Tug of War

Last night’s session was great fun and a needed quiet moment between adventures. Lady M wasn’t feeling well, so having a session based around down time activities and a local festival meant she could duck out as needed.

Research on their attackers suggested they’d been sent by rivals from Morgrave University: treasure hunters called Mrs Friendly and Mr Nice.

The former is known as a warlock whose patron is one of the Archfae, with a reputation as a master of disguise. The latter is a goblin warrior obsessed with the culture of his Dhaakani forebears. The pair had apparently been in search of the goblin temple that the DDC had explored, and now hold a grudge.

The festival itself kept everyone amused. Caeluma knitted items for local children; Valenia tried out the archery butts. Coal was enticed into dancing, and after initial stumbles became the toast of the event. (Caeluma was moved to tears). Thorin got into an arm wrestling competition and won. There was food, drink, and afternoon teas – and then we had what turned into the highlight of the session: the pub tug of war.

The DDC was equally split between the two teams, and a series of contested strength check successes were required to win. It was close-fought, with Valenia and Thorin on one team, Coal and Caeluma on the other. In the end, with much cheering and relief, Thorin and Valenia’s team won.

It was utterly exhausting, but great fun for everyone.

Game Night Preparations

Right let’s see if the tech will cooperate today – there’s snow outside, which feels either appropriate or two fingers up for the scenario for tonight, so I’m under the duvet on the sofa, eyeing my laptops with suspicion while they load up and decide if they want to run any more updates this afternoon. The plan is to use the existing suburb map I’ve made for their household and then place encounter/activities on it. I have no doubt that it will end up with the session bearing very little resemblance to any of my plans. Such are the joys of running a D&D group. As usual, from about 1930 GMT we’ll be running the stream simultaneously to Twitch and YouTube and there will definitely be silliness, burping, and the discussion of drinks.

Planning For The Weekend

Work is busy at the moment, so I’m distracting myself a little with thoughts of the game session to come. I’ve floated the idea of a somewhat unusual scenario and had a positive response, so I’m currently doing some broad brush plotting for the Festival of Last Frost.

At heart it’s going to be a seasonal festival welcoming the Spring, so the whole local area will be filled with events and challenges for the whole community. Competitions will include feats of strength, skill, luck, and whimsy.

I think it will be a nice break from all the dangers and give them a good opportunity for roleplay and shenanigans. If nothing else I suspect there will be competitive knitting, and pinning the tentacles on the mimic. We may even get an answer to why certain people are known as “benchslayers”

Winged It

I had so many tech issues yesterday when I wanted to prep for the game. Both laptops decided it was time for multiple updates and reboots so preparation time was technically reduced to about forty five minutes. This was an issue because one of the players for the Goblin game was unavailable and so we were going to flip back the main story. Which I needed to write.

Fortunately I already had a good idea for some creative chaos, and a pre-prepared encounter saved in DNDBeyond, so I added a few elements to existing maps and away we went.

As usual we had the Twitch stream hosted by Lady B, and pushed it through to YouTube as well, and we launched with my giving a brief recap of where we’d left the DDC.

Which is how the weary adventurers, fresh off the train found themselves running to the assistance of a mugging victim, only to be counter ambushed by thugs claiming to be sent by “Mrs Friendly” and “Mr Nice”. As the group had no idea who they were this led to confusion and bloodshed in equal amounts, and the watch arrived to pick up the pieces.

So far so relatively normal, but in getting home they had some new mysteries. A new bench had been placed in their front garden. Thorin’s towels had disappeared when he took a shower. Other items were also found to be missing or jumbled up, and suspicion briefly fell on Shriken the faerie dragon as the mischief maker.

Which was when Shriken led Caeluma to an upstairs room where a new item of furniture had appeared – and quickly revealed itself to be a mimic when disturbed. A very chaotic and messy battle then broke out, including the revelation that some minor objects recently found while tidying up were also juvenile mimics.

