Monday, January 29, 2018

Not-So-New Year's Entry

Oh god it's 2018. And it's dark in the room I'm in so I keep hitting 7 and 9 and trying to be in the past and future on accident.

I know last year I said I was going to be better about blogging, and believe it or not, I actually was. EVen though I didn't update this for four months in a row. I've been so busy though! I've been doing a lot of gaming, in real life, via text, and via streaming. I feel like I have learned more about roleplaying games this year than I have in the collective thirteen that I was gaming before it.

Also, it isn't like I haven't been writing, I've just been doing it over at nerdarchy.com instead of here. Better audience reach, but still not a great excuse not to be--as I realize I don't know if I updated by bookshelf page to include The Lost Psion--excuse not to be paying attention to this over here.

Anyway this is where I'm supposed to say I'll try to be better, but...that will either happen or it won't. I'm not going to pretend I'll be super on top of things. That said, I am going to do my best to at least get a queue going for today.

That said, I think it's forgivable if this entry in particular is a short one. Have a good year folks and friends <3

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Player's Log: Twisted Filth Like The Rest of Us [Spoilers for Storm King's Thunder Ahead]

Cast of Characters:

Sylthiel Arthainas - Moon Elf Rogue - Me~ - Nicophel's sister, archer. - Kill Count: 9 || Down: 0

Stalkurn XXII - Drow Rogue - Patrick - I think you know this guy by now. - Kill Count: 5 || Down: 1

Lox - Changeling Rogue - Cody - Likes to pretend to be other members of the party. Faction agent for the Zhentarim. - Kill Count: 4 || Down: 2

Luthien - Human Fighter - June - Mysterious, masked, armored. We're really not sure what their alignment is yet. - Kill Count: 5 || Down: 2

Total Kills: 23
Total Near Deaths: 5
Total Body Count: 28

-/-/-/-/-

Bear with me, I am writing this the night after the game. Mind you, my other blog entries (from when we did Tyranny) were done as we were playing and they are kind of a clusterfuck so maybe this will make it better.

Our heroes meet on the road on the way to Nightstone at a signpost at a crossroads.

Sylthiel is already standing there. She is the twin sister of Nicophel Arthainas, and she's pretty annoyed by the fact that her brother is so well known here, not for being a noble but for being a hero. Life is so easy when you're a wizard, right? Anyway, she's on the short side, long dark hair, dark blue eyes, and pale skin.

Luthien is the first to arrive after. In character, we don't know she's human (and I am using 'she' because Sylthiel is assuming 'she', the player actually hasn't given us pronouns for Luthien yet) because she wears a hood and a mask that covers her entire face fashioned in the likeness of a female elf (hence why Sylthiel made that assumption; also their namesake, but that's beside the point).

Stalkurn and Lox arrive together, both in the likeness of Stalkurn. Surprise, Lox is a changeling. But anyway, they both show up as a nearly 7 foot tall drow in purple and gold armor idly swinging a scimitar in circles. Stalkurn is super lethargic. In fact, we have nicknamed this iteration of him 'lethargic Stalkurn'.

So continuing onward we get to Nightstone and find there are a lot of dead people crushed under boulders. There is a wreck if destruction here, goblins looting things, a pair of worg eating a horse carcass...and the town bell keeps ringing. Immediately we decide that bell is either a call for help or an ambush but decide to take the worgs down first.

This is where we get our first near-death experience. Luthien drops to 0 health points. She doesn't die, mind you, we get her back up and kill the worgs (Stalkurn got one and Lox got the other) and drag them aside for later skinning. (Spoiler alert, we totally forgot to actually get those pelts, RIP)

Sylthiel parkours onto the church roof like an asshole and the rest of the party takes the front door. Sylthiel sees the two goblins ringing the church bell and as the party walks in they take note and start to draw weapons. She shoots one of them and it falls out of the alcove and Stalkurn quickly dispatches the other with his daggers. At this point we start keeping track of our kills and getting comically competitive about it.

Anyway, we kill a couple more goblins but Sylthiel decides to let one go because she is only looting food and not trying to fight her. She's kind of charmed by this creature and lets it go. The rest of the party is looting. Note; June, as always, is our party treasurer and has the list of what all we've plundered, but I'm omitting it from the blog.

Eventually we do end up at the castle. There are four guards. We talk to them briefly and then Lox and Stalkurn (of course) start robbing the place blind while Sylthiel distracts the guards downstairs. Luthien ends up being needed to take down an animated sword that the three of them legitimately just stand around in a semicircle beating on until it breaks.

Plotwise, though, we find out the lady of the house is dead and that this place is in chaos at the moment. So we agree to go help the villagers and on our way out we find a company riding into town being swarmed by goblins. So we help them out. And that's where we meet Xolkin.

So several dead goblins later (note, the DM wanted to just breeze past this fight but we were still being stupid competitive over our kill counts) we approach and start to talk to these Seven Snakes that have come in hoping to take the town over. Because we are PCs, we end up getting talked into doing their dirty work and Sylthiel heads back up to talk the guards in the castle into just letting Xolkin have his way here and in the most polite way possible informs them that he's probably just going to kill them if they don't and no one wants that.

And then, because this town hadn't been donked up enough today, there are orcs. Like. A lot of fucking orcs. Like a whole horde of fucking orcs. We almost wipe. It gets super bad for a minute. Lox actually goes down, Stalkurn and Luthien break and run, Sylthiel ends up full of javelins and hanging on by one hit point, but the elves in the woods show up and help us turn the tide of battle, casually shout "your welcome" over the palisade and leave.

So anyway at this point we're level three. Sylthiel bookmarks a followup with these snakes we just fought with and the party heads up to go find the evacuated villagers. First, there are ogres. Oh god, this was the bonobo combat, hold on let me try to break down what the hell happened when Lox and Stalkurn screwed pretty much everyone but themselves.

Lox (an arcane trickster) cast obscuring mist, then Stalkurn (a drow) outlined the ogres in faerie fire. Fortunately the goblins aren't doing anything. This is one of the few combats of the night in which we are not in danger of wiping, however (hindsight being what it is) we probably should have rested here. We didn't.

One of the goblins comes up and starts telling us about the caves, which ones to avoid, and asks us to kill their leader so she can become the new leader. We're like 'sure fine, if it gets us the villagers back we'll do that'. She also mentions goblins keep dying in one cave and we extort the goblins asking what they'll give us to take care of that problem for them because that's what you do when you're an evil party.

This is where the whole thing goes straight to hell.

We get into this room, find 7 giant rats devouring a human body that's tied to a stalactite. There's goblins in here too. We enter combat. Luthien goes down in the first round so then it's the three rogues trying not to get hit while we're picking things off. Luthin stablizes on her own, but then Stalkurn goes down and Lox starts running the other way. Sylthiel kills the last rat, and steps out where the last two goblins are and her attempt to intimidate them into fucking off doesn't work. Fortunately, Lox comes back and kills one of them, and while Sylthiel is stablizing Stalkurn the other one shoots Lox and HE goes down too.

At this point Sylthiel is just really pissed off at this lone ballsy goblin and is like "if you shoot me I swear to gods I'm going to make you wish you were dead". Well. The goblin shot her while she was stablizing Lox so instead of killing it she did subduel damage and then bound it and vivisected the bitch poor thing.

Which is when we--er, Sylthiel I guess the party was KO'd at this point--hear open weeping in the corner from a caged woman. So she cuts the goblins throat, puts it out of its misery and walks over to let this woman, Daphne, out of her cage and what follows is an incredibly awkward conversation about how "I'm not usually like this" and "You know, I said I would, I had to do it or they'd have never taken it seriously and look his entrails are all over the floor, too, they were going to do it to you" which...understandably didn't help a lot.

We have to take a rest anyway to wait for the party to wake up so there's a very awkward four or so hours of Sylthiel sitting with Daphne outside as the party, one at a time, wake to find this vivisected goblin lying in the middle of the cavern floor. One by one they roll investigation checks to figure out what happened. Lox comes out and says "Well, I feel better knowing you're twisted filth like the rest of us". Luthien knows too, but...we have no idea how she feels about it yet because she kept her mouth shut.

Anyway we got the villagers out and Daphne is still all in tears and the party for some god knows why reason is still letting Sylthiel do the talking even after what just happened. We warn them that Xolkin has taken over the town and just to go with it. The villagers take off and we take a long rest.

Anyway, we go in and fight a slime that Luthien splits into two slimes before we know any better. There is a lot of kerfuffle with the DM about whether the whole slime counts as one or if the two split slimes are separate kills and debate amongst the party whether or not we want to split it more to get our kill count up. Ultimately we just kill it efficiently and leave. With more treasure.

Oh yeah and Sylthiel smiles at the new goblin in charge and says "if you end up with more prisoners take care to treat them better than the last regime did and you won't end up like them".

