We hit what basically amounted to the first big story point and some resolution of that this session. The players after spending so much time at school get into a nice fight in this session.
Tag: D&D Campaign
It’s the holidays and the holidays have tons of stories that you can borrow from or steal for a D&D one shot, in fact, Acquisitions Inc. just did a holiday special that was A Christmas Carol, just with a whole lot more blood.
So let’s set the stage, this game everyone is going to be playing as Santa’s little helpers those wonderful Christmas elves. They’re busy getting ready for Christmas when they hear coming from Santa’s office “Ho Ho… Nooooooooooo” and when they go and look Santa Claus has been kidnapped. They have just enough time to jump through a portal as they see Santa being taken.
However, they don’t end up in the same place that the person was going, but instead they end up in a little world, a tiny little forest really and there are brightly colored eggs laying around.
What I’d want to do is run through a number of different holidays quickly. This might be only a one shot, or if you have some time off and want to get a few games in, maybe you split this up over a few. If you are just do a one shot, I’d have them face off against the Easter bunny first, or maybe cupid before they get to the Lich whose heart is not 3 sizes too small, but has turned to dust. They need to find Santa Claus, beat the lich, and get him back in time for Christmas. I’d probably create an in game timer or some sort for that countdown to Christmas.
Now, if you’re doing this over multiple nights, the timer is a bit longer, but I’d still have some sort of in game timer, but one that will give them a chance to face off against a few more holidays. I’d probably say the Easter Bunny, Cupid, and a Giant Turkey for sure, but maybe pick a weird holiday to add in as well, Arbor Day comes to mind, and have them face off against a giant living tree who is trying to skewer them, or maybe New Year’s and have it be a team-up of the New Year’s baby and the old last year, or maybe have the old last year transform into the New Year’s baby when their hit points go low enough. I’d also have minions for as many of these guys as you can. Eventually they’ll win and you can have them face off against a Lich that is going to want to kill them in a world of Halloween.
I think another thing that you really should do is lean into the holiday that they are facing off against. It should be it’s own holiday world with lots of crazy things happening in it. For Easter, everything in the world, minus things like the Easter Bunny, probably some little chick minions, to be made of candy or to be a dyed Easter egg, something like that would be memorable, and the players might get distracted trying to eat as much candy as possible. You could even make the fact that everything is candy be an encounter where if they eat too much they have to make saves against being poisoned, or maybe treat it as a haste spell or something like that where maybe they take a level of exhaustion after the affect wears off. And I’d try and come up with something like that for each location.
Finally, you are going to face off against the Lich in the world of Halloween, because where else would a Lich be hanging out, Arbor Day? This is less about finding that phylactery and more about beating the lich and getting Santa. If/when they beat the Lich, that shouldn’t just get them Santa, they should then have a bit of a challenge to rescue Santa. Or maybe during the fight they also need to rescue Santa. Clearly the Lich is an evil mastermind, so they are going to have some sort of weird contraption that is dropping Santa slowly into a pit of acid or something like that, and maybe your characters aren’t actually at the level to fight a Lich, but of course Santa would be.
If you could play this with your family, I think everyone would have fun with it. Definitely this is something that you all agree to, and as the DM, you bring in a batch of prebuilt characters so that you can just sit down and get going, especially for the one shot, but even for the longer one if you have a short time around Christmas, say 3-4 nights.
Anyways, Happy Holidays for this Friday Night D&D. Would playing in a game like this be fun? Have you done any gaming over the holidays with family or anything like that before?
After a Holiday break and before another Holiday break, we are back for some more D&D. But we had the full group of Bokken, Barrai, Thrain, and Kip back for one more time in 2020. Last time, if you remember, our Bokken player was missing …
After a month off, just because of business of life, we were back again with Tower of the Gods. And we’re back with a surprise, we have had a fourth player join our group, not taking over as Parrag, but as a “transfer” student into Strawgoh.
