West Marches: Westmoor

Welcome to West Marches
Start using the site, guys.

Hey, everyone! Time for a legit post here in the Adventure Log. I’ve been a busy bee working on the Wiki pages, mostly meta stuff. I encourage everyone to head over there and check out the rules and info.

In particular, take note of the Party Leader Rule. You get bonus XP if you are the one to initiate a game day. Since nobody is making an effort yet to start a game, I’m considering doubling that amount for the first Party Leader. It’s not that hard—just add some entries on the site and ask a few people if your chosen time works for them.

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First Experiences in the West Marches
June 1st, 399

It has been but a few days since I arrived in the West Marches. The region is as wild and lawless as I had hoped and I doubt that my work will arouse much attention. The lack of any authority also seems to have increased the number of… opportunities… available.

On my arrival I met with two others in an establishment in Westmoor, a border town. One was decidedly outspoken with an air of charisma, while the other seemed quiet, reserved, and listening to everything that transpired carefully.

The three of us were approached by a squalorly elf wretch. I paid her brief attention, assuming her a beggar. She gave a long self-serving story of how her husband forced her to this glorious free land (she ignorantly condemned it as backwards and cruel) and I was ready to send her away until she surprised us by revealing that her husband had not been heard from in several days. Her husband had been part of, what sounded like, an esoteric and interesting cult living in a town called Amber Heath. No one had heard from the town in quite some time and I was quick to assume they were dead in this competitive landscape.

My curiosity was roused. How could an entire town go silent, even in this part of the world? The elf offered a tidy sum of jewels to get word from her husband, which immediately caught the attention of my two new companions, Roywin and Akorath. I was certainty interested in the mystery of Amber Heath but could always do with more funds and it was not long before the three of us set off to the town.

We followed my raven familiar, Nevermore, through the wilderness seeking our destination. After some travel we came across a broken down wagon with an inordinate amount of men and women standing around it. We approached the group and it was immediately apparent that they were not traders but more likely bandits. In preparation for the coming violence I began to swim through my grimoire’s ever-changing pages, faintly listening to the conversation around me. Roywin and Akorath were engaging in a charade of a conversation with the highway men while I prepared for the inevitable conflict.

These bandits, The Thorns, were led be a woman who seemed to think herself quite clever; Freda. She put up a ruse about the barrels in their cart, insisting they originated from a meadery in Amber Heath though we quickly caught her in the lie… then we happened upon the dead body in the back of the wagon.

As the tension built one of my companions managed to enthrall Freda in a charm spell and before I knew it the confrontation was abated and we had control of a new band of hirelings. Freda ultimately fell out of our direct control but as long as we can keep a measure of leverage on her and keep her and her thugs rich I am sure she will fold to any request.

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How to Add Your Character to the Site

We’ve had a couple of great sessions so far, and I’m really stoked to see what all happens in future games in the West Marches! Brandon has initiated the role of Party Leader with the first two sessions, but I encourage everyone to take the game into their own hands and organize a game night at least once. And don’t feel shy about adding to and editing wiki pages or other stuff on the site. A tool is only useful as long as it’s being used.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about adding your character to the Characters section. Note that the rule says you can’t roll dice for your character prior to game night, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan out a few things. In regards to the website, it’s helpful to get your character’s page made so we can reference him or her in Wiki links. In case you’re not familiar, here are the basics.

newcharacter1.png

First, go to the menu at the top and select New Character. This brings you to the edit page, where you can edit a bunch of things. Note that your character is not officially added until you save the edit page.

newcharacter2.png

On the edit page, you have a bunch of options. Most important for now is just to get your name set, and to tick the checkbox marking you as a Player Character. You can enter a short description if you want. Later, when you’re ready to enter your character sheet stats, you can select the D&D 5e character template from the drop-down menu (it will be the only option since I set the site settings to that game edition). One caution when filling in your character sheet: save often. I had early reports of errors on save and people losing their work, so just like any computer work, SAVE!

The Slug is not required—it’s only for if you want the URL to be different than what the site hashes your name to. I say leave it be unless special characters or something are causing trouble with links.

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Return of the Magi
June 2nd - 3rd, 399

DM Andrew here. Brandon has been very busy and hasn’t been able to post a session recap. So I’ll fill in for him here. Remember the Party Leader rule, guys! If you get people together and post the session recap here, then you get a + 10% XP token to use on the next adventure!


