Normally I’d write up a game idea, but todays Friday Night D&D is going to be a list for what to get that person who loves their RPG’s. This person probably is the type of person who already has a lot of the books for …
Become those who songs are sung about in the epic dungeon crawler from Steamforged Games. Pros Quick to set-up Non-standard fantasy races/classes Dungeon crawl Session Length Campaign Game Price Cons Dungeon Crawl D20 based Very much D&D inspired Price The Page I think that they …
So, we were back to the virtual table last night for some Dungeons and Dragons. This session was a little bit different because we were down one player, but because we had three players, the game went on.
Last time the players had just finished up a test in the Tower which had gotten them up to level 3. It was a bit of a challenge as they had to figure out a number of different puzzles.
When they made it back to Strawgoh, Kip, Thrain, and Barrai were pulled aside by Assendial, the player playing Bokken was the one who couldn’t make it, in order to get their help trying to figure out how the scarab that had attracted the dragon had gone missing. Since they had previously found out the two spies, she entrusted this to them before the school year ended. She also told them to be more discrete about it, not to use their normal tactics, of theft, destruction, antagonizing, threatening, and general ignoring of people, rules, and common sense. But they had previous success which is why she asked them.
They started to dig into everything that had gone on while they were gone at the test. Three of the teachers, Assendial, Tormin, and Linken had all been with them for the test. So that only left Dadellous at the school. Plus Sanphire was keeping watch and all the second year students were still there as well. Plus Parrag had been there while he was sick.
Barrai decides to go and check with Sanphire first, see if he had seen anything from up in the tower. Sanphire, now incredibly bored because it’s been months since the dragon attack, was able to give them some idea. He’d seen a couple of second year students, Parrag, Addrus and Dadellous all around the building that has the teachers quarters and offices. But he wasn’t able to give them a ton of information.
Their next idea is to go and look at the scene of the crime. Tormin had the scarab in his office, even though according to Assendial something like that would normally have been stored elsewhere with other magical items and should have been when Tormin left to go with them for the test. However, he had left it in his desk. Kip decides, since it’s before dinner in the evening to knock on the door. He knocks, and knocks, and knocks, until the door across the hall, Assendial’s office, opens, and she unlocks the door for them.
In there is a fairly standard office. Tormin has a desk and some book shelves, a few pictures on the wall. Since the scarab was stolen from within Tormin’s desk, that’s where they started looking. Kip gives it a once over and sees that there are two locks that look like they’ve been used or messed with more than the others. He gets one open and sees some papers with a box underneath it. Grabbing the box, he is surprised when the box grabs back on and bites his hand. Turns out that the box was a mimic. A quick battle ensues while Thrain and Barrai attack, Kip tries not to die and tries not to cut off his hand. Whether or not Kip would have made it through the fight is questionable, but Assendial hearing the commotion casts a high level sleep spell knocking everyone out, including Karl the squirrel who has been with Kip. When they wake up Assendial is standing in the doorway shaking her head at them as she has put the mimic back into the drawer.
They are a bit more careful and Kip tries to pick the other lock that looks like it’s been opened more times. Try as he might the lock won’t open. He kicks the desk and there is a sound of a spring. He goes back to picking on the lock with Barrai’s help, bardic inspiration and enhance ability, and eventually gets the whole front of the drawer to fall off, only to find that it isn’t a front of a drawer, there is just desk behind it. Thrain then takes a look around the room and sees that there is a safe behind one of the pictures but no visible lock. Instead he also notices that the underside of the desks looks a bit off. On the right side where Kip had been picking the lock, there is a not a bit of a bump out. He pulls on it, it doesn’t move and pushes it and it pushes it back in. It clicks back into place. They try pushing on the desk, but they find that kicking it is a more successful way to get it to open. After spending some time poking around, Thrain uses mending and attaches the drawer front to it. They get it further open and then using some leverage manage to swing it open revealing a hidden compartment. In that compartment there is a small book that contains poison recipes, a statue of a toad, a necklace with 8 black beads on it, and a bag containing some gems. The gems, to Kips semi-trained eye, look as if there might have been some spell cast on them.
They are interrupted by Assendial again who reminds them that supper is coming up and that they should clean up this room putting it back as they had found it and go have supper as not to be suspicious. At supper, Barrai watches the second year students to see who stands out. There are twin dwarves, a half-orc, giant, and tabaxi who all are out of the normal, but no one seems suspicious. Most of the second years head off to their barracks to prepare and rest before their test in the tower tomorrow.
