Session Two

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Here's my writeup from Session Two. Our parties started in the Arena in the Abyssal Prisons (Room #1, FTW), and the Far Realm Cysts. At the end of the session, two zones had been gone through (we've decided that "cleared" means nothing left alive... the murderhobo way), obstacles overcome, and the alert level is actually -1 due to a powerful creature getting its thirst slaked.

mortaine wrote:

Here's my writeup from Session Two. Our parties started in the Arena in the Abyssal Prisons (Room #1, FTW), and the Far Realm Cysts. At the end of the session, two zones had been gone through (we've decided that "cleared" means nothing left alive... the murderhobo way), obstacles overcome, and the alert level is actually -1 due to a powerful creature getting its thirst slaked.

 

Why do you say it was "not too onerous"? Do you have problem players? I have definitely had to deal with that in encounters, but for the past few weeks my group has gotten into a rhythm and is behaving nicely.

Ah, well. I've been out of Encounters for a few seasons due to burnout, and out of D&D for about a month (and that campaign isn't going back, really). I hadn't run D&D Next before, and we're in a brand-new shop that opened at the beginning of April. So many of the players are new to D&D, as well as to us in general, plus the system is new. The format is somewhat new-- previous seasons in 4e were "1 session=1 encounter," whereas Next supports shorter encounters. I'm also, culturally, somewhat "done" with D&D and would much prefer Dungeon World or Fate or something more freeform.

 

Also, dungeon crawls and organized play are most definitely Not My Thing. So this season is a big challenge, for me as a GM and organizer.

 

On the plus sides:

 

  • Next is so much like 3rd edition, I haven't had to learn much to run it.
  • My FLGS is very supportive and appreciates what I do. As of this week and a direct result of me running Encounters, they only have 1 more criteria to meet before they reach Core status in WPN. That's important-- you can't schedule Friday Night Magic without being Core.
  • I immediately got enough players for 2 tables/week. I may have enough to expand to a third table next week (but no 3rd GM).
  • I've been trying a new approach to the dungeon crawl, which I learned in a blog. For every encounter/room, I write a "Dramatic Question" that has to be answered. Frequently, the question is "can they get through this room without dying?" The DQ is rarely "can they kill the monster" so if they talk their way by, or bolt, or whatever... they don't always have to fight. Also, once it's clear they answered the DQ, the encounter ends and we move on.

So, "not too onerous" in the sense that I was really not looking forward to running D&D again, and Launch Day and this session have been surprisingly positive experiences, for me as an organizer. More than that, I know they've also been positive experiences for my players, and that makes me smile.

http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/ddenc-18-dead-in-thay-launch-event-and-session-2/

 

As I'm late catching up with my blogs I've done a combined one for the Launch and session 2, with session 2 consisting basically of Syranna just instructing the players about the Doomvault I'm glad that we needed to split the Launch into 2 sessions as I would have felt bad making them just sit there for a session while just being given an info download.

"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 prepped a handout with the dungeon guidelines about the glyph keys, gates, zone security, etc. because it would have taken an hour to give that info-dump in character, and nobody would have remembered anyway.

mortaine wrote:

Ah, well. I've been out of Encounters for a few seasons due to burnout, and out of D&D for about a month (and that campaign isn't going back, really). I hadn't run D&D Next before, and we're in a brand-new shop that opened at the beginning of April. So many of the players are new to D&D, as well as to us in general, plus the system is new. The format is somewhat new-- previous seasons in 4e were "1 session=1 encounter," whereas Next supports shorter encounters. I'm also, culturally, somewhat "done" with D&D and would much prefer Dungeon World or Fate or something more freeform.

 

Also, dungeon crawls and organized play are most definitely Not My Thing. So this season is a big challenge, for me as a GM and organizer.

