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Brickroad
06-30-2008, 11:43 AM
I have no idea what subforum D&D shit goes in, so I dropped this next to the main 4E topic.

Here's the rub: we're all going to be running some D&D, right? And it's always rough writing adventures because, hell, where are all those ideas going to come from?

I propose, therefore, we use this topic to discuss ongoing games, share adventure logs and notes, and then steal shamelessly from each other with reckless and wild abandon. I mean really, if our gaming groups don't visit ol' Talking Time, who's gonna know right?

And hey, if you're not a DM, let us know what your DM did to you that was particularly cruel and/or unusual, because some of us want to steal that too.

The first adventure I'm planning is basically a good system warm-up; a little combat, a little skill challenge, a little dungeon... nothing too major. I'm running on Friday, so I'll be back on Saturday to let you guys know what worked and what didn't, and whether I've got anything worth stealing.

shivam
06-30-2008, 11:52 AM
I've been running Keep on the Shadowfell for the past few weeks while my friends and i get a handle on the game. I'm really disappointed at how little roleplaying there is in the mod. it's all just standard 1st ed killing and looting.

I'm writing in some more interactive parts for the next session.

Rosencrantz
06-30-2008, 12:02 PM
Oh hell yes. I could use some help, actually. Tonight is my weekly session and I haven't had a chance to write up and stuff for it yet. Even worse, I'm mostly busy until about three hours before the game starts. Let's see if I can give a very brief summary of where I'm at:

The players wanted to reach a castle-city in the middle of a huge lake, but the ferries from the mainland were all mysteriously closed down. They broke into one of the ferry buildings and commandeered one of the boats and took it there since they were on fairly urgent business (and they were getting sick of me making it more and more difficult to reach this place). Immediately upon arrival, they are surrounded by soldiers... but not the soldiers from this castle, or even this kingdom, but soldiers from another country altogether. (The idea is that this army is slowly taking over the world.) I don't want my characters to start attacking them all in a futile attempt.

I don't have my notes from my last session up there yet, but most of our stuff can be found on our campaign wiki (http://bofrpg.pbwiki.com).

Brickroad
06-30-2008, 12:06 PM
The beginning of my game is: the PCs are all part of a mercenary army (they named their unit Alpha Wolf Awesome) that some imperial asshole is using to invade a neighboring kingdom. The game will open with them having just been routed by the defending army, their commanding officer mortally wounded, and they have to escape into the countryside or be hunted down and killed.

Then of course they stumble upon a sleepy little village and ALE AND WHORES or whatever it is D&D people do with themselves. Gooood times.

First two encounters of the game are going to be 1) combat with some advance enemy scouts who notice their colors and intend to kill them, and then 2) skill challenge involving wilderness survival and keeping their CO alive long enough to get him to a safety.

I've got some vague ideas for a wizard's tower or some nonsense too, not really sure what to do with them yet.

Red Hedgehog
06-30-2008, 01:24 PM
This is an awesome idea. It makes me long for having a regular group for playing D&D with. As is, I'll probably get to play 2 or 3 times in a two week period this summer and that's it. :(

Cyrael
06-30-2008, 01:30 PM
My campaign wiki. (http://saraqenknight.pbwiki.com/) Not a whole lot of recent info is there.

Some of the world building stuff is there, along with a timeline that I've used in all my D&D campaigns for about 13 years.

I will usually just come up with something that sounds fun, and then use some pre-printed adventures to round out. A few favorites were:

Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
City of Brass

shivam
06-30-2008, 01:34 PM
nine times out of ten, i'm running dragonlance. I know, everyone is surprised, right?

My current campaign idea is alternate real world around the time of the persian empire and the rise of the mongols. Basically, the PCs are secret forces of the Shah, and are fighting supernatural forces that seek to derail the empire, including things like golems in jerusalem, efreet and djinni in arabia, and so on and so forth, all in the greater context of the invasion of the mongol hordes.

And the catch is that every religion and myth and folktale is verifiably real, but only if you're attuned to it, so normals can't see anything.

poetfox
06-30-2008, 01:44 PM
So I will share my ideas thus far, but keep in mind, based on how my friends work, we're going, um... combat heavy, as opposed to roleplay heavy. I even ordered one of those little gripmap things... heh.

So they're all in town with name I haven't made up yet for reasons they haven't told me yet, probably drinking themselves to oblivion. Then we have a medical emergency! It seems that a caravan has been totally wiped out, by, um, evil! Evil Necromancerish types. And by a barn. And all that's left is this one cleric who is totally injured. Like... two legs broken kind of injured. The main problem, though, is that one of the people in the caravan who died was King <InsertNameHere>'s son... the cleric type did that ritual to protect him from being made into undead and able to be raised for awhile, but there's no way the king is going to get troops out here to retrieve him in time, and obviously the cleric can't do it. So he, you know, hires the most likely group in town to get the corpse and get out of there, which would be all the PCs. Hopefully.

And then there's a Barn with a secret basement and some fighting and then I assume, if I want to keep it rolling, I could have the cleric taken out by the time they get back with the prince's body and then it's all crazy... get the corpse to the castle stuff. Yep. Corpsetastic.

Oh hell yes. I could use some help, actually. Tonight is my weekly session and I haven't had a chance to write up and stuff for it yet. Even worse, I'm mostly busy until about three hours before the game starts. Let's see if I can give a very brief summary of where I'm at:

The players wanted to reach a castle-city in the middle of a huge lake, but the ferries from the mainland were all mysteriously closed down. They broke into one of the ferry buildings and commandeered one of the boats and took it there since they were on fairly urgent business (and they were getting sick of me making it more and more difficult to reach this place). Immediately upon arrival, they are surrounded by soldiers... but not the soldiers from this castle, or even this kingdom, but soldiers from another country altogether. (The idea is that this army is slowly taking over the world.) I don't want my characters to start attacking them all in a futile attempt.
That really seems hard to do without... you know... taking all the power away from the players, doesn't it? I mean, I guess, you could have these guys VERY HEAVILY attempt to diplomatize and get them to go to the jail or whatnot peacefully, but...

Gredlen
06-30-2008, 02:15 PM
problem

Well, it all depends on where you want to go from there. I think a decent solution to this problem might be to have a relatively sympathetic character leading that group of soldiers. I don't know what kind of characters your group is playing, but as long as they're not evil, that should dissuade them from attacking. Like poetfox said, have them try to diplomatize, convince the players that they aren't going to do anything bad to them, that sort of thing.

Red Hedgehog
06-30-2008, 02:16 PM
That really seems hard to do without... you know... taking all the power away from the players, doesn't it? I mean, I guess, you could have these guys VERY HEAVILY attempt to diplomatize and get them to go to the jail or whatnot peacefully, but...

Yeah, I had a similar issue once, where I tried to make it immediately obvious that a huge platoon of soldiers that the PCs would have no chance against were coming for them and that they should get the heck out of there, but instead they just stood around waiting for the fight, apparently thinking that just because they're the the good guys they should be able to win any fight they might get in.

I solved it with a little NPC ex machina. Originally I had planned to have the NPC who hired them betray them. He claimed he needed their help to free an unjustly imprisoned political prisoner in this city. Knowing an underground entrance, he led them into it. In a pitched battle with kobolds, the NPC ran after one and away from the party, never to return. After that battle, as the PCs attempted to follow him, he was in the city freeing a completely justly prisoned bad guy (and thus this could provide a hook for further adventures with the party getting their revenge on him). He was then going to indicate the jailbreakers had escaped underneath the city so the guards would run into the PCs and think they were responsible while he and his cohort slipped out in broad daylight.

As the PCs got directly underneath the city, I attempted to make this very obvious that the town militia was coming after them. They heard a loud alarm go off. They heard guards yelling that the prisoner had escaped. They heard a guard yell that he escaped underground. They heard a guard yelling to send every last soldier after them as this prisoner could not be allowed to escape. Still, the PCs just kind of stood around. So finally, I had the NPC not totally betray them. Instead of escaping out the city, he and his friend ran by past the PCs and advised them that they may want to run if they didn't want to get captured and beaten by the town guard. That finally got them moving.

Brickroad
06-30-2008, 02:23 PM
You guys are much nicer than me. I'd have just gone ahead with the combat, even if they have no choice of winning. After a few severe wounds they'll know their goose is cooked, and surrender.

Seriously, part of diffusing situations like this, where the PCs feel invincible, is to show the players that the PCs ARE NOT invincible. If you've been dealing with these players for a long time and they've become complacent, you could try retraining them. Explain that their characters no longer have plot immunity before the session starts, and dare them to call you a liar. Then, stick to the rules for death and dying. Once the first PC eats it, the rest will fall into line.

Now I'm not saying be a dick and kill characters you don't like, just that the games are more fun when there's that element of risk. If the PCs feel that there's nothing they can't beat into submission, sending a contingent of guards down their throats might be exactly what they need.

Red Hedgehog
06-30-2008, 02:49 PM
You guys are much nicer than me. I'd have just gone ahead with the combat, even if they have no choice of winning. After a few severe wounds they'll know their goose is cooked, and surrender.

Seriously, part of diffusing situations like this, where the PCs feel invincible, is to show the players that the PCs ARE NOT invincible. If you've been dealing with these players for a long time and they've become complacent, you could try retraining them. Explain that their characters no longer have plot immunity before the session starts, and dare them to call you a liar. Then, stick to the rules for death and dying. Once the first PC eats it, the rest will fall into line.

Now I'm not saying be a dick and kill characters you don't like, just that the games are more fun when there's that element of risk. If the PCs feel that there's nothing they can't beat into submission, sending a contingent of guards down their throats might be exactly what they need.

Well, they still could have chosen to stay and fight. I think I felt it was more my fault for not making them realize the gravity of the situation so that's why I gave them an extra nudge. I actually started to formulate what might happen if they had fought and, largely, gotten captured - if there was a way to move their adventure in that direction.

But... this was sort of an situation I was DMing where most of these people were first time players and I likely would only have a few sessions with them.

Rosencrantz
06-30-2008, 04:20 PM
Thanks for the tips! I have sort of an idea now: the enemy army will surround them, but the Captain of the Guard for the kingdom they are currently in will step forward and escort them away. I'm thinking that he might lock them in a cell, but give them special instructions to break free and go through some hidden catacombs or some other cliché so that they can help him with a secret mission in the castle. (In the previous session, they saved a woman from a swamp serpent - she'll be the Captain's wife or sister, so he'll trust them.) The catacombs/hidden passages/whatever will give me an excuse to throw monsters at 'em.

I only have two players currently. One of them is TOTALLY the problem-solver type - he thinks up solutions, tries talking to everyone, and goes for the diplomatic approach above all. The other player, however, is what the PHB calls the "power gamer", and he is all about combat and using his abilities. He tends to kick back during the non-combat segments and let the other player handle things, and then during combat he's always rushing me to move it along so everyone gets their turns faster. It's been a little tough balancing this out so that they're both happy, and since this is my first time DMing, I don't think I'm doing a good enough job for at least one of them.

shivam
06-30-2008, 04:24 PM
What you should do--

"You commandeer the boat and cross over to the island. Upon arriving, you find yourself surrounded by soldiers. <have them roll perception or history check>

<pass> Unfortunately, as you stare at the legions milling about you, you realise that their insignias are not of this castle, or of any of the neighboring nations. It slowly dawns on you that this is the army of $foreign land. A tall man with what seems to be a badge or insignia of some sort comes up to you and asks your business here.

You hear the click of crossbows being loaded. What do you do?"

<fail> You look around and have no idea who these guys are or where they are from. A soldier with a bit more of a commanding presence comes before you, flanked by two halberd wielding guards.

What do you do?"

Rosencrantz
06-30-2008, 04:33 PM
That's a cool idea. However, one of the characters already knows about this new army - it's part of his backstory. The other character, however, has no idea. I'll see tonight if Character 1 decides to inform Character 2.

shivam
06-30-2008, 04:37 PM
There are a lot of ways to make a player feel like he has choice, even though you're railroading them. The key is to mask that there is one right answer, and to always have a secondary way out. But remember, they're not invincible, and you don't have to baby them. If they die, roll a new one.

The important thing is to always leave a way out, and be willing to adapt your story on the fly, and most important, never let your players feel like they're just watching the story go by like a theme park ride. they should always feel like they're the focus.

Rosencrantz
06-30-2008, 04:48 PM
The important thing is to always leave a way out, and be willing to adapt your story on the fly, and most important, never let your players feel like they're just watching the story go by like a theme park ride. they should always feel like they're the focus.

You're very right. Some of our best sessions have been the ones where I didn't have anything planned and I just ad-libbed it, taking cues from the characters, whereas some of the more boring sessions are when they're trying to figure out what I wanted them to do.

Actually, now that I think about it... The ad-libbing works best when they're in a town or something and they can talk to people or just do whatever they want, and I can work with that. However, we recently ad-libbed a section where they did a lot of traveling and it was a lot harder coming up with encounters on the fly. There was one amusing bit where I had them reach a huge waterfall (they were at the bottom of the cliff) and they found a cave with a tunnel leading to the top, designed for travelers. I couldn't think of anything interesting (and didn't want to have a monster pop out for no reason), so they just ended up walking through an empty tunnel, relaxing. I even turned on some lighthearted VG music and they just sort of whistled along and had a good time.

Ample Vigour
06-30-2008, 08:31 PM
So many DMs! I feel as though I have come home.

EDITS:

World
In honor of Gary Gygax, I'm building a sandbox campaign world for the PCs to tromp about in. I'll feed them balanced encounters because that's where the fun is, but if they go knocking on the doors of the big badasses of the world, they'll find themselves in situations where they have to talk fast or die.

I've been using the WFRP book Renegade Crowns, which has the best map generation system I've ever encountered. You build geography, ruins, cities and (if you like) even monster populations with the d100 and d10 tables inside. (I recommend it to anyone who ever has to fill out a 30-mile hex the afternoon before a game.) Thanks to that, I've managed to stitch together a couple of city states, some cattle ranches (quite a few, in fact; it seems that mounted archers playing cowboy will make up most of the friendly NPCs,) deep forests, forbidding mountains and even a standard-issue wasteland.

Right now I'm wrestling with issues of scale (just how big are those map squares gonna be?) and population. The Points of Light setting seems to do very well with small settlements surrounded by oceans of raiding beasts, and I don't want to mess things up by packing in the peasants nuts to butts.

Bad Guys

This is where I'm going hog wild. First up are the sneak thieves run by Wererats (I think it best to lead off with the classics.) Then the PCs can start working on the Gnoll tribes in the forests or work their way up into the Dorf Fortresses full of Orcs and Goblinoids.

After the PCs have a few levels and some kickin rad magic items, I think they'll be ready to handle a Halfling protection racket run by their Black Dragon boss. I want to run that acid-spitting SOB as either Frank Costello or Daniel Plainview, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

If the game sticks around long enough to use up the stuff on the maps I'll just make more, like in the old days.

dwolfe
06-30-2008, 10:43 PM
nine times out of ten, i'm running dragonlance. I know, everyone is surprised, right?

Wait. What do you do the 10th out of 10 times?

*wishes he were part of your D and D group*

shivam
06-30-2008, 11:01 PM
the tenth time, i run whatever random cool side quest i happen to have in mind. I ran a game set in Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn world once, and a game set in mythic india, and other random things.

Issun
06-30-2008, 11:04 PM
I tried years ago to DM some campaigns, but it always went like this:

Friends: "Why can't we be Ogres with all 18's?

Me: "Fuck you."

It's sad.

Red Hedgehog
07-01-2008, 08:01 AM
World-Building is probably my favorite part of being a DM. I have a world that I've slowly been building up since about 2001. I basically started with the trading town (along a major river) near the edge of human lands that the PCs started in and gradually built out from there, with the human area to the north and east, gnoll tribes and gnome villages to the southeast, dwarven kingdom to the south, and orc hordes to the southwest.

Each time I planned an adventure, I would sketch out more of the region filling in its history, current events, and how it interacts with the lands around it. Other details I left blank to be filled in when the adventurers decided they needed to interact with it (for example, while all the human towns are nominally under the rule of one king, it isn't an iron rule and, especially on the borderlands, they have a degree of independence. But I haven't fleshed out at all the history of the kingdom, the history of the king and his family, etc. because no party has ever ventured into the heart of the kingdom).

*sigh* Now I really miss DMing.

Cyrael
07-01-2008, 09:03 AM
World-Building is probably my favorite part of being a DM.

Secret Punch
07-01-2008, 09:34 AM
I've always been extremely improvisational in my DMing. I usually pick out some traps, design some puzzles, and choose some monsters that will probably be fought at some point in the game, and maybe draw up a loose floor plan for a dungeon and pick out some loot. Most of that ends up severely tweaked when and if I use it, in part because I don't have enough experience to predict what difficulty level / complexity will work for my groups until I'm in the game with them. I prefer that the party always feel as if they might die horribly while they're actually exposed to relatively low levels of risk, and that means that sometimes they find a few potions you never planned on giving them or only fighting one of the xill guards you had planned.

That being said, if I could choose one element of my last aborted game to survive in someone else's, it would be the midlevel villain I had built with some care. He was a paladin, he fought with what was essentially a small pillar, and his mount was a magic living table that could wear several rings. (It was a homebrew variation on the actual 3.5 living furniture.)

Red Hedgehog
07-01-2008, 09:46 AM
My favorite villain I designed was an invisible, levitating wizard that would scamper back and forth along the ceiling summoning monsters to fight the party while they attempted to discern his location.

Brickroad
07-01-2008, 09:53 AM
Okay guys, I'm sitting down today to design this dungeon. It's a wizard's tower. The PCs are sent here to discern the nature of a magical compass they find, and are told the wizard values truthfulness, hates visitors, and is highly eccentric.

Specifically, my players have requested a "good old fashioned campy D&D dungeon" to contrast with the brooding Ravenloft game the other DM guy is running.

I have some cool trap and puzzle ideas for this tower. It's actually a pocket dimension (not really, but that's a good enough description for it without getting into the Planescapeness of it all) so the size inside need not match what it looks like from the outside.

Your suggestions are always welcome! The big boss of the dungeon are going to be some stone guardians which will come to life IF AND ONLY IF the PCs take any of the wizard's property. (He values honesty, you see. But don't worry, upon the quest's completion they'll get good loot regardless of what they do or don't take.)

Traumadore
07-01-2008, 10:16 AM
In my campaign the PCs are from a very small, sedentary hunting and gathering village of about 60 people. There is some mixed agriculture around the village. The campaign is meant to feel remote and lonely. They are in foothills covered in ancient pines with fog and overcast skies as a constant feature. I'm mainly working with the standard D&D cosmology, but interpreted differently. Monsters can be seen as spirits, demihumans are thought to be men who commited some crime against natural order. The planes feature more heavily, and outsiders appear often, and its easy to cross between planes accidentally.

