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Wayward Women

The first dungeons and dragons session with my kids went well. Surprisingly well, in fact. We didn’t get nearly as far as I hoped we would, but it only lasted a couple of hours. My daughter wanted more, but my son needed a break. It was a good stopping point and I was glad to use it to my advantage – I needed to modify the adventure I’d built now that I had some experience with the new system. They needed more of a challenge!

The characters are a paladin and a monk and they’re off on a mission to rescue a merchant’s missing daughter. She’s run off with a young man of questionable character and intent, heading not only outside of the city but to the west, where there’s only a few farms and a lot of danger. After three days, her father fears the worst and, since it’s outside the city walls, the city guards are unwilling or unable to help.

So off they went and, with the city walls only a few minutes out of sight on the dirt road, they come across two travelers walking toward them. Cody, the paladin, hailed them while Josephine, the monk, noticed how the two seemed to be looking everywhere but at the players. The travelers continued to approach while bantering with Cody and even mentioned being concerned about bandits. The players assured them that they were not bandits – in fact, they were upstanding citizens in search of a lost woman. The two men they’d met grinned and said, “Oh good, that must mean we’re the bandits!”

Battle was launched! Cody stood there, stunned by the sudden turn of events, while Josephine (Jo) seemed to know what was coming. She even managed to attack first, slicing high with her short sword and forcing her opponent to duck – and then delivering a kick to his chin that staggered him. He recovered and tried to counter attack, but she twirled away from the thrust.

Cody managed to knock the sword thrust at him aside with his shield, but was unable to counter. On the second round of combat Jo finished her dodging spin and thrust her sword into the bandit’s belly and up into his heart. He dropped, predictably, and that left Cody  squared off against his for. He gashed the bandit on the arm before the bandit could realize they’d picked on tougher opponents than they though. He turned to flee, giving Jo a chance to stab him in hip with a glancing blow. Off balance, he had no defense against Cody’s sword swept his head clean off.

Hearts pounding and breath coming in gasps, the characters and their players took a moment to recoup and then continued on. Next up was a farmstead they investigated. Speaking with the farmer was an awkward and nearly fatal experience given their direct questions and forgetfulness that they’d just taken part in a battle and looked the part. They managed to avoid getting shot by a crossbow or upsetting the man overly much though, and continued along their way with no new guidance to help them.

Needless to say, they skipped the next farm they encountered!

An hour or so later they found a third farm and decided to investigate. This time they were spied by the farmer’s son on their way up the lane. He warned his father of the dangerous looking visitors and they were greeted with caution. Cody and Jo handled themselves a little better this time and soon were able to move on feeling like they hadn’t just courted death, though they learned little they could use to help them find the missing girl.

Soon thereafter they were set upon by a pack of hyenas that lunged out of the grasses. Cody was daydreaming of righting heinous wrongs and missed the skulking forms in the waist high grasses. Jo tried to warn him, but she was busy defending herself from the toothsome beasts. Even five hyenas were no match for the would-be heroes, although Cody did suffered a bit of damage when one of the hyenas bit his arm and tried to pull him into the grasses.

They passed the 4th farm and hurried on to Silk City, which was little more than an encampment made by the silk farmers that gather the resilient webbing left behind by the spiders in the forest and turn it into particularly strong silks. Indeed, the silk crafted from these webs is unlike any made anywhere else in the world of Kroth, and is used for many purposes from clothing to durable and light weight rope and more.

They met a few of the people at Silk City, including Gwendolyn a semi-permanent resident that ran a small general store and hostel, and Reginald, a portly silk farmer that recommended they talk to Farmer Sherman, just up the road towards Griffinmount (the fourth farm that they skipped, of course). Turns out Reginald had spoken with the man while trading and he remembered him saying something about seeing some new faces wandering about.

And that was the day and their first adventure ended. Cody charmed Gwendolyn into letting him stay in her hostel while Jo slept on the floor. During the next session they will follow the clues and, hopefully, explore more of what I have planned for them. Perhaps even finish the original adventure – but not to worry, I’ve already expanded it and planned for what comes next. It will be some nonstop fun! If they thought the first session was tense, wait until they get to the new stuff I have planned!

