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D&D General How Was Your Last Session?


Rotten DM
I open my house Saturday. It was mostly fun but some of the actions were over the top. Like tossing have the pcs over the cliff. But we got done before 9 PM so me and my spouse went out for milk shakes.

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In a word: FREAKINGAWESOME. We had the climactic fight, via roll20, of Sunless Citadel.

It was one of the longest fights I've had in 5e. Well over 10 rounds (bless and another 1 minute spell both wore off). I truly thought it was going to be a TPK for the majority of it. At one point 2 of us (out of 4, plus 2 NPCs) were at low health and got hit with a sleep spell. Our DM plays his NPCs to win.

Our monk dropped to zero HP at least 4 times. Maybe more. We got him up with spells, Channel Divinity, potions, and on the last one he rolled a nat 20 on his Death Save. Hilarious. Initiative order worked out great, too. He hardly ever missed a turn. The 2nd to last time he got back up he took out two bad guys on his next turn. Move, punch, move, punch.

The fight would have been much different if we had started with a short rest (I was at 2/3 HP, with Action Surge and Second Wind both consumed), but the cleric charged ahead and got us into the fight.

The absolute highlight, though, was Meepo, the NPC kobold. Not only did Meepo hit with almost every shot of his sling, with good damage rolls, he also crit multiple times. At the very end of the fight, the last surviving baddie tried to flee and risked an opportunity attack from Meepo. Bad idea. Another crit, baddie dead, fight over.

After roleplaying Meepo as timid and bashful the whole adventure, every time he killed another bad guy or got another critical, the DM had him saying, "I AM INVINCIBLE!!!!" or some such in roll20 chat.

I ended up with Shatterspike, but really it should have gone to Meepo.


Mod Squad
Staff member
My last session... was a screaming success.

In that there was a banshee in it, whose wail downed three out of four party members. The GM was kind, and allowed the remaining PC to feed the unconscious cleric a potion of healing, and she then got the rest of the party back on its feet. Touch and go for a minute, though.

We were attacked by assassins - apparently somebody doesn't want us gathering together an alliance of surface kingdoms against an upcoming drow attack from the Underdark. Now, I wonder who might be behind our attempted deaths....

Oh, and my PC got to eat some eyeballs. (He's a lizardfolk - it's perfectly normal. Quit trying to apply your mammalian standards to him!)

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I crit!
Fantastic!!!! It was a playtest of “something” (not WotC) and tier 4 with three 20th level chars and one 18lvl. And one simulacrum. The players could see the monster MILES away. They teleported within a few thousand feet and dropped FOUR meteor swarms and attracted its attention. It began to pummel them with rocks and it’s “lackeys” attacked. They RAN! OK they ran TOWARD danger, but also away from the death trap they were in. And it was plain shift.

Ended up with two PCs conscious, one using up his precognition dice to guarantee his blink ethereal and the other flying. When they had a cockamamie crazy idea involving a 1st level cantrip and the Paladin going ALL in.

They survived! And the big bad died hilariously!

the Jester

Just finished up. It was a really good session. I ran my Delta group. To make a long backstory short, they're looking for the three pieces of this map. They've gotten one by stealing it from the hell maidens of Winwillow (yes, that's an Arduin conversion). They're performing a variety of tasks for the King of Birds to earn the second one; the current task is to raise a baby roc to adulthood. Simultaneously, they're trying to find the third piece in the Aquan Pyramid, a dungeon that is a submerged pyramid that rises up every 17 years. (They are using water breathing to explore below the water level.)

Okay, so they started the session heading down some stairs they found in the pyramid last time. They explored the new level they reached until they got in a fight with some sea spawn and, 3 rounds into that fight, with some deep scions. They slew the spawn and broke the scions' morale, and by taking them prisoner, the pcs learned that they were on a dummy level- an entire level of the pyramid that didn't actually connect with the bottom, where an undead king/warrior waits.

The scions led the pcs back up two levels, then down a secret staircase that descended several levels. At the bottom, they fought some lacedons and a wraith. They got a good amount of treasure throughout the session, too, and still have the scions as prisoners/uneasy allies.

