Greetings ladies, gents, fellow peeps, sick freaks, and aspiring killer GM’s. It's great to be back behind the infamous GM’s Monkey Screen after a seven month layoff. Our first game session will be on January 8th of 2011. This upcoming campaign should likely last about 2 years, and hopefully will produce plenty of player character suffering and destruction for many months to come. I told the guys that I'd run a campaign that would take their characters all the way from 1st through 20th level. As we'll be playing every 2nd or 3rd Saturday, it may well take the better part of two years to run the guys all the way to 20th level. (Especially as often as these guys buy the farm...)
After running an exhausting 18-month homebrewed campaign through 2009-2010, I thought I’d take a break from the rigors of home-brewed campaign design and instead string a number of my favorite TSR/WoTC published adventures from years gone by, together for the group. In the 5 Homebrewed campaigns I’ve run in the past ten years, I've noticed that my Players tend to get bored with the long-term campaigns (published or homebrew) and forget significant plot lines, characters, events, etc.). I think that the shorter-term adventure ‘modules’ offer the players a good chance to get in, kick butt (or in this campaign: get their butts kicked), and then move onto the next adventure.
I’ll list the adventures I plan to run in the coming campaign below. The PCs will be on the ‘Slow’ XP Advancement track. In order to keep the characters at levels that the adventures in question are designed for, I’m going to more or less advance the characters when they’ve completed an adventure successfully. If they die once or twice, no big deal. But if they'e died so often as to make it seem like a Call of Cthulu game, I may opt to have them do another adventure of the same level to make up for the lost XP from the repeated demises.
Well, anyways… Welcome back everyone. Let’s go waste some player characters:D
Character Level: 1-2
Character level: 3
Character levels 4-5-6
Character level: 7
Character level 8:
Character level 9:
Character level 10:
Character level 11:
Character level 12 OR 13:
Character level 13 OR 14:
Character level 14 OR 15:
Character level 15 (only used if G3 is run at level 14 rather than level 15)
Character level 16:
Character level 17
Character level 18 & 19
Character level 20:
I look forward to chatting with many of you. Regards ~AS
You will need some kind of unifying thread for the players to chase down - although the background theme of "stop Tharizdun" should crop up both early and often. Change some flavor text a bit, drop a shrine here and there, that kind of thing.
Copious notes / handouts for your typically attention-span-challenged players are a suggestion.
The Steading of the Hill Giant Chief's main dining hall is a pretty easy set up for a group of players that have a clue as to what they're doing, especially at 12th/13th level. This does presume a certain degree of expectation from amongst your players regarding liberal use of the various wall and barrier spells of course ... wall them in, lob hand grenades, rinse, lather, repeat. Meat shields are to keep casters safe and/or pepper boulder-lobbers with projectile weapons.
Turin the Mad wrote:
I agree. I'll lay the groundwork for the Tharizdun finale to come, starting early in the campaign. I'll e-mail you a copy of the final (20th level) adventure if you want one:)
Ultimately, how the PCs fare in the Hill Giant hall is up to them. If they're prepared, they'll do well. If not, then perhaps the Hill Giants will finally win one...
I've more or less decided to Swap out XL1 at 8th level. I think I'll instead run the Ravenloft adventure: "Hour of the Knife" that Marcus still cites as his favorite game session in the 10 years we rolled together. I'll have a new villain play the star role, rather than Sir Laughsomore again.
Hmm, wasn't there a Dungeon adventure 'Cradle of Madness', which was Tharzidun themed? Dungeon magazine #87 for the adventure of that name according to a quick google.
Welcome back behind the screen!
Hour of the Knife? Nice. I plan on running that in my Waterdeep campaign glad to hear that someone thought it had good playability.
I ran a campaign similar to this one Killer GM where I took modules I had always wanted to run and strung them together. I agree with Turin that a common thread would help the continuity feel so it does not get the sense of a string of unrelated dungeon crawls (unless that is what you are into). I did not do this from the beginning but I would always foreshadow the coming chronicles with hints and whispers at inns so it kept the characters vested.
Looking forward to the new journal updates!
