Alright, it’s Friday again, that means it is time to come up with your (or my) next Dungeons and Dragons campaign. This one is again pulled using information from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. So let’s get into some backstory. Out there between the planes there […]
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Alright, we’re back with another Friday Night D&D, where I write down an idea that I’ve had for a D&D campaign to help give you ideas for your Dungeons and Dragons games!
Last time we were looking at Demons and Devils and their Blood War. This time we’re going to look at the Seelie and the Unseelie courts. The Fae Wilds play a large part in D&D as another plane that you can go to. And all Elves have some fae ancestry, though it might have been long long ago.
In this game, the material realm is where the players are from. The world is going to start to change. Mainly, the Unseelie Court is going to start changing the world around the players. They are going to be causing basically an incursion into the material realm.
Now, a first level adventuring party isn’t going to be able to deal with a Fae Queen, but they are going to be able to start to deal with the incursion. It’s going to be the small fae creatures who are slipping through the cracks of this incursion. However, that’s not going to be the big issue. But it’s going to be pest for neighboring villages and houses, where the fae creatures are pulling pranks and playing tricks.
The crux of this campaign is going to be how the players deal with the incursion. Mainly, because it’s going to be hard to fight their way into the Unseelie Court and deal with the Queens of the court. However, even the more chaotic and malevolent parts of the court will respect a mortal if they behave honorably. So if the players behave with honor, don’t kill everything and everyone, they might be able to stop the incursion without bloodshed.
But in classic form, there is always a bigger bad guy. There is going to be someone, some deity, probably Lolth the Drow Goddess who has influenced the Unseelie Court. Her plan and those of her followers, since you most likely won’t be fighting Lolth herself. You’ll be fighting a priestess and some acolytes of hers at the end, but a powered up priestess that is going to have some of Lolth’s own spell list, resistances, and lair actions. But, again, if the players have played to the courts right and not offended the Unseelie Court, and for that matter, the Seelie Court since they’ll have to deal with them as well. If they have managed to keep the courts “happy” and earned the respect of the various Queens of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, they might have more help or some boons that they will be able to use in this final battle.
Probably the final thing for this game, I would make it a game that has a lot of rigidness to it. The interactions with the courts and the Queens, those should be expected to go a certain way. Also play into the Dresden Files like thing where the fae creatures can’t lie, but they also don’t have to tell you the truth as you’d expect and they will find ways to skirt around questions. Also lean into making deals, the fae creatures, especially more powerful creatures, shouldn’t volunteer information. The adventuring party should have to agree to certain conditions for that information. If you can even have them negotiate with intelligence rolls and allow your players to lawyer it up somewhat as they word out deals with the fae creatures.
I think that you can build quite a campaign out of it, have the players fight the way to where the incursion is coming from and probably even have a mid-level interaction with one of the Queens of the Seelie Court. So at that point the game can transition from it being a situation where they are fighting a lot of fae creatures to where they are now having to investigate and infiltrate to figure out what is really going on in the Unseelie Court. Even before that, I would hint at honor and rules that the court has when it comes to torturing for information (since your players will probably try and do that), and set-up the rules for the court and how a fae expect a captured creature to be treated.
This idea isn’t as fleshed out as the other, but I think there are some interesting story options there and a good progression as the players learn more information, how do they deal with the changes that are happening? Do they continue on a combat focused route, and how does that change later interactions?
Would you want to play in a Fae game? How would you role play some of the interactions with the queens?
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Alright, now we’re into the sweet spot for games. There are a lot of them out there that really work best at 4 players. This can be for a number of reasons, but most of the time it’s because 4 players is the maximum player count and the resources are balanced for that player count. If you have a lower count, the board is too large.
Not Gloomhaven, Gloom is a silly little card game where you are telling a story about the horrible things that are happening to your characters. And then you are trying to kill them off so you get the fewest (or most negative) points possible. While I like this game with lower player counts, the higher player counts mean that you get to tell a silly story as a group. The more people you have to play good cards on, the funnier it is as you really do all tie your stories together as you play and create this crazy shared world with your miserable little families.
This game does play well at two players, but I like it at the higher player count as it keeps you from getting in as much of a rut with one person burning a card to give a clue, the next person using that clue to tell the other player what to burn to get another clue and so on and so forth, if there aren’t better clues to give. It also means that each player has more information with the higher player count because you can see more hands of cards. This is sometimes stressful because you hope one of the other players will give a clue that you want them to give.
3. T.I.M.E. Stories
With four players in T.I.M.E. Stories you might get less time to complete the scenario, but I feel like it gives you the right breathe of characters. You get the characters who are strong at fighting, but also the ones who have the social skills. It also gives you another brain in the mix to help figure out the puzzles and find the clues that are at the various locations, maybe hidden on the image that you are seeing. Now, I think that T.I.M.E. Stories is still a lot of fun with any player count, but with four players you can really get the whole experience of the game and be able to use your time more efficiently.
2. Blood Rage
This epic Viking area control, card drafting, variable player power game is the most fun at four. You get more epic battles with the higher player counts and you really have to decide when to make your move going after a resource. They do a solid job of adjusting the board size for lower player counts, but to have that more open game is really enjoyable. And when you have a lot of players fighting over Yggdrasil, it’s a fun time. You also get to play with all the cards in the drafting round for the age. That means that you get to see a great variety of cards and can tailor your strategy around what you can see. The game doesn’t seem to take much longer with four players either, which is nice.
1. Pandemic Legacy
Now, I know some people will like this with fewer players and generally they are considered easier with fewer players. For that reason I actually like it at the higher player count. It adds to the stress of the game as you try and complete everything, and you can’t rely on a single character leading the way. In the first season, playing with the Dispatcher and Medic would be playing on easy mode as you’d be able to keep the diseases pretty well under wraps. But with more players, you don’t get those two important characters making moves as often. This is also true for Pandemic in general that the higher player count I find more fun, unless you’re picking odd characters. Otherwise the game can be a bit too easy.
Now, there are so many games that are great with four players, and I want to toss out a couple of games that haven’t made the list yet. Smallworld and Five Tribes. Neither of these are going to make of the lists, because I like them with any player count. Five Tribes does change it’s feel with different player counts, but it works well. And Smallworld has different maps for each player count which makes the game work very well.
What are some games that you really like at four players? Are there some games that shouldn’t be played at four players?
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