Tonight: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief

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Tonight, I am running the first session of the updated "Steading of the Hill Giant Chief" online on Roll20. It's been a while since I've run a module. This one is location-based so it meets my standard for design in that regard and my players are eager to stomp some giants. So Carl Lagerbelly, Cornelius Ruger, Varis, Definitely Not Thor, and a ranger of some kind are going into the steading tonight to relive a module most of us have played already in the 80s. I expect a healthy dose of nostalgia and hilarity to overcome my concerns about the adventure from a design perspective.

I'm wondering if anyone reading this post has run or played in the adventure and what their experience was.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Played in the LFR ADAP of the adventure, and it was definitely good fun.  Lots of potential for different routes and different adventures depending on the group.  One or two ways to short circuit matters if you go the right way.  Generally great fun.  As with the previous adventure though, you do have to stretch disbelief just a little as to the audibility of fights that are happening just around corners from people...
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Good to know, thanks. I did notice the bit about giants not hearing what's going on in the next room. It's discussed in the module itself in a way that I kind of have to shrug at. I think I'm just going to ask the players if they think they were overheard. If they're having an easy time of a fight, I bet they tell me they were overheard and to bring it on.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Good to know, thanks. I did notice the bit about giants not hearing what's going on in the next room. It's discussed in the module itself in a way that I kind of have to shrug at. I think I'm just going to ask the players if they think they were overheard. If they're having an easy time of a fight, I bet they tell me they were overheard and to bring it on.

Does the "steading" have to have the specific layout from the module? I had the same issue with Trollhaunt Warrens (another trope of D&D, alas), so I decided that the map is just a rough schematic and that the "actual" warrens were a winding maze of cracks, tunnels and grottos. Even if another group of monsters heard the PCs in conflict, they might not know where it was coming from and might not arrive there in time.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Does the "steading" have to have the specific layout from the module? I had the same issue with Trollhaunt Warrens (another trope of D&D, alas), so I decided that the map is just a rough schematic and that the "actual" warrens were a winding maze of cracks, tunnels and grottos. Even if another group of monsters heard the PCs in conflict, they might not know where it was coming from and might not arrive there in time.



Yes, it's a location-based adventure, two levels - the steading level and the dungeon. I loaded the maps into Roll20, threw on the fog of war, and put some cool images of rooftops on the buildings that can be moved as we need zoom in on what's going on inside. Things will be revealed as the PCs wander in.

I do what you mention for delve-style adventures or locations that are bigger (say, Island of the Frog). For this type, I think it works well to have it all concretely defined.

I've upped the drama a bit by adding some relationships between the giants and alternate motivations, like how Chief Nosnra's wife Morzhul is "gettin' with" one of the hill giant avalanchers, Slung. (Slung is a caring and generous lover, you see.) This makes it a bit less linear than designed. So we'll see how the PCs use that sort of thing to accomplish their goals tonight.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Slung?! How could he?  After everything Nosnra has done for him.  *headshake*
Slung?! How could he?  After everything Nosnra has done for him.  *headshake*



Seriously. There is no honor and loyalty among these louts. Knowing my group though, they'll probably think Slung a hero and install him as the new chieftain once they've pacified the hardliners.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

A surprising amount of people PMed me to ask how this went on Thursday. I generally don't like getting into the specifics of our games because who wants to be that guy in the comic book store who corners you and tells you the excrutiating details of his [game/character/diabetes]? Anyway, the short version:

Show
A good Session Zero and bond rap got us all on the same page prior to play. The characters have varying reasons for hating giants while trusting each other. My regular group has this bit down cold. The group consists of a dwarf fighter, human barbarian|cleric, elf ranger, human artificer|warlord, and an elf druid.

The group settled upon a sniping approach to make their way into the steading. So I threw together an impromptu skill challenge that had the characters approaching the steading to get the perfect shot. Success meant taking out the two giant guards in the watchtower in one shot (Area 1); failure meant one died and the alarm was raised. Everyone got involved in the scene and it was fun. They succeeded, taking out the watchtower guards, then going through the main gate to take out the other drunken ogres and giants.

From there, they entered the "guest quarters" of the steading (Area 4) in which a number of ogres and a couple of stone giants were sleeping one off. More stealthiness and such meant these guys didn't put up much of a fight.

Finally, they entered the kitchen (Area 5) and massacred the ogre, hill giant, and orc service staff. We paused there for the night. Good planning backed by rolls, good teamwork and tactics, and the generally simple encounters in the areas they chose to explore meant the PCs had an easy time of it. Perhaps this week will be a bit tougher as they go into more active areas of the steading.

I think the opening scene for the session will be a giant entering to demand why his jalapeno poppers are taking so long to come out. Complications ensue.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

A surprising amount of people PMed me to ask how this went on Thursday. I generally don't like getting into the specifics of our games because who wants to be that guy in the comic book store who corners you and tells you the excrutiating details of his [game/character/diabetes]? Anyway, the short version:

Show
A good Session Zero and bond rap got us all on the same page prior to play. The characters have varying reasons for hating giants while trusting each other. My regular group has this bit down cold. The group consists of a dwarf fighter, human barbarian|cleric, elf ranger, human artificer|warlord, and an elf druid.

The group settled upon a sniping approach to make their way into the steading. So I threw together an impromptu skill challenge that had the characters approaching the steading to get the perfect shot. Success meant taking out the two giant guards in the watchtower in one shot (Area 1); failure meant one died and the alarm was raised. Everyone got involved in the scene and it was fun. They succeeded, taking out the watchtower guards, then going through the main gate to take out the other drunken ogres and giants.

From there, they entered the "guest quarters" of the steading (Area 4) in which a number of ogres and a couple of stone giants were sleeping one off. More stealthiness and such meant these guys didn't put up much of a fight.

Finally, they entered the kitchen (Area 5) and massacred the ogre, hill giant, and orc service staff. We paused there for the night. Good planning backed by rolls, good teamwork and tactics, and the generally simple encounters in the areas they chose to explore meant the PCs had an easy time of it. Perhaps this week will be a bit tougher as they go into more active areas of the steading.

I think the opening scene for the session will be a giant entering to demand why his jalapeno poppers are taking so long to come out. Complications ensue.

I ran a variant of the Chris Perkins re-fit, using the maps of the 3.5 archive (beautiful reproductions of the Original Set).  Lots of Hill Giant Minions in the Great Hall!.


I'd love to see your Roll20 version (on my to do list)  

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

I ran a variant of the Chris Perkins re-fit, using the maps of the 3.5 archive (beautiful reproductions of the Original Set).  Lots of Hill Giant Minions in the Great Hall!.

I'd love to see your Roll20 version (on my to do list)  



I should note that I'm running the updated module by Chris Perkins for 4e. That probably wasn't clear in the first post. It was easy to download the maps and import them to Roll20.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith