Giff Wars Session 4 Part 2: Finale

The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo, written with assistance of those that survived.

The Party


The giff knight’s armour was blown to pieces, his skin utterly desiccated, eyes sunken, face rotted. The console was obliterated.

“I was pressing that”, Jurah said, disgruntled.

The giff ship started to descend rapidly.

“Where’s my daughter? Where’s Ubi?” the king cried. Geoff brutalised the deceased giff knight and chuckled evilly as he relieved him of his head. Geoff clung onto the lifeless grisly remains of the warrior’s body to cushion his fall.

Jurah slapped Alicath shouting, “Magic!”, thinking he had magic slaps. He was so impressed with himself, infact, he believed he was probably the God of magic slaps. This led him to ponder whether he could pass this ability onto his followers, when he had more, of course.

Keorath tried to pull javelin out of my shoulder. It came out of the floor but wasn’t completely removed from my body, which hurt! Geoff kept punching the giff’s body, even as he clung to it. Keorath pulled again, harder, and the javelin came out. Jurah muttered something about escape pods, or a lack of them, but it was hard to hear.

As the ship continued to roll, San pulled up underneath the punctured window shouting, “You’ll have to jump or find another way!” Alicath cast featherfall on himself, the king,  Eddie, and myself, allowing us to float down to San’s ship. Geoff cast down a rope and slid down, falling into a heap at the end. Keorath followed him. Jurah went next and, as his calluses started to wear down from the friction, he worried that his magic slap potential could be ruined. He reasoned to himself though that maybe it was actually okay, maybe his slaps were even more potent, as it brought the slap closer to himself a very-much definitely real god. Distracted by his thoughts he landed next to Geoff, on his back, with a thud.

San hurriedly brought us to the top of the airship to help Ubi, who is unloading ammo, alternating between the crystal and enemies, a large bulging bag at his feet. He saw us and yelled “We need to destroy it before we crash!” He reached into the bag and pulled out another grenade, tossing it into the hole in the crystal. Keorath and Jurah ran over to Ubi and tried to reach for the bag. Ubi opposed them; “Get back!” he shouted.

“Grummush guide my magic hand!”, says Jurah as he slapped Ubi. Nothing happened.

“Are you going to slap me, or help me?” Ubi asks. Jurah looked at his hand, shaking it. He then bowed his head solemnly as he realised maybe the rope did take away his powers. Keorath pulled over a loose rope and they bound Ubi with it, “Help! Stop that!” he cries. Jurah reached into the bag and picked out a canister, crushed it, and dropped it back into the bag.

Keorath and Jurah backed up towards the edge of the ship and Keorath sent a large fireball straight towards the bag. “Nooooooo” yelled Ubi. There was a flash of green light. The crystal shattered. The falling ship was blasted downwards with tremendous force, pure energy ripping through the ship, tearing through wood and sail…

Then nothing…

The light faded, and I opened my eyes.

The air was whistling past my ears, the giff ship was falling a little further below me, riddled with explosions. San’s ship appeared to be in pieces. Alicath, the King, Geoff, Eddie, and San, were all falling around me. Jurah, Keorath and Ubi were nowhere to be seen. Even as they fall to their doom, San said, “I can still get us out here guys. I’ve been in worse. I’ve been in worse…” there was a little quaver in his voice.

Alcath cast featherfall again saving those that he could. Geoff gathers bits of San’s destroyed airship, some wood, a sail, and parachutes down, raging the whole way. The remaining companions crashed into the water, and those that made it out made their way to the shore looking over the city.

The crashing ship had sent a tidal wave over the city of Alder, which now lies in flooded ruins. Even as we watched, water was still gushing back into the sea. There was no sign of any empire ships.

“At least the royal line of Aldar survived…” announced the king shortly before Geoff knocked him out cold.

With the city of Alder in ruins, it was a phyyric victory. The Empire was stopped here, but the cost was large. With such a cost to the kingdom, who knows what the future will hold for the House of Organo.

Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: The Throne Room

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Giff Wars Session 4 Part 1: The Throne Room

The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo, written with assistance of those that survived.

The Party


At about this time the Giff-controlled city became a hive of activity and new ships appeared to be launching from the port.

The door swung open revealing a large Giff knight dressed all in black, looking comfortable on a throne, and a hunched figure shackled beside him. Flanking them on either side were two guards, and behind them, workers were busy at a control board and paid us no attention.

Eddie stepped forward and knocked out the two guards with magic. I engaged the Giff knight but was parried with ease. Deep echoing booms filled our ears and the ship started trembling beneath us.

Taking damage, the dark Giff pulled out a metal canister and, crushing it, threw it in the air. The canister exploded ferociously and I flew backward, crumpling on the floor, unconscious…

From what I am told the workers start panicking at this point. In the common tongue, the Giff knight cried out, “Don’t leave your stations until the very end!” Geoff appeared nearby, swinging in anger, again and again, but the Giff knight knocked Geoff’s sword aside.

Back on the ship, San could hear loud bells and explosions coming from the Giff ship. He saw from the ship that the green crystal summiting the Giff ship was cracked, and smoke poured out of it. There was a Giff figure on top of the ship near the crystal and, squinting, he saw that it was Ubi. Several groups of people were streaming towards him, all alone.

