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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


See, part of the problem here is that the... non-PC NPC's are given basically no characterization in the modules. They're just hollow puppets that the GM has to more or less flesh out from nowhere, there are no stage directions like: "Berem clutches the gem and shivers as he stands in the shadow of the re-risen Temple of Istar." Like wise for Kronn, Serinda, Alhana, so many others. I mean, gently caress, even for Ariakus and Kitiara the most personality we get described is essentially how often they get laid. Toede, Flamestrike and Fizban are the only NPC's that get enough characterization that I'd wager more than 50% of GM's would roleplay them in a similar manner.

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Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




While I know I've read some of the Dragonlance books I don't think I read all of them because I don't remember any of that. Granted I think I only read like halfway through the second trilogy or something. Been like a decade since anyway so hell if I can remember.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


PurpleXVI posted:

I was honestly considering going through the 22-something other modules and seeing if any of them were interesting enough to review. Like, the original DL series is worth a review because it spawned a literal huge franchise of the time, and a good few of us read those books and enjoyed them as dumb teenagers without knowing the even worse content behind them, plus as an artifact of terrible game design from the AD&D era.

If anyone has any specific suggestions, though, I'd prioritize those. The Key of Destiny sounds like a good suggestion, but so do the suggestions by Everyone. I'll probably start with Everyone's suggestions, since it feels like it's likely a smaller commitment.

I also play up the "oh god not loving this poo poo agaaaaaaaaaaaaaain"-part, I'm not about to die from these reviews, it's just a bit of theatrics to add humour, I absolutely enjoy doing these reviews as long as people post replies and are entertained by them in some way.

I have a soft spot for the DL2ed trilogy because the GM let me bring in my Tallfellow halfling psionicist/thief character, Michael Dobson. Dobson was originally from Greyhawk and outside of adventuring, was a freelance investigator. He was also somewhat cold and ruthless when it came to achieving party objectives, though not actively evil. But the best part of playing him was getting to play him matching the accusatory good dragons sneer for sneer.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

FoldableHuman posted:

From the point where the team splits up at Tarsis in book 2 they're not together again until the epilogue, with each of the splits further splitting (or dying) and some re-joining at the Blood Sea.

After Sturm's death at The High Clerist's Tower and Laurana routing Kitiara's army with the dragon orb, Laurana goes on to become the Golden General, leading the Whitestone forces with Dragonlances and a fleet of silver dragons on an overwhelmingly successful campaign of reclamation all the way down the big important river.

Over on the Blood Sea Tanis shacks up with Kitiara, pretending he's defected, when she spots him in a crowd during some slapstick. After a couple days of banging her he meets up with the rest of his team, including the twins, and tells them that Kitiara is looking for some dude with a green gemstone in his chest. That dude, Berem, just so happens to be the first mate on the ship that they were already planning to hire to cross the Blood Sea and escape dragonarmy territory. Kitiara catches on, chases them with Skie, who sinks the boat. Raistlin yeets himself out of there, leaving Caramon to die, teleporting to the big important library in Palanthas at the cost of almost dying, and doesn't meaningfully show up again until the very end.

Kitiara (who has cut a deal with Lord Soth) assumes Tanis is dead and sends a message to Laurana saying he's a captive to trick her into an incredibly obvious trap "prisoner exchange" for some mid level dragonarmy officer no one cares about. Laurana falls for it and is taken to Neraka to be an offering to Takhisis so Kitiara can curry favour and hopefully take Ariakas' place, and then give Laurana to Lord Soth who has a super hate boner for elven women.

The stuff at the bottom of the Blood Sea is mostly Berem's backstory and Caramon being super mopey because Raistlin left him to die, and Tanis being super mopey because he feels like he's a bad leader (and he is, so, like, fair.)

They get out of the Blood Sea, meet up with most of the rest of the party, learn about Laurana's capture, then the floating citadels show up.

The team rides some copper dragons half way to Neraka before Fizban and his ancient gold dragon Pyrite force them to land, then Fizban leads them through the back woods to Godshome, where Flint dies of a heart attack and Fizban takes his body into Godshome and, no joke, Tanis and Tass are just like "huh, that's suspicious."

Tanis, Tika, Caramon, Berem, and Tass then sneak into Neraka in disguise trying to pull a Wookiee prisoner transfer maneuver, Kitiara spots Tanis *again* and he swears that he'll be actually loyal to her if she lets Laurana go. Everyone else gets arrested.

