The Kingdom of Welandar… Almost Dead Before It Was Born.

Would you like to know where the world I’m using for Game Night came from?  Heh… Yeah, me, too.  All I can say is as a gamer and/or writer, DON’T throw anything away that “speaks” to you in any way.  It might just be worth something to you later…

About 25 years ago, I had an idea to create my own Dungeons & Dragons game world…

By that point I had been gaming for about a decade.  My favorite world to run, regardless of D&D edition, was Mystara.  It was the game world that the OD&D (the original boxed sets) game used.  There was so much great information about the world that had come in the form of a series of books called, “Gazeteers”.  They were published by TSR (the company that put D&D on the map) to support the OD&D game.

I had a great time using and re-using that game world for quite a few different campaigns and gaming groups.  While I was a fan of Forgotten Realms and I had played in a couple of Dragon Lance campaigns, I always circled back to Mystara.  I would work very hard to adapt the game world to whatever edition of D&D I was playing at the time.  From what I could tell, a good time was had by all.

Then I got a bug in my brain.  I wanted to have my own game world.  I wanted to write stories and create adventures in a world created the way I wanted it.  Though I lacked any real skill at doing so, I was motivated and began scribbling out ideas about a whole new fantasy world.

My world was a shotgun blast of different thoughts and notions about a world where magic existed.  Since I’m a “traditionalist”, the basic theme was classic fantasy “swords and sorcery” type stuff.  There were supposed to be dwarves, elves, orcs… the whole gambit of fantasy races.  And that’s how it began and started to evolve.

My progress was very slow.  I would make notes in a notebook whenever an idea popped up.  But I never pushed on it.  I let it remain a back burner thing.

Then I lost my notes.  I have no idea how I lost them.  I had moved a couple of times, so maybe they got lost or thrown away during all the activities involved in moving.  Nonetheless, I had lost my notes.  I don’t know if it was a big loss considering that I never got real sad or angry about it.  In fact, I just didn’t really care.  My ideas for it were just not something to which I had gotten attached. I have no idea why.

I had not lost everything, though.

At some point during my pursuit of a custom world I bought a sketch pad.  At some point after buying that sketch pad, I decided to try my hand at making a map of my world.  I got a hold of some colored pencils and a coffee can lid to use as a stencil for my world map.  I traced around the lid twice to create the two hemispheres.  I then lightly and carefully started drawing land masses.  Then came the colored pencils to add basic biomes to the land masses and color the oceans.

As I did this, the names of the continents came to me… Welandaria, Arcandara, Lucianius and Cantalus.  The world now had some color and terrain and a couple of names.

Then that map sat. I did not get rid of it despite several “opportunities” while cleaning things out.  Without the notes, I wasn’t sure if the map was worth anything to me, but for some reason, I held on to it.

A couple of years ago, I “found” the sketch pad in the back of a shelf underneath a stack of binders and notebooks containing years of accumulated gaming notes.  As soon as I opened the pad and saw that map, my brain sparked.

Again, I have not pushed to build a lot of detail… until recently.  I just would look at that map and then start writing down ideas for stories and characters.  It really didn’t get anywhere… until recently.

Now it’s the world in which my current D&D group plays.  I finally got that home brew game world I wanted.

The color and the depth of the world is certainly growing now.  I’ve created a couple of good maps using a piece of software called Campaign Cartographer.  I have a “few” notes again.  And the best thing I have is a few friends enjoying some adventures there.  I guess it’s my world, but it’s also theirs.  That’s what tabletop RPGs are all about.

Thanks for giving this a read.  Remember.  Inspiration is not something that always comes easily. So, hang on to it when you find it.

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, click the like button.  If you have a question or something you want to say to me or about what you’ve read, please, do so.  I welcome conversation and feedback.

