No story today, but here’s something for my players.

Remember the whole critical miss discussion?  David brought up a good point at how losing hit points is about your character wearing down, not just physical damage.  I like it, but it got me thinking about something.  How then does a DM deal with higher level players taking damage?

Example, a high-level fighter with 200 hp is a member of a party facing a group of archers.  These archers are strictly that, ranged fighters.  In this case, we’ll have the archers wielding longbows.  Longbow arrows deal 1d8 damage, so the high-level would have to take 25 arrows before going into a dying state (and that’s assuming all the archer’s damage rolls deal maximum damage, no critical hits).

That’s a concept hard to grasp for me.  At lower levels, it’s easier for a DM to describe the players taking hits.  “The arrow punches into your stomach, blood dribbles from the wound.  You take 6 damage” (I’ll either elaborate or tone it down depending on what my players want).

However, at higher levels, things change.  PCs are tougher.  That same 6 damage wound won’t have the impact it did at lower levels.  The player will still be ticked he/she took a hit, but they’re not going to consider retreating.  If anything, they’ll keep on trucking.  This is especially true if they have 200 hit points.

So, I’m curious.  In preparation for higher level games, I’m wondering how to handle PCs taking damage at higher level and still make it seem realistic.  David’s idea of the body wearing down, not just physical damage, intrigues me, but I don’t know how to put that into words.

Then again, I guess we could go with the Blackbeard effect.  Y’know, the pirate who was shot five times and stabbed twenty before he was decapitated?  Blackbeard’s a legendary figure, and when the PCs reach higher levels, they become legendary characters too.  With this mindset, it’s perfectly acceptable to think of that high level fighter taking 25 arrows before falling to the ground.

However, I’d like to let my players chip in on this.  After all, they make or break the game.  The DM just creates the scenarios.

Whoever she was, I must’ve scared the living daylights out of her.

D&D Session II: Part 2

The trio of Lord Freman, the noble human warrior, Sigmund, the devout human acolyte, and Tharivol, the talented elf ranger arrive in the village of Diocese at sunset.  They don’t plan on going after Nebin tonight, for the wilderness isn’t an ideal place to make camp in with assassins, contract murderers, and serial killers running amok.  Besides, they can meet with Searos before facing Nebin tomorrow.

As the party makes their way to the People’s Pub, a choir sings an eerily, optimistic melody in the middle of the village square.  What follows next stuns passerbys, as they watch an advertisement acted out in the form of a play atop the mayor’s residence.

“They’re finny and funny
And oh so delish
They’re joyful and jolly
Laughing fish”

*enter Ma*
???:  (voice-over, offscreen) Say ma, wondering what to feed the family tonight?
Ma:  What’ll I feed the family tonight?
*enter ???, who is a blonde-haired, regally-dressed gnome*
???:  Yargh!  Try me famous laughing fish!  They’re smiling smelt, make a filling filet, and wreck happy havoc upon your dinner table!  Yummy yum yum!
*offers a piece of fish on a fork to Ma, she politely declines*
???:  *glowering*  Eat it!…
Ma:  *quietly* Um, Mr. Nebin, I have this little problem with fish…
*the fish is shoved in her mouth anyway*
Ma:  *surprised, turns to disgust*  Yummy yum yum…
*exit Ma*
??? (Nebin):  Yes, citizens, that’s laughing fish!  *Ma can be heard puking offstage*  Tasty, tempting, tender!  Coming to your local seafood store…as soon as that nasty, no-good Enal Clearwater of the Kraken’s Seafood Pub decides to give me my legal cut of the profits!

At this point, Tharivol is reaching for his bow.  The choir has disbanded and the village watch are questioning them.  The mayor’s residence is locked during the day, so no one can gain entrance legally in daylight hours.  This poses a problem for the village watch, but not for Tharivol and Lord Freman’s bows.  Before they can nock arrows, however, Nebin reveals his threat to the entire town.

“I hope you’ve changed your mind, Mr. Clearwater, because I haven’t changed mine!”  He puts on a lavender-colored hat and walks off stage, laughing all the while.

While stunned by Nebin’s sudden appearance in the village, the trio still considers Searos the primary objective.  They congregate at one of the table’s in the People’s Pub  The plan?  Murder Searos, no questions asked.  The party plans an ambush and go about planning the scenario out.  Lord Freman will wait up in the room for Searos, while Tharivol and Sigmund will wait downstairs for Searos to enter.

The plan is interrupted, when a guard approaches the table Sigmund and Tharivol occupy.

D&D is going to get a little bit rocky over the next few weeks/months.  We’re getting a new house (allegedly) and mom’s trying to sell my two, favorite cats.  I don’t trust her.  I can come home from a D&D session and have both of my cats gone.  Yeah, not going to happen.  She’d do anything for cash.


Shame.  We barely got to know each other.
I know where you keep your gun.  So, is that something?

