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Thursday, February 20, 2014

1st Edition AD&D Part V- The Adventures

Throughout this series of posts thus far I've focused on the player characters, the background and parts like the BBEG. Now I'm going to delve into specific adventures/ modules of "THE CAMPAIGN". In a lot of cases Jeff wrote many of his own adventures, but at other times he used Dungeon Magazine as well. I think in this regard he had excellent taste as Dungeon

Magazine had some gob smacking awesome adventures in its hallowed pages. I think this probably affected my own DMing style years later as I tend to use Dungeon a bit, simply modifying the adventures to fit my campaign world.

Immediately, I remember two Dungeon adventures that were pure awesomeness:

- Ward of Witching Ways- Dungeon #11 which was great. I can clearly remember us getting ship wrecked and having to swim to the isle. This was also where I picked up my cloak of the bat and wand of polymorphing. Jeff was making some hints about how my spell books and familiar were going to be toast sooner or later. I thought this odd because I certainly wasn't overpowered. So to thwart him I had my familiar watch my bag of holding containing my spell books several rooms back from the final encounter. I can distinctly remember him being annoyed by it. Score one for player and thumb in the eye of the DM!

I do recall someone in the group got ploymorphed into a bird and I utilized it from time to time to polymorph foes into snails. Since I was the only MU in the party (Neither Daryl's Fire Wizard) not Chris' Illusionist) could use many of the magic items I got most of the goodies. Eventually it dawned on Jeff just how powerful this wand could be and I lost it in an item saving throw (see below). Another odd fact as to why I lost it is that I'm very tactical player. I was even back then. I tend to conserve my resources and loathe to use them unless it's the opportune moment. Certainly was the case as I knew it was low charged, and I used it sparingly.

The second module that stands out in my mind is "The Wounded Worm" from Dungeon #8. I'm my minds eye I can see the approach to the dungeon along with final fight. I can clearly recall the final fight with the red dragon who nuked my afore mentioned wand of polymorhping; this also might be where I lost the cloak of the bat. I don't recall who, but I do remember most of the group being heavily wounded and two other characters being killed. Certainly my dark elf was heavily wounded.

Later in I used some of the red dragon hide to further protect my bag of holding. I had it tanned and cured. Jeff thought it was a good idea and gave it bonuses to item saving throws vs fire in the future.

Those were the two major adventures from Dungeon that I can recall. Aside from that, Jeff ran is through many, many other adventures most of which he created himself. In most cases I recall snippets of some, others are blank, but we played for two years every week reaching around 7/7 level for my F/MU.

Other adventures that stand out in my mind or at least fragments of them:

- my character, as noted previously used a spetum as his primary weapon. We did fight a white dragon when we were fairly low level, so much so I was the only one in the party who needed to make a fear check. We eventually beat it, but the item that stuck in my mind was a magical long sword (later revealed to be +2) sticking out is block of ice, no other powers then it glowed blue on command and illuminated the icy cave of the dragon. I ended up with it in the treasure split and used it on occasion before losing it in a failed item saving throw.

- In one of the (somewhat) warmer lands on the game map we were traipsing across rolling, grassy hills when we came to a small valley, perhaps more of a simple depression in the ground, when we attacked by undead centaurs which was a nice touch. The thing that stands out in my mind was Christian using his illusionist spells ( may have been phantasmal force) to create a long bow which he began firing with, doing illusionary damage. I always thought this was a practical and good example of using illusions in an otherwise flawed part of the rules. Illusions for me have always been a sore spot, and a weak area of the game. As I recall both Dave's halfling and I drew our short bows and joined in firing as the centaurs were at range.

- The infamous Wyvern Migrations! One of the things that made the CAMPAIGN feel more "alive" was this is one of the first campaigns where things happened around is rather the going from module to module, or adventure to adventure. The wyverns of this world were migratory and we would see them nightly over the span of a few months. My character was smart enough to avoid calling attention to us on my part of the nightly watch. This went on for some time until I think it was Tom's half ogre that caused some sort of commotion and brought several of them on us. I'm not sure who exactly died that time... but somebody did.

- Last bit. The overall arcing thing amongst the players was that everyone had died at least once, except my fighter/mu. He had meh hit points, but a really low AC, coupled with the ability to dish out some severe damage being double specialized in spetum with ogre power? I could mix it up with the two primary fighters and do as much damage, just couldn't take the hits in return. I do recollect one instance where we were in a dungeon and I was firing my hand crossbow for some reason and got slapped upside the head and dropped to -9 hp. I think Dave's halfling fighter/thief was right there, he hadn't acted in that round and was able to bandage and stabilize me immediately before going to -10 the next round. So in a way it was only through sheer luck my character didn't die the entire game. This was fortunate as I was the only full elf in the party and raise dead wasn't going to work, nor did our cleric have it on a scroll or a rod of resurrection. I've had plenty of other characters get killed over the years since, but I don't recall any hovering on "death's door" quite like that.

