Friday, May 28, 2010

Side Campaign Log: Session 2

And so we returned to The City for the second session of our side campaign to a rather turbulent and entertaining adventure. Edward was allowed to make a few decisions during the time me and Skitch played after Noah left the last session, and he learned that the most likely location to learn of the demons beneath the sealed section was in the Mage’s Tower outside the city walls in Pagen territory. Cue our exodus to the Mage’s Tower, and what shall henceforth be known as “that encounter”. Fifteen minutes after departing we were interrupted by a small, goblin-like human. He demanded to know what we were doing in his forest, and Edward responded by shooting him in the face. Suddenly we found ourselves surrounded by six goblins, and admittedly, Jason set up an encounter too difficult for us. All of us Level 1, we faced off against six Goblin-things all Level 3. Each Gobby had at minimum sixty health, I believe 17 AC, and a battle ax to do 1d10+5 damage on hit, with a special condition that the attack jump to 2d10+5 once they were bloodied, and again, their health was easily in the 60s/70s. This made the fight extremely difficult as each Gobby could easily one shot either Edward or Erik with a single critical. For those not watching, the fight went poorly. Though we slowly eliminated the Gobbies, it was only after all three of us dropped our Encounters, Dailies, and Action Points, and even after exhausting all of those we still had four Gobbies left. Skitch also had a poor series of rolls that effectively removed him from the game.

I even managed to be the sole victim of a critical hit while the creature was bloodied, and had I not healed the turns before I would have been dead right there. In the end it was Edward who died as it became impossible to shake him from one particular Gobby. We won, but it was a hollow victory. While I was upset at the time, and still am a tiny bit now, I don’t blame Jason since this is his first time DMing. In the end it wasn’t TPK, but it came darn close at certain points. Regardless, Edward was now dead, and Abaddon saw no reason to continue. While Erik looted the bodies and a chest behind a tree, we returned to town to put Edward to rest, or that was my intention. Erik suggesting trying to raise him, and Abaddon agreed, though it forced us to speak with the Hammerites regarding raising him. Brother Walken (named because of his outrageous douchebaggery) spent every moment antagonizing Abaddon as best he could—belittling Pelor and commenting on the unimportance of raising Edward. Though Abaddon would not be so foolish to attack the brother, it was good that Erik pulled him away lest the situation become volatile.

That night Edward was raised, but the next morning he met with Mahoney who revealed he knew everything about Edward, or should we call him Dubois now? So Mahoney knows about Dubois wanting to meet Ramirez (we don’t know who that is either at the moment), and demands a cut. Knowing that Mahoney could now blackmail him Dubois decides it best to put his plan into action. He wants to kill Mahoney! DUN DUN DUN!!! Well, he did, but he realized it wouldn’t be very easily executed. Instead he asked Abaddon and Erik to come with him to the Sealed Section, and we’d attempt to find a way out of the city. Or something. Honestly I’m not too sure what our endgame is, but it seems clear that we’re not returning to The City anytime soon. After returning to the Sealed Section we managed to trick a group of guards to enter a tavern full of zombies, sending the two groups to kill each other. In the meantime we snuck into the tunnels, and used a corpse to weight down the hatch. Like it or not, we were about to face the dangers of the tunnels.

I apologize if this recap seems shorter, but aside from a small battle at the end, the above encounter was the only battle of the session, and thus the majority of the time spent. There’s a chance that next session we might have another player joining us, but we might not. Perhaps too early to tell, but in the end this session was quite brutal. We had a party member die, and each one of us faced off against a character that will likely become a rival in time. When we stopped playing we were preparing to enter the caverns and, with any luck, face off against the demons lurking inside. Tune in next time~!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LOST Series Finale Recap and Review

Considering that I have been quite vocal in my love of the series LOST for the past few years I figure some might be curious about my thoughts regarding the much discussed series finale this past Sunday. In short: I loved it.

In long: It was the most satisfying conclusion to LOST possible and I could not have imagined a more beautiful, fulfilling, and emotional ending. The episode hit the right notes and mixed the right amount of intrigue, action, suspense, and drama to keep me on the edge of my seat. From here on I will start mentioning SPOILERS regarding the episode, so if you haven’t seen it or are debating about watching the series and don’t want the ending revealed, leave now.

