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The Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh #137 Into the Mere of the Dead Men Part 2.

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A nice change of pace for the campaign after the earlier dungeons. Does seem like Garumn's plight is being pushed firmly to the back burner though.

True enough, but keep in mind Garumn was a PC for a very short time (Sessions 1-3), then an NPC for a very long while (4-22)- he got a lot of lines/action in the write up because he was the front line, and also I liked doing the accent.

But... and whisper this, after the first night drinking Schlapp with Daktari then, well... Garumn got replaced- official. Ram even went out of his way to spend all of his money tracking down a set of Goggles of the Night so the barbarian could be fully-pledged Dark Squad.

Also, we're relaxing into this bit- the Dark Squad have had their fill of Neverwinter and the region (ask Newt) and are also concerned that they have unleashed something (Ashardalon) and are being stalked (perhaps) by an ancient Red Dragon (Ashardalon?).

So, to Saltmarsh, and keep in mind we're mangling stories here to fit with what's next.

We'll be back for Garumn, promise.

At the start of each session we're going through the prophecies/wise words- two at the start of each new session, with the players trying to figure out what fits where, and what they need to be asking about or finding out about next.

This is Act Two of the film- all the exposition, inciting incident, set-up etc. is done, now begins the journey to the climax, and like all good films there'll be chatter followed by incident, more chatter to make sense of what's going on (maybe), then more incident. Ramping up until...

Well, hang in for about 100 sessions and... we'll be nearer to the truth/end.

From a DM POV I have a plan, as in a series of events- not many of them actually statted out you understand, just ideas. I DO have some incidents sorted out, a vague pathway with enemies and plot, but the Dark Squad are just getting to this.

Shhh... I've not actually done a lot of this however, because...

Last bit I gave myself a list of twenty jobs that I needed to do in Fantasy Grounds before I could effectively release the PCs on the Saltmarsh region- design/map towns and settlements, do random encounter tables- build encounters for each region, design key NPCs, find maps and pictures etc. I'm on task 16 on the list, but keep in mind one of those tasks (the last one I did) took me maybe eight hours to figure out, and I'm still really not happy with it. I think I'm going to scrap it and go again. Mostly they only take an hour or two to do, but this is an important bit/place I'm stuck on atm. Once this stuff is built in FG, and I have a good schedule then... they can go where they like, do what they like and I'll be mostly ready for them. At least that's the aim.

So, the Dark Squad are humouring me for now, we had a big chat before the start of this section of the story, and the key word was- 'collusion', I needed time to build and plot, so here are a few easy-ish scenarios and schemes to keep the Dark Squad busy.

Oddly enough the players seem to be enjoying this kind of thing as much as some of the previous stuff, which was high octane around the table at times.

We're not playing tonight because Jim is unwell and also I'm a little under the weather, although I'm actually feeling much better now- for the first time today, most odd.

Thanks for asking- it makes me think about stuff, and how I'm going to play it.

Garumn was great, he'll be back but he got missed for maybe three sessions- he gets mentioned every now and then, but right now in game time the Dark Squad have been in the Saltmarsh region for... four days. Their time here has only just begun, they get Manistrad onside and then... unleashed, they can do what they want from then.

So, stay aboard for the quiet times, there'll be terror and slaughter around the corner, and weirdness- promise.

Stay safe and well.

Goonalan, wishing right now he was DMing.
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Buggles sat on the simple cart as it jolted and rumbled along the country road. Beside him, driving the horses, was Grumpy the dwarf, who wasn't nearly as grumpy as Buggles had expected, and definitely less grumpy than his brother Porthole who drove the cart behind them. Grumpy was in fact quite a nice fellow, Buggles had chatted to him for some time after they set off, and now Vinnie was talking to him. Grumpy was very open about the mining operation and the area through which they now travelled on their way to Saltmarch to pick up some mining supplies.

