Elder Players' - Interlude Fifteen...Details

(My comments, if not labelled...are in CAPS!)

(from Mark, DM) Players, I meant it at the end of the game when I said that I would enjoy receiving any feedback about the games that I run as DM. Let me know what you enjoyed...what you didn't enjoy, pacing tips, rules arguments, questions....WHATEVER!

Now, do expect to receive comments in return. If some especially bad spell during the game was due to actions by the players, or unforeseen events...I will defend myself as honestly as possible!

Mainly I want to know what sorts of games you like. Do you want more NPC interaction? Do you want more combat? More treasure (ha!)? More mystery? More complex traps? More travelling? More travelling to other worlds...planes? More table-top warfare? What sort of monsters have you always wanted to face but haven't? I'll do my best to take it all as constructive advice...and I'll try to work some of it into our game! Thanks, Mark

P.S. Remember, you can earn extra XPs by writing game summaries, interlude stories or input, encyclopedia entries, your character's history, design a crest of arms, create a family tree, draw a picture of your character or his/her weapon, or anything else that adds depth to your character or the game. I like to reward time and effort spent on your character, so find something you would have fun doing...AND DO IT! Mike Cross holds the record with 11850 XP earned in just one Interlude period! That is definitely within reach of someone willing to spend a few hours a week for the next month....

(from Mark, DM) A word or two about the vault of Robert Nevo. I got a strange feeling that one or two players might have felt that the trap involving the anti-magic plane was unfair, or that they were disappointed they couldn't just walk out of it. Or perhaps that I had forced the party into going in only one direction...one that led into the trap, just so I could pressure the party into messing with Zartus. I thought I would write a few paragraphs about what could have happened. I don't write this to tell you that you got it wrong. I just thought you'd be interested in hearing some of the other plot-lines that could have happened....

The party was attempting to burglarize a Master Thief, who resides in a town filled with thieves! No number of guards would be sufficient. No lock would be sufficient. No amount of secret doors or hidden levels would be sufficient. That is why Nevo paid a huge amount of money for the construction the anti-magic mini-plane. That is also why he had so few guards. Four guards...with ten slayers training downstairs, that is not sufficient for a Master Thief's prize possessions. With the safe Nevo had paid for...who needed guards!

I liked the party's plan. It was all business. Go directly to the safe. Get the White Book. Leave Tunis quickly! Once you got to Nevo's, you dispatched the guards easily and found the safe. From there I began giving hints of a massive trap. The vault door opened into an ink blackness. No light could penetrate it...and wires and wood used to probe the darkness were sliced in two by the darkness. The spirits told Zeek (and the party) that Shapiro had built a special plane for Robert Nevo. So, I don't feel the trap was without some clear warnings. Now, if I had been a player in this game, I probably would have entered the darkness also. I'm not second guessing the party. I had a lot of fun the way it turned out.

One alternative that could have handled the White Book situation, would have been to negotiate with Nevo for the White Book directly. He knew it was important and expensive, but had very little use for it himself. It would have cost you some serious coin...or perhaps a favor...but the direct approach may well have worked. He may have tried to double-cross you, creating a cool battle situation...and a chance for me to bring in the beholders a different way.

I liked the tension of the party hurrying while Nevo and Bendis returned to his house. But another way to handle things would have been to wait for Nevo to return and capture him. After all, it was Nevo, Bendis, and one bodyguard...easy marks for the Finders! Robert Nevo had the "key" or controls to his vault on a chain around his neck. Potentially, Nevo could have been forced to give it up the White Book through charm spells or good old-fashioned threats. Or the party could have robbed him of the device, and then the party members would have had to figure out how to use the controls for the safe...or you may have been able to force Nevo to show you how to use the controls.

I liked how everything turned out. I enjoyed seeing you sweat it out in the large round room. I enjoyed seeing the party members handling the stress of the trap in different ways. And I enjoyed holding Vikos' axe Striker hostage...and throwing some beholders at the party! But I want all the players to know that when you're playing in my game, I want you to do the unexpected. Surprise me...take the "road less travelled." Don't try to anticipate what I want you to do...just play your character! I enjoy it when things get off my "planned" track. See you next time....

