And so we begin again…

A tan leather tote with two dice bags, a miniature vault, a pencil case, two notebooks, and three 5th Edition D&D books.

I find myself on the brink – a lot has changed since the last post on this blog, when I introduced a new character that I would play, on and off, until I could no longer find it in myself to play with that particular group. For a number of reasons, almost entirely (but not completely) unrelated to D&D, my husband and I have been divorced for a little over 18 months at this point, and the D&D group that I used to be part of went with him in the divorce.

Of course, there’s always been the online campaigns – Dar na Theria and the City of Fangs haven’t gone anywhere, and I still play D&D with them every weekend. But virtual D&D is never quite the same as sitting around a table, playing the game with actual dice, ideally becoming lifelong friends with the folks that you explore pretend worlds and slay imaginary dragons with.

For many reasons, it’s been hard to put myself out there, to try to find new friends to play this game I love with. But in the intervening time, I’ve discovered something new. Critical Role came into my life in January 2017, at the recommendation of a friend, and I was a devoted fan by the end of the first live episode I watched. With rapt attention, I watched through the end of Campaign 1, said my goodbyes to Vox Machina, purchased some fanart to decorate my new apartment with, and have avidly followed the adventure of the Mighty Nein so far as they adventure in Wildemount.

I am, in short, a critter – and a fairly devoted one at that.

And critters are pretty wonderful people. Through a group of them where I had the opportunity to make some new friends, I ran into J, who plays in a long-running campaign that meets about 30 minutes away from where I live. (That’s fairly close by Houston standards.) They’d reached level 20, defeated Orcus, and were taking a short break before starting over again at level 1, and they were looking for new players. J and I struck up a casual friendship on Facebook, and I’ve been invited to join the table for a trial run.

Being that it’s a level 1, 5E campaign, I’ve got two characters created, just in case the lethality of low-level D&D becomes a problem, but of course, I play clerics, so it’s slightly more likely that someone else will die. Still, I’m reusing bits and pieces of other Annas, and I’ll be introducing both characters over the next weeks as I perfect their stories. We’ll be playing in the Forgotten Realms, which is a new campaign setting for me (I’ve played almost exclusively in homebrew D&D), so that’s fun. How I can have played D&D this long and know so little about Faerun is pretty impressive.

And so I begin again.

Two level 1 characters. Scouring the internet for the perfect character portraits. Picking spells and setting up stats (point buy). It’s fun, and exciting, and nervous. If it doesn’t work out, I can always try again, but for now, I’m just going to try to ride the tide of anticipation.

We shall see how this goes.


Celestial Spheres: The Sunday Funnies 12/6/2015

When last we left our intrepid adventurers, they were in the city of Enkilian, where their (batshit crazy) hostess had been taken captive by a Monologuing Evil Elf of the Night. After dispatching the remaining Elf Goons, the party took one captive, interrogated him, and then …

Sorceress: No, I don’t have knowledge local Surast
Wizard: DUDE, I live here!
Sorceress: So do you know a guy?
Bard: Do you know the muffin man?
Wizard: The muffin man?
Sorceress: THE MUFFIN MAN.

DM: The guard seems surprised.
Rogue: He’s probably not surprised to see you
DM: You do have kind of a reputation.
Rogue: And you’re causing trouble.
DM: Yeah, he’s surprised to see you in Enkilian, not surprised that you’re causing trouble.

Wizard: Are we all going to rescue her? I did just meet y’all an hour ago.
Cleric: Considering the situation, I think I’m obliged to.
Summoner: I don’t have anything better to do, so why not?

Wizard: We’re in the city of magic. We go to a magic shop. They’re on the corner here. Like a Target.
Rogue: I probably fence stuff there.

Bard: This is like any home improvement project. I have to go back to the store six times.
DM: That’s okay, the magic Target is just on the corner.

DM: He’s asking 3,000gp.
Sorceress: Can I roll to appraise that? I got a 37.
DM: You’re pretty sure he’s offering it for approximately twice its value.
Wizard: What a dick.

Summoner: do I know the guy Rogue knows?
DM: you’re not the kind of person who knows the people Rogue knows.

Wizard: Summoner, can you get us some horses?
Summoner: I have overland flight!
Wizard: … and the rest of us?