San saw another explosion further down, and thick smoke poured out of a large hole in the ship’s hull. Jurah and Keorath, Goliath ship hands, saw this and demanded to be taken to the action, “Remember what Nei said. This is a mission from God, and we must serve him in the bloodiest way”. San disliked the danger and asked where to drop them off as he wanted somebody alive so he could be paid for his troubles. They told him to put them down where the explosions were happening. Grapples launched to the Giff ship, and Jurah and Keorath burst through one of the windows of the control room, landing on the console amongst a handful of minions, and saw their companions fighting a large Giff figure.

Alicath tumbled, stumbling over the guard’s unconscious bodies, but as he stumbled, he cast blindness on the Giff knight, and the Giff knight screamed. Proud of himself, he jumped up and over the Giff knight in mockery, but caught his foot on the knight’s helmet and fell over him. Geoff launched another swing at the Giff knight, this time with his wing scythe. The bony wing pierced the knight, sticking in him, and blood gushed out. Meanwhile, I was still bleeding out, unaware of all that was taking place around me.

The minions completely ignored the two goliaths on the console and continued working. Jurah said “Excuse me”, and strode past. The Giff knight yelled for help and staggered away from everyone in a blind rage. He pulled out a second canister and used it to blast open the wall in front of him. Metal dented, and wood splintered. The minions were left confused, after all, the knight told them to stay there no matter what, but also to help! Alicath used mage hand to place an explosive canister on the Giff knight. When it exploded, the knight was knocked off his feet and left prone, however, the canisters Ubi provided were not as powerful as the one the Giff knight used. The knight was bloodied but not badly damaged yet, but he was not in a good way, as he was blind and prone. Keorath stabilised me as Jurah parted the minions and started playing with the console buttons. “Any wheels here?” he muttered. The blinds on the windows opened and closed. There was an unsettling sound down below, of something spinny slowing down. WUBWUBWUBWUbWUbWubwubwubwubwub. The ship rolled to one side and everyone started sliding. Geoff crawled over, landing one final stab in the Giff warrior (who still had Geoff’s bony wing stuck in his back). Alicath clawed over to the king and used his dagger to break the king’s shackles, which fell off.

The ship was now at a significant angle and I was sliding faster and faster away from everyone. Geoff launched himself over and, seeing the 50ft I was about to fall, skewered me to the floor through the shoulder cuff with his javelin. Jurah was still clinging on to the console, mashing buttons, although significantly less happily. Over the tannoy came a quavering voice “Escape pods jettisoning”. Jurah looked over the console and saw a worried minion speaking into a microphone.

I woke with a gasp and decided that was as good a time as any to lay hands on myself. Still pinned by the javelin through my shoulder, the wound started to heal over, although it was an extremely strange sensation.

The Giff knight, bleeding out badly, crawled towards Keorath and Myself. He bellowed, “You may defeat me but you will never defeat the empire”.

His expression changed.

He sat up, breath rasping, laughing at everyone, and pulled out a third grenade.

He closed his eyes, holding it close, smiling, head tilted towards the sky, and set it off…



Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: Infiltration

Next: Finale

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Mental Health in Video Games: Persona 5

This article contains significant plot spoilers for Persona 5

Persona 5 is a game that I have quite a bit to say about. In the pipeline I am planning on publishing articles giving my impressions on the game as well as a deep dives into how they explore concepts of identity.

I have not yet completed the game, but it is already overflowing with interesting things to write about.

Last night I was streaming Persona 5 and the game took its own deep dive in to a pretty intense topic. You are asked to help a girl who suffers from extreme social anxiety and depression.

The Set Up

For those unfamiliar with Persona 5, it is a game where you take on the role of the Phantom Thieves; a group of teenagers who can jump into the subconscious of truly twisted people, and ‘steal their heart’, forcing them to undergo a severe personality change for the better. For a gaming analogy think of a slightly more dramatic system of the heart-healing mechanic of Ni No Kuni.

Up to this point in the game you have stolen the hearts of an abusive school teacher, who sexually abused female students and physically abused male students; an organised crime boss, who blackmailed and stole from people for his own financial gain; and an artist, who stole the work of his students and claimed it as his own, allowing a particularly talented student to die so that he could get away with his scheme.

All of your targets up to this point are evil people who harm the world. The concept of ‘twisted desires’ is very obvious when it comes to these kinds of people; they are the archetypal villains for stories. You enter their subconscious, steal their treasure, and it causes a change of heart. They feel remorse for their actions, hand themselves into the police, and allow victims to begin the healing process. A classic heroes tale.

But then the Phantom Thieves are recruited by Futaba.

Futaba is a girl who suffers from extreme social anxiety and depression. She is a hacking expert and traces down the Phantom Thieves, and blackmails them into stealing another heart. Her own.

She wants to be free from her anxiety and depression, and she knows the Thieves might be able to help her with this, so she sets herself as their target.

Entering the Heart of Darkness

The subconscious desires of regular people do not have a significant impact on the subconscious world the Phantom Thieves can enter, known as the ‘metaverse’. When someone has truly twisted desires though, these dark desires shape the metaverse into a palace. The palace of each person reflects how they view their ‘domain’. The teacher’s palace took the form of a castle located at his school. The crime boss’ palace took the form of a bank located in the central business district. The artist’s palace took the form of a museum located over his studio.

