It has been a very long time since I posted an update on what I have received as rewards from the Kickstarter campaigns I have backed. In the past several weeks, I have received multiple long-awaited and eagerly anticipated rewards. Given the breadth and scope of the three biggest campaigns I have received rewards for - Fateforge, Iron Kingdoms, and The One Ring - I will write up separate posts for each of those. For today, I will write about four smaller campaigns.
First up is the Northern Animal Tarot 2nd Edition set from Wilder Hearts. I am not a tarot user, but I thought this deck would work really well as a prop for an RPG set in a boreal forest. The cards are big, glossy, colorful, and substantial. The packaging was great as well, with lots of extra touches that really added. In addition, the artist is from the Edmonton area, so it was nice to support her. This was her second edition and I will gladly pick up the third edition if it is of similar quality.
The second package was from Eventyr Games for their Wanderer's Guide to Merchants & Magic (5E) supplement. I was a fan of Eventyr before I saw this on Kickstarter as I had purchased their "Tomb of Annihilation Complete DM's Bundle" from DM's Guild. I purchased the digital version and was really happy to receive several maps, printable cards for the merchants, and 40 really nice tokens for the characters outlined in the book.
If that was not good enough, they posted on Kickstarter they are working on a Foundry VTT module for the material from Wanderer's. Based on my interest in a post on Kickstarter, I am now playtesting the module for them. The layout and depth of their digital stand-alone product translates really well to Foundry.
The third reward was the PDF version of The Lazy DM's Companion from Mike Shea. I picked this up automatically due to how much value I received from Shea's "Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master". Where "Return" radically changed how I thought about running and creating games, "Companion" is more of a summary of ideas from Shea's website and YouTube channel.
It's not that "Companion" is bad by any means, but it just did not have the same impact on me as "Return". Flipping through it was a "yeah, yeah, read that already" experience instead of a "OMG that's a great idea" experience. That said, I will automatically back Shea's next campaign since he puts out great content on a regular basis.
Last up is a reward that has nothing to do with gaming. Dave Kellett is one of my favorite creators online. I have purchased prints, books, and films from him, largely from his online comics Sheldon and Drive. I also back Kellett on Patreon.
This campaign was for a magnet and pin set as part of Kellett's campaign to curate comic creators. (I purposely did the alliteration in that because of Kellett's and co-creator Brad Guigar's 4 C's for comics.) I am happy to send Dave money on a regular basis and this had the added benefit of being a way to encourage my younger daughter to continue with her drawing and comics.
Session 7 - Dinner with the Fist - Mirtul 20 -24
Del decided to leave Rokah on his own and walked away instead of helping or providing a lookout. Before parting company, Rokah said he would stay with the enlisted men overnight and hook up with the party in the morning. Del came downstairs and faked a head wound from a "speedy dwarf". Later, Burgell hit Del with his quarterstaff to make sure the headwound was realistic. Commander Portyr was aghast that a guest was attacked in the Fort and offered Isa a Charter of Exploration for free as recompense.
The party had a team meeting before the feast. In the meeting, it became clear that the party was deeply split over whether they should work with the Flaming Fist. Isa was opposed; Del was for; Arco did not trust them; Burgell proposed they take work from the Fist but also sell their maps to other parties. In the end, they went to the feast and ate and drank.
After retiring to bed, Del had a dream about a kindly, ancient woman welcoming Del into her home. As he woke in the early morning, he heard footsteps hurriedly scuffling to Isa's room. Gruta woke Isa, apologizing and offering her resignation. Over night, Rokah was murdered, and his body was found by the garden by an early morning patrol.
Upon examining Rokah's remains, all Burgell found was a note from some group who thought the party was working with Zhentarim spies. The note called out the "so-called noble" in the party, which was clearly directed at Isa. Prior to departing, Isa took the free Charter from Portyr, and informed her that if they found Rokah's killer alive, they were to keep them alive until Isa returned.
They party left the fort, electing to travel along the beach for the trip back to Port Nyanzaru. Isa spotted a Reef Shark in shallow water and attacked it with a bite attack. Three reef sharks were killed, which Burgell used to create a gourmet meal for the party on the beach with the cook's utensils he had bartered for in the Fort.
There was one uneventful day of travel along the beach back to Port Nyanzaru, and the subsequent day was filled with rain, increasing from a light mist in the early morning to a heavy downpour by night. Before finding a camping spot, the party came across a section of the beach covered with Giant Crabs. Arco surfed a couple for a few minutes, and they killed two for supper that night.
The heavy rain and humidity took a toll on Anemin and Burgell. Both nearly succumbed to Exhaustion through the day, and the entire party needed to take off their armor at night. Luckily, there were no attacks on their camp as they slept. As they camped, they were able to use the raincatchers to replenish their fresh water supplies.
Most of the following day was spent in uneventful travel. A quick ferry ride across the Tiryki river got the party back to the outskirts of Port Nyanzaru. Crossing through the gates, the discussion turned to next steps and the need to catch up with Strider. Intrigued by the shouts of a broadsheet crier saying "Zhanthi steps in after tepid results", Anemin paid 1 GP for ten copies of today's edition of "The Port".
This was another fun session to run as it gave me the opportunity to add some good intrigue to the story. Why was Rokah murdered, and by whom? How is it possible that someone had infiltrated the fort and got away with murder? And why were they focusing on Isa, as the only "so-called" noble in the party?
I took Rokah pretty much as-is from the official adventure. I never revealed his background as a Zhentarim spy, but the party never dug in so it was not necessary to explain his background in any detail. Once he was dead and they had a free Charter, they were keen to leave the Fort an return to Port Nyanzaru. The exception was that Del was enamored with Gruta and hoped to talk to her more in the future.
The Rokah plot line is an important side story for the adventure. The entire Death Curse could be resolved without ever going to Fort Beluarian or engaging with the Flaming Fist. If I run Tomb again, I may elect to downplay this whole side story since it does not advance the main story. However, I do recognize that the intrigue created by the Fist helps flesh out Chult as a living world.
I did change Rokah's story in that I decided to have him murdered. My assumption was that the party would be shocked by this and they would search his belongings. With a thorough search, they would have found the Sending Stone that Rokah stole from Portyr's belongings. This would have set up some great intrigue when the pirates of Jahaka Anchorage messaged Portry with some incriminating morsel that the party received instead of Portyr.
Alas, things never go as planned, and the party examined Rokah surrounded by Portry, Gruta, and other members of the Fist. In a closed room by themselves, they would have had the time to find the Sending Stone, but in the open I had to make them roll. The roll was poor and as a result, the Sending Stone was not found. I was at first disappointed that this plot line would not be able to materialize, but I did find a way to make it work later on in the campaign. Stay tuned for that!
The trip back to Port Nyanzaru allowed for some fun and inconsequential combat. The reef sharks were interesting because only Isa decided to wade into the water, and the giant crabs were interesting because the beach was littered with them. I also had a couple vibrant maps which was a nice contrast to the dark jungle scenes I presented for the trip to the Fort.
Arriving at the city gates and hearing the news crier speak about Zhanthi was a nice way to end the session as it provided a minor cliffhanger to what was said in the daily broadsheet.