Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lurkers Unite: Comment on the Campaigns

Yes, I haven't been posting much on the blog, have I?

I just had a rough week, ending today; I've got a couple of days off, with appointments that will drag me from the computer, but mostly I'll be on and trying to make the online campaign move.

I was just asked to create a post for lurkers of the campaign to comment, so here it is.

If you want to comment on the underwater events about to happen on the Senex Campaign, please do it here.  If you want to comment on the party delving into the Barrow, do it here.  And if you want to comment on the character images that are going to keep appearing for awhile on both campaigns, do that here as well.

Have at it.  Keep it friendly, be nice, no suggestions for what the players should do, please.  But feel free to comment on what they have already done, or on things not applicable to either campaign.

The latest example:

And just imagine, five years ago, literally, this was the best I could manage:

We have a vast potential for improvement in anything we're ready to work at.  We just don't know it.  But faith, my friends.  Faith.


connor mckay said...

I just want to say that I am enjoying watching the games and wish I had the time required to play in them. They are both entertaining and educational for many reasons.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The disappointing thing about creating a post to comment on the campaigns is the sound of crickets . . . without even the fellow who asked for such a post commenting.


Discord said...

(If this is a double-post, please delete.)
I haven't been following Senex because of the large amount of backstory that I missed out on, but I've been following Juvenis religiously.

Some of the things that I've found extremely eye-opening:
-PCs not being able to afford all the gear they want with starting gold. Especially when this include weapons, warm clothes and even food!
-The entire CLO system. The balance that needs to be made between being warm enough for travel and sleeping, but not too warm for combat is fascinating.
-The sequence of arriving at the barrow, discovering how to enter, and actually getting everyone in. In my games, too often the party can immediately enter a dungeon once they know the location. It's refreshing to see the party have to find the entrance, and then dealt with "hazards" (like the small opening and the short fall) to get into the dungeon proper!

Keep up the amazing work, Alexis!

Vlad Malkav said...

Just a short comment, because of crickets. Not much time to write.

Alexis, your campaigns are a wonderful BLAST! I love reading them, and it's making me pondering weather or not I should give the older d&d editions (with your rules) a go.
And so glad about your employment, it was heartwarming to read.

So, crickets because nothing constructive to say. But damn, you're good, you know?

James said...

The CLO stuff was really interesting. I learned a lot from that. I have been following the Juvenis campaign more.

Your art has certainly improved.

Scott Stringer said...

Chirp, chirp.

Relax Alexis. I'm here - just in a different time-zone. My work commitments and time zone were two of the reasons I didn't even consider asking to join the campaign.

I DO appreciate you creating this thread. Very much, and I AM going to use it ;)

Musings about the Barrow hole:

Why is there a hole in the top of the barrow?

It's a tomb isn't it? The devout who created the thing were obviously anticipating something going in or out.

The hole is at the top of a 15 ft deep hole. There's no chance of it being for drainage. Neither water nor carbon monoxide could be drained using it.

Is it a smoke hole? Any of the party see soot or smell smoke around the hole? I think Alexis would have described a grimy soot-stained blackened hole if it were for smoke egress.

No, I think the hole has another purpose. Access. Perhaps the devout use it to drop in offerings? I think not. There would be a cap stone to block it off when it was not in use. In order to stop vermin defiling the sacred place. The hole would surely be bigger than it is if it were for offerings.

I'm sure the toad guardian couldn't make a standing leap of 15 ft straight up to fit through a hole exactly the same size as itself. He might get into the barrow that way, but out again? No. So Toady isn't using it.

Then what? Birds? Bats? An Ethereal being?? (It is a tomb after all)...

I'm eagerly anticipating finding out a great deal more about this place!

Scott Stringer said...

Echoing Connor and Vlad;

Alexis you're a D&D superstar!

You're online runnings have been a fabulous resource for me. Such a revelation. To be able to see how you constructed a tiny slice of your world for people to play in has been just brilliant.

I can't thank you enough for allowing us to come along for the ride.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I envisioned the barrow as an arch. From my university courses, Art & Architecture 350, I knew that really old arches never did have a proper keystone, and often left small holes instead of fitting perfectly. I envisioned three keystones, all lowered together to create the dome arch, then that being packed with dirt for centuries, before finally leaching out. This barrow has existed for about 1400 years at the time of my world ~ or so I imagine.

Being that the hole is in Norway, the soil is much more porous than might be imagined. We can imagine a limestone plateau, with water leaching through to an underground river running from Store Stokka to the sea. I have no idea if this is really the geology of the area, but it sounds fair to me.

