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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3682 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2019 :  21:38:17  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Greetings Realms fans!

Well my group wanted to run 4th Edition and I have a new player so I felt that edition was one of the better ones to start him out on. At the time, I went with something easy, a pre-made starter adventure for 4E called Escape from Sembia. It’s a quick adventure with all the usual points – combat, role-play, great decision points, skill usage, and an open plot for later. I had honestly thought at the time that it would be a one-shot and probably do something else later (as is oft to happen with our group) but the group has stuck with it and it’s turning into so much more. Because of its success, I wanted to share with you guys the adventure and ask for help from time to time in terms of connecting other adventures I decide to incorporate into the overall campaign.

So here are the players and their characters (Characters listed in alphabetical order)

Player – Rhiannon, my 10 year old/ Character – Autumn, Unaligned female longtooth shifter Seeker: Not much is known about the excitable and often times moody Shifter. Her past is something she seems to be private about, noting only that she was an outcast by her pack and has been foraging on her own for some time. Her primal abilities derived from the strong sense of nature that she connected with during her time on her own. Recently, during a vicious fight, she changed fully into that of a large wolf and killed one of her attackers – thus exposing the fact that she is a lycanthrope.

Player – Erik/ Character – Gennal Blackknife, Unaligned elf Rogue [Thief]: After living a life of questionable decisions, Gennal decided to try the less illegal path. This meant joining a rag-tag group of self-proclaimed “Heroes”. None of them really questioned his history or why he was exceedingly good at picking locks or coming up with coin for food and lodgings despite appearing to be broke. His life on the streets of Saerloon was tough and he did whatever he needed to survive. The pressure from the local thieves guild to join was getting too great and he needed a way out.

Player – Pete/ Character – Gregg, LG human swordsage (thought deceased) & Hadrian of the Light, Good human Cleric of Amaunator: Gregg’s troubled past seem to haunt his days, taking his bereavement of some lost loved one and using it to become a vigilante in his home of Sembia. Trained in the arcane arts but using his abilities to defend troops, he left the private school for such abilities to strike out on his own. He met up with a few other like-minded individuals and sought adventure to take his mind off his past. This adventure seemed to be the catalyst of his demise, falling in a tower of an ancient Netheril ruin to Ettercap monsters.

Hadrian, of the light is a devout cleric of the Lord of the Sun – Amaunator. Hadrian believes himself destined for greatness as his birth was unique, with an omen about saving the world. He was brought up with the highest ideals and pledging himself to the Radiant Crusade (similar to the Knights Hospitaler) -an organization made up primarily of divine warriors of Amaunator and Kelemvor to hunt the undead and users of Shadow magic. He heard rumors of shadow beings (such as Shadar-Kai) to the North and he went to investigate. Along with 3 other adventurers he made his way towards Spellgard and the Scepter Tower. There he was confronted and assaulted by dark ones and Ettercaps and fell in battle. Before being devoured as his allies were, another group of adventurers attacked a few days later, liberating him. He eagerly joined their group to finish his mission.

Player – Tom, my father-in-law and new player/ Vorug Redmoon, Unaligned Tiefling wizard: The tiefling speaks of his time learning the Art at the Hosttower of the Arcane fondly. While he swears he doesn’t ascribe to some of their ways of conducting magic – meaning he isn’t evil by association – he doesn’t seem to condemn it either. Vorug proudly states his heritage as a true tiefling and not one of those interloper ones forced into it by Asmodeous. He has a penchant for fire-based magic and is not one to allow attachments to allies to interfere with his spells. After leaving the Hosttower he traveled for a bit before ending up in Sembia. Few people trust a Tiefling and he found that life outside of the school was far harder than imagined. Thus he took up arms with this group of would-be heroes to find money to strike out on his own.

Player – NPC by the DM/ Erias the Sunlord, Unaligned human Cleric of Amaunator Erias is a devout follower of Amaunator and eagerly awaits adventure to test to himself his faith and to make his stamp upon the world. As he meets up with others in Sembia, he understands Netheril’s sway over the region and wants to disparately change that.

The adventure Escape from Sembia is a pretty straightforward one in which the character all know one another and have done a few boring missions such as delivery protection and caravan escorts before. I felt this is the best way to go so we’re not taking the first night of the adventure just talking and the whole “how did you meet” portion of the adventure. So with that, the adventure starts….

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 01 Jul 2019 22:57:57

Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3682 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2019 :  21:56:45  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote

The adventure Escape from Sembia is a pretty straightforward one in which the character all know one another and have done a few boring missions such as delivery protection and caravan escorts before. I felt this is the best way to go so we’re not taking the first night of the adventure just talking and the whole “how did you meet” portion of the adventure. So with that, the adventure starts….

Session 1
Business is slow in Sembia, really slow. After yet another caravan escort to the town of Saerloon, they got just enough coin for a few more days of food and lodging at the local inn. Whilst in the tavern and deep into their cups, they were approached by a Moon elf of noble bearing. He asked for them by name, as in the group with the tiefling, for a special delivery. He guaranteed you some good coin for a delivery assignment, so they took it. He paid half of the coin up front and promised the other half when they reached their destination. The package with a vellum scroll sealed with a purple wax symbol of a griffon rampant. The nameless moon elf instructed them to keep the seal intact; as the scroll is enchanted to combust should it be broken in the wrong hands and they forfeit the second half of the payment.
So off they went to the small town of Saerb in northern Sembia to visit the merchant Inius Olger, a cobbler. Their instructions were to wait across the street at the Ruby Rose tavern until he gave the signal to be approached (a lit torch as he left the establishment at dusk). So there they were and waiting. Finally as dusk approached Inius exited his shoppe and lit the signal.