Type to you later 😉


Game Night, Session 10. On the Road(?) Again

Armed with the little bit of information from Mert, Fang, Bran and Theren get moving again.  They know they need to find a way into the secret library in the Welandar castle back in Welandar City, but Bran wants to complete the task he set for himself – to return the Ironstar battleaxe to the family in Lon-Kar.  It’s agreed to do this since they can reach Welandar City from either Piketon or Lon-Kar…

With the decision made to go to Lon-Kar find the Ironstar family and then to Welandar City to seek out the secret library, Fang, Theren and Bran plan to leave Mert’s cabin and head back to Piketon to pick up their repaired cart, new mule and the gear and things contained in the cart.  They are hoping to find a boat to give them passage to Lon-Kar rather than having to travel overland.

Before they leave, Theren asks if Mert will give him the materials he needs to perform a ritual for summoning his familiar.  The requirements of the spell were recently revealed to him on his scroll, but he had not found anyone with the necessary material components all in one place to buy and/or borrow for the ritual.

Mert has no problem with this and gives him what he needs.  So, Theren goes down to the lake shore alone for about an hour to summon his familiar.  Theren has an idea about the type of familiar he wants.  He had read about a creature called a pseudodragon in his studies with his mother and decides that is what he wants to summon.

A little over an hour later, Theren returns with a small dragon-like creature flying circles over his head.  It does not look quite natural, though, to be sure.  It is like a pseudodragon, but with 3 eyes on its head and many more on its wings.

Theren Familiar option 2

Perhaps Theren’s Eldritch magic had something to do with it?

After a quick exchange of farewells and Mert telling them she is always available to help if she can, the group head back along the lake shore to Piketon.

In Piketon, the group splits up to get business taken care of faster.  Theren goes to Pike’s Tooth Inn to return the scroll he had borrowed from there (it contained a symbol that matched their sigils for no apparent reason other than Bran Touchwater must have written it there).  Fang goes to the stable to retrieve the repaired cart and the mule he had purchased.  Bran goes back to the blacksmith to see if the supplies that Berault claimed to contain a set of blacksmith’s tools has come in and let him know that he is travelling to Long-Kar.

Theren returns the scroll to Bran Touchwater and apologizes for making him uncomfortable.  This seems to put things between the group and Touchwater on better terms.

Fang goes and picks up the cart and mule.  The stable owner even threw in a couple of supplies for the mule.  Fang then heads straight for the wharf to find a boat to take them to Lon-Kar.

Bran reaches the blacksmith shop and speaks with Berault Stormbringer.  He lets the Dwerg know of his plans to return the battle-axe to the Ironstar family and asks if the supply shipment containing blacksmith tools came in.  Unfortunately, the supplies had not arrived yet due to bad weather on the south side of the lake, so Bran will have to find tools elsewhere. Berault gives Bran a coin with the Ironstar family crest stamped on it with instructions to tell the family leader that Berault vouches for him.  They bid each other farewell, and Bran heads to the local garrison.

At the garrison, Bran lets the garrison commander know that there are, in fact, Krell in the area.  He tells the soldier about the fight he and his group had and that he believes there is a war chief and likely more Krell.  The garrison commander thanks him for the information and starts working to prepare for problems.

The group meet up at the wharf.  Fang’s luck finding a boat to take them to Lon-Kar has not been good.  Pretty much all the barges large enough to take them and their cart have just arrived and have no plans for departure for, at least, a day.

Whether by chance or the man’s curiosity about the newcomers, Captain Fisk overhears their conversation and steps up to offer them passage to Lon-Kar on his fishing boat.  After a little negotiation, they agree to leave within an hour.

They sail for a little over 3 days without incident (other than Theren’s seasick issues) and pull into the small dock that is used by Lon-Kar.  Up on a hill about a half day’s walk they see Lon-Kar.  It’s a walled city as best they can tell at this distance.

So, next time they get to explore Lon-Kar, a city of mostly Dwerg.  It should be interesting to see how Bran makes out with the return of the battleaxe from that blacksmith who was murdered by Slythis.  Will be rewarded somehow?  Will he have made an ally?  Catch the next Game Night post to find out 😉

As always, if you like what you’re reading here, let me know with a click of the like button.  I welcome feedback, so don’t hesitate to leave a question, comment or both.

