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D&D General How Was Your Last Session?

25th session of my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup. Half-elf wizard, half-orc fighter, halfling rogue. They started the session by leveling up to 6. The cavalier fighter took the Heavy Armor Master feat and has 70hp. He is getting pretty damn tanky. I keep forgetting what a big jump in power PCs experience in Tier 2.

This was a transitional episode. In the previous session, the players defeated one of the three factions attempting to gather the cards of the Deck of Many Things. In this session, they looted the faction's castle and returned to Waterdeep. But first, the cavalier fighter tamed a griffon mount, which will be a perk he can use as appropriate in future sessions. The PCs also regrouped on a ship with a captive they had previously rescued from pirates -- Avaedra Wavesilver, the heir to a noble merchant family in Waterdeep. Eager to show her thanks, she offered her estate as a place to stash a gaggle of NPCs that the PCs have been accumulating.

Anyway, the faction they defeated has an estate in Waterdeep. There they are holding the fighter's estranged mother captive. The PCs infiltrated the estate only to discover that the remaining occupants were all dead and the mother missing. We had to knock off early, but...

Next session: The dead walk!
 
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cmad1977

Hero
Shemshimes bedtime rhyme:
The battlemaster(and some NPCs) are charmed and out for blood!

Battlemaster held by cleric with Hold Person! Great! Battlemaster fails save after save! GREAT!
Cleric stops concentrating on hold person…. wh…whaaat?
Battlemaster runs rampant and the party scatters in terror. Night ends with Battlemaster near death, cleric and rogue badly wounded and the wizard low on magic when Magic(a campaign specific NPC who replaced gailby in our campaign) emerged from a nearby room with the book in her hand, one of its corners drenched in blood.

“I think I did something bad to the old man….”
 

Since our current campaign is on Haitus at the moment, my one other bud decided to start a game up with me and a first time new player. The "last session" (the week before last week) I think went fine despite the DM's old school mind set probably turning the one player off a bit but not fully. Unfortunately, last week, I was the only one that showed up. The other two players aren't probably interested while I'm giving the new player to DND the benefit of that doubt that his work schedule made it difficult to show up.

I have decided though, in case this particular campaign doesn't continue due to no shows, to purchase Beowulf: Age of Heroes so I can DM a campaign or a few one shots for my bud. He's a big Viking at heart and never heard of Beowulf: Age of Heroes until I told him about it last week so I think he'd enjoy it and it'll help me get practice as a DM.

I may fudge a few things or allow some things that normally aren't selectable in Beowulf: Age of Heroes to play up more the Mythical Hero aspect of it all, like ONLY allowing him to be a Human OR Half-Elf.
 
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Richards

Legend
In our last Wednesday night campaign (where I'm a player and my grown son DMs), we were inexplicably shunted over to the Far Plane when trying to plane shift from Dwarven Hell (where we'd freed a lich during our previous session, back in January) and had to make it through the rigors of that very confusing place before ending up on a spelljamming ship headed where we want to go - but with time-frozen warriors from half a world away about to invade our allies. What with time being all quirky on the Far Realm, the war we thought was still weeks away is apparently happening right now!

In our Saturday campaign (which I DM), the PCs were woken in the middle of the night to deal with somebody breaking into a family mausoleum in the dead of night. They fought a necromancer (who they were pretty sure at first might be a vampire - nope, just a pasty-skinned human who doesn't see much sunlight) and various forms of undead they hadn't encountered before. Two of them in particular squicked the players all out immensely: the eight-year-old "slaymate," Eva Scarsdale, who just wanted to play with the PCs (and whose arms were covered in dried blood), and the boneless the necromancer freed from a water-filled urn. That boneless creeped them out so much it was a race to kill it-kill it-KILL IT before they could even see what it was capable of - they had no desire to learn anything about it but just wanted to know when it stopped moving. But the dwarven cleric got a new warhammer and the elven sorcerer a figurine of wondrous power (jade cooshee) that are intended as their "signature items" that will grow in power with them over the course of the campaign.

Johnathan
 

darjr

I crit!
I used NewbieDM's splash screen idea. It was a modified version of the Strahd cover. A player in the game, a reborn who was killed viciously by Strahd, audibly blanched. He kept asking "Are we meeting Strahd today?!?" and when he did it was way cool. Strahd promised him his vengeance if he would only do one little thing for him. I didn't tell the player that Strahd didn't recognize him and had NO IDEA what his vengeance was for. It should prove interesting when they meet up again.
 

