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General How Was Your Last Session?


It was one of those sessions I've heard about but not sure I've ever experienced. No dice were rolled, but it was superb.

In the previous session, the 16th level PCs destroyed Manshoon. The tiefling shadow sorcerer took his place as head of the Zhentarim. And the halfling bard -- secretly possessed by his nemesis who is in thrall to an archdevil -- became both Open Lord of Waterdeep AND a Masked Lord, too. Yeah, it's complicated.

Before Manshoon died, he used the Blackstaff to activate the Walking Statues of Waterdeep. Rather than slog our way through that battle, I used a 13th Age style montage. I asked one player to narrate the trouble caused by a given statue, and a second player to narrate how the statue was defeated. We spent an hour doing that. It was great fun. The players really enjoyed the freedom and the power. At least a quarter of the city was wrecked. I took notes on exactly how and where each statue was destroyed in case it becomes relevant for the next campaign.

After that, we fast forwarded to one week later. The PCs had gathered at a tavern. They spent two hours IRL discussing and debating what it meant for the group and their goals that two of them now had enormous power. The group is in tremendous conflict -- in a good way. The sorcerer is now opposed to the paladin. The paladin is now allied with the bard (having been duped about his infernal intentions). And the rogue has a foot in both camps as he tries to figure out the true motives of everyone involved.

I've always been reluctant to allow PvP conflict, but we're all adults, everyone understands the difference between player and character, and it's creating a level of emotional depth that the players are loving. It's a good sign when the characters are at each other's throats but the players are laughing hysterically.
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You know, sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself over here.

Anyway, here's a recap of the last session for my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup. PCs are 3rd level. Half-orc fighter, half-elf wizard, and halfling rogue. We played for a couple hours.

In the previous session, the PCs attacked the lair of a group of spidery chitines led by a choldrith. Now, searching for treasure, they found some coin, two packets of a magical dust, and what appear to be blueprints for a noble estate somewhere in Waterdeep. Likely the target of a heist by the choldrith's drow masters.

The lair was an abandoned clock tower in North Ward. The fight had drawn the attention of the city watch. The PCs rappelled down the outside of the tower. Then the rogue distracted the watchman (actually, a young woman who has now drawn his romantic attention) while the other PCs snuck away.

The PCs returned to the Yawning Portal. Durnan drew them a drink and regaled them with some tales of his time in Undermountain. Then everyone retired to their rooms for a rest.

In the morning, the halfling went shopping for new gear.

The half-orc spoke with an NPC--an old man he had rescued from a prison cell in a previous adventure. The old man was the former manservant to the nefarious Lord Margaster. He revealed that Margaster is the stepfather of the half-orc. After the half-orc was born, Margaster ordered his manservant to cast the babe into the sea. But the manservant placed the child with a commoner family. Furthermore, Margaster wields the power of Siamorphe, a divine power that embodies the right of the nobles to rule. His aim is to depose the Lords of Waterdeep and become the city's tyrant.

Meanwhile, the half-elf discovered that the blueprints they recovered from the choldrith are for Margaster's estate. A clue on the blueprints indicated the drow are planning their heist for an upcoming holy holiday of Siamorphe, when Margaster is planning a big bash.

Suspecting that Margaster might possess several cards from the Deck of Many Things, the PCs decide to burgle his estate during the festivities.

Next session: The Xanathar strikes back!


40th lv DM
Two of the last three sessions saw the party (well, 3 of the players anyways as the other two couldn't make it the 1st two nights) perform the most ludicrous 1/2arsed infiltration of the Casalalanter (sp?) villa from DragonHeist you could imagine.
Session 1 & 3: The infiltrators were the Ex-Paladin, a Wizard (a very recent addition to the party) & a temporary character for player #3.
Total elapsed in-game time from start of bad plan infiltration plan to it all ending poorly (the Wizard fled invisibly & the temp character was dead/at 0HP) & the ex-pally being arrested by the city guard/watch? 3 minutes/12 seconds.
Fortunately, when the two players who had to miss were able to return their characters were able to afford a damned good lawyer & got the ex-pallies sentence commuted.
They then headed south to my worlds version of Candle Keep to do some research concerning a few locations they intend to visit.

