Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red Frogs progress update (quick summary of Investigation: The Black Powder)

Wow, I've been really bad at updating this blog! That's partially because our group had a 3 1/2 month hiatus due to me working out of state, but we're back now, and we have an official name!

Just as a reminder, currently our group is rotating DMs because I have the most experience, and 2 of the other players want to get more experience DMing. Thus, our characters are all part of a mercenary guild called the Red Frogs, and each DM does a single adventure, with all characters leveling after each adventure. Because it's a small group, players usually control 2 characters each, and these can be rotated out between adventures.

Before our hiatus the second new DM tried his hand at DMing, and his adventure was actually really well-constructed and he ran it fairly smoothly. Basically the campaign was a Law and Order style investigation where a dockworker who was a member of a small criminal organization was intercepting small amounts of black powder from shipments that were coming into town. He'd been storing the black powder in the sewers below the town hall, where the party defeated him before he was able to cause any damage. My memory of the details of fuzzy (it was several months ago, after all!) so that summary will have to suffice.

The strong point of the adventure was definitely the engaging "investigation" plot. We began with very little information but just a few leads, and clues and hits were appropriately doled out. We (the PCs) probably played things out a bit more cautiously than most groups, but that was part of the fun. We wanted to get as much information as possible before acting, and I think that lends itself well to this style of adventure (if the players are willing to go along with it!).

If there was one criticism of the new DM's adventure, it's that encounters were slightly easy and somewhat repetitive. This player had DMed 3rd edition, and 4e requires a bit more boldness in encounter design, I think. Of course you can make the argument that quick, easier encounters allowed us to focus more on the plot, so it's not like it detracted much for the experience. He might have also been trying to play it safe after the first new DM's adventure, which resulted in a TPK (see recaps for session 1 and session 2).

The cast for that adventure was as follows:

  1. Lyra Cinderfield - a Human Wizard, control focus with strong blaster secondary, Staff of Defense class feature (one of my characters).
  2. Thorfin Gelgithar - Dwarf spring Sentinel with Fire Hawk as an at-will and a Shaman M/C. Very competent healing for that level (my other character).
  3. Meryl Wiggins - Gnome Wild Sorcerer
  4. Brucarius "Bruce" Wyllis - Needs no introduction :) But he's a human sword and board Fighter.

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