Okay, so like I said last week, some things have happened, and our weekly D&D game kind of got thrown out of whack. None of these things were bad, just unexpected, and we had to readjust to deal with them a little.
The big thing that happened was that word got out that we had a weekly D&D game going. Suddenly, we had four, then five, then six people all wanting to crash the game. While normally I’m pretty okay with new people joining, this was a lot of new people, all at once.
People who, as it turned out, would only be able to play for a couple of months, while school was out for the summer. So, building their characters up and into the campaign we had going was not just going to be difficult, but ultimately pointless.
At least two of these people possibly wouldn’t even be playing for more than a week or two, as well, so I’m sure that you’re starting to understand just how difficult this was getting to balance. Which is when one of my reliable players, Dawn, who plays Genesis, offered up a brilliant notion.
Put our campaign on hold until these others go back to school, then return to it.
Which is exactly what we ended up doing.
So, for now, a group of seven players has gathered up and embarked on an entirely new campaign, which I haven’t built up to be a long running adventure like I did the last one.
I now have a Tiefling Druid, a Half Elf Bard, a Halfling Warlock, a Drow Monk, a Dragonborn Barbarian, an Elf Monk, and a Gnome Barbarian, with a possible Dwarf Rogue joining soon.
For this, I built on a theme of Lovecraftian style horror, and dropped the party into a clearing in a forest, with no memory of who they are, or how they got there, then attacked them with a group of nasty monsters. Because they can’t remember anything about their past, and aren’t sure just why they are being attacked, it was a good opportunity for the players to get a feel for each other, and start deciding who they wanted to protect, and who they were okay with letting die.
The creatures I used were Needle Blights, a nasty critter with a good melee and ranged attack, making them a threat from anywhere on the field. I’m pleased to say the party survived the encounter with six of these nasty buggers, and everyone walked away alive.
The party quickly learned that this forest wasn’t normal either, as the trees were all coated with a blood like resin that soaked up light, and seemed to interfere with darkvision. Plus, touching the resin burned, causing damage.
They did manage to escape the forest, however, as more Needle Blights were closing in on them, and found a city, with a wide area of scorched earth between it and the forest. Upon entering the city, they learned that the Blightwood, and the strange creatures that inhabit it, have pretty much taken over the world. Only a few cities remain, connected by roads that only the bravest merchants dare, all of which is ruled over by the Black Queen.
The cities have no guards, as the Black Queen uses something called the Charcoal Warden, and the punishment for all crime is apparently death. Because of this, there’s no criminal underground, since nobody seems to want to challenge the Charcoal Warden.
Well, the Drow Monk in the group is determined to test herself against them as soon as possible, so there’s one new character we’ll be seeing shortly. Warning was given. What happens next is the players own fault.
So far, what they know is that the Blight is everywhere, and has affected everything. It hungers for blood, and civilization is only barely clinging to survival. As such, everyone takes the laws very seriously, and people don’t make waves.
Naturally, a few players have already decided the Black Queen is behind the Blight, and is using it and the Charcoal Warden to maintain a strangle hold on power. It’s so cute when the players think they have everything figured out so soon into a campaign. They get so wide eyed in their innocence of how dark and twisted my imagination can be.
They will learn. Yes, they will learn.
The players also learned that people tend to find themselves in the Blightwood with no memories fairly often. Generally referred to as Lost Souls, most folks are quick to give the lay of things to these newcomers, and some even provide room and board for a brief period while they get a handle on their new reality.
There’s no room in this world for freeloaders, however, so everyone is expected to carry their own weight. To this end, the party was directed to a man named Roderick, a traveling merchant, who is about to move a large amount of goods to another town. He needs escorts, and the party has signed on to the job.
Roderick is a pretty gruff fellow, and has made it clear, their role is to ensure the cargo, and his employees, arrive intact, and alive. The party’s lives are expendable in this, as that’s what he’s paying them a good bit of gold for.
Some are eager to test that, as well. Should be fun to see how long a few of these characters last with such reckless players, that think I’ll bend the rules of the game, and the world, just for them.
Odds are, I’m going to be saying “Roll a new character” a lot sooner than I like to, and with a great deal more frequency than I wish.
However, this is basically what several of the incoming players were pushing for, so it’s what I am going to give them. A brutal world where any misstep can get you killed. It’s not my preferred style of play, but it’s only for a couple of months, then we can get back to Genesis and crew, and the kind of narrative story I like.
Sometimes, in order to get players new to D&D to let go of their video game approach to gaming, you have to kill them a lot. Eventually, they get there’s no save point, and that their brash actions will end up leaving them a far lower level than the rest of the party. It’s not nice, and I don’t like it, but it remains true.
So, the nice DM who tries to help the party is gone for now. The True Neutral DM has arrived, that simply doesn’t care if everyone lives or dies.
Be careful what you wish for when playing D&D, kids. You just might get it.