The PCs exited the tavern and as they hit the street, they notice several armed soldiers approaching Inius, obviously intent on stopping and questioning him. As they approach the characters get the sense that their involvement might be necessary in the ensuing confrontation. They could easily walk past, forgetting the payment altogether however Gregg doesn’t see it that way. While these soldiers are Sembian, they’re led by someone with questionable heritage (they seem like Netherese).
So of course, the PCs intervene and the diplomatic relations quickly falter. This results in a fight which the PCs win with only a few minor scrapes and scuff marks. What they do find is that the watch was led by a Netherese person and that they had a dagger with an etched symbol in the blade, a clenched fist holding a dove. What it portends is still unknown to them but what they do realize is they need to leave, and quickly.
Inius thanks them hurriedly and tells them to keep the scroll, flee to some place safe. He suggests Cormyr but the Dalelands will do just as good as it’s outside of Netheril’s influence. He gave all the PCs 50gp to finish the deal and he quickly left. Before they could determine what to do next, a shrill whistle pierced the air and more troops could be seen coming to the aid of their fallen comrades. The PCs ran.

The next part sees the PCs frantically fleeing the area. Autumn wants to stay and fight them all but Gregg is able to get through that no matter how good she thinks she is, they’ll overpower them all with sheer numbers. Frustrated she too flees into the marketplace. The pace is quick and Gregg quickly falls behind. Despite being athletic a series of unfortunate circumstance. coupled with his unfamiliarity with the town, have him tripping over carts and causing more of a disturbance that the others. This leads the soldiers right to his position. Fortunately, Vorug and Erias were only a small distance away and saw Gregg’s plight. A quick spell of fire at boxes and drapes makes for a handy obstacle and gives Gregg the needed assistance to slip away.

The other two have no trouble navigating the town at a quick pace, with Autumn’s agile and lithe form she’s able to slip through the crowed of people going home or to their favorite drinking hole for the evening. Gennal is smart about his escape and quickly turns to skills that he gained during his days as a thief, using the roofs and allies to avoid detection and get a great layout of the town. They reach the edge of town, followed by Vorug and Gregg minutes later. With the whistles still piercing the air, the soldiers aren’t far off their trail. If they have hounds, it’ll be more difficult still. So the characters press onward into the night.

The woods at night can be especially dangerous. Fumbling around blindly wasn’t Gregg’s intent, but was sort of necessary else they give away their position. He relied on Autumn’s sense of direction as well as Vorug and Gennal’s sense of sight. A few hours passed and they made it a few miles away from Saerb, Autumn was leading them further to the crossroads between Cormyr and the Dalelands. As midnight almost approached, they looked for a clearing to make camp. It wasn’t long before they stumbled upon a hobgoblin encampment with about half a dozen or so of the creatures. Tired from their exhausting journey, the last thing they wanted was a pitched battle, with hobgoblins no less. They needed the element of surprise. Vorug, with is Ghost Sound spell, caused goblinoid voices to arise from the other side of the tent, calling out a challenge to he hobgoblin warriors. Naturally the responded with threats but their attention was completely diverted. At once, the characters attacked. The ghostly voices ceased and in it’s place, a large shocking sphere that pushed the creatures against rocks or to the ground, compliments of Vorug. Autumn dashed in, hand-axe at the read and with a primal spell on her lips. She whipped the axe at the main leader, striking him in the leg which causes a furious swarm of insects to magically conjure from the ground making it much harder for him to attack anyone. Gennal and Gregg brought up the rear with Gennal dashing forth and using his short-sword to good effect. Gregg, an honorable warrior, came bearing down on the remaining hobgoblins, using his Aegis to shield their attacks against his flanking ally Gennal. Lastly the blinding light of Erias shown forth, bathing the creatures in an intense radiance, burning them and dazzling their eyes. After 20 seconds of fierce combat, the hobgoblins were no more and the characters took a well deserved rest.

The next morning saw the sun bright and early for the group. Erias led off the morning with a prayer to the Sunlord. Gregg, being a faithful servant of Torm, accepted the sermon with dignity and silently sent a few prayers Torms way too. The others seemed to be preoccupied with their own thoughts. Vorug just sat and read his spellbook. Deciding it would be best to make a cold camp, they patched up any wounds incurred with help of Erias’s divine healing and kept heading due north west. They were bound to hit the crossroads that very afternoon.

Upon the road, a few miles out they came to a high bluff, with some high ground to the right and a very steep drop off to the left. As they neared a bend, several skeletal warriors surged upon their location. They had no clue who had created them or if they were just wandering undead but the skeletons were fierce combatants. Despite divine magic to aid them, this ended up be a very difficult battle. Erias led off the assault with a prayer to the Sunlord, however the light that slammed into the undead had a very weak effect, causing Erias a bit of doubt to his devotion. Seeing the divine magic falter a tad, Gregg jumped into the fray and used his sword burst ability, trying to make him the center of their attention. Vorug was quick to cast Magic Missile, the auto-damage of the spell helped with the close proximity of his allies. With Autumn’s primal magic engulfing them with a poisionous gas, it gave Gennal the much needed distraction to slip behind their defenses.

