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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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Pathfinder - Streets of Magnimar - How To Make Enemies And Influence Ushers
Zin: Kobold trapsmith, escaped slave, master of disguise, future Underlord
Gillert: A sheep among wolves. Varisian, human, eldritch scoundrel, but not by choice.
Ys Danar: Elven cutthroat, former pirate, freelance assassin, etc.
Harshal High-seeker: Shoanti investigator and extremely crooked barrister.

Tannis Oberech: Human rake and fledgling noble, who hasn't actually been at any of the sessions for a while, which is a shame because his money-making schemes are starting to pay off.

Important NPCs:

Emelliandra Oberech, Iria, and Ticaria: Scholars of various levels of shadiness. We've done favours for most of them, as part of a long ladder to positions of wealth and influence. We're currently trying to get Ticaria's proposal to open the giant spider-monster-infested ruined cyclopean bridge up to adventuring parties in front of Magnimar's Council of Ushers.
Lady of the Council of Ushers - Lady Verrine Caiteil: The Elf In Charge
Seneschal of Dates - Jacildria Quildarmo: Highly influential civil servant
Parvo Crispin: Owner and publisher of Magnimar's first broadsheet newspaper
Lalya Margare: Parvo's spitfire reporter/assistant. It was her idea to sell the paper cheaply, to a much wider audience. Her revolutionary zeal and investigative reporting will probably mean trouble for us later.

The biggest bottleneck when trying to talk to the Council of Magnimar is the Seneschal of Dates, and it doesn't matter how even-handedly the Lady of the Council runs things, if the Seneschal doesn't like you, you aren't talking to anybody.

Harshal: So we need to frame her for something.
Ys: And then blackmail her. Killing her isn't the best option, since we have no control over who replaces her.
Gillert: We should try and find out if she's already guilty of something. More efficient than framing her ourselves. Any ideas?
Harshal: Sorry, I'm just reflecting on the fact that it's YS who's saying murder isn't the best option here.
Ys: Hey, I know murder.

Gillert: So far, no luck with dirt-digging.
Harshal: Hey, if was easy everybody would have done it.

Harshal: Does the seneschal have any kids?
GM: No - the joke is 'no man can keep to her schedule'.
Harshal: So no kids, and no lover. Or if there is a lover she's discrete. And if she had a female lover the joke would be 'no-one else can multitask'

Zin: So, how do you fell about a little light kidnapping?
Harshal: Is it anything like light housekeeping?

What we DO find out is that anybody that leans too heavily on the Seneschal finds secrets about THEM getting out into the world. Apparently she has her own information network that we haven't even heard of. On the other hand we also hear a rumour that her manse has a secret second level to the basement.

Zin: Easy, she's a noble - it's a sex dungeon.

She's also well-preserved for somebody in her fifties. The paranoid might say suspiciously well-preserved.

Zin: I guess she'll be getting a tail. A very small tail.
Harshal: As the pervy gnome-fancier said.

Her manse is a little on the small side for the Alabaster District. It barely qualifies, in fact.

Gillert: That would explain the basement, too - if you can't build out, dig down.
Harshal: And you could sell the marble you excavated, too.

She never eats alone, either - she's always seen in company, whether at Magnimar's eateries or entertainments. That could just be because she enjoys her work. But she's also known to be inconsistent on bribes - sometimes, no amount of coin will move her - at other times a mere token will suffice.

Harshal: Which must be endlessly frustrating for the people trying to bribe her.

Ys suggests we get in, disguised as delivery persons, and use the fact that she has a very small staff to our advantage. Nobody would be insane enough to break in in broad daylight, too. Zin suggests we deliver him in a box.

Harshal: 'Here's your delivery from Pervy Kobold-fanciers'?

The best time to break in is going to be when the cook and maid are out doing the shopping. If we're careful, they'll won't even know we were there. Although the staff do seem oddly subdued and covered-up whenever they leave the building.

Harshal: If the seneschal's level of preservation and the staff's behavior DOES add up to something, I'm not going to be the one that says 'I told you she was-'
GM: Why is 'Vampire' the first conclusion you guys leap to? Seriously, it must be the fourth time this campaign.

GM: They're not wearing wimples, they're wearing muffin-caps.
Gillert: Which are not the same thing as muffin-tops.

Zin is delivered, and waits in the box until the butler opens in the box, triggering the trap loaded with drow sleep potion. He drags him off to the closet, and discovers that the butler's belt is actually a cat-of-nine tails.

Harshal: Maybe you were right about the sex dungeon.

The rest of us get in through a window, cutting and Mending the glass as we go. We can hear somebody upstairs, which should be no problem unless they come looking for the butler in the closet.

