What I Did Wrong at D&D: February 24th, 2016

Still working my way forward, Week 3 of game play features the introduction of our fourth and fifth players, the first mention of the Blue Fox, and marked the first “encounter ending spell” at shop D&D.

First: Have premades, especially for wizards. Two players mean two more characters that need making. One was already done, as a member of my home group was able to join in. The other was making a caster. And making a caster takes three times longer or so to make a non-caster, as you have to pick out spells. And if you’re not familiar with the game, or even just the version that can take a while.

I need to figure out a good way of doing that. Maybe by making spell kits or packs, with a sample of spells all revolving around certain concepts? God Powers from Age of Mythology are coming to mind right now, where you can take some spells but not others based on your choices. I may have to investigate that part further.

After a late start, I put the party at the Great North Road, a name I had made up previously to give some semblance of a plan at geography. That lead to the southern town of Alim, Mertahl. Why is it the Great North Road if it was South of the campaign area? Because no on asked that question then and I got away with it.

Second: Know your CR. This catches me a lot, especially with Fireball. There is a CR, somewhere, that doesn’t insta-die on a good fireball. I don’t know where that is yet. I have had a lot of encounters end with someone killing all my mobs with a FireBall. It is annoying and I will write it up in anb article series about encounter ending spells, someday. But not today.

Third: Story-Driving backgrounds should be rallied behind. One of the new players actually had a STORY to their character. And I flubbed it. I should have used the hunt for Rasputin the driving for behind the campaign. Instead, I just grouped everyone together and let natural player greed lead the party around. This whole story would have gone to a lot better of a place if I had done that. Hopefully, I will see that opportunity next time and jump on it.

Fourth: Make splitting the party interesting. I had a player sitting in the tavern, working the crowd and listening rumors. I should have had something interesting for him. And I didn’t. One of my big regrets that night.

Interestingly, that sparked a memory: this was the week I began to think about things I was doing wrong. I hadn’t really thought about making it into a blog thing yet, but the seed was there.

Fifth: Don’t be afraid to give the game away. I had someone lying to the party. I didn’t want to ruin that reveal. So I let thinks play out in an unsatisfactory matter. Maybe the party’s investigations should have seen either side of the trap. Instead, I forced them inside it. It may have been cinematic, but it was bad D&D.

Sixth: Speaking of bad D&D, Recognize a cutscene and treat them as such. The Blue Fox was a combination of plot armor and DM fiat. The party could have done plenty of things, and I kept waiting for them to do, well, anything, when I sprung my biggest trap evar. And the party had nothing to do. ANd I had set that up that way. I should have literally used the word “Cutscene!” and started painting the picture as best I could.

And that was what I did wrong that week. It was a bad week for me and started these articles. So we have that going for us.


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