We tend to focus our conversations on general D&D topics, so knowledge of our own games isn’t necessary—but just in case you were wondering about some of the characters and places we mention in passing, here you go: a break-down of our current campaigns.
The party is called the SJWs, in part because they began in a tavern in a hamlet called Street. They would have been Street’s Walkers but that name could have been misheard, so they became Street’s Jolly Walkers instead, which is clearly much better.
They fight against oppression, corruption and hatred wherever they find it. They do this through a variety of ways—mainly intimidation, beartraps, and a complete disregard for consequences.
Delphi: human cleric of Desna. In her words, a literal child. Up for capers and japes. Not up for death and murder, but it’s too late now. Party member who has come closest to dying. Has very cool hair.
Maddy: human barbarian. Has a pet lizard who is definitely just an ordinary lizard and not a very small dragon. Probably. Enjoys raging and drinking champagne. Has limited impulse control but is, on occasion, the most sensible member of the party.
Petra: half-elf rogue. Good at flirting with minor NPCs to get her way. May be wearing a cursed necklace which she once got rid of and then reacquired. Surprisingly strong. Open to doing good deeds, so long as they can be mixed with petty larceny and intimidation tactics.
Saoirse: elf sorcerer. In search of a husband; must be young, rich and hot. Did not specify single, which is lucky. Very into horses, though not especially skilled at riding. Knows how to behave at a party.
Weyrholm: dwarf druid. Talks slow, apart from when conversing with birds. The birds understand him. Isn’t sure about this whole civilisation malarkey. Has a very nice axe. Would like the world to be less complicated and more full of good people being kind.
Current setting (as of March 2019)
Blackmarsh, a city of canals in the middle of, unsurprisingly, a marsh. It’s loosely based off Venice, though as a proud Midlander it is necessary to point out that Birmingham has more miles of canals than Venice, and is a great city, even if its train station is confusing, so maybe it’s a little based off there too.
Blackmarsh can be summed up as a city full of witches scheming. They scheme a lot. Everyone in Blackmarsh is incredibly attractive and a little bit evil. The marshes are at the southern edge of an empire which has recently been paying a little too much attention to what’s going on in the town, so things might get even more interesting soon.
Key parts of town
The city has eight main boroughs or districts, though the party hasn’t visited all of them yet. There’s the Aviary, where the rich people live, planning crimes and being hot. Then there’s the Crucible, which is a rougher neighbourhood, and the Horse Mire, which is…where people who like horses live? Not all the names are brilliant, but they’re canon now so there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Notable tourist attraction/other sites of importance and interest
There’s the Osprey Arena, where fun PC-NPC battles sometimes take place. It is also (in)famous as the location of the party’s first person-murder. It was possibly justifiable, though they’re wrong if they think they got away with that death without consequences.
The Horse Mire is home to the best tea shop in town, Something Something Tea, because coming up with names for unanticipated but empire-renowned coffee houses on the fly is tricky.
There’s the Empty Bridge. Who knows what happened here. There’s now lots of creepy statues on it.
There’s also a candlestick museum. No one has visited the candlestick museum. No one has tried to buy anything from the over-priced gift shop. That’s completely fine.
The (former) Vice Provost of the city, Thomas Gorey, is probably a necromancer of some sort. He’s currently on the run, but that almost certainly won’t stop him from enacting terrible revenge on the party for their actions in revealing his evil machinations.
Geozy and Miriam are friends of the party. They live in Blackmarsh and give the SJWs an anchor/stake in the town. They’re a very sweet couple. Awful things keep happening to them, only some of which are the party’s fault.
There are half a dozen wealthy families in town, most notably the de Leon siblings, witches with falcon familiars and a penchant for getting even. Their sister was killed by the party in the Osprey Arena. Her death was tragic for so many reasons. There is also the de Ghents. They’re rich; they’re hot; they like to party; they might have currently kidnapped Geozy and Miriam.
Deborah Lightfoot is technically not an inhabitant of the city; like the party, she is a traveller on recently arrived. She’s loud, she’s lonely, she’s great at napkin-folding. She may have once plagiarised the PhD of a party member. Even in fantasy worlds, academic crimes are the worst crimes.
Once known as ‘the Unshackled’, the adventuring party now goes by ‘the Witnesses’—or at least, that’s the name given to them by their employer-of-sorts, a masked magus of uncertain morality with a penchant for the dramatic. Why ‘the Witnesses’? Well, for one, they witnessed the opening of an extraplanar Abyssal rift, through which poured hundreds of demons and a great deal of trouble. And beyond that, well—Mad Max: Fury Road is a good film with good turns-of-phrase. Who knows what the party may still witness (oho).
As aforesaid, the party (with a slightly different cast) were originally called the Unshackled, and met after escaping a hobgoblin slave galley together (with some outside help to boot, for better or for worse). Despite the players nearly all coming from creative writing backgrounds, their characters picked the most literal name possible. Thankfully this gives their DM some fun theming to explore, what with their Unshackled-Witnesses dual identity and all.
Conrad: catfolk cleric/paladin of Erastil. A young scion of the enormously wealthy Karneval family. Is determined to do good in the world, even as it crashes and slashes against his lived reality. Carries a portable bathtub with him wherever he goes; demonic invasions are no excuse for poor hygiene. His fearlessness has put him in harm’s way more than once…but he’s still got at least six or seven lives left, with any luck.
