A blog about games, gamers, and various and sundry geek culture-related ephemera and paraphernalia.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Further Updates from (far) Beyond the Borderlands

What? I have a blog? Oh, holy sh- er, I mean, hi! Long time, no see! Sorry about that, dear reader(s?)! There's been a lot of life going on around here, and very little extra time and/or energy for gaming - much less for blogging about gaming!

Anyway, I thought I'd provide an update on the continuing adventures of Brother Zogtavius, Blacktome ("the Great," apparently) and Hildy ("the Witch").

When last we saw the gang, they were in the city of Greyhawk - and on the verge of a meltdown that was precipitated by a significant amount of internal discord. Each of the PCs was happily following their own agenda: Brother Zogtavius to defend the world (and beyond) in the name of his god, Tarak the Defender; Hildy to reach seemingly impossible heights of power, with little regard as to the cost or the consequences; and Blacktome to - well, no one really knows what Blacktome's agenda is; he's playing it pretty tight to the vest. (Although he seems pretty happy to toss out seeds of chaos - in the guise of acts of either charity and capriciousness - wherever he goes.)

As a result of their conflicting goals, there was a lot of sneaking about behind other PCs' backs, using a death god's (the Carnifex from Goodman Games' Jewels of the Carnifex) artifacts and making back-alley deals with other characters, the dead, ghoul royalty, demonic powers, etc. Oh, no, wait - that "lot of sneaking about" was all just Hildy. Such a busy little witch!

So, the game session ended with Brother Zog, having found out about Hildy's dark dealings from Blacktome (who had himself been a part of at least a few of them - gotta love those Chaotic characters!) sitting her down for a candid heart-to-mace conversation.

Would the gang survive? Or would they disband so that each could follow his or her path unhindered? Or would one or more of them end up in a ditch on the Old Greyhawk Road, another PC's dagger(s) buried deep in their back(s)?

Well, the next game session rolled around, and - as it turns out - these questions were to go unanswered. A messenger arrived from the Chapel (of Tarak the Defender) at the Keep on the Borderlands - doom had befallen the Keep! The Lady of the Keep - now the sole ruler of that bastion of humanity on the edge of the wildlands - begged them to aid her against a foul curse that had befallen her subjects. Being, above all else, stalwart adventurers, the gang set their differences aside and made for the Keep with all haste.

They arrived to find the once-bustling Keep fallen into decay and disrepair. Naught but the most loyal (or least mobile) resident remained - everyone else had fled. The Lady of the Keep met them at that gates, haggard and downtrodden. She welcomed the adventurers "home," and told them her tale of woe: three moons ago, on the brightest night of the moon, the Keep fell under the curse of a foul hag. She flew above the Keep on a broom, cackling and waving a censer that issued a voluminous smoke that choked to death all who breathed even a whiff of its vapors. For three nights, her attacks persisted - then stopped.

When she returned on the next full moon, this time in the company of a small horde of undead, those survivors that were able to do so fled for the safety of the lands to the west. A few of the "brave" adventurers that had made the Keep their home since the gang had opened the Caves of Chaos made vows to put an end to the hag's depredations and went into the wilds in search of her. On the next full moon, the hag tossed a sack containing their heads into the Keep's inner bailey before commencing her monthly assault.

That was when the Lady, acting on the advice of the Curate, sent messengers in search of the PCs.

As it happened, the PCs arrived on the first night of the next full moon. A few somber hours of preparation later,and the PCs stood in the all-too-quickly fading light of the midsummer sun, awaiting the imminent attack of a creature they grimly suspected they might all personally know...

Hours passed as though they were days. Finally, during the deepest, coldest hour of the night, they heard a distant cackling and a speck appeared against the giant disc of a moon that floated above the horizon. It grew bigger and the cackling grew louder. One of the PCs cast a light spell and illuminated the rapidly approaching hag. The form was a twisted parody of a living creature, but under its rags and deformed features they saw something familiar...

To their horror but not to their surprise, they recognized the hag to be none other than their former companion, Orchid the elf...

Stay tuned for Part II!

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Friday, August 21, 2015

A Gaggle of Geese, a Murder of Crows and... a Shiv of Goblins?

On re-watching (for the umteenth time) one of the live PAX Dungeons & Dragons game sessions*, I was intrigued by a discussion regarding collective nouns; those mentioned in the game were a "tyranny of dragons" and a "blessing of unicorns." My brain lit up just thinking about all of the potential nouns one could imagine for a fantasy setting, and I realized that my future games could benefit greatly from a little creativity in that direction. After all, little things like that are what really breathe life into a game setting.

So, here's my first stab at a few D&D-specific collective nouns:
  • A shiv of goblins
  • A wonder of trolls
  • A bludgeon of giants
  • A storm of stirges
  • A pip of halflings
  • spite of kobolds
  • A terror of wights
  • A glooming of oozes
  • A seed of bulettes
  • A pall of paladins
  • A sparkle of vampires
  • A flex of flumphs
  • A shame of owlbears
  • A howl of ghouls
  • A glare of ogres
  • A drudgery of green slime
  • A whisker of clerics
Added a few more (8/21):
  • A carbuncle of rot grubs
  • A fret of efreeti
  • A gruff of wizards
  • A snigger of harpies
  • A mote of beholders
  • A sweat of yellow mold
And, of course:
  • A flaking of rust monsters
These are just the ones that shambled off the top of my head. As I think of more, I'll add them - but this a great start, if you ask me. I can't wait to hear my players - possibly in the middle of an encounter -  wondering amongst themselves: "Why do we call it a 'shame' of owlbears??" Maybe that wonder (not of trolls, although that's possible, too!) will even inspire them to dig into the origins of one of these terms... oh, the possibilities for interesting adventures abound!

If anybody out there has any suggestions for other collective nouns in the D&D vein, please do share!

*I believe - but don't hold me to it, as I've re-watched all of them at least once in the last two weeks - that it was this game, from 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdAapVZFS1g. (BTW, Aeofel needs to return and resume his internship at Acquisitions Inc. I'm just sayin'.)

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