Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ganlant of Escavalon's big adventure + pictures

So I jumped into the Constantcon ring a few days ago when I got a chance to play in Jeff Rients' Wessex game. I used a sample cleric that I had rolled up a few weeks ago for my prospective Arthurian LL game. I equipped him from Jeff's chargen equipment list, hooked up my webcam and we were ready to go, as Ganlant was whisked away by the power of FLAILSNAILS from the time of Arthur to a different Cornwall, hundreds of years in his future.

I had a gas. We explored, we laughed, we cried, we fell victim to traps, and we *almost* got some good loot. Ganlant just about fell down a pit to Hell (narrowly saved when one of his friends grabbed his backpack and pulled him back), and later one of the party was killed drinking from a fountain which made him melt "like a Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark." I scooped up some of this deadly water in a bucket for later use.

While trying to wedge the lid of a wizard's sarcophagus open using iron spikes, we attracted the wrath of a giant golden spider. I threw my bucket of deadly fountain water at it, while the rest of the party threw flaming oil. We managed to hurt it some but it seemed to laugh at normal weapons, so it was time to beat a retreat. In the process of escaping, Ganlant was hit by the spider and I heard Jeff say: "Can you survive 4 damage? I'm just looking for my Arduin grimoire."

Oh crap... He had four fingers on his right hand sliced off in a single critical hit from the golden spider's scythe-leg! Ganlant made it out with just 1 hit point, climbing a 60' ladder to safety with his mangled hand. Yeah, this is D&D all right.

After the adventure, I made sure to add some extra equipment, not least of all a crowbar for the next sarcophagus we happen to find. Life's going to be pretty tough for an adventurer with only 6 digits, but I'll figure something out... probably strap a torch or holy symbol to the stump so it's always ready, and fight with the left hand.

Also, inspired by some posts around the interwebs, I thought I'd post up some artwork and images that I enjoy for gaming inspiration. I'm not very well versed in visual art, and my tastes are simple, and these pictures aren't quite as good as the ones that happen in my imagination. Which probably means I need to spend more time checking out new art.

(A lot of these are really big/detailed, click to expand)

In thirty years they reduced the civilized nations to carrion and ash...

How do you like stone golems now? - The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

"Of course I go adventuring for the chicks!"

Some more Terrible Sorcery.

Best skeletons ever - Jason & The Argonauts (1963).

Hydras are in my Pathfinder wilderness game. Somewhere.
Is this what "creature type: Outsider" means? A thousand times yes.
In terms of "total playtime hours inspired," this is easily #1.
But many men say that there is written upon his tomb this verse: Hic iacet Arthurus, Rex quondam, Rexque futurus

Not pictured: my young mind, completely blown - King's Quest 6.

More play reports soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012


so this thing...

One of my players reads this blog, and he was explaining this post to me the other day. There are some things to like about it: "Treat The Environment As Another Enemy" is a great way to make things interesting and might be rule #2 of good encounter design.

But "Make Sure Each Player Will Have Something To Do and Give Each Player A Unique Role"? Come on. The only example given is for D&D, so since we're not playing GURPS (where we spend several hours doing math so that each character is different), we'll talk about that. Cross-posted from my comment:

"There’s a reason the classic D&D party is a Fighter, a Mage, a Cleric, and a Thief."

Try playing Original D&D with only one fighter. I dare you. See what happens.

This kind of thing is a direct result of the edition power creep that we've had over the last 25 years. In 3.x D&D we have 2000+ feats to choose from for "infinite customization," but every fighter just chooses Power Attack because it's the best. If you have two fighters in your D&D party, of course one will be better than another, because they'll both prioritize Strength, then CON or DEX, etc. And they won't roll exactly the same stats. One will likely have a higher strength and since so much emphasis is placed on stat bonuses to create a "viable" character, the guy who rolled low is left in the dust. This is the "my precious character" sort of thinking which characterizes the current state of the hobby.

This is, by the way, in direct opposition to your other stipulations: to not say "this monster's invulnerable to swords!," "avoid the roll-fest" and "treat the environment as another enemy." In these contexts, whether your fighter has a +1 to damage rolls or a +6 won't affect the solution you, as a creative player, come up with.

And if you *can't* come up with anything to deal with a monster that's invulnerable to all your plusses, well... I don't know how to help you.