For all your fantasy music related needs, Radio Rivendell’s the place to go. I’m currently composing a soundtrack for the upcoming campaign, and while Youtube and stock music is all good and fine, the music here is phenomenal. Hit up their free music section or pick up an album for a nominal fee. Or just sit back and listen to the free streaming web player. You won’t be disappointed.
so so very true. it is very fun lol
This is our art.
Let’s get up to speed here. When we last left off, we’d gotten through two sessions. The group was in the middle of negotiations on DO-2, ready to begin the final assault. We got through two more sessions in that time, so here’s a brief recap:
The party raided Nath’s base, and took out one of the main bosses who had captured them previously. From there, they flew back to the colony and orchestrated a defensive against Nath’s final attack, where they decimated her gang, took out a traitor in their midst, and had an epic final battle against the villain. All in all, a great way to end the adventure.
And, a great way to end the campaign.
You read that right. The Star Wars campaign, after four sessions of play, has been brought to a close. It was a group decision; we felt like the rules were too limiting in what the characters could do. The group wanted action and adventure on a heroic, even epic level. So, starting a week from Saturday, Roll for Damage will be returning to the game that started it all.
Dungeons and Dragons.
There may be naysayers out there, but all in all it is the right game for our group. We’re all very excited about this, and look forward to keeping the campaign going this time.
Now, starting a new campaign in a homebrew setting is a lot of work. Sure enough, I’ve been hard at work fixing up the world of Kel, getting it ready for play. That’s for a different article… ;)
On a semi-related note, you may have gathered that I’m taking a different approach to the blog this time around from the return post. Instead of this being a session and prep log, it’s going to be a more freeform gaming blog. We’ll stick within the realms of roleplaying, obviously, but it’s no longer about our group alone.
Our hobby is so much bigger than that.
So, in a new direction, with a new campaign, and a new sense of purpose, we head forward into a new month filled with new horizons and new places to explore!
Well hello. This is Chandler, from Roll for Damage. Remember us? We’re that amateur gaming group with a blog? Huh. Being gone for a few months might have hurt our reader base. I think I’ve smartened up a little about the blog. When you have a game once a month, it’s hard to fill those four weeks up with interesting stuff. However, I’m still gonna try my hardest to make this the de facto roleplaying blog for newbies. We’re gonna have tips, tricks, stories, links, gnomes, etc. You get the idea. I’m ready and willing to get back into the blogging game, so let me just open shop up with a natural 20 Charisma check and say:
So the next session is tentatively scheduled for a week from tomorrow. After our first adventure, everyone agreed that they wanted to carry on the campaign with the same characters. With that, I left them at a cliffhanger, about to go on a search-and-destroy mission to take down the evil gangster Nath’s criminal empire. Currently, the party knows next to nothing about the mission, but I’m going to leak a few secrets about the upcoming adventure for the sake of this post.
This is the first adventure that I plan to have play out across several sessions. Since it’s impossible to resolve a good, complex adventure in only three or four hours of play, most adventures span multiple game sessions to reach completion. In order to keep the flow of the game, it’s important to plan out how each session will play out, but it’s even more important to plan how they will END. No group wants to leave a session mid-combat, or during an important scene. This is why it’s critical that the end of a session involves either a cliffhanger or downtime. This way the group doesn’t forget what they were doing at the moment, and they don’t suddenly have a change of heart in-game.
As explained in my earlier post, the group really enjoyed battles and challenges I presented, but disliked roleplaying with my NPCs. As a result, the next adventure will work to address that feedback. This means that the battles will be tougher and more involved, the challenges will be more difficult and on a grander scale, and the roleplaying will be toned down (though I plan to work hard to improve it).
Although the first session was very linear, with little to no room for improvising outside of the plot, I plan to run a less linear game overall. As the group advances, they’ll be able to pick their own missions more often, and more specifically, so they’ll have much greater control over their destinies. To create this more non-linear style, I use a system called Island Design. Like many of my ideas, I found this on Gnome Stew, my favorite GMing site. Island Design involves taking all of the major parts of your plot (characters, locations, events), and allowing the group to make their own connections between each one. This allows for items to be moved around in the appearance schedule and keeps the game structured while giving a freedom to explore.
But enough about mechanics, I’m sure most of you want to hear about the adventure. Here’s what the party knows: they’ve been assigned to take down the gangster Nath’s criminal operations. Nath’s base is in a cluster of three planets, though the GPC isn’t sure which one. That’s all. Now, for my avid readers, I will reveal a little more. The planets are known as the Trimedika Cluster, and they consist of DO-1, DO-2, and DO-3. DO stands for Dwarf Orbital, meaning that these are very small planets that are very close to the sun. As such, they are all very hot, and their climates reflect it. DO-1 contains a rocky canyon system, but it is the furthest from the sun and the safest. DO-2 is an immense desert with a system of mining tunnels beneath the surface. DO-3 is a volcanic world.
Although I won’t reveal anything else about the plot, I will say that I have designed the highlight (I think) of the adventure. I won’t say too much about that either, suffice to say that it is the final battle and the heroes must be cunning defense architects.
Next time, a salute to graph paper.
This is an insane coincidence, but at lunch the other day I was sitting with the group and Nicole said, “We should do a Mario RPG!” Of course, everybody laughed it off, but this post has made me reconsider….
In order to be a better GM, it’s important to look back on a session and consider the ups and downs. I know that I’ve already decided what the biggest weakness in my GMing is, and it’s all thanks to paying attention during the game itself. However, it’s also important to talk to your players, find out what they liked and what they didn’t like. Thankfully, they were all pretty frank about what they did and didn’t like about the game, so here’s the list of good and bad features from the session.
Battles- From all players, the best part of the game was the battles. They were balanced and fun, and all of the characters got a chance to kill something. There were only two battles, however. The first was a 4v2 battle, party vs. two mutants. The skill level of the party was high enough that this battle wasn’t dangerous, only fun. The final battle was a 4v4, three mutants and a boss mutant vs. the party. This battle was supposed to be a little tougher, but then Nicole’s character one-hit killed two of the mutants in succession, so…. There were some interesting features, like the boss mutants supply cords and the two underlings fusing to the boss to gain power. The group definitely wants to see more battles of this caliber.
Challenges- From skill challenges to intellectual challenges, the group really liked the obstacles besides the enemies. For example, figuring out that the mutants feared the substance that transformed them, or clearing The Pit, or debating whether or not to slice the supply cords. More of these challenges await during the next adventure.
NPCs: For those of you who don’t know, NPC stands for Non-Player Character. They are the people within the game world controlled by the GM. Generally, they act as mission-givers, enemies, and informants. However, there were only four NPCs in this adventure, and they were, quite frankly, boring as hell. To be fair, I generated three of them on the fly, thanks to some off the walls roleplaying, but even my two good roleplayers barely wanted to interact with them. My goal for next time is to create compelling NPCs that really help flesh out the world.
Coming up on Roll For Damage, a discussion on how I plan out multi-session adventures. Look for it tomorrow!
See that picture? Already that one square board has become infamous within our group, because it contains…THE PIT. Cue ominous music.
See, the pit was my way of introducing the group to the concept of skill challenges. The party entered at the top left of the picture, and here’s the scene I described.
"You enter a room, but stop suddenly. You’re standing on a precarious edge, and in front of you is a deep pit, filled with stagnant water at the bottom. About halfway across the pit is another rocky ledge, dividing the pit into two separate pools. A narrow ;edge goes around the room, to the other side, where you can see the door. To your right are two rock faces, the one farther from you a little taller than the other. It looks like you could climb up them. Thick vines dangle from the ceiling over the pits, apparently attracted by the water."
(On a spur of the moment inspiration, I used the discarded Juicy Fruit wrappers to represent the water. Hilarity ensued during clean up.)
Immediately, one can see several different athletic skill checks at work. Climb the rock faces, strength check to swing across the vines, swim out of the pit, balance on the ledges, etc. Let me elaborate on how the party solved this challenge.
Kathryn, supposedly the nimble scoundrel, immediately slipped and fell into the pit, then failed several swim checks in quick, miserable succession. Hannah attempted to swing across the vines, and succeeded on both checks required, landing neatly at the other door. She remained there for the rest of the challenge, not once glancing at the CAREFULLY PLANNED OUT ROOM ON TOP OF THE ROCK LEDGE. Nicole took a different tack, instead citing the spiked grappling launcher she purchased during chargen. I had forgotten about it, but quickly assigned a DC to the attempt. She swung across the first pit, but missed her jump onto the ledge. However, she used her gadget again to climb up, having Hannah assist her for a +2 bonus. Marc attempted to climb the ledge, but then fell into the pit. After clambering out, he fell into the other pit, only to be helped out by, you guessed it, Nicole’s grappling launcher. Kathryn eventually made it out, and was helped out by Nicole’s grappling launcher. Starting to see a pattern? Well, Nicole certainly helped the group out on this one, while it didn’t occur to anyone to grapple up onto the METICULOUSLY CRAFTED LEDGES! But I digress.
The point of this was to introduce them to skill challenges, but it also helped them flex their roleplaying muscles a little. By thinking of ways to get around the challenge instead of through it, they worked their own way through the game instead of riding my plot rails.
But more about THAT topic later.