Alright, so we got our arrangements together so every Friday Night will be our D&D night and starting next week, Sundays will be our Changeling night. Should be cool!
We came back to our campaign with a new player! One of my good buds and friends I’ve known through my older bro has joined our ranks. He doesn’t have much 4E experience, but I think he’ll pick up very quickly. Although, I know it’s going to be kind of a shocker going from looking up 1st level to stats to jumping into an 8th level game. Luckily his first session was good entry point, as the combat was kept to 1 on 1 encounters and lots of Role Playing.
The Re-Cap and Jam Session
Lightening quick recap: Last official session of my game, the players had saved the Empress’s daughter from assassination by a Doppleganger posing as the mayor of the small town they’ve been helping to restore. In light of
the very few resources for keeping order, and the local political head being taken out, the party has been now tasked with being in charge for the well being of the town, the refugees coming in from Monolith (the city that recently suffered a Dragon attack) and training the town guard.
We had a get together between sessions that was handled mostly out of character where we discussed the long-term plans, goals and needed resources for their reconstruction. We discussed plans for building safe housing for refugees near the restored Bahamut temple, a place to train and recruit new town guards, and other defensive structures like walls and what not. We also discussed the need to bring commerce and trade back to this small village, which has been under a rather xenophobic mentality for a long time. The players came up with a plan to organize a “Unity” festival; both as a way to ease in the conflicting lifestyles of the displaced Refugees and local farmers and as a way to attract merchant trade and business.
Since we were going to let a couple weeks pass in-game while the Wizard traveled with the Empress’s daughter to attend an emergency meeting in a nearby city, we decided this would’ve been good timing for the Rogue who can’t keep herself out of trouble unless she has something to do to travel aloft and promote the festival. Meanwhile, the Warlord and the Dragonborn Fighter stayed behind to rally volunteers for the town guard and for the work effort. In hindsight, this probably sounds like a great segway into a “Oh look at the Skill Challenge I did!” moment, but instead I coldly and bluntly just made the Warlord roll a Diplomacy check 30 times, with the Dragonborn assisting, and set up a range of success based on the rolls. In the end about 60 people decided to not help out, a couple hundred volunteered to help work and build up the town and a decent chunk of volunteers were fiercely loyal to the cause. Those fiercely loyal are now being trained as a town militia while the others pitch in to the building effort.
My players also mentioned a plan to help bring in money, boost morale and give me an idea on what to run (lol!). They decided to throw a special fighting tournament, of 1 on 1 unarmed, unarmored combat. The “main event” was the top fighters got to step into the ring to compete against the “Dragonborn Dragonslayer”, at a chance to win some specially made dragon trophies crafted by the local smithy.
This was actually pretty fun in play, even if it just involved one of the players at a time. For starters, it gave me an excuse to have one of the re-occuring NPC’s who had left the players earlier in the campaign come back to challenege the Warlord into the ring for a fight that was promised long ago. The match was very close, and in the end the challenger won through a submission hold. It was the first time this particular NPC, when involved in a fight with the players, was able to best one of them. It was a very humbling moment, I felt, to let the players know the bandit they caught and turned into a henchie at the beginning has now grown up into a real scout and soldier, and like them has come a long way from their simple beginnings.
The second part that made it fun was it was a prime time chance to demonstrate what can be done outside of power cards in combat. All I have to say is anyone who thinks the powers 100% dictate combat and performance needs to read Page 42 of the DMG. We came up with some basic guidelines for the fights to keep it interesting….fights will go until one is bloodied, or submitted. Anyone can tap out any time. You could also win by forcing someone into submission. This was done by grabbing and pinning an opponent and restraining them for 3 turns.
We kept the combat very narrative, while using the “DM’s Best Friend” rules for various un-armed maneuvers. There was headbutting, grabbing the Tiefling’s horns, kicking, pinning, and I had to throw in one crazy gladiator who was prone to jumping on opponents backs and biting their shoulders. It was fun, and the other players had a blast cheering the others on and “watching” the fight.
And of course, just to be an asshole DM, the end fight was against a Warforged. I had mentioned their presence, albeit rare, in my setting and I thought “Ya know, Level 8 sounds like a good time to bring one in.” The last fight was pretty epic, and it had the Dragonborn sweating and shaking at times. He was one point away from bloodied, but managed to recover due to the Warlord shouting a couple things at him for a last minute round of blows. The Dragonborn won, but he gave the prize to the Warforged.
As an added bonus:
Our hostess was awesome. Since we were having a Festival, she made funnel cakes and they served Watermelon. How fakking cool is that?