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[FtGMC] From the GM Chair 
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:56 am
Posts: 183
Post Re: [FtGMC] From the GM Chair
I'm still not sure what exactly to say about my TPK this past wednesday. And really, I almost killed them again the night! The first one, most definitely , was not a fair fight, and it's absolutely taught me to keep a closer eye on what sort of damage the baddies I'm picking can dish out with and without attack rolls.

The biggest issue between my TPK and near TPK? Movement restrictions. Grabs, immobilizations, etc. It really gave the PCs hell, especially since they're a party of three. I suspect continuing to play for a little bit will give me a better feel for monsters and what the group can handle vs. what the "XP budget" recommends. A lot of TPK night's encounters were technically level two encounters, but I thought they'd handle them pretty easily.

One thing I was pretty happy with, was the monsters I made especially for the evening. As it was halloween week, some nod to the holiday seemed worthwhile. So I made an animated scarecrow based on a level 3 skeleton, and I dropped the level down to two. I also made a little pumpkin minion more or less from scratch. The little buggers could entangle foes in their vines, and then would explode on being hit.

I made both monsters with the help of DDI's new little monster builder thing. It's a slick little program. If I can say nothing else good about 4e, it's how well they support it online. The character builder, and now this monster builder are both fantastic products.


Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:07 pm
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:56 am
Posts: 183
Post Re: [FtGMC] From the GM Chair
For a change I don't have much to say tonight. Almost the entire night was spent roleplaying some investigative work, and trying to unravel some mysteries. Beyond a few skill checks, the dice were untouched until the end of the night when our brave heroes were ambushed in a wizard's tower by more of the floating...things.

One thing I've noticed, with three sessions in a row under my belt, is something that I'd always chalked up to what was usually very irregular, infrequent playing on my part: running a smooth combat. It's not even an unfamiliarity with the rules system--I had the same exact issues with 3.5, and 2e, and to a lesser extent, even other systems. (Though really, in Feng Shui, it's very easy to pretty much BS an entire night of both story and combat).

It almost merits its own post, so I may split off discussion on running a smooth combat elsewhere.


Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:44 am
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:41 am
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Post Re: [FtGMC] From the GM Chair
I am actually very fond of a small sample of the city behind DMG Fall Crest, so I just plopped the game a good start for your PC, and now I'm slowly filling in the outside world to Fall Crest Mostly PCs need to get it.

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Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:49 am
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:56 am
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Post Re: [FtGMC] From the GM Chair
brayanaustin wrote:
I am actually very fond of a small sample of the city behind DMG Fall Crest, so I just plopped the game a good start for your PC, and now I'm slowly filling in the outside world to Fall Crest Mostly PCs need to get it.


I too was fond of Fallcrest, and based my on-hiatus 4e game around it, and the Nentir Vale (slightly modified at least). It works well for a somewhat-distant province in a continent spanning empire.


Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:30 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:48 pm
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Post Re: [FtGMC] From the GM Chair
This past Monday I'm running our Savage Worlds fantasy game (using Shaintar setting that I've tweaked to our tastes). I'm "winging it", which means I'm really underprepared. I have a map that I'm using from a mid 80's supplement for a fantasy heartbreaker called SwordBeareR (I think). I picked it up as a PDF on DriveThruRPG. The supplement has a sample dwarven stronghold and it is very well made (as in, the person who made it made several unique strategic choices and created a logical combination of a fortress and a mine that made sense to me.

I am using the stronghold map as my guide, but the setup is that the stronghold is NOT filled with dwarves, its filled with an elite army of dark elves and vampires. I'm looking at all the rooms on the map and their entry point (through the mine) and I realize I could have a straight up dungeon crawl on my hands. Now I think half of the group would be delighted at this, but I wasn't. I had a couple reasons for this: this would slow the game to a crawl when I wanted to have a faster lead-up to the big fight with the main villains and there's this small army in the stronghold so a slugfest would be quite deadly. Introducing new PCs at this stage when we have, at most, a couple of games left, is not something I wanted to do. So having them drop in a scuffle with no name army baddies after a year long epic campaign is not how I want them to go out.

They enter the mines and spot a sleeping ice dragon. Now, they could probably take the dragon down stats for stats. There are five PCs, two henchmen, a decent amount of magic and one of them is wielding a major artifact. I have dragon stats, I am totally ready to roll with this combat if they want it. They argue back and forth about what to do. A couple of them want to throw down. A couple don't want to endanger the mission (they're sneaking in to destroy that aforementioned artifact).

I realize that they're not being terribly careful or quiet, so while they're going back and forth, I made a Notice roll for the dragon. Yep, she heard them. So I start thinking about what a sleeping ice dragon would do when awoken by intruders. Now, at this point, I hadn't really thought about who she was or what she wanted. I'd already established that the main villain had summoned her here magically and this wasn't her home and that she could shapeshift into a humanoid form. But I had no ideas other than that.

The player for Uuveral rouses me from my imaginings by asking me, "How old a dragon is she?" and I reply without thinking about it, "She's a young adult". That's when it slams home. She's a young adult... a teenager. She's been plucked out of her own home and told by some big magical human that she should serve his big agenda. She's... sulking. She came down to the mines and used her frost breath to make it unlivable for the dark elves and the vampires are leaving her alone because... well, ice dragon.

So the party comes back up to talk to her. Uuveral wants to parley. They round the corner and... no ice dragon. Then a humanoid girl walks up to them. I play her like a teenager, a thousand year old very intelligent but bored teenager, which was surprisingly fun. The party managed to talk her into letting them past without a fight, but only after Uuveral promised to be her companion after everything was over.

At the end of the session, the players talked about the encounter and a couple of them were frustrated that the conflict didn't end up in combat. Yes, they were same ones who argued for combat and were voted down. I wonder if the strategic option offered was also the one that was less... fun.

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Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:20 pm
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