We had three pcs level up- the monk hit 9th (run on walls!), as did the bard (greater restoration and mass cure wounds!), while the fighter hit 8th (whoo!). And now they're actually on the right track instead of heading into a couple of levels of red herrings and death traps.


Epic climax to the latest adventure, with the player characters advancing to level 14 at the end of it. I'm running a modified Storm King's Thunder. The characters are in Skyreach Castle attempting to free Hekaton from Zhentarim mind control and thereby stop the giants' rampage across the North. Unfortunately, they're up against three clones of Manshoon, a dozen storm giant zealots, and an ancient blue dragon under a geas to guard Hekaton. Some highlights:

  • The characters were atop a hundred-foot tall tower that was collapsing on a flying castle in the middle of a massive thunderstorm.
  • The beast master ranger, arcane trickster rogue, and vengeance paladin were all giant-sized thanks to a magical boon. As was the ranger's drake. And the paladin's pegasus.
  • They were surrounded by Manshoon clones atop neighboring towers, two Zhent champions circling on nightmares, four storm giants rushing through the ground-floor door, and a roc.
  • The Ranger blocked up the front door and went toe-to-toe with the storm giants to stop them from entering the tower.
  • One Manshoon clone nullified the halfling bard with a Feeblemind spell.
  • The rogue took out one Manshoon clone with a giant-sized arrow that did over 100 points of damage.
  • The vengeance paladin dodged two Disintegration spells in the same round to close with two Manshoons and smite them both.
  • Knowing they only had seconds to live, the two surviving Manshoon clones both cast Meteor Swarm.
  • The meteor impacts devastated Skyreach Castle. It listed like the Titanic and started to fall out of the sky.
  • Thanks to Meteor Swarm, half the characters were knocked out and had to make death saves. One allied NPC was killed outright. The tiefling shadow sorcerer was slain, as well. She was previously revealed to be Manshoon's daughter, so that's going to make family reunions a little awkward.
  • The halfling used a divine blessing acquired one year ago IRL to regain consciousness and shake off Feeblemind.
  • The paladin started loading dead or dying characters onto his giant pegasus to ferry them off Skyreach Castle.
  • Meanwhile, a drow priestess of Lolth who is an allied NPC had found an orb of dragonkind aboard the castle. She took it to the ancient blue dragon in hopes of negotiating his help in escaping. Then she spotted Hekaton. Stepping forward, she cast Remove Curse to break the Zhentarim spell that held him in thrall. Unfortunately, the blue dragon was still under geas to guard Hekaton. With a single bite he dropped the priestess, then tore her apart with two claw attacks.
  • Hekaton threw himself at the dragon and battle ensued.
  • The halfling bard used Dimension Door to appear in the middle of the giant/dragon throw down, grabbed the orb of dragonkind, and then used Teleport to take the orb to Waterdeep. Unknown to the other players, the halfling's soul is trapped in Hell and the soul occupying his body is the lackey of an Archdevil. Once in Waterdeep, the bard delivered the orb to his devilish masters (off camera).
  • Looking out across Waterdeep, the bard saw that it had been attacked, conquered, and occupied by frost giants.
  • The remaining characters escaped Skyreach, watched it crash, and then sorted through the rubble. They found a massive treasure hoard...and the body of Hekaton. Of the blue dragon there was no sign.
  • The paladin used Revivify to bring back the sorcerer. The other dead NPC is likely to be brought back by the bard in the next session with Raise Dead. The drow priestess is dead and unlikely to return.

I wasn't expecting the adventure to come to such an abrupt close, but I was really happy with how it all turned out. Lots of surprises against a widescreen backdrop. One PC killed outright, two making death saving throws, two dead allied NPCs. Not bad for a night's work.

Everyone had a blast.

Next session is in two weeks. It'll be interesting to see if the players realize they have a traitor in their midst. I expect skullduggery to ensue.
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Hey, it's me again. Last night I had my first session DMing a new campaign with three players. This campaign is a modified version of Dragon Heist.

One player is a veteran who is also in one of my campaigns where the characters just hit level 14. The second player has played about 10 times total, and is in my campaign where the characters are at level 4. The third player is brand new to tabletop RPGs (but familiar with CRPGs). Respectively, they are playing a half-orc fighter, halfling rogue, and half-elf wizard.

