A few things to mention

It has been quite some time since I last posted and this post will be a bit of a mixed bag.  I can tell by the piles of emails and comments that my throng of devoted readers has missed my postings but fear not, I will try to do a little more.

First off a quick D&D update.  Our heroes defeated the Sharn, snagged another one of the legendary weapons and headed back to the university.  Once there they got word that the Bard’s home town was under siege by the undead (yes, them again!) so they traveled to the Dalelands.  After training up some recruits, the town was again besieged by the walking aberrations.  The heroes classed in the streets and drove back the dark forces.  We leave them preparing retaliation.

I am taking a break from my D&D posts because our group is taking a break from my campaign.  One of the other fellows wants to try his hand at DMing and I really don’t mind just sitting back and playing for a while.  I may do something either here or on another site to review the goings on of his adventures.  I might do something interesting and write it like a journal of my character.  Anyway just some ideas.

Back to the real world.  I really haven’t done much new stuff in the way of cooking.  That is to say I haven’t done any of my own stuff.  I have been trying a few things but they have been from recipes so I don’t feel I can take any real credit for them.  I will, however, shout out to this recipe for butter chicken.

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Main/Chicken/recipe.html?dishid=8423

It was really neat to cook because the flavour really doesn’t come together until the end.  It turned out super tasty.

The other really quick recipe I want to share is something Tam has started drinking.  Just take a can of club soda and add a lemon wedge and a lime wedge.  It is very low calorie and extremely refreshing.  Also, if you add a shot of vodka it becomes a great little summer drink.  It is so much better for you then Sprite.

The last think I want to touch on is I am getting really into photography.  Tam got a Canon EOS Rebel T1i for Christmas.  I did most of the research on the camera before we got it so in my learning I got very interested in the whole process.  So I am starting this new hobby and I will be making posts about it.  You can catch some of my updates on Facebook and Twitter as well as my Flickr account.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimrod108/

I am really open to any feedback as I am really just starting out.  I hope to improve and slowly upgrade my gear.  I will also post stuff shot by Tam as she has a great eye for things.

Thanks again to my loyal readers.  I guess this is happy new year!

Cave-dive!

My apologies for not keeping my players up to date.  This should get us current.

Our heroes continues their trek to up the mountain.  After dispatching some bears they came to a door with a puzzling lock.  After some short deliberation they attempted to open it… and it swung open with ease.  They later determined that failure would have resulted in some form of pain.

They followed the mountain trail down through a lair of bats and after defeating a very nasty trap with whirling blades, they found a one legged kobold who wanted to aid the heroes in killing the tribe that disowned him.  The kobold lead the heroes to an ancient dwarven keep that had been taken over by the kobolds.  They fought their way through kobolds, rats, a game of skull-skull and drakes until they were able to climb a tall tower to discover the real threat.  They also lost a few members of the party.  When searching for a place to rest for the night Kava and Sarge fell and were swept away in an underground river.  Their whereabouts are unknown.  The part did meet some new friends.  They liberated a Halfling who was being roasted by the kobolds.  Moto has proven very good with a blade.  They also met a paladin named Vars who came to help the heroes after meeting up with the priest in Fallcrest.  Lastly the heroes were joined by a female half-orc ranger who had been stalking gnolls in the mountain hoping to collect on the bounty for their heads.  The new party is proving to be very effective.  The true leader of the kobolds was the grey dragon who had been harassing the quarry.  And she wasn’t alone!  The dragon and her young son blasted at the heroes but using divine intervention they were able to hold the dragon in place and lay the beat down on it.

Our heroes now continue to explore the passages of the Whitestone Mountains.  They are still looking for the gnoll encampment, the Halfling alchemist and the location of the evil monastery.

You may have noticed we have an extra person in our party.  Gary has been joining us on Skype.  It has been working out well.  He is playing the halfling.  The other party swapping came because we thought we were loosing our fighter and the party really needed a tank so our ranger became our tank (paladin) but then our original tank was able to work us back into his schedule…  so he became a ranger.  Very ironic but both players are enjoying their new roles.

