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DM discussion forum/Campaign workshop

Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
edited July 2011 in Critical Failures
I'm about to launch my first foray into self written adventures so am making this thread to put up my plans and hopefully get a bit of critique/advice if you guys can see room for improvement.

Kept out of the 4e thread as (a) that thread swallows posts very quickly and (b) hoping more people will post up ongoing stuff here and we can feed off each other.

Campaign background:

4e. Crag Mountain aka 'The dwarf campaign'.
The campaign is based around the Crag Mountain Fastness, a major dwarf mine in the North Mountains.

The campaign is sequenced around the discovery by a maintenance team (the PCs) of a hidden underworld and prison, once the domain of an ancient race of advanced dwarves. They “delved too deep” and awoke terrors – spirit-demons ( hoodwraiths)

The opening of the hidden world finds they have been let loose once more for, thousands of years ago, they were captured and sealed within prison-globes by an alliance of intelligent races, now called the “ Ancient Alliance”. Many of the globes were smashed by an unexpected earth-movement (the Crag Mountain lords believe the machinations of an evil being as the location should have been stable).

The prison, though, was arranged around a pair of magical world-maps arranged around a portal: the world-maps give the locations of every wraith in the world and the other planes as well as the location of numerous portals (and their addresses). Using normal portal magic, a group can travel close to almost any wraith troublespot they can see on the worldmap.

The PC’s have been assigned to a Wraith-hunter team to deal with the ancient menace.

These portals make for a good 'DM of the month' swap around as the team get sent off to deal with the latest Wraith menace to show up on the map.


My Planned Session 1:

The party will arrive back in Crag via portal after their latest semi-successful mission. They will bump into another dwarf party who were just about to be dispatched through the portal on a mission. This party will turn out to be on their maiden excursion, lead by an overly cocky dwarf in ridiculously impractical but shiny and jewelled armour. One of the new party will slightly fan-boy squee over the arriving players as he has heard of their deeds, read about them in Axe and Crossbow magazine, and is desperate to be like them (we've just hit paragon so I though this would be a good way to show that we're starting to get some major recognition in the world).

Moving on from hopefully a brief but amusing RP encounter the players will be given a week in downtime to get some R&R and recover from their latest ordeals. When summoned for a mission they are sent after the other dwarf party as they were meant to check in after 48hrs but have not been heard from since they left. This is work below their station really, but they are the only ones available and the expedition team supervisor is being leant on by a Crag councilman who's nephew was the cocky bling dwarf.

Arriving through the portal they find themselves on a blank cliff face as the dwarf hold that was once here has been long since torn apart by massive earth movements. A rope left by the missing party leads across a 30ft chasm (is this big enough for a level 11 party?) to a potential path down the mountain they find themselves on. Was once two ropes for easy crossing, but one has snapped and dangles from the far side. If investigated, stump was clawed or bitten, not cut by knife.

Once half the party is over a vanity of manticores (geddit?) swoops in and attacks. If the party passes a hard perception check they will hear them coming, otherwise they will attack when someone is half over :twisted:

Manticores being cowards will run when bloodied if any other manticores have died and the pack leader is gone. The pack leader requires two dead manticores and to be bloodied to run.

The party then travel down the mountain to a small idyllic farming village following an obvious trail left by the missing party. In the village they find that the missing party has been there up until yesterday hunting for clues to wraith activity but coming up empty handed, they didn't want to return as they were embarrassed at finding nothing and also enjoying the local hospitality. Comedy stories such as convincing priestess by constant badgering to allow them into the temple crypt to check for 'evil cult activity' and getting shooed out when prodding the bodies to see if they'll move. Left yesterday after picking up a lead from an elder as to a hidden path to a surviving bit of the old dwarf hold.

Climb back up mountain to find a large chasm with a rope leading down into the ruins of the dwarf hold as directed. Two dwarven figures standing at edge of chasm looking down. On approach these turn out to be the skin of two missing party members animated by virtue of being stuffed full of bugs (re-skin green hag from Monster Vault) and three awakened rot grub swarms (MM3) crawl from the chasm. Fight!

End session one!

Jam Warrior on
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Posts

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Rough outline plan future sessions:

    - Trap chamber in ruined hold with constantly regenning skeletons forever blundering over obvious pressure plates and setting off axe pendulums.