His name is Kippington Thumble Elf-Hater, Kentish Bughammer, Kip for short. He’s a gnome who upon coming out of the tower had been given the skills to become a rogue. However, at this other school, there was an unfortunate incident, all alleged, involving a cake he may or may not have made that may or may not have been poisoned. Oh, and he has an untrusty squirrel friend named Karl, who mainly hangs out for food.
Upon Kip being introduced by Assendial, Bokken goes up and introduces himself, to the squirrel. Assuming that Kip is the squirrel, it nibbles on Bokken’s finger but gets bored pretty quickly. Kip doesn’t bother correcting Bokken on anything. The group catches up Kip on what has happened at the school, including Bokken outing Addrus and Parrag as spies, much to the dismay of both of them as the group had promised to help keep their secret.
It comes time for their final and Parrag comes down with the mumps so Kip has to join them, and Karl. The groups are brought up to the 2nd floor of the tower one at a time with their start times staggered by 30 minutes. Assendial gives them directions, they have to get through a series of rooms and to the teachers. Each room resets after 5 minutes, so they have a limited amount of time. They get scored based off of damage to their group, how many times the room has reset, and if they have caught any other groups who were in there before them. If they do catch a group, they get to go ahead of them and that group has to wait for another time for the room to cycle.
The first room that they enter looks like a foyer to a house. There is a fire place that is lit with a couple of torches in sconces by it, a book shelf filled with a number of books, and a chair with a table and some books on it. There is no door, in or out, once Assendial closes the door they came in on them. Bokken looks around the room hoping to find some scotch and finds a hollowed out book with a bottle of scotch and some glasses in it. Bokken pours himself a drink and sits down in the chair. Barrai thinking that there must be a hidden door looks around the shelf to see if there is anything, like an out of place book or something that would open a hidden door. He finds an out of place book and pulled it out. It causes the chair that Bokken is sitting in, and a part of the wall to rotate around, so when they look there is just a skeleton of an elf that is there. After Kip and Thrain investigate the bones and determine that these are in fact real bones or a real elf, Barrai puts the books back and removes it several times, this causes the wall to spin again several times, but they end up with Bokken back on the side they want. Bokkens next idea is to try and remove the torches, but he just ends up with two torches in his hand. Thrain investigates the sconces realizes that they aren’t attached as they should be, so he pulls on one and door frame appears in the middle of the room with a door in it. Eventually, after some more investigating they go through it.
They find themselves balanced along a ledge in a room with floating stones and lava on the floor. it looks a bit like a grand hall as there are chandeliers above it. They try and figure out how to get across the rocks that are floating there. Barrai is able to use mage hand to move one over, but it takes about minute, and then, after spending a bunch of time in the first room, the rooms reset and the rock goes back to where it was. They decide instead to use a grappling hook that Thrain has an 250′ of rope that Bokken has and Barrai mage hands the grappling hook up around the first chandelier which was just in range, it was 32′ form the ledge where they were standing. Smartly, though, I don’t know if the players were thinking about it, they decide to run the rope between the chandeliers and completely avoid the rocks and lava, as compared to their plan to swing on the rope. With the lava 4′ down from the ledge, a swing from one towards the middle would have most likely dragged them through lava, or at least caught the rope on fire, neither which is ideal. They manage to make their way across after a bit of a scare from Kip who loses is grip mid way across the rope, but is pulled back to safety with Bokken’s help.
