LotCS - Stage 1 Write Up

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Well, the first session of LotCS is in the books! The players had a great time with it and are getting more and more into the role play aspects of the game, which is nice. There were two things I wanted to point out that surprised me. First, this is first session (excluding the game days) that I have used one of the old encounter maps instead of drawing my own on my Chesix map since moving to the new Encounters format, not being able to customize the map really hurt me and I don’t think I will be using pregen maps any more unless it really fits what I had in mind. Second, the players went a completely different way than I was expecting given what the discussions were at the end of the game day, luckily I was prepared for this.

 

We had a rather large table (8 players) last night, including a new addition who says he will be coming back and playing. At times I debate splitting the table up but the group really likes the having a large group, especially since the line-up can rotate and some players might show up so the larger group means that everyone is all on the same story and one group won’t have to change up their story if someone from their table doesn’t show up. I find that one of the draw backs of the new format.

All characters are level 4; most players opt to use their real name, which makes me a sad panda. Meet the team:

  • Drea (my daughter): Orcling (half-orc/halfing with racial bonuses of halfling) Berserker  
  • Rico: Half-orc Barbarian (first time playing with us, used a pregen leveled up to 4 by one of our players)
  • Rob: Dwarf Warrior, prefers axe & board
  • Jason: Dwarf Cleric of War, believes himself to be the chosen of Moradin
  • Derek: Elf (forget the sub-race) Paladin
  • Trevor: High Elf Evocationist
  • Tom: High Elf Cleric of Light
  • Sean:  Dysfunctional Wood Elf Rogue, DEX based rogue that uses a long sword 2-handed on 99% of all attacks
  • Krug: Dim-witted Half-orc Warrior, greatweapon fighting (not in play tonight)
  • Alden Brumblefoot: Lightfoot Halfling Bard (my PC that comes in if needed, not in play tonight)

We picked up right at the end of the Yeti fight, with the group looking around and taking in all the destruction that happened in such a short amount of time. The group still opted to disregard the fuming shop keeper and the condemned barbarian and agreed to escort Helda to the valley which the dwarves have their mines & tunnels. It really threw a curveball at the players though when Helda announced that she would not be leaving for 5 days since she has so wears she wants to sell.

 

With the new allotment of time the group thought it might be best to check out some rumors at one of the taverns while also enjoying a few pints. At this point Rico decided that he would go off and speak with the local hunters since he himself was a hunter to see what other information he could find. After filling the characters in with vague stories based on the information given in the timeline (some being half-truths & whole lies). Asking around, they discovered that there are several variations as to why the barbarian is being left out to die. Those charges varied from something as petty as him just being treated that way because he is a barbarian and the worst being from an outlandish drunkard saying that he rode in on the shoulders a giant yeti and is the cause of the attack. With no real answers the group figured it would be for the best to just go out and ask the barbarian what happened. Rico returned from inquiring the hunters and found out that traps have been coming up empty even though they have been set off. One hunter told him of the location of one his traps and so both barbarians (Rico & Drea) of the party felt it would be best to go check on it and not be in the town that treats their kind (even if not of the same tribe) so harshly.

 

The party approached the prisoner and as they approached the prison readied his self for the worse. However, after not being spit on or ridiculed by the party the prisoner gave them a once over and decided that these people were not of the Dale. Their skin was too unblemished to have seen the winters that the Dale has to offer. After noticing this, the barbarian introduced himself as Hengar, inquired what they were wanting from them. Once the party announced that they were there to seek the truth of why he was there (after hearing all the rumors spread about him) Hengar held nothing back and told him as much as he could recall (memory was starting to get a bit hazy due to being stripped down to plain clothes and being left in the cold) as quick as he could. Seeing no deception in the poor man’s eyes, and night fast approaching, the group thought it wise to speak with the Sheriff.

 

Luckily, the Sheriff wasn’t had to find. Sheriff Markham and the Speaker, Duvessa Shane, were outside the Council Hall discussing the repairs and defenses that need to be put in place due to the yeti attack. Noticing the adventures approaching the Sheriff & Speaker welcomed the group and wanted to thank them for helping defend the town earlier only to be taken back when the group wanted to discuss Hengar more than the yetis. After much discussion the Sheriff & the Speaker could not justify letting Hengar go without evidence but offered to spare his life for 1 night and put him in a small guarded shelter that will keep him alive, although not comfortable, through the night. The party now has 1 day to prove Hengar’s innocence.