During the big meeting of the Highlords Takhisis half-manifests and is ready to enter Krynn. Tanis is going up to Ariakas to swear fealty when Paladine intervenes and dispells Ariakas' thirty layers of protective spells, and Tanis stabs him and takes the crown of power.

In the dungeon Berem hulks out with green gem man madness, breaks out of the prison, and shreds his way through the undercity to the broken altar where the gem came from, with Caramon in pursuit (Tass and Tika get lost and separated). Raistlin pops up wearing black robes, webs Berem, and gets a whole long conversation with Caramon about all their baggage and how he's supposed to stop Berem on his queen's orders.

Up in the hall Tanis puts on the crown instead of giving it to Kitiara, demands safe passage for him and Laurana, but Laurana grabs a sword and attacks Tanis. This knocks the crown off, at which point all hell breaks loose as every Highlord scrambles for it.

Caramon attacks Raistlin, who kicks his rear end. Raistlin goats about how powerful he is, swears he'll be the most powerful being ever once Takhisis is gone, lets Berem go, then nukes a small army of Draconians who were chasing them.

Berem spears himself on the broken altar, breaking the curse and sealing Takhisis's portal. She's still the load bearing boss of the temple, so everything starts to collapse.

Raistlin leads Caramon out of the dungeon, Tass and Tika are wandering the streets, Tanis and Laurana somehow escape the throne room, and in various ways the groups all regroup. Raistlin ports out before Fizban shows up, who then reveals, dun dun dun, he's actually Paladine (which readers have known since Huma's Tomb).

In the epilogue to the epilogue Raistlin claims the cursed Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, setting up for Legends.

Since the module came out a full year after Dragons of Spring Dawning, I would assume the point of randomizing the ending to make it different from the book, purely for the sake of not being the same. I would also imagine the writers assumed they were creating replay-ability, despite most of the endings being different without distinction.

It's actually Raistlin who dispels the protections around Ariakas but the rest of this seems pretty accurate

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



Kaza42 posted:

It's actually Raistlin who dispels the protections around Ariakas but the rest of this seems pretty accurate

D'oh

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


Kaza42 posted:

It's actually Raistlin who dispels the protections around Ariakas but the rest of this seems pretty accurate

Ok I was about to comment on it being pretty bad that divine intervention just saves the day and kills the villain.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Someone should unfuck the DL series and run it as a Fellowship campaign.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

PurpleXVI posted:

See, part of the problem here is that the... non-PC NPC's are given basically no characterization in the modules. They're just hollow puppets that the GM has to more or less flesh out from nowhere, there are no stage directions like: "Berem clutches the gem and shivers as he stands in the shadow of the re-risen Temple of Istar." Like wise for Kronn, Serinda, Alhana, so many others. I mean, gently caress, even for Ariakus and Kitiara the most personality we get described is essentially how often they get laid. Toede, Flamestrike and Fizban are the only NPC's that get enough characterization that I'd wager more than 50% of GM's would roleplay them in a similar manner.

The 2e version tries to rectify this by giving several big-time NPCs (and DMPCs) various quotes on likely events and talking points. It gets a little heavy-handed, sometimes reading like passages from a novel even for the scenes and adventures which were never featured in the novels proper. One rather amusing one is when Verminaard knocks Eben Shatterstone into the big dwarven temple pit and goes "wow that's deep!" or something to that effect.

But it does provide a good means of getting in their head. Also D'argent/Silvara is thin-skinned and ends up crying all the time whenever Derek Crownguard or the Knights get suspicious of her knowledge and powers (although it's possible to visit Southern Ergoth before Icereach or even Thorbadin, so there's a chance PCs may meet her without the right DMPC convos even).

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


mllaneza posted:

Someone should unfuck the DL series and run it as a Fellowship campaign.

If you can unfuck it, you can probably do better on your own.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 12:24 on Jan 31, 2020

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Libertad! posted:

But it does provide a good means of getting in their head. Also D'argent/Silvara is thin-skinned and ends up crying all the time whenever Derek Crownguard or the Knights get suspicious of her knowledge and powers (although it's possible to visit Southern Ergoth before Icereach or even Thorbadin, so there's a chance PCs may meet her without the right DMPC convos even).

