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Good and Bad
How to explain recent events...?

We dealt with the crew of the Argent Lady, who have apparently been dropping off the Hugarian's supplies to the rebels - that's good. But we felt compelled to give those supplies to the rebel fleet (Even I get boarded sometimes!!!), which puts us in dangerous situation with the Hungarian - that's bad.

We got away from a bounty hunter ambush, and dealt with sabotage on the ship before it did us in - that's good. However, we then found out we were wanted in connection with the fighting and explosions in the dock - that's bad.

In our attempts to reach out to Rebels in around Gandle Ott, we were able to track them to a warehouse - that's good. However they appeared to have all been killed or captured - that's bad.

We did pick up some hardware and ordinance they had left behind, as well as a datapad - that's good. However, the datapad was encrypted, and we weren't able to get much from it - that's bad.

After some further digging, we're able to decrypt the datapad and get full access to a list of supply ledgers, drop points, etc. - that's good. But we then get a wave about a Super Star Destroyer arriving in Kal'Shebbol - that's bad.

We notice a pattern which keeps showing up in the datapad - missed by previous data wipes - it turns out to be beacon coordinates for Shintel, which we follow to a Rebel Mon-Cal Frigate hidden in the gas giant - that's good. However, when the majority of the group boards the frigate to investigate, we find mostly a lot of dead Rebels - that's bad. Then our communications are jammed, and we're asked to kindly die by a politely homicidal protocol droid named "000" - that's worse.

From there, it's pretty much just bad for a while. The group on the frigate nearly gets shot out the airlock and then chopped up by razor webbing shot by spider droids. The group left on the ship nearly gets stabbed or blown up in a fight with boarding battle-droids. I suppose we're still alive, so that's good.

The frigate group makes it to the bridge without further hindrance, but then discovers a nasty surprise left by "000", the frigate has been set to self-destruct. The ship group has to contend with a swarm of R2's and other droids crawling over the hull, and takes off to try and shake them off. Again, still alive - that's about it for the good.

The frigate group is unable to disable the self-destruct sequence, but a pissed-off wookie ripping out the detonator module seemed to suffice - I'm sure there's nothing else important in that part. Meanwhile, the ship group is continuing to lose systems rapidly, and is jerked out of hyperspace when power and life support are lost. Our mechanic goes for an unplanned jaunt in space, and our pilot suits up to recover him - only for the droids to clip his lifeline.

Finally getting back to the good, our hacker was able to eject an escape pod, and pick them up. Those on the frigate were able to disable more countermeasures, and unlock control of the frigate - specifically, the frigate which requires a MUCH larger crew to do anything useful with that control. At any rate, we're at least able to send out a U-wing to retrieve the escape pod, and eject some left-over dormant droids into the gas giant.

It's at this point that we figure out the lack of resistance on the frigate - apparently "000" had led ALL of the remaining droids to board our ship, rewired the systems once it was devoid of crew, and then jumped to lightspeed (the frigate lacking any larger hyperspace-capable vessels until then). That would seem to be a problem for another day, and perhaps another crew.

Investigation of the frigate's databanks helps explain the situation we find ourselves in. Apparently the Rebels found themselves with an extreme shortage of manpower to crew the hidden remnants of their fleet - so their raids focused on recovering droids for that purpose. They hit Saris a few months ago and found a similar situation to what we had here - lots of dead bodies with no explanation. They recovered various weapons, droids, and a rounded triangular rock called the 'Plaque of Destiny' - which was being studied by the Imperials.

Shortly after getting back, people on board the frigate started killing each other with little explanation. The captain became increasingly paranoid, and secreted-away the Plaque (not even including details in his logs). The droid called "000" had been recovered from a recent raid on an Imperial shipment from the Kethel Outback, and apparently took this opportunity to begin his coup.

We also learned that the Super Star Destroyer in Kal'Shebbol is part of a tour commanded by Darth Vex - it would seem he's investigating something in the system.

