Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Birdemic Vs.High Plains Invaders

This one is going to be D&D HEAVY, so if you aren’t into me blabbin’ on and on about the game I adore just skip it.

The 3rd D&D Group is set to meet on Thursday night barring ‘SNOWMAGGEDON(!)’ taking place. I haven’t been outside since early this morning so I have no idea if it is now sleeting, snowing, etc. Frankly I don’t care, if the weather is bad I’m just not going to ask folks to come over to brainstorm and we’ll just move it to a different night. That being said I am very excited about the prospect of this group and where it could go. The folks involved seem nice, excited to play, and engaged. While the prospect of running a 3rd D&D Group a month, and on a weeknight no less, seems daunting I am relatively confindent that it will simply be another outlet for the imaginary world floating around in my head, and honestly I need that.

The 2nd Group meets this Saturday and I have a chance to ramp up things as they creep closer to the demolished Library Of Erathis. They now know that the dragon Nightwing, not the former Robin, awaits them in the vaults below the ruin, and I think it has put a bit of the Fear Of The DM into them. Which is good, but at the same time I hope PC’s realize that I have no desire to kill them. In fact I go out of my way not to. If a PC dies it is the product of some REALLY poor decisions, I don’t make those decisions I am simply the dire consequences of them. I am going to give them some chances to make some BAD decisions on Saturday and see how things shake out. I think the 2nd Group is going to swim rather than sink though. So I’m going to have to be sneaky. I’m thinking terrain effects and possibly weather are going to play a LARGE part in how combat goes down. In addition, after catching the first part of one of the Jurassic Park movies last weekend I have a renewed sense of how I want my pack dinosaurs to act. While I don’t want my ‘animals’ to be too smart I also don’t want them to be cannon fodder. I also picked up some new flying dinosaur minis that are begging to be used. All this and cannibalistic Goblins, it should be a good time.

Meanwhile in the 1st Group after I finish with the current ‘Satellite’ arc Zack, of Antagonist Relations fame and ‘Mecky’ Storytelling Skald will put down his character sheet and scoot behind the DM screen to run for a bit. He has a story to tell, and has given me the opportunity to play in the 1st Group in his absence. I’m a tad skittish about playing because it has been so long, not to mention I’m turning over my campaign worlds to a mad man, A MAD MAN I TELL YOU! Actually, I’m very excited to see where Zack Attack takes things. He’s a creative fiend and we work very well together. I admire his insight into not only mechanics of a game, but into role playing as well. In fact I would dare to say the man is an inspiration. So when he asked me to come up with my character my brain went into high gear, big shock I know. What follows is what fell out of my brain. I will be playing Jericho Karris, the rest if we are honest was purely overkill.

