Busy Week

I’ve had a very quiet day today, recovering from a week of hard conversations and difficult decisions at work. It has also, in that same breath, been productive and I’ve cleared a lot of things off the deck that have felt like they’ve been hanging over me since and while I’ve been ill. I’ve actually ended the week with a reasonably clear ‘to do’ list and a clear idea for now of things to prioritise when I go back next week.

Of course, no plan survives contact with Monday, but I’m enjoying a brief respite from having knots in my stomach – or maybe that’s just the relief from getting through another bout of IBS in the middle of it all.

I have made some more maps and preparations for the game tomorrow, as well as sketched out some ideas for the Wednesday game. I’ve even been in touch with the people I used to play the pirate-themed D&D game with. The DM for that group says he’s thinking of doing a Spelljammer-based reboot. I can’t wait – good old Hesklik was fun. I’ll have to see what inspirations strike in the New Year.

Just a quick update then ahead of tomorrow’s shenanigans. I may have fallen down the rabbit hole of playing some Assassins Creed Odyssey…

Unused Scenario – The Frustrated Sculptors

I published a map yesterday, based around the idea of a wintery landscape claimed by a couple of stone giants who were perhaps not the best at crafting and sculpting and so had gone looking for quiet in the wilderness to try and find inspiration. There have been some very nice comments from people, both here and on Reddit – I posted the map in r/Inkarnate – which have put a smile on my face. I’m easily pleased.

Anyway, I’ve been toying with the concept a while as a potential encounter, and while I could crowbar it into the current story arc of the DDC, it feels a bit crowded already. So, instead, to match the map from yesterday, here are the HeroForge portraits and tokens and some ideas of how the encounter could be run.

Meet Modjard the Quiet and Midjeed the Lesser, brothers from a reclusive tribe of Stone Giants who live in the Blackcap Mountains. Their people love working stone and crystals to create masterpieces that are rarely seen by the surface world, let alone the wider world. As lesser talents among their folk, Modjard and Midjeed were therefore overlooked and generally not given much attention and so they decided to risk working on the surface to see if that brought better inspirations.

Sadly, the brothers have got a long way to go – they have a certain rough talent, but they will need to work hard to hone it, and they are not patient. Their attempts to create new statues or installations tend to end up flawed, or even fall apart – and the brothers are prone to violent fits of rage in their frustrations.

When encountered then, the adventurers are most likely to be drawn to them by their cries of anger and the sounds of things breaking. Their latest statue has just collapsed all over their supplies and the brothers are blaming each other for the disaster. Modjard blames Midjeed for making the ankles too thin. Midjeed blames Modjard for being sloppy and leaving their supplies flung in a corner behind the workshop area rather than stacking them in the cave as told earlier.

When they spot the adventurers, this can then go several ways. Things could well start getting thrown, first at each other and then at these intruders. Alternatively, depending on how they’re approached, they might start asking the group’s opinion on who is to blame, and shenanigans then proceed from there. The brothers are ordinary Stone Giants – they live a simple life but other than their blind spot of blaming each other for their own shortcomings, they are otherwise quite perceptive. Who knows, they may even hold local lore that the intruders need?

Map – Winter Stone Giant Workshop

I’ve been sat this evening after a last-minute change of plans and started playing around in Inkarnate again. Here’s what I came up with – a winter landscape set in the mountains, with a cave, broken stones and statues, and plenty of space to run an encounter. It might even turn up in a future DDC session.

The concept is that a pair of Stone Giant sculptors have picked this isolated place to try and gain inspiration from the wilderness. The amount of broken stone, furniture, equipment, and items suggests either many frustrations or an over-estimation of their skills.

There’s a good open space that includes places for smaller and squishier characters to take cover – some changes in height from cliff faces and elevations – and nooks and crannies to navigate around. The whole is scaled for a square 40×40 while not having a grid installed on it so it can be re-sized to taste. The resolution is 2048×2048. Feel free to copy and use.

