Monday, September 15, 2014

Unpopular geek opinions

One of my "go to" geek sites is Like most of the Gawker media world, they do spend a lot of time railing against the Patriarchy which can get a little tiresome, but the good outweighs the bad most of the time. One of the things I like is when they pose questions to their readers about their tastes in geek entertainment. The latest asks what unpopular opinions do you have about geek culture. It's an interesting question and one sure to elicit strong opinions, so I put it to our readers. What things do you like in geek entertainment that are unpopular?

I will start:

1. I don't hate Michael Bay. There, I said it. I recognize he is no Stanley Kubrick or even Steven Spielberg, but he's no worse than George Lucas. Nobody in the business, with the possible exception of James Cameron, is as adept at FX as Michael Bay.

2. I never got into Doctor Who. I first watched it in the Tom Baker era and stuck with it for awhile mainly because there wasn't much else to watch. Now, just not interested.

3. I think the Cthulhu Mythos is very cool, but I think Lovecraft's writing is weak and dull. Other writers did a far better job bringing the Mythos to life than HPL ever did.

Note, these are just my opinions, your mileage may vary. Anyone else?


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Way of the Wicked 26 - The End

Its interesting that this campaign  went 26 session which assuming we played every two weeks would be exactly one year.

The original plan was to start this session with a Kracken hunt but the player that was driving this was missing so the PCs decided to put that off until the next session. Kingdom building continued. The cathedral to Asmodeus was completed and a foreign princess arrived looking to marry the king. She had with her a thousand of loyal soldiers and a large dowry.

The king thought about it briefly: a young hot sly virgin princess that wants to have my baby and whose dad is rich? They got married and was shortly after pregnant.

Being a Vampire is pretty awesome but comes with some pretty serious drawbacks. Knowing what was coming, I threw the vampire a tainted bone in the form of an Elixir of Protection of Sunlight. Knowing that the PCs would want to make more I came up with an ingredients list that was meant to signal that they should forget about it move on: a Tooth from a Demilich, a Balor fart, essence of rainbow, and the tears of a Ancient Great Wurm Gold dragon. The PCs thought that the Balor fart was hilarious and it was good for about 20 minutes of solid laughing as different people riffed on it. Even though they had no intention of going after the other ingredients, collecting a Balor fart was just one of those things that will never ever happen in another campaign and so it had to be done.

The wizard began researching Balors trying to learn a name so it could be Gated in. I tossed out the name of the Balor Lord Khorramzadeh and one of the players (who is currently DMing Wrath of the Righteous) went very pale and suggested that they go after a regular non-Barlor Lord.

A less TPKing candidate was found and was gated in. The Balor spent the first round threatening the PCs but they immediately hit it with a spell that made it Helpful and then diplomasized the Balor into fart for them and allowing them to collect it. I thought it was simple, funny and seemed legit so I let them get away with and they talked the Balor into returning through the Gate before their spell wore off. That Balor is going to need some therapy.

Word came form the Frost Giant Queen Ellisif that there was trouble in the far north and to come ASAP. The PCs arrived and were told of a strange shadowy substance that was spreading across the land killing every living thing that touches. They quickly discovered that it ignored the undead and so they set off to find the source.

The shadowstuff was erupting out of a volcano in a remote mountain range. The PCs found a tunnel that led into the heart of the volcano and there faced off against two monsters from the darkness between worlds. The two Shoggoths were dispatched without too many problems (some of the PCs being grappled and engulfed aside) and then much time was spent trying to figure out how to stop the flow of the shadowstuff. The key was several large magic stones. These were moved and the flow began to reverse. The PCs then moved the Stones to a location near Matharyn were they could be studied further.

At this point we were cruising right along with still 2 hours left to play so we decided to start the end game. Everyone leveled up to 20 and the Princess returned. She sent riders across the land to summon the faithful. The PCs called up their armies and used  Gates to transport them to the capital. The Princess led her forces to the Fields of Tamberline where the Makardians had to defeated the Barcans to take the crown 80 years earlier. There a Solar extended the artifact, The Veil of Mitra, to cover an area a mile across protecting it from Divinations and Teleportation.

