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.

Fiction Fragment: A Taste for Wonder

“The world is a place of wonder that doesn’t care if it is observed or not. Rivers flow and trees fall in woods whether or not anyone is there to witness. Sunrises don’t mind if anyone is awake; and clouds just get on with being part of the water cycle. It’s only when soppy humans get involved that the value judgements start: ‘Oh wow, that rainbow is beautiful’ carries as much weight as how icky it is to see that decomposing animal, or be uncomfortable about the rain trickling down my neck, or ‘how dare that virus kill all my herds and hit my profit margins?’

All of these things may be felt simultaneously by the same farmer in one field in the most breathtaking hillside view – and none of them are mutually exclusive or any more or less valid a manifestation of the complexity and wonder of this world. Wonders don’t have to be, and frequently are not, intrinsically beneficial or pleasant.


Do I sound jaded? A little distant perhaps? I don’t think I am, but I do get tired of hearing the same old exclamations and crying.” The dragon paused to take a sip of his martini and glanced around the bar. Nobody was paying any attention to us. That said, it was a Friday evening in Canary Wharf so not only was the bar packed but it was full of conversations about money and expensive toys. As far as anyone else was concerned we were just a couple more folks in the bar lucky enough to have grabbed seats and a table; and that probably meant we’d been there all afternoon.


I’d better explain. There was a distinct lack of scales, teeth, and fire breathing on view. Craddoc found they got in the way of running a Fortune 500 company, so only let his wings out at the weekend when he flew home to the valleys, or if he’d decided to work from home while moulting. He’d never revealed where home was exactly and I suspect it wasn’t exactly a converted farmhouse. We both left it as something not to be discussed and were both the happier for it.


“Anyway, my dear Dorian, what I’m trying to say to you is that it is a pleasure to see you again, for you are as wonderful to me as the sunlight on the Thames and the shadows beneath Tower Bridge.” His amber eyes seemed to twinkle with reflections of the sun off the skyscrapers outside but I’d long ago learnt to not look him directly in the eye. Just because he wasn’t trying to eat anyone right now, didn’t mean I had to tempt fate more than I usually do.


“Well, thank you Craddoc for putting me in my cosmic place. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s morn or the dew on a rose or would an avalanche seen from afar be a better analogy?” You do have to have a certain lack of regard for your own skin to tease a dragon, but I’d learnt that he did enjoy barbs that showed an appreciation of his wordplay.

Audio Reading Version:

Inktober Eleven and Twelve

We’re getting close to the halfway mark, which is a nice distraction from how this bug just isn’t quitting. Today’s late posting is brought to you by exhaustion, frequent trips to the loo, and as much lemsip as I can handle.

Day Eleven was a fun and simple one: Snow. The snowman was an obvious choice, and gave me a chance to practice footsteps and disturbed snow, as well as twigs and coal. The carrot was also harder to draw well than expected. Just a fun little picture with no additional meanings inserted.

Perhaps inevitably I had to go with a pun as part of today’s prompt: Dragon. In this case a dragon in drag. Perhaps the biggest challenge was working out the lipstick placement to show the snout shape. I’ll probably do more in this vein as I’m critiquing it hard even as I look at it now – but I’ve kept to my half hour and no prep approach.

Short Story: Breathe In

The breath was warm, billowing out through the hallway, carrying the scent of smoke and incense and secrets. It washed over the intruders with the promise of a shroud, and curled around them with a lover’s grace.

Invisible and yet as weighty as a slap, the breath was accompanied by a low rumbling sound. It was itself somewhere between the rush of the wind and the snarl of a tiger – low and drawn out, full of menace and majesty.

The exhalation ceased, and in the silence the would-be thieves stopped their advance and looked each to the other. The strong men looked at their cracksman. The cracksman at their wise man, the wise man at their priest.

Then there was another noise, a great rushing of an inhalation that pulled the breath back down the hallway, and tugged the intruders’ clothes with it to flap in the strengthening wind. The same thought came to each of them in the same moment.

Without pause, they turned and ran, back towards the castle entrance and the woods beyond. One of the strong men dropped his sword. The cracksman forgot his tools. Their footsteps remained as echoes longer than they did.

Back in the castle, the dragon put down her megaphone and chuckled. Interrupt her reading time would they? She picked up a delicate bell and rang it to summon her librarian.