I don't mind telling this because Rowan, the local druid, would know about keystones of this type and the lack of any strangeness to it.

I do appreciate the compliment, Scott!

And I don't want to blow my own horn when I say that I have invented all of this on the fly, SINCE the campaign started about seven days ago. But it isn't being a superstar, it is simply doing the research, building a large and consistent world, not throwing out an old world and building a new one over and over and having faith that actual data can be found on virtually anything (and what we can't find, we can make up). I've just been at this a long time. No big deal.

Oddbit said...

The spearman is gorgeous.

Might that be at all related to the question about appearance earlier?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yes. The spearman is Rowan in the other campaign; you can find four new characters like this so far in the Appearance post on the Juvenis campaign. Eventually, I will be making like detailed representations for all the characters in both campaigns, including Kismet and eventually Lukas.

You know, I once tried to convince people to offer some kind of remuneration for these ~ they take about an hour to make (or a bit more), which is heavy labor intensive. I do make them for all my characters in my offline campaign, so it makes sense to do it here too. The feeling of "connection" between character and player is too positive, too REAL, not to jump on it. Once there's a representation that can be adjusted if the character gets new armor, changes clothing color, alternates weapon, etc, I find the players really begin to imprint on their characters.

Rowan said...

I'd actually love to see a video on how you made these fellows, like you once did for your trade/influence tables.

Justin Kennedy said...

Like the fellow above mentioned, time constraints are the *only* reason I didn't apply to the Juvenis campaign. My heart rate picked up when you put out an open call, then I got mildly nervous at having to live up to your world, then I became crestfallen as reality intruded and I knew I just can't be available enough to be a help to the game. But thanks for the biochemical cocktail!

I do, however, have a free evening through the week and recently a friend of mine who I had introduced to the game while we worked together (we no longer do) almost shyly brought up the idea of me running a game with some friends of his, a few which I knew and a few I didn't but none of whom are experienced players.

I told him that I am too old to waste my time on masturbatory adolescent power fantasies (like our previous attempt), but that if the players would be willing to work together and make a modest commitment I would be happy to get a game going with them. After all, I fucking love this game.

First session took a while to get going, but ended up with a couple of first level characters and a few more 0th level characters breaking into a house, hiding in some bushes, stealing papers, etc... Practically no combat but they had a blast!

The best moment of the night (for me anyway) was to hear that two of the players had been playing with the only other person I know who DMs (a nubile DM who railroads so hard and with such fervent conviction as to it's rightness that the two players who had only ever played four sessions, all with ol' Railroad Tycoon, already could feel it was a soul-crushingly shallow way to game) and they had no plans on returning to his game. After the game, I stayed at my friends place talking for some hours more into the early morning. He was still getting texts from the two converts during this time and informed me that they were talking about our session still.

That's a lot of writing to tell you, Alexis, that I have been deeply effected by your ideas and campaign blogs and that it is helping others realize the true depth of experience that can be had by time spent in this game. I don't comment much because it really does feel like I'm standing here with a stalk of straw hanging out of my mouth and telling Einstein "your cipherin' is pretty" to comment on the quality of your work. But every now and then, I don't care how it feels and want to let you know that you're a damn beast.

I've been keeping up with Juvenis (reason I came to the blog actually) and am about to find out what those glowing red points are. Please do continue giving occasional non-player comment threads, I'm sure myself and others will benefit from them greatly and it will very likely result in a larger number of effusive posts about your ability such as this one.

Scott Stringer said...

RE: Juvenis's farmhouse.

Alexis said..."the floor of the rear room does present one mystery: the floor is one inch higher, built of calcified mud, with narrow rods of rusted bronze that can be seen just at the surface of the mud."

Part of the floor is reinforced with bronze rods? That's both unusual and (I suspect) somewhat expensive. Purpose? Reinforcing! Reinforcing what? The floor - because I suspect this piece of floor spans some sort of void.

Aleksandra tapped to try and detect a space underneath. Good thinking! Alexis confirmed there was no secret door and apparently no hollow underneath. Mysterious.

So what is the purpose of the bronze rods? Was the "floor" perhaps once a door? Does bronze keep out a certain type of creature?

Jonathon said...

Playing in the Senex campaign, but following the Juvenis one: man, have they been unlucky. I can see how this combat could have played out very differently with even a couple of decent rolls, or if they had been grouped together a bit more at the onset, but they are now in a very tight spot!

Adventuring is indeed a dangerous profession.