And Diary XIV
Last time I talked about life as a DM for hire was only July, but hotdamn have these last two months been full of stuff!
Insomnia 65 shortly after Gen Con, three games a day in which I had to shout over the e-sports stage about a hundred feet away with whooping and cheering Overwatch fans and the commentators talking over the action, it’s a hard life but ultimately worth it. Not only are the games booking out, but extra games are having to be laid on, and we’re in the process of inducting another GM to help ease the burden and get a few more people to the tables.
Huge thanks to the photographer who sent me some of pictures he took mid-game, some of your work will end up on a roller banner at some point in the future:
Following a short break in Machynlleth it was straight back to the library, and this week just gone, Staffordshire, specifically a charity event with the Staffordshire Wargaming Guild in support of PWSA for Prader Willi’s syndrome, and military charity SSAFA. I was invited by Harriet who I met very briefly at UKGE in June, and while my communication was slow over the busy summer, I went, I ran a couple of games, I did so far faster than I intended because my players proved to be ruthlessly efficient. Also, I apparently won some dice in the raffle! Thanks everyone, hopefully see you all again.
Ok, so, the future. I am most definitely up to something, for a start I have another Hallowe’en game in the wonderful surroundings of Whittington Castle, and the interest has already been so incredibly high that I’ve added a second day of play! The first event on the 30th of October, the second on the 1st of November (with obvious exception for Hallowe’en itself it being GeekOut Shrewsbury’s Bad Costume Party). In my last horror spectacular I killed everyone in the first hour… this time around, they’ll wish I had.
I’m not offering links for the event because at this point they look set to sell out some time this Saturday.
Finally, I’ve been up to something… I’ve been up to something for about three months, maybe longer, and I still can’t talk about it in full but much of it will be a continuation of the DMing 101 series from when I first started here many, many years ago, and requires learning how to turn all of this long winded rambling into vocal rambling, I ranted about this the other day, but now I can show you that it’ll look something like this.
Today’s article is late, that is a fact. Which is not to say that I’m sat staring at a blank page in desperation trying to reach a deadline, no I’m being quite productive. Folder after folder is filling up with 5e character sheets ready for this Summer’s Insomnia, at which I will again play ten games in four days, and as each session is only two hours long, better to get the character sheets ready than to have people prepare their characters at the table.
With such efforts comes practice, and better yet comes an abundance of other characters from which I can copy and paste important content like class features that require a certain amount of abridging to be made palatable to new players who might be daunted by enormous blocks of text. It’s now very little effort to actually fill in the basics, but with that comes a freedom to get experimental, and at I65, I’ll be bringing a few experiments, because we’re playing a few Plane Shift games. And so as not to give away too much, I’ll only be introducing you to one team…
Khef Crop: Amonkhet
Welcome one and all to the trial of strength! Pulling a few rules from the guidelines set out in Plane Shift: Amonkhet article, the group will step into the sandals of the surviving members of Khef Crop, each bearing the cartouches of both the trials of solidarity and knowledge, now they fight their way along the Luxa river, the mighty god Rhonas looming nearby as a beatific tutor and pitiless judge. For these heroes, there is only one class, Initiate, but in each case I have multiclassed like mad and modified a hell of a lot. I’ve also been going by a slightly more old-school approach to character creation, rolling stats in order having already decided on the race. Here are some of the characters I’ve come up with…
The Naga: A mixture of the cleric of strength and a worshipper of Rhonas himself, and a fighter battle-master. The character has spells to lend a degree of utility outside of combat, much of which is healing but still potentially useful, and I added the maneuvre Sidewind, which allows the Naga to make a heavy hitting attack and immediately disengage from combat, allowing him or her to evade the worst of retaliation, or perhaps land somewhere to threaten someone new. The cleric elements reflect the Naga’s ability to overcome the trials that came before, but here is where he or she is most desperate to shine.
The Devotee: Revering the God Pharaoh first and foremost (hey, it’s not their fault he’s a manipulative dragon planeswalker), and borrowing some inspiration from these warlock invocations that I absolutely adore, this character uses the one listed as Blades of Demogorgon and makes it Horns of the God Pharaoh. I also added Torment of Scarabs because this pdf doesn’t have invocations for Xanathar’s Guide to Everything cantrips, this makes Infestation a concentration spell that consumes your bonus action to maintain. The Devotee has a little bit of rogue in them to add greater potency to their weapon attacks, and lend a bit of evasiveness to the famous glass-cannon.
The Khenra: Khenra come in pairs, it is very rare for the jackal-headed folk to be born as anything other than twins, so hey, let’s stay in-lore shall we? Both are a classic blend of barbarian and fighter, and I added an element of an Amonkhet card I liked and threw in some mechanics I knew would work. Consuming Fervour (fervor in the American spelling) steals a little from the Scourge Aasimar, upping the damage of the barbarian Rage, and taking some extra damage back in kind. Well that’s fine, right? You can just end the Rage whenever? Well not if you’ve got a mean spirited DM who decided to make it impossible to end a rage unless your doused in water.
I might change one of these two subtly, possibly lending a complimentary variation of Rage, or perhaps shifting the balance of classes more in favour of fighter than barbarian… TBD.
The Aven: The Aven might end up as the only pure-class character in the crop, but lately I have been making a lot of wizard subclasses, so expect some homebrew materials no matter what. Having an Aven in the Crop makes my designs a lot more three-dimensional, so there should be a few options to make other people fly in there as well so that everyone can enjoy.
And that makes five… leaving one more. So far I have characters reflecting four colours, leaving only white to go…
Well I have to leave something a surprise for the day. And I still have two more planes to work on.
So these are exciting times. Three people today have sent me an article about other professional DMs around the world (many of whom charge a damnsite more than I do), and this hobby that was just barely sticking its nose out from its niche back in the mid 2000’s when I was learning to play is suddenly an industry that’s riding the growing e-sports and game-streaming trend to prosperity and greatness, spurred on by the likes of us who dare to charge the uninitiated into the ranks of character creators and story tellers.
And it’s not just Bloomberg who have sat up and taken notice. (more…)