New Playtest Campaign Thread August Playtest Package

August 17, 2013 Session  1st level August Playtest of D&DNext


We played for about 2 ½ hours.    This time I DMd for a 6 person group.   I tried to run the game more like a real campaign instead of just a rush to have the PCs get in as many combats as possible so I set up the campaign and let the players explain a little about their own characters.  Briefly, here’s what we started with:


Squeak, the Halfling rogue thief.   She used to be a messenger for a small clan of Halflings near Travensburg, but now she is ready to explore and plunder.


Erkas, the Dwarven Druid, a guide, who lives in a small home just outside the village.  His warlike Dwarven blood seems to be at odds with his affinity for nature.


Nalcon, the Human Lightbringer Cleric, a noble on horseback who came from Freehold, the big city 15 miles to the south of Travensburg.  He is lawful and likes to keep clean literally.  He is an effeminate highborn who has left Freehold to prove to his family that he is made from sterner stuff.


Fid, the Dwarven Fighter, a blacksmith for Travensburg who has decided to try his luck adventuring instead of shopkeeping. 


Kleeeg, the Human Barbarian of the North, a mysterious guide who appeared from the frozen northlands.  Wrapped in skins and studded leather armor, he wields a great axe with ease.


Fawnsworth, the Forest Gnome Mage, an ex-Jester who was run out of the Snow Lynx Clan – one too many offensive jokes about the Gnome king.   He studies to become an illusionist and likes to perform street magic for anyone who will watch.


This adventure is a highly modified version Unearthing the Past by Jesse Decker


As the group assembled on the road that goes through Travensburg…the one and only road, they saw the Regent of the town himself posting a notice on a wall.  A food wagon was supposed to arrive yesterday, but it didn’t.   The winter has been horrible and the village is nearly out of food.   As Alexi Traven, the Regent, finished posting the sign asking for help, he turned to speak to those gathered around him.  Since the Halfling was just to his left, he spoke with her and asked for help from the group who looked to him like the adventuring type.   After speaking for a short while, the group learned that Traven sent out the two Johnson boys to go check on the wagon’s arrival yesterday, but they never returned.   The group decided to check it out.


The adventurers walked out of town and followed the wagon path to the east.   As they traveled, the Fawnsworth the Gnome and Nalcon, the noble on horseback, took the rear and chatted gleefully.   The two Dwarves kept to the front with the Barbarian and the rogue in between.    They traveled for a few hours and then Erkas felt uneasy, as if they were being watched.   Before the stragglers (mainly Fawnsworth the Gnome) were attacked by 4 emaciated wolves, Erkas and Keeeg shouted out.   Fid, moving quickly positioned himself in front of Fawnsworth and readied his longsword and shield for the wolves attack.   Erkas threw some fire seeds at one of the wolves, singeing one a bit, while Fawnsworth fired a frozen ray at the wounded wolf, grazing it slightly.  Then, 3 of the wolves bounded towards Fid, attempting to gang attack the sturdy Dwarf.   The wolves bit into him and did some damage (9 points out of 12), but Fid hacked at one cutting it down.  As the other wolves pulled and ripped at Fid, Squeak fired an arrow and hit one solidly and Kleeeg brought his great axe down on the beast ending its life with a neat slice through its shoulder blade.   The injured Dwarf called to the cleric asking for some healing.     Nalcon, keeping his horse safe from harm, responded with a healing word, soothing some but not all of the horrible wounds.    As the party fought with the wolves, Nalcon decided that they looked hungry, so he took some of his horse’s feed and threw it over their heads.   The wolves looked at it with interest.   Most of the group decided to watch the wolves and ready actions to defend themselves if the wolves attacked, but Squeak, fired another arrow at one of the wolves injuring it badly.  Then, Fawnsworth stepped forth and took out a food ration and tried to communicate with the wolves.  The wolves were so hungry, they were transfixed by the horse feed and the rations, so they withdrew so that they could eat and save themselves.   Out of harms way, winded and still wounded from the attack, Fid ushered his strength and was able to move on.