The battle was going their way, two skeletons down and three more to go, when Gregg suffered a serious injury. Being gashed in the side, he winced in pain and wasn’t able to deflect another blow, this time at his head. The blade missed but the pommel of the saber caught him across the temple, sending him low. Before the skeleton could finish the job, an orb of scintillating colors arched overhead, exploding against the skeleton’s body and throwing it over the edge. The idea shot into Autumn’s head and she too threw herself at the next skeleton, bashing into the body and sending it over the cliffside. Erias, seeing Gregg’s form on the ground threw him into a fit of anger, directing his most powerful divine spell against the remaining skeletons and blasted them away to dust with radiant beams. When the last of the skeleton’s were defeated, they tended to Gregg’s wounds. He quickly recovered with the help of some local fauna Autumn was able to find and apply as well a healing word from Erias. After a few moments rest, they were able to continue.

Towards dusk, they had nearly reached the end of their journey. The river lay just ahead of them with a quaint bridge crossing over it. When the tired troupe was in plain view however, their hopes were quickly dashed. At the bridge were a couple of Sembian thugs, a slender elf-like man absentmindedly swinging a spiked chain and wearing lots of piercings, and a human woman holding a staff. The group looked bored, but alert. When the group came into view, the guards assumed an authoritative stance.
“Halt and be named travelers.” the robed woman called out. The group did and Erias was the one to answer.

“Just passing through, m’lady. On our way to Shadowdale and would like to be in the Dalelands before nightfall.” As he said this he started to move towards the bridge. The woman quickly stopped the approach with an outstretched arm and staff.

“What’s your name and the names of your frineds there traveler?” she carooned. Erias turned to look at them before giving the woman a half-hearted smile. As quick as he could, he swung the end of his mace with all he could muster at the woman. She ducked the brunt of the attack, taking a stinging shot to her should before she could back away. The fight was on. With both sides having nearly the same odds, the magical attacks back and forth were exhilarating. Being in the open gave Vorug a prime area to cast his stronger area spells. Woosh up went two of the guards rushing in, fire flash-burning their skin as they shot past. A foray was quickly under way with spells being slung between Vorug and the robbed women while the other 4 attempted to get into tactical advantageous positions. Gregg really came through, using what arcane magic he had, and teleported Vorug out of the way of a vicious attack from one of the thugs that slipped through. In vorug’s place, Gregg stepped in and blocked the attack easily. Erias and Gennal worked in tandem, with Erias casting spells to bolster Gennal’s attacks.

As the fodder fell away and the mistress locked in a deadly spell-battle with the Tiefling, the Shadar-Kai warrior waded in, using the big chain to take advantage of their distracted interests. His attacks were vicious, lashing out and strinking Gregg’s aegis again and again. Were it not for Erias’s blast of divine light, the Shadar-Kai might have cut Gregg down where he stood. But the party pressed on, and in the end, won as Vorug unleashed a deadly Acid Arrow spell, striking the other mage in the chest and then quickly releasing a volley of magic missiles at the Shadar-Kai. With their defeat, the party was able to determine which way to go. A long discussion ensued, as Erias and Gregg said Cormyr was the safer bet but Vorug and Gennal leaning towards the forest realm of Cormanthyr and the elven inhabitants. Autumn was the final decision and as the forest always calls to her, they decided on the Dalelands.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Derulbaskul
Senior Scribe

Singapore
391 Posts

Posted - 30 Jun 2019 :  11:29:02  Show Profile Send Derulbaskul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great to see someone else running 4E, especially someone on these forums!

Cheers
D

NB: Please remember: A cannon is a big gun. Canon is what we discuss here.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
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Posted - 30 Jun 2019 :  14:50:44  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Derulbaskul

Great to see someone else running 4E, especially someone on these forums!



We've always had a number of 4E fans here. That's why we had so many problems during that era -- we had vocal people on both sides of that issue.

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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3682 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2019 :  22:40:39  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Derulbaskul

Great to see someone else running 4E, especially someone on these forums!



I will always prefer to run 4th Edition. For me, it provides the best options in terms of both a Player and Dungeon Master. As a player, I really can play anything I want and the rules are designed to allow that, both mechanically and with use of Role-Play and yet do not deter me when I want to stray from the common Human Fighter or Dwarf Cleric. For example, we did Legacy of the Crystal Shard using the 4E stat blocks that were provided and I was an Illuskan human Berserker with the Werebear theme. I could shape-shift into a bear but rarely did so because....well bears roaming villages tends to put people into a panic. When I would use Primal abilities, the Bear would rage out uncontrollably (pure RP aspect, it wasn't forced mechanically) and the best part was that I was pretty balanced with the others in the group. If I tried to achieve this with 3.5 I'd have something like a +8 Level Adjustment and would be super OP compared to other 1st level characters.