At which point the party mounts up on summoned Phantom Steeds, which do not actually run on the ground, and buzzes a party of startled Elves of the Night, Ghost Riders in the Sky style.

Rogue: 100 ft/sec. is about 70 miles per hour.
Summoner: So these are some bitchin’ horses.
DM: And you can ride for 12 hours before they desummon.

DM: Actually, the horse figurines (from the last campaign) are a custom item I designed because I got tired of you guys spending 5 hours buying horses and then they’d get eaten at the end of the next game.

DM: How are you doing sleeping?
Sorceress: We’re all sleeping together in a pile.
Rogue: Like cats.
Summoner: No, we’re not, I just met you guys.
Wizard: Sorceress is really hot?
Summoner: So am I, and I don’t care.

Cleric: Remember, Sorceress has tremor boots.
Rogue: Tremor boobs?
Sorceress: I don’t think Rogue can fit in them
DM: They expand to fit anyone.
Rogue: I didn’t realize boobs were detachable.

Summoner: I can summon a fiendish elephant!
Cleric: Where. Where in this 20 ft hemisphere with 6 people in it are you going to put a fiendish elephant?

Summoner: I need something that’s size huge.
DM: Here *tosses large die*
Summoner: That’s still only size large.
DM: So grab a piece of broccoli
Summoner: No, that’s weird. *procures giant rat nutcracker instead*

*ding dong*
Wizard: Sorceress, is that your phone?
Sorceress: yeah!
Summoner: Is that your /doorbell/?
Sorceress: yeah. I can see my door, it’s probably a delivery for my roommates.
Sorceress: Yeah, they ordered papa john’s pizza
Everyone: *watches the delivery guy, fascinated*

Summoner: I cast another wasp swarm on the dragon.
DM: What’s the range on that?
Summoner: 880 feet.

DM: Or you can ask teleporting genius here to go into town and get you a scroll of treasure map.
Bard: Do you have enough teleports for that?
Sorceress: Fuck yeah!
Bard: LET’S GO.
Summoner: And Target is open late for your convenience!

Nerds on Bikes: The Funnies (November 21)

So, for a long time, I have collected snippets of the shenanigans that happen at Nerds on Bikes/Team Rowboat games. I often post them on twitter, but I thought I would start cataloging them here, since that’s a more permanent record (and a lot easier to share). Which isn’t to say I’m abandoning twitter, just that they’ll get posted here too.

When last we left off… Actually we didn’t leave off. This was our first campaign session in round 2 of the world of Ath’edar, where the Elves of the Night are at war with… well, everyone… and right now they’re kicking everyone’s butt.

Our intrepid crew of adventurers includes Sydney Harbinger, Enchantress/Wizard; Evan Sanpierre, Rogue; Daniial Ruathym, Bard; Elara Allurin, Sorceress and (we hope) the Good Twin; Raer and his friend Gojira, Summoner and Eidolon; and Caranna Tyndall, Cleric.

Below are the outtakes from our first session, whereby we are all thrown in together at the behest of a crazy elf lady named Ruella (Cruella DeVille), who then gets herself and her magic crystal spheres captured by the Evil Elves and now we have to go rescue her.

*** *** ***

Wizard: Do you still look the same?
Sorceress: Smokin’ hot? HELL YEAH.
(I feel it important to note that Sorceress has a male player.)

DM: There were a lot of index cards, Bard, did you leave them in a book?
Sorceress/Wizard/Rogue: Yes.
Bard: Oh yeah, here they are…

Summoner: Bard has a 24 Charisma
Rogue: Do his boobs glow too?
Rogue: At a 24 CHA, does he even need a shirt?

NPC: I can promise you a real meal, finer than you can get here.
Summoner: I seek knowledge, not food.
Bard: Screw that, I seek food.

Rogue: And I’m the guy in the corner with his hand on his sword.
Rogue: And no, that’s not a euphemism.

Summoner: Hey cool, I can summon a celestial orca!

Summoner: So they’re all dead?
DM: No, but one of them is bleeding.
Wizard: To be fair, two of them are bleeding, but only one of them is bleeding /on the floor/.

