Sunday, September 12, 2021

13th Age Monster Design Workshop at GenCon Online


art by Rich Longmore

It’s that time of year when we get together to design a 13th Age monster!

Saturday, September 12, at 11 a.m. PT, 2:00 p.m ET, join 13th Age writers Liz Argall, J-M DeFoggi, Wade Rockett, and me as we juggle your brainstorms to create a memorable 13th Age monster.

Register now . . .  for How To Design a Monster in 13th Age

Previously in Our Workshop

The last time we ran the workshop in person, the crowd whooped through a giddy gauntlet of drinking puns towards the monster we ended up calling a booze ooze! The full write-up is slated to appear in the Dwarf King chapter of the Icon Followers book I’ve been working on. Here’s a piece of the text along with the lower-level version of the booze ooze wrecker. There’s also a spoiler version that's loaded with puns and a couple varieties of mooks.

Origin Stories

Ale flows freely in dwarven taverns, drinking holes, and residential areas!  Most of it flows where it should, down dwarven gullets or weaker non-dwarven throats. But accidents happen. Despite the dwarves’ absurd fondness for ale, a certain portion of the booze gets disposed of, sometimes precipitously. Bad barrels are fine for human drinkers, but dwarves have standards. If there’s something wrong with a cask, it’s going down whatever passes for a sewer.

Sometimes, what’s wrong is a side-effect of magic spells that shouldn’t have been fired off near the brewery. Other times no one knows what went wrong, underworld hazards, so much harder to cope with than the problems faced by the weakling human brewers on the surface.

So hi ho, oh no, to the underworld we go, where bits and batches of ale-that’s-off is disposed of sloppily and with no thought for what it’s been poured upon. Down grates and dwarven pour-holes and into pits where things live and drink. Things like oozes!

Affectionate Booze Ooze

It’s not fighting you. It’s celebrating.

Large 5th level wrecker [ooze]

Initiative: +7

Double-fisted approval +10 vs. AC (2 attacks)16 damage

Lurch’n’hug’em +10 vs. PD40 damage, and target is stuck until the end of its next turn

Special targeting: To use this attack, the booze ooze must be able to move. Pick a random nearby enemy the booze ooze appears able to reach with a move. The booze ooze uses its move action to engage that target, then makes this attack.

Flows where it likes: The ooze is immune to opportunity attacks.

Ooze: The ooze is immune to effects. When an attack or other ability applies a condition to an ooze (dazed, hampered, weakened, ongoing damage, etc.), that condition doesn’t affect it.

Resist acid 16+, resist poison 16+: Acid or poison attacks that roll less than a natural 16 deal half damage to the booze ooze.

Whoozy: A non-ooze that starts its turn engaged with the affectionate booze ooze takes 5 ongoing poison damage.

AC   20

PD    19                 HP 120

MD  14

Friday, August 13, 2021

Spearpoint! A 13th Age mini-arc for deviant dwarves

These are the PCs of the new 13th Age mini-arc we started playing last week. 

While writing Icon Followers, I made up an organization ambiguously devoted to the Dwarf King called Spearpoint. As I wrote about azers, derro, and Gold King mutants who are part of a Suicide-Squad style group of potentially salvageable—and definitely DENIABLE—Dwarf King covert assets, I realized it could make a fun story for a group of player characters, not just NPCs. 

People were expecting me to start running a new game none of us had played before. But I liked it less the more I understood it, so instead I switched tracks and began Spearpoint as a not-forever 13th Age arc, starting at 3rd level. 

 From left to right, the PCs are . . . . 
    . . . Tuli, a lava dwarf chaos mage who is new to the Dwarf Kingdom. 
    . . . Thorinn (jokingly referred to as Thorinn Normalshield), a highly disturbed/disturbing derro madness savant ("I am not an occultist; I am the Madness Savant! The onllllly Madness Savant!") who wears the shield on his back because dwarves are supposed to carry shields, and more convincingly wields a huge axe. 
    . . . the world's only half-dwarf, Jak Manblood, determined to prove he's more dwarf than any of these dwarves that fit properly into their dwarven armor. 
    . . . and a truly disturbing "hopping monk," i.e., an undeadish former (?) follower of the Gold King named something like Djkuud, pronounced to sound something like the French j’accuse

The players agreed that they wanted to push the icons to fit this dwarf-centric story, and after some discussion, the Madness Savant, aka Jonathan Tweet, came back with this preliminary assessment of the icons for the campaign. It’s going to be fun, and it’s a great example of tweaking your lens when you want to focus on a very specific type of campaign.