Buggles had begun the journey scanning for danger, as he usually did, every six seconds as Grayum had taught him, his sharp elf eyes looking all around for any signs of monsters or ambushes. But as the miles rolled past, they travelled a green and pleasant, if a little barren, landscape and he spotted no monsters or other dangers along the way. Given the rolling nature of the landscape, he figured they would easily spot any monsters before they got close enough to ambush the caravan, and he relaxed a little and started to just enjoy the ride. He was the secondary driver, and might need to take the reins if anything happened to Grumpy. Buggles was confident in this task, should he be required, he was good with horses. He had less confidence in Newt however, and glanced back to see his fellows in the second wagon trundling along behind them. Buggles knew that Newt's passing of the wagon driving test back at the mining camp was more luck than skill, and he just hoped that if anything happened, Newt didn't end up inadvertently losing control of his horses and smashing them off the road.

Buggles rolled Night Caller, the magical whistle he used to bring forth Gwen, his skeleton ally, around in his hands. He couldn't summon Gwen again for several days, after she'd been destroyed in the tomb they had explored recently.
"Something isn't right Gwen" Buggles muttered to the whistle. He imagined Gwen nodding her agreement.
"There's a problem here, but I just can't put my finger on what it is" he went on, beside him Grumpy was still talking animatedly to Vinnie, who sat just behind them.
"What's the problem, Gwen?" he asked, "Just what is the problem?"

They had been sent here by their employer, Gundarim Rockseeker, a dwarf of some means who had set up the mining camp they were now based at, to deal with any "problems" the dwarves had. But so far...
Buggles snapped his fingers, drawing a curious glance from Vinnie.
"That's it Gwen! You've got it" he said out loud, drawing glances from both his companions. Buggles went back to thinking in his head.

The problem is, he thought, the problem is.... that these dwarves don't have any problems! Nothing pressing anyway. Their first mission was simply to retrieve a couple of miners who shouldn't have both been off on holiday at the same time. Now they were tasked with travelling safe roads to pick up supplies. Neither task seemed very important, and Grumpy and Porthole had made this journey many times before, without an armed escort.

"So what are we doing here?" Buggles wondered out loud. They had been told the dwarves were isolated from their neighbors, a scattering of mostly human towns and settlements. But they hadn't encountered any hostility there, and in fact everyone they had spoken to seemed happy the dwarves were there. Dwarves by their nature keep themselves to themselves, and these dwarves were no different, but the mine was doing well and the townsfolk appreciated the prosperity their venture was bringing to the region. Whilst they could certainly encourage more interaction between the dwarves and the townsfolk, it all seemed a little mundane. "There must be more to this" he concluded. Perhaps Saltmarsh would reveal the answers he mused, just as they crested a hill top to reveal the town itself laid out before them.
"Well Gwen" he said as they approached Saltmarsh's gates, putting night caller back around his neck, tucked safely inside his armor, "Let's go see what's to be done".
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A nice change of pace for the campaign after the earlier dungeons. Does seem like Garumn's plight is being pushed firmly to the back burner though.
Who? But seriously, we've got a bunch of riddles with no clue where to start finding the 7th ancestor, the goblin stair, Ashardalon, or any of the other things mentioned. I'm not sure if we're just gonna stumble across them or have to research this stuff when we get another downtime. We're hundreds of miles from where we picked all that stuff up now though, so not sure at all. Vinnie n Newt will work it all out.


Buggles' Musings on Saltmarsh

OK I'm posting this here in the hope we can get a player dialogue going. I feel we were asking the wrong questions in Saltmarsh last night, and didn't seem to uncover much of anything. Having thought about it, here's my suggestions of things we should be doing there, in no particular order:
  • Obtain a map of the area;
  • Take Grumpy into that blacksmiths I found. Maybe if we can get him talking to the smith in there, it might be starting point to easing the tensions;
  • Find out about the cursed bridge;
  • Ask Hammerite why he's guard in a town that doesn't seem to like dwarves;
  • Ask Manistrad for permission for one of us to be her proxy on the town council. She'd probably need to come to town for that, or at least give us a letter to present;
  • Find out if there is an alchemist in town or anywhere around, and then see if they have a well;
  • Find out if there is a necromancer in town or anywhere around;
  • Find out who lives in those towers (Newt already visited one of them);
  • Find out if anyone knows of the Witches Tor or the Goblin Stair.
What do you guys think? Feel free to add more or amend my musings.
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Well that response was underwhelming lol.
We lead such busy lives- all sorted out in game.