So, yes, I'm currently running three campaigns. It's a lot. It's fun. But...it's a lot. Probably too much for me in the long term, but during quarantine it's keeping me sane.


Basically, I'm using Dragon Heist as the spine but changing just about everything else. Originally, my plan had been to run the Alexandrian Remix of Dragon Heist, which I like a lot. If you've not heard of it, the Remix outlines how to run the adventure with all 4 factions in play simultaneously, rather than just selecting one. It's excellent. But...

Manshoon and the Zhentarim are major players in my current high-level campaign. As for the Cassalanters, I'll likely use them in place of the Vanthampurs if I ever run Descent Into Avernus. And I'm lukewarm on Jarlaxle (even though I'm partial to drow). So...I decided to create new factions using 13th Age's Icons as inspiration.

I wrote up 15 factions such as the Xanathar, the Blackstaff, a drow House, the Masked Lords, Waterdeep nobles, etc, etc. Each player chose one faction with which they have a positive relationship, a negative relationship, and a conflicted relationship. The factions the players chose determined who the opposition was. This turned out really, really well. I'll likely re-use it for most of my future campaigns. It gives the players some authorship and makes them give a damn what happens next.

Finally, just to complicate my life some more, I decided to throw the Deck of Many Things into the mix. I've never seen it in play but have always wanted to. And as I become more experienced as a DM, I'm less concerned about "breaking" my game. In fact, these days I kind of want to break my game!

With that out of the way...

Our first session had the player characters getting a job from a mysterious patron to recover a playing card from an abandoned estate in Waterdeep. I used the Vanthampur Villa map from Descent Into Avernus. The estate belonged to a once-famous group of adventurers called Fortune's Fools, who are going to have a major role in the backstory of the Deck of Many Things. The characters soon discovered the estate was occupied by boggles and rigged with traps. They faced 4 flying swords, a suit of animated armor, a pit trap, and 3 boggles who kept stealing their gear and then teleporting away. Honestly, it was too tough for three 1st level characters. We ended with the halfling rogue stable but unconscious, with no immediately clear way to get back on his feet and continue the adventure. We'll cross that bridge when we play again in two weeks.

Everyone had a good time. I really like how quickly the game plays with three 1st level characters (as opposed to five 14th level characters and their henchmen) but it's also very swingy.


...and I'm back. This time one of my players was kind enough to buy our group a session on Roll20 with a guest DM. Yes, I got to play!

Everyone flipped the script. So the guy who plays the paladin had a wizard. The rogue played a sorcerer. The sorcerer played a barbarian. The bard played a fighter. Etc. I rolled up a 5th level hexblade warlock with a focus on infiltration. I didn't have any standout moments but I played smart and kept the group focused on completing the mission.

We raided the hill giant den of Grudd Haug from Storm King's Thunder. I ran this as a DM and really enjoyed it. It's a blast as a player, too. Felt really good to be on the other side of the "screen".


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
So, we had an Epic last session. Epic is the particular catchphrase of a friend of mine, and we resurrected a finished campaign to do a one-shot special surprise game. (Well, ended up being a two shot.)

The campaign had ended quite well, but one of the loose threads was the blue dragon Al'Tinine we had killed in the finale was known to have a huge stash of sapphires that he had been paying a rival group with. And the lost kingdom we refounded was awash with refuges and needing funding.

The birthday one-shot was hearing rumors of another blue dragon taking up the title of Al'tinine, in the rough area we though he had his lair. It was the original five party members, plus two guests for the one-shot who were not as well equipped nor used to the party dynamics - a second barbarian and a battlemaster.

Cool stuff, challenges to get through a whole unnatural lightning storm, a trapped lair, etc. But we came across a blue wyrmling in it's lair, claiming to be the brood of Al'tinine and willing to parley.

We started to talk, actually planning on making it relocate from where it was now (hurting allies) to a nation we wanted to eradicate. Anyway, the sneak attack came, but it was from our side, pre-empting the parley. Suddenly the who floor disappeared and we all fell 40 feet to the real floor - with seven of it's larger brood-mates. Whom because of how we were positioned above were already among us so we couldn't get off effective AoEs of any sort.

