Sigil 6 Questions

Sigil 6 Questions

On the Indie RPG Reading Club community, a friend private messaged me a few questions about the Thursday night Sigil 6 game and I thought the questions were so interesting I asked if I could post them here along with my answers.

Sigil 6: Outlands Expedition Team title card

Did you intend every expedition to end up at a gate town? How did you envision “keeping balance” as the core mandate?

I didn’t intend every expedition to end up in a gate town. I figured it would be all over the Outlands and beyond. I envisioned that keeping balance would be largely determined by the players making decisions through their characters and that would be problematic, which is fun. They are serving a mysterious entity called the Lady of Pain. They probably know that, while they aren’t the baddies, this is a strange way to make a living.

I also wanted to be able to turn things I was using that use D&D I.P. into DM’s Guild products when I wanted to. I thought I’d have a support PDF for the adventures I’ve played but it didn’t work out that way.

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How much time did you spend in Sigil? Was it just the denouement when factions argued over their actions?

We haven’t spent much time in Sigil – a few tweener adventures, especially as we’ve jumped into a few larger adventures through the big hardcovers (Tomb of Annihilation and Curse of Strahd). I’m probably the only one but I never liked the philosophical factions in Sigil. There is a philosophical vibe but I never mentioned the Sigil factions and the players never brought them up.

Despite that, when the characters got back to Sigil after months of in-game and out-of-game time away, it still kinda felt like home in a strange way.

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If you had to do it again, what system would you choose?

Great question. 5e is the okay-est system. My indie RPG friends who play it often sigh and say things like, “Yeah, 5e, its fine,” so often it feels like the game’s official tagline. Tell me what other system I can run with 6 enthusiastic players who show up to EVERY session every Thursday night. Librarians (public and academic), unemployed folk looking for a mid-life career change, government employee/single parents, a pharmaceutical engineer who has several bee hives for his own honey and they make time every Thursday to play this silly/amazing game. We could’ve maybe done Old School Essentials but then I wonder if I would’ve had an easy time using the mainstream adventures…maybe I would’ve pivoted to OSE adventures instead. OSE is the only other system I can think of. The Bingo XP makes it a viable game for me.

6 gamers over Zoom…I reckon I’m sticking to 5e. I also like that recently a few friends have gotten 5e gigs, so it is nice to be able to play in Ravenloft and it will be nice to see the Sigil 6 deal with the worlds in the Radiant Citadel. On one hand, I would rather support indie RPG’s than make Hasbro’s shareholders more rich. On the other hand, I don’t owe anyone shit and will play whatever my friends and I decide to play.

tl;dr I think I’d stick with 5e.

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Planescape is something I’ve tried to come back to A LOT. But it’s hard because few people I play with care for it like I do. I think this OET concept could be a way to drip out the lore. All they need to know is Sigil, and we start there, spreading out to the outlands (tame) to some place like Limbo (way less tame) even to a quasi-elemental plane or something.

I also really love the concept of coming home and basically defending your actions. Feels like a mission debrief in a police procedural, except I’m envisioning green demons in togas next to gnomes, each arguing different points. In my head I want to tie THIS part to xp and advancement somehow.

https://githyankidiaspora.com/2021/05/25/outlands-expedition-team/

I’ve always been fascinated by Planescape but thought that the game promised in the boxed set is never the one I hear people talking about. I almost never hear folks talking about the Portal-Towns around the rim of the Outlands or the Outlands themselves or the way the characters’ actions rippled out through the planes. The Outlands Expedition Team is my attempt to get to that game with a strange premise.

What you are imaging, concerning the mission debrief is exactly how it goes. It has become a really fun way to celebrate other players and think about the adventures. The characters are coming up on 10th level and it feels appropriate that they are becoming adventuring rock stars now. They killed Strahd and thwarted Acererak.

At this point, I really hope we take it to 20th level. I’d love to be able to get that Gamer Merit Badge. More than 30 years playing these games and I’ve never taken a D&D game from 1st to 20th. I think we’ve go the momentum to do it and hope the scheduling holds up and we get there together. That’d be a fun landmark to hit and I think the premise has room to evolve and mutate to get us there. I can’t wait to find out what the game looks like at that level. I am excited for every session.