Keep reading, just so you can say that you were there to witness the birth of-

Twilight Squad 1.01.jpg

That's right, the Twilight Squad (no relation, although 100% of the merchandise money will be going to Buggles- t-shirts, key chains and bobble heads available in the foyer).

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers goonalan and the Dark Squad (et al, see above).


Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #034 Saltmarsh- the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Buggles (played by Stu) Male Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 3/Rogue Lvl 3
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 6
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 6
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 6

Daktari Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 6
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.

Buggles’ undead servitor
Gwen Female Duergar Skeleton, in full-face helm and armour

This is session 34 and it was difficult at times, there- I’ve said it, but let’s get into it- and this instalment is late because I had to run it by the players first, keep reading- you’ll see why.

We’re in Saltmarsh, at last- although the Dark Squad are here with Grumpy & Porthole Slagg to pick up two wagonloads of crates from a warehouse, and then take them back to Farhill mine.

This then is just an opportunity for the guys to have a look around the town, I’m in the process of building the place in Fantasy Grounds, I’ve told the players this- and we’re colluding and killing time for a bit.


Saltmarsh at last- the Dark Squad are unleashed.

So, there’s lots to see, and even a few folk to talk with including Sgt Hammerite, the dwarven old codger who runs the main gate of the town. Hammerite shares a drink with Grumpy & Porthole but is much less chatty with the PCs.

Then onwards into town proper, taking in the Saltmarsh Watch House, the Wicker Goat tavern (recommended by Sgt Hammerite), and then onto Sharkfin Bridge- at which point Ram and Buggles both feel a little strange, something’s going on here. The rogues are straight into ‘who’s attacking us’ mode. Buggles stands statue and glares at the crowd, while Ram commando rolls off the back of the cart and begins to wade through the townsfolk. The pair struggle to understand what’s going on- nobody seems to be targeting them with a spell, or… anything.


Sights and sounds of Saltmarsh- Sharkfin Bridge, the Whicker Goat, Saltmarsh Watchhouse & the Saltwatch Tower.

Investigation later uncovers the fact that the Sharkfin bridge marks some sort of boundary, the crossing of which seems to affect only creatures of the Fey. Most odd, and Buggles is keen to investigate this further.

The same effect occurs to Ram and Buggles every time they cross the bridge (see later) although not once does it have an adverse effect, they both make their saves every time.

Then on again- past the Snapping Line- another quality tavern, past the fancy Saltmarsh Town Council building opposite which is the bustling town market. Then past a variety of fish processing plants, while taking note of the Dwarven Anvil- a large blacksmiths, en route to the warehouse.

The people of Saltmarsh, in general, seem to be rather jolly folk, although Sgt Hammerite told the PCs earlier that the catch is good today- plenty of fish, which always puts folk in a good mood.

The Dark Squad are taking all of this in.

[The sights and sounds of Saltmarsh 200 XP]

To the warehouse, and soon after things get… weird.


The people and places of Saltmarsh- the Snapping Line, Saltmarsh Council Hall, Warehouse #3 and Mafera, owner and chief smith of the Dwarven Anvil.

Blevins is in charge here, and Manistrad Copperlocks warned the Dark Squad about this fellow- he has a temper. Initially none of the warehouse men, including Blevins, are keen to help out, they content themselves in just pointing out the crates that are being stored here for the mine, and then get back to chatting and smoking their pipes.

