A few days ago on the anniversary of Johnny Cash's death I watched a special about his life and music. It was a decent show like all of those types of shows are. However what makes me write about it was when they showed the clip of “Hurt”.
Now I knew this song as a Nine in Nails song way back when and I have to say I always kinda liked it. I was never a big NIN fan but I appreciated the sentiments in this song. However I always felt as if it was missing something. Now I know what it was missing, a lifetime of experience. I admit I grew up listening to Johnny Cash and country in general. However, that is not why I think Cash's version of this song is better. Listening to Cash sing this song you can hear every one of his 71 years.
I'm just sad it took 8 years for me to find this version.
Title: Dragon's Pearl
Editor: You wish
Pairing, Characters: Asami x Takaba, Kirishima, Suoh
Disclaimer: The characters of Viewfinder belong to Ayano Yamane.
Warning: Mature for language and adult content
Spoilers: Totally AU(or maybe that's a warning)
( Chapter 2Collapse )
So after two sessions spent figuring out their powers, the players finally stumbled onto the first of 4 mini bosses Snargough the shadow troll and his 4 little shadow doggy buddies. After some quick planning and a little questioning about the brazier of fire placed in the room near one corner, they engaged him (waking the poor sleeping troll up to the dragonborn's breath weapon) and feeling pretty good, they quickly knocked him down to half health.
Now comes the fun part, as a dm used to changing things on the fly, I decided to change his ability to summon minions into the room into the ability to summon one big shadow troll with his identical stats. The look on their faces when I said his shadow stood up was priceless. But it was topped when I finally had Xeriope the Succubus enter the scene. The first thing the succubus did was dominate the dragonborn. Ok, I could keep dominating him as he has a low will, but doing that would ignore the efforts of the rest the party to stop and/or prevent it and would just ruin the fun for everyone. So I decided to give Xeriope the attitude of a young child whose only interest was safety and comfort. Phallas the bard caught on to this and started to taunt the poor thing, thus giving the dragonborn the chance to use another breath weapon against the troll to kill it, leaving only the poor succubus, the shadow, and the doggies.
Now I like giving different people different times to shine. Sometimes this happens when planned, like giving the barbarian an axe that takes no penalties to magical darkness. Other times it's the player who jumps to the fore and sees the chance to use their powers in a way that is unique. Enter the big meany bard, who after taunting the poor succubus then starts to call her ugly while telling the barbarian to run so the succubus can't use him to shield herself from the party's attacks. So the succbus charms the bard to make her be nice for a change, and the bard promptly uses every trick she has to charm the succubus right back. And in a roleplaying coup-de-grace convinces the succubus to stop fighting and join them.
Ok, yes, I can hear you all going "What? You've given your players a powerful monster as an ally?", but is she really? The succubus has few powers and has bigger problems and now the bard, who likes to rush into battle, is tied to something that wants to be kept safe. Oh, and there's always the possibility that a stronger protector will come along.
But in truth, it also gives me a chance to have some more roleplaying fun with the players, something more than just quest givers or shopkeepers. Xeriope can be a warning tool or even a red herring (what she thinks is dangerous others don't). Also my players know that over use or misuse of a "gift" will result in not nice things happening at the worse moment. This tends to make them not want to use Xeriope unless they know it's not going to back fire.
In fact they did not even use her 'til they made it to the next boss, relying on their own powers and the new nifty toys they had found. I tend to place magic items in the area that will help them with future batlles but then I give them multiple paths to the same goal, so sometimes they tend to find them after the fight they could have used them in. Still the axe that takes no penalties from the magical shadow fog that the enemies can cast is becoming a favorite of the dragonborn, and on the way to the next boss, got rigorous testing.
Which leads me to another thing; the team has got into a habit of letting the dragonborn burst into a room and spit a breathweapon lugie ( due to the fact that he has taken every breath weapon feat he could) which was not letting the gypsy use her theify abilities or even the bard from setting up anything roleplay-ish. So I altered the next boss a wee bit and when the dragonborn "kicked open the door and hocked a lugie on everything in the room", the boss baseball swung it back right into the dragonborn's face and, by proxy, on to the rest of the party. Then I gave the gypsy the only item that could see through the shadow fog (a necklace they had found but hadn't bothered to really look at) I felt it helped to even the gulf and make up for the fact that my boss could now return attacks (which I only did a couple times just to get said gypsy to speak with the party). After that, the boss battle went about as I figured it would, with the bard falling into a strategic role and trying to use the succubus against the boss, being told no, and then using the succubus abilties to use the boss's minions against him. The players have asked me little about the fact that this is the second person they have killed that has referred to fighting them before, though they did use it for a bit of roleplay in game.
Soon they will really start to get to the heart of why they are here. Right now, they are simply fulfilling a contract to wipe out a band of thieves. That should change soon...
After a week spent working on the first adventure in a new 4e campaign and many emails from players sending me character ideas, questions, and finished characters, we finally sat down and began the first act of "The Lies of Truth", my own homebrewed campaign in my homebrewed world. A slighlty different experience then my previous DMing of this edition, that consisted of everyone wanting to play but having nothing with me but the core rule books and going "OK, make a character." Improv DMing is an art form I think and maybe a subject for another post.
This time I wanted to give my players a bit more structure and bring them a large over-arcing story that would make them want to take notes so as to remember the important bits. To this end I decided to play with time travel. Now to be clear, I DO NOT let my players mess with time. There are no time mages, no magic items that allow you to reset an oops. Sure we have people who can look a bit into the future and see a good dodge coming, but no whimsical god of time is running around going "Oh, you should redo that day." Time travel is like dragons; too many and it loses the mystique.
The Lies of Truth starts with the players at level one and I allowed them to play through the random inn encounter as if in a normal, standard campain. A bit trite, I know, but sometimes the classic is the best and with the characters being a Human bard, an Eladrin gypsy fortuneteller, a Dragonborn barbarian, and a Human shaman, it lead to some interesting merriment. It also let the bard use some of her powerful punnage. I'm not sure the rest of the party appreciated that, however it gave everyone time to develop a bit of their character's personality.
The real fun began when they slept. In story, I "fast forwarded" their minds to a point somewhere in the far future but still in there lives. This lead to them coming to in the middle of a important conversation which lead to the fun time of wacthing them try to get the same info they had just been given with out looking like idiots. I must say the bard handled it well, though they did miss a large clue track and a side trip to gather more info that might have helped, but hey, maybe next time. Surprisingly once they decided to leave the city I had plunked them in they moved rather quickly, spending very little time shoping or lollygagging.
Now they have entered the Lair of the villain and after a few encounters (and the discovery that the dragonborn had managed to some how give himslef worse stats when he leveled his "future self") they are starting to work out how to use all the powers and items they have. In some ways the brief bumblings worked because it brought some role play to the idea that they are young versions of themselves in older bodies. The first few encounters took them about 4 hours to get through but the last one was a double encounter that they had triggered, and went much faster then the first single encounter they had. So I believe that I've balanced the encounters rather decently, though the deciding factor will be the first mini-boss event.