This week we have a special edition of game recaps, where I would like to share my favorite things about each table instead of laying out what everyone has been up to. There has been a bit of shuffling as seasons and schedules change, and I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the fine folks playing over the last six months or so. I hope you enjoy it.
Ghosts of Spelljammer Play by Post. A bit of chaos, vegetable stealing, and a keen sense of adventure define an unlikely group of adventurers as they head into Wildspace. Excellent writers and creative with their character concepts. I enjoy introducing them all to my favorite setting in D&D, Spelljammer, and I can not wait to get out into the Astral Sea and beyond with these folks!
Thunder Buddies Play by Post. This table was my first pro PBP game, with one of the players encouraging me to give it a shot as I discussed options early on about text-based and accessible games. The group came together and shared one of the most epic search and rescue stories I have ever been involved in. The players also helped me become more comfortable with romance as a theme at the table, which was an unexpected outcome. The most memorable thing about the table is the characters, each having a deep personality and unique differences. As our adventure comes to a close, I think fondly of the Tortle snuggling dogs, a raven fetching magic socks for their companion, the lovers reunited, a monk helping where they can, and a young dragon looking for their place in the world. It has been an absolute pleasure running this game and seeing all the stories spawn every step of the way.
The Wise Witches of Rashemen. We had a good time on our short adventure in one of the less explored areas of the Forgotten Realms. Again, a table where the most memorable moments have all been character-centric. A Rabbit from the fae looking for anyone who might be holding on to a lucky Rabbit foot, a Tiger-taur (yes, we homebrewed a terrific race I never heard of!) Paladins from Thay, Elves drinking blueberry mead, A mysterious mask that would not come off, and plenty of jokes about demon chickens. Our adventure closed with many possibilities, and I sure hope to cross paths with any of these characters someday.
Storm Kings Thunder, and too early for a group name. I have played with all of these folks either as a player or their DM, and they come together from all different games to embark in one of my favorite settings - Storm Kings Thunder. We are already telling jokes, and the cart hasn't left Neverwinter yet.
Monday Night Mad Mage, aka Pact Mules. In a word, chaos. In two words, Role Playing. I love how deeply serious each player takes being true to their character while being wholly zany and whacky. We have had some heavy moments where we explore deep character flaws and motivations right next to moments where we kick a door open because someone put their ear up to it. I never quite know what to expect on Monday nights other than we will have an absolute blast playing. I can tell the players feel safe to take risks and have a chance to explore their characters in a safe environment, which is the hallmark of why we do this thing called roleplaying. I am so glad everyone leans into the themes of this game and feels comfortable enough to explore the chaotic or deeply touching parts of what it is to be alive.
Tuesday Heroes of Wildspace. This table is another group of great role players with a touch of chaos. The newest group in the lineup is already turning out to be a fantastic table full of unique characters and players not afraid to get their hands dirty or sooty as the case may be. I love all the character concepts built for exploring the whacky nature of Wildspace, and I look forward to chasing down bounties with these folks for a long time ahead.
Wednesday Mad Mage, aka the Family Table. I have said this before, but it bears repeating, it has been one of the absolute honors of my life to connect parent and child and craft an experience that can span generations where everyone has fun. I started DMing games by showing my daughter how to play years back, and we have had this special connection ever since. I can see the same link (I chose that word carefully) at this table, and I know we are making memories together that have a chance to last a lifetime. If you haven't played a TTRPG with multigenerational players, I encourage you to do so. The creativity is unmatched, and it's good wholesome fun.
Wednesday Night Mad Mage. No, we don't have a team name, even though this is the most seasoned group of players in any of my games. I remember setting this one up as a Saltmarsh game - and waiting anxiously to see if players would take a chance on a new DM, five reviews, and no games run on the platform yet. Three did, and they are still rolling dice with us on Wednesday nights. We got some new folks in along the way and moved on from the high seas to deep in the Undermountain. This is probably my most atypical table, where combat is the focus and exploration, and role play makes way for ROLL play. These folks like to be superheroes fighting only the most brutal battles. I've joked that this is my test kitchen for all of my nastiest homebrew monsters, and I enjoy the challenge as a DM to challenge these players. They find victory delicious.
Thursday Ghosts of Spelljammer (Tink, Inc). A relatively new entry with some players who have been at my table before and brand new faces colliding to craft an extraordinary space fantasy adventure. These folks lean more into the Star Trek flavor of things over the Cowboy Bebop flavor. They are into world-building and roleplay and hold their own in a tough fight. I enjoy the team-building aspect here as the characters struggle to get on the same page to fight a common enemy; it's just fantastic for a great story of unlikely characters coming together to do something big. I love the descriptions in and out of combat, the roleplay, the creative use of spells, and the acknowledgment that there is more to the world than smashing everything. Sometimes diplomacy is the best answer, except when it's not.
Thursday Night Spelljammer, the Laughing Head Insurance company formally known as the Rangoon Platoon. I remember getting a request for a table of six a year and a half ago, having run a few games with a few more reviews; these folks also took a chance on me, and we are glad they did. A group of friends combine forces for one of the hilarious nights of D&D one can imagine. Recently, they welcomed in a player looking for a spelljammer game and on my recommendation took them in with open arms. Welcoming, kind, and absolutely one of the best groups of TTRPG players the world has ever seen make Thursday nights so fast it's like time travel. The creativity is astounding, and the way they interact with the world is impressive. Keen on roleplaying and creative problem solving, these folks do not shy away from a good joke or glass of Gogandy. I have an absolute blast with these players. Every. Single. Week.
I've been hosting a table for an undisclosed corporate-level client every month this year, and these folks keep me on my toes. They are programmers by trade, so their logic scenarios and finding what is broken shine when we start rolling dice and telling stories. I joke that I can not fool them with anything; it is funny because it's true. I also got the top comment from about anyone in my entire career. "Eric, I have played with folks, and I put you at the same level as Chris Perkins." This seems like a humble brag, and I guess it is, but I read a LOT of dungeon magazine articles, and Perkins shaped a lot of what I do in storytelling and adventure design, and I don't know how else to thank them for saying something like that.
A group of friends I call our Saturday bunch (even though we are playing whenever we can get together once a month) reached out to me to host a birthday party. They had a camera, some dice, elf ears, and a rough understanding of what D&D is. We had an absolute blast, and I love hosting our monthly games where they gather around a table to roll dice, and we laugh violently over our zoom stream. These folks play for the laughs and friendship from gathering around a table, and I am thrilled to be a part of that.
Rime of the Frostmaiden, The Frozen Few. I also call this group the moral quandaries for their propensity to question ethics and morality whenever possible. We have had laughs and sorrow with this group having one of the most tender moments I can recall in gaming. One of their own didn't make it in a fight, and they wouldn't let Auril get their body; they held a little funeral for the downed character and had ensured they burned in a pyre to ensure the evil goddess would not use them. The players can go an entire session just talking with each other, exploring what is right and wrong, and it's compelling. The Frozen few is another table that bears the signature of my game brand where roleplay matters and ROLLplay is fun and dangerous. They can hold their own in a fight, but we are here to interact with the world and deal with heavy subjects first and foremost, which I have genuinely enjoyed on Saturday nights. Fun fact, this is another table where we enjoy multigenerational gaming!
I am leaving moments out, I can not collect all of them in one little newsletter post, but I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the other tables and hearing my "stars" over a more extended period. I love playing with all my players and look forward to many more adventures.
Adventure in courage, friends.