We had 6.5 10th level characters (one player was several hours late, so 6 players for the first few rounds) with decent magic items but not a single bit of lightning resistance among us, already worn down a bit. Outnumbered by eight Blue Dragons. Who then proceeded to win initiative, and breath weapon us all to crap. By our first action, no one was above half HPs and one barbarian and the fighter were both down. (Sad note - that barbarian rolled the best initiative of us. What this ended up meaning in practice is that the dragons would knock him out, he's miss his turn, get healed, the dragons would knock him out - lather, rinse, repeat. He didn't have an action for half the combat.)

So we had this amazingly tough encounter with the spawn of our old enemy. Just for shiggles I ran the DMG encounter numbers. Seven CR 9 (5000XP) plus one CR 3 (700XP) is 35700 XP. When you include the multiplier for 7-10 monsters of 2.5, that's 89250. Deadly for seven level 10 characters is 28,000 XP, so that was more than three times the deadly rating, with advantageous positioning and terrain for them.

We were victorious, but it was close and we had people going down every single round, especially when they started making sure the cleric was down. But the bard went right before the cleric in initiative, and both went before most of the rest of the party. So the glamour bard would stand our life cleric back up and use Mantle of Inspiration to give tHP and repositioning, the life cleric would hit us with a Mass Cure Wounds, and we'd do what we could to defeat them. Our rogue was quite hurt when the bard turned her into a Giant Ape who was very effective for the rest of the combat. (Yes, there are higher CR beasts, that was what the character had seen except for a T-Rex and the bard reserved that form for the King. It's right there in the name and names are important to Jillian.)

Anyway, I enjoy combat but am fine with sessions without it, but this was the most skin-of-our-teeth bang-out battle I think I've ever had in the years since I switched to 5e. So much tension, risk, and imminent death that overcoming that and snatching victory was very sweet indeed.


Our Forge of Fury was cancelled last minute last night, we resume next week, but the other Roll20 campaign, the PCs met Strahd in the Borovian graveyard! He summoned some dire wolves, they beat em pretty easy, he taunted them and called to Ireena, but she's like eff off Strahd. So he effs off. For now. We ended right before Madame Eva reads their fortunes, so next session we start with that.

My last session of D&D was as a player. I had a lot of fun because my friends and I almost always have fun when we play.

But the adventure itself was mediocre, at best. It largely consisted of the PCs acting in support of a DM PC, and we simply went from one encounter to the next with very little actual choice at any point.

It was meant to be a kind of interlude, and to only last a few sessions, so I think that may have been a big part of it? That the DM felt he had an agenda he had to accomplish.

He’s a very good DM overall. I think it was the short term nature of the adventure and the fact that a couple players didn’t make it that kind of threw things off. I don’t think he realized how much he should have adjusted for fewer players, and so he had to have the NPCs contribute much more, so it felt like the PCs were just along for the ride.

We’re playing again tonight, but back to a more traditional campaign, so I’m expecting a better experience.


I played my second quarantine session today. It was a short (about 2 hours) session over Skype. We played a one-off of Wuthering Heights.

The details are here, so I won't repeat them. The short version is that one of the PCs - a puritan clergyman called Neville - died early in the session in a confrontation in a socialist bookshop in 19th century Soho. But his ghost lingered to cause trouble for the other PC, socialist bookseller Hamish MacGregor. Hamish was unsuccessful in love (twice) and ended up burning down the bookshop in despair with himself inside it.


He’s a very good DM overall. I think it was the short term nature of the adventure and the fact that a couple players didn’t make it that kind of threw things off. I don’t think he realized how much he should have adjusted for fewer players, and so he had to have the NPCs contribute much more, so it felt like the PCs were just along for the ride.

This is a little how I'm feeling about CoS; it's really good, but awfully scripted. I haven't felt like the PCs had much choice yet in what happens, beyond superficial choices. They did Death House, met the NPCs they're supposed to meet, are asked to take Ireena so they do, it's all expected to happen. I hope they don't feel too railroaded, and soon, after the tarot reading, the kingdom will drastically open up with new choices of where to go. Vallaki itself is a hotbed of trouble that could go many different directions.

