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General How Was Your Last Session?

Nebulous

Legend
It requires MUCH LESS PREP; and my kids loved it. It was fine, but I'm ok with seat of the pants coming up with stuff, especially in a D&D type fantasy world. If your jam is to spend a lot of time designing things in advance and having everything prepared; would be tougher.
For better or worse, I do like having maps and such prepared, which wouldn't be so bad in person, but on Roll20 it requires some thought. At some point I'm going to run it with no prep or framework once I'm done with Cinder Queen, just to see how it goes.
 

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ccs

40th lv DM
My last session? In a word, annoying.

Several sessions ago the players knowingly went into the Fire Giant chapter of SKT (slightly modified to fit into my campaign world) under-lv.
They managed to NOT get killed by the yakmen, succeeded in rescuing a # of slaves, & fled. They even came up with a fairly decent plan to evade the yakmen pursuing them. From the slaves they learned the gist of what's going on. Then, once the slaves were a "safe" distance away, the PCs doubled back so that they could infiltrate the FG lair. The Fighter player also wanted the slaves to relay the situation to the local Lord & hopefully get some additional aid sent.
(This is an annoying theme with this player. He always wants NPCs to come in & solve the problems.)
It's a good 6-8 day round trip between the nearest town & the adventure site.
So the rescued slaves head back to town, the yakmen search the wrong area of the forest, & the PCs infiltrate the mines/forges.

This past session?
The PCs infiltrate the mines where they spend about a week skulking around, gathering info, determining that they cannot take the giants in any sort of stand-up fight, & hiding out in the empty mine lvs.
Then things get exciting. The NPC "army" arrives upstairs & a good # of the giants are drawn away to deal with the attack. This leaves things that the Ps can handle - mostly orcs/ogres/etc (and a single giant) - to keep things running down below. So the PCs venture into the forge lvs.
They have 3 objectives:
1) locate & recover the Iron Flask, then use it to re-trap the fire elemental. Without the fire elemental a huge wrench will be thrown into the giants plans.
2) rescue more slaves.
3) Escape - What they do not have is any actual plan of escape. They know this & decide that they'll wing it.....

Things go well enough. They fight assorted orcs/ogres/salamanders etc, avoid fighting a hoard of goblins in the kitchens, free some more slaves & stage them in a "safe" room, explore a bit looking for the Flask.... And then they find the assembly room where the giants are constructing their Vonidar(sp?) super sized dragon killer golem(?).
All thoughts of the Flask are immediately discarded as they decide crashing this thing to the floor is the new best way to sabotage things.

At this point the session goes from alright to annoying on my end.

They partially manage this, attracting the attention of the last giant & virtually all of the remaining enemies. And then, mostly at the insistence of the Fighter, they run away with the slaves (who are in no condition to fight) into the mines as the enemies are distracted by the crashing construct. The intent is to work their way back up through the mines, link up with the "army", get some healing, & come back down....
It's never occurred to them that:
  • this NPC "army" will not be the victors. Despite me telling them, & demonstrating in the past, that NPCs will not solve the adventures for them.
  • It's not occurred to them that this armies function story-wise is to be the Dues Ex that'll allow them a chance of succeeding/escaping despite them being too low lv vs fire giants.
  • Minor physical sabotage (toppling the construct) will only slightly delay the giants plans. But stealing the magical fuel (the fire elemental) that makes it all possible....
  • As a party, they do have the gear, info, & class abilities to quickly find the flask, capture the elemental, & effect an escape.... They just aren't using them.
So. Instead of just finishing up the adventure they spend almost 45m doing anything but & in ways that aren't going to be effective, based on OOC assumptions that given the past they know are flawed (at best).

So instead of being able to prep a new adventure? I'm stuck dealing with something that should be done already.
 

Reynard

Legend
It was okay. We did the hellwasp best in BG:DiA. Dungeons full of nothing but one monster type are pretty boring, especially when there are next to no other features of interest.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
My last session? In a word, annoying.

Several sessions ago the players knowingly went into the Fire Giant chapter of SKT (slightly modified to fit into my campaign world) under-lv.
They managed to NOT get killed by the yakmen, succeeded in rescuing a # of slaves, & fled. They even came up with a fairly decent plan to evade the yakmen pursuing them. From the slaves they learned the gist of what's going on. Then, once the slaves were a "safe" distance away, the PCs doubled back so that they could infiltrate the FG lair. The Fighter player also wanted the slaves to relay the situation to the local Lord & hopefully get some additional aid sent.
(This is an annoying theme with this player. He always wants NPCs to come in & solve the problems.)
It's a good 6-8 day round trip between the nearest town & the adventure site.
So the rescued slaves head back to town, the yakmen search the wrong area of the forest, & the PCs infiltrate the mines/forges.

