As a DM, I often draw inspiration for my D&D games from the most unexpected places. This weekend I saw the movie The Hangover and afterwards I realized that the way the story is structured would work beautifully as a D&D game. For those readers who haven’t seen the movie, I won’t present anything in this article that will ruin it for you. The high points that I’m going to cover are all revealed in the trailer.
The basic premise for the movie is this: four guys go to Vegas for a bachelor party, wake up the next morning with no memory of what happened and then spend the rest of the movie trying to figure out what they did by piecing together clues they find along the way.
With a few small tweaks and adjustments this becomes a great D&D adventure. It can be a self-contained, one night game or the makings of a longer story arc. Here’s how I see it playing out.
Last week the PCs travelled to Helm’s Hold, a cathedral turned hospital dedicated to helping those inflicted by the Spellplague. A safe haven for those in need, the doors of Helm’s Hold are always open. However, when the PCs arrived they found the cathedral locked down. After finally forcing their way inside, the PCs battled dominated acolytes as they explored the cathedral.
When the PCs entered the Main Hall they saw a black-cloaked figure wearing a bright red devil mask – the Tormentor! He was standing over a kneeling woman the PCs recognize as the Prophet Rohini. Rohini was clearly in pain, while the Tormentor poured fiery magic into her from his outstretched hand. Around the room are numerous Acolytes as well as a green-skinned Elf. The Elf held a woman in his arms.
The Tormentor looked up when the PCs opened the doors. His concentration momentarily broken, Rohini reached up and pulled away his mask before she collapsed. The Tormentor was Elden Vargis. “I see the time for deception is at an end,” he said. “Chartilifax, give me Karis and deal with this rabble.”
The Elf handed over the woman to Vargas and then turned to address the party. “Little heroes have come to play, little heroes die today.” His body shifted, his bones cracked as his limbs and torso distorted. His shoulder blades burst through his back and became wings. A Green Dragon reared up, rolling mad eyes and expelling poison fumes.
This week at Harry T North in Toronto we ran back-to-back sessions as we’d fallen a week behind. As we’ve done all season we continued to shuffle the PCs between the two tables each week. The group I played this week’s encounter with consisted of a Human Ranger (Hunter), Eladrin Ardent, Human Wizard, Human Assassin and Goliath Monk (my character).
Today Dungeon’s Master and 20ft Radius are proud to present a special episode of our podcast, Recounting Encounters. In this episode we talk to Erik Scott de Bie, author of this season’s adventure Storm Over Neverwinter.
Erik is a professional writer and game designer. Storm Over Neverwinter is Erik’s third contribution to the D&D Encounters program having written the adventures Halaster’s Lost Apprentice (season 1) and The Lost Crown of Neverwinter (season 6). He was also one of the main contributing authors for the Neverwinter Campaign Guide.
It happens in every campaign, one player decides to go off and pursue an agenda or lead that only they understand. The player is totally focused on their objective, nothing else seems to matter. No one else at the table understands it. The DM is at his wits end to contain and control the situation. The other players are slowing losing interest and the entire adventure is about to be waylaid.
If you’ve ever sat at a table where you weren’t the player things were focused on, you know the boredom that soon sets in. The frustration at wanting to move forward, but not being able to due to the indulgence or poor planning of the DM. If you haven’t lived through this eventuality you likely haven’t been playing D&D very long, but don’t worry I’m sure it will happen to you soon enough.
In order to make this eventuality less painful for everyone, here are five steps that provide some straightforward advice on how to handle things if one or more players decide to split the party.
Chapter 2 began after the party took an extended rest. The storm continued raging over Neverwinter, but the rain and wind slowed considerably. The heroes took advantage of the break in the storm to take care of some personal business before heading to Helm’s Hold where they were going to meet Elden Vargas.
The party decided to split up. The Cleric and Deva Wizard went to visit Lady Sala Nidris and her son Zan, the Rogue went to the Beached Leviathan, the Shade Wizard stayed at Midnight’s Mask, and the Hexblade ventured off on his own to take care of a personal matter tied into his back story.
For the second week in a row we had more players than we could handle at the Silver Snail in Toronto. Due to limited space we can only run a maximum of three tables each week. All three were full this week – two tables of six and one of seven. A couple of our regulars decided not to expand the tables of six to tables of seven and instead took a week off. My table had six including a Human Warlock Hexblade, Wilden Cleric, Deva Wizard, Shade Wizard, Halfling Rogue and a Pixie Bard (Skald). So five of six from last week.
The Big Bang Theory (TBBT) has made nerds cool by thrusting them into the main stream. The show has shone a spotlight on many nerd hobbies people used to make fun of and made them cool, or at least less nerdy. In this week’s episode “The Love Spell Potential” they guys played Dungeons & Dragons with their girlfriends. This wasn’t the first time the characters in TBBT played D&D but it was the first time they played for the entire episode. Although there were a few cheap shots taken at D&D and the people who play the game, the show did a pretty good job of bringing the game into the public eye.
As a hard core D&D nerd and vocal member of the gaming community I feel it is my responsibility to comment on this episode of TBBT. There was a lot of things right with this show and a few things wrong. Gamers and non-gamers alike can learn a few things about D&D from what they saw in this episode. Let’s review the highlights.
On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From June 20, 2011, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: D&D Math – Adding the Numbers.
Player – I rolled a 15, plus 7. Do I hit his AC?
DM – What’s the total?
Player – Um, hold on. 15… (Counts under breath) 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. (At full volume again) 22! Does that hit?
DM – Yes it does. His AC is 14.
I’ve been playing a lot of public-play D&D over the past year; mostly D&D Encounters but also a fair amount of LFR. This is of course in addition to my regular weekly game. Playing in all of these games allows me to see how other people play and lets me learn from the experience. It also highlights problem areas in my game and in the game of the other players and DMs.
One disturbing trend that I’m seeing more and more is players that don’t (or possibly even can’t) do the math. They roll a d20, call out the result and then give me their modifiers and ask if they hit. In many cases the roll is high enough to beat the monster’s defences, so I know they hit even without the modifier added in; however, I always ask for the total before confirming a hit or miss. And it’s not only happening with attack rolls. It’ happens with damage rolls too.
This week’s encounter was the culmination of events during a stormy night in Neverwinter. The previous three sessions had the PCs running around the streets of Neverwinter during the worst storm in the city’s history. They battled Ashmadai Cultists, stopped a kidnapping, and last week battled literal devils at the Beached Leviathan tavern.
When we left the heroes at the end of the last session they heard the sounds of horns blasting throughout the city. The City Watch were signaling a call to arms as something big was happening in Neverwinter.
The PCs overheard a messenger tell nearby soldiers that the town was erupting into madness. People clearly not of their right mind were fighting and looting. Throw in some more Cultists to stir the pot and things were getting crazy in the streets.
This week we had a great turnout at Silver Snail in Toronto. We had three DMs and 20 players. Unfortunately there isn’t room to set up a fourth table or we could have easily split off and formed another group. Seeing the field already incredibly crowded a couple of the regulars who had other commitments opted to pass on the game leaving three tables of 6.
My table had a Wilden Cleric, Halfling Wizard, Human Warlock Hexblade [Harper theme], Drow Wizard, Deva Wizard, and Halfling Rogue [Dead Rat Deserter theme]. With three controllers I knew the combat this week was going to be challenging. I had no idea just how much so until we were in the thick of it.
On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. Today’s Friday Favourite is a special case. When we were still a fledgling site we did some guest posts for other gaming blogs. The first was an article on Reputation for The Core Mechanic. Unfortunately the site is now defunct and our article is no longer available. Until now. From April 6, 2009, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Reputation (Part 1).
Reputation is everything in D&D. Even level 1 characters have a reputation. It may only be a reputation for being eager to prove themselves, but it’s enough to get them noticed. What the PCs do today will have a direct impact on the opportunities afforded them tomorrow. Every adventure will add to their reputation and will impact how NPCs view them. It’s up to the DM to use reputation to enhance the overall game.
Last week the PCs rescued the kidnapped son of Lady Nadris. This week they continue their search for “The Tormentor,” the man in the devil mask who is apparently behind the rash of kidnappings in Neverwinter, including the one the PCs foiled last week. To sweeten the pot, Lord Neverember has offered a 10,000 gp reward for anyone who captures the person or persons responsible for the kidnappings.
This week’s recap follows the group at Harry T North in Toronto. We’ve had just enough people to run two solid tables for months, but the addition of two brand new players pushed us to 13 this week. With only two DMs ready to run the session we ended up with a table of six and another with seven. I played with the larger group and helped the two newbies.
The party consisted of a Tiefling Ardent, Human Assassin, Tiefling Warlock, Wilden Wizard, Goliath Monk (my character), and the two new players used the pre-gens Eboncross the Shade Wizard and Gardain the Dwarf Fighter.