Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Manhattan Project Vs. The Patient Gardener

* = I just want to eat Bacon.

The weekend simply wasn’t long enough. I needed a bit more time to shake this damnable cold that has set in, to wrap my head totally around the repercussions of last week’s events, and to recover from weekend itself. I needed more time, but there is never enough time. And we certainly can’t expect to get what we want. Instead I’m on the cusp of another week, albeit a short one, and I am already fried.

That of course could be the copious amounts of cold medicine flowing in my veins. I think it is simply a side effect of not sleeping well this weekend due to congestions and cough. I read back what I’ve just stumbled through and realize it all sounds so negative. It shouldn’t I had a wonderful weekend. In fact all things considered I had an amazing weekend. It started with a really low key Friday night fire. Cassandra, Lady Christy, Mick, Zack Attack, and I simply spent sometimes around a roaring flame hearing tales of ‘Mecky’, laughing, and enjoying the cool night air. I for one could have actually just blissfully fallen asleep beside the fire with that cool, wet air caressing my sore throat.

I didn’t though, instead I had a fitful night of sleep in my own bed and was up early to try and get all my D&D prep done. I actually did have it done this time, which is shocking I know. To me there was a lot riding on this session. The last 2nd Group session had gone SO badly I felt I might be losing Zack & Bob’s interest, and possibly their faith in my ability to run the game in a fashion they enjoyed. Couple that with the fact we were coming to the end of this part of our story and it is the lead in to Zack taking over the DM chair for a few sessions and I had lot to live up to.

Suffice to say I think I killed it. Seriously. Rarely ever am I happy with how a session goes, in fact at best I feel most sessions are acceptable. I feel like I can continuously get better at running the game, being a better manager of material and continuity, and get better at sharing the story telling experience. Saturday night was the culmination of the ‘Satellite’ chapter of the story. I had initial plans to pull it out to another session, had five more encounters planned, and a lot of potential side missions or snippets to lie in.

However, 24 hours before the game I had a sort of fever dream of I thought the game would play out, how I wanted to see it play out. I realized that I needed to edit down what I had, to refine some of the points, to still give the PC’s a chance to see some of the nastiness there, but also to just get on to the ‘good stuff’. Here’s my write up, be kind as I’m in a bit of a cough medicine haze.

So the session picked up with Pavel, the psychic spirit of the damaged mage now residing in his the body of his faithful hound, petitioning Max, Bob’s character, for help in escaping. I was pleasantly surprised to find Bob’s tactics with Pavel to not be heavy handed, but instead rather forthright and even slightly sly. At the same time Zack put some brakes on his character, Uwain’s, march into the cave tunnels without the rest of the party. I tried to relay that while the Mind Flayers had been in the satellite for hundreds of years they still hadn’t unlocked any of its secrets, they were dwellers there not its master. Also once the PC’s started bringing up Syd I wanted to make sure that they understood that his yearlong presence had drastically affected the satellite and contributed to their ability to move throughout its confines without greater resistance.

I’m not sure I pulled that off with the abbreviated version. Instead I laid out a massive cave encounter where the idea was a rush with non-combatants through overwhelming numbers of Drow Chattel & Thralls, a weak Illithid, another huge Umber Hulk, some Iron Defenders, a handful of Warforged Warriors, and an Illithid mastermind to get to the teleporter pad. I was pretty sure that the Group was going to be ‘smart’ and just rush through. What I didn’t count on was the PC’s being SMART and just crushing me. I’ve been around a lot of tables where the dynamic hits that point and a party becomes a Group, but I’ve never seen it play out quite the way it did Saturday night. It was like they all of a sudden just decided that they were done F’ing around and curb stomped me.

And it was beautiful. It was seriously one of the best moments in some time to see the Group work in such perfect harmony and so efficiently. By the end they had not just routed my forces they had utterly and completely annihilated them. It was a long combat, but satisfying as the players where having a blast while it was going on. I was going to bring more troops into the fight when it turned, but instead just let them bask in it, they more than deserved it.

