Saturday, January 22, 2011

Game Notes: How it Ends, Part 1

Completing the hole in the notes that takes us to the very end of the game. Some details and plot points may be lost, conflated, or confused. If someone else remembers them differently, pray, speak up. Otherwise, this will serve as Floyd's dry-notes on how the game came to a conclusion.


After completing the challenges in the Tomb of Lugh (no small task, as there were three chambers in total, and one of them was full of undead creatures who wouldn't let the party sleep), Brix, Floyd, Guy, and Virgil collect the treasure at the end - a considerable payload. In addition to the music to the Lay of Lugh, there are many, many weapons, suits of armor, and magical items, a few of which come in sets. All of the primary party members end up wearing a full set of something; notably, Floyd stops wearing (though he doesn't get rid of) the Boots of the Jester to wear the Mal Nar set, a development that if it continues through to the fight of Visgoth, negates the prophecy of Future Virgil.

Virgil figures out a way for the party to bypass the challenges involved in exiting the tomb. The party returns promptly to the Eastern Lands, where Virgil is offered a position as a professor in the Arcanum, which he accepts. The party discusses what some perceive to be a lack of focus in completing their task, and the tendency to get bogged down by other responsibilities, side projects, etc. The party refocuses their effort on finding the lost page of Ethan's journal, and getting Guy's axe re-forged so that they can complete their next task. Amidst these goals, the threat of war between the prominent Eastern Lands houses looms.

Guy manages to get his axe remade, although the details of how exactly are somewhat hazy (sorry, folks), and the party makes its way to a side of the Eastern Lands yet unknown to them, where they encounter a society and culture so foreign to them that they know little of what to make from it. Their quest leads them to a confrontation with a Tojanida, who's diplomatic style causes the confrontation to escalate to the physical level. The fight proves to be tricky, as the Tojanida is housed within a magical water wall. To make matters more complicated, Harves Reath and Jarrod show up with Raven, a monk, an Blaine, a rouge, two warriors recruited from the Eastern Lands to be part of Visgoth's retinue in the Ten vs. the Twelve fight. The skirmish shifts to the party fighting them, but the party is forced to retreat before a satisfying conclusion can be reached.

Moving forward, the party finds and fights its way through an ancient temple devoted to a serpent god (not one the party has encountered previously) where they find the last page of Ethan's journal hidden. They also find an adventuring party that had been turned into stone. They are able to restore two of the adventurers, one who thanks them and helps them fight their way out of the temple. The other is the gnome wizard Numnar. Numnar is an evil, murderous psychopath with delusions of grandeur, and the party decides that it would be foolish of them to let Numnar out of their sight, where he could become more powerful, or spend time terrorizing some group of unsuspecting commoners. Also, Guy is out voted on the option of killing Numnar because the group finds him so damned amusing.

Having obtained the Lay of Lugh (which Floyd has spent his spare time feverishly trying to work out) and the page of Ethan's journal, they set about on their next task: finding the Tarrasque to retrieve the Rod of Wonder. Their search takes them to a temple high in the mountains on the Northeastern side of Aggravail, where, once inside, they discover a few important things:

1. the temple grants its inhabitants an unprecedented spiritual closeness to the one true God. In fact, Brixmore is loath to leave the temple, despite his knowledge that he must.
2. this "closeness" grants inhabitants, after a moment spent in prayer or quiet contemplation, a temporary bonus to their abilities, both in combat, and in skills and attempts to accomplish tasks that require dice rolls.
3. Using this bonus, Floyd attempts to play the Lay of Lugh in the hallowed halls of the temple. Played herein, he discovers, due to the temple's unique acoustical structure, that the song is actually a complex call and answer sort of duet, and that playing it properly requires the tremendous skill of TWO bards. Floyd considers the other powerful bards he knows, but chooses not to discuss it with the party at length.
4. There is an altar which can only be approached by characters of a good disposition. Guy and Brix are able to approach, and feel fulfilled by the experience. Floyd is able to approach, but experiences no such fulfillment. Virgil chooses not to approach.

