Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Sessions 18 & 19

Sometimes it feels like we’ve hit the doldrums of the campaign. It’s not he story, which is gaining in focus and in pace, but rather the difficulty of managing summer schedules. As a group, we agreed that adding another player might help us meet a quorum for a bi-weekly game. I invited Matt, who played 1ceman in my Marvel: Age of Apocalypse game back when I started streaming RPG sessions.

Sadly, Matt’s availability is due to chronic health issues that have had a huge impact on his ability to make a living as well as the equally chronic medical expenses. Matt is offering his RPG expertise for hire. He will run, design, or help design games for you in return for a donation. If that interests you, check out his Google Plus post on the subject.

Now on to the games!

Episode 18

I’m pretty proud of the idea behind this one. I came up with it about 10 minutes before the broadcast.

I wanted a way to bring Matt’s character into the game other than just dropping him in and pretending that he was always there. Instead, we ran a long montage sequence where we inserted Vendelm into the backstory at key scenes. This also doubled as a chance to bring him up to speed on the story of the game since 17 sessions is a lot of hours of game to listen to.

After the session, I e-mailed Mat some details about what happens where the montage leaves off. A lot of that info comes out in episode 19 and I’m really excited about it because this is what follows from failing to stop the summoning of the aspect of Chernovog.


Episode 19

Another shaky start, which I attribute to the uneven shedule.

We finally find out what Chernovog has been up to. He was summoned up but Baba Zelenna’s cultists to destroy Strahd and he failed. So now he’s trying to find allies in the valley who can help him succeed. Predictably, which doesn’t sit well Raghnar, who has felt the rake of Chernovog’s claws. It’s a shame Pierce wasn’t available to play. I can’t wait to see how Heinrich reacts!

The Drowned Lady has long given up the human aspect of herself. In embracing the primal nature of her corrupted form, she may be the most afflicted of the three sisters. She is capable of coherence, but she mostly lives as a beast in her own swamp.

Although I (again!) had to backpedal quickly on the damage output, I was really happy with the tone of the fight. I got the right note of desperation from the players that I’ve been trying to strike. I always wanted the fights to be tougher than the 13th Age standard. Either they are getting used to my overreaching or I’m starting to find the damned target.

I tried to shake things up a bit in the sense that the blood eels were supposed to be more interesting in the fight than the Lady herself. I don’t think that worked quite like I wanted it too but that could be just be because the “Bleeding Out” ability never triggered as I expected it to. RPing removing the eels afterwards was spot-on though.

The Drowned Lady

Large, Double-Strength 8th Level Wrecker [Humanoid]
Init +8
Rake +13 vs AC—100 damage against one target or 50 each against two targets.
HP 430
AC 24
PD 22
MD 18
Immune to mind-affecting effects
Circle of Life: Each time a nearby enemy uses or loses a recovery, the Drowned Lady regains 50 HP.
Horrific Appearance: A fear aura that effects nearby creatures with 48 or fewer HP that can see the Lady. Affected creatures are dazed and cannot use the escalation die.

Of the three sisters, the Lady is the least interesting (tactically speaking). I tried to compensate for that by making her stronger and a more obvious stand-up threat while shifting the tactically interesting side of the combat to the minions. This is the original stat block at full strength (meant for 6 or more players). Prior to the session, I missed my note to run her as a normal-strength monsters and I ran her as large instead. that accounts for my need to reduce damage further on the fly.

I agree with Aaron that the regen is too high. The note I made post-session says it should be 24. I may instead tie it to how the eels work.

Blood Eels

Large 6th Level Spoiler (mook) [Vermin]
Init +8
Attach +10 vs AC—18 damage. Creatures hit by this attack must succeed at a hard skill check (DC 30) using both hands in order to disengage. The eel’s attach attack hits automatically every round, until the target creature disengages or the eel is killed.
HP 23
AC 17
PD 17
MD 21
Bleeding Out!: When a blood eel is killed by an edged weapon it is decapitated. If the head was attached to a creature, it remains attached and that creature will begin to bleed out through the severed gullet of the eel. The creature loses 1 recovery per round. Any amount of healing will staunch the bleeding. Removing a severed head requires a quick rest or a normal DC check (DC 20).

Another case where I didn’t read the notes on how to detach ( I think) and now I see the language on how the eel does ongoing damage needs to be made clearer.

My new thought, though is that I want to tie the eels to how the Lady regens. Perhaps there’s a reason why I had her eating them in the scene and that has me thinking. Maybe every time a living eel deals ongoing damage, the Lady regens 1 HP. Then I throw lots, and lots, of eels at the party. Swarms of them. *evil cackle* Yes.. that may do very nicely.

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~ by Hunter Rose on August 2, 2015.

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