Game Night, Session 7, Made It To Piketon

Game night happened the Sunday before Independence Day as planned.  We gathered around our virtual table and continued the story of Bran, Fang and Theren on their quest to Piketon to find Mert and, hopefully, some information about the sigils on their hands.  Since this started, I think they would like to know more about why someone/thing like Slythis wants them dead, too…

Bran, Fang and Theren cleaned up the mess created by Slythis and the subsequent fight.  They burned Slythis’ remains to make sure there was no chance of a return to life.  They also put the bone dagger into the fire to try and burn the fused hand of Slythis off of it.  This did burn away the hand, but also damaged the dagger slightly.  They could not tell if the damage was only cosmetic, though, so they wrapped it back up and decided to stick with the plan of presenting it to Mert for examination once they found her.

After burying the body of the traveler that died at Slythis’ hands, they looked over his cart.  It was not badly damaged at all.  The wood did not catch and truly burn.  It was singed and had smoldered a bit, but the cart was in working order.

The group saw it as an unfortunate opportunity, but an opportunity nonetheless.  They decided that they would make use of the cart to haul supplies and such on the rest of their journey.  Even without the horse, the cart could be pulled by hand while on the road. The minor repairs could be made once they made it to Piketon.

The journey to the south side of The Great Lake was not without incident.  During one of their nights camping on the side of Piketon Road, a dire wolf happened upon them.  It was seeking the source of the smell it had picked up and apparently hoped to get a meal.  Unfortunately for the wolf, that is not how that worked.  Fang, Theren and Bran took down the very large animal with only minor injuries.

At the edge of The Great Lake, they came upon a couple of houses, a staging area for caravans and a peer where sailing barges could be tied off at the edge of the lake.

They were greeted by one of the barge pilots.  He explained the pricing and that they could leave at first light the next day.  With the arrangement for a three-day sail to Piketon made, the adventurers spent one more night under the stars in the staging area.

Piketon: a small town of about 100-200 people that have set up their lives on the north shore of The Great Lake.  They live near the lake and into the forest nearby.  Piketon is well kept and was built to “blend” with the forest.  There is space between houses and buildings.  The land was not cleared bare of trees and, thus, retains a woodsy feel.  Piketon’s existence is predicated by the need for a way station for travelers.  This need was discovered by Bran Touchwater, an Elwyn that recognized an opportunity and a means to fulfill a simple dream of living in a nice village/town that caters to all those that pass by.  With the help of the Kingdom, that dream has come true and Piketon is a small, but thriving community led by Bran and his family.

After an uneventful journey across The Great Lake, Theren, Bran and Fang disembark from the sail barge and enter Piketon.  They split up to explore the town and seek out information about the location of Mert.  Bran also wanted to find the origin of the battleaxe that he recovered from the fallen Dwergar blacksmith, one of Slythis’ victims.  Bran’s connection to the Dwergar people is simple enough having grown up near the smithy in Braiton and becoming a soldier that depends on the work of a good blacksmith.  Bran has felt compelled to return the battleaxe to the clan/family if possible and to let them know that his murder was avenged.

And that is where we ended the session. It was a good stopping point, and I needed to come up with more background information to help drive the story along.

As always, thanks for reading.  Let me know what you think.  Click the Like button and leave me comments.

 

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That’s NOT How I Thought It Would Go…

After my last game night and post about Game Night, Session 6, I got to thinking about how the story unfolded during the game.  It did not play out how I thought it likely would.  That is the gift and curse of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs).

A quick primer on tabletop RPGs…

For those that don’t know, a tabletop RPG is a game where a group of people play/act out an adventure/story as a group of characters they have created.  These characters are the heroes/villains of the story.  The “game” part is the rules system that helps determine the outcome of actions the characters take during this adventure when there is a chance of failure or success.  The “play/act” part is basically “theater of the mind”.  A character is created with attributes linked to the game system rules.  The player adds color and depth to the character that is appropriate to the setting in which the story/adventure takes place.  Then the group sits around the table talking about what their characters do as the story plays out.  The role-playing is when each player assumes the role of his/her character in the story.

Then the “other player” is the Dungeon Master (DM) or Game Master (GM).  It’s the DM who acts as referee for the game system and manages the rest of the game world in which the players play their characters.  This person is responsible for supplying the setting and general plot hooks for the adventure/story in which the characters are the heroes/villains.

That’s what I do.  I’m the DM.

Back to the point of this 😉

So, anyway, session 6 was meant to be a showdown with Slythis – the villain that was harassing the characters as they tried to make their way to a town (Piketon) a good distance from their home town (Braiton) to get information about the plot they find themselves in.  As the events unfolded in the past game nights, the players decided it was time to force a direct encounter with this menace.

