bobquasit: (The Question)
If anyone is looking for a RuneQuest game in the northern Rhode Island area (or knows someone who is), I have an opening or two in my current campaign, The Cave of Worlds. It's a multi-genre game based on classic RQIII, with modifications as necessary. The campaign features worlds based on numerous sources, including original settings as well as those inspired by literature and media. Emphasis is on roleplaying, exploration, and fun rather than combat.

We normally play on Saturday afternoons from noon to 5pm in Woonsocket, RI, although we're probably going to be playing on Sundays instead during the summer. Current players cover a thirty-year age spread, and range from highly experienced to relative newcomers to RPGs. A good sense of humor and imagination are all that's needed, along with a reasonable amount of emotional maturity. Experience is NOT required.

Some session writeups can be found at http://runequest.org/caveof.htm

#t
bobquasit: (Default)
Still working on it. Sorry, I haven't applied any formatting yet; I'm basically just spewing it out as quickly as possible in order to actually have some text to work with.


Read more... )

More to come...
bobquasit: (Default)
I'm working on the sheetless roleplaying article as a Google doc. It's nowhere near finished, but I thought you might find the work in progress interesting. I'm open to feedback, of course.

I haven't been using boldfacing or italics because I'm going to add those later on, when I convert it to a webpage.

Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
Gary Gygax died today.

I tangled with him a few times over the years. Once someone wrote and told me that something I'd written about him had hurt his feelings! I was kind of proud about that at the time.

That all seems so long ago, now...
bobquasit: (Default)
I finally got a roleplaying-related question on Askville!

The question was how to take a walled human city with a comparatively small besieging force of orcs, a dragon, two mini-dragons, and some orc shamans.

"How would you recommend taking a city in a fantasy setting with inferior numbers?"

I gave it some thought, and here's what I came up with:

"Air power, fire, and gravity"

Your idea of damming the river is a good one, but it alone may not be quick enough. Historically, fire has been one of the greatest tools for besiegers in a hurry. Since the goal is to raze rather than to occupy, I'd say fire should be your primary tool.

I am assuming that a reasonable portion of the city's architecture is flammable, of course. But if not, there are still some options. I am also assuming that there are no common spells which are highly effective fire extinguishers!

I'm sure I don't need to tell you the basics on how to use fire. If oil is available, or some form of Greek fire, that would be ideal. I'd strongly recommend against using any of your drakes for direct fire attack; that would almost certainly bring them within range of enemy spellcasters and bowmen, a very bad idea indeed.

On the other hand, you can use your larger drake to drop flaming oil-soaked trees (dry pine, if you can get it) on the city from a considerable height. Assuming that you have access to trees, of course. The season and recent rainfall or snowfall will also be important factors. You may want to have the twisted drakes light the trees just as the full drake drops them, if your full drake is vulnerable to fire or particularly clumsy.

I'd suggest that you have your people cut down as many trees as possible, as early as you can in the siege; that will start the drying process, so they'll burn better later on. A small point, but it might help a little.

Depending on the strength and endurance of your full drake (and possibly the two twisted ones) it may be practical for them to drop a large number of trees on the city. That way, even if the city is mostly non-flammable the defenders will have to deal with the flaming trees themselves. And if you've successfully dammed the river, that should put additional pressure on their water situation; do they drink, or put out the fires? That's certainly the kind of question you want your enemies to be forced to consider.

If you can get enough trees and/or the architecture of the city burning, you may even be able to generate a firestorm. That would pretty much guarantee the complete destruction of the city.

Another possibility which is quite interesting is to simply exploit your command of the air. Have your full drake take a good-sized boulder - one weighing at least a couple of hundred pounds, preferably more, but whatever weight it can handle repeatedly - fly up as high over the city as it can, and then drop it. A city is a big target; it's hard to miss. And a big boulder should do a lot of damage. If you keep your drake dropping boulders, it should definitely soften up the city defenses. Particularly if they're also trying to fight fires at the same time.