The 2nd session was filler material based upon events the PCs had set in motion before they headed to the villa.
Two reasons: 1) we really couldn't do much/get too far ahead of the absent players, 2) The ex-paladins player was being a dick again* & had tried his best to derail things by palming off the adventure hooks for much of Dragon Heist to the city guard/watch. This is an annoying pattern with him. He wants to 1/2ass adventures, get NPCs to do the heavy lifting/actually finish them, & for some reason gets upset when he thinks he's short xp/loot (this would solve itself if he'd go adventure...)
So in the second session I simply handed out the stat sheets for several squads of guards. Each squad was sent to investigate a different location where the PCs had determined there was a Niblewright (sp?).

Squad #1 was sent to the docks to investigate the Eyecatcher & related boats, Squad #2 to the temple, squad #3 walked in on a gang war/fight over the Galorr stone, squad #4 found themselves pitted against several of Manshoons forces in an old tower, & squad #5 arrived at the Cassalilantor villa - just as the trees in the garden exploded in a fireball (the start of the really bad infiltration plan)
Each guard squad gained XP. No PC gained anything. when the ex-pally player complained it was pointed out that he'd opted to play the role of Quest-Giver on this one, not go do the job himself.

The really interesting part came the day after the 3rd session. The x-pally player was bitching in our group chat about his lack of xp/loot, & got himself roundly criticized by several players for constantly hindering adventuring. That if he wants xp/loot then he'd better adventure..... To wich he tried to hide behind the good old standby of "But it's what my character would do." This got him mocked but good & pretty much given the ultimatum of "Then choose to have him do something different, or you'll need a different character".

* I know what this is largely about.
He's pissy & being passive aggressive because whatever the edition, I'm a 1e DM who WILL strip Paladins/clerics/etc of their divinely granted gifts when they violate their oaths/alignments & turn away from their gods. And he's known this about me for years. And yet chose to test it & see if I really would do it.
The answer is: Yes, yes I will.
You do not get to say your a LG Paladin of the God of Justice - and then proceed to not play LG, not uphold justice, actively & intentionally cause injustice, and then to top it off, when called to task for your misdeeds, declare that you do not answer to the God of Justice.
That God of Justice? He will not allow you to continue to sully his name & abuse the powers he's granted you.
A quick atonement spell or such will not fix this.
Consider your resignation tendered & accepted, welcome to being a fighter. Without a sub-class. Justice has been served.


The Avernus Crew have finally returned to Elturel, using illusions and guile to bypass the camps and battles below and climb the chains that drag it toward the Styx. They slipped back into High Hall by way of the secret passage from the cemetery to the crypts and have joined with Ravenguard to begin their final plan: use the Sword of Zariel(1) to first free the imprisoned being in the Companion (2) as a distraction while breaking the chains and freeing the city. The moment they reveal the sword, though, they will have all factions bearing down on them: The Hidden Lord (3), Zariel herself and the demons insurgents looking for any advantage. But first they need a tool to get up to the Companion and it just so happens that there is a Carpet of Flying to be found in the city, locked away in the trapped vault of a mad artificer.

1: In my version of Avernus, the sword was hidden by transforming it into the unicorn Mooncolor and then trapping Mooncolor in the Demon Zapper. They freed Mooncolor and after the unicorn was killed, they carry its horn and have recently been told it's true nature. If they attune to it, transforming it back into the Sword of Zariel, Zariel will know it's location immediately.

2: Just like Mooncolor in the Demon Zapper, the Companon is actually a powerful entity that has been imprisoned as a "battery" for this weapon of Zariel's. Only the Sword can break the orb, but once that is done, the entity within will be VERY nonplussed with Zariel. I am still deciding what exactly the creature is.

