Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Prayer to The Lady

Oh Great Lady, Bringer of Luck, you who have seen me through more long shots and last chances than Chance permits, who has taught me to accept your capricious whims and to roll with the random rolls of your fateful dice, I now take this moment to dwell on your blessings.

I must confess that my first encounter with the teeming metropolis that is Ptolus left me overwhelmed and uncharacteristically timid and withdrawn.  After knowing only the simple life of my home village and the dungeons of the orcs, I found the cacophony and chaos of constant activity overwhelming, overloading my senses and threatening me with horrific memories of slaughter, and it stunned me into passive inactivity, a mere twig swept along by a raging torrent with no will to impact my course or destiny.  I am ashamed.  My first undertaking as one of your priests and I was meek.  After this moment, I will strive to boldly proclaim my faith in your providence by daring all risks that come my way, trusting that you will turn even the longest odds in my favor, knowing that if you do not it is your will being done.

My first stop, at the gambling hall, was fruitful and your blessings were upon me, and I knew my mission was a divine one.  However, your support did not sit well with those who bet against me, and they failed to see their losses as determined by your hand.  When I gave all credit to you and claimed they could know the same good fortune with similar faith, they were slightly pacified, but not courted to your faith.

The events after I left the hall, well, there can be no thought of random happenstance, for what are the chances?  A city teeming with thieves, cowards, and those who know that survival is based on turning a blind eye whenever possible, and yet every single person on a typical street corner jumped into action to save an unknown victim from unknown assailants.  It is more than apparent that you were manipulating circumstances to help that woman, for never has a person seen such great luck in the form of incidental strangers, strange to each other as well as to you.  And it is evident to me that you intended me to be part of that group, as one who could recognize your favor at work in our actions.  You obviously sanctified that encounter.

I am ashamed to say that, in my overstimulated state, I was slow to recognize your work and join the fray.  But, ultimately, I did aid them, and now I see it was your will.  You have led me to this group and I will support their brave endeavors.  It seems at least some of them, those providing the impetus and purpose, are called to challenge the criminal elements operating in this city, for the clues you have guided our hands to uncover are leading us in that direction.  I have yet to see your larger plan, but I will follow the path you have set me on.  May your healing blessings continue to flow through me into those who need it, may your luck guide all of our attacks and protect us from harm, and may the improbable risks I brave in your name succeed, loudly proclaiming your glory for all involved to see.

I was ten years in the captivity of orcs before my eyes were fully opened to the fact that I need have no fear of my own weakness and mortality, that you can spin the dice so that even the lowliest of worms grows fat and happy while surrounded by all the birds in the world.  Now I am your vessel, here to demonstrate the same to all who have eyes to see and ears to listen.  I will go as your will decrees.  I thank you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ptolus Campaign Journal--Episode 1.1

As it turns out, the rumours weren't quite true.  A group of adventurers did give their lives fighting the would be assassins of young Dullin Balacazar at the Cloud theater, but not all of them.  The gnome bard Farland Dane survived.  During the course of the melee Farland ended up under the crushing weight of one of his dead adversaries.  Not wanting to let any opportunity pass unexploited, Farland rifled through the thug's pockets.  He came up treasure empty, but with a bloody piece of paper with nothing more than a name scrawled hastily upon it: "Phon Quartermain."  Farland managed to extricate  himself out from under the thug, and seeing that the theater was on its way to being engulfed in flames decided to exit stage left.

Days later, while walking the streets of Ptolus he chanced to overhear a street vendor refer to a young woman as "Phon."  He surmised that she might be the Phon mentioned in the note and asked her if she were, indeed "Phon Quartermain."  It turns out that she was, and that she was a bit spooked by a random gnome asking her questions and telling her that "bad men" were out to get her.  Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, Farland decided to do no more to freak out the poor girl and simply, well... stalked her instead.  (With good intent!) He determined that she worked at Saches, a Midtown dress shop, and lived near Delver's Square, where she frequented St. Gustav's Chapel, (Lothian).  Thereafter, nothing much happened for a few days....