Armed with information, and a very large ship we can't currently do much with, part of the crew takes the U-Wing outside the gas giant in order to send some waves. One is to the Hungarian, showing him that the Rebel thieves have 'paid' - hopefully he's less interested in turning us into puree now. The next wave is to various imperial contacts - in an attempt to trade information on the mostly-defunct Rebel cell for pardons and 'peacekeeper' licenses.

At the same time, we also dig for information on the Plaque - it was apparently recovered from an alien probe with an unknown power source (an unusually-light rock), and is tied to a 'Darkstryder' project. The project in question seems to be run by Moff Kenter Sarn (of Kal'Shebbol), who was receiving shipments from the Hungarian (those odd crates with life-support-modules we had noticed in our last visit?)

So now we find ourselves pardoned & newly minted as Peacekeepers (ie: bounty hunters). We have an opportunity to be taken on as Imperial Agents, but this requires us to bring our contact information on this 'Darkstryder' project. It's unclear at this time if the project has anything to do with the Rebels' fate, with the various droid mutinies, or with this 'Plaque of Destiny'.

Looking over previous notes, I can find the following topics which may relate:

  • Moff Kenter Sarn has a force-shielded station out in the middle of nowhere. He shouldn't have the pull for such a thing, so perhaps who his backer is might shed some light on the situation.
  • The Moff has been buying up most of the nearby mining output (including Hfrediem ore) - and now fields a significant fleet (again, not something you would expect in this part of the galaxy)
  • We've previously encountered people who had been driven crazy and started attacking others - people mining Hfrediem ore without proper shielding, who then turned to piracy.
  • Once we had finished dealing with the crew of the Argent Lady, we had discovered that Captail Zol was a Droid Abolitionist. His first mate (the sullustian Babbalet) was a deranged but brilliant scientist - his 'droid-virus' contained some sort of alien code in a mathmatical language, with reference to Science Team MS-113 on Saris 3 (presumably the group studying the Plaque, and where "000" came from?)
Session: Nebulon - Wednesday, Apr 26 2017 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Epic!
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Mitch
Posted in Flameweaver
From the Desk of Dr. Cody, Continued:
Big news, boys and girls! I. Am. Immortal!

And not the paltry, 'we'll never forget you' or 'statue in some one-horse-hovel-hive' immortal. I'm talking bona-fide-un-killable!

I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual. I'll elaborate.

As I intuited, the Gnomes led to bigger financial game. Albus was wrapped up in it as well, and had been appointed the 'leader' for our little field trip. They didn't have the full coin for their fallen friends, so they landed on Tymora's barter system. Find the artifact, get your friends back. Simple, right?

Anyone who sees only simple is a simpleton, but I digress.

This book was of course, pursued by others. Others that never returned. So a few potions, scrolls, and several, several pints later we were off. After activating the transport scroll and stepping through, we found ourselves in a ruin. An old, old ruin.

Albus continued to play the leader, bravely carrying the charge from the near back of the group while looking around for some yet unnamed trinket of the ages. In addition to the Gnomes, my lovely assistant has tagged along as well as a human warrior (the only poor shmuck who couldn't see in the dark).

After making it fairly apparent that the ruin was trying its damndest to kill anyone who entered, progress faltered once or twice. The entire place seemed to operate on one or two objects that accessed locked off sections and rooms.

Oh, and the monsters. I forgot about the monsters, who were trying just as hard if not harder to kill us. First the skeletons, dispatched en masse by yours truly into clouds of burnt bone and ash. Then the spiders, which would have made half our group into a snacking (note: I think it fits) if yours truly once again hadn't burnt over half of them to a mass of chitin and charcoal.

How~ever, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the little Gnome girl, who took to kicking the beasts to death, and more immediately in the face. Her name escapes me at the moment, but should the trend continue maybe I'll commit it to memory.

After I provided the courtesy of burning away the webbing that coated the walls of the pit the spiders emerged from (honestly, what would these folks have done without me?) fearless leader decided to start a trust exercise by asking me to both stop firebombing the pit and to lower him down into it. Little miracles happen every day it seems.

After some rumbling and the sound of... something happening below, he reemerged from some unseen crawlspace followed by a rising tide of sand and churning metal spikes. After a much needed lesson in the words 'please' and 'thank you' I lowered the rope back down, letting him emerge bloodied but alive. Just goes to show, a little manners go a long way. The rod of healing magic he got for his trouble didn't hurt either, considering how much of a beating they were taking.

