I wanted to have recaps of my play by post campaigns, but I didn’t have the chance to until now. Masks & Mythos has been spotty at times, and I really want to get it to move. But then again, you would expect some Play by Post campaigns to get sluggish. Also, I have a problem with having Roleplay Online forums be shown to the general public, probably by design.
The open world campaign of Algaren, is another story. Here’s the first recap of the first game day in this campaign, and this campaign allows the recaps to be a bit easier to make.
In Algaren, the Sundering has resulted in a kingdom filling in some spaces left by the separation of Toril and Abeir. This hasn’t been part of the Forgotten Realms before, and so parties are called to go to Parnast to explore the region.
The party consists of some DeviantART alumni, especially Timothius, and it is also the return of Johnny Briz.
As DA fans know by seeing the fan comic “The Brave Little Tailor II,” Johnny Briz has become a professional Jester in the story, and is often living in his motley outfit. In BLTII, he became a Jester because Minnie Mouse caught him trying to snatch lunch from the royal kitchen and thought of having him work for his dinner. In the Forgotten Realms version, it was then Open Lord Dagult Neverwinter who found him and, liking him for his cuteness and spunk, made Johnny his “Professional Fool.”
Johnny would be well known in Neverwinter at a time, when he’s known for pulling off wild stunts and pranks in public, and is popular enough for him to be part of the Lord’s Alliance.
It’s his affiliation with the Lord’s Alliance that he got stationed in Parnast. The backwoods village proved a bit too quiet for JB’s tastes, but the appearance of the strange area north of the village proved a lot more interesting.
He is joined by Tark, a Half Orc fighter; Tam Selhana, a half-elf Druid, and her ‘son’ Nathan, whom Johnny taken in as a kid brother. (Probably like to have someone do some song and dance along with his busking. For those who don’t know, ‘to busk’ means, ‘to perform for money.’) They left Parnast with the sun for some decent hex crawling.
My Hexcrawling system is still in its infancy when I created this campaign. I basically have the party do 3 Hexes per day, followed by a mandatory and successful Extended Rest. With each hex, there are a set of 52 possible scenarios, each represented by a standard playing card.
The day began peaceful enough, with a party of fleeing former cult members just passing through. Then a new member jumped in, as Meiou fell into the scene from the sky, much like a certain wizard from Morrowind. Apparently Johnny isn’t the only one who went afoul of wizards who like to get back at pranksters. So the party gets one player more.
Just in time for the first official encounter of the campaign. It was a port of the “Bears and Bandits” scenario from Princes of the Apocalypse, where the formerly child-like Nathan shifted into another grear, showing a fierce holy warrior side to him that surprised everyone except Tam. It was enough for the surviving bandit to flee screaming out of the encounter…
…only to scream all the more when he ran into Parnast’s own bouncer. The toddler frost giant Igatho.
The poor feeb became the first in Toril to discover that the planet is indeed round. Whatever or not he survives being in low planet orbit remains to be seen.
I also have another twist by having a party of NPCs exploring the area as well. They discovered a shed on the outskirts of Parnast where a potion maker sells his trade, often supplying Parnast’s general store with needed potions. There is also a berry patch some hexes away, if the party gathers some barriers to the potion maker, they’d get a campaign wide discount for potions from that area. Of course, that’s just one goal in an objective rich environment.
Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, some political content, anti-Dwarf bigotry, some deeper exposition of some scenes, an impromptu Session Zero, and two parts this time.
I don’t intend to have politics on this blog. I leave such crap for Google Plus. I basically put my positions on my sleeve here and if you don’t want to hear it, the back button is on the upper left corner of your screen pal.
A little disclosure here: I’m pretty much a free thinker, not bogged down with either Left wing or Right Wing, and consider myself a libertarian with a very snarky wit. Especially Culturally. I’m pro GamerGate, a Level 3 MGTOW, have an adamant distaste for Social Justice Warriors, Modern Feminists, (Classical Feminists who consider me as a human being with equal standing is okay) and special snowflakes who’d get triggered by any itty bitty thing that comes into existence near them. (Re-evaluate your life if this is you.) The only thing that will get me near SJW territory is the treatment of Autistics. Parents who kill their children because they’re Auties and claim to be the victim of the ‘alien’ child should be shot. (Oh yeah, to me it’s not the Vaccines themselves, but having 8 at the same time, that would cause problems. Pacing the injections to 1 every other month is a good idea.)
As for Autism, I believe that I got mine by a car accident when I was 6, but was undiagnosed for quite some time. It was initially called Asperger’s Syndrome—yeah, that often maligned disorder—but doctors, scientists, psychiatrists and other people smarter than I can ever hope to be lumped all of the Autism-related conditions into a single umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder. That is perfectly fine by me. Autism sounds a lot more dignified than having some often misspoken German Name tattooed on you Scarlet Letter style.
