Posts by alex

Announcing PrinceCon 36: Champions of the Light

Sixty-three years ago, a generation saved the world; now it is our turn to save them.

The name of Malchion, Mage-King of Sumerilon, is a byword for cruelty and evil. After a long and hopeless campaign by the alliance known as “Champions of the Light”, he was destroyed against all expectation. The great General Ironhewer forced a path through Malchion’s armies, and none other than Romulus Pendragon struck the fatal blow.  He led the Archmages and the High Priests and Priestesses of the Nine Gods to the final confrontation where they combined spells and prayers too deadly and dangerous to be risked again.  Though they destroyed their foe, all save Pendragon were consumed along with him.  In the wake of the devastation, only four of the Gods remain active enough in mortal affairs to have numbers of miracle-working priests.

The Champion’s children lived in relative peace. In turn, their children (and their adventurous contemporaries) were raised on tales of the grandparent’s exploits, wistfully imagining what they might have done in a generation called to heroism. But be careful of what you wish for: there have been a series of high-profile murders under circumstances that suggest dark magics, and word has leaked from the Justiciar’s office that each victim was or had a connection to a famous Champion.

 

General Ironhewer himself has come out of retirement to lead the investigation out of Hireling Hall, and is calling on adventurers of all races: Human, Elf, Dwarf, Fey, Hobbits, and even the Catfolk, otterlike Perrin and horselike Eponai to assemble at 5PM on the 11th of March, 2011 to help investigate these murders, and to discover what lies behind them.

 

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PrinceCon 36 will be held March 11-13, 2011 on the Princeton University Campus. The Simulation Games Union’s annual convention consists of tabletop roleplaying in a shared world, centered around a common goal. Rules are a variation of the Open-Gaming version (3.5SRD) of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, incorporating many ideas developed over the years by the SGU. Admission is $20, free to Princeton University undergraduates. Certificates are awarded for Strategic, Tactical and Role Playing excellence.

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PrinceCon 33 – Awards

Best Overall Player: Steve Wolfson; John Kliminski (runner-up)

Best Role-Player: Ben Baragona; Aaron Sheffield (runner-up)

Best Tactician: Greg Arzoomanian; Sang Lee (runner-up)

Best Strategist: Kate Oliver; Ken Silverman (runner-up)

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PrinceCon 33 Recap – York Dobyns

My 1st run was nominated for a collective “With Friends Like These” for the entire run. The hero hauling off and socking the party’s only cleric (for 8 pts nonlethal) for not healing his minor injuries before he put an unidentified ointment on them; the cleric not healing the hero because he was too busy enjoying being in melee in wolf-form; *another* hero telling the cleric “If he dies I’m going to kill you personally”; the cleric finally reverting to humanoid so he could do some healing and getting knocked out by attackers *because of* the nonlethal damage he’d taken earlier; the archer setting a new Princecon record for “friendly fire” damage by using Rapid Fire instead of Sharpshooter while firing into melee … the list just goes on and on.

My 2nd run discovered the Maze and did tolerably well for themselves although the Daglir cleric started gibbering when they found a corridor that intersected with a space they’d just mapped as containing a completely different room. They were careful, paranoid, and effective.

My 3rd run solved the Maze navigation puzzle and came back with a report about the Faerie/Beyonder battle several hours ahead of my planned schedule.

My 4th and final run came back with 7 out of a possible 10 militarily important magic items, heroically losing two characters in the process. (Actually I would say the “heroic” part was going *back* to the booby-trapped cabinet after their first attempt to unlock it set off 5 simultaneous Magical Traps in their faces: Room-filling Fireball; Chain Lightning in a 50% room-filling zigzag; Disintegrate (not Patterning, the 6th level Combat spell) and Flesh to Stone (Shaping) aimed at spaces the Chain Lightning didn’t catch; and a Cloudkill. They knew perfectly well there were at least 10 more traps left to trigger.)

So on a scale of 0 = Total Failure to 10=Overwhelming Success, I’d rate the players’ performance in my scenario at about an 8.

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PrinceCon 33 Recap – Tim DeCapio

My scenario was the Sentient Mnemovores (SM’s) and the evil mage Emirikol.

Critical Tasks to this scenario were:

1. Establish an alliance with the SM’s.
2. Find a way for the SM’s to avoid death.
3. End the influence that Emirikol had on them.
4. Close the weak point in the pathway that Beyonders could use to get to the Mortal Realm.

The player groups managed to achieve all the key plot points. More detail is given below:

1. One character: Christian (Ken Silverman) managed to bond with a SM. This allowed the players to learn much about them including how to extend the life of the SM’s by allowing them to ‘feed’ on intense memories of a host. The Players also experiment with the idea that a SM and a willing host might be able to extract animus without the experience drain (in the run, I had the player take NL damage {fatigue} instead). But they did not get much of a chance to see how effective this would be in bringing more Terra Cotta online.
The players also helped in establishing a link between a SM and an NPC. The SM was saved from Death the NPC was saved from a trap. The important plot point here is that the NPC: Chas is an 8th level cleric of Aru. This NPC is sure to understand and fight for the rights of SMs as a life form and not a construct (thing).

