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Thread: Pete's D&D campaign(DM'ing blog )

      
   
  1. #11
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    If you want the group to focus then some house rules need to be set. I liked my group to role play their character as much as possible so what they say at the table, their character voiced out loud "in game" as well, so if a couple of players were nattering at the back any hostile NPC would pick up on that at and go at them for it.

    Also to focus the combat do things at half speed but be unforgiving. If the player is taking their time, tough they miss their initiative and get hit. They won't do it again. Another great leveller and one I used a few times in tournament dm'ing is aimed at the disruptive players, after the party has got comfortable with each other kill off one of the weaker ones. It works better if the doomed character is close to the disruptive player as this will focus them at bit, even better if you can make the death dramatic.

    I know this sounds draconian but it does make the gaming experience better in the long-run. It's better for the DM to be fair, but cruel and decisive than soft and un-decisive. Players learn their boundaries earlier on.

    One more thing; for new players it might be better to change the style of your DM'ing to a more story lead adventure, more work on your part I'm afraid but as the players get better you can lessen this.

  2. #12
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    Dead players are funny. A pc in one of my old Merp games walked blindly into a spear trap once, and spend the rest of the game laughing as the group went 'fishing' with his corpse (tied to a rope for easy retrieval of the body!) as a trigger for the subsequent pressure traps. They kept him around until the corpse was little more than an ankle on the end of the rope... :P

    He loved it though, despite not playing actively anymore while knocking up a new char, and it made for a really good eye opener to the consequence of action, or more importantly, inaction.

  3. #13
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    Session 2 was Soooo much better on Wed. First off, the one PITA guy-druid didn't show up so that was a big bonus to speed up play. Next, the casters remembered they had crossbows and could shoot during their turn and didn't always/couldn't cast spells. I also reminded them that their turn was 6 seconds of game tiem and they should make their decisions in about that time. This seemed to really help and I didn't have to skip anyone.

    They finished clearing out the one room and advanced to the second that contained the Queen rat and and a shifty humanoid and three nests. The worked well as a team and took the queen out and then the mage cast enlarge on the Pali and his long sword bumped upto 3d6, he rolled a 20 and crit'd for 34 points of damage, lol. It was pretty awesome. The started searching the dead body and using knowledge this or that for various items. Meanwile they only burnt one of the nests, so I had some more Giant rats swarm out of them to teach em a lesson to finish the job before counting loot. They killed them and all is good.
    The rat catcher had 55sp, a +1 masterwork SS for the Rogue, a teddy bear (of one of the missing kids) and a dark wooden token about the size of your palm with various sized holes drilled through it (any guess what it is?). No magical or religion importance they could detect.

    They went back uptop and got paid by Onslo. They rested the night. The next morning, they took the teddy bear to the healer's Church and spoke to the priest after mass. He healed some filth feveer that was plaguing two party members. He held the bear told them he was alive but not close. They then went and spoke witht eh mother, she was histarical and very thankful that these people would would help locat their son. They walked thte path the boy was on when he disapeared and found nothing to go on.

    The father asked them to investigate the chapel up an Undine lake about 15 miles away. Father Damien wasn't been sending down his normal suppies and the letters have been odd. He asks them to escort Marcus, a young monk. Now I have an NPC in the party and can drop some more hints and help them in a rutt. I threw a single axle cart in there so they will be slowed and ambush worthy. This will als make cutting through the woods on the trail instead of the road a bit more risky and burdened.

    Then I advanced them to level 2.

    I'm advancing them as a group so there's no hard feelings or metagaming. I did start giving out poker chips for cool actions or clever ideas. The players can trade them in for a +1 to any die roll (not HP at level up) or trade 10 in for an extra skill point at lvl. I think I gave 4-5 out last session so I'm being pretty stingy but most of this session was storytime and leveling up. I did give a chip out during story mode to encourage good RP as well.