Ys: Is it a Quasit Closet?

Zin sets a tripwire at the top of the basement stairs, just in case somebody finds the butler and they start hunting for us.

Ys: Everybody look for the secret doors.
GM: *rolls some dice* You have to wonder about Gillert sometimes... you find the hidden latch behind the hanging jerky.
Gillert: Well, I'm not useless at this kind of search.
GM: But Zin is supposed to be better.
Gillert: He was distracted by the jerky.

The access to the secret sub-basement is actually a shaft. Ys goes down, and discovers rails. And a flat-top cart. And manacles. And a shrine to the Reaper of Reputations. And a torture rack. And a blood spa.

Harshal OoC: Ah - Elizabeth Bathory.
GM: Yeah, except this actually works.

Ys is very impressed by the arrangement, and the convenient corpse disposal off the cliffs and into the ocean. Ys is aware that the Reaper of Reputations is one if the multiple aspects of the evil god Norgorber, and has a good number of cult devotees in Magnimar.

Harshal: Ys, would I right in assuming that you are a devotee of one of these aforementioned aspects?
Ys: *looks innocent*
Gillert: This would not be a good time to complain about this.
GM: Right. If you object, Ys has everything she needs right here.

Ys suggests the rest of us leave - she'll stay and have a word with the Seneschal herself. After changing into a suitable outfit.

Gillert: This is creepy as fuck.
Harshal: There are multiple ways events could proceed from here. I suspect it won't be 'The Seneshal mysteriously disappears'. I'm not exactly sure how to feel about this.

A few hours later there's a commotion upstairs, and a little after that somebody drops a smoke grenade down the hole. Ys waits sitting on the edge of the bloodbath, and bows respectfully to the Seneschal when she appears with a crossbow.

Ys: Greetings, Mistress.
The Seneschal: You are trying to curry favour with me, calling me mistress without an introduction. This will not go well for you.
Ys: You are clearly high in the favour of the Master.
The Seneschal: Who are you?
Ys: The Shadow in the Shadows.
The Seneschal: That is who you wish to be. Who. Are. You.

Ys identifies herself, and the seneschal deduces much about the party's identity, and how carefully Ys has avoided the more bloody repercussions of this meeting by sending the rest of us on.

The Seneschal: Clever.
Ys: Thank you.

Ys also tells the seneschal who we're working for, and offers our services. She's not impressed - all the benefits are mere potential, and none immediate. Opening the bridge to exploration by adventurers still seems the work of a madwoman, even in the opinion of a secret murder-cultist. But then, she's a secret murder-cultist, not a reckless idiot. The status quo suits her, and the Council might actually approve the adventuring plan if she lets it go through. The seneschal is also going to need some really convincing reason, or a really good bribe, to let the proposal go through - especially since she's flatly and openly refused all bribe attempts regarding the proposal in the past. The need for this bribe to be publicly known rules out any of the stuff we stole, and Day-Z the Zombie Anthrax Cow. After all, more people will ask questions if the seneschal suddenly changes her mind for no apparent reason.

The Seneschal: One question - where is my butler?
Ys: The mahogany closet in the main hall.
Gillert: With his pants around his ankles.

We decide that melting down one of those platinum bars, and reforging some of it into, as Zin puts it, 'a piece of modern art in the Thassalonian style' should be an acceptable bribe. Our client doesn't argue the point.

Gillert: We're not getting paid for this gig, are we?
Ys: But we are setting up profit in the future.

We go one better - forging a 'genuine' Thassalonian art piece, but telling everybody in advance that 'of course it's a forgery, but it's a lovely example of how good some of these forgeries can be'. Our client even has an idea who can do the forgery for us.

Tikaria: Do you know Emelliandra Oberech by any chance?
Harshal: *cackles*
Tikaria: What's so funny?
Harshal: Yes, yes we know her.

And Emmeliandra is not only an expert on Thassalonian artefacts, she's also a sculptor. And the fake she produces for us is so incredibly good (a roll of 35 on a d20) that it's only her signature stamp on the underside that suggests it isn't the real thing. The 'Seven Virtues' (and a domino mask from Ys) is duly passed on to the seneschal, and the proposal passed on to the Council for discussion. Of course, now we have to make sure the vote passes in our favour - since we only took on this job on behalf on Iria, as a favour to Tikaria, bribing the Senschal, and all that, so we'll have a foot in the door in this whole adventurer-farming enterprise. It won't be easy - there's 115 people in the Council of Ushers. Harshal starts crafting an opinion piece to go into Parvo Crispin's newspaper, about how adventurers bring money and magical items into a city, after they've looted a dungeon somewhere. So anything that brings adventurers to Magnimar is a good thing.

Ys: And avoid any mention of murder-hobos.
GM: Thanks to guilds and the Pathfinder's Society, adventurers are considered valuable members of society. And even murder-hobos serve a purpose - they keep money in the hands of pretty people.

Thanks to Harshal's Convincing Lie talent, his legal argument, and combined with the cheapness of Crispin's broadsheet, our opinion vis-a-vis opening up the interior of bridge for dungeoneering becomes a very popular opinion indeed.

Harshal: Now we just need to be in position to milk every cent out of it when the vote passes.

And since Magnimar has no town charter per se, there's no need to put out the dungeoneering plans out for public tender.

There's a bit of a scare the next day, when an article by Crispin's firebrand assistant reveals just how much the PCs stand to personally profit from the adventurer-farm. Fortunately for us, the article is mostly about how much the city stands to profit - it might even be enough to reduce tax rates. Ys sends her some flowers in thanks, and the circulation of the paper explodes.

Harshal: We've positioned ourselves to ride the crest of this wave to fame and fortune. Although mostly fortune, because we don't want the fame.
GM: Tough - she's going to make sure you're famous.
Harshal: Ah well.
GM: The subtext is that you are the champions of the people.
Ys: *cackles*
GM: Because you're not part of the entrenched nobility, etc.

Harshal: So, overwhelmingly in favour of the Adventurer Farm?
GM: Let's not call it the Adventure Farm. Unless you start offering Adventur-cations.

Since voting against the proposal is increasing political suicide, the no-crowd start insisting on precautions, and the city getting first dibs on any items the adventurers bring out, and waivers and security bonds.

Harshal: *grinning* Such as these forms I drafted earlier?
No-crowd: And the gangs of Underbridge will need to be quelled.
Gillert: I was going to offer them a 5% cut if they just wracked off.

Gillert: I'm trying to argue from the grey areas, OK?
Ys: You're not grey anymore, you're heading down into the pitchest black.
Harshal: Not really - Gillert is the person we hold up whenever anybody accuses us of being evil. If we were evil, would somebody like Gillert hang around with us?
GM: Mostly hanging around out of fear.

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Some good ones from last night's FH game:


Welshman: “Songs will be sung of our deeds!”

Priest: “Mostly dirty limericks, but...”

Alchemist: "There once was a Priest from Rome..."



Pilgrim: “What if [bad thing] happens?”

Priest: “God isn’t enough of a dick to do that to us.”

Pilgrim: “You haven’t ever actually read the bible, have you?”



Traveling through Faerie, the Irish warrior decides to make a small sacrifice to the land asking for safe passage, so he spills a little wine on the ground symbolically.

GM: “Wait, the Irishman just spilled alcohol?”

Italian Priest: “I thought we talked about the dangers of alcohol abuse.”

Irishman: [shrugs] “It’s just wine, doesn’t count.”

Italian Priest: “Whoa whoa WHOA! You did not just say that!”



The Heroes encounter Aletcien, a Fey huntress they met once before, and with whom the Welshman had a tryst. But since their last meeting, the Welshman has married another woman. (Background: in my world, the Fey have something resembling marriage, but they don’t really get the concept of monogamy.)

GM: (to the Welshamn) “Aletcien runs over and leaps into your arms with a squee.”

Welshman: [sigh] “It’s truly wonderful to see you again.”

[Aletcien tries to drag him off into the woods for a quickie, but he resists...reluctantly...]

Welshman: But I must tell you…I’ve gotten married.”

Aletcien: “That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you both! I can’t wait to meet her!”

Welshman: [relieved] “That’s great…”

Aletcien: “As long as she doesn’t mind sharing, amirite?”

[Aletcien resumes trying to drag him off into the woods]

Welshman:  [groaning] “No, no… you don’t understand…you see…my religion says I can only be with one woman.”

Aletcien: [thinks for a minute] “At a time?”

Welshman: [OOC] “Yeah, that’s it. I go with her. I’m not even going to try and make that EGO Roll.”




They  come back out of the woods picking leaves out of their hair. The Welshman walks over to the Priest.

Welshman: “Indulgences are still a thing, right?”  

Priest: “Last I checked.”

Welshman: [drops a bag of gold] “Bless me Father for I have sinned.” [walks away]

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Playing the PF card game.  My character encounters a ... daunting (aka virtually impossible), but crucial for success, check.  People start scrambling to give me help ... then I announce my rarely-used ability to simply evade anything.


"Pour some milk over a nice bowl of Honey Bunches of NOPE."

