The DDC continued their adventures on Sunday night, continuing with a cautious approach verging on paranoia. Every monastic cell in the abandoned temple was empty, but the kitchen/refectory brought a new surprise: the zombified remains of ancient goblins going through the motions of preparing meals, serving them and clearing them away – unheeding of the fact that there was nobody there, and all the supplies and foodstuffs had long spoiled or rotted away.
With many groups you’d be forgiven for expecting urgent battlecries, but instead the group watched for the moment as Caeluma hugged one and helped it set the table. They recorded what runes and artifacts they could see, and then carefully retreated, closing the door behind them.
And then, because they’re not stupid, they barricaded the door and wrote Dead Inside, Don’t Open – or was it Dead Don’t Inside Open?
Then they took a short rest before trying one of the bigger doors that looked like a grand entrance – that instead led to a corridor and the looming shapes of mansized and roughly man-shaped mushrooms lurching towards them with hands outstretched. With lightning reflexes the group downed one of the figures before sprayed spores stunned the ferocious dwarf fighter and one of the creatures pummelled him lightly in retaliation.
And then another set of spores sprayed out and got a voice speaking in their heads, wondering who they were and what had the myconids ever done to them? Some hasty de-escalation later, including some druidcrafted repairs and healing, and hostilities were called off. The myconids had been trapped in the temple space below while investigating what they called a wound in the world on behalf of the Gatekeeper Druidic faction. A group of humans wearing the symbology of The Mockery had invaded the buried temple on their own quest for The Egg, and been driven off by the mushroom men.
Despite the plethora of fungal and mycelial puns and jokes, an alliance was agreed to deal with what they called The Wound, with one of the myconids leading the group back to a room they had previously barricaded due to the red light shining from under it. The rest of the myconids stayed to contain “the wandering flame” – whatever that is…
There was a lot of laughter and soppiness this session – along with calls for Caeluma to put the zombie goblin back down and to knit the mushroom men some scarves. A fun evening.
I thought we’d had all the good weather we were going to have now that people have been out and about more. I am pleasantly surprised therefore to have clear blue skies and sunshine all around as I go to pick up my prescription renewals.
Last night’s DDC game was fun for me, if no one else, in that it allowed me no small amount of GM sadism. The group is still investigating the buried remains of an old goblin temple, and had discovered several very old sets of remains from what looked like a pitched battle.
Beyond an open archway was a large room with benches along the walls and an enormous carpet that smelled awful. Rather than just take this in as a bit of scene dressing, there then followed real fear as they tried to investigate for traps, or some nefarious purpose to the carpet. At one point they thought the carpet might leap into life and try to eat them.
It was only when someone tried to flip the carpet, and the corner tore off wetly in their hand, that they accepted that their GM had been telling the truth the whole time – that it was just a carpet and there were no traps.
Okay, I may have used the “are you sure?” and “which corner are you reaching for?” approach, but I think I have done my job well in instilling caution in my players. I’m sure the next carpet will be just as innocent.
Life continues to ebb and flow in its complexities, but the DDC continues to be a creative and entertaining source of comfort, support, and humour in all the oddness around us.
Our latest set of things has been creating quizzes and games to play through shared screens in Discord. Whoever is running the quiz sets up a PowerPoint document with questions and answers revealed in turn, while everyone works together to find the answers. Mre B created the template based on their running similar things with their friends, and myr s has taken up the baton to create rounds tailored to our various strengths and foibles.
Roughly once a week we gather of an evening to play. We start with general levity, and yet despite there not being any competition between players, there’s soon a very serious air as people try to identify TV theme tunes from sight reading music, interpret kinks by their formal clinical names, identify pop culture characters from pets dressed up as those characters, and puns based on shows where one character has been changed – and that was just for starters.
Lateral thinking, chat, and everyone trying to resist googling any answers – a fun combination that is proving as much a draw as the weekly Dungeons and Dragons session.
Oh, and then we used Roll20 to make a Trivial Pursuit board and grabbed four different sets to make a monstrous random hodgepodge of topics from Star Wars, Stranger Things, Harry Potter, and a general family edition. That got very silly, very fast. We’ll have to do that again…
We got back into the swing of things last night in D&D – with a mix of derring-do and investigation, but also tears and laughter in moments of heartfelt roleplay where these new adventurers began to come to terms with the harshness of the life that they had chosen.
Chief among the causes of their introspection was that the stories and songs they had been raised on didn’t talk often about what it felt like to have to make life and death decisions over their friends. The fighting had been sudden and unexpected and nearly seen two of their number cut down in the first moments of their career. Briar, as a child of retired adventurers in particular, was shocked at the realisation that these feelings must have been felt by their parents.
There was also concern about who or what the undead had been before becoming what they were. What lives had they lived? Had they had friends and family? What had led them to die and then be so darkly reborn?