Meanwhile, the barbarian paladin Draygon arrived in the city.  He sought his cousin Crom at the Ghostly Minstrel (one of Midtown's most storied Inns) where they had previously arranged to meet, but to no avail. No one there had seen or heard of Crom.  Draygon visited St. Gustav's Chapel to try to learn more about his chosen deity.  There he met Brother Fabitor who agreed to instruct him in the ways of the faith (and, incidentally, to provide discounted potions and healing services--should Draygon need them).

Meanwhile, meanwhile... two other new arrivals to the city, the half-elf sorcerer Bogan, and the gnome cleric Tzakarac come across one another while indulging in a low stakes game of chance in one of the city's seedier establishments.  Tzakarac, as a cleric of The Lady, a deity of chance, has luck on his side.  That doesn't always sit well with the types of people that frequent places like The Cock Pit, and Tzakarac narrowly avoided a confrontation with a hulking half-orc and a less than savory human who surely had blades secreted upon his person when they felt that perhaps more than luck was contributing to the skinny gnome's winning streak.  Never one to miss a chance to tell people about the Lady, Tzakarac explained some of his beliefs to the two and managed to avert an undoubtedly painful confrontation.  Afterwards, Bogan and Tzakarac engaged in a philosophical/theological discussion about the nature of chance, the universe, and the vicissitudes of humanoid existence.  Leaving together, they decided to go to Delver's Square, and get a drink at the Ghostly Minstrel.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwhile... the nimble and acrobatic Harumi searched the city for a profitable place to engage in her street performance.  She earned a few coppers for her trouble, and as night began to fall, she found herself on a corner, just across from St. Gustav's Chapel, on the edge of Delver's Square.

Meanwhile, well, you get the idea... Grace, a mace wielding fighter with an obvious passion for justice found herself passing by Delver's Square.  A fine mist was falling, just at twilight, and the streets were almost completely empty of people.  Ahead of her, a skinny gnome and his half-elf companion were engaged in a long and monotonous conversation about philosophy.  Ahead of them, a young, dark haired woman in a gray dress exited St. Gustav's, followed shortly by an enormous, barbarous looking man in hide armor with a frightening great sword slung across his back.  Nearby Farland Dane walked towards the Minstrel, where he is known to often bed down in the dog bed behind the bar curled up with his good friend Scabies the terrier.

The young woman, Phon Quartermain as it turns out, turned a corner into a narrow street just off of Delver's Square.  Soon after, a frightened scream pierced the twilight mist.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The City by the Spire

Whether you approach by land, sea, or most unlikely, air, the first thing that strikes you about the city is the unnatural and unnerving Spire. A towering shaft of stone that rises high above the city, it is clear that it was formed by no natural process.  One need look no further than the Spire to know that Ptolus is a place of magic and mystery.

At street level, it is also clear that Ptolus is no ordinary city.  While humans are the predominant race they share the city with a elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and a smattering of even more unusual creatures, the leonine Litorians, half-orcs, even the occasional civilized troll, minotaur, or lizard-folk.  You immediately notice that weapons are more casually carried here than in other places you are familiar with.  This is hardly surprising though, since the lure of adventure is probably one of the reasons that you, yourself came to Ptolus. Perhaps you have heard of the vast treasures that still await discovery by intrepid "delvers" in the seemingly endless tunnels below the city--known to locals as "The Dungeon."

As you enter the city, it is likely that you find your way to The Ghostly Minstrel, in Delver's Square.  In any event when people get the inkling that you might be an adventurer, they point you in that direction. You pick up tidbits of gossip, of things stirring in the dark-- unusual things even for Ptolus, of evil cults and dastardly plots, of political machinations and widespread corruption.  One story has a ring of truth to it, and (if you can read) it is confirmed by several of the "broadsheets" that circulate in the city.  Only two weeks before your arrival a group of adventurers was slaughtered in a melee at the Cloud theater.  Though unconfirmed in the press, rumor has it that they were killed attempting to protect the star of the show that night "The Boy Who Could Sing."  As it turns out that boy (who rumor also has it, couldn't actually sing), was none other than one Dullin Balacazar.  While this name doesn't mean much to you at first, a helpful townsperson explains that the Balacazar family are one of the most powerful and feared crime families Ptolus.  As such, whispers of an impending street war are frantically spread through the city as the citizens wonder who would be foolish enough to so brazenly attack the Balacazars. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The New Ptolus

Since we have a date set for our first session of actual gaming with our new characters, do we want to set ourselves the task of creating character back stories like we have in the past to create motivation, personality, and the like?

