Wacky Crew Save Highdelve!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Wacky Crew save Highdelve!

Yup! That’s right. Our weird and kooky crew of eccentric Pathfinders have completed their first mission! We played, we laughed, we triumphed. Oh, yeah, and WE RODE A DRAGON!

Who? What? Why?

Read on and be enlightened!

A while ago my family and I were gifted some boons as part of a delightful contest run by the overly generous Hmm. With them we made a team of goofy eccentrics! (Cause what ELSE should we have done with them?). An exiled aquatic elf magus struggling to adapt to life on the surface, a hyperactive grippli ranger who always looks on the bright side of life, a wise stump-tailed vanara shaman with hair growth issues and a pet pig, and a ratfolk shifter who gnaws on everything he can get his hands on. For more detailed information on our characters and their creation you can check out my previous blog post: Character Focus: Wacky and Weird.

Heroes for HighdelveNot long after creating these delightfully fun characters we were offered the chance to play an adventure all together via play-by-post: the incredibly hard to find Heroes for Highdelve! Our kooky characters took the time to think of a reason they were in Highdelve, and then we got cracking! They arrived just in time for the annual Brightbloom Festival. In addition to exploring the festival, stuffing our faces (and our pigs) with carnival food, riding barrels, competing in sack races, and assisting a puppet show, we each had specific goals we were trying to achieve.

My daughter’s grippli Croak was on the hunt for some stuffed rabbits she had recently purchased and misplaced on a wagon. My son’s vanara Pinesong Rippleroot was looking for some pet pigs he had accidentally sold to a merchant instead of a loving home. My husband’s ratfolk Lomo was in the market for a crafter to repair his father’s magical necklace that Lomo had chewed on. And my aquatic elf Sereia who was trying to track down a coral idol sold by an antiquities smuggler. Their efforts were hampered by the festival, but they had fun and found some promising leads.

Suddenly, the festival was interrupted by screams! The teenaged flower collectors for the festival (known as the Bloomgivers) came back to town wounded! They had been attacked by a pair of young troublemakers. In addition to being beaten up, they were robbed of their protective amulet, and their wagon of Brightbloom flowers was broken. The people gasped. Some called for the village’s legendary draconic protector Aurelliax to bring justice to the wayward youths, but she strode out of the crowd in human form and declined. She had promised the founders of the village long ago that she would protect them, but not interfere in village politics and citizenry. If someone was going to retrieve the protective amulets, gather the brightblooms, capture the teens, and save the festival, it was going to have to be someone else.

Obviously my kids hopped at the chance to volunteer! Their characters announced rather boldly that we would handle it, and once again my aquatic elf was roped into some spontaneous adventure. My daughter’s character Croak assured everyone that this would be the perfect grand adventure! Sereia was unsure.

Still, they were nothing if not true to their word, so the band of outcasts set out from Highdelve, through the hills and wilds until they reached the brightbloom meadow. There they found a field of flowers as far as the eye could see (along with the Bloomgivers’ broken flower wagon). They also found an old cabin, a recently used campsite, and a cave. The group split up, with Lomo and Pinsong checking out the cabin, Croak hopping right into the flower field to pick some brightblooms, and Sereia examining the campsite. But after only a moment the two teenaged hooligans hopped out from behind a rock and started attacking Croak!

What kind of dastardly villains would attack an innocent grippli who was plucking flowers?

Angsty ones!

Ahhh! The horror!

Croak leapt into action, tossing a net at the girl. Much to my daughter’s glee the enemy was stuck in the net the entire fight. (She laughed about this endlessly!). Everyone else rushed over to the meadow while Croak battled the remaining teenager with her blowgun. Pinesong arrived on the scene next, alongside his pig Cutie Pie. While Cutie Pie hid behind a rock, Pinesong clambered up on top of it and formed magical stormclouds  around the enemy, making it difficult for them to see. Lomo arrived next and tore into the guy with his claws — dealing less damage than you might imagine since he’s a Dexterity based combatant. But before Sereia could arrive another enemy showed up on the scene! A tiefling who had hired the teenagers to steal the protective amulet from the Bloomgivers. Why? It was a mystery!

The trident wielding Sereia was the last to arrive, but as the character with the highest damage potential she turned the tide of battle pretty quickly. With the tiefling dead, and the two teenagers prisoner (but conscious) the quartet set about questioning the kids.