We get back to Nightstone and we're supposed to be picking up quests. The NPCs aren't exactly keen to talk to Sylthiel but since the rest of the party is carefully avoiding eye contact with the DM she ends up talking to them anyway. And Lox keeps walking around the town as her intentionally intimidating the NPCs and that doesn't exactly help.

On the bright side that vivisection got back to Xolkin and made it easier to sleep with him so. You know. Win some, lose some.

Then things get weird as a cloud giant appears on the scene and gives us stairs to come up and talk to him. (June: Run away! || Me: Parlay! || -the stairs come down- || June: ...Parlay -sigh-) We get in the flying castle and are informed that we're supposed to fix the Ordening. No one asks what that is, but Sylthiel already knows so those who don't know are able to figure it out by context clues.

Basically, it's this magical thing that puts giants in certain ranks. It's what makes the lowliest storm giant better than the best cloud giant. And apparently this was done because the giants were too complacent when Tiamat was a threat. So now the giants are a threat.

And that was where we left off. Next week I'm going to make somebody else talk to the NPCs. This week I think people were just tired.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

TIL: A palisade is a wooden rampart around a settlement. Like city walls, but not stone. I read a lot of fantasy, you'd think I'd have encountered this word before, but actually a lot of fantasy stories tend to like to go grandiose and everything is made of stone and stuff so this was new to me. And to most of the party as well thankfully so I don't have to feel stupid.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Chaining for Shinies Pt 8: The Mimikyu Entry

Shiny Statistics so far:
Bruxish (Josh) - 71 [Chain]
Cutiefly (ZK)* - 60 [Chain]
Rockruff (ZK)* - 35 [Chain]
Salandit (ZK)* - 70 [Chain]
Cutiefly (Me) - 315 [Chain]
Spinarak (Me) - 42 [Chain]
Dewpider (Me) - 373 [Chain]
Grubbin (Me) - 78* (but actually I killed like 2500+ of these total to get it) [Chain]
Larvesta (Me) - 877* [Eggs]
Mimikyu (Me) - 440* [Chain]
*With the Shiny Charm

Just doing an update on the pokemon front, and really on the blog front in general. I had this huge plan to at least update this thing fairly regularly this year and I have only been marginally successful at it. That's alright, I've had a lot of stuff going on, life has kind of been kicking my ass.

That said, my amazing friend Feidhlim sent me a shiny Heracross that he hatched in Pokemon Silver (I think? It might have been gold but it was one of those two) and so I have an all shiny bug team now.

The good news is I'm totally stoked about it and in the process of leveling them all up right now. Every one of them is >50 at the moment, and Larvesta still hasn't evolved yet, but we're getting there slowly but surely. Larvesta is infamous, after all, for evolving stupid late.

The bad news is no one in the entire world is going to believe this team isn't hacked. I mean I know if I ended up in a battle with these pokemon, I would think they were hacked. They aren't, I spent a stupid amount of time chaining for them, but that's alright, they don't have to believe me. The fact that some of them are suboptimal is in my favor, if I were going to cheat they'd have perfect natures and IVs too.

Anyway, I'm working on my Fairy team next but I haven't decided what all is going into it. I don't have UltraMoon yet, either, I was avoiding buying it because my birthday was late last month and it's bad form to buy things to yourself close to your birthday. That said, when you're 28 people don't gift you toys anymore. I am officially old.

That said I'm happy to be taking a break from all this chaining to train up my bug team and decide which fairies I want other than Ribombee and Mimikyu.

So yeah. I can stop guilting myself for not updating my blog in forever now, at least, and say I will at least earnestly try not to leave this for another several months before I touch it again.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Green Day Was a Freaking Amazing Concert

So I just go back from seeing Green Day live, and holy cow they were the best band I've ever seen live and that's not an exaggeration. I cried 5 times. Two of those were because I was laughing so hard and the other three I was just moved.

Here is a list of things that I want to get down before I go to sleep and forget some of them:

1. Wow I am not as young as I used to be. I'm not 16 years old anymore and am already feeling the impact of four hours of jumping around on my knees. I don't want to imagine how that is going to feel in the morning, whew I am out of shape.

2. I just love that Green Day tours when the country needs them. With everything that's going on right now, being there in all that positive energy with a crowd of people who were just as sick of this nazi bullshit as I was, really helped refresh my hope for this country. Dissent looks like hundreds of hyped up people singing along with American Idiot.

