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April 27, 2014 · 3:12 pm

The Saga Continues – Adventure Ahead!

Hello good friends!  Today was our second session of our Heroes as they searched to find what had happened to a missing family and missing guards, and maybe, figure out what was happening to the poor town of Kingsholm.

There was no Inn adventures,so it was less prep for me in terms of menus, however, props were abound!  My girl K and the Boy were gifted with enchanted water pouches, made from animal skin and decorated with the raven feathers from their prior battles.  It would purify anything entered into it.  Girl1 and Pedro were gifted with regular canteens to hold water.  I also put together some leftover Easter candy in a bag, and when they rolled a critical, they had a piece thrown at them.

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Prizes for crits!  They were really excited to see candy thrown at them!

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Ok, the Boy was excited when he actually hit something.

They came upon the graveyard where the mausoleum was to find two dead Sentinels.  May they rest in peace.

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Petrilly performed a sending to take them to the final resting place.

We all learned some lessons.  I learned to not draw a room, because I am not an artist and what happens is you have 7 undeads in a room, not drawn correctly, and the priest has access to turn all of them.  At once.  And she was double their hit die.  I learned that I have a lot of homework re-scaling a dungeon.  It was a pretty awesome moment for her, and I would have been excited as well.

I had put together black pouches with various gems, plastic gold coins, and pretty stones, so if there was treasure to be found, it was thrown on the table.

I also learned how much fun it was to mess with your players.  There was a puzzle room, and it was the simplest puzzle.  I hyped it up and bit and when questions were asked, I just laughed.  This brought fear into them and made them really cautious.  The best part was The Boy solved it about 30 seconds after entering, but no one would let him do it because they were afraid.

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This was the room of the mind melt.  All that needed to be done was move the tiles in chronological order.  Hahahahahaha.

They saved a trapped girl, sent a pair of soul mated skeleton wolves into their final resting place  (I added the soul mated part.  I am such a dramatic romantic), and defeated an ogre zombie.

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Yes, that dice lights up if it lands on a 20.  I can’t wait to use it for rolling!

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Look at those swarms!  There was only supposed to be 4, but I am mean like that.

End of the day, fun was had by all in our 6 hour session.  I am rather enjoying playing DM, and I have assigned homework to my group to help them (and me) dive more into their characters.  I enjoy coming up with sound effects (today’s was Zombie sounds, stone doors, bones rattling, and most battles had the Final Fantasy 10 battle song and concluded with the Final Fantasy 7 victory song).  

This campaign has so much story to it, but I am planning on making some parts my own, to again, face my players with their fears, their temptations,and themselves.  I cannot wait to get them farther along into the dark recess of my mind, and I hope they can make it out alive.

Until next time, roll true and high, friends.  Let me know if you get a crit and you may get some candy!

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Another Question Posed

Hello friends!

It is my lunch time here and a conversation my girl K and I have discussed, with each other and others, is how we view dice.  Other than my unhealthy addiction of them, we both have the opinion that when we create a new character to play, they should have their own dice set.  Personally, I feel that the style of dice can say a lot about the character.  Ana, my Cleric, is serious.  She is cold, and her dice are elvish dice.  Grace, my rogue, was very flashy, so she had sparkly, pretty, dice.  Janella, my original fighter, was very serious and responsible, so she had dark purple dice.  It never felt right playing a character with another’s dice, except for the times I needed a few d6’s.

How do you feel concerning sets of dice?  Do you have different ones for different characters, or do you feel that one set, tried and true, can go through all adventures?  

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Really unhealthy.  I know I am not even done yet.

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Personal Character sets.  The pictures never do the colors justice.

My break is pretty much over, but I was curious on the take you may have.  I know when K and I were discussing it with Girl1 and the Boy, they didn’t think more than 1 set would be needed.  I like to think that each character needs their definition.  Each way would work, and in the end it is all about personal preference.  

Til next time, roll true!

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A Question Posed

Hello friends!  I am hoping you can all lend me some assistance with a few questions.  For those that have played D&D, either as a DM or a player, what makes a session enjoyable to you?