3: I used the Shield of the Hidden Lord in place of Lulu as an early guide for the PCs. They have since freed the pit fiend and now there is a civil war on top of the Blood War in Avernus as Zariel and the Hidden Lord vie for dominance.


99th session. 16th level player characters. They've recently liberated Waterdeep from giants in the climax to my modified Storm King's Thunder. The tiefling sorcerer is the new ruler of the Zhentarim. And the halfling bard (who is secretly possessed by an agent of an archdevil) is the new Open Lord of Waterdeep.

This session was built around a public event at Waterdeep Palace. It was one part awards ceremony for the liberating heroes, one part shmoozefest with visiting dignitaries, and one part funeral for the fallen Blackstaff, Vajra Safahr.

The PCs have decided they are going on a quest for a holy relic with the power to resurrect the Blackstaff.

Meanwhile, several dignitaries visited each PC:
  • The Red Wizards of Thay parlayed for peace with the PCs...who they now fear due to their control of Waterdeep and the Zhentarim. In return for peace, they offered to sell the Draconomicon to the PCs. With the Draconomicon, the PCs can uncover the secrets of the Cult of Tiamat and resolve the climactic storyline of the campaign. But the Wizards warned that the Cult of Tiamat had already made a bid.
  • Lady Alustriel of Silverymoon implored the sorcerer to abandon the Zhentarim and join the Covenant, a new league of good wizards meant to replace the Blackstaff.
  • The tiefling's sisters -- three erinyes from the Nine Hells -- brought her the head of Manshoon in a box. A gift from their mother, the archdevil Glasya.
  • The mentor of the vengeance paladin declared his desire to retire and have the paladin replace him as the high priest of Ilmater in Waterdeep.
  • The frost giant Harshnag, a longstanding ally of the PCs, declared his intent to travel to the Eye of the All-Father and become the new high priest of the giants.
The ceremony culminated with the bard, acting as the new Open Lord, addressing the crowd gathered before the Palace. He laid the blame for the sacking of Waterdeep at the feet of his predecessor, Dagult Neverember. He had Dagult brought forth from the dungeon in chains. Then the bard sentenced him to death.

The high priest of Ilmater revealed that Dagult was his son -- and implored the paladin to save him. When the paladin stepped forward, the bard ordered the guards to block his way.

All watched in stunned silence as the headsman's axe dropped.

None of the other players knew of the bard's plans. There was a lot of shock and awe around our virtual table. Offline, the party rogue told me he is now planning to secretly spy on the bard. It's only a matter of time before the rogue discovers that the bard has become the thrall of the archdevil Glasya. Good times!

The following day, the PCs entered the Red Wizards enclave in Waterdeep. There, they stepped through a portal that took them to Thay. Atop a mesa, they traded 250,000gp for the Draconomicon. At that moment, a flight of hundreds of dragons descended from the clouds and attacked Thay in a desperate, last ditch attempt to obtain the Draconomicon.

Next session: The Fall of Thay!
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The Eberron crew traveled to Adderport by way of Aelder's Ferry (purchased from DTRPG and placed in Q'Barra) -- seeing a massive dragon turtle called Qaba rise from the water not far from the boat and sinister, large humanoid figures swimming in its wake (this was foreshadowing for a coming adventure; as an aside, I really ned to grab Exploring Eberron and look into the kanon underwater realm).

My Adderport is a hive of scum and villainy. It was an outpost started by the Dragonmarked houses, primarily Lyrandar, to get a toehold in the region outside of the control of Newthrone and New Galifar. As such, it has attracted plenty of business, not all of it legitimate. For better or worse, it is as much an outpost of the Lhazaar Principalities as anything else at this point.

They came to Adderport to track down a gnome information broker named Yven Whisperwood. Yven had been named by a bandit they had captured at the beginning of the campaign who had been hired by a mysterious 3rd party through Yven to foment conflict between the native lizard folk and the settlers of the PCs' prospecting village. The ferry master warned them to stay out of the docks area of Adderport so the PCs ended up at a place called The Giant's Mandolin featuring a giant mandolin hanging above the door. (Many jokes about it being the Eberron equivalent of a Chili's followed).

