Christmas Saga

The last week or so in the UK has been pretty damn grim, and while I am hideously behind on my Christmas shopping, there is at least one part of the season I am ready for. World building is something of a passion, and over the last… let’s see… eight years? I have been building a world, a mythology of Christmas that I use for a host of role-playing games over the festive period. It’s a story I have told over and over again, adding a little more every time. Here is the story to date, concisely summarised for you.

The Archipelago of Misfit Toys

A band of slightly broken toys escape solitude and captivity among the broken and discarded things of the world, and in their bid for freedom they come across a freedom fighter, Bannock, Gingerbread King of the candyfolk, the only creature capable of evading the elfen wild hunt, dashing through the clouds on their one horse open sleighs. By helping one another they overthrew Santa and his hunt, sneaking into his feasting hall through a tunnel opened by the Muffin Man, driving the Slaver of candy, the dark lord of festivity, into the darkness and obscurity.

The Castle of Teeth

In a faraway village the children brave the cold and the dark to do mischief, acts of rebellion, fights, gorging themselves on sugary treats. Only tooth fairies could cause such havoc, finally freed from the service of Santa Clause, they can do whatever they please. Fortunately King Bannock has friends, the ones who taught him to sneak and creep, a group of Bogeymen whose duty it is to keep children safe and fearful in their beds, to teach them the wisdom of caution. Through the hall of lanterns where teeth burn, revealing the disposition of each child – be they naughty or nice – and into a secret cellar, the Bogeyfolk halt a plot to build a Krampus of their own, that would abduct children and feed them to the fey.

Long Live the King

King Bannock is dead. His champions take the long climb up Mt Verdance Eternal, a conical mountain fraught with beguiling hazards, baubles that dangle your greatest desires before you, twinkling lights that are malevolent fey that would lead victims into deep gorges, and the twisting, shimmering, Tinselworms. At the top, an angel, of the order Solar, who alone may declare the name of the heir to the Sugar Throne. Only a deceptive and cunning confection can keep his people safe, a member of the resistance… the Muffin Man… now the Muffin King. Only one champion crawled down from the sacred mountain to share the news.

Unholy Night

A prison of festivity hides deep in a cave, in which the words “HO HO HO” are gouged with deep claw marks upon the walls. A handful of Santa’s truest disciples climb down to try and free the Fey Prince who once ruled the solstice. Through malice and carnage they work their magick upon the locks, dragging a sacrifice behind them, and conduct a powerful ritual, hanging stockings with care, ensuring that nothing stirs, leaving an offering before the fireplace… but the creature that stepped free of the chimney was not who they expected to find, a puppet and his master, a servant of the Black God of Candy, the Bittersweet, Bartholomew Basset.

The Factory Awakens

A hidden fortress in the snow has sprung to life, brightly coloured packages loaded into the back of a cart that already has a team of reindeer tacked and harnessed ready to fly, but no elves work here. A team of assorted Christmas Champions attempt to sneak their way inside to learn more, fighting their way past the clockwork guards, sneaking into the factory floor to find the place overrun with long-legged scaly creatures that laugh and sing, and giftwrap chaos for a whole new year to begin!

This Saturday… the story continues. A nightmare being guides the hand of cruel old St. Nick, and despite the best efforts of good, and honest heroes, it’s looking less and less likely that there will ever be a silent night again.

GeekOut Bristol Meet – December 7th: The Secretest Santa Roundup

Our final monthly GeekOut Bristol Meet has now come and gone; It was a fun night, filled with plenty of games and a spike in attendance to say farewell. I didn’t get many pictures of the day, but I think I got a rather good picture anyway. A nice one to leave these events all behind from. Sure, we have our New Years Eve event still to come, but all in all, this was a good send off for what has been a fun, enjoyable part of my life. Thanks to everyone who came along; it was amazing to see so many people come from so far to join us.

Our final monthly GeekOut Bristol Meet has now come and gone; It was a fun night, filled with plenty of games and a spike in attendance to say farewell. I didn’t get many pictures of the day, but I think I got a rather good picture anyway. A nice one to leave these events all behind from. Sure, we have our New Years Eve event still to come, but all in all, this was a good send off for what has been a fun, enjoyable part of my life. Thanks to everyone who came along; it was amazing to see so many people come from so far to join us.

