We Play Too Much – Part 2 (Games We Play)

We’re continuing the self-revealing series, where we find out how much games we actually play in a month.1 Last week, I talked about the Games I Play, such as Changeling the Lost and a livestream game of D&D Adventurers League. This week, let’s continue by discussing the games where Angela and I are both players.

Ghosts of Salt Marsh

System: Dungeons and Dragons, Fifth Edition
DM: Paul

Having played and finished multiple campaign adventures under DM Paul G , starting with Storm King’s Thunder, we have recently begun our fourth campaign, called Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Our group has been playing every Saturday since September 2016, with short breaks in between campaigns. Angela joined our Saturday group during the last campaign, where we played Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

For our Saturday campaigns, we are also using the organized play variant for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, known as Adventurers League (AL), where standard rules are set up to easily enable any Adventurers League player and/or dungeon master to jump from one table to another if they wish to.

So let’s talk about the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign for a bit. This hardcover book is not your typical campaign adventure.2 Instead, it is a compilation of popular classic adventures from the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons and from Dungeon magazine. These adventures are converted for the fifth edition rules. Additionally, these seafaring adventures which center around the titular port town of Saltmarsh will lead characters from level 1 through level 12.

Our characters were already level three by the time we started this campaign, since we played a few AL modules before this.

First off, Angela is playing Lia, a half-elf grave cleric, and a follower of Kelemvor, the God of the Dead. Lia is following in her mother’s footsteps as a guide for the dying and the dead, and a staunch enemy of the undead and of those who would befoul the natural order of life and death.

My character is Vagra, a half-orc barbarian that follows the Path of the Ancestral Guardian, and the last of the Howling Wolf tribe. She is searching for the one responsible in betraying and sacrificing her entire tribe, and through happenstance was able to meet Lia, who helped her in controlling the vengeful spirits of her ancestors. Because of this, she now follows Lia wherever she goes and tries to protect her from harm.

Recently, they found a clue regarding the one responsible for the massacre of Vagra’s tribe that led them to the up and coming port town of Saltmarsh. Here, they joined up with other adventurers after they were hired by one of the town’s council members to investigate the mysteries of a haunted mansion located a few miles from the port town.

Being a fan of swashbuckling adventures, especially with the prospect of having our own ship, I am quite excited to see where this campaign will lead us and all the shenanigans in between. I am also interested to see how my character will play out, since this is the first time I am playing a barbarian.3

Komainu

System: Legend of the Five Rings, Fifth Edition
DM: Chester

Legend of the Five Rings is set in the fictional empire of Rokugan. The setting is inspired heavily from Feudal Japanese culture, with other East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures sprinkled in for good measure. Here, the empire is divided into seven Great Clans.4 The players usually create individual samurai characters coming from these Great Clans, who embark on adventures filled with drama, suspense, humor, romance, and horror.

I have experience in playing and enjoying the fourth edition for Legend of the Five Rings, having played a courtier of the Ide family from the Unicorn Clan. This time however, in the fifth edition, we are all playing samurai characters from the Lion Clan, which is considered as the Right Hand of the Emperor and the clan unrivalled militarily, as there are no sharper tacticians and no larger armies in all of the empire.

I play Akodo Mamoru, who is assigned as the squad leader for this group. Born from a peasant family, he has since been adopted as a reward for his peasant father’s services to their lord. He was, since then, raised to become a samurai, and with only a few select people knowing his true heritage.

Angela plays Matsu Kagami, a meek shugenja5 who studied in the Kitsu shugenja school, to the dismay of her relatives, especially considering that the Matsu family are renowned as fiery warriors and fill the ranks of the vast Lion armies. But either way, she was also assigned by her lord to join our group, on a mission to the Spice Islands under the control of the Mantis minor clan.

Our first assignment was to head to Dragon’s Guard City to the east, to investigate piracy in the area. After breaking thru the bureaucracy, experiencing treachery, battling with spirits, and eventually figuring out where the pirates were, we also learned that there seems to be a greater conspiracy at play. In light of this, we were elevated as Lion Clan magistrates and were sent next to the city of sin known as Ryoko Owari, which is held by the duplicitous Scorpion Clan. Here we are trying to start a war between the multiple drug cartels in the city, while trying to learn more of the conspiracy in play.

I am really enjoying the campaign we are playing, where every session/episode will most definitely contain some sort of drama for the characters or their mission. Additionally, the new system needed a lot of getting used to at first, but eventually the more narrative focused style is quite appropriate for the more personal stories we are trying to tell in this campaign.

If you want to find out more and follow where our campaign goes, Chester, our DM for this campaign, also has his own blog where he posts summaries of our game sessions.

So tune in next week for the final part of this series, where we talk about the games that I am currently running.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Knowing the problem is half the battle, kids
2. With an overarching main plot and multiple side plots
3. i.e. a meat head type of character
4. Lion, Scorpion, Crane, Dragon, Phoenix, Unicorn, and Crab
5. priest

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