Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Playing D&D in Virginia with Goths, Punks, and Metalheads Who Have Important Jobs


Over the weekend I drove down to Virginia to play some D&D with a convergence of friends from the DC/NYC/NJ/Toronto areas. The drive was made much more pleasant by listening to the Boiled Leather Audio Hour on the way.

BLAH is a Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones podcast hosted by Sean T. Collins and Stefan Sasse. I don't agree with everything they have to say--I still don't buy that Game of Thrones isn't exploitative in its presentation of violence--but they raise a lot of interesting questions and have solid insights into the franchise.

I made a new first level character for the weekend's game:

Ivy Valerio, half-elf knowledge cleric. Ivy was abandoned or orphaned as a baby and left on the doorstep of an ascetic devoted to Jergal. Ivy grew up being trained as an undertaker and priestess of the forgotten god of death. Ivy was designed to be bad at combat; her low strength and dexterity meant that she is better off not using her mace or crossbow. Instead, she relies on her magic (sacred flame and inflict wounds) for damage--which was slightly a problem when I had to help destroy a magic diamond since I couldn't target it with any spells since it wasn't a "creature." Oops.

The rest of the party: gnome barbarian with an abiding hatred of goblins, dragonborn rogue who was formerly a fashion designer, human dandy highwaywoman, and a vengeful half-elf paladin.

Things that happened in game:

  • Our most harrowing fight was against giant badgers.
  • We may have used oil and ball bearings to remove a dead giant from a hole in the top of a stone pyramid.
  • It is inappropriate to call a magical barrier a "hymen."
  • Giorgio, the dragonborn rogue, nearly died and was brought back from death's door by magic so many times that he began to prefer the idea of death to constantly being brought back from beyond the pale.
  • Other things fought: tiny shrunken goblins, orbs with tentacles and a hovering magic diamond, kobolds, magma men.
  • We callously killed a small bear, which is probably for the best as it is likely we would have used it as a canary in a coal mine if we had kept it alive.
  • A small giant is just a dude.
  • I tried to use my character's shield as a stepping stone to cross a river of lava and rolled a one on my Athletics check. But fuck it, I survived and messed up a magical sigil of the Prince of Evil Elemental Fire. Fuck that guy.
  • We hit second level, y'all.

Giorgio's player is the least experienced with D&D, so I made her this icon-coded character sheet. So when she was like "What is my speed?" I could say "It's by the boot." I also brought a set of color-coded dice so I could say "The blue one is the d4." She said that both were helpful.

Also, I drank a liquor called Incredible Hook.

Opinion was split on the merits of Incredible Hook; reactions ranged from "disgusting poison to "delicious, smooth poison." I was in the latter camp.

My partner-in-podcast brought me back this rad vinyl soundtrack to Castlevania from the Roadburn festival. 

The hostess of D&D weekend gave us all prints from her recent art show. This is now mine.

Gotta find some wall space for it.

What did I listen to on the drive back?

I ran out of Boiled Leather podcasts to listen to, but I can tell you that this Ides of Gemini album is real good.