I can’t think of anything witty to title today’s entry, but basically life ticks on, work is continuing, and I’m filling a new notebook with pictures and scraps of story as a simple outlet in between planning things for the D&D group and spinning metaphorical plates at work.
I’m booked to talk to a GP on Friday next week, my blood pressure readings are all submitted, I think I’m due a new set of diabetic blood tests soon, and I’m feeling reasonably good in and of myself.
The D&D scenario? Think murder on the orient express but with only vaguely housetrained adventurers. This is going to end up like the restaurant scene in the Blues Brothers, isn’t it?
The brain weasels came out to play this weekend, on top of a general exhaustion that I’m putting in part on a change in my blood pressure medication. Still, we managed to get a rip-roaring Dungeons and Dragons session in this week, and that has done wonders.
There’s something about the social glue of people laughing and trying to overcome puzzles together that rarely fails to cut through a low mood for me, so thank you to the unusual suspects for this evening’s shenanigans, even if you did nearly kill your own characters off in the process..!
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…
I was just thinking to myself: I’ve not been playing with Inkarnate much – so after sharing a bottle of wine with Lady M over supper, I’ve been making a random map I’ll probably never use. It’s been fun thinking about how I might throw it into a travelling session however.
Anyway, here’s the small and surprisingly rich riverside village of Brookside:
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…
It feels like it’s been a very long day – in no small part because I was sick again and with guts back in turmoil. Fortunately its been long enough that I was able to sort out the stool sample – and that’s an experience that little can prepare you for – and so was able to restart the medication to help settle it all back down.
Then we had everyone descend on the flat for our first tabletop game in ten weeks or so and that was a joy that filled the rest of the day with laughter and gossip. Everyone had downtime so we used that to catch up on what the adventurers had been up to.
Caeluma had been running their knitwear stall in the market and had been making a steady profit as winter nights rolled in and temperatures dropped.
Thorin had returned to his pitfighting career and been successful, but not without accusations of cheating that we worked into him adopting a heel persona for the ring.
Valenia commissioned an improvement for her bow and gathered some of the rarer ingredients in between babysitting Odif.
Coal disappeared for a few weeks and came back somewhat richer after a heist targeting a corrupt merchant.
Kerne buried themself in decoding the tomes retrieved from the coven of hags that detailed Kemsler’s travails and revealed that her sister Faye had been training under the hags before double crossing them at the behest of her Archfey patron: The Winter’s Knight.
And baby Odif? Well he’s growing fast and is no longer a toddler, being nearer in maturity to a human ten year old and showing a fascination in building traps and devices. Egged on by Tanglefinger the Boggle, there was hijinks and chaos for all.
Then we started the story, which led them to the Winter’s Fair at the University and the start of a number of small encounters – from Caeluma successfully arguing the interpretation of a mummers play with a professor of theology to Valenia duelling an Undying swordsman from the Elven Court of Aerenal and receiving a silvered scrimshaw knife as a gift.
We’ll see where we pick up in our next session. Hopefully we won’t have as long a break.
Oh, and it was of course Halloween so we threw sweets from the balcony for the organised kids walk on the estate – and hardly brained anyone in the process.
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.
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
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.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a chance to get us all round the same table for a D&D session in person. I’d forgotten how much fun that is.
Because we had most of Sunday available, we ended up completing the group’s mission and formally ending year one of their adventures.
Highlights of the session included a lightning-breathing clockwork chimera, cpr on baby odif, a flying incubus charming Valenia, and a coven of green hags using invisibility and their water breathing to use hit and run tactics.
Oh, and there was a brief tussle involving a dispel magic spell, two counterspells, two members of the DDC being turned into frogs, a flying carpet, and fireballs.
I had some very worried people round the table, and then the relief when they won made it all worth while. Next session: what comes next?