We ended up not gaming this evening, but not for the reasons expected. Lady M has had a headache, myr s had a tummy ache, and so we were considering not playing. Then we decided to give it a go anyway.
Our collective pieces of technology decided not to cooperate. We had plugins fail, browsers crash, voice comms break down… so after 20 minutes we threw our hands up and started comparing notes about using Inkarnate and designing homebrew items for the game.
We had a great session today, bringing to a head the mystery of where Coal had disappeared to and what had happened to his former compatriots. Last week had brought the group to a war damaged slum, and the zombified remnants of the gang, and a wight that controlled them.
And then this week, as they thinned the waves of zombies out, the wall next to them came down revealing a roughly rebuilt Warforged Titan – a towering engine of destruction from the Last War – which had Coal patched and embedded in it as a jury-rigged power source.
And they fought among the ruins, fighting their fears for Coal, and were triumphant. The wight escaped, but they were able to rescue their companion. A huge victory, all the better for the emotional investment for everyone.
And it’s those connections I’ve been watching build, and encouraging as we go that rises to the queer experience of this set of adventures. There’s an underlying theme of the consciously built family in place of their various fractured backgrounds.
All the characters are outsiders and have bonded together in mutual support and love, but they are adventurers first and foremost. The characters original backgrounds are now being developed with new connections, and I’m enjoying weaving those into the story and hearing my players reactions.
Hearing my description of Coal being literally forcibly enfolded and assimilated into this relic of the military and wars he had fought so hard to reinvent himself away from, there were gasps around the table. There may also have been joking threats from myr s of what might happen if Coal died.
Music to my ears. Passion and determination fought fear and desperation this evening for stakes that felt important to everyone around the table. The discovered family fought the clutches of the abusive past, and won.
Game night returns this weekend now that Lady M is more recovered from her surgery. It will be streamed as usual on Twitch and YouTube from 7.30ish on Sunday. There’s a link in the main menu to the YouTube channel if anyone is curious.
Last time, the session ended with a pitched battle in a slum rookery, with zombies swarming the group. A slender unidentified undead warrior had been glimpsed before being scared away by Kerne’s illusions. As he retreated he was heard calling to someone to “rouse the titan!” And shortly afterwards the sound of something heavy could be heard pounding on a nearby wall.
I said I’d get started, and so I did. In the Games and Gaming section, reachable from the menu at the top of the page, there are now links to maps suitable for use in virtual tabletops. Most are pretty bare to allow for variety in setting further props and furniture tokens, and are accompanied by notes for intended or past use.
The links to various past and present games are also there for delving into for ideas and narratives.
Last night’s session was great fun and a needed quiet moment between adventures. Lady M wasn’t feeling well, so having a session based around down time activities and a local festival meant she could duck out as needed.
Research on their attackers suggested they’d been sent by rivals from Morgrave University: treasure hunters called Mrs Friendly and Mr Nice.
The former is known as a warlock whose patron is one of the Archfae, with a reputation as a master of disguise. The latter is a goblin warrior obsessed with the culture of his Dhaakani forebears. The pair had apparently been in search of the goblin temple that the DDC had explored, and now hold a grudge.
The festival itself kept everyone amused. Caeluma knitted items for local children; Valenia tried out the archery butts. Coal was enticed into dancing, and after initial stumbles became the toast of the event. (Caeluma was moved to tears). Thorin got into an arm wrestling competition and won. There was food, drink, and afternoon teas – and then we had what turned into the highlight of the session: the pub tug of war.
The DDC was equally split between the two teams, and a series of contested strength check successes were required to win. It was close-fought, with Valenia and Thorin on one team, Coal and Caeluma on the other. In the end, with much cheering and relief, Thorin and Valenia’s team won.
It was utterly exhausting, but great fun for everyone.
Right let’s see if the tech will cooperate today – there’s snow outside, which feels either appropriate or two fingers up for the scenario for tonight, so I’m under the duvet on the sofa, eyeing my laptops with suspicion while they load up and decide if they want to run any more updates this afternoon. The plan is to use the existing suburb map I’ve made for their household and then place encounter/activities on it. I have no doubt that it will end up with the session bearing very little resemblance to any of my plans. Such are the joys of running a D&D group. As usual, from about 1930 GMT we’ll be running the stream simultaneously to Twitch and YouTube and there will definitely be silliness, burping, and the discussion of drinks.
