View Full Version : The Pupil Becomes the (Dungeon)Master.

2011-06-20, 10:36 PM
When I was about 9 or 10 (I think) I was introduced to the wonderful world of D&D by my stepfather and his friends. It was AD&D and I played a Priest of Selune for all of 4 levels- until I was mauled to death by velociraptors :smallfrown: (it didn't seem cheesy or strange at the time).

Fast forward some decade or so and now I have the honor to DM for a handful of the guys that kickstarted my RPG addiction.

The Characters

Lannister: A Human Rogue from Silvermoon masquerading as a Cleric of Oghma. Although he is spread thin in the skills, and chose a pair of skill boosting feats instead of something more useful (what a n00b, right?), he seems to be having fun with it. Probably one of the strongest RPers in the group. It should be noted that although I let people roll 4d6 drop the lowest and assign- he was determined to let the rolls go in order.
Volstagg: A Human Barbarian who elected to go axe and board (and shortly thereafter sword and board) instead of doing the whole two-hander thing. On average, he has substantially better attack rolls than the Rogue. And his stats are better to boot.
Ezra: A Human Cleric of Ilmater. Mostly a DMNPC or PC when a spare player is around. He heals. That is mostly all.
and alas poor Yorick: A Human (surprise!) Fighter that joins the group in Session Three. He like the Rogue has about 3 average (10-11) stats. Interestingly, he is the two-handed Greataxe focused power attack cleaver the Barbarian could have been.

Three sessions in and the Rogue and Barbarian have earned enough to level to 2nd (as the last two party members missed about one to two sessions of experience).

Details to follow.

2011-06-20, 10:50 PM
In Session 1, so much time was devoted to the character creation (don't you hate that) and some general rules discussion that only one real combat took place.

I have a love for the Silver Marches of the Forgotten Realms Setting, and without much preparation I cooked up a flimsy premise for the Rogue and Barbarian to be traveling together and set them off towards Deadsnows.

Session One
The Rogue and Barbarian were tasked with delivering a message from Sundabar to Deadsnows (could happen- Deadsnows IS a member of the Confederation). Along the way they traveled in the company of a large caravan bearing sundries and headed by a xenophobic native of the North who was verbally abusing the immigrants in the group.
Particularly he seemed to hate a group that joined the caravan from Newfort, calling them 'Zhentish scum.' At this point Rogue's player (who has been of the Realms for many many years says "I remember the Zhent" with some disgust.
As I don't like random encounters, we fast tracked to arrival in tow. I describe it as bustling and lacking in the resources for the masses crammed within and some likeness is drawn to the Wild West (fitting- if not for the brisk late autumn temp). The party of two is escorted to Lady Icespear's house to deliver the scroll in person and of course she offers them a job.
A gang of orcs has been spotted by some of the prospectors at work in the Gold Fields (lookup Deadsnows for more info) and she would like the party to meet with one of her agents in the fields posing as a prospector and try and deal with the tuskers.
After a nights' rest (I dunno why- maybe just because the Lady offered board at a local inn) the party sets off and meets with this agent. The man's brilliant tactic is to wait until evening when the orcs are sure to be about and feign celebration as if they were a group that just found gold. This might draw the brigands out and then- BLAM! PCs in your face.
This ploy succeeds almost at the expense of the Lady's agent, but one orc flees into the night. They keep one of the three alive for interrogation and find a crude map on the other that seems to have other prospectors' camps marked out on it.
When they begin to question the orc he declares that he is working for someone- when they ask who- I call for an end to the session to better prepare.

We played fast and loose with several game mechanics that I vowed to make clearer in the next sessions. I also went about drawing up a DMNPC to introduce- figuring a healbot would do my martial types some good.

2011-06-21, 12:00 AM
Sounds pretty fun. :smallsmile: Welcome to the DM chair. :smallbiggrin:

2011-06-21, 12:43 AM
Thanks, I have DM'ed before but this has been a particular honor DMing for the man that got me started playing.

Let's talk about Session Two:
So when we come back I scold myself for not making the leader of the orcs the racist caravan leader as was suggested jokingly by one of the players near the end of Session One- but I inform the players that the orc claims he works for a "tanned, well-groomed and dark haired individual who dwells in a hunting lodge not too far from here." The orcs it seems were deserters from their clan in the nearby Nether Mts- the Ripped Gut tribe- and were pressed into this man's plans to deal with the successful prospectors to get their gold and their land.