Your twisted drakes can get in on the fun as well. They can carry buckets or canvas bags (as large as they're comfortable with) of good-sized rocks weighing at least a pound or two apiece, and dump them from high up over the city. The rocks will spread a bit (the drakes can encourage that by throwing the rocks out sideways), and at terminal velocity, they'll pack quite a wallop! They won't do as much damage as a boulders, but they're likely to keep people nervous and cause some serious injuries. Which will make the defenders use up their healing magic, always a good thing.

Of course it will be important to keep all of your fliers out of range of enemy activity. If there's a hill or hills near the city that they can use as a takeoff and landing field, that would be ideal. Apart from that, the goal is to keep your fliers as busy as possible, dumping as much rock and/or fire as possible on the city. I think you'd want to keep them on an alternative cycle, so that there's never a time when it's safe for the defenders to set up effective aerial defenses. Plus the drakes will be able to keep an eye on events in the city, which may be useful.

Your full drake may even be able to learn and improve its missile-dropping skills during the siege, allowing it a chance to target interesting buildings such as hospitals, troop quarters, enemy command posts, churches, temples, palaces, food stores, water cisterns, and orphanages. Okay, not orphanages; I'm just a little bemused by the sheer evil of what I'm writing here. :D

As for your shamans, it's hard to know what your specific shamans can do; the rules for shamans vary so widely from system to system. But traditionally one thing that shamans are associated with is disease. Normally they cure it, but the odds are good that the can turn that process around and cause it, or at least encourage it.

Disease is the besieger's friend. Population in a besieged city is generally packed tight, fertile ground for quick vectoring. The defenders are also under extreme stress, with frequent injuries, and are short on critically needed medical supplies, provisions, and water. You may not have enough time for diseases to be very effective in actually killing the defenders, but the psychological pressure of knowing that you're trapped in a disease-filled town should be a great advantage for you.

Good luck!

Sources: Roleplaying experience, research


So far no one else has answered the question.
bobquasit: (NewQuas)
From yesterday's session.
Beware! D&D geekery inside! )
So it goes.

Lucky

Sep. 1st, 2005 11:11 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Tonight I went out to my D&D game. Sebastian was sad when I told him that I had to go out tonight after dinner - in fact, he said "I'm very sad!" - but I told him that when I came home I would give him some kisses while he was sleeping.

So he said "I'm going to keep my eyes open until you come home, and give you a big hug!".

I just came home. He's asleep, of course. In my bed next to Teri, with a space for me on the other side. You can't imagine how sweet my baby boy looks.

I'm so lucky.

Weird!

Aug. 17th, 2005 06:10 am
bobquasit: (Default)
There's some sort of live commercial roleplaying game or interactive adventure company...right across the street from where I work. Strange.

Has anyone ever heard of these guys before?
bobquasit: (Default)
Last night's D&D session was interesting.
Read more... )
And that was the session.
bobquasit: (Default)
Advice: I've been going a bit insane with the advice column; it's really kind of addictive (obligatory joke: "Now I know how George W. Bush feels about wine and cocaine". Updated version: "Now I know how George W. Bush feels about wine, cocaine, lying in order to send poor young people off to die in Iraq, and shredding the Bill of Rights* )".

Anyway, I've answered 44 questions so far. My current average rating is 5 (which is perfect, of course), and I have 70 feedback points. Of course, I'll probably be crushed by the first less-than-perfect rating I get. :/

HAH! I walked away from my computer before posting this, came back, and sure enough, someone just gave me my first "4". Most unfairly, too. I was the only person to even TRY to answer her question! Oh well.

RuneQuest: Something strange: I was just added to the Mongoose RQ playtest group after all. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from Greg Stafford's remarkable rudeness, though, so right now I'm not very excited. Still, I'll check the rules out soon.