Futaba’s palace takes the form of a tomb, and is located at her home.

It is more ornate than a regular graveyard; Futaba’s palace is a great pyramid located in an almost endless desert. It is huge, it is grand, and it is utterly isolating. Throughout the pyramid are traps and walls designed to keep people out. Although Futaba has asked for help, her subconscious tries to kill the Phantom Thieves. She wants help, but her heart fights the introspection.

As the Phantom Thieves explore her palace they see glimpses of what ties her heart into this tomb.

Her mother committed suicide in front of her.

She blames herself for her mother’s death. She remembers times when she felt that she was a burden on her mother, a drain that led her to killing herself. These memories form murals on the pyramid’s walls. The Phantom Thieves slowly break into her subconscious and encounter these deeply intimate and painful memories.

It is an intense experience to play through.

Opening the Door

At the end of the palace is a door.

A door that cannot be opened by the Phantom Thieves. A door that requires them to meet Futaba in the real world. The subconscious door represents her hearts deepest layers. It appears as her bedroom door.

If Futaba does not believe anyone can get through this door, it is impossible for anyone to get through the door in her subconscious.

Only Futaba can open this door.

The Phantom Thieves go to her house and wait outside her door for her to invite them in. She needs to take action to address the issues in her heart. She can’t rely on others to fix her. She needs to not only say she wants help but also open herself up to the help that is offered.

She has to confront her extreme anxiety.

She has to let people in.

Which she does. Futaba invites the Phantom Thieves in to her most vulnerable place, where she hides from the world, and in so doing allow the Phantom Thieves to access to the inner sanctum of her subconscious.

Facing Demons

The Phantom Thieves steal their way through her inner sanctum to find Futaba’s treasure. They find a sarcophagus. The treasure is held therein. But before the Thieves can open it they are attacked.

They are drawn into combat by Futaba’s mother. Or to be more accurate, a dark, twisted representation of Futaba’s mother. Futaba’s subconscious has created a monster out of her mother. It takes the form of a great sphinx, which keeps its distance, it is aloof and hard to hit, spewing hateful things about Futaba. The Phantom Thieves cannot beat it.

That is when Futaba enters her subconscious world.

The only way that this demon can be beaten is by Futaba realising that it is not her mother. Futaba has to remember the truth. How loved she was. She has to differentiate between the lies and the truth. That her pain has warped her memories. Hurtful things she was told by family members that blamed her for her mother’s death are not true.

As Futaba faces her own heart and comes to understand how her heart has warped her memories and created a tomb for itself she becomes able to provide the key to defeating the demonic representation of her mother.

Once the representation is defeated, Futaba leaves, allowing the Phantom Thieves to complete their task.

But the sarcophagus is empty.

Futaba has already left.

She was the treasure all along, and she had to find herself, hidden behind layers of hurt, pain, and warped perceptions. She had to look at the truth hidden behind the lies, and remember who she was, and who her mother truly was.

And with that discovery the palace begins to collapse…

Mental Health

Mental health is a difficult topic to address. Every person’s experience of mental illness can be radically different, and can stem from completely different experiences. This makes it hard to talk about, particularly in media where mental illness can so easily be trivialised or glamorised.

This Futaba story arc is not over, but getting to where I am in the game was a powerful and personal experience for me. I joked several times on stream that I would love to have an app that could give me access to the kind of breakthroughs Futaba experienced in an hour and a half of gameplay. Months of cognitive behavioural therapy condensed into mere minutes.

But the world is not as easy as video games.

Art reflects life, and this story arc was powerful because there is truth in the story it presents about the human experience of mental illness. Help is available, but it takes work to address. There are no easy fixes, and resolving issues can take you to painful places. But if twisted perceptions are not confronted they can create demons, which are even harder to put to rest.

There is no ‘YAY MENTAL ILLNESS IS SOLVED!’ at the end of this article. It is a real problem and if you struggle with it, I recommend getting help.

Exposure to this story arc is the kind of thing that helps me contextualise some of my experience of mental illness and give pictures and words to emotions and thoughts. I am very much looking forward to continuing to explore what Persona 5 has to offer.

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Giff Wars Session 3 Part 3: Infiltration

The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.

The Party


As daylight streams into the box, Alicath cast blindness and the worker cried out in pain.

Alicath is not quite so well hidden…

Horrified I leapt from the box and restrained the worker, muffling his cries with my hand. A pissed-off Geoff leapt out of his box and sprinted over, pressing his hilt against the side of the worker’s head. Geoff then pressed the button.

A flame leapt from the hilt of Geoff’s sword, and the worker crumpled.

Guard Assassination
Geoff kills the innocent dock worker

I looked at Geoff in horror. He grimaced and discarded the worker’s body into the water. The corpse hit the water with a conspicuous splash. Alicath and I dove back into our box, this time getting the lid closed, and Geoff did the same. Rapid footsteps could be heard outside the box and shortly after, the boxes start being handled. By Eddie’s reckoning for thirty minutes the boxes were moving, shifting, and bumping around, although it may have been longer. Eventually though the movement stopped and the background noise settled down to a low hum.

I listened intently but couldn’t tell whether any guards were around, nor even if my companions were nearby. I made a bird call, ‘Caw Caw’, and from a box not five feet away Geoff slightly raised his box’s lid and peered around.
‘All clear,’ he said.

