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Aug

Obsidian Portal Campaign of the Month August 2023: Theophagie

This month we take a step back in time, joining GM AshleyMcdniel and party in their campaign, Theophagie. Set in the Iron Age, Theophagie explores a world impacted by an event known as the Theophage, where the majority of the male Greek Deities were killed, leaving large power vacuums and spawning the creation of matriarchal societies throughout Greece and Gaul. Here the Gods and aren’t just concepts- but real beings that walk the earth and see fit to involve themselves in mortal affairs. Join us in talking with GM AshleyMcdniel as he shares his insight, tips and tricks!

First off, feel free to tell us about the person behind the GM screen. Where are you from? What do you do aside from gaming? Alter Egos? Life partners? Family? Where can we interact with you on the internet?

My name is Ashley (He/Him) and I live in San Antonio, Texas. Besides table top RPGs I also play Magic and Battle Tech. I also enjoy swimming, fishing and target shooting. I live with the love of my life Charlie (they/them.) If you wanted to chat about gamming you can PM me on Discord at scarecrow#2992

Tell us a little bit about the setting of your game. What made you choose our own world for the game?

Theophagie is an anachronistic game set in Europe. It is a way to explore the myths and legends of several cultures and ask see how they interact. A friend of mine name Josh found obsidian portal and introduced me. I feel in love and have been using it ever since.

Tell us a little about why you chose Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition for your game system. How do you feel this system supports the type of game you are running?

I have a lot of fond memories of DND 3.5. However, it is not without flaws. I looked at it as a place to start and made a huge amount of home brew to change the flavor of the game. DND 3.5 has a huge amount of very high-power class and feat combinations. I wanted to have a more dangerous, high risk feel so I made all new class progression, level progression and an array of feats that allowed for that. Then I used my player base to provide feedback so they had input and buy in to the world and its development.

Let’s talk about the visualization of your campaign. What made you choose this design (color schemes, banners, dividers, etc.)?

The design really started with the picture of the trireme on the home page. The red, white and black made the picture pop. Then we just stuck with that.

You chose to share your design with the community and release the CSS code. It was so important to you that you placed a link to it on the home page of your campaign. You also give credit to the artist whose images you used by linking to their work. Why was this important to you?

The code part is easy. If someone wanted to know I did something they can just look. Now for the art. So, I have quite a few friends who are artists and work on commission. Now the first campaign in the setting was run in Gaul that was under Greek influence. I was looking around the internet for pictures of gods and found a wonderful picture of Hera and loved the style. I tracked down the artist and looked at the rest of what they had done and fell in love. I found their contact info on Deviant art. Turns out they live in France. Messaged them on FB and paid them to use it. They up to that point had just done it for fun and told me they had never been paid like that before so that made me feel pretty good. Since then, they have even published a book and are selling it on Amazon.

You have given a great deal of thought to the integration between your game system and your settings. Tell us a little about this integration (for instance, classes are limited by location).

Well, I wanted each nation to be an opportunity for a different flavor. So, the way the magic classes work in Egypt, Britain and Greece are all different. This also means that each God has a different type of connection to their disciples. I felt it was natural for Druids to be native to Britan and Bards to be native to Scandanavia. After doing some expansion and talking with my players we all collaboratively figured out what classes belong where and leaned into the mystisim from that area for insperation.

Tell us about your change log in the wiki page. Why do you keep it and why is it public?

The players wanted to be kept up to date about additions and the feature was a useful way to do that.

Tell us about the Adventure Log. You seem to have run several games in this setting already. How does that work? Do you play several games at the same time? Or one after the other?

The first game was centered around Gaul. After that Campaign was over one of the PC’s had died. One of the players Josh very much wanted to run a game in the setting so he took the second adventure. It was a sailing adventure in which we took the body from Marseille to Delphi so we could get the gods to resurrect them.

Tell us about the way you arrange your characters. I see characters have few tags with names. How do you keep track of the NPCs? How do you know the context under which each NPC was created?

The NPCs are any person have the opportunity of meeting along the way. Most are reoccurring unless they die (which is also a tag.) Most of time I will tag a location with the person and then the person at the location on the wiki. Below is an example.

Then on the other side of the link is also a reference to the person.

How do the players contribute to the world design, if at all?

They do a lot. You can the best designed world but if the players do not feel like they have agency in it they are not going to have as much buy in. They are able to interact with the world any way they want. As an example, we are currently playing in Carpathia which is the setting of werewolves and vampires. A count was a little to cruel and evil for their liking so they defeated him and took over responsibility of the area. This is also reflected in the wiki.

If you had to pick just one thing, what would you say Obsidian Portal helps you with the most?

Consistency. It allows me to organize my thoughts and present the world in a consistent way.

What would you say is the biggest highlight of your game so far (please also provide images and links if possible)?

So, Mike was playing his first character in our first campaign JAQULEENE GRAVOIS. They had been a charisma-based character and a talker. They went to go get an item out of the ruins of Notre Dame. They kicked open the door and started to make a speech to intimidate them. There were a number of skeleton archers on the other side of the door which are both immune to being intimidated and also immediately only shot at him because they had been the only person they could see. One of them rolled a crit, we rolled a location dice which landed on head and they took more damage than they had HP. They also failed a con check and immediately died. That single choice set up the path for us to have a second campaign but also what we planned to do. It also hit home that the game could be very lethal during combat if you are not careful.

Okay, as a last question, we always ask for the GM’s “pearls of wisdom”. What GM insights can you offer the community this month?

Request feedback. At the end of every game, I ask the same questions for every player. Likes and Dislikes. Long-term and short-term goals. In addition, we vote for MVP and the winner gets a little extra XP. It is a way to celebrate each other when we role play well.

 That’s all for this month folks! Don’t forget to head on over the the OP forums to nominate your favorite campaigns for our next Campaign of the Month!

Award Winning!

Gold ENnie for Best Website 09'-11'


Silver ENnie for Best Website, Best Podcast 2012-2013
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