Dreams: Another funny thing: The night before last I dreamed a neat and funny idea for a roleplaying scenario. I even dreamed that I was writing a snatch of poetry for it. When I woke up, I ran to the computer and noted it all down. The couplet wasn't bad, I guess (it sounds a little familiar, though), but it doesn't actually fit into the scenario at all:

I could not save him, although I tried;
I rode to live, he lived to ride.

Health: It was a sinus infection. I'm 99% sure. Steady pain in the lower sinuses, and random pain EVERYWHERE. Every little movement hurt. Every bump hurt 10x more than it should have. So I took a lot of Tylenol over three days, and used saline on my sinuses just before bed for two nights in a row.

But man, the saline hurt. Even WITH Tylenol, the sheer pain kept me up for more than an hour each night. Agony. On the plus side, I didn't have to use the saline or the Tylenol last night. I'm mostly better.

Apology: Apologies to Kat for kinda stealing her subtopic style. But come to think of it, I used to the the same style back when I was writing for The Wild Hunt and Interregnum.

So maybe she stole it from me.

---
* Except the Second Amendment, of course.
bobquasit: (Me)
Some company called Mongoose Publishing has announced that they'll be putting out a new version of RuneQuest - "a completely new system that will look and smell like the original", a phrase which does NOT fill me with confidence. If it's a new system, it's not RuneQuest!

There has been a lot of discussion on a thread over at the RPGnet forums. And I, of course, couldn't resist putting in my own two cents.

And now I'm REALLY gone on vacation...
bobquasit: (Default)
I'm thinking of running an online RQ game. It would be play-by-post in a forum; there might be some chat sessions involved.

The setting would be Glorantha, although extensive knowledge of Glorantha would NOT be required. And...how shall I put this? As GM, my interpretation of Glorantha would be final. That interpretation is essentially the RQ2/early RQ3 version, before Greg got too into Gregging.

The scenario is large, and pretty dark; a mixed mystery/adventure, with film noir overtones.

Let me know if you're interested.
bobquasit: (Default)
Lately in my Thursday night game we've been getting killed by death spells. Go figure, huh?

We've got a long-standing problem with a corrupted temple run by a lich and packed with the undead. There are traps, glyphs, and symbols up the wazoo. We keep making attacks, doing some damage, and then we're forced to withdraw, in some cases after taking losses.

The traps vary between paralysis, blindness, and death. Anyway, last session our best fighter died after failing to save against a Symbol of Death.

So I said "Isn't there any sort of protection against death spells?", and did a little off-the-cuff research.

Funny thing: the party had essentially been using lower-level buff spells, and had failed to realize that there were much better options available at our current levels (mostly 11th-12th right now). So now we're using the following combination: Heroes' Feast, which provides immunity to poison & fear, and adds extra hit points to boot; Death Ward, which provide immunity to death spells, level drain AND inflict spells; and Freedom of Movement, which gives immunity to web, hold, etc. Backed up with the cleric & paladin carrying Heal and Cure Blindness spells, and we're suddenly a lot more effective than we used to be.

The funny thing is that I'm by far the least experienced with the system, and I've never played a spellcaster in it (and don't now), but I'm the one who found Death Ward.

I must say, the D&D system remains extremely clunky. Lots of time is spent working out definitions and finding broken places in the rules.

Translated

Dec. 30th, 2004 08:27 am
bobquasit: (Default)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] klyfix just pointed out that one of my old articles has been translated into Portuguese. It's "The Gamemaster's Hall of Shame" (this link is to the original version), and it's not the first time I've seen it translated - if I recall, I've seen in it Russian, Finnish, and possibly Polish as well.

I wrote it about ten years ago, and it has always been a little odd. Within a year or two someone emailed me a copy that was being circulated in England, with my name removed. This was before the World Wide Web existed, so it did surprise me a bit.

Unfortunately the translation has my old tiac address, which means that They took it from a really old source.

Thanks, Klyfix! You know, I'm really wondering how the bleep you found this thing.
bobquasit: (Default)
I forgot to mention it, but my character in the weekly game died last week. He was taken out by a wraith with Spring Attack. He'd only been twelfth level for a couple of weeks.

