When we left our adventurers they were just getting back to the mess hall after there had been a dragon attack. During the attack, Bokken had rescued Cordin and Castillia from their barracks which was being dissolved by the dragons acid breath, gotten Barrai off …
We were back at it again last night with the third session of Tower of the Gods. Previously, our “heroes” Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain had gone through the test of the Tower with Steve as their fourth, unfortunately, Steve didn’t make it. Upon exiting the …
Two weeks ago, I ran my first session in the Tower of the God’s campaign. We got back to it again this past Thursday where our main character, Barrai, Thrain, and Bokken have completed the trial of the tower. For more information on that part of the story, you can find it in the original post, Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods (Part 1). Last night, they needed to do some shopping and figure out where they wanted to go.. to school, for their new skills.
Quick reminder of our characters:
Thrain the Hill Dwarf who became a Hexblade Warlock
Bokken the War Forged who was granted the ability to become a great Fighter (Samurai)
Barrai the Tiefling who now gets to use their musical and story telling skills as a Bard (sub-class to be determined)
At this point in time, they are all level 1.
Upon leaving the tower they were given what basically was an exit interview to gather what their powers they had been granted. A runner took all of their skills around to the various schools, but the characters (players) were given a free choice of what school they wanted to pick as a group.
There were eight different schools:
School of Spying and Espionage
School of War and Combat
School of Charm and Seduction
School of Wisdom
School of Business and Money
School of Order and Government
School of Nature and Raw Emotion
School of Dark Arts and Assassination
They went with the last one, though they did debate for a little while around some other the other ones, The School of War and Combat made sense and they were also interested in Nature and Raw Emotion. At that booth they spoke to Tormin, a recruiter and one of the teachers at the School of Dark Arts and Assassination and had to explain why they wanted to go and what skills they had that would be useful for the Strawhog – Ye Old School of Darkness and Magic. Tormin told them that they’d be in a barracks, bunk house, type set-up with another person who had gone through the trial of the Tower at the same time as them, a Gnome named Dorin.
Then I gave them two weeks of time to do whatever they wanted, Barrai practiced the harpsichord, Bokken picked up work at a warehouse and made a bunch of money moving boxes non-stop for that time. Thrain went to brush on his fighting and sparring at a local combat focused gym.
Showing up at the school, Strawgoh, they met Dorin. He was a pompous little gnome who clearly had a chip on his shoulder and was trying to be important. Barrai made friends with him by bribing him with a gold piece, but Bokken really didn’t acknowledge him, and Thrain constantly referred to him as a halfling, as a goof, though the best part was when the player, not the character, forgot that it wasn’t a halfling. They dropped their stuff off in the barracks and then joined the other nine students for their introduction to the school.
Head Mistress Assandial told them about the school, about how hard it was going to be, about how they still might die, even in the school and if anyone wanted to leave now they could. But everyone stuck it out. She then told them what became the focus of the rest of the session, there were two spies in their midst, two of the people had been recruited prior to the test of the Tower and already had some training. Those two would get extra credit if they could stay hidden for the year. But if someone correctly figured out who they were, they could get those extra credit points. But wrong guesses, there was a consequence for that.
Bokken immediately began investigating and looked for the people who stood out the most, the richest, the prettiest, whatever caught his eye. He spotted a halfling who looked rich and spoke to Narius. While Narius was a bit of a pompous jerk, Bokken didn’t get the feeling that Narius was likely a spy at that time and decided to offer to work for him if he had a job. Which, Narius said he would consider it once they graduate and he started his own assassin’s guild.
They talked to a bunch of other of their classmates, Domon a Tiefling Warlock who wasn’t that smart. Thrain interjected himself into a conversation between Cordin a Dragonborn Wizard and Sadran the Aasimar Wizard who Bokken had noticed earlier. Sadran was nice enough, but Cordin treated Thrain fairly rudely. They talked to Addruss a Human Fighter who had gone through the Trial of the Tower with Castilla a Wood Elf Rogue.