Dennis Harry wrote:
Thanks Dennis. Glad to have you along for the ride.Hour of the Knife is too good, not to run. And the potential fatality toll is staggering. It actually states in the text that at almost any time during the adventure, if a Player Character is alone (physically away from the other characters), he/she is AUTOMATICALLY killed, and you don't have to roll any dice, or even inform the player that his character has been killed and shall we say "Replaced". The adventure explicitly encourages the GM to kill all the characters present so that they can have a special encounter with the lord of the domain (adventure is set in Ravenloft). Simply wonderful:)
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
I don't have that issue. 'The Styes' was Tharizdun-themed also. I think that I can get by with just hints and small plot threads dropped in every so often, just to make the players aware of something beneath the surface of the campaign. I'll likely slip in a small home-brew adventure that is Cthulu'ish or 'The Thing'ish' (movie) in nature, at some point.
I hope my 'schtick' and GM'ing approach live up to billing. My players know in advance what they're in for, so they won't be able to complain that they didn't know what they were getting into in this campiagn. These players for the most part (with 1 notable exception) have demonstrated an ability to 'take it in stride', in that when they make mistakes, or their dice fail them utterly, they know I'm not going to let up on them. The group is mature/tough enough to take it. That said, I will still (at times) miss having a few of my former players/whiners at the table... I can recall (with an almost euphoric-like rush of exhiliration) how utterly crushed Hexen Ineptus was on a number of occasions when escape/survival seemed likely, only to have victory snatched away at the last moment by my cruel & sadistic ass tactics. Priceless:)
In the First game session on January 8, 2011, there were (0) Zero PC fatalities. There were however a few very close calls, and unfortunately the lame players came up with a total of 7 'Natural 20's' on their Hit rolls, and 'Critted' the hell out of my opposition.
There were 5 characters present (of the 8 slated for the campaign) as the snow did thwart several attendees. The classes of the characters present were (and no I don't know any names of any of these characters, nor do I care what their names are, because they aren't going to live long enough for me to care...), so hence I'm assigning them names:
#1 Meathead the human Paladin (Awful Good)
The group agreed to hire out as simple guards for a caravan traveling through a desert area. As the Lost City adventure plot line dictates, the group gets caught in a huge sandstorm, separated from the caravan, and without enough food/water to get back, and then they stumble on the lost city of Cynidicea. Yeah.
Tier 1 has only one room. On tier two, I stocked the level with several rooms of desert raiders, which the PCs made short work of. The level 3 Warrior leader (CR 1) of the group looked promising, but one of those damn 'nat 20' rolls from one of my players, rained on that parade rather thoroughly... I added a 'Choker' (CR2) in one of the rooms, and that little creep nearly strangled one of the characters, but another 'nat 20' by Meathead the Paladin, again peed in my cheerios...
Tier 3 looked promising, though the players were smart enough not to pick a fight with the followers of Madura or Usimagaris (12 Sleep spells from 12 1st level wizards would have been a TPK for sure, but the players didn't give me that option...). The PCs learned that the 3 groups were trying to restore the civilization of the lost city, but that the evil Dog Turd Cleric Darius (on Tier 5) was cutting off most of their access & communication with the Underground City; so eliminating Darius became the main objective of the adventure from this point. I had a Giant Scorpion (CR3) guarding the way down to Tier 4. This looked like the first major challenge for the PCs, and the Scorpion had Polish Pit Detector the rogue down to Negative (-8) Hit Points (only 2 away from death at -10); BUT, chalk up another 'nat 20' to Meathead the Paladin, and scratch one Giant Scorpion. Sadly, Polish Pit Detector the Rogue survived...
On Tier 5, the group ran into a CR 4 Mimic, which I substituted there in place of some other lame monster in the adventure text, and Doofus the Fighter planted another Nat 20 (while Power Attacking) on Mr. Mimic (with a Great Axe) and did about 50 HP damage, and kissed his ass goodbye. On to the next area, the group ran into a Gargoyle, and this proved somewhat challenging, owing to the monster's DR 10/magic, but the group bloodied him, and the gargoyle ran away...
When we left off, the PCs (who had had multiple encounters already with the drug-hallucinating Cynidiceans, and were by now bored by the Cynidiceans weird costumes and behaviors), ran into what appeared to be yet two more Cynidiceans. These two however spoke some common, and after a brief discussion, offered to lead the PCs to Darius the evil dog-turd cleric, who was nearby. Sadly & unbeknownst to the PCs however, these two Cynidiceans are in fact Doppelgangers, who should ideally begin systematically greasing the PCs one-by-one when we begin playing this coming Saturday, likely starting with Polish Pit Detector the Rogue. If this were to happen when the group tangles with Darius (a 6th level cleric, though I may drop him to 5th level), then PC's really should start dropping like flies:)
I look forward to continue this rambling account of the gang's follies next week. Until then... ~KGM
You could always have an evil summoner or enchanter with a charmed flumph headhunter crit the daylights out of your paladin. I mean, his name is Meathead! That's just awesome and begs for at least three rolls on the Smack Down table 17F!
