Season 9 info?

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any on able to message me Chris Tulach e-mail address please
As all my players have created their pc's ready for the new season of Encounters I have come up with the following "intro" for session 0 - feel free to use it if you wish.

homepage.ntlworld.com/evildm/Session0int...

"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/

The final session for this season did have an XP reward listed, on page 49, under "Reward." They get 300 XP for the session, totalling 3750 XP for the season.



N.B.: Page 49 is for Session 11. There is no XP award, or even "Reward" section, for Session 13 (pages 56-59).

I totalled up the maximum XP possible for all the other sessions in Web of the Spider Queen and it came to 3,580 (if I added correctly). So, even if the final session is only 250 XP, it should still be enough. I was just surprised that it wasn't included.



I got 3450 as the base total XP, exactly 250 short of 4th Level; however there is a total of 400 optional XP available for specific actions/outcomes from sessions 1, 8, 9, 10, and 11, so consistent and crafty players have a good chance of hitting 4th at the end of Session 12.

I have a couple of questions for other DMs for this adventure; is this an appropriate place to post them? They pertain to the pronunciation of a few names, and a question about backgrounds for Session Zero.

I'll put my questions in spoiler blocks, intended for DMs only. If this is inappropriate and I should just remove this information entirely, just let me know.
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-How do you pronounce Jaelre? Like "jailer"? Should the J be pronounced as a Y? Should it be "jail-ree" or "yale-ree" or something like that?

-How do you pronounce Valan? I'm thinking a short A sound, first syllable emphasized (VAL-un). I could also see an argument for a long A sound (VALE-un). Or even emphasis on the second syllable (val-AHN).

-I'm confused about what the characters should know during character creation. On page 6 it says that they should know about the adventure background up to but not including the Jaelre Drow section. Okay, so they don't know about the Jaelre Drow... but then in the background descriptions on page 7, both the Myth Drannor and Deep Wastes backgrounds mention the Jaelre Drow, and Deep Wastes actually has the player answer questions about their character's knowledge of Valan Jaelre himself?


Thanks for your help!
You can find my blog at http://onlinedungeonmaster.com
any on able to message me Chris Tulach e-mail address please



Seconded. I've still not received a reply to my forum inbox here.

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.

@Online DM

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I don't have a solid answer to the pronunciations. A thread at Enworld seems to come to a consensus that Jaelre is pronounced JAIL-reh. Valan is commonly pronounced VAL-in.

As for the backgrounds, I interperetted it as every character regardless of theme or background knows the information in Adventure Background, and you can let them know that much. Then, depending on the theme or background they choose for their characters, they will potentially know some additional information about Jaelre Drow, which you can then give to those specific people. I was thinking of doing a write up for each section and handing it out to everyone at Session 0 depending on the background and theme they chose.
I have a couple of questions for other DMs for this adventure; is this an appropriate place to post them? They pertain to the pronunciation of a few names, and a question about backgrounds for Session Zero.


I was actually very surprised that they gave the pronunciation for even one thing in the whole module. The rest would have been nice.

Also, I see that the Character Builder now has the campaign setting for this season, but as with Beyond the Crystal Cave, it doesn't have the three regional backgrounds that the module calls out. So anyone who builds their character using the Character Builder (and considering players get renown points for doing so) will have to modify his character sheet by hand to include the background and benefit.

Why can't Wizards ever get this stuff right? It's a simple thing.
- Rico

I got 3450 as the base total XP, exactly 250 short of 4th Level; however there is a total of 400 optional XP available for specific actions/outcomes from sessions 1, 8, 9, 10, and 11, so consistent and crafty players have a good chance of hitting 4th at the end of Session 12.



3,450 is correct (don't know how I came up with an additional 130 Embarassed). However, just for the record, that is 300 points (not 250) shy of 4th (4th level is 3750 points). So, yes, if they get all of the 400 extra points they'll have enough to reach 4th level by session 13. If they get even some of the extra XP, and the final encounter is worth 250 XP (as I think it is) they'll make it. If they don't get any of the extra XP, they could fall a little short.
- Rico
I have a couple of questions for other DMs for this adventure; is this an appropriate place to post them? They pertain to the pronunciation of a few names, and a question about backgrounds for Session Zero.

Thanks for your help!



