DnD: The Next Campaign

So Miss 12 has talked about being interested in a more farming/business type adventure next. Something where she can build up something.

So I have been tossing ideas about in my head and have the start of something to run past you all…

She receives a letter from a lawyer in Waterdeep that she has inherited a shop from a distant relative. She arrives at the shop to find a small curio shop, in a quiet part of town.

A range of ideas have spawned from here. things like

  • customer comes in with something to sell -is it rare, magical, stolen, and does that cause trouble for the shopkeeper?
  • is someone chasing something that is in the shop? Perhaps there are some break ins or standover tactics?
  • is there something in the shop that’s cursed/magical and causing trouble in the shop?
  • does she come to the attention of the guilds or of one of the factions of Waterdeep?
  • a customer asks her to seek out a particular item?
  • is the shop haunted?
  • she could go out adventuring to supplement the income or to find things to protect/defend the shop?

Some of these could lead to adventures around the town or further afield. I realise that it will be a lot of role-play, but I think she will prefer that.

She could advance in her guild, or in renown in the city. Perhaps she starts to take over other business, building an empire!

I’ve picked up Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, mostly to get the flavour and information about Waterdeep, but I’ve realised I can even tie her into that adventure from the Fireball incident. I can use some of the other missions and the like as well, or just use the detail of the town.

I’ve also considered creating a couple of handouts, like a ledger from the shop, listing everything in it. Something like that will really tickle her fancy I think. Maybe some maps or drawings of curious items. Investigating one of these items might lead to an adventure itself (markings on a medallion, a map in a scroll case…)

Open to ideas and suggestions. I have some time as they’re only in Act Two of Phandelver, but I’d like to get a skeleton done soon.

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DnD: The Phandelvers…..

So three game reports for you. First up, parts 4 & 5 of the lead game.

But not to be left out, the girls have pushed through their very different game…

Their party headed back to one of the earlier rooms, surprising a pair of bugbears that were tormenting a goblin. The goblin fainted when they burst in and was not in the fight at all.

And again the girls played it differently, knocking the last bugbear out. Interrogating both the bugbear and goblin when they woke up, the party has learnt a lot about the hideout, including that there are other secret doors, where Cragmaw Castle is (the lead party don’t have many clues on this yet), where Glassstaff is and what opposition is left in the Redbrands hideout.

Leaving the bugbear all tied up (and probably dieing from his wounds) they approached the nearby barracks and made short work of the Redbrands in there too. (DM Note: I think I might be softening the opponents up too much, maybe for both groups). Again they interrogated a dieing one, but learnt little new.

Slowly getting through the Manor.

Now they are headed for Glassstaff, but unlike the main party, they have a chance to surprise him by having the goblin show them the secret ways into his rooms.

The gnome, the dwarf and the teifling are stacked ready to enter the next secret door…

Not sure when the girls next round will be. The lead party will be just less than two weeks away (we play on a fortnightly schedule).

Almost There

So yesterday I handed in what should be my last assignment for my Masters. Still about 2 months of study left. I have a practical to complete and there is some paperwork and analysis of my practical that must also be submitted, but the assessments are done.

Well, that assumes that I pass.

So now I need to get back into sorting out my registration as well. I’d like to have that completed by the end of this year.

But after 2 years of study and about 4 years real time (because I spent almost 1 year on the bachelor degree, and then 6months forced break due to work). Hmm, changing to the Masters didn’t actually save me any time in the end AND it cost me $1000s more than the Bachelor.

But at least it sounds fancy to have a Masters!

Almost there….

DnD: The Other Phandelver continues

The girls got stuck into their game yesterday. A few dropped hints by the townsfolk and they (finally) headed into the Manor. They have a very different approach to the other group. The girls are sneaking by default, and carefully listen at every door they have come across. As you can see from the exploration below this has taken them through the area with a lot of back tracking. For example, at the sight of the skeletons propped up in their caskets the party immediately withdrew. Not sure if they smelled something fishy there.

