I feel the need to take up the subject of a role playing game that I planned for and played to a limited degree, but explored to the point of insanity.
When you play Dungeons and Dragons the way we constantly do, it helps to have an over-all campaign, a world created by gifted imaginers to play in and use as the setting for all our adventures.
There are good published campaign worlds to choose from. We chose the Eberron world because it was so thoroughly magical and and steam-punk in nature and artwork.
This is a world where magic and alchemy have taken the place of science in the world’s technology. Instead of airplanes, the magic-technicians known as magewrights in Eberron bind the living air and fire elementals to their ships and use elemental magic to fly.
Even robot-like constructs called warforged are built by magewrights to become, not only warriors to fill out armies, but sentient individuals with personalities and complex problems and emotions. Book in the illustration above is a warforged wizard. Book is his name. Warforged are very simple artificial people… but also complicated. They name themselves after weapons, armor parts, and random things.
A campaign world provides places and non-player characters to interact with. As well as monsters to kill and exotic locations to kill them in. Eberron has its unique peoples, like Shifters. Shifters are a race of people who are the result of humans loving lycanthropes… you know, werewolves and weretigers and weresharks and other were-things.
Our family game got involved from adventure number one with the secret service of the Kingdom of Breland, the Dark Lanterns, so Breland and it’s cities became something of a home base.
The city known as Sharn, City of Towers, became a particularly fascinating home base. The Broken Anvil Inn in the mid-reaches of Dura became a sometimes place to live and alwaystimes place to drink liquor and recruit weird friends. And this is a vast city with a cluster of mile-high towers and a population of various peoples and monsters from throughout the continent of Khorvaire.
So if you have been reading any of my Saturday D & D posts, and found the place names confusing and hard to remember, now you have this post to read and confuse you even more thoroughly. How do I, as dungeon master, keep it all straight? I don’t. I bought the books and I am constantly looking stuff up. In fact, I often assign number one son the Player’s Handbook for Eberron to look up that stuff, number two son gets the Campaign Guide to look stuff up in, and the Princess handles the Monster Manuals. (Really, I have spent a ton of pennies on the books and have too many to juggle them all myself.)
So we play the game in a world called Eberron and share the fantasies and stories of world where magic is science and science is magic.
“The party now rushes through the front gate of Castle Evernight. Gandy swings down from the room where he operated the pulleys that opened the drawbridge and barbican doors to rejoin his fellow fighters.”
Princess Mira the Kalashtar- “Do we see any more golems or other fighters to stop us?”
“You do not. Since you took away Dr. Zorgo’s wand of golem control and Zorgo himself died in the plunge from the tower, there no longer seems to be anyone to keep you out of the castle.”
Gandy the hafling rogue- “Then the castle is now ours!”
“Perhaps the Duke’s daughter would dispute that.”
“Sien, I’m sorry. But the Duke and all his servants are now dead. We liberated the castle and have a right to claim it.”
“Sien Evernight looks at you sadly. She says, “I do not dispute your right to the castle. But my father, remember, had been changed into a gold golem. And even though he grabbed Dr. Zorgo and pulled him over the tower’s rail, he may have survived the fall. Of course, that doesn’t make him actually alive. But with no one controlling him, we may be able to talk to him once again. You can have the castle for all I care, but I want to know what my father thinks.” …and I think you need to be reminded by the DM that your leader committed to replacing the Duke and ruling the city. “
Yes, I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons with my own kids, and the pencil and paper characters we use for the silly story-telling game have become, over time, real people to us. But the game has slowed way down since number one son left to be a Marine and number two son got a weekend part-time job.
So, the conquest of Castle Evernight might end up being the last adventure actually conducted around the D & D table in the upstairs library.
So I created a Facebook page for the family game and intend to post stuff on there that may keep the game at least a little bit alive outside my own stupid head.
I intend to post stuff there to update everyone on what is happening in Eberron to the members of the ongoing quest.
Just as a reminder, I will show you the player characters again;
Number one son’s character is retiring to be the new Duke of Evernight, married to Duchess Sien Evernight.
Number two son’s character is the irrepressible halfling, Gandy Rumspot.
My daughter, the Princess’s character is Mira the Kalashtar.
My intention is to use Saturdays, the traditional game night, to post more D&D stuff to this page and the Facebook page. I need more creative ideas to keep filling this blog daily, and I have done considerable work setting up the game as Dungeon Master. I don’t want it all to go to waste. You will be welcome to come anytime and take a look. But I am just too immature and set in my ways to totally give up D&D.
Born in 1931 and lasting in this crazy, mixed-up world until the year 2000, Don Martin was a mixy, crazed-up cartoonist for Mad Magazine who would come to be billed as “Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.” His greatest work was done during his Mad years, from 1956 (the year I was born… not a coincidence, I firmly believe) until his retirement in 1988. And I learned a lot from him by reading his trippy toons in Mad from my childhood until my early teacher-hood.
His style is uniquely recognizable and easily identifiable. Nobody cartoons a Foon-man like Don Martin.
The googly eyes are always popped in surprise. The tongue is often out and twirling. Knees and elbows always have amazingly knobbly knobs. Feet have an extra hinge in them that God never thought of when he had Adam on the drawing board.
And then there is the way that Martin uses sound effects. Yes, cartoons in print don’t make literal sounds, but the incredible series of squeedonks and doinks that Martin uses create a cacophony of craziness in the mind’s ear.
And there is a certain musicality in the rhyming of the character names he uses. Fester Bestertester was a common foil for slapstick mayhem, and Fonebone would later stand revealed by his full name, Freenbeen I. Fonebone.
And, of course, one of his most amazingly adventurous ne’er-do-well slapstick characters was the immeasurable Captain Klutz!
Here, there, and everywhere… on the outside he wears his underwear… it’s the incredible, insteadable, and completely not edible… Captain Klutz!
If you cannot tell it from this tribute, I deeply love the comic genius who was Don Martin, Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist. Like me he was obsessed with nudists and drawing anatomy. Like me he was not above making up words with ridiculous-sounding syllables. And like me he was also a purple-furred gorilla in a human suit… wait! No, he wasn’t, but he did invent Gorilla-Suit Day, where people in gorilla suits might randomly attack you as you go about your daily life, or gorillas in people suits, or… keep your eye on the banana in the following cartoon.
So, even though I told you about Bruce Timm and Wally Wood and other toon artists long before I got around to telling you about Don Martin, that doesn’t mean I love them more. Don Martin is wacky after my own heart, and the reason I spent so much time immersed in Mad Magazine back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.