Week 12 - Finale - Field Report

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Our two tables played this weeks finale as a massed table with both Liam and myself DMing in concert (write up is here), as we had both got different people leading our Bhaal Favour tracker we decided to have both transform (though had agreed before hand that upon the death/defeat of both, their "minions" would recover their senses and stop attacking).

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

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After having two separate groups phase through the weeks, as the season lost and gained players at the table, there was no real commitment to any of the factions.

 

Turns out that Skoond, who has had his ears to every wall and his fingers in every pie, was a Harper double-agent all along. He assassinated the three contenders for Bhaal's choosing, and tried to take the mantle on himself in a heroic/stupid sacrifice. Chaos ensued, Skoond failed in his objective to control the godhood he decided to take on himself.

 

Two players at the table died, one turned on the party in an act of opportunism (there was a talk after the session about behavior in public play events, so that's resolved for next season), and one just sat and watched because he head the name "Bhaal" and decided not to tempt his fate.

 

...yea... Can't say it was a spectacular end to the experiment we had of a season.

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

Several weeks ago, my players got wind of the smokepowder plot and confronted Skoond. I played him as a cagey guy, but they defeated his smokepowder alchemists (and the house guards I added in). My "murder hobo" player slit the throats of the prisoners as soon as the rest of the party's back was turned.

The following week, I revealed that Skoond's guards were off-duty City Watch. Many Watchmen are drawn from the patriar families, so this was Serious Business -- the PCs didn't kill just a random bum or else no one would have cared. They and Skoond were brought to the High Hall by responding Watch members. One of the PCs successfully snuck out before a hearing could commence, and that stalled the entire hearing. Lenta Moore sent squads of Watchmen into the streets to look for the guy while she kept the PCs and Skoond in two separate rooms. The PCs spooted Coran from the window and got a message to him. He had them released into his custody and took that as an excuse to leave the Parliamentary proceedings he had been going to. They spotted Skoond also walking free in Duke Silvershield's company.

As they went to talk to Skoond, Duke Silvershield left to go to his home. Skoond summoned the fire mephit right there in an alley and set off the big bomb. Of course, most of the Watch was out looking for the one escapee. The PCs were unable to leave the Upper City by the gates because they were closed due to the explosion. So, they took the Undercellars and came out in the Lower City at the scene of the riot. The murder hobo PC actually tried to attack Ulder Ravengard; in the ensuing confrontation, two PCs were arrested and brought to the Seatower of Balduran.The murder hobo killed all the prisoners in the same cell using his bare hands and some cleverness; when the guards put women and children prisoners in the cell, he did the same with them. After that, the guards left him alone for the time being.

The PCs managed to cut short the executions. They went to the Feast of the Moon celebration, and discovered that their murder hobo companion had become the Chosen of Bhaal. On an unseen signal, cultists of Bhaal who had infiltrated the celebration started killing people and the PC tried to kill Ulder Ravengard. He was unsuccessful, but managed to escape.

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As time went by, it became clear to me that the murder hobo PC was a far better candidate for Chosen of Bhaal than the faction leaders, just because of his sheer joy in bloodletting. It was frankly disturbing to DM, but it really fit with the scenario. Also, I'm pretty sure that having a PC turn is more memoriable to the players than just having their characters kill one of the faction leaders. I'll be happy to move on to Legacy of the Crystal Shard -- it's going to have more action and fewer morally-ambiguous choices.

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