    - End of small dungeon run, find a Beholder who was skulking in the ruins possessed by a wraith. Explains that his agents have taken what they need from this chamber and taken the remaining missing party members off to 'prepare for the ritual'. Then skedaddles freeing angry Beholder for fight times.

    - In chamber find history of ruined hold on walls, crypts etc. Was once an outpost in the old wraith war but was shattered by a wraith who had forged an alliance with a red dragon. Mighty dwarven hero killed the dragon and drove off the wraith but died in the battle. Hold abandoned once his grave had been laid. Hero's bones stolen.

    - Return to village, wraith and undead minions have swept through and burnt and murdered everyone. Find one survivor who reveals that dwarves in chains were lead off to 'Dragon's Hill'.

    - Head to hill where interrupt a ritual to raise dead dragon. At ritual's interruption it all goes wrong, the dragon raises as a dracolich but it, the wraith and the PCs are all sucked in the shadowfell. Wraith and dracolich fly off giving PCs the finger.

    - On to Chapter 2: Escape from the Shadowfell.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    This is a cool idea. I'll work on putting together a synopsis of my Dark Sun campaign so far.

    I'm not a big "planner", I prefer to be fluid and react to player actions, but I do like having the broad strokes worked out ahead of time.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    This only gonna be for 4e, or just RPGs in general?

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Anything you fancy.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Tonight is a one-combat session that will be introducing our characters to their home base for Paragon Tier.

    Of course, the one combat is an EL +3 vs multiple megapedes in relatively close quarters. That should be fun.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • I Complain MultitudesI Complain Multitudes Registered User
    edited July 2011
    Sounds pretty fun.

    I'm currently working out a Dark Sun campaign. I feel the world is perfect to be used sort of like a Frontier/Old West-type of setting, and the idea is the party would be a band of mercenaries/outlaws hopping from one job to the next. A Firefly comparison may seem obvious and is intended as an influence on the grand story... Cowboy Space Opera... or Desert Opera. What's the difference? :P

    I thought it would be neat if an underground Defilers guild had stumbled across a rapidly growing fungus or some such that they discover they can use to power their magic without causing so much damage around them (and also without being so easily noticed). Nefarious plots ensue. I'm thinking that, as a fungus, it could be kept in their belongings (not require much light) and would only need to be damp in order to thrive... so basically, you have a guild of Defilers that carry this fungus around and are able to use their magic more freely without leaving the tell-tale signs of defiling.

    Just sketches now, but I'm kind of excited about it.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    In 4E, Defilers don't always have to defile. So staying on the down low is much easier than it used to be. They can get by until they actually need to cut loose and wreck stuff.

    Of course, that makes an organization of specifically defilers somewhat less salient to the setting. Perhaps it's just a much shadier counterpoint to the Veiled Alliance, like a magical version of the Order. Think Sith, but permanently trapped on Tattoine. Shadowy elders training new mages in an effort to take control of a city state or maybe even the whole region.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • I Complain MultitudesI Complain Multitudes Registered User
    edited July 2011
    Ah right... I forgot about the whole Arcane Defiling at-will thingy. It's been a while since I actually looked at anything, the idea just popped in my head the other day.

    I suppose I could tweak it a bit... What I ultimately want is for Defilers to not have to defile at all, as long as they have this super-growing plant-or-fungus stuff, and have that be the sort of Bad Guy Has Super Weapon part of the story arc. Like, the whole point is a nearly-unlimited power source for defiling magic, and maybe it seduces some into thinking defiling magic can be tolerated since this stuff can be grown so abundantly and basically used as its fuel... and then, of course, there's the horrible consequence part and the ultimate conflict part later on that I haven't really thought out yet.

    Hrmm...

  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Speaking of Sith, my interested in Star Wars has been rekindled by various, picking up Saga Edition and will likely be throwing together a campaign. Likely gonna be Old Republic to get away from Lucas history, thoughts gentlemen?

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Behind Enemy Lines

    Six soldiers, members of a covert squad of armsmen, are sent by their commanding officers into a neighboring kingdom their homeland is at war with to pillage the countryside and disrupt supply lines to the warfront, posing as highwaymen, brigands, and robbers. The players quickly learn that all is not as it seems and they must choose between duty and honor, an ideal they thought they were quite familiar with.