Emer: elf wizard. Very smart with by-the-book personality, in part because she wrote the book. Prioritizes the mission at hand and helping people along the way. The oldest member of the team by about 180 years. Despairs that nobody else does research. Quick with a shocking grasp, even after being left one-armed after her recent encounter with a Lich.
Farrar: gnome bard/cavalier. Believes in true love. Covered in battle scars and butterfly tattoos. Occasionally practices gnomish magic, which causes her to transform into ‘Feyrar’, a brightly coloured creature with a mad passion for pranks and causing chaos. Has a weasel mount that she is writing stories about: Sir Bartholomew the Brave.
Frieda: half-elf druid/rogue. A scimitar-first, questions-later woman with a stubborn streak that often gets her into horse-related trouble. Fiercely opposed to many of the immoral stances made by the rest of the party. Lost an eye saving Saskia, her wolf companion.
Ghost: elf monk/???. A recent addition to the party, very little has been revealed about Ghost thus far, save that she had previously been monitoring the group for some time and is skilled at navigating Grenton’s city streets and rooftops swiftly and silently. She is a Silenced elf with no tongue and has clearly been subjected to harsh, almost punitive training in the past as part of her development into an instrument of violence.
Gil: human cleric of Cayden Cailean. Once a man with little to tie him down as he sailed from port to port, some big, splintering changes in life brought him to his new vocation. Still a little unsure of his spiritual capacity, he has a heart of gold beneath the muscles and mustachios. It’s a curious sort of teetotaller who devotes himself to the Lucky Drunk.
Hamish: human(?) oracle. Once a man of the cloth, Hamish has since been embraced by more occult powers, which left his arms burned but his mind opened. Glib of tongue(s) in a pinch, but don’t mistake that for a lack of passion. Has he told you about the Void? Won’t you join the Void? Join the Void.
Kalika: human witch. Having walked away from more than one scrape by the skin of her teeth—or by someone else’s, often as not—she looks out for herself and for Rue (her moth familiar) first and foremost. She has a debt or two to pay back to her patron, but not to worry—she’s already got a plan and a target in mind. Her eerie, time-turning magic might give the rest of the party pause if it didn’t keep saving their lives.
Patience: tiefling sorcerer/inquisitor of Shelyn. Buff and toothy, equally comfortable slinging spells and getting up close and personal with her glaive. Has family issues, which is fair given that her brother is at the head of an Infernal army currently stalking the mortal plane. Still unsure about the warm glow of love her fellow Shelynites rave about, but there’s a softer side beneath all that edge. Her mother’s daughter.
Rayén: human ranger. Astride Colocolo, her dark and majestic steed, she’s seen a lot of the world—and while she thought she spent all her wandering years with just Colocolo for company, it seems her dead-and-buried past may have followed with her too. Hard to beat with a bow—on or off horseback. She enjoys stargazing, killing orcs, and taking trophies from fallen foes.
Current setting (as of March 2019)
With war raging all through the Marches, the city of Grenton has shut its gates in the face on an impending demon attack. The populace is suffering from city-wide cabin fever, and with the oligarchic government rapidly losing control, all the local factions are increasingly murderous as they attempt to gain power.
It’s into this situation the party has arrived—hell-bent on completing a mission which they’ve learned might not be so cut-and-dry, especially as they get sucked into other people’s problems.
Key parts of town
With town divided into multiple districts which definitely aren’t intended to help hammer home the Grenton-is-America allegory, the Witnesses have worked to explore each area, learning more about the factions squabbling for control and the challenges they’ll face there. From the Holy District—where half of the party is currently incarcerated at the behest of the fanatical Purists—to the Elder District—where the rich live behind high walls, safely walled off from the rest of town—there’s few places in town to catch one’s breath, save perhaps for Oldbottles, the tavern where the party’s set themselves up (despite concerns about some of the other patrons).
Notable tourist attraction/other sites of importance and interest
The Commercial District in town contains not only the biggest Combat Arena in the Marches, but also the House of Chances, which features the classics of any decent casino: cards, dice, and tortoise-racing. After the last visit that the party paid it, the main hall is now slightly charred.
There’s also the Mighty Thirst, a raucous beer-hall not far from the arena, where pit fighters and guards often gather, though never at night. The whole Commercial District is weirdly empty after dusk, possibly because the wind carries ghostly voices crying of murder through the streets. Or possibly because all the shops are shut after sundown.
The Temple of Iomedae is in the Holy District. Judging by all the ‘baptized’ bodies drowned in barrels outside, it isn’t wise to cross these Purist zealots unless you’re good at holding your breath.
Grenton’s head of state is famously misliked, but even the rumours of his death haven’t been enough to slow the evil schemes of Regan, his aide-de-camp, a woman far fiercer and more dangerous than the mayor.
Now presiding over Holy District, Swordhand Fulchromme is totally fine with other people disagreeing with her order’s ideals, so long as she gets to drown them after they’ve voiced their objections. She recently gained a new mount—though if she thinks she can keep Rayén’s horse for long, she’s been drinking too much holy water.
The party have yet to meet him this time, but last time they were in town, they ran up against Mormayr Trevure, the head of the city watch. He was unpleasant. Since then he may have become a wererat, which is unlikely to have improved his temperament.
There’s also handsome young Adethure Abayed, an old ally of the Unshackled, who now rules the Elder District. He would like you to join the Void. Didn’t you listen to Hamish? You should join the Void. Join it.