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Fantasy campaign, first night.  Setting: Constantinople, a couple of days before it falls to the Turks, 1453.


The player of the physician character admits he has a skill add in Torture.


"Meh, in this era, they just call that Dentistry."

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We finally had the first real session of our new Gold Age Champions campaign.  Our heroes:

Amon-Ra: Archaeologist who found an artifact that is a conduit to an ancient god.

Diamondback: Exposure to a strange crystal gave her immense strength and durability.

Double-Time: Given incredible running speed during a lab accident.

Faceless: FBI agent with the ability to assume the shape of any person he sees.

Professor Polar: Discoverer of "cold energy".

Shard: Exposed to the same crystal as Diamondback, but instead has the ability to grow and control similar crystals.

Tarraingteacht: Agent Carter's skills with Polaris's powers.

Zoltan the Magnificent: Stage magician who also knows real magic.




Zoltan [while performing his stage act]: ...as taught to me by the maharajas of far-off India...


Diamondback [whispering to her sister]: I don’t know what that is, but it sounds impressive.




Tarraingteacht [OOC]: Why is my character a Missouri Prisoner of War?


[confused looks from the rest of the table]


Double-Time [leaning over and looking at her character sheet]: "MoPow" is an abbreviation for More Powerful…



Shard [to her sister, Diamondback]: I hate you!  Why did you have to be born?  … I mean that in a loving way.




Full session write-up here.

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24 minutes ago, Christopher said:

I will be honest: With this name I expected a Superintelligent Gorilla. Took me 2 readings to realise she was a human.

You know, you may have just inspired this campaign's first running gag.

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From this weekend's Monster Hunter International game:


We're fighting off an invasion of an invasion of anthropomorphic insectoids. The "Boss Monster" turns out to be not so humanoid, and enormous.


When it first appears, my character, Titania Melungeon the female Troll, points and says
"Kill it before it breeds!"


Confronting it,

"Go back where you came from! Or I'll break off your ovipositor and shove it down your gullet!"

Everyone else: "Huh?"  (literally, that was the response. Turns out I was the only one at the table who knew what an ovipositor is.)


After the creature has taken fire to little apparent effect,

"Do you think being bulletproof will save you? It won't!"


It didn't either. My character has a flaming sword.


OoC: "Okay, my OCV is 4, the weapon itself is +2, I don't have levels with sword....umm...I don't have Weapon Familiarity for this weapon either, so that's a -3 isn't it....?"

Mike, who's running the game: "Yep"


Fortunately, I rolled well.


Lucius Alexander


The palindromedary says Fiona couldn't find an ovipositor on the thing and wound up just stuffing one its legs down its gullet. After it was safely dead.



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A friend is running a D&D 5th edition game, in which I'm playing a Neutral Good paladin named Raphael.  I've been portraying him as kinda looks-superficial ("that b*****d messed up my hair!") and quite the player with the ladies.  He's also a bit of a rogue (not the actual character class, but the personality), with a few rogue-type skills he got at character creation.


A month back, when we reached 4th level, I emailed the DM:



So, I've been thinking about what do with leveling Raphael up.  As far as I know, the only decision I need to make is on his ability score improvement.


With him having DEX 17 and CON 15, a smart person would probably put one point to each, thus increasing his to-hit and rapier damage as well as a few useful skills, along with his HP.

A wise person might purchase a feat like Burglar, Quick-Fingered, Stealthy, or Resilient, each of which give +1 DEX along with a skill, tool, or saving throw proficiency.

All of that said, Raphael has decided that he wants to get... Lucky.  I've tried telling him that "getting Lucky" in this case doesn't mean what he thinks it means, but he's pretty adamant about it.



For those who don't know feats in D&D5, Lucky allows you to either give yourself Advantage (roll 2 d20s and take the better of them) or forces a foe to have Disadvantage (he rolls 2 d20s and takes the worst of them) in attacks against you, and you're able to choose to use Lucky after the initial die is rolled (but before effects are determined).  You can do this three times between long rests.   (In effect, three times a day you can get a re-roll or force an enemy to do a re-roll.)


In my first session after Raphael got Lucky, his first use of the feat was to avoid a big bad's critical hit, followed by cancelling out Raphael's own critical fail.  Last night, being Lucky allowed Raphael to avoid two critical failures of his own and cancelled out a foe's critical success.  One of Raphael's crit-fails was on a saving throw vs. poison (which I'm guessing the DM would have ruled did max damage based on the crit fail).


After last night's game, the DM commented:  "You know, at first I thought you were being silly, but that Luck thing is really working for you."



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