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Lorfarius

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i actually agree with you... I don’t see ‘hide’ in this case as a traditional jump into the shadows, but a way of not being seen by the foe through by just being a cool as fuck sneak. 

 

However, a really smart foe would say ‘I’ve got my eye on you rogue... don’t try any sneaky business’

 

but the rest of the party can distract him and let the rogue get his hide on.

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Appreciate some feedback - especially from those that are in or going into SKT.

 

I'm thinking of having the shrine in Cragmaw Castle being an Obsidian obelisk, the likes of which was stolen from Nightstone.  The Wizard in my group (pregen character) has a particular motivation to reclaim this shrine back from the Goblins for his God Oghma.

 

Depending on how the Castle adventure is going - I'm thinking about having the Cloud Giant's attack Cragmaw and steal the obelisk, with 4 cloud giants appearing.  The party will almost certainly not fight them (they're not daft)... but think this would be a good hook into SKT and also make my Wizard's personal motivation a bit more meaningful.

 

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Sounds good. Certainly something to keep in your back pocket if you feel the session would benefit from it. Make sure you have a plan if they do decide to fight the giants of course. Four CR9 monsters against a level 3 party...

 

In general I don’t think I’m feeling the need to do too much groundwork for future plot lines beyond little asides and rumblings. It might divert their attention before you’re ready.

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If it is just about laying groundwork I might be tempted to just emphasise the mystery of the nightstone but not have anything happen and then maybe bring it back as a plot element later on if they get intrigued. 

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I’m also trying to react to what the players respond to without over egging things too soon. If your wizard gets really into reclamining the defiled shrine then I might make more of it. My wizard wasn’t even there that day and the party speedran the castle to Gundrun so it never even came up. If players show interest in some element then I try to lean into incorporating it in future. But I don’t try and put a lot of prep into something until then as it could be totally wasted effort. I just file these ideas away in case it becomes something to pull out of the bag. Maybe your nightstone will end up appearing somewhere very different in a few sessions time. 

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10 minutes ago, Graham S retired said:

If it is just about laying groundwork I might be tempted to just emphasise the mystery of the nightstone but not have anything happen and then maybe bring it back as a plot element later on if they get intrigued. 

 

Yeah... it depends how the adventure goes. The other option is for them to witness the cloud giant castle fly overhead and hear almighty crashing as Cragmaw is destroyed.

 

I like the first adventure in SKT, but it’s likely my party will go straight to Triboar.

 

Theyve already encountered some travelling high level bards who told them of the rumours of a war with the giants brewing and of Tiamat’s defeat... just laying some ground :)

 

the bards were called Toffen, Poffen and Koffen... always in that order ;)

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Yes, for me the transition was fairly easy as it was natural to go to Triboar (they just went there because it was there out of their own choice and I just happened to have all this stuff ready...). I did some foreshadowing of the SKT campaign (some astrology/visions for the Cleric when he ended up at the Vault of the Lost Wayfarer in the Starmetal Hills). I also might have used Wave Echo Cave some more to tie in with SKT, I did have an idea that I laid some groundwork for, but they simply didn’t go back. Maybe the idea will reappear in a different form later on, who knows. It’s fascinating seeing how a freeform story develops and figuring out how you decide what to prepare. I dangle hooks and see what they bite on, and use educated guesses as which ones I emphasise and prepare. 

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If you do use a giant attack I kind of feel like the first one should be spectacular. Giants might not be as cool as Dragons but they are the signature enemy of SKT so their introduction should be dramatic. 

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38 minutes ago, Graham S retired said:

I’m also trying to react to what the players respond to without over egging things too soon. If your wizard gets really into reclamining the defiled shrine then I might make more of it. My wizard wasn’t even there that day and the party speedran the castle to Gundrun so it never even came up. If players show interest in some element then I try to lean into incorporating it in future. But I don’t try and put a lot of prep into something until then as it could be totally wasted effort. I just file these ideas away in case it becomes something to pull out of the bag. Maybe your nightstone will end up appearing somewhere very different in a few sessions time. 

 

yeah - was going to add it to Connyberry - it'll be something that shows up on their journey.  I've a feeling they're not going to go to Thundertree, although they have seen a green dragon fly over the triboar trail heading north...  

 

had I read SKT early enough, I'd have put it in Phandalin.  I'm still tempted to do that - be it inside somewhere they haven't been or have someone mention the strange black stone at the back of the town... alternatively, have the shrine in the centre built around it, and something they haven't noticed yet.  

 

FUN!

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22 minutes ago, Graham S retired said:

If you do use a giant attack I kind of feel like the first one should be spectacular. Giants might not be as cool as Dragons but they are the signature enemy of SKT so their introduction should be dramatic. 

 

I thought the complete destruction of Cragmaw Castle would've been pretty dramatic.... now I'm thinking an assault on Phandalin might be better. :D

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Sure, I wasn’t meaning that Cragmaw Castle wasn’t a suitable location, just that I’d be keen to put a bit of prep into the giant encounter to make it memorable and thrilling in some way. Given they’re unlikely to be able to successfully fight them, it’s more than just a combat encounter and you probably want it to be more than just a cutscene. 