The room was darkly lit and full of boxes piled on top of one another, however there were no signs of guard activity nearby. We walked to the room’s entrance and found a corridor leading off left and right. Turning right, at the end of the corridor was a thick wooden door.

Eddie listened closely but could hear nothing.

Geoff, impatient, and evidently still grumpy at being stuck in a box for so long, gave the door an almighty kick, utterly destroying the previous silence.

The door burst, splintering into the walkway behind, landing with a final thud. Alicath looked around nervously. ‘I was just going to use the bloody handle,’ I said with exasperation.

Geoff grinned with a shrug.

We carried on and saw, in the distance, a walkway crossing ours with occasional Giff troops passing back and forth. Thankfully they seemed undisturbed by Geoff’s antics. Master Ubi gestured for us to stop and come together.

A moment with Ubi
A moment with Ubi…

He said that he thought he might know a way to bring down the ship, that he needed to access the green crystal. He told us we were likely to find our king at the command centre, and that we’ll shortly need to go our separate ways.

Going forward we marched with Ubi in front, Alicath and myself acting holding Geoff and Eddie prisoner, we entered the guarded passageway. The passing Giff troops paid little attention to our cohort and we soon reached a large room. In the room were a handful of guards and workers, and at the end was a strange contraption with rising platforms on one side and falling ones on the other with no end in sight. Workers stepped on and off the platforms out of and into the corridors on each floor.

Ubi marched towards a map on one of the walls, etched into polished metal. The map was a cross-section of the ship. He pointed out our location. “This map doesn’t show it, as it has been in place since before the Giff modified the ship, but this,” he said pointing, “is where I believe the crystal is. This, here, is where the command centre is, gesturing to a room on the 225th floor.”

A couple of guards stared at Ubi confused, but Ubi looks back authoritatively and they awkwardly averted their gaze. “T’ fuckin’ pansies look scared. S’almost asiv yr’ their commander,” Geoff accused, eying Ubi with suspicion. A couple of the guards looked agitated.

“Have some damn respect,” Alicath shouted at Geoff, slapping him hard, across the face. The guards look at each other and visibly relax in the assumption that we are on official business.

Alicath turned to face Ubi questioningly and cast zone of truth. He asked what Ubi’s plans were. Ubi explained that he really was there to somehow destroy the ship. He said he had never seen anything like the magical modifications that had been made. Alicath asked if, once Ubi left if we would ever see him again. Ubi’s face was solemn as he said that in all likelihood we would not. It was a suicide mission, but he felt that he had to try. Alicath, upset, hugged Ubi.

A couple of guards raised their eyebrows, thinking to themselves that management’s really had taken a turn for the worst lately. Ubi slapped Alicath, telling him he should know better.

Ubi disiplines Alicath
Ubi disciplines Alicath

The guards, again satisfied, went back about their business. Ubi gave Alicath an apologetic look and wished us good fortune. With this, Ubi departed, stepping onto the rising platforms and rising out of sight.

I suggested splitting up so we could try the jail and the command centre to look for our king. Eddie however disagreed and said we stand more of a chance if we go together to the command centre, as Ubi said. Alicath and Geoff agreed with Eddie, and we too jumped onto the rising platforms.

Floor after floor went by, 119, 120, 121. At 225, we stepped off and into the corridor. There was something different about our surroundings, it was much more stylised than the sterile metal aesthetic below. A pair of ornate metal doors lay ahead but in front of them stood two hulking Giff guards in elaborate armour. “Who goes there?” asked one of the guards. There was a long pause. Eddie cautiously let his hand fall to his sword. One of the guards stepped forward menacingly. Alicath glanced nervously at Geoff, silently charming the closer of the two guards. I took the initiative and stepped forward, angrily glaring eye-to-eye, too close for the charmed guard’s comfort.

“I think you’ll find that’s above your pay grade,” I said coldly. The guard shifted uncomfortably, and the other guard glowered at him for acting so rudely.

You can't handle this
‘That information is above your pay grade’

“My apologies Ma’am,” he said. “Right you are Ma’am, and apologies again,” he said as he held the door open, wincing in embarrassment.

Beyond was a large pair of frosted glass doors, which Alicath walked up to. He attempted to ascertain what lay beyond but stumbled and knocked into them, leaving them swinging.

A deep Giff voice booms from the room beyond,


Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: The City of Alder

Next: The Throne Room

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Giff Wars Session 3 Part 2: The City of Alder

The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.

The Party


I called over Eddie, Alicath, and Geoff. We looked at the object discussing what it could possibly be. It was getting dark however and so we agreed to rest until morning.

As we turned to go below deck I noticed Geoff had just finished his giant wing, leaving only the rigid bones behind. He gave it a powerful throw and it became lodged in the ship’s mast. Geoff looked at the damage to the mast with delight and yanked the bone back out, adding it merrily to his arsenal of weaponry. The airship itself continued to fly just fine, the masts were evidently purely decorative.