Also, there are fourteen. 

    the King (compares with the Dwarf King): Rules "the Kingdom", a subterranean land vaster than the Dragon Empire; most of it is currently in enemy hands. 
    Lady Scratch (entirely herself): Mysterious enemy of the Kingdom. 
    the Silver Queen (the Elf Queen): Surface dwellers interact with the Silver Queen through the so-called "Elf Queen." 
    Prince of Shadows (same): Archenemy of the Kingdom, an interloper who has stolen the treasures that had been held safe for Ages, a worthy foe. 
    the Green (the Three): Wingless and tortured, the Green worms through the Underworld spreading monsters. 
    Grave Lord (Lich King): Vast underground chambers contain undead waiting for some future uprising. 
    the Sun Emperor (Dragon Emperor): Keeps surface dwellers from bothering the Kingdom 
    the Sun Mage (Archmage): A dwarf who serves the Sun Emperor instead of the King, it's fine. 
    the Imperial Priestess (Priestess): Humans eat this shit up, I'm telling you. 
    Orc Lord (same): He sends troops and monsters through the Kingdom, searching for a route to Axis; everyone figures the Silver Queen is manipulating him into it. 
    Crusader (same): Glad that the Sun Emperor has this guy so the King doesn't have to get in there. 
    Archmaster Slime (High Druid): A drow ally of the High Druid, leader of the "slime mongers" (subterranean-style druids). 
    Diabolist (same): You know, don't spread this around too much, but she has proven to be the sort of archvillain that you can work with. 
    Great Gold Wyrm (same): The Great Gold Wyrm is the most admirable creature ever constructed and brought to life by dwarven artificers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Half-Right: a new social game

A few weeks ago, in the brave land of maskless tabletop gaming, Fire Opal ran an eight-person playtest of a fun new card game. Everyone playing was meeting between one and six people for the first time, so as we ate pre-game tacos in my game-garage, introductions sparked in various pieces of the table while esoteric conversations built in others. I noticed that one particular conversation wasn't making sense to anyone else. I can't remember whether the participants were surprised that they were being obscure, or not, but I know I suddenly had the idea for a game we could play as we ate. 

Half-Right: Each player tries to come up with a question that they think half the people in the room will know the answer to, while the other half will have no idea or get it wrong. 

Normally you're counting yourself as one of the people who knows the answer, certainly that's how the two successful halvings played out in our game. I suppose that if you were hardcore you might be able to come up with a question that you don't know the answer to but that you suspect that half the room will know! 

Yes, it works better with an even number of players. I guess with an odd number you score a small win if half-rounded-down players know the answer and a big win with half-rounded-up. Better suggestions?

As the number of players grows, I suspect that getting close to half is worth some glory. In some groups, I imagine it's possible that no one will succeed, meaning getting close will be doing well. Obviously the game changes drastically the more people understand each other. It's not simple.

Our first game of Half-Right featured two successful interpretations of the group, a few near-misses, and a couple hilarious whiffs which no one but the questioner knew the answer to.

Follow-up: Now that I've typed it up, I'm aware that others must have invented/played this game before. It feels like something that could have been part of my social inheritance, but wasn't. Let me know if you have played the game before or if you find peoples who did. 

Also let me know which name you prefer, Half-Right or Half of Us. I've gone back and forth. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Dice Miner: a three-dwarf variant

I’ve been enjoying the new Dice Miner game from Atlas, designed by Joshua DeBonis and Nikola Risteki.


We’ve mostly played great three and four-player games. Our two-player games have also been good, but we haven’t played entirely by the rules. For two-player games, I’ve got a variant.

In two-player games, don’t play with the same dwarf the entire game. Instead, each player draws three random dwarf tiles at the start of the game and shows them to their opponent. Each player secretly chooses which dwarf they’ll play in the first, second, and third rounds, stacking their tiles in order. At the start of each round, before pouring out the mountain dice, players reveal which dwarf they’re playing that round.

You end up playing dwarves that don’t get chosen as often when players can choose from the entire pool. You also get to figure out new strategies, because the order of your characters can influence the dice you want to acquire.