I'll post Session 2 in a bit when I finish writing it up. We've gone a LOT more since I posted this last and we're having another Shadow War session this Friday (woot!!)

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3682 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2019 :  05:01:30  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Session 2
The long and exhausting trip to Cormanthyr forest went by without much excitement. The adventurers traveled at a quick pace, making it in less than a weeks’ worth of walking. Finally, under the protective boughs of the evergreen trees, they took a respite from their travels. While resting, a patrol group of Wood and Moon elves came upon them, bows raised and swords at the ready. Erias spoke quickly, a quick prayer to Amaunator and displayed his holy symbol to the elves. He told them of their fast flight from Sembia and the scroll they received from Inius that has some importance – possibly news of Netheril’s plots or some secret. He handed the scroll over to the patrol’s captain, a Moon elf who introduced himself as Ny’Thandael Steelleaf and Bladesinger of Cormanthyr. He escorted the group through the rest of the forest to the capital city of Myth Drannor, much of which has been restored to Its former elven splendor. There they met Tanthalas Seldurien, a Gold elf wizard who had some recent dealings in Sembia months before.

Tanthalas examined the scroll and the seal that protected it from unwanted eyes. The seal, a rampant griffon imbedded into gold wax, had arcane sigils along the border. With a few quick arcane syllables Tanthalas breaks the seal in two, the magic dispelled. At first the group was mad, thinking he ruined the scroll but upon unrolling it, it was perfectly intact. Scoffing at their offense, the wizard reads on aloud.

“The shadow moves and a traitor to their cause is attempting to gain a foothold in the Western Heartlands. Make haste and thwart this evil plan before the Lady of Saharelgard is bound forever.”

The wizard frowns, knowing what this portends and where it’s happening. The characters seem a tad confused, not exactly sure where to go or what role they’re still to play. Tanthalas lets them know that they’re not required to go on this journey but that they brought the scroll to him was a good enough job. If they so wish to proceed and continue their adventure, stopping Shade’s advance of their evil plot, they need not look further. The troupe acquires a few items, mostly provisions for their journey and even a few scrolls for Vorug of arcane magic. After equipping themselves appropriately, they’re ready to leave.

Tanthalas can send them as close as he can to the region of the Western Heartlands with the help of some Scrying and a teleportation ritual. The characters agreed and the ingredients were gathered in a circle while the ritual was cast. The final words of the spell spoken, Tanthalas threw out his arms and it appeared to them as the world dropped below their feet, flinging them into an endless chasm of impenetrable darkness. As quick as the sensation happened, it was over and their feet found the ground once again. Quickly regaining their sense, they looked around the chamber and found that they weren’t alone. Half a dozen goblins looked at them with alarm and anger, a fight was on their hands.

The teleportation was nearly successful, using an open gate on the far end of Faerűn in the tunnels of a long-lost corridor. The portal pad once belonged to the mighty empire of the Ammarindar dwarves. Now crumbled and lost to the denizens of the Upper dark, their treasures - including this portal stepping stone - found its way to a small cavern a few miles south of Loudwater. As the characters recognize their imminent danger, they quickly draw weapons and prepare for battle. The sudden explosion of combat takes both groups unawares, putting them on fairly equal footing.

Three of the goblins rush the portal pad, daggers and short swords thrusting forth for their blood. Gennal easily parries one attack while dodging a second. Gregg hastily calls an aegis on the foremost goblin, slowing its attack until the strike barely had any power in it at all. The characters then surge forth with attacks of their own. A quick spell by Gregg has his sword bursting about him in flashing of steel and spell while Vorug unleashes a small inferno from his wand into their ranks in the back, blasting them with a scorching burst of arcane fire. Never to be upstaged by her allies, Autumn reaches back and hurls her Handaxe end-over-end towards the farthest goblin, scoring a direct hit and unleashing primal magic in a swirl of vines and thorns around it, hindering it’s movement.

The battle was well in hand, that is until the goblins feral and starved dogs joined the fray. They charged in quickly, gnashing teeth and wild eyes as they looked to score food for the first time in several days. Their speed and agility made them difficult targets, as Gregg unfortunately discovered. Gennal used what stealth he had and rushed up behind the last remaining goblin, running him through from behind as his short sword exploded from the goblins’ chest. The battle continued for a few more seconds, each of the players finding their rhythm and working with one another to finish off the poor animals. Autumn had expressed desire not to kill the wounded animals but soon realized that they were beyond hope, the abuse was just too great and death was a far fitting end to their suffering.

At this point, they had a decision: explore further into the mine or head to the surface. Realizing that more threats might await them if they were to return, the decision was easy – to press onward. The sloping cave system was easy to traverse and they soon found themselves in a hallway of cut and worked stone. Easily of Dwarven make, it must be one of the long shafts that was an offshoot to the Ammarindar halls. As they slowly made their way down the hall, they could hear goblin voices arguing in the next room. Readying themselves they bust the door down, frightening both goblins in the process. With their weapons scattered, they did little to defend themselves yet fell easy to the player’s attacks. What they didn’t notice was the barred portcullis slowly raise from across the hall. Within a matter of moments, they were besieged by a half-dozen dwarven skeletons and zombies. They attacked ruthlessly and the players did the best they could pushing them away. Erias, raising his holy sun-disc high, called upon the divine power of Amaunator to drive them away. Light flashed and several skeletons and a zombie were burned away to ash, the other retreated from the searing rays of light the cleric wielded. The undead are quickly defeated, leaving behind nothing of significant value.

