After having skipped a week from our usual bi-monthly game, I was really looking forward for this week’s. One of our players, Stef, had to stay home because his Wife was away and he was with the kids. So I offered to move the game over there.
So I rolled all the battlemaps I had prepared, packed the ziplocked minis, the adventure, the USB key with DM Wiki, the Core books and a few Splatbooks (Wow, Wikipedia has a definition for everything!).
It’s 4:15 PM, I hop in the car, put on Muse’s last album, real loud, and join the traffic jams that plague the Suburbs of Montreal. (Montreal is an Island, I’m lucky enough to live on it, but all my players live in Laval, a Northern Suburban Island).
At 4h30, I’m sitting behind a Mini-Van and I notice the right lane being free, I switch to the lane and accelerate…. and the van does the same thing 2 seconds later and crashes into my new 2007 Honda Fit. Result: The whole left side of my car is scratched, dented and my driver’s door can only open about 1 foot wide.
Now in Québec, crashes with no victims or ‘Hit and Runs’ are dealt with a ‘friendly’ exchange of information on specific forms that all good citizen have in their cars (I don’t). Anyway, long story-short (from me? HA!) the Mini-Van’s owner had 2 sets, we fill out the forms, we both deny responsibility (as should be) and we go our way.
I just had a car crash but I also haven’t played D&D in 3 weeks. What’s my decision? Screw it, I’ll call the insurance from Stef’s place!
Just so you know, the last time we were supposed to play at Stef’s, there was an Ice Storm. When I got there, I had a message from my lovely wife informing me that I needed to come back pronto because a Tree fell on our house! (True Story!)
Anyway, we ended up starting to play at around 7h00 pm. As promised, I’ll skip on story elements as Yan will tackle them in his player log.
The adventure was about finding the source of a weird creature in Ptolus. The initial investigation lead them to the the slums of Ptolus where they faced a 10-strong street gang. I had the occasion to test the Hit Point Pool approach I stol… huh borrowed from Greywulf.
It worked perfectly! All the energy I usually spend keeping track of individual hit points was shunted towards very graphic descriptions of wounds and deaths. You should have seen my player’s faces when I described heads exploding and Manga-like slicing of bodies that crumpled slowly in halves to the ground. There were a few weird cases where a Thug took an electricity charged arrow in the face and fell from the building and survived only to have his neighbor die from a rather average hit (Oh by the way, the re-vamped Duskblade rocks!!!!). So this house rule is a keeper. It was the best fight of the whole evening.
The players continued their exploration and found a link to the creature’s origin and followed it (yet again) in the Sewers. They quickly discovered a huge natural cavern filled with offals. Since visibility was limited, I described the room in bits and pieces as the players explored cautiously. I ended up pointed out a huge mound of trash and an exit.
I must have mentioned the exit more than once because at that point a player went Metagaming on me and said something like ‘If Phil (that’s me) talks about the exit like that it’s because that’s where he wants us to go…’ Hmmmm that’s grounds for a -2 penalty on Spot checks don’t ya think? (and a warning that I must ‘control the message’ as my old bosses used to say). The penalty was just enough to miss the Otyugh creeping up in the garbage pile and striking the players with it’s filthy tentacle, screaming ‘Trespassers! Me EAT Trespassers’.
Short fight, I mauled the Duskblade pretty badly, I wisely ignored all instances of potential Grappling with the creature’s 4 tentacles. When the players applied various healing powers, I described how the creature seemed to be leaching this energy to heal itself. Yeah, they freaked a bit. Twelve Seconds later, there was Otyugh sushi on the cave floor.
While the Duskblade let his armour regenerate him (The Magic Item Compendium is sooooo cool). Stef went to search the garbage pile, to cries of disgust from the other players. He found some valuables! Oddly enough, no one asked for their fair share… Go Stef, the loot is yours!
We ended the evening with one last encounter, an ambush by some Gnome-like Fey while the party was squeezing in a tight corridor (well, not Lillie the Pixie, but the rest). We were getting tired and the fight was more mechanical than flavorful. The players won and got some sweet piece of magical loot, a Human-slaying sword.
Overall a very fun evening. Now I have to wait until Monday to book an appointment with my Car Dealer’s repair shop.
- Hit point pools for mooks rocks!
- Graphic descriptions of a fight makes it a lot better than the actual mechanics (duh! about time I learned that)
What players liked:
- The gore and splattering of mooks all over the Slums.
- My ignoring anything Grappling for once.
- Yan loved that I worked the evil Feys into his backstory and gave him more info on the Big Bad than was warranted by the adventure.
- The Duskblade chucking ranged touch Spell-laced arrows and casting swift spells.
- Stef finding treasure where all others refused to go.
- The story hooked some of the players and they want to KNOW.
- Getting XPs for filling in the Player questionnaire! (I’m really looking forward to posting the other ones).
What players disliked
- The DM’s frequent breaks with immersion to joke around, bring reference from pass session and talk about his blog. (For my defense, I was dealing with a game and the shock of the crash… but I’ll be more careful henceforth).
- The adventure hook was a bit shaky and players had a passive aggressive reaction to it like ‘no we don’t do it, come on boys’ I don’t know if it was that I wasn’t enthusiastic enough or what… (See Yan’s comment, he’s right…)
- I’m not saying anything other than ‘we finish the adventure’.
Overall a great evening. For everything else, there’s Insurance.