I had so many tech issues yesterday when I wanted to prep for the game. Both laptops decided it was time for multiple updates and reboots so preparation time was technically reduced to about forty five minutes. This was an issue because one of the players for the Goblin game was unavailable and so we were going to flip back the main story. Which I needed to write.
Fortunately I already had a good idea for some creative chaos, and a pre-prepared encounter saved in DNDBeyond, so I added a few elements to existing maps and away we went.
As usual we had the Twitch stream hosted by Lady B, and pushed it through to YouTube as well, and we launched with my giving a brief recap of where we’d left the DDC.
Which is how the weary adventurers, fresh off the train found themselves running to the assistance of a mugging victim, only to be counter ambushed by thugs claiming to be sent by “Mrs Friendly” and “Mr Nice”. As the group had no idea who they were this led to confusion and bloodshed in equal amounts, and the watch arrived to pick up the pieces.
So far so relatively normal, but in getting home they had some new mysteries. A new bench had been placed in their front garden. Thorin’s towels had disappeared when he took a shower. Other items were also found to be missing or jumbled up, and suspicion briefly fell on Shriken the faerie dragon as the mischief maker.
Which was when Shriken led Caeluma to an upstairs room where a new item of furniture had appeared – and quickly revealed itself to be a mimic when disturbed. A very chaotic and messy battle then broke out, including the revelation that some minor objects recently found while tidying up were also juvenile mimics.
And of course the heroes won, but they were very confused… Go have a listen for more details.
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.
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…
We had planned to have a very poly Christmas this year, having our first Christmas together in the almost three years we’ve been bumbling along. Oh well.
I was going to go pick up myr s, the cub, and Lady W as metamour in chief on the evening of Christmas Day. That way they could enjoy a family meal with myr s’ father and Lady M and I could have a quiet morning to ourselves. A quick dash down to Portsmouth and back in the evening and we could then have a few days cosily in our flat. In line with the then-restrictions we would also be able to welcome Lady B during that period and have a table-top dungeons and dragons extravaganza.
Because that’s how we roll.
Instead, I am now busily making up details for that one-shot game to convert for Roll20 and our usual Sunday Twitch slot. No pressure or anything, I had been planning to largely wing it for the table but now I need to at least draw some maps. I’ve even written a four part structure for the characters to completely derail.
So, there will be other Christmases, and certainly plenty of other opportunities to get us all together again, no matter what coronavirus throws at us. For now, we’ll stay safe and do our bits to keep others safe.
Okay – Tier 4 lockdown just happened, affecting everyone in our polycule and wider social and work circles, so there’s been a lot of angst and anger as we all dropped all our plans. One thing has remained – Games Night – our now-regular Sunday evening D&D sessions streamed through https://www.twitch.tv/princessleah1980 between 7.30pm and 10.30pm (ish). As ever we had fun – and there was more than a little silliness, including this gem: https://clips.twitch.tv/NiceBovineDonkeyKeepo
The whole evening’s show can for now be seen by following this link: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/844296990?t=3h1m41s and we are still working on converting them all for watching on YouTube. The channel is called Well That Happened and for now there’s a couple of introductions on there. Perhaps being in lockdown will give us collectively time to get more material up.
So – what happened? Basically the whole episode was set on a travelling Lightning Rail train, with the adventurers travelling home from their previous adventure. With it being a seasonal festival, they became aware that there was much frivolity, eating, drinking, and general carousing taking place in the restaurant cars next door – so they joined in. Then they started to notice that things were a bit off, with people consuming food and drink to excess, staggering off to be ill or use the toilets, and then returning for more. Then they realised that their DM’s exhortations to Eat! Drink! Be Merry! were actually telepathic urgings from somewhere that were affecting them too.
It all ended up with a corrupt train official, cultists of the Dragon Below, and an Otuygh in the waste carriage that frankly was just living its best life until the adventurers came along. Never before have I seen our tiefling go from “awww, I’m going to knit Santa a hat” to “I’m going to kill Santa” quite so quickly. It was great fun, and I think we really needed the laughter.
Next week will be a seasonal one-shot that I need to start working on urgently, featuring Christmas Goblins and Elves. Feel free to drop by and say hello!