Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dubzaron Session 70: Under the Sea

BROSR is when you get to a landmark session number like session 70 but you're too busy to dm. So one of the players and occasional co-dm do it for you!

Check out the link right here by clicking this text which is here on this page aqui and check out Session 70 which was ran by DM Bob. 

I didn't play or DM (obv) so I have no great comment on it. My thief Scamicus's downtime shenanigans and disinterest in cleansing the evil altar last time I was a PC was apparently the reason they had to take care of it this session.

So even when I'm not a PC they're still dancing to my tune. Good for them!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Dubzaron Session 69: Diving Arganos

Today's session report is a bit different because... I was a PC!

Scamicus the Thief on the mean
streets of Arganos
I doubt that anyone reading this is too shocked that #BROSR campaigns, like Dubzaron, could have multiple and co-DMs. But some folks who've been paying attention to the #BROSR may still find the idea of a DM running a PC anathema. I've heard the concerns before: "the dm will cheat and protect his pc", "dm should be focused on worldbuilding" etc.

So how did this all come about?

For the last 6 months (or more?) the PC MadEye the Venturer has been traveling down the river and back on trading missions in downtime to the larger city of Arganos. He decided this for story, roleplaying, and meta gameist reasons. What were those? Well he needed a bigger market to run trade routes so he could make some downtime XP. He, and the party, needed a bigger market to sell the high dollar magic items they had been grabbing as well. They had been finding it very hard to offload these in Dubzaron. Lastly, the party (and some patrons whom MadEye plays middle man for) had been unable to hire the number of mercenary soldiers they wanted.

Great NP I want PCs to be successful and have the campaign and stories they want so, even though Arganos is not part of my original campaign region design, I gave the thumbs up to this op. However, I don't have the time or energy to create a whole new city in the campaign just to help MadEye and his pals get paid. That's alot of work. 

So I made a house rule that PCs traveling to big cities off my map must needs run their own random encounter for the travel (we had already been doing this) and run random city encounters while they did business or downtime silliness in those cities. Some players wondered if I was punishing them for going off the map but the real idea was that big cities can in fact be dangerous for PCs. And look pal if you're going to go off my map you're going to do the worldbuilding FOR ME. It's the BROSR way.

MadEye had been running a bunch of these encounters over the months as he made deals and such. Over time the city of Arganos began to have a personality primarily through these encounters and his response to them. He was sending me private messages like "hey I've decided arganos is like Hong Kong, big skyscrapers and bridges everywhere and coastal and...". Since I'm always inundated with downtime and patron requests between sessions I'd primarily respond "sounds cool, love it" or whatever.

Over time it became clear that Arganos had a serious personality and style all its own. Something quite different than Dubzaron. As such I've decided MadEye essentially built the city setting similarly to how a Patron might do it. But from the ground up instead of top-down like Patrons do.

So why not visit this place in session in see the sights? Session play can help color in the lines and give the place even MORE personality. Some might say "ok then take MadEye's notes and DM the thing". It would work fine. But it would be a bit like MadEye writing me a module. No thanks!

The better option, the one we chose, was letting MadEye's player simply DM the place! 

Macho Mandalf recently DMed a lair encounter in Trollopulous of which I was a PC, showing me how Trollopulous successfully employs multiple DMs with no issue whatsoever. Also a few months back my Patron Player Vince McMaximus DMed some of the PCs through a little dungeon crawl during downtime when they were trying to chase down an Assassin Patron who killed Rapunzel. Vince didn't even ask me. The PCs were tired of waiting for me to respond to their downtime requests, realized Vince probably knew (or could approximate) what the sewer dungeon was like, and asked him about it. It then fell into a play by post crawl.

Jeffrogaxian 1:1 time makes anything possible.

I got with Drakon via the NPC prefect Dubzilio of Dubzaron city. Together we dreamed up a solid quest they could give about some concerns in Arganos. It was crafted in such a way where MadEye's pcs (MadEye, Kortes, and BriarWhisper in particular) really wouldn't be the best choice to tackle it. Namely, it was about perfidious elves having captured the Exarch of Arganos, replacing him with a changeling, and holding the real man in an entrance to Elfland somewhere near the city.