Continue reading “GeekOut Bristol Meet – December 7th: The Secretest Santa Roundup”

GeekOut Shrewsbury December ’18 – Gift Wrapped GeekOut

Last GeekOut Shrewsbury of the year, last GeekOut meet of the year altogether, and not a bad send off if I say so myself. It also marks our twenty first Shrewsbury Meet, so there’s a pointless little landmark for you. Merry Christmas everybody, whether you celebrate it or not, whether you enjoy it or not, Merry Tuesday at least. Here’s how we sent off the year…

Pre-Meet

Thank you to the Boiler Room, you guys have seen us through a disproportionate number of pre-meets. Cake, coffee, and environment are always welcoming, and you always seem prepared for us even when numbers are unexpectedly high.

Among this month’s more entertaining pre-meet moments, losing Murray for half an hour as soon as Harley put the Binding of Isaac card game on the table, followed shortly by his amassing a frankly insulting amount of health in a Magic game. We also introduced new-ish member Richard to Love Letter, along with a few other games this month.

But moving on…

Monty’s

What a wonderful way to “wrap up” the year, and the puns were no better on the day! There may have been some minor HDMI issues, because I did not bring mine, and many people were trying to hook up a Nintendo Switch to the projector. Turns out if we want to try that again we’ll need to fetch an extension cable too, the distance is too long to safely stretch from the projector and to the mains ports, and we need both. Ah well.

The pub was busy, and at times a little crowded, but it never slows us down. I brought Robo Rally at Harley’s request, and so lost her and a few others to a game that only lasted for a short while. Also this thing:

Character Creation

At the request of a few of our regulars, I held a short character building workshop, during which Sod’s Law prevailed. I have a collection of quick-start guides to throw together first level characters easily, and of course three members of the party were classes missing the sheet in my folder! Here I thought I was so well prepared. Characters were all created for the setting I am working on for regular play, using a system in which players roll their abilities, and the worse your stats are the better your starting bonuses. So, going around the table:

Alfie will be playing a wood elf ranger, a bit cliche but he randomly rolled the class.
Nicole is a high elf rogue. Her stats were low enough to start with that she could buy an extra level and a magic item, but not a good one.
Jardel is a bard of The Ormud (a human nation), born to the winter caste. He will be playing a failed jester with a mallet that honks.
Hannah rolled so well she had no choice in race or class, and is now a kenku cleric to goddess of the moon, Nuren’Ue. She has already acquired the nickname “Buff Bird” for being crazy strong.
And Kim is a god-born halfling (aasimar) rogue. I owe her a magic item too, and I owe them all some extra information to help them get started in the campaign.

Hopefully this group will gather on the pier at Meadsbridge some time in the new year…

Gifts

Thanks to those of you who joined in the Super-Secret Santa, pretty sure everyone walked away pleased with what they got, although I have no idea about Julia who accidentally walked away empty-handed. Not to worry, it’s on its way to you, and thanks for the cornflake wreath too, it was delicious.

And thank you Harley and Vinni both for the handmade additions to the Shropshire Dungeon Master accessories, the dice tray from Harley will be making a few future appearances at games, the coasters from Vinni I think will be staying home for the most part, that’s where they’ll see the most use.

Resolutions!

January folks! A lot of you (more than I thought actually) committed to some geeky pledges for the new year! I know that at least one person (not me) managed to stay true to theirs, and if you were at January’s event have a look at the cards that were pulled from the box. How did you do? I failed! Although I did have a very productive year either way, so… maybe I’ll get a comedy skit out next year? Along with a Pokenomicon, a book of item enchantments for 5e, and a whole bunch of other projects that are jamming up the proverbial pipeline.

Next Year…

There may be some changes in format next year! Monty’s Tower have other plans in the works that may prove either a boon or a hindrance to us at GeekOut but they want us to keep coming along, so will work with us to keep our events every bit as fun as they are now, and I don’t know about you guys but I’ve certainly been enjoying myself.

As it stands, the next event is booked for the 31st of January, a whopping six weeks away, and provisionally entitled “The Frozen North”. We hope to see you, all of you, more of you, there. And Merry Christmas or whatever.

Top 10 – Board & Card Game Stocking Fillers

GeekOut Top 10s

Christmas time, mistletoe and board games! I think that’s how the song goes…

Yes, hello, welcome back you lovely folk. We’re Timlah and Joel and today, we’ve opened up the “Large, Flat Green Present at the back”, as your choice from last week. Lo and behold, the present happened to be this week’s Top 10, our Top 10 Board & Card Game Stocking Fillers. These are all small games, under £20, along with their price and a relevant Amazon link – You know, for them last minute purchases you totally needed to do.

What? We can’t assume you’re prepared for Christmas, can we? Continue reading “Top 10 – Board & Card Game Stocking Fillers”

Merry Boxing Day I Guess?