Now before I start allow me to say that the reason I loved LOST was the characters. Of course I loved the Smoke Monster, the strange healing properties, and all the other mysteries of the island, but as much as I loved the mythos they never compared our wonderfully flawed cast. The island itself helped augment and bring out the best in the cast, and never was there an episode that simply focused on just a piece of intrigue on the island. Rather each and every episode focused on a character’s relation to said intrigue, and for people who understood and appreciated this, the ending of LOST should have satisfied you at least on an emotional scale. People expecting to find out “what’s the island” or “why is there a massive amount of electro-magnetism in the island” will be understandable be disappointed.

So in a quick recap we return from last week where Jacob has recently passed on the position of Island Protector to Jack whose group quickly confronts Flocke, Ben, and Desmond (who was rescued by Rose & Bernard of all people!). With only ten minutes of the show passed it seemed strange to have the final confrontation now, but instead Jack says he’s going to help Flocke destroy the island—or at least he’s going to help Flocke carry out what he believes will destroy the island. So Flocke, Jack, and Desmond head to the heart of the island while Miles finds Richard and they restart their plan to destroy the Ajira plane to trap the Smoke Monster. A touching moment (the first of many) occurs when Miles points out that Richard has his first grey hair. It’s a small tender moment that gives Richard the drive to continue living. Either way, the two set sail but manage to run into Frank of all people, and he tells them instead of destroying the plane, they should fly it off the island.

A message gets to Ben (double crossed Flocke surprise), Hurley, Kate, and Sawyer to get on the plane. They head off, but a train pins Ben to the ground. As they try to free him, Flocke and Jack lower Desmond into the cavern at the heart of the island. The cinematography resembled the same scene from Season 2 regarding The Hatch, and Flocke comments how they only needed a button to push for the scene to be the same, and finally we get the moment we’ve really wanted for a while. Jack tells Flocke flat out that he isn’t John Locke, and that wearing his face is dishonoring his memory. The saddest part about Locke was that he never got a happy ending. He died, miserable and alone, and he never was “special” in the way he believed, but after his death he truly changed Jack, and seeing Jack really stick up for him was incredibly touching, and perhaps the highlight of the episode.

Anyway Desmond arrived at the heart of the island and removes this… cork thing… I don’t know, just go with it. It drains the island’s light and sudden the island begins to collapse. Flocke prepares to leave but Jack punches him beforehand. To Flocke’s surprise, he’s bleeding, and he realizes that when the light disappeared so did his special powers. In short: he was now mortal, though in same respect, now Jack is too. Jack and Flocke have a final epic confrontation in the rain by the cliffs where Desmond’s boat is. This is an intense battle, and Flocke has the upperhand once he stabs Jack, but Kate arrives to shoot Flocke in the back and letting Jack hurl him off the cliff. Flocke, the Smoke Monster, is dead. With the island now crumbling, decisions have to be made. Jack says he’ll return to get Desmond who is still trapped in the cave. Ben will come with him, as will Hurley. Kate and Sawyer go to grab Claire and get on the plane, and thus, for the last time, Jack says good-bye to Kate and Sawyer, and we get another fantastic scene, and more importantly, closure.

So Kate and Sawyer find Claire and head to the plane but Frank has to get the plane in the air soon if they want a chance to escape. Jack leads Hurley and Ben to the cave and says that he’s going in, but that, when he does, he knows he can’t be the Protector anymore. His last decision as guardian is to hand the job off to someone else, and that someone is Hurley. Yes, Hurley the overweight, bad luck ridden, Star Wars quoting dude is given the title of Island Protector, and it is awesome. It’s absolutely tragic to see Hurley have to say good-bye to Jack because at this point we all know Jack is done for, yet at the same time it’s beautiful. Anyway, Jack heads into the cavern and finds Desmond. Jack helps pull Desmond back to the rope, explaining that he has to do it. Afterall, Desmond has Penny and Charlie waiting at home. His final line of dialog is to tell Desmond that he’ll “See him in another life, brother”. You can start crying here now people. So Jack manages to put the plug back into the island, and the light returns. Hurley and Ben start pulling up who they think is Jack, but it turns out to be Desmond. The light returns, but the shaking is still occurring and it seems the Ajira flight might not make it. However Sawyer and the team make it just in time and the flight takes off just before the ground around them crumbles. A few moments later the island stops shaking, and it appears everything is over. We’re taken to a scene with Hurley and Ben discussing the situation. Hurley realizes that now he’s the Protector of the Island, and doubts that he can do it. Ben reassures him that if anyone can do it, Hurley can, and Hurley asks if Ben could be his #2. Again, it’s a very touching moment and puts the final chapter on Ben’s story. We’re left to the idea that Hurley and Ben become the new protector’s of the island, but unlike Jacob or other guardians of the past, Hurley won’t force people to stay and be judged. The island is still a test, but we’re left with the optimistic feeling that Hurley will do things different.