There are lots of crates here destined for Farhill, lots and lots- the Dark Squad quickly come to realise that they could be at this task for a while.

Possibly a tenday.

So, the weird- the Dark Squad, as they sometimes are want to do, reach into their pockets- silver coins are distributed, and suddenly the warehousemen are much more keen to help out. But not Blevins, who seems to be getting annoyed that his workers are so easily bought.

At this point it also becomes apparent that Porthole Slagg is not in a happy place either, the dwarf and Blevins are staring daggers at each other. The glaring doesn’t go on for too long however, Porthole suddenly launches himself at Blevins and smashes the hefty human through the door he was leaning against. The Dark Squad (surprise surprise) turn peacekeepers. Porthole is quickly wrestled off a sprawled Blevins, and then intimidated into skulking silence by a screaming Newt (check ‘26’), the tabaxi’s hands are engulfed in liquid fire throughout the sharp chatter.

Blevins however is much less accommodating, although after a lot of swearing, and after accusing the Dark Squad (repeatedly) of being ‘filthy dwarf-lovers’ he departs the warehouse, still very much in a huff. Ram follows him for a little while.

[Blevins vs Porthole 750 XP]

Eventually things calm down, the wagon is loaded, and… but that’s still not the weirdest thing that happens here.

Buggles, for reasons known only to himself (but see below), decides that he needs an entourage- or possibly an apprentice, and so after a little chatter, and the gift of one platinum coin (ten tenday’s worth of wages) one of the warehousemen- Halibert Shambles, is persuaded to quit his job and join the team.

Just to note, at the start of the session I informed the players that should Daktari die then he will be replaced with a sidekick (I’ve just read all about them in Tasha’s), who are much easier to NPC. I really am getting fed-up with having to bot Daktari atm.

Stu, playing Buggles, somehow translated this into the thought that every member of the Dark Squad should get themselves a sidekick. That’s nothing like what I said, but hey-ho.

So, after another great check Halibert is convinced, the one platinum piece is to pay for his time back and forth to Saltmarsh on the cart, however long it takes to clear the crates from the warehouse. During which time Buggles will also be teaching young (mid-20’s) Halibert the ways of the wilds.

And believe me they don’t come much wilder than Buggles.

One platinum piece was not enough.

I mean Gwen, she doesn’t have a choice.

Although Buggles then makes crystal clear that Halibert’s continued employment, after the shifting job is done, is subject to a performance review- at which time areas for improvement will be agreed, and SMART targets set.

Halibert, still mesmerised by the platinum coin (the poor fool)- he’s never seen one before, agrees to everything, and takes to calling Buggles ‘Boss’, which the wood elf (I seem to think) rather enjoys.

[Halibert’s contract negotiations 300 XP]

Then the Dark Squad head home, that is back to Farhill, they’re on a tight schedule- although with another magic show for the children of Lowden en route to the mine.

Newt, during the return journey, takes the time to re-interview Porthole Slagg- “What the hell was that all about?”, the surly dwarf is still afeared of Newt, and so he tells all- it seems Blevins is very anti-dwarf, and… well, the tension has been building for a while. Both of the Slaggs have had to suffer the slurs and insults of Blevins and some of his men, every time they visit the warehouse. Also this isn’t the first time, it seems, that Porthole and Blevins have faced off.

It also becomes apparent that the dwarves of Farhill are not so innocent either, Grumpy and Porthole confess to joining gangs of their compatriots to go to Saltmarsh to get drunk and rowdy, and perhaps pick a fight with a few of the locals, the Empty Net tavern is mentioned in this context (see later).

It’s a descending spiral- townsfolk say bad things and piss off the dwarves, the dwarves retaliate in kind- and then with their fists- the townsfolk give as good as they get, and we circle and descend a little further…

[Porthole’s story 300 XP]

So, back in Farhill- the Dark Squad meet again with Manistrad Copperlocks, and as they suspected- they’re back on the cart and to Saltmarsh with the Slaggs again tomorrow, and the next day, and… until the warehouse is clear.