Regarding your question about character backgrounds, you're right. Those questions give away too much info right off the bat. It could be complicated, but I'd be tempted to try to reserve those questions, and instead maybe just dole out the information bit by bit to that player at the appropriate time in the adventure. In any case, I would at least hold off on those asking those questions/giving that information until the first actual week (you could always catch the player up on what he should know according to his background). Hopefully, by that point the author will have chimed in with some suggestions.    
     


- Rico
I'll post this when the Season 9 forum becomes available, but if anyone is prepping for tonight and wants player tracker sheets, I've updated mine for the new season.

Edit to add: The one marked "AvatarGames" is the one we use at my local shop. We give renown for a Moment of Mercy (like Greatness, but shows kindness and mercy to others) for kids 15 and under, and we're giving a "tie to last season's character" renown bonus as well. The "General" one does not have those options-- it also doesn't have our shop name and time at the top of the page.
when the Season 9 forum becomes available

I sent a message to WOTC-Trevor asking him to set one up for us.

- Rico
WOTC, please no more 0 sessions. They just don't work the way you seem to think they will. I wanted to introduce the campaign background so my players would have an idea of where this is going before they build their characters. But right off the bat it turns into this loud mess of everyone yelling questions all at once and constant interruptions while you're trying to help one person build a character as others are asking you for help. Forget asking a player the questions in the module. There's no chance to have that kind of quiet discussion. It's bedlam and chaos.

It just doesn't work. Can we please just skip this from now on?
- Rico
I don't think the 0 session is a bad idea, but there needs to be some structure to it.  I would suggest the following:

*the module come with a brief introduction of the module, both in the background leading up to it, and the themes the adventure will revolve around.  For example, I would have said this about Phantom Brigade:

"A new beginning, a fresh start, that's all that you want.  So when you heard that a new town was to be built along a trade route, and anyone willing to help settle it would receive land and money from the kindgom's rulers, you jumped at the chance, and headed for Hammerfast, with the few meager possessions you have on hand.  The Phantom Brigade is a story about legacies, some good, some bad.  The past returns to haunt the present, and your resolve will be greatly tested- the weak of will and faint of heart need not apply."

*a brief questionnaire, to help people flesh out their character.  This is a RPG after all.  Nothing too involved, just enough to get people thinking about their motivations and goals.  Have the questions be multiple choice, and, once done, the DM has a key where he can look at what people answered, and then present the player with a card saying (as an example): "YOU ARE A DEFENDER.  You strive to protect others, often at the sacrifice of your own safety.  You hate bullies, and when others attack your allies, you are quick to retaliate."  The card will suggest a class (Knight or Cavalier), and give a few tips on how to be more effective (what Feats to choose, etc.).

*A quick level one encounter that gets the players into the action, lets them get a feel for what their characters can do, and brings them together as a group.  They can freely use Daily powers or Action points, it's not intended to be a hard fight, just a shakedown for the real encounters down the road.

*Wrapping up, have a quick Q&A if a player feels their character didn't do that well, about how they can tune it for session 1.  Then, cookies!  Sealed         
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks

I agree that the week 0 slot doesn’t work as expected in most FLGS. However, as someone who’s been the DM for almost every game since day 1 of season 1 I welcome the week without a structured encounter. So don’t get rid of week 0, just call them break week and give the regulars a week to recuperate before diving into the next season.

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I actually like the session 0, but it's basically a big party at the shop.

I'm organizer emeritus again this season (I help the coordinator, but am not actually the person doing the work most of the time-- it's his show this time). Yesterday, we had two DMs with laptops who could help with character creation on DDI.

The organizer quickly made up a queue of players who still needed to make characters. We worked one-on-one with each player to make their PCs. When one player was done, we moved onto the next. As we helped each player, we would ask them "well, what do you like doing (class)? Ok, who were you before you were an adventurer (theme/background)?" And so forth.

As we worked, we would make suggestions based on what other players had made "oh, you know if you take this option, it'll go nicely with his character, and I think you'll end up on the same table a lot this season...."

In some cases, we knew there were players who were more familiar with a particular class. When our 12 year old wanted to make a vampire, I called over Dan, who usually plays them, to give her suggestions and pointers on how to play it.

Session 0 does several things for us, and I hope it doesn't go away. First, it gives our organizers an opportunity to make a transition from one person to the next. Second, it gives our DMs a break. DMing is hard work, and if you're usually the one performing that role, it's nice to have a week where you didn't have to pre-prep the adventure.

It also gave the coordinator a chance to talk to the season DMs and give them some information, including logistics about July 4th and how we're going to handle the adventure.

Finally, it puts some flexibiliity into the schedule. If your shop hates Session 0 and is going to be closed on July 4, then you could have run Session 1 last night, and be on the same schedule as everyone else on July 11.

I think if your complaint is that it's chaos and there are too many questions, that's a good indicator that your players have questions that they need to have answered. If there is no dedicated "ask the DM" time, then when can they bring those questions up?

I agree that the week 0 slot doesn’t work as expected in most FLGS. However, as someone who’s been the DM for almost every game since day 1 of season 1 I welcome the week without a structured encounter. So don’t get rid of week 0, just call them break week and give the regulars a week to recuperate before diving into the next season.




Completely agree with the break week. We really need a week off between seasons just to recharge.
- Rico
Hey, since we're still waiting on the Season 9 forum:

Did anyone else get a weird number of fortune cards this season? We got twice as many of the 40-point rewards as the 20-pointers. 
Hey, since we're still waiting on the Season 9 forum:

Did anyone else get a weird number of fortune cards this season? We got twice as many of the 40-point rewards as the 20-pointers. 


Yeah. My coordinator commented on that. Very odd.
- Rico
Is there a World Game Day at GenCon this year?  West Wall is drow themed, but it looks like its chronology wouldn't fit between Web of the Spider Queen and Council of Spiders.  I didn't see anything on the event list that looked like Game Day.

Frankly I don't really buy into the "us 1st level idiots are going to treasure hunt in the Underdark!" motif.  So, I'm injecting them into the story in a different way.

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I avoided the session 0 doldrums by changing up the module.  Since they gave us these Ruby Medallion of Lathander awards, I had them on escort duty to bring the maker of them to the Twisted Tower to meet Elminster.  They each got  a geased Medallion as their reward for the guard duty.  Naturally, the Drow came to carry her off into the night.   I simply used the session 1 encounter and set it as a raid on their camp (using the camp map from Crystal Caves) rather than the tavern.    Now they have a grudge against those bastards who carried off their benefactor.  The Medallions also provide a more plausible mechanism for Elminster to contact them, rather than a Sending from a total stranger epic NPC to some random noob adventurers.  They  will pick up next week at session 2, combined with their own motivation for seeking the Twisted Tower.   I'm not all that worried about synchronization, as I've never had anyone drop in who had been playing encounters elsewhere, but we can resync by skipping July 4th, or I might add an extra encounter with some non humanoid underdark nasties (this season is a little monotonous and monochrome with Drow in nearly every fight) in the middle.


I really like the themes this season. One of my players is running a goblin underdark outcast Cavalier of Pelor.   Hilarious!

Hey, since we're still waiting on the Season 9 forum:

Did anyone else get a weird number of fortune cards this season? We got twice as many of the 40-point rewards as the 20-pointers. 


Well, now I know where our 40-pointers went. (Not kidding; our store got none and had to re-order them, which required the store's owner to spend over half an hour in WotC's phone tree limbo. She was NOT happy.)
We also got more 40s than 20s, which means we'll probably run out of 20s as that's the most often handed out reward.  We don't have a lot of peopel using the Fate cards however. The store stopped ordering the new sets because they can't sell the rest from the old sets. 
We use the Fortune Cards a LOT at my shop, probably because we have attracted a lot of the card gamers, and because we heavily support them in Encounters and our public/LFR games. All the DMs use them when we play (as PCs), which sets an example for the players.

However, since we didn't give out enough cards as rewards, we now have over 100 of previous seasons' cards. We're going to do weekly drawings to give out 1-2 cards per table per week. After 13 weeks, we'll hopefully have given out about 80 cards, which means we'll still have more than 50 left to do drawings in Season 10. 
Here is our store's DDE Web of the Spider Queen info site:
sites.google.com/site/ddeguardiangames/h...

We have adventure background and character creation info.

Thanks,

Bryan Blumklotz
Ex-coordinator of DDE for Guardian Games
Husband of the current coordinator
Here is the character trackers for Season 9: Web of the Spider Queen

S9 Character Tracker - Fixed tracker now in tracker thread in Season 9 forums:

Season_9_Play_Tracker Thread


Bryan Blumklotz
Perithoth, nice work on the tracker, but it is missing the special racial bonuses for Renown. Drow, Dwarf, Goblin, Kobold, Svirfneblin characters get 2 Renown Points, once per season.
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I just realized that at today's session. Sigh.

I will see what I can do about it this weekend.

Bryan Blumklotz
Fixed tracker link in upthread...

Bryan
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