HeroForge – DDC NPCs

There’s a definite buzz to creating visual representations of the various NPCs (non-player characters) that make an impact on the group in our game. This is even more important given how roleplay-heavy the last few sessions have been, and I’m pleased that these two miscreants have had some time to shine recently. As with last week’s notables, there’s one each from the village of Flower Town and the werewolf lair of Enna’s Seam.

So without further ado meet Banto Forkbeard – de facto leader of the werewolves reclaimed by Karkanna. If he isn’t their leader, he’s at least the most equal of the leaders they don’t have. An ex-guard sergeant at the Hold, his tattered uniform is worn as a point of pride. He is now primed to receive the signal to lead the wolves to rally at the Hold for the final push and engage the duergar forces

Next to him is Kellentan di Sivis – a gnome representative of the Dragonmarked House of Scribes. His message station in Flower Town used to be mostly geared towards news of merchant caravans and prices in nearby cities, but this ambitious gnome sees an opportunity in supporting the returning Heir in his fight to reclaim the Hold. He now helps with communication and logistics in return for favours for his House to come.

The tokens can be used on virtual tabletops – and as with any of these images, please feel free to grab copies for your own games – I’m starting to share the characters on HeroForge, so I’ll do a master list of the entries covered so far in due course.

DDC – Draconic Prophecies 9

It’s all getting a bit epic and legendary in the Sunday game – with archetypal titles being bestowed and dragons arriving to overshadow the events. Everyone’s having great fun, even if they’re occasionally having to stop to pick their jaws up off the ground.

The Doom of Kelliklik approaches as the Heir decides his fate. A nod and bow and the Redeemed shall not fly alone. The Watcher’s Dream of Dragons shall be met with fire and teeth and claw.

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 200 verse 1-3

The battle of Flower Town resulted in Thorin stating his claim to the throne and willingness to fight for his people, and Caeluma persuading the dragon Kelliklik to fight and fly alongside him. The Watcher’s Dream of Dragons remains to be revealed, but so far, each mention of a Watcher’s dream has alluded to the Beholder’s nightmares retaining form and flesh upon his awakening

In defiance of Winter’s Madness the sundered clan will fight. Unity and compromise found where death and hatred bloomed. What new dawn comes after the fight? Rebirth.

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 200 verse2 4-6

The greatest portion of the two halves of Clan Amberhammer have agreed to work together, brought in by the DDC. How will it all end up?

The Heir. The Redeemed. The Scribe. All these roles now revealed. Two more ascend. The Quiet, and The Hunter step up and join their gaze to witness Fate.

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 201 verses 1-6

Everyone in the DDC is being referred to with Archetypal labels. So far we have Thorin as the Heir. Caeluma is the Redeemed. Kerne is the Scribe. Just who will be named as the last two titles remains to be seen.

DDC – Fluffy and Snuffles

I was exhausted yesterday so completely forgot to do the writeup after our session – but what a game it was! We picked up from last week with the group split across three locations as they negotiated and bargained with various groups of survivors to band together under Thorin’s banner to retake the Hold.

At Flower Town, conversations began about the practicalities of how to gather people together at the right time and in the right place. There was a rapid realisation that the DDC hadn’t considered how to keep in touch – but fortunately a representative of House Sivis was among the refugees and through the power of their Dragonmark they were able to get a Sending to Caeluma.

For their part, Caeluma and Karkanna had arranged that when given a signal, the werewolves would assemble near the Hold. Caeluma got to know the spokesman of the wolves so that they could use a Sending to likewise signal to them when it was time. Hearing from the rest of the group, Caeluma decided to make their way to Flower Town, while Karkanna returned to the shrine.

Kerne continued their research into a cure for lycanthropy following the sharing of a hag’s recipe by Faye. Taken as written there was a high cost to assemble the ingredients per dose, but Kerne reasoned that if they could interpret some of the more obscure terms, they may be able to reduce the costs by sourcing things that might be known under more familiar names. When Karkanna returned alone, Kerne feared the worst and challenged her. A tense and sassy exchange left a silence between them as Karkanna turned to feeding her child, and the werewolves present enforced a distance between them.

