Saturday, April 26, 2008

CotAB: Entry 8 (a fighter's fall from the faith)

So I'm in charge of letting the public know about the BIG news! If you'd direct your attention to the left side of our blog layout, you'll notice that through some sort of wizardry I don't understand, we've added a live Ustream link! What this means is that at specialized times throughout the week, you -- the blog reader, can actually watch us as we conquer the Curse of the Azure Bonds (and whatever adventures come after that). Simply click on the viewscreen underneath where it says "watch us play live!" Or, if you'd rather, direct your browser to Of course, we do need to be playing, I mean adventuring, at the exact time you attempt to view us. We actually rest a lot during the week. I'd say we really only "adventure" for maybe a couple of hours a week. Anyway, good luck.

Moving on!

Whilst backtracking, the weirdo at the Standing Stones mentioned something about something green in the northwest.

This led us right back into Shadowdale. Something we didn't know about the town until now is that it has a weird set of caverns similar (pretty much identical) to the ones at Essembra. What gives with these Dalelands towns? What made these people decide to build all their towns right next to a series of caverns crawling with dark elves? I would think that an adequate water source would be a better priority.

Anyway, even more weird is that we met up with that same party of adventurers from the last set of caves! At first we were intimidated, but I think we now realize that they're simply incompetent. They keep rushing from town cavern to town cavern, but they never seem to clean them out! It's like they just want to beat us to the destination and not the objective. They must have delusions of The Amazing Race.

Here's the non-interesting first level. Note that in this convenient version I jotted down the directions and number of steps that lead directly to the second level.

The more interesting second level had a whiny guy complaining about some captured chick.

Here's another awesomely crafted map. Notice my directions directly to the chick in trouble. I also provided supplementary directions to the next level and to guy who told us about the chick. It's actually weird, now that I look at the map. We must have walked right past the captured girl and her captors to go the the long way 'round to where the dude was. The guy who told us about the girl was far more out of the way than the girl herself.

A lovely maiden is being menaced by dragons? And you need to ask me if I want to save her? That's the exact scenario I envisioned when I first decided I wanted to become an adventurer! The question, really, is quite rhetorical.

I don't usually get pumped about the magical stuff, but we did pretty awesome magic work on the dragons. Disposo cast a "hold monster' spell on the dragon in the front. Since it was so big, the other dragon couldn't get out from behind it and then us fighters took potshots until it died. Then we mercy killed the one in front. Dragons are majestic creatures. They deserve mercy killings (and potshot killings too, I guess).

Demurely? I just looked that one up. It's not nearly as sexual a word as I was hoping it might be.

The fact that we simply teleported back to town really takes for granted all the hard work I put into map making.

What's the deal with this guy who gave us the reward? Is he the same guy who "expired" in the cavern, because it's more than a spitting image. Anyway, he (Father? Handsy uncle, maybe?) gave us 4000 platinum pieces for bringing the chick back. A very tidy sum. He probably assumed that we'd say "our reward is that justice is done!" and then be off. The money's nice, though. We took it. It's enough to resurrect three people. It sure came in handy when we took it to the temple to revive the three of us who actually did die down there.

Why were we carrying around a robe of powerlessness for so long? That's just trouble waiting to happen. Of course a better question would be what type of person would be willing to pay 500 gold pieces for a robe of powerlessness?

I really don't know if this elfin chain mail is that important. All I know is that I'm pretty sure most of us wear medium or large sized tunics. I doubt any of us can fit into "elfin."

After our little break back in the town we opted to head back into the caverns. We're like totally addicted! It would probably be a good idea to continue getting rid of our bonds, but the caverns just need to be spelunked! Anyways, on the third level we found a couple more "burly" dark elves. They're tough (108HP, -7AC!), but once again our magic-users simply disabled them with hold spells. Maybe I should've studied magic.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CotAB: Entry 7 (Pilgrim's progress)

I traded my blogging spot with Silver this week. I told her my blogging hand was mildly cursed and I wasn't able to pass the proper initiative.

In truth I just knew that there would be less to write about this entry. I couldn't be bothered with all that crap that went down last time.