(reply from Chris) Yeah, I'm one of the one's didn't much like the trap. The trap in and of itself was not bad. Anytime you put something so powerful into the game like that, and we fall for it, it makes NO sense what-so-ever that we should get out of it. Totally unbelievable. (IMHO) He wouldn't trust us. He didn't trust us. We should have starved to death. If Zeek survives, his plan IS to go back and utterly destroy Nevos, Quincy and the entire town. He shouldn't trust us.

If I were a lesser player, I would be pissed that I might not have a character to play. But, I'm not. I'm more pissed that the fucking party will never split up. If we would have had two or three stay behind, we could have over powered Nevo, etc. I really wanted to stay behind. Next time, I will split the party up, even if it's just me. Good Game, Chris
PS: You can publish this, if you want.

(NOTE from Mark) Chris and I discussed this in an AOL I.M. chat. I think I have come to an understanding of Chris' feelings on the trap. He feels there were warning signs regarding the trap, but that there could have been more done to let the party know that it was a nasty trap they were entering. Chris feels that once in the trap, the party should not have gotten out of it so easily. Chris feels that it would have been more realistic if their would have been more serious consequences for being trapped by Nevo. After all, why would Nevo have let the party go...why would he have trusted them? Do others have an opinion on this?

(More from Chris) Regarding my feedback, it was just that, feedback...someone's opinion. That is all. I really liked the game. Do I wish the party did things differently, yes. There is nothing new about that. If I were DM'ing, would I have used a trap like that? No. Could I do a better job of DM'ing than Mark? Never.

If I appeared to be mad during play, I was playing my character. Zeek fully expected to remain in that room and starve. Zeek was mad at the party, the situation and Nevo. As a player, I'm glad he wasn't left behind. If you choose to leave him as room ornament, or a scarecrow, I will laugh and make a new character...A Chaotic/Evil Barbarian, but a new character.
Regards, Chris

(from Matt) I agree with Chris. The group did not play that well. We were all foolish to think we could steal from a thief that easily.

(More from Matt) Overall I thought it was a good game last saturday. The group was fools, and some characters were out of character, a little bit. We had a good plan to get to Nevo's house then it fell apart. At some point I would like to skip all of the NPC encounters and just battle (especially outdoors where vikos is more powerful.) It's very hard on deciding who to trust. And remember - Players are stupid. MATT, I KNOW THAT WHAT YOU MEAN BY THIS "STUPID" COMMENT, IS THAT PLAYERS SHOULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO FIGURE OUT EVERY RIDDLE OR TRAP IN A DUNGEON. I AGREE. AS A PLAYER, I AM SOMETIMES FRUSTRATED BY TRAPS AND RIDDLES I CAN'T FIGURE OUT. I THINK THE SAFE-TRAP WAS AN OBVIOUS ONE, AND THOUGH THE PLAYERS FELL FOR IT...SOME OF THEM PLAYED VERY INTELLIGENTLY AND GOT THE PARTY OUT OF IT.


Turning Zeek to stone was good. It will be hard when a character dies. Good forshadowing.

I am glad you said something about limiting group size. I would prefer 5 to 6 myself. With 8 or 9, not every one gets their 15 sec. of fame.

I liked the battle with the beholders the best. Chris said that it annoyed you the way it went. That's too bad. If players don't understand why something is happening let them pipe up once and the say (like you usually do) "this is the why it is... react or lose you action." If you think people are using player knowledge to much, say so. I LISTED FOR CHRIS SOME THINGS THAT CAUSED THE "STORY-TELLING" ASPECTS OF THE GAME TO BE LESSENED. NOTHING IS MORE FRUSTRATING FOR A DM THAN TO SET UP A COOL SCENE...OR TO CHALLENGE PLAYERS WITH A MONSTER'S CLEVER PLAN-OF-ATTACK...AND BE QUESTIONED OPENLY ABOUT HOW COULD THAT POSSIBLY HAPPEN? IT SEEMED TO ME THAT HAPPENED WITH THE BEHOLDER'S ANTI-MAGIC CONE. I WILL BE WATCHING FOR THIS IN THE FUTURE, AND IT WILL BE HANDLED MORE HARSHLY...ACTUALLY.

Yelling at the rest of the party was fun too. I doubt I would have done that fully sober, but I was annoyed at the rest of the group. Next I will monitor Chris's comsumption more closely. THANK YOU...WE ALL THANK YOU.