Or…as some folks say, “Is it Thursday yet?”

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Victory of Strahd, a mini-campaign for hire

Victory of Strahd, a mini-campaign for hire

Curse (with Curse Crossed out) VICTORY of Strahd
https://startplaying.games/adventure/6272025693b276b43c044e9d

You tried to kill Strahd and you failed. Now he has broken his prison and is free. Chase him across the Shadowfell, where the adventure might lead us into Gloomwrought, Sigil into the Hells or the Far Realms. We will venture beyond the Curse of Strahd and together we will find out if you can prevent the curse from becoming a plague.

Expect a player-driven fast paced chase through the planes.

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How Will Character Creation Happen?

Characters will be 10th level, made before the game and we will link the party together during our Session Zero in which we will outline what happened during our fictional run through Curse of Strahd. 

Pre-gens will be available.

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What Will the Players Need?

Web-cam and mic are necessary. A good understanding of D&D rules and mythology is preferred. Players can roll dice online or use their own dice at home. 

A burning desire to destroy Strahd is needed.

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What Will I Bring?

I will bring a map of the Shadowfell, factions for Gloomwrought and Sigil and a vision of Strahd as a driven villain with his own nefarious goals.  

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* * * Link to Game-for-Hire * * *

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Human/Bat Skeleton The End

Captain: OR IS IT!?!? Join Me.
OR IS IT!?!?
Join me.

Questions to ask each D&D Class

Questions to ask each D&D Class

As Apocalypse World made plain – ask provocative questions and use the answers, my friends.

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From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Barbarian

What piece of your homeland do you carry with you?

What do you miss most from your homeland?

What would others first notice when you Rage? What were you taught about this state by your elders?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Bard

What was the first song you can remember performing?

When did you realize the power in art, poetry and music?

When was the first time you used your art to manipulate someone?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Cleric

When did you first hear the Call from your deity?

What lessons are there to be learned from a rival deity?

When you heal someone, what do they feel when your holy power prolongs their life?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Druid

What was the first species you learned something valuable from other than your own?

What shape are you most comfortable in?

What do you fear in nature?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Fighter

Who was the first person you killed?

Who was the first person to defeat you in combat?

What childhood games were you taught that you learned were tools for teaching war later? Did that change how you felt about the game?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Monk

Who was the first shmuck you punched in the mouth?

What do you miss about monastic life?

What earthly attachment do you fear you will never be able to set aside in order to become ascend this mortal flesh?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Paladin

What line of scripture is written on your soul?

When did you have a moment of doubt about your faith?

Do you feel closer to your calling when you are healing those who are harmed or when you are shedding the blood of tyrants? What do you think that says about your own spiritual growth?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Ranger

Where were you first lost in the wilds and how did you find your way back?

What part of the natural world fills you with awe and a bit of fear?

What was the most beautiful natural phenomenon that you have ever seen?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Rogue

What was the first time you were caught stealing?

When did you sneak into a place and regret it?

Who was the first person you killed by stabbing them when they weren’t looking? How did you feel about the deed as their blood coated your blade, hands and legs?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Sorcerer

When did you first know you had arcane power in your very blood?

What part of yourself is in every spell you cast?

How did you learn to control this power?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Warlock

What powerful figure ruled your life before you swore oaths of soul and spell to your Patron?

If you were a Patron, what kind of Warlocks would you gather around you?

If you could set aside all tradition and consequences in order to offer your Patron one bit of advice, what would it be?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Wizard

When did you first realize the power and glory to be found in tomes and scrolls?

If you ascend to Arch-Magery and leave a tome of your own for future generations to learn from, what do you hope the title will be? What do you fear the title will be?

Who taught you magic and what do you remember most of their methods?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Now with handy-dandy PDF under the images.

Barbarian

What piece of your homeland do you carry with you?


What do you miss most from your homeland?


What would others first notice when you Rage? What were you taught about this state by your elders?

Bard

What was the first song you can remember performing?


When did you realize the power in art, poetry and music?


When was the first time you used your art to manipulate someone?

Cleric

When did you first hear the Call from your deity?


What lessons are there to be learned from a rival deity?


When you heal someone, what do they feel when your holy power prolongs their life?

