Oct 27, 2007

Game Session - (Sea) Devil Island

In between the previous session and this one, not only did the missing player drop out, but so did another player (leaving us with only one player), who also happened to be the host. He had a great space for playing... sorry to lose that space. So I suspended the game until we could get some players. Out of the several who seemed interested, only one actually made it to the point of creating a character... The next session would soon be on.

Since the session was going to begin with the PCs on the boat to the island, I did a little retcon and said that Theo (the new character) was always on the ship, the dwarf (who had never actually played) was never there, and the mage (who did take part in the first session) was staying behind to guard the ship. So now we had a half-elf ranger, a kender rogue, and I added in one of the pirates (named Royan) to help explore the sea devils lair as an NPC "fighter" I controlled.

Once on the island, they already knew from the ghost of Captain Fletcher where to go. They also knew that most of the Sea Devils were out of the lair (on a deep sea raid) at the time. At the end of a long cave enterance, the PCs entered an open space. Spread around the floor were the recently dead bodies of several sailors. As they entered the room, the animated corpses of 3 of the sailors rose and begain attacking the party. They spread out and defeated the undead attackers in a few rounds. From there they did a little more exploring, first in an empty refuse room in the north, to a larger, empty room in the east.

The eastern room was like a beach front, with water filling a large part of the space. Hunter and Theo drank the remaining underwater breathing potions, while the pirate stayed watch on the underground shore. From there, Hunter and Theo explored a nearby room (also partly on dry land) and found a sea devil before a strange alter. Combat ensued and Hunter was charmed to flee the scene, but Theo defeated the Sea Devil and broke the magical bond on his companion. They gathered some of the treasures at the alter and continued on their search for the Eye of the Sea Dragon.

Next the two sailed through some of the underground passages and found themselves in a completely submerged room. All around was a varied collection of treasures, from coins, and jewelry, to weapons and gems, including the Eye of the Sea Dragon. But what the party quickly realized was that they were not alone in the room. In a corner, hiding behind a large trunk was what appeared to be a sea elf. But this was no prisoner, and no one in need of saving. As the party approached, she rose up and attacked the party with the trident she was carrying.

Hunter and Theo were able to surround her so that she was unable to escape and she fought to the death. Afterward they were able to gather up some of her ill-gotten treasures in addition to the Eye that they were tasked to retrieve.

With the Eye of the Sea Dragon in their possession, Hunter and Theo returned to Royan and they all made their escape. A short trip back to the pirates waiting by the canoe, and they were quickly on the ship heading for Flotsam, and the last leg of their journey.

End of Session Two
(Once again, since I was looking to add new players to the game, this seemed like a logical place to end for the night)

Oct 23, 2007

Dragonlance Movie Trailer

If you haven't heard, an animated version of the first Dragonlance book, Dragons of Autumn Twilight is coming out on DVD later this year.

Here's the first trailer:

Oct 22, 2007

Second Group, First Session - A Little Night Light

Ok... so last time I left off with the characters having just fought off some crazed pirates from a derelict ship. The PCs never tried to figure out just what was going on here, so I may end up trying to tie this scene into something larger later in the campaign.

That night the ranger saw a distant light getting closer and closer and clearly heading in their direction. As the light got closer, the ranger (Hunter is the character name) saw the ghostly image of a man walking on the water. Hunter waited to see what the ghost wanted and watched as it "walked" into the bottom of the ship and levitate up through the floors to reach topside.

Quickly the elven mage, Hunter, and the ship captain (named Jonas Grumby, btw) talked to the ghostly image of a dead pirate who sought out the PCs to help free his soul and end his undead state. Captain Fletcher needed the PCs to retrieve an item (a gem known as the Eye of the Sea Dragon) and return it to the Temple of the Pirate God in the city of Flotsam (where the PCs were headed anyway).

In exchange for this service, the PCs could keep anything else of value they found. Since this was taking place on the ship, Captain Grumby cut himself in for 20% of the take. The eye was on Captain Fletcher's sunk ship, which was nearby, it having been sunk by some "sea devils" a few weeks ago.

The PCs were immediately cautious of the ghost, and rightly so, but also wondered how they were going to spend time underwater; no one had any water breathing ability. (BTW, both PC groups had this concern early on, and the module didn't address this till later in the module, so I had to reorder some of the captain's info the the PCs). Seems the captain had some water breathing potions in his private stash on the ship and was able to tell the PCs were to find them.

Due to the trauma of his death, the captain hadn't actually been on the ship since the actual event. With this group, one of the PCs swam down (it was shallow water) and retrieved the potions. Then after taking the potions, the two PCs went back. (I recall the first group using an unseen servant spell to retrieve the potions, rather than either player going down)

Also going back onto the ship was the ghost... he walked directly to where he thought his body was, and didn't take part in much of the ship exploration... The PCs went from floor to floor. When they found the ghost over his corpse, he begged them to take his bones back to Flotsam for a proper burial. They agreed and he disappeared.

The PCs continued to search the ship and encountered some underwater ghouls feasting on the dead bodies in the bottom of the ship. The ghouls were dispatched (I made a point to emphasize how the blood for wounds clouded up the underwater combat) and the PCs searched the ship damage. Clear signs of directed shark attacks were seen. Outside one of the holes in the ship a weapon was seen in the sea floor. (This group didn't follow the clue, while the first group was following it to the next location when we stopped the session).

