Category Archives: Table-Top Gaming

SDCC 2019

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 was a little over six months ago, which I guess means I should get around to writing about it. I like to keep a travel journal on this blog, but I’m bad at sitting down to blog and good at procrastinating. It’s a good thing I take a lot of photos and keep notes on my phone! If you want to see some photos I took on my camera, check my Flickr album. Most of the photos in this post were from my phone, but I embedded a few from Flickr as well.

As always, SDCC was Thursday through Sunday. I went down on Wednesday night with gem. Antonio couldn’t join us at the start of SDCC, and Kaleigh was only able to come down on Saturday unfortunately.


gem and I started with dinner at Soda & Swine, one of our favorite San Diego restaurants. We found that it was totally revamped. It used to be a meatball place primarily, and they pulled way back from that unfortunately. The menus were now on cloth napkins that were attached to a clothesline with clothespins at the front of the restaurant. Weird. I wasn’t happy. But we ate, and the food was decent even if it wasn’t as good as what we remembered.

We started the festivities by attending Ready Party One, an 80s party at the Fluxx nightclub in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. The party alternated between DJs playing modern dance music and 80s music with live performances by 80s cover band The Flux Capacitors.

I’d say it was a good approximation of a club in the Oasis from Ready Player One! Costumes and dress were varied and perfect. It was fun to be dancing with regular people as well as people in costumes of all sorts and styles.

Plus, there were even live lyra performers!

And hula hoop performers!

gem and I stopped at the photo op as well!

Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!

And to get really nerdy, the Pokemon theme!


gem with SDCC Bags

I started Thursday, the first day of SDCC, by picking up our bags!

SDCC Bag Dress

This woman made an awesome dress from her bags! She looks happy to show it off too!

Next it was off to the Funko booth. I ended up making purchases for myself, gem, gem’s friend, and stranger. I even got reprimanded by staff for clearly buying something for someone else. But uh, so was everything else. I got Johnny Rico (Starship Troopers), Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Derek Zoolander Funko figures!

Was this man dressed as something, or did he just love pizza? Who knows.

gem and I got to pretend to be Mario at the Nintendo Lounge.

I explored the exhibit hall a bit before heading to a show. D&D: All Bards featured Pierce Brown, one of my favorite authors. He played a D&D one-shot as a party with all bards with Sam Sykes, Chuck Wendig, Paul Krueger, E. K. Johnston, and Jim Zub. (I don’t know the other famous people, oops.) It was really funny. It turns out, yes, a party of all bards can kind of stumble their way to success. Pierce Brown’s cocky humor stole the show.

I spent some more time wandering the exhibit hall after the D&D show, including watching some Steven Universe karaoke. It was right in the middle of the hall. Who’s brave enough to do that? More on that later.

Check out this Wonder Woman cosplayer! Isn’t she a cutie?

Thursday wrapped with an Anamanaguchi concert! Anamanaguchi is a band that combines traditional rock instruments with chiptune music, and they did the soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game.

Here’s a little clip of them. The show was a lot of fun, and the visuals on screen went well with the music. It was outside, behind the convention center on the green as part of Adult Swim’s SDCC offerings.

The churros looked pretty but weren’t that great!

I’ll admit I didn’t know Anamanaguchi by name before getting tickets, but I’m really glad I went.


Friday began with a Veronica Mars panel. I’ve never seen Veronica Mars, but I wanted to see the next panel. And I do love Kristen Bell, so it was still entertaining. The panel showed some footage of the Veronica Mars revival, and it did make me want to try the show – although not enough to have actually done so yet.

The Steven Universe panel started after that. The actresses who voice Peridot (Shelby Rabara), Garnet (Estelle), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), and Pearl (Deedee Magno) joined series creator Rebecca Sugar to discuss the show and premier the trailer for Steven Universe: The Movie. I’m behind on the series, so I haven’t seen the film yet. However, seeing them talk was a lot of fun, and I love the passion and fun they bring to the show.

Buzz Lightyear

Between that and the next panel was the Disney group shoot for photographers and cosplayers organized by Robert T Photography. I went as a cosplayer last year, but this year I just went as a photographer to get some photos.

SDCC 2019 Disney Group Shoot

I showed up a few minutes late so didn’t get a photo of the entire group. The event always does photos of various subgroups. I don’t remember what this was in particular, but I like it because it has a large number of people.

Steven Universe and Rose Quartz

gem was dressed in a casual cosplay of Steven Universe, so I had to get a photo of her with Rose Quartz! Check out more of the photos from the shoot in my Flickr album.