You could always have an evil summoner or enchanter with a charmed flumph headhunter crit the daylights out of your paladin. I mean, his name is Meathead! That's just awesome and begs for at least three rolls on the Smack Down table 17F!
I'll see what I can do on that recommendation. Rest assured, before this campaign is over, I'll have beat that paladin like a red-headed step child. Repeatedly.
In today’s second session of the “Campaign Classics” campaign, the PCs completed the adventure B4 The Lost City by Tom Moldvay. There were Two (2) Player Character fatalities during today’s game. Had I been thinking on the fly, rather than sticking to my pre-established game plan, I might have bagged several more PCs and possibly even scored a TPK.
We had several absent characters today: (do note that the names listed are one that I have given the player characters, and not what the players have actually named their characters)
As well as several new PCs, who started today:
ALL PCs were 2nd level during today’s action.
When we last left off, the PCs were unknowingly being led by two Doppelgangers to confront Darius, the evil cleric of Zargon. Upon arrival, the possessed player character (Doofus the Fighter), knew he was close to Darius and began to search for the secret door that Darius was behind. He was joined in his search by the new second fighter, Mc Beavis Meat Shield. The group found the secret door, and although the group did not surprise Darius; the malevolent cleric had only 1 round to prepare before the PCs opened the secret door and charged in like the bunch of warmongering brutes that they are. Darius rolled low on his initiative order, and by the time it was his turn to go, Doofus the fighter and Mc Beavis Meat Shield had already dropped around 30 HP of damage on him. As a result, Darius cast cure serious wounds on himself, and tried to rally the drugged up Cynidiceans around him to save his sorry bacon. Sadly, that didn’t work, and after burning through another Cure Moderate/serious wounds spell, Mc Beavis, Doofus, and Meathead the Paladin handed Darius his lunch, permanently…
The 16 Cynidiceans who were trying to help Darius did not stop their attack on the PCs upon Darius’ fall however; rather they continued to fight (chalk it up to a few ‘Red Bull Mushrooms’ too many, I suppose). The more dangerous of the two Doppelgangers who led the PCs to this room, proceeded to replace his mask with another, and then proceeded to anonymously enter the combat between the PCs and the mook (0 level) Cynidiceans. On his action, the very naughty Doppelganger hit Mc Beavis the Fighter with his scythe for 16 HP of damage. This did gain the attention of the players, who were by now accustomed to having their characters take only 3 or 4 HP damage on a typical hit from the Cynidiceans, but I offered no explanation, and those numb-nuts didn’t press the issue. This however proved to be a greater problem on the next round, when the Doppelganger rolled a ‘Nat 20’ on his attack roll, critted Mc Beavis the Fighter with his Scythe, and did 76 Hp of damage to Mc Beavis Meat Shield, who was killed on the spot, and probably bi-sected in heinous fashion for good measure :D
Upon the demise of Mc Beavis the fighter, several of the Vulture mask wearing Cynidiceans proceeded to immediately place the remains of Mc Beavis into a coffin, and ran off to bury him. The Doppelganger, quietly joined this group, and slipped away, to continue whittling away at the PCs at a later time.