As a DM: What do you do to prepare?  What expectations do you have for your players?  What do you think makes sessions fun, in a way that you feel you can help create?

As a player: What makes the sessions enjoyable for you?  What expectations do you have for your DM?  

I appreciate any and all insight! 

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To Kingsholm!

Hello, my dear friends!  It’s time for a total geek out post because it has been far too long.  My Tricksy and Most Gentle DM is preparing for her upcoming wedding in June and I thought to myself that I should start a game.  I have never Dm’d before, so I must admit I was a bit nervous.  I think of the job as a very serious one.  You are in control; how the players feel about the game could have a lot to do with how the DM is doing.  It’s storytelling, and a need to push things along at a certain pace, to keep them entertained.  Basically, it’s Morgan Freeman.  I also wanted to do the Tricksy (and Most Gentle) DM justice.  She has schooled me in D&D and I love playing with her.  I figure though that if I can get my skills honed, I may be able to give her a break and allow her to just play when she is ready.

Also, before I begin (and I admit, this may be a longish post), I would like to say a few words about how D&D has really brought a lot to the table (literally and figuratively).  Playing this game has given me something to do with my older children, and my youngest is going crazy trying to find ways to play.  In fact, she helped me with the prepping of this, but more of that later.  There will also be a lot of pictures.  So, let’s begin.

About a month or so ago, I decided to throw this together.  I found an adventure online, purchased the pdf (it’s the first in a set of 3) and decided we were going to play.  K, the Boy, and Girl1 were in, and I decided to also ask one of Girl1’s friends who I am very fond of to join us.  He agreed and everyone (including Tricksy DM) came over to play a mock session to help Pedro build his character and do a one shot on how to actually play it.  It was a good time had by all and Grace was able to make an appearance.  Oh, that cheeky girl.

So, once that was done, I assigned the homework of everyone sending me their backstory, so I could put something together.  You see, I wanted there to be a purpose for their traveling to this one specific town.  I didn’t want them to just show up there, all separate.  From what I have learned from my D&D sessions is that they tend to be more involved when you feel a connection to everyone, or at least someone at the table.  I decided they would all receive letters instructing them to head to the town, all for a purpose, which may not be the same.

The week before, I decided I would map out traveling times.  The Boy, being from a Monastery, would have the longest.  They are usually in far away secluded areas.  Next would be K, who is living in a Celestial grove commune of hippies, then the Elves, their village was closer to the town, and they had a trade agreement, so they had the shortest.  I made a graph with the nights of travelling and whether there would be encounters.  This is where Girl2 came in.  She rolled and based on her rolling, would determine whether the encounter would be a high or low roll for the PC.  Except one, that one she rolled a 20, so one PC was definitely getting something.  (It was The Boy).  Then Girl 2 and I mapped up some monsters for them, so I would know what they would be fighting.  We finished up with just some one on one combat between Ana my Cleric and she played my brother’s Barbarian.  Here are some pics, and I think you can determine the winner:

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She rolls true.

So, onto yesterday.  Everyone was here and ready to do (and we had a guest, Girl1’s other HS friend), so we began.  Please hear Morgan Freeman as I narrate from here on out.  Even if I am a girl.

Everyone has a place in this world, and a job to do.  Five people learned yesterday that though their goals may be different, their paths may intersect.  The town of Kingsholm has had some trouble recently, and being a small town, do not have the forces to send out to investigate.  To Jea-Tei-Jin, this meant leaving his home to discover his inner strength.  Petrilly had received a message from her God, Obad-Hai, instructing her to find this young monk and assist him on his path.  Vadania needed to aid the town to help secure the elvish trade was cemented, as her village depended on this income.  Lia, her sister, needed to find her voice in the world, to sing the songs of her people and learn new ones.  Hephestus received a scroll from someone who could be a relative from his family; on the father’s side that abandoned them.  

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Yes, there were scrolls.

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Then set out they all did.  Jin set out through the forest (I put on forest sound effects) and had to battle alone on his first few nights.  On the third day, he came across and stepped on a halfling.  She was not too pleased at being stepped on, but as soon as she know it was the monk she was searching for became very excited.  Together they battled hard and won, and together I think they will both learn much.