    The RPG Bestiary - Dangerous foes and legendary monsters for D&D 4th Edition
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Matev wrote: »
    Speaking of Sith, my interested in Star Wars has been rekindled by various, picking up Saga Edition and will likely be throwing together a campaign. Likely gonna be Old Republic to get away from Lucas history, thoughts gentlemen?

    I'm about to play in an Old Republic campaign and I'm pretty excited. The best part is you really don't have any types of restrictions on Force users. It was hard to integrate a lot of lightsaber wielding maniacs into my Rebellion campaign.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Matev wrote: »
    Speaking of Sith, my interested in Star Wars has been rekindled by various, picking up Saga Edition and will likely be throwing together a campaign. Likely gonna be Old Republic to get away from Lucas history, thoughts gentlemen?

    I'm about to play in an Old Republic campaign and I'm pretty excited. The best part is you really don't have any types of restrictions on Force users. It was hard to integrate a lot of lightsaber wielding maniacs into my Rebellion campaign.
    If I ever run another Saga game, it'll be Legacy.

    Because for all it's faults and inconsistencies as a setting, it's still basically all the awesome parts of Star Wars in one place. And I'm a sucker for awesome.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    If I ever run another Saga game, it'll be Legacy.

    Because for all it's faults and inconsistencies as a setting, it's still basically all the awesome parts of Star Wars in one place. And I'm a sucker for awesome.

    I'm curious about the Legacy Era. just got the first two trade paperbacks of it at a 2nd hand book store tonight, so we'll see how it goes...

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • Dr. Phibbs McAtheyDr. Phibbs McAthey Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Matev wrote: »
    Speaking of Sith, my interested in Star Wars has been rekindled by various, picking up Saga Edition and will likely be throwing together a campaign. Likely gonna be Old Republic to get away from Lucas history, thoughts gentlemen?

    I'm about to play in an Old Republic campaign and I'm pretty excited. The best part is you really don't have any types of restrictions on Force users. It was hard to integrate a lot of lightsaber wielding maniacs into my Rebellion campaign.

    The only problem I have with an Old Republic game is unless everyone in the group is familiar with it, you really have to work hard to establish context and make it feel like Star Wars. That said, I agree that otherwise it is a fantastic setting. Everything you want in one place, much like Legacy!
    Hell, in my erstwhile Saga group, the only setting that I can guarantee everyone will be familiar with is Rebellion :?

  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    There are Jedi, Sith, Hyperdrives, and Wookiees, what is there to get confused over!?

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • Dr. Phibbs McAtheyDr. Phibbs McAthey Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I'm just speaking from experience. I guess last time we did Old Republic there were no Jedi or Sith (something the GM liked because he's generally anti-Jedi/Sith anyway I think), and it ended up being a very poor Firefly-esque game that no one cared about :(

  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Matev wrote: »
    There are Jedi, Sith, Hyperdrives, and Wookiees, what is there to get confused over!?

    My GF is running the Old Republic campaign I am taking part in and she concerned because I'm the only person in the group (excluding her) who has beaten KOTOR1 or 2. Without the context, she is freaking out that people won't understand the story.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Matev wrote: »
    There are Jedi, Sith, Hyperdrives, and Wookiees, what is there to get confused over!?

    My GF is running the Old Republic campaign I am taking part in and she concerned because I'm the only person in the group (excluding her) who has beaten KOTOR1 or 2. Without the context, she is freaking out that people won't understand the story.
    The only difference between KotOR and Rebellion is the prevalence of people with lightsabers and Force training. Otherwise it's the same worlds, same races, there's even an Empire that's the bad guys.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Alkey42Alkey42 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    My party of 3 got split up, they each had a parachute, but didn't jump together from a moving (crashing) ship. Not sure how to bring them together in a reasonable way without obvious fudging. The bard failed her nature check in a real way and really should run into some undesirables, which I guess she could talk her way out of, but what if she doesn't? I feel like I can't do any combat encounter because that would leave one player out. Unless I managed to get them into trouble at the same time and ran them simultaneously.

  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Alkey42: I just started a PbP here, and had one player run off to do his own thing while the other 5 stayed together. I had planned and needed a combat encounter in the Inn. I was outright forced to leave one player out. Now, while I felt a little bad about it, I had to realize it was his choice.

