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Derek Guder
Works at Gen Con LLC
Attended Coe-Brown Northwood Academy
Lives in Seattle, WA
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Derek Guder

Actual Play  - 
 
Tales of the Demon Lord - Temple of Shadow

This served as the finale of the month-long game at a local store and went pretty great. Characters really started getting abilities players could plan around and things went much more smoothly for them.

Except for that tense scene where the berserker's rage was still going and the rest of the party had to run away from him until he was spent.

They never actually encountered either hoods or cultists through the temple but went back in to deal with the ritual after getting the Enigma Stone out. The warlock tried to steal Katandramus's teleportation spell at the very end. That would have made for an exciting turn-around - if he hadn't rolled a one on his spell steal attempt. I gave him a vision of the Nameless One and 1 Insanity for his trouble - he also got a sense of what the Eye of the Demon Lord was.

We didn't have time for a full fight at the very end and they still had all the hoods and cultists left, so I had everyone roll a d20. Anyone who got 10+ got to decide if they lived or died and what one thing they accomplished before they escaped - or two things, if they decided their character died. So we had quite the cinematic end scene:

* Rudolph the Inquisitor escaped, but he lost an eye to a cultist's sickle.
* Smith Johnson, the changeling assassin, took on the form of the demon and wrestled it, but the party never knew whether he succeeded or was defeated, partly because...
* Craggle, the goblin assassin, lured the living tar into the ritual chamber and onto the demon.
* Linsa, the human warlock, teleported away to safety pretty much the moment things turned bad - but she did leave with a hood's "head."
* Gofer, the orc berserker, carved a wide path through the cultists and hoods, but was holding back the epttin when...
* Kath, the human thief, collapsed the entire cavern on everyone, buying the changeling and the orc.

Ton of fun, all around. Might pick it up again and continue with some of the players I already knew.
10
John Barnes's profile photoJoe Zakszewski's profile photo
2 comments
 
Awesome, thanks for sharing!
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Derek Guder

Actual Play  - 
 
Curious Case of the Errant Swine

We had out third session of Tales of the Demon Lord last night and it was a lot of fun - but, again, I can't imagine how the players would have gotten through it without my glossing over some fights.

The dealt with Farmer Ham and the halflings fairly easily (he's a farmer, so I didn't bother setting up a real fight, just a confrontation and decision) but one PC went off alone and got accosted by the three bloody bones. They managed to rally quickly and the monsters fled, but they were a bit shaken.

When they made it to the shrine, they turned around and left, basically - until they found Delia and heard there was treasure inside. The fight agains the beastmen was very smoothly, actually. It was a nice change of pace for them, giving them some sense of power.

But then the shrine itself has the chain bound at the front, 2 more blood bones, and then the statue (pretty much at a minimum).

For the sake of time, I skipped the chainbound fight and the players dealt with the antechamber and bloody bones pretty creatively, but the statue would have totally wrecked them if I'd noticed at the start of the fight that it had darksight. The magician cast wall of shadow to blind everyone and then eventually fetch to get the coin, which seemed pretty clever.

We had a couple players have to leave and the remaining PCs were all at a couple hit points, so we glossed over the eyeballs and I let them grab the chaos shards and run just as the demons were swarming (had fun describing those).

The shrine certainly felt tough and scary, but the chainbound & statue in particular (let alone the troglodytes & boneguards) felt like too much for a group to handle in one go. We figured it was expected PCs would have to make multiple trips in and out of the shrine to "complete" it.

I'm very curious about the success and lethality rates anyone else has found when they run the adventure. I'm running this in a public store as an intro, so I'm certainly erring on the side of forgiving, but very interested to see how it's gone for other groups.
2
Daniel Heinrich's profile photoDerek Guder's profile photoBrian Gracey's profile photo
4 comments
 
For clarity, the party only faced a like number of animated corpses (a few times), and a tiny demon with the dread power. They didn't even face the apprentice witch I had on tap. Game is brutal.
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Derek Guder

Actual Play  - 
 
Born To Die

Went through this tonight with the same public group. As I expected from my earlier post, facing down the whole gang of Rude Boys (hired killers) was brutal, even letting the cultists attack first. The Rude Boys wiped them out pretty quick.