After spending some time in Essembra going over all our extra scrolls, we left town, not really knowing where to go next. While backtracking back to the Standing Stones we happened upon a cave. That's it. Just a freakin' cave.

Strangely we passed another group of adventurers on the way out. I really wanted to talk to them more. Who were they? Did they have cursed bonds to get rid of too? If so, are they one step ahead of us? Will they give us advice on our next quest?

Anyway, the cave. We went in. There were dark elves and even some black dragons in there. We killed them.

It was also a good time for those 10th level show-offs, Silver and Disposo to try their new "cloud kill" spell. As you can see, it did a fine job of knocking out Rex and Chlorine.

Here's a wonderful map. I thought I'd make it fun for all the colorblind people out there. The red dots represent fake doors while the green dots represent exits.

Pretty good map, eh? We got an impression from that other group that there were more than two levels, but we didn't find them. That first level was plenty big anyway.

That's it for now, except for something that troubles me so. Actually it's three things. I'm a cleric/fighter/magic-user and I'm very good at all three. So why come I got such variance in my levels? I'm a 5th level cleric, an 8th level fighter and a 6th level magic-user. Most people aren't renaissance men like I am, so you probably don't understand. It's a very strange feeling to have the three aspects of my manliness split in three unequal ways like that. I think it's starting to make me walk funny.

Friday, April 11, 2008

CotAB: Entry 6 (Silver the Enchantress hates Akabar Bel Akas)

It's unfortunate that Haptooth didn't really have a decent inn. By the time we got there, I needed a shower pretty bad. I thought I earned one after going through the caves, but we still had the "Red Wizard's Tower" to traverse. Weird how we went from the caves immediately to the top of the tower. It would have made a whole lot more sense if we started at the bottom and worked our way up. Alas.

Even more unfortunate that Haptooth didn't have any form of weapons shop. Somehow, I dropped my dagger way back before Essembra. Didn't realize it was gone until it was too late. In the meantime, I had to free Hap, traverse the caves and then the tower -- three major campaigns -- without a weapon. Couple that with no armour and the monsters have a sitting duck on their hands. Surviving this part of the adventure has been an adventure in itself.

So anyway, we started making our way down the tower and the first guy we run into is some "burly dark elf lord." I had no idea dark elves could even be "burly." Good thing he was at the bottom of the stairs, because it still took our combined momentum to get past him -- no thanks to that douche Akabar. We kept calling him "Admiral Akabar" and he didn't even get it. He kept thinking we were complimenting him. If only he were as pretty as the real thing. Anyway, the guy has this REALLY annoying habit of staying back and casting fireball spells after we've already engaged the enemy in melee fighting. Dark elves are usually immune to fire, but we aren't. Usually all Akabar succeeds in doing is lighting us all on fire. It's hard to fight when you're wearing a cloth robe, you're on fire and you don't have a weapon.

Once we finally hit level 4 of the tower we were able to play the fun "trial of the sphere" game. Some red wizard played it with us. We didn't get a good look at him, but he wasn't Dracandros. I'm not sure if it's Dracandros's tower, or if it's this guy's. All I know is that according to Journal Entry 18 from blog entry 4, we're simply looking for the "red wizard," so I don't know. Anyway, the wiz told us that we needed to will this sphere toward him and he'd try to will it toward one of us. Whoever willed it to the other person first would win! He also said that only mages could control the sphere. For some reason Rex jumped ahead of me to play. Reddy must've been lying about the whole mage thing because Rex (with his weak, boyish mind) somehow willed that sphere right into the wizard's face. The wizard and the sphere exploded, so I didn't even get a chance to play.
On the way down to the next level, some other dark elf lord demanded some dinero before he'd let us pass. We refused, but he disappeared as an illusion before we had a chance to fight him or turn him into the authorities for bribery.

On level 3 we had a wonderfully cuddly time with the dark elves' pet owl bears. During combat they even tried to hug us! I'd think it adorable were I not a hardened adventurer. They also made fabulous shields against the dark elves.