    The Journey North to Undine lake
    They expressed feeling clostrophobic in the sewers so we are headed outside. I'm not sure exaclty what I'l have them do along the way but I'll probably:
    • Ambush, who doesn't love a good ambush. Maybe Dire wolves baiting them into a hunting pack or maybe some good ol forest bandits
    • Help a local along the way. Steeling cattle, or something of the like. Could be avoided type thing, side quest. Maybe a hill giant comes out and they need to reccognize the power and run.
    • After watching Willow last night, I always thought it would be cool to do some sort of moving wagon fight. have the board just constantly tile forwward as they move forward. Make them roll handle animal checks to drive faster/avoid obsticles etc. I like getting skills involved into the game whenever possible so things don't always favor the combat heavy classes.
    • On departure, father Thomas will ask the "Forest walkers" (druids & ranger) to gather some of the supplies that normally come from the area while they are up there. Valerian Root and Psybin spores. This will allow for some unique experiences for certain types of characters. I'll have them roll survival checks at various periods, or have them spot a patch in a precarious place etc. Only prob is now I'll have to think of something unique for the other classes. Pali, Rogue, Sorcerer, mage & healer. Pali could be turn x# of undead, Healer could be cure x# of diseased along the way... Any other suggestions?
    Once they get to the lake, I'm not sure if the Father Damien should be mind controlled, evil, or just sketchy. I'd love to start getting some undead bad guys int he mix. I just bought the GW Garden of Morr box set (sweet set BTW review incoming) so I have tons of obsticles and terrain features for some cool graveyard encounters. There's also the missing kids, that I obvioulsy shouldn't forget as its the reason to go up there, but not sure how to get it all together. I may have an extra week on this though as the travels up there will prob be our next session.

    The feedback has been really helpfull so far folks, so if you have any ideas, I'm all ears.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by NeatPete; 28-10-2011 at 08:17 PM.

  4. #14
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    Sounds like you had a good game session . I like the idea of a Willow-esq rolling wagon fight. To make it more hectic and exciting, have it run-away, maybe the horse gets spooked at the top of a hill and it bolts on a a steep bit of road with a ravine at the bottom. This means that some of the party will be trying to slow the wagon, while others are defending them against the ambushers.

    I also think this Father Damien is a good way to add a party nemesis if you wish to.

  5. #15
    Wolves are good, brings out the storyteller and an ambush with wolves can really ramp up the tension, lots of sound effects and stalking involved.

    Help a local, could be a nice moral dilema i.e. they help someone and feel all good about it only to find out later that they have been party to a crime, say theft or link it with the cattle stealing. Nice quandry and angst generator for any one roleplaying an ultra good guy.

    Run away waggon, lots of fun particularily if being chased at the time and agreat dilema, as Shane pointed out.

    Father Damien could be an excellent long term adversary. Have him appear to be under an influence (e.g. magic, mental trauma) to explain any bad actions to the characters. He could actually be an agent for a larger organisation and, following the success of this adventure (fingers crossed for them), could spark an investigaton into Father Damien that could lead them on to the organisation he works for.

    Pleased to hear that your second session went well, roll on ('scuse the pun ) the next session.

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  6. #16

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  7. #17
    You have something good going, Pete

    Quite a challenge with such a large group, but it already seems you're getting it under control. This really brings back fond memories from my own career as DM in AD&D 2nd ed from around 89-93. That was some great fun! The group split up when moving on to university though, so haven't played since then. We still talk about it when we meet a couple of times a year

    Building on what Shane and Ulfgrimr has mentioned, this Damien could be a vampire minion, an agent for an ancient vampire clan. Lot's of intriguing plots could be built from there. The party could be unknowingly helping an usurping vampire to power, who in turn could either turn on them or become an ally later.

    Actually I might have quite a lot of modules in a box somewhere, if you're in need of some pre-made quests.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Endor View Post
    Building on what Shane and Ulfgrimr has mentioned, this Damien could be a vampire minion, an agent for an ancient vampire clan. Lot's of intriguing plots could be built from there. The party could be unknowingly helping an usurping vampire to power, who in turn could either turn on them or become an ally later.
    That is a fiendishly wonderful idea. The party could go quite a few levels, gradually uncovering the ancient evil of the land and finally defeating the current vampire lord and his coven, freeing the land of an unspeakable horror...or did they just open the door for something far worse?

    *Insert maniacal Vincent Price/Thriller laugh here*
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 30-10-2011 at 04:13 AM.

  9. #19
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    Long time no update but we've been playing every week. Down to 6 players every week which is much more manageable than 8-9. (FYI: the rogue did infact leave the party only because she had to work. She was a real great character and took notes. Sad see her leave actually.) Picking up where I left off:

    Father Thomas took pulled each of them aside (I literally took them in the other room alone and had a one on one talk with them. Father Thomas asked each of them to do something for them on their adventure north. “My supplies from up North have been sparse of late and I need some reagents for my spells and potions. Please keep your eyes out for this and I would be greatly appreciated.”
    • Paladin: Ensure Marcus(NPC) was safe
    • Ranger: Find and successfully harvest 3 batches of Valerian root Search/spot DC:23 Harvest: Survival DC: 23
    • Druid: Find and successfully harvest 3 batches of Psybin Spores (nocturnal fungus) Search/spot DC:23 Harvest: Survival DC: 23
    • Healer: Save the lives of 4 citizens of Elunios(the kingdom we are in) on your journey
    • The mage and the sorcerer got nada. (yet)
    The players really liked having an individual thing to focus on and as a GM it also helped me later as I’ll tell you about soon. Some of them shared their missions, others did not. Created a little tension in the party but not enough to derail the overall objectives. I plotted out various locations where I would allow them to search or spot such items to make sure as the adventure progressed they would have enough opportunities to find and fail harvesting them but yet still get the goods.

