D&D General What are you prepping for your next D&D session? (+)


I'm the Straw Man in your argument
Prepping more locations and rumors for my West Marches hexcrawl. Decided to drop a Spelljammer off in the mountains. Or maybe the PCs will see it crash. Decided to roll up the crystal sphere. Kept rolling more. And ended up making a spreadsheet to auto roll crystal spheres. I forgot how weird and wild those charts are. As the Spacefarer’s Handbook says, “In space, weirder is better.”

Bold mine.
Have you seen this video? It seems like he's describing West Marches style to me. This way of playing has always really intrigued me


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The next adventure in my "Dreams of Erthe" campaign will be called "Desert Dreams," but I'll have quite a lot of time to prepare for it as one of my players has just recently undergone surgery and will be recovering for several more weeks. So no real rush - we may not get to play until early May - but in the meantime I already have the adventure written, the battle-map geomorphs made, the initiative cards built, the monster stats written out, and the PC tracking sheet printed and ready to go. This gives me time to work on future adventures, if I can get the last few caricatures finished up (three more left to go, another side hobby of mine) by early April when they're due so I can get back to some D&D stuff.



Last sessions my players has arrived at the Rock of Bral in Realmspace, hunting for clues partly about the undead Illithid threat and their unknown masters, partly - and more critical - who or what is throwing asteroids toward the big cities on the Sword coast.

After lots of fun roleplaying the party met with a bunch of shady drow that said that they have coordinates in Selunes daughters regarding the asteroid threat. But the drow needed a favor for the info - they need a nefarious slavetrader in a city in Shou-Lung eliminated. The partys paladin was very sceptic to the mission, but anyway, off to Shou-Lung they went, still new to this spelljammin' thing.

I built the Shou-Lung scenario as a Mission Impossible style heist, where the slavetraders mistress live in a central tall building that is the best place for a confrontation. The party has researched the building, guard routes etc, and will go for the confrontation next session on Saturday.

So, I will prep for that, plus build maps and encounters for the asteroid slinging base. I think I will populate it with undead Neogi, it fits with my overarching plot sketch and it was decades since those evil guys showed up :cool:

Usually we play weekly via Beyond/AboveVTT/Discord. But our current campaign also celebrate 1 year on Saturday, so we will do a marathon 6-8 hour live session with food and wine, good times!


B/X Known World
Bold mine.
Have you seen this video? It seems like he's describing West Marches style to me. This way of playing has always really intrigued me

I have. But thank you.

Yeah, almost. They’re very close, but there are some differences. It’s also easier to just say “West Marches” and people will generally know what you mean.


I started a shorter campaign to last through the summer and in the middle of mashing Phandalin with the module Forge of Fury. We had a session 0 and the first night of play where the PCs took on a small quest to trade for some horses and not they will be traveling to Wave Echo to meet with Gungren who is interested in the Forge and the smith Dungeddin. There is a dragon cult around who came looking for the white dragon in Icespire Peak, which was the last campaign that just ended. The cultist are now learning about the black dragon Nightscale and are attacking the PCs who disrupted them and have the secret map.

I was working on a set of magic items for handouts using MS Publisher and having more random items for the PCs to find. I spread them out on the table for a player to pick when it is not a set item placed on purpose or a potion. I found the players liked the roll of a random item and also liked the handouts I had to describe the item so I made the handouts. I need some more for additional potions and scrolls, but have some general ones completed.


Follower of the Way
Last time, the party worked their way down to the hidden chamber beneath a temple they'd been figuring out how to enter. We closed right after they got there, with an information stinger that they instantly recognized as Revealing Secrets. Of course, they knew there would be secrets. They're exploring a formerly-hidden ancient genie-rajah city, something lost to the sands for literally a couple thousand years. There have to be revelations and secrets here. But they already had a reason to think the revelations would be Special, and what they saw upon descending to the temple's heart gave that reason focus.

See, due to IRL stuff, the party Druid had to take a long hiatus. Something like eight to ten months? I don't remember exactly but it was a long time. I persuaded the player out of totally killing his character, as departing from the game was clearly very difficult (necessary, but they confided in me it was tougher than any other game they'd had to leave) and I'd seen a golden opportunity for enabling an indefinite hiatus that could be ended at any time. In the final session before his departure, the Druid had used his budding Shaman magic (which calls on and binds the powers of spirits, usually after-world spirits like abstract ideas, dead beings, or ancestral/archetypal things) to call upon the One, the monotheistic deity of the Safiqi priesthood. This was a powerful choice on his part, but it was also costly--he was, in effect, entering a covenant and would be given knowledge and a mission, but would have to pay a difficult penance for his past choices (making a deal with a devil, specifically). So, at the end of that session, after the whole party had risen to great heights and defeated a powerful and dangerous spirit, the Druid walked with the One and was seen no more, for the One had taken him.