In session 67 I rolled up a PC and ran one in my own campaign setting. We trooped off into elfland and tried to save the Exarch and failed miserably. My dwarven pc in that session got hurt bad and needed like a month of rest. Players wanted to go back to Arganos, however, in session 69. I rolled up a new pc who is already becoming one of my favorite ever: Scamicus the Thief.

Weird part was, most of the Players had no interest in taking another run at the elves. 

My house rule is new pcs (like Scamicus) can't take downtime actions until they've played in 1 live session. So I couldn't actually do anything in downtime to help the other PCs investigate some other things they might do in Arganos. But that didn't stop me from giving them strategic advice and bascially telling them if we don't have a plan before going into a session we're going to fail and we're all going to die.

This is basic advice from the 1e PHB. Everyone should read it.

The full DM session report for Session 69 is at this link.

The main elite level trick we employed then was doing rumormongering in session and stacking the results to essentially craft our OWN hook. BROSR is different in that way. You don't ask the DM "what's here, what's there, what's that npc like, what's that location like"; if those places or people are not already created you just TELL him. 

It took us a few days of gameplay time but we nabbed enough hooks where we could tell the dm "so ok yeah there's this cult whose infiltrated the local syndicate in and around town and they have connections to the elves". Our thought was 

1. This would mean we could heist the place with my thief.

2. There would be some cash on site so we'd cop some xp and treasure

3. Maybe we could convince the DM there was a story web here at our memed up cult warehouse that would help us with the elf quest later.

Well number 3 did not happen because most of the elves' connections with the city, it seems, were already created by the DM. But its all good because we were still able to make the best use of our class abilities and craft a hook suited quite well to who was available this night.

You can read all about the specifics of the session in the DMs report so I'll focus on what was fun and cool about running Scamicus the Thief. 

I've noticed a distinct lack of thieves in Dubzaron since Ratface was killed and Laru retired. So it was cool to bring a greedy Neutral alignment attitude to the campaign world. Players of course are always greedy but many of the parties are primarily stocked by Lawful PCs who are more about "ridding the world of evil!" Yawn.

Scamicus, on the other hand, could care less about that. He is adventuring to get rich or die trying. As such, when he free dived and found a chaotic evil altar under the water he didn't even tell Xanthos or the Paladin in the party. As such this left that story point hanging wherein they tackled it in Session 70 when Scamicus wasn't present.

What I've noticed among much of the party is a desire to be Lawful for the story (and XP!) bonuses it brings. But then to make their plans, schemes, strategies and the like as if they are Neutral. Most DND players, during play, are themselves Neutrally aligned ime so I'm not surprised. This might become an issue when I introduce 1e style grading and training systems at the end of October so stay tuned!

But I wanted to run some PCs who are in fact Neutral and in fact play as Neutral. Enter Scamicus. And boy did he not care about ridding the world of evil. When some PCs lamented that Stormbringer was going to turn the sun green or blow it up he simply shrugged and said "so what?"

I don't have much else to say on the session itself. The fact that it even happens, and that I have run a PC multiple times in my own campaign, proves the superiority of #BROSR approach. If you haven't yet instituted 1:1 time and patrons into your campaign you are truly missing out. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Dubzaron Session 68: The Timur King

PCs adventured on 08/17/22 for 9 days and need a 10th for rest. So they can take actions beginning on 08/28/22.


this is the stupidest campaign ever run
The beginning of this session was a bit odd. The players were trickling in to the voice chat room and discussing the various points of interest or quests they wanted to try. One idea floated was to try and kill and/or burgle the ancient blue dragon Shiela which they discovered deep in a dungeon back in Session 56. Sounds like this idea was all but agreed upon in the player chats but then other ideas were floated, most notably Timur wanting to pay off the party to help him clear a hex or two so he'd have a place to build his new Mongolian demchi domain. 

(Yes ACKS has rules for what a mongolian style nomad horde domain is like, economically, as compared to a feudal or roman one.)

There was some player interest in this goal to help out their party member but also some confusion about where the XP could be since they had no reason to imagine a big score for simply clearing some lands of monsters. Additionally there was confusion about what land Timur even wanted.

The mic discussion ran longer than usual and I realized a big part of the confusion was my hex map does not have hex numbers. So instead of saying "lets go to hex 0122 and do this or that" they had to say "lets to 4 hexes south then 1 hex east of that lake over there where we went back in session 20". Confusing!

