I wanted to try something different this week. Both my TTRPG tables 1 use Discord for comms, so we have a persistent chat going on. My 5e table’s discord is rather active, so I figured it might be worth trying to do some narrative in-between sessions.
No one like exposition dumps at the table, it’s boring. So I thought writing a bit of narration would create a small event that can help space the in-game time between our sessions. This allowed me to introduce a new item to the party, and not take any time from our active sessions. Even better, I’ve got the perfect character set up to trigger this narrative. Professor Cooly Nobody is a character from my novel, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes, and he’s been moonlighting as an NPC in the Monday Murder Hobos campaign. Nobody is absent-minded, quirky, and assumes everyone he meets also hears his inner dialog. He’s a lot of fun to write, and his appearance in the Monday Murder Hobos campaign canonizes their characters in the world of my novels 2.
I’m not sure how often I’ll use this, but it could open some some intriguing possibilities for side-quests and insight into what the party is planning.
As you departed the Mithdrin Town Hall and headed back toward your campsite, a glowing rectangle appeared in your path. It swung open like a door and a grey-haired gnome stepped through. He was dressed in a long white coat, smudged with soot and grime, and he wore two glass discs over his eyes. The discs made his eyes appear too large for his head, which was rather discomforting. As the gnome gained his bearings he looked back over his shoulder and waved at a potted plant which was wearing reading glasses and reading a book.
“Thanks, Steve! I’ll be right back if I can find our friends. Unreality is becoming rather slippery and it could be a bit…oh, there you are! I must say, you are rather convenient. Steve believed you may be a bit anti-social, but I stood up for you and just said you were a bit rude is all. Anyway, I suppose you are wondering why I called you here. And… that’s a good question.”
The gnome stroked his beard for a bit, after which his over-large eyes brightened and he began rummaging through his pockets. Tossing out random bags of flotsam as he did so.
“Hmmm, now let me see. I know it’s here somewhere.” He paused to look over toward your group, “Don’t tell Sindy, this, but I really am a bit frazzled at the moment with the penny crisis. Helping to keep Unreality from unraveling is biting off a bit more than I can chew, to be honest. But… here we are and… o ho! There it is!”
The gnome pulled out an old piece of parchment and unrolled it, revealing a map. “You should go there, I believe. When Steve pulled this out of storage my machine that goes ‘ping,’ you remember that right? Have I shown it to you yet? Well, anyway it went ‘ping.’ A lot, and since I wasn’t out of social insights for the month I concluded that it must be important. After all, as you no doubt know, that machine has only ever gone ‘ping’ in your bit of Unreality. It’s normally quite quiet, I assure you. Anyway, there you go. You’re welcome.”
Before the stunned party was able to say anything, the gnome handed the map to Gamble and then pressed a button on a small box. The glowing rectangle appeared again and Professor Nobody stepped through. The last words the party heard were, “See, Steve, they are quite social. No, I didn’t ask them what that was a map of, it’s their world I’m sure they know! Anyway… let’s see how Bug…”
The doorway closed, leaving your stunned party with an old map and several sacks labeled “Snack Like Nobody’s Business.”