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The elves had their own journeys to start and off they went. It wasn’t long before they also met up with Petrilly and Jin.  They headed to Kingsholm, just a day away.  Once they made it to the town, they were greeted by the Mayor’s assistant.  She told them they should head to the Tavern, as they were expected.  She went off to find the Mayor, to alert him that he would be needed, and our heroes set out to the Inn, for some rest, food, and entertainment (Jonathan the Bard was in town that night!)

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What is the first thing you do upon entering a town?  Use a hula hoop, throw a football, and dance!

When they entered the Inn, a very excited waitress named Alexia seated them.  You could hear the music in the background, an excellent night for entertainment.  She presented them with the day’s choices:

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Yes, I made a menu.

And started them off with appetizers, to whet the appetite.  My humor knows no bounds.

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They were told to enjoy their dinner, all vegetarian fair, as the cows had been taken and slaughtered.  Depending on who you ask, it is thieves, ghosts, wolves, or Thom.  I bet it was Thom. Or Kevin.

They met with the Innkeeper, the Captain of the Guard, and the Dwarf who runs the General Store.  They gave them the information of what was going on.  There was three missing humans, and two missing sentinels.  No one knows why, but they can’t send anymore to find them.  They asked them to do the favor, to see what could be happening and they would be handsomely rewarded upon return.  The Mayor offered a high price, as he was only expecting two people (the monk and the Elvish representative), and honestly, does not think any of all will return.  They agreed and the bar erupted into cheers for the “Champions of Kingsholm!” The best Ale (or sparkling grape juice) was brought out to celebrate these brave adventures.

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And so this is where it ends for now.  Next session will be getting them to where the need to go and actually starting the adventure.  I very much look forward to running this show, as I found I had an excellent time doing it.  I found youtube to be an invaluable source to create environments.  They have sound effects for everything on there!  When K fought a dragon I put on dragon noises.  When they were in the forest, there were forest sounds.  I have found rain, dripping water for dungeons, wolves, bears, forest and night and campfires.  It is going to be much fun.  There won’t be a menu every time, but I figured for this one, who knew when they would be in a tavern next.  I need to find more props, things to make it more alive.  I almost made them walk over to the actual hiking path close to my house for the adventure, but I will save that for another day….

My blessing to you is may the 20’s be plentiful and your journey well met.

You can stop hearing me as Morgan Freeman now. 

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Reaping What You Sow – Ana’s Tale

I feel cold.  It has been a while since I have spoken with you, but I have been reflecting on past events.  I haven’t felt cold in such a long time.  I am still not able to speak of it, the dark times before I have found my solace in Pelor.  I will tell you of most recent doings, since I seem to have time between when we leave next.  I think I have been in this town long enough to be considered resident Cleric.  I have been able to do honor and spread the praises of my Pelor, but I grow restless, and this town no longer feels as good as it once did.

I feel I must go back in order to go forward, to revisit past events so you can see full picture.  The last time we spoke, we had conflict within ourselves, and we had come back to Inn to rest for the evening.  Before we had gotten back to Inn, my young song girl had come to me, separate from group, and told me a tale that made my blood run cold.  She needed me to hear confession, to ease soul, as guilt began to eat soul.  She told me that few nights back, when we return to town to heal and regroup, members of our party had planned to rob the church of St. Cuthbert.  Kovu, our charismatic member, wanted originally to burn the church to cause distraction.  Song girl talked plan down, knowing this would be a dangerous path to take, and instead they came to another plan to cause distraction so she could steal items and gold.

The reason for this being that Kovu and our Elf Sorceress felt that the church had overcharged us for healing, even though our deeds have provided relief for the town and its people.  We had spoken about this before these actions were taken, and both myself and Mairna, our dwarf fighter, did not feel this so.  It was only us who paid for healing, and I felt that we should not expect favors as the town had not asked us to undertake this task, we had given ourselves to these tasks.  Mairna had a slightly different take as she felt as herself and I were the only ones who paid gold price, it was our offense to take, and neither her nor I had issue.  I thought group agreed on outcome, but clearly I was wrong.

