Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mommy, The Goblins Are Too Tough …

Give me a freakin' break.

You do realize that Fighters in BX D&D had a D8 for Hit Dice and no special abilities besides maybe a strength bonus to hit those pesky 1-1 Hit Die Goblins, right? Hell, Thieves only got 1d4 Hit Dice at 1st Level and shitty percentages to do what thieves do.

“Blah Blah Blah … back in my day” … right?

Ever hear of Tucker's Kobolds? If not, Google's your friend. I'll wait.


Sure, a half Hit Die creature can terrorize any group of any level with the proper advantageous tactics applied. But in Lost Mine of Phandelver, the initial goblin encounter is just barely the use of tactics in it's set up. Two of six Gobbos use missile weapons. The other four engage in melee with the PCs, which is practically suicidal against the statistically, vastly superior player characters, Even if it is a group of four 1st level Wizards. (Or even one 1st level Wizard with initiative and a Sleep spell ...)

When I ran that encounter for my group, I put the Goblins hiding in the trees with partial cover, all armed with bows. Sure, the Goblins got surprise and drew first blood. Sure, there was an OH SHIT moment as the players were faced with an undetermined number of unseen foes. Did I mention they were all melee fighters, except for the guy on a horse who rode off to inform and rally the rest of the party? Oh, the player characters survived and after a short rest were up and rarin' for more … and they have a much more interesting story to tell later.

God, I love this game … :D

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Music to Game By - Track 1

Apparently, this is a big deal with a lot of groups. Some DMs can't concentrate with music, while others will gladly recommend their favorite ambient or instrumental source.

Our group rocks.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nine From Neverwinter, part one.

Cast of Characters:

  • Azun – A Moon Elf Archer hailing originally from Deepingdale, but fletching his arrows in Neverwinter for at least the past 30 years. He lead many of Neverwinter to safety during the Cataclysm of Mount Hotenow, and is regarded as a local folk hero.

  • Rungalor – A rough and tumble Barbarian Minotaur from parts unknown ...

  • Rollo Rutterkin – A Halfling Thief and long time companion of Rungalor.

  • Kirok – An Uthgardt Barbarian Shaman on a visionquest, serving as our guide.

  • Gizig – A Silver Dragonborn Warrior with official connections to Neverwinter's militia.

  • Hanzo – A Kozokuran Swordsman who journeyed to Neverwinter with Adrix of Highmoon.

  • Arcandius – A Thayvian Wizard who escaped his homeland with a mysterious tome of power.

  • Adrix – The Wandering Sage and Chronicler of this tale who brought this ragtag group of misfits together. He has traveled extensively as a Bardic Storyteller throughout The Realms, including The Unapproachable East, and is seeking to know more about The North.

  • The Storm Caller – A Calishite Gensia, powerful in the ways of Elemental Sorcery.

24th of Tarsakh, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Times were hard and this freezing rain won't stop.

The only prospect for gold was taking a wagon-load of mining equipment to the isolated town of Phandalin for a Dwarvish merchant known as Gundren Rockseeker. The job didn't pay much, but enough to rub more than a couple coins together. Gunden told us he and his man Sildar would ride a day or so ahead of us, as he had preparations to make in Phandalin. We'd take The High Road south until we would come to The Triboar Trail heading east, and then head south again to Phandalin. It was a simple job and very straightforward. It would not remain so.

26th of Tarsakh, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Day two into our ride and Kirok, who was scouting ahead, came upon two dead and arrow stricken horses in the middle of the road. He, Azun, and Rungalor rode ahead to investigate. The Arrows were black and of Goblin-make, all of which was immediately confirmed as more of these goblin arrows rained down from the trees. Azun quickly remounted his horse and headed back to the wagon for reinforcements, while Rung and Kirok were pinned down by the frost slick corpses of horses.

Gizig arrived at the scene and let loose a great gout of frost breath into the trees, which froze all the hidden goblins save one. He was captured and bound. Azun discovered a mapcase in a horse's saddlebag that was labeled Rockseeker. We interrogated the goblin to try and discover our Dwarven patron's fate. The goblin, calling himself Grubb, reviled to us he was taken to Klarg's outpost, not far from the ambush site. Grubb was intimidated by our more monstrous companions to the point of prayers to Maglubiyet, and complied with our orders to lead us to this forsaken outpost.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Current Clack - The 24th of Tarsakh, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

  • Giant tribes are more active and on the move, as sited by Rangers hailing from the Silver Marches.
  • A strange malady seems to be overtaking multitudes of Waterdavians … Plague Doctors from Balder's Gate have been summoned to the City of Splendor.
  • A military caravan sponsored by the Hawkwinter's of Waterdeep bound for Helm's Hold is overdue. No trace of the wagons has yet been found.
  • Deadsnows' residents report bands of mad Dwarves assailing their town from the north, taking only fertile young women as their spoils – in what local sage Gillate the Wise has surmised would be for the purpose of wifing.

Doing Time in Faerun

Let's be real here – we were skeptical.

Both 3rd and 4th edition were shit to our group. AD&D (and even 2nd edition when it was new) was our go to game. Personally, I had a soft spot for D&D '74 edition, even with all it's quirks/features. We passed on the latest edition for a while, until one day I was bored and needed something new to read.

Frankly, I was impressed. What I found was a system that took all the best parts of previous editions and cut the crap out. It was a fairly straight forward and simple system. I asked my 12 year old son – who I always ask about major RPG changes (He's been playing since he was 6 …) – is this something you'd like to play. He looked over the material and gave it a thumbs up. That was it. We were gonna give it a whirl.

Now being who we are and how we've been used to playing, could a bunch of grognards (Yes, even my boy counts, as he was weaned on the olde ways …) have any fun with proficiencies and feats? Could we adapt to all this background stuff? We rolled up old characters we used to play back in the day (The boy rolled up new characters because, well, his back in the day isn't as far back as ours …) and adapted them to all the new options.

Our first session was out-fucking-standing. The rules did not get in the way and served our method of play very well. There was room for roleplaying – even in combat – all throughout the session. We were all very familiar with the Forgotten Realms as it was our favorite setting (so much LORE!) next to Greyhawk. The changes to the Realms were briefly explained during the game through my favorite NPC, Adrix of Highmoon – a world traveller and expert storyteller.

The group is looking forward to playing again … I think we're hooked.


What is Outlaw D&D?

We cut our teeth on Dungeons & Dragons in the late 70s … We were trained in the old ways of AD&D … We survived the Satanic Panic and embraced our Dark Overlords, Asmodeus and Orcus … We took refuge in The Grey Box with Gygax and Greenwood during the blight of 3.5 
… The Dark Times.

Now, fully embracing 5E, we harken back to days of glory and pillage, bringing our rowdy grognard ways to the new edition with a vengeance. So let the bards of The Blue Oyster Cult sing of our deeds, both great and terrible, as we stride across Faerun and it's jeweled cities to claim our birthrights in the grasp of mailed fists.