This is a little how I'm feeling about CoS; it's really good, but awfully scripted. I haven't felt like the PCs had much choice yet in what happens, beyond superficial choices. They did Death House, met the NPCs they're supposed to meet, are asked to take Ireena so they do, it's all expected to happen. I hope they don't feel too railroaded, and soon, after the tarot reading, the kingdom will drastically open up with new choices of where to go. Vallaki itself is a hotbed of trouble that could go many different directions.

That adventure starts off with a little checklist, but then it kind of opens wide after that. It does have a kind of looming end point of the PCs going to the Castle to face off with Strahd, but I think that’s fine.

I think it really depends on the DM and how they play all that middle territory, and how they incorporate Strahd into it along the way.

On another note, the session my group played last night was much batter than the one I last posted about. So I was happy about that. I’m gonna write off the railroady aspect of the last one as a by-product of it being a short term sidetrek style adventure.


This is a little how I'm feeling about CoS; it's really good, but awfully scripted. I haven't felt like the PCs had much choice yet in what happens, beyond superficial choices. They did Death House, met the NPCs they're supposed to meet, are asked to take Ireena so they do, it's all expected to happen. I hope they don't feel too railroaded, and soon, after the tarot reading, the kingdom will drastically open up with new choices of where to go. Vallaki itself is a hotbed of trouble that could go many different directions.

Vallaki was crazy for my players and definitely went ways I didn’t expect


Running a heavily, heavily modified version of Dragon of Icespire Peak for 5 D&D noobs. This was our 11th session. The characters are 4th level.

This session had a lot of big reveals for the overall plot.

It took place in the abandoned dwarven stronghold of Axeholm, which is now occupied by orcs. The characters ended up there after spotting an orc ambush and quickly coming up with a harebrained scheme to fool the orcs. The half-orc paladin pretended that all the other characters were his prisoners. Except for the druid -- who, wildshaped into a bear, pretended to be his animal companion. The orcs fell for the bluff and suggested the half-orc follow them back to Axeholm. The half-orc agreed to it. So the players went from facing 6 orcs to facing 60 orcs.

At Axeholm, it was revealed that the half-orc's father is the ruthless orc chieftan of the tribe, and the tribe's two champions are his half-brothers. The characters also learned that the orcs want a magical artifact from dragon's hoard in Icespire Peak -- the Bloodspear. With it, the chieftan can rally all the orc tribes in the region and raze Phandalin. The half-orc claimed he had received a vision from Gruumsh to recover the Bloodspear and return it to Axeholm.

Additionally, the orcs are allied with a secret cult in Phandalin -- Abbathor, the dwarven god of greed. Revik Ironfist -- head of the Miner's Exchange and the most powerful dwarf in Phandalin -- is the cult's leader. He arrived at Axeholm with several dwarven warriors, expecting that tonight he would march with the orcs to Icespire Peak, slay the dragon, and claim the hoard. However, the orc chieftan pitted the dwarven cultists against the player characters. Whoever survived would be his ally.

The characters were fighting with literally one hand tied behind their backs because two of them were posing as prisoners and could not fight without breaking the deception. The half-orc paladin defeated Revik Ironfist but was knocked out by the dwarven warriors. Fortunately the druid, wildshaped into a brown bear, was able to kill all four warriors.

Next session they'll wrap up in Axeholm and return to Phandalin for a final confrontation against the cult of Abbathor.


Archdevil's Advocate
It went pretty rough for the PC's. We lost two characters. The party was all level 4.

I had made a random encounter table and made a list of combat encounters. Most of them were relevant but I added a Shambling Mound just to spice the table up. I wasn't particularly fond of the encounter as I was scared it would just be a solo brute beatdown on the Mound's side but I gave it a 5% proc rate on a 15% chance to proc a random encounter every hour. I basically wasn't expecting it to show up for the adventure, and especially not as the first random encounter.