They learned that it was the tiefling who had something horrible planned for the town. Apparently he was keeping a monster in the cave, which he was going to unleash upon Highdelve! And the amulet? It would keep the monster protected from Highdelve’s gold dragon defender!

Knowing that they had a monster to defeat but unwilling to risk their prisoners escaping, the group transported the two teens and the tiefling back to Highdelve. After turning them in to the guard’s custody they headed back out to the cave and went right in. It was time to go monster hunting!

The caves were dark, but they could hear strange bellows echoing down the tunnels. In time they found the source — a massive ettin with strange markings carved into its flesh! Tangled in its fingers was the amulet!

When my kids looked at the battle map and the picture of the creature my kids both stopped and said: “Uh oh… That looks strong!”

Despite their fears we waded into battle with enthusiasm.

Now… When you’ve got four players who make characters always intended to play alongside one another, chances are good they’ll make a balanced team. And we did. But… we also aren’t exactly based around damage. We’re more like… a swarm of gnats that flits around the enemy poking it and causing it minor hinderances. Lomo is a melee guy, but his claws do 1d3 damage. No strength bonus. Pinesong is our healer but for damage? Well, he usually uses his storm burst ability to make the enemy treat Pinesong and his pals as if they had concealment. He’s got a crossbow but he’s not a very good shot. My daughter’s little grippli Croak? She fights with nets and poisoned blowgun darts. Considering the ettin beat every single saving throw against her poisons she dealt a whopping 1 damage per shot! Oh, yeah! And Sereia? She’s a magus, so she can deal some solid damage, but she also has to wear a lot of hats in the party. She’s the spellcaster, she’s the second melee character, she’s the academic, and she’s the trap finder. That’s a lot! As a result her attack rolls are good, but not amazing. They’re fair at best if she’s using her spell combat ability. So when she hits she hits hard. But she wasn’t hitting all the time. Meanwhile, Lomo and Croak hit practically every round! (My daughter was very proud of her consistent one damage darts. Haha.

Anyway, the battle was great fun! It lasted quite a few rounds without dragging on too long, we hindered him enough that we rarely got hit, and we bottlenecked him in a tunnel so he couldn’t reach our squishier team members (Pinesong and Croak) with his massive, skull-crushing flail.

We spent a little time gloating when we finally defeated the ettin — okay, mostly it was Croak mocking the dead ettin for looking like a giant plucked chicken with all those darts sticking out of him. Then we looked around, collected the amulet, and left.

Outside we found a dragon.

Not just any dragon.

A freaking HUGE dragon. Thankfully it was gold.

Pinesong and Cutie Pie hid, Croak gave it a chipper hello, and Lomo froze like a character in a Jurassic Park movie who’s squaring off against  T-Rex. Cause a dragon can’t see you if you stay still, right? RIGHT?

….Yeah, not how it works Lomo. But hilarious!

Sereia made the connection between the gold dragon and Aurelliax, guardian of Highdelve, and soon they spoke. The dragon thanked them for their aid and offered them a ride back to town.

My kids were flabbergasted. Literally amazed. My daughter squealed in delight (“UH, YEAH! OF COURSE!”). My son started singing a song from Teen Titans Go! all about riding a dragon (literally).

“We’re gonna ride that dragon! THAT DRAGON! We’re gonna ride that dragon! THAT DRAGON!”

He was so excited he insisted on sending our wonderful GM a link to the exact song and episode. You’re welcome! Haha.

Anyway, we rode that dragon all the way back to Highdelve and learned that the townsfolk had banded together to help us wrap up our tasks! Lomo’s necklace was being repaired, Pinesong’s piglets were being given new homes, Croak’s missing rabbit stuffed animals had been found, and the name of the client that the antiquities smuggler had sold the coral idol to had been found. Soon Sereia could track it down and return it to her people.

My kids were amazed! Big smiles all around. And then they settled in for a feast and dance as the guests of honour. Aurelliax gifted them a magical statuette which turned out to be a super cool boon! Both of my kids transformed the statuette into a magical creature: Pinesong used it to make Cutie Pie covered in golden scales, and my daughter used it to create a pet flying squirrel with giant golden bulging eyes called Roadkill. My husband and I are going to hang onto it to use one of it’s other cool benefits.

We got our chronicles just the other day and the adventure came to an end. And what a good one! Particularly for kids! It had such a nice feel-good ending. Both of my kids said it was among their very favourite adventures they’ve ever played! (My son said he had two favourites: this run of Heroes for Highdelve, and his play through of Signs in Senghor, which was written by my brother and I wrote about in a previous blog post: Signs in Senghor: Part One, and Signs in Senghor: Part Two).