The climax to my Marvel Heroic Roleplaying mini-campaign. Hulk, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Punisher, Wolverine. This was the eighth session. The heroes confronted Kingpin in the abandoned juvenile facility where his criminal career started. Kingpin apparently had masterminded the breakout at the Raft.

However, the Hulk deduced that the Kingpin (as well as several other villains during this event) was under the mind control of the Leader. That's a plot thread to be explored later.

For the fight with the Kingpin, I used the large scale threat die, so he was effectively as challenging as a whole team of villains. It worked well. He took out Ant-Man and the Punisher before he was defeated. The only reason Wolverine endured was due to his mutant healing factor. When the Kingpin fell, HAMMER arrived on the scene. The heroes fled, leaving HAMMER to arrest and imprison the Kingpin.

In the epilogue, the Punisher received a note from Wilson Fisk granting him control of the Kingpin's criminal empire. Fisk needs someone to fight off the rival gangs that will inevitably attempt to seize control of the underworld in his absence. So, when and if we get to it, that will be the plot of the next event...

The Punisher, Kingpin of Crime!
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I knew it was going to be a good session when the players arrived as a group, having met 30 minutes early at one player's house to discuss their in-game plans before coming over.

The first part of the session was tying up loose ends in the village. Now that they have broken the cult's back in the village, they were doing the research and interrogation necessary to find the swamp lair of the LOAF cult, while going around and dealing with any cult converts left among the villagers. They rousted the people running the village store rather easily and deceived the smiths into giving themselves up by pretending to be part of the cult. Other cultists had clearly left town. They also found out some info that might help them deal with one of cult leader's (Explicita Defilus) many allies and minions. Eventually, they got one of their prisoners (Jason the one son of the village store owners who was not dominated, but just thought getting to beat people up was cool) to try to help them (and Sister Ottie) find the swamp lair. When they caught him he was fighting with his cultist brothers about going out there to find it and warn Explicita and the others about the PCs and report what had happened in town. But while he had been there and back once before, he didn't really know the way and was guessing. This led to a long journey through the swamp, getting lost, back-tracking, etc - but were eventually able to find the general area of the swamp lair's entrance with the ranger and druid doing their best to use their woodcraft and nature abilities to supplement Jason's incomplete knowledge. The gnome having a conversation with a local otter also helped them find their way. However, it took two full travel days instead of the one day and a little bit they were told it should take.

Oh and on the way they were attacked by a pair of grell that they named "BeakedBrainopuses!"

Using his wildform to turn into a panther the party druid scoped out the ruined foundation of some old structure where they had spotted sign of a fire. It was nestled into a cul de sac in a horseshoe shaped hillock that gave vantage of the entrance area. No one was there. It looked like the foliage had been cleared for 50 yards approaching the place, so getting their unspotted felt difficult. So he went back and they waited until just before dawn and went back and the gnome went ahead using his cloak of elvenkind - and still spotted no one, so the party risked racing across the clearing.

Unknown to them - and luckily - they had chosen the short period of time between when the undead guarded the approach to the area and when living guards took over at dawn. We left off the session with going down the trapdoor they found in the ruined foundation. They could hear the voices of men below.

We called it there. But I did inform them that the last time I ran this adventure (using 2E rules) six PCs had entered and only two emerged and one player lost TWO characters in there.

Oh and afterwards, we had everyone's SOs and family over and we had a cookout on the patio. It was quite lovely.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
System: PF1e
The characters:
All 5th lv.
Jack - Human male, an ex-pirate, Rogue.3/Monk.2
Bree - 1/2ling FM, self-described awesome adventurer, Summoner.4/Druid.1
Heeb - Male Assimar, Heal Bot incarnate, Priest of Cayden Caylen, Cleric.5
{??? can't remember name as I type this} - FM Elf, Arcanist.5 (water based? Is that a thing?)

So our negotiations with the Water Naga has seen us agreeing to exterminate/drive off a small school(??) of Sahuagin that've taken up lairing in her territory....

This session was pretty much just a slow series of underwater combats. We've burned about 1/2 our resources & as the session ended were facing another 4 of the things. And though we took out a tougher one with a fancy trident & some armor, we haven't seen any actual "leader" types yet. You know, the nastier ones with extra arms.
I'm thinking we make a fighting withdrawal now before we do find one of those & then wipe them out a few at a time in a series of daily raids.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I just want to say that while I often found myself doing this when I maintained a story hour (which you should check out if you like my sessions reports - they are a much more detailed and developed version covering 104 sessions over 5 years' time), I was overjoyed to realize I could go back to my posts in this thread to confirm the order of past events as I was prepping future events. "How was your last session?" becomes tool for campaign continuity in itself! :unsure::D
 

This one was a little awkward, because we lost one of our players since the last session. I had this entire scenario figured out, where they found his dead body in a ditch, but instead, people hardly looked and the wagon train just moved on. Lol!

