D&D Night #5

You awake to find all of yourselves sleeping in the same bed in your armor. The bed appears to be one of the softest you’ve ever slept in but is hard to move around in. As you look around the room you see things are all much larger than they should be. A large dresser is against one wall, you see a single door out. Atop a fine chair that is twice your height, you see your bags and gear.

The PC’s grab and equip their gear:  After you finish putting your gear on, you noticed your being watched. You see atop the dresser is a Large black cat, capable of being almost your height when standing on hind paws perhaps. His fur darker than midnight, his eyes a clear blue staring at you, through you perhaps.

The cat (Therestro) is the part of the arch mage’s soul that is his familiar. He understands what’s going on but is very elusive on the details. He is the part of the soul that is mischievious, yet understands the PC’s importance. The more shards the PC’s collect, the more he reveals to the PC’s.
Quest offered by Theresto: Collect 5 dream shards and return them to me and I shall reward you for you work. (A dream shard is a figment left behind once the dream or nightmare has been overcome.)
Cat: A world like this shows many things. Some things that might come to be, some which have been.

Adventure Synopsis: The PC’s muster enter the dream world to awake the Arch Mage Luis Cailard who is in a magical coma (ensorcelled by Darwell). The adventure starts out with the PC’s not sure how they got where they are. As the adventure progresses, each player must face a challenge regarding who they are and their own personal desires. As each successfully resolves their own dilemma/nightmare more is revealed to them.

  • Wex must consider the options that he has before him. In his adventures he has grown more than expected in strength and he is no longer sure what he wants in life. Returning to the barbarian tribes to lead his people into the future now seems somewhat stale. He knows there are lands to explore that are exotic and dangerous.
  • Draygen who is the 9th son of a minor king proves his deeds are legendary and the kingdom he once sought to leave in order to make something of himself has created something greater than even his father could achieve.
  • Lucian must overcome his lack of personal skills and gain the interest of a attractive woman of high stature.
    • Through luck, skill, and assistance of his adventurous wingmen Lucian successfully gains her approval the and the dream fades as the pair leave the common room.
  • The group Must face off against a mirror image of themselves with a twist.
  • The group must face off against the dream controller, a magical entity summoned forth to keep the Arch Mage locked in his nightmares.

D&D Night #4

Opening: As you finish climbing down the rope, you see the water from above begin to poor down. The water courses it’s way down a small tunnel to the south. Out from the shadow walks Cintair. He greets you and thanks you for all that you’ve done. “My people are free and we will now be on our way. Here are a few spoilsss for your hard work” Cintair motions someone from the shadows. Four lizardfolk warriors bring forth a eight sacks and place them at your feet. At the sight of the Lizardfolk the Drow twins give a disgusted look upon their face. The twins look to you “This has been a long night, on one hand you saved our lives, and in the other you work for them. Change is the way of things though, we believe it is time for us to be on our own way. I thank you for saving us. Perhaps we shall meet again someday”. In turn the twins each offer you a kiss and then grab a few waterskins and rations from a sack and head off into the darkness without looking back”
Cintair looks back upon you and says: “Your spoils”

 

As the characters escape with the guide cintair provided (Ziniskar) they move onward towards a safe surface location. Ziniskar leads the PC’s for quite a while. Without the sun the PC’s lose track of time and the lizardfolk guide doesn’t keep time the same way, but best description it feels the trek takes a few weeks. The PC’s come across a circular iron door reinforced into the walls around it. It is adorned with a Crossed pick and hammer above an anvil. The symbol of the deity for smiths and miners, Belodorn the dwarf god.

Draygen  talks the groups way into the dwarven hold. There he convinces the clan’s magistrate to provide escort and guidance through to Dankjarboon, the largest dwarven hold on the continent of Eldrid, possibly Mystere.

Upon reaching Dankjarboon, the PC’s meetup with Torren, a dwarf blacksmith they knew from Medora. Draygen, Lucian, and Wex seek an alliance with the dwarves to assist them bringing back the light to Foveidon. They strike an agreement with the dwarves that if the group can retrieve the axe of dwarven lords from it’s previous holder’s tomb, they will ally with them and provide assistance.  Only dwarves of a unclanned and descendants can enter a sealed dwarven tomb by their beliefs. This the edict of Belodorn after many disgraceful acts took place after the previous clan wars.

The group and Torren are sent in to find the axe and recover it. After dealing with a few guardians, they come to the resting place of previously Dwarf king, who turns out to be a queen as they run into her ghost, but her time her title was empress, as she ruled all dwarven kingdoms. After her death, things slowly over the course of 2500 years segregated. She provides a little insight for the PC’s explains that Torren is a descendant and rightful holder of the Axe of Dwarven lords. After just hearing the descendant part he feints and knocks himself unconscious when he hits the floor.

The ghost informs them of his heritage, and thanks them for delivering him safely to her. She comments how she watches her descendants through her scrying orb and feels Torren is the most apt to rule, and has tried to bring him here for quite some time. She tasks the group to take torren and assist him in proving lineage as rightful ruler.

