Archive for November, 2012

X-Com with my friends (4.5)

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Dave and Caitlin have both been promoted. Dave to Support and Caitlin to Assault. It’ll be a week or two before either of them is back on their feet, I need to hire some more recruits. Australia is in a panic, as we didn’t have funds to put a satellite up, they’ve withdrawn which is bad news. We did get a on our first month.

X-Com with my friends (4)

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

We’re down to 6 soldiers, one of whom is still in the infirmary. Times are rough all over, 4 of them are going in to try and put a stop to an alien abduction site in Lille, France. Sadly we have no experienced soldiers, so it’s 4 Rookies, Caitlin, Dave, James and Highcove who will be going on Operation Shattered Hero.

The squad starts moving to cover, and almost immediately spots a pair of Sectoids. Caitlin is first to bring her gun to bear but misses, James manages to hit his target, and Dave also misses, but the remain x-ray flees out of sight of the squad.

Highcove slips around a van, flanking the fleeing Sectoid and taking it out. The rest of the squad moves up and goes on overwatch. The keyword of this operation is going to be slow and steady.

While James is reloading another pair of Sectoids burst out of a building down the street. Highcove takes a couple of shots and they scamper back into cover. Dave and Highcove both move into cover and take a few shots, but the x-rays are too far away and have excellent cover. Caitlin charges through the building to try and get a flank position and James moves up. The aliens return fire, wounding Highcove.

Caitlin opens the back door of the building but is unable to draw line of sight to either of the Sectoids, so when Highcove ducks into the building, she uses her Medipak on him.

James and Dave exchange more fire with the x-rays, and Dave takes a hit. There’s not enough cover here, and we’re almost out of medical supplies. Of course this is when Caitlin spots another pair of aliens coming up the side street. Dave manages to sprint into the building and heal himself, but one of the Sectoids manages to hit James with a mortal wound.

Highcove manages to take an alien down, but the plasma weapons can blast through the walls they are using for cover, and with nowhere to hide Highcove is blasted. Dave panics, firing wildly. Caitlin meanwhile has found a quite corner to reload. Moments later recovers enough to take out an x-ray that was attempting to flank their position and Caitlin makes a surprise attack from her position beside a freshly collapsed wall.

The remaining alien flees to the roof then hops back down and takes cover behind a mysterious alien device. A third pair of Sectoids shows up, and one runs right into the ruins of the store, diving behind a display rack at the last second as Dave and Caitlin spot it. It wasn’t quick enough though, and Dave takes it out, while Caitlin puts down the Sectoid hiding behind the machine. Hopefully there really is only one left.

This final x-ray is quite brazen, running into the store and standing on the fallen corpse of it’s comrade to fire directly at Caitlin, wounding her. Dave takes a shot but misses and Caitlin runs for cover to reload. The alien runs outside, and when Caitlin puts it down proves that it is in fact the last one and the mission is at least a partial success.

Memorial:

Anjoli KIA 3/5/2015; 2 Missions; 3 Kills

Will KIA 3/12/2015; 1 Mission; 1 Kill

Naeem KIA 3/26/2015; 4 Missions; 7 Kills

Patrick KIA 3/26/2015; 4 Missions; 2 Kills

Joanna KIA 3/26/2015; 3 Missions; 5 Kills

Duncan KIA 3/26/2015; 1 Missions; 2 Kills

Highcove KIA 3/26/2015; 1 Missions; 2 Kills

James KIA 3/26/2015; 1 Missions; 1 Kill

X-Com with my friends (3)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Operation Severed Jester

Our power generator is online, and some basic research is underway, but funding is short. Fortunately the Council has a mission for us. A high value target is under fire in Melbourne. If we can get the target out safely we will reap both financial rewards and support from the scientific community.

Sq. Joanna is out of the infirmary and eager to get back in the fight. Also on this mission are Sq. Patrick, Cp. Naeem and Rookie Duncan on his first mission. Not but a few minutes in and a new alien appears, flanks the squad and takes Naeem down. He was the most experienced soldier we had so his loss is felt especially hard. Fortunately the squad holds it together and the Royes lay down a hail of fire that puts the Thin Man out of our misery.