I now have to chose between bringing Mongo back, and bringing in a new character. If I bring him back he'll be at the midpoint between 11th and 12th levels; a considerable setback. If I bring in a new character, he'll be midpoint of 10th.

Mongo never really grabbed me as a character. He's okay, but I never established a strong personality for him...and personality-based roleplaying isn't really something that would fit into this game, anyway.

The problem with him is that the damned 3.5 rules make it very difficult for him to wear heavy armor, and as a result he has the worst armor class of anyone in the party, hands down. When he goes into combat he is always hit, almost every time, and there really isn't anything I can do about that. And since he's one of only two front-line warriors, he gets into combat all the time. The added hit points that a barbarian gets should offset this deficit, but it doesn't.

If I were to bring in a new character, it would probably be a monk - just because the thought appeals to my perverse sense of humor. I'd name him "Wing Po", after a radio parody that Bob & Ray did of Kung Fu. But in all honestly the capacity for comedy would be quite limited, and I suspect the character would soon pall.

Frankly, I was amazed that it bothered me so little to die. It used to bother me a LOT, in the old days. Guess I'm getting some perspective.

The one reaction I had to dying was a sudden urge to run the sort of roleplaying-intensive campaign I used to do in college. But that isn't really an option; no players.

Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts on whether I should bring back Mongo or create Wing Po, please let me know. The next session is tomorrow night, so suggestions before then will be most likely to actually make a difference.

Tired...

Oct. 27th, 2004 08:16 am
bobquasit: (Default)
Man, am I tired.

I'm so tired that between typing the last sentence and this one I ran out of steam and just sat there for five minutes, blinking stupidly at the screen.

Blink, (pause), blink.

The night before last I got caught up playing Diablo online with the clan. By the time I checked the clock, it was 12:48am.

I should mention that playing with the clan has been a lot of fun. I've learned quite a bit, and over the weekend I took my druid from 32nd level to 56th. The secret was open Baal runs, which I hadn't understood before; you start an open game with a name like "baalrun01", and wait for people to enter. Once you've got the maximum, eight people, at least one player makes their way to the Throne of Destruction as quickly as they can - it's basically a mad dash, bypassing almost every attacking monster. Once in the door on the level of the Throne, you open a town portal. Everyone else comes in (you've all joined the same party, of course, so as to share experience points), and deal with the waves of powerful monsters that Baal throws at you.

Once all the monsters are dead and Baal has departed, you announce "02" (or whatever the next number in sequence is), exit the game, start a new game with the next sequential number, and do it all over again. It only takes five to ten minutes per run, and typically you'll gain a level every run or two.

I was given a Gavel of Pain, and socketed it with a Shael rune to increase the attack speed. I'm doing something like 1,200-2,000 damage per blow, and my life-stealing percentage is so high that I'm basically healing myself to full on every attack.

Okay, enough Diablo. Last night...oh yeah. I left something out.

Blink, (pause), blink.

You wouldn't believe the number of typos I'm making here.

Remember back a while when I had to get a big filling? And the dentist told me that it might well turn into a root canal, because it was so deep? He said I'd "know" if I ended up needing one.

With my dental phobia my brain immediately interpreted that as a prediction of agonizing, mind-raping pain.

Oh, and I'll spare you a recap of my dental phobia, okay?

Anyway, I was scheduled for a cleaning for last night. Inevitably, a few weeks ago I woke up early in the morning and had a drink from the glass I keep by the bed. When the tepid water hit the tooth that had been filled, it hurt. Quite a painful twinge.

Instantly I entered a state of absolute terror. I spent the next hour or two trembling in fear, sweating and shaking in the dark, until the alarm went off and I went to work.

I spent the next morning the same way, although the pain didn't come back.

Blink, (pause), blink.

So I was morally certain that I'd be facing my first root canal. Or probably two of them, maybe three (I know that's not rational, but that's why it's called a dental phobia).