The same rules should work for three and four-player games, though we haven’t tried that yet.

With three or four-players, you could also treat the three tiles you’ve drawn as part of a draft. Everyone chooses a dwarf and passes the remaining tiles to the left. In a three-player game, people could start with 4 tiles, so they’re still making a choice for their third tile.

Our godson's Scout, Treasurer, and Brewer
somehow finessed my Warlock, Alchemist, and Elder Dragon

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

2nd Book First: The Two Towers

the original tome, battered but intact

As a kid, I read what I could find. Thanks to the vagaries of bookstores and the limitations of libraries, there were at least four great fantasy series that I entered via the second floor, book number two, sometimes without even knowing I'd missed the actual entrance.

Yes, this is a story about olden days. 

The Lord of the Rings was my first missed doorway. My mother had the full unlicensed Ace trilogy. She wouldn't let me read it when I was in second grade, living in Heidelberg Germany, but that probably wouldn't have stopped me for long, except that our teen babysitter smoked cigarettes in our apartment and borrowed The Fellowship of the Ring. Cigarettes? Forgiven.  The Fellowship? Gone with a moving van when the girl's family got shipped off-base a couple months later.

Mom refused to buy a new copy of the book. I suspect that her arguments--the former babysitter's ongoing obligation to return the copy, and money--were screens for the fact that she just didn't want me reading Tolkien as a second or third grader. But it's also possible that we couldn't find a copy. We were in Germany, the Ace books were being outed as unapproved, and we certainly never shopped anywhere that had them for sale. About a year later Mom tried to get me to read The Hobbit, but that wasn't gonna happen, that book was for kids. Said me. 

So in fourth grade, still in Germany, I read The Two Towers. For me, the Lord of the Rings didn't start with Bilbo's 100th birthday party, hooded riders in the Shire, and hapless hobbits having to be rescued from trees and barrow wights. It started with three kickass warriors--an elf, a dwarf, and a ranger--chasing orcs across an endless plain. The orcs' hobbit victims felt less hapless, given that they (spoiler alert) eventually figured out how to cut themselves loose and run away. Riders of Rohan? Keeping score at Helm's Deep! Onward! There are people who dislike The Two Towers because it's a sequence of military encounters and landscapes, punctuated by ents. For me, growing up on Army bases, trying to figure out ways to play with my Airfix Roman and barbarian armies, a book of fantasy military encounters was exactly what I was looking for. I reread The Two Towers as soon as I finished the first pass, since the Frodo stuff at the start of Return of the King made me aware I didn't actually understand what was going on. 

We returned to the USA before I entered fifth grade. Our first week back, Mom went shopping at a big American bookstore and returned with a present: Ballantine's The Fellowship of the Ring. She cared that it was an authorized edition. The picture of the author on the back revealed that Tolkien smoked a pipe like my dad. We were home.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Wrestlenomicon: Cultist Rules


(all art from the wild pen of Kurt Komoda)

I’d always hoped to add servitors of the elder gods to the game, cards that would have the same card backs as Cultists. When we started the Kickstarter, I presumed that new Cultists would be a project for the future. But the future arrived during the KS. Shane and Dennis found a way to add The Dead to Hastur’s Cultists and recruited the Deep Ones for Cthulhu. Kurt handled the art, I did some mechanics, and ta-dah, mission accomplished. But maybe I missed a step: I didn’t adjust the Cultists paragraphs on page 13 of the rulebook to account for these KS-exclusive cards. Some people have asked about it.

So here’s a rewording of the rules to account for the new Cultists. I’m going to phrase these rules to reflect the way I use the Cult tile, which is different than how the rulebook recommends using it. I’m also not going to use the terse style that saves space in a rulebook. This will be wordier.


Cultist cards are in a separate category from the other cards in the game, distinguished by their own card back to prevent them being mistaken for cards that are part of your normal deck and your normal hand.

Before the game, shuffle your Cultist cards and place them face-down as a separate Cultist deck on your Cult tile. Use as many Cultist cards as you have available for your god. (For Kickstarter backers who bought everything, Cthulhu will have 8 standard Cultists, 5 Willing Sacrifices, and 5 Deep Ones. Hastur will have 8 standard Cultists, 5 Willing Sacrifices, and 5 The Dead. If you’ve ended up with fewer Cultists than that, don’t worry, just use what you’ve got.)

