Mona Game

Rushed all the way through study hall tonight, and did some work during this morning’s free period. The Abbey of Gé adventure is now about seven pages long. Did some planning for post-adventure stuff, as well.


There’s now a much more complete town for them to go back to, the thorp of Three Walnuts, and a long-ish river valley to explore, at least in map form and with a number of random encounter tables. The next stage is to develop a few more of the villages in the river valley, and some more specific encounter sites. If anyone has ideas to share about what to do at those sites, and when/how, please feel free to let me know. Remember that in D&D terms, I’m looking for adventures suitable for first through 9th or 10th level.

The game tonight went well, too. Arriving back from town, with a young acolyte of the village temple in tow (the party really suffers for not having a cleric, so I sent them in with an NPC), the players undertook to approach the homes of the kobolds through the old kitchen of the abbey. There, they encountered a guard-post occupied by six kobolds. Quick thinking and some lucky die rolls put four of them under the effects of Sleep. However, the surviving two had some lucky attacks of their own, and felled both the paladin and the ranger. Critical attacks can be nasty to PCs. Suddenly, the youthful cleric and the sorcerer were on their own. The cleric cast Cause Fear and forced one of the kobolds to run away, and the sorcerer struck with a short spear to wound his own opponent. In the next round, the cleric cast Cure Light Wounds on the ranger, and a Magic Missile from the sorcerer ended the combat. None of the kobolds woke during their inevitable demise at the ranger’s hands; the paladin was out another two rounds before the cleric, Brother Matthew, reached him and cast Cure Light Wounds on him, too. During this combat, I actually had to bring out some 1-inch grid sheets, and draw the kitchen, with its two fireplaces and long preparation table. Trying to figure out where the Sleep spell went, and who was affected, was kinda tricky, especially since the sorcerer could target either the two actively involved in the attack, or go after the one fleeing out the room’s back door. BlueGargantua is right: D&D winds up being a tactical combat game, whether or not it’s a role-playing game. (Thanks to the Forge and 20’x20′ room, I’m beginning to have my doubts about it being a role-playing game, but that’s a post for another day.)

Then the players turned away from the direction of the kobolds’ nest, trying to find a back route to the inner chamber. No way are they ready to face off against the Kobold chief, his champion and minions, in my book — but they went a different way, in any case. This time, they found the fire beetles in the cook’s bedroom, and killed all three in a few short rounds of combat. They also found the small containers of valuable spices — which, when sold to the innkeeper in town, will earn them some goodwill and a lead for a possible quest or mission.

Afterwards, they earned about 170XP for their two adventures, plus another 25XP in miscellaneous rewards. They found 40sp on the kobolds, and the FireBeetle eyes will last at most another six game days. They also found three boxes of rare spices. And that was it for treasure.

Task for next week: Organize the kobolds in the nest a little more thoroughly. Sprinkle in some treasure, especially the tribal treasure in the chief’s personal trove. Beef up the three leaders, and beef up their extra muscle. Throw in a couple of Krenshar on the back route. And then start on level two of the dungeon, or develop some wilderness adventures. It’s clear they’re going to need to go back to town soonish, though maybe not until after another encounter or two.

Leads to Follow Up: I showed them the local-area maps I’d been working on. They now know about the kingdom to the west, and the keeps and the major castle up the river valley, which hold the vale against any sort of invasion. This opens up the chance to use the Heroes of Battle book someday, which really does look good. I’ve also staked out two larger villages, and they’ll want to visit them soon-ish, I suspect, and spend some of their treasure. I threw in a shortsword +1 on a whim, giving it to the chief of the kobolds, who will not be easy to take down.

The tribe as a whole numbers about 50 fighting individuals, and the PCs have killed a third of them. I need to put in some traps (since kobolds are such excellent trap-makers), and my notes say that the patrol they killed when they first entered is due back in an hour of game time — so the chief and his circle of elders are about to be alerted to danger, anyway. So next time, they may get one more encounter, and then Boom, it’s going to be hard to get away with anything in there.

The goal is to have the PCs work toward a either a fighting defeat, or a negotiated peace — we stop killing you if you give us the girl back. If the PCs are smart, they’ll arrange for a more thorough treaty, though. I’ve started dangling clues, and next week I plan on introducing the concept of languages and using their skills more. What I wouldn’t give to have a party with a rogue in it! Or a PC cleric! On the other hand, the NPC cleric is going to give me a real handle on the paladin, which it’s clear I need in order to keep the player in line. Always good to have your hand on the tiller of the PC with the moral code, after all.