When we awoke, the city of Aldar was much closer and it had become clear what the object was from the night before; an absolutely mammoth giff airship. We called Ubi to the deck and he looked grave. ‘So, it’s true,’ he said. ‘That used to be my ship, although it appears that the Giff Empire have made some alterations.’ In the middle of the ship there was a large green crystalline structure that protruded from the top, which Ubi informed us was not part of the original structure, and two large propellers pointing down. Underneath the ship, two streams of small supply ships ferry back and forth, one entering, and one leaving the ship.

San said that we couldn’t get much closer to Aldar on the ship we were on, as we were likely to be spotted. We agreed that we would take the lifeboats to the shore and make our way there on foot. Ricktar chose to stay behind and help lead the crew for the escape. The lifeboats were released and hit the water with a splash, and San chucked a rope off the side of the deck. I went first, but wearing heavy armour and gauntlets do not a fine climber make.

Nei Slides
Nei slides gracelessly past a featherfalling Alicath and Ubi

I slid rapidly down the rope smacking into, and capsizing, one of the lifeboats before tumbling clumsily into the water. I heard a heavy splash as Eddie hit the water badly near me. I struggled to get back out from under the boat, but was grateful for the air pocket that under the boat. Geoff flipped the boat over with Eddie and myself inside, saving us. As I surfaced I saw that Alicath was perched on Ubi’s head, who was resting in the water lazily.

Alicath and Ubi
Alicath keeps himself dry

Geoff helped us, but didn’t take his eyes off Ubi, muttering something about how a giant Hippo-oid can be so dextrous and he was so creepy.

We headed to the shore with Ubi in one boat and everyone else in the other and the he walk from the shore to Aldar went undisturbed.

Aldar itself was quiet and the area we arrived in looked particularly run-down. Troops in giff armour were stationed around the place, but the diverse range of sizes and shapes suggested that these are not giff. Geoff is familiar with the criminal network in the area and said that he had a contact here that owned a safe house we could use. He did a special knock on the door and a slot opened up revealing a shady-looking elf.

Stealthing through Alder
The party makes a criminal contact

Geoff spoke with the man and said we were flying with the legendary smuggler San Holo. The man ushered us in and closed the door behind us, looking around as he did so.

The man said his name was Joey, and he asked how he could help. Geoff explained the task at hand and Joey said he could provide two giff uniforms in exchange for our royal armour and civilian clothing for the rest. I reluctantly handed over my embellished shield to Joey who exchanged it for a subtler buckler shield. Joey handed Geoff a quiver of seemingly endless depth for his weaponry, along with two speaking stones. Eddie and Geoff took civilian outfits, and Alicath and myself dressed in giff armour.

Alicath and Nei
Alicath and Nei enjoy the perfect disguise

Joey said the king could be in the castle but had heard rumours that he had been imprisoned in the giff ship above us. In light of this a plan was hatched to board one of the supply ships.

We stealthed over to the docks. The docks weren’t heavily guarded, perhaps only five giff guards were there, the majority of people bustling around were dock workers, a couple were bloodied and beaten. On the right side of the docks sat wooden boxes of all shapes and sizes. On the left were the lanes for supply ships arriving and departing. Ubi found a box big enough for him and climbed inside. Eddie and Geoff share another empty box. Alicath and myself dart to a third box but find it is almost completely full of sweetcorn! We squeezed inside and struggle unsuccessfully to completely close the lid. In the corner of his eye, a worker noticed one of the boxes lid’s moving. We could hear him muttering about damn animals stealing all their food, as he walked over to investigate.

The box with Alicath and myself inside starts to open…

Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: A Moment’s Respite

Next: Infiltration

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Giff Wars Session 3: A Moment’s Respite

The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.

The Party


Master Ubi disregarded the strange sight of the creature’s shadow, explaining that the beast was called a peryton and that they’re delicious! Eddie looked sceptical. Nevertheless, master Ubi disappeared into a back room with the beast’s decapitated head, and returned to collect its carcass, leaving a dark smear of blood as he dragged it behind him.

‘I’m bloody starving,’ grumbled one of the airship’s crew. San decided to head downstairs to look for food before he had a mutiny on his hands. He returned shortly after looking flustered. ‘Our food stocks are low;’ he exclaimed, ‘and all the barrels are open! I believe we may have a stowaway on board!’ I gripped my warhammer tightly and Eddie drew his flaming sword. Heading cautiously below deck it became immediately obvious that we were not alone. I traced a trail of crumbs with to a dark corner of the food-storage room where a large raggedy man lay sleeping, covered by a dirty quilt.

Eddie stepped forward and drenched the figure with summoned water. The barbarian woke with a start, falchion at the ready, and very angry. He was quite a sight; teeth bared, two of them golden, wearing a scrappy leather jacket, and bloodshot purple eyes. He also appeared to be wearing a rather familiar set of military armour. ‘What’dya want!?’ He barked, ‘N’ who ar’ya!?’ I stepped forward, warhammer poised.

‘You first,’ I said resolutely, eyes narrowing. Just behind me, a frightened Alicath silently created a zone of truth.

Geoff the Barbarian is ready to split some skulls

The man weighed his chances and yielded. ‘M’ name’s Geoff,’ he said.

‘I knew we had a stowaway!’ said San, pushing past, and staring at the man. ‘

Oo’ya callin’ a stowaway? Oi were ‘ere first!’ replied the man incredulously.

happy barb
A barbarian defends his honour

‘Well I think you’d better start explaining yourself, and how you come to be wearing our armour,’ I commanded, warhammer held threateningly. The man explained that he served King Organo and that he was on the same ship we were, escaping when it came under attack, and landing on the island. From there he travelled to Port Isley and snuck on board an airship for shelter.

