Hey guys, here’s a post that I put on Reddit that I think you’d be interested in, too!
I ran my first game last night – and I think to great success.
tl;dr: A spoiled princeling, his barbarian bodyguard, and his druid tutor kill men in a bar fight, turn away an offer they cannot refuse from a mob boss, then break out of a fortified city in the dead of night.
We created characters and bonds over dinner; the three PCs decided that one of them, a ranger named Aranador, was the prince of a small kingdom sent through these lands to achieve manhood. With him was a barbarian, Hagard, from the far lands who owed a life debt to the king, and a druid, Elana, from the Whispering Planes that served as the ranger’s tutor.
Using my leading questions I wanted to start the action in a dangerous place; the first suggestion was a dungeon. No. Actually, it was a nightclub in a metropolitan city called Dungeon. Mid-fight with the son of a powerful mob boss in the city who the ranger had insulted.
The son and his henchmen were quickly dispatched, with the ranger gutting the mob princeling and the barbarian taking out three henchmen largely using his fists and the wooden bar. The druid was no slouch, turning into a cheetah to run down one who was going for help.
When they slipped out the back to evade the city guards, a thief from the rival gang meet them and offered to take them to shelter; they accepted and were led down into the sewers. There, the rival boss thanked them for removing a foe, and offering to give them protection in exchange for 200 gold. Clearly not having the funds available, he would gladly allow them to work off the debt using small tasks — but the party refused.
Their attempts to sneak out of the sewers brought the town night watch down upon them, let by an inhuman wraith (think Orzhov from M:TG). The chase through the sewers led to the eventual defeat of several hounds sent to track them down and a madcap attempt to seal the sewer grate they exited from by throwing a burning hobo barrel at their pursuers.
We ended with a fight in a tower to open one of the main gates. The druid flew through the top as an eagle, shifting into an elephant in mid-flight in an attempt to overpower the watchmen, but failed; pinned to the wall by a thrown spear, he struggled as the barbarian and ranger forced their way up the stairs.
They succeeded, barely, with the barbarian forcing closed the gate just in time. Our party fled into the night badly wounded, most at 1hp, and with the druid clutching an ear so badly ruined that he would be disfigured and take a -1 ongoing to hearing when Discerning Realities.
So, overall a good game. As a DM used to preparation overload, it was refreshing to just run things by the seat of my pants. But I have some questions:
– I had a bit of a tough time getting people to just tell me what they wanted to do instead of proclaiming “I Defy Danger!”. How can I help?
– The druid had a tough time in fights because he wanted to be an older character with less strength, more dexterity. Most of his bids to tackle, trample, and otherwise rend the flesh of his enemies failed because he had no modifier to STR. Should I be keeping this in mind for next time to make sure people don’t nerf themselves before the game starts?
– How many creatures can our heroes fight at one time? At one time there were 6 town guards surrounding 3 intrepid explorers – a beatdown that left them alive, but barely. This was largely their fault, though; they staged a full assault on a major gate tower in the dead of night. Of course there were guards there, and they would have called more guard friends.
– The PCs largely used STR and CON in the game, and commented on how they saw less of a need for the other stats because I didn’t make them roll “diplomacy” checks for interactions with NPCs. It was a one-shot with lots of brute force used to solve problems, but how can I help them leverage all their skills?
That’s it. I enjoyed the game, the PCs enjoyed the game, and I think we have a new weapon in our arsenal for one-shots and a new ongoing campaign when the full-time DM slot re-opens. Thanks for reading!