Friday, May 26, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons Session 5: In Which We confront Tiamat worshippers

When we last saw our heroes, they had just finished a mystical skeleton battle, in which they had to pray to Bahamat to stop the minion onslaught. The drawers under the  statue had popped out, revealing some loot.  It including 2 gems and a nice statue, the group took some bids and bought them from the pot, then split the pot.

The door opened and a dank mist flowed into the room. The group cautiously approaches the door and opens it. The new room has a slightly raised platform in the middle of the room with a sarcophagus and a paladin statue was on top. Skeletons in gear scattered around the room, one was draped over the sarcophagus.

As the group approaches the platform, the skeleton on the sarcophagus popped up and demanded their reason for being there. After Karath explained his mission and that he has been touched by Bahamat (Yes, he showed us on the doll where he was touched...)

The knight told the group that the paladin had been betrayed and murdered by Tiamat worshippers. They also caused the priory to sink into lake. It is revealed that the knight has a shiny red set of armor for Karath and dun-dun-dun the scale of Bahamat. Dally wants to lick it, but something in Karath's demeanor says nope. She and Legolass made eye contact, silent understanding that they would find it later and see what happens when licked. (They have a theory that licking an actual godly item will do something neat)

The team takes a short rest and makes their way back to the napping Malki. There are a couple booby traps that were not there on the way in. They are not sure if someone has been through or if they were designed to show up after the vault was opened.  That is never revealed. They find Malki and head back to the room they found him in originally. Dally finds a bunch of (now) unimportant books. They take a long rest and start to follow the unfollowed paths on their maps.

They find an armory with a crude torture chamber, a kitchen, and wine cellar. almost all of the wine was disgusting ... And Dally tried very hard. She found one very nice 300gp bottle and stored it away in her bag for later. Cthumoo found a secret pathway, the group sneaked around  and found a big ole orc that they killed. They found some loot and moved on, finding a room full of goblins they slaughter.Dally finds a full set of playing cards and is really excited for some reason.

They move back through the dungeon with no resistance or signs of life. They finally find a giant courtyard that is exposed. There are spooky ghosts in there, fighting. When cthumoo touched one it turned and looked at him, irritated. They saw a dragonborn in the same red armor that Karath was wearing. The ghost Bahamat fighters defeated the ghost Tiamut worshipers and then one of his men turned and kill him.

"KARAAAAAATH!!!" a man screams, Or rather a dragonborn.  he looks just like Karath and turns out to be Karal? maybe?  It turns out to be his clutchmate, who has the same training as Karath, but has turned to Tiamat. Karal is standing with another fighter and a priest, who tells the group that they already got what they are looking for and the town has nothing to worry about from this group anymore. He made it sound like maybe something big was going down in the next 3 days (maybe world ending events.)

The brother and priest walked away, sending the other fighter to deal with the group. The group quickly dispatched the fighter and his friends. They sat around discussing what to do next before pushing on, to hopefully find the brother and priest and recover whatever has been stolen from the Bahamat Priory.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Building a computer... And you can too!

The Mess on my Desk We've had some down time in our other gaming endeavors and Terraria just released a huge patch Lately when I run anything on my old alienware (2009) it sounds like it might die, and is pretty laggy.

I decided i needed a new computer and both BF and Brother told me I need to build it. I was on the edge of annoyed and flattered.. and maybe apprehensive. I just want it, I want it quickly, and I don't want to worry about the fact that I built it so it might be shitty.

Best Delivery Box Some Components, Piled on my Table

Computer in all its parts and boxes.Unfortunately the best advice was just "you can build a computer for half the price" and they know I love saving money. I don't really know a lot about parts. What parts do I want/need, which will be best for my computer usage? Reddit has an amazing community, a series of subreddits devoted to building your own computer and joining the PC MasterRace (vs mac, or gaming systems)

I personally perused the /BuildaPC for a while and then /BuildaPCForMe. This second community is convenient and the main basis for my computer build.

They have a template to fill out where you document what programs you use a lot, what games you play, any weird things like "I like having USB plugins on the front panel" or "I have a dvd drive I am going to add" or "I need convenient support for two monitors" (all things I listed) and you add a budget. Mine was $600 (I didn't *think* I needed the OS, I was going to use my copy of Windows 7, but I'll get to that) I also knew I had a little leeway in case I decided to upgrade here and there.