DM to PCs- you have a tenday of this, so be prepared.

Then after more chatter with the Slaggs (and the DM) Grumpy suggests a scheme- the cart trips have to keep to a tight schedule- it takes a good twelve hours (no breaks) to get to the warehouse, get loaded and then back to the mine. With Halibert with the crew then each of the PCs could get an hour off to take a look around Saltmarsh on their own.

Lunchtime in Saltmarsh- that sounds rather nice.

At least I thought so, but… well, read on.

So, on the next day it will be Buggles’ turn to go for a wander, on the day after- Ram’s, and so on until all of the Dark Squad have had a go.

It’s agreed.

But, rather than playing this out one PC at a time- day by day, we play out all of the one hour Saltmarsh wandering interludes at the same time.

But let me just take a moment here, the PCs have been told by the kindly DM that this opportunity is just for them to have a look around Saltmarsh- to see if there’s anything they think is missing (shops and services they’d like to see here) and to maybe find a few things out- or to meet some new people and make a few contacts. Also to potentially find themselves somewhere to live- after all they will be moving to Saltmarsh when they’re done at the mine.

It may also be worth pointing the following out- Gundren, and then Manistrad, and then Golf have also informed the Dark Squad that they would like them to perhaps do things on the down low initially. Take a measure of Saltmarsh, get the lay of the land.

After all the problems that exist between the dwarves of Farhill and some of the townsfolk of Saltmarsh, well it would be ridiculous to think that they could all be solved quickly, say… in a lunch hour.

So, the Dark Squad, prior to their lunch hour in Saltmarsh activities, chat amongst themselves.

The PCs/players talk about all that they have found out about the present situation (which isn’t much at all, to be honest)- and then about trying to find a way to bring the two disparate communities (dwarves of Farhill & townsfolk of Saltmarsh) together, and they went into some detail. With talk of arranging a joint celebration of some sort, perhaps a show of some sort- maybe they could start in Lowden, a practice run etc. But then… well, there’s no actual plan.

[Saltmarsh Townsfolk vs Farhill Dwarves problem 200 XP]

Or any indication of what they’re going to try to do, or achieve in Saltmarsh. Which is a shame, because sitting at the table with them in Rooty’s tavern is a still semi-awestruck Halibert Shambles. Saltmarsh born and bred.

Halibert might have answered a few of your questions, or prepared the way for people ahead of time, keep reading, here we go…

So, that’s done with- back to the action and Saltmarsh lunch time activities.

Which starts really well…

Buggles has a long chat with Mafera, the female human proprietor of the Dwarven Anvil, and learns that the place was bought by her father maybe forty years past from a dwarven smith. Note the Anvil has all dwarf made equipment, and also has a shrine to Moradin out back- it’s very well maintained. Grumpy Slagg made clear he wasn’t happy about this situation during the Dark Squad’s initial journey into Saltmarsh- the surly dwarf figured the name of the forge for an insult, or else that the smithy (or the shrine) had been stolen from his kin.

Buggles is impressed with the place and buys equipment for Halibert- chainmail, longsword and a shield, all brand spanking new. Halibert is awed some more by the free-spending wood elf, although, not for long…

Next up Buggles visits the Saltmarsh Town Hall and over the course of the next thirty minutes terrifies several clerks (including the senior clerk), and then punches his new employee Halibert in the face. I think Halibert’s performance review may be a two way affair, and HR may have to get involved. The wood elf is eventually escorted from the premises by several town guards, still swearing as he departs. He made his last social skill check…by none, he hit the DC exactly, and so escapes arrest.

