Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Public DM: A New Season Starts Strong

Searching for the Lost Crown of Neverwinter at Red Castle Games: Session 1

Season Six of Dungeons and Dragons Encounters started off strong.  More and more people kept coming in the door.  I believe we had 11 players when all was said and done.  Luckily my own DM, Robtheman, stopped by the shop and stepped into the breach just as I was about to be overwhelmed!  We made two tables, I with my regulars and Rob with a bunch of new kids and a dad.  From what I could overhear I could tell he ran a great session.

It's really gratifying to see the turnout increasing, and I hope we continue to have strong attendance and get people excited about this game.  I like seeing folks buy dice after an Encounters session.  D&D is rad!

Red Castle didn't do the Game Day last weekend, and no one is using the new Heroes of Neverwinter book, but most of my players brought their own characters to the table anyways.  This had it's pros and cons.  On one hand I'm stoked the players were into it and are dreaming up their own heroes, but on the other hand they made somewhat complicated characters.  The casual players in the group were quite slow to grok their multi-page character sheets.  This should smooth out in future sessions as people familiarize themselves with their new options, but combat felt slow to me.  There was also a bit of horsing around between players, grabbing dice and sheets that I need to clamp down on next week.  Just kids being kids, but I'll be bringing my "Guidelines for a Polite Gaming Society" next time.

The heroes consisted of a Shifter Barbarian, a Dragonborn Warlock, a Dragonborn Druid, an Avenger, a Duergar Barbarian(conceived as a dwarf undergoing a punk rock mid-life crisis, tattoos and liberty spikes etc), and an Eladrin Cleric.

The party began in the market by the docks, new to town.  They spent some time talking to various vendors of armors and meat pies, learning a bit about the town, its history of cataclysm and the locals ambivalence about the civic improvements brought by the current Lord Protector.  The Druid helped a man with his broken wagon wheel and received 10 gold coins for his troubles.

Then all hell broke loose.  Spellplagued men came pouring out of the sewers grates.  They were mutants with distended limbs, yawning mouths and claws that burned with a blue fire.  If these were once Men of Neverwinter, they had long since lost their souls.  The spellplagued maniacs were joined by three lizards the size of small ponys, with dagger teeth and eyes of blue flame.  The barbarians and avenger engaged the lizards toe to toe, all three of them going down beneath the iron jaws of the beasts during the fight.  It was all the Cleric could do to keep the warriors on their feet.  The mutants came in waves and threatened to overwhelm the party until the timely appearance of a helmed knight, wearing a crown that sparkled with blue flame, his purple cloak billowing about him as he cut a swath through the melee to lend a helping hand to the fallen dwarf.  "For Neverwinter!" he cried with a voice like gravel bouncing down a cobbled road.  With the help of this mystery knight the attackers were driven off and surviving townsfolk began to cry out in shock and disbelief, "The King! The King has returned!  It is as foretold, the Heir that Was Lost has returned!"

All talk died as the knight pointed his sword into the air and spoke, "Hark!  The leader approaches to do battle!"  All turned their eyes to the sky and beheld a white winged figure that passed across the sun and swooped low toward the dock, it was a mighty beast, a dragon!  White of scale, its eyes burned with a blue flame...