A few hours later, the group crested a small hill and saw the wagon about 40’ ahead of them.   4 green cloaked humanoids were trying to pull the horse and wagon to the south.  It was stuck, and blood soaked the ground all around the wagon.   This was the food wagon that was supposed to arrive in Travensburg, and there were a number of dead bodies in the snow…undoubtedly the wagon drivers and the Johnson boys.   One cloaked figure pointed at the adventurers and alerted the others.   Kleeg’s keen eyes could tell that one of the cloaked figures on the other side of the horse carried a staff, while the 3 closest to them had shortswords and daggers.   As the two groups fought, it was clear that these were Orcs, but the one in the back was a human mage who moved behind the wagon and wounded Erkas with a frosty bolt.    The others moved around and tried to take down the orcs, but they withstood a few attacks.   Erkas casted entangle and restrained 2 of the Orcs, and eventually the group took a few of the Orcs down.   Realizing that he was in danger, the mage started to run to the south.   Nalcon’s holy flame played around the remaining Orc, and it went down, unconscious, not dead.    Nalcon wanted to take the vile creature alive.   The others tried to pursue the mage, but the mage was escaping.   Kleeg could see the mage through the trees and snow, but his bowshot did not hit the mark.   The others lost sight of the mage, so Erkas ran after him and summoned forth another entangle spell in an area where he thought the mage would be.  Luckily, they heard a yelp; the mage was restrained.  Nalcon on horseback galloped closer and told the mage to place himself on the ground and surrender so that they could capture and bring him back for a trial.   The mage acquiesced.


The group tried to find out more about the mage, but he just said he was a lone hungry mage with some Orcs, just bandits…thugs.    The group didn’t buy it, but the mage would not say more.  He insisted that they bring him and the living Orc to Travensburg for trial.  The group was perplexed…why would he so willingly go back with them?   They could not get the mage to speak more so they tied him and the Orc up and pulled the wagon out of the mucky snow.   They also took the bodies of the dead humans and made it back to Travensburg before nightfall.


In Travensburg, they spoke with the Alexi Traven and Miles Wellhorn, the Captain of the Guards.   All the while, the group suspected that someone in the town may be in cahoots with the mage they had captured.    Traven was horrified at what had happened.  He called for the Johnson family with heavy heart.   Then he said that these vile criminals would pay.   The captain of the guards was bold and said clearly that he did not recognize the mage.  With that, the mage seemed to shudder, more frightened now. To get to the bottom of this whole affair, Fid examined some of the prisoner’s belongings.  Then he went to the merchant in town and spoke with him.   He found that one of the guards actually bought that very staff from the merchant a few weeks back.   With this knowledge, Fid returned and told the others.  They asked if they could speak with the guards and Fid took each one in private and questioned them.   One guard, Johan, was sweating more than usual.   Ultimately he broke down and said that he bought the staff for someone.  He didn’t know who he was, but he got paid.   Then when Fid brought Johan face to face with the mage, Johan verified that the mage was the guy.   He had unknowingly aided the criminal, and he felt horrible shame.   He told them he’d accept any punishment, but he never knew that this mage, Marsam Tembler it turned out to be, was a threat.  With that, Marsam also spoke out, "My brother is out in the wilderness...he won't stand for this.  He and his forces will rise against this village."      Then Fid broke his kneecaps with a warhammer blow and Erkas used Shillelagh to smash Marsam's face, breaking teeth and crumpling him to the ground.   Alexi Traven was shocked to hear of this threat, so he turned to the adventurers and asked them to find the brother and his forces before they endangered the village.   The adventurers agreed to set out in the morning.


Treasure:   80 gp from The Regent as a reward and 47 gp in a pouch that Marsam carried, plus 22 sp from the other Orcs.


Comments


My summary does not do the justice to the roleplaying we did in this session.   We had a ball playing characters this session to set up the campaign and to interact and figure out the mystery that Marsam presented.   As such, we only had two small battles, but the session was rich.  


Using pre-determined characteristics and ability checks helped me play Marsam, and the other NPCs in Travensburg (fearful and serious Traven; bold and charismatic Captain Wellhorn; Cranky, old merchant).   The ability checks also gave the players chances to sense motive, intimidate, try to persuade and cajole.  Based on their rolls, and what I felt was appropriate, it took them a while to break Marsam and figure out that the guard had contact with Marsam before.   One player used cultural lore (human) and political lore to gain leverage, and that also helped me build the story.