My one and only misstep of the outing came in a small antechamber, adorned with a metal pillar and large copper plates on the walls. Knowing that the metal could fetch a decent price in the right market I set to work removing the plates from the wall. Another trap. Stupid, stupid, mistake. But a few tense moments and some deft disarming later, the trap was broken and we had a power source for the dead room we found previously. I'd say I removed the copper plates out of spite, but hey, coin is coin.

More and more traps and tests followed, of those two of note will be mentioned here. A room with three doors with stones of red, green, and purple. Through a sort of unknown intuition I opened two of the three, pocketing the stone on the red door in the process. I'd almost swear the hinges let out an annoyed sigh with how easily they were overcome, but that would be silly.

Oh, and I also opened the green door by hitting it with a stick, because I'm amazing.

The hallway beyond the red door? Oh man, that was as poignant as it was comical. After tripping some unseen switch by accident we were greeted with several spinning blades coming out of the walls. Others were bloodied, including Albus... while I remained unharmed, and the conclusion of my immortality began to dawn on me.

The hallway ended in two doors, each one requiring a different artifact we had previously acquired to operate them. Oh! I neglected to mention the jagged six-pointed key we came across earlier, as well as an ooze which eagerly pounced on two Gnomes out of the total snacking of them. It was dispatched easily enough, between my fire and the Witch Bolt of my lovely assistant, more of a nuisance than a true threat.

(Author's note: Brand 'snacking,' collect royalties)

The door of the pointed key was the first to be opened, revealing what would have been certain death. A beholder, an honest to Kord beholder, accompanied by a giant of some zombified and desiccated breed. Oh, and the beholder was undead too. With some lucky turning on the part of the Gnome cleric and some quick and clever use of Mage Hand the prize of the room was ours, and the door was promptly closed and locked. Hopefully forever. If I'm being honest, I'm just amazed someone squeezed the bulky beasts down there at all.

The gem door. Ah, the gem door. A giant temple-like room, lined with suits of armor, and one large suit in the middle, holding the last piece of the artifact we were hunting. By the by it was in three pieces, one accompanied from the room with the purple stone, one was retrieved from the beholder's chamber thanks to yours truly, and the last lay before us. After the surprise of the previous room we took no chances, fiddling with the door by inserting and removing the gem to test all possibilities.

However, in the end simple greed was all that was needed to make our job easier. By breaking down and bagging up the smaller suits of armor we made the job to follow even easier, if only by avarice and paranoia. Our efforts to avoid another altercation amounted to the simple plan of tying a rope around the third piece of the book and pulling as one, but not only did the effort fail, but the sentry pulled back, dragging us into the room and into battle.

In my haste to loot the armors of the room, I had forgotten to pack away the swords present, which all rose to the horror's call and attacked the group along with the massive creature.

Chaos ensued blades and spells flew about the melee and while I admittedly have lost the memory of one or two moments we emerged victorious. With the three parts of the artifact in hand and my pockets filled with everything I could carry we departed, returning to the Tymora's hearth to complete the job.

Counting in the cost of potions consumed both by myself and generously given to others in times of need this little trip has been a much needed boon to my pockets, putting me just shy of one thousand pieces. Though nothing at the shops has caught my eye as of yet, I'll need to keep looking or I'll drink the whole lot away... again.

But I'm droning on. In short, the loot was amazing, I was amazing, and the group? They did their jobs in a satisfactory manner. I'll keep them company for now, lucky for them.

Never hurts to have an immortal on your side.
Session: Game Session - Saturday, Apr 29 2017 from 4:15 PM to 7:15 PM
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Epic!
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Bragi
Posted by the GM
Deadly Quests
1st Session - Summary
Player introductions were followed by a short speech on the history of Dungeons & Dragons.

  1. Player Introductions
  2. History of Dungeons & Dragons

  3. Dungeons & Dragons was born from a culture of miniature war-gaming. Before the creation of the role-playing game, gaming enthusiasts played games that re-created major historical conflicts using miniatures. Examples of such games were published by companies such as Avalon Hill and Guidon Games.