There are plenty more adventures we went on as the coast of the continent was to our south and we traveled by water here and there and via overland vast distances. I know my hand sketched map is long since gone, but I do remember a major river system down the middle. Most of those other adventures are lost in the mist of time, as in 27 years ago, but I do recall a blast we had while playing.

I'm thinking the next post will wrap up the blogging about the CAMPAIGN, and move onto some of our other campaigns like the one shot of the monstrosity that was Ravenloft, no, not the campaign setting, but the original module. The carnage that ensued and a certain DM hanging gray, paper gravestones inscribed with the PC and NPC followed names on them was legendary.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

1st Edition AD&D Part IV- The adversary

Continuing my delving into the backstory of "THE CAMPAIGN" is a look at the BBEG, "Big Bad Evil Guy" that features so prominently in most of the fantasy genre. In "THE CAMPAIGN" the BBEG was like many of the PCs based on a citadel miniature. In this case like the half ogre fighter who was a member of our party the BBEG was based on a citadel chaos warrior miniature. Due to the fact that everything was 25mm minis back then the mini looked suitably imposing. Of course the only time he appeared on the table that I can recall was at the very end.

The mini was the BBEG was this one (and you can find many of them here.)

The three items that factored as "McGuffns" for three of the PCs off of the mini were as follows:
  • Dave's halfling fighter/thief was after the bear cloak that was missing for some reason from the halflings.
  • Jim's dwarf fighter was in search of the axe.
  • My dark elf fighter/rune-caster was in search of his shield (see below for picture). In my case it was a sacred relic for the dark elves. As I noted previously it did 2-20 points of damage.

In a way I think Jeff did a great job with utilizing what was on the mini to give some back story for three out of the seven PCs. Think about that he tied in a reason for seven different races to seek out one NPC. Kinda like a Thulsa Doom in a way.

Now my memories of Dragotha (no not that one) are bit sketchy in some parts. From what I remember he was a warrior who may have had some clerical abilities. Since this was a 1st edition games I believe that Dragotha was double specialized in battle axe and also wielded the shield in the other for three attacks per round, pretty much chewing through almost anything in his way.

Certainly I do recall that his symbol was the Cross of Confusion. What the Hell did it matter right? All of us little punks were satanic anyways! (as a funny aside about Dark Dungeons- I've been reading these damn AD&D books for 30 something years and I still can't coax even a cantrip out of them! Help I'm doing something wrong I fear! I want the real power!) In any event we would often some across this symbol. I cant place the adventure but I do remember it on a banner flapping in the breeze in a ruined chapel of some sort. It stands out in my mind because I think that was the first time we saw it in the game.
The shield of Arion in "The Campaign"

We encountered his minions on occasion, but more often then not, he was only it was "trace amounts"; his handiwork in other words. I recall usually just before we arrived in an area...

As to the reasons for why the other PCs were tracking him down I can't say, perhaps if Jeff ever unearths his notes some light can be shed.  I do recall the final battle and conclusion of the campaign against him, but I'll save that for the end.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hurled into Eternity- Latest Revision

(Quick Note: No I have not forgot my series of "Playing 1st edition AD&D", next post is almost ready to go but still needs a bit more work). 

As promised version 11 of the 2nd generation of the Hurled into Eternity rules (link to download is below). Improvements include clarifications in the following areas:
  •  Clarifications to the Wild Card System.
  • Modes of gunfire have been streamlined to eliminate the need for 1/2 or 1/3 configurations for gun fighting scores.
  • Modifiers condensed and streamlined for bonuses and penalties to hit.
  • Condensing and changing healing rates for Wounds (W) along elimination of differing healing rates for damage.
  • Early write up of a intro adventure (still not complete).
As always, spell checking  and proofing is still on the radar, but not quite there yet as I'm continuing to focus on the rules. The feeling that I have now is I'm inching closer to a finished product. The rules are getting some, good constructive feedback and fixing areas that don't make sense. I saty that every post but two recent rounds of feedback have led to a even tighter game.

As a quick aside every once and a while I get the feedback: "Hurled into Eternity"? That doesn't make sense for a western, it sounds Sci-Fi. Sorry folks, you don't get much more Western then the name of this game! I'll leave it up to you to figure it out...

Lastly feedback is always welcome.

Click here to download the latets version of the rules

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Back in the Saddle with Hurled into Eternity

Well, after a fairly busy and interesting fall I'm now finally ready to *ahem* "climb back in the saddle" with Hurled into Eternity.  Whats that you ask? Well my on-again off again western RPG game is now undergoing internal play testing to see how it works. My main focus of the play testing is to make sure I have the mechanics specifically nailed down. Lets face it the heart of any RP is the combat engine if that is not good then the RPG it's likely that the game is not so good.

My gut instinct tells me that the mechanics for the game work well, the conversion to an all card based mechanic is complete, now its simply a matter of making sure all of the parts line up with any gaps in a many they actually do, rather then what I think they do.

