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Third Time is Tradition - Out of Character Discussions

4/2/19 Lisa

Last Friday I said I would look for the chat log where that Suomi sarcophagus was opened. Here is the link to the chat log:

If you do a find on the page for: remove traps you should get to the part where the lid is lifted and we find what lies inside. Have fun!Two

4/3 TMO

No wonder that Tiera thing was hazy for me - I wasn't on that night. I've only read about it secondhand. Mind you, I doubt I would have known enough off the cuff to have Ilero react appropriately to the revelation. But yes, Ilero will strongly advise against opening that sarcophagus again. :)

Do we know what the goblet turned out to be?

4/3 Lisa

On the Home Base page we have it here: Gold goblet with figures on it - 600 gp

We could have Howard or anyone else with a Religion nwp try to do a check on it for religious significance.

-- TMO: That sounds like a very nice thing to do. It may just be grave goods, or it may be more significant. :)

4/7 Lisa

Idea for the griffon dilemma. Neith, Snee and Mara all know the spell Command. According to the griffon Wikipedia page, griffons cannot speak, but understand Common.

So, two priests cast a Command spell on each griffon telling it to Land! Command spells only work for one round so then, our bestest fighters, Kel and Tiberius make a to hit roll on the landed priestesses to free them from the recently landed griffons. They should then get as far away from them as they can.

From there, we can either fight them and hope they don't pick anyone else up, or Howard can cast glitterdust on them to blind them if our guys have backed up enough, or Johan can cast a hypnotic pattern on them (spell says creature so I think it applies) etc. Hypnosis means we run away since attacks break the spell, glitterdust would mean we either run away or fight with range weapons so we don't get blinded ourselves.

Anyway - this was the first plan that came into my head and thought I would share.

4/7 Carissa

Not sure of ideas, but if Shi ends up being able to use her spells, the two I'm considering are: any of her wind spells (she has a few to buffer her fall) and/or Animal Friendship. What?? She likes animal friends!

But something does tell me that now that I've shared my idea, for some odd (DM-related) reason, it won't work I'm not paranoid!

Also might want Ilero's hand ready to catch someone if needed. And people under to catch if needed. Just a little worried about falling is all...

(Do griffons use tutors? Is this a Kenna situation? Or are they just going to be mealy snacks??)

4/7 Lisa

Wind buffer sounds good, but unless you can make friends with it, how do you make it drop you? And can Mara do the same thing?

I was looking at animal things but if a creature is in the monster manual is it an animal or a monster? I'm not sure and am really asking.

TMO/Bob could answer this best, but if I recall correctly, the Hand of Reaching has a weight limit, I don't know if it can carry 100 lbs of anything.

Lol to Kenna capture reference! I cannot imagine what griffons want with people. I don't think they eat people, do they???

4/7 Carissa

Poke it with a dagger? Er, arrow? But good point. I guess if she has a move, she should first work on trying to befriend/bargin with it since that's one move versus poke then drop being likely two (unless someone hits it and makes it drop her). I did check. Mara has wind column which she can use on herself, and also wind servant to use however she wishes.

No clue. I think I remember asking if griffons counted as animals back when they attacked the boat, but Shi was asleep so she was upset to miss trying to speak to them (befriend them...). Will need to find that here in a minute.

See? It was half joke and half honest question! What do griffons want with people??

Edit: Here is the chat from our last Griffon fight (Main.20180323c). I forgot. Shi missed it because she was below ship grieving poor Tinu :(

I'll have to read through it better later, but Neith did do the Command Spell successfully, so your idea to use it again is a good idea! Also Jilly had a chance to grab Indigo before he was taken away. While Shi and Mara were too surprised to act, did anyone maybe by chance roll well enough to react fast enough to grab a leg or something...?

Edit 2: There are animals in the monster manual, if I recall, too, so maybe they're animals? Or maybe I just really want a griffon friend. I mean, if it broke its leg, at least it's still able to be useful!

4/8 TMO

The Hand of Reaching uses the strength of the wearer. Given Ilero has, at best, a 9 strength, don't count on him to catch anybody. His only contribution would be as an attack that stands a chance of knocking the griffon out. A *slim* chance. And that just puts them both into freefall...

4/8 Lisa

Thanks TMO!

I am curious about the animal/monster thing because we have potions of Animal Control too, but when I looked them up, the catch with them was a d20 roll to see what kind of animal you could control. Then I got into that whole inner debate on whether a griffon counts as an aviary animal if it is even an animal, and should we be rolling d20s before we are in a griffon chasing emergency or is that just the "fun" of the stupid potion? Then I thought, why don't we think about something else? :-) But if we are lugging around 2 potions of animal control it would be nice to know when we should be rolling the d20 on them Ö BOB?

The thing is Carissa, is that I thought you were going to be in late on Friday and so we would have to save Shi and Mara without you. Not the case?

4-8 BOB

1 - Griffons are monsters not animals. Animals are things in our real world, even if in extra large (or small) sizes. Things like Griffons or Hippogriffs are monsters. However that does not mean they are not affected as noted earlier here with the command spell. Those sorts of things cover creatures and so that includes animals, monsters, most everything that is low or animal intelligence. Then you get to the Humanoid and other complications along with the Undead.

In this current encounter to focus on yes any spell that affects creatures will work.

2 - Potion of animal control is random yes. Each potion is for a specific type of animal. You did Identify on the first one right? This is one of those mutlip level items, not sure if we did that on that one for you. I will allow that Branwyn would have done that over this much time and casts again to determine which type of animal is controled for each potion. No they will not be the same automatically just because you copied it using the bowl. If you made them with a receipe then yes they would be identical.

3 - Yes to TMO's comments about Strength and using the Hand.

4 - I am ruling that because neither of the hits was a full grapple that your arms and legs are free to use. That will limit some spells with a somatic component but you can easily use verbal. Material only if you have something super readily available like the holy symbol.

5 - The rest of the group does not get to make an immediate attack because it was a swooping attack. Basicly plunging down out of the sun to snatch and fly up. If either of them had missed their attack they would have been on the ground for a round of reaction before they could leave. Indigo has flown on griffon back before but is not here to tell you what that experience is like.

For Ryan and to remind others. This is a full story arc type adventure. Meaning yes the encounters are 'random' when they happen but I do have a plan for why they happen. Such as finding the badger that is guarding the outskirts of the gnome mining village. Random if you find him before stumbling into the village but not random that it is a placed there. Unlike so many of your recent traveling random encounters where you can come across just about anything in the swamps, etc.

4/8 Carissa

Well that is disappointing. I thought you could get griffon mounts, and since they're half of two real animals....oh well...

So yes to Lisa, I have no clue if I'll be late or not, but it's possible. Still plan as if I won't be there, but that said, since Shi is one in danger, I give you permission to play her if needed/necessary - even if it's just to cast something to soften her fall, please and thank you. You have a good grasp of spells and can decide if one is needed. I guess I can't ask for my original plan be played out since they aren't animals...

I'll try to at least be reachable from Discord, if nothing else, and if lucky, I'll be on, but again, I don't know. Sigh. It's bad enough being late, worse when your character is one of the ones in danger :P

4-08 BOB

You can get griffon mounts, the highest ranking order in Terraguard is the Royal Order of the Griffon. And Imari had a Hippogriff mount. More so than dragons.

Also Carissa cannot just give over control of her PC to another player. Sorry. If she can communicate things to me I can do them but it is always problematic.

4/9 Carissa

Well damn. I thought we did allow that. Okay then direct communication to BOB: please don't kill Shi. Thanks! :D

So now I have a question that gets into the nitty gritty of descriptions and spells to try to find a loophole for griffons (also egg snatching sounds harder and mounts expensive). When looking at her animals spells, some of them do give examples of animals or specifics. For example, Calm Animal works on "normal" animals, but also includes things like hellhounds and owlbears as being able to be calmed. Speak To Animals specifically says it works on "non-fantastical" animals. Animal Friendship does not specify beyond intelligence level. Hold Animal and Animal Summoning also have "fantastical animal" as a category (in which the first can be used on them but not the second). So does this category exist and would a griffon be a "fantastical animal" instead or would just an owlbear be in such a category?

There are, of course, other reasons Animal Friendship may not work (including bad die roll and/or because DM says so), but the lawyer in me would like some clarification, and maybe hope, please and thank you :)

Also so it's good to know with her other spells in the future (if she has one) since she often uses her animal spells when possible.

Edit: Although even if she could befriend it, she couldn't speak to it. Hmmm....
Edit 2: Partly why this came up is because I do know Locate Animal can be used (with a low low chance of it working) to find a unicorn so had to check into griffons :)

4/10 Lisa

I would love to hear other ideas! What I am worried about is how little time we have on this in-game. At the end of last week as the griffon grabbed Shi:

[Master] Griffon #3 moved 50'06".
When BOB says "Action!" this Friday, we don't have a lot of room for experimentation. If two PCs get away, the trip to Skull Church turns into wandering in the direction the griffons flew looking for them since we don't have the divination tools we had when Kenna was abducted. If we get around the griffon/animal thing, do we have enough characters with the spells to make an animal manipulation kind of a rescue work for both Mara and Shi?

I've been running this in the back of my head last Friday and unless someone comes up with something better, I'm still for getting the griffons to land with a command spell - 2 spells from 2 of the 3 priests we have that know Command. Then if John is able to log in, we have 3 serious fighters with around 17/18 STR that have a really good shot of grabbing Mara and Shi away from them. And then we have 2 mages that have spells that have a good shot of stopping them or at least slowing them down greatly so we can get away. It's a group effort and everyone would need to be on board. And it is something we could do to save Shi without Carissa having to blow off her family to save her character! :D

btw - I had no idea there was any way you could "calm" a hellhound. That would have saved a lot of trouble!

4-10-19 Michael

I do think that Command is a vastly underrated spell. I don't see it used that much, but every time I've used it it's worked. However, I do believe they are still entitled to magic saves, which makes it a little tricky. Not sure how many of us have Command. Also, I wanted to point out that we can use Nap to great effect depending on when it is needed, however, while I still need to get home and check the drawbacks of the spell, it does give refreshments on spells, which for this scenario is somewhat critical. The fact bob posted on the main page that this will be an important resource that will have to be managed, informs me that there will be little sympathy/leniency if we cast spells like they are going out of style. Can someone help me find the pack page for this particular trip? I can't find anything other then the general party pack page. So, in short, I think Command would be a good start Lisa. I'm still going to check through Neiths other spells, but short of blasting the Griffons out of the sky (which you know, wouldn't be conducive to the PC heath :) ), I'm not sure what else we can do.

- Michael

4/11 Lisa

Thanks for posting Michael! I was in Klooge over the weekend and it says that Command victims only get a save with 13 INT or higher so unless griffons are way smarter than Indigo they have to do as they are told. And yes, if we run out of spells we fight with weapons until we can get some sleep. Howard just learned a 10' ft radius invisibility spell so the casters can sleep huddled in an invisible mass to get a full night's sleep (as long as no one accidentally trips over them) while the fighters take the watches.

The Party Pack is here:

Everything we have at home is here:

4/10 Carissa

Two things:

  1. . Not sure how good his throw is, but Kel might be able to lasso (unless he's going to be possible air bag).
  2. . We could always try to tempt the griffons with something more delectable than boney elf and um, Mara (resisting bad joke...). Of course, I'd hate to sacrifice the very horse we just saved but.... possible back up if things go wrong and we need to try to lure one (or both) back to the group.

P.S. Yeah, wish I'd read that spell in more detail earlier! Too bad it doesn't sound like it's possible to speak to them (maybe probably) or we could get some answers... unless they speak an actual language. Hmm... keeping this in mind closer to when we end up in Hell...

4/10 Lisa

If we make it to the farmhouse, this is the info for the back way into the Skull Church cavern system. Hoffman and Ilero should know this and it will save us some time if we don't want to go in the front door.

Hoffman found a trap door in the Barn with a ladder down that opens into a long room with a set of pillars running down near each wall with no visible doors. We all try but it is Jennevive who finds a secret door.

4/13 John

It certainly seems like Carissa is in the right frame of mind considering. She can separate what her character wants from what she wants and has options to find the best mix for them both. But I also have a different perspective in that I have had a lot of characters I have loved to play. I love the idea of Carissa allowing her character to be brought back against her character's will and seeing how that might change her or her relationships. I could see Shi coming back but leaving the Mist for an extended period as long as we don't lose Carissa from the game. I think if Carissa really thought about being Beastmaster, we may never see Shi again. (A character that attracts animal companions that can increase in level) Let's hope that is only the next henchperson for Shi /Carissa. I just hope Carissa still finds the joy of the game.

As for my characters, I had sent Hoffman alone to the initial meeting while we straighten out the time line and finish with Miranda and Foto. As we are unexpectedly back, I would like to make sure where Foto is, if he is no longer a Brother and have him join us on the next trip to Head Stone Manner (I want to change the name from Skull church eventually). I also want to say there is plenty of room at Traveler's Way

4/13 Carissa

I gave it a day, I read through the chats, and I will be completely honest: I am still beyond livid about what happened on Friday.

Absolutely none of that was okay. None of it. A decision that kills off someone's character should never be made without their input. Shi's death was not an accident. If a griffon ate her, that's fine, it's how that goes, but to use a spell you knew would kill her without me having absolutely any voice in it at all is not okay by any means. Nor do I appreciate how casually it was handle once she was dead as if it wasn't a big deal, that there was no reason to feel sorry for what happened. That was incredibly disrespectful. To be honest, reading the chat today only rekindled my anger.

Yes, I had obligations, but I was doing my best to be present, and by the actions Shi took, at my word, you knew I was present to a degree. It would have taken at most five minutes to have someone run that plan by me and for me to have a chance to respond. No one should ever assume a character wants to return. No one should be surprised that Shi doesn't want to return. Shi has brought that up multiple times for a reason which seems like it was a waste of time now. And if she does return? My character and I will be in agreement that her death was a murder. It does not matter if it was in good faith or not. She was murdered, and it could have been prevented.

There were plenty of hints that the griffon wasn't going to immediately eat her. Shi was not a helpless damsel in distress. I was prepared for the possibility of her disappearing if someone had just taken the time to ask my opinion and plan. There are always more options beyond killing a character, and if you are to kill them, you do not make that decision for the player no more than you make the decision to bring them back without that player's input.

I do not know what my plans are for Shi or for myself at this moment. I am angry, and I have every right to feel how I want about what happened. I cannot brush this aside and pretend that everything is okay, and that I will simply get over this without at minimal some discourse because this cannot happen again, and this cannot be something to pretend is okay.

For now, I'm going to post this, and then try to put it out of my mind for the next few days. I want to enjoy the rest of my visit with my family without this hanging over me. Maybe eventually the anger will dim enough for me to grieve Shi's death, but that is not happening anytime soon.

4/13 TMO

I've done a little bit of reading the chat log, and found something that may be informative. Or maybe not. When we were trying to come up with a way to stop the griffon, a lightning bolt was mentioned, which does {Level}d8 (erroneously called 6d8 in the chat, when Neith is now level 7). The average damage for 6d8 is 27, while Shi had 29 hp remaining (X-50= -21, X=29). The average damage for even 7d8 is 31.5. Shi would have been at -3hp, easily savable (not counting any fall damage).

However, the actual Priest spell isn't Lightning Bolt, it's Call Lightning, which does 2d8+{Level}d8 damage, or 9d8. Not 6d8, which everyone thought we were casting, with a max damage of 48, but half-again as much, with a max of 72. The average damage for 9d8 is 40.5, which is more than 10 over her hp total. Michael actually rolled a goodly amount over average damage, because the dice hated us last night. Seriously, only one roll the entire night actually went in our favor: the one Command spell Mara was able to make stick against her griffon. No, I take it back, two rolls: the griffon failed it's save vs the lightning too. The worst case scenario would have had Shi die, and the griffon live, flying away with her body. (As an additional note, the 50 damage done is more than is even possible from 6d8 - that was what tipped me off to this whole thing in the first place)

Shi and the griffon both had similar save chances (12 and 13), so 60% chance to save and take half damage. Half damage I believe would have forced the griffon to land, and both would have survived even half damage of 9d8. Was it a gamble? Yes. Did we realize just how big of a gamble it was? No. Would we still have done it if we had known? I don't know the answer to that. I believe I was thinking using the Rod was no big deal at the time, as a player. I supported Michael's casting, based on our options at the time. There was no way I could see of us being able to track or find her once the griffon was out of sight. If we had had the option, we might have tried it when the green dragon took Kenna.