Wait wait, wait wait wait wait wait, tell me more. Does that mean they took it off the loving rails? Opening up the world would do a lot to unfuck my issues with this module chain.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



It really is incredibly weird to me to see what Dragonlance was actually like when, for me, Dragonlance was exclusively this three-book series about dwarves solving dwarf problems in, from what I can tell, was the least important part of the setting's prehistory.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.


same but minotaurs instead of dwarves

plus that one anthology of short stories that has the draconian logistics unit that goes rogue when the Dragonarmy doesn't want the bridge they made

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Tuxedo Catfish posted:

same but minotaurs instead of dwarves

plus that one anthology of short stories that has the draconian logistics unit that goes rogue when the Dragonarmy doesn't want the bridge they made

Legitimately draconians are the best thing about Dragonlance.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




It's kind of weird how 50-75% of dragonlance seems to revolve around people being horny for this lady in blue armor.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Now I want someone to describe Star Trek to me after only reading the Klingon focused EU novels.

"Mostly it's about being thirsty for rhino-people in loving sadomasochistic relationships and committee political maneuvers."

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


wiegieman posted:

It's kind of weird how 50-75% of dragonlance seems to revolve around people being horny for this lady in blue armor.

I feel like being horny for elf ladies is a big part too.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







That's just D&D/fantasy roleplaying as a whole.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



and fantasy in general.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Tibalt posted:

Now I want someone to describe Star Trek to me after only reading the Klingon focused EU novels.

"Mostly it's about being thirsty for rhino-people in loving sadomasochistic relationships and committee political maneuvers."

Or someone to describe Star Wars when all they've read are the Republic Commando novels

well, besides Karen Traviss :v:

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

SirPhoebos posted:

Or someone to describe Star Wars when all they've read are the Republic Commando novels

well, besides Karen Traviss :v:

I was thinking that one crossover where Chewie spawned the bigfoot legend but that works too.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Flail Snail posted:

I was thinking that one crossover where Chewie spawned the bigfoot legend but that works too.

That one was a comic though and not a book, just to be slightly petty about it.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

PurpleXVI posted:

Wait wait, wait wait wait wait wait, tell me more. Does that mean they took it off the loving rails? Opening up the world would do a lot to unfuck my issues with this module chain.

Yes, and it does so in some pretty ingenious ways. For example, the PCs can choose to aid in helping the elves evacuate Qualinesti rather than going to Pax Tharkas, and this scenario has its own chapter despite being completely optional and full of interesting encounters like red dragons using strategic breath weapons to create forest fires to restrict movement. The Hammer of Kharas and the Silver Arm of Ergoth are both needed to make the best kind of Dragonlances, so even if the PCs find the secret forge they'll need to head to what may very well be a Thorbadin ruled over by Verminaard with Hammer in hand.

Another good example is the split-off during Tarsis. The PCs get to meet the Knights and Alhana before the Dragonarmies attack, and choose who to accompany once the poo poo hits the fan. Alhana can give the PCs a letter of safe passage among other things once they help her defeat Cyan Bloodbane for passage to Southern Ergoth. Or if the PCs help the Knights instead they can later meet up with a Silvanesti government in exile in either Southern Ergoth or Palanthas and choose to help out Alhana that way. In both scenarios the PCs can end up with a Dragon Orb they can use during the Battle at the High Clerist's Tower.

Although the book still has a set of adventures they urge the PCs to do, there's more leniency in divergence points and playing out of order. I've read around 75% of it so far, but I can quite clearly state that it's the best-published version of the DL Modules. The major problem is that it is dual-statted for SAGA and 2nd Edition, and with the latter it's clear that the whole level-based progression doesn't evenly map out to doing things out of order.

wiegieman posted:

It's kind of weird how 50-75% of dragonlance seems to revolve around people being horny for this lady in blue armor.

wdarkk posted:

I feel like being horny for elf ladies is a big part too.

Y'all are weird. It's clear most fans are Horny4Raistlin.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 00:45 on Feb 1, 2020

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


poo poo, I weirdly enough don't have the 2E versions of the "main" campaign. If there's any way to hassle you into giving it a quick review, I'd be delighted, because that actually sounds like something I'd run.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

I plan on doing it, either as 1 to 3 appendices depending on how much there is to cover. I'll try starting this weekend, but between that and al-Qadim I'll see how much :effort: I have left over.