Now that all that’s taken care of, we can go on with the recaps, where I find myself addressing two particular topics that are in the news these days:
Item: Encounter Table, Dec 9 (Political Topic: Syrian Refugee Crisis)
I prefer having more players than expected in the Encounters table. More than 5 is perfect, more than 8, I’m loving it. What really brings me down is having less than 4 on the table. I even call a session off if I can’t get a good number of people on the table.
Such is the case last Wednesday at Hero’s Hideout, where only the three main players—Rich, John, and Bill—showing up. However, I didn’t want them to find their time wasted (they drove over to the store) I decided to start up a backup adventure for when only three of them are present.
In my customized Forgotten Realms world, I let the ExpeditionsCampaigns run their course without me. Phalan and Mulmaster has been destroyed, and if the trend continues as it has, Hillsfar is next. That would prompt a log of people who used to live there to move, wouldn’t you think. Much like the real world war in the Middle East is forcing over a million of Syrans (and a lot more countries and yes, I’ll admit it, a couple of Assholes who shot up Paris) to make a forced march through the European Union, right?
Up to now, the Moonsea Refugee crisis hasn’t been addressed. They’re pretty much stuck in the Dales and Cormyr, where the borders got closed on them. However, it took me all of five minutes to think up a campaign idea for the main three guys on my Encounters table for a backup adventure: I set it at the finish point of one of my PBP campaigns: A new kingdom—actually one that returned from a 1000-year curse—is set up in the Parnast region, led by an elegant and attractive Lady Gariland. She sees the crisis as a way to build her kingdom and offers her returning, and vacant, country, and opened it up for the refugees. The Lord’s Alliance, of which she’s a part of, included her country, Algaren, as part of a series of locations along the remains of Anauroch (formerly Netheril; The Sundering has stripped the land from the Shade Enclave’s influence) with the hopes that they’ll resettle and re-explore the region before the Nethereeze can reclaim it.
That’s the basis behind my Encounters Backup campaign. Whether or not there is any regular progress in it, well, that’s up to how many people show up in Hero’s Hideout on Wednesdays. There’s a good guess that they might return to 8 players a table come January, but on the days that there’s not, well, there’s this. I’ll let you know when things come up.
Item: Dreams of the Red Wizards, 10 DEC (Item: Donald Trump and his lack of Giving a Fuck)
If Donald bails from the presidential campaign this year, I will never vote again. Ever. For anybody. I’ll just stay home and watch this country burn. As it should.
That said, I’ll admit it, he’s not the best person to bring people together. To me, Terrorism is a close second to the number one goal for an American President today; to unite the country from the extreme polar opposites that are ripping at each other’s throats right now. I’m not talking the Radical Right (right of Rush Limbaugh) and the Radical Left (Left of Nancy Pelosi) I’m talking the vast majority of people here in America who might have different viewpoints, but would consider their fellow men actual human beings that deserve a place on this earth just like them.
Ronald Regan was the last president who can do that. Both Bushes were too stupid to do it, Clinton tried too hard to do it and fell flat on his ass (protip: It’ll help if you don’t lie so much that people even doubt the Articles you say) , and Obama has his head stuck too far up his ass.
Donald Trump is the only person in this election cycle who has the ability to do that, in spite of himself. He’s got the populist stance, he speaks in common American languages, and he’s funding his campaign with his own money. Something only a handful of people on this planet can actually do. However, he’s prone to say stuff like this:
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release said. I’m copypasting the entire line from CNN so that you can see the whole thing. I know some of you haven’t seen the emphasized part until now. In my autistic mind, it’s sounds like Donald’s telling Washington to get that stick out of their collective asses. Like with Bush Jr pointing at the still-smoking rubble of the World Trade Center and going “If nobody does anything about the Taliban in Afganistan, I will, and you won’t like what I’ll do!” The rest of the world told Bush to go “Fuck Yourself and Check Your Privilege,” and you’ve read what happened in the recent history books. And how we have Daesh-heads that might get the Middle East nuked out of existence.
Apparently, the media is instead breaking Goodwins Law in decrying what Trump said. With that second part in Donald’s call, I see what he said as more Protectionist, rather than Fascist. If he were a fascist, he wouldn’t be calling for a blocking of Muslims. He’d be calling for the persecution of the ill, the old, the people stuck on welfare and SSI, those on the fringes of society, the people who just don’t fit in with the world around them, Christian W. Chandler, and even myself! People who, when they come for them, people will be cheering for their demise instead of standing up for them. All this, before the first Muslim, or in the case of the previous actual Fascist government the first Jew, were even thought about. All Trump said was, “Let’s hold off on letting people in from a region where there are people who want to kill us and eat our babies, until we find a better way to filter out the Assholes.” That’s protectionist, not racist, and some people will agree that it’s needed, especially that second part.