Not having skills made it really easy to move the story along.   I let the players say/do anything they thought using wisdom, charisma, intelligence checks as applicable.   It was refreshingly easy.   Sometimes I asked them to roll so that I could gauge general reactions that helped me steer the action/conversations, but at a crucial moment, I asked the group to pick one representative to do the speaking and make the roll (most notably right before Marsam cracked under the pressure).   At this point, Nalcon made an opposed charisma check vs. Marsam, with advantage, and Nalcon won).  This worked well.  From listening to the latest WoTC livestream,  this seems kind of like the direction WotC will be going as they develop their interaction rules.


On the other hand, Cultural Lore was strange.  It felt awkward.  First, as I was making some pre-gens for some of my players, I found it difficult to decide what types of cultural lore to give.   Cultural lore based on race seems strange.   How can you know about all humans in general?   Would regional lore be easier to judge?    Lore by region?    Or is cultural lore just too difficult to include?   Can someone know the culture of the Northern Realms?  The underdark?   The drow of the underdark?   All orcs or only the Bloody Fang Clan?    It is hard to judge and decide what to do with cultural lore.

Also, after the game, we thought about how Lore works with Expertise Dice.   How does any lore work with the Assassin's keen intellect?    Assassins add Expertise to Intelligence checks?  If they have human lore and they use their keen intellect, they will be rolling d20+10+expertise dice.    Chances are, they will know too much.   Why should they know more than a mage when it comes to knowledge based checks?    I'm not sure Assassins should get the expertise in intelligence.   Maybe they should just get Poison Lore or Trap Making Lore.    Maybe they should get extra lore like that instead of the Expertise...or maybe they should just get Dexterity Expertise like the thief rogue. 
I'm interested to see what WotC does with skills in the next package.    \


As far as the combats went, I wanted them to be easy to average encounters, and they played pretty much that way (about 3 rounds each).   The Dwarven Fighter was hurt pretty badly by the wolves (gang attack helped them hit).   The Dwarven Druid was hurt moderately by Marsam’s ray of frost, but the use of entangle twice really saved a lot of damage and ultimately prevented Marsam from escaping.


Oh…that dang Orc “relentless” abilty…I always forget to use it.   I think it is too much of a pain in the butt to incorporate.  It adds extra calculation and rolling to the game, and since it only triggers when the Orc falls to 0 hit points it is easy for me to forget. 


Fun all around.   After the session all PC went up to 2nd level.   I’m accelerating increase in level so that we can playtest more levels each week as we continue the adventure.


As always, my summaries are only approximations of the game session.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

In again for a great start it seems ! Always fun to read your campaign play and feedbacks Rhenny!  

Interesting to read that not having skills made it really easy to move the story along for you. I also think Skills only bring more granilarity to the ability score based resolution system and works fine without it. I prefer to use it with Skills, but found it work fine without.

How worked the +10 Lore check with DCs you've set? Did you found the bonus a little too high?
In again for a great start it seems ! Always fun to read your campaign play and feedbacks Rhenny!  

Interesting to read that not having skills made it really easy to move the story along for you. I also think Skills only bring more granilarity to the ability score based resolution system and works fine without it. I prefer to use it with Skills, but found it work fine without.

How worked the +10 Lore check with DCs you've set? Did you found the bonus a little too high?



I didn't mind it being that high (although slightly lower might be better...I think a DC 15 should be pretty much assured while a DC 20 might need a little more luck).

I really just didn't like how cultural lore plays out.   Fid the Dwarf had Trade Lore (Blacksmithing) so I let him use it when he was interacting with the Cranky Old Merchant, that seemed fine...but those Cultural Lores just seem hard to work with.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I always enjoy reading your reports! Sounds like a good time. 

August 23, 2013 Session  2nd  level August Playtest of D&DNext


We continued our mini-campaign in Travensburg and played for about 2 ½ hours.   


Squeak, the Halfling rogue thief.  


