holds up pillows)
The Guard looks to the man and his daughters. One of the other guards rushes over and pulls a small vial from his belt, pouring it in the man's mouth.
Keris: "A flash of light I saw before they flew off"
Bosbar: "You! What's in that vial, man?"
Bosbar: "Let me see that."
Guard Leader: "A... Galarian tradeship? There were none in port tonight... Only one of ours, bound for the sea and Baldur's Gate."
* Bosbar walks over to the family.
The guard with the potion holds the vial up innocently. "Healing potion from the church of Sune. Nothing to fear, my friends."
Keris: "well, one I've seen bound towards Galaria many a time. The warehouse contained.."
Keris: i break off
DM: The father's burns do seem to be better now, though there is quite a bit of scarring.
* Bosbar smiles.
* Keris nudges Bosbar
Bosbar: "A fellow Sune worshipper, are you? Well met, lad."
Ander: "I say, you wouldn't happend to have any more of those would you?"
Reav: (wait, what happened to the backpack rock and ander found?)
Bosbar: "The warehouse just contained a few boxes, nothing to worry about."
Potion Guard: "Nay, not myself. But the faith is in good standing with the Guardsmen, and they often contribute to our town."
* Bosbar turns back to the Potion Guard.
DM: Reav - The backpack is still lying near the entrance to the tavern.
Bosbar: "Oh, well then. That's certainly nice of them."
Keris: "is there a place in Errol where these people can stay?"
Reav: "and more importantly, a quick and nonwaterlogged way to get back across?"
Bosbar: "Indeed. I wouldn't care for my spices to get wet."
Guard Leader (to his men): "Spread out and look for more survivors. Lyrim--" he points to the potion-carrying guard. "Take the man and his girls across the river and down to the temple's infirmary."
Guard Leader: "Yes, I am certain the temple of Sune will take them in until their house is rebuilt..."
Reav: "dangit someone take these for the girls fcomfort"
Guard Leader: "I'm not sure you can do any more good here... You're heroes for saving that family, and I will make sure the council hears of it."
* Reav picks the pillow "childern up and hands them to some random guard"
Keris: "Nay, not heros."
Ander: "no wait"
The redheaded girl runs over and grabs the pillows.
* Bosbar casts dancing lights for the girls to entertain them.
Ander: "not my children"
Redheaded girl: "You saved our princes!"
* Keris chuckles
Bosbar: -correction: for the younger girl-
* Keris pats the children on the head
Keris: "and quite handsome princes they are"
Reav: (well least i soaved something other than destroying my dignity and credibility -_-)
The girls look at the dancing lights in wonder, batting at the ones that come too near. The potion guard quickly rounds them up and leads them toward the shoreline, as another guard helps the father stumble after them.
Keris: "Careful with that man!"
The redheaded girl smiles warmly at Keris as she's lead away.
* Keris looks at group
Keris: "Now then."
Guard Leader: "Now that we have access to what's left of the docks, there are plenty of rowboats to take you back across the river. You should get some rest, and we will speak tomorrow."
Reav: "and remember girls, always make sure theres some dashingly dippy rogue to save your princes next time when they and you get into trouble"
* Ander laughs
Keris: "dippy?"
The blond girl turns around and sticks her tongue out at Reav before the group walks out of sight.
* Ander laughs
Keris: "just...who are you people?"
Reav: what so i mistook there prines for the girls fathers childern
* Bosbar strokes his beard in thought.
Ander: My name is ander
Keris: "and what...exactly might you be?"
Keris: "pardon my rough tongue, it gets me into far too much trouble"
Ander: "A songwriter, well sorta"
Bosbar: "Ah, of course. We haven't yet been properly introduced. My name is Bosbar Mumberthrax, and I, am the wizard of Errol!"
* Bosbar bows deeply.
Keris: "uh...huh."
Ander: "this adventure reminds me of a song actually"
