The game last night went really well, keeping a pace and direction that many, I suspect, would see as traditional adventuring. We completed the fight that we’d had to leave halfway through last week against spider and spider-themed opponents and then as they pressed on, the DDC found their way barred by a manticore and a wyvern.
Under other circumstances this might have felt like a random set of monsters, but a bit of flavour (branded sigils relating to the current BBEG) led to a feeling among the players that these were deliberate attempts to block their path
Just As Planned
The last few weeks has generally been a series of medium difficulty encounters in quick succession to both use up limited resources and spells, and to reinforce that the adventurers are now pretty experienced and competent.
It seemed only right, with the timing of the session, to therefore allow them to rest in a quiet bower in the Feywild before closing in on The Coven of the Blinded Eye. They’ve just been warned that approaching the hags will take them through the territory of a wicked dragon, so there’s that to look forward to.
Another fun games night just finished, continuing on the DDC’s pursuit of a missing alchemist which has led them to helping sprites with a spider and ettercap problem in return for passage to the Feywild.
We had a lot of character moments too, with Valenia assisting dryads in repairing damaged forest land, and young baby Odif spontaneously beginning to crawl, and to begin to talk.
As everyone has generally been speaking a mishmash of Common, Sylvan, and Draconic around him, the baby kobold is mostly calling people and objects by single-syllable names to accommodate his jaw structure. This can’t possibly end in tears…
Another great session with the DDC this evening that started with sky pirates and ended with lamenting fey at a crash site. I’ve always tried to keep player agency to the fore when running games, not always successfully I’ll admit, but this week is one that rewarded the approach.
The DDC is at a level now where they are starting to be established adventurers, and are facing bigger adventures. Encounters that might have overwhelmed them now tend to merely raise pulse rates rather than induce cardiac arrests. What is especially rewarding though is that the characters are learning and evolving, and demonstrating empathy with events and creatures encountered.
As an example, they found the burned out crash site of the skyship they’ve been searching for: a blasted crater where once a proud copse of trees had stood deep in the forest.
Investigating it brought out the maddened dryads whose trees had been destroyed in the crash. A traditional adventuring encounter would have led to a pitched battle with the grieving fey. In this instance though the group refused to fight and with words and some lucky persuasion rolls were able to talk the dryads into pausing at least.
Which is when sprites appeared, and offered a deal, and we ended the session.
When the dwarven Barbarian puts his axe down and refuses to fight because “they’ve every right to be angry” you know there’s something going right with your game.
The last three or four episodes of ‘Well That Just Happened have seen my usual introduction spiel and recap take a more fluid feel through the simple change of my actually writing it out in longhand in my DM’s journal ahead of schedule.
Before this last month or so I’d just been winging it with the occasional glance at my notes from the previous session to remind me of names and places.
It’s the only part of the show that is scripted. I welcome viewers to the show and now include the regular introduction:
“Hello, and welcome to Well That Just Happened: a very queer adventure; where a tired and geeky polycule makes dad jokes and plays some Dungeons and Dragons.”
I then quickly go round the table to let people introduce themselves and their character (and mention what food and snacks they have) before making any announcements and then launching into the recap – a sort of ‘Previously On’ segment as described above.
I started doing it on a whim one afternoon when bored, but have found it a good structured way to get the session ready and players in the right frame of mind – hopefully it viewers find it useful to.
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.
So yesterday I was able to escape the curse of the eternal DM and take part in a game of dungeons and dragons as a player for the first time in years. After some initial tech fiddling to run Teams privately on one of my laptops and my phone, and to link Roll20 and DnD Beyond on the other via a chromium browser it all went very smoothly in a five hour session from about 6.30
As a setting, it took place in a slightly tongue-in-cheek Pirates of the Caribbean style environment as I joined a group consisting of many people I’d never met before.
I’d been invited by the Ladies H, and had met our DM once at MCM London last year, but everyone else was an unknown; so my anxious disaster-brain fretted in the hours leading up to getting started. If you’ve ever played with a new group, you’ll know the feeling, and therefore also the relief of a friendly inclusion.
My usual name blindness means I’ve already forgotten most people’s real names, let alone their characters, but I did at least remember to take a few notes:
We shall resume the game sometime around the middle of next month.
This has been a positive thing, and I’ll thank my brain to remember it.