Our final scene is on Jack, now outside in a stream. He wakes up, and staggers into the bamboo forest where he started the series, He lays down and notices Vincent the dog coming by. Vincent lays down next to Jack and Jack watches as the Ajira flight passes by safely over head. Our final shot is on Jack’s eye slowly closing followed by the silent ending. So in the end the Smoke Monster dies, Hurley becomes the new Jacob with Ben as his second in command, Sawyer, Kate, Miles, Claire, Richard, and Lapidus escape the island, Rose & Bernard live out their days in peace, Desmond will return safely home to his wife & child, and Jack dies having finally found his peace. End of the show right? Well that was just half of the episode. The other half was dedicated to this “Flash Sideways” world where Oceanic 815 never crashed.

In this sideways it seemed imperative that everyone “wake up” and remember their time on the island, and these scenes were the ones that sold me on the episode. This episode allowed us closure on all the characters that had died. Seeing Sun & Jin wake up at the sight of their daughter was a great start. Having Hurley see Charlie was nice, and Shannon meeting Sayid was a very pleasant surprise (I think a lot of people forgot they were an item in the first two seasons). After this though, the water works start fucking pouring. Juliet meeting Sawyer might be the most impressive because again I’m stunned how well these two work in a relationship with each other. They have such great chemistry and it was a great scene to help recall the first episode of the season. “We can go Dutch…”

After that it’s Locke noticing his foot having feeling. The smile he gave Jack after “waking up” broke my heart. I loved Locke as a character, and behind Hurley, he was my favorite. It hurt so much to know that he died a depressing loser, all alone. I’ll get to the ramifications of this “Flash Sideways” world later, but seeing Locke so happy was fantastic. I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed it, and in particular his line to Jack “I hope someone does for you, what you did for me.” A great parallel to our Original Timeline. Also, this scene benefitted greatly from a very optimistic remix of “Locke’d Out Again”. Michael Giacchino is our John Williams everybody.

Finally we get the moment I’ve been waiting for since the end of Season 3. In one of our last moments Claire wakes up when she holds Aaron, and she asks Charlie to hold him. This causes Charlie to wake up, and for the first time since Season 3 Charlie, Claire, and Aaron are together again. It was near impossible to hold back the tears at this point. Charlie finally gets the chance to see Claire again, and as emotional as Locke, Sun & Jin, and the others were, Charlie & Claire was just more emotional for me.
Eventually all of the ones who have “woken up” arrive at a Church. The second to last to arrive is Locke who rolls up in a wheel chair to see Ben sitting outside. Ben reminds Locke that he probably doesn’t need the chair, and Locke smiles before standing up. Ben apologizes to Locke for what he did, and Locke calmly forgives him before entering the church. Hurley pops out to see Ben and ask if he’s coming in, but Ben refuses. Before going back inside Hurley tells Ben that he made an awesome #2, and Ben replies that Hurley was an amazing #1, referencing their roles as Protectors of the Island. Jack arrives with Kate and finds his father’s coffin, but to his surprise, it’s empty. Instead Christian appears behind Jack, and the two Shephards come face to face.

Jack demands to know what Christian is doing here, and Christian demands to know the same. Jack talks about the island and the plane, but then comes to the realization that he’s dead. He asks if everyone else is dead and Christian replies “everyone dies sometime kiddo”. He asks where are they now, and Christian replies “there is no now”, and leads his son into the Church where the other Oceanic passengers are. Charlie, Claire, Sawyer, Locke, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, Jin, Desmond, Penny, Shannon, Boone, Rose, Bernard… Everybody (except Mr. Eko, Michael, Walt & Ben) They all hug, reunite, sit down, and then let Christian open the doors, presumably to Heaven.