Neither player starts with any Cultists, but some cards can grant them to you. When you gain a Cultist, draw the top card from your Cultist deck and keep it on the edge of your hand of cards so that it doesn’t get mixed up with the rest of your normal hand of cards. Given that there’s not a lot of text on the Cultist cards you’ll need to refer to often, my method is to turn them upside down so I don’t confuse them with the cards that are officially in my hand. You could even just turn them backside up so that all you can see is the Cultist card back. Because a Cultist card doesn’t count as a card in your hand, you’re just holding it with the rest of your cards to keep track of it as an available resource. If you feel like setting it somewhere else, go ahead! There’s no limit to the number of Cultists you can accumulate.


(upside-down Cultists on the left of a three-card Cthulhu hand)

When you sacrifice a Cultist, place it face-up into a separate Cultist discard pile. You should have room on your Cult tile for both the Cultist deck and the Cultist discards. If you ever need to gain a Cultist and don’t have any left in your deck, reshuffle your Cultist discard pile.


(using the Cult tile as the spot for a Cultists deck and discard)

The full rules for each type of Cultist are printed on that card. In other words, if the Cultist in your hand is one of The Dead or Deep Ones, you won’t be able to use it for the standard Cultist sacrifice.

When you use a standard Cultist or one of The Willing Sacrifice bonus art Cultists, Cultist sacrifice works like this: When you advance an attack on your track (using Momentum), you can sacrifice one or more Cultists you’ve gained earlier to move that card an extra space for each Cultist sacrificed. (If you move multiple cards due to exclamation point momentum, each Cultist sacrificed moves a single card.)

At the moment the Willing Sacrifice cards don’t accomplish any more than the normal Cultists . . . aside from the possibility of making a mid-game sacrifice of a loved one (or the first friend I played D&D with) who strongly supported our Kickstarter! But when the game has expansions down the road, we’ll find a way to add some zing to the Willing Sacrifices.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Adventurers' Lament (13th Age Campaign Character Summary)

I've been running two 13th Age campaigns. The campaign that's been more active is a Thursday night game with two of our teenaged godsons and a couple good friends. The game has been a delight, mostly because of what the PCs bring to the table. This is the first time I've run a game in which a character uses icon relationship advantages to prevent other characters from the learning the truth about their icon relationship advantages! 

The players named the campaign 'The Adventurers' Lament' during the first session. I'm not sure what they'd had time to lament by then, but it hasn't gotten less appropriate. They started at first level headed towards The Strangling Sea and the NPC summary below covers events up to their long-awaited level-up to third: in-and-out of the Stranglesea; into a running battle with the forces of the Lich King and the Crusader; into a network of elven teleportals (under attack by the Lich King) that eventually took them to Axis and the warrens beneath the Crown of Axis amphitheater. The players say I don't let them level up enough, and I respond by saying they knew what they were in for when they chose the name of the campaign. 

I suspect that the summary may not strike readers as a document from a second level game. I use 13th Age to get characters involved in seriously dramatic events from the very first session.

I started the list to keep track of a storyline that was generating complications faster than it was resolving them. The current version of the NPC Summary lives at the bottom of the campaign's google drive doc. While I'm using the Zoom-swoop method for battles, we use the google drive doc to write session notes, record the worst puns, and track initiative. 

The summary got rolling in October. For fun I'll probably keep the summary semi-updated in this post. 

The Four PCs

Butters: ‘Human’ necromancer who was thought dead for decades after an unfortunate fireball accident (probably not an accident) while fighting for the Emperor. No longer has his original spellpowers, the extended experience with death has taught him necromancy. An old acquaintance of another PC somehow ended up providing Butters’ skeletal companion; see Billy. Butters provided the campaign’s tagline by proclaiming that this time around he was going to be 8.3% less evil. But subsequent actions have caused the GM to reduce that percentage a couple times, and raise it once, so that it’s presently hovering at “7.8% Less Evil.” [[1/9/21 update: Down to 7.6%]] The other PCs don’t know that Butters broke a tentacle off the statue of the elder god, Glark, in the Stranglesea, and is transporting it in pockets and other unsavory places, but given the weird flying fish and the bizarre friendly acknowledgements by worshippers of dark gods, they would have figured it out if Butters’ player hadn’t been using skill checks and icon relationship advantages to keep them in the dark. [[Lucas Pina]]