The next day the party asked around and found that Yven owned a pawn shop as a front for his primary business: as a fence, informant and go between. The pawn shop was closed, however, and based on potential customers knocking on the locked doors it seemed it wasn't expected to be. Looking around, the party found a smashed basement window and investigated. While a couple of them searched and found that the gnome's ledgers as well as safe had been stole (the whole safe; evidence suggests a warforged) one of the party members was spotted moving around inside the locked shop by an old lady gnome they had inadvertently scared -- and the town guard she had brought back with her.

Chaos (predictably) ensued,. The PC that had been spotted -- a goliath wizard nicknamed "Naked Hagrid" based on his size and manner of dress -- tried to bluff the guard away with predictable results. As the guard used his "knock" wand to open the door, the wizard tried to hold it shut while the party slipped out the back, screamed "Oh my god a bear!" before transforming into a bear and running around to the front and frightening the gnome lady and the guard. Eventually the party escaped, with only Naked Hagrid having been clearly seen by the constable (the elderly gnome lady fainted before seeing him).

The party decided to go to the guard station and get ahead of any trouble. They talked to Sergant Mang, a female half orc former soldier. The soldier and constable PC bonded quickly with her and since they were in Adderport investigating a crime, she gave them leave to continue (so long as they did not run afoul of anymore gnomish biddies). She even let them know which gang was likely responsible based on the evidence of a warforged involved: the Knockers, a very unsubtle group of thugs Yven had hired in the past.

The party is off to kick some Knocker heads and find out what happened to Yven. they don't know whether they had something to do with his disappearance or if they are working for him to retrieve his information and treasure after he went to ground. In either case, they are expecting a fight.

it was a nice session of role-playing, a couple skill challenges, and some silliness. I'm sure they'll make up for the lack of spilled blood next week.


Thieves attacked us while we took a bath, we met a journalist in a library, drank elf wine and ate herring while trawling a bartender for rumors, and hired a small army of hirelings to foolishly assault a wizard-bandit's keep.

All in a night's work when you're Geased by Loki to steal the Sampo (from the guy who stole it)!

We're also 4th level in OD&D (well, LL). This might not end well...
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PCs are 3rd level in my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup. Half-orc fighter, half-elf wizard, and halfling rogue.

In this session, they were summoned to the curio shop of an unsavory mage that the rogue had done business with in the past. The mage is part of the Arcane Brotherhood. He tells them that the wizard will soon be summoned to a meeting by his mentor. There, the mentor will ask them to enter an abandoned scriptorium and recover a magic stone containing a record of every tome that ever passed through the scriptorium. The mage gives them a counterfeit stone to give to the mentor. He wants the real stone for himself. The PCs agree to take the job and haggle until they get their asking price.

Leaving the curio shop, the PCs spot a tail -- a gazer in service to the Xanathar.

Soon, they are summoned by the wizard's mentor, an instructor at Blackstaff Tower. The PCs spill the beans about the double cross planned by the Arcane Brotherhood. The mentor begins work on a counterfeit of the counterfeit to pass off to the unsavory mage. The PCs then travel to the scriptorium.

But this isn't just any scriptorium. It's the place where the wizard's parents once worked. The place where they died. Slain in front of him by a rogue mind flayer in service to the Xanathar. If the wizard can find the magic stone, he might be one step closer to understanding why his parents were killed.

The PCs enter the abandoned scriptorium. Magical lights flicker to life and illuminate the structure. Exploring the musty stacks, the PCs are attacked by a pair of will-o-wisps. The will-o-wisps fall quickly to the wizard's magic missiles...but now he's running perilously low on spell slots.

Next session: Ambushed by the Xanathar Guild!


Rotten DM
NUKE okay don't know why I type that. MILESTONE. Last session was my 250 Adventure League DMing session. I had a family of 3 and my Tuesday regular business owner. Ran a social module where we had fun even when they did not even sniff at the plot hook.


