So I was wondering if anyone out there could help me out with some more creative ideas for skill challenges in the underdark. So far I have come up with chasms, very tight claustrophobic caves to get through, hazardess fungi caverns, lack of oxygen, caves underwater, and more but right now I am drawing blanks (working nights, lack of sleep) Could anybody help me out by giving me some more ideas for skill challenges I can run in the underdark? I want them to be a big part of travelling far in the place, and I don't want them to feel stale everytime they go out on a big journey... Please, any ideas, even if they seem silly, would be appreciated. Thanks a ton.
I am getting right to the meat and potatoes because I know a lot of you don't want to waste time reading my campaign backround and all that jazz. Here is the jist. I am a new DM. Running a campaign with four experienced players. It is evil. Four sessions in. They are all drow in Menzoberranzan. Only one of them is female (menzoberrenzan is a matriarchy). Have gotten lots of great feedback from them so far. I love playing this game. Especially being a DM.
Now, here are my questions. First, last session they came back from a long journey, got back to the city. They are still in tier breche, just about to graduate. Two of the players made their own house, Xe'larrezz'et'sauj (I know right, cant even say it). They are the first two sons of their matron mother. Now, I dont know how much any of you know about drow society, but men are **** upon. Women hold all the power. Now one of my players is kind of a battle hungry barbarian evil ass mofo. He is great! Makes the game a lot of fun. However, the last session this is what happened. He got back home from the journey and was summoned to his mothers audience chambers. Here him and his brother had to talk to her and their sister, first priestess of the house, was there as well. The barbarian mofo, Xauzz is his name, was all disrespectful to his sister and mother. Interrupting them, not listening, disagreeing with them... this is very bad **** in Menzoberrenzan. Soooo, keeping in character, I had the Matron order the priestess to give him and his brother a lashing for being out of line with the ladies of the house. His brother was all like, I shut up and listen, but Xauzz was like "oh baby, give me more, is that all you got, you hit like a girl..." Pretty much just talkin smack. So everytime he continued, I gave him more lashings. He just kept pushin it. So then I started giving him 1d4 for every lash. Kept pushing it. Finally, I gave him some more damage rolls and he lost some worth (I am running a worth system in the city so all players are ranked depending on what they represent and what they do) and I gave up because I didnt want to kill him and he wouldnt give up. Now, this kinda bothered me since not only did he just push it to the limit, but I feel like this was kind of unfair to the other players, who all know a lot about drow society and have been playing by the rules so to speak. Now, I have thrown out some hooks to signal that their is a group of males in the city who want to overthrow the matriarchy, and I would definately allow the party to go along and take over so men are equal with women, but that has to take time, not like a couple encounters. That is like paragon tier stuff. It has to be tough, since women rule society there. So what is more important? I want him to have fun, but he is the only one who has been all aggressive with women. (I think it boils down to some personal issues with being told what to do by women lol) At the same time, I want it to stay with the real flavor of the forgotten realms setting of Menzoberrenzan so all the other players have fun and feel the sense of realism. That was a huge part of my campaign, was to make them feel the power of the matriarchy, the power of women over society, they grip and the despair of being a man in menzoberrenzan. Now I am not trying to break anyone's spirit. They all get plenty of guy time too, with no ladies involved, but when they ladies are around, I want them to feel it, and I think the other players appreciate it too, honestly. But he just laughs at them and spits in their faces, so how am I supposed to go about this? Should I have his character beat to death? Have him lose his title as house weaponmaster? Have him cast out of his house and make him a houseless noble? Give him penalties to his character short term? Or should I just forget about the entire notion of running a campaign with the matriarchy power thing going on? I dont want to ruin his dreams of becoming the strongest weapon master in the city and being badass, but I dont want the females in the game to feel like he is out of line and not really playing by the rules of the drow. Honestly, I feel like he could use a little humility and after the last session I just want to punish the **** out of him for being so reckless and arrogant, but I am not going to let a little crazy fun make me crazy. Thoughts? Suggestions? What do you guys do when your characters are being out of line? I mean, he basically walked into the castle, told the king to go to hell repeatedly, and laughed it off. What do you guys do in these situations?
Here is the 411,
I love creating NPC's but i feel i might be putting too much effort into back story, character details etc...
are detailed npc's healthy, or is too much of a good thing bad?
generally i will have basic history of character -
Kamroc, half - orc, came to town 5 yrs ago, 39 years old, large build, has a scar across his right eye, helps with getting rid of drunkards at the "crazy kobold" and is looking at moving towns but cannot aford to leave yet due to a debt he needs to pay off for punching a nobleman
I just feel it brings the character to life rather than
Kamroc, half- orc, works at "crazy kobold", late 30's, large build
how much detail should go into non- essential NPC's?
and how much should go into key NPC's?
For essential i normally go into further detail (why they came to town, more descprition, how the fight started etc...)
- I SERVE THE FLAMING FIST!
Ok so this sounds like a really stupid question but what is the difference b/w skill use and skill challenges? (i've only just started but can't get my head around it)
It is my assumtion that
is when someone wants to work out/ do something specific (i.e. i sneak past the guard, hide against the walls, climb etc...)
skill challenge involves using multiple skills to achieve an end goal (i.e. escape the fortified goblin tower - easy i know, but its just an example) (3 successes before 4 failures). The party has to use their skills to help them escape:
Perception - they keep a keen eye open to avoid any bumbling goblin guard patrols
Acrobatics - they jump off the balcony "shinobi style" off the tower onto the ground floor
Diplomacy - they "convince" a patrol to "look the other way"
Bluff - they trick the goblins into believing they are working for their leader
Stealth- Like a halfling bard in a bar fight, they stealth
Dungeoneering- they head in the right direction - outside!
So if this is true and it is what is different about the two types of skill use...
when do i use them?
Does the party know a skill challenge is taking place?
what is an average rate of success to failures? (4:6?)
Thanks for reading!
Ok, so the concept is simple; tens of thousands of years ago, this planet/dimensional plane was used as a high security prison for creatures that found their way into Race X's world/reality. They were brought here and imprisoned (Race X does not believe in killing). The very early dragon born were trained/taught/forced to act as prison guards. The front of the "pit" is the lesser beings and way in the back (heavy security) are the demi gods and bad bad things... Pace of discovery should keep pace with level advancement.
So a large group (conclave) of wizards found it and are starting to dig it out, but found some creatures along the way thus the call for our group of heros. Why the prison creatures are mostly still alive involves matter transfer and crystals... but if opened wrong or poorly it can also lead to conscience transfer and posession... so anyway, enough about me:
Here is where I need help and my lack of experience is evident:
1. What race is a bunch of transdimensional beings that would have this kind of power and either have been alive this long or move through time.
2. Where can I find a list of beings that hop dimensions so I can fill my prison
3. Is there a good book that would have a conclave like the one that found the prison so I can draw on their internal politics?
Anyone have some ideas or places I can look? I am just finishing up their language tonight so I can start marking the maps and buildings.
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