Monday, July 30, 2012

D&D Next Actual Play: Session 2

So this is an odd session with a surprise ending! It is full of bizarre things I would have never done in a D&D game, but hey, that's why we don't pre-plan our sessions, right? So we can be surprised? Anyway, moving on.

The Cast:
Kris as Dungeon Master!
Daniel as Boris Borisovich Berezovsky, the Dwarf Fighter out looking for a purpose!
Kenny as Kovus the Human Cleric of Pelor, out to destroy the great evil lurking in the Caves of Chaos!
and me, Ego, as Calder the Elf Wizard, out to obtain the Megatome!

So yeah, we picked up from last time, when we killed an owlbear. We'd left the unconscious (but stable!) Boris a couple cambers back so we could chase the owlbear last time, and when we got back to him this time we found a trio of gnolls looting his not-quite-a-corpse! This was an issue. We acted as fast as we could, and managed to kill the one holding Boris's ancestral axe (also named Boris), but the others got away with all of his gold. We hadn't gotten much at this point anyway, so okay.
We wandered for a tiny bit but decided we ought to rest. We made camp, and while doing so Kenny realized that Kovus has Herbalist - now, we're all ~19 year olds, so it goes without saying that we made drugs with Herbalist and smoked them using the owlbear skull as a bong. Welp.

When our characters came to, we were in a cage with a couple of gnolls looking in at us. Turns out that while super-high, we invented the TV, the electric guitar, started a band (Infinite Rape. We're not restricted to any particular genre, and this was mostly an excuse by Kenny to make a million rape jokes as song titles or lyrics throughout the night. Insensitive, but hilarious), released two albums, and became a best seller to the gnolls. No, I'm not quite sure how it happened, but they decided that since they're such great fans they're NOT gonna eat us, and instead the Gnoll King wanted to meet with us!
So we go, and meet with him. Long protracted conversation, but the gist of it was: "We don't actually like our orc allies. If we prove ourselves loyal to the gnolls by freeing some of their people from an orc encampment where they've been captured, and then help us storm the orc fortress, not only will we not eat you, but we'll also give you the Dark Stone that the Orc King is using on the end of his scepter!"
Quest hook if I've ever seen one. Time to infiltrate an orc encampment!

Yeah, not so much infiltrate. We tried, we really did. Then I fucked up a check (the FINAL check we would have needed to get inside quietly even!) and we were being chased. Managed to hide ourselves and starting exploring this place. It was a big cavern, with passages going out to all sides. We got ourselves over to one of them and we started down a bit, sending Kovus ahead to scout. He'd figured out the end of this passage is a barracks when he blew a roll. Now he's being chased by a large horde of orcs, but the barracks are now effectively unguarded. Because he's SO LOUD, I left Boris back in the passage and infiltrated the barracks.
Meanwhile, Kovus is being chased by orcs all over the place. He passes through the central chamber and into a passage on the opposite side, where he's cased down a mine passage. It's only one-person wide most of the time, but he ducks off to the side and jumps to a safe platform where the orcs would just pass him by. Or, he would if he could make Strength checks worth a damn. He slipped and is grasping for his life - Strength check to pull himself back up. His 8 Strength does exactly what it's supposed to: fails him. Kersplat. Very low health Kovus, lying at the bottom of a pit.
Boris, having seen all the ruckus, went back to try and help out Kovus, following down the shaft. He evaded the orcs, and let down a rope to pull him up, and succeeded! Kovus cured himself (out of spells now!) and they essentially just tuck off to the side and start writing poetry and song lyrics. Boris's poems consist almost entirely of the word Boris - a cunning linguist he ain't. For being all about rape though Kenny's songs aren't half bad.
And back to me, I'm searching the barracks. Going downstairs, by some manner of fortune I find the prison! Full of all sorts of folks. I find the gnolls and talk to them and convince them not to eat me, and I let them out. They then proceed to devour and slaughter everyone else in the room other than me. We get out and sneak around, looking for Kovus and Boris. Seeing the evidence of all the ruckus moving toward the mines, I went and checked 'em out and found them and we snuck out of the camp (after a last-ditch failed attempt to poison the food supply as we left).
Oh yeah, if I didn't mention it, the characterization for the orcs in general was that they were black gangsta frat guys. They're into rap, and Infinite Rape totally doesn't do rap (except for on The Rape Rap, but that's just the one song).

So we get back, and rest up, and invade the orc fortress! Since the whole gnoll faction mobilized we didn't have much of a hard time getting straight to the Orc King with the Gnoll King at our side. Now, he was brilliant, so the Gnoll King announced himself, charged directly at the Orc King and was promptly cut down. His retinue joined in as we started the fight. It was wild and violent, but guess how it ends?

Yup. He killed us.

WIZARDS, THIS IS PLAYTEST FEEDBACK RIGHT HERE. Okay, so we did some talking and thinking afterwards. First, we tried to decipher the problem (TPK should never be the result in my opinion, unless extremely warranted dramatically by the specific situation). Here's what we came up with for options:
* The Orc King is overpowered. An option, easily verified by looking at others' playtests.
* The encounter overall was overpowered. 3 orcs and the king versus our PCs could have been too much. Even if it wasn't, you NEED to include some sort of guideline for the power level of the creatures or how many makes a reasonable encounter. Kris says he DID intend this as "Difficult, but winnable," not the sort of encounter you run from. You cannot assume we are only going to play your pre-planned adventure, even for the playtest. We tried - it was lame. I can't run pre-written adventures, and Kris doesn't like it either.
* Our rolls were shitty and his were great. This is definitely not impossible. Explore the possibility that the others are true first though.

So, what do we do from here? Well, we have a couple options. Option 1: Our characters are dead, moving on. Option 2: Our characters are unconscious, but the Orc King didn't out and out kill us for some reason. Loss is only a set-back. Option 3: As Option 2, but we play a different game next session as an intermission.
Option 2 or 3 are most likely. Kris has expressed interest in running Lady Blackbird for us (an idea I hugely support since I've never had a chance to play it myself, just ran it twice), so we might hold back on continuing these fellas' stories until after we do that.

So yeah. TPK. First time that's ever happened to us for real. How exciting.

Anyway, a quick update on other things. I know I've slowed down on the posts a bit, sorry about that. Been doing a LOT of gaming the past few days, but nothing new. My laptop's battery fried, so I'm waiting on a new one, so I can't bring my computer around easily, which sucks and is limiting where and when I can write. I have a set of Rapid-Fire Reviews I'm saving for a slow day, I'm working on a Dark Knight Rises review, and I've been doing a LOT of Apocalypse World stuff for fun so I might post more about that. Also, Kris is currently out of town, so we can't do too much gaming for the next little bit. He'll be back this weekend I think, but since he can't game during the week it'll be a bit longer till we game again. Considering starting an Apocalypse World thing with just me, Dan, and Kenny - Kris has made the comment that it's really not his thing anyway, so maybe. Ideas.

Later folks.
End Recording,

No comments :

Post a Comment