My original answer came in from /u/HAThating101

$188.88 @ OutletPC
$78.88 @ OutletPC
$55.99 @ Newegg
$42.99 @ Amazon
Video Card
$168.99 @ SuperBiiz
$26.99 @ NCIX US
Power Supply
$20.98 @ Newegg
Wireless Network Adapter
$12.89 @ OutletPC
Case Fan
$2.99 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates)
Mail-in rebates

Processor installed in the Motherboard
I made a couple changes - I bought my case from Amazon, it was $10 more expensive, but I saved $15 in shipping. Super Biz didn't have my video card, so I added it for an extra couple dollars from Newegg. (however, again I probably saved the shipping amount) I actually decided to go with an rx580 instead of the 570. it was $30 more and a higher processing power.

Anyway long story short, i bought those pieces and put them  together in the right order.

Short story long: wtf.

Getting ready to cut it all openHeads up, AMD Processors don't support installing Windows 7.  It shuts down USB support when trying to install the OS. Drop $100 on Win 10, USB For days.

The best option was to get an adapter  Nope, wait.  Your keyboard will only work with the ps2 adapter if your keyboard originally was wired to connect by ps2. So unless your keyboard is already USB but came with a ps2 converter the adapter won't work!

Video CardThe OTHER option was to get an old school ps2 keyboard for one use. Cool cool cool cool.  What do you mean amazon only has them for $75+?

So I ran my ass down to BestBuy and bought Windows 10.

I also ran into some issues with using the wrong screws, so my motherboard had too much give (like i guess it should have enough give so it doesn't snap, but not enough to ever wiggle or touch anything it shouldn't be touching)

So every time I did anything, like plug things in, my video card would turn off. I don't want to use the word short out, because that still scares me.

Motherboard Back panel
I took everything out and balanced out the screws. spent like a day installing drivers and thinking i got the most updated one.

I am pretty sure i'm all set.

The only thing messed up now is Terraria has a glitch in which my character freezes but the world around me keeps gong, and i can see everything going. ALL MY DRIVERS are updated.  Why!?!

We spent all the free time for a week or two playing Terraria. whenever the snow storm event (world storm event) if I am in the snow biome, my character just sits there. No one can hit me, I can't move.. for 15-20 minutes.

but it will unfreeze eventually. When I was hosting the server it sucked, because i couldn't just log out and come back, or else we lost any progress, and sometimes the loot, if we had recently put anything in inventory. So I would have to wait it out. When Brother started hosting, I could just alt-f4 and gtfo.

We finished all the bosses in Terraria and now I'm using the computer to update my character sheets and maybe start some campaign notes on my wannabe campaign.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

International TableTop Day!

To those of you who follow this blog and don't know what International Tabletop day is... What are you doing here?... Haha, jaykay.

It is a day when Friendly Local Game Shop (FLGS) and game stores online have semi-underwhelming sales and get exclusive promos for games we all love. Dixit has had several promos. I haven't picked them up, but I have eyed them on ebay a few times. ($17 for one card is kind of out of my interest zone)

I, being the non-social gamer that I am, opted to spend the afternoon with my friend and her husband. The same couple I play D&D with; we also have reached May on Pandemic Legacy.

The premise of the Pandemic series is that you have a map of the world, and using a cast of characters, you try to find cures for 4 diseases spreading across the globe. It's fun, It is one of the first board games I ever bought, and we've played it a lot over the years. I have the old edition, but my friend bought to play with her kids and friends when I am not around, and the new edition has more pieces.

Pandemic *Legacy* (Season 1) is one of newly trending legacy games. Legacy means you make permanent changes to your game board, so every time you play, it is a little different than the last time. Pandemic Legacy takes place over 12 months. It is set up so that you get two attempts at "winning" each month, but the damages still take place. We failed May twice in a row, and had to make permanent changes each time. Every month you draw cards from the "legacy deck" which tells you how many to draw and which compartments of your secret, advent-calendar-style dossier to open.