Overall I don't like city adventures for high level character. I like the combat espeically with strange creatures like the beholders. Large scale battles outdoors with several foes is good. I am dying to set Vikos against a static foe, like the yeti at that river. BIRCHMONT WILL SATISFY YOU.

I would like to play against a dragon that used all it had. I think the dragons are alot more powerful in 3rd edition. We ought to battle a xorn or neo-oughta. Were due for some powerful undead too, no vampires though. Ghouls, Ghast, maybe a lich.

It's too bad you missed Mike's last game at the beginning of it we had large scale battle with one on one figures. The setting with all of his minitures, trees, coutours, even tents, made it really cool.

Some treasure would acutally be nice. The paladin needs some sort of holy weapon. I imagine you have the next games planned out. But maybe the White book tells a powerful anti deamon sword guarded by a dragon and undead and a neo-oughta. With coulpe thousand gold, some gems, 3 potions, two scrolls etc. Or maybe grinvall comes by and tells us about it. I think some of the group are lacking in magic arms and armor. I am going to try to work a borrowing arrangment with Jereimiah with Black Plate mail for Pearl of Power.

A blue dragon would really jack with Vikos.

I a going to write an interlude story about vikos going after the gnolls that attack Greenmark at the begining of Mike C. game. Vikos is extracting vengence on the Gnoll General for dealing with the mind flayer and maybe the giants. MHJ

(from Scott) Kit knew it was not going to be easy but trying to openly strike a deal with Nevo was not in the makeup of a party with so many Lawful and Good people. NEVO DID NOT INSIST THAT THE SLAVER BE KILLED...HE SAID HE DIDN'T CARE IF THE PARTY TOOK HIM CAPTIVE AND TOOK HIM AWAY TO JAIL. She hoped there would be some way out through magic or a back door. We had the opportunity to still deal as a party with Nevo when he first encountered them but even after Kit pointed out this man was our only way out people were still trying to pull a fast one on him. You cant bluff or intimidate a man with a royal flush you can only hope he wont leave the table so you can get back some of your losses. Many a heroic tale has had the heroes captured in a no win situation but to realize there is but one choice to make that can change failure to victory and go with that hope and win. We won! We Got the Book!! We killed an evil Drug and Slave Dealer!!! AMEN.

As for Zeek Kit will work as hard as she can to bring him back as she did her other friends, he is family and even if she has to piss off the emperor she will not stop till he is back as he was as soon as possible..... we just need to keep Oren away with that hammer and chisel, Kit Does not agree Zeek would look better if he was 5 feet tall.
(from Brian) I thoroughly enjoyed the game and can not currently think of any way to improve it. I will be talking to you in this regard as time goes on. Thanks for asking. Brian B.


(from Mike H.) Some of my thoughts:

- I thought the trap was very interesting, and was well thought out by you as a DM. In this world, especially in a town of thieves, why would it be that easy to steal something? It wouldn't. Therefore, I think the trap was very legit. But, on the flipside. When Chris and I were contemplating of staying outside of the trap and fighting foes, you had made a comment "Well, if you don't go inside you will have to leave and will be sitting out for quite some time." Therefore, I took this as a DM suggestion to 'Enter the black pit or else' type of thing. OOPS. ANOTHER 'DM HINT' SCENARIO. DON'T FALL FOR THAT. DON'T LISTEN TO DM HINTS. PLAY YOUR CHARACTER. WHEN YOU MAKE AS MANY COMMENTS IN A NIGHT AS I DO...SOMETHING YOU MAY FEEL WAS A HINT MAY JUST BE OVER-STATED, OR AN ERROR ON MY PART...OR YOUR PART. IN THIS CASE, I WAS WORRIED ABOUT THE PARTY GETTING SEPERATED...BUT YOU PLAY YOUR CHARACTER. DON'T BASE YOUR ACTIONS ON 'HINTS' (REAL OR PERCIEVED) FROM ME!

In all honesty, I think that's how it was intended too... I don't blame you either, for you had planned that section of the game. So, for constructive criticism, I think it would have been a tad smoother (as in no bickering about this crap) if the option was left open in this situation to stay outside. THAT OPTION WAS LEFT OPEN, BUT I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. You could have 'forced us in' by sending quite a few waves of attacks on us, thus making us jump in... Anyhow, use this for ANY situation.