This led them to the Vault area that they had been seeking. I was going put some traps there and some Shardsoul Servitors, but I decided that it was better if they just explored this abandoned area and soaked in what it was. Upon arriving they discovered that Syd had been busy as this level was permeated with his essence. They explored, and in the process found more clone tubes, which Mick annihilated, this was setting up perfectly for my ‘End Game’. Eventually Uwain got agitated by the group’s pace and marched off on his own and found another teleporter pad. The rest of the group squabbled a bit, and their Drow ‘companion’ had a complete and utter breakdown upon seeing that the clones that Mick had devastated were Drow children who all looked like her. Adler comforted her, much to my surprise. At that point in hugging her he felt a kick in her belly and realized she was with child. Was it the child of the wizard whose personality now resides in the dog, his dead fighter brother, or someone else, possibly Syd? They didn’t know, but Joe would not let her be harmed. It has been amazing to see Joe morph into an excellent little Role Player. Adler is a protective guy and seeing someone in anguish he took the moment to try and help her. It makes it feel like he is slowly becoming the moral center of the Group.

Eventually they found that one of the rooms had a Troll who was being slowly and recurrently being dissected, all the while having specimens taken from him by the tiny ‘bots that had attacked them upon entering the satellite. They put the Troll out of its misery before attempting to talk to him, and instead decided to search the room. At about that point I decided to finally get my finale into high gear.

The Drow woman began whispering to herself and then started pulling levers, in doing so releasing the canisters, the clones towards the planet and breaking up the satellite, all at the behest of Syd. The trap was sprung as Syd made sure the PC’s understood that he was ‘free’ and would be sending his message to the world in mass by releasing his ‘Children’. This put the group, mainly Joe, in a HUGE moral quandary since they had to restrain an ‘ally’ who was not in control of her faculties, but one they couldn’t harm without potentially killing her unborn child. I love doing things like this and hoping that the group does the most heroic thing possible.

At the same time the other unopened room slide open showing a frozen Elder Brain with some strange alien being stabbing into it arm deep. The alien came to awareness and began marching towards the doorway occupied by Uwain. At that point the physical structure of the satellite started to come apart. The Group was trying to rush back to the room that was sealed off in hopes of using it as a way to ride out re-entery. Uwain told them to run and said he’d hold of the oncoming alien monstrosity. In the end Max, aka Bobert, remembered he had an item that allowed for one teleport spell to a destination unknown given to him by his wife ‘The Seer’. He had the group hold hands and activated it.

Uwain went toe to toe with the alien and finally with very few hit points to spare slew the beast. He then began scanning the room as it hurtled towards the planet knowing that he would perish but very well might be resurrected again by the Raven Queen to do her bidding. Among the debris on the edge of the atmosphere he say a blinking light, similar to the lights in the alien he had slain and at that point his eyes melted and he burned.

On the surface the Group re-appeared a mile or so north of The Bleak Tower on the outskirts of one of the surrounding bergs. From there the sky darkened as pieces of the large asteroid the satellite was in began slamming into the planet throwing debris into the atmosphere effectively blocking out the sun. Their Drow companion dropped to her knees and began weeping. Finally she uttered in complete glee,FINALLY, the 2nd Great Darkness has begun…”

This whole thing played out EXACTLEY how I thought it would with one exception. I thought Bob would leave the rest behind and save himself. He shocked me by playing the hero throughout this ‘Satellite’ adventure. Everyone else played their part perfectly. This wraps things up perfectly for Zack to take over. The Group is back planet side. They are far away from their home base of operations. A cataclysmic world altering event has just occurred, and they KNOW that Syd is still out there and more dangerous than ever.

I can’t wait to play.

Another week, another Skull & Shackles preview!
First up is the Common, Medium Sea Devil. I need some of these guys for the 2nd D&D Group’s adventures, and I don’t have a lot of DDM versions. However, I’m not too big a fan of this version of the monster. It seems head heavy, the pose is just ok, and it doesn’t fit well with the versions I already own. That being said, if it is cheap I’ll be buying a pile of these guys because it is a monster that is difficult to find, it should be cheap, it fits a need that I have, and the paint job looks tight. This one sort of becomes a MUST BUY by default.
Next up is the Sea Devil Champion. He also happens to be a Medium, Common miniature. I find this miniature far superior to the Sea Devil miniature and on par with the DDM Sahuagin Baron miniature I have that I love. This miniature doesn’t have the menace that his DDM counterpart has and appears a bit skinny. He also isn’t very dynamic in his pose, however I love his look. The paint job is solid and intricate. The armor looks fantastic. That mouth full of teeth is outstanding, and the colors really work perfectly together. This one is a MUST BUY and I’ll most likely try to find a handful of them possibly as my Sahuagin Baron’s entourage.
Finally, we have The Matron, who looks to be a Large, Uncommon miniature. I want to love this miniature, because who doesn’t want a ‘big bad’ to go with their forces? No one that’s who. I just don’t see too much in it that inspires me though. Again she suffers from the ‘action less’ pose that all of these Sea Devils seem burdened with. The paint job looks solid, and I do like the facial expression, especially those catfish like whiskers. It’s just that overall this miniature isn’t meeting a significant overall need; it isn’t visually inspiring enough to get me fired up, and fills an Adventure Path niche that I don’t personally want. It’s a good miniature, but one I think I’ll PASS on.