    In order to make it up to him, I'm going to have to create a thing for him to do. I meant to do it over PM a while back, but have been really struggling with what to do.

    My point here is, don't feel bad about leaving a player out of a combat, it was either their choice or the consequence of their actions. In order to bring them together you could have a combat start with one character, and give some skill checks to the others so they can get a bearing on where it is (provided they would be in earshot of the fight. Remember though, the sound of steel on steel carries pretty far in a forest if the player is quietly listening.) Then they could finagle their way and join the fight or at least be joined up.

  • ForarForar #432 Already prepping for Toronto Fan Expo!Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Alkey42 wrote: »
    Unless I managed to get them into trouble at the same time and ran them simultaneously.

    This seems very workable. Perhaps a little fudging one way or another if one combat looks like it might go significantly longer, and perhaps all the commotion of the fights might be what helps them figure out where the other group is.

    Edit: Building on what Anon said, remember that it doesn't just have to be about the sound of steel carrying; the screams of the wounded or dying will carry quiet a ways, if magic is being used then there's a chance the flashes of lighting/fire/radiance/etc might attract the other player's attention, and there's always the option of having the stereotypical flock of birds from a tree flying up in response to the commotion. Might be a little meta'y to assume that any such commotion would be his or her comrade(s), but... well, depending on the group, maybe not.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Alkey42 wrote: »
    My party of 3 got split up, they each had a parachute, but didn't jump together from a moving (crashing) ship. Not sure how to bring them together in a reasonable way without obvious fudging. The bard failed her nature check in a real way and really should run into some undesirables, which I guess she could talk her way out of, but what if she doesn't? I feel like I can't do any combat encounter because that would leave one player out. Unless I managed to get them into trouble at the same time and ran them simultaneously.
    I would make it a skill challenge, and if combat breaks out each round of combat acts as a character's turn in the skill challenge and they don't get to make checks. Then have everyone who isn't fighting make checks until completion or until everyone is in some sort of a fight (hopefully some of them together). Completion, regardless of success or failure means that the characters have somehow located each other. Maybe the fights combine if there's more than one. If the challenge as a whole is failed, maybe the badguys get a wave of reinforcements.

    Basically, I would just give every character something to do, with the eventual end goal (on my part) to put the party back together. Intersperse combat with the challenge rolls when it happens and give everyone a chance to shine (or fail humorously). And when necessary, alter the basic reality of your setting (distances, timespans, etc) to make it work. DMs get to do that if it makes their lives easier and their stories better.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Indeed, be not afraid to be the hand of god here. That's why you play a DM, to write a glorious story and play god. I have never been abashed to use some deus ex machina in my campaigns when I need to. There's another trick I like to use:

    When combat is dragging on to long, or when I've scaled things wrong, or I can see my players are losing interest, call in the cavalry. Create some city guards to rush in, bring in a mob of NPC's to run in with torches and pitchforks, have a bear come trundling into the fight. If things aren't working exactly as you wanted change them.

    The greatest threat to a campaign is for the DM to get tunnel vision. To go "I need my players to do X" and then just throw shit at them until they do X, your players will get lost and frustrated. Instead say "My players are not doing X, let's create Y and Z and bring them back to X!" I like to pull it back to RP if combat is being dumb. All players can RP, not everyone can fight.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Even easier than calling in the cavalry is the old "oh, I forgot to tell you they were bloodied and now they're dead" trick.

    Enemies survive exactly as long as they are interesting, not two minutes longer.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    My ongoing campaignis called The Saga of the Entombed God

    It's set in the Nentir Vale. Torog is the Big Bad. He is after the woodland godess Ehlonna for reasons not yet explained (I'm deliberating between wife and daughter) who in this campaign resides in the Feywild and as such is closer to the human world than other gods just like Torog.

    They're currently in heroic and various cults of torog are conducting slave raids and torture rituals which create these extremely heavy rocks of dark matter. The end goal is to actually use these rocks to pull Fallcrest into the ground because it is a node of Ehlona's power. This will actually happen towards the begining of paragon. Then Ehlona will be abducted by Torog and the heroes will hopefully follow him into the underdark to avenge the Fallcrestians and save a godess.

    I want to get some Feywild baddies in on it too. The bramble Queen looks rad...

