Had a bout of depression over the weekend. Nothing like a good long nap and keeping up with my meds couldn’t fix.
I think there’s a cardinal rule when it comes to Dungeon Mastering that I need to constantly heed: You can never prepare enough or too much. You might have the best plans laid out by the start of the session only to find that you were woefully unprepared or at the most, underprepared at the end of that same session.
It pretty much sums up this week.
I only had two sessions this week; an emergency kept me from Dreams of the Red Wizards.
Item: Out of the Abyss, Wednesday
It happened to me again. Ever planned a dungeon that you’re sure will last for at least a couple sessions or at least a month, only to have the party go through it like a Keg of Beer in a College Dorm? Last time that happened was waaaay back in Hoard of the Dragon Queen.
This time, it was the Whorlstone Tunnels in Grackstugh. I worked all week gearing this particular dungeon up to the party’s level hoping that they would chase the litte derro shit, Droki, all around the place in a mad goose chase, running into several encounter rooms along the way.
They only managed to get about two-three rooms in before they managed to put an arrow to Droki’s knee (“You’re Mother Fucking Adventurin’ Days Are OVER!!”) knock the rest of him out, and have the party go, “We got what we wanted, let’s get out of here.”
I was hiding my disappointment. At least I still got a couple months’ worth of material to go through until Curse of Strahd. Or at least I hope so.
There’s still a little bit to do in town before they leave for the Gravenhollow library.
Item: Princes of the Apocalypse, Friday
This time, it was a case of running out of material to use.
I had a little traveling montage of encounters and NPC talking (and an improntu game of Blackjack on table for a Staff of Healing) as the party does a side trek to Waterdeep for supplies. When they came back, I even offered them a place to set up an apothecary and a temple to Lathander right on the map.
They were then told that the people who were going for that Orb of Dragonkind which I added to the campaign (among other things) were captured by the cultists and dragged into the main dungeon, the “Temple of the Elements,” the dungeon complex that’s actually cannon in this campaign. The party decided that getting the other 3 elemental weapons to venture into said dungeon is the order of the day. So they moved on to the Feathergale Spire, overlooking the Sighing Valley where the entrance of the Temple of Air is located (as you would know before). The spire is abandoned save for one animal handler, and a puzzle device on the top of the spire. A crystalline version of a Light’s Out puzzle where lights needed to be all in one color for the device to activate. When it did, it pulled in a cloud castle and a flight of Air cultists who saw it as well. One of them floated back to warn others of what’s going on while the party headed up to the castle…
…and I had to stop it there because I haven’t yet built that castle. Silly flipping me.
At least I have my work cut out for me today (Monday, 1 Feb) and tomorrow as I fill in what I hope would be enough content to fill in some more sessions. Encounters will have more RP than combat this time, because they will finally reach Gravenhollow. And I’ve already randomly generated a castle for me to tweak into its own map.
Meanwhile at Living Parnast…
I’ve just begun making the campaign guide and the first module, LP01-01 Liberation from the Dragon Queen, and already I have someone willing to playtest it. Sure sign that I’ve got something good here, or maybe people prefer the homemade stuff to the published material. Or maybe what they say about the online community is true, that there are a lot more players than Dungeon Masters.
My money’s on the third option, if you ask me, but I digress.
If I haven’t mentioned it here, I do intend to make a lot of artwork with this project. There hasn’t been much posted because I only have simpler sketches and I want things to be more presentable when I put them on, say Deviant ART. Expect to see some remixed versions of characters I use in the other campaigns, like Justin Mercurial and Darcy Amberguil, which will be cannon for the DM’s guild. (They won’t be changed for the running campaigns, however.) I’ll give you more updates here as they come up.