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Mail Call for my current D&D group  (first though some history of the game)

Hey folks still interested in reading dorky D&D blogs, as a way to get myself writing more regularly, and having a game of D&D going with regularly scheduled games once more (Fifth Edition D&D is the system we are using) I am hoping to come up with basically once a month a between session bit of something to give players reminders, and hints of what’s gone on, about to happen, and so on.

My current game has five player characters, using more non traditional D&D races, mostly taken from the homebrew site D&D Beyond. We have a Tortle Warlock, A Grung Druid, a Kenku Cleric, Tabaxi Rogue, and an Ursine Ranger.

Elves, dwarves, humans and such are relegated to NPCs and background characters in this game. Only one of the players has a lot of D&D experience, so it’s really a learning the game style of play, which for me as a non looking at tables and charts very often DM I find occasionally challenging but mostly maybe better than playing with everyone knowing the system better than me, as it’s my first time DMing 5th edition D&D which is much more streamlined in a good way than any edition thus far. Very well balanced system imho.

I have though I think been a bit too vague imn my hints and tips about what exactly the gang of players is questing towards. Leaving it a bit of a mystery. 

The characters started in the fall as 1st level characters, all awaking together in a few rooms upstairs at an inn in the town of Fukx Landing, which I have used in my previous pathfinder game. No one had any idea where they were or how they got here, but they all had just before waking, very similar dreams about trying to find a cat that was missing, who had a butt dangle bit of jewelry. One of the players turned out to be in their home town (the Kenku Cleic) as before we started I had each player pick where they were from on my world map. (see map below)

The players played it a bit wary of each other til they got their bearings, and thankfully decided to work together on finding out where they were and how/why they got where they are, since they had no memory of getting here wherever here was. Which turned out to be Fukx Landing.... They went down to the tavern and found out through some role playing that the cat from their shared dreams was in fact a real local cat, who had a rep for getting into mischief, and that the cat belonged to/lived with the current Mayor of the town. The cat had indeed been missing, and last seen of course in a few different places... 

Not to detail the whole first few games, but the group wound their way through these different places ‘chasing’ the cat, til they eventually found him in a labyrinth/hedge maze behind the mayor’s mansion. They followed the cat through the maze, and into the house, with a few interesting encounters along the way, including creepy tooth fairies, animated swords, brooms, crazed alchemists, a skeleton orgy, and a Knight of the Realm named Sir Beric. He was hunting the local kKing of the Vampires, Floyd. Who it turned out had taken the ‘butt dangle’ from the 200 foot tall Wicker Lady that ‘protects’ the town of Fukx Landing and attached it to the kitty (who it turned out is actually a shape shifter who prefers the feline form of a house cat to any other.) In some bid to disrupt the Wicker Lady’s protection, and be able to take over the town, to help grow his following, as in the area vampires have lost much of their strength and powers as their numbers have dwindled the last 50 years or so.

The gang figured all this out from doing more role playing than fighting, investigating more than smiting. They managed to stop a ritual that was to steal the Lady’s power, maybe without even knowing exactly how they did it. After stopping this thing from happening, they were no closer to answers for themselves though, so they decided to follow up on where Floyd most likely went, to his hometown, the relatively nearby Venom Hollow, a place in this game, that was adjacent to the bog where the Grung Druid had lived before being transported to the Inn in Fukx Landing.

A lot had changed in the town in the what the gang realized was a month of lost time that they had had before awaking at the Inn. The Warlock in fact had no memory from before the Inn. It knew it was a Tortle, a Warlock, and where it was from, but no details or actual memories beyond knowing how to do the things it does were accessible.

Venom Hollow, though, to get back to my loose chronology, had transformed from a town that was all about trade and it’s giant marketplace into a town overrun with a bunch of different cults, including the Vampires aforementioned, some homebrew version of mongrelfolk who are an anarcho-syndicalist collective, a Dragon born and a bunch of humans who revered the Dragon Wyrmling who slept upon the giant hand sculpture in the middle of town, as well as a group of Lizardfolk who are basically D&D version of Scientologists, whose leader is a barbed devil named Elrond.