I’m writing this on Christmas evening, slumped in my chair in a new hoodie, overstuffed with food and casting an eye over my haul for the year, watching some good quality entertainment, half working a short campaign, half writing this article. It’s been a big, weird year. It started with a Charizard… Continue reading “Merry Boxing Day I Guess?”

A History of Wrapped Presents in Video Games

We’re going to delve deep under the Christmas tree of video game past, in hopes to uncover some still wrapped gems. Maybe we’ll uncover a brand new game? Or perhaps we’ll uncover some more delicious wall turkey? Mmm, wall turkey.

Silent night; holy night. All is calm. All is– Ooh a present!

Yes, you’d better believe it, you voted for it and you’ve now got it; we’re going to check through video games once again for another Christmas staple – Wrapped Presents. See, throughout the year, wrapping paper is an oft-forgotten part of gifting, as really it’s only Christmas wrapping paper that has some intriguing design choices.

We’re going to delve deep under the Christmas tree of video game past, in hopes to uncover some still wrapped gems. Maybe we’ll uncover a brand new game? Or perhaps we’ll uncover some more delicious wall turkey? Mmm, wall turkey.

… Sorry; last week’s ‘A History of Festive Food in Video Games’ is still on my mind.

Continue reading “A History of Wrapped Presents in Video Games”

Stats For Santa

If you have not read the Christmas Encounter Table, it may be worth having a quick look before proceeding, as this is not the Santa Claus you’re familiar with, and far from the 5th edition homebrew versions of Kringle you might have seen elsewhere. My Santa, the Santa of my long-running annual Christmas Campaign is a villain, a wicked courtier of the Fey, a master of his own Wild Hunt. Tooth Fairies feed him information on the children of the world so that he can enslave their minds, ensuring his power is never challenged as those children grow into meddlesome adventurers, Baron Klaus, mad tyrant of the candy folk. Continue reading “Stats For Santa”

Christmas Encounter Table

Some context: Every year I have run a Christmas themed game for one of my local gaming groups. The first one was supposed to be just a one shot, an overly dramatic story of a band of misfit toys who escape the island (really a peninsula), to return home, lead a revolt of the Candy Folk against the cruel tyranny of the Fey Lord Klaus and his wicked elven wild hunt, and reinstate Bannock, Gingerbread King of Candy Folk. And because I can’t control myself, this became an ongoing story, four years strong. This will be the first year since 2012 in which I have not done a Christmas game.

What can I say? I’ve felt rather uninspired in that regard and other projects are taking off rather nicely. So for now, the Dark God of Candy will have to wait to reclaim the world, here instead is an encounter table which sees a nondescript party of 4-6 Christmas themed adventurers level 2-4, wandering the frozen wilderness in an effort to evade Santa and his sadistic brood. It assumes information from the D&D 5th edition Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Merry Christmas.

Continue reading “Christmas Encounter Table”

GeekOut Bristol Meet – December 9th: A Very Star Wars Christmas Gallery

Whilst Sunday 10th was a rather snowy day down here in Bristol, Saturday was a fairly sunny day. Sure, it was cold outside, but it didn’t stop people getting down to the pub for another good old GeekOut Bristol Meet. There was a lot of food and drink consumed, a lot of geeks partying in the only way geeks know how and there was a lot of new people coming to join us, as well as plenty of our regulars too. From a slow start, the meetup picked up quickly and it turned into a rather busy night! As ever, join us for our monthly gallery of our events!

Whilst Sunday 10th was a rather snowy day down here in Bristol, Saturday was a fairly sunny day. Sure, it was cold outside, but it didn’t stop people getting down to the pub for another good old GeekOut Bristol Meet. There was a lot of food and drink consumed, a lot of geeks partying in the only way geeks know how and there was a lot of new people coming to join us, as well as plenty of our regulars too. From a slow start, the meetup picked up quickly and it turned into a rather busy night! As ever, join us for our monthly gallery of our events!

Continue reading “GeekOut Bristol Meet – December 9th: A Very Star Wars Christmas Gallery”

Better Christmas Music

Three days to go!

As a retail worker, I appreciate the sympathy of customers who comment on how sick I must be of Christmas music. You’re right, and you’d be surprised at how much I appreciate your empathy on a day-to-day basis.

But as a shameless lover of Christmas, dammit I want to enjoy some Christmas music too, I just can’t listen to Boney M or Elvis anymore, and I didn’t want to listen to Coldplay in the first place. The biggest let down was when I couldn’t stand the Fairy Tale of New York any more, I loved that song for it’s bitter outlook and oddly joyous anger, love and hate balanced in equal measure, and now I’m bored of it. Continue reading “Better Christmas Music”