Draygen proves quite convincing to the council of holds and Torren who successfully wields the axe, (if found unworthy, the axe will hurt, maim, or destroy the wielder if he/she is part dwarf, otherwise it’s just a +1 axe)

In return for not only bringing a source of unification to his people but assisting him in taking his place, he grants the PC’s a ritual to speak with a divine being to help them on their quest. A gathering of clerics is performed and the PC’s end up being sent directly to the avatar of the goddess melumi on her golden throne.

She bestows the group members with weapons of the light that will assist them as they find their quest will lead them deep into the shadowfell.

She ends their greeting with the following

“You have an alliance of arms, and you shall have the power of my priests, but you shall need an  alliance arcane. Together with them, they will provide you with the strategic value to clear your lands. When you drive back the shadow, they shall combat the creatures that stay.”

The PC’s are blinded by a brilliant flash of light, when they recover they find themselves somewhere they didn’t expect.

Combat flair

How much combat flair do you wear?

D&D combat flair

For a game about role playing, we certainly spend a lot of it rolling dice in combat. As the DM of course of our is to verbally illustrate the world the players are in.   With combat this can get a bit tedious of course. You hit, you miss, roll damage. Them are fightin words. And in the middle of a dungeon crawl this can certainly make the game seem a bit boring. Especially when you might be in a longer adventure in which the dungeon takes a lot of time. More than that, after a while describing each the same powers repeatedly can get old.

I’m sure you’ve already read articles about describing combat as more than you hit, you miss. That’s kinda basics and to be honest, even that gets skipped sometimes. It’s nice to throw in some definition often, not necessarily every time.

The best time to offer some combat flair is when the dice hit their extremes. 20′s and 1′s of course. For instance I find myself last night running the adventurers through a small dungeon as they’re escaping from a drow city that is collapsing. At the end of their run they find themselves face to face with several drow soldiers defending what appears to be the edge of a “cliff” inside a large cavern.

When the PC’s decide to start trying to force the enemies over the edge, one adventurer discovers all too well how good this tactic is as an enemy attempts to bull rush him over the edge. I made my roll which narrowly missed, and he went to make his saving throw vs falling prone instead of flying off the cliff. He rolls a nat 20 as he says. I see this as ample opportunity to help close the encounter in a memorable method. The NPC attacking only has 1/3 HP anyways, so instead of knocking the PC prone, he’s able to make a quick maneuver and fling the soldier over the edge.

Rolls at the ends of the number spectrum provide more than automatic hit and miss opportunities. Use them to break up the encounter a bit and allow a little room for play. That one means more than a miss, it might represent someone falling prone and losing his grasp on his sword. It could become an embarrassing permanent battle wound for a character (on rare occasion). That 20 could also have extra effect besides maximized damage. Perhaps his flashy combat maneuvers have put the enemy on his guard, -2 to attacks +1 defense.

Simply put, just don’t forget to wear your flair.

D&D night #3

It’s hard to know where to go when you don’t remember where you’ve been.
A list of your previous ventures.

Your first meeting was an undertaking of small import but odd occurrence. A simple desire to meet up with a cook, or his wizard wife for their particular skills. This led to a food fight, or more of a fight with food, as well as your first encounter with an extraplanar being “an imp” to be specific.

Your next adventure took you into the sunless citadel, an old castle like structure previously devoured by the earth. traversing it’s depths you dealt with both kobold and goblin infestations, an insane druid, and a tree whose single annual fruit created a spawn of twig like creatures that have started to spread across the world.

After your success here, you were rewarded with more work. Quested to find the son of a nobleman you were sent Stormy shore. Here you found saw the truth in the illusions. You found the answers for the father that his son was dead at the hands of bandits.  Of which the leader had fallen in love with a great illusionist’s daughter. When he couldn’t have her, he took her life and framed the nobleman. The father in a rage slew the young man and due to an inability to cope created a “real” illusion of his daughter and forgot what truly happened.

One evening as you relaxed in an inn, you heard the stories of treefall, a once proud village fallen into the dark shadow as they would say. As you investigated this yourself, you found truth in this story. You assisted the town in recovering the object that alleviated the symptoms of their curse, although at the cost of several townsmen themselves, although this seemed unavoidable.

Later you acquired your own base of operations near the city of Medora. You cleansed an old fortress of it’s Orc and Troll problem and in return were awarded it’s deed.

Your questing also took you to the Darkwoods forest, here you assisted the local elves in maintaining their peace with the dark pixies that shared the forest.

One of your last missions brought you to the Tower of Darwell. Sir Jeffers, a paladin of good name requested your assistance in recovering an artifact of undeath. You recovered the artifact but Darwell escaped.

The last mission you were able to take out of the city of Medora is the last it’s locals bestowed upon anyone. In researching the abduction of several missing children, you found evidence that a dark cabal was preparing for a grand ritual. You set off to interrupt this, although did not make it in time. You found Darwell finishing the incantation just as you arrived. With a few boasting words he disappeared into the maw of the world devourer that destroyed Medora, your keep, and now roaming Foveidon looking for survivors.

Hopefully you remember the rest from here.