This past session?
The PCs infiltrate the mines where they spend about a week skulking around, gathering info, determining that they cannot take the giants in any sort of stand-up fight, & hiding out in the empty mine lvs.
Then things get exciting. The NPC "army" arrives upstairs & a good # of the giants are drawn away to deal with the attack. This leaves things that the Ps can handle - mostly orcs/ogres/etc (and a single giant) - to keep things running down below. So the PCs venture into the forge lvs.
They have 3 objectives:
1) locate & recover the Iron Flask, then use it to re-trap the fire elemental. Without the fire elemental a huge wrench will be thrown into the giants plans.
2) rescue more slaves.
3) Escape - What they do not have is any actual plan of escape. They know this & decide that they'll wing it.....

Things go well enough. They fight assorted orcs/ogres/salamanders etc, avoid fighting a hoard of goblins in the kitchens, free some more slaves & stage them in a "safe" room, explore a bit looking for the Flask.... And then they find the assembly room where the giants are constructing their Vonidar(sp?) super sized dragon killer golem(?).
All thoughts of the Flask are immediately discarded as they decide crashing this thing to the floor is the new best way to sabotage things.

At this point the session goes from alright to annoying on my end.

They partially manage this, attracting the attention of the last giant & virtually all of the remaining enemies. And then, mostly at the insistence of the Fighter, they run away with the slaves (who are in no condition to fight) into the mines as the enemies are distracted by the crashing construct. The intent is to work their way back up through the mines, link up with the "army", get some healing, & come back down....
It's never occurred to them that:
  • this NPC "army" will not be the victors. Despite me telling them, & demonstrating in the past, that NPCs will not solve the adventures for them.
  • It's not occurred to them that this armies function story-wise is to be the Dues Ex that'll allow them a chance of succeeding/escaping despite them being too low lv vs fire giants.
  • Minor physical sabotage (toppling the construct) will only slightly delay the giants plans. But stealing the magical fuel (the fire elemental) that makes it all possible....
  • As a party, they do have the gear, info, & class abilities to quickly find the flask, capture the elemental, & effect an escape.... They just aren't using them.
So. Instead of just finishing up the adventure they spend almost 45m doing anything but & in ways that aren't going to be effective, based on OOC assumptions that given the past they know are flawed (at best).

So instead of being able to prep a new adventure? I'm stuck dealing with something that should be done already.
TPK is an option on the table?
 

My players sailed to a new city, ruled by a religious sect of paladins. They came in the hopes of perhaps making a new ally. But as they spent more time in the city, they start to realize that their possible future ally has some extreme tendencies that they are not okay with; People being beaten in the streets for herecy by priests and priests emptying a house and burning magic books. Hopefully though, these are just rare extremist elements, and their religious leader is a bit more reasonable. But all of this did not leave a very good first impression.

They are also intrigued by the violent attacks on the local lumberyard. It would seem a group of druids are responsible for marking targets with piles of inscribed stones, to guide some kind of horror from the forest to attack the innocent lumberjacks. As is often the case in my campaigns, there aren't obvious good guys and bad guys here. It is entirely up to the players to seek a solution.
 

Nebulous

Legend
Curse of Strahd! Oh man, it went well. They never killed Doru in Barovia, so he made a surprise appearance and threw his father's severed head at the party. Poor Donavich. But I think he makes a much more interesting dead NPC than a living one.



I've been following a couple Reddit walkthroughs, and it has massively helped now that they've reached Vallaki. From here on the campaign blossoms into a big sandbox and I can't wait to see what happens. I made a bunch of new maps, including one for the town square that seems like such an important location.
 

cmad1977

Hero
Curse of Strahd! Oh man, it went well. They never killed Doru in Barovia, so he made a surprise appearance and threw his father's severed head at the party. Poor Donavich. But I think he makes a much more interesting dead NPC than a living one.



I've been following a couple Reddit walkthroughs, and it has massively helped now that they've reached Vallaki. From here on the campaign blossoms into a big sandbox and I can't wait to see what happens. I made a bunch of new maps, including one for the town square that seems like such an important location.
Vallaki is really where our game took off. The cleric Reaaallly wanted to go to the midnight mass so a few of the PCs were in the church during the attack. One of them lost an eye and one of their NPCs was killed.
 

