Well That Was Chaos

There was shouting, laughing, and more than a couple of insults flung my way in tonight’s gaming session as the group tangled with suits of animated armour and a couple of animated blades – and the bad dice rolls took effect.

We had a good number of visitors drop in and out, as well as some who stayed the distance. Despite the occasional technical issue with sound, it was a good session – and I needed it, having had a couple of post-work low energy and spoon days.

Even two hours before the session i was curled up on the bed, just exhausted. I’ve just been spending so much energy looking out for other people that I think I just ran out. A couple of laughter-filled hours of silliness and dice rolling perked me up no end.

Things to do following the session? Design an intermission/title card graphic for the stream. What’s the worst that could happen?

Haunted Housing

A good D&D session this week, and as with last week we streamed it through Lady B’s Twitch channel between 7.30 and 10 (ish) – we’re enjoying it enough that we’ll continue as regularly as possible with that. Hopefully we’ll also have things uploading to YouTube soon.

This week saw them starting to explore the dilapidated house on the cliffs in search of the missing owner who was working on alchemical “stuff”. The scene before them was full of broken and moldy plaster, and rotten woodwork. Initial investigations revealed cold spots and flashing lights out the corner of people’s eyes. So far so spooky.

A heavy fog rolled in from the sea, and being rather cool customers this was met with a “huh” – by contrast, when myr s investigated the remains of the kitchen and disturbed a nest of giant centipedes there were cries of dismay fuelled by phobias and recently viewed video games.

I’ll take it.

With the group split (yes, they actually split the party in a haunted house environment), there was nearly a smattering of deaths, but quick thinking, sprinting, and maaaaaybe one or two fudged rolls on my side saw them pull through and licking their wounds.

Investigations continue, with hidden doors and ongoing spookiness… As ever, it was a great tonic after a long week

Streaming Shenanigans

We tried something a bit different this week as we gamed on Sunday, and livestreamed the session – or at least the audio of it along with the virtual table top – it was very rough and ready, but we all enjoyed it immensely and even had some people pop their heads round the virtual door to cheer us on. Some of them even suggested they’d enjoy coming back next time, so we can’t have been awful.

Roll for Initiative, eventually…

I suppose this means I’ll have to get quicker on getting material prepped and ready, and I’ve agreed to do a quick video intro that will be spliced into a YouTube video for the channel that we’re setting up as well. I’ll announce that properly when there’s something to actually see there. Personally I can’t stand the sound of my own voice, but no one has said anything about it so I have to assume it’s not dreadful to anyone who hasn’t heard my internal monologue. That… doesn’t at all sound odd, does it?

Ahem

If it takes off, we’ll do more social media noise in real-time, but for now its a neat little experiment.

Housebuilding and Tabletop Shenanigans

The D&D session on Sunday was a quiet one with two main goals – to allow the group to finish outfitting the house their adventures have now bought outright, and to ensure that everyone had transferred their character sheets to http://www.dndbeyond.com and installed the Beyond20 extension in their browsers.

Why? Well the character sheets and their management is more user friendly than Roll20 in our opinion. They’re especially more useful for newer players in terms of managing items, actions, and spells. I’d found them so much more intuitive while playing with my other group that I suggested a sidestep.

The browser extension makes for a seamless transfer of rolls to the virtual tabletop in Roll20 during the game, and has some nice configuration options that allow some tweaking along the way. I’ve had to shell out a bit of money to rebuy some source books and upgrade my monthly subscription, but in support of a regular group I really don’t mind that.

All the tests seem to be working, so now I’m fleshing out some encounters using the tools available on the site, and we’ll see where the group wanders next.

Fairhaven Moments

Sunday’s game was quiet, but some important foundation-laying happened, and a lot of laughter. There are some interesting mechanics in 5th Edition to support the GM in arbitrating Downtime activities, and with the adventurers finding their feet it was a good excuse to play along and add some colour

Caeluma spent a lot of time knitting a chunky “Jumper of Friendliness” for the warforged urchin the group adopted. He in turn has been hanging around with a bemused air to see what happens next. A beanie hat is apparently the next project.

Valenia and Thorin spent the week carousing and, between sessions in the pub, teaching Thorin to read. They’re not sure how, but after one particularly black-out night they seem to have earned the nickname of “benchslayers”. Nobody will tell them why.

Kerne stuck to studying the texts retrieved from their last adventure, as well as doing some ancillary research suggested by their contents.

All well, so far, and then the group decided that a good use of their haul would be to rent out a house together, rather than continue living in an Inn. After some searching, they settled on a tall house about half an hour from the university in one of the nicer suburbs.

I got them to suggest some street names on a grid map that I’d made earlier, and will this week be fleshing out some of the local landmarks for them to explore. There is one house on the map that is absolutely not a brothel. A house of negotiable affection providing reasonably priced love, perhaps, but not a brothel. Honest.

Sunday’s Game

It was a quiet session, mostly spent trying to identify and get good prices for the items the adventures had brought back with them.

They’re still a little hazy about what happened, and I laid some potential plot hooks out that can be picked up on as we go.

Caeluma is trying to put at ease the newly adopted warforged Coal, and to get used to having a baby dragon around; especially one that has a habit of turning invisible, scaring the inn’s cat, and then quietly sniggering from the rafters…

Next week, they intend to go shopping, and possibly purchase some private lodgings.

Frantic Scribbling

…That’s what I should be doing to revamp and rewrite and prepare for my next D&D session. Instead I’m letting the wheels spin in my head, and mulling over scenario hooks. In some ways there’s a soft reboot going on, and a change of emphasis, and thats in no small part to listening to my players. Many of them haven’t played much, if any, D&D before.