At the tavern in the base of the hand statue/tower, under the sleeping dragon, the gang encountered Harvey, a revenant gnome inquisitor who acted as ‘sheriff’’ really of the town who knew the Grung from various shenanigans and interactions in the vague past. Harvey is basically an undead gnome leather daddy with 3 levels of inquisitor. He also knows Floyd quite well and had a nice detente going with the vampires, before these other cults all of a sudden swelled their ranks, just a month ago. At first the proselytizing, and tabling was pretty amiable, but something seemed to happen maybe from some outside force, prompting more animosity between the groups, and it was all a powder keg ready to go off in Harvey’s estimation.

The gang followed Harvey to Floyd’s small tower, and had some interesting interactions, learned some things from Floyd, but still never any answers, as he said he didn’t bring them to the Inn, why bring folks who are going to mess up your plan.

Then the dragon (Samael) woke up, the PCs went outside just after he had killed most of the Dragon born’s followers. He had no interest in a cult surrounding him.... He parlayed with the group who managed to avoid a fight with him through good diplomacy rolls and such.

The dragon gave them some more info they may or may not need. They then ventured up the hand statue, as there was a door that had been covered by the dragon, and it seemed maybe too convenient a clue... In they went, finding a hallway and four doors, they found some traps on doors, and some not trapped, there was a magical darkness that they accidentally dispelled, and they found a Wizard who had been imprisoned in a room there for it turned out to be 900 years, much beyond his lifespan.

We ended after this bit of business, having levelled up characters at the end of the previous game, and beginning of this game.

The group realized after talking with the wizard and investigating some rituals in other rooms that seem to have been disturbed by the Dragon leaving, that Harvey The Inquisitor, who had ‘deputized’ the gang (if they wanted to be deputized) to help him keep the cultists from getting out of hand. (as it were) As they were leaving, they realized Harvey had left the giant hand they were in.

They found what seemed maybe very important information that if they had known about before, maybe seemed like urban legends, or myths, that each of the towns in this region had a statue or building that radiated some very olde protection magic over the towns, that did not maybe hinder all danger, but kept the areas safe from invasion, plagues and that kind of unpredictable destruction. And that when the wizard had been in his own lifetime before being imprisoned, this was common knowledge, and the hand was the artefact that protected Venom Hollow, and it did not appear to be doing so any longer. He also let them know, as had Floyd that any research on this stuff could be done at the capital of the region, the city called by the name of it’s giant artefact, The Vile Pyramid.

The group decided to perhaps head to The Vile Pyramid, but maybe get some rest first, thus ended the last session.

Now on to my between sessions prompt/information for my players to mull over for next game, where I am hoping to get at least some milestone type backstories on their characters from my players, as I feel like that part of character creation we have glossed over, as a few of the folks playing a very new to the game, and I wanted to get them in the flow quickly. Anyhoo.... 

Without further adieu, as the characters are getting themselves rested up, fed and so on; a courier approaches each of them and hands them an envelope sealed with the Crest of the Head Prefect of the Vile Pyramid, Shadrach the Wise. Each one is the same and reads as follows

Gentle Being, (name of character)

This missive is an update to the mission you were given a month ago, as some disturbing news of your group, that had been designated as ‘The Caretakers of The Artefacts’ has come to my attention, that some or all of you have somehow lost memory of how and why you were called together. In case this information is false, I ask you to attend me at the Vile Pyramid, so that we may give you the information you seek, and to get you back to your mission. You have met a couple of my operatives, and they have relayed to me that you have no memories of getting to Fukx Landing recently, and that some of you, at least one of your party seems to have lost much of their own memories or memory. Nonetheless you have done according to my operatives  a good job in protecting the Wicker Lady, and may have found some information on how to reactivate the Hand Of Xaxar in Venom Hollow.

We may or may not be able to rectify the memory losses, but we have a clear record of your mission to that point, when you stopped sending us updates. I am loathe to spell out details in a letter, but urge you to attend my council as soon as you can, and on the advice of my Inquisitors perhaps spend some time along the way to us reflecting on what you do if at all remember what you were doing before you appeared in Fukx Landing. If you don’t recall being asked to become a Caretaker of The Artefacts, as seems to be the case, then likely someone or some group has reasons to take those memories of which the only knowledge we have are your own reports to us, from the time you spent on Ghost Island, and here at The Pyramid, where you were given your training, and invisible tattoos that mark you as a Caretaker.

Yours in Solidarity with the artefacts, Shadrach XVII.


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