Gherophy: Gnome bard who pretty much screams instead of singing. He glows golden when rocks are placed against his skin, and spent an unhappy childhood being used as a glow lamp in the gnome burrows, which were not happy places. Despite the fact that he’s known as the Golden Gnome, or the Glow Gnome, he has improbable stealth skills and increasing advantages from the Prince of Shadows, who knows a trick in plain sight when it’s disappearing. Gherophy isn’t an active problem for the other PCs, as Butters sometimes manages to be, but he regards damage as something that other characters are supposed to take, and takes cover accordingly. [[Robbie Myers]]

Bromach: One half of the game’s ongoing existential question: “What, Then, Should a Dwarven Warrior, Be?” Bromach’s answer involves rage, a sharp sword, and staying drunk enough that you can’t even hear the would-be orders of your would-be dwarven exemplars. Bro grew up in the wildlands among the timberwolf nomads and married above his Charisma score to a (probably) elven woman he calls the ‘queen of the nomads.’ When they separated because of Bromach’s tendency to sell the artifacts of the tribe to pay drinking and gambling debts, she cursed him with a unique problem: inanimate objects in his vicinity wake up just enough to trash-talk him. Usually it’s mockery. Every once in a while it’s helpful information, which indicates to Bro that his wife actually does want him to survive. Which is sweet. [[Miguel Friginal]]

Dhomnin Light-Braid: The other half of the Dwarven Debate. Dhomnin isn’t a paladin. He just acts like one, a tendency that got more pronounced when he was gifted with a golden spiral helmet from the Great Gold Wyrm that helps him point out the unwise or unsavory actions of others. See Chuck, below, for the main evidence that Dhomnin has a different class. Despite not being a paladin, Dhomnin is frequently said to be the highest Charisma dwarf in the world. It’s probably not true, but he did mediate a famous dwarven feud and survived long enough among the Cold Ones, a tribe of lizard people, to become a two or three time winner of their annual Games. (Honestly, the GM forgot Dhomnin’s actual One Unique Thing: which is apparently ‘having healed the Black Dragon of a mortal wound.’ So Dhomnin has performed some diplomacy tricks on the GM as well!) [[Tim Baker]]

The NPCs

Ataya: The multiclass librarian/rogue/sailor who helped the PCs escape from the Stranglesea, with information if not magic or swordplay. The PCs have agreed to help her a bit as she travels with them, she has messages to lost-sailors’ families to deliver. She may be more adventurous than she’s letting on, but she steers clear of the combat scenes.

Billy: Butters’ skeletal companion. Apparently a friend of Bromach’s in life. Apparently dead as a result of drinking a ‘healing’ potion provided by Butters. Butters says “It was an accident!” Provides a bony ear for Bromach’s (drunken) meandering musings. I believe that’s why Billy has been termed an ‘emotional support skeleton.’ Bro may or may not realize that Butters hears it all. Billy now also flames.

Byornnolf-Broddi: The feud that Dhomnin is sort of famous for having mediated. It was a Jedna’s Folly problem. Not well known outside those parts.

Captain of the Stonehammer: Not much of a sailor, or a repair expert, but all-dwarf, and determined to fix his ridiculous boat even though that’s pretty much impossible. He’s not so much going down with the ship as slowly strangling with the ship and everyone on it.

Choralinthor [slain]: Elder faun in the service of the Elf Queen; probably a spellcaster, who left the PCs to fight in the portal battle alongside the elves. // To everyone’s surprise, slain during the running battle in the portals. Not that the PCs saw the body themselves. But there *really* isn’t any obvious reason the elves would lie about it, since the rest of the interaction was played straight.

Chuck: Dhomnin’s fierce monitor lizard companion. The visible sign that Dhomnin really truly is a ranger, though mostly the PCs think that Chuck has a friend who is a dwarven paladin. Or something. // The party sublimates their affection for each other by lavishing their affection and nurturing on Chuck.

