So, after the devastating and anti-climactic TPK two weeks ago, my Sunday group, affectionately known as the Geek Game, decided that they wanted to play 4th Edition D&D for the next campaign. I agreed – hell, I encouraged it. I’ve been itching to run more 4E stuff, and I’ve been wanting to try out building adventures and campaigns in the new system.
I got some opinions from folks about what kind of game they wanted. The consensus was to leave behind the adventure paths and play in a game that, while it may have some throughlines of story, is more episodic, with the adventures being a little more self-contained. They also voted not to use Forgotten Realms, which is the only full setting currently published.
Again, I was okay with that. I came up with the idea of the fishing/mining town of Storm Point, that was on the frontier of the human empire a century ago, and barely noticed when the empire fell. I wanted a frontier, Deadwood kind of feel to the place, with little contact with the larger world and no external authority. I decided that representatives from some powerful neighbouring city-states and kingdoms had recently started paying attention to Storm Point because of the fact that it sits in the middle of the remains of three much older empires, and the ruins and treasure they contain. Most locals don’t care too much about that, but outsiders have started showing up, wanting to do some looting, and wanting the support of the town to do so.
I put together a couple of pages of notes into a campaign handout, told them what books they could use for their characters, and they got to creating them. We wound up with:
- Ssudai T’kar, a dragonborn rogue (Ahem! Commando!)
- Thrun the Anvil, a dwarf fighter
- Soren Greensword, a human warlord
- Faran Brae, an elf cleric
- Galvanys i’Araukamegil, an eladrin ranger
- Milo Tarn, a human swordmage
I also let them vote on what their first adventure would be, based on the writeups in the campaign handout, and they decided to go after some ruins from one of the older empires. I sat down with the DMG and the MM, and had the notes I needed for the adventure done in about an hour. I spent another hour to an hour and a half typing up the notes and statblocks I needed to run the game.
And I was done.
Two and a half hours to put together an adventure designed to take a party of six from first level to second level. I had time to create a map of the campaign area, and a prop map for the adventure.
I’m liking that a lot.
Anyway, last night we ran for the first time. We got started a little late, and there was some general hullabaloo that slowed us down some, but we got through two encounters, and everyone had a good time.
The first encounter was a mix of a skill challenge and combat, with the characters completing a skill challenge to locate a band of goblins with a map to an undiscovered ruin complex, and then taking the map away from them. They did some scouting of the nearby area, and figured out the general area the goblins would have to be, then talked to the farmers in the area to find out if there was any sign of goblins. They found out that one of the ne’er-do-wells in the town’s halfling community had been seen apparently trading with the goblins, so they went to his boat and put the fear of several gods into him until he told them where to find the goblins. After that, it was a simple matter of sneaking up on the goblin camp, pushing several of them into the fire, and putting the rest to the sword.
The second encounter was straight combat, with a pack of hyenas attacking them on the way to the place marked on the map.
Overall, I’d have to say it went very well. Everyone seemed to have fun, and they liked discovering the different ways their characters could work together, uncovering the synergy of the different powers. And they seem pretty anxious for the next game, two weeks from now.
I have to admit that I am, too.