Caeluma was able to swiftly fly to Flower Town and surprised everyone by dropping out of the sky into Thorin’s lap while everyone was sat round celebrating. Under the cover of flirting, they updated Thorin on the plans, but as light was fading the group decided to accept the refugee’s offer of roofs for the night. The group was put up by several families in homes around the main square.

Kerne and Karkanna resumed talking as Kerne wanted to ease the tension but also share the discovery they had made. The high cost was pitted against the saving of lives – but when Kerne asserted that if need be it could be only given to those who wanted the cure, Karkanna made an empassioned speech about the corrosive and corrupting nature of the lycanthrope curse. She did not want the curse. She definitely didn’t want her child to bear it. Kerne asked if the Clan could afford it, and Karkanna said that even if she wanted to give Kerne all the money right now, she couldn’t as she didn’t have the key to the Vault – that was in Thorin’s hands. Karkanna said that Thorin was the rightful heir now. He had the skills and aptitudes. He had the support and willingness to sacrifice himself. Karkanna was, now and always, the monster in the dark and would protect and avenge from the shadows. The evening night drew in with a rapprochment and gentle acknowledgement of the fight and struggle to come, and as the temperature fell, Kerne and Karkanna retired to Karkanna’s tent.

The rest of the DDC were rudely awoken in the night by a gout of flame and the screamed challenge of the red dragon Killiklik. Accompanied by the Dragon Blessed called Sigrund, a challenge to the Heir and his companions was issued to test their worthiness against the Draconic Prophecies surrounding this event. A tense and bloody fight ensued as the group leaped to defend the village and each other before Sigrund ended the challenge and cast a mass cure upon all the combatants. An agitated group rounded on them and their decision to appear in the middle of the night, only to be met with the assertion that fate and destiny wait for no one, and despite the suddenness, they had proved equal to the challenge and therefore capable of facing what was ahead. Rings were offered to the group as signs of their place in the Prophecies and of the favour of the dragons of the Argonnessan – but Caeluma challenged Sigrund and Killiklik further – to join in the fight.

There then followed a series of cryptic questions that tested the DDC’s awareness of the situation, and the stakes involved should they fail. Caeluma spoke passionately about saving lives across the continent from the Winter’s Knight and the eternal ice he planned to release in the heartlands of Khorvaire. Killiklik then turned to Thorin and asked if he had made his Choice. Thorin said he had – that he would fight for his land and his people.

Killiklik then nodded to Sigrund, who bowed in return, and the Killiklik repeated a line he had said earlier – that he knew his Doom and would face his death – and then affirmed to the group that he and Sigrund would fight alongside them.

DDC – Draconic Prophecies 8

More cryptic musings from the minds of the dragons of Eberron – and hints of themes and events on the horizon. As ever, as we get to things these could be about I’ll update this entry with what happened in game.

The Axe of the Stone breakers shall smite the plans of Winter – though who can tell where long steps lead? Sweet victory and sorrow, though none can tell the balance while hags plot and plans bubble.

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 142, verses 7-8

A reference to this arc’s end game, and the stakes and decisions to be weighed.

If the moons’ dark passing sees not the path to EverIce, then Xoriat’s grip fails and Khyber’s coils shift in humiliation

The Draconic Prophecies – Scale 105, verse 10

Words scribbled may gain response, but who are the writers and who the readers? Joy unbridled or fear regained may all hinge on a single lie

The Dracinic Prophecies – Scale 901, verses 2-3

Hello Weekend

It feels like it’s been a very long week, but at the same time has had some good things in it. I had a diagnosis on the tiredness and a hopefully simple and effective remedy that I’ve started now. I had my payday so that’s always helpful – and I took delivery of my new lease car.

That alone will make work immeasurably less stressful as we won’t be competing for use of Lady M’s work car. Like her my vehicle is provided as part of a fleet under a salary sacrifice scheme which covers tax and services and tire wear and tear and things like that. We’re both now driving hybrids, and mine can also be driven as a purely electric car once the VIM registration goes through and I can register with the BMW tariff for charging.