The party leaves the temple, and continues their search for the Tarrasque. The party is called back to the Arcanum, and Guy and Brix are summoned to House Lin to consult on matters concerning the Eastern Lands war. Virgil, meanwhile, susses out the Tarrasque's location - a valley in Northern Issa - and he and Floyd decide to attempt to handle the obtaining of the Rod of Wonder "Floyd & Virgil-style," which is to say, with less combat overall. Floyd hires an artist to come with them to witness the scene and capture it for posterity. The pair arrives near the valley, where they discover the Tarrasque is asleep, and that approaching too closely will wake him up and begin his rampage anew. Virgil decides to bypass this problem (and the problem of the Rod of Wonder being inside the Tarrasque's gullet) by teleporting inside Tarrasque, finding the Rod, and teleporting out. However, much to the surprise of no one, this wakes the Tarrasque up. Floyd provides a minor distraction allowing Virgil to escape unharmed with the Rod of Wonder. The two grab the artist and blip out back to the Eastern Lands, giddy over their triumph. Guy and Brix return, and, after hearing what Floyd and Virgil have done, travel to the valley to see the Tarrasque, but discover that he has begun rampaging, destroying everything in his path between here and his current position in Southern Aggravail. Realizing that the Tarrasque must be fought and destroyed (or at least subdued back into slumber), the party engages it, and finds that, due to the combination of their high level and years of experience fighting together, that killing the Tarrasque is within their abilities, and although it takes a considerable effort, they finish him off without any of the party seriously wounded.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Game Over

Please note that the final session of this game was played January 16th 2011 at Jake's house. It's been a hell of a ride and by far the best game I've ever run.

We started in August of 2007, the month my first son was born and played consistently through with one 3 month break during the summer of 2008 for Joey's Star Wars Game while Dave was out of town. I'll leave it to Joey to tally actual sessions played, but it was extremely long for our group. Inspite of it's length it never felt stale to me, and I hope to the players as well.

This game had it all - memorable villains, stanch allies, political intrigue, mystical happenings, wars of small to epic scope, relics of a bygone age, spiritual and divine struggles, pastoral locations, huge cities, forgotten ruins, dragons, varied cultures, racial struggles, and above all the heroic journey as our PCs went from being orphans of mysterious origin to saviors of creation.

I'm going to take a moment to reflect on some of my personal favorites from this game. I encourage the PCs to comment on my choices or do their own lists.

Villains: Visgoth comes foremost to mind as he was supremely powerful, the main villain of the overarching plot, and the final fight of the game. But there were other advasaries who I felt proud of or just thought were cool.
  • Harvas Raeth - while Visgoth was a cosmic threat, Harvas Raeth was an intimate evil that was not afraid to get personal. Universally hated by the PCs he was also respected and at times feared. And let us not forget- he survived and is still out there.
  • Thumb - I just loved the concept, the poise, and the confidence of the the Fist of Set's leader.
  • Sikator - Ah Sikator. Ultimately a minor opponent in the grand scheme of the plot, I truly enjoyed the sessions where the party interacted with the evil Lizardman's plots to avenge his god's defeat at th party's hands.
  • The Harvester - No being in the entire scope of the game generated such fear in the PCs as the Harvester did, an amazing feat when you consider they defeated him when they were about 8th level. Even up to the end he was mentioned reluctantly and with fear. And I have to say I out did myself with him. A figure of true horror.
  • Dugal - Heh. Possibly the most complexly layered NPC in the game. Villain or ally based on the situation and the opportunity. His redemption sought by Guy, his utter destruction by Virgil, a clear categorization of him (friend or foe) sought by Floyd, Dugal remained his own man to the end, an opportunist non-pareil.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ten vs. Twelve Update

Due to events beyond the group's control (namely Floyd's understanding of a calendar) the session has been postponed to Sunday January 9th. This has altered the Twelve's roster due to availablity. The roster is the same except:

Axe Bludgeonfist has been replaced with Pierce Thundar (human fighter, PC)

Oak has been replaced with Pskeenart (elven wizard, PC)