In the next room there are two imps guarding two doors. As they walk in, one imp says “Welcome to our room, sit, stay a while. One of us tells the truth and the other lies.” The other imp says “Both of us tell the truth.” Thrain, the dwarf, immediately asks both of them if he is a dwarf, and they both say “No”. Doing an insight check on both of them, he knows that the second imp for sure is lying, but the first one might actually believe what he is saying. They ask them more questions trying to figure out a pattern or if maybe one tells the truth some of the time, but they eventually decide to try and restrain one, which gets them into combat. They kill one and get the other restrained and they open the doors. They had previously been told by the imps that one door had a dragon behind it and one a pit of acid, but all they see are two empty rooms. They toss the imps, one alive and one dead, into both empty rooms and they both fall through the floor, but they don’t hear the crunching of a dragon or the splash of an imp hitting acid. Attaching a rope to Thrain, and with Bokken holding on, Thrain is lowered through the floor, below he sees what looks like a forest, with a lake in the middle and an island in the lake, which he recognizes as the first floor where they’d taken their previous mid-term. He gets pulled up and goes down through the other door and sees the same thing just form a few feet over. The room resets and there are two imps in there again. This time they forgo much of the talking, and after a little bit of fighting, as Bokken opens up one of the doors and an imp tries to push him through it, Barrai puts them to sleep with the sleep spell. They spot rings on the imps fingers, so they look at them, however, they just look they are school rings from an infernal school and it doesn’t change the rooms or add any doors. Kip wakes one up and asks them a question along the line of “What would you do to not leave this room through a secret door?” to which the imp answers, “Kill us”, so they kill the imps humanely and a door appears between the other two.
This leads them into a room that I had intentionally created for the players. I’m going to write it out briefly the description that I gave them, but there are five pillars that are shooting flame, one in each corner and one in the middle of the room. The one in the middle of the room starts shooting flame backwards, while the others start from front left shooting along the left wall, the front right shooting along the front of the room, the back left shooting along the back of the room, and the back right shooting at a diagonal into the middle of the room. From there I explained how they move, basic idea is that you need to follow the right side and then take a step to the left to let the back door open again. One of the players, paying attention to what I was saying, was able to figure it out just from hearing the description once, which was awesome, so they breezed through that room.
In the next room, and final room, there is a Bearded Devil sitting at a table that magically has four other chairs appear around it. He motions for them to sit and says, “Come sit and enjoy some tea.” They sit and he pulls out what amount to a tasting flight of four teas for each of them. The first is a red tea with a fruity nose, the next is black and smells bitter, the third is a herbal green tea, and the fourth has a yellow color and smells of citrus. The Bearded Devil tells them that they have to try them in the right order and that the order is important. The players think about it and they assign a tea to each season, black for winter, green for spring, yellow for summer, and red for winter. They start with green, and Barrai takes a bit of poison damage, Thrain tries yellow and then red, taking poison damage for both. They offer the Bearded Devil some scotch even though they don’t have some, because Kip thinks scotch solves most problems. The Bearded devil says that sounds great, but he prefers Bourbon before Scotch. Bokken drinks the black tea and isn’t poisoned. He then tries the yellow tea and takes some poison damage. The Bearded Devil tells them that they have one more try or they’ll be fighting him. They think about it and decide since bourbon is earlier in the alphabet than scotch, maybe they should try alphabetical, which works for them and they are allowed to pass into the next room.
In that room they find the teachers waiting for them and the group who had gone ahead of them fighting as Narius and Castillia are debating how yellow or orange that last tea was with Narius insisting it was orange. At that point the session ended and the players leveled up.
Behind the DM’s Screen
This one I actually planned a bit more for sometimes. And I actually had two ways to bring in the new player. They suggested that transferring in made sense, so we went with that route. Otherwise I was going to somehow have Parrag end up rotating behind the wall and into stasis with Kip being brought back out and joining the group.
I also really enjoyed the creative ways that they tried to solve the problems. Could they have just jumped between the rocks, probably, but I wanted to see what they would come up with, and the swinging, while a bad idea was an option, but even better was climbing along the chandeliers. So you can have a room that is very dangerous, fire bad, and just let players problem solve, you don’t need a perfect solution, just give them options.
The pillars and fire room, that one, like I said, i wanted the players to puzzle that one out themselves. It took the time of me explaining it for one of them to figure it out, but I’m glad that didn’t take too long. For a puzzle like that, just running through would have been possible, but it was dangerous, so I wanted to make sure there was a good away through that made sense.