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



Who wants a writeup of The Lawnmower Man?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


FoldableHuman posted:

Who wants a writeup of The Lawnmower Man?

The answer is always that we do, post away!

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

FoldableHuman posted:

Who wants a writeup of The Lawnmower Man?

It's the only LEG RPG I know nothing about. Please please please do a writeup!

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Dragonlance!



DLE 1: In Search of Dragons



In spite of attempts at making good life decisions, I have decided to review another three Dragonlance modules(and maybe, just maybe, the Key of Destiny if someone gets me the modules and Libertad doesn't want to do it. Please want to do it, Libertad), and a few things have changed. Firstly, we're on to 2e AD&D now, which makes a few differences. Probably the biggest difference is the game's titular dragons, which function somewhat different, in particular their breath weapons no longer do insane damage equal to their HP, so they're considerably less glass cannony and also considerably less likely to wipe out the party instantly if they win initiative. This is nice. Secondly there are some functional changes to classes and such, but this is going to be less important for the module itself.

These modules are set after the War of the Lance, where the Dragonarmies have been mostly beaten but most of them still have entrenched segments left, like the Red Dragonarmy remnants in Nordmaar, which have become less like occupying forces and more like actual states, though most of them are still quite loyal to Takhisis and would take any chance to re-ignite the War of the Lance if they thought they had a chance in hell of winning it. There's also, at least in this first module, zero sign of the Heroes of the Lance.


Our pre-genned heroes and our world map, respectively

Oddly enough, while there are pre-gens, they aren't given much background or personality and I haven't been able to find any hints in the module on how to make our own characters if we don't want to roll with the pregens. We're told we can "use our own characters" but there's no advice on what level they should be, how they should be geared, etc. though I suppose you could look at the pre-gens and use them as a guideline that's... going to turn out to be an issue once we get into the adventure. For Reasons. I also strongly suspect that the +7 Mace wielded by the Cleric is a typo, because holy poo poo that's artifact-level power. Generally normal magical items in 2e AD&D cap out at +3 and even that's loving rare as hen's teeth. Or maybe Pike here is just that much of a badass and will therefore solo every single combat encounter while screaming at the top of his lungs.

Introduction

So the first thing we get given as the GM is some background for the adventure so we know what the gently caress is going on.

Back when the War of the Lance started, Takhisis was feeling real good and wanted to get laid, so she hit up Sargonnas(god of Vengeance and Minotaurs). But he was salty and told her to go away because he didn't get a big invitation to her war party. She shrugs and goes off to Chemosh(god of the Undead) for a good lay instead, and ends up knocked up with Artha. Artha is... uhhhhhhhhhhh...

quote:

Squat, homely, and dull, Artha quickly became an embarrassment to her parents. Though Chemosh disowned her, Takhisis hoped her daughter would eventually assist her in the conquest of Krynn. But Artha showed no interest in Takhisis’s quest for power. Much to the annoyance of her mother, Artha’s sole passion was wealth and treasure.

...

Artha normally appears as a hazy image of an obese woman shrouded in dark fog, draped in shreds of black silk. Dark liquid drips from her lumpy body. She also reeks of decaying meat, an aroma that permeates the air for 100 yards

So Artha, the demigoddess, decides to go plane-hopping to score a bunch of loot more or less immediately after being born, marking her as potential PC material if she hadn't been the designated antagonist of this module. While she's away from Krynn, a wizard named Tarligor decides to create an uber-draconian and captures four of them to experiment on. He accidentally blows up two of them, but the third one becomes Khardra, the ultimate Draconian, who immediately murders his creator, punches a hole in the nearest wall and runs off, full of angry. He begins a successful career as a backwoods slasher, carving up loners and wanderers and probably wearing a hockey mask... that is until he meets Artha, who's come back to Krynn to continue collecting loot there.

They, uh, fall for each other and begin "blending their spirits," which I will continue to assume is a polite way of stating that Khardra rails Artha seven ways from sunday even though she smells like a corpse. Now, normally this would be a happy and romantic ending to things except that when this happens, they literally drain mystic energy from the stars and moons... and Mr. Rick Swan, the writer of this module, has altered the cosmology so that Good Dragons are powered by A) people believing in them, like fairies, and B) the moons. Post War of the Lance, apparently a lot of people have decided to hate(and even hunt???? guess that 2e de-powering was worse than I thought) good dragons, so deprived of that MYSTICAL BOND, Khardra deep-dicking Artha full of moon magic is the last straw and good dragons start dropping out of the sky with strokes, which happens every time they bang.

