Friday, August 17, 2012, 12:08 AM
The PC's battled the Children of the Light (a xenophobic organization that uses a double lightning bolt symbol on a white field) encampment outside of the town of Angler. It was very much an endurance test as wave after wave of low level npcs crashed into them. One PC died in the fight and most of the captured treasure went to purchasing a True Resurrection for him. The rest of the party stayed on its feet and saved the town and the captives that the Children of the Light had taken from them.
After selling weapons and armor to the townspeople of Angler (providing a baseline armament for the newly-established town guards) and resurrecting their companion, the PC's headed NE looking for the goblin vanguard they had been asked to take out. Instead of finding the goblins, the PC's bumped into a warforged wargame. The party members were mistaken for participants and a battle ensued. The PC's easily defeated the warforged thanks to some well-timed intimidate checks. This warforged encounter was run by one of my players and he seemed to have a lot fo fun doing it. Though, I did have to remind him to describe the enemy and what the warforged were doing. After that encounter the two scouting-type characters went MIA for a few minutes as the two players left to get food and redbull. The rest of the players decided to continue and the missing characters were deemed to be off 'hunting', something they regularly do.
B/c the scouting types were temporarily MIA, the party literally stumbled onto the goblin encampment they were seeking by encountering a patrol. The goblin patrol did even worse than the PC's for spot and listen checks and the party was able to ambush and eliminate them. At this point the scouting-type PC's rejoined the party and they set up an ambush at a geographic choke-point which the goblin vanguard stumbled right into.
The party dropped one hundred regular goblins, two hogoblins, and a barghest easily. They utilized formation fighting, area and line spells, terrain features, and superior mobility. Not even one PC dropped against the 103 opponents. The party then looted the goblin camp and encountered a Wartroll named 'Greenie' who had found the party healer Freud, a spirit shaman, wandering in the woods and was attempting to return him to his friends. The PC's were happy to see their healer and he quickly utilized his spells to get everyones' HP back to full. The Wartroll left peacefully. The PC's found a scroll in the goblin camp of orders from the Black Dragon Queen to the Barghest detailing her plans for the campaign against the humans.
After they translated the scroll, the PC's decided to march into the night to try to get back to the city of Rheklor as quickly as possible to warn the Bastard Prince (who they are working for) of the goblin horde movements and the Black Dragon Queen's battle plans.
On their way to Rheklor, the PC's were ambushed by shadow spiders, the drow vampire they had encountered before, and a group of eight other drow. The party dropped the vampire, the spiders, and five of the drow. The spirit shaman finished off the vampire after it went gaseous with 21 damage from his class ability. The two drow casters escaped into the dark woodlands by making themselves invisible; while the PC's captured a drow assassin. During the fight, one of the PC's was paralyzed by the assassin and four party members were level-drained by the vampire. The party carried their paralyzed companion and their captive on through the next day until they arrived at Rheklor. The next session will start in the city with the PC's seeking level restoration and to warn the Bastard Prince about the Black Dragon Queen's plans for her goblin hordes.
Overall the session went well, though it was heavily combat-oriented. This next session should have a bit more roleplay and intrigue elements. I plan to introduce the assassination of the mayor of Rheklor sub-plot b/c that is one of the encounters that a player prepared to run and it works well with the party level. I may also do a lead-in to another player-prepared scenario by mentioning a ruined mage tower as a possible source of magic items. If the PC's decide to follow that up it will allow me to give them some treasure that they really want and get another of my DM training scenarios incorporated into the campaign.
On an unhappy sidenote, I had to ask one of my players to leave the current campaign. His play-style was clashing badly with the other PC's (he chose to be evil in a good-aligned party and kept doing things like murdering children, torturing prisoners, etc) and he was regularly insulting to the other players and kept trying to cheat by misusing spells. Doing things like casting them on illegal targets, trying to have them affect far larger areas than the spell allowed, and generally just being rude. After his repeated offenses and continued warnings on my part, I wrote him an email the day following the session telling him to find another game.
Thursday, August 9, 2012, 10:39 PM
The session this week went well. One of my players ran her first encounter at a monastery and a combat with goblins who assaulted it. The PC's won handily against 40 goblins, 5 hobgoblins, and 1 bugbear. The shifter killed 4 of the goblins via bite attack, and he and the party ranger intimidated several of the regular goblins who ran in terror. They named themselves the Green Vanguard b/c the town of Rheklor asked how the PC's wanted to be referenced in local law (they are now allowed to carry bladed weapons in the town).
A lot of buying and selling of captured weapons and armor to the human resistance went on and the players looked like they were having fun negotiating with the various shopkeepers. They bumped into a 'Red Wizard' plot hook by learning that the smith was a Fireblood dwarf who had dyed his beard to disguise his racial subtype. The PC's warned the smith that his race was in danger, and he explained that he knew, thus the disguise.
A few gather information checks informed the PC's of a possible assassination plot that for the moment they decided to ignore (they hate the target of the plot).
The players also saw the most powerful allied wizard in the region depart the area after naming one of the PC's his 'apprentice'.
After the merchantile adventures, the PC's met with the leaders of the human resistance and picked up a mission to fight off a goblin advance guard, but before they got to that task, disaster struck!
The party learned about a xenophobic cult that had gained control of their home town and quickly blazed a trail back to save the day. The had a difficult encounter b/c the cult was pretty heavily anti-arcane caster and used a couple divine feats to gain DR 5/- for the duration of the fight. Dragging the fight on in that way made the PC's sweat a little b/c they were not sure how the cultists were still on their feet. In the end the PC's won without any character deaths, though one did drop for 1 round of combat before the spirit shaman picked him back up.
Overall we got in a couple hours of roleplaying and a couple hours of combat and each character got a chance to shine. The party gnome/sorceror even got to save his sister from the cultists. Their other victims were neighbors of the PC's growing up and the party got there in time to rescue everyone.
Next week I am looking forward to cultist fight part two, b/c the cult has a camp outside of the village to deal with. After that the PC's have the goblin advance guard to wipe out. Then they will probably head back to Rheklor to pick up supplies and maybe a new job for the human resistance. The players seem really engaged by the struggle to free their homeland from the Black Dragon Queen and her 'eyeless' and goblinoid hordes.
I need to remember to make a point of ambushing the PC's with the drow they know are on their trail b/c they have not dealt with the nine or ten remaining ones in any way. And the drow want to rob most of them and eat the warforged for their starmetal bodies. So next session should have a fair amount of combat.
Friday, August 3, 2012, 11:13 PM
I basically assigned homework to my D&D players and suprisingly... they LOVED it. Eleven players are each writing 1 ECL 6 and 1 ECL 12 adventure that I am working into the campaign (aiming to play to level 35 party is currently level 3). We have gamed together for a number of years (nearly a decade in a couple cases).
I have been bombarded with enthusiastic calls about how to scale the adventures, plot hooks, where to find stat blocks, maps etc. The notion is to give every player in the group a chance to DM two short adventures that they wrote while their character sits that part of the session out. Each adventure should last around 2hrs of game time and we usually play 4-6hrs.
This is giving each member of the group some design control over the setting and they are submitting paper copies of their adventures for me to check through and approve in advance (to avoid things like x10 treasure or CR15 vs level 3 party lol). Submitting the adventures in advance should also help me lead into the adventures with plot hooks. I pointed out Weapons of Legacy as a good starting point for short adventure ideas if they wanted some examples.
So far I know one player wants to introduce a regional assassin guild and have her two adventures focus around them. The 1st adventure will focus around the assassins plotting to take out a corrupt politician and the PC's will have to decide whether to assist the assassins or protect the politician. Her second adventure will be more of a regicide attempt. Should add a fun plot element as the PC's are good guys who don't like the local rulers much.
Another player is prepping a monastery that is attacked by goblinoids. Which is perfect b/c the PC's ended last session on the way to a monastery on the outskirts of an unwalled town that is in danger of a goblinoid attack. They are looking for a healer. Her adventure will happen immediately after the healer fixs up the two PC's that were damaged by a vampire beyond the party's ability to heal themselves at this level. Her second adventure will be tied to the first having something to do with the PC's encountering the 'master' of the monastery at higher level.
I am looking forward to seeing what the other nine players come up with for their adventures. I think someone said something about a cathouse and another was thinking about tavern encounters.
Friday, August 3, 2012, 5:22 AM
I've given my PC's an 'ancient draconic' scroll that describes their destinies. The players have noticed one tiny (and very deliberate) mistake. The prophesy only mentions 9 of them. There are 11 PC's.
My players have taken this to mean that I plan to kill off 2 of them based on the discussions I overheard. Though it COULD just mean that 2 of them are not the 'real heroes' or that the prophesy is complete bunk or any number of other things.
This heroic destiny item seems to have worked somewhat better than I thought. It has gotten the players into the heroic mindset and has them actively looking for the designated tasks. The PC's have also learned that the last 20 sets of heroes died without completing any of them.
Friday, August 3, 2012, 4:33 AM
The final story elements for my campaign in terms of villains are going to be an infamous 'Red Wizard' from the first game we played in this setting (the only major villain to survive the PC's) and a White Dracolich whom they had defeated, but not destroyed.
The 'Red Wizard' is known to the PC's by his crimson robes, his powerful spell-casting, and his callous use of minions. He rarely even seems to know their names. The 'Red Wizard' is known to have some sort of pact with evil outsiders and to be bent on locating and killing all Fireblood Dwarves in the setting.
He is vain (wants to kill Fireblood Dwarves for their hair color matching his), overconfident (rarely checks to see if his minions or his plots have succeeded), lazy (his apprentice prepares most of his scrolls), and extremely wasteful of minions.
The 'Red Wizard' aquires minions through domination magic mostly, but is not above the occasional bribe.
Once he wipes out the Fireblood Dwarves, the 'Red Wizard' plans to use their deaths to trigger an evil magical event and increase his power. Then he plans to travel to a parallel plane of psionic magic and wipe out the psions for killing his brother centuries ago. The 'Red Wizard' is in no rush.