Two of them, an elf and a human, head off to Moody’s Bar. There they find a spot in the corner, and Thrain finds a spot at the bar to watch them. Barrai and Kip tag along as well and Kip spots Zaphir across the way. Zaphir seems very concerned about Kip and still very mad at Thrain and Barrai, not knowing which one of them robbed him after he started a bar fight with them. Kip decides to order a round for the two second years and goes and talks with them. It turns out, after a bit of persuading (casting friendship) that they are there to test out a theory to rig a fight. But he also does find out that theft has been up a little bit on campus over this year, which the students found odd, but not too concerning since it wasn’t there stuff.
The three, Barrai, Thrain, and Kip head out as the fights start. As they do, Kip makes it so Zaphir’s beer tastes like urine. Then they go back to their barracks and Bokken realizes that they had been gone for most of the time after the test.
Behind the DM Screen
This was a loosely planned session. I wanted it to be something that is important towards the main thing that has happened so far, the dragon attack, so it didn’t just seem like filler, but I also wanted it not to be so important that it wouldn’t make sense for Bokken to be there. I feel like logically Assendial would have known that Bokken was not stealthy from the dragon attack, but would know that Thrain, Barrai, and Kip definitely are and that Kip was part of the group already, which is why she’d go to them instead of all of them.
As for the desk, I decided that a puzzle door would be interesting to get into that one drawer. Basically whatever, unique or interesting thing that the players did with it, that would get it open, they just needed to do a few things. I like the creativity of trying mend on the door front onto the hidden door.
What do you think of this session? How do you run investigation in your games?
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?
So, one of the common issues when people are trying to play D&D is scheduling, scheduling is just really hard for everyone because, well, people have busy lives. Now some of this is something as you become older, if you’re playing D&D in high school, …
We’re back after a few weeks off because of a move for some more Dungeons and Dragons, and we’re continuing our Tower of the Gods campaign.
Where we left the crew, they were at Moody’s Bar for some of the duels which Bokken had entered himself into. Barrai and Thrain had beat up a guy at the bar and left only to sneak back in to watch Bokken fight as they didn’t really remember that they were there looking to find where the tunnel that went under Strawgoh came out in Moody’s Bar.
Bokken is facing off against a half-orc who has an okay record in the ring, but isn’t one of top duelists. Bokken comes out of the gate swinging, rushing to cover the ground and pulling out his odachi and getting a hit on the half-orc. The orc swings back hard with his mace connecting, but Bokken continues to press the advantage until he knocks the half-orc down. They get back up again and wallop Bokken pretty well. But Bokken gets through their guard and brings them to the ground where they stay. The healers come out and heal Bokken some as well as take care of healing the half-orc.
After the fight Barrai starts searching for the trapdoor but finds nothing. Bokken, taking a more direct approach asks an older fighter, Jermaine the Wind Storm, if he knows of any tunnel or trapdoor. He says that he knows pretty often students use one that is back by the latrines, but he doesn’t know where it is himself. Bokken passes off that information to Thrain, like Barrai is still searching, but when Thrain goes to look he finds nothing.
They head back to the school and spend more time doing school work, and trying to figure out what is going on with the final. After there has been a little work done to the school, Castillia and Addrus are moved into the barracks which houses Barrai, Bokken, Thrain and Parrag since theirs had been destroyed. They spend some time chatting with them, and Bokken tips Castillia off, since he’s paying he to keep an eye on Narius, about Addrus being one of the spies. Barrai and Thrain spend some time talking with Addrus and find out that there are actually maps of the tower and that the floors, after the proving area, don’t actually change. So if you have the right connections, have enough money, or are in the right guild, you can actually know quite well what you’re going to find on the first nine floors.
Bokken learning about these maps decides to hang out with some of the fighters from the duels, and joins into a group that is hanging out with Sanphire. He asks them what they know about the third floor of the tower, and gets back some general information. One of the fighters tells him that there’s a lot of fire on that floor. Another says that while there are some monsters, there aren’t as many to fight on that floor, and Sanphire lets him know that this floor of the tower is less about fighting and more about stealth and using your head, which isn’t ideal for Bokken who is not the most stealthy of characters. At that point the other duelists start to swap stories about the tower and pester Sanphire as to when he is going to go back into the tower and try and get past floor 25.
All of the characters spend some time shopping with Barrai buying a number of items, a light crossbow and bolts, chalk, ball bearings, a flask of oil, lock and 10′ of chain, a steel mirror, and after some searching, manacles. Thrain also basically gets himself some jars with oil in them and creates Molotov cocktails. Thrain also spends some time trying to figure out the best ways to not start on fire, and Bokken grabs a jug from the kitchen at the school and fills it with water because he is partially wood.