Takhisis has been lending her daughter support in this because she's been literally spying on her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend when they have sex which is kind of creepy, but apparently even Takhisis didn't know about the DRAGON MOON MAGIC until it took effect, so what we've got here is a cosmology retcon so powerful even the gods weren't aware of it. Now she's promising Artha loot and Khardra the chance to stab some dragons if they keep banging regularly and thus supporting her plans.

Dragonlance: Giving Ed Greenwood a run for his money in terms of writing horny.

Prologue

So here's part of where my disconnect with the module starts. Because we've got 6th to 8th-level PC's, which in AD&D(both 1e and 2e) is basically a level below where they're encouraged to settle down, build a fort and become rulers, but their quest starts in a tiny little burg called Fair Meadows at a fair with amazing challenges like "make a save vs poison or lose 1HP to this centipede's poison!" which initially made me assume this was a module for like 1st-level or 2nd-level PC's until they got into the wacky wildness of ther later modules. This fair is relevant because the PC's are reps from some local villages who are meeting in a council to debate local troubles.

One interesting thing about the fair is that the PC's are encouraged to go around participating in the local brawls, amusements, etc. to gauge their personality traits, with them getting earmarked as either Greedy, Violent, Compassionate or Shy, which would be interesting from just a perspective of giving a GM some insight into his players, but also has some mechanical effects later(mild ones, mind you, stuff like how certain NPC's will react better to, or first address, the PC(or PCs) who get specific personality markers. What matters here at the fair, really, though, is the meeting with the delegates, and Khardra holding an exciting speech.

quote:

He is nearly eight-feet tall with the sleekly muscled body of an athlete. His skin is greenish-gray. There’s not a single hair on his body. He wears simple peasant clothes and carries an iron staff with three sharp prongs on the end. It’s his face that has elicited gasps. He has jet black eyes with milky white pupils. His entire head is criss-crossed with jagged scars, as if his flesh had been blasted by fire.

They keep referring to Khardra's weapon as "A STAFF WITH THREE PRONGS ON THE END" but that's called a loving trident, you buffoons. Anyway he rants about how the good dragons are actually evil and bad and everyone should hunt them and also they're dying of a plague that makes them poisonous, so now they're even worse! Silver dragons are actually dying of a disease, mind you, that no one can quite explain, and Khardra has the corpse of one backstage to show off for the crowd to ooh and aah at.

At the VILLAGE COUNCIL, the council leader shows the PC's a magic apple with visions of how they're all going to be set on fire real soon now, and tells them that he's heard of a lot of missing and troubled good dragons, and that he's afraid them all being set on fire would be a consequence of the dragons going missing completely. He tasks them with travelling to a scholar of DEEPEST DRAGON LORE to the north to get the low-down on the situation and solve it.

Chapter I: Strange Skies



So the party travels north! There are many exciting things along the road, like being harassed by elven vegan eco-terrorists(no, I'm seriously not kidding), some foppish psychopaths out trying to hunt dragons, an old beggar screaming about how Artha stole his one eye, weirdos trying to dance for rain on their farm and... oh boy, the Lor-Tai tribe.

Most likely the party first encounters the Lor-Tai when they reach a nearby river, where there's a bunch of pots full of rotting milk standing around, and a passed-out kid in a heavy robe(despite it being high summer) next to them. Not being assholes, the PC's will probably try to wake the kid up, give him some water and prevent him from dying. This will lead to their being taken to the Lor-Tai village where M'bert, the headman, will tell them about their plight. Y'see, in this world, with provably existing gods and clerics that can deliver miracles on demand, the Lor-Tai are instead worshipping the Stars and Moons. Seeing these fade every so often, they're afraid that the sun is eating them and have begun engaging in rituals to ward off and spite the sun.