But I've learned some techniques to help me cope. And so, although I was tense, I was able to live with it. I practiced relaxation techniques as often as I could.

I think I'm starting to wake up a little, finally.

Anyway, last night I rushed home, put on a brave face for Sebastian and kissed him goodbye, and drove to the dentist. And to my amazement, it went quite well. There was a back tooth with had a very sensitive filling (I've never had any problem with it before), but there were no cavities and no real problems. I'll start using flouride rinse to remineralize a couple of decalcified points, but that's all.

Incidentally, Sebastian had his first dental cleaning a week or two ago. Teri took him, and apparently he was really good and had a great time.

After the cleaning I drove home for a few minutes, kissed Sebastian goodnight, and headed over to my weekly D&D game. As always, Sebastian begged me to stay home and play with him. He breaks my heart every Tuesday!

At the game my sleep deficit hit me, as it sometimes does. But once combat started (the first combat in three weeks) I woke up again.

We had teleported into a temple to free a priest from mind control, only to discover that he was a lich, an undead monster. Shadows (evil ghosts, basically) boiled out of the walls and ceiling. The cleric (who served the same god that this temple supposedly served) realized that not only were we not on holy ground, the ground was now actually unhallowed.

We were in trouble.

Lots of combat, an NPC taken down and turned into a shadow himself, and the lich finally touched my character, Mongo, with a Harm spell that did 134 points of damage. Anyone else in the party would have died, but Mongo just went deeply unconscious.

A round or two later I was healed, and the lich was destroyed moments later. At which point we looked at the clock, and saw that it was almost 11:30pm! I headed out and drove home. Fortunately I was still charged up from the battle, or else I would probably have been fighting to stay awake the whole way.

I got into bed just after midnight, and while the thought flashed across my mind that I could play Diablo or check my email, I ignored it. I was asleep within five minutes.

At 5:08am, a small boy shuffled into our room and climbed up between me and Teri. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

5:30am BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! That damned alarm. I turned it off.

Twenty minutes later I got up, dressed with frantic speed, and ran out of the house. Made it to the train station just in time to snag one of the last two parking spaces and catch my train.

Fell asleep on the train, of course, and woke with a start when the conductor shouted "Ruggles!" Ran out of the train, upstairs to the station, and was corralled for a quick handshake by a Presidential candidate. He was charged up, smiling and full of energy as he pumped my hand.

"We need to get out of Iraq, and get healthcare for everyone!" he said enthusiastically.

Dazed, I could only say "That's true!" and smile as I walked on.

It wasn't John Kerry, of course, nor that bastard Bush (I wouldn't have shaken his hand). It was David Cobb of the Green Party. I'll give him credit; as far as I know he's not campaigning anywhere where he might throw the state to Bush. Campaigning in Boston six days before the election? That sends a pretty clear message. He might well pick up some votes, because this is a pretty liberal state in some ways (particularly because at Ruggles he was in the center of a comparatively poor urban area with a high minority population AND a large urban university at the same time), but he's not going to threaten Kerry's chances here. Good for him.

So that makes two candidates for the US Presidency that I've met in Ruggles station.

Okay, looks like I've woken up now.
bobquasit: (Default)
I've been having a pretty pleasant conversation with people in the rec.games.frp.dnd group. Inevitably (it is Usenet, after all) some cranky guy showed up to rain flame and fury on me for not being as knowledgeable as he is.

I'm way too old to worry about flame wars, and I really don't think they're worth the time & bother, but I couldn't resist making a reply; I think it was pretty mild, but made the point.

You might find it amusing.

Fighter?

Sep. 21st, 2004 02:24 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Tonight's the first Tuesday-night session of the D&D game. I don't expect to level up tonight (there's almost no way, mathematically), but it's coming closer - assuming, as always, that I don't die first.

