We’re back again after a pretty long holiday break with some more of the Tower of the Gods campaign. Things are starting to become a little bit clearer for the players as to what is going on. Though they still seem to be fixated on …
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 here the sound of a dagger hitting the trapdoor, thrown by Bokken.
Thrain and Barrai spooked by the noise decided to book it towards the direction of the mess hall. There they run into a stone wall and Barrai thinks it’s a dead end but Thrain, with his dwarven eyes study it and see that there appears to be a single stone, large, that looks like it’s loose that he could push out of the way. It takes some effort and Barrai’s help but they push the door out of the way and they see that they are in the cellar where they were supposed to have gone for shelter during the dragon attack.
Bokken thinking that everything is good leaves Sanphire up in the tower after their dagger throwing competition and heads back into the mess hall through the kitchen. In the kitchen he is caught by Narius. But Narius, after having gotten beaten up by their group once decides not to fight him and just finishes drinking his water. Bokken settles down watching the door for the night.
Thrain and Barrai thinking that they are being smart decide to loop back around, sneaking outside to see whom they can see who was following them down the tunnel. They make it to a corner and they see Sanphire, out of the tower where he had been keeping watch, going to pick up the two daggers. One of the daggers is lying by the trapdoor which is propped ever so slightly open by a piton. Barrai, thinking quickly, decides to try and cast sleep on Sanphire. However, the spell doesn’t seem to have an affect on him, instead there is a thump from down inside the tunnel and Sanphire notices the trapdoor and the piton. He throws open the trapdoor and messages Tormin. Tormin sees the trapdoor and looks surprised by it. He wakes up the other teachers and they all come out. Barrai, watching the proceedings notices that neither the teachers Dadellous or Linken seem surprised or as surprised as they should be by the trapdoor. Or at least as surprised as Assendial and Tormin did. Barrai and Thrain sneak back inside.
Inside they go back to sleep and are awakened early in the morning by Assendial and Tormin who wake up all the students. Tormin tells them about the secret tunnel and that something was found underneath the barracks where the dragon had attacked and where Castillia had gotten her leg broken. They then tell the students that they are going to question them one by one and start on that process while Linken and Dadellous continue to study the tunnels.
Bokken is the first to go in to be questioned. He steps in and realizes that the room has had some spell cast on it, a zone of truth, and that he has to tell the truth, not Liar Liar style but he cannot right out lie. Assendial is sitting there and she asks him if he knew about the tunnel or any secret passage prior to Tormin telling them about it. He answers truthfully that he did. She asks him what entrance to it he knew of, he answers truthfully. She pulls out four items, a necklace, a scarab, an amulet, and rock with runes etched into it, she asks him if he knows which was found down in the tunnel underneath the barracks. He answers truthfully that he doesn’t.
Barrai is next, and he also fails his saving throw against the zone of truth. Realizing this he hems and haws a bit about it. Assendial asks him to clarify if he knew about it, and he hems and haws some more. She next asks him where an entrance is, he gives a vague answer but not a lie about how a place as old as this there are probably several entrances. Finally she asks him which of the items was under the barracks. He guesses that a dragon would probably want the items that have the most value and that the necklace, amulet and scarab are all golden. Or maybe it’s the rune covered rock because that’s different.
Parrag goes in next followed by Thrain. Thrain who has a very high charisma doesn’t fail the saving throw and he and Assendial know it. She asks him if he knows about the tunnel, he answers truthfully that he does. She asks him if he knows where they are or if he’s been down in there. He successfully deceives her that he knows less about the tunnels and where they go then he actually does. She pulls out the items and asks him about them, about their origins, which was found under ground, what he knows about their magical properties. Thrain is 100% truthful with her that he really doesn’t know much about them. She believes him.
Everyone else is sent back into a large group except for Narius, Addrus, Barrai and two second year students. They are all brought into one room together with all the teachers and are asked a couple of questions, the first that they had to write down was how many different directions the tunnel splits at it’s single junction point. Narius says outloud 4, but had written down 2. Addrus says 4 and has written down 4, Barrai says 4 and has written down 4, one second year has said 4 and written down 4, the last one has written down “?” and says 4. Next they are asked where the four directions of the tunnel go. The first 2nd year just writes down “I don’t know” and says “I don’t know”, the next one says “Moody’s Bar, the field, the cellar, and the tower” and has written that down. Barrai has written down “Not not the field, not not the cellar, not not somewhere fun, and not not somewhere awesome” and says that. Addrus gives the same answer the second year who knew all the directions. Narius, on the other hand, gives all the right answers but only had written down “the field, the food, and the drink”.
The two second years are let out of the room as is Barrai while Narius and Addrus are kept in the room to answer more questions.
The group decides to go to Moody’s bar, since they assume that the trapdoor and the hidden door into the cellar will be blocked off for good now, and they should try and find another way in. Moody’s Bar is the one where the fighting circle that Barrai and Thrain had made some money before, and they had seen Sanphire and Esmelda fight. Bokken decides to give them a good cover as they search around. Barrai and Thrain spot Zaphir, an older student from another school whom they’d swindled before in a fixed fight. They go up to him and see if he wants to bet with them on the Bokken fight. He recognizes them and knowing that they had taken his money before, he orders two beers, plus he has one in front of him. When the beers arrive, he takes one in each hand and smashes them into the faces of Barrai and Thrain. A bar fight ensues and Thrain unleashes an eldritch blast on him, plus hex damage and takes him down. The bartender kicks them out of the bar so that they don’t get in more trouble since technically Zaphir started it, and they head out just until Zaphir is gone. Then they sneak back in wearing fake moustaches (a Dwarf and a Tiefling) and join the crowds who are getting ready for the first fight. They get their program which has the betting odds and see they can get 5 for one on Bokken, slightly worse than normal first time fighters. So Thrain puts down two gold and Barrai puts down 10 gold, that he’d stolen off of Zaphir. And the announcer came out….