Firstly, they wear heavy clothes in the middle of summer and don't understand why they get sunstrokes. Secondly, they let milk rot in the sun and drink it to show the sun that they ain't afraid of his evil mojo.

quote:

M’bert apologizes for his impatience, saying he is eager to discuss the pressing problems of Pl’odel with wise strangers such as themselves— would they be willing to share their opinions? Assuming the PCs agree, M’bert explains the crisis facing his tribe, stemming from their worship of the sun and the moons. The Lor- Tai try to maintain balance among the heavenly bodies, but this balance has somehow been disturbed, and the Lor-Tai are afraid.

1. The moons are fading away. (He’s right.) This is because the sun is eating them. (Wrong.)

2. The moons give life. They are responsible for making. women pregnant. If the moons fade away, there will be no more children. (Wrong.)

3. To show defiance to the sun, he has ordered his tribesmen to wear heavy robes. Further, he has ordered the tribe’s pregnant women to spend several hours a day tending to ceremonial bonfires. The robes and fires absorb the sun’s heat; the sun will weaken and stop eating the moons.

4. To help the ailing moons, pots of goat’s and cow’s milk are set outside for them to drink. After a few days, the milk is poisoned by the sun, but the Lor-Tai men drink it anyway to prove to the sun they are not afraid. M’bert admits his ideas haven’t helped much. The pregnant women seem to be doing badly, men drinking the milk are getting sick, and the moons are still fading. Do the PCs have opinions about any of this?

It should be obvious to the PCs that the robes and bonfires are bad ideas for pregnant women. Likewise, drinking spoiled milk is a good way to get sick and wearing heavy robes in hot weather is a good way to be miserable.

If the PCs explain any of this to M’bert, he listens closely but doesn’t get it. If the PCs carefully explain the cause and effect relationships (why milk eventually spoils regardless of the sun’s disposition, why the heat of the fire rather than the vengeance of the sun is making life hard for the pregnant women), M’bert gradually understands. His face lights up and he heartily thanks the PCs for their wisdom, promising he’ll do as they say.

They're literally loincloth-wearing, goat-hearding savages who need the wisdom of the WISE CIVILIZED MAN to not eat rotten food and make their women miscarry. It may just be me, but it comes off as just a wee bit racist. I can buy them not understanding nuclear physics or being superstitious, but a tribe that doesn't know not to eat poison or how to avoid miscarriages ain't gonna be around for long, that's some stuff they learn real fast.

Once past the amazing Racist Drama, the PC's can get back on the road. They can investigate one of the missing dragons, where the GM is encouraged to split the party and have both halves engage in combat at the same time which sure ain't gonna be real confusing(actually doing this accomplishes nothing, which is kind of a sad but re-occurring thing in this module, a lot of sensible things just have... no payoff for the PC's. Most NPC's know nothing or refuse to share any of what they do know, that sort of thing.). The odd thing is that all the encounters are incredibly underlevelled, we're talking 3HD monsters in smaller groups than the party and giant rats. They also continue getting stalked by the elven eco-terrorists who will cut loose their horses and similar annoying bullshit.

Eventually they'll make their way to Belleria, the village where the Dragon Knowing Man dwells. Professor Abworth, a guy who's been trying to build a DRAGON KNOWLEDGE INSTITUTE, not a bad idea in a world with so many of the loving things, but has unfortunately run out of money while doing so and, what's worse, done so while owing money to gnomes who've built catapults and been bombarding the village with giant boulders until they get paid(remarkably, the module will not call out the PC's as evil people if they use threats to make the gnomes stop destroying the village, but they could also just, y'know, pay the gnomes their owed wages). You'd figure, just walk in, talk to professor man, get clues, right? Wrong, see, what he was paying the gnomes to build was a 1:1 scale model of a dragon with functioning internals.



And the poor fucker got himself stuck inside. It's basically a small dragon full of a bunch of mostly harmless(to characters of the PCs' level) mechanisms that they can get pinched, shoved or spiked by for minor damage(one of the exceptions is the digestive system, the stomach acid can pile up to a pretty nasty amount of damage, so just send in the fighters to clear this place, it's short). Nothing in here is really too dangerous, and it's kind of a funny idea. Especially when it's accompanied by descriptions of the gnomes', uh, ideas about dragon anatomy.

quote:

A. Blood Pockets. Dragons have blood in them, but the gnomes have no concept of its function. However, they know it spurts. These sections are filled with the blood of cows and goats. Each end of a section is sealed by a hatch. Mechanical paddles move on a track on the ceiling of each section to keep the blood circulating.