There are 8 sealed boxes and several sheets of sealed advent-style information. The legacy deck tells you which items to open. Every month we end up opening a little more. Each door has stickers in them, some update the actual rules in the book, some provide stickers to modify the board, or the character sheets.

Pandemic Legacy is scary and makes you think about every single move you make, as permanent changes are made to your board every time you play. Each outbreak is marked by a numbered sticker, which you update each time that city outbreaks, 1-5. Each number represents limits placed on the city - it takes extra actions to move in and out, you have to discard cards to move in and out, or you straight can't go there, unless you have the ability to.

If you are in a city when it outbreaks, you get a permanent scar on that character. on the third scar, that character dies and is removed permanently from the game. In our box, the medic (Sanchez) got one scar and then we upgraded him so that he won't receive scars for being in a city when it outbreaks, because he is important for disease control and has played every single game.

We also played a few rounds of Star Realms, a two player, space themed, Deck Building game. It's fun. Ended up lending it to my friends so they could get a couple more plays out of it.

The last game we attempted was Food Chain Magnate. We waited until kind of late and tried to learn how to play - reading through several pages of dense rules with nto enough examples (and terms like "orthoganally adjacent".. which means shares an edge with, not-diagonal, n-e-s-w.

We were all a little worn out from the rest of the evenings activities, and i didnt have a quick rules layout, so we got worn out mentally and were making bad choices that quickly bit us all in the asses, so we decided to put a bookmark in it and come back to it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons Session 4: In Which We Solve Some Puzzles.

The group explores the Hallway to the west of the room. They peak in a few rooms, one is completely caved in, but we hear voices in there. They find a 20x20 empty closet and decide to fortify, hunker down and take a long rest, as it has been nearly 24 hours since they left the Oaken Staff. Dally is still feeling rested and decides to quietly hum to the group, and the shaken goblin butler, Malki, who is quite shaken. She stays up tending to those who were infected with the filth fever from the rat encounter, Legolass wakes up a bit also to help tend. She also holds watch so they only need to take a 6 hours rest instead of 8. This ends up being a moot point.

As the group starts waking up, they ask Malki, who has curled between Cthumu, the large Minotaur and the farthest wall from the door, about the schedules. They hear a series of bells, marches, voices the correlate to the schedule he told the group. The sit around, eat, share some food with the goblin and make a plan. Malki tells them that he knows where the dragon lives and gives them vague directions to get there. After more food and some alcohol, he agrees to show them the way. They wait for the guards to go to sleep and then they will super sneak to that area.

At first they are not sure if Malki is taking them to the food or the dragon, but it turns out that both are down the same hallway. Malki tells them that the food is one way and the dragons in the other. After they sacrifice some trail rations for him, he leads them to the correct door. They open it, and after having dropped nearly 40 feet into the sunken temple, they found themselves under open air. It looks as though the room had been half full of dirt, but a giant pathway from their door to another door has been cleared. There is a giant statue of Fellick, Caller of Stars, who was a great dragonborn cleric 2000 years ago. Malki points the group ahead and refuses to go any further. Dally, not wanting to waste time fighting him or risking his life, offers another trail ration and some of Karath’s ale (yes, he has been toting a giant keg of ale around with him) and tells him to be very quiet, and hide up in the dirt, behind the statue. He agreed.

The group continues into the large room, recognizing it as a large priory. They close the door and when they turn to the room, there are a ton of armed dragonborn with giant pikes, positioned in fighting stance. The group instantly recognizes that they are ghosts. They move to the front of the large room, seeing some men arguing over how to treat a figure that is prone. One figure says it should be banished, as it was a traitor. Another says that he fought for the cause and is a hero and belongs in the crypts with the others. They go into the crypts. When the group goes to follow but the door is locked. Floki and Karath have been watching the giant Bahamat statue at the front, it looks like it is watching them. It tells Karath “I come anight unsummoned, I leave at dawn unbidden.” Drunk on his stash of ale, he has a hard time remembering, so Dally approaches and takes notes as the statue repeats. As the group realizes it’s a riddle, they settle down and start saying words they think may be the answer. Before joining the group, Cthumoo pushes off the wall and says “What if it’s stars y’all?” and immediately the crypt door opens.