    The modern role-playing game was first created by Dave Arneson, Gary Gygax, Don Kaye, and professor M. A. R. Barker. Each contributed greatly to the origination of role-playing.

    Professor M. A. R. Barker's creation of the concept of a fantasy war-game setting predates the creation of the role-playing game itself. He was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest where he studied culture and linguistics. Professor M. A. R. Barker's contribution to role playing was in his creation of T├ękumel, the first fantasy setting created for miniature war-games. He was the first to use miniature war-games to create a setting not based upon history but rather based upon imaginative speculation. He started down this road while in high school in the 1940s. His campaigns were war-games in a fantasy setting, there did not yet exist the concept of playing the role of individual characters. To get an idea of what these games were like you can view this YouTube Video. Note the lack of role-playing.

    The Tekumel Foundation preserves and expands upon these works.

    Around 1970 Gary Gygax formed the Lake Geneva Tactical Games Association which was a small group of friends that met in Gary's basement to play miniature war-games. From this group an idea was born; to adapt war-gaming rules which simulated realistic combat to a set of rules that allowed for medieval combat and spells. Jeff Perren presented the idea of adding rules for fantasy combat such as spell-casting to war-games. He and Gary Gygax codified the first set of rules for fantasy war-gaming, Chainmail, which was published by Guidon Games in 1971. Gary Gygax's ability to take abstract concepts and translate them in to a refined set of rules was his major contribution to role-playing games.

    Dave Arneson then came up with many of the concepts that we associate with modern role-playing games. In 1970 while playing with Gary Gygax's Chainmail, Dave Arneson created the second setting for fantasy war-games named Blackmoor. Over the next two years he came up with the idea that instead of controlling groups of miniature armies a player could control an individual miniature. That player would not be limited by a discrete list of options for combat but rather could use their imagination to simulate any situation. In so doing, the choices for player actions became limitless. One could play the role of any character that they so wished. He shared the rules that he had created with Gary Gygax and thus the collaboration on Dungeons & Dragons began.

    Gary Gygax started with Dave's ideas. He expanded and refined them in to a set of rules that could be published and sold as a game. In 1972 he created the fantasy role-playing setting of Greyhawk in order to play-test these rules. Gary greatly expanded upon the idea of the fantasy setting by creating a multitude of races, classes, spells and magical items. One of the first players in Greyhawk was Don Kaye. Don was a regular player of miniature war-games with Gary. They finished the rules and attempted to sell them to Guidon Games but were unable to do so.

    Not having enough funds to publish Dungeons & Dragons on his own, Gary Gygax partnered with Don Kaye and in late 1973 TSR was formed. The first version of D&D was published in 1974 and thus the modern role-playing game was born.

    ...

    Knowing the history of role-playing is important as it provides a window in to the game. From this viewpoint it is possible to see the convergence of medieval miniature war-games, fantasy, and role-playing. All of these concepts lead up to the creation of Dungeons & Dragons.

  4. Critical Role Excerpts

  5. We then watched the following parts of the show Critical Role.

    Episode 57 32:00 - 45:00 in which a few of the members return to visit Victor, the black-powder merchant. (to illustrate 1st person role-playing)

    Episode 83 0:36:00 - 0:45:00 - in which Vox Machina battles Raishan. (to illustrate combat mechanics)

    Episode 83 3:49:00 - 3:51:00 in which Patrick Rothfuss' characer Kerrek tries to console Keyleth. (to illustrate 3rd person role-playing)

  6. Discussion of the standard character sheet

  7. 6 Stats and how to calculate modifiers
    Saving Throws
    Skills
    Hit Points
    Armor Class

  8. Introductory Session Part 1

  9. Murder on the Princess Ark.

    A group of fledgling sailors aboard the mighty airship, The Princess Ark, were recruited by virtue of alibi to investigate the murder of the Ambassador's wife. Lead by Rivven Cripplegate, the ship's botswain , to guest suite #8 the group learned that she had been murdered while on board. With the help of a dwarf cleric in guest suite #7 the group came to the conclusion that mystical forces were involved. This soon lead to the cabin of the magister, another guest on-board but not before the intrepid adventurers barraged a hapless gnome professor in guest suite #9. When confronted, the magister immediately attacked. After a lucky dagger throw to the throat, the magister fell unconscious and was near death. The murder weapon was found on his body and he was locked up in the brig.