The Avernus crew took a little side trek. They need to get up to the Companion to crack it open as the first action in trying to free Elturel, and to do so they went looking for a magic carpet. One of the PCs is from Elturel and he recalled an eccentric wizard named Weird Gimble that used to fly around the city on his carpet. No one saw the wizard fly away when the city started to get drawn into Avernus, so the party decided to look in Gimble's tower for the carpet.

(NOTE: This was an adventure I thought up as a way to a) have some levity prior to things getting all Deadly Serious, and b) get some real firepower into the PCs hands prior to the Big Showdown.)

The tower was a very ancient one, probably older than the city itself, made by some long lost empire of wizards. The door was arcane locked, but not especially dangerous. When they got in they discovered a rather unusual decorating style (giant dwarf statues) as well as a strange animated rug (not the magic carpet). A little investigation uncovered more animated furniture, all shy and uncertain of the new arrivals. It was all cute until one of the chairs licked the half orc ranger and started smacking its lips: the furniture was not animated, but rather all domesticated mimics. Some PCs made an attempt to befriend or even train the mimics but it wasn't especially successful.

As they continued to explore, one party member called out for Gimble and eventually got an answer. The strange old man threatened them with fireballs to "prove they weren't devils" but sense won through and eventually the PCs were standing before Weird Gimble. It was clear from the start that something was not right and while at first it seemed he was just addled, it turned out Gimble was not Gimble, but a shape-changed Ancient Brass Dragon called Azazel. Gimble had saved Azazel from Tiamat's prison on Avernus and in return bound the dragon to protect his tower while he zipped off through a planar portal. Poor Azazel did not even know he was still in Avernus in the tower, and quite cross with Gimble chose to help the PCs as best he could without breaking his binding oath (to protect the tower until Gimble's return).

Astonished, the PCs still needed to find the carpet so they continued to explore with the polymorphed dragon in tow. The dragon showed them Gimble's planar observatory and portal room but seeing as they don't have a tuning fork for any planes, they could not make use of it. They did open the doors to his private vault, which was trapped with some sort of portal. They used combinations of brute force and magical trickery (as well as sending the poor imp familiar through the portal trap; it returned babbling about "the screaming void") to extract the great treasures from the collection: a scroll of power word kill and one of true resurrection, a crystal ball with true seeing, and The Deck of Many Things. The carpet turned out to be sleeping quietly upstairs and they retrieved that too.

Now they are on the cusp of the final conflict and attempt to get Elturel back into the Realms. If they succeed, they now have any ally (Azazel) and a potential enemy (Gimble, whose vault they plundered) as well as a threat (Azazel told them Tiamat's cults are close to releasing her from Avernus and drawing her into the Realms). And there's the matter of the Deck in their possession. Can they resist drawing from it before facing Zariel? Should they?


100th session in the campaign! It was unexpected, interesting, and humbling. If you've been following my recaps, you'll recall that the tiefling sorcerer now rules the Zhentarim. The halfling bard has become Open Lord of Waterdeep but is secretly under the mental domination of an archdevil. Net result is that both of these characters are sliding into evil. The other characters are increasingly uncomfortable. Distrust is growing. The party is fracturing. It has led to some amazing play.

In this session it emerged that two of the players HATE this. Two other players LOVE this. In other words, the interparty conflict began to spill over into real life. One part of me is fascinated by the differences in player psychology. Another part of me feels awful that some players are genuinely distressed.

When the campaign started, I was very clear that there would be no PvP. But now that we're nearing the climax of the campaign I wanted to dial up the emotional stakes. I wanted to put meaningful moral choices in front of the players that would have genuine consequences. And I was willing to risk conflict within the party because that's a staple of fantasy fiction. BUT. I did this without discussing it with the group and getting buy in from all involved. That was a mistake. And so here we are.

We spent nearly an hour discussing our feelings and agreeing to a way forward. Hopefully some of the damage done has been repaired.

As to the adventure itself...