Erkas, the Dwarven Druid


Nalcon, the Human Lightbringer Cleric, a noble


Fid, the Dwarven Fighter, an ex blacksmith


Kleeeg, the Human Barbarian of the North


Fawnsworth, the Forest Gnome Mage, an ex-Jester


Previously, the group had captured an evil mage who turned out to be Marsam Trembler.  He vowed that his brother and his gang of Orcs would rise up against the village.   In order to give Marsam a fair trial, which Nalcon insisted upon, the Regent and the Captain of the guards agreed to hold Marsam (and his Orc companion) in the brig until dawn.  Then they would assemble a tribunal.   The adventurers were uneasy, especially Erkas, so he decided to climb a tree near the village road and spend the night on watch, sleeping when he could.   Fid invited everyone back to his humble abode, all except for Nalcon, who seems too tidy and arrogant at this point for some of the others.   Nalcon paid for one of the best rooms at the inn.   The night passed uneventfully, it seemed as if Marsam’s words were just empty threats.


When the party gathered to set off to find Marsam’s brother and his band of Orcs, Nalcon never showed up so the party went hunting without him.  (Nalcon’s player couldn’t make the session so Nalcon overslept, and when he woke up, he decided to help the Regent and the Captain of the guards run the tribunal).


The party found where they encountered Marsam and the Orcs, and they followed tracks in the snow to the south through a forest of pines.   Coming to a clearing, they scanned the area and saw some rolling, snow covered hills to the south and west.   Fid was lucky enough to spot a cave opening to the west, so the group decided to head for the cave, especially after seeing many humanoid footprints heading to and from that direction.   To obscure their numbers and possibly distract any creature at the cave, Fawnsworth whipped up an illusion of a mound of snow that moved slowly in front of them.     The group was able to get within 40’ of the cave when Fid saw some movement within.   Erkas, decided he would turn into a hound and sneak up to the cave.  He did so, and he was even able to nuzzle up closer to a pair of Orcs who seemed to be joking with each other.    To distract, and lure the Orcs out, Erkas bit at one Orc’s belt pouch, and tried to snatch it.   The Orcs were amused by the dog’s attempt, but instead of taking arms, the Orc just beat the dog on the head with its bare fist.   The dog started to beg, so the Orc threw a piece of meat at it, but as Erkas (the dog) was nibbling at the meat, he saw 3 other Orcs behind the two, and two of them picked up bows.  It looked like they wanted some target practice.   Erkas bolted from the cave and turned south as 3 Orcs followed him; still the Orcs did not ready their axes, it seemed as if they wanted to have sport with the dog, perhaps just catch him or beat him with bear hands.   This gave the others a great chance to ambush..and they did just that.    Unfortunately, Erkas was the only one who knew there were two more Orcs in the cave, so as the others were fighting the 3 Orcs in the clearing, arrows began flying out, injuring Squeak.   When the fight began, the dog danced around, dodging around and through the legs of the Orcs, and when he was clear, because Fid and Kleeeg engaged with the Orcs, he turned on one and ripped at its achilles tendon, and in the succeeding round, the dog ripped out the Orc’s throat.   Eventually all but one of the Orcs outside went down, and the remaining Orc yelled to his buddies in the cave in Orcish, “Go get help.  We are under attack.”   Fawnsworth could speak Orcish, so he alerted the others.   The battle moved closer to the cave and Fid could see that one of the Orc bowmen was running deeper into the cave.    He would have gotten away too, except for that pesky dog.   The dog bounded towards the Orc and took him down with a vicious bite.   It was dark inside the cave, but now it was quiet.   At the back of the cave, Fid saw a crude wooden wall with a swinging 5’ door in it.  It seemed as if this was a passage into a more finished ruin.


Although the party wanted to rest and bandage its wounds, they feared they would not have time so Erkas (still in dog form) crept through the door and down a more finished corridor.   He could see some light flickering in the distance in a larger room adjacent to the hall, so he went back to the group to report.  After a brief discussion, Erkas crept forth again.  It seemed as if the other room was a storehouse and Orcs were lifting and stacking boxes and barrels so they did not notice the dog.   Luckily for him, as he got closer to the storehouse, he was able to spot a trip wire as he neared the other room so he stepped gingerly over it.  Then, he hid behind a bunch of boxes and waited for the others to call the Orcs forth.     Fawnsworth and the others discussed a plan to use an illusion of an Orc to draw the Orcs to the door where the party could attack from surprise, but as they were discussing, one of the Orcs from the other room started to walk towards the door they were behind.    There were a number of openings in the crude wall and door, so Fid and the others could see through it.  They realized they had no time, so when the Orc got to the door, Fid swung the door open violently smashing the Orc in the face.   The Orc was strong enough to push the door back though and then the commotion drew a few more of the Orcs.   Seeing how Fid did this, little Squeak tried to do the same, but alas, her strength was not enough to cause the Orc harm.   To clear the door area, Fawnsworth used his fear spell, and the others breached the doorway.   Inside the room, Erkas kept hidden and watched.  He saw one of the other Orcs hide behind some boxes, and the final Orc went to another door to the east and started to open it.   Meanwhile, as each of the heroes tried to move into the storehouse, Fid first, Squeak next, and then Kleeeg, none of them spotted the trip wire, and each of them stumbled and fell into the storehouse.   Erkas jumped at the hidden Orc, but missed so the Orc turned to slash the dog badly.   Attempting to change the dynamics of the situation, Fawnsworth issued forth a brilliant spray of colors; unfortunately, none of the Orcs were affected, yet one of the others was still under the influence of the fear spell so it ran and joined the other escaping Orc.


In a dramatic moment, Erkas, turned himself back into Dwarf form and cured himself. The fight continued, as the others got to their feet and tried to dispatch remaining Orcs.    After taking another wound, Erkas blasted the Orc that injured him with a Thunderwave.  The Orc resisted the major effects of the blast, but took some damage.   Then, it raised its wicked great axe (a hit would surely have knocked Erkas out of the battle), but the blade swung harmlessly over Erkas’ head.    Squeak, took down an Orc with an accurate bow shot, and then the others faced down two remaining Orcs in the east doorway, while two others kept running deeper down a corridor in the ruined stronghold.   At this point, Erkas and Fid were pretty badly wounded, but Fid’s adrenaline pumped and he continued to attack the 2 Orcs…he also took a few more wounds, so it looked pretty grim.   Kleeeg had seen enough, he began to rage, and he cut down an Orc, and continued to run after one of the fleeing Orcs.     Although Kleeg could not catch up to the fleeing Orc, he nocked an arrow in his longbow and let fly before the Orc could round the corner.  The arrow stuck squarely into the Orcs back as it toppled to the ground.   Unfortunately, one other Orc had escaped to the north around a corner.  


When the battle ended, the group realized they were hurting, so they tried to fortify their position inside the storeroom and take a short rest.   Squeak was able to remove the trip wire and set it up to the east so if Orcs came at them, it might trip them up.    In 10 minutes (before the group could gain any benefits from resting), more Orcs attacked, but all 4 of them hit the trip wire and fell….that gave the party a surprise round to fire arrows or move into position.    To hamper the Orcs more, Erkas used his final spell, Entangle, which grasped 2 of the 4 tightly (at least for the first round).    The battle played out, and the heroes defeated the Orcs before any of them could run.   Bloody and exhausted, the group finished resting in the storehouse, and luckily no other Orcs arrived.   


As they rested, they saw a corridor turning to the north (where the other Orcs ran) and directly to the east, another small corridor that ended at a door, blockaded from their side with some wood tables and other scraps.   It looked as if the Orcs wanted to keep this door barred.   In the storehouse, the boxes contained an assortment of crude weapons, some old armor, picks, shovels, 4 bottles of lamp oil, 4 lamps, boxes of rations, 10 barrels of wheat, 3 barrels of fresh water and 3 barrels of ale.   It looked as if this was where the bandits stored the spoils of their plunder.   Fid, using his merchant experience, estimated that all of the stuff could be worth about 400 gp if they could get it back to town, but more importantly, the rations and the wheat could help feed the villagers who were getting hungrier and hungrier as winter continued.   Each PC used a HD of healing to bind some wounds, and Fawnsworth studied his spellbook to recall 1 more spell.


Comments


Smooth game play.   Lots of room for improvising and making decisions that are not listed on PC character sheets.


Although I used only Orcs as foes, the Orcs were varied.   Some of them wielded shortsword and dagger, some were the greataxe wielders, and a few others were longsword and shield.   Changing weapons made each feel different in combat.