Speaking of fighting dark elves, we must have killed like 30 or 40 dark elf magic-users. Why come none of them, not a single one, was carrying a dagger. They had all sorts of mystical elfy weapons that Rex, Derf and Pil couldn't get enough of, but I still wound up with no weapon. About this time I just took Disposo's dagger, claiming seniority. He didn't complain and he had no right to, because he got the armour bracers.

The description to our next battle was downright terrifying.

Much of what was done next was getting the map up to date. I'm using a new cartography spell, so I'm pretty proud of the map results. It's way better than Rex's last map anyway.

Notice the place where we found the exploding paper, the weird veggie lab and the bedroom.
We took something out of the pool in the lab. Derfindor grabbed it. He said it felt like a head. Then he brought it out of the water and put it immediately in his pouch. He nor we didn't get a good look at it. I wonder why not.

Wyverns. They use the "poison" spell, which is cheap. If a spellcaster pulls it off it means instant death. That doesn't make any sense at all. One of the traditional attributes of poison is that it takes time to work through the system. HP shouldn't go down immediately, it should be slow and agonizing. Akabar never had a chance to be poisoned. I swear to you I never even saw the guy move his feet in battle once. His battle strategy is to just stand there and wait for something. Sometimes, sometimes he'll throw down a stinking cloud, but it's usually in our faces. Anyway, Chlorine learned from the wyverns. Poison is a great quick, efficient spell.

Rushing outside the tower, we finally found Dracandros. Can you believe this guy? He brands us, forces us to do things against our wills, frames us and then has the gall to say crap like "You have dogged my steps for too long..." Time to die Dracandros.

The guy was surrounded by dark elf fighters and efreeti. I never dreamed there were so many genies in existence. Maybe now there are none in existence. I threw a bunch of confusion spells at them. It made things easier, because after the dust had settled, all the efreeti were gone and two of the dark elves were so confused they were fighting for us. It gave us a chance to surround Dracandros. Akabar was a waste, though. He cast an invisibility spell on himself and then did what he always does -- stand there. He could have used the spell to slip past people and do some damage, but he wound up completely wasting it. I swear I'd have a lot more respect for him if he'd just run away or not bother casting any spells at all than waste them like that.

So I guess I could've spent time detailing how we wailed on Dracandros, but my annoyance with Dracandros just weighed too much on my mind.

We wailed on Dracandros.

We could've then gone straight back into Hap, but detoured back through the caves to make sure we didn't miss anything. The salamanders let us take some of their stuff, which was nice. We literally had to dip our hands in lava to get it, so there was some give and take.

We went back to Haptooth and unfortunately, they still don't have a weapons shop, so we decided to backtrack back to Essembra when:

Good freaking riddance! The guy stabbed me more than he hit any monster.

Right as we left Hap, all the dark elf weapons dissolved in the sunlight. No big whoop. We were only a day away from Essembra, but just outside of town, we hit a nightmarish snag that I wasn't hoping to hit. Remember that Crimdrac dracolich who gave us a free ride to the tower roof in the last entry? Well, for some reason he found us and for some reason he didn't give us a chance to surrender this time. Strangely, he was mad at us for killing his "tutor." What's up with that? Dracandros the wuss was the mentor of Crimdrac the badass dragon skeleton? Must've put an inferiority complex spell on the beast.

We hid from him for like a half hour before we realized that he was impeded by the trees. Disposo and I simply hurled about six fireballs at him and the skeletal softie went down like a cat.

I'm gonna miss that guy.

Essembra was so wonderful! I bathed at the classy inn before we all went to get leveled up. That was another thing that was missed about civilization. We racked up a shload of XP we weren't even getting credit for. I am now a level 9 magic-user, or more officially, a sorcerer. A sorcerer sounds way better than the level 8 designation of "warlock" which I hated because I'm not male. Here's hoping our newfound "cloudkill" and "hold monsters" spells come in handy.