BTW: I did like the trap. I found it cool, and caused some roll playing to certainly come out.

- Within the realm of the trap, some players got annoyed with the actions of others. This bothers me deeply. I actually honestly contemplated of killing another character (based on his actions). I understand the predicament of being stuck, and having a few players do things that one disagrees with. But, what can you do? I believe the DM will resolve those actions. If the situation happens like that again, I will attack that party member; this really isn't me being personal, but rather also playing my character.

I really disagree with party members becoming negative in game play. There have been a few occasions where I have heard comments being made like "that's stupid", "what the fuck is he doing", "what an idiot". This does bother me, for the fact that this isn't the character speaking; this is the player disagreeing how the other player handled his character.... which leads to the point of us not really roll playing; and being a personal attack. I HOPE I NOTICE THESE COMMENTS NEXT TIME. OUT-OF-CHARACTER COMMENTS OF THAT NATURE WILL BE HANDLED QUICKLY.

- As far as death of a character, I believe its unfortunate for this to happen; but not unrealistic. In the case where the player has been building their character over a years worth of time, to die because of one single bad die roll; is sad. I think in these cases, the player should do some constructive writing and come up with a way to bring the character back....This could entail lots of writing, creating another character to assist in the game to gather an important component, or anything.

Now on the flip side, I think that the DM shouldn't allow a character to be revived/rescued when the player intentionally/was really stupid on their death. For example: A character jumping into a river of lava for a gold coin; or a character who calls out the DM.

- Treasure is always a neat thing that brings joy into the game. While trying to balance the game, I think every 2 games or so each character should get something small for themselves. This doesn't have to be horrificlike a sword of slayingallcreaturesthatcomesnearhimwithin10000000000featandgivesimportality. But something to press the character into wanting to play more. On the flip side, I think that these things should be mentioned to the DM outside of game play, therefore working something neat into the story; instead of having the holy avenger sword fall in someone's lap. I'VE BEEN WORKING IN MORE MAGIC ITEMS AS WE GO. THIS IS A MAGIC POOR AREA OF THE WORLD...SO THERE WILL PROBABLY NEVER BE ENOUGH FOR SOME PLAYERS! :-)

- Combat. I personally like combat. I think everyone enjoys this aspect of the game. The flux between creatures should very depending on the story. It wouldn't make sense to have 1000 mid level creatures attack us while we were in a bar fight. I personally would like more MOBS of mid ranged levels, than fewer with High levels. If anyone has seen the movie Blade 2, there is a scene where Blade is being attacked by 30 mutated vamps. It kicks ass the way he is fighting them. I think Zeek, Oren, and Vikos would get a kick out of this. While Kit does some trickery and sneaks in the rear and melees the commander along with Jeremiah and Ruadhin. Also, Eytai bringing the party to tracking down the fleeing leaders; or sniping down the messenger bird. THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF COMBAT AT BIRCHMONT.

Either way, I thought the game was a lot of fun. Thanks for letting us play, and please do not let anything I have written discourage you. You have been a pleasure playing with thus far. THANK YOU FOR YOU COMMENTS, MIKE. THEY WERE WELL THOUGHT-OUT, WELL WRITTEN, AND I TOOK A LOT FROM THEM.

(from Matt) Vikos would like to chime in about restoring Zeek to his normal state. But he is somewhat shocked with the appearance of Shipiro. He is embarrassed, angry and has a new feeling his is unfamilair with, fear. He wants to strike Shipiro down but he isn't his normal overconfident self. And he knows the rest of the group has alot of respect for Shipiro. He really doesn't want to fight everyone. He might cast some protective spells on himself like mage armor, barkskin, bulls strength, haste and/or Flame shieild. If he can slip out unnoticed he might do that too. Depends onthe dynamics of the situation. He will most likely try stay back in the shawdows. Then just observe with the aid of detect magic and readthoughts.

If all else fails Vikos would deride shipiro like i said in the last email and remind everyone of the tasks at hand, restoring Zeek, vanquishing deamons and slaying giants.

