View Full Version : Would like advice on first 4e dming

2008-07-01, 09:45 AM
Alright, I will be the dm in our groups first 4e game and this is also my fourth time of ever dming. The party will most likely consist of a halfling star pact warlock and an elf ranger. I would like to know what other people think of the following adventure I have planned for the first session.

These are my notes:

[Introduction in which I am the only one that speaks]
Lord Fredrik III rules his kingdom justly and he has many brave and loyal knights under him. There has been peace in these lands for decades and the people love their king, yet lately there has been some commotion and factions seem to appear between the knights. Some strive for more power and do not agree with the ways in which lord Fredrik rules his kingdom.
Yet all these things go unnoticed for you as you are foreigners and are on your way to the capital.
It has already become dark and there still is a day’s journey to the capital, but light comes from what seems to be an old tomb not far off the road and sounds like someone is suffering from huge pains can be heard from that direction.
[I stop talking at let the players do what they want to do]
When they come near the tomb I tell them the door is opened and on it they see the family sign of an old family of knights, loyal to the king.
The scene inside:
Two strong soldiers sit in front of a fire that seems to be lit in the middle of the room. The room is big and the walls are clean and made of marble. The floor is clean as well. The soldiers did not hear you coming and continue watching the fire.
The players can do what they like, but nothing will stop the soldiers from looking at the fire. When they touch the soldiers or the wall or something the illusion disappears with a diabolical laughter. The fire grows bigger immediately and the ancient funeral painting appear on the walls, covered with dust. The floor is covered with sand and rocks and the players find themselves standing in a pool of blood. The two soldiers now lie at the corners of the room. Both appear to be dead and one is nailed to the floor with his own spear.
When they examine the corpses, they turn into zombies and attack. One of them needs one round to get itself loose from the ground. [Idea: During the fight one of the zombies might walk through the fire, start burning and continue attacking while he is caught in flames] For every zombie they get 100xp.
Next, they will see 3 doors.
The first one reads: I am not alive, but I grow; I don't have lungs, but I need air; I don't have a mouth, but I can drown. I shall open this door.
When the characters open the door by keeping a burning torch (lit by the fire in the room for example) near it, or cast a fire spell on it or throw large amounts of water at it, they get 100xp.
Behind the door is small room with a pile of broken swords and shields. All of them are useless, but as soon as something in the room is touched 3 fire elementals appear and start attacking. They get 100 xp for each of the elementals.
The knights of long ago knew how to protect their tombs.
The second door is protected by a trap. 200xp
Behind the second door is a coffin. On it it reads: Here lies Lord Kojar, faithful follower of Lord Fredrik I. The coffin is locked. When the characters open the coffin they see a skeleton. The skeleton is not animated.
The third door is not locked.
Behind the third door is a room filled with gold and treasures. Three people, one man with a blue cloak and two others, one with a big magical sword and the other with strangely glowing magical shoes. They are loading the treasures in bags.
The wizard, the one with the cloak, shouts at the players that they have to leave, because his mistress wants this job to be completed. Then he shoots a bolt of thunder at the players, grabs the bags and teleports away, leaving the others alone to fight the players. The sword and the shoes are worth quite a lot of money and they get 100 xp for each of the men.
The second session I plan them on going to a lighthouse, where the descendants of Lord Kojoar live. When they arrive they find all the family members killed. The killer turn visible from an invisibility spell and attacks one of the players, claiming that he only did his duty for his mistress. After they have killed him they will need to fight a hoard of frogmen, I will use the minion rules!!!!

2008-07-01, 04:23 PM
I liked the illusion at the beginning.

Also, I don't know your players, but mine would run away from the tomb with the screaming. You may want to make a reason to "force" them in there (a bear attacks, and the tomb is a good place to run to, for example).

Minor nitpick: Lord Fredrik should rule something besides a kingdom if he's not a king in title. A duchy (if a duke) or barony (if a baron), for example. That probably won't bug anybody, but I figured I'd mention it.

Also, it seems odd to mention something (the kingdom's political situation) the player's don't know.

2008-07-01, 06:00 PM
It works, but there are some problems.

The major problem with this is that it assumes the players are going to do certain things. This runs the risk of the players either not doing it ("The tomb sounds dangerous. We keep walking.") or being annoyed if they are forced (railroaded) into entering the room.

Telling them about the land's political situation at the beginning is probably a bad idea. It's telling, not showing, and it has no relevance to the players. In addition, telling them something, then telling them that they don't know, is just asking for trouble: if they don't know, make it easier by not letting them know. It would be much better if the story of the lord and the knights slowly became visible as they investigate the tomb. For example, the tomb of the knight in the second room hints at the situation and provides plot hooks for the future without flatly stating the political situation.

Suggested rephrasing for the riddle:

I am not alive, but I grow; I don't have lungs, but I need air; I don't have a mouth, but I can drown. I shall open this door.

I have no life, but still I grow,
I have no lungs, yet still I breathe,
I have no mouth, but I can drown.
I shall open this door.
This removes a bunch of syllables and makes all the lines consistent in syllable length, as well as giving common phrasing to each line. In addition, the changed second line prevents the third line from seeming redundant.

The whole area seems rather disjointed. Why is there an illusion? Who put it there, and what purpose does it serve? Why is there a riddle on the door (seems a rather bizarre sort of security)? But most importantly, why are fights occuring almost at random?

"Here is a room... suddenly, there are zombies! Here is another room... whoah, elementals! Here is a third room... an evil wizard jumps out!" :smalltongue::smalltongue: That's a big exaggeration, of course; there's nothing wrong with a high level of combat but it is probably for the best if the fights have some link between them.

In addition, all the fights you have seem pretty small scale. 4th edition is designed to have one monster per player character, and unless the zombies and elementals are Elites, you might find that your players disintegrate the opposition pretty quickly.

Overall there are some nice ideas but you might want to work somewhat on the implementation.

2008-07-01, 08:09 PM
Good suggestions, Z-Axis. I agree that the combats are a little too unrelated to be so close to one another. (Maybe the place should be a little bigger?)

Oh, and you seem to have failed to notice that there are only 2 PCs mentioned. :smallwink:

Hoplite, I hope you all have a blast! Good luck!

2008-07-02, 03:01 PM
Thanks for all your comments.

Z-Axis: Thanks for the re-phrasing, I agree. It is a lot clearer now.

Basically I agree with all your comments. It is indeed not a good idea to "force" my players to go in there. I will have to find a better way. The idea was that the evil wizard casted the spell and that in later sessions they would learn more about him and the sorceress he works for.

I agree with the political thing, I need a better intro.

I'll try to make the encounters more connected, maybe making the the tomb a bit bigger also. My experience with this group though, is that although they like the RP a lot, I do mean a lot, they often forget about the plot really

EDIT: In fact, now I remember, it was in one of my dm games that the phrase "Do a reflex save, a drop of water falls on your head" became a running gag, after a water golem attacked the party and was eventually destroyed by the party's wizard with casting "light".

2008-07-02, 07:36 PM
لقثشف صخقن

2008-07-02, 11:31 PM

2008-07-02, 11:42 PM
according to my google translator it is arabic and means

Kthv to Ckguen.

I do not know what that means however,