Jericho Karris
Human Battle Cleric Of Pelor (M), Lawful Good, 40 years of age – The son of Edward ‘The Just’ Karris. Sir Edward was a Paladin of Pelor known in the Northern lands as a fair man bringing justice to wild lands. After being crippled in a battle with the Beholder heads of a thief’s guild he retired to raise his five sons and five daughters, with Jericho being the third born son. While his siblings seemed to excel in martial prowess Jericho struggled to find his place. With the help of his childhood friend Tursa he eventually he found it as an acolyte of Pelor. From there he began to ‘distribute the fair light of Pelor’ to the surrounding areas. He gained a reputation for being a pragmatic source of justice while sometimes chaffing against the hard line doctrine of some of his fellow followers. Upon Tursa’s leaving her family’s Holds Jericho and his Dwarven friend left the Borderlands and answered the call of Duke Roland Cath for military service in the Barony Wars. There he met Lark & Korren Of Darkwood when they served the Duke in ‘specialist services’. Towards the end of their three years in the Duke’s service the group met and saved the Shadar-Kai Bard Hendraghast Grohol. His inclusion into the group led to them leaving the service of the Duke and heading west to assist him in getting retribution for the death of his betrothed. During the next year the group was able to help Hendraghast find closure, added Nay ‘Nernore and Quintis to their group, and survived a sojourn into the Tower Of The Iron Mage. After a year in service to the ‘Kept Queen’ securing her boarders from the forces of Blake The Mad, the Iron Mage, & Golden Regents of the Jade Isles the party came back to the main continent with a new member in tow, Krislyassa Stormhand. The group returned North under Jericho’s direction back to help their old ally Duke Roland Cath as small skirmishes and the death of two of the five barons of the Borderlands threatened to start another Barony War. Within the year peace was once again established and Korren of Darkwood was on one of the vacant thrones as Baron Korren of the Bleak Hills. He then married Krislyassa Stormhand, whom he had fallen in love with, much to the chagrin of his sister Lark. Jericho performed the ceremony. That night in a drunken stupor Lark slept with Jericho. The next day he professed his love to her after six years of pining. She rebuked him saying that her ‘laying with him’ had been a ‘mistake’, and had shamed them both. The next day she and Hendraghast made short goodbyes and ventured south in search of fortune and glory. With those two gone Jericho threw himself into his studies, and barely noticed when Jean Pierre & Tursa left for the Jade Isles. Tursa left Jericho with a Dwarven Warhammer (named Olinarkion aka‘Leg Breaker’) of her lineage, saying that she would ‘return to claim it one day, so do not lose it manling…’ With his allies spread over the continent, and his heart still broken Jericho began researching the old legends of the Borderlands for his ‘Leige’, Baron Korren. He discovered the legend of Iskander and Bayard The Brave. Bayard had once tried to forge the Northlands into the Kingdom Of Drut, named after his father whom Iskander slayed. Bayard was thought to have slain Iskander at the Battle Of Five Hills, but the wizards body was never retrieved. Twelve days later Bayard finally succumbed to his wounds with only his younger brother, Godfrey to succeed him. Although woefully unprepared Godfrey took the remainder of his brother’s forces into Iskander’s undead domain, finally trapping them in Crypt Of Abhorrence, the remains of Iskander’s stronghold. In the subsequent battle Godfrey was also slain. In his absence and without a real successor to the potential Kingdom of Druth, Bayan’s dream died, and the Borderlands returned to the petty squabbling of its Barons. Upon finding this information Jericho was approached by Sumner Bayardson, a distant off shoot of Bayard the Brave’s line. Sumner explained to Jericho that he and his Grey Guards were convinced that Iskander ‘lived’, and convinced him to accompany his men on an expedition to the Crypt Of Abhorrence in the hopes of retrieving both Bayard & Godfrey’s swords, armor, and the Rod of Kings to galvanize the local Barons, forge an army, and then find and eradicate Iskander once and for all. With four of allies gone, two more dealing with court intrigue, and both Nay ‘Nernore & Quintis far more interested in intellectual pursuits Jericho agreed. Jericho is a pragmatic and friendly man of a calm demeanor. He is quick to make friends and allies. He is deeply devoted to Pelor and the ideals of bringing enlightenment, justice, and peace to his adopted homelands. He is also fiercely heartbroken over Lark leaving.

Jean Pierre de Lazare
Human Monk (M), Neutral, 25 years of age – Met Jericho after de Lazare knocked out a Priest of Karris’ order that harassed him over the ‘honor’ of a local woman. The two travelled together for 7 years from the Toland Swamp, to the Tower Of The Iron Mage, all the way to the lands of the Kept Queen. Jean Pierre and Karris parted as friends when the Monk and the dwarf Tursa left for the Jade Isles where de Lazare desired to take part in a tournament of warriors. Jean Pierre is impetuous, flirtatious, and driven to be the best fighter in the Known World. He is not above cheating to win at anything, from fighting, to cards, to women.