Having defeated Darius, (and thus accomplishing their objective), the PCs waited for the departing spirit to Remove the Vargouile’s Curse from Doofus the Fighter, before his head inconveniently detached from his body several hours later. Then they decided to clear out the rest of the level. The only difficult encounter they had was with the two Were-Rats (each a CR 2). The Wererats couldn’t really threaten the PCs, except for possibly inflicting them with Lycanthropy, but their DR10/silver was taking the PCs a long time to wear down. Here seemed a good place to have our favorite Doppelganger have another go at the PCs. Le’ Buttmunch the Wizard was in the rear of the chamber (room 42 IIRC), and neither he, nor any of the other PCs present made search/perception checks high enough to notice the hidden doppelganger. On his action, the doppelganger impaled Le’Buttmunch with his scythe, dropping him to negative Hit Points. Of the other three remaining PCs present, only Doofus the Fighter was able to get to and engage the Doppelganger. He hit the doppelganger for about 20 HP of damage. On the next round, the Doppelganger hit (normally) and killed Le’Buttmunch the Wizard, with his scythe, and then moved thirty feet. Doofus and Meathead the Paladin chased after but did not hit the doppelganger (a CR 4 creature) on their next action. I had the doppelganger withdraw, in accordance with my pre-arranged plan to knock the PCs off one-by-one. This ultimately proved to be too conservative, as Doofus charged, attacked, and missed, and then Meathead charged and missed also. If I had had the doppelganger attack again, with a base attack bonus of 6 (4 from Doppelganger & 2 from two levels of Anti-Paladin), plus 6 from a 22 strength, I would have hit Doofus on a nat’ 2 or higher on the first attack, and a nat’ 7 on the 2nd. At an average of 14 HP damage per shot (2d4+9), I would have dropped Doofis in 1 round (as he was standing next to me). That would have only left Meathead the paladin and Biggles the cleric remaining. Between the two of the, I probably could have squeaked out a TPK, though if the cleric started healing downed characters at Negative HP, it might have made things complicated for me. Ultimately, I wasn’t greedy enough, and likely sold myself short on the potential for obscene lethality in this encounter. The characters gave chase, after knowing that they faced a superior foe. Sadly, I did not punish their stupidity, as is my usual custom… After the Doppelganger exited combat, the PCs cleared out tier 4 (which they had skipped on their hasty way down to tier 5). The PCs (now having reached 3rd level) were not prepared to take on Zargon (a CR 16/17 monster), and decided to move on to the next adventure.
When we left off, the PCs had completed the adventure (B4 The Lost City) successfully, and were preparing to leave the place travel back across the desert. Happily, the PCs have not yet even remotely thought of checking out their Cynidicean guides, both of whom are the very doppelgangers who have killed two of their comrades, and will now be traveling WITH the PCs back across the desert!!!!!
I had flirted with several home-brew adventures, but ended up choosing to run the 3rd level adventure “Kill Bargle” (updated for Pathfinder by Jason Buhlmann, in Dungeon Mag #150). We’ll start Kill Bargle when we begin next time:)
I am going to have to get into one of these games one day.
They're easier to put together than you might imagine. Keeping the players happy, while their characters frequently buy the farm however is something of a juggling act... I'd say one's success in pulling it off lies primarily in your personality and ability to make it humorful, as well as to be able to deal with pissed off players, and keep a smile on while doing so. Not easy, but oh, so worth it:)
What campaign world are you adventuring in, Killer? I found that Tharzidun-themed adventures can convert easily to Lamashtu, the Mother of all Augh!
Greyhawk has always been my favorite campaign world. Admittedly, I've used a homebrewed campaign world for much of the last 10 years of GM'ing (with the notable exception of the 06-07 Age of Worms campaign, see my thread for details), due to WoTC's neglectful treatment of the setting over the course of 3rd edition. I was only too happy to come back to Greyhawk where most of these classic adventures I'm planning to run in this campaign are set. Nothing better.
Herr Killer GM has seen fit to borrow my good Brothers Faust to "enlighten" his Meat Popsicles as to the greater goings on in the overall campaign. Specifically, in that they will provide such enlightenment by sending them into the afterlife via express delivery.
I personally expect that at least 3 characters will die to them on the rounds that they enter melee range of the good Brothers. Not counting the ones that they crispy critter before any brave souls engage them in melee.
Good times, good times. ^_^
Speaking of character deaths, are they not about due to continue their trek across desert sands ?
In Yesterday's 3rd session of the Campaign classics campaign, there were Zero (0) PC fatalites, BUT WAIT, don't run screaming to the next journal, thinking I'm getting soft on my PCs. Just read on and you'll realize why the fatality toll will be doubling or tripling within 30 minutes of the start of our next game session. All courtesy of Two Measly 1st Level Wizard NPCs!
There were 3 new characters in today's session:
They joined: Meathead the Paladin, Biggles the Cleric, and Doofus the Fighter.
We started off with the PCs leaving the Lost City to begin their trek back across the desert. The PCs tangled with a band of desert raiders, and mopped the floor with them, including several high level leader types.
I had hoped to have the 2 Doppelgangers who (unbeknownst to the PCs were traveling with them) bushwack the PCs in their sleep. The addition of three new characters to the mix allowed the players to have at least 1 PC awake on each shift during the group's sleeping hours. I had the Doppelgangers help the PCs in the combat against the desert raiders, to help give the players more confidence in the two Cynidiceans that were traveling with them, but I could not lull the players into enough security to allow the Doppelgangers to be the only ones awake during any one of the nightly watch shifts, and I didn't have any other decent opening to try and grease the PCs... Crap.