In short, we had a blast!

And if our wonderful GM happens to be reading this: a thousand thanks!

I’m not sure what’s next for our weird and wacky crew. Finding a game all four of us can get into can be tricky, but I do know that whatever we play, we’re going to have fun.

Thanks for sharing this experience with us!

Until next time,


First snow and giving thanks!

Whoo, it’s been a busy week!

My family spent the better part of last weekend preparing for winter. We dug out and washed all of our winter gear, tried on coats and boots, matched mitts (or shoved lonely mitts into mismatched pairs), donated what was too small to the homeless, and went out to buy new winter boots. Everyone in my house needed a new pair this year and with the amount of walking we do winter boots are a necessity for everyone, not just my kids. Which is unfortunate, I suppose, because they’re really expensive. It’s important they’re warm enough and waterproof to keep everyone nice and toasty throughout our chilly winters, so cheap fashion boots won’t cut it. They’ve got to be cold rated for -30°C at least. -40°C is better. Not easy to find for my daughter. For some reason boys boots are built for the cold, while a lot of girl boots look like they’re warm, but aren’t. Anyway it took us the weekend, but we all managed to find a pair. And just in time! We had our first real snow on Wednesday. I say real snow because we’ve had flurries before this. But this snow stayed. There was enough of it to get the kids all excited, and to make snowballs and tiny snowmen (or in my daughter’s case, tiny snow rabbits). I’m not sure how long the snow will stay. It might not go away until next spring, but there’s only a few centimetres, so if we get a warm day it might still melt away. We’ll see. My kids were thrilled for it, but after only a day of the damp and the (very, very mild) cold they’re already complaining.

Suck it up kids! We’re just getting started! It will get so much worse. Haha.

My toddler-aged niece that I watch on the weekdays hates getting in her winter clothes, so every trip outside and to and from school is a tear-filled struggle. Not to mention the time! It takes twenty minutes to get everyone properly dressed and out the door. (Once they get used to it I hope to cut it down to fifteen. Ten would be a welcome miracle). My niece keeps expecting me to give up on her and let her do whatever she wants, which is not going to happen. Clearly she has forgotten we had this same problem last winter. She did not win. She’ll grow accustomed to it in a few weeks. Hopefully sooner. Thankfully her older brother (he’s four) does remember last year’s winter. He knows he needs to bundle.

Pathfinder Playtest Doomsday Dawn
Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn

In other news, my family and I tried playing some more of Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn. We prepared our characters for ‘In Pale Mountains Shadow’ and got started. Unfortunately, by the end of the session they decided they were bored with it. They’ve officially given up playing through Doomsday Dawn and are ready to go back to their regular games. My son desperately wants to continue with the Carrion Crown Adventure Path (we’re about to start Carrion Crown: Book Two: Trial of the Beast), my husband wants to continue with The Shackled City Adventure Path (we’re nearly done book one), and my daughter wants to play some more of our Starfinder Society characters. Most of the other campaigns we’re playing together I moved online so we can play via play-by-post. Getting in a post a day lets us keep playing, so we can dedicate our one chance to play on the weekends to one of our three main campaigns.

Although it may sound like we’re done with the Pathfinder Playtest that’s not quite accurate. I’m playing through two different play-by-post runs of Doomsday Dawn, and we’re all playing in a play-by-post run of the Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenarios. We’re halfway through Rose Street Revenge right now and enjoying it. My son’s character is particularly hilarious. We’ll share more about that at a later date.

Captain Underpants
My son’s current favourite book: The Adventures of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Novel by Day Pilkey, by Day Pilkey.