Dwarven Slayer (F), Good, 114 years of age – Tursa knew Jericho’s father Edward through her mother who was an adventuring companion of his. She befriended Jericho in his childhood and was instrumental in his choice to become a Cleric. She left the confines of her Mother’s holdings due to conflict over a pre-arranged marriage. Finding herself homeless and outcast she turned to her ‘young, impetuous’ friend for direction. From there they began their travels and adventures together eventually fighting in the Barony Wars. She is Jericho’s most staunch ally, but when the companions parted ways she left with Jean Pierre to go ‘find adventure’. Tursa is stubborn, jovial, has a mean streak a mile wide, and is as unpredictable as the weather. She would rather smash than talk, drink than eat, and prefers to bed someone rather than have a ‘relationship’. She abhors weakness in herself, but coddles those she is close to. She is strongly loyal to Jean Pierre, Jericho, & Quintis, but would just assume break Lark’s nose than talk to her.

Lark of Darkwood
Elf Warlord (F), Neutral, 120 years of age – Half-sister of Korren. Lark and Jericho were enlisted together in the service of Duke Roland Cath in the Barony Wars. After the conclusion of this three year conflict both found the area no longer to their liking and struck south to find their fortune. After their many travels Lark noticed she was losing her ‘grip’ on her half-brother Korren to whom she saw as a rival Krislyassa. She was devastated when they married. She sought solace in the one member of her group who was always there for her, Jericho. In the process she came to realize his feelings for her and the possibilities there in. She saw exile as the more preferred life to hurting him further. After drowning her decision in strong spirits she convinced Hendraghast to take her South to find her fate. He agreed with great regret. The last four years have brought a dark change to Lark’s personality as she has lost her ‘family’ in many way, seen the depraved works of the ‘lesser races’, and been forced to confront her own bigotry. She has found herself going down a path that she is not sure how to change. It has been 30 years since she spent any considerable amount of time among the Elves of Darkwood, and although she keeps saying she will return her actions say otherwise.

Korren of Darkwood
Half-Elf Barbarian (M), Good, 33 years of age – Half-brother of Lark, husband of Krislyassa, and Baron Of The Bleak Hills. Korren spent the vast majority of his life either beneath the wing of his half-sister, under her tutelage, or beneath her prying eyes. He followed her into the service of Duke Roland during the Barony Wars, and her subsequent adventures with Jericho and his friends. He was always a part and yet apart. His intense rages give pause even to his allies, while his more intellectual pursuits and softer side seemed off putting in juxtaposition. This changed when the companions fell into the service of ‘The Kept Queen’. He immediately found the wizard Krislyassa fetching, but also a strong intellectual and physical counterpart. His selfless act of sacrifice to save her was to be the moment in his mind that skalds like Hendraghast would sing about for ages, and the moment he finally would emerge from his sister’s shadow. When he was raised ten days later he found that he did not want to live. Only the sage counseling of Jericho and the friendship of Krislyassa convinced him to take up his ‘old life’ again. When the party left ‘The Kept Queen’s’ kingdom Korren was elated Krislyassa came with them and a relationship began to form. After almost freezing to death in the battle with the White Wyrm, Förfrysning, Korren finally found words for his feelings and professed his love, in response Krislyassa spilled her secrets to him. Where he thought he would feel rage at this ‘betrayal’ he found nothing but serenity in finding another ‘a part but apart’. At the conclusion of the Barony Skirmishes Korren prevented Krislyassa from leaving by proposing. Due to his valor, battle prowess, and charisma Korren was given one of the vacated Baronies to rule. He has found the throne to be a tedious challenge, but one he endures for the happiness of his wife. Korren is horribly aware that any of his female offspring will be forfeit to ‘The Kept Queen’ due to his wife’s oath, so he has secretly employed Quintis to look for arcane means of preventing this.