I've since added hex numbers to the map and hope this will help lessen confusion in future sessions.

Session Report

The Party departed New Cyfaraun with 15 Light Cavalry controlled and owned by Timur (Level 6ish Barbarian), traveling to Turos Spen without incident which took a few days. In Turos Spen they bought a light riding horse for Autumn Leaves (L1 Elven Spellsword... i think).

This was a cool little moment since the reason they could find a horse in Turos Spen and not the other towns they passed through because Patron Drakon improved Spen's market class some months back. Also they went to Spen because they wanted to cross the river and Drakon had also built a very nice bridge there a while back as well. Patron play paying dividends in the game world with story and even meta-story PC decisions.

With Autumn on a riding horse the whole crew was now mounted so they could move across the land very quickly indeed. They crossed Valerian Bridge in Turos Spen to go into the wilderlands on the eastern side of the river. They left Spen's controlled land and followed along the southern edge of a nearby forest (thus far the forest has no name).

After a day or so they came upon a very large statue of a sphinx sitting upon a large stone base. Billy (level 3ish explorer) approached with Merrick (Level 1 explorer) to investigate the statue and it's base. They found a heavy stone door which entered the side of the base which was a rectangle structure of about 100 feet on the long side and about 20 feet high. Opening the door the party got ready to Dungeon Delve. Inside the base was a colonnade leading off into the darkness. The PCs paused to discuss whether or not they'd keep going when they realized these columns and the walls were decorated with a dozen or so images of BOB.  In one BOB was angry, in another his was looking quite jovial as he sucked a level out of Timur back in Vegas. In another he was terrorizing Laur Palmer as she ran away. 

Jazz music filled the whole place which Daria indicated must needs be an old jazz song called "Autumn Leaves" since we had an elf with that name among the party. Already feeling a bit reticent about going deeper into this spooky jazzy place, the party noped out completely with Autumn Leaves heard a voice speaking in her head which said "we don't want to hurt you but we must kill you if you enter any further".

They left the sphinx statue structure and set off south into the plains. Unbenknownst to the party they set off more southeastern than directly south because they railed their "Get Lost" check for the day of travel. 

After an hour or so they stumbled across a graveyard with a ruined mausoleam which had hidden treasure inside. Score! We later retconned this location to be the Elephant Graveyard from the hit dersnay film "The Lion King" because Timur's player is obsessed with classic dersnmey films. Also we had some lions show up later.

After a few more miles into the plains they felt they were in a good 6 mile hex they could "clear" of lairs for Timur to make his new mongolian style demchi domain. The firest lair they found were eight lions who ran away upon seeing the party. Daria took chase with her Winged Flight spell but the lions successfully evaded and escaped the Charm Animal spell she planned to cast. The party went back to searching the same area for a day and half and found no more lairs. They saw some animals during that time but these also evaded the party so Daria could acquire no more charmed animal frens :(

Eventually the party stumbled over a goblin warband just 80 yards away. I think at this point the players were bored of having no combat or apparent danger so bloodlust took over and they attacked the goblins. The goblins charged the party's front line and got a couple charging hits with spears (double damage in ACKS!) on Timur and Daria. The goblins also ran Bataar through with the double damage spears, stabbing him through the hips with massive damage and possible killing him. The goblin champions and subchief threw spears at what they perceived as soft targets but the range was so far away in the open plains they mostly missed. The party eventually destroyed the goblins with no further losses, the fight ending with Daria and Billy making simultaneous cleave attempts on either side of the goblin horde to meet in the middle, competing like Legolas and Gimli to see who killed more in the same round.

Daria killed more.

Bataar was healed and didn't die; it's pretty hard to kill barbarians in ACKS!
After the fight Billy and Grant successfully tracked the goblins' movements and declared there must needs be a goblin village just 7 or so miles to the south west. It seems goblins don't range far from home! The party discussed it for a bit but decided to focus on clearing lairs where they were. I was shocked to see the PCs not chase the possible easy money! When I was away from the mic getting a drink it seems they were calculating the treasure they expected to get and the (low) likelihood of a single magic sword as a possible magic item grab.

