Æthercoil update: DM’s Guild

My new year’s resolution is to get back into artwork, and especially artwork that’s good enough to be presentable in any project. As I said earlier, I had a bad case of burnout throughout most of 2015 and I’m just coming out of the other end of that. I have some projects that I can work on getting the rust off my drawing arm, including an RPG project, a possible Sword Coast Legends module that is played with a scene book alongside, (The module will have scenes where you need to read parts of the book, when the storyline moves to a cut scene that the module creator can’t implement quite yet) and Æthercoil, my own campaign setting for 5th edition. The main question would be which of the three I should focus on first, because I certainly don’t have the time to do all three at once.

dms guild logoEnter the Dungeon Master’s Guild. I’ve mentioned its launch earlier this weekend. The DM’s Guild is an extension of Drive Thru RPG, but where the Forgotten Realms IP is open to people who want to have their own campaigns, modules, character options, and—this has come into play this week—additional monsters that didn’t get included in the Monster Manual.

That got me to come to my decision on where to get back into my art: The origins for Æthercoil started when I put the telegraph and the train into the Sword Coast. I later started to dabble with other inventions (such as radio, electricity, airships, and other creations in the early age of invention) in a setting that still have an Old School Renaissance feel to it. I intend to have this be put into an original setting, but with the DM’s guild and the expressed permission for me to make ‘an alternate timeline’ to the Forgotten Realms, that made me decide to open up Æthercoil in a beta setting, using the Forgotten Realms as a base.

I’ll be creating a series of documents for the DM’s Guild, which I’ll call “Æthercoil Forgotten Realms.” Consider this to be a beta form of Æthercoil. The first document will be an extensive depiction of many inventions and what they’d look like in the Forgotten Realms. The second one will be chock full of additional player races, classes, backgrounds, and other twists. People who like to play anthro animal characters will like this document. A Third will have additional monsters, I’m especially adding dinosaurs and Kaiju. This might be considered optional for the Realms, but it’ll be a vital part of the finalized version of Æthercoil with an original setting. The fourth and last document will be a couple conversions of a couple modules to give them an Æthercoil feel, along with various other campaign hooks and scenarios that might be of interest.

Once I get all four documents out and people playtest them and send me some needed feedback about it, I’ll do the Compile. That’s when I take these four documents, with all the feedback, and transplant them from the Forgotten Realms to its own campaign world. A world I talked about earlier in this campaign. This will be the official Æthercoil 1.0 which I’ll publish to the general public.

I’m working on the first document right now, which will be where most of my artwork will focus on. Expect to see updates both here and on DeviantART, where I’ll put some artwork as a preview.

Algaren Recap, Day 1

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.

Recap 001

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.

Princes of the Apocalypse recap: 15 Jan 16

Ever had one of those sessions that you didn’t do much preparation, didn’t have much time, had everything go south, but had an enjoyable session nonetheless? This session is much like that.

I had a need to replace the filter in my fish tank as well as replace my Microsoft Natural Keyboard. Add a coupon for a free jump drive, and I ended up taking the light rail across Saint Louis to Brentwood, where a pet store was within walking distance of my favorite computer store, Micro Center. It takes me two and a half hours each way, but it’s worth the trip with Micro Center having a wide selection with affordable prices. One of these days, I’ll make my own build with stuff from this store. The replacement Keyboard had the wrist riser that I so missed in the older version. Having the board tilted away from me really helps my occasionally aching wrists.

However, this creates a problem of me robbing Peter to bail out Paul. All this time spent in the morning took away prep time for tonight’s session, a preparation time that got a bit more complicated with problems with Infiniscene. The online streaming service is still in beta, and so it’ll have their problems. Afterward I found out that a couple refreshes of the web page takes care of much of the connection to my computer.

On to the session proper. There was the usual entertainment form Spazehamster Boo and his Proselytizing Paladin, there was also a bit of a choice for the party: They can go for the second of the four weapons, assist a party south and retrieve an Orb of Dragonkind or go north near Beliard to rescue a wizard who was rediscovering a cheaper form of restoring people who’ve been turned to stone (the 3rd Level Stone to Flesh). They chose the last option, and so the party moves on to rescue mode.

It didn’t get much else because we had someone that would drive some DM’s nuts: A walk-on that was completely new. And by new I mean that this guy has never played D&D before. He had some experience with Warhammer, but not in any Tabletop Roleplaying Game. While I have as little experience in Roll20 Character Sheets as he has in TRPGs, I prove myself, as usual, more than happy to help out, walking him through some of the features in D&D and after the session I showed him the basic rules and set him up with a character of his own.

All in all, not a perfect session, but such episodes happen in any career. (How many of these did Chris Perkins had in his life?) It all depends on your ability to bounce back from these days. Bouncing back is something I learned to do for decades.

One more recap to come, this time on one of my Play by Post campaigns, and then I talk aobut my Æthercoil session and how the GM’s Guild affects it.