Encounters recap, 6 May 15

Trigger Warning: Spoilers, Slow Play, new campaigns, Drizzt, Deviantart Artists

Wednesday’s session was big on players, but rather light on progression. I didn’t mind having a whopping ten players on the table, but I did mind having six big encounters in the past two days and we’re only halfway on the way to Beliard, which is what happened in the last two sessions thanks to the random event deck. I really should’ve had more black cards turn up. So for the next time, I’m just going to remove the Diamonds and shuffle 10 Hearts in with the Clubs and Spades (Black cards means ‘no event’ in my deck). One third of a 36 card deck should be enough to provide some space between campaigns.

Meanwhile, I’ll just start off next time with an encounter on a rather rickety bridge…with a bear in the river below (Need Moar Bear! Need Moar Bear!)…and then over to town so that the storyline can progress.

It will make for a much better report for next week.

And I really need to put a boot to get this campaign a move on. The next Encounters Season has already been announced.


Provided that you have the hots for a certain Drow Ranger, Rage of Demons will be a perfect campaign for you. In the published version, you’re fighting alongside Drizzt Do’urdren in the Underdark where there’s a bunch of Mike Foxfroters from the nine hells to kill…or be killed by.

I don’t yet know how much Drizzt content I’ll put in there on my table. I might do some very bad things to the Realms as a whole, like turning two of the three heavy NPCs into Chosen of Bhaal, or appropriate not one but two locations from “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” for my own customizations, but I kinda balk at snuffing off a well-known, and actually beloved in some quarter, character like Drizzt, or Elminster for that matter. Especially when there’s a bunch of people online who just hate on Drizzt, and I didn’t have to be a former fanfiction writer to find out why.

Those who bemoan people writing Mary Sue fiction, including those who go as far as write litmus tests and articles on how to de-Mary Sue a character, doesn’t give an answer to why people make Mary Sues but as one who made such an offense to the public during the 1990s, I think I’m obligated by Law to give one. I think it’s a literary equivalent of someone who’s lacking in manhood getting a Lamborghini. The Mary Sue writer is overcompensating for a sucky life. They want to make a story that is pretty much the opposite of their mundane to outright sucky life, where the character they want to be doesn’t have to get the constant stream of slings and arrows, the rejections, the flaws, the mistakes, and the isolation that they experienced in real life. However, during the process, they overcompensate and make things way too perfect, and the character and story becomes just as boring and mundane as the life they’re trying to get out of.

I won’t lower myself and wonder what kind of life RL Salvatore had when he wrote “The Crystal Shard” and then moved on to tell us Drizzt’s entire life. But I severely doubt that the drow is as universally reviled as some of my characters. Faerun’s a big realm, and for all of his Mary Sue tendencies, Drizzt only has a small part of it. And I have no desire to see anyone on my table relieve it from him just out of Internet Hatred fueled spite.

Justin Murcrial 1Also, it isn’t like someone who gets accused of being a Mary Sue can be in fact, a three-dimensional person. Drizzt is still, after all, a drow, and if he had a gold coin for every time he comes in a room and hears this in succession; Swords being drawn, a pause, and then those swords sliding back in their scabbards; he could give the newly-reincarnated Cattie-Brie a much deserved wedding. In spite of how some people write him to be, he doesn’t take over every scene he’s in, and he isn’t as universally liked as he is universally skilled. His mindset is similar to what I said once: “I don’t want to be a special snowflake, I just want to be a part of the blizzard; a unique being making his mark in the world, just like every other adventurer—just like every PC in D&D—around him.”

A prime example of what I’m talking about is my own Self-Insertion in this D&D world. Justin Mercuial will have a mere bit role in the Meta-game in my realms, but it’s an important one: He’s the one who’s going to man the Graypeak Lodge as not just a guild house, but also to push technology ahead in Faerun. You’ll see his role mostly in a story I’ll put here as well as in comic form in Hero’s Hangout. I want to make a poster comic for people to see in between sessions. I’ll probably start on that in June, in the meantime, I’ll have a small setting for the new Graypeak Lodge in the works, complete with maps and detailed fluff for what Justin’ll be doing there.

My online campaigns is getting off the ground

Masks & Mythos is starting in the Play by Post forum. For those who don’t want to follow along the forum will have a nice update every week in this blog. Also, my main goal of getting a streaming campaign is moving along nicely.

I got on Roll20’s forums and found a lot of people who want to play on my streamed Virtual Table. While they would love to play Algaren (another homemade campaign, which is an Epic Sandbox, my answer to Kingmaker in fact), I felt that I need to start with a published campaign to iron out the kinks (and check your minds out of the gutter. ‘Kink’ means problems in how I’ll do this) and then angle into Algaren. Also, there is the need for me to address the Thayan Red Wizards and Sazz Tham, whatever or not they’re going to be a further hassle in the homemade campaigns, or will there be a revolution in that Plateau Kingdom and the Red Wizards shrug off the heavy boots of the arch thay.

I really needed to do the two remaining Sundering campaigns, Scourge of the Sword Coast, and Dead in Thay, and having it as my first streamed campaign will be an excellent place to take it. While it will have its basis in the Sundering modules, I’ll be adding not just my own special twists into the mix (like Virtual Parties in the later stages), but also looking into previous versions of “Dreams of the Red Wizards” who started as an AD&D module.

Over the weekend, I’ll set up a Campaign Guide for my DotRW campaign, and have it and the Virtual Table available in the forums. I’ll start streaming campaigns in the coming weeks.


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