Princes of the Apocolypse – Part 1

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Greeting all.

This session is a little different as I think it was just a one off session. The other DM of the Wednesday sessions could not make it as he was needed in Newcastle to do some stock take. As it is End of financial year and apparently also exam time for a lot of students. I decided to run this adventure just part of the campaign and since most of the players had played other roleplaying game other than D&D I was pretty sure this was going to be fun.

Some of the players well at least two of them were new to the 5th ed rules for D&D. Other players were still new to the game but at least used common sense. This post will be a little bit shorter than the others as the session only went for 1 hour but the hour was soo much fun.

Now to begin this rant, I present the players. Like many of my blog posts I try not to use peoples’ names so that I don’t discriminate against them out of my annoyance or something. I will just list their characters below.

  • Tiefling Warlock level 3 – he wanted to play it and the reason was he wanted this character to have power and was thirsty for more
  • Gnome Wizard level 2 – he had a plan but unfortunately we didn’t get far enough to have him tell me. But after the session he told me it had something to do with building a library
  • Goliath Fighter level 1 – one of my older players
  • Dwarf Cleric level 1 – she choose the domain of light rather than Life or War. She played with the scrappiest dwarven accent I’d ever heard but it was fun
  • Half – elf Ranger level – wanted to get a pet bear and gave me an interesting back story of becoming “The Ranger” that he is now.

The session begins, with the adventurers arriving in the town of Red Larch. A small outpost town west of Neverwinter and south of Triboar trail. I had the adventurers arrive in parts of town as well as different times. The player playing the Tiefling wanted to have more of a demon look, like bigger horns and wings (unusable but for appearance sake). I said yes and asked if he had been hiding them or showing them with pride. Apparently it was the latter but it was fine none the less.

Anyway I had him enter town first and he went to a tavern called the Swinging Sword where he wanted to inquire about books concerning arcane script and demon artefacts.  To get everyone’s attention he cast a spell called Thaumaturgy to make his voice an Intimidating Boom. He managed to isolate those who were worthy and spoke to them. The only creatures in that tavern were a few human miners, the barmaid and some gambling halflings.

Now which do you think the Warlock chose to speak to? The halflings of course as they weren’t listening to his commanding voice and were too busy trying to cheat in their game.

Warlock: I hear you have information on some arcane books?

Halfling leader: ‘nd wat’s it to you?

Warlock: I demand you tell me what you know or you can pay with your life!!!

DM: roll intimidate check

Warlock rolls 9 in total.

All Halflings laughs and coughs for the pain in their chest.

At this point I had the Fighter and Wizard enter town. The wizard waited for the fighter to pass to avoid danger. The fighter on the other hand went straight for the notice board in town. He check the lists for work and found one that was more interesting than the others. The details were to remove bandits from the merchants trading route. This would help the town a lot by giving them trade and supply aid. The rest of the details would be given by a Constable Harburk. Not know where this Constable was he went to the closest inn to ask for directions.

The fighter entered an establishment named “The Helm at High Sun”. Not using the conventional words the fighter just flashed the help wanted paper at everyone in the inn and grunted and pointed. It was a breathe of fresh air. It was so funny that all of us started to laugh and some of the people from the other tables also joined in. He somehow got someone to understand his barbaric nature and got directions.

The wizard on the other hand used his arcane knowledge to sense any magic in the air and follow it. This lead him to the Warlock at the Swinging Sword. Just as he enters the tavern he sees the Warlock cast a Disguise spell to look twice his height. The only to be affected by it was the Halfling leader as his lackeys were too busy collecting (and stealing) coins from other tables. But it didn’t matter to the Warlock because he got his man. He was able to squeeze the information out of him and they were told that Thelorn’s Safe Journey has what they seek. They both head in that direction before collection some books from the little gamblers.

I let the dwarf enter next since she was quite eager to cause some chaos. She approached the same inn that the fighter had just left and asked about rumours in town. This lead to the barkeep to panic and spill the beans. He told her that the town was under some terrible curse by some demonic force that gave all traveller night terrors while they slept in this town. The like cause could be anything from curses to demons and such. She asked where would be the best place to start digging up the dead. So, to speak. And this caused the barkeep to start spouting nonsense about “Minny” and the “child”. Not wanting to go without helping him she decided to cast Light ion his forehead and told him that this blessing would keep him safe. Then she left in search for clues of this “Minny” person.

Enter the ranger. He too wanted to look at the notice board and look for work. There he found a notice about helping the town by investigating some old ruins but again the rest of the details would be given to them by the Constable. On the way to search for the Constable he encounters the fighter, flashing his paper at every passer-by and grunting. Thinking he needed help he approached him and ask what was wrong.

Again some time the ranger finally figured out that the Constable was near the butcher’s shop and that the fighter was also going in the same direction. Upon entering the butcher’s the fighter slammed the paper down demanding to see the Man in charge. The butcher thought they were customers and asked if they wanted pork or chicken strips.

Realising his mistake the butcher asked them to watch the entrance of the shop and wait for a man running and snapping his fingers. A man of that description did pass by and the butcher then said “…and that’s the Constable”. The fighter impatiently dashed after the man and hoisted him up and told him to direct him to where the bandits were the Constable immediately understood and pointed straight and nudged the fighter either left or right until he was pointing in the right direction.

Now you might all be wondering “What? the Constable didn’t outrage? Why?”. Well the reason for that is I change the setting a little bit and had all the inhabitants have insomnia from lack of sleep were quite frankly going insane.

The goliath finding his bearing or at least the basic direction of the bandits, let the Constable down and started to head off. At this moment is where chaos ensued. The Warlock and Wizard were now travelling together and were walking past the cross road. The fighter seeing an enlarged demon in plain sight in the middle of the day had him raging to kill his enemy. The ranger wanting to know more about the bandits like their numbers and weapons and where was the last attack spoke to the delirious  Lawman. With abrupt snap of his fingers the Constable gave a somewhat proper report of the situation. And then suddenly all the towns people hear the roar of DEMON in the air.

That was when the ranger noticed that the fighter was charging off towards a strangely blurry image of a large demon. Weapon in hand. With a bloodlust look in his eyes. The ranger trying to resolve this situation in a peaceful manner inducts what is know to the world as “Roping”. But with a twist. The ranger finds the most solid object and ties one end to it and tries to lasso the fighter to stop him. It worked until the fighter used his brute strength to break the rope. Snapping it in two.

At this point the tiefling only wanted peace and dispel the Disguise and Cast another Disguise to look like a human. The fighter had far too much blood lust at this point to stop and just grabbed the tiefling by the head and smashed him to the ground. While this commotion was happening the cleric needed to stop the violence so as to not cause problems for the already troubled town. She cast a Command spell but it had no effect to the large goliath and she then tried to use something else to distract the fighter. Meanwhile the townsfolk still being afflicted by some unknown curse causing them to have very little sleep, simply ignored the ruckus. The children of the town thought it was some kind of festival and decided to rush over to the Tiefling who they saw as an angel (not a giant demon) and started to play with him. This caused the goliath to stop for a moment as he did not want to harm any innocent lives. The cleric worried about the children now in the frontline of the fighter’s attacks cast dancing lights to distract the children. She used the spell to change the shape into dancing unicorns or many colours (even though I purposely hinted at the fact these children were also sleep deprived and she should make demons with her spell). This was only seen by one children and had quite the opposite effect. Instead of distracting the children it scared them off. Though only one half-orc child had seen it. It was most ineffective.