Also during this time they spend some more time trying to figure out who the other spy might be. Thrain decides to go through Addrus’s stuff now that they are in the same barracks and finds one interesting thing, a chain with five keys on it. This seems out of the ordinary but doesn’t help them get any further into figuring out who might be the other spy. Barrai does spend some time tracing the keys, and then with money he gets from his sponsor he get copies of the keys, from those tracings made up.
Bokken decides that following Addrus around might be useful as well in figuring out who he is working with. He is able to follow him around, he seems him meet with an older man and three students from other schools in the area at an open market, he seems him go into a bank and then into a backroom at the bank and then get a few drinks and watch a few duels. Bokken reports back to Barrai and Thrain and they are a bit surprised that Addrus is going to the bank because it’s a nice bank and unless you have a lot of money they wouldn’t probably accept your business and it would be fairly odd for a student to have that much money. They decide that it’s worth staking out the two locations, the market and the bank to see what activity that they can see from other students.
Barrai watches the bank and sees a few other students go in there, most notably Narius, Edzial (female dwarf barbarian whom hasn’t done much to this point), and Parrag. At the market, Bokken wanders around for a few days and he sees Castillia and Cordon shopping. Narius shopping and then losing his temper when he can’t get stuff for the price he wants. And Dorin actually visits a fairly shady looking stall with occult items. They decide that Narius makes sense to bank at the fancy bank since he comes from a noble family, but Edzial and Parrag that’s a bit odd.
Thrain first follows Edzial and sees her do some shopping picking up trinkets of glass that are of birds, clouds, the sun, and other stuff that you don’t see in an dwarven town. Then she takes them to a courier and gets them loaded into a package. He convinces the courier after Edzial leaves that she had put the wrong address on it and that he was sent to take it to her to get it updated. He takes the package back to the barracks and snoops through it, it’s addressed to Dasthian Corath in the Marthack District, Edfifle, Coldwater Mountains. Thrain knows that Edfifle is a Dwarven town in the Coldwater Mountains, and he finds a love letter form Edzial to Dasthian who is her fiancé. Thrain feels a bit sheepish about that, and returns the package to be sent. He follows Parrag next, Parrag just goes to a bar and has a chat with the bar tender, goes to the bank, and then goes and watches the duels placing a small bet which he loses.
Thrain thinks that’s suspicious and so with Bokken blocking the door, they sit down Parrag and Addrus one evening and accuse Parrag of being the other spy. He tells them that he’s not, but when pushed on it, some of his story about why he banks at such a fancy bank doesn’t make a ton of sense. They don’t get too far with it until Bokken decides to go through Parrag’s stuff and finds a key chain with four keys on it and comparing the keys to the copies that they had made from Addrus’s keys, there are similarities, like they might be for the same sort of location or the same location if that’s why Parrag and Addrus were going to the bank, for a spying reason. Parrag tells another unconvincing reason for going to the bank and it’s when Barrai offers a deal, where they will help keep his cover for him if he admits it that he eventually does. They do some things, like put a lock on their barrack door so that they all have to carry around a key chain, and still keep on acting like they are trying to figure out if Narius or Dorin are spies.
They, and Castillia, go and talk to Assendial and tell her how they figured out who Parrag was and how the small bet after going to the fancy bank first aroused their suspicions. Thrain also asks about the dragon attack and the items that they were shown. Assendial lets it slip, since she thinks they deserve to know a little bit and because they’ve promised Parrag a level of discretion that they can probably be discrete about this, that the scarab item was found underneath the barracks that were destroyed. It seems like whatever the enchantment was caused the dragon to be enraged and want to destroy it, so it attacked the barracks over and over again with acid until the acid ate down to where the scarab was and getting hit, it broke the enchantment on it. They ask for more information, but she sends them off to prepare for their final.
Behind the DM’s screen:
As always, I did limited planning, I basically had planned out the fight, and that was about it. I was curious to see what they would spend time on, and it was actually a really fun session.
With the bank, I knew once I gave Addrus keys that there was going to be something at the bank that the spies needed, most likely a drop or pick-up location for assignments and missions. I also made it so that it made sense for Narius, kid of a noble, to bank there, but it didn’t make sense for the other three, or so it seemed because they didn’t know much about Edzial, hence why I picked her. I tried not to make it too obvious that it was Parrag, and had been planned for it to be him from the beginning, but they did a good job of narrowing things down with their actions.
I also wanted to see what they’d do to prepare for tower test, and they did some fun things with that.
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