They ran into it at the worst possible location, too. They were near a mist-covered lake and I gave them the option to quickly hop across the stones or go around. Going around would takes 2 hours (very large lake, ooblong though) but they chose to do that. They proc'd the Shambling Mound on the last hour. I introduced it as just a plain mound of plant mass and the monk went to inspect it.

Now, I play monsters with their goal in mind. And the mound's only goal is nourishment. It can only ever eat one enemy at a time and if it consumes one, it's good for a while. Basically, it needn't continue the fight once it engulfs one member. It happened to be near a lake and it has a swim speed. It now had an escape route that I didn't anticipate when making the encounter. That's unfortunate for them, because now it has a really good strategy.

First round, it attempts to slam the monk twice. Both miss, luckily, but the players severely underestimated it. The monk spends his turn "watering the plant" thinking that it isn't a big deal. The Ranger then lights a torch because she thought the plant would be hurt by fire...it is resistant. The wizard casts Dragon's Breath on his familiar and uses Fire as the damage because he also thought the plant would be hurt by fire...it is resistant. The moon druid casts"Ice Knife" because he thought since fire wasn't working, the plant would be hurt by cold...it is resistant. Well, great, not alot of damage and the monk is playing around with it.

The Mound recognizes the ranger as a bigger threat as it was close and the monk had yet to do damage. It makes two slam attacks, both hit and one crit. The Ranger is now unconscious and engulfed. They make the first save, fail the con save meaning a death fail and the monster slams them (with advantage) while she's inside the Mound's body. That outright kills her. He shambles to the lake and begin to swim. The Monk and Druid (now in wildshape which is important) are chasing after. The monk uses his spear to attack and the druid is a direwolf biting. The Mound realizes the monk is chasing it in an area where the mound has the advantage and changes targets. He lets go of the Ranger's corpse and slam attacks the monk twice. Both hit and one crit...again. The monk is now unconscious and engulfed.

Here's the tradgedy: the druid attempts to healing word the monk to give him a fighting chance. I remind him he must revert back to his original form. Then, this is really depressing, I remind him that reverting takes his BA and he can't cast healing word. He never took cure wounds because he never expected to need it more than healing word. The druid instead grabs the Ranger's lifeless corpse and swims back to the surface, leaving the monk to be the Mound's dinner.

The fight was a "Hard" encounter and they only fought 2 medium encounters before with a short rest in-between. I wasn't expecting anyone to die, much less 2 party members. They did roll poorly during the fight and I rolled a crit at least once every round. They also underestimated it. It was some sad deaths but now they're bringing more characters to join whenever they have the opportunity.

This sucks for the survivors too because they are obviously down for manpower and now the ranger, the ticket for them to not get lost and not be in difficult terrain, has now died. They're close to the settlement they're trying to reach but they now run the risk of getting lost and taking longer.

It was ... close. We're 3rd level, playing Storm King's Thunder, and we left off last session mid-combat, in a brawl with a bunch of giant-vulture-mounted cultists on a cloud giant's flying tower. We'd knocked most of them down previously and were looking forward to a quick clean-up. but noooo. A couple of bad saving throws on our part against hold person, and a cult leader who rolled natural 20s twice consecutively on his death saves, and things got very dicey indeed. My paladin was down to 3hp and had a couple of giant vultures coming at him, and the cleric rolled snake eyes on his cure wounds spell to heal me, the archer ranger was held, the spellthief was getting beaten down by an invisible stalker and nobody had any magic weapons to hit it back.

We got lucky. One vulture got wrathful smited and fled, the cloud giants' griffin pets rolled well and cleaned up the others. and the druid wildshaped to a giant spider, webbed the invisible stalker and kept it pinned down for an improbable amount of time thanks to some terrible saving throws on its part (pity it was immune to her poison).

The 'quick clean-up' of our in-progress combat took most of the session and left us almost flattened. And we captured the cult leader alive and our cloud giant host washed his hands of the guy, so now he's our responsibility. And for a paladin, briskly chucking him off the flying tower isn't really an option. I hope we find ourselves somewhere with some semblance of lawful authority i can hand him over to some time soon.

A couple of bad rolls and it could easily have been a party wipe. We badly need some more area effect damage in the party.