Druid

What was the first species you learned something valuable from other than your own?


What shape are you most comfortable in?


What do you fear in nature?

Fighter

Who was the first person you killed?


Who was the first person to defeat you in combat?


What childhood games were you taught that you learned were tools for teaching war later? Did that change how you felt about the game?

Monk

Who was the first shmuck you punched in the mouth?


What do you miss about monastic life?


What earthly attachment do you fear you will never be able to set aside in order to become ascend this mortal flesh?
Paladin

What line of scripture is written on your soul?


When did you have a moment of doubt about your faith?


Do you feel closer to your calling when you are healing those who are harmed or when you are shedding the blood of tyrants? What do you think that says about your own spiritual growth?

Ranger

Where were you first lost in the wilds and how did you find your way back?


What part of the natural world fills you with awe and a bit of fear?


What was the most beautiful natural phenomenon that you have ever seen?

Rogue

What was the first time you were caught stealing?


When did you sneak into a place and regret it?


Who was the first person you killed by stabbing them when they weren’t looking? How did you feel about the deed as their blood coated your blade, hands and legs?

Sorcerer

When did you first know you had arcane power in your very blood?


What part of yourself is in every spell you cast?


How did you learn to control this power?

Warlock

What powerful figure ruled your life before you swore oaths of soul and spell to your Patron?


If you were a Patron, what kind of Warlocks would you gather around you?


If you could set aside all tradition and consequences in order to offer your Patron one bit of advice, what would it be?

Wizard

When did you first realize the power and glory to be found in tomes and scrolls?


If you ascend to Arch-Magery and leave a tome of your own for future generations to learn from, what do you hope the title will be? What do you fear the title will be?


Who taught you magic and what do you remember most of their methods?

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Haiku Character History

Haiku Character History

I see threads on DM’s Academy asking what players will need to get started or what kind of character backgrounds should they have prepared when they come to the table. My preferred answer: as little as possible – just enough to have some context and inspiration as play begins.

If the players in your TTRPG (tabletop role-playing game) want to write something up for their characters or do some online homework before the game to flesh things out, here’s my 2-step suggestion:

Find a cool pic of your character.

Write a haiku about said character.

If they only have time for one of those endeavors, skip the haiku and grab a picture.

If you need pic resources, I’ve got a collection on Unsplash that I call Punams (Yiddish for faces) and have lots of collections on Pinterest that could work.

Barbarian Prince
Far from home to learn and grow.
Eyes of the Hawk God.

Picture of awesome bearded dude with facepaint and piercing eyes.

Barbarian Prince Pic

Is the Eyes of the Hawk God an item or a power or a blessing or the character’s name? Maybe the player has an idea and tells the DM. Maybe the player has copious notes about the barbarian lands where their prince comes from and a family tree. That is fine. Let’s talk about it.

Warlock with Moon Patron. 
Hunter's Moon born. Arcane Wolf. 
Chaos and Justice

Amazing picture of a Black Woman with black lipstick and cool sequins on her face in a pattern across her forehead.

Moon Warlock Pic

What does being born on the Hunter’s Moon mean to the Warlock? Is Arcane Wolf going to be a homebrewed sub-class or background or just a bit of cool character fluff? Is Chaos and Justice a flowery way of saying Chaotic Good or something different?

Just back from a job.
"What in the Hells did we steal?"
Handsome devil charm.

Handsome mofo in a fur jacket, rings on his fingers, looking rogue-ish and scroundrel-ish.

Handsome Devil Rogue

Is the thief’s handsome devil mean their are a Tiefling or is it just a turn of phrase, inspired by what their beloved Aunt Sheila used to call them? What did they steal? Hand the DM a locked chest with something dangerous people want is a pretty cool background gift.

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Are these brilliant examples of the fine art of Haiku?

No, they are not. That is fine. I’m not trying to make great art. I’m making fun character concepts that will inspire further conversations.

The way I like to play, character histories give just enough context to get the players to the table and the rest we’ll figure out in play. I like Haiku because the limits on words is built right in. There will be blank spaces and cool turns of phrase that will inspire questions and conversation as play begins (Session 0 is play).

If a player’s Character History Haiku raises questions and they aren’t sure about the answers, that is great. Find out together in play. The important thing is that they inspire pre-game conversations about the world and the people in it.