The ranger at this point had the constable and they were heading towards the fight. Rather than stop the fight the constable just inquired about why a demon was here during the day. This did not interest the fighter and started to scare the children away with some loud and aggressive roars and grunts. Two of the remaining children ran off but there was still one very much clinging playfully and lovingly to the Tiefling. Once the Tiefling’s Disguise spell had again being cast the child seeing the boring looking human just went her merry way somewhat disgruntled. The fighter was now very confused when he looked at the Tiefling seeing a Human instead and ask some guidance from his god. He asked to be Smote for not killing such evil. With a successful roll, nothing happened and the story would continue. With this the Tiefling made a run for it but was caught by cleric and escorted to the house of “Minny”.

This is where they all meet up with Mhandyvver’s granddaughter Pell who was being possessed by a ghost that only wanted to be freed. The team was able to get information about where this tomb was located. The goliath fighter had no interest in this so he started to find work more to his liking by asking the constable who was rather over-interested in the goliath as a species.

This is where the session ended. What will happen next time? Who will they rescue? Will the goliath finally get his prey? Will the Tiefling get his revenge (though I have my doubts)?

Find out next week for the next instalment of this adventure. Hopefully!?

Also, sorry for the delay as I have been very busy lately…

Agricola – Farming? Like back in the day!

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Agricola is a farming game where you can plow fields, grow crops, breed animals and upgrade your home. This game can be friendly and very complex. I can say that it can be played with casual people but it is not a casual game. This game’s mechanics or play style is called “Worker placement”. A worker placement game revolves around placing one of many of your player pieces to do various tasks.

In Agricola these tasks involve farming. Like plowing a field so that you can sow grain or vegetable on it later, build fences to make room for animals to roam in or to build rooms in your home to extend it so that you can acquire more “worker(s)” in your team or family. But the most important action a player will need to take in the game is “Taking food”. The reason for this is during the set “harvest” your team must feed your hungry, hungry people. The cost for feeding your people is 2 food per worker during each harvest. Most people always forget this and they get the infamous [beggars’ card].

Now you might be saying huh? 2 food, how hard is that? its not hard but if you have 2 people/workers at the beginning of the game then that equals 4 food in total. This is easy at first because the firs stage of the game has 4 rounds before the harvest can commence. But by the second stage there is only 3 rounds and in the 3rd to 5th stages there are only 2 rounds until a harvest and of course final round there is only 1 round and that is also the end of the game. Many players seem to forget when certain rounds occur or what round it is currently so that they can prepare food to feed their people.

There are 14 rounds in total and each new round there is a new action space to be revealed. The actions are listed below:

Stage 1

  • Build Fences
  • Build a Major or Minor Improvement
  • Collect Sheep (minimum 1)
  • Sow and/or Bake Bread

Stage 2

  • Collect Stone (First Pile) (minimum 1)
  • Family Growth also Minor Improvement
  • Renovate then Major or Minor Improvement

Stage 3

  • Collect Wild Boar (minimum 1)
  • Take 1 Vegetable

Stage 4

  • Collect Cattle (minimum 1)
  • Collect Stone (Second pile) (minimum 1)

Stage 5

  • Plow and/or Sow
  • Family Growth without needing room

Stage 6

  • Renovate then Build Fences

These are the new actions that appear during the duration of the game. They are not always in that order but they do all appear in their respective stages. There are also basic actions that are always available from the very beginning of the game (so long as no other player has chosen that space). They are listed below:

Basic actions

  • Collect Wood (minimum 3)
  • Collect Clay (minimum 1)
  • Collect Reed (minimum 1)
  • Fishing for food (minimum 1)
  • Build a Room and/or Stable
  • Starting Player and/or Minor Improvement (Only in Normal rules)
  • Starting Player and Storehouse 1 food (Only in Family rules)
  • Plow a field
  • Take 1 Grain
  • Play an Occupation (Only in Normal rules)
  • Build a Stable and/or Bake Bread (Only in Family rules)
  • Day Labourer Take 2 food (Normal rules)
  • Day Labourer Take 1 food and 1 building resource (Only in Family rules)

Extra actions for 3 Players

Normal Rules

  • Collect Wood (minimum 2)
  • Collect Clay (minimum 1)
  • Take 1 Build Resource
  • Play 1 Occupation (cost 2 food)

Family Rules

  • Collect Wood (minimum 2)
  • Collect Clay (minimum 1)
  • Take 1 Build Resource
  • Take 2 different Building Resources

 

Extra actions for 4 Players

Normal Rules

  • Play 1 Occupation (1st one at 1 food and each additional costs 2 food)
  • Travelling Players
  • Collect Clay (minimum 2)
  • Collect Wood (minimum 1)
  • Collect Wood (minimum 2)
  • Take 1 reed, 1 Stone and 1 Food

Family Rules

  • Take 2 different Building Resources
  • Travelling Players
  • Collect Clay (minimum 2)
  • Collect Wood (minimum 1)
  • Collect Wood (minimum 2)
  • Take 1 reed, 1 Stone and 1 Food

 

 

Extra actions for 5 Players

Normal Rules

  • Either Play 1 Occupation (1st one at 1 food and each additional costs 2 food) Or, from Round 5, Family Growth
  • Collect Wood (minimum 4)
  • Collect Reed (minimum 1) and Take 1 Stone and 1 Wood
  • Take 1 sheep and 1 food Or Take 1 Boar Or Pay 1 Food for 1 Cattle
  • Build 1 Room Or Travelling Players
  • Collect Clay (minimum 3)

Family Rules

  • Take 2 different Building Resources Or, from Round 5, Family Growth
  • Collect Wood (minimum 4)
  • Collect Reed (minimum 1) and Take 1 Stone and 1 Wood
  • Take 1 sheep and 1 food Or Take 1 Boar Or Pay 1 Food for 1 Cattle
  • Build 1 Room Or Travelling Players
  • Collect Clay (minimum 3)

 

 

Now that I have gone over the actions and rules of the game I will now tell you 2 games I played with my brother and someone new as well as a game with my friends. Game 1 is with my brother and a new player. And when I say new I mean very new. He had only played board games like Monopoly and a few card games. Game 2 was the 3rd game I played with my friends and it was cutthroat and apparently stress inducing for one of them.

 

Game 1 – We should have played this game using the family rules instead of the normal.

Ok, instead of a play by play recount of this game I will just give a short overview. We played with the Easy set of Occupations and Minor Improvements. I had very average cards and my brother had some semblance of a combo but all in all it was a fair game. I started the game as first player and played the first occupation then collected whatever resources remained. The new player his name is Gared (or maybe it was spelt Jarred) only had a basic grasp of the game from what my brother had told him. His cards were pretty good but not knowing what they do even though throughout the game I gave out very helpful advice he seemed to (like all new players) not take my suggestions.

The game was pretty much basic and flowed quite well (for me that is). Collecting Food (to prepare for harvest payment) and resources (to prepare for advancement like family growth to get extra turns). My brother also gathered resources to advance in the game as well but around mid game he was stopped unintentionally by Gared. Who was just playing as best as he could without realising that there were better moves (even though I had told him as he took the action space). The action space he had taken was Starting Player and/or minor improvement.

You might be saying “well maybe he wants to go first or play a minor improvement?” well at first he did play a minor improvement but realised during the turn he could not afford the card (he didn’t have the resources for the card). I told him that he could still take a different action such as [Major or Minor Improvement] or take one of the collect resources actions but he said what’s do is do? (If you were wondering he was already first when he took the action space and literally just made a redundant play). I now saw that my brother who has one of the shortest fuses was about to snap.

I had to stop him by talking to him while Gared was not on the table. He calmed himself long enough to play the game. You now might be thinking “huh? but Agricola requires some patience, right?” It does but he has played it so many times with me who continues to lose against him due to my avarice and lack of timing. He has seen through my plays.

Anyway, Gared continued to play and somewhat struggled to understand the price of less actions lost having 25 points (this is a pretty amazing score since I have played with others and in their first game they barely got over 15 points) at the end of the game. My brother being blocked by Gared throughout the game (unintentionally or maybe just dumb luck or co-incidence) struggled to get the points required to win the game. He had 38 points. I won the game with 48 points as I was able to use all the actions I wanted but I still wanted more (I am greedy after all).

Ok, now this is the reason I have for choosing the game title. I only realised after about the first round that we should just restart the game and play the family version. Now hear me out. I had played this game with many people before and I only tried to play the family version once. As that version is not challenging at all. I only realised around the first round because Gared wasn’t asking questions about the cards. I then told everyone that we should play the family version but it was somewhat too late and I knew my brother all too well. MY brother said “No!!” and for some reason Gared also agreed with him. I knew this was going to be a hard game to play for Gared as having the occupation cards and minor improvement cards add an extra layer of difficulty, regardless of the cards (Easy (E), Intermediate (I), Complex (K)) you use. So I went with it. After the game though my brother also realised that we should have played Family version.

So serves him right….

Game 2 – This game OMG!!!

This game I played with Caps, the monkey (my brother) and Josh. We used complex (K) cards as I remember playing the “Lover” occupation. So the seating position is as follows:

  1. Me
  2. Monkey
  3. Josh
  4. Caps

Round 1 – Fences action

We rolled the dice to decide who would go first after setup was done. All the actions were shuffled to make the game different every time. I rolled the highest (8 on 2d6) which was weird because I never usually go first. After checking what my occupation cards were I played my first action. Occupation action, of course. Playing Wood Craver as my first occupation.

Wood Craver ability = Once per round, you pay 1 less wood for an Improvement, a room of a wood hut, a stable or a fence.

Monkey collected the wood. Josh collected the other wood pile and Caps went for starting player action. This was the first turn and on my second turn for the round I choose to plow a field. Although I should have picked the Day Labourer for the 2 food. Monkey got the other Occupation action space that costs 2 food regardless if it was your first or additional occupation. Playing Clay worker.

Clay Worker = Whenever you use an action to take Wood or Clay, you also receive 1 additional Clay.

Josh took Day Labourer action and received 2 food and Caps Took 1 grain.

Round 2 – Bake and/or Sow

On this round Caps being first player, took the occupation action that was for free. Since it was his first occupation. He played Serf. To be honest I had never played the game with most of the 3+ occupation cards and I wasn’t sure what it did.

Serf ability = Whenever you use the Sow and/or Bake bread action, you receive 1 grain before taking the action. Alternatively, you can exchange 1 grain for 1 Vegetable.

I then collected the Wood, but I should have taken the Day Labourer action or the Fishing action to prepare for the next round. Monkey collected the Clay and Josh collected the reed. Everyone was furious at this as we all forgot about it. Monkey only raged on his second turn because he had not noticed. Caps plowed a field for his second action. I finally took the Day Labourer action. Monkey was about to take the reed action when he JUST noticed Josh’s piece and asked “…when did he take that?”. Caps and I replied “his first turn” and “just then” (respectively). We all had our laughs then continued to play.

Monkey instead took the fishing action for 2 food. Josh being last took the Starting player action and played a minor improvement. He played House goat.

House goat ability = In each feeding phase, you receive 1 Food. Apart from the House Goat, you cannot hold any other animal in your home. (even if you have Animal Tamer.) (You cannot choose to let the House Goat run free to make room for a different animal in your house.)

Round 3 – Major or Minor Improvement

Josh was first this round and he picked the Occupation action. He played Constable. Caps collected the wood (2 wood space with 4 wood on it). I took the clay action space. Monkey took the plow a field action. Josh took the Wood action. Caps took the Sow and/or Bake Bread, he used his Serf card to exchange 1 grain for 1 Vegetable and Sow it on his field. WoW!! Early Vegetable field? I took the Travelling players action to store up some food as I was about to get a really big family soon. Monkey took the Starting player action as he was starting to get the shits and he also played a minor improvement card. Corn Sheaf.

Constable ability = If there are 1/3/6/9 rounds to play, you immediately receive 1/2/3/4 wood. At the end of the game, any player who has no negative points receives 5 bonus points.

Corn Sheaf ability = When you play this card, take 1 grain. (After you play this card, pass it to the player on your left, who adds it to his/her hand.)

Round 4 – Sheep

In this round I was last. Monkey took the reed action. Josh took the wood action (3 wood action space with 6 wood on it). Caps took the clay action space and I took the Day Labourer action space (Fishing had 2 food on it and Travelling Players had 1 food on it). Everyone one the table was like “What?” and I told them not to worry because I was about to break the game. Man, I was snooty, so much arrogance too. Monkey took the Build a room action to get ready for the following rounds. As well as filling up his board. Josh took the Sheep thinking he could eat it but we told him he couldn’t unless he had a cooking card. Like Cooking Hearth or Fireplace from the major improvements pile.

He took the action anyway thinking he had outsmarted all of us but I disagreed. Caps took the Sow and/or bake bread action instead of Major or Minor Improvement action as he forgot it was already harvest time. And I took the Occupation action, it was my second so it cost 1 food in addition to other costs. I played Lover and in total it cost me 5 food out of the 9 that I had collected. But I was able to grow my family very early in the game. From 2 people to 5 people. Giving me 5 turns per round from that point on. I had also forgot it was harvest time and I decided to get beggar’s cards during feeding phase of the harvest.

Lover ability = Whenever you play this card, immediately carry out a “Family growth even without room” action (Similar to the Round card from Round 5). Playing this card costs you an additional 4 food.

Harvest time

Field phase = Caps vegies + grain.

Feeding phase = Everyone except me had to pay 4 food (2 food per family member). I had to pay 7 food but I only had 4 food so I got 3 beggar’s cards. (2 food per family member that took an action that turn and 1 food per newborn family members).

Breeding phase = No one had two animals of the same type to breed.

Beggar’s Card ability = During the feeding phase of the harvest, whenever you cannot or choose not to produce enough Food to feed your family, you must take 1 Begging card for each missing Food. The card has -3 points when scoring at the end of the game.

Round 5 – Stone

Monkey was still first so he collected the Wood. Josh collected the other Wood. Caps took the reed. I took the grain action. Monkey took the plow field action. Josh took the build a room action and also built 1 stable. Caps took the Major or Minor Improvement to build a Fireplace. It cost 2 clay and it is able to convert animals to food and allows the player to bake bread using their grain.

Fireplace conversion rate:

  • vegetable = 2 food
  • sheep = 2 food
  • wild boar = 2 food
  • cattle = 3 food
  • grain = 2 food (bake bread action required)

I had 4 people left since I was last. So I took these actions in order:

  1. Day Labourer
  2. Collect stone
  3. Collect Clay
  4. Starting player action

I didn’t play any minor improvement cards as they were all expensive.

Round 6 – Family growth also Minor Improvement

I was first and I had 5 people therefore 5 actions this turn. I gloated every turn until every one had at least 3 people. I took the Major or Minor improvement action to build a Clay oven. Monkey immediately took the Family growth action and played Acreage as a minor improvement. Josh took the Starting player action and played Corn Sheaf. Caps took the build a room action and built 1 stable. I took the grain action. Monkey raged when I did this as he also needing food. All I said was “Everyone needs food!! [insert evil laughter here]” He instead took the plow a field action and that is when Caps and I raged. I was like “wait, wait, wait a minute!!!!” Caps on the other hand was just silently boiling. And Monkey was like “Take that… [enter Revenge sounding laughter here]”.

Clay Oven = Whenever you use the “Bake bread” Action, you can turn at most 1 grain into 5 food. Whenever you take this card, you can immediately use the “Bake bread” Action. Costs 3 Clay and 1 Stone. Gives you 2 points at the end of the game.

Josh took the grain action. Caps took the Wood action with 6 wood on it. I continued my turns. Day Labourer (this is where Josh and Monkey started heckling me about being desperate!), 2x Clay actions and Build fences action.

 

Round 7 – Renovate then Major or Minor Improvement

Josh was first and he took the Family growth straight away played Crooked plow. Caps didn’t want to chance it and took the starting player action also playing Corn sheaf. I took 1 grain action. Monkey took the fishing which had 3 food on it. Josh took the Travelling Players action which also had 3 food on it. I didn’t really care because I had enough food for the next harvest. Caps took the Sow and/or Bake bread action and this is where I slammed my hand on the table calling BS. He said I was way too obvious to read and laughed out loud. I then took the Major or Minor improvement action to build a cheap cooking hearth at the cost of 4 clay. Monkey now had 3 people and took the wood action space with 6 wood on it. I had forgotten he had more people now and face palmed myself. I collected the other wood and built more fences so that I could breed the sheep (my new food supply [enter malicious grin here]), I then collected all the sheep and made sure to separate them so that more could breed during breeding phase. Monkey couldn’t take any of the action I wanted so it didn’t affect his choice which was to play an Occupation card. He played Animal Breeder.

Crooked plow ability =

Cooking Hearth ability =

Animal breeder ability =

Hoard of the Dragon Queen – Chapter 1 Part 4

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Greetings readers, (I’m only assuming people are reading this…) this week the players encounter more terrors and loads and loads of kobold hoards. The team last time had just encountered some dragon cultists and a hoard of kobolds being chased (more like pursued) by the Goliath. Talos is still being pursued by the fighter and ranger but only see traces of his victims.

Now in this part of the campaign, I have to say that they made quite a bit of progress. They managed to met Linan, momentarily rescue her and her family, rescue more villagers along the way and still manages to lose their trust all in one session. The team then arrive at the gates of the keep after the panic of their plans but alas the gates were shut. To their luck and skill they managed to get Zel to provide them a map of another entrance and that is where they end the session. This is just the short summary of the session and I will expand this farther down in the blog/rant.

First off, I will start with the group “Tracking” Talos. These two adventures had lost sight of Talos once they turned off a smoky bend. Since both of them were Human and lacked (lot of common sense) darkvision and were wondering around the town in the dark looking for an elf that had darkvision and was just killing all the enemies he could find. The reason the fighter and the ranger could even follow Talos in the first place was because Talos had been leaving a trail of bread crumbs so to speak. It was a trail of dead victims with an arrow shining bright light from the body of the corpse.

Now how can this be since I said that Talos was just an NPC at Level 1 from the previous blog/rant. Well to answer that, Talos is a high elf with the wizard cantrip LIGHT. He had cast the spell on all his arrows (only the ones in hi quiver and not his whole stash) and when ever he killed a creature the “light” arrow would be shining from the body of the dead creature.

Not knowing this the fighter thought it was some kind of special arrow (maybe magic of some power) and decided to take his time with savaging the arrows from each corpse. The ranger on the other hand just wanted to catch up to the elf to ask him some questions (as well as to use him as a shield). The fighter unfortunately could not retrieve any shining arrows and only obtained regular arrows or snapped arrows. Anyway the fighter thinking he could just wait for Talos to get the light arrows back  he decided to hide in some alley way, without telling the ranger. The ranger made it to where he had last saw the fighter but could not detect or find him. So he continued the search. (Again another split party member…)

I wasn’t sure where the fighter wanted to go and I had everyone’s locations written in my notes so there was any confusion there. But with another split I now had 4 different situations I needed to explain and describe. I let the ranger wonder for a bit until he spotted some enemies. I went but to the Goliath who had been waiting for his turn in the session. I asked want he wanted to do and all he said was “Hunt my prey” I assumed kobolds but I just had to ask. “So, kobolds?”. He said yes and sniffed out some of the filth.

His character literally used his sense of smell to hunt down groups of kobolds. Man that was hilarious. He managed to find 4 houses chalk full of them raiding and looting the place. A single roar of intimidation gathered most of them and had the rest laughing and sneering at the goliath. With enough of them in his sight he started the slaughter.

Goliath: Can I attack now?

DM: Sure. Bare hands or with your weapon?

Goliath: The first two with my bare hands. Can I crush them to death? Or is that not allowed?

DM: It’s fine just make a Strength check and if you roll a 15 or higher you have crushed them.

Goliath: So tow Strength checks right?

DM: Why two?

Goliath: One in each hand.

DM: Ok but you get disadvantage on the second one.

Goliath: Ok but I want to grab the two closest laughing ones. Do I still get disadvantage for the second one?

DM rolls for a Perception check (rolled a 3) and then and an Insight (rolled a 5). Both failed.

DM: Nope, I guess not.

Goliath rolls Strength once per kobold and kills both.

DM: (silent WOW) Roll an Intimidate.

Goliath rolls a total of 19.

With such a menacing aura, the kobolds realise their mistake and try to make their escape. But it was too late for most of them. They were now being chased through the streets by the goliath and this is where he arrives to the area of the Wizard and the Paladin.

Meanwhile the ranger had now found some enemies to deal with (2 bandits, only 2 and only bandits the basic kind). He panicked because he was alone and ran for it.

DM: Are you sure?

Ranger yes I’m going to run.

DM: are you sure you don’t want to hide or sneak past them? or just avoid them?

Ranger: Yes I’m going to run!!

DM: (at this point I had to face palm. He had found the enemy and they did not even know he was there at all) Ok, as you run past them they see you and gather the rest of their men.

Ranger: what?

DM: yes, you are the one to spot them not the other way around.

Ranger: Can I sneak past them now?

DM: No, I gave you that hint ten minutes ago. So its too late. You now have 6 bandit chasing after you.

Ranger: six? I thought it was only two?

DM: They gathered their men after they spotted you. Please listen. You still have quite a bit of distance from you and the bandits so you and still lose them.

Ranger: I run faster!!!

DM: Are you sure? You can try and lose them instead.

Ranger: Ok, I turn left.

DM: Ok please roll an Athletics and then an Acrobatics check.

Ranger: can I use just Acrobatics?

DM: No, because you are running and turning sharply or suddenly

Ranger: Oh, ok. I won’t turn then. Now can I use just Acrobatics?

DM: (Face palm again… lets out a big sigh) No because running is about using your legs and the power to move forward not speed to evade or weave. You need to use Athletics for running.

Ranger: oh. (rolls athletics and failed to get a 10 or higher)

At this point, the bandits were catching up and the ranger also made an entrance to the area where the Wizard and the Paladin were. The wizard and the paladin were fighting some of the cultists to help the NPCs Dorian and Zel. Once they had finished them off, Dorian thanked them and healed them of whatever injuries they had sustained. Then he bid them farewell to go search for their missing glory bound friend Talos. The paladin tried to convince them to stay but she failed twice with no argument to say and just went for the easy roll of the die.

As the DM, I told her that Dorian will meet up with you at the keep soon enough if they could go out and help the village. But the paladin thought just because this was a game where you roll dice on skills on your character sheet it meant something. I always try to encourage players to just say their speeches or words to other players then just rolling ambiguous skill checks to get they’re way.

Like I said she failed twice because her checks were just that dice rolls. I would have liked her to say something like “please stay and help us with our task” or “I think it would be best for us to stick together” something long those lines. The DM guide doesn’t say much about checks like these but with me, I usual make the check really high like 21 or higher if the players just want to roll and not play their Role. If she had role played the check would have been much lower like 13 or 14. Challenging but it can be achieved.

So Dorian and Zel left in search of Talos. But in the mean time, the paladin decided to loot the dead for their valuables. Once the NPCs were out of sight any way. But if you are all wondering “why is the paladin acting like a thief?” well that’s because she made it with a Chaotic Neutral alignment.

DM: why Chaotic Neutral?

Paladin: because I want to do what I want.

DM: is it part of your background?

