Wow-wee! A zeppelin!!

So we killed for guards and now we have an airship.

That sounded odd. Perhaps I should contextualize.

I have been playing D&D again at the FLGS, Above Board Games. Sarah met some other mom on her mom's group messageboard whose husband plays in a Wednesday night game there, so Sarah encouraged, nay, demanded, I check it out. I did. Husband's game was full, but another group that played said I could join immediately "if I played a healer". Thus, Brannon the Cleric was created.

For a few weeks now, I have been wanting to chronicle this game. It's interesting to be a player again after a long layoff. With all the 4th Edition news and hype coming out, it is interesting to compare and contrast a 3.5 game with the upcoming new edition (at least what we know about it). Plus I think my long layoff has given me a new perspective on the game and those who play it. So I am going to try and write these things up in an interesting, thoughtful, and hopefully funny way. It's not an attempt at a Story Hour or anything, because my table observations are going to be a big part of my write ups. I'll just dive right in with this week and try to fill in the past few weeks (this was my 4th time playing with these guys) as we progress.

We were sent by a lich to destroy a construct being built by The Black Hand, who are emerging as the principle antagonists in the game. So principle, in fact, that my good cleric apparently has no qualms about taking orders from an evil undead sorceress. Everyone else in the group is what I call neutral-pragmatic. The alignment description for NP is "NP characters do whatever it takes to stay on the quest the DM has put them on, because otherwise there would be no adventure." I am not saying the game is a railroad. Actually, I am fine with railroad games. But the default assumption is alignment doesn't really matter, because we are all going to engage in the quest anyway. That kinda makes sense and is probably the reason they are getting rid of alignment in 4ed.

Oh, and calling these things "quests" bugs the crap out of me. It's new school MMOG parlance and I don't like it. And stay off my lawn, too.

ANYWAY, the litch's undead army created a diversion for us to sneak though the enemy lines. Apparently, the undead are at war with the Black Hand. There are dragons and zeppelins involved, but I missed last session so I am not sure what is going on. And no one could really tell me, because no one else takes notes about the mission or plot. Tonight, when the lich gave us our task, I wrote stuff down. When I said to the group, "okay, this is what we are supposed to do" and read my notes, they looked at me like I had just given them the 12 step plan for solving the energy crisis. Easily impressed, I guess. Probably because the DM would have just reminded them what they were supposed to do when the time came anyway.

We journeyed across the grasslands to the enemy camp. En route, we were attacked by werewolves. Our burly fighter had a silvered sword, so he drove them away. I thought this was a nice encouter, actually, one that made use of a cool item the fighter has been carrying around for awhile and hasn't really used. The guy that plays the fighter is back into D&D after a LONG hiatus, so he is still getting the hang of the rules. And, as we all know, there are lots of rules in 3.5. I think he has a lot of potential, because he kept asking for descriptions of things, including combat, and seems to be really trying to learn the rules and become a better gamer.

Werewolves driven off, we made it to the camp. It was ringed with guards and, with a fighter and a cleric in heavy armor, we are not too sneaky. The rogue came up with the idea of having us armored types try to sneak in via the beach, since the waves would mask our clanking armor. A good plan (the rogue's player is a veteran. More on him later). We got some bonues to our MS check and these bonuses were good enough to offset the -10!! we had to sneaking in full plate. We made it to the four guards around the construct and attacked.

Our principle spellcaster is a dragonborn sorceror. That dude can do a lot of crap, including breathing a cone of fire and immolating himself periodically with nasty results for anyone near him. Oh, and he has a mini-beholder as a familiar. And spells. He breathes his fire, gets hacked on by a guard, I heal him, the fighter wades in, takes a little damage, and we make short work of the guards. Well, they do, because I don't think I actually swung. I just healed the sorceror. While we were fighting the rogue was sneaking around finding the artificer. The rogue knocked him out and took his stuff, including power rings to control some of the constructs. And the airship. So the sorceror took the rings and tried to figure out what they did with Use Magic Device. (Which puzzled me. Why does an arcane spellcaster need use magic device? Must be some rules thing I am missing.)

So, um, that was it. No other guards came to check out the big huge combat where flame was shooting out everwhere from Mr. Dragon Sorceror. This was what disappointed me the most, actually. Not the lack of realism, but the loss of a potentially cool scene where we frantically figured out how to work the airship while guards descended upon us. The fight that did was a bit of a letdown, too. Just four guards stood in the way of our objective and they were easily taken out. Granted, they did almost knock the dragon guy unconscious, but that was only because he had to run to the front to use his breath weapon. I didn't get hit, nor did the rogue, and the only reason the fighter took damage was because of a critical. Dramatic tension? Who needs it!?

We also had a guy observing our session. I talked to him afterwards. He just moved to the area, seems really cool, and is looking for a game. I hope he comes back next week, but I think he may have been scared off by the guy who plays the rogue. He is a veteran gamer, runs games at cons, and has a lot of good ideas at the table. But he talks A LOT. And tends to be a bit overbearing with those good ideas at the table, especially in the face of some novice players (which we have) and a novice DM (which we sorta have). Our DM is a 19 year old guy who works at Chick-fil-a and is known as "french fry" because he works in fast food. He's nice and pretty smart and plans to go to college in the fall, but is clearly kinda new at this DMing thing.

An interesting thing happened with him and another visitor to the game tonight, but I have rambled too much already.


  1. Not that I am aware. Although the DM did say last night the region of the world we are in is "kinda like Eberron."

  2. Hey, nice to see that you are gaming in person again. Hopefully, you are enjoying yourself despite the issues. And redardless of the quality of this game, it may introduce you to a potential player pool for games you might run in the future.

    Shame about the the lack of good drama, though. That's something that I really pay attention to these days and it is typically THE major factor in determining the success of a session in achieving a memorable/enjoyable session.

    Tim's iPhone

  3. I think the guiding mantra of any GM should be "When the game slows for whatever reason, ask yourself 'What is the most exciting thing that could happen RIGHT NOW'?"

    Maybe that's in Robin Laws or something, but it's good advice.

  4. I didn't realize you were a gamer .. I joined a group playing Call of Cthulu a few months ago and we've been having a blast so far. It seems whenever the action slows down a bit (we go to the library a lot) the personalities of the characters come out to save the game from being a snooze fest.


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