20 Jul

Quail Valley Session 2 (BFRPG)

In our first session of our new Basic Fantasy RPG campaign, the PCs were hired by Professor Yetemi, a sage at the local university, to accompany him and his group on an expedition to the Quail Valley. The expedition had two goals: to discover what had happened to another professor, Elár Arnek, who had not returned from a prior expedition; 2) to explore an area called the Forradás that is just south of Quail Valley. The first is being funded by the university while the other is funded by Professor Yetemi to help prove some of his theories about a pre-human civilization. The expedition’s members were the Professor, his assistant Gonela, and four graduate students: Demeter, Maiessa, Rikard, Sarotta. The group reached an inn just south of Quail Valley, gained a new companion (Willow), had some bad dreams, learned that the Forradás is not a place to travel, headed there anyways, fought some bandits, lost a student (Sarotta) to the bandit ambush, and then all natural noises fell silent while camping one night. That is where we pick up after the break.

We were joined by two new players: Hannah and Teresa. Hanna is playing a half-elf thief named Siobhan and Teresa is playing an elven thief named Thorn. It was Teresa’s first time ever playing a tabletop RPG!

This recap is from Muse and we had all regular six players in attendance…Claudia, a part-time player when visiting Tallahassee, was missing and RJ played Raspin. As usual, my GM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. Obviously, there are potential spoilers for The Vault of Larin Karr as well as “On a Lonely Road” from The Lost Lands: Adventures in the Borderland Provinces (from Frog God Games) below the break.

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16 Jun

Quail Valley Session 1 (BFRPG)

We began our new campaign with this session, following the total party kill in our Hilltop campaign in our prior session. We are continuing to play our house-ruled version of Basic Fantasy RPG. The Quail Valley is the setting for The Vault of Larin Karr, an excellent little sandbox originally from Necromancer Games and now Frog God Games. This is the setting that we’ll be using for this campaign which will, of course, be changed and combined with who knows what as we go. I’ve started this campaign a number of different times, but for one or another, we’ve never actually gotten very far into it before moving on to something else. Oh, I’ve also renamed most of the locations and NPCs…as I often do (e.g., Presov is Pembrose). Those familiar with the product won’t recognize most of the names but will likely catch on pretty quick.

We were joined by Claudia this session. She’ll be an intermittent player as she is only in town part-time. The player characters include:

  • Cailana, an elf ranger played by Muse
  • Winkelthorpe (Wink), a human mage played by Forest
  • Raspin, a human fighter played by Claudia
  • Faelan, a human druid played by RJ
  • Serena, a half-elf cleric played by Rachel

This recap is from Rachel and we had a full table with everyone in attendance. As usual, my GM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. Obviously, there are potential spoilers for The Vault of Larin Karr as well as “On a Lonely Road” from The Lost Lands: Adventures in the Borderland Provinces (from Frog God Games) below the break.

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16 May

Return to Hilltop Session 12 (BFRPG)

Ever since I was a kid, the number 12 has been my favorite number. Sadly, Session 12 of this campaign didn’t live up to being my favorite. It turned out to be a total party kill (TPK) pretty early on in the session. The party pressed on in their exploration of a lower level of the mines, seeking a way to escape. They found one but encountered a couple of the “electrical landsharks” blocking their way. The party came out on the short end of this battle. Given that the party was killed by some beasts who would feast on their bodies, I didn’t see much of a way out for them…so TPK. All in the session of my favorite number.

While there are all the “killer DM” memes around the internets, I know I don’t get any pleasure from a TP and anyone who thinks that a DM gets pleasure or enjoyment from a TPK has probably never been a DM themselves.

Players typically see a TPK as a bad thing for them…they’ve lost a cherished character or the like…but it pales in comparison to what the DM is losing. Few players–if any–invest time and effort in a campaign that is anywhere near that which a DM invests. All those hours, all that effort, all that creative investment in the campaign up to that point and all that might have spun out of it is unexpectedly snuffed out by the TPK. I don’t really prep “stories” or “plots” but I do prep settings and situations.

For a player, it means rolling up a new character. For a DM, it means redoing everything…the setting, the situations, the locations, the NPCs, all of it. That is no small amount of work. It means putting aside other things that the DM might want to do (e.g., catching up on that ever growing reading list, finally getting back to finishing Daredevil Season 2, and the like).

Even if your DM is grinning as the TPK is happening, believe me, that grin is probably hiding a whole lot of “oh f@cks” as all that prior time and effort is now out the window and a new set of long hours and hard effort needs to be spent again to start a new campaign.

So yeah, a TPK sucks. It sucks way more for the DM than it does for the players, even though many players just can’t seem to see it that way.

