Thursday, September 25, 2008

D&D session 2

The second session, and I am already forgetting to prepare ahead of time. Well, no surprise there. Turns out that one of the players that actually made it to the first session was out of town and neglected to tell me, but I eventually talked to him on the phone and he said he didn't care if someone else used his character. The two players that missed the first session had another birthday party to go to, so they were gone as well. Down to two players (Kami and Ky). After watching back to the future part two (and getting a phone call saying we could use his character) we decide to play a quick encounter before it gets too late. When we left our heroes there were making plans to visit a boy who had claimed he had seen the kobold cave. I quickly doodled a map on some graph paper I had handy, and have them place themselves on the map

Our heroes leave the town, passing many farms on their way to the home of the child that they heard had made claims that he had seen the kobold's cave. While passing through the farmland, Rameus enlists Nieen's help to distract Aiur, so that he can swipe a few ears of corn for later. As they neared their destination, they noticed a pillar of smoke by the farm and hurried to see what had caused it.

Don't worry, the farmers are fine, I just wanted to get the players to get into the game a bit more. I don't think it worked, but it was worth a shot. Also, when you miss a session (and your character has been introduced) the other players get to make suggestions as to what you do, like stealing corn.

As they get to the farm, they realize that the smoke was from a bonfire that a woman and her two children were cooking dinner over. The two children notice them first, the girl hides behind her mother and the boy watches them curiously. The mother walks up to the adventurers and asks them if she can help them, Nieen tells her that they have heard rumors that the boy had seen the kobold cave. She tells them that he had just made up the story to impress the older kids, but his story had some inconsistencies and the other kids exposed that he had made it up. Aiur introduces the group and politely asks that he can speak with the boy. The woman introduces herself as Caitlyn Greywalls, and her children as Abby, and Eddy. She calls Eddy over to talk to them and he excitedly greets them.

Actually, I have very little recollection of the names I used, I didn't even give the daughter a name, but I am fairly sure the boy's was Eddy... or Edward... or something like that. so these name are the ones I made up, but they are now cannon! Since this place was not actually in the pre-made adventure, I had to make it all up myself. Oh, and it worries me how well I can play the character of a little boy.

Eddy's over excitement made it difficult for Aiur to get any information from him, so he promised that if he would answer Aiur's questions truthfully that he would answer Eddy's questions afterward. Eddy agreed to this and told Aiur about telling the older kids that he had seen the kobold cave and how they had caught him. Thinking that maybe Eddy would talk more freely without his mother there Nieen pulled her aside while Aiur continued his conversation. Aiur ask him about where the kobold camp was supposed to be and how Eddy would take care of the problem. Eddy tells about the rumors that just about everyone has heard and then goes into explaining how he would gather several adventurers and take the kobolds out. Nieen Asks Caitlyn about the kobold camp, and if there is anyone who would know how to find it, Caitlyn tells her that nobody knows exactly where it is, but she has heard of a dwarf who may have been there. A dwarf sorcerer named Firebeard. During this whole time, Rameus has been entertaining Abby, and himself, by making shapes in the bonfire smoke with his magic.

As this is going on, in between acting like a little kid and trying to get my players to STOP MAKING TOWERS THEIR DICE, I occasionally roll my D20. Not for any specific reason. I just feel like rolling it as if it will tell me how soon the next event happens. To be honest though, I just got tired of acting as the Greywalls. The Firebeard character is someone I plan to introduce later... sort of as a GMPC. Oh, and the best line ever: Caitlyn: "They say he is a sorcerer..." Nieen: "Why do they say that?" Caitlyn: *slight pause* "Because he is a sorcerer."

Suddenly, several kobolds jump out of the corn field, but stop because they did not expect to see any adventurers, except for a black scaled kobold who came out of the corn field a little further down and did not notice them. Caitlyn yells at her children to go inside, and follows them in as our heroes ready their weapons. Aiur wastes no time in using his acid breath attack on two kobolds who manage to dodge out of the way, leaving them vulnerable to Rameus's fire magic. Nieen attacks while doing her best to stay close to Aiur, having learned her lesson from the last battle. The black scaled kobold has yet to notice the battle and is actively chasing a chicken as his group tries to attack the adventurers, with not much luck.

You may notice that the account of this battle is not as detailed as the previous one, I took longer to get around to writing it down and the session was started later which may have kept me from remembering it as well. It went well though, felt to me that it was too easy, so I threw in a second wave. Heh heh heh...

The kobolds were quickly falling, and when only the black scaled kobold and the strongest of the group remained, the strongest called out to the black scaled kobold for help, calling him Dak Ness. Dak finally noticed the battle and joined it as another group of kobolds jumped out of the corn field. The heroes fought on, finishing off the leader from the first group and the weaker kobolds from the second group. Rameus hits Dak with a magic missile with enough force to cause him to go flying into the distance. As their numbers dwindle the leader of the second group flees into the corn field, followed by Aiur. Nieen finishes off the last of the weaker kobolds and moves towards the corn field to help Aiur, but the kobold runs back out of the corn field, expecting to surprise Aiur. What he doesn't expect is Nieen's staff hitting him on the head, finishing him off.