I want the heros to feel lost in a primeival world that is dominated by monsters. Humanoids of all kinds are small and go ignored by the wild powers in the world until the PCs eventually get their attention...

-If people are looking for a fun encounter I just used a large white dragon living in a honeycombed cliff on a mountain peak where he coated all the surfaces with Ice. White dragons can "spiderclimb" on ice, so he can play cat and mouse with the heroes, attacking from the ceiling with breath attacks before retreating with his 200ft flight speed.

The central chamber amongst the tunnels is large and egg-shaped, with difficult terrain on the ground made of boulders and ice stalagmites. It's clear the dragon never walks on the floor here and the ice of the floors and walls have tens of thousands of coins suspended in them making the whole chamber glitter brilliantly when lighted. there is a pillar of ice off-center in this chamber which has the silhouette of a frozen giant in it. The frozen, gnawed-off stump of a giant arm protrudes from the pillar, and observant heroes can spot the giant's bag frozen in with him. The bulk of the dragon's hoard emerges from the ice near the center of the room.

The dragon has been burrowing in the ceiling for the last few minutes and when the players enter his hoard chamber he breaks through the ceiling causing an avalanche of ice before landing and lashing out with full attacks. When he is badly injured he will try to get cover clinging to the far side of the pillar and using breath attacks from there.

I just kept up with the harrassing attacks in the tunnels until the players got a little demoralized (after the third such attack) then the dragon mysteriously disappeared to set up his final ambush. It was a great encounter that the players will remember for a long time, and it took up most of our play session.

They also liked that I played some music this time (a first). It was mostly actiony/suspenseful music from vagrant story and shadow of the colossus.

Edit: if you're playing 3rd edition it's probably best to choose a dragon 1 CR above the party, or 2 CR above if they have access to spells like protection from evil and resist/endure elements. Just to give you an idea, my party was only 3 people, but they had both of those spells, plus fireballs, and were able to take out a dragon 2CR above them. With a party of five or six you would want an even tougher one.

Ample Vigour
07-01-2008, 10:17 AM
Your suggestions are always welcome! The big boss of the dungeon are going to be some stone guardians which will come to life IF AND ONLY IF the PCs take any of the wizard's property. (He values honesty, you see. But don't worry, upon the quest's completion they'll get good loot regardless of what they do or don't take.)

In before magic mouths that only lie and/or tell the truth.

What level are your PCs?

Brickroad
07-01-2008, 10:20 AM
In before magic mouths that only lie and/or tell the truth.

I used that when I was 10 or 11. =)

What level are your PCs?

L1. Brand new 4e game.

Ample Vigour
07-01-2008, 10:27 AM
I used that when I was 10 or 11. =)
Too slow. :(


L1. Brand new 4e game.

Those are the hardest to be creative on. Inevitably I just stack some humanoids on top of a little treasure and put the bundle in a hole somewhere.

Since traps give XP now, why not take a page from Kagero and have a particularly canny Kobold run ahead of them setting off one set of spinning blades after another?

shivam
07-01-2008, 10:32 AM
starting new campaigns is always the hardest, especially when you don't have an overarching story to fall back on.

Brickroad
07-01-2008, 10:34 AM
Those are the hardest to be creative on. Inevitably I just stack some humanoids on top of a little treasure and put the bundle in a hole somewhere.

Noooooo. Nothing at all says you can't be creative with a low-level game. That's just a lack of imagination there, man. I mean, I'm not throwing them up against Traumadore's awesome ice dragon, but I am getting them engaged in a neat storyline and putting them in some unique situations.

If I started my game out with "okay you kill the hobgoblins and get 500 gold" I guarantee none of the players would stick with the game long enough to level up to reach bigger monsters.

Since traps give XP now, why not take a page from Kagero and have a particularly canny Kobold run ahead of them setting off one set of spinning blades after another?

Traps in my games always gave XP. =)

Ample Vigour
07-01-2008, 10:36 AM
starting new campaigns is always the hardest, especially when you don't have an overarching story to fall back on.

Definitely. I think this is a large part of why I'm taking the sandbox approach. Why are the PCs fighting a lich? Because they wanted to see what was in square E14!

Or so I hope.

I'm not the best DM, I just can't stand to let anyone else do it.

Secret Punch
07-01-2008, 10:54 AM
I never do L1 games. If I had a dedicated crew I might, but the sort of people I generally play with would get bored too fast by the limitations of it -- and so would I, for that matter.

R^2
07-01-2008, 10:55 AM
Since traps give XP now, why not take a page from Kagero and have a particularly canny Kobold run ahead of them setting off one set of spinning blades after another?

I played a 2e game like this once. Only back then traps didn't give EXP, only monsters. So a plain ol' regular kobold setting off epic traps is a major pain to overcome for a piddly, like, 25 EXP.

Ideas? Don't look at me, I'm still running 3.5 Expedition to Undermountain by the book. For the record? Grells with Wizard levels are very bad and wiped out over half the party last session.

shivam
07-01-2008, 10:59 AM
I never do L1 games. If I had a dedicated crew I might, but the sort of people I generally play with would get bored too fast by the limitations of it -- and so would I, for that matter.

level 1 parties in 4e are awesome, about equivalent to level 5 in 3e.

poetfox
07-01-2008, 11:00 AM
I never do L1 games. If I had a dedicated crew I might, but the sort of people I generally play with would get bored too fast by the limitations of it -- and so would I, for that matter.

I'm not an expert by any means, but even just from what I know, level 1 in 4th edition is just so much more powerful, it would seem to be less of an issue? Maybe? I mean, it certainly seems like the characters my friends are creating are capable of all kinds of bad-assery at level 1. With, you know, clever use of the neat minion mechanic, I'd think you could have tons of fun.

Or... so I'm hoping. Heh. Also, I completely plan on having my group hit level 2 at the end of the first session... to... sweeten the deal for scheduling another session.
I don't know, I don't expect or plan like... weekly games, but dammit, I'd love to play DnD once a month or so. I just have to get them hooked...
Now I'm rambling.

Edit: And see? Shivam who actually knows something about the game agrees with me.

Zithuan
07-01-2008, 11:03 AM
I never do L1 games. If I had a dedicated crew I might, but the sort of people I generally play with would get bored too fast by the limitations of it -- and so would I, for that matter.

Level 1 characters have gotten progressively more powerful through the editions. Prior to 3rd edition, you had to roll for starting hp, and might have, for example a Paladin with 3hp (personal experience). Now in 4e, one can rather easily make a 1st level Ranger with over 30hp and capable of dealing an average of 24 damage in 1 round (albeit with a 1/day ability).

Brickroad
07-01-2008, 11:06 AM
I never do L1 games. If I had a dedicated crew I might, but the sort of people I generally play with would get bored too fast by the limitations of it -- and so would I, for that matter.

Viewing them as "limitations" is part of the problem. There are lots of great things for L1 characters to do. Keep in mind that the VAST MAJORITY of the population of the planet, including entire standing armies, noble houses, and civilizations, are L1 humans or worse. (I don't think 4e has the concept of L0 anymore... did 3e? I forget.)

Political machinations are ALWAYS a favorite standby for my group. Need a quick L1 quest? Embroil the PCs in a trade war between two local baronies. No combat whatsoever, hours of intense and interesting roleplaying.

If you just throw out a few groups of orcs, hey, nothing wrong with that, but make them more interesting than just "random orcs out for blood." Say the orcs are guarding something important, or on their way somewhere interesting, or involved in some other greater plot. Plan a nice tough L5 quest for down the road and give your players the L1 prologue now.

Or go ahead and just use the high-level monsters. Nobody says every encounter with a red dragon must be combat. Nothing says every evil creature must be murderous. Plan quests involving diplomacy, subterfuge, or tactics. Have a good old fashioned murder mystery. There are ways to earn gold and glory than crunching numbers.

Heck, Planescape gives some good L1 encounters involving the Abyss. The Abyss! The chaotic evil plane of infinite tormented hells. They're not very hack-and-slash, but then not much of Planescape is. Just gotta work your brain some, that's all.

Traumadore
07-01-2008, 11:16 AM
If you don't think you can do fun things at level 1 it's your own fault. Yeah especially with the new minions, you can do pretty much eny encounter type you want. I highly recommend following the encounter template rules. That is a powerful tool, and I was blown away when it first showed up in dungeonscape and I'm glad to see it incorporated into the core rules.

Even an encounter with bugbears guarding 500g can be fun, it's all about how it comes together with the terrain. In your wizard's tower for instance, maybe they are arriving at the same time as the PCs and plan on looting the place. You witness them storm the door and head in right as you come within view. You can catch them as they are looting the first floor, but tower guards of some kind start raining down projectiles from trap doors in the ceiling, and they don't care who they hit, since you're all trespassers.

Alternately maybe the players can find out early on about the guardian who punishes theives, and let the hobgoblins do most of the stealing, then swoop in for the loot, exploiting a loophole in the guardian. The players weren't the ones who stole the wizard's treasure!

I say the adversary doesn't matter as long as the setup is right. No encounter should exist in a bubble, don't just have rooms with monsters waiting to be killed. Also the advice in the books about making rooms for encounters bigger than you think is the gospel truth.

If you guys want me to whip up an example encounter template for level 1 I could probly do that before work.

Ample Vigour
07-01-2008, 11:49 AM
If you guys want me to whip up an example encounter template for level 1 I could probly do that before work.

If you could, please.

Merus
07-01-2008, 09:31 PM
Your suggestions are always welcome! The big boss of the dungeon are going to be some stone guardians which will come to life IF AND ONLY IF the PCs take any of the wizard's property. (He values honesty, you see. But don't worry, upon the quest's completion they'll get good loot regardless of what they do or don't take.)

If he hates visitors, maybe it's a good opportunity to use Merus' Eternal Hallway:

Players walk down a long hallway (or stairs), and stumble across a trap that does two things: it activates two teleport circles, and pours smoke into the area (the smoke's main purpose is to conceal the teleportation from other party members - at higher levels, you could have this gas be poisonous). The teleport circles go to just before the other one, so what you have is what appears to be a hallway or stairwell that goes on for ever.

If there are other teleport spells, that for instance open up a floor to ceiling portal players can see through, that'd be even better.

Brickroad
07-02-2008, 08:16 AM
Players walk down a long hallway (or stairs), and stumble across a trap that does two things: it activates two teleport circles, and pours smoke into the area (the smoke's main purpose is to conceal the teleportation from other party members - at higher levels, you could have this gas be poisonous). The teleport circles go to just before the other one, so what you have is what appears to be a hallway or stairwell that goes on for ever.

If there are other teleport spells, that for instance open up a floor to ceiling portal players can see through, that'd be even better.

I've been toying with the idea of giving the players two linked wands of portal making (or whatever) and just ripping off Valve.

I'm sure it'd be fun, but I'd be blatantly stealing from a source they're all familiar with and I'm not sure I could survive the groaning. =)

Secret Punch
07-04-2008, 07:04 AM
My best dungeon was easily the time I had a series of rooms on a Zelda dungeon-style grid, where every door was actually a portal to an entirely unrelated door in the dungeon. Then there were a number of seemingly identical rooms, or in some cases rooms that looked exactly the same no matter what angle you came into them from (for instance, a room with a fountain at its center and nothing else). And there were other tricks like that -- some doors would teleport you to other doors into the same room, which from the new angle would look like they were, in fact, a new room. For a while they didn't even realize what was wrong -- they just thought I had an extremely limited imagination. I think the moment they figured it out (and this was certainly the goal) was when they found the corpses of some salamanders they had killed quite a while ago. Of course, I also had a room or two littered with identical corpses just to really fuck them up.

Eventually they found ways to mark every room they went into and figure out where each door went. It was pretty great.

In retrospect, though -- and maybe this occurred to you already -- there was one problem with my plan. In practice, each doorway was designed so that it actually had two portals in it -- one that would deposit you in room X and one that would deposit you in room Y, where X and Y are two rooms directly adjacent to each other. And yet I only designated each pair of portals by one number, and in fact thought of them as one portal. Somehow I managed to still be completely consistent, such that they solved the puzzle without any significant confusion. It would be easy enough to solve this, though. Just remember to designate two portals in each doorway.

Traumadore
07-09-2008, 11:35 AM
Hey I don't want this thread buried!

I'll totally whip up some encounter templates when I get home, I meant to last week I swear.

As for your maze, secret punch, it reminds of a few of the more startling lines from the new dungeon master's guide. It pretty much says "Navigating a maze is not fun, negotiating with the town guard is not fun. Fast forward to the action, and the fun."

Where do you guys weigh in on this change of perspective? I think a maze can be perfectly fun if the players are stalking/being stalked and I think any NPC encounter can be interesting if it has a point and the PC decisions matter. Maybe they should have said "navigating a maze of empty identical 10 foot halls is not fun, and having to haggle with the guard to get into every town is not fun."

The broad nature of the statements had me and my group making comments like "X is NOT FUN!" throughout the evening, right after doing activity X.

shivam
07-09-2008, 11:40 AM
so what do you guys do for maps? i ran into an issue this weekend in that keep on the shadowfell didn't have full dungeon maps. in 3e and below, this isnt a big deal, since you can fake it, but in 4e, this shit is vital.

Ample Vigour
07-09-2008, 11:44 AM
so what do you guys do for maps? i ran into an issue this weekend in that keep on the shadowfell didn't have full dungeon maps. in 3e and below, this isnt a big deal, since you can fake it, but in 4e, this shit is vital.

I know way too many guys who pirate dungeon mapping programs. I fight the temptation, but I haven't found a freeware product that's useful to me yet. For now I'll just use graph paper.

Brickroad
07-09-2008, 11:52 AM
so what do you guys do for maps? i ran into an issue this weekend in that keep on the shadowfell didn't have full dungeon maps. in 3e and below, this isnt a big deal, since you can fake it, but in 4e, this shit is vital.

Graph paper. Accept no substitutes. If I need a quick sketch of an area I haven't mapped, I just wing it.

Also, I use the hexes instead of squares. Diagnol movement on squares is just too weird for me. If anyone knows where I can buy graph paper with hexes, let me know, because I could totally use some.

Re: guards not being fun. That's dumb. Anything has the potential to be fun.

shivam
07-09-2008, 11:54 AM
http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/hexagonal/

thing is, 4e doesnt work with hexes.

Ample Vigour
07-09-2008, 11:54 AM
Re: guards not being fun. That's dumb. Anything has the potential to be fun.

No doubt, but I like the sentiment behind the statement. I never asked my players to have multiple changes of clothing or keep track of their lantern oil; arguing with guards at the town gates always struck me as the roleplaying equivalent of that bookkeeping.

Maybe it's because I can't do funny voices for NPCs. :(

thing is, 4e doesnt work with hexes.
Is it a math thing, or is just how stuff like monster size works?

shivam
07-09-2008, 11:56 AM
its monster sizes and the concepts of bursts and blasts, which take the form of #x# squares (3x3, etc).

R^2
07-09-2008, 11:59 AM
I have a vinyl battle-map where wet-erase markers will presumably wipe it clean. They don't. So I also have a big piece of fiberglass I put on top of the map and draw on the transparent surface with dry-erase markers. This has the added benefit of being water (and Dr Pepper) proof and too heavy to get blown around or accidentally moved.

If we have to break session in the middle of combat, I just mark where each player and monster was standing and leave the map on the fiberglass when I put it away. That way there's no confusion when we come back to the fight a week later.

The whole setup ran me about $30, including a set of dry-erase pens of multiple colors. But it has squares on one side and hexes on the other, depending on what I need for any given game. (Just ignore that the squares are slightly stained with an old hobgoblin roadblock and the hexes are slightly stained with an old haunted mansion floorplan.)

Traumadore
07-09-2008, 11:59 AM
Well large monsters could potentially be a nightmare, but otherwise you could easily adapt area of effect and such. Just cut out some new cone templates and things.

I didnt look in the PHB combat section yet, but in the miniatures game they are doing away with diagonal distance costing .5 more, which turns fireballs into fire-cubes...it would honestly probably be alot better on hexes. The only downs-side is you could only surround the players with 6 dudes instead of 8. And I definitely like my players surrounded.

Brickroad
07-09-2008, 12:00 PM
http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/hexagonal/

That's pretty neat, and it might hold me over for a while, but the way I burn through graph paper I really need a whole pad of the stuff.

Hmm... I could print that out and use it to make a hexagonal crossword puzzle though!

thing is, 4e doesnt work with hexes.

Sure it does. Why wouldn't it? You have to fudge the rules for things like Blast and Burst a little, but it doesn't actually create any problems during gameplay. Distance works a lot better in my opinion because things don't get "stretched" on the diagnols (ex: someone who moves their full Speed 6 diagnolly is covering more ground than someone who moves horizontally).

Elfir
07-09-2008, 12:01 PM
Mazes only suck because of mapping. One player (me) gets stuck making a map and the DM who is forced to give precise measurements of every room and every hall, then glances at the player-made map and finds it looks totally different.

shivam
07-09-2008, 12:01 PM
right, i use a vinyl mat too, and leftover tiles from my D&D Minis and such.

Traumadore
07-09-2008, 12:12 PM
So i'm going to do an air elemental dungeon. I know I want it to have walls, floors and ceilings of wind, described in the dungeonscape book (easily adaptable to any edition). I am having trouble thinking of ideas for encounters, besides a couple of air elementals ambushing through some surfaces.

I want the players to see some really huge and creepy flying things outside the see-through dungeon walls, but that is more for flavor. Maybe as a finale one will cease being backgroud scenery that they have become accustomed too and provide a boss fight.

I also will have parts of the air-corridors intersect with floating structures made of glass and gossamer-like metalwork. Do you guys thing I should go with a trap consisting of poison gas laminated between sheets of glass, or a sonic strap that implodes a glass chamber into the PCs? I got that from armored core....

I also want to do one of the encounter traps from the dungeonscape manual where there is a triangular room with three pylons that fire magic-missiles every round, and all need to be shut off at the same time to disarm. It's pretty dangerous for this group, but they have some defenses against magic missile that could help the eke this one out.

shivam
07-09-2008, 12:15 PM
see-through floors are awesome, with tiles that phase in and out.

Traumadore
07-09-2008, 12:28 PM
Yeah in this case the transparent surfaces will provide a great source of suspense too, if I have great big flying behemoths soaring below like pods of whales. I think that once they retrieve the item they want, then it will just keep glowing brighter and brighter, until it attracts the attention of one of the beasts below, who flies up and mows down on the whole structure.

Maybe the PCs will be clinging precariously to it's face after that. I dunno.

Maybe I can include a room that is an air mephit lair, with a magic circle that increases their summon chance to 100%

I want this to be a fairly climactic dungeon, so maybe around 8-10 encounters. Any more ideas would be welcome.