Oh, and incidentally they haven’t quite made 2nd level yet, but I did learn that my encounters weren’t tough enough. I had to buff up the encounters on the fly to keep them from being over in the first and second round, for crying out loud! That’s something about D&D 5e I’m noticing – characters are a LOT more powerful than they used to be. Then again, I’m coming from a 1st and 2nd edition memories and, especially in 1st, everything was designed to kill you in the fastest way possible.

 

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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Blog Posts Come in Threes too!

Today was rough. Server issues at work first thing this morning and then some meetings and a trip to the Red Cross to donate blood (up to 2.75 gallons so far). After all that, more work and then I remembered I was shooting for another blog post to follow up on Tuesdays. So here it is!

I spoke fondly of the World of Kroth and all the books and characters in it. Yet when I finish The Goblin Queen, I’ll need to move on to work on another book (to be honest, I’m not sure what – I haven’t given at much though at this point). That will leave me sad and disconnected with Kroth and its heroes and villains. The remedy to that comes in a small package – my children.

Both of them dabbled once or twice some time ago in trying out Dungeons and Dragons, the table top role playing game. It was a learning experience for me and it was a little rough, as fifth edition was just beginning to come out. 5E has been solidified much more now and the kids have been bugging me to try it again, so I’ve taken the plunge and immersed myself in the rules again, trying to relearn a game I remember so fondly from my youth.

It’s been close to 20 years since I’ve played it, and that was second edition and some third. Perhaps 5E will be as great as many claim it is, but for me 2nd edition was about as epic and wonderful as it can be. Time will tell. No matter what, it’s a lot to take in given the changes in the game. Some are slight and some are considerable, but all in all it does still feel like the same game at heart. I’m pleased to see they’ve tried to simplify it a lot since the horror days of 3.5 and 4.0, with a dice roll and a rule applying to everything. I’m a game master, damn it, let me do my own thing without feeling guilty that I’m not playing the game as it was meant to be played!

So the kids made characters already. I’m not surprised at their choices, but I was a little annoyed. They both choice to be half dragons (in 5E they’re called Dragonborn, but I don’t have anything like that in Kroth, plus I find the Dragonborn to be perhaps a bit overpowered). So half-dragons are my compromise, and they are reminiscent of Lariki, from Rise of the Serpent. Human enough in all ways save that they have a fine covering of scales that is easily mistaken for skin unless someone looks close in the right light. Also a resistance to damage based upon their parentage (my books don’t deal with subtypes of dragons but since we’re playing D&D, I figured I’d adapt).

As for the character classes, they went with a paladin (my son) and a monk (my daughter). It should be interesting to see how it unfolds. The first adventure will be them being sent out to rescue a merchant’s runaway daughter. She ran off with a minstrel who wooed her and left the safety of Griffinmount behind. The mountainous island Griffinmount is on has some grasslands and hills on the interior where a few farms are located, but it’s a dangerous place overall. Mountains ring the island and provide shelter for griffins, wyverns, and other dangerous aerial creatures. The hills and plains are home to wild boar, hyenas, snakes, and the occasional bandit hoping to waylay silk farmers.

Silk farmers? That’s where the forest and jungle come in. A small camp outside of forest provides a home for those skilled at collecting the strong webbings of the spiders that inhabit the forest and turn them into silk of unmatched beauty and strength. The spiders are harmless to people, even if they are numerous. Venture too far into the jungle and all bets are off – the silk spiders have larger cousins that are far less tolerant of intruders and far more dangerous. Not to mention the large snakes, some poisonous and some strong enough to crush a horse, as well as other threats.

And somewhere in all this Dahlia, the merchant’s daughter, has managed to get lost with her companion.

Griffinmount is located off the tip of the southeastern portion of Kroth, so there is no direct involvement of any of the books. Yet. The reality of this setup is that, hopefully, this game will provide future inspiration for stories and books. Although, to be fair, I expect enough silliness to occur (the kids are 8 and 10 years old) that I might whip up some shorts to release for pure entertainment purposes out of them.

Oh, and since I doubt I’ll get another blog post in before the weekend, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there!

 

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.