3. They were just /so good/. There was no part of that concert that wasn't high energy and amazing.

I'm feeling pretty good right now, let's hope that sticks throughout the week. And there's an eclipse tomorrow! ^_^ That's gonna be great. Mom and I have the glasses for it and everything and we're super looking forward to watching it.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

DM's Log: The Catch Up Game

Okay I did just say I'm going to try to get myself all caught up with what's been happening in my D&D game. So here I go.

-/-/-/-/-

Stalkurn XVII - Patrick - Back in the underdark after so many generations out, and wanted by Lolth, this is going to be an extra interesting adventure for him.

Maris - Josh - A trident wielding triton with mad net skills, he was taken as a slave by the drow while looking for a subterrenean kraken. He still hasn't found it yet.

Pipilouise [ABSENT] - Richie - A gnome in heavy armor with an attitude as bad as the bite of her weapon, she is arguably the most responsible member of the party.

Neko & Lunch - Cody - As far as the party knows, an incredibly intelligent mouse with a halfling familiar.

-/-/-/-/-

Alright we've had a couple of sessions since the last time I wrote about this. There was a mystery game that we played that I'm not at liberty to talk much about because we were basically play testing the plot to a module I've been working on with some other people and I don't want to give too much away about that out of respect to them, but picking back up after that session...

We had a huge fight with way too many spiders involved and at the end of it right before she died the drow priestess the party was fighting got off a curse at Stalkurn that's left him slowly turning into a drider. He is not about that spider life at all and is going well out of his way to fix himself and the rest of the party seems to be down with that.

Baroness of Bedlam, Sleeve C. Daelan, showed up and sent the party to a forest of silver trees to capture the spirit of an owl to aid Stalkurn in defeating the spider within him. This led them to taking on a goblin in a deforestation machine and heading up to this factory the goblins had made in the deeper woods. There was a moat, a squid creature trapped in it that the party nearly killed before someone just told it that they were meaning to take on the goblins at which point it was totally on board with them.

I do believe that was Cody's first ever bonobo roll and he nat 1'd it so Neko just charged forward at this tower with the moat around it. Cue tentacle combat and then they went into the goblin factory. And I was expecting them to engage the goblins in combat but instead Stalkurn called out to ask which one the boss was and told him he was a travelling salesman and tried to sell him his broom of flying and quietly whispered his trigger word so the goblin could fly on it.

The goblin then said "We have to try this on the roof".

Several rolls later the goblin jumps off the roof on a broom and Stalkurn doesn't say the trigger word and he just falls to his death. And then Neko cast a wind spell and knocked half the other goblins off the roof after him. The rest of that combat was very quick and easily done and they went after the boss goblin who surrendered immediately and wrote down the locations of his valuables in exchange for being allowed to walk.

The party's thinking "The tentacle monster will take care of him" but the goblin had a plan for that. So now this nameless goblin I made up on the fly is now a named goblin. He's Lucky, and he's a planner alright. I'm probably going to use him again in a future campaign with some other goblin scam.

Oh, and at one point Maris decided to take a job for the assassin's guild and killed a drug dealer and took his lizard dog and then they gave the lizard dog to elven orphan Briia that they picked up the session before last.

June gets back in three weeks so I'm thinking we'll start wrapping this one up soon. It's been great being back in the DM's seat but I am so excited to launch into Storm King's Thunder when June returns. I'll be playing Nicophel's twin sister that he kept writing too all last campaign.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

Let's Get Personal for a Second

Salutations, nerds,

I know I haven't been as good about updating this thing as I should be. I try to keep up with my campaign journals and I've been meaning to do an update on our current game (I plan on writing that after I'm done with this one), but I've been pretty all over the place and given this is my personal blog there is no more appropriate place to talk about this than here so that's what I'm going to do.

So, typical warning, this entry is going to be a lot of personal boost.

Anyway, I'm just riding a week long anxiety spike and at the risk of a potential TMI right now as we speak Shark Week isn't helping. That was a euphamism for my period not in reference to actual shark week that is happening this week, although to be fair large things in the ocean simultaneously fascinate and scare the crap out of me.

I took a couple of days off from the internet just to get away from the crippling existential dread of it, and that was good. Like, I was still online sort of just not on social media and I can honestly say that was really good for me while it lasted, like coming up for air from this toxic cloud that is the internet half the time. Most of the time I can just shrug it off, it's just been hard lately. I don't really want to dwell on it, but then my mind picks itself raw and I keep thinking 'what if I did this wrong' and the anticipate of all that nastiness is so much worse than the real thing.

I'm really lucky to have good friends to talk me through it when this stuff happens, though. Like honestly they're the best for listening to me gripe and knowing the right thing to say every time. I'm alright, it's not as bad as it could be, it's just a thing that's there.

Like, getting stung by a wasp. It's probably about a 2 but it's a constantly present 2 and it builds up after a while. Or, you know, for those of you that haven't been stung by a wasp kind of like being poked over and over again until it starts to hurt really badly? That's the best way I can describe it.

But honestly if I'm going to let something slip this blog is always the first thing and it's becoming something that I just feel really guilty about not keeping updated. I did say 'with some regularity' though. If that regularity is once or twice a month that's not so bad I think.

I'll keep smiling, like always, but it's got to give somewhere, sometime. And like I said, my personal blog seems like the right place to do that. Sometimes smiling doesn't work. And when that fails, being honest helps a little so that's what I'm doing. Giving myself about 10 minutes of self pity time and then it's time to get back up and try again.

That's really all I got.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

Sunday, July 2, 2017

DM's Log: Get Shipwrecked

Alright, a little late on this one but going to go ahead and write it up before I forget.

-/-/-/-/-

Stalkurn XVII - Patrick - Back in the underdark after so many generations out, and wanted by Lolth, this is going to be an extra interesting adventure for him.

Maris - Josh - A trident wielding triton with mad net skills, he was taken as a slave by the drow while looking for a subterrenean kraken. He still hasn't found it yet.

Pipilouise [ABSENT] - Richie - A gnome in heavy armor with an attitude as bad as the bite of her weapon, she is arguably the most responsible member of the party.

Neko & Lunch - Cody - As far as the party knows, an incredibly intelligent mouse with a halfling familiar.

-/-/-/-/-

This session my concept was a pretty simple one. I watched Titanic again for the first time in a while and wanted to run a session with the party in a sinking boat, dealing with the chambers flooding, people panicking. I had them in the Underdark, but it was a pretty simple matter just to send them through time and space with a little bit of magic kerfuffle.

Maris has a character goal of wanting to take down a kraken that's made its home in the underdark, so Lysianthas came to the party at the beginning of the session and told them she could send them after an enchanted weapon that could shut down the kraken's ability to control the weather and make the fight easier for them. The catch? Right now it's at the bottom of the ocean and to get it she would have to send them back in time to the ship when it sank and they would have to retrieve it.

Naturally, the PCs tore through this much faster than I expected them to. It took about 45 minutes altogether for them to navigate through the ship and I wasn't counting on a creative use of the gust spell to clear out a crowded hallway of panicking civilians. Stalkurn at one point auctioned off a place on their way off the boat for a few thousand gold pieces and the person who paid them sent them on their way with her daughter, Briia.

So the party and this ten year old elven girl went through the portal back to the underdark. That was the entirety of what I had planned so I asked them what they wanted to do and they decided they wanted to go free a bunch of slaves from House Arken'sek.

They managed to get House Freaffin'vir to lead a premature assault on them via Neko posing as a spider, going in and telling them it would secure Lolth's favor if they acted early and the party pretty much just jumped in on the fight and went after Stalkurn themselves, given his long and sordid history with the Underdark. In our canon Lolth isn't too happy with him, if you recall. And then somebody realized Stalkurn was who he was.

So instead of a simple 'in free some slaves and out' situation we ended up with our three level five party members, three drow priestesses and five drow warriors, no less than eight giant spiders summoned by Neko and four giant spiders summoned by those priestesses and a unicorn. All in a fifteen by fifty foot hallway with spiderwebs blocking the exit.

Mind you, all of these things were much too high a CR for them to be dealing with at that point but my party fights smart. They handled it and they earned this week's level. But their victory didn't come without a price.

Before she died, the daughter of House Freaffin'vir pulled off a last minute spell and hit Stalkurn in the chest with it, starting his slow and painful transformation into a drider. Everything I've read about this says it takes like 78 hours but I'm going to run with a slower variant and give him a chance to turn it around because there is no way he passes any of these consecutive will saves. Lysianthas can help him out, but only if the party goes and retrieves a list of difficult to come across ingredients for the ritual to reverse the process.

Did I mention Stalkurn is terrified of spiders?

Well anyway, I got both Maris and Stalkurn something character related this session so next week I want to find something designed for Neko. Hopefully we'll have Pip back too, but Richie's got some stuff going on and real life always comes first.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

PS. Today I learned the myth about vampires not being able to see their reflections comes from the fact that old mirrors used to be backed by silver and it was an interaction with the metal and not the glass. Modern mirrors don't have that so a modern vampire would totally be able to see themselves.