My son has been reading like crazy lately! Obviously, I’m very proud of this. I believe that reading is one of those incredibly important skills you really need to instil a love of young. I always encourage my kids to find something they love to read, and indulge in it. Even though both of my kids are good at reading I always push them to try reading something that’s a challenge everyday. Not absurdly hard for them, or anything, but something they do need to work at a bit. Anyway, both of my children are reading well above their grade level so their classrooms don’t have anything that’s a challenge for them. They both bring home books that are far too easy for them for home reading everyday. In fact my daughter can read her older brother’s home reading books without trouble, never mind her own. We have a ton of books at home for my kids to read, but only two books that are a challenge for my son to read that interest him (and he’s read both chapter books repeatedly already). We have plenty of chapter books that my son reads for fun — Geronimo StiltonThe Hardy Boys (Secret Files)Scooby-Doo! mystery novels, Minecraft books, the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom junior novelization, and so on — but he can read one of those in under a half hour. They’re a challenge for my daughter (and some are too hard), but not exactly a challenge for my son. Something must be done! Once a week after I pick my kids up from school we go for a walk to the local library and I let them each pick out one book that’s a challenge for them to read, and one book that they just want. I say one, but inevitably they come back with one challenging book and a ton of other books they want to read. This is expected and totally fine. A while ago my son brought home a massive book on ecology clearly intended for pre-teens or teenagers. This thing was huge! Anyway, he loved it, but this time he wanted a chapter book. He contemplated starting the Guardians of Gahoole books, so he picked up one of those. But for his fun book? Captain Underpants. My son LOVES Captain Underpants. So he pulled down not one book, but every single Captain Underpants chapter book the library had. There are twelve of them.

Princess in Black
My daughter’s favourite chapter book: The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale.

“Are you sure you’ll read all of them this week?” I asked my son. “They’re going to be heavy.”

“Uh, yeah, Mom. Of course! But, it might take me two weeks to read them.”

It took him three days. Which is great! But, also… not great. I now have to break it to him that there are only twelve Captain Underpants books. He just read them all.  Meanwhile my daughter picked out three Princess in Black chapter books. She owns one of them: The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde, already, but the others are new to her. Although she’s disappointed they are not going to have any rabbits in them, she is enjoying them. So much so that she was inspired to write her own book. It’s called ‘Bunny’s Adventure.’ In it a rabbit named Pim journeys up the rainbow and finds another world. She makes some friends and is back home in time for bed. She worked on it for a few days and in the end gave it to her teacher as a gift. (Her teacher had just returned from surgery that week). It was adorable. She’s so proud of it.

Traveller Core Rulebook
Traveller Core Rulebook by Mongoose Publishing.

I was recently invited to join a play-by-post game of Traveller, and gifted a digital copy of the rulebook by the overly generous Tarondor. (Thank you!) Traveller is a game I’ve never played before, so I’m super excited to give it a shot. I’ve given the book a skim, and have just embarked on a thorough read-through. The character creation rules look particularly interesting. Like a mini-game of its own. Very cool! I can’t wait to try it out. I’ve got plenty left to read though, so I’m not sure how soon that will be. Haha. This time of the year is quite busy around my house. But, I’m happily working on it.

This coming weekend is going to be just as busy as the last one. Busier, in fact. Yesterday was a day off from school, this morning is swimming lessons for my children (which is about a thirty minute walk away), then dentist appointments later today. I’ve got to squish in a trip to the grocery store and the laundromat. And tomorrow? Thanksgiving at my Mom’s! Monday’s another day off from school and more Thanksgiving celebrations, this time at my mother-in-laws. That’s actually pretty quiet for us for Thanksgiving, in all honesty. We usually also try to squish in visits to my grandparents and my Dad’s, but it’s not going to happen this year. We don’t own a vehicle, and frankly I’m too tired. Haha. We’ll be making time for less frantic visits with them soon.

Well, I’ve got to get cracking! Plenty to do and no time to do it in.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Or, for those of you who are not Canadian, have a great weekend! I wish you all the best.


Take a Look d20diaries cropped
My son desperately wanted his picture featured on d20diaries. This was our compromise. Haha.


Preparing to Rebel!

I’ve already mentioned that Starfinder has launched their new Adventure Path: Against the Aeon Throne. I’ve talked about it, geeked out about it, watched Paizo’s twitch stream, and generally wished I owned it. It looks like a ton of fun. My husband nodded his head and gave me a ‘that’s nice’ sort of look. Clearly not as excited as I am, haha. And my kids? Excited, but not obsessively so.

Until they saw the preview.


Yeah! Preview! The trailer! Like a movie trailer for an adventure path. It explains the premise and basics of the campaign clearly, quickly, and concisely. It sounds awesome, it’s got great art. And it generally made me start salivating all over again.

As soon as it started my kids wandered over to see what I was watching. They sat still…. and stared….

And when it ended my kids literally started shrieking all at once.



“YOU NEED TO BUY THAT FOR ME! NO! I will tell DAD to buy it for YOU for YOUR birthday!”