Song girl told me of plan, keep me distracted at one end, which Kovu did, knowing my attraction to him, and the others would complete task.  She seemed troubled, knowing what she did was wrong.  I absolved her from sin as best I could, and told her we could not keep possessions stolen.  She handed them over, and when everyone was sleeping, I took items back to holy church.

The Mother took the items, thanked me for returning, but said that she had noticed the items missing and had already alerted authority.  This did not surprise me, being Cuthbert’s  people.  She could sense something further was troubling me, so she asked why my eyes looked sad.  I told her about my fears, that darkness lurked deep in one of my party member.  I told her of the yield, the death, the plan to burn down the church.  I did not think Kovu was truly evil, but I could not deny that the acts that were committed and the thought of burning down a church of a righteous God to me were sign of evil.  I worried about my fellow members – Song girl, whose innocence was being taken down an evil path; Rogue, who was not evil, but was easily swayed; Elf Sorceress, who had recently lost Husband. Dwarf and Barbarian I did not worry about, their resolution was as strong as my own, and they saw things as they were.  

She eased me, and told me not to be surprised if we crossed paths with Cuthbert’s men on our roads.  I knew at this point, things were out of my hand.  I could not deny the justice that should be Cuthbert.  

We woke the next morning, preparing to set off.  Mairna wanted to ensure the peace of all.  She was concerned that we would not be able to function as group with so much hanging from day before.  Both the Elf and Kovu seemed defensive, which I still could not understand why she took up arms, but I was not going to ponder it.  I was over my attraction after seeing what I saw and knowing what I knew.  Promises were made to not attack party, we couldn’t succeed if we fought among ourselves.  We set out and encountered many thing on way, a troll, a group of ogre, a T-Rex.  Yes, a T-Rex, which is now member of party.  Barbarian decided he would like for pet, so he make friend with it, and now it follows us like dog.  Very big dog.  

After a day of battle, we set up for camp.  I was still nervous, preparing to sleep in armor, prepare glyph to sleep on, protecting myself as much as possible.  I still do not understand the mind of Kovu, and I did not entirely feel safe.  Before we could settle down for the evening, we heard a noise coming from the forest.  In rode two Paladins, both wearing the insignia of St. Cuthbert.  The dismounted, weapons not drawn, and asked to speak to Song girl, Elf, Rogue, and Kovu.  They turned to Mairna, Barbarian, and myself and addressing me advised that they knew of my returning the items and they were going to question the parties responsible.  They asked the fighter and barbarian to not be involved and if they were unable to step back to leave.  They stepped back, not leaving, and I saw the barbarian silently preparing and watching in case things went poorly and we were attacked. I knew he would not fight against the Paladins.

Kovu immediately started to become defensive, stating he had nothing to do with it, maybe the one who returned it did, or the one who sang the tale.  I was saddened by his inability to accept repercussions for his actions, but in the short time I had been in his company I was not surprised.  I spoke on behalf of Song girl, advising she came to me to be absolved, she gave me the items to return.  Kovu kept speaking, almost taunting the clearly powerful Paladins, and I asked that Song girl be allowed to stand with me.  I sensed situation was going to escalate, and I wanted to protect her.  One Paladin began preparing a spell, a truth telling spell, which the Elf dispelled.  Kovu kept talking, daring the Paladin to raise arms.

This is where the tale turns dark, friend.  The Paladin, sent here to do a job, walked up to Kovu and raising his sword, struck him down.  I could do nothing to stop it, nor negate it once it happened.  The Elf immediately went invisible, and Song girl and Rogue went back willingly.  They offered safe transport and a fair trial if they went, and after seeing what happen, they allowed them to take into custody.  They stated the remaining party members could go with them, travel back to town and bear witness to trial.  I offered to go to speak on the behalf of both, and thankfully both the dwarf and barbarian came with.  We were not given time to bury Kovu, and I knew the Elf would not come out of hiding.

