As much as I want to pretend Christmas is not over yet, it’s time to jump back in time and do a proper recap of 2019, and may you have a Nat2020.
1. A Christmas one-shot where the PCs were the B- team of Santa’s elves, tasked with delivering presents to areas “lacking Christmas spirit” which might or might not have included the cavern of a baby dragon (some great rappelling from the ceiling was done), the bedroom of a young lich aspiring to conquer the world, and the bedroom of Max the terrible (a perfectly normal kid).
2. The start of the Mines of Phandelver campaign at Geek retreat. I’m DMing the mines every Sunday at Geek Retreat 4 – 7pm, and if you pop-by, don’t hesitate to say hi ! Secret between you and me, I’m homebrewing the monsters, and a couple of side quests. Why only kill hobgoblins when you can fall into a cellar full of hallucinogenic mushrooms where a new party member has been trapped for 3 days, and find a strange chest protected by a fireball spell containing strange magical beans?
3. 2 games with LGBT Youth Scotland. Working with LGBT+ youth and giving back to the community was so much fun. It’s great to see the next wave of young DMs shaping up ! The first workshop was around character creation, and during the second done, we went full Sherlock Holmes. At the international cat convention of Waterdeep, the body of the Countess of Rosk was found. Poison or blade? The cousin aiming for the inheritance, or the threatening lady Maym who definitely doesn’t know anything about cats? A mystery waiting to be cracked.
4. Not 1 but 2 Halloween one-shots. Halloween is my favourite season. To celebrate, I decided to indulge with 2 one-shots with definitely different feelings to them.
The first one was in the legacy of the SAW movies: lots of blood and comedy. A group of kids where tasked with going treat or treating, and they ended-up becoming friends with vampires, sneaking into the house of a cheerful undead family, and poisoning a group of other kids which competed for their candies.
The second one had a much more darker tone. The morning after Halloween, every floor above the 5th one in the Chrysler hotel is found completely empty. The adventurers had to slowly make their way up, and found their fears seeping out of walls now covered by decaying moss… If you want to know more about how to write spooky one-shots, check-out my blog post!)
5. An MCM game. 2019 was a year of Con for me. I finally finalised my Nott the Brave cosplay (check out the critical role podcast, I can only recommend it. Plus I have a serious DM crush for Matt Mercer’s storytelling), and headed dices in hand toward the exhibition floor to recruit players. Because everyone knows that when a Con’s door closes, there are always a couple of cosplayers left behind, eyes glazed and skin slowly turning transparent as they converge toward the Naruto stand. Hum, yes those games are not the most serious ones I’ve DMed haha.
6. Gaming in Canada. New Zealand has lord of the rings, but Canada has the Rocky Mountains. And there is something serious epic about playing D&D at the bottom of a glacier…
7. A pop-up D&D stand during the Fringe! This one was such an adventure. From learning how to carry and install on my own a gazebo including seats, PHB and a lot of props, to meeting a ton of new players!
8. An heist for Pride Edinburgh. Pride was so much fun this year. Especially when a group of adventurers were tasked with stealing the dagger of Ru during the yearly party hosted by the Countess of Gaga. A lot of tea was spilled (literally, as the players decided to go through Gaga’s tea cellar), and some wig monsters turned out to be the party’s greatest foes.
9. An Easter Heist. Initially built as a one-shot, this game became a 3 sessions heist where the PCs, under blackmail by a crime lord, acquired an airship, stole the fuel to power it, and launched into a race to win a diamond.
10. My first AL one-shot DMed with Red Dice Games in Edinburgh. I won’t spoil the game if you ever want to play, but it involves a mad chase on the rooftops of the city, an exploding tower, and a murderer following very closely the PCs.
11. First, the creation of Thunderdice! To celebrate I launched a “witches well” one-shot where a train disappears in Waverley, leaving only panicked shadows behind. The feedback was so positive that I ended-up making it one of our 3 core games :)
And a lot of D&D games played with both locals and tourists, wanting to know more about the history-ish of Edinburgh through gaming (and let me tell you, as a specialist I can 1000% confirm that the XVIIth century Edinburgh included live gobelins, and that the provost was a lich).
It’s also the start of the Thunderdice workshops with the launch of the module “How to DM for D&D 101”. (Stay tuned because in 2020, the workshops will multiply !)
2019 was also an intense moment of personal gaming. Initially I wanted to playtest the strange world where my Wamor and Periwinkle games are located before officially launching them. A world where the body of giants bleed into acid lakes, waters as viscous as honey but darker than night. A world where entire hills of grass are alive, moving and fighting against cities. A world on the cusp of war, where the dwarfs still haven’t accepted their defeat centuries ago, and are now rising again against the elves of the Umur Island. However, we got hooked, and what had started as 5 games session has now turned into yearlong campaigns with two different groups of players. As a DM, it is such an exciting experience to have 2 groups playing in the same universe as the actions of one have consequences for the other. And the enemy freed by one group, might just become the villain of the other…