It's kinda shortened, but that is at least the highlights of the battle. when Dak Ness gets hit by the magic missile Aiur's player, Kami, makes a comment about how the kobold's name must be darkness, referencing the Dead Alewives skit "dungeons and dragons." I could not resist telling them that the kobold had black scales and was named Dak Ness (so I kinda retconed that information in), but I like having my players feel like they are adding to the world somehow. That and I realized that he would help develop another character I was planning on introducing.

After the battle, the heroes gathered the weapons from the kobolds, throwing the spears into the bonfire, and giving the two short swords to Caitlyn. She thanks them and tells them that she has no way of repaying them for defending their farm, but our heroes would not have accepted a reward. They walk back to town to plan their attack on the kobold cave and try to find some information on the mysterious dwarf, Firebeard.

And so it was getting late, we called it a night.

Little known fact (AKA, I just thought of it), but the Greywalls are actually the descendants of the original builders of the walls around Winterhaven, and part of the family works to keep the wall in good shape. When they need extra help, they call the extended family to come in, which is where Caitlyn's husband was at the time of the attack.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

just a quick post....

I got a terribly silly idea...

If you were to get shrunk and put into someone's body in a fantasy world, would you fight hemogoblins and hellcatalase?

It's so bad, but I cant help finding it funny... XD

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Premade adventure and minions

Originally I was going to make my own adventure to put my friends through, but then I realized that when I try creating a world I tend to go overboard. Way overboard. From what I had so far, the characters would: make a treaty with the kobolds, help them in their war with the goblins, and eventually they would fight the world's ultimate evil: Gnomes. Despite all the improvements 4th edition made to DMing, I still felt like this was going to be a monumental task... So I decided I would use a pre-made adventure.

The first adventure, H1 Keep on the Shadowfell, was released before the core rulebooks (The Dungeon master's Guide, the monster manual, and the player's handbook) and had a shortened rule book, which helps since I haven't been able to save up enough to get all the books yet. The adventure has all that you need to get the characters (premade ones that come with the adventure or ones that the players made themselves) from the first level to the third. Monsters, their tactics, and their items are all described, and maps for the encounters are included. To think I was going to do all that work by myself.

The 4th edition comes with plenty of content to place into your own adventure, but for a new GM like myself, I recommend using the premade adventure. Everything may be there already, but that does not mean I have to stick to it exactly, why call them cultists when "death eaters" always gives the players a quick laugh? Considering that the players in my group are split into two groups right now, it seems I may get to get a bit creative. Monsters need to beware Moblin Firebeard, the dwarf sorcerer, an NPC not included in any premade adventure.

Now that I have played through a session as DM, not that we got very far, I have found my favorite thing about 4th edition: Minions. Minions are exactly what they sound like, cannon fodder. They take one hit to dispatch, making them useful to fill an encounter while not making the enemy force too powerful. they are so easy to kill, in fact, that they probably don't like to go out on windy days, for fear of their lives. To really put it into perspective, remember the putty patrol from the original Power Rangers? Those are 4th edition minions. One hit and they are gone.

My only problem with them is that some of their attacks have set values, so how does that work with the new critical damage system? Normally you would use the maximum value of the dice you would roll and use that as damage, but it doesn't really make much difference when it it just a 4 damage hit. It broke my heart to have to tell that poor little kobold that his critical hit did normal damage... I'll give him a magic item or something to make up for it when he comes back to fight during the next session.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

D&D session 1

I have done it.

I have achieved geek greatness.

I am... a Dungeon Master!

After wrangling as many of my friends as I could get to sit down for long enough (with promises of pizza and caffeine) I began my second attempt (We don't talk about the first attempt...) to create an adventure that the players will be proud to say they were apart of. well, not so much create, since I am using a premade adventure, but you get what I mean. Unfortunately two of the players called to say they couldn't make it at the last minute, two more seemed like they were never going to show up, and I started getting nervous. Eventually the two late members showed up- I only had three players, yet we still forged onward.

I seated my players at our table, a wizard, a paladin, and a cleric. The one playing the wizard is a D&D veteran, but was new to 4Th edition, the Paladin and cleric both were playing for the first time. Looking at the adventure book, The Keep on the Shadowfell, I started to explain the hook, and since I had the players meet previously to develop some character relationships it became quite simple to pull them into my (mildly) twisted vision of this fantasy world...

Nieen Featherflight (the human cleric of Melora), has been given a quest to investigate the rumors of a cult near the town of Winterhaven by the church of Melora. She enlisted the help of an old family friend, Aiur (the dragonborn paladin of Bahamut) as her guardian. Along the way they met a wizard friend of Aiur's named Rameus Yusef who joined them on the quest.

It did not occur to me until part way through the first encounter that there were only 3 members in the party in an adventure made for a 6 member party, and that I should have nerfed the encounter. By then it was too late and I did my best to keep it fun without letting the monsters overpower them on their first encounter, and I had to get creative. I described the enemies as it says in the adventure book, but unable to control their meta-gaming, they all said, “oh, kobolds,” and thus began the first battle.

