Shady deeds in shadowy places

We have begun our third adventure for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, including one half-orc cleric-assassin for the Church of the Eternal and Fundamental Ordination, one half-elf fighter-assassin for the Church of the Ineffable Disruption of All Being, one half-elf fighter-thief who moonlights for the Disruption, and two half-orc fighter-clerics for the, well, it doesn’t really have a name, but anyway, it’s a little good god.

After the disorganized addition of players and characters, and a bit of “whatever, let’s try it” thinking for situations, I needed to activate some organizing principles: consequence and continuity, the characters aren’t a group, much less a party, and more weight to the city as an active and responsive place. Part 1 of doing so is to summarize who we know and what we know about them, as well as thinking about creatures who demand inclusion.

The “creatures” part is integrated with part 2, which involves rifling through books and files to find maps that seem to fit [who spots the ones I scanned from Sorcerers of Pan Tang?], thus working up locations in feedback with ideas. My governing notion, or specific goal, was to get more institutional regarding the big churches, as our focus had shifted a bit for the second adventure. I mean, the little shrine still commands a lot of attention, considering the “continuity” priority, but it’s only a bit of a big city.

Experience points had a big impact after the previous session, with leveling-up for three of the characters, double-classed for Marden Krown … as clerics and assassins have suspiciously identical level-up point totals, as yet another clue that at least one author, probably more than one, had a sneaky liking for this class combination.

I should explain these numbers a little bit. First, all characters began with 4002 experience points, because the fighter-combinations needed to have 2001 for 2nd-level Fighter. Back-extrapolating the rules for multi-class characters, that means the other class gets 2001 too, which is a bit “into” the requirements for 3rd level in all the others, especially Thief. Then you should be able to see how many XP were gained for the 1st adventure (Hazel, Marden Krown, Alexian Dusk) and for the 2nd (all the characters). Note the role of five 1000-XP magical items for a cool 1000 each … basically, without these, the level system in this version is unplayable.

Play was slow and scattered: short on time due to resolving the level-up numbers, and a bit hampered as Filip wasn’t there. Everyone ended up launched into doing something via a little bit of hard framing or a little bit of interaction.

I’m discovering a little residue of “we’re playing D&D so it must be like this” in my own head, without even being sure what that means. I don’t want to kill it and simply shift into how I’d play Sorcerer or whatever … there’s something present, perhaps in a 16-year-old’s mind from so long ago, that I’d like to understand better. Maybe I’ll get there with continued Musings.

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4 responses to “Shady deeds in shadowy places”

  1. SESSION 7

    Clerics Assassins Fighters Thieves session 7 part 1 and some preparation notes, including maps.

    Some computer hassles have kept me from editing and posting, but they are resolved and I have three sessions to catch up. This one continues with the five characters in various locations, in which I’m pushing the boundary of separated play which honors the passage of time across the locations.

    This session marked the low point of real-time managing this sort of play, as I found it harder than usual; I think it gets better as the sessions continue. The key is knowing one’s NPCs, as I simply did better and managed to play actual events, thus shifting more easily to another person, when I had some (e.g., Milo’s fight with Vasth).
    Here’s what Osmorn looks like:

    I noticed a couple of errors involving damage and mayhem: when Alexian Dusk shattered the skeleton, I forgot about half-damage from edged weapons, although it might not have made a difference in that case; and when the fireball torched the square, the villagers seem not to have been incinerated by it, so I figure some must have been, so I’ll showcase it in later events.

    Here are two more musings as well! #9 concludes the run-up of #6-8 regarding levels as a play-feature in this game, followed by #10 which is about hit points.

  2. SESSION 8

    I’ll rate the previous session and this one as real struggling for me, in playing the characters across many locations. There must be some psychological block involved, as it’s no problem at all in other games.

    Here’s the session inside the playlist, my preparation notes for it, and a list of new NPCs. For anyone who’s understandably confused:

    – Horc and Alexian are paying a friendly visit to the nearby sinister temple which looks more like a family mansion, discovering that its undead hive is only the beginning of its horrors.
    – Hazel is burgling a tower, home to what is almost certainly a highly politically connected medusa, with her enthusiastic henchmen who don’t seem to understand “death is imminent.”
    – Robert is dueling a locathah captain in a wind-swept battle as trebuchet and catapult missiles arc overhead.
    – Marden Krown is investigating a chaos beer prank or op in the neighborhood he’s been assigned to as a new priest, but his biggest problem is his very, very Good new partner.

    More musings as well: hit points regarding multi-classes, and the key issue of how these texts are written, i.e., full of confrontation and anger.

  3. SESSION 9

    Direct link into the playlist

    Here we see some closure to the primary hassles faced by each character, with the exception of Hazel, whose situation finally begins its action. But unfortunately I think I’ll always look at this adventure, collectively speaking, as draggy play and a necessary lesson about this game, specifically, across multiple locations. It can be done well, but viewing this session especially shows you a basic failure.

    I quite liked all the fights, and that my sympathy for Gorko was not mine alone, and that using the rules for the Wand of Wonders effectively as a monster turned out to be a great idea.

    Some of the NPCs are taking better shape now, most of all Olver and Osmorn, but many others too.

    My musings about treasure and experience are relevant here, because so few of the opponents either had treasure, or if they potentially did, I rolled so sparsely for it. The single exception does not escape Hazel’s grabby fingers, amazingly. But I’m also deciding that I should stop managing and strategizing experience points and levels, and focus on this play at this time with these characters and these threats, “inside” the current level so to speak.

    Finally, I call your attention to the mighty tirapheg, which I quite liked playing although I wish the reaction roll had fallen harder toward one of the extremes.

  4. SESSION 10

    Preparing for this session was a little confusing, as it appeared that one player wouldn’t be there but was, another would be but wasn’t, and a third wouldn’t and wasn’t. So I concentrated only on Marden Krown, in his somewhat investigative city-streets adventure, and on Alexian Dusk, handwaving Horc to have left the premises quickly to do something important. The latter was a bit worrisome as I knew the nearby Center for Universal Munificence was striking at our little good god, but Robert (who’d triggered this by scaring the Golden Void guy) wasn’t there, so it would seem to come out of nowhere; also, what they had in mind was a hell of a lot of gun for just one player-character to face, even allied with evil baboons and good sprites.

    Direct link into the playlist

    Both characters’ situations moved along smartly, and I plan to zap all of them hard next time so that play won’t drag any more.

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