Everything is playingSolo Game Master’s Guide
Session 6 – The Carnival
Everything is playing! Remember when I mentioned that before? It’s a qoute from the Solo Game Master’s Guide. And in this post, we’re not going to really be advancing the story much for our characters, but we need to do some prepping for the environment so our characters can experience it.
Advice to the reader
In order to interpret the structure of my gaming session posts effectively, it is strongly suggested that you peruse A Readers Guide to Play Sessions on The Old Bard, if you haven’t already.
To better grasp what I mean when I bring up Fate questions, you might find it useful to keep the Mythic Fate Chart accessible, potentially in a new window or tab in your browser.
The Story So Far
In Session 5, the party was just about to confront Cord Stomrock when suddenly they were transported to A Carnival. However, what they don’t know, is if it’s THE Carnival mentioned by Mara earlier in the story.
Well, for us on the outside, or me acting as the GM here, I can tell you that it IS in fact THE Carnival, and we’re going to build the roots of that carnival out in this post.
But hold on…. Maybe we COULD just ultimately let Mythic, and the roll of the dice, do the deciding for us.
Designing The Carnival
So, what’s it going to be Mythic? Is this THE Carnival?
I’m going to say that the chances of this being THE Carnival are Nearly Certain. I mean I COULD say that it’s Certain, but we’ll give Mythic the slightest additional percentage to throw us way off.
For a quick reference, here is the Mythic Fate Chart once more, but highlighted at the area of focus we’re going to be rolling for.
At the end of the last session, the Chaos Factor got bumped to 6 so we need to roll <= 90 for a Yes response here.
1d100 roll later and…… 48! It’s THE Carnival. But can you imagine if I rolled higher than 90?
In Session 4, when we were introduced to Mara, she explained to the party that she was with her husband at a traveling carnival. I had recently read through Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and came up with the idea using The Carnival, mentioned in that sourcebook. However, we’re not going to use that carnival exactly. We’ll draw from it for inspiration, but we’ll create our own carnival and throw in some mystery and excitement for it.
I want this carnival to be one of many central aspects in this adventure. It’s going to tie a lot of threads together for what’s going on around this area as the characters will discover. I’m thinking that the Carnival will have a name of course, and that the name utilizes the carnival leader’s name. Kind of typical I suppose for a circus or carnival, etc.
So first and foremost, let’s create a new NPC for the ringleader of the carnival. Just the basics for now, and we’ll return to him for further details at another time.
I already have a last name in mind, Bledstone, but let’s let the roll of the dice choose a first name. I decide to use the Random NPC Generator tables from The Game Master’s Book of Non-Player Characters (GMBNPC) and more specifically the Big City Denizens tables starting on page 98. This section of the book has 3 tables to roll from.
I happen to be at a Starbucks and didn’t bring my physical dice, so I use Online Polyhedral Dice for my rolls. I roll 1d4 and get a result of 2, so we’ll use the second table on page 100. 1d20 results in 17. Lissa, nah that’s not going to work. I envision my ringleader to have a different name.
Let’s try again. Another roll results in an 8. In the First Name column on that table is Blyris. Hey I like that. Blyris Bledstone. I was actually trying to think of a first name that also begin with the letter B on the way here. This is perfect.
I used various online resources looking for synonyms for a Carnival or grouping of misfits etc. and finally found something I liked. The ring leaders name was the last thing I needed so I could lead the carnivals name off with that.
And the result… we’re going to call this carnival Blyris Bledstone’s Menagerie of Curiosities. I like that.
Earlier today, as I was planning out what the Carnival is all about, I do what I normally do by using one of my primary sources of inspiration. My Wife!
I explained to her what my high-level concept was, and she had a vision for what the ringleader looked like and gave me some inspiration for him and other aspects we’ll be introducing later. With her key words, I used ChatGPT to come up with a description for him based on her thoughts.
You’re just going to have to wait for that description, however. I’m going to save that for when we return to the story and the characters are introduced to him!
Since the carnival will also be a central aspect in the ongoing story, I also want to populate it with some shops the party might be able to use. For now, however, I think we have enough to return to the story and introduce the characters to Blyris Bledstone and the carnival itself.
Well, not too much to book keep here, except that I’m using Onenote to keep a record of notes for ideas I have for the carnival and its Menagerie of Curiosities that I’ll introduce over the next few session posts.
After we advance a bit more in the story, I’m then going to use one of my personal favorite resources, Spectacular Settlements from Nord Games to help build out more of the carnival. I’ve used it to flesh out Dreadmere and the yet unnamed town north of it. I’ve found Spectacular Settlements to be, well. a spectacular book in of itself.
We’ll need to also generate some details for some other interesting NPCs as in the future too.
- Dungeons & Dragons Core Rule Books
- Players Handbook (PHB)
- Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG)
- Monster Manual (MM)
- Dungeons & Dragons Campain Settings: Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft.
- Mythic Game Master Emulator Second Edition (MGME2E)
- Online Polyhedral Dice because I forgot my dice.
- The Game Master’s Book of Non-Player Characters (GMBNPC) for some of the NPCs