I got a lot of great advice and a surprisingly warm welcome from people in the D&D newsgroup on Usenet. One of them brought up an interesting idea: taking a level of the Fighter class, rather than taking a twelfth level of Barbarian. He said that it would give me two feats rather than one. I'm not 100% sure that that's true; you get a bonus feat as a 1st level fighter, but do you also get a "starting" feat? I'll need to check.

But I'd gain literacy and the ability to wear heavy armor automatically, and if I took a second level in Fighter later I'd get yet another feat. I could take Improved Critical and start filling in the Weapon Focus/Specialization tracks, which in English means that in the short term I could get a +1 to hit with my greatsword (instantly convertible to +2 points of damage with Power Attack, at my option) in addition to Improved Critical. And filling in the entire feat track would give me +2 to hit and +4 damage, convertible overall into +8 damage...which is no mean feat, if you'll pardon the pun.

The drawback in the short term would be the loss of two skill points that I would otherwise get. And I'll have to roll 1d10 for hit points instead of 1d12. An acceptable trade.

Another drawback is that it would take that much longer to reach higher Barbarian levels. But the best stuff doesn't kick in for a while, and there's no knowing if the campaign will even last that long.

Battle

Aug. 27th, 2004 08:39 am
bobquasit: (Default)
The D&D game last night was pretty intense (good god, that sounds geeky!). I won't bore you with the details...not much, anyway.

We basically had to de-convert a wizard who was wearing a ring that controlled his mind. That meant we either had to cut his finger off (the rings aren't normally removable), or kill him, cut off the finger, and raise him.

For various reasons we had to ambush him during his regular rendezvous at a local house of ill repute (I love phrases like "house of ill repute" - can you tell I'm reading The Screwtape Letters? ). The plan was for my character, Mongo the Barbarian, to grapple the mage while the other party members removed the ring. I had Bull's Strength and Greater Rage up, which gave me a strength of 28. No problem, right?

WRONG! The mage had six large invisible flying guardians - air elementals or invisible stalkers, I think. I managed to grab the guy after taking 42 points of damage from his Vampiric Touch spell, but as I held him pinned his guardians started to tear me to pieces. Fortunately we were in an incredibly tight space, so only two or three could reach me at a time. But still, within a couple of rounds I'd gone from 154 hit points to 3(!). Death seemed inevitable, and I admit I would have been kind of bummed.

Our cleric tried to dimensionally anchor the mage but instead missed and hit me, removing any chance that I could escape if things went badly. He made up for it by casting a Heal spell on me, restoring 120 hit points.

The air elementals tore into me again, and within moments I was back down to 2 hit points! Death again seemed a certainty. I tried to resign myself to fate.

In the meantime the mage had somehow managed to cast a spell that made a chaos monster appear in the room behind us. It couldn't reach me, but its flailing attacks hit our other front-line fighter - and started the process of turning him into an insane chaos monster himself. In a round or two he would begin to tear us all apart, infecting the lot of us. The party magicians had no magic to stop this effect. We were doomed.

Our cleric was running low on healing magic, but he used a wand and cast another spell, giving me back another 70 or so hit points altogether. But the air elementals buzzsawed me again; statistically, I was almost certainly dead.

Their chance to hit me was so high that only on a roll of 1 on a d20 would they miss. And to everyone's amazement one of them did, in fact, miss! I should note that the DM made all the attack rolls in front of everyone; this wasn't a fudge to keep a character alive. In fact, my character is one of only two original characters who haven't died yet.

The result left me at exactly zero hit points, unable to continue grappling the mage. I was dazed, our fighter was rapidly mutating into the Blob, and at the last moment...one of the other party members managed to cut off the mage's finger. Freed from my grasp and the ring's mental bondage, he retreated (I'd squeezed him for a LOT of damage) and took his air elementals with him.

We teleported out of there to our home base, where high-level clerics were able to cure the chaos-infected fighter and heal the rest of us. Overall I'd taken more than 300 points of damage.

And in the real world, the time was 12:40am.

I drove home like a zombie and got into bed at 1:15am. Four hours and fifteen minutes later my alarm went off, and I had to get up and go to work.