Paladin: (she looked at me with a confused look on her face and said) Back ground?

DM: Ok, you can have this character for now but if you don’t give me a reason why your character or should I say your Paladin is Chaotic Neutral then you will need to make it Lawful something.

Paladin: why?

DM: (I cringed so much… twitched a bit too) Because a Paladin is like a Policeman the good kind. The kind that follows and enforces the law. Helps people and saves lives. Yes I know there are corrupt cops out there but in general they are good people.

Paladin: oh, then I don’t want to be a paladin anymore.

DM: What would you like to be then? I suggest a rogue or warlock

Paladin: (she talks to her partner next to her and makes this decision) I think I will stay as my paladin. I’ll think about it

This is where the ranger and the goliath burst into the area with their share of troubles and prey. After the paladin and the wizard had looted all of the cultist I had all my player roll for initiative. The order is shown below:

  • paladin 19
  • wizard 7
  • fighter 12
  • ranger 15
  • goliath 2
  • kobolds 4
  • bandits 21

During this series of fights, the ranger managed to hide in a large bush near the scene, the wizard was downed by one of the bandits as they thought he was the ranger. The paladin hiding in smoke to hide from the bandits and the goliath thrashing through the hoard of kobolds killing as many as he could but unfortunately some of them split up. The bandits were frantically looking for the ranger and after the 3rd round of the encounter finally found him. Yes they found him even though he was hiding in a bush. For 2 rounds the ranger could of just escaped or found a better hiding spot but NOOOO[with heavy sarcasm attached] he decided to use his hiding spot to shoot them from a distance of 30 feet away. The paladin could have helped the wizard instantly and healed him with a single point of her Lay on Hands but decided to just heal herself and hide in the smoke (without preventing to breathe in the smoke). She got poisoned after failing a CON save of 10.

Paladin: how can I heal this poison?

DM: you need to get someone to cure it. Like a cleric.

Paladin: can I use Medicine check instead?

DM: No, you need to get someone, like a cleric to cure it.

Paladin: Why can’t I use Medicine check to cure it?

I had to explain to her that using a Medicine check in combat was for stabilising the dying or if you had the Healer feat bandage up some wounds, that were not life threatening.

Paladin: oh, ok.

At this point, where most of the kobolds had either escaped of vanquished by the goliath, I had Linan appear with her family followed by some more kobolds. This made the goliath charge in to slay his foe not really thinking about rescuing or aiding the family. But at least he gave me a reason for such a wild character. With the help of the goliath the ranger was “saved” the wizard finally woke up after all the fighting was done and the paladin only wanted to rob the poor family of all their worth. I had the children cling to the paladin to use subtle punishment for acting like a FREAKEN Rogue all the time.

Linan then thanked her heroes and asked them to aid her to the safety of the keep. Saying that there should also be others in the village that will need this type of kindness. So do you know what the party asked excluding the goliath as he had run off for more kobolds (actually he had to leave the session early so after he said he wanted to run off he was gone) “So what will be my reward?”

On the other hand the fighter was still waiting for Talos in his newly found hiding place. He waited many minutes but Talos did not return. Thinking that maybe he would not actually return he went exploring. In the span of the fight he managed to sneak his way to the church/chapel of the town. He found out that there were people inside and a lot of bandits and raiders trying to lay siege to the place. He had just arrived when the raiders had just started to construct the ramming siege weapon. He decided that it was just too dangerous to face 50 plus enemies by himself and go back to the keep for help. He manages to find Talos at the most random place ever. Stuck between a barrel full of trash and a crate full of firewood. He helped him out and they both set off towards the keep.

On the way to the keep the party with Linan manage t find more villagers in need and rescue them. Sometime from cultists or kobolds. The party now had about 10 villagers in toll and that is when coincidently they meet up with Talos who had been travelling and fighting along side with the fighter. Talos agreed that aiding the villager took first priority and so travelled with the team as their scout.

Now this is where shit hit the fan when it wasn’t even an option to but the choice was still taken. Talos returned from scouting up ahead and told the party that there are two patrols on the road to the keep. One group had 6 well armed men while the other only consisted of two guard drakes. He ask for their plan and the paladin wanted to fight so long as Talos went first. The villagers worried for their own safety asked that the party should just sneak past both patrols. Just time it right and everyone would be safe. The ranger liked this idea but the player playing the paladin kept saying “but I have disadvantage this and disadvantage that…”. I told her that she only had disadvantage while wearing her chainmail. And it still did seem to click that if she removed her armour then she could sneak past all the patrols with no worries. I even hinted it by having the children she had rattle her armour here and there.

Thinking of how annoying those kids were the paladin decided to scare them using Intimidation and “Yelling”. Her check was successful and scared the children away from her but also attracted the patrol towards them. This is the point where I had Talos make a decision for them (as I had been waiting for 20 minutes on the players’ decision). Talos just said “I’ll meet you in the keep…” and leap out and distracted the patrol away from the party. Unfortunately the fighter also wanted to follow but I said this was during the same moment when the guards started to move towards their position, so it was too late to follow Talos. I had him roll Athletics because he really wanted to go and failed. The check was 23 by the way. He insisted on following him so he too leapt out but there was still one patrol remaining. The guard drakes.

This is where the party thought they had to fight since there were enemies on the map. But that was just a challenge. And apparently they all did not understand. This is where the fighter dies taking 40+ damage from two charging drakes. The paladin trying her best to fight the creatures but failing to complete their mission. PROTECT THE VILLAGERS. The wizard also tried to fight but failing as he used the wrong spells and was now completely depleted of spell slots. The ranger on the other hand had not forgotten the villagers and told them to run for it when they had the chance. But forgetting that the paladin had scared all the children stiff from her Intimidate check early.

Man, these guys never seem to listen. So the ranger carried as many of the kids he could so that they could escape to the keep. But the paladin not thinking of others shout “hey, you (pointing at the ranger) come help us”. that is when the drakes charged at the ranger carrying the children and knock him unconscious. Luckily he had thrown the children away to their parents (respective parents) and they were safe from harm. Linan tried to aid the ranger but she was too late and thinking of her family she was the one that rescued the them.

After all the NPCs and monsters had left the map I had the team roll for their death saving throws. And like I said early the fighter dies. The rest of them came back to life and walked towards the keep, after the paladin looted the fighter’s body. Unfortunately for them 2 hours had past while they were unconscious so when they arrived at the entrance to the keep the portcullis was down and the gates shut. Worried, they shouted for some help and a side door near the bridge revealed Dorian. He told them of another way in but to make sure they are not followed as it is a secret entrance. The paladin again failed to convince Dorian to let her in as he had told her this way cannot be opened unless you break the gate.

So the team moved towards the secret entrance. The sewer pipe. There the ranger finds a group of goblins guarding the area. He had an easy choice to make and he still didn’t make it.

  1. Sneak past them
  2. Lure them away, then ambush them
  3. Wait until they all fall asleep

So what you think he did? None of them. He just ambushed them from the shadows. He managed to kill 3 of them but 1 got far enough away to call for re-enforcements. The team managed to break the sewer grate but are now be chased by those re-enforcements.

 

That was my session. I think these guys just think D&D is a tabletop version of MMORPGs. Bit they are wrong. And I have told many different people about this group and all they do is say “sucks to be you”. I only have fun when I have or players that actually play their characters.

I hope next week is better but that’s just my optimism talking. (Let’s out a Heavy sigh).

At least they made it to the keep. But how will they fare?

 

See you readers next time.

 

 

Hoard of the Dragon Queen – Chapter 1 Part 3

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Welcome Readers, this week’s session went very well for the adventurers. To make sure they didn’t get lost or need to make a complete reboot of the campaign I created a team of NPC adventurers.