Eddie and Alicath, examining the man, noted that he actually seemed familiar. ‘You’re not the infamous corporal Geoff? We’re big fans!’ The man straightens up proudly and beamed a disgusting smile.

‘T’ very same,’ he replied. Once the nerves of the encounter begin to simmer down, the intrusive stench and grossness of the room became very apparent. ‘Oi’ve bin ‘ere four fuckin’ days. Whad’ya expect?’ Geoff replied to our complaints.

‘Well,’ quipped Eddie, ‘at least you were wearing your brown pants!’

Ricktar, unamused, declared he’s not touching any of this food and left the room. Alicath, Eddie and I followed suit. Alicath chucked Geoff a lemon. ‘You’re looking like you might need this,’ he said. Geoff devoured the lemon whole. San went to leave but hesitated, gingerly grabbing some food for the crew before heading upstairs.

‘We need to do something about Geoff,’ Ricktar said, and we agree to bring him to see master Ubi. We entered Ubi’s quarters and were hit by a second wave of stench, this time of strong chemicals and rancid flesh. ‘As above so below,’ I muttered. An enormous boiling pot sat in the middle of the room pouring out thick, foul-smelling, steam and Ubi was busy in the corner preserving the deceased peryton’s head.

‘We found a stowaway aboard the ship,’ announced Eddie but Geoff protested,

‘Oi’m nor’ a fuckin’ stowaway!’ Ubi peered through his monocle, taking in the man, but remained largely unconcerned. ‘Tha’ goin’?’ Geoff asked, gesturing to the large wing sitting in the pot.

‘But of course!’ said master Ubi, passing the nauseating meat to Geoff. Alicath attempted to cast blindness on himself to dull his sense of smell, which was somewhat too effective; numbing his tongue in the process.

Tasty Snack
Geoff enjoys a tasty snack

‘Leb geb oubba here,’ he blubbered heading to the door. Eddie and myself needed no encouragement and we leave the room gasping for fresh air. Meanwhile Geoff happily gnawed on his leathery wing.

One of the crew approaches me and tried to pass me a rotten skull on a stone necklace as an offering to the gods. ‘There is only one true god,’ I proclaims stoutly, slapping the offering away.

Nei momentarily forgets the religion she has professed to the bugbear crew

The bugbear, indignant, turned away sadly. Rolling my eyes, I called after it apologetically saying I’ll take the offering. The bugbear smiled and left. I cast the necklace over the side of the airship and watched as it fell away. Dumb bugbear. Raising my gaze, I looked to the horizon and could see the city of Alder in the distance.

Just above it however, through the clouds, was something unnatural, something big…

Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: To the Skies!

Next: The City of Alder

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Giff Wars Session 2 Part 2: To the Skies!

The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.

The Party


According to Alicath, he and Eddie played a delightful tune. In fact, it was quite literally the best thing the pub-goers had ever heard and the band they forced out was not remotely pleased.

Dragon Bros
Alicath and Eddie, Dragonbros!

The band told Alicath that him and Eddie had ruined their livelihoods now! They had only ever played one tune – and it’s four notes, the crowd wouldn’t want them back again! Alicath promised to teach them at some point, wondering about the crowd’s standards… Eddie meanwhile engaged a small unscrupulous crowd who seem interested in crewing a ship for him, for a price.

Meanwhile, I was emboldened by the success of my first round of recruitment, and attempted another! I engaged the captain of one of the larger ships who was by the pier talking to his crew. ‘Can you help me?’ I asked, ‘I am on a mission from God.’

The captain was not impressed so I tried a different approach, pulling out a sword and pointing it at his chest. The captain however pointed out I was vastly outnumbered and had no chance. He calmly yet firmly suggested I head on my way, something I agreed with. I went to the tavern, pulled up a bar stool beside Ricktar, and ordered my own stiff drink.

Eddie and Alicath regrouped with Ricktar and myself at the bar. Eddie said he had agreed with a man called San that he would take us to Aldar for five thousand gold pieces.

San Holo
San Holo, the charming rogue…

Ricktar suggested we should get Ubi and he left. However, on leaving the pub he saw two Giff guards engaging an official-looking man. The man was pointing directly in our direction and talking urgently. Ricktar returned to warn us and we escaped out of the back of the tavern.

Alicath disappeared back into the tavern to his surprise was almost immediately intercepted by the guards. However he successfully bluffed them, apparently saying, ‘Me no speak common.’ The guards let him pass through and continued their search.

Ricktar reached Ubi and informed him we met a man called San who will do the job for five thousand, wincing as he said it. The Giff however did not wince. He grabbed a bag from his satchel and threw it to Ricktar. ‘That should cover it’ he said.

This Giff clearly did not mess around.

The Giff guards left the tavern and I headed back inside. The ten-strong crew I recruited earlier were impatient and wanted to go. I told them to wait for us at the pier at dusk. Eddie told San the same.

At dusk we reconvened at the docks.