For the phasing tiles, are we talking the surface quality of the floor is shifting with invisible holes and gaps forming? or is it purely a visual sensation? I would hate to drop my PCs miles to their doom on a lark.

nunix
07-09-2008, 12:31 PM
Using hexes has the bonus of letting you use the HeroScape figures without hanging over squares. I don't remember if the D&D Minis come on bases already or not, but since you should be buying them individually anyway, it's not a big deal to snap off the squares and give them proper-sized hex bases instead.

(Longtime BattleTech player; hexes or death, baby, and nuts to you squares)

Re: Air Element dungeon: what is this in? Are they actually on the Plane of Air? Are they floating over their own world? That should give you some good lines on what to use for the exterior/background monsters. As for the interior beasties.. work up the ecosystem, this is basic dungeon design.

Where did the dungeon come from? Who built it? Is it really a dungeon (as in, the lowers of some castle) or is it a cathedral or is it a prison or... et cetera et cetera.

Where is it located? An elemental plane, a pocket dimension, the skies above the largest city in the world?

The first question tells you what sort of beasties/traps/treasures might have been left there originally; second question lets you know what's moved in.

If it's a prison on the Plane of Air, you've got an interesting array of creatures to choose from, because what would likely have been imprisoned? It also makes sense for there to be a treasure room, as that's where "personal belongings" and such might've been put (assuming this is a limited-incarceration prison; if it's a for-life "we're abandoning you" type, well, maybe there's NO original treasure around). Possibly also some guardians/wardens of some type. Being on that plane, you'd likely get planetouched "normal" animals moving in, as well, maybe some minor elementals. Maybe a group of adventurers that got lost there, went mad (and previous adventurers/interlopers may have left other treasure behind).

Traumadore
07-09-2008, 12:39 PM
Sorry yeah I left that out. It's function is a reliquary, which is why it's kind of swank with the glass and fine metal chambers. I use alot less distinction about planes in this campaign, and there is alot of crossover. Therefore they are in the plane of air, but far below they can still see patches of home.

Traveling to this place is a yearly rite for their village, where the people have strong ties to spirits and monsters, so some interesting evidence or interaction concerning previous visitors is a great idea.

Secret Punch
07-09-2008, 12:44 PM
As for your maze, secret punch, it reminds of a few of the more startling lines from the new dungeon master's guide. It pretty much says "Navigating a maze is not fun, negotiating with the town guard is not fun. Fast forward to the action, and the fun."

Where do you guys weigh in on this change of perspective? I think a maze can be perfectly fun if the players are stalking/being stalked and I think any NPC encounter can be interesting if it has a point and the PC decisions matter. Maybe they should have said "navigating a maze of empty identical 10 foot halls is not fun, and having to haggle with the guard to get into every town is not fun."

Yeah, that strikes me as completely insane. My absolute favorite part of D&D is the opportunity for creative problem-solving. From the looks of things combat in 4E is interesting enough that I should get more into that aspect this time around, but I always enjoyed the bits where you have to lie creatively or come up with a way for your characters to map a dungeon.

In the dungeon I described, they came up with a way to mark every type of room, which also helped them to orient themselves within those rooms. There were a number of rooms with copies of a particular painting -- one of the characters simply carved a letter of his name into each painting, and they kept themselves oriented in reference to where the painting was in relationship to them when they entered a room. They made marks on the floor to help them figure out which room was which and how to get from one place to the next. They made a map by way of prestidigitation on something handy. We had way more fun that way than we did with any of my combats.

And all of my best memories of D&D are along similar lines. They were usually less directly a puzzle-solving experience. Sometimes it was lobbing a bag of flour like a grenade to find someone invisible. Sometimes it was using a messenger bird statue thingy for the same purpose. Sometimes it was forging a letter requesting a diamond large enough for a resurrection spell. The monsters, though they were necessary, have mostly sort of slipped my mind.

Brickroad
07-09-2008, 12:50 PM
I think my group (minus one guy) really liked the skill challenge.

Basically they were lost in the Great Plains, in enemy territory, with no real clue where they were (they did know what direction they were traveling thanks to the sun), caring for their mortally wounded CO along the way. I basically gave them four tasks: forage for food/water, keep the CO from dying, keep an eye out for enemy scouts, and avoiding or engaging those enemy scouts. They were out there for three days. I figured failure in the skill challenge meant they were captured, or fatigued to the point of exhaustion, or their CO died. None of these things happened, and the players got to feel like they accomplished something great.

Merus
07-09-2008, 06:44 PM
I like the skill challenges - it encourages roleplaying in a format that is easy enough to completely abstract or make explicit depending on the temprement of your group. It also gives them XP scores and lets DMs mix roleplaying into combat in a workable way.

Traumadore
07-09-2008, 10:41 PM
Ok, I whipped up an encounter, but my FTP is being a whore or something. I don't know how to use free photo places but you have to register and that is a pain. I made some drawings you see.

Anyway, i'll get it worked out tomorrow perhaps or friday.

Ample Vigour
07-09-2008, 10:48 PM
I have an adventure of ~10 encounters drawn up in skeleton form. I'd like to get some feedback on it, but I can't imagine there are any Talking Tyrants who'd like to wade through all of it.

If I were to toss up the big-ticket encounters and the role they're supposed to serve, would you guys feel up to batting them around like the monster-filled bals of yarn they are?

nunix
07-09-2008, 10:50 PM
I would wade through it, as it allows me to sate a bit of my tabletop RPG urge without the crushing disappointment of actually playing. Win-win situation. Although by virtue of the fact that I don't own these particular books I probably can't comment much on actual numbers and stats, so.. I guess it depends on what you're looking for. =p

Traumadore
07-09-2008, 10:52 PM
Totally put them up. I suggest taking the book's advice and running through it in your head what the party will probably try to do when you describe the situation, then revise it so that they have to take a little extra thought to roll your monsters.

Also, this thread is about looting each other's creativity, so we'll all benefit!

Mightyblue
07-09-2008, 11:14 PM
The only campaign I ran went something along the lines of the PCs being guards on a largish airship freighter that crashlands as the end result of a hijacking by orc air pirates (this was years before FFXII, mind). I hadn't originally planned on the PCs' ship crashing, but one of the PC Rangers got a lucky crit in on the pilot of an orc raider which through the luck of the dice crashed into the PCs' ship and sent them both into the ground.

So instead of my planned out campaign the PCs salvaged what gear they could and had to backtrack their way through the wilderness, a little Fwiffy kingdom (fwiffy's were an invention of mine that were more or less neutral/sorta evil half orc/half gnomes), and through a cave inhabited by sparkbeasts (lizards that eat metal and shoot off electrical discharges, a modification of something similar from the 3.0 MM) before reaching civilization again.

Because they were a long way from civilization and the only party healer was a Bard, I had to import Heal Berries from the Wild ARMs series in order to make sure they weren't spending forever in the wilderness healing. Anyway, we only played long enough until the PCs decided to kill the Fwiffy king and take over the country and the party mage in a fit of stupidity decided to light off a fireball inside one of the castle's main armories/powder rooms. He did that even after I told him there were spare cannons, cannonballs, and spots of shiny black powder in the room.

Safe to say the fireworks were phenomenal and that none of the PCs wanted to have me DM again.

Destil
07-13-2008, 01:56 PM
I need to check these forums more often.

So, my current game has run two sessions but we've had a break of a month or two for scheduling issues. I'm hoping to have some time this week to do some e-mail roleplaying with each player to try and get things back on track.

I'm running a game set in the golden age of Ivalice, using my custom d20-Final Fantasy Saga Edition rules. Three PCs (human mage/mechanic, moogle thief/medaitor and baanga monk) have just escaped from the imperial capital with an experemental airship, their ownership of which is of questionable leagal status. They picked up the other four in trying to cover the bills for parts, food, fuel... A mysterious Vieria who only told them where she wanted to go, and a nu-mau priest of Kiltia/white mage accompanied by a sell-spear dragoon and a human divine knight. This groups is searching for a mysterious stone last rumored in the far north, a peice of blessed auracite of Faram... while the black-mage who piloits their airship is seeking something he's only once read of. A 'Zodiac Stone', Virgo.

The setting is about 250 years after Final Fantasy XII (I peg it at 800 before the events of FFT...). It plays into my interest in things like the fall of the Roman empire. These are the ending days of the Golden Age of Ivilace, a dysopic and chaotic period where vast empires tear themselves apart and the great magical society that thrived during Ashe's time finds its days waneing.

dwolfe
07-13-2008, 10:27 PM
the tenth time, i run whatever random cool side quest i happen to have in mind. I ran a game set in Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn world once, and a game set in mythic india, and other random things.

This sounds awesome, I wish you were my DM!

Mightyblue
07-13-2008, 10:35 PM
The way they changed up things as far as including unique combat techniques for each class is giving me the itch to whip up a Phantasy Star ruleset that wouldn't require a complete rewrite of the 4E rules.

Ample Vigour
07-14-2008, 01:19 AM
Oh shit
I missed you guys telling me to put up my encounters.

Tell you what, when I get back from classes tomorrow I'll give you the rundown. I like what I've got, and I think you will too.

Ample Vigour
07-14-2008, 07:41 PM
For your approval, I present my first 4E adventure. (FUCK ME is this long. You have been warned!)

I won't bore you with too much background, but the framing story is that there's been a major silver strike in the duchy to the north and a minor noble has decided to use his new wealth to win himself a new home: a forest manor that was abandoned a decade or so ago. He rides into town with more money than sense and hires a brand-new army. The PCs are his outriders and reconnaissance outfit.

His Lordship decrees that the army will use a tiny Elf hunting community as a base of operations. The PCs will have to ride there first and make contact before going on and marking trail for the bulk of the force.

Encounter #1: Because everyone's following the money, faster and less savory mercenaries have ridden ahead of the PCs. When they arrive, they find some of their colleagues (a thief, a fighting-man and a magic-user along with their hired thugs) have taken the town and are squeezing the survivors for all they're worth. The PCs' mission is to secure the town as a base; they can do it by freeing the villagers or by negotiating with the new management.

(630 XP. 1 Human Mage, 1 Wererat, 1 Human Guard and 5 Human Rabble. They fight like it says on the box, with the Guard leading his hirelings while the Mage shoots flaming death and the Wererat backstabs like a cold skrilla. If the PCs win, they get info about the keep they're looking for.)

Encounter #2: The PCs work their way into the forest/wetlands along the prearranged route, discovering the signs of other travelers with every step. They'll run into camps, gear, even dead bodies. The idea is to show that every swinging dick with a dagger and a lust for gold has heard about the expedition. If the PCs pass their Perception checks, they'll pick up the trail of some Goblin Scouts who are making hay bushwacking the new meat.

(550 XP. 2 Goblin Snipers. 3 Goblin Warriors. The gobbos will launch a sneak attack with their crossbows and javelins, then the Warriors will break off and run for reinforcements while the Snipers harrass the PCs from the trees.)

Encounter #2/3: If the PCs avoid the Scouts or kill them before they can go for reinforcements, they can follow the Goblins' trail back to camp. If the Warriors manage to break off, it's just a matter of time before these guys show up.

Either way, the Goblin camp is stocked well with the last few days' haul. They've even managed to snag a Potion of Healing and a couple of gems.

(500 XP. 1 Goblin Hexer. 3 Goblin Warriors. 2 Goblin Cutters. These are not motivated killers; they'll flee when the tide of battle turns against them.)

Encounter #3.5: Here the PCs will encounter random groups of treasure-seekers of varying levels of readiness. I'll draw up a table, but I want to evoke old school 1st-level parties with their look and feel. The PCs may force a fight or two here, but this is more to reinforce that His Lordship has been spreading that silver around a little too freely. (I've drawn up a little hex map of the wilderness the PCs will be traveling through, and there will be a chance of a random encounter every few miles.)

Encounter #4: Now the PCs have found the deserted manor and breached its rotting gates. Here they encounter the first of its new undead tenants.

(490 XP. 2 Gravehounds. 5 Zombie Rotters. They attack like the mindless horde they are.)

Encounter #5: The main entrance is barred; the doors barricaded from the inside and every window shuttered. Inspection of the grounds reveals a side entrance that leads underground.

(??? XP. Trap. A simple pit trap. The basement doors lead to a 10' wide hallway. About twenty feet in is a huge, rusty trapdoor frozen in the open position. If the PCs look inside they see a pit (15' long, ~10' wide, 15' deep) full of spikes and stagnant water. At either side of trapdoor are small ledges, about a foot wide, that run its length. Once about 100lbs of weight are placed in the center of either ledge, they tilt suddenly and pitch anyone on them into the pit (+10 vs Reflex.)

In the bottom of the pit, under the water, is the skeletal corpse of a would-be raider. The dead woman's clothes have all rotted away save for the Burglar's Gloves on her skeletal hands.

Encounter #6: Now through the side entrance and into the manor proper. I want this to be the D&D equivalent to the Tales From the Crypt intro; a rich house that fell into abandonment instantly. When the PCs make their way into the Great Hall, they'll run into More Undead.

(655 XP. 1 Blazing Skeleton. 3 Decrepit Skeleton. 10 Zombie Rotter. All mindless, and they will fight according to the one strategy their master gave them: plug up the advances to the Blazing Skeleton and let his fire do the cooking. Lots of furniture and objets d'art to kick over and smash, here.)

Encounter #7: The crash of battle has awoken the manor's true defenders. Now waves of undead attack, pounding on the shuttered windows and the barricaded doors. The basement entrance the PCs took is no good any longer, now choked with endless waves of Undead Minions. The longer the PCs take to come up with a plan, the closer those minions get.

Luckily the Great Hall has an exit into the Wine Cellars. The cellar doors are sturdy and can be locked, giving the PCs a chance to rest.

(Variable XP. Zombie Rotters and Decrepit Skeletons, unlimited. This fight lasts as long as the PCs try to hold the line. My players are a canny bunch and my hints are as subtle as a streetwalker's, so they should pick up on the cellar door pretty quickly.)

Encounter #8: The wine cellar is vast, as befits such a fine place. Most of the racks have pitched over, but two of the remaining bottles are of a rare and precious vintage (100 gp each, but they'll shatter if the PC carrying them gets into a melee, DM's call.)

Perceptive PCs will notice the massive webs, choked with the bodies of rats, running over the distant quarter of the cellar.

(350 XP. 2 Deathjump Spiders. They will attempt to ambush the PCs while they dig through the wine racks in search of something valuable.)

Encounter #9: Boss fight! The far end of the wine cellar is a barred iron door. Through it lies a short stone stairway down into an underground stream that has been enlarged into a combination cistern and escape tunnel.

Before it leads to freedom, it leads to a crypt. The place is huge, obviously of Dwarf make. Eight generations of lords lie in their sarcophagi beneath a vaulted ceiling held up by engraved pillars. Statuary of weeping angels, bas-reliefs of great deeds done in these mens' lives, etc., etc. Treasure lies in heaps on the floor, perhaps offerings to the fallen?

There's also a wight and his guards, but they'll wait to attack until the PCs are inside the crypt.

(875 XP. 1 Deathlock Wight. 3 Skeletons. 2 Zombie Guard Drakes (fight as if alive.) The skeletons carry magic items, being the earthly remains of three of the old lords. The drakes are rotted, but still speedy. The Wight taunts the PCs by telling them what fine servants they'll make for the new lord of these lands.)

The pillars provide cover, and smashing one will start a minor roof collapse (blast 1, +0 vs. reflex, 1d8+2 damage) that will leave the area around the pillar as difficult terrain. If more than half are smashed, the remaining pillars will go one every combat round until the last one falls, bringing the roof down on everyone still in the crypt.

The remaining treasures from the 1st level parcel will be in here, either scattered on the floor or used by the skeletons. Any holy items will be on the altar, untouched by the wight or his servants.

Once the PCs make their way out of the tunnel, it's a small matter to rest up and walk to the agreed-upon rendezvous with His Lordship and the others.

Spoiler Everyone's dead and a big old black dragon is making the horses into lunch while his kobold servants load sacks of silver into carts.

Holy shit that's a lot of text. I hope you guys can make it through all of that.

Mightyblue
07-15-2008, 04:54 PM
Does anyone feel that 4E needs a class that blends some front line steel with a bit of magic ala like some of the special FFT knight Jobs and that FF5 swordmage job? It wouldn't be a straight tank or nuke, but something in between that would be flexible enough to step into either role when needed. I suppose you could do that with a Bard, but I never really cared for the class build since WotC never really bothered to balance it right.

I think my problem is that I love to tinker with D&D and I would rarely if ever just run something "out of the box."

shivam
07-15-2008, 04:56 PM
a sword mage is coming. i believe it's even called swordmage.

Mightyblue
07-15-2008, 04:57 PM
Cool. Multiclassing never really gets the feel right, and that's basically my favorite type of class to play in roleplaying games.

shivam
07-15-2008, 05:03 PM
http://forum.valinor.com.br/attachment.php?attachmentid=19538&d=1214930506

here's a pdf of a demo character with the class, from an rpga module.

Secret Punch
07-15-2008, 08:00 PM
Ample -- that's a really cool series of encounters. About how long do you think something like that will take? My 3E experience suggests that many fights should be an eternity, but I understand 4E is much faster.

dwolfe
07-15-2008, 08:41 PM
Ample: that sounds like a LONG night depending on how much time is spent role-playing; I have no feel for 4ed times. Do you intend for all that to be one night? (having too much is probably better than not enough; how much are you willing to railroad your group through those encounters?)

Mightyblue
07-15-2008, 08:42 PM
http://forum.valinor.com.br/attachment.php?attachmentid=19538&d=1214930506

here's a pdf of a demo character with the class, from an rpga module.Looks cool, thanks.

Ample Vigour
07-15-2008, 11:38 PM
Ample: that sounds like a LONG night depending on how much time is spent role-playing; I have no feel for 4ed times. Do you intend for all that to be one night? (having too much is probably better than not enough; how much are you willing to railroad your group through those encounters?)

One night? Oh fuck no! That's two-three sessions at the least. I like to get shit laid out in advance, knamean?

Also, I've decided to make the big bad monster who appears at the end into a Dracolich. It's a good way to show the power of the undead in the region, maybe put a bad guy in the back of the PCs minds for later in the game.

And, seriously, thanks to everyone who digested that brick of text. It's been a while since I planned out a dungeon crawl.

Traumadore
07-16-2008, 12:05 AM
I'm considering lifting some of the material surrounding the undead at the manor. That looks like fun! I'll let you all know how my glass dungeon went with some details about some of the more memorable encounters should anyone want. They can even be used as a single suspended room in a more traditional dungeon.

Ample Vigour
07-16-2008, 12:12 AM
I'm considering lifting some of the material surrounding the undead at the manor. That looks like fun! I'll let you all know how my glass dungeon went with some details about some of the more memorable encounters should anyone want. They can even be used as a single suspended room in a more traditional dungeon.