Type to you later…

Game Night, Session Nine. What’s Next?

I guess chapter 1 has reached its end.  They finally meet Mert.  Remember Mert? That’s who Perry Braiton told them to find at the beginning of all this.  After kidnapping them to get their attention, he told them to find Mert for information about the sigils on their hands and to understand about the recurring dreams.  He said that he made a promise to the king (and others) that he would set those he found with the mark on their hands on the path to discover their purpose.

So, they left their home town of Braiton and journeyed to Piketon to seek out Mert.  The journey was not easy.  In fact, it was almost deadly.

But meeting Mert did not necessarily come easy…

After policing the bodies of the Krell they managed to kill, Bran, Theren and Fang complete their journey to find Mert… hopefully.

The scene they come upon is that of a nicely built small cabin at the edge of the tree line.  It’s sits at the top of a hill that overlooks the lake.  Bran notices the broken windows and heavily damaged front door first.  He bolts toward the cabin calling for Mert.  Fang and Theren trail behind a little looking for signs of trouble nearby.

Bran reaches the porch and runs through the door that is nearly off its hinges.  He spots an older woman lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood.  A quick search lets him know that her attacker is no longer there.  He checks the woman for signs of life and is relieved to feel that she is still warm and has a pulse.

Theren and Fang arrive at this point.  Bran gets Fang set to trying to heal the woman.  Theren starts looking around the cabin.  There is an aura in the cabin that he senses, and it seems familiar to him.

Fang starts using his healing magic to try and bring the woman around.  She is badly beaten and very near death.  He casts a healing spell, and it does not work as well as he thought it should.  He then invokes his totem spirit, asking it to bring healing energies to the woman.  Again, the magic of the spirit does not take hold as it should.  Fortunately, though, the magic works well enough to stabilize her.  It even seems to reduce some of the internal injuries that Fang is sure she sustained from such a horrible beating.

Fang gets help from the others to put Mert in her bed. He hopes that a night’s rest will help bring her around since the healing magic was suppressed somehow.

The group decides to make themselves “at home” while they monitor Merts health as best they can.  Given the footprints and their own encounter, they are pretty certain Mert had a run-in with Krell as well.  They just had to wait until Mert recovered enough to wake up and tell them what happened to her.

They spend the night.  Throughout this time Bran is rather certain that they are being watched from the woods behind the cabin.  Nothing comes of it, but Theren’s explanation of what he sensed in the cabin when they first arrived has them all on edge.  Do they have another Slythis on their hands?

Mert does recover, and Fang uses his healing magic to restore her since the aura that was suppressing his magic has faded.

Introductions are made and the group explains how they found her.  She thanks them, but then asks why they are there in the first place.

After an explanation, it becomes Mert’s turn to explain what she can to them about the sigils on their hands.  She starts by saying that the history of the Kingdom of Welandar as they know it is not accurate.

The founding Welandar king, Markus, did not sail from another continent in search of a fertile land to form his kingdom.  In fact, Markus and the original people of the Kingdom are not even from Ursalon.  They are from a completely different world.  They came here to escape their dying world.

Markus made a pact with Mentari to protect his people.  Part of the pact was that the people from the other world would “forget” the truth of their origins and the Welandar bloodline would have to remain on the throne indefinitely.  The burden that the Welandar royal line would carry would be knowing the truth and the reason they had to stay on the throne.

As a means of remaining on the throne, a “tradition” was created.  The ruling Welandar had to have, at least, one child.  The first-born child would assume the throne on his or her 25th birthday with the ruling parent stepping down to live the rest of their days as an adviser.

And so, this is how the Welandar family has remained rulers of the Kingdom for nearly a millennium and Mentari’s Secret has remained intact… until now.  With the king’s untimely death and no apparent first-born to assume the throne, the pact is essentially broken.  Not even Mert, who is very long-lived, knows what breaking the pact could mean.  She guesses, though, that it is probably not a good thing.

