Monthly Archives: June 2009

Really… One Year Later…

For what led me up to this point, read my last post. So my players were on their way to cure the Blight in game terms, but what would happen to our world once that was done? Where would that leave my players? I looked at what was missing in the game currently, and that was healthy-ish villages, towns, cities, etc, the ability to really interact with NPC’s beyond a level of survival, being able to adventure without being totally bogged down by fear.

I knew that when the Blight ended that the world would start becoming a much less dangerous place, but society wouldn’t pick up the pieces immediately, and there would be much “work” to be done. I didn’t want the players to have to slog through that in actual game play, even though I thought of many tasty adventures and plot points that would have been quite a bit o’ fun.. So I decided that since curing the Blight was the close of a complete story arc, why not have a flash forward… So I decided that the next session would take place a year later.

The group had been out in the wilds for a year helping clear caverns, ruins, rebuilding villages, etc. I rolled on random treasure that they found during the year and at the beginning of the session, told them, and they distributed it. It was a busy year and they made a good haul. Considering that at the session before they were level 8 and didn’t have that much money.. I was making up for it.

The start of the session had them returning back to Odilimarah’s Haven for the first time in a year after the Blight. The players were excited because I said that there would be a bit o’ change to the city, not just in mechanics, but for them as well and what they’ll be able to do now.

Another thing I had told them that was going to start, thanks to advice from Johnn Four, was a newsletter that would allow them to keep track of pertinent info and review in-between each session (for us usually we role-play every 2 weeks), called the Balling Bard Gazette.

So I told them to come prepared for a fun campaign ready with new stuff and the world being completely different from the one they’ve known for over half a year…

*Next: The new Chapter Starts*

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Prelude- One Year Later

So I mentioned in my post on the 24th that I would talk about all the stuff I had learned from this campaign thus far. And for this post I will be as honest as I can be about all that went on, while not being negative, and where we are going, as a group, now.

When I created this version of Eberron, it was a world of strife, where everything was falling apart, nature was dying, magic wasn’t working properly, etc. It was a world of people fighting for survival. Monsters were stronger, the wilds more dangerous, and those places that people pocketed together weren’t even beacons of light so much as a closet kept alight by a dying candle.

While this was fun, especially for the first 3-5 sessions, it did become tiresome… and something happened that I should have foreseen, but in building the world, didn’t. Railroading. This is entirely my fault. When the game started the group had NO clue where they were, or how they got there and all they had was a set of tracks leading to the north. So they followed it. As I’ve stated in the adventure log, the group encountered two different villages, both in horrible states, starving, destitute, and frightened. This began to wear on the players psyche. I will admit some amount of pride at being able to achieve this sort of feeling in my players. It isn’t why we come to the game table, to feel depressed. My players would go from the different scattered villages and since there wasn’t really anything there, they didn’t explore or interact. They just did, and thus both the players and I fell into the terrible point A to point B circuit.

Before I get to the next part, which will largely be some sort of pity party, another thing that the players felt was fear.. fear of their characters dying. Almost every combat there was a close call. I do not go out of my way to actively kill my characters, because I’m in this for fun, and I like to see characters develop and grow into something more. How can they do that if they are always dying? No one had died, but close, and so they were guarding their characters. They never shied away from an adventure or upholding what they thought their character would do, but they were nervous about their character entering that cave, because it may be the last time that character does so.

I know how my tea brewed, I have crumpets, and I’m wearing a bonnet… So I think it’s time for my pity party. I’ll just through it out there. I was feeling so fucking stagnant that it was disgusting. Partly because I felt kind of dissatisfied with where the role-playing sessions were going, because I felt crapped out because I felt that the railroading was going on, and there were other reasons that could be summed up to DM burnout. The other problem I had created and was being let down by was in what I did to my players, they were quite a lot, not venturing out, exploring, etc at all. We started becoming one of those groups that just does the “I attack… I got a 16.. Do I hit?”

I don’t pretend to be a great DM.. But I KNOW that every group I’ve ran, ever game, that people have fun, and I tend to be on the creative side.. And this was something that was really bothering me, because I was failing so miserably, in my opinion. So I was thinking about giving up the campaign, starting from scratch, or taking a break. Maybe be a player in a game, if I could find a group, and recharge the old battery.

I was on the verge of that decision when several things happened all around the same time. I mentioned to my players, kind of, my desire to kill the campaign, and they had said that they really enjoyed their characters and wanted to see them through… This gave me a good boost and made me feel good. Also, while I didn’t find a RPG group I could meet with and play, I DID discover something that helped me immensely… And I SWEAR this isn’t ass kissing, but I believe in giving thanks where it is due..