    As the traveled North, they came to the Crossroads. A small four town building with as you guessed, a crossroads. Wasn’t expecting them to ask what all the buildings were but I winged it and the main building of any concern was the Gem Saloon (Deadwood!) and a Govt' tax type center. Wagons were all about and the town is full of people. As they are enjoying a frosty brew they hear screams and shouts from outside. Orks are raiding the town and rolling in on wagons. I queued up the scene in Willow and had them all watch the cart/wagon racing scene. Well here’s where I made a big mistake and have to keep reminding myself about motivation. They are a group of good characters. They want to save the town adn the people. Not run away, even if they should in the face of such danger. Marcus (NPC) attempts to jump out the window to his cart and hits his head and falls unconscious on the wagon. This spooks the horse and the horse takes off. The mage casts an illusion on the front of the Gem of the building burning and this successfully keeps the orks out of the building for a bit. (damn mage) After I assure them that most citizens have escaped out the back safely, they get their asses in the carts.

    I printed out 14 excel spreadsheets with 1”x1” grids and numbered them 1-14. They were 7 squares wide and this was the road. I penceled in some forests on either side that made the road narrower and some obstacles in the random places in teh middle to move around. I created a whole wagon driving system with maneuvers and a crash table! Much to my delight the first player to read it said "Sweet! a crash table!" I printed three copies of them, one for me, and one for each cart driver. They rolled handle animal skills to make the DC checks. Carts moved at the begining of the turn and they move simultaneous. CArt speed carried over from turn to turn (if you are at speed 6, you moved 6 squares, you could push up to speed 7, but you start at 6 squares the next turn)

    Maneuver DC Loss of Control Table* d20
    Regain Control 10 Crash! 1
    Speed Up 12 Drift Left 2-4
    Slow Down 11 Drift Left 2 5-7
    Turn upto 45 12 Drift Right 8-10
    Drift Left 11 + 1/square Drift Right 2 11-13
    Drift Right 11 + 1/square Speed up 14-17
    Maintain 10 Slow Down 18-19
    Combine any 2 +4 to most difficult Crash! 20
    Side swipe Drift + 2
    Highest Handle Animal wins position *If you hit an obsticle, roll on crash table
    1d8 damage to losing cart
    Speed CRASH! DC
    Standard 6 All occupants make REF save Maneuver DC
    Max 7 Failed are prone in wagon
    Crash Table
    d20 Result Effect Damage
    1-6 Broken Wheel Std Speed -1 1d8 (Wagon)
    7-10 Collision REF save 1D6 (Wagon)
    11-14 Thrown Occupant Lowest REF Save is thrown 1d8 (Character)
    15-19 Big Bump Additional REF Save DC11 Failed = Thrown
    1D6 (wagon)
    20 Narrow miss REF Save DC11, loss fo control
    Turn Sequence
    Roll to regain control of carts (failed = roll on loss of control table this turn)
    Write down move (simultaneous)
    Roll to maneuver carts
    Move Carts
    Last edited by NeatPete; 12-12-2011 at 11:18 PM.

  10. #20
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    The racing itself was fun, Lots of loss of control and orks were pursuing. Bows were shooting, magic missiles were launched, caltrops were dropping it was fun. There were four orks on horses, (they challenged me on horseback riding orks, but I told them to stuff it) and two wagons trailing them. The riders and the first two carts were finally taken out by a druid root spell, but the DM was prepared for such thing and had two more carts sweep in from the side further down the trail. I used pieces of balsa cut out for wagons, so moving the carts was easy each turn. I simplified the ork wagons to all shoot at the same time for initiative.

    Some clever player actions: Caltrops dropped by casters. Once a player was thrown from the speeding wagon and the mage swapped out the sorcerer’s familiar (owl) with the character to get them back in the wagon. The owl then flew back to speeding wagon no problem. Grease spell was handy also. And of course the druid root spell.

    Orks crashed and the threat was gone and the race to catch Marcus picked up. One cart crashed so much it was down to one wheel and rendered destroyed. The other cart caught up to Marcus and the Pali epically failed his jump roll over to the wagon and fell to the ground. The Rogue made the jump onto Marcus’s wagon just in time to see the end of tile 14 was a cliff. It literally came down to the last turn of trying to slow the cart down in time, but the rogue was forced to push Marcus off the back of the cart (not an easy task for a halfling) and jump off herself. The cart flew off the cliff and the party returned to the cross roads.

 

 
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