So when Barbra Walters tried to bean him upside his balding head with “Are you a bigot?” of course he’s going to say “No.”
If she asked my Dreams of the Red Wizards players that question, on the other hand, it’ll be a different story. They’ll spout long and eloquent about how Dwarves are a scourge of the world and should be eradicated in ways that will make Adolf Hitler blush, while I’m sitting in the corner with my head in my hands going, “I’m very sorry about this, Ms. Walters. I do not know these people. I’ve been trying to TPK their asses for months now!”
They’re currently at the Firehammer Hold, a dwarven stronghold that was overrun by Drugear (Read: Dwarves even Dwarves hate) and the party was pretty much in glee killing whatever dwarf they see and offending not one but two dwarven deities in the process. And then they had enough of a sack to ask me to make it harder. Last time I said that, a Gorgon nearly chunkied one of them. But since they asked oh so kindly…
As if shit ain’t gonna get real enough on Thursdays (Why isn’t everyone watching my Twitch Channel, oh yea, sometimes I don’t get enough players. At least I’ve got a waiting list now) I saw the return of one of my original players here:
Merdoc Battleborn has returned from his search for a healing spell.
Merdoc Battleborn is searching for his friends
Merdoc Battleborn is distracted by hookers… and blackjack
Merdoc Battleborn is also distracted by flowers.
Merdoc Battleborn is ambushed by goblins… wait no, not goblins, DWARVES! and “ambush” may be an interpretation for “approached” but god damned are they dead!
Merdoc Battleborn has one disappointed Chauntae where she wanted to be dead
Merdoc Battleborn attempts to seduce a farm maiden.
Merdoc Battleborn has seduced a farm maiden.
Merdoc Battleborn didn’t realize she was so ugly
Merdoc Battleborn is full of regret.
Merdoc Battleborn REGREW his penis
Merdoc Battleborn is proudly trying it out on farm girls. not village floozies
Merdoc Battleborn will never fuck a goblin again
At this point, I have Merdoc meet up with Pancheska and a now-succubus Shalendra Floshin. After a threesome, they lead the perv in the right direction. “Just follow the Tentacles,” Pancheska said, with a shudder. How many DMs are bothered with the concept that the Succubi NPCs in his campaign world have higher standards than the players?
Merdoc Battleborn wanders eastward following rumors of burnt corpses, stolen dresses and general mayhem.
Merdoc Battleborn searches for Axel.
Merdoc Battleborn is hot on the trail
Merdoc Battleborn is also hot….
Merdoc Battleborn searches for a creek
Merdoc Battleborn finds no creek
Merdoc Battleborn gets naked.
Merdoc Battleborn runs into a random encounter. a living suit of armor… it shakes it’s head and says “no shame…”
With my hands off the keyboard and the mike muted, I say, “Fuck you, Merdoc!”
Merdoc Battleborn searches for half armor tiefling
Merdoc Battleborn gets a direction point from living armor.
And from there he enters the scene where someone in the party was grabbing a sword sheathed in Chris Perkins Brand “Green Flame!” Alchemical Fire from a statue of the second Dwarven Diety, whom I turned into a Stone Golem. Once again, I brought someone down, but the TPK eluded me.
At the end, they asked me to crank things up.
Oooooh, am I going to crank it up.
But first, I need to send them through my Christmas-themed encounter, which will take place on 17 Dec. You’ll find out that St. Nick is not the jolly old elf in my Realms. In fact, there’s an Evil German counterpart of Santa Claus which the Forgotten Relams’ Krampus is styled after. Oh, and before you ask…If someone does something stupid like go back in time and kill Hitler before WWII, instead of the Nazis in the 40s, we’ll be fighting him in the 50s. And we’ll won’t be faring so well.
Since I do not follow along with Adventurers League storylines—mainly because most of my players don’t care about organized play, factions, or any other dross that gets into the way of the 0th rule of “Above all else, we’re have to have fun.” So while I keep up with actions in the Sword Coast, I steer clear of the Moonsea area, where Wizards of the Coast is setting Expeditions in (Expeditions being the 5th Edition version of Living Forgotten Realms), which I want to keep to its canonized form whatever I run them or not. You might see me dig into these Expeditions Modules to transplant a dungeon or scenario into my customized campaigns, but I don’t think it’ll be right for me to mess with the Modules themselves.
