Well That Was Chaos

There was shouting, laughing, and more than a couple of insults flung my way in tonight’s gaming session as the group tangled with suits of animated armour and a couple of animated blades – and the bad dice rolls took effect.

We had a good number of visitors drop in and out, as well as some who stayed the distance. Despite the occasional technical issue with sound, it was a good session – and I needed it, having had a couple of post-work low energy and spoon days.

Even two hours before the session i was curled up on the bed, just exhausted. I’ve just been spending so much energy looking out for other people that I think I just ran out. A couple of laughter-filled hours of silliness and dice rolling perked me up no end.

Things to do following the session? Design an intermission/title card graphic for the stream. What’s the worst that could happen?

Streaming Shenanigans

We tried something a bit different this week as we gamed on Sunday, and livestreamed the session – or at least the audio of it along with the virtual table top – it was very rough and ready, but we all enjoyed it immensely and even had some people pop their heads round the virtual door to cheer us on. Some of them even suggested they’d enjoy coming back next time, so we can’t have been awful.

Roll for Initiative, eventually…

I suppose this means I’ll have to get quicker on getting material prepped and ready, and I’ve agreed to do a quick video intro that will be spliced into a YouTube video for the channel that we’re setting up as well. I’ll announce that properly when there’s something to actually see there. Personally I can’t stand the sound of my own voice, but no one has said anything about it so I have to assume it’s not dreadful to anyone who hasn’t heard my internal monologue. That… doesn’t at all sound odd, does it?

Ahem

If it takes off, we’ll do more social media noise in real-time, but for now its a neat little experiment.

Housebuilding and Tabletop Shenanigans

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.

Fairhaven Moments

Sunday’s game was quiet, but some important foundation-laying happened, and a lot of laughter. There are some interesting mechanics in 5th Edition to support the GM in arbitrating Downtime activities, and with the adventurers finding their feet it was a good excuse to play along and add some colour

Caeluma spent a lot of time knitting a chunky “Jumper of Friendliness” for the warforged urchin the group adopted. He in turn has been hanging around with a bemused air to see what happens next. A beanie hat is apparently the next project.

Valenia and Thorin spent the week carousing and, between sessions in the pub, teaching Thorin to read. They’re not sure how, but after one particularly black-out night they seem to have earned the nickname of “benchslayers”. Nobody will tell them why.

Kerne stuck to studying the texts retrieved from their last adventure, as well as doing some ancillary research suggested by their contents.

All well, so far, and then the group decided that a good use of their haul would be to rent out a house together, rather than continue living in an Inn. After some searching, they settled on a tall house about half an hour from the university in one of the nicer suburbs.

I got them to suggest some street names on a grid map that I’d made earlier, and will this week be fleshing out some of the local landmarks for them to explore. There is one house on the map that is absolutely not a brothel. A house of negotiable affection providing reasonably priced love, perhaps, but not a brothel. Honest.

Sunday’s Game

It was a quiet session, mostly spent trying to identify and get good prices for the items the adventures had brought back with them.

They’re still a little hazy about what happened, and I laid some potential plot hooks out that can be picked up on as we go.

Caeluma is trying to put at ease the newly adopted warforged Coal, and to get used to having a baby dragon around; especially one that has a habit of turning invisible, scaring the inn’s cat, and then quietly sniggering from the rafters…

Next week, they intend to go shopping, and possibly purchase some private lodgings.

Frantic Scribbling

…That’s what I should be doing to revamp and rewrite and prepare for my next D&D session. Instead I’m letting the wheels spin in my head, and mulling over scenario hooks. In some ways there’s a soft reboot going on, and a change of emphasis, and thats in no small part to listening to my players. Many of them haven’t played much, if any, D&D before.

As we’ve weaved through both traditional and non traditional story elements they’ve definitely started to have a clearer image of what they enjoy. Its not all been plain sailing, but I’m intrigued by some of the ideas floating around the table now.

So we’re back i think to some more episodic material where role-playing leads the direction, but at the same time I’m dropping elements in to see who bites at what. They’ve decided dungeon delving isn’t their thing right now, but the current mix is hinting at academic skullduggery, organised and disorganised crime, and defending the downtrodden.

Oh, and a faerie dragon. What’s the worst that could happen?

Gaming Night

After various reschedules for health and work we managed to get our pirate-themed D&D session going this evening. This is the one I play in as opposed to the one I GM.