The next order of business is to take the combat chapter and pull it into a quick play doc to make sure that it flows. The parts that have been tested thus far are High Noon, (the imitative phase) in which the Judge and the players engage in 5-card draw. While its optional to deal it each round I prefer once per combat as it makes it battles go faster. Next up the hit determination. Some feedback I received was that it was bit to heavy with the modifiers so I scaled it back. Now the mods are reasonable and are fairly easy to calculate. Damage is likewise fairly straight forward. 

One nagging thing has been the inclusion of poker chips. Now I feel it adds a nice western feel but at the same time I am mindful of the implication that it has been used in Savage Worlds. While my game is sufficiently different I don't want it to appear that it is lifting the idea. Currently they serve as a visual reminder of Luck (L) in the game and nothing more; they are not required for play.

The rest of the rules have been tightened up here and there and look to have missed almost all loopholes and areas that could be broken. 

In the end game is fast, exciting and deadly. Cant wait to fully try it out. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

1st Edition AD&D Part III- The adventuring party

This post will be a bit shorter the the others to follow if for no other reason I don't have all of the details, the DM who ran THE CAMPAIGN does ahem ;) In my last post here Post Part II I outlined my character a mercenary dark elf fighter/magic-user named Relendor Silkenweb. Now, until we unearth some more details from notes from either Dave or Jeff might have I'm going to have to do this from memory. It was ironic that after this campaign I started to take more notes. Also one of the first things I started doing was writing down player and names, classes of characters in greater detail, but not here :( Looking back at it there were indeed seven of us in the group (I thought eight previously) with Jeff DMing. The players and their characters are as follows circa 1987 for the start of the game:
  1. Dark elf Fighter/Runecaster- (Me) As outlined previously specialized in spetum and wielding a magical bracer of ogre power. He did not have the dark elf magic resistance but did have utlization of his regular male abilities. At various times had a cloak of the bat, wand of polymorhping and other magical accoutrements. Had a black cat familiar named Soot. Was a very effective fighter with specialization and often served as the 3rd best fighter or a backup to the half ogre and dwarf in melee. 
  2. Half ogre Fighter- (Tom) encased in full plate by the end, this brute wielded a massive warhammer inspired by his miniature which was a citadel chaos warrior, specifically this one here: chaos warrior mini I remember him getting killed a few times and obviously was our best fighter. I believe we had to raise him from the dead at least twice. 
  3. Dwarf Fighter- (Jim) for this character my recollections are the most sketchy. I only vaguely remember the mini, but still can't quite place it. He was a typical axe toting dwarf and probably the second best fighter from what I can recall or certainly 1B. Jim was a very back story driven player from what I recall. Like the half-ogre above, I recall two deaths for the dwarf.

  4. Halfling Fighter/Thief- (Dave) No recollection of the mini that represented him but I do recall his quest against Dragotha revolved around a bear cloak of some importance to the character and perhaps the halflings in the realm. Dave was a very inventive and smart player. He was the only one who had thief as part of his class. This brings up a good point as we will see three multi-class characters in the group. Dave's mini I recall was one he painted for himself. 
  5. Half-Elf Cleric/Ranger- (Mike) Mike was the older guy in the group by maybe 3-4 years at most and the only one who could drive, hence he had to go on the pizza runs. His character may have been an elf but I seem to recall half elf. I also have a recollection of this character being female, but I'm not quite sure if I'm confusing it with some characters in my later 2nd edition campaigns that I've played in. Wielded two maces in combat. Our only healer in the group. Gulp!

  6. Human Pyromancer- (Daryl) before specialized wizards made their appearance in 2nd edition Jeff had them in his game. The pyromancer as might be imagined specialized in fire based spells and as an added touch had a firedrake from the fiend folio as a familiar! The best part as I clearly recall Daryl saying in game “he's a lazy slug” indeed the drake rarely did anything it didn't want to and would rarely breathe on anything, especially if we needed him to do. I vaguely recall the mini for the character as a Citadel one, but cant quite place it. 
  7. Human Illusionist- (Christian) this character is another hazy one as I recall Chris being there less regularly then the rest of us. Chris played his illusionist well and creatively, not unbalancing as illusions can be so tricky in 1st and 2nd edition AD&D. I remember one key encounter which I'll detail in a later post where he created an illusion of a magical bow out of thin air and began firing it; a practical and well thought out illusion that stuck in my mind.
The only other person who gamed with us on a regular basis in this group was Pete, but for some reason or another I do not recall him or a character he played involved in this group. In all I'd say not bad remembering something from 25 years ago with no notes. 
As I was jotting through these guys I remembered another facet to the campaign. We did not get to see the map, as we explored I mapped it with the places we had ventured. I can picture it to a degree, but I no longer have my sketch. In a way it functioned much like how things did in Baldur's Gate one with the map being revealed as one explored it
The next post will detail some of the broad undertakings of the group and some other background as well as our nemesis Dragotha, no, not that Dragotha!