An easy to use method for storytelling.

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I believe that everyone of us is a storyteller. You don’t have to speak of elves and dwarves or aliens from a far realm to convey a human experience using your words to another fellow human. Every time you make an attempt to persuade someone, you are crafting a story. Every time you rationalize an event, you are telling yourself a story. In other words, you already tell stories, and if you want, you can become better with practice.

I found this article while browsing for better ways to tell stories and discovered this method! I wondered how my Dungeons and Dragons campaign would hold up to the heat of this crucible for storytelling. Let’s see.

The 5 Cs of Storytelling

Immediately I drafted a list using this five pillars and overplayed my current game. We have been playing this since March 2020 and what started as a couple friends rolling dice while rescuing a lost miner has turned into a fantastic story, if I may say so.

I believe that is partly thanks to my amazing players, or as I call them sojourners, for together we sojourn through life telling stories. These stories make us. By playing Dungeons and Dragons, life begins to imitate art and we learn to utilize many sorts of problem solving practices in real life that we played in game.

But D&D being good for you is a different story. Today, I wanted to celebrate a success in my campaign and show you the overlay of the 5 Cs and how my story lays gently into this model of storytelling. While I think you should read the article above, here are the 5Cs.

Circumstance, or the setting

Curiosity, or why bother listening?

Conversation, or how would I share this with others?

Characters, or how do I relate as a listener?

Conflict, or what happens in the end?

And here, as promised, is my story.

Hell can be beautiful if ruled rightly.

Because Zariel, ruler of hell, struggles to maintain order in the war torn land, the hordes of the demonic abyss rise in numbers and threaten to overrun our beloved plane of Bonzárel. If she loses, the hordes will rise in numbers, but if she wins, she sets up a military cult recruiting mortal souls into her blood war and martial service. The characters are Felthran, who is honest, stubborn, loyal and dutiful. Garindan, who is haunted, darkened, redeemed, and rehabilitated. Bramble, who is vengeful, humble, proficient and pragmatic. Hey, who is lovable, simple, pure and abandoned. So then remains the difficult decision of setting up the ruler of hell, where an eternal war occurs between evil demons who want to overrun the universe and evil devils who want to enslave and overrule the universe. While the sojourners begin by visiting this neighborhood of conflict to ensure the battle stays far from their home, they discover they are they have been appointed to set up the rulership of hell sanctioned by the gods.

So, there you have it. I’m pleased to find I didn’t require much tweaking with the storyline in order to neatly fit into the 5 Cs of Storytelling. Whether you are sharing your morning coffee with a friend, selling a service to a customer or interviewing for a job, we are all telling stories. Because they appeal to the very core of our ancient humanity, we should learn to tell them well. May your story continue!

Escape from Fort KnuckleBone

Welcome Sojourners!

Escape from Fort Knucklebone

In this episode, the sojourners meet Zarion, a new fellow to the party. Zarion, like most people in Avernus, have lived their all of their lives in this war torn wasteland. Have you ever taken a chance on someone? Have you ever trusted your instinct and taken a risk on someone? you may have had no way to verify who they were or if they could be trusted? How did it end up?

In this episode, we as storytellers explore the value of trusting your instincts and taking a chance on trust. And in the end, it might have turned out good, bad or yet to be determined, the adventure lies within the journey, the power arrives in the process

Still in Avernus, of the nine hells, the sojourners find themselves for the first time, clean, fed and supplied. Nevertheless, they reside in Fort Knucklebone, ruled by the warlord Mad Maggie. She finances the blood war on both sides, and houses the riffraff scum, turncoats and criminals. With all of this disturbance, at least the sojourners are not trapped outside within the firestorm. Adventure awaits as the sojourners make their departure from the fort and only time will tell how Zarion fares with this new found party. And so our story continues.

https://anchor.fm/sojourners-awake/episodes/Escape-from-Fort-Knucklebone-es8dhb

Running Deities in the roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons

The sojourners arrive at the monolith after harrowing travel through the wilds. Upon their arrival, a bright light shines from the stone and they hear a booming voice greet them, “you have sojourned far to find me, now that you are here, what do you want?” They have finally reached the lost shrine of Torm, the god of courage.