 

The change of Hengar’s location prompted the party to question as many people as they could find. Unfortunately, they found no hard evidence one way or another to prove guilt or innocence so the a few members of the party came up with a plan to spring Hengar (who they trust is telling the truth) from his confinements. With the party retiring to the tavern for the night the rogue quietly snuck out and was able to dodge all watching eyes. The rogue daftly worked the lock free and gave Hengar his warm weather cloak and a few other items to keep him warm until he can make it back to his people. Once out of his confinements the rogue placed the lock back on the door. Moving swiftly and silently Hengar was able to escape and run off into the night while the rogue slipped back into the tavern unnoticed. Hengar promised to not forget what the party has done for him.

       

The next morning the party woke up to see faint dark smoke rising not so far off in the distance (well within town from what they can tell). Curious as to what it was, the group thought it would be good for them to eat a quick breakfast and go check things out. Well scarfing down their meals the 2 barbarians of the group came into the tavern to discuss their finding, which was nothing. Although, for bringing back the bit of game that was in the trap they checked the trapper gave them a few coin, a meal and each a lucky rabbits foot, which made the dim-witted Krug jealous. Now with all members present & feed they were off to go check out the smoke.

 

Upon reaching the smoldering pile of rubble the group saw both the Speaker and the Sheriff in deep discussion, neither of which was looking too happy. It seems that the barbarian they had captured (Hengar) somehow escaped during the night and set fire to a ware house while fleeing. Seems how nobody saw him escape and the lock was still in place with no part of the building showing a forced exit the Speaker and the Sheriff came to the conclusion that he must have been one of the shamans of his tribe, and was only toying with them and must have used some sort of magic to get free. It was the only logical explanation for the two. The Sheriff let out a stern warning that if they ever see the barbarian again they will not be merciful. Since only few members of the party knew of the rogue assisting Hengar to freedom Markham & Shane did not suspect the group of anything.

 

After their discussion with the Sheriff & the Speaker they were approached by the owner of the warehouse that burned down. The owner expressed interest in wanting the party to guard his other warehouse tonight (and longer if they remain in town and do a good job). They worked out a deal for a 1 night trial of 10 GP each if the goods in store were safe. Having nothing else they wanted to do the group spent their time shopping for more warm weather gear (the rogue needed a new cloak for some reason) and relaxing in the tavern soaking up stories of the area.

 

With the sun setting and businesses closing the group (minus Krug who feel asleep drinking and Alden who was performing for free room & board) made their way to the warehouse they agreed to protect that night. Each player picked an area to patrol, some chose catwalks some walked the floors while others gambled on top of a few boxes, and only the dwarf warrior daring to brave the cold air outside.

 

The evening started off uneventful. Hours tedious hours passed without as much as a mouse scurrying. However, the silence would not last though the night. As the party started to get drowsy from doing nothing is when the intruders struck. Fast and quiet they came in through the door and windows. The dwarf that patrolled outside found 1 burglar that was standing watch as he turned a corner while others climbed in a window. With a clang of spear on shield the battle was on!

 

The first group of burglars that made their way into the building weren’t surprised that it was guarded, especially after the fire that was lit the night prior. Without hesitation they charged the first visible PC within reach. Hammers & Javelins flew while a single archer rained arrows. Spells were cast and axes swung. Limbs and lives were lost (only the lives of the burglars though). And with all the commotion going on the group didn’t notice that a second group of burglars made their way into the building and started inspecting containers.  The party was much more conservative (minus the cleric of war) with their resources. The Cleric of Light swore he heard some sort of whisper as he downed a foe with his new staff (see Weapon of Faith in my 2nd post for more information) but could not make out what it was and is chalking it up to the wind.

 

As the fight progressed the dwarf fighter was able to take down his target and make his way into the building just in time to see a rather ugly hobgoblin opening a box. As the hobgoblin lifted the lid a magic mouth alarm went off stating that “Warning! Warning! This box has been molested” (which made for a great moment of laughter that included our dwarf fighter having coke almost come out his nose). This brought the attention of the party around to notice that there were other burglars in the building that were looting. With a grin the hobgoblin started pulling weapons out and putting them into a rather small sack and make and attempt to get to the door. The dwarf attempted to use his Hook-shot (see my 2nd post in the thread if you want info on it) to grab the bag, only to have it rip open and the contents spill out.

 

With his bag destroyed, and the fight turning south and attention rapidly growing on him specifically the hobgoblin dropped a flashbang that stunned the nearby party members long enough so that he could get away. With a few more well-placed swings the party ended the threat. Unfortunately, the party did not leave any survivors for questioning (they attempted to but a perfect javelin throw at the end by one of the barbarians quickly ended that idea). A quick search of the dead didn’t bring up any clues and most of the gear they were using was mundane. However, 1 burglar did happen to have an unusual trinket of a wolf head and looks to be carved out of something similar to obsidian but is not obsidian as confirmed by the dwarves. The party investigated the item and it seems to have no magical properties and they were unsuccessful at identifying the material which it is made from.

