Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guachimines "Guacamole" Left Hand of the Keeper and the Jump to the Future

The players in my 4e game surprised me last session by deciding to track a fleeing vampire into the jungle rather than deal with any number of what I had figured would be seen as more pressing matters.  They had ended the previous session at one of those crossroads moments when they had just wrapped up one little mission and had a wide open decision about what to do next.  I try not to over prepare as a DM in these situations because you never know what the party is going to do, but I figured they were most likely to either cash in on the offer to be introduced to Ruskus and his band of River Dragons that was made by the defeated slaver a few sessions ago (and learn more about another aspect of the fractured river deity), visit their connections in the city of Siss-Anor (to learn more about the activities of the snake men) or investigate the ruined dungeons left behind when Manu Jibleetu blasted off into space in his twisted tower.

So of course they decide to chase after a vampire that they didn't even know about until two sessions ago and who has really never done anything to the party, or even done anything to make himself a logical target.  He just existed, and he was a vampire, and he ran away, and apparently that was enough to make the party chase him.  His name is Guachimines and his title is Left Hand of the Keeper, but the party has been calling him "Guacamole" and I even found myself calling him Guacamole a few times last session when I wasn't being careful.  Guachimines was created by Trumak, the Keeper of the Chamber, who was defeated by the party two sessions ago and his consciousness trapped in a blood gem.

The party knew Guachimines was originally from the head-hunting tribes that lived in the foothills of one of the Zamonas' major tributary rivers, and figured he might be heading back to his old homeland.  At first they were just going to fly the hovercraft over to the hills and find his home village and poke around there before he showed up, but eventually they figured out that they could track him directly through his connection to his master Trumak, even though Trumak was mostly destroyed and what remained was bound inside the gem.

The party eventually caught up to Guachimines and his group (Guachimines had several vampire thralls and 18 abducted river worshipers with him that he had transformed into a flock of bats and flown off with) about 50 miles from the confluence and discovered that they had arrived about a half hour too late to keep Guachimines from jumping into the future.  An uneasy standoff with the vampire thralls ended surprisingly with a decision to parlay with Ibi Shadowhands, the leader of the thralls.  Most of the vampire thralls had one arm that ended in a large metal flamethrower, but both of Ibi's arms ended in shadow appendages intended to make him a more formidable ritual caster.  When Guachimines jumped into the future the vampire thralls suddenly found themselves free willed and masterless for the first time.  Ibi turned out to be a somewhat sympathetic character and the party, after much debating, decided to spare the lives of the thralls and task them with rebuilding the Badi-Badi temple that the party had just destroyed, minus the complex shadow circuitry.  This pleased the thralls, who had been members of the temple in life and then had spent thousands of years of undeath assisting in the rites of the chamber.  I think this also helped appease Tilia a little bit about the decision to spare their lives, because Tilia had been upset that the rest of the party destroyed the temple while she was lucid dreaming on the shadow table trying to figure out more about the temple's past and purposes.

After investigating the bloody ritual sacrifice of the 18 worshipers and the intricate pattern of entrails left behind by the time jumping vampire, Beautiful Bob called on the restless spirits of the recently slaughtered to help the party follow the vampire into the future.  He succeeded wildly and the session ended a little early with me saying that I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared for the awesome encounter that was sure to follow.

You see, even though the party was almost an hour behind Guachimines when they too jumped into the future, they are going to arrive at the exact same instant of time as Guachimines does... and he will have no idea they are coming.  Guachimines will have the advantage of terrain, having jumped into his secret future lair, but the party will have the element of surprise.

This is going to be fun.

There was some amusing back and forth before the jump as the party instructed Curious George (their sentient magical hovercraft) to "meet them in the future" but not tell them about anything their past selves said after they came back from the future.  That way, they told me, Curious George wouldn't influence the events in the future present and they could come back to the proper past.

Ah, I love time travel.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Five Minute Friday Map

This is my first Five Minute Friday Map, inspired by this meme on Google+.