If a PC listens at the hatch, he hears splashing and sloshing. If he opens the hatch, blood floods into the PC’s section, filling it halfway to the ceiling. The blood is rancid; each PC bathed in the flood of blood must make a Constitution check. Those failing receive 1 point of damage

...

I. Waste Room. How dragons eliminate wastes has the gnomes stumped, so the simulation isn’t fully developed. This chamber contains a gelatinous cube that will eventually become part of the simulation

J. Heart. The gnomes don’t know the function of the heart, but they know it beats. This chamber has a large iron pendulum suspended from the ceiling. The pendulum bangs against the western and eastern walls, which are made of stretched goat skins. Each strike of the pendulum produces a deafening thud.

L. Brain. The gnomes believe a dragon’s physiology is controlled by a brain near its tail. This chamber is identical to the incomplete chambers (areas E) except for a large, wind-up key; when the key is fully wound, all functions in the model activate for four days.

Abworth worked his way to the brain chamber two days ago. He activated the model by winding the key in order to assess the gnomes’ work. Unfortunately, Abworth was not strong enough to re-open the hatch and has been trapped here ever since.

I guess dragons don't have assholes, or cloacas. Important lessons learned from Dragonlance. Anyway, rescuing this guy amounts to all of him going, "well something sure is going on, I dunno what. maybe try going north?" The start of this module is that it rapidly becomes a bit vague about where PC's are meant to go, and each area between major areas has a list of potential encounters that can come up, but many of them are just pointless or flavour, with one out of eight or so that'll actually provide a clue. Secondly also some sections like the following:

quote:

There is nothing of value in the village and no survivors. For every hour the PCs spend examining the corpses, there is a 25% chance they spot a corpse with triangular punctures. These punctures are identical to the ones in the silver dragon’s body at the Fair Meadows Fair.

The non-surprise that Khardra is up to war crimes is the sort of thing that the PC's would almost certainly want/need to have confirmed, but having it on a %-chance per hour wasted just feels pointless. There's no real time pressure on during this module, so it's just a test of PC patience and hoping that they realize the GM is throwing them a white check rather than a red check. Random kindness or violence to animals in this part of the game also tends to trigger the elven eco-terrorists showing up, at first just to pelt the PC's with blunt arrows and ruin their day(even if they're just defending themselves against attacks-on-sight-until-death animals), later on to actually do something other than being real annoying.

In fact the elves will, even if the PC's don't want to talk, continue trying to trap them in nets every couple of hours just so they can talk. Good to see some things remain a Dragonlance trademark.

quote:

However, they believed their own people violated this principal by exploiting animals—riding them, eating them, even hunting them for sport. They now spend their days as advocates for animals, fighting to defend them from exploitation and harm. Strict vegetarians, the elves refer to all others as “meat-crunchers.”

All they really do is give the PC's a thumbs-up and showing them a severed dragon's head in a bathtub which is somehow still alive, but traumatized, doing nothing but babbling about Tarligor(from the prologue) who was somehow responsible for its predicament. The elves then give the PC's some magic bees to release if they manage to find the dragon's body, so the two can be re-united.

Between the elves and Abworth, the PC's are generally encouraged to head into the northwestern quadrant of the map, where the swamps and Tarligor's lab are(though they don't know the latter yet), since dragons have been seen there and bad poo poo has been happening in the neighbourhood. However, all of that is in Chapter 2! Which I'll do tomorrow! And probably the rest of the module, too!

Kree! I had a girlfriend who smelled like rotting meat once.

Oh God you're still here.

It was perfectly natural, she was a ghoul.

Thank you for the insight, skeleton warrior. You're going to really enjoy chapter 3, I can already tell.

Next up: The remainder of "In Search of Dragons"

a kitten
Aug 5, 2006



Oh wow, I must have had that module but never actually played it (a common problem for me back then)

I definitely remember the dragon-shaped dungeon map.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




PurpleXVI posted:

All they really do is give the PC's a thumbs-up and showing them a severed dragon's head in a bathtub which is somehow still alive, but traumatized, doing nothing but babbling about Tarligor(from the prologue) who was somehow responsible for its predicament. The elves then give the PC's some magic bees to release if they manage to find the dragon's body, so the two can be re-united.
The magic vegan PETA elves who are against, like, even riding animals, give the PCs some bees to use as a tool.