“Wherefore Dystopia and Darkness? Enjoying Creators’ Wretched Unjust Societies” was next. It features authors Marie Lu, Jess Rothenberg, Rachel Caine, Richard Kadrey, Ally Condie, S. L. Huang, and Mallory O’Meara. It was fun because I enjoy dystopian novels. I don’t care that many are aimed at children; that just makes them faster reads! I had read Marie Lu’s Legend series and Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. And since SDCC, I also read Marie Lu’s The Young Elites trilogy. The biggest take away I got from hearing them talk about their dystopian worlds was that I need to reread the Matched trilogy.

The Geek Geek Revolution panel involved geek trivia with Pierce Brown, Seanan McGuire, Paul Krueger, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Kiersten White. The only person I knew was Pierce Brown, but it was fun. The audience was allowed to submit questions, and they read one of gem’s! What was the name of the mail carrier moogle from Final Fantasy IX? No one knew the answer, but it was Stiltzkin! I can barely remember what was going on in the photo. Did the winner have to wear the horse mask? The loser, maybe?

Taking a break from panels, I went outside to Adult Swim on the Green to the Rickflector, which puts you in a augmented reality minigame in the Rick and Morty universe. I don’t watch Rick and Morty, but whatever. It was silly and probably not worth the line, but I had a good time.

A museum for The Orville was set up near the convention center called The Orville Experience. It was rather small but still neat as a fan of the show. It felt like the show might have been too new to really warrant it, but I suppose nothing’s stopping them from having a bigger one in the future if the show continues to go strong!

“Always go with one more zipper than you’re comfortable with.” Wonderful advice from Lamarr to Malloy.

We got to take this little video too!

Friday night, the IKV Stranglehold, a Klingon fan group, put on a live, original Star Trek episode featuring their own cast of Klingons. It’s the second year I’ve watched them do this, and I really enjoy seeing people being passionate and having fun with the fandom they love.

I last event of the day was Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog and Karaoke Party. I was late to it because of IKV Stranglehold, but I still caught the second half the movie and sing along. And I did sing along! After the movie was done, they had karaoke, but I didn’t stay for it.

The Interdimensional House of Pancakes seemed like a good place to stop for dinner! (I wrote that before I realized the double meaning and went back to add emphasis.) It took over maryjane’s at the Hard Rock Hotel.

I thought it was worth sharing a few more photos from the restaurant just to see the little details.


Sabrina Spellman

I saw an awesome Sabrina from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Saturday!

Since I was moving quickly, I mostly took photos of awesome cosplayers on my phone.

Look how cute Ariel and Flounder are!

My first goal of the day was to get Pierce Brown’s autograph. I already had it from previous years, but I wanted it again!

I watched a panel on The Man in the High Castle because I actually wanted to watch the panel that was next in the room. The Man in the High Castle, which is about the US after it loses World War 2, has always seemed pretty interesting, but it’s hard for me to decide to watch something that’s dark. Maybe I’ll give it a go eventually. It seems more likely that I’ll eventually read the original Philip K. Dick novel.

I was actually there for the NOS4A2 panel. The panel was about the TV series starring Zachary Quinto, but I think gem read the novel. It’s a supernatural drama, and if you hadn’t figured it out, NOS4A2 is pronounced “Nosferatu.” The show is apparently available for streaming on AMC’s streaming platform, which means I guess no one will ever see it. I’d probably watch it if it was on something more mainstream.

Now on to one of the highlights of SDCC this year – The Adventure Zone: Dadlands! In this live TAZ one-shot, the McElroy’s each took the role of a leader of his tribe of Dads in a post-apocalyptic future in which only Dads exist after Moms and Children have all gone extinct.

There are the Grill Dads, Vacation Dads, Sports Dads, Car Dads, Drama Dads, and Craft Dads. Griffin played Briquette Hoggins, a Grill Dad. Justin played Chip Hugginsbee, a Vacation Dad who loved to throw out worthless trivia about where they were. Travis played Guy Ferrari, a Car Dad. And Clint played Coach Red Ruffinsore, a Sports Dad – and Clint had whistles on hand with which to annoy his actual kids. I love that this entire game seems to have been created to play up terrible dad jokes. It was great!

There was some fun TAZ cosplay at the show – here’s Shadow John (@i_dont_mo) and Lup (@costume_cookyy), Hollis (@cawtchlin), and Garfield the Deals Warlock!

After the show, I watched a dog fight with a balloon. He was such a good boy!

We finished the evening with pizza from BIGA. This was giulia, one of the greatest pizzas I’ve ever had! It has “house-made fior de latte mozzarella / pecorino / parmesan / basil / burrata / prosciutto di parma / fennel pollen / local honey / figs / saba.” So good!


Sunday, the last day, started with Spotlight on Jonathan Hickman. He’s a comic book writer and artist… and I only attended his panel so I’d be in the room for the next panel about The Adventure Zone!

