2nd D&D Session

D&D NPC character

D&D halfling NPC
Devon, their halfling guide.Why would anyone want to kill this cute little guy? 

Phandalin Adventure

Day 2

Once, again, I couldn’t wait to start my D&D adventure with the boys. I’d done my prep, printed out my handout, (even a very cool ‘weathered’ map), and bought enough munchies to feed an army of starving goblins.

But therein lay my first mistake, and it may very well be why this session didn’t go as well as I’d planned.

To recap, they had been told by their hobbit guide, Devon, that bad guys held his family hostage. Now that he told the group about last session’s ambush, he begged the group to help.

But as I set up the music and sorted my paperwork, the boys voiced thoughts of killing their guide, Devon, the one person they were supposed to help!!!

 Why? I have no idea, it seemed to come out of the blue, but then I had to start the session out by telling them what they couldn’t do. Or at least trying to dissuade them for doing something evil.

Then they tore into the candy like rabid dogs. Before their characters even reached the hobbit’s home,  they’d began to vibrate in their seats. Then they bopped up and down in their chairs. Then, I had to take a break so they could literally run around.

It looked like getting them to focus on the game would become, well, a bit of a challenge.

Their mission though was simple enough. Rescue the hobbit’s family by sneaking in via a secret entrance. But, they were told, the evil guys were expecting a rescue and would be watching the doors and windows, ready to kill the hobbit’s family.

Their hobbit guide, Devon, led them to the secret entrance beneath his home, (an old, underground dwarven forge, long abandoned), that the hobbit used to grow mushrooms – Lots of tasty mushrooms fertilized by the finest poo in the county.

Only one problem – The boys didn’t want to do go through the secret passage.

Full of sugar rage, they wanted to charge in and attack the evil, nasty bad guys. No matter who dies!

D&D NPC character
Buttercup, Devon’s oldest child, a girl. Why would they not want to save her?

My hobbit was horrified. His family would die.

However… The boys didn’t care. Like Vikings, they wanted to fight.

NOW!

Battle, battle, battle, battlebattlebattle, BATTLE!

But I, (playing the hobbit), managed to convince them to try to sneak up on the evil, nasty bad guys, and that’s where I made my second mistake.

Running a game like this means you give the players as much leeway as possible to do whatever they want, and I’d railroaded them into going one route.

Had they gone their route, it’s not likely the little hobbits would have lived, and that’s a consequence that maybe they needed to have.

But forcing them to do something makes it harder for them to be invested in the game. However, NOT forcing them would lead to the death of little kids, and in story-telling, that’s a HUGE no-no.

I was in a pickle. Or ,rather, I’d pickled myself.

Not super interested in their choice, it took an hour for the boys to focus on killing 5 giant rats.

An.

Hour.

With their usual outstanding grasp of tactics, they defeated the rats quite quickly once the fight happened, but it soooooo wasn’t exciting for them. I could see that.

As soon as they won, though, they were hit by a sugar crash and acted like slow-motion turtles eating a leaf.

The session ended without a sense of major accomplishment.

That’s never good.

Would they run home and tell their parents, mom and dad, guess what, we killed rats, OMG it was amazeballs, rats, mom, rats. How cool is that?

No. Not cool at all.

Dammit, I’d goofed.

After I dropped them all off back home, I vowed to do better. However, being nearly impossible to predict what would actually happen in any given adventure, all I knew was that I needed to do 3 things better.

  1. I needed to control the sugar intake a LOT more than I did.
  2. I needed to find stuff they would care about, something magical and fun. Not fighting rats.
  3. I needed to create those epic moments they will talk about for weeks. Or at least hours.

Next week would be critical. I had to be a better DM.

 

D&D The Mines of Phandelver pt2

D&D main character

D&D Adventure  – The Bandits

D&D halfling NPC
In D&D, it’s always good to have a guide. In D&D, you can’t trust everyone.

The D&D adventure took on a darker tone.