The ascension of the Green Dragon Vorgansharax to the Cinnabar Throne in Phlan has caused a mass exodus of humans fleeing the dragon’s tyrannical rule. While most of the refugees in their great wisdom went to Mulmaster of all places, thinking they could find aid there. A good portion of the refugees did the smarter thing and crossed the Zhentil keep ruins and headed south toward the Dales, eventually reaching Cormyr and Sembia, where word of what happened traveled West toward the Sword Coast.
Hearing about what happened in Moonsea, along with the current evils that are running around the region (I currently have both the Cult of the Dragon and the Cults of Elemental Evil operating in the same time; since I haven’t done Rise of Tiamat, yet), the Lord’s Alliance agreed that an improved form of communication that will cross the distances between the major hot points in Faerun. Fortunately, thanks to my allowing of technological advancements in the Forgotten Realms, the Lord’s Alliance has access to the Telegraph, and they have created their first major network of telegraph lines between the major cities of the Sword Coast. It was easy for them to agree to expanding this network Eastward to reach other areas such as the Sumber Hills, Netheril, Cormyr and the Dales, and eventually to Moonsea.
They gave the call to many people in the Coast that were experienced in the telegraph, including a small group that managed to invent the telephone, sending voice through the same telegraph lines, to maintain this new Secomber-Everska Telegraph Line that will reach Cormyr, and from there the line to Moonsea.
One of these stations in the Secomber-Everska line will be Parnast, a village in recovery from Cult of the Dragon activities. The Order of the Gauntlet has just finished reconstructing the city, and partnered with the Lord’s Alliance in setting up the telegraph station. Manning this station will be a vanguard of Telecommunication technology in Faerun: Justin Mercurial of Daggerford, who the Alliance christened as Lord of Graypeak. Justin took up shop in the nearby hunting lodge in the Grayspeak Mountains with his soulmate, the Pandaren Lili, where he turned into a guildhouse for all adventurers who need one.
In future posts, I will be listing some details about the Lodge and of the new Parnast. And since you are still in utter shock over the word “Pandaren” in a paragraph on a Forgotten Realms setting, that too.
As you might have seen, the WordPress site of the Ballad of Johnny Briz comic has crashed, irrevocably so. Not to worry though, I still have all of the strips, and I have uploaded them into a Legacy Site linkable to this main blog. Just as well because I wanted to merge everything into one blog anyway.
For the initiated, and I know there are new readers here thanks to my DMing, Johnny is my answer to Mickey Mouse. With some additional inspiration by Don Bluth and Sonic the Hedgehog. Instead of pure speed, however, Johnny’s a Parkour freerunner. Sonic would blow his doors off in the 100-meter dash, but Johnny will skip over where the hedgehog splash lands en route to the Third Stage. Every now and then he pops up on occasion just to stir up trouble, and it’s the few things from my childhood I like to keep with me in my adult life.
“The Ballad of Johnny Briz” is an attempt at an origin story for the little fellow, which I made during my mid-life crisis with the additional hope that I can keep my art style from stagnating too much. Compressed into so many paragraphs, Johnny is the descendants of a group of lab rats who escaped because they have acquired human like intelligence and set up a community in an abandoned amusement park. Sound familiar? Yeah. The rodents seen “The Secret of NIMH” too, and named Johnny after one of the characters there. (Note: It’s the sole connection to any existing work in this story)
One day, another science lab appeared a bit too close to the village, and Johnny thought he should investigate. He discovered that the lab wasn’t experimenting on animals, but inanimate objects on some special goo that grows and shrinks things, depending on a 1 Volt current sent through said goo. Unfortunately, he fell into the goo on accident when it was set on a positive charge (the grow setting) and he found himself blown up to a cartoon character height!
He managed to escape that lab, and eventually found himself in the arms of Amber Merichello, an animator fresh out of college. After making sure that he’s all right, and dressing him up like a cartoon character would look like, she shared a dream with Johnny about making her own cartoon series with him, hoping to become a local celebrity and maybe find an alternative to working for the big companies. The crux of the story is about Amber, Johnny, and the friends around them achieve this dream.
Right now progress in this comic is in a holding pattern. Mainly because I found Dungeon Mastering which has a much better promise for me at this time. However, I am by no means done with this comic. I’ll be continuing this comic as time permits, and updates will be shown, thanks to the mentioned crash, here on this main blog.
There is a chance that you’ll be seeing more of JB in the future, if you keep tabs in the PbP forum: Algaren, another one of my homemade campaigns, will be starting, and I’m planning on putting the mousie boy in there for antics and giggles. I’ll let you know more about the campaign in future postings.