This session saw the return of our Magic-User Triumvirate: Akorath Binglehop, Jarad Alhazred, and Roywin Garrick, joined by Carlos the Bard. They set out to complete the quest that had eluded them the previous day. Amber Heath was suspiciously quiet, and an elven woman named Iris promised the adventurers reward if they were to go ensure her husband’s safety.

With good weather and easy terrain, the group soon arrived in the small enclave. No people were to be seen until a terrified man urged them to come inside. He introduced himself as Elian, Iris’s husband. Apparently, the settlement had been terrorized by strange demonic creatures who killed anyone who dared to leave. He begged the group to rescue him, and after verifying that there were no other survivors (possibly as recently as last night), they agreed. On the way out of town, Carlos flipped a silver coin into the well for good luck.

On the path, they were ambushed by two pasty-skinned, eyeless creatures. These were not demons, but they were murderous. The magic users made short work of one, and Carlos’s crossbow felled the other. As it fell, a crack of thunder announced the coming of a major thunderstorm.

The group sheltered in a cave at the base of the hill overnight. There were no surprises apart from a wild boar who also took shelter from the high winds and driving rain. It did them no harm, and, left to itself, bolted from the cave at first light. The cave was very deep, and they didn’t know how far it reached, but the group decided to get Elian back to town.

Reunited with his wife, Elian said he would settle down and think about opening an alchemy or herbalism business. The party received their reward and celebrated at the Stag’s Head.

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A Sad Day
4 June 399

Jarad and Akorath joined a newcomer, Bardo, on a quest to dispatch some goblins that had been menacing the town. Akorath thought he knew exactly which direction to go to find the cretins so the group set off.

Unfortunately, Akorath got east and west mixed up and the group, completely lost, arrived at a hill that had a religious ceremony taking place on it. The group thought they would ask for directions but just as they began speaking to the strange devotees, all of the members of the ritual passed away. The members were believed to be part of the Cult of the Inevitable.

The party was set upon by several re-animated hands, which they quickly began to put-down, however, Jarad and Akorath let their guards down and got too close to the deceased cultists. Before the adventurers realized what was happening the now undead cultists lashed out and struck down Jarad and Akorath. Bardo, seeing he was outnumbered, fled back to town, leaving his two companions to their gruesome fates.

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Exploration Experience
TL;DR - Update the wiki, gain XP

Something I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks has been awarding experience points for exploring the world. Sure, the game is about hitting monsters with sharp sticks, but it’s also fun to discover things. D&D hasn’t been very good about supporting this play style out of the box. In previous West Marches sessions I have awarded XP for discovering locations based on a normal monster encounter for the average party level. However, I want people to share this information, so I’m introducing a rule change, effective following tonight’s session. This is going under the Beta Test rules, and I welcome all feedback on this.

Exploration Experience

After a session, players can gain Exploration Experience by editing the campaign wiki. For each substantive fact or new piece of knowledge added, they add 10 x current character level to the party’s Exploration XP Pool. This pool is divided evenly between the party members who contributed to the pool. The DM will review and verify the amount earned before or at the beginning of the next session.

An example of an individual entry might be, “An elven ruin is located on the shores of Lake Ugmal.” If you try to game the system with ultra-short snippets that barely add information, I’ll lump them together aggressively. If you’re just writing in a factual manner I’m much happier to accept more entries as XP eligible. Adding your character to the list is eligible as a new piece of information. Normal character status updates (e.g. equipment, stat boosts, wealth) don’t count; major status changes (e.g. level, death) do.

Lastly, please create as many pages as needed for new wiki topics. Just make sure they’re linked from other pages, or it’s not really like you added them to the wiki.

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Game Etiquette and the RSVP Button
The DM is a little bit mad and wants you to hear why.

Lately people have been holding out on committing to game night until the day-of. While I love gaming and make an effort to be flexible for people, I haven’t been seeing a lot of reciprocity. It’s completely understandable when people can’t make it—that’s a normal thing called Life. However, the last couple times someone tried to schedule a game I’ve had to clear my schedule for something that never materialized.