The group started with a nice plan of having the changeling impersonate one of the Rude Boys sent to pick up the ransom, but that fell apart quick and half of them were dying at one point with 5 or 6 Rude Boys still up, so I did end up using the gremlins to save them.

The gremlins shattered a couple weapons, then asked the goblin PC what they would pay to have the gremlins take care of it. I had the PC write down the exact wording of his promise of "almost anything in the camp my friends are now leaving." Then he watched the gremlins eat and kill the remaining Rude Boys.

The rest of the PCs had run back to the boat, carrying the body of Phineas (one of the Rude Boys had dropped him at the end) and they realized he was connected to the cult and figured out that Candace was possessed - but weren't in the shape to deal with it, so they just delivered her to her father, took their payment and left. They weren't exactly surprised by the string of murders that happen soon after.

So a fair amount of Corruption gained this session, and folks are having a ton of fun.

They've convinced themselves that the monolith on the island is super-important and they want to go back and play Tomb Raider.
6
William Buxton's profile photoDerek Guder's profile photoGary Huddleston's profile photo
4 comments
 
Lol ok that's freaking hilarious 
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Derek Guder

Rules Questions  - 
 
Fortune

Is the first option for Fortune (make any failure on a d20 a success) supposed to only apply to yourself?

The second use (add 2 boons) is explicitly only for other players and the third (make any d6 a 6) specifically says any player.

Seems like the intent was for only yourself, but it wasn't clear, so we used it broadly last session.

Thoughts?
1
Christopher Ruthenbeck's profile photoJacen Chris Baker's profile photoDaniel Heinrich's profile photo
3 comments
 
have not read it recently, but last play test where we focused on favor, IIRC, it was set to be useable on anyone in your group - I have favor, I use it to save your life... lots of story possibiliies that simple action.
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Derek Guder

General Discussion  - 
 
Tales of the Demon Lord - Born to Die

Prepping to run this tomorrow night as the public group continues. Anyone have any experience with the adventure or tips?

Harvester of Sorrows was rough on the level 0 characters, a couple very nearly died at the hands of the 2 Rude Boys (hired killers stats), and I'm worried about having 9 of them, plus the demon and potentially the cultists, even with being level 1.

How has it worked out for other groups that have run it?
1
ivan Blasco's profile photoJohn Barnes's profile photoGary Huddleston's profile photoDaniel Heinrich's profile photo
7 comments
 
awesome!!!
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Derek Guder

Recruitment  - 
 
I'm going to be running a short Shadow of the Demon Lord campaign at a local Seattle store (Card Kingdom, Wednesday 6-10 pm, if anyone is local & interested) for the month of January. Gonna go through the Tales campaign and see how far we get.

I'm an experience GM, but just figured I'd pop in to ask folks for any particular advice they had for running the game, particularly with bringing new players up to speed.

Anything I should keep in mind or watch out for as I'm running?

Thanks!
1
Myke Diemart's profile photoAlbert Nakano's profile photoDerek Guder's profile photo
4 comments
 
Yeah, I'm used to Fate points & Inspiration, so should be pretty similar. Gonna bring some poker chips to remind players to actually use it - I find they always start very stingy with resources like that.

Anyone have other tips on remembering to award it - and spend it?
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Derek Guder

Actual Play  - 
 
Tales of the Demon Lord - Temple of Shadows

I'm prepping to run this next weekend as the final session in the month-long weekly game at a local game store. Excited - this was really the adventure where I was immediately like "Wow, this escalated quickly." Can't wait to see how it shakes out.

How has it run for other folks?

I'm thinking about linking Katandramus house to Phineas (the fiance cultist from Born to Die), looping the climax back to one of the high points of the other adventures the players went through.

Anyone else make any major tweaks to it?
2
Gary Huddleston's profile photoDerek Guder's profile photo
2 comments
 
Awesome. Sounds like a fun time!
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Derek Guder

Discussion  - 
 
I finally had a chance to go through the book last night and I found the Factions and Debts particularly interesting, so I was curious how they've played out for different groups.

How have the two influenced an Urban Shadows game in a way that might not have come up in, say, World of Darkness or Dresden Files?