Edgar O’Dun: the necromancer (now rogue?) previously known as Ser Vant

EKKYON the Forgettable DEMON [‘killed’]: Not sure why this undead demon with a giant axe is on the list since the PCs killed him already during that horrible battle ‘guarding’ the teleportals. He did say he’d be seeing Bromach again, but undead demons always say that kind of thing as you “kill” them. “

Elyssa: Former paladin in training who had no taste for weapons and armor. Seconded to learn from the Archmage’s people, so she’s one of the more talented magicians in the service of the GGW in Axis, at present. Helping the PCs track down the elemental troublespots that have been throwing Wyrmblessed off its Axis. The GGW’s people presented her as something of a non-combatant but that was almost certainly a cover story. No one had time to think about it at the time, but in retrospect the stunt she pulled with the force bubble and the wizards’ duel with the would-be elemental saboteurs marks her as a couple notches above the PCs’ level.

Firigin: Cowardly but skilled inventor, Inigo’s former partner, somewhat indebted to the PCs for screwing up so badly while they were doing their best to guard him. Lives in a dome that has a lot in common with Butters’ new teeth. It must have taken a lot of dead walruses to build the dome. // Also the creator of the Stone Girl. // Incapable of multi-tasking, as proven by the fact that Ser-Vanh was able to steal so many gems while Firigin was distracted sending Dhomnin’s message to the Dwarf King.

Fishstick the Dread Pirate: A dread gnome pirate apparently buried near Firigin’s place on Silver Cove. Who knew? Rusty, that’s who. The pirate’s ghost says it owes Gherophy a favor, as the gnome who cleared his tomb of the Lich King’s attempted takeover. That favor isn’t preventing Fishstick’s skeletal parrot, Korthas, from systematically retrieving the gems the PCs stole from the tomb. 

“French”: Real name is Crunch, but after surrendering this burly half-orc bandit (Dead Flowers gang) admitted that he hoped to a) be sentenced to the gladiatorial games; b) eventually open a wine and cheese shop. So it looks like his original name will be buried by my original mispronunciation, by his having surrendered in the first place, and by his newly arrived ‘French’ accent.

Galadon: The lizardman in the service of the Great Gold Wyrm who commissioned the party to track down Inigo Sharpe in order to fix the floating island of Wyrmblessed above the city of Axis. Galadon fought a high-level cloaking action to keep the main portion of the Lich King’s forces off the PC’s trail, according to Gerophy’s glowing golden dream. More recently he’s been gifting the PCs with magical treasure of their hearts’ desires. (In Butters’ case, that turned out to be magical armor that looked like cured human skin. It is. It’s Butters’ skin, back from when he was recognizably human and alive. The PCs haven’t had time to investigate how Butters’ fireballed-skin became a magic item only to turn up in an Imperial armory decades later.) // When the Wyrmblessed rituals are complete, Galadon is arranging the force-teleport that will get the PCs back to the Stranglesea to rescue the dwarven and human survivors. 

Glark: Apparently a goblin god? Some sort of weird idol in the goblin shipwreck maybe? A Stranglesea thing? Who could say? Who indeed? Someone who broke a tentacled piece of the idol off and keeps it in their pocket?

Hornharrow: super weird Inigo-created potential demon-banisher artifact, but not a magical artifact. Inigo freaked out when the PCs found it in a cave with cultists and he wants them to get it to the Great Gold Wyrm. (For a change, Inigo’s new plan succeeded; Hornharrow does not appear to be the PC’s problem any more.)

Inigo Sharpe: Problematic human inventor turned weirdass robot head. Still an inventor. Shocked sober, recently, by the discovery of his demon-wrecking contraption (just above), which he had thought destroyed. No longer wishes to be taken by the Crusader and cooperating with the PCs. // Presently handed off to the Great Gold Wyrm’s people, who he appears to be getting along with surprisingly well while fixing Wyrmblessed.

Klinkhammer: Former gladiator and owner of a tavern near the Axis arena district, the DeeOhGee. Tavern sign: a black dog. That’s also the name of the tavern’s signature drink. Maybe a racist. A dwarf.

Korthas the Skeletal Parrot: “Loserssssssss.” Has been stealing back gems that the PCs had liberated from the dread pirate’s tomb. // Update: Has now turned up perched in Unta’s office, apparently negotiating a business deal of its own. This was a big surprise to everyone; to Gherophy and Butters because they thought Korthas was a dungeon-problem, and to Bromach because he’d been too drunk in Fishstick’s Tomb to remember much (we’d played Miguel’s character for him to give the scaredy-characters some muscle); and to Dhomnin because he has no idea what’s going on, since he was too straight-laced to be trusted by the dread pirate’s ghost when he sought PC-assistance.