You might be thinking “hey now that’s a bit of cheat for the players!” Well not really because even though they will not have a direct effect to the adventurers the NPC can also be the ones to aid the players when they all decide to split up and then get themselves killed again because of “bad choices”. I did not want to make the NPCs but I was forced to when I TPK them last session twice. Normally players will learn to work together at some point but if it keeps happening consecutively then I will have to suffer repeating the start over and over again.

Now you might be thinking why not just push forward “they should overcome the next challenge” No I already tried that and they still died without working together. Most players at least work together in a fight but my beginners think they are playing a single player adventure where they are the only one that matters. (I cringe at the thought).

The start of the session was the beginning of Episode 1 entering the town just to see the dragon attack the town of Greenest. This time I had all the players in a cart/wagon travelling together with the NPCs.

The characters consist of 5 human characters, 1 elf, 1 dwarf and 1 goliath. Since the previous team had died in the previous session and they were level 3 facing a challenge rating of level 2 utmost and they still could beat it. I had to make the survival of these beginners possible, so I gave them an extra feat regardless of race. So they all choose Human as their race (what a bunch of Power gamers). Had they at least chosen different races I could understand but all Human. I knew they weren’t going to survive. Luckily one of my old regulars returned to play in the group and I consider him an experienced role-player (I thought to myself Hmmmm maybe he can lead them…well, maybe not?).

The NPCs and PCs are:

  • Talos = High Elf ranger (Folk Hero) [NPC]
  • Zel = Human Paladin (Soldier) [NPC]
  • Dorian = Hill Dwarf Cleric (Guild Artisan) [NPC]
  • Human Paladin – novice level
  • Human Wizard – novice level
  • Human Fighter (sharpshooter) uses twin hand-crossbow – beginner level
  • Human Ranger – beginner level
  • Goliath Fighter – he is an experienced role-player

 

Anyway the adventure of Episode 1 from the Hoard of the Dragon Queen starts off with all the adventurers (and I mean ALL) travelling together to Greenest for one purpose or another. Talos, Dorian and Zel were travelling to Greenest to gain glory and riches by achieving a variety of Quests. The Player Characters were heading in the same direction for whatever gains they wished to achieve (I still do not know what that is… Money or Power perhaps?).

This is where I gave each Player a chance to mingle with each other to promote teamwork. It was also a way to introduce the Non – Player Characters (Talos, Dorian and Zel) to the party without that awkwardly forced meeting. I had Dorian and Zel drive the wagon and had Talos be one of the passengers. It started out well with the party doing there introductions and finding out information about each other (so that they “could” become a team). The goliath started to get irritated at the slow pace of the wagon, so he jumped out and ran towards the town. The only reason he did so was Dorian warning them about some kind of flying beast (possibly a DRAGON) roaring in the distance. All humans in the wagon started to get panicked even though Dorian said it was still a ways away. The ranger started to ask Talos if he could help him. I didn’t know what he meant since Talos was still in the wagon riding with them and was perfectly fine. Talos simply said NO. The barbarian was also concerned with whether the drivers of the wagon needed help.

And this is where I had to tell them as a DM that Dorian was just warning them about what he had seen. If you all have been wondering why Zel did not speak this as he too saw the beast. Well that is because he is unable to speak (lost his tongue by betraying a sacred Paladin oath). The rest of the team started to relax as they finally understood that there was no eminent danger to their characters.

The wizard started a conversation with the fighter and asked him if he could join his team. The fighter ignored him and started to talk to Talos about why they were going to Greenest and Talos asked him “What is your goal? As mine is to uphold JUSTICE”. From that point one my players thought they could simply get this NPC to help them so long as they shout “JUSTICE”. They were sorely mistaken.

The goliath was now much closer to the town as he had been running at full speed and was now growing with more bloodlust or battle lust. He found a bunch of kobolds harassing some villagers and quickly dispatched them. The rest of the team also arrived after the goliath and slowly approached the town of Greenest that had been raided and attacked by an unknown force (Unknown to the players even though this is there 4th time attempting this campaign adventure).

Starting area Section01.png

Once the wagon had stopped the Dwarf and Zel made sure to secure their wagon and check on their belongings. Talos on the other hand just leapt off the wagon cart and rushed to dispatch some enemies he had spotted. The paladin and the wizard decided to “TRY” and steal the horses of Dorian and Zel. Their attempt easily failed as they had absolutely no plans to do so besides killing them. Dorian had argued with them about the priorities of an adventurer and the wizard+paladin moved along. The ranger and the fighter on the other hand decided to chase after the Justice bound Talos.

So even though the team started off together they still all split up. Once the fighter and ranger had finally caught up with Talos. They were in the middle of some heavy combat. They were out-numbered at 4 to 1. Talos being quite boisterous and proud he notched two arrows at the same time and killed two enemies in one shot (I was incredibly lucky, I rolled for both shots with disadvantage and both managed to strike and kill the foes).

 

 

Now I know it’s not in the rules, but house-rules or house ruling is fine so long as it is balanced. I had originally name Talos, Talos Wynstric. Which is another power from 4th edition that the ranger had, called Twin Strike. I know that notching a bow, any bow at that can only be shot with one arrow and having multiple arrows notched is just a “Hollywood-thing”. But this was fantasy. So it works out. Don’t worry I didn’t cheat and say that only I, the DM am the only one allowed to use this style of play. No sir/madam. I told all my players beforehand that they too could use flamboyant attacks too, with consequence of course. So you know what. They never use it… How boring right? But oh, well. They’re the ones missing out.

Anyway back to the story. The fighter had called himself the “Hunter” (self-proclaimed) having two hand – crossbows for weapons he jumped into combat trying to outdo Talos. The two of them became rivals. The ranger on the other hand had decided not to help unless he was in danger and coward on the spot. When enemies came at him he used either his twin axes for melee or longbow for range. They dispatched the kobolds easily but the players wanted to rest since they had taken some damage and asked Talos to wait for them. So Talos not injured in the least, ran off. The two of them tried to chase after him but to no avail.

On the other side of the town the paladin and the wizard strolled through town trying to find some riches to take for themselves. They found none as I had explained that the town was being RAIDED. I tried to explain it to them but they continued to look for treasure in the already ransacked homes of Greenest. Dorian and Zel found themselves in a bit of a pickle when they encountered some dragon cultists and kobolds. They yelled for any able-bodied people to aid them but the paladin and wizard decided not to help.

That was when I said “ARE. YOU. SURE?” They said yes and I had them roll for insight checks. If they had failed they would lose valuable NPCs and would never get their help. But since the rate of FAILURE was very low, they both passed and needed to help them. The check in question was 5. So if they got lower than that they can do whatever they want. To my luck, they helped Dorian and Zel and they defeated the cultists.

One team headed for the most chaotic part of town while the other head for the safest part of town the Keep being attacked and harassed by a Blue Dragon.

The team heading to the keep make it there very quickly and found out that they as adventurers need to aid the towns’ folk. Their mission was to RESCUE as many villagers and bring them to the keep. They had approximately 1 hour to do this. Otherwise the main entrance of the keep will be closed to stave the evil forces. Dorian asked the wizard and paladin to accompany Zel to look for villagers and Talos, while he search for Talos on his own in the other direction.

The paladin and Dorian had a bit of an argument about splitting up but in the end Dorian was not swayed. At this point the paladin was sick of the Dwarf and did not want to help him anymore. So once the dwarf out of sight she tried to seduce Zel to PERMANENTLY get him to join her side. But since Zel could not speak and would not break another oath he ignored her. (It was the most cringe worthy attempt of a Paladin to try and seduce another Paladin…) Anyway with a bit of searching here and there they managed to find Talos and some of the other adventurers as well as the villagers they need to RESCUE.

 

Unfortunately, however they were ambushed by a group of kobolds and bandits. The goliath was the cause of the kobolds as he had been hunting them down the entire time. Not only were there bandits but the wizard had unintentionally attracted some nearby dragon cultists thinking they were clerics. He was struck down by the enemy in an instant.