However, they actually fight quite well. The three Redbrands that set upon them in one room were forced to fight one at a time as the party stayed in the narrow hallway, using ranged attacks over the gnome fighter holding the front line (actually the party is conveniently sized, with the fighter a gnome, the cleric a dwarf and the wizard up the back a tiefling). Without any ranged weapons the bandits were forced to wait until the one in front was dead before they could attack.

My new gaming mat gets its first use…
The session ends after defeating one group of Redbrands, the party moves back into the cellar to decide upon their next action.

They’ve uncovered a trap in advance, found a secret door, and carefully moved back away from any door that had any noise behind it.

The other group just went left and opened everything they came across….

While no way as convenient as uncovering parts of a map on a screen for people across the country, the gaming mat is working well. The Manor fits almost perfectly on this sized one, but I am not sure what will happen with larger maps. (Maybe I need some more mats…).

And sure sometimes my bandit appears as a plate armour wearing fighter or my nothic looks remarkably like a mummy, (and my gnome fighter looks remarkably like a dwarf) but the minis are working well.

Until next game.

Do you talk about it?

See the gorilla? Well the viewers didn’t.

As a motorcycle rider, it isn’t unusual to have near misses with cars. The more often you ride, the more you will have. Just the other day, barely 50m from my house I was forced to come to full emergency stop part way around a roundabout when a car coming from my left clearly hadn’t seen me and wasn’t going to stop.

Just as I pulled up, the driver saw me and also stopped. He gave an apologetic wave and I carried on.

I have to say, this one was kind of close. Worse, if it had been a minute or two earlier, my own daughter would have been standing at the bus stop just metres away and seen the crash, or at least the aftermath.

And it was my closest in several weeks. I pulled over a few metres up the road until I could catch my breath and the shakes slowed down a bit.

But that isn’t the point of the post.

Riders will always discuss this kind of event amongst themselves. It’s actually beneficial in that it provides a forum to examine the incident and learn from it. Even if we’re not doing it consciously, we’re still learning. Incidents like this years ago are part of the reason I was even looking for the car in the first place.

But what about the driver? Did he go to work and sit down with his mates and describe how he almost collected a motorcycle on the way to work?

I bet he didn’t. Does anyone? It’s a natural tendency to cover up our mistakes. Not let people know.

But there was more than just laziness at work for him. If he was a local, I would be confident he would know that my direction is the least used, so he’s assumed there would be no traffic. The mind is pretty amazing so even if he did look my way, his mind was not expecting to see anything and so he didn’t. These other factors are well understood in other circles (like in aviation). Google the gorilla suit in the basketball game for an extreme version of this “not seeing things”.

And so his learning will be less – and there is more chance he will do it again. Or that his friends who never have this discussion have more chance to have the same mistake.

So would you talk about it?

DnD: Reporting on 2 games…

My main game seems to be going well. The party has been working steadily through the Redbrands Hideout, but so far have not met their leader GlassStaff. They have a new member too, finding a monk locked in the hideout. Check back in a few days and I’ll have added the write up as well.

The players really seem to be enjoying it, and I am too. Even for our odd time (8am on Sunday morning) their participation is high. I haven’t had any rumours or niggles about people leaving. That tells me that they are enjoying it, and my work as DM is going fine. Most of the support they’ve given me directly has been about their own characters (like the detail of Magic Missile, or Comprehend Languages) so they’re comfortable with the way the game is running.

The biggest drama from the session was that one character who until now, had never been hit, got hit. No biggie you say, but this is the paladin who leads the way into each room and spends each combat toe to toe with the enemy, who have not hit him at all. However, a pair of guards in the hideout managed to strike him several times. I almost made the rest of the party have one round of surprise in response.

The party has grown now, to 6. Large for the module, so I’ve upped the HP on their opponents generally. This makes the combat last, without skewing the encounter too much. Seemed to work so far.

The second party, currently Miss 12, with the odd appearance of Miss 9 has also arrived in Phandalin. Provided the same scenarios they’ve headed off in quite a different direction. This was quite interesting watching these two have quite different reactions and fixate on quite different things. Miss 9 immediately focused on getting paid and pushed to not look through the town, but head off to complete the first task they would get a reward for. Miss 12 was more interested in the Redbrands.