Guard Leader: "Since we all seem to be doing introductions now, I am Captain Banks of the Errol Home Guard. Please, stop by the guardhouse in the morning, and I will arrange for you to meet with the concil. I may have some questions for you as well."
Keris: "oh really? which one?"
* Bosbar narrows his eyes.
* Ander clears his throat
* Keris glances at guard leader
Bosbar: "It wouldn't be the "Happy Barbarian Song, would it?"
Ander: "join in if you know it"
Ander: "Ohhhh - I'm a barbarian and I'm okay"
* Keris takes out flute
* Bosbar sings
The guard leader coughs awkwardly. "I must be off, there is still much to be done here."
Bosbar: "I sleep at night and I fight all day!"
Ander: "I'll drink my ale til I turn graaaaay!"
Bosbar: "Cuz I'm a barbarian and I'm okay!"
* Keris rolls eyes and considers whacking the both of them over the head with it.
* Keris accompanies on flute
Reav: "well, i seem to have found the only people around dippier than me"
Bosbar: "A wonderful song, Ander!"
* Keris nods at guard leader with flute.
Ander: "Thank you, Thank you"
* Ander bows
Bosbar: "I do so enjoy that melody."
Captain Banks shakes his head, turns, and walks toward a small group of guards near the burning warehouses.
Keris: "Thank you Captain Banks. We shall see you on the morrow"
* Bosbar doffs his hat.
Bosbar: "G'deve to you, Captain."
Keris: "And you small one?"
Keris: "small...gruffy...one"
* Bosbar peers over his glasses.
Bosbar: "He looks like a dwarf, Keris."
Rockface: "I am Rockface Ironhenge, most faithful of Dugmaren the Innovator."
Reav: "Oh wait I forgot myself, I am Reav Invess, aspiring private entrapaneurer and still looking for whatever it is im looking for"
Keris: "well, of course he's a dwarf, anyone can smell that"
Bosbar: "Dugmaren the Innovator? Wasn't he the fellow who invented dresses for men?"
Keris: "and a cleric eh? A most interesting addition"
Rockface glares at Keris, then snorts. He's obviously heard worse in his time.
Reav: "yeah, after all, if you must find a dwarf, just smell the ale nearby"
Ander: "speaking of which"
Keris: "nay, I respect your people completely"
Rockface: "Speaking of ale, this one..." he taps Ander, "isn't sharin'."
* Ander passes an ale to everyone
Rockface eagarly grabs a bottle of mead and begins to inhale it.
* Keris starts juggling knives
Keris: "and I"
Reav: "am tonedeaf"
* Keris attempts a backflip while juggling knives
Keris: "am Keris Delmyre"
Ander: "A toast to Reav's bravery, in rescuing the imperial princes"
* Reav smirks impishly as he finishes her sentence for her"
* Keris throws a knife that barely knicks Reav's ear.
Rockface grins and holds his bottle up in the air. "Aye, I'll drink to that!"
* Bosbar strokes his beard.
* Reav groans, fearing he needs the ale to live this one down
Bosbar: "And already, we are acting like children."
* Keris catches knives and hides returns them to their place.
Keris: "well...yes."
* Keris grabs knife from ground"
* Ander laughs
Keris: "terribly sorry about that"
Keris: "but...I don't take kindly to comments about my singing"
Rockface tosses his now-empty bottle into the rubble of a warehouse. He lets out a huge yawn. "Well, let's be gettin' home. I've had enough excitement for one night."
Bosbar: "I'm sure you're a lovely songbird, lass. Don't take it to heart."
Keris: "thank you dear mage. i'm sorry i ever called you a poof"
Keris: "but your hat's still silly."
* Bosbar peers at Keris over his glasses.
* Keris sticks out her tongue at Bosbar
Bosbar: "When did you call me a poof?"
Keris: "um..."
Keris: "look at that beautiful sky"
* Keris runs off ahead.
Bosbar: "It is lovely, isn't - HEY!"
Reav: "baah, dont mind me fair maiden, its just my way, after all those who take themselves too seriously, usually end up all serious and never have any fun"
Ander: "YOu are wise beyond your years reav"
Keris: "right Rockface."
Rockface clears his throat loudly. "If I'm takin' the last boat home, don't be thinkin' I'll be waiting for you to catch up!"
Keris: "Everyone in a boat!"
Reav: "sides, the best defense against dire situations isa light heart, a sharp wit, and the ability to dodge many angry women extremly rapidly"