Casino Royale and D&D

I saw Casino Royale…great movie.  I wholeheartedly recommend it, unless you’re expecting another Die Another Day.  I’m surprised that some people didn’t know it would be a reboot.  One guy at school was especially that gadgets weren’t the primary focus of the film.  “That car chase lasted like four seconds,” he says,” and in the last movie the car was invisible!”  And that’s exactly what was wrong with Bond.  People get too absorbed with the creative gadgets.  Bond needed a reboot, especially after the mindless fun that was Die Another DayDAD had too many otherworldly scenes (Bond surfing in that one scene, invisible car, etc.).  Casino Royale effectively reboots the series and is, hands down, the best of the modern Bond movies.

Anyway, Casino Royale is really, really good.  People skeptical of Daniel Craig need to quit being paranoid.  He’s good, damn good.  My favorite scenes have to be the opening sequence, followed by Bond beating Dimitrios in poker (taking his money and car), seducing his wife, and then killing him, and the events in the Casino Royale itself.  Awesome.  I’d give it a 9.3 out of 10.

Now, D&D…which picks up from here.

The elf traveler Tharivol peers around the blood-coated door as his human companions, Lord Freman and Sigmund, dismantle the last of the animated chairs.  The trail of the gnome serial killer Nebin has led the trio to Diocese’s fishing grounds.  Now that the chairs have been destroyed, the party can focus on the only, other living thing in the room…a halfling peasent.

“Who did all this?” Lord Freman asks the halfling a simple question, gesturing to the crime scene around him.  Bodies are strewn all around the place outside, mutilated.  The river runs red with the blood of D’ourden peasantry.  All in all, a gruesome scene.

“Who did this?” the halfling repeats, calmly.  His cool manner is soon lost as he accelerates his breathing and begins to laugh hysterically.  “Who did this!?  Who do you think!?  That crazy, insane, mass-murdering, psychopathic gnome Nebin!” he reveals.  He breaks down emotionally and begins to weep as he finishes.

Tharivol is not leased by this sad display, this sad excuse of a halfling.  He smacks the sorry soul across the face, before grabbing him by the throat.  Tharivol situates the halfling on his feet before asking him what’s on all the party’s mind at this point.

“If Nebin did this, then why are you still alive?” Tharivol glowers.  Sigmund and Lord Freman concur, nodding in agreement.  They too wonder why this one halfling was spared at the expense of everyone else.

The halfling stammers, not knowing what to say.  The trio closes in around him, intimidating the poor peasent.  “I-I-I d-don’t know!  The g-g-gno…Nebin is l-legally i-in-ins-insane, after all!” the halfling stutters through chokes and gasps of air.  Tharivol’s hold on his throat tightens.  The halfling begins to cry once more, unnerved by the party’s appearance.  Lord Freman is especially intimidating.  He wears a huge, black cloak and has a greatsword that could cut through the halfling like butter.

DM note:  This is all role-playing here.  No intimidate checks, no diplomacy checks.  Just “simple” questioning.

Tharivol discards the halfling, dropping him to the floor.  The party towers over the halfling as they debate their next move.  The halfling is their only link to Nebin’s location, but he’s too mentally damaged to say anything coherent.  Sigmund brings up the idea that the halfling could be Nebin in disguise, which causes the halfling even more torment.  The trio decide to leave the halfling amidst his brutally-murdered colleagues and head back to the village.

However, a small voice stops them.  “It’s as if he wants a challenge.”

“What did you say?” Sigmund hesitantly asks the halfling, eyeing the small creature alongside the rest of the party.

“It’s as if he wants,” the halfling repeats, slowly,” a challenge.”  He seems to contemplate his own words for a few seconds.  Suddenly, the halfling beams with demented joy.  A light seems to click in the halfling’s fractured mind.  “That’s it!” he exclaims,” That’s what Nebin said!”  He repeats Nebin’s own instructions to the trio,” Tell anyone who comes here that they can find me by a cottage south of the village.  I prefer a good challenge, after all.”

The trio are, understandably, creeped out.  Lord Freman breaks the silence that follows the halfling’s display of happiness.  “So, where is this cottage?” he asks.

The halfling breathes a sigh of relief before describing the cottage to them.  It’s a simple, wooden building with a thatched roof, roughly a day’s walk south of town.  What he doesn’t tell them is that the cottage was once a lodge for rangers in the area.  About a hundred years ago, a vicious lycanthrope plague hit the region.  Many rangers who took shelter in the lodge were turned into vicious werewolves, sly wererats, or helpful werebears.  Since that time, the only visitor the lodge has had is it’s caretaker.  The village of Diocese doesn’t wish for it fall into decay, but attempts to open the lodge back up have faltered.

The trio thank the halfling for his help and begin their trek towards the cottage.

Sorry, that last hand almost killed me.

From Running Spirit

I don’t go to my locker very often.  Lucky for me (?) there was a surprise waiting for me today…

I open my locker, placing my sociology book in there until later that day.  Carrying 20 lbs. of books around isn’t heavy, it’s just annoying.  Since I’m not using my sociology book anytime soon, I figured I’d store it.  Usually, I open my locker and there’s nothing there.  Just emptyness.  Today was different.  I find this packet with a cookie in it, addressed to me and from a person called “Running Spirit.”