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Crag Mountain post session wrap up (session plan in OP):

    As always happened, I had planned for two encounters but only actually had time for one. This isn't that surprising though as we had two 4e newbies at the table who should hopefully speed up as they catch on.

    The opening but to highlight the fame they are gaining now they have hit paragon went down very well. They had some good fun thinking of ways to exploit or revel in their fame during a bit of time back at the home Crag.

    The Manticore fight was also well recived depiste it taking up quite a chunk of the evening. Having the party split over the ravine with flying enemies made for a bit more dynamic a combat than our usual line up and fight fare. Especially fun for me as they manged to leave the two squishy wizards on their own on one side of the ravine.

    I was ready for flying enemies attacking in limited space to be difficult for the PCs to deal with but I was very wrong there. I hadn't taken into account the plethora of status effects a paragon party with two wizards can chuck out that can knock a flying creature out of the air and send it tumbling down on to spiky ravine floor below! Still managed to get one of the wizards to single digit hit points and he was only saved from being plucked into the air and dropped to the rocky ground to finish him off by an ally sliding his attacker to break the grab he was in.

    Then left things with chasing the missing party's trail through the idyllic country village. Comedy yokel accents ahoy etc. Not the most thrilling of cliffhangers but time was running away with us.

    Will be needing some input on the next encounter I'm planning as I have vague plans but am missing some key elements I'm hoping you guys can help with. Details to follow.

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  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Okay, here's where I need some input.

    After descending into the ruined Dwarven hold, the party will enter a catacomb chamber. Piles of bones aound the walls and laughably easy to spot pressure plates on the floor. The plan is that once they are all in, the bone piles start endlessly generating skeleton minions who will blunder straight at the nearest PCs and into the pressure plates, sealing the exits and setting off swinging pendulum axe traps. Each time a plate is stepped on, anyone on a randomly rolled row of tiles will be hit, PCs and skeletons alike. Maybe make them swing back on the same row the next turn to give some element of predictability to the chaos.

    The plan being that the party have to manage the skeletons movement to try and minimise the swinging axe trap damage while they try and escape.

    Question is, how do they escape? Making it just a serious of thievery rolls on a sealed door will make it a pretty dull fight for the rogue and possibly all over far too soon.

    Also should I add more danger? Lowering spiky ceiling that also has to be disabled?

    All thoughts welcomed!

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  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Maybe put the disablers in different hard to reach locations so the rogue needs to get around the battlefield, risking OA, traps, and needing acrobatics/athletics checks to get up to the hard-to-reach places to make the thievery checks.

    I like how the minions are mostly there to set off traps, I'll have to remember that.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Okay, here's where I need some input.

    After descending into the ruined Dwarven hold, the party will enter a catacomb chamber. Piles of bones aound the walls and laughably easy to spot pressure plates on the floor. The plan is that once they are all in, the bone piles start endlessly generating skeleton minions who will blunder straight at the nearest PCs and into the pressure plates, sealing the exits and setting off swinging pendulum axe traps. Each time a plate is stepped on, anyone on a randomly rolled row of tiles will be hit, PCs and skeletons alike. Maybe make them swing back on the same row the next turn to give some element of predictability to the chaos.

    The plan being that the party have to manage the skeletons movement to try and minimise the swinging axe trap damage while they try and escape.

    Question is, how do they escape? Making it just a serious of thievery rolls on a sealed door will make it a pretty dull fight for the rogue and possibly all over far too soon.

    Also should I add more danger? Lowering spiky ceiling that also has to be disabled?

    All thoughts welcomed!
    If this is an old Dwarven ruin, it seems to make sense to have some kind of mechanical system to shut off the traps. A rotating column puzzle where they have to get the right combination would theoretically involve everyone. Especially if there were clues scattered around the room in Dwarven and the Rogue can't read them.

    In other news, our campaign is picking up a guy to replace my Wife, who has just started her rotations for Med School. We found this guy through one of our current players, and apparently he fancies himself something of an optimizer. He submitted a Warlord to replace the Shaman we're losing. Dragonborn. On Athas. In a group that has been hiding out from the authorities.

    I think he's about to learn the difference between character optimization and survival optimization.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    A possibility could be that a ranged attack is able to disable a row once it has fired (though this would work better if the patterns were more random and/or overlapping, so you'd never be sure you'd be in a safe zone). That way you can disable it over time, though your still stuck with skeletons.

