The Shropshire Dungeon Master Update III, The First Quest

Would you believe that’s the shorter title?

Shrewsbury has just had a busy weekend, pouring into the growing geeky community we have played host to a Steampunk festival for which I rearranged some booked holiday time to ensure I’d be free to attend, and then I foolishly organised an all-day Dungeons & Dragons marathon for the sake of advertising the new business on the same weekend. So I squeezed a couple of hours out of the festival on the Saturday before D&D on the Sunday, let’s talk about that one first.

Shrewsbury Steampunk Festival

My exploits have made the local news!

Yes, thrill at the incredible life I lead! Going places… and seeing them!

Being naturally pessimistic I was convinced I’d be going to St. Mary’s church to find the place mostly filled with people selling same-old same-old and a smattering of steampunkish stands and displays, but not only was the place overflowing (literally out into the courtyard) with stallholders and attendees who’d put some muscle into the spirit of the thing, the market was barely the tip of the iceberg. Events ran throughout the weekend, town tours were set up specifically in celebration, the Old Post Office hosted an art event, and I hear that there was more that I only heard about after the fact.

What I did see was a crowd of nerdy people walking the streets gleefully embracing their fandom, and a few people more than happy to join in the spirit of the occasion and I found myself – only slightly – regretting not getting involved in some way, at least in a grander way than arriving in steam-casual attire with a fistful of leaflets.

All Day Dungeons & Dragons

11:00-9:30, and ok I didn’t spend the whole ten hours playing D&D, I think it worked out to about five hours of D&D and two of Pokethulhu – a game for which I sorely need more practice running the rules until I can manage combat without thinking about it, especially as the Pokenomicon is still in progress.

The Crow of Shellag: The first game was a simple enough set up, follow the posters to the town that’s in trouble, follow the trouble to the source, and perhaps discover a few things along the way. I played around with the idea that the Crow was a myth, and my wonderful group picked up on the trail of breadcrumbs I left behind to hunt the beast down at its lair. Four people joined that game, including two old friends, a rather exceptional young man, and a gentleman who I have met once or twice before because if you’re a geek in Shrewsbury I’m hard to avoid.

The Rattatas In The Walls: For my second game I proved that I still have a lot of work to do learning Pokethulhu, but a lot of fun was had in between times. We had a late start as two of the people who had booked the time-slot were sadly detained, but we still had an epic rampage through the streets of Exham and the grotto beneath the DeLapore manor house. The five people in that game were almost entirely new faces to me which is rather gratifying.

A Killer in Witchlight Manor: Ok, here was the big one. One killer, five innocent folk with not-so-innocent secrets, and a victim so terrified that he’s arranged to have his dinner guests stripped of all weapons and magical power, but so panicked that he didn’t think to throw out his expensive but highly poisonous lilies. And in the end there was no poison involved, although might I say Nicole that if you’d cast the spell “detect poison” you would not only have identified the lilies, but the hefty chunk of the poison on Debbie’s dagger, and Jordan might have gotten away scot-free, instead of trying to bypass the door magically locked by John by charging headfirst into a surprisingly resilient window. Had not Joe cast suspicion onto the Butler who damn-near rumbled his mission to steal some paperwork, I think that things may have gone very differently.

This month’s event I must formally declare a success for The Shropshire Dungeon Master, and you can expect a repeat performance of sorts, although things next time are likely to be different. Aside from the fact that next time more money will be involved – although likely as a charitable thing – there are other venues curious to see what I can bring through the door, and the further I can spread my influence around the county… which is more sinister than it sounds.

* By Joe:

There once was a gnome-chef from Treeg
A man of peculiar creed
So terribly rude!
Such wonderful food,
But truly it’s poisonous feed!