D&D General How Was Your Last Session?


Yeah, for me it's also as much about hanging out with my RL friends and letting our kids play together for 4-5 hours every other week and D&D sorta happens for most of those 4-5 hours. Plus there's been other RL stuff for our group that has gotten in the way as well sans pandemic. I've looked into online play but have a hard time justifying ignoring 2 x 7 year old's for gaming when they don't have anyone else to occupy their time while that would be going on.

yeah, some of my players deal with kids too. Their solutions come from several angles: shorter games (2 hours), play after bedtime, so 9pm+, let the kids have a movie or video game for 2 hours, or let mom babysit. Or let the kids watch, which gets loud and the mute button is mashed a bunch, but it happens sometimes.

Again, Roll20 is not perfect, but if you want that DnD "feeling" and chat with friends a bit every week, it certainly works. As DM I have had a blast learning Roll20, although the learning curve was steep at first.

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Please delete this post, it was an accidental dupe and my embarrassing mistake needs to be scrubbed from the internet. ;)
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Session 2 was a cluster-f-bomb.

First, I should introduce the characters:
  • Arco, a Copper (Wood) Elf Ranger with the Urban Bounty Hunter background
  • Gundar, a Mountain Dwarf Paladin with the Soldier background
  • Farrus, a Human Bard with the Entertainer background
  • Wrath, the Half-Orc Barbarian with the Uthgard Tribe background
  • Thervan (or Van, as he prefers), the Moon (High) Elf Wizard with the Criminal background
  • Cleron, the Copper (Wood) Elf Life Cleric of Angharradh (how do you pronounce that?) with the Acolyte background
  • Chali, the Drow (Dark Elf) Rogue with the Criminal background (an NPC)

With Chali having gone ahead with the wagon to Phandalin, the players (with their 1st-level characters) entered the Cragmaw Hideout and proceeded to alert everyone in the caves by splitting the party and going in different directions, waging a battle on two fronts. We had four of the six (not seven of nine—oh, never mind) characters drop to 0 hp through the course of battle, and the other two were quite wounded. Cleron, the Cleric, did all the healing he could, but it couldn't last the entire battle (especially when the paladin decide to "scout" in a different direction and running into six goblins and the goblin boss). Fortunately, Wrath's Relentless Endurance kicked in and the rest of the dying party were saved by by their conscious counterparts. They managed to kill everything, though, and save Sildar—after the he was pushed down a ledge bringing him down to 0 hp (but he stabilized by himself—his death saves were 19, 19, and 17!)

The end of the battle heralded the end of the game session and left three of the PCs and Sildar unconscious, all the goblins, wolves, and the bugbear dead, and the players awaiting the chance to loot the place and level up (I'm using the milestone leveling method for my first time).

Here's to Session 3 and hoping the players have better luck when they get to town. :D
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Here's two short sessions worth of stuff.

The PCs
Ardashir the Bloodthirsty, a human fighter from the City State of the Invincible Overlord and former general of the city-state of Ajjah
Crixorus the Red Leopard, an upper Altanian (red halfling) whose a former gladiator (rogue swashbuckler)
Eorn de Colbach, a human ranger from the Sarnian valleys who know host the soul of a female savage elf (see my last post in the thread)
Kraag of the Triple Chains, a minotaur barbarian

With them are Wassim (warrior sidekick), a loyal hoplite from Ajjah with a gambling problem, and Svana, a Northerner and valkyrie (paladin with the aspect of vengeance) with a short temper.

Two sessions ago

The PCs, their sidekick and their paladin friend arrived to the City State of the Invincible Overlord (I kept the name but it's pretty different). Their next stop would be the elven city of Lormil, where lived the greatest astrologer of the world and whose wisdom was sought by the PCs regarding the mysterious appearance of two stars in the night and the fate of a third star, which had started to scintillate and which they had learned was invisible to elves.

They initially visited Ardashir's mother, who had written to her son that she had been in dire straights but a mysterious benefactor had come to her rescue. Indeed, the relevant PC noticed his family mansion was undergoing much needed renovation. The mother was much happy to see her son and his friends and explain that this mysterious benefactor, Scipio, had the hear of the invincible Overlord. She then introduced them to Scipio who happened to be none other than the Master, the former slave master of Crixorus and Kraag who had escaped his clutches many years ago. How was he alive*? Had they not kill him in the ruins of Jhadda, the city of bandits? Scipio scoffed and explained he was not stupid enough to leave himself vulnerable to the swords of the PCs. Indeed, he had Iron Hounds, the best and most cruel slave-takers in the known world attacked the PCs two years ago, but he needed to make sure the PCs would be tough enough for a futur task, of which he said nothing.

After that, Eorn went into a tavern and met two blue elves, those called Syndics of the North, who explain they were looking for tough mercenaries for a job in their city of Abalonne. Of course, they would be honored if the rest of the party would join in, as they knew their reputation. A meeting was arranged but quickly derailed, as the job included "pacifying" the "savage" Northlanders, the very people of Svana! She stormed out, screaming that they would meet on the battlefield. Ardashir, who always had a big crush on her, followed Svana to her room. She explained that her destiny was to defend her people and win its freedom from the tyrannical rule of the Syndics. The paladin didn't knew if they would meet again. She kissed Ardashir and they made love, after mysteriously saying "I hope she forgives me." Who was she? Ardashir (wrongly) believed she talk about her goddess. The next morning, Svana was gone.

