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A full-fledged postmortem will have to wait, so let’s just talk about this session.

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I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet, omitting most of the nuance and a decent chunk of the flavor. That’s mostly in the interest of getting this done, since this has been long overdue. So let’s get to it.

You’re in a room

The PCs were in a room that ostensibly acted as a barracks. After examining the room, they noticed that there were runes of warding that protected the room. Since Ratha and Rubican had reasonable familiarity with the language of Bael-Turath, they were able to complete the spell and rest.

They deciphered the missives, of which there were two. One concerned a portal, and contained orders to shut down the portal in order to retreat to the Usurper’s strongpoint. There were also orders to execute any prisoners. The other missive was from an inferior officer who begged the addressee to keep the portal open.

The PCs discussed the implications of there being a portal here— questions as to whether the goblins were using this arose, whether the goblins were actually being exploited by something else— and before long they decided to rest.

Rubican had a dream, where the Usurper made him kneel. Rubican resisted and although it chagrined the Usurper, he congratulated Rubican on his persistence and strength of will. Then he disappeared. Rubican didn’t wake up; rather, he saw across the clearing a woman who radiated heat. He approached her, and offered a hand despite the scorching air around her. She cut the shard out of his hand, and showed him a vision of plains of endless fire.

The next day they explored the rest of the complex. They found a storage room, which contained little of value beyond what could be considered historical artifacts. They found the holding cells, wherein the executed prisoners had risen back to life, still locked in cells, and more or less harmless.

Finally, they found the portal room. There was a bright sphere of light and a runic circle. On the floor were ashes, which had been undisturbed. The presence of ash was conclusive proof that this place had been undisturbed.

They entered the portal and explored a bit after realizing that the portal had closed behind them and that they were stuck. The notion was that the room they arrived in was a staging area for troops. This became clearer as, once they explored, they discovered that there were other, now dormant, portal circles. They also heard voices, and chose to investigate.

The last confrontation

When they found the source of the voices, they saw a bunch of goblins, one of whom was attempting to build a new Zombie/Zolem/Zombie fat-man. The rest were gambling.

The chieftain nearly lost his wits when he saw Ratha and Rubican together, as he had some sense that Rubican was affiliated with the Usurper, and after having moved a bunch, it was evident that Ratha was of the Star Pact. The PCs tried to extract more information, and found mostly that he was struggling to rebuilt the goblin army. Evenutally the PCs convinced him that he’d been betrayed, at which point he lost all reason and ordered his goblins to attack.

It was a short fight. Once the goblins all died, though, the jeweled finery that the chief goblin had been wearing began to crack and explode. A mist formed, which took on a humanoid shape, and rushed at Rubican.

At this point, Rubican had another vision. The Usurper demanded Rubican’s full cooperation. The Mother of Embers, as she identified herself, appeared behind the Usurper. When the Usurper noticed, he flew into a rage, and offered Rubican power and wealth at his side. Rubican chose the Mother of Embers. In response, the Usurper assumed control of Rubican and the battle began.

It was a longer fight than before, but odds were against the Usurper, even though he was able to reconstitute the goblins and raise the Zolem. Once the final blow was struck, the Usurper combusted and dissipated, leaving behind a fine white ash, almost like sand.

The PCs searched the room and found a number of books preserved. This was the Usurper’s lab, perhaps one of many. One of these books had a scroll of teleportation in it, which necessitated that someone involved have an intimate connection with the teleport destination.

Another thing they found were some old Bael-Turathi weapons, obviously magical but clearly outside the bounds of what magic was available in modern times.

They cast the teleportation ritual, and appeared in Er-Eret.

Epilogue

Eventually, Sighni, Ansa, Ratha, Lexa, and Alec got together and discussed the implications of what happened, and resolved to do some more research. Ansa advised against keeping the Bael-Turathi weaponry, as it might awaken or attract evil. They were also acutely aware that this was probably not the end of the Usurper.

Lexa hung on to a couple of the daggers. They whispered to her, and with each passing day, she grew closer to understanding. We decided that, in all probability, she would go insane, especially since her beloved crime lord was in such a dangerous line of work.

Long-term, Alac’s plan was to raise money for Er-Eret from the antiquities they found in the outpost.

That night, when they were celebrating, they saw a familiar face reflected in the bonfire: Rubican, who lived on in some parallel realm of pure and scorching fire.

Done!