I think developing some ranger-related adventures would be a good idea. His skills are not much in play at the table. The sorcerer and the paladin have had chances to shine, but the ranger’s player seems a bit out of the loop. We’ll bring him in during the next session, I think, and give him an adventure specifically for him. Not sure how to do this, other than providing him with a creature he can specifically tame. There’s actually a Challenge in the Book of Challenges involving some escaped potential familiars which I could add in without too much hassle.

The push from all three players is to play more often. Frankly, I can’t do it. It takes me too long to prep for a game. I easily spent two hours this week, and maybe three last week — and I didn’t even run a game last week. Prepping for a game is more fun than prepping for a class or grading papers, to some degree, but I still have other parts of my life that need to be accounted for.

8 comments

  1. Again, great idea. I’ll check out Donjon, and see what if anything I can do with it, or what my players can do.

    Checking out Polaris would be very cool. I’m increasingly chary of buying games I don’t play, especially with my collection newly stripped down. might be up for playing, but we’ll see.

  2. “In addition, I think I may open up their understanding of Roleplaying Games in general by giving them some different games from my collection of Games I Own But Don’t Play, so that they have a sense of the breadth of the hobby.”

    You might want to check out Donjon at:

    http://www.anvilwerks.com/files/donjon.txt

    It feels very much like a stripped down D&D, but here’s the magic:

    Thief: I check for secret doors.
    *rolls*
    GM: Great! You succeed! You get three facts.
    Thief: Cool! Then 1.) I found a Secret Door, 2.) It was hidden behind this painting of some nobleman, and 3.) It leads off into a bedroom.
    GM: Fine. Then that’s what happens.

    See? You roll to find a secret door and if it succeeds, you tell us what you find (if anything). The whole game runs like that. It maybe a bit rough for a newbie GM, but it’s certainly worth investigating.

    A Polaris evening — sure, that’d be great. The game is really ideal with 4 players though. I bet we could talk Emily Care into playing with us. Meg and Vincent will be up to their eyes in new baby, but perhaps Jason or someone might be around.

    We’ll kick it around.
    Tom

  3. If the Ranger gets help/requests from the druid and the Paladin gets his marching orders from the pro-development side of things, there’s a bit of interesting conflict to negotiate.

    I’d actually intended to set up this conflict in the wider world; it makes sense to introduce it to the party, as well, and make them take sides. This will make the sorcerer’s talents as a mediator come to the fore, and make the player stand up for himself. It will also make the Ranger less subservient to the Paladin, as is now the case.

    But the kobold chief and a few of his henchmen (along with the girl) flee out of a hidden tunnel into the woods.

    I like this. I’ll draw in the secret tunnel tonight, and map out where it goes, and how. Flow-charting will be good for this bit — losing the trail, finding it, and so on. And this will mean that they also get to encounter the idea of secret doors, which until now I’ve let slide. Lacking a rogue, I’ve not put in too many traps, except in areas which I want the PCs to avoid (because I haven’t developed them).

    Then let them run their own games.

    This is an excellent idea. Thank you. In addition, I think I may open up their understanding of Roleplaying Games in general by giving them some different games from my collection of Games I Own But Don’t Play, so that they have a sense of the breadth of the hobby. Right now they’re occupying space on my shelves and some are likely never going to be played. If I give them to these kids, I broaden their interest in the hobby.

    Incidentally… over Christmas Break I’d like to get together with you and try my hand at Polaris. I get out of school on December 15. Do you think this could be arranged for one evening?

  4. Today’s Order of the Stick has a bit of a Paladin rant.

    To help the Ranger shine, it might be useful to have a druidic group in the area. Perhaps there’s some conflict between the druids who want to preserve the forest and the villagers who want to cut it down and develop it. If the Ranger gets help/requests from the druid and the Paladin gets his marching orders from the pro-development side of things, there’s a bit of interesting conflict to negotiate.

    But for a more specific ranger idea — the PCs batter down the inner sanctum of the Kobolds. But the kobold chief and a few of his henchmen (along with the girl) flee out of a hidden tunnel into the woods. Now the Ranger has to track them down. Maybe it takes a few days to catch up and the Ranger has to use his wilderness skills to help make sure the group survives. The final fight with the kobolds may be more of a straight-up fight which means the kobolds pose a bit less of a challenge, but after getting past the traps, fighting to the inner sanctum, a long tracking session through bear-infested woods…a straigh up fight will probably be appealing to everyone.

