Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge - 30 Days of Night (2007)

Synopsis: After an Alaskan town is plunged into darkness for a month, it is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires.

The Good: This is a fantastic vampire flick. If you're one of those people that complain about the Twilight-ification of vampires, then this is the movie for you. These vampires don't sparkle, they're goddamn sharks.The scene that the vampires swarm the town is one of my all time favorites. I just love the overhead shot.
The Bad: I can't complain, I love this movie.

Final Thoughts:  If you liked the movie, check out the original graphic novel and it's sequels. 

In Your Game: As I've mentioned before, isolation can be a great tool to inspire fear in a game. Trap your party in a harsh environment, force them to deal with a large and deadly force, see what happens.

New To Me Movies Watched: 20
Total Movies Watched: 34

Halloween One Shot - Rise of the Vampire

Monday night I got to game with some old friends. I ran a Halloween oriented one shot. Nominally I ran Mini Quest: Rise of the Vampire by Survive RPG. The adventure is a nice little side quest  for character's 1-3, that's available for free. I wanted to use some of the Dollar Tree terrain I picked up. I used 5th edition to run the adventure.

Because of other engagements I only had two players. Wirty played a dragonborn paladin of Bahamut (with the vengeance oath) and Stew played a half elf archer ranger (who had the entertainer background). Since there were only two of them I let them level to 3.

The adventure started as written. They are brought to Lord Greystone and tasked with putting his daughter to rest before she rises again. Other than the holy water, stake, mallet, and symbol, I didn't give them the fallen cleric's equipment. Carten Westsilver, the vampire's fiance', accompanied the party to the graveyard. From this point, my version is nothing like the original (until the party finds the vampire).

After scaling the gate the party were faced with five zombies rising from the earth. During the second round they heard crashing coming from another gate. On round 3 a zombie ogre crashed through one of the gates (had I had more players it would have been two).

My original plan was to have an encounter under each mausoleum. The encounters would have been as follows:

Tomb 1 - 5-10 zombies
Tomb 2 - 2 giant spiders
Tomb 3 - Teren Greystone (mad uncle mentioned in adventure, I turned him into a wight who also implied that he was a creepy molesting uncle)
Tomb 4 - 2 Ghouls and Castilla Greystone (vampire spawn)

After laying the dead to rest, the paladin used his detection abilities. He could sense the presence of evil undead and how strong the presence was. Because of this he bypassed the spider tomb (which he sensed no undead or evil from) and the zombie tomb (some evil undead). The other two tombs had strong evil.

The party first fought Teren Greystone. Apparently Castilla's fiance' didn't like the sexual creepiness of what Teren said because he crit him first swing. I'd hoped Teren would have killed Westsilver and brought him back as a zombie. This didn't happen. Also, despite hitting the paladin a few times, he couldn't life drain (the paladin kept making his saving throws).

Castilla was guarded by two ghouls. The party quickly dispatched them and figured out which tomb was Castilla's. The hopeless romantic bard told Westsilver that it must be he who lays his love to rest. He said he'd do what he had to do. The party removed the coffin lid and the vampire tried to charm the paladin. Her vampiric powers didn't work and he was unaffected. She pleaded for her unlife, but the party didn't care. Westsilver froze and was unable to stake her, so the paladin knocked him out with the flat of his blade.

Since the party was still quite strong I decided that they would have to fight Castilla. With a combination of colossus slayer and smite, they gave Castilla the true death.
The party returned to Lord Greystone (the unconscious Westsilver slung over the dragonborn's broad shoulders). The adventure ended as written... with the cleric's body missing!

The adventure was fun. The party blew through it, but it was campy and had a Hammer Horror feel to it.

One a related note, I found a few of the bone gazebos I wanted from the Dollar Tree last night. This is what they look like next to some of my skeletal minis.

Here's an addendum. This was one of the player's responses:

"I would like to point out a couple of things. Balasar knew that Westsilver would wuss out, and him and his ranger companion have had countless arguments about "true love." Balasar counts this incident as a point to his side of the argument.

Also, the final encounter was much more fun due to the circumstance in which it all happened, than Pun lets on. We were all laughing our asses off."

To Slay A Dragon

Current Adventure - The Lost Mines of Phandelver

Rolen Moonshadow (Remy) - wood elf ranger of the Emerald Enclave
Mojo ar Meisce (David) - human monk
Saarkson (Paul) - tiefling warlock and Zhent agent
Rogar Lighttalon (Adam) - dwarf cleric and member of the Order of the Gauntlet

Warning Adventure Spoilers (especially if you're in my group)

After resting under the (creepy) watch of the spectator, the party continued to explore the remains of the mine. They encountered more bugbears. Rolen attempted to deceive them into unbarring the door.

Rolen: (in goblin) "Help, I need in."

Bugbear: (in goblin) "Dwarf shit you do. We're all here."

The party broke the door down and dispatch the bugbears. From this room they made their way to the abandoned smelter (with it's skeleton and flame skull guardians). The flame skull put the fear of the gods in them with a fireball. After a tense battle the party defeated the undead. They decided to smash the skull fearing it's magic. Unfortunately if the skull isn't dowsed in holy water or disenchanted with other magic, it will reform in an hour.