The PCs returned to the ship (and brought back Captain Fletcher's bones), as Hunter was pretty hurt from the combat. Captain Grumby was able to trade a healing potion he had stashed for an additional 5% of the total loot (which at this point wasn't much). They used the Fletcher ghost to scout the immediate area to determine where the "sea devils" were located before the next step. After two days, Fletcher returned and pointed them in the correct direction... the session ended with the PCs on a canoe to the island, since my goal was to incorporate the missing player in the next session and this was logical point to do that.

End of Session One

Oct 14, 2007

Second Group, First Session - Sailing the Seas of Adventure

Note: This is the second time I ran this module. The first group fell apart before completing the module and I chose to rerun the beginning again with a second group. (I'll add some commentary about differences from the first and second group where notable)

For the first session, the party consisted of:

  • (Silvenesti) Elven Mage
  • Half-Elf Ranger
  • (We were supposed to have dwarven fighter, but that player didn't show up and dropped out before actually playing)
The group started out in the city of Solace (well know from the original Dragonlance novels). I didn't worry too much about why they were there, but they were all recruited by a business man to take some documents (a trade agreement) by boat to a merchant working out of the city of Dun Eamon and Flotsam.

The agreement was, at this point, just the catalyst to move people from A to B. (But there might be further advs that involve either of these business men or the agreement in general... I always like to keep my options open).

On the way to Flotsam, they come across a derelict ship. When the captain pulls along side of the boat (the PCs didn't stress any caution to the ship's Captain, nor would I really expect them too), men from the "derelict" ship boarded the other ship and attacked, in an ill reasoned plan to take the ship by force. There were about 6 attackers and the PCs (and NPC sailors) were easily able to dispatch all of them. The mage disabled a few of them with a sleep spell and later questioning didn't yield anything useful. The mage did think to search the ship for supplies, info, etc, but there was nothing of value (the first group did not search the derelict, nor did the module mention the possibility of a search, though I was able to figure out that there would be little of value based on the encounter notes)

There was nothing special about this combat, just a straight up attack, which I thought was a good way to get things rolling, since most of these people (players and characters) didn't really know each other.

Later that night, the ranger, currently topside sees a light on the distant night water... getting closer and closer and headed straight for the ship...

Next... a light in the night

Oct 9, 2007

A New Campaign

I know I was going to write about the first game session, but I also want to touch a bit on the campaign, in some broad strokes.

First, I always like to think of D&D in terms of campaigns, there's a beginning (typically characters at 1st level), and a series of adventures. Some are directly connected to a longer plot, some are just one-and-done adventures, and others seemingly have no connection, but in the end turn out to be related to the main plot. I came up with this idea long before shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and X-Files, but I see them as great examples of what I try to do in my games. They were great at doing long arcs as well as one-shot eps that had no real connection to the over-all plot.

For my games, I typically work backward. I usually know the climax adventure (which is never a 1st level adv) and then work at filling in the advs that would lead a party from 1st level to the level and location of the beginning of the finale. I'll use published mods from a variety of sources as well as writing up my own stuff.

For this current game, I'm not writing so much from whole cloth, as I'm modifying a bunch of stuff from mags, etc to fit the vision and theme I'm thinking about. I also need to mod most adventures since I use the Dragonlance setting and there are enough unique quirks that almost no adventure fits in smoothly without some tweaking...

For this campaign, I started off with a module from an issue of Dungeon/Polyheadon. In fact the module is actually from the Poly section of the mag and tied in to some third part products that were available at the time (I'm intentionally vague here as it could give away certain future plot elements). I liked that it had a unique setup (if rather a basic premise) and some unusual encounters, especially at first level. There was underwater combat and a bit of urban and underground encounters... and not a kobold in sight (I have countless 1st level advs that ALL seem to involve every manner of kobold encounter). The other reasons for choosing the module were a) it's from a mag and therefore rather short. b) it's broken up into 3 discrete sections which turned out to be a boon for me (as you'll see later) and c) it did tie in to some of the other advs I have planned.

Unlike other advs or campaigns, I'm setting this one in a rather lawless and seedy town, which is in direct contrast to other campaigns where the city is usually a safe haven will most manner of resources and little in the way of direct threats to the party. This time, the city may end up being just as dangerous as the wilderness or any dungeon, depending on who they befriend and who they make enemies... I'll go into more detail on the city of Flotsam in another post.

Next time... first session (for real, I think :) )

Oct 4, 2007

Disappearing Players

I know I've commented on the trials and tribulations of trying to get players for the D&D game I've just started, but I'm still amazed at all the ways players (or in this case potential players) wig out on me.

This time, and it appears to be happening concurrently among three different potential people (which is not to say that they are not fully formed people, though that may be the case here) have all seemingly vanished, in a move that would make David Copperfield jealous.

All I had to do with each of these people is say "When can we get together to make a character?" It turns out those seemingly innocuous words have more effect than a dozen "Power Word, Kill" spells to render certain people non-existant (at least to me). Oh well, at least I have three players (as of today), and a forth session already lined up...

Next Time: A (previous) game session report