And so, as DM, I worked to accommodate just that.  I fleshed out Slythis for game mechanics (needed to determine the outcome of the pending fight).  I also set things up so that the group of 3 had some potential allies (the merchant and his group) for the pending fight.  Finally, I made a few notes about how I thought the encounter should happen.  That involved an attempt by Slythis to infiltrate the camp by stealth and make surprise attacks.  Then the fight would ensue, and hopefully, the outcome would be a victory for the players.

Well… ultimately… that is kind of what happened… kind of. . . …

This is where the game mechanics come in… I rolled dice as prescribed by the game system rules to determine if Slythis could slip into the camp area undetected for his surprise attack.  He could not.  In fact, he was detected much sooner than that because Theren reminded me of the fact that he could sense the nasty magical dagger Slythis used.  That was part of the story I helped create. On top of that, my rolls for his stealth were not good enough to beat rolls by the characters standing watch to see if they detected the presence of an enemy.

Yep, the encounter went right off my intended path (the curse part of tabletop RPGs… anything can happen).  Now I had to start winging it based on the information about Slythis up to this point and reacting to the players’ actions with their characters.  On top of that, the merchant’s group now had to become more than just “warm bodies” for the fight.  They had to be more… dynamic.  That really is the “gift” part of tabletop RPGs.  Now even I, as DM – the creator of the base story, had no real idea what was going to happen next.

When I run a tabletop RPG, I consider myself just one component of the story.  Sure, I have to create the setting (or use published material as an aid) and kick off a scenario/plot.  But I rely on the players to help create the story.  It is OUR story and adventure.

Nope, it did not go how I thought it would go.  But that might have been the best part the other night.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out.  So, in spite of my plans/ideas, even I can’t wait to find out what happens next 🙂

Thanks for taking your time to read this.  Let me know what you think.  Click that like button and/or leave a comment.  A conversation is typically better than a monologue 😉

 

And We’re Back! Game Night Session 6

So, Session 6 went off last night.  It was a bit shorter than I had hoped, but things went well.  Some of this might be a bit of recap from my mention of session 5 in a previous post, but there is definitely more.  And I have to go into creative mode again… you’ll see.

Bran, Theren and Fang made tentative friends with the merchant and his son and guards.  They decided to share the camp site in spite of Fang’s best efforts to deter the merchant group from staying with them.  The merchant was not hiding that he thought there was an opportunity to collect a bounty for this murderer that Fang had mentioned.  Again this was in spite of Fang emphatically telling the merchant that there was no bounty.  Fang also didn’t mention the “nature” of this murderer, either… like the fact that Slythis was a possessed goblin that was transforming into something else and becoming more powerful with every kill he/it made.

The evening started out pleasant enough.  Now that there was some mild trust between the two groups, small talk and stories were exchanged over a good meal.

The watches were set as both groups prepared to sleep for the night.  A member of the merchant group (guards and merchant’s son) decided to partner up with a member of our group for each of 3 watch shifts.

The “fun” begins with Theren sensing the presence of the dagger.  He wakes the rest of his group and a chase through the woods begins.

Unfortunately for the members of the two groups, Slythis is very illusive until…

One of the merchant guards wondered a distance off the road into the woods.  A few minutes later, Fang, Theren and Bran track him down and find him scared and bloodied next to a tree.  Theren confirms that the dagger feels close.

They discover that the merchant guard’s wounds were essentially superficial cuts… just enough to make things look bloody, but with no real harm.  Slythis was toying with the guard… to prove his abilities and power???

Then they spot Slythis running through the trees a fair distance from them, and he’s heading back toward the road.

The group get the guard to recover from his scare enough and race back to the camp.  They hope they cut Slythis off and maybe run into him for the fight they have been wanting on.

But no such luck.  Slythis manages to not be found and does not attack the camp.

After things calm a bit, the merchant asks questions, especially after seeing the state of his one guard.  Bran, Fang and Theren decide to “spill the beans”.  Theren uses his newfound telepathic ability to “educate” the merchant with everything the group has learned and experienced concerning Slythis.

After nearly passing out from the shock, the merchant completely understands that Theren, Bran and Fang are truly after this thing for reasons well beyond a simple bounty.  This prompts him to offer his services in the best way he can conceive… pass along information.  Bran instructs the merchant to let the garrison commander in Braiton know what is going on.  The merchant promises to do so and leaves with the rising sun.