Does this fix anything about the situation? I doubt it. We made an error in judgment. I was part of that call, feeling it was the best option we had at the time. It was wrong, but it was the decision we went with. Michael asked multiple times if we were sure about it, and we chose to go with it.

4/15 Lisa

So many things went wrong on Friday, I barely know where to begin. Carissa, I would in no way try to discount your right to be angry about this. I understand and I am sorry that this happened. It is really easy to look backwards and think more clearly of what should have been done than it was to be there at the time. I donít think anyone actively thought of killing Shi as the solution. I believed we thought we were going to lose her with our other available options and we needed to try anything we could to prevent that. And the Rod of Resurrection was the failsafe in case again we failed. Thatís why we were talking about it. We didnít want to try that risky of a maneuver if we didnít have a way to ďfixĒ it.

Every single dice roll went against us the first time. Until the lightning spell, every roll for Shiís griffon failed. Kelís hits were doing minimal damage and the griffon was about to gain even more yardage, reducing Kelís chances of hitting and making it more difficult for any other character to be in range to do anything or for us to catch up.

My head at the time was basically in the same place as TMOís. I trusted that when the spell was cast that we were looking at a 6d8 roll with a save. It wasnít assured destruction of your character. Conversely, I thought, if the griffon drops a PC, you get around 10d6 damage with no save and depending on when it did it, no chance to cast to counteract it that round. Yes, we knew there was a possibility that it wouldnít work, but we didnít know the exact roll until it was cast, and no one in game (Mario, Ryan, TMO, John, or me) told Michael to stop or to contact you, so this was an everyone problem.

If any of our rolls had been working, there is no way we would have tried anything like what we did. I can only speak for myself, but I was thinking that the griffon was moving too fast and too far for any of us to be able to save Shi at that point. Mara could keep casting Command, but Neith was out of range after the first failed.

My biggest fear during that combat was that at the end of it all, we would have to tell you that we failed and the only recourse was a trip to look for Shiís body. If we could avoid that Ė even if worst case that it meant bringing Shi back with a resurrection, I thought it would have been better than watching helplessly as the griffon took her away.

If you had information that the griffon had plans other than killing the PCs, I really, really wish you would have posted that during the week that we were planning. Because I, for one, did not see any indication from what we knew that there was anything other than death awaiting.

The only place I have seen trained griffons was in Terraguard. The monster manual entry Ė which I read before hand Ė said that griffons basically cannot be trained unless done so from an early age and is quite the intensive process. To my mind, the odds of this suddenly happening here was low. They want to eat horses and ours were attached to the wagon so they picked up a person each. This was how I saw it, and that Shi and Mara were lunch.

I think we thought we were doing the best we could do at that moment given everything that had gone wrong up to that point. I agree with you that we were wrong not to have contacted you and that not one person in game that night thought of it or said anything. In hindsight, of course I wish I would have spoken up against using the spell Ė or at least stopped combat and taken the time to look up the spell myself and made a judgment on it. In hindsight, I wish more players would have said something either yes or no rather than remaining silent. I wish for a lot of things. But right now at this moment, I can only say that I am very sorry that it happened the way it did regardless of our intentions.

I completely agree with you Carissa, that I donít want this to happen again. You are so angry and that is what I am worried about the most. I do think I can speak for everyone in that we all do love you and love having you play with us every Friday night. Your humor, creativity and kindness are truly a much needed and appreciated bright spot that you bring each week. I donít want to lose you over this mistake that we made in a combat session and really hope we can work through this.

For the near and distant future Ė

I know we canít replay the combat. I mentioned to Bob, though, if it would be agreeable to everyone and would fix this with Carissa, that we take the spell back. The spell doesnít happen and the griffon flies away. Shi would be on her own, the group would be pulling itself together since we were still in process of saving Mara at the same time and we could go from there. I donít know if that would save Shi, but if it would alleviate some anger, I am good with it as a one time Ė never to replay any session events ever again sort of thing.

I didnít like the responsibility for your character without you being in. I didnít like hearing that Bob was texting you and we were sitting around waiting to see if you got the message, if you were in a position to respond, how long should we wait, etc. Iím not sure what the solution is, but half in, half out didnít seem to be working since I doubt you were getting all the details to make decisions either. I was posting brush strokes on Discord after the things happened because I was being present in Klooge in combat and didnít want to not be aware of what was happening on the map and in the present. So Discord comments were brief after facts and not planning sessions. I also doubt you could get the full picture from a text message. So I donít know if this is a good idea for future times.

So Ö then I went to look and see if my assumptions were crazy. I already talked about the monster manual so no, I donít think I was crazy thinking Shi and Mara were bird food.

How about range? Mage spells and most of Neithís spells were out of range as soon as the griffon left the first time. Griffon goes 300 ft/round and what ever altitude adjustments it adds to the mix. Kel was the only PC with a ranged weapon and could only run as far as he could and still get his two shots in. Kel pulled out his short bow and the website shows this as the range and penalties. I didnít have these specific numbers in my head, but I do know you canít just shoot arrows at any distance without penalties. The aiming bonus cancels the called shot penalty, but distance rules still apply. At the end of Kelís last turn, the griffon still needed to take over 20 hp of damage to get to 50% and had not taken its next flight move yet.

Weapon Short bow \\ Minimum 10 ft
Short 150
Medium (-2) 300
Long (-5) 450
Extreme (-10) 600

Spells? Yes, I was crazy and here I am going to go on one of my familiar and annoying rants. If anyone is going to play a caster, you HAVE to know your spells. If people donít want the work it takes to do that, then play a fighter. Please. Carissa, you just DMíd and found out how much you have to juggle to keep the game going. For everyone who has not DMíd before, Bob is counting on us to know our spells and answer questions if he asks, but he is not looking all our spells up every time we cast one. And I shouldnít have to look up priest spells! For last Friday.

First Ė Bob already ruled on the site that griffons werenít animals. He wasnít going to let animal spells or potions work so casting an animal spell was a completely wasted turn on a crucial round.

Second Ė There was confusion on the name and dice roll of the lightning spell that was up for discussion. The numbers we thought we were dealing with and the numbers we got after casting were very different. AND Ė if I would have taken the time to look the spell up, I would have fought that the spell could even be cast in the first place. Having clouds in the sky is NOT good enough to cast this spell.

''When a call lightning spell is cast, there must be a storm of some sort in the area--a rain shower, clouds and wind, hot and cloudy conditions, or even a tornado (including a whirlwind formed by a djinn or air elemental of 7 Hit Dice or more).

Because it requires a storm overhead, this spell can only be used outdoors. It does not function underground or under water.

I know when times are desperate, bending the rules of magic is tempting. How much can we get away with? But guys - we canít be doing this stuff!! I know it takes time. And I know we all have things we have to do outside of D&D. I do too. But because I run casters, I did take 20 minutes to log in to Klooge last week and make sure I knew my new spells. I went through the Party Pack again, etc. I did even look at some priest spells Ė but I canít memorize all the spells.

Casters have to take responsibility for their spells. Everyone has questions, but everyone should be asking from a basis of knowledge of your spell. Which is why we had the animal questions on the site last week. Which is why I asked if I could cast glitterdust in the air. I knew the range, duration and effect. I just needed to know if I could use altitude. Yes or no and then decide. Sorry for the caster rant, but things like the 2 mistakes above could have made a big difference and might have saved a lot of hurt feelings from last week.

4/15 TMO

I have a suggestion for future sessions - We don't normally end sessions with cliffhangers like we did this last time. And we knew in advance that Carissa was going to be late. In hindsight, I think probably what we should have done was cut to another group or sub-group of characters until she had a chance to join us. If someone just doesn't show up we can't really abort everything last second with no time for Bob to plan, but we had fair warning in this case.

4-15 BOB

Two take aways for me from this first part of the conversation. Yes to going back to total isolation when a player is not logged in. They are One Round Behind and are not availble for anything. No healing, advice, etc. Also yes to TMO's comment on cliffhangers. There was the opportunity to do other roleplay back at the Manor. I did not do that this time because it would have excluded Ryan from play because Carissa was not in. That can be remedied in the near future by having someone in that situation play someone from Ilero's Guild for that interaction.

This is only the second character death when the player was not available in the 25+ years. Both times it was an area of effect spell that did tremendous damage that there was no logical way to exclude the character in question. As an aside anytime a character/creature takes 50 or more points of damage from an attack there is a saving throw versus death for potentially dying of massive damage even if the damage total is not enough to kill the character. So no matter who the griffon was carrying away there was a definate chance at death.

4/15 John

I am not sure if changes are still available. My thought was to change as little as possible due to the misunderstanding, and it was as the proposed action was not accurate. I would not change what was done as it were up too many issues going forward but with the one round behind, I was the previous week, I would just switch places my character with hers. And I am not saying this just becaus e he might survive, there would have been more damage from the fall and a save vs. death with for the amount of damage. Hoffman dying keeps the story heavily the same and keeps the one round behind in tact

4/15 Carissa

Thank you all for your thoughts so far. I return to NY late tomorrow (Stupid fever. Maybe not returning until Thursday). I'm reading these and ruminating on them, but I will wait on a proper response until that time. Please keep adding anything else in the meantime. It does help.

(Well damn if I end up staying home sick I might reply sooner. This sucks).

4/16 Lisa

Oh no, Carissa! Hope you get better soon!

After I posted yesterday I realized that I forgot to say something. I didnít post last week in chat or Discord all the thoughts that were in my head and so when I looked at the chat again, it did indeed look like I wasnít concerned about Shiís death or your feelings. And that was disrespectful of me. Iím not going to try to make excuses. I wasn't thinking and that was dumb. I am sorry and I will work on being more mindful.

4/16 Mario

I have thought a while on what happened on Friday, and reading all the posts. There is a lot I agree with, and those items have been addressed: TMO and Bob with playing a scene when one of the main PCs in the scene didn't have the player present; Lisa's "Know Your Spells" rant ( :0D ); no need to reassert why I agree with these.

I do strongly disagree with the statement that we all share culpability for the singular action of one PC. If we tell someone how to play their character, or what action that PC should take, then who is really playing? Just because no one responded to Michael's question of whether to cast that spell or not does not justify its casting, knowing fully what the repercussions are. I purposely declined to respond. I do not run that character. In game terms, Kel would not have had a chance to respond to Neith's question. We all play on Friday for our own reasons. I play for the escape, the fantasy, and the adventure that my characters are part of. Knowing the actions of my PCs influence the outcome is most of the fun. But I, ME, am deciding what that input is. Sometimes it's right, and sometimes it's not. But if I ask others what my every move should be, well, that wouldn't be ME playing. We are each ultimately in control of our own character's actions.

I will be the first to address what is truly the source of my anger about Friday. This may or may not be how you all feel, and that's totally cool with me. Choose to agree or not, your call. This is not a rally cry, simply my opinion and feelings. If this makes me the bad guy, then ĎChe sera seraí:

Michael's attitude about the entire situation is deplorable. First you kill off a PC with a spell you knew fully well could, or would, potentially kill the character; then be totally flippant about the whole situation; then claim no one stopped you, so itís ok; then be super mad that you donít have the immediate answer as to whether to resuscitate them; then be angry that the player doesnít want to log in. Are you serious??

[Neith of Inholt (mharm-15549)] Normally I would be upset, but I asked multiple times and felt we had options. So. I don't even feel bad this time. Sorry guys. If she's perma dead, well, I'll live with it, ...
[Neith of Inholt (mharm-15549)] (I think for future if this is going to be the norm for character deaths, everyone should put up a dman do not resuscitate on the website. Just read the discord. What the hell.
[Neith of Inholt (mharm-15549)] I'm actually kind of pi9ssed right now and it does take a bit to get me there
[Neith of Inholt (mharm-15549)] Is she seriously not going to pop in? And in all honesty if this is truly whatís the deal with characters and death? Yeah. You need to have a DNR on the website. Thatís my requirement for now on
[Neith of Inholt (mharm-15549)] Che sera sera

I sincerely look forward to playing every Friday, the camaraderie we share, adding to this fantasy world, and of course advancing both my PCs. I do consider it a privilege to be allowed to be part of this fantastic group. I look forward to many more enjoyable evenings with you all. That is all.

04/16/2019 - Michael

Sigh, First off, it was no ones fault but mine. Yes, I knew there was a chance that there would be a shit ton of damage and that really upset me that it fully killed Shi. I accept full responsibility for my (neith's actions). I thought there was a pretty damn solid chance it would be alright because to be honest I thought it would work out.

So let's have it plain and simple. Carissa, I don't have your phone number or I would have just called, but I sincerely and heartfully apologize for casting that spell. Worse, I was so angry when it actually DID kill Shi, that I responded in that way.

So. I sincerely apologize. That was crude and rude of me, and trust me, I feel more guilty and like shit then you could possibly imagine.

For a disclaimer now:

I also need to be honest with everyone here. Please note, I accept full responsiblity for my actions but It is incredibly important that this is known. I am not trying to plead for understanding etc etc.

I need people to help me. From the very beginning, my characters have not wanted a single managerial task when Branyn could give them direction because that is not how my players have ever played. Again, I am not asking for sympathy, I need you to know where I am coming from and how that affects my play. And, I ask you to consider my situation as I will always consider yours. I know that everyone's situtation is different, but I need to you understand that for the last three and a half years I have worked two full time jobs in addition to full time school. I have dedicated every single Friday evening I possibly can to be at the game because lets be honest the more the merrier right? Its fun and I enjoyed making friends. That seems to have now slipped my grasp and It appears I've rightfully lost a couple. I want you all to know that quite frankly, I don't read the chats because I don't have time. If there was someone who made it very well known that they wanted a DRN? I'm the first to say i'm usually so tired I don't remember stuff like that. I also simply don't have the energy anymore to roleplay stuff like this when Bob is having to role saves for players.

Carissa, I truly apologize. Had I known you were on the Discord I would have asked right that second.

But, this last Friday has clearly shown that quite frankly I don't have the time to properly "play the game" anymore and results in messes so large that they don't affect my characters alone. Quite frankly I don't want anything more doing that kind of damage. I like you guys too much for people to begin saying my behavior is deplorable or that I should have consulted with them. Because yes. It was, and I should have. So i'm done with that.

If you'll kindly allow me to keep up with you guys on the site and on the Discord I'd love to do that. But, this isn't properly playing the game anymore, and I no longer have the proper amount of energy or time to give the game what it and all of you deserve.

For one final time of this little post, Carissa I am sorry. I hope that the next time everyone else will always double check if there is ever a question on such a momentous decision.

  • Post Script, Bob, let Carissa kill of Neith in some sort of fun way. That'll make the story more interesting and probably help make things right for Shi and all that. It's fair enough I suppose.
    • Post Script...Uh. Script - Also Carissa, I know you don't want Shi back, but Bob is always Neutral Neutral. You can always come back. Remember, this is a game and what your character feels may not always be what you feel. Shi is a great asset to the Dragonslayers and I have no doubt whatsoever that they will literally go to hell and back to rip your soul back from the Underworld along with all your relatives from the Underworld too if that's what it takes so that they can have you back. It's a Game. Role Play it out, It will always work out no matter what happens. With your storytelling capabilities surely everyone can make this something truly epic for cyring out loud. It Will Work Out. I promise. Bob has never fully screwed us over before and I doubt he'll start now.

4/16: TMO

Nope. Nuh-uh. Not allowed.

Either of you, both of you: quit only if you're not enjoying the game anymore, or you positively do not have the time on a regular basis. I refuse to accept any other reasons for leaving. A temporary break is barely acceptable. Permanent is not. Both of you, from everything I can tell, are very much enjoying yourselves, and this incident might be very upsetting and frustrating, but it should not be the last memory you have of this campaign.

If you wish to take a temporary leave of absence, you can file the paperwork stating what date you will return on. No more than 3 weeks will be approved.