As they basically got up, got a task and bailed from the town I didn’t get a chance to skew them to investigate the Redbrands. They ended up in the wilderness chasing some Orcs.

The orc fight went well though I really had to modify it. With a small party and an encounter more aimed at level 3 characters, I took away several of the additional opponents. I didn’t want to Total Party Kill them in their first game. That would not set a good impression. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t go close though….

So I have two happy parties. I’m enjoying myself and getting a solid amount of DnD in. It gives them something to do when they’re off screen time too. So it’s only positive.

Here goes nothing!

Yes, I do actually keep my desk this tidy. All paperless remember!

Here we go – the very last unit of my Masters. 13 weeks (well almost 12 now) including a 5 week pracs and with any luck, I’ll pass and graduate.

Work finally gave in and has allowed me the time off for the practical (starts mid-October) so I could get into this final unit and actually finish this. The prac is longer than the others, and this one is actually graded out of 10, rather than just a pass/fail.

Which all adds together to make me more nervous than I have been for any of the other pracs.

I am still excited. I am with a Year 1 class, who I will meet tomorrow. I haven’t taught a class this young so it will be an excellent opportunity and a great round off to my other experiences (Years 3, 5, 6).

So some late nights for the next 3 months, then finish!

DnD: You want a turn too?

A while back I attempted to get my two interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons. Having not played myself for many years, I rolled out the Basic Set (Red Books) and started them through the adventure included there.

They did show some interest, even more when a friend donated some miniatures to paint up. However they were not interested in a repeat.

Skip forward 3 years and I’m a running the Lost Mines with a group as you know. Sunday afternoon, well after the game, Miss 12 asked if she could have a go. Umm, I certainly wasn’t going to say no. Apart from the whole – get my kids involved in my interests its easier for me to spend time on it selfish motivation, I think there are a couple of positives in D&D. It’s a social game, and most players play face to face. When kids are behind their devices or screens, D&D gives them some “real life” interaction. And there’s another, time away from screens. Even if I used D&D Beyond to hold our characters and as a reference, its still away from the device.

But one of the bigger ones is that it is something that is creative. Sure the DM tells a story, but the DM really sets the scene, what happens is up to the Players. It’s a group storytelling activity, with some supportive mechanics to help with some randomness and tension!

But its also about doing stuff together with my kids.

So Miss 12 rolled a wizard, I added a fighter in support and we started the Lost Mines. I hope it was partly my improved skills and familiarity with being a DM, but I’m sure it was also the more streamlined nature of 5E and the better module but it seemed like she had fun.

Enough that she asked to play again after dinner. And this time Miss 9 joined in too. This was fortuitous as we’d been in some combat and were really looking for some heals! So the premade Cleric joined the party.

We finished the evening having cleared most of the first goblin hideout, though we are stopped having just peeked into a final room full of goblins, but I think they should be able to manage it.

Now we see if they want to play again.

DnD Session 2: First contact with the Redbrands.

Session 2 was a short one this morning. Myself and another player both had commitments so finishing early suited us. The session finished after a first room cleared within the Redbrand’s hideout. A nice clean place to stop.

After two sessions, I am (perhaps a little proudly) pretty confident that these experienced players are enjoying my adventure (The Lost Mines is a pretty good one according to most accounts) and they are enjoying my efforts as DM. Certainly my youngest, busy with Roblox on the computer next to me, seemed amused as I role played some NPCs.

I’m slowly getting the hang of Roll20 and it sure is well thought out. I do think practicing the keyboard shortcuts will help though.

At the moment, the hardest part I am finding is my lack of knowledge of the players abilities. Roll20 (and D&D Beyond does it as well) you can click on spells etc and the details show up in the chat. This helps a lot.

I am in two minds about buying resources though. I like the idea of a shelf full of books of D&D, but having spent all my study using online texts or ebooks, I am torn. The coolness of having the books and being able to open them and look at the art etc, vs the ease and less expense of the online. Then there is the trouble of do I buy it in D&D Beyond, or Roll20? They’re not transferable or compatible? Any thoughts?

Oh, as soon as I can I’ll post up this weeks session write up when our scribe completes it, so watch out for that.