New world, new stories

A very long time ago, beyond the memory of any save a few immortals, the gods walked the lands, and the skies, and the seas. They walked among the people, and great wonders were possible. But then, as seems sadly inevitable, war happened, and a war of the gods is more terrible and destructive than anything we can comprehend these days. Nobody knows who or what originally started it, save the gods themselves, and they’re not telling.

Marikus Prald, as told to his children.

My first encounter with D&D was a game called Neverwinter Nights, that remains one of the best games I have ever played, not least because Bioware shipped the game engine with the game, allowing people to build their own worlds. So, naturally, people pushed it to extremes, and now, some 20 years later, there are still persistent worlds running, which was well outside the expected capacity of the game to even run. Build-your-own-MMORPG for the win.

I didn’t actually play it multiplayer with anyone, but I did spend probably too much time as a teenager tinkering endlessly with a little home-made world I’d started building, now sadlyfortunately lost to time.

I spent the next many years being vaguely aware of D&D, but never actually engaging, before my next memorable encounter was reading an article about the interesting events of Critical Role campaign 2, episode 26 (I won’t spoil it here for anyone who has yet to start watching, but if you’ve watched you know exactly which episode this is). I recall thinking that that whole D&D thing looked sort of interesting.

I can recognise addiction when I see it staring me in the face though, and made the questionably sensible decision to steer clear.

First there, we see Poross, closest to us, bright and blue in the sky, we set our calendars by it, you know. Then, there it is, just climbing above the tree-line, Syryn. Home of our great goddess Yarea, if you believe the stories, though I’ve never met anyone who’s been there to confirm it. It’s more distant than Poross, as befits a goddess of stature, and they tell me it’s bigger too, though I didn’t really understand when they explained it to me. No Turvow tonight, that or we just can’t see it tonight. I never did like that moon. How can you trust a moon that just doesn’t show up for half the year, except sometimes it does anyway.

Firbolg elder talking about El’dran’gliel’s moons.

Then in 2020, I was invited to play a game of D&D.

Sure, why not, it’ll be fun.

Now, some people may think that reading the entire core ruleset in about 2 days (and understanding the majority of it), watching the then entirety of Critical Role campaign 2 in 7 weeks, and spending more than a sensible amount of money on related stuff (dice) means that this was a bad idea.

I prefer to think of it as an inevitability, and just catching up for lost time.

Predictably, it was not all that long before I started doing the whole thing where you have an idea and then another idea follows that and then more and then you have lots, and I started building an entire world. At this point all in my head.

It’s two and a bit years later, it is no longer all in my head.

I’ve DMed a couple of one-shot games, both created by myself, one set in this world I constructed, and one that contributed to me raising over $1000 for charity earlier this year.

Coming very soon, to a Twitch channel near you (mine, it’s my channel), will be the first campaign I ever run, in a world I built myself, with people who threaten me with emotional violence on a semi-regular basis.

And though what we are attempting to do is very much science, and not the magical arts, it does nonetheless often require a certain amount of magic to function, often as a catalyst or a sparking mechanism, sometimes just as an energy source to be shaped. Therefore when developing new designs, it is essential to consider the environment in which they might be used; the magical energy field that suffuses the world being sometimes extremely chaotic and twisted; and occasionally absent completely as found in Monzaris.

Extract from a lecture on the mechanics of artifice.

Beginning on 5th November, this very year, I’m going to be running a D&D campaign on my channel, which I am provisionally calling Tides of Power, because I am extremely good at naming things, and because the party isn’t a party yet because we haven’t started yet and so they haven’t got a party name.

So, given we’re doing D&D on the internet, there’s a few things that I feel are important to say, mostly around setting expectations and stuff.

  • There will be opportunity to converse in chat with us at the beginning and end of the episode – and during breaks. This is a great time for us to answer questions and for you to share your favourite moments. During gameplay, our focus will be on delivering excellent story & characters.
  • There is a wide variety of experience levels in the party. Some people are forever DMs, some people spend every other night in a game, some people have only recently started playing any TRPGs at all, others have played role-playing games, but not D&D specifically. We’re gonna be patient with people, as it’s good etiquette and fun for all.
  • Some sessions will be life and death fights for our lives. And our character’s lives. Some sessions will be narrative and social sessions. The dice can roll either way.

With that said, we’ll be having sessions once every two weeks, on Saturdays at 7pm GMT, for 3-3:30 hours. There will be a break about half-way through, because breaks are important.

The mountains are dangerous, for sure, but they are ours. We knew them, we knew our enemy, we held our own. The forests down below? Some of the tribe would go down into the forests, every few summers, just to scout out the low lands. Very rarely, a member of the tribe would be exiled, not that we talk about them. None of them have ever returned to us. We know not if they were taken by our enemy, ambushed by wild animals, or something worse. One way or another, you can’t trust the forests.

Kethend elder

And now, to introduce our players. I’m not going to be introducing their characters yet, you’ll just have to tune in to episode 1 for that. I’m only introducing the players who are going to be here from the beginning, we’ll have a 5th player joining us as soon as practical after the holidays.

Furple is an extremely Furple person, whose primary goal in D&D appears to be looking for ways to wind me up without ever breaking the rules. As an aside from that, you can find her talking D&D in my Discord, as well as sometimes streaming on her Twitch channel.

Mellemony, known as mellemony to those who don’t use correct capitalisation on their proper nouns, does some most excellent art on her Twitch channel, and regularly seeks ways to try and wind me up. She’s also one of my excellent mods.

MeQuiAdoRe, who is even more capitalisationally challenged than Mel is, is another of my excellent mods, most commonly found telling me why I’ve screwed something up. He doesn’t stream, but you should be nice to him anyway, because we like Meq and want him to stick around.

Rocky, also known as the resident Forever DM, was my first DM, and I still talk to him despite that. He also likes to find ways to wind me up using the rules, and will stream on his Twitch channel when doing map creation, sometimes games, other stuff and things.

We want to return to global society, not be slaughtered by it. And that’s exactly what would happen if we followed your foolish idea. Times are very different from when we ruled. Society has changed. There is no chance they will submit, and we lack the numbers and the power to force them to.

You are a fool, and will get us all killed.


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