 

Having the bodies looted and dawn fast approaching the group thought it wise to clean up the place. While moving the dropped weapons back to the container the dwarf fighter noticed that the weapons were silvered. Not an uncommon practice but seems a bit out of place for a place like the Dale. The weapons normally fetch a fair price in towns that don’t require such laborious shipping methods so he could not guess what they would go for here but assumes it is a pretty penny.

 

Dawn comes, as does the owner of the owner of the warehouse to see how if he still has a business or not. The party fills him in on what happened over the night and since they had to thwart such a strong attempt on his goods the group demanded better payment, they wanted silver weapons. However, the weapons were not his to give. With 8 people making threats and persuasive arguments the he finally agreed to allow the party choice of 2 1handed weapons, and no more. This was going to cast the business man a good amount of money but he figured he could talk the owner of the crate into less than market value. With discussions at a close and the party selecting an axe and a hammer I closed the session.

 

Thoughts: I really am enjoying that my group is getting more and more into RPing. They were able to hit on all 3 stories and I am intrigued to see which way they will choose to go in the end (although I fear the work it will place on me ). I felt the combat went smooth, even when it was 8 on 8 at the end. I think I will still need to adjust the AC of my baddies some more, the + to hit that my PCs have already at this point is crazy. The paladin using his resources is able to have a +9 to hit already (group opted to roll for stats, all rolls were legit and at the table). The hit points were well adjusted and the only time a NPC went down quickly was when the PCs ganged up on them, while my damage also seemed to be pretty spot on as well (at least for what I expect combat to be).  I think that the damage on a miss with greatweapon fighting is cheesy, but explained it as the hit being so strong that even though the target parried the attack they still took some shock/force damage.

Hope you enjoyed my story and I will try to post the groups story each week. If DMs feel like giving feedback please do, I am still new to DMing so tips are always welcome. Also, the group agreed and we will be playing next Wednesday.

 

 

Is my store doing it wrong? We took last night as character creation night, no gameplay. My store didn't get the Launch weekend packs either.

I was quite surprised, there were 6 people there wanting to make characters t play and I announced I was going to run the adventure (a 1st time DM) using the newest Next ruels. Everyone was cool with it even though only 2 of them had any idea at all what Next was, and neither of them had actually read the newest test pack.

4 players rolled characters without too much difficulty, I think maybe they had been too reliant on the 4e character creator because simple terms that had been in the game for ever seemed to confuse them. ex; "What's a hit die?"

2 players (the 2 who were semi familiar with Next) said they would download the pack and roll characters at home.

Plus I have potentially 2 more players coming next week.

If I end up with 8 players in my 1st ever attemt at DMing I may kinda lose it haha.

There are a couple players who have experience DMing but I don't think any have really prepared to do so, though at least 1 did offer the store owner to be a backup if needed.

What we ended up with;

Human Paladin

Human Fighter

Elf Illusionist

Elf Bard

Of the 2 who said they would roll at home; 1 player said hed make either a Monk or a Rogue, Human. The other had no idea what he was going to make.

The 2 who are potentially coming are planning a Barbarian & Mage or Druid. I'm going to try & push for Druid so the party isn't relying on the Paladin as sole healer.

Only thing your store did wrong is the game day stuff, however it is optional and you can either download and run it or just fill the characters in on what happened (info is in the packet). Everything else is fine. Normally there is a zero week in there to build your characters however since all my players were continuing their characters we just decided to say screw the zero week and get moving, especially with the holidays coming up. Not having the zero week will buy us a week during the holiday (there is a post about this in the 15th encounter season forum). We were surprised to get a new player last night and he arrived early enough and was fimilar with D&D rules (not next though) so he was able to adjust on the fly.

 

The one thing I would suggest is that if you are not using point buy or the array set up to have the players roll their stats at the store with everyone there. It sucks for people to smudge/lie about numbers and make a characters with ridiculous stats. If I could go back in time I would have had everyone use point buy and not be able to go above 16 unless they had a racial that allowed for it.

Unfortunately due to illness on my side and work commitments on Liam's we had to call last nights session off so we wont be starting the actual adventure till next week :-(

"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!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

My store did 0 week this week as well. We didn't do the launch event. I'm just going to work it into the normal sessions.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

Interesting first week! My group is playing tomorrow night (on the edge of a real life cold front too!), so I warned them all that Winter is coming....(cue ominous music). Anyway, my party is leaning more towards talking to Slim the first night, so we'll see if they walk right past the pleading barbarian in the center of town on the way to Northlook from Kelvin's Comfort. They've already signed on with the dwarf Helda, but as you mentioned...she's not ready and has to sell her wares first. Anyway, wish us luck!