Mert does not know much else save that the sigils translate to mean, “Mentari’s Secret”.  There are those that have served this… agency of the pact… including her since its inception.  She even shows that she carries the sigil, but it is on her shoulder.  She surmises that the group having the sigils on their left hands indicates they have been chosen to either find a way to restore the pact or stop whatever bad thing is going to happen to the Kingdom of Welandar and its people because of the broken pact.

She tries to explain the lack of knowledge as part of the “forgetfulness” created by the pact.  She believes that since the breaking of the pact, agents of Mentari’s Secret might begin, at the very least, having some idea of what they need to do to help the chosen – of which there might be more than just Theren, Fang and Bran… maybe.  She says that is why Perry Braiton acted to set the group on the path to find her.  He truly does not know much other than he knew to make a promise to the king to serve when needed, and that was likely due to the fact that he is a cleric of Mentari.  When he noticed the three having sigils on their hands, he knew he had to act to get them moving and not much else.

Finally, all of this is to work against an opposing agency that is trying to make sure that Mentari’s Secret is not restored – if that is even possible – and allow for whatever BAD has been set in motion.  Mert believes that is why a creature like Slythis came along… and maybe this Krell, Kogan, attacked her and will likely pursue the group.  They could be similar to Mentari’s Secret in that they are not sure who or what they serve, but that they must work to get rid of anyone that can prevent whatever evil is going to happen.

Mert recommends that they seek out the secret library in the castle in Welandar City.  She suspects that there are documents that explain the truth of things and what breaking the pact might mean.  When asked about how long they had, Mert could not answer.  She didn’t think that things would happen too quickly, but if they were going to take on the task, they should not take too long.

The group decides to head back to Piketon to recover their cart and things.  Bran requests that they go to Lon-Kar, the Dwerg city on the east side of the lake.  He wants to seek out the Ironstar family and return the battleaxe he recovered from the dwerg smith that was murdered by Slythis on Piketon Road.  Given that the urgency of their quest is not immediate and the possibility of finding other possible information and resources (reward???) by going to Lon-Kar, they agree to travel there on their way to Welandar City.

And this ended Session 9.  I hope you enjoy this next part of the story as much as I did “playing” it.  Session 10 is coming soon.  Will they be pursued by this Krell that already seems rather powerful?  Will they find the “resources” they are hoping to find in Lon-Kar.  We’ll see…

Oh yeah, they forgot to ask about their shared dream/nightmare  😮

As always, let me know you like what I’ve posted here by clicking the like button.  And by all means, leave me a comment.  Let me know what you think.  Ask questions.  It’s very gratifying to know that y’all are reading my stuff.

Type to you later 🙂

Game Night. Session 8. I Thought It Went Great ;-)

Here’s a work in progress of the continent where the Kingdom of Welandar is located.

Welandar Snipit

I’ve started, once again, plugging away at getting some more solid background information for this campaign world.  I realized a couple game nights ago that I have been lacking in that area.  This became especially apparent to me when I began really struggling to come up with the next mission/quest for my players.  They’re almost to the point where they will need this to continue.  It’s one thing to have a plot idea, but something completely different to create enough details and generate hooks to get your players involved in that plot idea.

So, I decided to act on own my philosophy; having a good background/setting  makes for creating the story/adventure much easier and helps connect the players and their characters to the world.  Seems pretty obvious, right?  Well… the density of the author sometimes overrides his grasp on the “reality” of the situation.  I have been a dumb-ass and not fleshed out enough of the setting to facilitate reasons/motivations for the characters to take action, whether by my design or their own.  You see?  If there is enough color and depth to the setting, and you have the players “educated” with that information, the characters they have chosen to play can become the “people/heroes” of the world they are supposed to be and act on their own – even with little to no prompting from the DM.  Then all the DM has to do is prepare for their next moves and dole out “consequences” for the actions the characters have taken.  The plot devices also drop in much easier because they will make sense to the players and thus, their characters.

Session 8, to me went pretty great…

Fang, Theren and Bran had split up to conduct some business as soon as they reached Piketon.

Fang and Theren got the cart repairs set up and started asking about where to find Mert.  Fang also made sure to keep an eye and ear out for anything “unusual” in hopes of getting the underlying lay of the land in Piketon.