We ended earlier than planned, because the game took an unexpected twist. The "No Room at the Inn" random event landed at the same exact time as Tiamat's Festival of Vengeance -- when we are in a wagon train full of cultists! Due to poor dice rolls combined with player reactions, some of the cultists broke the windows in at the inn overnight, and then slit the throats of the customers who had rented the entire thing out. When the innkeeper came out in the morning, demanding that the train remain in place until the local constable came in, everybody grumbled and stayed put . . . until nightfall, when all 5 cultist wagons took off. (Undetected, because of poor dice, once again.)

Now, along with having to wait until the constable shows up in a day or so, the players have to decide whether they are going to ditch their guard contracts to follow the cultists (the true mission), go with them until the nearest town (where new guards can be hired), or just continue on to Waterdeep and hope they can pick up the trail again. (One of them IS green.)

I am going to have to prepare for all three possibilities before next time. A big change from reaching Daggerford today and then making it to Waterdeep (and finally being done with this stretch of caravan) next session, like I had originally planned.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
We ended up rebooting my sandbox hexcrawl into what I suspect will be more of a pure sandbox campaign with less emphasis on the hexcrawl. See the WWN thread for background on what happened.

We spent a couple of hours going over the setting. I tried to keep it brief, but my players kept asking questions about various things. They’d point to spots on the map and wonder what those were. The original premise of the campaign is that they were members of a generational expedition sent to explore an unexplored land. After setting generation for WWN, the land was much more settled, and the original premise was mostly gone. I’d tried to keep it tied to the previous incarnation by having them be explorers based out of the same city.

One of the things that interested the players is the capital (Donarhus) of the region where they are (Adal-Sinths). What had happened in the past is Adal-Sinths had accidentally created a gate, and Outsiders poured forth. The land was destroyed, turned into a swampy arratu, and one of the neighboring nations (Warin-Graf) got involved in what would become the Ten Generation War. That war is wrapping up now, and the PCs were expected to be based out of one of the frontier outposts established to keep an eye on Dyrstelice in case they decide to cross the Fin River north now that someone else has done the hard work of pacifying the threat there.

One of my players was interested in Dyrstelice because they’d come under control of the Caretaker, which I likened to a god-king because it had supplanted the old religion with a new one with itself as the focus. From a setting perspective, it appeared that a forbidden god had taken control, though (and this is not known to the players) it is actually an AI from the era before the world fell to the Outsiders. Anyway, one of the players was interested in liberating people from the Caretaker, but everyone saw Donarhus and was like: we want to loot that.

It was funny because they were trying to come up with a group aspiration, but they didn’t want to say it. They were all: well, let’s make it about getting lots of treasure. I was like: you’re really excited about looting the fallen capital, so let’s just make it that instead of something vague. If they accomplish their aspiration, they can pick a new one, or we can make new characters. One of the cool things about WWN is its setting creation tools built me a setting out of adventure hooks. Whatever we decide to do, I’ve got interesting things to say about that (hence why pivoting to this aspiration wasn’t a big ask).

One of my players was concerned about just making a beeline for Donarhus. It’s not going to be easy to get into it. It’s sealed after all, and there are unpleasant things inside, but it’s not something that’s specifically set up as a campaign challenge. Everyone was a little uncertain about the change, but (like I said above) I’ve got the tools to deal with doing whatever. I even explained if they wanted to leave the area and go somewhere else (like back to Warin-Graf to do research or whatever), that’s perfectly fine. We’ve had problems in the past with dialing too much into a plot thread that interested the players, but I think it’ll be fine if I stick to my creative agenda (running the campaign as a science experiment — i.e., the Right to Dream).
 

26th session in my Dragon Heist/Deck of Many Things mashup. 6th level halfling rogue, half-elf wizard, half-orc fighter.

Things went very, very wrong. And very, very dark. The campaign may now be headed in a totally different direction. In other words, D&D at its finest.

The PCs were infiltrating the Waterdeep estate of a nefarious noble family. They'd slain most of the family, but there was one brother left. However, they discovered that someone else got there first. The noble brother, his guards, and his household retainer had all been killed...and resurrected as undead. The PCs dispatched the undead, found some clues, and were on their way out the door.

So far, so good.

Then the city watch arrived. Mechanically, it should not have been a difficult fight. Twelve CR 1/4 guards led by a CR4 investigator. However, the guards rolled 20 for initiative and were able to swarm the PCs before they could escape. I knew this would now be a challenging fight...but I was confident the PCs could handle it.