Clint and Travis were joined by Carey Pietsch and moderator Satine Phoenix to discuss the release of The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited, the second graphic novel in the series. Admittedly, I hadn’t yet read the first one – oops. But it was really fun to see two of the McElroys more up close, and it was the first time I’ve heard from Carey Pietsch. I decided during this panel that I had to get off my butt and pick up the graphic novel.

In Cartoon Voices II panel, moderator Mark Evanier joined voice actors Jim Meskimen, Robin Atkin Downes, Secunda Wood, Dee Bradley Baker, and Candi Milo to talk about performing cartoon voices and do some live examples. At least, that’s who the schedule listed. I honestly can’t remember much about this panel, but I know I’ve enjoyed it in the past too!

Next it was time for more Pierce Brown! gem and I picked up an autographed copy of Iron Gold, chatted with him briefly, and got photos with him.

And speaking of autographs and photographs, I had to make good on my decision to pick up The Adventure Zone graphic novel. I bought the first one, Here There Be Gerblins. Clint McElroy signed it and talked to me for a bit, and then I got a photo with him. It was really awesome meeting him! How cool that he and his sons get to do so many fun projects together for a living.

Remember earlier how I wondered who would be crazy enough to do Steven Universe karaoke at the Steven Universe booth in the middle of the exhibit hall? gem got in line for karaoke. And while she slowly moved through the line, I decided to join her. The staff allowed him to jump into line with her, and we sang in front of anyone! Scary!

And that’s another SDCC for the history books – my 9th one attended! Check out my Flickr album for more photos!

Birthdays, Long Beach Sand Sculpture Festival, and games

This weekend was fun for a couple reasons. First, there was a party for Duncan and Matt’s birthdays. We had dinner, socialized, and played some games.

Reese's s'more

This is probably the only photo worth sharing. Yep, that’s a s’more with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and giant marshmallow.

Picnic in Long Beach

This weekend was also the Long Beach Sand Sculpture Music & Art Festival. It was so much fun! I probably would have had the same amount of fun even if the festival wasn’t there and we just went to the beach haha.

Picnic in Long Beach

We had a tasty meal of Korean BBQ burritos from Seoulmate in the park before heading down to the beach. I used one of those giant, human-sized hamster balls and slammed into people. I don’t have any photos yet because they weren’t on my phone. It was fun, but it was hot. So hot. I also jammed my thumb back while inside, and it was aching all day (and more). It’s getting better though! When I got out, I was feeling dizzy from the heat and dehydration. We got some water and then went into the ocean to cool off.

There were lots of cool dogs to watch as well as the sand sculptures themselves of course. I brought my DSLR out for the first time, and Luke helped me a ton. It was a hand-me-down, and I didn’t have the manual nor did I know much about it. I might not have the skill, but at least Luke explained what most things mean. I feel much better about using it now!

We also visited a skateboard stand. Anela and gem got skateboarding lessons! They didn’t care about the guys.

Oh, and I played with hula-hoops! It was super fun actually!

I also got to playtest Joe’s new super hero board game. It’s pretty amazing. He’s really talented in a lot of different, creative ways. I’d share photos, but I wouldn’t want to leak an unreleased game. 🙂

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill

On Saturday I got together with gem, Jonathan, Duncan, James, and Michael to explore a creepy old house. I, Madame Zostra, saw in the stars that we were to find things beyond our wildest imagination!

The game involves exploring the house, turning over random room tiles as rooms are explored. You’ll get into different encounters or find items, but you can also find strange omens. When an omen is uncovered, you roll a haunting check that gets progressively more difficult the more omens are uncovered. Once the haunting happens, a scenario is triggered that is determined based on the room in which the final omen was found and the omen itself.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

In our scenario, James betrayed us. It was now him versus the five of us. He left the room so we could discuss, because each group had private goals. We could feel ourselves getting older and needed to perform rituals to stop the unholy aging process. Unfortunately, we made some mistakes in the setup of the scenario. James triggered the haunting, but it actually should have been gem who was the traitor, which would have made it easier for most of us.

In the end, we weren’t able to stop the process, and James killed us. Thanks a lot for bringing us to your creepy house, jerk.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Here’s the final layout, with the second floor in the top-left and the basement in the top-right. We should have explored the basement earlier!

Well, I, Madame Zostra, was right. We did find things beyond our wildest imagination. I just wish the stars had told me to stay out!

San Diego Comic-Con Day 2: Aquabats, cosplay, Adult Swim, and more!

If you missed it, check out my post on Day 0 and Day 1 too, San Diego Comic-Con Day 0 and Day 1: John DiMaggio, Martian Girl, the Aquabats, Geek & Sundry, and more!

Day 2 – Friday

We started Friday by rushing to get tickets for the Aquabats autograph session.

