After months of reading posts & articles, it feels so good to be a part of a session, and great to DM a fun one.
After months of reading posts & articles, it feels so good to be a part of a session, and great to DM a fun one. Thanks for all of your help, everyone!
We started with a dirt-simple pitch – it was graduation day for the PCs (Fighter, Wizard, & Ranger) and that they needed to retrieve a McGuffin as part of the process to prove themselves worthy. Bonds and a few questions sorted out what their organization was all about — in a surprise turn of events they chose to be government-sponsored — as well as some of the major threats to the guild.
As soon as that was done, I called for a 15 minute break to slap together the actual adventure. I had some rough ideas already, but it’s incredibly liberating for the rules to fully support winging it. I still only got as far as “ruined keep in the woods,” but that’s on me. 😀
We opened with a take on 13th Age’s redcaps, just as the Fighter had caught his foot in a snare trap and was sent rocketing into the air. For the redcap’s Bad Word, I chose “there,” figuring that I could cheat on any “they’re”s and “their”s as well. I didn’t get the trifecta I hoped for, but rampant teleporting enemies that fall apart in one clean blow set a fantastic tone for the session. And not using a battlemats made room for a ton of trap shenanigans. One of the redcaps was chucked into a “Catapult trap,” which is apparently just getting Wile E. Coyote’d into the side of a tree. A 7-9 on another Defy Danger meant successfully throwing one but knocking an ally into a pit trap in the process. Basically it was the best kind of insanity.
The PCs swing by the keep’s chapel, which I decide is dedicated to the god of art & engineering. They do a solid for a ghostly guardian who can’t come with (I’m not running a DMPC in our first session) but he mentions the keep has a state of the art heating system. Thus rather than busting down the front door, they enact Operation: Santa Claus, sneaking down the chimney to get to the ritual chambers underground. They bypass most of the keep, getting in a small scrap with some skeletons and a larger one with an iron golem along the way, and make their way into the caves below.
There, they find a group of evil telepaths using the McGuffin to help them imprison an illithid, surely for some nefarious purpose. As the fight breaks out and the telepaths start to drop, the illithid’s bonds are broken, and he’s indiscriminate as he lashes out. The PCs grab what they came for and book it for an alternate exit, barely making it out as the illithid finishes his jailors & gives chase. They escape to a nearby town and call it a night, with the Ranger leveling up and the others within 1 or 2 XP of it. And now I have an illithid on the loose for next time, when they report their (strictly speaking) success back to base to earn their stripes!
The Wizard wasn’t thrilled with his class, mostly because he prepared Magic Missile and Detect Magic – not a great level 1 combo. And I could’ve pushed more hard choices and non-damage outcomes, pulled fewer punches, and overall just managed the pace better. But this was an absolutely great session, which makes it a phenomenal starter, and almost as much fun as I’ve ever had on the DM side of things.
Thanks again, everyone!