How do you imagine deities working within Dungeons and Dragons? My style of running the game always involves telling a story. But even then, I want to benefit the players with boons and banes every time they choose to interact with these immortal beings.

I begin with an introduction to review the story so far. This involves about 3 minutes of me narrating what has happened in relevance to the sojourners. By the way, I call my player characters “sojourners” to remind us all that we are sojourning through life.

After the introduction is read, I inform them of the setting and ask them “how they are preparing for the adventure today?” You’ll see that right out of the gate, I’m having the sojourners describe themselves interacting with the world. And from there, I drop the incident, which is a simple action that kicks off the adventure and prompts them to act. We go around and around until a nice story has been told!

The world of Dungeons and Dragons has many deities who manage domains of the universe. I could get into all of the lore, but to be honest, I don’t know much of it. Instead, I think of how it makes sense to me for these immortal beings to interact with the universe. But the recurring question I have is how and why would they intervene in the affairs of mortals? In short, they are non player characters in my story and I need a motivation and a means for their actions.

To keep things simple, I use the pantheon list from the 5th ed. Player’s Handbook. The way I imagine everything working out is that some gods are all powerful, some all knowing, and some all loving, but not one god holds all three responsibilities!

They have clear limitations, otherwise, I feel they would overpower the story. Their motivation and means of action stems from one of those three responsibilities they possess, either power, love or knowledge.  Now I just have to divide them into appropriate groups. 

To start, I set up a division between power, love and knowledge. Then I determine that those with power oversee historical events, those with love rule over natural creation and those with knowledge govern mortal experiences. I align the domains within the PHB into each of those three categories. The formula is simple. If the god rules an event, they possess power. If they rule a part of creation, they possess love, and if they rule a mortal experience, they possess knowledge. For example, I think war is an event, therefore the god ruling over war is all powerful. Storms are part of the natural order, therefore the god who rules this domain is all loving. Finally, mortal experiences (love, divination, loss) are assigned to gods who are all knowing. In my mind, this is where technology breakthroughs occur, whether it’s the hit song, or the cure for a disease, or a 10th level spell, these gods show up and deliver knowledge.

First, let’s talk about the all loving gods. Deities of the natural world such as Meiliki of the forests, Moradin of creation, and Selune of the moon are gods who demonstrate love and care for their creation. Their motivation originates from their love for what they have made and how they care for it. Of course, goddesses like Auril, the evil one of winter, manages to fit in this “all loving” category and in truth, she loves winter, but severely crosses anyone who opposes her. In truth, Meiliki would do the same if some powerful warlord burned down an entire forest to cause calamity. Then we might see the passionate love of Meiliki as she avenges! Either way, these gods, though they love and care, do not possess much power or knowledge. Asking them for favors will only go so far in your request, but you can trust their motivations always stem from their beloved creation.

Example: Garindan is a young dwarf with much ambition. Although he lived in civilization all his life, he later committed himself to Moradin. Every time my player indicates Garindan cares for natural creation for a dwarven community, I allow him to gain advantage on one spell attack that day. This affects the world around the players and still, allows for mechanical bonuses in game. 

Secondly, the deities who oversee events and time possess power. This includes war and peace, birth and death. They rule their domain with abilities that frighten mortals, causing them to evoke respect rather than love. Indeed, these gods do not particularly care for mortals so much as they take seriously the event they rule. I can imagine beings such as Bane and Eldath contesting as to who gets to determine the fate of the realms. Will this be a time of war or peace? I can imagine Lathander overseeing each birth, taking the responsibility of beginnings seriously, not out of love, but duty. He then bestows power based on adherence to that duty. Do not come praying to these immortal masters believing they will favor you, for quite possibly all mortals are pawns on a chess board in order to fund the domain in which they rule.

Example: During this crisis of war, the sojourners encounter an obstacle with running low on supplies in ammunition. Out of desperation, the monk, Windrunner, sets up a small shrine to Bane. Even though he does not “serve” this god normally, he is making a request for more ammo to destroy his enemies. Since this aligns with Bane’s domain, the god sends a messenger in the form of an arrow shooting a random sojourner. After dealing damage, the team notices a note from Bane divulging a stockpile of weapons within a nearby dungeon that will turn the tide of the war.