Then the fighter killed two city guards in one turn. I said, "Do you want to describe your kill...?" I assumed the player would say, "Kill? No, I didn't mean to kill them! I just wanted to knock them out." I would have allowed takebacks, gladly. Instead he gleefully described a double decapitation.

At that point, this turned from a simple arrest into a life and death fight. The guards started playing for keeps. The wizard was dropped. Then healed by the fighter. Then dropped again. Then healed a second time by the fighter. Then dropped a third time. Finally the investigator hit the wizard while he was down, killing him.

And that's where we ended the session.

The PCs are either going to get captured by the city watch and imprisoned...or escape but become Waterdeep's Most Wanted. Neither of these outcomes were in the plans. Very interested to see where this goes next!

PS: The PCs have an artifact in their possession that can raise dead, so if they manage to escape, bringing the wizard back to life should not be a problem.
 
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Richards

Legend
My lizardfolk PC managed to basically take out a troop of 20 samurai with his poop. He might not be the toughest of the group and he's definitely not the smartest, but sometimes his little reptile brain does some really creative out-of-the-box thinking that none of his mammal companions would ever come up with.

Also, the gnome cleric survived a 40d6 psionic energy ray by casting a quickened cure minor wounds on himself right as the ray was ripping apart his body. No kidding, if the DM had rolled even one single more point of damage even his "emergency extra hit point" trick wouldn't have saved him. (And we all roll in the open, so we know the DM wasn't going easy on us.)

Johnathan
 

Richards

Legend
We played in our other 3.5 campaign today, the one I DM ("Dreams of Erthe"). It was a short adventure, with most of the action happening as the PCs stayed overnight at a tavern and ran afoul of the owner's occasional nefarious moneymaking scheme, whereby he assigned those people passing through town who were least likely to be missed to Room 5 - the room where the comfortable-looking bed was in fact a mimic. Normally, the mimic got a quick meal in the middle of the night and the tavernkeeper just had to go clean out the room of the visitor's belongings before anyone else got up the next morning, so he could claim they left early (and could deny them ever having been there if anyone ever came looking for them later). However, this time the person assigned to Room 5 invited along the traveling bard she'd met that evening to her room and the mimic couldn't eat both of them quick enough. The PCs awoke to the woman's screams, headed over to Room 5 (they'd been staying in Rooms 1, 2, and 3), only to find the bard being devoured and the woman halfway sunk into the mimic's mouth. They rescued the woman, slew the mimic, and then fought off the tavernkeeper's guard dog and animated dread guard armor before knocking him out and tying him up for the authorities. My nephew's bard PC inherited the slain bard's masterwork lute.

Never one to pass up a pun, I called the adventure "Deathbed."

And the PCs all leveled up to 3rd level after the adventure was over. One player's poor elf sorcerer PC had advanced from 4 hp at level 1 to a mere 5 hp at level 2, and now at level 3 he rolled a "1" again and would have ended up with 6 hp had he not taken Toughness as his 3rd-level feat to give him a grand total of 9 hp. (I kidded him it's his karmic payback for his dwarven barbarian in our Wednesday night campaign - "Raiders of the Overreach" - where his 12th-level dwarven barbarian has a whopping 204 hp.)

Johnathan
 


jasper

Rotten DM
I just hit my 301 Session of Dm for Adventure League. Got a kill when one monk dashed in front of the party to challenge five other monks. Who have been ticked off that the party had set fire to gate house and their living quarters. I may do a write up about the 300th session,
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Fun. They fought their first Fleshgolem, the final guardian of a treasure horde. The elf bard used Bardic Knowledge to identify who stolen jewels were from - a heist 300 years ago - and the Expert (Major Domo)/Fighter got a Knowledge: Nobility & Royalty natch 20 to know who the current heirs are, to a nearly extinct noble family.

So player fun with a new monster, DM fun with players involved in world building and a potential hook for later adventure.

Rules: 3.5e, Core Books only
Setting: Greyhawk, 576 CY (original)/591 CY (3e Living Greyhaw) mixed.
Adventure: “Into the Borderlands“, Original Adventures Reincarnated by Troll Lord Games. Modified by me - different monster, treasure moved from another room and given history by me.
Levels: 4-5
 

Spooky stuff (a general mix of dark, heavily fungus-infested forest, diseased animals, evil sprites taunting the PCs invisibly, and hallucinations caused by hidden meenlocks) caused the the party to get separated (one player could make it IRL).