Reflections

We last left our heroes in a dust covered study where they just crushed a mind-melting brain in a jar.  Kane noticed that the magical energies of the area shifted with the death of the brain.  Hesikiah started to sweat and giggle slightly.  The mirror with the trapped spirit inside commanded he smash it over the red hand on the floor.  With the death of the brain the spirit had no fear of being trapped once released.  As soon as the mirror was smashed the spell it had over Hesikiah was broken and the spirit rushed into the body of Princes Celeste.   She rose out from her grave under the red hand, thanked the heroes for keeping her safe and promised them a place of stature in her undead army.  She then rushed forward to help the heroes into the afterlife.  The heroes were very battle weary.  Kane carefully kept a safe distance while Sarge and Hesikiah kept her from the rest of the party.  Kava darted in and out managing to keep on his feet for the entire fight.  The princess used her horrific visage to cause fear in the hearts of the heroes but through sheer will they were able to stand their ground.  She blasted and blinded them with waves of necrotic energy.  Sarge was able to pin the princess.  Hesikiah finally put everything together and discovered that she was an agent of the sworn enemy of his god, Vecna!  He ran up to her, traced the symbol of Ioun on her chest and begged his god to remove this abomination from the world.  The Raven Queen was also eager to claim the soul who avoided the shadowfell for too long.  As the spirit of the princess left her body, the heroes saw a shadowy angel with wings of raven feathers grab the spirit and pull it into the next plane.

With the death of the princess they were able to study this dark library.  With the help of the local cleric they were able to determine that the princess has lured the brain (who was at one time an evil wizard) to her tower so she could steal his knowledge of dark rituals.  However, the brain was able to disrupt the princesses during one such ritual and trap her in the mirror.  Because she was so powerful she was able to have some of her undead minions move her to the safety of the upper levels.  Exhausted and completely drained both the brain and the mirror slept for hundreds of years.  They only recently awoke because the mage in the thieves’ guild stirred the dark energies of the area.  During their research they find mention of a dark monastery somewhere in the Whitestone Mountains.  They also find a crude map of path through the mountain.  No one in town seems to know about a monastery but they advise the heroes to travel to a dwarven marble quarry called Craigfoot Keep.  If anyone knows anything about monastery in the mountains the dwarves would.  After a few longs days of shopping the heroes make their way to Craigfoot Keep.

After a few days of hard travel the heroes reach the keep.  It is a simple yet strong stone keep with an active marble quarry behind it.  After meeting with a few of the keep’s residents the heroes had a vague idea of where to begin their search for the monastery.  They were also asked to take care of a gnoll problem, find a missing alchemist and take care of a dragon.  With their plates full the heroes’ set off looking for the mountain pass.

Not far from the keep the party encountered a Halfling and a Teifling who claimed they were attacked by bandits.  The bandits emerged from hiding a ways down the road.  As the party rushed forward to dispatch the bigands, the Tiefling and Halfling attacked their flanks.  Even with this disadvantage the heroes rallied and sent the thieves to the Shadowfell.

Traveling the mountains is always dangerous.  How will our heroes fair as they continue the journey.

The doctor will see you now

We last left our heroes batted and bruised after an encounter a large gelatinous cube.  The party decided to rest and heal before continuing on.  They heard some noises during the night but they were able to sleep un-interrupted.

Once they woke they made their way to the sealed door.  They combined the two halves of disk they found.  Once inserted into the door the disk acted like a key, letting them open the door.  The room behind was lit with an eerie light.  It appeared to be some kind of laboratory where strange medical experiments were performed.  The heroes were greeted by a par of forsaken shells.  These were the skins of unfortunate victims who were brought back to life by some evil necromancy.  They lunged at the heroes and their attacks drained the very life essence from the party.  Also in the room was an extremely vile creature.  It was a mass of discarded bones and organs which was brought back to life in the form of large beast.  It bit at the heroes with its massive jaws.  Hesikiah tried to turn back the abominations but his prayer went unanswered but luckily the horrors we not immune to blows from Kava and Sarge.  Hesikiah was able to keep the party on their feel with his healing prayers and did manage to some damage with his sacred flame.  Kane, in his usual fashion, blasted the enemies.  He was very effective using his signature Cloud of Daggers.