Melinda & Keller: Wreck rats left behind on the Stranglesea. Dear friends of Ataya. Therefore probably people worth getting to know. If they’re still alive. 

MR. X: He teleported into the middle of the Lich King/Elven Lawyer fight that played out across the teleportals. He was surrounded by dead undead and magical lightning that he appeared to control, which writhed around him to strike down any undead that showed signs of unlife. Mr. X recognized Gherophy and said he’d see him again, though he didn’t introduce himself in turn. Dark skinned, power rippling from an ivory cane. Some type of sorcerer. Badass as Jules in Pulp Fiction and not necessarily trying to be the shepherd.

Nameless Hungry Ghost: The entirely fearsome spirit that nearly killed Bromach, put the rest of the PCs on their heels, and flew away with the head of Inigo Sharpe. Luckily for the PCs, the Crusader magicians controlling the ghost didn’t have much control over it, and when shove came to stab the hungry ghost stood aside after being promised a respectful burial ceremony in the wreckage of the unhealed battlefield named Oldblood. Butters lived up to that promise, which means the ghost wasn’t nameless to everyone, but Butters is good at keeping secrets.

Pumpkin, Teal, & Rusty: Gnome bandits. Or gnome layabouts. They seem pretty awful at banditing. At least one of them is now dead, slain in the hungry ghost/Crusader zombie attack, but it’s not clear if it was the dude who wanted to be called Grim Grimkin (instead of Pumpkin) or if it was Teal. The gnomes knew Gherophy when they were all younger and Gherophy was being more or less tortured as a light source, so that’s not all good.

‘Queen of the nomads’: Bromach’s ex-wife; definitely connected to the Elf Queen. Cursed Bro with the thing that makes the gritty guy unique: inanimate objects speak to him. Yes, often at inopportune times. Mostly at terrible times. But there are moments when the objects appear to want him to stay alive. Bro is sure of it. It’s just that their moments apart are more fiery than other peoples’.

Quentin Bonerazor/Boneraiser: Bro’s new magic sword, found in the aftermath of the battle at Oldblood, the draconic battlefield which the Crusader’s people made the mistake of trying to use as a bastion against the PCs.

Regna: Strangely perceptive. (GM has no idea who this is. Players have not yet helped. We shall see.)

Rusty: See Pumpkin. But Rusty is a bit more daring and knows where things are buried. Or maybe that’s because he was temporarily possessed by a long-dead fearsome pirate.

Ser Vant: A glibly coined name for Butters’ ‘servant,’ a former magician in the service of the Lich King who chose service over death-by-PC. Also, Butters has promised to seek the revenge that drove our loyal (?) Ser Vant to serve with the Lich King in the first place, against the evil (we’re assured) Baron Von Hendriks, near Glitterhaegen. So it’s close to Butters’ old turf, the Duchy of Turin. 11/5/2020: Ser Vant has been released from service. We are told that he is staying to help the Great Gold Wyrm’s people with the Wyrmblessed project. Butters counts this as a success, a reformation. Butters is at least 60% right. The man’s real name is Edgar O’Dun, and it seems he has left the necromantic ways behind and is now a lovable rogue.

Shiny: Gherophy’s new pet skitter lizard. Has officially survived 1 hour in range of Chuck’s jaws, but maybe that’s because Shiny is safe within a sack and kinda doped-up on ritual magic.

Skullface: High elf leader of the Dead Flowers gang. Captured by the PCs in a battle that was too one-sided to be remembered as a battle. Nearly escaped by teleporting through a trapped corridor but was run down and taken out by a very determined Dhomnin, who won handily by bringing both fists to a knife fight.

Stone Girl, The: The boat invented by Firigin using Inigo’s original work. Gherophy has a real connection to her. For the rest of the PCs, she’s just a boat, but Gherophy probably knows better.

Turin, Duchy of: Butters’ ancestral grounds, taken from him when he more or less died thanks to that errant fireball.

Unta: She’s a former gladiator and a (rare) human friend of Klinkhammer, the proprietor of the DeeOhGee. She also has recently taken over the management of an old arena that’s trying to make a comeback, the Crown of Axis. Butters decided he wanted to invest. Unta has big plans for the PC’s investment, starting with getting them to clear out the warrens beneath the amphitheater. Mission in progress.