We've recently had what might be the most exciting event yet for our Guild of Heroes: a week long Dungeons and Dragons summer camp! Our heroes of Niln set off to explore the Astral Sea while our campers learned a bevy of new D&D skills in the store. Here are some photos and stories that we collected from each day.
First things first: Dungeons & Dragons. As soon as we had all of our campers collected, we set off on our first quests. Recently, the Guild uncovered signs of the ancient High Elves, nearly a thousand years gone. We learned that when fleeing the conquest of the early Giant Empire they had sought refuge in the Astral Sea. The Guild was nearly finished assembling a vessel that would take them there, but were missing three vital components. Heroes were dispatched to collect them, including a number of new heroes we would come to meet. Their number included our first Monk, the last class not yet represented in the Guild!
In the afternoon we made our first trip outside, heading to a local park for a special version of Capture the Flag. Heroes split into teams, choosing to be Barbarians, Bards, Clerics, Rogues, or Wizards. Each had special abilities to be used, and it made for a very exciting back and forth!
On Tuesday morning, we began our first lesson: designing backstories and locations. Each camper told us about their character's place of origin, answering questions like "Who or what controls your hometown?" or "How do people from your hometown recognize each other?"
That afternoon, our vessel, the G.S. Potato, launched, piercing the moon to crash ruinously in the Astral Sea. Luckily, our crash site was near an abandoned fortress, replete with a trio of derelict ships on which we could hazard the silvery waters around us. Three groups set out, exploring the strange demiplanes that dotted the seascape, each returning with stories of wonder and terror.
Wednesday, we began with one of the most anticipated activities: painting. Campers brought in miniatures of their own or painted the figures we use during adventures in the store. From glimmering swords to shadowy robes, or even unicorn manes with all the colors of the rainbow, the campers produced a truly stunning group of miniatures.
That afternoon, it was back to the astral sea for another set of valiant adventures, as another three groups of heroes quested further into the planar spheres intersecting the waters. Some fought eldritch beasts, others grappled with dinosaurs or played games with demigods, and all fought to save and protect newfound friends from around the multiverse.
Thursday morning, our heroes woke up from their beds in the strange fortress only to be trapped within their own nightmares, running through a bizzare maze, filled with monsters and other dangers.
Outside of the fiction, after three days of playing with Labyrinth staff behind the DM screen, our campers finally got a turn! Given wet erase dungeon tiles, and guidelines for filling them, groups of campers worked together to design small dungeons. The dungeons were mapped on the tiles with an accompanying worksheet for the key. Once ready, the dungeons were tested, with many of them proving to be far too deadly!
Thursday afternoon, we went out to have a picnic in Lincoln Park, when we were surprised to find another resident of the nightmare realm, a wizard who had been trapped far longer than we had been. He shared what he knew, snippets of a spell that would break the seal entrapping the members of the guild. The rest of the spell could be gleaned from three mystical guardians, each found in a different location both fictional and real.
After gathering the material, verbal, and somatic components of the spell, we reconvened for the casting. The pieces were assembled and we broke free from the enchanted slumber! Needless to say, the fortress was abandoned, and we decided to seek passage home.
Friday was the culmination of the week, featuring Dungeons & Dragons, pizza, and more Dungeons & Dragons. Beset by the danger of the astral sea, the Guild sent scouts to seek a way home. One party investigated the ruins of a warrior horde who had roamed the planes, only finding their animated bones. A second group followed rumors of a people more peaceful, druids who reached out to distant planes for trade, not war. They too had fallen and their ruins now swarmed with victims of a myconic plague, more fungus than flesh. The final group followed rumors of a dungeon full of portals, and defeated creatures and hazards from the Elemental Planes of Fire, Water, and Air.
Each group was surprised when they discovered the three sites were in fact branches of a gargantuan complex, and the junction between them held the way home: a great portal yet unactivated. Three final forays yet deeper and deadlier yielded three objects of power, which, when used, opened a great portal, and the guild was finally able to return home!
We think camp was an amazing experience for everyone involved, and we’re delighted to have welcomed so many new heroes to the Guild. Many of you have already gotten the free miniature that came with membership, used the 10% off book discount, or signed up for our next adventures. We continue to run three hour D&D adventures every month, with our next events on July 22nd. There will be sessions in the morning and in the afternoon. If those have filled up by the time you find them, you may sign up for our waitlist to be called for openings. If you want to get ahead of the line, on that same date of July 22nd, signups will open for the next sessions on August 25th, also available in the morning and in the afternoon. We hope to see you there!