Where can I find that download?
We used this week for character creation and a yeti attack that I patched together from recaps of the Launch weekend and the bestiary. My store did not have the adventure until just before I ran so we ended immedately after the fight. I am glad I get to read your recaps before I run. I may have to use your alarmed box idea, if my group takes that mission. I was wondering how others are doing pacing. I plan on taking the next four weeks for Act 1 and doing the intermission after the x-mas/new years break. Then three weeks for Act 2 and two weeks for Act 3. All plans are subject to change, depending on tomorrow night's weather in Philadelphia. There is so much to keep track of this season.

Ok so technically this was week 2(?) but since 1st week was just character creation this was the first gameplay week.

First off, again, this is the first time I've ever DMed anything.

We had 7 players, I was pretty overwhelemed/intimidated but I guess it went ok.

Here's the party;

Kor - Human Paladin

Muscles - Human Fighter

Marice - Human Barbarian

Nalden - Dwarf WarPriest

Kromlech - Dwarf Druid

Ko'Dal - High Elf Bard

Kayla - High Elf Mage

Last week I had worked with some of the group on creating their characters and giving them the quick run down on next rules. I didn't get deep into their backgrounds though. I had decided to do the yeti attack from the launch weekend, which seemed like quite a short thing for an entire session. I gave the players a couple options of why they were on the caravan to Ten Towns but none seemed to care so we just went with "you're going there".

Since nobody but me had any experience with Next I wasn't sure how the encounter would go so initially I only sent in 2 young yetis instead of the 4 listed in the encounter sheet. The first character scored a hit and instant kill, so I quickly sent in the next 2. I waited til they dispatched all 4 (again quite quickly) and sent in the adult yeti. They killed it off easily as well. I know I could have just kept sending waves of yetis in but that seemed kinda lame so we just went on to The Aftermath encounter.

I introduced "The Dwarf Merchant" & "the Hysterical Apothecary" hooks. The party was interested in both but the Dwarf arc had some time so they followed up on the Apothecary. They actually jumped the gun and went to the Northlook without Rierdon. Having such a large group they split up with half going to meet Slim and the other half drinking and gathering info in the inn.

Again I shortcut the mobs in the room, since there were just 4 players I put 4 mobs. I actually wasn't prepared to run this encounter and only went into it since it was still early. I misread the stat sheets and put Thugs in place of Human Warriors (though really that makes more sense) but really the stats aren't too different. Marice single-handedly slaughtered the thugs while Kor & Kromlech directly confronted Slim, Ko'Dal had gone up to the room but after rolling 1 on Initiative decided to use his turn to go get the rest of the group. I forgot to use the Disengage rule and they almost captured Slim, however on his next turn i used it correctly and got him out the window. The druid & fighter both failed Dex rolls to get out the window and Slim escaped.

One thing I found confusing?troubling was there is nothing written on how to handle the situation after this combat encounter. I mean your party has just killed several people at an Inn. My group decided to go ahead and report what happened and I allowed that the guards accepted their story but warned them not to leave town.

We ended there since it was about 9pm.

I didnt get to work in the imprisoned barbarian arc or the warehouse fire. I think next week I will do a quick you see this fire but can't really do anything and then have them sleep and the next day do the barbarian. That should give them plenty of leads to chase down.

I know I screwed up a few things, forgetting/ignoring the yetis grapple attacks, forgetting Auril's name when I had an NPC mention the Ice Goddess, as stated the wrong mobs in the Slim encounter as well as the Disengage goof & the "ok gimme a few minutes to get these stats together" unpreparedness. But everyone seemed to enjoy it and I talked to a couple players that told me it went well.

I did notice that if both the combat encounters had been completed as written my group would be lv2 already, that seems rather quick in an adventure that's only supposed to go to lv3.

 

Here is my Week 1 write up: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10mIgI4jo_sGDI8qivXQoKw3wRfwXIYfKyC_1xtuej0Q/edit?usp=sharing

 

Technically it's Week 0 the Yeti fight I guess

 

 

BTW there was evidence- the person who accused him of the crime can't keep her story straight. Though I am glad to see he got away!

 

And don't forget to introduce Auril early! Maybe make a refrence like "Ah.. Auril is not doing us any favors!" 

I ran the Launch Weekend event, so my Week 1 consisted of the group investigating Slim for the Apothecary. As the session progressed, I had a ton of late arrivals and my second co-DM was unprepared to run. I ended up with a table of 11 players (!) and another table of 5.

To keep things interesting for the large party, I had more thugs show up from outside as the fight went on. Because of the sheer number of players, Slim was unable to get away secretly, so they know his secret. Even though D&D Next (which we're using) lets me run combat much faster than 4E, with all the late arrivals all we had time for was the fight and then searching the room afterwards.

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