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
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....
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.
(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.
Traps seem to just slow down play. A couple of people roll dice and then we all sit around afraid to do anything. WELL, TOO MANY TRAPS DO SLOW DOWN PLAY. I HAD ONE TRAP, AND IT BROUGHT OUT A GREAT ROLE-PLAYING MOMENT FROM YOU, AND A FEW OTHER PLAYERS. HARD DECISIONS HAD TO BE MADE, AND YOU GUYS WORKED YOUR WAY OUT OF IT. COMBAT IS FUN (AND YOU DID FIGHT A GROUP OF SLAYERS, A DEMONIC OUTSIDER WITH A "HAND OF DEATH", AND TWO BEHOLDERS), BUT COMBAT WOULD NOT HAVE HAD YOU SCREAMING "SHUT UP" AT OTHER PARTY MEMBERS IN-CHARACTER! THAT WAS COOL. HOW BORING WOULD THE TRAP HAVE BEEN WITH A BACK-EXIT?
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
THANK YOU, BRIAN
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.
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.
(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.
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?