So, essentially the Flash Sideways, by my interpretation, was a form of Purgatory, but less like a spiritual place of judgment, and more like a space in between the afterlife for these people to give conclusions to the other people who mattered most in their life. No, the island wasn’t Purgatory or anything of the sort. Let me repeat, the people on the island weren’t dead or anything of the sort. The Flash Sideways wasn’t alternate reality, but basically a spiritual plane that happened likely very long after the series ended (consider Hurley and Ben were likely blessed with immortality). This was important for two big reasons.

First was it gave us a chance to get our conclusions. It gave us a chance to see Claire & Charlie together. It gave a chance for Sun & Jin to see their baby, Sawyer & Juliet to reunite, and Locke to walk once again. It put a nice end to storylines like Sayid’s struggle with his own morality, Ben & Locke’s series long feud, and Ben & Hurley’s relationship. I put a nice end to all of these simply amazing storylines, and as a fan of the series seeing these filled me with a lot of emotions. Yeah, I know, gay. Blah blah blah.

Secondly, this wasn’t an alternate time line. One thing I feared was that this alternate timeline would somewhat cheapen that decisions made in the straight timeline. For example, Charlie dying doesn’t mean as much if in the alternate timeline he’s happy with Claire. No, instead every decision made by the Survivors had a real impact. There is no second live or extra chances. Charlie drowned in the Looking Glass. Sayid blew up in the submarine. Juliet died from The Incident. These all happened, and didn’t change, and yet we still get to see the “happy ending” to these storylines in the Flash Sideways. I loved it all. As a fan, I couldn’t have asked for anything more considering what they could do.

All in all the finale told us two things. The first is that humanity can be weak, but that if we try to tackle our problems with others, we can negate our flaws. Community VS Isolation if you will. The second is that we all have to learn when to let go. I suppose that last one may indirectly be about the audience. This is it. LOST is over, and we’re all going to need to move on. For some the ending was a slap in the face, and they felt betrayed. And for others, life myself, I got confirmation that the last four years of my life weren’t for nothing. I was immensely satisfied by the episode which can best be described as an emotional rollercoaster. As much as I’d like to say I didn’t cry, I will admit I got a tad teary eyed when Jack laid down in the bamboo forest and Vincent laid down beside him. Yeah I know, real men can’t cry… Well don’t tell me what I can’t do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Side Campaign Log: Session 1

As I said last night, I finished playing a great session of D&D with Jason, Noah, and Skitch. For those curious this session was not streamed, nor was it part of the main campaign. Instead it’s a completely separate story with separate characters. I figure people might still be interested in a recap, and if nothing else I can at least keep these as notes for the future. So, onto the recap!

In this campaign Jason is our DM. The characters are as follow: Noah is a half-elf Assassin who seems to be hiding quite a few important details about himself. Skitch is playing a half-elf Warlord who is prejudice against the “pure-bloods” (humans and elves) and employs a very high-risk high-reward style of gameplay. I myself play a half-elf Paladin of Pelor, though the church of Pelor is very minor in comparison to the Order of the Hammer which dominates a majority of The City where this campaign will take place.

So we started off our adventure being briefed by Officer Mahoney, and Officer Mahoney is a freaking douche. Guy spends the entire briefing telling us we’re all going to die, how lame we are, and pretty much just demanding we hurry up and go to our deaths. Jerk. Anyway, our mission is thus: Long ago a portion of The City (our campaign setting) was overrun by undead. Fortifications were made to essentially seal off this part of the city, and for a long time it has been left to its own designs. Our mission is the first step in a larger operation to reclaim the sealed section of the city, and the first assignment was to find a series of tunnels once used by thieves and bootleggers inside the sealed section. Since no man has ever returned from crossing over the wall into the sealed section, it was assumed that it’s a suicide mission, so again, Officer Mahoney is the douche who has no problem with constantly stating that he doesn’t think we have a chance in hell, yet continues to demand we hurry up and start our suicide mission. Yeah, so far I’m kind of hoping Mahoney gets mauled by zombies. Not likely, but I can dream.