That is where the session had ended unfortunately. What will happen to the players will they survive, will they accomplish their mission or will they fail? Will the wizard survive or will he be saved?

Tune in next time readers for the rest of this adventure…

 

By the way, they still haven’t encountered Linan at this point as all of the encounters were triggered by foolish mistakes.

 

My Adventures – The Beginning

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This is an adventure I had with my friends with the previous edition, 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. I had made many characters for this adventure as I kept on dying. The adventure itself was set on “Hard mode” so the monsters were smarter and the traps were deadlier but the rewards and encounters were grander.

It all started when my friends and I had quit from a certain TCG as the game had died out and there was fewer and fewer player base. We all had played D&D before with the previous editions ranging from 2nd to 3.5 and of course there were the videogames. The current edition at the time was 4th and it had a lot of negative reviews but there was still a lot of support for the game. I found that a bit strange at the time since the negative reviews were everywhere and even in the shop that was trying to sell the product. I thought maybe it was not worth my time but I said “well I think I’ll look into it”. I started out with just the first Player’s handbook and tried to read the book.

It was simple enough to create a character and the concepts of levelling up was easy enough. I then asked my good friend Adrian (we call him Caps) if I could play this RPG but he said “No” of all things. He then explains that there aren’t many people willing to play this edition, especially on a Tuesday which is in the middle of the week. At the time I still worked heavy weekend shifts and I won’t be able to make it on Sunday to play the set sessions. I then asked Caps how many players was the minimum to play this game. Normally in a pen and paper RPG you need at least 2 other people to play the game (1 being the DM and the other being a rival or a teammate). He told me that you could run the game with just 2 players + 1 DM but sadly in this edition that could not be done. The minimum players for that edition was in fact 4 players. But we didn’t figure it out until much later in the year as we could not complete even the simplest of mission or even just a simple fight with a band of 4 goblins. Pretty sad huh?

The main reason for this is I hadn’t played any kind of pen and paper roleplaying games in a while. It was at least 6+ years ago since the last tie I had played. But back then I never made my own characters and the DM was this know-it-all snot, that bullied us saying you can’t do this or that. The game had merit but it just wasn’t too fun.

Anyway the other reason for sucking at the game was that in 4th edition D&D it revolved around types of character class instead of just the class. The types are Striker, Defender, Controller and Leader. Strikers deal heavy damage, Defenders are the tanks of the game and absorb/soak most of the damage, Controllers are the AOE characters or the heavy support character. While the Leader is like a healer mixed with a fighter. They allow the team to survive. We did know these concepts until maybe 3 months later and a lot more reading and research.

So all in all, I played an elf ranger and my friend Josh played a Human Monk (thinking it was the same as 3.5e). But it wasn’t. So simple fights were harder then they should have been since Caps was still unsure about the extra defences on the character sheet. In previous editions like 3.5 or AD&D. The character’s defences was just AC and depending on the class they either had high saving throws or low ones. AC or Armour Class was also very different, I think it was the lower the number the less damage you would take or the harder it was to strike you.

In 4th edition, however you had 4 defences. The game set your defences depending on your class. 4th edition’s defences are AC, Reflex, Fortitude and Will. AC was used for normal attacks. Reflex was for quick attacks, Fortitude was for strong attacks. But Will was uses for Mind/Mental attacks. There was only one save system in this game and it was a roll  with no base (dex, int, wis, cha) modifiers added, with a success rate of 10 and higher.

 

Our first game with 4th edition was with myself, my friend josh and my friend caps. Caps was the DM and we were the players. We made quick builds of available characters at the time. Player handbook 3 was already out and we had a better selection of classes as well as races. Josh was a Human Monk and I was an Elf Ranger. Our first mission was to investigate the troubles in the city sewers. Destroy any monster inhabitants and report back.

It sounds simple enough but since both of us were pretty rusty we went all gunhoo, swords blazing. We managed to dispatch two waves of enemies (mostly goblins) and made it to the end. But the stage of the last area was a single rope bridge and two platforms on either side. We needed to cross the bridge defeat the final wave of enemies and loot the room for whatever valuables we could find. Unfortunately it was an ambush and we were out numbered 4 to 1. They were just goblins and we let down our guard. They goblins were just on the other side but also in the ladder leading to the bottom of the sewer under the bridge. Josh had charged and made it to the other side and dealing with 2 of the creatures we thought we had won. But like I said it was an ambush. I got surrounded on my side and the nasty creatures cut the bridge loose, forcing my friend to travel down to the sewers then back up again. If you all were wondering why he didn’t just try to jump to the other side, well thats because he was meta gaming at the time. Meaning he judge by the rules that it was too dangerous to do the act. By the time he got to my side of the platform I was dead (because we didn’t know how to heal, ie second wind) and he was out numbered 3 to 1. Yes I killed one of them at least. I wasn’t just doing nothing while josh was fighting on the other side of the platforms. I was shooting ones he couldn’t reach. 3 vs 1 at level 1 was just too hard and Josh too died. By the way, one of the little goblins was a boss and you just couldn’t take it down with one character.

That’s when we decided not to play until we had at least 4 players for D&D, as this edition wanted it’s players to play as a team.

Next time on [My Adventures] blog we had recruited some of our other friends to play.

Tune in next time.

 

Hoard of the Dragon Queen – Chapter 1 Part 2

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Greetings all, this week we had to split the players up as new payers wanted to experience and play D&D. So all in all the total number of players had increased to 12 from the initial 8, from last week. So one of the player’s decided to be the DM of another group. Having 5 in one team and 6 in another.

I had gotten the larger group as I was more experienced at handling more players. The session went very badsly for the players though as they all decided not to work as a team (typical). The main problem was that two of the players were a No-show due to work and school. Since they group was down 2 (technically 5 since the others were in the other group) characters I had to reduce to difficulty of the encounters and fights. The remaining characters were all level 3 and they consisted of a Cleric – Life Domain, a Barbarian – Path of the Berserker, and a Warlock – (I don’t know the otherworldly patron as I forgot to check when the character was made = My Bad =P).

The team was split up to begin with because of last session with the Warlock captured by Tiamat cultists and the others dealing with a small band of raiders. The situation to begin with was one level lower then the team level so that the chalenge rating was only level 2. I thought as a DM that this would be a piece of cake for them and at least be an exciting battle but I guess I over-estimated the player’s gaming experience.

Part 2 has the players continue the battle with the raiders but failing to do so as the cleric did not understand his role in the fight. The Barbarian continued to take far too many risks to end the fight quicker (by ramping up his damage output but becoming less accurate) and failing to just hit his mark. The Bard was absence so unless they party suceeded he too will have been killed or captured.

Note: In many D&D groups DMs use the rule of if you are not attending the session someone else can play your character. But I say if you don’t attend you are not there, and therefore can not help. I don’t use that rule specifically because if I as a DM control their character I will not be able to focus on the role of the DM. If another player uses another player’s character then, he/she can give the character bad rep with the party or have it killed or something within those lines. Other players never play that character in a good way and can ruin it for the orginal player.

The fight continued for several rounds. The cleric was attacking the bandits instead of supporting the barbarian and the barbarian continued to take big gambles that never even paid off. The technique the barbarian was using was called “Great weapon master”, this feat is passive and can be actived so long as the player announces he/she would like to use it. Its effect is that you can gain +10 damage on a successful weapon attack so long as the weapon is in two hands as well as successfully hitting the creature. The cost of this power is that on the attack roll the player must also gain a penalty of -5 to said attack roll. Making it a gamble but on a success it had the potential to one-shot a creature. The creature in question was a bandit captain. It’s AC was 16, so it was pretty average to hit. But it has an average hit point of 65. I decided to roll for its hit points so that any meta gamers out there could not cheat and keeping the enemies’ life total a mystery. The roll was 10d8 + 10. I managed to only get 68 in total.