    A second option is somehow disabling the spawning. Place some kind of glowing skull in each pile, if you destroy it the pile stops (perhaps you can't ranged attack because they're buried deep though, so you have to move over to get them, then maybe a search check). Or some sort of wizard/cleric activity to stop it.

    There could be a timer that when no new plates are triggered, the doors reopen and the spawning stops (Because the trap assumes everyone dead). That would give a tactical element where you try to herd the minions. (Say only 4 can spawn at the same time of a single pile, the only way to pass the trap is to keep them all alive (but mostly out of your reach) and locked into corners.

    Edit for Another option: weights. Put some rubble in the room, and if you manage to put weights on a pressure plate, the trap fires once and then stops. For opening the door, you could have a LotR Moria type riddle on it. It was dwarven door after all.

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  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    SanderJK wrote: »

    A second option is somehow disabling the spawning. Place some kind of glowing skull in each pile, if you destroy it the pile stops (perhaps you can't ranged attack because they're buried deep though, so you have to move over to get them, then maybe a search check). Or some sort of wizard/cleric activity to stop it.

    I agree there should be some element of interaction with the skeletons too. What I would do instead of being able to disable them is putting some kind of magic rune or something that lets the PC interact with it (allowing an arcana check or something similar). If properly deciphered, it allows that player to control the move action of the skeletons on their next turn (player could then line up the skeletons and have one set off the swinging blade). You'd want to do something to make sure this couldn't occur every round though (escalating skill checks maybe or multiple runes around the room).

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I ran something like this with a set of zombies that were effectively prototype lich's. So they kept resurrecting after a turn of being dead. They weren't a serious threat to the party, but they had to find a way to deal with them before they could move on. The room they were in had a series of posts with crystals at the top that could be manipulated, turning on a sort of force wall between two active posts. The PCs had to find ways to maneuver the zombie-liches into position, and then flip on the force screen to keep them there. Once they were contained the doors on the room opened again (since it was a magical failsafe to prevent their escape).

    Something like that could work here.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    These are all good thoughts, cheers guys.

    The skeletons are a recent addition rather than being part of the dwarven plans obviously, and the whole thing is a set up the party are blundering into, so I'm leaning towards:

    - The doors slamming down upon the first skeleton raising and spiked ceiling starting to drop.

    - Having a runic inscription on the doors that requires translating that says that the exits have been sealed due to the detection of necromantic magics within the chamber. ('Defiler of our dead, may you never leave this tomb' etc)

    - Move the bones into discrete piles rather than scattered around the room and steal the hidden magic skulls idea from SanderJK.

    - Perception check to find the magic skull in each pile (gemmed eyes) and have a medium Arcana (break the magic), hard Religion (banish the undead energies) or medium Thievery (prise out the gems) check work for disabling them.

    - Once all are disabled the ceiling will rise, the doors will open and we're free to move on!

    Do you think I need to set an actual time limit on ceiling crushy death or shall I go for the old random rolls behind the screen, exaggerated facial expressions combined with under the breath mutterings and winging it with vague descriptions as to how close the spikes are getting? Unless they start taking the piss it should really be there just to add more drama, not actually turn the party to mush.

    Also I'm never sure what to do with the hard numbers of the situation. I'm thinking eight bone piles and four skeletons raising at two initiative points. Obviously I can adjust it on the fly as to how things are going but it would nice to get the numbers right at the start rather than having the first few waves either wiped out in an instant or swarming the party to death.

    Is it fair to have the skeletons raise and act immediately or should they wait a round (half a round) before attacking? On the one hand, being attacked by things you had no chance to stop is kinda frustrating. On the other hand they risk being wiped out before they ever get to attack otherwise.

    Come to think of it, screw fair. The skeletons are the only actual danger in the room and they're only minions. Raise and attack in the same turn sounds fine to me.

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  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Raise and attack works fine - if it's hitting the part too hard, "remember" that you meant to have them raised dazed, so they get one action. If you're standing next to a bone pile, you should expect to get attacked immediately, or they might spend their turn moving to attack the next.

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I read that situation and I think "Man, it would be hilarious if the skeletons just wanted to talk." That could be plan B, if things do not go so well for the players.

