Electrifying!

Yesterday was a full day of food, friends, and D&D! We usually play on the first Thursday of each month, but if there are five Thursdays in a month, we try to sneak in a Saturday game. Warning: this post includes some RPG violence. If you prefer to avoid reading that part, skip straight to the “Budgeting” heading below.

My players have been leaving rooms unexplored at their backs more regularly in the Dungeon of the Mad Mage, and this time it came back to bite them. Xanathar’s Guild members snuck into the main room and set up an ambush. Valorik went down, and Urg had to fall back under a hail of arrows and Javelins as they entered, leaving the party scrambling to react. While they managed to overcome the initial surprise and win that battle, it ended up costing them a healing potion, eight hours for a long rest to recover, and a hit to Urg’s pride. Once they woke up from their early nap, they decided they had enough of level one and headed down the long stairs to the Arcane Chambers. 

The first thing they found was a goblin bazaar. There, the goblin’s leader happened to be holding prisoner one of the betrayers of the revenant they have allowed to tag along with them. My players have decided to help the dead guy take revenge against his three former party members who beat him to death and threw him in a pit. I was a little surprised that “let the revenant beat the prisoner to death” was left on the table as an option, but they decided on a swift execution instead. 

Finally, in the last set of rooms explored yesterday, one room held a copper door that they strongly suspected was electrified. Ghouls popped out of some barrels to attack them, and Valorik had the great idea to shove his attacker into the door. I decided to give my ghouls a chance to dance out of the way of the door-yes, I’m a mean GM-and this blinded ghoul managed to dodge the door twice, Daredevil-style (Marvel’s Daredevil). The ghoul lost his acrobatic superpower when he regained his sight, as the third shove sent him tumbling against the door, electrocuting him with a strong zap. 

How I image the ghoul nimbly avoiding hitting the copper door.

I would have felt a little bad about not letting the shove work the first time. It was a clever and creative idea, and I love it when players use the room to their advantage. I felt less bad about it when I found out Valorik had been using a shield along with two-handedly wielding his weapon. To be clear: no, he does not have three hands. We corrected that, so maybe they will be clearing out monsters with a little less ease from now on. Overall, I thought it was a great session, with some fun tidbits for everyone. 

Budgeting

It is budgeting season at work now, so I have had little time to work on book stuff or other hobbies. I’m still very new to this company, which makes everything take longer than it normally would for me. I have to learn it all as I go, and then there is the rework when I find something I missed the first time. Fortunately, everyone is great about the learning curve and working with me to ensure our budgets are updated and submitted on time. 

I’m also still on schedule for the book release, despite not having much time recently to work on it. It helps that I set the release date out far enough. I’m not stressing myself out with everything yet to complete. I know some people work well under tight deadlines at the last minute, but that is NOT me. I need schedules with reasonable timelines for which I can adequately prepare. If you are looking at taking on a publication project of your own, make sure you know how you work best and plan accordingly. 

Another action-packed weekend in the books! Have a great week everyone!

Busy Week

I started the new job this last week. With all of the training, access requests, and new names and acronyms, it kept my brain busy enough that I stayed off of the computer most evenings rather than working on the book edits. Trying to push past a certain threshold for computer usage means sloppy or slow work for me, so I listen to my brain fatigue. 

I did complete one more chapter on Friday, and that only leaves two or three more before the book goes off to beta readers again. I plan on reaching out to copy editors at that same time to coordinate the schedule on that. I think I have a fair idea of how long the final revisions would take me. 

Saturday was a fun day with my D&D group playing Mad Mage. I was not pulling my punches, someone even took the bane of an elder rune – that is 20 six-sided dice worth of damage – to the face, and no one even dropped unconscious. This obviously means I need to up my game or they will start to think the dungeon is no challenge at all! 

With the one cursed sword picked up in the last game, they were a little more careful of additional magic item finds this time…well, some of them were more cautious. I’m pretty sure the rogue swore off caution for the day. He now has a ticking clock in his chest due to a beating heart in a box that is bound to something still in the dungeon. I hope they discover what that something is in time. Mwahaha!