How long would you work somewhere that required your availability, asked you to prepare lengthy reports at home, but didn’t actually call you in for paid work each day? I’m guessing not very long. As a simple statement of fact, DMing a game is WORK. It’s enjoyable work, but still an extra time and effort commitment outside of game hours. I’m clearing my schedule for this job, writing my “reports”, and even playing a bigger role in organizing things than I intended, but I’m not getting paid in sweet, sweet game time with my friends.

As of today and moving forward, I’m going to require that game days be settled by lunchtime on the preceding work day. If we game on, say, a Tuesday, I’m requiring a minimum head count by noon Monday or the game is canceled. How is participation determined? With the RSVP button. This is a minimum time frame, not a suggested time frame. I would appreciate that people show the courtesy of using the RSVP button as soon as they know if they can make it—either yes or no, just use it.

If you’re not interested in participating, that’s perfectly fine. I get it, you’re busy. But I didn’t pay for a year of access to the expanded features just so people can ignore the RSVP system. If you’re honestly not interested in gaming, then do me a courtesy and say so, and I’ll remove you from the system.

/rant

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Mushroom Cave Monster
7 June, 399

Garret and Carlos the Coward, along with new arrivals Sulta, Jack, and Armen decided search for adventure and wealth within the bowels of a previously discovered cavern. With the help of Carlos’ weasel, some mean-ass piton placement, and a well-timed slowfall spell, they were able to safely relocate the cave and descend into its uncharted depths. What they discovered was an alien world filled with ancient ruins, towering fungal forests, and bizarre creatures.

Oh, and a terrifying Fungus Shark of incredible strength.

The Fungus Shark bit them, nearly to death. The adventurers smashed and shot the Fungus Shark. It bit them some more. Eventually the Fungus Shark died.

After that they explored a bit and scared off a smaller humanoid lizard thing. It was probably going to kill them, so it was for the best.

They chopped up the Fungus Shark and hauled it back to town to sell for rent money.

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Beartrap Headbutt
The Goblin King

Garrett, Carlos, Armen, and Selta returned to the previously discovered goblin hangout in Dranzilthl’s Ravine to explore further. It seemed the goblins reinforced their base with a few traps and barricaded the doors.

After evading the traps and forcing their way through the doors the adventurers proceeded to combat some goblin guards and head through the Dranzilthl mosaic’s mouth. On the other side they encountered the previously discovered rope bride but this time there were two goblins on the far side. The goblins immediately started to cut the rope bridge down to prevent passage and managed to cut one of the support ropes while Armen was on the bridge but the adventurers were able to prevent them from completely disabling the bridge and got Armen back to safety.

With the goblins incapacitated (They thought the adventurers were kinda cool guys at this point) Carlos shimmied across the remaining rope and once on the other side he and Garrett mended the cut rope with a spell. The party crossed the bridge and went through the far door to Dranzilthl’s Palace.

Inside the door they found several more goblins and an odd hole in the ceiling. The found a way to go up, through the hole and there discovered more goblins and the Goblin King, who had a bad-ass beartrap for a crown. After a grueling fight the king and goblins were defeated and the adventurers found a horde of treasure.

Before heading home with their new-found treasure they took a peak down another corridor and accidentally alerted more goblins. The party grabbed their treasure and ran, creating a makeshift pulley system to transport it across the rope bridge without stressing the rickety beams. The pulley system worked perfectly and the adventurers narrowly escaped with their treasure and made it back to town.

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Revisiting Exploration XP

Greetings, West Marchers. February has been a fairly busy month for everyone, but we did have some solid gaming and a few happenings in the kingdom of Gyleon. I’m happy to see people pushing farther out into the world and uncovering new locations. However, I think I made it too difficult to reap the rewards of this exploration. Specifically, I want to update Exploration XP.

Here’s what I’m thinking for the new system to reward people for exploration. The new rule will still involve updating the wiki, but now instead of counting how many “facts” you add, I’m just going to ask if you updated the wiki. If you do, you get to add a number of XP equal to your share of a “standard” difficulty encounter for your level. I hope you guys get excited enough about the game that you add more than just a sentence or two, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Everyone who’s not playing, remember that you can read the wiki and see the cool stuff people are discovering! This is the “tavern gossip” you hear when you’re not adventuring.

So what do you all think? Please leave me some feedback as comments here.

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