Friday, April 19, 2013

Deadlands, Part XXXV

When last we left our heroes, they encountered The Doctor, got in a tussle with Bashiel, tried to help save the city, and got into a gunfight with Mr. Thane.  Jeb died.

Pour some out for your homies.

David and Rex burst into the hallway as the dust settles.  Father Seward prays over Jeb to no avail.  Then, the priest collapses, apparently unconscious.  The Gentleman appears and proclaims the state of affairs to be pathetic, and that outside help will be required.  He disappears.  Seeing that he is badly torn apart by gunfire, David takes a bootlace and sews a chunk back onto the Father.  Seward seems to be roused by this, and the group discusses their next move as the elevator starts sliding down the shaft.

Meanwhile, Morrow sends Rufina back upstairs to aid the others and finish the job.

Father Seward starts saying some final words over Jeb, but is interrupted as Rex props up Jeb's body as a makeshift barricade, and waits for the lift to enter into view.  The lift is full of dead bodies — constables, by their look — each bearing burn wounds.  Some clear liquid covers the floor of the lift.  Father Seward, not smelling anything flammable, walks forward and draws his gun.  Rex does likewise, and the two put a bullet in the head of each constable as Rufina enters the hallway.  They then collect the gatling pistols and ammunition and distribute them.  They explain the situation to Rufina, and decide to go up.  Rex makes a makeshift barricade out of the eight bodies, and the lift starts its ascent.

As the lift ascends, a keening wail can be heard from higher in the tower.  Father Seward takes the comparative calm to give Ruby his cross necklace, indicating that if he does not survive, to tell his daughter that he came back from the dead once to find her and give the cross to her.

As the lift rises, they see that rooms are forming archways out into the city.  The material of the tower travels outward, forming elevated avenues through these archways.  These bridges stretch outward to B ring for an unknown purpose.

The next floor reveals the guards locked in a shootout with unknown assailants.  Mr. Thane stands in the middle of the room, engulfed in unnatural flames.  He is apparently the source of the perpetual screaming.  Just before the lift moves out of view, so that nobody can return fire, Father Seward aims at Thane's head and fires.  The screaming abruptly stops as Thane slumps to the floor.

The next floor reveals another shootout.  Several constables and an automaton are engaged in combat with another group of gunfighters.  A balcony overlooks the city, and reveals two airships chained to the tower.  One appears to be Bella's airship.  The other has a Confederate flag draped across it.  The constables are attempting to reel Bella's airship toward the tower while allowing the other to leave, while the other group is attempting the opposite.

The assembled party decides to stop on this floor.  So far, given all the chaos, nobody has noticed their approach.

David and Ruby decide to stay on the lift.  Rufina is going to rush and take care of the automaton, while Father Seward and Rex are going to wait for her distraction to begin opening fire.  Father Seward and Rex move into position by the archway into the room as Rufina rushes toward the automaton.

As Rufina rushes through the gunfight, grapples the automaton, and begins bending one of its arms (using her own metal one), Rex and Seward begin opening fire on the very bewildered guards.  Several are defeated in very short order.  Rufina continues on the thing's arm, although she is forced to retreat when it turns its remaining gatling pistol arm on her.

The last guard throws his pistol over the edge and throws his hands up in surrender as Rex shoots him, killing him.  Father Seward puts a bullet in the automaton's head, partially damaging it, as he berates Rex for his callous action.  His nagging is cut short as the automaton turns and riddles him with gunfire, bisecting him.

David, Rex, and Ruby turn their guns on the automaton and destroy the thing.  Its head self-destructs and it lays still.  Their attention is turned in just enough time to see the airship with the Confederate flag collapse and fall to the street.

Meanwhile, a pair of muscular arms emerge from the airship to disengage the chain.  The airship is now maneuverable, but if it moves too far away, it can be fired upon, so Bella orders them to turn and move above the other airship.  Ollie — the owner of those muscular arms — orders the crew to drop grappling hooks on the enemy ship and tear into its envelope.

This maneuver is successful, and the airship collapses.

Bella congratulates Ollie on his successful maneuver, but indicates that he will serve better on the ground.  She tells him to "Give this to my giantess," kisses him passionately, hooks something to his back, and kicks him out of the airship.

The group attempts to determine if Father Seward is permanently dead or not, and David tries to stitch his two halves together.  When he does not rouse, they contemplate what to do next as they hear screams.  A very large man plummets toward the newly-created bridge, but is stopped by the rope attached to his waist. The rope goes slack, and collapses on the bridge.