That is for another week. Right now I’m getting ready to watch the Sounders play this evening. I hope they can have another amazing showing as they did on Thursday when half the starting lineup was about half my age. Kids these days are so impressive!

Go Sounders!

Back to the Table Top RPG

Happy Father’s Day all! Today’s post is all about my Dungeons & Dragons game earlier this week. It was great to get back together with friends this week to play D&D again. We have not been together as a group since the lockdowns ramped up early last summer. There were reunion hugs all around.

We did not jump straight back into the Mad Mage campaign. Instead, we treated this session as a reboot to become reacquainted with the PCs and the campaign so far. Some of my players are newer to the game than others, so the time set aside to read PC abilities and ask questions was helpful.

We also talked about PC motivations. Treating Mad Mage like a straight dungeon crawl creates a rather boring game, so I’m looking to put some of the story’s drive onto my players by knowing and playing to PC motivations. To help that along, we talked about how to apply their motivations in the game setting.

The bulk of the session was filled with mock encounters to get players back in the rhythm of actually playing their characters. I had the players provide some scenarios I could prepare ahead of time and randomized them.

They first encountered a carrion crawler nest with a gleaming gold helm upon the skull of a skeleton within. The rogue snuck forward in preparation for the tiefling casting darkness over the enormous worms, but she needed to move forward to do so. She crept a short distance into the room, then promptly turned around and shouted back at the rest of the party.

“Is this far enough?” Anakis asked them loudly.

This stealth check did not succeed, and the combat was on. While this distraction took place, Ashe the rogue sprinted forward, grabbed the helm, and rushed back to safety with it in hand.

The final battle of the evening was against some ankheg. Ashe and his player were feeling a little snarky at this point, and it did not end up working as well for him this time.

“I taste the dirt.” He says sarcastically.

“Roll me a con saving throw.”

“I roll a…”

“Poisoned.”

“13. You didn’t even wait for the number.”

*Evil grin. *

He also tried to move away from one of the ankheg, and I rolled a critical on the opportunity attack. That allowed me to do a fair amount of damage and disrupt his plans. He has a slippery character, so it was fun for me to catch him for once.

We get back to the campaign on our monthly cycle in July, so it will be fun to see how they continue to tackle the first level. I’m sure I will have more stories of cleverness and mishaps!

Lazy Weekend

This past week was relatively relaxed, and that carried into the weekend. My nephew’s baseball game had a time change that was not well communicated among the opposing team’s parents, so only two players were on time. Instead of a game, they ended up playing against those two along with a handful of parents in a game/batting practice.

My husband and I did not hang around for that. Don’t judge us. It was colder than expected, and we are just the aunt and uncle. He did wave to us, so he saw us there supporting him. We do want him to have the support he can take with him as he grows up.

Sunday, we scheduled a homemade pizza lunch with my sister and the kids. I had purchased some pre-made crusts earlier in the month. We cooked up some topping and shredded a variety of cheese. Of course, my niece only wanted cheese. My nephew was daring enough to add some chicken to his half. I thought they turned out pretty good for a fun and relatively easy meal.

Mine has ALL the toppings!

Beyond that, I have been at my computer most of the weekend. I am editing book two while waiting for this round of readers to finish up book one for me to run through it again. Book two will pass to my alpha readers once I finish this revision.

Between chapters, I also put in some Dungeon Master time. I am running Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, and we are rebooting the campaign in June now that everyone in the group is vaccinated. I am reading through the book again and updating Realm Works with some additional notes. My DM style is to have a lot of prep and helper files to try to make the world real for my players. It helps me with improv in-session by having potential options at hand when the players do something crazy.

I am excited to get started again. The reboot session in June will not be new material. We want a refresh of the first session a year ago. I have planned some mock encounters to get everyone back in the RPG habits. There will be so much side chatter getting to visit again that introducing new material would only frustrate me. Instead, it will be prep, practice, recap, and hanging out. I will be sure to share some of the mock encounter antics after the session!

Big Cat, Little Cat, and I all hope you had a great weekend. Until next time!