I only know one way to love things.

I only know one way to love things: throw myself into completely, maybe even obsessively.


When I’m looking for a new pastime

That has an obvious dark side to it: at some point, I often tire of the thing and cast it aside, at least temporarily, once I’ve finished devouring it intellectually. I crave that sense of newness, of exploration. (Earlier in life, I feared that would apply to relationships too, but we recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.) Continue reading

Tea Riots in Xian, Part 1

Getek returns for another urban adventure! This time, civil disturbances provide a backdrop for the fact that he has had an evidently complicated love life. Even if he saves everyone, complications will almost certainly result…

Also, I’m still experimenting with the format of these posts and future ones will probably continue to vary considerably.


Urban Adventure

A Location is struck by a fire, riot, building collapse, monster outbreak, or the like. Draw three Actors; they’re somehow caught in the event and must be saved from it. Scenes revolve around saving Actors from the calamity. The last Actor cannot be saved until the concluding Action scene.

Location: Exclusive Tea House
Actor 1: Drug den proprietor (Elf, lover)
Actor 2: Riotous young heir (Halfing, ex-lover)
Actor 3: Pitiless tax collector (Human Imperial/Ashkanti, ex-spouse)

Adventure tag: Sudden Privation
Adjective: Hunger

Tea riots – and apparently Getek gets around! Prepare Amber Cloud of Somnolescence.

Continue reading

Review: Harried in Hillsfar

As a way of easing myself back into playing D&D “publicly” (i.e. not just for my kids or solo), I set up a couple of mini-campaigns on Roll20 to run according to Adventurers League rules. This way, I would have an easy time finding players and also an excuse for doing so in an episodic, open-table fashion.

DD_Out_of_the_Abyss_Rage_of_Demons_symbolThe first of these two campaigns follows the Rage of Demons storyline. Rather than run Out of the Abyss as I’d initially planned, I decided to run some of the Expeditions adventures from the Dungeon Masters Guild. Specifically, I first chose “Harried in Hillsfar” (DDEX3-01) because Wizards of the Coast had made it available for free via Dragon+.  Also, I’d wanted to check out that particular storyline as it had both the Underdark and demons, with a heavy dollop of madness mixed in.

That particular module consists of five scenarios or “mini adventures”. WotC seems to think each of those should run in about an hour each. In my experience, they take about an hour and a half to two hours each. The setup for the adventure overall focuses on the rantings of a madman. Somehow, the players realize he is actually prophesying, and they turn that into clues that lead to five separate scenarios. That felt really weak, but I ran with it anyway because, with a public group, we didn’t really have time for an in-depth “session zero” to get the group together. I would have liked a better introductory hook.

The scenarios themselves vary. Without getting too far into spoiler territory, the first two felt too much alike: go to a farm and discover a mystery, then halfway resolve it by trying to be heroes. (That first scenario nearly led to a TPK – some of the demonically-affected creatures can present a significant combat challenge!) The third scenario felt even more disconnected from the overall storyline. However, I really liked running the fourth and fifth, and the reactions of the players (especially to scenario four) indicated that they really felt immersed: creepy stuff was happening and they had to work to figure out how to resolve things.

Grabbing it and making it your own will allow you to deal with that rough setup, which is mostly just a problem in the way the AL set up this particular content. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend running this as an adventure. Think of these instead as five encounters (or maybe just the last two) that you can drop into your campaign to foreshadow some great evil stalking the world or just to set the tone with demons and undead and cultists.

Rescuing a Moneylender


I picked up Scarlet Heroes again after far too long. While Madcat’s urban adventure report puts mine to shame, I thought I’d still post this. And I learned from theirs for the next one!

Character Overview

Getek of Still Water is an Elf Magic-User. His traits include Elven Senses, Market Mage (x2), and Strikingly Attractive. His previous incarnation also gives him the Locksmith trait.

For his initial known spells, I chose Painted Vermillion Eyes (Charm), Lens of the Enlightened Scribe (Read Languages), Amber Cloud of Somnolence (Sleep), and Daifu’s Bright Mantle. That last spell doesn’t have an analogue known to me; it mostly involves maintaining an unmussed appearance. As a side note, while looking up information on that spell, I found that I used almost the same build for an earlier character. I didn’t intend that, but apparently I wanted a similar experience. (That character met an early death, though.)

Getek dresses in Fine Clothes, wields a Quarterstaff, and carries Artisan’s Tools (Locksmith) about his person.

Continue reading