At some point in addition to the Gnoll vengance. Vikos wants to find out more about the demons at Birchmont. Are they lawful or chaotic? Why do the stay at birchmont? What are their weaknesses? What are there stenghts (special powers). What allies might they have there. What would Jack Skull do if he is encountered? What is his status?

Vikos will also spend some time helping the city of hope get rebuilt. This will come at a price of enviromentally friendly contstruction, maybe with Eytai's help. Vikos has many druid spells- stone shape, soften earth and wood shape (warp wood, entanglement and chill metal for those that go against him). Helpful wizard spells- mend, tensors disk, bulls strenght and fly. He will be generous with Goodberries and create water also. He will be actively recruiting worshipers with this action. Tobin's strength and working with nature being strong themes.

If the Gnoll thing goes well and time permits Vikos will try the same thing on the Yeti in Blood river valley. Their will be alot more fire (Fireballs, flame sphere, burning hands, heat metal, produce flame, small salamander, small fire elemental, flame shield) and an Illusion of a fire giant at the end. This might be Vikos himself with a enlarge, strength, and fire shield, haste mirror image and flame blade. I can write this up if you like. Give me some hints on how you want it to go. Maybe Kit or someone else secretly follows him and ends up saving his bacon. If Vikos did not see fire giant when he stood on the wall his will make a point saying that the fire giants have come to battle the frost giants for Kunda-gar. (OK, its getting old but I still like envisioning it.)

What has Javiar done with the Genie since Vikos has been of cavorting around.

Vikos will also write the identify scroll into his spell book.

Vikos will have his orcs scouting for Giants Gnolls, and other enemys in the major upcoming war.

Vikow will also use Animal Friendship & Speak with animals to bring in a brown bear and a couple of eagles (total up to 12HD of creatures) This is a two way street and he will help the animals also, healing habitat restoration, feeding. He will use the animals to gather information and impress the people of hope. He may bring these cretures on an adventure, but only in the outdoors and if they have a good chance of surviving.

I got it out of my system for now. Looking forward to your next release of text. This started as a short email.

(from Scott) Mark, I have started The Mountain of Man summary and should finish it soon, I have some Ideas on Matt's suggestion of going off to harrass the Giants and needing his butt saved if you are interested. Kit was planning on visiting with a gentleman by a big whole and might be close to the area Vikos would be doing a predawn strike and lookin on whats causeing the fireworks just in time to fly in invisible and demension door him out.

(also from Scott) The jewelry is much to gorgeous to sell, She will probably wear it in her persona of Madam Alicia Sundroes, Kit will make contact with Gunkrot about what the layout of the old city was before the gates were left open. she is looking for a sight that might have a large underground complex still intact. she will also move about town at night casting detect magic down into the ruins to see if she might pick up some magic left behind or some old portal. As Madam Alicia she wants to build the Blue Crescent Hospitality House on a sight that would have a basement for a lab and maybe some alternate entrance roots. She has about 5000 GP to start building (Most of which is from the platinum she got at Grazum Infernus's room) and she can also barter future favors at the house to those who are interested. She will start recruiting the best ladies available and pay them well since does not want a cut for herself only enough to keep the Blue Crescent a high quality establishment. She will also look into seeing what it might take to get Zane out of jail and put him to good use if that is at all possible. SEE "CONVERSATION WITH A THIEF" IN THE INTERLUDE 15 STORYLINE. As for the Slippers at first opportunity she will cast Identify on them and see what they may do. Thanks Scott Bower.

(from Jeff) Hey all, this is Jeff/Ruadhin.

Sorry I haven't responded to any emails or anything, but I've actually been kinda busy looking for a job and such. Got a couple things to update:

1. I'm running a horrendous fever and if the last time I was sick is any indication, it'll be a miracle if I'm good by the time the next date rolls around. I'll let you know as I fight the urge to kill myself.

2. I tried out for a musical and got (get this) the lead male role. I'm playing "Frank Butler" in "Annie, Get Your Gun." Looking at the playing dates, I don't forsee any problems except maybe June 15th. That's the weekend before opening, and I'm a rookie at the stage, so I'll also have to let you know on that one.

For now, I'm going back to bed to see how long I can lay there without sleeping. I've been practicing the last few nights. See you all later. Jeff Ruadhin

(from Scott) I thought Paladins were immune to disease?

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