4/16 Mario

Michael - I do apologize for using the word 'deplorable' to describe your attitude. That word was not used to describe you as a person. it was used towards this particular incident, and not you as a whole. In rerospect, I should have chosen another word. I sincerely apologize.

None of my diatribe was meant to get you to quit. I certainly do not want that. I was expressing my opinion. We all contribute to the game and website what we can, no one is expected to contribute more that they want or or are able to. Some create cities and personas, while others just want to roll the dice. Neither is right or wrong. Just different.

I certainly hope you reconsider your decision, as I know I would miss you.

4/16 Carissa

Michael, I will be completely honest here: while there were many compounding issues (which were addressed and I will respond to in a minute), I have realized this really and truly was the crux of my anger. Again, I was prepared for Shi to die by other means. I was not prepared for her to be killed by someone else or for it to be handled in such a manner. That said, don't discount how much acknowledging this directly and apologizing for it does mean to me. I've realize it was what I was waiting to hear (read), and I appreciate and accept the apology.

All of this discussion has been therapeutic and helpful, truly. We all play this game differently, and that's okay, but we do need to remain aware of others' play style, how our actions might affect theirs, and how we don't all approach the game in the same manner. As Lisa mentioned earlier, the Rod of Resurrection was viewed as a failsafe. That has not been my view, and I don't think we should ever plan with the thought of death being an option simply because we have a means to resurrect, but until now, when has this been something we realized needed to be discussed?

I do agree with the earlier rant about knowing our spells. We really do need to be fully aware of what they are and what possible repercussions for using them are. This is our job to know them, not someone else. If you are uncertain, it's better to not use them at all. I can only speak for myself, but if you didn't know you had a spell or didn't use it because you didn't know what it would do, I'm not going to be upset by that, but if, like here, it was used without fully understanding it, well, we see what came of that.

In regards to my spell choices at the time, as I hadn't heard a response on the possible loophole mentioned earlier, and it was implied there was only one way to find out, I did use an animal spell. If I had been in the game, seen how bad things were going, would I have wasted a spell on simple curiosity? Probably not. I was torn between that and a wind spell to cushion her fall, but this is also looking in hindsight so who knows? It was also incredibly difficult to make well thought out decisions at the time as I was preoccupied with real life interactions and without fully knowing what was going on. So no, half in, half out very much did not work out. I think we're all in agreement of not doing that again and simply not involving that player's character if it happens again.

And yes, I do wish I'd had taken two minutes to post ideas for if the griffon managed to take Shi away, but it wasn't until Friday morning I realized we hadn't addressed it. There was Fete. There were Animal Summoning Spells. There were options, but there was no way for you all to know them, and it isn't your job to keep track of my character and her spells (as mentioned earlier).

So here are my thoughts so far on where to go from here: while Lisa's offer and John's offer are tempting, I don't know if I could, in good conscious, accept them (or if they're actually viable). Our actions do have consequences, and I'm leaning towards needing to accept the unfortunate results of this fact of life (although, seriously, John's offer is so very tempting if it was something that was possible since he was at least present).

I am not against Shi returning, but I really do try hard to separate myself from my character. I really do mean it when I say you need to convince her, not me, that you want her to return. I also do mean it that I am up for the option of having her brought back against her will. I've planned for her possible death once I really got her personality better sorted out. That's why I suggested Jennevive as an acceptable out, provided Jennevive was willing to be an out. It could be a really, really interesting and potentially fun dynamic and conflict to work through.

Just to consider: you have an elf who has always been wary about humans, who was just killed by a human she considered a friend. If she comes back, and you then convince her to stay, will there be contention, especially with Neith? Absolutely. That does not mean you can't win her back over, but it will take time, patience, and good faith (and you have Thistle, a human, to try to get through to Shi that humans aren't bad, but that they also aren't perfect and definitely make mistakes - seriously, play up the elves are better than human angle and humans are just sad and need guidance; she really is a very prideful elf) . No, she will not want to kill Neith, but she will want distance and time to reflect.

If you all convince her to come back, and then convince her to stay, just know she will have no plans to return to help with Skull Church. I'm not sure yet if she'll just meditate at her brand new shrine, or if she'll go back home (and to the sunshine) for a while. Her not being present for the story arc is a minor thing in comparison to everything else, but do plan for it.

So after all this long, lovely reading, I have one favor to ask you Michael: be there on Friday, and please do help convince Shi to return. Have Neith ready to plead her case, make Shi listen, prepare and accept that there will be some aftermath and conflict, but be there.

Besides the fact that I can feel TMO's glare through the computer screen (and seriously, the paperwork he's requiring is absolutely ridiculous), I do agree that this shouldn't be a last memory of this campaign. We can work through this. Look how far we've already come. I cannot make any decision for you on if you should take a break or not, especially as that thought has gone through my head, too, but at least be there on Friday. After that, take time to think about what this game really means to you, and if you really are willing to walk away from something you enjoy. It's more or less what I was told to do earlier this week. It's a decision that should be made with a cleared head, not an emotional one. I'm still working through it, too, so I do understand, but make sure you really and truly think it through.

Edit: As for reaching Shi? Thistle is a gypsy. She can do blood magic fortune telling. Can she also talk to the dead? I don't know, but just something else for consideration. Also thanks to John for lodging the thought of beastmaster in my head. I didn't know that was a thing. Hmm...

In other news, that stupid cold I had two weeks ago? It became a sinus infection and bronchitis. And this, kids, is why you should see the doctor when you aren't getting better. The doctor does think I'll be able to fly on Thursday so this shouldn't impact my plans to be on for Friday. (Edit: but that said, I am on some pretty heavy meds so, uh, what we can do early, let's do because I don't know how I'll be later in the night provided I don't have to call it a night early for any number of reasons).

4/17 Lisa

Michael Ė

Thanks for posting, and I agree with everyone above that we donít want you to leave as much as we donít want Carissa to either. Please, please come in on Friday so we can all regroup.

I knew you had a busy schedule, but you really do have quite a ton on your plate right now! Thatís more than I think I could possibly keep up with! Iím sorry I have not been helping more. I do get tentative with that, because I do want you to have the fun of making choices and owning the characters. I found a great website that has all the 2nd ed. priest spells on it, so if you need me to look up parameters (itís bad with tables though), I can do that if you ask. You can make the choices and we can make sure of the parameters/components, etc. I have all 4 mage books in a folder too for that matter. I donít mind looking things up, itís just I need to know when I need to.

Or Ö maybe Hugh is the best character to run on field trips right now until your schedule lightens a bit and you can put some time into Neith. Casters are really hard to run if you want to do more with them than the same 3 spells all the time! They just are. Neith can be running the church at home and working and roleplaying the ordeals of running Dragon Fen and raising a dagger wielding child. Iíll tell you as much as I love running Branwyn, the simplicity of just being Indigo sometimes brings me as much fun and is a relief at times.

There are all sorts of possibilities. You just need to come in as usual on Friday!

Carissa Ė

Thanks for posting too. Glad you are starting to feel better and will be able to get home to your kittens soon! Iím sure they miss you.

You know me Ė as soon as something happens I already have plans in my head. (Yes John, Lisa plans. She just doesnít think too long about them.) I looked up the Speak with Dead spell (because I was looking up spells this week Ė surprise?) A 7th lvl priest can only ask 3 questions and the time with the dead only lasts 3 rds. So not a whole lot of time for chit chat with the deceased. Jennevive could ask 4 questions and the spell would last a turn (10 rds?).

So the question going through my head is Ė if we ask Shi and she says no and we bring her back anyway Ė is that worse than just bringing her back? We get to hear - I just told you ďnoĒ 2 minutes ago and now look at me!!! Iím alive!


Do we not ask and just do it? If we go that route, I would offer that we have Branwyn and Jennevive do it. Not Kel since the two of them already had a big conversation about it and I donít want to hurt that relationship if at all possible. As much as Shiís death was a blow, I donít want to add a major problem in the Shi/Kel love story on top of it. The anger can head in our direction and we can take it. I already have Branwyn conversations running through my head on this. If things get really bad, Branwyn can put Shi in a healing dream that will give her almost 2 days worth of the best sleep of her life with the most pleasant, happy dreams you can imagine.

I was also thinking like you were, maybe not having Shi go back to Skull Church right away and communing with the wolves, Thistle and Ancien. TMO has his guild guys all suited up and there would be characters to play. Or you could take Johan. All sorts of possibilities.

Those were just the things running through my head the last few days. We will work with this however you want. I just wanted to toss some more stuff out there for consideration.

4-17 TMO

I believe, and BOB will correct me if I'm wrong, that there's actually a very simple answer to the "Do we ask Shi if she wants to come back" question - we can't ask her within the Mist. I'm not positive, but I think the discussion about Shi not wanting to be brought back was between Kel and Shi in Elven, so if the rest of the party is ignorant of her wishes, they could just bring her back on the assumption that's what they wanted, before Kel has a chance to enlighten them. Just like with Ilero. ;)

Then all the recriminations and apologies and arguments could happen about how could they do this to her and so on and so forth. ;)

4/17 Carissa

Yeahhh, definitely try to plan around Kel and his reactions to, er, all of it.

So the conversation you're thinking of TMO: Main.20181026c

Half of it, sadly, wasn't in Elven, but her telling Kel to burn her body and go if he didn't know if she'd reached Aravaith was in Elven. To that token, there is definite plausible deniability. She hasn't been dead long. Kel wasn't dead long. They have every reason to believe she's not to Aravaith yet. To add to that, long ago she had that conversation with Indigo about the importance of her body returning home before her soul could rest (and if he should try to retrieve it if a giant gar ate her; forget which leg of the knarr trips it was on). Would she think they should still ask? Of course, but silly humans think they know better (with every right to from what information she has given them before).

Yes, Speak to Dead is a very limited spell, and the questions are yes and no. I think BOB's remark about gypsies speaking to dead was referring to the Seewick seance where there is more flexibility with questions, but again, not sure if that is available and/or how soon.

Bringing her back after asking her would make her mad (if you don't and/or can't convince her). Bringing her back without asking her would make her mad AND completely confuse her because then she'll have to figure out why (and eventually accept that it wasn't intentional for her to die, and they do care about her).

I did realize that Thistle can be a useful pest to at least keep Shi in Dragon Fen until her training is done. I forgot about Ancien. She will definitely need to do some communing with him, too.

A note for the sleep spell: Elves have 90% immunity to sleep and charm. I don't know if that spell is an exception. Just to keep in mind.

Aside from that, these are good plans (you plan, Lisa???), especially if you're prepared for the reaction/conversations.

As for your ideas for Michael, I also agree it's a valid thought that, maybe for now, sticking with just Hugh isn't a bad idea. Or, if you want to keep playing Neith, maybe just stick with only healing/support spells like Mara. And yes, still asking you be there on Friday for us to regroup :)

4/19 Spring


A few things.

I strongly suspect I am the least involved player in the group. Right or wrong, I don't devote much time beyond the Friday nights themselves. And I am immensely grateful to be accepted anyway. So, at a thumbnail sketch, as a matter of personal opinion only, "I'm not involved enough" is only viable if you attend less than 30-some-odd percent of sessions and otherwise don't participate at all. That was my level year before last, and it seemed to be fine.

The other characters not realizing Shi wouldn't want to be resurrected looks doable to me. Trying without asking might work.

I do think drastic actions require some slowing down in realtime. Sometimes I feel hasty when we are in combat, and there's really no reason for it. Player time is not on the line. We can take the time. Sometimes I feel this sense of urgency that's only in my head, and I suspect I'm not the only one.

And I did say in chat that it's way cool to cut to a different scene if a key character is missing their player.

That's all I've got to say about that.

4/20 Carissa

I figure it's better to post this now than to wait. There were two final thoughts regarding all this that I came away with from last night:

  1. You all are right in that I do still enjoy playing this game, and I am not ready yet to take a break BUT
  2. I do need to take a break from the creation portion of this game.

I enjoy playing as much as I enjoy creating. The playing part is easier to address, and I'm still here because we did address it, but the creation portion? I don't know how to fix that part. Maybe it's just become less enjoyable or maybe it feels less appreciated or maybe I just lack desire or maybe I just lack inspiration or maybe all of it and more or none of it and something else.

After typing that I'd write the Thistle/Shi interaction later, I realized I wasn't excited to do it. Honestly, I'm going to put that off until I look forward to writing it. Maybe that'll be a few days. Maybe that'll be a few weeks. I'm also not wanting to write summaries or make playlists or any of that stuff. So for now, please don't expect any of that from me. I have other projects outside this game to direct my creative energies to right now. I'm not asking anyone to step up to the plate and do them in the meantime. I'm only saying that I will not be do them for an indeterminate amount of time.

4/20 Lisa

So glad to hear your first point!

And I totally understand your second. There are probably many different factors that you mentioned contributing to your decision and not just one of them. For the appreciation part, there are times I feel all the extras I do are completely unappreciated - and then I have to remind myself that they aren't. But sometimes I need to hear someone say it. So here is your dose from me quite sincerely. I absolutely love your summaries and roleplay and all the extra things you have brought to our game in what is really a very short time of playing (relatively speaking). I know doing all the writing and research and the thinking, pondering and planning takes time from other real life things. I very much appreciate everything to do to make our game more special and what it takes to make those things happen. While you are on sabbatical please don't think that I don't.

When and if you decide to take up writing again, it would make me very happy. None of this is mandatory by any means and I hope you don't feel any pressure to do it. I'm glad that you will be in on Fridays and, like the badger, you just do you!

Yes please Carissa (and Lisa too for all her hard work) this is supposed to be fun. Never homework have to do dread it the next day.

IF we get summaries and music lists and cleaned up chat that is great. It is not required, we went decades without it. I used to do a summary once a story arc, these have been a wonderful new tradition but they can go away too.

OR others can pick up and show their flair. Mario has done great summaries, I know TMO has it in him too. I wonder if TMO can automate the cleaning of chat more? John can do music easily enough, Ryan is good with quotes, it would be interesting to see his summaries. As Spring mentioned above no one needs to spend time on Fridays with us so when people choose to that is enough for me.

Hoping that everyone enjoys the stories. The darker episodes like this make the triumphs that much better.

Hey all, hopefully Bob let you know I was at work. Good news, in 32 hours we got all the migration stuff moved for 36 departments! That being said Still need to read chat logs. Have no idea what you guys did, but I have full access to computer again (not company owned :) ) so will post my initial thoughts and plans that I originally gave to bob. Again, I'm very tired so am going to go back to bed and will read stuff as soon as I get up. If any of this is now irrelevant I guess ignore? And, i'll try to figure it out later.

This was original email sent to bob. I've removed the back and forth because there was a lot of it. Some stuff bob said he could work with and others not so much.

Simplified Plan of Action:

Alright, so since I canít speak to you right now, this is the best I can do. We are migrating systems definitely tonight and I have no idea if Iíll still be up for joining back in next week. Honest Bob, last Friday has hung over me like a dark cloud this week and it sure as hell ainít worth bleeding over into my actual life. But, weíll talk later.

So. The Question: How do we bring Shi back?

Well. Carissa has stated that Jenneveive as an ďoutĒ would be acceptable or would be willing to roleplay being brought back against her will. Furthermore, we donít actually know regarding the state of the mist whether or not sheís even made it back to elf-land. Sorry am on break and am not looking up names right now so Elf-Land will have to do for now.

However, no one seems to consider how Neith would feel about doing something so catastrophic. Or, that the dumb humans might be misguided.

Furthermore, as a religious person (Priest) she might feel compelled to maintain balance for what she might see as a wrong done by her and fix it at any cost.

So, my argument is this.

I say, that when everyone else is distracted, Neith at least attempts to use the Rod on Shi, leave a note (that I still need to write up, but something along the lines of ďI Know youíll hate meÖ. ButÖ.Ē) Then, I want her to explain her plans to Hugh (have those, just donít have the time to write them right this second) take their child and leave quietly and expediently to her parent's estate. Mercy stays though! This is because of Bran's kid. They are friends and although Nieth and their other kid is leaving they will be visiting often. She is leaving the mists for her own goals (which I also have in mind) Hugh will retain Mercy and stay within the Mists (In case I do decide to eventually come back). Then when Hugh wants to visit, Neith has a spell to dimension door so that they can quickly move back and forth to an area just outside the mist back to her estate.