Scheduling looks like we won’t be playing at all for the next two weeks and that we may not have the whole group together until maybe early July. I’m hesitant to start a campaign without having everyone at the table for at least a couple of sessions so I guess I at least have time to do all that work again. 😉

11 May

Return to Hilltop Session 11 (BFRPG)

Dunridge Quarry or, more precisely, the mines at the quarry, became the focus of our heroes’ explorations in the last session. Successfully getting into the mines without being noticed, they explored a good bit. However, they also got into a few fights. The last fight of that session, in particular, depleted a lot of the party’s resources and left them split up. Molly, Efan, and Francis had all been overcome by magical fear and fled during the fight. Molly came face to face with a bugbear and yelled for help. The others came running to aid her as the bugbear carried Molly’s unconscious body around a corner and behind a locked metal gate/door. That is where we pick up this session.

All four players were in attendance for this session. There are potential spoilers for T1 The Village of Hommlet as well as A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry below the break. This recap is from Muse and my comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics].

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05 May

Return to Hilltop Session 10 (BFRPG)

Our prior session somewhat marked a shift in focus for the campaign. To date, most sessions were centered on exploration of the nearby moat house and clearing it out. Having pretty much succeeded at that task, the party is now seeking the lead evil NPC, Leighton, who has moved on but left a trail for the group to follow. This trail has led to the Dunridge Quarry. Armed with some information about a potentially unguarded entrance and joined by four new (and rather enthusiastic) recruits, the heroes were last left as they prepared to enter the quarry or, perhaps more properly labeled, mines.

Muse was missing from this session and Rachel played Brenwyn. There are potential spoilers for T1 The Village of Hommlet as well as A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry below the break. This recap is from RJ and my comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics].

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03 May

Fallout Gränsomrad Dale Campaign Session 4 (BFRPG)

Our third session found the players delving deeper into the haunted keep both literally and figuratively. They pretty much finished exploring the ruins of the eastern tower and then delved below the keep. What they found below may likely take the campaign in a different direction than if they had handled it differently. I don’t want to mention spoilers above the break so if you want to know what I’m talking about, go read the recap of the third session or continue reading here.

Jason and Jon were missing this session. Rather than have two of the three players play two characters, Alok and Thorbird were essentially missing in action. More on this below. My DM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Haunted Keep from the Moldvay Basic D&D set, The Haunted Keep from Dragonsfoot, and N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God.

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01 May

Fallout Gränsomrad Dale Campaign Session 3 (BFRPG)

During our second session, the adventurers explored the village of Bronby a bit and met various residents before heading back to the haunted keep. They learned the mayor trusted pretty much no one, the constable was ready to arrest them for trespassing at the haunted keep, the Golden Grain Inn was much cleaner with a more gregarious staff than at Odgi’s establishment, and that the whole village had a bit of an eerie vibe to it. At the keep, they found goblins! We pick up this session with some goblins attacking the party below the break.

Jon was missing this session and so Jason played Alok. My DM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Haunted Keep from the Moldvay Basic D&D set, The Haunted Keep from Dragonsfoot, and N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God.

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27 Apr

Return to Hilltop Session 9 (BFRPG)

In our last session, our heroes had finished their explorations of the moathouse, the complex beneath, and the tomb of Rafael the Righteous but had not yet put an end to the evil named Leighton. Sadly, at the end of the session, our brave adventurers learned that the depths of Leighton’s depravity were even deeper than they had experienced so far. He had left two young children, dead but animated, hanging from the same crossed beams from which Cowle had previously hung.

This was an abbreviated session as we didn’t really start until about 7:30 or 8:00 (due to a nearby music and literature festival). Muse was missing from this session and RJ played Brenwyn. There are potential spoilers for T1 The Village of Hommlet as well as A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry below the break. This recap is from Rachel and my comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics].

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27 Apr

Fallout Gränsomrad Dale Campaign Session 2 (BFRPG)

In our first session of the Gränsomrad Dale Campaign hosted by Fallout Comics, we created characters and jumped in. The adventurers arrived in Bronby, found an inn, made it their own, shared lots of rumors, and started their exploration of the nearby haunted keep. They defeated four hobgoblins, saved two men from the southern lands, and found some sacks of coins before retreating back to their inn and settling down for the night. So they didn’t make it too far in their explorations but somehow I think that’ll get corrected in this session as we’ll find out after the break.

My DM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Haunted Keep from the Moldvay Basic D&D set, The Haunted Keep from Dragonsfoot, and N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God below the break.

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24 Apr

Fallout Gränsomrad Dale Campaign Session 1 (BFRPG)

We began our first session of the Gränsomrad Dale Campaign hosted by Fallout Comics with character creation…3d6 in order (although I did allow the players to swap one score with another if they so desired). It took a little longer than I had expected but all but one of the players had never played Basis Fantasy RPG and most either had no experience with pre-d20 versions of D&D or haven’t played them in quite some time. Once the characters were created and everyone had read their rumors (see the Intro post for more on these), we jumped right in with each of the PCs separately arriving in the village of Bronby and being directed to a nearby inn (I know…rather trite, isn’t it?).

My DM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Haunted Keep from the Moldvay Basic D&D set, The Haunted Keep from Dragonsfoot, and N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God below the break.

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