November 8, 2007

Tournaments! Glorious Tournaments!

Carolyn and I took a long weekend and flew down to Salt Lake City for a group of tournaments held by the Dragon Lords of the American Desert. We pretty much spent the weekend at Hastur’s Hobbies. Our friend Shad served as the Tournament Coordinator (I helped a decent amount) and I filled in as the Head GM. I was going to run a combo level 1 Learn-to-Hack and Roll-n-Run session and then if needed, be the back-up GM for every other session. If I wasn't needed to run a table, I'd get to play. Since we never fielded more than 8 players per session I got to play all weekend!

The first tournament was held on Friday. The adventure, “Against the Salmon Gang”, was a level 1-3 written by Andrew Franklin. Shad Ward (HMGMA 1948) was the GM for a single
table of 6 players. He managed to score one kill with a vicious backstab on the party’s mage. Lars Peterson (HMA 1361) was voted MVP. The HMA members in attendance were:
1804 (Rollins, John) , 1948 (Ward, Shadrick), XXXX (Ward, Christina), 439 (Tolman, Joseph), 1415 (Stogdill, Carolyn), 1339(Stogdill, Christopher), & 1361 (Peterson, Lars)

I think this was Shad's first tournament as a GM. He did a decent job, but the game was kind of "blah". It was pretty much the nature of the tournament itself. Pretty soon it bogged down into one large combat. Loot was non-existent....there was probably a good deal of loot, but if you didn't finish the adventure you were SOL. Shad called it when he realized we were out of time AND he was about to do a nasty backstab on the party magic-user, who was already sucking on HP. Joe called him on this the next day. Evidently Shad called time mid-round and that just isn't right, so after some prompting from Joe (which I agreed with) Shad rolled a good hit on the backstab and did enough damage to do Joe's magic-user in.

We took a break for the night and returned the next morning when Hastur's re-opened. Unfortunately it was discovered that Saturday was also National Dungeons & Dragon Day. Although Hastur’s Hobbies was quite busy with wargamers and D&D people, there were no additional participants for the open HackMaster session. We discussed the matter some and a decision was made for a last minute schedule change to run the afternoon adventure first and then maybe do the Roll-n-Run later. Joe Tolman (HMGMA 439) ran, as a local tournament, the level 3-5 adventure “The Stone Gardens” by Dan Adams. I played my archer Waydol and was voted MVP. We had a single table of 7 players. The HMA members in attendance were:
1804 (Rollins, John), 1948 (Ward, Shadrick), 2193 (Ward, Peter), 494 (Tolman, Bethany), 439 (Tolman, Joseph), 1415 (Stogdill, Carolyn), 1339(Stogdill, Christopher), & 1361 (Peterson, Lars)

This wasn't a bad tournament. We didn't finish it, but some of that was due to the fact there was only one table. We have a tendency to lollygag a bit when it's our "core" chapter group and we're all at one table. This was pretty much an outdoor adventure and my archer Waydol had a couple great chances to shine. He ended up catching a disease during the game....I know it, but he doesn't. Luckily he's headed back to his wife (Carolyn and my first PCs are married to each other) who is a 6th level cleric who can patch him up. Loot seemed pretty much non-existent again...a lot of adventures are such that you really have to do well and finish the thing to get any loot. Although we did lollygag some....I don't think this would have been an easy tournament to finish on time anyway.

As I like to put it, Joe had a real hard-on to run his “Chutes & Splatters” game again. Shad, Carolyn, and I played it one and a half year earlier, but a good deal of the challenges in this particular were randomized a bit, so the puzzles would be different. Joe just didn't let Shad and I participate on the parts we may have had a clue about. Joe served as GM, which Carolyn and Bethany sat this game out. Lars Peterson (HMA 1361) was voted MVP and there were seven players at one table. The HMA members active at the game were:
1804 (Rollins, John), 1841 (Harper, Tommy), 2193 (Ward, Peter), 1948 (Ward, Shadrick), XXXX (Ward, Christina), 439 (Tolman, Joseph), 1339(Stogdill, Christopher), & 1361 (Peterson, Lars)

Even though I had played this adventure once before, I could have been allowed to totally participate in the puzzle portions of the adventure. I couldn't remember squat and when I tried to help out after an appropriate amount of time had passed...I was about useless. Lars carried the group (Shad was still barred from participating, mostly self-barred, because he remembered to much). All I remembered was one of the monsters, which was not exploitable information.

We didn't finish this adventure either. The puzzles took too much time (I really did suck this time PC wasn't as smart as the last one, which is my official excuse) and we had an interesting moment during the first encounter. Shad was playing a Drow fighter with HackLust and decided to use his Great Honor mulligan to re-roll a fumble in the first round. In the second round he rolled a crit with sent him into a frenzy. He quickly killed the monster and then started in on us......I tired once to stop him with a spell, but those damned Drow have great magic resistance. We basically (well not me.....not a sucker) had to take turns being the punching bag until his HackLust was satiated. That ate up time and resources. Then Shad played a coupon to replace the HackLust quirk with another Q&F and after he ended up with three more quirks & flaws Joe played a coupon to make him re-roll one of those quirks. He ended up losing an ear in that re-roll.

We closed out the store again and reconvened on Sunday for our tournament event. This next adventure was officially the Chapter Tournament. Carolyn was the GM this time and she ran Kenneth Osbourne’s level 4-6 adventure “Castle in the Swamps”. She managed to level drain the party’s Undead Hunter and score a kill on another party member. John Rollins (HMGMA 1804) was voted the party MVP and the Chapter managed to field one table of 7 players. The HMA members in attendance were:
1804 (Rollins, John), 2193 (Ward, Peter), 1948 (Ward, Shadrick), XXXX (Ward, Christina), 439 (Tolman, Joseph), 494 (Tolman, Bethany), 1415 (Stogdill, Carolyn), & 1339(Stogdill, Christopher)

Yeah...we finally finished an adventure! This adventure had a theme and it was figured out fairly quickly, which made parts of the adventure far too easy. There were too many solitary type encounters where it was the party against a single foe. Carolyn got another kill....kind of humorous that Joe lost two PCs this weekend. The Pixie Fairy cleric that was level drained ended up getting his levels restored by the use of Shad's Serial Numbered Item (SNI). He had this amulet SNI that lets you request a spell to be cast by your patron deity. Shad's PC was not a clerical type and only had 14% chance (including a 5% Opportunist bonus) of pulling it off and sure enough rolled a 14!

We finished early enough that we could run some long overdue Chapter business. We held elections and voted on a charter change we'd been waiting to do since last summer.

The new slate of officers for the Dragon Lords of the American Desert is:

President (Rot Gut): Carolyn Stogdill HMGMA 1415
Vice-President (Gnarl Gut): Joe Tolman HMGMA 439
Secretary (Wrack Gut) Chris Stogdill HMGMA 1339
Player Advocate (Iron Gut) Peter Ward HMA 2193

The Chapter decided not to elect any Arena Managers since it had not held an Arena event since 2005.

We were all very grateful to Hastur’s Hobbies for their wonderful support of the weekend’s HackMaster events. They took good care of us and I for one would have to say that this weekend was better than some of the convention games have been.

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