Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Notes from my First Game

I was clearing out a box of old notebooks and stumbled across the few pages that I didn't want to shred just yet - my first notes as a DM, from back during freshman year of college. Only two pages survive but it's got an NPC list and a city map so all's good.

I had based this (rather short-lived) campaign on an old, old thread on rpg.net about a city built around a tarrasque (Which got kickstarted and turned into the Salt in Wounds books). It was short-lived mostly because one of my players (who was the group's normal DM) went and murdered an entire tavern with some Book of Nine Swords crazy stuff and I didn't know how to respond to that.

I apologize ahead of time for the quality being a good bit lower than my usual output. I was learning the ropes. Everything not here has been forgotten or lost.

The City of Anterras

Description of a Map: A river running northeast to southwest. A canyon carved in the red-orange badlands stone.

The River Red cuts through the valley city from north to south. It was originally named so for the red clay of the riverbed, and later for the tarrasque blood that leaks into the southern flow through the Low City.

The Citadel was built atop the great beast, to contain it, to flense and carve and cut away at its flesh.  A fortress-abattoir-prison on an island in the river.

The Inner City surrounds the Citadel. Here are found the foundries, butchers and chimericists that make the tarrasque their trade.

The Low City consists of the southern arc of Anterras, and contains within it all the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

High City contains the rich bourgeois neighborhoods, with manicured parks and beautiful boulevards. The offices of the city government may be found here, as well as the trade houses, courts of law, and university.

The Outer City sits atop the cliff and is reachable only by secret elevator or lengthy staircase. The palaces of the fantastically, obscenely wealthy cling as barnacles to the time-carved stone.

The Riverside slums are split by the Citadel and Inner City, but they are the same either way. Docks and warehouses and teamsters unions and easy access to vices.

The Downs are the undercity, the buried ruins of the city here before Anterras was raised. The parts still (marginally) inhabited are mostly under the Low City.

Smokeside  is the northwest quarter of the city, downwind of the foundries. It is a proper Gehennic hellscape, doubling as the plague quarter in times of prion disease flareups.

Breezeside consists of the High and Outer districts. Money = clean air, in Anterras.


Mara-Oversandhill - Halfling trader who does business in and out of the city. Her caravan is the primary means for outsiders to find their way there.

Dr. Percival De Laquoris - Doctor in the plague quarter of Smokeside, runs a clinic there. Infuriatingly deliberate and slow to act. Good standing in the Low City.

Dr. Shil Caster - Percival's assistant. Alchemist. Never takes off his mask. More tolerable to deal with than his employer.

Shady Traw - A shopkeeper in the Downs

Hoskar Torn - Dwarf, lead representative of the Forgeworker's Guild.

Min - Runs a Low City boarding house and post office.

Thud - A domesticated troll in the employ of Min.

Fulwood, Shiv, Osten - Boarders at Min's, foreigners.

Seward the Steward - A steward for the city council offices

Shykana - Orc chieftainess here representing the nomad clans outside the city.

Winras Vadier - Head of the city military, currently preparing for the next crusade against the outside.

Mad Ferbi - A wizard. Lives inside an asbestos suit due to repeated fireball mishaps.


  1. Nearly everything besides these notes has been forgotten - I've got scribblings of enemy encounters and hooks but no idea what the surrounding context was.

  2. Way more inspired than my first attempt. I think it was just: GOBLINS!

    1. Mine had the exact opposite problem, as anyone who knows me might imagine haha. It was a very early version of what eventually became my Phantasmos campaign setting; the version on my blog is basically the third edition (although it's pretty close to the second edition, which is where I think I finally got it "right").

      That first one was definitely a learning experience on all counts; how to worldbuild, how to DM, how to run a campaign, etc. The game lasted for over a year and probably could have gone longer but I decided to wrap it up so that one of the players could start a new campaign, so we had fun, but in retrospect it was so bad haha.

      It's interesting to see peoples "humble beginnings"; I have all of my old notes (in *painful* detail) in my dropbox, maybe I should share them some time too haha.

  3. Salt-in-Wounds is a great setting that I wish the author has formatted like Yoon-Suin instead of the typical 5e book.

    1. From the looks of the campaign and the results it looks like he bit off way more than he could chew.