The White Dracolich is a powerful white dragon Dread Necromancer who recently escaped his imprisonment (by an old adventuring party) and is now re-consolidating his rule over Frostfell, the frozen continent to the north. Two of his descendants control much of the territory and have already joined up with him. They are female identical twin great wyrm white dragons. Other minions include frost giants, a scattering of lesser white dragons, frost orcs, and a moderately powerful frost mage.
The initial encounters for the White Dracolich plotline will probably be 'scouting missions' from Frostfell to the continent of Khorvaire by his minions. These may involve a frost orc raiding party on a longship or possibly flyovers by some of the lesser white dragons.
I intend these two villains for higher levels of play while the lower levels focus on the goblins/eyeless/black dragon occupying force in the PC's homeland and on the drow from the shadow plane intent on capturing and consuming the PC's starmetal weapons and armor (and on the case of the two warforged consuming the PC's).
What I am currently debating is whether or not to put the 'Red Mage' behind the drow attacks. He is hitting middle age, even for an elf, and since he is vain, might find a variant on the Green Star Adept prestige class to be a viable method to achieve immortality and preserve his 'looks'.
Friday, August 3, 2012, 2:42 AM
This week's session went well. The PC's made it to a small city. They met the leader of the human resistance (the region they are in is otherwise under goblinoid control), learned of their heroic destiny from his drunk wizard, and stumbled into the second on-going evil plot.
Two of the party are warforged with starmetal armor and several other party members have starmetal weapons. They have learned to their horror that the drow leaders want to aquire their starmetal and eat it in an effort to gain immortality through the Green Star Adept prestige class.
In our homebrew setting the drow are natives of the shadow plane using the template found in Dragon Magic. As long as they are accompanied by casters this gives them a lot of mobility and makes it harder for the PC's to track them down.
As a fun twist I threw in a vampire drow as the 3rd in command of a 12-drow raiding party. One of the PC's (a shifter) actually BIT THE VAMPIRE before realizing what it was. The PC's managed to drive off the drow and kill the lead drow female and one of the males in the process, but the vampire and 9 others escaped.
Now the PC's are on the way to a monastery on the outskirts of the unwalled town they are in at the moment so that they can get healed up. One of my players built the monastery with a goblin-assault encounter as part of my project to train new DM's. So she will be running the opening battle there. Then I will take over and toss the remainder of the drow raiding party at them.
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 7:14 AM
My group's custom setting uses 2 of the Eberron continents for the sake of place names (not to mention map beauty) but there we diverge greatly from the standard setting. Aside from having only 1 other continent (instead of the traditional 2) we have custom deities, npcs, nation descriptions, governments, cultures, etc. (And a couple non-canon nations, cities, and adventure sites that we added on the larger islands)
We originally played a 10-level gestalt game in a mapless setting with a series of ocean-based adventures that slowly fleshed out small areas. The PC's were lost 90% of the time, plagued by storms (thank you random weather table), and never had reliable charts. But they had a grand time being merchant/pirates. As a result we had only a dim veiw of how far the areas explored actually were from one another.
Once our group started a new campaign (mono-classed and aiming for eventual level 35), we decided to use the same setting. After looked at a Khorvaire map and the proximity of Frostfell, the group realized that that region was almost perfect for the areas our PC's had explored in the previous campaign. All we needed to do was add in the three significant settlements that had been explored and the location of Tarth Moorda.
Now a 20x32 inch setting map adorns one of the 2 gaming tables.
The plan is to get our current 11 player group split into 2 playtimes for a concurrent campaign (splitting up to start around level 5) The first few levels of collective play are for building party loyalty and establishing mutual goals. Once the game splits into 2 sessions we can allow guesting in the alternate session in case of schedule hiccups and the two parties will communicate (officially) by hand-written notes as they strive to accomplish mutual quests.
Early level goal at this point (session 3) looks suspiciously like SAVE THE VILLAGE, then branching out from there as the PC's become aware of other adventures in the setting. For the moment four clans of goblinoids, the 'eyeless' (some goblins I shadow templated then changed the physical description on to make them seem more sinister), and the black dragon who rules them all are a direct threat to the PC's home village.
They also serve as a scalable encounter set for early levels while holding the black dragon and her more powerful minions (thinking a troll ranger, goblin cleric, and an 'eyeless' spirit shaman) in reserve.
The PC's HAVE already taking out one of several caves owned by the nearest goblinoid clan and to their credit they actually spared the goblinoid children. As an in-game reward I had a grateful goblin mother (druid) perform a small favor for the PC's. That seemed to go over well and (hopefully) helped reinforce the overall party alignment.
The PC's also fought several dense-woodlands encounters against the 'eyeless', a couple worgs, and a variety of goblinoids.
Saturday, July 28, 2012, 3:17 AM
Anyone is welcome to contact me through this site if interested in joining or in visiting my weekly D&D group.
We currently have eleven players and are looking to split into 2-3 playtimes starting in around 5 weeks.