Thunderspire Labyrinth Session 14 (DnD 4e Session 25)
Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:11 AM
There is a lot of criticism coming down about the game, but there were a lot of positives that came from it as well. Splug's character, for one, and his friendship with Torren (sp). The part in Keep on the Shadowfell when they were shopping in town (though that's Hal's propensity for running shopkeepers, which I will admit to stealing whole-cloth for my own games.) The whole "Stendar the Betrayer" incident in the seven pillared hall. The funeral Splug did for Torren was honestly moving. Brie converting the heathen goblin to Avandra worship. Here's hoping the modules are set up to give you room for more of that when you all decide to come back to this game.
And with that pack of half baked thoughts and sentence fragments, I'm off.
Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:23 AM
I think everyone just needs to see what else is out there In the mean time DnD fans will have Warlords of the Accordlands coming at them pretty soon as well as a WHG game of ADnD and possibly some other stuff I have in back.
Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:16 PM
The setting is a inter-planar crossroads city run by the factions, philosophical clubs looking for new members, each with different ideas about what the universe or individual is for, means, or how it will end. Sometimes you might be on an adventure and find that the demon commanding some undead army happens to be in the same faction as you, and would let you all pass if maybe you could drop this stuff off in the faction house or put in a good word for him when promotions are made.
I recommend them after what turned into the best campaign I've run with my players in a long, long time. We fiddled around until 3rd level then shifted the party by force to Sigil, and went through:
Well of Worlds: 8 low-level unconnected planar adventures that can be done anytime.
The Great Modron March: A sequential adventure series that is meant to be played in order with other adventures mixed between. The march should take 2 year in-game.
Tales of the Infinite Staircase: loosely connected medium level adventures based off more-or-less Yggdrasil
Dead Gods: Just a smidgen of railroading in the opening leading to a giant mcGuffin chase across all the planes. As one part takes place on Greyhawk and my party didn't mind some hack&slash by then we went through the first edition classics Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, G1-2-3 Against the Giants, and D1-2-3 Against the Drow.
It's sad that in 3e and 4e there's barely any mention of the Planescape locations, and certainly nothing as great as those first box sets .Planescape, Planes of Law, Planes of Chaos, and Planes of Conflict.
Posted 19 March 2009 - 10:53 AM
I've been loving the audio recordings of the 4th Ed stuff, so I'm hoping we get some more in the future!
I've been playing a fair bit of 4th Ed myself, and I do love the new system. The battles are great fun.
However, I have to agree that the WotC published modules are too light on plot and RP potential - again, I agree this is not a problem with the 4th Ed rules, it's just those particular modules.
Since I only have 2 or 3 players, I've had to do my own adventures so far, but I've borrowed heavily from the WotC stuff for the encounters - but I've put in a lot of plot, and we've spent plenty of time pure roleplaying. This makes the nice combat system all the nicer when we have got around to the combats.
In summary - love the system, but the WotC modules could do with more RP. (IMHO of course.)
Posted 13 May 2009 - 07:39 AM
As the adventure ran on, it occurred to me that nobody seemed to really care why their characters were in the labyrinth. Having now read the adventure materials and given that they played straight through from KotS, it's easy to understand why.
In Shadowfell, the group is asked to stop a shadowy evil power from invading the world. A quiet frontier town would certainly be destroyed should the players fail. The broader impact of failure would be quite horrible, I imagine. It's a cliche, to be sure, but concepts like that are cliche for a reason. "Saving the world" is high heroism at its best.
Rolling on to Thunderspire, the initial hook is that a dozen or more people have been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Rescuing them is noble, of course, but it's hardly an epic quest. To make things worse, nothing is presented in the materials to make the Riverdown slaves seem real. It wouldn't be difficult to come up with back stories for at least some of the slaves, and from those one could generate NPC encounters with anguished family members. Instead, the hooks given are a vague "fight the slavers!" request from Padraig, a "sell this for me" quest from Bairwin, and a "call to adventure" from Valthrun the sage that basically amounts to "go to Thunderspire then come back and tell me about it."
Once the players reach the labyrinth, they don't find a fragile society on the brink, but rather a bustling bazaar of trade. There's nothing to suggest that the people there can't take care of themselves, and little reason given that they're even worth saving. Once the players uncover the source of the all the trouble, they're left scratching their heads wondering why the BBEG even bothered. If you have the source material in front of you, the plan becomes a little more apparent, but almost nothing is presented to the players about this. I think Hal summed it up best when he pointed out that the final dungeon seemed like it was just slapped on at the end. To top things off, the plot hook for the next adventure is a map that mentions a "place of power" and a name. It seems like the plots get less and less heroic as the characters level up.
In sum, the 4E materials seem like they provide interesting settings for an adventure, but the plots and characters need a lot of work to flesh them out. All the games my group played were painstakingly generated by our DM. I haven't read any adventures from prior D&D incarnations or other systems. Did any of them do a better job setting a mood and creating a purpose for the characters?
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