An Ode to the O’Declan’s Brewing Company

In the midst of my game-fast, I’m thinking about games past, old friends, long gone.

Let’s be fair, they aren’t that far gone.  Pete is IMing me right now and Aaron is coming over this weekend to watch UFC 145 but not having a solid excuse to sit down with them and visit fictional places makes it feel like they are far gone.

O’Declan’s Brewing Company was a strange and amazing game based in the Mieville-inspired MoBu City. The rhythm of the campaign was somewhere between Perdido Street Station and Breaking Bad. It was about two dwarves who ran a brewing company in a mad, magical city with newly immigrated giant spiders, wolves coming in from out in the country, dwarves bringing their crafts and wares, orcs and roden (rat people) living in the under-city and a fading memory of elves.

Pete and Aaron made really brave, interesting choices with their characters that made the game sing.

Pete made his character incredibly talented and quite flawed but not broken. Cormac O’Declan was a roaring drunk artisan of fine dwarven nog. Cormac was a great artist but the other interesting choice Pete made was in his relationships. He used the MoBu City setting we created together to its fullest and had relationships with the head of the spider community.  Suddenly, he had a reason to go share nog with a giant orb weaver (the orb weaver would dip bits of web into the nog and suck on it, rather than drink).

Aaron made Nolan Quinn, who was a huge departure from Aaron’s usual paragon bad-asses; Nolan was an accountant with a gambling habit. Not only that but Aaron made a straight man to Pete’s roaring drunk artist.

The relationship between these business partners was glorious. The rhythm of the game was odd. We weren’t anywhere near the quasi-Tolkien, dungeon crawling of our Forgotten Realms game. Nolan Quinn was shot in the gut the first session and was laid up for close to a year. Violence was a huge decision as these characters were not made for violence; they were normal guys, thrown into an a violent city straining against conflicting species and cultures.

I miss that game like hell; it might be my favorite campaign in recent years.  I wish like hell we had gotten another few dozen sessions into it, to see what became of the gambler and the drunk, the accountant and the brewer, two guys trying to make their way in the big city.

I raise my nog, nectar of the gods, to the sky, spill a bit on the soil and toast the cool things we made up together that have instilled this strong desire to go back and visit them again.

One thought on “An Ode to the O’Declan’s Brewing Company

  1. Here, here! Glasses high and I miss this campaign, as well. I always wanted to make a nogger check on a batch of hard cider as an ode to our Celiac’s. This was a crazy, seat-of-our-pants campaign that had its share of off nights (one night we rolled so many traitors I thought we were dead for sure), one-liners, and very interesting, very complex relationships. How cool.

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