Without the cleric (and because the Druid did not play his PC like a healer), the group did not have as much healing, so this session felt a little more gritty.   The players snuck around more and tried to set up defensible positions or ambushes.   I like that style of gameplay a lot.


As DM, I originally didn’t like that short rests were 1 hour, but I’m not so against it now.   My players don’t like it that much though.   Knowing that the rest was 1 hour did add a little more decision making into the adventure, and it gave me a chance to attack the party as it tried to rest (to be fair though, even if it was a 10 minute rest, I could have had the reinforcements interrupt…but whatever).


The illusionist did not like Color Spray.   It seems to be a much inferior spell to what an evoker (burning hands) would use.    Only affecting the creatures for 1 round and having random results makes it a poor choice unless the party is in a horrible position where they are severely outnumbered (any foe who sees the spray has a chance to save…so that could cause a room full of baddies to make saves).    If it allowed the caster to choose the effect and the effect lasted until the foes made a save, it would be a better, more versatile spell.


Fire seeds spell also seems a little wimpy as a cantrip.    Since the Druid makes 2 attack rolls with the seeds, maybe each should do 3 points or 1d4.


As always, my summaries are only approximations of the game session.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Keep on enjoying Next! We are wrapping up Mud Sorcerers Tomb next weekend. I'll be sure to post the results!

We ended on a short rest last time. While at first it seemed too long we thought it over and how much can you do in 10 minutes? Get some water, take a leak, break out the first aid kit, sharpen the blade, adjust your armor, focus my Ki. I'd need another 10 minute breather after that! And so many cool features recharge on a short rest than planning out an hour is worth it.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

Sounds good, Rhenny. This time of year I'm 4 times more busy than normal at work and at home, and literally have not read more than the basic "read me first" from the newest packet. I usually read the new packet within the first week after it comes out, and I still have yet to crack into anything with the latest packet, let alone play any sessions.

So it's good to be able to come hear and read session reports like this when I can to get caught up on how things are going with the newest rules.

---

brian ®

Guitars & Gaming

It’s been tough getting the group together to continue our D&D Next game with the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.  We did play for 30 minutes Friday night, just enough to advance our campaign a tiny bit further.

The group had just finished resting inside the Orc bandits’ supply room.   Since Fawnsworth the Gnome Illusionist was out of spells, and the group knew that the Travensburg could really use the food supplies that the adventurers found inside the supply room, he, the rogue and the barbarian headed back to town to get a wagon (the players could not make it).   That left Fid, the Dwarven Fighter, and Erkas the Dwarven Druid alone in the halls of the ruined underground edifice, lucky for them, Nalcon, a cleric of Pelor, appeared on the scene.  He had finished helping the townspeople try and convict Marsam, a human wizard who they caught leading an Orc raiding party against a wagon bound for Travensburg.   Marsam and his Orcs had slaughtered the wagon drivers and two boys (the Johnson boys) who had gone out to see if the wagon was arriving soon, so the Regent of Travensburg was eager to exact revenge.

In the dungeon, Nalcon and the two Dwarves walked through a couple of corridors and heard the sound of heavy chains rhythmically jangling in the distance.    As they got closer to a closed door, Fid could tell that the chains were in the next room.   He opened the door to see a mine shaft with a winch that used a heavy chain to raise and lower the shaft car.   The group crept up to the shaft opening and peered down.   Without light, they couldn’t see much; even the Dwarves had trouble seeing down there so they surmised that the shaft car was probably pretty far below them, but it seemed to be slowly rising.   Fid decided to jam his hand axe into the winch to stop it from working and he was successful.   Then Nalcon dropped a silver coin that he magically lit, and the adventurers were able to see a semi-closed wooden shaft car with two Orcs inside of it.   The Orcs were trying to turn another handle inside the car that the chain was attached to, but they could not make it budge.   When the light shined on them, they looked up and started to panic.   With Erkas assisting, Fid tried to jam his hand axe further into the chain, to break one of the links.    It did not work right away, and soon the Orcs had applied enough pressure to their wheel to pop the axe from the mechanism.   Unperterbed, Fid (with Erkas’ help) smashed the chain once more, and this time the link seemed to weaken.  As the shaft car came within 10’ of where the adventurers were, the Dwarves tried to break the chain completely, but they failed.   Nalcon, not wanting to get dirty, walked over and stamped his booted foot upon the axe that was wedged in the chain, and it popped the chain.  The shaft car plummetted down over 100’ and smashed at the bottom.   The group could see that the car descended at least 2 levels.   Before they stepped away from shaft, Erkas threw down some fire seeds, and the wrecked car started to smolder.   The group could see more commotion below, at least 4 Orcs were trying to sift through the wreckage and put out the smoldering wood.