When we went to have our found stuff identified we discovered that half of our weapons and armour was good stuff we weren't even using! Plate mail +3, shield +2, glaive +1, ring of protection + 3, bracers AC 2, ring of wizardry (I don't know what that is, but it sounds awesome), wand of fireballs, wand of ice storm, broad sword +2 and a short sword +1, gauntlets of dexterity, etc. See, we were afraid of using any of that stuff for fear that some of it may be cursed and would stick to us (it's happened to us before). Turns out just about everything was clean except for the "robe of powerlessness" (why would anyone name something that?). Oh and also, Disposo claimed the +2 staff of Dracandros. And I still have the 2 gold piece dagger that I took from him.

Just when most of the fun of our trip to Essembra had deflated, I heard this in the tavern:

Monday, April 7, 2008

CotAB: Entry 5: (overmyer dead body!)

So... is it, like, my turn to blog? Sorry. I guess it's been my turn for a few weeks now. Sorry! I had no idea it was my turn. My bad.

Well, when we last left our awesome pumped-up heroes (us), they (we) were about to kill a freakin' genie (it).

Sorry. That third person thing isn't working well. I'm new at this! Everyone else in the party is older than I am. They all had this sissy training to do whatever they do. That's why I'm the only one without a saggy bottom. So I got no schoolin' and as a fighter, I'm doin' most of the work. Cheap.

Tangent. My bad. Sorry.

As I was saying, we had a barn full of genie to wail on. We did. Hard and totally. After cruising through the town knocking off some dark elf goons, we discovered (actually the internet told us) that the genie has less protection if we take it to the streets first. Genies usually give out three wishes. It's a travesty that we don't get any wishes at all when we actually kill one.

The town we saved seemed to give off a lot of the same vibe as Santo Poco.

Haptooth wasn't finished with los banditos oscuros just yet. The dark tower we think was mentioned by (I think) the old man from scene 24 (Derfindor briefly mentioned him in the last entry) still teemed full of treacherous villainy. We were set to head straight off to the tower, but for some reason Admiral Akabar led us through disposing of the treacherous villainy of a nearby cave first.

The way was guarded by another old man from scene 24. Or maybe he was the same guy. I really have no idea. All I know is that we totally made that Holy Grail reference in our last entry before any of us came to the following exchange:

Did we mention these elves are dark? I always thought dark elves were actually orcs. Maybe I'm getting real-life mixed up with what I see in the movies.

Some cave inhabitants were nice enough to warn us of the inherent dangers of a cave full of all manner of treachery. At this point we really didn't know who Crimdrac was. All we knew was we needed to get to the tower to find some hotshot red mage. Other variables were extremely unwelcome at this point.

Eventually we bumped into Amanda Overmyer and she was totally nice enough to help out.

After speaking with Amanda, many of the dark elves and salamanders left us alone. We also knew exactly who we were headed to: Dracandros. So Crimdrac took us completely by surprise.

You know what? We were freaking tired by this point, so (actually I'm pretty sure it was Pilgrim's idea) we totally surrendered. I'll tell you what, even though this freaking dracolich is the stuff of my direst nightmares, he's a pretty cool guy. Pretty much he just nudged us up the stairs to the wizard's tower. No questions asked! See kids? Sometimes it pays to take the path of the sissy.

I worked really hard on this Haptooth and Cave map so don't mock it!

I could go into detail about the events that happened next, but I may as well simply copy the literal version of what happened. No reason to fudge the details.

Tyranthraxus? Feh. Can't believe his name is in writing and everything. We already killed the guy. Why we gotta deal with that bugger twice? Perhaps I should've waited around in Tilverton instead of doing that whole Phlan adventure. Whole thing may have been a complete waste of time. Better yet, maybe Silver and Chlorine should have taken my advice and torched the whole castle in Phlan. Maybe it would've prevented Tyr from making another appearance. Hopefully we don't have to deal with this Mistinarperadnacles guy. It took me long enough to figure out how to say "Tyranthraxus."

Attack the dragons? We may be brave, but we got no death wish! Except for maybe Chlorine.

So that's my entry! Hope you enjoyed it! As you can see, we're right in the middle of some life and death shiz right now, so maybe I'll have a chance to blog again, if we're lucky.