In the previous session the barbarian had managed to hit it dealing 21 points of damage from a critical hit, but in this session he only hit it twice. One hit dealt 11 damage and the other was 24 damage (with the gamble of Great weapon master Feat). My players always have the chance to check a creatures hit points but they disregard the check because they won’t be able to “Attack” and deal some damage. The bandit captain was close to being defeated when the cultists that had captured the Warlock had arrived to the scene (it was a subtle way for me as a DM to have the players chose their priority – either save an ally or continue the battle Outnumbered). It was now the Warlock’s turn. She had been captured and bound by the hands and feet. She was also bagged (just over her head to prevent her from seeing). The enemy had seen her as a magic user so all these precautions were valid.

So I asked her what she wanted to do after she woke up.

Warlock: What can I see?

DM: It’s dark!

Warlork: I have darkvision!!!

DM: Roll an insight check. A ten and higher will be successful.

Warlock: Rolls 12. What can I see???

DM: You realise that some kind of cloth or material is blocking your field of vision. You are Blinded.

Warlock: But I have darkvision.

I explain what Darkvision really means and the Warlock continues to argue that she should be able to see somehting and I said Darkness/Blackness.

She didn’t understand her situation (I’m not sure why? but I reminded her) so I made her roll for a history check. A 5 or higher was a success. She rolled above a 5.

I explain the situation to her in a prisoner’s prespective and that is when she finally understood.

DM: What would you like to do?

Warlock: can I cast a spell? Elditch Blast? On the ropes.

DM: Yes but you will also take damage.

Warlock: Not on me but the ropes.

DM: Your blindfolded with a bag and your hands are tied and you are being dragged. Or you can pot-shot the one dragging you?

Warlock: If I do that they will know I’m awake and attack me?

DM: Yes.

Warlock: No, I will instead take a rest!!

DM: How long?

Warlock: A long rest!!!!

DM: ARE. YOU. SURE? (I was full of anxiety at this point since most characters would have tried to escape with their lives even at the risk of death)

Warlock: Yes (I waited maybe 2 minutes for her to reconsider but she went with it, this is by far the stupidess play in all of the plays I have ever dealt with and I’ve had players try and climb sheer rock cliffs without climbing gear/magic or fight “FLYING” demons by throwing them down a hole/chasm)

DM: ok then…. (I think she will have another chance at escape)

At this point, the Barbarian had just taken a deathblow from the bandit captain’s three prong attack (Multi-attack). He was now rolling for death saves. It was the cleric’s turn and he had a choice.

1 Heal the barbarian with his last available spell (this would help a little)

2 Rescue the Warlock for she captives as well as aid the captured villagers (this would add another player in the game, increasing their chance at survival)

3 Fight the Bandits one his own (this was suicide)

4 Run away (this would have been understandable and it could have continued the campaign)

5 Intimidate the cultists to scare them off (this was never going to work as there were 6 of them)

6 Pursuade the cultists to aid him in the fight with the bandits (as he thought they were priests since he failed his insight check of 5)

7 Deceive the cultists that he was one of them (He thought they were “GOOD” clerics that just so happen to be dragging one of the adventurers he had first encountered and joined to make a small party and some villagers consisting of 2 children and a slightly charred woman)

 

So what choice do you think he chose? He first chose to FIGHT THE RAIDERS? I asked if he was sure. Then he changed his mind and asked what were his options. I told him truthfully that he should run away and fight another day or save the warlock or heal the barbarian. His friend that was playing the barbarian agreed at the notion of continuing to gamble at using the power to kill the “boss” (the bandit captain was not even a boss… I had just changed one of the normal bandits so they could have a fun fight instead of one-shoting normal challenge enemies that level 1s can defeat).

Somewhere at this point one of the other players from the other group had wandered in to check how we were going as they too were having difficulty (It was understandable since two of those players were still new to the game – ie less than 1 month of playing D&D). She asked them what they were doing and after explaining the situation she gave a good suggestion of running away. The cleric did not do that and instead chose option 7. Try to convince the enemy (by lying to them) to aid him in the fight. This failed.

This is the conversation I had with the cleric with the cultist of Tiamat.

DM: ARE. YOU. SURE?

Cleric: Yes. I would like to ask them to help me in this fight.

DM: ok. What is your question to them?

Cleric: Hey, Hey Priests I need your help with these guys?

Cultist: Who do you worship?

Cleric: I worship?

Cultist points down [at the villager] and then points up [at the sky towards a dragon]

Cleric thinks. Then I have him roll an Insight check. 10 and higher was enough.

Cleric: rolls 14.

DM: the hooded figure is pointing at the dragon not at the sky or the gods.

Cleric: I worship the god of light!!!!!

Cultist: Then you shall die.

Two cultists join the fray. The cleric wanted a redo and I said NO. I had given him at least 3 chances to save himself but it was too late to take it. At this point the party was utterly defeated.

This was only part 1 of the session. I decided that besides the barbarian the rest of the party had stayed alive out of sheer will (or luck one of them rolled a 20 and came back to life).

I decided to tweek Episode 2 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen so that we could continue the session. I was being optimistic that maybe the team would at least work together trying to escape from the bandit camp. So I had them become prisoners and had the barbarian player use his spare character sheet which was a Rogue – Trickster path.

I had him become one of the bandits of the enemy camp that was really a spy for Governer Nighthill one of the important figures of Greenest. His mission was to find a monk named Leosin and rescue him. He was also told to rescue as many as he could but Leosin was priority. The cleric and the warlock were at the same time being escorted by one guard to work as slaves, with 4 other villagers.

The Rogue decides to attack one of the men in the camp because it would reduce his enemies. I couldn’t stop him as I had already told him the situation. He told me that his plan was to inflitrate the prison as a prisoner? He succeeded and was sent to the chopping block to be made an example.

How did he kill the bandit you might ask? Well he kill him in broad daylight and in front of a crowd. For that I had to just end that character. He could have drugged the guy or made an excuse that he had attacked first or even say some kind of lie to cover his tracks. Or the sane thing to do would have been to investigate the camp by… ASKING QUESTIONS!!!!!!! (I cringed with frustration)

The other two were a little more successful at escaping but once they were free they tried to get the other prisoners to aid them in escaping that place. The other prisoners were villagers from Greenest that had been captured two days ago and they had not been fed. The cleric continued to argue the point that he could not help them since he needed to rest first?

Again, I was perplexed at the logic of my players. I was wondering if they just didn’t understand or misunderstood the situation. Or they were just roleplaying horrible, horrible people. The villagers took off relying on themselves and the two adverturers went the opposite way.

The tunnel they were in went up (out of the cave) and went down (deeper into danger). I constantly asked my players why they wanted to go into the cave instead of out into safety and all they said was  and i quote “…because there could be treasure down there!!!”. As they went down deeper into the cave the met with 2 young blue dragons. They had just entered the Dragon Hatchery of Episode 3. The dragons were asleep. I changed the dragonclaw guards with young dragons to try and scare them off but alas they thought since they were asleep they could kill them.

After 3 attacks from the Warlock and Cleric, the dragon they were attack finally woke up. Two dragon breaths later they were dead.

 

That is how I got 2 unfortunate TPKs in one session. TPK = Total Party Kill.

Next week I will have them create Level 1 characters with an added feat. That should make the characters survive this chapter. I also decided to create some NPCs to aid them or at least guide them in the campaign.

 

See you readers next time.

 

By the way, I have actually finished Episode 1 and 2 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen with my friends. I was a PC = Player Character, and I found the whole ordeal very easy. I’d like to hear your opinion of this campaign of D&D 5th edition.