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[DnD 5E] Barrowtown - A 5E PbP (Game's done! Post-game discussion is open!)

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Posts

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    "Agreed, the sooner our companions are restored, the better."

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    After a weekend of anticipation...

    The man pauses for what seems like days before continuing. "Before I came to this town I was a traveling merchant. Well, courier is probably a more apt description. Didn't really sell my own goods, except for a brief spell oh," he pauses and looks up in the air, "I'd say twenty years ago. Or was it ten? No, ten can't be right. That would have put me farther south and I was more northerly than that when I sold those helmets. That's what I was selling, for a while. Helmets. Couldn't sell the whole suit of armor on account of not having room for them, and of course with the roads the way they were - worse now than a'fore, but those days they were still dangerous - having a suit of plate mail on your wagon was like an invitation for every bandit in the country to come pay you a visit. You know how much a suit of plate mail is worth? Used to be five thousand gold pieces, if you can believe it. They've gone down recently, last I heard they were only fifteen hundred. Who knows what the reason for that might be. I always said the heavy armor bubble was going to burst one day.

    "Of course I didn't sell armor, in any case. I sold helmets. Easier to keep, and the margins are better. Now that isn't to say that I was a merchant by trade. I only did that for a little while, twenty-or-so years ago. My real profession was a courier. People would pay me to bring an item safely from one place to another. They paid me handsomely too. Not plate mail money, but it was enough for my bills, and then some.

    "Well, eventually I found myself a wife, and we made ourselves some children. This was a great thing for business, if you can believe it, because no one thinks a poor farmer and his family have anything on them but a few sacks of potatoes and some dirty clothes, if you catch my meaning. The look on those bandits' faces when all they got was a basket of beets and a few silver... well anyway I hid my cargo in the childrens' toys. Good spot for it. The number of highwaymen itching to get their hands on a beat up old wooden horse is as small as you would think.

    "Now we had a great thing going, but it was about time to settle down. So on account of wanting to settle down, I decided to take one last job, and by Kord it was a sweet one. All I had to do was take one book north of the mountains and give it to some old wizard. Acerer-something was his name. But that's not important. See, I was on my way north, and I had to pass through Barrowtown, just for supplies and such. Well, it was storming something fierce, and wouldn't you know it I got stuck here. We rented a house, tied up the wagon, and by all the gods we've been here ever since.

    "Strangest thing is that I forgot about that book until just this evening. I went out to the wagon and it was still there! Dry as a bone too, in spite of all the rain. Of course that doesn't surprise me. Those old toy chests were solid as a banker's vault. Don't make 'em like that anymore."

    He holds out the book to you, intending for one of you to take it. "Like I said, I'm so sorry about what happened to your friends. But you take a look in that book. I don't understand most of it, but there's something in there about some magic and it looks to me like it might help you."

    Denada on
    am0nElvenshae
  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    "Now this be mighty interesting. Give me a few moments to page through this, and I'll see what I can puzzle out. And if I can't figure it out, we have a proper wizard to boot."

    Geth roll 1d20+4 for Seamus's Arcana

    Seamus's Arcana:
    1d20+4 7 [1d20=3]

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    "Sorry. I forgot you were trained in the arcane arts. You know. Being a dwarf and all," Halath says jokingly.

    Nealneal on
    Aegisam0nElvenshae
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Seamus, the book is actually a journal detailing a variety of rituals, or more accurately the experiments that led to the creation of those rituals. One of them concerns bringing things to life, but you're having a hard time parsing out the details of whether or not the ritual was successful, what you would need for it, or whether it would help Tal and Lakor. Maybe another set of eyes would help? And maybe that set of eyes would get advantage on their Arcana check?

  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    @Melding I suspect you have eyes.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    Note somehow I thought Athletics (starts with an A) and History (Int check) somehow combined to give me Arcana. My Arcana check is a strict Int check, so the score above would be 5. Sorry for the confusion @denada.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

    Elvenshae
  • MeldingMelding Registered User regular
    I might have eyes, who is asking?[color]

    Jelenneth slides in gracefully from the side to read over the dwarf's shoulder finally reaching over him to just grab the book "Let me see if I can add anything to to this search."



    Geth roll 2d20k1+5 for Arcana

    Now behold as I roll worse than 8! Also I am assuming i am getting advantage for having eyes?