This next day is spent planning and preparing for an encounter with Slythis.  The group hopes that the reduced numbers will motivate Slythis to be more bold.  They had come to realize beyond much doubt that he must, in fact, be possessed by an entity that made its home in the dagger.  His behavior has suggested a “dual nature”.  It was the only thing to explain the murderous behavior coupled with the lack of desire for direct confrontation with the group – his true target.  The goblin part would be the sly cunning actions that worked to avoid anything or anyone potentially more powerful… like the group.  The entity in the dagger that calls to Theren and taunts him appears to be the psychotic rage and necromancer part.

Their insight turns out to be spot on.  Before the sun completely sets, a man riding in a small cart pulled by a horse is attacked just up the road from the camp in plain sight, but just out of reach for the group to be of any help.  They watch as the cart is flipped and catches fire from a lantern that was sitting next to the cart driver.  Slythis downs the horse in the “usual manner” – slitting its throat.  He then pounces on the man and kills him in the same way.

The group took what advantage they could despite having to watch the man and horse die from a distance.  They advanced up the road to confront Slythis, and Slythis was all too “happy” to oblige in his enraged and psychotic state.

The fight went quickly.  Bran made good use of his bow and then his halberd once he could close the distance to melee range.  Theren stayed back and used his warlock magic to try and bring down Slythis.  Fang had shape-shifted into a black panther (as a druid, he can do that) and took advantage of the additional four-legged speed and agility of a cat.  He made constant lunges at Slythis, and then finally pounced on Slythis.

Enough of the various attacks hit their marks, and Slythis was slain.  Fang and Bran had some injuries, but none were life-threatening.

As the adrenaline wore off, Slythis’ body was examined.  He was no longer a small grayish-yellow skinned goblin.  Instead he had grown to nearly the size of a human or elf.  He had bony protrusions down his spine and along his arms and legs.  His face had become a thing of true evil.  The skin had been stretched over very pronounced cheek bones.  The jaw hung slack.  The teeth had grown jagged.  Slythis had become something from a nightmare.

Down to business.  Fang looked at the dagger and saw that it was “fused” to Slythis’ hand.  So, he drew his scimitar and lopped off the dead creature’s hand.  Avoiding touching the dagger – out of concern of something similar happening to him, Fang scooped up the severed and and dagger into a sack.

The dagger, itself, is a vile looking thing.  It appears to be made entirely of bone.  It is stained with the dried blood of the many victims Slythis attacked with it.  Its point is sharp, and the edges are jagged.  The handle is too obscured by the hand to see well.  But the closer examination shows that the hand’s skin had truly grown into/onto the handle of the dagger.  Slythis could not have let go of the dagger.  It was like they had merged.

It was also noted that when Fang removed the hand with the dagger, Slythis’ distorted body visibly shrank a little.  It was as if the removal of the dagger removed some of the… vitality??? from Slythis even after death.

So, a thunderstorm rolled through the north Texas area, and we had to cut our session off right there out of concern over losing power.  Session 7 is scheduled for next Sunday.  I will try to post the happenings as quickly as I am able.  I hope you’re still enjoying the “story” as much as I am telling it.

As always, let me know what you think.  Ask questions.  I will answer as much as I can, so long as I am not giving away “spoilers” 😉

Type to you soon…

FLAME OF LOVE

Good vibes…

Catholic poet & writer

candle-546563_1280-1028x683What is this that glows within?
A flame of love, burning gently away,
the dross of worldliness caked upon a soul.
A flicker of light against a dark
merciless existence of days filled
with useless clatter and empty hours.
A flame of love, kindled from beyond
and above the understanding of humanity.
Snuffed out only by faithlessness,
burning ever in silence of soul
for the soul longing for its warmth.

© 2019 richard k carlton

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Oops… It’s been a bit

O_o

Sorry…

I didn’t realize how long it’s been since my last post.  I’ve been caught up in other stuff, I guess.  And when I’ve had time to do something like… I don’t know… MAKE A F@CKING POST… I seem to be doing other things.

I have no excuses. I have simply let myself not write a post <shrugs sheepishly>

So, anyway…

The virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans went okay.  Our 6-man team had fun and brought the car home in pretty good shape; that was our goal.  We didn’t have a ton of drama or intense racing, but we gained positions in a split that was much tougher than we thought it would be.

D&D

The group played a short session the other night.  Differences have been worked out, I guess, because it was the same group.  That, in my opinion, is a good thing.

There is not much to mention since we were mostly recapping and getting our heads back into the game.  Besides, I had to cut it short to watch my St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup (HELL YEAH!!!).