As we’ve weaved through both traditional and non traditional story elements they’ve definitely started to have a clearer image of what they enjoy. Its not all been plain sailing, but I’m intrigued by some of the ideas floating around the table now.

So we’re back i think to some more episodic material where role-playing leads the direction, but at the same time I’m dropping elements in to see who bites at what. They’ve decided dungeon delving isn’t their thing right now, but the current mix is hinting at academic skullduggery, organised and disorganised crime, and defending the downtrodden.

Oh, and a faerie dragon. What’s the worst that could happen?

And More Gaming

A whole weekend of dungeons and dragons? No wonder I’m a bit tired today. After some small shuffling around and soft rebooting to accommodate schedules and health, the Sunday group that I GM spent the evening learning why there were less pigeons around their local pub than usual, and running an errand on behalf of a fellow faculty member. A gargoyle had taken up residence on the balcony of an alchemist.

With the owner out of town, the group were asked to take a bunch of herbs and spices to put in the furnace in the owner’s laboratory to drive the gargoyle away.

Arriving at the address provided, they found Freshers Week in full flow – likened to being almost as quiet as Newcastle City Centre on a Saturday night – and got distracted as a pickpocket stole the key to the house.

Now, I had intended the thief to be a one-shot, literally throwaway npc, but having captured the warforged rogue, Caeluma healed him and adopted him. Knitting was perpetrated.

The butler of the house had been badly injured by the gargoyle, so was unable to draw the bolts inside the front door, so the group instead used a cellar entrance and the keys and their university identification papers to bypass the security construct guarding it. Evidence found along the way suggested that the owner of the house was involved in some kind of dodgy payments, and the theory was formed that the gargoyle may not be the aggressor here.

Convinced that the gargoyle was there because of something the missing alchemist had done, Caeluma then attempted to talk it out of remaining, pouring their heart into an impassioned speech.

Unfortunately the real gargoyle was perched on the roof above them, and it knocked the statue that Caeluma had been addressing flying as it swooped on the group. After a brief struggle, despite attempts to subdue it, they were forced to kill the gargoyle. It shattered into thousands of pieces, hissing something about Dhassk.

Within the kiln, they found a small leathery egg, which hatched as Caeluma lifted it free. A small butterfly-winged dragon broke out of the shell, and instantly imprinted on Caeluma. There may have been tears.

Where this goes next week, I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.

Gaming Night

After various reschedules for health and work we managed to get our pirate-themed D&D session going this evening. This is the one I play in as opposed to the one I GM.

I was a bit nervous about my tech being up to it given hiccups last time but I managed to balance the various loads across a couple of laptops and my phone and all was well.

To recap: my lizardfolk cleric of the grave had searched out civilization after his tribe was killed by undead creatures. Haunted by the sights he’d seen and the spirits that surround him, he adopted a motley crew of adventurers during an ambush in a bar. He sees them as like hatchlings that need protecting due to their lack of scales and teeth, but also as potential warriors to stem the rise of undead on the islands.

His method of ensuring that the dead do not rise again is typically lizardfolk in its pragmatism: the dead do not rise from the cooking pot. A reputation for butchering the corpses for the fallen has already begun to spread, although not necessarily in understanding of why. At the same time his soups, stews, and calamari dishes are admired for their exquisite tastes. Just be wary of the cold cuts platter.

The group were sent by one of the leaders of the port community to investigate the disappearance of one of the tribal leaders. It was an investigation that found signs of struggle leading to a bolthole and tunnels beneath the town guarded by clockwork soldiers. The group avoided these and closed in on a group of thugs led by a Knight who had trapped the mouse-folk leader. This was where the session began.

As is ever the case, combat takes a lot longer to process through than other activities in the game, but the group was successful in joining the mechanical guards present in saving the council member. Richly rewarded, they were also treated to food and drink, and advised that they would be called on to track down the remaining “Pieces of Eight” to match the one already in their possession from a previous adventure.

The Pieces were the remains of a seal that had contained a dark evil making the dead rise and darkness spread across the islands. The reason that the group had been unable to get any work was partly down to the superstitious nature of the pirates around them and partly because the Council had forbade anyone to give them work while they could be assessed for the job before them.

A day of relaxation by the docks while they waited for the Council to meet was cut short by an ambush by compatriots of the thugs they had defeated earlier. Heslik spent most of the battle either healing his companions or trading crossbow shots with an inept thug whose bolts bounced off Heslik’s tough scales. Heslik felt obliged to show him how to shoot properly in his return fire. There may have been some sarcastic comments across the battlefield: “No fleshling! Not like that! Like this! There! See? Try again, you can do it!”

The battle was won, treasure was looted, a warning left on the bodies. Time for the group to rest up.

Supporting Endeavours

I’ve been keeping busy doing some graphic work for myr s as they establish their Twitch gaming channel, and it has been a fun exercise in designing to order and continuing to work out how to do things I used to routinely do in older versions of the software available.

As a Twitch Affiliate, there are bonus graphics and emojis available to subscribers, so I’ve been helping design those to add a bit of flair. They’ve been playing a lot of Alien: Isolation, so a theme of chibi graphics referring to that has emerged, and I’m really pleased at how the transparencies work to simplify the graphics, even at smaller sizes.

Compared to the complex work I normally do, there’s a challenge to keep the simplicity so that the image is still clear.

I may even be feeling a bit pleased with the results