Dish, dish!

Merus
07-16-2008, 12:25 AM
I have a question: where do the Deathjump Spiders in the wine cellar start out? I've seen a lot of PCs assume that because there are webs, there may be spiders, and so will set the webs alight. It might be worthwhile working out ahead of time what would happen if your players do this.

Ample Vigour
07-16-2008, 12:52 AM
I have a question: where do the Deathjump Spiders in the wine cellar start out? I've seen a lot of PCs assume that because there are webs, there may be spiders, and so will set the webs alight. It might be worthwhile working out ahead of time what would happen if your players do this.

Do webs even burn?

I figure the PCs should make so much noise barring and barricading the door that the spiders should be alert to their presence and so able to move to the highest ground in the room (vaulted ceiling 'cause they need room to jump.)

R^2
07-16-2008, 06:29 AM
Standard practice. Webs are generally considered to burn pretty well.

If PCs see webs, they will assume they are fighting spiders. If they see bones littered about, they know a few of them are going to assemble into skellingtons. And if they stumble into a dungeon cesspit, everyone expects an otyugh.

Feel free to play with these expectations as you like. One of the encounters in Undermountain is with a Summoning Ooze at the bottom of a pit choked with webs. The Ooze summons fiendish spiders, sure, but there was still some confusion there.

Traumadore
07-16-2008, 05:32 PM
Alright, so the glass dungeon.

The PCs were on somewhat of a time sensitive mission, and since they used up about 2/3 of their deadline hunting that white dragon they had a little under a day left when they entered the reliquary of the air spirits. As i said there were a number of cathedral-like glass buildings connected by tunnels with floors, walls and ceilings of swirling air.

Due to the potential time limit and the fact that they could see the relative layout of the whole reliquary from the start they pretty much made a beeline towards the most conspicuous set of structures, only taking one detour to get their asses kicked by an invisible stalker quarding a lightning resistant armor. Otherwise they bypassed a good amount of the danger, and the treasure.

I had a side chapel with some small treasures, if the players looted the place a stained-glass golem would emerge from the wall to protect it. One of the items was a golembane scarab to assist them in overcoming his defenses, but when they witnessed the guardian emerge one of the PCs hurriedly replaced the treasure and they ran instead :(

Those stained glass golems are a complete bitch for a CR 5 monster, by the by. They have DR 10/+2 and fast healing 5, and magic IMMUNITY. If they were gonna run from anything it probly was the right choice.

I used the "Missile Crystal Trap" encounter trap from the dungeonscape manual and that was alot of fun. One player was immune because of his broach of shielding, but the players overcame it quickly and cleverly, and the trap has a crystalline chest built into it as a lure and a reward. I also had to add a force effect to the inside of the room to keep the players from just smashing the walls/doors to escape while it was active.

Overall it was a success, even though they avoided alot of content. I can just reuse some of the encounters later.

Ample Vigour
07-16-2008, 09:51 PM
I like it when players leave encounters or traps left over; they can't tell when I'm feeding them rewarmed stuff.

Destil
10-06-2008, 04:25 PM
Arise, damned thread, arise and take my Revenge.

So, I'm running a one shot for my 4E group Saturday. Shared campaign world, set starting in Fellcrest. Here's the teaser e-mail I just sent out:
For years words were whispered in hushed tones in Fellcrest, of a
fearful truth of the wilds. Many ignored them, fear that speaking may
bring it to be, or ignorance, or just general human superiority and
ego.

They were wrong.

The legion of the chimera, an assembly of unified tribes of goblins,
kobolds, hobgoblin, bugbears, and other foul things the night knows no
name for, lead by a charismatic goblin warlord claiming divine right
over all she surveys.

And among it's number, are you.

Can the representatives of the legion overcome the puny protectors of
the plague-ravaged 'forces of good' long overdue in payment for their
sins. Will they survive traps, foes and fire... and perhaps a traitor
in their midst.

Find out. This Saturday at noon. (Hey, I had 10 min at lunch to kick this sucker out...)

So here's the rub: The players arrive to play a game of D&D, but end up playing a game of Paronia instead.

The Legion of the Chimera's (name cribbed from Icewind Dale, thank you) various alliances are tenuous at best. They are led by a john of arc type figure who sees the recent plague as divine vengeance brought by the hubris of man, and who has unified a small number of tribes to her banner. Each player will be working for a different faction, and none of them will have the well-being of the legion as their primary goal.

However, it's still 4E, which means cooperative combat. So most encounters will be against common enemies... in fact the leigon itself is one such enemy as should hopefully come out in the climax of the game. Before the fade to black where the party (presumably) destroys each other over the bodies of their crushed 'allies'.

So, what you, the Tyrants of Talking, can do to help, is suggest monstrous tribes/organizations/factions from which I can build a byzantine tapestry of infighting and intrigue. If you want to go so far as to suggest concepts/builds for any of the pregen characters I'll be handing out (level 2, standard point buy), more power too you.

This is a prelude to when I finally get the reigns of the campaign, so huge bonus points for anyone who makes groups that would make strange bedfelllows with some adventurers later on. I'm going to present the legion as too large for the PCs to really stand a chance against, unless they get smart and start playing sides against each other.

nunix
10-06-2008, 05:09 PM
john of arc

idea: Joan of Orc.

Crested Penguin
10-06-2008, 05:24 PM
idea: Joan of Orc.

Yessssss.

For some reason I like the idea of the kobolds following the orders of a dragon which is either a) an illusion created by another faction or b) a puppet-like machine built and operated by industrious goblins. The latter is sillier but opens up the opportunity for PCs to hijack a mechanical dragon.

Ample Vigour
10-06-2008, 05:31 PM
idea: Joan of Orc.

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiit

(do this)

Lucas
10-06-2008, 08:04 PM
The White Hills goblins are the tribe farthest from home; they're so far from home that in fact they don't give a damn about the plague. One of the leaders of the army lured them here with promises of a different campaign, but now that they're here they're going to damn well do some rape and pillaging to make the trip worth it and complain vociferously about the duplicity all the while. Unfortunately, due a communications failure, the White Hills tribe doesn't realize that the reason they were given is the real reason for the war (or the leader's lieutenant's real reason for being in the war, or whatever) and the plague thing is a cover story. Because of this, instead of being special troops for the-person-who-brought-them-into-the-alliance's plans, they're a hateful, disruptive force in the alliance who can't be easily mollified without the lies coming to light.

The Rift Swamp lizardfolk are a bit out of their depth fighting an open war on land, but they don't really plan to stick around for the long term anyway. The human settlements in their area weren't hit by the plague, so the lizards plan to capture some plague carriers in the fights and take them home to decimate the human villages in their area - reptiles aren't affected by the plague, so the lizardfolk see this as a relatively easy and safe way to get their human enemies out of their territory.

Corona is a sprawling, rather advanced underground hobgoblin society. They are proud enough that they see humans, elves, and other "pinkies" as animals for the Coronans to breed and train as humans do dogs or cattle. There are actually two Coronan factions in the army: the Ag-ara ("gold water" in the Coronan dialect, which is their term for naturally-occurring naphtha) faction wants to wipe out all the pinkies in the area to prevent the plague being spread to their livestock, while the Naarn ("blood" or "family ties") want to move pinkies that have been certified totally plague-free to breeding compounds or reservations in order to preserve some (real or imagined) unique aspect of the humans in the area. Most Coronans know most of the other Coronans by face or reputation and thus what faction each fellow Coronan belongs to, but there's no way for anyone else in the army to tell the Ag-ara and Naarn apart.

Destil
10-07-2008, 09:07 PM
Wow, Lucas. Those are Fantastic.

I'll post my own ideas tomorrow as well as maybe some adventure summaries and player profiles on Friday. Right now I'm too drained from two 12 hour days of slaving over a hot compiler to get any writing/brainstorming done.

Re: Joan of Orc - YES! Though this group won't be meeting her, she's already slated to be a major player in the follow-up campaign arc. Just so I can use that pun.

Merus
10-07-2008, 11:46 PM
I'm just going to share this idea from a game of Paranoia I played recently.

As you may know, citizen, in Paranoia your clearance level is determined by colour. Infrared is the lowest, and things infrareds can touch are black. It then goes up the rainbow, red to violet, with the highest clearance being Ultraviolet, or white. Players start off at clearance level red, and however the higher colours define reality, that's what you go with.

We met a person in a yellow labcoat that was clearly crazy. He passed me a note that said "HASTUR HASTUR HASTUR".

Boy, redefining reality according to what he said was problematic.

Cyrael
10-09-2008, 12:37 PM
Does anyone have any favorite Halloween esque adventures?

I am toying with a one-shot haunted house campaign with a group of 4 or so 4th level characters.

I've got a rough idea of what I want to do, but was wondering if anyone had tried something similar before.

Elfir
10-09-2008, 12:40 PM
My Dungeon Master is so clever. She's running an adventure in a thinly disguised Mercedes Lackey/Valdemar setting. I mean, I like those books, but I'd rather not feel like I'm playing Valdemar Reference Bingo.

I can't wait to get a magic horsie!

Destil
10-10-2008, 01:07 AM
And all that's left is the math, which I'm doing in Excel over lunch tomorrow.

The basic adventure outline is a semi Vagrant-Story inspired ripoff, right down to a fight with a guardian Worm at the end. The group has been hand selected to make a move against a local Cardinal with a fair amount of personal power and an elite group of 'Blades', knights in his sworn service. What none of them know is that the Cardinal is rotten to the core and made a deal with some of the goblins... he's actually cleaning up their mess by execution of a number of people suspected of treason. In exchange his chateau will be spared while the rest of the country side is burned.

One file contains the raw stats of the pregens. Another is the power groups involved in the leigon.

And why the hell aren't lizardfolk a playable race!?!? I love 'em to death... ah, well. Some flavor for later adventures.

EDIT: Forgot to add, you people are AWESOME. The ideas are really really different from my own in a good way, one that hopefully really makes the legion feel like a group of clashing cultures and ideas. I'm using all of your suggestions in some form or another, though I sadly don't have a lizard folk PC.

Lucas
10-10-2008, 10:48 AM
:( All campaigns should have more lizardfolk in them. Other than that, though, this campaign looks like it should be a lot of fun.

I wasn't really expecting you to use so much of my stuff, either. That's pretty awesome.

Destil
10-10-2008, 06:26 PM
Just finished printing/writing all player handouts (and spell checking, hey, you guys were looking at my personal notes). Stating up the baddies and doing some rough maps when I get home.

I can't say enough good things about this excel sheet, it saved me hours of math and double checking. Power cards and everything

http://www.nzcomputers.net/heroforge/default4e.asp

If anyone's interested I can type that up at some point (it'll be in my illegible handwriting for the game), and I can present to talking time a fully fleshed out adventure sometime next week?

Ample Vigour
10-10-2008, 10:43 PM
If anyone's interested I can type that up at some point (it'll be in my illegible handwriting for the game), and I can present to talking time a fully fleshed out adventure sometime next week?

If you're up to it. I have to get my outlines done for the next session with my group, and I like to have a lot of stuff to compare mine with.

My NPCs are such shit. I've got to put more work into them.

liquidben
10-12-2008, 05:21 PM
For some reason I like the idea of the kobolds following the orders of a dragon which is either a) an illusion created by another faction or b) a puppet-like machine built and operated by industrious goblins. The latter is sillier but opens up the opportunity for PCs to hijack a mechanical dragon.

I hate to be Mr Spoil-Sport, but Tasslehoff Burrfoot says hello (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons_of_Autumn_Twilight) Substitute in draconians and option B is pretty much what's already there

Crested Penguin
10-12-2008, 05:57 PM
I hate to be Mr Spoil-Sport, but Tasslehoff Burrfoot says hello (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons_of_Autumn_Twilight) Substitute in draconians and option B is pretty much what's already there

Haha, I remember reading that now. I probably did get the idea from it subconsciously, it's been like 15 years since I read those books.

Lucas
08-05-2009, 01:11 PM
Alright, so this is neither for my campaign or D&D, but I'd appreciate a few suggestions for a thing.

I'm making a PC for a superhero Big Eyes, Small Mouth game. The character is neither very super nor very heroic; in fact he had a short run as a villain before realizing his interests (roughing people up and ruining their plans) were far more in line with what the heroes do. He's skilled in demolitions (it's his day job, in fact, and he's recognized as the region's best demo man), chemistry, electronics, and mechanics, and most of his personal abilities are going to come from grenades.

What I'd like from you is suggestions for weird grenades. I've already got concussion, flash bang, and sticky grenades, but what else can you think of?

(By the way, here's the OP page for the campaign (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/heroes_anonymous), if you want to read a bit more about it.)

Thraeg
08-05-2009, 01:26 PM
Frag, fire, EMP, smoke, grease/marbles/caltrops (to make an area impassable), nerve gas/tear gas/poison gas, or psychic waves, maybe?

sraymonds
08-05-2009, 04:24 PM
I'm so glad someone bumped this thread because I was going to solicit advice on creating my first campaign.

Pseudonym
08-05-2009, 07:53 PM
I'm so glad someone bumped this thread because I was going to solicit advice on creating my first campaign.

I've been toying myself with putting together a one shot RPG for a holiday extended family gaming trip. But it would be pretty much my first shot at GMing ever, so I'm trying to plan well in advance. The PCs will play as the Marx Brothers fighting cthulhu-ish cultists. My original idea was about Bob Hope fighting Werewolves at a USO show, but that didn't go over quite as well as I hoped in my focus groups. But that's fine, I'm liking this new idea better anyway.

It's not really a D&D game, but I know I can poach some good ideas from D&D. I'm thinking I'd like to include a piano door lock puzzle in the dungeon but I know very little about pianos. Does anyone know some fun puzzles?

sraymonds
08-05-2009, 08:01 PM
I was going to have one where the PCs go to help a town that's in the path of a wave of murderous undead, Seven-Samurai style.

I just can't think of an opening other than an exhausted villager collapsing in a bar begging for help.

Pseudonym
08-05-2009, 08:04 PM
I was going to have one where the PCs go to help a town that's in the path of a wave of murderous undead, Seven-Samurai style.

I just can't think of an opening other than an exhausted villager collapsing in a bar begging for help.

Maybe someone tied a plea for help to a messenger bird? But then you would have an exhausted bird collapsing in a bar.

Brer
08-05-2009, 08:07 PM
I was going to have one where the PCs go to help a town that's in the path of a wave of murderous undead, Seven-Samurai style.

I just can't think of an opening other than an exhausted villager collapsing in a bar begging for help.

If you've got the time, I'd go for a slow-burn opening: hints that there's an undead problem in the area (more undead encounters than usual, maybe a random zombie or skeleton showing up where it shouldn't and being quickly dispatched), the prices of goods going up as reports filter in of supply problems and communications disruptions in the direction of the approaching horde, mass migration of animals, filtered into your normal play sessions for a few weeks while you work out the details.

nunix
08-05-2009, 08:33 PM
If you've got the time, I'd go for a slow-burn opening: hints that there's an undead problem in the area (more undead encounters than usual, maybe a random zombie or skeleton showing up where it shouldn't and being quickly dispatched), the prices of goods going up as reports filter in of supply problems and communications disruptions in the direction of the approaching horde, mass migration of animals, filtered into your normal play sessions for a few weeks while you work out the details.

This would be best. To tie this into another thread, what really gets the world into Apocalypse Gear is foreboding and portents (see: World War Z, bird/swine flu, SARS, et cetera); that you can see that trouble is coming, and maybe even the shape of it, but never the magnitude or the time of its arrival.

Hmm. How much of this do you have written up already? It'd be awesome to work on.

Lucas
08-05-2009, 08:51 PM
I think the problem with Brer's suggestion is that this is the beginning of a fresh campaign, if I understand stingray's post. A slow burn, in my opinion, is not a good way to start off a brand new campaign.

Hell, I usually put the PCs together at the door to the first dungeon and tell them to break it open. I always start with action.

Brer
08-05-2009, 08:59 PM
Well, by slow burn I don't necessarily mean a lack of action, just a lack of immediate action that relates to the eventual threat of the campaign. You work the elements I mentioned into shorter adventures and jobs in the transition period between the two campaigns.

Lucas
08-05-2009, 09:12 PM
I was about to respond to that, but then I realized that that's exactly what I have been doing in my current campaign. Though to be fair, I presented it to my players as a monster-a-week deal and that's how I've been playing it; they don't know (or shouldn't at least; I'm really bad at keeping secrets) it's really an X-Files-type conspiracy campaign.

Brer
08-05-2009, 09:14 PM
Sounds neat. What setting/system?

Lucas
08-05-2009, 09:26 PM
Big Eyes, Small Mouth 3rd Edition. The campaign is set in modern Tokyo, with the Shinsengumi having survived as a secret arm of the government that maintains the status quo by destroying mutants, psychics, magicians, AIs, etc. The PCs are a precognitive samurai schoolgirl, a robot schoolgirl, and their half human, half sheep homeroom teacher. They haven't had a direct run in with Imperial Department 8 (the modern Shinsengumi) yet, but they're getting close.

The Obsidian Portal wiki is here (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/shinsengumi-2009). My horribly unimaginative name for it may have something to do with the fact that the players have already twigged to who the scary men in black suits from the first session are...

Pseudonym
08-05-2009, 09:44 PM
What I'd like from you is suggestions for weird grenades. I've already got concussion, flash bang, and sticky grenades, but what else can you think of?


We had a whole gift basket of grenades in the game we just finished up recently. We tended to be non-lethal folks so we were pretty fond of the giggle grenades full of laughing gas.

sraymonds
08-05-2009, 09:54 PM
I was thinking the campaign would involve a person begging for help because something was decimating villages and this "wave of death" was headed right towards this person's home. The PCs wouldn't know that the wave of death was actually a large swarm of undead directed to destroy these villages. It's as if someone or something was using the undead to search for something...

That's all I got.

What I'd like from you is suggestions for weird grenades.

gay bomb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_bomb)

kaisel
08-06-2009, 10:10 AM
I was going to have one where the PCs go to help a town that's in the path of a wave of murderous undead, Seven-Samurai style.

I just can't think of an opening other than an exhausted villager collapsing in a bar begging for help.

What system are you using? If it's DnD 4e, I'd caution about using too much undead, unless it's only a handful of encounters, especially if there's some priestly sorts. The one time I DMed for my friends, I did something similar (started it out in a bar, since it was a one-shot), and it was a little disappointing to just see them tear through the undead. Wights are good to use though, especially at the beginning, since they steal healing surges.

I don't think the opening needs to be super unique, Brer's idea is pretty good, if you want a more extended opening. Another way to start would be to enter the seemingly deserted town, and have to track the survivors down, so they can tell the PCs what's going on.