There's a row of well-made rowboats at the shore of the river. Some were taken from the dockhouses on this side of the river, while two others bear the symbol of the Errol Home Guard, and were obviously rowed over by the guards.

Bosbar: "Well said, Reav. It sounds as if you've read my books."
Keris: "and you're a...rogue.."
Keris: "interesting."
* Keris traces a scar on her left cheek while thinking
Reav: "I believe i was read a tale or two from your books when i was but a wee lad"
Keris: "I'll race ya back to Errol!"
* Keris grins
* Keris runs to get a rowboat
Bosbar: "That explains your wonderful growth of character. I'm glad to have had an influence on you, son."
* Reav makes a big show of tumbiling and jumping over to another empty boat
* Bosbar claps Reav on the shoulder.
Rockface slaps his forehead and stomps toward Keris' boat.
* Bosbar calmly steps into a rowboat and sits down.
* Ander gets into the boat with bos
DM: As the party gets ready to shove off, Captain Banks comes running up.
Keris: "everyone got a boat?"
Captain Banks: "Wait!"
Keris: "whaahooo!!!"
* Keris pushes off
Bosbar: "What is it, captain?"
* Bosbar stops the boat with his staff.
Reav: "Yes?"
Captain Banks holds up a backpack. "Is this yours? You left it by the tavern..."
Keris: "oh...hello again Captain"
* Keris points to Ander
Keris: "I think it's his"
Captain Banks: "I didn't want you to leave anything behind, after all you've done."
Bosbar: "Very kind of you, sir."
Ander: "Thanks"
Keris: "thank you Captain."
Keris: "I think I got..a little too excited"
Captain Banks tosses the backpack to Ander. "Thank you again, my friends!"
Reav: "aye now, if thats all..."
* Reav grins
* Ander mutters something to himself about it prolly being cursed
* Bosbar harumphs.
DM: Ander catches the backpack. It's empty.
Reav: last one back to the taverns buying!
* Ander pushes off
* Ander rows like mad
* Reav pushes off and rows as fast as he can

The party rows across the river, exhausted but elated by their adventure and the lives they have saved. Upon reaching the shore of Errol proper, the adventurers agree to meet outside the Cackling Wyvern in the morning, two hours before highsun. They bid each other farewell, and depart for their homes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

D&D Campaign - Prologue

Here's the background and regional information for my PvP Forums AD&D game. Note that the campaign takes place in the Forgotten Realms universe, but the specific region is my own creation.

Keris Delmyre - Female Half-Elf Fighter (Target)
Reav Invess - Male Human Thief (X5)
Rockface Ironhenge - Male Dwarf Cleric (Porthos)
Ander Deveron - Male Human Psionicist (King_Hawk)
Bosbar Mumberthrax - Male Human Transmuter (Doc)

Regional Information:
Pondis is a large island in the Sea of Fallen Stars, about fifty miles off the coast of Baldur's Gate. The island is roughly oblong-shaped, stretching sixty-five miles east-to-west, and forty miles north-to-south. The weather is cold, like all of the northlands, but temperate tidal forces keep the island from being a desolate, icy wasteland. The northern half of the island consists of the Firehair Mountains, named for the goddess of love and beauty. Indeed, the sun setting over the western peaks and sinking into the sea's horizon is a beautiful sight that many of Sune Firehair's followers make a pilgrimage to see each spring. The Wyvern River descends from Lake Griffonpoint high in the mountains, flowing south into the central plains and then turning abruptly east across the continent to the east. The river forms an elaborate delta as it exits the eastern side of the island, but the land there is far too soft and swampy for settlement. The southern half of the island is a cold, rocky plain, perforated by areas of grassland. There is very little rain in the summer months, so fresh water south of the Wyvern River is found only at the occasional pond or oasis.

