Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble...

I did something today I haven't done in a long, long time.

I played (not DM'ed) a game of Dungeons & Dragons (version 3.5). I played a first level human bard named Flaine Gilgahar (master of the mandolin) and within the course of the game, reached almost to the third level that same 12-hour session, which is quite reasonable.

John Peterson was the DM/host and together with his lovely wife, Audrey, they lavished heaps of food and drink to keep all six of us happy.

I am bad with names as you may well remember, so to eliminate embarassment I will refer to the party by their characters' names. We had a warforged scout (3' tall), Link, who is an investigator for the city of Cauldron with his celestial leopard companion; Laurel, an elven sorcerer from a prominent family within the same city; Montavi, a rogueish rascal who fronts as a fire safety inspector within Cauldron; Sir Galotte, an aasimar paladin who serves Heironeious; and myself.

We were investigating some strange kidnappings going on in Cauldron. My bard, Flaine, was 'not from around here' and therefore didn't have the edge that most of the others had on inside information, but it made for good roleplaying as I blundered my way about the city. It eventually, after four hours of picking up clues and interviewing subjects, turned into a dungeon crawl after we found the gnome who made all the masterwork locks which all the kidnapped people were using to lock their domiciles, thanks to a cryptic clue told to us by the clergy of St. Cuthbert. After my bard picked up some hints from the gnome locksmith that not all was as it seemed, that he might be in danger, we quickly left his shop and tried to see what might be threatening the gnome upstairs. Just as Mondavi was climbing onto the gnome's shop trying to peek into the second-story window, Sir Galotte shows up and berates us for having the audacity to break into a shop in broad daylight! We explain the situation to him, that there are four orphan children that have been kidnapped and it would behoove him to aid us. He quickly agrees and we then barge into the shop (once more with feeling) find the place empty then go past his curtains to fight a strange demonic creature called a Skulk. As the night progressed, it became evident that the paladin was becoming a 'skulk magnet'. We then cleverly put Link's celestial leopard in front of the party to allay that circumstance. By the end of the night, we had just cleared (almost) the entire first level of the lost gnome city of Jzanidun. We fought off the depradations of: many skulks, a medium-sized monstrous spider, a choker, a grell, a mimic, a ragymuffyn, and lots and lots of traps! Not to mention a convoluted snake of a dungeon! I mean, I have never been involved in a D&D game where even with the Master Map at our fingertips, we still had trouble navigating about the place. I'm still wondering why this was the case, but I think the gnomish joke keys had a lot to do with it. We also encoutered our fair share of lame illusions as well.

Truth be told, I had more fun playing this session than I ever had in recent memory. I hardly knew that twelve hours had elapsed. In most games that I have played in, I am either bored to tears or upset with the rules structure or something just doesn't feel right. But this game was different. What can I say? I had fun, and it certainly seemed that everyone else did as well.

Looking forward to the next game. Now for some well-deserved sleep.


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