It is a cross section of a spherical mini-dungeon.  The PCs start in the center, teleporting or gating or dimensional shifting or somesuch to arrive there in the first place.  There is a large window that looks out over a gap to a much larger window opening into a lush garden chamber lit from above.  The light that comes out the window of the garden room is the only illumination inside the structure, providing indirect lighting all around the central opening.  The only door out of the start room opens onto a log bridge over a gap.  A demon beast of some variety is lurking below out of sight.  Roll 1d6 1: Giant Demon Porcupine 2: Two Headed Demon Wolf with Human Hands 3: Demon Bear 4: Giant Demon Spider 5: Giant Demon Toad with Toothed Tongue 6: Demon Minotaur with Battle Axe from Hell

The light source is a miniature sun that hangs in the air in the middle of the room above the Garden Room.  It does not produce heat but inflicts 2d6 damage per round to anything inserted into it, melting metal in 2d6 rounds.  

All of the plants, bushes and trees in the Garden are contained in large ceramic pots glazed with magical symbols.  They are a rare mixture of medicinal and poisonous herbs, trees bearing magical fruit and bushes with shadow berries useful for summoning dark creatures.  Both the pots and the plants radiate magic.

Defeating the Demon Beast causes a portal to open up in the Start chamber that leads back to wherever the PCs came from.  This portal will remain open for 2d20+4 rounds.  It will begin flickering with blue light when 5 rounds remain.

The chambers directly above the start chamber are a wizard's comfortably furnished living room appointed with indestructible lounge couches and low tables (lower chamber with two doors and a ladder to a trapdoor above)

and a wizard's mostly looted and totally ransacked laboratory/library with a secret door to the wizard's back door, a teleportation chamber.

The secret chamber below the demon beast contains the magical machinery that generates the light source, controls the humidity of the garden chamber and links with the magical pots to keep the plants in perfect health, and summons a new beast automatically 1d4 days after the death of the last

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dwimmermount Doesn't Suck

Dwimmermount doesn't suck from my perspective as a player.  I played in a play by post Dwimmermount game run by James M. a while back at http://odd74.proboards.com.   I responded to an open invite James made on his blog.  This was before Google+ existed in all its free multi-person video chat glory.

I played Kersa Duer, female goblin thief and shit stirrer (we were Group 2 if you actually check out the posts on the odd74.proboards).  I had a lot of fun and I think the group as a whole was having fun before James completely dissapeared without even a goodbye post.  Just like Joe the Lawyer  et al we were exploring the 1st level of Dwimmermount coming in the main entrance.  We found a secret door and an alchemist's workship and before that we tangled with metal infused skeletons that were guarding a door, and we found a metal disk that was a key in the secret room, and it fit in the door...

Level 8 Warlock
member is offline


Whipping Boy


Joined: Dec 2007
Gender: Male 
Posts: 812
Location: The Echo Chamber
Karma: 25
 Re: [GROUP 2] Beyond the Door
« Reply #78 on Sept 29, 2009, 10:29am »

Sept 28, 2009, 12:00pmcarlnash wrote:
"Pull boys! Pull! Lets see them ignore this!"

Whether for good or ill, the lead skeletal warrior springs to life as the noose lands around his neck and you pull on it. His companions then do the same, all twelve of them rushing forward in battle formation, clanking of they go.

Clanking -- that's the odd thing about the skeletons before you: they make too much noise for the armor they are wearing, especially as their feet are not shod with sabatons. Looking more carefully at the skeleton you have ensnared and pulled closer into the light of your torches and lanterns, you see that its bones are shot through with a silvery-black metal -- metal you assume it to be, because it reflects the light. All the skeletons have the same appearance to them, with veins of this strange metallic substance covering their bones and, judging from the clamor they make as they advance, weighing them down somewhat.
Link to Post - Back to Top  IP:  Logged

James Maliszewski,
Writer and Sleep-Deprived Dad

The Purpose of D&D

I really enjoy reading the Tao of D&D blog.  I fully recognize that Alexis comes across as an asshole and may in fact be exactly that, although I would certainly not presume to judge a man's character by the content he posts on a blog.  I enjoy the blog because it makes me think; I enjoy thinking.  The vast majority of the posts on D&D blogs that I read do not make me think.  It is an almost vanishingly small minority of Alexis' posts that do not make me think.  I could care less if the man is an asshole - mine is a utilitarian liking, a purely selfish acknowledgement of the pleasure it gives me to read someone's point of view which is simultaneously utterly alien to me, very intelligent, and quite thought provoking.

