Sunday, November 06, 2005

World D&D Day

So, yesterday was the first ever World D&D Day. Taking a look at the WotC site it looks like the list of participating stores was fairly impressive in the end, in a certain way.

When I say a 'certain way' I mean to say that it's not a bad list of participants in an attempt to coordinate some kind of event which must, in the end, require people to step up to volunteer their own time and effort. I guess I'm just being a bit wistful here at the thought of what might happen if an event of this ilk could be organised on a scale comparable to, say, one of GW's worldwide ttg campaigns.

One notable feature of the list of official events is the complete absence of any British venues. Could this have something to do with the clash with UK GenCon, taking place in the Bognor Regis Butlins holiday camp over this very weekend? I don't know for sure, but you'd think that an event of this scale in Britain could've made its presence felt in World D&D Day? Maybe it's just down to the pace of WotC's site updates?

In any case, overcome with sentiment in the face of this marketing ploy on the part of WotC, we decided to get together and play some d20 ourselves. Brian and Tony both volunteered to GM, and we set to with a will.

First off was Brian's game.

The Voyage of the Silver Swallow
Set in the 'Full Metal Fantasy' world of the Iron Kingdoms, this game took place on the riverboat the Silver Swallow during a journey down-river from Corvis to the city of the Five Fingers. Brian gave us all pregenerated 7th level characters with enough background for us to have good hooks to get going.

So the party was:
- Sean Mohr: 5th/2nd level Thurian rogue/adventurous scholar.
- Aden Walshfur: 7th level Caspian paladin.
- Grey Lord Gregor Constantine: 7th level Kossite wizard.
- Father Bastion Forbes: 5th/2nd level Caspian cleric/battle chaplain.
- Sergei Kerchenko: 5th/2nd level Umbrian fighter/rifleman.

The adventure was too complex and multilayered for me seriously even to scratch the surface of the depths of the intrigues of the plot, but I will try to give a flavour. Among the events our party had to cope with were:
- blind prejudice
- drunken sexual jealousy and legalised attempted murder in the form of duelling
- theft
- actual murder, in the form of poisoning, stabbing, and frenzied assault
- infiltration of the riverboat crew by pirates
- crazed vengance seekers
- assassination
- a lynch mob.

As we picked our way through the paranoia and the plot twists, we were also 'fortunate 'enough to encounter such fiendish creatures as: a ripperjack, a gun wraith, a couple of other kinds of hellish undead creations of the Cryx. Oh yes, and a Satyxis raider, IIRC. This last is an irresistably attractive goat-horned woman with a taste for fetish fashions and the mating habits of a black widow spider. She was trying to get her husband back, and she had the magical powers to make us feel foolish for trying to get in her way.

In the end though, after a furious melee against the pirates and said evil female's various dark minions, our heroes prevailed (well, except Sean Mohr sad to say).

I have been aware of the Iron Kingdoms setting for some time via the lovely miniatures Privateer Press produce for their Warmachine ttg. The steampunk thing going on in this world has long appealed to me, and I really enjoyed my first taste of roleplaying in the setting. I wonder if we'll return some time?

A wee pause to catch our breath, and then it was time for Tony's game.

The Serpent Women of Kurtin
This was set in Tony's own classic high fantasy setting- Natas Duree, with all the Tolkeinesque trappings. Donald had to leave, so the rest of us set to work with our dice and soon had a bunch of 1st level D&D PC's.

- El-Araiah: elf fighter.
- Shuman Arfos: human cleric.
- Cullin Cormacht: human bard.
- Alderic: human fighter.

This game was the first time Tony had GM'ed in several years, and the first time he'd GM'ed his old fantasy world in more years than that, not to mention the first time he'd ever GM'ed d20. So his scenario was a classic simple plot: help the villagers against the evil monsters, which we all duly did.

Apart from the usual buzz of trying out newly rolled PC's we all enjoyed Tony's descriptions, particularly his spooky serpent women. The scenario left our PC's in possession of some ancient gold coins and a valuable looking dagger, not to mention the mystery of the serpent women themselves, all of which are hooks enough to have piqued our interest for the future.

And that was our own taste of World D&D Day, which we wound down with reflections on what we like and don't like about d20 as it now stands before us. But that's not for today.

PS. Been offline due to problems with my ISP recently, hence my absence on Friday and Saturday.
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