Thursday, March 3, 2011, 3:06 PM
Mar 2, 2011
Session 4(Encounter 4 of 4 of Chapter 1) completed.
After clearing the ruins of Castle Inverness of some nasty critters last session, Brother Splintershield asked us to provide security for he an his acolytes as they conduct a cleansing ritual on the area, to which my eladrin mage and the rest of my group (a human sun priest, a dwarven fighter, an eladrin warlock, and a scout) agreed to without much hesitation.
We may have hesitated more with that decision had the sudden reappearance of the main tower not occurred until after we had agreed. This reappearance rattled everyone. A fairly quick investigation by my party found no entrance to the tower, but no immediate threat seemed apparent. Brother Splintershield was stunned by the tower's existence, but quickly used this surprise to usher us into position while the cleansing ritual was started to help prevent some other surprises.
It didn't take long after start of the ritual for the not quite unexpected to happen. A large contingent of skeletons and zombies approached. Our fighter and scout took action right away. The scout battered a zombie, but received a vicious head-butt for his effort. The fighter quickly downed a skeleton and attempted to attract the attention of the other undead to him, but not altogether successfully. Several skeletons and another zombie assaulted the scout, but he agilely dodged them all. The priest quickly blessed the scout with a healing prayer, while the warlock downed the zombie that had hit the scout. My mage dropped a burst of ice in a group of undead and downed three of the four in that group. The fighter and scout downed what appeared to be the remainder of undead in our area. A quick look about showed that undead were attacking from all sides and the settlers were fighting back. It was no surprise when more undead broke ground around us and our fight was back on.
The gods were with us, as we moved with uncommon synergy (and high rolls). Wave after wave of undead appeared, but were just as quickly sent back into the earth by my group.
Our fighter turned the last skeleton's skull to powder with a solid hit from his hammer and were able to catch our breath. We were still huffing and puffing when a gasp from one of Splintershield's acolytes drew our attention to a ghostly figure walking up the main road towards the ruins. It stopped just outside the area blessed by Splintershield and bellowed his wrath at being denied entrance to his tower. He demanded the life of the person responsible, but our unwillingness to turn over Splintershield and generally "unhelpful" demeanor eventually turned away the ghost, who's name was something-or-other Vladistone. He parted with a threat. He wanted to see how smug we were when faced by the march of the Phantom Brigade.
Spintershield awarded my group a couple magical items for our efforts and we settled down for some rest with thoughts on how to best deal with the apparently forthcoming ghostly siege.
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 7:28 AM
Feb 23, 2011
Session 3(Encounter 3 of 4 of Chapter 1) completed.
We've finally reached the site of the former Castle Inverness. Only a shell of the outer wall and it's towers remaind with a bit of rubble indicating one-time location of the infamous tower.
Me, a mage of the school of enchantment, and my fellow three adventurers a dwarven fighter, a dragonborn hexblade, and a half-orc thief were asked by the dwarven priest Splintershield to scout and clear the ruins while the priest prepared to bless the area.
The thief attempted to sneak into the ruins but being followed so closely behind by a dwarf in armor who made no attempt at stlealth probably didn't do him any favors.
Crossing through the gate the party was gripped by an uneasy feeling, but we proceeded to examine the perimeter and the towers, to be followed by a check of the central area.
The first tower was empty of everything but rubble and we quickly moved to the next tower notable by having a small fountain just outside of it.
The dwarf not-so-cautiously approached the tower with an approach that took him by the fountain. Lucky for me, my sharp eyes caught the movement of two of the nastiest piles of goo I have ever seen before they got to touch the fighter.
We settled into our combat stances and fought hard. The fighter hit one, but caught the brunt of two very nasty strikes, one from each of the snots-with-attitude. The thief and the hexblade put nasty hits on one of the globs while I tried to influence the other that there was something more interesting in the tower to eat. After another good hit, one of the slimey piles split into two and things were looking grim. The dwarf was dealing with a nasty ongoing acidic burn and fell unconscious. Focused fire from the hexblade and thief took out one of the slightly smaller slimes, while I finally convinced the bigger, relatively undamaged one to look in the tower. With that one occupied for a bit, the other small goo was taken down by the others, while I aided in the revival of our dwarven friend. At this point, it became an all out attack on the remaining slime or slimes as it also split into two in response to our attacks. In the end, we prevailed.
While the dwarf drank from the now clean water in the fountain, I noticed a glimmering. An amulet of health as it turns out! The fighter was awarded this upon determining that he would most likely benefit from its use, and in turn save our hides in any future conflicts.
The rest of the search and clearing was mostly uneventful. We returned to the caravan to receive the thanks from Splintershield. I still don't much care for the idea of settling on the site of this castle, but maybe that unease I felt on entering its grounds and the battle with the slimes has me rattled.
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 6:53 AM
Feb 16, 2011
Session 2(Encounter 2 of 4 of Chapter 1) completed.
My adventuring group was assigned to accompany an elven mage into the nearby forest so that she could gather some herbs and components that she felt she would need once the settlers reached their destination.
While she gathered, we chatted with her a bit about the settlement destination which she believes will not be hazardous (yeah, right.) She actually found what appeared to be a magic orb, but this was not useful to anyone in our group. More gold later, I guess.
My mage noticed some rustling in the bushes moments before we were set upon by five drakes (two guard, three spitters) that I noticed had been branded in a manner consistent with them having once belonged to some merchant in the Nentir Vale. Apparently they had become feral and combat was on.