:thunk:

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Zereth posted:

The magic vegan PETA elves who are against, like, even riding animals, give the PCs some bees to use as a tool.

:thunk:

Maybe the bees are willingly employed by the elves at a fair wage.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Seinfeld’s Bee Movie is canon in Dragonlance.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




PurpleXVI posted:

Ummmm.....

So, is this adventure supposed to be a farce? Because so far this reads like a Ralph Bakshi fever dream. A demigoddess shagging a genetically engineered superdragonman is killing good dragons because moon magic and also the party go and help a dude in a giant dragon body/model and also there's bizarre PETA elves who give them bees to reattach a dragon's head to its body and also there's a tribe of nimrods who are queasily racist. I'm just saying if the solution to this adventure ends up being "Shoot the bad guy with a gun" I loving called it.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


PurpleXVI posted:

Dragonlance!



DLE 1: In Search of Dragons


Yeah the racist Lor-tai segment. Still, at least it arises out of the dude reacting to some genuinely weird poo poo (the stars are fading). And it was kind of nice that damage no longer has to be measured in Raistlin, as in how many times over damage would kill the poo poo out of the lowest hit point party member. There was also a distinct lack of Random encounters with 2d6 Wraiths that would easily slaughter the party. It also seems that the module at least assumes that the party invested in figuring out what's going on instead of "the second you move toward the outer world an ancient red dragon and 85,000 Kapaks attack your asses until you get back on track."

Meanwhile, what are you talking about with a Mace +7? Pike the Dwarf Fighter carries a Mace+1. Really the highest + in terms of weapons is a +2. The only magic items that seems a little iffy is the Mage using a Staff of Power.

Everyone fucked around with this message at 02:35 on Feb 2, 2020

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Everyone posted:

Meanwhile, what are you talking about with a Mace +7? Pike the Dwarf Fighter carries a Mace+1.



Please tell me you can see it now, otherwise I've had a stroke.

Omnicrom posted:

So, is this adventure supposed to be a farce? Because so far this reads like a Ralph Bakshi fever dream. A demigoddess shagging a genetically engineered superdragonman is killing good dragons because moon magic and also the party go and help a dude in a giant dragon body/model and also there's bizarre PETA elves who give them bees to reattach a dragon's head to its body and also there's a tribe of nimrods who are queasily racist. I'm just saying if the solution to this adventure ends up being "Shoot the bad guy with a gun" I loving called it.

The adventure frontloads some of the dumber things, by which I mean like 90% of the dumb poo poo, and it improves somewhat afterwards. Generally the greater the proximity to elves, the worse the content, though the ending... hoo, well, we'll cover that when we get to the ending.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

We ran that whole trilogy. The DM didn't spring Artha and Khadara's relationship on us for a while.

There was an Ecology of the Dragon module that claimed dragon digestion was like a perfect matter to energy conversion process, so, um... yeah?

Zandar
Aug 22, 2008


That kender pregen really got screwed on stats and magic items. Only two other characters have lower Dex than him, and everyone else has at least something decent (and, of course, the ranger with exceptional strength and 16 Dex has +2 on both weapon and armour).

LaSquida
Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.


Omnicrom posted:

So, is this adventure supposed to be a farce? Because so far this reads like a Ralph Bakshi fever dream. A demigoddess shagging a genetically engineered superdragonman is killing good dragons because moon magic and also the party go and help a dude in a giant dragon body/model and also there's bizarre PETA elves who give them bees to reattach a dragon's head to its body and also there's a tribe of nimrods who are queasily racist. I'm just saying if the solution to this adventure ends up being "Shoot the bad guy with a gun" I loving called it.

Well, Rick Swan did write the humor-focused Swan Song column in InQuest and then InQuest Gamer for years, so...
(he also wrote numerous D&D supplements)

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

PurpleXVI posted:



Please tell me you can see it now, otherwise I've had a stroke.

Mace looks like +7 to me as well.

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Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

PurpleXVI posted:

Kree! I had a girlfriend who smelled like rotting meat once.

Oh God you're still here.

It was perfectly natural, she was a ghoul.

Thank you for the insight, skeleton warrior. You're going to really enjoy chapter 3, I can already tell.

Next up: The remainder of "In Search of Dragons"

It's nice to see that Skeleton Warrior had a ghoulfriend.

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