An hour later the party are resting after an encounter with some ghouls and the skull reforms and returns. They defeat it again and the warlock decides to watch over it. The tiefling has made an arcana check to see what it is, but they dwarf doesn't ask to make a religion check to know how to dispatch it.

After clearing the remainder of the mine the party is attempting to climb back up to the entrance. This is after a long rest, so the now active flame skull hiding in the tiefling's backpack has all of his spells again. 

I got everyone with a point blank fireball cast from within the warlock's backpack. The look on the party's face was priceless. After dispatching the thing a third time I told the cleric that he might wan to try to figure out how to dispatch it for good. He made is check and the flame skull was finally defeated and laid to rest.

On the way back to town the party discovers the injured body of Rogar's cousin, Nundro. This is actually an ambush set up by the doppleganger and bugbears that would have killed the party last session. They party dispatched the villains, headed back to town, and celebrated (in the way adventurers do).

The morning after the group set forth to the ruins of Thundertree to drive away the green dragon that dwelt there. They quickly defeated the twig blights and giant spiders there. They avoided the zombies (deciding to take care of them after they defeated the dragon).

Rolen drank a potion of invisibility and the party crept towards the tower that held the dragon. Rogar, Saarksan, and Mojo attempted to parlay with the beast. When it became obvious that this wasn't going to work, Rolan let loose an arrow. He had advantage and this was the result of his rolls:

Double ones.


The fight actually didn't last as long as I thought. It was over in five rounds. The dragon was only able to use his breath weapon once (hitting only Mojo and Rogar). Mojo was KO'd, but Rogar made his save and because of his dwarven resistance to poison, took minimal damage. Mojo actually knocked the dragon down twice using his monk abilities (something that made David very happy). The dragon died and none of the party did. They're holding on to a scroll of revify, so I was really hoping someone would bite it.

We ended the session as the dragon died. Technically other than a few quick encounters in Thundertree, we've completed the Lost Mines of Phandelver. Next session we'll be hopping into Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge - Short Film Edition

Instead of doing a review, I thought I'd post some short horror films that I really like.

The Lady Killers (2014)
Sexy cosplay lady version of iconic villains. Cheesy, but fun.

Tuck Me In (2014)
Two sentence horror story turned into a 1 minute (extremely creepy) film.

Cargo (2013)
Slowly turning into a zombie, a father comes up with a plan to save his infant. 
Going to be honest, this one had me crying.
Dark Times (2010)
This fast past zombie flick is fantastic. The first person perspective is fantastic. By the time you get to the end, you'll be wondering what's next.

Season's Greets (1996)
This is the first appearance of Trick 'r Treat's Sam and a sort of prequel.

New To Me Movies Watched: 19
Total Movies Watched: 31

Monday, October 27, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge - Black Sabbath (1963)

Synopsis: This movie is a trio of atmospheric horror tales. One is about a woman terrorized by phone calls from an escaped prisoner of her past. Another is about a Russian count in the early 1800's who stumbles about a a family in the countryside trying to destroy a particularly vicious line of vampires. The other tale is about a 1900-era nurse who makes a fateful decision while preparing the corpse of one of her patients.

The Good: This trio of terror is quite entertaining. The telephone and nurse stories are quite sophisticated. The dialogue is top notch. While the vampire story isn't as high brow, it was was probably my favorite. The unique brand of vampire caught my eye.

The Bad: Some of the acting falls a little flat.

Final Thoughts:  This was a fun anthology. It's a shame that I've not watched it before.

In Your Game: Tim at The Other Side blog has already posted about this movie for the challenge and created new cinematic unisystem stats here.

New To Me Movies Watched: 20
Total Movies Watched: 33

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge - The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Synopsis: A group of five college kids are tricked into spending a weekend at a mysterious cabin in the woods. Soon they find themselves embroiled in a supernatural mystery that dates back to ancient times.

The Good: Everything. This movie is just fantastic. Every shot is perfect. The cast are phenomenal. It's wonderfully subversive too.

The Bad: There are many of the monsters I wanted to see but couldn't.

Final Thoughts: Check out these cool posts about the top 30 Cabin in the Woods monsters.

In Your Game: Check out the stats I did for the Unicorn here.

Attack                         Base Damage                Notes
Coffee Mug Bong        3 X Strength Bash         +3 bonus on attempts to pass it off as regular coffee mug

New To Me Movies Watched: 19
Total Movies Watched: 32

Succubus Sunday - Edition Changes

The succubus started out as a chaotic evil demon/tanar'ri. It remained this int he first three editions of D&D.

In fourth edition their alignments become evil and they were classified as devils. Designers thought their scheming fit more with devils than demons.

The succubus of 5th edition is a neutral evil fiend. Honestly given the nature of succubi, I think I like this the best. This makes them free agents that work with all types of fiends. Also, 5E doesn't differentiate between incubi and succubi. One can simply choose it's gender. Previous editions gave incubi separate stats.

What do you think of the changes? What's your favorite version?