Anyway, we enter the sealed section via the massive wall, and inside we find strange dinosaur like creatures called Byork. Well actually they had another name, but I just kept hearing Byork when he said it, so I’m assuming we were killing the prehistoric incarnations of a quasi-successful Icelandic pop singer. Anyway, Edward (Noah) managed to shoot one of the Byork from above, and the creature’s scream let the rest of its allies know it was in pain. A herd of around four of five more Byork showed up, and we used it as a distraction to go further South along the wall and bypass much of the monsters entirely.

After that Edward made a rope for us to climb down, and at this point I should explain that Abaddon (My character, and yes I continue the theme of naming all my PCs after LOST characters) wears heavy plate armor. For those unaware plate armor gives you high AC, but absolutely rapes some of your skills; namely Athletics, Acrobatics, Stealth, and Thievery. For those skills I have a -4 modifier (small exception to Athletics which is a -3) and when my time came to climb the rope, I fell flat on my face from three stories up. Bam, 11 damage and I now officially hate heights in and out of character. Seriously with Juliet last week and the pyramid and Abaddon this week with the wall, I am going to make sure my next character can climb a god damn rope.

Anyway, soon after landing we ran into our first encounter—two Byorks and our first zombie. Strangely enough, I almost went down in this encounter. The build I have for my Paladin makes it so I’m quite sticky, and betraying my mark is extremely dangerous, and to compliment this I bought Plate armor. Fucking Byork managed to roll solid upper teens with just enough bonus to hit my AC, or they attacked Reflex. At the end of the battle I was at 9 HP (31 HP Max) and had no more uses of Lay on Hands left. At the time I figured that would be a huge hurdle to overcome, but not really. I’ll explain in a bit.

After a short rest we went back into the mission, and all we knew was that we needed to find a tavern as an entrance to the thief tunnels was supposedly hidden inside. At this point Noah pretty much managed to have us avoid about three encounters. We may have lost out on some XP, but we avoided what would have likely been about seven zombies and some Byork. It allowed us to enter the tavern as all the zombies poured out of a window into the streets and attacked the Byork, letting us find the trap door outside in a small courtyard between three taverns. In the courtyard there were about five zombies, but what we discovered from studying them as they walked was that the zombies themselves were mostly blind. They reacted to noises for the most part, and Edward and Erik (Skitch) managed to sneak into the courtyard via a window no problem. However now it was time for the guy in full fucking plate armor to do it, and what did I roll?

Natural Effing Twenty. Granted it became a 16 after modifier, but I fucking ninja’d that window. Imagine if you will a six foot, moderately well built man covered in heavy plate armor managing to slide himself through the window without a freaking sound. I AM AWESOME. After that we prepared to get the drop on them, and Jason called for another Stealth check. What did I roll? Effing 19! I AM THE GREATEST NINJA KNIGHT ALIVE! There’s something very hilarious about the plate mail covered knight who moments ago fell three stories because he couldn’t climb a rope just fucking slide through an open window unseen and remains almost invisible to zombies. For some bizarre reason I’m amazing at Stealth checks with Abaddon. I might MC into Rouge just for shits and giggles now.

Anyway, the next fight can best be called “complete and utter rape on every level”. With range on our side we managed to drop a few zombies before they even got close, and thanks to Divine Challenge/Divine Sanction, any enemy breaking my mark takes at least 7 damage. In addition Erik has several abilities that can allow us to take a gamble to potentially get extra attacks, and Edward’s shrouds are quite powerful. The three of us have a potent synergy right now, and this encounter and the next were nearly jokes in comparison to the first. After clearing out the zombies we noticed a chest and we attempted to open, but Edward’s Thievery check rolled like a 21 and didn’t cause the thing to budge.

Erik tried to pry it open, but then managed to critically fail, have the crowbar slip out of his hand, and imbed it into a wall. Nice. Well we ignored the chest for now and headed down the trap door into the tunnels. Inside we fought two Byork, and slain the beasts! However right after the encounter Edward viewed a demonic skull on legs that Jason warned us looked very intimidating. I think Noah was honestly debating on fighting it, but ultimately decided against it, which was likely a good idea because Jason seemed to suggest that if we had engaged it we would have likely been killed. Either way the skull left, we returned back to the surface, smashed through a wall cause my fatass couldn’t climb it, watched some Byork and zombies kill each other, wiped up the survivors, and then returned to The City, our first mission completed. It was in the middle of the night, but we made sure to wake Mahoney’s dumbass up.