The PCs were in Thay to purchase the Draconomicon from the Red Wizards. In this campaign, the Draconomicon is a magical tome that records the history of dragonkind in real time. With it in their possession, the PCs could uncover all the secrets of their archfoes, the Cult of Tiamat, and put a stop to their plans once and for all.

However, the Cult of Tiamat sent hundreds of dragons to seize the Draconomicon, destroy Thay, and punish the Red Wizards. As Thay burned all around them, the PCs grabbed the Draconomicon. They raced through a portal leading to the Red Wizards enclave in Waterdeep. There, they battled Abishai that had infiltrated the enclave.

Victorious, they returned to Waterdeep Palace. They attuned to the Draconomicon. At that point I revealed nearly every single secret and plot point remaining in the campaign. If you're familiar with the Scales of War from 4E, it's basically the endgame from that adventure path. Tiamat has nefarious designs on the multiverse and multiple schemes nearing fruition. The players have to decide which to stop first...with no guarantee they can stop them all.

Overall, a satisfying but emotional 100th session.


My session yesterday...

The crew are involved in the search for whatever is disappearing people in the city. They got involved because people started disappearing who were last seen at their circus and now they're suspects, but the truth it it's been happening for a while.

Last night, they went to talk to the sole person to ever be found after disappearing, a man who turned up in the Temple Quarter and attacked people. They met him chained and straightjacketed. When they complained, the guard explained the prisoner doesn't talk or communicate in any way, destroys any bedding or other furniture they supplied, tried to use anything he could get his hands on as a weapon, and when deprived of that, began biting off his own fingers, leading to the binding of his arms. They have to feed him by sliding in a bowl of food for him to eat like a dog, because he won't stop trying to bit anyone who comes close enough to feed him with a spoon.

They examined the man... no magic affecting him. No thoughts to detect. Can't speak with animals. There's no intelligence in his gaze; he has no intentions, only instinct. Whatever made him a man is... gone.

They've concluded the man's soul was taken. This does not bode well for the others who've gone missing.

Meanwhile, they've seen their friend do an unusual thing or two. At some point they will begin to suspect she knows more than she's letting on. But not yet.


My 1st Ed campaign came back from a 6 month COVID induced hiatus for a single session to finish off a lingering arc.

I had spent months seeding and setting up a False Hydra storyline, which culminated in the group confronting the beast and its thralls - the last remnants of the townsfolk and a few adventurers.

Without getting into the nitty gritty specifics of the fight, our heroes (A 7th level human Magic-user, 5th level dwarf fighter, 5th level human ranger, 4/3 half-elf Ranger/Cleric, 3rd level human fighter (NPC), 2 HD orc (NPC), 1st level human thief (NPC)) had an epic fight that they were easily controlling until suddenly the dice said, 'psych! Time to lose!'

It was a bittersweet end to the story as our heroes went down swinging, losing their lives but also leaving the monster with no means of surviving much longer itself, unable to move and with no food.

But the adventure is complete... nothing worse than a lingering scenario...

Two of my 5 usual players had been sitting this arc out, so their characters will continue on, and the others will have new characters when we finally reconvene more regularly.

All in all, a good death for all involved and no one seemed dissatisfied with the conclusion.


Rotten DM
Good. I didn't even get to dm. We were having a labor day kill & grill party. It was suppose to be two tables from the people who RSVP. But the second table did not make. So I got to socialize with guests who were not gaming, and after half left I got to drop in to Volo's Wake as a player. And the last gamers in the house help clean up. But between me and my spouse, we both pick up various of our guests are suffering from physical problems, and lots of depression problems from the lock up.