We climbed up to one of the smaller airships in silence, and we can see it is tied down with ropes, laden with bells. Clearly an effective anti-theft measure. That is, if you’re not expecting a lizard blizzard wizard. Eddie Izzard stepped forward; a gleam in his eye, knowing his time to shine had come.

He carefully manipulated the seawater into the bells, and froze it in place. He then swiped with his sword at the knot tying the ship down and the rope fell away. There was a not-inconspicuous splash as the rope smacked into the calm sea in the port below.

In the town bells rang out.

As the airship receded from the shoreline our minds returned to the mission at hand and the unlikely chances of us coming out alive. We are so few against such great odds. Our thoughts however didn’t remain undisturbed as a crewmember yelled.


We peered over the sides of the deck and several large flying creatures were headed our way. Eddie shot an ice-spear right through one of their wings, but the creature carried on flying, barely perturbed by the hole in its wing, flying in a way that seemed almost unnatural.

A spell burst into the air, which immobilized three of the beasts. One of the beasts body-slammed into Alicath leaving him practically at death’s door.

Alicath crushed beneath the strange beast

Eddie threw his flaming sword, magically guiding it straight into the beast’s eye. Ricktar came at its flank and, with an almighty swing of his greatsword, decapitated it.

The three beasts behind us broke free of their charm, but the airship had moved on and they turned away, knowing they can’t catch up.

On deck we nurse Alicath back to health, but Alicath was staring at something much more sinister. The dead beast’s shadow was not beast-like at all; it was human.

We are not far from Aldar…

Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: Port Isley

Next: A Moment’s Respite

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Blog Update: What are the D&D posts about?

Hi guys I just wanted to provide a bit of an update on what is going with This is art, not real life!

Many of you are following for video game content and don’t worry that is still coming! I have lots of articles in the works that will be released soon!

So why the Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Diaries?

I am very close to publishing my first Dungeons and Dragons Adventure!

Title Page

I am in the final stages of editorial work for it and I am hoping to complete it over the next month.

This means that most of my writing time is spent on this adventure!

I have brought on the help of my friend Chloe Wakefield, who has written up the Campaign Diaries of the last mini-campaign I ran.

These are being uploaded so that I can keep providing regular content to you and to hopefully get some of you excited for the imminent release of my adventure!

Once the adventure is published I will resume providing a combination of video game and book related content.

I am so excited to be able to share these things with you and I hope you enjoy this content that I am going to be producing!

Giff Wars Session 2: Port Isley

The continuation of the journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.

The Party


The Giff’s hut sat in the middle of a large peaceful clearing. There was a quaint little lake just at the back.

Inside the hut, the Giff bumbled around; slightly too large for his surroundings he knocked a pile of books off the shelf as he walked by. ‘Dearie me!’ he laughed to himself. ‘Tea was it?’ He asked us.

‘Yes, Oolong if you have it!’ Alicath replied. Ubi offered us all some bright purple bourbons.

‘Delicious!’ I couldn’t help but cry out.

‘Yes… delicious,’ said Ricktar, eying the remaining bourbons on the shelf with a suspicious longing look in his eye. The hippo-oid came back shortly after with oolong for everyone and joined us next to the crackling fire.

‘Let’s get down to business’ he said addressing our group. He told us about magic and machines and how he had served alongside the princess’s father in the Ascension War. Taking out the letter, he inspected the seal. ‘This letter is from King Organo himself, and imbued with magic,’ he announced,  ‘Watch this…’ He picked up some tongs by the fire and, clasping the letter, delivered it into the flames. The letter burned away and just as something metallic dropped into the grate, the flames took on a life of their own, dancing around violently.

In the flames an image started to form of the King. His booming voice emanated from the fireplace, although more hollow, and with a tinge of desperation. ‘Ubi, my old friend,’ he said. ‘The Giff Empire has resurrected your airship. The resistance will have no chance if it remains in the enemy’s possession. You know it’s power; continents *will* be destroyed. Help us defeat it. You are our only hope.’

The flames died down and Ubi retrieved something from the fireplace. Turning it over in his hands, light bounced off the sigil of House Organo.

‘This is grave news indeed,’ Ubi said, breaking the silence. ‘We must go at once to Alder and speak to the King, but first,’ he said standing up, ‘there are some things I think you will do well to take,’

He led us into his storage room and dug out a box full of sword hilts. Eddie had a quizzical look at this development and Ricktar asks gruffly what use a box of hilts is. Ubi guffawed and said that these were not mere hilts. He passed one to Eddie and told him to press a small button on the side. Eddie was unfortunately unsure what a button was. But I knew what these were; sunswords!

Alicath Pose
Alicath admiring the sunswords, pre-burn

I took a hilt, pressed the button and instantly a long flame burst out of the end. Overzealously I flourished it around enthusiastically but ended up badly burning myself and singed Alicath in the process. Ubi handed out more hilts to the party, and various complaints, and some fixes later, including the manufacture of a sungun and a sunstaff, Ubi then gave Ricktar and myself two metal canisters. ‘Be extremely cautious to keep your flaming swords away from these if you want to live,’ he smirked.

‘What use are these?’ Ricktar grumbled. Ubi led us outside and threw one of the canisters at the distant trees. A blinding light and one enormous explosion later, several trees were flattened and we were slightly dazed even at that distance. Ubi turned around and said,

‘Now you know why there’s a clearing here. Keep your flames away.’