More or less the campaign ended there. We did more, but it was mostly related to telling our respective superiors about our mission. Our current plot hook suggests that the zombies are not normal undead due to their lack of vulnerability to radiant damage, and that they may actually be the reanimated corpses of a race of ancient warriors who lived only in fables. Quite intriguing, and a good hook to return the next time we decide to play.

I have to say I enjoyed this session a lot. It wasn’t as wacky as our main campaign, but it flows a lot more smoothly. Since all of us are at least relatively well versed in the rules combat can fly by, and our characters are melding well together. Edward is an interesting character as he was introduced as city watch, but clearly possessed the skills of an assassin, so I’m curious to see how that develops. Erik is rather humorous as I can see the dude getting us into trouble. Since his fighting style promotes taking bold risks it forms an interesting chemistry with the Paladin whose job is to keep all the attacks coming towards him to leave the others open to attack unhindered. I’m actually very appreciative of Edward as he fights at range so it gives Abaddon more room to play with in melee. I have to say I love Divine Challenge/Divine Sanction. -2 to attack if they try to attack anyone but me, they take an automatic 7 damage (and next level I will have a way to increase that to 10, and I have several ways of forcing that on enemies. I can see why some people hate playing Defender because your job is to essentially get pummeled and be knocked out, but I’m loving the character so far both in mechanics and in flavor.

Abaddon is a paladin of Pelor, so he constantly references light and sun. Since many of my powers do Radiant damage and I intend to get feats and powers that will allow me to increase radiant vulnerability. My goal is to make it so Abaddon will be the target of most attacks, and if not, I’m going to make damn sure the enemy suffers for not choosing me as the target. I have an extended story for Abaddon regarding his entry into the clergy, but like everyone else I think I’ll keep most of the details secret. It’s not as interesting as Edward and his shadow powers, but all in all this campaign is a lot of fun. I love the way this campaign is shaping up, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next session. I’m not sure if we’ll do anything with this campaign like streaming it or anything. We’ll talk about it when we decide to do another session. Anyway, I hope those who bothered to read this enjoyed it in some way. There weren’t any blonde girls falling off pyramids or rangers making out with the bard, but there was Plate Mail Super Ninja, and remember friends… FOR PELOR!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

DnD Log: Session 4

So last night was the glorious return of our D&D Campaign, and the completion of our first major mission. We conquered the pyramid and bested a god, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.

The first thing our party encounters was the vile portal trap which sent poor Sayid and Jonn to their early graves. A closer examination (I guess we really rolled poorly the first time. I forget.) revealed that the portal was a standard ritual we could easily disarm. Leave it to this group however to debate for way too long on a simple solution. Anyone listening to live stream probably heard me get upset when there was about a five minute debate about having Angry Joe/Lord Vane fire at the trap. In the end I scratched the runes with a sword and saved the day. There’s something very telling about this group that when the subject came up about breaking the runes our immediate reactions were to throw lightning and explosives at it.

Afterwards we entered a treasure room, and Sean/Darstine rolled a natural one for her trap check. His modifier wasn’t enough and in Spoony’s own words “[Darstine tells you this room is a classic set up]”. We left, but I regret not saying “eff that” and going back in. I asked Spoony later and we definitely did miss stuff in that room.

Either way we ascended up the pyramid and finally arrived upon the grand chamber and our first big boss battle. From the ceiling descended an enormous scorpion queen, and here is where things got shitty. First and foremost due to all being collective cowards we were trapped in a hallway where we were buffeted by the scorpion queen’s sand storm. I believe Lord Vane, Nik/Victor, and Skitch/Garrett where the only ones hit, but the hit managed to blind them all. Furthermore Spoony revealed that starting, ending, or spending any time in an adjacent square of the queen would inflict five poison damage. Not good odds, and furthermore our group was playing without a full arsenal. Garrett already used up his Daily, Victor probably had like two surges left, and our shitty formation entering the room left our Defender in the second row, while our Healer sat front and center. Not good odds, but even worse was our shitty rolls.