The door opens on a long hallway, which leads them down into the crypts. They walk through a series of progressively smaller room, all with the same three statues in them, Legolass sees that there are Paladins, Clerics and Warriors. They inspect each room but don’t find much other than the statues, two of which have been destroyed. At the end of the hallway leading through these rooms is a large door with a silver dragon’s head coming from the middle. The dragon’s head is in the middle of three circles, like a bullseye. In each loop there are round holes cut in. In the hallway, to each side there are holders with large stone tubes, some say Warrior, some say Cleric, some say Paladin. They look like they just fit inside the holes in the door – like keys. In the center there is a puddle of dried blood.

The team realizes that there are 4, 6 and 10 holes in the circles, just as there were 4, 6 and 10 statues in the rooms. Dally runs back and jots down the order of the statues in each room, and then she and Floki sit down work out the puzzle. They could tell it was Draconic in nature. That north is very important, and that the language starts north and goes to the right. Using that knowledge, they put the tubes into the holes, There were no indication that this was right or wrong, everything clicked/locked into place as they slid it home. They realize that they may have been one space off in their placement. There were two destroyed statues, so they looked for a pattern within each ring and, expecting traps, they all stood back as Floki used Mage hand to put the last piece in. As he did, the dragon’s mouth opened, revealing a handle. He used his Mage Hand to manipulate the handles. It promptly slams down. All of the tubes are pushed out of the door, onto the floor.

The second attempt they adjust their plan, but still use mage hand to manipulate the door knob. This time it is a success, the door opened. The smell of dark, unopened crypts floods the area. They enter, seeing a long corridor with sarcophagi lining each side, the room seems to open up at the back. The door closes and skeletons appear rom the sarcophagi, some undead skeletons flank the group and a flaming skeleton appears at the far end. The team starts fighting, easily destroying the skeleton minions. The flaming skeleton and undead skeletons put up more of a fight. As they destroy all enemies, more appear in the opposite layout. Dally heads towards the opening of the room, Karath and Cthumu hold off the undead and minions, Legolass and Floki do some ranged damage.

Dally finds a large room with two statues, checks for arcane and finds words written in Draconic, one of the few languages she doesn’t speak. She calls to Floki, who suddenly remembers he also speaks draconic and he runs to the room; Translating for her - It is a long prayer to Bahamat, ending in “kneel before me.” She sinks to her kneels and offers a prayer. The enemies disappear and a drawer opens under the statue. Within the drawer are 25 gold pieces, 2 gems worth 100gp/each and a platinum dragon statue worth 250gp. Dally suggests that instead of waiting until they get to a rich town that can afford to buy those items, interested parties can “buy them” from the pot and then we split that gold 5 ways. Karath expressed interest in buying the statue, Dally agreed to buy the gems if no one else wanted them.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Designs & Dungeons & Dragons

Lordaelyn Penrose, Bard Extraordinaire's BattlesheetAs I like to joke when doing math, science, political and basic common sense assessments - I have an art degree. (technically.. It's only a 2 year/Associates of ARTS, but whatever, it counts) That said, I have been putting my skills to use for my dungeoneering adventures.

Most recently I have created a battlesheet for all my spells/powers, abilities and armor. (I know we have character sheets, but this is 100x easier for my brain to process) I was planning on using InDesign but got frustrated with some settings and ended up using my old friend Photoshop.

Sidenote: I recognize the goofiness in taking a picture instead of just saving a jpg from photoshop, but that would require effort, and my phone was super handy. Plus you get to see my notes and stuff.

I am in the process of swapping from a scattered/mostly melee attacker to a mid-range leader/controller style. I have been swapping my melee for Ranged and burst attacks. This will allow my passive buffs (like Virtue of Valor) to hit the longer ranged Sorcerer and Ranger, and the melee Barbarian and Paladin. Especially since I am a tiny-bit squishy, so I need to stay out of melee range at best.

I used Photoshop to arrange all my Powers/Spells, rituals, bonuses, languages and other abilities. I also added an area for my weapons and armor, so I dont have to dig that sheet out for reminders. There is ample space around the margins for notes (my reminder to self that I need to pick up ranged weapons and an implement, since I started swapping melee for Ranged powers mid-dungeon..)