...continuing soon

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3682 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2019 :  21:58:57  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
....continued

Pressing forward, they PCs come to another large room and this one also sports a portal-pad similar to the one they used when arriving in this dungeon complex. The room was not empty, however. Hobgoblin troops were ordering around some goblins when the PCs burst into the door. Quickly forming a shield wall, the hobgoblins take no time getting their tactics underway. The monster's quick thinking and formation throw the characters for a loop, making them second guess just how strong these forces are. Still, the characters feel that none of the monsters here have posed any sort of significant threat and advance anyways. As usual Gennal rushes to the side, an attempt to circumvent their defenses while Gregg rushes them head on. Vorug and Autumn keep their distance, preferring to work from afar with their spells and invocations. The first few moments seem hectic as none of the Hobgoblins go down and in fact, seem bolstered by their resilience. Gennal finds himself in a very strong fight as his quick strikes and stabs seem to skirt off the hobgoblin's tough steel armor and Gregg is doing everything to protect the others behind. Erias gives divine light to their cause but even his radiance feels diminished.

In quick succession, Gennal is dropped from a clobbering blow of a Hobgoblin and would've been dead had it not been for Vorug's quick arcane striking magic missile, dropping said Hobgoblin in it's tracks. Erias rushed over to aid Gennal and did so just before falling in battle, a Hobgoblin spear piercing his chain and driving deep into his backside. With fury rising inside her, Autumn unleashes her greatest invocation. Hurling her Handaxe behind their lines, it explodes into shards of spiritual energy, piercing the few surviving goblins and hobgoblins alike. The remaining hobgoblin, retreating toward the exit further into the dungeon complex is quickly cut down by Gennal, avenging the fallen Erias.

The battle is over and won, but the assessment isn't good. Erias has died of his wounds and the remaining companions are at a loss of words. There is undoubtedly a deeper part of the complex but without his aid, they fear the worst. A quick discussion and they decide to carry him off and attempt to find someone who can restore his soul. Autumn carries the burden, being one of the strongest in the group. They push back towards the portal-pad and on to the surface. There, the sun is low in the clouds, signaling an end of the day. There's perhaps an hour or so of daylight left and so they follow the sun west and north. An hour or so of their twilight walk finds them within eyeshot of a mediocre-sized town. They press on, hoping the gates don't close on them. When they arrive, the guards question them fully. Finding truth to their story they’re finally allowed entrance.

Welcome to Loudwater. the guard says.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 22 Jul 2019 21:18:33
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Derulbaskul
Senior Scribe

Singapore
391 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2019 :  23:28:32  Show Profile Send Derulbaskul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert We've always had a number of 4E fans here. That's why we had so many problems during that era -- we had vocal people on both sides of that issue.



I must confess: I have never noticed them.

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan I will always prefer to run 4th Edition. For me, it provides the best options in terms of both a Player and Dungeon Master. As a player, I really can play anything I want and the rules are designed to allow that, both mechanically and with use of Role-Play and yet do not deter me when I want to stray from the common Human Fighter or Dwarf Cleric. For example, we did Legacy of the Crystal Shard using the 4E stat blocks that were provided and I was an Illuskan human Berserker with the Werebear theme. I could shape-shift into a bear but rarely did so because....well bears roaming villages tends to put people into a panic. When I would use Primal abilities, the Bear would rage out uncontrollably (pure RP aspect, it wasn't forced mechanically) and the best part was that I was pretty balanced with the others in the group. If I tried to achieve this with 3.5 I'd have something like a +8 Level Adjustment and would be super OP compared to other 1st level characters.

I'll post Session 2 in a bit when I finish writing it up. We've gone a LOT more since I posted this last and we're having another Shadow War session this Friday (woot!!)



You won't get an argument from me!

I've been running D&D since 1981 and 4E remains my favourite edition by a great margin. It's so easy for the DM and, particularly with the offline version of the tools, it's easy for a player to put together a character of any level.

Anyway, we're on the same page so no more commentary from me. Enjoyed your session two; looking forward to more!

PS: I do, however, wish the 4E Realms had been published with a world map by a competent cartographer. Using the contents of the bowels of a sick baby as the colour palette wasn't even the worst choice the putative cartographer made as he slapped that ugly thing together....


Cheers
D

NB: Please remember: A cannon is a big gun. Canon is what we discuss here.

Edited by - Derulbaskul on 04 Jul 2019 23:30:35
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3682 Posts

Posted - 22 Jul 2019 :  21:15:04  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Derulbaskul

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert We've always had a number of 4E fans here. That's why we had so many problems during that era -- we had vocal people on both sides of that issue.



I must confess: I have never noticed them.