I was a bit nervous about my tech being up to it given hiccups last time but I managed to balance the various loads across a couple of laptops and my phone and all was well.

To recap: my lizardfolk cleric of the grave had searched out civilization after his tribe was killed by undead creatures. Haunted by the sights he’d seen and the spirits that surround him, he adopted a motley crew of adventurers during an ambush in a bar. He sees them as like hatchlings that need protecting due to their lack of scales and teeth, but also as potential warriors to stem the rise of undead on the islands.

His method of ensuring that the dead do not rise again is typically lizardfolk in its pragmatism: the dead do not rise from the cooking pot. A reputation for butchering the corpses for the fallen has already begun to spread, although not necessarily in understanding of why. At the same time his soups, stews, and calamari dishes are admired for their exquisite tastes. Just be wary of the cold cuts platter.

The group were sent by one of the leaders of the port community to investigate the disappearance of one of the tribal leaders. It was an investigation that found signs of struggle leading to a bolthole and tunnels beneath the town guarded by clockwork soldiers. The group avoided these and closed in on a group of thugs led by a Knight who had trapped the mouse-folk leader. This was where the session began.

As is ever the case, combat takes a lot longer to process through than other activities in the game, but the group was successful in joining the mechanical guards present in saving the council member. Richly rewarded, they were also treated to food and drink, and advised that they would be called on to track down the remaining “Pieces of Eight” to match the one already in their possession from a previous adventure.

The Pieces were the remains of a seal that had contained a dark evil making the dead rise and darkness spread across the islands. The reason that the group had been unable to get any work was partly down to the superstitious nature of the pirates around them and partly because the Council had forbade anyone to give them work while they could be assessed for the job before them.

A day of relaxation by the docks while they waited for the Council to meet was cut short by an ambush by compatriots of the thugs they had defeated earlier. Heslik spent most of the battle either healing his companions or trading crossbow shots with an inept thug whose bolts bounced off Heslik’s tough scales. Heslik felt obliged to show him how to shoot properly in his return fire. There may have been some sarcastic comments across the battlefield: “No fleshling! Not like that! Like this! There! See? Try again, you can do it!”

The battle was won, treasure was looted, a warning left on the bodies. Time for the group to rest up.

Gaming Occurred

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:

And I still forgot who everyone is

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.

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?

DDC Traps and Tribulations

I was just going back over my notes from the last couple of sessions and admiring how the group has both started to cohere and to realise that they are still learning the ropes, so to speak.

Delving down into damp lower levels was at least a break from the winter snows that had begun to fall in the morning.  The first chamber was marked by a series of statues of ancient deities of sky, earth, and stone and Wall paintings of both Dhakaani (ancient goblin) pastoral scenes and of the passage of their souls to the afterlife of Dolhurr.

There were also four human skeletons in the chamber, each missing their hands in what looked like executions. The heavy doors leading further were sealed with chains and a massive lock. Runes in Abyssal were written on the seal praising the Dragon Below. With little else to go on, a mixture of lock picking and brute force soon saw the way open.

The noise attracted the reanimated skeletons of the goblin guards, but this time the group was able to despatch them quickly with only one minor hiccup. This came when the Dragonborn Kerne chose to breath poison on the skeletons, only to find that they were immune.

The weapons of the guards were made of byeshk metal, a rare ore that made weapons capable of driving off creatures from Xoriat and so these were quickly distributed among the group, just in case. A quiver of magical arrows was also found, and the shafts of bone and obsidian were divided up among the archers in the group.

This just left a strange lever that didn’t seem to have any noticeable effect despite resistance when pulled and some doors that opened up into a wide hallway with more skeletons near the far end against one of the walls.

In their eagerness to investigate, two of the group set off a swinging spiked bar that swept across the hall before resetting. Being hit by it didn’t kill them, but did make them realise what had broken the bodies they found themselves scattered among.

Yikes

There then followed a period of searching for the trigger and how to circumvent setting the trap off again that led to a series of assisted acrobatic and athletic maneuvers to cross the hallway to relative safety, where the group huddled up against the opposite door to catch their breath and mend their wounds.

Things learned: poisoning undead rarely works, the effects of levers aren’t always obvious, and always check for traps in entry corridors.

Who knows what discoveries they’ll make this week?