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: Dungeons and Dragons Campaign
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?
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 the battlefield, and Thrain had sneaked off and found a trapdoor near where Bokken had seen Addruss talking to someone in the shadows right before the attack.
Things pick up immediately with Assendial calling up everyone from the cellar. Dorin tries to sneak into that group, but Barrai spots him coming out of some bushes that he had been looking in last time and had been hiding in during the dragon attack. Barrai calls that to everyones attention and Dorin tries to convince everyone that he was trying to be helpful and out of the way, not just cowering in the corner, but Barrai calls him out on that.
Meanwhile, Addruss comes out of the basement where Bokken knew he hadn’t been before. They call out Addruss on that and he says that he had come in after that fact since he had been outside and with a second year student when the attack had occurred, he hadn’t realized he was supposed to go to the cellar until later. Barrai calls him out on that, but he says that Barrai was probably unconscious when he came in so he wouldn’t have known.
Assendial, having enough off all of this, sent the rest of the students to the mess hall. Parrag and Cordin help Castillia to the nurses station to get her leg treated. Once everyone else has left, she gets the truth from Dorin that he’d been looking for threatening messages in the bush like he’d found before and that he’d just gotten scared. Addruss says that he came in a side entrance which is why Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain wouldn’t have noticed him. Assendial doesn’t look fully convinced, but sends them all into the mess hall.
About half an hour later, Tormin comes in and informs the students that they are going to be sleeping in there for the next few nights just for their protection in case something comes to attack again. Barrai has a lot of questions about what they should and shouldn’t do if something attacks and what the biggest things to attack are from the tower and if they are as targeted as this one was. Tormin says that most attacks haven’t been targeted and that this was an adult dragon and he’s seen ancient dragons come out of the tower before, and if the players see any sort of dragon, to run to the cellar. Barrai asks a few more clarifying questions and they all decide to call it a night.
Once the lights are out, Barrai and Thrain sneak out through the kitchen and Bokken, after losing his plate armor exoskeleton sneaks poorly after them. They notice that there is something up in the watch tower on the campus that is glinting every thirty seconds and Barrai uses minor illusion to create an image of Addruss sneaking. The illusion is spotted and after a few seconds Tormin comes to the door and tells Addruss to get back inside and then mutters under his breath, which Bokken hears, that they wonder why they had recruited an idiot like Addruss. They decide not to sneak to the trapdoor that night.
So next morning, Bokken, to get sunlight to recharge, goes to the top of the tower and meets a flashy half-elf who is smoking a cigarette. They chat for a little bit and Bokken finds out that he is one of two adventurers hired by the school to keep watch just in case something else happens. They chat some about dueling and Bokken is able to get some lessons or sparring with the half-elf. He finds out from Barrai, later, that the half elf is likely Sanphire whom Barrain and Thrain had seen fight in the duels.
They go about their school day until they can get a hold of Parrag and have him join them in talking with Assendial. They tell her that they know that Addruss is one of the spies and that they had found that out from Tormin. Assendial is pissed off at Tormin for letting it slip, but generally keeps a pretty good poker face. Parrag, after the initial shock is pretty pleased that the group has brought him in on that for the credit. They ask him if he’s a spy and he tells them, unshockingly, that he is not.
Barrai interested when the watch shifts sees that there is a female dragonborn up in the tower and goes up to find out who it is. It is Esmelda from the duels whom he’s seen before. He has a brief conversation, and he gets the information that he needs for Bokken that Sanphire will be taking over the watch at midnight.
They wait until midnight and put together a plan where Bokken has grabbed some dried meats and beer during dinner and he’s going to take those out to Sanphire to chat more and learn some fighting skills. Meanwhile, Barrai and Thrain will sneak to the trapdoor and go and explore down there. The party decided to split themselves, not me. It works well, and Bokken goes out and is sent a message by Sanphire to hurry up to the watch tower before any of the teachers spot him. He goes up there and they start to talk about his past and about how he wants to learn skills with throwing knives. He shows off some good dexterity to Sanphire and he suggests that they throw at a target to practice their skills, the target happens to be the barely propped open trapdoor.
During this time, Thrain and Barrai sneak over to the trapdoor and get it open. Barrai stick a piton in to hold the trapdoor just barely open and they climb down the ladder in pitch dark. At the bottom Barrai lights a candle and they can see that there are three passages, one leading under the messhall, one leading away from the tower and one leading towards it. They start out heading down the one leading to the mess hall to see if they can find an easier access when there is a thud and an echo in the tunnel from something hitting the trapdoor.
Behind the DM’s Screen:
Life has been busy so I didn’t have much time to plan. This is a reason that I like to end my sessions on a cliffhanger or in the middle of a scene. It means that even if I don’t have the full session planned out that I can then have a few minutes as we wrap up what was previously going on.
Also, I think I rolled dice twice or maybe three times in the session, it wasn’t much. This was heavier role play and playing off of the role play from what happened in the previous session.
All role play sessions or heavier role play sessions are interesting because it gives the characters chances to interact more and develop what is going on and gives me a chance to see who they care to interact with and what they are thinking. Doing this allows you, as the DM, to figure out which characters they think are important and give them a bigger role in the story being told.
So what can you take away to add into your own game?
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