Current Campaign 2 - "Dungeons & Dragons"

My second current RPG campaign is an old-school Dungeons & Dragons game. It meets fortnightly at a local Irish pub, and most of the players are coworkers from my job that I've recruited. Perhaps as a result, the turnover is fairly high: we have a couple pretty faithful regulars, and then a rotating cast of folks who show up three times and then stop, or folks who show up once a month, or folks who try it once and then decide it's not for them. 

As a result it's been a bit difficult to keep a coherent player-led narrative going: the folks who decide what to do next one session may not be the ones who pick up the game for the next session, and there's little to no continuity of group goals from one session to the next. There has been a progression of plot, sort of, but I think I'm the only one who knows exactly what is going on and why. That's been a first for me.

Actually, come to that, the whole campaign has involved a bunch of firsts. It's also the first time I've used minis extensively -- paper minis, really, with a lot of help from the good folks at Printable Heroes and Fat Dragon Games (among others). The minis and scenery have been a enormous hit, and I think a very good addition to the game.

It's also the first time I've relied on prewritten modules. We started out with "The Tomb-Complex of Y'mu M'Kursa" from the first issue of Fight On!, then transitioned to Forgive Us, and are now making our way through The God that Crawls. 

The common thread has been: During the exploration of the tomb-complex, the characters recovered one of the slimy frog-egg cells from the body of Otogoster, Disciple of Yol. Deciding that they were indeed frog eggs, and that Yol was a frog god of some sort, on their next rest in town I had Yol send his servant, the Green Prince, to show the party his displeasure at their stealing his egg. (The Green Prince's paper mini looked suspiciously like a picture of Kermit the Frog with a crown of flames colored in over his head.) The party gave up the egg without a fight and agreed to go on a quest for Yol as penance. The Green Prince assigned them the task of retrieving a forbidden tome, The Infernal Practices, from the Library of the Demogorgon. He ordered them to travel to the nearest city where Mr. Bildegulp, a servant of Yol, would give them further instructions. Mr. Bildegulp had the party infiltrate a street gang known as The West Siders to steal an artifact known as the Bibliographic Configuration, which would open a gate to the Demogorgon's library. Unfortunately the gang double-crossed the party and forced them through the gateway, closing it behind them. The gang then retreated to their hideout in a complex on the east side of the city, and were not heard from for several days. Mr. Bildegulp hired another party of adventurers to sneak into the gang's hideout and steal the artifact. (Initiating the Forgive Us module.) The gang had been wiped out by mutation-causing demons that had ushered forth from the Bibliographic Configuration. 

 Above: The Biblographic Configuration, solved.

Above: The Biblographic Configuration, solved.

Exploring the hideout complex, the group joined uneasy forces with a second outfit who were also picking over the remains of the gang and had heard rumors of a powerful artifact being held in the complex. Eventually the two groups found the Configuration and were able to solve it, transporting to the Library of the Demogorgon (and taking us to a library-reskinned version of The God that Crawls). In the library, the remaining members of the first group of adventurers joined up with the second group of adventurers, and set about exploring the library and searching for the Infernal Practices (and a way out).

With a rotating cast, it'd be impractical to list all the PCs, but the current line-up includes:

  • Mark, playing a Thief
  • (Another) Mark, playing a Fighter
  • Rachel, playing an Assassin
  • Adam, playing an Elf Magic-User
  • Lucas, whose Fighter was killed by the Librarian last session
  • Ryan, who just made his Elf Assassin character yesterday

Finally, I should probably note that we've been through a couple of rulesets for the game. We started with Crypts & Things 2e, (and in fact all the character sheets still have that title at the top), but it proved a bit too crunchy for the casual come-and-go of the campaign. So we cut away all the bits that we weren't using, and have now reverted to a simplified cross between Swords & Wizardry and Into the Odd, which I'll have to talk about sometime. I'll leave you with the current character sheet: