Session 1 Field Report

8 posts / 0 new
Last post

Field report for D&D Encounters: Web of the Spider Queen (Week 1) now available at Dungeon's Master.com. Check out our D&D Encounters Archive for weekly write-ups, actual play podcasts and new pre-generated characters.


A disjoined party of six Drow adventurers had quite a difficult time as they battled the attacking Drow forces of Lloth. There was chaos everywhere!

Visit Dungeon's Master.com – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
http://dungeonsmaster.com
Follow me on Twitter @ameron_dm

My party started the adventure low on healing surges....

Show
I started them with "you've been working in a caravan, and there was trouble on the road...." They arrived in Shadowdale with 4 fewer surges than usual, tired and road-weary. I hinted at sabotage on the road, but didn't give further information to the PCs about it.

This was the incentive to remind them to eventually go to sleep so the encounter could begin.

But first, they role-played in the inn. There was the attempted seduction of Khara. The blunt "you have an offensive odor and should bathe" to Old Dogsbreath. The shenanigans talking to Ghessla. And the drinking-- dear lord, the drinking. Multiple "Shadowdale Surprise" drinks were had, and one player burned a Fortune Card so he could make his saving throw and not get the full hallucinagenic effect of a Shadowdale Surprise.

They skirted the edges of morality, stepping well over the line several times.

I expect nothing less. They are, after all, the Magnificent Bastards. They're crude, rude, and frankly, kind of evil. I have plans for them this season... not very nice plans.

Anyway, they eventually went to bed, and the encounter began. I was nice. I let them have the benefit of an extended rest before the encounter started.

I ran the encounter "straight" without leveling anything up or adding bad guys or anything. I gave an immediate reward to one of the players for pushing a drow scout into the hatch, even though she didn't take much falling damage. I let one PC attack hit that should have missed, and I used the cloud of darkness liberally to confound the party members.

I also spread the damage around a lot more than I'd intended, resulting in a near-dead berserker and several other bloodied PCs. With 4 more encounters to go, I'm quite convinced they will be out of healing surges by the end of this chapter.

After defeating the drow, one of the players wanted to commit an act which I won't permit at my table. This is a game, and even the DM has the right to have fun. **** has no place in my sense of fun. It always tells me something about the player when this is something they think is acceptable in the game. That character started out the evening with an "Unaligned" alignment. I have informed him that he's now evil. It has no particular bearing on the adventure, of course, but it makes me feel better having the true nature of these Bastards clearly identified. He's also playing a blackguard, so honestly, I don't have a problem with him being evil, and I acknowledge that them starting out as the Magnificent Bastards may have given them the impression that "anything goes" at their table. I just have a problem with **** in general, and particular in what is supposed to be a heroic game.

This is not the first time this has come up, actually. In the Neverwinter adventure, first session had an attempted **** as well, at my table, while I was DMing, and again, I flat-out said no. I wonder if this is a "female DM" thing or if my male players just don't "get it." In any case, at least the boundary is out there now. If they keep running into it, I have no problem telling them to cut it out or leave.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, these are all grown men, in their late 20's. Not 13 year old boys who don't know any better.

And Elminster spoke to the PC whose player hates that NPC almost as much as I do. Won't talk too much about how that's going to roll out-- one of my players is on the boards.
"Keep running into it?" It's public play. I'm fairly certain that deserves a one-warning-and-then-gone policy. At the very least, just to preserve the store's reputation that they don't entertain gamers like that.

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.

Yeah, it's a little different, in this case. These are long-time players who've been with Encounters and our D&D games for a while. It's a table of power-gaming that I specifically committed to running this season for the main purpose of jerking them around and making them cry like little girls.

Unlike most Encounters tables, we won't put new players at this table, and I am free to slaughter every one of their characters without mercy.

We play on the table at the back of the shop, furthest from the kid tables. Should we ever need to place a new player on the table, then it's "guys, we are a normal table for this week" and they know to behave.

Anyone who's ever played an evil-PC campaign knows the short-term appeal. I just... personally, have a line that needs to be respected. There are so many other wickedly awful things they can do, instead. 
Unlike most Encounters tables, we won't put new players at this table, and I am free to slaughter every one of their characters without mercy.



Are you sure you're not running the Lair Assault mod by mistake?

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.

Yep. Just the Lair Assault players....

(Continuing from last season we have two groups ran back to back on wednesday evenings for this season of Encounters. Both groups played through my intro encounter in session 0 and a number of the group 2 players had played the Sun Never Rises adventure at the Drowathon)




Cast of players and their characters for session 1:-



  • Chris Night, playing Dwarf Knight

  • Tom Wright, playing Dwarf Sentinal

  • Bryce Palmer, playing Human Mage

  • Glenn Waters, playing Eladrin Thief


 Our heroes arrived in Shadowdale at dusk, having been sent by Her Radiance from the temple in Daggerdale to alert them to the drow threat. They encountered a small patrol of drow in one of the many abandoned shrines enroute and made short work of them.


Taking a table in the Old Skull Inn they quench their thirsts as they listen to the bravado of a pair of dwarven “adventurers” before retiring to their room above.



When the drow attack from the cellar the heroes rush to aid Ghessla Silvermane and the patrons, the invaders try to disorient the party with their clouds of darkness.


When the drow attack from the cellar the heroes rush to aid Ghessla Silvermane and the patrons, the invaders try to disorient the party with their clouds of darkness.



As the party gain the upperhand the eladrin thief fey-steps outside to outflank the drow, realising that the whole town is under attack as militia, townsfolk and more drow rush about the towns darkened streets.


The remaining drow soon fall to the heroes assault and as the patrons thank them for the timely rescue the mage hears an old mans voice in his head “This is Elminster…”


Cast of players and their characters for session 2:-



  • Tilly Calow, playing Drow Hunter

  • Matt Mawdsley, playing Dwarf Knight

  • Simon Hunter, playing Human Mage

  • Phill Norman, playing Elf Thief

  • John Gray, playing Drow Hexblade


When the second group interacted with the Inn’s patrons they paid particular attention to Old Dogsbreath’s tales of seeing drow near the Twisted Tower and immediately went to investigate. A brief discussion with the guards showed that they all thought Dogsbreath nothing more than a drunken old fool. The heroes returned to the Inn and their upstairs room.



When the Drow attacked the first of the heroes to descend to the taproom were the two drow, as the invaders realised they werent allies they began to attack the hostages, dropping Ghessla and Dogsbreath before the heroes could intervene.



As reinforcements swell their ranks, the drow use their innate powers to create clouds of darkness and hand-crossbows to poison the heroes. Despite his natural resistance, the Dwarf knight struggled to shrug off the insidious venom.



After coming under fire from the drow armed with the large crossbow, Belgos decides to show him how a real archer does it. Blasting him with his eerily accurate longbow and knocking the bloodied invader off his feet.



The heroes take the last of the invaders down, unfortunately they weren’t able to save everyone as Old Dogsbreath (the town drunk) lays dead in his favourite chair. (Not sure, but I’d say being deceased actually improved his odour!)



"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/

I just... personally, have a line that needs to be respected. There are so many other wickedly awful things they can do, instead. 


Absolutely. I'm sorry to hear about it. It isn't ok. It sounds like you have control of the situation, but I do agree that you should be clear about any ground rules you need to feel good about the game. In this case, it is a ground rule that shouldn't even need to be explained.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Sign In to post comments