Colossus (the first person to ever ask me for a cosplay photo) and Leeloo

I was wearing my Aquabats costume (which I had to wash because of how sweaty I got at the concert). I was stopped by a couple that wanted a photo with me. It was a bit shocking to me. I ask people to take photos with me; they don’t usually ask me. Of course, I don’t usually wear a cosplay. It was pretty cool! He was cosplaying the X-men, and she was cosplaying the Fifth Element!

We got out tickets and then headed to a Star Wars Origami panel in which we learned to make lightsabers and Boba Fett’s head.

The Headless Horseman

The Headless Horseman

Next we headed to Petco Park to get tickets for the Adult Swim Fun House. There was also some promotion for Sleepy Hollow, so I had to battle the Headless Horseman. While in line for tickets, we got to know some of the staff. They were very cool, and they definitely liked gem and her ukulele. That ukulele makes her friends everywhere.

Little Aquabats!

Little Aquabats!

While getting in line for the Aquabats autographs, I saw these two little Aquacadets and had to get a photo with them. Adorable!


gem met a guy in line with a small guitar, so they played guitar and ukulele together and even taught each other some songs.

The Aquabats!

The Aquabats!

The MC Bat Commander complimented me on my outfit, and I told him it was of my own design. (I think he bought it!) They autographed by Anti-Negativity Helmet and Power Belt. It’s hard to see, but in this photo, they’re already signed! Super rad!

@destinedsaint (Instagram) as Little Mac

@destinedsaint (Instagram) as Little Mac

After the autograph session, we got in line to get an autograph by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds). We ended up talking to the guy in front of us in line for a while. He was from Las Vegas, and I enjoyed talking to him quite a bit. He cosplayed as Little Mac from Punch-Out, so we had to get a photo together. I friended him on Instagram!

sdcc aquabat and bryan lee o'malley

Here I am with Bryan Lee O’Malley and Jason Fischer!

At the Tokidoki booth, I bought a Tokidoki puzzle. I’ve had my eye on it for a while and finally caved. They also had tote bags that seemed cool. I wanted one to use for yoga. As it turned out, they were free if you spent $50, but I was spending that much. I asked if they sold the bag, and the guy said “no,” but then he said I could just have it. Yay!

Speaking of goodies, I also got a small pack of free comics – Tesla, The First Daughter, Pandora’s Blogs, and Darchon. I haven’t looked at them yet, but I will.

We had lunch at Hot Papa’s. The food was delicious, and the staff were incredibly friendly, but there were a couple mistakes. Everything was corrected eventually though.


Then it was time to go back to Petco Park. In addition to the Adult Swim Fun House, there was also the Adult Swim Meatwad Full Dome Experience. We had some scheduling problems, but luckily the staff were helpful and allowed us to change times a bit. They totally remembered gem from earlier in the day, which was cool. We started with the Meatwad Full Dome Experience. You can see a close-up of the outside above.

Inside, you sit in low seats leaning back because the whole roof of the dome is a screen.


It’s hard to explain the show, because it’s random and weird.


It was definitely cool though!


Then we entered the Fun House! For the most part, it was the same as last year. While we in line, we got to know the three guys behind us. They were from San Diego, and they were really funny. It’s great how fun it is to get to know the people near you in lines.


However, last year we exited through the… well… through the giant vagina as if we were being born. This year we crawled through a washing machine that was being humped by a robot. This was a new exit replacing the one we used last year.


We came out of a cat’s butt into a litter box.

sdcc serenity cosplay

Afterward you’re allowed to choose a t-shirt, a print, and a location for the print, and they make you a free t-shirt. While I was waiting for mine, I saw a woman who was cosplaying as the Serenity, the ship itself from Firefly/Serenity. It was pretty cool!


On our way back to the hotel, a guy asked for a song, and when gem started playing and singing, he started dancing!


We met with Mike since we were in San Diego, and we had sushi and drinks at Full Moon Sushi and Kitchen Bar. Then he took us to Neighborhood, a fun bar. When they closed we headed to The Commons Bar before returning to the hotel to play Cards Against Humanity. It was great to see Mike again!

More adventures coming tomorrow!

Check out the last days:

Christmas time!

Christmas Tree

Christmas time is always great! I hadn’t really talked about it yet at all, so I’ll mention everything briefly in this post! Even though I was taking my family’s presents to my aunt’s house, I kept them under my tree. I like having a lot of wrapped gifts under the tree.

Ready for the Aquabats!

I went to two Christmas shows. The first was the Aquabats holiday show, which I talked about previously. They played with Emily’s Army and Kepi Ghouli; it was a great show.


After I posted some photos of the show on Instagram, user gogo13band liked some of my photos. The user’s description says they’re the “literal brother band” of the Aquabats. I looked into them, and it turns out that the lead singer of the Aquabats’ brother is the lead singer of a ska band called GOGO13. They played with the Vandals and Knock-Out at “The Vandals 18th Annual Christmas Formal.” It was a great show too! The Vandals played music from their album Oi to the World!