I have color coded for Heals, Movement and Damage. So if someone needs to be healed, I can skim my page to see what I have open. I also have the action type color coded, so Standard/Minor/Immediate-interrupt, so I can remember to use my minor actions each turn if needed, and if stuff happens (missed hits or bloodying/killing) I can look at the yellows and see if anything triggers.

On top of this, I have downloaded a flashcard app, so I can study my spells in my downtime - I have such a hard time remembering what I need to do. I should probably set up another set of cards with "this is the situation, what spell should you use" so I can get quicker. I just started using the cards between Session 3 and 4, and I already have noticed a difference in performance speed.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It's my creation... is it real?

Fourth Attempt at Life Tracker - Printed. First attempt at Life Tracker, in SketchUp Second attempt at Life Tracker, in SketchUp Fourth attempt at Life Tracker, in Cura First and Third attempt at Life Tracker, Printed Prototypes
I know the last few posts have been boring to non-d&d players, and a bit exposition heavy.

In our d&d sessions, the group seemed to like the book base I printed for my miniature (which is funny because the character is obsessed with books and has a small library in her backpack, for buying/selling/trading.) My DM described a life counter style he would like to use for his monsters/mobs.

His request was to have three digits, and he sketched out his idea - which was basically a flat counter with three 0-9, all stacked on top of each other, so that 000-999 would be visible from the top view.

I found a couple interesting things on thingiverse, but nothing that works how I wanted, so I opened up SketchUp and designed a couple prototypes of my own.

My first design was a little cumbersome and blocky. I never printed anything to keep all the pieces together, so it was just a cup with three thing rings that had a small gap between them (for spinning ease.) But if you flip it over, the three rings fall out.

My second design was intended to print a topper piece that would snap into place, and hold the rings down. I also decided to make the rings more nested, with a thin disc on the bottom of each, with just a small hole in the very middle to stick on the spindle. I liked this idea more, but the snap on top didn't work very well.

My third design was base-free. Keep the nested pieces with the bottoms, and stuck a small spindle through, capping it with a snapon piece that has just an indication arrow. This is neat, but harder to change the numbers, because it makes some weird pressure points, causing numbers to spin out of turn.

My fourth design incorporated the base again, so there could be a clear line from side to side. (An arrow on the base and the center. I designed the center of the base to stick up through the disks and another snap on top to hold everything down and also line up with the outside arrow. Also, realizing how big these were coming out, and how large the battlefield in 4e is (25mm squares for each mini) I made the discs smaller.

I colored the numbers in with sharpies because I didn't want to mess around with swapping colors. The reaction at game night(Session 3) was mostly interested, but unenthusiastic. It got a look and then they got pushed to the side, unused for the evening. To be fair, they are just prototypes, and they are kind of huge, even the smallest one is 40mm diameter. The DM commented on their size, so my next prototype will be working towards functionality + small size/printer detail ability. On our next game night(Session 4), DM did whip them out and use, our battlefield was small and easy to put them to the side, corresponding with each monster.

Going forward, I am going to expand on my 4th design, making them thinner and maybe resize some of the spacing so it is easier to spin. Let's see if i can get 3 digits and a base within 25 mm.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons Session 3: In Which Floki Acquires a Goblin Butler

The party has had a short rest, healed up and are ready to continue. They notice a well-traveled path, with wagon tracks going deeper into the mountains, a footpath going south towards the road leading to town, and the path they took through the woods. The team debates going back to town and seeing the end of the festivities/getting help for the barge. Fueled by the hatred/blood feud against Tiamut, Karath talks the team into following the wagon tracks. The Ranger, Lego-Lass, scouts ahead. The group follows her, until dawn, when they reach the edge of the forest.

On the edge of view, far in the distance, across a valley, a mountain rises, with an obvious fortress built into it, Green skinned beings man them, but it is too far away to see if they are goblins or dragonborn. There were three towers in the side of the mountain, 2 ballista. A waterfall “The Trickle Stream” coming down the mountain, into the hockspur river, that runs past Hocks Hollow. The team sits and debates how to approach the fortress. Floki suggests taking some time to disguise themselves as tumbleweeds. Dally suggests waiting for nightfall, as there is absolutely nowhere to hide between the edge of the forest and the fortress. Karath, spurred by writhing hatred for Tiamut, suggests they approach under the pretense of joining the cult. They do have a minotaur with them, which is usually an evil/destructive race.

