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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Cervantean Interlude

What happens to Player Characters between adventures in dungeons and "Wilderness Encounters" with monsters from Manuals? Are there ever occurrences in their "down-times" that are worth describing? (Clearly your humble blog writer doesn't have time for a game today but is going to attempt Creative Writing, Gods help us).

The Space Between (a Cervantean Interlude)

A hot and windless day; the most canine of Summer’s Dog Days. Two figures are slowly approaching through the heat haze, both so covered in dust they are almost indistinguishable from the dirt road they traverse. One is a tall warrior, judging by the sword at his side and shield on his back; the other has a staff and the remains of conical hat, now drooping like its wearer's shoulders. Perhaps he is a wizard, or a scholar. The general demeaner and lack lustre appearance of the two men suggests that the Fates have not been kind, and they are still a good few miles from their destination, the Inn known as The Oaken Heart in the village of Mournstead. The plodding footsteps of the travellers, and the cicadas interminable scratching are all that disturb the arid afternoon air.

 A distant thundering of hooves brings the pair out of their silent meditations. Languidly they move off the road and wait in the sparse shade offered by a thorny treelet. A vast cloud of dust approaches them, and from it appears an aged knight with prodigious moustaches riding a skinny grey mare. He is followed by a stout yokel on a mule; he (the man not the mule) could be the knight’s servant or possibly a farmer caught up in someone else’s quest. The knight stares straight ahead, his bloodshot eyes focusing on who knows what fantastical phantasms and doesn’t register the two onlookers. As his servant passes he turns, holding onto his battered hat, and shouts a greeting of sorts in some incomprehensible tongue, whilst pointing at the fast-disappearing knight and attempting to stay aboard his mount.

The riders hurtle on, soon vanishing over a rise in the road. The two men continue to stand and stare, trance-like.

“What did the last fellow say?” asks the warrior, sometime later as the dust begins to settle and the cicadas search for middle C before embarking on their next performance.

“I’m not sure” Ildore replies absent-mindedly, “but I think his donkey’s ok, though I can’t imagine why that’s worth shouting about”.

“Well that’s nice” says Krud, without conviction. “Come on, I need a drink. Got any money?”


  1. Aha...'tis situations and adventures like this that make the difference beyween 'pld school' where the Dm had to work for a living, and modern 4th (and dare I say 5th) editions, where prescribed 'encounters' are signposts and what happens in between is minimised. RPGs have become 'manual' video games, and the old school 'winging it' style has been forgotten.

    (Is this relevant or am I just using your blog as an excuse to sound off about the D&D the 'kidz' play now?)

  2. Please feel free to stand on this soapbox and say what you like about RPGs. I preferred the 1st edition to AD&D as it had a more make it up as you go along quality. To be quite honest I haven't played a game with actual people since about 1981 when it was all about the imagination as we only had pencils and paper! I do enjoy solo games, mainly because I like telling myself stories, like the above. My two characters owe a huge debt to Fritz Leiber, and the guest appearances today were of course from Cervantes.

  3. Nice piece of story telling Mr Tar, and the rpg adventurers union will be glad to hear you give them the odd day off!. I think its always good when you can let your party 'grow into themselves' as you use them. These two are really fleshing out.

  4. Cheers. I enjoy the quick and simple mechanics of 4AD but it needs a bit of work before the next outing as the options become a bit repetitive - some custom built random tables are required!