The next day the party went back to the Lion Lair they found a few days previously. By now Timur (and others) decided this Lair was Pride Rock from "The Lion King". So when Daria cast Speak with Animals to talk to the alpha of Pride Rock we learned his name was Mufasa and he was ruler of "all that the light touches". Mufasa stated he would share the domain with Timur if the soon to be barabarian ruler of the land build Mufasa a special shrine. The Lion King would also help Timur defend the land of any evil creatures tried to attack it. All and all a good deal and Timur readily agreed.

so much detail!
The party declared this hex of plains terrain clear; making it possible for Timur to build his new domain on the land. So they set off west back towards Turos Spen. This is when they realized they were lost days ago before lair searching so Timur's hex was actually a best southeasterly than they thought. Daria quipped "it seems very on brand for Timur to not know where his domain is located."

While traveling they passed again through the Elephant graveyard and many of them caught elephant pox from the decaying location. They triaged for 3 days wherein Daria cast all the Cure Disease spells should could each day until all of the sick were cured. 1:1 time made a big difference to the campaign again since this strategy was the safest but also meant these PCs were unavailable for the session scheduled a week later.

They then arrived at Turos Spen without further incident. 

Participating PCs
Autumn Leaves, Billy, Daria, Gront Coldsky, Merrick, Tinker Pero, Timur
Hench: Timurs Folks: Jasmine, Conner, Safire, Joe, Bataar


Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.  Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.

Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.

Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2

Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498  DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.

Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.

Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.

Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.

Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.

Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.

Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.

Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.

Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.

Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.

Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream! 

Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.

Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.

Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!

Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.

Acianus (Level 1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Chopped to pieces in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue from behind and quickly forgotten about by his compatriots who saved MadEye and lamented Hardar instead. But I'll never forget you Acinanu nanu...nanite... nananaa...

Hardar (Level 2 Mage) Total XP: 2,832. Chopped up in Session 42 by a six armed demon statue as he held his Darth Vader Choking Grip spell long enough for his compatriots to escape an unwinnable battle. His dream to become the most evil being in the universe suffers eternally the indignity of being remembered for self sacrifice and laying his life down for his friends.

Nubbs (Level 3 Thief) Total XP: 4,017. Swarmed by scarabs which bored into his ears and brain in Session 45.

Grummz (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultgard) Total XP: 0. Ripped limb from limb by a throng of skeletons and their undead golem leaders in Session 46.

Grommzs (Level 1 Dwarven Vaultguard) Total XP: 2,168. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in session 48

Rapunzel (Level 4 Priestess) Total XP: 11,540. Torn to bits and eaten by trolls in Session 48.

Schizo (Level 1 Mage): Total XP: 0. Frozen to death by an assassin's guild ruffian bard wielding a Wand of Cold in session 54.

Marteen (Level 1 Thief): Total XP: 0. Fell to his death in Lamalla's Temple upon a pile of dragon horde gold. Corpse eaten by Sheila the Beautiful, an Ancient Blue Dragon in session 56.

Ambrose (Level 2 Cleric): Total XP: idk. Strangled to death by cursed octopi in a canoe on Lake Laman claiming the Sinister Stone of Sakkara for Law and eventual destruction in session 63.

Traiticus (Level 9 Fighter): Total XP: alot. Head split in half by Froggo's bronze magic "Fren Axe" during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.

Alina (Level 7 Mage). Cut in half at her belt line by Froggo's bronze magic "Fren Axe" during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.

Olgar McKenzie (Level 5ish Barbarian). Soul eaten by Stormbringer wielded by the Manson the mad assassin during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22.

Celeste (Level 7ish Witch). Soul eaten by Stormbringer wielded by the Manson the mad assassin during Operation Muscle Thunder on 08/09/22. Said Ancient Soul caused a backfire effect and blasted Manson's face off leaving him dead in the sea foam.

Allen A'Dulles (Level 1 Bard): Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.

Cyfaraun (Level 1 Elven Spellsword): Eaten by basilisks in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.

Tamryn (Level 1 Elven Spellsword):  Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66

Allen the Bard (Level 1 Bard): Petrified by a basilisk in the Meniri Mountains in Session 66.

UnNamed Venturer (Leve 1 Venturer): Killed by astral demons and sucked into the vacuum of spacetime in Session 66.

Alexa this is so sad play the entire Lion King official motion picture soundtrack on loop forever

How to Total NonStop Braunstein your Traveler Campaign

"We have tried to make these rules as complete as possible, with provisions for both solitaire and unsupervised play". - Traveler ...