I discovered some really great websites that were loaded with information, ideas, and a sense o’ community that I hadn’t felt in a long while with role-playing. I am, of course, referring to Johnn Four, Dungeon Mastering, RPG Bloogers Network (where I discovered some of my fav sites like Chatty DM or Newbie DM. Sorry for those of you on RPG Blogger that I’m not mentioning, I could do a whole post about the awesome blogs that are on that site!) and You Meet in a Tavern Forum.

Going to these sites gave me ideas on how to shake things up, change what I was doing, try different things, etc. It got me excited again, wanting to get to the next session so I could try things out. It was exactly what I needed. And while I wouldn’t say to being able to sit in on a DnD again (it has been 8 years since I’ve been a player), being able to communicate with other GM’s/DM’s and players has given me a boost. So thank you!

So with a new bit of knowledge and my inspiration back I set myself into fixing THIS campaign.. How did I do that? I decided (even though I wanted to avoid going with an epic storyline for a while longer) to have the characters cure the Blight (which I had mentioned in a few previous posts). This whole thing took 5 sessions to do, because I wanted to do it right and not rush it, even though we were all done, mentally, with the Blight.

The characters beat the Blight and lived to fight another day, they changed the world and the players had REALLY enjoyed the last 5 sessions of development in how the Blight would end and what MIGHT happen to the world when the Blight ended…

The next question that was forming in my head as they were diving through hell to end the Blight was…. What’s the next step?…

*Next: Really… One Year Later….*


Adventure Cards and Random Enounters

On Tuesday 6/23/09, Chatty DM posted about 5×5 Sandbox adventure structuring and how it was going to fit in his summer campaign in his City Within adventures.

I like the idea of this and actually have used it in the past. As I have stated in previous posts I am an avid reader of Johnn Four’s Role-Playing Tips ezine. One of the articles, a few months back, had a contribution from author Christopher Magoun about making encounter cards using 3×5 cards with a little bit of info on them. So I decided to build upon that and share it. The first 20 are all from Christopher and there are some on the thread that are from other people that contributed. The bulk of the nonsense is from me though;) Take a look, and feel free to post own ideas, etc!


Into the Depths of Khyber

The group makes it back to Olidimarah’s Haven and tells De Pan what they have achieved. They are given access to a limited supply of magic items, potions, and scrolls, and other survival gear. They make a plan as to what they are going to do and then get some rest, over the next couple of days the Druid is busy at work brewing potions, and scribing scrolls.

The group then sets out and goes through a portal located in the unsettled part of the cavern where Olidimarah’s Haven is located and plunges themselves straight into Khyber. This was particularly fun and interesting as a run goes. I treated it as a sandbox dungeon dive with random (I’ll talk more about this in a separate blog done today) encounter cards, like those suggested on Johhn Fours website (www.roleplayingtips.com) (Which btw, if you don’t subscribe to his newsletter, hang your head in shame and start subscribing now. His zine is awesome loaded with great ideas from himself and the readers!)

The entire dive into Kyber took two sessions. The first was the group roaming around finding what they were looking for, and the second was that they found a keep that was well fortified, guarded by abherations and mutations of the Daeylkr and the group actually came up with some really clever ideas to bypass rushing the keep and they were able to sneak over the wall and enter the cave that was being guarded with minimal fuss and went through a large tough dive that took two sessions.

The dive ended with them far underground in pulsing living catacombs and they climbed through a sphincter type doorway and had a saw a fleshy pulsing mound attached to the wall. A voice echoed out of it musing at the players berating them and telling them to leave because they had no hopes facing him. The group refused. The mound opened and a lich clambered out, though looking more juicy (think the mummy from Mummy one).. A huge battle came out, and was quite a bit of fun! *What pissed me off though, was I was so preoccupied with all the other stuff, and it was getting late, I forgot to use some of the lich’s annoying abilities I gave him>.< So he wasn’t horribly challenging to the group as he could have been. Oh well. Live and learn*

After the lich exploded into dust, the group thrust the seed into the fleshy mound and the ground started quaking. The walls started bursting, and blood splattered everywhere. Suddenly tree roots burst from the mound and suddenly the group was teleported above the surface and gigantic tree burst from the ground and rose high into the sky (the tree that best fits this description is the tree from Batman the Animated Series that was borne from Poison Ivy’s formula she was using at her spa Eternal Youth). The tree started pulsing gold and then it flashed and gold light exploded out from it. The ground beneath them started turning light green and they could see the cloud cover above them breaking.. The Blight had been cured…

*Next One Year Later*


What kind of DnD Character am I?

