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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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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