I spoke with them while we traveled, telling our tale, and spoke of my sorrow of the outcome.  It had only been a short time, but the death of a companion is always bittersweet, even when you fear that companion may want to cause harm.  I was hoping in our travels I could ease his demons, as I had my own, that I could help him see light.  I know the Paladins did not want to strike down, only to serve justice, and sometimes you must take arms.

Song girl and Rogue were questioned, both admitting their parts, and both were given penance.  Song girl, because of her sorrow and confession, was given a week’s worth of service work and Rogue was given a month since, well, he was not as sorrowful.  We wait now in town for the month to be over, me working in Pelor’s church, Mairna with the blacksmith, and Barbarian with his pet.  Song girl has done her time, but I can tell that the loss of our two members has made her sad.  I hope she does not carry the weight on her shoulders.  Rogue should be done soon, and then we will regroup and head out again, to finish what we started.

I do not know what happened with Elf, but I feel she was angry.  I saw her look at me, the flash in the eyes, the anger burning deep.  It was not so long ago that I too had same look.  I would not be surprised if we crossed paths again, her and I.  I feel I may have made an enemy, but I have made so many during my time in this life.  I do not fear, as I have faith in Pelor, but I am always wary.  I do hope Kovu’s soul has repented, that he can be safely transported somewhere where there is not so much darkness.

Thank you for listening to tale, and for allowing me your time.  I shall be leaving here again soon, and it is nice to have a person to speak with.  The way things seem to go, I may be back here again, and it would be nice to share drink. I must go now, tuck my Song girl in, and also turn in for the evening.  May Pelor light your way in times of darkness, friend.

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Hello!  As stated above, our 7 party group is now down to 5, as two of our members wanted to take an extended break over the summer months.  We will all miss them, and it won’t quite be the same playing without them.  

Ana, oh Ana, my Russian Cleric.  She is so troubled, that girl.  She has a dark past and try as she might to be full of light, there is always that piece of darkness that sits in her, doubting, mistrusting, making her wary.  It was difficult to play this out, as she is Neutral Good, and not Lawful Neutral, but I figured Pelor and Cuthbert are allies, and Ana would see a crime against an allied church as something she would not be comfortable with.  I do think Ana would have returned the items, and would not have told on the party, especially the church burning plan, to get them in trouble, but really because she would be concerned with the evilness of the plot.  She would want to try and help them redeem. 

The dark side of her though, the side of her that lives so quietly, was really nervous.  She really felt that Kovu was possibly planning something since the disagreement.  Ana would be very cautious, given her past, so that’s how I played her.

So onward we will go, to adventure, now with 5.  

I am going to go outside soon as the weather is too nice to be trapped inside.  I hope this day finds you all well, and really, go outside!

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You Fancy my Chair?

Bonjour, mon amie!  I see you eyeing my fancy blue velvet chair!  It’s nice, no?  Oh, you see the Cleric behind me with the wings.  Yes, they are quite grand, I helped put them on for him.  Glam really is playing a nice song; I believe she is writing our adventures so we will be forever known for our valiant deeds.  Why does that man have a skinned cat head on his loin cloth?  Oh, that’s Conan, and he thought it would make for good decoration.  Not everyone can be as fashionable as moi.  The woman standing next time him?  Ah, the shiny scales she wears?  Those belonged to a half lizard half dragon necromancer who thought she could put an end to us.  Ha, silly lady, your skin is now shielding your last foe.  I would love to tell you our tale, but you must come close and whisper in my ear; make me want to tell you.  Oh, very nice, your words sent shivers down all of my body.  Go get me a drink, warm like your voice, and I will tell you my tales.  Just don’t step on my petite amie, Ernie.  He is such a sweet thing.

So, as you may remember, we were still trapped in this keep of obsidian.  We had met some fire dwarves who helped us win the battle with the necromancer.  I don’t think we truly needed their help, but sometimes people want to feel like they participated.  Valarya decided to skin the necromancer since she liked her skin, and while not quite my thing, I could appreciate someone going the extra mile for something they find attractive.  Oh, sweet listener, I can see in your eyes that you have appreciation for beauty as well.  You are very sweet, indeed.

