On to third level! This time I’ve expanded the scope of play to where I’d originally conceived it should be, with a number of different characters and unstable situations which interconnect. The point is for the players to decide whom they want to help or kill, and for them to assess the potential dangers of doing so.
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It's not a metaphor. I'm talking about D&D as religion, not merely "religious" as a colorful synonym for "passionate." This is Finding D&D, Part 2, addressing TSR as orthodoxy and the resulting construction of culture and values.
Our fourth session concluded the Major Quest and neatly fulfilled the requirements for leveling up. Regarding that latter, I'm using the generalizing rule that doesn't count experience points finely, but instead sets a level-up equal to a set number of "your level" sized encounters. The default quantity of encounters is ten, but it's also stated that half that is OK too, which is what I did.
Deeper in the vortex, confronting the diseased visions infecting memory and legacy - yes, it's 4th edition D&D, played with guts and glory. Eneku, Runt, and Ezhelya get to the center of it all.
The dungeon, which in this particular spin we're calling vortices, is a dead psionic guy's mind. For three characters who got their asses kicked, they did in fact revise and re-set the entire premise of my setup, through a number of roll-requiring actions, some of them judicious and some not-entirely-on-purpose.
I've given this some thought. I've played it, both badly and well. I've read a bunch. I've talked to its developers and knowledgeable business people. I've built a couple setups for play.
I can only describe the cultural discourse about it as mass hysteria. Almost no one seems to have played the game I'm looking at.