re: D&D campaign session report 

Creep factor is high; this is a brief side trek into Ravenloft, so horror is more important than raw danger. The Living Wall almost got the rogue, but the horror factor was the goal and it worked great. And nothing over CR8!

Next session: incorporeal undead assassin and evil clerics actually working against the party. The cultists don't expect to win; they're here as advance warning for BBEG, with a side goal of weakening the party or depleting their resources.

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re: D&D campaign session report 

Tonight the party split across a massive pit in the middle of the first corridor; fighter triggered one trap, bringing creepy undead mooks, then cleric triggered a Symbol of Fear over the pit, panicking the fighter, rogue and wizard's familiar. Rogue ran straight into the arms of a living wall, nearly got absorbed. Fighter ran into the hall the undead came from and into a Greater Glyph of Warding set to blast mode (sonic), alerting the whole complex.

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D&D campaign session report 

Such a good session. First in-person since last summer's brief pandemic respite, so it took a long time to get from socializing to playing.

Dungeon crawl into an ancient library of Kas, where cultists of the Elder Elemental Eye have taken a stolen corpse of a favorite NPC. PCs are way over-powered, but I'm playing this as Tucker's Cultists, so careful traps and combos to make low-CR stuff threaten the effective party level of ~22.

adventure set piece part 2 

Session will be in-person, the first in a year, but not at my place, so I do need to plan ahead for what minis I bring. Cultists must have some over-level summons they trapped to stalk after the PCs through the halls of a hidden temple. But summon rules in Ravenloft are weird - only creatures in Ravenloft or the ethereal plane can be summoned... I'm unfamiliar with Ravenloft; any great classics in the CR 18-22 range?

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adventure set piece planning 

PCs are in Ravenloft, tracking down a missing body of an NPC friend from way back. Cultists of Tharizdun / Elder Elemental Eye / Thoon / Azathoth stole it for complicated reasons, but are no match for the PCs. Culrists also have Cerebrotic offspring of Kas the Betrayer as an ally but he'll turn on them once he sees a round of combat.

re: campaign ending (soliciting advice; thread) 

The PCs know most of this, at least in parts. The Macguffin they're about to finish assembling allows complicated but possible travel through the Far Realm, meaning they could take the fight directly to 2e Vecna. This seems, after 12 years, to be a bit of a boring way to end things, so I need some other choices they could make.

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re: campaign ending (soliciting advice; thread) 

- 2e Vecna has cultists in the 3.5e universe and an army of Far Realm entities trying to invade it to destroy it or let him through the Lady of Pain-style barrier to take over.
- A handful of entities (Lovecraftian gods in the Far Realm) are pan-universe but too busy fighting each other to get involved, except one ancient night hag that's been trying to help the PCs.
- "Normal" gods crossing between universes is cataclysmic for the whole multiverse.

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re: campaign ending (soliciting advice; thread) 

Without getting too into the weeds, the Big Ideas:
- The trilogy of Vecna modules (Vecna Lives!, Vecna Reborn, and Die Vecna Die!) are simultaneously the myths and legends of Vecna's rise to godhood in the 3.5 universe, but also what happened in the 2e universe.
- 2e Vecna still exists, pissed that he didn't get a seat at the table and instead created a new universe where a copy of him is a god.
- The multiverse is interconnected via the Far Realm.

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campaign ending (soliciting advice; thread) 

Still trying to conclude the 12-year campaign, "Too Many Vecnas". I need to give the players some more levers and choices and consequences so that they can choose an ending themselves and drive towards it. The last couple years have been a bit of a guided tour through Vecnan history, which was always the intent, and they're getting close to the final half of the macguffin,

worldbuilding failure mode 

In Alt History worldbuilding, there's a Big Idea, with consequences and dependencies. Those have further consequences and dependencies, and often it's 3+ levels deep that the really important Ideas show up. They might be more subtle than the Big Idea, but they're what impact gameplay (or story) the most.