 

On the plus sides:

 

  • Next is so much like 3rd edition, I haven't had to learn much to run it.
  • My FLGS is very supportive and appreciates what I do. As of this week and a direct result of me running Encounters, they only have 1 more criteria to meet before they reach Core status in WPN. That's important-- you can't schedule Friday Night Magic without being Core.
  • I immediately got enough players for 2 tables/week. I may have enough to expand to a third table next week (but no 3rd GM).
  • I've been trying a new approach to the dungeon crawl, which I learned in a blog. For every encounter/room, I write a "Dramatic Question" that has to be answered. Frequently, the question is "can they get through this room without dying?" The DQ is rarely "can they kill the monster" so if they talk their way by, or bolt, or whatever... they don't always have to fight. Also, once it's clear they answered the DQ, the encounter ends and we move on.

So, "not too onerous" in the sense that I was really not looking forward to running D&D again, and Launch Day and this session have been surprisingly positive experiences, for me as an organizer. More than that, I know they've also been positive experiences for my players, and that makes me smile.

 

 

 

Is there a second DM or do you run two time slots? The dramatic question seems like a good idea - this adventure leaves a lot of room for you to make the encounters more than just "kill kill kill" if you want.

 

I am always interested in hearing about other people who run encounters... to me, running encounters isn't always "fun". It's like running an after-school program and it can be very draining. I often say that if encounters was the only D&D game I ran, I'd have quit D&D years ago. Where I live, nobody wants to run it. I mean, absolutely nobody except me.

 

I like this adventure a lot and am actually looking forward to running it tomorrow. The only thing I don't like about D&D Next is having to look up spells for monsters. I'd prefer them to have a few spell-like powers, like in 4th edition.

Thankfully, I have a second DM who is a good friend of mine who volunteered to run a second table this season. When I started running Encounters a few years ago at a different shop, it was the Shadowfell adventure, which was unbelievably fun. We started with 1 table of 4 players, and by the end of 8 weeks, had 3 tables and 20 players regularly attending.

 

Encounters is not often "fun," and it's definitely something I do as a volunteer thing for my FLGS. I was pleasantly surprised when it actually was fun this time around.

 

I agree about spells/spell-like powers. that's frustrating, especially when it's actually missing from the playtest docs.

mortaine wrote:

Thankfully, I have a second DM who is a good friend of mine who volunteered to run a second table this season. When I started running Encounters a few years ago at a different shop, it was the Shadowfell adventure, which was unbelievably fun. We started with 1 table of 4 players, and by the end of 8 weeks, had 3 tables and 20 players regularly attending.

 

Encounters is not often "fun," and it's definitely something I do as a volunteer thing for my FLGS. I was pleasantly surprised when it actually was fun this time around.

 

I agree about spells/spell-like powers. that's frustrating, especially when it's actually missing from the playtest docs.

 

Dark Legacy of Evard, yeah my group loved that one too. When preparing for this week, I noticed all of the treasure tables, like the Thayans haveing potions on them (sometimes). It's cool and worth the slight extra preperation, I guess.

 

At the rate we are going, we'llmaybe do 60 rooms by the end of this season... I was hoping we'd plow through everything.

Field report for D&D Encounters: Dead in Thay (Week 2) now available at Dungeon's Master.com.

 

We had three tables at my FLGS. My group began in the Forests of Slaughter. We faced Hook Horrors, Barghests, and Gorgons this week. The Gorgons managed to get 5 PCs with their breath weapon and 2 were petrified when they failed their saves. The players were really surprised that there wasn't an easy way to revive their PCs.

 

The party found a Pool of Recovery that provided the benefits of a short rest. So that was a bonus. One of the other parties found a Master Glyph Key that attuned to all black teleportation circles in the dungeon. They came to us and we copied their key. Now we too have access to the whole dungeon (except the Phylactery Vault).

 

We discuss the ups and downs, what worked and what didn’t in this week’s Recounting Encounters Podcast (also available through iTunes).

 

Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as actual play podcasts and level 6 pre-generated characters for D&D Next.

Visit Dungeon's Master.com – The D&D Resource Blog For DMs and Players.
http://dungeonsmaster.com
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