    The kids want to play more often? There’s a pretty simple solution — have them make up a few characters. Make up a few simple monster opponents. Then let them run their own games. I say “games”, but really, just let them come up with simple fights. One guy runs the monsters, the other 2 run a PC (or maybe 2). The idea is to let them have a good time bashing in orcs, but in the process, they’ll get to practice using the rules and they can see how different character classes can do things. They’re simple pick-up games, no XP, no on-going story, but I bet they’ll enjoy just smashing through things and they’ll have a better feel for what they can do when they sit down at your table.

    later
    Tom

  5. Today’s Order of the Stick has a bit of a Paladin rant.

    To help the Ranger shine, it might be useful to have a druidic group in the area. Perhaps there’s some conflict between the druids who want to preserve the forest and the villagers who want to cut it down and develop it. If the Ranger gets help/requests from the druid and the Paladin gets his marching orders from the pro-development side of things, there’s a bit of interesting conflict to negotiate.

    But for a more specific ranger idea — the PCs batter down the inner sanctum of the Kobolds. But the kobold chief and a few of his henchmen (along with the girl) flee out of a hidden tunnel into the woods. Now the Ranger has to track them down. Maybe it takes a few days to catch up and the Ranger has to use his wilderness skills to help make sure the group survives. The final fight with the kobolds may be more of a straight-up fight which means the kobolds pose a bit less of a challenge, but after getting past the traps, fighting to the inner sanctum, a long tracking session through bear-infested woods…a straigh up fight will probably be appealing to everyone.

    The kids want to play more often? There’s a pretty simple solution — have them make up a few characters. Make up a few simple monster opponents. Then let them run their own games. I say “games”, but really, just let them come up with simple fights. One guy runs the monsters, the other 2 run a PC (or maybe 2). The idea is to let them have a good time bashing in orcs, but in the process, they’ll get to practice using the rules and they can see how different character classes can do things. They’re simple pick-up games, no XP, no on-going story, but I bet they’ll enjoy just smashing through things and they’ll have a better feel for what they can do when they sit down at your table.

    later
    Tom

    • If the Ranger gets help/requests from the druid and the Paladin gets his marching orders from the pro-development side of things, there’s a bit of interesting conflict to negotiate.

      I’d actually intended to set up this conflict in the wider world; it makes sense to introduce it to the party, as well, and make them take sides. This will make the sorcerer’s talents as a mediator come to the fore, and make the player stand up for himself. It will also make the Ranger less subservient to the Paladin, as is now the case.

      But the kobold chief and a few of his henchmen (along with the girl) flee out of a hidden tunnel into the woods.

      I like this. I’ll draw in the secret tunnel tonight, and map out where it goes, and how. Flow-charting will be good for this bit — losing the trail, finding it, and so on. And this will mean that they also get to encounter the idea of secret doors, which until now I’ve let slide. Lacking a rogue, I’ve not put in too many traps, except in areas which I want the PCs to avoid (because I haven’t developed them).

      Then let them run their own games.

      This is an excellent idea. Thank you. In addition, I think I may open up their understanding of Roleplaying Games in general by giving them some different games from my collection of Games I Own But Don’t Play, so that they have a sense of the breadth of the hobby. Right now they’re occupying space on my shelves and some are likely never going to be played. If I give them to these kids, I broaden their interest in the hobby.

      Incidentally… over Christmas Break I’d like to get together with you and try my hand at Polaris. I get out of school on December 15. Do you think this could be arranged for one evening?

      • “In addition, I think I may open up their understanding of Roleplaying Games in general by giving them some different games from my collection of Games I Own But Don’t Play, so that they have a sense of the breadth of the hobby.”

        You might want to check out Donjon at:

        http://www.anvilwerks.com/files/donjon.txt

        It feels very much like a stripped down D&D, but here’s the magic:

        Thief: I check for secret doors.
        *rolls*
        GM: Great! You succeed! You get three facts.
        Thief: Cool! Then 1.) I found a Secret Door, 2.) It was hidden behind this painting of some nobleman, and 3.) It leads off into a bedroom.
        GM: Fine. Then that’s what happens.

        See? You roll to find a secret door and if it succeeds, you tell us what you find (if anything). The whole game runs like that. It maybe a bit rough for a newbie GM, but it’s certainly worth investigating.

        A Polaris evening — sure, that’d be great. The game is really ideal with 4 players though. I bet we could talk Emily Care into playing with us. Meg and Vincent will be up to their eyes in new baby, but perhaps Jason or someone might be around.

        We’ll kick it around.
        Tom

        • Again, great idea. I’ll check out Donjon, and see what if anything I can do with it, or what my players can do.

          Checking out Polaris would be very cool. I’m increasingly chary of buying games I don’t play, especially with my collection newly stripped down. might be up for playing, but we’ll see.

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