Pictured: Not Ollie
Introductions are made, and he delivers Bella's kiss to Rufina.  He is somewhat puzzled as to why they are attempting to stitch a corpse back together when the lift begins to rise.

Rex takes position, and when he sees a hat, he starts firing at it.  Strangely, the bullets miss, but Rex has the distinct sensation that a bullet whizzes right past his head.

Once the head is visible, it is apparent that they are dealing with Cornelius Cobb.

He emerges from the lift and assesses the situation.  Seeing that Father Seward is down, he explains that the incident in Sweet Water has the potential to drag the whole of the world into Hell, and that this must be avoided.  The rest of them might be disposable, but the Father is instrumental to this plan and must be kept alive at all costs.  He then kicks Seward in the ribs and admonishes the creature inside him to do his part.  Seward opens an eye and looks at Cobb, and then begins writhing and groaning, apparently doing as it is told.  Rufina grabs Sewards face and looks into the open eye, telling "Nathaniel" not to screw things up.

Cobb then tells the group to follow.  Ollie scoops up Seward's body and the group descends to the next floor down.  Cobb explains that they have to confront The Doctor, and gestures to the newly-formed avenue leading out into the city.  At the other end is The Doctor riding an fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex automaton.

Before he leaves them to their work, he whispers something to Ruby.  He then gets on the lift and exits.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spies for TSR

Nicole brought this short article to my attention, detailing the time TSR employee Colin McComb was tasked with spying on Gary Gygax and determining if he was stealing any materials regarding D&D (this was obviously after his ouster from TSR).

Worth a read.

Two D&D Magic Items

My Spelljammer game still hasn't come to pass, but I've been quietly plotting.  Through storming a brain, these two items appeared.  Enjoy!

(And there really aren't any spoilers, because their legend is spread far and wide.)

(AKA Godsbane; The Doom of Divinity)

From the days of the Dawn War on Khaldun, many are familiar with the tale of fallen Sorg and his magnum opus, the Ydinikuisuuden or Crux of Eternity.

Fewer are familiar with its elemental counterpart, the Godenschemering, or Godsbane.

The forging of the Eternal Cross was the death knell of the Primordial faction in the Dawn War, and it prompted a war of escalation.  A Primordial artisan forged the Doom of Divinity, a dagger utterly deadly to deities.  A potent magical weapon in its own right, the dagger unerringly seeks deities' weak points and severs the ties between them and the belief that sustains them.  After the Primordials were defeated, it is said that the gods themselves erased as many records of its existence as they could (the reason why nobody is quite certain whether it actually slew any gods) and hid it in a deathtrap dungeon.  To keep it away from their enemies, it is neither in the Astral Sea nor the Elemental Chaos, but hidden somewhere in the world.

In game terms, the Godenschemering acts as a +6 dagger.  It is Chaotic (Chaotic Neutral if using the 9-point alignment) with Intelligence 20 and Ego 28.  It can speak and communicate telepathically, able to speak Common, the Chaotic (Neutral) alignment language, and the language of the Primordials.  In combat, it deals standard damage for a +6 dagger, and an additional 1d3 cold damage.  It deals double damage to fire-based creatures, detects sloping passages within 20 feet, detects divine entities within 60 feet, and detects secret doors within 30 feet.  It is vampiric, healing half of all damage dealt to a victim with each attack (up to the attacker's maximum, of course).  Finally, it allows the user to turn invisible once per day for 40 minutes.

Notably, a successful attack with Godenschemering targeted at a deity has a 95% chance of destroying that deity outright.

The dagger seeks the utter destruction of all divine entities, everywhere.  With its high Intelligence and Ego, few can resist the dagger's demands, and those who attempt to defy its orders are overtaken by the dagger's personality and forced to begin hunting the most dangerous game.

It is the DM's decision whether the dagger's god-smiting effect has any effect on demigods, angels, and other associated divine servitors.

The Axes of Evil

One of my Spelljammer players from something something Blogstrorum made a backstory/future quest request, and this popped out.

A legendary item from Rockulon Prime, the Axes of Evil are a pair of battle axes forged by the drow and supposedly masterminded by the ancient drowtech supercomputer known as The Wykydtron.  They were used in the Drow War, only to be lost until they reappeared in the hands of the infernalist Wraithsmasher bloodline.  The axes' whereabouts are unknown after that, but it rumored that they were lost somewhere in the frozen north, awaiting rediscovery by an intrepid soul.