Monday, August 20, 2012


From Gen Con:

I've downloaded the playtest packet from Wizards, you should too.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Sometime in June or July, after I've finished with the chemo and C&K are newly ensconced in D&D central, or, as I like to think of it, "My labor day party house."  Characters!  Think!  Keeping the same one!? Rolling a new one!? Pathfinder rules!? Back stories and individual PBEM before then!?   Scott playing!? (that would be awesome). Feedback!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Let me know if you guys want to stick with your original characters or not.  I figure we'll start over with a clean slate.  If you keep the same characters then the previous adventure was just a very detailed dream.

Also, thinking we'll use Pathfinder as default rules, which of course means that you can use any 3.5 stuff. So rules might be a bit messy.

Let's get this thing moving.

I don't anticipate any actual gaming until after Mr. and Mrs. Degolar get settled into their new place (which will coincide with my being done with chemo, so we'll all have more free time).  So...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

D&D Next?

Some interesting stuff here.

Of course, this announcement has started me thinking about what rules I want to play the game with in the future.  I remain unsettled on that score.  For the time being, with Ptolus (2.0) in the offing, we'll obviously stick with 3.5 (or rather, methinks Pathfinder/3.5 with the tie going to Pathfinder).  As for my planned 4e campaign... well, it looks like that could be an obsolete rules set by the time we get around to it, but we'll see.  I've also been thinking of doing my homebrew campaign with a completely different system, say Savage Worlds... but again, no decisions have been made on that score.

In any event, I did some work on a couple of adventures that I was planning to do in 4e and may still, including a one-shot holiday themed adventure that I'd like to do next December.  Stay tuned for more on that later.

For now, the Ptolus reboot is the first thing on the horizon.  As always, life is a bitch and things like chronic illnesses, family crises, and work situations make planning difficult.  But I'm committed to making this work.  Hopefully we can start Ptolus 2.0 in March.  Look at your calendars, think about your characters.  We'll make it happen.  I'm thinking a once a month schedule might be doable, with a possible big two game day weekend at some point over the summer.  Maybe.  Anyway...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Question

Unfortunately, it has been far longer between Ptolus sessions than I intended.  I apologize for that, I didn't want to tease you guys with a campaign and not deliver.  Hopefully my health situation will be better under control soon and we can get around to resuming the game.

Which brings me to my question.  Since it has been so long ago since we started the Ptolus campaign, it seems to me that we have a problem, or an opportunity... depending on your point of view.  It strikes me that some of you may have forgotten the who, what, when, where, and why of the campaign, since we started playing.  Some of you may have come up with a different character idea, a new hook, whatever and may not be excited about going back to your previous character.  I think you see where this is going...

In short, I want to give you the opportunity for a reboot.  Now don't get me wrong.  I am neither pushing for this, nor lobbying against it.  I just realize it might be easier for everyone (and perhaps more fun) if we just started over from scratch.  So..., I'm leaving up to the group, as a group, to decide.  Do you want to continue the campaign we started, or do you want a Ptolus reboot?


Monday, January 09, 2012

Here We Go Again

Players Roll the Dice for Dungeons & Dragons Remake

. . . On Monday, Wizards of the Coast, the Hasbro subsidiary that owns the game, announced that a new edition is under development, the first overhaul of the rules since the contentious fourth edition was released in 2008. And Dungeons & Dragons’ designers are also planning to undertake an exceedingly rare effort for the gaming industry over the next few months: asking hundreds of thousands of fans to tell them how exactly they should reboot the franchise. . . .