The Beet Goes On

Alex and Darnell were in Brea at her parents’ house, so I came to visit too. Devin and Lorena gave me a bottle Beet that they infused themselves! It came with recipes for two mixed drinks. That photo is of a drink called The Beet Goes On, which was great!

Bread and lemon curd

Alex and Darnell gave me cranberry orange bread and homemade lemon curd. Wow, it was all so delicious! I put blueberries in the lemon curd a couple times, but it was so flavorful and tasty that I definitely ate a lot without anything extra!


gem gave me a Snuggie and The Geek’s Guide to Dating. While I haven’t read much of the book yet, it’s pretty interesting and funny too. gem knew I wanted a Snuggie and called a bunch of stores trying to find one. She could only find one store that had any in stock, and when she got there, she could only find a single Snuggie. She told me I could exchange it because of the print, but I definitely wanted to keep it. It’s very comfy 🙂


I spent Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house and Christmas day at my parents’. Here’s my cousin, Mitch, collecting all the gifts to him in one place so he could open them quickly.

I got all my cousins board games. I gave Apples to Apples, The Logo Board Game, and Munchkin Legends. On the subject of board games, I also bought Edward Arkham Horror. My brother got a video game from me instead – Super Mario 3D Land. I gave gem a Tokidoki x Sanrio clutch.

Cirque du Soleil's Totem

I also took gem to see Cirque du Soleil’s Totem. I talked about that yesterday, but it was excellent!

New jacket

Edward gave me a new leather jacket! I was very surprised, and it’s pretty great. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a leather jacket.


On the subject of unexpected gifts, my brother got me a Harman/Kardon soundbar and subwoofer. I was pretty amazed. It’s connected to my TV, and I’m listening to it right now. When it put it on top of the TV stand in front of the TV, it blocked the IR receiver on the TV. I moved it to the shelf underneath, which looks a little odd but works. It’s a great sound system! Notice the bow on the present? My mom added that.


Duncan moved the bow to Sumo. He’s quite festive with it.


We tried to turn the box into a dog house, but Angel and Sumo really didn’t want to hang out in it. We’ve put their beds in it, hoping that would entice them to enter. Well, they’re not really going for it.

Anyways, that was my Christmas time! Yay!

D&D: The Five Stars: Session 4, 6/29/13: Kobold saviors

While Gemmeli, Moonwhisper, and Button adventure in the kobold’s den, two other heroes approached from outside. Diko was a half-orc fighter and Hallour a dwarf cleric of the Church of the True Path. Two men attacked them, but Diko grappled one and removed his weapon, and Hallour subdued the other.

After being threatened, one man offered what he knew. “Please! Spare me, and I’ll tell you what I know! A man paid me to stop this cleric before he got to a cave. He didn’t tell me why, but I needed the gold, and he was so intimidating. He said it didn’t matter if i killed him as long as the cleric didn’t reach the cave.” When asked to describe him, he said “short, dark hair with some silver. Beard cropped short. He wore a dark overcoat with a gold clasp. Oh! He kept fiddling with a ring on his right hand. Some kind of ruby, maybe.”

Diko and Hallour confiscated their weapons and ventured into the cave, not sure why someone was trying to stop Hallour. They ran into Gemmeli, Moonwhisper, and Button and decided to help them stop the undead presence. With Diko’s brute strength and Hallour’s ability to turn undead, this was easy.

In one chamber, they came across a kobold woman and her son. They didn’t seem to be undead, and they were very scared. Moonwhisper threw a kobold zombie thumb at her to show that he had taken care of the threats, but she just got more scared.

After reaching the final chamber and ridding the remaining undead, the party was surprised to see that the kobold woman had approached without them noticing. Gemmeli tried to talk to her, and while the communication wasn’t terribly successful, the kobold seemed to understand that the party helped, and she was grateful. She offered her boots to Gemmeli. Gemmeli could tell they were high quality and that they had Elven script of some sort on them.

Moonwhisper was excited. “Who’s got fifteen thumbs and just killed a bunch of zombies? This guy!” The five adventured headed back to Harver to claim their reward. Hallour planned to head to the Church of the True Path, and Moonwhisper thought it might be nice to see what that church had to offer since he was becoming disillusioned with the Church of the Five Stars.

This session saw the addition of Anthony and Antonio as Diko and Hallour respectively, creating a much more well-rounded party. With a more balanced party, they should be able to tackle things easier in the future.

