Paladin: The Werewolf, the Witch, the Baby and the King of Nutons

We had another episode of our ongoing Paladin game. Alas, one player was unable to join but we still had three of our four sibling knights facing supernatural adventures!

At the end of last episode, our grandmother—now widowed, retired from her own days of knighthood, and abbess of a nunnery—had revealed that she was cursed by witches to turn into a werewolf AND had abandoned a baby at birth, triplet to our father and evil uncle Guillaume, because she could only care for two infants.

We had then discovered that a group of local Redcaps had found the baby in the forest and kept him. They handed it back to us, unaged! But the mere sight of the baby cause grandmother to turn into a wolf creature and attack.

So we started this episode in the middle of the Ardennes forest at night, facing a werewolf of supernatural strength which we did not want to harm but who kept trying to attack the baby. Hildegund’s page Bernard, son of Ogier the Dane, was tossed like a puppet and dashed against an oak (earning him a good concussion but nothing worse than a scratch otherwise.) We tried to restrain the wolf but in vain [largely because the system is that of Pendragon, where you should not expect your characters to be competent…] so Theodelina [my character] vaulted on her horse, snatched the baby and fled with him to keep baby-uncle from being eaten by wolf-grandma. Hildegund drew her rosary and called up the love of God [with a critical success], sending the werewolf fleeing directly away.

We regrouped and tracked grandmother wolf, finding her in human form once the sun rose. We secured her and resumed our search for the witch who had cast the curse—or at least for a village where we could get the baby fed.

We eventually found the witch’s hut in the depths of the forest. She recognized us, let us in and even gave us milk for the baby but wanted our entire lineage to suffer under the curse: long ago, our grandmother the Lady Knight Giselda had slain the witch Liutgarde’s sisters, as ordered by then-King Pepin.

We tried to convince the witch to relent, but she would not give up her vengeance. When we said that the (now-dead) king was the one she should take exception with, she demanded to be heard by “our king” but we soon realized she meant Carloman; she refused to recognize Charlemagne, even though we were in the lands given to him by Pepin when the old king split his kingdom between his two sons.

Meanwhile, our grandmother kept urging us to kill her and the witch both, and wanted nothing to do with the baby.

I finally got the notion to ask the witch if she would agree to the judgment of the king of Nutons instead since I was his knight and champion. She agreed, so we all trooped out to seek the Nutons. (It was the first such visit for my twin brother Adalfried, who finally believed the stories.)

The King of Nutons agreed to hear both sides, then rendered his judgement: his curse would fall on the king instead but would have to be witnessed by us young knights. Our grandmother would be freed from lycanthropy, at least for for now. Presumably, if we failed in the task the deal would be off. And the King of Nutons refused to name which king we should take the curse to…

We took our leave, returned grandmother to the abbey, and took the baby to Adalfried’s impoverished manor in spite of the rumours this would spark. We asked our steward Radegunde to find him a wet nurse, then prepared to visit Carloman—because to make things even more tense, our liege Duke Thierry asked us to attend Carloman’s winter court!


The Pendragon system is, to be frank (haha), an antiquated disaster. We all use it cheerfully, no one is lobbying for a conversion to another system because we love the setting (writer Ruben in ’t Groen did a great job with the Paladin material) and we love playing as a group, but we’re constantly mocking its ridiculous whiff factor, its unnecessary random tables, and its laborious logic. Yet we have such great stories together!

Carnival of Mystery

Our friend Bryanna ran a game of Monster of the Week last night for two other friends, Edmund, and me. It’s a custom mystery but she used some of the tools we (Evil Hat Productions) included in the recently released Monster of the Week collection modules on Roll20. It was gratifying that she found a lot of use from the material even running a brand new mystery.

Our hunters were members of a travelling carnival that tries to bring wonder wherever they go and help the towns we visit. We played Chief, a Spooktacular carnival master (Edmund); Lydia,, a Constructed tattooed woman (me); Valentine, a Hex stage magician (Steve); and Violet, a Pararomantic fortune-teller (Dani). All of these are from the newer playbooks released by Generic Games.

A couple of screenshots from last night’s game:

The relationship map between our hunters using the template in Evil Hat’s Roll20 modules.
The playmat, as customized by Bryanna with images she chose but using the Evil Hat format and tools – right when I rolled that big juicy failure that advanced the countdown clock!

What I’ve been working on

Since mid-April, Evil Hat has been working hard on creating a lot of high-quality modules for the virtual tabletop Roll20 for gamers besieged by the pandemic and social distancing. I have put a ton of time and effort into these. A few more were published today so I wanted to give a view of the Wall of Awesome:

Paladin!

Today’s episode of Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne was like Call the Midwife meets Brother Cadfael by way of Brotherhood of the Wolf. The group is wonderful and the story was great.

Our four knights (Hildegund, Gottfried, Adelfried, and Theodelina) went to see our widowed grandmother, recently elevated to abbess of Our Lady of Pain and found the abbey under lockdown: three nuns had been torn to piece during a night of vigil in the chapel. We ended on a cliffhanger when we finally came face-to-face with a werewolf in an entirely unexpected way.

Oh, and the weird name for the abbey was due to my bad translation for “Notre Dame des Douleurs” (Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens, or Mater Dolorosa): this facet in the Virgin Mary’s veneration, I found out after the game, is actually known in English as “Our Lady of Sorrows.” But I did find A.C. Swinburne’s 1866 poem that does shed an odd light on the topic!

Who has known all the evil before us,
Or the tyrannous secrets of time?
Though we match not the dead men that bore us
At a song, at a kiss, at a crime —
Though the heathen outface and outlive us,
And our lives and our longings are twain —
Ah, forgive us our virtues, forgive us,
Our Lady of Pain.


Released in the wild

In the last two months I’ve done a lot of work for Evil Hat Productions, setting up adventure modules for play on the virtual tabletop app Roll20. After setting up three Fate Worlds (The Secrets of Cats, Deep Dark Blue, and Red Planet), I worked on the five Fate of Cthulhu modules and these were just approved by Roll20 today.

Our team is now working on more Fate goodness and on Monster of the Week adventure modules. It’s so exciting to see these go live!

City of Mist: Crime Board

After 16 full episodes, running our City of Mist campaign continues to be a high point of the week for me. Here is the “crime board” page; the first image shows the investigation in the first story arc and the PCs’ circles of influence:

The second shares with my players Detective Suarez’s investigation of the crew in connection with the museum theft of the second story arc.

Just for fun. The boards are set up in Roll20.

The Magical Repair Shop

Look what arrived with today’s mail: The Magical Repair Shop” by Ash Cheshire and Edward Turner!

Dragon Age for the Underage

It takes a geek village: tonight we tried the Dragon Age RPG for the Underage campaign that Edmund has been running for two 10-year-olds and two parents plus me, ported to Roll20 for the first time. We had last played in person the weekend before the Bay Area counties decided to shelter in place.

To help the kids focus their plan, I yanked the Scheme Worksheet from Mistborn RPG, and it really helped.

Here is our start page on Roll20, with all the pets, er, animal companions the party has collected…

City of Mist: Fight!

The one thing in my life that has improved thanks to shelter-in-place is moving our online game of City of Mist from a biweekly schedule to weekly. It makes it easier to keep momentum.

Here is our Roll20 board right now:

Script Change tools for Roll20

I want to share a deck of Script Change tools for Roll20, based on the toolbox created by Brie Beau Sheldon, and a tutorial slideshow I created.

I also have a version of the tutorial with high-readability fonts for people with visual disability. I hope it can help some gaming groups!