But somehow I'm not quite as tired as I would have expected.

Jeeze, this is long. It's lucky I didn't bore you with the details!
bobquasit: (Default)
Diablo: I haven't had much free time lately, but I've managed to catch up a little with Diablo 2. One nice thing: since I upgraded to Windows XP, my system can now play all the cinematics. On the down side, when I start the game it freezes solid about half the time, requiring a full manual system shut-down. Once it has started, though, it's good to go.

I'd played a barbarian up to level 22; he was at Tal-Rasha's Tomb, but I suddenly found myself having real problems. When that happens it's usually time to drop back down to an easier area and level up a few times, and/or get some better equipment. But no equipment was available, and somehow I didn't feel like wandering around the Arcane Sanctuary for days on end. So I started up a new character, a sorceress.

It was more fun than the barbarian, so I stuck with it. On the old system the barbarian had been much easier to play than the sorceress, but this time the sorc was much easier than I expected. This may have been because I was playing smarter this time.

For example, in the old days my sorc had a HELL of a time with Duriel in Tal-Rasha's Tomb. I must have died thirty or forty times before I managed to kill him, at least. I remember running around with Blaze up for what felt like hours...it sucked.

This time, though, I stood there and cast Static Field over and over. It's already up to level 12 or so, so it has a nice range - and it wipes out 25% of the current hit points of all enemies in reach. Meanwhile my henchman kept firing arrows. I died twice, and then finally killed Duriel.

Another odd thing: my new sorceress is having a much easier time finding magic items than the barbarian did. The annoying thing is that they're items which would be great for the barbarian - and since I'm in single-player mode, I can't switch the items between characters. I've found the Barbarian Hauberk, Cleglaw's Pincers, and Cleglaw's Brace...all of which aren't much use to a sorceress, unfortunately.

The sorceress is up to level 26 now, and is in the jungle looking for Kurast.

D&D: Everyone else in my Thursday night D&D game is in the SCA, so they're all off for Pennsic this week...therefore no game last night. But last week (or was it the week before?) I came up with what I think was a pretty clever idea.

We needed to find someone who had been kidnapped. We didn't know who had kidnapped her, or where she was. She was completely blocked from scrying. There were virtually no clues at the kidnap site, and no witnesses. It seemed to be a total dead end.

And it was probably meant to be, but I found myself interested. I found myself pacing back and forth, trying to figure out some way to get more information.

Eureka! The Sending spell is not the same as scrying. It lets the caster send a 25-word verbal message and get a reply. I wasn't sure it would work, but it seemed worth a try. But now we had a new problem: you can only Send to someone you know personally, and none of us had known the kidnappee. In fact, NO cleric had ever met the victim.

I was thinking pretty furiously at this point. I'm not all that familiar with the D&D 3.5 system, but I remembered that spells can be placed in scrolls, which can be read by non-spellcasters with the appropriate skills. And one of the victim's servants, it turned out, could read magic scrolls.

The odds weren't good for success on the first try, but the DM rolled well and the message went through. The reply was a bit disconcerting; it seemed that the victim had chosen to leave, and her reply was either threatening, a prophecy of doom, or (possibly) a warning.

I don't know if we'll be following up this thread any time soon, but it was nice to have a chance to use my brain.


Currently Reading: Touched By the Gods by Lawrence Watt-Evans. A lengthy non-Ethsharic fantasy novel. Not bad, but not his best work; it's longer than his older novels, and somehow that doesn't seem like a good thing. One flaw, I think (at least as far as commercial success goes) is that the hero seems a bit dumber than LW-E's usual, and (spoiler, invisible ink - click and drag from here to the end to read) that he insists on rejecting his role as champion. If you want to appeal to teen-aged boys (which I suspect is the majority of the modern fantasy-readers demographic), you want to write something that those boys can identify with - and boys generally aren't into demanding a life of anonymity and non-recognition as a reward for feats of incredible heroism.

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February 2016

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