Falselogic
08-06-2009, 03:45 PM
Yeah, this is just the thread I'll need in the next couple of months as I do my first sting of GMing a Rogue Trader game. I just started RPing this year having done only 4 or 5 sessions of a Dark heresy campaign. But I really loved it and want to start a Rogue Trader game with my 40k friends so thats what Im doing.

sraymonds
08-13-2009, 09:15 PM
Has anyone tried this Masterplan program (http://www.habitualindolence.net/masterplan/) to plan out their D&D campaign?

Thraeg
08-14-2009, 01:52 PM
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/dark_sun_cg_b1y.jpg

Dammit WotC, you found the one thing that can shake me out of my ambivalence towards 4e.

Falselogic
08-14-2009, 04:24 PM
Dammit WotC, you found the one thing that can shake me out of my ambivalence towards 4e.

So why is Dark Sun so good... and I guess I'm going to have to pick up 4e D&D or I'll never be able to play a damn RPG...

Traumadore
08-14-2009, 04:32 PM
The new Pathfinder comes out this month, so you could just play 3.5 forever. In fact theres already so much material that it would take a lifetime to explore it all. Unless you mean you won't be able to find a group for anything except 4th edition. But that's not your fault.

Anyway, I just picked up the 3rd Edition Libris Mortis at half price books and I am jazzed guys. I don't know if you love using undead, but I love using undead. Makes the scout sad though.

kaisel
08-14-2009, 04:36 PM
So why is Dark Sun so good... and I guess I'm going to have to pick up 4e D&D or I'll never be able to play a damn RPG...

Dark Sun is sort of a grim and gritty campaign world, less high magics, more cannibalism. There are no deities, and I think magic comes from elements or something like that? What I'm looking forward to most though, is that they'll be placing less emphasis on magic items, which is my main complaint with 4e.

Falselogic
08-14-2009, 04:37 PM
The new Pathfinder comes out this month, so you could just play 3.5 forever. In fact theres already so much material that it would take a lifetime to explore it all. Unless you mean you won't be able to find a group for anything except 4th edition. But that's not your fault.

It isn't my fault... just hard to find groups out here, then once they're found hard to fit into my schedule... So my choices are fairly limited, up until I can finally create my own group (this is just the mere glimmer of a hope on the far-off horizon)

benjibot
08-14-2009, 04:46 PM
Oh, I loved me some Dark Sun: lots of psionics, weapons made out of crystal, and creepy mantis people!

I miss D&D.

sraymonds
08-14-2009, 04:56 PM
I'm so tempted to load up the old Dark Sun PC games now.

Lucas
08-14-2009, 05:22 PM
the old Dark Sun PC games now.

Just how old? Like, Baldur's Gate old, or first-person dungeon crawl old?

I love the idea of the Dark Sun setting, but I started playing D&D in 3rd Ed and I don't think there were even any DS resources during that edition.

nunix
08-14-2009, 05:33 PM
The Dark Sun games are VGA (meaning post-gold box games) but are not like either the gold box games or Eye of the Beholder (which, as far as I know, is the only first-person dungeon crawl D&D game series). Probably were released roughly the same time as EoB.

re: Dark Sun: cannibal halflings and psychic mantis-people monks and a desert planet. It's essentially post-apocalyptic fantasy, and I get why people like it, but I shy away from post-apoc in general.

Thraeg
08-14-2009, 05:36 PM
So why is Dark Sun so good... and I guess I'm going to have to pick up 4e D&D or I'll never be able to play a damn RPG...

As others have mentioned, it's a very harsh world, where your first priority is simply survival. It's also fairly alien, with many of the races being either unique to the world or substantially warped by it. Most of the power is in the hands of incredibly powerful evil wizards who have transcended mortality to become dragons, so you're either living under an oppressive government or trying to get by in the wilderness. Your goals are likely to be things like leading slave revolts. And the magic system has an interesting dichotomy between quick advancement at the cost of killing plant life around you whenever you cast a spell, and slow but environmentally friendly progression.

I don't know if I'd want to be playing in Dark Sun forever and ever, but it's a really intriguing setting, and very refreshing after you've been playing variations on relatively similar medieval fantasy settings for a while.

Just how old? Like, Baldur's Gate old, or first-person dungeon crawl old?

Halfway in between. They're top-down party-based games like Baldur's Gate, but more primitive and ugly-looking. I think around the same era as Ultima V or so.

sraymonds
08-14-2009, 05:45 PM
Just how old? Like, Baldur's Gate old, or first-person dungeon crawl old?

IIRC Shattered Lands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Sun:_Shattered_Lands) and the sequel Wake of the Ravager (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Sun:_Wake_of_the_Ravager) are top down RPGS that are like rudimentary Baldur's Gates.

Al Baron
08-14-2009, 10:26 PM
Like I've stated elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how WotC will tweak 4th's general power level to fit the whole 'low level/survival' shtick that Dark Sun has going on. DMG2 is going to come with options for a more magic item-less experience. They'll also have to rework healing surges.

Destil
08-16-2009, 01:46 PM
Dark Sun is sort of a grim and gritty campaign world, less high magics, more cannibalism. There are no deities, and I think magic comes from elements or something like that? What I'm looking forward to most though, is that they'll be placing less emphasis on magic items, which is my main complaint with 4e.

Actually, 4E is the single easiest edition to remove magic items from: Every player gets a +1 awesome bonus to Attack, Damage, AC and defenses every 5 levels (5th, 10th et cetera). If you want also add 1d6 damage to critical hits per point of awesomeness.

There, you've removed magic items and the math still works.

Crested Penguin
08-16-2009, 09:35 PM
Healing surges are pretty great for tracking exhaustion for harsh environments/starvation/dehydration, mind. It's just a matter of not letting them replenish until the players are somewhere reasonably comfortable. In my experience, when you were getting killed in Dark Sun, you were often getting killed slowly by the environment.

The short interview that came with the announcement implied broad changes to PC options, ie a Dark Sun fighter will work differently than a PHB fighter. That's a big change from the last couple of settings, but very much in the spirit of the original box set, which modified pretty much all the classes and races.

I'm curious if Templars (basically priests of the super-evil wizard-kings) and Defilers (arcane spellcasters that kill the land around them, basically responsible for the wasted world) will remain as PC options. On the one hand, I played a lot of Dark Sun and no one ever wanted to play these guys because it's friggin hard to rationalize PC types tolerating them. On the other hand, nerds will rage if they just show up as NPC antagonists.

nunix
08-16-2009, 09:37 PM
Actually, 4E is the single easiest edition to remove magic items from: Every player gets a +1 awesome bonus to Attack, Damage, AC and defenses every 5 levels (5th, 10th et cetera). If you want also add 1d6 damage to critical hits per point of awesomeness.

There, you've removed magic items and the math still works.

See, you say this, but all it does is make me want to play Donjon and not muck with goofy D&D nonsense.

Lucas
08-17-2009, 08:03 PM
This page of Darths & Droids (http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0133.html) made me think. I like building the campaign world at least as much as I like playing it, but there've also been times where I've had to stop myself from telling the players something because I know they'll take it as a thing upon which they should act when really I just want it to be background.

The best way I've found around this problem is the newspaper. Since the campaign I'm currently sorta running takes place in modern times, with every adventure occurring in the same week we play, I've written up a fake article about a large fire with which the PCs weren't involved but which they, as residents of the city where it occurred, would definitely know about (and which will probably be important later, but which is definitely not a current plot hook).

So, how do you build the world and explain to the PCs what's happening without the players assuming every event is a plot hook?

Mightyblue
08-17-2009, 08:19 PM
So, how do you build the world and explain to the PCs what's happening without the players assuming every event is a plot hook?By somewhat ironically treating every piece of information you give them as a plot hook. There are some players who will quite regularly make mountains out of molehills. Let them. When they go haring off to that fire in the warehouse district make a van with the symbol of the evil organization drive through an intersection they're stopped at, and use that to lead them back to where you want them to go.

GM'ing isn't just setting up the adventures and tossing plot hooks and bits of info that are going to be treated as such everywhere, it's getting the players to realize the relative values of the info you dole out.

Say that they find the location of whatever place you want them to investigate next as part of the campaign, and that mysterious fire happens. Your players are going to wonder, "Hey, is there something about that fire?" like they're supposed to. Some of them are probably going to want to check it out beforehand when you don't want them to. So remind them of that. Remind them that they have a concrete objective at hand and that even mysterious fires are going to attract firefighters and police for days until the nature of the fire is determined.

Stuff like that. It mostly boils down to being prepared beforehand, and having the ability to nudge your players in the direction you want them to go. The former is easier than the latter, and the latter is something you can only really get through experience.

Thinaran
08-17-2009, 09:04 PM
My GM has a world that he has been maintaining for fifteen years, and everything in it is set. This has caused problems several times, like when we entered an underground ruin and four out of six party members got wiped on a level 50 lich monk because "well, he's lived there forever, it was you guys who wanted to go down there".

And last session we played the world ended because a guy touched his tattoo. Yeah. There were three cities separated by a large ravine, and in the middle of the ravine was a colossal spire. We heard some rumors about the spire blocking Essence magic (there are three types of magic in Rolemaster, Essence (nature), Channeling (gods), Mentalism (psionics)). So a guy in the group decided he'd test this by activating his Shield spell that was embedded in a tattoo. Well, the spire sends out a wave and fries every person having active essence spells on him, and the religious fanatics start searching for heathens using their Detect Essence spells. Two of our group members are able to fool them as they were wearing the right religious symbols and hid one player in their room. Me and another player ran away when the shit hit the fan, but the search parties showed up at our inn eventually and they would have found our essence equipment.

It ended up with us killing three of their priestesses and escaping from the city, but they organized a huge search party (which also consisted of our two religious members). We had some magic shoes that caused us to not get tired that we traded back and forth, and finally we got outside the range of their search spells.

So one of the priestesses walks up a hill to cast High Prayer to contact their god to find us. Except it wasn't a hill. It was a behemoth. And the behemoth awoke, having such a high level spell cast on top of it. He roared, waking up the 23 other hills/behemoths in the area.

The 23 behemoths that didn't die because of the Holy Martyr spell their paladin used killed everyone in the search party and ran toward the city. Turns out the spire was there to keep a Leviathan in hibernation. He woke up and destroyed the world.

Lucas
09-03-2009, 01:56 AM
My BESM group is about to do their first actual dungeon delve. Well, sewer delve, anyway. We haven't used a single map up to this point and I don't want to start now, so what I'm planning to have them do is roll for their directions.

Basically I plan to make two lists. The first will be the "good" events that advance the story, the other will be semi-random encounters and other time wasters. To advance, the players will have to appoint one navigator to make the rolls for the group (Mind rolls if they thought to ask for a map beforehand (since they're one team in a very large group effort, they do have some support) or Soul rolls if they're guessing). Successful rolls get events from the good list, failures mean they get a dud event and have to roll again.

So far one player has voted for this plan and one is ambivalent as usual. I have no idea how the rules lawyer in the group will react to the idea, though. The one wrinkle I'm considering is to increase the number of checks necessary to advance. To simulate the many turns and branches of the Tokyo sewers, I figure I can require them to make two or three successful rolls in a row to get any good event, but to balance it I'd make the TN something low so that the odds are against them failing any single check.

I really don't want to come up with an actual map of the sewers, either using a real one or making one up, and I really don't want to futz around in Maptools or Screenmonkey herding PCs if I can avoid it. Anyone tried this kind of system before?

Josh_AnimeBum
09-03-2009, 10:56 AM
I really don't want to come up with an actual map of the sewers, either using a real one or making one up, and I really don't want to futz around in Maptools or Screenmonkey herding PCs if I can avoid it. Anyone tried this kind of system before?

I played a decent bit of BESM back in its second edition with the Tri-Stat system, which based off of your mind and soul checks I am assuming you are using the Tri-Stat version over the D20 version. In that form BESM never really struck me as a game for rules lawyers or complex maps, so hopefully your group wouldn't have a problem with the sewer system.

I actually think the list idea is a good one. Having a few quick random encounters/interesting sights should get the point across that there is a lot down here, but at the same time it should prevent your group from getting bogged down in the "which way should we go" discussions that can seriously dampen the pacing of a "dungeon crawl."

Although I think may wish to allow some sort of assist roll to include more than one PC in the process. For example the leader makes a decision, allow (but not require) everyone else to make a soul or mind check to see if they agree with the decision. Depending on the number of PCs who choose to roll this could result in a tie, in which case they ultimately follow the "leader."

Falselogic
09-03-2009, 02:21 PM
world ending story

That's kind of cool... You don't get to RP the end of the world everyday... So what are you going to do now? New GM? or just new story? Whatever he says maybe he was just bored with GMing that game... This is what usually happens to me... The GM just gets bored with the game and kills it off.

Thinaran
09-03-2009, 02:30 PM
He is continuing the story in the post Leviathan landscape ... He said he wanted to do some solo adventures with my assassin character who actually lived through it, though!

But I took the opportunity to take a small break from Rolemaster, by joining a Call of Cthulhu game with another group. And I'm just not compatible with the new player, so a break from that will be good too.

Here's the PDF overview of the Cthulhu campaign (http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B4Rkh-Z4iQpOYmRlNzM0NzEtOWZjMy00ODBkLThjODYtOWViZTE3YmI0 NTBk&hl=en) if anyone's interested. (Google docs)

Falselogic
09-03-2009, 02:36 PM
I've had a standing invitation to a running Call of Cthulhu game now for the last two years but they play every Friday night...

My fiancee, soon to be wife, would kill me if I used my Friday nights to role dice with other guys... A shame too because I'm a real fanboy of Lovecraft

Lucas
09-03-2009, 02:55 PM
In that form BESM never really struck me as a game for rules lawyers

Lord, I wish. I'm talking about a guy who almost refused an ability I was giving his character because I'd changed a variable on it when the rulebook didn't explicitly state the attribute had that variable. It took me twenty minutes to make him see mechanically what I had done, and another five to make him accept that being able to make plants grow in another area instead of just in a radius around him (or her, since he's one of two guys I play with that have a tendency to make schoolgirl characters in BESM) does not mean (s)he's a baby-eating megalomaniac.

It was hard not to just snap at him and say "Dude, first of all, this change is advantageous for you, but not game breaking, and you already spent points on it as an Unknown Power, so it's not a question of being balanced. Second of all, I'm the GM here, so shut up and use the damned power I gave you."

So tempting.

Josh_AnimeBum
09-03-2009, 03:28 PM
you already spent points on it as an Unknown Power, so it's not a question of being balanced. Second of all, I'm the GM here, so shut up and use the damned power I gave you."

So tempting.

If I remember correctly isn't spending character points on an Unknown Power, basically an agreement between the player character and the GM stating that the GM promises to give a (potentially useful) ability slightly more powerful than a player chosen ability of similar point cost? With the power choice completely left up to the discretion of the GM?

So yeah in other words, it is ok to occasionally say to a player, "I'm the GM, so stfu."

Lucas
09-03-2009, 03:42 PM
Yeah, Unknown Power is basically the player giving up X character points to get back 1.5X CP in GM-chosen abilities. And Unknown Power is generally a dump attribute when the player doesn't have any idea what else to spend their CP on and want to foist the responsibility for choosing onto the GM, which is exactly what had happened in this case. So yeah, you can see why the whole disagreement was kinda frustrating for me.

marcalan
09-17-2009, 11:24 AM
I've got a campaign idea that's been rolling around in my head for a while. It's starting to take shape, but I would like some feedback on it to help refine it from idea to viable adventure.

To start, this I am aiming for a one or two session adventure for Werewolf: The Forsaken. Characters are going to be mid-range in terms of abilities. This is so I can easily throw stuff that brand new characters can't typically handle.

The short description, which I always like to start out with is this: Vampire: The Requiem+Shadow over Innsmouth+Deliverence.

Long idea: There is a type of vampire in one of the V:TR bloodline books that are basically inbred hillbillies. The players will be sent travelling, the "why" I'm currently working on, when their vehicle has a breakdown. They are able to make to a small town where they are told that it will take several days to repair.

The next steps I've only got roughly outlined at the moment:

An odd event or two alerts them that something is not normal in town.
After some investigation, they discover that the town is overrun with a vampiric hillbilly clan, run with an iron fist by a mother type figure.
(Now, this is where having mid-range powered characters is pretty nifty)Depending on how the players want to go, they can try to sneak in or go all out and wade hip deep in weakling vampire and ghoul bits to reach the "momma" and take her out.

Yes, it's pretty cliched, most likely coming from the bits and pieces of the various horror flicks and Lovecraft stories flitting about in my head. But I think it's got some potential.

Any other opinions?

Lucas
09-17-2009, 11:33 AM
Which vampire clan is it specifically? Nosferatu?

Falselogic
09-17-2009, 11:36 AM
Which vampire clan is it specifically? Nosferatu?

That'd be my guess they're the only hillbillies I can remember from VtM...

I think that'd be a fun, quick campaign one especially good for getting people into roleplaying... they dont have to worry about designing and managing their chars and it'll be nothing but adventure...

marcalan
09-17-2009, 12:35 PM
In the new World of Darkness Vampire: The Requiem, they limited the number of clans, but they've spawned an infinite number of Bloodlines. Bloodlines typically have the same powers and weaknesses that the parent clan does with an added addditional weakness. For example, the Brujah are now a bloodline of the Gangrel Clan.

Some with the bloodline that I'm going to use. They are called Oberlochs or The Brood, an offshoot of the Grangrels. The additional weakness is that they still age, so a person Embraced at 20 and is around for another 50 years will look like a 70 year old.

I just re-read the Oberloch entry and they are exactly what I wanted. I just need to hammer out some details and get some players.

Now that you mentioned that it would be good for new players, that maybe what I'll do. The FLGS is looking for people to demo other systems besides DnD. Who knows, maybe I'll get insane enough to run RIFTS!

No I won't

Brer
09-17-2009, 02:04 PM
Dammit WotC, you found the one thing that can shake me out of my ambivalence towards 4e.

Yeah. If this is any good I'm going to have to pick up 4e.

I'm so tempted to load up the old Dark Sun PC games now.
Just how old? Like, Baldur's Gate old, or first-person dungeon crawl old?

You can probably still find legit copies of the later SSI boxed collections around. I certainly will not discuss the other methods by which it would be easy to obtain these out of print titles after a few minutes searching on google. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands is a very solid top-down D&D RPG that predates Baldur's Gate by a few years. Wake of the Ravager is, unfortunately, a buggy and all but unplayable mess which is a shame since it's a direct sequel. I still replay Shattered lands from time to time and it holds out well.

Like I've stated elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how WotC will tweak 4th's general power level to fit the whole 'low level/survival' shtick that Dark Sun has going on.