Thinking they were being cheaky, the PCs challenged Belinda to a 4 vs 4 duel, winner take all. Thinking how many lives would be saved and knowing the strength of her allies she accepted.   Cleric, Vampire Fighter, Bloodrager, and Wizard vs an Elysian Titan, an Ancient Wurm Silver Dragon (Mom), Half Dragon Sorcerer, and a Solar. While they PCs grumbled a bit after the battle started that they should have been sneakier about attacking, doing it this way saved them from having to deal with the Titan's Cohort a Ghaele, and the High Inquisitor. The Princess had no shortage of high powered companions.

The battle stretched on over 4 long hours although in game time it was probably only a couple minutes. Lots of very high level spells were tossed and there were some big hits ( a couple PCs can cross off "Getting hit with a Maul of the Titans" from their bucket list). The Titan was the first to go down despite getting Healed twice. The vampire kept the Princess Belinda pinned and was slowly draining her blood. The Dragon and Solar were on a rampage with the PCs trying to keep away from them. Finally the Bloodrager went down and the Wizard a few seconds later. The cleric moved next to the vampire and used Word of Recall to whisk away the Vampire and the Princess's body.

We decided to end the campaign here because the logistics for continuing would be difficult with the Bloodrager and Wizard in the custody of the forces of Good, and the Princess in the hands of the Vampire and King who have retreated to their sanctuary in the Agathium.

The forces of good hold the field and most of the PCs forces would surrender or withdraw after the defeat.

The forces of the White Unicorn take the capital, arrest the Queen and other members of the PCs court. A few battles are fought but troops loyal to the PCs quickly find themselves isolated and are forced to revert to banditry to stay alive. As the capital is restored to Markadian rule, the heroes of the White Unicorn begin their search for the missing princess. The Titan is True Resurrected and joins the search. The High Inquisitor begins to purge Asmodean influence from the kingdom.

But where are the remaining PCs?

As the King used Word of Recall something felt slightly off but under the circumstances (a colossal dragon coming to eat you) it was ignored. As things cleared the King was immediately aware of a few things that were not as they should be. Firstly, this was not his sanctuary in the Agathium. This was  a second circle that had been drawn outside the walls of the Agathium. Second, the almost continuous storms of the area were not present today and the sun was shining - perhaps that was why Sergent was screaming beside him. Thirdly, they were surrounded a number of beings. There were the Death Knights, the wizard Grigori with a far away look in his eye and lastly a large Skeleton in fancy robes. There was something about its skull that seemed familiar, the Gems that were set in it perhaps? It whispered in voice heard long ago, "Welcome Home" and began to laugh.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The power of the Raccoon

It looks like Disney Infinity 2.0 is set to eclipse Skylanders as the leader in the collectible toy/video game market, thanks largely to Marvel. Pre-orders of DI2 starter packs and figures, due for release later this month, are skyrocketing, with Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise being exceptionally popular. Because of this, Disney is already starting to announce future figures most likely to be available next year. The first of these are Yondu from GotG and Falcon from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Here we see the first image of the Yondu figure:

I better go pre-order the GotG starter pack this weekend.


Monday, September 08, 2014

September Blahs

So after a flurry of posts in August we are back to the regular pace of updates for September. The kids are back to school and starting after school activities which sucks up energy and free time.  There won't be a Way of the Wicked update today since our game this weekend got postponed due to scheduling conflicts and the coming weekend is already looking iffy. We are coming to the end of the campaign and I'd kinda like to see it over with.

I have the next session planned out but I'm still a bit up in the air about how I'm going to close things out. The Adventure Path has some good suggestions but some elements are dumb. Why would some of the antagonists split off from their group and try to fight the PCs one at a time? The PCs always fight as a team so why would their opponents be dumb and not do the same? I do like the idea of a duel though. maybe I'll slide that in their somewhere.

I have also let the PCs get immensely powerful this campaign. I hate tracking WBL rules (and XP for that matter) so we implemented some training rules that replace a lot of the Big six magic items in the game (weapons, armor, headbands, belts, cloaks, and amulets of NA). Rings of protection are still in. This has made for highly optimized PCs. They pretty much ROFLStomp most of their opponents and I'm ok with that. As long as they assume that combat is not going to be easy and they have to retreat from time to time I know they are still being challenged.

So Good vs Evil, Evil vs Good. Who should win?