The PCs traveled to the coast, and took a ship far to the north. Upon arrival, the group accepted a commission to go after the evil wizard Bargle, and then I ran the adventure 'Kill Bargle' from Dungeon #150. The PCs had no problem with the upper level of the place, and managed to find the stairway down to the lowest dungeon level almost immediately, so the group missed more than half the encounters in the ruined keep. On the bottom dungeon level however, the group had problems. They totally missed most of the ogre encounters, but Meathead the Paladin lost 3 Strength Points and Doofus the Fighter lost 4 Strength points to two shadows. This did not prove to be a problem in going after Bargle, but it had profound effects, during the one encounter after Bargle (see below).
The PCs continually picked the wrong doors in the 'room with 5 doors' and kept getting teleported up above the 60 foot deep pit where they promptly fell for 6d6 of damage, and this forced the PCs to have to heal up a lot of damage that i probably wouldn't have been able to saddle them with otherwise.
The group crushed the Doppelganger assistants of Bargle (note: these were not the Doppelgangers who crossed the desert with the PCs. Those two will reappear later...). The encounter with Bargle himself was pretty lame. Bargle had his mirror image up, and the players kept guessing correctly which image was actually Bargle. Bargle was forced to resort to drinking his potion of Gaseous Form, and tried to escape behind his throne. Regretably, Doofus the Fighter 'nat' 20'd' his check to open the throne in only 1 try, and Bargle couldn't get away. He was dropped to negative HP, tied up, and awaits transport to the authorities. I'll likely have him "escape" however, so Bargle will return another day...
The final encounter of the day was a "Home Brewed" encounter that I had been planning for some time. Before the group departed with the unconscious Bargle in tow, they decided to go and tangle with a mysterious knight, whom Bargle was to meet with that very evening. The PCs suspected (incorrectly) that this mysterious knight was potentially going to become an ally of Bargle (as it was reported to the PCs that other evil Knights previously had allied with Bargle also). This knight was there to hire Bargle to enchant a weapon for him.
The PCs traveled over to the meeting place where Bargle was to have met this knight after sundown, which was a Hedge Maze/garden, near Bargle's keep. The PCs were observed during their movement towards the Hedge Maze, so the enemy knight knew what was coming before the PCs even got there. The PCs decided to have Richard Wang, the Bard dress up as Bargle, and run into the maze, acting as if the other characters were trying to kill him, and shout for the mysterious knight to come and save him! While this idea may have had a few merits (sadly none of which were making any groundwork with me), this "deception" created a problem for the group.
Once inside the Hedge Maze, the Bard masquerading as Bargle had to continually run, and stay ahead of the rest of the group. The Bard PC was shouting "Help" while keeping only a 30 or 40 foot lead on the rest of the group. The Bard led the rest of the "chasing PCs" into a long 'corridor' in the Hedge maze. There were Two 1st level Elf Wizards (Snipers) ready in that corridor, each had just cast True Strike the Round before, and each had a Light Crossbow, with a bolt loaded with Purple Worm Poison. Given the Bard's Bluff role, the two 1st level Elf Wizards (Chaotic Neutral Wild Elf Wizards) bought the Bard's Bluff, and fired their bolts at the most heavily armored characters (Meathead the Paladin, and Doofus the Fighter) in an effort to 'Save Him'. Had the Bard scouted ahead, he would have likely detected the sniper elf wizards, but given the ruse of the 'pursuing PCs', the Bard couldn't have readily tipped off his pals as to the danger awaiting them. Hence, the PCs all ran into the trap, and the Paladin & Fighter got poisoned. The Elf wizards then fled, only to reappear two rounds later to shoot 1 final poisoned bolt at Meathead the Paladin again, and hit Jean Claude Von Dumb, the Monk, with a Ray of Enfeeblement.
The PCs, to their likely ultimate detriment, stuck to the plan of "chasing after the Bard/Bargle" deeper and deeper into the maze, and gave the poison more and more time to effect the afflicted PCs.