Father Darham’s Orphans: Finishing White Plume Mountain

After retrieving Blackrazor, we regrouped outside. Marle the thief, Diedrich, and Stale entered with us this time. Gweneesh, Zarlon, Grogg, and Lichen were there as well of course. We came across a number of interesting encounters, including a black ooze monster with a cursed ring that hurt Grog. Eventually our path opened into a large cavern. Between us and the other side was a huge pit filled with lava at the bottom and circular, wooden platforms suspended by chains. The group slowly made our way across. Some of us jumped from platform to platform while others flew across or were carried across. Stale carried me using his new ring that granted him flying. What we didn’t realize at first were that geysers erupted periodically in this room, causing us quite a few injuries. Marle in particular was hurt and knocked unconscious, but Lichen and Deidrich healed her. Once we made it across, we found a pitch black room that light wouldn’t penetrate that contained some sort of evil enemy that attacked us. We tried to attack it, and one person even made fun of Marle for using a little dagger, saying “you can’t hurt anything with that butter knife.” We managed to dispel the darkness; in place of an enemy, there was a cloud of a sort of gas that flew out of the room and away. Presumably it was a vampire. We never saw him again, but we did find the hammer, Whelm, in this room.

We backtracked and went down the third corridor. There were multiple heavy, metal doors that opened inward and were larger than the doorways. It seemed like they were designed so that pressure couldn’t open them the other way. After we went through these doors, we found ourselves in what we later realized was a giant bubble under boiling water. There was a huge crab-like beast in the room. While we discussed what to do, Stale threw three darts at it. With his tremendous strength, he hurt it quite badly. Unfortunately, he also punctured the room, causing boiling water to flow into the room. Now we realized that the doors’ purpose was to keep water from flowing out of the room and back into the rest of the complex. Without any more time to plan, the rest of us rushed in to attack. Marle, remembering the comment her “butter knife,” attacked with her dagger. The crab died. In the back of the room, we found Wave. We quickly left the room before the flood got any worse.

We made it back to town, where we recovered from our wounds, sold some treasure, and purchased newer equipment. It looks like we successfully retrieved the three artifacts!

– Kyros

This was a great module, and I had a fun time playing first edition. I have to say, there was a lot more variety to the encounters compared to that with which I’m familiar. Was that just this module or a facet of first edition? I guess I’ll see.

Father Darham’s Orphans: Exploring White Plume Mountain

I caught up with some of Father Darham’s other orphans recently – Gweneesh the black-winged human magic user and cat, Thor; Zarlon the human magic user; Lichen the human druid and his staff/snake, Clyde; and Grog the half-orc, or half-human as he prefers, fighter/thief. Of course, I knew them from the orphanage, but I hadn’t seen them in a while. They’ve really changed since I knew them. I suppose the most shocking was Gweneesh’s wings, but she didn’t seem to want to talk about them.

When I joined them, I didn’t have much. I was wearing my simple clothing under plate armor with a shield, bastard sword, and short bow. Of course, I had a backpack with a few small items such as food and water as well. I told them how I was now going by Kyros Beastrunner after outrunning that beast, but they seemed to find it amusing and not believe me! They did, however, have a trade for me. They allowed me to exchange my plate armor and bastard sword for magically enhanced versions of each. I believe powerful weapon and armor enchanters use the shorthand “+1” for each of these.

My companions tracked the weapons to a volcano. After we found a cave leading inside, I followed my friends into the tunnel. Grog found a trapdoor covered in sludge, and he managed to open it with the help of Lichen. Through the trapdoor we discovered a spiral staircase leading us into a watery tunnel. Now I knew this was a bad idea, but my companions wouldn’t listen to me so we proceeded. A few turns later, I slipped and went sliding forward. It was horrible! I told

I reluctantly trudged into the mucky water behind them. Eventually we reached a beast with a cat’s body and human woman’s torso and head. She required us to answer a riddle before we could proceed, and we did it without a problem. The path forked into three ways, and we chose the left one.

We came across a hallway that we couldn’t cross without all of our metal heating to the point that it burned us. We came with an idea; we could put all of our metal belongings in Grog’s Bag of Holding. However, Gweneesh seemed very against it. She was incredibly defensive about leaving her dagger. Something is very strange about it. Grog and Lichen proceeded down the hallway as a test with all their metal in the bag. They entered a large room filled with a vast number of ghouls. Being unable to get ready for battle in time, they ran back down the hallway. When they rejoined us, Gweneesh cast a fireball down the hallway. The explosion stopped mere feet from us. Lichen used a spell to chill our metal, and the five us ran down the hallway as fast as we could. Our belongings began to get hot, but we made it without being harmed. With only the charred remains of the ghouls waiting for us, we continued.

Next we found a very strange room. It was a long room with a door on each side. A few feet in front of each door was a pit spanning the width of the room filled with razors. We experimented and found that we couldn’t fly in the room at all, and worse yet, the ground had no friction! Eventually we discovered that there was friction on the walls of the pit. Using a couple ropes and magical Rope of Climbing, Grog managed to reach the pit, stab the wall with his dagger, and use the Bag of Climbing to continue. Once ropes were set across the whole room, we were able to cross.