With 5e out now, the number is smaller as many continued to go in that direction. I do multi-edition but 4E is still the one I prefer when I DM. 5e is fun, sorta easy, but the target challenge is very off IMO. I can throw two ogres (CR 2) and a two to three lower level mooks (CR 1/2) which equates to something like a difficult encounter verging on deadly and *boom* they're all dead in 3 rounds and I've landed two hits against the Player Characters. But on CR 4 that has a Saving throw effect and it's 3 players down in a matter of 3 turns.

quote:
Originally posted by Derulbaskul

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan I will always prefer to run 4th Edition. For me, it provides the best options in terms of both a Player and Dungeon Master. As a player, I really can play anything I want and the rules are designed to allow that, both mechanically and with use of Role-Play and yet do not deter me when I want to stray from the common Human Fighter or Dwarf Cleric. For example, we did Legacy of the Crystal Shard using the 4E stat blocks that were provided and I was an Illuskan human Berserker with the Werebear theme. I could shape-shift into a bear but rarely did so because....well bears roaming villages tends to put people into a panic. When I would use Primal abilities, the Bear would rage out uncontrollably (pure RP aspect, it wasn't forced mechanically) and the best part was that I was pretty balanced with the others in the group. If I tried to achieve this with 3.5 I'd have something like a +8 Level Adjustment and would be super OP compared to other 1st level characters.

I'll post Session 2 in a bit when I finish writing it up. We've gone a LOT more since I posted this last and we're having another Shadow War session this Friday (woot!!)



You won't get an argument from me!

I've been running D&D since 1981 and 4E remains my favourite edition by a great margin. It's so easy for the DM and, particularly with the offline version of the tools, it's easy for a player to put together a character of any level.

Anyway, we're on the same page so no more commentary from me. Enjoyed your session two; looking forward to more!


Thanks! The PCs are having fun. We're much further IRL at this point but it's hard to put it all into words a few months out. Our last session was all RP, no combat but they still had a good time.

quote:
Originally posted by Derulbaskul

PS: I do, however, wish the 4E Realms had been published with a world map by a competent cartographer. Using the contents of the bowels of a sick baby as the colour palette wasn't even the worst choice the putative cartographer made as he slapped that ugly thing together....



That's no joke. I usually grab maps more in-line with 5th Edition except where it's appropriate for the region and the story (were I to run a Returned Abeir in my game, for example.)

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Diffan
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Posted - 26 Sep 2019 :  14:38:27  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Session 3

The town of Loudwater is what could commonly be called a frontier town. The walls are sturdy enough to repel the most common threats the mountains can throw at them, mainly orcs, goblins, kobolds, and the occasional hill giant or ogre. At night, the towns streets are rather dark as most people are in their homes or patronizing one of the few inns and drinking holes around town.

The characters are directed by the gate guard that the best place they can find respite for their fallen friend is a near-by temple to Silvanus run by Brother Griffon, an Uthgardt foundling who was raised by Loudwater fisherman. Taking his suggesting, they head for the temple. Upon arrival they're met with one of the few temple acolytes and upon seeing the state of their friend, kindly usher them inside. The walls are vine-covered while the spire's tip reach over 100 feet into the air. The symbol of an oak leaf gleams with it's own emerald light above the rand archway leading inside.

Whilst in one of the antechambers a few other acolytes take Erias body to the main chapel while they wait. What seems like a lifetime passes before they're greeted solemnly by Brother Griffon. He states to the group that Erias's soul has passed to the Fugue Plane and there, awaits judgment and the passing towards Amanuators Realm. He lets them know that there is still time to revive him, however he needs the correct reagents and ritualistic gear to perform a Raise Dead ritual. That costs gold, which the group has little of. Besides what they had before their flight from Sembia and what they received from the shoppe-keeper for the scroll, they hadn't had much chance to acquire money.

With this problem before them, they decide to talk to the townsfolk and get an idea of what sort of jobs they can take around town. Brother Griffon suggest that they seek out Captain Harrowleaf, as she's the towns commander of the militia. The group take the information and proceed to find a place to get a drink, winding up at the Green Tankard Tavern. Here while talking to some very informative halflings, discover that someone has been using blackmail and protection racketeering on the local businesses - someone by the name of Lady Shadows. Piqued by this proposal they decide to find the local grocer, whom has been hit hardest by the extortion.

The following morning came as clear and bright as any other, except for the large explosion that rocked the southern part of town. Awoken by the noise and following screams, the group rush to get ready for the day and head south. There they find a large hole in the town's southern wall - followed by a group of Goblin warriors fighting and attacking multiple people in the streets. The PCs jump right into action as Vorung throws a volley of magic missile into the nearest creatures. Gennal and Gregg lead to the front and assist those who are caught in the middle. Soon enough the guard, led by Captain Harrowleaf, join the fray. With Autumn's nature magic keeping some of the Goblins from entering the town, the group is able to repel the threat.

The attack seems sudden and random, but well coordinated. They soon discover that the creatures sacked a small shop near the southern wall, a place known as Garwan's Curiosities. They took a few baubles and gold but one item of particular note was a special looking horn totem. They didn't escape far with the item before being killed and when the PCs press the owner of the shop, a wizened looking dwarf, he notes that the horn came into his possession after a local wizard had sold it to him a few days prior....

to be continued.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 01 Oct 2019 15:23:30
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Copper Elven Vampire
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Posted - 27 Sep 2019 :  20:44:25  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like this so far. I was never a fan of 4ED, but I'm well past that now. This sounds like a fun adventure already.

Although 1ED Advanced D&D will always be my first love, it's a bit like sending mail via Pony Express in the age of the WwW.

