A summary of my 13 year one-on-one D&D campaign with my wife
If you've followed along with my blogs and social media, you might remember that I have (in fits and spurts) run a one-on-one campaign with my wife. I've incorrectly called it a "solo campaign", but I am DM'ing it with her, while running various NPCs that have become her henchfolks and friends.
We've had a long pause, but I've managed to work through some mental blocks and we're going to pick it back up. To help with that, I went through old logs, writeups and notes and sketched a very high level summary of things that have happened in the campaign. I thought it might be of interest, or at least maybe you'd enjoy a peek at the story that we've constructed together.
Tower of Zenopus / Westport - Aeli is hired by Tironell to help him explore the Tower of Zenopus, an old mage’s tower in the city of Westport. She hires on Turchao and Rather to help. Together, they explore the tower and defeat a Black mage and discover a ring of Um’Loran - the same type of ring worn by a “Calypso” who killed Aeli’s parents in search of something from Aeli’s family past. Aeli befriends a sage Nicodemos who helps her with understanding what she finds in the Tower.
Valetown / Tomb of Alaxus - In response to a request by Lord Risz, noble of Westport, Aeli goes to the rural town of Valetown to assist the leader, known as the Patriarch. A strange set of ruins has been discovered and could be the source of undead creatures. After exploring the ruins and defeating a guardian smoke dragon, Aeli discovers the tomb of Alaxus, an evil mage who was a co-founder of the evil mage school of Um Loran. She also recovers a strange sword covered in rune, as well as a strange black orb. Nicodemos recommends that Aeli take the orb to the magical school at Thickletray, in the nearby city of Caleston, to have it studied.
Vale / Wyvern Falls - The Patriarch convinces Aeli to put off her trip and help him with a problem - to the north, farmers were reporting being attacked by dragons. Aeli travels north to a place called Wyvern Falls. There, she fights a wyvern and it’s babies, solves a puzzle and finds a statue of a green dragon holding a green orb, similar to the black one she’s carrying. She’s been having vivid dreams of death and dragons since recovering it.
Aeli learns some of her family history from Nicodemos - Kellus Therran, a famous mage from 700 years ago was her ancestor! He was known for his studies of strange magical creatures and his powerful spell-casting abilities. He also built many towers across the lands - in Caleston/Thicktray, in Chaliam the desert city and in Zaeport - the capital of the former Empire, now known as the Southron Empire. It could be that Calypso was searching for something related to Kellus.
Aeli also learns that the blade she recovered from Alaxus’s tomb is the “Blade of Runes” - created by the sea goddess Cheliduus to kill black mages or mages of ill-intent. A paladin of Cheliduus mortally wounded Alaxus with the blade. It’s intelligent, with a mind and purpose of it’s own. It will often physically meld with Aeli, forming a single extended limb!
Caleston / Thickletray - Aeli travels to Caleston and - because of her blood/genetics - is admitted to Kellus’s tower - something that only the Archmages could do! A construct of Kellus meets her, tells her of the Stones and their true purpose and tells her to go to Chaliam to seek the Gold Stone. On the riverboat ride back to Cyrene, Aeli is attacked by mages of Um Loran, but defeats them.
Cyrene - Aeli meets King Hector and finds out that there is political intrigue - she has to return to the Therran lands and be a noble, instead of traveling about. The King gives her till the end of Winter (it is Summer) to finish her business.
Traveling to Chaliam - Aeli and her band are attacked again by mages of Um Loran. This time, they are successful in taking the black/green stones from Aeli and fleeing.
Perhaps inspired by Diablo 2's desert city of Lut Gholein...
Chaliam - Aeli travels to Chaliam where she is helped by Mafinch, a merchant that she assisted back in the Vale. She gets involved with a mage (Jacen) who offers to help if she can help him. In becoming an arena fighter to earn money to clear Jacen’s debt, Aeli becomes Arena Champion and is targeted by a changeling! She defeats the changeling.
Aeli discovers she has to find an ancient library, and has to gain the help of the Thieves Guild to find it. She does so by freeing a high-ranking thief from the Chaliam prison. They find the library, find a secret entrance that takes them to an old apartment belonging to Kellus. They find clues to how to get to the Tower of Kellus.
Desert of Chaliam - Aeli travels the desert in search of the Tower - her only clue is to find three keys by seeking out the desert races - the Thri-Kreen (insect people), the Yuan-Ti (snake people), the Lizardmen. She does so, and resolves issues between each of the races. They give her the keys and she opens a portal to the Tower.
Chaliam / Cyrene - Aeli is attacked at Mafinch’s house by agents of Um Loran. She sneaks out of the city and makes it back to Cyrene, where she learns that her sister, Briar, is back and seeking to claim the right to Therran lands! The King is finding it hard to fight against the nobles who are backing Briar. Aeli makes arrangements to sail to the Southron capital of Zaeport to find the third Kellus tower and recover the Copper dragon stone.
Zaeport - Aeli assumes a disguise as a servant to Tironell, whose family is from the Southron Empire. She was forbidden to ever enter Southron lands due to a diplomatic incident earlier in Valetown. With the help of Caren, a thief from Chaliam who joined her, she and her group get into the tower where they recover the stone, speak to another Kellus construct and are able to leave the city! Aeli sails back to Cyrene, intent on traveling to the Elven lands of Tioldior to speak to them about the Silver dragon stone, which they have.
Pretty epic stuff...just needs a little time travel element.ReplyDelete
How much of the OD&D rules do you use? I'm just asking volumes (i.e. whether or not you're taking "stuff" from Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, etc.), not specific rules...from which books do you draw your game "canon?"
One rule specific question: are you using the standard x.p. calculation found in the LBBs? 6th level seems a bit low for 13 years of adventure, even with long lay-offs. And you've chronicled a LOT of adventure here.
Does your wife enjoy D&D? Just curious.
Hey JB, nice to hear from you!Delete
How much OD&D - pretty much just the LBBs with a bit of GH/BM/Strategic Review - all monsters are fair game though! I tend to not use EW in my games, idk, Kask's stuff just never really appealed to me.
I am using standard 100HP per HD, and unfortunately, the long lay overs have taken their toll. Aeli's avoided many fights and she even got a jump to 4th level as being a local hero as well.
It's not the rules, it's the game, the story and our time together she enjoys. She's not into the rules so much. She likes it that I tell her what dice to roll and leaves the rules to me. She does love the whole tracking of treasure though! LOL.
Also, she's splitting some of her XP with 3 henchmen, which does take some away as well.Delete
Ahh...right. The henchmen. Hadn't considered that...lot of need for followers in a single-person game.Delete
RE wife's enjoyment
That's very cool. My wife enjoys spending time with me (on occasion), but not gaming. Maybe cribbage or rummy 500.
She calls them "her posse" - she has 5 right now - Tironell - Mage, who hired her originally and then ended up being her sidekick. They argue like a married couple, go figure! ;) Then there's Rather/Turchao - "brothers" in arms. Farshi, the hippy cleric. And now Caryn, a thief.Delete
Just don't ask her about Nodwig, the torchbearer that she abandoned in the cold darkness of a dungeon, to be eaten by giant rats... I still hear it about that! (and the dog that bit her...)