RPG Sessions – Phandelen

It’s been a little while since we’ve looked in on our fearless adventurers as they journey to Phandelen. Life, as it will do, got a little busy, so there’s only a couple evenings to recap!

When we last saw the group, they had just made their way out of the caves and into the town of Phandelen. Now, as a relatively new DM, the thought of these guys running loose in a town scared the bejesus out of me. It is a small town, to be sure, but there’s still any number of places that they could choose to go. So the night before and that afternoon? I prepped and then prepped some more.

I’ve learned that index cards are your friends as a DM. I write little crib sheets down for each building and business that the PCs could wander into. Notes about the people they will find there, any wares for sale, general atmosphere…it’s all on the card. It’s very helpful.

Thankfully, it was night when the party arrived in Phandelen, so the inn, (a nice place to sleep for once) was their top priority. Upon awaking, they set off to explore the town a little and collect on some debts. During one of their excursions, they happened upon the local ruffian group in town – the Redbrands.

After a bit of a fight, they had dispatched four of the brigands and were off to find where the rest of them were staying. So up to Tresendar Manor they went, where the Redbrands were rumored to be hiding out. A quick survey of the area led them into the cellars, where they made short work of the first guards they found.

Things started really getting interesting at this point – behind a secret door was a nothic, and he was really on the fence about whether to devour the party or to let them pass. Thankfully the nothic had a taste for flesh, and they fed a couple of the Redbrand corpses to the creature…so he let them pass. Granted, they later decided to go back and slay the beast, but for now? Crisis averted.

Now, I’m not going to spoil too much of the adventure on the off chance that one of my readers has yet to play this adventure. The party made it through, missed the bad guy (yes, Sam, you were right – that WAS a familiar), but saved a family. But I will share a story about why I LOVE RPGs.

See, the party’s cleric decided to have some fun at the expense of our warrior. During a fight with some skeletons, Tychon (the cleric) decided to use one of his cantrips to make a sound appear to come from a skeleton. That sound? Rend……..which is the warrior’s name. Well, he went crazy and started recklessly attacking everything. It was one of those moments that had all of us in stitches!

Join us next time as we head back to the town proper and do some more exploring!

RPG Sessions – Into the Cave

One of the first pieces of advice I was given as a new DM was this: Plan. And then plan some more. BUT…remember that your players are always, and I mean ALWAYS going to fuck up your plans.

Well, this was more true than I could have imagined.

So I’ll give my obligatory spoiler alert here…if you’re planning on playing as a PC through the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure? Stop reading now. Seriously. Otherwise? Read on!

After our heroes made their way to the head of the trail, they found a cave with a stream coming out of it, with a dense thicket to the east side. Hiding in this thicket? Goblins, of course! The party made short work of the two sentries and headed in the cave.

Now off to the right was a room with a few wolves, and then the rest of the cave system was up the main path alongside the stream. There was, of course, a natural chimney which came down from the final room into the wolf lair, acting as a trash chute. And wouldn’t you know it, but they decided to shimmy up the chimney.

The halfling ranger tried first, falling out of the chimney after only a few feet. But the half-orc warrior? He made it all the way up. And then he secured a rope and the other three came up with him. So there they were, now with surprise, facing a bugbear, two goblins, and a wolf.

All in all, the battle wasn’t as hard as it might have been were they already beaten up. So they cleared the rest of the cave system with relatively minimal wear and tear, and are moving on to the next part of their adventure.

I think the biggest thing from this session was the use of a crit/fumble chart for 1’s and 20’s that were rolled. And believe me…that thing saw some use. Nothing really untoward happened to the PCs, but the monsters took a beating.

In two weeks we’ll get back to the road and see where it takes them!

RPG Sessions – D&D 5th Edition!

Although I’ve been back into role playing for a couple years now, it’s been well over 20 years since I’ve ventured into the world of Dungeons & Dragons. From talking to those that have played in or run campaigns between now and then, I didn’t miss much. A once wonderful system digressed into a miasma of calculations and complications.

I first tried 5E at GenCon 2014 and I was fairly pleased with my very limited encounter. The rules seemed streamlined, and the DM was putting a huge emphasis on story instead of charts and math. I was interested in playing, but finding a group was going to be tricky…D&D had been dragged through the mud and some people had sworn the system off for good.

So over the past year or so I’ve read up on the system, bought the books, and dreamed of the day I could run a campaign. Then, after one game night, my friend Sam reached out to me about the D&D book he saw on my table…we chatted about getting a group together, one thing led to another, and here we are!

Every other Tuesday we’re going to get together and run through various adventures. To start, I’m taking them through the Lost Mine of Phandelver. Once we get through that? Who knows!! I know one thing – we’re here to have fun. Oh, and if you’re going to be playing this adventure, you might want to stop reading as I’m going to recap each session and it might spoil things for you!

Tonight’s session was 90% character creation and 10% getting used to party dynamics. The party consists of two humans (a paladin and a cleric), a half-orc fighter, and a halfling ranger. We did spend a lot of time creating the characters, so our gameplay time was a bit short tonight. But I wanted to get everyone’s feet wet, so we started out on the road.

After being approached for guard duty, the party found themselves accompanying a wagon full of supplies bound for Phandelen. Part way through their journey, the party is ambushed by a small group of goblins and mayhem ensues. And to be clear here, mayhem includes the paladin falling twice, a goblin head flying through the air, one goblin almost cutting his buddy’s leg off, and several goblin corpses getting strung up in the trees.

Once things were sorted out the party headed off up the path the goblins had come down. After only a minor mishap with a snare, our heroes reached the head of the path, which led into a large cave…

Join us in two weeks as we find out what’s in the cave!