D&D 4E Preparing the perfect D&D 4e introductory session


First Post
Lvl 3 was my second option, yes. I would probably go for that.

One thing I forgot to point out is that I don´t have many minis, but I do have a young White and Green Dragon, and I think it will get the players quite excited when I place one on the table after some goblins and skeletons (the Green Dragon Mini is specially impressive). I´m all for delevelling or having the Dragon at half hit points if neccesary. I really like to have a big boss at the end. And this is Dungeons & Dragons, I think they deserve a good taste of both!

I was thinking about a starter ambush combat, two follow up combats: one minion heavy with a leader and one with more mixed soldier/brute/artillery and a final battle with the Dragon and a couple of secondary figures.

I´m certaily not giving them a normal character sheet, but a simplified, fluff rich, one line per power and such sheet. No math for them.

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First Post
A few suggestions:

1) Levels 1, 2, or 3 are best. Avoid as much complexity as possible for introduction, as 4th ed is actually overwhelming to new players at level 1. I had two new players for my campaign who either hadn't played since 2nd ed or never played D&D at all, and it was a lot for them to keep track of.

2) Skill challenges I have made up myself and been happy with:

a) Run through a burning city from an army of orcs: athletics+acrobatics, sometimes stealth or bluff to lose their pursuers. Failures led to combat, successes led to getting to set up ambushes.
b) Lost in the woods: nature+perception, sometimes arcana when near parts of the forest linked to feywild. Every few rolls pick a random encounter, animals for failures, gaurdians of treasure troves for successes.
c) Campaign a town for evacuation: use streetwise, diplomacy, bluff, intimidate, etc. to convince the mayor and people that the city must be evacuated. also sometimes religion for the leaders of the temples in town.


First Post
I was thinking of 5th level - but looking at it again 4th would make more sense, I think, for my convention game.

Now all I need is a plot, some traps, and some monsters!


First Post
About pregen characters for this one shot presentation adventure:

In all the showcase games I run for any RPG, I always create several different characters, fully fledged, for the players to choose at the beggnining. For this game, guessing I will have six players, I was going let them choose among the concepts below with the only condition that all roles must be covered and that there are at least 2 defenders. Yes, many of this concepts are really cliché and stereotyped, and some not so much.

I always give them options to change any non rules reated element (like gender). Gender below is just related to the picture or image I´ll use in the character sheet in the first place.

I welcome any suggestions on building them at lvl 3, powers, feats, equipment, etc.

Dragonborn Male Paladin of Bahamut Sword & Shield
Dwarf Male Fighter Axe & Shield
Dwarf Female Paladin Hammer & Shield
Human Male Fighter Greatsword
Human Male Fighter Polearm
Human Female Fighter Axe & Shield

Half Elf Male Inspiring Warlord with Longsword and Magic Standard
Human Female Tactical Warlord with Poleram
Dwarven Male Cleric of Moradin
Human Male Cleric of Pelor

Halfling Male Ranger, 2 throwing handaxe wielder
Halfling Male Rogue dagger wielder
Elf Male Ranger Archer
Tiefling Male Rogue, Brawny build with Rapier and dagger
Tiefling Male Warlock (not sure wich pact would be best for starter)

Eladrin Male Orb Wizard
Human Male Staff Wielder (with some armor, like a War Wizard of Cormyr)
Human Female Wand Wielder
Half Elf Male Staff Firemancer Wizard (fire themed wizard)


First Post
I´m afraid I dont know what a Kobayashi Maru is, ad kobolds are fine, but I want more diverse foes.

Edit: found it in Wikipedia. No thanks. I don´t see how a no-win scenario, even if simulated, can be good fun for a presentation game. Just my opinion here.
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First Post
I think everybody has given you some great ideas, but don't forget about time management. If you are running a 4hr block it is highly unlikely that you will actually be playing for 4hrs. Players going over the character sheets and picking which one they want to play, trying to figure out what their powers do is going to eat into that time.

Also if you have brand new players that have never played before, you are going to have to take time to explain the rules to them. The first combat will be really slow as they learn the system. Four combats and a skill challenge might be to much to cram into 4hrs. Overplan and then be prepared to trim out encounters on the fly as time dictates.

I would also recommend leaving enough time for the final encounter to be fully run. Nothing is more annoying than being in the middle of a huge final battle only to have the dm hand wave the ending becuase time is up.

The Human Target

Yeah, I'd say aim for three combats and a skill challenge in 4 hours.

If you have/want to go with a dragon, don't just drop its HP. Fully level it down to equal the parties level -1. It'll still be mean, but it won't be as much of a grind. You could even drop it down to an elite of the parties level, which I'd recommend the most. Add in a few minions and a standard monster or two and it'll still be a great fight for them.

I'd say to stat up 7 PCs myself. The less the players have to select from the easier/faster it will be for them to choose, and the more able you'll be to remember the PCs powers in order to help out when they have questions.

If you want 2 Defenders in your party, I'd say...

Dragonborn Paladin of Bahamut- sword and board with mostly STR powers
Dwarven Cleric of Moradin- focus on melee attacks and healing
Elf Ranger- Focus on range attacks and mobility
Eladrin Wizard- Leather armor, focus on area attacks
Halfling Rogue- Shortsword and Daggers, Jack of All Trades
Human Fighter- Greatsword, Plate armor
Half-Elf Warlord- go buffing warlord with powers like Furious Smash

I'd also limit the complexity of the magic items you give them. No more than 2 items per PC max, and only one with a daily/encounter power.


First Post
The 5-room-dungeon approach is excellent! Thanks a lot!

As I said in the OP, I will use the Frostsilver map from GameDay 2007:


So, the basic layout could go like this:

The Heroes are sent by the king to rescue an important noble (just to not turn it into another princess in distress...) They followed the kidnappers tracks into the mountains, and finally discovered their lair: an old abandoned temple.

Room 1: Entrance corridor and stairs. I will probably run an ambush at the corridor and stairs with some Goblins and maybe a leader. Concluded with a simply locked & trapped door.

Room 2: Skill challenge and Riddle. Probably using both the wicked floor painting and the fountain. I welcome any ideas for this.

Room 3: Bloodfest fight with tons of minions and some tougher brutes and soldiers. Both a bit of a softener and to get the chars overconfident. Probably assortment of goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears, including en enemy magic user. I will probably hide the 4 corner niche rooms and have the monsters spring from all 4.

Room 4: Traps and Omens: use the big pit as a trap, have them cooperate to cross safely. I welcome ideas here also. Afterwards, in the boneroom, if any of them pays some respect or similar to those dead, a friendly spirit appears with an omen and maybe a hint to help them in the fight ahead.

Room 5: Final fight. Big climatic combat against a "softened up" Green Dragon. Also, using the Darkess area not shown on the picture above, have the kidnapped noble inside the dearness with a Drow and Duergar or other enemy not afected by the Darkness. They have to deal with the Dragon and get the kidnapped out of the Darkness, taking care what they hit with area attacks!

So, how does it look?

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