How does that session sound, is it one that would be fun for you to play in?
When we left the group last Bokken was talking with Sanphire and learning how to use a throwing dagger. Thrain and Barrai are down in the tunnel getting ready to explore the area that they had found out about during the dragon attack when they …
It’s been a little bit since we did a more standard D&D campaign or at least talked about a more standard idea. This one is going to fall into that more standard style of game that might be an easier sell for some new players getting to the table.
In the lands of Demythsteria there were rumors of an ancient evil. But they’d been always just that, rumors. An ancient ruler, Empress Esmeralda De’Valiran, who ruled with an iron fist and took everything and anything that she wanted without concern who is stepped on. But that was all just a fairytale, right? Something made up to keep kids in their bed or out of trouble.
Then, one day, there was a change, Mount Kalav, where Esmeralda De’Valiran was said to have to made her throne erupted raining down fire on the land. They say that you could hear the voice across all the lands, a seductive voice, a powerful voice, a voice that brought terror and desire to everyone’s hearts. It simply said, “My children, return.”
It’s been 100 years to the day since that fateful day, and while no one knows precisely what happened that day, the lands have fallen into chaos. Peace that had been kept for centuries between nations is now an all out war. People are searching for new gods, for any form of hope that they can find. But times are bad, and lava still flows, poisoning the lands from Mount Kalav.
So, in this game, obviously, Esmeralda De’Valiran is back and the players are going to end up facing off against her. But I’d have them start smaller than that, give them a false lead or something else to focus on. I think that cults are generally a solid way to start. Cultists aren’t that strong in D&D, at least out of the Monster Manual, and you can always beef them up over time. Make it so that your high priest or priestess is much stronger and have that be a mid point of the campaign showdown, something that lets slip that the cultists while definitely bringing on another end to the world are doing this to stop what they consider even a larger threat to humanity. Put the players on the path of Esmeralda De’Valiran.
I like the idea that Esmeralda De’Valiran is an Ancient Red Dragon, the Crimson Scales, but also that the Crimson Scale was something that she used in her past life. She’d been banished away somewhere, somehow, and now the players either have to defeat her, but that is going to be difficult because the lava. The fact that she’s going to be sitting at the top of extremely dangerous terrain that will be full of little and big monsters that love fire is going to be tough enough. Add in facing and Ancient Red Dragon, that is going to be almost impossible, except, the Crimson Scale is going to be something that they can use to their advantage.
For me, there are two things you could do with the Crimson Scale. Firstly, it could be something that they could tempt her off of the mountain with if they find it. Make it a massive scale the the players are going to be able to destroy, but something immensely important to to her, create lore around it and how it works. Now the players will be fighting an Ancient Red Dragon outside of it’s lair. Or you can make it something the players can take with them to her. If they can take it to her, now it’s something that they can use in battle. It’s a powerful artifact of some sort. Something that was her downfall the first time and could be it again. If she can somehow be judged by her own scale, it means that her powers wain and fade to some extent, but it is something that needs to be kept up. So the fight will be easier, but the players will be down one PC. And make it interesting for the PC, make it a mind battle where that’s where some of Esmeralda’s power is being pulled away to, and make it her polymorphed human form that they are battling in there and a form that the player recognizes. Make it someone who they worked with to stop the cultists.
Overall, more of a standard game, but I feel like it would have some bigger and more epic moments in it. I like the idea of the final battle coming after a slog, not something that takes too long, but maybe a couple of sessions fighting up the mountain, creating cinematic moments and bleeding the players of their resources to face off against Esmeralda De’Valiran. And if you do the mind battle, really build it up, I’d pull from the mirror world stuff in Doctor Strange so that it feels real and feels physical, but make it mental.
So, as I wrap up, would you want to play in a game like this? What things interest you, what don’t? Would you run a game like this?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!