Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Photos From The Front Line

Surprise! Instead of a post, today you get photographs.

At our last session of Thunderspire Labyrinth the talented Julia, who plays Dreyfuss the human rogue, got busy with a camera. Some of her photos are reprinted today with permission to give you all a look at our game that I'm sure you probably won't care about.

Pictured left is AJ, who plays our group's striker, Tolliver Green, who is totally not a thinly-veiled caricature of a certain DC Comics bowman.

On the right here is Katherine, who's running the group's main healer, Dramia, Cleric of Pelor and disliker of dark, cramped subterranean spaces. We're thinking she might want to rethink her career as a dungeoneer.

These photos were all taken during the Proving Grounds encounter in the Well of Demons. The group were attempting to hole up in a secure room and force a Green Dragon to fight them on their own terms; you can see a certain frustration in Katherine's face as the tactic doesn't quite work and she gets Luring Gazed into the deadly path of the Doom Sphere for the second time in one encounter.

This next one is me. Sorry to everyone who had me pegged as a dashing seducer of women. Unfortunately the large size of the map and my placing at the end of the table meant I spent most of this game on my feet trying to reach my party-destroying Dragon and move it in search of its next victim.

At this stage Wizards doesn't cast a model of a "Doom Sphere" so to represent the giant ball of magical force I broke out my Beholder model and had that chasing players around the inner track of the Proving Grounds.

Here's Julia, who's deployed her artistic genius to provide us with this photo essay. I'd like to say she used her psychic powers to manipulate the camera and take her own picture but actually it's Andy behind the lens for this one.

Julia plays Dreyfuss - thief, bigamist, and essentially good-hearted ruffian. At this stage Dreyfuss is one encounter away from saving his captured children from an evil band of gnolls, but Julia's getting more than a little frustrated because of eight consecutive failed saving throws against the slowed condition imposed by the Dragon's breath weapon.

This is Tony, who plays Alcarian, the group's defender. Alcarian's Eladrin fey step and a range of mobility-focused powers makes him play more like a mark-and-forget Swordmage than the Fighter that he actually is. It's eternally frustrating for me as GM to watch him start each combat by teleporting into melee with the enemy artillery and proceeding to neuter them for the remainder of the battle. However, it's saved the group from wiping several times over so it seems churlish to complain.

Lastly, here's Andy, who's taken up the challenge of playing Hydraan, a Dragonborn Cleric of Bahamut. He delivers a range of melee attacks by way of a greatspear (which has reach 2) and takes an almost unnatural joy in finding places to really make his turn undead and dragonborn breath count.

As an extra bonus, here's the party roster in miniature form. From left to right: Hydraan, Tolliver, Dramia, Dreyfuss and Alcarian. Also a bonus appearance by the rarely used and much maligned d12, which we eventually discovered Julia had been throwing all session instead of a d20 but landing hits anyway.

Tomorrow: a real post, I promise.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! It's nice to see the poor souls who are running your modified Thunderspire. My party hasn't been able to get together for a while, so we haven't even started on Thunderspire yet. Keep going, I think you're far enough ahead that I can read you suggestions just before I have to run the encounter!

Anonymous said...

Hey, those look like the minis our group used!

What's it like not having a Controller in a party of five?

Maelora said...

Nice to see your group in action, Greg! Good to see someone is still trying to role-play in 4E. Looks like you're having a blast!

And tell AJ he's kind of cute :) I'm a sucker for guys with that look...

By The Sword said...

Feel free to talk about your party's exploits and the characters themselves. Since I travel a lot, I must live vicariously through you and when I am home, none of my friends, bunch 'o grognards that they are, want to give 4th edition a try.

Greg Tannahill said...

Doubleofive - It's a constant struggle keeping my group ahead of the blog! I'm not sure what's going to happen when the blog catches up to where they're at.

16lettersonly - We don't really miss the controller. The fighter has the ability to lock down ranged targets by fey stepping, the rogue has the push powers, and the clerics have the debuffs, so effectively the role is split across what we already have.

Maelora - I will indeed tell him that. He'll be pleased, I imagine.

By The Sword - I generally stay away from relating the uniquely personal experience of our group, because (1) there is no shortage of gaming anecdotes on the web, and (2) I'm keen to not embarrass the players too much. Also (3) I don't want to confuse things between the module as-written and the personal modifications I've made for my game. So the posts themselves don't generally go into exactly what my guys did in any given place. But I'm always happy to provide that in the comments if anyone asks.

Maelora said...

It's actually great to see so many ladies in your group. I've been resigned to being the only Dice Girl in most of my gaming circles.

Greg Tannahill said...

Most of the girls I hang out with regularly game to one degree or another; there's still more male gamers in my circle than female but it's a good mix.

Actually I recently went to the Phenomenon RPG convention here in Canberra, and was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did it appear to be mostly organised by women, more than half the games (including the ones I enjoyed most) had female DMs.

The Stray said...

@Melora Heh. You should see my group. We had, at one time, an equal gender mix. We have three regular female players and a fourth who manages to make it every so often. Pretty good for a group of 8-10 people.

Anonymous said...

I play with two married couples (myself, my wife, her friend, and her friend's husband). Since I'm DM, its actually a PC girl/guy ratio of 2:1!

Unknown said...

Personally, I wouldn't care if you shared some of the stuff we did and your modifications are really interesting, so I think other people would probably also be interested in hearing how they work out.

And in my defense, it *really* looked like the D20 I generally use :-)

By The Sword said...

Julia B:

You should have seen the first time I bought s d30 home from the hobby store. Everyone was rolling it and getting such great attack rolls until someone rolled a natural 27.

Hugemelon said...

Just out of curiosity, what do you guys use as miniatures for the mobs during encounters?

I've been using the figures from heroquest as the mobs they face.

Greg Tannahill said...

D&D Minis. While the most recent couple of sets are unmitigated rubbish, if you can get the last 7 or so sets before that they're really great quality minis with excellent paint jobs. You can usually get discounts on Ebay, too, to significantly drop the price.

Greg Tannahill said...

Oh, and yes, I've still got my Heroquest minis. Those skeletons stand in for any undead I don't have more dedicated miniatures for.

By The Sword said...

I picked up Hero Quest and the expansion at a flea market and I have made prodigious use of all the figurines, particularly the orcs and Goblins.