The 4 boys, Honor-the-Paladin, Brad-the-Rogue, Leroy-the-Ranger, and Sherlock-the-Wizard were on their way to pick up their inheritance. Not far into the journey, though, they realized their guide, the Irish-accented, Devon Havenford was hiding something.

They pressed Devon mercilessly and he confessed that he was to lead them into an ambush. Evil men known as Blackskulls had taken his family hostage – His wife, Daisy (“as beautiful as the flower she was named after”), his children, (Buttons, Brandywine, Barlow, and tiny, wee Buttercup who hasn’t even eaten her first sausage!)

He was to drug them as they slept, then the Blackskulls would come for them.

At first, the boys debated allowing themselves to be captured but realized that presented too many problems and too many consequences they couldn’t predict.

So, they laid their own ambush. Brad-the-Rogue climbed into a tree and took out his bow. Leroy-the-Ranger cranked his crossbow to maximum pain and hid in a thicket. Honor-the-Paladin, pretended to sleep outside the tent. Sherlock-the-Wizard hid behind a rock, and being so small, it wasn’t a particularly big rock.

At a little past midnight, the moon obscured by clouds, the ground wet from a recent shower, Devon added green powder to the fire, signally the boys were subdued. After a few moments, 6 bandits came out of the forest, confident, their clubs or swords held low.

Then the boys struck or at least tried to strike.

Brad-the-Rogue, tried to find a better shot at the bandits, but slipped and fell out of his tree.  Sherlock-the-Wizard forgot which spell to cast.  Hey, it was the first time he’d fought anyone anywhere. It’s understandable.

And Leroy-the-Ranger somehow managed to miss his first shot. He was deeply ashamed.

But Honor-the-Paladin, battle-trained bellowed his defiance and spat lightning at the bandits, (cuz he’s Dragonborn and can do that!). His lightning scorched nearly all the bandits.

The smell of burnt flesh and leather filled the air. So did their screams.

As the bandits tried to sort out what was happening, I mean, this was supposed to be an easy job, just grab a bunch of yahoos and bring them back to the boss, Brad-the-Rogue recovered and shot his first man. He killed one bandit instantly, while Leroy-the-Ranger took very careful aim and shot the bandit leader in the throat with a crossbow bolt. Sherlock-the-Wizard, doing what gnomes do best, created an illusion of a bear beside the bandits.

(Ok, at first he wanted to create an illusion of a rock and throw it at them, then I said, “No, wait, think bigger,” and he said, “Ok, I’m making it a huge boulder.” I laughed. “No. I meant think of something that might scare or distract the bandits.” Hence, the bear).

Surrounded, pelted with arrows, a bear appeared behind them, and still smoking from being hit by a lightning bolt, the bandits reeled, as stunned as the Soviets losing to the Americans in hockey.

Unsure what to do, they did what bandits do, and attacked the only two they could see, Honor-the-Paladin and the quaking Devon-the-Guide.

Devon fled as fast as he could, leaving Honor to stand alone. But Honor was heavily armored and well-trained. With shield and sword and his heavy armor, he blocked every blow, allowing the others to continue to shoot the bandits down.

D&D bandits.
The ambushers got ambushed. D&D bandits were no match for the party

Another fell with a crossbow bolt through his neck. One fell to Brad-the-Rogue’s arrows, one more fell as Sherlock-the-Wizard called magical missiles down upon him, and Honor hewed one in half.

Fearing for his life, the last one tried to leave, but Devon, with a shaking hand, threw his dagger and caught the man in the leg. Stumbling, the bandit couldn’t take two steps before a bolt from Leroy-the-Ranger and an arrow from Brad-the-Rogue sank into his back with sickening thuds.

The boys had won.

Without taking a single wound.

Good lord.

But instead of celebrating Devon, still shaking, stared at the bodies. “We have to get to my family before the Blackskulls realize what’s happened.”

*****

For anyone interested in guides, check out these sites.

Rogue guide

Paladin guide

Ranger

Wizard