After destroying the horrors of the lab, the heroes opened a door at the far end of the room.  Behind the door was a library.  Here, another pack of undead dogs charged the party.  Kane also managed to spot a couple of ghouls waiting in ambush for the party.  There was also an odd jar sitting at the far end of room.  As Hesikiah and Kane dealt with the dogs and Sarge dealt with the ghouls, Kava took a pot shot at the Jar.  As he hit it, a voice screamed in the heads of the party.  The jar contained the brain of some powerful person.  It started to float around the room, blasting at the minds of the party.  It grabbed the mind of Sarge and turned him against his allies.  The louder the Jar screamed the louder the mirror yelled back.  The party was able to wrestle their minds from the jar.  Kava managed to get an arrow off and pin the brain to the bookshelf behind.

The party was victorious, or at least they think they are.  Kane noticed a major shift in the magicial fields in the room once the brain was dead and Hesikiah seems to be getting very antsy as he plays with the mirror he has carefully stuffed into his pants.

Ooze and claws and skin, oh my!

We pick up our story as our heroes continue to explore the tower in Fellcrest.  After defeating the undead hounds, our heroes go deeper under the tower.  The light from the rooms above fade as they dive deeper to discover the source of the tower’s undead.  They reach a room that has a raised platform that traveled over a shallow pool.  The pool got deeper as they went further into the room.  They didn’t get very far when the party was accosted by 3 sodden ghouls.  The ghouls slithered up to the party and slashed at them with their long claws.  As the party was beating back the ghouls, a specter appeared in their midst, chilling anyone near.  The party managed to beat back the ghouls but had to return outside to rest and recuperate.

After resting and returning to the dungeon the party made their way back through the water room.  They discovered an ornate fountain at the far end of the room.  Unfortunately Hesikiah was so enamored by its beauty he didn’t notice the weak spot in the walkway.  He plunged into the cold murky water and (due to his heavy armor) started to sink.  Quick thinking Kava tied a rope to one of his axes and sunk a line down to Hesikiah.  The party pulled him to safety.

The party entered a long hallway with three doors; the closest one to the left, another further down to the right and the third at the far end of the hall.  They decided to enter the door to the left first.  They found themselves in an undead aviary with rotting buzzard-like creatures, flying flaps of skin and even a swarm of zombiefied needle drakes.  The buzzards slashed at the heroes’ faces, blinding them.  The skin kites darted in and out, slashing the heroes with their claws and then wrapped themselves around the heroes’ faces, blinding and biting at them.  Kava, with blood stinging his eyes made heroic attacks, killing enemies while blind.  After finding half of a circular key, our battered heroes decided to lock themselves in the aviary to rest for the night.

During the evening a couple of hungry oozes lurked into the hallway and gave them rude awaking.  Kane was able to lock down an ooze while Kava and Sarge beat down on the other.  Even after the oozes split in two the party was still able to dispatch them fairly quickly.

The party then ventured into the room on the other side of the hall.  They discovered a room full of holding cells… and a very large gelatinous cube.  The cube instantly sucked in Kava and Sarge and started to digest them.  Hesikiah and Kane tried to save them but they were attacked by swarms of crawling claws.  Sarge and Kava tried to slice and beat the cube from the inside and were able to damage it but not able to subdue it.  Kava fell unconscious more then once and only recovered himself by sheer force of will.  Nearly dead, the wizard and cleric were able to overcome the claws, Sarge was able to wrestle him self free, and the party finally managed to bring down the cube and free Kava from the acid.  As they were licking their wounds, the party found a very nice robe for Kane.

This dungeon is proving a difficult challenge for our heroes but with the mirror still urging on, the heroes feel compelled to continue on.

Streams of glory

Last night marked the inaugural delve night featuring players at the table and players joining via the internet.  Personally I think it went quite well.  As stated in my previous post we used Skype for voice communication and ustream to broadcast the video.  The only real technical issue was that ustream has about a 3 second delay from live so when asking where a player wanted to move it sometimes took a little longer to figure out.  I don’t think it really took much away from the flow of the game but it is something to be aware of if you plan to do something like this.  The audio was crisp and clear over Skype.  Skype lets you connect up to 24 people in one conference which is more than enough for any reasonable D&D game.  All in all from a technical stand-point everything went very well.  The only other glitch had to do with spectators.  With using ustream it gave us the opportunity for anyone who wanted to watch to log in and observe.  The problem is when we turned on the audio we got feedback.  We didn’t have time to play around and try to correct it but in the future I hope to be able to do something so that others who just want to watch can check it out.

