Archive for the ‘Everyday D&D’ Category

Young Nuggins

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Thanks to the crack research team at Perverse Osmosis, we have discovered this long-lost psychiatric profile of 7th-level bard Tiny Nuggins, whose bardic inspirations and discordant whispers have been integral part of the party’s recent success. However, as seen by this report, Tiny was not always the productive arsonist that he is now.

The document:

From the desk of Sage Sermin de Lescrop, head of the Luskan Home for Wayward Halflings

re: psychiatric evaluation of Tiny Nuggins, recent enrollee

I have observed and interacted with Tiny Nuggins on four different occasions in my official capacity. Three were one-on-one visits and a fourth consisted of watching Nuggins interact with other halfings in his class. It was immediately apparent in all four of these observations that Nuggins has an developing ego occasionally overwhelmed by his powerful id. There is no observable superego development; I surmise this is because, as far as any records indicate, Tiny has never been in any one place for more than two to three weeks. This peripatetic life restricts any growth in boundaries or stability.

When playing with his friends, Tiny wants– needs–to be the center of attention. His idea of entertainment is broad, running the spectrum to physical comedy to body humor to surprisingly complex word play. He will do almost anything to get a laugh. Much like this lack of superego development, the lack of stability has made this fallback to entertainment a way that he can make sure he is always part of the crowd and, therefore, likely to make the next move.

Perhaps more frightening is Nuggin’s propensity for setting fires. During the time I have been working with Tiny, he has burned papers, a trash can, several books, and a small shed. As yet, none of these minor conflagrations have injured any of Tiny’s fellow residents but the escalation of the size of the fires leads me to believe it is only a matter of time.

This tendency to pyromania is usually the result of trauma happening early in a halfling’s life. Tiny has likely blocked out whatever may have happened, which prevents this facility from easily accessing the root cause. With more opportunities to speak with Tiny and build a rapport with him, I might be able to develop enough trust to penetrate his veneer and help uncover the events that have led to his compulsion to “let the burning do the cleaning.”

This note was found in the smoldering wreckage of the Luskan Home for Wayward Halflings. No official cause for the fire was ever released, but investigators are fairly confident it was halfling caused.

The Haunt II

Sunday, November 15th, 2020

I took a step backward. I know, big surprise. Anyone who has ever adventured with Gilderony the Green knows that I am as likely to take my move away from action as it is towards it. What can I say? I am magic-user; if I wanted to brawl, I would be like a couple of these other maniacs I have joined up with the last half year.

It has been one crazy encounter after another since we were kidnapped [note for later research: can half-orcs and halflings get kidnapped?] by a bunch of drow and transported to the Underdark where we got to check out some fairly bad-ass demon-on-demon fighting, which, helpfully enough, helped lead to our escape.

At some point, I will try to catch dear readers up on what got us to where we are now. And where we are now is a party fighting a flying, extremely evil-looking baby. I am not one to generally judge monsters or NPCs or friends based on their exteriors, but I don’t think I am being deceived here.

Remember me mentioning a group of maniacs a couple paragraphs ago? Well, Uthor is one of them, if a fighter whose goal in life is to protect children, kill drow with a glaive, and eat cabbage can be called a maniac. Last encounter, Uthor managed to pick up a wraith that maybe can do his bidding. I am not real sure on the relationship yet, but whatever it is, the wraith is doing a pretty good job attacking the evil baby.

The rest of us are all doing our parts on the baby. A dwarf that was imprisoned with us hit it with a couple arrows, and even your humble narrator managed to have a couple magic missiles work. But the major damage was done by another recent addition, an archer of indeterminate race, who blitzed ol’ babyface with what looked like an arrow of slaying, and you know how much damage those things can do.

The real end to this encounter was set up by long-time partner in literal crime Tiny Nuggins. I don’t want to know the terrible things a bard tells an evil baby: maybe that it was never loved or that its father was a manes or whatever, but that baby was getting dissonanced. Mix that with another incredible hit by the crystal wraith [note for later: see if there is a exotic dancer in Waterdeep named Crystal Wraith] and that was that for team Baby. We watched it fall to the floor and break into a bunch of pieces. Now, under most circumstances, one’s enemy falling to floor and breaking into hundreds of pieces would mean that we had conquered and the DM could start handing over all those rich, rich experience points. Alas, that did not seem the case with Evil Baby.

One thing that was the case: we needed to grab some a long rest. We knew that there was a bunch more of this terrible hospital to explore, and we are experienced enough as a party to know one way to have things go bad is to push one’s luck. I mean, Tiny and I have several stories of times spent in various lock-ups because we pushed our luck. In the Underdark, luck pushing seems an even less good idea.

An important character trait to know about our friend Tiny, he has a fair amount of spells and incantations that are based around giving us a little comfort and/or entertainment. I think he has a magical stage and maybe some magical tap shoes. One thing I know he has: Leomund’s Magic Hut. How do I know this? I sleep soundly in one every long rest.