Hendraghast Grohol
Shadar-Kai Bard (M), Neutral, 28 years of age – The last scion of his house Hendraghast came into his friendship with the party after they saved him from sacrifice by a cult of Orcus, run by remnants of the forces of the long dead necromancer Iskander. His inclusion into the party drove a wedge between the group and Duke Roland who had slain many a Shadar-Kai who had found service under Iskander. Upon their travels though Hendraghast turned out to be a staunch ally and friend to the party, serving as the voice of reason when in-fighting would occur, the ear that would be bent when advice was needed, the sly smile that would bring a knowing laugh to his friends, and the powerful voice that would tell the tales of their deeds and exploits. A remarkably simple man, Hendraghast cares little for earthly goods or wealth instead finding wealth in the accumulation of songs, tales, and alliances. He is also a worshipper of the Raven Queen and his philosophical debates with Jericho regarding their deities brought them both great insight and joy. When seeing the de-compensation of his ally Lark after the marriage of her brother Hendraghast thought it better to stay with her rather than leave her to her own devices. He hopes to find a great tale in her journey, or at least a fitting funeral dirge for her death.

Nay 'Nernore
Githzerai Battle Mind (F), Lawful Good, 32 years of age – Nay ‘Nernore had always travelled alone. That was what made her an easy target for the Shadar-Kai hunters who took her. Even her vaunted mind was not enough to stop the cultists of Orcus who wished to add her sacrifice to their profane rites. She was saved by the party when they successfully destroyed the enclave and cleared the taint from Hendraghast’s line. After her ordeal she decided to stay with the party finding them ‘intriguing’. Nay has found the dynamic of the group to be the perfect challenge to instill order upon chaos, which is why she has remained. After the marriage of Krislyassa & Korren she took up teaching to young ‘gifted’ individuals in Korren’s barony, hoping to find a suitable pupil to mentor. She also enjoys her time with Jericho, but more importantly the enigmatic Quintis. She finds great joy and frustration in their time together, but she is determined to stay patient until she gets what she wants, order to his chaos.

Half-Elf Sorcerer (M), Good, 31 years of age – The pragmatic and driven Mage had never had much cause for adventure. That’s why it was little shock to anyone in his village when he was the victim of the Cult Of Orcus. Far more interested in opening tomes than tombs and in knowledge than power he was to be an ‘easy’ sacrifice. In captivity he met the intriguing Nay ‘Nernore and lamented the fact that they would both perish before he learned the mysteries of her ‘magic’. When Jericho and his allies stormed the dilapidated and profaned Church Of Pelor slaying cultists Quintis saw his opportunity. Using the fact that his captors had mistaken him for a Mage rather than one with the blood of Dragons in his veins he erupted with the power of Chaos freeing both himself and Nay. They made their way to the black alter in time to help Jericho and his allies stop the Shadar-Kai Deathpriest from summoning an Aspect Of Orcus. Seeing strength in numbers as well as an opportunity to further study things unknown & Nay ‘Nernore, Quintis stayed with the group. Upon Korren gaining his Barony Quintis used his wealth accumulated from his short time adventuring to begin constructing a library, a place where he could study at his whim. In addition a place that kept him relatively close to his ever intriguing Githzerai friend.