Low level? What are you talking about? Low-magic (relatively speaking) certainly, but OTOH characters used to start out at 3rd level instead of first, all had a few psionic powers, and had more hit points per level than their counterparts. If anything a Dark Sun PC is much tougher and deadlier on a purely personal level than a PC of the same level from a different setting.

What balanced that is the relative scarcity not so much of -magic-, but of -metal-. In 2nd Edition D&D you had wood, bone, and obsidian weapons that got -3, -2, and -1 to-hit and damage and would break more easily, and so early characters might well love finding a magical Bone Longsword +2....because stat-wise it's identical to a normal steel longsword. That, and the setting's monsters could be extremely nasty.

pence
09-20-2009, 01:26 PM
I've been running the semi-old 3.5 adventure Red Hand of Doom for my players, and they very nearly started a brushfire last night.

On their way to assassinate an officer leading a hobgoblin warband, they encountered a blockade that was preventing the human cities from receiving trade and reinforcements from the north. Fortunately, they had purchased supplies to improvise molotov cocktails from the closest settlement. The roadblock itself was a makeshift wooden fort; they lobbed a half-dozen molotovs at it, and the fort burned down in less than a minute.

Now, to make things interesting, I rolled random weather. The campaign takes place in a subtropical climate, very dry and dusty, and I managed to roll 'heat wave'. As a group, we decided this meant the surrounding grasslands were quite dry, and the encounter quickly turned into finding ways to make a firewall. Everyone was amused by this impromptu challenge!

Lucas
09-20-2009, 01:32 PM
That actually sounds like a ton of fun.

Destil
10-29-2009, 06:24 AM
Arise, dread thread, and be reborn!

So, I tried an explicit skill challenge last night and it went over smashingly! Thought I'd share.

Setup: The PCs are traveling through the Mournland to the village of Thrace, about a day's and a half of travel each way from the mists, and a good 5 days round trip from Varithrond. While scouting ahead the ranger discovers a petrified corpses, and with little other warning a raving beholder rockets out from behind a nearby hill, eye rays basting.

Flee the Mad beholder!

You must escape from the magic warped creature who's path you've crossed. To make matters worse the land itself seems to be against you, with many hostile arcane barriers in your way and few places to take cover or hide.

Each person must complete a skill challenge: 4 successes before 4 failures. That means you have to make four skill rolls on the Primary Skills list below, before you fail four rolls. The DC starts at DC 12 and increases by +2 every time you use the same skill more than once. A failure on one of these checks causes you to be attacked by the beholder's eye rays. When you succeed you've managed to slip away from the monster, you can still aid your companions (but you can not take the continue on to Thrace action).

If you fail you fall behind and the beholder catches up to you. This is bad.

You can assist others by using the Secondary skills: success gives the person +2, failure gives them -2 on their next Primary roll. Every time you try to use the same skill to help the same person, the DC rises by two.

Skill checks are a standard actions. If for some reason you do not use your move action to flee during your turn you get a -2 penalty to your next primary skill check and MUST use the next attempt to flee or you automatically gain one failure.

Primary skills (start at DC 12): acrobatics, athletics, dungeoneering, endurance, nature, stealth. DC goes up by 2 every time the same skill is used.

Secondary skills (start at DC 12): arcana, insight, nature, history, perception.

Special Actions
Teleport 5 or more squares: 1 automatic success for the teleported party member.
Ranged Attack: Reduce the attack roll of the next eye-ray by 2 on success or grant a single ally member a +2 bonus to their next action on success. On failure you become distracted and wander into an area of magical hazards (can not attack while in a hazardous area).

Continue on to Thrace: While you’re performing the skill challenge, you can try and guide the party towards your final destination of Thrace (if you're not in an area of magical hazards). Make a nature check, DC 17. On success you help redirect the wayward party towards their final destination. If you fail you are attacked by the eye rays or you wander into an area of magical hazards (50/50 chance) as you hesitate to try and pick out your way through the waste. No successes here results in the group being hopelessly lost. One means you know roughly where you are, but loose a day of travel. Two keeps you on course. Three and you find the best path to escape and advance, granting all allies a +2 bonus to any remaining primary checks.

Special: If the beholder acts last everyone starts with one success. If the beholder gets a surprise round everyone unaware starts with one failure, if any players get a surprise round they start with one success.

Eye Rays: +19 vs. NAD, 1d8+5 damage + some other effect (depending on the ray).

1) Numbing Cold (cold, fort) - You are slowed (save, endurance or heal[DC 15], others can heal you as well, ends). Your successes do not count until you are no longer slowed.

2) Telekentic Blast (force, reflex, attacks anyone who aided you last turn as well) - you are hurled randomly (1d8)
8: away, you gain 1 success
1-2: backward, you gain 1 failure

3) Fear (psychic/fear, will) - you are shaken (save ends): -2 to defenses and any non-primary skill checks, +1 to primary skill checks.

4) Petrification (fort) - 1 automatic failure, no damage.

5) Venom (poison, fort) - You loose a healing surge.

6) Domination (psychic, will) - You are dominated for 1 round, during which you attempt to hinder an ally with a secondary check and do not flee (success is a -2 to their next check, failure means nothing).

7) Stone to Mud (auto hit, no damage) - You drop neck deep into a pool of sticky mud. You can take no action but try to escape (Athletics DC 12, others can pull you free as well). After you escape you are coated in thick mud, giving you a -2 to all Str/Dex/Con checks and attacks (save ends).

8) Barrage - The beholder makes two ray attacks, against you and one other ally (reroll any 8s)

Anti-Magic Ray (recharge 6): An an interrupt the beholder makes an opposed roll (+10) with the person using the power. On success the power is negated. Utility powers use the most relevant attack bonus, racial powers use your highest stat bonus +1/2 level +2.

Magical Hazards: Random trap, level 1+1d4 (DMG 88), reflavored as a magical hazard. Arcana is an added skill that can be used for most interactions.

I gave each of the players a handout with a picture of a beholder and the above, minus the effects of the eye rays. The group is 4th level, for the beholder I used a 15th level death kiss for base stats (Defenses, Attack, Damage and HP). Clearly running was in their best interest.

We laid out the minis on the back of a battlemat (I use big 1 inch grid paper sheets, about 3x4 feet each) and moved them along the paper as each player succeed in checks, noting what skill was used and any failures.

On his first turn our gnome arcanist (hybred wizard|warlock) waits for the beholder to get almost on top of him and uses Otherwind Stride, rolling a 20 and critting (I haven't checked, but he most likely needed a 16+ to hit), which had the dual effect of immobilizing the beholder for one round and teleporting himself away. I made a snap judgment that while the beholder was immobilized failures didn't count towards failure, allowing all of the group to try a really bad skill once and about half of them to get a free success. I forgot to have eye rays attack the ones who failed (and also those who failed the secondary checks), which was my big regret in this one. This made it fairly easy for the group to all get some successes and start trying to make the secondary check, and in short order they had three successes there.

In the last round the arcanist failed and was hit with a dominate ray, and he the stopped running and used bluff to try and convince the others to come back and help him (he was the only one who had not yet succeed). Hge rolled like a 24, easily beating everyone's passive insight. Two group members ran back (forgoing one success each) and rescued him, though he snapped out of the dominate soon enough and they all escaped.

In the end we had about 4 failures that triggered eye rays. One force blast, two fear rays and the dominate. I would have liked to see some more chaos from them, but I think the encounter on a whole was a great success.

Things I'd do different: I'd make it 5 successes, for one, and remove one skill from both the primary and secondary lists (nature and history). That would give things a bit more tension, as at the end most of the group was able to go 'I make my check' for the last success without rolling. But really that crit did a huge amount of good. I made it a bit harder to fail since there's some eye rays that can just screw the players over, but that may have been unnecessary...

sraymonds
10-29-2009, 06:50 AM
I'm prepping to run my first Call of Cthulhu campaign. Any tips or things to keep in mind?

marcalan
10-29-2009, 07:38 AM
I'm prepping to run my first Call of Cthulhu campaign. Any tips or things to keep in mind?

You hate your players and want them to suffer in the worst ways possible. Kill them, torture them, break their minds. They are insignificant worms compared to your mighty powers.

sraymonds
10-29-2009, 07:56 AM
You hate your players and want them to suffer in the worst ways possible. Kill them, torture them, break their minds. They are insignificant worms compared to your mighty powers.

....that doesn't sound fun at all.

Oathbreaker
10-29-2009, 08:01 AM
....that doesn't sound fun at all.

Are you kidding? Every campaign I've ever been a part of for anything, the GM had it out for us, and it was a blast. You just have to make sure you don't overdo it with things they'd never be able to overcome. They need at least some chance of survival. Destil's setup that he posted is a good example of doing it the right way (although he did seem to be a bit lenient on them, as he sort of said around the end of his post, and I guess a GM who had it out for the party wouldn't give them as much information as he did, but to each their own).

Also, if you have someone in the group who's annoying and chatty and tries to do things his own way all the time like I used to be fond of doing, feel free to have some super-creature screw them over in some way. They need it sometimes (of course, try to let the poor person live through it, but make sure they understand who's in charge).

sraymonds
10-29-2009, 08:07 AM
These guys are new to the CoC RPG and I don't want to turn them off of it the very first time.

Oathbreaker
10-29-2009, 08:09 AM
Ah, then yes. Avoid the "I am god and you shall suffer" angle. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with CoC, so I'm unable to give any constructive advice for a group starting their first campaign. My apologies.

Lucas
11-14-2009, 12:47 AM
I kind of got my friends interested in a one-off Star Wars adventure in which they're community college students on Coruscant who get hired to help a dude with more money than sense with an expedition to the lower levels of the planet.

Of course, what they don't realize is that in this case, "helping with an expedition" means they go on the search while the rich guy stays in his rich guy mansion playing with his rich guy Twi'lek servitors. Or that the PCs are actually just his pawns in a good-natured competition with a number of similarly rich guys.

Anyway, while I've got a couple of ideas for encounters, I wouldn't mind suggestions. Keep in mind they'll be level one, with no Jedis and (less mechanically important) no talents from the Lineage talent tree.

Mightyblue
11-14-2009, 01:56 AM
Creatures, smugglers, and mercs. Depending on the period it's set in, you might also include commando cells of varied extraction (Clone Wars: Trade Federation, Civil War Era: Rebel, NR Era: Imperial Remnant).

Also random bits of older tech than's current, since in pretty much every piece of EU material Coruscant is a city built on layers. Old Battle Droids, ancient factories, that sort of thing. It might also be amusing to put them through an old museum abandoned centuries ago just to see what's different (and what's living in the displays).

Loot might be "valuable" antiques that are worthless on the open market, and you could do challenges and traps based on crumbling buildings and so on as well.

Lucas
11-14-2009, 10:18 AM
That museum idea is aces, thanks. I also like the crumbling building idea; it'll fit in well the idea I had for a construction droid encounter.

As for the time period, I was thinking a few years before the whole Trade Federation thing. They might run into Separatist agitators, but there's no war yet.

Traumadore
11-16-2009, 09:59 AM
My 3rd edition D&D campaign I started a year and a half ago is slowly drawing to a close. The players are level 18 and 19, and they just killed Yeenoghu, demon patron of the gnolls, though I softened him a little from his stats in the Book of Vile Darkness. 41 AC instead of 42 and he didn't acquire his Unholy Aura until he was at half HP (boosting his AC and saves by 4), kind of taking a cue from some of the "bloodied" powers in 4th edition.
I also only had him start using Power Attack once he was at a quarter HP. Probly worked out the same since the fighter had 44AC anyway.

He was a tough nut to crack from then on. 45AC, 32 spell resistance, DR 15/+6, Fast Healing 5, Immune poison and lightning, resist 20 fire, cold, and acid. The party pulled through though, mainly on account of the wizard and his time-stop + mordenkainens sword.

Yeenoghu would usually dish out 120-180 damage with a full attack, which was lots of fun, but the claric was already with a Heal, and even got a Harm spell past Yeenoghu's SR. He saved but still took 75 damage. Yeowch.

Lately I've had no mercy on them and it's been quite fun. I'll continue pushing them to the edge of their capabilities. There's been two deaths and several close calls in the current dungeon, as well as two cases where they decided to run (although they won one with a last ditch Polymorph Any) so i'm definitely doing my job.

Next they climb a collossal, mountain size tower plated in gold to confront Mammon, the other half of this evil collaboration.

http://i544.photobucket.com/albums/hh327/Traumadore/mammontower-1.jpg

Yeenoghu and his gnoll slave army lived in the city at the base of the tower and in the labyrinth beside. The players brought down the giant cauldron with an earthquake spell, which released an explosive cloud of steam and molten shrapnel that killed about half the workers and soldiers in the city.

Alixsar
01-16-2010, 07:04 PM
So I know this is a D&D thread but I couldn't remember if we had an all purpose pen and paper thread, so I'm using this one.

So I just saw this thing that Kat wrote. (http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9016830)

I disagree. If you/your friends like the setting of a game enough, then you can make it work. There is no wrong system; there is only wronger and righter.

I used to play a bit of Shadowrun when I was younger and I can assure you that you can have fun with that game, despite that game. I remember my friend had a character who was something like 8 feet tall and mostly robot. At one point, he turned on my friend and I. We were inside of a narrow hallway in an apartment building. His character was so huge that he took up the entire hallway. Before I could even react, he grabbed my character's head, lifted him off the ground, and shot him in the face with the shotgun he had embedded in his hand. My friend pulled out two uzis and emptied two full clips into him. His character was so insane that he managed to dodge every bullet, despite him taking up the entire hallway. Then he opened his mouth, and a pneumatic spike shot out from under his tongue and pierced my friend's character's skull from roughly 9 feet away.

So yeah. Needless to say, it was amazing. We all had a blast.

But as I'm sure you can imagine, we did a lot of things that weren't exactly by-the-numbers. It's not so much that you need to find the right system for the right group. It's that you need to find a setting you all like, and then learn how to work that game's system for your group. After all, what is it that people always say is great about pen and paper RPGs? The freedom and creativity etc., right? Well who says that doesn't apply to the rules? As long as everyone is willing to agree on whatever changes you make, then you can make the game even more personal than playing it the "right" way. Like I said, my friends and I managed to make Shadowrun fun and that game has more numbers and rules than damn well near anything.

shivam
01-16-2010, 10:18 PM
its not the setting or the system, it's all about your group dynamics and playstyle.

Lucas
01-17-2010, 01:16 AM
I was going to say something here about customizability, BESM and its Unique Power attribute, and Shadowrun and the relative ease of perpetual orgasm magic, but I couldn't figure out how to really express my point. Maybe tomorrow I'll be more coherent.

I was only agreeing with you guys that gaming systems can be gamed no matter what game they are anyway.

shivam
01-17-2010, 10:55 AM
incidentally, i'm playing a mon calamari jedi councilor in kat's star wars game, so it should be fun.

and yesterday, my saturday D&D game started again, and man, it felt good to beat shit up.

Peach
01-17-2010, 11:38 AM
I'm just beginning to work on piecing together a Fantasy Craft (http://www.crafty-games.com/node/348) campaign.

Since I haven't done anything like this since high school, I'm trying to avoid being too iconoclastic. Starting a playthrough of Planescape: Torment, though, and downloading a pair of absolutely gorgeous Monster Hunter artbooks, has provided me with some excellent brain-fuel.

Comb Stranger
01-17-2010, 10:54 PM
In Pence's game saturday, I jumped off a fifteen-story cliff, because mathematically speaking, it was the safest thing I could do.

It probably says something about our tactical brilliance that it isn't the first time that's happened.

Anyway, I lived. Aren't fantasy rules great?

Destil
01-17-2010, 11:29 PM
incidentally, i'm playing a mon calamari jedi councilor in kat's star wars game, so it should be fun.

and yesterday, my saturday D&D game started again, and man, it felt good to beat shit up.

You know, I was going to chime in here agreeing that it's more the group and the game than the rules system that make a game fun (and it is)...

But I can't really fault anyone for running Star Wars Saga. It's sooo close to being the perfect version of d20 for me (kill full-round actions for normal attacks and it's there, and unlike most d20 games I don't think this breaks it). There's a reason I choose this as a base for my FFT/FFXII/Vagrant Story inspired rules.

Lucas
01-17-2010, 11:46 PM
One of the last sessions of my (sadly now defunct) Star Wars: Saga Edition campaign involved our enforcer jumping out the window of a cantina onto a swoop bike over the depths of Taris to rescue his pet cat,* throwing the cat back through a window into a lower level of the cantina, and following it. This delay on our enforcer-and-second-best-medic's part caused our primary medic to bleed to death.

To sum up, the villain's agent shot our cute twi'lek medic NPC (actually a missed attempt to kill me), then tried to kidnap the ship's cat.

Less on the topic of wacky RPG situation: sadly, it was about this time that our GM announced he was quitting. There'd been a few differences of opinion on how previous sessions had turned out - the most memorable of them revolving around a certain pirate ship** - and he wasn't having much fun with trying to keep the campaign going for us. This was particularly frustrating for the players since we saw this whole arc as an awesome climax to the first act of the campaign and a great springboard into doing what we really wanted to do with our PCs: take our two-bit courier/smuggling operation and build it into a vast organized crime syndicate.

We were still in the middle of a two-pronged attack on Lhosan Industry's main facility to reclaim our ship and take out the person we thought had organized everything that had happened to us (all while carrying around our medic's body, since we refused to leave her behind) when the game as a whole just got left in the air.

*It was a long-running joke that Biscuit was no mere pet but a jedi master in disguise. He even had full stats and a portrait on the campaign wiki. (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/unknown-horizons/characters/biscuit)

**There were two things about the Starflare that bothered the GM: the first was that the name came from his typo of "Starflayer" and all of us players agreed that the typo was a neat name for a ship while the intended name was dumb and melodramatic; the other was that we wouldn't take it.

When given two options while escaping from a pirate space station, he was dumbfounded when the group chose unanimously, both in character and out, to take our beat-up, old customized freighter we had bought with our own plot-money instead of the pirate smuggling/warship. He then told us how he'd planned to write into the backstory how our original ship ended up as the Ebon Hawk in KotOR and generally acted like the Starflare was a Christmas present we'd unwrapped and thrown back in his face. His reaction really confused us.

marcalan
01-18-2010, 03:38 PM
I've been reading through Geist: Sineaters, the newest setting for the World of Darkness. It's a cross between Medium/Ghost Whisperer and the Persona series (Persona 3 is pointed at as a good reference point).

So far, I'm loving it.

Comb Stranger
05-20-2010, 07:04 PM
Because there isn't enough pen & paper on TT.

So we decided to take a break from our long-running campaign to play a one-off. Everyone made their characters independently. What we all showed up with:

Fighter
Paladin
Paladin
Knight
Barbarian
Spellblade

That's right, six Fighting Mans. This is going to be terrible.

