Coming to the end of another week and I realised I haven't done an update on the games I'm running for a while. Our home game is canceled this week, so I'll just have to indulge myself online while Itigiak and his spirit weasel wait in gaming limbo to track down the missing portal.
Online, however, things are ongoing. My gadget-Queen rogue, Angalia, is sobbing over the body of her fallen friend and hoping someone knows more about healing than her and can save his life. She is the only character I'm playing under any non-4e system at the moment - and I hasten to point out there is no prejudice. I've had Savage Worlds, Swords and Wizardry, Arcana Unearthed, 3.5 and Pathfinder characters at various times, but the games have all died. I swear it isn't my fault.
However it comes about, Angalia is the sole representative of anything non-4e at the moment and she is not a very awesome example. In combat with a deformed and extremely evil Surgeon, she rolled almost nothing above a 6. Even with combat advantage and sneak attack, that's not going to do very much. On the plus side, she rolls extremely high when looking for ingredients. It may not be enough to keep her alive.
My other online PCs are mostly on hiatus or in slow games and I don't need to worry about them at the moment. The games I'm running are also in a mixed state.
Halls of the Mountain King is just about at the turning point of their climactic battle. I suspect the party are about to turn things around for themselves in a major way now they've eradicated some of the irritating artillery. They are keeping a decent set of effects on the Big Bad (now Big Bads as he split into two different entities when bloodied) and trying to finish off the taunting devils who keep making them drop their weapons (a sweet power, thank you Open Design). I have a few tricks left up my sleeve and am hopeful I may manage to drop one of them at least.
Once they're done there, we'll move on to The Lost City which I've been pruning judiciously. Mostly this pruning will apply to maps and generally empty areas. I'm also trying to get ahead of myself by sorting out some treasure parcels in advance. This is good DMG advice and I never do it. I forget and then realise my parties are grossly under-equipped. At this point treasure arrives in a mysterious glittering heap for some vaguely concocted reason. My aim this time is to make the process smoother and more organic for myself and the players. We are using the inherent bonus system, which means I can plunder the more amusing magic items with impunity as they will never be catastrophically out of whack with the encounters. I know all too well how easy it is to get bogged down with upgrading mainstay kit, but personally I love the crazy knick-knacks more. Enterprising players get some unexpected uses out of them as well.
Tombs I are about to enter the old Tomb of Horrors site in Skull City - recent victim of a cataclysm, but still containing some dangers. Tombs II are investigating one of said dangers and have spent a lot of time this week splashing across a shallow pool. In both situations the parties know something terrible will happen to them, but they don't know what it is or when it will strike. In game terms, this tends to slow things down as they take all the precautions they can reasonably think of. My job, really, is to hit the starter button and throw something at them before they get too bored.
Rune Stones are mid-battle with a batch of Cylopes. They've turned out to be a lot of fun as I suddenly realised they were slightly Jeevsian in outlook. Accustomed to tending the whims of fruitloop fomorians, they treat the PCs like philosophical nannies while attempting to mallet them to death.