And of course the heroes won, but they were very confused… Go have a listen for more details.

Settling In

Well, we’re two days in to the lockdown and the initial scramble of people has calmed down.

Which of course has let my brain start to consider geeky things again. Most recently I’ve been inspired by people discussing dwarf beards in fantasy tales – in particular how they could act as a natural air filtration systems for miners which is why a) both men and women dwarves traditionally have beards and b) why they are so proud of the familial braiding and clan traditions of grooming…

Which leads to thoughts of microbiomes and fungal colouring and all sorts of fancy bits of descriptive colour that I fully intend to develop with the D&D games…

Return of the One-Shot

For those who haven’t seen the streamed games, here’s the story so far:

The rural township of Gobblett lies in the shadows of the mountainous borders of Droaam – a nation of monsters that in this small corner consists largely of goblins.

The characters in this standalone adventure are all from the township, having ventured out into the world in search of riches. They have returned for the midwinter feast and a hefty portion of the first session was spent establishing their links with the villagers and some of the notable inhabitants.

Then a lone shepherd appeared on the main green, pursued by elves wearing the insignia of the fanatics known as the Silver Flame. The adventurers leapt to defend the village and drove off the elves. The badly injured shepherd warned of a force of the fanatics approaching with the goal of stealing away the village’s children to raise them within the church’s workhouses.

The players had roughly 36 hours to prepare for the invaders.

That was last week. This week’s session saw the raising of lengths of crude palisades and ambush points prepared. The artillerist assembled an eldritch cannon with a view of the main green, while the village families retreated to the Chief’s rambling mansion and barricaded the doors and windows.

Blue-green skinned goblin with green dreadlocks clutching a rifle. She wears white clothing and steampunk styled accessories

The totally unsporting mercenaries that comprised the main assault arrived by flying boat – two skiffs each containing five warriors accompanied by a berserker, and the mercenary captain in addition in one of the boats. A direct hit by spells forced one of the boats to crash just inside the palisade while the other stayed aloft so that the troops could fire from above.

While the battle raged largely across the green and nearby alleys, there was a sudden screech from above, and a large green winged lizard flew across the rooftops. A figure on the dragon’s back cut cords on sacking, releasing dozens of small packages across the township before the dragon flew off.

The adventurers focused on defeating the mercenaries, and as the session ended noticed that the brightly wrapped presents had been moving slowly toward the mansion and surrounding buildings. Some had already made their ways down chimneys and through windows, and now there were sounds of disturbance.

And to top it all off, the dragon could be heard screaming in the distance…

So, no pressure for next week.

And We’re Back

Merry Christmas everyone, much food and drink has been consumed and a state of pleasant befuddlement has been enjoyed. All this despite the last minute lockdown.

We spaced out presents through the day, and enjoyed spoiling each other rotten in the unexpected quiet.

And then this evening we ran an online version of what I’d been planning as a tabletop one shot – or at least the beginning of one – in what I’ve started calling the one point five shot session.

It is a goblin themed one shot, set in a goblin village. We have:

  • Truxi the Bard played by Lady M
  • Angre the Wizard played by myr s
  • Dranverk the Barbarian played by the cub
  • Morrus the Monk played by Lady W
  • Meekface the Artificer played by Lady B

All the characters are goblins, and this has given license for a certain degree of silly voices in the stream and for some reason 80s and 90s-themed football references to the retired hero, now brewer, called Cann Tonna and his missing rival Red Knapp who disappeared while raiding the New Castle to the North.

If it weren’t for the lockdown we would get out more.

Oh, and a goblin scout was chased into the village and shot down by elves wearing the insignia of the Silver Flame before the goblin heroes could drive them off. In two days a force of these fanatics will raid the village. They will attempt to steal away the goblin children at the height of the Winter Festival.

Changing Tack

We had planned to have a very poly Christmas this year, having our first Christmas together in the almost three years we’ve been bumbling along. Oh well.

