Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Campaign Journal: Which Way is Up on the Snake?

Back to the game, and further explorations along an abandoned road within the western forests.

Last night's heroes:

  • Frederick
  • Slick
  • Jax
  • Mareth
  • Rondel
  • Henry See (NPC cleric)
The party, exhausted from their battle with the gnolls, crashed out at the ruined manor, securing themselves within the secret crypt that formerly held the undead knight. Noises were heard in the night, and the indomitable Goober growled at the door, but as none of the intruders appeared to be investigating the party's hidey-hole, they laid low. In the morning, a few of the gnoll corpses were found to have been dragged away. 

In the morning, the rescued merchants and their guards bid the party adieu, hoping to return to the trade road and better fortunes.

As the party made breakfast, they heard conversation outside the building and met a pair of fellows who introduced themselves as Divos and Albus - hunters and foresters patrolling this part of the forest. The pair had been tracking the gnolls, and were aware that the miscreants had been waylaying travelers for some purpose. Relieved that the party had intercepted the gnolls, the foresters noted that a larger camp was in the area, and that they had also found a few deformed or mutated animals in the region. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Returning to the Campaign

Back at the table, and as I mentioned before- the pick-up game is now a 'real' campaign. Scary.

Who made it tonight?

  • Frederick - Thief
  • Waegstan, née Bonk - Fighter
  • Jax - Barbarian (and Goober)
  • Fulvus - Halfling
  • Mareth - Elf

Since we'd been away from the table for about four weeks, I took a page from Gary G. and declared that four weeks had past in game-time as well. What have our heroes been up to in the meantime?

  • Frederick - continuing to look for "unsecured loads" along the trade road with his halfling compatriots, as well as getting coastal traffic updates from the "Road Safety Committee" along the coast.
  • Waegstan - Fishing, hanging out with the river boatmen, and advocating for a new sport of fish-tossing.
  • Jax - Plant-hunting and studying from a sketchy herbal remedies book that she bought off a traveling bookseller.
  • Fulvus - Negotiating with the town leadership to purchase a plot for the construction of a brewery.
  • Mareth - Supervising the charmed ogre (Ogre #2 made his saving throw and wandered off) in ditch/palisade construction and making awkward attempts at negotiation when the ditch cut through someone's field.

Hugo, the gnome apothecary, had to leave town under urgent conditions, but left a "recently-developed" potion for the party to try out, along with a substantial list of possible side-effects.

The party also checked in with their compatriot Victor Matui, who is rebuilding his family keep outside of town. Victor's advisor Firmin had sent missives east to a colleague regarding information on the "Barrier," and had received some minor information in return, pending further discreet inquiries. Likewise, the chip of glass from the cracked hemisphere found in the watchtower appeared to be either ruby or some ruby-like alloy. If so, it would have required both an exceptional furnace and skill to create.

Sometime during this, a patrol representing the Hougon Duchy arrived in town. The captain noted the town growth and beginnings of fortifications. As a representative of the duchy, he offered the duchy's support and protection. For reasonable accommodations and financial support, of course. The town mayor conferred with the party, and they agreed to consider the offer, sending the patrol on their way. Which led to discussions on the with of becoming a vassal, whether this power was a viable ally, and a potential third way of developing their own power center or allegiances.

With that, the party set off to see if they could locate another 'node' of the Barrier.

The party re-located the overgrown road and returned to the watchtower location. While there, they were set upon by a band of goblins. Slaying half their number, and taking some minor damage, the remainder of the goblins fled, and the party continued south. 

Spotting some more ruins in the woods, the party investigated. The structure appeared to be a fortified manor or caravanserai. As per usual, Fulvus, Frederick, and Mareth crept about. Fulvus took advantage of the halfling ability to hide in the woods, but the dice rolled 00, and for once, he stumbled.

Waegstan walked up to the front door.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

What's In My GM Bag?

It's been a few weeks. The brewery game went on hiatus as I paused to shift more into campaign mode, as well as spending a couple of weeks back on the Plains helping out my dad.  

Joethelawyer recently posted a "What's in my DM Game Bag?" video, and I've seen a number of other similar videos and posts over the years. Having the need to write a bit, let's go rooting through my bag, shall we?

I am an itinerant GM, with the majority of my play at cons, the FLGS, and now, the neighborhood brewery. So things are kept relatively compact. The majority of my game detritus lives in an expandable folio containing four folders:

1. Pre-gen characters and blank character sheets.

2. DM "Game Night" Aids: These are references to grab quickly for at the table use. Mostly comprised of houserules, campaign lore, a printed spreadsheet with loot and items accumulated by the party, local area random encounters, pre-rolled random treasure, NPC names and stats ,and local maps.

3. DM Aids: These are backup references or less commonly needed resources, as well as a few rules ganked from other games: Turn tracking, 2d6 usage guidance, the random headgear table, carousing rules, miscellaneous random tables for prompts, table safety, the Miscellaneum of Cinder

4. Maps and more maps: Some are statted up, either formally, or sketched out encounters, and lots of barrows

Also contained in the folio are:

  • Graph paper: For at-the-table mapping
  • Post-it notes
  • Extra pens

Along with the folio, the bag carries:

My Dice: Two sets of Zucati dice, selected for being slightly oversized, with readable numbers for low light/aging eyes.

A few sets of spare giveaway dice, pulled from a gallon bag of random dice that we somehow acquired.

dot-grid notebook for game notes and session writeups.

Rule books for table reference, currently the OSE rules tome.

Possibly additional session-specific references, such as spells or monsters, as necessary, to keep the players guessing.

Wet-erase mat, typically only used at con or game store games where I know I'll have table space.

Everything (except the mat) gets stuffed into a messenger bag, and we're good to go kill some stuff.

What's in your GM go-bag?