Barbara and I were planning on dropping by our friendly local game store tonight to play some Living Forgotten Realms (LFR). Since I wasn’t that crazy about the Paladin that I played at LFR a week ago, and since Barbara and I have already rolled up the characters that we’re going to be using in the new campaign we’re starting soon with Kyle, Nate and Bree, we planned to try out those new characters at LFR. Unfortunately, Barbara wasn’t feeling well, so I went on my own and decided to stick with Rhogar, my half-elf paladin from last week.
Similarly to last week, I didn’t officially have a seat reserved at the table, but I was at least on the waiting list. One of the other players hadn’t shown up by the start time and the DM said he was fine to play with seven players instead of six in case the other player did show up – which he did, about 10 minutes late. So, we had seven players. The DM, Doug, said that this module didn’t take long to run, so having the extra player wouldn’t slow us down significantly.
Last week’s session started with a combat encounter, then a lot of roleplaying, then a combat encounter. This time was all roleplaying for a long stretch, then a random little combat encounter that took no time, then more roleplaying, then basically two back to back combat encounters to finish things off. The party was hired to recover a sextant that had been stolen from the house of a noble family, along with some other conventionally valuable items. The sextant was a family heirloom, which they believed would lead to their ruin if it were not returned. Thus, we went off on a long series of roleplaying encounters to try to track down the thieves.
We went to taverns in sketchy parts of town, making lots of Streetwise, Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate checks. Since my character is a heavily-armored good Paladin, he was a little out of place. Thus, I hung back and didn’t say much. The random battle with some drunk dockworkers was a bit of a waste of time, as it had nothing to do with the main plot. We ended up having a battle with the were-rat thief who stole the goods, along with his bandit associates. This battle was in the basement of a boot shop, and it led to some interesting movement and use of powers. The thief told us how to find the gnome merchant to whom he had sold the sextant.
We went to the inn where this gnome was staying, hurrying there before he left town. Here is where things got a little tense around the table. Three of the seven players had played this module before, so when it came time to make decisions about what to do, they tried to stay out of it and let the other four of us decide. I thought that sending four people upstairs and three people around to the alley below the gnome’s window was the way to go – that way, we could keep him from getting away. This was voted down in favor of having six of us wait downstairs in the inn while one person (our pacifist dwarven Cleric) went to the alley to try to disable the gnome’s wagon. Well, the gnome’s allies spotted the dwarf at work and fired at him from the window, thus starting combat with all of us downstairs and unable to do anything for the first turn except start to move upstairs while the gnome and his buddies took target practice on our Cleric. It worked out okay in the end, and the battle of the inn room was an exciting one, but I think that my lesson is that I need to be more assertive around the table, even though I’m still a new player.
Doug wasn’t as engaging a DM as Aarrun from last week was, but he still ran a good game. The lessons I’d take from playing with Doug are:
- Feel free to make minor modifications to increase the fun of a battle (such as changing the pointless dockworkers from one-hit minions to two-hit minions)
- Try hard to make sure all of the players have a chance to be heard (I didn’t feel heard tonight, and I don’t want my players to feel that way)
- If the battle is well in hand, feel free to call it and wrap it up, even if there are still some baddies to mop up.
Barbara and I are going to be traveling for the next week, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to blog for a while. That’s a shame, because I’ve learned some really cool MapTool tips that I’m anxious to share, but I haven’t had the prep time to do so yet. Soon, though!