After 6 rounds of being poisoned, Meathead the Paladin has lost 10 Strength Points (was poisoned by 2 different bolts, and has 2 more rounds to possibly lose more Strength), and Doofus the Fighter has lost 17 Strength points; and the only PC cleric has only 2 cure light woulds spells left, and no scrolls or wands. These spells however would not restore the lost Strength points, and when we begin next session, we will see whether the group of 6 PCs (soon to likely be 5, as it is now the knight's action, and he is likely going to execute a spirited charge on his horse, and unless I totally miss, should kill the Bard/fake Bargle in 1 shot. The 5 remaining characters will attempt to tangle with this knight, with neither melee combatant who has higher than a 10 Strength (the Paladin has a 10 STR, and Doofus the Fighter has a 3 Strength (that's correct, a '3' Strength score; and the Cleric, who can no longer cure any damage of consequence. It is dark (Out of doors) in the Hedge Maze, and as a result, no critical hits will occur (unless a PC happens to have Low Light Vision), so barring something extremely unlikely, I think were looking at a near TPK, when I begin the mop-up next game session.
Ah...I see you are doing something I have long wished to do..a Classics Campaign. I know I've had that idea dance around in my head on numerous occasions, I've just never really taken the time (nor had a regular group) to accomplish it with. That being said...this next session sounds like its going to be a slaughter!
Definitely consider me along for the ride o' Killer GM, may your body-count rise ever higher!
Glad as always to have you along for the ride Yasha. It's very moving, to know that others are there 'in spirit' with me on Saturdays, as I waste my player's characters wholesale, again and again:)
Ahhh. Dopplegangers. :)
Just curious, how long are your game sessions generally?
The last time I gamed with the KGM, the sessions were roughly the same length as mine, about 6 hours allotted with between 4 and 5 hours of "realized" play time.
I have to say though, it will be a genuine surprise if these starting characters survive long enough to gain access to raise dead. Well, unless these players learn the virtues of both running away when getting their lunch handed to them and having a second character sheet ready to go...
Also, they need to learn to take ranks in the Heal skill. It's generally far better at dealing with disease and poisons than magic.
The Player of the Bard Character 'Richard Wang' posted this to the group members via e-mail, as a sort of 'player recap of the afternoon's events' (for the most recent game session. I am pasting it here to give some of you a peek at the perspective of one of my victims... er, players... ~KGM
The Feb 12 game was fun. And in short our party went out to an evil wizard's dungeon, took him down [alive] to turn him in for the bounty which was placed on the wizard's head. Before we can collect however, the party is faced with a cliff hanger. The Wizard was to meet a Knight in a hedge maze garden within the confines of the dungeon/outside on the cliffs of something you get the idea. They were to meet at sundown. The Wizard from what intel we gathered has been seeing knights before, potentially to recruit them to his personal army.
If we bring in this knight we might get more cash or at least more information. At least we could get loot from him if we defeated him.
As the party approached the garden maze a planned was formed.
Dressing in the robes of the Wizard, the Bard [Dan/I wave my hand] does an impressive dice roll and bluffs being the Wizard. The scenario for this live stage acting was that the Wizard was being chased by the party members while trying to reach the Knight.
Running headlong into the Maze, the Bard in disguise bobs and weaves around corners to try and find where this Knight is. The Gunslinger [Marcus] adds to the illusion by shouting aloud, "There he is boys! Take him alive, he's worth more gold that way!"
The party gets ambushed by two crossbow weilding lvl 1 wizards. Those bolts were poisoned tipped and the first volley was assisted by true strike. The Barbarian [Josh] takes quite a number of hits and doesn't get anywhere with his fortitude saves. "Guys... I don't feel so great." He went from looking like a body builder to a huffing and puffing exhausted looking guy who doesn't look capable in walking.
Pernament Image illusionary walls hid these bobbing and weaving crossbow elf chicks [at least the models were elf chicks at times] as they shot bolts at the party. The Paladin shrugged off poison for the first few rounds, but after several bolts even his constitution wasn't able to ignore all the poison. Insert beading sweat on the Paladin [Sean's] forehead. Dramatic music dun duh duuh.
You can hear the bard yell out, "They're still following me. Have we nothing Else to slow them down!?"
There was no indication that further opponents were in the Maze or decided to respond. The wizards continued to try and move away while peppering the party with poisoned crossbow bolts. Those shots against the party were not unanswered. The Zen Archer Monk [Dan again] and the Gunslinger teamed up to injure and then take out at least one of the wizards. The other wizard ran off. Both heroes got rays of enfeeblement for their trouble, but the pair shrugged and said, "Don't use Str for attack anyways."
The Bard scouted further ahead and made a show of casting 'magic missile'. In reality, dancing lights. The dancing lights made an arrow pointing in the direction for the party to follow.
In the receding light of the day, the Bard finally locates the Knight. In a serious voice he informs the Knight that, "We have been comprimised. They will be here shortly."