But that’s not all, throughout all of above Buggles introduces and then refers to himself as a/the ‘Hero of Neverwinter’. I think he even said Knight of Neverwinter once, or called himself- Sir Buggles, certainly he claimed Halibert was his squire. Later he backtracks on the ‘Hero of Neverwinter’ story and instead lays the blame squarely at Manistrad Copperlocks’ feet. Basically, he states- he and companions are working for the dwarves of Farhill mine, and they’re here to sort things out in Saltmarsh, and to take Manistrad’s place on the council, only there’s a lot more effing & jeffing involved in the conversation.

And its not really a conversation, more a lecture/tirade.

Which is kinda weird, because I thought the plan would be to find a way to bring the two sides together. While the above- that seems to this crazy DM to be a sure-fire way of making things worse.

But what do I know, this is probably part of some crazy long-term strategy.

As it turns out Buggles’ efforts here were an attempt to get face to face with one or more members of the Saltmarsh Town Council, alas he is informed the council only meet here. The Town Hall is home to only clerks and offices.

So, that was for nothing.

Lastly the wood elf heads to Kester’s Leather Goods, a fine establishment- he meets with the proprietor, but they don’t stock magical studded leather armour here. Buggles therefore departs the place (still swearing).

Making friends is not Buggles’ strong suit.

Good work!

Ram visits the Green market, buys a few plants- and a skull-shaped pat of butter (a little odd), presents for Vinnie and Newt respectively, and then he heads for the Empty Net, a less than salubrious bar. Grumpy informed the PCs earlier that this is a rough-spot, and a good place to get into a fight.

The Empty Net is a spit and sawdust type establishment, and if your face don’t fit- well, after a few really bad checks it appears that Ram’s face really doesn’t fit, and he’s asked to vacate the building- only with menaces.

Just to say if it wasn’t for the really bad rolls you could have got in here Ram/Kev, remember you have inspiration points to spend, anything over a 12 and you would have made it beyond the door.

Later Ram tries to chat up some of the fisherfolk on the docks, casually dropping into the conversation that he works for the dwarves at Farhill- this also doesn’t go well, the conversation is swiftly closed down and the fisherfolk walk away. Later, after spending a little gold, he learns from one of the locals that the fisherfolk (generally) are not big fans of the dwarves.

Good work!

Newt visits the Snapping Line, a friendly family-orientated tavern (at least at lunch time), there he entertains (a little) the locals with an impromptu song, and then announces his loyalties (the dwarves of Farhill mine) to the bar, and all their present.

It’s just so weird DMing this, at times.

Later the tabaxi, after learning that there’s a mage called Keledek who lives in the town, locates and then goes for a wander around the spellcaster’s tower. The structure alas doesn’t have a door- he was also told earlier that Keledek doesn’t take kindly to visitors.

Newt however also discovers that Manistrad maintains a building in town- mostly to store the paperwork, he’s informed by one of the dwarven guard’s here. Alas having nothing to prove who he is he’s barred from entering.

Later still Newt locates Blevins from the warehouse, and after exchanging harsh words and insults (mostly Blevins)- and then after attempting to use a suggestion spell on the lout, the meeting is over- although yet more insults are offered (by Blevins). Note the suggestion spell was again accomplished surreptitiously, although the magic failed to have any effect.

Good work!

Vinnie, during his lunch hour takes a good look around a farm on the edge of town- it’s in good order, he’s happy to note. Then he visits the large town market, and then the Saltmarsh Town Hall- the latter in order to pay a clerk to post a message written in druidic on the town message board.

The clerk is naturally suspicious, why would he allow Vinnie to post a secret unreadable message on the town council’s noticeboard. Eventually, as it turns out- and Jim playing Vinnie hadn’t mentioned this up until this point, Vinnie is looking for a fellow druid in the region. The clerk is happy to point the Shifter to Ferrin’s Grove, located just next to the farm he was admiring earlier.

In the last ten minutes of his lunch break Vinnie introduces himself to Ferrin, the halfling druid that maintains the grove. Ferrin promises to get in touch with Vinnie at the mine if anything comes up that he thinks the Dark Squad could help with.

Good work!