Sadly we haven’t any charging points on the estate, but various places around the area do so I’ll be learning the gentle art of planning journeys with an eye to charging points. Who says it’s too late to learn new skills?

So my plan for tomorrow is to properly read the manual, work out how to customise things and connect my phone, and then take Lady M for a drive somewhere. Its been a good ten years since I’ve had a vehicle to call my own.

HeroForge – Rescued Dwarves

The DDC have been making friends recently as they look to build a militia to help reclaim Thorin’s home. They have been successful in reaching out to both the major groups in the area – the werewolves that have been brought into line by Karkanna, and the refugees who had taken shelter and fortified Flower Town. As part of my fleshing out the leading personalities in those two groups therefore, I’ve gone back to HeroForge to put some faces to the names.

Here then are Charis Amberley of Flower Town – a retired ranger who fought alongside Thorin during the Last War and helped organise the militias that they put together – and Ennis Amberhammer, a forge master of the Clan who specialises in making armour (and who is Thorin’s cousin)

Charis had organised the refugees and created defences so that they could defend against night-time raids by the daelkyr forces or their duergar allies – and it was he who first recognised Thorin when he appeared at the outer barricades. He brought the townsfolk round to listen and has proposed the beginnings of some strategies – but bringing him round to accepting the help of their cursed cousins was a hard sell.

Ennis is still battling to subdue the beast that the curse has unleashed, but he has enough control of himself to have begun organising the defences of the shrine within which Karkanna has made her lair. He is not a strategist, but he knows how to build solid bulwarks and will follow the Amberhammer heirs wherever they lead.

These tokens and portraits are available to freely download and use in your own online tabletops – the HeroForge website has some amazing options for making your own, and the subscription model is well worth looking at if you are running your own game just for the token making alone.

More NPCs and oddities to come

Wednesday Game Night

We had a shorter session this week for the Librarian game – partly because we’ve all had long days today – but we did manage to take a peek into the lives of our new heroes with some down time, and their preparations for a charity ball that they had been invited to.

Pan hit the aisles and shelves of the libraries in search of lore that they weren’t prepared to share with their new companions. Despite many days surrounded by maps and shipping manifests, they found no new information of any consequence. Wilhelm spent a week lecturing and working at his day job, enjoying the routine of both informing and torturing the students attending this talks. He also began planning for the ball.

Xander, still woozy with amnesia, found himself worrying more and more about what to wear to the ball and so threw himself into tinkering in his makeshift workshop. He brewed a potion of healing, and educated himself with fashion magazines and reports of society balls. Lila went back to the Cogs and spent more time with the gang they’d made friends with, and frequenting a number of low dives in search of new gambling dens. Much to her own surprise, she ended up with more money that she’d started, and decided to invest it in some fine clothing.

Catriona spent a lot of time worrying about the ball – as much because she came from a monastic tradition in her faith – and so research was the order of the day for her too. As events would soon show, she perhaps had better sources in her research than Xander did/

All through the week, the group kept in touch with what they were looking to wear – and they got together before the ball to compare their outfits. Xander, in particular stood out – with a suit composed of elements that were of fine quality individually, but when put together were somewhat distressing to the eye. Pinstripe trousers in grey were matched with a black plaid jacket, and a blue polka-dot shirt and brown shoes. All of this was topped with a neon green bow tie. Each of the items was lightly glamered to shimmer and shine from time to time as it caught the light. He was certainly an arresting sight, and not easily overlooked. Wilhelm’s tailored suit was a vision of purple and red accompanied with a corset and frilled shirt – impeccable in construction and poise. Lila went for simplicity and practicality in her elegant dress, while Catriona affected a classic purple dress that looked old and yet classically new at the same time.

Having assembled in one of the university bars, all eyes turned to Pan as they made their entrance…

And that’s where we left it – to be continued…!