Cutest Session Ever

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.

Oh? Sunshine? Again?

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.

Would I lie to you?

A Cracking Session

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.

Your Friendly DM

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.

Day 372 of Isolation

What is days? What is space? Oh wait – hang on, I can go outside – ah, nope. Okay, so instead, while in between sorting a few odds and ends out with emails and remote access to some things, I’ve been experimenting a bit with some of the map pack options in Roll20 to make some maps for “just in case” – because if I’ve learned anything over the years, its that players are distracted by the slightest thing faster than you can yell “Squirrel!”

With a roleplay-heavy group like the current DDC, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. I plopped them down in a generic inn map while assembling things and it turned into at least two sessions of them making breakfast for each other, singing, and trying to teach a tiefling to catch apples with their tail. All the derailments so far have been purely character-chat – aside from the sudden desire to go find a training ground to practice combat.

Fortunately there are a great number of free map graphics made up. They’re searchable through the assets menu, but these all take time and I couldn’t find anything generic enough.

In the end I used a semi-random map for that particular moment. It did prompt me though to have a look at the various map pack options available to purchase through the Roll20 marketplace – rather than so many of the pre-made pretty options.

I ended up with three that look fairly flexible in that they are modular graphics with connectors – I can use the layers to blend the rough edges and the intended size and proportions so far have been quite user-friendly. I

‘ve been practicing with the Stone Building set to make some sort of generic mansion layout. Its not for a particular planned encounter, but is the sort of thing I plan to archive and keep to hand the next time they try something felonious or otherwise random.

Longtime gamers won’t even blink at the option of felonious in the above paragraph – and as this group has designated the rogue as their financier, I feel entirely justified in making up places that may suffer security lapses in the weeks to come.

Now my only concern is going to be what effect having lots of small graphics for the map will be like as opposed to having a single graphic that I’ve made elsewhere and imported. I’m using .png format graphics, so they should be reasonably swift but I’ll report when I start using them in anger. The other difference is that the group is currently five players plus myself, as opposed to the eight or so that the previous Wartorn Campaign had – I’m hoping this imposes a much lower hit on bandwidth and loading times.

The Gamers Return

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Maybe, when I retire, I’ll buy a pub and dedicate it to good food, good cask ale, and games. Pretty much every roleplay game has pubs or bars as a staple recurring part of their scenery, and I’d like to reflect that – though dressing bouncers as Orc barbarians may be pushing it a bit.

I’m minded of this because we restarted the ongoing D&D game this evening, and the group (who already own a pub in the game) have just picked up a group of mercenaries that I suspect may become an ongoing feature if they don’t get slaughtered first.

Case in point: this evening was mostly inspired by an off-the-cuff remark by one of my players about how Sir Richard Attenborough’s character in Jurassic Park was probably really a necromancer summoning and reanimating the dinosaurs from their blood in the amber. With that in mind they encountered large reanimated fossil dinosaurs and the majority of the game revolved around beating these hardy specimens into submission.

They really should know better than to go putting ideas into my head…

New Game Write-Ups

StatueAt long, long last, I’ve got the Eberron game write-ups completed to date with weeks fifteen and sixteen.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, and I’m sure the group is glad to have escaped the claustrophobic ghoul warrens. There’s chaos, mayhem, death and discovery – and at last the group has some idea of the stakes involved in this adventure.

Right, I’d better get on with drawing some new maps for them to explore.

Last Week’s Session

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I’ve found myself chuckling slightly while writing last week’s Roll20 session up this evening. I’d forgotten how much fun it was, and how much laughter and panic managed to manifest in such a short period of time. It’s things like that which just make the whole experience so appealing.

I’ve said it many times: I’ve always loved the social element of tabletop gaming, and Roll20 does a good job of enabling much of the same experience. It’s not perfect, and more than one player has wistfully called for our all getting round a physical table, but still, it’s a damn good substitute for gathering a geographically diverse bunch of geeks together on a regular basis.

So, those of you keeping up with our group’s misadventures, it’s all online in the Week Fourteen write-up. For the rest of you: it’s been a long and busy day, but it’s been nicely rounded off by Lady P giving us a sneak peek at what she’s wearing to an old schoolmate’s wedding tomorrow. Very pretty. The dress is rather lovely too.

Added some more Game Maps

I started to write up some game sessions, but couldn’t concentrate on those and talk with Charleesi at the same time (multitasking fail), so I’ve uploaded some more of the maps I’ve used in the Roll20 sessions.

Specifically I’ve put in there the Airdocks, a beach in the jungle, and the Rose Quarry ruins (which are absolutely enormous) – if you’re using the maps, have fun…

Weekend of Whut?

Well that was an intense weekend! Saturday was the first day of the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge at the library and I’m glad to report it was busy all day. I even had children queuing up for the doors tonopen so that they could register before heading on to Brownies, sports activities and a variety of Saturday clubs.

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It didn’t let up all day, so the offer of joining Danger for a barbecue after work was enticing on a number of levels – including not having to cook. Lady M and Charleesi met me from work and we stocked up on beers before walking over. We got there eventually (I may have misread the text and walked us to the wrong place first), and a very, very long evening began. It included Moshi Monster throwing, a sprinkler for younger kids, drunken yoga by Lady M, and the realisation that 2.30 am was probably a good time to stop telling stories and walk home.

The Sunday game was marred by hangovers and exhaustion, so we introduced Lady P to the game of Munchkin (which Charleesi eventually won), and then went to a charity concert. The concert was in support of Born Too Soon and featured Sir S, one of our Sunday Hooligans, as he performed three solo operatic pieces (2 in German, 1 in Italian) that just blew us away.

A broken night’s sleep brought me to Monday, with a staffing snafu that had me single-manning the library for the first hour and my increasing reliance on coffee to see me through the day. Only the thought of my Monday gamers pulled me out the other side, and they didn’t disappoint. We ended the session with a confusing number of unicorns within the foul ghoul warrens. I’ll enjoy writing these last two weeks up…

And now, to sleep… Honest…

Finally Up To Date

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.