Saltmarsh, things to see and do- the Empty Net, Ferrin the Halfling Druid, Keledek's Tower and Kester, master craftswoman leatherworker.

Don’t get me wrong, lots of good info was garnered- but in general, the hard way.

[Saltmarsh adventures 1000 XP]

So, guys this is just me bitching a little-

In Ashby you delighted and entertained the fine folk there, and spent money like water- you were the toast of the village. Gregarious, outgoing, even kind- yes, you Buggles.

In Saltmarsh you were a mixture of weird and/or insulting (or else just a bit too surly and frightening). You spent money on a local- Halibert, and then asked no questions of the lad. The one other fellow you did drop a gold on, this after the kind soul witnessed Ram bodge his chat with fisherfolk, told the rogue what he needed to know.

See a pattern.

Polite, friendly- gregarious, outgoing (and non-threatening) while spending money = instant friends, and any info you may need.

Now I’m not saying it would be the same for Saltmarsh… but, the right question, to the right person (and there are thousands of ‘right persons’ available here, and Halibert has already been bought and paid for so he’s onside) then… hey, it is the same.

Polite, friendly- gregarious, outgoing (and non-threatening) while spending money = instant friends, and any info you may need.

But here’s the thing, why don’t you ask questions, or even just confide in each other a little more, and thereby try to work out ahead of time what you are trying to do?

It is really odd to watch, I realise the VTT is a hard place to all chat at once but I listen to live play podcasts every day, and I mean everyday- I have three on the go atm, and these aren’t professional podcasts, they’re not celebs, one of the games is entirely made up of noobs. But here’s the thing, every session, at least once someone will say- “Right, why are we here?” After this there’ll be an exchange on notes/ideas and then one of the players will say- ‘we’ or ‘I’ am going to go here and try to find out, or do… this, whatever it is.

More or less any friendly citizen of Saltmarsh would have been able to answer almost all of the questions above- don’t go to the Empty Net, it’s a dangerous place- not even the watch go there. The Town Council don’t sit in the town hall all day, they have great big mansions, and jobs to go to. There is a place to buy magic in Saltmarsh, although the proprietor- she’s a little odd. The druid, oh- he lives up there.

The above facts, all of ‘em, just one question away.

Do I need to instigate a ten minute discussion protocol, should I chair this meeting- or just walk away from the VTT while you actually have a chat and figure out what you’re doing, collectively?

So, that wasn’t my favourite session- it was tough to DM, at times.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the time you were a roll away from getting the info that you need, and so therefore unlucky, but it was semi-shambolic, and for nearly two hours.

Last bit, on the sixth day of the back and forth- Farhill to Saltmarsh and back again, and on the last leg of the journey back to the mine, the Slaggs’ fully-laden carts approach Fiveways. Fiveways being the point between Saltmarsh and Lowden, marked by a ruined farmhouse, that five roads come together. There, a little way ahead of the adventurers, hovering in the air is a great winged lion-like beast, quickly identified as a manticore.

The terrible creature has a farmer or field-worker pinned behind a well, firing its tail spikes at the cowering and wailing human.


It's Manticore O' Clock.

The Dark Squad rush into action, the beast is burnt, shot (repeatedly), speared and struck by lightning- all accomplished in just six seconds. It survives the ordeal, although only just- at which point the PCs spot a second manticore approaching fast, swooping in, and there are more peasants huddled in the ruined farmhouse, also in fear taking cover.

The Dark Squad to the rescue, but that’s all we did- although the above encompassed one new metric ton of RP (sorta).

I would be happy, oh so happy if at some point the players would just have a chat ahead of time and figure out what they’re going to be up to, or just discussed things a little more.

Is that wrong/bad of me?

Stay safe and well.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.

PS We played again, just last night, it was glorious to behold. A ton o' fun.
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I reckon that cursed bridge did affect Ram and me afterall, and rendered us unable to speak to anyone without almost getting beaten up. Fortunately we recovered it for the next. Post that one lol.

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