A Little More Human

I’m ending up the weekend feeling a bit more rested and functional than I have in a while – I’ve even managed to have a bowel movement four days after the operation so I guess I can start acknowledging that I’m full of crap again 😉 I was starting to worry that my body was so traumatised by the whole experience that I would need to retrain myself.

The quiet worry of it all did end up giving me a headache this morning, I think it was made a bit worse by having agreed to run a one shot game this afternoon using the UnFamiliar kickstarter rules for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

I had only a vague idea of a plot, but had at least knocked up some characters guided by some prompts I’d put into the group chat yesterday.

I ended up pretty much winging it. The background has all four characters being ex-Familiars to a small number of spellcasters who had developed a spell between them to emancipate them.

Lady M played a flying squirrel who used to spy in aristocratic circles. Lady W played a Staffordshire cross that had ended up being a carer for their master in their dying days, the cub joined in with a boisterous frilled dinosaur that knew kung fu, and boy s played a fussy ex lab rat who had picked up alchemy and a few spells along the way.

Their tale involved rescuing a library researcher who had “fallen” into the delivery system and was now trapped in the stacks, locked in a cage as an unauthorised item. Shenanigans ensued.

So, an odd return to the tabletop, but the cub has expressed an interest in playing more, so who knows what will happen next…

Don’t Split The Party

We descended on boy s at the new flat today to eat, socialise and play D&D along with Mx W and Lady B who were staying the weekend there too. We were enticed there by the offer of a roast dinner, as if we needed any real excuse to go catch up.

Roast gammon, potatoes, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, pigs in blankets and Yorkshire puddings all featured – and with boy s finally having induction pots and pans he was able to whip up a grand feast while we nattered in the other room and I toyed with Syrinscape software to cue up a soundboard for the game.

I’ve subscribed to the site so have access to all the sound packs, and still feel like I’m only just scratching the surface of it. I happily recommend it for DMs looking for some extra atmosphere for sessions.

And what a session – heavy on the roleplay as the group attended the university’s winter fair and interacted with various oddballs and situations before finding that a sage was present who could help with their missing memories from their first adventure – if they could find him as he seemed to have disappeared from inside a locked room in the library’s guest house.

Well, one thing led to another, and now they’re trapped inside a mansion in an extradimensional pocket searching for clues for a keyword to unlock the doors and get home. So far they’ve fought a swarm of animated books, been surprised by a cat, and greeted by homonculi housekeepers. They also split up, and are scattered throughout the mansion. Normally this wouldn’t be a too much of a challenge but they were at a social event and so don’t have most of their adventuring equipment or weapons.

As a result, they’re a little jumpy. I’ve not even started playing spooky music. That said four pickled hands just scrambled out of a jar to attack the dwarf at the end of the session so here’s to the next time we all get together…

Plotting and Scheming

I had a new Kickstarter reward arrive today while I was out, and I’ve just spent an entertaining hour or so flicking through it and scribbling notes that may come to confuse my players – or delight them, always hard to tell.

The concept of this is that in Dungeons and Dragons a wizard may choose to release their familiar with an empowering spell. This book provides options then to play or place these creatures alongside regular characters or act as foils.

I’m considering running a short series of games to test these rules out as a break from the main story, simply because its such a fun concept.

So far the critters and the rules seem balanced and compatible with mainstream 5th Edition D&D, and there’s a nice feel to the book and pages that’s a tactile reward. The layouts and charts aren’t confusing, and there’s some lovely dry humour running through the whole thing in both the favour text and illustrations.

It definitely feels like something that started as a joke, and then inspired some inventiveness and it has made me smile after an intense couple of days.

Tidying and Writing

It’s a rare day off, so of course I’m not able to sleep in as my back decided it was time to get moving. As a result I’ve been tidying up and cleaning the kitchen to reclaim some workspace real estate

Those who know my kitchen will now be wondering what sorcery this is. Those who know me will be wondering what is out of view either side of the picture. Those who are observant will be chuckling at the deliberately placed mug.