“A… thanks for going to school gift? Can I have one of those? I am in grade one now, Mom.”

So on and so on. We laughed, and I figured they’d soon wander off.

They didn’t.

Starfinder Core Rulebook

Instead they pulled out the Starfinder books and started making characters for Against the Aeon Throne. They didn’t have time to finish before bed, but the next day on the walk to school it was all they talked about. And the day after, on the weekend, we spent our time at the laundromat creating their characters together.

My son made a contemplative technomancer who is a scholar with a focus on the fields of ecology and alien ecosystems. He dabbles in illusions, mind magic, and technology, but takes special care to use magic that doesn’t harm the environment, and to create clean, sustainable technologies. His contemplative travels to Nakondis to help his friend study the starship drive on the mysterious crashed ship she is studying there. In addition, he’s going to ensure that the new colony of Madelon’s Landing treats the planet of Nakondis with the respect it deserves.

Contemplatives can be found in Starfinder: Alien Archive, along with a ton of other fun monsters and playable races.

And my daughter? She has a character image she discovered ages ago on Pinterest that she’s been saving for something special. She’s making a ysoki ninja! White furred, with pale pink attire, a dagger and a stun gun. She’s going to be an operative, although she’s torn between selecting the ‘daredevil’ and the ‘ghost’ specializations. She plans to focus on both acrobatics and stealth, so she’s undecided. Either way she’s going to be a nimble, tricky combatant comfortable in close range and melee combat.

Then they got to work asking what I would play, and badgering my husband for his character concept.

The only problem? I still don’t own it. Haha. Guess I’m investing in Against the Aeon Throne sooner than expected!

Grumpy over our inability to begin playing, my kids settled in with my husband to watch the finale of Voltron: Legendary Defender. They loved it, and when they end came they headed right over to the block bucket and got building.

Against the Aeon Throne Reach of the Empire Ron Lundeen
Starfinder Adventure Path: Against the Aeon Throne: Book One: The Reach of the Empire

Last time they built starships they did so with LEGO, but this time they used Duplo. Duplo is like bigger sized LEGO. It’s kind of marketed for toddlers, while LEGO is for kids, but my kids ADORE their Duplo (yes, even more than their LEGO). With LEGO they build things, but locking in the blocks sometimes hurts their fingers, and for some reason they feel compelled to find and follow instructions when they use it. They don’t often just build something grand from their imagination with LEGO. But with Duplo? It’s different. They never look at instructions. The blocks don’t hurt. They just come up with the craziest things, and build. Usually it’s full cities and markets with multiple buildings and roads and things. Trains and other vehicles are popular. Sometimes amusement park rides (that move). Once in a while they build mazes multiple layers deep. A while back my husband and I were watching ‘In The Heart Of The Sea‘ on Netflix and although my husband and I liked it my kids were bored out of their minds. Instead of watching my son sat down with blocks and built his own massive whaling ship. It was the right ship, had masts and sails, and even miniature rowboats on it. It was literally a massive, awesome ship. It even had a removable top deck so you could look inside. It was, hands-down, cooler than anything I’ve ever built.

So, I wasn’t surprised when they started building something together. They had a plan, and they chatted and got to work. When it was done they called me over. They had made a big starship, a few feet long and almost a foot wide. They stacked it on stilts that they attached to wheels, so it could drive around the house while the ship itself was still hovering off the ground.

“Awesome starship, guys!” I said

They shook their heads.

“This is not just ANY starship, Mom. THIS is a Galra battle cruiser! The really big ones. See!”

I looked at it again and nodded. It looked like the right shape and everything. I could see it.

They showed me the bridge. If you’ve got little hands (which I do not, haha) you can slip a hand inside and put figures inside. There’s even chairs and computer consoles in there. Impressive. They showed my the really big gun turret they built on top, which really does spin. They named what kind of gun it was, but in all fairness, I’ve forgotten it’s name (shame on me, I know). It was the big one. Haha. They showed me the thrusters and the engine bay. They showed my the medical bay and the prison cells. They pointed out that the prison cells had toy lions in them because in the finale they had just watched the villain captures the hero’s lions (they’re sentient lion-shaped starships, in case you have no idea what I’m talking about) and locks them up. Cool!

Anyways, I was so impressed we took a bunch of photos I thought I’d share below. My kids are very proud. They’re still waiting for Against the Aeon Throne. And they’re still excited. But, for now, they’re happy their creation is getting shared with the world.

Thanks for joining us today,



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