Finally, deities of knowledge, in my opinion, hold the most domains within the universe. I categorize these by their domains of mortal experiences such as wizardry, strategy, and pain, other examples include beauty, courage, and justice. These gods, though without much power and love for mortals, roam the universe with mastery of their domain. Asmodeus belongs here, for he knows all things of indulgence and from his palace in the Nine Hells, he gathers intel on the best way to provide enjoyment to its fullest extent. Gond, who understands the matters of crafting and construction boasts his insight and his followers beg to learn of the secret ways to build their empires. Milil, the god of poetry and song, might share with a servant the most impressive love song and release it into the world for the sake of spreading knowledge. Again, these deities are not motivated by their love for their creation, nor the will to rule the events of time, but rather, like springs of intelligence, they sprinkle information on those whom they deem fit.

Example: The sojourners gather with Bardock, the bard as he insists they view a once in a lifetime performance of Milil, god of song. The god performs and anyone within 300 feet that can hear and see the god’s avatar perform receives the benefits of the Crusader’s Mantle spell for a one time use. Or if Milil performed a stand up routine, the sojourners can permanently learn the Vicious Mockery cantrip as they relay his brutal jokes to their enemies!

All in all, adding interactions with deities in game can provide rich storytelling, and adding boons and banes can encourage the players to encounter gods themselves. Whether you bonus the players by giving advantage, adding a d4 to an ability check, or the benefits of a spell for a day, you encourage the interaction with a deity besides simply telling a good story. However, every god needs limitations because conflict makes a good story. So to recap, some gods are powerful, some are loving, and some are knowledgeable, but none possess three qualities and they, for the most part, stay in their lane of their ruled domain. If a god rules an event, they possess power. If a god rules a creation, they possess love. If a god rules an experience, they possess knowledge. 

Go mortal, do my work, and I promise you favor: cross my will and suffer the consequences. And so, our story continues.

May you March with aGusto.

It’s silly.

I know, but sometimes creating your own sayings helps you know your own self. And I’m silly. I like words and puns and groaning turns of phrases. I like messing up the English language. I like learning new languages – Spanish, Mandarin, Swahili.

Words are just containers for our feelings, so get out there, find a quiet spot and keep yourself a journal. Was one of the best pieces of advice my mother gave me and I give to you now. Write using the best words you know.

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May you March with aGusto!

Onward and Upward

https://anchor.fm/sojourners-awake/embed/episodes/Onward-to-Fort-Knucklebone-eqto80

Have you ever felt like giving up? I think despair, hopelessness and fatigue are all things anyone experiences in their life. We had a snowstorm in Texas this month and I listened to so many stories of struggle. When you are not prepared for a disaster, it’s that much more difficult to deal.

Losing light. Losing warmth. Losing travel. Losing communication.

Disaster can be very isolating, and mixing that with cold and darkness compounds any suffering we were already under. I work in hospice care, geriatric nursing and the healthcare system as a nurse. We heard many stories of folks suffering this month.

But now we reach the pinnacle. For I heard stories of compassion, dedication and bravery surface among the suffering. This man cared for his neighbors and brought them food and water, a plumber worked overtime to repair pipes for a mother and daughter and a daughter dressed up as a delivery driver in order to bring a visit to her mother in a nursing home.

People are resilient, they are not disasters. Disasters come and go, but who we show up to be in the midst of them says everything about our legacy. In this weeks episode, we told a story of struggle, despair and disgust. How will the sojourners respond? How will you respond? And so, our story continues.

Dungeon Master Preparation

My method is super simple. I see everything as an ingredient in a recipe for a great Dungeons and Dragons Session. Here is a sneak peak into my recipe care for developing a session. Please note that the ingredients occur as the players act, considering all of these goodies to be sprung upon the players when they participate in the adventure.