Obviously, there might be holes in this because Iím not ruling checking but this is one of the few ways I can see this working out for everyoneís benefit. Carissa gets a beloved character back, and I donít have to deal with this stress anymore.

There was one action I really really really wanted to do, but everyone would be more upset. Originally in this little drama, in the process of hightailing it out of Branwynís estate, I was going to have Neith SMASH the damn rod. Relying on that damn thing might be one of the reasons this was so blasť to me and I think itís a poor substitute for simply being more careful about life and death in the game.

I then thought about Lisa and everyone flying to Phoenix to strangle me in my sleep, so I thought about Hiding the rod at her parentís estate. Still available in the direst of circumstances, yet not easily available for people like me, who accept it and might be willing to abuse it. Everyone might suspect Hugh knows how to obtain it, but he won't say unless there is no other choice. So I would consider this a canonical action.

Frankly, I like the second situation better and would have no qualms about doing it. The explanation of why she did both actions would be in Shiís letter. (Again, I know what I want, but still, have to write it and I have like 5 more minutes to get this emailed to you)

On her way out she will also be taking two of the gems that Illero is currently holding for an appraisal from the attacking tree. (I think this was the tree where two characters including Neith lightning struck ironically enough) If that is the correct tree, Neith is taking that as her due for taking down that enemy. She will also be taking 100 GP with her. (She plans to pay it back, itís for safe passage and for enacting her own plans that again I STILL NEED TO FIND TIME TO WRITE DOWN!!!!) Hugh will also guarantee the money however if necessary. Neith will leave a letter for Bran as well.

So, this is the plan that Iíve literally spent a whole week thinking about and you probably will find tons of holes in and shut down. Well, if thatís the case, I tried. Feel free to post whatever of this you want on the site, but I didnít feel comfortable posting on the site right now and I donít know if I will again.

I would prefer to enact this plan tonight, but again I won't be here. I will try because it was my mistake, but Iím also not going to let SRPís systems shut down because I want to fix a mistake I made in-game no matter how guilty and shit I feel like right now.

Sigh. End of plan. Again, sorry for how barebones this is right now. Iíll try and flesh it out more properly Saturday or Sunday morning if it succeeds but if not, then I won't bother.

4-21 BOB


This is one of the most inconsiderate things that I have seen happen in our game.

  1. - On 4-12 we have a major problem in the game with characters
  2. - Over the next week there are many posts both here and in discord discussing it
  3. - You do not read any of those posts
  4. - You write me an email (which you posted above) that I respond back to explaining why it will not work or be helpful
  5. - You respond back and forth in email discussing alternatives and how you could proceed, I give you responses and feedback, we exchanged 5 emails overall
  6. - You do not log into the game on 4-19 for very valid reasons
  7. - You do not read the chat log of that night
  8. - You do not read the posts after the session is over
  9. - You decide to make this post above that ignores all that has happened since 4-12 just to make your self feel better and blurt out useless ideas (yes I use that word purposefully) by posting the first email you sent me telling me what you wanted to happen ignoring all that I told you about why it would not work.

The problems from 4-12 were dealt with. I would not say they are over, that everyone is happy and moving forward like before, but we are on the path to havign players feel better and creating new story lines that account for what happened and what might happen in the future. WHICH YOU WOULD KNOW IF YOU BOTHERED TO READ.

Michael - You have roleplaying skills, you are creative and come up with ideas that others enjoy and want to participate in. This was not helpful at all.

The solution you posted here and I responded to you in email several times during the week. What you wrote above (to borrow a phrase from someone else) is good for a novel or a story where you are in control of all the characters. But this is a participatory game where you get to propose ideas and then you have to follow through with others and how they react to them. You can be logged in and roleplay out ideas that you would like to see happen. That does not mean that others have to go along with your plans. That does not mean that your plans will happen.

I understand wanting to post to tell everyone how you felt. I understand posting ideas for how to work through this problem.

I do not understand how - if you really want to be helpful and make everyone feel better - that you would state that you cannot be bothered to read the chat or OOC from this thread before you post. It would have been far better to take the time to read and understand what everyone said and did before commenting. You should have understood from my responses in email what was possible and not. So I do not understand why you would then post things you know will not work or will upset people. It is insulting to everyone in the game that you think your ideas are more important, that you should just blurt them out without thinking about what the impact of your words will have on others.

Yes this sounds like I am angry. Because I am.

You can be a good roleplayer, you can contribute to the group overall and help everyone have a good time. It would have been far better to be quiet and read and contemplate what to say. There was no reason to post this other than selfish make yourself feel better.

Characters come and Characters go. Carissa and Mario both have lots of things to consider both in who and how they want to play. I am not going to tell them how to run their characters. Spring, Ryan, John, Lisa and TMO helped Carissa get through a difficult session. TMO even got her to laugh. I am confident that we are going forward in a good way now after what took place on the this thread and on 4-19 and after.

If you personally feel that you do not want to handle those sort of interactions that is perfectly acceptable. Everyone has a different tolerance for what they want to do in roleplay. But because you do not feel comfortable with something does not mean that it will not happen nor does it mean that others have to give into that either.

Overall I feel that we are moving forward after the events of 4-12.

I am going to rule that Neith and Hugh along with the kids are off and heading back to their home in Terraguard. Branwyn has given them funds for the trip home and those characters are retired. Which means that I am in control of them now. I will if needed work them back into the story arcs as I wish.

When you return in a few weeks or how ever long of a break you need you can create a new character from 1/2 the XP of Hugh. When you create your new character it will be good to see how you roleplay a new character.

6/1 Carissa

Read the chat during first flight. Current thoughts to add:

If it's related to Etienne, his nemesis HATES priests. He also had lots of time on his hands. Maybe he raised the griffons because lady person has a unicorn? And was it really "random" that the griffons first attacked our two priestess? Or were they trained to? Of course if the priest are the ones sacrificing dwarves, well, I'm confused. Also not sure about the goblins yet, but that it's still early in the morning... (and somehow June already??).

Will add more if I think on it.

Add: Goblin and gnome connection? Rock gnomes sometimes speak goblin probably because goblins also mine. Could we use the gnomes to help OR are they the ones wanting to attack the gnomes? I think Lisa mentioned something about it, but can't remember to what extent...

6/18 Lisa

Just wanted to say again that I donít think ďPeteĒ is the high level priest that is not only pulling Suomi priests out of their sarcophagi and turning them into ghasts and ghouls, but is also the one who is hiring carpenters and visiting them daily to oversee their progress. I would think that the owner of the church would want their hirelings to call him/her by their formal title, like Archbishop, Your Evilness, or whatever high level Suomi priests are called.

Iím thinking we need to be wary (of course), but I donít think the Pete meeting at sunset will be an epic battle against a high level caster.

Lisaís two-second plan would be to tie up Many and the apprentices to the back pews so when Pete comes in, he will be distracted about releasing his workers and then we ambush him and question him about who and where the real evil boss is. We never get to ambush anyone! Or maybe it doesnít need to be that complicated. :-)

6/29 Lisa

So do I get 10 XP for being right about Pete? ;-)

I donít want to rehash the whole evening, but there were a couple things I wanted to get out of my system.

I think I know what Bobís going to say Ė which is why I didnít bring it up on Friday. It was really bad luck that John or Ryan werenít in and we had to deal with the sometimes cognizant and sometimes not NPC in their place. Howard told Tiberius to ďhelp them.Ē So when he runs up the aisle and is faced with a heavily wounded woman next to a hellhound or a girl with a wand, he ignores the hellhound and wounded group member and totally decimates the girl. Bob Ė you were playing Tiberius as incapable of common sense and completely oblivious to the fact that we were looking for answers for both Skarp and Ilero. If he knew enough about the plan not to break the invisibility, how could he not have known enough that we wanted to question people and not kill them, much less a young girl? This is me whining more than anything else.

Next for Bob Ė you hadnít loaded Black Cloak with spells so typed that he cast a Fireball at the group that did the max damage. Is this correct?

The reason I ask is that there is no priest spell I can find called Fireball. Black Cloak would then be a mage fixing up a church. Fireball maxes out at 10d6 so this means this mage is at the very least 10th level. But it blows a major hole through the crazy Suomi priest cult thing. Do we need to go back to the vampire mage killing dwarves to make Mist thing? Iím thinking yes at first glance.

More next for Bob Ė I donít recall specifically if Tiberius had a view on coming back from the dead. I confirmed my suspicions that he would need a resurrection, which Greeks are okay with. Itís a much higher level spell so Branwyn would need to get him to Loosend and see what kind of deal she could make if she brought him back. So I need to know what they would have decided so she can make plans when I have to roleplay her seeing her husband next week.

At the moment I am thinking we need to gather forces and not rush back to the church. Branwynís first priority would be to her family Ė either burying or saving her husband. Then after processing exactly what happened, yes Black Cloak needs to be stopped but I am thinking we need more casters. Can we recruit Etienne to come back? At the very least get Jennevive. Maybe Red Cloak.

6-30 BOB

1 - grins, I added the 10 XP

2 - Yes to Tiberius running up and killing the girl as not expected. The way I saw it was that she tried to cast a spell at the group at the altar, not at the two apprentices at the door that Digger was dealing with. Tiberius always is impressed with spell casters and how dangerous they are so take them out right away. Plus a little girl does not equal Pete in his mind. (That would have been a fun twist but I did not come up with a good name to shorten to Pete for a girl) So he ran up, takes her out and then helps with the hell hound, or not.

3 - Yes to casting Fireball at max hit die level but not max damage

4 - Yes to that meaning he is a Mage and not a Priest. Not going into more than that except to say priests and mages do work together sometimes.

5 - Yes to Greeks being ok with coming back, there is a tradition there of 'go the distance' to bring back a loved one

6 - Tiberius would be ok with coming back if Branwyn wanted that

7 - YES! Going to recruit people to help is a very nice thing and an excellent plot twist to go get help from people like Jenn and Red Cloak just makes it that much more fun

Also yes to the 'not loaded' 'no changes made' activities with the icons. To try to heighten tension I wanted to hide most things from the players so they would not know how strong, damaged etc they were. To make the combats a bit more 'fog of war'. Not sure if we should carry that forward. Thoughts?

6/30 Lisa

Thanks! BTW - one of the many things I am kicking myself over is that I didn't have one of my guys ask Black Cloak what his name was. After all this, he is still a mystery.

I will bring Tiberius back and then both Branwyn and Tiberius will be on their last lives.

About hiding the enemy hps and damage level, I'm okay with that. It threw me for a second because sometimes when you do that it means that your hit didn't take - that they were protected somehow. Once I knew they were still getting hit, I just started paying attention to how many pts of damage they were taking. Hiding it definitely makes it more realistic. I know if I can see how many hps an enemy has, it affects where I send my characters, which spells I choose, etc. I'm not going to blow a many jaws spell on a creature with 12 hps for example. If I have no clue except from my characters' experience it makes the calls harder, but not impossible. It's more challenging. I'm good either way.

6/30 TMO

If you can change the text, 'not shown' or something like that. The "no changes made" really made it look like we weren't doing anything at all to them. ;) But now that we know what that means it's not as important.

Lisa, YES that Guiote and Michel should have run from the Hellhound. It just honestly never occurred to me, and I imagine to Carissa as well. Although they'd get a free attack I think? I may be getting that confused with 5E D&D though, where I know attacks of opportunity happen, I think they happen in 2.5 also. So, at any rate, something we need to keep in mind in the future when playing the scrubs.

Black Cloak could be a necromancer, btw. Mages that do undead things.

6/30 Lisa

Bob can correct me if I'm wrong, but yes the opponent could get an attack of opportunity but I believe it would be like a parting shot. Just one hit attempt and not their full attack potential. So instead of bites and flames, only one roll to the runner and only to the one engaged. Michel wasn't discovered and so I believe he could have ran free and clear. It's one of those decisions if you make them, the sooner the better. I did that with Indigo and a Cyclops. He hit Indigo once and did 20+ dmg in one hit. So I had Indigo immediately get the hell out of there. It's just a thought I had when I was thinking about how low level characters could work in high level situations.

And yes, Black Cloak is likely a necromancer. This is what makes recruiting Red Cloak (also a high level necromancer) very enticing. Evil v. Evil. Bring the popcorn!

6/30 Carissa

In my defense, and not blaming anyone, I didn't actually take control of Guiote and Michel until after the encounter since I logged on right as Guiote was being chewed on. I mean, maybe I should have paid more attention right as I got on, but eh, not sure if my actions would or wouldn't have changed. And to be fair, I probably should have had Michel drag Guiote away faster, but it was one of those where I wasn't sure if I had to move the icons or just assumed that he couldn't have dragged her away faster than the fireball could fly.

Anyways, also agree. I'm fine with the changes. It does make us have to consider our moves a bit better, but the two suggestions if we keep that route are: (1) agreed upon wording change (knowing we actually ARE causing damage), and (2) if there is fog of war, would we at least be allowed to ask about the condition of the enemy? Even if people don't have HP in real life, you can at least almost always tell between a person barely staying alive and one fresh out of bed/crypt/wherever. :)

Lastly, I haven't "met" Red Cloak yet, only heard about him from the Jenn convos so also hope you convince him to help. It could be a very, very interesting encounter. I'll need to run to the store and grab popcorn, though!

7/3 Lisa

Possible Allies: Feel free to add anyone else

Note: Enlisting any or all of the parties below will likely come at a cost and not necessarily a monetary one.

Father Wilkhorn: Kayugan priest in the Jistille Estates. He ordered the clearing of the Archbishop of Hades and his crew from Skull Church (2nd Visit). After it was over, Tristan was given Skull Church to build and grow. Instead, Tristan came to Dryads Lair with us and then left to go on some silly Crusade. This is why Skull Church was ripe for the taking by anyone who came along.

Jennevive: Kayugan priestess, evil alignment, loves chaos, has interest in Skull Church, has anti-undead powers

Red Cloak: Estranged husband of Jennevive and brother of the Queenís Consort, Sir Toybin, evil alignment, necromancer mage, has oath not to kill/harm Indigo but the rest of us are fair game

Sir Toybin: Consort of the Queen, good alignment, accomplished knight, has other responsibilities now but may have a yearning for adventure for a good cause

Queen Willimina: Queen of Drillian and friend of the DragonSlayers. She would not help herself (of course), but she may have resources or advice.

Regor the Mad: Master thief, evil alignment, resides in the dungeon of the Jistille Keep. He would not help himself (of course), but he may have resources or advice. This man never leaves his dungeon but knows everything.

Goblin Horde: We donít know which side they are on and probably not very effective against whoever is supposed to be filling those pews, but it might be nice to at least know where they stand and come to some sort of understanding as to what we are going to be doing and if they are on the necromancerís side then we will have to deal with them as well. Maybe the gnomes know what side they are on or have someone who speaks goblin?

Etienne d'Ambrevilles: I would only want to contact him if we find out Black Cloak is Hazelthorn.

To point out to everyone as we are getting closer to moving back to this Story Arc. You left off on 23-11-348 SKR, you are a handful of days away from home still but the date is 24-12-348 SKR so although you went from July 5th till now you only went through one month of game time.

updated anticipated to arrive home at Dragon Fen on the night of 1-1-349 SKR.

After the main group is home in Dragon Fen again.

2/18 Carissa

As we get closer to return to the Skull Church arc, I figured it worth tossing out my apprehension regarding it and why Iím apprehensive.

I fully admit this is the first time Iím not looking forward to the next adventure (and that includes when we thought we were all going to be slaughtered by a vampire witch queen). I know I havenít played as long as most everyone, but my first character death was Skull Church (circumstances of the death obviously made it a very hard one, too, to boot). As was the next one. And the next one. AND the next one. I donít know about you, but to have never had a character die since joining more than three years ago, and then suddenly have FOUR die one after another? Iím not saying Iím superstitious, but I am a little stitious, for sure.