2. Most of this is discussed in number 1 above. However, with only 2 SM’s bonded more hosts would be needed. For plot purposes I had assumed that only a small number of SM’s were on the verge of death, but if the problem is not addressed, more SMs would die. My assumption is that the Aru cleric (Chas) will do everything to bring this to the attention of her church and as the bonding has a fair number of advantages, would hopefully be able to find hosts for any SMs that needed them.

3. The players as a group were satisfied to have defeated Emirikol’s henchmen and kill the evil SMs that had sided with him (these SMs had intended to steal and possess demi-human bodies – this would kill the host). One player (Tab Hunter/Sang Lee) however was not content to allow Emirikol to remain as a potential threat. He tricked Emirikol by giving him what he wanted most; his own body back, but then plunged a sword into his heart immediately. By the end of my least run, Emirikol’s influence had been ended and the big evil bad guy was dead.

4. The players ended the run by closing the weakpoint between the Faery world and the mortal realm. This was caused, by an object that did not belong on Faery that had been transported here years ago: the Crossroads tavern, meeting house for the Lamplighters Guild.

 

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PrinceCon 33 Recap : Overview

What Was Going On?

The player characters have been captured/lured into a SuperDungeon by the Faerie in order to have the player characters gain “Animus” (i.e., XP). The Animus gained is harvested by mnemovores in order to power a terra cotta army that has been constructed to combat the Invasion from Beyond; the terra cotta soldiers being, of course, immune to the natural mental powers of the Beyonders. The harvesting of Animus not only causes a player character to lose XP, but also to lose their short-term memory, thus the PCs are only aware that their party has recently entered Faerie and… that’s odd, the Dwarf Hero Jurgen has gone missing. And Kayla, the human priest of Mavors, suddenly has gray in her hair. The player characters left for Faerie in 989 current era (Mortal Reckoning). It is 1007 at the start of the Con.

Why are the Beyonders Attacking Faerie?

Around the year 450 current era (Mortal Reckoning), Faerie explorers discovered Ways to one of the lands controlled by the Beyonders. Initially entranced by the Beyonders’ high civilization, they almost give up the secret of the Ways to Faerie before realizing that the Beyonders have no interest in coexistence with other sentient beings. Instead, the Faerie adventurers daringly steal some “Beyonder magic” and flee back to Faerie. That magic is later used by the Faerie to create the mnemovores.

Why Didn’t the Faerie Just Ask for Help?

The Fair Folk really *are* callous, egotistical swine although not wholly evil (read some authentic “fairy tales”, and you realize it’s not such a stretch), and so when faced with the Invasion From Beyond they have no compunctions about kidnapping people from the Mortal Realm. Besides, if the Beyonders conquer Faerie they’ll go on to swarm through the contact points, intermittent though they are, and do incalculable harm in the mortal world as well.

After the Final Runs

On all fronts, the Beyonders were driven out of Faerie. In some battles, it was the timely arrival of demihuman-led squads of Terra Cotta Soldiers. In others, it was the arrival of militarily significant magical artifacts. There were at least two reports of a giant Terra Cotta Soldier that stepped over the nearby hills, wreaked havoc in the enemy lines, and then wandered off again. In all cases, it was clear that the mortals had helped turn the tide of battle. Moreover, the Beyonders were unable to sneak into the Mortal Realm during their retreat, and Faerie will stand as a buffer against further invasions from the lands Beyond. The Beyonders suffered terrible losses among their mind-controlled footsoldiers, drones, and scouts; however, none of the Warlords were destroyed or captured.

With the immediate need for more Terra Cotta Soldiers gone, no more mnemovores are being created — they are after all constructs and cannot replicate themselves. The fate of remaining mnemovores that have not reached sentience is not entirely decided, but because they cannot reach sentience without draining a demi-human and there are no forthcoming volunteers for this, it is likely they will be terminated. The sentient mnemovores are another matter. To survive, all they need is to feed on memories to live; a process harmless, and in some cases enjoyable, for the host. Given the mutual benefits that can be gained from bonding, finding hosts for the sentient mnemovores should not be an issue.

After congratulating themselves for having the foresight to bring such useful allies to the defense of the Faerie Kingdom, the Faerie Elders granted safe passage to the Mortal Realm, with guides to lead the Ways, for all demihumans in Faerie. Many left as soon as the victory feast was over, and some even before that, anxious to return home to try to resume the lives they’d left behind 18 years ago. Others decided to stay a while in Faerie. The Beyonder invasion destroyed much of the Faerie civilization, and the lands left in their destructive wake has turned wild and unexplored: just the sort of thing a few hardy adventurers, both demihuman and Faerie, were looking forward to.

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