Introducing Another Anna: Caranna Tyndall

So in yet another vision of insanity, I have agreed to play in a 4th D&D campaign. The 5E campaign ended badly at the hands of a large, pissed off dragon, and one of the regular Team Rowboat crew wants to try her hand at DMing again, so she’s going to be running a campaign on off-Sundays.

Yes, dear reader, this means that I will be playing D&D from 4-9:30ish (Team Rowboat, Antha Darkmore) on Saturday and 1:30-5:30 (Gods and Mortals, Ancelyn Blackstone) on Sunday one week, and then from 6-10 (City of Fangs, Anvari Zarthus) on Saturday and from 3 to 7 (Team Rowboat 2: Dragon Boogaloo, Caranna Tyndall) on Sunday the next week.

And that is just a LOT of D&D.

My newest character will be starting at level 12, because my previous character in this campaign met the love of her life and settled down, and I don’t want to break them up.

So everyone, meet Caranna Tyndall, half-elf cleric of Miruna the Comforting, the Goddess of Death.

Caranna Tyndall

Tamoko, by Artastrophe

Caranna is from the coastal city of Durcynnes, in the Southern City States, south of Surast and east of the Elven stronghold of Evenbright. Her father was an Elf of the Twilight, and a trader, and her mother a human from the city of Highgate. They met, later in both of their lives, in Durcynnes – a port city on the Crater Sea – and stayed there after their daughter was born.

Her mother died when Caranna was 12 of a wasting sickness, which Caranna also caught and died from. Her father, faced with the prospect of losing both his wife and his daughter within a week of one another, scraped together enough money to purchase a resurrection spell – but only one. He chose to revive his daughter, knowing that she – being of half-elven blood – would live to see him into his old age, where his wife would not, as she was approaching her silver years when she caught sick.

Caranna, however, was not the same child after her time in Miruna’s realm. Previously disinterested in her studies, she became more and more convinced that she was called to a life in the priesthood, having been given a second chance at life. Her father consented, considering her resurrection a favor done to him by Miruna, and Caranna entered the service of the Goddess of Death when she finished school at 16.

As a postulant at the temple, she learned to care for the dead, and as she grew in skill, learned to speak with the dead as well. Like all clerics of Miruna, she worked tirelessly with the poor, the disadvantaged, and the sick – shepherding them through the stages of their lives until they could rest peacefully in the folds of Miruna’s cloak after death.

Her primary goal is to create balance – balance between life and death, and balance between the living and the dead. She cares equally for both and is considered an expert at the rites to remember the various beloved ancestors in her family. She does not fear death, or the dead – knowing that once the dead know you’re afraid of them, they may try to take advantage of you.

She is calm and even tempered, conscientious and agreeable, and tends to ride the balance between tradition and improvisation, trusting to her skills and to her goddess when it comes to new and unexpected situations.

At 35 years old, she is now fully trained and no longer affiliated with the Temple in Durcynnes. From her father, she inherited a love of travel, and so has spent much of the last two years traveling the coast of the Crater Sea. She writes to her father often, and the two remain close. She also is very close to her deceased mother, who is peacefully resting in Miruna’s realm.

RPG Character Builder

This is the character builder I used to help me get the basic details down for Anvari –

It’s actually pretty snazzy, and useful for both PCs and NPCs – tables to roll on, or just things to pick from. Once I had a basic idea (which for me was just the character motivations) I was able to run with things until I had a character I really think will be fun to play.

Double fun, I’m going to use it to come up with some personality and backstory for my other tiefling (Antha Darkmore, who is a Witch (Pathfinder)). She’s in a much less RP focused group, but having a backstory and a personality is fun. I think I’m going to go with something along the lines of “creepy as fuck” for her basic character template. After all, she does have a spell that lets her vomit spiders. (And one that my group won’t let me take, where you peel off your own skin and turn it into a construct to go do dirty deeds for you. It’s called “skinsend” and it’s horrifyingly awesome.)

Antha is in a campaign that has her hunting for Baba Yaga – it’s pretty spooky, and fairly fun so far.

Antha Darkmore - Tiefling, by ThatDMan
Antha Darkmore – Tiefling by ThatDMan

As a person who usually plays conventional races in unconventional ways, it’s a little odd to be playing two unconventional characters at the same time, but they have such different flavors that I think it’ll work.