The Triumvirate of Barovia


PART 1: Timelog



What you are about to read is non-fiction. In a way, all of the events described herein actually have occurred; spells have been cast, demons and devils slain, and other miraculous acts. All of these things have happened within the context of one long, continuous game; I say that these things really happened because real people have played character roles in this game and shaped events in a “fantasy” world which gradually took on a life of its own as the players interacted with it. This is a written record of hundreds of Dungeons and Dragons games that have taken place between 1981 and 1995 (so far). I have described them as non-fiction because all of these events actually happened within the framework of the game. “Make-believe” characters have died, and other characters have gone on to great fame and fortune, instilling pride and a sense of achievement in those people who played them. Real-world places, things, and objects have been named after things in the game. Likewise, some real events have inspired or affected events of the game. One guy I know who had a disagreement with some friends who play this game with him had his character ostracized from the adventuring party. And, in one series of games, the characters had some amazing adventures in a post-holocaust version of their own hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. So the events in this book aren’t made up; they are the recorded reactions of real world people to a variety of hypothetical situations. After reading for a while, I think you’ll agree that truth is stranger than fiction…


This campaign logbook is actually a record of two separate but co-existing campaigns, each with more than one group of characters who form a group. When I was originally introduced to the game back in 1981, we (myself, my brother, and whatever friends happened to be there on any given day) would just play any characters in any adventure we felt like playing, and those characters would have any items and & or be any level we wanted them to have / be. That, obviously, is not a campaign. Well, after doing this a few times, this technique grew old and we started actually playing characters who started at first level fairly. Unfortunately, we still were almost completely just giving away magic items to each other, so our first group of characters still had a “Monty Haul” aspect to them for a long time afterwards. Oh well, live and learn, eh? The next step was having the games connect to each other. When your character actually had to travel from one adventure to another, and he started out at one game where he left off in the last, it started actually feeling like a campaign and a sense of reality was imposed. This was where the “magic” (no pun intended) of the game started to set in; we were hooked. Once all of the separate little games became one big game, it quickly became apparent that only one person could be the Dungeon Master, and he had to be the DM for all of the games in that campaign (which was almost all of the games that were playing at that time). My brother Scott volunteered, and no one complained. Well now it was official, and we had our first “official” campaign game the next Saturday. Everything went very smoothly until the next Saturday after that, when responsibility smacked us in the face. As it was so long ago, I can’t tell you what the exact circumstances were, but the gist of it was that no one could remember down to the last detail what happened the previous week. We were about to reenter the dungeon again; had we killed the ogre by the opening, or was he just put to sleep? Did the party get their wounds healed or not? Who finally got that magic sword that we found (all I remember is that we argued about it for half an hour)? It soon became clear that some sort of group diary, logbook, notes or whatever had to be kept. As I was the guy who had decent handwriting, could spell words with more than 5 letters in them, and who was at every game, I was involuntarily volunteered. The upside to this is that I soon learned what was important to log and what was not, and I could write my entries from my own point of view (God help the other players if they messed with me, heh heh heh. I’d slander them unmercifully). After a couple of years of playing in someone else’s game, I yearned for a campaign of my own. I started with a short experimental mini-campaign during the summer of 1982. It had some success, and the characters that were played in it later became non-player characters in Scott’s campaign. Then, in 1983, I experimented with other game systems and had a very short campaign with the Gamma World game. It went well, but was shelved when I bought the Top Secret game. This campaign went very well, but it too was shelved for other things within a year. Around this time, I also began working on a mini-campaign using the Gamma World setting and AD&D rules, and a full scale, original campaign based on a world that I had created called Sixles (yes, I was very busy). In January of 1984 Scott went into Basic Training for the United States Navy, and I offered to become the new temporary DM for the original group of characters, the Holy Avengers, who by now had become extremely powerful. Gamma World was the perfect deathtrap for these overconfident oafs. The rest of the story is history; Scott never again was too excited about DM’ing games, and, aside from a few more games with the Chaotic Defenders, never again did. Shortly after the Gamma World mini-campaign started, I officially ended the Top Secret campaign and brought 2 of those characters into Gamma World via a time machine. I translated all of the Top Secret game statistics into AD & D, and for a short time I had only one campaign again. But then in the summer of 1984 the Sixles campaign got its official start (with characters who were all from Scott’s Tales of the Green Griffon campaign, most of whom had lapsed into semi-retired status by now), and Gamma World took a back seat. We still played many more games with the Holy Avengers, however, for the next several years, until they just got so unbelievably tough that they ceased to be as much fun to play; as all experienced DM ’s and players know, once the challenge is gone, so is the excitement. Sixles has flourished, however, ever since the original Tales of the Green Griffon characters were teleported there in 1985.



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