When the party arrived at the gates of this genie-rajah city? They found him there, waiting for them, dressed in new, clean robes, with supple, comfortable sandals bound upon his feet. (This was very symbolic, because up to this point, the character has had a reputation of being VERY hobo, doesn't-wear-shoes, favoring a quick dip in the river rather than an actual soap-and-hot-water bath unless visiting hot springs, etc.) So the player had said, "There must be some reason I'm here. I need to find out what it is." And that got my gears going.

So. They've descended into this temple. They know that it has something to do with how Noble Genies come to be--the ones with nigh-infinite lifespans and fantastical powers, as opposed to regular genies, who are more like long-lived but relatively ordinary humans. It has some sort of ritual purpose, with clear "leaders" and what appear to be neophytes, supplicants, or possibly offerings. And then, as they enter the final room, a strange sight. It's not clean, neatly-worked stone like the temple above. It is a partially-natural cavern in the volcanic rock (the city is built inside a semi-active volcanic caldera). They have seen a place like this before: a druid shrine. But why would the genie-rajahs, who ruled over mortals in the ancient days, have a druid shrine? Druids were the ones who led the humans that weren't part of genie-rajah culture, the ones eking out a hardscrabble existence between the genie-built, genie-ruled cities, freeing shipments of mortal slaves and doing their best to be just outside the reach of genie-rajah armies and too inconsequential to smite with noble genie powers.

The party is about to learn why it is that the noble genies now appear seemingly randomly among their population, and another part of why they left the mortal world behind...and the price they have paid because of this choice, a price that has been alluded to several times but only limitedly. A price that (some) other noble genies have avoided paying, but only by not behaving as most of their race has. Deeper connections between historical elements and methods of using supernatural powers will be revealed. I'm not entirely sure yet, but I think I'll prepare a few different directions these revelations might play out--lingering spirits that can answer questions or potentially become hostile.

Prepping the game room right now. :)


Evil deep dwarf city - the PCs hate these dwarves, who are invading their barony, allied with the evil ruler next door. The dwarves have acidic weapons, and worship an evil god of trickery. Their human enemies worship an undead god. I know why the two groups are allied, but have no idea what the dwarven city is like. Other dwarves have explained that IF these evil dwarves act like normal dwarves, killing their clan leaders should be enough to divert the dwarves from their current course of action. I have two weeks to get this scenario together.


I'm the Straw Man in your argument
I'm busy trying to cram The Lost Valley of Hutaaka (from B10) into the Isle of Dread (X1). It's actually an easy fit.

I just sent this blog post out to the group for tonight's game. The party is escorting a bunch of Rakasta through the valley. These Rakasta are on a Holy Quest/Pilgrimage for the Shrine of their Ancestor, Rajas'el-Najar.

Here's a copy&paste:

The Hutaakans
[Map at Bottom]
You arrived at Byxata in the late afternoon of May 15th in the year 1001AC* and are introduced to Foredz, the leader and High Priestess of Pflarr. You are treated with all possible courtesy, including being fed and magically healed (if needed) by the priests. You are given private and clean lodgings in the guesthouse (black circle on map), while the Rakasta are given quarters in the Temple (building C). Overall, the Hutaakans seem to be a sophisticated culture that has passed its Golden Age over a century ago. They are the most advanced culture on the Isle of Dread that you have encountered in the areas of technological and crafts knowledge**.

She explains that they have been living in peaceful coexistence with the Cavemen for hundreds of years. She describes their relations during this peaceful era as "...the wiser and more learn-ed Hutaakans, guided by Holy Pflarr, led and taught the ungrateful Cavemen valuable skills and knowledge. Then a few years ago, the Cavemen came under the influence of a crude and ignorant leader named Gubri. The Cavemen plundered or destroyed everything that they could get their dirty hands on (Pflarr have mercy on their souls). A civil war ensued.

"6 months ago, everything took a turn for the worse when the Cavemen desecrated the Temple and released an Evil Entity that the Hutaakans have been selflessly guarding against. That's when Kartoeba was unleashed and the hostile undead started haunting the western valley. 3 months ago, things got even worse yet again as earthquakes split the earth and released fire creatures. Three Fire Elementals now stalk the Valley."

Foredz says that the control of the Temple of Pflarr, which 10 miles northwest, can only be Healed through a Ritual that can be found in the Vault of the Elders, which is about 12 miles of travel to the west of Byxata. The Ritual, once recovered, must be performed in the Temple.

Most of the Hutaakans now live in the village of Byxata. A stone wall provides some fortifications against attack and a watch of a couple dozen guards maintain the ramparts at all times. Behind the stone walls are approximately 20 buildings that are mostly single story. Those marked A are food store || B are the dwellings of ordinary Hutaakans || C is the building used by the Priestess, Foredz and her assistants (5 minor priests).

*1001 years After Crowning of the first emperor of Thyatia
** It helps if you think in terms of the Tech Tree in Sid Meyers Civilization video game.

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