I canít help but feel that if Thistle goes, Iím sending her to her death. In other circumstances, I might be more willing, but if she ends up going the way of Michel and Guiote, thereís no coming back for her. And based on my limited sample size, thereís a 50-50 chance of that happening. The reason this is a problem for me right now is even as I have Shi working through all her problems, if she comes back and finds out Thistle has been reduced to ashes, I donít think sheíll be able to fully forgive herself for ďabandoningĒ Thistle after everything thatís happened and might end up deciding to retire.

This is just stating facts and how I play my characters, especially as Iím writing Shiís story right now. I wish I had the more typical D&D mindset with a billion character ideas ready, and hey, if they die thatís fine hereís another one I want to play. But I donít. I get, perhaps, a little too invested in their stories which then just makes me more apprehensive about their premature deaths (my preference for happy endings also definitely doesnít help). Not very conducive to adventuring, I know.

Anyways, just tossing that out there. I know it was kind of already out there, but I just wanted to be clear exactly why I feel the way I feel and my uncertainty about what to do next. As Iíve said before, I have absolutely no investment or care about what happens to Skull Church. None. I know it needs to be dealt with in some fashion, but I almost feel Iíd be just as happy to sit back and watch things unfold from a distance (no, not implying a break at all; you canít get rid of me that easily, only that Iím fine if I have no input or pull in how things go).

Sorry if I come off as a spoilsport. Itís just been bugging me the past few days, and I wanted to put my thoughts down somewhere. Weíll figure something out, always do, but I just wanted to try to make sure others see where Iím coming from regarding the fourth return to Skull Church (third time was NOT a charm). At least goblins sound a little better than an evil witch vampire queenÖ

2/19 Lisa

I get it, Carissa. Believe me I do. Whenever Branwyn goes into negatives or close, I tense up and wonder if this is gonna be it. Iíve put a decade into my characters and losing them would be very hard. You could ask me anything and I would have a Branwyn answer and I would have an Indigo answer. Trying to put together another unique character would be difficult and it would feel contrived (at least at first until I found their voice). So I really do understand.

Let me correct something first. Michel and Guiote died under TMOís watch. That had nothing to do with you.

I know Skull Church feels cursed. It probably is cursed. But any adventure will risk death to your characters. The Macbeth arc killed Miranda and Penelope. It put Drayven and Branwyn into negatives. Almost killed Ilero. Branwyn almost got killed by an ant swarm! Forget Mr. Sword Spider. Objectively, I donít know that Skull Church is any more dangerous than anything else BOB has up his sleeve. But I understand that it feels that way.

Branwyn has to do this. Iím fine with having her go in alone if that keeps everyone else safe. BOB has mentioned the mage duels. I have been resistant since that page is confusing and complicated and before I get about 1/3rd of the way in I think - canít I just blast him and be done with it? If BOB can streamline it down to something extremely simple and wonít bog down the session with rule clarifications and explanations taking 3 hours, Iím fine with letting it play like that.

Sometimes I worry that having Branwyn run around like sheís a fighter with a wand makes people think that their characters should / have to run into combat like she does. Thistle is a young girl and a thief/rogue. She really has no business getting up in the face of high level mages and/or ghouls. I donít think anyone expects that.

If you leave Thistle at home she wonít get the XP to help her get better. I do think there are ways of letting her come and not getting her killed. She can connect with a PC and get them to protect her. For instance, most of the PCs wouldnít immediately think about it since Thistle isnít their henchman, but if she expresses a need for it to a PC, I donít know any of them that would not do that. Except Branwyn Ė she is a woman on a mission. But Bran would tell her to hang back or arrange for someone to shield her.

Itís totally up to you and I will understand however you want to move forward. For the sake of you fully participating in the next arc though, I do hope you will bring a character to the party.

2/19 John

I was going to offer Foto as a character for Carissa to play, we just need to get to Dragon Fen. He is going to Skull Church either way and would be easier to run one character at a time if Thistle stays home. He is a priest non-human priest so not too much of a stretch.

3-7 BOB

List of characters heading out first thing next session:

Branwyn; Indigo; Howard; Hoffman; Foto; Snee; Lanek; Drayven; (new gnome); Thistle; Skarp; Talwin; Brer;

Griff (dog); Ashka (horse) (being left behind)

Sundown Tiberius

It is 15-16 miles as the crow flies from Dragon Fen Manor to Skull Church.

It is about 9 miles from Dragon Fen Manor to the gnome mining village. It is about 9 miles from the gnome mining village to Skull Church.

One wagon is expected, two horses to pull it. Lisa has redone the Party Pack for the trip.

If there is any additional planning let everyone know.

3-14 BOB

Because the "carry an apothecary with us" quote came up last session.

You have the potions in the Party Pack along with other things. Each potion vial holds a quarter pint of liquid (4 oz or 7.25 cubic inches).

You have two small chests that can each hold up to 40 pounds that you brought for potions. At 12 inches by 24 inches (and 12 inches deep) a small chest can hold 18 potions when properly slotted and cushioned. Of course that is top down viewing so you cannot read any label on the side that you put there.

The more you know for planning.

4/5 Carissa

I was trying to remember some of the rules of potion tossing. I remembered it (somewhat) wrong(??). It wasn't so much STR and DEX as it was taking in account a called shot (was it due to the situation of a billion Elven warriors nearby or is it always a called shot?). Anyways, for if it matters or you care, the last discussion of potion tossing happened on 20191227c:

[Lisa] Macduff and Tiberius are highest level fighters for making a called shot
[Carissa (LP)] High level matter for called shot?
[Lisa] well depends on the weapon and skill etc.
[Master] yes to Carissa a called shot is a minus 4 to hit you know dragons have a very good AC so the highest level warrior would have the best chance
[Lisa] magic weapons better chance to hit, mastery of weapon I think etc. as well

4/11 Carissa

I did the summary much earlier than normal to get the full picture, and even having missed half the session and now getting a clearer picture of what I missed, I am still frustrated.

Look, I know we sometimes plan too much, and I know some of you don't care much for plans, but can we just take one moment to think about what's going on? What exactly we are doing and why? Because we didn't last time we were here and that resulted in four deaths. We didn't back in Birnham and that resulted in one death and a walking wounded who therefore was unable to assist for half the adventure. We've talked about this before, last time we were here, that we absolutely can just pause in the middle of a session to make a plan of action. BOB isn't going to punish us if we yell STOP and take a moment OOC to figure out what the hell we're doing and what the hell we want to do.

We have been warned that we're looking at endless combat until July. We have two clerics with a limited amount of spells and two paladins of unknown healing capabilities. That's it. If you end up hurting yourself now before we even get to the planned big encounters? If you're on your last leg by the time we reach Black Cloak, what then?

Remember we're playing this adventure as a group. Your actions will never affect you alone. If your actions result in your character being injured to near death, you now put the clerics in the position of deciding whether to leave you be or waste all their healing spells on you therefore preventing them from possibly using them on someone else later. If your actions results in the death of other characters because you didn't take a single moment to think about what you were doing, you have a good chance of bitterness and angry being direct towards you for lack of consideration. If your actions result in you putting your character in danger, you know damn well we're not going to sit there and watch your character die meaning now you're putting other people's character's in danger.

There was a lot going on yesterday and everyone wanted to be heard and yet no one was heard because we did not take a single moment to LET anyone be heard. Did anyone notice the mention of lilacs? Or how Hoffman's observation clearly indicated the likelihood of traps being placed? Why the surprise by BOB's remark about the magical darkness at the end of the session when he mentioned it earlier while we focused on the damned barrel and how they were sealed? Why did that matter? If we were that determined to see what was inside, why didn't we roll it down the hill after the wagon and let it break far from us? Or try to think of another way that wouldn't put someone directly in the path of an encounter which we knew was likely? It's fine to be paranoid here. Thankfully it was just armor lost and not weapons. Still, we're not even inside Skull Church yet!

My opinion is that we need to understand our priorities and make sure we're all clear about what information we do and do not know. In regards to where we are now session-wise:

  1. Why are we at the farmhouse? Are we honestly thinking of putting the horses in a barn, under the griffon who is watching us put the horses in the barn under his nest, that has had visitors between now and the last time we were here?
    1. Consider that yes, we do have the invisibility spell, but that does not stop things from being solid. We'll have to tie the horses up so they don't leave the spell area. That just means the griffon goes walking around the barn until he bumps into something invisible, it nays, and becomes dinner. The griffon is probably letting us muck around because he thinks we're just there to feed him.
    2. Last time we were here Tiberius tied a horse up somewhere down the hill. Was it safe? Maybe not as he claimed we'd hear it scream and warn us if something was coming BUT if it was invisible, in the forest, away from the watchful griffon? Possibly more safe than it will be in a farmhouse full of barrels, rot, and griffon droppings.
    3. And considering someone has been here preparing for us, knowing we'll be here, has seen us dragging the cursed wagon, don't you think they might also come look for the wagon and whatever we leave in it? Just because Branwyn can't dispel magic (sorry) doesn't mean someone else can't if they want to make the invisible visible again. Or, again, just blindly seach for the wagon to pull out of the invisiblity zone. It's not a huge farmhouse. It's not like it'll take long to find it someone was determined. And yes, we met some apprentices last time so it's not just undead we need to think about regarding our decisions.
    4. The point being, if we're clearing out the barn, let's consider if it's worthwhile or if we need to do something else. The main reason we came here was to see if the trapdoor was discovered and if we can use that as a way to get into the church. Somehow that goal was lost as we decided to focus on other things
  2. Whose knows what about where we are at? Not everyone was here last time. Not everyone knows about that trapdoor. They won't know about the traps inside. They don't know anything because it was never discussed.
    1. This is easy enough to toss it on the site IC if someone who had a character here last time was so inclined. Or, if you don't want to do that, go read the earlier summaries so you all remember what happened and what we knew OOC. Otherwise next time we're going to have someone jump that ledge and be killed by a spider because they didn't think about it or realize that yes, we've done that but never gave anyone a chance to warn them or they didn't remember that or read about it. The information is right there. It's on you as much as it is on us to try to help each other out with remembering what has happened before.

Also keep in mind last time we were here was, again, a scouting mission. When we were not expected. Things we did then such as using the barn for the horses, may not work now, because we are expected.

Knowing all this, whatever happens right now is on us. BOB is giving us the hints. He's pointing out some of our mistakes and repeating what information we know and should be going off to help make decisions instead of just blundering around. There are times and places where it's less of a problem if you want to take the route of blundering, but this is not it. Again, we're looking at the probability of no rest, no spell regains, and limited healing until July. Let's try to be smart about it, okay?

4/11 John

I think the reason we came to the barn first was to store the horses and wagon and still believe that is the safest place for them. The fact that they can see us coming makes it hard to believe sneaking in from under the church will be any easier. I also do not believe dealing with the farmhouse should be our next objective. I think we need to deal with Griffon and go right to the church. Anything else will just weaken us before the important fight and once we have the church, we can have a secure place to finish cleaning the rest, including the Farmhouse and everything under the church.

So, a couple ideas how to deal with Griffon and getting past moat. There was a plan for Branwyn to Dimension Door with someone, while we were hopping to use that against Cloak, it may be the easier way to get over moat, maybe direct to roof, Hoffman has a potion of Levitation which will get him up but not over, but he can be pulled over to get to roof with at least one other person. From the roof, we should be able to deal with Griffon and then get back down to the front door. We have also be able to use the runaway wagon to help get across the moat.

We have to work on the detail, but I think this group is more prepared for a direct fight than sneaking.

4/12 Lisa

Carissa and all Ė

First, you and I both know how much clearer it is to read the chat log later than it is to play it with 8 people all talking. This weekís chat log was over 120 pages. There was a lot of talking going on without a lot of space in between. Give us a break please? I just deleted 5 very angry paragraphs in this reply. Can we please respond being helpful going forward?

We had about 5-6 people rolling obs. Usually that is transmitted in a whisper and the PC needs to convey it. This time most, but not all, went out to the group. Can we say that any obs result that goes out publicly means the PC told us?

I assumed that Grolduk told us about the dolls since it was public. I had Bran say not to touch them but went to look at them. I got no response from Bob. Necholas went to look at the dolls and got no response from Bob. Maybe he missed our requests? Then I have the conundrum of how much do I want to get involved in othersí actions. Iím getting nothing from the GM on the dolls, someone wants to burn them. Do I start giving orders? Throw myself on the dolls that I personally think are cursed if we touch them? Or let it go? Do I keep berating Bob until he gives me an answer all the while interrupting other people that are talking?

The one Obs result that did not get out publicly was the one about lilac and Spring never said it other that it smelled flowery in the direction of the church. Iím sorry Carissa that we all didnít stop and start wondering what was going on with the church when we were focused on the barn, but that info was not clear in real time chat. Bob Ė can we either have obs results all public or all private please?

The magical darkness WAS a surprise. I had Bran look in the window and rolled Obs. She failed! So I said I couldnít see anything and asked people to look. Somehow my failed Obs turned into magical darkness. If I could always fail rolls so well. Not once was there a DM verdict given to a character that behind the window there was magical darkness. Donít believe me? Do a ďFindĒ for dark in the chat log. Bob didnít say it until he was giving his own mini-lecture on our ineptitude.

About those trapsÖ We have some people who havenít or havenít in a long time played thieves. I am going to suggest that those characters help us by telling us what they are checking for traps when they roll. When Grolduk went into the room rolling 3 times, I did not understand what he was rolling for. It never occurred to me that someone would roll for a sprung trap. So I thought the room as a whole was clear (as far as the failed rolls would tell us). I think it would be nice if the thieves could act like fighters sometimes. Not fighting but the attitude. If a fighter sees something that needs to be killed, they generally walk up and try to kill it. If thieves see something that could be a trap, please jump in front and take control of the situation.

About the barrels Ö There was a lot of back and forth on it. I could see both sides and thought eventually one would get opened so why fight it. I blame Bob on this actually. We as a group were pretty much ignoring the sealed barrels. It was Bob that told Ryan to roll WIS and put it in his head about the barrels Ė giving them an importance that they would never have had otherwise. I can see the point of trying to figure out whatís going on and so opening a barrel. I can also see the view of not poking hornetsí nests when they arenít bothering anyone. It happened. It sucked. We learn and move on.

About the horses and the barnÖ There is NO safe place to put the horses! We brought 2 expendable horses to pull the wagon. We could not talk Dray out of leaving his, so it is what it is. There is no hiding our approach so there was nothing we could have done or can do to hide them. To me, in the last stall of the barn is safest with an invisibility spell. If there is a priest who can ward the area before we go so anyone getting close gets a zap, then all the better. But thatís the best we can do. As far as Tiberius and last time? That horse got killed. We DID hear it scream and horse no more. So, yes, I honestly want to put the horses in the barn. Saw a lot of stale hay but no griffon droppings. Nothing of any importance is going to be left in the wagon.

The trapdoor was NOT lost. It is almost assuredly trapped and I cannot even imagine what is down there right now. It is HUGE. So I thought (yes with my feeble little brain) that it would be nice to secure the room above that we would need to escape up into before jumping down into the trapdoor.

John Ė you beat me to it. I completely agree with you that we should leave the farmhouse alone. Given what we know and our objective, the farmhouse is the least of our concerns.

I am wondering if we should bother with the griffon right now either. It hasnít attacked and weíre all wearing blue. Given that griffons are hard to deal with, we only have 2-3 people with range weapons and characters can get picked up and flown away or dumped in the moat, do we want to fight it if we donít have to?

This is the conversation we should be having. What next?

I am worried that this Black Water Moat will be like lava, i.e., instadeath, no way back death. Using the wagon to deal with the moat sounds like a good idea. We canít hide that weíre here so maybe just coming to the front door is easiest. Get this thing over with. But with all those windows, the cemetery all around the outside, the death moat, griffon overhead, etc. I donít think a walk up to the door approach will be safe to break down and tackle obstacle by obstacle. The range for a magic missile for example is 60 yds + 10 yds/lvl. Spells can come flying through those windows at us as we approach. There is only 1 protection from magic potion and the globes for the other two mean we canít move out of them to be protected. Iím thinking walking up to the moat will mean multiple types of attacks coming from multiple directions in an open space. Do we want that or do we want the trapdoor?

