DM Diary: Once more in to the mine

Our little Dungeons and Dragons group got together again this weekend for another action packed adventure. We are still pushing forward with The Mines of Phandelver and managed to flush out the Redbrand Bandit leaving the town safe for now against the local chavs. I like to think of Phandelver as a nicer Luton, you know since the murder rate is probably lower.

In this game we had some fun with animal masks and hand signalled role play. We have never taken DnD too seriously, after all we are here for fun not to read the rules in silence and sacrifice goats to the dice god.

After learning about the location of the Redbrand brothers hideout from the farmers son Carp, our adventurers took their pain-train over to the sleeping giants tap house to see if they could gather any more information from the regulars. This cause of action led to a fight between some lingering Redbrand. After a little scuffle and some head crushing the group learned more information about the local annoyance.

This scenario played out well, we stepped away from the grid system and acted out the scenario in our heads.

This scenario played out well, we stepped away from the grid system and acted out the scenario in our heads. It wasn’t completely void of a pen and paper, some loose diagrams where drawn about where everyone was but nothing to formal. This lead to the group engaging more with their imagination leading to a much more intresting encounter than your standard grid based battle.

With all this information the group decided to take the secret entrance into the hideout and see if they could convince the locals that they were the newest members of the Redbrand after stealing the clothes off the men they had just beaten.

dungeons-dragons-movie-reboot-guardians-galaxy

After a few encounters they where left having to convince 3 Redbrand they where part of the crew and the bard convinced them that he was the entertainment. The other members not in disguise had to convince them that they where in-fact the a band accompanying the bard – allot of charisma checks in coming.

This lead to a “The Voice” scenario and although they managed to convince WILLIAM that they were part of his cyber revolution things soon became unraveled. After a few failed charisma checks our merry group of singers became the butchers of Redbrand manor. Although the law abiding members of the group decided to spare some of the younger Redbrand members in exchange for information, this did not hold up with the more morally challenged and so some necks where left open after other members of the group had left.

Its become obvious now that the team is split on its morals and this will likely become a bigger theme later on when instead of it becoming something done out of sight the options will be laid bare in front of them.

The general theme of our encounters so far had been loose, based on what we all accepted as the situation and so ideas flowed and fights ended quickly. We did however act out the final fight with the mage running the Redbrand which unfortunately worked out to be less epic. None of my spell where particularly powerful and at no point did the party feel under any strain. It also didn’t help that I had 6 players rolling an action before a spell could be used. Future boss fights will need to be faster passed and make the party feel like they are in very real danger, unfortunately the end of this dungeon kinda failed.

Despite smashing our way through the Brotherhoods hideout we found ourselves at another pause. I managed to outline what the group has been up to and what the group needs to do in the future and hopefully will lead the game into a more linear experience in the next episode. This will require some skewing of the campaign content, although I will be taking away some sandbox aspect of the game and narrowing the options this is what was expressed to me by the players – more a straight line, than a squiggle.

This idea of narrowing the options is good for me as a DM. My main problems lye in remembering all the details of each individual encounter and with the option for the players to go anywhere or do anything my ability to be prepared for the encounter goes out the window. Unless I sit down and religiously read through the whole campaign until I know everything about everyone and I can channel Carp in away that makes the players believe that i am an adolescent troublemaker.

animals

So why is everyone wearing an animal mask?. Well in order to bring some more hilarity to a game full of infanticide I decided to bring in a new game mechanic.

Rules are as follows:

  • Role a natural 1 – Pick a mask to wear for 5 mins
  • Role a natural 20 – Pick someone to wear a mask for 5 mins

…..its just a giant shit storm of arm waving

When your in the mask you cannot speak instead you have to action out what you want your character to do through the timeless are of mime. This leads to all sort of fun and opens up a giant can of “WTF is going on”. If you manage to get more than one mask in play; well its just a giant shit storm of arm waving.


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