Barrai used his ability to cast the message spell to get information from Domon that he’d gone through the tower trial with the Aasimar, Sadran, and an Elf whom the players haven’t talked to yet.
At one point, Dorin, appointing himself, or trying to appoint himself, leader of the barracks decided to confront the party and see if they’d just tell them that they were spies. However, the party turned it on him pointing out that he was the only to survive the group of four, which seemed fairly suspicious to them.
Finally, the party talked to Edzial, a Dwarf whom they don’t know what class she has yet. However, she says that she went through the trial with Domon, Sadran, and the elf that they didn’t talk to. And the characters call her out on that. She gives a reason that they is investigating to see how much they know, but the players note that she, like Dorin, is the only one who didn’t have party survive the trial of the tower.
The players, since they decided that they could trust Castilla, spoke with her about their suspicions as to who might be the spies, but they really didn’t have all that much proof and they didn’t want a wrong accusation on their record. Barrai, since he is also a Tiefling and Domon had made a big deal out of that earlier, leveraged that friendship to convince Domon, not the brightest character, that he should go and accuse Dorin for them.
And that’s where I ended the session with Domon off to do that.
The DM Notes portion, if you don’t want to see behind the screen don’t read further.
There were only a handful of rolls in this session, once they started talking to people, they rolled for several insight checks but that was about it. I’ve run sessions like this before with little rolling but it wasn’t planned.
So about the planning itself, I had all 8 schools determined and I had the cast of characters, teachers and students whom they’d meet at whatever school they went to. Would they have always been paired with Dorin, no, Barrai asked early who they were going to be paired with, and I had him roll a D10 to determine which out of 11 students they’d be paired with, yes the math doesn’t work.
Also, for preparing for something like this, don’t come up with a new batch of teachers and students for each school, my four teachers (two of them met so far), and nine students were going to have the same names no matter what. Now, the fact that Dorin is a Gnome Rogue and Castilla is a Wood Elf Rogue, those things could have changed.
I was also potentially prepared for combat in this scenario. Only because they went to the school of Dark Arts and Assassination did they end up being a test and students. It was going to be a school who was going to send in some spies that the players would have had to have fought and figured out what they were after instead. But it worked well this way for the school.
Strawgoh is Hogwarts backwards and because of that Bokken now has a commanding officer, mentor named Rettop Yrrah as well, Harry Potter backwards.
This session went really well and I had a lot of fun with it, even though it wasn’t dice chucking combat or an epic set piece of massive story, it was a bunch of different smaller social interactions, some funny, some normal that the players had. Even with the funny ones probably being the most entertaining, the players have already gravitated and made Castilla someone who is going to be important later because they trust her, you never know who they will pick.
Feel free to steal ideas from this for your own game and let me know, what would you have picked for a school in the players shoes? Do you think they are right and Dorin is a spy (I should say, spies were set before they got Dorin as a bunk mate)?
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So, I got back into running some Dungeons and Dragons last night on Zoom. Three/four player game that I’ve named Tower of the Gods. I think I previously did a Friday Night D&D explaining the concept, but I’m going to do that here again and …
Almost forgot to share this, it was a rush, but I go through nine different level 1 characters for Dungeons and Dragons. I was hoping that I could knock them out fast, but it took a little bit, but I got them done. And I …
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go…
We all know about dwarves from such classics as Snow White and more so Lord of the Rings. Really, Lord of the Rings is the basis for so much of Dungeons and Dragons, because it is the basis for so much fantasy in general. Dungeons and Dragons has built upon it, to really build out the dwarven structure of society that you don’t really fully see in Lord of the Rings.
Dwarves tend to live in a pretty rigidly structured society, and that’s one of the defining features. I think that Wizards of the Coast recommend that dwarves are lawful in their alignment. This comes because dwarves are generally part of a large family group and so you have certain family expectations to live up to.
Dwarves also live for a longer than human life span. It’s not as long as elves, but dwarves still live for several hundred years. Instead of taking that time out to go adventuring, they are going to be working on honing their skills to create their masterpiece, whether that is some ale, sword, piece of armor, etc., that work is how you’re going to get recognized as a dwarf in your society.