    Steam ID: Hahnsoo, Steam Name currently: Hahnsopolis | PSN: Hahnsoo | Monster Hunter Tri: Hahnsoo, E8HJCA
  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Minions are dangerous, unless you have a damned wizard in the group with that piece of shit Beguiling Strands at-will. Fuck that power.

    The RPG Bestiary - Dangerous foes and legendary monsters for D&D 4th Edition
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Even easier than calling in the cavalry is the old "oh, I forgot to tell you they were bloodied and now they're dead" trick.

    Enemies survive exactly as long as they are interesting, not two minutes longer.

    A better answer is to have then surrender or run away(or give them moral penalties to AC). It makes the fight seem more "real"

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Goumindong wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Even easier than calling in the cavalry is the old "oh, I forgot to tell you they were bloodied and now they're dead" trick.

    Enemies survive exactly as long as they are interesting, not two minutes longer.

    A better answer is to have then surrender or run away(or give them moral penalties to AC). It makes the fight seem more "real"
    Fleeing or attempting to surrender is another option. I have most enemies that aren't being mentally controlled or suffering from some kind of blood lust attempt to flee the field once the fight obviously turns against them. Of course, my players make a point to hunt down and kill anyone that tries to run from them, the bloodthirsty bastards.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I'm finally getting the burst of inspiration I needed to plot the next couple levels of my Dark Sun campaign.

    It will involve raiding parties of giants, political intrigue between city states, war with Eldaarich and silt horrors.

    I'm pretty happy with the way this is shaping up.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Huzzah! Forums are back.

    Wednesday's session did indeed turn out to have seven PCs and so, although we fairly swiftly moved on to the 'bug filled dwarf skin' fight, it then took the entire rest of the evening to play out. It seemed dynamic enough to not drag though so that was nice.

    I have learned the joy of reskinning existing monsters and it is good. Taking inpsiration from the Worm Mage and Awakened Rotgrub Swarm, I smooshed the two together to make the Verminsoul. A sentient soul, fused with the thousand insectoid minds of a swarm of insects, grubs and other gribbly vectors of decomposition. In this fight these came in three flavours. The plain old swarm (Awakened Rot Grub Swarm) the mass of bugs inhabiting the skin of a dead dwarf (Green Hag) and the remnants of the skinned dwarf being held together in writhing mass of worms (Gargoyle Rock Hurler). I particularly liked reskinning the Hag's 'Hurl through the Earth' to be a blanketing mass of worms writhing up from the ground and dragging the PC underground and across the map, and the Gargoyle's stone skin resistance against ranged damage to be the monster seeing the attack coming and collapsing into a pile of bugs on the ground to minimise damage.

    Now next session, fingers crossed with a mere 6 PCs expected, we can get through the skelton hall trap previously discussed (which I'm now really stoked to run) and on to the final fight of this section. The Wraiths who make up the big bads of this stage of the campaign like to possess various people. Previously these have always been the humanoid leaders of various bandit gangs and military units etc. I intend to change it up and have my Wraith be waiting for them in a tomb chamber, in possession of a Beholder which he found skulking there. Because what's the point of playing D&D if you can't get a Beholder in there somehwhere? After a bit of villainous monologuing (I'll detail where the plot is going in a future post) the Wraith will flee the scene leaving an angry Beholder to fight the PCs.

    Combat advice time:

    (A) Is it a dick move to have the fleeing Writh cause a ceiling collapse that blocks the exit? I kind of need the party to win the fight and search the room and I have a slight fear that they'll just bugger off in an attempt to chase the Wraith otherwise.

    (B ) A Beholder in the MV is a level 9 solo. The party are 6 characters at level 11. Do I leave the Beholder as he is and bulk up the difference in other monsters, or do I level the Beholder up to 11?

    My instinct is to do the latter, as I want this to be a tough fight. Say a levelled up level 11 beholder and then throw in a couple of Beholder Zombies (previous conquests of the Beholder living in the ruin, reanimated by the Wriath), which are actually just fairly basic melee grunts, to add a bit of distraction.

    (C) Given the amount of movement based powers the Beholder has, I should probably throw some damaging terrain in there. We've done lots of holes in the ground recently so what would make sense in ruined Dwarven hero's tomb?

    Jam Warrior on
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