Friday, November 23, 2018

...And Everything Was Going So Well

I usually try to avoid game anecdotes, but this was so ridiculous that I feel the need to share.  The whole thing is up on Obsidian Portal, if you'd prefer.  Otherwise, here's the abridged version:

Four PCs, level 18. They're in the main city in the region, and slavery is legal. They're fighting against slavery, and they come up with a brilliant plan to infiltrate the gladiator pits and liberate the enslaved gladiators. So far, so good.

Knowing that the group was basically going to engage in a series of tense hallway fights this session, I explicitly told them to avoid area-effect spells in tight quarters, because any explosions will flow along the path of least resistance and possibly collapse corridors.  (Roughly as per Jeff Rients, as is good and proper.)

Also, I reminded them that slavery is legal in this city, so if you set off explosions or cause massive death and property damage, you look suspiciously like a terrorist organization. Yeah, you can cast meteor storm and collapse a large section of the gladiator pits, but you'll kill everyone inside and become wanted felons.

During their travels, the PCs have managed to upset the drow. While infiltrating the pits, the drow sent a Retriever drone to capture some of the party members. (It was a coincidence; the PCs just happened to be in the pits at the time.)

This worked to the PCs' advantage — this happened in a gladiator pit guard post, and the PCs worked it into some con that, "The drow are attacking the city and your city needs you! You need to suit up, and we don't know which guards you can trust, so let us sort that out! Also we need to free and arm the gladiators as reinforcements!"

(Of note, the PCs are in disguise so they won't be connected with this technically-illegal act.)

Here they are, before everything goes horribly wrong.
It totally worked. The guards were a little wary, but they fully believed the drow were beginning their onslaught against civilization, and they needed all hands. A couple of other guards who didn't hear this pitch got away and alerted the guard post that something weird was happening. Can't win 'em all.

So the PCs finally start marching up with their small army of soldiers and gladiators, and arrive just in time to meet with one of the high-ranking mob bosses, the guy who runs the pit. Said guy is a vampire and a wizard. Expecting this sort of trouble, the ranger casts silence before the vampire has a chance to speak. Being a cramped, spiral staircase, this turns into a brutal hallway fight between the fighter and the vampire. No magic, just punches. But the fighter is winning, and everything's going according to plan.

Then the wizard gets nervous, retreats out of the silenced staircase, and casts fireball (specifically, a big, nasty, overchanneled fireball) through his familiar, who is currently up near the vampire.

All hell breaks loose.

The fireball takes out every single guard in the staircase, mists the vampire (who ostensibly returns to his coffin to heal), and vaporizes the familiar. Every single slave they've rescued is killed. But the fireball does no damage to the PCs because the wizard can shield up to four people.

Unfortunately, the fireball also takes out the central support pillar for the staircase, collapsing this section of the gladiator pits and pinning the PCs under rubble. They survive, and dig their way out, but things only get worse from there.

They rest, they heal, they prepare to teleport out and try again. The wizard has never been here before, so he's just working from a description of this place. He accidentally teleports to a very similar-looking hallway in a dungeon 400 miles away. It takes the PCs maybe ten minutes to figure out they're not even in the same dungeon anymore, and they expended resources both to get here and to wander around.

Nice dungeon you have there.
It would be a shame if PCs teleported into it.
The wizard uses his last teleport to return to a place above the pits he knows, but by now, the entire City Watch is mobilized. They have to fight their way through some guards, fight another sentry, and use a teleportation circle to flee.

The Shields of the Sorrowfell, trying to fight this stupid construct and escape.
And in the chaos, they leave enough evidence for someone to figure out their true identities, thereby allowing the City Watch to legally and formally call for their arrest.

So remember, kids: don't cast fireball in enclosed spaces.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Dave Arneson Memorial Dungeon

So the last time I posted a shelfie picture on here was... ye gods, nearly five years ago.  Well, it took some doing, but the whole collection is currently on shelves.  I'll no doubt move a couple of things around, and I still need to figure out where I'm putting all the accessories and things, but here's some crappy cell phone pictures of the whole shebang.  Apologies about the mess; I took these pictures shortly after finishing the lion's share of the work.

But where are the D&D books, you ask?  Right here:

I just have to figure out a couple of storage options, clean the table, and we should be good to go.

Oh, lest I forget: there's a shelf of board games, but who cares about those?  (And astute observers will note a disturbingly-high amount of RPG paraphernalia creeping onto the board game shelves.)

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