Faction in particular seems ripe for emphasizing overall theme and a sense of "sides" in a vague conflict - and open to redefining under other names or loyalties.
2
Jason Tocci's profile photoDerek Guder's profile photo
13 comments
 
Yeah, this is the kind of stuff I was originally asking about. Interesting possibilities when you start to map factions to the city. I guess it would depend on themes you want to push. Maybe ask players for one or two NPCs per faction and see where that takes you.

Definitely let us know if you do anything with In Nomine, as well. I've been thinking about how it's due for a revival, but needs a new system.
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Derek Guder

Force & Destiny  - 
 
Going to be starting a short (~4 session) campaign about the rise & fall of Kylo Ren.

I'm running the first session with the starter box, and then a friend is taking over to run the other three while I play. He basically wants to see everything in action before he takes the reigns.

We'll be playing through our own image of the ill-fated school Luke sets up between episode VI & VII, and I'm going to tweak the starter adventure to seed some hints about what we'll be doing.

Anyone have any particular advice on running the game, particularly introducing it to an entirely new table?

I'm plenty comfortable with lots of different RPGs, just wondering if there were particular things folks found that pop up.
2
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Derek Guder

Rules Questions  - 
 
Hired Killers (and some other monster stats): I was surprised that they had 2d6 base damage. Seemed high for just "long knife," and was brutal against level 0 characters.

Just wanted to confirm it - and see what other monsters turned out to be surprisingly deadly in action.
1
Gary Huddleston's profile photoDaniel Heinrich's profile photoPaul Sheppard's profile photo
7 comments
 
Yeah...I like to run systems "as is" for at least one session to make sure that we understand how everything is "supposed" to work before tweaking (quirk of mine).  Hopefully those guys will like it enough to give it a chance for a second session after tweaking
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Derek Guder

Actual Play  - 
 
Tales of the Demon Lord - Harvester of Sorrows

Ran through this tonight. Took just under 4 hours to make 4 characters and run through with a party of 6. Folks seemed to enjoy character creation - we came up with some amusing characters, including a goblin scholar of etiquette and an orc butcher who's life story amounted to "I got hit by a spell, once."

Time proved a bit tight and I had to summarize searching the Moore House and finding the vault, and that's even with declaring two players part of the Brown Cloaks and directly feeding them the clues of who the victims were.

So we got some discovery/roleplay at the Fallen Soldier, an encounter with the Rude Boys, and then ambushing the organ filch, then I had to quickly summarize the house itself.

It went well, everyone had a good time, but it did take a bit for folks to get used to the system. I had to remind and encourage them to give/spend Fortune several times.

As level 0 characters, they had a hard time succeeding at anything and the enemies were particularly brutal (2 boons on attack & 2d6 damage almost murdered 2 characters outright).

We'll see how things shake out next week when they have a real class, basically.
2
Christopher Ruthenbeck's profile photoBarry Baker's profile photoDerek Guder's profile photoChris Justchris's profile photo
8 comments
 
I actually had my players make their characters at the end of one of our board game nights, so they'd have a week to think about it and come up with backstory before we started the actual adventure.
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Robert Adducci's profile photoDerek Guder's profile photoDerek Balling's profile photoTobias Drewry's profile photo
4 comments
 
I love the battle scars on the armor. The Mohawk looks particularly good as a painting.
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Have him in circles
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event management
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Event manager for Gen Con. I run conventions. I play games with people. I rant about technology.
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I'm a gamer, both table top and video. I'm an anime & asian film fan. I read sci-fi & fantasy. I love Apple and I love/hate technology, and it love/hates me.

I swear. A lot. Consider this your warning.

I'm the event programming manager at Gen Con, which means I'm responsible for almost all the games at the convention, as well as the anime & film, video games, and some other special projects. I'm on our forums, Facebook, and Twitter accounts a fair amount.

I'm going to experiment with trying to self-filter my posts on Google+, so I have a few different "public" circles. Let me know here if you actually want to hear from me on any of these topics:
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I was one of the founders of Anime Boston, and have been working on cons for over a decade now.
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  • Boston University
    physics & philosophy
  • Showa Institute Boston
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