Of course, what do you think the next room contained? Something that would call for my unique experience with tracking animals so I could show my friends how heroic I’ve become? No. More water. Levitating tubes of water and boats. Resigned to my fate, I climbed into one two-seat boat with Gweneesh, and the five of us set sail through the flying waterway.

By the time Geneesh and I reached the next room, our friends were already in combat! I jumped out, ready to help. Gweneesh tried to help but never got out of her boat, so she actually continued sailing around. Some humans were attacking us, but I don’t know why. Most were weak, but one was fairly strong. I engaged him in melee combat, and he tried to jump away. I realized he must be using some sort of magic, because no normal person could jump like that. However, we managed to kill him. Examining his body, we found magical boots that Zarlon realized enhanced jumping, magical plate armor even more powerful than mine, a magical longsword and a magical shield. The group decided to let me have the plate armor and longsword for which  I was quite grateful.

The next chamber we discovered was huge and quite odd. It must have been planned by some sort of sadistic, magical zookeeper. The room was shaped like an inverted ziggurat. We could walk in a circle around the chamber on the top level. The next level was some sort of aquarium with aggressive fish of some sort. Next was a level of scorpions. After that was a level of aquatic lions. On the bottom were three manticores guarding a door.

Lichen transformed into a bird and flew down to the bottom level. Almost instantly the manticores began launching spikes at him, and he looked seriously hurt. I began notching an arrow in an attempt to provide what help I could from the top level. Meanwhile Zarlon began to take off his new boots so he could give them to me, hopefully enabling me to jump down. I rushed to help my friends, not paying attention to what I was doing, and ended up making things worse. Not only did Gweneesh with my arrow, but I broke my bow to pieces. I’ll need to remember to purchase another bow. When Zarlon got the boots off, I got them on me and jumped down to help. After we slayed the manticore, we found a safe with some treasure in it, but still no lost weapon. But we did find another room.

This room seemed like a sort of lounge with couches and a hookah. A halfling, or something like one, was in the room. He seemed friendly but odd, and he got into a circular conversation with Lichen. Suddenly, disappeared, and in his place was five large creatures of some sort! At the same time we were hit with some sort of magic. Most of us were badly hurt, and Zarlon and Gweneesh were knocked unconscious. Sadly, Gweneesh’s cat familiar, Thor, perished in the attack. I tried to get a potion down Gweneesh’s throat, but Lichen managed to heal them enough for them to groggily get up. Grog, Lichen, and I proceeded to attack the creatures. As we attacked them, they disappeared. I had a suspicion that each would disappear when touched until only one was left, and that turned out to be true. As we fought the last one, he cast some sort of spell on me.

By now, I’ve realized what happened, but at the time, it went something like this. I was attacking the enemy with my group of friends when all of a sudden, I was in the room my friend who was being attacked by four invaders. I turned to the outsiders and began to battle them, trying my best to kill them. One went invisible, but I continued to slash in front of me where I thought he was. Unfortunately, I couldn’t protect my friend as the invaders slayed him.

And then suddenly I realized that it was my enemy who was in fact killed, and that I was under the effects of some sort of mind control spell. It was like I was a different person. What would have happened if I hadn’t snapped out of it? Was that Kyros killed only for my original personality to be revealed once again?

Regardless, we stumbled across an invisible sword in the room. After some debate, we tried to grab it up. Many of us just couldn’t do it. It was like the sword didn’t want to be gripped by us, and we were powerless to go against our wishes. It tolerated Gweneesh and Lichen, but I don’t know why. Lichen picked it up, and it began to take control of him just as he dropped it into the Bag of Holding.

Blackrazor was found, and now we had only two more weapons to locate.

– Kyros

This was my first session of AD&D 1e ever and my first with this group. They’ve been playing for some time now, so I jumped in at level 5. I had a lot of fun, and so far, this module has been great. Most of the night was spent thinking about how to overcome the rooms themselves rather than slaying enemies. I’m not used to that, but I really enjoyed it.

D&D: The Five Stars: Session 3, 5/11/13: Zombie Slayers

Session 3 of the D&D Campaign The Five Stars, Saturday, 5/11/13.

Now that the group realized that the kobold they were fighting was a zombie, they realized they had to better arm themselves. Their weapons were all for piercing or bludgeoning, and they needed weapons used for slashing. Moonwhisper Johnson remembered that the hobgoblin they killed had a longsword. Not wanting to get attacked while weakened, the group climbed out of the canyon and decided to rest. With a good night’s rest and the healing of Button, Sunshine felt almost as strong as ever, and Moonwhisper Johnson felt perfect.