Cliffhanger.    That’s all we did for the session.

Comments

It was really easy to use ability checks to keep this short session moving.   I think I was able to create suspense and tension even when there was no combat.   I like how Fid decided to jam up the works.   I wonder how many Orcs are down below?   lol.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Travensburg Campaign Continued (9/28/13) - Updated the PCs to the most recent playtest package.

PCs still 2nd level

Erkas the Dwarven Druid

Fawnsworth the Gnome Illusionist

Fid the Dwarven Fighter

Kleeeg the Human Barbarain

Nalcon the Human Cleric

Squeak the Halfling Rogue

The party had split up last session (since Kleeeg, Fawnsworth and Squeak’s players could not play).   That left the two Dwarves and the cleric inside the ruins of the old Ironhand Dwarven mines.   The other three left the mines to go back to town so that they could get a wagon to load all of the stolen food items they found in the Trembler brother’s supply room.   Before the barbarian, rogue and illusionist could get to away from the cave leading into the mines, Kleeeg detected the sound of approaching humanoids.   Four cloaked figures emerged through the trees to the south, and headed straight for the cave entrance.    Realizing that they needed to ambush these creatures before they made it into the cave (and could possibly surprise the other members of their party who were deeper into the dungeon itself), they made their move.

The ambush was successful, and they each attacked before the cloaked figures could react.   One of them was hurt badly by Squeak’s bow shot to the back, but the others missed their targets.   The battle began, and it turned out that beneath the cloaks were two human acolytes and two human adepts.   One stepped close to Kleeeg and inflicted painful wounds to the barbarian using some unholy divine magic.   Squeak remained hidden in the trees and was able to fire at the others, while Fawnsworth (having no spells left) tried to hit with ray of frost.  The party could hear one of the foes say, “we must deliver the message to Grek,” and instantly one of the adepts ran into the cave and away from the fray.    In the ensuing rounds, Kleeeg was smashed by a critical mace blow, his head gushing blood as he fell to the snow covered ground.   Fawnsworth froze an injured acolyte, and Squeak took out the other two foes with well aimed sneak attacks.    All the while, Kleeeg slipped closer and closer to death’s door.    With not a moment to spare, Fawnsworth ran to Kleeeg and slid on the snow so that he could reach Kleeeg before he expired.   With great acrobatic flair, Fawnsworth moved 5’ more than he should have (I gave him a chance to make it there – He rolled a 21 on his dexterity check), and he poured a healing potion into Kleeeg’s mouth.

Meanwhile, back in the dungeon, the others decided to fasten ropes to a mine shaft and climb down 50’ to a 2nd level.   They had previously (in the last game) broken the shaft mechanism and had sent the elevator with two orcs in it plummeting down over 100’.  It had smashed at the bottom and was broken beyond repair.   At this point, Erkas, Fid and Nalcon searched the 2nd level and found a dark, desolate corridor stretching to the east and then turning to the north.   Fid saw that the area was quite dusty and they all determined that there was little to no traffic on this level.   As they moved to the north, Fid saw a set of doors that had fallen off its hinges.   Beyond the door, another dark room.   Fearlessly stepping closer, Fid could see that there were two dead orc bodies about 20’ from the door near a pile of debris that looked to have fallen from the ceiling.   As Fid and Nalcon stepped closer to determine how old the corpses were (pretty old by their reckoning), the party was surprised by a Choker brute (a choker with 42 hit points) on the ceiling.