Lacking a heavily armored defender, the battle was difficult. Attempts to exploit the training the drakes had likely once received resulted in a slightly less aggresive attack from one of the green scaled guard drakes, but attempts to curb the other drakes viciousness failed miserably. In the end, one of our scouts was dead beyond our ability to save, another scout and our priest spent a significant about of time unconscious, and the warlock, yet another scout, and my mage were exhausted while the drakes were dead.
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 6:47 AM
Feb 9, 2011
Session 1 (Encounter 1 of 4 of Chapter 1) completed. My adventuring group, which consisted of two warlocks, two scouts, a sun warpriest, and my enchanter escorted settlers caravan partway to the site of the future settlement. We were slightly delayed until our group settled an argument between the caravan leader and the second in command about the path to take.
Upon reaching a small stream, we were set upon by a flock of stirges. Though we fought valiantly, we did lose a settler to unfortunately critical strike by one of the striges. In the end, our scouts were bloodied, but the remainder of the settlers and the horses were safe.
Next week we continue to the settlement site, which we are told is over the ruins of Castle Inverness. Sounds safe enough. What could possibly go wrong?
Sunday, September 20, 2009, 10:53 AM
Well, yesterday was my first attempt at DMing a public session of an RPGA Living Forgotten Realms adventure. I'm happy to say that it went very well.
I got to the event location early to set up and already had a couple of experienced players waiting for me. During set-up, two more people (who were also new to 4e) expressed interest in joining. We got them seated and one player generated a new character quickly while the other used one of the pre-gen characters I had on-hand for just such an occasion. Gotta love that Character Builder app for making characters so quick and easy to do. While we waited for the one player to throw together his character, two more players stepped up asking to play. One experienced in 4e, the other not, but both had characters ready to go. This gave me a full table of six. Three of which were new to 4e and LFR!
The adventure (Core 1-1 Inheritance) started of with a series of role-play/skill-challenge encounters. I think I pulled off a pretty good series of encounters while not making the skill challenge a boring dice-fest. Everyone seemed to enjoy those parts, so I count that as a success on my part.
The latter half of the adventure is mostly combat oriented. The players worked to gether very well. They managed to handle the creatures/traps thrown at them while efficiently spreading the damage around. I think only two, maybe three, of the players ever got into near death situations. I was less effective making the combat as dramatic as I was during the earlier encounters, but the players were still having fun. I still want to work on my building of drama during combat though.
In the end, the adventure was successfully completed by the players. The players told me I did a good job and the new players were really excited about 4e and LFR and couldn't wait to play again. I think that was the most rewarding part. It's good to know that I was at least a part of sparking someone's interest in D&D/LFR.
I'm looking forward to my next session... whenever that might be....
Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 7:24 AM
Well, I've finally gone and done it. I've committed myself to running a Living Forgotten Realms adventure at a local D&D meetup group meeting. I have to say I'm a bit nervous, since I've only DM'd once in the last 15+ years and that was for a group of my friends just before Gen Con this year. That went moderately well, but running an adventure for a group of people I don't know ups the pressure to do a good job. I don't want to give some possible new players to 4e and to the RPGA a negative impression. I know 4e has a bad rep in some role-play circles, but after a neutral start it's grown on me, especially after having been through some adventures with some excellent DMs. It would be nice to be the hook that reels in some new players to the game.
I'm hoping that my singular DMing experience a few weeks ago helps me out. I'm taken some steps to help keep myself organized, which I think is my biggest challenge in addition to time management. So in preparation for this upcoming adventure, I'm:
- Going to predraw the needed maps (at least the visible starting areas)
- Going to use the nifty new initiative tracker I picked up at Gen Con.
- Buying some of those itty-bitty 6-sided dice to label groups of identical NPCs miniatures during combat.
- Printing off the NPC stat blocks for easy reference during the adventure.
- Reading the adventure and trying to right down some ideas, just in case the players do something completely unaccounted for in the adventure.
Time management during the one adventure I ran was poor, so I'm hoping that predrawing the maps and a little more nudging the adventurers during skill challenges will move the game along at a brisker pace. The last adventure I ran went into overtime.
I saw several DMs using this initiative tracker by Game Mastery during sessions at Gen Con. It looked like a neat system, so I picked one up and will try using it during my next game. I tried a couple methods during the last game I ran, but neither felt like good solutions for me, so hopefully this initiative tracker is my savior.
The mini 6-sided dice I saw being used during a dungeon delve. I thought it was a nice way to label the miniatures in a non-permanent way. Using combinations of die color and number it seems easy to keep track of which NPC is which during combat when dealing with several of the same creature type. I hope it works as well in practice for me. During the last adventure I ran, the combat had 7-8 identical non-minion NPCs and tracking hit points was tough.
Having the NPC stat blocks printed off outside the module just make it easy to reference during combat.
My friends did some pretty unexpected things during a skill challenge in my last adventure. I came up with some stuff on the fly, but I wasn't really satisfied with my solutions, so I'm hoping I can keep the adventure moving if I flesh out the skill challenge parts a bit.
I had a pretty good time running an adventure for my friends, so I hope to hone my DM skills with an occasional DMing session to the point I feel confident enough to attempt DMing a couple slots at Gen Con next year.
My fingers are crossed.