3ED was more my style though terribly under-powered. 3.5ED fixed that issue for me in most aspects, though I still find myself taking canon PrC's and jacking them to fit what I/we need in our campaign, or simply creating my own PrC's to fill the gaps the designers never bothered to touch.

2ED wasn't so bad either, with all the Kits and Specialty Priests, ThAc0 and such. The Original Shadow Mage Kit was pretty cool, as you tapped directly into the Plane of Shadow to fuel your spells. I did incorporate that into my 3.5ED Shadow Mage PrC homebrew thread.

I would totally play 4ED now with a great DM, though the Eladrin elves and normal elves completely destroy the entire FR history of the race. I can totally get over that now-a-days.

Give me a leveled 4ED Copper elf cleric of Erevan Ilesere and I'd jump into the adventure, perhaps as a saving grace moment, or a hired mercenary, or even as an opposing anti-hero type that strikes a deal for mutual benefit and survival. (Think Richard B. Riddick from the Riddick trilogy.)
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Diffan
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Posted - 27 Sep 2019 :  23:16:34  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

I like this so far. I was never a fan of 4ED, but I'm well past that now. This sounds like a fun adventure already.

Although 1ED Advanced D&D will always be my first love, it's a bit like sending mail via Pony Express in the age of the WwW.


I have the core 1e books on PDF and a few adventures but learning the whole thing myself and then trying to teach my group - people firmly grounded in the WotC-era of D&D - would be a task I don't really want to try. That and their reluctance to learn yet another system.

quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

3ED was more my style though terribly under-powered. 3.5ED fixed that issue for me in most aspects, though I still find myself taking canon PrC's and jacking them to fit what I/we need in our campaign, or simply creating my own PrC's to fill the gaps the designers never bothered to touch.

2ED wasn't so bad either, with all the Kits and Specialty Priests, ThAc0 and such. The Original Shadow Mage Kit was pretty cool, as you tapped directly into the Plane of Shadow to fuel your spells. I did incorporate that into my 3.5ED Shadow Mage PrC homebrew thread.


See, I think I'm regressing in this area. I've made some crazy shenanigan-style NPCs and monsters for my players to fight and ultimately I find myself growing tired of the power-creep treadmill, especially after long runs with 3rd edition. I guess for me, I'm getting to the point where I don't think you need TONS of gimmicks and widgets to make monsters fun to run and since 4e and 5e's focus of NPC/Monster design isn't "make like a PC" I feel some of the shackles of adhering to "builds" are gone. If I want a raging Orc Warrior wielding two large battle-axes then I just give him two big battle-axes, I'm not worrying that he has the correct Dex score, X-Y-Z feat chain, or whatever. He's just a big ol' dude with big weapons - deal with it, lol.

What's funny is that I'm currently writing an adventure set to Warcraft (for 3.5) and yet, I don't feel immensely overwhelmed by the project. The group is going to start at 6th level but the options are heavily reduced (most power-classes are re-imaged as Prestige Classes) and a tight stranglehold on what spells are allowed and strict following of things like expensive Spell Components has made things easier.

quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

I would totally play 4ED now with a great DM, though the Eladrin elves and normal elves completely destroy the entire FR history of the race. I can totally get over that now-a-days.


In the lore of the setting, almost no one calls Sun and Moon elves "eladrin". They're simply just called moon and sun elves. They've had a stronger connection to the feywild with the Spellplague - so it easily (to me anyways) stands to reason their ability to Fey-Step and your normal Wood - Wild Elves are also easily seen as the natural "elf" in the PHB. Not to mention they made a LOT of other elements for characters to choose outside of the PHB (in the Elf Department). For example, if you wanted to play a Llewyrr elf you can swap out the normal eladrin weapon proficiencies and get longbows and shortbows instead of Heavy and Light blade proficiency. They also swap out the normal Arcane bonuses Eladrin get for a _2 on Insight checks based on their uncanny ability to discern the intent of individuals.

They also have examples on how to properly role-play Moon and Sun elves too. This was detailed in the Neverwinter Campaign Setting.

In my Realms games, I"ve decided to keep the lore of the Shadar-Kai and make them descendants of the fey/elf aspect. So they definitely have elven characteristics (like pointed ears, almond-shaped eyes, etc) but also with pitch black eyes. They also can learn to be Bladesingers - albeit with a very good backstory.


quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

Give me a leveled 4ED Copper elf cleric of Erevan Ilesere and I'd jump into the adventure, perhaps as a saving grace moment, or a hired mercenary, or even as an opposing anti-hero type that strikes a deal for mutual benefit and survival. (Think Richard B. Riddick from the Riddick trilogy.)


Elven clerics are really good match-ups. Elves get +2 Dex/+2 Wisdom, making them exceptionally good Clerics as they're mostly Wisdom-based for their attacks and skills. Add in maybe a hybrid Rogue (Dex-based!) or even multiclass Rogue and give them the ability to Sneak Attack with heavy-blades and it's pretty awesome!

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 30 Sep 2019 16:18:29
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Diffan
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Posted - 30 Sep 2019 :  16:20:17  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire


Give me a leveled 4ED Copper elf cleric of Erevan Ilesere and I'd jump into the adventure, perhaps as a saving grace moment, or a hired mercenary, or even as an opposing anti-hero type that strikes a deal for mutual benefit and survival. (Think Richard B. Riddick from the Riddick trilogy.)


