Turns out that I took most of June off from blogging completely – I didn’t even do the Wednesday art posts. I’m OK with that, I think it was good to have a little break. Sitting on a deck right on the bay in OCMD was paradise, but it’s been a tough month at work and there wasn’t a lot of mental energy left to put into the blog. I’m hoping to see a little relief in the work day world in the coming weeks.
Still, I’m thinking that I am going to have a lighter posting schedule over the summer months, or at least a lighter schedule posting gameable material for others to use. Since I started the blog, I’ve had a lot less time to dedicate to painting miniatures, which is something I greatly enjoy. With everyone’s posts lately about their Bones Kickstarter rewards arriving (hopefully mine will soon), it’s really got the painting bug back in me. So I’m thinking that over the next few months I’ll drop down to one regular post a week, the Wednesday art posts, and various photo posts of minis. My only sticking point is that I’ll need to try and take good photos of my minis – my wife has a very nice camera, so no problem there, but I’ll need to make or buy a lightbox.
In news from the game table, this past Friday night I ran the June session of our mostly monthly DCC game. Last time we played, the party had decided they would trek out from Split River across the Hushed Valley to seek the fabled keep of the Emerald Enchanter. In prep for the session, I put together card-based wilderness encounter tables and hex content tables for the Hushed Valley and read the Emerald Enchanter module twice, just in case they made it all the way across the valley with time to spare in the evening’s session. Also between sessions, Mike and I did some video chat roleplaying to address his character’s efforts to purchase some real estate in town. As a result he met Kale Rodale, the most notable and wealthy wizard in Split River, owner of several mining interests and member of the ruling council. Joey Diamonds and Rodale came to a very reasonable mortgage agreement on a long-played out copper mine that was converted to living quarters for indentured miners but was recently infested with kobolds.
I figured that by the time the party got back to town after the expedition to the Emerald Enchanter, clearing out the kobolds would be a simple after thought. However, we had three new players joining in on the game that night, each with a retinue of 0-levels, so the experienced adventuring party members decided to have the group clear out to kobolds first. After all, they had overstayed their room deposit at the Obsidian Sage and though the innkeeper was overly understanding, there was also a retinue of Shessan merchants coming in and buying out the place for the next few weeks. So they figured, “Kill the kobolds and we’ll have some place to come back to.”
When I was young, I was pretty damn good at improvising my adventures. These days, I find myself much less adept. I don’t have to do a crazy amount of prep, I just need to lay out at least a few things to riff on, or develop some tables ahead of time like I did in anticipation of wilderness travel. I think I’m at my best when I’m actually running modules – I don’t have trouble committing most of them to memory pretty quickly, and I am totally comfortable riffing or winging within the provided context. Now, I had already drawn a simple map of this mine to share with Mike, so I had a basic layout, but I ended up deciding that most of the real action would take place off the map I had already drawn, in a deeper mine. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of particularly intriguing elements prior to the combat on which we closed the night. I should have busted out Dyson’s Delves to at least give it a more interesting layout.
So far even that last combat is mostly just orcs and goblins charging toward the party in a large tunnel from a far larger mining chamber. I say “is” because I had to call time at a point when it was unreasonable to play the combat out any further; next game will resume in the middle of the action. The only real quirks are that my goblins are entering the tunnel on the ceiling, 20’ above the ground, and dropping on the players from there, and that my orcs have to contend with their unholy hunger. Said orcish hunger did lead to the death of Percival, the halfling haberdasher and original member of the Company of the Starless Sea, but the shit-priest Sherman Funk currently has plans to try and resurrect the impeccably dressed hobbit as a filth-ridden mockery of his former self, an “unhol-fling” if you will.
I’m racking the brain to try to flavor this up before the next session so that it doesn’t just turn out to be a bunch of linear tunnels and some traditional evil humanoids, and I’ve got a couple ideas I’m solid on, so hopefully there’ll be a little more gonzo Appendix N before this ends.