Our target is Anna Swift, once her area was secured we began moving her back to the extraction zone, but of course, more aliens started pouring in right about then.

So much for this being a low loss mission. As the squad approached the extraction zone, they holed up behind a fountain. A Thin Man popped up and took cover where Naeem had been crouching when he was killed, and proceeded to exchange fire with Duncan. Sadly the x-ray won the exchange and when Duncan went down, Patrick panicked and began firing wildly, glancing Joanna in our first case of friendly fire. The VIP we’re trying extract also panicked.

Patrick got things back under control and began advancing, but the x-ray took out Joanna, and then Patrick in short order.

This mission was a total bust.

Memorial:

Anjoli KIA 3/5/2015; 2 Missions; 3 Kills

Will KIA 3/12/2015; 1 Mission; 1 Kill

Naeem KIA 3/26/2015; 4 Missions; 7 Kills

Patrick KIA 3/26/2015; 4 Missions; 2 Kills

Joanna KIA 3/26/2015; 3 Missions; 5 Kills

Duncan KIA 3/26/2015; 1 Missions; 2 Kills

X-Com with my friends (2)

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Operation Rotting Ring

So we’ve done a little research, and and shot down our first UFO. We sent in our two experienced crew members Patrick and Naeem, and Joanna is still injured so next up on the roster were two green Rookies; Will and Wendy.

The squad moved in carefully on the crashed vessel, keeping to cover and covering each other carefully. However tragedy soon struck and a pair of x-rays both managed to score hits on Mirone killing him. Wendy was also hit, but the squad managed to neutralize most of the threat and she was able to get back to the relative safety of some covering wreckage where Patrick was able to fix her up w/ a medkit. The rest of the x-rays were dusted without further mishap. 

Wendy was promoted, and assigned to Assault class from her hospital bed, but the docs say she should be back on her feet in a couple of week.

Memorial:

Anjoli KIA 3/5/2015; 2 Missions; 7 Kills

Will KIA 3/12/2015; 1 Mission; 1 Kill

X-Com with my friends (1)

Monday, November 26th, 2012

It was the worst of ideas, it was the best of ideas. Classic Difficulty X-Com: Enemy Unknown on Ironman mode and every Soldier gets named after one of my friends. Initial squad of four is my Thursday Night gaming buddies, Anjoli (Assault), Joanna (Support), Naeem (Sniper) and Patrick (Heavy). All four made it through the first mission without incident.

The second mission (Operation Blind Future) was not so successful. Anjoli got ambushed early by some sectoids and killed three but was killed as well. Joanna was shot, and Patrick used his medkit to fix her up. Then she got shot again, and Naeem abandoned his sniping post to stabilize her before she bled out. Naeem was definitely the MVP, taking out 6 aliens, and was promoted to Corporal.

Memorial:

Anjoli KIA 3/5/2015; 2 Missions; 7 Kills

Switching gears for a short time

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

So I’m going to take a quick break from detailing the Increasingly Misnamed D&D Campaign, and cover some X-Com w/ friends for a week or two, by which time I should have built up a nice buffer of TIMD&DC recaps.

The Amulet of Indexing

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Part One

Not exactly a sexy sounding name for a magical artifact is it? Well here’s what it did, it told the bearer where he really was, and it also would let you discover the true location of anyone nearby. Hmm… that doesn’t make it sound any better. Well I certainly didn’t spell it out for my players explicitly. Indeed, it was several minutes of confusion before they realized that what the amulet was telling them was that where they were was somewhere else. 

Now I’ve hinted at this before (and talked about it w/ several people IRL) but at this point my players still didn’t know that D&D was simulation took keep their brains stimulated for the duration of the space voyage while their bodies were in cryostasis. It would have made it a lot easier to explain what the amulet did, which was cross-index in-simulation location with cryostasis chamber locations. More simply, it would allow them to wake up from the simulation to the “real world.”