I think it’s time to wrap this up with some…


- Damn Oklahoma, just damn. I hope the folks who I know down there are alright.

- I just had to let Dewey the Podcast is done. I hope that is the last time I have to do that.

- On a side note I’m looking into what I would need and what it would cost to crank the Podcast back up in my own basement. Some folks have offered some help, I think I might have found someone to co-host with, and in the next few months I should have the money. The question is do I want to? I think I do.

- I believe in The Shield.

- The Deadzone Kickstarter is under two weeks left! If you are interested in what is shaping up to be a fantastic little skirmish game then drop in and check it out.

- We need to get the Burt Reynolds Movie-A-Thon & the 2nd Annual Trivia Death Match on the calendar soon. I’m looking forward to both enjoying some late 70’s/early 80’s Reynolds ‘stache and attempting to get the Trivia Belt off of Mighty Mike’s waist.

- If it cools off I’ve been promised banana bread. COOL OFF!

- 3rd D&D Group is shaping up nicely. It is a group of folks I really don’t know, and that gives me some interesting challenges. It is also full of very nice and intelligent people who are all gung ho to get to playing, and that makes things VERY easy. Hopefully I can give them a game to remember.

- 5 day weekend starting Thursday. I can’t wait to try and sleep this cold off finally.

- Diamond Dave Wheeler is back at the end of the week! I’m pumped to start hanging out, get some painting done, watch some wrestling, and set up our twice a month WWE ’13 Night. I’m hoping I convince him to join the 1st D&D Group as well. Solid dude.

- It was damn good to see Joe on Saturday. Man do I miss working with that guy.

- I’m re-watching The Venture Brothers from the beginning. That first season is really strange now knowing what happens. What an amazing show.

I think that’s all I got today.

“His skin was soft as leather
I'm the weatherman
No one else more dedicated
I'm the weatherman
Well, hey kid
You got the right
But the choice to kill
No, Son of Sam
Will let you in to turn against
Addicted to the love of ourselves
I'm the weatherman
I tell no one else
I'm the weatherman

So go for the kill

Cause no one else cares
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill

His skin was soft as leather
I'm the weatherman
There's no one else worth the dedication
I'm the weatherman
Cause hey kid
You got the heart without the ache
Pretentious thieves
Have you believe it's theirs to take
Addicted to the love of ourselves
I'm the weatherman
And tell no one else
I'm the weatherman

So go for the kill

Cause no one else cares
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill

For here's the history we make
For luck of our Fathers
(If I could be anywhere I wouldn't be here)
No future or good night
(If I could be anywhere I wouldn't be here)
No future fans
(If I could be anywhere I wouldn't be here)

I sing for the melody and I sing for a reason
And I'll sing as the neglect for all that un-American

So go for the kill

Cause no one else cares
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill
Go for the kill, Go for the kill

Go for the kill”

* = Indeed Scott, INDEED!


  1. 1) I think we have 4 or 5 packs of bacon at home in the freezer. We should make some while on our staycation!
    2) D&D was awesome on Saturday!!
    3) I can't get behind The Shield since I don't trust anyone whose hair is more maintenance then my own.
    4) It's cool enough to make bannana bread.
    5) I miss Joe at work too.
    6) It's my song! (Or the one I am currently obsessed with this week...)

    1. 1) MAKE IT SO! Or we could make 'Pork Candy' because it is delicious.
      2) It really was wasn't it?
      3) They are the Dogs Of Justice!
      4) Nice...
      5) No one replaces the Koala.
      6) IT IS!