I'm reminded of this because I'm watching For All Mankind. Pretty decent Big Idea, but utterly incurious about further implications, which leaves it feeling hollow.

worldbuilding with animals 

A quick idea for fleshing out a 'foreign' culture, in a way that conveys a cultural difference to players rapidly:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_

Pick an animal from this list, particularly one with an uncommon use. The place the PCs visit have that as a tradition in a way the PCs will run into. E.g. this town is big into ferret racing. This rice-farming community keeps a comunal flock of Ibises to control pests. This city is famous for exporting crocodile oil.

ai-generated art, ec 

AI art generator, given the prompt "Illithid in the style of Grant Morrison" with some hand-curation. The interactivity of the generator is a killer feature (on top of an obviously extensive corpus) - you can hand-pick a favorite (from a group of four) and keep iterating on it and then upscale the one you like best.

I look forward to having this in a self-hosted context, though; the discord (ugh) is noisy and the service a bit expensive after the free trial.

Roll20 findings 

Some pretty big issues with roll20 make it a tossup whether it is better to use it or the workflow I have now:

- can't upload from firefox (images corrupted)
- on chrome, cursor bugs out on mouseover on many controls, freezing chrome for seconds to hours
- grid is nearly useless on maps not designed on a computer specifically for VTTs (e.g. screenshot of hand-drawn map of PDF of 2e-era module), unlike MapTools' grid.

I haven't even gotten to a test run with other players yet...

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re: online RPG tool wanted 

I have toyed with the idea of forking jitsi to add some web-based tools (dice especially) into the one conference view, but self-hosting jitsi has been a buggy nightmare. Big Blue Button may be easier, but it's a big unknown to me.

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online RPG tool wanted 

When I run D&D (3.5e) online, I need four windows:
- videoconference (jitsi)
- map software (maptools; used to be 2x, but a player took over screensharing the PC view)
- chatroom for dicerolling and posting pictures and text blobs, with history (mattermost)
- DM's notes and such (nextcloud)

Plus extras for rules, pdfs, etc.

Juggling this many is a lot of time-wasting cognitive overhead. I'd love an all-in-one app that does most of this. Any suggestions, preferably FOSS?

D&D 3.5e demon/devil NPC plot 

Several real years (and a couple game months) ago, the PCs received an egg containing a reincarnated Big Bad who'd been killed by a Bigger Bad. A half-marilith-half-chain-devil, who died in a place most souls come from. She hasn't hatched yet, in part because I have no idea what to do with a newborn demon/devil baby. I mean, I could threaten it with Lawful Stupid paladin NPCs, but that seems too obvious...

AI-generated images of monsters 

Playing around with VQGAN/Clip, which can take arbitrary text descriptions and try to generate images from them. Here are some monsters from Dungeons and Dragons, using phrases picked out of the 1st edition Monster Manual... Also, Gygax can't write descriptions and desperately needs an editor.

first edition liches followup 

Weird followup: in first edition, phylacteries alone don't keep liches alive. The canon is far weirder, even if it didn't stick around in later editions.

Liches stay immortal by hunting "Larvae" which are the souls of particularly selfish evil people that sink into lower planes (like Hades) after death. They're farmed to make low-level demons and devils, and night hags use them as some sort of currency? Anyway they look like worms with human heads.

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review site project idea 

Idea I probably won't get around to: a bookwyrm instance specifically for reviewing RPG books. In particular, reviewing adventure modules.

This idea from my digging, over the last couple years, through old modules and Dungeon, looking for location-based adventures to add to a sandbox campaign with minimal effort.

Could add custom review criteria:
- sandboxiness
- customizability
- Jaquay-factor

discussion of antisemitism 

I spent way too long looking into the question of "is the lich's phylactery antisemitism?"

And then a while longer: "was it malicious, who did it, and when?"

The answers turned out to be "sorta maybe" and "no; not Gygax; somewhere around 2e, but then again with 5e and that was worse."

gdorn.circuitlocution.com/rpgb

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