Tag Archives: d&d 4e

Dream Project 1.5: The Fortress of Dreams

This is a summary of my ongoing Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition game, played with some friends from college over the internet using MapTool and Teamspeak.

When we last left our game, the citizens of Meersha had fled a dragon who had taken over their town, heading north to the city of Decolay, which had been out of contact for years. When they arrived, in the midst of a thunderstorm, they found the city partly burned, with scattered fires and little signs of life.

The caravan was guarded by five people:
Etzlojek, kobold rogue and lover of fine things, adopted by the town’s general store owner
Eva, student of the local ritual mage and magic shop owner, who seems like a perfectly normal human wizard
Donaar, dragonborn warlock, who ended up in town after his home city was overrun by undead
Diesa, dwarven fighter, who was visiting family in town
Sully, formerly-retired half-elf paladin of Erathis and party NPC, who ran the tavern in Meersha.

This is the second half of level one.
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Dream Project 1.0: The Flight from Zekleinenezzar

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been running a mostly-weekly Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition game over the internet using MapTool and TeamSpeak. Generally, these tools have served us well, with the biggest problem being the voice chat; it makes conversation flow very awkward, with some people stumbling over other people’s sentences due to lag, and other people often unintelligible due to mic issues. MapTool is a bit clumsy, but it gets the job done.

For a while, I’ve wanted to run a tabletop game where the play shifted between a dark, gritty, waking struggle for survival and a wondrous, fanciful dream world that the player characters entered when they slept. This is not that campaign, but it uses the “dream world” motif that I’ve incorporated into several of my games. Below the fold, I’ll give a summary of the first part of the campaign for those who are interested.

Before then, however, I should discuss my current feelings on D&D4e. First, the combat system is a lot of fun and very slick, but it requires a lot of effort and attention to keep it from becoming a tactical strategy game. In the game so far, players basically just say “I’m using Scorching Burst” or “I’ll do a Deft Strike.” I much prefer a game where players describe their actions with more flavor and color, and often do actions that aren’t straight from their power list. I’ll work to encourage this in the future.

Second, I still don’t have a handle on Skill Challenges. They make sense on paper: a way to structure non-combat encounters to have the same randomness, flow, and structure as combat encounters. However, in practice they feel very clunky. Twice I’ve had a single character take lead on a major NPC conversation, and instead of having them make repeated Diplomacy checks, I’ve just roleplayed it out. Maybe I need to make the Skill Challenge mechanics more explicit; maybe I need to abandon them altogether.

Finally, the XP system feels slow. Ten encounters between levels is a lot. I’ll be giving double experience in 4e in the future, just to restore a sense of progression to the game.

Now, for the story so far. This is the first half of level 1.
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Morbus 3 – The Dizzying Tower

The third episode of my D&D 4th Edition game is done. In this adventure, the party is waylaid by illusions emanating from a mysterious tower occupied by a deceitful gnomish wizard.

This adventure is designed for four 3rd-level characters, and should provide them with half of a level’s experience, or take them to fourth level if you double experience as I do. Note that because I double experience, this adventure contains a full level’s worth of treasure. GMs using this adventure will want to adjust accordingly. The full adventure is after the break.

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Morbus 2 – Rescuing the Orc Princess

It’s time for the second adventure episode of my D&D 4th Edition game, Morbus. In this episode, the party’s travels through the forest are interrupted by a plea from an orc chieftain to rescue his daughter from a group of bandits!

This adventure is designed for four 2nd-level characters, and should provide them with half of a level’s experience, or take them to third level if you double experience as I do. Note that because I double experience, this adventure contains a full level’s worth of treasure. GMs using this adventure will want to adjust accordingly. The full adventure is after the break.

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Morbus 1 – The Attack on Furrowcross

I’m currently running a campaign of Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition that I have dubbed Morbus, for reasons not yet disclosed to the players. I’ve decided to share my campaign planning with the readers of this blog, for those who are curious to see how Fourth Edition encounters work, or for GMs who are interested in an adventure to run.

I intend to make each adventure “episode” wrap up a little story as well as being part of the larger campaign plot. For the players in my campaign, each adventure will take their characters up a single experience level, but I’m doubling experience point rewards in my game. Normally, it takes ten encounters of the party’s level to level up, but I’m aiming for just five. Because of that, if any GMs are following along with my campaign, they will need to add more encounters to keep the PCs at an appropriate level for these adventures. On this blog, I will report the normal, non-doubled experience rewards for encounters. The adventures will, however, dispense all of the appropriate treasure parcels for a four-person party, so you may want to change that.

I’ll try to present each adventure independently of the larger plot. I’ll tie them together periodically with summary posts explaining their larger context. This particular adventure, The Attack on Furrowcross, is appropriate for four first-level characters who have not yet formed a party with each other. It features a goblin raid on a market town. The details, with full spoilers, are after the break.

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