ThornGhost
07-01-2010, 11:30 AM
So my gaming group, formerly an incredibly regular group turned sporadic and now "hardly ever" as far as actually bellying up to the table goes, has been doing a lot of grumbling that they'd like to get a game started again. I'm all for this.

We're going to be trying a few different things and seeing what sticks and what people want to do since we've been rather unsuccessful at keeping interest up recently. I've volunteered to run a fantasy style campaign, and being that we generally like oblique rule systems and not buying new books, I'll probably be running Hackmaster or DnD 2e.

We've gamed together for years - the first game by this group was over 11 years ago at this point, and I tend to think that during that time we matured as gamers, experienced quite a bit of what the medium has to offer us, and generally moved our campaigns out of the basic "party raids a dungeon, sells loot, makes cash, buys better armor and hits another dungeon" trope to more complex stories with interesting world mechanics. Some of these were misfires for sure, but all in all I sort of applaud my group for pushing out of the comfort zone and opening our minds to different things.

Remember, there has been large stretches of time where we haven't gamed regularly. The last few times the games have sputtered out, those campaigns were just as "high minded" as some of what we were running when we were more consistent with our schedule. I sort of feel that what we need is a real "basic" campaign to reignite the fires and get people interested in doing this again. A real dungeon crawlin', orc smashin', princess savin' romp. Problem is, at this point, I don't really know where to start with doing something like that.

I think maybe getting a pre-built world set may be the best idea for me. A big map made by professionals, instead of by me, already laid out and planned so if my party strikes north with no real prodding to go that way, I'll know exactly what's up there in advance. Does anybody have any recommendations on what prebuilt world to use, or any other recommendations about running a basic campaign?

shivam
07-01-2010, 11:39 AM
DRAGONLANCE.

Or greyhawk. greyhawk is the best for old school dungeon crawling, especially big megamodules like Temple of Elemental Evil, or Against the Giants.

ThornGhost
07-01-2010, 11:42 AM
I read the Wise and Hickman Dragon Lance books back in the day, and they were pretty awesome for a high schooler that liked fantasy, and I'm sure some more of my friends did too. Does the old 2e campaign basically follow along with the books?

shivam
07-01-2010, 11:47 AM
the old 2e campaign follows the original trilogy almost exactly, with a few differences to keep it surprising for players who read the books, and obviously to make concessions for the fact that players do things differently than characters in a novel.

they're actually really great to run as a story driven campaign.

ThornGhost
07-01-2010, 12:04 PM
I'll take a look at it then, thanks! Maybe one of my friends bought it and never ran it or something. I know we've got stacks of old 2e books and boxes lying around that we bought and never used.

If not, I'm sure I can pick it up at the local used book store. I'll let you know how it goes.

shivam
07-01-2010, 12:05 PM
yeah, there's multiple versions published. If you can find the recent 3rd edition versions (Dragons of Autumn, etc), they're absolutely fantastic, and easily reversed to 2nd ed.

ThornGhost
07-01-2010, 12:16 PM
Alright, seems like my friend has a copy he's never used. I'll be picking those up from him maybe today.

Let me ask you this though: Do I get to find out if there was anything on top of that pillar that Tasslehoff was like "Hey, I wonder what's on top of that pillar. One time I found a magic ring on top of a pillar. Never mind, we won't check." and then never mentioned it again? That has bugged me for YEARS. Wise and Hickman based their books off of playing the campaign right? It should be in there.

shivam
07-01-2010, 12:25 PM
lol. the books were simultanious with the modules, but not a one to one correlation. Sorry =)

Googleshng
07-01-2010, 08:39 PM
So I'm gearing up to run some crazy 1e game (well, one of the clones technically, probably Labyrinth Lord). I'm doing this whole crazy half-sim deal where there's a lot of politicking and every player having their own personal large-but-finite stable of characters/hirelings (basically, there's a 1 to 1 ratio of players to the kingdom's noble houses). The actual traditional side of things boils mainly down to these weird ancient-tradition-mandated adventures where there's going to be something like 6 actual PCs and probably 20 or so hirelings are sent off into an oldschool proper dungeon crawl with high lethality.

Problem: I've never actually DONE a proper dungeon crawl. My campaigns are usually outdoorsy logical affairs where there's some pretty straight-forward logic to what people run across. So basically, I need some nice solid examples of Proper Mazey Dungeon Full Of Deadly To The Non-Super-Paranoid to extrapolate from. Bonus points if they don't rely on incredible feats of engineering or weird overly convenient plot-magic and could conceivably have been usable structures at some point in time. Looking at old school pre-published adventures, everything seems to swing either ENTIRELY too dull ("E- This is the linen cabinet of bedchamber D"), or you get freaking Tomb of Horrors.

So... anyone have any 30 year old maps still lying around?

shivam
07-01-2010, 10:15 PM
Castle fucking Greyhawk.

seriously, google greyhawk and look at those fansites. they have every dungeon imaginable.

ThornGhost
07-02-2010, 07:54 AM
Googleshng, Knights of the Dinner Table magazine runs a monthly feature called "Deadly Trappings" that you may be interesting in for filling out traps in your dungeons. They're usually pretty detailed about the history and development of each trap, plus each of them sort of make logical sense as to why they work. I think there may be some kind of a compilation out at this point if you don't want to buy like 30 issues of KoDT to get a bunch, but since you're a gamer you may already have them sitting around because, hey, it's KoDT.

Those old school twisty dungeon maps are a fearful amount of complicated though. You're going to either need to let your players know beforehand that one of their characters better have the mapping skill and make them draw it out, or use some kind of whiteboard to help explain their surroundings, or else they're going to be so lost.

On second thought, that might be pretty fun for a wicked GM.

shivam
07-02-2010, 10:56 AM
man, i'm like two years behind on my kodt =/

sraymonds
07-06-2010, 04:10 PM
Ok, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna run a Savage Worlds campaign.

Pseudonym
07-06-2010, 04:59 PM
Ok, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna run a Savage Worlds campaign.

Oh hey! That's what I've been fixing to do myself. Are you going to do one of the pre-made settings, or something homebrewed? (I'm going to do Deadlands Reloaded.)

sraymonds
07-06-2010, 05:05 PM
Oh hey! That's what I've been fixing to do myself. Are you going to do one of the pre-made settings, or something homebrewed? (I'm going to do Deadlands Reloaded.)

Something pre-made. I've never run a campaign before so I want to start where I don't have to do all the work. Mine is a modern day adventure.

Pseudonym
07-09-2010, 09:00 AM
So I did it! I made the proposal to my Sunday group that I should run a Deadlands Reloaded campaign, and I got enough votes to get the motion passed. I hope I do not suck! Here's my question though: I'd like to print up some little in game newspapers for the players. Is there any programs or webpages that can easily throw one together without much fuss? That hopefully could have an old fashioned look to them? I've seen web pages that can make a very nice looking clipping of an article, but I was wanting to do an entire front and back side of each issue.

Cyrael
07-13-2010, 06:12 PM
So, a friend loaned me his well used (and well notated) box set of Night Below. I had always wanted to play it back when I was gaming with my friends in Colorado in the 90's, but never had the money to pick it up. I think I need to go on Ebay or a local used store and see if I can find a complete set.

I forgot how much I love 2nd Edition D&D and these awesome mega adventures. The closest I ever found while playing 3rd was the 'Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil' campaign, which was also a blast.

There is just something about 2nd edition that I just enjoy more than the modern sets.

Googleshng
07-13-2010, 07:11 PM
Well the thing is, Second Ed had STUFF! Like the crazy cosmology. Planescape is a cool weird setting, Ravenloft is a cool weird setting. Spelljammer is awesome and I defy anyone to say otherwise. Dark Sun is just plain neat although really not especially connected to the whole planes and spheres angle. Plus it had a whole bunch of other crazy stuff in the basic rules and ecological monster text you could work with. Plus? Relatively speaking, levels and stats didn't do nearly as much for you. I mean, yeah, a mage would still eventually go from a squishy little nothing to practically a god, but generally, at any level, you're going to be decidedly mortal... but theoretically able to survive anything with enough cleverness and luck.

3rd Ed came along and neutered everything (literally... anything involving gender differences was yanked out completely), redid monsters to very specifically be fought by people of particular levels, and stripped out all the crazy stuff like autognomes and bariurs and really anything that doesn't fit under the Generic Fantasy umbrella (where Generic Fantasy itself is pretty much just: The stuff everyone has in their D&D game when they can't be bothered to make an interesting setting), tied stats into every mechanic, making them crazy important, and implemented what I still say is the single worst skill system I've ever seen in an RPG people actually play.

So yeah. I mean, 3e is generally more playable, but it's way less colorful.

shivam
07-13-2010, 07:27 PM
what googleshng said. almost exactly what i would have said.

Destil
07-14-2010, 01:42 AM
Eh, it's not THAT hard to separate out rules from flavor. I run 4E Eberron pretty much entirely from the 3E fluff. Which is what I want and have with my current game: clean rules and whatever flavor I want to inject.

EDIT: Also, I find 4E a lot more flavorful in a lot of ways. Older editions had a dozen evil demi-humans who, aside from level ranges, were pretty much the same. Yeah, there's different flavor, but they didn't play at all differently. In 4E there's what I'd call 'meaningful' differences. Shifty kobolds, ferocious orcs, blood thirsty gnolls and slippery goblins. Yeah, the flavor was always there, but actually having it mean something to the game's rules to me is just as important if not more-so.

Also, having just run the second absolutely fantastic session of this campaign, I've come to a conclusion: The key to good D&D is judicious use of beholders.

Googleshng
07-14-2010, 02:38 AM
Well, 4th ed I say you really have to consider it's own separate game (I call it Dandifor) due to, well, reasons (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/dandifor-phb.shtml). There's absolutely no way I could use it's mechanics with the flavor of the sort of D&D games I'm prone to running though, because it's so heavily designed around the notion that the party will get into half a dozen little fights a day on average (encounter powers, healing surges, etc.) and I just don't structure things that way. Nor does anyone else I ever play with, which is why I still haven't managed to really properly give it its fair shake. Plus the general superheroic nature of PCs REALLY clashes with a lot of oldschool flavor. I mean, how the heck does Dark Sun 4e even remotely work?

shivam
07-14-2010, 08:38 AM
yeah, the problem i'm running into with dragonlance 4e is that the whole point of the game is trying to bring healing back to the world. doesnt really have much impact when everyone can use a billion surges and get all their hp back every night =)

it's just a philosophical thing. earlier games focused on the struggle of survival, later games focus on the fun of being awesome. both are great, but both are different.

Crested Penguin
07-14-2010, 08:44 AM
One of the appeals of original Dark Sun was your PCs were super powerful, with higher stats, and starting out at 3rd level, etc. The Dark Sun specific races like half-giants were nuts, too. The trick is everything in the world is extra deadly anyway.

The change in encounter design is substantial, and to me it reflects similar changes in video game rpgs. The emphasis for a combat encounter has shifted from strategy to tactics since most combat resources are available in every encounter but every encounter is supposed to be a full challenge. It's best to design a 4e adventure so that every encounter really has a good reason to exist, for story reasons or interesting mechanics. Just sprinkling kobolds around is a bit of a waste.

That said the old school and new school can totally work together. I've converted some 2e adventures to 4e and I was able to keep from changing much by combining encounters. Is there a room with two ogres next to a room with some umber hulks? Okay have the hulks come crashing through the wall as the PCs engage the ogres. It's pretty fun to have the old school room clearing turn into a big brawl that occupies an entire dungeon floor.

Edit: Totally agreeing that second edition is the most fun older D&D, third really burned me out with the requirement of assigning spells, feats and levels to monsters to make them able to deal with caster PCs.

shivam
07-14-2010, 08:57 AM
1st edition was all about dungeons, treasure, and adventure. 2nd was all about flavor, vibrant campaign settings, and long story chains. 3rd was about giving the DM all of the tools and customization abilities in the box to make his OWN settings and games, spiced and flavored exactly as he wanted, using a comprehensive toolset. And 4th is about giving the players a sense of heroism right out of the box, and giving the DM tools to make instant easily constructed tactical encounters. Actually, 4e is pretty much the best tactical minis-based board game i've played. It's closer to 0e than anything else so far.

the point is that every game is fun for various reasons, and it's not the systems that make it fun--it's the players.

Traumadore
07-14-2010, 09:19 AM
You guys are so great. I wish I was playing D&D right now. We're playing a Post-Apocalyptic D20 modern game, which has indeed remained fun because of the players. You absolutely realize how dry the d20 system is when there are no more magic items or spells. But we're in a rough and tumble town where all the area gangs come to trade, slave, and have Great Outdoor Fights, and I fully intend to send our toughest characters in there and spread disinformation outside to gamble up some huge cash. It does have that "survival" feel to it though, certainly. Modern weapons are so destructive that we've had to bust our balls to not get blown up of shot to death. The players know that a single mis-step could end it for them, and so we're spending a lot more time planning.

And if anyone is seriously into a 4e campaign right now, the DMG2 has some great sections about nudging players through more encounters before they take rests, which can recreate some of that old fashioned flavor. If you guys want I can summarize some of the suggestions.

Lucas
07-14-2010, 10:44 AM
I mean, how the heck does Dark Sun 4e even remotely work?

I was playing D&D Encoutners: Dark Sun. We were doggedly chased by infinite waves of enemies that were tough enough on their own, stuck in a painful storm of obsidian chips, attacked from the air by some sort of bat-goblins, etc. Half of us briefly considered killing the other half to double our food supplies, and I was the only healer, which mostly consisted of an at-will power that would give an ally 4 temporary HP if I successfully stabbed someone with my spear.

We experienced total party kill on the third encounter.

Crested Penguin
07-14-2010, 02:51 PM
I was playing D&D Encoutners: Dark Sun. We were doggedly chased by infinite waves of enemies that were tough enough on their own, stuck in a painful storm of obsidian chips, attacked from the air by some sort of bat-goblins, etc. Half of us briefly considered killing the other half to double our food supplies, and I was the only healer, which mostly consisted of an at-will power that would give an ally 4 temporary HP if I successfully stabbed someone with my spear.

We experienced total party kill on the third encounter.

Impossible, deadly weather? Check.
WTF-monsters trying to kill you for walking around? Check.
Seriously considering killing allies for food? Check.
Needs more blood-draining plants though.

sraymonds
07-14-2010, 02:57 PM
Impossible, deadly weather? Check.
WTF-monsters trying to kill you for walking around? Check.
Seriously considering killing allies for food? Check.
Needs more blood-draining plants though.

Give it time.

Lucas
07-14-2010, 03:10 PM
There are a dozen encounters we didn't get to. If the other 80% of the planned campaign didn't include vampire plants at at least one point, I'd be amazed.

sraymonds
07-23-2010, 09:35 PM
So I was thinking of running a short Call of Cthulhu adventure using four pre-generated characters via post. Anyone want to give it a shot?

Lucas
07-23-2010, 10:46 PM
I'm game for a game.

Brer
07-23-2010, 11:02 PM
So, Open Game License is what WotC used to license D20, but what exactly is considered Open Game Content? I ask because poet, being the awesome girlfriend she is, got me Volume 2 of the Dresden Files RPG (which is basically the setting/lore book), and it was apparently created with Open Game Content...but the stats sure don't look even vaguely D20-like.

kaisel
07-24-2010, 01:00 AM
So I was thinking of running a short Call of Cthulhu adventure using four pre-generated characters via post. Anyone want to give it a shot?

I'd be game, though I'll be the first to admit, that I'm not super knowledgeable when it comes to Call of Cthulu.

So, Open Game License is what WotC used to license D20, but what exactly is considered Open Game Content? I ask because poet, being the awesome girlfriend she is, got me Volume 2 of the Dresden Files RPG (which is basically the setting/lore book), and it was apparently created with Open Game Content...but the stats sure don't look even vaguely D20-like.

I think basically WotC ended up making the OGL, and other people adopted the same license, sorta like how software developers use the MIT or the GPL license.

sraymonds
07-25-2010, 12:40 AM
I'd be game, though I'll be the first to admit, that I'm not super knowledgeable when it comes to Call of Cthulu.

I would probably run a Trail of Cthulhu game, which uses the Gumshoe system. Gumshoe emphasizes roleplaying over dice rolling. For instance, if your character is a doctor, you don't have to roll for your Medicine skill because the game acknowledges that hey, you're a doctor and you know what you're doing. That's not to say that there aren't skill challenges but the game designers didn't the story coming to a complete stop because the players blew a few rolls.

I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something but I am currently up way to late.

shivam
07-25-2010, 11:04 AM
my wife suffered permadeath in the game yesterday. She was hit by six mega baddies in the surprise round for 96 damage, and then hit again at the top of normal initiative, before she got to go, or any of us did.

I've never seen her so mad and pissed and frustrated in my life. The DM is one of those let the dice fall as it may types, but he's also a crazy hardcore tactical dude, who always focus fires and aims for the squishy dudes (which is always my wife's rogue) regardless of who the enemy is. And he's incredibly inscrutable as a DM, and every information alley is always a brick wall, and all of the available options are bad, or really hard to ally with, etc. I mean, i love playing with him, and he's a great storyteller, but man, it's brutal sometimes, and that kills all the fun.

kaisel
07-25-2010, 07:24 PM
I would probably run a Trail of Cthulhu game, which uses the Gumshoe system. Gumshoe emphasizes roleplaying over dice rolling. For instance, if your character is a doctor, you don't have to roll for your Medicine skill because the game acknowledges that hey, you're a doctor and you know what you're doing. That's not to say that there aren't skill challenges but the game designers didn't the story coming to a complete stop because the players blew a few rolls.

I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something but I am currently up way to late.

Ah, that sounds cool. I've heard of the system, never played, maybe I should look into picking it up in the future.

my wife suffered permadeath in the game yesterday. She was hit by six mega baddies in the surprise round for 96 damage, and then hit again at the top of normal initiative, before she got to go, or any of us did.

I've never seen her so mad and pissed and frustrated in my life. The DM is one of those let the dice fall as it may types, but he's also a crazy hardcore tactical dude, who always focus fires and aims for the squishy dudes (which is always my wife's rogue) regardless of who the enemy is. And he's incredibly inscrutable as a DM, and every information alley is always a brick wall, and all of the available options are bad, or really hard to ally with, etc. I mean, i love playing with him, and he's a great storyteller, but man, it's brutal sometimes, and that kills all the fun.

I know the feeling, both from player side and DM side. I was GMing a game of Savage Worlds for a friend and my fiancee and practically killed my fiancee's character with one really, really good roll on my part, and she rolled poorly on her soak role. I felt really bad (and realize that I'm kinda similar to your DM with the information, it's something I really need to work on).