From a gaming perspective I would have to rate the whole thing as a 7 or 8.  The players did great.  We had a few first time players and they were great.  They picked it up very fast.  I added complexity by making them 10th level and they still rolled with it like pros.  Great job.  We did have one glitch were one of our players didn’t have a character rolled up.  There was a bit of a communication breakdown and we thought he had one but in the end we had to roll his character up while we were playing the first encounter.  Not a big deal but the party was down a player and there was a lot of non-game related chatter that had to go on.  The second thing that distracted was the fact we had two leaders and a paladin.  There was so much healing power I didn’t know what to do with it.  On top of that both paladins and clerics use radiant power.  They mowed through the undead a barbarian through kobolds.  The encounter ended up being a bit too easy.  The last problem was with the enemy from the second encounter.  It was a vampire with regeneration and some other skills for gaining hit points.  Unfortunately most of his powers required combat advantage (i.e. he needs an ally to flank his target) and the party killed off his allies quite quickly.  He also was very hard to hit but wasn’t great at hitting the players.  So basically they spent about half the encounter fighting one enemy and both sides were missing most of the time.  It wasn’t the best scenario.  Again this wasn’t my own encounter, it was one I used from the book.  I also like encounters that have interesting terrain and this one didn’t have very much.

So to sum up from a technically stand-point I would give it a 9.0 and from a game play stand point I would give it a 7.5 (which was no fault of the players.  They were great).  This is defiantly something I would like to do again.  If this is something you might be interested in trying out let me know.  I will put you on the list for the next one.

Here is a quick rundown of what the party did:

The party, which consisted of a Dragonborn paladin, an Elardrin Wizard, a Halfling Warlord, An Elf Cleric and a Teifling Warlock, were hired by a town to rid them of a local vampire lord.  They descended into the tomb of the lord and encountered a bunch of vampire worshiping cultist and their three stone snakes.  The cultist fell quickly under the power of the party but the snakes managed to poison and blind the party (particularly the Paladin).  Through sheer force they smashed the stone snakes and ran deeper into the tomb.

They then encountered a room of vampires and two huge zombie brutes.  Most of the vampires were young and weak but the party had to face the vampire lord Nexull.  The party thought they had dealt with the zombies but after falling over they managed to get back to their feet and keep on fighting.  Nexull danced around the party with his spiked chain and even charmed the Paladin to swing at his allies.  After using magic to slow him down and relentless attacks to drain his hit points, the party defeated the vampire lord.  Unfortunately there are more doors to this dungeon.  Perhaps one day the heroes may return to find out what lies beyond them.

Delve night v0.9 (beta)

So tonight I am mixing technology and roleplaying.  I am hosing a D&D session (like I do most Tuesdays) but today we are mixing in some folks from out of town via the internet.  I am using two technologies.  First I am broadcasting the game via ustream.tv.  This way the remote players can see the board.  We are then communicating over Skype (skype.com).  There will be three of us at the table, one guy in Calgary and another on Powel River.  There were supposed to be a few more from Nova Scotia but we lost contact with them.

The other interesting thing is that because I am using ustream, anyone can log in and watch!  Just go to http://www.ustream.tv and search for nimrod108.  There should only be one show going on.  There is one problem.  There may not be any audio via ustream as it caused feedback when using it with Skype.  I will work on the issue and try to resolve it.  Otherwise we can apparently have up to 24 people in one Skype channel so if you are interested in hearing what is going on then just send me an email or post a comment and I will try to accommodate.  I may have to kick people off if too many people means a significant drop in sound or video quality.

I will also post about how it went after the fact.  For those of you who like to know these things I will be running them through the 10th level delve from the Dungeon Delve book.  There are some first timers as well so it could be interesting.  Also note that because this is one shot delve you will not see any of the familiar characters that I normally post about. (Ok lets be real, no one could name a single one anyway.  But I still dream…).  The game should start around 18:00 Pacific Time.  Wish me luck!