Session: Campaign Logistics Planning - Friday, Apr 07 2017 from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM
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Tags: Summary
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Dale
Posted by the GM
Tyranny of Dragons
Session 44 (6 April 2017) Xonthal's Tower
Using the hourglass key, they are transported to a room that is clearly not in the tower, however, if it is below the tower or on another plane entirely is unclear.

In this room are three dead cultists and a blood trail leading to a room that contains a fire and two earth elementals. Speaking with these Magnus learns that they are here to destroy intruders and that Magnus & Co are intruders. The party then decides to get their retaliation in first.

The fire elemental is dispatched speedily by Krega but the earth elementals are more problematic as they use their Earth Glide ability to conceal themselves in the walls, floors and ceilings and strike from unexpected directions. Eventually, Ella banishes one of them and Rider holds the other and the fight comes to an end.

They then pass through a series of rooms that are clearly the laboratory, study and library of a wizard including a room with a portal to the City of Brass. Crossing a passageway hanging unsupported in a starry void, they narrowly avoid being struck by shooting stars.

In a hourglass shaped chamber containing two huge hourglasses the come upon the dead body the cultist Iskander and the Blue Dragon mask. They secure the mask and Ella raises Iskander, who is suitably grateful while still remaining an evil, despicable but disillusioned dragon cultist. He explains that Severns plan to bring Tiamat to the world would be a disaster for everyone and while he is a selfish, greedy pig with no concern for anyone but himself, Iskander knows that he falls within the group "everyone" and what is bad for "everyone" is bad for him.

The party takes a well needed short rest and bonds with the magic items they have found, Rider claiming the blue dragon mask. It's a fake! Rider is particularly peeved and wants to do something drastic and possibly terminal to Iskander. However, close questioning under magical interrogation confirms that the mask being a fake is just as much a surprise to Iskander as it is to the party. Rider sheathes his rapier mumbling under his breath about how he never gets andy magic items, consarn it!

They finish exploring this area by interacting with an imprisoned efreet named Tariz the Fair. In return for a promise that he will never harm them they Banish him back to his home plane Tariz cannot believe the bargain he got as he was willing to do anything to escape.
Session: Session 44 - Thursday, Apr 06 2017 from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
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Tags: Battle , Journal , Recap , Summary
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Dale
Posted by the GM
Tyranny of Dragons
Session 43 (30 March 2017) Xonthal's Tower
Having divined the meaning of the shadows, the party resolves the puzzle with only a minor misstep at 3 shadows and a slight delay at 8 until Rider gets an epiphany.

Reaching the base of the tower they discover that it is constructed without doors or windows, only a balcony high above and a teleportation circle on the ground before it. Stepping onto the circle they are transported to another circle within the tower in a large empty audience chamber with internal balconies above.

The teleportation circle they are standing on has strange symbols arranged in a control panel: a chair, two chairs, an upside-down "L", a rectangle, a flame, a star, a square, an hourglass and a right triangle. Ella immediately writes down where she thinks each of the symbols will take them, she is completely wrong but that has never deterred her in the past.

Some experimentation leads them to discover:
  • the chair: takes them to the audience chamber
  • two chairs: takes them to the balconies above the audience chamber. The left symbol to the left balcony, the right to the right.
  • the upside-down "L": a level of small rooms, currently used as barracks, where they kill a few cultists
  • the star: an observetory where they fight four mages. Rider is agressively disinterested in the battle and only deigns to help when Krega is held by a wizard's spell; returning to his inspection of the telescope as soon as that wizard is dead but before the battle is actually over. One of the wizards is carrying a key in the exact shape of the hourglass symbol on the teleporters.
Session: Session 43 - Thursday, Mar 30 2017 from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM
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Tags: Journal , Recap , Summary
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