Nebulous

Legend
Vallaki is really where our game took off. The cleric Reaaallly wanted to go to the midnight mass so a few of the PCs were in the church during the attack. One of them lost an eye and one of their NPCs was killed.
Yes, I can see how it could go so many different directions. The Reddit also offers new locations, such as an orphanage and a reformation jail that both have extensive backstories.
 

Last night's game session was much shorter than anticipated because the players were rolling hot and the DM's dice betrayed him at every turn. Therefore, we chewed through the opponents he'd set in our way at top speed. Not that that's a bad thing.

Johnathan
 


It's been a long time since we've been able to play, but our move is (hopefully) just about over. I am hoping that we'll be able to have a session next weekend, but we are at a point where I have to do some prep work, so it could very easily be another week after that.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Last session our 5 7th level adventurers were trying to leave White Plume Mountain with their stack of artifact weapons when FOUR Efreeti attacked!

We're in tight corridors, so no room to maneuver. The Efreeti are lined up well for a lightening bolt, but alas allies are blocking the path! Two Efreeti cast Wall of Fire at us, hemming us in and forcing damage from both walls on all of us every round! Panic sets in as the Walls of Fire are sure to kill us before we can kill the Efreeti.

In desperation, our wizard hits the Efreeti with a Hypnotic Pattern. It works as the two Efreeti who had cast the Walls of Fire are each hypnotized (one fails their save thanks to the divination wizard using one of his portents to cause the failure)! The hypnotism causes the Efreeti to become incapacitated, and incapacitation breaks concentration! Hurray, we have a chance!

But swiftly other Efreeti break the hypnotism. So we're still facing four Efreeti even though two have already used their biggest spells. We still could be doomed as this battle is clearly above our pay grade and we've all already taken damage. But one Efreeti does go down to damage (another is completely fresh though, and has reduced himself for some reason).

Next session we'll see if our adventurers can survive. It's going to take some luck and skill.
 

THEMNGMNT

Adventurer
Heavily modified version of Dragon of Icespire Keep. 12th session. Five player characters at 4th level.

This is a group of players who are new to me and new to the game. They're all working film and television writers. I have a hard time getting a read on one of them in particular. She plays an elf beastmaster ranger. She seems to veer between a watcher who plays pretty passively, and a highly engaged storyteller. I'm not quite sure why that is. Maybe she gets bored? Anyway, in this session, the storyteller came out. It was awesome.

The characters were in Axeholm, an abandoned dwarven stronghold occupied by orcs. The half-orc vengeance paladin was pretending that the other characters were his prisoner and that he was seeking an alliance with the orcs. The orcs were seeking a magical spear in the dragon's hoard. With it, they would be able to rally numerous orc tribes to wipe Phandalin off the map. The half-orc said he would travel to Icespire Keep and return with the spear as a way of proving his loyalty to the orcs. The orc warchief decided that he would be joined by an orc champion and two orogs, all riding worgs. Did I mention that the warchief is the half-orc's father, and the two champions are his half-brothers?

The players decided they would ambush the orcs as they made camp for the night. Meanwhile, the player of the ranger was trailing the other characters from a distance. She asked me if she could summon some ranger allies. Of course, I said. How do you do it? We discussed options and agreed that the rangers of the region had a network of stones they used to leave each other coded messages, as well as predetermined meeting points and ambush locations. So the characters led the orcs to one of those ambush locations -- a shallow cave that had a secret passage into the back that the ranger could use to flank the orcs.

I told the ranger that she was joined by another ranger in the conclave who had spotted the coded message left on the stone. Who was this other ranger? What was their relationship? She decided that the other ranger was a drow and former rival who now owed her a debt. With that in mind, I decided the drow was a beastmaster mounted on a giant spider and wielding a magical bow.

During the fight with the orcs and worgs, the drow ranger's giant spider was slain. The ranger player character was controlling the drow during combat...and when the drow's turn came up next she decided that the drow would attack her, seeing her responsible for the death of the spider companion. Then, she had her ranger parlay with the drow to de-escalate the fight, and asked the other player characters to heal the dying spider. At the end, ashamed of her behavior and seeking to make things right, the drow ranger loaned her Oathbow to the player character's ranger to slay the Dragon of Icespire Peak.

