Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Adventures in Hybras

After a months-long gaming drought, I've finally started a new campaign to introduce my seven-year-old daughter to the joys of gaming.  I chose to use the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules; these rules are not quite as bare-bones as my usual Whitebox set, but not so cumbersome as S&W Complete.  In short, it is a great rule set for young gamers.

I've set the campaign on the fictional island of Hybras, off the south coast of Ireland, during the reign of the Roman Empire, and I've incorporated a lot of Welsh mythology into the setting.  I'm drawing primarily upon Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, Jack Vance's tales of Lyonesse (Suldrun's Garden, The Green Pearl, Madouc) and Grimm's Fairy Tales for inspiration.

One of the benefits of setting the campaign in a real-world setting is being able to use it as a spring board to teach my daughter about different ancient cultures and mythology.  While I've started the campaign in Hybras, I plan to eventually leave those shores and have the players travel the world and visit Rome, Greece and Egypt.

We're already two sessions into the campaign and my daughter is already pestering me for her own set of dice (because, as we all know, borrowed dice don't have the right mojo).  We're exploring the Caves of Chaos from the venerable Keep on the Borderlands.  This was my first introduction to D&D and I wanted it to be my daughter's as well.

The story, thus far, is that a vital trade caravan from Avalon has been hijacked by bands of goblins, depriving the isolated village of Caer Darrig of supplies it will desperately need before winter sets in.  A small group of villagers, led by Brianne the Bold and Ariana the Nimble have set out to track down the missing caravan.  While trekking through the woods late one afternoon, the band came upon a cozy-looking cottage in a clearing.  Ariana the Nimble horrified her mother and I by immediately proposing to "kill whoever lives there and take over the cottage!"  After sneaking up to the cottage and peering through the window she discovered the cottage was the home of a little old lady who was bustling about her kitchen, preparing her evening meal.  When my wife said, "See, it's just an old lady; she's no threat to us," my daughter replied, "Great, she'll be easy to kill!"  I can see that we have a natural born gamer on our hands.

It turned out that Ariana's instincts were correct, as the old woman predictably turned out to be a witch intent on charming and ultimately eating the party.  My daughter's indoctrination by the Brother's Grimm served her in good stead.

After dispatching the witch and looting her cottage of its valuables, the party tracked the caravan to the dreaded Caves of Chaos, where they explored one set of caverns, killing or capturing a band of wicked boggles that lived there.  They discovered the cache of captured supplies and rescued three captive merchants, who informed the party that Caer Darrig faced an even graver threat than missing supplies: an evil cleric of Chaos was uniting the various humanoid tribes to invade the village...

3 comments:

Trey said...

Sounds like a great session and a great set of inspirations.

Sean Robson said...

It's a lot of fun to play with children; it allows you to see everything as new again through their eyes.

James Mishler said...

Sounds wonderful! Looking forward to reading more on this campaign.