During the battle, Erkas and Nalcon did some damage to the creature, but the creature’s tentacles did heavy damage to Fid and Erkas.  More than once, each of them were wrapped up in the tentacles and constricted for more damage before they could break free.   Twice Nalcon aided Erkas and helped to get him free, even after Erkas had changed into dog form and failed to break free on his own.  Low on vital strength, Fid called on his reserve power (2nd wind), and even exhausted himself making an extra attack against the creature (action surge).   His axe blows cut the creature badly, and eventually the party prevailed.   Nalcon did use two cure wound spells and he tried to use fairy fire on the Choker as well (unfortunately the Choker made its dex save).  He also got a chance to use Flare, but the Choker hit him anyway (a 23 and a 19…bad luck for Nalcon).     Bloody and out of spells, the group searched the room to find a leather bag in the rubble with 7 gp and 2 healing potions.  After a few minutes, Nalcon and the Dwarves heard a man screaming, in the distance.  It sounded like someone falling down the mine shaft.

While Nalcon and the Dwarves were fighting the Choker, the others followed the escaping adept.  Fawnsworth heard the sound of a human cursing his luck up ahead.   The adept had found the mine shaft, but after wasting time trying to get the elevator to arrive, he realized he would have to climb down.    Kleeeg was able to make up ground and Squeak, hustled up through the open door to the mine shaft.   She could tell that the adept had started climbing down the rope that the others had left in the mineshaft.   She also saw a small clip that Erkas the Druid had left on the rope, so they knew that Erkas and the others were down there somewhere.  Kleeeg moved up to the rope and cut it with his blade.   The rope dropped down the shaft; the adept fell to his death.   Kleeeg also tied enough rope together so that it would reach down to the bottom of the shaft.    As the party climbed down, Squeak slipped and fell.    She bashed against a support beam taking some damage, but was able to make a terrific acrobatic flip to land safely 50’ below on the 2nd level of the mine.   The others followed her down.   When they got there, Fawnsworth cast his light spell on a coin that he held, and Squeak could see foot prints that looked pretty fresh going to the east.

The split party reunited, but before they could rest, they remembered that they had left a rope going all the way down the shaft.   The Dwarves and Nalcon told the others that earlier, they had heard commotion below, a number of orcs were down there.   Quickly, Fid and Fawnworth ran back to the shaft and pulled the rope up.   Then they all rested for about an hour.   Kleeeg was able to bandage himself (he had 1 HD left), and the two Dwarves drank the newly found potions to gain some health.    Without HD of healing and without spells, the party decided to climb up the shaft, grab some of the food from the storeroom and travel back to Travensburg.    Climbing up the shaft, Squeak slipped again (she rolled another 1), taking more damage, but her acrobatic ability saved her from falling all the way down the shaft, certain death.   On the way out, Fid looked at a doorway on the first level that had been blocked by tables and chairs.   On a plaque beside the barricaded door was a sign written in Dwarvish….”Water”.    The party decided to leave that room alone for now, and they were able to make it back to town 8 hours later.

Comments

Terrific game.   Lots of decision making and the players played their characters with personality and style.

Everyone loves the rogue’s Cunning Action.  It really gives the rogue a special trick.

The proficiency system worked ok.  No comments, and it did seem as if the +5 to rogue's expert proficiencies made a difference.  The other rolls were fluid and moved pretty fast.   Generally, I still like the way ability checks work.   I had them make a ton of checks tonight: perception (spot, listen), strength (athletics), dexterity (acrobatics), and others.    I like the consolidated proficiencies that are more broad (athletics, acrobatics and perception) more than the specific skills from earlier packages.

As usual, I play the rules pretty loosely.  I let the Gnome move the extra 5’ to save the barbarian’s life…(The barb actually failed 2 death saves when he went down…so the next one could have killed him).   The player did roll an awesome dexterity check so I let him slide the extra 5’ and pour the potion into the barb’s mouth.   Nice move.

The entire session lasted 2 hours on the dot.   It felt pretty satisfying for a 2 hour game.   The 1 hour rest really made the party think about resting, which was a nice decision point.    Also, the monsters I threw at them were plenty challenging enough.    I did beef up the Choker to give it a chance as a solo monster (I think I gave it 42 hp).

It was also interesting playing split screen…one half of the party and then the other half of the party.   It was also nice to have a 6 PC/player game again.

 

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Rhenny, your adventure logs are always a fun read.

I found the lack of comment on the skills a good thing. For my group there were a few complaints when skills went away last packet. Same issue when FLGS re-ran Vault of the Dracolich it didn't go over nearly as well under the last packets rules.

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Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

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