Even with that, dwarven society is rigid. So while you can probably work your way up the societal ranks by creating a masterpiece, the amount of time you have to work on that is going to be low if you’re in a lower rung of a family. However, being in a family is very important, you could also call it a clan, though they are generally set-up as a family group from ages ago. If you are clanless, you are an outcast who other dwarves really look down upon. You’d be hoping that someone will invite you into their clan so that you can have some standing in your life.
And I think that’s one of they key points, dwarves really like order in their lives. A dwarven adventurer is going to be seen as a bit of an outcast from normal dwarven society and might have troubles coming home again, if they just up and left their clan. However, clans will most certainly send out dwarves to adventure to help maintain stability, to spread the word of dwarven deities, and to look for some great treasure that would be the centerpiece for the clans standing among the other clans.
Mechanically, dwarves are slower than other races such as humans and elves, but their make up for that by having a bonus to constitution. You really get the double down on constitution with some of the dwarven sub races which get more HP per level on average than other races playing a similar class. Dwarves also have advantage against being poisoned, and even if they do end up being poisoned, they are poisoned less. You also gain some proficiency with various tools and weapons to start, so if you are playing a class that wouldn’t get access to some weapons, you now are going to have access to them.
But let’s talk about some Dwarven backstories…
My clan is the black sheep of clans. We generally deserve our reputation. Our clan is known for employing shady methods of gathering trinkets. If something goes missing in your clan, it might show up in our clan a generation later, I’m not saying how it got there, but it might happen. I, with my particular set of skills, got asked not just by my clan, but by the clans as a whole to head out into the world. The older generation said it felt like there was some changes on the wind that might be an issue for us. They were possibly also tired of me taking their stuff.
Alignment: Lawful Evil/Lawful Neutral
I miss my little blacksmithing shop. It was a quaint little place that gave me peace, but I can’t ever see it again. I was kicked out of my clan for a misunderstanding. I had started to build up a name for myself and go up in the clan, which was getting on the nerves of some of the family members who were closer to the main family. I was set-up on day when one of the nobles staged it so that I thought I saw an assault in progress. I snapped and used my smithing hammer and killed a dwarf before they could stop me. The whole issue came out, and while the noble was punished, for my crimes I was exiled. Now I’m searching for a treasure or something that will get me back into my old clan so I can go back to my black smith shop.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral/Lawful Good
Background: Guild Artisan
All praise Moradin, the god of Dwarves who heats our forges and makes our armor and weapons strong. Brothers and Sisters who have fallen away, I am coming for you. My clan has sent me out from our sanctuary against the ravages of the underdark in a time of need when the Drow and Duegar attack. I am coming when I can to bring you back to your faith and stop whatever or whomever is driving you away from your faith. That was the letter that I sent out two years ago, I’ve been on the road every since. I know that just showing up as a lowly member of Moradin’s church will not grant me an audience with someone so fully corrupted. I seek a way to show Moradin’s power to them.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Dwarves are an interesting race to think about and give good role playing opportunities if you lean into some of their traits. I didn’t talk about the rivalry/dislike between dwarves and elves, because I did in the elf article last week.
Have you played a dwarf in a D&D game? How have you built your dwarf up?
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Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons.
Von’thre and Nori find out that what they think is happening isn’t quite what it seems.
Syldi on the other hand has to spend some time with the enemy.
If you have questions for Nerdologists: Dungeons and Flagons emails them to email@example.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter! We’ll be doing a recap and Q&A every twenty-five episodes.
Our players are:
Ashley – Nori the Mountain Dwarf Champion Fighter
Kristen (@Kefka73) – Syldi the Half-Elf Rogue Thief
Clint – Von’thre the High Elf Divination Wizard
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Welcome back to season two of Dungeons and Flagons. The best laid plans of Nori, Von’thre, and Syldi go sideways pretty quickly on them. What is the next twist and turn? If you have questions for Nerdologists: Dungeons and Flagons emails them to firstname.lastname@example.org …