Sojourners in Avernus – Session 4

Title : Arriving at Fort Knucklebone

Sojourner’s Spotlight and Challenges

Feltran – remember abyssal corruption on a natural 1 roll

Hey – introduce the lady as a jealous woman, desiring a means to destroy noble fiends

Bramble – bring the presence of invisible creatures

Garindan – pressure him to bring someone back to life

Introduction: After the victory over Tiamat’s rise to power, the sojourners debriefed in their respective homes. But soon enough, they realized their mutual home, the plane of Bonzarel, stood in the shadow of the Blood War. They reunited to become informed and to act. The Sojourners were informed that the Blood War could spill over into their own plane if they didn’t take steps to hold back the spread within Avernus. For reasons of their own, they banded together to venture into Avernus not to win, but to restore the balance of the war, for if they didn’t the conflict between the demons and devils would eventually swell into an uncontestable force. As it were, Zariel, the leader of the devils, stood now with a hammer and battleaxe, two weapons of leadership to unite the hells into her victory. But the demon lord Yeenoghu, crept silently from the shadows of the Abyss and readied his horde with an evil grin. With the sojourners now travelling across the plains of fire and searching for Fort Knucklebone, they found themselves in desperate need of food and water and healing from the unforgiving heat of Avernus.  And so our story continues.

Incidents:

  • a thief manages to attempt a pickpocket, revealing themselves to be a madcap from Mad Maggie
  • Bel contacts the sojourners to recover the Burning Beacon from the abyssal horde, in exchange he will offer an invitation to the veteran’s party. 

Events:

  • Zariel scours the plains in her airship for demonic incursions.
  • Yeenoghu lies in wait within the Croketoeak.
  • Smiler the Defiler arrives in Knucklebone.
  • A new demonic wave attempts to wreck the Stygian Docks, leaving it damaged, but functional.

Contacts and NPCs

Villain: Mad Maggie aka Granny Nightshade

Partner: Bitterbreath, aka Philmore the Bone Devil

Servant: Mickie, the flesh golem

Lackey: Smiler the Defilier, drow warlock of Yeenoghu

Guard: Macabella, the tiefling defected warlock, characterized by her rearranged face. Runs the hellhound brigade.

Pet: Enlarged Dretch: bat faced, bipedal with large nailed claws and feet that spring it into a flying leap. It roots for flesh to gnaw and suffers from blindness as it’s eyeballs have been surgically removed. 

Victim: Thicket Heartwood

Bystander: Mordenkainen, archmage, currently polymorphed as a tiefling visitor

Ally: Thaddeus Banks, imp

Problem: The sojourners lumber onward through the plains. Between steps you encounter a few craters and pits, now drained from their black sticky demon ichor. Various tire tracks trail through the dirt and over sharp ridges of rock that lines the land like a spiny backbone. Suddenly, your blood begins to drain from your face, and we see your footprints left behind in a sidewinding fashion. Roll a constitution saving throw. How do you manage through this mirage?

Discovery: magic takes on an infernal theme in order to appear like a natural spell, but any spell may betray the party as foreigners or good. There are actually 9 suns on the horizon. Demon ichor causes abyssal corruption, and wards off natural predators of avernus. Hellwasps can be sourced as nourishment. Telepathy, scrying, message can all be intercepted. Mad Maggie, formally Granny Nightshade of 100 years, and she boil down frog eyes in a ritual designed to create a non detectable camouflage paint. 

Natural Predator: hell hounds

Victim – Thicket Heartwood, Brambles Brother. a mild mannered looking hinfolk man with sandy curly hair. He is barricaded by a wooden pen, shoveling feed into a den of rabid Cuchvillas, cattle sized pigs with bodies of alligators, appearing as rabid pigzillas. He wipes the sweat from his filthy brow and looks up towards the exit. He sold his soul in exchange for financial success in the family manor without Bramble’s knowledge. He pays now as a slave in Fort Knucklebone. 

