Hi guys! I’m Rob, but you’ll more than likely see me referred to as Kiokri around these parts. I’ve been gaming since I was five, when my father introduced me to Super Mario Bros. on the NES. My favorite genres tend to be strategy and RPG, but I’ve got a soft spot for city builders as well. My Steam profile is loaded with Civilization, Total War, and Elder Scrolls games. Pretty much anything Blizzard releases (I’m looking at you, Heroes of the Storm) is on my plate too.
What I’d like to do with this column is give you an in-character look at our current tabletop RPG campaign. We’re playing with the OSRIC ruleset, an open source and much simplified version of AD&D. We’ll be following the guidance of our DM, Stanford, through his world of Janko. I’ll be joined by a few of my friends: Greg the magic user, played by JVerb; Barry the thief, played by Zophor; Lluc the fighter, played by Cassiyus; and Kaius the cleric, played by Kamriel. I will be playing as Kiokri the druid. So without further ado …
My head was pounding. I opened my eyes to see a dimly lit room with several other people all stirring awake. There were four of them, all armed. I felt a cold panic start to creep over me until I realized that they all looked as confused as I felt.
“Does anyone know where we are?” asked the halfling. He was the first one up, and started taking steps to the only door in the room.
“Last I remember,” I said, “I was on my way to Kinth with a group of scholars. They wanted to see the library there.” I started to get up, stretching my limbs to work out some of the stiffness. The thin, frail looking man with the staff came over to help pull me to my feet.
“Hi, I’m Greg!” he said, with a little too much liveliness given the situation.
“Kiokri. It’s a pleasure.”
Everyone in the room was staring at us. I nodded to the halfling.
“I’m Barry,” said the short man, returning my nod.
“Lluc,” said the tall man leaning against the far wall. “Where did you say you were headed? Kinth? Is that near Ardo?” His armor looked impressive. I figured he probably knew how to use the sword at his hip well.
“Do any of you know how far we are from Central?” asked the last man in the room. “I’m Kaius, by the way. I’ve never heard of Kinth or Ardo before.”
We all turned as Greg started pushing open the door, hinges creaking loudly, on the other side of the room.
“No!” hissed Barry. “We don’t know where that goes! If we just stay put, maybe we’ll just wake up and be back where we were before …”
“I doubt it,” said Lluc, sliding his longsword from its scabbard. I saw Kaius loose the morning star from the loop at his waist. I drew my scimitar as Greg slipped back into the room.
“There are hobgoblins!” he said.
“Great,” Barry moaned, “just what we need. See, we should just shut the door and wait for this all to—”
The room shuddered. The walls started to become hazy; the door blurred as we all lurched to the floor.
“Time to go,” said Kaius. He walked through the door, Barry close on his heels. I followed through and saw the room disappear behind us. I felt the handle to the door slip through my fingers, turning to smoke, while I tried to close it. Only a solid wall remained where it once was. We turned to see the hobgoblins, evidently surprised to see us, grabbing for weapons strewn about the floor.
Lluc didn’t give them a chance. He strode up to the nearest one and ran him through with his longsword. Kaius smashed his morning star into the skull of the next. One of the hobgoblins flung a bullet at me with a sling. I got my shield up just in time to send it ricocheting harmlessly away. I swung my scimitar at the closest enemy, wishing I had spent more time practicing the sword with master Cagle. The hobgoblin parried, then replied with a series of thrusts from his spear. He had me backed up against a wall when Lluc slashed him across the back from behind. Relieved, I sheathed the scimitar.
Barry was poking through the purse of the largest hobgoblin. “What odd coins. Do you recognize these?” He held one up for me to see.
“I don’t recognize that emblem. Is it Cathari?”
“Cathari? Never heard of them.”
Lluc snatched the coin purse from the halfling’s hands. “You’d do well to remember your blade as well as your fingers, cutpurse. Even the mage took a swing at the hobgoblins, and he looks like I could sneeze him into submission.”
“I’m more resourceful than the rest of you,” said Barry. “I don’t need to fight for my coin. Too much risk involved. Much better to get away with it without them seeing!” He grinned up at Lluc, who sighed and started toward the next door.
“Shall we?” he asked.
We entered the next room and found a band of kobolds desperately fighting off a dire wolf. They didn’t look like they were doing very well. Barry started to inch back through the door.”I’ll just wait in the last room until he’s done, err … feeding.”
The dire wolf ripped an arm from one of the kobolds and swung it viciously back and forth in the air, spraying blood up the front of Lluc’s armor. Lluc snarled at the wolf and took a step forward.
“Wait,” I said, putting an arm in front of him. “Let me try something.” I reached out to the dire wolf with my mind, sending him waves of calm, friendly emotion. I sent him images of us bonding, the taste of fresh meat, and my scent. He looked up at me, golden eyes meeting mine. Then he turned in time to sink his teeth into the leg of one of the kobolds scrambling through the door on the other side of the room, wrenching it back through right before the door winked out of existence. The hamstrung kobold’s throat made a sickening crunch as the dire wolf finished his kill.
It looked back at me, teeth bared.
“Okay, that didn’t work,” I said.
“Let me try!” said Greg, right as the dire wolf leaped toward us. I watched in horror as Kaius and Lluc slumped lifelessly to the ground. I got my shield up just in time to keep the dire wolf’s teeth away from my throat.
“What did you do?!” I screamed at Greg.
“Well that didn’t work like it should have,” he said, holding a finger to his lips, apparently stumped. Lluc and Kaius were both snoring.
The wolf’s paws came down hard on my shield. “Do something, don’t just stand there!”
Something drove itself directly into the back of my head. My vision started to sway, and I saw little flecks of light at the edges of my eyes. I turned around to see Barry, standing in the door, with an empty sling hanging from his hands. Then the wolf sunk its teeth into my leg and pulled it out from under me. Everything went black …