The Axes of Evil are always found together, and are a pair of +2 battle axes.  Like some magic swords, these axes are sentient and sapient, communicating with the wielder by way of speech and telepathy; the pair of axes has Intelligence 17 and Ego 14.  They are Chaotic (Evil), and have the ability to speak and communicate telepathically, communicating in Common, the Chaotic (Evil) language, the language of Elves, and the silent language of the drow (this last it can convey with its telepathy).

If the axes win a personality conflict against a wielder, they curse the character — a cursed character is driven berserk in combat, attacking the nearest creature until no creatures are living within 30 feet.  A character so cursed will automatically have the Axes of Evil appear in his hands at the beginning of each combat, and will be forced to save vs. magical device (or equivalent saving throw, such as AD&D's Rods, Staffs, and Wands) or become berserk each time this happens.

The curse can be lifted through an exorcism or wish spell.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Whole Bathroom Scene

First things first: I'm a bad journalist.  Why?  I haven't discussed the whole Dwimmermount debacle, largely because I don't care.  But I guess I should note it (and probably care), because I'm a backer.

I have a very laissez-faire attitude when it comes to starting kicks and go-going indies.  (Y'know, crowdfunding.)  As long as it seems like a total rip-off isn't in progress, I'm okay with delays, even somewhat long delays.

Basically, I casually assume that people are going to mess things up.  That's factored into my expectations.

As such, I haven't been paying attention to the Dwimmermount updates except to occasionally download my playtest materials.  The other day, I actually read one of the updates and was...surprised.

The campaign originally ended on April 14, 2012, with a Dwimmermount release expected in August of the same year.  The project became riddled with delays, James Maliszewski's father died, Maliszewski dropped off the face of the planet with all the backers' money (and without paying some of his freelance artists), contact was reestablished right around the time people started grumbling about legal action, and now the whole shebang is Autarch's show once they got the money and intellectual property rights.

(Incidentally, Maliszewski totally dropped off the planet; his last blog update is December 11, 2012, and he was one of the most prolific OSR bloggers around.)

Drama is inescapable, especially on the internet, where it gains its own gravity.  And makes its own gravy.

Anyway, it just interested me to immerse myself back into the controversy, largely because I had been ignoring it.  Interested parties can get a good summary on this Google+ post by Jeff Rients, or from the Dwimmermount Kickstarter updates.  There's also the official Dwimmermount G+ community for one's perusal.

Hardcore parties can get this story, along with other sordid RPG Kickstarter details, from this series of posts at Tenkar's Tavern.

(And parties with entirely too much time can see the Seinfeld clip from where I got the post title.  Specifically at 3:04.)

That Old Blogroll Eggroll

Some more aggregation because my players read this, so I have nothing to give at the moment.  (I'm running my 1st-level AD&D dungeon, The Tower of Lord Vau, this Sunday, so that will hopefully go up in the not-too-distant future.)

There's apparently a new World of Darkness book line, and I totally missed it!  Mummy: the Curse has been released.  I have not yet obtained it, and so have no thoughts to offer, although I'm certain this information is relevant to someone reading this blog.

The Drinking Quest 3 Indiegogo campaign is right on track to hit its goal by the deadline.  I haven't played the first two, but I've heard good things; it's a comedy card game/RPG.  And it's a drinking game.  Relevant to the many.  The first one is currently out-of-print, although you can purchase it through the Indiegogo campaign.

This blog post from Character Generation details a gamer running a solo Pathfinder game for a first-time player, her mother.  It's quite hilarious.  You know the intro blurb to the DCC RPG: "You're no hero.  You're an adventurer: a reaver, a cutpurse, a heathen-slayer, a tight-lipped warlock guarding long-dead secrets. You seek gold and glory, winning it with sword and spell, caked in the blood and filth of the weak, the dark, the demons, and the vanquished. There are treasures to be won deep underneath, and you shall have them."  Yeah, that's totally her mother.  Read it!

The same author more recently wrote a piece regarding her new campaign set in an ecumenopolis modeled after Ravnica.  For background, the group played Lords of Waterdeep, followed by Fiasco.  She'll then launch the actual Pathfinder game itself.  As a bonus, she even includes the Fiasco playset she wrote!

Finally, I happened to catch a show on National Geographic detailing the Bahia Emerald.  Apart from the geological processes that form gemstones, I've never much cared about them; preparing old-school dungeons has whetted my appetite for gems and precious stones of all stripes.  This story is truly fascinating, and contains all the elements that make for a good roleplaying game scenario: the largest emerald in the world is discovered, and several parties claim ownership.  It also touches on the intrigue present in the world of appraisal and gem trading.  (Who knew?)

Interested parties with forty-five minutes to kill may watch the program in its entirety below:

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