The party asks a few more general questions and establishes that there are only a few orcs left, and then the Barbarian elects to off the orc. He's a CN character, and he said he could have just done it when everyone else was asleep as he took first watch. The Lady's agent remarked that there was a dandy Sembian fellow named Samber Telravens that rented an old hunting lodge near the river. He seemed to have come to the North for the hunting- and purchased some dogs for the sport :smalleek:

The party rested, and the agent decided to return to town- giving the PCs some potions of CLW and a salve of Cure Minor wounds in addition to some spare goods he had been using in his guise as a prospector. As camp was being broken, a stranger approached. Introductions revealed that this was Ezra, Cleric of Ilmater (who made a habit of strolling about without the handy +5 to your Fort save winter clothes because he had taken the endurance feat... and he was a devout follower of the Broken One.

The Party of Three departs for the hunting lodge, and approaches downwind from a copse of woods giving them ample time to make ready for an assault on a trio of dogs guarding the front door. The Rogue climbs a tree as the meatier members walk out to draw the dogs. The Rogue makes a habit of repeating missing with his sling shots (why is he even using a sling?. After the battle, Barbarian decides that he wants to heap some snow on the dog corpses to preserve them for later eating... k.

Rogue finds and disables a trap on the front door and the remaining orcs are dispatched. The rest of the lodge is mostly fruitless exploration save for the old secret door bookcase (leading to an alcove where the old hunters apparently worshipped a ton of deities EVEN MALAR) until they come to the last room- barricaded for a moment before the Barbarian shoulder checks it. Inside is Samber, in mwk chain and wielding a mwk rapier. The Barbarian offers parlay, but the Sembian remarks about the backwater justice of some Northern pisspot town and combat begins. The room that Samber held up in was a trophy room, and on the far side nearest him was a stuffed centaur complete with bow- a working bow that fired at the first PC to cross the center of the room...

However, because of the nature of the trap I didn't intend for it to reload. "That centaur was a one trick pony" quipped Rogue's player. The party made short work of the Sembian and Cleric stabilized him with a cure minor. With one door leading away from this room, the Party discovered the room used for stuffing the trophies all over the lodge. And on the worktable, being preserved for some foul purpose no doubt- was a male human corpse.

2011-06-21, 01:02 AM
I'll do the Session Three writeup another time, but I was just wondering (for reasons that become obvious after Session Three) what happens to summoned creatures when the caster dies and what happens to undead created by means of animate dead when the caster dies?

2011-06-21, 06:53 AM
I'll do the Session Three writeup another time, but I was just wondering (for reasons that become obvious after Session Three) what happens to summoned creatures when the caster dies and what happens to undead created by means of animate dead when the caster dies?

AFAIK there's no rule that cuts a summoning spell short if the summoner dies; it runs for it's full normal duration.
The description for Summon Monster 1 states that the summoned creature "attacks your opponents to the best of its ability. If you can communicate with the creature, you can direct it not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or to perform other actions." So I would assume that once the spell ends, it continues to follow whatever instructions it was last given until they become meaningless or unfollowable, after which they resume attacking at their discretion.

Animate dead is similar, except that since it has a duration of "instantaneous" then it doesn't expire; the created undead persist indefinitely until destroyed.

2011-06-21, 09:18 AM
After this update, you are all caught up until next Monday when we will hopefully be doing a marathon session.

Session Three:
A Heal check from the Cleric reveals that the preserved corpse showed the calluses of hard labor, and the Party was lead to believe that he was once a prospector. With that the Sembian was drug back to town to be given to the authorities. Lady Icespear was pleased with the group and bid them to return the next day to claim their reward- and to give her time to interrogate the Sembian about his curious criminal enterprise.

The next day the Lady had all of the party's found potions and several arrows identified (invisibility, magic fang, arrows of animal and orc bane) and provided them a set of horses from her private stock. She went on to relay that the Sembian kept the gold from the prospectors he had killed and sold the corpses to a thin man in a large, obscuring cloak for 25 gold a head. The Sembian once had the orcs follow this man to an old granite mine in the hills SE of town. Apparently the Orcs did not like the smell of the place and pursued no farther.

This was also when a fourth player was introduced as the Fighter (a friend was sitting in and playing the normally DMNPC). The Party of Four wasted no time in riding off into the mountains to investigate. Immediately on arrival Rogue asks if there is a place to hitch the horses... I am caught off-guard by the attention to detail, but I say "Sure, they must have hitched beasts of burden sometimes." A ten foot wide corridor cut into one of the lower mountains in pitch black. Cleric produced a lantern and the Party entered.

Noting their movement I informed Barbarian that he fell into a pit trap, and Rogue saved against another a mere 10 feet away as he began searching for traps. As the second pit collapsed a pair of Zombies appeared at the far end of the halls. I had remembered just before the game began how much I hated Cleric's who turn undead- because when that was done all it did was force the party to run down the fleeing corpses.