Rewards – Metallic war machines  built in the Nine Hells, fueled with ichor, tear through the dusty landscape on wheels made from demon hides. Bristling with spikes, blades and chains, they prove not only to pose as menacing engines, but also able to impale through a horde of demons spawn with no loss of soldiers. Their engines bellow and rumble, issuing thick black smoke from their exhaust. A dinner plate sized thick metal coin rests in your hands. Carved with infernal runes, it signifies a single soul for exchange and payment. The foul smelling demon ichor sloshes back and forth, seemingly moving at a nauseatingly slow rate. It splashes easily and rather than sizzling with heat, it soaks directly into unprotected skin, leaving behind a noxious gas released into the air. 

Mysteries – Where is Cerecio, the former consort lover of the Lady of Air and Darkness? Where is the Sword of Zariel? What is Hey’s mission? How does a soul form?

Area Effects –  the swarm of cuchivillas, use hell hound stats x 5 attacks, Dex Save 12 6d6 piercing dmg, vulnerable if prone. A herd of pig faced cuchivillas storm upon you, trampling past with mad fury and a blind rush. 

Traps – Pit Trap Int Save DC 15, 90 dmg on sleep spell –

Conditions – Incapacitated, Frightened Blind DC 15 – use to further complicate a combat scenario, through a powerful devil, or frightening spell.

RP Friendly – Thaddeus Banks, the imp, shows interest in the sojourners appearance and mortality

RP Hostile – Barnabus, the Flameskull seeks to trade magic items, and then deceive on the payment

Drainer – burn out player’s spell slots with effects to end conditions

Boons and Banes –  Abyssal corruption on a 1, Devil’s charm on Natural 20’s page 215 of Descent into Avernus.

Pleasant Surprise – Professor Banks, although spying for Zariel, can aid in numerous helpful ways navigating through Avernus and in the interest of keeping them on Zariel’s team, grants them insights.

Lore Drop –the abyss is a vast wound in the space of the universe. The truth remains that the demon princes remain the mightiest force in the universe. Most other creatures believe demons to be little more than mindless engines of destruction and violin. If that supposition were true, the Blood War should have ended long ago, since the tactical and strategic genius of the archdevils would have made quick work of the hordes that erupt from the Abyss. The Blood War offers an endless source of diversion underscored by resentment of  acosmic order that refused to admit their superiority. Avernus is the most easily accessible from the River Styx. To strike forth anywhere else would play right into the devil’s hands so they can finally launch a force to end the Abyss. 

Problematic Intrigue – Smiler the Defiler, the drow warlock of Yeenoghu proves to distract the sojourners once again by stealing items, making deals, offering bargains and doing everything within his power to draw away their attention from the Blood War.

Setbacks – Mad Maggie insists the sojourners stay within the Fort as entertainment for an indefinite amount of time. Upon entering Fort Knucklebone, the sojourners must deliver a dream or thought to enter, within the shop, a satyr currently is being harassed by Smiler the Defiler, upon any combat, the Lightning Ring round begins, if the sojourners aid the shop keep, a set of keys to a war machine is granted. 

Fort Knucklebone Shop: The Witches Wart: a shop located with a gargantuan human skull, where magic weapons, spell components, cursed items, bomb making equipment, war machines and food and drink.

Puzzles –  a broken war machine exhales a large pop and the engine flares up quickly, and then dies down. The madcaps curse as they attempt to repair the vehicle, but to no avail. The secret lies in the repair of the crankshaft, where a hellwasp got caught and it’s body impedes the ignition. A large level of acid or radiant energy can decrease the body size, wresting it from it’s position. 

Villain – Mag Maggie, formally known as Granny Nightshade, arrived in Avernus after Bel resurrected her body from an auction he won, and planted her to manage the rogue warlords to keep Avernus’s factions growing with the hopes that one day he can win her loyalty and overthrow Zariel. In the meantime, Maggie plays both sides of the war, supplying weapons and intel to keep the balance going strong. She holds a personal grudge and gratitude to the sojourners for her decapitation. Now holding a demon skull for a head, she rules Ft Knucklebone and the ragtag group of devils and demons who skirt their responsibilities in the Blood War. She also holds a connection to the feywild and employs people like Smiler, the Madcaps and Petrified Dryads from the Lady of Winter. She plans to host the sojourners with no hard feelings, toying with them and exploring their motives, all the while planning to keep them imprisoned as gladiators in her Lightning Ring, where mortals battle immortal beings, namely Philmore the Bone Devil who defected from the Blood War. The fiends enjoy the carnage of watching a mortal die, or an immortal annihilated. 