Traumadore
07-25-2010, 08:43 PM
my wife suffered permadeath in the game yesterday. She was hit by six mega baddies in the surprise round for 96 damage, and then hit again at the top of normal initiative, before she got to go, or any of us did.

I've never seen her so mad and pissed and frustrated in my life. The DM is one of those let the dice fall as it may types, but he's also a crazy hardcore tactical dude, who always focus fires and aims for the squishy dudes (which is always my wife's rogue) regardless of who the enemy is. And he's incredibly inscrutable as a DM, and every information alley is always a brick wall, and all of the available options are bad, or really hard to ally with, etc. I mean, i love playing with him, and he's a great storyteller, but man, it's brutal sometimes, and that kills all the fun.

That really sucks, he should address this somehow. Maybe you need to talk about it before or after the next session with all the players. And killing the weakest player because it's easy is a bitch-move for any DM. Make sure he knows his job isn't to win, but to make sure everyone has fun, even the players that die. Killing a player in the opening moments of an encounter is the worst way to do it. I learned that when one of my players got petrified immediately when they encountered a basilisk. Right after he had spent two hours making a character so he could play with us.

I mean, the guy was a terrible player, but I felt bad and will always remember that lesson.

Thinaran
07-26-2010, 01:20 AM
My GM has no mercy and dice that average around 80. He started one encounter by having six assassins teleport in from just outside my Detect enemies radius and end up next to me, everyone sticking two long daggers in me. There were A LOT of critical hits and bleeding. I was a mage.

Last Sunday he had three of our five group members fight an undead dragon rider (a race he's made that's above high elves). He healed himself every round by draining constitution points PERMANENTLY from the players, always won initiative, ignores weak criticals, and by being an undead ignores all stun and bleeding. Oh and he had Bladeturn (subtract 100 from your attack!). The only thing that won the encounter was that he used martial arts (four attacks, and whenever you're touched you have to resist the constitution drain with a -50 penalty), which does insane stun but seldom kills people. The warrior mage fell, but woke up again thanks to a high "Divine Intervention" roll which temporarily made him an avatar of his assassin god. He would still have been killed if the enchanter hadn't made clones of him that threw themselves in front of the rider's attacks.

As the dragon rider lay on the floor, one of the mages did a hasty Magical Ritual to send him away. While he did this he was unwittingly being drained so the enemy could resurrect again. If the GM hadn't thrown a 1 and 2 on the initiative right there they would have been dead when he did his level 50 Holy Martyr spell.

shivam
07-26-2010, 09:58 AM
I firmly believe that the DM's job is to make the players have fun. I hate hate hate the old school adversarial style.

sraymonds
07-26-2010, 10:04 AM
That shits sounds no fun.

Falselogic
07-26-2010, 10:22 AM
Yeah that shit sounds awful why would you play with a DM who felt her job was to screw over her players? Fuck that.

Lucas
07-26-2010, 12:22 PM
Alright, I'm going to make a serious attempt at figuring out how to run a game with RPTools today.

Pray for my soul.

Googleshng
07-26-2010, 01:36 PM
...dice that average around 80... subtract 100 from your attack... resist the constitution drain with a -50 penalty... "Divine Intervention" roll... level 50 Holy Martyr spell.

OK, WTF game are you playing here? I can't think of any tabletop game where numbers this big get tossed around for anything besides HP.

Lucas
07-26-2010, 01:42 PM
Runequest does everything on percentiles. Doesn't Hackmaster do the same? (Never played it and I'm probably totally wrong.) Don't think it's the former and I be surprised if my latter guess was right, though - probably something in some European language we've never seen in the States.

But yeah, when I was reading that my first thought was that it sounded like the sort of thing someone who never plays games would make up for a TV show...

Thinaran
07-26-2010, 01:47 PM
We're playing Rolemaster. You use percentile dice for everything, and you need 111 to succeed a skill check in that system. I don't have the books so I can check what number you need to get a decent critical on a guy wearing plate mail, but it's high. And when you have to subtract 100 from every attack ...

Thraeg
07-26-2010, 03:52 PM
I firmly believe that the DM's job is to make the players have fun. I hate hate hate the old school adversarial style.

I agree with the first part, but it's easy to take it too far -- I've personally seen more games ruined by DMs being overly nice and accommodating than by being adversarial. My view is that the DM's long-term, overarching goal should be for the players to have fun; sometimes, though, that process involves moments or events that aren't enjoyable on their own, but contribute to the overall health of the game.

Most of the balancing and tailoring to the benefit of the players should take place in the adventure planning/encounter design stage. Once the game is actually in session, the DM should try to appear as impartial as possible, creating the sense that the world operates under consistent rules. The PCs can accomplish great things, but they don't have any mystic "plot immunity" to save them from bad choices or bad luck.

When the DM blatantly fudges events either for or against the players, it punctures the suspension of disbelief, undermines the players' agency, and makes it feel like everything ultimately comes down to what the DM allows to happen.

Lack of consequences swiftly leads to a pretty boring game, just going through the motions. The knowledge that PC death or even a TPK is a real possibility lends additional weight to the party's decisions, suspense to their every die roll, and sweetness to their eventual victories.

I'm sure that philosophy doesn't work for every group (and wouldn't apply at all to games that don't have a substantial tactical component), but it's produced by far the most enjoyable games I've participated in, both as a player and as a DM. It's partially the same appeal I find in roguelikes.

Now I'm pretty sure you don't actually subscribe to the philosophy that I'm arguing against, but your comment just got me thinking about it. And none of that is to say that your DM was right in this case. Massive alpha strikes sans opportunity to react are generally poor encounter design, as is using smart focus-fire tactics regardless of the enemy's intelligence, level of organization, or situational awareness.

Thinaran
07-26-2010, 04:15 PM
Well I did kind of channel a bunch of power points into a dude who was stuck inside a bone prison in the middle of a small islet with a giant dinosaur in the water inside a cave in the middle of the woods on a Land of the Lost-style plateau.

Actually when I write it like that it seems like a bad idea in hindsight.

Traumadore
07-27-2010, 09:59 AM
When the DM blatantly fudges events either for or against the players, it punctures the suspension of disbelief, undermines the players' agency, and makes it feel like everything ultimately comes down to what the DM allows to happen.

Lack of consequences swiftly leads to a pretty boring game, just going through the motions. The knowledge that PC death or even a TPK is a real possibility lends additional weight to the party's decisions, suspense to their every die roll, and sweetness to their eventual victories.


I'm a pretty marshmallowy DM, but as long as you throw a curveball in most of your encounters they're still going to have fun. I've made mistakes fudging things where I know it made a player enjoy the session less, but I learned from them.

If you're using your full arsenal of Ability Damage, Ability Drain, Level Drain, dangerous or even nonlethal traps, status ailments, poisons etc. your players are always going to be on their toes. In my last campaign (from lvl 3-lvl 22) there were 6 character deaths, 2 drained levels, and much hosed equipment. But I fudged if the timing wasn't right, and let devastating things happen when it would increase the tension and the fun.

Important distinction: You DM a group of 3 far differently than a group of 6. If I had six PCs I would get pretty oldschool on them.

sraymonds
07-30-2010, 08:44 PM
I started a blog detailing how to create a character in Trail of Cthulhu! (http://notworthitsown.blogspot.com/)

After I'm done creating, I'll be moving on to play mechanics in ToC.

kaisel
08-05-2010, 10:13 PM
Out of curiosity, has anyone been following the D&D Essential previews? I kinda like the new builds they have, but I can see it getting pretty boring, since most of their stuff boils down to "I make a basic attack". I'm kinda interested in how people who don't really like 4e think about it.

I started a blog detailing how to create a character in Trail of Cthulhu! (http://notworthitsown.blogspot.com/)

After I'm done creating, I'll be moving on to play mechanics in ToC.

I missed this, but this is cool, thanks. It's a nice preview for a system, and it's pretty in depth. Might have to pick this up myself, if my local shop has it.

sraymonds
08-06-2010, 06:39 AM
I missed this, but this is cool, thanks. It's a nice preview for a system, and it's pretty in depth. Might have to pick this up myself, if my local shop has it.

Thanks! None of my writings have ever been described as "in depth". I'm writing out all these blog posts so that when I start the adventure I can just do a big info dump on everyone.

And I have PDF copies of the player's guide to pass out to the players, in case you wanted to see that before committing to a hardbound copy.

Büge
08-06-2010, 07:39 AM
Out of curiosity, has anyone been following the D&D Essential previews? I kinda like the new builds they have, but I can see it getting pretty boring, since most of their stuff boils down to "I make a basic attack". I'm kinda interested in how people who don't really like 4e think about it.

It makes sense. After two years of splatbooks and campaigns and stuff, the system is getting bogged down with way too many options. Newbies might look at a potential list of powers and be intimidated by the number of choices. And even when they play, they might wonder if using a certain power at a certain time is the right choice, or whether they should save it. Conversely, veterans might look at the same list and be bored, since they already know what powers will fit their build the best.

Essentials seems like it will level the playing field.

Lucas
08-06-2010, 09:52 PM
Lucas: I think you killed my sidekick
Ruadvin: well, she shouldn't be doing anything strenuous, like saving a girl in a wet junior high swimsuit from tripping and getting covered with cake, while she has stitches


Nothing is ever his fault >=| Not actually mad.

At least his character actually has some medical skill and seems to have mostly patched up my sidekick already.

Lucas
08-22-2010, 02:34 PM
So I was thinking of doing a low-weirdness lost tech campaign (no magic, no superweapons, probably very little combat) inspired by Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky. The PCs will be the Nth generation of human colonists aboard a sublight generation ship, during a period where the ship's purpose - and even the fact that there is a universe outside the ship - has been forgotten and the people have reverted back to a superstitious-feudalistic-agrarian society.

The hook is that the air is occasionally going foul and the water sour, and it's up the PCs to find out why. The reason is, of course, that the ship's maintenance systems are wearing out and breaking down, which will then tie in to the discovery that their world is actually a generation ship (not that they're likely to understand what that means) and they have to decide what to do with that knowledge etc., etc.

The main problem I'm having is deciding who doesn't know about the big twist of the PC's world actually being a starship. If I try to hide it from the players, it will take a lot more work and contrivance (no having NPCs call the world "the Ship" for example, not having the ruling class be the Officers or the priesthood (that keeps the ship running by following their superstitions) the Scientists, etc.). On the other hand, letting the players know what's going on ahead of time but restricting their choices so that they roleplay properly just doesn't feel right.

Maybe the solution is in very carefully choosing my system. I was going to have them be 1st non-Force using Star Wars SE characters, but maybe letting the players know what's going on and having them be non-magic D&D 3.5 classes (or even NPC classes) would better fit the setting. Or just really restricted BESM 3rd Ed. rules.

Anyone ever tried something like this before?

Oathbreaker
08-22-2010, 04:38 PM
Sounds like it could be pretty fun, but I don't know how you could really hide it being a ship from the players unless you just outright have the NPCs call the ship its name (if it has one, hopefully the word 'ship' isn't anywhere in it) while they talk about the world.

That said I have no experience DM-ing and none of mine have ever tried something like that.

Googleshng
08-22-2010, 06:18 PM
The best advice I can give you is... don't try and use D&D mechanics if you aren't going for a D&D feel. It tends to go very badly. If we're just talking about the whole, forgetting we're on a spaceship deal, I've always had some problems with the idea. Namely:

- You're never going to have a space ship that realistically comes off like a planet.

- Being on a ship for multiple generations isn't going to blur the planet/spaceship line any. It's just going to destroy the planet frame of reference completely, and you get a society that just absolutely does not comprehend concepts like an open sky or digging a hole.

I say the thing to do is, use a homebrew system (or at least, make your own fixed skill list and go with Fudge. Don't hide the sci-fi nature from the players, just, don't give them the option to abuse their out of character knowledge via the skill selection, and make sure they all get the "nobody remembers what any of this does" angle. Play up the half-forgotten ship terminology getting repurposed.

Crested Penguin
08-22-2010, 07:19 PM
Seconding "don't use D&D." I wouldn't recommend Star Wars either. There's just a lot of mechanical stuff weight that wouldn't be of value for what you're doing. Both systems operate best with different game assumptions than your game has.

I've used BESM pretty successfully for low-power, skill based investigative games, which sounds pretty close to what you're doing. Probably a number of other generic systems would fit pretty well, too.

Crested Penguin
08-22-2010, 07:36 PM
I wrapped up my ~1.5 year, 16th level Norse myth campaign a little while ago so I can run some Dark Sun. There was a climactic battle to free Odin from a trap set by Loki, and I risked using a custom solo monster for the fight.

I say risked because I've had a lot of experiences of solo monsters ending up being totally trivialized and failing to pose a risk to players, but it was actually a very tense battle for a number of reasons.

First is the fact that I spent some time looking at the "end boss" 30+ level solos and cribbed some of their features, especially Demogorgon. My monster had two separate initiative counts, and an ability to save against all daze and stun conditions regardless of duration, so it acted frequently and dazes and stuns had an effect, but weren't crippling.

His multi-target attacks targeted more enemies once he was bloodied. My players tend use all of their best abilities right away, which meant they could bring the monster to bloodied quickly, and found themselves dealing with a nastier foe without their best powers. The fight was very touch-and-go towards the end as the players used every resource at their disposal.

Finally the revised damage expressions from the third monster manual (and the current update) are a godsend for challenging players above level 10.

So anyway my lesson that I learned which may be useful to other DMs who want to use a solo monster but are disappointed as they get massacred is to have a look at the "boss monsters" like Lolth or Imix and scale them down to suit their party. I suppose this deflates the "specialness" of the monsters you are stealing from, but I know I'm probably never going to actually run more than one or two of those fights anyway.

Lucas
08-22-2010, 08:01 PM
I was thinking of Star Wars mostly because this game would actually be part of the back story for a setting I'm slowly working on that runs on modified Saga Edition rules. However, BESM was the first thing I thought of when trying to decide on a system for this game, and it still feels like the best fit.

As for hiding the fact they're on a ship: I was never going to try to make them think they were on an actual planet. It was going to obvious from the start they were in some kind of closed system (the PCs have lived there long enough to explore most of the available ship even if they don't understand what they're seeing, after all), it's more a question of how explicit to make it to the players. More importantly, since I'm leaning towards making it explicit to them, how to prevent them from abusing OOC knowledge during character creation and the game.

Googleshng
08-22-2010, 08:27 PM
This is why I say explain it. If you can't trust your players, the game's going to have problems in the first place. Besides, when someone goes "OK, I'm someone who's spent his whole life trying to study everything he can about electrical systems!" you can always go "Yeah no. I want everyone to have about as much scientific knowledge as the average amish farmer here."

shawn struck
08-22-2010, 09:01 PM
I firmly believe that the DM's job is to make the players have fun. I hate hate hate the old school adversarial style.

Seconded.

Destil
08-22-2010, 10:33 PM
I say risked because I've had a lot of experiences of solo monsters ending up being totally trivialized and failing to pose a risk to players, but it was actually a very tense battle for a number of reasons.

I've had pretty good success with solos, and I think things like making stun and daze weaker against them is pretty serious over-reaction (since they already get +5 to saves and sometimes two turns a round) but for an epic end of a campaign arc or similar fight I'm 100% behind this. I'm actually working on an encounter now for my Eberron campaign's heroic tier climax and balancing the entire thing is going to be a challenge for sure.

Though if your players just blow their big power right at the start of a fight you need to throw more gnolls at them :P

Crested Penguin
08-23-2010, 07:39 AM
Having a 16th level invoker who specializes in end-of-next turn stuns and dazes makes save bonuses not very good protection. :( As it stands the monster was dazed 1/3 to 1/2 the time. I did set things up so they always had a substantial effect, though. The monster had a standard attack and a minor attack, so if it was dazed that meant it missed using the minor attack.

Paragon level controllers can really throw out a lot of lockdown effects, and it's important to take that into consideration when creating a challenge, but obviously not neuter their character's abilities.

Bergasa
08-23-2010, 09:30 AM
I haven't played D&D for about six or seven years, but this new Red Box (http://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Fantasy-Roleplaying-Game/dp/0786956291/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282580831&sr=1-1) intrigues me. I might just see if I can get a group together for it again.

shivam
08-23-2010, 10:04 AM
it's just 4th edition in a different skin.

Bergasa
08-23-2010, 10:30 AM
Yeah, but it's the way they are presenting it that intrigues me.

shivam
08-23-2010, 10:34 AM
oh, i'm going to get them for sure, because i like the new class models, and i'm never going to tell someone NOT to buy D&D =)


also, today's Penny Arcade is so perfect.

Traumadore
08-23-2010, 10:49 AM
I haven't played D&D for about six or seven years, but this new Red Box (http://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Fantasy-Roleplaying-Game/dp/0786956291/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282580831&sr=1-1) intrigues me. I might just see if I can get a group together for it again.

I'm startled they actually let you make your own characters. It's a lot cheaper for them to just put in 6 pre-made guys than a big booklet with creation rules. Still only $20, pretty nice.

Googleshng
08-23-2010, 12:08 PM
Not the way 4e works it doesn't. Character sheets would be at least a full page each. All you need to create a character that you DON'T need to level up is stats, racial perks, and starting skill counts. That's two pages easy. Or one if you actually want to condense things.

Traumadore
08-23-2010, 12:26 PM
I'm planning on doing a mini-campaign in 3rd Edition featuring specialist wizards in a magical detective agency. Basically everyone must choose a different school, using the normal specialization rules. There will be a single session adventure in the form of a mystery every week, and the characters will level up between each session, as the mysteries represent landmark cases in their careers. They will be able to conduct 2d12 months of research/crafting between each adventure, and will have a monthly income (based on character level) to purchase spell scrolls, materials, whatever they want. This will take the place of normal loot that they would gain from typical adventuring, though there will be a small amount of well hidden choice items each session.

Originally it was going to also feature a rotating DM, but after writing synopsis for six different mysteries I kind of want to do it all myself. I guess I could have a DM workshop after the first session to walk them through the process. It just seems like it will require a little more storytelling finesse than the usual dungeon crawl, and I'm the only one approaching that level.

Lucas
08-23-2010, 12:35 PM
That sounds like a hell of a lot of fun, Traumadore.

Bergasa
08-23-2010, 12:47 PM
Yeah, that sounds awesome.

Traumadore
08-23-2010, 01:09 PM
Glad you guys like it. I'll post the mysteries I'm developing, and if anyone has any cool ideas or other stories you think I should look at then let me know. Hopefully we can think of some good red herrings!

Edit: Actually I packed my D&D stuff up last night for a move later this week, so I won't be able to post everything right away. Rest assured it will be one of the first things I replace on my bookshelf once I move, however.

Merus
08-23-2010, 03:44 PM
I recall that there was something along the likes of the Red Box for 3rd edition, as well. It felt basically like D&D Lite - I doubt this new one will cannibalise the market much.