————

After escaping into the dungeon below the altar, the group runs into some interference. Several drow guards are stationed below. With the city collapsing above them, and water from the lake following hot on their trails (the lake above is flooding the crumbling city). The adventurers force their way through the dungeon in good time, and escape into several open caverns. Cintair meets up with them unexpectedly and offers a guide to take them on their way.  He thanks the adventurers and they set off on their way.

This night consisted heavily of several combat encounters as the PC’s deal with traps slowing them down, drow guards blocking their way and rushing water pressing them forward.

D&D Night #0 Prequel post

As you open the door to this room, you see an old man in robes who appears quite familiar. You recognize old Darwell in mid chant. He sees you enter the room and looks you up and down, you can see his grin widening as you look upon his gaunt pale face. He stops speaking the ritual but it’s then you take more notice of the many robed figures seated on benches chanting in a low voice. (Darwell) “I’m glad to see you’ve arrived just in time to see my work in progress. I doubt you will see a more impressive sight than this for more than one reason. Now look upon “HIS” avatar.”… It’s then you notice the feeling of a soft shaking under your feet, slowly growing into a horrendous motion. You are suddenly knocked from your feet as you see only the side of a large creature burst through the floor and continue through the ceiling, apparently destroying all in the room in front of you. Through the doorway you can only see a fast vertical movement of a white object that’s thundering past, moving upwards to the sky above. After a moment it passes and only darkness remains. A deep tunnel that extends beyond what you can see downward into the darkness has replaced the room where the ritual was previously taking place, above it only darkness as well.

Darwell is a necromancer whose plans had previously been foiled by Wex, Lucian, and Draygen. He is a fairly powerful wizard and makes pacts with beings of undeath. Darwell is a noble and uses his ties to protect his underground workings. Previously The PC’s had been tasked with breaking into his home and taking an artifact of undeath. They did so successfully but were caught in the task, Darwell knows exactly who stole his property. Darwell knew the players would be hot on his trail, and sealed the door behind him with a wall of force spell, the door could be opened, but they could not get past the wall of force.

Thus Darwell was able to enact his plan for the city, using it much like a sacrifice for the demon he called from the depths of the earth. The world devourer. The after effects of the ritual is a dome of perpetual darkness covering most of  Foveidon. After the completion of the ritual, it is unknown what happened to darwell.

Preventing writer’s block

Writer’s block is a serious problems for DM’s. I can’t remember how many times I’ve sat their staring at a notebook, or at my laptop screen trying to come up with an idea for a D&D campaign, or sometimes it’s hard just to flesh it out. Recently I came across a few marketing articles regarding inspiring creativity and added a few extras of my own that should help.

First, get comfortable, and by this I mean handle anything that is distracting you. Have a glass of something to drink close by for that dry mouth, if hungry have a snack. If you’re in the middle of writing up your adventure and you get dry mouth, you’re likely not wanting to leave your work, but the distraction might take a toll.

Second, make sure you’re awake/conscious. If you can’t afford the sleep sometimes, or even if you can, coffee or another awareness booster can help you focus your attention.  Even when i get all the sleep i want, coffee still helps get my mind jump started.

Third, surround yourself with inspiration. This means posters of art on your walls, a wallpaper from a favorite movie, background music that you like. If you’re lucky enough to have your own game room, try customizing it to the full extent, cheap fake armor statues, tabards, things that might fit the setting for the games your play. Another option is to play a movie in the background that fits your current game, such as Bladerunner for cyberpunk, Battlestar Galactica for sci-fi,  or any number of fantasy movies for a D&D or medieval type setting.

Doing this things should help you feel comfortable and or set the mood for your writing, The biggest contributions in my opinion, is the level of awareness (of which coffee helps me personally), keeping your throat wet (nothing distracts like a dry throat in my opinion), and especially surround yourself with things that you like, they will help inspire you.

D&D night #2

After traversing and surviving underground for several days, you come upon a cavern. In the middle of which you see a lizardfolk sitting next to a small campfire. You notice that he’s looking in your direction since before you noticed him. (he makes no motion until the PC’s come towards him.) As you come closer the lizardman nods toward the fire and points an outstretched hand toward the area surrounding the fire. “Take a ssseeat” he hisses. 

The party and the refugees sit with Cintair and enjoy a hot meal of fish soup he has provided. After discussing his concerns about the slavery of his people by the drow. He comes from the city of Hosuth. The adventurers accepted his quest and have agreed to disrupt a grand ritual of rebuilding that would strengthen the city and remove the chance of cintair’s people from escaping to freedom.

The PC’s enter the drow trade city of Perognathu, where after shopping at the market, and a night of carousing, they enter the Crimson Temple. A Dark elf temple, of which the inside is shaped somewhat like a teardrop and lighted with red torches. The characters saved the dark elf twins Nariyu and Riyanu Turiel, who were abducted and chosen as sacrifices for that night as part of the ongoing 100 day ritual. In rescuing they slew Madam Xulrae, the high priestess. Thus the ritual was interrupted, and at such a late point the God dedicated to the ritual appeared to have become angry. The earth began to shake and city started to crumble outside the temple. Draygen, Lucian, and Wex (the three adventurers) escaped with the twins turiel through hidden hatch on the side of the altar.