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NOTE: If gaming is a kind of writing exercise for you and your friends and that is how you have fun – YAY! I’m happy for you. Truly, I am. I’m not saying that you are gaming wrong or that your fun is bad-wrong-fun.

In my experience, long character histories are a sign of frustration but I have totally used gaming as a writing tool and don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum.

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If you want to make your own, drop me an email and I’ll gladly send you the Affinity Designer template.

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Curse of Strahd, Session X, The Crypts Under Castle Ravenloft

Curse of Strahd, Session X, The Crypts Under Castle Ravenloft

Curse of Strahd

In which Jusko leads a team of strangers whose lives have been brutally damaged by Strahd into the crypts under Ravenloft in order to rescue Aldjo’s wife.

Session X, The Crypts Under Castle Ravenloft

Who are the Sigil 6?

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  • 2 players were missing, which is rare for this group, so we had Jusko run into a group of level 3 strangers. Gotta say, D&D Beyond made it easy to make up characters to hand out.

    Lady Baleron, self-made Paladin, is Tatyanna Re-born, vaguely remembering her many lives in this prison.

    Istebin, Monk, last of the Ulmist Inquisitors, who has died trying to kill Strahd countless times and can barely remember his homeland.

    Gadaar, Druid, branded and tongueless for betraying his evil Druidic Order, realizing that this world is not right and needs fixing.

  • Had a bit of a warm-up fight with some thugs from the castle. Jusko and Aldjo were there to find Aldjo’s wife but the thugs in Castle Ravenloft livery were putting up a notice that she had been arrested for sedition. I was going to make this first fight against Vampire Spawn but I didn’t want it to run that long and didn’t want to kill the entire party by accident. I was second-guessing myself a bunch tonight.

    The player characters decimated them and got to be cool and feel out these new characters. I stand by the decision.

  • I used to hand NPC roles to players whose characters weren’t involved in the scene when I played Ars Magica in college. I forgot what a delight it could be. The way the players unveiled their secrets and their presentation was amazing and they made very different choices than I did. It was a nice change of pace.

  • Jusko asked the group to a nearby hill to get out of the village and discuss their options. Lady Baleron remembered a secret entrance into the crypts, leading to Strahd’s parents’ tomb. In they went…

  • Tense dungeon-crawling and marking traps with chalk. They made their way through a secret tunnel, Jusko saved Aldjo from falling into a chute trap. They made their way into a room with an arcane teleportation device. Lady Baleron rolled so well on her Wisdom check that I said she had helped install this device. They knew how it worked and stole all of the stones.

    From the Observation Deck, down into the torture chamber and through the hall. Finally…the dungeon…

  • They could hear Strahd talking to Aldjo’s wife, Barushka. “Do you think they will come and try to save you?”

    “No, they are an Outlands Expedition Team; they’re professionals. They are gathering allies to come here and put you down.”

    “I hope so. Saving you would be so boring and predictable. I am flattered to have Sigil’s attention. We’ll see…”

    Some chatter with Emil about werewolf stuff and he turned to mist. They couldn’t see any other way for him to leave the room. I asked them what they were going to do in case he left down the hallway they were standing in.

  • Lady Baleron used Divine Sense to make sure they were clear. Usually, this would be no big deal, just a small detail but it ended up changing the adventure entirely.

    I was considering having Barushka betray the group. I knew that she and Aldjo had bonded over both having children who were lost somewhere in the Demi-Plane of Dread’s Domains. Perhaps Strahd offered to find her lost child. But if she had decided to do that, wouldn’t the Paladin notice the evil? I didn’t mention that Barushka was evil.

    Or is Barushka not evil until she actually DOES it?

    I decided that it wasn’t cool to penalize Lady Baleron for playing smart and looking around for undead and evil. Barushak considered it but at the last instant, she decided not to do it.

    Maybe it is more interesting that she was tempted and didn’t do it. We’ll see.

    Despite the lack of a final twist, it was a fun, tense night.

  • Having freed the imprisoned werewolf, Emil, they made their way out of the crypts. Lady Baleron, Aldjo and Barushka used the teleportation device to get to the Amber Temple and would meet up with the rest of the team later.