I’ll have more in the postmortem, but it was nice to have a not-entirely-shitty resolution to this campaign. Everyone seemed pleased enough, and I was glad I could put it to rest.

It was tonight. I’m tired, so I’m not going to post the whole write-up about it now. But suffice it to say that this was the first game I actually Finished, as opposed to dropping due to inertia or lack of interest, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I tried some only very slightly experimental bits, which worked better than I expected, though they might’ve used a few tweaks. The full write-up will probably happen tomorrow.

I also got my hands on Arcane Power, which of course looks pretty sweet so far.

That’s all for now, though, blog. I must has my sleeps, you see.

With the advent of PHB2, I decided to update my database of races and classes. After wrangling an entertaining and subtle bug, I’ve got some new numbers. This time, I’ll even share them with you!

To review, I’ve entered the following books into my little database: PHB, FR PHB, Martial Power, and PHB2. I haven’t added any builds or content from Dungeon or Dragon, including the Artificer. I haven’t added the Dark Pact warlock, but I probably should.

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Yes, I expect it’s widely available now, but see, I got it yesterday Thursday. This is only remarkable because I didn’t expect to have it until today Friday. So it’s special, see.

It’s also special in part because no Er-Eret tonight. It’s going to be a weeknight next week! It has to be. I’m determined. And I’m more than a little tempted to bring this to a close post-haste.

Anyway, I’ve only had a chance to skim PHB2 as of this writing. Even though my assessment is half-baked, I do have one or two impressions which are even more half-assed and ill-thought-out than usual!

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We have the new subtitle for Geist now. The full name for the game is Geist: the Sin-Eaters. This, of course, raises more questions than it answers. It’s a pretty safe bet that with the name Geist, Wraith is this game’s antecedent. Oh, man. Wraith.

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The final chapters for Er-Eret are coming up. That’s right, blog: I decided to end this shit.

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The latest Design & Development is about half-orcs and gnomes, both of which will be in PHB2. I have opinions and I am going to write these opinions in this blog.

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I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time lately looking at old D&D stuff, including things like Planescape, Dark Sun, AD&D 1st Edition, and some old modules like Temple of Elemental Evil. While reading through T1, something in the text jumped out at me. Specifically, in the Dungeon Master’s section, this passage occurs amid a brief discussion the players’ power level:

You should sharply limit the amount of gear and treasure they can bring to the village (as you will understand when you read the adventure). If your group of players has had exceptional luck, simply engineer a minor encounter or two along the way—light-fingered leprechauns, a thief or two, or perhaps some brigands—to rid them of a few of those cumbersome gems, coins, and magical items.

Good times, eh?

As much as I love some of the old D&D stuff, this sort of thing reminds me of how far we’ve come (despite the overall decline of the industry, perceived or otherwise). The relationship between rules, the DM, and the players have evolved quite a bit since then, and this is one example.

All right, so what should you do instead? I don’t want to get too much into this. I’m guessing this scenario is somewhat less likely these days, though perhaps this reveals something about the assumed style of play. These days, I would probably create a new character, but my impression is that people tended to stick with their character. It makes a certain amount of sense, and I’ve thought a bit about a similar structure of play. More on that later, perhaps!

So, assuming someone wants to bring an existing, over-leveled character with them, instead of taking stuff away, I would probably just ask them to play something else and try to relate this person to their character somehow. Maybe they’re a relative or acquaintance. Alternatively, they could power down their PC and play this like it’s in the PC’s past (though most likely without whatever accumulated wealth and magic items the over-leveled character had).

So last time I was wondering about race and class affinity, and I’ve since come up with some data. This contains a lot of discussion of crunch and rules. I can’t really explain why I like this stuff, as this is very much not in character for me, but there you are. Skip this if this topic bores you!

Right off the bat, let me say that there’s a lot that goes into whether a race/class combination is any good. Attributes are one factor. Racial feats, traits, and powers are another. For instance, Dragonborn are viable for most if not all melee classes, whereas dwarves have considerably fewer builds for which they’re viable. Nevertheless, Dwarven Weapon Training and Dwarven Resilience make dwarves an excellent choice for some builds where they might otherwise have been average (e.g. tempest fighter, two-weapon ranger). It’s something to keep in mind.

Despite that, attributes are a decent predictor of whether or not a race/class combo is viable. Ain’t nothing wrong with having a 20 in your primary, and when it comes to classes like the warlock or artful dodger rogue, high Intelligence or Charisma render a lot of good abilities even more powerful.

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