I Am A: Lawful Good GnomeFighter/Sorcerer (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength-16
Dexterity-16
Constitution-13
Intelligence-17
Wisdom-15
Charisma-17

Alignment:
Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Race:
Gnomes are in wide demand as alchemists, inventors, and technicians, though most prefer to remain among their own kind in simple comfort. Gnomes adore animals, gems, and jokes, especially pranks. They love to learn by personal experience, and are always trying new ways to build things. Gnomes stand 3 to 3.5 feet tall and live about 350 to 500 years.

Primary Class:
Fighters can be many things, from soldiers to criminal enforcers. Some see adventure as a way to get rich, while others use their skills to protect the innocent. Fighters have the best all-around fighting capabilities of the PC classes, and they are trained to use all standard weapons and armor. A fighter’s rigorous martial training grants him many bonus feats as he progresses, and high-level fighters have access to special melee maneuvers and exotic weapons not available to any other character.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

I recommend people to take this test. It is a bit long (129 questions), but it is fun^_^


Saving the World

Alright for this post I’m going to summarize because I want to get this Blog caught up to where we are in the game and I am oh so close.. I also want to do a post on what I’ve learned from this campaign and how I hope to improve and post a summary about my role-players, how playing with them has affected me, etc. And how I am, as the GM completely to blame for most of the bad and how I will celebrate the good.
Alright, with that heavy piece of info out of the way.. Lets move forward, shall we?

The group agrees to find the airship in the mountains, are teleported by several mages, as close as they can be (since it is some distance away) and immediately run into some Lizard Folk, and they are able to talk their way out of trouble! Way to go for role-playing and not instantly going into combat mode players! The Lizard Folks lead them to the base of the mountain and warn them that this area is the territory of a Red Dragon.. The group now is pissing themselves because they KNOW they are going to be facing this thing. They climb up to the airship and have to start repairing it. When they are about finished the Red Dragon appears and a pitch battle ensues.

They defeat the dragon and flight the airship back to Olidimarah’s Haven to be received warmly by De Pan. He then tells them that they must fly all the way across Khorvaire to the Eldeen Reaches to find the way to cure the Blight. The shaman’s vision said that is the course to take.

The group heads to the Eldeen Reaches, with a few sky random encounters thrown in, and encounters a sect of druids who let them into the territory. The Eldeen Reaches are unscathed by the Blight and the Arch Druid explains that many druids sacrificed themselves to nature to stop the Blight from destroying the area.

The group explains why they have come and the Arch Druid says he must spend time communing with nature for the answer and offers them a place to stay if they are willing to work for their share. He is gone for several days. He comes back and tells the group they must travel into the forest, leave immediately, and find a weeping willow and eat a leaf that he gave to each of them. They will know what to do from that point.

The group travels to the weeping willow, eats the leaf, and can now hear the tree talk to them. It tells them to go below its roots, where druids used to find shelter.. There they will find what they seek.

The group goes inside and wanders through the catacombs and finds a dire cougar that has been diseased by the Blight. It talks to them and says that they must be tested to be given what they seek. Are they ready to be tested as to whether they are worthy of the gift of life.. *Here I had it that if a play cast cure serious or critical wounds or cure disease, or dispel magic even the creature would be cured and they would pass the test. If they tried to fight it however it would be, by far, the hardest fight they had ever faced… After all this was a test of life, not strength* So a few of the players immediately started rolling initiative and getting ready to rush head in, when the Druid said that he doesn’t think they should attack because the gift is life and attacking the creature seems counter productive.. So he cause remove disease, the creature was healed, and stepped aside to reveal a small dais with a small seed on it. The dire cougar then said that they needed to bathe the seed in a lake that pulsed with positive energy (The lake in Olidimarah’s Haven, called Twilight Lake), and then they must venture into the depths of Khyber, for that is where the beast that is responsible for the Blight lies, once it has been vanquished, they must plant the seed, they will know where, and the seed will grow, and hopefully the Blight will be purged.

With the seed in the hand the group set off for Olidimarah’s Haven…

*Next time- Into the Depths of Khyber*


My G/f didn’t like Fanboys…

Imperial Symbol of Love...

Imperial Symbol of Love...

While I can’t say I’m COMPLETELY surprised by this piece of information… I can say that I was hoping that she would AT LEAST find it humorous on some level.. Sadly.. no…
I think that the movie is fantastic, and if you are a Star Wars Fan.. like me… Then you will go see this movie! I think that this movie, while cheesy, has so much love and care in the dialogue for Star Wars as a whole. And it flings shit at the prequels, and I appreciate that!
Without gushing.. I love Star Wars.. Hell I just got two tattoos professing my love for Star Wars! And I plan to get more.
I need to run another Star Wars Saga game..
Rebel symbol of Love

Rebel symbol of Love