    Arcana:
    2d20k1+5 12 [2d20k1=[7], 6]

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Seeing that you're quite caught up with the book, the old man makes his exit. "I hope it works out for you," he says, before walking out of the inn.

    Jelenneth, it turns out that looking over the journal with Seamus actually isn't that helpful. But you can at least get a little more information. There is a powerful ritual here that takes up about two thirds of the journal. It's called (and the journal notes that this is a working title) Acererak's Improved Wish. It is extremely complicated and you note that there isn't any indication in the journal whether or not it actually worked, but you don't see any reason why it wouldn't, assuming that you had the right components and the ritual was performed correctly. If it does work, all four victims would be completely restored to life, brains and all.

  • am0nam0n Registered User regular
    Lakor dreams to himself, quietly in his own world, "I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller, I wish..."

  • MeldingMelding Registered User regular
    Jelenneth looks at the name, she swears she has seen something like that before. "Any of you heard of an Acererak before? This seems to be his ritual. Either way this is the best lead we have, I'll start writing down what we seem to need for it."

    How common would his name be anyway? I can't imagine he's an every day name.

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    The name isn't at all common. If you've been to any kind of arcane school long enough you've heard of Acererak and his fabled Tomb of Horrors. You can think of at least a dozen scholars that would pay dearly to get their hands on this journal. The idea that something like this has just been sitting around in an old wagon in some random town is somewhat astonishing.

  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    edited November 2014
    "While I may not be a (formal) student of magic, I have studied a bit of history."

    Geth roll 1d20+4 for the History I actually possess

    E: Dammit Geth

    the History I actually possess:
    1d20+4 6 [1d20=2]

    silence1186 on
    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    "The image of that magnificent dwarven nose buried in a book is quite amusing. I think I remember my father going on and on about Acererak and Drawmij and others. I usually just tried to get out of studying anyway possible."


    Geth roll 1d20+3 for Historical Arcana

    Historical Arcana:
    1d20+3 12 [1d20=9]

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    The three of you remember various things about Acererak. None of the stories are confirmed to be true, though of course all the tellers of those stories swear that they are. Here's what you "know":
    • Acererak was a powerful wizard who was quite mad, and was driven out of magical society because of his unethical behavior.
    • He was a necromancer like none other, and some say he became a lich.
    • His Tomb of Horrors is filled with treasure untold, but also with incredible danger.

    All in all, you can agree that if he's real (which this journal seems to prove that he is), he's probably quite dangerous - if he's still alive. It would take some time, but you're fairly confident that you could track down his tomb, and even gather a team to delve into that dungeon. If you were successful, you would be able to bring your friends back to life. You would probably also become quite wealthy in the process.

    NealnealElvenshae
  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    I know Halath is cursed...but damn. Tomb of Horrors...poor dude. Long will he live in infamy in my hall of fallen heroes.

    Nealneal on
  • am0nam0n Registered User regular
    Yup, sounds like we're heading to the Tomb of Horrors.

    Nealneal
  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    That's bad? It's sounding pretty bad. I feel like going ahead and saying "something called the Tomb of Horrors is probably really bad."

    That said, are we going with three people? Or can we hire some guest NPCs for the other PCs to pilot?

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • am0nam0n Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Your gut might not be too far off.

    am0n on
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    The three of you look at each other with a look of trepidation, but also with the resolve to see this thing through. After all, you survived the horrific incursion of an other-worldly species that literally eats brains. How much worse could things get?

    You'll need to set out for the Keep on the Borderlands, the last bastion of civilization to the north. Sure, it's a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but it's also a great place to find adventurers that are willing to risk their lives for the chance at treasure.

    And so, with a journal, a mission, a dog, and a wagon full of bodies, you cross the bridges of Barrowtown for the last time.

    THE END

    That's it for this adventure! You guys have been great, and I had a fun time running this for everyone involved. I might start up another game soon, and it might be a continuation of this one, but I'm not sure. There's a lot that I want to do!

    As is my tradition after I finish a game, I'd like to open the thread up to everyone (players and readers alike) to discuss the game. Did you have fun? Do you have unanswered questions? What are your thoughts about 5E as it relates to this specific game? What would you have done differently? All discussion is welcome as long as it doesn't just devolve into "lol 5E sucks" because we already have a thread for that.

    Thanks for playing everyone!

    (Also, posts from this point forward don't need to be color tagged.)