Last session

The PCs traveled to Lormil and found the border deserted. They entered the ancient oak forest but were ambush by grey elves, not unlike the one who had attacked them on their way to the City State. The PCs defeated the elves who fled in the forest and, after an hour or so, were met by Gardian elves. These explained that the elven kingdom was split in two factions: the Gardians and the Renegades, whose skin had turn grey.

The PCs entered the city proper, only to notice that it was in dire state. Everything was crumbling. They were then introduced to the Queen of Lormil, the Mistress of the Stars. She appeared sodden, frail and seem to be dying, just like the other Gardian elves. The Mistress of Stars gave them many answers:

- the two mysterious stars were the eyes of the Oblivion Serpent, a great being from outside time and space who wanted to consume the World - he had been called to this world when a mysterious three-legs urn had been unsealed. Crixorus didn't share he was the one who unwillingly was responsible for that catastrophic event ;

- the other star is not a star proper but an anchor that was set when the elves were created and which assured their immortality. Since the star had started to scintillate, elves were no longer instantly reincarnating - their death was final.

For once, Crixorus felt very solemn. He knew he had a big part in this and wanted to settle things.

The elven queen explained that further information was in a book called The Treaty on Things of the East, which was in a library, unfortunately located in the section of the city under the control of the Renegades. The Gardians would launch an attack, which, it was hoped, would distract the Renegades and let the PC enter the library.

While the elves attacked the other elves, the PC stealthfully navigated the city and avoided the grey elves. They entered the library, only to notice it seem abandoned for many years - which was quite unlikely. They were confronted by their hidden doubts and fears which had taken form:

- Eorn saw himself as staggering from one place to another, finding comfort nowhere, before finally falling to the ground and dying ;

- Crixorus saw himself buried in a rough burlap sack, the grave diggers having kept the money he had set aside for his funeral because no one would miss him and he had no friends ;

- Kraag saw himself as the executioner of Lucius, another minotaur who was deeply in love with him and that he had left behind when the PCs fled Ajjah ;

- Ardashir heard many voices, like those of soldiers, asking him what would he do about the queen (of Ajjah) and how could he forget his oath to her.

The ghost of the librarian confronted the PCs, but they were able to convince her of the quality of their intentions and quickly found the book. The dust in the library had been only an illusion.

When the PCs left the library, they noticed the many corpses of elves littering the streets of Lormil, which was quickly becoming a ruins. Distant sounds of battles were heard but they could see nothing. The PCs left with the ancient elvish tome.

PCs are now 10th level!

* Death is final in my homebrew world.


Trust the Fungus
Still struggling with adapting to the system changeover, and tonight got off to a slow, awful start-- but the game is back on track and should be fun again next week.

Short session with my 4th level group playing a modified version of Dragon of Icespire Peak.

On their way back to Phandalin, they stopped by the windmill at Umbrage Hill, where the mentor of the druid player character lives. There, they found the windmill in ruins and Adabra Gwynn, the mentor, frozen to death. However, there was one survivor: an NPC female dwarf warrior the PCs had rescued from orcs in their very first adventure. In their most recent adventure, they also rescued the dwarf's uncle. So the two rescued dwarves had a tearful reunion. The female dwarf said that Adabra was slain by the titular white dragon of Icespire Peak. And that the dragon had a rider. And that the rider looked just like the druid. A while back, the druid had discovered that she has a evil twin...and now it's clear where the evil twin is and what's she up to.

Eventually, the PCs finally arrived at Phandalin and the middle of a crisis: The townmaster, Harbin Wester, was being held captive in city hall by a gang of doppelgangers posing as the PCs.

On that cliffhanger, we ended the session.
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41st lv DM
The previous session? Pretty good.
This past session? Most of it was a waste of time (game wise).

See, this group waffles back & forth. One week they'll be doing things, getting things done, making for fun sessions.... The next? They'll drop into this really frustrating mode of arguing any given plan to death for several real time hours.

So the idiots/heroes have interrupted the Storm Giant performance in SKT. Through some entertaining RP they convinced the assembled giant lords not to squish them. At least not yet. And they pretty well sold the Fire Giants out & we can count that plot as being foiled (now that Lymrith {sp?}, the disguised blue dragon, knows what they're up to & where she'll soon take care of the rest).
Speaking of our favorite disguised dragon.... She comes to speak with them in the "guest room" where they've been instructed to stay while the giants debate their fate. She tells them that the votes not looking good, but that she can help them escape - if they do her a favor. She's learned that a group of Frost Giants is sailing south to Chult in search of the Ring of Winter. Divanatians have revealed that if the Frosties are delayed by even 1 day their odds of success plummet drastically. Agree & her Cloud Giant ally Zepheros will transport them to with striking range of the longship. Decline & await the verdict of the remaining giant lords.
PCs agree.
And so they are deposited amongst the floating wreckage of the Frost Giants latest victims. Right in the path of a passing merchant ship wich rescues them from the sea.