    Brother Estabin used Shadow Arts and they got out quietly.

  • Running big dungeons is not, nor has it ever been, my strong suit. I need to break the rest of Castle Ravenloft into bite-sized pieces so I can DM navigating it better. Still. it was a fun, tense night with lots of great rolls and players spending everything they had to keep from failing a roll that could get them found.

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More?

Prelude in Sigil

Questions Before Curse of Strahd

Episode I Welcome to Barovia

Episode II Battle of Ravenwatch

Episode III Wolves and Souls

Episode IV Ghosts & Bones

Episode V – I fucked up numbering; there is no Episode V. 

Episode VI Enter the Amber Temple

Episode VII Dark Gifts

Episode VIII New Wolves & Old Friends

Episode IX The Execution of Kiril Stoyanovich

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THE END
Curse of Strahd, Episode VII, Dark Gifts

Curse of Strahd, Episode VII, Dark Gifts

Curse of Strahd / Session VII / Dark Gifts

In which Dark Gifts are bestowed and a bloody decision is made about the nature of this mission and which priorities will be elevated above the others.

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Who are Jusko, Bugwump, Trundle, Kuru, Helewynn and Failed Soldier?

  • The Amber Golem was decimated by the group. None missed and the golem never got a shot off. It was brutal and confidence-building.

  • Vilnius, a wizard the golem was chasing, was grateful but after a solid roll Kuru and Jusko realized the wizard was evil and would betray them. Kuru back-stabbed the evil wizard with a fiery knife. Vilnius died in fire and blood.

  • Vilnius’ Quasi familiar, Chester, led them to Vilnius’ teacher’s corpose and suggested they look into the statue more carefully for secrets. They did and found a wizard within and the hilt of the Sun Sword they were seeking.

    Bugwump bound Chester as his familiar. Chester suggested they head back to Darkon and take over. “Azalin Rex is gone; the domain is in chaos. A group like you could wreak bloody havoc and own that place.” The Team nixed this idea.

  • The wizard’s name was Nef and told them that he was the last of the Amber Wizards who made this temple. He led them into the vaults so Helewynn could bind the spirit of a Great Wolf, a daughter of the Moon and take her Dark Gift.

  • Nef offered to send the teams out of Ravenloft through the Mists if Jusko would follow them to his family’s holdings, where they were cruelly ruling a young world. Jusko declined.

  • While Helewynn bound the wolf spirit, Trundle bound himself to a Raven Spirit, the Mist Walker. He can now walk the mists as the Vistani do.

  • Nef asked Failed Soldier if he would like to leave his murderous sin in Ravenloft and take it off his soul’s ledger. Failed Soldier elected to hold on to that sin.

  • The team has decided to kill Strahd. First they plan on finding the Mad Mage who wanders the forest and the Prophet in the north, who is said to have fallen from the Heavens. There was talk of Helewynn binding the werewolf packs to her will.

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Curse of Strahd, Session VI, Enter the Amber Temple

Curse of Strahd, Session VI, Enter the Amber Temple

Curse of Strahd / Session VI / Enter the Amber Temple

In which the Amber Temple is entered, two members of the lost team are saved from Flameskulls and a bedraggled wizard is found running from an Amber Golem…

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Who are Jusko, Bugwump, Trundle, Kuru, Helewynn and Failed Soldier?

  • The vaulted chamber of the temple had a statue of a wizard whose face was shrouded in darkness and (inspired by DragnaCarta’s Curse of Strahd Reloaded) it asked those who entered to leave a secret or something holy at the feet of the statue. That prompted cool shit from the players.

    Jusko whispered, “I belong here,” while pressing his family signet ring into some wax on the statue. EEK.

    Failed Soldier wrote a sealed note about the sailor he killed in a previous adventure in a shrine to a storm goddess.

    Kuru tried to get by leaving a cheap coin and pretending it was holy to him but the statue was on to his bullshit.

    Trundle left one of his carvings of the world they saw born in a previous adventure.

    Helewynn left her holy symbol since the moon here seemed to be godless.

    Bugwump left a mask of himself from back when he was an arch-mage that he wore during a 1000 Faces Festival in Sigil.