Today Alexis tossed out a line while responding to a comment on his blog that I think is worthy of taking out of context and presenting here on my blog for my own readers, many of whom might not have the required temperament to navigate the treacherous shoals of Alexis' blog.  Alexis succinctly states the Purpose of D&D, and I think he nailed it:

"My perception of the purpose of D&D is that is should be so interesting you perceive it as one of the three fundamental activities of your life. "

How frickin' awesome is that?  Say what you will about the man, that is a powerful summation of what keeps people addicted to this hobby.  It made me think, as usual, and while eating and fucking would definitely top D&D for me, right after those two D&D joins making music as one of the most fundamental activities of my life.  I am constantly whistling or singing, melodies erupting unprompted from unknown quarters, and likewise I am constantly viewing the world with the eyes of a DM, appropriating cool bits of real life, imagining cool bits of unreal life, rehashing the events of the last game, imagining the actions of all the NPC players in the game, frantically scribbling down the places and people and events that burst forth unbeckoned from the burbling morass of my subconscious brain.  Despite working full time and having a wife who demands and deserves attention and time and an under-the-table second job, I consistently make time in my life for D&D. I make a lot of time for it.  It is clearly one of the fundamental activities of my life.  And I think that is awesome, and I thank Alexis for making me realize it more clearly.

Thanks Alexis!

DM's Trick: Name Lists

Name Lists

Name lists always turn out to be one of the most useful things I can do for a campaign in play.  For every language group in my campaign world I have a list of names, at least a full page in 12 point font, of male and female names.  I use common names in different real word languages; I prefer lists that have a quick description of name meaning when I compile these "DM's Cheat Sheats".  A little bit of time spent Googling and Copy Pasting into notepad and printing out a few pages of names for all the language groups in the campaign is incredibly useful at the table.

No matter what the situation, when your players run into an NPC, you can pull a name out that not only is consistent with the background of the NPC but also suggests a personality trait.  I just circle the name on the sheet and draw a line to the margins and note what the encounter is.  Once a campaign has been going for a while, just referring to the sheets for each different language group is a succinct reminder of every randomly encountered NPC in play.

This trick is one of those DM's sleight-of-hands that makes it seem like you are never unprepared.  Of course you had some planned out material if you could rattle off the names of the seven sleeping liches and what their demi-Godhood was focused on...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tour of the Universe - Pan-Galactic Luxury Liner "Starfriend"

I really like this cutaway view of the pan-galactic gargleblaster, er, the pan-galactic "Starfriend" luxury liner.  Like many of the awesome illustrations in "Tour of the Universe", it is a two-page spread which sucks for scanning but it does make for an impressive experience leafing through the book (which is printed on a ridiculously heavy stock of paper).  The tickets and clearances needed to board the starliner are also presented, wonderfully anachronistic forms that appear to be filled out in the future by hand or typewriter.  If you were running any kind of game set in the future, there would be a lot of very useful handouts in this book.

Most of the keyed locations on the map are self-explanatory, but I am very curious about the "witchhold" located to the aft below the main thrusters.  I have not read the book word for word despite looking at every page for a while, so I could have missed something about the witchhold.
Our couple of inter-galactic tourists visit Orionis Delta III, or Behemoth's World, home to the universe's largest life forms.  Dig the scale on this pic - that is a spacecraft of some sort cruising by in the foreground, dwarfed by the behemoth it is flying past.  The behemoths strain "flying plankton" out of the atmosphere with their massive heads, which float along with the help of a series of helium sacks in the head and neck.  Another great picture shows the tour ship flying out the mouth of a behemoth skull and kneck preserved in upright position for tourism (steel trusses just barely visible in the skeletal remnants - I should probably scan that picture in too if I get a chance).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tour of the Universe - Tombworld

A friend of mine just lent me a book called "Tour of the Universe" by Robert Holdstock and Malcolm Edwards.  It is presented as the scrapbook of a lucky human couple in the future who win a lottery and receive tickets to a tour of the universe.  The book is lavishly illustrated and includes ticket stubs, hotel brochures, starliner publications and all the ephemera collected on your average tour of the universe.

I intend to scan in several of the illustrations, but let me start off with a cross-sectional map of one small part of Tombworld, a tourist destination planet that was used for millions of years in the past by spacefaring species from many different planets to inter the remains of powerful individuals.  The surface of the planet is hidden beneath kilometers of ruins, but recent award winning work by a corporation holding tourism rights showed that sunshafts designed to bring sunlight down onto the masks of the sleeping kings from the earliest levels were incorporated into the designs of later tomb builders and provide uninterrupted vertical access; hundreds of sunshafts have been identified granting access to all layers of the mausoleums.

I am totally stealing this map:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...