19 Oct

The Side Quest Session 7

For our last two and half sessions or so, our intrepid adventurers have been in the land beyond the Moon Door. They’ve narrowly survived a rat infested inn (and demon possessed beast of a queen rat). Their luck did not hold quite as well when they encountered a vampire residing on a ship docked at the village’s pier. Half the party was slain. Then the party were subjected to the hospitality of the townfolk of Tepes and narrowly escaped the mob and then the wolves of the wood and even the vampire again…not without the loss of one more comrade, however. As we ended the last session, the party…sans Bulwein…had just passed through (and slammed shut) the Moon Door before the vampire could thin their ranks even more.

In this session, both RJ and Theo were missing and so it was a “girls’ night” of D&D with just Muse and Rachel playing. We also got started about an hour or so later than normal so it was a short session. This meant that Callie, Grim, Morgraen, and the currently unconscious Riordan all found themselves in a dark corridor on the “right” side of the Moon Door. As Grim summoned up some magical light, they found that Aelwulf, Lavinia, and Rurik had not appeared through the door. Concerned about the goblins that had always been found in this compound before, the conscious trio decided to make all due haste for the exit and then for Hell’s Haven.

As usual, my GM comments are in [brackets and italics].

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12 Oct

The Side Quest Session 6

Wow…I never really expected we’d have six sessions of this campaign under our belts by this time. This was supposed to have been the alternate campaign but it has become (and will remain) our primary campaign through at least the end of the year. I also never would have dreamed that we’d have four PC deaths by the sixth session. Yep, we had another one in this session.

When we last left our heroes, their numbers had been cut in half by the predations of a vampire! The survivors–Callie, Grim, and Lavinia–had fled to the temple below the Silvery Eel Inn, hoping that the wolves chasing them on behalf of the vampire could not open the flagstone trapdoor. After briefly mourning their fallen companions–Ander, Aramil, and Gurdis–they collapsed, physically and emotionally exhausted, and succumbed to the peaceful embrace of sleep.

Muse had to miss this session and so Callie and Grim were missing. Rachel was back and so that meant that Morgraen and Riordan would also be back. RJ created Rurik, a mountain dwarf wizard, to replace Ander and Theo brought in the “viking” cousins Aelwulf, a human fighter, and Bulwein, a human cleric, to replace his fallen characters. This meant that Lavinia was the only PC that had been played in the prior session and I pick up with what happened below the break. My GM comments, as always, are in [brackets and italics].

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11 Oct

The Side Quest: Popcorn Initiative

I admit it. I’m a lazy GM. I don’t enjoy tracking things like hit points or initiative or the like. It is probably one of the reasons why I like Savage Worlds so much. It is also why we adapted the Savage Worlds card initiative system for our 5e D&D games. However, we have been trying out something new in the last couple of sessions of our Side Quest campaign. We have been using the Popcorn Initiative system from the Angry DM.

In a nutshell, everyone rolls initiative at the start of a combat. Whoever gets the highest result goes first. They then pick who goes next who then picks who goes after them and so on. Whoever goes last in the round then picks who goes first in the following round.  It has been well received by the players in the game and I like it as well for a few reasons.

First, it appeals to my lazy nature. Like the Savage Worlds card system, it eliminates having to track and manage the initiative order from round to round. Yes, we have to keep track of who has and hasn’t gone but, as you’ll see, we have an easy fix for that. To be honest, with the changes that 5e has made to initiative and actions (e.g., eliminating changes in initiative order due to delaying and readying), this alone really wouldn’t be enough of a reason for me to switch.

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05 Oct

The Side Quest Session 5

This session was quite a doozy but I’m getting ahead of myself

In our last session, the party had traveled through the “Moon Door” and had discovered the small town of Tepes in, presumably, a different plane of existence. They took shelter for the night in the only building that appeared inhabited, the Silvery Eel Inn. Here, they encountered a night of horror and rats that culminated in a harrowing battle against a pony-sized rat. They defeated this monstrosity just as a massive way of regular-size rats was about to wash over half of the party. The death of the “queen” rat also resulted in the death of all of the other rats in (and below) the inn. This is where we pick up things below the break.

Rachel missed this session and so Riordan and Morgraen were missing. Theo joined us again after having missed the last couple of sessions and so Aramil and Gurdis rejoined the group. Because of the various comings and goings of the players, we are just “hand-waving” all of this. Characters simply will or will not be involved based on player availability. It will be the responsibility of each player to keep up with the happenings of sessions that they miss…plus we recap our prior session at the start of each session anyways.

As usual, any GM comments are in [italics and brackets].

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