  • They found the two lost members of the other team surrounded by 3 Flameskulls…

    One of the Flameskulls unleashed its fireball, doing some healthy damage but all in all, the 3 were dispatched without too much trouble. The other team missed in a terrible first round of to-hit rolls, prompting Jusko to fuck with them later…

  • Trundle engaged Crum, a Dwarven cleric of Portals, who wears a key holy symbol. I rolled to see how informed he was on getting in and out of Ravenloft and rolled a 20. He knows shit.

  • Bugwump’s Arcana checks are off the chain since he has a magic staff from Tomb of Annihilation. They know all about Sergei’s Sunsword, the other team believes the sword is here somewhere.

  • There was some talk about just heading back to Ravenwatch and getting to the portal. I reminded folks that Kuru had cut up the portal with his magic-cutting knife and it wasn’t a sure thing that it was working.

  • Helewynn hasn’t seen moonlight since being bitten by the werewolf. When she does, we’ll make some rolls and see what happens.

    Chekov’s werewolf bite…

  • Failed Soldier gave Lem the Nine Gods Orchid he picked for her from the previous adventure. I said that it felt like a lifetime ago that she asked him for that but thing is, it actually does kinda feel like a lifetime ago. It was cool that we got to see that completed.

    What does Nine Gods Orchid do? I’m thinking some kind of cool tea that inspires prophetic dreams.

  • After a short rest, the team heard someone screaming for help and found a wizard with a quazit familiar running from an Amber Golem. Kuru and Trundle stealthed over and engaged; we’ll start there with everyone else rolling initiative next week.

    “Thank Vecna you folks showed up to save me,” the burned, half-starved wizard said.

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Questions before the Curse of Strahd

Questions before the Curse of Strahd

Curse of Strahd, big moon, bats, castle…you get the idea.

I like having an online community for a particular game night and/or campaign (Oy, I miss G+). One of the things I’ve been doing is asking the players questions in the week before the game. If they answer it, GREAT, I have material to inspire the game. If they don’t answer the question because they’re busy or don’t spend as much time on social media platforms, GREAT (and legit), I can ask the question during the game and get inspiration and energy during the session.

Even if I don’t ask these questions in play and the player never answers it out loud, seeing the question gets the players thinking and daydreaming about the answers and more often than not, the idea comes out in play through the players’ actions. Asking good questions is a good tool for getting the vibe of the game across.

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Jusko – Your family’s ancestral lands neighbored ancient Barovia. What was the Hajek family’s relationship to the cursed von Zarovich clan?

Jusko is a human fighter with a complicated family and a sense of honor about him that I enjoy. Clearly, his family knew Strahd’s family when he was mortal, back in the day. There have also been clear hints that the Mists are interested in Jusko as possible Darklord material.

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Helewyn – How do you (or your Goddess) feel about lycanthropes who change shape with the full moon?

Helewyn is an Eladrin Barbarian who served a moon goddess. The player’s answer was awesome and gave me clear ties to lycanthropes and their relationship to the moon.

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Kuru – What do you remember of the nomadic Vistani people who would stay for a season near the shire you where you were raised and trade with your family?

My question for Kuru, Halfling Rogue (but really, he’s an old school Thief all the way) brought out a great conversation about the depiction of the Vistani, racism against the Romany people and not wanting to punch down. It was a valuable conversation, not only for the real life implications but because it really tied Kuru to the Vistani people in a real way and allowed me to, as Apocalypse World would say, announce future badness (link to AP post about the previous session if you want to see the Future Badness in action).

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Trundle – What was Trundle’s first brush with the darker parts of the forest, where sun never penetrates the canopy and fell beasts hunt the weak?

I didn’t get an answer to Trundle’s question, so I’ll save it for the game. I might ask during play or might ask before play when we’re just getting prepped and putting our dice in order in our pre-game.

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Bugwump – What had you uncovered about the Demi-Plane of Dread when you were an Arch-Mage?

Bugwump’s character handed me a gift that I’ve written about before. The player treated Ravenloft with an appropriate amount of dread and foreboding in his answer. Even as an Arch-Mage, his character avoided the Demi-Plane of Dread. Cool stuff.

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Failed Soldier – What does your religion’s parables say about the First Vampire, Strahd, a great warrior whose fell deeds drew the attention of fell powers?