Thursday night we completed Tomb of Horrors, it ended officially with our party naked and unable to access the deeper parts of the Tomb so officially over. Our DM then graciously allowed us to play on to see the end game of the Tomb since we were very close before we got teleported outside sans equipment and clothing......so....we also got to see Acererak pick his teeth with us, well two of us since the other two were crushed by a trap shortly before that

Then Friday another friend and I joined an already established Saltmarsh campaign. That was really fun, A friend from ToH was running it and I have never played with him as a DM before, he did a great job. The DM from ToH is playing a tabaxi warlock and managed to pull off an epic darkness/devil's sight combo that worked to such great effect. I play a warlock in another campaign and I can never get the right positioning to trigger that without affecting my own party but he had like 8 sahuagin stumbling around attacking with disadvantage while he sliced and diced them, it was really cool. Much fun was had by all


Rotten DM
Interesting. I DMed for one family. The father I knew from the Air Guard and JrROTC from High School. The Daughter was the mover and shaker and the one who wanted to play. The Mom wanted to make daughter happy. Daughter has anxiety issues. Mom has problem of finding words. So there were pauses in the game. And it was a teaching D&D session as much as a newby session. The Daughter does have a nice collection of dice.

I had Session 3 of a new campaign I’m running last night. PF1e based on Shackled City with some extras pulled from other APs.

Until this game spontaneously coalesced via VTT, I had not played an RPG session for almost 5 years, nor had I run a session for almost 15 years.

Last night was the first true “dungeon crawl” session, and I felt SO rusty as a GM. The players are all guys from my HS gaming group, so it was a trip to be rolling dice (virtually) after, in some cases, 20 years since sitting together at the table.

The session ended with a running battle against Darkfolk and Skulks, which the party won after a seriously tough fight..

Everyone had a great time, and I do believe this campaign is going to carry on for a while. Not bad for something that happened after an offhand comment in a FB group:LOL:


I had Session 3 of a new campaign I’m running last night. PF1e based on Shackled City with some extras pulled from other APs.

Until this game spontaneously coalesced via VTT, I had not played an RPG session for almost 5 years, nor had I run a session for almost 15 years.
Congratulations and welcome back!


Nearing the climax of my modified Dragon of Icespire Peak campaign. The player characters reached 5th level at the end of the session. In my version, Phandalin has been infiltrated by a cult of Abbathor, the dwarven god of greed. The dwarves working at the Miner's Exchange are secret cultists that have been thwarting the PCs from behind the scenes.

In this session, the five PCs engaged in a pitched battle with the cultists in a temple beneath the Miner's Exchange. I used the map of the Temple of Asmodeus from Dragon Heist, which led to some nice tactical combat. Most of the foes had high ACs, so there were a lot of misses and some frustration on the part of the players. But they eventually took out eight cultists, a couple of oozes, and the high priest of Abbathor. For the high priest, I used the stat block of a CR4 earth cultist from Princes of the Apocalypse. (I've never run that adventure but I've looted the hell out of it.) Once he went down I had him transform into a CR5 earth elemental. That made for a very satisfying end boss.

Unfortunately, Town Master Harbin Wester wasn't rescued from the sacrificial altar in timely fashion. He was dissolved by a black pudding and now only his bones remain. Hmmm...I wonder who will lead the town now?

Next session: The white dragon arrives in Phandalin and delivers an ultimatum!
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My last session was the first session of a new 5e group (consisting of 1 brand new player and 2 newish players), and my first time DMing over the internet rather than in person.

It went great! We got through 2/3rds of the content I prepared and everyone had a great time. It was my first time running ‘theatre of the mind’ combat, but it remained tactical thanks to a lot of planning of the terrain and how the enemies would behave. Each player had lots of options on their turn and there were some cool moments.

There was a non-combat encounter to cross a gorge that ran through a ruined city they were exploring. There were no enemies around, but as I had decided the goblins they were pursuing had come this way, it had many points of interest such as a locked trap door and a portcullis blocking a bridge that ran across the gorge. Because of this the players spooked themselves and spent much longer sneaking around than I had thought. Maybe a lesson for myself to sign post a bit more when the way is clear of enemies?

At the end of the session they had just been ambushed by Ice Mephits in the north of the ruins, so next session will begin with a combat encounter. They earned 209xp each so will advance to 2nd level after the Mephit fight! :D

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game