After proceeding down the western corridor and finding two dead ends, a foul smelling white goop smeared on the floor, and hearing some squeaks and rustling the party concluded: 'bats' and turned back to go the other way- which lead to another pair of Zombies and the end of the nicely carved professional mine as a 5ft corridor began and appeared more shabby and new.

Proceeding down this corridor with light on the fighters chainmail the party spied not one, but two chambers with skeletons that seemed interested in nothing more than pinging away at the walls ceaselessly with their picks. The party decided that if they were not going to attack they were no concern, but debated over whether or not these forces would muster to attack when they tried to exit. Finally a larger chamber was spied, but as fighter tried to cross into it he triggered a glyph on the floor (a Ghoul Glyph on the floor!) He was paralyzed, but saved against the "stink so horribly you debuff your allies." I also informed him what he saw, but that he could not speak to the group about it. He didn't like what he saw.

As the group entered the room and engaged yet another pair of zombies, I kept letting them have DC 20 listen checks to pinpoint the source of a low chanting in an ancient tongue. This was an invisible deathlock casting summon monster i a couple of times to summon fiendish hawks (selected for high AC). After the second round of this, Rogue rolls a 20 targets the square with a sling loaded with a magic stone bullet... and misses. He yells out that "something is over there" and the deathlock replies "yes I'm here, and I will be the doom of you all" breaking invisibility to magic missile Rogue and Barbarian. The fight was pretty tough, right up until Fighter's paralysis wore off and he charged past the remaining enemies and cornered the caster. Barbarian followed suite (the hawks were not much of a threat) and the pair cut him down as he tried to drink another invis potion.

It should be noted that after he was magic missiled rogue drank an invis potion of his own, and instead of continuing to participate in combat he elected to search the chest for traps :smallannoyed: Apparently, when these old guys used to run they were very "Every man for yourself/ I opened the chest while you were over there/ Mine Mine MINE!" It was kinda funny, and I actually allowed him to do a sleight of hand against Cleric's spot to pocket some loose jewellry and a pale blue glowing oil he found.

The loot was plentiful, and to be argued over next session.

The Rogue and Barbarian should be leveling to 2. I am gonna talk to Barbarian about supplementing his Babarianness with a couple levels of Fighter at some point. I'm gonna try and convince rogue to focus on maxing out a few skills rather than putting a rank into everything esp with his stats.

2011-06-27, 10:22 PM
Another Monday night session- and two of the four players were absent (Cleric and Barbarian). However, much happened (Session Four):

The party returned to Deadsnows, which is in keeping with their habit of "next week we just stroll out of the dungeon- no more exploring. Give us loot and XP." :smallmad:
Regardless, the party returns to Deadsnows and informs the Lady that the evil in the mountains was dealt with (to the best of their knowledge). The Lady paid them in magic item identifications and a complimentary letter to present in Sundabar when they apply for a proper adventuring charter. They wanted to sell her dead mens' signet rings, but she refused and noticed that one of the symbols belonged to a respectable family in Sundabar whose son had gone missing. :smallfrown: The party took the hint to return the ring and wanted to make Silverymoon before the pass closed up in the coming month.
The party divvied up the loot (selling without appraising even at my nudging) and had potions checked out by the apothecary. Interesting point: One of the looted pots was an inflict light wounds that Rogue immediately disregarded- Fighter took the hint that it could be fun to administer that to some dupe and pocketed it. I keep giving the rogue invis pots, and now he even has a potion belt to quickly administer them. The Fighter took a Cape of Resistance I and the absent barbarian got a Ring of Protection I. An oil of animate dead was given to the Cleric (I pointed out he might have moral compuctions about its use and the party went PFFT! Interested to see when it comes into play).
After a day's journey away from Deadsnows, the party encounters a group of goblins and hobgoblins escorting a covered cart and talking about "the King of Vaelruth's tax." Rogue quips that they are meant to collect "The Lady's Toll" and that they should all call it even. Battle ensues. A goblin at the rear of the cart opens it up to release a large spider within several rounds, but short work is made of all. One goblin survives and calls for parley- promising "treasure" and "friendship."
Fortunately the players relented (The Rogue actually remarked "We don't need treasure" and I replied "What? I can throw away this adventure and you can just open a bar and grill in Sundabar?") to follow this gobbo into the nearby mountains to the cave of a dragon to which the goblin kingdom had been paying tribute. The gobbo kept to his word and the party promised that if they lived, he lived. At the mouth of the cave preparations were made and in the party rushed.
I should of played up more of the "slick ice all over most of the floor," but I didn't. Rogue drank an invis pot and waited at the rear of the cavern- Fighter was pissed. Round after round doing nothing as three of his party stood toe to toe trading damage with a very young white dragon. I figured that this was kinda lame and had the dragon go for the withdrawal, at which point rogue broke from invisibilty to sling at the dragon. He was throwing a magic bullet (thanks Cleric) with a bonus from invis, bless (thanks Cleric), and getting sneak attack damage. The six siders came up 1 and 1 for a total of 5 damage. I showed the party my notes on the encounter where I was keeping dragon's HP... He had 6.
"You will remember this as the day that you almost slew a dragon."
Regardless, the party said they would quickly stuff all of the formerly goblin treasure into their sacks and be off before the thing returned. They promised their goblin pal that he would be set free when they were not too far from Sundabar with a few coins for his trouble.