Again, Failed Soldier’s player didn’t answer, which is great, I’ll ask later. Failed Soldier (whose name is derived from the first corpse the Corpseflea character was in when the game began) is a Grave Cleric. I can’t wait to get this character to Ravenloft. I think it is going to be fun.

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Mistakes Were Made (it was fun) and more designs like this in my TTRPG Collection…

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/mistakes-were-made-it-was-fun
Tier 1 Milestone Experience Point Sheet

Tier 1 Milestone Experience Point Sheet

Playing a one-on-one D&D game at home with Janaki. The Bingo XP Variant doesn’t work for 1 player, so I whipped up a milestone XP sheet that we’ll use to futz with the timing of leveling up. As we do with the Bingo board, we’ll use it to open up that discussion of what we’d like to see in game and how we’d like to see Makaris the Druid challenged.

Makaris is a Tiefling Druid returning to her birthplace, the Tiefling capital of Asmodeen. Makaris has been away from her home for a decade after a job for her criminal family went bad. During that decade was a war with the Dragonborn and the treaty ending that war has just been inked.

Tier 1 Milestone Sheet, PDF below

If you give it a go please let me know how it works for your table. If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments.

If you’d like to get notifications when new blog posts go up, offer your e-mail address on the digital altar below:

If talking shit and rolling crits is your thing, check out this design…

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/talk-sh-t-roll-crits-d20-edition

Tomb of Annihilation: Identity and the Tomb

  • After stealing the last of the puzzle-cubes from the Yuan-ti, the players had to decide if they were going to kill the Red Wizards in their sleep while their spells were depleted.

  • The discussion took about 40 minutes and was really interesting. Jusko said something interesting: “Who are we? Are we people who crawl into our allies’ camp and slit their throats while they sleep?”

  • Drew (who players Jusko) did something cool and prompted everyone to step out of character and also discuss this purely on the terms of what would be fun. That is a veteran-gamer move right there.

  • I added that they could make this decision based on what their characters would do, based on the strategic advantages of having 4 Red Wizards and their 20 guards on their side and the general fun of who will betray who first.

    In the end, they decided not to attack the wizards and continue this frenemyship.

  • Jusko gave Mykal, the leader of the Zhentarim thugs employed by the Red Wizards a small fortune in gold to switch sides when the time was right in exchange for not only the gold but safe passage out of Omu.

    Mykal, leader of the Red Wizards’ thugs, let them know that no one can figure out how the team got in and out of the Yuan-ti nest. The Red Wizards think Bugwump might be Arch-Mage Bugwump and is hiding his power levels from them. Jusko made an Insight Check to see if she would keep to her word. “Probably…”

  • The group marched up the main boulevard towards the tomb entrance on the northern cliff-face. Kuru and Trundle (Rogue and Ranger) scouted it out and saw the Queen of Feathers dragging some kind of beast westward. Kuru used an illusion of a wounded pterodactyl to send the Legendary T-Rex northward to flush out any enemies who might be in their path.

    Trundle marked the hidden kobold cave entrances in case the wizards need to target them in the future.

  • The Queen of Feathers was driven away by kobolds. A kobold in a wooden Acererak mask spoke to her in draconic; having tried killing kobolds in the past and finding them too difficult an effort for the scant meat, she headed westward.

    Queen of Feathers eating the Thursday Delving Club logo

    The kobold in the mask told the approaching adventurers that they should be honored to die in the Great Acererak’s tomb, where their bones will surely turn to dust as the ages spin by. Bugwump destroyed the kobold with a spell.

  • They made their way through the True Door and into the Tomb. I cut the dungeon WAY back, using only one final level. They solved the Trial of the Triangle by accident, surrounding the blocked lever they had to switch to open one of the five locks on the door and forming a triangle.

  • I hate puzzles but enjoy seeing this posse interact with it all. one level will be more than enough. They know that Acererak’s godling and soulmonger engine fueling its birth is on the other side.

  • No levels this week but they are close to getting bingo on a few different axes.

Check out this design, made for the group who played the above game but good for anyone who wants to celebrate any fantasy role-playing games being played on Thursday nights, and more in the TTRPG collection…

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/tabletop-role-playing-games