We started a new D&D 5e campaign, which involved a lot of puzzles and mysteries, which I'm not going to even try to write down, because we had a PIN BOARD for clues, complete with pins and notes and mad string:
The painting at the bottom is by me, and is full of clues, but I don't actually know what any of the clues mean because all I got was 'put a swan in here, it is a Clue' and although we have worked out where the painting is set, we do not know What It All Means. The Ancient Documents were all specially created by Pp.
A couple of the Clues were in these things, which had coded locks with Clues to them that we had to solve. (And when I say 'we' I do not mean me, because this is really not how my brain works.)
We are still discovering what's going on in this world, but we do know that there is the Church of the New Gods, who ten years ago were involved in the Triarchist Crusade. Triarchism, which involved dividing the world not into Good and Evil, but into three forces, Haddmunn (destructive chaos), Siddmunn (order) and Vilt (creative wildness), is currently considered a heresy against the Church, who have some very unpleasant people working for them, and had begun crusading against the Triarchists, creating a previously unthought of unity among Triarchists, who eventually struck back.
One of our party was the Unwise Cobbler-Gnome, Rudolf Schumacher. He carried with him his master-work, some truly magnificent Shoes, and had a general preference for shoe-based magics.
We knew enough about the plot by mid week for me to give my new campaign sketchbook a cover and a title:
I decided to go with inktense watercolours and a Saunders Waterford Fat Pad this time rather than my usual acrylics, on the grounds that the resulting paintings would all be together in one controllable pad, and watercolours are less messy and liable to splash. I think the effects are rather more delicate and fairy-tale-ish, too. The super-special Saunders Waterford paper was pretty nice to work with, though I'm not sure that 22 quid for an A4 sketchbook is something I shall do every time! The Bockingford ones are the same size and almost as nice, but half the price.
The first encounter: the caravan that the party was travelling on meets a murderer in the woods.
Deals with some goblin archers ( the lizardmen are party members, not monsters. Mostly, not monsters...)
The Level 1 party hunted down the level 11 murderer, and somehow, through sheer terrierish yapping persistence, chased him up a tree.
We arrived at the small town of Phandelin as the evening was darkening.
(the village was in cardboard format too!)
We ambushed some bandits, in a pleasing reversal of the usual procedure.
Here's the photo, and here's my drawing of it. We met a Nothick!
And Vreth the Lizardman (Lizardwoman?) fought a bugbear while wearing her chainmail bikini!
I accidentally drew this upside down but since they were rolling around all over the place it probably didn't matter too much.
In the pouring rain, we arrived at the goblin-infested Cragmore Castle
It needed a good old clean out. Here is a heroic cleric of the Old Gods, Zvezda, clearing out a Grick while wearing an on-point Long Adventuring Dress.
Then we went to the Wave Echo Caves, where we fought some Stirges. I really hate stirges. They are like mosquitos dialled up to 99.
The heroic Kit Hill, facing some Ghouls. There were a lot of ghouls in the Wave Echo caves.
Do NOT use edged weapons on ochre jellies. That's how they make baby jellies.
Fireball is a really good spell for eliminating Ghouls, even if it isn't a shoe-based spell.
MORE Ghouls. It is only looking at these pictures that I get a true impression of the sheer number of ghouls in Wave Echo Caves.
We met this Gazer, and were all prepared to FIGHT, but fortunately it wanted to chat, because we would not have had a hope.
Apparently D&D wood elves have copper skin. Zvezda leans into it, and is verdigris green-copper.
My wood-elf character, the rather hippily named Leafwish Birchfriend, is rather more of a 'just stripped copper wire' copper, but I haven't drawn her yet.
At last we found the Big Bad, Brother Stigrun, an Agent of the Church of the New Gods. He was somewhat discomposed by having a giant invisible hand dangle him upside down, but still managed to put up a stiff battle with the aid of his supporting clerics and bugbears.
When we left the Caves, we marched through increasingly ominously pouring rain towards the City of Irilian. There we were alarmed by a massive dark storm full of Evils, but were offered refuge in the hallowed ground of a graveyard by the humble Chanterman.
Then in the best tradition of D&D parties, we went to the pub for the next year.