As you can imagine, this is the fourth Blackfall game I’ve run. It seemed to be a hit when it first started, with the City By the Spire becoming almost synonymous with madness, sanity-draining horror, and those crazy illithid. So, when the premise of bringing Blackfall around one last time came up, I decided to jump on it with both feet.
The game itself was rather interesting. Blackfall has always had large PC groups attached to it—8 in Blackfall I, at least 10 in Blackfall II—but this one was somewhat smaller. Here, I only had 6 players. However, they were more than enough to handle.
As usual, the groups had conflicting goals, most of which centered around the use of Binding magic (found in WotC’s Tome of Magic) and the sword known to all old- school gamers as Blackrazor. The backgrounds, as you can see, are a little lengthy, but were pretty well laid out. The only problem was that, with 10 backgrounds and only 6 gamers, some people had to double-dip. Also, the focus on the personal backgrounds seemed to have been lost in translation.
Ironically, even though this was a mixed-alignment game with no detections permitted, the players almost immediately divided themselves along alignment lines: Jules, Chris, and Nick formed one group; Karl, James, and Lionel formed another. Odd, but not really surprising, aside from the fact that James was the Order of the Seropaenes hunter, while both Karl and Lionel were the binders of the party. Needless to say, the goal was not fulfilled on either end.
I had been toying around with many of the locales in Blackfall for sometime—a plague-ridden temporary hospital, Sa-Raine’s immortal lab, the caldera of MoonRaker Spire, the illithid city below Blackfall. However, the Dancing Dryad playhouse, where “The King in Yellow” premiered, was not mine: I lifted that from the DMG II and from a recent issue of Dungeon magazine. Let it be known, though, that I was planning on using the Yellow Sign stuff long before that issue came out—it just fell into my lap at a convenient time.
When writing this, I’d always had the goal that Blackfall would eventually be saved. Somehow, someway, the PCs would manage—after royally messing up 3 separate time-streams—to prevent the illithid from taking over completely. Unfortunately, such was not the case. Thanks to some poorly timed saving throws in at the premiere of “The King in Yellow”, the party self-destructed.
However, talking to Nick afterwards—his character and Chris’s survived— perhaps a final blow to the illithid may have happened. They had allied themselves strongly with Bohemond, the near-epic-level Templar of Heironeous, who would have brought with him the spellcasting might of Yvain, the Court Librarian, who was actually a half-celestial in disguise. I like to think that, in the end, they triumphed, and Blackfall was spared the madness of the Realm of Mists.
I’d like to thank all the people thusfar who have made Blackfall a fun, interesting, and (above all!) unique. Players, co-conspirators, and even assistant GMs, I truly appreciate the times you’ve spent with me in the City By the Spire.
That said, I’d like to announce a pet project that I’ve been working on for quite sometime. I’m currently working on putting together a 64-96 page PDF of Blackfall for use as a “drag-and-drop” mini-campaign setting. I plan to spend a good deal of my time this summer working on it, and will hopefully be in the editing phase by the time this school year starts.
Naturally, all of you—those people who made Blackfall what it was—will be getting a free playtesting credit for your help. Some of your PCs, in fact, will actually become NPCs in the final copy. If you have any ideas for me, or character stats that you can provide, they will be greatly appreciated. If I’ve left you off of the “Known Playtesters” list, let me know and I’ll add you.
|Daishar||Male Human Rogue||Chris V.|
|Kishmore||Female Kalastar Psion||Jules M.|
|Malthanalsis||Male Wood-Elf Fighter/Scout/Tempest||Karl S.|
|Aliana||Female Dark Necromancer||James R.|
|Tarvan of the Slaughter||Male Human Paladin of the Slaughter||Lionel W.|
|Primogen Andy K.|
HARDCORE!, and John too
Tarvan replacing all the swords and daggers in the playhouse with real swords and daggers. Then watching the confusion on the actors faces as they marched onto stage with swords and daggers despite there not really being any swords or daggers called for in the play.
Tarvan: "Now remember to really act out the death scenes, make us believe you are dying!"
Aliana making zombie kobolds dance on stage.