We ended up not having a game yesterday due to general health of various people, so I’ve taken the time to start writing threads and ideas for this next stage of adventures for the DDC. In the real world we’ve been going at this a little over a year – but we haven’t quite caught up to that in the game as I wanted to reflect roughly where we are in the seasons. It’s allowed me to introduce seasonal festivals as a marker of time in the game, and harvest and autumn are upon us.

It also allows me to start dropping in some Winter Is Coming jokes, as well as references to the Unseelie Winter’s Knight that they encountered at the end of the last (unstreamed) session that we had. It was one of those encounters where there was initial giggles at the name, and then the magic users started getting very serious and respectful as they made their arcana checks.

Kerne’s sister, it appears, is a Warlock pledged to the Archfey. That Archfey is the Winter’s Knight. There are dangling plothooks to write.

I was talking around this and related points while we were celebrating boy s’ birthday – about how we’re at a point where I can use character back stories to start introducing more mythic story elements among the day to day missions and calamities that the group involves themselves in. The most intense sessions have come where the players buy in on an emotional level to the storyline and its been wonderful to DM those and see my sparse notes brought to life and embellished upon.

So, that’s got me trying out plot hooks and elements in my little black book

Back to the DDC

We didn’t stream, but we did play this evening, and ran video through Discord so we could see most of our faces as video and mental states allowed. It was a gentle enough session – rounding things up from the last one as they searched the huts belonging to the Blinded Eye hags.

I dropped some plot hooks in there about Kerne’s sister, introduced them to the Winter Knight who serves Queen Mab and got them swiftly home for well deserved humour, welcome, and a thorough telling off by Tanglefinger.

So, that’s the stage set for what I’m calling Year Two of the DEC’S adventures.

Spinning More Plates

A busy week, and moments of needing to go and have a walk away from the screen, but generally feeling positive today. That probably means I’m missing something obvious.

On the other hand, I seem to have started a new D&D game with some people on one of the Discord servers I’m on. There’s something about introducing new people to the game that really appeals, and so last night’s intro session gave me a wonderful boost. Hearing people have those light bulb moments as they got to grips with the potential of the game is always wonderful.

That’s probably why the work side of life today wasn’t as onerous as it might have been, spirits well and truly lifted

Dragon Encounter

Tonight’s game was a blast, I don’t often have an excuse or a chance to bring dragons into play. Given they’re in the name of the game they’re relatively rare, and in Eberron they have a more narrative important role too, but this week was fun.

The DDC characters aren’t quite at a level of power and expertise where they can comfortably tackle an adult dragon, so talking and negotiations were the name of the game this evening. Kerne as a dragonborn sorcerer was thrown into the spotlight as effectively the only person Fellestri the Green would deign to talk to, and Lady M rose to the challenge.

It also gave me an opportunity to bring out what myr s calls “the Dom voice” and really impress on the DDC who was in charge.

Yes, we all know it’s Odif!

Quiet Day

I worked more than a few extra hours over the last few weeks, so with a nod from the boss I claimed today back to recover a bit, and I’m glad I did. There’s some family stuff that landed yesterday, mostly related to people’s health, some of which is in the “eh, okay” pile and some in the “oh” pile.

So in between being shattered, I’ve also been processing that – and part of how I’ve been doing that has been making more maps. So that’s a bit of a good news/bad news thing: been an unsettling day, but here’s some creative stuff for your gaming needs.

Enjoy! I’ll stick them up in the respective gaming pages in due course

New Maps

We cancelled the game tonight so I’ve had a lazy day making maps. I’ve made separate pages off from the Roleplay Games section under the digital maps but just some eye candy, here they are for free download

They’re both fairly generic dungeon/tomb type layouts but are grid free so can be scaled for use on the virtual tabletop of people’s choice. If I get requests for gridded versions I can do that too.

So have fun!

Tanglefinger Update

We were going to play D&D tonight as we’re not particularly sportsball people, but people are unwell, and Lady M is a known superfan, so we’re postponing a week. In the meantime I have recorded a recap by Tanglefinger the Boggle that has had everyone in the polycule in stitches and I thought you might enjoy.

And now…Tanglefinger

What can I say, but you’re welcome!