Going back to this: what's interesting about 4th (and 5th) Editions is that there's a distinct difference between the player's characters (PCs) and the sorts of people they come into contact with (NPCs and Monsters). That is to say, they're build differently - because they both represent different roles within the game. Your monsters and villainous NPCs are designed in such a way as to be a challenge to the PC's abilities 'COMBINED'. Thus when a typical group of 4-6 PCs comes into contact with a monster or bad-guy NPCs, the game takes into account for the fact that it's usually a 4-6 vs. them and they usually lose the Action Economy war there.

So thats why they came up with things like Solo and Elite tags, marking these individuals or monsters are not your "typical" mook or run of the mill adversary. So in the instance of a character like your Copper Elf cleric/rogue of Erevan Ilesere, there would need to be a decision on whether or not it's statted like a typical Player Character OR if they're more of a "helping - or hindering - NPC" role?

Curiously, I made up a player character Elf hybrid Rogue|Cleric Lv. 9 and was quite intrigued with the results of this guy. I stuck with standard point-buy, though kept our houseruled free Expertise feat (it's basically a stacking +1/+2/+3 - by tier - bonus to attack rolls) and Improved Defenses feat (a stacking +1/+2/+3 - by tier - bonus to Defenses) that all PCs get. In the end I got a pretty durable assassin-style character. His AC is 25 (decent for his level, almost where Defenders are) and 63 hit points! He also hits like a truck. His cleric at-will prayer Fell Strike gets +15 vs. AC, dealing 1d6 + 11, and knocks the target prone while his rogue's exploit Sly Flourish is +15 vs. AC and deals 1d6+12 plus 2d8 with sneak attack! In addition to that, there's Lots of ways to hinder enemies such as Strike from the Shadows which weakens the opponent and Prophetic Guidance - a no-attack prayer that says you to guide your allies attacks against the target, making the target grant Combat Advantage AND allies who hit him get a +5 to damage rolls. The only thing that the character doesn't do all that well is heal, funny enough. He has Healing Word 1/encounter, a prayer called Tactical Strike which heals an ally he's flanking with, plus Cure Light Wounds daily spell, however that's it.

As an NPC, he'd be written a lot differently. You certainly could use the above for ideas on what spells to give him, plus things like Sneak Attack +2d8 and quite a few move+invisible tricks too. This would certainly classify him as a "Lurker" since he strikes from the shadows and his hard to pin-down AND a Leader as he has some ally-friendly spells and can heal too.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Diffan
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Posted - 01 Oct 2019 :  15:22:28  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
.....continued

Trying to make sense of the weird turn of events, the player characters decide to go meet this wizard named Curuvar. It doesn't take long to find the old chap, as he frequently visits the Green Tankard tavern. So when the players go to meet him, they find him already deep into multiple cups of ale at breakfast. Still, hes friendly enough and quickly goes on a lengthy tale about the procurement of the horn...

"I found that old thing deep in the tunnel system not too far from here." he goes on to explain. "Yes, I did indeed sneak into the barrow. By Mystra's lost spell, you wouldn't believe what a dull race goblins are! My spells easily incapacitated them, though I didn't find what I was looking for. I saw the horn-totem as a sort of parting gift before leaving. There's also a matching skull down there to which the horn belongs to. The goblins have been using as some sort of idol of worship. If you go fetch it, i'll tell you the truth about the Ogre King!" He then proceeds to drink another ale and laugh about the ease of dispatching so many goblins.

At this point, the group is at an impasse. Gregg and Vorug want to go investigate the warren whilst Autumn and Gennal want to find a quicker path to get money to help their friend Erias. There's no guarantee that there's any gold or valuables in the Warren, but the goblins of the barrow do pose an immediate threat. After debating their next move, they decide on the course of action to eliminate the goblin threat and get Curuvar his ogre skull.

The group prepares for the short journey to the Barrow near-by but they also decide to find another compatriot to aid them in their quest. After some asking at the Green Tankard and a few other places, they're led to the local apothecary and to one Brosha Manx. Brosha is a thin and listless half-elf, scarred face and shaky hands. One could assume he received the scars from a potion or brew that got the better of him. His relative demeanor is curt, quickly cutting any small talk. Gregg and Vorug peruse the shops wares while Autumn and Gennal talk to Brosha about a possible venture to help rid the town of the goblin threat. Hearing their proposal, he declines and say he's too busy running the shop to go off adventuring. Still, he wants to help the town so he suggests his apprentice, a dwarf artificer named Thermin Flamemead. He agrees to venture with the party for a fair share of anything found. With the agreement, they head off back towards the Barrow.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 01 Oct 2019 15:24:09
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Copper Elven Vampire
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Posted - 11 Oct 2019 :  05:07:07  Show Profile Send Copper Elven Vampire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm definitely enjoying this man.
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Diffan
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USA
3682 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2019 :  15:08:44  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Copper Elven Vampire

I'm definitely enjoying this man.



Thank you, I'm glad you appreciate them. I should have their delve into the Barrow of the Ogre King up today.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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