Lead – A vampire named Cicero hangs on a tree imprisoned by striges feeding him mortal blood and suffering under Haruman, a betrayer paladin of Zariel’s celestial army.

Extra Story Detail: Either by chance or by choice, they arrive at the base of Fort Knucklebone. If they arrive at Fort Knucklebone. Inside of Fort Knucklebone, the sojourners witness the junkyard graveyard of metal gears and all terrain vehicles. By harvesting the residue of demonic ichor, these war machines plow across the plains in service to the infernal forces. By selling these demon grinders, Mad Maggie ensures her place in the blood war. And within her courts, each can find that she uses the pickled frog eyes to cast an anti scrying spell to conceal Yeenoghu’s pet, the Crocatoek, a large slug holding hundreds of demons, slithering across the plains undetected heading for a mysterious location. Mad Maggie presents as Granny Nightshade, beheaded and now holding up a shrunken demon head by which to speak and see. She holds no grudges at this time, but eventually seeks a way to impart misery to the sojourners along the way. By playing both sides, and keeping the renegade devils in check, she holds the gunslinger’s position in the saloon and knows her power. She could become a powerful ally, or a source of pain and misery at the cost of performing her dirty deeds. If the sojourners are captured, she will allow them to participate in the Lightning Ring, where devils compete against monstrosities from other planes to the death. Here, your word is your bond and Granny Nightshade respects no liar.

Things to steal within Fort Knucklebone:

  • A powerful spellcasting component
  • A prisoner working in the slave pens, a hinfolk man, Thicket Heartwood
  • A bag of soul coins (4 souls for sale) Macabella, Dagult, Yeshem and Perseus BigToe.

Thicket Heartwood, Bramble’s brother, certainly died in the attack on his home, but before that, had privately enlisted himself to the service of Zariel in exchange for financial success. He had borne the burden of keeping his family’s estate afloat and for many years kept up the appearance while serving Zariel. While he committed no major crime beyond a few recruitments here and there, he bemoans his fate, for instead of being enlisted into the blood war, he has served as a spy within Fort Knucklebone feigning as a planar traveler. 

Within Fort Knucklebone, the sojourners can learn of the assault upon the Burning Beacon, the celestial prisoner, and meet Professor Thaddeus Banks, Upon leaving Fort Knucklebone, the sojourners are chases out violently for a false report among any enemies they have made and they are framed for a crime they didn’t commit. Any allies they have gathered assist them in the escape and tell them to head for the Stygian Docks. The war machines light up and the chase is on!

From this point, the sojourners will leave with Professor Thaddeus, Thicket and possibly some loot and a stolen war machine. They will witness alongside the road, the behemoth slug slithering across the plains, painted lightly with a glaze that keeps it obscured from prying eyes from hell. Various madcaps, little fairie women run up and down on their racers painting the creature and then leaving. One could easily surmise a hundred demons dwell in the belly of this abyssal transport vessel and appears to be heading roughly in the direction of the Stygian Docks.

Beyond this point, the sojourners can see the scattered remains of dead devils, left to decay into ash along the plains, and in the distance, the tower of the burning beacon, crashed over on its side and straddled by numerous demons. One can guess the tower once appeared as a beetle standing on its hind legs, and up high in its pinchers, held a large glass orb, now shattered into bits. The tower, with enough strength, can be easily resurrected upright and somehow, theoretically restarted once again as Talis had mentioned. The forces of demons would fight to consume intruders, possibly take one in for questioning and mirth. Along with a horde to fight through, predatory vultures swoop through the sky, alerted to your presence. Beyond the demons, the tower must be restarted and in surprise, they find a bruised unicorn, left for torture, who’s name is Moonglow, and indeed, was the source of the radiant power that vanquished the fiends. Now injured and off of the tower, he can do no good. But once placed upon the tower, he may recharge the beacon, summoning the glass orb in his periphery and blast through the remaining fiends. This is one of the few safe places for non fiends upon Avernus.