Going through the trap door and caverns will require narrow passages, single file walking and more traps I suspect. Dangerous but danger comes from generally only one direction. Who goes first, thief checking for traps with a fighter alongside as Michael suggested? Cleared out caverns also gives us a place to sleep? Seriously, it seems like they are waiting for us. They have set a bunch of traps and are just waiting for us. They arenít running out to get us. We can make them wait and take our time.

I'm still mulling over what the best approach would be. Thoughts?

4/12 John

I was trying to keep my post short and unemotional, I think I can do both now.

Communication was an issue with so many people but having too many people is NOT the issue. We all allow all players to be their characters and we have some characters.

I believe it was a good night for role-playing and what happened is just what was supposed to happen or at least what typically happens, especially with a group of characters and players focusing on who they are. This is not a dictatorship so players / characters are going to do things that they want and or think they should do. I don't think there should have been a vote on burning the dolls but if someone objected we should have stopped and made that clear, same with the barrel. I did not object because as a player and a character I subscribe to the previously mentioned freedom.

I don't necessarily think things are broken, just because things go badly or chaotically or Characters die, though I understand that does have a significant affect on people. I spend significant effort NOT to care, like when I tried so hard to make sure we did NOT have to identify the potion of undead control because we knew it was identified as Zomies, or that we did NOT have to identify the Potion of Human control because it was identified as Humanoid, but clearly I was misunderstood in an attempt to get Animal Control identified. I tend to be quiet because it seems sometimes I just make things worse. But I am open to any suggestions. I just understand that for some people, the game is only what they do Friday night.

4/12 Carissa

Just to clarify, I am not saying too many people is an issue. I am saying too many people trying to be heard all at once is an issue. As TMO pointed out, this is a unique problem to the way we play this game. When in person, it's easier to realize that is happening, fall out of character, and have a discussion where you make sure everybody gets a chance to talk and be heard. Where you can make sure no one is feeling overwhelmed because the game stops being fun when you are, and I think all of us wants to make sure we're all having fun. But then you have online chat, where you have someone asking everyone to hold on for one second, and that still ends up getting lost. So how do we address that? Awareness is always the first step, but is there more we can do?

And yes, I also agree about the roleplaying aspect. It is always good to let players figure out who their characters are, but again, that is extremely difficult with multiple conversations going on at once. Normally we'll have maybe up to two different conversations/actions going at once, but we had Lanek and Snee talking about the lilac smell while Brer was looking for evil while Hoffman was asking about the barn while Branwyn and Grolduk were examining the dolls all at the same time. That gets very confusing. How do you decide which action to react to without adding more confusion when there's barely a breath between it all?

I think a huge part of this is the sudden information dump, all at once, and no pause after to consider what was told. Part of it was, at least for me, the fact I didn't expect multiple different observations. But we just kept going even once it became clear different characters noticed different things. For something like this, I'm definitely on board with just saying the characters told everyone at that time rather than do it IC. I think Lisa is right that'll help clear things up.

I would say, on a normal session, at least 50% if not more of the time, when doing the summary, I definitely see something I missed in chat the night before. If I'm the only one, I'll be surprised. I don't know the answer to that conundrum, when to let it go or not if you get no response from whomever you are talking to, but I do appreciate this particular instance is being addressed IC.

In regards to the traps, I agree with that suggestion. I just want to make sure everyone is clear that Thistle was never trained to disarm traps. Please do not rely on her for this situation. That is why Ilero sent his scouts.

As for the horses, I honestly did not know what the plan for them was which is why I was trying to ask about it in chat. I did want to make sure those points were considered, but otherwise I have no strong opinion on what to do with them. But I will admit I'm hesitant to deal with the griffon for the reasons Lisa has pointed out.

Now the moat? Very sketch. If we can avoid it, all the better. But there is no good answer to entering the church. That said, I am leaning towards the tunnels not just to avoid the moat, but for the possibility of striking some kind of deal with the goblins. I do think there is a chance we'll encounter them again as they're down there, too. I don't know how they feel about Black Cloak, or if he's ignoring them, or what, but they could be a valuable resource if handled correctly.

There were a lot of things that were not clear to me on Friday. They might have been to you, but they were not at all for me. Seriously, there was so much going on I was trying to follow that the simple thought of just making sure the escape route was clear didn't have a chance to cross my mind. Thank you for helping clear it up. Last one, direct to BOB, is to clear up this? From 20190426c:

[Howard Plum (Lisa)] I thought you said there was a hill ...
[Lord Tiberius (Master)] there is just outside
[Lord Tiberius (Master)] you missed it in the dark
[Lord Tiberius (Master)] I found it first before this place
[Lord Tiberius (Master)] I think there are deep caves there

This is what I was referencing when I asked about nearby caves. If I'm reading this correctly, there are caves in the hills? I'm wondering if they're part of the goblin network. Not sure anyone wants to take a detour at this point, but if there is maybe a third option or another escape from the tunnels below, it'd be nice to know if only to mull it over.

4/13 John

I cannot stress enough the dangers of entering a goblin lair. The close quarters alone cause issues like the scorpion fight in the last caves we were in. We eventually will need to clear out but that is what will take the weeks I believe Bob was referring too. In fact, one on the things I was considering changing to make this not look like a skull is to open up or closing those caves. Just putting doors will help change the picture.

4 - 13 BOB

Yes to Carissa about the nearby caves being the goblin caves that John is referring to. Yes they are are a presumed way into the chambers below the church because the group in one of their previous visits started to connect the tunnels. Some of the tunnels and caves are going to be small because of goblins, but if you look at the history of this space it was originally the location of a tribe of hobgoblins. So a variety of areas of different sizes.

Also a thematic detail we left off this trip is that at night sometimes the light from the goblin cooking fires lights up the caves that form the eyes. It has been mentioned before but I did not make a point of it this current trip.

For the horses yes Tiberius simply used a small hill to the right of the map (not shown) on the Overview of Skull Church. Which said horse was eaten by the griffon. You had not known the griffon was there on top of the church for certain at that point.

To also clarify for planning that people can research and respond to.

Option 1: Front door of the church

  • Get the main bad guy over with first. Might make the rest go a little easier, or at least give us a little breathing room knowing heís not going pop up out of nowhere
  • Weíre strong now to try. Not sure what our status will be going through other areas first
  • Defeat him and take church may give us bargaining power over goblins
  • Possible multiple types of attacks coming from multiple directions
  • Weíll be out in the open. Not a lot of cover except maybe some trees
  • Donít know how deadly that moat is. May be trickier to stay out of it when we are under attack

Option 2: Cellar under the farmhouse, through to secret door, through to chambers under the church

  • Not a frontal church assault
  • Attacks coming from either the front or maybe back only
  • If we clear sections of the caverns, may have place to rest if church dwellers are happy to wait for us
  • Sections of single file walking. Front and backs could take big hits
  • Have to go through basement and secret door. They know we know itís there. Potential for many, many traps and would still have to open that trap door to get into the church eventually.
  • By the time we get to the church, if no rest, we could be much weaker than we are right now

Option 3: Goblin Caves, through to the presumed joining of the tunnels that lead to the chambers under the church

  • Could possibly make allies of goblins instead of all-out war with them
  • Donít really have leverage right now. We are a dozen or so versus hundred or so goblins (we really donít know how many)
  • They could have deal with Black Cloak
  • Weíve been picking these guys off for a while now. Why would they play nice unless we tell them weíre in charge now

Option 4: Players being creative in finding alternatives


4/13 Carissa

I didn't quite understand the layout or that the "eyes" were the lairs.

See, and I was thinking more the weeks will be clearing out the crypts until we reach Black Cloak. We have a large amount of characters, most of which are high level, so we're going to have lots of encounters, and hard ones. Those crypts were horrible even before now. At the least, I don't think we'll run into Black Cloak for weeks.

Regarding the goblins, going off to fight goblins in a small space is definitely not a good idea, but I'm not thinking about doing that. Back in War By Art we made a tentative alliance with the goblin Scruffy. Mind you, we kidnapped him first, but he gave us a ton of information for helping us plan our attack on the keep, and in return we freed the goblins the bugbears kept prisoner - maybe something Black Cloak might do? (Mar2417 was first introduction of Scruffy; believe you were absent this adventure, John). I'm also thinking we're about to have a set-up similar to Court of Thanes with a large army of undead about to be set against us. Finding others to help us fight those waves would be helpful.

Of course, this is all simple guessing what BOB is planning, so who knows what we're up against yet. Or if an alliance can even be reached. If it was, does that mean Hoffman gets his own goblin army? Would he want one...?

4/17 Carissa

Option 4/Section 1: Operation Benedict Arnold, see if the griffon listens to us and use him like a Trojan horse.

  • Does he expect his own griffon to attack? Or at least bring others over the moat?
  • Long con friendship/pet gained (or forced via potions)
  • Griffon eats us
  • Griffon drops us in the moat
  • Griffon laughs at us

(Semi-serious suggestion to take as you wish).

"You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong, so you could've put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you've also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me."

"And you wouldn't be so brave if you'd ever smelled the Bog of Eternal Stench. It's, it's..." "Is that all it does, is smell?" "Oh, believe me, that's enough! But the worst thing is, if you so much as set a foot in the Bog of Stench, you'll smell bad for the rest of your life. It'll never wash off."

So you have it past the outer walls, over the moat, over (or through) the foul pit. You made it inside the doors avoiding the magical trapped box.

You have discovered that Black Cloak can focus his vindictiness on you again and you learned again that he is not omnipotent.

  • He spent time bringing griffons when he thought Imari was bringing hippogriffs to the church
  • He tortured and set the group up to kill Ilero's apprentices again when he thought Ilero was returning
  • He thought he would get Branwyn or her apprentices to expend spells on the brown pool rather than just go around/over
    • This was more subtle, grey ooze, black puddings to convince you that it was either oilive slime or brown pudding in the pit, both of which can only be killed by magic, both of which can extend out and up to snag a meal
  • He thought he would get Branwyn with a knock spell unlocking the glass case but that did not happen

I stressed several times a few things

  • The dolls indicate he feels he can toy with those who Branwyn holds dear
  • The entire complex glows with a low evil
  • The upper windows have never been open before
  • The smell of lilac to cover the stench of death

I will leave it to the players to discuss and debate what you KNOW and what you SPECULATE. To talk about what you know you by passed, how to handle the current combat and what to do moving forward. As always Klooge is up all the time to go check a map, a character sheet, etc.

Some points on the map to consider

  • You have characters in metal armor going clank clank clan, you are not able to sneak as a group
  • You have to be next to a thing you want to check for traps on
  • You have to have a good view to do an observation on something
  • You have already discovered additional changes inside the church
    • large statue gone for one
  • You know you have balconies
  • You know that the main living quarters/bedroom is right there less than 30 feet away from the altar

Let the conversations begin

Brer Necholas:

I didn't even try to go to bed until 2am. :) I did a bunch of other stuff to try and get my mind off it so I had a chance to get to sleep without my brain just turning over and over and over. No worries though folks. I slept fine until 9am. Then went out with the kids and broke rocks with a sledgehammer for 90 minutes.
I did come up with a few options for him. I'm not sure if we want to discuss them IC or OOC. And I also need to discuss one or two of them with BOB first to make sure it will/won't work the way I hope or think it will.
I am wondering if Brer should be taking a more commanding role? Not that he necessarily would be doing any better. He might do worse. He hasn't been here before after all. Assuming we survive this encounter, what are your characters' thoughts on that? Would it be welcome, or not, IC, for Brer to take a bit more of the lead? He supposedly has lots of experience fighting the undead. Supposedly. ;) I've been doing my usual thing of hanging back and letting others do their thing, but that might not be the best tack to take in this situation.


I know I'll have more thoughts to everything to add throughout the week, and some other things to reply to at some point, but regarding the current combat situation, before I forget about it (like I did the liquid road), with the number of ghouls we're about to face, I think now is definitely a good time for Thistle to whip out the Protection from Undead Scroll, yes? Depending on initiative, we can either have her use it where she stands and have those who will need it (spellcasters) run to her (I imagine at least one person could stand next to her and be safe) OR have someone drag her during their turn (if possible and allowed) to a better spot before she casts it. And for the two with priests, if you have the spell to un-paralyze (forget it's official name), you can use it on multiple people within a certain radius BUT they have to make their rolls. Again, there is no shame in running, especially anyone who can un-paralyze. We're not all fighters here. Anyone who isn't un-paralyzed after combat (think positive, we'll make it out of this), will still have to wait it out if we're out of that spell and that can take hours...
As for your question TMO, I honestly don't mind either way. I feel like this is a good time for him to shine and show his potential as a leader, but it is also a very personal mission for Branwyn. Ultimately I think it's something for you and Lisa to decide upon (again, just my opinion). As for character's thoughts, Thistle is already taking to him (the dog who is now her BFF has definitely helped) so she wouldn't be upset by that BUT she also looks up to Branwyn so you know, she going to just go with the flow and hope they don't bicker. ;)
And added, this is also the church Hoffman plans to take over. So John should be in the conversation, too (sorry for my forgetfulness John!). You three can figure it out. You don't have to have A leader, but you can have someone who naturally takes over in certain circumstances. Undead? Makes sense if Brer starts shouting out orders. Quellcon encounter? Pretty sure Branwyn will do her thing when we find him. How to go about exploring and investigating the rest of the church? Hoffman knows the place so it makes sense for him to say what to do.

4/25 Lisa

Usually I donít post until after Iíve done the chat log so I can go over possible things I missed, but after reading these comments I need to say something and probably will amend later since there is so much to unpack.

It appears we didnít learn much from barn day. Usually we donít bring an army on trips, but for this scale of combat, we thought it would be good. Having all these characters will be handy when we fight 20 ghouls (more on that later) but it really seems to suck when we have to investigate areas. We walk into a minefield and everyone just runs all over the place. Iím just happy everyone managed to keep their hands off that glass case.

I try. I really try to let other players do their thing and not have my PC give out orders. I think Bran has enough of the spotlight simply because she has been in the campaign most consistently since it began. So I do actively try to step back. This time I think I it is hurting this trip. At least one of my PCs has been at every Skull Church adventure. I know this place. And Iím not working from a place of fear or from a place of discovery and exploration. My character has a mission and thatís it.

There were so many things I didnít understand about what people were doing, but at the time I didnít want to try to more firmly wrestle the plan away. Itís hard when I say things 5 times and no one cares because what Iím saying isnít about the shiny object in the center of the room. Then I get irritated and give up and really let people do whatever they want to do.

I understand Carissaís diplomatic approach, but come on. It was Fritz that tried to send a character with 10 hps up onto the balcony by himself, TMO and Spring who just took off by themselves to the altar alone with both players knowing where the trap door and the balconies were, and John who then said that the plan was to keep going in that direction.

Iím all for chaos for the most part. This ghoul encounter is just another encounter. I am not angry about it, and for the most part just think this is us being us. What else is new? But if after this combat, a ďleaderĒ gets named and the same kinds of decisions keep happening, I am either going to have it out at the moment or pull back to make sure Branwyn has enough weapons in her arsenal to take out Black Cloak who is coming on his schedule. Not ours.

Bob kept us from moving the week before so we could have a discussion about the religious history of this place and that Black Cloak is a mage. I was somewhat bored since this was nothing I didnít know, but noted to myself that Bob made a big point out of it. So when we get inside the church, the Suomi Paladin and the two priests donít care at all about checking the alcoves? This is their thing. It would also light up the middle section so there arenít two pitch black areas at our back.

The anti-chaos part of me wants to take this methodically. We started at the back. Letís not ignore the middle. How is that a bad idea??? It means lighting up the sides with the alcoves to get to the stairs that were hidden by the darkness. My original plan (yes I have them) would be for us to be on the balconies for nightfall. That way we have some advantage. There is nothing up there room wise. Whenever weíve been there before, itís been a disappointment. But it is a really nice place for attacking people below. There is probably something up there now, however since Bob has repeatedly noted that the upstairs window is open. Maybe we should shut that thing so nothing that flies can come in (pictures Drake the newly made vampire turning into a bat and flying out a window). It also lets someone who can cast a fly spell or similar to get into the church without having to cross all those traps at the front door. Yes, shutting that window would be a priority. More than covering the trap door to my mind.