*Scene fades to black and we are left with a cliff hanger and possibly a commercial*
Great to hear from you again. We're probably playing next on March 5, though I'd like to try on the last Saturday in February. The poison was a stroke of brilliance (props to Turin in part for mentioning it in passing), and the Rays of Enfeeblement on top (which stack), make it that much worse. Please give your players a taste of the same:)
I find that it is usually Best to throw a Dangerous/Deadly encounter at the group FIRST, when the game begins. IF/When the group loses multiple characters towards the End of a game session, the players leave pissed, and it gives the them time in between game sessions to think about it and whine. That is better avoided. If you demolish them straight out of the gate, first thing in the morning, by the time they've recovered during the rest of the afternoon, they've practically forgotten, and they're ready for the next pummeling:)
So if you have low level characters being killed early in the session (when the party has no access to raise dead magic), do you just have them bring in a replacement PC right away (ie. does the replacement PC just sort of randomly show up) or do they have to wait until a suitable time in the story when a new character can be introduced?
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
I normally allow the replacement character to enter play immediately after the encounter (in which the last PC was dispatched) is completed. Exceptions do occur, and If there are extenuating circumstances, (such as if there is no possible logical way that a replacement PC would be on hand) then I might delay admitting the next PC. However, whenever possible, I admit the next PC as soon as feasible, to reduce player irritation.
Is it wrong for me to be longingly hoping that the next session delivers us 2 TPKs in the same session?
Not in my book, CapnVan! ^_^ Although I think the KGM strives to avoid delivering two in the same session for a reason. That reason being to have a game to come back to in two weeks or so.
Turin the Mad wrote:
In 2008, I had 1 TPK and a near second TPK (Turin the Mad was in on the second one as a co-GM) in the same session, and the player reaction to it was pretty negative (those wimps...), but my group survived it.... It takes some clever player management to pull two off in one day. I suspect that at the end of 6th level in the current campaign (when my players face the Slave Lords in combat), that there may be multiple TPKs in one day. Incidentally, speaking of TPK's :D:D:D...
In Today's 4th session of the Campaign Classics campaign, there WAS a TPK, which involved 6 PC Fatalities :D This encounter began during the last game session and was completed early this morning. The encounter began last week with SIX 3rd level player characters entering a hedge maze to tangle with a CR 5 (Ranger 1/Fighter 4) evil Knight and his two 1st level wizard helpers. The enemy knight had drank potions of Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Bear's Endurance, and Shielf of Faith during rounds 1-4 while the PCs worked their way through the hedge maze to get to him.
Last week, the two 1st level elf wizards shot Meathead the Paladin and Doofus the Fighter with light crossbow bolts with Purple Worm poison and when we began today (in Round 7 of the encounter), Meathead the Paladin was down to a 10 Strength, and then dropped to a 7 STR after a failed save to start the afternoon off. Even worse off was Doofus the Fighter who ended up with a 3 STR (yes, a THREE Strength score), and his new Encumbrance Limit of 30 LBS could not sustain his Half Plate armor, and he proceeded to fall over and yell "MEEP":D
In round 8 this morning, the evil knight (known affectionately as "Sir Sean" charged the PC Bard "Richard Wang" using a Spirited Charge with Power attack, and did 50 HP of damage and killed him in one hit. This concerned the other five remaining characters greatly, and likely altered the players tactics afterwards (in round 9). The loss of the two melee combatants strength scores put the group in significant danger. This situation went from bad to worse when the Gunslinger PC mounted his horse, and moved to within 5 feet of the evil knight Sir Sean. The player's decision to do this was to prevent Sir Sean from conducting another Spirited Charge on any other remaining characters (he & his horse effectively blocked the ten foot wide corridor and thus prevented me from charging at any of the other characters who were behind him in the maze corridor). Several other characters then moved to behind the Gunslinger PC to potentially start firing missiles at Sir Sean, and it appeared that the Players may have hit onto an idea of merit. However, in round 9, Sir Sean took his 1 melee attack per round and swung at the Gunslinger PC "Flint Shrubwood", and I rolled a Natural 20, and verified a Critical Hit on him, and dropped Flint to Negative HP in one shot. The player then declared that his horse was 'trained to ride off to safety when its rider was incapacitated', and had his mount Double Move out of harm's way. This provoked an attack of opportunity, which I took, and hit the already-at-negative-HP character and put him out of his misery.