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I've also learned not to over-prep for particular scenarios... much better to have general themes and ideas that I can bring in at some point not tied to a location or characters

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I still haven’t properly figured it out yet, because I don’t feel secure in my ability to improvise. Not having anything good for them when everyone looks in my direction gives me the fear. I was nervous for the first time in a while in my post-Triboar session as I literally had no idea what they might do. There was a bunch of stuff in town, and plot hooks that could take them miles to the North, South, East or West. Thankfully some of my predictions came off, I had some stuff lined up, and now we’re on a path next session has a bit of a clearer direction to it.

 

I’m trying to leave room for things to be open enough to let the players drive things, and focus my prep on things like antagonists and their goals that will be generally useful to me, as well as more defined encounters I can bring in if things start to lack focus and momentum. It’s not easy though, I’m definitely not comfortable. The Starter Set felt like an easier proposition and even then the Banshee and Old Owl Well got away from me. 

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If everything is too much, it usually pays off to have the main and deviation as a prep: as in set up an obvious route that's clearly marked "I AM THE NEXT BIG BADDIE, COME AND GET ME" and then have some smaller tidbits leading into a less obvious route. Players will usually choose between those two having the idea that they can and will choose, while you only have done minimal preparations. :P (You can always wing it if they choose a third route, but they usually go for either or.)

 

Leaving everything open is pretty difficult unless you already made a lot of prep for monster cards/encounter setups. Usually comes down to leafing through multiple books trying to get everything together.

 

Having a separate ledger for antagonists that goes from 'START' to 'GOAL' with some states in between can also help you keep track of what should happen when. Just roll against some kind of stat/random to up or lower the state and handle accordingly. Takes some of the mental strain away.

 

 

 

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Jeeeezo - if there's any more wrong way for a party to approach Cragmaw Castle, I'd like to see it...

 

taking the side door in, my party then battered their way through the kitchen against tons of goblins then out into the entrance hallway, to be faced with 4 hobgoblins and 4 goblins that escaped from the kitchen area.  Finally defeating them, with one party member downed... they decided to head back towards the centre of the castle, where they were ambushed by another hobgoblin with 2 goblin backup... co-ordinating a distraction while two other hobgoblins stood by the doorway of the captured owlbear and banging it to make it angry... after killing the hobs and gobs, typically stood pontificating for too long on where to go next... so the owlbear was released and charged straight for them.  They downed it, but only after another player was taken out and was on her final death saving throw (the same character that was downed by the hobgoblins ffs!)... the rogue chucked oil over the owlbear, and it died as it tried to flee - jamming the doorway.  Again, they pontificated about left or right.. and the two hobgoblins that released the owlbear appeared behind it's corpse arming their longbows.  The rogue got the initiative, ran in and set the owlbear on fire.  Woosh...  and this set fire to the wooden beams supporting the fragile ruins.  They scarpered into the chapel, didn't notice the Grick, and had a tough time taking that out with few spells and only one magic item between them.... smoke coming under the door of the chapel, the ran towards the shrine and luckily managed to detect the hidden goblins.  4 goblins ended up doing much more damage than they probably should have, and our elf wizard was downed.  They're almost all out of hitpoints, no healing potions left, the cleric has one spell slot left, the wizard is stable but unconcious and the castle is on fire... 

 

 

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Really enjoyed the new Waterdeep book. Probably slightly harder to run for a new DM than the Starter Set but it had lots of good stuff in it and perhaps better supports the style of story-and-role-playing-heavy D&D people see on streams. With a bit of luck I might get to run it for the family, as we didn’t finish LMOP before my eldest daughter wanted to run it for her friends and so read the module. Need to wait for my youngest daughter to finish DMing The Hidden Halls of Hazakor for us before it’s my turn again. Seems to be good if you have younger players or DMs in your life, although I’ve not read it myself.

 

 https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/244016

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51 minutes ago, Graham S retired said:

Really enjoyed the new Waterdeep book. Probably slightly harder to run for a new DM than the Starter Set but it had lots of good stuff in it and perhaps better supports the style of story-and-role-playing-heavy D&D people see on streams. With a bit of luck I might get to run it for the family, as we didn’t finish LMOP before my eldest daughter wanted to run it for her friends and so read the module. Need to wait for my youngest daughter to finish DMing The Hidden Halls of Hazakor for us before it’s my turn again. Seems to be good if you have younger players or DMs in your life, although I’ve not read it myself.

 

 https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/244016

 

 

That looks good, where did you hear about it?

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I backed the Kickstarter. Not sure how I heard about it, but my Twitter is full of RPG people at the moment so I’m often wading through lots of promotion for stuff like this. It sounded just what I was looking for, with two daughters who were both interested in DMing for us and their classmates. After reading a lot of modules myself recently  there aren’t many I’d give to a first time DM and I can’t think of one I’d give to a young one, so it fills a real gap. My daughter seemed to enjoy reading the module and has been very keen for us to play. What we’ve played has been a conventional dungeon crawl with flashes of humour, which is perfect. A dungeon crawl is ideal structurally for a first timer. My elder daughter has been running Tales from the Loop, which is thematically brilliant for her and for us but she seems to struggle a bit with its free-form improvisatory investigative style, I know I’d find that hard to run myself. 

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