(I'm intentionally giving the characters magic items that are too powerful for their level to give them a taste of what makes D&D so awesome.)

Not only was the collaboration with this player a ton of fun but it solved a major problem. I've been using each quest to spotlight a different player character, explore their backstory, and reward them with a cool magic item. Unfortunately, we've not yet gotten to the ranger's spotlight quest, and may never do so based upon the choices the players are now making. I was feeling bad for the ranger's player and struggling to figure out how to give her more spotlight time. Tonight, she figured it out for me.

I love it when my players surprise me.
 

FXR

Explorer
Actually quite good.

Having saved from the clutches of the Yuan-Ti a merchant's adopted daughter, a former soldier from one PC's army and a wild elf, the PCs stole back their horses which were in the village next to the Yuan-Ti compound and startey their journey back to Karaal, the city of sages, to get their payment for rescuing the merchant's daughter.

When they stopped for the night about midway, they were woke up by the sound of thunder. The wild elf and the PC rogue/ranger immediately saw the problem: the lighting lit the dry grass of the savannah on fire and the blaze was sweeping toward the PCs!

The PCs, saved one who dislike horses, ran toward their horses and galloped toward the nearest river. The fire was spreading unaturally fast. Two PCs fell from their horses while jumping from a small cliff. Three PCs were engulfed in the blaze, but managed to reach the safety of the river. In the flames, they saw snake-like figures.

At Karaal, one PC noticed a disturbing sight: the sage who had given him information had been hanged. They proceeded cautiously toward the merchant's villa. The whole building had been burned and pillaged. A wounded servant told them the merchant had been killed two days ago by another of his servant, with a dagger, which the PCs recognised as typical of the Yuan-Ti. Save for the rogue, no PC had the guts to ask for its payment, considering the merchant had already given them a very generous advance.

When they exited the village, the PCs were accosted by a street urchin who showed them a similar dagger. The urchin explained he had been paid to show it to the PCs and tell them that each of them would receive such a dagger. It was a clear warning about meddling with the Snake People.

The wild elf had offered them to guide them to the Cradle of Humanity, the most populous regious, by elf paths. It would permit the PCs to avoid encounters with the Iron Hounds slavers who controlled a part of the main road to the Cradle of Humanity. The PC gladly accepted.

One night, when the group was camping in elven ruins. A sinister grey-face elf came to them. The ranger/rogue PC had already saw him several months ago in a caravanserail in the Ruthless Desert, trying to assassinate another elf. The grey elf explains he wished no confrontation with the PCs, explaining he had come for the wild elf. The party banded together with their elven friend. The sinister grey elf departed. but came back later in the night with several ghost-like fey hounds.

The party killed the sinister elf, but the wild elf had been seriously wounded. The paladin NPC explained that the problem lay not with the body but the soul. The wild elf asked them to bing her to a glade about two days from their camp. The PCs did, but one by one, became lost in the forest until only the wild elf, the ranger/rogue and the minotaur barbarian remained. Surrounded by crows, a young girl with monstrous traits welcomed them and accepted to save the wild elf, but explained one PC had to pay a terrible price: he would have to renounce to what is due to him. The ranger/rogue accepted. The elf's dying soul was fused to his own, which caused him great pain. When he woke up, his hands were clutching the elven cloak and he fell different, having became something like the first half-elf from the Savage Wilderlands (my homebrew world).
 

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
We took a stab at roll20. After some technical difficulties to start with, it ran pretty smoothly.

The actual game part of the session was a boat chase across the Sea of Fallen Stars. From Suzail to the Pirate Isles. It culminated in a clash that sunk both ships and the pc’s getting marooned on an island with the vampire they are chasing...

The kicker is, one of the characters has a prophesy/omen on their name, and in the language of her people, her name means The Sinker. This was her first ever trip on the seas, and already she sunk two ships. I wonder if the prophesy has yet been fulfilled... 😂
 

atanakar

Hero
Very short. Two of the players couldn't log in the Skype game until 8h30 and we stopped at 10h15. I'm used to 4 hours. We put the game on hiatus until September when people are less busy Friday nights. Maybe we can meet face to face.
 


Nebulous

Legend
We took a stab at roll20. After some technical difficulties to start with, it ran pretty smoothly.
I resisted Roll20 a long, long time, but I've come to really like it. I spent so much time on it during quarantine I have been giving technical advice to my guys who have used it the past 5 years.
 



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