A kobold NPC was killed and partially eaten by a swarm of evil sprites (kinda sad about that; I liked him). The PCs, along with a halfling wererat and a forlarren, continued on to try and find the others. They fought redcaps, were joined by a mischievous mite named Thumbpulp, took out a swarm of webbirds with burning hands (the monk PC completely evaded the flames while the webbirds were incinerated), and peacefully passed through a group of myconids and spore servants busy composting corpses to grow gas spores.

The group finally faced off against a cyclops, triceratops, and three redcaps to save captive umpleby children that the cyclops had tied to his belt to force their mother to work for him in prospecting for valuables. The party cleric managed to kill the cyclops and used a homebrew magic item called a Stonewall Shield (which basically creates a smaller wall of stone until the shield is removed from the wall) to protect the umbleby tykes from the murderous redcaps while the party monk and the forlarren NPC battled with another redcap atop the corpse of the triceratops, the halfling wererat NPC providing crossbow fire from a distance (after having snuck through brambles in rat form). The whole time the mite NPC teased a very old deep gnome miner by magically sabotaging his attempts to climb a rope out of the pit he had been working in.

In retrospect it was a bit more railroady than I'd like (though they were mostly trying to follow behind the characters they'd been separated from), but I also had devised most of it that day in favor of pushing back what I had initially had planned to next session. I was particularly impressed by the cleric's decision to use the Stonewall Shield to protect the young umplebies, given that she hadn't used it for a while.

EDIT: As an aside, I find meenlocks as written a little underwhelming and decided to give the hallucination-inducing telepathy indicated by their lore some more mechanical heft:
  • Hidden meenlocks cause a character to experience unsettling hallucinations:
    • A companion is suddenly overtaken by parasitic fungi. The character must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or take 1d8 psychic damage and be frightened of this companion, keeping away from them lest they too become parasitized.
    • An item begins to squirm and grow wriggling tendrils. The character must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or take 1d8 psychic damage and toss the item away.
    • A number of trees are suddenly recognized as the legs of some colossal vermin. The character must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or take 1d8 psychic damage and be stunned and afraid to attract the creature’s attention.
    • The character is convinced that the wrongness of the place is seeping into them, slowly transforming them. They try to feel their lungs to see if the sensation of breathing is in the right place. The character must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or take 1d8 psychic damage and be overcome with a need to concentrate on what their body is supposed to be like to keep it from going wrong. Should their concentration be broken they are Incapacitated for a few minutes, imagining horrible forms they might take and certain they’ll horribly mutate at any moment.
    • The character sees the bioluminescent light and perceives floating, squirming, pulsating, organic “things” within it. The character must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or take 1d8 psychic damage and close their eyes tightly, effectively blinding themselves.
    • The character is certain an ally is some kind of malevolent imposter. The creature must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw, or take 1d8 psychic damage and make a melee weapon attack against the ally.
Recaps are amazing, though. The party learned to be wary of them. I also added two new powers: one taken from Baldur's Gate 3, and one adapted from the Spriggran Powrie in D&D 4E:
  • Action. Inspire Bloodlust (1/Rest). The redcap chooses an ally within 30 feet. For the next minute or until the redcap loses concentration the ally gains an additional wicked sickle attack.
  • Bonus Action. Punt the Fallen. +6 to hit. 1d10+4 bludgeoning damage, and the target is pushed 10 feet.
The latter was used to kick the cleric (who had already been knocked prone by Ironbound Pursuit) into a pond.
 
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26 sessions in and we finally had a Session Zero.

My Dragon of Icespire Peak campaign for a bunch of D&D noobs had grown to 6 players. Then 3 of them dropped out. The 3 who remained wanted to keep playing. But they didn't want to start a new campaign, they wanted to continue the current campaign. However, the story I had prepared simply wasn't going to work with half the team gone. So I told the existing players to think of the next phase of the campaign as a spinoff from the original. If we'd started in the Mandalorian, now we were moving over to the Book of Boba Fett.

Taking inspiration from 13th Age, I prepared a document with a dozen different factions. I told each player to select three factions. One faction they had a positive relationship with, the other a negative relationship, and the third a conflicted relationship. I've used this approach with another campaign and it's a huge help in generating player investment and excitement.

At the same time, I told players that this was a good time to tweak or change their character if they wanted. They were all noobs, so some of them had been playing pre-generated characters. The half-orc vengeance paladin changed nothing at all. The human genie warlock changed her background, her pact, her skills, and her spells. And the third player dropped his current character in favor of a high elf evoker wizard -- which is a great fit for him as he's a natural with spells.

Next session: The adventure begins. Again.
 

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