Krislyassa Stormhand
Human Wizard (F), Neutral, 35 years of age – The wife of Korren, and Baroness of the Bleak Hills in the borderlands. Krsilyassa was the final companion to join the company. She did so when the company served her mistress, ‘The Kept Queen’ in the War Of Mists. Loyal to a fault to her Queen she originally was placed in the midst of the companions to keep an eye on them to ensure their fealty to her cause. She found the group to be steadfast, honorable, and fast friends. Although she lamented that her duty precluded any real attachment she remained diligent in her duty to observe. At the Battle Of Smiling Peaks Krislyassa found herself exhausted and confronted by the Quan Ti, the Ogre Magi battle leader for the forces of Golden Regents of the Jade Isles only to have the blow meant to be her end taken by Korren Of Darkwood. His sacrifice gave Krislyassa time to regroup and hold off Quan Ti long enough for Jericho and his allies to arrive. After their costly victory at the Battle of Smiling Peaks Krislyassa petitioned her Queen for the resurrection of Korren. She acquiesced, but at a price. Krislyassa would leave the lands of ‘The Kept Queen’ as her eyes in the world and would send her daughters to her homeland to serve her Queen once they reached maturity. Though the cost was steep Krislyassa agreed feeling honor bound to repay her life debt to her ally. Two months afterwards the War Of Mists came to a conclusion and the companions found the cost of serving ‘The Kept Queen’ too high for their liking and left her kingdom, Krislyassa accompanied them under the pretense of her secret duty, but in reality she had begun a burgeoning relationship with Korren, much to the chagrin of his sister. During the group’s attempt to stop a 2nd Barony War upon their return north Korren & Krislyassa were both grievously injured in a battle with the White Dragon Förfrysning. Realizing that her relationship was based upon a lie Krislyassa confided in Korren everything. As luck would have it the two did not freeze to death, thinking that Korren’s attitude towards her would change Krislyassa prepped to slink off into the night and out of the lives of the companions. She was discovered by Korren who simply proposed marriage. Jericho officiated after the end of the Barony Skirmishes, and Korren was made Baron of the Bleak Hills. She has found that royalty suits her as does her desire to help shape the land under her husband’s dominion into a true place of enlightenment. Her first step in doing so was allying with Quintis & Nay in establishing both the Library and Nay’s school. While her husband rules in name and by sword few doubt that Krislyassa’s shrewd mind is the true power behind his throne. She is loyal to her Queen and now to her husband, a fact that may at some point cause conflict as the subject of children becomes more frequent. Krislyassa is a driven person with a malleability of personality to fit any situation. She puts a premium on intelligence and has little tolerance for ignorance.

SEE?! I went a bit wild there. That’s fine. D&D does that to me, it makes me want to tell big intermingled stories, it inspires me to share my imagination, and it fires me up to create with other people. I would be a far worse person if not for D&D and the people I’ve met through it. Enough gushing, the thing I’d like to point out here is I needed no mechanics for this. In fact the reality is I wanted to play Jean Pierre originally sort of a mix of Batroc The Leaper and Bruce Lee, but it didn't fit the tone of what Zack wanted to do so I built on a supporting character who became the primary character.  From there it just formed itself by branching out of my character's life, and seeing that he’ll be 11th or 12th level and in his 40’s I figured dude had lived a bit. So I spider-webbed out some tangential or supporting characters, thought about the blank places on my world’s map, and went to town. If you are reading this and happen to be in the 2nd or 3rd Group and want to build more about your character that is my advice. Tell your characters life before the DM & Party met her or him. Who were they? Who were their friends? Who were their enemies? Where did they go? What did they see? Why did they become who they now are? I like the ‘Method Of 3s’, meaning that for every question I try to give three answers. Sometimes all three work and sometimes I only get a snippet of one thing, but generally I can build off that. Playing and Role Playing are FAR more enjoyable, and honestly easier, if you ‘Know’ who your character is.

Building the ‘Who’ of a character during play is really difficult, because basically they are subject to the players whims. If you are having a shitty day then your character goes from being a noble Paladin to a snippy, angry, and imperious clod. It takes away from consistency and the logic of the character. As strange as it seems to write and think that about a fantasy world, it is true. There must be logic and ‘rules’ to a setting and therefor to a character and how he or she operates, just like the world and everything in it must turn while they are not directly involved in it. This is the beauty of 3 campaigns operating simultaneously within one world. If large events happen in one of the three it will affect the others. The first group has been through The Teeth Of Grummsh Mountains, to the Abode Of Order, and have based themselves out of Shadowspire all of these are in the Northeast of the continent. They know of Toland’s Swamp and the ‘Chosen’ who live there, of the Iron Mage and his Iron Tower, and of the Jade Isles over the Mountains it doesn’t meant they will ever go there. Just as the second group operates off the southern tip of the continent in ‘The Maw’ and the Isles Of Carslyle. They are trying to reach the Library Of Erathis, but they also are well aware of The Horned Isles as well as Kaizoku-ō’s Follies. These are two more places they may visit at some point, but if not they will still be there. This brings me back to the 3rd Group, I learned a valuable lesson from my D&D ‘Man Crush’ Zack when we started the 2nd Group; Invite and Allow the Players to not just shape themselves but the world around them.