The party backtracked into the forest, looking for the location at which they fought the hobgoblin. Moonwhisper tried to get Sunshine to spell the thumb he took from the hobgoblin thinking he could track it, but Sunshine simply ate the thumb. They gave up and searched the old-fashioned way. Eventually the group located the site of the attack, and Moonwhisper took the longsword. After trekking back to the canyon, they once again entered the cave.

In was dark and dirty in the cave with two openings in the current chamber, one on their left and one on their right. In the middle of the room, the kobold zombie still stood. The group managed to slay it easily now that they had the right weapons. Looking into the room on the left, they found what must be a dining chamber with three tables and some piles of rotting meat and fruit. Unfortunately, the room also contained three kobold skeletons still standing in undeath. They knew slashing weapons would be of no use, so Moonwhisper readied his warhammer and gave a morningstar to Gemmeli. Gemmeli gave her sling to Button so they could each have something to use against the kobold skeletons.

Gemmeli had Sunshine stay back while the group destroyed the skeletons. After clearing the chamber, Moonwhisper Johnson looked for clues as to what caused the undead but found none. However, Gemmeli found a dagger. Moving into the next room, the party found themselves in a long, narrow chamber filled with rugs and furs – a sleeping chamber. They were immediately attacked by a kobold zombie and two kobold skeletons. Button got injured badly and retreated to the previous room. From there she attempted to use her sling, but one shot accidentally hit Gemmeli! Gemmeli’s first wound on her adventure came from a party member with her own weapon no less! While the entire party was wounded, they managed to overcome the undead in this room as well.

It was nice to see things going well. They solved the issue of getting over the damage reduction. There still remains the dilemma of sleeping to regain health and spells while still guarding against attach. It was also fun to progress into a few rooms of the dungeon!

D&D: The Five Stars: Session 2, 3/10/13: The Kobold’s Terror

Session 2 of the D&D Campaign The Five Stars, Sunday, 3/10/13.

After looting the bodies of the six kobolds, the party waited until dawn to talk to Farmer Jek about what happened. He was quite thankful and told them to come back in the day for their bacon. The party wondered if there could be more kobolds and thought about looking for their nest. Jek let them know that Mayor Renault knew more.

The party went to the mayor’s house to talk to him about the threat. Mayor Renault told them that bands of kobolds sometimes attacked travelers, but that the kobolds hadn’t come this close to town for many years. He said that they lived in the canyon to the south. Moonwhisper made it clear that they’d take care of the problem for a price, but the mayor seemed to think that this was between the party and Jek. Moonwhisper agreed and said that they’d just let the town get attacked and inform everyone that they wanted to help, but the mayor didn’t think it was worth considering. The mayor backtracked at this. The two haggled, and eventually came to an agreement. Mayor Renault would give them 15 gold, backpacks and bags, canteens, flint and tinder, and a tent if they agreed to travel to their lair and get rid of them.

Having stayed up all night at Jek’s farm, the party returned to the Foamy Ale Inn to nap. When they awoke, they returned to Jek to pick up their bacon jerky and then met the mayor’s courier who brought bags, canteens, flint and tinder, and a tent. They spent the rest of the day resting, and in the morning they set out for the canyon. They were told it should be about a four hour work south – two hours through open terrain and two hours through forest.

On the way through the plains, they ran into a hobgoblin and two goblins. Wasting no time, the group immediately attacked the goblins. Moonwhisper got badly hurt, but Button was able to heal him after the battle before the group continued toward the canyon. The march through the forest was uneventful, and they reached the canyon in the middle of the day. Rather than running straight into the canyon, they scouted along the top, searching for a possible lair. Finding a cave, they launched rocks into it. When there was no response, they ventured down themselves.

Cautiously, the group entered the cave. A lone kobold stood unmoving in the cave, and two tunnels led off of the room. The kobold carried no weapons and stared blankly. The party engaged the kobold, attempting to hurt him. Unfortunately, their attacks, even when seeming to connect, didn’t seem to harm the kobold any. Now in close combat, they noticed that something smelled very bad in the room. The kobold hurt Sunshine, so Gemmeli commanded her to stay away. The group continued to gang up on the kobold, but they barely scratched it. Eventually realizing that the kobold was a zombie and seemed to be unaffected by their piercing and bludgeoning weapons, the group escaped.

This was a fun second session. Thinks went decently well, which I can say only because no one died. I wanted it to be a surprise that the kobold was a zombie, but I wasn’t expecting it to be that difficult to defeat. I eventually tried giving clearer and clearer hints, but I probably should have spelled it out earlier. I wanted the kobold to be freshly undead, so there wasn’t a ton of physical signs. The zombie kobold had 5/slashing damage reduction. I hinted at the damage reduction, but when we finished I gave the specifics so they’d know. I think the group also learned to consider their enemies before immediately engaging.

Also, Joe and Steph brought bacon jerky to eat to fit the fact that the party obtained some bacon jerky. Pretty fun!