There are multiple ways of getting people up there. Touch a glyph, roll to see if you take a hit. We also have 2 climbing potions and once the strong people are up there, they can pull up the smaller characters who canít take the glyph hit.

For the combat:

My first thought is for everyone to hold their actions until Brer and Sundownís turns come up. Since undead who are not in active combat can be turned/destroyed, then give it a second, see what they can do and then we can all use our held actions to move from there. If we engage them all then the turning ability becomes useless.

As far as the scroll goes, would be best probably for Foto and Snee to join Thistle as the only priests. Also Grolduk since he is hit point challenged.

Remember also that Drayven has the ring of undead control. No reason why he couldnít perhaps tell the ghouls to open the trapdoor and go into the catacombs or something to that effect.

4/26 Lisa

OK Long Post Part II

What I donít want:

  • I really, really donít want to keep posting like this every other week.
  • I donít want Fritz to leave.
  • I donít want people to be so freaked out about this story arc. This is supposed to be fun!
  • I donít want to give orders but I also donít really want to sit around taking them either.
  • I donít want to keep focusing on mistakes. They happen. Every single one of us makes them in the heat of the moment. Iíd like to think we are good enough to recover from them and if not, thatís part of the game.

What I want:

  • I want us to relax and have fun with this.
  • I want BOB to stop getting angry in chat because when he gets mad it impacts the players. Bob, you basically hung up on us on Friday. TMO says he was up late thinking about it. Fritz posted in Player Comm.

Bob can correct me if Iím wrong, but I think I know why he is getting angry. This is Skull Church Trip No. 4. Each time we show up, the maps are the same. The buildings are all still there. But at the same time, he makes it a whole new experience. Itís up to us to re-discover the church and see whatís new and whatís stayed the same. When he has carefully placed each thing we encounter with a meaning for the PCs that have been here before, it is kind of hurtful to him as he put so much planning into this and for us blow by it (or burn it) without giving it a second thought.

20 ghouls? That was not a random undead ambush. That was specifically for Ilero. Not one or two, but 20 flooding the front of the church right at us. Same with the apprentices on the door. Black Cloak would not have imagined that Ilero would not be here. So as much as things were set for Branwyn, many were set for the characters he imagined would be here this trip. And we really have only just begun to explore.

Iíve been holding back info until we get to each place (like a tour guide). If I sat there in chat and gave a big rundown of everything I know about Skull Church in one huge speech, I would be bored out of my mind and tuning out myself. I wouldnít expect anyone else to pay attention for that long. So what I wanted to do as we go is for the players with history of this place to analyze what has happened and share what has changed and what that means as we go. That means taking it slow and enjoying this horrorfest!

Bob mentioned above about the statue being missing. That is important, but I didnít say anything because a) we werenít there yet and b) I didnít want 5 PCs rushing the altar area. Same with the office. I am dying to get into that office, but not yet.

I wanted to see the alcoves for many reasons. The ones I gave above, but also there was a Branwyn the Blessed statue there the last time we were there. I donít want to look as a ďLook at me!Ē moment. I want to see what horrific thing that Bob has had Black Cloak do to it. Even if all the other statues are gone from the shrines, I doubt he just tossed hers in the trash. Has he added new ones?

Personally, I donít care about the trap door other than we donít touch it. I really care about closing that open window so he has to cross the moat of ooze and the pool of shit. I want his to have to burn some spells to get in here because we didnít! We are already ahead of the game. So letís either kill or get rid of the ghouls, and then we can go back to enjoying this ride.


4/29 John

Not quite complaining but commenting general concerns

I understood what you wanted Lisa, and I was not so sure it mattered to separate a bit, it is still one room. That is why I had and have no issue with the group going up to the altar. We could have done a more through sweep of section by section before spreading out but again, I did not see any comments to that fact.

Without re reading log, I feel the biggest issue is not waiting for or getting answers from Bob. I did not see an answer to how deep the sludge is until Lanek walked into it. I also did not see if Bob asked how would we know or what we were doing to test it. I also think because of the familiarity with the location, there was not as much detail given and maybe it was not asked enough. I specifically saw Fritz revel a light source and put a circle up but I did not see any explanation or revel. This might be part of this issue or the Fritz issue but I think we need to use the STOP to also let the answers be answered or at least clarified why we are not getting answers.

But while I am here, I want to point out how happy I am with our current character layout, considering we DID NOT know where the danger was going to be coming from. Most the weaker character / healers are in back with presumably the fighters that are one round behind. A strike team approaching the Altar, Branwyn and Indigo over to the side and the two crazy and quick fighters in the center of the room, able to take hits and get to where ever the danger is. This may be a dangerous combat but I think we are as good as could have been expected.

Except for the fact that Brer did not move together with Lanek, I think things went well character wise. I agree we just need to lighten up and talk, and listen a little more as players.

4/30 Carissa

I thought I'd have more thoughts, but have decided to just leave two of them for here at this point.

  1. This is a confusing adventure. There is so much going on, half because of the history of the place, how many times we have been here, and all these details added that we're not used to having with other adventures. For this adventure, at least, I really do appreciate having everything laid out, like BOB did above, of what we know, or don't know, or see, or consider, or whatever. Again, there is so much going on, I know I'm missing things, so it's nice to see what it is I am missing or not considering, or whatever (again). For me, having that little bit of extra organization is helpful. It might be for others, too. Something more straightforward and fact-based than a summary.
  2. Yes, I am a proponent of diplomacy. The session before this one, when we laid out our options for entering the church, and then stopped and voted on our preferred option, worked nice, in my opinion. Entering through the front doors was my last choice we made BUT it was the option most agreed upon and, once we decided on it, we made it work, and did so well. That approach also means there's less pressure on someone leading as not everyone wants to or not everybody can do so well (not at all a statement against you, John, but a general one). There were lots of options and people wanting to do something different the minute we entered the church. I was partial to Lisa's idea, but felt at that point it wasn't worth voicing my vote as I don't know if it would have been seen, or heard, or done, or taken into consideration.

Again, it seems like our usual way of play isn't... playing out as we wished it would. Do I think we need such diplomacy normally? Absolutely not, but, again, for me, it helped make things clear. The only other note to make is that while we originally thought we'd be playing until July with potential of endless combat, it seems more and more likely that it'll only be half combat and a lot more step-by-step approaches to the church as a whole.

5/4 Lisa

If I need to wait until Friday to explore, that's fine, but I had a balcony question. Do the right and left balconies connect with each other? Or do we have to go up the left stairs to reach the left balcony?

5-4 BOB

Yes the balcony is one large horseshoe with the U facing the altar and extending down either side of the aisle. All stone. You can go up or down either staircase you wish.

5/19 TMO

BOB - did Brer overdo the Turning against the Ghouls a couple of sessions ago? From the Turn Undead page: Only one attempt can be made per character per encounter

Did all of those count as separate encounters? His Turn ability is pretty powerful, but we don't want to make it overpowered either.

BOB 5-19

To my remembrance it was one turn from Sundown and one turn from Brer.

For future reference each combat counts as one encounter with each group of undead. So if you get swarmed by a group of ghouls and Brer turns/destroys them, then a second waves of skeletons appears he could attempt to turn/destroy them also in the same combat. If a group of ghouls attacks Branwyn, Brer turns/destroys them, then more ghouls attack Brer that same combat by moving to him he cannot attempt to turn those ghouls.

TMO 5/20

That works for me. Thanks Bob. The first combat was fine, 1 from each of us, but the ghouls on the balcony I think Brer used Turn 2 or 3 times. Each group of ghouls was in a different location, but probably counted as the same encounter. I'll do my best to remember this limitation in future combats.

6/28 Lisa

At the end of last week BOB said - Once you find that door and then open it will be a quick round by round thing most likely

First - we can all chuckle at the quick round by round part of that, but then if weíre going into combat immediately, I thought Iíd post some things to start a discussion on planning so we donít either a) take 3 hours before starting IC next week or b) just fling open the door and let complete chaos ensue.

Not having any clue what is going to happen once that door opens, Iím just tossing stuff out there that has crossed my mind. Lots of input by everyone would be great.

If your character isnít going to fight, should your character even come in? Not what we usually do, but if you walk into whatever hell is in there, you become a target. If your character is not going to actively work to take out whatever is in there, do you want to come in to just be a target?

As an example, a priest doing a chant for instance only gives a 1 pt help and standing there makes that priest a target. That priest gets hit and the chant goes away. Would saving the spell for healing the fighters be better and keep the priests safe for the aftermath? Or cast a different spell that can be cast without having to be in the room to help. If the priests want to come in spells blazing though, then why not come on in? Same for Thistle and Emerald. Not every character is a battle character Ė and thatís a good thing! Itís not bad to take care of the character so they get to keep doing what they do best.

Or possibly holding off and then coming later into combat. Maybe not running in until the room is cleared a bit.

Caveat Ė if Foto or Snee has a hold person spell Ė casting that on Black Cloak would be immensely helpful! Except if Black Cloak is indeed a vampire which means it wonít work since Hold Person doesnít affect undead.

Any thoughts on whether he is or isnít? I am waffling. The thing about flying that keeps popping up is giving me pause. I guess he could just use it a lot. Branwyn is ďknownĒ for fire spells but she isnít a fire mage. Maybe Black Cloak is a vampire, or maybe he just memorizes Fly a lot and so the Harry-types have it stuck in their heads and he is very much alive and not undead.

And why does BOB have 3,000 pages in the website and not one of them describes all the undead and their strengths, weaknesses and characteristics? But I digress.

Who holds the basket?

The basket will basically grant invisibility to the holder from the ďguardians.Ē This does not include Black Cloak I would imagine, but there would be a good chance (?) it would make you invisible to the undead in there. Iím not sure who should get it. Ideas welcome, but I am thinking it should be someone who is going to be out front fighting. Who else needs better protection? Hoffman maybe?

We have one super heroism potion that Indigo is holding. I am thinking of giving it to Tiberius. It would give him 3 levels Ė making him an 11th level long sword master with berserker tendencies and an extra 2d10+3 hps. The damage from his long sword is better than Indigoís short sword and I am thinking he would be more effective that way. Tiberius in return would give Indigo his Potion of Explosion that can be lobbed into any mess of whatever we find.

We still have the potion chest Ė which will be left outside the door. I personally donít want to take that in the big room. So if anyone wants to switch up, etc. think about it before we open the door.

6/28 John

1) I confirmed neither priest has hold person, but Snee does have Charm Person and Command, which would prove he is not a Vampire if they succeed, but a fail does not mean he is not.

2) I would rather boost Indigo, who has a better chance of going before a caster can get a spell off

3) I think clearly Branwyn needs the basket, not sure if the person has to be holding it but I would try strapping it too her before giving it to anyone else

4) I like the idea of recon, I was considering Foto casting all spells on healing then using the potion to check things out, but not sure how he could communicate or if you wanted to wait that long.

which is a nice transition to

5) I know this is my video game strategy that works every time, but the plan for coming to the church first was to be a bit more at full power before the big fight. I think it is worth considering regrouping upstairs, sealing the trap door with a stone share and seeing if he wants to come fight on our terms. Either he comes and we are in a better position or he does not come and we are in a better position to attack him tomorrow. In game it sounds like a win win.

6/28 Carissa

Also agree for Branwyn to hold the basket. If she gets hit, she can't cast. We should do all that we can to keep her from being hit by anything.

I don't know what spells Snee and Foto have, but I do know that Shi has/had an Invisibility to Undead spell. If one of those two also has that spell, it would be immensely helpful (and might have been helpful sooner, but I digress).

While waiting for him to come to us sounds nice in theory, I fear he's just open all the coffin lids on his way up and/or have them ready to open meaning we'd be fighting him plus twenty wights or something as well.

Hopefully we're all at least able to roll initiative depending on the set-up so we can all choose what to do. Thistle is not a front-line fighter (or much of a fighter). Will she run and hide? I don't know, very possibly not, but if she has a choice (and other choices are not forced upon her), she's likely wait and see how things go before she does anything. But she does still have her potion and scroll and a trick or two up her sleeve so she might still have use. And to that point, if someone does have the earlier mentioned spell, but doesn't want to waste a spell, Thistle can use the scroll instead that I really should have remember before we entered the catacombs....

As for the potion, my only hesitance is that Tiberius is not a PC (also agree with John's statement). Tiberius does not always listen to us. So maybe he's an 11th level fighter now, and we really really want him to go after Black Cloak because he hits harder now, but Tiberius decides the goblin wave needs his attention more and goes after them instead which is more of a "waste" in a sense. Or Branwyn gets hit so Tiberius runs back to her and ignores Black Cloak missing his chance to get in a shot. Something like that. Tiberius is great when we need him, but in a fight like this, I'd rather rely on a PC than someone BOB controls. :)

6/29 Lisa

@Carissa Ė I was definitely thinking everyone would roll initiative. I donít want anyone to be left out of any possible actions at all. I was just asking if people who donít want to or arenít going to fight want to be in the room where they can get hit/killed for just being there. It was an idea to give people options that it is okay to not rush into the room for battle if battle isnít in your job description. I donít want to force anybody into either situation.

@John I forgot Foto was holding the gaseous form potion. It lasts between 5-8 turns (not that terribly long in this case) so I think that would be a great way to spend some time if it would give us a leg up on the situation. Iíd be all up for that.

I would love to go to sleep and be at full strength for this and have definitely thought about it, but I have the same feelings as Carissa. If we get another day, so does he and I would think the catacombs would be filled again or if we slept by the door, that door would open on us at any time. I think we just have to go in and do this where weíre at.

6/30 Carissa

Yes, always worth being reminded of that. It's hard playing a character who doesn't really fight. I do keep needing to be reminded that it's okay. I might not be the only one needing that reminder :)

7/01 Lara

Um...did we check that only one person can touch the basket and be protected? I'm not sure how we would test that but it might be something to consider. Not sure if the DM would disclose that kind of information.

Emerald has Persuade as a NWP and she speaks Goblin. I think Hoffman does too but last time I checked he was in bad shape. Emerald can also Persuade in Goblin if need be.

@Lisa Good question about non-fighting characters. While I don't want Emerald to die so soon, I would rather us all stick together than separate. Even if that means she dies. Since the passages are so narrow, non-fighters end up in the back anyway and would enter a room last.

@John The idea of leaving the catacombs and fighting upstairs might be something to consider. If we consider tactics, the catacombs are less than desirable fighting environment. No high ground, lots of coffins with unknown contents, dark corners for things to come through, walls that appear out of no where and one long corridor. If the walls appear out of no where, whose to say that the existing walls don't move?

7/9 Carissa

I skimmed some of the chat from Sunday. Just a few things - some to clarify, some clarifying, and just straightening things out.

  1. Emerald does not yet have the scroll. Because it was a short between rounds single action moment, she chose to cantrip instead of asking for the scroll. Part of the offer to give it up was because I did not think I'd make it the whole night. While I don't mind holding it still (fingers crossed I'm go for the whole night), I also have no problems if Emerald wants to grab it instead, but it is still a decision that needs to be made.
  2. Did I read right that Hoffman is back with the chest? I have no idea where Thistle is right now (again, definitely had checked out by the end of Friday), but if Emerald does take the scroll, Thistle might grab something else out of the chest. She'll still want something to feel maybe potentially useful :)
  3. Just another thought that might be worth knowing (and I can't remember right now so someone fill this in!!). Outside of combat, a "round" lasts (X???) minutes. Some spells are useful outside combat, but it's good to know when to cast if prepping for when you're about to be in combat. Some spells are worth casting earlier (yes, supportive, but maybe something like Enlarge), but if it'll take you another 2 hours to reach your destination, you probably want to make sure to time it right.

A Round is a Round no matter the time of day
A Turn is ten Rounds of consecutive play
There are six Turns in each Hour I say
And twenty four hours make up a full day

7/11/20 John

There are only some many chances for a warrior to die a dramatic death. Look how many times Hoffman was pulled back just this adventure. Maybe more important, to me, is to make the death permanent. I was wrong in thinking I had to be drained to LEVEL 0 to become a wraith, so I guess this is better for the party. The last thing I wanted, the last thing Hoffman wanted was for Branwyn to loose her beloved. But we are not out of this yet. The other error on my part was I originally wanted Hoffman to do an Overbearing attack. Would have been so much better than a random wrestling move but oh well.