We've got about 2.5 hours left at this point & based upon what I've written in my notes this should be a fairly easy/straightforward encounter. Especially given that the party has everything they need to accomplish it. Plus some more options with the boat they're on. After that it's sail into Waterdeep & be celebrated as heroes.
For the next two hours they came up with & argued to death multiple insane plans, almost none involving options they have at hand. They couldn't even decide wether or not to just say "F*it, sail us to Waterdeep" (where the rescue boat was heading anyways) & blow off the Frost Giant xp.
As the sessions breaking up? One of the players says "You know, we never did ask the Capt. of the ship HIS opinion."


The Avernus group, having started a civil war between Zariel and The Hidden Lord, first tried to stock up on supplies at a watchtower along the Styx and found only a lonely incubus waiting for the rest of the devils to return. He made googly eyes at one PC (aka tried to charm the half orc) but ultimately sold them a couple soul coins -- the souls inside were very sad stories and not the evil folk the PCs were used to slotting into their infernal machines -- and let them go on their merry way.

The PCs ended up heading to the Demon Zapper. That turned out to be a fun little fight, especially when the warlock's imp familiar got atomized when it came within range.

Next stop: The Crypt of the Hellknights!

The 15th level players characters continued their fight against Manshoon and his army of hivemind clones. Having teleported inside Blackstaff Tower, they have two goals: 1) Rescue Vajra Safahr from captivity 2) Destroy Manshoon before he can attune to the Blackstaff and control its power.

Ascending the tower, the characters enter a study and confront three shadar-kai, which they easily dispatch. They've previously encountered shadar-kai mercenaries in the employ of the Zhentarim -- these are just more of the same. There are two doors in the study...and the characters quickly ascertain that Vajra is through one door -- and Manshoon is through the other. The tactically sound thing would be for all the characters to go through the same door...but at this point the players choose to roleplay their differences in motivation. In reward, I freely handed out inspiration.

The tiefling shadow sorcerer and the human life cleric (an NPC ally that one player took control of for this session) bust into Vajra's chambers. But the three shadar-kai torturers are ready -- the first thing they do is cut Vajra's throat. The life cleric heals Vajra, and the sorcerer polymorphs her into a giant ape. In the battle that follows, the lead shadar-kai is grievously wounded and flees. But the remaining shadar-kai drop the life cleric and target him until he is dead.

In the other room are two Manshoon clones and a frail, ancient man who looks like his lifespan has been unnaturally extended. This is the true Manshoon. And he has the Blackstaff in his clutches. The air around the staff is distorted as Manshoon tries to bend the staff to his will. The aasimar vengeance paladin bypasses the clones to strike directly at Manshoon. As his weapon hits (for what would have been 150hp of damage!) he suddenly vanishes. The human beastmaster ranger also attacks the true Manshoon...and also vanishes. The halfling bard, seemingly not getting the hint, attacks the true Manshoon with his staff of thunder and lightning. And he vanishes, too.

The vanished characters find themselves teleported across Waterdeep, each one appearing at the feet of a different Walking Statue. Suddenly, the Statues come to life. They begin to flatten the surrounding buildings, wreaking havoc across Waterdeep. Rather than stay and fight, each character moves as quickly as they can to Blackstaff Tower.

Meanwhile, the sorcerer is the only character left standing in the tower. Which is exactly as Manshoon planned. See, he is the sorcerer's biological father. His plan is to transfer his consciousness into the Blackstaff, then have the sorcerer destroy his physical body. With that done, the good guys will think the threat is gone. In truth, through the sorcerer he will secretly control both the Zhentarim and Blackstaff Tower.

As the sorcerer approaches the true Manshoon for their final reckoning, we ended the session.

It was tons of fun.

At least for me.



Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Last session was ... the players asking to be railroaded. Campaign was explicit in session zero that there will be more hooks out there than can followed up on, and part of that is that not all challenges will equally as dangerous.

Anyway, in this session they arrived in the frontier, had a whole bunch of potential things offered as well as following up on leads from an assassination attempt on them made earlier. But they basically asked an authority figure "what's the biggest threat to the Imperium around, and are bee-lining towards it. No through that the biggest threat might be an actual threat bigger than they can handle.

Veteran players, but most of them haven't played with me as DM before and this is only the 2nd session, little time to train them that just because something is there means it's a fair fight to try to take on.

So basically they want to be fed a plot, and the criteria that they asked for will put them on course for things I had signaled was one of the biggest dangers around, laying groundwork for later levels.

That doesn't mean they can't go do it - just that for parts of it if they try to turn it into combat they will find retreat is likely the best choice. Willfully - I need to show them that not everything is level specific in my world otherwise that will never impact their choices of where to go.

Anyway, there's side-quests on the way, so I hope to level them up some before they get there. Not to the levels they need, but enough to survive.

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