After waking up from our rest, stretching our various-sized limbs, eating our various meals, and oiling our various weapons, we fell into our usual marching order and kept on exploring. I mean, what else is there to do in an abandoned hospital in the Underdark? Realizing that one of our routes was blocked by what seemed like an extremely large brown mold, we did what any reasonable party would do: kick in the next available door.

After the door was kicked in, I noticed two things very quickly. The first was the altar at the center of the room. The second was the red, multi-pseudo podded monstrosity perched on top of the altar. In what I assumed to be proper maniac fashion, I yelled out “Let’s attack” and launched a couple of my consistently unsuccessful acid splashes. Well, the streak continued: I horribly missed again.

Constant reader: you know who did not miss? The somewhat conflicted Uthor. I later learned that Uthor suspected that the oblix was “not bad guy.” At least that is what he suspected until the oblix gave him a pretty good whack with one of its pseudopods, one of those whacks that even a far-removed magic-user can hear. That oblix must have hoped and dreamed that it could kill Uthor in one smack because, let me tell you, no one wants to face the glaive of an angry Uthor. Face the glaive this oblix did, and, faster than gnome can fashion a pair of pants, Uthor had mangled this monster, and Tiny was harvesting some supergoo out of it.

But this was not a party that was going to wait around after harvesting the guts of a monster. Nope: this party was going to keep walking down halls and looking for babies or drow or whatever to kill. I haven’t mentioned another of our melee maniacs–he goes by the name of Ulo– but now seems an appropriate time. Ever see a 400-pound monk tortoise who wields a magical sword? I hadn’t either until joining this group. Let me tell you readers, that having one of these fighters on the front line is a fantastic way to keep encounters from being problems.

Also as fantastic: acid splash finally worked. As we were walking though one of the hallways, we stumbled onto some fiendish maggots. Insert usual combat here–chopping, smashing, biting, etc.–and then, it was my turn to unleash the acid. But this time, unlike literally every other time we have been in the Underdark, I hit. Frankly, I was surprised as anyone. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Do I celebrate? Do I give praise to Boccob? Do I give my patented finger guns? Really, what I did was nothing since by the time I figured out what I was supposed to do, Nastra, Ulo, Uthor, Fiacra, and Eldreth had killed the rest of the maggots, leaving only their stinky, stinky corpses.

Horror Pictures

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Sorry about the break in posting the last couple days. Actual prime material plane duties keep getting in the way. But, I was lucky enough to co-ghost a two-hour block of Halloween music for our University’s 68-hour rock and roll marathon. I know that many, many people coveted the 6-8 am shift, but I will take what I can get.

In addition to Goblin, a triple shot [sort of] of Zeke, some Municipal Waste, “Friday the 13th” by Evil Army [7″ version] and an obscure Zodiac Killers song, I played a series of 50s and 60s Halloween hits. I am not one of those people who thinks how much better it would to live in the past–frankly I am happy to be living now when it is okayish to be weird nerd–but those kids did not know how lucky they had it with the ubiquity of Halloween songs.

For example, this one:

Songs about the amount of horror movies one could see on TV. Now that is a true fantasy world.

What to Stake

Monday, October 26th, 2020

There isn’t an actual damage roll for a stake. I guess that might be because, in most cases, Kilrto the Mayhem Maker isn’t taking a stake to an average kobold or goblin. That is what an actual hammer or mace is for. A spear is a sharpened stake, and that gets a damage roll, but I don’t think that a spear to the heart gets to kill a vampire. Call me a literalist, but a stake isn’t a spear, although they are close relatives.

Nope, a stake through the heart requires an actual wooden stake that isn’t a short spear being driven/pounded/hammered through the chest cavity of a vampire. There isn’t a damage roll per se, although if done well, everyone involved is going to see the damage. Of course, the most difficult part of the hammer and stake method is finding the crypt of ol’ fangy.

Why Do They Call Him the Count?

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

Sure, we all know about Count Dracula from this version of the Prime Material Plane and Count Strahd from Ravenloft, but what about some other counts who are worth our time to join, conquer, stake, stab, behead, or turn to ashes? A few candidates:

  • Count Polyon of Bellport. Located in the far northern border of the Great Kingdom and southern border of the Bone March, this Count could very easily fall victim to one of vampires inhabiting what is left of the Great Kingdom or the Bone March. I mean, the Bone March doesn’t have its name because people are like hiking there.
  • Count Miss’lor from outside of Kro Kerlep. I know that the Scarlet Brotherhood are essentially the Nazis of Greyhawk, but that is part of the charm of Miss’lor’s long game. What better way to gain access to victims than cozying up to the so-called master race? In fact, Miss’lor may be one of the few vampires that I can support.
  • There will undoubtedly be a count or two living in the Sea of Dust. With all the various lost cities and ruins there, at least one of them is going to have a vampire that easily survived the great devastation.
  • Count Bilgotn the Long-Living, who has carved out a small freehold in the Crystalmist, is extremely likely to be a vamp. As one can tell through his sobriquet, he has been running his hexagon freehold for a couple hundred years.

Happy hunting.