I’m a few hours later than normal, because Friday was the day of the big Dungeons & Dragons game that I’ve been preparing for. I had a lot of last minute preparation to get done, and then it was off to AS’s place, where he was hosting for the evening.
We had five players, plus me Dungeon Mastering. The adventure was set in Ravnica, a giant plane-spanning city first described in the game Magic: the Gathering. I instructed the players that their characters did not know one another before the adventure begins, and that they were to keep their characters secret from each other. When pizza had been consumed and everyone had settled at the table to play, I began the adventure:
You are woken suddenly by cold water pouring over you. A LOT of cold water. You flail around, trying to get your bearings, and realise you have no support – you’re splashing in a pool of deep water. You find the surface and gasp for air. You instantly regret this move as a horrible stench of decay and filth fills your nostrils and lungs. But you need to breathe, so struggle to maintain your position on the surface. Your legs reach down and can’t find anything to stand on. And as you blink frantically with your wet eyes you realise it’s dark. Very dark. Darker than the deepest night in the narrowest alleyways of Ravnica. And as your eyes try in vain to adjust to the darkness, you realise there are other people next to you, also flailing about in the putrid water.
The first thing they had to do was figure out how to not drown. They were in a sewer, and had to swim to a side of the tunnel where there was a narrow ledge where they could crawl out of the water. Once a couple of them had managed this, the crocodiles attacked. This was when they discovered that their most of their weapons and magical gear were missing. A few had concealed daggers, with which they fought off the crocodiles.
Once they had time to breathe (the foul, stinky air), they could introduce themselves to each other. And begin the process of working out what just happened. None of them knew each other and the last thing they remembered was going to sleep at night after a fairly boring day.
And thus the chain of adventure had been set off! They ended up tracking across the city, encountering a disinterested bath house attendant (nothing in this city surprised him any more, and he only wanted to cadge an extra gold coin off each of them for a fresh set of clothes), ogre thugs, a goblin gang, helpful librarians, a mystical dryad, and a torture chamber operated by a demon. By the end of the night they had some idea what they were doing, and we packed up to continue the adventure another day. I think everyone really enjoyed it!
As a helpful prop, I made everyone reference cards for their magic items, so they could instantly see in front of them what they had, and hand them back to me when used up (for example magic potions). Here’s an example of one card:
(Lantern image is copyright Wizards of the Coast, reproduced from D&D Beyond, at smaller size for non-profit illustrative purposes only.)
Another thing was that Andrew Coker decided his character would have the personality trait: Loves a good insult, even when directed at him. To assist in coming up with good insults, he and I worked together on a random fantasy insult generator, using our mezzacotta random text generators code that I’ve been taking about previously. We kept this one secret form the other guys until after the game, so it was all new to them. It was very cool seeing Andrew’s character slinging these amazing insults at everyone he met during the game. Do check it out, and perhaps use an insult next time the opportunity strikes.
So, a good night was had by all!