Loot will be examined and divided next session. The group was level 2 going in I should mention, with everyone staying their paths in life (although I really think that the Barbarian needs to take a level of Wizard at some point- he has an uncharacteristically high INT for an illiterate).

Fighter finished out some details on his character that had been lacking- like alignment (LM) and deity (None!) I informed him that he lives in a world where the Gods literally walked the earth and are totally undeniably real and then mentioned the Wall of the Faithless (TM) and the perils of being atheist. He seemed to hesitate.

Not a bad session, but I rarely ever run solo monsters as I should.

In Silverymoon I want the group to come across a magic curio shop full of those "useless magic items" that are sometimes talked about here in the Playground. Any suggestions for items?

2011-07-01, 10:34 AM
Moved the game up due to the holiday weekend (Session Five):

The party hoofs it back to the Fork Road and continues on the way to Sundabar. After a night and a day's ride they encounter a group of Knights in Silver on patrol that inform them a "concerned citizen" in Newfort seemed concerned that a local man was keeping odd hours and behaving strangely (perhaps like a Zhent spy?). The Knights were too conspicuous to conduct any sort of investigation, but if the party would look into the matter and report to the authorities in Sundabar it would be much appreciated.
I told the players this didn't have to be the night's adventure, but they road into the small town and started poking around anyway. Rogue gathered that this Stonebrace guy was a landlord and went to him asking about land (and his background). He thought he was a pretty decent guy who claimed he lived here long before the Zhent settled the area. In the town tavern the other PCs engaged in some roleplay and found some varied responses about Stonebrace ("he is the richest man in town" "he's a prick of a landlord" etc.).
Rogue sold off the Masterwork Rapier he had since Session Two to the local merchant (half-orc female Deliyra Narm), and found it odd that despite her shop's stock she could afford such an item. Then when the tavern PCs found that Narm was always bending the barkeep's ear about shutting Stonebrace down- they decided that she must be the one who is really up to something and she tipped the authorities to Stonebrace.
While the Fighter lured the shopkeep out of her shop to look over goods in his saddlebags, the Rogue spider climbed (per his shiny new cloak) up into the second floor window and searched. He found some parchments with tallies and rough maps and Orc writing (which no one could read because of 1-3. poor intelligence or 4. illiteracy).
With notes in hand the party took off towards Sundabar to find a translator and report findings. On the next night of camping, the PCs were rudely awakened by a cold breath weapon. The very young dragon continued to flyby bite, and during the combat the Rogue and Barbarian both knocked on Kelemvor's door, but they brought the beast down and ended the session satisfied.

Funny that the guards told them to look left and they looked right. I had notes about Stonebrace's night time activities (they were odd) and did not expect the party to look into Narm- who was nothing more than a fleshed out shopkeep for the purposes of this adventure but:

It is established in the Silver Marches book that Stonebrace is an informant for the Harpers, and Narm is an informant for the Zhent. I expected the party to get involved in the Harper's business (and they still might with these findings).

2011-07-02, 06:11 PM
doesn't it feel great to DM your old friends

when I DM my american friends i am just filled with joy :smallbiggrin:

2011-07-04, 06:35 PM
You're doing a bang up job my friend. Who would have thought that the little kid who cried his eyes out when his first character bit it would end up as a damn good DM.

On another note, it is killing me not to look at the "players keep out" thing but I am holding strong. Thanks for turning me on to such a great site!

Lord Loss
2011-07-04, 07:36 PM
Welcome to the world of Dungeon-Mastering. I've been doing it for around five years (Starting when I picked up a copy of Dungeons and Dragons for dummies and Libris Mortis at a bookstore... without having any of the Core books :smallbiggrin:) and it's a ton of fun.

Your game sounds awesome so far! Congratulations! The Journal you've been keeping is awesome, I'll be sure to stay tuned.

2011-07-04, 07:39 PM
On another note, it is killing me not to look at the "players keep out" thing but I am holding strong. Thanks for turning me on to such a great site!

Start reading the comic, I'm sure all the posters here will agree with me on that. Also, you can totally look after the next Session as all will be revealed.

@Lord Loss: Thanks for the encouragement.