The fall of the Gunslinger PC was effectively the final nail in the coffin for the group, and the route began immediately thereafter. The remaining PCs then began a feeble attempt at an organized retreat. They didn't get far, when in Round 10, Sir Sean executed another Spirited Charge and hit Meathead the Paladin for 51 HP of damage, and dropped his sorry ass to Negative HP also. The two remaining PCs then broke into a panic and ran for their lives, trying to get out of the hedge maze. In Round 11, Sir Sean moved to (couldn't charge) and Hit the PC Monk "Jean Claude Von Dumb" for 22 HP of damage, while the remaining PC, Biggles the Dwarf cleric ran his paultry 80 foot Quadruple move to try to get away. The player of Jean Claude Von Dumb (wisely) concluded that his character couldn't realistically hope to make a tumble/acrobatics check to get out of my threatened space to flee, and he instead went defensive; but to no avail. Sir Sean skewered him again in Round 12, doing another 20 HP damage and killed his character. On Rounds 13 & 14, Sir Sean then chased down Biggles the Dwarf cleric, and when he caught up to Biggles in in Round 15, Sir Sean put the Dwarf Cleric out of his misery too. Sir Sean then went back into the Hedge Maze, and finished off the (still at Negative HP: Meathead the Paladin), and the "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up," 3 Strength Doofus the Fighter, to complete the TPK.
The Players learned several lessons today. Lesson #1: a 50 gold piece anti-toxin gives you a +5 bonus on all poison saves (and would have made the difference today). Unfortunately, nobody had one. #2: A HEAL Check can be used to help deal with poison in a fellow player character. Clearly none of the Players knew that either... and #3: a scroll or potion of Delay Poison would have made the purple worm poison almost completely irrelevant. But no one had a potion, scroll, or Delay Poison spell memorized. Additionally, the players tactics in this encounter were even worse then I've tried to describe them, and undoubtedly had a hand in their demises today. Even Hexen Ineptus wouldn't have blown it that badly...
After the encounter concluded, The New Player Characters (names to be printed in the days to come) were hired to join an Arctic expedition which I based on Lovecraft's "At the Mountain of Madness." The point of the expedition (which was completed in about 3 hours of game play) was to introduce more of the Tharizdun plot line which will connect the adventures and lead towards the conclusion of the campaign at 20th level. The PCs defeated an evil cleric, but not before he partially opened a gateway, allowing the 'Four Heralds of Tharizdun' to escape. The PCs now will at length have to track these monsters down, before they do all kinds of terrible things and help usher in Tharizdun's return.
We concluded today with the PCs beginning SCOURGE OF THE SLAVE LORDS. The PCs attended Dame Gold's party, left to begin the Quest to deliver the potion to Dame Gold's brother, and the PCs were successfully Shanghaied, and are now slaves aboard the Slave Ship "The Ghoul", and were being flogged when we ended for the day.
More PC punishment when we begin next time. Tune in everyone :)
I cannot for the life of me figure out why the projectile weapons dudes moved in so close to the nefarious Sir Sean.
Granted, at 3rd level range, I tend towards carrying a smokestick or two, flasks of lamp oil, a spare tindertwig, a bag or two or four of caltrops ... an some variation on the "light source" concept.
I award a three-fingered salute to the chuckleheads, for death by stupidity.
I find the TPK followed by sustained flogging acceptable.
Turin the Mad wrote:
I second the salute Turin. Had these guys had some alchemists' fire, flaming oil, a web spell, or other normal things that characters are apt to have, they could have had many options available to them.
:) Thanks man, I'll try to keep duplicating the success. If I stick to the scripted text of the 'A-Series' modules, then it will likely be a 'trickle of PC demises here and there' rather than a 'thunderstorm', until the group fights the slave lords. When the PCs tangle with the slave lords themselves, then grab your nearest bucket, as the monsoon will have arrived...
The tentative character lineup for our next session on March 26 is looking to be:
Flint Shrubwood Returns (PC Human Gunslinger, level 4)
The following are doubtful for March 26, but may be there...
Gots to love the character names you give the poor, soon to be demised players. Being ex-military I'm especially fond of the "SPFR" moniker...
Props to Turin on that one. The 'SPFR' moniker actually seemed slightly more appropriate for a NON-Armor wearing skulk with his family jewels swinging in the breeze; but I'd already named him. So, I went with SPFR for the tree-hugging, animal loving, weed smoking, fruitcake liberal, furry critter summoning Druid, who can't wear medium or heavy armor, and is equally likely to see himself and his various animal companions ending up as dinner for numerous monsters.