    Denada on
    ElvenshaeThe Sauce
  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    Which god cursed Halath and why? ;)

  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    My question to you, @Denada, would be: "Did you use the Intellect Devourer's to prove a point about 5E? I can't imagine this PbP was fun at all for mallenellam and am0n after being permanently stunned with no way to recover (especially mallenellam, who missed the entire mind flayer fight)."

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

    Aegeri
  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    As for a real post, here were some of my thoughts:

    Halath was only useful in the final encounter and versus the basilisk. The vagaries of the d20 skill rolls really limit your ability to be consistently good at something. I never expected that my Stealth or Perception rolls would lead to success.

    I think I should have spent more than 5 minutes picking spells and I would if I had to do it again.

    I probably would have taken the boost to DEX instead of Magic Initiate. Due to terrible spell choice and reading comprehension I missed some important spell related information.

    Arcane Trickster is neat, but I feel like the places where it would truly shine are few and far between. While it could be a super annoying PC to plan around the utility, it's combat contribution seems like a down-powered Assassin in the end.

  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    I wish I had taken Shocking Grasp instead of Acid Spray, but on the whole I was happy with how I built my Arcane Paladin. I'm not sure if taking Warcaster was necessary just to be able to cast with stuff in my hands, since that's sort of a gray area based on discussions in the main DnD thread. The other two aspects of that feat literally never came up.

    By all rights we should have died to the Mind Flayer. Hitting two crits for ~30 damage saved our butts, big time. How judicious were you using the Intellect Devourers? It felt like there were a few opportunities for them to instal kill the PCs and make them into puppets, or even just your choice of going after people with high Intellect vs. not.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    The intellect devourers did come from the 5E thread, in a way. I was struggling to think of how I was going to get Barrowtown going again after losing players and such, and then the discussion of the IDs happened. It started with me going "Hmm, I wonder if they're actually as bad as they seem?" and then the idea popped in my head about what you all found in the barrow and the mind flayer being there and all that. It was a nice moment where the story and the monster kind of inspired each other.

    In my unprofessional opinion, intellect devourers are interesting flavor-wise, but mechanically they SUCK. They're a stupid, unfun, gotcha monster that actually do worse than killing a PC. A dead PC can be raised, that's easy. What happens to a PC with INT 0? Throwing in this monster requires an amount of planning that it doesn't deserve. I felt bad for @mallenellam‌ and @am0n‌ because they put all this work into their PCs and then in a single turn it was just "Well thanks for that but your PC is a vegetable now and there's nothing you can do about it unless I make up something for you to do about it."

    Ultimately though, part of my reason for running Barrowtown was to see how this system actually panned out in play, so seeing what actually happens against IDs was something that I definitely wanted to do. I didn't want to "prove a point" so to speak. I more wanted to answer a question, if that makes sense.

    I tried to play the intellect devourers (and the mind flayer) according to certain rules that I had set up for the encounter. Their primary mission was to kill you, unless you started attacked the mind flayer. Then their primary mission would be to protect him. Since the intellect devourers are psychic and can detect intelligence and all that, I felt that they should be able to tell who has a high INT or not, and would pick their targets according to who they had the best chance of killing. I also decided that they wouldn't abandon their Sophia and Theresa suits until those bodies ran out of useful spells. That probably made them less dangerous in actuality, now that I can look back on it.

    Aegeri
  • mallenellammallenellam Registered User regular
    I had a good time. I had never really played PbP before, and this was a good primer. It does suck what happened to the character, but that happens in tabletop. It just takes longer for things to resolve in this format. I am more of a story guy than caring what happens to a character (even my own), anyways, so I never go in attached to someone who should, by all rights, eventually die.

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    I thought you used them well. I was as concerned with the spells the girls were packing as I was with the potential brain damage.

  • am0nam0n Registered User regular
    Overall I had fun, but I more because it was an interesting little mission than the system.

    I definitely did not like the IDs. I think it might have been less of a problem if it was like a dual failed save (first one dazed/stunned you, maybe, second fail you become a lump) or if there was an easier way to ultimately fix the 0 INT issue (i.e. a lower level spell or it fading with rest or something). I was also surprised how lethal things were even when we did skip to Level 4 (30 some damage from a single attack when we only had like 30 HP? =P). I think all of this would be fine in a campaign where there was a revolving door for characters and where this was known up front, but in any kind of game where you want to get attached and see your character grow I think it a huge let down.