What is worth mentioning, though, is that the group has decided to try and force a showdown with their goblin stalker, Slythis.  We left the session with them working out a camping situation on the road to Piketon.  A small merchant group is sharing their camp site – the chosen site for this possible encounter.  This merchant and his guards are well-equipped and seasoned.  They are, at the moment, considered by Bran, Fang and Theren to be an asset for the pending confrontation with Slythis and his nasty dagger.  We are planning on running session 6 Sunday night.  I will definitely let you know how things turn out.

Well, I guess that’s it for the moment.  Again, I’m sorry for not keeping up with my posts.  I’ll get myself back in a better routine 😉

Race Day! When’s Game Night?

Hey.  Wassup?  I hope shit’s going good 🙂

I guess things are going okay for me.  There are few complaints, I suppose.

Anyway, I decided to “bark” a little bit about the next couple of hobby things going on for me.

First, is my next endurance race.  iRacing is putting on its yearly version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this coming Saturday (tomorrow, actually), and Delta-V will be in the BMW M8 GTE car.  I know y’all aren’t all that into auto racing, so I’ll keep this short.  I’ve been practicing this week, and I think I’m ready to turn some laps.  The possible problem the team has right now, though, is kind of a lack of team.  As of this moment, there are only 3 of us getting ready to race Saturday.  The other members of the team have been quiet.  There has been no chatter from them about their availability, if any, for some stints throughout the 24-hour time period.

I think we can complete the race with 3 guys, but it’s gonna be tough.  That’s a lot of time in the virtual race car for each of us plus time one of the teammates puts in as support/spotter while another is driving.  I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep Saturday :-/

Second…  the D&D game.

I think this next week I will break my “silence” and question my two estranged players about their situation in relation to returning to the “table” for D&D game night.  If there is no reconciliation between the two, I am going to take steps to acquire a replacement player for at least one of them.  I feel bad that they cannot work things out, but I am no longer going to hold off for them.  The other player and I want to game.

I’ll keep you up to date.

As always, I appreciate questions and/or comments.  Thanks for taking the time to “listen”.

Not Sure What’s Next for Game Night

I discovered yesterday evening that the next D&D game night (Session 5, this coming Sunday) has to be cancelled.  There was an unfortunate issue (outside of the game) between two members of the group.  I’m not sure if things will be resolved any time soon based on what I have learned.  That means I’m not sure if/when there will be another D&D game night for our Gods Save the King campaign.

The reason for putting the campaign on hold is that there were only 4 of us – me as the DM and the other 3 as players.  I have built the next couple of adventures in the campaign around the 3 players, so lacking one on any game night creates a significant hole in things for both the story and the needs of the game (a lack of “firepower” if you will).

If there are 4 players, the occasional miss by one player can usually be dealt with.  But losing one of three is far more noticeable.  Besides, I don’t want any of my players to miss out on any of the story they appear to be enjoying.  I’m guessing the gamers out there reading this get it.  I can only hope I’ve explained it enough for the non-gamers.  If not, let me know.

So, what’s next then?

I don’t know exactly.  I can honestly say that I am kind of down and out about this situation.  I was way happier than I realized about ‘returning to the table”.  And now, all of a sudden, the future of the game is uncertain at best.  It sucks.  Tabletop RPGaming is something I really love to do and the game I managed to cobble together with my gamer friends is on hold at best, or over at worst.

Part of me wants to get angry over the situation these two created, but it’s not an issue involving me… it’s between them.  I respect that.  I just don’t like it.

Part of me wants to channel that anger, say, “fuck it,” and go form a local group.  Maybe I should find local people that want to try something like D&D. I enjoy teaching people about tabletop RPGs.  I could also just do it online using Fantasy Grounds.  Since I am paying for an “ultimate” version, anybody that plays with me can use the software for free.

But I want to game with my friends.  I mean I might make some new friends by searching for new players, but that’s not exactly what I want.  I wanted to share this fun with my long-time friends.  I’m just not sure how this is going to work out.

I think I will continue to work on the campaign world.  I have a ton of details and depth I can add to the existing world.  With that new mapping software I have, I can create all the maps I want and help bring my world to “life”. :-/

I will continue to build the campaign arc, too, I suppose.  The story arc, though, is difficult to create sometimes without regular game sessions since the players help create some of the story as we play.  But I will try.

I suppose I will give this issue a couple of weeks to let things cool off and/or settle, but not much more than that.  I want to run a game 🙂

I know this sounds kind of selfish.  I don’t mean it to sound completely that way.  These two are friends, and I don’t want the falling out to be a permanent thing for them.  But all I can do is operate from my point of view and do what I need to do to move along.  It could be difficult to maintain a friendship with both of them, too, if things don’t get resolved.  Another reason I’m stressing… my concern over where this is headed for our little group.

Any thoughts or advice out there? I would appreciate some insight from others.

Thanks for “listening”