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the week night fights…. Let’s get ready to rumble………”
Behind the DM’s screen:
Most of this session was ad libbed. I had some plans for them down in the tunnels, but because of choices that were made, mainly Bokken heading back when he did and not picking up the daggers things changed. Had he picked up the daggers even, they could have gone through the cellar, come back around, and repeated the process. I’m assuming they would have been the ones to find the odd object in the tunnel under the barracks, instead of the teachers. And that was going to be my main plan, things clearly went differently.
One thing that was a lot of fun was the Zone of Truth just to see the different tacts and different successes for passing. I like how Zone of Truth works where you know as the person who is in it what is happening so you can talk around the truth, but the caster also knows if you pass or fail. It makes for some interesting moments in gaming.
And Zaphir being at the bar was totally something the players asked about. So the fact there was a bar fight is on them, Zaphir survived to fight another day.
We’ll have a few weeks off now from any more Tower of the Gods. I’m in the midst of moving and seeing as this is remote, I’m not sure when I’ll have my computer and full set-up ready to go again.
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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 …
Took a few weeks, but we got back to it finally playing our zoom D&D game. So let’s do a quick recap in bullet point fashion.
- Players take the test of the tower to become adventurers
- Players enroll in Strawgoh, a school of dark arts and assassination
- They find out that there are spies in their midst
- They run into issues with one of their classmates who was supposed to be part of their group
- Player start their mid term going through the first real floor of the tower competing against the other squads
So that catches us up quickly to where we our. The player characters, Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain, along with the fourth member of their group, Parrag, have burst through the tree line and see the island, covered in moss with three of the professors standing on it. About 60 feet away from them, Castillia, Narius, Addrus, and Cordin have also burst through the tree line. Thrain fires off an eldritch blast at them, but misses, and Castillia draws her bow on him.
The Bokken decides that while a fight on the shore could be fun, it might be smarter to try and get to the island first, since that is the objective of the test. Glancing at the water he notices that there are some monsters moving around in it but he takes off towards the shoreline anyways. The other group decides that is a better plan and Addrus gets to the water first and dives in and he is immediately grabbed and batted at by some giant purple tentacles.
Barrai, the next up, decides to take a little bit of time to figure out what is going on and sees that the island is not actually an island. Instead it’s a giant monster that has moss growing on the top of it that is sticking out above the water.
Things go sideways when Bokken decides to take a running jump onto one of the tentacles and is hanging off of there. Barrai seeing that decides to try something fancy of his own and uses a great acrobatics check and his whip swings most of the way to the water. Unfortunately Barrai is not good at swimming and starts to sink towards the bottom. Meanwhile Bokken, seeing how that has worked, tosses a rope to first Thrain and then Parrag and tries to whip them across some of the water with varying degrees of success, but eventually the whole party is in the water, some of them having been grappled by tentacles.
During this time, Narius has been taking pot shots at the party from the shore while Castillia, Cordin, and Addrus are dealing with tentacle issues in the water. Thrain getting fed up with that fires off an Eldritch Blast at Narius and drops him in one hit and Narius starts making saving throws to avoid death. Thrain gets dragged under water by a tentacle and being annoyed he can’t cast Eldritch Blast on the tentacle underwater, when he surfaces shoots the downed Narius again and takes him out. When they all finally reach the head of the monster they are able to get up without issue and are the first group from their class to get there as Castillia’s group was still in the water and Dorin and Domon’s group had just come out of the forest.
The teachers commend the group on doing a good job and they level up to level 2, which gives them some new fun toys to play around with, including Barrai getting Dissonant Whispers. After they level up a teach suggests that they could have tried animal handling on the squid which Bokken never would have thought of. They also go to poor Narius who has been lying there and a teach casts reincarnation on him, causing him to come back as a Hill Dwarf and we ended the session there with them going back to school.
So behind the DM’s screen:
This was an odd session to run because I was controlling eight tentacles and four NPC’s throughout the fight. In the future, I should have written up a basic HP, AC, Attacks for the four NPC’s and handed them off to the players, but I was able to keep it moving quickly. It just would have been less downtime.
With the eight tentacles, at least the player playing Bokken assumed you couldn’t destroy them, because it was a giant monster, which is a fine assumption, they couldn’t have taken down the monster proper had they tried. But each tentacle had an armor class of 14, 16 HP, and +6 to strengh. But they didn’t do a ton of damage. The monsters attack plan was always to drag someone under water and drown them, which wouldn’t have worked on Bokken, but knowing the monsters plan made it easy and fast for me to run eight tentacles.
Finally, when Narius was shot down by Thrain, I wasn’t sure if I’d bring him back or not. But since the class size is fairly small decided it’d probably be worth it to do. I was going to cast something like resurrect or revivify, but I stumbled across reincarnate first. And I thought that would be more entertaining. And I like that the school would use that as almost a punishment if someone dies in a test or during a class.
So thoughts on the session, it was a good time, lots of things going on, would you want to play in a session like this? How do you handle a lot of bad guys in a battle?
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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 …