    Overall I was satisfied with my build as I thought it did what I wanted, which was a good mix between spells and melee with some group support (those extra HP saved Halath at least once!).

    I'd probably be up for giving another game or two of 5E a go, but at least for now I still have no plans to actually invest in the edition.

    As for your DM'ing, I thought it was great. Much better than I do. =P I think you used each of the creatures as you could/should have and didn't really say 'No' to us, which is something I need to improve on.

    Thanks a lot for hosting!

  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    I'd also like to say, @denada , that watching you has been a big help and inspiration for me in creating my own campaign for my FLGS.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Thank you! I've always enjoyed running games, even when I was really bad at it.

    For me, Barrowtown has helped to answer some questions about 5E. If everyone was able to have a good time along with that then I'd say this was a big success.

  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    I personally was very fascinated by how that ID fight ended up going. It is nice to see thread theorycrafting actually work out in direct play. Oddly enough, the mind flayer felt like a complete chump and he didn't seem to do anywhere near as much as the ID, despite being much higher CR. This matches my experiences with 5e as well: Overly lethal and badly designed low CR monsters, yet creatures with a much higher CR which grossly underperform for what their challenge is supposed to be.

    It was another excellent read Denada in the end and I am glad you ran it.

    The Roleplayer's Guild: My blog for roleplaying games, advice and adventuring.
    Elvenshae
  • MeldingMelding Registered User regular
    My opinions mirror most of the ones already stated. Specially about the hamdogs.

    Little disappointed I didn't get to do anything way too cool outside of some good arcana checks but thems the breaks. At least i survived.

    Any adventure you can walk away from.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    Aegeri wrote: »
    I personally was very fascinated by how that ID fight ended up going. It is nice to see thread theorycrafting actually work out in direct play. Oddly enough, the mind flayer felt like a complete chump and he didn't seem to do anywhere near as much as the ID, despite being much higher CR. This matches my experiences with 5e as well: Overly lethal and badly designed low CR monsters, yet creatures with a much higher CR which grossly underperform for what their challenge is supposed to be.

    It was another excellent read Denada in the end and I am glad you ran it.

    It's a union thing. They have to have a higher cr to supervise the IDs. It's in their CBO.

    ElvenshaeAegeriAegisam0n
  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    Re: The Mindflayer, there were a couple of things preventing it from unleashing the full might of its CR.

    It started the fight not paying attention to the PCs. I wasn't sure if that 3/3 represented a certain amount of damage, a number of attacks, or something else before it would stop what it was doing and fully engage the PCs. I was concerned it would kill the hostage, so I kept trying to attack it to break its concentration.

    We were REALLY spread out (it was a big map) and it couldn't catch many targets in its cone of destroy intelligence. As long as that's on cooldown, he just has his basic melee (which can be terrifying, but only IF it connects and the target can't break free) and his spell like abilities. Speaking of which,

    Did you have a plan to have it plane shift away? The thing I was most worried about was taking it from 20-something HP to dead in a single round, because if it started its turn in single digit HP, it can just escape for free.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    Actually thinking about it some more, the Rogue's Cunning Action was effective on that large map in ways it may not be on smaller maps. The shear amount of ground I could cover every turn made Halath into a super mobile archer. I now wonder why I didn't build him as an archer all along as that seems like it is the intent of the Arcane Trickster subclass. Misdirect, control, and punish from range.

    I had a story related question. What was special about the girl? Why was she the one that had the connection? The answer could easily be 'Find out in Play,' or 'you total know but are an idiot and missed it' but I figured I'd ask.

    Elvenshae
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    I looked at the mind flayer's plane shift ability, but I made the conscious choice not to use it. This was the final battle of the game, you guys really wanted to kill this guy, and I had no plans for him being a recurring character. Having him just go "lol, bye" before you got the payoff of taking him out just wouldn't have been satisfying. I probably could have done more with him before he died, but I actually just couldn't get his damn area attack to recharge. Also cones are stupid and I hate them.

    As for the girl, I don't think I ever went into it too much, but the short version is that she had read a book that detailed where the portal was located (she didn't know this, because she thought the book was just a story). She was young enough to be more susceptible to the mind flayer's influence, and he was able to lure her to the barrow so that he could probe her memory. He had tried to do the same to the mayor (the girl's sister), who had also read the book, but the mayor was older now and less susceptible to the mind flayer, so she didn't get lured away.

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