As you know, my version of Faerun has some technological advancements, especially in the earlier inventions that would be archaic compared to us today. One of the most used ‘cutting edge for the Realms’ tech is the telegraph, which is promoted by the Lord’s Alliance (although the Zhentarim has piggy backed on it.)
Events of the two most recent modules, Princes of the Apocalypse and Out of the Abyss has caused an expansion to this Telegraph network, which I want to discuss here for a reference.
This map shows the three telegraph lines that exist in the North region, superimposed over the map included in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. I’ve added important cities as my campaigns permit.
The main spine of the Telegraph System is the Sword Coast Line, going from Luskan through Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Daggerford, and eventually toward Baldur’s Gate and Candlekeep. This is the telegraph line that existed the longest, during the short-lived campaign of Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (I’m considering making this into a fiction story.) It has saved several lives during it’s existance from that module onward through the official launch of 5th Edition.
The two extentions began construction by the start of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, the first of which is the Secomber Line. This line begins in Daggerford, goes past Secomber, and through the Graypeak mountains through southern Anauroch (formerly Netheril) and finally Arabel in Cormyr. It has recently extended northward through Cormanthor and eventually into the Moonsea Region, where its first messages were of the catastrophies that evnetually make the Faerun Refugee Crisis (I refer to the cannonized results of the Expeditions series of modules.)
The second extension and third line was the line to Mithral Hall. However, it managed to reach Red Larch first, which became vital in its preparation for the second appearance of the Elemental Cults (Princes of the Apocalypse: Second Strike). The Mithral Hall Line will end up reaching Silverymoon as well, but two cities along the line will have their own stations by the second half of Out of the Abyss:
Westchester has been around for some time, situated on top of a direct passage to Blingdenstone in the Underdark. Mithral Hall dwarves and drow of House Neo’Durdren constructed a temple to cover the cavern opening, and eventually constructed a village there. As of this coming session, People of several factions are constructing the first of several mental health institutions made to address the madness and insanities that is spilling out of the Underdark. These installations will be more than just insane aslyums, they will also research more common mental illnesses, like Depression, “The Psychic Itch” (their answer to OCD) and “Mindcrush” (An easier way to say ‘schizophrenia’.)
But Shepstage comes into play in the next session. Shepstage is a Watchtower village overlooking the Evermoors and a vital part of the Mithral Hall line. However, remember what I said about the Zhentarium using the Lord Alliance’s telegraph for their own purposes?
This Watchtower sits on top of another passage to the underdark; a direct path to Mantol-Derith no less. The Black Network agreed to allow the Lord’s Alliance–and the party–to use this passageway to get to the Underdark and set up telegraph lines there. (And so that the Zhents can use it as well.)
The party will progress from Gauntlgrym over land to Shepstage and then use the passage to Mantol-Derith. Their next session will begin when they reach the underground village.
Trigger Warnings: Unique Homemade Campaign in an Encounters table. Gun activity. Blogger using Studio Ghibli style to get the rust out of drawing.
As I posted just the other day, I made my 2016 resolution to get back into art. Nothing too serious or elaborate at this point, just get back into illustration. I’ll be experimenting with styles, introducing inking on the computer (which will create a cleaner line which I found out), and getting both the emotional char from being burned out as well as the rust out of my system.
The kids weren’t around this Wednesday (30 Jan 15), probably because of the holidays again. I know that they’ll be back by the 6th, so I went for the alternate campaign.
I’ve already prepared for a moment like this and even had a campaign guide written down. In a nutshell, I put the Syrian Refugee Crisis in the Forgotten Realms. In my Realms, it is the Moonsea region that has been getting all the strife, thanks to all the destruction and now madness that went on with the Expeditions Seasons. This created a mass exodus of a good number of people there; about 100K, not as great as the real world version but still formidable; and headed due south to the Dales and Cormyr, who have had problems similar to some Eurpoean Countries.
This leads into the aftermath of a Play by Post campaign—for those who are in the Aglaren campaign, there will be spoilers—a 1000-year lost kingdom has reappeared, with a working city and a couple monarchs, but no citizens. The hook of this campaign is to have the refugees come to this kingdom and help rebuild it.
That leads up to this session. A dragon got shot up just prior, as written in the guide. The party was told that there might be a hoard in the lair that dragon used, and they can have a share of it if it’s there; the rest will go into the refugee relief effort. Cue your classic dungeon crawl with several variable monsters, leading up to my Realms’ return of the Cult of the Dragon.
Or at least a couple cultists who know of Lord Justin, the man who killed said dragon and lied in wait to capture him when he found his way in to take his prize. Little did they know that there was a whole party investigating while Justin was still outside talking with god knows who. Justin didn’t show up until it was about closing time to point his rifle muzzle right at the remaining cultist.
I’m experimenting with a Ghibli-like style ( a la Ryuutama ) for an SD variant so I can put some gag pics in my projects.
Updates to this campaign will be sparser than my regulars, since this is a backup campaign. But it’ll be interesting nonetheless because of the subject; it’s very timely.
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.