When nearing the town of Winterhaven, the trio was ambushed by a large group of kobolds. In her inexperience, Nieen rushed into the attacking kobolds, but was quickly rescued by Aiur who torched several of the attackers with his dragon breath. Despite this their numbers began to overwhelm the paladin. Rameus conjured a pillar of flame on the kobolds, but that was not enough to deter them from their attack. The kobolds were able to knock out Aiur, causing Nieen to go into a panic trying to revive him while Rameus kept the kobolds at bay with his flames. Nieen thanked Melora as she pulled Aiur back to consciousness, but that small victory was short lived as he soon fell again to their attackers. Rameus then had a "Magical dysfunction" and all he could manage was sparks from his fingertips, which luckily set a pair of kobolds into fits of laughter giving him and Nieen a chance to strategically fall back.

I said I had to get creative, I never said I was good at it. The players seemed to find it believable... or at least they seemed to appreciate it.

The kobolds laughter made them prime targets for Rameus's next attempt to conjure fire, which made them a good deal crispier. One of them managed to survive and charged in a fiery rage (excuse the pun). Before the angry kobold made it to our heroes, Nieen was able to call upon her spirit guardian to distract and then attack the kobold. After they finished off the last of the kobolds, Nieen tended to Aiur's wounds and the group looted the kobold's weapons and continued to town.

Phew... I think I was as relieved as them when that battle was over, but I did my best not to show it. They went to the town and what was their first order of business? Selling the unwanted loot. Typical.

After resting and recovering their strength, the group went to the local blacksmith to talk him into giving them gold for the junk they had found, Aiur sweet talked him into a good price for two short swords, but he told them that he had no interest in buying kobold made spears. He directed them to an old man that hangs out at the tavern called Eilian the old, who was a bit eccentric and took an interest in the kobold spears, happily buying them. Since most of the locals tend to avoid Eilian due to his eccentricities, the barmaid gave them a round of drinks for spending some time with him. Rameus gave his to Aiur, due to trust issues, and Aiur gladly quaffed the two drinks. While enjoying their drinks, they asked the barmaid if she had heard anything about the cults in the area, she told them that she seriously doubted it, and eventually directed them to the town lord, named Ernest Padraig, at his manor across the small town. They asked him about the cult rumors, but he simply laughed it off, not thinking it would even be possible. Since they were already in town they asked him if there was anything for them to do. Padraig told them about the recent kobold attacks and asked them to take care of the problem at its roots- the kobold's lair. He gave them a map of the area and points out a general area where the lair is believed to be. The group asked if they could get a guide, and Padraig told them of an elf hunter at the tavern that might be able to help them.

They went back to the tavern and met Ninaran, who, despite her knowledge of the area seemed unwilling to talk to them, much less guide them. After a short conversation, they met and talked to an elderly chap named Valthrun the Prescient. He seemed knowledgeable about the history of the town so they asked him about the cult, he said it seemed to be quite unlikely, but told them of cults of the town's past, one small one and a larger one about two hundred years ago who called themselves "The Death Eaters". Then they asked him about finding a guide and he told them that the local youths knew the area well and if they could find a thrill seeker they could try to hire him as a guide, but would rather they didn't for fear of the youth's safety. After talking to some of the younger members of the town they hear of a boy who claims to have seen the kobold's cave. They rested for the night, and made plans for visiting this boy in the morning.

I was disappointed that they didn't make it to the second encounter. Considering that the first one took two hours due to everyone getting used to their characters, we all decided it was time to call it a night. Later, after thinking about it, I realized that some of the players were not quite using their characters to their full potential. After kicking myself for not helping them while we were playing, I decided I need to try to help them find some way to organize their powers and show them which are minor actions instead of standard. Over all, everyone said they enjoyed it and I managed to pull it off better than I expected to.

I plan to get my other two players (a rouge and a warlock) caught up with a small encounter sometime before the next session, then pull the two adventures together. Hopefully that wont be too hard to manage. I'll post their misadventures as soon as I can.Oh, and just a side note: The best part of DMing was making thing up as I went. I know I mispronounced at least one NPC's name, forgot some things that another NPC was supposed to say, but the things I did do on purpose were the best part of the game. During the fight, there was a kobold with a sling, he tried to make a shot with it over a character's head and one player pointed out that the shot was not physically possible, the roll was really low anyway so I told them that the kobold suddenly remembered about physics and launched the bullet right at the ground. The kobold was also unlucky enough to crit-fail when using a fire pot and dropped it on himself, burning himself for a few rounds. heh heh heh... well, next session the battles will be more balanced so I can do better at being the Monsters.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Post Zero

Hello everyone!
Welcome to my blog. I plan to write out a lot of my ideas here including:
Stories for my fantasy setting (don't ask, your happier not knowing about all the overly complicated systems put into play while setting up this setting.)
Stories for my superhero setting (not a typical one, i think so anyway)
Random ideas!
Tales of my D&D group (expect an update for that fairly soon)
Ideas involving my secret building project.
Whatever else I think of.

If you are here to read about whats going on in my life, don't bother. You shall find none of that here.