After aiding in the Burning Beacon, the die is cast. Upon beginning this journey, Yeenoghu led by 2 points, if the sojourners aided in any way to assist the devils, Zariel gained a point for each success. But if the sourners failed to help, Yeenoghu gained 1 point as the Stygian Docks took an assault. If Zariel is aided by starting the beacon, or alerting Zariel to the presence of Croketoek, then 1-2 points can be gained to level the balance. Back into the wastelands, the sojourners march on. Now, knee deep in the blood war, the heat begins to rise, commanding them into action. And so, our story continues!

Meeting Professor Thaddeus Banks

Imps serve at the bottom of the hierarchy in the Infernal Planes from Wizards of the Coast

In our Sunday evening Dungeons and Dragons game, the sojourners finally arrived in Avernus and it was no walk in the park. Although Avernus was once a fantastic vacation get away for mortals and immortals alike, the Blood War has ravaged it into a wasteland.

Nevertheless, because of it’s political connection to the Hells of the universe, Avernus witness quite a bit of foot traffic as people travel for various reasons. Imps, little floating lesser devils serve as the waiters, bellhops and butlers of the archdevils in Avernus and Professor Thaddeus Banks is one of them.

All devils are evil of course, for they consider mortal souls as currency and feel nothing the collateral damage they cause in draining goodness from a soul until it is ripe for the harvest. Once the mortal time clock tolls, the soul is then drawn from the corrupted River Styx, wiping their memories and regenerated into a devil’s body, now ready to serve in the Blood War. This comes with great honor in serving the universe, but of course, breeds a narrow minded concept as how to spend one’s existence. For if you are not doing your part to fight this battle, then you are of course, the evil one. At least, that’s how devils see things.

Fort Knucklebone – a fortification of warlord and rogues in hell from Wizards of the Coast

But what if a devil remembers their former life? What if they catch snippets of their former existence? How would they do so? This character, an imp who serves as tour guide “taxi cab driver” in hell, may act as this character. Professor Thaddeus Banks, at your service. Of course, he holds an infernal title, but for some reason, he remembers that name, and feels he should use it when addressing mortals. Check out our podcast! You will enjoy it for we enjoyed making it.

Warlocks and Patrons

In Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, one of the playable classes is a warlock. As I understand, magic is available through many avenues in a fantasy world. Some wizards study their whole lives to memorize formulas, some cleric devout their lives to serving a deity. Warlocks, I imagine, cut a deal with a powerful being, who is not a god. These powerful beings, I think of as “black market” magic, whether it be a cheap knock off of the original brand, or a product laced with unholy ingredients designed to get the user hooked on a sale. Or this could be a source of “homegrown” magic, where the patron wants to provide a free range source to their warlocks, for free, because, you know, they believe in free magic for all.

Either way, power is fun! Handing out power in Dungeons in Dragons to players is fun and I have found warlock classes really help propel the story in a dramatic way.

Personally, I love it when my players dive into the servant of the archfey. George MacDonald, who wrote “The Princess and the Goblin” paved the way for many great authors like Tolkien, Lewis and Carroll. I really enjoy movies like “Legend” and anything with faeries. I’ve tried to isolate what makes a person “fey” or a world “feywild.” My simple answer is that in the feywild, one truly never ages. And in this perpetual state of childhood, the creatures only become more powerful in immortality, but nevertheless retaining the childishness and childlikeness of their former selves. This can be displayed as sweet innocence or a holy terror. Think of a child playing with their toys. If an archfey view mortals as playthings, they may care for them or completely use them up and horridly destroy them.

If you want more lore on the Fey, check out https://worldofmyrr.com/ and their book Monsters of Feyland.

The fey don’t feel the passing of time. And this makes them fey. Anyway, it’s my thoughts and feelings on the matter. But what is exciting is playing that out in this episode! I hope you enjoy the banter, the drama and the way this propels the story to draw my players into Avernus.

https://anchor.fm/sojourners-awake/embed/episodes/The-Queen-of-Air-and-Darkness-eq4a71