So I am again laying my Known World on the table before us on Thursday night, weather permitting, with new folks and hoping to have them help me fill in the people, places, and tales that have happened, continue to happen, and will yet occur on the blank places of that canvas of our collective imagination. I just hope that I can make it as fun for them as it has been for me.

Let’s see I just gushed my ‘love’ all over Zack, blabbered on about D&D for a SUPER long time, what have I forgotten? Oh yes, Skulls & Shackles Pathfinder previews!
First up this week was the Great White Shark! There has been a drastic lack of aquatic life represented in the world of pre-painted miniatures up until recently. This eating machine will fit perfectly into the 2nd Group’s more sea faring adventures. I also happen to really like the miniature. It isn’t overly stylized, it looks threatening with its maw agape, and I like the fact its ‘elevated’. That will be the real trick of underwater combat, the element of things in space. The paint job is good, and I do feel it is shaded very well. Overall this is a MUST BUY for me.

Next up is our Wereshark Pirate. That’s right I just typed ‘Wereshark Pirate’ if you can’t feel how giddy I am through the Internet(s) then I feel sorry for you. It is such a kooky idea, but it’s handled so well. From the ripped clothes to the slightly odd axe, to tooth necklace it all WORKS together. I believe these guys are Commons so I’ll need a handful of them to work one of my Pirates' ships. Imagine the PC’s surprise when the gangly, poorly armed deckhands start transforming into these beasts! My only complaint is that I wish the sculpt was a bit less static, but I think that might be difficult with the way the tail and the head fit on a bi-pedal humanoid form. I do dig the paint job as it is very utilitarian and fits the theme well. This is a MUST BUY for me.
Last, but not least is Riptooth, our Large Rare Wereshark Captain. So if the Medium sized Weresharks weren’t cool enough we get this massive monstrosity to lead them into frenzy. I know I stated it before, but it’s worth noting again, the pose is static, and could do with some type of motion. I like the additions to the paint job as they make this miniature feel more important than its underlings. Also you get a cool looking half chest plate and a nasty looking bone or tooth sword. While I’m not blown away sculpt wise there just isn’t enough cool miniatures in this vein out there, so I find myself again saying it’s a MUST BUY.

I think I’ve thrown up enough of my Nerdery all over you Internet(s) let’s wrap this up with some…


- I was going to talk about how my Review at the place that pays me went today, but it was SO weird I don’t even really know how to describe it.

- There are miniatures to wash at home right now. With the weather getting ‘nice’ it’s almost time to start priming stuff to paint and DIPing stuff that’s done. With the Reaper Bones stuff on the horizon I really can’t wait to get back to painting. Luckily we have a Painting & CHIKARA Night set up for the end of the month.

- My copy of Lords Of Waterdeep came in the mail yesterday I’m really intrigued to play it. Now I just have wrangle together some folks.

- Oh yeah we are in the final week of the Dungeon Crawl Miniature Kickstarter, GO GIVE THEM YOUR DAMN MONEY!

- The E-bay sales continue to go briskly. I’m learning a lot about how to go about selling my lots as I go. I think the next time I decide to sell something like this I’ll go about it like we have this second wave. Cutting things into small lots seems to bring far more potential buyers to the table.

- I’d punch a baby for some friend chicken.

I think that’s all I got today.

“I was born into a scene of angriness and greed, and dominance and persecution.
My mother was a queen, my dad I've never seen, I was never meant to be.
And now I spend my time looking all around,
For a man that's nowhere to be found.
Until I find him I'm never gonna stop searching,
I'm gonna find my man, gonna travel around.

'Cos I'm a wrathchild, well I'm a wrathchild.
Yeah I'm a wrathchild. I'm coming to get you, oooh yeah.

Say it doesn't matter ain't nothin' gonna alter the course of my destination.
I know I've got to find some serious piece of mind, or I know I'll go crazy.
But now I spend my time looking all around,
For a man thats nowhere to be found.
Until I find him I'm never gonna stop searching,
I'm gonna find my man, gonna travel around.”

    * = I wish this was true...

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