Others in the group took to singing and drinking and dancing to cope – celebrating their lives and raising the spirits of all around them. For some there was study, or the quiet discipline of knitting quietly and watching everyone else.
The former introspection was roleplayed beautifully and brought tears to people’s eyes, the latter celebration turned into a celebration that had everyone in stitches with laughter. An overnight recovery for the adventurers and players – but with the knowledge that a dark mystery remained to be explored with the discovery of an overgrown staircase leading deeper into the hill.
Well, that happened… That’s actually the title of the game that I’m running and it seems entirely appropriate for a heavily roleplay-orientated group with similarly dry senses of wit as my own.
The mix of character personalities bubbles gently as we have a mix of introverts and extroverts at play – fortunately the most extrovert of them is Lord S, who as an opera performer delights in elevating everyone around him. Taking the royal of a flamboyant rogue of a noble halfling, he took us on a good five minute babble about the difference between asking someone nicely to do something and asking someone nicely to do something.
My notes on the session are as follows:
Key events – from memory: breakfast included another session of catching practice, where Caeluma switched up to using daggers rather than their tail for catching apples, and everyone thought a fight was about to break out. Alfonso and Briar took the stage to warm applause, but only after Alfonso nearly had a breakdown trying to explain to Caeluma the difference between asking nicely and asking nicely. The Secretary of Orcish Antiquities let people pet her Iron Defender “George” and her pet dinosaur enjoyed being snuck all the treats.
University IDs were handed out, a formal signing of the DDC charter happened, and a job was provided as a test run for the group to investigate a cave/ruin recently uncovered on the Thrane border by bad weather. Return tickets for the Lightning Rail to Fort Light have been provided.
Then there was a bit of a training session, first with a warforged ex-soldier called Speedy, and then with skeletons. The match was called after a minotaur skeleton KO’d Briar and sent them flying literally ten foot through the air.
We ended the session with a cut back to the bar and everyone covered in comedy bandages and moving in some discomfort to order dinner.
And then we mostly stayed up chatting until nearly four in the morning.
I was telling my counsellor via video call last night that one of the absolute joys that has been lifting my spirits has been this new gaming group and the use of a Discord server to keep us all in touch. Everyone is meshing so well that we’ve got impromptu roleplaying on one of the channels that has tempted everyone in.
It’s leading to character developments from quirks and hobbies to re-evaluation of initial concepts and back stories – with our heroes being hired by a patron in the Wynarn University of Aundair as a field research group. They’ve settled on calling themselves the DDC, and to tell everyone something different when asked what it means.
The five players have decided on roles within the group, from scholar to financier, scout, fixer, and anthropologist. We will no doubt see what that actually translates to once we get to the meat of the adventure, but for now they are a happy group who sort breakfasts for each other, have discovered a love of knitting, try to teach juggling with knives, and sit excitedly on public transport sightseeing.
It’s a very different set of dynamics to previous groups, so there’s a delight in that, plus several people haven’t really played much or at all before so there’s a sense of excited discovery going on. I’m not using any premade adventures this time out so it will all be a bit more freewheeling. I can’t wait to see where it takes us*
*I actually have a fairly well plotted idea for the first few weeks, so I fully expect that to be thrown out the window in short order
Today has been spent pottering around, shredding old files and envelopes with personal data, and having a tidy. Something about the sunshine has obviously kicked me into spring-cleaning mode.
A large black binliner now sits by the door full of odds and ends and shredded paper ready for a late-night wander down to the bin store as a result.
And following on from the Cards session we’re now talking about getting Roll20 sessions going again. It’s a whole new group, but most have played at least a little before even if they’ve not necessarily used the site before. We’ll do a tech test tomorrow and see how it works
The last two sessions of the campaign are now up to date – and are largely atmospheric accounts of the adventurers experiences as they venture into a ghoul warren. It’s all up under the Wartorn Chapter Four section, above.
I’ve just learned I’ll be joined by the Charleesi for at least a portion of the day tomorrow, following her tentative first steps into work experience and volunteering in the local area. Should be interesting to get her views on it all…
In other news, prompted by a very surreal and slightly NSFW conversation with Lady P, I’m working on a new short story that I think I’ll just share here, because it’s not particularly commercial and is serving as quite a nice block breaking exercise. It should only be a couple of thousand words, so expect it in the next day or three.
At this rate, I should actually have some spare time to do some modding for Artyfakes! Timetables and personal events have rather eaten into my available time to do more than turn up, say hello and disappear again, so I really need to get back into the swing of things there too.
Last week’s update is finally up – Revelations In The Dark – now to do this week’s session and I’ll be back up to speed. All the Wartorn Campaign sections can be found from the menus above, or by going to the Wartorn Page
I’m still slowly adding maps from the Eberron campaign in the Notable Locations section of Wartorn – another couple have gone up this evening under the Dorasharn Forge Cavern – a scene from the beginning of the adventures