Of course, I’m happy that I have something.  People rarely do anything with my locker (not complaining, just making a note).  I pocket this bagged cookie in hopes for a good lunch later on.  Then it hits me…who’s Running Spirit and how do they know my locker number, name, etc.?  Are they are a close friend?  Native American?  Secret assassin who’s trying to plot my downfall?  …Secret admirer (wishful thinking)?

Anyway, I ate the cookie later (delicious).  It shouldn’t matter who this person is, but my curiosity says otherwise.  Who and why…who and why…  I have some guesses but I’ll stop making myself look like a completely paranoid jackass now.

I’m happy and grateful and everything, but still, it’s pretty damn weird to get a random gift from an equally random person.  It was a delicious cookie, though…

Note: after administering the back breaker, your victim won’t be able to walk, so you may get cited for littering if you leave him lying in the street.

D&D Helloween Session #2

I was going to write a nice, lengthy story but decided against it.  Instead, important notes.

November 24, 932 CE

+ The players picked up on Nebin’s trail, thanks to the halfling survivor at the fishing docks.  The halfling was intentionally left alive by Nebin to serve as a guide for anyone brave enough to follow him.  “It’s almost as if he wants a good challenge,” the halfling stated.

+ Nebin promised to kill Enal Clearwater in front of the whole town, all the while advertising his “laughing fish”.

+ The PCs did not take Nebin’s threat (or didn’t care Enal was going to die) and didn’t take any action in protecting him until a guard approached them on Mr. Clearwater’s behalf.  Only Sigmund volunteered to protect him (Lord Freman was adamant to stay behind and wait for the meeting with Searos, as did Tharivol).

November 25, 932 CE

+ At midnight, the time the guards’ shift changes, an arrow shot through the room of Mr. Clearwater’s residence.  A gas was released when the arrow made impact in the wall, and filled the entire room.  The gas only affected Mr. Clearwater, who laughed himself into unconsciousness (presumably a coma or death).

+ Searos’ meeting (the time he shows up at the People’s Pub is around midnight) had Lord Freman and Tharivol meeting up with two would-be assassins.  One was easily dispatched, while one nearly escaped.  The other assassin met up with Sigmund, and was subdued.  The assassin was taken away.

+ The People’s Pub barkeeper was really pissed at the scene of violence.  He demanded the party clean it up.  The players mentioned they were meeting “Searos” and didn’t have time to clean up.  The halfling barkeeper allowed the players to go, and began cleaning up the tavern itself.

+ Searos sent a message to the PCs, by shooting an arrow with note through an open window.  The letter was addressed to Tharivol, and told the PCs to interrogate Osboron, the halfling barkeeper.

+ Osborn provided the location to meet with Searos.  “A cave, a half-day or day south of town.  Follow the river.  Should appear before a cottage.”  Also told the PCs what Searos is doing:  harvesting an undead army.  He hires contract murderers to slay people and bring the bodies back to the People’s Pub.  Searos keeps the bodies and pays the men, then he takes the bodies back to his cave.  He also pays Osborn extra for the room, enough to keep the halfling quiet.  Some of the PCs (particularly Sigmund) expressed interest in the idea of murdering people for a necromancer.

+ The PCs followed Osborn’s directions to a cave, most likely inhabited by a bear.  Tharivol saw runes on the cavern wall.  The runes were the insignia of Fort Aspenwood.  The cavern wall “opened” for Tharivol, and the PCs preceded down the stairway.

+ Along the stairway, Tharivol recounted his family history to the party.  How his brother became really powerful and, randomly, murdered everyone one day.  His brother spared Tharivol, believing that Tharivol could become strong one day.  His brother lives to fight, and Tharivol could be a worthy challenge for him…given time.

+ Down the stairs, the trio encountered two skeletons and a zombie.  The two skeletons were the clerical couple that granted the party shelter the night this tragic web of events began.  The zombie was the assassin Lord Freman had impaled in the face, with her facial features torn all beyond recognition.  Tharivol was severely wounded in the encounter.  Surprisingly, Sigmund had to contemplate healing him.

+ Searching the lair, the PCs found 100 gold and a note from Searos detailing his plans.  He planned to attack the village tomorrow morning, but advised the PCs to stay in his lair and rest for the evening (so they could be well prepared for the encounter, and it was close to nighttime anyway).  The PCs took up on his request.

November 26, 932 CE

+ Players hurried back to Diocese in the morning, reaching the village by late afternoon.  They saw a group of guys dressed in trench coats and hats huddled outside the village.  Despite their intimidating appearance, they had the national flag of D’ourden stitched on their arms.  The group was revealed to be a force of skeletons, with the ringleader being none other than Tharivol’s brother, Soveliss!  Tharivol opted to throw a punch at his brother, but was quickly restrained.  Lord Freman and Sigmund retreated, only to meet up with a pack of hybrid werebears.

+ The hybrid werebears and PCs quickly tore the skeletons apart.  Lord Freman tried to attack Soveliss, but to no avail.  Soveliss disabled Lord Freman with four magic missiles before teleporting away.  The skeletons were destroyed and the werebears departed into the sunset.

So yeah, no exciting recount.  I might do that for creative writing, though…

And I found some music.  Might bring back the set list…

Gonna end up a big ole’ pile of them bones