I was going to go pick up myr s, the cub, and Lady W as metamour in chief on the evening of Christmas Day. That way they could enjoy a family meal with myr s’ father and Lady M and I could have a quiet morning to ourselves. A quick dash down to Portsmouth and back in the evening and we could then have a few days cosily in our flat. In line with the then-restrictions we would also be able to welcome Lady B during that period and have a table-top dungeons and dragons extravaganza.

Because that’s how we roll.

Instead, I am now busily making up details for that one-shot game to convert for Roll20 and our usual Sunday Twitch slot. No pressure or anything, I had been planning to largely wing it for the table but now I need to at least draw some maps. I’ve even written a four part structure for the characters to completely derail.

So, there will be other Christmases, and certainly plenty of other opportunities to get us all together again, no matter what coronavirus throws at us. For now, we’ll stay safe and do our bits to keep others safe.

Tales of Lockdown: Games Night

Okay – Tier 4 lockdown just happened, affecting everyone in our polycule and wider social and work circles, so there’s been a lot of angst and anger as we all dropped all our plans. One thing has remained – Games Night – our now-regular Sunday evening D&D sessions streamed through https://www.twitch.tv/princessleah1980 between 7.30pm and 10.30pm (ish). As ever we had fun – and there was more than a little silliness, including this gem: https://clips.twitch.tv/NiceBovineDonkeyKeepo

The whole evening’s show can for now be seen by following this link: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/844296990?t=3h1m41s and we are still working on converting them all for watching on YouTube. The channel is called Well That Happened and for now there’s a couple of introductions on there. Perhaps being in lockdown will give us collectively time to get more material up.

Tim wearing a green tshirt with the caption: Dungeon Master - It's not my job to kill you, it's just one of the perks
Would you trust a DM like this?

So – what happened? Basically the whole episode was set on a travelling Lightning Rail train, with the adventurers travelling home from their previous adventure. With it being a seasonal festival, they became aware that there was much frivolity, eating, drinking, and general carousing taking place in the restaurant cars next door – so they joined in. Then they started to notice that things were a bit off, with people consuming food and drink to excess, staggering off to be ill or use the toilets, and then returning for more. Then they realised that their DM’s exhortations to Eat! Drink! Be Merry! were actually telepathic urgings from somewhere that were affecting them too.

It all ended up with a corrupt train official, cultists of the Dragon Below, and an Otuygh in the waste carriage that frankly was just living its best life until the adventurers came along. Never before have I seen our tiefling go from “awww, I’m going to knit Santa a hat” to “I’m going to kill Santa” quite so quickly. It was great fun, and I think we really needed the laughter.

Next week will be a seasonal one-shot that I need to start working on urgently, featuring Christmas Goblins and Elves. Feel free to drop by and say hello!

DDC Ghostbusters

This evening’s D&D game was hilarious, and I promise I will start updating the pages here in due course. Tonight was largely spent wandering around the haunted house, and fending off the spirit that had killed the previous owner (well technically, Rancaster is currently pottering around as an undead thing in the basement, its complicated)

Having found the ghost’s mortal remains, they then performed a set of funeral rites (having driven the ghost away with clerical turning) to put it to rest- and being the mean DM that I am, I required them each to contribute to the eulogy based on what they had found in the house. Never has a hobgoblin leg breaker for the Dhaask criminal organisation been given such a sendoff…

And then there was more erotic poetry, and a tour diary from Rancaster and Lemster’s trips to various clubs and bars in Sharn, and of being employed by Dhaask to synthesise dreamlily to cut into the Boromar trade… and trying to explain to the young dragon born sorcerer what the various gay and bdsm references meant in a child friendly way… and the teifling got covered in a dust and got high, and there were many, many spiders.

We may have laughed a lot, and the people following along on Twitch may have laughed, and there may be a clip of Lady M emulating her Dragonborn’s fearsome roar knocking around somewhere too…