I believe that Darstine, Paw/Andraste, Jason/Grae, and myself/Juliet all used our Dailies, and of them only mine actually hit, and mine also hit a friendly (sorry Darstine!). During the encounter there were at least three blunders, and Jason managed to shoot a THIRD party member in the back. I don’t trust being in front of this guy. Anyway the battle started off poorly. Darstine darted around to the monster’s back, and due to unfortunate positioning, made it impossible at my current location to drop my Daily anywhere but on top of them both. Initially this seemed like an idiotic move, and it probably was, but the +2 combat advantages it granted the rest of the party completely saved us, and in addition the damage it did became the killing blow. However the bad news pilled on as Victor, our Defender/Lead Melee fighter was Dominated by the Scorpion Queen one round in, and was effectively removed from the encounter. Not soon after that Skitch entered the front lines and took two vicious shots and went into the negative, setting off our first party defeat (one of many that evening).

The battle raged, but by sheer numbers we held on. Eventually Grae stopped shooting opponents in the back and managed to hit some very impressive attacks. Darstine got off another good round, but only after we reminded Sean about Sneak Attack damage and using his action point. I felt like a real ass last night trying to control the game by reminding people of their bonuses and abilities, but I fear without it we might have TPK’d. I’m hoping certain members of the group learn how to play because it’s unfair to remind players how to spent their turn, and henceforth, I won’t do that.

Anyway Garrett was down and out, floating just over death after getting fucking gored, and Andraste attempted to heal him. Finally the Scorpion Queen saved against my Daily bringing on the aftereffect which hit her for a final 18 damage and causing her to explode in a torrent of light and scorpion guts. YEEHAW~! And here, I will legitimately say Spoony saved Garrett’s life. Garrett was going to die if we ended combat, and Spoony kept harping about ending combat until I eventually realized what he was saying. With Andraste’s turn we managed to rid Garrett of his poison, bring him back into the positives, and get him moving just as the pyramid began to collapse. We all tried to leave the pyramid, but I managed one final set of shitty rolls so that during our daring escape out of the pyramid’s top, Juliet fell a good ninety feet and barely survived. I was told to make three Death Saving Throws. A 4, 8, and 10. Juliet –barely- lived. Garrett managed to drop down just in time to bring me back to life, and after that the rest of the party came down and we all escaped as the pyramid collapsed in on itself like the house from Poltergeist.

Just to recap, Garrett was impaled through the chest by a goddess. After being tossed aside like a husk and was literally at death’s door, yet managed to survive just in time. Minutes later, the man leapt thirty feet down off a pyramid, crashed into the sand, healed Juliet, and helped drag her away from the imploding pyramid right before the thing went nova. There is no doubt in my mind that Garrett deserves some special BAMF award. After that we debated about the idea of telling the King about the goddess we met, but ultimately decided it was for the best. Paw also found some rubies inside of a pot he took from the pyramid, and at this point Sean left. Coincidentally this was the second time Sean left the game early and missed out on some major money. Either way we returned to Sarmanath, spoke with King Donovan, learned some important plot points regarding Garrett being tainted, picked up a sidequest about beating up some drug dealers with Lord Vane, and escaped a potentially awkward situation with two dudes kissing. Actually we did more than that, but honestly to explain that all would take forever.

Anyway, the season in total ran about 4 hours. This was a big one for many reasons. First was our first major completion of a quest. We investigated the South, found the ancient pyramid, and managed to kill the corporal form of a goddess. Pretty good for Level 1s. Actually, Level 2s now. Yep, our first level up, and damn does it feel sweet. Second was this was the first time a party member fell in combat. Sayid and Jonn were different in that they were solo and mauled, but in this session we had Garrett, Juliet, and Darstine all moments away from dying. For Juliet and Garrett it was quite literally moments. One more bad death roll on Juliet’s part and she’d have been toast. Third was that this time we had our plot elaborated on. Until now it felt like this adventure wouldn’t lead into anything else, but now we have several plot points to continue off on. Garrett is tainted, Vane wants to crack some skulls, Grae wants to hide, and Andraste & Juliet both want to find more answers about this goddess.

Actually, I’m curious. What do you guys think we should do? I know I want to go on this small sidequest with Lord Vane, but assuming we all survive, where should we go next? I’m quite curious about where the road will take us, and how we’ll all continue on as characters and players. I think our mercy from Spoony is about used up, so our next adventure should test our mettle. Have to say I’m really pumped for this.