Pondis was first discovered centuries ago by an expedition force from a long-dead empire that stretched over the lands where Cormyr now lies. Small settlements appeared over time, three of which eventually evolved into villages and towns. While the land now technically belongs to the Kingdom of Cormyr, the monarchy has seemingly forgotten the area (or does not find Pondis to be of enough strategic or economic value to warrant attention). Seventy-five years ago, the three brothers of the Petham family (Thurston, Tethis, and Lynd) each distinguished themselves as officers in the Cormyrian army, and were granted the island of Pondis as a landhold upon their retirement. Upon reaching the shores of Pondis, the brothers Petham found that the local residents were not particularly interested in being ruled by an outside entity. Rather than risking a coup by forcing their rule upon the people, the brothers abandoned their landhold and returned to Cormyr.

Political State:
Several years after the brothers' departure, prominant citizens from the three human settlements on Pondis gathered to examine the idea of forming a united government. Officially, the towns of Pondis would not renounce their ties to Cormyr, as long as Cormyr did not try to influence their society or way of life. Every five years, each town would elect two council members. One would remain at home as a regional governor, and the other would move to Galaria to serve his or her term on the Council of Pondis. The Council would have authority in dealing with external civilizations, as well as presiding over disputes between entities from differing settlements. The regional governor would have authority over affairs in his or her own town. The proposal was drafted, and ratified by a popular ballot in all three towns. The newly-formed government remains to this day.

Galaria is the largest town on Pondis, and serves as capital of the allied settlements. It is located on the Wyvern River, near the eastern edge of the island. While technically not a seaport city, Galaria has several docks on the river, where shallow-bottomed boats can proceed eastward down the river and into the Sea of Fallen Stars. While Galaria is nowhere near the size of the mainland cities like Luskan or Baldur's Gate, it is perhaps the only settlement on Pondis that can be rightly called a 'city'. Most of the trappings of a modern society can be found there -- temples to several deities, stores, inns, taverns, and even a small mage's guild. There is a standing local militia, but due Pondis' proximity (and political ties) to Baldur's Gate, foreign invasion has never been much of a concern.

Thurston is the newest and smallest human settlement on Pondis. It is a quiet fishing village on the south bank of the island. Despite being a port town, Thurston has very little trade with the outside world. The village relies on caravans from Galaria for most supplies -- most notably fresh water, which is a somewhat rare commodity during the summer months on the southern plain of Pondis. Aside from fishing-related enterprises, the only goods and services available in Thurston are a large inn/tavern, a general store, and temples to Selune and Eldath.

Errol is a small town in the western area of Pondis, sitting astride the Wyvern River. It is slightly larger than Thurston, with an industry is more geared toward mining than fishing. Ore is mined from the nearby Firehair Mountains, carted into the town by horse-powered caravans, and sent down the Wyvern River for sale to Galaria or export to the mainland. Errol contains a large number of skilled tradesmen, who make a profit by crafting the newly-mined ore into weapons, armor, or other useful items, which are then sold to the local Merchant's Guild and then distributed abroad. The town has three taverns, two inns, several armor and weapon shops, a horse stable and breeding farm, many livestock and agricultural farms, and a large temple to Chauntea. Errol was originally built to support the walled outpost several miles to the west (simply known as "The Outpost"), meant to be a first line of defense against pirate incursions into the Sea of Fallen Stars in less-civilized days. The wall remains, but the military structure has transformed into a sleepy mining village; a score of soldiers serves as the Errol Home Guard, but they are maintained by tradition more than a need for fighting men and women. Three ancient catapults still sit rusting atop the walls of The Outpost, a lonely reminder of the compound's previous life.

House Rules:
1. My magic system is quite different from AD&D 2nd Edition, and is actually closer to the Sorceror rules for 3rd Edition. A mage gets 'spell points' depending on the total number of spell levels he/she could normally memorize. For example, if you can normally memorize two first-level spells and one second-level spell, you have 4 spell points. The wizard can then cast ANY spell in his/her spellbook for a number of spell points equal to the spell's level. This makes beginning mages a bit more versatile, and helps to balance out some of the weaker spell tiers. Also, mages get bonus spell points depending on their Intelligence stat (I use the Wisdom Bonus Spells chart for Clerics to get the number of bonus spell points). Clerics also use this system, but they will be limited in the number of spells they have available (if you worship the goddess of healing, you will NOT be able to cast Cause Serious Wounds!).

2. I do not use the racial level limits from 2nd Edition. Instead, when a demi-human character hits the level limit, each successive level will cost double the normal experience required.

