29 Jan

The Lonely Coast Campaign Character Creation

We started our new 5th Edition D&D campaign at our last session. For this campaign, we are using a modified version of The Lonely Coast campaign setting published by Raging Swan Press. The published material is, essentially, the raw material from which I’ve constructed something that is pretty much our own…I’ve always found that’s what published settings are best for and this one is quite good for it. Unlike our Side Quest campaign, we did not limit classes and races to those in the free Basic D&D pdf. Pretty much any class or race was open for selection this time around with one main caveat…alignment must rhyme with wood. This campaign is one in which the player characters are expected to be the good guys.

We’re also using a few house rules in this campaign. We are not using Inspiration. Instead, at the start of each session, each player gets one “Benny” that can be used to give Advantage to any other player’s character as long as the Advantage is granted before the roll is made and as long as the receiving player receiving the benefit has not asked for it. We also are not using the Personality Traits, Ideals, etc. Those can be roleplayed and, as you’ll see in a moment, we have something of an alternative. We’ll also be using the Slow Natural Healing option and the More Difficult Identification variant for identifying magic items, both from the DMG.

Most of our first session was taken up with character creation. This wasn’t because character creation takes so long in 5e; rather, it was because we borrowed a page (or two) from FATE for creating characters. We borrowed the idea of high concept, trouble, phases, and aspects to flesh out the characters in terms of, well, characters rather than just mechanics. In a sense, this took the place of the traits, bonds, ideals, etc. of core 5e. High concept, essentially, sums up the character. Trouble is something that complicates the character’s life. The three phases and aspects provide three additional elements of the character’s personality AND (just as importantly) provides the PCs a couple of chances to have crossed paths before the campaign actually begins.

We ended up with the following characters.

  • Bay (played by RJ): A half-elf Warlock and ex-sailor. He is a reluctant servant to his patron, a Fey Lady, and often defies her especially if it means he does the right thing. Given the predicament he is in as a result of his pact, he is unwilling to go into debt to anyone and see it as a loser’s game. Despite that, his chivalrous nature often gets the better of him and he looks to aid women even if they neither want nor need his assistance.
  • Isenthorne (played by Rachel): A half-elf ranger who has spent much time traveling the wilds with her elven father, Isenthorne finds it very difficult to stay in one place for a long time. Both her wanderlust and curiosity more often than not gets the better of her and puts her in a tough position. Regardless, she is an independent woman who makes her own luck, thinks it is important to take responsibility for one’s actions, and defends and protects the common people.
  • Magnus (played by Miles): The only non half-elf in the party, Magnus is a devoted follower of Fyra, the Thaeden goddess of fire, hearth, and flames and has spent much of his time traveling the world spreading the gospel. His dreams, however, are plagued by what he considers visions sent by Fyra and he believes that he needs to understand and act upon them. A do gooder by nature, he looks to help and protect those in need.
  • Osric (played by Muse): A half-elf fighter, Osric is heroic and gallantly comes to the aid of those in need. He is, however, more than just a little na├»ve and trusting (even of those whose motives are not quite pure) and is quite susceptible to fanciful tales of the mythical and magical. No matter how bad things get, a good home cooked meal–especially one with his mother’s mashed potato recipe–will help.
  • Thalimor (played by Thomas): A half-elf bard from a noble family, Thalimor is a whimsical satirist who has a bit of a problem with doing as he is told. He has a bounty on his head as a result of a run in with a corrupt trade consortium. Thalimor has a tendency to help out those who are a bit down on their luck but often finds that his art, even when it is intende to help, is misinterpreted by those around him.

Each of the PCs had crossed paths with one or more of the others prior to our actually starting the first session but I’ll save some of that for a latter post so we can get to what actually happened in the first session. To sum it up, the following already knew (or knew of) the others.

  • Bay: Osric & Isenthorne
  • Isenthorne: Thalimor & Bay
  • Magnus: Bay & Thalimor
  • Osric: Isenthorne & Magnus
  • Thalimor: Magnus, Osric & Isenthorne

That’s enough for now. I’ll post the actual play of the session later. Hopefully some of the details of the prior meetings will come out more organically during play and end up in a future journal.

13 Jan

The Side Quest Session 17

Fan. That’s where we left things in our last session as in the you know what was about to hit the fan. Morgraen and Callie had just had the floor fall out from under them. Some nasty undead creature had begun to break the ropes holding it inside its sarcophagus and, if that wasn’t enough, Grim had spotted something skulking in the dark down one of the unexplored corridors. It was a pretty classic “Oh crap!” moment and a perfect spot to end a session.

This week we had a pretty full house with Muse, Rachel, RJ, and Thomas (so Callie, Grim, Morgraen, Riordan, Rurik, Bronn, and Lilly) and we were joined by a new player, Miles. Miles created Luther, a human fighter. Luther had been traveling and got caught in a bad storm. Seeking shelter, he spotted some ruins not too far from the trail he was traveling. Heading in to find shelter, he passed through an archway just as lightning struck it! Blacking out, assuming it was the end of both his travels and his life, Luther was a bit surprised to wake up to find a small halfling administering aid to him. It was Lilly! She and Bronn had just returned from chasing after Katerine who had run off unexpectedly (as both Thomas and Bridgett weren’t at the last session). Perhaps still dazed from the lightning strike, Luther followed the diminutive duo down some stairs and through some passageways and chambers until they found the rest of the party hitting that fan.

Spoilers: There are spoilers for the Dungeon Magazine adventure, Fiendish Footprints, below the break.

My GM comments, as usual, are in [italics and brackets].

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08 Jan

The Side Quest Session 16

Alarm. That’s where we ended things in our last session. An alarm being sounded from deeper within the complex in which the party had found themselves. Found themselves here by first passing through a perhaps malfunctioning magical portal, joining a quest to save some elderly folk, becoming the minions? pawns? or simply in the “employ” of the green dragon, Midoritosh, then “guests” of some elves hunting down the same hobgoblin, Kurobosh, that the party were, fleeing through the forest from needle blights, and finally finding themselves in a ruined cellar–with dead hobgoblins that they had just slain–with an alarm being sounded. That’s where we picked up in this session.

This week we had Muse, Rachel, RJ, and Theo so Callie, Grim, Morgraen, Riordan, Rurik, and Aelwulf were present.

Spoilers: There are spoilers for the Dungeon Magazine adventure, Fiendish Footprints, below the break.

My GM comments, as usual, are in [italics and brackets].

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