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We’re at it Again!

A few nights ago we managed to squeak in a little over an hour to play again. The players picked up after resting over night with no disturbances and pushed off in the morning. Not that they could tell much difference between the night and the morning – it was still pretty dark in the jungle!

After a couple of hours of walking Cody began to smell the smoke from a campfire. He told Jo, then took off at a run towards it. Jo stood still, shocked by his actions, and finally managed a face-palm. She hurried forward (at a walk) to assist.

He rounded a large tree and came to a stop when he saw the campfire and three men. Two were on their feet and facing him, while a third was sitting on the other side and looking up with a startled expression. Cody launched right in with, “Hi there, what are you doing out here?”

Queue another face-palm from Josephina.

An awkward conversation ensued, given that they were in middle of a dangerous jungle far from civilization. The three men admitted to having seen Dahlia recently, and even offered to show them where they went. The man on the far side of the fire said, “Erik, go ahead and show them.”

Queue the intelligence checks. Josephina failed but Cody did not. He remembered Erik was the same name as the guy that Dahlia ran off with. This prompted some more discussion then ended up with both characters being escorted (and surrounded) by the other three to where Dahlia went. And, as they neared the entrance to a cave, the bad guys attacked.

It was a heck of a battle. Cody drew two of them to himself and switched between them, alternating his attacks and getting pounded on in return as he was flanked. Josephina made fairly quick work of her opponent, and then moved to try and help Cody. That freed Cody up to focus on the leader of the kidnappers and he finally struck him down with a sword in the belly.

Erik surrendered and begged for mercy. He spilled his guts, more or less, and shared that they’d been paid to kidnap the baroness and deliver her here, where she’d be taken by someone else. He didn’t know who, only his boss knew that and he was in no condition to carry on a conversation anymore. All this happened after Josephina made an intimidation check that resulted in a 1. So instead of getting answers right away when she demanded he tell her everything, he proceeded to recite the alphabet and counted up to 20 before they stopped laughing and managed to stop him.

Erik led them into the cave, not warning them at just how truly vile it felt in there. Even with a burning log retrieved from the campfire the cave was dark and oppressive. Cody, a paladin, was beside himself with how wrong the place felt. They persevered and in the first alcove to the right, found Dahlia bound and gagged.

After they cut her free she proceeded to punch Erik square in the nose for his betrayal. They got a little more information out of him with her helping to slap him around a bit, such as learning that the people coming to claim her were to come from the back of the cave, not the front. A quick search led them to the rest of the shallow cave, where they saw an alter set up on a dais, complete with a statue of a dragon and carvings in the wall in the draconic language. They’d discovered a shrine dedicated to dragons.

They turned to leave just as they heard the sound of stone grinding against stone. Erik started cackling and said they were doomed now, they’d waited too long. If they let him live, he’d argue on their behalf to spare their lives. Josephina tried to get more information out of him but Cody, angered at being blackmailed by the thief, ran him through.

They searched his corpse for anything that would tell them more but found nothing, nor did they have time to waste. They searched the others and the campsite, finding Erik’s long sword he’d dropped when he’d surrendered as well as a modest sum of coins. The long sword was unlike any they’d seen, and when Cody picked it up to admire the midnight blue steel of the blade he noticed the sparkle of what almost looked like stars in the metal. The sparkle grew, captivating Josephina as the sword began to glow.

Cody turned, grinning at his find, and noticed figures emerging from the mouth of the cave. Figures wearing harnesses over their brown and green scaled hide and holding clubs and spears. Splisskin, and more kept pouring out.

It was time to run.

And so ended the first part of their adventure – finally! Both kids made it to second level, although they don’t know what that means yet since it was bedtime for them and we couldn’t go over it. Sometime soon, perhaps this weekend, we’ll dive back in and try to explain more to them. The biggest problem we’re having is getting my son separated from his electronics long enough to play, let along keeping him interested for more than an hour or so. He enjoys it and wants to do it, he’s just hard to keep focused on something for more than an hour. Or at least this.

In writing news, the end is in sight for The Goblin Queen. Not a matter of a few days time, but I’ve got a roadmap to the finish line, it’s going to take some work though. More of a marathon than a sprint, for sure!

 

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.

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.