DnD 4e session Debrief

So our first official foray into Dungeons & Dragon's Fourth Edition was completed on Saturday. After weeks of prep, I finally unveiled my baby to our Playgroup: Mr. Misanthropology and his Mrs, DougV, and a gamer couple, Mr. Ego and Ms. Thrace. They played a Druid, a Rogue, a Warlock, A greatweapon Fighter, and a Paladin. At first I was worried that not having a dedicated healer would be a problem, but Thrace handled everything perfectly.

And it was fun. But...

Some things didn't work. We had originally decided to have the session around a big ol' dining room table, but afterwards people complained of being stiff. I completely understand: I think my enthusiasm for my storyline was the only thing to keep me jumping and hoping at the table. My excitement also underscored another problem: they wanted frequent breaks but I didn't want any.

This is a symptom that is easy to remedy. Caught up in the creation of my epic story, I lost sight of the goal: just to have fun. At one point, as my NPC windbag was speaking, Mrs. Misanthropology laughed at Thrace and said, "thank you for taking notes." My god. I was creating homework! After this revelation I began to think and I figured it out: The details of the story don't matter if they don't progress the story forward.

It doesn't matter--right now at least--who created the world. None of the characters needs to care about that now. Later, when the plot thickens and the characters become embroiled in more than just local adventures, they will remember who did what in the history of my world. So my hard work will eventually become material for the game, but for now, they just care about Lord Marklehay and his Kobold--Or as DougV called them, Cobalt--problem.

Overall, the response to our D&D night was positive. Mr. Misanthropology said:

I thought one of the coolest moments was when Mrs. Misanthropology decided that her mad acrobatics skillz could get her on the skull-skull rope for a ride up to the second level. I thought the best encounter was the last one. Maybe it's just my personality, but I enjoy it best when there are opportunities for creative exploitation and long odds on survival. Bigger, crazier combat encounters speed up the game for me because it's easier to get into them than in a series of micro-encounters...
I liked the armor traps, and I think more skill and strategy challenges help gel a team...especially if they move the story forward, and I'm interested in the story and what our characters can bring to it.

And I agreed with him. The thing I like most about 4E is that it can be whatever you want it to be. I started to dig it because of the tactical encounters, but it seems like people were having the most fun actually role playing their characters. This is an easy fix but it was interesting for me to come across it.



The Story So Far:


Having no particular path to follow, our heros find themselves making their way to Fallcrest. There they meet a grizzled mage who takes them under his wing. The also encounter the local nobility and a pesky den of Kobolds that needs clearing. After clearing Kobold Hall, our adventurers find the young Seer Malicus Quai who is at the mercy of a mysterious priest-like figure. The unnamed figure disappears before our party can get their hands on him and instead free Quai who reveals that he's not a very good Seer, because even though he knew that the PCs would get there, he arrived a day too early.

Quai then helps the PCs discover one of the Vaults of Kanedias, known as the Master Maker. The door to the vault is covered in an ancient puzzle. After moving the tiles into their proper positions by rotating them, the door slides open, revealing several sets of armor and, in the middle, a rusted metal sword.

After some deliberation, the sword--which seems to be magical for all it's appearance of disuse--and a suit of armor with magical properties is taken. The heroes will return to Fallcrest victorious, though a little banged up. The questions remain:

  • Who was the Unnamed figure?
  • What has riled up the local Kobolds and where did they come from in the first place?
  • Why was Quai looking for these people?

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