Bran struck out on his own to find the town blacksmith.  He stopped at a Kingdom outpost on his way to see if there was any information concerning the kingdom and let them know about the patrol that got killed during the journey up here.  Bran found out that the garrison here is very recent.  There was some concern about Krell (orcs) raiding from the north, so with the agreement of Bran Touchwater (the town leader), the kingdom began the process of establishing a permanent kingdom garrison in Piketon.

At the town blacksmith’s business, Bran meets Berault Stormbringer.  Bran explains the situation with the battleaxe he kept from the body of the murdered Dwerg they encountered on the road to Piketon.  Berault recognizes the trademark on the weapon as the Ironstar family.  He explains to Bran that they can be found in Lon-Kar on the other side of the Great Lake.  He even speculates that the return of the axe might earn a reward.

As the evening begins, the group meets up at the Pike’s Tooth Inn – THE inn of Piketon.  They eat there meal and keep their eyes and ears open for any information about Mert and the general goings on in and near Piketon.

Fang leaves the inn shortly after the meal to get some “fresh air”.  He uses his druidic abilities to turn into a “town stray hound dog” so that he may roam freely through the town.  He doesn’t overhear anything overly secretive or sinister, but he hears a conversation about the Krell raiding party that struck a short time back.

After he plays a game of chess with the local “master”, Theren is directed to a small shelf in the common room of the inn that contains some books and scrolls for his entertainment – something else to read besides his special scroll.  During his perusal, he finds a scroll that has various notes and numbers, likely concerning basic town business. What makes it so interesting, though, is that it has a interesting mark written very small in a corner.  The mark is identical to the sigils that are tattooed on their left hands.

While Theren is working on his discovery, Bran decides to join the dice game that is getting quite spirited.  Bran’s skill at this form of gambling turns out to be quite high.  He ultimately “cleans house” going against another traveler with rather deep pockets.  In spite of the high stakes, the game ends amicably and with the traveler’s dignity – if not his coin pouch – intact.

By the time the game reaches its end and Theren discovers the mark on the scroll, Fang returns from his recon.  A short discussion leads to Fang approaching Bran Touchwater, inn proprietor and town leader, about the mark on the scroll.  Touchwater feigns ignorance, but Fang can tell that he knows more and is concerned about the fact that someone recognized the mark.

This closes the evening and the group retires to the room they rented.

The next morning they set out to find Mert whom they were told is about a half day’s walk east from Piketon along the lake shore.

About an hour from where Mert is supposedly located, the group encounters a group of six Krell.  Without any obvious options for sneaking around given the terrain, Theren, Bran and Fang engage the Krell.  The fight gets serious.  The Krell are trained and well-equipped.  Theren, despite his magic, is heavily injured and nearly dies.  Fang and Bran fair a little better, but were not without some scrapes.

Once again, though, they use their capabilities – Bran as a trained soldier, Theren as a warlock with eldritch magic and Fang with the ability to call on animal totems and use healing magic – to good effect and destroy the Krell.  Bran made excellent use of his halberd and his combat abilities to fend of attacks and deliver considerable bodily harm.  Fang’s totem, druidic magic and skill with his scimitar aided the party with buffs, entangling some of the enemy and taking down a couple of Krell.  Theren stood tough against the onslaught of javelins and great-axes and managed to unleash some of the eldritch energies of his patron. One blast, in particular, absolutely obliterated a Krell (turned inside out, smoldering, etc.).  He also gave back some of what he took from the others.

And that is where we ended the session.  The group got a little loot for their troubles. But they didn’t quite make it to Mert and find out what she knows about the sigils tattooed on their hands – which occasionally glow and get warm in certain situations.  Hopefully, she’ll have some idea of what they mean and what is required to get rid of them.

As always, if you like the story, click the like button.  Let me know what you think or ask questions in the comments section.  I’m more than happy to talk about my home-brew world and the players I game with.  If you still want it, I’ll keep it coming as the story unfolds.

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.


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…