We headed back inside briefly to gather our belongings. By the shelf Ricktar was stuffing an ungodly amount of bourbons under his armour.

Ricktar Bourborns
Ricktar dealing with an unfortunate addiction to bourbon biscuits on the road.

A short time after, we set off into the jungle towards Port Isley.

The journey went undisturbed and it was midday by the time we arrived at the outskirts of town. The port below us was bustling with a diverse variety of people. At the sea was a pier with airships above and seaships below. The largest ship, an Empire ship, appeared to have cannons on it!

Ubi is disapproved of our outlandish outfits and sensibly handed us each a cloak from his bag. We agreed to head into town and for Ubi to stay behind on this hill. On the way towards the port however we disagreed on how to proceed. Ricktar and myself wanted to take the big Empire ship, but Alicath and Eddie wanted to take a smaller ship and go for a more subtle approach.

The team had a dispute and decided to split up!

I found a group of airship crew and persuaded them to join me in crewing a ship as “we are on a mission from God[unspecific]”. The crew eagerly agreed and I said I would give them direction later.

Nei on a mission
Nei on a mission from a god, but dont ask which one…

Ricktar meanwhile headed to a nearby tavern where, it turned out, Eddie and Alicath were currently playing a song on stage. Ricktar shook his head at the display and ordered himself a stiff drink from the bar…

Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: The Hunt for Ubi

Next: To the Skies

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Giff Wars Session 1: The Hunt for Ubi

The journal of Nei, a Paladin in the service of House Organo.

The Party


House Organo is under the influence of the Giff however they are not accepting of their rulers, they are secretly in rebellion.

The Giff themselves are said to have come from the sky on a star – how true this is depends on who you ask, but make no mistake they are alien in nature, and technologically advanced.

Before the rise of the Giff Empire, the Giff were split into factions where one side wanted to co-exist peacefully with the inhabitants of this world, and the other faction desired world domination.

Ultimately the peaceful faction was all but annihilated.

We found ourselves floating over the Tatu Sea, on a diplomatic mission to deliver a message on behalf of our princess to a Giff battlemaster by the name of Ubi who fought against the rise of the Giff Empire many years ago.

Unfortunately for us, a huge Giff dreadnaught appeared on the horizon and approached us fast. The Giff ship opened fire and huge cannonballs ripped through the ship. Grapples sunk into our ship and dragged it slowly towards the oncoming attacker. The princess, knowing the importance of her message made it clear that we had to go and ensure it’s delivery even if that meant leaving her behind.

The attackers bridged the gap with a gangplank and attempted to board. I ran over, attempting to stop them but was pushed aside with ease. The four of us; Ricktar, Alicath, Eddie and myself, decided it was time to go and flee to the escape chutes.

It was hard to see what lay below.



As we broke through the clouds there were many islands dotted about and we made aim for the largest of these.

Eddit, Ricktar and Myself, all had a heavy landing while Alicath swept overhead landing softly with a pirouette.

As more survivors from the ship parachuted to far-off islands, Alicath played a humble tune on the lute, by lute-master Fonsei and the late Father Yankee, named Déspaçito.

We watched as the wreckage of our ship plunged in the sea, the fate of the princess, and Mr Tibbles (Ricktar’s prized horse), unknown. We found ourselves on a beach, behind us a large jungle that followed the curve of the island to a steep cliff. A small hill lay in the other direction which we proceed to climb to gain a vantage point, however it was hard to see so far in the distance. Eddie’s familiar, Owl, scouted around and discovered a settlement not far from our location. We decided to head to the nearest village to see if any villagers knew the whereabouts of Ubi.

Alicath forages
Alicath attempts to forage and Eddie points out that the flowers are known to be poisonous.

Without warning the ground erupted as we approached, and an angry Bulette attacked! We all took heavy damage and Alicath had some suicidal plan to open its mouth!? Eventually the armour in its back cracked and I delivered a punishing blow with my warhammer.

After battle we rested and headed down to the settlement and, on the way, a farmer in his horse and cart came trundling down the road. Eddie charmed the farmer and the farmer invited us back to his house. He told us to travel to Isley harbour but also warned us to be on the lookout for grung. Alicath played a lovely song and we all discussed Ricktar’s bathing habits or … lack of them. I requested the letter, in the spirit of keeping it dry and clean. Ricktar took it out from underneath his breastplate and I gingerly put it in my backpack.

After a long rest our group travelled into the jungle as we made our way towards Isley harbour. An arrow twanged against my armour and we found ourselves surrounded by grung and being jabbed by tiny knives! Eddie cast a sleeping spell, which got most of them. Ricktar cleaved another in two. Those grung who could flee, did. But we hadn’t seen the last of them – they brought reinforcements!

After a short fight, a new sound emanated from the depths of the jungle which froze the grung in place. The grung fled and a giff burst through the trees! As it turned out the giff says his name is Ubi! I handed Ubi the letter, which the giff promptly read it and pondered on its contents. He left and gestured for us to follow.

Gang meets Ubi
The party meet Ubi

After a short walk a hut appeared in a clearing and the giff headed inside…

Written by Chloe Wakefield

Artwork by Jess Butcher –

Edited by Aaron Surnaym

Previous: Introduction

Next: Port Isley

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