It also had some basic magic properties, I think maybe an Amulet of Protection, and maybe something else besides. I may have mentioned I like creating custom magic items, and I doubt this was an exception… but I don’t remember super clearly, and my “notes” while never clearly organized, aren’t easily accessible at the moment.

Memory Hazy, this post may be revised

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Part One

So obviously the actual encounters the party had in this dungeon weren’t too memorable, because I don’t remember them… overshadowed I guess by the party figuring everything out. I seem to remember it involved a bit of undead/horror type monsters. Again they skipped most of the encounters that were prepped, but there were still puzzles.

And of course they solved the puzzle, acquire the amulet, and that’s when I enacted standard DM Dick move 34a. The secret door they came through closed, and it was a one way door. Now, I wasn’t really being that much of a jerk, I know for a fact one of the characters has some pretty busted stealth, and I was actually kind of hoping to highlight that and have him sneak back around and open the door from the other side or at least fight one last encounter against some undead and then brute force a solution… but no need. One of my players had breaching armor, which allowed him to teleport through the door, and open it from the other side.

Hidden in plain sight

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Part One

So I missed a few updates due to a queuing issue. Oops. It’ll probably happen again. /:

Anyways, the party had a map of the ruins, but it wasn’t a complete map. It didn’t list the location of the monsters, though they did know where the amulet they were searching for was located. So I’m going to take a break from strict recounting of events, and talk about DMing techniques for a bit.

See for this bit of the campaign I gave the players an invisible choice. If they solved the puzzle they could make much easier progress, if they didn’t spot the clues they’d have to brute force it which would take longer and be considerably more difficult. In this case the “clue” was some weird formatting on the map. Specifically a dead end passage that cut out a good 2/3rds of the route to the amulet if it wasn’t a dead end.

Had this been a traditional dungeon crawl, where they were mapping as they went along this little oddity in the map would have gone unnoticed until they’d already traveled all the way around the long way, and the short cut wouldn’t have helped at all. Unless they’d made some passive perception checks or something. 

On the other hand, having a full map the perception check was on the players’ part, not the characters’. Fortunately the players DID notice the oddity and decided to investigate. This is where it breaks down of course. Is this too meta? Unfair? If the players hadn’t noticed, should I have given an insight check (passive or secret) to suggest it? 

This being D&D, if they hadn’t noticed, I’d have let them push on and solve the majority of the dungeon, instead of being able to traipse through and skip a good portion of it. I wouldn’t have been sad, because while they may have missed my clever little clue, they were still fighting all of the encounters I’d prepared.

However they DID notice, and even though that meant they skipped more than half of the dungeon, it didn’t really make me sad either because that meant my clue was obvious enough. It wasn’t too obvious though, because they spent a good bit of time discussing their plan of action before they even notices the ambiguity.

What do you think? Rewarding cleverness with short-cuts? How game breaking is it to leave puzzles for the players rather than the characters?

And we’re back to Chronological Order for the moment

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Part One

So: Djinni diplomacized, Kanks Captured, the party headed to the City, did some investigation, sold (or at least appraised) various dragon bits, or turned them into magic items. The eventually sussed out the location of the Ruins and headed out to plunder them.

Woe unto the party, no simple dungeon crawl this! Arriving at the ruins they find a ancient temple to some unimaginable horror. Monstrosities from beyond time and space carved on the giant onyx blocks that make up the pyramid. The works. Except, the blasted thing is being disassembled. Just like all those pics we’ve seen of the pyramids being constructed by thousands of slave, except in reverse. Apparently the Shadow King wants this eldritch ruin for his own purposes. Regardless, slaves, guards, and other minions abound, making it nigh impossible for the party to just waltz in, kill everything and loot the artifact they’re looking for.

No real problem though. They’ve got a master of disguise (aka a doppleganger) and balls of steel. They approach a harried looking task master, announce that they are a surprise inspection from the Shadow King himself, demand that their mounts are fed and stabled and basically bluff their way in.