3. At zero hit points, a character will become incapacitated. That character will lose one hit point per round (from bleeding) until he/she is healed or bandaged by another character. If a character reaches -10 hit points... well... the other party members should probably start looking for a shovel.

4. Gnomes are good eatin'.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Everybody run, it's Venger!

Way back in my college days, I used to moderate the official forums for the PVP comic strip. Since the fanbase consisted mostly of gamers, I decided to put together an IRC-based Dungeons & Dragons (old-school second edition AD&D) game.

As this sort of thing tends to do, the game trailed off after the first few weeks due to schedule conflicts, but the sessions we did play were some of the best times I've ever had running an RPG. It's odd that I can say this about an online, text-based campaign full of virtual strangers, but the group had a good chemistry and strong characters to work with, and everything just seemed to click.

My D&D-themed post yesterday inspired me to go back and read the logs from this game. After my derisive review of the Wizards of the Coast DM's, I figured I should probably put my own experience on display.

Over the next week I'll be posting the transcripts from our game sessions. They're very lengthy, but there is some great roleplaying by the players and some marginally passable DMing by yours truly. I tend to be terribly self-critical, but going back and reading these logs, even seven years later, I'm generally impressed with what I created.

Hopefully you'll find our adventures entertaining. Maybe you'll even be inspired to try hosting your own game sometime.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm gonna cast Magic Missile

Friend David has started a very cool social media blog, and he recently posted an article about the Penny Arcade Dungeons and Dragons game that Wizards of the Coast hosted as a pre-release promotion for the new 4th Edition D&D set. They recorded the entire session as a series of podcasts, and I just finished listening to the sixth installment.

The recordings are fun to listen to, but this is solely because of the eclectic personalities of the players (Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade and Scott Kurtz from PvP Online). It has little to do with the game itself. Despite using two different "professional" Dungeon Masters who work directly for Wizards of the Coast, the adventure was nothing more than combat-heavy dungeon crawl with virtually nothing in the way of interesting puzzles or anything that would inspire actual role-playing.

It's the standard first-level "you're adventurers, and you go into a dungeon, and here are a bunch of rooms full of goblins and zombies" fare that an first-time (and uncreative) Dungeon Master might come up with. Every time the players tried to go off-script, the DM just laughed it off and kept the adventure going the way he had it planned out.

It has been a while since I've hosted any sort of RPG, but I like to think that I can do a better job than these yahoos (who, don't forget, get paid for this).

I’ve always been opposed to combat-heavy adventures, because the mechanics of dice-rolling and chart-referencing aren't nearly as interesting as thinking creatively and role-playing your character. Combat should add an element of danger and a sense of mortality to a game, but this only works when players are already attached to their characters. When your game consists solely of wading through room after room of basic "kill them until they are dead" encounters, you cheapen the tension that combat can introduce and take valuable time away from character development and player interaction.

So, it seems that I have some pretty strong opinions on running a D&D game. Why don't I run one, then? Well, the main reason is that trying to get any of our friends in one place on even a semi-regular basis is like herding squirrels. I’d love to host an old-school RPG group, but I just don’t think anyone else would be willing to commit to playing regularly.

Wizards of the Coast may have a solution to this problem in the near future. They’re working on the D&D Game Table software, which allows users to host their own D&D game, complete with maps, dice rolling, and real-time chat (both voice and text). The software doesn't do any of the game mechanics for you -- combat and skill checks are still up to the DM and players to work out -- but it provides tools for communication and visualization that you normally wouldn't have when trying to play an RPG online.

I'll definitely give this thing a shot when it's released. Of course, it'll never be a substitute for sitting around a table with a bunch of friends, dice, and empty pizza boxes.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

NO CARRIER Episode 6

I had hosting duties again on this week's podcast, entitled "Legends, Failures and Legendary Failures".

We've got a gaming-centric show this week, in which Alex and I talk about future classics Diablo 3, Spore, and a certain other game that might miss just short of the Gaming Hall of Fame. Also, we discuss some guy we've never heard of retiring from some obscure company.

You can check out the new episode at the NO CARRIER website.