Session 6....Ideas

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First up, if this song does not get played during my game I will cry.

Secondly, feel free to post ideas. I already think I am going to have the Dwarf, two brothers, and elf from the first session in this game as well as the goblins from session 5. I thought it would be funny.

I ran the week 6 encounter a few days early and there are a few things I want to share with DMs planning to run it this week.

  1. This was the longest session of the season so far. We’ve been clocking in at 2 hours most weeks but this one ran 3.5 hours. In order to speed things up adjust the combat, not the role-playing. The role-playing was gold. The players loved it. But the combat really seemed to drag on, and on, and on. Here are a few quick tips.

  • Unless you’re in a striker-heavy party reduce the Trolls maximum hit points. I’d suggest going from 120 down to 90 (at least). When the Trolls get back up, don’t give them 15 hit points, just make them minions. This will ensure that it only takes one more hit to make them fall down again.

  • Pre-roll damage for the Trolls or just use average damage. I’d seriously consider even pre-rolling attack scores just to keep things moving quickly during combat.

  • For the final fight, don’t place all the Trolls on the map in the first round. By introducing them in waves you all but ensure that the party will focus fire and drop 1 or 2 quickly. When I brought out all of them at once everyone went toe-to-toe with their own Troll which was disastrous.

  • Reduce the town’s prep time from 9 days down to 5 or 6. As printed there is ample time for the PCs to make all the necessary checks and bolster the town. With 9 days to prep, the threat is all but guaranteed to be neutralized. In 9 days they can flub most of the checks the first time and still have plenty of time to try again. If the party splits up to take on different challenges simultaneously they can ensure a victory in as little as 3 days. If you want to keep the 9 days timeline some tasks should require multiple PCs to accomplish (like the training montage).

  • I hope DMs find this advice helpful. Use some, all or none of it as you see fit. Despite some challenges I experienced this was the most fun session of the season so far.

    Visit Dungeon's – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
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    Thanks for the heads up, when I was planning my flowchart I thought there were to many days for the PCs. My question is how many players did you have. I am looking at having 6 or 7 tonight given the ammount of players we have.
    I had a table of 5 experienced players. They split up and by day 4 had almost all the challenges completed. In retrospect some of the tasks seemed too big for just one PC to handle on their own in the timeframe specified. I think any challenge that requires more than one day should also require more than one PC.

    Visit Dungeon's – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
    Follow me on Twitter @ameron_dm

    This is good advice. I haven't run this scenario, but have previously run similar time-limited "build up before the enemy gets here" scenarios for other editions. I would add that, with some tables, you may have to be especially clear on what all the options are -- some players will prefer to double or triple up on something that seems simple, rather than take on a challenge they don't feel they can easily pass. By roleplaying the options more clearly, and giving intangible rewards (like the respect of NPCs, or kudos from the table) you can get them to act more heroically.

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