My last thought was, if Black Cloak is not really dead, he would have to have to have been invisible casting an illusion spell from the corner of the two hallways. While not unlikely, at least it would mean he is not a specialist Necromancer for a specialist Necromancer cannot use Illusion spells

There is so much that might need to be discusses, I think we need a separate page for Drain recovery.

7-11 BOB

The Restoration talk on Drain Recovery is good but there are other more immediate topics to discuss as well.

The next session we pick up with the group in three different spaces. You have to get back together, explore the large room you are in, which happens to have a large stone sarcophagus with an arm sticking out right now {See Starting Third Time is Tradition for what you discussed in 2019}, determine if the person you killed is actually the one you intended to kill (which was up for debate if you wanted to kill him in the first place), and deal with healing those severely damaged other than level drained.

Then you have to also decide how to move forward in the immediate future. Pete will be returning in 2 days and you might have parishioners showing up earlier than that.

For the practical side of things all the character sheets will need to be updated for potential level loss or gain. Once we decide the adventure is over then there will be a larger chunk of Experience Points awarded as normal at the end of an story arc.

You also have to work out what to do with Skull Church now. Depending on the characters who might leave and how all things work out given what has developed it seems to me that it is likely for Branwyn to declare she is taking possession of the Skull church area for Dragon Fen. Then a new story arc about Adding Skull Church territory would involve the goblins and surrounding lands. Dealing with neighbors might be suited for another thread in Home Stories etc. Or it could very well end up in a story arc of Fourth Time Fool Me Again if you just leave this all behind and go on with other adventures.

Partially this is the high level characters having to do more influential and diplomatic tasks but also there is the high level over arching themes and planning for what we do as a group overall. I am obviously committed to running adventures here in the Craniate Wastes for the next year or two. You will have adventures outside of them, as evidenced by Court of Thanes but there will be many adventures to run where each player will have one character at the most. Some adventures will not require more than 5 or 6 characters so we will tackle all those issues over time. We have run split adventures before on the same night.

Everyone should be talking about what they want to do to help wrap up this Story Arc and what their vision of the future is and how it compares with others.

7/11 John

After serious consideration, there is no good reason to retire Hoffman and enough goods ones to keep him. As originally stated, his plans do not change much, I still expect him to stay at Skull church and maintain it for Branwyn as an extension of Dragon Fen. There is plenty of food at Dragon Fen to support a few people at Skull Church until it can support itself.

That being said, it answers part of the question on the Restoration question. Hoffman will not be leaving so he will not be restored. The next level or so is not worth the cost and even the final restoration to 9th would still short him almost 100,000 xp from where he was. The cost of retaking skull church is the main factor though.

The new side effect that affects the whole party and game itself is losing Uncle Foto. As higher level than Hoffman, he is no longer considered a henchman and will be an NPC unless someone takes him as a henchman.

Along with that comes the fact that as a player, I will have no character to play outside the skull church area, at least until anyone gets to Loosend and gets Miranda. Hoffman can get another henchman but I was hoping for that to be a goblin, so not much of a traveling partner.

7/12 Carissa

All these things I never considered when levels drop. I don't have an answer for Uncle Foto. Could he disappear into the background until he can be a henchman again? I think we can at least get Miranda back so you have someone to play. I feel a lot of this has to be figured out with Bob, though. Mostly just commenting to say I'm sad about Foto but hope there is a good solution to be found.

7/12 Lisa

Response to issues BOB brought up above:

I would hope that the corridor people would bring the Black Cloak body to the main room to show what they had done. Then we can have Howard and Snee attempt to identify the body.

Yes we need to explore the room with the same amount of caution as we did the church. Phyn and Lanek take the lead on areas with possible traps.

Branwyn and Hoffman can explain to the group about the crypt, what happened last time and what is still in there (a magic item remains at the very least). This is Tieraís guardianís crypt and we do not want the guardian to escape. Can two paladins team up to enhance their turning abilities? I am thinking the guardian would be a mummy. If either or both could turn it then it *should* return to the crypt. This is a serious high level Suomi person and in discussions for the future we can talk about how we deal with that. I am thinking Brer will have strong feelings about the issue.

The healing required is going to hit our 2 priests hard. If anyone wants, Branwyn can memorize up to 4 healing dream spells where the recipient sleeps up to 32 hours and would gain up to 48 hps during that time. It takes a dispel magic to break the spell so we can either just let the spell ride fir full duration or it would take a priest 1 spell to wake the character when they are full instead of many spells. I can do that for Indigo and Tiberius to save the spells and maybe put Sundown to sleep. This canít happen until the morning game time, but given how many hps need to be made up, it could be worth considering.

BOB Ė we told Pete to go home and tell his wife he would be sitting outside the church for 3 days telling parishioners that we are closed. So we should be good on that issue for the time being.

I think we are all good with Hoffman taking the church and Branwyn will work it with the Queen until she can grant it to him as separate lands. I had always planned on taking responsibility for the death/return of Black Cloak. This is not something I would want anyone else to have to take the consequences for. Weíll need to compile all the evidence of his wrongdoings to take with us. We should wrap the body to semi-preserve it for transport and treat it with respect.

Not sure how to do all this, we could split the group and some work on church cleanup while a few travel to Quellcon for the body return and potential declarations of war.

7/19 Lisa

Our planning discussion got cut off by an Internet shut down so I thought Iíd start a bit here.

Hereís how I see it. We canít really start renovating this place until everything is cleaned out. The church is done, we just need to make sure we can walk through the corridors without some undead popping out at us. It might also be nice to take care of the griffin and entrance.

The nice thing is that we are at the back and all we have to do is work our way forward.

Please add anything youíd like or mention things you disagree with.

First, the room weíre in.

  • I would like to comb through the rubble to see if anything survived the fire.
  • Search for secret doors in the large chamber
  • Leave the mummy alone until we can safely bring the Kipututto people in to consecrate it
  • Move the dead ghouls to the front of the pool (hopefully we can find Emeraldís dagger in process and then have Fireball the area to see how much damage we can do to the ooze and clean up the ghouls at the same time.

Second, secret rooms above the large chamber.

  • Emerald can change water into ink (or we can play Black Cloak Roulette with the inks on the desk) to mark where the secret doors are so we can move freely without checks. Weíll worry about permanent solutions in the renovation phase.

Third, check the time.

  • If we have time left before sleep, Phyn (if he comes back) and Indigo and Tiberius (and anyone else who wants to) can start the flipping of coffin lids until they get too injured or it becomes time to go to sleep. We have the basket so whoever opens the lid can hold the basket and the others can be a few steps back to kill whatever comes out.
  • Foto uses the rest of his healing spells to start working on Brer Necholas and Hoffman (86 hps to restore them alone)

Fourth, sleep.

Fifth, morning

  • Branwyn spells: Detect Magic, Healing Dream (up to 4 Ė was thinking putting the spare chars to sleep, Indigo, Tiberius, Sundown, maybe Lanek if Spring isnít here), Detect Secret Doors, Fireball
  • Pick up where we leave off from the day before without the sleeping characters cleaning our way back up to the church

Good enough to start?

7/19 John

Just to be clear, Foto can at the moment only cure 44 points max, if he does not use any spells for the few hours of exploring. In the morning, he will have a good deal more depending on what spells he might want to save for the day.

What we plan to do the day and a half as whomever is sleeping with the Healing dream is going to determine part of the healing plan, but I would not consider taking two of the most powerful fighters (Tiberius and Indigo) as well as the two that will be available for the entire game out of the fight. Unless we knew TMO was not going to be here, Brer is the most tactical advantage against undead. Indigo's speed and the additional fact that he is fully armored make him at least the 2nd most tactical in any indoor setting, especially fighting goblins which is the largest group of foes we can expect to deal with unless the talking goes real well.

Indigo and Tiberius are not down enough to take them out for the extent of the Healing Dream. While Foto does have a dispel to possibly wake up whomever is in the Healing dream, the shear number of spells saved by casting on Hoffman allows Foto to have everyone else nearly at full and to only be down Hoffman for the day and a third of the spell. Hoffman by the way is the lowest level fighter at the moment and least armored.

7/21 Lisa

So are you saying you want Hoffman put to sleep? I would never do that without your response btw. I hope we get to tomorrow in the next session. If you and so then Foto is not there on Friday, I think we need to let some characters take the load off the priests for healing. My preference was less tactical and more simply to make sure no one logging in would not have a character awake at all times (hence my guys volunteer)

7/21 John

Yes, I think it should be Hoffman put in a healing dream. Do what you want, I do have another character though he is semi NPC so maybe you can use him too. I think. I am referring to Foto.

7-22 BOB

Foto is John's character to play as of now. Once John decides if he will be playing Hoffman as a PC going forward (which I think he is 99% going to) then Foto becomes an NPC that I am in control of.

Or John still has the option to choose to run Foto as his PC and then Hoffman would revert to an NPC similar to Ilero. Joint control between myself and John.

7-23 John

Lets eliminate any doubt, I am keeping Hoffman.

7-23 BOB

Good to know John.

So at the end of this story arc and everyone is home is when Foto will go to his home and begin his new life of building and serving for the gnomish faithful in the Craniate Wastes. He will be around to consult and help out as needed but will be one of the well known NPCs that inhabit the Wastes.

7/24 TMO

Hmm... took me a few days to put the pieces together, and the dynamic is a bit different, but I'm not sure if Brer is high enough level to have Sunset anymore either. However, I believe the Brotherhood often works in pairs (although I'm not sure where that falls between convenience and rules).

9/2 Lisa

A couple thoughts on remaining tasks

Pool oí Crap:

  • Iím really not sure how to fix this. This is not my area of expertise. Suggestions would be helpful. Thoughts that do come to my mind:
    • Remove water (in large quantities) if anyone has that ability
    • Flood the pool to let it run off (hopefully into the moat) if anyone has that ability (and yes coming from someone working in the environmental field I fully grasp what a not so great idea that is environmentally speaking)
    • Get the parishioners to bring barrels and clean it out for us Ė not sure how long that will take


  • Thinking put the barrels of grey ooze into the moat to get rid of those. Then fireball away. Branwyn has 2 memorized, but can keep doing that as needed to get rid of it


  • The more I think about this, the more I am not thrilled about going outside in blue and just blasting the griffon to death Ė ethically speaking
  • Maybe we keep up the blue gear until we can go home and get Kenna and/or Shi to come and get it to go home to Carnak instead of just killing it?
  • I personally donít think itís a great idea to keep it. Any unexpected visitor gets killed until the unexpected visitor is strong enough to kill a griffon? Doesnít seem like a good option to me, but not my call.
  • John, thoughts?

Minor tasks to finish the day:

  • Dispel Magic or Remove Traps on Black Spell Book Ė not opening it until the next game day when Branwyn can memorize Unseen Servant to open it for us
  • Read magic on pink book
  • Check other wand, if there is another wand
  • Check on the horse in the barn to make sure it is still alive
  • Continual Light or Dispel Magic on the farmhouse
  • Bring Baron Ulgin down to visit Tiera
  • Maybe let them have a service (since they are all showing up) with the warning that they will need to come to an arrangement with Hoffman.

9/4 John

It is not my call, primarily because i will not be there, but I can share my thoughts

Griffon: Without Shi being there or wanting it, it should die. If we need to let it attack us, there should be a brave enough or fool hardy enough fighter to walk out without blue to get the fight started

Muck Pool: I was going to have Foto try Purify Food and Drink but other thoughts includes Metamorphise Liquids and if Crystal gets sick Foto cures her or plan C Branwyn telekinesis Black Puddin from moat to eat the sludge then fire it when it is done

Moat: Foto can help with the fire but then I think it is manual labor to fill

9/4 Carissa

It's been a week. A two thoughts for now before I dash off to another busy day:

  • Tell your church-goers that the moat muck water is blessed (because Branwyn was near it or something). They already believe this to a degree. As a gesture of good faith for the coming changes, you offer them this holy water to bless their home. Please take some, as much as you want, before you leave. It is our blessing to you.

Bam. Free labor to remove the moat muck water pool.

  • Griffon is hard because of ethics. But it's not an animal. But it is a monster. I forget how many levels you'd have to uplift Shi, maybe only two, but she does have Speak With Monsters (6th Level Spell, I believe). Buuuuuttt I have no clue yet how she's react to "Hey can you go talk with that monster that inadvertently caused your death?" Then again, maybe she'd get another snippet of closer when the monster replies, "Yeah. You looked delicious and I wanted to eat you?" OR maybe she's be more confused when it says something like, "I thought you were a baby griffon and I just wanted to bring you home to protect you."

I don't know. Could go many ways if you went that way. But, again, monster (which we found out the hard way), so the abilities of Kenna and Shi are limited to how they can help you there.

9/5 Carissa

Morning thoughts (afternoon?) now that I'm awake and have somewhat read through chat. I'll likely be adding some more later, so you can ignore this for now and check back tomorrow or read it multiple times.

  • Griffon: There were some good points brought up regarding it. Obviously, the easiest thing to do is to kill it. This is technically par on course for what happens when stupid people try to tame wild animals who no longer know how to be wild - safest thing for all is to put it down (which is why, I'll rant again, DON'T FEED WILD ANIMALS THEY CANNOT BE DOMESTICATED YOU JUST SENTENCE THEM TO DEATH). It sucks, but it is normally the best course of action. Okay. Brief rant over. Moving on.

IF we want to avoid it, there might still be a possibility. Back to my earlier rant I lied about being over with, you can find some compromise sometimes (wildlife sanctuaries, wildlife rehab, things of that nature). This is of course not real life, but point being, we could still find another, harder route to deal with it. It might not be an animal, but it has intelligence. It was trained. All animals can be retrained BUT the effectiveness is questionable. For real life example, I helped retrain a 40 yr+ macaw how to perch again but.... she only really does it for me. So success, but limited. Doable, maybe, but also dangerous. Who wants to go help train a grizzly bear? With the right facility set up you can make it safer, but, you know, that's an investment.

Do we want to try to rerelease it? Well, is it trained to kill anything not wearing blue ANYWHERE? Or just anything not wearing blue near the church? If we somehow get it to leave, are we just putting others in danger? If not, you can try more minor attempts to get it to go away - destroy the nest, make the area uninviting (like the disco lights they use for seagulls), spray it with water and wack it on the nose with newspaper when it keeps trying to come back. But where did it come from? Was it a nestling raised here? If so, it doesn't know where else to go.

Asking Pete about the griffon is key. I bet money they flew it up to those windows that night. If he doesn't want it dead, and we want to try to find compromise, we can always temporarily disable it while we figure things out with a wing clip. Have Snee command it to stop moving, clip some feathers, and now like many captive birds, it can't fly for awhile. Necessary for zoos and other similar institutions. Depending if it needs to fly, may or may not be viewed as cruel here.

Anyways, you guys asked enough questions to get me really thinking on this one. You can easily make me stop by agreeing to kill it, but if you want to avoid it, we can try to figure things out. I've got years of working with wildlife to argue with Bob about what might at least be realistically possible ;)

Pete has already said that the Master was the one who controlled the griffon. I am not opposed to the idea of resettling it, etc. but you need an in game actionable plan. Command is a one word action spell that lasts for one round. Most spells need a common language, etc. This might be an instance that make the group think of possibilities on how to rehabilitate or learn to live with other creatures as well going forward. Ultimately it is up to Hoffman what happens to the griffon currently.
  • Muck Pool: more a question for Bob as to if that water is really just... happy to sit there? Or is it more an ephemeral pond? Did they line it with stone? Wondering if it might be an easier answer of just opening a crack in the bottom to make it drain. Anyone else build moats and such when you were little only to find they lasted an hour at most? Yeah, a lot of soils and environments actually aren't set-up to hold water for long. But I'm just trying to find some loopholes and it's possible Bob will just say, "Good point this one holds water great though because I am DM and I say it does."
The muck pool and the moat are both constructed over the course of a few weeks. I will let you draw your own conclusions on the quality of the build.