The team approaches the fortress, Legolass following behind and making sure Floki sticks with the group, as he tries to fall behind. As the they approach, and begin ascending the steep road towards the first tower and gate, the Ballista begins spinning towards them. Goblins pop up and demand to know who they are and what they want. Karath demands to speak to the leader about joining the tribute for Tiamut. He gives a pretty decent combination of persuasion & intimidation to get the trust of the goblins. He also pays a tithe, with a gem worth 100g. He is forced to abandon his shield, as it has Bahamat all over it. Surprisingly, they do not require Dally to abandon her new Blood-Singers armor, which also has Bahamat on it. Legolass picks it up silently and hides it in her bag. The team begins their escorted ascent to the top of the mountain.

Floki flicks water into the face of every goblin he passes, saying “May Tiamut be with you!”

The team passes the final gate. The boss of this area is not allowed to leave, but lets them pass. They climb until they reach a giant clearing, near the top of the mountain. There is a giant bowl shaped dip, like a crater. Between Dally’s historical knowledge and schmoozing and the bar in town, Legolass’s natural observations and Karath’s religious knowledge, they figure out the following things:

  • Within 10 years the townsfolk had failing crops, 5-6 years ago the goblins show up, 2 years ago they started prospering.
  • They can see the top of an Ancient dragonborn keep, whose name is lost. One of very few with a priory (where they train paladins) Rumors that the scale of Bahamat is somewhere inside.
  • Across the bowl is ancient, it fell into itself.
  • It was covered by water for years, and recently dried up. A dam is across the bowl, connected to the trickle stream.

It looks as though the giant Priory with a giant statue of Bahamat has collapsed into the ground, maybe a sinkhole. They walk to the edge of the giant walkway, which has been dropped a bit. They move into the structure, noticing a giant man powered lift, dropping several feet into the Priory. The Team climbs down; Dally and Floki fall, taking minor damage. They look around, seeing two huge oaken doors, shaped like giant scales. Cthumu, the Minotaur, can comfortably fit through them. There is a door to the north, obviously well-travelled, and a door to the south west, which looks like it hasn’t been opened in a long time.

The team, of course, goes to the door less-traveled, and finds an ancient trap that no longer works. They walk down a dusty corridor, following the sounds of rats. From nowhere a couple sturges materialize, rats munching on a few corpses down the hallway, two old, one newer. The group fights the rat swarms and rat kings, and destroy both sturges. They move on down the hallway, but the hallway comes to an immediate end, with rubble closing off all passages. Floki hears a voices and finds a tunnel, where the rats and sturges must have come from. He senses some arcane in the distance.

The team quickly crawls through the tunnel, into a room that drops off about 6 feet. There is rubble all over the floor and it looks like the ceiling is barely holding up. After a quick, fast debate, they decide to follow the next, smaller tunnel, which drops ten feet into an abandoned ballroom that is partially collapsed. There is a giant Oaken double-door to the west, and a secret passage to the north. The team opens the door and sees a lighted passageway, then hear goblins walking through the path. Floki hears more voices and can sense fleeting arcane in the area. He narrows it down to the western wall.

The team explodes a way through the door, there is a bookshelf, and some broken tables, and see a goblin trying to hide. Floki takes an intense interest in him, as the goblin is the source of arcana. He spends some time befriending the goblin, who is very scared of Karath, the dragonborn. Malki, the goblin, repeatedly tells Karath that he should leave, should go out the secret passageway in this second room. He tells them some info, mostly that the other goblins are trying to kill him because he stole some magic boots. They fit Dally, so she agrees to swap her very nice boots for his magical boots, so that they won’t be hunting him anymore. Floki charms Malki into joining the team, but Malki doesn’t want to continue exploring, he wants to go-go-go! They end up jamming him into a backpack and knocking him unconscious.

The team leaves through the secret passage, find a long corridor with many doors, some noises, and it appears to end at the same spot that the ballroom ended, with rubble. They go through the nearest door, stumbling into a giant chamber, well lit, full of goblins and wagons full of stuff. They destroy all the goblins and take the booty – 560 gold. (Floki, Karath and Dally all level up)