We left the room and rested for a bit before venturing forward.  As we progressed deeper into the keep I couldn’t help but notice that the smell was becoming more and more rancid.  There were places where the smell of chlorine, so someone was trying to clean up, bless their souls.  As we were about to open a door we heard a greeting from behind us.  I turned, but couldn’t see anyone there.  Clearly I was not looking in the right place, as our mystery greeter was not at eye level.  Before us stood a 3 and a half foot halfling.  He told us he had escaped the clutches of the necromancer and followed our voices for sometime.  He didn’t plan on going anywhere, so we offered him a spot with us.  Luckily for us, we did, because what he may lack in height he makes up for it with bravado.

Onward we went forward, searching rooms, finding stench.  It was getting harder for me to ignore it as we pressed on.  We opened a door and heat and the smell of death hit us all right in the face.  There were 6 cats, stalking the room, ashes coming up from where they stepped.  Our fighter went in and killed one in one shot.  As soon as it fell, the other 5 descended on it, pulling back their skin from their faces and screaming an unholy scream.  They began to eat the dead cat, disgusting sounds coming from their feast.  When I turned around most of my group was running down the hall except for our fighter.  You see, I decided to shut the door forgetting that she was in there.  She managed to open the door back up before running with everyone else, and soon it was just Ralph (pronounced Rafe) and myself.  

Now that would make most people run as well, but not Ralph and I.  We are not ordinary people. I am quite flexible, he is quite magical.  We managed to fell all 5 of them with my sneaky abilities and his magical hands.  We waited for the group to come back, going through the room, taking stock to see if there is anything I could take for my own.  Finding nothing but a shiny axe that no one can use (but I can sell!), we ventured down a long hallway.

At the end there was a short door and feeling very adventurous, I decided to open it.  I looked in and saw two more cats like the ones I had just beat, and a funny looking dog, possibly with three eyes.  I closed the door quickly since I was not going to be entering the room first.  While we were talking we heard a booming voice, “Who goes there?  Have you come to pay tribute to your King?”

I cannot lie, I wasn’t quite sure who could have been making that proclamation.  I had not seen anything that could speak, but before we could really say anything Ernesto Tallfellow stepped out from us, opening the door, and yelling, “Why, yes!  We have heard of your name and it strikes fear in the hearts of your enemies!”  He called to his “valets” (I was not pleased, but Glam told me to shut up in the most pleasant of ways) to come forward to pay our respects.  One by one we entered the room and saw the cats, the dog (which had a platinum mask on his head with a jewel for the third eye), and a winged half fiend with horns sitting upon the most beautiful chair I have ever seen.  It was made of blue velvet and my goal now became to get this chair.  Ernie and the “King” bantered on and the “King” hired us to find a way out.  We quickly left and went back to the dwarves to plan our next steps.

The King trusted us, so we knew we could get back in the room.  We decided he told us as much as he knew, which was to go across the bridge to find the mage.  If we disposed of him, we could then get him off of my chair.  We decided this was the best course of action, so after resting we went back to the room.  Ernesto told us all to look happy, to throw him off while we got in position.  The King had no idea what was about to happen and one by one his minions fell.  Yes, Glam, I know you killed two out of the four!  Soon, he fell as well, sadly dying in the chair.  My godless cleric and I dragged him off so he could have the wings (I promised to sew them on with them, I am quite good with a needle), and I finally had my chair.  Yes, this very chair that you see right now.  And yes, the winged man is my handsome godless cleric, sporting the most fashionable of kingswear.  

How did I get the chair back here and what happened when we finally reached the mage?  Oh, my sweet, I think I have spoken enough for one evening.  Look at the sky, it is turning dark and the darkness is my favorite time of day.  Some people think that the darkness is dangerous but I see it as full of promise.  Promises are made, hearts are broken, lives are ended and some lives are just being formed all in the same space of time.  Darkness is magical, and I must go find my own magic before the sun takes it away and shows the truth of the world.

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Oh, the adult group!  It was a good day to have it as I was kind of in a funk and feeling a little anti-social.  The group made me feel better, Grace made me feel better, and it was nice to be a little chaotic after this week.  

Darkness can be magical though, no?

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